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Everything A Game of Thrones N00b Needs to Know For Sunday's Premiere

Everything A Game of Thrones N00b Needs to Know For Sunday's Premiere

By Becky Ferreira

HBO

Sup, Masterminds! All ready for the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones this Sunday, April 6th? Those who have followed the show from the beginning—or binge-watched the heck out of it since last year (guilty!)—have been waiting with bated breath to watch the fallout of Season 3's brutal conclusion.

But if you've never seen the show and want to give it a shot this Sunday, then it's your lucky day. We've got the lowdown on this season's kickoff episode, and can help orient you in the George R.R. Martin's dizzying universe. Warning: this article has mild spoilers, like which characters appear in the premiere and what has taken place in the previous seasons.

So, who are the bad guys and good guys?

Ah, that is a constantly evolving question. Most fans would agree that the Stark family's ever-dwindling members are the main protagonists, and that the Lannister power brokers are the main antagonists. The Starks you're going to see in the Sunday's episode are Sansa (gorgeous redhead), Arya (tomboy brunette), and Jon Snow, their illegitimate half-brother (he's the hunk extraordinaire stuck up North).

The reason you won't see any other Starks is because they are pretty much all dead. There are some younger brothers roaming about, but a good chunk of the family has been assassinated by House Lannister. Tywin Lannister, the ruthless patriarch behind last season's Red Wedding massacre, opens the premiere by gifting his son Jaime a new sword. Jaime has just returned to King's Landing after a lengthy imprisonment that cost him his right hand but gained him a friend in Brienne, a kickass lady-knight.

Jaime's twin sister is Cersei, and yes, they are also lovers. The sociopathic King Joffrey—who all GoT fans love to hate—is secretly their inbred son. Their younger brother Tyrion is the only member of the family with any semblance of a moral compass. He's just married Sansa, who understandably conflates him with the rest of the Lannister vipers, while his mistress Shae doesn't seem to quite get how dangerous their affair is. Oh, the headaches poor Tyrion must endure.

Okay, so how does that random blonde girl with the dragons fit into everything?

That's Daenerys Targaryen, and she is genuinely the mother of those dragons (she hatched them in some kind of messed up fire ritual, naturally). Her father used to be the King of Westeros, but was overthrown by the Starks and Lannisters in tandem before the main action of the show.

Daenerys has lived her whole life in exile, but she's got some serious monarchic mojo. A canny abolitionist, she immediately releases any slaves she acquires, then invites them to join her of their own free will. This strategy has been a smashing success, and she is now marching on King's Landing not only with dragons, but with a devoted army of former slaves.

For readers who have watched the previous seasons, you're not crazy—the role of Daario Naharis was recast. The original actor, Ed Skrein, left the show to be the next Transporter. Normally, recasting a character wouldn't be that weird, but the GoT universe includes assassins who can face swap. So for the record, Daario is NOT one of those dudes, and is meant to be the same suave warrior we saw last season.

Cool. So what's the deal with that guy who wanders into King's Landing and threatens Tyrion?

That's Oberyn Martell, the dude that A Song of Ice and Fire readers love to knowingly nod to each other about. So, good news for n00bs—people who have only seen the show have no idea who Oberyn is either. Let's find out why the book readers act so ominous about his role in this dynastic drama together.

Is it normal to be confused?

Yes. Even devoted fans of the show have trouble keeping the heaping multitudes of characters straight. Just remember that pretty much every character wants to win the Iron Throne, or wants to prevent someone else from winning it. Dragons, giants, ice zombies, wogs, and weird fire gods are backing the various bids for power. It's totally nutballs. Enjoy the ride!

Are you going to watch the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones?

Tags: tv, jrr tolkien, game of thrones, hbo, lannisters, starks

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.