Ahead of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, here’s a refresher of everything you need to know from season 2. (Check out our guides for seasons 1 and 3-7 and our list of essential episodes down below.)

Episode 1: “The North Remembers”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: Tyrion arrives in King’s Landing and informs everyone that Tywin — busy with war — has named him acting Hand, much to Cersei’s dismay. An order goes out to murder all of Robert’s bastards, but Gendry is already on the road north. Dany and the Dothraki — accompanied by her freshly hatched dragons — are struggling in the Red Waste, so she sends three riders off in search of life. The Night’s Watch crew arrive at creepy Craster’s home and meet all of his daughters/wives. In Dragonstone, Red Priestess Melisandre converts Stannis Baratheon, Robert’s brother, to the ways of the Lord of Light. Stannis’ knight Davos Seaworth is not a Melisandre fan and wants Stannis to make peace with his brother Renly or join Robb Stark, but Stannis, believeing himself the rightful heir to the throne, takes a hard pass. He also sends ravens with the news — imparted to him by Ned Stark — that Cersei’s children are Jaime’s. Robb sends Catelyn to ask Renly to join them, and Theon offers to secure ships from his dad.
Introduces: Stannis; Melisandre; Davos; Salladhor Saan, the pirate who joins Team Stannis; and Craster and his daughters, including Gilly, who connects with Sam.
Historic moment: Melisandre’s “The night is dark and full of terrors.”
Grade: B+

Episode 2: “The Night Lands”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: Theon heads home to the Iron Islands and promptly hits on his sister, Yara, not recognizing her after so many years away. His cranky father, Balon, is unimpressed by his returning son and says he’s not joining Robb’s — or anyone’s — army. Arya admits to Gendry that she’s Ned’s daughter. In King’s Landing, Tyrion is nervous that Shae has met with Varys, and a raven arrives with word of the White Walkers.
Introduces: Yara and Balon Greyjoy.
Historic moment: Jon sees a baby boy, abandoned in the woods by Craster, taken by a White Walker.
Grade: B+

Episode 3: “What Is Dead May Never Die”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Alik Sakharov
Plot: Jon shares the horrifying news of Craster’s baby sacrifices with Commander Mormont, who already knew. Catelyn visits Renly in hopes of forging an alliance. Renly later has trouble forging an alliance with wife Margaery Tyrell in the bedroom; she helpfully offers to invite her brother, Loras, in to assist. Tyrion assigns Shae to be Sansa’s handmaiden and orders Cersei’s daughter, Myrcella, to Dorne to be married. Arya saves H’ghar’s and Gendry’s lives from Lannister bannermen.
Introduces: Brienne of Tarth, who defeats Loras in a match and is invited to join Renly’s guard.
Historic moment: In a move that proves to be bad news for a lot of people­ — most of all himself — Theon chooses a side, pledging allegiance to the Iron Islands.
Grade: B+

Episode 4: “Garden of Bones”

Writer: Vanessa Taylor
Director: David Petrarca
Plot: In King’s Landing, Joffrey rains more cruelty on Sansa and a pair of prostitutes. Tyrion enlists his sister’s young lover (and cousin, natch), Lancel Lannister, to spy on Cersei. Arya and Gendry wind up prisoners at the very bleak Harrenhal, where Tywin puts Arya to work as a cupbearer since he knows she’s a girl. Dany and her road-weary crew are, eventually, welcomed into the gorgeous city of Qarth. The remaining Baratheon bros. meet and come to no peace accord.
Introduces: The ominous smoke monster that Melisandre gives “birth” to in a cave; and Roose Bolton, one of Robb’s generals.
Historic moment: It’s love at first sight GoT-style as Robb assists headstrong field nurse Talisa in an amputation.
Grade: B

Episode 5: “The Ghost of Harrenhal”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: David Petrarca
Plot: Catelyn is conferring with Renly when, to her and Brienne’s horror, Melisandre’s shadow monster enters the tent and kills him. The women flee and Brienne pledges her service to Catelyn. Loras and Margaery also flee, as Stannis’ troops arrive and Renly’s men switch their allegiance to him. Tyrion gets a load of the wildfire Cersei is having cooked up in King’s Landing; Dany turns down a proposal of marriage in Qarth; and absolutely everybody dunks on Theon, who was given one ship and gets the (not-so-)bright idea to take Winterfell, which triggers Bran’s dream of the sea crashing into his home.
Introduces: Qhorin Halfhand, a Night’s Watch ranger whom Jon joins on a mission to investigate the Wildling army. Historic moment: H’ghar offers to kill three people for Arya in exchange for the lives, including his, that she saved.
Grade: B+

