HBO have announced that four additional roles (plus one I missed earlier) have been cast for the second season of Game of Thrones.
Tom Wlaschiha is an experienced German actor, best-known to English-speaking audiences with recent roles in Valkyrie, Brideshead Revisited and The Sarah-Jane Adventures, as well as minor roles in Munich and Enemy at the Gates. He has a formidable array of German credits to his name as well.
Wlaschiha is playing the role of Jaqen H'ghar, a fan-favourite character debuting in the second novel. H'ghar is another of Yoren's recruits for the Wall, dredged out of the dungeons of the Red Keep. It's widely speculated that the hooded figure in the carriage in the final episode of Thrones' first season was H'ghar, played by an extra with his face strategically hidden.
Gemma Whelan is a young British actress and comedian, who has recently appeared in the films Gulliver's Travels and The Wolfman (note that some sites have reported her casting with pictures of her co-star in that movie, Emily Blunt, which is erroneous). Last year she won the Funny Woman Variety Act Award at the Leicester Square Theatre for her stand-up character, Chastity Butterworth.
In Thrones, Whelan has been cast in the role of Asha Greyjoy, the sister of Theon Greyjoy. To the disgruntlement of fans, her name has been changed to 'Yara Greyjoy', to avoid confusion with Osha. However, fans have pointed out her name is now rather similar to that of Arya Stark, and that Osha's name has not been given on-screen. Asha/Yara is the only one of Lord Balon Greyjoy's children to have survived and remained at home in the Iron Islands, where she has risen to command ships and men in battle (to the disgruntlement of some of the more traditionalist ironborn lords). Theon hasn't seen his sister in nine years.
Nonso Anozie is a British actor with a lengthy resume. He has appeared in films such as The Last Legion, Atonement, RocknRolla, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang and the upcoming Conan the Barbarian reboot. On stage he is notable for being on the youngest actors to ever play King Lear in a professional production, and in 2005 won the Ian Charleson Award for his portrayal of of Othello.
In the series he will be playing Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a merchant prince of Qarth, the great city that guards the straits between the Summer Sea and the Jade Sea, more than two thousand miles east of Westeros. Xaro is one of the Thirteen, a powerful and influential trade guild, and becomes acquainted with Daenerys Targaryen and her retinue. In the novels, the Qartheen are notably described as pale-skinned, whilst for the TV series HBO seems to be casting them with actors of colour. Whilst some fans have grumbled about the deviation from the text, it's actually always been odd to me that the inhabitants of Qarth - a city on a latitude further south than Dorne and not far north of Sothoryos (GRRM World's Africa) would be so pale-skinned given their climate. Regardless, Qarth is also described as a vibrant and multi-cultured city, the gateway to the far east of the world, and, most importantly, Xaro's ethnicity has no bearing whatsoever on the story.
Kerr Logan is a British actor, born in Northern Ireland and based in London. He trained with RADA and Thrones is his first television role.
Logan is playing the role of Matthos Seaworth, the third son of Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham). Matthos, like his father, is a loyal servant of the newly-crowned King Stannis Baratheon. Matthos is a crewman on Davos' flagship, the Black Betha, and an accomplished sailor in his own right that Davos is grooming for his own command.
An earlier-announced role I missed at the time: Oliver Ford Davies is a British actor best-known for his role as Sio Bibble (a senior politician on Naboo) in all three prequel Star Wars movies, though his CV features many more roles on stage and screen. In film he has appeared in Mrs. Brown and Sense and Sensibility, and on stage has won a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in Racing Demon in 1990.
In Thrones, Davies plays Maester Cressen, the maester at Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon's stronghold. Cressen is a lifelong servant of House Baratheon, helping to raise the infant Renly when his parents were killed and advising Robert and Stannis loyally for decades. He is a good and trusted friend of Ser Davos Seaworth as well. Cressen is advanced in years and has been dispatched an assistant maester to be trained up to take over when he dies, something Cressen mildly resents.
Some pretty good casting choices there, a mix of newcomers and somewhat familiar faces. Major roles for Season 2 still to be cast include: Lord Balon Greyjoy, Ser Edmure Tully, Lord Hoster Tully, Lord Roose Bolton, Craster, Qhorin Halfhand, Ygritte and possibly Vargo Hoat and Ser Amory Lorch, not to mention Jojen and Meera Reed. Filming is currently in its second week in Northern Ireland, with some scenes on Dragonstone, in Winterfell and in the Stark army camp already in the can.
Season 2 of Thrones is expected to air in April 2012.