'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Recap Ahead of Season 7 Tonight

Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones Season 7
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) in "Game of Thrones" Season 7. Helen Sloan/HBO

Oh glorious day. Game of Thrones returns this evening for a seventh season of plotting, backstabbing, intrigue and, er, incest, in the quest for the Iron Throne.

Unsurprisingly, given the varied and complicated plot lines, we've largely forgotten what happened last season. It was a long time ago, and we were mainly thrilled that Arya Stark had reclaimed needle and gave up life as a faceless assassin (if you understood none of this, you're in need of a much longer recap and show explainer, which you can find here).

So, for anyone planning to watch the Season 7 opener tonight, here's a brief rundown of everything you need to know from Season 6.

Lots of people died. Unsurprisingly for a show that isn't scared of killing off characters you love (Ned Stark. Still not over it), Season 6 brought the deaths of 30 key characters including Hodor, Ramsay Bolton (good riddance), Tommen Baratheon, Margaery Tyrell, Walder Frey, and High Sparrow.

A Lannister always pays their debts. They're also a dab hand with fire, as Cersei proved when she finally enacted revenge on, well, pretty much everyone who has ever wronged her. The biggest badass in King's Landing unleashed wildfire on the Great Sept of Baelor, polishing off her enemies, but prompting her son to leap to his death in the Season 6 finale, leaving her the heir to the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow: staying alive. It's a busy series for Jon, who manages to come back from the dead, rally the wildlings, retake Winterfell in a plot orchestrated by his sister Sansa Stark, gets hailed as the King in the North, banishes Melisandre (who brought him back to life) and is reveled to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

Bran Stark, who has a vision about Jon being the son of Rhaegar Targaryen at the end of the season, spent a lot of time being trained by the three-eyed raven-where he learnt how the first White Walker was created and lost his best pal Hodor in what was the weepiest episode of the series.

Sansa Stark has had a pretty tough time of it, what with being married off to two husbands against her will during the course of the show. Luckily, in Season 6, she escapes the clutches of the barbaric Ramsay Bolton and eventually feeds him to some dogs. Boom. She also gives her brother Jon Snow awesome battle advice, which turns out to be the way to win Winterfell back, although Jon gets the praise for it anyway. Damned misogyny in the Seven Kingdoms.

Daenerys Targaryen finally sets sail across the narrow sea for Westeros at the end of Season 6, having burnt a bunch of Khals who looked down on her and scorching the ships of the slave masters (the mother of dragons is a big fan of fire). Of the two men who love her, one has greyscale and the other she decides to leave in Mereeen while she goes to conquer the rest of the world. On the upside, her new BFF is Tyrion Lannister.

It wasn't the most exciting season for Tyrion Lannister, who in previous series killed his ex-lover and his father before fleeing the city, with much of Season 6 spent trying to buddy up to Daenerys or missing his old pal Varys, but we're expecting more exciting things from him in coming seasons, with a confrontation with Cersei in the works somewhere along the line.

In comparison, Arya Stark's journey during Season 6 was epic. Trained to become a faceless man, she was temporarily blinded at the end of Season 5, learns to fight without sight, refuses to murder an innocent woman, then decides not to become a faceless man. Phew. After surviving a quick stabbing in the stomach and reclaiming her identity, she sets to work on that kill list, managing to off Lothar Frey and Black Walder Rivers, whom she bakes into a pie and serves to Walder Frey before slitting his throat. Better watch your back Cersei.

Oh and FYI, winter is finally here.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones airs on HBO in the US on Sunday at 9pm and in the UK at 2am Monday on Sky Atlantic.