Ahead of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, here’s a refresher of everything you need to know from season 6. (Check out our guides for seasons 1-5 and 7 and our list of essential episodes down below.)

Episode 1: “The Red Woman”

  • Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  • Director: Jeremy Podeswa
  • Plot: Jon Snow is dead! His stabbed corpse is discovered by a group of people, including Davos and a few other allies. They drag him inside and plot to kill the traitorous Alliser Thorne. Elsewhere, Cersei reunites with Jaime and subsequently learns of her daughter’s death (and vows revenge — a twofer this episode!). Meanwhile, Sansa and Theon are on the run from Ramsay’s men when they’re saved by Podrick and Brienne, the latter of whom Sansa invites into her service.
  • Introduces: New Dothraki, including warrior Qhono, capture Dany and take her to their leader, Khal Moro.
  • Historic moment: The otherwise-table-setting “Red Woman” ends on the quietly shocking image of Melisandre — called in to revive Jon — removing her necklace to reveal her true self for the first time in the mirror: a (very) frail old woman.
  • Grade: B

Episode 2: “Home”

  • Writer: Dave Hill
  • Director: Jeremy Podeswa
  • Plot:Jon Snow is alive! The show rather dutifully approaches this inevitable plot turn, weaving Melisandre’s personal crisis into the plot to resurrect him. She gets to work on Davos’ ask, and initially her efforts appear unsuccessful — until everyone leaves the room. Arya reunites with the Faceless Men, while Tyrion tensely unchains Dany’s dragons (in a terrific sequence), and Bran’s Greensight apprenticeship with the Three-Eyed Raven proves taxing for Meera. Roose and his wife, Walda Bolton, die at the hands of Ramsay, who also murders their son/his baby brother. Balon is also killed by his brother Euron.
  • Introduces: Ned’s sister, Lyanna, in a flashback to happier Winterfell times, viewed by Bran.
  • Historic moment: The iconic final shot of Jon opening his eyes.
  • Grade: B–

Episode 3: “Oathbreaker”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Daniel Sackheim
Plot: A stunned Davos discovers Jon alive and well. Jon — who remembers being stabbed but nothing from his time unconscious — reclaims his Lord Commander cape and, while struggling to return to normal strength, assents to the hanging of Thorne and other traitors before killing them himself. Dany’s situation, meanwhile, continues to deteriorate; and Cersei and Jaime’s vengeance plot is interrupted by the council’s desire to avoid them entirely. Arya’s sight is restored! Young Rickon is revealed as Ramsay’s new prisoner. (Oof.) Bran is taken deeper into the past by the Three-Eyed Raven, observing the circumstances leading up to Robert’s Rebellion. Varys and Tyrion continue to helm Meereen, this time with the news coming in that the Free City of Volantis has been secretly funding the Sons of the Harpy.
Introduces: The High Priestess of the Dosh Khaleen.
Historic moment: Jon gives his robe to his Night’s Watch brother Edd Tollett, thereby relinquishing his role and leaving the Rangers.
Grade: B+

Episode 4: “Book of the Stranger”

  • Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  • Director: Daniel Sackheim
  • Plot: The season kicks into gear with this standout installment. Sansa, Brienne, et al. arrive at Castle Black, where Jon is at last reunited with his Stark sister. (“We never should have left Winterfell,” he tells her — yeah, maybe!) They agree it’s time to take out Ramsay; at the same time, Littlefinger is mobilizing forces against him. But Ramsay still has some leverage: In a letter to Jon, he threatens to hurt Rickon if Sansa is not returned. Cersei and Jaime align more closely with their uncle, Kevan Lannister, and Lady Olenna to oust the Sparrows. And then, of course, the explosive ending: After her meeting with the khals in the temple of the Dosh Khaleen, Dany burns them all to death in one of the series’ most cathartic scenes.
  • Historic moment: Dany emerging from the wreckage triumphant and unharmed, with the Dothraki kneeling in her presence.
  • Grade: A–

Episode 5: “The Door”

  • Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
  • Director: Jack Bender
  • Plot:The One Where Hodor Dies. Need we say more? Okay, fine: Before leaving Castle Black, Jon and Sansa visit Littlefinger and offer support; Sansa also forces Littlefinger to confront the reality of her trauma. Arya vies to prove her loyalty in Braavos by killing an actress — but, in turn, must watch a theatrical reenactment of season 1’s events, namely the death of her father. Red Priestess Kinvara meets with Varys and reminds him of his trauma (a lot of that this episode) while pledging assistance to a newly empowered Dany. And crucially, we learn the origin story of the White Walkers: that they were created by the Children of the Forest as weapons. How fitting that the episode ends with the Walkers surrounding the cave along with the Night King — livened by one of Bran’s visions — and executing a massacre; killing the Three-Eyed Raven, a few Children, and beloved Hodor. But not before we get a glimpse into Hodor’s past and how he became who he is.
  • Introduces: The Braavosi theater troupe, helmed by Izembaro and Lady Crane.
  • Historic moment: “Hodor.”
  • Grade: A–

