Get ready, because winter is coming.
HBO's hit series Game of Thrones returns for its seventh and penultimate season on Sunday and even the most captivated fans should be forgiven if they've forgotten exactly whose turn it was to make a play for the Iron Throne when last season ended. After all, it has been an especially long hiatus for the notoriously dense fantasy drama.
So what should a fan do? Obviously, our first choice would be to go back and binge-rewatch all ten episodes of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. After all, the show is great and the narrative density that makes it occasionally hard to keep track of also makes it revisiting it quite rewarding.
However, not every Game of Thrones fan has ten hours to kill in front of the television before the big premiere night. That where we come in.
This article will provide you with everything you need to know about where the major players in Game of Thrones were at the end of the sixth season, and a reasonable summation of how they got there. This should give you all of the information you need to sit down on Sunday night and enjoy Game of Thrones with your viewing party friends.
Of course, we're going to be touching on some major deaths, resurrection, betrayals, time-travel shenanigans, and other major events from the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale and beyond. That means if you haven't watched Game of Thrones sixth season for the first time yet then this article is overflowing withs spoilers. You've been warned and you should probably get watching right now. There's still time!
Keep reading to get caught up with Game of Thrones ahead of the seventh season premiere. Game of Thrones Season 7 will premiere on Sunday, July 16, 2017, at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
Arya Stark Return To Westeros
After Jaime Lannister successfully captured Riverrun from the Tullys and slew the Blackfish, he and Bronn returned to the Twins to dine with Walder Frey and his family. While Frey was feeling boastful, Jaime made it clear that he lacks any real respect for Frey and left the Twins to return to King's Landing.
Sometime Later, Walder Frey is dining alone in the hall at the Twins on account of his sons being late. A servant that Frey does not recognize brings him a pie and assures the Lord that his sons are already present. Frey continues to eat until he realizes that his pie has human parts, those of his sons, baked into it. The servant tears off her face and reveals Arya Stark underneath. Arya slits Walder Frey's throat, avenging the Red Wedding and crossing one name off of her list.
Arya had spent the better part of the sixth season of Game of Thrones training to become a Faceless Man at the House of Black and White in Braavos. She eventually realized that the life of an assassin for hire was not for her and departed Braavos to return to Westeros where she may use her newly acquired skills for her own causes. Most fans assume that she will be headed north to find Jon Snow in season seven.
Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor
In King's Landing, the power struggle between the Iron Throne, primarily represented by Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, and the religious movement known as the Sparrows, led by the High Sparrow, came to an explosive conclusion.
It was to be the day of the trial of Cersei and Ser Loras Tyrell. Ser Loras, his sister Margaery Tyrell, the High Sparrow, and many others were gathered in the Great Sept of Baelor. When the Lannisters were late to the proceedings Margaery sensed something was wrong. Lancel Lannister discovers a cache of wildfire hidden beneath the sept, but he's too late. The structure explodes in bright green flames and kills everyone inside.
Cersei's victory turns tragic when King Tommen, her last living child, realizes what she's done and leaps from his window in the Red Keep. Tommen's death means that Cersei now sits on the Iron Throne as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Sam Arrives at the Citadel
Following the death of Maester Aemon, Lord Commander Jon Snow ordered his loyal friend, Samwell Tarly, to sail to Oldtown to study at the Citadel to become the Night's Watch's new maester. The trip would also allow Samwell to escort the wildling girl he cared for, Gilly, and her child away from the wall and the danger it surrounds them with.
Sam had intended to leave Gilly with his family at Horn Hill with his family, but it only took one unpleasant family dinner to change his mind. Instead, Gilly and baby Sam accompanied Samwell all the way to the Citadel, which made for an awkward reception since women are not allowed to enter the vaunted house of knowledge.
While the finer details of Sam's enrollment at the Citadel were still being worked out, he was allowed entry into its massive library, which houses an astrolabe very much like the one shown in the opening to Game of Thrones. With the greatest store of knowledge in Westeros at his fingertips, Sam may be able to find the secret to defeating the White Walker invasion.
The Tower of Joy
Game of Thrones' sixth season solved one of the great mysteries of George R.R. Martin's saga by revealing the truth about who Jon Snow's parents were.
Up until the show's sixth season, Game of Thrones' audience, readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, and most citizens of Westeros had been told that Jon Snow was Ned Stark's bastard and that his mother was, essentially, none of your business.
Bran Stark, Jon's supposed half-brother, was north of the Wall, where the Three-Eyed Raven had taught him how to use his
There Bran used his
Now Bran Stark knows that Jon Snow isn't Ned Stark's bastard but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, though Jon himself remains as oblivious to his true lineage as ever.
The King in the North
Following the "Battle of the Bastards," the Starks have retaken control of Winterfell from House Bolton.
With the battle won, Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Petyr Baelish, Davos Seaworth, and the Northern houses convene at Winterfell to discuss what should be done from there. It is there that Jon Snow, having already abandoned the Night's Watch, is named the new King in the North.
Some other tense conversations are heard. Sansa is grateful that Littlefinger brought the knights of the Vale to her and Jon's aid, but is still angry that he left her with Ramsay Bolton. Davos tells Jon about how Melisandre, the same woman who resurrected Jon, also burned a child, Shireen Baratheon, at the stake as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light. After learning this Jon banishes Melisandre from Winterfell.
Now the Starks are left to rebuild Winterfell and the North, though what's left of the Lannisters forces will surely pose a threat from without, and Petyr Bealish whispering in Sansa's ear may prove to be a threat from within.
A New Alliance
In Dorne, following the Destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor, Olenna Martell mourns the death of her son and grandchildren. She meets with Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes. Ellaria attempts to form a pact so that they may all work together to ensure their survival. However, the Queen of Thorns doesn't trust Ellaria after what she did to Doran and Trystane Martell and besides, House Tyrell has fallen. She no longer cares for survival, but for the destruction of the Lannisters.
Ellaria ensures Olenna that an alliance between them will ensure that they both receive the justice and vengeance they desire. At that moment Varys, Daenerys Targaryen's spymaster, reveals himself and offers fire and blood.
The scene suggests that what remains of House Martell and House Tyrell are now aligned with Daenerys's forces to help the Targaryen's regain the Iron Throne.
The Dragon Returns
Daenerys Targaryen, having finally returned to the throne in Meereen, has a tense conversation with Daario Naharis, her lover, where she informs him that he will not be joining them when they set sail across the Narrow Sea for Westeros. Instead, Daario and the Second Sons will remain as peacekeepers in Meereen. The arrangement also ensures that Dany is free for a strategically advantageous marriage arrangement if the opportunity arises.
Dany then speaks to Tyrion Lannister and presents him with a pin designating him as the Hand of the Queen.
More Game of Thrones
More Game of Thrones: Game of Thrones Author Developing New Series For HBO / Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode Titles & Descriptions Released / Watch Kit Harrington Audition for Other 'Game of Thrones' Characters
Photo Credit: HBO / Helen Sloan