Game of Thrones season 5 recap: Here's everything you need to know

It can be difficult to remember what happened in Game of Thrones even on a week-to-week basis.

Trying to recall who got into a fight with whom in Game of Thrones, who betrayed someone or who made a sinister pact with someone else can be a tedious affair. Trying to remember everything that happened in a full season is even more daunting. "Is that character whom I know is important but whose name I can't remember still alive? Who's controlling the Stark residence again?"

To try and help out fans, HBO released a three-minute recap of the entire fifth season which does a decent job of reiterating the major events that happened last year, but it doesn't address some of the more minor, but important storylines that occur over the course of ten episodes.

To get you properly caught up with everything Game of Thrones, going into the season six premiere on Sunday, we're bringing you a more detailed recap of everything that happened last season and what could possibly happen in the next.

king's landing

The hub of the series' political drama, King's Landing played host to a series of major events last season, but none as important as Cersei Lannister's apparent downfall. After her youngest son Tommen Baratheon marries the wicked Margaery Tyrell, Cersei begins to lose control of the power she was able to hold over her eldest son, the vile Joffrey.

cersei 2

In an attempt to hold onto some of her power, Cersei reintroduces the Faith Militant, which is the army branch of the Faith of the Seven. While she assumes this will help her maintain some leverage and power, everything goes awry when Lancel Lannister returns to the city as a member of the Sparrows, a group of devoutly religious individuals who will stop at nothing to rid King's Landing of virtueless individuals.

As a part of their mission to clean up the city, they arrest Loras Lannister for homosexuality, and set out to imprison Cersei and Margaery for their acts of infidelity. When Cersei confesses to cheating on her late husband Robert with Lancel, they force her to strip down and walk a path of shame through the city, inviting citizens of King's Landing to stone her and spit on her. The abuse marks the beginning of Cersei's emotional and mental downfall.

What could happen this season: Cersei has fallen, but there's still a little bit of fight left in her. She yearns for that control, but she's taking the time to mourn her daughter (who died during last season's finale) and figure out what's next for her.

Jamie, her twin brother and lover, is also back to help while she deals with everything that's happened to her. Cersei will still have to work on winning back the trust and respect of her son, but don't be surprised to see her break out of this catatonic state relatively quickly.

The wall

Jon Snow, a bastard child and controversial figure within the Night's Watch, is given a chance to rule over Winterfell, the castle he lived at with his father Ned Stark before joining his brothers at the Wall. Snow declines —€” a decision he'll regret by the end of the season —€” and instead begins his new role as the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.

Despite being elected by his brothers in black, it's not as easy as a transition as he would have liked. When he makes the decision to enter a truce with the Wildlings, it divides the Watch as many begin to protest their new leader's decision.

Jon Snow

Despite the animosity, however, they follow Jon's orders and begin to evacuate one of the Wildling villages after it comes under attack by a group of White Walkers. Although they lose many men during the fight, Jon and his team manage to bring quite a few Wildlings to safety behind Castle Black walls.

Even though the mission was a success, once Samwell Tarly and Gilly leave, Jon loses much of his support system. It gets even worse after the death of Maester Aemon, too. Jon is left to deal with a group of men he considers brothers who are disillusioned with him as a leader and who want him out of their lives. Eventually, they grow tired of Jon's lack of respect for them and their safety, lure him into a trap, and stab him to death.

What could happen this season: First of all, the question over whether Jon Snow is actually dead will be answered. Although HBO has said that the character is dead, fans have been holding out hope that he will be resurrected in some capacity and brought back.

It looks like Melissandre will play a key role in the season six premiere and may be the way Snow is resurrected. Regardless, big changes are coming to Castle Black and the Wall. Plus, be prepared for some more White Walkers bringing chaos and fear to all of the Night's Watch.


It's been difficult for Daenerys Targaryen to keep control of her insurgent army, the Sons of the Harpy, and last season they finally revolted against her. In an attempt to bring her down, the Sons start murdering citizens of Meereen and members of the Unsully, the army dedicated to bringing Daenerys back into power. They also take down Barristan Selmy, one of Daenerys' most loyal supporters.


While Daenerys is dealing with the stresses of Meereen, Tyrion Lannister and Varys arrive in Pentos, having abandoned King's Landing when Tyrion murdered his father, Tywin. However, on their travels, Tyrion and Varys pass through Valentis, where Tyrion is spotted by Ser Jorah Mormont, Daenerys' number one fan. Jorah kidnaps him and takes him back to Meereen in an attempt to get back into her good graces after being exiled.

