At last, our watch has ended. Game of Thrones is returning to HBO on Sunday, July 16 with Season 7, the second-to-last season in this highly celebrated series. The show is incredibly intricate, with many threads and character stories interwoven in its complicated plot. If you don’t have time to watch all of Season 6 again before the show premieres, then it will be helpful to remember the most important parts of the season. Here’s a complete look at everything you need to remember about last year’s Season 6 of Game of Thrones. (To see spoilers and leaks for Game of Thrones Season 7, see Heavy’s story here.)
Melisandre Did the Impossible
In a phenomenal scene, Jon Snow is raised from the dead, thanks to magic from Melisandre after she had lost all hope and practically lost her faith when Stannis lost the battle and died. She tells Jon that Stannis was not the Prince Who Was Promised, but someone else is (and she believes it is him.)
Jon executes the traitors (and fans were maybe a little too happy about Olly’s demise.) He then decides that since he died, his watch has ended, and he gives up his black cloak.
We also learn that Melisandre is actually very, very old, and the stone she wears around her neck helps glamour her into looking young. Much later in the season, Jon is forced to banish Melisandre despite what she has done for him, because Davos reveals that she led the movement to burn Shireen alive.
Sansa Had a Long-Awaited Reunion with Jon Snow
Sansa and Theon escape Winterfell, with the help of Brienne. They are finally reunited in an epic scene. Sansa then travels with Brienne to Castle Black. She’s reunited with Jon Snow, in another heartwarming scene.
But then she and Littlefinger have a scene where, apparently, Littlefinger is trying to woo her but ends up just sounding narcissistic. “I dream about us being together… I have a picture in my mind of me sitting on the Iron Throne, and you’re by my side.”
Yes, what should-be-Queen wouldn’t swoon at that monologue?
Fans Rejoiced When Ramsay Got His Due
Jon and Sansa decide to go to battle against Ramsay Bolton and his well-trained army, once he sends Sansa a letter letting her know that he has Rickon. The episode “Battle of the Bastards” may be one of the all-time best episodes in history. When the two military commanders meet, Jon is playing everything cool at first, until Ramsay shows him Rickon. He lets Rickon try to run across an open field to Jon, but shoots and kills him with an arrow before he can reach Jon. This sets Jon off, and now he must fight Ramsay. He just charges headfirst into battle, and there is a frightening moment when it looks like Jon Snow is going to be defeated.
But that is when Littlefinger, at Sansa’s request, rides in with to the rescue, accompanied by the Knights of the Vale.
After the battle is over, Jon defeats Ramsay in hand-to-hand combat, but leaves him alive so Sansa can have her revenge. And she does. Sansa feeds Ramsay to his own hounds. It’s a very fitting ending to his evil reign, considering how he killed Walda and his newborn half-brother.
The Waif Turned Into the Terminator
Meanwhile, Arya continues her training in Braavos and gets her sight back. (She was made blind as punishment for taking Meryn Trant’s life, which wasn’t hers to take.) She’s ordered to murder an actress named Lady Crane — a command she cannot bring herself to keep. The Waif finally has an OK from Jaqen H’ghar of the House of Black and White to kill Arya, and chases her all over Braavos. But in the end Arya is the victor, despite the Waif’s stabbing her in the stomach. She is no longer No One — she is a Stark. Using her newly perfected face-changing skills, she returns to Westeros, where she immediately sets out to find Walder Frey. Under a disguise, she serves him meat pie filled with his sons’ body parts (Lothera Frey and Black Walder Rivers). Once she reveals her identity to Frey, she murders him.
The Hound is Alive and Fans Hoped, But Didn’t Get, Clegane Bowl
We learn that the Hound actually lived, thanks to an Elder Brother who was a soldier-turned-monk and a peaceful village who nursed him back to life. The Hound tries to find that peace for himself, until the entire village is brutally murdered. They’re killed by a rebel group that was once part of the Brotherhood Without Banners.
So the Hound goes off on his own revenge plot, killing mercilessly with his ax. In the Riverlands, he runs into Beric Dondarion’s “Brotherhood Without Banners,” and upon Beric’s invitation, decides to join forces with them as they travel north.
Dany Used Fire to Escape in Another Amazing Scene
The season started out with Daenerys’ being captured by the Khal Moro of the Dothraki. But Dany is just as good at freeing herself as she is at freeing slaves. She murders the Khals with fire and takes control of the army of Horse Lords. (At this point, Jorah Mormont left to find a cure for greyscale.) She returns to Meereen, where she defeats the slavers and an attempt at mutiny by the Sons of the Harpy, thanks to some great strategy and advice from Tyrion.
Yara & Theon’s Alliance, Plus a Touching Moment Between Cersei & Tyrion
Yara and Theon are reunited, but he still thinks of himself as “Reek.” She pushes him and encourages him to reclaim his old identity. When Euron arrives at the Iron Islands, he admits to killing their father and is elected the new king. Yara and Theon must escape and they take the best ships with them. They leave with a plan to ally themselves with Dany.
They arrive at Meereen and make an alliance with Dany, adding their ships to her numbers. So now Dany has raised a fleet of ships to sail to Westeros. Before they leave, she tells Daario he cannot go with her because she can’t take a lover with her — she will have to marry again to form an alliance.
