You Must Read This Game of Thrones Season 6 Refresher Before Sunday
Part of what makes Game of Thrones so great is its epic scale and the show's ability to tell such remarkable, interconnecting stories with a large, phenomenal cast of characters. Then again, that same reason is exactly why it can be hard to keep track of everything happening. With season seven now upon us, let's take a quick look back on where all of our favorite characters ended up at the end of season six.
Scheming, power-hungry Cersei Lannister finally takes what she feels is rightfully hers in the season six finale. After casually blowing up everyone who was going to make her stand trial for her crimes and dealing with her only remaining child's death, she finally claims her seat on the Iron Throne with the help of Qyburn and her pet zombie, Gregor Clegane (The Mountain).
Though blinded by love for the five previous seasons, Jaime begins to see the cracks of crazy in his sister's/lover's veneer throughout season six. His growing unease is apparent in the finale, when he returns home from Riverrun to discover Cersei ruling King's Landing. Will he have to personally take down the Mad Queen in season seven? Only time will tell, but it's worth noting that his expression when he finds Cersei getting comfy on the Iron Throne certainly isn't a happy one.
After entirely too many episodes spent languishing in the slaver city of Meereen, Dany and her crew — Tyrion, Missandei, and Grey Worm — decide to burn everything to the ground on their way out the door. The Targaryen queen fries up the slavers trying to take over the city with the help of her dragons, then sails off toward Westeros on a fleet of Iron Islands ships courtesy of Theon and Yara Greyjoy.
On top of making his love for his boss clear with one very telling look, Tyrion continues his duties as Hand of the Queen by assisting Dany on her way out of Meereen. Actually, it's more like Dany assisting him, since the agreement he attempts to create between Meereen and the other cities of Slaver's Bay ends in disaster and she has to literally fly in to save the day. Fortunately her trust in him has not diminished, and he accompanies her on her oceanic journey out of Essos.
The Spider persuades the Martells and Tyrells to pledge their loyalty to Daenerys's cause. Then, like Tyrion, Varys nabs a spot on Dany's boat out of Meereen.
Theon gradually recovers parts of his old self after escaping Ramsay Bolton's clutches and by the end of season six he's helped broker a deal to give Dany a hundred Ironborn ships. He and Yara sail alongside the dragon queen with the goal of reclaiming the Iron Islands from their uncle, Euron.
There are two key pieces of Jon Snow's storyline that you need to remember before starting season seven. The first is that despite the fact Sansa has to ride in and save him and his army from their bloody, muddy failure in the Battle of the Bastards, Jon is the one crowned King in the North (which will likely have dire consequences for his relationship with Sansa).
The second is his true parentage. Thanks to Bran's flashback sequence, the long-held suspicion that Jon isn't actually Ned Stark's son/bastard is finally confirmed; Jon is the son of Ned's sister, Lyanna, and Rhaegar Targaryen. This means his claim to the Iron Throne is much stronger, but his hold in Winterfell is significantly weakened. Also, Dany is his aunt.
Sansa has a rocky road ahead of her. After helping Jon defeat Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards by calling on the aid of manipulative slimeball Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale, Sansa is obviously frustrated to see Jon be made King in the North instead of her (although we're sure watching Ramsay get fed to his own dogs softened the blow a little bit). Once the truth of Jon's birth parents comes to light, the conflict between them may only get worse.
Judging from a mysterious look between Sansa and the questionably attractive Littlefinger, it sure seems like the latter has managed to sink his claws deeper into the young Stark by the end of season six. What can we expect from him in season seven? Nothing good, we'll tell you that much.
Ser Davos Seaworth
Davos is sticking by Jon Snow, helping him navigate the ups and downs of ruling alongside the rest of the Northern lords. Oh, and he also might be the prince that was promised, so there's that.
Lil' Lyanna Mormont! We've missed you, girl. At the end of season six, the ferocious, pint-size ruler of Bear Island is key to crowning Jon King in the North.
Melisandre, in addition to being an octogenarian, is dealt a rough hand in season six. Though she's able to build up a tenuous bond with Jon Snow, Ser Davos discovers she was the one behind Shireen's death and has her banished. The last time we see her she's riding off into the barren, snowy distance, and we have a feeling she's going to collide head-first with Arya (who wants her dead) or the Brotherhood Without Banners (who also worship R'hllor).
After tragically losing Hodor, Bran is being dragged around north of the Wall by a beleaguered Meera. He also has the life-altering vision of Jon's birth in the Tower of Joy, in which it's hinted that he might have the power to alter the past.
There's probably a reunion in the works for Arya Stark. The young assassin escapes the House of Black and White, retrieves Needle, and heads back to Westeros, where she promptly murders some of the people still on her infamous list: Walder Frey and his sons (we'll never look at pie the same way again). After that, she heads north from the Riverlands, hopefully on a path toward Jon and Sansa.
Brienne of Tarth
Brienne and Podrick try their best to convince the Blackfish to abandon Riverrun and head north on orders from Sansa, but it turns out Brienne is much better at fighting off bears than she is at persuasion. The Blackfish vows to die in his castle, so they have no choice but to somberly row home (not before Brienne has a quick reunion with Jaime, however).
Gilly and Samwell Tarly
Sam finally escapes the Night's Watch, striking out on his own with Gilly and her infant son by his side. After they make a quick pit-stop at his family home, they head to the Citadel with the Valyrian steel sword Sam steals from his jerk of a father, Randyll Tarly. He's one step closer to becoming a proper maester!
Where, oh where, is the Hound going to end up? After reinventing himself as a peace-loving farmer in the village run by Ian McShane's Septon Ray, nearly everyone in town is brutally murdered and the Hound goes after the people who did it. Once he slices them up, he joins Beric Dondarrion and the Brotherhood Without Banners, who are likely headed up north.