‘Game of Thrones’ Collector’s Edition Box Set Will Be Released December 3

‘Game of Thrones’ Collector’s Edition Box Set Will Be Released December 3

HBO has been mostly quiet about Game of Thrones since it ended last month, but the show’s official YouTube account unexpectedly released a clip from the Limited Edition Game of Thrones Complete Series Box Set this morning.

 

 

So, it looks like the four living Starks that ended the series—played by actors Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright—will be a part of the reunion hosted by Conan O’Brien, and as previously announced, Sean Bean (who played Ned Stark) will be there, too.

 

And you may have noticed that at the end of the YouTube video, we got a look at the appearance for the item itself:

 

 

It’s unclear if the reunion is limited to the actors shown in the clip, but there are a couple seats open—perhaps for Richard Madden (who played Robb Stark) and Michelle Fairley (who played Catelyn Stark).

 

[UPDATE: A currently-unlisted video on the official Game of Thrones YouTube channel dives deeper into The Complete Collection, and adds that Sean Bean, Mark Addy, and Jason Mamoa are among the past cast members that will appear in the reunion special:]

 

 

Also, there might be a chance that the actors were split up because there were so many in Game of Thrones, as it would be a surprise if the other principle actors—Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) weren’t a part of the footage.

 

If the clip wasn’t enough to get you to buy the Limited Edition Box Set, we are hoping it is soon confirmed to be in 4K, which would make it a must-purchase or a great gift for any Game of Thrones loyalist, especially with the release date coming just before Christmas.

 

The ‘Game of Thrones’ Complete Series Collector’s Edition Box Set will release on December 3, 2019.

‘Game of Thrones’: The Greatest Television Series Of All-Time

‘Game of Thrones’: The Greatest Television Series Of All-Time

Our watch has ended. After an epic eight-season, 73-episode run, Game of Thrones is concluded, but the hit HBO series will live on forever. The show created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books by George R.R. Martin is etched in history as an ambitious, heartbreaking, emotional story that hit all the right notes, from the Season 1 premiere to the Season 8 finale. So what makes Game of Thrones the greatest television series of all-time? There’s a lot to go through.

 

Genres

Game of Thrones is a far-stretching storyline with many different settings within the fantasy world, but every character and plot was involved in a number of different genres. There was no other way for a world as big as Westeros to be put on screen, and it happened to lead to the show never getting boring for viewers, who were constantly on the edge of their seats. Put simply, Game of Thrones basically hit every genre at a master level that arguably made it the best drama, fantasy, action, suspense, and political show on television all at once.

 

Drama

The final season of Game of Thrones—and the finale in particular—played out as a high-class drama, with Daenerys Targaryen finally getting within reach of the Iron Throne, only to lose two dragons/children and her two closest friends/advisors, which caused massive grief and set the Dragon Queen out for blood. During it all, Daenerys and Jon Snow had come to love each other, without knowing Jon’s true parentage at first—his real name was Aegon Targaryen, Daenerys’ nephew—and the revelation (acted out beautifully by both Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke when Jon and Dany found out in consecutive episodes) ultimately led to a striking downfall.

 

Jon, loving his queen but conflicted about their relationship, was forced to make a drastic choice, putting an end to a character he (and we the viewers) had loved in a poetic scene in the series finale. The conversation with Tyrion before deciding to do the deed; the actual death scene itself, where Daenerys was back to being more like the good-hearted hero the majority of people cheered for as much as any character on the show; and the aftermath were all like something out of a Shakespeare play—but better, in part because we’ve gotten to know the characters for the course of nearly a decade.

 

There have been plenty of dramatic moments, including big ones like Ned Stark’s death, the Red Wedding, Jon Snow’s death (all of which will be discussed later), Tyrion’s trial, Jon’s relationship with Ygritte, and the deaths of the Lannister children—as well as simple things like the relationship between Jaime and Tyrion Lannister—but Season 8 is the best example of drama in Game of Thrones.

