Just-announced ‘Game of Thrones’ casting news has confirmed a major character’s appearance in the upcoming fourth season. Pedro Pascal, of ‘Graceland’ and ‘Red Widow’ fame, had been announced as Prince Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell of Dorne. In doing so, producers have squashed fan fears that House Martell was going to be left out of the already-chock-full seven-season estimate adapted from George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series.

With so much ground to still cover, the Dornish storylines, while just as entertaining as others, were feared to possibly suffer from the same disconnect as those happening in Essos, as Daenerys’ plight happens so far across the Narrow Sea, it’s difficult to weave into other storylines. Book readers had steeled themselves for House Martell to be written out, remembering that Jojen and Meera Reed were missing from their assumedly integral part in season two due to budgetary restrictions. It was actually Jojen in the books, not Bran, who had the green dream of “the sea” (the ocean-loving Greyjoys) overtaking Winterfell.

Prince Oberyn is an amorous and skilled mercenary hailing from the last of the Seven Kingdoms to be touched upon in the television series. As book lovers know — as do those who have played the amazing board game — Dorne is situated in the south and is home to the hottest desert in Westeros. Oberyn has fathered eight bastard daughters, called the “Sand Snakes,” many of whom are as ruthless and skilled as he is. The Martells also have a long-standing feud with the Tyrells, which is sure to dredge up some thorns in the coming seasons.

Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had this to say to ‘Entertainment Weekly’ about the casting of Prince Oberyn:

“This was a tough one. The Red Viper is sexy and charming, yet believably dangerous; intensely likable, yet driven by hate. The boys love him, the girls love him, and he loves them all back. Unless your last name is Lannister. We found a fellow who can handle the job description and make it seem effortless. He wasn’t easy to find, and he won’t be easy to stop.”

What are your thoughts? Is Pedro Pascal the Red Viper you’ve always pictured? Leave your comments below!