In just a few weeks, Game of Thrones will finish the epic journey it began back in 2011. Over the course of what will ultimately be eight seasons (the eighth season will premiere mid-April), fans around the world have watched as the world of Westeros has come to life with battles, magic, courtly intrigues, romance and lots of deaths as seen through the characters that power this fantasy. It’s been nothing but nail-biting drama as these characters have competed for power and wealth, jockeying to sit on the Iron Throne and rule over their enemies. Watching Game of Thrones wrap up its sweeping storylines before it eventually ends is going to be tough.
But before we despair about the end of this beloved series arriving, we should take a moment to refresh our memories about everything that happened in Game of Thrones season seven. The season was quite short, clocking in at only seven episodes, and even wilder, the season wrapped in August 2017. To say a refresher is desperately needed so we know which characters are still in play and what major story arcs are still going is putting it mildly.
On that note, let’s take a look at some of the key things you need to know from the penultimate season of Game of Thrones before the final season premieres on April 14 on HBO.
Daenerys returned to Westeros
After a lifetime spent in exile, the season seven premiere ended with Daenerys making her triumphant return to Westeros, landing on the shores of her ancestral home, Dragonstone. She came home ready to battle for the throne, and it was clear in this moment that nothing and no one could deter her from that goal.
Cersei Lannister was hanging on by a thread
Cersei’s weak spots were exposed greatly in season seven, and it became clear just how desperate her situation was if she was going to hold onto any kind of power whatsoever. She had to strategize now that Daenerys was in Westeros with three dragons. This meant borrowing an incredible amount of money from the shadowy Iron Bank and finding new weapons that could potentially kill Daenerys’ dragons and even the playing field.
There were big changes at Winterfell
In addition to Daenerys’ homecoming to Dragonstone, Winterfell was the location of many key homecomings as the living Starks all made their way back. Jon and Sansa were already living at Winterfell when Bran was the first Stark sibling to make his way home with the help of Meera Reed. Later in the season, Arya returned home and quickly made it known she was a changed young woman, sparring with Brienne of Tarth so Sansa could see her and sneaking around Winterfell to find out what Littlefinger was plotting.
There were 2 key battles between North & South
Daenerys wasted no time flexing against the Lannisters, initiating two key battles with the Westerosi rulers before realizing that even though she had dragons, she had formidable opponents. The first battle happened at Casterly Rock, when Daenerys sent her Unsullied Army to invade the Lannister home and ended up having her army greatly dwindled as the Lannisters outsmarted her. A second battle came when Daenerys, seething at taking a hit to her army, rounded up her Dothraki horde and ambushed the Lannister army as they made their way South from Highgarden back to King’s Landing. The battle is particularly memorable because Daenerys got one of her dragons to burn down all the carts holding the money and supplies the Lannister army desperately needed, striking a critical blow in the process.
An uneasy alliance was made
It became clear in the middle of season seven that ignoring the threat of the White Walkers and continuing to battle it out for the Iron Throne was foolish. Jon Snow led the charge to create a meeting between the Lannisters and Daenerys in hopes of showing proof of White Walkers and striking up a temporary peace treaty until the White Walker threat was eliminated. It was a tense meeting, but eventually Cersei agreed.
Daenerys lost a dragon
While trying to retrieve a White Walker to show Cersei, Jon and his men found themselves stranded beyond the Wall and trapped by the undead army. Daenerys came with her dragons to help them but lost her dragon Viserion in the process when the Night King expertly killed him by throwing an ice javelin from a great distance, piercing the dragon’s biggest weak spot.
Daenerys & Jon got closer
It was inevitable that Daenerys and Jon would get close over the course of season seven, even if their initial meeting was tense as heck. After the initial awkward meeting during which Jon famously refused to blindly align himself with Daenerys, we saw as Jon became an advisor to the would-be queen, and soon, the two developed feelings for one another, ultimately leading them to consummate their passion at the end of season seven.
Jon Snow’s parentage was revealed
The fan theories were proven right when the season seven finale revealed what we’d suspected all along: Jon Snow’s parents are Rhaegar Targaryen, Daenerys’ oldest brother, and Lyanna Stark, Ned Stark’s younger sister. Even though that makes him the nephew of Daenerys, it also means he is the actual heir to the Iron Throne — and that could pose a big problem for Daenerys’ plan to take the crown when they both inevitably find out this long-hidden truth.
The White Walkers tore down The Wall
In perhaps the most devastating final scene of season seven, we saw how the White Walkers finally tore down the centuries-old impossibly high wall that had kept them at bay. Using the newly resurrected Viserion, who can now breathe ice as a zombie dragon, the Night King shattered a portion of the Wall, making it big enough for the undead army to go through. There’s no telling how quickly they’ll get to the humans, but be prepared, because this is undoubtedly going to be the first big battle of season eight.
Tune in to the Game of Thrones season eight premiere on April 14 on HBO.