Lions Dragons & Wolves: Pregame of Thrones

Are you ready for Game of Thrones: Endgame?

After a brief break of 595 days, HBO’s pop culture juggernaut is airing its final six episodes starting this Sunday. While author George RR Martin was hunt-and-pecking his way through the eternally upcoming Winds of Winter, the television series lapped the published books late in season 5, leaving readers no wiser than their fellow viewers as to their favorite characters’ fates. HBO has been marathoning the entire series to get you prepared, but you squandered that time working. You could have watched an episode a week since Presidents’ Day 2018, but you didn’t and now you have mere hours to catch up. We got you. We’ve picked one episode from each season for you to get you ready. You’ll still need to pay attention to every “previously on…” segment, but you’ll have the raw emotional wounds required to properly appreciate the last six episodes.

So, run out to the store for the GoT branded Oreos, wine, and whisky. Stop by the blood drive to donate your GoT branded blood (seriously, the American Red Cross is giving away an Iron Throne replica and free posters). Bake up a batch of lemon cakes and direwolf scones. Settle in.

Season 1, Episode 1: Winter is Coming

In the series premier, we are introduced to the major conflicts and denizens of Westeros. We see spooky shenanigans north of the wall. We meet the Starks, Baratheons, Lannisters, and Targaryens. We also get the first gasp-aloud shocker scene of the series when an accidentally eavesdropping Bran Stark gets a crash course in Lannister family values. If you haven’t seen it since it aired, you’ll be amazed at how different everything looks. The kids are so young! The wigs are so bad! Joffrey’s so… breathing!

Season 2, Episode 9: Blackwater

Set entirely in one location, Blackwater gives us the first on-screen battle of the series (as HBO’s pursestrings were loosened a bit.) During Stannis’ attack on King’s Landing, we see unexpected heroics and cowardice, all lit by huge green explosions. It’s our first glimpse of Tyrion as hero, and of Podrick Payne’s secret badassery. FYI, I have Podrick picked as the Neville Longbottom of Season 8. Mark your score sheets.

Season 3, Episode 9: The Rains of Castamere

Hey, guy? Remember watching this episode? Remember watching other people watching this episode? I mean… you ok? No, go ahead. Let it out. I know, buddy, I know.

Season 4, Episode 2: The Lion and the Rose

King Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell shows once again why the most popular bridal registry item in Westeros is a shovel. Is it wrong to be so elated while watching a child die? I mean… probably? But on the Westeros crime scale, laughing at dead kids is like jaywalking.

Season 5, Episode 8: Hardhome

Jon faces off against the Night King for the first time at Hardhome, a wildling village. You have to think the Chamber of Commerce has been trying to change the town name for decades, right? “Listen, I can get a Starbucks to open in Smileville, but everytime I say “Hardhome” they hang up on me.”

Season 6, Episode 9: Battle of the Bastards

Sansa and Jon bring down the hammer on Ramsey Bolton. Considering that they have to burn all the dead in the North to keep them from rising, maybe the smoke from this slaughter will warm the climate in Westeros a few degrees.

Season 7, Episode 7: The Dragon and the Wolf

So many reunions as the living factions all meet in King’s Landing. Gleganebowl is forshadowed, Dany brings dragons back to the Dragonpit, Cersei tells her biggest lie yet, Sam and Bran meet in the North and figure out Jon’s true status, Littlefinger outsmarts himself, every fan cheers enthusiastically cheers at incest, and the wall comes down. Whew.

Now we are ready for some answers. Which brother will kill Cersei? Are Berric and Tormund wights or alive? Is Lyanna Mormont going to kill a giant with her bare hands? How huge are Gendry’s arms from all those years of rowing? Can Jon and Aunt Dany have a wedding without any murders? Will we get a musical episode? And will the ultimate winner get that ugly-ass throne reupholstered?