 

Fantasy

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure about Game of Thrones at first because of the fantasy aspect to it—but it’s not your typical fantasy world. The basis of Game of Thrones is its real-life relationships and actions, with the magic on the outskirts of the world—like to the East in Essos (with the dragons) and to the far North beyond the Wall with the Land of Always Winter. In fact, most people in Westeros didn’t believe in magic, as dragons had been dead for over 100 years before Daenerys did the impossible and brought them back, and virtually no one believed in the Army of the Dead until they saw it. The show provides just enough fantasy and magic so that it’s essentially a secondary thing despite the importance of it with things like the dragons, White Walkers, and the Lord of Light (mainly for bringing Jon back to life).

 

Action

The battle scenes are going to get their own category later, but they are by far the best in the history of TV or film. HBO went all out giving Game of Thrones huge budgets to work with, and awesome directors, pace, cinematography, and characters we cared about helped make the battles insanely good. Great action in the show also included the trial by combats, the fight between Brienne of Tarth and the Hound, the Clegane Bowl, and all of Arya Stark’s predicaments as a highly-skilled assassin. A big standout is the gladiator scene from “The Dance of Dragons” (Season 5, Episode 9), with Jorah Mormont participating in the tradition at the Great Pit of Daznak, which I think is the best stadium battle scene ever.

 

Suspense

Continuing with “The Dance of Dragons”, that gladiator scene immediately transitioned into one of the most suspenseful moments from the show, as Daenerys closed her eyes and appeared to be reaching the end with the Sons of the Harpy closing in—until, a dragon screech could be heard in the distance and Drogon arrived to save his mother. “Blackwater” (Season 2, Episode 9) and “The Long Night” (Season 8, Episode 3) were filled with suspense, particularly with the helpless women and children hiding away while the battles were taking place. Arya was also involved in a highly-suspenseful Season 6 storyline at the House of Black and White, and there was deafening suspense between Seasons 5 and 6 as fans awaited Jon Snow’s fate. Game of Thrones is likely the most suspenseful television show of all-time.

 

Political

Finally, politics was an integral part of Game of Thrones, especially in the early seasons. Much of the King’s Landing storyline in the entire first season followed the honorable Ned Stark as he navigated a playing field of liars and schemers that operated with a completely different moral compass than him. Everything was about power, and many of the battles, betrayals, and sacrifices were all for the Throne. The politics was mostly tied to the Iron Throne, but it was about power in general—and the political happenings in Westeros are very realistic. Things didn’t just happen for the sake of pushing a plot forward, as the political implications had a huge impact on the story—examples include the forming of alliances, like Robb Stark and his marriage, which he turned back on, leading to his downfall; and Jon trying to rally allies to his cause on a few different occasions.

 

 

The White Walkers

Horror could have been its own category under the genre section, but the White Walkers are getting their own section because of the enormous impact they had on Game of Thrones.

 

The looming threat

From the very start of the series, the mysterious White Walkers were the looming threat over Westeros, even if no one in the country believed in them—in the famous “the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword” scene, even Ned Stark told Bran that the White Walkers have been gone for thousands of years. But because of the opening scene, where we witness the deaths of Night’s Watch members Gared and Ser Waymar Royce at the hands of a frightening creature with blue eyes, we know that the threat is real. Over the years, the White Walkers becomes stronger, and they hang in the background with the potential to make all the politics of Westeros mean nothing.

 

The Night King

The Night King never said a word and only had several appearances in the show, but he’s arguably the greatest villain of all-time (a title that could be held by a few Game of Thrones characters)—or at least the most intimidating. While we did get insight on his 10,000-year origin from a Three-Eyed Raven vision, the Night King’s overall mystique added to the greatness of the character. The motivations of the leader of the Army of the Dead aren’t just spelled out for the viewer, but it’s clear he wanted to turn every living person into a member of his army until there was no one left—and it’s something he’s been after for thousands of years.

