THE night is dark and full of terrors, and so is the penultimate season of Game of Thrones.
As the show moves towards the endgame, season seven promises to be one of the most hair-raising yet. As Cersei Lannister explains to twin brother-cum-boyfriend Jamie in the teaser, there are enemies everywhere as all the intertwining plots come to a head.
But if you haven't had time to binge-watch the last six seasons before Monday's premiere, you'll probably need to get up to speed on what's happened to far.
Fortunately, a stack of important characters died in season six so this won't take as long as it used to.
Bereft of children, Cersei - now queen of Westeros - sits on the Iron Throne. Her youngest son, Tommen, hurled himself off a window after Cersei blew up the Sept of Baelor with wildfire. Tommen's beloved spouse Margaery also perished in the explosion along with her brother, father, the fanatical High Sparrow and Cersei's uncle Kevin.
Serial-killer Cersei assumes all power over the Seven Kingdoms and names creepy sycophant Qyburn as her hand.
There's trouble brewing in incestuous paradise when Jaime Lannister returns to King's Landing to find it torched by Cersei. This is the very incident he killed Daenerys' murderous father Aerys - the "Mad King" - in order to prevent.
Riding high on a tide of redemption, Tyrion Lannister is sailing back to Westeros with Daenerys and her Dothraki brethren.
After years of being spurned by society and his siblings, he has found home among Dany's ragtag band of advisers, even being promoted to her Hand. But his arrival could make for one very awkward Lannister family reunion. Tyrion fled Westeros after assassinating his father, the tyrannical Lord Tywin, who he busted sleeping with Shae, his whore-lover. Tywin died on the dunny after Tyrion shot him with a crossbow in true gangsta' style.
Cersei is convinced Tyrion, or "the Imp", as she refers to her vertically challenged brother, poisoned her psychopathic son Joffrey (good riddance). The bad blood between them is sure to fester with the arrival of Dany's dragons.
After being betrayed, stabbed to death and resurrected like Jesus, Jon Snow (or should we say Targaryen?) was proclaimed King in the North and all-round top bloke after defeating fellow bastard Ramsay Bolton.
Unfortunately, he couldn't save little Rickon who was too-easily struck down by Ramsay's arrow when he made a beeline for his brother. His failure to zigzag was largely perceived by social media as a rookie error.
We watched Bran take a "greenseeing" trip into the past, where he discovered Jon is the child of Ned's deceased sister Lyanna Stark and therefore most likely the son of Rhaegar Targaryen, giving him a true claim to the Iron Throne. This also makes Daenerys Jon's aunty, which is a bit weird considering rumours they might hook up. After all, the series is called A Song of Ice and Fire ...
Most fans will remember the absolutely gutting final scene where Hodor braced his body against the tide of the undead as Meera yelled, "Hold the door! Hold the door!" Bran accidentally went back in time to Wylis' (Hodor) past through "warging" (controlling his mind), incepting him with events that would happen in the future while simultaneously controlling present-day Hodor (RIP). The experience of seeing your own terrifying death at the hands of terrifying zombie "wights" would be enough to turn anyone monosyllabic. Bran's temporal travels also raise questions about time travel and whether broken Bran is in fact Bran the Builder, the legendary founder of House Stark.
For now, we know Bran has inherited the title of the new Three-Eyed Raven and is likely to be a major player in season seven - especially when he and Meera make their way south of the Wall.
Arya Stark spent the best part of season six trying to become no one, only to suffer an identity crisis and realise she was actually happy being Arya Stark. After being trapped in the worst internship ever serving the Many-Faced God in Braavos, the mysterious Jaqen H'ghar told Arya her training was complete. She was allowed to officially be a "Faceless Man" after her final trial where she killed the terminator-like Waif.
So after being blind, getting stabbed and living like a pauper, Arya told Jaqen she would rather be Arya Stark of Winterfell - fair enough. She left the House of Black and White and continued her killing spree in Westeros, dropping Walder Frey in the Riverlands as revenge for slaughtering her family in the Red Wedding (THAT episode).
She appears to be headed for a reunion with the remaining Starks.
She might be unlucky in love, but Sansa Stark finally managed to claim some power for herself in season six. The time she spent with Ramsay Bolton being beaten, raped and hunted by his dogs kindled a fire in the eldest Stark daughter that transformed her from victim to survivor.
