Planning to watch the new season of Game of Thrones when it returns (at long last!) ? If you're an intelligent human with eyes that loves human stories told in fantastical settings we bet you are! Now, given that the series has about eleventy billion moving parts, there may be something you weren't planning on — remembering all of the details. It's a lot to know, and it's been awhile since Game of Thrones was on air...so chances are you might not remember. Which is totally understandable, and exactly why we're here.
We figured — hey! Sometimes it's hard to remember all the details. So we've crafted a quick rundown of where our major characters are as of the end of Game of Thrones season three so that you're all prepped and ready for the HBO series' return. So what are you waiting for? Let's go!
The StarksOh, those poor Starks. As if the loss of Ned Stark in Game of Thrones season one wasn’t bad enough, season three found things go from bad to worse for House Stark. Where’s everyone at?
Catelyn and Robb: The most important thing to know about them, is, well: they’re dead. Yup. Super dead. The deadest. Thanks to Robb’s broken promise to Walder Frey, we got ourselves the Reddest Wedding in all the Realm, which left us with a dead King in the North and his mother and wife/child all stabbed up, too. They even killed Robb’s direwolf. Those monsters!
Bran and Rickon: Though believed to be dead by most of the important players involved (thanks to Theon Greyjoy’s little brat attack in season two — but more on him later…), Bran, Hodor, Rickon, and Osha head towards Castle Black to meet up with the Night’s Watch. Only…they encounter the super-siblings of House Reed, Jojen and Meera (allies of House Stark) instead, and their journey takes quite a turn. At last, Bran has become aware of his warginess (a warg being someone who can enter the minds of animals and control their actions) and spends a lot of time running around through the eyes of his direwolf, Summer.
Once the boys reach The Gift, though (and just miss the Wildlings and Jon Snow!), Osha, Rickon, and Shaggydog are sent to House Umber a bit farther down south. Osha’s way cool with this arrangement because she’s not trying to play with those White Walkers anymore. Hodor straps Bran on his back as he and the Reeds head north in order to fulfill their duty and follow the vision that Jojen had and meet up with Bran’s elusive three-eyed raven. But don’t get too worried about their passage: prior to crossing beyond the Wall they encountered Samwell Tarly, who gives them a few obsidian blades for the way to keep the White Walkers at bay.
Arya Stark: Everyone’s favorite scrappy and independent murderperson, Arya Stark, spent most of game of thrones season three trying to reconnect with her family only to show up at the Twins right at the end of the Red Wedding. This makes her very upset! Still carrying the Braavosi coin given to her by Jaqen H’ghar, she uses it to murder her first-ever human (she’s growing up so fast, isn’t she?) — a Frey soldier on the road, mocking her now-dead family. Valar Morghulis, my friends. Who know where the road will take her next, since — as far as she’s concerned/knows — she’s pretty much the last Stark left (save Sansa, but we all know how great their relationship was), and paling around with her former nemesis, The Hound.
Sansa Stark: As for the other sister Stark? Well poor, naïve little Sansa is up shit creek without a paddle, really. All she wants is to be a princess like in the stories. Instead she ended up the miserable wife of Tyrion Lannister after giving up the opportunity to steal away to the Vale with Littlefinger. Sansa had her eyes set on Loras Tyrell (you know, Renly Baratheon’s side piece/brother to Ren's then-queen, Margaery) and all the glory of Highgarden, but instead in the Red Keep she remains, a miserable captive of the “glamorous” lifestyle she’d wanted so long ago. Y’know what they say, Sansa!
The LannistersOh, the Lannisters. Those evil, evil incest-loving Lannisters. (You’d think Cersei was trying to pretend she was a Targaryen with that nonsense. Ohh!) Anywho, the ruling family of Westeros is still, in Game of Thrones season three, a force not to be fucked with, since they always pay their debts. And yes, unfortunately, that bastard (ha!) brat Joffrey, the Justin Bieber of Westeros, is still the king. So let's see where they're at, shall we?
Joffrey: It’s taking a lot of adult composure to not just write “JOFFREY IS THE WORST THE END” and have that be the only update, but alas, more has happened to King Joff than just his general terribleness. He spent much of season three violently beating and killing people (like Ros) for funsies. He’s big into crossbows now (I guess swords aren’t cool anymore/he’s probably too weak to handle one properly). After deciding that he doesn’t want to marry Sansa Stark anymore, Joff becomes putty in Margaery Tyrell’s — the former wife of Renly Baratheon, who was killed by Melissandre’s angry vagina smoke monster, remember? — hands. He continues to grow more petulant, sadistic, arrogant, and tyrannical by the day. At the end of season three, we’re on the eve of his wedding to Margaery: what a catch!
Tommen and Myrcella: The two youngest, uh, “Baratheon” children weren’t seen at all in season three, but it’s important to note where they’re at thus far. Myrcella is currently in Dorne thanks to a marriage pact with the Martells. As for Tommen? He’s just hanging out, sitting back as the second in line to the Iron Throne, minding his own business — because he’s like, eight at this point and his mother couldn’t give less of a shit about him because he’s not Joffrey. (Don’t you just feel terrible for Myrcella and Tommen?)
Cersei: Oh Cersei. Cersei, Cersei, Cersei. You can’t solve a problem like Cersei, really — can you? Following the Battle of Blackwater, Cersei pushes her brother Tyrion out of his controlling position of Hand to the King upon the return of their father, Tywin. But her role as Queen Regent is coming to an end now that her son is marrying Margaery Tyrell — and Cersei seriously hates how easily the Tyrell girl can control her son. She’s jealous and angry and also clearly pissed off that she can’t just be the one with all the power. Oh yeah and her father has decided she’s going to have to marry gay ol’ Loras Tyrell. Hooray for loveless marriages, eh?