Episode 6: “The Old Gods and the New”

Writer: Vanessa Taylor
Director: David Nutter
Plot: Theon takes Winterfell in the most honor-free way imaginable, and with no foresight for strategy. Osha manages to escape with Bran, his brother Rickon, and a servant, Hodor; Jon and Qhorin come face to face with some Wildlings, including a particularly fierce redhead. In King’s Landing, Joffrey’s bodyguard, Sandor “the Hound” Clegane, rescues Sansa from a melee when a crowd rises up against the king. At Harrenhal, H’ghar takes a second man’s life, helping Arya narrowly avoid Tywin discovering she’s a Stark. Roose tells Robb he’ll send his bastard to take Winterfell back from Theon. In Qarth, there’s a grand theft dragon!
Introduces: Ygritte, the aforementioned redhead.
Historic moment: Ygritte’s first, but not last, great Jon Snow zinger: “You’re brave. Stupid, but brave.”
Grade: B+

Episode 7: “A Man Without Honor”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: David Nutter
Plot: Unable to carry out Qhorin’s order to kill Ygritte, Jon finds himself captured by her Wildling pals. When Theon discovers Bran and Rickon have escaped Winterfell, he kills two local boys and burns their bodies to display as decoys; he feels bad, but also needs to assert himself. A frantic Dany searches for her dragons in Qarth, blood is shed. In King’s Landing, Sansa is distraught to discover she has gotten her first period, which means she can now bear Joffrey’s children. Meanwhile, Jaime — still in Robb’s custody — kills his cousin in an (ultimately botched) escape attempt. During a chat about history, Tywin deduces that Arya is highborn and says she reminds him of Cersei­­.
Introduces: The interior of the House of the Undying.
Historic moment: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
Grade: B+

Episode 8: “The Prince of Winterfell”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: Yara is not impressed with Theon taking a castle so far from the sea and “killing” the strategically valuable Stark children. Both captured, Qhorin tells Jon he should kill him so the Wildlings will trust him. Robb talks marriage — and gets up close and personal — with Talisa. He also discovers that Catelyn sent Jaime off with Brienne to swap for her daughters, believing Cersei has them both. So naturally, Robb arrests his mother. In the bowels of Winterfell, Osha reveals to Stark loyalist Maester Luwin that she, the boys, and Hodor doubled back. Arya, Gendry, and their friend Hot Pie escape Harrenhal thanks to H’ghar’s final murder on Arya’s behalf. Tyrion is rightfully worried that Joffrey, and King’s Landing, are not prepared for the fight with Stannis’ approaching fleet.
Introduces: How Davos got the nickname “Onion Knight.”
Historic moment: The start of the Brienne and Jaime road show.
Grade: B+

Episode 9: “Blackwater”

Writer: George R.R. Martin
Director: Neil Marshall
Plot: The Battle of Blackwater is now upon King’s Landing. Tyrion’s various strategies, including the deployment of wildfire to fend off approaching ships, turn out to be (gruesome) winners. A cowardly Joffrey scuttles away when the tides begin to turn, leaving Tyrion to rally the troops to hold the line: “Those are brave men knocking at our door, let’s go kill them.” All hope seems like it might be lost, and just as Tyrion is injured — by one of his own men — he sees Tywin leading a fresh army to the rescue. Sitting on the Iron Throne, Cersei is poised to poison her youngest son, Tommen, should the keep be breached, but is relieved when a triumphant Tywin strides into the throne room.
Introduces/Historic moment: Wildfire in action. A+

Episode 10: “Valar Morghulis”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: Victory’s spoils include Tywin becoming Hand to Joffrey again, Littlefinger being awarded Harrenhal, and Margaery receiving the booby prize of marrying the king. Tyrion, now essentially powerless, nurses his wounds and the knowledge that Cersei orchestrated the attack on him. Robb secretly marries Talisa while the Brienne & Jaime Show continues apace; Roose’s bastard son seizes Winterfell from Theon; and Bran and the gang head for the Wall. Dany is reunited with her dragons in Qarth. H’ghar gives Arya a coin that will help her in the future. Back at Dragonstone, Stannis is mad at Melisandre, since he lost the battle. She continues to tell him he’ll be king and entrances him with fire. Qhorin goads Jon into killing him, and the Wildlings free him.
Historic moment: Three horns sound: the White Walkers — a whole lot of them — are on the move.
Grade: B+

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Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series 'A Song of Ice and Fire.'

  • TV Show
  • 8
  • 73
  • TV-MA
  • David Benioff
  • D.B. Weiss
  • HBO
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