Game of Thrones recap – where did we leave the characters ahead of the final series?

Here's what's going on around Westeros as season eight kicks off

Game Of Thrones

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Remember exactly what happened in the last episode of Game of Thrones? Of course you don’t. It was ages ago, you have a vibrant social life and gradually the details of Westerosi shenanigans have slipped from your memory like raindrops down a window pane.

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Now, though, ahead of Thrones’ return for its final episodes, it’s time to swot up – so we’ve assembled a quick primer on where we left all the major characters at the end of the last series, and what we might expect for them in season eight.

Spoiler alert – we’ve haven’t talked about it here, but it’s likely an awful lot of them are gonna die.


Jon Snow (Kit Harington)

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones season 8 (HBO)
Kit Harington as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones season 8 (HBO)

After successfully(ish) convincing his foes of the dangers posed by the Night King’s army, Jon travels north with Daenerys on a ship to unite their forces at Winterfell.

While onboard, Jon and Daenerys sleep together, little realising that elsewhere in the Seven Kingdoms some serious revelations about their (unexpectedly) shared family are coming to light.


Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)

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After losing her dragon Viserion to the Night King, Daenerys has found some solace in her new purpose fighting his army, and her relationship with Jon – and if hints about her ability to bear children last year weren’t just a red herring, it could be that another Targaryen heir is in the offing.

First, though, Daenerys has to deal with meeting a bunch of Northmen who aren’t overly fond of Targaryens, not to mention Jon’s family. And what will Dany think when she realises she isn’t the rightful queen after all?


Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)

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When we left Cersei she had a pretty devious scheme in mind. While promising to support Jon and Dany with her armies, and cease hostilities until the threat from the Night King was concluded, in reality she’d just sent Euron off to recruit powerful mercenary army The Golden Company (thanks to a bit of help from the Tyrell fortune and the Iron Bank of Braavos), planning to wait until Jon and Dany’s forces were depleted before sending in her own armies to finish them off so she could finally rule unopposed.

This sneaky move (plus the fact that without her help, the Army of the Dead might just win and freeze King’s Landing anyway) finally turns Jaime away from Cersei, who’s left now with only her undead bodyguard The Mountain, her snivelly sidekick/evil genius Qyburn (Anton Lesser) and her and Jaime’s unborn child. Still quite the entourage.


Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)

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After seeing the threat posed by the undead at the end of season seven, Jaime vows to ride north to fight the Night King’s army – but Cersei’s double-cross leads to a final falling-out between them, leaving Jaime without any men as he heads up to Winterfell alone.

Will he pick up some stragglers on the Kingsroad? Will Cersei actually turn against her brother/lover? And what will the northerners say when they meet the man who caused them so much trouble back in the early Game of Thrones series?


Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones season 8 (HBO)
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones season 8 (HBO)

Still hand of the queen to Daenerys, the last time we saw Tyrion he was en route to Winterfell with her and pretty concerned about his queen’s new relationship with Jon Snow – but is he concerned about the political fallout, or does he have a more personal interest?

That’s not the only mystery surrounding the Imp, who seemed to cut a secret deal with Cersei last series in order to secure her support for Daenerys, possibly to do with the legacy of Cersei’s unborn child (with some fans speculating that he promised to name the baby as Daenerys’s heir).

Of course, Cersei isn’t sticking to the deal anyway but we’re betting that Tyrion’s allies won’t take too kindly to his backroom promises if they find out.


Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek)

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After feigning cowardice about the threat from the army of the dead, Euron pretended to flee back to the Iron islands with his fleet – but in reality he travelled to Essos to enlist the Golden Company, who we see on his ships in the first trailer for the new series.

After dropping them off for Cersei, Euron may also have unfinished business with nephew Theon, with the latter planning to rescue his sister Yara from Euron’s clutches.


Theon and Yara Greyjoy (Alfie Allen and Gemma Whelan)

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Speaking of these two, the last we heard of Yara she had been captured and imprisoned (and presumably horribly mistreated) by Euron, inspiring Theon to attempt to rescue her.

To do that, Theon ended up beating up a rebellious Ironborn captain, gaining his people’s respect for the first time and recruiting them for his mission to the Iron Islands. It’s currently unclear whether he’ll head north for the great battle against the dead after this.


Sansa and Arya Stark (Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams)

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After apparently falling out over the course of the series, the reunited Stark sisters eventually turned the tables on pot-stirring Littlefinger, entrapping the arch-schemer and then executing him for his crimes against their family, apparently setting aside their childhood animosity in favour of a more grown-up relationship.

Just how the pair will relate to Jon’s new queen Daenerys, though, is another matter, particularly the super-political Sansa. We imagine Arya will love the dragons.


Samwell Tarly and Bran Stark (John Bradley and Isaac Hempstead Wright)

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Sam’s last appearance in series seven saw him leave the maesters’ Citadel and arrive at Winterfell to help Jon in the war against the dead, where he quickly encountered Bran (also fairly recently returned) and caught up on what they’d both been up to since they met a few years ago.

