To say that Game of Thrones is a complicated show is an understatement. It’s got the most sprawling cast on TV with hundreds of named characters. In its primary cast alone it’s got about ten bearded white dudes with dirt-smeared faces. It has a range of locations, religions, and minor details that pop up several seasons later. If you enjoy the show casually but you don’t read the books or comb the internet for theories, it can be hard to keep track.
For example, when Benjen Stark reappeared in Season 6 five seasons after he first went missing, the casual viewer wouldn’t be blamed for having the reaction, “uh, who is this again?”
Season 7 is approaching, dark and filled with terrors. If you’re a casual fan who didn’t have time to re-watch Season 6, don’t worry. Here are fourteen essential details and long-lost characters to jog your memory before the premiere.
1. The Children of the Forest made the White Walkers
One of the most intriguing revelations to arise from Bran Stark’s greensight in Season 6 was the origin of the White Walkers. The humanoid ancient Children of the Forest made them as a weapon against humans, who were encroaching on their land. Surely this information will come up again. Could the Children hold the key to unmaking them?
2. Beric Dondarrion
Beric Dondarion is a minor character who Arya met in Season 3, when she was on the run and encountered the Brotherhood Without Banners. He was resurrected by a Red Priest, his friend Thoros of Myr, long before Jon Snow made resurrection cool. He vanished for several seasons — presumably to make the audience forget about resurrection by the time Jon died in Season 5. But in Season 6, Beric and Thoros returned in Sandor Clegane’s story. The Season 7 trailer shows Beric in the far North with Jon Snow, wielding his flaming sword.
3. The nature of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark’s relationship
At the end of Season 6, Bran Stark finally entered the Tower of Joy using his greensight. There, he saw his aunt Lyanna Stark dying in the aftermath of childbirth to Jon Snow, confirming the long-running theory that Jon’s true parents are not Ned and a random woman but Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. But the nature of their relationship has long been contested. Did Rhaegar abduct and rape her, or did she go willingly? This matters because if she went willingly and they secretly married, Jon Snow has a legitimate claim to the Iron Throne.
4. The Prince that was Promised
Melisandre has spouted mystical babble about the Prince that was Promised for several seasons. She originally thought it was Stannis, then pivoted to Jon Snow. But ever since she successfully resurrected Jon, the characters and audience alike are taking her more seriously. A Season 7 photo of Sam and Gilly reading about Azor Ahai — a legendary hero who is supposed to be reborn to save the world — confirms that this will be relevant in Season 7. Many fans argue about whether these terms refer to the same person or two different people.
5. Old Nan’s stories
In Season 1, Old Nan told Bran Stark fantastical stories about legendary creatures. In the books, her stories include ice spiders and ice dragons. As the show has progressed, it’s revealed that “legendary” creatures like White Walkers and giants are very real. In the same image of Sam and Gilly reading about Azor Ahai, ice spiders are also mentioned. Could Jon and Tormund encounter them when they travel North, as the Season 7 trailer indicates?
Season 6 was brutal on direwolves, killing both Bran’s Summer and Rickon’s Shaggydog. Ghost might seem like the last — but remember that Arya sent her direwolf Nymeria away in Season 1. She’s presumably somewhere in the Northern countryside. Since the end of Season 6 saw A Girl return to Westeros, Nymeria could be the latest long-lost character to resurface.
Gendry Waters — Robert Baratheon’s bastard and Arya Stark’s friend — has been missing ever since Davos sent him off in a row boat in Season 3. His extended rowing trip has become something of a joke among fans and the actor alike. Has he been abducted by mermaids? Established a new life as a Faceless Man? Season 7 might finally answer this question, since actor Joe Dempsie attended the premiere.
8. There’s a prophecy that Cersei’s “little brother” will kill her
In a flashback at the beginning of Season 5, a young Cersei visited a witch who foretold her children’s deaths and her downfall to a younger, more beautiful Queen. In the books, she also foretold her death at the hands of her “little brother.” While Tyrion is the obvious choice, many fans think it’s Jaime. At the end of Season 6, Jaime did not look happy to see Cersei ascend the Iron Throne. Season 7 will test their relationship — and everything the witch predicted has come true so far.
9. Casterly Rock
Lannister stronghold Casterly Rock has been mentioned countless times on Game of Thrones, but it hasn’t actually appeared onscreen. That will change in Season 7. The trailer shows Daenerys’s Unsullied forces breaching its walls, which means that Tyrion probably has a hand in planning this invasion.
10. Howland Reed
In Season 6, Bran Stark used his greensight to visit the Tower of Joy, witness Ned Stark’s fight with Arthur Dayne, and learn the truth about Jon Snow’s parents. As far as the show has revealed, he’s the only one who knows this information. However, Ned’s companion Howland Reed, who is the father of Bran’s companion Meera, was present. He presumably knows too. He has yet to appear in the current timeline. Season 7 would be the optimal time.
11. Kinvara the Red Priestess
In Season 6, Tyrion and Varys encountered a Red Priestess named Kinvara. Eerily, she knew about Varys’s past and what happened the night he was castrated. It’s rare to see someone rattle the Spider. It seems unlikely that she was a one-off character. Could she come back into Vary’s storyline?
12. Bran Stark the Warg
Season 6 focused on Bran’s ability to basically be a time-sorcerer, but remember that he can also warg, or enter the mind of other creatures. Previously, he’s warged into animals and Hodor. Now that Daenerys is in Westeros in Season 7, does it work on dragons? This is the season to find out.
13. Euron Greyjoy
If you didn’t read the books, you might have already forgotten about Euron Greyjoy. He’s Yara and Theon’s uncle who showed up for the first time in Season 6, talked about his dick a lot, and then just kind of disappeared as the story focused on the Battle of the Bastards and the Sept explosion. Well, he’s still out there as a threat. He wants to kill Theon and Yara and marry Daenerys or Cersei. The Season 7 trailer looks like he might get into a ship battle in the second episode.
14. Podrick is a sex god
Remember Podrick’s apparent sexual prowess in Season 3? You never know when that might become a vitally important plot point.
Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres July 16 on HBO.