Daily Texan details HBO 'Game of Thrones' characters

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Spoiler warning: This article contains major spoilers from the first season of “Game of Thrones.”

Illustrations by Holly Hansel.

It can be downright intimidating to parse out the immense character ensemble of the epic HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones.” Here’s The Daily Texan’s guide to the major players you should know going into the season two premiere this Sunday.

 

THE STARKS OF WINTERFELL

Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark (deceased) — Former Lord of Winterfell and Hand of King Robert Baratheon, who was executed by Joffrey Baratheon following the king’s death when he discovered that Joffrey was a product of incest and an illegitimate ruler. Honest, noble and heroic, Ned was the one obvious hero of the story.

Catelyn Stark — Cat is the wife of Lord Eddard and Lady of Winterfell. She suspects that Tyrion Lannister was behind the assassination attempt against her son Bran, and arrested him on the Kingsroad.

Robb Stark — Robb is the son of Ned and the heir to Winterfell. Almost as nobly earnest as his father, Robb is in the midst of fighting for Northern independence from the kingdom.

Sansa Stark — The girly-girl of Eddard’s two daughters, Sansa dreams of becoming a princess and is somewhat insufferably snobby at first, but her father’s death and her subsequent betrothal to Joffrey and imprisonment at King’s Landing transforms her into a tragic and sympathetic figure.

Arya Stark — A fiercely independent tomboy, Arya runs away from King’s Landing after her father’s death. Masquerading as a boy, she takes up with a group of men headed for the Northern fortress, the Wall — which happens to include Gendry, a “bastard” son of the deceased king.

Bran Stark — The second-youngest son of Ned, who has eerily prophetic dreams, the crippled 8-year-old is forced to act as the Lord of Winterfell in his mother and older brother’s absence as they fight for Northern independence.

Jon Snow — Ned Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow has taken a lifelong oath to protect the kingdom from the dangers north of the Wall. Strange and supernatural happenings in the wilderness have led him to accompany his fellow brothers of the Night’s Watch on a dangerous expedition beyond the safety of the Wall.

THE LANNISTERS OF CASTERLY ROCK

Tyrion Lannister — One of the three Lannister children, Tyrion is a dwarf and a fan favorite. Unable to prove his mettle through battle or physical strength, Tyrion is extremely intelligent and cunning.

Jaime Lannister — Brother to Tyrion and Cersei and a knight of the Kingsguard, Jaime is known as the Kingslayer for his murder of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, from whom Robert Baratheon wrested the throne. Jaime has been sexually involved with his sister from adolescence and fathered all three of her children.

Joffrey Lannister — After the death of his father King Robert, Joffrey Baratheon sits in the Iron Throne in King’s Landing. Joffrey is proud, impulsive and petulant, and it remains to be seen whether his family will keep him in line and check his destructive tendencies.

Tywin Lannister — Lord of Casterly Rock and former Hand of the King under Aerys Targaryen, Tywin is ruthless, calculating and spiteful, and loves Jaime and Cersei, although he despises Tyrion.

THE BARATHEONS OF KING’S LANDING, DRAGONSTONE AND STONE’S END

King Robert Baratheon (deceased) — Once a great warrior who overthrew the Mad King, Robert grew into a lazy, inefficent king who loved drinking, eating and womanizing. Robert was killed in a hunting accident engineered by his wife Cersei.

Cersei Baratheon, formerly Lannister — She is the ambitious, scheming, bitter and impetuous Queen Regent of Westeros.

Stannis Baratheon — Lord of Dragonstone and the eldest of Robert’s two brothers, Stannis is stern, humorless and brooding, and seeks to claim possession of the throne with the help of the sorceress Melisandre, who proclaims Stannis to be a messianistic figure.

Renly Baratheon — Robert and Stannis’ youngest brother and Lord of Stone’s End, Renly is handsome and charismatic and also seeks the throne.

Brienne of Tarth ­— A female knight who dedicates herself to Renly’s battle for the throne, Brienne is mocked for her homeliness, although she’s loyal, brave and idealistic.

TARGARYENS

Danaerys Targaryen — An exiled princess and daughter of the overthrown Mad King, Danaerys was married off to a vicious Dothraki horselord. At the start of the season, Dany’s husband has died and she’s gained possession of three dragons, a species previously thought extinct and which have unimaginable power. Dany’s goal is to return to Westeros to reclaim the throne for the Targaryens.

THE GREYJOYS OF THE IRON ISLANDS

Theon Greyjoy — A handsome, arrogant ward of Eddard Stark, Theon was raised like a brother to Ned’s children. In season two, Theon returns to the Iron Islands to offer his father Balon kingship over the islands in return for his assistance in Robb Stark’s effort for independence. Much to his dismay, Theon is rebuffed by his proud father, who resents that his son has been raised like a northerner.

Yara Greyjoy — Called Asha in the novels, Yara is Theon’s sister and the pride of her father. Yara is bold, tough, and a skilled warrior and sailor.

Printed on Friday, March 30, 2012 as: Game of Thrones