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'Game of Thrones' season 2: Everything you need to know

March 30, 2012 |  6:00 am

Cheat Sheet: Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
HBO's "Game of Thrones" returns Sunday for its second season. And if you're not already well-versed in George R.R. Martin's detailed novels, then it probably took you several episodes of the first season to get up to speed with the characters, plots, counter-plots and Dothraki marriage customs.

While nearly 10 months have passed in the real world since last we visited the continents of Westeros and Esteros, very little time has elapsed in the Seven Kingdoms. So Season 2's premiere episode, "The North Remembers," plunges viewers right back into the thick of the (very) complex saga.

Starks are fighting Lannisters, Night's Watch soldiers are marching north, Dothraki horse warriors are marching east, and everyone is worried about an oncoming winter. How to get maximum enjoyment from the show right off the bat?

You could hurry and wolf down Martin's doorstop-sized books before watching the first episode, brew a pot of coffee and rewatch Season 1 straight through. Or there's our "Game of Thrones" cheat sheet, which helps explain who's related to whom and who's still alive.

You also could check out Mary McNamara's rave review of the new season. And you can read Geoff Boucher's interview with Queen Cersei herself, actress Lena Heady. Plus, there's a Q&A with "Thrones" costume designer Michele Clapton (along with a gallery of her work).

The ins and outs of Westeros aren't so intimidating now, are they?


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-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in "Game of Thrones." Credit: HBO