After the epic battle in last week’s ‘Blackwater’ episode of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’, there is only a single episode left until the end of season two. And while that final episode is slightly extended, it’s sure to seem too short.

Now fans are already looking forward to season 3 and, believe it or not, there’s already news to report. Entertainment Weekly has made a couple of announcements that are sure to excite. First: Season 3 will only cover the first half of ‘A Storm of Swords’, the third novel in the ‘Game of Thrones’ series. This will give the writers time to follow more plot points instead of trimming side-plots and characters like they did with season 2.

The other news is a brief list of characters that will be added in the coming season. Season 2 seemed to go by pretty quick and introduced a ton of new characters (even though it left a few out). With HBO splitting up the third book, there’s sure to be even more characters introduced over the next two seasons, but here’s the list of characters that we know will be in season 3 for sure:

  • Mance Rayder: We’ve heard about him all season. A former member of the Night’s Watch who became the “King Beyond the Wall,” the leader of the Wildlings.
  • Daario Naharis: A confident and seductive warrior.
  • Jojen Reed; Meera Reed: A teenage brother and sister duo with special insights.
  • Edmure Tully: A brash young member of the Tully family.
  • Ser Brynden Tully (The Blackfish): Catelyn Stark’s uncle.
  • Lady Selyse Florent: Stannis Baratheon’s wife.
  • Shireen: Stannis’ daughter.
  • Olenna Redwyne (The Queen of Thorns): Margaery Tyrell’s sharp-witted grandmother.
  • Beric Dondarrion: A skilled knight who is the leader of the outlaw group Brotherhood Without Banners.
  • Thoros of Myr: A red priest who follows the same religion as Melisandre.
  • Tormund Giantsbane: A Wildling raider.

The list doesn’t give much detail but that’s good since there’s no real spoiler material here and fans of the book series will surely see a few that they are excited about. I can’t wait to see the Reeds appear since they were two characters that I was looking for in this past season.

But, if you’re still missing a few of your favorite characters, rest assured that there is a reasoning behind their absence. ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (who provided the list of characters) spoke with EW about the characters and gave some insight into why some are cut or repurposed:

“It’s important to point out that that we have the largest cast on television right now. We introduced dozens of new characters in season two. If you hurl 300 characters at an audience, the story collapses under the weight of too many faces, too many names, and too many subplots. We need to be just as mindful of the audience members who have never read the books as we are of the readers; the series will fail if we only appeal to those who already know the characters. So we try to be parsimonious about how many new roles we introduce to the story and when we introduce them.”

What characters are you looking forward to in season 3? Comment below and let us know. And, be warned, in conversations about book adaptations like this, the comment section is prone to be filled with spoilers, so read the comments at your own risk.