The penultimate season of Game of Thrones has come to a close following an incredible finale episode in The Dragon and The Wolf, but after an action-packed run it's now time to take stock of everything that went down in Westeros over the past seven weeks.
Scaling back the episode count from the usual ten per season to just seven this year definitely impacted the pacing of the series and it felt like it was over in a flash.
Spoiler alert for anyone who has not yet seen The Dragon and The Wolf.
In previous seasons much of the plot and character development has happened as characters travel from place to place, and this time around it was more a case of placing them where they needed to be – even if it sometimes didn't make any sense – so that by the time the final season airs, everyone is where they should be and loose ends are tied up.
While the pacing did take some getting used to, it didn't detract from the spectacle of events that came to pass and there was a definite feeling that the writers gave fans what they wanted after years of playing with our emotions, with this season having a relatively low death count in terms of the main cast, and some long-running theories proved true.
From family reunions to character meetings, and the largest coming together of the main cast since season one, here's our rundown of the biggest moments of season seven:
Aegon Targaryen, the heir to the Iron Throne
We've known for a while that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, but now we know the full story after a conversation between Sam and Bran. Jon's real name is Aegon Targaryen and he is not actually a bastard at all as Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell was annulled in Dorne so he could marry Lyanna.
Because he is the legitimate son to the last true heir to the Iron Throne, he has a better claim than his aunt Daenerys, which will be quite the news to get when they arrive in Winterfell after their antics on the boat to White Harbor.
Targaryens have a long history of incest in their family, but the revelation that they are related could cause more problems than just the familial nature of things. Daenerys has grown up believing that she is the heir to the throne and she has spent the last seven seasons learning how to be a queen, so the news that she actually isn’t the heir at all probably won't go down too well, even though Jon/Aegon would have no interest in sitting on the Iron Throne. Despite his better claim, the armies Daenerys commands are hers and follow her because they believe in her, not her family name specifically.
When Jon eventually returns to Winterfell in season eight, Bran and Sam are sure to sit him down and tell him what they have discovered. He has always channelled Ned Stark when it comes to loyalty and bravery, and while he is still a Stark, how will he deal with the news that he is also a Targaryen and not Ned's son at all?
And how will the North react? He is still half Stark, and they have hailed him as their king, but not only is he going to be rocking up with Daenerys having bended the knee; he'll also have that bombshell to drop. The Northern Lords don't particularly like the Targaryens, so who knows what will happen. Sansa has been doing a good job as Lady of Winterfell in his absence, so maybe she'll take the reins for good.
Realistically, none of that really matters until the war between the living and the dead is done and Jon will always do what is best for his people and the greater good.
The Song of Ice and Fire
From a hilarious first introduction in Dragonstone courtesy of Ser Davos ("This is Jon Snow... He's King in the North") to an eventual romance at season's end, the coming together of Jon and Daenerys was huge this season and the foreshadowing about them having children together has been pushed in our faces.
The Game of Thrones writers never say anything for the sake of it; the show is full of hints of events to come when you look closely enough. While some things are more subtle, the talk of Daenerys not being able to have children was mentioned a lot, so I'll be shocked if she doesn't conceive after her night of passion on the boat with Jon.
Not only did Tyrion bring up the issue of succession with her, but she also told Jon herself twice that she can't have kids. His reply of "well, who told you that" when it came up again in the season finale almost sounded like he wanted to take on the challenge, and sure enough by the end of the episode they'd gotten together.
Regardless of whether or not Daenerys or Jon would aim to sit on the Iron Throne, their child would always end up ruling. That of course, goes on the assumption that at least one of them will survive to the very end of the show.
I'd love to see Jon and Dany co-ruling the seven kingdoms, with a little family of brown and silver haired children and some dragons, but that just seems a bit too happy an ending for Game of Thrones, doesn't it?
The crumbling of The Wall
After standing tall for thousands of years, The Wall came crumbling down this season at the hands of the Night King and his brand new un-dead dragon Viserion. After Viserion's death and resurrection in Beyond The Wall, I had wondered about what kind of abilities he would have – would he breathe ice or fire – and it turns out it's blue fire capable of melting The Wall.
The Army of the Dead move fairly slowly so it might take them a while to actually find people, but seeing them trudge through the rubble towards the living was chilling, and seeing the Night King fly off into the distance on Viserion was an incredible image to end the season on.
Given that Viserion breathes blue fire, it will visually look great in an inevitable face-off with his brothers Drogon and Rhaegal. With the Night King riding Viserion, and Daenerys on Drogon, it makes sense that Jon would become the third ride and sit atop Rhaegal, who was actually named for his father.
While winter officially arrived last season, it has now reached south to King's Landing, with snow seen falling on the buildings in the capital. The Night King brings the storm, and war is coming.
