'Game of Thrones' fans, especially those who have read the books, know that Season 4 is going to up the stakes and take the show forward in a way that the previous seasons did not.
Now, a lot has happened since season 3, most of the characters are still processing what happened at the 'Red Wedding' and as the Lannister's prepare for King Joffrey to wed Margaery Tyrell, the world of Westeros is getting that much bigger. As with the previous seasons, season 4 will introduce a host of new characters, some may have been mentioned before while others will seem to come out of nowhere. But the book readers may recognise some of them, the fans who watch the show on TV might get a little lost. Here's a little guide to all the characters you will likely see. But be careful and don't get too attached, as you well know, in George RR Martin's world, 'All Men Must Die'.
What Tyrion lacks in size and strength, he makes up for in mental acuity. Former Hand of the King in his father’s absence, he now serves as Master of Coin on the Small Council. He married Sansa Stark at his father’s insistence, but he continues to treat her with the utmost respect.
Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Cersei is fiercely protective of her three children. Even before she was married to Robert Baratheon, she was involved in an incestuous relationship with her twin, Jaime. Like her father, Cersei is interested in maintaining her position of power.
Cersei's twin brother and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, it was he who slew the Mad King in violation of his oath to protect the royal family. After Jaime was captured by Catelyn Stark, Brienne of Tarth escorted him back to King’s Landing. Jaime lost his sword hand to Roose Bolton’s henchman, Locke, along the way.
Princess of House Targaryen, Daenerys lives in exile in Essos with her advisors and dragons. Dany rallied the Unsullied of Astapor to her cause and continues to grow the army she needs to take back the throne.
Ned Stark's bastard son, Jon joined the Night’s Watch. On a mission for Lord Commander Mormont, Jon infiltrated the wildlings by pretending to forsake his Night Watch brothers. In doing so, he fell in love with Ygritte, a wildling woman.
Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger
Nakedly ambitious, Littlefinger left the Small Council to marry Lysa Arryn and secure the Vale to the Lannister’s side. Beyond his official duties, he is the eyes and ears of King's Landing along with Varys.
The oldest Stark daughter, Sansa has since realized that King's Landing isn't the fairy tale she assumed it would be. After her engagement to King Joffrey dissolved, Sansa was married to his uncle Tyrion Lannister, who has always treated her with the utmost respect.
The younger of the Stark daughters, Arya has put her survival skills to use as she continues to evade the Lannister forces that seek her. En route to the Twins in search of her mother and brother, she arrived at the castle after the Red Wedding.
Crippled after Jaime Lannister pushed him from a tower, Bran travels with his bannermen Jojen and Meera Reed to fulfill the visions that he and Jojen share.
Over-indulged and cowardly, the young king has a cruel streak, particularly when it comes to those who are vulnerable.
Father of Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion, Tywin Lannister is the wealthiest man in the Seven Kingdoms. He serves as the Hand of the King to his grandson Joffrey.
A former ward of House Stark, Theon was quick to join his close friend Robb in his rebellion against King Joffrey. But upon returning to Pyke as Robb’s envoy, Theon betrayed the family that raised him. He seized Winterfell, but was taken prisoner by Ramsay Snow, who tortured him into renouncing his true identity.
A mercenary, Bronn joined up with Tyrion Lannister in return for a rich reward. Bronn was knighted for his bravery during the Battle of the Blackwater.
Sandor Clegane, aka the Hound
The Hound was the personal bodyguard to King Joffrey and carried out his commands, no matter how monstrous. After abandoning King’s Landing during the Battle of the Blackwater, the Hound encountered Arya Stark in the Riverlands and been traveling with her ever since, in the hopes of collecting a ransom from her family.
The son of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, he lives in exile in Essos acting as an advisor to Daenerys Targaryen. Although Jorah originally joined Dany's company to spy on her, he has since become devoted to her.
A eunuch and a member of the Small Council, Varys is also a master of disguise. Along with Littlefinger, he is always aware of what goes on in Court.
Sam was forced to join the Night's Watch by his father as a means to disinherit him. He fell in love with Craster’s daughter Gilly, and fled with her and her newborn son into the wilderness after a band of Night’s Watch brothers rebelled at Craster’s Keep.
A prostitute who made an immediate impression on Tyrion Lannister, Shae joined him in King's Landing in direct defiance of his father's order to keep her away from court. She serves as Sansa Stark’s handmaid.
Melisandre (introduced Season 2)
A Red priestess from Asshai, Melisandre worships the Lord of Light. Her visions have told her that Stannis is the true king and as his advisor, she has encouraged him to pursue the throne at all costs.
