By Megan McCluskey
April 28, 2017

Warning: This post contains spoilers for all seasons of Game of Thrones.

When Game of Thrones returns for its seventh season in July, the HBO series will have been off the air for a year, making it hard for many fans to remember exactly what’s going on in the world of Westeros. Luckily, there’s plenty of time before then to catch up on the lives of Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and all the other characters who have miraculously managed to survive up to this point.

However, for those who don’t want to spend 60 hours re-watching every episode from the beginning, there’s a solution. TIME’s guide to the 20 most essential episodes will help viewers binge the series in a third of the time it would normally take while still hitting most of the major plot points.

And while we don’t recommend that first-time viewers skip a single moment of Thrones, this selection of episodes is a good jumping off point for newcomers looking to understand what all the fuss is about.

MORE Here Are the 100 People Who’ve Died on Game of Thrones

Check out the full guide below.

Write to Megan McCluskey at


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