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season 2 is coming

A Game of Thrones Refresher Course for Past Fans and Newbies

A Lord of the Rings teeming with hookers and violence, Game of Thrones has proven a deft, if intricate, political thriller about families, good, evil, and undetermined jockeying to control the Iron Throne of Westeros. Last season was filled with internecine, engrossing, and blood-soaked intrigue, but it's hard to clearly remember all of the kinky sex and complicated power plays (and vice versa) after eleven months. So with season two of the HBO series starting this Sunday (based on George R.R. Martin's second book, A Clash of Kings), we thought it helpful to provide a refresher course of the five major houses, one simple enough for newbies to follow and jump right into the series. Clarification is coming. (With no spoilers for those who haven't already read the second book.)

Photo: HBO