It seems fair to say that the second season of "Game of Thrones" has included some of the best hours of television that we've seen in recent years. Sure, I may be a bit biased, but last week's "Blackwater" was one of the most action-packed episodes of TV I've ever had the pleasure to watch. All that gushing aside, even I had was taken aback by the exclusion of some major characters who, had the series followed the book to a T, should have been introduced already.
But have no fear, Jojen and Meera are here. Entertainment Weekly got their hands on a list of the new characters being introduced in season three, and the majority of the names that were missing from season two have all been added for the upcoming episodes. That means if you, like me, were squawking about the fact that the Reeds haven't met Bran Stark yet, you can rest easy.
According to co-showrunner David Benioff, he and partner Dan Weiss felt that season two had already introduced so many new characters that the series would have collapsed "under the weight of too many faces" had they added more. So people like Jojen, Meera, Stannis's family Lady Selyse and Shireen and even renegade outlaw Beric Dondarrion had to sit on the backburner until they're introduced next season. It makes sense, and will probably work better in the long run.
Also on the list of new characters are Mance Rayder, Daario Naharis, Edmure Tully, Ser Brynden Tully, the Queen of Thorns, Thoros of Myr and Tormund Giantsbane. Just reading that list of names gives me chills over how good season three will be. And if your favorite character isn't on there, have no fear, because Benioff said "a few others" will appear as well. Patchface and Howland Reed, anyone?
To keep his streak of good news going, fans who have taken a look at HBO's official schedule should have noticed that "Veep," which airs following the "Game of Thrones" finale on Sunday, starts 10 minutes later than it usually does. That means exactly what you think it means: season finale "Valar Morghulis" is running 10 minutes longer than your average "Game of Thrones" episode. If the Rhaegar/Elia scene from the House of the Undying portion of this episode is cut, I'm crying foul.
Are you as excited about this "Game of Thrones" news as we are? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!