Ahead of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, here’s a refresher of everything you need to know from season 3. (Check out our guides for seasons 1-2 and 4-7 and our list of essential episodes down below.)

Episode 1: “Valar Dohaeris”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Daniel Minahan
Plot: Sam’s watch almost ends at the hands of a wight, but Jon’s direwolf, Ghost, and Commander Mormont come to his rescue, prompting the Night’s Watch to return to the Wall to warn the others. Also still alive is Davos, who survived the Battle of the Blackwater and returns to Dragonstone, where he unsuccessfully tries to kill Melisandre. In Astapor, Dany is considering purchasing a group of eunuch slave soldiers known as the Unsullied.
Introduces: Missandei, a slave who helps broker the Unsullied deal; the King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, and his trusted Wildling warrior Tormund.
Historic moment: Ser Barristan Selmy, a banished member of the King’s Landing Kingsguard, pops up just in time to prevent Dany from being assassinated.
Grade: B

Episode 2: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

Writer: Vanessa Taylor
Director: Daniel Minahan
Plot: It’s bad news and worse news for Catelyn and Robb: Her father is dead and Winterfell has been ransacked, with no sign of Bran or Rickon. And Catelyn’s hope of a reunion with Arya and Sansa hits a speed bump when a duel between Brienne and Jaime ends with their discovery by a Bolton bannerman, Locke.
Introduces: Jojen Reed, a seer who tracks down Bran, and his sister Meera; Margaery’s grandmother, Lady Olenna Tyrell, who summons Sansa; and an unnamed boy who promises to free Theon, who has been taken hostage after losing Winterfell. Arya is discovered by Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Historic moment: Bran learns that he has been sharing dreams with Jojen.
Grade: B–

Episode 3: “Walk of Punishment”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: David Benioff
Plot: Littlefinger is set to marry Lysa, meaning Tyrion will reluctantly be the new Master of Coin. Dany isn’t spending coin on the Unsullied; instead, she offers a dragon in exchange for the soldiers and Missandei. It’s a big episode for boys, as Gilly gives birth to one, while the unnamed boy frees Theon and later saves him from those trying to recapture him. Brienne and Jaime are far from free; after Jaime convinces Locke not to rape Brienne, he tries to secure his own release.
Introduces: Gilly’s son, baby Sam; Catelyn’s brother Edmure Tully and uncle Brynden (“the Blackfish”), with whom Robb and his mother discuss strategy in Riverrun.
Historic moment: Jaime pushes his luck with Locke, resulting in his right hand being chopped off.
Grade: A–

Episode 4: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alex Graves
Plot: Theon confesses to the unnamed boy that he didn’t kill Bran and Rickon; he saw Ned as his father and he regrets the betrayal. The betrayals continue when the boy leads Theon right back to his captors. At Craster’s Keep, the Night’s Watch men have tired of the conditions and kill both Craster and Commander Mormont, leading Sam to make a run for it with Gilly and her son.
Introduces: The beginning of the latest version of Theon’s captivity, this time under the soon-to-be-revealed Ramsay Snow.
Historic moment: In Astapor, Dany shockingly reveals that she speaks Valyrian, ordering her dragon and the Unsullied to slay the masters and free the slaves. Her act inspires the Unsullied to fight for her as free men.
Grade: B+

Episode 5: “Kissed by Fire”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Alex Graves
Plot: The Lannister siblings are paired off as Tywin orders Tyrion to marry Sansa and Cersei to marry Loras, while a vulnerable Jaime tells Brienne his side of the Kingslayer tale, sharing that the Mad King was going to burn down the city. The Hound, who has been captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners (men who’ve sworn to protect all smallfolk), gets the chance to win his freedom in a trial by combat. He emerges victorious by killing their leader, Beric, who is then brought back to life by Red Priest Thoros. Off in another cave, Jon sleeps with Ygritte, proving that he does know something. Elsewhere, Robb’s decision to execute a former ally, Rickard Karstark, for killing two young Lannisters costs him the Karstark forces.
Introduces: Unsullied leader Grey Worm.
Historic moment: Jon Snow breaking his Night’s Watch oath for love.
Grade: A–