Daenerys accepts Tyrion's help as an advisor, but she's quick to exile Jorah once more. Luckily for her, he doesn't know when to quit and he saves her from an attack on her life by the Sons of the Harpy. While this is happening, Daenerys' dragon Drogon reappears, leading to her escape. She's carried far away from the city, but when she lands, she finds herself surrounded by Dorthraki horsemen and taken by them.

Back in Meereen, Jorah leaves to try and find out where Daenerys has gone, leaving Tyrion and Varys to look over the city.

What could happen this season: Daenerys is going to try and get back to Meereen, or at the very least, the armies she left behind, but the return of the Dothraki isn't promising. Hopefully, we'll see some more scenes with Drogon. He showed his true alliance after saving Daenerys from the Sons of the Harpy and made it clear how protective he was of his mother.

This may also be the season of Jorah's return. His dedication is unwavering and he's pulled just enough stunts that Daenerys might be willing to forgive him for prior wrongs. Most interesting, however, is Tyrion's storyline. This is the first time he's had real power over a group of people, which is something he's always been interested in. We're going to see how he acts as a leader and after having it teased for five seasons, it should be an exciting development.


After leaving Robin Arryn, the son of Lysa Arryn and the heir to the throne at Vale, in the care of House Royce, Peter Littlefinger heads to Winterfell with Sansa Stark, Brienne of Tarth and her squire, Podrick. Sansa has been trying forever to return to Winterfell, but has fallen into trap after trap, delaying her journey.

When she gets to her childhood home, however, she's forced to marry Ramsay Bolton in an attempt to unify the Vale and Winterfell houses. The result is one of the most brutal scenes of sexual assault in Game of Thrones history, one that came under the attack of critics everywhere. After repeatedly forcing Sansa to endure mental, emotional and physical abuse on the night of their wedding, Ramsay rapes her while forcing Reek (formerly known as Theon Greyjoy) to watch.

The result is one of the most brutal scenes of sexual assault in Game of Thrones history

Finally fed up with the abuse Ramsay has dealt them, Sansa and Reek make a plan to escape, but things go awry when they get into a fight with the daughter of Winterfell's keeper. Reek kills her and the two jump from the tower at Winterfell and run away.

What could happen this season: At this point, Ramsay is not aware that his "pet" Reek and his wife have abandoned him and are on the run in the North. However, in previews for the new season, we've seen parts of the premiere episode where he's told what's transpired. This is going to make for an angrier Ramsay Bolton than we've already seen. Things are going to get much more violent and cruel for the people he surrounds himself with and for Sansa and Reek if they're caught.

The north

Stannis Baratheon, trying to take back his rightful spot on the Iron Throne, is still following Melissandre's orders. When she tells him that he has to burn his daughter Shireen alive as a tribute to the Lord of the Light, he reluctantly does, but loses half of his army in the process after his wife's body is found hanging from a noose not long after.

With his remaining forces, Stannis heads to Winterfell, but he and his army are destroyed by the Boltons. When the fight is over, it's revealed that Stannis has been killed by Brienne and Melissandre has fled for Castle Black.

What could happen this season: The biggest speculation flying around is that Melissandre will use her sorceress powers to revive Jon Snow. There's not much left for the Baratheon army at this point, outside of Robert and Cersei's son, Tommen, so there probably won't be any developments on that end.


Everyone's favorite Stark, Arya, has been diligent with her training and taking out those she promised to kill. The reason she heads to Braavos in the first place is to get more combat training in with the Faceless Men, as well as Jaqen H'ghar.

Game of Thrones Arya

When she's ordered by the Faceless Men to kill a dishonest insurance agent, she stumbles upon Meryn Trant and abandons her mission to kill him instead. Using a false face that she stole from the temple, she creeps up on him in a brothel and assassinates him, ripping out his eyes in the process. As a result, Arya loses her own sight and is left confused as to what's transpired.

What could happen this season: Arya's going to spend a lot of time learning how to maneuver around a city while blind, but her new family won't let her off the hook that easily. She'll have to pay another price for not listening to them and killing someone she wasn't supposed to, all while learning how to fight using her other senses. This will be a big season of growth for Arya and will define her as a fighter.

This is the first season of Game of Thrones that will introduce entirely new storylines to readers of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Anything and everything is possible, but for those looking to stay spoiler-free until Martin releases the next book, it might be easier to just sit this season out entirely.

Game of Thrones' sixth season premieres on Sunday, April 24 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. The network has made this weekend a free preview event, so even those without a subscription can watch it live and free of charge.