Your Game of Thrones season four cheat sheet
2013! The year we said #blessed constantly, heard Blurred Lines more times than we heard our own names and sat around wondering who thought it was a good idea to remake Carrie.
Woah, 2013 sucked.
But last year also included the best season of Game of Thrones yet, so it wasn't all bad. Here is a recap of where the warring families are at ahead of season 4.
WARNING: Huge season three spoilers ahead. Like, every good bit that happened in season three. OK? Proceed.
Rob Stark: Um, he's dead. Where have you been?
Catelyn Stark: Also dead. But she went out with a bang, cutting Walder Frey's wife's throat and letting out the most bloodcurdling scream you've ever heard in the process. By the way, you think you're over the Red Wedding but you're not. Trust me. Just... just don't even try, OK? This is not like re-watching Saw*, this s**t is still devastating.
* I haven't actually seen Saw because it's too scary. I was just trying to be cool.
Arya Stark: NOT dead, you guys! After hanging out with the fire-worshipping Brotherhood without Banners, Arya decided she had had enough of their reindeer games when, a) they decided to hold her ransom and sell her to Rob and b) when they sold Gendry to the local Red Woman. She runs away but is captured by the Hound. They're like a fun odd couple, except when he says things like, "I haven't raped you ONCE btw, you're WELCOME". The Hound tried to sell her back to Robb and Catelyn but they were um, dead. So we left them in the countryside, murdering Frey's men as they went. They grow up so fast, huh?
Sansa Stark: The relief over not having to marry Joffrey soon wore off when Sansa realised that she'd have to marry Tyrion. Should have disappeared with Littlefinger when you had the chance, huh? JK JK JK that would have been a terrible idea! The boy she has a crush on is about to marry her sister-in-law and her only friends are her husband's secret girlfriend and her ex-finance's new fiancé. Long gone are the days when Sansa dreamt of being queen. Because we'll never be royals! etc.
Bran Stark: Also not dead! Why does it feel like there aren't any Starks left? We're practically swimming in Starks! Most of Westeros think that that Bran and Rickon were burned alive under Theon Greyjoy's watch, when really they escaped capture and are trying to find Jon Snow at The Wall with Osha and Hodor (Hodor!). Bran keeps having visions of a three-eyed raven, which Osha finds incredibly suspicious because she hates magic. Bran's weirdness is soon explained to him by Jojen Reed and his feisty (i.e. she has a sword) sister Meera, the children of one of the Stark banner man. Bran is a warg and is able to enter the minds of animals. But how was Bran able to enter Hodor's mind that time? NO ONE KNOWS!
Jon Snow: Jon Snow is basically Ryan from The O.C. Broody guy arrives in town (behind the wall), immediately angers the locals but is embraced by the leader of the community (Mance Rayder) and falls in love with the prettiest/most troubled girl in town (Yggy). But it's a little unclear which team Jon is really on - does he really want to fight for the living with the Wildings? Or was he just infiltrating their camp for the good of the Crows? Did Ygritte really want to kill him, or just hurt him a little? Will Castle Black accept him now that his cherry has been popped?
Brienne of Tarth: Poor ol' Brienne. She tries to deliver Jaimie Lannister to King's Landing in exchange for Sansa and Arya, has to deal with his backchat, is kidnapped and almost raped by Locke and then has to fight a bear. Oh, and her masters are dead so she doesn't have anyone to go home to. And she HAD TO FIGHT A BEAR. At least she got to go to hang out in Roose Bolton's spa for a while.
Brynden 'Blackfish' Tully: Catelyn's uncle escaped the wedding and is alive! Somewhere!
Tywin Lannister: Apart from spending most of the season writing letters (at the time I thought it was a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pant's pen pal scenario, but in reality he was probably writing "WE ON DA SAME TEAM" to Roose bloody Bolton) he's also the Hand of the King now, which means he sits in a dark room arranging marriages - Littlefinger to Catelyn's sister, Cersei to Ser Loras and Tywin to Sansa. He's all "whatever" about Dany, because all he wants to talk about is someone impregnating Sansa Stark already. She's had her period for like, a year already WHAT IS SHE WAITING FOR?
