It's not an April Fools' Day joke. Joffery's cruelty and resulting bitchslaps, Tyrion's lusting and scheming, the Master of Whispers' whisperings—all of this and more is coming back to HBO this Sunday, April 1 at 9 PM, when Season 2 of the Emmy®-winning Game of Thrones returns.

Some new characters are joining the not-killed-last-season gang:

  • Stannis Baratheon, the late King Robert's brother, played by Emmy®-nominated Stephen Dillane (for HBO's John Adams)
  • Margaery Tyrell, a beauty from the House of Tyrell, played by Natalie Dormer (The Tudors)
  • Davos Seaworth, a knighted Stannis ally and former smuggler, played by Liam Cunningham (The Wind That Shakes the Barley)
  • Melisandre, a powerful priestess and Stannis' muse, played by Carice van Houten (Valkyrie)
  • Ygritte, a wildling North of the Wall, played by Rose Leslie (formerly of Downton Abbey)

Let's see how they mix into a world in which Lord Joffrey rules the Iron Throne (his incest-y mother and uncle counseling from near and far) with a sneer on his boy's face and brutality in his shriveled heart; a new rival for Jon Snow is rising among the wildlings North of the Wall; and three baby dragons born from the fire of Daenerys's doomed marriage are just getting started.

Tune in this Sunday, April 1, at 9 PM ET for the Season 2 premiere of Game of Thrones—only on HBO.