Scores of characters. Six episodes.
Finally, after years of waiting (decades for book fans), we'll get to see how Game of Thrones ends. Season 8 premieres on HBO on April 14, with the first of six new episodes. From the fight against the White Walkers to the war for the Iron Throne to the largest battle sequence ever filmed, there's a whole lot of ground to cover in a relatively short amount of time.
Over the course of this show, we've gotten to know, empathize with, and despise numerous characters. Many of them are dead, but some, through a combination of shrewdness, politicking, and good luck, have made it to the end of the series with their bodies (if not their souls) intact.
Here's a refresher guide to all the major Game of Thrones characters who are still alive at the start of Season 8, and what they were doing the last time we saw them in action.
1. Jon Snow
Status: The King in the North is sailing to Winterfell, to prepare for battle against the White Walkers. He formed an alliance with Daenerys Targaryen, whom he's falling in love with. He doesn't know he's also a Targaryen and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
2. Daenerys Targaryen
Status: She is Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons--three dragons, to be precise. She believes it is her birthright and destiny to sit on the Iron Throne. She is sailing with Jon Snow to Winterfell, falling in love with him (and also unaware of his true lineage).
3. Sansa Stark
Status: Once a naive girl, Sansa is the Lady of Winterfell, and is ruling the North in Jon's absence. She correctly determined that Petyr Baelish was manipulating her and her sister against each other, and ordered his throat slit in the Season 7 finale.
4. Arya Stark
Status: After receiving assassination training from the Faceless Men, Arya Stark returned to Winterfell and reunited with her sister Sansa. She has an extensive kill list of people who have hurt her family, chief among them Cersei Lannister. She has a close relationship with Jon, who she hasn't seen since the first season.
5. Bran Stark
Status: He is currently at Winterfell with the rest of his siblings. He has magical abilities that allow him to look into the past and the future. With Samwell's help, Bran discovered Jon Snow is the legitimate son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, and thus, the true heir to the Iron Throne. He hasn't yet had a chance to tell Jon.
6. Cersei Lannister
Status: She is the current Queen of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Power-hungry and ambitious, Cersei went back on her word to help Daenerys and Jon deal with the White Walkers, preferring instead to consolidate her power and build her army. Jon and Dany haven't yet realized she's betraying them.
7. Jaime Lannister
Status: Cersei's incestuous twin brother is riding north. He underwent a crisis of morals in Season 7, and is slowly starting to see his sister for the monster she is. He intends to keep his pledge to aid in the battle against the White Walkers.
8. Tyrion Lannister
Status: Hand of the Queen to Daenerys Targaryen and the younger brother of Cersei and Jaime, Tyrion is sailing north with Jon and Dany. Shrewd and politically calculating, he caught Jon entering Daenerys's room at night, much to his apparent dismay. Whether that's because he's in love with her, or simply due to the political complications their relationship may create, remains to be seen.
9. Jorah Mormont
Status: Jorah is currently headed north and is one of Daenerys's most loyal companions and advisors. Samwell cured him of his Greyscale in Season 7. He is one of several men who volunteered to travel north of the Wall and capture a wight, in order to prove their existence to Cersei.
Status: A sword-for-hire, Bronn first came to prominence as Tyrion's stand-in during a Trial by Combat in Season 1. He is currently allied with House Lannister, who owe him a castle for all his hard work and efficient killing. In Season 7, Bronn nearly killed Drogon with a giant crossbow, saved Jaime's life in the same battle, and arranged a secret meeting between Jaime and Tyrion to solicit Cersei's cooperation.
11. Davos Seaworth
Status: Formerly Stannis's Hand of the King, Davos is now Jon's right-hand man and most trusted advisor. He's headed north with the rest of Jon's convoy. Davos is the ultimate wingman; he convinced Melisandre to resurrect Jon after Night's Watch mutineers murdered him and also helped secure aid from Lyanna Mormont for the Battle of the Bastards. He also recited an impassioned defense of Jon to Daenerys during their first awkward meeting.
