A 'Game of Thrones' refresher to prepare for season 7
MANILA, Philippines – At long last, the new season of Game of Thrones is almost upon us, over a year after the previous season last aired. Before you tune in to the season 7 premiere on July 17, here’s a quick refresher to help you remember what happened last season, and remind you of what to expect.
In true Game of Thrones fashion, the plot line of season 6 is a tangled and convoluted web — so in an effort to detangle, we recall the events of last season by looking at some of its most important characters.
It was certainly an eventful season for our favorite brooding bastard. He started off the season being brought back to life by the Red Witch after a multiple stabbing at the hands of his fellow Night’s watchmen. He then executed his killers, and went on to reunite with his long-lost sister Sansa. Together, they return to their hometown, Winterfell.
As if he hadn’t gone through enough, Jon also won the battle of the bastards against Westeros’ friendly neighbourhood psychopath, Ramsay Bolton — though not without being almost beaten to a pulp.
After the battle, Jon was named King in the North, earning the allegiance of the remaining northern houses, the Night’s Watch, and the Wildlings, with the help of bad-ass little girl Lyanna Mormont.
Another milestone for Jon last season: we finally learn of his parentage. Jon may not know it yet, but he is actually the son of Lyanna Stark — the youngest sister of his adoptive father Ned. This was all but outright confirmed at the end of season 6, when Bran Stark had a vision of the young Lyanna Stark on her deathbed, entrusting her newborn baby to her brother and whispering a secret into Ned’s ear before dying. While the vision was as vague as the show runners could make it, it pretty much confirmed the popular R+L = J theory that holds that Jon is actually the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen – making him a product of both ice and fire, and therefore possibly the most powerful contender for the Iron Throne.
We definitely saw Sansa come into her own in season 6, shedding her damsel-in-distress persona for something decidedly more sinister. After escaping Ramsay Bolton with the help of Stark loyalist Brienne, Sansa reunited with Jon Snow, but it wasn’t all love and laughter between the long-separated Stark siblings.
Disagreeing with Jon on war strategies, Sansa showed more backbone and bite than we’ve ever seen from her, going behind Jon’s back and leveraging on her connection with the slimy Lord of the Vale Littlefinger to get support from their army. The move proved instrumental to the Stark victory in the Battle of the Bastards, and as a reward, Sansa got to feed her abusive husband Ramsay to his own dogs.
Jon Snow’s actor Kit Harington confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that we will be seeing more tension between Jon and Sansa in the new season — especially as Sansa has hinted that she doesn’t exactly agree with Jon being the ruler of Winterfell.
Another character who had a busy season was Cersei Lannister, the fierce lioness who started out the season with another child dead (her daughter Myrcella was vengefully poisoned at the end of season 5).
Cersei spent most of the season trying to regain power after her reputation was besmirched and her twincestuous activities were made known to the realm. Cersei struggled to eclipse the influence of the Faith Militant, who continued to get stronger and win more believers under the leadership of the charismatic High Sparrow. At the same time, she continued to battle with her daughter-in-law Margaery Tyrell, who somehow still managed to have Cersei’s youngest son and reigning king Tommen right in the palm of her hand, despite being imprisoned in a dungeon for most of the season.
Through power struggles and a growing rift with her brother/lover Jaime, Cersei worked with the mysterious Maester Qyburn on a secret project that is revealed at the end of the season to be an elaborate plot to win back command of the Iron Throne in one fell swoop. In the season finale, she bombed the Sept of Baelor with wildfire during a trial at that gathered all of Cersei’s enemies (mainly the Faith Militant and the Tyrells). She did it in the most Cersei way possible, too: drinking wine and watching from a distance as the sept went down in green flames.
Her victory did have a tinge of tragedy. Knowing his mom was behind a mass murder, Tommen committed suicide, leaving Cersei childless, and ultimately more powerful. Her vulnerability, after all, has always been her children – and now with no one to protect her and commanding from the Iron Throne no less, Cersei is more dangerous than ever.
Early on in the season, the dragon mother was captured by a Dothraki tribe, but managed to burn all the leaders and gain more Dothraki followers in the process. She then continued her anti-slavery campaign across Essos while making her way closer to Westeros.
At her side through most of the season was Tyrion Lannister, Cersei and Jaime’s youngest brother, who fled Westeros to escape his sister’s murderous hands. Impressed by his advice and political strategies, Daenerys named him the Hand of The Queen.
She also allied with Theon and Yara Greyjoy, who travelled all the way from the Iron Islands to offer their boats and men to the Targaryen queen in exchange for her support in their campaign against their uncle.
At the end of season 6, we see Daenerys and her allies finally crossing the Narrow Sea with the biggest army the show has ever seen, and 3 fully-grown dragons to boot.
The younger Stark sister started out the season blind, but as it turned out, it was only part of her training to become a full-fledged assassin. After a series of difficult tests and moments of self-discovery, Arya finally completed her training, and made her way back to Westeros.
Her first order of business upon touching down in Westeros? Revenge, of course, which in this case was a dish served freshly baked. Her target? Walder Frey, the man responsible for the deaths of her mother and eldest brother. In one of the most satisfying moments of the season – and perhaps the entire show – Arya slit Frey’s throat, but not before feeding him a pie made out of his sons’ dead bodies.
Frey was only one of the several people on Arya’s hitlist, which also includes Cersei. If Arya’s killing skills are to be trusted, we might just see Cersei die at the nimble hands of the little Stark girl.
It was a hit-and-miss season for Bran Stark, who committed several big mistakes, one of which cost the lives of his direwolf, his mentor the Three-Eyed Raven, and his most loyal companion. One of the most heartbreaking moments of season 6 was the death of loyal Stark henchman Hodor, who was killed in action while protecting Bran from white walkers that turned up only because the latter was meddling in visions he should not have been seeing.
All the same, Bran gained mastery of his seeing/warging powers throughout the season, eventually assuming the position of Three-Eyed Raven. The season 6 finale gave us Bran's most important vision yet: the aforementioned revelation of Jon Snow's true origins.
The grand-matriarch of the Tyrell family is also its last remaining member – her son, granddaughter, and grandson all died in the Sept of Baelor explosion. But as we’ve come to discover over the course of the season, Grandma Tyrell is not your typical little old lady. At the end of last season, we found Olenna in the southern kingdom of Dorne, meeting up with Varys and the Sand Snakes to potentially ally with Daenerys Targaryen.
Jon’s best friend and sidekick got a story of his own on season 6 as he sought to fulfill a mission assigned to him by Jon, who was then lord commander of the Night’s Watch. With his girlfriend Gilly and her son in tow, Sam first stopped by his hometown, Horn Hill, to steal his family's greatsword. Made of Valyrian steel, it's one of the few weapons that is effective against White Walkers.
Sam then headed for the Citadel, which is basically a university where Maesters (the doctors, scholars and scientists of the Thrones world), learn all about science, magic, and medicine. While we have yet to see what Sam learns in the Citadel, we know that his main objective is to gain insight into the White Walkers and learn how best to defeat them – so we can expect a bigger role for Sam in the upcoming season.
Sandor Clegane was presumed dead at the beginning of season 6, but midway through he was shown to be alive and trying to live a less violent life. The lifestyle change was thwarted when he stumbled upon the Brotherhood Without Banners, who were making their way to The Wall to join the war against the White Walkers. The Hound eventually joined their campaign, and the season ended with him headed for a possible reunion with his former captive, Arya, and his brother Gregor, who currently stands as Cersei’s undead bodyguard. – Rappler.com