Though I'd personally been hoping that Gina Torres would be cast as the sorceress Melisandre, who acts as an advisor to Stannis, the role went to Dutch actress Carice van Houten. EW says her credits include 'Repo Men' and 'Valkyrie.'
British actor Stephen Dillane, who played Thomas Jefferson in HBO's 'John Adams' and Leonard Woolf in 'The Hours,' among other roles, will play Stannis, who was frequently spoken about near the end of the show's first season.
Stannis is regarded as a serious, if not grim man and a fearsome warrior and, after his brother Robert died, he was regarded as a possible king for the seven kingdoms of Westeros. Who gets to sit on the Iron Throne, however, is a matter of some dispute, as evidenced by the many factions that had developed by the end of the show's first season.
Dillane's casting is excellent news, in my opinion. In my review of 2008's 'John Adams,' I noted that he gave "a marvelously laconic charisma to Thomas Jefferson." I agree with critic and Winter is Coming commenter Myles McNutt that Dillane probably deserved the Emmy that went to Tom Wilkinson for a "a showier (but less substantial) role" in that project.
The grim Stannis could probably use a dose of charisma. Not that he isn't an interesting man, but that particular Baratheon brother can be so very serious. I look forward to Dillane's take on the role, which may well bring a dose of wily electricity to the proceedings.
Others cast in the new season of the show include Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Gwendoline Christie as the warrior Brienne, a fan favorite.
Adding to the excitement is a casting clue that George R.R. Martin recently dropped on his blog. Fans are still speculating about the character and actor that that clue refers to.
One more relatively big role for season 2 that has yet to be cast is that of Davos Seaworth. And of course there are dozens of smaller roles yet to be cast as well. Reading all the casting news will give us something to do until season 2 rolls around, I suppose.
By the way, for more discussion of 'Game of Thrones,' check out today's Ask Mo column.