 

While the ultimate enemy was only seen in action a few times, all of those occurrences were insane. The attack on Hardhome (Season 5, Episode 8) might have been the most utterly shocking moment of the series aside from the deaths of Ned, Robb, and Jon, and it showed how important it was for the Army of the Dead to be stopped. “The Door” (Season 6, Episode 5) was another out-of-nowhere moment, and it was the Night King’s most extensive action as he struck down the old Three-Eyed Raven before missing out on killing Bran. He coldly watched Daenerys, Jon, and the others struggle to get out of his territory alive before striking Viserion with an ice spear to get his own weapon of mass destruction in the form of an ice dragon in “Beyond the Wall” (Season 7, Episode 6). And finally, “The Long Night” (Season 8, Episode 3) showed that the Night King could basically do whatever he wanted—falling from the sky couldn’t stop him and dragonfire couldn’t stop him, as he coldly and confidently walked from outside Winterfell all the way to the godswood. The Night King was such a powerful force that it wasn’t realistic for Jon Snow to even get within striking distance for single combat, and it took an expertly-executed Valyrian steel blade-hand switch by Arya to eliminate him.

 

The Army of the Dead

There are shows and movies that focus solely on zombies and apocalypses, but Game of Thrones blows them out of the water with their zombies and the Army of the Dead. The Night King’s army—which also included White Walker lieutenants that assuredly escorted their leader to the godswood during the Battle of Winterfell—is purely horrifying. The movements, sounds, and endless attacks made the wights truly terrifying, and “The Long Night” (including the undead coming alive in the crypts) was like something straight out of a horror film. The Army of the Dead also included zombie giants, a zombie polar bear, and eventually the ice dragon Viserion.

 

 

ASOIAF Universe

George R.R. Martin created a mind-bogglingly deep universe with his A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and he trusted David Benioff and Dan Weiss to put his characters, settings, and events on television for HBO. The structure set up by Martin led to amazing results, as it was an entire original world that Game of Thrones had to work with.

 

Houses

A key part of the structure set up in Game of Thrones is the presence of families (called Houses). The House words (like “Winter is Coming” for House Stark and “Fire and Blood” for House Targaryen), the House sigils (like the lion for House Lannister and the crowned stag for House Baratheon), and the typical personalities for members of each family are impressively in-depth. Houses are important for dynamics such as alliances, as well as giving insight on characters and the outlook other characters in the universe have toward others based on family names and traditions. Many viewers watched the show with allegiances in mind, whether they were pulling for House Stark, House Lannister, House Targaryen, House Tyrell, or any other family, adding another layer to the viewing experience.

 

Also, the talk of family legacy (particularly with the Lannisters) was of major importance, and Houses could be wiped away from history in the violent world of Westeros—like Cersei accomplished by taking out House Tyrell. Aside from the Houses, there are the other groups like the Dothraki that lived in Essos and never crossed the Narrow Sea between the continents (until Daenerys led them to Westeros), the wildlings that lived north of the Wall (until Jon safely brought some south), and the Children of the Forest north of the Wall.

 

Locations

The locations can be confusing because the universe is so massive, but no show goes in depth as Game of Thrones when it comes to locations—from the original continents (Westeros and Essos) to the ancestral homes like Winterfell and Dragonstone. Cities and castles have their own moods to them, each place has a distinct look and feel to it, and the differences between somewhere like Eastwatch and somewhere else like Braavos—and locations in between—is striking.

 

History

Robert’s Rebellion (which occurred about 20 years before the first episode of the show) had the biggest impact on Game of Thrones, but there is so much history in the universe (which allows the possibility of a few successor shows set thousands of years in the past) that influences the story. The history of the dragons, three of which were used by the Targaryens to conquer Westeros, made them such a critical re-emergence into the world after Daenerys stepped into the fire and brought them back—and the history of Targaryens being unstoppable with their dragons was a theme that came to fruition with Dany.

 

Religion and Language

In Game of Thrones, there are multiple religions, which is a reflection of the real world. The Faith of the Seven (also known as the New Gods, the dominant religion in most of Westeros brought over by the Andals) and the Old Gods (the dominant religion in the North, which includes important weirwood trees in the godswoods) are the two main religions, but there’s also the Lord of Light (worshipped by Melisandre and others), the Drowned Gods (worshipped in the Iron Islands), and the Many-Faced God (worshipped by the Faceless Men).

