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Your ultimate 'Game of Thrones' Season 5 cheat sheet

With Season 5 of "Game of Thrones" starting Sunday, we've created a GIF-filled refresher course on who did what to whom, where and sometimes why. Plus, photo clues and a video recap.

Now playing: Watch this: 'Game of Thrones': Prepare for Season 5 in just 2 minutes

Unless you've pledged allegiance to the Night's Watch and been stuck on the Wall waiting for White Walkers, you've probably heard is about to start. In honor of the first season to deviate substantially from the book series it's based on (read: spoil the upcoming books), we've rounded up our favorite GIFs to remind you where your favorite characters have escaped from (and to); who's been Needle-ing whom; and who suffered the most heart-wrenching death(s).

Note that there may be some minor spoilers throughout, so steer clear if you want to head into the new season completely unsullied.

Here, then, is our GoT recap, presented character by character. The characters are listed in no particular order (though our editors did debate ordering them by "rightful heir to the throne").

Daenerys Targaryen

Queen of Meereen. Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men. Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Protector of the Realm. Mother of Dragons. Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. Probably the sassiest of all the leads, even including the Queen Regent.

She spent much of last season traveling from Yunkai to Meereen, and encountering some not great sights along the way. Case in point:

But she made it and she took over the city, only to later find out that her adviser Jorah Mormont had originally been a spy sent from King's Landing. She can't even look at him when she spares his life and exiles him.

Saddened, she still managed to take badass soldier Daario Naharis as a lover... we got our first glimpse of Hizdahr zo Loraq, a man who will be quite important this season -- if photos leaked earlier of Daznak's Pit are to be believed.

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When we left her, Dany was sadly locking her two remaining dragons into a vault, since she feared what they had done to others. And what they will grow to do.

No dragons, no Jorah, no one to truly trust. Season 5 looks like it's going to be a lonely one for Dany.

Cersei Lannister

The Queen Regent is starting Season 5 beyond angry.

Macall B. Polay/HBO

First, Margaery Tyrell marries her son and becomes queen, thereby turning Cersei into Queen Mother.

And then her son, King Joffrey, dies. Poisoned. At his own wedding. (Admit it, you cheered.)

Of course, she blames her brother, Tyrion, assuming he must have assassinated the king to get back at her. She takes him to trial, and when he demands a trial by combat instead, she picks the beefiest, burliest man in the Seven Kingdoms: Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain, aka the sadistic brother of The Hound.

The rest, well, doesn't bode too well for Tyrion. A fan favorite of Season 4 was silver-tongued Prince Oberyn Martell, aka the Viper, and the man who chose to be the Lannister brother's champion. Basically he wanted to help not because he cared about Tyrion or even the Lannisters at all, but because he wanted revenge for his sister, who was murdered years ago by The Mountain. Unfortunately...he doesn't quite get it.

Last we saw, The Mountain was unwilling to die and Cersei's experiments on him were tip-toeing into the supernatural. Cersei seems poised to set fire to the world this season. But her cavalier attitude will likely (OK, definitely) bring her some pain.

Jaime Lannister

Returning to King's Landing didn't exactly lead to the homecoming Jaime was expecting. It was great to see his twin sister, until she snubbed him -- and his new golden hand.

He thought his dad would be happy to have him alive -- but without a sword hand, what use was he to Tywin? He remained on the Kingsguard instead of slinking back home to Casterly Rock...and maybe because of it had to watch his king die at the Purple Wedding. But this is all Jaime's ever known.

Jaime was also seriously conflicted about Brienne of Tarth. They spent a lot of time together traveling home, and maybe he developed some confusing feelings for someone he's not related to.

So Jaime sends Brienne away from King's Landing -- maybe because of his feelings, or maybe to protect her from his sister. In any case, he gives her some steel (which she names Oathkeeper in a totally obvious nod to him) plus some specially crafted armor, and sends her off to track down the Stark girls with squire Poderick in tow.

By the end of the season, Jaime is back in Cersei's graces, but only because she doesn't know he helped his brother escape. Oh, or that said brother killed their father on his way out of town. The beginning of Season 5 promises to be a doozy for both of them.

Tyrion Lannister

Now married off by his father to Sansa, Tyrion's dad is hoping for a ruler in the North on a technicality. Unfortunately, after the assassination of Joffrey, Sansa disappears and no one in King's Landing knows how.

So Tyrion is put on trial, much to his incredulity.

And instead of defending himself in a corrupt "courtroom," he demands a trial by combat; his champion versus the Queen Regent's pick. And, the Viper volunteers his services to exact revenge.

And, well, we saw how that ends, leaving Tyrion dismayed to say the least.

While he awaits his sentencing (death), he's just hanging out in the dungeon when his bro comes to visit. And help him escape. Tyrion heads out with directions to meet Varys, but he makes a pit stop first. And he sees Shae in his father's bed, killing her and then his father on the chamber pot.

In the end, he's boxed aboard a ship with Varys bound for...well, we don't really know exactly, except "east."

Arya Stark

After galavanting around the countryside with The Hound (I mean searching for her family and barely missing her aunt Lysa Arryn at the Eryie...)

...Arya and The Hound don't really have a next step. Then Brienne and her squire Pod come upon the two of them and recognize the sword-wielding girl as a Stark. Too bad her attempts to bring Arya "to safety" fall on deaf ears -- and start a fight with The Hound.

