Game Of Thrones Season 8: Everything You Should Remember For The New Season
By Phil Hornshaw | @philhornshaw on
Game of Thrones has seen a lot of developments over the last seven seasons. Many have made their attempts to sit the Iron Throne, only to get, betrayed, outmaneuvered, and killed along the way. Prophecies have been made, some seemingly proving true, while others have led their followers to ruin. Great houses have reached for power and been utterly wiped out.
The Season 8 premiere is here at least, and it's full of callbacks to previous seasons and parallels to the very beginning of the series. That's a lot of stuff to keep in mind as the show. Everything from King Robert's arrival in Winterfell to Bran Stark's vision at the Tower of Joy is important in Season 8, even in the first episode. And that's to say nothing of the various character arcs that are coming to an end from all the way back in Season 1. If you haven't had time for a full rewatch of the show, trying to hold everything that could be important to the conclusion of the story can be pretty difficult--especially if you're trying the show's story threads from the ones in the novels if you've read the books.
You don't have to watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones to be follow along with Season 8, though. We've got a full rundown of all the dangling plot threads that are still waiting for resolutions in the show's last six episodes. Here's all the stuff you need to know from the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones, and everything that is likely to come up again as the show comes to its conclusion.
1. Jaime Lannister Left Cersei And Rode North
Jaime has stood by Cersei through everything up to now, including: throwing a child off a tower to hide their relationship; blowing up the Sept of Baelor; and murdering a ridiculous number of people. But Jaime's very general and gradual arc of trying to be a less terrible person (notwithstanding some of the more horrible stuff, like that time he raped his sister beside the body of their son) means that he wasn't happy about breaking his promise to march north and fight the White Walkers. Instead of sticking with Cersei when she decided to betray the rest of Westeros, he bailed on King's Landing at the end of Season 7 and headed north to join the fight. That probably doesn't bode well for Jaime and Cersei reconciling--especially since she threatened to kill him if he were to betray her again.
2. Cersei Has The Iron Bank And The Golden Company On Her Side
The Lannister army was rocked by Daenerys and Drogon in Season 7, but it's the Dothraki that pose the real threat. Even without the dragons, Daenerys' forces are stronger and more numerous than Cersei's. That's why the queen spent most of the season hedging her bets. Cersei's strategy to take Highgarden filled the Lannister coffers, allowing Cersei to pay off the crown's debt to the Iron Bank. That move got her enough new loans from the bank to hire the Golden Company, a big bunch of mercenaries from Essos, and Cersei sent Euron Greyjoy to get them at the end of the season. We'll see how effective the mercenaries actually wind up being (especially without their elephants), but since they're from across the Narrow Sea, they've probably at least fought Dothraki before.
Where are all the main characters at the start of Game of Thrones Season 8?
Check out GameSpot Universe's video on where everyone is at the start of Season 8, and read on to keep catching up everything Game of Thrones you need to remember ahead of the last season.
3. Cersei's Prophecy Is Almost Complete
Something that's informed most of Cersei's life is the prophecy she heard from a supposed witch when Cersei was a child. The prophecy suggested that Cersei would marry the king--which she did, King Robert--and that he would have 20 children and she would have three--which she did. The witch's prophecy also predicted the deaths of Cersei's children. In the novels, it passes down one last prognostication: that she would be murdered by the Valonqar, High Valyrian for "little brother." As it happens, that could be either Tyrion, her younger brother, or Jaime; he and Cersei are twins, but she was born first. Then again, the "little brother" doesn't necessarily mean her little brother, and there's always the possibility that the prophecy is merely bunk and merely coincidental. Specifically because...
4. Cersei's Pregnant--Or She Claims To Be
In Season 7, Cersei became pregnant again, and that doesn't line up with the prophecy. A fourth child would prove the part about three kids incorrect, and if part of the prophecy is wrong, Cersei can maybe relax about the "getting murdered by the little brother" part. Then again, while the evidence suggests Cersei is pregnant--and she even let Tyrion think so--we don't really know that she's pregnant. Seems like it definitely could all be a ruse. And since the "little brother" part is so ambiguous, it might even refer to Cersei dying during childbirth, with the new baby being little brother to Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen.
