Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its seventh season this Sunday, July 16, at 9p.m. E.T., and if you're having a wee bit of trouble remembering what the heck is happening in the Seven Kingdoms, you are not alone.
So before you dive into season seven, here's a little refresher to get you caught up on all things Westeros...
After a particularly harrowing year (let’s call it karma), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) said goodbye to season six comfortably seated in the Iron Throne at King’s Landing. Her hair finally started to grow back (who could forget that traumatizing walk of shame scene?) and she successfully got rid of both the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and his Great Sept of Baelor. How's that for having it all?
Her lover from the same mother Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) did not fare as well on his lengthy journey throughout season six. He did, however, reclaim Riverrun from Blackfish (Clive Russell) and say farewell to his bestie of sorts Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and, upon his arrival home, he was greeted with the devastating news of his youngest and only remaining son and daughter-in-law's death (R.I.P. Tommen [Dean-Charles Chapman] and Margaery Tyrell [Natalie Dormer]). P.S.: Remember when the witch Maggy (Jodhi May) prophesied that all of Cersei’s children would die and she’d become queen again but only for a short while? Just saying.
Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the Martells of Dorne, the Tyrells of Highgarden and the Unsullieds began their long journey to battle Cersei and company at King’s Landing. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) may have been born a Lannister, but he pledged his loyalty to Daenerys and was honorably named Hand of the Queen.
And though he doesn’t know it yet, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is headed for a similar identity crisis in season seven. At the close of season six, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) learned that Jon’s parents are actually Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi) and Rhaegar Targaryen, meaning that Daenerys is his aunt and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Bran are all his cousins. Whew, that’s one complicated family tree.
Regardless of Jon’s parental naïveté, things went quite well for him in season six. He reclaimed Winterfell (much to his family's delight), defeated Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and was crowned King of the North. Though he has much to celebrate, Jon Snow is very aware the White Walkers are headed his way, and when Bran reveals the truth about his lineage, he just may head off to King’s Landing to go after the Iron Throne.
Speaking of murderous intentions, Arya has finally become a stealthy assassin and even slit Lord Walder Frey’s (David Bradley) throat. She started her trek back home and it’s only a matter of time before she’s reunited with (what’s left of) her family.
Also still alive are the Hound (Rory McCann), Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman).
Let the games begin...winter in July has finally arrived!