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Three Weddings and A Funeral: Your Guide to Watching GAME OF THRONES Season Three

Ready for season 3 of HBO's Game of Thrones?  Never watched it before (or read the books) and wonder what the hell you're getting into?  Here is our quick and easy (ha ha), down 'n dirty guide to just who is who in Westeros and beyond.  No spoilers for any Season 3 events!

Three Weddings and A Funeral: Your Guide to Watching GAME OF THRONES Season Three

Oh, hey, y'all.  Guess what Sunday night is?  I mean, it's March 31st, so it's my friend Josh's birthday (Hi, Josh!) and I'm sure it's also a famous date in history for something or other and I will personally be having a lovely cream tea in London on that day, but most importantly, GAME OF THRONES IS BACK, BISHES.

Now, lots of y'all keep up with Jenny's recaps of the show, but I know that some of you don't actually watch the show!  Using Highly Scientific comment research and mostly making facts up from thin air, I presume that 14.7% of you do not watch Game of Thrones because you don't have access to HBO.  Fair point.  The remaining 85.3% of you, however, clearly don't watch the show due to one or more of the following factors:

1) You don't like dragons.

2)  Kinda not sold on the fact that so many ladies end up raped.

3) You're afraid of being totally lost if you start watching now and you have too much in your life right now to deal with sprawling stories full of hundreds of characters.

Well, if your reasons lay within the boundaries of 1 and 2, I cannot help you, because I'm right there with you.  But if the reason you don't watch GoT is because you're scared your brain will hurt, it's time to get the hell over your fears and get right with the Old Gods and the New.  Don't worry.  I'm going to help you.

Here is pretty much all you need to know to watch Game of Thrones, Season Three (warning!  I will be spoiling events in Seasons 1 and 2).  We're going to kick it old school and talk about each of the Seven Pretenders and their families and friends:

Meet Tywin Lannister, his boy Jamie, daughter Cersei, Tyrion, the imp!

The Lannister family is old money, y'all, and pretty much the richest family in Westeros.  Which means they are also the most fucked up family in Westeros, although in Game of Thrones that's a little like the pot calling the kettle a bad name and then getting an axe to the face.

Tywin Lannister is the god-damned pater familias of the Lannister family, and he is, by all accounts, a pretty shitty father.  He's also a wise yet ruthless military leader.  I mean, you should just keep these things in mind, in case there's ever a time where you might find yourself thinking, "hey!  That Tywin Lannister isn't so bad!  I bet he's going to do the right thing by one of his children!"  No, he won't.  Ever.

His kids Jamie and Cersei Lannister are twins, and they like to do it with each other.  A LOT. Everyone knows about this relationship, because they're sort of the Brangelina of the Westeros world.  I mean, not that Brangelina are siblings.  But they are a popular pair.  Cersei is spiteful, cruel, devious, a genius and ironically, kind of a great mom?  Jamie is dumb, pretty and more noble than he gives himself credit for.  Everyone calls him "Kingslayer" on account of how quickly he can eat a King Cake at Mardi Gras.  He just tears through them.  And then he gets the baby and he throws it off a tower because that's just how he rolls.

Their younger brother, Tyrion, is your current/future husband and one of three heroes of our sad little tale.  He is also very short and very ugly (in the books.  In the show he's just short, cause Peter Dinklage is kinda foxy).  I'd like to say that it's okay; women love him for his mind, but that hasn't strictly turned out to be true.  Tyrion does lots of bad things, and a few good things, but mostly he tries to be even more noble than Jamie, and he usually succeeds in only gaining more scars from the attempt.

Jamie and Cersei have had three children, although Cersei has passed these hellspawn off as her husband Robert's progeny.  The only one you need to care about right now is their eldest, Joffrey.  He's a dickwad of the highest degree, mostly because his balls haven't dropped yet and also he's an undiagnosed narcissistic sociopath.  He is the Crown Royal of Westeros (also known as the Seven Kingdoms) and nobody likes him.  Not even his own father(s) like him.  His fiancee, the Lady Sansa (we will get to her), really doesn't like him.  You also won't like him.  Don't try to be a hipster about this and like Joffrey just because it's cool to hate him and you want to be different.  If you like Joffrey you also like tearing out tiny baby bunnies' throats with your teeth and then saying "Heil Hitler" as you punch a gay kid in the face and kick an old lady to death.  It's just a fact.  Joffrey is number one on our list of the seven people vying for the throne.

