General HBO

Exploring the HBO Viewer’s Guide

HBO has updated their Viewer’s Guide with fresh information to make the journey through Game of Thrones even smoother in season 2. The Viewer’s Guide provides interactive maps of the show’s expanding world, a Guide to the Houses, and an Appendix which details the history, culture, organizations, and religion of Westeros and Essos.

The Houses Guide is very detailed, with descriptions of the house itself, the knights and retainers as well as the family members. The information has been updated to include season 1 events such as Ned Stark’s execution. If a character from the book is not listed in the Houses Guide, it’s not a confirmation that the character has been permanently removed. However, based on our experiences with last year’s guide, it is likely that a character won’t be in the second season, if they aren’t listed.

This section was especially interesting as it has given us a glimpse of new characters, and a returning character with a new face.

  • Ser Gregor Clegane, now played by Ian Whyte. This is our first real sighting of the Mountain That Rides since Conan Stevens was recast. It’s difficult to tell much from this photo of Ser Gregor in House Lannister armor, but Whyte certainly looks intimidating.
  • “Dolorous” Eddison Tollett, played by Ben Crompton. As you can see from the above image,  Dolorous Edd’s quote was… well-chosen
  • Roose Bolton. The Lord of the Dreadfort, played by Michael McElhatton, was briefly spotted in the Season 2 Robb Stark Character Feature, but from a distance.
  • Ser Amory Lorch. Unfortunately, his photo is quite small. The knight who serves House Lannister will be played by Fintan McKeown.
  • Kovarro, played by Steven Cole. The Dothraki bloodrider was seen in the season premiere.

In the Viewers’s Guide Locations section is an interactive map of the entire Game of Thrones world. When you select the “Episode Landmarks” option and choose the episode number, the map displays cities and castles mentioned or seen notably in that episode. This is a great tool for helping provide a sense of scale and understanding how truly difficult Daenerys and the khalasar’s journey is across Essos’s Red Waste.

In the special features, viewers can explore the Areas of Control of the four clashing kings of Westeros. Included is brief information about Stannis, Renly, Joffrey, and Robb. The Viewer’s Guide is easy to navigate, and additional special map features, such as Daenerys’s journey and the battlegrounds of Westeros, will be added soon.

Ours is the Fury: Even if you’re familiar with the Great Houses and the various families from the books, the Viewer’s Guide is still pretty enjoyable. I’m a sucker for maps, personally. And the Rakharo detailed entry is especially interesting to me, I will say.


  • I love how Roose looks. I know a lot of the art depicts him with long black hair, but I always imagined him looking a lot more like that.

  • Hahah, Dolorous Edd’s quote… well-chosen, indeed. I knew there was a reason why he’s my favorite Night’s Watch member.

  • Roose Bolton looks fantastic!

    I hope the advertising of House Tully’s sigil is a omen of hope that Edmure and co are being held off for season 3 and 4?

  • New map is outstanding!

    Although its funny that they forgot Lorath, since we actually have an important new character from there (or is he?). Oh, and book readers might wanna click on The Crag :)

    Areas of Control feature kicks ass too.

  • Oi!:
    interesting that under the Greyjoys now Vicatrion is missing.

    If a character is not on there, I’d say it’s safe to say they are probably not in this season, but I doubt that means they aren’t in the series as a whole. That would be a pretty massive cut to cut a POV character out of the show.

  • Seeing a flag for the Whispers near the ned of Crackclaw Point near dragonstone gives me hope that my namesake will waste an episode with Brienne. NOT

    Also see that Deepwood Moat is not on the map? Maybe they will use another holdfast instead

  • Okay, so I went into the Houses Guide and clicked on Baratheon.

    Boom! Margaery was there and, sure enough, the fan on my laptop started spinning double-time because … NATALIE DORMER IS SO HOT!

  • Hmm is this list a confirmation of the final cuts? I don’t see Victarion also Shireen has been cut?

  • I actually stated exactly this in the post:

    If a character from the book is not listed in the Houses Guide, it’s not a confirmation that the character has been permanently removed. However, based on our experiences with last year’s guide, it is likely that a character won’t be in the second season, if they aren’t listed.

  • Drfunk,

    Judging from what I saw in episode 2, I’d say Shireen is likely cut. Victarion is a surprise though, cutting a POV is no easy thing.