Jaime: Need a hand? Jaime does! [Insert rimshot here.] The most satisfying story of the whole season was certainly Jaime Lannister’s — who went from evil Kingslayer and almost-murderer of children to some sort of sad sack lovelorn brotherlover-type who’s defending the honor of someone he previously hated (Brienne of Tarth), while revealing the real reason he killed the Mad King Targaryen, earning him the nickname he so despises. Through his long and winding journey back to the Red Keep, Jaime managed to lose a hand, and that's sure to make things awkward between him and his sister once he's back in King's Landing.
Tywin: There’s not a whole heck of a lot you need to know about Tywin leading into season four, other than he’s Hand to the King, still terrible, super politically minded and not really a great guy! Manipulative power-player, Tywin is the one that arranged not only Cersei’s betrothal to Loras, but Tyrion’s to Sansa Stark.
Tyrion: Which brings us to everyone’s favorite Lannister, Tyrion. The halfman suffered a serious wound in the Battle of Blackwater Bay but managed to live (much to the relief of his main lady, Shae). So given that the battle was totally won by him and all that Wildfire (the green, flaming stuff), he demands his father make him the heir to Casterly Rock (the Lannister homestead) since Jaime cannot claim it after joining the Kingsguard. Tywin refuses (because he’s a total dick and holds serious grudges against his youngest child), and instead makes Tyrion Master of Coin after Littlefinger was sent off to woo Lisa Arryn (Catelyn’s sister) in the Eyrie. Oh yeah and Shae his lover/Sansa's handmaiden/a former prostitute is really not happy about any of this.
And everyone in between...Jon Snow: Oh Jon Snow. Knower of nothing — well, not nothing as Ygritte can surely attest to ifyaknowwhatimean. Following his pact to play double agent man for a bit, Jon ends up joining the Wildling raiders after meeting with King-Beyond-The-Wall, Mance Rayder. He's impressed that Jon managed to kill Qhorin Halfhand. After convincing Mance that he wasn’t just playing both sides with his “fight for the side of the living” speech, Jon heads south with the Wildlings to scale the Wall (but not before seeing a total shitshow of a decimation at the Fist of the First Men, where the White Walkers annihilated the Night’s Watch camping there). Alongside Warg-y Orell, Tormund Giantsbane, and Ygritte, the group heads south, barely surviving the climb up the Wall. But the love affair between this merry crew is short-lived, after Orell and Tormund tell Jon he must kill a poor, helpless old man at The Gift in order to prove his loyalty. Since Jon Snow is a nice boy, he refuses, starting a giant fight that leaves him with a bunch of arrows in his leg from Ygritte, who was totally pissed he didn’t take her with him as he rode off to Castle Black.
Theon Greyjoy: Or, as we now know him to be: Reek. The bastard of Roose Bolton, Ramsey Snow, has taken Reek as his new favorite plaything and stripped him of not only his dignity, humanity, and sense of self — but also his penis! Woopsie poopsie. (Mental Note: never accept an invitation to the Dreadfort.) With his missing appendage on the way to his family in Pyke, one can only hope that his sister Yara will actually make it to save him, because — man! — everything really, really sucks the most for Theon Greyjoy right now.
Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre: The older, angry brother of Robert, Stannis spent much of season three laying low after his huge defeat at Blackwater Bay. He gets all of his information from the Red Woman, also known as Melisandre, who is convinced that her black magic and visions will help Stannis ascend the Iron Throne as the rightful king. And though he poo-poo’d his poor friend Davos the Onion Knight for awhile — even locking him up in the dungeon — he’s eventually brought back in the fold. Which is when arch nemeses Davos and Melisandre go from enemies to frenemies, agreeing that the threat worth fighting is actually in the north at the Wall. So they’re going to go help the Night’s Watch, which is a really, really good thing! Because they oh-so-desperately need it.
Daenerys: And last but certainly not least: Dany. Everyone's favorite Khaleesi/Mother of Dragons is still on that conquering tip, freeing all the cities in Slaver’s Bay, one after another. Following her unfortunate time in Qarth, Dany moved on to Asatpor, where she picked up the whole of the Unsullied army (the best, most loyal, most eunuch-y group of soldiers you’ve ever seen) and does the dragon equivalent of a mic drop, using Drogon to burn all the slave owners dead. After that she moves onto Yunkai and tries to free all those folks, too. Peacefully, at first, but naturally all the “Wise Masters” of Yunkai weren’t so down with that. So, with the help of the Second Sons — introducing her to attractive man friend Daario Naharis — and her Unsullied, they take the city. Everyone loves Dany, calling her Mhysa (Ghiscari for “mother”) and she looks ever-the-more determined to continue shaking things up in Slaver’s Bay in Essos while her three dragons grow bigger and bigger by the day.
So, basic things to note? Winter is coming! In fact it’s almost here. Those pesky Wildlings are still making their way towards the Wall, and it looks like the White Walkers are following close behind ‘em. Joffrey’s about to be wed to the schemers of House Tyrell, while Dany’s starting a revolution across the way in Slaver’s Bay. Arya Stark is feelin’ murder-y and Jon Snow’s still a bastard, but he’s also not a Wildling in disguise anymore, either. Castle Black is on the verge of being attacked — though who knows by what or when —while Bran is desperately searching for that three-eyed raven up, up, up and a-way beyond the Wall.
See? Now you’re all set for the return of Game of Thrones on April 6th. Looking for more? Check out some of the trailers for season four, here.