Meanwhile, Dany and Tyrion are building a bond. While she’s gone, Tyrion suggests freeing the dragons since they have stopped eating. He somehow manages to gain their trust and even touch them, unshackling them and sending them free. This sparks theories about Tyrion and who he might really be.
In a touching scene, she names Tyrion the new Hand of the Queen. It is a moment that means more to him than she has any idea.
Cersei Is the Darkest Timeline
Meanwhile, things have turned dark for Cersei. Last season she did a Walk of Shame, thanks to the High Sparrow. Jamie thought he was delivering their daughter Myercella back to her, only to realize on the way that she was poisoned. He delivers the news to Cersei and they vow revenge. When she tries to go to her daughter’s funeral, Tommen won’t let her. But she learns that Qyburn has gotten some of Varys’ “little birds” to work for him.
Tommen seems to be falling for the High Sparrow’s manipulations. He leaves Loras imprisoned, and Margaery decides to play the game, doing what she must to free her brother.
Meanwhile, Cersei and Olenna made their own plan. The Tyrell army would liberate Margaery and Loras and let them be judged in civil court by Kevan Lannister, while keeping the Lannister troops away so Tommen’s orders aren’t disobeyed. But High Sparrow announces instead that Margaery won’t do a walk of shame, but she’ll be released because Tommen and the church are now working together.
Cersei had a trial-by-combat plan, but Tommen ruined that all by announcing that she would have to stand trial before the seven septons.
Meanwhile, Margaery makes an arrangement that if Loras confesses, he will go free after Cersei goes to trial. Before the trial, though, she sends her grandmother away.
But Cersei has another plan, and it involves Qyburn and the strangely resurrected Mountain. She refuses to go to her trial and has The Mountain imprison her son so he can’t go to the trial either. She’s stashed Wildfire under the Sept, and has it set on fire during the trial, killing everyone. When Tommen learns what happened, he kills himself by jumping out a window.
The Sand Snakes Lasted Longer Than Most People Wanted
In Dorne, many scenes transpire with the “Sand Snakes,” which fans tend to really hate. Ellaria Sand killed Doran and Trystane Martell (one of the many hated scenes) and are now controlling Dorne.
Angry at her granddaughter’s death and betrayal from the Lannisters, Olenna Tyrell visits Ellaria in Dorne to discuss the possibility of an alliance. Varys arrives and tells her that he can offer her revenge with “blood and fire.”
Jamie & Bronn Visited Riverrun
Jamie and Bronn, meanwhile, visit Blackfish to “liberate” Riverrun, at Tommen’s orders. (Blackfish, Catelyn Stark’s uncle, had captured Riverrun.) Edmure Tully surrenders and they kill the Blackfish.
Sam’s Library Trip Sparks Theories
Samwell and Gilly visit his parents and have a terrible reunion. Before they leave, he takes the family’s Valyrian sword, Heartsbane, with him. After this, they arrive at the Citadel and he sees the most amazing library known to mankind. Alert fans realized that the chandelier hanging in the library had a sphere that looks just like the mechanical sun on the Game of Thrones opening credits. It was the same: it’s called an astrolabe. Some fans hope this means that Sam is changing the map we see in the opening credits every week.
Bran’s Visions Answered Fans’ Greatest Hopes & Dreams
Bran, meanwhile, is north of the Wall and learning how to see the past, thanks to training from the Three Eyed Raven. But when the Night King and White Walkers attack, the Three-Eyed Raven is killed (and so is Summer.) Bran is now the new Three Eyed Raven. As they escape an attack by White Walkers, Hodor “holds the door” and is killed. We learn that he always said “Hodor” because he flashed to this moment when he was young and suffered brain damage as a result, now only able to say “Hodor.” (For an in-depth look at what happened to Hodor, see Heavy’s story here.)
As Meera and Bran try to escape, they’re rescued by Coldhands aka Benjen Stark, Bran’s uncle. He was left for dead by the White Walkers, until the Children of the Forest saved him from turning into a wight by putting dragonglass in his heart. Now he’s undead, but not a mindless White Walker zombie. (Interestingly, this is similar to how the Children of the Forest created the first White Walker/Other.)
Things we learned from Bran’s visions in Season 6:
- Jon Snow is not Ned’s bastard son, but the child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark, and thus a true heir to the Iron Throne.
- Ned was not always as honorable as everyone thought. Howland Reed stabbed a guard in the neck in order for Ned to win the fight and get to Lyanna. Ned always said that their victory was honorable. He apparently lied.
- The White Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest from a man.
The Final Scenes of Season 6 Were Mesmerizing
A white raven has arrived. Winter is here.
At the end of the season, Dany is sailing with her fleet to Westeros, as her dragons fly overhead. Cersei is being crowned Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and she sits on the Iron Throne as Jamie watches, just now arriving back and realizing what has happened. Jon Snow is declared King of the North, to Sansa’s joy and Littlefinger’s disdain.
Now, what will happen in Season 7, when Dany’s army arrives in Westeros? Will Dany and Jon form an alliance? Will Cersei draw more people onto her team? Where will the White Walkers strike first?
Season 6 Video Recaps
If you’d like to watch a full recap of all six seasons, check out the 12 minute video below:
And here’s a five-minute recap:
And here’s a recap video just of Season 6: