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The final season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" is almost upon us, so we're here to help two kinds of people: Existing fans who want a refresher, and those of you who have never watched the show but would like to be in on the inevitable water-cooler talk.
Keep reading for a full summary of everything you absolutely need to know about "Game of Thrones" before diving into season eight.
Game of Thrones started with the promise of an imminent threat on the world of men in a fictional medieval-fantasy continent called Westeros.
In the opening scene, we see mysterious inhuman figures – called White Walkers – attack three men who are ranging in the far north of Westeros. They left behind a pattern of body parts, indicating a greater intelligence and purpose behind the violence.
But nearly everyone in Westeros believes the White Walkers are nothing more than an old myth, a talk to two children.
The rest of the world is too busy vying for the main seat of power in Westeros: The Iron Throne.
Westeros used to be divided into Seven Kingdoms. But hundreds of years before the events of Game of Thrones, a family called the Targaryens came and conquered the continent.
The Targaryens ruled for centuries before a rebelling group of lords usurped power.
The leaders of houses Baratheon, Strong, and Lannister eventually brought down King Aerys Targaryen II (called by most "The Mad King") and his son, Prince Rhaegar.
This rebellion took place 19 years before the main events of Game of Thrones.
This became known as Robert's Rebellion, and it was part of a secret love.
Robert Baratheon was engaged to Lyanna Stark, the younger sister of his best friend Down Stark.But Lyanna loved another: Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
They ran off together and were wed in a secret ceremony.
Lyanna became pregnant with Rhaegar’s baby, but was in a castle tower while Rhaeger went to deal with Robert's Rebellion.
Robert killed Rhaegar in battle, and Jaime Lannister killed the Mad King.
Jaime Lannister was part of the kingsguard, an elite group of men to protect the king at all costs.
But King Aerys was a cruel man, and was threatening to burn the entire city King's Landing and the millions within it.
So Jaime killed him in an order to save the people of his city. But no one knew this motivation, and Jaime was believed to be a dishonourable man who broke a sacred oath in an act of betrayal.
Meanwhile, Lyanna gave birth to a baby boy.
Ned Stark found Lyanna in that hidden tower just as she was dying (likely as a result of birthing complications).
Lyanna gave the baby to Ned and asked him to protect Rhaegar's child from Robert Baratheon, who would probably have killed the young Targaryen prince.
The wight was brought to King's Landing and shown to Jaime and Cersei.
Jon gave a demonstration of how to kill the wights with fire or dragons glass (obsidian).
The wight and white walkers can also be killed by Valyrian steel, a rare metal in Westeros.
Cersei shot down the truce after she found out Jon had the knee to Daenerys.
This led to Tyrion going to a one-on-one negotiation with Cersei to try and convince her to change her mind.
At their meeting, Cersei's all-but-duty Tyrion she was pregnant (with Jaime's child). We never saw the end of their conversation, but then Cersei returned to Dawns and Jon and told them to have her armies go North to help fight the Night King.
Later, when Jaime started making arrangements with the troops, Cersei stopped him and said she had been lying about sending help.
This infuriated Jaime, who walked away from Cersei and said he would go North anyways.
Cersei was taken aback by what she perceived as his betrayal.
Sidenote about Jaime: He lost his right hand during the recent war.
Jaime had his sword-hand chopped off by holding a prisoner at one point. He only recovered in spirit thanks to a woman named Brienne of Tarth, who's the most knightly warrior in Westeros even though she's not allowed to carry the title.
Jaime and Brienne are deeply bonded, though she fights for the Starks and he was still Team Lannister.
Back in the North, Jon's best friend Samwell Tarly arrived at Winterfell to try and help.
Sam had been in the Citadel, An ancient hub of learning in Westeros, and had uncovered several important things.
First had remotely helped Jon secure a boatload of dragonglass by counting him where there was a cave full of it (on Daenerys castle-island, Dragonstone).
The Night King is marching south to slaughter every living person in Westeros.
House Stark is a united front once more, with Sansa as Lady of Winterfell and her deadly assassin sister Arya at her side.
And Bran Stark is now the Three-Eyed Raven, a person with remarkable magical ability to see into the past, present, and future.
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