And finally, here we are. With only one day left before we begin our final watch, it’s time to go back and recap some of the best episodes in the history of Game Of Thrones. It’s an excessively rewatchable show and as a person who not only has seen every episode multiple times, my last and I just rewatched from the beginning in anticipation for the final season. Having said that, most of these are obvious picks, but it’s only because of the brilliance exhibited by the cast, crew, creators and writers. No other show has ever been able to combine political intrigue, violence, sex, backstabbing, zombies, and Fucking dragons and not done it so well. There is no replacement for this show, and there never will be. And now, before our watch has ended, I present to you the best episodes of Game of Thrones. Enjoy!
5 BLACKWATER (S2, E9)
Granted, there were big moments before this episode aired, but this is the point where we get to the large scale glory of battle that has been teased. “Blackwater” is a litmus test for the show, and obviously they succeeded far and wide. We’d been leading up to this the entire season. As soon as news of the illegitimacy of Joffrey's reign is known, were introduced to Stannis Baratheon, whose scowl is legendary and is at this point, assumed to be the rightful king. Obviously he hates the Lannisters, but the victory he prays for isn’t to be. During the battle though, we see the true scope of the world the writers and creators have created for us. The battle of The Blackwater is marvelous to behold and the use of wildfire is a visual feast that hasn’t been seen on the show before. In the end we don’t get the king that was promised, but we end up with more reasons to hate Joffrey, Cersei and all their minions, which I guess is a win.
4 THE WINDS OF WINTER (S6, E10)
What a doozy of an episode. I guess that pretty clear based on its inclusion here, but still, goddamn if I don’t get pumped every time I watch it. Fun fact: I HATE religious zealots. Especially those who love to stand on a perch of condemnation under the disguise of moral superiority. This is why the High Sparrow is so repulsive and infuriating. The episode opens with the trial of Cersei, but please, like we ever suspected her to turn herself over to her torturer again. She looks down on them (rightfully so) but unfortunately King Tommen is essentially a little bitch for the entirety of his stay on the Iron Throne. Thus, Cersei takes her revenge against not just one enemy, but many. Sure it’s a shame that thousands have to die, but watching the satisfaction of the Queen Mother as the Sept burns is one of the best things the show has ever featured. Also, Cersei getting her revenge on that Sept maiden is wonderful to watch, even if I know in my heart that Cersei is evil as fuck. But, that’s only half the episode. Thought the episode, there's plenty of justified retribution. We get to see Arya take down the grotesque Walder Frey in spectacular fashion, along with Queen Tyrell joining forces with Allaria and her Sand Snakes. Basically, lots of moving parts coming together in preparation for the final battles to come. As the episode draws to a climax though, we get a bombshell that had been rumored for years. Jon Snow is no bastard at all, and in fact, he belongs on the Iron Throne. The reveal is heartbreaking but also executed perfectly. It’s one of the more satisfying moments of the show, and with that coming near the seasons conclusion, you can’t help to get pumped for what’s next to come.
3 THE RAINS OF CASTAMERE (S3, E9)
Arguably the episode that changed everything. Before this aired we were knee deep in a way between the Starks of the North and the Lannister’s from Casterly Rock. While the journey of Arya and the Hound hits a snag at the Frey compound, something else hugely majorly happens. Obviously we’re talking about the deaths of Catelyn, Rob, and his soon to be wife (insert name). It’s not just that they died, but it happens in spectacularly bloody fashion as both the Frey’s and Bolton has a hand in their opponents destruction. I can slightly understand Walder Frey’s Fontenot at them after trying unsuccessfully to get one of his daughters married off, but for real to just kill and entire family, and their dire wolf is just ducked up. Before this episode ends we know the true costs of going back in your word, but it still feels like overkill. But no matter, because eventually, all of the betrayers meet equally horrible painful deaths, and well, you don’t really feel bad for that. You only feel bad because for the better part of 3 years we’ve rooted for the Starks, and just as it’s starting to looking promising in their campaign for the throne, it all gets taken away swiftly and buried in the ground.
2 HARDHOME (S5 E8)
This was a difficult choice, but in reality all of these could’ve been the number one episode. The buildup of Hardhome is spectacular, as we’ve seen the Knights watch and the Free folk battling it out for years and years, well before we as viewers start to see the tension. The point of this episode is that being human puts them on the same side, whether they like it or not. Most don’t. I watched this episode at least 3 times the week it aired, and still I can’t find anything wrong with it. The action is tremendously well done, and the palpable danger is flowing through the scenes. It’s also noteworthy because we finally get to see the White Walkers unleash hell as the living try to get away to a remotely safe place. Much of that is futile though, as Jon learns that any person left behind instantly joins the ranks of the dead. Meanwhile we get to see Cersei still being tortured by the Sparrows, and that plot line is reaching its breaking point. You just know that this isn’t going to work out how the Sept wants it to, but it takes then some time to gain that knowledge for themselves. It’s also the episode that Tyrion’s journey finally ends with his formal introduction to the Mother of dragons. All of this is well scripted and acted, but for everything else that occurs in this episode, it’s quickly forgotten as soon as the White Waller’s begin rampaging on the living.
1 BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS (S6 E9)
Long regarded as the key episode in all of the seasons, this penultimate hour has so much to love and chew into. We open with Queen Daenerys fighting her way out of Mereen with the help of the unsullied and her children. The opening battle is visually breathtaking, and it’s an important conclusion to this section of the story. But, obviously, this isn’t even the biggest event in this episode. Instead, that honor goes to the Battle of the Bastards, as we finally see Jon and Ramsay do battle. This fight is epic as fuck for a few reasons. Jon and Ramsay are the Batman and Joker of the series. Jon, bound by honor, and built from pain and resilience, he attacks head on,
not leaving it to someone else. Ramsay on the other hand, is a deceptively smart violent individual, who sows chaos as easily as he wins battles. Secondly, It’s a showdown like we hadn’t seen up until this point. The filming and plot is ridiculous and inventive, and you agonize over all the details being thrown at you. Finally it’s great in conclusion. Much of this show has been seeing people you love get destroyed, but on this night we get exactly what we hoped for. Ramsay is defeated, valiantly. In a strange twist of Irony, it’s because one of the other most vile people in this universe, Little Finger. Again he has a hand in shaping a desirable outcome for himself. Lastly, the final touch of Bolton being eaten alive by his own dogs as Sana’a walks away smiling is a beautiful moment of sweet redemption and the knowledge that eventually, violent people end violently is a small delight in a world that is dark and full of terrors. For all of these reasons the “Battle of the Bastards” stands as the best episode of Game of Thrones. That’s likely to change as the series concludes in 6 weeks, but we’ll have to wait and see how they top it. Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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