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King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson): HOUSE BARATHEON
The cruel, petulant Boy King sparked a war by beheading Ned Stark in front of Sansa, and vowed to have Stark's son Robb's head on a pike as well.
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Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean): HOUSE STARK/DECEASED
The principled patriarch from the north, also known as Ned, was beheaded by teen tyrant Joffrey.
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Queen Cersei Baratheon (Lena Headey): HOUSE LANNISTER/BARATHEON
The incestuous Queen Regent loves her twin brother and their children, loathes everyone else, including Tyrion. But even she's struggling to keep her rogue son King Joffrey in check.
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Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau): HOUSE LANNISTER
Known for slaying kings (Targaryen, in particular) and hearts, the fortunate son is less known for his romance with twin sister Cersai. Captured at battle by Robb, he's now a prisoner of the Starks.
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Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa): HOUSE TARGARYEN/DECEASED
The brutish Dothraki leader pledged to aid his wife Daenerys in claiming her crown and Westeros, but his death left her mostly alone.
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Jon Snow (right, Kit Harrington): HOUSE STARK
Ned's bastard, a skilled, sensitive soldier of the Night's Watch, was sent north of the Wall to find his uncle.
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King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy): HOUSE BARATHEON/DECEASED
Heavy was the head that wore the crown, but heavier was his gut. The drunk and disorderly despot's death put the hotly contested throne to Westeros in play.
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Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke): HOUSE TARGARYEN
With her brother and husband dead, the princess and khaleesi hatched a few dragons to help in her quest for the throne.
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Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage): HOUSE LANNISTER
The reviled dwarf brother of Jaime and Cersei, a witty intellectual who enjoys books and prostitutes, ascended to the seat of the Hand of the King. But can he rein in his nephew Joffrey's tyranny and retain his power?
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Robb Stark (Richard Madden): HOUSE STARK
The brooding "King of the North" leads the rebellion.
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Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane): HOUSE BARATHEON
A new addition for season 2, Robert's sibling considers himself the rightful heir—but his stern ways aren't likely to win him as many fans as his ambitious brother, Renly.
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Melisandre (Carice can Houten): HOUSE BARATHEON
The dynamic ''red priestess'' teams up with Stannis to aid him in his ruthless ambition.
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Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham): HOUSE BARATHEON
Davos Seaworth is a family man and former smuggler. He earned the nickname ?The Onion Knight? after successfully getting food into Stannis Baratheon?s besieged castle during the war that put Robert Baratheon on the Iron Throne. The authoritarian Stannis gave Davos a knighthood for his actions ? but also shortened some of his fingers for his criminal past. In season two, Stannis enlists Davos to help him seize the Iron Throne from King Joffrey.
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Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie): HOUSE BARATHEON
Brienne, described in the books as a large and piggish-looking woman with an awkward personality who's mocked as ''Brienne the Beauty,'' serves the late king?s brother Renly. She is as tough and skilled with a sword as most men and longs for knighthood despite her gender.
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Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide): HOUSE GREYJOY
Theon's stern father, the ruler of the Iron Islands, lost his three sons thanks to his rebellion against Robert Baratheon—two died and the third became a ward of the Starks.
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Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen): HOUSE STARK
After his father tried to go against King Robert, Theon became a ward of the Starks and joins his friend Robb in the rebellion against King Joffrey.