The red priestess, responsible for many plot twists over the course of the show, resurrected Jon Snow in Season 6 after he was betrayed by members of the Night's Watch in Season 5. She had a small but significant role in Season 7; she went to Dragonstone, received an audience with Daenerys, and urged her to meet with Jon Snow. She disappeared from Westeros once the meeting came to fruition, telling Varys she was heading to Volantis, and that both she and he would die in Westeros--clear foreshadowing for Season 8.
13. Theon Greyjoy
Status: Prince of the Iron Islands, Theon is leading the Ironborn on a mission to save his sister, Yara, from the clutches of their uncle, Euron Greyjoy. He was unable to save her when she was first captured due to PTSD trauma, the result of Ramsay Bolton imprisoning, torturing, and castrating him in prior seasons.
14. Yara Greyjoy
Status: Theon's sister, she is currently being held captive by her uncle Euron Greyjoy, who is allied with Cersei. She seeks to take leadership over the Iron Islands, but her fleet was decimated in a surprise attack by Euron.
Status: A eunuch who was born a slave, Varys, also known as the Spider, has ascended to the highest levels of power in Westeros through a combination of networking, spying, and trading for secrets and court gossip. He's served as the Master of Whisperers for multiple kings, and is currently allied with Daenerys.
16. Sandor "The Hound" Clegane
Status: Originally allied with House Lannister, The Hound's allegiance has shifted over the course of the series; he has principles, and he's too much of a cynic to stay with any one party for too long. He was a crucial part of Jon's mission to capture a wight north of The Wall. He has a love-hate companionship with Arya Stark, despite her repeated efforts to kill him. Season 8 will likely see the long-awaited fruition of his personal mission to murder his brother, Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane.
17. Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane
Status: The Mountain is The Hound's murderous, raping-and-pillaging brother; he burned The Hound's face when they were children. He is a massive man, made even more frightening by his current undead state. He was fatally poisoned by the Red Viper in a previous season but managed to "survive" thanks to Qyburn's intervention. His skin is purple and he no longer speaks, but serves competently as Cersei's personal bodyguard.
Status: A bastard son of Robert Baratheon, Gendry escaped the purge that killed his other bastard siblings. He laid low as a blacksmith in King's Landing until Davos found him. Gendry was part of the Jon's mission to capture a wight north of the Wall. He and Jon became fast friends, and are currently traveling north together.
19. Tormund Giantsbane
Status: A Wildling leader with mutual respect for Jon Snow, he was another member of Jon's wight expedition north of the Wall. He is guarding the Wall and witnesses when the White Walkers break through in the Season 7 finale. He has an adorable crush on Brienne of Tarth.
20. Brienne of Tarth
Status: A woman of her word, Brienne swore an oath of fealty to Catelyn Stark in Season 2. Thus, she has guarded and protected Catelyn's children ever since. She once nearly killed The Hound over the responsibility of who should protect Arya, and formed a close relationship with Jaime when transporting him as a prisoner, to exchange him for the Stark daughters' freedom. She is allied with the North, and expresses loyalty to Sansa and Arya in particular.
21: Podrick Payne
Status: Once squire to Tyrion, Podrick is the current, loyal squire of Brienne. He is not a skilled combatant, although Brienne is training him to be so. When Sansa ordered Brienne to attend the parley with Daenerys and Cersei on her behalf, Podrick accompanied her to Dragonstone. He also has unexplained, possibly magical sexual prowess, as Bronn or Tyrion occasionally remind us.
22. Beric Dondarrion
Status: He is the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners, an alliance of mercenaries. He is most distinctive for his flaming sword and for being resurrected from the dead six times by Thoros of Myr. He is present on the Wall with Tormund when the White Walkers bring it down. With Thoros's death in Season 6, Beric is on his last life.