And during their little catch-up (I dropped out of maester school! / I’m the world’s most powerful psychic!) the pair also stumbled on a surprising bit of truth Sam and Gilly had half-uncovered earlier in the series – Jon was in fact the rightful king of Westeros, given that his secret father and mother (Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark) had actually been married in a hidden ceremony.

Combining their knowledge, the pair now know the realm’s most explosive secret – and all that’s left is for them to tell Jon of his true heritage.

Meanwhile, Bran continued to use his visions to spy on the Night King’s army, putting him firmly in the White Walkers’ firing line. Ooh-er.


Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarrion (Kristopher Hivju and Richard Dormer)

Kristopher Hivju as Tormund and Richard Dormer as Beric in Game of Thrones (HBO)
Kristopher Hivju as Tormund and Richard Dormer as Beric in Game of Thrones (HBO)

The last time we saw these two they were witnessing the Night King’s undead dragon blast the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-sea to pieces, and were potentially among the casualties when it fell.

From the series’ first trailer, though, we know that the pair survived and teamed up with Edd (aka the only named Night’s Watch character left alive) for some unknown purpose. We wouldn’t be surprised if they were headed down to Winterfell to warn Jon about what’s coming.


Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)

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After representing Sansa at the great Dragonpit summit (and reuniting with Jaime and the Hound) Brienne is heading back to Winterfell, and set to do some pretty handy damage with her Valyrian steel sword Oathkeeper in the great battle against the dead (you can spot her fighting on the walls in the first trailer).

But we’re more interested in how the lovestruck Tormund will react to Brienne’s fancy friend Jaime, and the chemistry between them…


Melisandre and Varys (Carice van Houten and Conleth Hill)

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On the face of it these characters are in very different places. Varys is presumably en route to Winterfell while Melisandre as returned to Essos, the former in Daenerys’s confidence and the latter exiled by Jon and Davos.

However, we’d be very surprised if we don’t see Melisandre join the action up north this year – and if she does, it could be where she and Varys finally meet their pre-ordained end.

“I will return, dear Spider, one last time,” Melisandre told the spymaster. “I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”

Ominous…


Bronn (Jerome Flynn)

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Bronn’s main role in the season seven finale was to catch up with Tyrion and then saunter off with Podrick to grab a drink, so it’s unclear whether he’ll be joining Jaime on the trip up to Winterfell to face the dead.

After all, it doesn’t seem very… Bronn… to head straight into a hopeless battle, does it?


The Hound (Rory McCann)

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The Hound (aka Sandor Clegane) was a part of the big pow-wow in the Dragonpit, unleashing the wight on Cersei and her advisors and facing off with his slightly undead older brother Gregor before presumably heading to Winterfell with everyone else.

And who knows? Maybe Sandor’s newfound accord with the Lord of Light will serve him well against the White Walkers et al.


Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)

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After accompanying Daenerys to King’s Landing, Jorah is headed back north to Winterfell, and we can’t wait to see what happens when he meets his fearsome little cousin Lyanna, the Lady of Bear Island (especially given the disgrace he brought to their family back in the day). He may have a nicer time reuniting with Samwell Tarly, who managed to cure him of his greyscale infection early in season seven.

And before leaving, Jorah was notably frustrated to have his travelling advice to Daenerys ignored in favour of Jon’s, marking the King in the North’s increasing influence over his queen.


Davos Seaworth

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Westeros’s greatest hype man also went down to King’s Landing, and arranged the naval passage up to Winterfell (via White Harbour and the Kingsroad) that’s bringing most of our principal characters to the north.

How Davos will feel about Jon and Daenerys’ relationship is unclear – though we can be pretty sure that when Melisandre rejoins the mix (after instigating the horrific execution of Stannis Baratheon’s daughter Shireen), he won’t be too happy.


Gendry

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Robert Baratheon’s bastard son was last seen running through the snows to bring help to Jon and his crew, and we can only hope he’ll get the chance to use his Warhammer properly in the upcoming episodes.

More exciting than that, though, is the thought of Gendry reuniting with his old friend Arya, who he hasn’t seen since season three (and to be fair, she’s changed a lot since then).

Whether he’ll be as happy to be surrounded by Targaryens given that his father fought against them may be a different story…


Grey Worm and Missandei

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Daenerys’ trusty lieutenants consummated their relationship last series, and stand by her side as she heads up to Winterfell to face off with the Night King.

Not much more to say about them really, except “Aaaaah! So cute!”


And finally… The Night King

The Night King and the White Walkers in Game of Thrones (HBO, HF)
The Night King and the White Walkers in Game of Thrones (HBO)

Frankly, everything’s looking up for the Night King. He’s acquired a zombie dragon, he’s brought down enough of the Wall for his army to get through (aka cracking open a cold one with the boys) and now he’s headed south to take on the living.

All that stands in his way is a ragtag group of Northerners, Night’s watchmen, Unsullied, Dothraki screamers, Knights of the Vale, two live dragons and a Kingslayer or two. Shouldn’t be too much bother for him…

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The final series of Game of Thrones will air on 15th April at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV