The Game of Thrones season 2 premiere comes to HBO Sunday, April 1 at 9pm, and fans will not be disappointed. The show returns without missing a beat, picking up right where it left off and continuing the epic stories of the Seven Kingdoms and the battle for the throne.

The most impressive thing about the season 2 premiere is how effortlessly it addresses every single character and storyline. There’s so much going on in this show, yet the writers and producers pack everything into one hour so neatly that the time flies by.

See Game of Thrones Season 2 Photos>>

To get you pumped up for the return of Game of Thrones, here are a few spoilers that will hopefully get you even more excited.

8 New Series Regulars

In season 1, there were 18 series regulars, though four of them were killed off (Sean Bean as Ned Stark, Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon, Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryan and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo). For the season 2 premiere, the opening credits boast an impressive 23 main cast members, with three new stars and five actors being promoted.

New to the opening credits are:

-John Bradley as Samwell Terry, Jon Snow’s overweight friend on the Night’s Watch
-James Cosmo as Jeor Mormont, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch
-Jerome Flynn as Bronn, Tyrion’s warrior friend who fought on his behalf
-Sibel Kekilli as Shae, Tyrion’s mysterious lover
-Conleth Hill as Lord Varys, member of the Small Council

-Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s oldest brother
-Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Stannis’ priestess
Liam Cunningham as Davos Sewworth, Stannis’ most trusted advisor

Given the new promotions, it’s obvious that Stannis, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister will all play big parts in season 2. In fact, Peter Dinklage was moved to the first position in the opening credits, replacing Sean Bean and suggesting that he is the new lead.

The Comet

While the action of Game of Thrones takes place in many different lands, the season 2 premiere is tied together with the presence of a comet in the sky, seen by everyone. It means different things to different people, and none of them are particularly good news.

King Joffrey is Bigger and Badder

I’m pretty sure Jack Gleeson had quite a growth spurt between seasons 1 and 2, because Joffrey towers over his mother and most other characters. And just in case you though killing Ned Stark was the worst thing he could do, Joffrey reveals that he can be even more evil. The final scenes of the season 2 premiere are some of the most gruesome yet.

Stannis Baratheon Rules

In two scenes, Game of Thrones establishes Robert’s brother Stannis and his group of followers. Between his actions and words, the show does a perfect job of letting us know the kind of gruff, matter-of-fact man Stannis is. He doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t play games, he just calls it like he sees it and goes to work. And he’s not even the scariest person in his alliance.

More Disturbing Incest

Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s twincest becomes a major issue in the season 2 premiere, but perhaps even more disturbing is that there’s a completely unrelated incestuous storyline that pops up. It has to do with the Night’s Watch, and while it’s pretty creepy, it does give one character the opportunity to comment on how pretty Jon Snow is.

In addition to all of this, the season 2 premiere of Game of Thrones has a baby dragon, a giant direwolf and a fantastic scene between Littlefinger and Cersei.

Game of Thrones season 2 premieres Sunday, April 1 at 9pm on HBO.

(Image courtesy of HBO)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.