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'Game of Thrones': 5 Essential Ways to Prepare for the Premiere

Cast tidbits, gruesome deaths and a rave review are among the must-reads for fans ready to return to Westeros.

No 'Game of Thrones' Breakthrough
HBO

Read the Game of Thrones season 4 premiere recap here.

Lords, ladies and smallfolk: Game of Thrones season four is upon us.

The violent and engrossing HBO hit premieres Sunday -- so it's high time to review everything you need to know to be ready.

Find five essentials below.

1. The reviews are in.

The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman gives season four a rave review. Read it here.

2. What the cast is saying.

Maisie Williams recently told THR that Arya will become more like The Hound this season: "She's picking up on his brutality."

At The Wall, star John Bradley says we'll see Sam in a new light -- and that's not a good thing. Bradley says Sam will begin making "self-centered decisions that are beneficial to nobody and could be utterly catastrophic." Could that mean trouble for Jon Snow?

North of The Wall, Isaac Hempstead-Wright says Bran will explore his mystical powers even more this season. (He also reveals things get awkward when he watches the racy show with his mom.) 

And last year at Comic-Con, Kit Harington teased what Jon Sow will be up to, calling the season "immense." (Watch below.)

3. Remember the good (and bad) times.

Revisit the show's most gruesome deaths and best quotes (so far).

4. Weigh in on who will reign supreme.

Where do the main contenders for the Iron Throne stand going into season four? THR ranks the Lannisters at No. 1, and the poor Starks all the way down at No. 6. Find out why here, and have your say as well.

5. Get your groove on.

THR sister publication Billboard has created a Game of Thrones character playlist, with songs catered to your favorite characters. They've also got the inside story on how HBO tapped 10 musicians for a hip-hop and reggaeton mixtape, Catch the Throne.

Game of Thrones airs at 9 p.m. Sunday on HBO. Stay tuned to THR.com/GOT for full post-episode analysis, plus an interview with new castmember Pedro Pascal.