March 29th, 2013
05:06 PM ET

'Game of Thrones' season 3 raises the stakes

With the third season of "Game of Thrones" arriving on Sunday, we asked the cast of HBO's fan favorite show to share where their characters will be when the series returns.

"Every single character, all of our stories have been upped," said Emilia Clarke, who portrays Daenerys Targaryen. "The stakes have gotten insanely high and the whole season is just like, played on a knife edge, and I just think it's certainly the best season we've had so far."

As far as her beloved dragons - which Entertainment Weekly noted can no longer be classified as "cute" - they "are like the size of small swans," Clarke said. "They're growing. They're like teenagers. They're in puberty right now, without the [zits]."

Peter Dinklage was more hesitant to dish on his character, Tyrion, but he did say that "Tyrion is really resilient, and he does know how to pick up the pieces, and he finds his footing again. He's definitely not someone you need to worry about. He knows how to survive this world better than most of them. So yeah, he's definitely stripped of some stuff that he had at the end of season two, but he's okay."

At least, he is for now, Dinklage joked.

Hungry for more? Read on:

  • Kit Harington on Jon Snow:  "Even more adventures! It was great to play him this season because he's not quite so tied down to things  ... He gets a more free reign ... He's in a dangerous place behind enemy lines, and he's got to deal with that in his own way."
  • Richard Madden on Robb Stark: "You see Robb in a different environment this year. [It's] a whole new area they go to that we've not seen before, and you see him with a huge different dynamic, with a kind of new bunch of family members from the past. That's a really different dynamic, coming back to see family, whom you've not seen in years since you were a little boy, and now you come back and you're their king.”
  • Gwendoline Christie, on Brienne: "Brienne finds herself in situations that she would never have expected ... she's really tested on all levels. She's not just got that guy who's giving her a really hard time and being utterly abusive. She's tested physically and her vulnerability is also tested. And she explores more of what it means to be a woman."
  • Michelle Fairley on Catelyn Stark: "At the beginning of season three, you find Catelyn still in chains, still in confinement, estranged with her son due to her actions at the end of season two."
  • Sophie Turner on Sansa Stark: "She's still a prisoner of Joffrey's. Even though she's not betrothed to him, she's still a prisoner. She wants to escape pretty much. ... She basically becomes a woman this season. And she enters womanhood and she has some pretty major events that you're not gonna want to miss!"
  • Lena Headey on Cersei: "Cersei’s still kind of without Jamie. ... There's still this strange, dysfunctional relationship that forms between her and Tyrion. It runs a little deeper, 'cause they're both sort of thrown into the same prison. And obviously she has the struggle with Joffrey, which is slowly driving her crazy, but she would never admit that to anybody."
  • Carice van Houten on Melisandre: "I have some serious plans and I'm very driven. My character is really driven. To be able to do that plan, I have to do some nasty stuff for the greater good. Because the Lord of Light told me to do this. Not per se the smoke baby - but there's other stuff I have up my wizard's sleeve."
  • Isaac Hempstead-Wright on Bran: "Bran gets a couple of new characters who add a whole new interesting aspect to his sort of crew, who are heading north, so that brings something really interesting to it. ... This season, without giving too much away, his dreams do get very interesting."
  • Sibel Kekilli on Shae: "She's not going to be invisible... It's getting more dangerous because they're in love with each other and of course it's a weakness for Peter, for "Tyrion" so they can blackmail him because of me and so yeah, it's getting dangerous."

As series author George R. R. Martin explained to CNN at the season three premiere in Los Angeles, the upcoming set of episodes will be "roughly based on the first half of the third book in my series, 'The Storm of Swords,' which is a massive thing, the biggest of the books."

"There are new alliances and new battles and betrayals and poisonings and marriages and all sorts of interesting things. This season is roughly based on the first half of the third book in my series, "The Storm of Swords," which is a massive thing, the biggest of the books, so we have to break into two seasons. So presuming we get a fourth season we'll get the rest of it done."

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