By Christian Holub
March 25, 2019 at 12:07 AM EDT
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Ahead of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, here’s a refresher of everything you need to know from season 7. (Check out our guides for seasons 1-6 and our list of essential episodes down below.)

Episode 1: “Dragonstone”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Jeremy Podeswa
Plot: After a long journey around the known world, Dany finally arrives at her family’s ancestral home of Dragonstone. Little does she know that the island is built on a massive supply of dragonglass, a fact Sam­ discovers in the Citadel’s secret archives during a break from cleaning out bedpans and ladling out slop­­­. He’s not the only one thinking about White Walkers (and their weaknesses) these days. While Cersei forges an alliance with Euron and prepares for war with Dany, Jon turns his attention to the threat beyond the Wall. Even the Hound is convinced of the danger after his Brotherhood Without Banners comrades Beric and Thoros let him peek at their oracular fire. Meanwhile, the Hound’s old pupil Arya achieves final revenge for the Red Wedding by wiping out every last member of the traitorous House Frey.
Introduces: Ed Sheeran as a friendly Lannister soldier.
Historic moment: Dragons are back in Westeros.
Grade: B

Episode 2: “Stormborn”

Writer: Bryan Cogman
Director: Mark Mylod
Plot: Arya continues her trek through the Riverlands and briefly reunites with her old friend Hot Pie, who tells her that Jon is King in the North now. That changes Arya’s direction from south to north. Dany is also informed of Jon’s recent ascension; after learning that he has Tyrion’s seal of approval, she invites him to Dragonstone to bend the knee. Meanwhile, her military alliance fails its first test when Euron’s Iron Fleet attacks the Martells. The Sand Snakes are no match for Euron’s savagery, and Theon jumps in the water rather than try to save Yara from his uncle.
(Re)introduces: Nymeria, Arya’s long-lost direwolf, is revealed to be alive and well — and in command of a veritable dog army.
Historic moment: Most maesters are content to simply treat greyscale, but Sam has always been a careful reader. By paying close attention to an old book, he successfully cures Jorah of the disease with surgery — a nigh-impossible task that impresses even Archmaester Ebrose.
Grade: B–

Episode 3: “The Queen’s Justice”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Mark Mylod
Plot: Rather than bow before Dany’s coalition, Cersei tries breaking it apart one piece at a time. When Euron brings Ellaria before the Iron Throne in chains, Cersei consigns her daughter’s murderer to an almost unspeakable fate. Then, while Tyrion sends the Unsullied to assault the Lannisters’ ancestral home of Casterly Rock, Cersei orders Jaime and his forces — including Dickon and Randyll Tarly — to take Highgarden, which settles her debt with the Iron Bank. House Tyrell comes to an end when Jaime delivers poison to Lady Olenna. But before dying, the Queen of Thorns finally confesses that she ordered the assassination of Joffrey.
Introduces: Casterly Rock, never before seen on page or screen.
Historic moment(s): In Melisandre’s words, ice and fire have finally united with Jon arriving at Dragonstone. Then there’s Lady Olenna’s savage final line: “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”
Grade: B+

Episode 4: “The Spoils of War”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Matt Shakman
Plot: Dany is tired of losing. After learning of Highgarden’s fall, she leaves Dragonstone to settle the score herself. Riding Drogon, she leads her Dothraki army in a battle to wipe out Jaime’s forces. It’s hard enough for the Lannister soldiers to contend with the vicious Dothraki, much less a fire-breathing dragon. But Bronn, utilizing Qyburn’s modified ballista, manages to land a bolt in Drogon’s side. As a grounded Dany works to remove the projectile, Jaime seizes his chance to run her down. Only a last-minute intervention from Bronn saves Jaime from Drogon’s fire.
Introduces: The dragons’ vulnerability. Drogon survived Bronn’s missile, but the sight of him temporarily plunging from the sky opens the possibility that maybe someone else with better aim and stronger weapons could do real damage.
Historic moment: Arya returns home to Winterfell. As usual, no one would mistake this skilled fighter for a fancy lady like Sansa. But despite their time apart, the Stark siblings still recognize each other — even the greatly changed Bran.
Grade: A

Episode 5: “Eastwatch”

Writer: Dave Hill
Director: Matt Shakman
Plot: Dany sentences Dickon and Randyll to death by Drogon’s fire for refusing to kneel following her victory, causing Tyrion to fear she might have inherited some of her ancestors’ bloodlust. Bran has a vision of the Night King’s army marching and sends ravens to every corner of Westeros with warnings. Not even the Citadel believes him, which inspires Sam to leave so he can help out where he’s really needed. With everyone reluctant to believe in White Walkers, the Brotherhood Without Banners join Jon, Jorah, and Gendry on an expedition beyond the Wall to capture a wight as undeniable proof.
Introduces: Gendry’s back, and now he’s got a fancy war hammer.
Historic moment: Jon meets his first dragon. Thanks to his secret Targaryen blood, he becomes one of the first people other than Dany to touch Drogon and live to tell the tale.
Grade: B–

Episode 6: “Beyond the Wall”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Alan Taylor
Plot: Jon and his squad head out on their wight-hunting mission. Thoros meets his end at the hands of a reanimated bear, which means there will be no more Red God resurrections for Beric. The group successfully captures a wight, but soon find themselves encircled by the Night King’s army. Luckily, Gendry is able to run back to Eastwatch and send a raven to Dany, who arrives with her dragons. In return for her help, Jon pledges fealty to her. On the other side of the Wall, Littlefinger attempts to pit Sansa and Arya against each other.
Introduces: Jon’s loyalty oath to Dany.
Historic moment: Dany finally loses one of her dragons. But the Night King doesn’t just kill Viserion; he resurrects him as a wight, giving the Army of the Dead an incredible weapons upgrade.
Grade: C–

Episode 7: “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Writers: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
Director: Jeremy Podeswa
Plot: Almost every major player in Westeros unites in King’s Landing to discuss the Night King. Not even Cersei can deny the threat posed by the wight in front of her, yet she refuses to cease wartime hostilities after Jon admits his allegiance to Dany. But Cersei is expecting (or at least wants people to think she is); Tyrion plays on her pregnancy to get her to join the alliance, though she secretly still plans betrayal. That’s one scheme too many for Jaime, who finally leaves his sister behind just as winter begins. Winter comes for Littlefinger especially when the Stark kids unite to expose his lies. Arya executes him with a Valyrian steel dagger — the very same one used to attack Bran in season 1, which Littlefinger had falsely claimed belonged to Tyrion in a lie that kickstarted the War of the Five Kings.
Introduces: The Hound’s awareness that his brother, the Mountain, is still alive (well, reanimated by Cersei’s Hand of the Queen, Qyburn).
Historic moment: The Wall falls. Riding the undead dragon, the Night King destroys the magical barrier, and the dead pour into Westeros.
Grade: B+

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HBO’s epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.
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seasons
  • 8
episodes
  • 73
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  • 04/17/11-05/19/19
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