  • Victarion not being in this season is not a big deal. He’s only briefly in A Clash of Kings and I heard they even removed Aeron from his role in ACOK as well (not sure about that though). It’ll be a much bigger deal if the show ever covers AFFC/ADWD though. Victarion is a POV character in those book and I don’t think the creators would be that foolish despite the fact Euron and Aeron are still listed in the guide. At least I hope not.

  • DavidBC,

    Meera and Jojen aren’t from Deepwood Motte, the Glovers are. Of course, Greywater Watch (home of the Reeds) isn’t on the map, either. Saltpans and Duskendale are missing too, though, so I don’t think its a deal breaker.

  • A couple interesting things:

    Shae is identified as “handmaiden to Sansa Stark”. Isn’t that a clever way to give everybody more interactions and write out the uninteresting character of Lollys.

    The Greatjon is not on the list of Robb’s bannerman. I understand that the actor is not on board for the second season, and that the character is no longer going to be featured, but after his dramatic role in the first season, the omission is striking. After all, Drogo and Ned and Viserys all still have their pictures up. They could also have put up “old Nan – deceased” which would have been a nice nod to an actress who did a nice job.

  • Interestingly, the character site confirms that Jon Snow’s mother is Wylla.

    Frey family tree was disappointing.

  • littlejanet,

    They might be in “negotiations”, and didn’t want to kill the character outright. Or more likely a new actor would be chosen to portray like Ser Gregor and didn’t want to leave it blank since it was cast before.

    I don’t think this list is official HBO canon, it may get updated in future seasons.

  • sunspear:
    the goat,

    Astapor isn’t on that map either.

    If you click on All Landmarks there is a clickable flag for Astapor, but the name is missing. Same with Volantis (these are obviously typos). And as I mentioned earlier, although the island of Lorath exists on the map, no name or flag.

  • sunspear:
    Interestingly, the character site confirms that Jon Snow’s mother is Wylla.

    I don’t think that’s confirmation of anything. It’s not like, they were going to imply that he was anything but Ned’s son, and it’s easiest to just go with the one passing mention it’s gotten on the show so far.

  • sunspear: Frey family tree was disappointing.

    I get the feeling that the HBO lackey who was assigned to whip up the guide took a look at the Frey family tree, and was like, “Oh fuck THIS.”

  • Victarion was in the Season 1 guide so his absence in this guide is suspect. Obviously removing him from the series has major implications and this may just be held off for another season. But if they are cutting Victarion the only replacement I can see HBO doing for him is Dagmer maybe, since they are establishing him in this season.

  • Joshua Taylor,

    I suspect that’s exactly what they’ll do. Certainly when I tried to break down CoK into 10 episodes as a kind of thought exercise, it’s what I did. Maybe they’ll be more startling and do something less predictable, but it’s the definitely the most obvious way to obey the Law of Character Consolidation for that particular plot point, and offers opportunity for drama that I think would play well on TV.

  • Ours is the Fury: I get the feeling that the HBO lackey who was assigned to whip up the guide took a look at the Frey family tree, and was like, “Oh fuck THIS.”

    LOL!!! Hahahahahaaaa!!!

    By the way, Roose Bolton is EXACTLY as I pictured him while I read the books.

  • Looking at the map there are a lot of corrections that need to be made:

    Vulture’s Roost and House Wyl are sworn to House Martell and the under the authority of Prince Doran?

    Uplands and Sun House are sworn to Mace Tyrell.

    Silverhill, Cornfield, and Crakehall are sworn to Casterly Rock.

    I know that this is the show’s canon, but Renly did not engage the Lannister armies so he could allow attrition with Stark and Tully forces to wear down Tywin.

  • Has anyone noticed that the more you see of the Lannister bannermen or officers all of them have their helms opened up? The helmet actually seems pretty badass with the face guards pulled out. Maybe the production crew read some comments about how much people initially hated it.

    I kind of like the new Mountain. I liked Conan but he was kind of Hulk Smash in my opinion and maybe a bit too young? This guy looks like a forty-ish tall guy with a more realistic body frame for someone his height. Bold of D & D to give he and Lorch Lannister armour but it doesn’t look that bad to be honest. Tywin’s and Tyrion’s armour was quite impressive and I kind of like the medieval yet classical approach to the armour that the show is trying to convey, sort of creating their own design to be distinct from George’s concept of traditional medieval armour with totemic crests as opposed to dragons, lions and crucifixes.