23: Eddison Tollett
Status: He is the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and has been since Jon left his post to reclaim Winterfell from Ramsay Bolton. He is a loyal friend to Joh, and helped to identify and imprison the mutineers after Jon was killed (and later resurrected).
24. Yohn Royce
Status: The Lord of Runestone leads the Knights of the Vale and is now an ally of House Stark. Yohn was present at Littlefinger's execution for betraying the Starks. He is currently at Winterfell.
25. Ellaria Sand
Status: She was responsible for killing Cersei's daughter, Myrcella, by kissing her with poisoned lips. She was later captured by Euron Greyjoy, and Cersei returned the favor by bestowing a poisoned kiss on Ellaria's daughter Tyene. She was left in a King's Landing prison to watch her daughter's body rot away.
26. Samwell Tarly
Status: The maester-in-training is at Winterfell, where he spoke to Bran about what he discovered at the Citadel: Rhaegar Targaryen had annulled his marriage and married Lyanna Stark, thus making Jon Snow heir to the Iron Throne. He is Jon's closest friend and a fellow member of the Night's Watch, which should make their reunion interesting.
Status: A wildling and Samwell's romantic companion, Gilly first reads about Rhaegar Targaryen's annulment. Samwell, however, is caught up in his own problems, and doesn't realize how important the information is. She's now at Winterfell.
28. Little Sam
Status: Gilly's son Sam is a product of incest, between Gilly and her father Craster. Samwell saved them both from certain death and is helping raise the baby as his own; Craster intended to sacrifice the child to the White Walkers. Both Little Sam and Gilly are with Samwell at Winterfell.
Status: A former slave of Slaver's Bay, Missandei was liberated by Daenerys and her army of Unsullied. She now serves as Daenerys' most trusted advisor and accompanies her everywhere. She has a romantic relationship with Grey Worm.
30. Grey Worm
Status: Grey Worm is the commander of the Unsullied army, a legion of eunuchs who were purged of all emotion during their training from an early age. Once a slave, he fights for Daenerys of his own free will. He has a romantic attachment to Missandei; this has grown, along with his personality, since acquiring his freedom.
Status: One of the leaders of the Dothraki, Qhono has allegiance to Daenerys and crossed the Narrow Sea, along with the rest of the Dothraki, to help her claim the Iron Throne. He is a constant presence, and protected Daenerys during her first meeting with Jon Snow and the parley with Cersei.
32. Daario Naharis
Status: Originally tasked with assassinating Daenerys, Daario fell in love with her and pledged himself and his men to her cause. He stayed behind in Slaver's Bay to keep the peace while Daenerys traveled to Westeros.
Status: Viserion is the first of Daenerys's three dragons. He died in battle at the hands of the Night King, who pierced the dragon's neck with an ice spear. Viserion is now a reanimated wight. He is responsible for destroying the Wall in the Season 7 finale, allowing the White Walkers to cross over into Westeros.
Status: The second of Daenerys's three dragons, Drogon is the dragon Daenerys prefers to ride on. He was almost killed by Bronn in Season 7, when the sellsword fired a massive crossbow designed by Qyburn at Cersei's behest.
Status: Rhaegal is the third of Daenerys's three dragons, named after Rhaegar Targaryen, Jon Snow's father and Dany's brother. It's a safe bet that Jon will be bonding with Rhaegal in Season 8.
Status: Ghost is Jon Snow's direwolf, who watched over him when Jon was killed and then resurrected. He is currently staying with Sansa at Winterfell.
Status: Nymeria is Arya's direwolf, who hadn't been seen since Season 1. But Arya met her again, by chance, during her journey back to Winterfell in Season 7. Nymeria now leads a large wolf pack, and she declined Arya's offer to return "home."
38. Harry Strickland
Status: The leader of Golden Company, an army of swords-for-hire, Harry Strickland is recruited by Euron Greyjoy to fight for Cersei. He is a new character for Season 8.
