Game of Thrones is known for being a slightly confusing show if you aren't paying close attention. With its huge cast and myriad of intertwining plotlines, it's easy to get lost/forget everything that's happened in the time off between seasons! Don't worry, though, SideReel is here to help you brush up before the fifth season premiere. Click on the house banners below to see which characters have ended up where, refresh your memory on their most recent exploits, and how the various houses' armies stack up against each other (note: these numbers are very sketchy, as George R. R. Martin is rather vague on army sizes, so please don't behead us if we're wrong!).
***WARNING: spoilers through season 4!!***
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This infographic is best viewed on a larger screen, please try visiting this page on your desktop or laptop computer!
The Night's Watch
Armies: 100 Night's Watch
Jon Snow had recovered from his Ygritte-inflicted arrow wounds, and though he faced strong opposition from the Night’s Watch leadership, led a group of the Night’s Watch to Craster’s Keep to fight the mutineers who had taken over. Among his crew was Bolton’s man, Locke, who had been tasked with finding and killing Bran and Rickon. Locke did in fact run across Bran, Jojen, Meera, and Hodor, who had been captured by the mutineers, but Bran was able to warg into Hodor in order to snap Locke’s neck before he could make off with Bran. Bran and company continued their trek northwards towards his vision of the three eyed raven, ultimately arriving at the weirwood tree on the hill. Unfortunately, there was a field of wights between them and the tree, and Jojen was killed before a Child of the Forest came to their aid. She led them to the three eyed raven, who turned out to be a man fused with the weirwood tree, who stated that while Bran will never walk again, he will fly. Cue foreshadowing to warging with a dragon. Meanwhile, Jon had quelled the rebellion at Craster’s Keep and returned to the Wall to prepare for Mance Rayder’s impending invasion. Sam had likewise sent his lady-friend Gilly away from Castle Black in order to keep her safe, but her town was attacked by Wildlings (and her life was spared by Ygritte) and she ended up seeking refuge at Castle Black again. Castle Black withstood the first night of Mance’s onslaught, even taking down two giants, but sustained considerable damages and casualties - though the victory was bittersweet for Jon when Ygritte took an arrow through the heart. In order to prevent a second debilitating attack, Jon went out beyond the Wall to “negotiate” with Mance (ok, he was really planning on killing him), but his assassination attempt was almost botched until the timely arrival of Stannis Baratheon and his army demanded the surrender of the Wildlings.
We haven't heard anything from Rickon or Osha since they parted ways with Bran, Jojen, and Meera. It seems safe to assume they are in hiding with Lord Umber, one of Robb's former bannermen (you may remember him as the one who often questioned Robb's decisions until he lost two fingers to Robb's direwolf, much to his own bemusement). Roose Bolton is aware that Rickon is alive, having been told by Theon/Reek, but he believes his man Locke is hunting him, and assumes Rickon has already been killed, not realizing that Hodor killed Locke.
There are no main characters currently at the Dreadfort.
Last season saw Theon reborn as Reek, Ramsay Snow’s loyal servant. When his sister Yara mounted a resuce effort, Reek chose to remain with Ramsay at the Dreadfort. Ramsay’s father Roose Bolton had recently been appointed Warden of the North by Tywin following the events of the Red Wedding, but he learned from Reek that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive and could potentially depose him, so he sent his henchman Locke (aka the guy who chopped off Jaime’s hand and put Brienne in a pit with a bear) to find and kill the remaining Stark sons. Ramsay used Reek’s former identity as Theon to convince a group of Ironborn warriors to surrender in exchange for safe passage back to the Iron Islands, however Ramsay went back on his word and instead flayed the warriors alive in true Bolton fashion. Roose was so impressed that he decided to allow Ramsay to take the offical family name, rather than the traditional bastard name of Snow. After that delightful moment of father-son bonding, Roose, Ramsay, and Reek rode off to occupy Winterfell.
House Stark (currently House Bolton)
Armies: negligible since the Red Wedding
Winterfell has sat empty since Ramsay Snow torched it, however since Robb’s death it has fallen into Roose Bolton’s stewardship and last we saw he moved his command center there, because who really wants to live someplace called the Dreadfort?
The Sealord of Braavos
Armies: hundreds of warships & all the money needed to hire sellswords
While we have heard much from the city of Braavos, home of the Faceless Men and the Iron Bank, season four was the first we had seen of the city. Stannis Baratheon and Ser Davos approached the Iron Bank in order to secure funds to rebuild Stannis’ army. While the bank initially refused, they reconsidered their opinion when Davos pointed out the Lannister family was unlikely to repay their debts (contrary to the Lannister family motto) and that Stannis was a better bet. Expect to see a lot more of the city in this next season, though, as it seems a popular refuge for those who have nothing left for them in Westeros.
