We are days away from the final season of Game of Thrones; one of the greatest shows of all-time! In preparation for the season premiere on April 14th, we are looking back at the first seven seasons and making lists about…everything!
Today, we are looking at the series’ ten best episodes…
Here we go!
Top Ten Episodes Ever!
10. Mother’s Mercy
When it appeared: S5e10
What happened: Stannis arrives at Winterfell. Tyrion runs Meereen as Daario and Jorah go after Daenerys. Jaime and Myrcella leave Dorne. Jon sends Sam and Gilly to Oldtown. Arya challenges the Many-Faced God. Cersei confesses her sins.
Why it was great: This was the episode with the best ending: Jon lying dead in the snow! His Wildling policies had been causing dissention in the ranks and it final came to a head. It also includes Stannis’ death; ending a long running story arc. Excellent episode!
9. The Lion and the Rose
When it appeared: S4e1
What happened: Joffrey and Margaery’s wedding has come. Tyrion breaks up with Shae. Ramsay tries to prove his worth to his father. Bran and company find a Weirwood tree.
Why it was great: This episode is lifted simply by Joffrey’s boorish behavior at his own wedding and the price he finally pays for being a sadistic prick. It is funny, I have read all the books (that have been written…) and knew this was coming. Still, the WAY they pulled it off, STILL shocked me…
8. The Door
When it appeared: S6e4
What happened: Sansa and Jon make plans. Arya is given another chance to prove herself. Jorah confesses a secret to Daenerys. Tyrion meets with a red priestess. Yara finds her rule tested. Bran discovers the origin of the White Walkers.
Why it was great: Bran’s travels through time pay off with an amazing episode. He jumps between present day contact with the Night King (allowing him to find Bran and breach the protections of the Three Eyed Raven) and his father’s youthful years at Winterfell. In his warging, he creates a feedback loop that causes Hodor’s original episode; limiting his vocabulary to Hodor. In the episode, we learn that Hodor is short for Hold The Door, which people are screaming at present day Hodor as he dies protecting Bran.
When it appeared: s2e9
What happened: Stannis Baratheon’s fleet and army arrive at King’s Landing and the battle for the city begins. Cersei plans for her and her children’s future.
Why it was great: The Battle of Blackwater Bay is one of the best battles of the show. Tyrion uses his cunning, and Wildfire, to destroy a big part of Stannis’ forces. He then leads the armies of Joffrey into battle when no one else would. Tyrion falls on the battlefield after attacked by a member of the King’s Guard on Joffrey’s command. Fortunately, Pod is handy with a spear and protects his lord. Tyrion’s plans hold the attack off long enough for Tywin and the Tyrells to swoop in and take the credit.
6. The Watchers on the Wall
When it appeared: S4e9
What happened: The battle between the Night’s Watch and the wildlings has come.
Why it was great: What an emotionally charged battle! The Nights Watch is dramatically undermanned, and being attacked from both sides of the wall. Jon is on one side of the fight, while his lady love, Ygritte, fights on the other. The episode is full of drama, fear, and well choreographed sword play. The best part of this all-time great episode was when Gren and some brothers guard the tunnel from Mag the Giant. As he charges at them, they steel their resolve be repeated the Oath of the Nights Watch. Haunting!
5. The Mountain and the Viper
When it appeared: S4e8
What happened: Theon helps Ramsay seize Moat Cailin. The wildlings attack Mole’s Town. Sansa comes up with a story to protect Lord Baelish. Daenerys finds out a secret about Jorah Mormont. Oberyn Martell faces Gregor Clegane, the Mountain.
Why it was great: Ignore everything in that description except the last sentence. Nothing else matters. This was all about the battle between Prince Oberyn Martell…aka the Red Viper… and Ser Gregor Glegane, the Mountain. After ripping the Mountain to shreds and leaving him for dead on the ground, Oberyn pauses to accuse Tywin of complicity with the plot to murder his sister. While he is bleeding out, the Mountain musters the strength to knock Oberyn to the ground, roll on top of him, and crush his skull with his bare hands. In a show with shocking deaths, the brutality of this one stood out…
When it appeared: s1e9
What happened: Robb goes to war against the Lannisters. Jon finds himself struggling on deciding if his place is with Robb or the Night’s Watch. Drogo has fallen ill from a fresh battle wound. Daenerys is desperate to save him.
Why it was great: This episode gets so much of its credit for the shocking nature of the end, Ned’s death. It was completely stunning, watching this thing in real time. If you picked up the series late, you already knew the casual nature of character safety in the show by reputation. Those of us who started the series before reading the books (I read the full run of books AFTER I saw Season One) it was jaw dropping.
3. The Rains of Castamere
When it appeared: S3e9
What happened: Robb and Catelyn arrive at the Twins for the wedding. Jon is put to the test to see where his loyalties truly lie. Bran’s group decides to split up. Daenerys plans an invasion of Yunkai.
Why it was great: It tells you how good this series is, that the Red Wedding is only the third best episode. By this point I was ahead on the books, so I knew it was coming. For me, the true enjoyment was listening to non-readers’ reactions the next day after this awful and tragic episode aired. I think only The Door episode has viewers more distraught. That’s good television…
2. The Winds of Winter
When it appeared: S6e10
What happened: Cersei and Loras Tyrell stand trial by the gods. Daenerys prepares to set sail for Westeros. Davos confronts Melisandre. Sam and Gilly arrive in the Citadel. Bran discovers a long-kept secret. Lord Frey has an uninvited guest.
Why it was great: This was a cinematic masterpiece told on the small screen. The visuals were beautiful. The music was eery and perfectly executed. All of this leads to Cersei’s revenge. SO…MANY…DEATHS… Then, after we catch our breaths from Cersei going nuclear and being crowned Queen, we get hit with several big moments. The Citadel library is the opening credits models, Jon is revealed (to the audience) as the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna; and becomes King in the North. Arya serves up Frey pie and vengeance. Daenerys finally sets sail for Westeros. SO MUCH PACKED INTO ONE EPISODE!
1. Battle of the Bastards
When it appeared: S6e9
What happened: Jon and Sansa face Ramsay Bolton on the fields of Winterfell. Daenerys strikes back at her enemies. Theon and Yara arrive in Meereen.
Why it was great: So, really, I kind of look at The Winds of Winter (the #2 episode) and this amazing episode, a joint product. If you sowed them together into a single 2 hour movie, how amazing of a film would that have been? It probably would have been my favorite movie of the year some years. So I see #1 and #2 as something of a tie. This episode gets the nod because it has not one but TWO amazing battles. Odd that the Battle of Mereen is the opening act in the show. Daenerys uses her dragons in full on combat for the first time and it is glorious. THEN, we see the best battle the show has had as Jon and Ramsey go head to head. The direction of this episode, which won an Emmy, was spectacular. It really captured the horrors of medieval combat. By the time the fight was over, and Sansa fed Ramsey to the hounds, I was out of breath…
The Queen’s Justice
The Dance of Dragons