Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, who embraced her role as the "Mother of Dragons" at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Lena Headey returns as Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, attempting to maintain control of the Seven Kingdoms with her psychotic son, Joffrey, and her controlling father. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jaime Lannister, last seen being escorted to King's Landing by Brienne of Tarth to be exchanged for Arya and Sansa Stark. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) managed to repel Stannis Baratheon's invading forces from King's Landing at the end of last season, but he was rewarded with the loss of his title (King's Hand) and a scar on his face. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the Lannister family, who returned to King's Landing to relieve his son, Tyrion, from his role as the King's Hand. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Michelle Fairley plays Catelyn Stark, who is attempting to keep her children safe. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Robb Stark (Richard Madden) ended last season by breaking his engagement to Lord Walder Frey's daughter and marrying Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin) instead. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark, who was promised to the psychotic King Joffrey, but managed to avoid marriage. However, so long as she remains in King's Landing, she's in danger. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow, the Night's Watch soldier who has been captured by the Wildlings north of the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark, who learned of a secret organization known as the Faceless Men at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Isaac Hempstead-Wright plays Bran Stark, who has begun a trek north to the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Jojen Reed, brother of Meera Reed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Ellie Kendrick plays Meera Reed, who will assist Bran Stark on his journey. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Rose Leslie plays the Wildling warrior Ygritte, who has her eye on Jon Snow. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Stephen Dillane plays Stannis Baratheon, who still lusts after the Iron Throne, even though his assault on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Carice van Houten plays the red priestess Melisandre, who continues to advise Stannis Baratheon, even though his attack on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Natalie Dormer plays Lady Margaery Tyrell, the new lady love of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Ciaran Hinds joins the cast as Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond the Wall" and leader of the Wildlings. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Diana Rigg joins the cast as Lady Olenna Redwyne, also known as the Queen of Thorns. She's the grandmother of Margaery and Loras Tyrell and a scheming force to be reckoned with. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Richard Dormer plays Beric Dondarrion, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood Without Banners, which is introduced in the third season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Paul Kaye joins the cast as Thoros of Myr, a red priest who worships the same deity as Melisandre, who also serves as an adviser to Beric Dondarrion. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, the female knight tasked with escorting Jaime Lannister to King's Landing. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
Clive Russell joins the cast as Brynden Tully, also known as the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark's uncle. (Helen Sloan / HBO)Link
“Game of Thrones” fans, HBO has a message for you: Don’t take your downloading tips from director David Petrarca.
The premium pay channel issued a terse statement Wednesday morning countering Petrarca’s comments suggesting that “Game of Thrones'” distinction as the most pirated show on TV is actually a good thing.
“’Game of Thrones’ is sold worldwide, available legally on a large variety of viewing platforms and is one of HBO’s most popular series,” the statement said. “With that kind of success comes a great amount of social media chatter so can’t say we see an upside to illegal downloads.”
Petrarca comments were pinging around the blogosphere this week after he suggested that piracy can contribute to a show’s “cultural buzz” and added: “That’s how they survive.” The comments were documented by the Sydney Morning Herald as Petrarca, the director of several episodes of “Game of Thrones,” was speaking at the Perth’s Writers Festival.
Although his comment was likely off the cuff and stopped far short of actually encouraging piracy, it also flies in the face of the unified anti-piracy front long presented by Hollywood.
What’s your take on this controversy? Is there an upside to piracy?
Can’t wait for Season 3 of “Game of Thrones” to begin March 31? Check out our photo gallery sneak peek above.
— Rene Lynch