<i>By <a href=http://twitter.com/seth410>Seth Robison, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>With Season 2 of <B>Game Of Thrones</B> imminent, fans of fantasy, action and good drama are summoning up their memories of the fascinatingly complex land of Westeros, its environs and especially the complicated web of characters and relationships that make the show appointment viewing. <p>Season 2 will bring new characters, new locations, and of course some big new twists to the tale, making it fill more wrinkles in your brain than you thought possible for a television show. <p>Newsarama thought we'd take a moment to help and list ten details that may or may not have slipped from your mind in the intervening months between seasons and let you know why they are worth remembering. <p>So click through and see what you may have forgotten, and remember War is Coming. <p><li><b><a href=http://www.newsarama.com/tv/game-of-thrones-season-2-premiere-review.html>Review: GAME OF THRONES Season 2 Ready for War</a></b> <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>
In what was perhaps the most indelible image of the <B>Game Of Thrones</B> Season One finale, Daenerys Targaryen, Khaleesi of the Dothraki and last (remembered) living member of the ousted ruling family, emerges from the ashes of her husband's funeral pyre completely unharmed and in the company of three dragon hatchlings. Paralleling her own development over the course of the first season, the dragon's eggs came into her possession as valuable although thought lifeless relics of the past until tested in fire. <p>Long thought extinct, dragons were crucial in House Targaryen's original ascent to the Iron Throne. Before the power of their dragons, all the people of Westeros swore allegiance to Daenerys' ancestors until the species died out and passed into legend. Without the dragons, the Targaryens held onto power in the traditional means until the actions of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen inspired rebellion. <p>Before coming into the possession of Daenerys, the eggs belonged to Magister Illyrio Mopatis of the Free City of Pentos. At first the gift of the eggs seemed to be just a extravagant and thematically appropriate gift, but Mopatis' association with the eunuch, spymaster and Royal Advisor Varys hints that there are forces that might have wished to force the reintroduction of dragons to Westeros and recognized Daenerys' role in that before she did.
During Eddard Stark's investigations into how his predecessor as King's Hand, Jon Arryn, spent his last days, he came across young Gendry working as an apprentice blacksmith. Gendry turned out to to be perhaps the eldest illegitimate son of King Robert Baratheon by an unknown woman. Coupled with the kingdom's genealogical records, Stark discovered that the King's black hair was a dominate trait in his line, revealing that his 'legitimate' heir, the blond Joffrey, was not his real son but the product of an incestuous relationship between his mother, the Queen, and her twin brother, the King Slayer. <p>Like Jon Arryn, Stark failed to act on this information fast enough and when the time came, Joffrey assumed the Iron Throne. With Arryn, Stark, and his father the King dead, Gendry not only remains ignorant of his true lineage, but without the aid of their secret patronage is cast out of his place of work. Orphaned and unemployed, Gendry chooses to join the Night's Watch where he meets a fellow lost scion of a noble family headed north: a disguised Arya Stark.
Tyrion Lannister was just looking for some companionship on another of the nights he thought was going to be his last. This time it was the night before he was to lead the Hill Tribes of the Vale into battle with the House Stark. At his request, Tyrion's personal sell-sword Bronn delivers to him the prostitute Shae, a self-described foreigner that makes an impression on the youngest son of the Lord of House Lannister. <p>Despite his self-professed 'gift' of being able to read people, Shae is a mystery to Tyrion and in a game he stages to learn more about her, he ends up revealing more about himself than he likely ever has to any woman; she does claim she's not of low birth or a product of a single parent household. When his father directs Tyrion to act as the Hand of the King for his nephew Joffrey in order to temper the young man's (and his mother's) ambition, he forbids his son to take Shae along to court. Tyrion defies this order, and the pair delight in their rebellion and the trouble it might cause.
Far from the battlefields that consume the attention of the Great Houses of Westeros, the men of the Night's Watch keep their attention facing northward. Beyond the Wall, an ancient evil is stirring, creatures of legend are hacking men apart and turning others into zombie-like creatures. Among those charged with countering that threat is Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of Lord Eddard Stark. <p>Raised as a son and a brother in the Stark household, albeit with a certain chil by the lady of the house, Jon made it a point to never forget his place even when not reminded of it. Seeking a life where he could make a name for himself and avoid creating further friction in his father's house, Jon join's the Night's Watch and leaves the family permanently. <p>All Jon knows about his mother is her name: Wylla, and that she was a serving girl that his father encountered while engaging in a rebellion against the former King. Before he left for the Wall, Jon elicited a promise from his father to share more information about her the next time they met. This promise was forever broken with Lord Stark's death, and coupled with Jon's commitment to the Night's Watch of severing himself from his past, it's likely that he will never know who she is.
