The latest trailer for Game Of Thrones: Season 7 has dropped, and new episodes are only weeks away. You probably won’t have time to binge-watch six years’ worth of murder, skullduggery and political intrigue, so why not check out our handy recap instead?
Welcome to Westeros, where the Night’s Watch stand guard at the Wall which separates civilisation from a great frozen wilderness in the North. The Hand, chief advisor to King Robert, has been poisoned, and so the king visits his old mucker Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell, to take his place. During the royal family’s visit to Winterfell, Ned’s son Brann spies Queen Cersei having it off with her twin brother Jaime Lannister, who promptly pushes Brann from a tower, crippling him and leaving him in a coma.
Ned moves to the capital, King’s Landing, along with his daughters Sansa and Arya, to fulfil his new duty. Sansa dreams of marrying the sociopathic Prince Joffrey, while Arya just wants to learn to sword-fight. When Ned stumbles across evidence that King Robert’s children are not his true heirs, but the product of Cersei’s icky affair with her brother, he is framed for treason and beheaded in front of his daughters. Sansa becomes the captive of the Lannisters, while Arya flees the city.
Up at Castle Black, Ned’s illegitimate son Jon Snow swears allegiance to the Night’s Watch, and begins to fear that something ancient and evil is stirring beyond the Wall. Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, exiled siblings Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen believe that they are the rightful heirs to the Iron Throne. Viserys marries off his sister to Khal Drogo, leader of the Dothraki, in exchange for use of his army. Sadly for Viserys, Dany and Drogo decide they’d be better off ruling Westeros, and they cover his skull in molten metal. When Drogo is killed, Dany walks into his funeral pyre along with a wedding gift, three dormant dragon eggs, and emerges from the ashes with three scaly new babies.
Following the death of Ned Stark, Robb wages war on the Lannisters, capturing Jaime Lannister – however his mother Catelyn lets Jaime go, wrongly believing she can exchange him for the safe return of both her daughters. Robb is then betrayed by his close friend Theon Greyjoy, who wishes to earn back the favour of his right nasty dad, Baelon.
We also meet King Robert’s two brothers, Renly and Stannis Baratheon, both believe they are the true heir to the Iron Throne – but Stannis Baratheon has an ace up his sleeve in the form of sorceress Melisandre, who births a shadowy uterus monster to assassinate Renly (seriously).
Dany is welcomed to the kooky city of Qarth, where her dragons are captured by a creepy bald warlock. She follows him to the House of the Undying, where she sees a vision of the terrible winter to come, before setting the warlock on fire and going on her merry way. Beyond the Wall, the fearsome White Walkers begin their walk towards the world of men…
The Lannisters join forces with House Tyrell, a wealthy family, to secure their grip on the crown. Margaery Tyrell embraces her role as the Lady Di of King’s Landing, doing charity work and catching the eye of young King Joffrey.
The Starks fall on even harder times, losing their allies the Freys and Boltons due to Robb’s impulsive marriage to Talisa when he was betrothed to Walder Frey’s daughter. This causes the Freys and Boltons to ally themselves with the Lannisters, resulting in the messiest wedding you’ve ever seen outside of EastEnders. Robb, his bride and their unborn child, and his mother are all killed.
After betraying Robb and faking the deaths of the youngest Stark brothers, Theon is captured and kidnapped and ultimately castrated by the sadistic Ramsay Bolton. Meanwhile, Jon Snow falls in love with a wildling from beyond the Wall named Ygritte, who teaches him that not everything is black and white, and that there are much scarier things in the North than raiders.
Further East, Dany procures an army of Unsullied from the slaver city of Astapor, and her first act as their commander is to burn all the slavers, earning her the nickname of “Mother” to the oppressed and downtrodden of Essos.
The voracious, bisexual, cute a.f. Prince Oberyn arrives in King’s Landing, and at first one assumes his mission is to boink everything in sight; but he is actually seeking revenge against the Lannisters for the death of his sister, Elia Martell.
Joffrey and Margaery are wed, but as is the wedding tradition in Westeros, it all goes pear-shaped when Joffrey is poisoned at the feast. An enraged Cersei accuses her brother Tyrion of the crime, while Sansa seizes the moment and escapes the capital. Oberyn offers to be Tyrion’s champion in trial by combat, but he is no match for the brutish Mountain, and those pretty little eyes get gouged out.
Since his fall from the tower, Bran Stark has been having visions, which lead him and his companions Hodor, Joren and Meera into the North, to the land of the mysterious Children of the Forest.
Daenerys, who has been having a jolly old time liberating cities in the Far East, is forced to lock her dragons in a dungeon (a little on the nose, no?) after one of them incinerates the child of one of her subjects.
Cersei forges an alliance with religious fundamentalists the Sparrows in a desperate bid to retain control of the capital, but it backfires spectacularly; the order finds out about her incestuous affair and compel her to walk through the streets naked as punishment. Margaery, having promptly moved on from the death of her hubby, is now all lovey-dovey with Joffrey’s younger brother Tommen. Meanwhile, Cersei’s daughter Myrcella is poisoned by Oberyn’s lover Ellaria.
Arya sails to Braavos to seek training at the House of Black and White, which mostly involves washing dead bodies and being smacked around by the Waif. Tyrion flees the capital and ends up in Essos, where he offers his services as advisor to the increasingly powerful Daenerys.
Sansa returns home to Winterfell, which is now under the control of the Boltons, and is forced into marriage with the monstrous Ramsay. Ramsay’s slave Theon breaks free of the tyrant’s control and helps his old friend Sansa escape.
A desperate Stannis follows the counsel of the witch Melisandre, and sacrifices his beloved daughter Shireen to the Lord of Light, believing it will secure him a victory in battle — to no avail. He is ultimately beheaded by Brienne of Tarth.
In the far North, Jon Snow battles against the White Walkers, and the wildlings join him in his mission to protect the kingdom. However, the rest of the Night’s Watch aren’t too pleased about this, and they rise up in mutiny, stabbing our hero to death…
Melisandre finally starts using her powers for good, and brings Jon Snow back from the dead. He assumes command of Castle Black and executes the mutineers, before riding to the aid of his sister Sansa. Together, they defeat the Boltons in battle, and Sansa watches as her abuser is eaten alive by his own hounds.
After doing lots of stabbing and getting stabbed herself, Arya finally decides it’s time to quit her gap year in Braavos, and now she’s heading back to Westeros to seek vengeance on those who wronged her, one human hot pie at a time.
While on a vision quest, Bran glimpses the truth about Jon’s heritage; he is the secret child of Ned’s sister Lyanna, and Rhaegar Targaryen — making him the nephew of Daenerys and possibly an heir to the Iron Throne.
Following her public humiliation at the hands of the High Sparrow, Cersei uses chemical warfare to get rid of all of her enemies in one fell swoop and claim the throne for herself. Theon travels to Essos with his sister Yara to form an alliance with Daenerys, and along with Tyrion and the three dragons, they mobilise their new army and set sail for Westeros. Cersei, you in danger girl!