Episode 6: “The Climb”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alik Sakharov
Plot: As Jon and the Wildlings prepare to climb the Wall, Ygritte says she knows that he’s still faithful to the Night’s Watch but will now be devoted to her. After barely making it to the top, they share a romantic kiss. Meanwhile, Robb is paying for his romantic decision as he tries to get the help of Walder Frey. The old man says he’ll join forces if Robb apologizes for not marrying one of his daughters and Uncle Edmure takes on the obligation. Over in King’s Landing, Littlefinger departs without Sansa; he also leaves Ros behind to be brutally murdered by Joffrey for betraying his confidence.
Historic moment: Melisandre learns of Beric’s many revivals.
Grade: B

Episode 7: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”

Writer: George R.R. Martin
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Plot: Theon’s torture reaches new levels of cruelty when he’s turned into a eunuch. Jaime, no stranger to losing a limb, is being escorted to King’s Landing — but without Brienne, who he learns won’t be ransomed. He rushes back to Harrenhal, rescuing her from a face-off with a bear and eventually securing her release. Dany, fresh off freeing the Unsullied, now has her eyes set on Yunkai, home to 200,000 slaves.
Introduces: The beginning of Arya and the Hound’s very long road trip.
Historic moment: As Roose heads for Edmure’s wedding, Jaime asks him to pass a message along to Robb: “The Lannisters send their regards.”
Grade: B–

Episode 8: “Second Sons”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Plot: The big day has arrived for Sansa and Tyrion. After Joffrey humiliates his uncle during the wedding, the reception becomes even more tense as a drunk Tyrion refuses to participate in the bedding ceremony. Once the newlyweds return to their room, Tyrion says they won’t share a bed until Sansa is ready. Over in Dragonstone, Gendry is sharing a bed with Melisandre, but things take a turn when she uses leeches to extract his king’s blood, a ritual intended to bring down Robb, Joffrey, and Balon.
Introduces: Daario Naharis, who kills his fellow Second Sons leaders and pledges allegiance to Dany.
Historic moment: Sam learns the power of dragonglass when his dagger causes a White Walker to disintegrate.
Grade: A–

Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”

  • Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  • Director: David Nutter
  • Plot: Jon and Bran almost reunite when the Wildlings attempt to kill Jon, but he’s saved when Bran wargs into his direwolf, Summer. Jon escapes, leaving Ygritte behind. Rickon leaves too, as Osha takes him to safety.
  • Historic moment: This episode is commonly known as the Red Wedding, in reference to the end of Edmure and Roslin Frey’s wedding reception, which goes from cheery to bloody when a pregnant Talisa is stabbed in the stomach, followed by the Stark bannermen being slaughtered and Robb getting shot with arrows. Catelyn tries to bargain for her son’s life by threatening Walder Frey’s wife, but the old man is unmoved, and Roose stabs Robb and relays Jamie’s regards. Crying, Catelyn slits Mrs. Frey’s throat right before her own is cut.
  • Grade: A

Episode 10: “Mhysa”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: David Nutter
Plot: Arya just missed the Red Wedding, but she did see the aftermath and kills a man who bragged about being involved. Yara sets out to rescue her brother, just as Cersei reunites with Jaime in King’s Landing. While Dany is freeing slaves in Yunkai, Davos frees Gendry, and only avoids death by sharing Maester Aemon’s letter from the Wall about the White Walkers, which is backed up by Melisandre seeing the war to come in the fire. The warning is due to the return of Sam and Jon, the latter of whom was shot by Ygritte.
Introduces: The boy torturing Theon is finally revealed to be Roose’s bastard, Ramsay. Just as we learn his name, he gives Theon a new one: Reek.
Historic moment: Dany being called “mother” and carried on the shoulders of the freed Yunkai slaves.
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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