Armies: 4,000 bannermen
Last season saw no face time for the despicable Filch… I mean Walder Frey, probably because he did enough damage in Season 3. Frey was granted the Riverlands and Riverrun by Tywin as a reward for hosting the Red Wedding, however has done a particulary bad job of governing them, as the entire kingdom has fallen into lawlessness. Edmure Tully, Catelyn Stark’s brother, the rightful lord of Riverrun, and the unfortunate groom of the Red Wedding is presumably still being imprisoned by his father-in-law at the Twins.
Armies: 20,000 bannermen
After she unwittingly transported the method of Joffrey’s murder to the Purple Wedding, Sansa was hustled out of King’s Landing by Baelish to the Eyrie, where her aunt Lysa was still creeping everyone out by breastfeeding her 8 year old son Robin. Baelish was there to marry Lysa, who had always had a thing for him growing up, though she didn’t realize that he really had the hots for her sister Catelyn Stark. Sansa bears more than a passing resemblance to her dead mother, so Baelish couldn’t help himself but to make a pass at her, which Lysa saw. In a moment of crazy jealous bitch, Lysa nearly threw Sansa out of the moon door, but at the last moment Baelish intervened and threw Lysa out instead. When Sansa and Baelish were interrogated about the event, Sansa showed some newfound skills at cunning and lying, saying that Lysa had jumped rather than been pushed. This left Robin as the Lord of the Vale, with Baelish as his guardian. Meanwhile, Arya and the Hound had headed off in the direction of the Eyrie after the Red Wedding, in hopes that the Hound could ransom Arya to her last remaining relative, Lysa. While en route Arya reclaimed Needle from the soldiers who had captured her back in Season 2, and Arya knocked her first name off her kill list. The Hound’s ransom plans were once again foiled when they learned of Lysa’s death; they were unfortunately unaware that Sansa was at the Eyrie. Meanwhile, Brienne, outfitted with a new suit of armor, a Valerian steel sword, and Tyrion’s faithful squire Podric - all courtesy of Jaime - had embarked from King’s Landing to continue her quest to find the Stark girls. They were tipped off to head in the direction of the Eyrie, and eventually crossed paths with the Hound and Arya. While Arya was at first impressed by the lady knight, she grew wary when the Hound pointed out Brienne’s Lannister armor, prompting a fight between Brienne and the Hound over the guardianship of Arya. Brienne ultimately won, but Arya managed to run off during the duel. Arya found the Hound, dying of his wounds sustained during the fight with Brienne, but refused his request to kill him quickly, instead taking his money and leaving him for dead (although on a show like this, unless you actually SEE a character die…). Arya found her way to a Braavos ship captain, and finally got the chance to use the coin given to her by Jaquen, and with the phrase “Valar morghulis”, was granted passage to Braavos.
Armies: 20,000 Ironborn & 500 ships
Pyke was pretty quiet last season, with no appearances from Balon. Yara led a rescue effort to save her brother Theon from the Dreadfort, but upon discovering his transformation into Reek and unwillingness to leave Ramsay, she abandoned the mission and declared her brother dead. With the surrender of their Ironborn forces at Moat Cailin to Ramsay Snow, it seems unlikely that Balon will be able to achieve his dreams of conquering the North.
Armies: negligible since the Red Wedding
Riverrun and the Riverlands have fallen into disarray since Walder Frey took up stewardship. As Edmure Tully is currently a captive, their only hope currently lies with Catelyn Stark’s uncle, Brynden Tully. He was able to slip out during the Red Wedding massacre and hasn’t been seen since, but could probably be assumed to be in the general area.
There are no main characters currently at Harrenhall.
The ominous castle/prison that Arya escaped from was awarded to Littlefinger as a reward after the Battle of Blackwater, however the castle was abandoned and captured by the Northerners, and has been left under Roose Bolton's command.
House Baratheon (Stannis)
Armies: 4,000 bannermen, 2,800 cavalry & ~70 ships
There are no main characters currently at Dragonstone.
After Melisandre’s insistence that the greatest threat to Westeros is the revival of the White Walkers, Stannis Baratheon went about rebuilding his army. This meant an entreatment to the Iron Bank, which while initially not fruitful, ultimately was successful when Davos pointed out that while Tywin Lannister may be good at repaying his debts, he was getting on in years and his children would not be as reliable, while Stannis had a proven reputation of being dependable both financially and on the battlefield. Stannis then used the funds to replenish his army and ride to the rescue of Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch against the Wildlings.
Armies: 80,000-100,000 bannermen (combined with King's Landing forces)
There are no main characters currently at Casterly Rock.
Nothing much ever seems to happen at Casterly Rock, as we still haven't even seen the Lannister homestead. Who is in charge there is a little up in the air since Tywin’s death, as Jaime is commited to staying in King’s Landing and cannot inherit property as a member of the Kingsguard, and Tyrion has fled to Braavos.
