'Game of Thrones' Season 3 premiere: James Cosmo on Commander Mormont and the Night's Watch without Jon Snow

When Jon Snow joined the Wildlings at the end of Season 2 of "Game of Thrones," he left his fellow men of the Night's Watch in a pretty tough situation. The reveal that the Night's Watch was being attacked by White Walkers was the season's big cliffhanger, and assumedly we'll pick back up that group when Season 3 premieres on March 31.

James Cosmo plays Night's Watch Commander Jeor Mormont in the hit HBO fantasy series, and Zap2it caught up with him on the "Game of Thrones" Season 3 premiere red carpet. During our chat, we couldn't resist asking him how the Night's Watch will fare without Ned Stark's bastard son.

"Commander Mormont tries to keep them together. Well, he does keep them together; he's a bit of a disciplinarian," Cosmo teased. "They'll survive without Jon and we'll see what happens in the next few episodes."

The Night's Watch's duty is to protect Westeros from threats beyond the Wall, and the men saw themselves faced with just that in the form of the White Walkers. Cosmo said that the self-declared protectors of the realm will rise to meet that challenge in Season 3. "Oh my goodness, yeah. When you next see the Night's Watch, they have really been put to the sword. It's tough. They've had a hard time, so it's very exciting," he teased.

With Kit Harington's Jon Snow elsewhere, Cosmo got to spend some quality time in Season 3 filming scenes with John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly. Season 3 marks a turning point for Sam as a character, and Cosmo said it was a "pleasure" working with Bradley.

"We have great fun together, you know, and lots of laughs together," he said. "I think Mormont, he sort of likes him really, because obviously being a man of the Night's Watch is a celibate, almost monk-like existence. But he has a warmth towards him that he doesn't have towards other people and really cares about him. And it's nice to play that subtle warmth or subtle affection for someone."

The Jeor Mormont character has an interesting story in the "Game of Thrones" books, and Cosmo said that isn't explored as much as he would have liked in Season 3. "Apart from not having my raven, that's one of the things I would love to happen. It wasn't to be," he told Zap2it. But Cosmo still isn't caught up on George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series because he didn't want the story in the novels to affect his portrayal of Mormont in the TV series.

"I didn't know how closely the scripts were going to follow the books, so I decided then to wait and then follow the scripts and then read the books at my leisure afterwards," he admitted.

"Game of Thrones" returns to HBO on March 31 at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo/Video credit: Zap2it/HBO