gameofthrones01-emiliaclarke-frontEmilia Clarke’s steely character Daenerys Targaryen is resurgent in HBO’s Game of Thrones Season Three, but she will face a whole new landscape of shifting alliances and intrigue. Here’s a who’s who of characters so you can keep up with all the action!

“Game of Thrones,” may be the most complex show ever to air on televsion because of its myriad characters. Sometimes, watching the show is as difficult as playing a 3D chess game. And that’s what Game of Thrones is all about; politics, intrigue and cold steel.

Season Three will introduce yet more characters like the Queen of Thorns Olenna Tyrell, played by veteran English actress Diana Rigg.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster also joins as Jojen Reed, the younger brother of Meera Reed and eldest son and heir of Lord Howland Reed of Greywater Watch. Sister Meera will be played by Ellie Kendirck.

Rapper Ed Skrein and actor Jacob Anderson have been cast as Daario Naharis and Grey Worm. And, Ciarán Hinds, who starred so ably in the hit HBO series “Rome” will play “King-Beyond-the-Wall” King Mance Rayder.

Check out the characters below, both old and new to catch up where Season Two left off. HBO promises that heads will roll in the new season. We shall see. Click on any of the photos to enlarge. Or click here to go straight to the photo gallery.

Daenerys Targaryen: Ah sweet Daenerys (Clarke) has finally ready to leave her long exile behind. She departs Qarth to reclaim the Iron Throne and has a few dragons up her sleeve to help. Back Story: She is the only surviving child of King Aerys II Targaryen who was ousted from the Iron Throne during Robert’s Rebellion. She’s been exiled in the East, but feels the throne is rightfully hers.

Tyrion Lannister: Poor Tyrion, his military prowess saved King’s Landing during the battle of Blackwater Bay. But what did he get for his trouble? Nearly assassinated and an ugly scar on his face. Stripped of his power as the King’s Hand, how will he exact revenge? Back Story: Tyrion Lannister is the youngest son of Lord Tywin Lannister, and must rely on his intellect to overcome his dwarfism.

Arya Stark: Arya (Maisie Williams) is on her own in Season Three. She escaped from Harrenhal and turned down an offer to learn the tricks of the “Faceless men.” Instead, she’s on a quest to find her family. Back Story: Arya is the younger daughter of Lord Eddard Stark. When her father was betrayed and arrested, Arya managed to flee. She’s determined to find her way home.

Robb Stark, Talisa Westerling: Robb (Richard Madden) had a chance to create a strong political alliance in Season Two through marriage, but chose love instead and secretly married Talisa Westerling (Oona Chaplin), a Volantene noblewoman. Silly boy. He continues his quest to free the North from rule by the Iron Throne and King Joffrey. Back Story: Stark was declared King of the North by the House Stark and its allies after Eddard Stark’s execution.

Brienne of Tarth: Brienne, (Gwendoline Christie) a fierce female warrior, has been given the task of escorting the every wily Jamie Lannister back to King’s Landing. He tries to gain her favor with his wit and humor, but she hasn’t fallen for it… yet. Back Story: Brienne is a warrior in the House Tarth, which serves the House Baratheon. She shows her combat skills in a tournament and earns a place as a member of King Renly Baratheon’s new Kingsguard.

Cersei Lannister: Cersei (Lena Headey) is doing her best to influence and protect her son, King Joffrey, both from his enemies and himself. After his cowardliness at the Battle of Blackwater Bay, her life has become that much more complicated. Tyrion may be out to get her for the attempt on his life. Back Story: Cersei is widow of King Robert Baratheon and Queen Regent of the Seven Kingdoms. She installs Joffrey on the throne, fawning him off as the son of Robert. He’s actually the spawn of an incestuous affair with brother Jaime Lannister.

Jon Snow: Snow (Kit Harrington) headed North on Season Two, going deep into the land beyond the wall. He’s captured by the wildlings, but he’s convinced them he’s no threat with help from Ygritte, a wildling who captured him and now has the hots for him. Back Story: Snow is the bastard son of the late Lord Eddard Stark and a steward in the Night’s Watch. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont is his protector and sees Jon as a surrogate son.

Melisandre: Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is a sorceress and seductress who convinced her lover, Stannis Baratheon, he could take King’s Landing, leading to his devastating defeat. Her fate is in doubt after Stannis loses faith in her. Back Story: Melisandre is a Red Priestess of the Lord of Light, a deity worshiped in Asshai, her homeland. She supposedly has the power of prophecy.

Stannis Baratheon: Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) held the upper hand in Season Two. But his ill-fated attack on King’s Landing has left him brooding and bitter with his power greatly reduced. Whether he continues to let Melisandre guide him remains to be seen. Back Story: Baratheon is the Lord of Dragonstone and brother of the late King Robert Baratheon. Stannis claims the Iron Throne after discovering that Joffrey is a bastard son.

Olenna Tyrell: Tyrell (Diana Rigg), known as the “Queen of Thorns” for her biting observations is a new character in Season Three. She lives in House Tyrell where she has become well seasoned in the art of court politics and intrigue. Back Story: Tyrell is the widow of Luthor Tyrell and the mother of Mace Tyrell, the Lord of Highgarden and the head of House Tyrell.

