So far, we have seen seven seasons of Game of Thrones. Season eight, the final season of the show, will not be released for another year. Unfortunately, whenever we have to wait for the next season for such a long time we are bound to forget some things that have already happened in the past seasons. As such, when we first start watching a new season of our favorite show we are sometimes left puzzled and confused by the events that are happening and by the references that characters make.

In addition, sometimes things are not properly explained on the TV show itself anyways and you have to go and look things up online to get a better picture of what is happening. Below we have compiled 15 facts that will hopefully help you understand Game of Thrones a little bit better next time you’re watching it. And perhaps the article below will also answer some of the questions you might have had!

15. The Last Hero, Azor Ahai And The Prince That Was Promised

Three mythical heroes are especially important in Game of Thrones. These three heroes are: the Last Hero, Azor Ahai and the Prince That Was Promised. There is only a slight difference between them.

The Last Hero was a man from Westeros who killed the White Walkers with the aid of the Children of the Forest. No prophecy predicts him coming back.

Azor Ahai was a man from Essos who lived during the Long Night. To defeat the White Walkers, Azor Ahai had to create a magical sword called Lightbringer. However, to create the sword he had to sacrifice his wife. There’s a prophecy that the followers of the Lord of Light (Melisandre and Brotherhood Without Banners) believe in which says that Azor Ahai will someday return.

Targaryens believe in the Prince That Was Promised who is similar to Azor Ahai. It is unclear if he has ever come before and whether it is believed by anyone that he will come again.

14. The Long Night Did Not Just Happen In Westeros

You might wonder, why won’t Westerosi just move somewhere else and thus escape the terror of the Long Night and the White Walkers? Well, apart from logistical reasons and overcrowding that could occur if mass movement took place, most other continents in the Game of Thrones universe have also experienced the Long Night and White Walkers (or the equivalent) at one point or another.

For example, Essos has also been affected by White Walkers. The Patrimony of Hyrkoon, located in East Essos, has a legendary hero – Hyrkoon the Hero – who supposedly stopped the White Walkers and basically saved the day. In Yi Ti, located in the far East Essos, a similar disaster was prevented by a woman with a monkey’s tail. Afterwards, Yi Ti ended up building the Five Forts which stand 1,000 feet tall (whereas the Wall stands only 700 feet tall).

13. Brotherhood Without Banners Was Indirectly Started By Ned Stark

The Brotherhood Without Banners is a group of rebels who were working against the Lannisters in the Riverlands during the War of the Five Kings (which occurred after the death of King Robert I). However, the group’s main concern is to protect the peasants and ordinary people regardless of which King or Lord they might support.

Ned Stark was the indirect founder of the group after he sent a group of knights and soldiers, led by Beric Dondarrion, to restore peace in the Riverlands just as the war was about to start. The group was trapped behind enemy lines during the War of the Five Kings and ended up becoming a guerrilla fighting group. Some of the members left the Brotherhood and went on to kill innocent civilians. However, when these members are caught by Beric or Thoros, they are executed.

12. The White Walkers Were Created By The Children Of The Forest

The White Walkers are thousands of years old. They were magically created by the Children of the Forest to protect them from the First Men after the latter came after them. The Children of the Forest thus turned humans they encountered into deadly ice men. The Children of the Forest, a strange, non-human race, are said to have been the original inhabitants of Westeros.

However, over time the White Walkers turned on the Children of the Forest, intent on destroying them. The Children of the Forest, seeing what a powerful enemy they accidentally created, decided to help the founder of House Stark, Bran the Builder, build the Wall.

As the Wall was built, the White Walkers moved on further north and eventually everyone forgot about them.

11. The Difference Between The White Walkers And The Army Of The Dead (aka The Wights)

As you have probably noticed, the White Walkers and the army of the dead are not the same. White Walkers are an ancient race that are said to have been created by the Children of the Forest. Normal weapons can’t harm them – they can only be killed by Valyrian steel and Dragonglass. White Walkers can also communicate with one another by speaking a language known as “Skroth” which sounds like “ice-cracking chatter.” White Walkers are led by The Night King.

The Army of the Dead, also known as Wights or Dead Men, are basically White Walkers’ minions. Any dead human being can be turned into a wight by either the White Walkers or the Dead Men. The Army of the Dead look and move like zombies. They can be harmed with normal weapons but can only be killed by fire. They can’t speak the language of “Skroth.”

10. There Are No Female White Walkers

You have probably noticed that while there are plenty of female wights, there are no female White Walkers. That’s probably because when the Children of the Forest were turning humans into White Walkers so as to create an army and protect themselves from the First Men, they didn’t encounter any females.

After all, it seems that it is only men who do the fighting in Westeros, so it is only natural to believe that it was the same thousands of years ago. And if the White Walkers don’t run into any females, how can there be any female White Walkers?

However, according to the books, there was once a female White Walker. In the books, Old Nan tells Bran about a Night’s Watch brother who went beyond the wall and fell in love with a woman with white skin and blue eyes. They came back to the Nightfort together and ruled over the Night’s Watch brothers as the Night King and Queen. Of course, this legend does not apply to the TV series where the White Walkers were created by Children of the Forest.

9. The Wall Was Built By Bran The Builder, The Founder Of House Stark

The Wall was built after the Children of the Forest and the First Men came together to push the White Walkers back to the Lands of Always Winter after the Great War and the First Long Night. The wall was built by Bran the Builder who was the founder of House Stark.

The Wall is 700 feet tall and 300 miles wide and is made of ice, earth and steel. The Wall is so wide at the top that it is believed that 12 men can easily ride horseback side by side. But that’s not all! The wall is also magical. Inside the wall there are countless charms and spells that are supposed to repel the White Walkers. Of course, none of this is good enough when there’s a massive dead dragon on the loose.

8. The Long Night Explained

For the last few seasons of Game of Thrones almost everyone in Westeros was (and still is) worried about the Long Night. According to the show, there has only ever been one Long Night in history. The last Long Night occurred during a period known as the Age of Heroes when Westeros was inhabited only by Children of the Forest, the First Men and giants.

According to Old Nan, the last Long Night lasted a generation. White Walkers moved from the North and kings froze in their castles, shepherds froze in their huts and mothers smothered their babies so they wouldn’t have to see them starve. The White Walkers rode on their ice-spiders who were as big as dogs and killed everyone they encountered.

7. The Old Gods And The New

You know how the characters of Game of Thrones keep saying things such as “I swear to the Old Gods and the New”? But who are the old gods and the new gods? They have never been properly explained on the show.

The old gods are the faceless gods of the Children of the Forest and the First Men. The old gods consist of countless of spirits of nature who have no name. When Children of the Forest lived in Westeros, they used to carve faces in the tree trunks which symbolized their faith. The First Men adopted the Children’s gods.

However, about 6,000 years ago the God of Seven revealed itself to the Andals who then invaded Westeros. The Andals chopped down the trees, killed the Children of the Forest and took over the lands. With time, the Faith of the Seven spread. The Seven is one deity made up of seven aspects that represent a different area of life.

6. Both The Free Folk And The People Of The North Are Descendants Of The First Men

The Free Folk are the descendants of the First Men, just like the people of the North. When the Wall was being built, the Free Folk were located north of it which meant that they got trapped there forever.

Over time, people of Westeros forgot all about the White Walkers and came to believe that the Wall was protecting them from the Free Folk, also known as the wildlings.

Wildlings consist of many different tribes, such as White Tree, Craster’s Keep, The Thenn, and Hornfoots, among many others. Some of these tribes are much more refined than others. The different tribes speak different languages but they all believe in the Old Gods.

5. The Faceless Men – How Does Arya Change Her Face?

In season six of Game of Thrones, we saw Arya reject the religion of the Faceless Men, and in turn, the Many-Faced God of Death. However, even though she decided not stick around to become a full-time assassin, Arya still uses the knowledge she gained with the strange cult now that she is back in Westeros.

But how exactly does Arya take the faces she wants to use? We know that she can kill a person and take his face, but is there any other way she can access faces? Some say that because she used to train as a faceless assassin, Arya now has access to The Hall of Faces at all times and can choose any face she wants regardless of where she is located.

And how does Arya put a stranger’s face on her own? According to George R. R. Martin’s books, before putting on a new face Arya has to cut her own face so it bleeds before the stranger’s face is softened by the blood and can be easily pulled on to her own.

Also, according to the books, while Arya wears a new face she can experience the memories of the previous owner.

4. Most Westerosi Are Descendants Of The Andals And Those From The Vale Are The Purest Descendants Of Them All

Remember the Battle of the Bastards when Jon’s army was about to be defeated but then a huge army rode in and saved the day? If you still don’t know who they are, let us tell you: the Knights of the Vale.

But who are the Knights of the Vale? Well, when the Andals first came to Westeros and took it over (they spread their Faith of the Seven, killed the Children of the Forest and the First Men and captured cities) the Vale was the first place they came upon. Most Westerosi are said to be the descendants of the Andals so those from the Vale are the purest descendants of them all. The Knights of the Vale also helped overthrow the Mad King.

3. The Red Woman Was Once A Slave Who Was Sold To The Temple Of The Lord Of Light

The mysterious young woman known as the Red Woman, or Melisandre, originally comes from the city of Asshai. As a child, she was a slave known as “Melony”. When she was being sold at the slave auction she was referred to as “Lot Seven”.

Luckily for Melisandre, she was not sold to an awful master. Instead, she was sold to the temple of the Lord of Light in Asshai. With time, Melisanre became a priestess and a promoter of the religion of the Lord of Light – “The night is dark and full of terrors, old man, but the fire burns them all away.”

2. The Maesters’ Duty

Did you notice how many maesters there are in Game of Thrones? Maesters, who are also known as the Order of Maesters, are scholars, healers and learned men. Almost every noble house in Game of Thrones has a maester who teaches the Lord’s children and attends to medical needs of the household’s inhabitants.

Maester’s are also responsible for looking after ravens which are used for sending messages. Maesters have to drop their family name once they join the order. They are assigned to various castles and even though the ownership of the castle may change the maester is not allowed to stop serving the castle, and in consequence, the new Lord.

In fact, maesters are not forbidden from advising the Lord in political and military matters, however, should his Lord lose the battle because of him, the maester will naturally gracefully accept the new Lord and serve him faithfully.

1. Most Mercenaries Of The Golden Company Are Exiles Or Sons Of Exiles

The Golden Company that Cersei is constantly talking about is a company of mercenaries who sell their services to the highest bidder. They’re the largest, most famous and most expensive such company in the Free Cities. The Golden Company’s motto is – “Our word is good as gold.” And indeed, it is said that the Golden Company has never broken its word.

The Golden Company was founded by Aegon Rivers who was the legitimized bastard son of Aegon IV Targaryen. Most mercenaries that belong to the company are exiles or sons of exiles.

So it makes sense that Cersei wants to hire their help. After all, the company can hire up to 20,000 men, thousands of horses and even a few elephants!