Yes, winter is coming, but not before season 2 premieres. To help you catch up, here's a guide to what's happened — and what's next — for the key players

By Ray Rahman
March 16, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

House Lannister

Tywin Lannister
Charles Dance
Impossibly rich and preoccupied with his legacy, the devious head of the golden-haired house leads the fight against the rebels. His latest maneuver was installing the sharper of his two sons in the King’s Court.

Tyrion Lannister
Peter Dinklage
The reviled dwarf brother ascended to the seat of the Hand of the King. But can he rein in his nephew Joffrey’s tyranny and retain his power?

Jaime Lannister
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Known for slaying kings and hearts, the fortunate son is less known for his romance with twin sister Cersei. Captured at battle by Robb, he’s now a prisoner of the Starks.

Queen Cersei Baratheon
Lena Headey
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.

House Baratheon
Renly Baratheon
Gethin Anthony
Robert’s youngest brother has a large army to back up his claim to the crown.

King Robert Baratheon [DIED]
Mark Addy
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.

Princess Myrcella Baratheon
Aimee Richardson
Innocent and pretty, she’s her sibling parents’ only daughter.

King Joffrey Baratheon
Jack Gleeson
The cruel, petulant Boy King sparked a war by beheading Ned Stark in front of Sansa, and vowed to have Robb’s head on a pike as well.

Prince Tommen Baratheon
Callum Wharry
Jaime and Cersei’s youngest son is yet another potential heir to the throne.

Stannis Baratheon
Stephen Dillane
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.

House Targaryen

Viserys Targaryen [DIED]
Harry Lloyd
The exiled prince died when brother-in-law Drogo ”crowned” him with boiling gold.

Khal Drogo [DIED]
Jason Momoa
The brutish Dothraki leader pledged to aid Daenerys in claiming her crown and Westeros, but his death left her mostly alone.

Daenerys Targaryen
Emilia Clarke
With her brother and husband dead, the princess and khaleesi hatched a few dragons to help in her quest for the throne.

House Stark

Catelyn Stark
Michelle Fairley
Protective and proud, the widowed mother has become Robb’s adviser in the not-so-civil war.

Eddard Stark [DIED]
Sean Bean
The principled patriarch from the north, also known as Ned, was beheaded by teen tyrant Joffrey.

Robb Stark
Richard Madden
The brooding ”King of the North” leads the rebellion.

Sansa Stark
Sophie Turner
Betrothed to — and held hostage by — King Joffrey.

Bran Stark
Isaac Hempstead-Wright
The injured son rules Winterfell while Robb’s away.

Jon Snow
Kit Harington
Ned’s bastard, a skilled, sensitive soldier of the Night’s Watch, was sent north of the Wall to find his uncle.

Arya Stark
Maisie Williams
The feisty girl is on the lam dressed as a boy.

Rickon Stark
Art Parkinson
Like Bran, the youngest son dreams of his dead dad.