The final season of Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on the 1991 novel of the same name by George R. Martin, begins April 14th. The first promo video for the season can be seen below.

Haven’t followed the series but want to see what all the fuss is about? VOX today offers an essential episodes guide “if you want to understand the plot.”

Looking for a simple “essential episodes” guide to Game of Thrones before the show returns for its eighth and final season? Not so fast.

Game of Thrones is such a sprawling series that trying to skim-watch your way through it — especially if you’re trying to catch up before season eight premieres on April 14 — isn’t as easy as it might sound.

For one thing, while its fancy high-budget battle scenes and many shocking moments have earned it plenty of buzz and fueled endless fan debates over the years, revisiting them won’t necessarily help you recall the overall plot — and if you’re a newbie, many of them will be hard to care about without the context of who’s who and what’s at stake. As a case in point, Game of Thrones’ single most essential episode, “Rains of Castamere,” is pretty much useless as a way to understand either the show’s overall narrative trajectory or who any of its core characters are.

That piece is here.

 

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