Praise the Old Gods and the New -- your ultimate Game of Thrones recap is officially here!
To help prepare you for the eighth and final season, premiering Sunday, April 14 on HBO -- and save you hours of wide-eyed binging in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros -- our maesters have diligently crafted a refresher on what 15 characters were up to in season seven.
(Please send all ravens with notes of gratitude across the Narrow Sea to the ETonline offices in the far off land of Burbank, California.)
So sit back, scroll down and let us be your squire (we think we might be just a little bit better than Podrick), as we get you caught up on the Starks, the Lannisters, the Targaryens -- and everyone in between!
When we last saw Daenerys Targaryen, she was suffering a heartbreaking loss. In episode 706, “Beyond the Wall,“ Dany and her three dragons traveled far North on a rescue mission to save Jon Snow, Jorah Mormont and the rest of the wight-kidnapping crew. During a fierce battle with the army of the undead, Daenerys watched in horror as the Night King swiftly killed her dragon, Viserion, with a well-aimed ice spear. Now that’s she’s seen the horrors of the Night King’s army firsthand, Daenerys is putting her quest to conquer Westeros on hold, to focus on the war between the living and the dead.
When we last saw Jon Snow, the King in the North decided to travel to Dragonstone to warn Daenerys Targaryen of the Night King’s army and convince her to let him mine for dragonglass to be used as weapons against the undead. Soon after his arrival, Jon enlisted the help of Tormund, Gendry, The Hound, Jorah Mormont and more brave men to travel beyond The Wall to capture a wight and bring it back down to King’s Landing as proof. After a brutal battle with the Night King’s army on a frozen lake, Jon sacrificed himself to hold off the wights so Daenerys could escape with the men who survived and her two remaining dragons.
Just when it seemed like Jon was about to die (again!) his Uncle Benjen arrived out of nowhere, gave Jon his horse and sent him south to safety. At the parley in King’s Landing, Jon revealed to Cersei Lannister that he has chosen to bend the knee to Queen Daenerys and the North’s loyalties are now pledged to House Targaryen. The season ended with a sultry lovemaking scene between Jon and Daenerys and let’s just say their relationship is no longer just political.
When we last saw Bran Stark, he reunited with his sisters, Arya and Sansa, at Winterfell and was working to master his new role as the one and only Three-Eyed Raven. In a particularly triumphant moment, Bran used his sight to reveal key details of Petyr Baelish’s various betrayals across Westeros. However, Bran’s biggest revelation was discovering that Jon Snow’s birth name is Aegon Targaryen and that he is the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. This means that Jon Snow is not just Daenerys Targaryen’s lover -- he’s also her nephew.
When we last saw Sansa Stark, she was serving as the Lady of Winterfell after Jon Snow left her in charge when he set off to meet Daenerys Targaryen and mine dragonglass from Dragonstone. After reuniting with her last two living Stark siblings, Bran and Arya, Sansa sent Brienne of Tarth off to represent her interests at the parley in King’s Landing. With Brienne out of Winterfell, Petyr Baelish preyed on Sansa’s vulnerabilities and plotted to turn the Stark sisters against each other. In a triumphant twist in the season seven finale, Sansa charged Littlefinger with murder and treason and sentenced him to die.
When we last saw Arya Stark, the former faceless assassin fully re-embraced her identity as the daughter of Ned and Catelyn Stark. In a wonderfully satisfying act of vengeance in the season seven premiere, Arya used her skills of many faces to impersonate Walder Frey and poison each and every man in House Frey. Although she was originally going to ride south down to King’s Landing to cross Cersei off her kill list, Arya returned to Winterfell once she heard that Jon Snow was the new King of the North. By the end of season seven, Arya teamed up with Sansa to sentence and kill Petyr Baelish -- she even used Littlefinger’s own Valyrian steel dagger to slice his throat.
When we last saw Tyrion Lannister, he was watching sullenly as his queen let Jon Snow cross the threshold into her chambers. As Hand of the Queen, Tyrion struggled to reason with Daenerys’ fiery temper for most of season seven. While many of Tyrion’s "clever plans" for Daenerys' conquest of Westeros failed miserably, he was successful in arranging an unprecedented meeting of the last great houses for the parley in King's Landing to show proof of the undead army marching south. During a private negotiation with Cersei Lannister, Tyrion managed to convince his older sister to send the King’s Landing army north to help fight against the army of the undead.
When we last saw Cersei Lannister, the childless Queen of Westeros was wallowing in a rage of revenge and power. After teaming up with Euron Greyjoy and coordinating a particularly vicious act of vengeance against Ellaria Sand and her daughters, Cersei revealed a small bit of happiness to her brother and lover, Jaime Lannister: she’s pregnant. And although Cersei promised her little brother, Tyrion, that she would send the Lannister bannermen north to fight against the Night King’s army -- she lied. Cersei revealed to Jaime that in reality, she sent Euron Greyjoy to Essos to collect the Golden Company, an army of legendary sellswords, and use them to regain control of the Seven Kingdoms.
