Ahead of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, here’s a refresher of everything you need to know from season 4. (Check out our guides for seasons 1-3 and 5-7 and our list of essential episodes down below.)

Episode 1: “Two Swords”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: D.B. Weiss
Plot: Already down a hand, Jaime also loses Cersei (who tells him that she’s moved on during his long absence from King’s Landing) and his father’s favor (since he refuses to leave the Kingsguard to rule as heir of Casterly Rock). The Wildlings are wilding out with Ygritte, who is still hung up on Jon, even after trying to kill him. Jon’s in the same boat, healing from his Ygritte-inflicted wounds. Arya and the Hound are back traveling together and discover the men who took her sword, Needle. And Dany continues her very long road trip with her dragons.
Introduces: Sexually fluid fighter Oberyn Martell, who comes to King’s Landing to secretly exact revenge against the Lannisters for the rape and murder of his sister.
Grade: B

Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”

Writer: George R.R. Martin
Director: Alex Graves
Plot: Joffrey weds Margaery, with one big complication. (More on that in a moment.) Roose scolds Ramsay for carving the humanity — and a lot more — out of Theon; Melisandre sacrifices three people as an offering to the Lord of Light before joining Stannis and his wife for a tense meal; and Jaime begins the arduous task of training himself to sword fight with one hand.
Introduces: The Night King, leader of the White Walkers, who appears in a vision that Bran has while communing with a Weirwood Heart tree.
Historic Moment: Joffrey finally gets his just deserts and is poisoned at his wedding, dying in supremely gruesome fashion. Further complicating the Lannister family dynamic, Cersei accuses Tyrion of murdering her son. In an attempt to protect Shae from Tywin’s revenge plot against him, Tyrion breaks things off with his lover.
Grade: A

Episode 3: “Breaker of Chains”

  • Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  • Director: Alex Graves
  • Plot: Joffrey’s body still warm, Tywin prepares young Tommen to be king — but all Tommen wants to do is hang with his cat, Ser Pounce. Tyrion’s upcoming trial gets its witnesses. Littlefinger spirits Sansa out of King’s Landing. Sam moves Gilly to a nearby town and away from the Night’s Watch men, who only see her as a Wildling.
  • Introduces: Daario as Dany’s champion.
  • Historic moment: Jaime forces himself on Cersei, an act in the books that was consensual. (The scene launched complicated discussions around how the show handles rape.)
  • Grade: C

Episode 4: “Oathkeeper”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Plot: Jaime asks Brienne to fulfill his promise to Catelyn: Find and protect Sansa. Speaking of, Littlefinger is taking the eldest Stark daughter to her aunt Lysa’s and explains that he was involved in Joffrey’s murder, in part to confuse the Lannisters and get her out of King’s Landing. Dany, despite her advisers’ objections, orders the killing of Meereen’s “Great Masters” in retaliation for the deaths of 163 slave children.
Introduces: What the Night King does to Craster’s baby boys: turns them into White Walkers with the flick of his lengthy nail.
Grade: A

Episode 5: “First of His Name”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Michelle MacLaren
Plot: Tommen is crowned king. Cersei begrudingly gets plans rolling for Tommen and Margaery’s wedding, as well as her own to Loras — a beneficial meeting of the Lannister and Tyrell houses. Dany decides to stay and rule in Slaver’s Bay despite the news about Joffrey. Upon Littlefinger’s arrival at the Eyrie, Lysa insists that they promptly wed. Beyond the Wall, Bran and his crew are seized by Bolton’s bannermen. Coincidentally, Jon attacks the traitorous men but never sees his brother. Bran wargs into Hodor, using the servant to kill their captor; he is convinced to leave without reuniting with Jon. He must reach the Three-Eyed Raven.
Introduces: Arya’s “kill list” (now an iconic meme), which she explains to the Hound — and reveals that he’s on it as well.
Historic moment: Sansa learns about Littlefinger’s long history with the Stark women from Lysa, who informs her he was in love with Catelyn.
Grade: B

