What you need to know about the North’s history to understand Game of Thrones’ season 8 premiere, Winterfell

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HBO’s Game of Thrones is a dense series with a huge weight of history behind its story, so in practically every episode, something happens that could use a little explanation. So every week, The Verge will be diving into a scene or event from the latest installment of the series and explain how we got here. Whether you’re basically a Game of Thrones maester or you need a little reminder about previous events, we’ll try to help you keep your history straight.

Game of Thrones is back, and this week’s season premiere did a whole lot of place-setting for the season to come. And one of the key pieces of setup was re-establishing the major players of the various houses in the North, which have seen some shifts in allegiances since we’ve last checked in. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current state of Northern politics before things start to heat up.

Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 1, “Winterfell.”

Starks and friends

Obviously, the most important folks in town in the North are House Stark — if you’ve made it this far in the show, I probably don’t need to explain who