The Hound is mortally injured, so Arya nicks the gold he'd stolen during their travels and heads off for -- well, she doesn't seem to care where. That is until she sees a ship. Not just any ship, but one bound for Braavos. So she says the words...

And gets free passage on the ship, complete with room and board.

We're not really sure what the future holds for Arya, but we do know it includes some huge black and white doors and some seriously interesting character changes. Here's hoping for more of this awesome guy in her storyline:

Bran Stark

Basically Bran's been heading north, north and more north with Jojen and Meera Reed. And Hodor.

He's also been learning that he's a Warg, a being who can enter the minds of animals to perceive and interact with the world through them. (Bran also possesses greensight, or the psychic ability to see past and future events.)

When the traveling team reaches their destination, they're attacked and Jojen is killed. They're helped to safety, and Bran gets some disheartening news coupled with an invitation to stay and learn how to use his new "powers."

Sansa Stark

The only one (besides the murderer) to know who killed King Joffrey, Sansa has one of the most powerful "allies" in Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger. In fact, she unwittingly helped the widow Olenna Tyrell kill the king.

OK, "ally" might be stretching it a bit. But, as he told her, "Always keep your foes confused. If they don't know who you are, or what you want, they can't know what you plan to do next." So she keeps her "uncle" close and lets him bring her to her Aunt Lysa in the Eryie.

After Lysa "falls" through the Moon Door, however...

...Sansa realizes things will be different. When last we see her, she seems willing to finally turn the tables on Littlefinger -- but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Jon Snow

Back at Castle Black after living with the Wildings (and Ygritte), he has some serious intel on the Free Folks and their plans to storm the castle. Of course, many of the Night's Watch leaders think he's a traitor, which complicates his warnings.

When Mance Rayder's "army" does attack, it's with giants and mammoths and things some of the Night's Watch never believed existed. They do manage to hold onto the Castle -- but not without casualties. And Samwell Tarly proves himself a fighter yet again, and Grenn and Pyp sadly die in battle.

As Jon leaves his post on the Wall to help his brothers below, he joins the fight just in see his love taken down by a child once saved by the Night's Watch.

(All the feels, you guys.)

He mourns her and his brothers and heads out to kill Mance and end the battle. But he fails, and instead Stannis captures the King Beyond the Wall and brings Jon back to Castle Black. At season's end, Jon implores Stannis to burn all of the dead, and takes Ygritte's body north to do the same.

(Seriously, so many feels.)

But that's not all! Here are some more characters you should remember before Season 5. Below is where we left them at the end of Season 4, plus any notable traveling (or otherwise) companions.

Davos Seaworth (left) and Stannis Baratheon. HBO

Stannis Baratheon

Who is he? The "one true king" and "rightful heir," to hear his followers tell it. The younger brother of King Robert Baratheon, he feels he has a legitimate claim to the throne.

Where is he? Having traveled from Essos where he was trying to get a loan from the Iron Bank, when we last saw him he was storming Mance Rayder's camp in the North, beyond the wall.

Who's he with? Stannis has been traveling with quite the entourage, including his wife Lady Selyse of House Florent, and their daughter Shireen. In addition, he's with:

Melisandre, Priestess of R'hllor HBO

Davos Seaworth, aka the "Onion Knight"

His fingerless, right-hand man, Davos supports Stannis' claim with all his might. And yet feels there's something more than a little fishy about his King's god, R'hllor, also known as the Lord of Light, or the Red God.


Priestess of R'hllor and adviser (sometimes lover) to Stannis, she guides many of the King's decisions. Creepy in her own right, she has yet to share what her plan is other than "to serve the Lord of the Light."

Jon Snow (left) with Mance Rayder. HBO

Mance Rayder

Who is he? The King Beyond the Wall, and the first to unite all of the Free Folk and Wildings that live in the "true north." Jon Snow traveled with him a bit while undercover among the Wildings.

Where is he? After staging an attack on Castle Black, he and his people are camping beyond the wall. Jon Snow comes out to speak with him, and before they can get anywhere Stannis has approached and taken Mance prisoner.

Who's he with? At the end of the season, he's in Stannis' custody. It will be interesting to see where and how they're holding him, because his friend Tormund Giantsbane is already being held by the Night's Watch at Castle Black.


Who is he? Originally, he was Theon Greyjoy, ward of the Starks. Unfortunately, he's been captured by Ramsay Bolton (nee Snow) and was turned into Reek after some serious torture (and the removal of certain ahem, parts).

Where is he? Last we saw, Reek had helped Ramsay take Moat Cailin -- and Ramsay was getting his props for it from his father, Roose Bolton. After that, the duo headed for Winterfell.

Who's he with? Held captive by the Boltons, we're not quite sure if he even remembers who he once was. He certainly has a hard enough time remembering himself even as Reek.

This is far from a comprehensive list of all the characters and events in "Game of Thrones," but it's a start. For more characters we have yet to see, check out this announcement video from Comic-Con last year.

Finally, because we can't see how it won't come back to haunt everyone (if not this season), always remember the creepy White Walkers and how they continue to build their army...

Season 5 of "Game of Thrones" starts this Sunday, April 12, at 9 p.m. PT on HBO.