Episode 6: “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Alik Sakharov
Plot: Tyrion’s trial gets messy quickly: Behind the scenes, Jaime pleads for Tyrion’s life, and his father (serving as judge alongside Margaery’s father, Mace Tyrell, and Oberyn) acquiesces and offers his younger son the lesser punishment of banishment to the Night’s Watch, as long as he confesses guilt and pleads for mercy. Tyrion is wary of trusting Tywin’s word but seems willing to play ball, until Shae is called as a witness and lies, testifying that Tyrion and Sansa planned and executed Joffrey’s murder. Hurt and outraged, Tyrion lashes out, proclaiming his hatred of Joffrey — and all of King’s Landing, for that matter — and, refusing to let his judges determine his fate, demands a trial by combat. Elsewhere, one of Dany’s dragons attacks some goats, Yara attempts to save Theon — who is beyond salvation — and Stannis campaigns for funds to raise a large army.
Introduces: The shell that was formerly Theon is now Reek through and through.
Historic moment: Tyrion’s big speech: “I did not kill Joffrey, but I wish that I had! Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores! I wish I was the monster you think I am. I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you. I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it.”
Grade: A

Episode 7: “Mockingbird”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alik Sakharov
Plot: Oberyn offers to be Tyrion’s champion­ in the trial by combat because Cersei’s champion is the Hound’s brother, the Mountain, who killed Oberyn’s sister. Dany and Daario finally give in to their sexual tension. Then the Khaleesi sends her lover and his men to Yunkai to regain control over the city, and kill the masters who have resurfaced — all of this much to Jorah’s dismay. Over some kidney pie, Brienne and her squire, Podrick, meet Hot Pie, who informs them that Arya is alive and with the Hound. The duo head off toward the Eyrie, where they hypothesize that Arya is being taken to be ransomed to her aunt Lysa.
Historic moment: Lysa becomes hysterical after seeing her new groom surprise her niece with a kiss. In the ensuing fight, Littlefinger pushes Lysa through the Moon Door to her death.
Grade: B

Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alex Graves
Plot: Reek is back to being Theon!… But just as a ploy: Ramsay takes advantage of his plaything’s former identity to trick the Ironborn into surrendering Moat Cailin, providing his father’s army safe passage home. When the Wildlings attack a town near the Wall, Ygritte discovers Gilly hiding with her baby and urges them to keep quiet, sparing their lives. Littlefinger is questioned about Lysa’s demise, but Sansa comes to his defense, claiming that her aunt threw herself to her death. When asked why she lied to help him, Sansa basically says it’s better for her to stay with the devil she knows than the devil she doesn’t. In Meereen, Ser Selmy intercepts a royal pardon for Jorah signed by King Robert, and realizes Jorah was spying on Dany. Jorah — fully devoted to his queen — pleads for forgiveness and says the notice was sent by Tywin in an attempt to sabotage Dany, but she banishes him anyway.
Introduces: Ramsay Snow as Ramsay Bolton, a name change granted to the bastard by his father after his victory at Moat Cailin, and the beginnings of Grey Worm and Missandei’s romance.
Historic moment: The battle between the Mountain and Oberyn. The fight ends with the sickening sounds of Oberyn’s skull being crushed by the Mountain, leading to Tyrion’s death sentence.
Grade: A+

Episode 9: “The Watchers on the Wall”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Neil Marshall
Plot: The Wildlings’ attack on the Wall brings Ygritte and Jon together again. Jon, with Sam’s help, manages to defend the Wall and the castle, but at a pretty big cost.
Introduces: Mammoths!
Historic moment: Jon and Ygritte have a moment during the battle, but in that pause she’s struck by an arrow and dies in Jon’s arms.
Grade: A

Episode 10: “The Children”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alex Graves
Plot: Jon heads to the Wildling camp with plans to kill Mance, but is interrupted by Stannis, who takes the Wildlings captive and sets up camp with the Night’s Watch. Brienne finds Arya and severely wounds the Hound. He begs Arya for mercy, but she leaves him to die slowly. After a Meereen child is killed by Drogon, Dany realizes she has to lock her babies up. Fighting her father’s order to marry Loras, Cersei plays her trump card: She reveals to Tywin that the rumors of incest are true and threatens to take it public. Triumphant, she reunites with Jaime, and the two further solidify the truth behind her threat.
Introduces: The Children of the Forest, the original beings to inhabit Westeros, one of whom rescues Bran, Meera, and Hodor (sadly, not Jojen) from wights just before they meet the Three-Eyed Raven; as well as the knowledge that Oberyn poisoned the spear that pierced the Mountain, ensuring his death.
Historic moment: After Jaime helps him escape, Tyrion finds Shae in Tywin’s room and strangles her for her betrayal; he then shoots Tywin (on the toilet!) with Joffrey’s crossbow before escaping.
Grade: A

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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.

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