Can the Starks survive another bloody year on Game of Thrones?
Additional reporting by Sadie Gennis
All of Westeros is still reeling from the Red Wedding massacre that eliminated matriarch Catelyn Stark, her son Robb Stark and his wife (and unborn progeny). How will the remaining kids fare? Before the Season 4 premiere Sunday (9/8c, HBO), we check in with Winterfell's wolf pack to see where we left off and what's ahead:
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Jon Snow (Kit Harington)
Where we left off: The bastard of Winterfell, who had gone undercover with the wildlings, finally showed his true colors and fled back to the Wall, but not before getting shot by an arrow. Hell hath no fury like a wildling "kissed by fire"!
What's next: Jon Snow will help defend the Wall against the approaching wildlings and those creepy White Walkers. Mark Stanley, who plays Jon Snow's Night's Watch brother Grenn, tells TVGuide.com, "Jon has got a lot of responsibility to take. You'll really see a unity among the Night's Watchmen led by Jon Snow, and you'll see us all come together." Expect to see some brutal warfare ahead.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
Where we left off: Turner says, "Her mother and brother have died, as we know, and she's just feeling very trapped in the marriage, trapped in King's Landing, and it's a sad time for her."
What's next: Beyond having to endure Joffrey's pretentious royal wedding, Sansa will finally start to fight back in her own way and take action, thanks to an unexpected ally. "Her emotional journey is probably like the biggest that you've seen from her over any season," Turner says. "It's, like, a very mental transformation that you go through. She goes from very much being a victim and a pawn in other people's games to manipulating the people who've gone before her. She kind of becomes a dark horse. She's survived, but now it's time for her to start living. Zing!"
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)
Where we left off: The youngest Stark daughter and her captor Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann) fled The Twins after seeing her brother Robb's mutilated corpse paraded around. She later stumbles upon and kills a man who had taken part of the massacre.
What's next: Arya and The Hound are now odd traveling companions, and her taste for blood continues. She will also be reunited with a gift from her past.
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Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright)
Where we left off: Bran parted with his little brother Rickon (Art Parkinson) and then passed beyond the Wall with his companions Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and siblings Jojen and Meera Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ellie Kendrick).
What's next: Hempstead Wright says, "This season, Bran is exploring the mystical side of his story line. Bran's [ability to warg] definitely reaches a climax. He's really starting to use it and understand how useful it can be in the greater picture. Also, there's this supernatural force that is pulling him to somewhere, and he doesn't know what it is or where he's going. It's some sort of higher thing that even he doesn't understand. Jojen is helping to guide him and understand what this force is for."
Where we left off: He traveled with Bran north of the Wall.
What's next: "He's in very different circumstances when we last saw him. The group looks and feels quite different," Brodie-Sangster says. "Their surroundings are so much more dangerous. They have to keep an eye over their shoulder the whole time because there are all sorts of terrifying things out there, and the stakes are a lot higher for us."
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley)
Where we left off: Sam and single mom Gilly (Hannah Murray) -- one of the wife-daughters of a wildling -- arrived back at Castle Black, where Sam sends off ravens to tell the Seven Kingdoms that the White Walkers have returned.
What's next: "We see him really depressed through his own doing. He makes decisions that are very questionable and could lead to utter catastrophe," Bradley says. "I think his self-loathing this year is absolutely justified for the first time." And even though Sam has sworn a vow of chastity as a brother's of the Night's Watch, his feelings for Gilly deepen. "I think that he loves her in a very, very genuine and innocent way... He and Gilly have bonded over the fact that they've got utterly dysfunctional relationships with fathers. You can't get more dysfunctional than Gilly's relationship with her father."
Which characters are you most excited to see again? Check back with TVGuide.com to check-in with the Lannisters, Targaryens and more!
Game of Thrones premieres Sunday at 9/8c on HBO. Check out a trailer below: