It’s been established for months (on billboards, buses and everywhere else) that All Men Must Die — but who dies next, and when, on Game of Thrones? No spoilers here (yet!) but as season four of HBO’s massive fantasy series (based on author George R.R. Martin‘s saga) finally gets underway this Sunday, April 6, get a cheat sheet/refresher on where things stood at the breathtaking conclusion of season three — in which news of the brutal, game-changing Red Wedding at The Twins reached nearly all corners of the Seven Kingdoms, among other developments.
Arya Stark and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane at The Twins: After helplessly overhearing the murders of mother Catelynn and brother Robb just outside the venue of the Red Wedding, a shell-shocked Arya (Maisie Williams) is stolen away from The Twins by her captor The Hound (Rory McCann). Later, out on the road, they encounter a small group of Frey soldiers celebrating the massacre; an enraged Arya violently stabs one of the soldiers to death, with The Hound finishing up the rest.
The Lannisters at King’s Landing: King Joffrey (Jack Gleason) squeals maniacally over the deaths of the Starks at the Red Wedding, and gears up for his own super–sized nuptials to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). (What could possibly go wrong?) His mother, Queen Regent Cersei (Lena Headey), meanwhile, schemes to get out of her own arranged marriage to Margaery’s brother Loras Tyrell, a.k.a. the Knight of Flowers. Joffrey’s grandfather and Hand to the King Tywin (Charles Dance) privately reveals to son Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) that he was, in fact, the key mastermind behind the Red Wedding. (“The Northerners will never forget,” Tyrion warns.)
Tywin also proclaims that Roose Bolton — the former Stark bannerman who betrayed them to clinch the Red Wedding massacre — has been named Warden of the North until Tyrion and his own new bride, the utterly grief-stricken Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) produce an heir. Following a truly harrowing journey with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), a weary, broken Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) finally returns to King’s Landing to reunite with his sister/lover Cersei — minus one hand.
Stannis Baratheon et al at Dragonstone: Stannis’ Hand, Davos (Liam Cunningham), has narrowly escaped execution after he enabled the escape of Gendry (a captive of Stannis and Melisandre, who had planned to kill him in a ritual sacrifice); he reveals a warning from the North about the coming White Walkers. Stannis (Stephen Dillane) and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) interpret the deaths of the Starks as a fulfillment of a prophecy, and plot their next move. Do the Red Woman’s visions mean anything at all?
Bran Stark et al near the Wall: Having strategically separated from his little brother Rickon and Osha, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) continues on his quest beyond the Wall with Hodor (Kristian Nairn), dire wolf Summer, and Jojen and Meera Reed. What do his prophetic dreams mean? How much will his “Warg” powers evolve?
Theon Greyjoy in a Dungeon: Former Stark ward Theon (Alfie Allen), who set fire to Winterfell and faked the murders of Bran and Rickon Stark, is barely alive in a torture chamber. His tormenter is revealed as Ramsay Stone (Iwan Rheon), the bastard son of Roose Bolton, who renames him “Reek.” On the Iron Islands, his father Bailon (Patrick Malahide) and sister Asha (Gemma Whalen) receive a ransom note and Theion’s severed genitals in a box, demanding that Bailon give up his claim to rule the North. Hard-as-nails Bailon scoffs at the idea of rescuing his son, but Asha vows to rescue her brother.
Daenerys Targaryen at Yunkai: Backed by her loyal Army of the Unsullied, Khaleesi (Emilia Clarke) has liberated all of the slaves on Yunkhai. “Your freedom is not mine to give … you must take it for yourselves,” the Mother of Dragons chants. She is then swarmed lovingly by a crowd of thousands who chant “Mhysa” or mother. Where’s her next stop on her world domination tour? How much bigger will those dragons get, anyway?
Jon Snow, Sam Tarley at the Wall: After living and fighting with the Wildlings as something of a double agent — even falling in love with Wildling warrior woman Ygritte (Rose Leslie) — a seriously injured Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) has reunited with Samwell Tarley (John Bradley) and other men of the Night’s Watch at the Wall. (Following a brief encounter with Bran and his comrades, Sam has also recently returned to the Wall with Wildling girl Gilly and her infant son.) Will they forgive Snow breaking his vows — and will they heed his warnings about the oncoming army of Wildlings and, worse, White Walkers? Will the Wall, in fact, be breached?
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