‘Game of Thrones’: Who’s Who in Season 2? (PHOTOS)

Jace Lacob offers a primer on the new characters and some returnees in Season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

HBO

HBO

With all of the death and destruction involved in Season 1 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. Jace Lacob brings you up to speed on the new characters in Season 2 of Game of Thrones, which begins on Sunday, and some familiar supporting characters from the first season.

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Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten)

Also Known As: The Red Woman

Likes: Fire, heat, and life

Dislikes: Ice, darkness, death

Weapon: That would be telling…

Very little is known of Melisandre, other than the fact that she hails from the distant land of Asshai and is a red priestess of R’hllor, the Lord of Light. Her motives and abilities are subject to conjecture, but she has insinuated herself into a position of power within the court of King Stannis Baratheon, even going so far as to foment displeasure among the members of his court towards The Seven. She believes that Stannis is the reincarnation of legendary hero Azor Ahai, prophecied to return to defeat her god’s nemesis, the Great Other. Whether she can be trusted or if her motives are pure remains to be seen.

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HOUSE BARATHEON: Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)

Also Known As: King Stannis, Lord of Dragonstone

Family Relations: Elder Brother: Robert Baratheon (Deceased); Younger Brother: Renly Baratheon; Wife: Selyse (It’s unclear whether his daughter from the novels, Shireen, will have a role in the TV series.)

Likes: Asceticism, religion, the crown

Dislikes: Dragonstone, ostentatiousness of any kind, the Lannisters

Weapon: A sharp knife

Stern and severe, Stannis Baratheon is the brother of the deceased King Robert and crowns himself Robert’s successor and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne after he learns of Joffrey’s illegitimacy (and the fact that he’s actually the product of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister) from Ned Stark. (He had previously suspected that Robert’s golden-haired children were not his.) Recently, he’s fallen under the influence of Melisandre and has become a follower of the red god, R’hllor, turning his back on the gods of his ancestors, The Seven.

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HOUSE TYRELL: Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer)

Family Relations: Father: Lord Mace; Mother: Alerie Hightower; Brothers: Ser Loras Tyrell, Willas, Lord Garlan; Husband: Renly Baratheon

Likes: Roses

Dislikes: Not getting her way

Weapon: Her cunning

What’s a rose without a thorn? Margaery Tyrell is the wife of self-crowned King Renly Baratheon, who views his claim to the Iron Throne as stronger that than of his elder brother, Stannis. Shrewd and dangerous, Margaery has ascended to a position of power and is eager to hold onto her influence, even if her new husband only has eyes for her brother, Ser Loras.

 

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HOUSE SEAWORTH: Lord Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham)

Also Known As: The Onion Knight

Family Relations: He has seven sons in the novels, but we’re only introduced to one, Matthos, in the early part of Season 2.

Likes: Smuggling, holding onto that pouch around his neck

Sigil: A black ship with an onion on the sail

A former smuggler, Lord Davos came to the rescue of Stannis Baratheon when his castle was besieged and saved the lives of everyone by bringing food—including a hold of onions—and staving off starvation. As a reward, Stannis gave Davos a knighthood and land, but also exacted a punishment for smuggling as well: cutting off the tips of four of his fingers as payment. Davos now keeps those finger bones in a pouch around his neck, a reminder of the life he led. He serves as Stannis’ Hand of the King.

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Ygritte (Rose Leslie)

Described As: Being “kissed by fire,” due to her fiery red hair

Dislikes: Southerners

Weapon: Anything she can grab hold of

Motto: “You know nothing…”

Ygritte is a fiery-haired wildling woman who is encountered beyond The Wall. Spoilers prevent us from saying anything further about her role, her character, or her purpose within the narrative.

HOUSE TARTH: Brienne Tarth (Gwendolyn Christie)

Also Known As: The Maid of Tarth, Brienne the Beauty

Family Relations: Father: Selwyn Tarth

Likes: Honor, Chivalry, and Renly

Dislikes: Chauvinism, weakness

Weapon: Sword, shield, and even her bare hands, if needs be

Unusually tall—especially for a woman—Brienne is the only heir of Lord Selwyn of Evenfall, and has spent her life chafing against what is expected of her, choosing to become a “knight” rather than a proper lady. Mocked for her mannishness and stature, she excels at knocking down the men who tease her. Like many, she is searching for her place in this brutal world and believes she can find that in the employ of a king or on the battlefield.

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Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha)

Likes: Fate

Dislikes: Fire

Motto: “Valar morghulis”

A prisoner of the Night’s Watch headed to the Wall, Jaqen is caged by Yoren after being taken from the dungeons of King’s Landing at the offering of Ned Stark, knowing that the Brotherhood is in need of new recruits. His identity is largely a mystery, though he appears to have a bond with Arya Stark, who is traveling incognito with the Night’s Watch under the identity of Arry, a young boy. Unlike his fellow prisoners, Jaqen seems eerily calm.