The Lannisters live at court in King's Landing and hail from a place called Casterley Rock.  They always pay their debts, but usually it's by sticking a sword in your gut.  So, like, I wouldn't loan them anything, if I were you.

Also at court are some various hangers-on of importance:

- Varys, a eunuch/spider hybrid who would later go on to inspire the creation of Peter Parker, because they're equally as slimy and annoying.  Varys has spies everywhere and Varys knows when you are sleeping and he knows when you are awake and HOLY SHIT.  DID NO ONE REALIZE THAT SANTA CLAUS WAS JUST A MANIPULATIVE DICKLESS DUDE WITH A NETWORK OF ELVEN SPIES?

- Littlefinger is not a eunuch, even though it sort of is implied with his name, no?  He's very smarmy and he only serves his own interests.  Chief amongst Littlefinger's interests: sex with Catelyn Stark, talking about sex with Catelyn Stark, pouting that he isn't having sex with Catelyn Stark.  Do you need someone to be arrested, killed or aided in some way?  Tell Littlefinger that it will free up Catelyn Stark's vagina for his little finger and he'll do whatever you need.

- Bronn is the right-hand man of Tyrion Lannister and his only trusted friend.  For five dollars he can make you holla; he gets paid to do the Wild Thing.  (P.S. the "wild thing" is sticking a sword in someone's belly.  This is less euphemistic than it might seem.)

- Sandor Clegane, or the Hound, is the sworn sword of Joffrey Lannister.  He has a lot of self-esteem problems, on account of how his older brother Gregor is a huge psychopath who lit him on fire.  Once!  I don't see what he's so het up about!

- Shae is a whore in the streets and a lady in the sheets.  She's Tyrion's special lady friend.  He's trying to keep her existence unknown from Cersei, who wouldn't quibble to kill Shae just to hurt Tyrion, and from his dad, who thinks that Tyrion is too old to play with toys. 

- Maester Pycelle, who sits firmly in Cersei's pocket.  That's a metaphor, by the way.  He isn't actually a 2-inch tall man.

Joffrey the King's rule is being challenged by many.  Two of those people are his uncles.  So let's all leap like a stag to the Baratheon clan!

This is a story, of a man named Steffon, who was bringing up three boys on his own!

The Baratheon brothers are basically just like the Hanson brothers.  There's the cute one, the smart one and the one whom everyone forgets about because he's super boring. 

- Robert Baratheon, the middle brother, was King of Westeros until Cersei Lannister, his wife, basically had him killed.  I mean, to be fair, Robert mostly did it to himself; let's be honest.  He was a pretty shitty father, a terrible husband, and not that great of a best friend, but fuck me if he doesn't have his supporters.  His brothers do not fall in the supporters camp.

- Stannis, the eldest brother, is totally a shit.  He likes domineering women and monotheism.  He has literally nothing to recommend himself, his only daughter has huge ears, and he doesn't even let his friends keep their fingers.  However, bonus: his sperm can make shadow babies.  Stannis is number two on our list of the seven people vying for the throne.

- Renly, the cute little brother.  He's super fine and gay, a fact which most people seem to not really care that much about.  Don't expect him arguing against DOMA in front of the Supreme Court, though; he just decided to keep things tidy by marrying his boyfriend's sister.  Renly is third on our list of the seven people vying for the throne.  Or he was, until Stannis had him killed by sending a shadow baby into his tents and stabbing him.  Stannis is the suckiest brother evs.

Just like the Lannisters, the Baratheons have some friends.  They are:

- Loras Tyrell, Renly's boyfriend and Knight of Flowers.  People call him that because he is the only person in Westeros to use deoderant so when he lifts his arm to joust at someone, everyone gets a nice whiff of Axe body spray.  Loras uses Axe body spray because of course he does.

- Margaery Tyrell is Loras's sister and Renly's young wife.  They don't have sex on account of how Renly does not like vaginas.  This suits Margaery fine, for the most part.  When Renly is killed Margaery is sad because now she can't be queen anymore, until she decides to go after Joffrey instead.

- Davos Seaworth is a person who is not a children's entertainer, in spite of his name and the fact that he carries three of his fingers around his neck.  He was Stannis's most trusted advisor before Stannis met . ..

