Lots going on in the land of Westeros these days. The game of thrones is heating up with so many contenders for the crown that it's getting hard to keep track. But it's making for a compelling watch.
I've read up to book 4, so I'm able to keep track of all the characters on the show. I'd imagine for someone who hasn't read the books it can get a little confusing. The main contenders for the crown at this moment:
Currently sits the Iron Throne. A Baratheon by name although he is the incestuous child of twins Cersei and Jamie Lannister. Wields the might of House Lannister. He's a ruthless, arrogant little shit bastard and basically everyone hates him. His mother Cersei pretty much calls his shots, although the Robert Baratheon's bastard-baby murdering spree was his idea done without his mother's consent.
The dwarf, wise-cracking (he gets the best lines on the show), acting hand of the king. He's extremely clever and quick-witted, and openly hates his nephew Joffrey and his sister Cersei. He also shows his balls by calling out Varys' subtle threat against him, and by replacing Cersei's appointment Janos Sylnt, head of the gold cloaks, with his hired-sword Bronn. He's not actually a true contender for the throne at this moment, but he's such an awesomely badass character he deserved his own little write-up.
Probably has the surest claim to the throne in the light of Joffrey's bastardness. Has yet to really flex his muscle. He knows his younger brother Renly has more men, and the men he needs to make a run at King's Landing and the Lannisters. The major wildcard here is the mysterious red witch, Melisandre, servant to the lord of light. What kind of power can she provide for Stannis?
He's Stannis and Robert's little brother. A popular, charismatic figure among the inhabitants of Westeros. He has gathered an army of over 100,000 troops, many the bannermen of Stannis. He has not yet been shown in season 2, only referenced by others. He is a smart guy, as he realized the implications of Robert's death immediately and tried to warm Ned Stark to act. Sadly Ned didn't listen and, like always, Sean Bean's character was killed off. Look for Renly to have a big impact in the coming episodes.
Leads the armies of the North. Brilliant so far on the battlefield, winning each battle he's had with the Lannister forces. Captured Jamie Lannister, the kingslayer. Robb has proved himself to be a clever commander, and so far has outwitted the more experienced Tywin Lannister. Is currently looking to join forces with Renly and Balon Greyjoy to give him the man advantage he needs to crush the Lannisters, unseat Joffrey, and avenge his father's death. Is he stretching himself too thin?
Wildcards and New Characters
The mother of dragons. She is in rough shape right now. Over the sea in the Dothraki lands. She and her few followers are wandering through the desert, with little hope. Her only asset right now is her dragons. How can she use them?
Robb Stark's "brother". Taken from his home and fostered with the Starks as punishment for his father's role in Robert Baratheon's ascension to the throne. He now returns to the Iron Islands for the first time since his childhood. Clearly trying to impress his father, Balon Greyjoy, and prove that he is now a man. Seems like he is willing to turn on Robb to regain a place with his family. Also led to this super awkward exchange with his (unknown at the time) sister, Yara (Asha in the books):
Sure is a lot of incestuous behavior on this show
(Bonus fun fact: The actor who portrays Theon is Alfie Allen, brother of British singer Lily Allen and subject of the song "Alfie" on her debut album.)
We also get introduced to a new power player here, Theon's father Balon, who commands a large fleet of ships, and was once a king of his own right of the Iron Islands. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish
A man of low birth with a mind to make coin and sky-high aspirations. He's clever and dangerous. Valuable to the Lannisters because of his skill with money. Wields no real power, but remains a shadowy player. Put in his place by Cersei in episode 1, but shows his ruthless ambition in his brothel in episode 2. Will make whatever moves necessary to get ahead.
Arya Stark & Gendry
Both on their way to the Night's Watch. Both sought by the Lannisters. Arya as a bargaining chip with the Starks, and Gendry because he has a claim to the throne as Robert's bastard son. Will they escape the Lannister's reach?
Raised as Ned Stark's bastard son at Winterfell. Was never told the true story of his birth before Ned's death. Vague who his real parents are. Hasn't done much so far this season, but he is being groomed to take over as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Still learning his place in the world. Looks sufficiently badass and has a Valyrian steel sword and a red-eyed, albino direwolf, Ghost. Sees Craster handing a baby (boy, presumably) over to a White Walker.
Gilly, Craster's Daughter
Daughter/wife of that creepy old pervert, Craster. She's pregnant and is concerned for the welfare of her unborn child, especially if it's a boy. She befriends that lovable oaf Sam, and clearly wants Sam and Jon to help her escape Craster's pervy grasp.
Stannis' ace in the hole. The red priestess of R'hllor. Remains my favorite new cast member so far ( I really feel like they absolutely nailed this casting). Mysterious. We don't know much about her past or her true motivations. We do know that she is powerful (magic?) and believes in Stannis. She definitely has a role to play.
I'll stop here. You can see how grand the scope of this show is. I didn't even list all of the interesting characters. (I'm looking at you, Jaqen H'ghar)
There are plenty more. And more yet to be introduced. It's crazy. But I don't feel like writing all day. If you're new to the show, this should at least give you a little idea as to what's in store for the second season. If you haven't watched the first season yet, do. Otherwise you'll be lost and all the explaining in the world probably won't help.
Who's your favorite character?