Winterfell may be burned to the ground, but (most of) the Starks are alive and well, as long as you loosely define "well."
Although Game of Thrones is filled with characters of ambiguous loyalties and motivations, it's clear that the Starks are the series' central heroes. Before the Season 3 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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Catelyn Stark (Michlle Fairley)
Where we left off: The Stark matriarch made a risky move by freeing the imprisoned Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) in hopes that he can be traded for her two daughters, who she believes are alive in King's Landing. As a result of betraying her own son Robb (Richard Madden), who just happens to be the King of the North, he has her arrested and placed under guard.
What's next: "Catelyn in still in manacles and she's very estranged from her son and she spends most of her time on her own," Fairley says. It doesn't get better from there. Catelyn will mourn at least one person close to her this season.
Where we left off: The King of the North fell for the lovely Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin) and married her, even though he was betrothed to another.
What's next: Worst. Honeymoon. Ever. Instead of trying to get a tan and relax, the dour Northman must continue waging war with his blushing bride by his side. (Fortunately, she is ready to treat the heaps of wounded.) Robb will also have to answer for going back on his word.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
Where we left off: The redheaded teenager may have been freed from her betrothal to the wicked King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson), but she's still a prisoner at King's Landing.
What's next: The poor girl is buckling under the strain of having to present false cheer. "Everything she does, she doesn't do whole-heartedly like she did before," Turner tells TVGuide.com. "She doesn't have that spring in her step. ... She's weary and she's tired and she's a totally broken." Sansa will, however, make new friends in Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and her grandmother Lady Olenna Tyrell, played by the legendary Dame Diana Rigg. "Lady Olenna is very educated and she knows how to play the game," Turner says. "People totally look up to Lady Olenna ... and everyone's pretty terrified of her."
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Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)
Where we left off: See ya, suckas! Arya successfully escaped the dreary Harrenhal with Gendry (Joe Dempsie) and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey).
What's next: Arya is in a more positive mindset than her sister. "When we pick her up, she's got a quiet confidence that she's going to get home," Williams says. "I think she feels that she's in a good place." And although the feisty Stark daughter will encounter a face from her past, she's still going to be out there, roughing it in Westeros. "I don't know if Arya will ever be wearing a dress again!" Williams adds.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright)
Where we left off: Both Bran and his little brother Rickon (Art Parkinson) fled after Winterfell came under siege.
What's next: A suddenly taller Bran meets up with the mysterious siblings Jojen and Meera Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ellie Kendrick) during his travels. Also, Wright says, "Bran's visions are starting to get a lot more intense in Season 3. And these two new characters are fairly crucial in helping to understand these visions."
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Where we left off: The youngest Stark child joined Bran in fleeing Winterfell.
What's next: What else? Rickon will be off-screen most of the time until we've just about forgotten about him and his direwolf Shaggy Dog. And then he'll pop up and do something totally fey and weird to remind you that he exists.
Gendry and Hot Pie
Where we left off: They made it out of Harrenhal alive, thanks to Arya.
What's next: Gendry will try a new, more mature look, while Hawkey says that Hot Pie "gets a little bit more loyal. He knows himself a bit more, he's more self-assured." Also, Hot Pie will actually bake something!
Osha (Natalia Tena) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn)
Where we left off: The wildling captive seduced Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and made herself into a trusted servant to the Stark boys, and both she and Hodor accompany them on their journey away from Winterfell.
What's next: Tena teases that "there's a very, very gruesome scene involving rabbits. That's one I'm very excited about watching." Hodor will say, "Hodor."
Which characters are you most excited to see again? Check back with TVGuide.com for the check-in with the Lannisters, Targaryens and more!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.