WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the first seven seasons of HBO's Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones is one of the biggest shows in the world right now, and it's heading into its into the eighth and final season. But what if you've never seen the show before? There are 67 previous episodes to get through, and considering that the new season premieres on Sunday, there isn't enough time to get caught up. That's why we've made this handy overview of the series, what it focuses on, who it's about and what you should care about going into the last six episodes.
What's The Deal With This Show?
The series mainly focuses on the fantasy land of Westeros, which is filled with violence, sex and magic. Since Game of Thrones airs on HBO, all of that is, of course, uncensored. The show draws inspiration from Medieval Europe and, although magic used to be a big deal, it's been largely absent for centuries. The show primarily focuses on the families warring for control of the land. There have been power struggles and shifts over the seasons, with certain families rising in prominence before being wiped out altogether. However, the two most consistent families throughout the show have been the Starks and the Lannisters.
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Who Are The Starks And The Lannisters?
The Starks have been among the primary protagonists of the show. They rule the northern part of the kingdom from their ancestral home of Winterfell. After losing most of their family to the crises and conflicts that have occurred over the course of the series, the only remaining Starks are Sansa, who has gone from privileged princess to pragmatic leader; Arya, who has grown from defiant tomboy to skilled assassin; and Bran, who has transformed from lordling to all-seeing mystic. There's also Jon Snow, who was raised with the Starks. His lineage is, well, complicated we'll talk more about it later. He's also relatively removed from the wars in Westeros until Season 7 by virtue of being a member of the Night's Watch at The Wall, which we'll also explain later.
The Lannisters, meanwhile, are the de facto rulers of Westeros. Queen Cersei has held some amount of power for over a decade, as she was formerly married to King Robert Baratheon, who died in a hunting accident. Although married to King Robert, she had three children (Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen) with her twin brother, Jamie. All three have been killed (two by poison, one by suicide), leaving the hardened and cruel Cersei unchallenged on the throne. Jamie has spent most of the series trying to figure out how to balance his relationship with his sister and his morality. Cersei and Jamie also have a younger brother, the clever dwarf Tyrion. Tyrion left his family halfway through the series, finding new allegiances elsewhere.
Who's The Dragon Lady?
Daenerys Targaryen is one of the most important characters in Game of Thrones. She's the last living child of the dynasty that ruled Westeros before Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark -- who both died in the show's first season -- led a revolt against them twenty years prior to the events of the series. She's been in exile on another continent for most of the show. However, she's used that time to rally a loyal army of warriors and advisers to her cause. This includes the disgraced Westerosi lord Jorah, her best friend/adviser Missandei, elite fighter and former slave Grey Worm, spymaster Varys and even Tyrion Lannister.
However, her most powerful allies are undoubtedly the three dragons (Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion) she hatched early in the series. Considering them her children, the three have grown to full size and power. In Season 7, she made the trek from across the sea to Westeros and set herself against Cersei while also allying and falling in love with Jon Snow, who has since become the King in the North.