“Game of Thrones” returned to HBO on Sunday night, introducing a host of new characters, and developing other characters seen only briefly in Season 1.
Now, as the battle for the throne wages on, AccessHollywood.com has a cheat sheet on how to keep Episode 1’s emerging characters straight.
Stannis Baratheon, played by British actor Stephen Dillane
How He Was Introduced: On a beach, looking stern, Stannis watched as the red priestess (Melisandre) burned the idols of the old gods. She then asked him to pull a sword (Lightbringer) out of the sand, which she claimed would bring to life a prophecy about a great warrior — someone she thinks he is.
Characters He’s Tied To: He’s the younger brother of Season 1 character — the late King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), and the older brother of Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony), the latter of which will be seen again in the coming weeks. His right hand man is fellow newcomer Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham). Click HERE to see Gethin talk about Season 2.
Where You’ve Seen Stephen Before: The Brit donned a colonial American accent for his excellent portrayal of Thomas Jefferson, opposite Paul Giamatti in HBO’s seven-part 2008 miniseries “John Adams.” He also played Brooks Baekeland to Julianne Moore’s Barbara Daly Baekleland in the unsettling “Savage Grace” and Leonard Woolf to Nicole Kidman’s Virginia Woolfe in 2002’s “The Hours.”
Davos Seaworth, played by Irish actor Liam Cunningham
How He Was Introduced: He was the one raising an eyebrow, but stopping short of cutting in on the beach as Melisandre burned the idols of the old gods.
Characters He’s Tied To: Davos is loyal to his King – Stannis Baratheon, and has his eye on the redheaded witchy woman, Melisandre. He also has a son – Matthos – who was seen as Stannis dictated that letter where he announced to all of Westeros, the throne is his by right.
Where You’ve Seen Liam Before: As the baddie, Daniel Connolly, in “Strike Back” on HBO’s sister channel, Cinemax, last year. Also, he played President Richard Tate, opposite a conniving Eric Mabius (“Ugly Betty’s” Daniel) on BBC America’s “Outcasts.” Most recently, he played the army doctor who saved the equine in “War Horse,” and Alec Wade, in the Ryan Reynolds/Denzel Washington vehicle, “Safe House.” Click HERE to watch Liam chat about Season 2 with Access.
Melisandre, The Red Priestess, played by Dutch actress Carice van Houten
How She Was Introduced: After burning the idols on the beach, she later drank and survived a poisoning attempt as the mysterious red necklace around her throat began to glow.
Characters She’s Tied To: She serves as the highly-influential religious advisor to Stannis Baratheon, who seems to trust her every word.
Where You’ve Seen Carice Before: In 2010’s “Repo Men,” with Jude Law. She also played a blond priestess of sorts with Sean Bean in “Black Death,” which hit U.S. shores last summer and was Nina von Stauffenberg opposite Tom Cruise as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in 2008’s “Valkyrie.”
Craster, played by Robert Pugh
How He Was Introduced: Sitting on his chair in the territory beyond The Wall, surrounded by his wives, most of which, coincidentally, are his daughters (Gross!).
Characters He’s Tied To: He’s got his eye on Jon Snow (Kit Harington), he’s sharing knowledge (for a price) with Lord Commander Mormont (James Cosmo) and he’s the father/husband to Gilly (Hannah Murray).
Where You’ve Seen Robert Before: He’s appeared in a host of British television shows, but fans might remember him from Russell Crowe’s 2010 adventure, “Robin Hood.” Click HERE to hear Kit Harington talk about the wildlings.
Gilly, played by Hannah Murray
How She Was Introduced: Gilly made her debut, speaking a line clearly crafted by her husband and father, Craster (“This is our place, our husband keeps us safe. Better to live free than die a slave.”) as she tried to convince the men of the Night’s Watch that she was happy living in the wild north of The Wall.
Characters She’s Tied To: Her husband/father Craster, and – as of Episode 1 – the men of the Night’s Watch.
Where You’ve Seen Hannah Before: Hannah played Cassie Ainsworth in the UK’s “Skins” in 2008, alongside fellow “GOT-er” Joe Dempsie.
Gendry, played by Joe Dempsie
How He Was Introduced: Actually, Gendry was introduced last season when Sean Bean’s Ned Stark started looking for King Robert’s illegitimate children, only to find every son the monarch sired had black hair. Gendry also helped Arya Stark fend off a boy who tried to strip her of her sword Needle in the Season 1 finale. With a darker tint to his hair, Gendry cropped up in the final scene of Monday night’s Season 2 return, helping Arya into a cart headed to the Night’s Watch. He’s the boy with the bull’s head helmet.
Characters He’s Tied To: King Robert (although he doesn’t know), Arya Stark (who is in disguise as a boy).
Where You’ve Seen Joe Dempsie Before: Joe appeared in the UK version of “Skins,” alongside “X-Men First Class” star Nicholas Hoult and “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Dev Patel, which previously aired on BBC America, and is now available on HULU. He also cropped up in UK show “The Fades,” another BBC America import, which featured another “Game of Thrones” actor, Natalie Dormer, who will play Margaery Tyrell in the coming weeks.