Spoilers ahead! Are you ready for the last season of Game of Thrones? A lot has happened both since the debut of the series in 2011 and since the last episode, 18 months ago. And you don't want to be the only one in your office who isn't up to date.
If you're worried that you might need some catching up then it's time to binge. These are the 13 most important episodes that will prep you for the final season. If you don't have an HBO subscription already, then it's time to get one. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can easily add the channel onto your current setup. You even get seven days free! So, at bare minimum, watch these before the final countdown to the series finale begins.
1. Winter is Coming (S1, E1)
This is a no-brainer for a few reasons. First and foremost, it's the first episode! You meet tons of characters who are still central to the plot, as well as many who might no longer be with us but are still important to the storyline. The rumor is the first episode of the new season will also mirror the first episode ever, so it's worth watching to see if it's true.
2. Baelor (S1, E9)
The beheading of Ned Stark sets the tone for nearly the entire series. It gives motivation to his children for revenge and also prepares you to see many of your favorite characters die. This episode also starts the trend for all seasons where the penultimate episode tends to have a lot more action than the season finale.
3. Fire and Blood (S1, E10)
Who could forget the moment when Daenerys emerges from the fire with three dragons clinging to her body? Her emergence in this moment also symbolizes her moment of coming to power. While before she was simply an interesting female character, she now has introduced the greatest weapon to the show (dragons) and sets her up to be one of the most central characters.
The battle of Blackwater is one of the first huge battles of the series and also one of the first major battles between houses. Tyrion cements himself as a master strategist by successfully protecting King's Landing from the Baratheons. It's worth a watch simply for all the incredible battle scenes.
No Game of Thrones fan can hear the words Red Wedding without cringing. Once again, some of your favorite characters will meet their horrible ends and the future of Westeros will once again become very murky. In case Aria Stark didn't already have reason to hate the ruling families of the kingdom, the brutal murder of her brother and mother certainly do the trick.
After all the pain of season 3, fans needed something to give them hope. The poisoning and subsequent death of Joffrey does it. You also feel a strange pang of pity for Cersei as she watches her son die (hint: he won't be the last, either). The Tyrells also see their role in the capitol change as a result of Joffrey's murder.
7. The Children (S4, E10)
Not much happens in this episode but it checks in with a lot of crucial characters. In case you've lost track of Daenerys or the Stark children, this is your chance to check in.
While most of the first five seasons of Game of Thrones are about the battles of mortals, Hardhome reveals that they are simple squabbles compared to the threat of the Whitewalkers and their army of dead. The Night King reveals his ability to raise the dead, including giants, as Jon watches in horror.
9. The Door (S6, E5)
Most people didn't see Hodor as a particularly crucial character, but this idea is turned on its head in this episode, as the writers of GOT are wont to do. You learn about his brutal ending as well as gain important insight into Bran's powers. Plus, it's always good for a cry.
This is another hugely important battle in a penultimate episode. Finally, some reprieve is given to viewers after suffering through the horrifying relationship between Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay is fed to his own dogs and Jon Snow helps free Sansa and Winterfell. The episode took 25 days to film, utilized 600 extras, 500 crew, and 70 horses.
11. The Winds of Winter (S6, E10)
Cersei is also busy at the end of Season 6. She frees her own home from the holds of the radically religious High Sparrow. But her success is swiftly overshadowed by the suicide of her last living child, Tommen. Meanwhile, Daenerys and Tyrion set sail for Westeros, providing a visually powerful end to the season. Finally, Bran realizes that Jon Snow is actually the son of Lyanna Stark, an incredibly important piece of information.
12. The Spoils of War (S7, E4)
The battles with dragons are some of the best battles in the series and this one holds true. First, Arya Stark is reunited with Bran and Sansa. Then the Lannisters attempt to pay off their debts as they sack Highgarden. But their plan is thrown into disarray by an attack from Daenerys, her dragons, and the Dothraki. Jamie Lannister is almost killed by dragon fire.
The hookup we all knew was coming but still dreaded takes place - Jon and Daenerys further solidify their allegiance. We also check in on the status of many characters, but the most important update comes from north of The Wall. The last scene shows the Army of the Dead penetrating the Wall, thanks to the newly reincarnated Viserion. Littlefinger also meets his fate.
Eliza McGowen is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.