As we prepare to say good-bye to Game of Thrones after seven deeply analyzed seasons, what is left to say about the show but, oh God, there are so many characters. Specifically, so many men who look suspiciously alike: bearded, white, dirty, wearing black leather and furs, probably named as a result of George R.R. Martin spinning a wheel at a Renaissance Faire in Sante Fe back in 1991. (Think about it. Have you ever seen Podrick Payne and Gendry in the same bleak, muddy dungeon at the same time?)
If you, too, have made it to season eight but still have to pause every once in a while to ask wait, who is that guy again? this is the guide for you. Because before all men must die, you need to be able to tell them apart first.
Who he is: This one’s easy: He’s the main guy. Long believed to be the bastard son of Ned Stark, he’s actually Aegon Targaryen, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Identifying characteristics: Hirsute, pretty, and usually pouty.
Fun fact: Had sex with his aunt, Daenerys Targaryen. (Without knowing they’re related.)
Who he is: Served in the Kingsguard and became the commander of all the Lannister’s armies, but abandoned it all at the end of season seven to join the fight against the White Walkers.
Identifying characteristics: Dirty blonde, classically handsome, should be on the cover of a drugstore romance novel.
Beard? Stubbly, but it counts.
Fun fact: Had a years-long incestesous relationship with his twin sister, Cersei. (On purpose, definitely knowing they’re related.)
Who he is: Jaime and Cersei’s long-despised younger brother, who’s switched allegiances and is now Hand of the Queen for Daenerys Targaryen.
Identifying characteristics: Four-foot-four with a mop of curly hair.
Fun fact: Killed his dad.
Who he is: The youngest living Stark child, he’s also the new Three-Eyed Raven.
Identifying characteristics: A teen. He’s also been paralyzed since season one, when he climbed up a tower and saw Jaime and Cersei having sex, prompting Jaime to push him out a window.
Beard? No beard — yet.
Fun fact: He has supernatural visions and can see into both the future and the past.
Who he is: The heir to the Iron Islands, he spent his childhood with the Starks in the North, only to betray them. He was then captured by Ramsay Bolton (the sadistic bastard son of House Bolton), who tortured him, cut off his penis, and made him his servant, “Reek.” After Ramsay is killed at the end of season six, he’s back to Theon, and on a quest to save his sister Yara, who’s been kidnapped by his uncle Euron (see next man).
Identifying characteristics: Lanky with a furrowed brow and gap teeth.
Beard? A l’il one.
Fun fact: He’s played by Lily Allen’s younger brother. Oi!
Who he is: Theon’s ruthless and brutal uncle, who killed his own brother to become King of the Iron Islands. He’s also since captured Theon’s sister Yara, and is allied with and planning to wed Cersei.
Identifying characteristics: Looks like a saucy pirate.
Beard? There’s a tragic mutton-chops situation happening here.
Fun fact: My fellow Scandinavian drama-heads will remember him from Borgen, where he plays ruthless political spin doctor (in Danish: spindoktor) Kasper Juul.
Who he is: A bookish steward of the Night’s Watch and Jon Snow’s BFF, who takes off from his post at the Citadel to help the North fight against the White Walkers at the end of season seven.
Identifying characteristics: Plump and friendly-faced, usually with Gilly, a wildling woman he rescued from her incestous father in season three.
Fun fact: Has a toxic relationship with his own father.
Who he is: He works for Cersei as the “Master of Whisperers,” the leader of the Queen’s intelligence and spy network.
Identifying characteristics: Skinny, old, super weird, usually wearing a shapeless and elegant black cowl-neck Snuggie.
Fun fact: He was a former Maester kicked out of the Citadel* for experimenting on humans.
Eddison Tollett a.k.a. Dolorous Edd
Who he is: Acting Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. I think?
Identifying characteristics: Looks like everyone else in the Night’s Watch.
Fun fact: I honestly don’t remember anything about this guy. He seems cool?
Who he is: A former smuggler who used to work with Stannis Baratheon but now is Jon Snow’s main adviser.
