Everything You Need To Remember From 'Game Of Thrones' Season 4

Even by the standards of serialized prestige drama, Game of Thrones can be damn hard to keep track of. There are literally dozens of characters, spread over an entire continent's worth of locations, and in any given episode you'll find them setting up plans and falling into traps, forming new bonds and breaking old ones.

Nor does it help matters that there are about ten months between seasons, giving fans plenty of time to forget the finer details of this sick, sad world. Sure, you could brush up on your Westerosi history by revisiting the entire fourth season on Blu-ray — but at around 10 hours, that's a pretty daunting proposition.

That's where we come in. We've got everything you need to remember about where all your favorite characters left off in Season 4, whether it's Bran Stark in the chilly North or Daenerys Targaryen in the temperate South. Hit the jump for your Game of Thrones Season 4 catchup.

First, a quick recap of the overall story. We're still in the middle of the War of the Five Kings, which began after Robert Baratheon made the fatal decision to go drunk-hunting back in Season 1. Three of the five are dead (Joffrey Baratheon, Robb Stark, and Renly Baratheon), and sweet, innocent Tommen has succeeded Joffrey on the Iron Throne.

Of the two kings left standing, Stannis Baratheon is still gunning for the Iron Throne, and seems to be bouncing back after his defeat in the Battle of the Blackwater back in Season 2. Balon Greyjoy isn't interested in the Iron Throne, but rather wants the Iron Islands to secede from the Seven Kingdoms.

Secretly, of course, there's one more would-be monarch in the game. Daenerys Targaryen continues her march across Essos, freeing slaves and picking up followers wherever she goes. Once her dragons and her army are big enough, the plan goes, she'll retake the Iron Throne.

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Okay, now that you know the lay of the land, let's move on to the more character-specific details. Click ahead for the latest on Bran, Jon, Sansa, and more.

Game of Thrones S4 - Bran Stark

NORTH OF THE WALL

Bran Stark, who's been on the run since Season 2, has finally made it to the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven. Huzzah! Hodor and Meera Reed are with him as well, having been saved from the wights who killed Jojen by a Child of the Forest wielding mother-effing fireballs.

The Three-Eyed Raven, who appears as an old man sitting on a throne of branches and roots, tells Bran that while he will never walk again, "you will fly." I bet he means that metaphorically, but you never know on this show. Reportedly, Bran is sitting out this season, however, so we might not get clarification on that point until next year.

Meanwhile, the White Walkers have been spooking the wildlings into fleeing south. (The White Walkers are not to be confused with wights, which are reanimated corpses that serve the White Walkers.) They are definitely up to something, even if we don't know quite what yet.

Game of Thrones S4 - Jon and Ygritte

THE WALL

Jon Snow is about to put an end to the Battle of Castle Black by murdering King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder when he gets a last-minute assist. Stannis Baratheon, having secured a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos, has decided to be the one guy who takes seriously the Night's Watch's plea for help. He and his forces arrive in spectacular fashion, easily subduing the Wildling army.

Game of Thrones S4 - Ramsay Bolton

THE NORTH

Everything's coming up Ramsay! That season he spent torturing Theon Greyjoy has really worked out for him, as he was able to use Theon (now Reek) to wrest control of Moat Cailin back from the Ironborn. For his accomplishments, his father Roose Bolton, recently appointed Warden of the North for his role in the Red Wedding, legitimizes him. Ramsay Snow is now Ramsay Bolton.

Meanwhile, Rickon Stark still exists even though no one's seen him since Season 3. Presumably he's out there in the North somewhere with Osha. Since the whole point was for the Stark boys to lay low, well done Osha, I guess.

Game of Thrones S4 - Yara

THE IRON ISLANDS

Yara Greyjoy is presumably back at the Iron Islands by now, following her failed attempt to rescue her brother Theon. She declares that her brother is dead, so probably she isn't going to make another rescue attempt anytime soon. But hey, at least Yara tried. Balon Greyjoy is still a dick who refused to negotiate with the Boltons even after they sent him Theon's severed penis in Season 3.