House Baratheon (Joffrey)
Armies: 80,000-100,000 bannermen (combined with Casterly Rock)
There’s been an exodus of characters from King’s Landing in the last season, and the final episode left a lot of vacancies in powerful seats. After Joffrey’s epic death at the Purple Wedding (ding dong the witch is dead!), the seat on the Iron Throne has passed to his younger brother, Tommen. Margaery is getting ready for wedding #3 (considering how deadly weddings are in Westeros, it’s a miracle she’s stayed alive this long), and has already made some progress on making Tommen her pawn instead of Cersei’s through some - so far platonic - late night visits to his bedchambers. Her brother, Loras, had a standing engagement to Cersei, but Cersei finally confronted Tywin with her and Jaime’s relationship and refused to go through with the wedding. Loris and Margaery’s grandmother, Lady Olenna, continued to pull strings behind the scenes with Varys and Baelish, culminating in Joffrey’s poisoning. Aside from a couple of unfortunate cough*satisfying*cough deaths in his family, Jaime had a pretty good season: he was back in King’s Landing, reinstated to the Kingsguard, received a golden hand from Cersei to replace the one that got chopped off, got Bronn to teach him how to sword fight using his other hand, resumed his incestuous relationship with his sister (ok, it started out a little rapey, but she didn’t seem to hold it against him), bonded with his little brother, and finally stood up to his father by turning down ruling Casterly Rock in favor of remaining in King’s Landing with Cersei. Is it wrong that I really hope Jaime becomes the new Hand of the King? Because he has no hand… Ok I’ll stop making bad jokes now. Tyrion, on the other HAND - no, really, I’m done now - had an awful season. He started out attempting to balance his unhappy wife, Sansa, with his unhappy mistress, Shae. Unfortunately that was just the beginning of his problems. After being framed for Joffrey’s death, he was put to trial by a vengeful Cersei, who stacked the witnesses against him, even successfully bribing his sellsword Bronn, though the ultimate betrayal came from a turncoat Shae. Knowing he wouldn’t receive a fair trial, Tyrion demanded trial by combat, and while Jaime declined to represent him, Prince Oberyn of Martell stepped up. Oberyn had come to King’s Landing ostensibly to represent his family at the Purple Wedding, but also in hopes of avenging his sister’s death at the hands of the Mountain, who happened to be Cersei’s champion in the trial. Alas, the fight did not end well for Tyrion and Oberyn, who had his head smashed in by the Mountain (there may not have been many beheadings this season, but one exploding skull has to make up for that, right?). Oberyn did manage to stab the Mountain with his poisoned spear, but Cersei hustled the Mountain off to the deviant Maester Qyburn, who seemed to think the Mountain could be saved. Tyrion was sentenced to death, but later rescued by Jaime and Varys, with a little detour on the way to murder Shae and Tywin, who had taken up with each other whilst plotting against Tyrion. Varys put Tyrion on a ship bound for Braavos, and upon learning of Tywin’s death, decided to go with Tyrion.
Armies: negligible since the Battle of Blackwater
There are no main characters currently at Storm's End.
The ancestral home of the Baratheon family and headquarters of Renley Baratheon, nothing much has happened here since his assassination. Most of the military forces switched their allegiance to Stannis, and were subsequently wiped out at the Battle of Blackwater. While the holding technically belongs to Stannis as Robert Baratheon's heir, most of the land is being held by King's Landing forces, though a small army of Stannis' supporters are currently occupying the castle itself in Stannis' name.
Armies: 100,000 bannermen
There are no main characters currently at Highgarden.
We still haven't seen the home of the Tyrell family, but it's been quite prolific at producing money, bannermen, and clever women to throw into the War of Five Kings.
Armies: 8,000 Unsullied, 2,000 Second Sons, and 3 DRAGONS!!!
- Grey Worm
The Mother of Dragons found her campaign to free the slaves of Essos on attack from all fronts this season. While she was able to successfully take the city of Meereen by instigating a slave revolt from the inside, both Astapor and Yunkai found themselves back in slavers’ hands without her presence. In addition, the slaves of Meereen were not necessarily thrilled about their newly freed status, with some asking to be returned to their former slave status. Daario Naharis, leader of the Second Sons, was a bright spot for Daenerys, proving capable both in the battlefield and the bedroom. Jorah of Mormont, not so much. Eternally friend-zoned, his former status as a spy for Varys was finally discovered by Daenerys, and resulted in her banishing him from Meereen. At least there was a little romance blossoming between her translator, Missandei, and Greyworm, the leader of the Unsullied, to cheer up the Meereen storyline a little, though that probably won’t go anywhere due to the Unsullied all being eunuchs. As a final blow, the Breaker of Chains was forced to chain two of her dragons in the catacombs of Meereen in order to protect her people from their growing appetites, although one of her dragons remains at large.
Armies: 50,000 bannermen (supposedly, but this number is known to be inflated)
Sunspear is the capital of Dorne, the southernmost of the Seven Kingdoms. House Martell seems to have effectively sequestered itself from all the drama of the War of Five Kings, however they probably won’t be happy about the recent death of their Prince Oberyn in his duel with the Mountain. They also are currently in possession of Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, who is betrothed to one of the princes of Dorne, and we can expect to see more of this season.
Click on the house banners on the map to see summaries of the recent plotlines, which characters are in the area, and what military forces the houses have available to them.