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Gendry Waters (Joe Dempsie)

Family Relations: Father: King Robert Baratheon (Deceased)

Likes: The bull’s head helm he made himself

Dislikes: People coming to see him… especially since they end up dead

The bastard son of King Robert Baratheon and an accomplished blacksmith’s apprentice, Gendry was smuggled out of King’s Landing amid Ned Stark’s execution in order to protect his life. Both Jon Arryn and Lord Ned Stark discovered the truth about Gendry’s parentage and what his appearance—dark hair and blue eyes—meant about the king’s trueborn offspring, all of whom have blonde hair (because they were all the offspring of the incestuous union between Cersei and her twin brother, Jaime Lannister). Yoren takes him as a recruit for the Night’s Watch, and they set out on the long road to The Wall.

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HOUSE TARLY: Samwell Tarly (John Bradley)

Also Known As: Ser Piggy, Sam

Likes: Ravens, safety, watching his mother sew

Dislikes: Fighting

Weapon: His knowledge

While Sam appears in Season 1 of Game of Thrones, he was largely a supporting character who falls under the protection of Jon Snow. A reluctant member of the Night’s Watch, he’s forced into service by his father, Lord Randyll Tarly, who believes that his son is cowardly. After being bullied by members of the Night’s Watch, he is befriended by Jon and finds his place within the order as the steward of Maester Aemon. Whether he is truly as brave as Jon believes him to be is unknown, but beyond The Wall, he may get a chance to prove his worth.

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Lord Varys (Conleth Hill)

Also Known As: The Spider, The Master of Whisperers

Likes: Secrets, little birds and mice, disguises

Dislikes: Simplicity, honor, magic

Weapon: Staying two steps ahead of everyone

A bald eunuch, Varys was seen in the first season as the Master of Whisperers in King’s Landing, the royal spymaster who serves on the Small Council. He tried to save the life of Ned Stark, imprisoned for treason after uncovering the incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister, and convinced him that he must falsely confess so that Sansa’s life can be saved, offering him the option of taking the black and joining the Night’s Watch. (This plan failed miserably.) When asked by Ned who Varys truly serves, his answer is the realm itself.

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Shae (Sibel Kekilli)

Likes: Coins

Dislikes: Servitude

Weapon: Her feminine, er, wiles

Shae is a camp follower and whore in the employ of Tyrion Lannister. It’s unknown where she originally hails from, but her accent marks her as being born outside of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. While she appears to be loyal to Tyrion, it’s unclear what her true motivation is besides payment, or what lengths she’ll go to in order to remain by Tyrion’s side.

HOUSE GREYJOY: Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide)

Also Known As: Balon the Brave, Balon the Twice-Crowned, The Iron King

Family Relations: Son: Theon; Daughter: Yara (or, in the novels, Asha); Brothers: Euron, Aeron Damphair

Likes: Pillage and plunder

Weapon: Treachery, longboats

Sitting upon the Seastone Chair, Balon Greyjoy is the unforgiving and hard-edged liege of the Iron Islands and the father of Theon. Several years before the action of the first season of Game of Thrones, Balon oversaw a thwarted rebellion against King Robert Baratheon in which he crowned himself King of the Iron Islands and the North. Robert and Ned Stark went to war with Balon and crushed the rebellion, killing Balon’s elder sons and taking his heir, Theon, hostage. Theon was raised as a ward of the Starks and hasn’t seen Pyke or his family since he was a child. Balon now views his stern daughter Yara (or Asha, as she’s called in Martin’s novels) as his rightful heir.

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Bronn (Jerome Flynn)

Also Known As: The sellsword

Likes: Getting paid

Weapon: Sword, dagger, moral relativism

Seen in the first season of Game of Thrones, Bronn is a mercenary in the employ of Tyrion Lannister, whom he met at an inn when Catelyn Stark (wrongly) called Tyrion out for the attempted murder of her son Bran. Bronn acted as Tyrion’s champion at the Eyrie when the Lannister scion chose trial by combat, resulting in Tyrion winning his freedom. Since then, the two men have been inseparable.

Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie)

Membership Card: The Thirteen

Likes: Hospitality, amassing wealth

Dislikes: Disrespect

Xaro Xhoan Daxos is a fantastically wealthy merchant prince of the port city of Qarth. Initially distrusted by the city’s ruling elite, The Pureborn, because of his ethnicity, he rises among the ranks of the Qartheen oligarchy to become a member of The Thirteen, a group of traders. Given his former status as an outsider, he might be more sympathetic than his brethren when it comes to strangers.