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Who's Who in Westeros: A Guide to Game of Thrones Season 2

Posted April 24th 2012 by Anthony DiPalma.

Maybe you're one of the four people who live under a rock and don't understand the epic amazingness that is Game of Thrones. Relax, it's fine, really. Nobody* is judging you! Westeros is a big place, though, and filled with backstabbing, thieving, money-grubbing and whore-mongering bastards. Which of these bastards can you trust? Well we're here to help you pick a side or five in the battle for the Iron Throne. Read our handy-dandy, totally awesome guide to the Five Kings vying for control of the Seven Kingdoms and pledge your loyalty! A word of warning, though: Season 1 spoilers will be below, so if you have not finished, you'd better hurry up... Winter is coming.

*Everybody is judging you.

The King In the North:

"The King in the North!" Even the lowliest of Westerosi beggars hears the chant of the northerners declaring their independence. Robb Stark fights for the honor of his father Ned, who fell victim to royal treachery when he discovered that Prince Joffrey Baratheon was born from incest and had no true claim to the Iron Throne. Anyone who has watched the entirety of season 1 knows that the Starks in the north haven't exactly had the best luck. For one, the head of the family lost his... err, head. On top of that, the only two Stark girls are missing. Sansa is currently a hostage in King's Landing and Arya (or Arry the Orphan Boy) begins a harrowing journey across the kingdom to hide from the Lannisters.

Meanwhile, poor Bran Stark, the younger brother of Robb has been crippled since the second episode of season 1, and their mother Catelyn has to endure all of this with a straight face. Underneath all the treachery the Starks have faced, it's easy to see why they're the family viewers will sympathize with. I mean, they're just so unlucky, right?

Well it looks like their luck is about to change. Robb and his Direwolf Grey Wind have proven themselves to be excellent warriors, as they've won every battle against the Lannister family so far. Robb does not desire to be king of all the lands, however. He is, as he claims, fighting for the North to be free from the tyranny of the South. Who knows, maybe poor old Ned didn't die for nothing after all.

The King in the Capital:

Oh, those terrible Lannisters. Where to begin? Unlimited wealth, vast armies, and incest... We'll start with incest. The golden-haired lions and their golden-haired children are pretty much the de facto rulers of Westeros. These rich snobs have pushed the Starks around from the very beginning of the series and haven't exactly done much to gain the favor of the realm. To start, Jaime Lannister, a sworn knight of the Kingsguard, sleeps with his sister, Cersei. It'd be slightly acceptable if these siblings weren't completely awful people, but since they are, we don't need to hear any more about their affairs. OR DO WE? (We do.)

See, it doesn't just end with brother-sister sex. No, in fact, their relationship goes much deeper than that. See, Cersei Lannister is Queen, which would mean that the son she had with King Baratheon would make him the heir. Cersei does have a son, but he is a pompous little shit who needs a good slap. Oh, and her son Joffrey, now king, is also her brother's. So there's that. Again, this wouldn't be so completely awful if Joffrey weren't such a monster. This kid has managed to piss off an entire fanbase just by his sadistic order to have fan favorite Ned Stark killed in a shocking turn of events for first-time viewers last season. Joffrey has his crown and currently sits on the Iron Throne, but will karma eventually bite him in his inbred ass?

Not all the lions are terrible beasts who just so happen to have sex with their siblings, though. In fact, one favorite of the series is Tyrion Lannister, a dwarf who doesn't have sex with Cersei or Jaime or their cousins or anyone except whores. Tyrion was never liked by anyone in his family (other than renown sister-fucker, Jaime) so he already has the sympathy factor that made everyone love the Starks. In addition to this, Tyrion is absolutely hysterical and provides much of the shows comic relief and manages to show that, even though he is a Lannister, he does have compassion for Sansa Stark. Tyrion is the man, and if the Lannisters die out, so does he. Damnit.

The Lord's Chosen:

Religion isn't often discussed in a show like Game of Thrones. Sure, the Starks blab on about the Old Gods when they're not getting beheaded or being held hostage, but really, religion isn't a big part of the series. I mean, how much religion can a show where men literally get erections in hot tubs while naming extinct dragons really have? Luckily, Lord... Sorry, King Stannis Baratheon is here to fix that.

See, Stannis Baratheon has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne. For one, he is the brother of dead king Robert. Since Joffrey is not an actual heir (rather a monster born from incest), the only living heir is Stannis. Ned Stark saw this and supported his claim last season, but the missing Stannis was a bit busy being a jerkwad in Dragonstone, an island east of King's Landing. Another reason why Stannis deserves support is because he is an effective military strategist who has commanded entire armies to victory. Not only is Stannis's claim fair, but his mistress, Lady Melisandre of Asshai, certainly has some tricks up her sleeves.