She saved the day in the Battle of the Bastards, arriving in the nick of time with Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale to win the fight. Sansa and Jon defeated the Boltons and reclaimed Winterfell. And Ramsay got his due when Sansa fed him to the dogs, which was almost as satisfying as watching farmboy Olly - who overtook Joffrey as the most-hated character on TV when he betrayed Jon Snow - be hanged for his part in the deception.
Ned Stark's brother came back from the dead to save Bran and Meera from wights when they escaped the Three-Eyed Raven's cave. He lead Bran and Meera close to the Wall but can't pass through - only people who are alive can enter.
Dany dumped boy-toy Daario Naharis and left him in charge of Meereen, leaving her distraction-free as she sails to Westeros to claim the Iron Throne. She gained a new host of followers after an impressive performance in Vaes Dothrak, emerging unburnt after torching a host of khals in the Temple of Dosh Khaleen.
She also made a pact with the ironborn Yara Greyjoy, agreeing to help her and Theon defeat their uncle Euron and recognise the independence of the Iron Islands in exchange for 100 ships.
Armed with the Unsullied, her trio of dragons, the Iron Fleet and with Houses Martell and Tyrell at her back, Dany is poised to take back her ancestral land.
YARA AND THEON
At the Kings Moot, Yara Greyjoy put up her hand to claim the Salt Throne after her father, Balon, was killed by her uncle Euron. When Euron Greyjoy turned up to the moot, Yara and Theon took their loyal supporters along with most of the Iron Fleet and sailed to Essos to meet with Dany.
Yara and Theon's homicidal uncle promised to murder both niece and nephew and commanded 1000 ships be built to conquer Westeros.
Meanwhile, poor Theon aka Reek seemed skittish as ever since having his manhood removed by Ramsay. After flying too close to the sun in his betrayal of Robb Stark and thirst for power, Theon is like a broken pet. He follows at the heels of his sister and promises to help her control the Iron Islands.
House Tyrell was almost wiped out after Cersei's fireworks at King's Landing, but the shrewd matriarch Olenna is alive and hungry for vengeance against the Lannisters. The Queen of Thorns has started plotting with Dorne's Ellaria Sand and Varys, flatly telling them she no longer cares about survival, only "fire and blood".
Oberyn Martell's paramour now rules over Dorne after her successful murder-coup, where she killed Prince Doran. Doran realised too late that Myrcella Lannister was poisoned by Ellaria as revenge against Cersei for her role in the rather graphic death of Oberyn at the hands of the Mountain. Ellaria teamed up with Olenna Tyrell to take down the Lannisters and when Dany's armarda sails for Westeros, Dorne's ships are seen among them.
AND THE REST
Banished by Jon Snow when Sir Davos found out she burnt Princess Shireen at the stake as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light, the Red Woman was last seen riding south from Winterfell. Melisandre experienced her first crisis of faith when Stannis was defeated, but seemed to shift her courage to Jon Snow after resurrecting him.
Failing to win the heart of Catelyn Stark, Petyr Baelish moved on to his next conquest - her daughter. He revealed more of his plans than ever seen before, telling Sansa he wanted to marry her and take the Iron Throne with her as his queen. He continues to chip away at Sansa's trust in Jon, insinuating that she should rule the North instead.
SAMWELL TARLY AND GILLY
Sam manned up and turned his back on his cruel father, stealing the family sword "Heartsbane" and bringing Gilly and Little Sam with him to Oldtown. The trio make it to the Citadel and Sam was told to see the Archmaester to discuss his training.
Despite his reputation as a coward, Sam is the only known character who has killed both an Other and a wight.
THE NIGHT KING
As Jon Snow points out, it's now apparent the true war lies to the north against the Night King and his wights. We don't know what the destructive zombie king wants, only that his powers extend to shattering metal weapons, creating fissures in the ground and branding someone so that he can geolocate them, like he did to Bran. Seriously cool.
The whereabouts of Gendry, the bastard son of Robert Baratheon, are unknown. We last saw him rowing out to sea when Sir Davos helped him escape Dragonstone.
BRIENNE AND POD
Brienne of Tarth and Pod are on the run after failing to find a diplomatic resolution to the siege of Riverrun. Brienne's last encounter with Jaime Lannister was left open-ended. The pair parted as friends but knew the next time they saw each other would most likely be as enemies, given Brienne is compelled by honour to fight for the Starks.
Season 7 of Game of Thrones premieres today at 11am on Showcase. It will be repeated at 8.30pm.