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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you know that Game of Thrones‘s seven-episode seventh season premieres this Sunday, July 16 on HBO. And, if you haven’t had a chance to re-watch season six in preparation, here’s a handy refresher to remind you where the remaining Westerosi power players ended up at the end of season six.
Queen Cersei Lannister, First of Her Name
Cersei has spent the past six seasons attempting to seize control of the Iron Throne, first by installing her psychotic son Joffrey as king (after orchestrating the death of her husband, poor King Robert), and then by attempting to control her much kinder son Tommen. Alas, when Cersei’s machinations fell victim to the High Sparrow’s interference, she realized she would have to take things into her own hands. With the help of the de-chained former Maester Qyburn, Cersei used the vast stores of wildfyre under King’s Landing to blow up the Sept of Baelor while all her enemies were inside awaiting her trial. Unfortunately, she didn’t account for Tommen’s good heart, and he jumped out of his window, leaving Cersei childless (Myracella was murdered by the Sand Snakes of Dorne back in season five). No matter. Cersei decided anything worth doing is worth doing yourself and named herself Queen of Westeros – a move that shocked her brother, Jamie, who looked on with shock and disappointment as she took her seat on the Iron Throne.
Jon Snow, King of the North
After rising from the dead (in a moment so anti-climactic, even my sister who hadn’t even watched the show predicted it), Jon consolidated his power in the North. It wasn’t easy, and it required a major assist from Lyanna Mormont (the baddest eleven year old in Westeros) and Littlefinger (through Sansa, the real brains in Jon Snow’s gang), but the Northern Houses declared for Jon and the Starks, setting up a clash with Cersei’s forces in King’s Landing. Oh, Jon also knows that the White Walker threat from the North is the real danger facing Westeros, and he has made it his mission to try and unite the land behind this cause. I have a sneaking suspicion that Cersei might not be all that interested in fighting this battle.
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons
After six seasons of waiting, the end of season six saw Dany finally heading over to Westeros, to make her claim on the Iron Throne. She brings with her Tyrion, Varys, Theon, and Yara Greyjoy, the latter of whom lent her the ships necessary to make the trip. In exchange, Dany promised Yara she could rule the Iron Islands, albeit without the raping and pillaging the Ironborn are known for. Dany has the Unsullied, Dothraki, Tyrell army, Dorne, half of the Ironborn, and three Dragons at her command, along with Tyrion’s smarts and Varys’s little birds. While we can’t know for sure, I highly suspect she will be meeting up with her nephew, Jon Snow, for a family reunion this season. After all, someone has to ride the other dragons.
Arya Stark, Assassin
After spending too long at the House of Black and White, Arya decided she wants to be a Stark again and headed back to Westeros. On her trip back to Winterfell, she made a pit stop to cross another name off her list, killing Walder Frey after forcing him to eat two of his sons in a meat pie. I can’t wait to see what she brings to Jon Snow’s army (because we can’t spend another season without a Stark reunion, right?).
Sansa Stark, Survivor
Sansa finally got her revenge on Ramsey Bolton (who lasted at least a season longer than he should have, but let’s just be happy he’s gone), feeding him to his prized dogs. But she also managed to save Jon Snow’s alliance by asking Littlefinger to provide additional troops from the Vale. Sure, she probably should have mentioned that to Jon BEFORE the battle, and it means she owes Littlefinger (who remains creepily obsessed with her, mostly because she reminds him of her mother) a massive favor, but it was the smart thing to do. She also seemed less than thrilled that Jon was named King of the North, when she’s technically the last known Stark heir left (with Bran presumed dead and Arya long missing).
Samwell Tarly, Maester in Training
Sam finally got to head off to Old Town and train to be a Maester at the Citadel, something he’s certain to be great at. But, really, we all know he’s there to find the smoking gun in one of the tomes that will explain how to create Valeryian steel. Or Dragonglass. Or something that can kill the White Walkers. Because, like another best friend to an unlikely hero with the name Sam, this Sam is going to have a major moment in the sun before the series is over.
Bran Stark, the Three-Eyed Raven
Bran is on his way back home to Winterfell, awash in the knowledge that his bastard brother is actually his bastard cousin (and a Targaryen to boot). He met up with his missing Night’s Watch uncle, good old Benjen, who is now a White Walker-Human hybrid, but who helped him and Meera make it to the Wall. The stage is set for a massive reunion of all surviving Starks, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
— Brienne of Tarth remains fully on Team Stark at this point, although I suspect there will be a meeting with Jamie before everything is said and done.
— The Hound remains in the North. The Mountain remains a zombie under Cersei’s command. Make of that what you will.
— Beric Dondarrion is still alive, still in possession of a flaming sword, and still in the presence of Thoros of Myr. A flaming sword might be useful fighting ice zombies, no?
— Euron Greyjoy is going to be mad and looking for an alliance. I suspect Cersei might be just what he’s looking for.
— The Wall is still standing, but the Night King is heading right for it.
I suspect that, despite the shortened season, some major things are afoot on Game of Thrones this year. And I will be recapping the show every week. Look for the reviews every Monday, bright and early. Winter is here.