  • There’s still a HUGE problem with HBO’s map : King’s landing is NOT located at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush !!!
    And there is so much depending on that geographical “detail”…

  • Joshua Taylor,

    I’ve definitely noticed that the Lannister helms are more open!

    Still not a fan of them, though, to be honest. I especially hated the scene last year when Tywin was wearing one. He looked so awesome otherwise, fresh from battle, except for the stupid helmet. And I’m pretty disappointed that The Mountain is going to be wearing one this year. I LIKED his boxy trash can helmet!

  • Quarth’s location – near a strait – is good, as it is mainly a commercial city. It reminds me of Byzance/Constantinople/Istanbul which was (and still kind is) the crossroad between West and East.
    Also…where’s Ashaï ?

  • A nice touch: on the Houses page, if you click on any of the first 3 kings – Stannis, Renly, or Joffrey – you go to almost exactly the same House Baratheon page, but with the guy you clicked on appearing in the most prominent spot and having the title of King (and the coat of arms showing his own personal variation on the stag design).

  • Lex,

    Actually if you look at the Mountain’s helm the folds of the face guard are shaped slightly different from the Lannister footman’s helmet as if covering the entire face and not just below the eyes. In my mind’s eye it looks more like a Corinthian type/ Mandalorian helmet if you know what I mean. Perhaps he has a slightly different design to set him apart from the rest of the Lannister horde? It may not be so dorky after all. Fingers crossed.

    And yes by Mandalorian I am of course referring to Boba Fett’s people.

  • Ashaïese,
    Martin has always been pretty vague about the location of Asshai– it’s out of the range of all the maps that have appeared in the books, and he’s said that the series may not ever go there. I’d be surprised if HBO would invent a detail like that, at least so early in the game.

  • Also…where’s Ashaï ?

    You’ll see, that in the far north-east of Essos we are still left with an unexplored area that’s been cut by the map’s edge. I bet Asshai is there, on the northeastern coast of Jade sea. Although I imagined it’d be more south. Kind of makes sense though, since in AGOT the Asshai’i are said to come trade in Vaes Dothrak. BTW we see totally new city names on the Jade sea: Bayassabhad, Samyrian. I think GRRM has said that the map book coming out in the Fall inludes a map that goes all the way to Asshai.

  • Joshua Taylor:
    I wonder if Loras is going to wear Renly’s armour in ep 9?

    That would make sense, since in the book if I remember right, Loras really wanted to wear the armor, but it didn’t fit him well because Renly was a lot taller than him – not true on the show.

  • The Lannister helm with the faceguard open reminds me a lot of a samurai helmet.

    They’re likely holding off on casting certain characters for as long as possible, to save on costs and prevent scheduling conflicts and recasting issues.

    Same with key locations. New locations mean more location scouting, more set design, more matte painting… more costs. Season 2 already has a lot of new locations.

    With Storm of Swords being split into two seasons, it’ll effectively have double the budget. It’ll also have 20 episodes, so they can spread the story out a bit and introduce a lot more characters.

    I don’t think it would be unlikely for them to introduce Riverrun, Moat Cailin, Astapor, and Mereen in the third and fourth seasons. Most of the major locations in Storm of Swords are introduced in Clash of Kings, and many others are simply small keeps, villages, and encampments.

    It might require some restructuring of the plot if certain characters are pushed into season 3, but I also can’t really imagine Bran’s journey without the Reeds.

  • Argh, the Baratheon family tree gives the incorrect presumption that Stannis were the oldest brother, when he is in fact the middle one. Already I’ve seen a lot of people thinking that Stannis is the oldest, and this doesn’t help that at all.

  • Roose looks amazing (love the upside-down “X”-shaped flayed man on his outfit) but a tad too monochrome, would’ve liked to see him with his signature pink cloak, hopefully he has it in his Season 2 scenes or he’ll get it in Season 3 when he’ll most likely feature more prominently.

