There's "the North" in Westeros, and then there's the North. Forget the Riverlands, forget the Iron Islands... hell, even forget Winterfell. There's a whole other world on the continent that has basically been ignored for three seasons, largely left untouched by civil war, intrigue, and Red Weddings. But that doesn't mean there isn't a hell of a lot of stuff going on up there. For our third installment of "keeping up with the Throneses," (Here's parts one, two, four and five) we present everything that's happening to the characters at The Wall and above it.
He's an important dude, that's for sure. He's very pretty. And he spent almost all of the third season working as a double-agent, killing a renowned member of the Night's Watch (on his orders) to join the Wildlings. After a torrid romance with the fiery Ygritte and some one-on-one time with King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, he's back at Castle Black, shaking off a few arrow wounds (thanks, Ygritte!) and filled with portentous warnings about invasion from the lands beyond the Wall. He's never been beloved by the Night's Watch middle management, however, and his biggest fan (Lord Commander Jeor) is dead. Will anyone listen to him?
Bran is probably the least fun of the Starks. He has weird dreams about a three-eyed crow that mean…something ominous but largely unexplained for three years. He has to be carried around by Hodor, which means more Hodor, but it also makes the Bran scenes a feel little airless. It's a lot of sitting around and talking. Bran's obviously crucial to the overall tale, though, and it's pretty funny just how much Isaac Hempstead-Wright has aged these four years, so we'll have to put up with more scenes of him sitting around, except now he's beyond The Wall, in search of more explanation on his dreaming.
Jojen and Meera Reed
These two are like Bran's security/therapists. Jojen is full of half-useful advice, but mostly just holds a cold compress to Bran's head when he has sweaty visions. Meera can hunt rabbits and stuff and otherwise keeps pretty quiet. These two mostly exist so that Bran can have someone to talk to who doesn't just say "Hodor" all the time.
Sam! The character who might never die, because it'd just be too obvious to kill him off. (Not because it would be too sad. Game of Thrones has no respect for this rule.) He's survived going beyond The Wall and meeting a horde of Led Zeppelin ice zombies. He survived the mutiny against, and murder of, lovely Jeor at Craster's Keep. And he survived spiriting Craster's wife Gilly out of there, with her newborn, and managed to kill another ice zombie with an obsidian arrowhead. Now he's back at Castle Black, too, and again, it's hard to imagine he'll be received with open arms.
Cassie from Skins, a.k.a. Gilly, has latched onto Sam and made it out of a terrible situation (being Craster's daughter/14th-odd wife) to a not-great situation (being the avowedly chaste Sam's girlfriend and living in a castle filled with perhaps less-avowedly chaste men. With a baby in tow.) Maybe some day she'll be in a good situation! Here's hopin', Gilly! Meanwhile, she'll hang on to her newborn as hard as she can.
Remember this jerk? All the blogs and such are saying he'll be back in Season Four, and that seems about right. He used to run the City Watch way back when, and he was part of the deal Littlefinger made that ended in Ned's betrayal at the end of Season One. He was guaranteed a lordship or something in return, but in early Season Two, Tyrion kicked him out and banished him to The Wall, saying he couldn't trust someone so easily bought. He'll likely be an antagonist for Jon up at The Wall, as will Alliser Thorne, the bullying weapons trainer who was mean to Sam a lot in season one.
Lord of the Wildlings and former Brother of the Night's Watch, Mance claims he's got the largest army ever assembled to assault The Wall with. But he was all talk in Season Three. Sure, we saw a couple of giants milling around, but it's a GIANT ICE WALL. How you gonna get around that? You can't have everyone climb it at once, can you? Show me the money, Mance. You think you can take down the Night's Watch, you take your best shot.
She's deadly with a bow. She's got hair like fire and skin like a really white person. She thinks Jon is the pretty prettiest princess that ever did walk the tundra. She supposedly fights for the Wildlings, but I just don't know about that. She easily could have shot Jon in the heart with an arrow as he tried to escape last season, and didn't. (She did shoot him a bunch, though.) Ygritte is probably still chilling out on the other side of The Wall with Tormund. (This promo pic from Season Four looks awfully green). But who knows where her loyalties will ultimately lie.
YEAH THAT'S RIGHT. There's a fifth Stark and DON'T YOU FORGET IT. And he's got badass Wildling bodyguard Osha with him, and together they're going to take on the world. Or head to some castle somewhere? They definitely didn't go beyond The Wall like Bran and company did. Mark my words, this show ends with Rickon on the throne ushering in a new age of prosperity. The power of Rickon compels you.