We are finally here. The final season of “Game of Thrones” is less than a week away. We have watched 67 episodes of politics, battles and, of course, deaths.
Some have read the books, while others have only seen the show. That doesn’t mean anything now, however, as the show is ahead of the books. Unless George R. R. Martin releases two books in the span of six weeks, the television show will be the medium to reveal the ending of it all.
Where this article is concerned, I am not going to go over the whole series. That would be a disservice to the show by spoiling everything that has happened. However, I am going to rank my eight favorite episodes in the series in celebration of the release of the final season. If you haven’t watched the series, and still want to, please look away now.
8. ‘The Door’ - season six, episode five
This episode does so much for what can actually happen in the series. It shows what power Bran is capable of using and also what can happen if he overuses it. Bran can affect the past, and the episode revealed that by showing how Hodor became the way he is. I love everything this episode does, and the way it shows it. It doesn’t try and knock it over our heads. Because of this episode, it made me rethink some of the things that have happened in the series and question them, and I love the episode for that.
7. ‘Baelor’ - season one, episode nine
This is the episode where I finally realized what the show was going to be like. The series seems a little bit like regular fantasy thoroughfare, where the character we all love makes it out of a scenario they shouldn’t survive. They can’t kill off the main character. You keep thinking a moment will come where someone stops what is going on, but it never comes. They kill off Ned Stark, the most popular character and biggest name in the series. I was shell-shocked when it happened. I sat on my seat for around five minutes waiting for them to pull a switcheroo and say he wasn’t who just got killed, but no. It was real. Ned died. That was where I knew the series was going to be something special.
6. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ - season three, episode nine
There are some other things in this episode, but the moment I think the whole series will be remembered for is the Red Wedding. I think this episode changed the series for many people. Where Ned’s death was where we realized the series wouldn’t be like other fantasy media, this event made us realize the series wouldn’t be like any other media at all. We knew what Robb did was wrong, marrying someone other than who he promised his hand to. But, like before, we didn’t think anything would come of that broken promise and we were wrong. The character we thought would take revenge gets killed, as well as others. The episode shows the scene at the wedding so well because viewers can feel something is up. It does an amazing job saying something without saying anything. I love this episode because it finally showed what the series would be like. It finally went all in on the motif and makes it feel different from any other media out there.
5. ‘The Winds of Winter’ - season six, episode 10
I love this episode for multiple reasons. First, the beginning sequence of the episode is magnificent. It begins with 10 minutes of silence, except for the musical piece, which is superb. The end of the sequence changes things tremendously and may have gone off book, as some believe the wildfire may be used differently. This episode also, finally, reveals one of the parents of Jon Snow and implies another. This changes the way the whole series, and one of its main characters, is viewed. It also ends on a big plot point, Daenerys is finally sailing to Westeros, which everyone was waiting on for six seasons. I love this episode not because of action, but because of what it did for the story. I was watching the series for the first time as well because none of the information in this season was in the book.
4. ‘The Watchers on the Wall’ - season four, episode nine
This is the second battle episode, as the whole episode takes place at The Wall and focuses on the fight between the Night’s Watch and the wildlings. This storyline in the series had my favorite character, Jon Snow, as the main part, so a battle with this storyline at the forefront was just what I had been waiting for. This battle was different from the first because it made the scope of the battle seem much bigger. It took the battle to multiple places on The Wall, such as on top of it and in front of it. I love all the scenery the episode gives, and I’ve used a couple of shots as wallpapers. This episode also delivers one of the most heartbreaking deaths in series and changes Jon Snow. The only knock against the episode is its end, as I feel it ends too abruptly.
3. ‘Hardhome’ - season five, episode eight
As someone who had read the books, many of the show’s “twists” weren’t twists for me. I’d seen them before. This episode, however, features one of the events that was only barely mentioned in the books and that is the wildling massacre at Hardhome. In the show, however, this event plays a major role. Because of this, it was one of the first episodes to bring tension for me as well as make me fear for the lives of some of my favorite characters. Alongside that, it also helped reveal major things for the story. Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers, and White Walkers can raise the dead over and over again. There is also a moment where Jon Snow and the Night King have a sort of stare down, and it’s easy to tell they will be seeing each other again based on that scene alone.
2. ‘Blackwater’ - season two, episode nine
This episode was the first to show things on a grand scale, as it was the first major battle in the show. There were other battles not shown in their entirety, such as the Battle of Oxcross in the War of the Five Kings, but the Battle of the Blackwater was the first battle to be the focus of a single episode. This made the battle feel much more important. It was also the first episode to feel like a massive effort was put into it in terms of making it feel like a spectacle. There is one scene in particular, and if you’ve seen the episode you know which one I’m talking about, that will always stay in my head. I think I’ve seen this episode maybe 30 times and every single time it gets me pumped.
1. ‘Battle of the Bastards’ - season six, episode nine
You probably guessed this was my favorite not only because of my love for battles but also my favorite characters. I love the Starks and their fight. This battle may not be the biggest but the way it was directed made it feel different from any other battle scene. I loved feeling like I was in the battle. I felt like every arrow was whizzing over my head, only a few inches above my temple. Then, I’m trapped inside a group of soldiers and I can’t breathe. I think, while watching this episode the first time, I actually held my breath. This episode feels personal. The way it’s shot, and the story of the battle, help make that feeling whole.