Cersei Lannister: Cersei hates Tyrion for killing their mum, criticising Joffrey and for being the brother she doesn't have sex with. She hates Margeary for being young and hot and likable. She kind of hates Joffrey for being Joffrey. She really hates her dad for making her marry Loras and she has said that she would rather Fatal Attraction Loras than marry him.
Jaime Lannister: I don't know how that blonde ruffian did it, but he has totally won me over. The banter with Brienne! Protecting her from getting raped (in this show that is apparently a trait to be celebrated)! Getting his sword hand cut-off! Crying in the bath about the real reason he killed the Mad King - to save all of King's Landing from a fiery death! The way he's suddenly vulnerable and weak and when he whispers "Cersei?" and she looks at him and his one hand and almost vomits (maybe it was her favourite hand?). Almost makes you forget the whole pushing-Bran-out-of-a-window thing.
Tyrion Lannister: After being demoted to Master of Coin and repeatedly told that nobody likes him, Tyrion is then punished further and married off to Sansa. Sansa's interests are mainly praying and being earnest, so it's save to say that they're not a perfect match. He's super concerned that the kingdom will run out of money and even more concerned that his father will find out about Shae and make her fight a bear or something.
Joffrey Lannister: Joffrey spent most of season three thinking of new and creative ways of being a medieval douchebag. Constantly reminding his mother she is irrelevant and old? Check. Escorting Sansa down the aisle at her wedding and reminding her that he killed her father and that he basically owns her? Check. Murdering a prostitute with a crossbow? Check. He's like the bloody Yellow King of Westeros.
Roose Bolton: Dirty, backstabbing Bolton is a real big di**. As soon as he senses that Robb is losing the war, he makes a deal with Tywin and betrays the Starks. He is pretty much to blame for the Red Wedding and I will never forgive him. He is the new Warden of the North or whatever. If his crazy son Ramsay also cuts off his penis, I will not be at all sad.
LOL Because no one is team Greyjoy. Theon has been tortured by Roose Bolton's bastard for a while now and while it seems like this was for no particular reason, there's a little bit of karmic payback there I guess. The thing is, Theon is so pathetic already that it's kid of hard to feel sorry for him. But now his sister is on her way to save him, so Mazel!
Stannis Baratheon: Urgh Stannis, you insufferable cretin. Most of your army is dead, but you're still holding onto the hope that your red-haired, semi-evil lady friend will deliver you the crown. But shucks, that was awful nice of you to remember that you have a WIFE and DAUGHTER who have been waiting around in dungeons this WHOLE TIME. But now he knows about the White Walkers, so that'll probably keep him from setting anyone on fire for the minute.
Davos Seaworth: The Onion Knight is the human equivalent of 'stop hitting yourself! stop hitting yourself!' His blind loyalty has him confront Stannis about aligning himself with a crazy woman, which has him locked up for most of the season. Stannis' mildly scaly daughter taught him how to read though and eventually Boring Baratheon realised that locking up his only useful ally was probably a mistake.
Melisandre: I have no idea. She must be magic, right? The whole vagina smoke monster thing? And making Stannis see the future in the fire? Idk. I've got a feeling she just wanted to slam Gendry.
Gendry (Baratheon): WHO KNEW YOU WERE PACKING SO MUCH HEAT UNDER THAT SHAPELESS SACK?? Gendry has just twigged that he's Robert Baratheon's bastard son and thus the rightful heir to the throne - it'll only took some heavy hinting by Ned Stark, the King's Guard, Melisandre, everyone around him... he's kind of dense. Probably why he was lured into a sex trap so easily.
Once upon a time Team Targaryen was just one woman, one slave trader and a whole bunch of dying Dothrackis in the desert. Now Dany seems more regal by the episode; she berates Jorah and Barriston Selmy for daring to disagree with her, plays dumb to misogynist Astaphorians before taking their armies and setting them on fire, persuades longhaired warriors into sacking kingdoms and frees cities of slaves. She also says badass s**t like, "All men must die. But we are not men". With the Unsullied and the free slaves of Yunkai on her side, Dany is the biggest threat to Joffrey's power. Watch the throne, ya little s**t.
*Game of Thrones premiers tonight at 20.30 on Soho