Where We Left Off With Every Major Player On Game Of Thrones

After what felt like the longest hiatus in TV history, Game Of Thrones is returning to HBO this Sunday night. Yes, winter is here, and if recent spoilers are accurate, it’s going to be the most action-packed season yet. As the Starks reunite and Daenerys approaches Westeros (with a few familiar faces backing her no less), long-separated characters will finally cross paths and battle it out for the Iron Throne.
But before the storylines intersect, you’ll probably need a refresher course in every death, betrayal, twist, and alliance made in season 6. Make sure you scroll through the gallery for details on what happened to your favorite characters last season (and click on their names for even more information) before Sunday's premiere. With so much unfolding in the first few minutes, you’re going to need all the help you can get.
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Daenerys Targaryen

Last Seen: En route to Westeros with an army of ships and brand-new allies

What Happened: After flying away — literally, on Drogon — from the Sons of the Harpy's assassination attempt at the end of season 5, Dany was captured by the Dothraki and stowed away in Temple of the Dosh Khaleen to live out her days as a widowed khaleesi. Jorah and Daario travel to rescue her, but she escapes on her own (the Mother Of Dragons is no damsel in distress). Before heading home, she sends Jorah on a final mission to find a cure for greyscale. Back in Meereen, she deals with Tyrion's mess in the sloppy deal he made with the Masters before Yara and Theon Greyjoy show up. They become allies and that almost gets her all the ships she needs to sail to Westeros.

Highlights: Burning down the Dothraki temple (and all the misogynistic khals inside) and walking through the flames with serious Carrie prom vibes.
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Tyrion Lannister

Last Seen: Crossing the Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros after Daenerys named him Hand of the Queen.

What Happened: If you recall, the black sheep of the Lannister family was accepted into Daenerys' inner-circle at the end of season 5. But when season 6 opens, his beloved queen is gone, her former advisor, Jorah, is out looking for her, and Tyrion is left to run Meereen sans the Mother Of Dragons. With Varys' help (much to Missandei and Grey Worm's disapproval) he strikes a deal between the Masters of Yunkai, Astapor, and Volantis to end slavery—eventually. Tyrion finds an unlikely ally in Kinvara, the red priestess (a Melisandre spinoff who looks eerily similar to Rachel Weisz) who gives Varys the chills because she knows oh-so-much. The short-lived peace turns to chaos, but Tyrion is saved when Dany returns and works with him to defeat the Masters and finish building her army. He's named Hand of the Queen and stands by her side when they sail to King's Landing.

Highlights: Unleashing Dany's remaining dragons in a moment so disarmingly calming that everyone reconsidered his bloodline.
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Cersei & Jaime Lannister

Last Seen: Jaime returns from Riverrun to find Cersei sitting on the Iron Throne after wiping out half of King's Landing, both of them now childless.

What Happened: After losing her daughter and being very publicly and literally shamed (cue the bells) at the end of season 5, Cersei Lannister finds herself in a Faith Militant-run kingdom with her naïve youngest son Tommen Baratheon letting the Great Sept of Baelor run his kingdom. With his wife, Margaery Tyrell, conspiring in prison, and Cersei banished to the Red Keep, King’s Landing is a far cry from the corrupt monarchy his mother built. Cersei yearns for power and spends much of the season fruitlessly trying to regain it. She does—in the fiery season 7 finale—but at the cost of her youngest and last child. Luckily, her giant zombie bodyguard, Gregor Clegane, is still around!

Meanwhile, Jaime, recently fired from his position as Lord Commander of the King’s Guard by his nephew-son, is sent on a mission to take back the Tully castle in Riverrun. It's there he runs into his former captor BFF Brienne of Tarth (a.k.a. the most epic duo in Game Of Thrones history) for some witty banter, deep conversation, and walks down memory lane. Brienne is also there on a mission, but comes to an understanding with Jaime who will win this one and abandons it for good reason. Jaime succeeds in taking over Riverrun and pompously returns to King’s Landing to find it demolished by wildfire at the hands of his evil sister-lover. It's a classic Westerosi soap opera.

