Game of Thrones season 6 recap - everything you need to know

Winter's finally here! Yay! Oh wait, that's bad. If you're preparing for Game of Thrones season 7’s arrival, you're in the right place. As we last left our characters in season five, many of them arrive in new locations, watching as their machinations unfold (or backfire), or find themselves getting straight up murdered. If you want a quick rundown of the current body count and the general state of play in season 6 (along with a handful of grisly gifs), read on.

Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy survive their fall and scurry through the woods, but are discovered by Ramsay Bolton's men. Brienne of Tarth and Podrick arrive and make short work of them, and everyone heads off together.

Well, everyone but Theon, who decides to go home to the Greyjoys, racked with guilt for selling out the Starks.

Ramsay, realizing that he's close to losing power completely after learning his father Roose's wife just gave birth to another son, stabs his father to death. 

He then feeds his half-brother and her mom to the wolves - you know, just in case you forgot just how unrelentingly terrible he was.

Back in the North, Theon's father, Balon Greyjoy discovers his younger brother Euron near a bridge on a stormy night. The two chat for a bit, then Euron throws him off the bridge, killing him. 

Because of course he does. 

Theon returns to the Iron Islands, where he calls for his sister Yara to be crowned ruler after Balon's death. Euron arrives, and is crowned instead. During his coronation, where he is drowned and then reborn...

...which is a totally normal and not weird thing for people to do.

During the ceremony, Theon and Yara abscond with the Iron Fleet's best ships and make for the East.

Over in the distant land of Braavos, Arya, blinded in the last season, is seen begging for change. She’s repeatedly has the crap beaten out of her by the Waif...

...but Jaqen H'ghar (or whoever he really is) eventually takes her back in and restores her sight.

Her next test is to kill an actress named Lady Crane, but Arya saves her at the last minute. The Waif witnesses this and and Jaqen requests that the Waif kill her. Arya negotiates passage back to Westeros, and is approached by an old woman, who reveals herself to be the Waif. He repeatedly stabs her in the stomach… 

...but she is able to escape by leaping into the river.

She finds shelter with Lady Crane, but the Waif tracks her down and slays Crane while Arya sleeps. Arya runs and lures the Waif into a room lit by a single candle... 

...which she quickly slices, giving her the advantage she needs to kill the Waif in the darkness. Hey, she was blind of a chunk of the season...

Jaqen, pleased with Arya's ability, tells her that she's officially passed the worst hazing ever to become a Faceless Man. Arya refuses and tells Jaqen that she is going home.

Now to Meereen in the east. Varys learns that the Sons of the Harpy are being funded by three surrounding slaver cities, and Tyrion commands him to use his network of spies to send a message. Emissaries arrive, and Tyrion offers them a deal.

Meanwhile, Daario and Jorah hunt for Daenerys, and find the ring she dropped. Daenerys, on the other hand, finds herself the captive of Khal Moro, who spares her life, but forces her to become a member of the Dosh khaleen - a kind of retirement club for former Khals’ wives.

Jorah and Daario both arrive and attempt to rescue Daenerys, but she tells them to back off - she's got this. She meets with the Khals, telling them that none of them are fit to lead. When they laugh, she knocks over a couple of lit braziers, setting the hut on fire.

None of the Khals are able to escape and they burn, but since Daenerys is fire-proof (even if her clothes aren't) she survives the encounter. The Dothraki then worship her and join her army.

Daenerys returns to Meereen just as the slavers attempt to overthrow the city - with her dragons and Dothraki in tow. They overrun and capture the slavers' ships, and Grey Worm slays two of the masters, leaving the last alive as a message.

Hell yeah.

Meanwhile, in King's Landing, King Tommen and Margaery Tyrell have both suddenly embraced the Faith. Or have they? Well, he has, but she hasn’t really.

Cersei commands Jaime to retake Riverrun. Margaery appears to have been fully absorbed into the Faith and its teachings, but she passes a secret message to her grandmother Olenna...

