Everything You Need To Know Before Game Of Thrones Season 8 Premiere
Game of Thrones is finally back.
It's been a long two-year wait to get to the final season, but we're finally here. In six short weeks, we'll know how this epic saga ends, who lives and dies, and who sits on the Iron Throne -- if there even is one.
Here's everything you need to remember from last season, and everything you need to know going into the new one.
Where is everybody?
Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow
As you'll likely recall without the help of this guide, the King in the North and his Dragon Queen completed their season-long 'will they? won't they?' arc and finally hooked up.
Of course, this is Game of Thrones, so naturally they had hot cabin sex right at the very moment we learned Jon Snow was Rhaegar Targaryen’s true-born son, the rightful heir to the Iron Throne and -- of most immediate importance -- Dany’s nephew. What would this show be without making you root for incest?
Plot-wise, here's what else you need to remember: Dany and Jon are on their way back to Winterfell. Jon has bent the knee to Dany, which will probably have repercussions as far as his sisters and northmen are concerned. They believe Cersei is sending her troops to help, when she is doing no such thing.
We also learned Jon's real name is Aegon Targaryen. - Alex
Where is Tyrion? Right outside Dany’s cabin, with a troubled expression that many interpreted as jealousy (and infatuation with the Dragon Queen). More likely, he’s weighing up the consequences of his actions.
Remember: after the meeting in the Dragonpit, Cersei was unwilling to lend her armies to the war against the dead. It was only after Tyrion met her, alone, that Cersei pledged her help.
Why? How? Current speculation is Tyrion switched sides after learning his sister was pregnant with Jaime’s baby. Tyrion has felt rejected by his family all his life, but loved Cersei and Jaime's children -- Tommen and Myrcella, anyway. He told Cersei he was "more sorry than anything" about their deaths, which he feels partially responsible for due to actions he sent in motion by killing his father, Tywin.
Tyrion’s allegiances were always going to be the most conflicted here, and they’ll be most interesting to watch. - Alex
Arya, Sansa and Bran
The Starks! They're back together! In Winterfell!
After a frustrating experience watching Sansa and Arya almost turn on each other, the season finale saw the sisters team up to take down Littlefinger. Now the entire north knows Littlefinger was responsible for the crimes that set off the War of Five Kings in the first place.
Afterwards, Arya and Sansa had a sweet moment at Winterfell, repeating Ned Stark's words to each other: “When winter comes, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”
In other words: they’ve been through some trauma, but THEY ARE STILL SISTERS WHO LOVE EACH OTHER.
Also, Bran is there too, I guess. He’s the Three Eyed Raven now. - Alex
Cersei Lannister is pregnant. She's also abandoned by Jaime (more on that soon), and left to grow their incest baby all alone.
As usual, Cersei spent last season throwing fierce looks and threatening everyone around her. Despite what she told Dany and Jon, she has no intention of lending her armies to the war, and is waiting for Euron Greyjoy to return with the Golden Company. Her plan is to wait out whatever happens in the north and slaughter whoever's left, but without the sellswords, her strength is dwindling. - Alex
Jaime is riding towards Winterfell. Can I get a Han-less Solo? No? Anyone?
He’s single and ready to mingle after calling Cersei’s bluff, and plans to keep his promise to Dany/Jon to fight the army of the dead -- poor, honourable, handsome, so handsome, beautiful, could make a straight man turn, tragic hero that he is. - Wade
Theon somehow managed to leverage having no genitals in order to win an unwinnable fight, and therefore gain the respect of his fellow Iron Islanders. He convinced this ragtag bunch to help rescue his sister, Yara, from King's Landing.
Also: Jon has forgiven Theon for betraying his entire family. Quite honestly, I'm already bored of the entire Greyjoy storyline. - Alex
Same. - Wade
The Wall and the Night King
The Wall is now partially destroyed, thanks to the Night King and his new ice-dragon. The dead are marching through. That's the bad news.
The good news, however, is it appears old mates Tormund and Beric Dondarrion survived the wall’s collapse -- Tormund appeared in the series trailer, while fan site Watchers on the Wall claims to have obtained a copy of the new cast list, and both fan favourites are on it. - Alex
Fan theories and things we can look forward to
Who Kills Cersei?
Ask a book-reader and they will be adamant Jaime will snuff out his twin-cest sister. Why? Remember Maggie the Frog, the witch/fortune-teller from Cersei’s childhood flashback? In a phenomenal flex, Maggie foretold Cersei would marry Robert (not Rhaegar, her betrothed), and have three children that would wear golden crowns (blonde hair), but also golden shrouds (die young).
She also predicted a “younger, more beautiful” queen would cast Cersei down. Cersei believed this to be Margaery, totally ignoring Daenerys and Sansa waving their arms in the air.
Still with us? Maggie’s prophecy in the books had an additional part, notably absent from the TV show: “the valonqar [High Valyrian for ‘little brother’] shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Cersei suspects and hates Tyrion as a result.
Smug book-readers will argue Jaime is also younger that Cersei, born second of the twins, and suggest -- Cluedo-style -- it’ll be Jaime, in the Red Keep, with his golden hand as the weapon. - Wade
Jon and Arya have the closest emotional bond of the Starks, but have been separated since way back in the second ep of Season 1!
The pair identified with each other as outcasts: a “bastard” headed for The Wall and a tomboy who didn’t want to be a lady. Jon had Needle made for Arya -- his supposed half-sister, but actual cousin -- and it will be a teary moment when they are reunited. She’s a bad-ass now, and game recognises game. - Wade
At some point, Jon is going to have to find out he’s really a Targaryen, and therefore really did just sleep with his aunt (and is also the rightful King of Westeros, if we’re still going with that whole lineage thing). Only Sam and Bran know the truth at this point, which means one of them is going to have to tell him. Absolutely cannot wait. - Alex
Familiar UNDEAD faces
Get ready to have your heart broken, because the White Walkers can raise anyone from the dead. You were shook to see undead Viserion? Wait until you see undead Hodor, theoretically part of the White Walker army.
They’re headed for Winterfell, where a f*ckload of dead Starks are buried in the crypts below. In the trailer, could Arya be running from a reanimated Ned, Rob or Rickon? - Wade
OG Directors back for the final season
Miguel Sapochnik (Hardholme, Battle of the Bastards, The Winds of Winter) is the big set-piece specialist and will helm episodes three and five. Expect the already-teased battle at Winterfell in the former, and the final battle between good and evil in the latter.
David Nutter (Rains Of Castamere [see: Red Wedding], The Dance of Dragons, Mother’s Mercy) has successfully delivered the saga’s biggest twists, and will direct three episodes.
Both directors were absent entirely from the somewhat maligned Season 7, so fans can breathe easy that the final season is in their capable hands.
For Australians, Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres on Foxtel at 11am(AEST) on April 15th, and will be rebroadcast later Monday night.