There be spoilers ahead, just as a warning! If you are anything like me, then the news that Game of Thrones Season 7 will be premiering later than we thought was akin to being stabbed in the chest by Roose Bolton at a wedding that was supposed to be yours. The end of a season is always pretty devastating but when fans realized that there would be a full year to wait after Cersei crowned herself queen, it was a whole new level of disappointment. How should you cope? Well, it seems like a great excuse to watch the entire series again, because we all know there are hints and details sprinkled everywhere that you may need another run through to pick up on. If you don't have the commitment or wherewithal to tackle the entire series, there are some key episodes that you can rewatch before Season 7 that should do the trick.
Of course, it's not like all of these episodes are going to make you feel warm and fuzzy insides. Most of them are on this list because they were the most devastating but important episodes in the series. Get you tissues out, hang you house's banner and take a sip of Castle Black ale because we are going for it.
1. "Winter Is Coming" Season 1, Episode 1
The first episode is how you got hooked. It also presents fans with a clearer picture of the relationship dynamics between the Stark siblings. Now that Sansa and Jon are together again, it was a little difficult to remember exactly what their relationship was like way back when. Turns out, it was pretty non-existent, which makes sense now when you see how distrusting Sansa still is of her half brother. Also, Sansa was the absolute worst, and it's amazing to see how far she has come as a character. It's the first episode and they introduce you to the series' penchant for harsh plot twists right away when Jamie shoves a 10-year-old Bran out of a tower. Oh, and Dany received some pretty important eggs as a wedding gift. There's so much to unpack but it's vital watching for new or seasoned fans.
2. "Baelor" Season 1, Episode 9
Raise your hand if you also assumed that Ned Stark was the main character of the series and the whole thing was going to be this man's epic journey for truth and justice. Yeah, well this episode taught all GoT fans a very valuable lesson. When Ned was executed at the urging of Joffrey, we learned that Joffrey was literally the most hated character in the galaxy and that GoT fans simply cannot have nice things.
3. "Fire And Blood" Season 1, Episode 10
Daenerys walks out of flames completely unscathed and with three baby dragons (the first of their kind in over a hundred years and from eggs that had "turned to stone" no less...) perched on her shoulders. Kind of a big deal.
4. "Blackwater" Season 2, Episode 9
This show knows how to do epic battle scenes and the Battle of Blackwater was no exception. Tyrion stepped right up, leading the way with a cache of wildfire to defeat Stannis' army (and getting a gnarly face scar in the process), while Joffrey tucked his tail between his legs.
5. "Kissed By Fire" Season 3, Episode 5
This one is important because it brought us the notion of full-on resurrection. Beric Dondarrion, of The Brotherhood Without Banners, was brought back to life by his Red Priest Thoros after a duel with The Hound.
6. "And Now His Watch Is Ended" Season 3, Episode 4
This was the end of nice dudes running things at Castle Black. Lord Commander Mormont was killed and the Watch was left to the likes of Alliser Thorne. Gross. Also, Dany got her unsullied army (Greyworm!) by being a straight boss and simultaneously brought fans their new favorite word with "Dracarys!"
7. "The Rains Of Castamere" Season 3, Episode 9
Referred to by everyone on the planet (including Walder Frey in Season 6) as The Red Wedding, it was basically the best/worst episode of television ever created. Best because it completely shocked non book-readers, killed a bunch of main characters and set into motion a Stark family string of bad luck that I am still rooting for to turn around. It was the worst because fierce momma Catelyn Stark, Robb Stark (swoon), and his pregnant wife were murdered with serious brutality.
8. "The Lion And The Rose" Season 4, Episode 2
It's another wedding! This one ends infinity better than The Red Wedding, though. Joffrey and Margaery get hitched and it's exactly like you would assume Joffrey's wedding would be. It's a lavish affair where he torments everyone he possibly can, especially his Uncle Tyrion. Well, George R.R. Martin threw fans a bone because Joffrey gets poisoned and dies a purple, bleeding, puking death that earned this episode the moniker, "The Purple Wedding."
9. "The Mountain And The Viper" Season 4, Episode 8
This is Tyrion's trial by combat episode. After everyone's new favorite character, Oberyn, volunteered as Tyrion's champion, his eyes were gouged out and his head was crushed like an egg shell by The Mountain. The most gruesome death for sure and the episode that placed Tyrion in danger of being executed.
10. "The Watchers On The Wall" Season 4, Episode 9
After an epic battle at Castle Black, Ygritte dies in Jon Snow's arms and the entire world shed copious tears. They really should have stayed in that cave. Three words: Olly Must Die.
11. "Hardhome" Season 5, Episode 8
This is where the Night's King, "Come at me, bro" stance came from. This is one of the most insane battles that will have you on the edge of your couch, and it happens to be between Wildlings and the White Walkers, who are some of the most brutal fighters around. At the end, fans got that haunting scene of all of the dead rising upon the Night's King's command, while Jon and his bro sailed away in horror.
12. "Mother's Mercy" Season 5, Episode 10
So...much...happened. Cersei was forced to do her Walk Of Atonement, which was so incredibly disturbing. Also, Jon Snow went ahead and died. This one set viewers up for Cersei's eventual revenge against the High Sparrow and Jon's eventual resurrection.
13. "The Door" Season 6, Episode 5
Guys, this one is a heartbreaker, but it's so important to watch. Hodor's origin story was finally revealed and he died being the hero we all knew he was. It was tragic and beautiful all at the same time. Hold. The. Door.
14. "Battle Of The Bastards" Season 6, Episode 9
This is being hailed as the single best episode of television on IMDb, according to The Huffington Post, and it's a title that it earned completely. The beginning with Dany dragon-riding her way to victory over the masters and Jon defeating Ramsay with the epic surprise of The Knights Of The Vail riding in at the last second was good enough. The real icing on the cake was the end, where Sansa fed Ramsay to his hounds with a smirk on her face. Perfection.
15. "The Winds Of Winter" Season 6, Episode 10
The entire opening sequence of this season finale was unbelievably well done. The music, the shots of each character preparing for trial, and the eventual revealing of Cersei's master plan were played out with complete control. She succeeded in killing off a handful of main characters, indirectly including her only remaining child, King Tommen. Plus, Dany finally set sail for Westeros and Arya murdered Walder Frey (FINALLY) on her way to Winterfell. Oh yeah, the whole thing concluded with Cersei crowning herself queen, because she's everything. What a way to leave us for a season break.
It's a lot to absorb but fortunately we have some time to let it all sink in and watch it again.
Images: HBO (16)