Game of Thrones has a wide cast of characters, and every season viewers are introduced to a handful of new faces that make up the worlds of Westeros and Essos. Sometimes the characters are brought over directly from the books by George R. R. Martin, while other times they are created by HBO’s writers or are a combination of the two. Game of Thrones is a strongly character-driven show, so it’s important to get to know the new characters quickly (even if they may turn around and die just as soon as viewers learn their names.)
Here’s a quick primer on the characters coming to Game of Thrones in Season 6, premiering April 24.
So far on Game of Thrones, the only Tarly introduced is Samwell, the family pariah and member of the Night’s Watch. At the end of Season 5, the closest friend of Jon Snow was on his way to Oldtown to learn to be a Maester, accompanied by Craster’s daughter Gilly and her son, little Sam. Sam has spoken about his family in the show, but they have not been seen until now.
Lord Randyll Tarly
Lord Randyll Tarly is the patriarch of House Tarly and Lord of Horn Hill. House Tarly is a vassal family of House Tyrell, which is currently going through some strife with Queen Margaery and Ser Loras being kept prisoner by the High Sparrow.
Previously aligned to fight with Stannis Baratheon, Tarly now must choose whether to fight for the Tyrells or another cause. He is a fierce warrior and general and is known for his prowess on the battlefield. During Robert’s Rebellion, he led the only battle in which Robert was defeated at the Battle of Ashford.
Lord Tarly is a harsh father, having banished Sam to the Wall or face death. He does not abide “womanly” interests in either of his sons and is not a bookish man by any means. He will be portrayed on screen in season 6 by James Faulkner.
Lady Melessa Tarly
Lady Melessa Tarly is Randyll’s wife and the mother of Sam and his siblings. Originally from House Florent (which makes her the cousin of Stannis’ wife, Selyse), Melessa was the one that instilled Sam’s love of books when he was a child. She does not know of her husband’s threat to her son regarding the Night’s Watch and believes Sam went of his own accord. She gave him a thimble because he used to read to her when she was sewing, and he in turn gives the thimble to Gilly as a gift.
Lady Melessa will be portrayed by Samantha Spiro.
Dickon Tarly is the youngest Tarly son. Dickon has been described as a skilled swordsman and hunter, though he is not particularly intelligent. He is his father’s favorite and was likely made heir of House Tarly after Sam joined the Night’s Watch. He will be portrayed by Freddie Stroma.
While it is likely that viewers will see a number of new Greyjoy characters this season, only one has been confirmed and cast through official sources. Euron Greyjoy is the second Greyjoy son and eldest uncle of Theon and Yara.
In the novels, Euron is known for being cruel and playing horrific mind games on anyone who gets too close. He is hated by his entire family, particularly his brother Victarion, whose wife he raped. He is the captain of the ship Silence, crewed entirely by mutes, as Euron personally ripped the tongues of his crew out of their mouths in order to keep his secrets his own. He wears an eyepatch over his “Crow’s Eye” (his left eye), though it is unknown what lies beneath the patch. He was banned from the Iron Islands by his eldest brother Balon, but will return to Pyke this season.
Euron Greyjoy will be portrayed by Pilou Asbæk.
Braavosi Acting Troupe
A Braavosi acting troupe are introduced in the novels with ties to Arya (in her training at the House of Black and White) and Tyrion (who has a stint as a mummer in the books). The troupe are being added this season, with two major characters confirmed and cast.
Izembaro, also called the King of Mummers, is the leader of a Braavosi acting troupe and is known for playing drunken aristocrats and kings on stage. In the novels, he portrays Robert Baratheon in a new play called “The Bloody Hand.” He is cruel to the members of his troupe and is not liked by Arya when she meets him in the books, though he does work with the Faceless Men. He will be portrayed by Richard E. Grant.
Lady Stork is the leading actress in the company’s productions. She portrays Cersei in “The Bloody Hand” and is known as a fun, elegant, and prone to drinking lots of rum. She will be portrayed by Essie Davis.
The Three-Eyed Raven
Technically, viewers have already been introduced to the Three-Eyed Raven, in both his feathered form and as the old man embedded within the weirwood tree. He briefly appeared in Season 4 when Bran made it to the tree with the help of his friends, but he was portrayed in that instance by Struan Rodger. The Three-Eyed Raven will play a much larger role in Season 6 as Bran begins to discover his powers of prophecy, seeing the past, and transferring his consciousness into animals (and simple folk, like Hodor). You can read more about him here.
The Three-Eyed Raven and Bran’s new abilities will allow viewers to see into the past, which will bring in a number of younger versions of previously-viewed (and in many cases, dead) characters like Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, and others.
The Three-Eyed Raven will be portrayed in Season 6 by Max von Sydow.
The last time viewers saw Daenerys Targaryen, she was all alone in a giant field surrounded by a whole khalasar (or several khalasars) worth of Dothraki. This season the Dothraki will be back in a big way, and a number of the new cast members are Khals, essentially kings of their respective khalasars.
Included in the new Dothraki cast are Khal Moro, portrayed by Joe Naufahu, Khal Forzo, portrayed by Tamer Hassan, and an unnamed Khal portrayed by Elie Haddad. Staz Nair and Chuku Modo will portray Dothraki bloodriders Qhono and Ahko. The High Priestess of the Dosh khaleen (the top of the hierarchy in the Dothraki society) will also appear, portrayed by Souad Faress. None of these characters have existed in the books (thus far), so not much is known about them.
Religion has always played a fairly major role on Game of Thrones, especially in season 5 with the introduction of the High Sparrow and all of the changes he forced in King’s Landing, including Cersei‘s walk of shame (shame! shame!). Season 6 will bring in even more of Westeros’ and Essos’ unique religions with new clergy members, and the return of Thoros of Myr.
Season 6 will introduce two new Red Priestesses of R’hllor, the Lord of Light. Melisandre, Stannis’ former adviser, is a Red Priestess. The two new Red Priestesses are Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis (who is a completely different character in the novels), portrayed by Ania Bukstein, and an unnamed priestess, portrayed by Melanie Liburd.
Ian McShane’s Septon
Ian McShane will be portraying a yet-unnamed character that has been determined by fans to be a mix of two important septons in the novels, Elder Brother and Septon Meribald. Both have some healing powers and are wandering septons, teaching about the Seven and assisting the poor and downtrodden. McShane has let a few small spoilers slip and has caused some controversy for doing so, but his character still remains mostly a mystery.