Over the last few years, we’ve explored the rich, complicated, and controversial history of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in our series History of Thrones. It began as a way to help us predict what might happen next on Game of Thrones. Sometimes we were right, sometimes we were wrong, but looking through the fascinating past of Westeros was always interesting.
Now that the show’s final season is upon us, we’ve collected every installment to help you prepare for the ultimate showdown between the living and the dead, an event thousands of years in the making. The secret to winning the Great War — and the answer to who might be mankind’s savior — could very well be found in the past.
The Tower of Joy: Our very first installment required a major update after Bran’s vision confirmed arguably the most important theory in show history.
The Long Night and Identifying Enemies and Heroes: We know to fear the White Walkers, but are we entirely sure ice’s greatest enemies are any less of a threat to the living?
The Horn of Winter: It wasn’t the Horn of Joramun that brought down The Wall (at least it wasn’t on the show), but that doesn’t mean The Wall isn’t hiding other magic.
Brynden Rivers: The Three-Eyed Raven of King’s Landing: The show didn’t tell us much about the past of the Three-Eyed Raven background, but the books certainly did.
War of the Ninepenny Kings and How Enemies Become Allies: Cersei has hired The Golden Company to fight with her, but those mercenaries might have a far more important connection with another Queen in Westeros.
Gods of Westeros and Beyond: Between the old gods, the Seven, the Lord of Light, the Many-Faced God, and the other religions from Game of Thrones, which one should we put our faith in?
Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Islands: Westeros’s most famous pirate might be mad, but he’s not as salty as the place he calls home. He is far more dangerous though.
Howland Reed, the Man Who Saved Ned Stark: Jojen and Meera’s dad didn’t just save Ned’s life at the Tower of Joy, he has kept the secret of Jon Snow’s birth ever since. Could he be the one who confirms the truth in season eight?
The Dosh Khaleen and the Stallion Who Mounts the World Prophecy: Was Daenerys the prophesied hero the Dothraki were waiting for, or is it actually Drogon?
The Children of the Forest and the White Walkers: The First Men’s war with the Children led to mankind’s greatest enemy being born of desperation.
Valyrian Steel and the Priceless Swords Forged in Magic: Everyone wants a Valyrian sword, especially since they can kill White Walkers, but there aren’t as many as you might think.
Aerys II, The Mad King of Westeros: Was Daenerys’s wildfire loving father, the last Targaryen to sit on the Iron Throne, as crazy as he seemed, or was a voice from the future telling him to “burn them all?”
Rhaegar Targaryen’s Short Life and Lasting Legacy: Jon Snow’s real father was killed by Robert Baratheon, but his son could save the world.
BONUS: Why did the married Rhaegar Targaryen fall in love with Lyanna Stark? It’s one of our favorite theories, a story of passion, loyalty, and love.
Wildfire and the Alchemists’ Guild: Cersei already proved she’s willing to use the Mad King’s hidden caches, but will she burn all of King’s Landing rather than let it fall to her enemies?
Rhaenyra Targaryen, the First Woman to Sit on the Iron Throne: Will Daenerys finally sit on the Iron Throne at show’s end? She wouldn’t be the first Targaryen women to do so, but she would be the first to truly reign as Queen.
The Maesters of Oldtown’s Citadel: They might be the most learned men in the Realm, but that doesn’t mean they should always be trusted, especially around dragons.
Dragonstone, Birthplace of a Dynasty and Home of Dragonglass: The seat of House Targaryen might be the safest place in the world to fight White Walkers.
Greyscale, the Curse Placed on the Dragonlords of Valyria: Jorah was cured by Sam permanently, right? If he wasn’t Greyscale could claim yet another victim with dragon blood.
Aegon’s Conquest, When Dragons Came to Westeros: Aegon brought fire and blood to Westeros, but he also brought clemency and peace. Can his descendant Daenerys do the same?
Volantis, Home to the Lord of Light’s Most Devoted Followers: Melisandre left Westeros in season seven to go to Volantis, where she might find some fellow followers of the Lord of Light to fight the darkness with her.
The Night King, White Walkers, and the Army of the Dead: What do we really know about the leader of the dead and how could that knowledge help stop him?
The Chilling Legend of Ice Dragons: How similar are un-dead dragons and ice dragons? The answer might tell us how to stop the Night King’s greatest weapon.
The Dragonpit and the Demise of Dragons: The show’s most important meeting was held in House Targaryens most infamous spot, where their true power was seemingly lost forever.
The Wall and Whether It Has Any Magic Left to Protect the Living: The Night King might have used a dragon to take down the Wall, but can the living unlease their own icy beast from within its frozen prison?
Gods Eye and the Isle of Faces: Could the show visit the most mysterious place in Westeros in its final season? It might hold the secret – and the last Children of the Forest – needed to beat the Night King.
Sellswords, the Golden Company, and the Loyalty of Soldiers for Hire: A mercenary force might help Cersei, but can she trust him? And will a cast aside swellsword return to save his Queen?
Winterfell and Its Greatest Threat: The ancestral home of House Stark might also be a landmark for mankind’s greatest victory, as well as its greatest defeat in the final season.
Asshai and the Secrets of the Shadow Lands: The only known way to defeat the White Walkers might be found at the edge of the world. Could Bran “visit” the dark land to uncover them?
We also went digging deep into the history of the Realm when HBO announced it was developing a prequel thousands of years ago in the past, but they contain plenty of intriguing insights into what has happened on Game of Thrones and what we might expect from the final season.
The War Between the Starks and the Boltons: All the Boltons are dead, right? Not if the Night King is one.
Bran the Builder, Legendary Founder of House Stark: Does the first Stark of legend have a connection with his namesake of today?
Lann the Clever and House Lannister’s Devious Beginnings: Are Cersei’s devious ways a trait she inherited from the mythical hero/thief of Casterly Rock?
The Impossible Life of Garth Greenhand: Is every House in Westeros related because one larger than life figure seeded all Seven Kingdoms? That is, if he existed at all.
House Gardener and The Kings of the Reach: Will another powerful family fall to Daenerys the way Aegon the Conqueror wiped out the Gardeners?