War has arrived! ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 unleashes its first episode of the season, as Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) arrives in Kings' Landing to cement his place as hand of the King, while Robb Stark continues his campaign and, and other factions rally to vie for their claim to the throne...

Last season’s ‘Game of Thrones’ finale “Fire and Blood” saw the vicious young Joffrey making his claim as King, while the Starks scattered, and Daenerys Targaryen affirmed her place as a dragon queen, complete with her own little winged minions, so what will the latest season bring? Whatever will we do without Ned Stark (Sean Bean)?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Game of Thrones’ season 2 premiere e “The North Remembers!”

At Kings’ Landing, The Hound viciously duels an opponent for King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) on his name day,  While Sansa (Sophie Turner) looks on, newly appointed Hand of the King Tyrion Lannister arrives to pay his respects, stunning Joffrey as to what he’s doing there.  Boy, we can't wait for someone to smack the blond off his smug head.

Tyrion proceeds to the small council meeting discussing the upcoming winter, where Cersei (Lena Headey)  reacts incredulously that Tyrion has been made Hand in place of their father Tywin.  The siblings ponder ways to barter the Stark children for Jamie, when Tyrion reminds her that under her watch Arya Stark escaped, and Joffrey beheaded Ned.  Meanwhile at Winterfell, Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) listens to his subjects, before dreaming a vision of a forest walk through they eyes of his direwolf.  Hotor and Osha (Natalie Tena escort him to the pool, where they muse on the significance of the comet overhead, which Osha insists to be  a sign of dragons.  You know what that means...

Hopelessly lost and starving through the desert, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) watches her horse gifted from Khal Drogo perish, before sending out her blood-riders in all directions to find any signs of civilization.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and the Night’s Watch continue their expedition North, stopping at the home of one of Commander Mormont’s contacts, Craster,  a man who marries his own daughters and doesn’t take kindly to Jon Snow.  Wait, he marries who?

On an unseen beach at Dragonstone, The Red Priestess Melisandre (Caprice van Houten) burns the statues of the old gods, in the process canonizing  Lord Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) for the throne, in spite of the objections of Stannis’ advisor Maester Cressen.  At a meeting, Stannis insists that he won’t make peace with Robb Stark or his brother Renly, that the throne of Westeros belongs to him.  Toasting to Stannis’ success, Cressen poisons his own wine goblet, and shares the glass with Melisandre.  Cressen collapses on the floor bleeding, while Melisandre seems entirely unaffected.  Something unnerving about that one...

At Robb Stark’s camp, the King in the North meets with the captive Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), taunting that he knows the true incestuous parentage of King Joffrey.    Meanwhile at the capitol, Tyrion and Shae do their best to keep her presence a secret, while Cersei confronts Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), demonstrating her ability to have him killed when he implies  that he too knows of her affair with Jamie Lannister.  She tasks him with finding the still-missing Arya Stark, as a nearby peasant looks on.

Back at Robb’s camp, Robb lays out necessary surrender terms of returning his (living and dead) family members, and the Lannisters in exile to one of the young Lannister cousins, fullwhile accepting that they won’t agree.  The boy leaves, and Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) offers to recruit his own father Balon Greyjoy in attacking Kings’ Landing, wanting to show his love to the Starks.  Catelyn Stark doesn’t believe it a wise course, but Robb convinces her to meet with Renly Baratheon to increase their forces further, as they need further leverage to negotiate for their siblings back.  Catelyn agrees, noting how much she and Ned would be proud of Robb.  Er, Ned's head, anyway.

Later, Cersei overlooks Joffrey’s modifications to the throne room, noting the need to recover Arya Stark, when Joffrey taunts her about the swirling rumors of her and Jamie.  Not only that, but he points out King Robert Baratheon’s numerous bastard children, to which she slaps him, and he vows to kill her should she ever do it again.  At Littlefinger’s brothel, now run by Ros (Esme Bianco), she shows Shae the ropes before soldiers arrive to kill Mhaegen’s baby and Robert’s bastard son, all of the bastards being hunted down and murdered throughout the city.  Their last target is Gendry, who Tobho Mott claims to be headed toward the Night's Watch, as we see the disguised Arya in his company as well.

Finally, the wait is over and we've landed back in Westeros!  It takes a bit of a while to re-introduce everything, and highlight some of the new players of the season, but characters are just as rich and the mood is just as tense as ever!  So who will be next on the chopping block, now that we don't have poor Ned Stark to kick around?  I'm most excited to see more of Daenerys, and her wee little dragons!

If you think this was good, just wait until next week!  Did you get your fill of sword-swingin’ ‘Game of Thrones’ action?  What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Game of Thrones’s next effort “The Night Lands” on HBO!

And don't forget to check out our clips from "The Night Lands!"