Game of Thrones had its seventh season finale tonight and, oh boy, it was a doozy.
[Warning: The following contain spoilers for Game of Thrones season 7. Obviously.]
Like the rest of the season, the finale found gold in memorable reunions and first meetings. Watching the Hound and Brienne smirk at one another as they walked with many other Game of Thrones greats was rather spectacular. There was, however, a lot of information that may be hard to remember when you’re standing around the water cooler or coffee maker at work tomorrow.
To make it a little easier, here’s everything you absolutely need to know about the episode to keep up in conversation.
The Wall has fallen
The most stunning scene from the finale was the last one. An undead Viserion rapidly approaching the Wall and unleashing a powerful blue flame, taking down the massive fortification keeping the White Walkers and wights at bay, is nothing short of spectacular.
The men standing watch at the top of the Wall tried their best to escape, running from the hundreds of thousands of undead soldiers marching forth — and the terrifying dragon flying above — but to no avail. This was the moment that Jon and Daenerys warned Cersei about earlier in the episode.
Of course, Jon and Daenerys don’t know about Viserion’s current state. This will be a weapon they haven’t seen coming, and it’s far more dangerous than anything they’ve gone up against in the past.
Daenerys and Jon consummated their love
Well, it happened.
The love scene took place while Bran and Samwell Tarly were discussing Jon’s true parentage. As the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran travels back in time and watches Lyanna Stark secretly wed Rhaegar Targaryen. He then watches Lyanna give birth to Jon, confirming that his real name is Aegon Targaryen — and that he is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Does that name sound familiar? Here’s a quick refresher: Aegon the Conqueror was the man who built the Iron Throne and united Westeros into one kingdom ages ago. He — like Jon and many others in Westeros — also had a taste for incestuous relationships. It’s a name rife with history and foreshadowing. It’s a name that comes with a certain destiny that’s just waiting to be fulfilled and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
While Bran is having this vision, Jon and Daenerys are in bed, quite literally lying in each other’s arms. Tyrion is standing outside the door, wearing a look of concern on his face as he realizes what’s happening. He’s not aware of who Jon really is, but he knows this changes up the power dynamics.
Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen — and he just had sex with his aunt.
Littlefinger is finally dead
The Stark sisters working together at last is a beautiful sight.
After a conversation between Littlefinger and Sansa convinces Lord Baelish that he’s managed to worm his way into Sansa’s mind for good, Sansa calls Arya into the Great Hall. As Arya stands before her, Littlefinger watches from the sidelines, smirking at his apparent victory over the Stark sisters.
Everything doesn’t go according to his plan, though. Instead of asking Arya to defend herself for her acts of betrayal and murder, Sansa asks Littlefinger to answer for all of his crimes over the past seven seasons. It’s the moment that the Stark children have been waiting for, as Sansa finally emerges the victor in the mind games she’s been playing with Littlefinger.
“Family against family, sister against sister,” Sansa told him. “It’s what you did to our mother and Aunt Lysa, and what you tried to do to us.”
Realizing that he wasn’t going to be able to charm his way out of this situation, Littlefinger falls to his knees, begging Sansa to forgive him. Instead, Arya smirks, removing the Catspaw dagger from its sheath and slicing Littlefinger’s throat.
Using the very blade that Littlefinger returned to the Stark family after it was used to try and kill Bran all those seasons ago is a remarkable example of poetic justice.
Cersei takes the White Walkers seriously ...
After the Hound unveiled the hostage wight to Cersei, the Queen agreed to a cease-fire with Daenerys Targaryen.
“The crown accepts your truce,” Cersei said. “Until the dead are defeated, they are the true enemy.”
That doesn’t come without some complications, though. Cersei demanded that Jon Snow remain as King in the North by, quite literally, staying put in Winterfell. Upon Jon’s statement that he’s already pledged his allegiance to Daenerys and won’t serve two queens, Cersei refuses to help Jon and Dany with the White Walkers marching toward the Wall. Even with Jon’s very real exhibit of what is currently descending upon Westeros — the wight lunging at Cersei’s body — she can’t get over her pride.
“There is only one war that matters: the great war,” Jon says. “And it is here.”
The only person who could reason with Cersei in the moment, ironically enough, was Tyrion. He visits Cersei in her chambers to try and convince her to go to war with Daenerys and Jon. The scene becomes an intense dialogue focused on the reopening of past wounds. They discuss about Cersei’s dead children, their mother and father, and the unbearable pain that comes with carrying the Lannister name.
It’s a fantastic scene that ends with Tyrion returning to Daenerys and Jon, followed by Cersei and her crew. After a tense moment of bated breath, Cersei agrees to go to war.
“A darkness is coming for us all,” Cersei proclaimed. “We will face it together. And when the great war is over, perhaps you’ll remember I chose to help — with no promises or assurances from any of you.”
... but not seriously enough
After promising Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion that she would send her men to the North, putting all her energy into defeating the White Walkers, Cersei divulged her true intentions to Jaime.
While everyone else is up North, trying to defend Westeros from the army of the dead marching toward Westeros, Cersei will use whatever forces she has at her disposal — including the Golden Company (the Iron Bank’s mercenaries from Essos) and Euron Greyjoy — to take over the vacated lands.
When Jaime pushes back against her decision, Cersei reminds him that heading into the North to fight alongside Daenerys and Jon would be treason. Cersei tells Jaime that she won’t need him if she has their unborn child and Euron as her king. Jaime has become disposable, her love for him pushed away. Insulted and heartbroken, Jaime dares Cersei to keep her promise — to use the Mountain to strike him down. When she can’t, much like she couldn’t with Tyrion, Jaime takes off.
With the season now over, we’re left with a lot of questions. Hopefully, we’ll only have to wait a year to get some answers, but there is a chance Game of Thrones won’t return until 2019. If winter arrived at the end of last season, the apocalypse is about to unfold at the end of this one.