Game of Thrones' House Lannister has something to celebrate, and we're not talking about the upcoming royal wedding.
Viewers learned last season that Tywin Lannister masterminded the Red Wedding ambush that killed off three Stark family members, their bannermen and ultimately, their bid for the Iron Throne. This means that in the War of Five Kings, only three remain. Long live King Joffrey! But is peace and prosperity in the cards for the fair-haired family? Not bloody likely! Before the Season 4 premiere on Sunday (9/8c, HBO), we check in with the Lannisters to see where we left off and what's next.
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Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson)
Where we left off: The teen monarch cozied up to his betrothed Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and enjoyed the benefits of her popularity with the people of King's Landing.
What's next: Gearing up for the royal nuptials will bring out King Joff's best behavior, which will be snotty at best, especially when it comes to his uncles Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion Peter Dinklage). As for the wedding itself, expect some ego-stroking, one very impressive gift and some questionably tasteful entertainment arranged personally by the king.
Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance)
Where we left off: The Lannister patriarch proved who was really in charge by pulling of the Red Wedding coup and also sending the king -- his nasty grandson Joffrey -- to his room for mouthing off one too many times.
What's next: Tywin will make a decision about part of the legacy the late Ned Stark (Sean Bean) left behind and will be called upon to offer wise counsel when crisis hits King's Landing once again. However, the master tactician will make one miscalculation, which could have major consequences for the Seven Kingdoms.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
Where we left off: The Queen Regent butted heads with her brother Tyrion, who doesn't show her or Joffrey any respect, and Margaery, who has won over the people of King's Landing through kindness. Cersei also got a glimpse of her maimed twin Jaime upon his return to the Red Keep.
What's next: Cersei will be a reluctant mother-in-law. "She's not a lover of Margaery," Headey tells TVGuide.com. "I think she'd be happier if the wedding didn't happen." Also, the twincestuous lovers won't have the happiest of reunions. "She's back with Jaime, and things have changed for her," she adds. "He's appeared thinking it was going to be as it was. She's kind of stood alone for a year, and lots has happened and is trying to decide what's going to work for her. She's quite selfish." That awkwardness, however, doesn't compare to the friction she'll have with her younger brother.
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Where we left off: En route to King's Landing, he got taken hostage. It's safe to say Jaime wasn't a fan of his captors' "hands off" approach to punishment: Their leader literally chopped off his sword hand. They also helped his traveling companion Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) escape from a bear.
What's next: Jaime must establish his authority among the Kingsguard, which means trying to make up for his lost hand somehow. (He will turn to an unlikely source for help.) Also, he will put his trust in two people he's come to respect, but the result of one of those interactions will hit shockingly close to home.
Where we left off: The Imp became the Master of Coin and wed Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner).
What's next: His marriage continues to cause trust issues with his woman Shae (Sibel Kekilli), who is reluctant to live by the rules in King's Landing. "She thought she had a strong foundation but it's not, it's shaking like an earthquake," Kekilli says. "She loves Sansa, she loves Tyrion, and now they're a married couple even if they don't love each other. It's really hard for her to decide, 'Should I trust both of them or not?'" Meanwhile, his relationship with his siblings will leave much to be desired in the wake of kingdom-changing events.
Where we left off: The young widow ingratiated herself with Joffrey by admiring his crossbow and giving him a taste of what it's like to be liked by his subjects.
What's next: The blushing bride will need to exercise every bit of her diplomatic arts to handle her obnoxious fiance and equally aggressive mother-in-law. But once she has that crown on her head, she'll do whatever it takes to keep it.
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Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones)
Where we left off: Loras' grandmother Olenna (Diana Rigg) finagled him an engagement to Cersei.
What's next: "He's a bachelor in distress," Jones says, blaming Jaime, Cersei's brother-lover, for some of the headaches. "There's going to be a bit of bro friction. There's definitely a bit of in-house politics going on there. Loras isn't really afraid to say what he thinks. He's in a good position politically. He knows no one can f--- up his sh--, and Jaime's lost a hand now. Let's not forget about that. And Loras is a great fighter. So it's a bit like, 'Hey, Jaime? F--- you. I'm marrying your sister.' So, he's got the upper hand, as goes the saying."
Brienne of Tarth
Where we left off: Despite the hand-chopping and bear incidents, Brienne safely delivered Jaime back to his family in King's Landing.
What's next: "Brienne continues to be put in situations that she's not used to navigating,"Christie says. "I can guarantee you that this season she is truly tested in a variety of ways, and sometimes with comic consequences. We see that raw underbelly exposed and attacked yet again." As for Brienne's possible blossoming feelings for Jaime? "The journey continues to evolve," she teases.
Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal)
What's next: The smoldering newcomer is a prince from Dorne who has a bone to pick with someone (or ones!) in King's Landing. "He shows up and doesn't waste any time in letting everyone know why he's there," Pascal says. "He is a lover and a fighter. He's a man who lives his life without compromising anything he feels. He does what he wants, when he wants. It's a very dangerous attitude to have in King's Landing, and he doesn't care." Yep, that sounds like the perfect wedding guest!
Need more Game of Thrones scoop? Read our House Stark check-in and be sure to come back to see what Daenerys, Theon and those beyond The Wall are up to.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
Additional reporting by Sadie Gennis