The final season of Game of Thrones is less than a week away, and fans are spending time frantically catching up with what's going on in Westeros ahead of the final season. With almost a two-year gap between season seven and season eight, it's understandable that some fans might not quite remember what is happening with all three hundred characters... which isn't actually that much of an exaggeration!
The final season is going to see all the major players return to our screens, as well as several new faces (yes, new characters are being introduced in the final season), but thankfully, at this point they are very clearly grouped into two sides: one headed up by Jon and Daenerys, and the other by Cersei and Jamie. However, there's still a lot to catch up on - so here's what's happening with every main character who is going to appear in Game of Thrones season 8.
11 New Characters
A show like Game of Thrones needs to keep adding to its cast - to balance out all the characters that get killed off! Which means that there are some fresh faces joining the show for the final season. First among these is Harry Strickland, the leader of the Golden Company, a sellsword band that Euron has been sent to hire. In addition, there is speculation that we aren't entirely done with the Freys, as a character named 'Sarra' has been cast, and the only Sarra in the books is a Frey. Given that Arya left the women alive, this may be an important plot point in the final season - especially as another character named 'Willa' has been cast. And Will sounds a lot like Walder, which means this may be another Frey joining the fray.
10 The Little Guys
There are several characters that we will probably see, but who don't have a major part to play in the battle for the Iron Throne. Podrick Payne, Brienne's squire (formerly Tyrion's), will definitely be appearing in the final season. He was last seen at the parley in the ruins of the Dragonpit, and it can be assumed that he is now on his way back to Winterfell with Brienne. Hot Pie may also appear, and was last seen working as a baker's apprentice and baking Arya some lovely direwolf shaped bread. Given that he is working at a major Inn between King's Landing and Winterfell, it's highly likely that he'll pop up a final time.
Meera Reed is another character who may reappear, but this one is less likely. Ellie Kendrick, who plays Meera, has said that she does not think she will be back this season - and while it's definitely possible that this is a lie created to avoid spoilers, Meera was last seen leaving Winterfell to return home, done with Bran (seemingly for good). The Sand Snakes may also reappear, but again, this is somewhat unlikely. Game of Thrones didn't do the best job of handling these characters, and by the end of season 7, most were dead or dying, or chained to a dungeon wall to slowly die. We don't expect much of a Sand Snake storyline for the final season.
9 The Warriors
These guys definitely have a bigger role to play, even if they don't fit with any of the major houses in Westeros. Grey Worm, the leader of the Unsullied, is confirmed for the final season - although no one knows if he'll survive it. At the start of the season, he's headed back to Winterfell from King's Landing, at the head of the army. Beric Dondarrion is another warrior type who has been confirmed to have survived the fall of the Wall, and has also been spotted in promos fighting - seemingly at Winterfell. Also seen in those promos is the Hound, and the Clegane brothers are also confirmed to be appearing in the finale season... with the possibility of still seeing the highly anticipated Cleganebowl. This was hinted at in the season 7 finale, when the Hound told the Mountain 'you know who's coming for you' - the assumption being that the Hound is referring to himself. Brienne is also headed back North, and will likely be fighting at Winterfell.
Finally, Bronn of the Blackwater will also presumably reappear in the final season, although he hasn't popped up in any advance footage yet. Bronn was last seen in King's Landing, although he's made it clear that he isn't fighting for any kind of loyalty, but for gold. Because of this, he may change sides, or he may even just turn tail and head somewhere safe.
8 The Schemers
Not everyone who doesn't fit in a specific house is a warrior - there are also some serious schemers in Westeros. Varys is definitely going to be back for the final season, along with Melisandre. However, these two have had a conversation recently about the fact that they will both 'die in Westeros' (according to Melisandre's visions), which suggests that while they will appear, they won't be making it through to the end.
Qyburn will also presumably reappear, as he is Cersei's right-hand-not-maester, and his dealings with the Mountain may not be done. Fans still don't know what happened to turn the Mountain into the zombie-kingsguard he is now, and that's a question that needs to be answered. A final schemer who may pop up again is (believe it or not), Littlefinger. It may have appeared as though he got his throat cut at the end of season seven, but there are theories that he faked his own death, and he'll be back for one last play...