Cersei and Tyrion reunite
Despite Olenna Tyrell telling Jaime that she orchestrated Joffrey's death, putting Tyrion in the clear, Cersei still hates her youngest brother and blames him for the deaths of her two other children Tommen and Myrcella, who she believes would still be alive had Tyrion not killed Tywin.
The emotional scene between Cersei and Tyrion was one of the best of the season, with both actors bringing their A-games, and it appeared to result in Cersei agreeing to a truce with Daenerys until the war against the Night King was won.
Of course, Cersei's word means nothing – she lied to get what she wanted in the way Dany and co. were annoyed Jon could not – and she had already sent Euron Greyjoy off to transport back an army of mercenaries to join her cause. But what did we miss in the conversation with Cersei and Tyrion? While we saw her pass up the opportunity to have The Mountain kill him, we missed the finer details of their agreement.
The way Tyrion looked on as Jon entered Daenerys' cabin on the boat was peculiar. I refuse to believe it was a look of jealousy and that he is in love with Daenerys, and I really hope he hasn’t made some kind of deal with Cersei that their union will now put in jeopardy. Could he know something of Jon's parentage? Could this come back to his question of succession? He had suggested they discuss a way of selecting a new ruler if children were not an option. Did he have someone in mind to take over when she dies?
Tyrion hasn't had a great season generally, which is annoying because he's one of the best characters on the show, but surely he isn't going to turn on Dany now. Hopefully the look is just one of general concern for how their romance could complicate things politically.
Jaime is finally free
Jaime has watched on as Cersei has grown madder and crueler, with his concern obvious and his inability to reason with her frustrating. They have always had each other, but she has now gotten to a point of not trusting anyone, not even him.
Almost ordering his death, she instead lets him go, and he rides off into the distance just as the snows begin to fall in the south.
Jaime knows that the deal she made with Daenerys and Jon is false, will he run to his Tyrion to tell him? Will he join the fight against the dead himself?
It will be good to see Jaime away from the influence of Cersei, but without him keeping her somewhat level headed, just how bad will she get in season eight. And what will happen with their baby? If she does actually marry Euron, will she pretend it is his child, the way she did while she was married to Robert Baratheon?
Jon and Sansa had an emotional meeting last season, and this year we got to see Bran, Sansa and Arya all reunite, but none really had the same pay off, mainly due to Bran being the Three-Eyed Raven now and creeping the girls out a little bit.
Their reunion did however spell the end of Littlefinger, a character that has been a constant source of chaos and drama in the seven kingdoms, orchestrating essentially everything that has come to pass in the series.
His death scene was well played, with the annoyingly contrived tension between Arya and Sansa finally coming to an end as well. I like Arya a lot as a character, but she often gets a raw deal in terms of storyline. Arya V Sansa in Winterfell this season, and her seemingly never-ending stint in Braavos, were possibly two of the worst plots in the entire show.
Now that Littlefinger is dead, will they keep the news in the north, and allow Arya to use his face to get close to Cersei and cross her name off her list?
Another great Stark reunion came as Jon was saved by his uncle Benjen north of The Wall, sacrificing himself in the process. Jon and Benjen had always been close; with Benjen the reason Jon actually joined the Night's Watch in the first place. It was also news of Benjen that the men who killed him used to lure him outside to be attacked.
Arya avenges the Red Wedding
Killing Walder Frey and using his face, Arya got revenge on the Frey's for the events of the Red Wedding, inviting the whole family to a feast and poisoning everyone in attendance. It was an incredible scene to open the season with.
Daenerys' dragon power
The moment Daenerys lead the Dothraki in a charge against the Lannister and Tarly armies, while riding Drogon, was unbelievable. The action marked a season high, with The Spoils of War really kicking things off for the remainder of the season.
It was an incredible display of strength from the Mother of Dragons that made the threat of her dragons and armies seem a whole lot more credible to the Lannisters, after having outwitted her and Tyrion's plans a number of times in a row.
Her dragons were also given huge prominence as they came to the rescue of Jon's expedition to capture a wight to bring to King's Landing. The army of the dead was no match for their fire power, but of course she suffered a major loss in the process, with Viserion being shot by one of the Night King's ice spears.
The whole idea of "the ink being dry" that the Three-Eyed Raven posed last season would make you stop and think. How would the Night King have gotten through The Wall if he hadn't had the opportunity to kill and turn Viserion?
After seasons of wondering where Robert Baratheon's secret son Gendry had gone since escaping from Stannis and Melissandre with the help of Ser Davos, he finally came back this year and he was ready for action.
Jorah finds a cure
After being sent away by Daenerys and told not to return until he found a cure for his greyscale, Jorah Mormont was treated by Sam and returned to his Khaleesi as good as new... To see her fall in love with yet another man. Forever in the friendzone.
Game of Thrones season eight goes into production in October, with a premiere date yet to be released.