39. Euron Greyjoy
Status: The uncle of Theon and Yara Greyjoy, Euron fights for Cersei. He became King of the Iron Islands after murdering his brother Balon and is holding Yara captive. He is currently on his way to Essos to recruit the Golden Company to Cersei's forces.
Status: The Hand of the Queen to Cersei, Qyburn was cast out of the Maesters due to unsavory experimentation. He is responsible for bringing The Mountain back to "life" in his current zombie form. He was also present at the parley in the Dragon Pit.
41. Lyanna Mormont
Status: The head of House Mormont is a harsh but effective 13-year-old girl who takes no nonsense from any of the other Northern houses. She was crucial to the ascent of Jon Snow as King in the North, and was the first to proclaim him as such.
42. Robin Arryn
Status: The head of House Arryn and the late Catelyn Stark's nephew, Robin lived an extremely sheltered life; he's not a good swordsman and he's not a good archer, although Yohn Royce is doing his best to fix that. He's also mentally feeble, though Littlefinger apparently convinced him to support Jon and Sansa in their bid to defeat Ramsay Bolton by sending the Knights of the Vale to help.
43. Edmure Tully
Status: Sansa and Arya's maternal uncle has been held prisoner in the Frey dungeon for several seasons, and as Head of House Tully, he surrendered Riverrun to the Lannisters after Jaime threatened to kill his son. He was still imprisoned by the Freys when Arya came and murdered them all; it's unknown what his current status is.
44: Ned Umber
Status: After his father died defending Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards, 10-year-old Ned Umber pledged House Umber's loyalty to the Starks. Jon was merciful and did not hold Ned responsible for his father's betrayal.
45. Alys Kastark
Status: As with Ned Umber, Alys Kastark also re-pledged the loyalty of her House to the Starks. Jon did not hold her accountable for her father's allegiance either.
Status: An Archmaester at the Citadel, Ebrose was the Citadel official who Samwell interacted with the most. He was impressed by Samwell's curing of Jorah's Greyscale, but was also consistently doubtful of him; he restricted Samwell's library access, assigned him menial tasks, and was skeptical about claims of the White Walkers' resurgence.
47. Maester Wolkan
Status: Originally a Maester under Ramsay Bolton, Wolkan currently serves House Stark at Winterfell. He has proved loyal to Sansa and Jon, and he built Bran a wheelchair to improve his mobility.
48. Jaqen H'ghar
Status: A Faceless Man with a soft spot for Arya, Jaqen trains her in the assassination skills of his order. He allows her to leave Braavos in Season 6 after she kills The Waif in combat.
49. Hot Pie
Status: After numerous misadventures in Seasons 1, 2, and 3, Hot Pie decided to stay at the Inn of the Crossroads, where he became a cook and piemaker. He reappeared in Season 7 when Arya stopped by the Inn, and he informed her that Jon defeated Ramsay Bolton and was named King in the North.
50. Meera Reed
Status: One of Bran's most loyal, protective companions, she transported Bran to Winterfell and reunited him with his sisters Sansa and Arya. She feels used and unappreciated by Bran, especially since her brother Jojen gave his life to keep him safe. She left Winterfell and returned to her home in Season 7.
51. Tycho Nestoris
Status: An employee of the Iron Bank of Braavos, Tycho informed Cersei that the Iron Bank will back Cersei's side in the war after she pays back King's Landing's debts in full. We may meet a different bank representative in Season 8; actor Mark Gatiss confirmed he will not be appearing in the new episodes.
52. The Night King
Status: Now armed with an undead Dragon and a massive army of White Walkers and wights, the Night King has breached the wall and will no doubt lay siege to Winterfell. We know, thanks to an interview with his actor Vladmir Furdik, that he has a single target in mind. Is it Jon? Is it Bran? Hopefully, we'll find out on April 14, when Game of Thrones begins its 8th and final season on HBO.