In the North, there are some wildlings and crows that have been confirmed to be appearing for the final season. Tormund Giantsbane has definitely survived the fall of the Wall, so he'll be back for season 8 (and hopefully get a chance to reunite with Brienne!). Alongside him will be Eddison Tollett, now acting Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. Dolorous Edd will also be making an appearance in the final season, but as he is on the frontlines of the fight against the White Walkers, he may not last long.
6 House Greyjoy
Onto the major houses of Westeros! House Greyjoy is in turmoil at the start of season eight, with the Iron Islands split into two factions - those for Euron, and those for Yara. At the end of season 7, there are four members of House Greyjoy left alive: Yara, Theon, Euron, and Aeron. Aeron, a priest of the Drowned God, appeared briefly in season 6, and hasn't been back since. It's highly unlikely he'll appear in season 8.
Yara, Theon, and Euron are confirmed for the final season, though. At the end of season 7, Yara was a captive of Euron, who has now gone to hire the Golden Company for Cersei. Meanwhile, Theon has left Jon and Daenerys and gone to try and rescue Yara.
5 House Baratheon
Once one of the most important houses in the series, House Baratheon has been whittled down to a single person: Gendry. This bastard son of Robert has managed to stay alive for seven seasons, and he and his hammer were a vital part of Daenerys' rescue mission beyond the Wall.
He was last seen at Eastwatch, delivering his vital message, but will persumably be back in season 8, using his blacksmithing skills to forge weapons for the battles to come.
4 Houses Tarly & Mormont
Two houses that are still fairly important are Tarly and Mormont, but we're wrapping them into a single entry because there are only a few important characters guaranteed to show up in the final season. Of the Tarlys, although several are left alive, the only one confirmed for the final season is Sam, who was last seen at Winterfell, and who needs to tell Jon that he is actually a Targaryen. Gilly and little Sam are with him, of course, and will also be showing up in season 8, but it's unlikely that the rest of his family will be making an appearance.
Of the Mormonts, Lyanna will be reappearing, and presumably fighting at Winterfell. Jorah, now cured of his Greyscale by Sam, will also be around for the final season. He was last seen in King's Landing at the parley, and is now headed North for the big fight. Davos Seaworth is also going to be at Winterfell in the final season, another who was present at King's Landing and is now on the way North.
3 House Lannister
On to the big guns. Three Lannisters are going to appear in season 8: Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. All three have been seen in promo footage, and are major players in the battle for the throne.
At the end of season 7, the three came together at King's Landing, but are now going in very different directions. Cersei remains in King's Landing, plotting away on the Iron Throne. Jaime has left her, to try and join Jon and Dany to save Westeros from the Night King. Tyrion, meanwhile, is with Jon and Dany - and doesn't appear too happy about the fact that things are getting romantic between them.
2 House Stark
House Stark is certainly a lot smaller than it was at the start of the show, but there are still a few Starks around that are playing to win. Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, and Bran Stark are all going to be part of season 8, with Sansa and Arya prominently featured in the promos. At the end of the last season, Sansa is acting as Lady of Winterfell, with Faceless Arya by her side. The two sisters, along with Bran/The Three-Eyed Raven managed to kill Littlefinger (probably - as we mentioned earlier, there are theories that he is still alive), and are plotting to protect their pack as Winter comes.
1 House Targaryen
Finally, we have House Targaryen. While on the surface, this only means Daenerys, there are a few more people who matter to this house who are confirmed for season 8. Daenerys herself, obviously, is going to be a part of the final season, as is Jon Snow - who finds himself with this House, not the Starks, because it was revealed that he is actually the trueborn son of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
In addition, Missandei, Dany's most trusted ex-slave advisor, is going to be appearing this season (presumably at Dany's side, where she has been from the start), and the dragons are going to be a big part of it as well. Daario Naharis has not been confirmed for the final season, although he may appear - and was last seen being left in charge of Meereen for his Queen.
Who do you think is going to make it through the final season? Comment and let us know.