Only five hours to go to the international release of Game of Thrones season 8. For those who are getting ready to catch up with Jon Snow, Arya Stark and the others at 3:00, may the Seven be with you.
- Betrayals, beheadings and dragons – season one recap
- The night is dark, Jon Snow knows nothing – season two recap
- The Lannisters send their regards – season three recap
- Lannisters have regrets – season four recap (Regrets. Get it?)
- A girl wants revenge – season five recap
This is an emotional season. Be warned.
So many major events in this season – from Arya reclaiming her name and going back to Westeros, to Danaerys sailing to Westeros with her army of Dothraki and Unsullied. Then there’s also the Battle of the Bastard and that day when Cersei blew the Sept up. Good times.
After her walk of shame, her Maester Qyburn presents her with a special gift: The reanimated corpse of the Mountain. We never really see his face but his skin looks grey and his eyes are bloodshot. Franken-Mountain. And he’s now Cersei’s bodyguard.
Watch: What Qyburn did to the Mountain
Church, State and Wildfire
There is still the matter of her trial, though, but Cersei has the Mountain now and refuses to go. Margaery talks her way out of a trial by bringing Tommen in the Sparrow’s fold. It’s all a ploy, but the Sparrow falls for it.
However, Cersei has just about had enough of the Sparrows, the Tyrells and some of the Lannisters. So, she does what only Cersei can do best: blows up the Sept with everyone in it. Sparrows, dead. House Tyrell, all dead save for Olenna back in High Garden. Even her uncle and cousin, dead.
Watch: Cersei blows up the Sept
Tommen, who watched the explosion from the Castle, can’t imagine a world without his Queen Margaery and jumps out the window. So now the only main Lannister peoples left are Cersei and Jaime.
In the midlands
Siege of Riverun
House Frey is determined to take control of Riverrun, Catelyn’s ancestral home. But the Freys aren’t really good at strategy and war, and Jaime shows up to save the day. Much to their embarrassment.
We learn that Edmure is still alive. Poor dude was thrown into the Dungeons after his wedding night back in season three. He also has a child he never got to meet, conceived on said wedding, so there’s that.
Later in the season, Arya’s first stop after landing in Westeros is the Twins, to give Walder Frey a little visit. Remember the story of the Rat Cook? Yes, like a boss, Arya cooked Walder Frey’s sons in a pie and served it to him.
Watch: Arya killing Lord Walder Frey (graphic warning)
She then slits his throat, telling him that the last thing he’ll see is a Stark looking down on him as he bleeds to death. That’s what you get for killing most of the Starks at the Red Wedding but leaving the most dangerous one alive.
“My name is Arya Stark. I want you to know that. The last you are ever going to see is a Stark smiling down on you as you die.”
Arya Stark, Season 6, episode 10
The Hound and the Brothers
We want to say you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Hound died of his wounds after Arya left him. But by now you should also know not to trust off-screen deaths. Heck, don’t even trust on-screen deaths.
The Hound turned over a new leaf and settled in with some peasants where he is helping them build a church. He still battles the demons of his past but he is a changed man. That is, until a handful of rogue Brothers Without Banners kills his new friends.
Watch: The Hound returns
He hunts them down to get revenge, meets up with the other Brothers just before they execute the rogue brothers, and decides to continue his journey with them instead. They head north.
Remember Stannis and Melisendre magic, the blood of a King. Well, the last person on his list was Balon Greyjoy. Balon meets his end when his brother Euron returns back home and throws Balon of a bridge.
Yara says that’s cool, she’ll be ruler now, but the misogynistic Greyjoys are not up for that. They will hold a King’s Moot to decide on the new king, but sorry, no girls allowed.
Watch: Euron kills Balon Greyjoy
In the North
It’s tense in the North for all manner of reason. Ramsay wants his wife Sansa back and writes to Jon that he’ll let them be if Jon a) hands Sansa over and b) bend the knee and declare Ramsay as the Ruler of the North.
There’s also a tense moment between Sansa and Littlefinger when she confronts him about selling her to the Boltons. She makes him sweat by telling him in detail all the inhumane things Ramsay did to her.
Watch: Sansa and Jon reunite (from 1:40)
Jon Snow 2.0
Jon, stabbed to death in season five, is brought back to life by Melisandre. Of course his question is, “Why am I naked,” but never mind. It’s a miracle, those loyal to Jon are ecstatic to have their ruler back.