 

For language, Daenerys knows the Common Tongue (what we know as English), Dothraki, and Valyrian—and Valyrian has High Valyrian and Low Valyrian. The Common Tongue is mostly spoken throughout Westeros, but there are more languages than just the Common Tongue and Valyrian in Essos. It’s extraordinary how far HBO took the languages by further developing Dothraki and Valyrian from the ASOIAF world.

 

Magic

The fantasy category under the genre section already went over magic and how it’s on the outskirts of this world—the perfect amount to make its presence important, but not something that overrides the real actions within the world. The Three-Eyed Raven, the Red Priestesses, and Daenerys’ three dragons are the biggest forces of magic in Game of Thrones, but there are other magical themes that remain more mysterious and unexplained throughout—helping give a dark an ominous tone to the show.

 

 

Realism

We just went over magic in Game of Thrones, but the fantasy aspect being more on the outskirts of the series makes it believable. Putting fantasy aside, the realism of Westeros was evident for eight seasons.

 

Politics

Again, Game of Thrones definitely hits the political themes, as you’d expect from a show that involves the struggle for power. The first season following Ned Stark as he dealt with the politics of King’s Landing was already discussed, but the Battle of the Bastards is another good example of the importance of politics in Game of Thrones. When Jon Snow decided he would help Sansa Stark take back Winterfell from the Boltons, it wasn’t like they just suddenly had the soldiers to fight and stepped on the battlefield. Allegiances came into play, as the supposed bastard and his half-sister had to convince northern lords for fight for their cause—sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. Littlefinger was a character that exemplified playing politics in Westeros, as he was a skilled liar and back-stabber that was able to climb the ladder of chaos into a strong position—until his ways caught up to him.

 

Anything can happen

This could be a headline category of its own because it’s critically important, but perhaps the biggest reason Game of Thrones is so realistic is that unexpected twists, turns, and triumphs occur out of nowhere—anything can happen, just as is the case in real life. The “good guys” don’t always win, and the Red Wedding is a perfect of example of that. The anything-can-happen nature of Game of Thrones makes it believable that characters can die at any moment (like Daenerys at the end of “The Dance of Dragons” before she was saved by Drogon, or Jon Snow potentially falling again in the Battle of the Bastards despite just being brought back to life). And all the little things that happen add up—if the future Hero of Winterfell Arya Stark didn’t get on that boat in “The Children” (Season 4 finale) to get to Braavos and become one of the world’s best killers, the living might not have won in the Great War.

 

Relationships

Relationships come into play for the politics part, but the focus of this category is the relationships between individual characters. Arya Stark and the Hound, and Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth are among the most obvious examples, but one of the most underappreciated relationships is between Tyrion and Cersei Lannister. “A Man Without Honor” (Season 2, Episode 7) shows the complexity of their relationship, and it’s as close as they get to liking each other—Cersei was distraught about Jaime being a prisoner and Joffrey being uncontrollable, and you could tell Tyrion felt bad but simply didn’t know how to comfort her, while Cersei didn’t know how to accept any potential comfort from her little brother.

 

Character arcs

Game of Thrones characters behave like real people, with the best character arcs you’ll find on television. Multiple characters from the show have a case for best character arc ever, but Jaime Lannister and Theon Greyjoy are arguably the top two.

 

Jaime went from being perhaps the most-hated character from early in the series—with max level smugness and arrogance—but we get more insight on the person after he’s taken prisoner by Robb Stark at Whispering Wood. He defends Brienne’s honor and loses his good hand for it, which was basically killing him without really killing him. Then the origin of his derogatory “Kingslayer” nickname comes to light when he unsettlingly described the moment that he killed the Mad King. From there, he was basically a sympathetic character that most fans came to like—but he displayed that he still certainly had his edge throughout the rest of the series. Jaime showed he did have a good heart when he kept his vow to fight for the living and knighted Brienne at Winterfell, but that amazing character arc didn’t change who he is when he ultimately decided he had to return to Cersei—that’s true to life.

