Get ready to hear the Lannisters roar.
If the Starks are Game of Thrones' heroes, then the Lannisters are the series' villains — even though we all admit to loving Tyrion, yes? Before diving into the Season 3 premiere on Sunday (9/8c, HBO), here's a check-in with those solvent Lannisters to see where we left off and what's next.
Game of Thrones check-in: What's next for House Stark?
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
Where we left off: The one and only true king (yeah, right) attacked King's Landing, but the wildfire launched into Blackwater Bay burned up the majority of his fleet, and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) returned with enough force to trounce the invaders. Stannis had to tuck tail and return to Dragonstone.
What's next: Still under the influence of that damn red woman Melisandre (Carice Van Houten), Stannis will be tempted to defeat his enemies through magical and rather bloodthirsty means.
Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson)
Where we left off: After King's Landing (and his scrawny neck) were saved, King Joff broke his engagement to Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and then betrothed himself to the more ambitious (and richer) Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer).
What's next: Joffrey will be totally smitten with Margaery, not only for the power she promises, but also because she admires his crossbow (not a euphemism). This creates conflict with the other woman in his life: his mother.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
Where we left off: She very nearly took her own life and her young son's when she thought Stannis would be victorious, but was able to hold off when her father saved the day.
What's next: Just because daddy helped out, doesn't mean Cersei will embrace Tywin with open arms. "Their relationship is not an easy one," Headey tells TVGuide.com. "It's never been full of love. It's never been honest or compassionate. So he steps back into her life at a time when she's trying to raise her son Joffrey, and she knows what a nightmare that is. So she's kind of back under the shadow of him and it's really painful for her on many levels." In the meantime, she's waiting for her brother-lover Jaime (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) to return. Headey says, "She's missing him. I think she's the one person she trusts and that's why she's been steered into talking to Tyrion, which she also can't stand."
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Where we left off: Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) released Jaime from prison to trade him for her two daughters, whom she believes are alive in King's Landing. The knight Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) was tasked with "escorting" him across the countryside to make the exchange.
What's next: Naturally, Jaime will seek ways to escape from Brienne, including crossing swords with her when he gets the chance. It's a pretty close match. "Mine is a two-handed [fighting style] because of necessity. She's just brute force," Coster-Waldau says. "We had been fighting all day, and then [Christie] has to come like she's hacking down on me. There was one point where I was holding the sword like this, and she hit me so hard that the sword actually hit me in the head."
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)
Where we left off: Although The Imp was instrumental in winning the Battle of Blackwater, he almost lost his life in the process. Unfortunately, when he recovered from his injuries, he was deposed as Hand of the King since his dad Tywin had returned.
What's next: Tyrion will have to find a new position to be useful. Always seeking to win the approval of his dour father, he will find himself in a rather unexpected and sticky situation. As for his lover Shae (Sibel Kekilli), she "gets closer to Sansa and loves Tyrion but she has to fight for her position," Kelilli says.
Where we left off: After claiming victory for the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion resumed his duties as Hand of the King.
What's next: Tywin holds court in his office and writes many, many letters. In this case, the pen could be mightier than the sword.
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Where we left off: After her husband King Renly (Gethin Anthony) was murdered (by a shadow!), she continued to pursue her regal dreams by engaging herself to King Joffrey.
What's next: While she woos Joffrey and wins over the people of King's Landing, she'll find herself befriending poor Sansa on behalf of the Tyrell clan. "They're both pawns in a bigger game," Dormer says. "The Tyrells move into King's Landing, they take on the Lannisters, and obviously poor old Sansa stands smack in the middle of that. So we're trying to win her over to us basically. It's a big sister kind of dynamic. 'At least let me take care of you. Listen to me.'"
Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen)
Where we left off: Following the Battle of Blackwater, Littlefinger was awarded with lordship of Harrenhal, which gives the humble Master of Coin high lord status.
What's next: Lord Baelish will use his new title to its utmost effect by forging an alliance and will flirt with an old flame while helping someone in need. Of course, he has only his best interests in mind, but it's help nonetheless.
Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann)
Where we left off: Freaked out by the fire during the Battle of Blackwater (he was burned as a child, you know!) he flees the battlefield and tries to invite Sansa to escape King's Landing with him. She refuses.
What's next: No longer one of the king's loyal servants, The Hound is off in Westeros on his own. He'll meet up with a familiar (and not terribly welcome) face, an event that he'll try to flip to his advantage.
Ros (Esme Bianco)
Where we left off: Although Cersei had imprisoned and beaten Ros, believing her to be Tyrion's whore, she was released after the battle. Spymaster Varys (Conleth Hill) tried to get her to turn against her employer Littlefinger, whom she fears.
What's next: Ros is still in Littlefinger's employ, but suspects something creepy is afoot with one of his schemes. Also, co-star Natalia Tena teases that Season 3 has lots of "death scenes and violence. It's going to be fantastic. Esme has a great moment." Whatever that means!
Need more Game of Thrones scoop? Read our House Stark check-in and be sure to come back to see what the Targaryens and those beyond The Wall are up to.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.