Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Sean Bean as Ned Stark was almost met with as much praise, and most of the other casting is also loved by fans. Ian McNeice as Illyrio (although he didn't make it past the original pilot) and Rory McCann as The Hound were two where the fans rejoiced but the characters weren't as important.
Harry Lloyd being cast as Viserys also caused a bit of squee for those who saw him being awesomely insane and creepy as a possessed Jerk Jock in Doctor Who.
Charles Dance, yet another fan favorite, cast as Tywin Lannister.
And then the second teaser and behind-the-scenes peek happened. Oh god. Early reactions are comparable to that original Fellowship-over-the-ridge teaser for the Lord of the Rings movies.
Fans of The Wire rejoice! Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish will be played by Aidan Gillen, who played Tommy Carcetti in season three onwards. The man knows how to do despicable-yet-convincing!
A half-ATFR for the announcement that Dominic West had turned down a role which, based on the interview, was almost certainly Mance Rayder. It sucked that he turned it down, but it showed what caliber of actor that they were looking for.
And, after the release of the Artisans video with Maisie Williams, the young actress set to play Arya, the fandom rejoiced yet again.
The announcment that Natalie Dormer of The Tudors fame has been cast as as Margaery Tyrell elicited much rejoicing from the fandom.
Gwendoline Christie was a longtime fan favourite for the role of Brienne, so when she was announced as having been cast in the role it made a large number of people very happy.
The news that Shireen Baratheon, Selyse Baratheon, Beric Dondarrion (re-cast), Thoros of Myr, Olenna Redwyne aka the Queen of Thorns, Mance Rayder, Tormund Giantsbane, Meera and Jojen Reed (Ellie Kendrick and Thomas Brodie-Sangster respectively), and of course Ser Brynden Tully aka the BLACKFISH will be cast for Season 3.
And once the actual casting was revealed, the fans were particularly excited for Dame DianaRigg as Olenna.
Tyrion using a battle-axe and finally being seen fighting in battle.
Not to mention the (in)famous chain of hands that the Hand of the King wears was shown.
Set◊ photos◊ confirming that the Tully seat Riverrun will finally appear after 2 seasons of not appearing. The crew has really gone all out designing it.
Although it has not yet been confirmed that he will be playing Ramsay Bolton, it is confirmed that Iwan Rheon of Misfits will be in the cast next season, and the fandom is more or less convinced that he will be Ramsay. Opinions are divided, between the "squee" response, and a fear that Rheon's good looks and acting will make Ramsay Bolton too sympathetic.
Sharp-eyed fans have noticed that Iwan Rheon's facial expressions are very similar to those of Michael McElhatton, who plays Ramsay's father Roose. And we can always count on the special effects wizards to make Iwan look extra creepy.
Also, all the hints being dropped by the series so far as to "The Boy's" true identity and nature are pure foreshadowing porn to those who know whats coming.
Ciaran Hinds, AKA Gaius Julius Caesar, finally filling in the role of Mance Rayder, one of the most speculated parts.
Martin confirming that the bear pit scene was in (even though they had to shoot it in Los Angeles for logistical constraints), and a few weeks later, some very clear implication that giants would also appear. Almost everyone was assuming that both had been cut to lower costs!
And now we have the official trailer for season 4. Oh the great things we'll get to see. The battle of Castle Black, the Royal Wedding, Bran beyond the wall, lots of interesting character interactions (including some very promising ones that weren't in the book due to the lack of appearing POVs...Jaime/Joffrey and Varys/Oberyn, anyone?).
In the 15 minute preview we get to see brief snippets of Jaime duelling Bronn, Arya kicking ass alongside the Hound, Ramsay and one of his ladyfriends "hunting" a screaming woman, Roose Bolton's new beard... this is gonna be an awesome season.
Joffrey Baratheon finally meeting his karma in the most brutal, undignified way he possibly could have managed as he dies choking, whimpering, and weeping with terror as blood pours out of his mouth, nose and eyes. The fans' collective cheering would probably be enough to deafen every man, woman, child, and White Walker in Westeros.
Go on YouTube and type in 'Purple Wedding Reactions.' There isn't a single one that doesn't end with the viewer celebrating at his ignoble demise.
A smaller one, but "The Golden Company" has been name-dropped, leading to some fans hoping they will appear.
In episode 4 we finally get to see the most important and enigmatic character in the entire series. Ser Pounce, Tommen's adorable pet cat whom many feared would be written out.
Oh yeah, we also get to see the Great Other/King of the White Walkers. No biggie though.
Scratch that, as its only The motherfucking Night's King - a villain that even readers of the books weren't sure existed, let alone know that he is the power behind the White Walker invasion until this episode.So, nothing to get excited about.
Just to make things all the better, the identity of this thoroughly unimportant individualwas not meant to be revealed so early given how quickly HBO tried to expunge it. Thats right, they just revealed what may be The Big Bad of both the series AND the books by pure accident.
In episode 5 all eight of the Sand Snakes are confirmed to exist in the show, when some fans might have feared that some of the girls might have been written out, just because of Loads And Loadsof Characters in the show.
When you take into account that six of Davos Seaworth's sons, and the older Tyrell sons Willas and Garlan, were previously confirmed to be Adapted Out, this is especially wonderful news in that it demonstrates how the writers aren't taking this sort of business lightly - they care about the source material and every notable character cut out would be a wretch of a Sadistic Choice to make (previously, they nearly Adapted Out such characters as Shireen Baratheon due to the show's complexity).
A recent casting call also confirmed that they are casting at least 3 of the Sand Snakes (Obara, Nymeria and Tyene).
Stannis and Davos pay a visit to Braavos which is epic enough, but who do they find there after meeting with the Iron bank? Salladhor Saan!
The news that HBO is considering locations in Spain is the source of the massive squeeing you might have heard coming from the Iberian peninsula. Unfortunately it has apparently cancelled critical thought, because even people who know both the series and the books and should know better are acting like most of the season will be shot there and they are going to meet their favourite actors. Sorry, but if Spain is Dorne - as it most certainly would - every character there will be new to the show. Well, except for Myrcella.
A few VERY brief snippets in the teaser for the season 4 finale reveal yet another showdown of utter badasses....only this one never happened in the books. BRIENNE VS SANDOR! PLACE YOUR BETS NOW PEOPLE.