As devastating as the Red Wedding was on last season’s “Game of Thrones” was, it did have on teensy upside: when the show comes back, that’ll be at least a few less characters to keep track of.
With the premiere of the fourth season set for April 6, multiple storylines in the offing and at least one significant role not even being played by the same person as last time, remembering who’s who in Westeros is going to be a serious challenge even for veteran viewers.
The solution? Before you tune in to “Game of Thrones,” give yourself a refresher on its various characters with a gif guide to all the significant persons you’re likely to encounter this season.
The King’s Landing Crew
Joffrey Baratheon, tiny petulant sadist, is the current king of Westeros.
Cersei Lannister, his mother, is the de facto queen and consummate shade-thrower.
Margaery Tyrell, betrothed to Joffrey, is a keen manipulator with ambitions of her own.
Olenna, matriarch of the Tyrell family, is in King’s Landing to oversee the marriage of Margaery to Joffrey; also, to deliver sassy old-lady one-liners as the need arises.
Ser Loras, brother of Margaery. A consummate jouster, loyal Tyrell, and the aforementioned sword-swallower… If you know what we mean.
Petyr Baelish, a.k.a. Littlefinger, might just be the sleaziest self-serving sonofabitch in King’s Landing, and that is really saying something.
Varys the Spider is the guy who can get it for you, assuming that by “it,” you mean “compromising information about literally anyone in Westeros.”
Tywin Lannister: Hand of the King. Lannister patriarch. Arrogant jerk.
After losing his looks in the Battle of the Blackwater and his dignity in a power play by daddy Tywin, Tyrion isn’t as cocky as he used to be… but he’s still pretty cocky.
Bronn, right-hand man to Tyrion, can usually be found either a) fighting on behalf of his boss, or b) making this face at him.
Shae! She’s the lady’s maid to Sansa Stark, but really, she’s Tyrion’s secret love.
Meanwhile, Sansa, after losing her family and her freedom, and being forced into a marriage with a mutilated dwarf, has finally had it up to here with everything about life at court.
And Jaime Lannister? He’s missing a hand, but he’s back, bitches.
And accompanying him: Brienne of Tarth, loyal swordsman of the late Lady Catelyn Stark and all-around hardcore rump-kicker.
Randoms On The Road
Speaking of Lady Catelyn’s terrible fate: don’t forget that this guy, Roose Bolton, is the Lannister family ally who’s largely responsible for the Red Wedding…
And for orphaning Arya Stark, who’s on the road again with nothing but the clothes on her back, a Braavosi coin, and an elaborate scheme to murder every last person who’s done her wrong.
Accompanying her is the Hound, a.k.a. Sandor Clegane, who despite his mass-murdering tendencies has still shown the occasional sign of being a secretly decent dude.
The Dragon Lady And Her Band Of Bros
And far away in Yunkai, Daario Naharis still totally has the hots for Daenerys Targaryen, who also totally has the hots for him. Also, this is a new Daario. The old one looked like this.
Needless to say, this is deeply upsetting to the Khaleesi’s loyal guy Friday, Jorah Mormont. Poor Jorah: no matter how many guys he kills for Daenerys, he’s still stuck in the dreaded friendzone. Also: That’s Grey Worm, leader of Daenerys’s eunuch army, standing next to Jorah.
And of course, you know Daenerys, a.k.a. Khaleesi, a.k.a. the Mother of Dragons, a.k.a. perpetrator of the most bad-ass revenge-by-dragonfire scenario ever to take place on television. Sorry, Smaug.
Don’t forget this lovely, lady, either: Missandei, recently-liberated native of Astapor and Daenerys’s new BFF, is on board to be a series regular for the foreseeable future.
Seaside Shenanigans And Dreadfort Doom
Meanwhile, back at Dragonstone, Ser Davos Seaworth is back in Stannis Baratheon’s favor and preparing a march to the Wall in anticipation of the White Walker invasion.
Stannis Baratheon, brother of the late Robert and Renly, just wants to be the King.
At his side, always, is Melisandre: often nude, slightly magical, and very good at both uttering ominous threats and giving birth to shadowy demons.
Meanwhile, on the Iron Islands, Greyjoy patriarch Lord Balon has just gotten an unpleasant bit of news as to the fate of his son.
But where Balon has given Theon up for dead, Yara, his sister, is on her way in hopes of rescuing him.
And Theon himself? You’re in hell, kid.
And this, right here, is the Devil. His real name: Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Roose Bolton.
To the Wall
Traveling north, we find Jon Snow, the bastard son of Eddard Stark and recently-reinstated member of the Night’s Watch. Jon Snow knows nothing, including how to hang on to a girlfriend.
Ygritte, a Wildling woman betrayed by Jon Snow, was last seen putting three arrows in her ex-boyfriend as he fled from her on horseback.
And this is the guy she’ll probably return to: Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, who is leading a multifarious army southward in hopes of surviving the coming winter and destroying the Night’s Watch.
Let’s also not forget Samwell Tarly, who just brought back a girl named Gilly and her hapless baby from the wilds north of the Wall.
This is Jojen and Meera Reed, the wandering siblings who have introduced Bran Stark to his supernatural side. Jojen is also a seer.
And so is Bran Stark, who has split from brother Rickon and caretaker Osha in order to pursue his destiny as an astral-projecting man about town.
And finally, of course: Hodor. Hodor? HODOR.
“Game of Thrones” returns Sunday, April 6 at 9 p.m. ET. To explore even deeper into the World of Westeros be sure to check out our interactive map: