With the season eight premiere of Game of Thrones looming, you’re probably trying to determine your best approach for briefing yourself before winter officially comes. Well, you can stop spinning in circles over your too-little-time conundrum — Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman just revealed the must-watch episodes from seasons one through seven. You can forget about any other rewatch guides you may have seen floating around the internet because Cogman clearly knows his stuff. In fact, he’s the only GoT writer (along with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss) who’s been with the hit HBO show from the beginning.
If you haven’t watched a single episode of GoT yet, suffice it to say there are spoilers ahead. See also: Better clear your calendar for the next two weeks. You’ve got some catching up to do.
Not surprisingly, the first two episodes of the very first season top Cogman’s list. Citing “Winter Is Coming” and “The Kingsroad,” Cogman told Entertainment Weekly, “Let’s start the rewatch with a double feature, shall we? Taken together, these two episodes serve as a mega-pilot as so much of Episode 1 is devoted to simply meeting with various characters and understanding the world of the show.” It’s the second episode, explains Cogman, that gets you invested in those characters. “Episode 2 really makes you care. I remember watching a rough cut of the opening sequence (in which Jon bids farewell to his family and heads for the Wall) on my laptop in Belfast and thinking: This works! We have a show!” Cogman said, pointing out another episode-two perk, “Oh, and Episode 2 is the one where Tyrion slaps Joffrey (not for the last time).
That’ll get you started, sure. But your homework is far from finished. Cogman recommends chasing the first two episodes of the fantasy drama with the following:
Episode nine: “Baelor”
Episode ten: “Fire and Blood”
Episode three: “What Is Dead May Never Die”
Episode six: “The Old Gods and the New”
Episode nine: “Blackwater”
Episode three: “Walk of Punishment”
Episode four: “And Now His Watch Is Ended”
Episode five: “Kissed By Fire”
Episode nine: “The Rains of Castamere”
Episode six: “The Laws of Gods and Men”
Episode eight: “The Mountain and the Viper”
Episode ten: “The Children”
Episode eight: “Hardhome”
Episode five: “The Door”
Episode nine: “Battle of the Bastards”
Episode ten: “The Winds of Winter”
Episode three: “The Queen’s Justice”
Episode four: “The Spoils of War”
Episode seven: “The Dragon and the Wolf”
Dying to know why Cogman considers these episodes required watching? You can read his full thoughts here. And, hopefully, you’ll have your bearings about you by the time Game of Thrones returns for its final season on Sunday, April 14.