War is on its way to Westeros when “Game of Thrones” season seven premieres on July 16th. A lot went down when last we visited the Seven Kingdoms, and given the interminably long for new episodes to land on HBO, you can certainly be forgiven for not recalling the major details of season six. From the death of a large chunk of the cast in one fell swoop to Daenerys heading for Westeros with a massive army in tow, season six was a game changer in many ways. So to get ready for the season seven premiere, we’ve pulled together a no-frills refresher of season six. We’re breaking it down by major characters with a quick look at major plot points for each — think of it as a TL:DR recap. Let’s get started. Spoilers for season six abound.
The nascent King in the North. Jon Snow rose from the dead thanks to an assist from Melisandre and reclaimed his post as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch in the early part of the season. Eventually Jon was reunited with Sansa Stark and convinced to move on Ramsay Bolton and reclaim Winterfell. The ensuing clash – the Battle of the Bastards – was a high point of the series, and, although it opened with the tragic death of Rickon Stark, eventually saw Jon give a Ramsay a well-deserved beatdown in pretty bad-ass fashion. After retaking Winterfell, Jon is now the defacto King in the North. But more, importantly a long-held fan theory on Jon’s parentage seems to have finally been confirmed: in one of Bran Stark’s visions, it was revealed that Jon is not Ned Stark’s bastard, but the secret progeny of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. And the plot thickens, my friends.
She’s finally out from under the thumb of Ramsay Bolton and was at Jon’s side for the majority of season six. There’s also a bit of chemistry between adopted siblings Jon and Sansa, but it’s unclear what that could mean going forward. Despite her outward support for Jon as King in the North, Sansa nonetheless sported a “why shouldn’t I be queen” vibe that was very likely encouraged by Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who continues to have her ear. Oh, and she took her revenge on Ramsay Bolton in a suitably brutal fashion.
Having essentially completed her training with the Faceless Men in Braavos, Arya made her way back to Westeros to start crossing those names off her list. First up – Walder Frey. After serving up a meat pie straight from Mrs. Lovett’s Fleet Street cookbook, Arya revealed herself and slit Walder’s throat. We expect that Arya may soon be reunited with the tattered remnants of the House of Stark.
Bran spent the majority of the season with the Three-Eyed Raven, exploring his growing powers and tripping through time in a series of highly informative flashbacks (see the Jon Snow revelation above). Unfortunately, one of those revelations was the tragic reveal of the meaning of “Hodor.” In of the show’s most gut-wrenching moments to date, it was revealed that while escaping from a horde of wights, Bran inadvertently warged into Hodor (whose given name is Wylis) during a vision, showing Wylis his own tragic future as he attempts to “hold the door” and let Meera and Bran escape. So thanks to Bran’s reckless use of his warging abilites, a boy named Wylis experienced his own terrible future death and was irreparably traumatized. Bran and Meera are now making their way to the Wall and will hopefully reunite with the Starks.
Dany is on the march. She consolidated power by showing the Khals a fiery end and now leads the Dothraki herself. She made a pact with Yara Greyjoy for some much needed naval power, and appears to be back in control of her dragons. Things will get interesting very quickly when the Mother of Dragons finally makes landfall.
Speaking of the Greyjoys, Theon – as recovered as he likely ever will be from his time with Ramsay Bolton – and Yara have aligned themselves with Daenerys after fleeing the Iron Islands with a fleet in tow. Their uncle Euron is now ruling the Iron Islands after dispatching his brother Balon. The Ironborn are one of many wildcards heading into season seven.
He drinks and he knows things. Really, what else is there? Tyrion made his way to Daenerys and now sits as the Hand of the Queen. Here’s hoping Daenerys actually pays attention to one of the shrewdest minds in Westeros.
After coming to terms with the death of his daughter at the hands – er, poison – of the Sand Snakes in Dorne, Jaime made him useful and took back Riverrun without bloodshed while also sparing his old traveling buddy Brienne and her squire Podrick. Then he returned to King’s Landing to discover that Cersei was being, well, Cersei.
Following her walk of shame at the close of season five, it was only a matter of time until Cersei Lannister exacted some kind of revenge. It may have taken her an entire season to pull it off, but in one of season six’s most shocking and explosive moments, Cersei ignited a cache of wildfire hidden under the Great Sept of Baelor during the trial of Ser Loras Tyrell. In one fell swoop, Cersei took out The High Sparrow (effectively crippling the Faith Militant), most of House Tyrell (including Margaery), the majority of the Royal Court and the Small Council, and a host of others. Upon witnessing the destruction, King Tommen threw himself from a window in the Red Keep, killing himself and effectively ending the Baratheon line. Cersei then took to the Iron Throne and crowned herself Queen of the Andals and the First Men as her horrified twin looked on.
Odds and Ends
- Ser Davos has taken his place as Jon Snow’s right-hand man in the North.
- Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish was largely on the outs with Sansa until he rallied the Knights of the Vale to save Jon Snow during the Battle of the Bastards. He’s now somewhat back in her good graces, which probably isn’t good for anyone.
- Melisandre may have resurrected Jon Snow, but she was nonetheless banished from the North – a compromise Jon came to with an enraged Davos, who was demanding her death – when it was revealed that she effectively murdered Shireen Baratheon.
- Samwell Tarly is now working toward becoming a Maester with Gilly and her baby in tow.
- Sandor “The Hound” Clegane has resurfaced and is decidedly not dead. He’s joined up with the Brothers Without Banners and is making his way to the North.
- Poor Jorah Mormont contracted greyscale but landed back in Daenerys’ good graces, and she has commanded him to find a cure and presumably return to her side.
Whew, ok. There you go. Everything you need to know – mostly, at least – heading into season seven of “Game of Thrones.” Feel free to fill in anything we missed or tell us what you’re most excited for in the comments!
To celebrate the new season, we’re giving away a Game of Thrones Prize Pack, featuring A Song of Ice and Fire 5-Book Boxed Set, A Song of Ice and Fire 2017 Calendar, The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book, and HBO’s Game of Thrones Seasons 1-4 on Blu-Ray! Enter below for a chance to win.