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Heard all about epic fantasy series Game of Thrones (2011-current) and never watched an episode? Internet streaming service Showmax is saving your life, because all seven seasons can be streamed right now! Watch now »

So, what is it all about? Need a reminder?

Grab your parchment, ink-pot and quill, and pay attention.

Whoever sits on the Iron Throne (a giant throne made from the swords of people who’ve lost in war against the ruler) rules the land of Westeros, made up of seven kingdoms. And it’s such a coveted seat that families have been warring over it for centuries. So who are they?

House Lannister: The snobs of Westeros whose motto is “a Lannister always pays his debts”. Led by Queen Cersei (Lena Heady), no crime is too evil, no deed too evil – hello there, twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). They’ve always wanted the Iron Throne and have used every dirty trick in the book to get it.

House Stark: Honest, hard-working people from the North. They’re led by Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), who is made Hand of the King (aka the King’s most trusted advisor and emissary) by his bestie and former fighting buddy King Robert.

House Baratheon: Season 1 starts with King Robert on the Iron Throne and in need of a Hand of the King after his previous one is poisoned. He doesn’t trust his wife or his in-laws but finds comfort at the bottom of the beer barrel.

House Targaryen: The dragon lords were exiled from Westeros after the murder of the Mad King many years ago. Will the land ever feel the heat of a dragon’s breath? You’d better believe it! And they want what’s rightfully theirs: the throne.

Game of Thrones has been the most pirated series for the last five years running, and while two or three episodes were leaked in Season 7, they still hit ratings highs when they aired on TV. It’s not just the fact that millions are spent producing each episode (over $15 million a piece) to add things like giant castles, ice zombies and dragons… it’s the twists and turns and how little things you’ve heard or seen in previous seasons only make sense later that keep viewers hooked.

5 clues from earlier seasons that hint at what’s to come

Do you remember these moments from earlier seasons? They’re about to come to fruition in Season 7.

  1. Ned Stark tells his bastard son and outcast Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in Season 1 that “you might not have my name, but you have my blood”. Jon’s mom is never mentioned by name and it’s something that weighs heavily on Ned. But not for the reason you think.
  2. Humble fool Hodor (Kristian Nairn) might be a lumbering ox who only says the word “hodor”, but he wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time he was a stable boy for House Stark named Wylis – Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) is going to find out in Season 6 what changed. Brace yourself for one of the show’s saddest moments.
  3. A lot of the ancient prophecies aren’t translated correctly and words and titles are often genderless. Take “The Prince That Was Promised”. It’s not Stannis Baratheon (Robert’s brother, played by Stephen Dillane), who isn’t nearly as powerful as his fire-loving witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) thinks. Later, it’s revealed that the saviour of Westeros might not be a “prince” after all… and there are plenty of strong females swinging swords.
  4. Whenever an animal dies or is killed, take note of who or what kills it. In Season 1, episode 1, the wolf is killed by a stag. The wolf is the sigil of House Stark, while the stag is House Baratheon’s sigil. But since Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon are friends, it means something else.
  5. And don’t think that the families are always in control. Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) and Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) have been around long enough to know everyone’s business before anyone else in Westeros, they have spies in every tavern and they enjoy playing puppet master no matter how much they deny it. But since neither can sit on the throne (they’re not royals), they must have an endgame… but what it is, is anyone’s question.

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