- Melisandre, the Red Priestess from As'shai, who has managed to hoodwink Stannis's wife and her guards into believing in the Lord of Light.  To be fair, the Lord of Light is probably real, on account of how Melisandre likes to give birth to shadow babies who can assassinate people.  Melisandre is not trusted in Stannis's wider circles, but she's all like, "this is how them players do it in As'shai!"  The moral of the story, Renly, is cuff your bitch, cause hey, Mel's kids are black shadows, they're rich, plus they sing, so they're a flirt.

- Brienne, the Lady of Tarth, is one of Renly's sworn swords and a knight on his Rainbow Guard.  She is kick ass and I will hear nothing against her, ever.  Brienne likes dudes, but everyone assumes she's a lesbian, on account of the fact that she's big and she doesn't wear dresses and I think she probably listens to a lot of Indigo Girls.  Once Renly dies, Brienne goes to serve Catelyn Stark.  More on Catelyn in a minute.

"WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?: a history of the Targaryens," by Erin Callahan

There is a family of silver haired sister-fuckers called the Targaryens.  They have a relationship with dragons that borders on Creepy but remains firmly ensconsed in Creepy's neighboring country, Fucking Nuts.  They have purple eyes because they are so royal that even their irises are pretenders to the throne.

Aerys Targaryen, Jr was a bad, crazy king who had a son who liked to do some rapes but one day he raped the wrong lady and that made Robert Baratheon mad and so he led a revolution against Aerys and Rhaegar (his son).  Aerys and Rhaegar and Rhaegar's wife and kids were all killed, but Aerys's sister/wife Rhaella fled Westeros with their young son Viserys and her fetus-baby Daenerys.  I guess "Susan" wasn't an acceptable option for a kid's name.

Viserys grew up to be a very fussy and weird person, like Dr Oz but without the tan, and he thought he knew just what everyone needed all the time.  But he was usually wrong and so one day when he tried to give a colonic to his brother in law, Khal Drogo, he got melted to death with some gold.  Which, as deaths go, is actually pretty opulent.  Better than gangrene, at least.

Daenerys is a much nicer inbred freak, so she decided she might like to be queen and sit on a pointy throne.  But first she has to get to Westeros, and that is really hard, on account of how she has no money and, once her husband gets gangrene and can't lead his troop of bronies, Dany has very few friends.  But she does have three dragons and she lets them suck on her nipples while she walks around naked, because George RR Martin thinks nothing of appealing to the very lowest denominator when it comes to his books.  Also I think that Dany may be suffering from post-partum disorder, on account of how ever since her baby was killed by a crazy witch, she's been super into making terrible decisions.  Dany is fourth on our list of the seven people vying for the throne.

Dany has friends, though!  Well.  A friend.  His name is Ser Jorah Mermont and he would like to make like a dragon and get to second base with her.

Okay, let's get back to Westeros and discuss the Starks, because there are a lot of them and they wear very fancy fur coats all the time.

Let the Winterfeeeeellllll

- Ned Stark is the father of the Stark clan.  He had an older brother, named Brandon, because everyone is named Brandon in the Stark family.  He also had a sister named Lyanna.  Brandon was engaged to marry Catelyn Tully, but then Brandon was killed by Aerys Jr around the time that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna.  This is what made Robert Baratheon (Lyanna's boyfriend) so angry and he and Ned and an old dude named Jon Arryn all decided to go to war, although I think on Jon Arryn's part, it was mostly because he didn't want to marry the Lady Lyssa, Catelyn Tully's sister.  Ned Stark and Robert became BFF so when Jon Arryn, Robert's right hand man, was murdered, Ned accepted Robert's offer to move to King's Landing and be his chief advisor.  This turned out to be a stupid fucking decision, because it cost Ned his head.

- Catelyn Stark (nee Tully) is Ned's wife.  She's very pretty and very fierce and I bet she would really suck as an in-law.  Buuuuut she also sometimes doesn't think things through.  Like when she kidnaps Tyrion and sparks a war.

- Rickon is the Starks' youngest child.  I can think of nothing to recommend him.

