The wait for 'Game of Thrones' season 2 was brutal.  Even more brutal perhaps, was the wait for war to finally erupt in this past Sunday's epic ninth episode "Blackwater."  Perhaps more brutal still is the wait for next week's season finale, but with such brutality, how will we ever endure the wait between 'Game of Thrones' second season and season 3 in 2013?  How about a breakdown of all the brand-spanking new characters to tide us over!

EW snagged the exclusive list of some of the major characters to make their first appearance in 'Game of Thrones' season 3, which will likely debut in April of 2013 much as the first and second did in their respective years.  Season 3 of 'Game of Thrones' will tell the first half of George R. R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' novel 'A Storm of Swords,' too long to be adapted into a single season as with the previous books.

So who's the fresh meat for the grinder, and how can executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss cram in so many new faces on top of the ones we've already met in season 2?  "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," says Benioff. "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."

While none of the roles have been officially cast, here are the new faces for season 3, some of whom have been mentioned on the show previously:

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.

Benioff also pointed out that any characters not appearing on this list might still be included in 'Game of Thrones 'season 3, saying “And a few others…holy hell that’s a lot of new faces.”

Indeed.  What say you?  Which new characters are you most excited to see in future seasons of 'Game of Thrones?'  How have you found the second season?  With "Blackwater" over, what are you looking to see in next week's season finale "Valar Morghulis?"  Let us know in the comments!