Winter Is Here:
The Entire Game of Thrones in One Article
When will Daenerys Stormborn and her dragons reach Westeros? Could it really be that Jon Snow is not a bastard, but a rightful heir to the throne? Will the Lannisters pay their debts? Who will win the fight for the Iron Throne and who will be leaving us in the coming weeks? The audience is waiting to find answers to these questions starting this Sunday, when season seven of the HBO series Game of Thrones — probably the most popular TV show in recent years — premieres.
Game of Thrones is a screen version of the series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, The book series isn’t finished yet, but the TV series has already ‘run ahead’ of it in plot development — so people can’t read a book and find out what the end is. In addition, some secondary plot lines are different in the books and TV series, and the fate of some of the main characters is different in the TV series.
The plot is built around the war between the several ruling houses for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, a state located on the Westeros continent (although some of the action also happens on the neighboring continent). At the same time, somewhere behind the super-tall Wall are rising the mystical and scary White Walkers, threatening to destroy humanity.
The world where the action takes place looks much like medieval Europe plus resurrecting the dead and dragons. Everything else is in order: there are knights, lords, and kings, poisonings, intrigues, and betrayals, unions and wars, unsanitary conditions and violence. Political intrigues and naked scenes are especially elaborate. There is too much nudity and equally many deaths: starting from season one, even the characters that the audience considered the ‘main’ ones, and therefore invincible, die.
If you happened to forget who is whose relative and who is still alive by the beginning of season seven, we offer our short spoiler-filled summary.
Season One: Incests, Executions, and Dragons
The King and the head of House Baratheon
All the bastards in the North take the last name ‘Snow’. The same rule applies to the other areas of the country: in Dorne, all bastards have the last name ‘Sand’, and in the Reach — ‘Flowers’.
Soon after, the King dies hunting, and his young and cruel son
In response, the armies of the Starks and their vassals are deployed from the North. Robert Baratheon’s brother wants to contend for the throne (the elder one as a rightful heir, and the younger one based on his popularity). The War of the Five Kings starts (the fifth being Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands).
The living children of the final Targaryen king, who was overthrown by Robert Baratheon,
Season Two: Wars, Wars, and Wars
In most parts of the Seven Kingdoms, people believe in the seven gods, but there are also other religions. For instance, Melisandre worships R’hllor, the Red God; in the North, people pray to the old gods, whom the heart tree holy groves are dedicated to; in Braavos, there is a temple for the Many-Faced God.
Robb sends his mother
Catelyn has to flee; upon her return to Robb’s camp she tries to free her daughters
Theon Greyjoy betrays the Starks, and with the army of the Iron Islands captures Winterfell, the ancestral castle of the Starks. Robb Stark’s two younger brothers manage to escape.
In King’s Landing, the dwarf
Across the sea, Daenerys wanders with a small number of people who stayed with her after her husband’s death. Beyond the Wall, scouts from the Night’s Watch clash with the
Season Three: Liberation of the Slaves and the Red Wedding
The Starks win the battles, but lose the war. Robb Stark falls for a healer from Volantis and breaks his promise to ally
In the south, Daenerys buys an army of eunuch slaves, the Unsullied, and after making a deal brutally cracks down on slavers from the city of Astapor. Her army then takes another slaver city, Yunkai.
Theon Greyjoy doesn’t rule Winterfell for too long: the army of
Hoping to make up to Walder Frey and receive the necessary support for the war, Robb Stark publicly apologizes to Frey and offers him another marriage union with a relative of his mother’s from House Tully. Frey agrees, but at the wedding banquet it turns out that Frey together with Roose Bolton betrayed the Starks and made a union with the Lannisters. In the middle of the wedding, the musicians start playing the Rains of Castamere, a signature massacre song of the Lannisters, and the massacre ensues, where Robb Stark, his pregnant wife, and Catelyn Stark are killed. Arya Stark, who only just reaches the Frey castle by then, has to flee again.
Troubling reports about the return of the White Walkers come from the North. Stannis Baratheon decided to go to the North to fulfil the duty of a true king — protect the Seven Kingdoms from a northern threat.
Season Four: Poisonings, Uprisings, and Patricide
At the wedding of Joffrey and Margaery the King suddenly feels ill and died, poisoned by the grandmother of the bride,
In the North, Eddard Stark’s bastard Jon Snow who, on the orders of his commander, lived with the Wildlings who accepted him as one of them, returns to the Night’s Watch that is getting ready to the attack on the Wall by the WIldlings. The defenders are few, and
Across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen takes the slaver city Meereen, but in Yunkai, the city that she left, an uprising starts.