    And where in the Drowned God’s tentacled loins is Balon Greyjoy’s spot in the “War of the Five Kings” list as “King of the Iron Islands”?
    Robb Stark sure as hell isn’t fighting for the Iron Throne only independence as he’s King in the North *and* of the Trident, so why is Balon Greyjoy excluded from the line-up? Hopefully this will be rectified when House Greyjoy rebels further into the season.

    Also, a more minor nitpick, but why isn’t Stannis Baratheon’s area of control extended to include part of Cape Wrath (House Seaworth), Sharp Point (House Bar Emmon) and Claw Isle (House Celtigar)? I can understand the absence of the first and maybe the second, but Claw Isle’s just sitting there looking Lannister.

    The lack of Shireen on the Baratheon family tree is also disquieting…

  • Ranger001,

    Yeah that was my point although its to early for speculation whether his cut, plus Euron and Dampy are listed and neither of them makes and appearance this season.

    But i wouldn’t mind if they tough up Dampy in to a warrior priest type and he could easily take over Vics role, since after the (kingsmoot) he’s pretty useless, and vice versa for Vic (prior to his journey to Dany)

  • I’m starting to get worried for house Greyjoy. The fact that hey’re not mentioned as Throne contenders is not a good start and if D&D decide ot to go that way they’re gonna have serious trouble with adapting book 4. Even worse so if they cut out Victarion who is not mentioned in the family tree here. He plays such an important role in book 4 and 5 and undoubtedly is going to play an even bigger role in book 6 judging by the chapter that George recently read at a gathering in Canada. So cutting him out is a bad move imo and will only make things a lot harder for D&D.

  • I like how they kept it the “war of the 5 kings” like it is in the books, but still didnt really give away the greyjoy faction. Where in the books they could careless whats going on with dany, but for the purposes of the show and to non-readers she can still easily be considered as a contender. I wonder if later in the series they’ll update that by putting greyjoy in and if so I wonder if they’ll leave dany up there considering she still has a bit of ground to cover before she’ll even be close to waving to anyone from across a battlefield in westeros

  • Winterdark:
    I’m starting to get worried for house Greyjoy. The fact that hey’re not mentioned as Throne contenders is not a good start

    Mentioning them as such would be a spoiler for non-readers at this point.

  • Just something I noticed and wanted to mention. If I was a non-book reader I’d be pretty pissed after reading this thread. Most of you were pretty good but a few hinted at a few things. Didn’t really give away anything, but you took some factors out of the equations (or added some in the people didn’t know about). I just wanted to tell everyone that it’s probably better to be too generous with the spoiler button then not generous enough. Example being my above post. I could have shown some pieces here and there but I didn’t want to take any chances on giving away anything, since I was speaking about the future plot of the story.

    Just a thought for everyone for the future. Not trying to complain too much. Hopefully non-readers avoid threads like these but I can easily see them making the mistake of not noticing the lack of a “this is a spoiler free thread” disclaimer at the beginning.

    I like watching the “newbies” go through the journey for the first time. Wish I could do it all over again.

  • I hope they bring up Victarion later. His name sounds way more badass than Aeron (who should be cut imho).
    The Greatjon will be a major loss. I hope he will be outdrinking some freys (and gut some) in the next season.

    What were they thinking by giving Ser Gregor a simple lannister armor? Did the old tourney armor (with the big pauldrons that made him even more menacing) not fit?
    A waste!

  • WiC or OITF,

    please let BGogs know that in the Houses section, if you click on Stannis it says he “preferred the solitude of the family seat in Dragonstone.”

    The map correctly states that Storm’s End is the Baratheon seat, and that Dragonstone was bestowed upon Stannis following Robert’s Rebellion.

    Argh, the Baratheon family tree gives the incorrect presumption that Stannis were the oldest brother, when he is in fact the middle one. Already I’ve seen a lot of people thinking that Stannis is the oldest, and this doesn’t help that at all.

    Yeah, this is also all fucked up. If you click on Stannis then he’s in the middle, but Renly’s on the right (which would make Renly the oldest brother), and if you click on Renly then he’s in the middle with Stannis on the left (Robert on the right), and if you click on Joff then its Robert in the middle with Stannis on the right. So not only are they all different, not even a single one is correct.

  • Anyone noticed how the actors’ names in the credits are only shown if those characters actually appear in the episode? Unusual practice, but a pretty good idea given the Loads and Loads of Characters. This season we not only have completely new characters, but also have plenty of characters from last season promoted to the credits.