That new baby could also already be the center of a political plot, according to one new theory.
5. Jon is a Targaryen--and Bran and Sam know it
Game of Thrones has slowly been revealing that the events that precipitated Robert's Rebellion, in which Robert Baratheon and his allies, including Ned Stark, overthrew the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, aren't at all what anyone thought. Prince Rhaegar Targaryen didn't kidnap and rape Ned's sister, Lyanna Stark--they were in love, were married in secret, and had a child. Lyanna and Rhaegar both died, but the baby survived, and Ned took it at Lyanna's behest. That baby grew up as Jon Snow, but his real name is Aegon Targaryen. That makes Jon the trueborn heir to the Iron Throne, with a better claim than even Daenerys. Bran shared his discovery with Samwell Tarly, who had also learned something about the marriage. Surely the information about his real identity is going to cause some complications in the politics of Westeros.
6. One Other Person Knows Jon's True Identity
There was one other person with Ned Stark when he went to the Tower of Joy and discovered Lyanna's baby. When Ned showed up at the tower, he was with a handful of allies, most of whom were killed. But Ned's bannerman, Howland Reed, survived the battle and helped save Ned's life. He's the father of Jojen and Meera Reed, the two kids who helped Bran find the Three-Eyed Raven. We know Howland's still around--Meera returned to him in Season 7 after getting Bran back to Winterfell--and as one of three people who knows the truth about Jon, he might still have a part to play in the power struggles of Westeros.
7. Jon Is Having Sex With His Aunt And Sooner Or Later, She's Going To Find Out
Basically the last thing that happened in Season 7 was Jon and Daenerys consummating the relationship that's been boiling up between them all season. Juxtaposed with that moment was the one where Bran and Sam realized not only that Jon was the son of Rhaegar, Daenerys' brother, but the trueborn heir to the Iron Throne. Targaryens were known for marrying siblings (it's probably what helped make the Mad King mad), but one assumes that when Daenerys' eventually find out the truth, it's going to complicate things between them.
8. Bran Is The Three-Eyed Raven And We Still Don't Really Know What That Means
So Bran is fully involved with the whole Three-Eyed Raven schtick. He can see anything that's ever happened, anything that is happening, and anything that will happen, apparently. His limitation, it seems, is knowing what to look at. Bran can find out anything, but he doesn't have all information at all times, so we're not sure exactly what he'll be good for in the coming war. On the one hand, he seemingly was able to see through Littlefinger and help Sansa and Arya outmaneuver him; on the other hand, the Night King seems to confound his abilities. But he definitely has a big role to play in the future.
9. Daenerys Can't Have Children--At Least, In Theory
Something that's haunted Daenerys for quite a while is the idea that she can't have children. That comes from Mirri Maz Duur, the woman who tricked Daenerys into bringing Khal Drogo back from the dead, which seemingly cost Daenerys their son. Since then, Daenerys believed what Mirri Maz Duur told her: that she would never have another child. As Jon pointed out in Season 7, the woman might not have been the most trustworthy source on the matter. The question of Daenerys' children is a big one because of the line of succession if she's queen. Tyrion, for one, is concerned with who will rule after her, should the war claim Daenerys. That might be a moot point, though, if Jon winds up sitting the Iron Throne.
10. Beric Dondarrion Is On His Last Life
The leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners was repeatedly killed and resurrected by the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr, as they went fighting for smallfolk throughout Westeros during the War of the Five Kings. But while Beric and Thoros found their purpose north of the Wall with the Hound, Jon, Ser Jorah, and Gendry, Thoros was killed during the fight to capture the wight and bring it back. Without Thoros to resurrect him, it seems Beric won't be coming back from the dead again. That probably means his final purpose in serving the Lord of Light (or whomever) will be revealed in Season 8.