 

Theon went from taking Winterfell from the Starks—despite being like a brother to Robb and a son to Ned—and instantly becoming a hated character, to going through hell and eventually fully redeeming himself by saving two Stark siblings: Sansa from Ramsay Bolton and guarding Bran during the Battle of Winterfell. It gives you goosebumps to think about how Theon was accepted by Sansa and Bran, and he had two of the most emotional moments of the series in Season 8 before meeting his demise at the hands of the Night King. The conflicted nature of Theon’s character was outstanding.

 

A shrinking world

Obviously, with a death-filled show like Game of Thrones, the story is going to change. It’s really awesome how Jon Snow went from Castle Black as a member on the struggling Night’s Watch, to eventually working his way to meeting Daenerys Targaryen (another character that had a long journey, starting in Essos away from the conflicts in Westeros) at Dragonstone in Season 7. The world kept shrinking and people from opposite sides of the world all came together by the end to help create the song of ice and fire.

 

 

Characters and Acting

There is stiff competition from other shows, but Game of Thrones arguably had the best cast of all-time. The ensemble cast was filled with many new faces along with established actors like Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, and Lena Headey, and it’s difficult to picture any other actors in almost any of the roles—it was the perfect storm led to the perfect cast.

 

Jon Snow/Kit Harington

Kit Harington went into his Game of Thrones audition with a black eye after standing up for his girlfriend at a McDonald’s, but he knocked it out of the park and earned the role of a lifetime in Jon Snow. That honorable action and subsequent black eye is somewhat representative of Jon, and Harington played the part to perfection. Despite being raised a Ned Stark’s bastard, Jon rose all the way to becoming Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, won the Battle of the Bastards to take back Winterfell, was named King in the North, and rallied the living together and helped lead them to victory in the Great War. Jon was actually a Targaryen and true heir to the Iron Throne as the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark, but he landed on the good side of the coin and always behaved like the son of Ned—including putting duty over love in the end when he killed Queen Daenerys. Jon’s conclusion was fitting for the character, as it was clear throughout the series that he didn’t care for the politics of Westeros and always loved it in the North and beyond the Wall. Harington, and many other actors in the ensemble, have showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to thank for giving him the opportunity in Game of Thrones, but he’s become one of the best actors in the world.

 

Daenerys Targaryen/Emilia Clarke

Daenerys Targaryen is an extremely powerful and inspirational character that’s become iconic in pop culture (parents have named their kids “Daenerys” or “Khaleesi” after the her), and Emilia Clarke’s acting ability had a huge hand in that. It’s amazing that Clarke was able to portray Daenerys Targaryen the way she did, because she seems like one of the nicest people in the world in real life, while Daenerys often had to be stern, cold, and ruthless. Dany had as many triumphant, motivational moments as anyone in the series (including a needed joyful season-ending scene in Season 3’s “Mhysa” one episode after the Red Wedding), which made her series-ending turn toward madness and eventual downfall all the more stunning. In the final episode, Clarke seamlessly went from delivering an authoritarian speech in a made-up language to becoming a tragic, sympathetic figure like the character many viewers loved as much as any character for 72 episodes. She also had to act and make it believable while on top of a fake dragon (that looked nothing like an actual dragon) surrounded by green screens—and she did it flawlessly. Clarke was added to the second shooting of the pilot, and the series probably wouldn’t be what it is without her.

 

Tyrion Lannister/Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage and his character Tyrion Lannister were in some ways the glue of the cast. Dinklage is an American actor that helped headline the ensemble for a show that was being made for an American television network in HBO, and he played a critical principle character that interacted with more key characters than anyone else. Dinklage’s acting—particularly with his eyes—helped give us the emotions Tyrion was going through. The Lannister outcast started the series as a bit of a carefree joke that pursued trivial things, but he found himself in politics, where he became a serious player in the game. I don’t think any actor in the world (even putting the dwarf requirement aside) could’ve played Tyrion close to as well as Dinklage did.

