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‘Game of Thrones’: Everything You Need to Know Before the Season 7 Premiere

After a longer-than-usual wait, HBO’s Game of Thrones will be back for a penultimate seventh season on Sunday, July 16. And fans are more ready than ever to see what’s next in Westeros! … Uh, right after we refresh our memories on just what happened previously.

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Season 6 of the fantasy drama was a veritable tornado of big reveals, bloody revenge plots and strategic moves by the series’ main players as they ready for the final rounds of the titular game of thrones — and that’s even before we get to the part where the Night King is waiting in the wings to play a game of his own.

Jon Snow Kit Harington Game of Thrones
Kit Harington as Jon Snow on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Here’s everything you need to be in the know when season 7 hits your eyeballs this weekend.

Daenerys Is Ready to Claim Her Crown

After a bittersweet reunion with a greyscale-afflicted Jorah Mormont, a little patriarchy-dismantling mass murder spree at the Dothraki camp and a decisive victory against the slave masters in Meereen, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is at the top of her game. And thanks to a useful alliance with Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), she’s got an Ironmade armada at her disposal. Last we saw Dany, she was bound for Kings Landing, where she almost certainly intends to take what is hers with fire and blood.

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A Girl Is Going Home

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) spent last season on the brink of becoming no one, but let’s be real: no daughter of Ned Stark’s was going to just give up her birthright and her name to spend the rest of her life as a faceless assassin. Having taken out her nemesis at the House of Black and White, Arya is ready to resume her journey home to Winterfell — where, if she hurries (and stops taking detours to murder the last few folks on her kill list), she’ll find what’s left of her family waiting for her!

Michael Huisman Emilia Clarke Game of Thrones
Michael Huisman and Emilia Clarke on ‘Game of Thrones.’

The King in the North

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) was actually dead for a hot second last season, but that was never going to last. As the secret son of Lyanna Mormont and Rhaegar Targaryen (a fan theory finally confirmed by a time-traveling Bran Stark), Jon has a destiny to fulfill. After defeating Ramsay Bolton at the Battle of the Bastards and helping Sansa (Sophie Turner) get vengeance against her ex (and now late) husband-from-hell, Jon is now sitting in the big-boy chair at Winterfell, where Stark loyalists have sworn fealty to him as the new King in the North. Don’t expect him to get too comfortable, though; Jon knows better than anyone that a threat is encroaching from beyond the Wall, and the game of thrones is nothing compared to the battle they’ll have to fight against the Night King and his undead hordes.

Bran Is Unstuck in Time

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) spent most of last season in a symbiotic relationship with a tree, and using his newly acquired psychic traveling skills to uncover Jon’s origin story, scope out the Night King’s army and accidentally scramble Hodor’s brain in the most heartbreaking scene of the season. (You’ll always hold the door in our hearts, Hodor!) But having been rescued by the undead Benjen Stark, Bran and his caretaker, Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick), were last seen heading south, where we’re guessing another Stark family reunion will be on the books shortly.

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Cersei Takes a Seat

Whatever your feelings about Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), you can’t deny that she’s damn good at keeping her butt firmly planted on the Iron Throne. It hasn’t all been sunshine and daisies for the queen — after blowing up the sept with all her enemies inside it, Cersei lost her last child to suicide — but she gained a crown, and honey, she’s wearing the heck out of it. And whenever Daenerys shows up to conquer Westeros, Cersei is the one person who’ll be totally unimpressed by all that “fire and blood” stuff.

Game of Thrones season 7 premieres on HBO Sunday, July 16, at 9 p.m. ET.

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