Jojen Reed: Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) debuts in Season Three. He is the younger brother of Meera Reed. He aids Bran Stark with his gift. Back Story: Reed is Howland Reed’s only son. He has greensight, the power of prophetic dreams. He pledges his support to Winterfell and Robb Stark after Eddard Stark’s death.

Meera Reed: Meera (Ellie Kendrick) Bran, Jojen, Rickon, Osha and Hodor escape Winterfell and Theon Greyjoy’s clutches by hiding in crypts. After the castle is sacked by Ramsay Snow, they flee and Meera leads them to safety. She uses her hunting skills to feed everyone. Back Story: Meera is the only daughter of House Reed, which rules over Greywater Watch. She is known for her hunting prowess and combat skills with a net and a frog spear.

Bran Stark: Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) escaped Winterfell with Jojen and Meera Reed and was heading for the Wall at the urging of Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter) as he lay dying at the end of Season Two. Back Story: Bran is the crippled son of Eddard Stark. He has adopted the direwolf Summer, who protects him. Jon Snow is his bastard half-brother.

Ygritte: Ygritte (Rose Leslie) was captured by Jon Snow on his trek north, but he doesn’t have the heart to kill her. She takes him prisoner and leads him back to her Wildlings tribe. Jon gains their trust and sees the possibility of an alliance, while Ygritte falls for him. Ygritte finally seduces him, and they begin a torrid affair as they march for the Wall. Back Story: Ygritte lives among the “Free Folk” and is not bound to anyone. She must live by her wits, strength and cunning to survive north of the wall. She believes the Wildlings and Northerners are both descended from the First Men, and should unite.

Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell: Joffrey (Gleeson) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) are Game of Thrones’ version of a Hollywood power couple. He’s survived Stannis’s assault and diminished Tyrion, but they still have his mother to contend with and the other claimants to the throne. Back Story: Joffery currently rules the Seven Kingdoms, but because he’s the bastard son of Jaime Lannister and Queen Cersei Lannister, his claim to rule is being challenged. Margaery is part of the alliance between House Lannister, which backs Joffrey, and House Tyrell, the ruling house of the Reach.

Mance Rayder Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) finally emerges in Season Three after long being a shadowy presence beyond the Wall. He joins Jon Snow and marches on the wall, but must be ever wary of the White Walkers. Back Story: Rayder is a Night’s Watch defector and the feared King Beyond the Wall. He was born a wildling, but was given over to be raised by the Watch when still an infant.

Catelyn Stark: Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) has fallen afoul of her son because she freed Jaime Lannister and ordered her loyal soldier, Brienne of Tarth, to take him back to King’s Landing as ransom for her daughters. Back Story: Catelyn is from House Tully and married into House Stark. She is a devoted mother and will do anything to protect her children. Her husband Eddard Stark was the Lord paramount of the North.

Beric Dondarrion: Beric (Richard Dormer) takes over the role from David Michael Scott from the first season. He leads a company of men to hunt down Ser Gregor Clegane, so he can be tried for atrocities committed against the people of the Riverlands. Back Story: Dondarrion is the Lord of Blackhaven and the head of House Dondarrion, who has pledged fealty to House Baratheon of Storm’s End. He lives for the conquest as a knight.

Sansa Stark: Sansa (Sophie Turner) once loved Joffery, but ended up despising him for his cruelty, treachery and for executing her father. After he breaks their engagement, Sansa fears for her life and flees King’s Landing to find her family. Back Story: Sansa is the eldest daughter and second child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark.

Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully: The Blackfish (Clive Russell) makes his debut in Season Three. He is Catelyn Stark’s uncle and a skilled knight of House Tully. He provides invaluable support to Robb Stark as an adviser and captain of the outriders. Back Story:Brynden is the younger brother by five years to Lord Hoster Tully. He proved his bravery and fighting skill in a series of wars and is now renowned and feared throughout the Seven Kingdoms. He’s also just and honest.

Tywin Lannister: Tywin (Charles Dance) had arrived back in King’s Landing to rejoin his family when Season Two ended. He replaced Tyrion as the King’s Hand, and is grandfather to Joffrey. Back Story: Tywin is Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport and Warden of the West, which makes him one of the most powerful lords in Westeros. He has some major father-son issues with Tyrion. He is the center of the Lannister’s power.

Thoros of Myr: Thoros (Paul Kaye) appears for the first time in Season Three. He is the red priest of the Lord of Light and close to Melisandre. He’s also a skilled warrior would could get Stannis back on his feet. Back Story: Thoros is from the Free City of Myr and a member of the King’s Landing court. He was given to the red priests of R’hllor at a young age and later becomes a key player in the Brotherhood Without Banners.

Jaime Lannister: Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldauas) was en-route to King’s Landing under the watchful eye of Brienne of Tarth. She’s been ordered to trade him for Catelyn’s daughters. Back Story: He is the second child and first-born son of Lord Tywin Lannister and Lady Joanna, also of House Lannister. Jaime has had a not-so-secret incestuous relationship with his twin sister, Cersei.