Your Guide to the Shifting Alliances of Game of Thrones

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Cersei and her right-hand man. Photo: Helen Sloan/Courtesy of HBO

Ever since the beginning, the alliances on Game of Thrones have been something of a game of musical chairs. The Boltons were allied with the Starks, then the Lannisters, then some minor Northern houses, and then they died. The Tyrells were allied with Renly Baratheon, then the Lannisters, then the High Sparrow, and then they all died, too.

With Daenerys’s arrival in Westeros in Game of Thrones season seven, the old alliances of the Seven Kingdoms were into upheaval — but the growing threat of the White Walkers has forced quite a few characters into unexpected partnerships. As these alliances take shape ahead of the season finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” there’s no better time to see where each major character stands. Let’s get you up to speed with a who’s-who of who’s siding with who, and why they’re doing it.

Team Dany

Daenerys Targaryen
What she wants: To reclaim the throne of her family, who were wrongly overthrown in Robert’s Rebellion. (That’s an easy one.) But now that she’s seen the Night King with her own eyes — and lost a dragon to him — she’s promised Jon Snow that she’ll fight the White Walkers too.
What she’s afraid of: Destroying Westeros while trying to conquer it — or worse, not preventing the Long Night. As she told her war council, “I will not be the queen of the ashes.” Jennifer Garner would be proud.

Jon Snow
What he wants: For all of humanity to band together in the fight against the Night King and the White Walkers. So much so that he’s willing to bend the knee and swear allegiance to Daenerys.
What he’s afraid of: Everyone getting so caught up in factional infighting that they’re entirely unprepared for the Night King’s invasion.

Tyrion Lannister
What he wants: To help Daenerys reclaim the Iron Throne, while simultaneously getting revenge on his sister, Cersei.
What he’s afraid of: Quite a few things! When Tyrion isn’t worrying that the lords of Westeros will turn against Daenerys because she has foreigners on her side, he’s fretting over the chance that Dany will die in battle without putting a firm succession plan in place.

Varys
What he wants: To finally serve a competent ruler for once.
What he’s afraid of: That Daenerys will go mad just like her father did.

Jorah Mormont
What he wants: Whatever Daenerys tells him to do.
What he’s afraid of: Losing favor with Dany. And greyscale.

Beric Dondarrion
What he wants: To serve the Lord of Light.
What he’s afraid of: That he won’t fulfill his purpose, which means he was raised from the dead six times for nothing.

Sandor “the Hound” Clegane
What he wants: Revenge against his brother, Gregor, for pushing him into a fire when they were children. He also isn’t a fan of the Night King.
What he’s afraid of: Fire.

Theon and Yara Greyjoy
What they want: At first, they wanted to reclaim the Salt Throne, which their uncle Euron won in a shocking Kingsmoot upset. But now, they probably both just hope to survive this war: Yara is presumably still held captive in King’s Landing, while Theon is on Dragonstone doing his best not to cross paths with Jon Snow.
What they’re afraid of: Euron. Which, hey, turned out to be right!

Team Stark

Sansa Stark
What she wants: The same as her brother Jon, but who knows what she’ll think of his alliance with Dany?
What she’s afraid of: Jon walking into a trap. For Sansa, the lesson of Ned and Robb’s deaths is that too much trust gets you killed.

Arya Stark
What she wants: Revenge, plain and simple.
What she’s afraid of: That Sansa betrayed their family.

Bran Stark
What he wants: To stop the Night King and prevent the Long Night. (Though he’s certainly taking his sweet time to help anyone figure out how.)
What he’s afraid of: Can Bran feel fear? Can Bran feel anything? The Three-Eyed Raven doesn’t seem like the emoting type.

The Lords of the North and the Vale
What they want: They want to kill White Walkers, sure, but they don’t see what that has to do with Jon Snow abandoning the North. Needless to say, they won’t be happy when they find out about his pledge to Daenerys.
What they’re afraid of: Any and all outsiders, particularly if their last name is “Targaryen.”

Littlefinger
What he wants: To marry Sansa and climb the ladder of chaos.
What he’s afraid of: The secret nagging sense that he’s not good enough for anyone to ever truly love him.

Team Cersei

Cersei Lannister
What she wants: To keep the Iron Throne by any means necessary.
What she’s afraid of: Being surrounded by enemies on all sides, which is why she had a gigantic map painted on the floor to remind her of it every single second.

Jaime Lannister
What he wants: An end to all this miserable fighting so he can live in peace with Cersei.
What he’s afraid of: Cersei turning into another Mad King and/or being cucked by Euron Greyjoy.

Euron Greyjoy
What he wants: First, he wanted to marry Daenerys. Now, he wants to marry Cersei. Makes you wonder if he isn’t really into them for their personalities.
What he’s afraid of: Subtlety.

Your Guide to the Shifting Alliances of Game of Thrones