***Spoiler warning: this blog assumes you’ve watched seasons 1-6 of Game Of Thrones before***
Game Of Thrones season 7 is almost upon us. There are two months to go before we’re whisked off to Westeros once again, for the penultimate season of the epic fantasy drama. In the meantime, the six previous seasons are available to view on Sky Box Sets.
If you don’t have time to binge the whole series again, in preparation for the new episodes, you might want to check out these seven essential instalments...
Season 1 episode 9, Baelor
You might be temped to skip over season 1 altogether, especially if you don’t have time for a full six-season binge over the next couple of months. However, this episode is an absolutely vital stepping-stone in the story so far.
You’ll feel your heart break anew as Sean Bean’s Ned Stark is beheaded on Joffrey’s orders. You’ll marvel at the impressive acting from youngsters Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams. And, most of all, you’ll feel that anti-Lannister fire reigniting in your belly.
This is the episode where we all had a realisation: in this show, absolutely nobody is safe.
Season 3 episode 9, The Rains Of Castamere
Two years later, Game Of Thrones served up another of its unmissable ninth episodes. The Rains Of Castamere is famous for depicting the matrimonial bloodbath known affectionately as The Red Wedding, where the Lannisters sent their regards and Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark and Talisa all met their demise.
Once again, Arya Stark witnessed the action, and added yet more names to her death list. This is the episode where Walder Frey and Roose Bolton became absolutely despised by the fan base, and the battle between the Starks and the Lannisters really heated up.
Season 4 episode 2, The Lion And The Rose
There are multiple reasons to re-watch this episode. The headline event, of course, is The Purple Wedding, where Joffrey meets a grisly death via poisoning. This was an air-punching moment for the fans, not least because Jack Gleeson’s smarmy young king was finally getting his comeuppance.
This is also a key episode in Tyrion’s journey. He’s thoroughly ridiculed by Joffrey, and ends up being imprisoned by Cersei as a murder suspect. Surely, this is when the plan to escape King’s Landing and change sides began to manifest.
Season 4 episode 10, The Children
There’s not a minute to waste in this time-saving mini binge, so let’s skip over the period of Tyrion being in jail and get straight to the good bit: everyone’s favourite imp busting out and murdering his old man. Again, this was a celebratory moment for fans, doubly so because Jaime aided with the escape.
But this episode was also a tragic one, with Tyrion finding his beloved Shae in Tywin Lannister’s bed, before opting to kill them both. This is the episode where Tyrion went from jokey supporting character to reluctant hero, turning against his evil family to take a central spot in the war against them.
Season 5 episode 8, Hardhome
Speaking of wars, let’s not forget the threat beyond The Wall: the White Walkers, and their steely blue leader The Night King. We’ve had several glimpses of these icy zombies over the years, but none more epic and fear inducing than The Battle Of Hardhome, where Jon Snow and his brothers faced the undead hordes in open combat.
That final shot, of the Night King reanimating the fallen to strengthen his numbers, sets the stage for an even bigger fight later on. And, as an added bonus, this episode also includes Tyrion convincing Dany to take him on as an adviser. That’s an epic alliance we’ve not seen the last of.
Season 6 episode 9, The Battle Of The Bastards
It’s two epic battles for the price of one here: the episode opens with Daenerys using her dragons and the Dothraki to overcome the last opposition in Meereen, before transitioning to Winterfell where Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton partake in the series’ biggest bout to date.
As well as movie-quality action, you also get more of those air-punching moments; Wun-Wun knocking down the door; Jon beating Ramsay to a pulp; and Sansa feeding him to the dogs. There’s also the death of Rickon Stark, just to ensure the tragedy quotient is met.
Season 6 episode 10, The Winds Of Winter
And, finally, there’s no episode more essential for your recap than The Winds Of Winter. This final instalment of season 6 puts all the pieces in place for the final two seasons of the show, revealing huge secrets regarding Jon and massive power plays from Cersei and Dany.
The young Ned Stark scene will go down as a classic, and Cersei’s decision to bomb all her enemies will live long in the memory. Dany’s trip across the ocean, Arya’s revenge against Walder Frey, and Tommen’s suicide are all iconic as well.
So, once you’ve watched these seven episodes, you should be ready for the wars to come. Let’s just hope that the conclusion to the epic ‘Lannisters Vs Everyone’ conflict is worth all the build up.
You can sign up to Sky Box Sets to re-watch Game Of Thrones now. And feel free to leave your own favourite episodes in the comments below...