The Starks and Lannisters aren't the only ones struggling for supremacy and survival on Game of Thrones. Before Season 4 of the epic fantasy series kicks off Sunday (9/8c, HBO), we check in with the Mother of Dragons, the Free Folk and more to see where we left off and what's next.
Game of Thrones check-in: House Lannister and their frenemies
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
Where we left off: Dany freed the slaves in both Astapor and Yunkai, earning herself the name "Mhysa," which means mother in Ghiscari.
What's next: The Mother of Dragons' intolerance for slavery continues unabated and she sets her sights on Meereen. "You find her in a very self-assured place," Clarke tells TVGuide.com. "The politics seem to be calming down for the time being, but her dragons seem to be getting bigger, so the problems are very mixed at the moment." As for the alluring Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) who joined her group last season, Clarke teases, "It's difficult. Being a leader, being a queen doesn't leave much time for the romance, but Daario is incredibly handsome, so ..."
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)
Where we left off: The former ward of Winterfell spent most of the season at the Dreadfort either strapped onto a giant cross or getting flayed alive by the bastard Ramsay Snow (Iwan Rheon), who ultimately removed his genitals. Ouch!
What's next: "To take that [manhood] away from someone like that is really stripping him down to nothing," Allen says of Theon's state of mind going forward. And indeed, when we see him next, he will be so deep in Ramsay's clutches that he's not the Theon we once knew.
Game of Thrones check-in: House Stark and their allies
Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)
Where we left off: Theon's sister received a very special package from Ramsay last season, and against her father's wishes, she vowed to go save her brother.
What's next: Yara will continue to attempt to retrieve Theon, but an unexpected development may put a hitch in her plans.
Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds)
Where we left off: The leader of the wildlings took in Jon Snow (Kit Harington) as a supposed deserter of the Night's Watch, but was betrayed when Jon revealed his true allegiance and fled back to the Wall.
What's next: The wildlings will continue their advance on the Wall, where it's manned by the men of the Night's Watch. "There might not be a lot of peace coming our way," Rose Leslie, who plays the wildling Ygritte, says. "[Both groups] are outsiders and should sort out their differences, but I don't think either one is going to back down. Mance Rayder is on a mission himself, so it's going to take a lot for him to back down." Kristofer Hivju, who plays the wildling Tormund Giantsbane adds, "We are gathering up with the Thenns who are wildlings and are really, really bad, bad guys. They're not the guys to mess around with. They're going to help us."
Where we left off: The wildling who is "kissed by fire" had a relationship with Jon Snow before he abandoned her and returned to the Night's Watch, but not before she was able to loose a few well-aimed arrows at him.
What's next: "We pick Ygritte up as a scorned woman," Leslie says. "She's a very different person from when we left her at the end of Season 3. We realize that she's very hurt by Jon Snow's actions and she feels betrayed. She's dangerous now."
Game of Thrones: Who is on your Season 4 hit list?
Where we left off: After Jon Snow refused to kill an innocent man to prove his loyalty to the wildlings, Tormund ordered his execution, but Jon was able to escape.
What's next: "He's betrayed by his wildling progeny and failed that mission because Jon Snow left him," Hivju says. "He's lost. He has no warg. He has eyes but he can't see anything. They are in enemy territory, so it's a dangerous time."
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
Where we left off: Stannis intended to sacrifice Gendry (Joe Dempsie) to the Lord of Light, but the royal bastard had already escaped Dragonstone. A message about the White Walkers turned Stannis' attention north.
What's next: Stannis will continue to be influenced by the bloodthirsty red priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten), who is getting really sacrifice-happy and will make a big move to prove himself worthy of ruling the Seven Kingdoms.
Davos Seaforth (Liam Cunningham)
Where we left off: The Hand of King Stannis was briefly imprisoned as a traitor but was released. He also began learning to read.
What's next: "He's in a ton of merde, as they say," Cunningham says. "He didn't get Stannis on the Iron Throne. And besides that, the Battle of Blackwater wiped us out, and some regrouping is in order. We have to start being proactive. So I have to find some sort of method of getting a bit of strength to Team Stannis." He'll also continue to be at odds with Melisandre. "I'm deeply unhappy with this woman's behavior as any man should be," he adds. "I think we're both starting to work for the same thing, but we both have extremely different methods of doing it."
How do you think the season will play out? Be sure to also check out scoop for House Stark and friends and House Lannister and their frenemies.
The fourth season of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.
Additional reporting by Sadie Gennis.