Published 10:42 AM EDT Mar 13, 2019
It’s time to rewatch the “Thrones.”
The eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” arrives on HBO on April 14 (9 EDT/PDT), and it’s sure to be jam-packed with death, destruction and dragons.
If you’re trying to catch up on the complex fantasy series ahead of time, you may have trouble getting through all 67 episodes (but for those dedicated few who will, we salute you). Whether you are going to hunker down and binge them all, or want to watch just a few to remind you of what's going on, we recommend one of three paths to Season 8.
If you really want to watch the whole darn thing
If you are a completist who can't miss any Westerosian detail, you might want to attempt a total rewatch. If you watched one episode a day, you would have had to start last month.
If you binge, we recommend limiting yourself to three episodes per day, so you don't get overwhelmed and start forgetting too many details. But if you insist on watching an entire season in one day, make it Season 2, which has a lovely and easily digestible arc. Don't watch Season 3's "The Rains of Castamere" (the Red Wedding) or Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper" (when Oberyn dies) before bed. Feel free to skip through storylines that bug you, like Drogo's (Jason Momoa) drawn-out death in Season 1 or the entirety of Season 5. It might also be worthwhile to skip the title sequence, as beautiful as it is, just to shave a couple minutes off of every episode.
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If you have time to watch one or two seasons
Don't be fooled into thinking your time is best spent watching just the most recent seasons. Watching Seasons 1 and 7 is a smart way to get a holistic view of the series. Consider the materials that HBO has released so far about the final season. The character posters mirror the original poster from Season 1, in which Ned Stark (Sean Bean) sat on the Iron Throne looking wistful. Moments in the official trailer seemed like callbacks to that first season too, so dipping back into it is a smart idea. Plus it's fun to see the puppy direwolves and Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) as young kids, and to see how far this show has come creatively. It might be jarring to cut from the first to the last season, but you can always read some recaps to refresh your memory of what happened in between.
If you want to watch one episode from every season
Seven episodes is a lot more manageable than 67, and you'll get the flavor of the entire series by sampling one from each season. While you might be tempted to go for the big, explosive battle episodes like "Blackwater" (Season 2) and "Battle of the Bastards," (Season 6) you're better off sampling others that feature more characters and don't spend so much time in the mud, dirt and blood.
"You Win or You Die," is your best choice for Season 1. It's the best episode from that first year, and the one in which the game truly begins. In Season 2, go with the finale, "Valar Morghulis," if only for the first proper White Walker battle and the scene when Dany (Emilia Clarke) finally gets back her dragons – and her power.
If you can stomach the Red Wedding Season 3's "The Rains of Castamere" is worth repeating. You may also want to attend another deadly wedding in Season 4's "The Lion and the Rose," when Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is poisoned to death. Season 5 is not that much fun to revisit, but at least its finale, "Mother's Mercy" (the one where Jon is assassinated) escapes from its narrative mess.
In Season 6, there's no more devastating episode than "The Door." And it's worth watching the Season 7 finale, "The Dragon and the Wolf," to see exactly where the characters left off, and which aunt and nephew are sleeping together.