Watch: Jon Snow comes back to life
Skip to 7:40 for the gasp.
Unfortunately, it’s no good news for those who killed him. He has them all hanged, including Ollie. Sansa and Jon reunite for the first time since season one. She apologises for being such a dick to them when they were children.
They try to unite the Northern men behind their cause but no one is really keen. Scared of the Boltons, you see. Except Lady Lyanna Mormont from Bear Island. She’s 10 years old and basically Game of Throne’s version of Chuck Norris.
Watch: Lyanna Mormont is a badass
Battle of the Bastards
All of this tension leads to the Battle of the Bastards. Jon Snow, with Davos, Wun Wun the Giant, Lyanna and a handful of men against Ramsay, his army and the Fortress that is Winterfell.
Ramsay also managed to get the youngest Stark, Rickon, from where he was hiding and tells Rickon to run towards Jon and he’ll be free. But of course they shoot arrows at him while he runs in a straight line. Really, kid? It didn’t occur to you to zig-zag across the field? He doesn’t make it and dies in Jon’s arms.
It goes south real quick and Jon’s army is quickly surrounded. Sansa saves the day by showing up with the Knights of the Vale. She made a deal with Littlefinger after all.
Watch: Sansa saves the day
When they take back Winterfell, Sansa is the one to feed Ramsay to the dogs. Literally.
At the Wall (and beyond)
Bran and the time travel paradox
Bran is training with the three-eyed raven, honing his kill to look into the past. He learns that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark’s bastard, but instead Ned’s sister’s child with Rhaegar Targaryen.
At this point, however, it’s still assumed that Jon is bastard because Rhaegar was still married to a Dornish woman when Lyanna gave birth. More on that in the season seven recap.
Watch: Learns the truth about Jon Snow
The Night King attacks the cave while Bran is still stuck in the past. Meera and Hodor tried to flee from the wights. At the same time, we see Bran is observing Winterfell’s past.
We learn that Hodor – who can today only say one word, ‘Hodor’ – was actually a very eloquent kid named Willis. But because Bran is stuck in Hodor’s past, the time paradox messes with the kid.
Willis, in the past, can hear future Meera yelling at future Hodor to “hold the door” while she escapes with Bran. In Willis’ mind, that phrase warps into the ‘hodor’. That explains why Hodor is Hodor.
Watch: Hodor holds the door
It’s poetic and sad when you think about it – Hodor knew his fate since he was a kid. He knew that at some point in the future, the most important act of his life would be to ‘hold the door.’ To give his life so Bran could escape.
He had one job, and he did it. Like a boss. We told you it’s a sad season.
Arya Stark of Winterfell
Before travelling to Westeros to kill Walder Frey, Arya honed her assassination skills at the House of Black and White. She has a hard time giving up her identity and the training is brutal.
When she finally gains Jaqen H’ghar’s approval, Arya tells him that thanks but no thanks, she is not “no one.” She is Arya Stark of Winterfell and she’s going home. It helps that she has all the skills now of taking someone’s face.
Watch: “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.”
Dream team in Mereen
Grey Worm, Tyrion and Missandei hold down the fort in Mereen while Daenerys is missing in action. Jorah and Daario sets out to go find their Queen and tracks her down in Vaes Dothrak.
At first, the Dothraki khals wanted to defile Daenerys in all ways possible but decide against it when she tells them she was Khal Drogo’s khaleesi. A widowed Khaleesi is to be respected and has to live out the remainder of her days in Dosh Khaleen with other widowed Khaleesi’s.
Of course, Daenerys has other plans. Sailing to Westeros, for one, and taking back the Iron Throne. At her trial, she tells the Khals that they are not fit to rule the Dothraki’s but she is. They laugh, they tell her all the many ways they are going to rape and torture her.
The stop laughing when she tips over a chandelier and burns the place down to the ground with them and herself in it. We know from season one that she is fireproof. And she walks out of the burning building without a singed hair on her head.
Watch: Daenerys kills the Khals (from 1:00)
Fun fact, Dany isn’t really fireproof in the books. George R. R. Martin said in an interview that the first burning, the funeral pyre scene, was supposed to be a once-off thing. Anywho. We digress.
Now that Dany has all the dead Khals followers, plus her dragons, the Unsullied, Yara Greyjoy,’s iron fleet, and ships she took from the slave masters in Mereen, she finally sails to Westeros to take what is rightfully hers.
Watch: Daenerys sails to Westeros
Watch: Man of Recaps – Season 6