 

Cersei Lannister/Lena Headey

Lena Headey was another established and known actor along with Dinklage in the largely unknown ensemble, and it’s impossible to imagine someone else playing the part of Cersei Lannister. The character is clearly one of the worst people in Westeros, but her soft spot for her children shows she’s not just some evil psychopath—and her final moments superbly encapsulated that, as she was just a human being that didn’t want to die. Heaney’s confident smirks, cunning eyes, and mocking tone as Cersei is just sensational.

 

Ned Stark/Sean Bean

From the beginning, Game of Thrones knew it wanted Sean Bean to play Ned Stark, and the casting choice could not have been better. As discussed, the Warden of the North had to operate down in the south, serving as King Robert’s Hand despite not wanting to. Ned’s duty, honor, and love for his family was very powerful, and the portrayal by Bean—for every single scene he was in—was spectacular. In just nine episodes, Bean was able to make Ned a true main character that seemed set to have the series centered around him, with an impact that’s felt throughout the rest of the series long after the character’s death.

 

Sansa Stark/Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner’s first role came as Sansa Stark, but she grew up with the character and went through an astonishing arc as Sansa, going from a self-described “stupid little girl” into the Lady of Winterfell and the Queen in the North. Considering how naïve Sansa was in the beginning of the show, to where she was at the end—outmaneuvering Littlefinger and commanding the utmost respect from the northerners while setting the tone for the kingdom—and all the struggles she went through in between, the character arc has a case for being the best in Game of Thrones.

 

Arya Stark/Maise Williams

Going from a little girl that knew who she was and desperately wanted to be a fighter at the beginning of the series to actually becoming one of the deadliest people alive by the end, Maise Williams had a tough task playing Arya Stark; but again, it’s difficult to picture anyone else in the part, as it the case for all these characters. Arya’s journey was reminiscent of Odysseus’ journey in The Odyssey, and she went years looking for revenge on those that wronged her and her family—and she was successful in avenging the Red Wedding by eliminating House Frey, and of course she was the Hero of Winterfell after killing the Night King to end the Great War at the Battle of Winterfell.

 

Bran Stark/Isaac Hempstead-Wright

After the first episode of Game of Thrones ended with Bran Stark being pushed out of a window, Isaac Hempstead-Wright had to play a crippled character that eventually became unattached as the Three-Eyed Raven, so it wasn’t an easy part to play. Hempstead-Wright was able to still deliver some humor within the character, including when he showed Samwell Tarly the raven scroll as the method he found out Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen were sailing to Winterfell. Also, despite being an emotionless character, Bran delivered an emotional moment during “The Long Night” when he told Theon Greyjoy he was right where he belonged: “home.” Bran being named King was definitely a surprise, but his ability to look into the past and learn from the mistakes of others will certainly make him a good ruler.

 

The character arcs of Jaime Lannister and Theon Greyjoy were already discussed, but the acting job by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Alfie Allen were right on par with their co-stars, which is saying something. Truly, every cast member was superb, which you know if you watch the show, but we’ll quickly go over a few more characters before moving on.

 

Jorah Mormont/Iain Glen

Jorah Mormont was in Game of Thrones from the pilot, and he was able to survive into Season 8 despite a few brushes with death (including greyscale). Iain Glen splendidly portrayed Jorah as someone in love with Daenerys Targaryen, but when he returned to her at Dragonstone in Season 7 and saw Jon Snow was there, you could tell he had a subtle shift in thinking and was more so just happy to be by her side, even if it wasn’t on the level he had always hoped—Glen’s acting made that shift possible and believable. His death while defending Dany was the perfect way for him to go out.

 

Robb Stark/Richard Madden

Richard Madden stands at about five-foot-ten, but he was able to deliver an intimidating on-screen presence that helped his portrayal as Robb Stark match up to the character’s nickname “The Young Wolf.” After Ned Stark’s death, Robb was named the first King in the North in nearly 300 years, and he became a classic “good guy” that followed his heart despite some political missteps. Robb’s death at the Red Wedding is probably the most sudden and devastating in television history, changing the story (and television) forever.