- Bran is the Starks' second youngest child.  He was thrown off of a tower by Jamie Lannister after he caught Jamie and Cersei making the beast with two backs.  To be honest, Bran probably deserved it.  Now he can't walk, but unfortunately, his whining bone was never broken.  He has a special relationship with his direwolf.  By "special," please understand that I mean that he is basically a furry.

- Arya is the Starks' youngest daughter, and she likes to fight and thrust swords into bellies.  Arya is the second hero of our tale.

- Sansa (Joffrey's fiancee) is the Starks' eldest daughter, and she likes dancing and being outwardly insipid and inwardly awesome.  I would argue that Sansa is really the third hero of our tale, but many people seem to think that Bran or Jon are more heroic.  They aren't.

- Robb is the Starks' eldest son, and he decides to go to war to avenge his father's arrest and death.  Robb makes poor choices in life but none of them are with regards to his hairstyles.  Robb is the fifth on our list of the seven people vying for the throne.

- Jon Snow is a bastard.  He's a bastard.  Have you heard that he's a bastard?  Don't worry; if you haven't, Jon will tell you that he's a bastard because he won't fucking shut up about it.  Jon is sad that he doesn't have a mom so he decides to go to The Wall, which isn't a Pink Floyd album.  The Wall is a big long structure that separates Westeros from the Free People, a group of wildlings who enjoy not bathing and having lots of sex all of the time.  It seems to me that everyone in Westeros would be a lot less uptight if they hung out with some wildlings.

The Starks have lots of friends, on account of how popular they are and the fact that they have hot springs in their house.  Some of these people are:

- Ser Rodrik Cassel, an aging knight with a basketball-worthy name.  He has fancy facial hair.

- Maester Luwin, who knows a lot of shizz.

- Uncle Benjen, a Man of the Night's Watch (at The Wall)

- Ygritte, a red-haired Wildling that has taken Jon Snow captive

- Samwell Tarly, a butterball of adorableness who serves as a Man of the Night's Watch with Jon

- Gendry, a bastard of Robert Baratheon's who unknowingly has the real claim to the throne.

- Hot Pie, a whiny little shit

- Jaqen H'gar, a member of the Faceless Men from Braavos who aids Arya in her escape from Harrenhall

- Osha, a wildling woman who was caught while trying to kill Bran and entered into service for the Starks.

- Hodor, a hodor.  Hodor, hodor, hodor!

- Theon Greyjoy, who was kept as a ward/hostage by Ned Stark after Theon's father, Balon, tried to overthrow Robert's rule.  He is played by Alfie Allen.  We're all pleased he finally heeded his sister's advice and got a job.

Beyond the Wall

As previously mentioned, a bunch of Wildlings live beyond the Wall.  They are led, as such, by a man named Mance Rayder, who used to be a Man of the Night's Watch.  They wish to flee from the Others, a group of zombies (basically) who are advancing towards the wall.  Mance is sixth on our list of seven people vying for the throne.

What Is Dead May Never Die

Theon, who was raised as a brother to Robb and Jon and the other Starks, goes back to his home on the Iron Islands to try to convince his dad Balon that they should help Robb's march south to win the Iron Throne.  Balon decides instead that the time is right to declare himself king once more, so Theon (to impress his dad) sails up to Winterfell, the home of the Starks, and captures it!  Theon's sister, Asha, thinks this is dead stupid.

Balon is seventh on our list of the seven people vying for the throne.

 

 

See?  Simple, right?  Here's how things stand in Westeros and beyond, briefly:

Ned is dead.  Theon has betrayed Robb and captured Winterfell. Bran and Rickon have escaped with Osha and Hodor.  Sansa is pleases not to have to marry Joffrey.  Arya has escaped Harrenhall (where she was being held prisoner) with the aid of Ja'qen H'gar and has Gendry and Hot Pie with her.  Stannis launched an attack on King's Landing and Tyrion's smarts won the day, but Tywin Lannister is going to take all the credit.  The Tyrells (Loras and Margaery and family) have aligned themselves with the Lannisters.  Dany is trying to amass an army to win back the throne.  Jon Snow has infiltrated the wildling camp to try to learn their plans.  And Robb Stark has just married a girl, even though he was betrothed to one of Walder Frey's daughters.  Ruh roh.

 

So now you know everything there is to know about the Game of Thrones universe that I had time to shove into one blog post.  Go, watch (and read), and report back!

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
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