The eldest remaining brother of King Robert Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon looms large over the question of succession after the King's death. The revelation of the true parentage of Joffrey has given him cause to claim the throne for himself, a claim that is backed up by the dead king's also-dead closest ally, Eddard Stark. The latter's support and Stannis' proven aptitude on the battlefield made him the principal threat to Joffrey's young reign in the eyes of the Queen, even in absentia. <p>Closer to his dead brother, but further down the line of succession is Renly Baratheon, who himself lays claim to the throne with his suggestion that his wisdom and intelligence is the right answer to solve the problems in the Kingdom, rather than continuing the reign of former warriors like his two elder brothers. His attempt at gaining the allegiance of Eddard Stark for a quick and brutal coup d'état as King Robert lays dying ultimately fails and he flees the capitol to raise forces of his own.
Jaime Lannister the likely killer of Jon Arryn, the actual killer of the Mad King, and definitely the guy who pushed young Bran Stark out of a window for witnessing him having sex with his twin sister is the man largely responsible for the fate of the Kingdom as it is now. Wealthy, handsome, good with a sword, but not quite as clever as he thinks he is, Jaime's machinations have both placed his nephew (actually his incestuous son, remember) on the throne, but also plunged the kingdom into war. <p>A final error: underestimating Robb Stark, led to his capture by forces very hostile to him, with only the fates of the Stark daughters and a possible trade for their return keeping him alive. Captivity has not tempered Jamie, who after trying once again to outwit Robb by forcing a duel that would end in his own favor, senses the power he has as a prisoner and uses it to bait the widow Stark.
Hired by Eddard Stark to teach his daughter Arya to use the sword Needle that his illegitimate son Jon Snow gave her as a going away present, Syrio Forel is a master of the water dancing style of the Free City of Braavos. With a wit as sharp as his blade, he quickly earns the respect of the young lady and the pair train in secret from all members of her family, save her father. Arya proves to be a quick study, and the skills and confidence that Syrio imparts quickly prove useful to her during the panicked hours after the death of King Robert Baratheon. <p>Syrio apparently gives his life to buy time for his young charge to escape the guards of House Lannister and Meryn Trant in particular, skillfully holding them at bay with just a wooden practice sword. Although Trant appears in the company of the new King in the days that follow, Syrio's fate is not revealed. Leaving open the possibility that the The First Sword of Braavos told the God of Death Not today! and survived their encounter. Even if he passed as it appeared, there's always the chance that Braavos will play a bigger hand in the wars to come.
He might still be a child, as well as being the only son of Jon Arryn, Warden of the East and the Lord of the Eyrie, but one thing is for sure: Robin Arryn is too old to still be breastfeeding. Coddled by his mother (the sister of Eddard Stark's wife, Catelyn) Robin will come into control of a large part of Westeros when he is older, ready for it or not. <p>Easily outwitted by Tyrion Lannister during their brief encounter, Robin and his mother have unknowingly emboldened the rebellious local Hill Tribes who fell into alliance with Tyrion when he fled their citadel. In exchange for aiding the wayward Tyrion, they have been promised the backing of House Lannister in seizing power in the east from Robin.
Eddard Stark's younger brother, Benjen Stark, is the First Ranger of the Night's Watch and is abjectly the force's second in command. After recruiting his nephew Jon Snow to his order, he departs with a company of his rangers to the lands north of the Wall on a mission of reconnaissance. When his horse returns without him, a search party turns up his companions, seemingly dead. <p>After the apparent corpses reanimate and attack, coupled with the other signs of unusual/supernatural activity in Westeros, the Night's Watch mobilizes to investigate the North and discover Benjen's fate. The North is reportedly the home of giants, wights and the White Walkers: a race of legendary creatures that once laid waste to the entire world before they were driven back and imprisoned behind the Wall who now are rumored to be stirring again.
Some unspecified astronomical anomaly has granted the world on which Westeros lays with individual seasons that can last for an indeterminable number of years. As fun as the nearly ten years of summer weather the lands are currently enjoying is, looming in the background of all machinations of man is the impending winter, which could last just as long. <p>As told in the scary stories that Westeros residents tell children, years of snow and cold mean widespread famine and death as no crops can be grown on frozen soil and endless snowfalls bury the tallest towers. Political machinations, familial honor, and great wars would pale in comparison to the effects of such an ecological disaster. It is the motto of House Stark and a warning to everyone.