Cheat Sheet: Game of Thrones

MANILA, Philippines - With the 3rd season of “Game of Thrones” fast approaching (premieres March 31 in the US), the show’s fans or those new to the series might want a low-down on the events that have so far transpired in the lands of Westeros and Essos.

For the uninitiated, the “Game of Thrones” HBO TV series is based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels by George R.R. Martin. It continues to capture the imagination of viewers with its intricate tangle of family ties, alliances, betrayals and blood feuds. Mix in a bunch of dragons, frozen zombies and giant wolves and you’ll get the picture.

Rollingstone.com’s Sean T. Collins breaks down the past two seasons for you.

WARNING: Season 1 and 2 spoilers ahead

KING'S LANDING

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion Lannister saves King’s Landing (the capital city of the 7 Kingdoms) from being conquered by Stannis Baratheon during the Battle of Blackwater. For this, he wins the continued loyalty of his prostitute girlfriend Shae, his dutiful squire Pod and his faithful(ish) bodyguard Bronn.

Tyrion is almost assassinated in the battlefield by one of his own comrades, a plot which Cersei may be behind. He is replaced by his ice-cold father Tywin Lannister as Hand of the King. Despite his family’s deviousness, Tyrion realizes he can't quit playing the great game.

Sansa Stark

She is Cersei Lannister’s chief hostage and was supposed to marry the sadistic King Joffrey. But Joffrey jilted her by marrying Margaery Tyrell (wealthy widow of slain rebel king Renly Baratheon) instead. Sansa is told by scheming royal treasurer and pimp Lord Peter “Littefinger” Baelish to escape from the Lannisters with his help.

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Varys the eunuch

Has cozied up to his chief prostitute Ros and remains one of Tyrion's few friends at court.

Stannis Baratheon

He has gone back to his island fortress Dragonstone after being defeated in the Battle of Blackwater. He then receives help from the red sorceress Melisandre who still believes he is the messiah figure who will save humanity from the coming darkness.

THE RIVERLANDS

Robb Stark, the king in the North

Though he has won every battle, his forces have been split by internal strife caused largely by him and his mother. He has made Talisa Maegyr, a foreign noblewoman he found working as a battlefield surgeon, his queen breaking his promise to marry the daughter of Walder Frey, the lord of a strategically vital fortress.

Catelyn Stark

Lady Stark frees their important captive Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannister despite his attempted murder of her son hoping that Cersei would free her daughters Sansa and Arya.

Brienne of Tarth

She accompanies Jaime as he treks back to King’s Landing after being freed by Catelyn. Once a member of Renly Baratheon's Kingsguard (and was in love with him), Brienne was forced to flee his camp after Stannis used magic to assassinate him. Catelyn's kindness toward this lifelong misfit caused Brienne to pledge allegiance to the Stark matriarch. She’ll do anything to exchange Jaime for Catelyn's daughters.

Arya Stark

She is in the Riverlands with fellow refugees Gendry (bastard son of King Robert) and Hot Pie (a pie enthusiast). She has been working under an assumed name at the stronghold Harrenhal. She escapes with the help of Jaqen H'ghar, a criminal whose life she'd saved and who can use magic to completely change his appearance. Jaqen gives Arya a foreign coin and a secret phrase, "Valar morghulis," that she can present to anyone from the island nation of Braavos if she's ever in trouble.

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WINTERFELL

Theon Greyjoy

He conquers the Stark’s castleat Winterfell where he had been raised as a half-foster child, half hostage. He pretends to execute Bran and Rickon after they escape then is abandoned by his own men when a bastard son of Robb Stark’s general leads Northern forces to free the castle

Bran, Rickon and their direwolves

When Bran, Rickon, their direwolves, the gentle giant Hodor and wildling caretake Osha emerge from the crypts beneath the castle, Winterfell is burning and everyone is dead. They head north to find refuge at the Wall. 

ACROSS THE NARROW SEA

Daenerys Targaryen

Dany, her advisor and bodyguard Ser Jorah Mormont and her dwindling band of Dothraki horselords stagger into the city after nearly starving in the nearby desert. There, she is betrayed and her dragons kidnapped. She sees a vision of the coming winter in the dark temple called the House of the Undying. She and her three young dragons kill the warlock and the wealthy merchant who betrayed her. After stealing from him, she collects enough money to buy a ship and escape.

BEYOND THE WALL

Jon Snow

This bastard son of Ned Stark and rookie Night Watch member was sent by Lord Commander Mormont to investigate a wildling army being massed by Mance Rayder, a former Watchman who now reigns as "King Beyond the Wall." Jon and his new mentor Qhorin Halfhand get captured by a wildling band led by the fearsome Lord o'Bones. Halfhand saves the mission by goading Jon into killing him, so that the younger man will look like a traitor to the Watch and can then infiltrate the wildling army himself.

Lord Mormont and the rest of the Night Watch

They wait for word of Jon and his mission while on a rocky hilltop called the Fist of the First Men. These forces include Jon's friends: kind but cowardly Samwell Tarly, big dumb goodhearted Grenn and entertainingly pessimistic Dolorous Edd Tollett. The three find black blades and arrowheads made from "dragonglass" in the snow. The final shot of season 2 shows Sam cowering as an army of zombies led by the demonic White Walkers descend upon the Fist. –With reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com