Highlights: Jaime and Brienne back together again, flirting in a tent. Cersei getting revenge on her lead shamer, Septa Unella—although we're lucky to have been spared the gruesome visuals.
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The Greyjoys: Yara, Theon, and introducing Euron

Last Seen: Joining Daenerys Targaryen's posse and sailing to Westeros, hell-bent on conquering their uncle Euron the usurper so Yara can rule the Iron Islands.

What Happened: At the end of season 5, Theon Greyjoy, newly castrated and no longer Reek, escaped the sadistic Ramsay Bolton with Sansa Stark, whose family he totally screwed over. He makes up for it, though, after leading her to safety and urging her to accept Brienne of Tarth’s protection (seriously, who wouldn't want Brienne as backup?). Euron then heads home to the Iron Islands with his non-existent tail between his legs; he has nowhere else to go.

Theon and his sister, Yara, have a bit of a rocky reunion since the last time they saw each other was when he refused her escape mission in season 4. Theon pledges his loyalty to Yara as the claimant to the Salt Throne, and all looks to be going well until their Uncle Euron shows up. The sibling duo finds out their uncle was responsible for their father (his brother’s) murder, as the misogynistic men of the Iron Islands change sides and root for Euron. During his coronation, Theon and Yara flee with their best ships to make a deal with the “dragon queen,” thus beginning Thrones' most epic feminist alliance. Even Tyrion is all for it! Somewhere, Euron is seething.

Highlights: The Greyjoy siblings' pit-stop at an Essoi brothel on their way to Meereen. Yara gives Theon the pep-talk he needs to hold his head high and somewhat resemble the man he was before Ramsay.
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HBO
Jon Snow

Last Seen: Being celebrated as the new King in the North following the Battle of the Bastards where he reclaimed Winterfell—though Sansa may deserve most of the credit.

What Happened: Ummm, everything! Betrayed by the brothers of the Night's Watch, season 6 opens with Night's Watch Lord Commander Jon Snow lying bleeding in the snow. He is most definitely dead. Going against everything he believes, Ser Davos convinces his nemesis, Melisandre, the Red Woman (who we later find out is actually a thousand years old), to use blood magic to resurrect him and — voila! — at the start of episode two he's baaaaack. He tearfully reunites with his half-sister, Sansa, whose tragic former marriage to rapist Ramsay combined with his sense of familial duty inspires him to lead the epic Battle Of The Bastards, hands-down one of the best Game Of Thrones episodes of all time. We could go on all day about the #BastardBowl, but the bottom line is that Jon Snow wins (though Sansa and Littlefinger really saved his ass) and is hailed King in the North.

Arguably, the most important Jon Snow moments in season 6 were the ones he's completely unaware of, including proof of the theory that GoT fans and Redditors have toiled over since George R.R. Martin wrote a book: "R + L = J" or Rhaegar Targaryen ("R") and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark ("L") are the real parents of Jon Snow ("J"). This was confirmed by Bran's visions and some Game Of Thrones camerawork clues involving a baby born in the Tower Of Joy and Jon Snow's doe eyes.

Highlights: Coming back from the dead and looking incredibly sexy in a man bun.
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Sansa Stark

Last Seen: Seated next to her King in the North cousin Jon Snow at Winterfell

What Happened: During her escape with Theon Greyjoy from her second husband (Tyrion having been the first), the sadistic rapist Ramsay Bolton, the eldest Stark daughter meets Brienne of Tarth, who wishes to serve her (Brienne once promised to her now-deceased mother, Lady Catelyn, she would take care of her daughters). Brienne and her sidekick, the shady sex-God Podrick, lead Sansa to The Wall, where she is united with her half-brother, Jon Snow, in a most tearful embrace. That familial love doesn’t last too long, however, because Jon begins undermining Sansa’s expertise in defeating Ramsay Bolton, a bad move on his part since she knows her ex better than anyone.