Game of Thrones S4 - Sansa and Littlefinger

THE VALE

The man who once mused that "chaos is a ladder" is proving an adept climber. Petyr Baelish became Lord Protector of the Vale after marrying and then murdering Lysa Arryn. And he's making arrangements for little Robin Arryn to "leave the nest," suggesting to the lords that they back Robin in opposition to the Lannisters.

With Petyr is "Alayne," a.k.a. Sansa Stark, who's finally announced herself as a potentially major player. She covers for Littlefinger when he's suspected of Lysa's murder, in a performance that impresses the master manipulator himself.

Not far outside the Eyrie, Brienne of Tarth and Podrick are still looking for the Stark girls so she can bring them to safety, as she promised Jaime Lannister she'd do. But she's had shit luck so far. She actually crosses paths with Arya Stark, only for the young girl to slip away while Brienne battles Sandor "the Hound" Clegane over her.

Said duel leaves the Hound mortally wounded, and when Arya resurfaces he begs her to mercy-kill him. Instead, she silently takes his money and leaves him to die a slow and painful death.

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Keep reading to brush up on where the Lannisters, Daenerys, and Arya are at this point in the store.

Game of Thrones Season 4

KING'S LANDING

The once-proud Lannisters are in disarray. Tywin is dead, having been killed by Tyrion after Jaime helped him escape. And they owe a bunch of money to the Iron Bank of Braavos, which is not known for their lenient debt-forgiveness policies. On the bright side, Tommen Baratheon is still the king. For now.

The Tyrells, on the other hand, are doing pretty well for themselves. Margaery is engaged to Tommen, following her ill-fated wedding to Joffrey. Loras might technically still be betrothed to Cersei, but she made it clear to Tywin she wanted no part of it, and now he's not around to enforce it. Probably a win for him.

As for the Martells: Oberyn's journey through King's Landing ended in a most spectacular fashion, with Gregor Clegane bursting his head open as Ellaria Sand watched. But the Red Viper could have the last laugh yet – Gregor is now dying a slow and painful death under the watch of disgraced ex-maester Qyburn, thanks to the poison left behind by Oberyn's spear.

Game of Thrones S4 - Tyrion

UNKNOWN

After murdering Shae and Tywin on his way out of prison, Tyrion Lannister finds himself hiding in a crate on a ship out of King's Landing. Varys, who helped orchestrate his escape, is with him. Their destination is unknown.

Game of Thrones S4 - Oberyn and the Mountain

DORNE

Myrcella Baratheon was shipped off to Dorne in Season 2, as part of an arrangement to marry Trystane Martell when she comes of age, and hasn't been seen on the show since. But according to Oberyn Martell (R.I.P.), she's doing just fine there because they "don't hurt little girls in Dorne."

Game of Thrones S4 - Hound and Arya

BRAAVOS

Arya Stark is all alone. Everyone she's related to is dead, presumed dead, or in captivity, and Winterfell has been destroyed. She's escaped Brienne's grasp, and left the Hound for dead. What she does have is that mysterious iron coin given to her by Jaqen H'ghar back in Season 2, which she trades in for passage to Braavos. As Season 4 ended she was at the bow of a ship, facing the open water with Westeros behind her.

Game of Thrones S4 - Dany and Jorah

MEEREEN

Now that she's in control of Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen is discovering that ruling is not as easy as it looks. Not all of the newly freed slaves, it turns out, are happy with the new status quo. Meanwhile, her dragons are growing out of control. After one shepherd reveals that Drogon swooped out of the sky and burned his child alive, Daenerys tearfully chains up Viserion and Rhaegal. (Drogon remains on the loose.)

On top of all that, she's banished her trusted advisor Jorah Mormont after discovering that he's been spying on her for the now-deceased Robert Baratheon. Jorah begs for her forgiveness, but she demands he get out of her sight, and he's seen riding away on horseback.