Tyrion is convicted for Joffrey’s death, he demands a trial by combat and puts
Season Five: Flights, Tortures, and Gods
Varys and Tyrion go across the sea to Meereen to support Daenerys’ claim for the Throne of Westeros. On the way, Tyrion is abducted by
Cersei enters a confrontation with the Tyrells — Margaery has more and more influence on Tommen, endangering the power of the Lannisters. In her intrigues against the Tyrells, Cersei counts on the
The followers of the High Sparrow arrest Margaery’s brother, accusing him of the sin of homosexuality. Margaery can’t convince Tommen to let her brother go. Cersei’s intrigue turns against her — after the High Sparrow becomes the High Septon, he jails her on accusations of adultery.
Petyr Baelish delivers Sansa to the castle of the Starks and organizes her wedding with Ramsay Bolton, hoping to create a union between the Boltons, the Starks, and the Lords of the Vale — the Arryns (Sansa’s relatives on her maternal side).
Stannis Baratheon heads south through the castle of the Starks taken by Bolton, but is caught up in a severe snowstorm. Ramsay easily defeats his weakened army. During the battle, Sansa, who was abused by her husband, and Theon Greyjoy escape from the castle taken by Ramsay. Stannis dies at the hand of
There is a revolt in the Night’s Watch, and Jon Snow, who became the Lord Commander, is killed.
Season Six: Resurrections, Prophecies, and Unions
Priestess Melisandre resurrects Jon Snow; he executes the rioters and announces his intention to leave the Night’s Watch. Sansa, who with the help of Brienne of Tarth, escaped from being chased by Ramsay Bolton, runs to Jon Snow and convinces him to fight against Ramsay. He, having killed his father and fed the stepmother and his baby brother to the dogs, becomes the Lord Paramount of the North.
With the help of some of the northern Lords, Jon Snow and Sansa confront Bolton. Before the battle, Ramsay kills
At the end of the season, in a vision of Bran’s, the last living half-brother of Jon Snow, we see that Jon Snow is the son of
Theon goes back to the Iron Islands and upon finding out that his father is dead swears fealty to his sister
There is a coup in Dorne — Oberyn’s brother Lord Doran and his son are killed by Oberyn’s daughters who are seeking revenge.
In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister is subjected to a humiliating procedure — she has to walk the streets naked as repentance. After that, Cersei doesn’t show up to her trial, ordering the Great Sept be blown up instead. This kills everybody who gathered in the Sept, including Margaery Tyrell. After witnessing his wife’s death, King Tommen kills himself. Cersei ascends to the Iron Throne.
Arya Stark leaves Braavos, where she trained in the temple of the Many-Faced God. She kills Walder Frey and his sons, to avenge the death of her mother and brother.
Daenerys is captured by a nomadic Dothraki tribe, the fellow tribesmen of her late husband, but she refuses to go and live with the widows of other chiefs until the rest of her life. She is tried for refusing to comply with the law, but she overturns the lamps on the Khals, and gets out of the flames unharmed.
Meereen, where allies of Daenerys, as well as Tyrion and Varys are, is attacked by the united army of other slaver cities. During the attack, Daenerys comes back into the city on a dragon. She makes a union with Theon and Yara: they provide the fleet that will get her army across the sea to the Seven Kingdoms. In the final scene, Daenerys’ armada with the Dothraki and the Unsullied is crossing the sea to Westeros, accompanied by the dragons.
For Whom the Rains of Castamere Will Toll
Probably, the biggest suspense leading into Season Seven (except the usual ‘who dies next’) is whether the characters will continue their internal strife, or will finally start to deal with the real threat.
On the one hand, everybody has a grudge against someone. The North is temporarily united under the rule of Jon Snow, but we imagine he didn’t forgive the Lannisters the deaths of Eddard and Robb Stark. Daenerys and her army are sailing from Meereen, and with her are Tyrion Lannister, Theon Greyjoy with his sister, intriguer Varys, and the dragons. It looks like Dorne is getting ready for war, and the remaining Tyrells — to avenge Cersei Lannister. The latter will cling to the throne until the end. The Lannisters control a considerable part of Westeros, but they lost valuable allies — the Tyrells, the Freys, the Martells, and the Boltons.
At the same time, winter has already come to the North (and seasons last several years there). The Seven Kingdoms are threatened by the army of the dead. However, some of the characters already know that they can be killed with weapons from obsidian (‘dragonglass’).
The personal losses of the Lords of the Seven Kingdoms are impressive: the Baratheons are completely destroyed, the Starks and the Lannisters lost four family members each. Most of the Tyrells died, as well as three Martells, all the adult Arryns and Boltons, and several Tullys. The Freys are weakened. The deaths of secondary characters and non-nobles counts into the thousands. A total of 70% of named characters died in the series.
Illustrations by Roma Krivenko