Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.
With a July 16 premiere date, the first episode of the eagerly-awaited seventh season of Game of Thrones is drawing ever closer. But for those who have been counting down the days since the June 2016 season six finale, these last few weeks may seem like the longest yet.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to pass the time that will not only refresh your memory about everything that's happened in Westeros over the past six years — from the beheadings to the weddings to the resurrections — but also get you even more excited to return to George R.R. Martin's world of fire-breathing dragons and White Walkers.
Here are 10 ways to deal with your Game of Thrones season 7 anticipation.
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.
Several key Westerosi players — from Jon Snow to Catelyn Stark to Loras Tyrell — were nearly played by different actors, meaning the fabric of the hit HBO drama as fans know it had the potential to be drastically different. Here's a comprehensive list of stars who were almost cast on Thrones.
With several people on her list still alive and (mostly) well, Arya has her work cut out for her over the course of the final two seasons. Here are the names and crimes of everyone she intends on gifting to the Many-Faced God.
Although Gendry — played by Joe Dempsie — has been absent from Game of Thrones for over three seasons, some viewers speculate he may soon be making a reappearance. Robert Baratheon's only surviving child was last seen escaping Melisandre’s clutches with the help of Ser Davos Seaworth in the season three finale — a suspiciously inconclusive ending for a character who once played a significant role. But thanks to clues from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books and a recent alleged sighting of Dempsie in the Belfast airport, fans are speculating that Gendry still has a major part to play in the events to come.
She may only have a handful of scenes in the Game of Thrones' TV show, but in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, Old Nan — House Stark's oldest servant — may have long ago foreshadowed a major key to the series' end. When Bran is paralyzed from the waist down after being pushed out of a Winterfell tower by Jaime Lannister, he spends quite a bit of time in bed listening to Old Nan's stories. But while he mostly takes her anecdotes with a grain of salt, there seem to be clues about both the past and future — and his connection to them — in much of what she says.
Thrones seems to have been teasing the impending conflict between the living and the Others since the series' very first scene, when three rangers of the Night's Watch are attacked by a White Walker beyond the Wall. But to truly grasp what's at stake in the show's final two seasons, it's important to understand the history of the White Walkers' relationship with the people of Westeros.
Following the revelation that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark's bastard — but rather the son of his sister Lyanna — in the season six finale of Game of Thrones, viewers were left wondering about the identity of the former Lord Commander's father. However, they didn't have to wait too long to find out the answer, as HBO released an infographic that seemed to confirm the popular R+L=J theory — i.e., that Rhaegar Targaryen is actually Jon's dear old dad. But before we start speculating about what this news will mean for Jon going forward, let's take a look at how it affects his familial situation.
This confirmation of the fan-favorite R+L=J theory almost certainly sets the stage for Daenerys and Jon to come face to face in season seven, a meeting many believe will reveal the meaning behind the title A Song of Ice and Fire and potentially lead to a marriage between the two.
To keep things light as the long-awaited winter descends, here are 18 of the most hilarious memes Thrones has given rise to during its six-season run.
Season seven will be a mere eight episodes, and season eight just seven episodes. That means that the writers will speed plotlines along and resolve the mess that is Westeros. The new footage suggests that Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen will clash while Jon Snow contends with the threat of White Walkers in the North. It also drops a number of hints about the fates of characters like Jaime, Jorah and Arya. To decipher it all, we did a second-by-second breakdown of the trailer. You’re welcome.