(SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you don't want outlines of what happens early in the second season of "Game of Thrones.")
"Game of Thrones" returns for a second season on April 1, and while previous sneak peeks at HBO's hit swords-and-dragons series have hinted that the twin themes of war and romance will color this second go-round, HBO filled in some more details Tuesday, releasing summaries for the first five episodes of the second season.
The first half of the season, according to HBO, is marked by Tyrion Lannister's attempts to rein in his nephew Joffrey, who's developing into a cruel and volatile holder of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, as war looms over Westeros, a variety of forces attempt to wrest control of the throne from the Lannister family.
Read on for details on the upcoming second season of "Game of Thrones. (WARNING: May contain spoilers.)
Episode #11: “The North Remembers”
Debut: Sunday, April 1 (9-10 p.m.)
As Robb Stark and his northern army continue the war against the Lannisters, Tyrion arrives in King’s Landing to counsel Joffrey and temper the young king’s excesses. On the island of Dragonstone, Stannis Baratheon plots an invasion to claim his late brother’s throne, allying himself with the fiery Melisandre, a strange priestess of a stranger god. Across the sea, Daenerys, her three young dragons and khalasar trek through the Red Waste in search of allies, or water. In the North, Bran presides over a threadbare Winterfell, while beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch must shelter with a devious wildling.
Episode #12: “The Night Lands”
Debut: Sunday, April 8
In the wake of a bloody purge in the capital, Tyrion chastens Cersei for alienating the king’s subjects. On the road north, Arya shares a secret with Gendry, a Night’s Watch recruit. With supplies dwindling, one of Dany's scouts returns with news of their position. After nine years as a Stark ward, Theon Greyjoy reunites with his father Balon, who wants to restore the ancient Kingdom of the Iron Islands. Davos enlists Salladhor Saan, a pirate, to join forces with Stannis and Melisandre for a naval invasion of King’s Landing.
Episode #13: “What Is Dead May Never Die”
Debut: Sunday, April 15
At the Red Keep, Tyrion plots three alliances through the promise of marriage. Catelyn arrives in the Stormlands to forge an alliance of her own. But King Renly, his new wife Margaery and her brother Loras Tyrell have other plans. At Winterfell, Luwin tries to decipher Bran’s dreams.
Written by Bryan Cogman; directed by Alik Sakharov.
Episode #14: “Garden of Bones”
Debut: Sunday, April 22
Joffrey punishes Sansa for Robb’s victories, while Tyrion and Bronn scramble to temper the king’s cruelty. Catelyn entreats Stannis and Renly to forego their ambitions and unite against the Lannisters. Dany and her exhausted khalasar arrive at the gates of Qarth, a prosperous city with strong walls and rulers who greet her outside them. Tyrion coerces a queen’s man into being his eyes and ears. Arya and Gendry are taken to Harrenhal, where their lives rest in the hands of “The Mountain,” Gregor Clegane. Davos must revert to his old ways and smuggle Melisandre into a secret cove.
Written by Vanessa Taylor; directed by David Petrarca.
Episode #15: “The Ghost of Harrenhal”
Debut: Sunday, April 29
The end of the Baratheon rivalry drives Catelyn to flee and Littlefinger to act. At King’s Landing, Tyrion’s source alerts him to Joffrey’s flawed defense plan and a mysterious secret weapon. Theon sails to the Stony Shore to prove he’s worthy to be called Ironborn. In Harrenhal, Arya receives a promise from Jaqen H’ghar, one of three prisoners she saved from the Gold Cloaks. The Night’s Watch arrive at the Fist of the First Men, an ancient fortress where they hope to stem the advance of the wildling army.