Whenever you're trying to explain Game of Thrones to someone who's never seen the show, the most complicated part always comes at the end. After setting up the world of Westeros with all of its alliances and civil wars, you then tell this n00b, "Oh, and ALSO, there's this girl on a whole OTHER continent, and she's trying to get back to Westeros, and there's all kinds of stuff going on over there," and you talk for 40 more minutes until they run away/stab you in the neck. Today's post is concerned with those characters. I'm including everyone who's currently hiding out on Dragonstone, which is technically part of Westeros, but it's an island and it helps balance everything out.

Daenerys Targaryen

The Mother of Dragons and claimant to the Iron Throne spent the last season roving around the Far East as a liberator, sacking Astapor with its own slave army (which she subsequently freed, but they still fight for her) and then liberating Yunkai, a city of "bed slaves," with the help of dastardly hired sword Daario Naharis. From the look of it, next on her list is Meereen. She was greeted as "mother" by the many thousands of Yunkai slaves she freed in the Season Three finale, but is Daenerys possibly getting in over her head? I'm beginning to smell a "Western liberator" metaphor and fear this season will be Daenerys' "quagmire" stage. Still, those dragons are just getting bigger. As long as they keep liking Dany, that can't hurt.

Jorah Mormont

Jorah's role is what it always has been: to patiently explain things to Daenerys, to offer realpolitik advice, and usually argue for the nastier route. He also crushes on her from afar, but there's really been no progress on that front in three years, and I don't see that changing. He worships Daenerys, but always seems disappointed in her decisions, trying to point her towards Westeros and away from freeing every slave and correcting every wrong on the eastern continent. He is usually ignored, but Daenerys still takes him very seriously. She knows he sold slaves a long time ago, too, right? But he's real sorry about it. Mostly cause it got him exiled, but also because it's wrong. We think he knows that.

Barristan Selmy

Since getting added to Daenerys' council in Season Three, Barristan has served an equal and opposite role to Jorah (although I do not think he crushes on Daenerys; he simply respects her). He gives the nice advice and tends to be more broadly supportive, although he's also generally more cautious than his Queen. These two characters feel very important for the show, but don't actually have a ton to do. Maybe that will change this season?

Daario Naharis

Since Season Three, Daario Naharis has seemingly been sucked into some kind of shapeshifting portal and been transformed! His face is different and his…what's that? They recast the role? Oh, I see. Last year Daario looked like a ripped Lord of the Rings elf meets California surfer dude. Now, he's being played by Michiel Huisman, who you might remember as that junkie musician in Treme or as some guy on Nashville. (I don't watch Nashville, sadly.) He's got shorter hair and looks a little more rugged. Me likey! Who knows why they recast, but he looks a little less ridiculous. Oh, what's Daario up to? He's also majorly crushing on Daenerys and has lent his sword to her cause as a result. It's all relatively straightforward, for now at least.

Missandei

Daenerys is still going to need her translator lady, for sure. She's a very good translator and says everything very clearly. That is all I know about Missandei.

Grey Worm

This fella is the leader of Daenerys' army of former slaves, the Unsullied. I guess it's probably a good idea not to bring up the whole castration thing in front of him. He's kind of a fascinating character if they let him be one, though—a former robot-soldier who's now allowed to explore his individuality. If he wants! Maybe he just wants to be an ice-cold killing machine. We'll see. Either way he, like everyone else, thinks Daenerys is super cool.

Stannis Baratheon

Okay, that's enough of Daenerys' boring crew. Now on to my secret favorite of the Game of Thrones world—Stannis Baratheon! He's such a cold-hearted douchebag, obsessed with procedure and his perception of honor, but also fanatically intrigued by a wacky fire god he thinks can crown him king. Going by the old rules, he should be king—Joffrey's illegitimate and he's Robert's oldest brother—but the old rules don't apply and Stannis is now back on his island fortress of Dragonstone, where he's been licking his wounds for a whole season following his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater. But in the Season Three finale, he started turning his eyes north to the coming battle at The Wall, after hearing a dire missive from the Night's Watch. Go north, Stannis! Kill dem zombies!

Melisandre

Stannis' Red Lady continues to be creepy, weirdly assured, and surprisingly low-key for a person who thinks burning heretics at the stake and sacrificing the bastard children of kings are the best way to achieve her goals. She was mostly trying to get Stannis to sacrifice poor Gendry last season, but Davos let him go. Now she's interested in the battle up North, which makes sense, because if anyone's going to swallow all that insane-sounding ranting, it's gonna be someone who gave birth to a shadow assassin and believes in a fire god. Anyway, the constant with Melisandre will always be the same: she's super creepy and has a crazy deep voice.

Davos Seaworth

Davos the Onion Knight really needs to call it quits with Stannis, but I guess his dilemma is, who else can he even turn to? Still, life with Stannis has not gone too well in recent months for Davos Seaworth. He lost the Battle of the Blackwater, his son got blown to smithereens, Stannis won't stop worshipping the Lord of Light, and he keeps getting sentenced to death. But the legendary former smuggler might once again have things figured out—he learned how to read from Stannis' adorable daughter, and he's convinced Stannis to set him free and sail North. So, do that already, fellas! Jon Snow needs your help, man!

Gendry

Last we saw Gendry, Davos was pushing him out to sea in a rowboat and pointing him towards King's Landing. Where will Gendry end up? Will we ever see him again? Gendry's such a handsome lad, and he's the son of the late King, so he'll always be in demand.

So, that's it, right? All the Thrones characters have been covered. End of story. BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE. Stay tuned tomorrow for our nerdiest catch-up post yet!