11. Nymeria And Ghost Are Still Out There
In Season 7, Arya was nearly attacked by wolves while she was traveling to Winterfell, and realized that the leader of the pack was none other than her direwolf, Nymeria. Arya chased Nymeria off into the woods back in Season 1, to save the wolf from death after it bit Prince Joffrey. While Nymeria didn't choose to rejoin Arya or return to Winterfell, the fact that the wolf is still out there seems important--as does the fact that Ghost, Jon's direwolf, is still alive out there somewhere too. The show's visual effects supervisor, Joe Bauer, told The Huffington Post Ghost would be returning in Season 8. Though Ghost never showed up in Season 7, one assumes he's in or around Winterfell, probably out hunting--and he'll probably show up again before the end in Season 8.
12. Melisandre Will Return To Westeros To Die
We last saw Melisandre at Dragonstone in Season 7, when she advised Daenerys to have an audience with Jon Snow. After a conversation with Varys, she departed across the Narrow Sea, but cryptically said that she'd return. Specifically, she said she'd be back to Westeros one last time, because she was fated to die in the country--and that Varys was too. We don't know what that spooky portent means in practical terms, but if and when Melisandre shows up in Season 8, expect it to be her final appearance.
13. Here's What Kills White Walkers
Most of Season 7 concerns Jon trying to get ahold of dragonglass to make weapons to fight the Night King's army. There are only a few things that can actually dispense with the army of the dead: dragonglass and fire are the two easiest ones, which makes dragons pretty darn useful. We also know from the battle at Hardhome that Valyrian steel blades can kill White Walkers. Another powerful weapon to consider is wildfire, the green super-flammable substance that Tyrion used to win the Battle of the Blackwater, and Cersei used to destroy the Sept of Baelor. King's Landing still has a whole bunch of the stuff, presumably, as well as pyromancers who can make more. Wildfire could be potentially very important in the war for Westeros in Season 8.
14. Sam Took A Bunch Of Scrolls From The Citadel
At Jon's order, Samwell Tarly made for Oldtown and the Citadel, where he undertook training as a maester. The training didn't really work out, though--Sam found the maesters didn't believe him about the White Walkers, and mostly just held back his ability to find information that might help in the coming war. Sam bailed on his training, but before he left, he grabbed a whole bunch of scrolls and books from the restricted section of the Citadel library. The information Sam got from the Citadel has already been useful, since he realized that Jon is actually the heir to the Iron Throne, thanks to an obscure tidbit Gilly discovered. It seems very likely all those other scrolls are going to teach him some more useful things.
15. The Hound Still Owes The Mountain
He might be some kind of undead monster, but the Mountain Gregor Clegane is still technically alive in Westeros. His brother, the Hound, Sandor Clegane, has pledged to kill his brother because Gregor was a horrible, awful person who burned Sandor's face as a child. The pair haven't had a chance to fight one another for real yet, but the Hound reiterated his vow to end the Mountain in Season 7. If there's no #CleganeBowl, fans will probably riot, so expect their final battle.
16. Arya Still Has Names On Her List--Including Cersei
Arya Stark has been slowly removing names from her kill list for years, but she hasn't completed it yet. There are several people whose names were on the list who still have their date with Arya coming--people like Beric Dondarrion (who she wanted revenge on after he sold her pal Gendry to Melisandre), the Hound (who her feelings about are pretty complex, admittedly), and Cersei Lannister. While Arya might reconsider most of the others who are left on the list, like Beric and Clegane, there's no question she's going after Cersei--the question is how she'll go about making her attempt.
17. We're Still Waiting On Azor Ahai, The Prince That Was Promised
The prophecy of the Prince Who Was Promised has been a part of the show since Season 2. Melisandre has thought that several people were the prophesied prince, who is supposed to fight as the champion of the Lord of Light against the Night King, wielding a burning sword. Melisandre originally thought Stannis Baratheon was Azor Ahai, then resurrected Jon Snow and thought he might be the one. In Season 7, Missandei fixed Melisandre's translation of the prophecy to suggest the Prince Who Was Promised could also be a princess, which widens the field significantly. And translations of the Valyrian also suggest the Prince Who Was Promised could be Jaime Lannister, thanks to his golden hand. It's all a bit confusing, but expect the prophecy to be as important in Season 8 as it's ever been.