Brienne of Tarth (introduced Season 2)
Brienne is a highborn lady who would rather be a knight. As Catelyn Stark’s envoy, she escorted Jaime Lannister back to King’s Landing. The two fighters developed a mutual respect for each other during their journey.
Davos Seaworth (introduced Season 2)
A reformed smuggler, it was Davos who provided Stannis' forces much-needed provisions during the long siege of Storm's End. He serves as Hand to King Stannis.
Margaery Baratheon (introduced Season 2)
Mace Tyrell's only daughter, she is as clever as she is beautiful. Renly Baratheon’s widow, she is now engaged to Joffrey Lannister.
Stannis Baratheon (introduced Season 2)
A serious man who preferred the solitude of the family seat in Dragonstone to King's Landing, Stannis is still challenging his nephew Joffrey for the Iron Throne. The priestess Melisandre helped him murder his brother Renly and narrow the field of rivals.
Ygritte (introduced Season 2)
A wildling woman that Jon Snow encountered traveling beyond the Wall, Ygritte is fiercely proud of her free status. Her opinions have clouded Jon’s stance about the Night’s Watch.
Once a brother of the Night’s Watch, Mance abandoned his vows to join the wildlings. He serves as their King Beyond the Wall.
Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain
A cold-blooded knight in the service of House Lannister and Sandor Clegane's older brother, his nickname is a reference to his towering height.
A strong but slow-witted recruit who joined the Watch at the same time as Jon Snow, Grenn initially resented Jon's arrogance. The two became friends when Jon began teaching him swordsmanship.
A bastard son of Robert Baratheon, Gendry met and befriended Arya Stark on the road north. Melisandre brought the boy to Dragonstone as a sacrifice for Stannis Baratheon, but Davos Seaworth set him free.
A younger prince of Dorne, Oberyn Martell is also a fierce fighter who earned the nickname, the “Red Viper.”
A wildling woman who tried to kidnap Bran, she is now a close friend. She is escorting Rickon Stark to Last Hearth for safekeeping.
Rickon, the youngest of the Stark children, is traveling north with Osha. His direwolf is named Shaggydog.
Fair-haired and demure, Myrcella now lives in Dorne as part of a deal her uncle Tyrion made with House Martell to align their houses and keep the princess safe.
The youngest of Robert and Cersei's children, Tommen is next in line to the throne. Like his sister Myrcella, he is easy-going and fond of his uncle Tyrion.
Lord of the Dreadfort and head of House Bolton, Roose takes pride in his family's sigil of a flayed man. A proven soldier who joined Robb Stark on the battlefield, Lord Bolton subsequently betrayed him to gain favor with Tywin Lannister.
Oldest child of Howland Reed, lord of Greywater Watch and a friend of the Starks, Meera is a skilled hunter. She is fiercely protective of her frail younger brother, Jojen.
Jojen is the only son of Howland Reed, lord of Greywater Watch and a friend of the Starks. His sister Meera keeps careful watch over him.
Renly Baratheon’s secret lover, Loras sided with the Lannisters after Renly’s murder and helped them defend King’s Landing. As a means to solidify the Tyrells’ alliance with the Lannisters, Loras is engaged to marry Cersei.
A legendary wildling leader who supports Mance Rayder, Tormund is a fair and formidable warrior.
Podrick is Tyrion’s squire. Quiet and unassuming, he saved Tyrion’s life at the Battle of the Blackwater.
Although trained in the medical arts, Qyburn was censured by the Citadel for his unauthorized experiments and does not wear the chains of a maester. He joined Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister on their journey to King’s Landing and has remained there since.
Thoros of Myr
A native of the Free City of Myr and a famous soldier, he has since joined the outlaw group the Brotherhood Without Banners. Although Thoros serves as a priest for the Lord of Light, he is fond of drink.
Olenna Tyrell aka The Queen of Thornes
Matriarch of House Tyrell, Lady Olenna is not shy about sharing her opinions. Although fond of her granddaughter Margaery, she feels less generous toward the men in her family.
Lord Beric Dondarrion
Lord Beric of Blackhaven, he was tasked by Ned Stark, then Hand of the King, to bring Gregor Clegane to justice. A follower of the Red faith, Beric has been brought back to life several times by Thoros of Myr.
One of Craster’s daughters, she also served as his wife. After the mutiny at Craster’s Keep, Gilly fled into the wilderness with Samwell Tarly.
A first cousin of Queen Cersei, he bears some resemblance to her brother Jaime. Lancel fought bravely during the Battle of the Blackwater and suffered a grave injury defending the city.
A bastard son of Roose Bolton, Ramsay’s bloodlust is even stronger than his father’s. After taking Winterfell, he captured Theon Greyjoy and slowly tortured him into submission.