As angry as she is with Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish for handing her off to Ramsay in the first place, Sansa knows that without more armies, they will never take back Winterfell. She sends a raven to the Eyrie requesting the Knights of the Vale back them in the Battle of the Bastards. Littlefinger is in love with her, so obviously they come — in the most dramatic fashion — at the tail-end of what was nearly a poorly fought battle due to Jon Snow’s hot-headedness and lack of strategy. Sansa and Littlefinger save the day and she gets her ultimate revenge: feeding her abusive ex to his very hungry man-eating dogs. Though she stands by Jon’s side when he’s named King in the North, we can only hope for Sansa's assent to power in season 7. She's come a long way from being a "silly little girl" in the first season. #TeamSansa

Highlights: Low-key winning the Bastard Bowl and watching Ramsay’s dogs eat him alive.
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COURTESY OF HBO
Arya Stark

Last Seen: In The Twins crossing more names off her kill list, using her newly-crafted assassin skills.

What Happened: Season after season we’ve seen the youngest Stark daughter’s fascination with warfare grow from playful-yet-diligent training to an obsession with avenging the wrong done to her family with merciless brutality. Last season opened up with Arya blind (as punishment from murdering the wrong man) and begging on the streets of Braavos as part of her training. Jaqen H’gar’s acolyte, the Waif, spars with a blind Arya until she is deemed ready to return to the House Of Black and White and resume training as an assassin. To pass the game of faces she must become “no one.”

Her first mission: Kill an actress named Lady Crane to whom Arya grows attached. After painfully watching Crane’s traveling theater troupe put on a play that viciously mocks the House Stark (read: everyone Arya cares about), she concedes her mission to murder and tries to book passage back to Westeros. She retrieves her beloved Needle, and we get a glimpse of the old Arya, spirited and independent: she serves no one. Meanwhile, The Waif, by order of the Faceless men, is hell-bent on punishing the deserter and viciously attacks Arya on the streets of Braavos, stabbing her repeatedly. When Arya looks to be a goner, the Waif leaves, and she finds safe haven with Lady Crane. The Faceless Men know everything, and Arya awakes from her slumber to find her beloved Crane murdered by the Waif. Arya uses her now-perfected skillset to trap and murder the Waif, bringing her face to the Hall Of Faces and telling Jaqen she is not no one, she is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and she’s going home. Mic drop.

It gets better: in The Winds Of Winter, we witness a disguised Arya in the Twins’ dining hall as a servant girl. Pedophile Lord Walder Frey hits on her while she serves him very special pie containing the remnants of his sons, Black Walder and Lothar Frey. She tells him this before slitting his throat—but only after peeling off her face.

Highlight: Murdering the Waif — she was the WORST.
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Bran Stark

Last Seen: Under a weirwood tree having his first vision as the new Three-Eyed Raven.

What Happened: ICYMI, Bran is still paralyzed and living in a cave North of The Wall with Meera Reed, Hodor, the Three Eyed Raven, and Leaf, one of the Children of the Forest. He also has the powers of greensight and is a warg, though he doesn’t know how to effectively use them — yet. His mentor, the Three-Eyed Raven, helps him access visions and learn from them. Among the most important visions are:

1. Hodor used to be Wyliss, a stable boy friendly with his father, Ned Stark, uncle Benjen, and the infamous aunt Lyanna.

2. The Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to protect them and their sacred trees from the first men.

3. His father, Ned Stark, rides to the Tower of Joy (with Meera’s father, Howland Reed) to find Lyanna, who had been kidnapped (and presumably raped) by Rhaegar Targaryen. Ned ascends to find his sister bloody on her death bed having just given birth to a newborn boy whom she urges Ned to protect; that baby is Jon Snow.

Ignoring the raven, Bran tries to interact with those in his visions. When he can’t, he believes himself to be safe and thus becomes bold, even accessing a vision while his mentor takes a nap. This proves to be a really bad move as the Night King breaks the third wall, touching Bran’s arm and marking him so the White Walkers can track him. The Night King leads an army of White Walkers to the cave, and they break through, slaying several Children Of the Forest and, sadly, Hodor, in hands-down one of the most epic GoT episodes of all time. Bran wargs into Wyllis and controls him to “hold the door” so he and Meera can leave the cave. Meera, dragging a warged Bran through the snow, would have barely escaped the White Walkers had it not been for the help of his dead-turned-Wight uncle, Benjen Stark. Benjen brings them to a weirwood beyond the wall: he cannot pass through it because of the magic that keeps him dead slash alive.

Highlight: Giving GOT fans the theory confirmation they needed when he witnessed Lyanna and Ned in the Tower Of Joy: R + L = J.
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