Episode 6: “Blood of My Blood”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Jack Bender
Plot: Arya watches the second half of the troupe’s great, meta performance of all things Thrones; including a caricatured version of Tyrion killing his father. Arya ends up saving Lady Crane’s life and leaving with Needle — indicating she’s forsaken the Faceless Men. Sam plays the role of good son before escaping with Gilly, baby Sam, and the Valyrian steel sword that hung on the wall. Dany gives a speech ensuring Dothraki loyalty. Bran is stuck deep in visions and on the verge of catastrophe before being saved by a mysterious “rider”; he and Meera learn it’s his uncle Benjen Stark(!), who hasn’t appeared since season 1’s third episode. And Jaime tries to save Margaery, who’s been in a prison cell all season but is stunned to see she’s united with the High Sparrow and Tommen — a sign of aligning between the crown and faith.
Introduces: Sam’s brutal father, Randyll, and brother, Dickon, who both return for larger season 7 arcs.
Grade: B+

Episode 7: “The Broken Man”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Mark Mylod
Plot: The Hound is… alive? That’s right: After Arya seemingly left him for dead, the man of few words is revealed to have survived. (A season of back-from-the-deads, this is.) Much of the episode also moves Jon, Sansa, and Davos back to the fore, and their story line is largely intercut with the Hound’s return to action. Jon and Sansa contemplate assembling their army, making a deal with never-to-be-trusted Littlefinger, and keeping the Wildlings on their side; the Hound, meanwhile, gives up a potential life of peace for a chance at revenge. Elsewhere, the High Sparrow makes a veiled threat against Lady Olenna, after which Margaery persuades her grandmother to return to Highgarden.
Introduces: Young Lyanna Mormont, cousin of Jorah and resident GoT meme queen. Also Lord Robett Glover, key to Jon Snow’s path to becoming King in the North.
Historic moment: The Hound ominously, commandingly picks up an ax to close out his story line this episode.
Grade: B+

Episode 8: “No One”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Mark Mylod
Plot: A fairly dull episode that sets up the best one-two punch in GoT history. The episode’s title obviously refers to Arya, who formally rejects the Faceless Men and prepares to return to Westeros. (She also rejects the acting troupe, which could have made a great spin-off.) Jaime, while helping the Freys take Riverrun back from the Tullys, reveals to Edmure Tully — surprise! — that he really only cares about Cersei and will do anything to get back to her. Ultimately, Jaime agrees to give Edmure safe passage to the north if he allows the Lannisters and Freys to peacefully occupy the castle and hang their banners over its walls, which he does. Cersei places a bounty on Sansa’s head. The Hound is back to killing and is pitched to join the Brotherhood Without Banners. Tyrion spots ships headed into Meereen, with Missandei noting the slavers have come to reclaim their property. Dany is back with Drogon.
Grade: C+

Episode 9: “Battle of the Bastards”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Plot: The season comes into much tighter focus, with “Battle” splitting its time between Meereen and the fight for Winterfell. Jon and Ramsay face off in an anticipated confrontation that lives up to the hype; just when it seems the battle against the encroaching Masters’ fleet is lost. In a thrilling reunion, Dany rides Drogon and — assisted by Rhaegal and Viserion — burns the fleet, sparing only one master. Ramsay is beaten and taken prisoner by Jon, where he meets his fate — to fans’ deep satisfaction.
Historic moment: Sansa watching her abuser, Ramsay, eaten alive by his starving hounds.
Grade: A–

Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Plot: Cersei’s great revenge. Everyone in King’s Landing gathers for her demise at her and Loras’ trial at the Sept of Baelor in this spectacular season finale. But Cersei remains in her keep a little too long; her cousin Lancel is sent to retrieve her. Her great plan unfolds: Lancel finds a wildfire cache on the verge of exploding and is stabbed before he’s able to put it out. Margaery is the first to realize something’s wrong — that a trap has been set — but she’s too late. The High Sparrow doesn’t let anyone leave. The wildfire is ignited, and the Sept (and everyone inside) is annihilated. Jaime reunites with Cersei, who — utterly gleeful over her perfectly executed scheme and unaware that it prompted Tommen to commit suicide — is crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms.
Historic moment: Bran learns Jon is the child of Lyanna (more to come on that…); the burning of the Sept; and the last we see of Dany in season 6: setting sail for Westeros with her army, prepared for the grand battle.
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.'

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