 ...on it is a single rose, which both serves as a notice that she's merely playing along, and a warning for Olenna to leave the city.

On the day of Cersei's trial, she is nowhere to be found. Margaery believes this to be a trap, but her cries to the High Sparrow fall on deaf ears, and the Faith Militant refuse to let anyone leave Baelor’s Sept, where the great and good of King’s Landing are gathered. A wildfire explosion - activated by Qyburn’s ‘little birds’ - levels the whole building, killing everyone inside. 

Cersei looks on and smirks; Tommen, stricken with grief at the death of his wife, leaps to his death...

...and with that, Cersei has officially run out of children. But hey, she got a crown out of the deal, so it's all worth it in the end, right?

Yeah, she seems happy.

But wait - we can't forget Jon Snow, can we?

Those loyal to the now-very-dead Jon Snow are quickly being outnumbered by mutineers. Ser Davos and Edd attempt to guard his body, while Melisandre is visibly upset that everything she believes is falling apart around her. The mutineers decide to make their move, when Edd arrives with a Wildling army. The mutineers surrender, and Davos implores Melisandre to revive Jon Snow. Her incantations seem to fail, and she leaves the room despondent…

Should have waited a few more minutes.

Sansa and Brienne arrive at the Wall, and everything seems hunky-dory, until Jon learns that Ramsey has his half-brother Rickon hostage and has threatened to murder him if Jon doesn’t return Sansa. Jon spends a few episodes trying to bolster his army, but nothing much comes of it, so Sansa writes a letter to Littlefinger accepting his offer of more soldiers.

Jon and Ramsay's armies parlay before battle, Ramsay taunting Jon by freeing Rickon, then shooting him with an arrow as he runs toward his half-brother.

Jon then charges at Ramsay, which forces both armies to clash, but Ramsay's forces are far stronger and more numerous than Jon's. All appears lost, when suddenly Sansa and Littlefinger ride into battle with reinforcements. Jon takes Ramsay captive, and Sansa visits Ramsay in the kennels where he's being held. The door has been 'mysteriously' left open, and Sansa watches as Ramsay's dogs eat him alive.

Jon finally gets the respect he's wanted for so long, and is declared King of the North by the surrounding houses. Littlefinger continues to be a scheming bastard.

And hey: remember Bran? After being gone a whole season, he's finally back, still hanging out at a giant tree. We see him continuing his training with the Three-Eyed Raven as he experiences vivid visions (well, he actually appears in these visions) of his family's past. He also witnesses a vision of Leaf, one of the Children of the Forest, stabbing a prisoner with a dragonglass dagger - thus creating the first of the White Walkers.

Bran wargs himself into the tree, and witnesses the White Walker army. The Night King sees him (because magic) and now knows exactly where he is. 

Whoops. Hodor tries to hold off the incoming wights, and is overcome as Meera and Bran escape. 

It's very sad.

Later, Meera grows tired after carrying Bran, who is still in vision mode, and both are about to be slaughtered when his uncle, Benjen Stark, emerges to save them. 

Benjen's been busy since we last saw him in season one, and explains that Bran must become the Three-Eyed Raven now. Benjen deposits Bran near a weirwood tree at the Wall, where Bran continues his training. The vision he sees now is of his aunt Lyanna, giving birth to none other than Jon Snow.

Lasty, in Meereen, Theon and Yara then arrive and forge an alliance with Daenerys. Daenerys makes Tyrion Hand of the Queen, and they all sail off toward Westeros, and the end of the season.

Oh! Wait! Arya arrives back in Westeros and totally murders Walder Frey as revenge for the Red Wedding.

It rules.

And that's it for season six of Game of Thrones. No Hot Pie action this season, but I'm sure he's just biding his time in the wings, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

David Roberts
David Roberts lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two kids. He once had to sell his full copy of EarthBound (complete with box and guide) to some dude in Austria for rent money. And no, he doesn't have an amiibo 'problem', thank you very much.