One of the most common criticisms of HBO’s Game of Thrones is that there are just too damn many characters.
For viewers who haven’t read the books (and even some who have, probably), it can be a real problem keeping up with what’s happening. Unless you’re willing to go to the lengths of re-watching episodes, poring over character relationship charts like this one and diving deep into the Game of Thrones wiki, it can be next to impossible to figure out who’s feuding with who, who’s boning who and how the heck all these sweaty, grimy and frequently bloody people can look so good with their clothes off.
To make things even more confusing, a bunch of new characters have been introduced in the first two episodes of Game of Thrones’ season three. Realizing fans of the show could lose interest in the show if they can’t follow the plot, HBO produced a video to help fans get what they need to know about this new citizens of Westeros. It’s definitely worth a watch:
Get all that? Let’s sum it up.
Lady Olenna Redwyne is the matriarch of the Tyrell family — making her the grandmother of King Joffrey’s new fiancee, Margaery Tyrell.
Missendei is the right-hand woman of a slave master across the sea where Daenerys Targaryen is trying to amass an army. The two hit it off, probably because they’re surrounded by brutish men and finally see someone they can relate to.
Mance Rayder is a former member of the Night’s Watch who abandoned his brothers to travel north of the wall and become the de facto king of the wildlings. He sees a lot of himself in Jon Snow.
Tormund Giantsbane is one of the leaders north of the wall who serves under Mance Rayder. He also takes a liking to Jon Snow.
Orell is also part of Mance Rayder’s crew. He’s a warg, which means he can enter the minds of animals and see through their eyes. For this reason, he’s very useful as a scout and a spy.
Jojen and Meera Reed are a brother and sister team that seeks out Bran Stark. Jojen can see the past and the future, and he helps Bran realize he has these powers, too. Meera is the brawn of the operation, protecting Jojen so he can do his work.
Blackfish Tully is Catelyn Stark’s uncle. He’s a respected warrior. Even though HBO included him in the above video, we haven’t actually met him yet in season three. Expect him to show up in episode three.
Edmure Tully is Catelyn’s younger brother. He’s a bit of a screw-up, often letting his family down. We haven’t met him yet, either.
Thoros of Myr is a cynical priest who’s a key player in the Brotherhood Without Banners, an outlaw group opposed to the reign of the Lannisters.
Beric Dondarrion is the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners. He hasn’t shown up on television yet, so pretty much all we know is that he’s in the above video and he has a pirate eye patch.