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ARE YOU GAME?
Season 4 of Game of Thrones starts at a galloping pace Sunday night (9 p.m. ET) on HBO – and with its twists, turns and dozens of characters, it won't wait for you to catch up. So we've put together a handy, illustrated guide.
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TAKE A SEAT
The game begins – and someday will end – with whoever can unite and rule a realm fragmented by war. The prize is a chance to sit upon the Iron Throne, forged from swords, in the Great Hall of the Red Keep in the capital city of King's Landing.
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YOUNG & CRUELISH
King Joffrey is in charge at the start of season 4 after his army won the Battle of the Blackwater. He's a teen tyrant – with a wonderful gift for making and multiplying enemies.
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TOO CLOSE TO THE TREE
In addition to being raised in a court that disregards the law, Joffrey is the result of an incestuous affair between his mother/aunt Cersei and father/uncle Jaime, who come from the powerful Lannister family.
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REAL BAD COMPANY
Here are some more of Joffrey's chief hangers-on – most of whom, as you might guess, would just as soon see him hanged or just run away and never see him again.
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STARKS NAKED TRUTH
The Starks are a brave and noble clan with the dire wolf as their sigil. Many fans may want them to prevail in the end. The only obstacle is they keep dying.
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PUFF THE MARTIAL DRAGON
A warrior heroine, Daenerys Targaryen has at least one tremendous advantage in the quest to rule: She is incorruptible. Plus she's the only one with dragons. And she's got three of them. And she loves to free slaves and turn them into soldiers.
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WINTER IS COMING
While war rages on, all seven kingdoms fall under a very worrisome shadow – are these hideous, unstoppable soldiers heading south? And what do they want? The forecast is frightening! Check out the new season of Game of Thrones starting Sunday (9 p.m.) on HBO.
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