    Speaking of which, every word out of Bronn’s mouth is gold. So glad he’s playing a prominent role this year, even more so than in the book!

  • Lannisters helmets are, in my opinion, the worst design decision of the whole series…They look utterly ridiculous, especially the way how they open…and the fact they are putting them on all of important characters like Tywin or Mountain is also stupid and on the contrary to the usual look of noble men in medieval battles…they were not as unformed as 20 century armies…

  • Sword of the morning,

    People post spoilers in almost every thread, unfortunately. We try to add in spoiler code where it’s needed if the commenter neglects to, as in this case.

    But yes, everyone, please try to not post spoilers, or try to use spoiler code if you allude to future events. :)

  • Interesting that Victarion isn’t listed in the Greyjoy tree. I doubt it’s anything to worry about given that Tyrion alluded to him (his uncles) when he was talking about the burning of Lannisport with Theon last season.

  • Okay so…

    Greatjon UMBER – not onboard (check)
    Galbart GLOVER – a featured extra in season one, but where is Deepwood Motte?
    The TALLHARTS – are featured on the map, have the Tallharts been cast?
    Rickard KARSTARK – Cast yes? no picture or profile?

    Does Rob suddenly only have 2 Bannerman? and if so…with those two… he is in big trouble.

  • wow the map is sooo awesome. I was totally right in my head about where Qarth was relative to the rest of Essos (and lots of hte fan maps dont ‘have it where this one does)!!!

    Looking forward to the feature on Dany’s journey when it comes (I’d guess after she arrives in Qarth so epi 4 or 5?)?

  • Zmajevic76: contrary to the usual look of noble men in medieval battles

    The production (led by Gemma Whelen) intentially went with a look that is not exactly authentic to Earth’s medieval Europe. That’s because it doesn’t take place in Earth’s medieval Europe. It takes place in Westeros/Essos. You can disagree with that decision, but it explains why many of the lcothes are not “authentic”. You can pick up on a bit of a japanese vibe with all the LAnnister garb, not just the helmets (there’s something robe-like about most of Cersei’s dresses, as well as Jaime’s longcoat from S1).

  • PanchoFrancisco: The TALLHARTS – are featured on the map, have the Tallharts been cast?

    Tallhart was in episode 1 this season or am I wrong? Complaining about the walls from Torrhen’s Square.

  • Knurk,

    He wasn’t necessarily a Tallhart, he was saying he saw masons do rapid and skilful work putting up a tower at Torrhen’s Square in his youth and that his current masons are not fit to hold their father’s hammers. If he holds the work at Torrhen’s Square in high esteem it is unlikely that it is where he lives with the “sleeping under a waterfall” problem. says something about a reference to House Cerwyn in their write up of that scene but I can’t figure out what they mean.

    The areas of control map shows Renly making significant encroachments into the Westerlands with Crakehall and Cornfield (Seat of House Flynt) in green. Weird.

  • Mike Chair,

    Haha, good to see someone with similar taste.

    Yeah she is fucking hot, I literally watched the Tudors just because she was in it :)

    Can’t wait to see her in GoT!

  • PanchoFrancisco,

    They’re probably only showing those two because they’re actively appearing onscreen this season while the rest of his bannermen shown in Season 1 (Greatjon, Maege, Galbart, etc) are off raiding the Westerlands/engaging other Lannister forces off-screen. Unless D&D killed off Greatjon offscreen, then shame on them.

    Besides, Karstark and Bolton are most likely the only ones of Robb’s men who are playing a bigger role on-screen in this season anyway, what with the Karstark’s probable murdering of Cleos-I mean “Alton Lannister” and subsequent beheading by Robb and Roose capturing Harrenhal and being most awesome.

  • Knurk,

    Sorry, I’m not buying that – While Westeros is not some historical region, everything in it is based on Medieval Europe. One of the greatest Martin’s inspiration came from War of the Roses in England, and if u have lords, knights, ladies, courts, castles, sigils, banners, joust etc –u are talking about Europe. Not real historical Europe, but some fictional and mythical version of it…And I agree with you on the whole Lannisters Japanese style –totally out of place, with the samurai helmets being the worst choice but far…