Identifying characteristics: Gruff, grizzled, weary.
Beard? Beard ahoy.
Fun fact: His nickname is “the Onion Knight” and some theories (one theory) by fans (me) suggest that he’ll eat a full Bloomin’ Onion™ in season eight.
Who he is: An exiled lord turned spy turned adviser to Daenerys turned exiled adviser to Daenerys. She welcomes him back after he proves his loyalty and devotion, but only after he gets over his Greyscale. He’s also tragically in love with her, even though it’s never going to happen.
Identifying characteristics: Gruff, grizzled, weary, hot as hell.
Beard? A perfectly maintained four-day stubble at all times.
Fun fact: He’s hot.
Sandor Clegane a.k.a. The Hound
Who he is: The Hound used to be in the Kingsguard but ended up on various journeys throughout the series before suffering an existential crisis and ultimately joining the Brotherhood Without Banners (more on that later) and siding with Jon Snow and Daenerys in the fight against the White Walkers.
Identifying characteristics: Hulking, with shoulder-length hair and a distinctive burn mark on half of his face.
Fun fact: Has a toxic relationship with his brother.
Gregor Clegane a.k.a. The Mountain
Who he is: The Hound’s infamously barbaric older brother, who’s responsible for the burn marks on his face, as well a number of brutal murders over the years. He was killed in a trial by combat in season four but was resurrected, and is now a fearsome zombie in Cersei’s service.
Identifying characteristics: Enormous, rarely takes his helmet off on account of being a zombie.
Beard? No beard. Can zombies grow beards?
Fun fact: A zombie.
Who he is: A famed mercenary fighter who works for the Lannisters.
Identifying characteristics: A real rogue, with longish hair, leathery skin. Looks like he has a promising future as a male porn star.
Fun fact: I confused him with The Hound for the first six seasons or so. (I know, I know, okay!)
Who he is: A former Lord who leads a merry band of deserters and outlaws called the Brotherhood Without Banners, who are now aiding the North in the fight against the White Walkers.
Identifying characteristics: Looks exactly like Stan in the last season of Mad Men, with an eye patch.
Beard? Oh hell yeah.
Fun fact: Has died a whole bunch of times.
Who he is: A wildling warrior who teams up with Jon Snow to fight the White Walkers.
Identifying characteristics: A sturdy and proud ginger prince.
Beard? Perhaps the greatest beard in the entire series.
Fun fact: He falls in love with Brienne of Tarth at first sight, saying he wants to make “conster babies” with her.
Who he is: A member of the Unsullied, fearsome and diligent slave-soldiers who were freed by Daenerys and now fight for her.
Identifying characteristics: Slim and handsome, with a buzz cut.
Fun fact: Is a eunuch.
Who he is: A eunuch with a network of spies whose loyalties have lied in many different places. He used to be Cersei’s “Master of Whisperers” but now serves Daenerys.
Identifying characteristics: Chubby, with a chic and elaborate robe collection.
Fun fact: A messy bitch!
Who he is: The bastard son of Robert Baratheon, he works as a blacksmith and is helping Jon Snow fight the Walkers.
Identifying characteristics: Boyish, though he’s traded in his shaggy locks for a buzzcut.
Fun fact: He’s the last living Baratheon.
Who he is: Formerly Tyrion Lannister’s squire, he now works for and is buddies with Brienne of Tarth.
Identifying characteristics: Looks like Gendry.
Fun fact: This guy fucks.
Who he is: An old friend of Arya’s who ends up in the Night’s Watch then runs away to live a quiet life as a baker.
Identifying characteristics: Rotund with short, curly hair.
Fun fact: He just loves to bake!!!
The Night King
Who he is: Master of the White Walkers, leads the Army of the Dead, terrifying in every way imaginable.
Identifying characteristics: Tall, slim, icy white wrinkled skin, long nails, glowing electric blue eyes.
Fun fact: Is trying to wipe out all of Westeros.
*This post has been corrected to show that Qyburn was kicked out of the Citadel, not the Night’s Watch.