Warning: Game of Thrones Spoilers everywhere.
It can be difficult – even monumental – to sort everything you've seen in the seven seasons of Game of Thrones. HBO's epic series based on George R. R. After all, Martin's books pack a lot. When did Jon Snow die? When did he come alive again? When did Tyrion Lannister kill his own father? While the eighth and final season (April 14th) promises countless twists and turns on the road to the Iron Throne, we decided to help those who want to wander a bit without going through every blood-spattered episode. Here is our highly subjective ranking of the best Game of Thrones episodes of all time.
Game of Thrones Book fans eventually got their own episode to nurture and celebrate with "Oathbreaker", who has been included in Westeros' mythology as few episodes of the Westeros shows show do. Most importantly, we got the vision of Jon Schnee's birth of the late Lyanna Stark, who confirmed the much-hyped theory about his lineage. "Oathbreaker" also gave us an insight into the powerful capabilities of Bran.
. 9 "The Mountain and the Viper" (Season 4, Episode 8)
At Game of Thrones there is a lot of blood and courage, but rarely are they shot and edited in a way that both are worrying and packed with so much importance. Even the title "The Mountain and the Viper" suggests the animalistic way in the Game of Thrones the battle at the heart of the episode between the charming Oberyn Martell and Gregory "The Mountain" Clegane, one Duel, carefully scrutinizes how ugly and brutal the world you really fell into is.
. 8 "The Guardians on the Wall" (Season 4, Episode 9)
In a sense, Game of Thrones is essentially a series of over-the-top bouts interrupted by intimate drama. HBO did not waste any money on "Watchers on the Wall". Director Neil Marshall, who also led the masterful "Blackwater". The fight between the Wildlings trying to invade Castle Black and the Night Watch sees Snow best. And the shots of giants and a woolly mammoth (!) Trying to break through the wall are still inspiring.
. 7 "Mother's Mercy" (Season 5, Episode 10)
It's rare that Cersei generates empathy from her subjects – I mean, Game of Thrones viewers. But "Mother's Mercy," the season five finale and one of the most-watched episodes in the entire series, is a rare view of her that is the most vulnerable. While the episode has a lot to recommend, even when it's dark – not least the disquieting deaths of Selyse and Stannis – Lena Headey's performance as Cersei occurs here in her Walk of Atonement. Sure, that's a naked body sewn twice to her face, but you would never know, especially with the way Headey transmits all kinds of emotions from humiliation to fiery vindictiveness without a single word.
. 6 "Baelor" (Season 1, Episode 9)
The first season of Game of Thrones is by no means the best, because the series will really find its groove in the next few seasons – but it's all set to go , which is so pleasant. That includes the moment that it was confirmed that this would not be like any other normal show (even on HBO!) That keeps famous stars and popular characters for these things. Instead, "Baelor" found a way to behead Ned Stark in the most uncompromising and torturous way possible. The cut to Arya Stark, a moment that has driven her emotionally ever since, is impossible to forget.
. 5 "The Rains of Castamere" (Season 3, Episode 9)
The penultimate episode of any Game of Thrones season is generally when things fail . That could no longer be true of "The Rains of Castamere," including Red Wedding, which made the HBO series a must-watch overnight. Forget that Ned Stark has lost his head: Those who have connected to different characters over three seasons have found that the gradual rise to the Iron Throne is associated with a high body count. What makes the episode so startling, however, is how deviously it introduces the murderous betrayal and the accompanying heartbreak.
. 4 "Battle of the Bastards" (Season 6, Episode 9)
We have long been waiting for Jon Snow and Sansa Stark to place criminal Ramsay Bolton in his early grave. "Battle of the Bastards" intelligently relieves the satisfaction and may be delayed with the most skilfully executed battle sequence in the entire series, which took nearly a month to film and hundreds of extras. Snow's army seems downcast until Sansa deflects a last-minute defeat and gives Bolton the perfect poetic justice.
. 3 "The Door" (Season 6, Episode 5)
Hodor was there all the time, holding her for some of the most compassionate characters of Game of Thrones . But no one saw the outpouring of emotion in his response to his backstory in The Door. On the superficial level, there is so much to appreciate: the detailed depiction of the children of the forest, the beautiful and exciting action that the white hikers are involved in, and Hodor in a cave-like space, plenty of plot beyond this plot. But the last one "Hold the door!" – Revelation deserves the meme it has become.
. 2 "Blackwater" (Season 2, Episode 9)
Superbly orchestrated battles are Game of Thrones Bread and butter, but "Blackwater" rises above the rest of the rest, because he manages to fight the sword with the sword with so much other personal drama. Long before the show figured out how to make up for such big, CGI-laden conflicts, director Neil Marshall confused Stannis Baratheon's naval assaults on King's Landing with everything going on behind the scenes. While Tyrion's fire caused fireworks, the tension between a drunken Cersei and Sansa could only be cut with Valyrian steel.
. 1 "Hardhome" (Season 5, Episode 8)
No episode embodies the unique alchemy of complex fantasy mythology and maximalist spectacle such as "Hardhome" of Game of Thrones . There's a lot to see in the background – Cersei When Arya is charged with her crimes, Arya digs a deeper hole with the faceless men – but it explodes beautifully with the battle in the Wildling village, where the white hikers show their true (icy) colors and the Night King proves he is it not playing games. The picture of how he passes fallen wildlings to his undead army is cryptic, creepy, and extremely vicious.
Paul Schrodt is a freelance writer and editor who also works for Esquire, GQ, Money, The Wall Street, Journal and more.