Sadly, we must leave Westeros and those wacky Lannisters behind for another 40 weeks (give or take), but HBO is bringing us back to Bon Temps, Louisiana, on Sunday for one more season with Sookie Stackhouse and her smutty, silly, supernatural soap opera.
The seventh and final season of "True Blood" begins at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 22, resuming a plot that leapt forward six months after heroine Sookie (Anna Paquin) defeated Warlow -- the two-faced, vampire-faerie hybrid -- with the help of her faerie grandfather (Rutger Hauer). Now, Sookie's shacking up with denim-clad werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello), Sam (Sam Trammell) the bartender is now mayor of Bon Temps, and vampires are officially allies of the human race again as both must help protect each other from vampires infected with Hepatitis-V.
Hey, I told you it was silly. The show's carefree absurdity, and the willingness to acknowledge that absurdity, is what I'll miss the most about "True Blood."
Well, and all the gore and sex, of course. Sookie and Alcide make an attractive pair, but the show is at its scandalous best when our favorite mind-reading waitress is enraptured by Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), who is back to his normal vampire self after a brief stint as a daywalking god. Here's hoping Bill and Sookie end up together.
I am also hoping Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgard) is still alive. The thousand-year-old vampire sheriff was last seen sunning himself in snowy Sweden, enjoying the ability to walk in daylight afforded him by drinking Bill's blood. But as Eric's faerie powers dissipated, the sun started to do what it does to most vampires.
Skarsgard is still listed as a cast member for this upcoming season, so apparently Eric will bounce back from his fiery suntan. (Original, or extra crispy?)
If you need to get caught up before Sunday night, HBO.com has posted a comprehensive (and very NSFW) video recap of the first six seasons. Every episode is available to HBO subscribers on HBO GO, and past seasons are available on Blu-ray/DVD, vudu and iTunes.
If you just want to hit the highlights, here are some of my favorite moments from the past six seasons:
• Sex and vampire blood -- Before she studied sex with Michael Sheen on "Masters of Sex," Lizzy Caplan was a willing participant (well, OK, her character Amy the waitress was) in a sex scene that can only be described as spectacular. Amy and lovable moron Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) get high on vampire blood and engage in an explosive lovemaking session. ("Burning House of Love," Season 1 Episode 7)
• "Now time for the weather. Tiffany?" -- Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare), the vampire king of Mississippi, barges in on the 10 o'clock news, rips out the anchor's spine and launches into an anti-human tirade that is unquestionably the highlight of the entire series. His promise to eat America's children is only topped by his segueway to Tiffany's report. ("Everything is Broken," 3x09)
• Sookie's a what?!? -- Look, we can accept vampires, werewolves, voodoo, zombies, all of that. But when "True Blood" told us our hero is actually a faerie, even Sookie herself dropped an R-rated word in disgusted disbelief. ("I Smell a Rat," 3x10)
• Nice threads, Pam -- Sookie's best friend Tara (Rutina Wesley) is dying after taking a shotgun blast meant to kill Sookie. There's only one way to save Tara, and it involves sassy, super-fashionable Pam (Kristin Bauer von Straten) and her fangs. The bloody aftermath forces Pam to change into what's handy -- the ugliest yellow sweatshirt you've ever seen. ("Turn! Turn! Turn!," 5x01)
• Life, death and undeath -- Season 6's best episode gives good gore as Eric and Co. bust out of a vampire internment camp, but also gets the tears going as Sookie and the Merlotte's faithful say goodbye to Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe), a fun character relegated to one of the show's worst subplots. At least he got a fine farewell. ("Life Matters," 6x09)
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor and a tireless consumer of pop culture. You can follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.