Lady Melisandre, also known as "The Red Woman" is a priestess of the Lord of Light, a god who speaks through fire. She can see the future in the flames and uncovers the prophecy which states that a hero will rise from salt and smoke to wield a flaming sword and cast light in the darkness. Melisandre believes this true king is Stannis and recognizes that there is more to this conflict than the rest of the feuding nobles will believe, for the night is dark and full of terrors.

The King in Highgarden:

King Renly Baratheon fights his brother Stannis for the Iron Throne and currently sits in Highgarden, an area owned by the Tyrells, the second richest family of Westeros. While Stannis has an actual claim to the throne, Renly is just a more likable guy, which makes for some awkward family dinners, I'm sure. His sweet crown alone is worth supporting, but in truth, Renly seeks more than just a seat on the Iron Throne. Since his claim isn't as legitimate as that of Stannis, Renly uses his influence and friendly disposition to rally troops. His big name in combination with the big money the Tyrells have should be enough to make Renly a formidable foe. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

Last season, viewers were... um, treated to a nice little scene detailing Renly's sex life. While this was never shown in the books, it was implied that Renly Baratheon pierced many a knight with his phallic lance. In order to hide this from the totally unsuspecting public, a marriage is arranged between Renly and his secret boyfriend's sister, Margaery Tyrell. So not only are Renly's family dinners awkward, but so are his bedtime stories.

Still, Renly is the nicest of the bunch, and seems to be offering new changes under his rule. He plans to serve the common people, not rule over them with an iron fist. Perhaps Renly could bring some big political changes to Westeros. Who knows, maybe we'll even see democracy forming across the Seven Kingdoms.

The Lord Reaper of Pyke:

Of all the contenders for the Kingship, Balon Greyjoy has the least claim to the Iron Throne. The thing is, Balon Greyjoy doesn't need a to have a claim. If he wants it, he will take it. The Greyjoys are a fiercely independent family who value strength over everything else. Bloodlines matter, but if your blood is not worthy of leadership, well, it's off to the Drowned God with you.

A few years after King Robert Baratheon came into power, Balon led a rebellion to separate the Iron Islands from the rule of King Robert. Of course, he failed and has undoubtedly been bitter ever since. Instead of being put to death however, King Robert respected him for fighting valiantly and had Ned Stark hold onto Balon's only living son, Theon, as a sort of insurance policy in case the Greyjoys got any more ideas about trying to fight back.

Now that Ned Stark is dead however, Theon can return to his father if Robb Stark permits it. The Greyjoys are reapers, and their words are "We Do Not Sow," which clearly means there is some big trouble brewing on the Iron Islands. If the Seven Kingdoms are at war with one another, surely it will be easy to sweep in and take control. Sure, there may not be honor in killing a weakened foe, but maybe this is just what Balon Greyjoy wants.

The Queen Across the Water:

OH AND WHO COULD FORGET THE DRAGONS? Daenerys Targaryen has the most valid claim to the Iron Throne because her family ruled for over 300 years before King Robert Baratheon overthrew the Targaryens. Of course, Robert had his reasons; Daenerys's brother, Rhaegar kidnapped the woman Robert loved (who just so happened to be Ned Stark's sister) and an entire war was started to get her back. Of course, Ned's sister died anyway, but enough about that.

The fact is, Daenerys and her rotten brother Viserys were exiled and hidden in the Free Cities, part of the eastern continent across the Narrow Sea of Westeros. Daenerys went through quite the journey last season, as she was traded to be the wife of a barbarian warlord named Khal Drogo in exchange for an army of soldiers for Viserys to take across the sea and reclaim the Iron Throne. When Daenerys falls in love and finds out she's got a bun in her oven, shit gets real. Eventually Khal Drogo, out of love for Daenerys, murders her brother when he threatened to kill their unborn child.

Long story short, Khal Drogo died as well due to an infection he received in battle, and when it turns out their baby is a stillborn, Daenerys all but gives up hope. It is when her treasured stone dragon eggs hatch that she discovers her destiny... To raise freaking DRAGONS AND WAIT FOR THEM TO GROW WHILE THEY BURN SHIT.

Now, Daenerys still has quite the journey ahead of her. These dragons are just baby lizards right now, but I'm willing to bet a ton of people are going to support her claim and, as was mentioned in season 1, hail the return of the dragons to Westeros.

But really, so many rulers, so little time. Which of these leaders do you support? Which do you wish to see on the Iron Throne? Do you like dragons? Have you washed your hands today? Let us know!

Tags: books, game of thrones, season, Westeros, swords, fantasy, tv

Posted in: Features, Entertainment

Comments (3) | Permalink | Digg | Reddit

User Comments

A Concerned Super Villain

You seem like you don't know much about A Song of Ice and Fire.....

Tuesday, April 24th 2012



I think he's trying to avoid giving any spoilers for season 2.

Tuesday, April 24th 2012



What? Your guys' history teachers didn't teach you all this in school? Come on.

Friday, April 27th 2012

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