We're still months away from new Game of Thrones episodes, but this latest casting announcement will let fans know how far the production has come. Rose Leslie of UK TV's Downtown Abbey has been cast as Ygritte, a major character for the second season.
Scottish actress Leslie is best known for her seven-episode run on Downtown Abbey. The critically acclaimed British show takes place in a WWI-era manor where her character Gwen was a servant. She's also played on Case Histories and is expected to return to Downtown Abbey when it enters its second series of production.
Other than that, the 24-year-old hasn't had much exposure, though she did win a BAFTA award for her performance in New Town. The role of Ygritte is an important one for Game of Thrones' second season, but the red-headed tribal character didn't enter into the second Song of Ice and Fire novel until its closing chapters. That's a pretty good indication that production of Season 2 is wrapping up, and hopefully we'll see some photos or video soon.
We don't want to spoil the second season for anyone, but suffice it to say that Ygritte has some rather close dealings with bastard-born Jon Snow (Kit Harington). For the meantime, it might be best that those who haven't read the novels continue to know nothing - commenters, please hold your spoilers.
HBO might not have shown any footage for Game of Thrones season 2, but that hasn't stopped them from promoting it. A short teaser accompanied the Boardwalk Empire season premiere, and the network continues to highlight the upcoming season, along with fan-favorite and Emmy-winner Peter Dinklage.
Leslie is the latest in a long line of notable actors to take a role in the upcoming season. The first to break was Tudor veteran Natalie Dormer, followed by Gwendoline Christie, then Carice van Houten, Stephen Dillane and Liam Cunningham. The producers seem to have a penchant for UK actors and actresses with period piece experience, and considering how successful the first season was, it's hard to argue. None of the new actors have a very high profile - Sean Bean, who won't be returning, remains the most well-known Hollywood name in the series.
The second season will bring production challenges that are much higher than the first, especially in the latter half. Between that and the fact that the book series it's based on isn't actually finished yet, there's some doubt as to how and when the series might end.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO in the spring of 2012.
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter