A review of those vying for the Iron Throne, from Beyond the Wall to the Dothraki Sea

By Shirley Li
Updated April 24, 2016 at 06:00 PM EDT
Helen Sloan/HBO

Game of Thrones

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  • HBO

Every year, Game of Thrones reshuffles its board of key players. While some characters (Cersei and the King’s Landing denizens in particular) tend to stay where they are, others travel across Westeros and beyond the Narrow Sea in Essos. With the drama returning Sunday night, it’s time to take a look at just where everyone has landed — and review the questions still to be answered. (For a peek at the complete map from the Game of Thrones issue, head over to EW’s Instagram.)

Beyond the Wall

Winter is coming — and visions, it seems, are coming with it. After sitting out for a season, Bran returns to continue his mysterious training with the weirwood-tree-fused Three-Eyed Raven. But will Bran learn to fly before the White Walkers march on the realm? (If Hodor knows the answer, he’s not saying.)

Castle Black

For the Watch… for the Watch… for the Watch. Over and over, the Night’s Watch brothers stabbed Jon Snow until he died (yes, died), but as much as the night is dark and full of terrors, Ser Davos and Melisandre‘s presence at the Wall might, well, heat things up. Still, without Jon — and without Sam and Gilly, who left for Oldtown where Sam can become a Maester — how will Tormund and the wildling refugees cope?


Ramsay‘s bloody grip on the North has only strengthened after defeating Stannis Baratheon’s forces, which means the most hated former bastard of Westeros will have no trouble flaying anyone who keeps him from capturing the escaped Sansa and Theon. The pair may have survived their leap, but will Brienne of Tarth keep her oath to Catelyn and finally catch up with Sansa?

Helen Sloan/HBO

Iron Islands

Theon’s sister, Yara, last appeared in season 4 during a failed attempt to save Theon-as-Reek from Ramsay, but it’s been even longer since we’ve seen Theon’s father, Balon, the lone surviving “king” from the War of the Five Kings, who showed up in season 3. Can both, along with the much-feared Euron (Balon’s brother), prove that when it comes to the ironborn, what is dead may never die?

King’s Landing

The last time we saw Cersei, she had just finished her nude walk of atonement after being in the slammer for her (shame… shame…) shameful ways. But her return to the Red Keep might be too late: With Margaery‘s continued imprisonment, Jaime‘s failure to rescue his daughter-niece in Dorne, and the High Sparrow‘s faithful flock in charge, even Littlefinger would struggle to reverse the Lannisters’ fortune. Is it too much to ask of young King Tommen to find a way to save the realm and keep Ser Pounce satisfied?


Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes poisoned Myrcella to avenge Oberyn’s death. If the Lannisters come roaring for revenge, will Prince Doran Martell be able to keep the fragile peace? (This is Westeros, so… probably not.)

Macall B. Polay/HBO


A girl follows a Faceless Man she knew as Jaqen H’ghar across the Narrow Sea. A girl is unable to forget she’s Arya Stark. A girl steals a face from the House of Black and White. A girl kills Ser Meryn Trant to avenge Syrio Forel, once the First Sword of Braavos and her water-dancing instructor. A girl pays the price by being blinded. Can a girl continue to survive?

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The Mother of Dragons took flight but left her loyal subjects behind. While Daario Naharis and the greyscale-afflicted Ser Jorah venture away from Slaver’s Bay to search for their queen, Tyrion (with help from Varys, Grey Worm, and Missandei) must rule the city torn apart by the Sons of the Harpy. Can the former Hand of the King succeed where Daenerys failed?

Dothraki Sea

When you play the game of thrones, you win or you… get whisked away by your dragon and flown to the Dothraki Sea, where you’re picked up by a khalasar. Khal Drogo had called Daenerys his khaleesi, but will these horse-mounted warriors welcome her as he once did?

Game of Thrones returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Episode Recaps

Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
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