When we last saw Jaime Lannister, the King Slayer was wrestling with how to keep Cersei Lannister -- his power-crazed sister, lover and expectant mother of his child -- in check while she struggled to maintain control of the Seven Kingdoms. After a few small victories -- like overtaking Highgarden and politely poisoning House Tyrell’s matriarch, Olenna Tyrell -- Jaime and Bronn suffered a large and fiery loss when Daenerys Targaryen burned a large number of the Lannister supplies and soldiers into ash. After the parley in King’s Landing, Jaime was ready to lead the remaining Lannister bannermen North to aid in the fight against the army of the undead, but he quickly realized that Cersei had no intention with following through with her promises to help. Despite Cersei’s threats to have him killed for treason, Jaime rode away from King’s Landing and is headed North to fulfill his oath to fight.
The Night King
When we last saw the Night King, he was leading a vicious army filled with thousands of undead men, women, giants, polar bears, horses and generals south to the base of The Wall at Eastwatch. During episode 706, “Beyond the Wall,” the Night King successfully slaughtered Viserion, one of Daenerys Targaryen’s three dragons. He later used his dark powers of resurrection to bring Viserion back to life and her icy-blue flames of destruction are now under his control. In the final moments of season seven, the Night King used Viserion to burn down The Wall -- thus allowing his army of wights to march south for the Great War to come.
When we last saw Theon Greyjoy, he was filled with guilt and trying to fight for the respect of his men. During a deadly ambush in the Narrow Sea in episode 702, “Stormborn,” Euron Greyjoy captured Theon’s sister, Yara. When his uncle challenged him to take her back, Theon’s PTSD as Ramsay’s slave, “Reek,” crippled him mid-fight and he jumped from the boat like a coward. After seeing his uncle again at the parley in King's Landing, Theon fought for his life (literally) for the chance to rally his remaining Greyjoy men and set off on a rescue mission for Yara.
Brienne of Tarth
When we last saw Brienne of Tarth, she was representing Sansa’s interests as the Lady of Winterfell at the leaders’ gathering in King’s Landing. It was a season filled with reunions and victory for Brienne. As you’ll recall, when Brienne was introduced back in season two, she pledged her allegiance to Stark matriarch Catelyn Stark and made a vow that she would bring the Stark girls home. With Sansa, Arya (and Bran!) all back at Winterfell, Brienne’s squire, Podrick, pointed out in episode 704, “The Spoils of War,” Brienne’s vow to Catelyn has finally been fulfilled.
Sandor Clegane -- The Hound
When we last The Hound, he was having a surprisingly sweet reunion with Brienne of Tarth in King’s Landing. When these two characters last crossed paths in the season four finale, Brienne and The Hound clashed in a brutally vicious battle to fight for the right to take care of Arya Stark. With Arya safely back at Winterfell, Brienne proudly told The Hound that “the only one who needs protecting, is the one that gets in her way.” As a somewhat reluctant member of the Brotherhood Without Banners, The Hound spent season seven serving the Lord of Light and helping to kidnap a wight from beyond The Wall. He also came face to face with his older brother, Gregor Clegane, at the parley in King's Landing and threatened him, saying, "You know who's coming for you. You've always known."
When we last saw Samwell Tarly, he was living a tedious (and at times, disgusting) life at The Citadel while apprenticing to become the Maester of Castle Black. After meeting greyscale-infected Jorah Mormont -- the son of the late Night’s Watch Commander, Jeor Mormont -- Sam secretly performed a high-risk surgery to cure Jorah of the deadly disease. Tired of the maester’s haughty behavior and the daily monotony of life at The Citadel, Sam stole a number of books from the restricted section and left for Winterfell with Gilly and young Sam. While reuniting with Bran, it was Sam’s knowledge of Rhaegar Targaryen’s annulment and subsequent secret marriage to Lyanna Stark that allowed the Three-Eyed Raven to realize that Jon Snow is the rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms.
When we last saw Jorah Mormont, he had teamed up with Samwell Tarley at The Citadel and agreed to undergo a painful surgery to rid his body of greyscale. Free from the disease and true to his word, Jorah traveled to Dragonstone to return to the side of his Queen and the woman he loves, Daenerys Targaryen, and she gladly welcomed him back to her small council. During the harrowing trip beyond The Wall to capture a wight, Jon Snow tried to give Jorah his sword, Longclaw -- which used to belong to his later father, Jeor Mormont -- but Jorah refused and said Jon was meant to have it. As of now, Jorah does not know that Jon and Daenerys have slept together.
Game of Thrones' eighth and final season premieres Sunday, April 14 on HBO.