 

Stannis Baratheon/Stephen Dillane

Stannis Baratheon was a nearly-emotionless but highly-successful leader that was stone-faced and single-minded, which Stephen Dillane executed in such a way it made the character comical at times—like when he matter-of-factly told his brother Renly to give up “otherwise I shall destroy you.”

 

Davos Seaworth/Liam Cunningham

While Davos Seaworth was a former smuggler, he had a good understanding of right and wrong, and he was willing to fight for what he believed in. Liam Cunningham brought spirit and wit to the loyal character, surviving long enough to serve three different kings and get a spot on the Small Council.

 

Melisandre/Carice van Houten

Carice van Houten made the Red Priestess Melisandre a convincingly alluring character that, like many other characters, was squarely in the grey area. Melisandre’s intentions genuinely appeared to be good as she served the Lord of Light, but she was behind some terrible things—none more terrible than having Shireen Baratheon burned at the stake. In the end before her death, the centuries-old Melisandre found some redemption by bringing much-needed fire to the Battle of Winterfell.

 

Varys/Conleth Hill

Though not as ambitious and cold-blooded as Littlefinger, Lord Varys was the main adversary of Lord Baelish, and the two complemented each other well. Conleth Hill expertly made Varys an unassuming figure that tried to do what was best for the realm—and that often meant switching allegiances whenever he felt it was best.

 

Joffrey Baratheon/Jack Gleeson

By all accounts, Jack Gleeson is one of the kindest people you’ll meet, so his ability to play a totally unlikable character like Joffrey Baratheon is pretty impressive. King Joffrey was an awful ruler, as he was insecure, cruel, and unwise—but it made for one of the most memorable villains in history.

 

Ramsay Bolton/Iwan Rheon

Iwan Rheon initially auditioned for the role of Jon Snow, but the audience is lucky the showrunners circled back and cast him as another bastard, Ramsay Snow. Initially a mysterious character that was introduced as a torturer of Theon Greyjoy, the bastard son of Roose Bolton worked his way up into being named a legitimate Bolton (in a scene that somehow made viewers feel happy for him for a moment). But he was a legitimate sociopath that was pure evil, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone playing the part as well as Rheon did.

 

Euron Greyjoy/Pilou Asbæk

He wasn’t just pure evil like Ramsay Bolton, but Euron Greyjoy was a definite villain that was simply absolutely nuts. Pilou Asbæk brought that craziness to the screen in a way that the Game of Thrones team must have been thrilled with. Asbæk was able to deliver a twisted-but-hilarious laugh—most notably when Theon Greyjoy jumped overboard instead of trying to save his sister Yara—and he even died with a smile on his face, thinking he killed Jaime Lannister in a fight he seemingly wanted just for the fun of it.

 

Tywin Lannister/Charles Dance

Tywin Lannister wasn’t an evil man, but he was one of the most selfish people in Westeros, caring about family legacy over anything—which made his death fitting, as it’s probably the last way he wanted to go out. Charles Dance was great during his four seasons as Tywin, starting from his first episode “You Win or You Die” (Season 1, Episode 7), when he carved a real-life stag numerous times to capture his first scene on the show.

 

Mark Addy (King Robert Baratheon), Jason Mamoa (Khal Drogo), and Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen) during their limited time on the show were fabulous. John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Rory McCann (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane), and Jerome Flynn (Bronn) were in all eight seasons and were all exceptional. Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) joined the show in Season 2 and became an integral character for the rest of the series; Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) did the same as loyal followers of Daenerys Targaryen with an interesting and important relationship. Rose Leslie (Ygritte) was obviously critical for the character of Jon Snow—and Kit Harington and Leslie are now married in real life.

 

Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) played the upper hand on Cersei Lannister in a way that not many could pull off, and Dianna Rigg (Olenna Tyrell) was just as good at doing the same, delivering biting lines to anyone that crossed her path. Pedro Pascal’s time as Oberyn Martell was short-lived but unforgettable. Michael Huisman (Daario Naharis) was believable as a love interest of Daenerys Targaryen. And Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane) was kept on the cast because he was just so good in his part, and the character eventually travels to the “Real North” with Jon Snow to end the series. This could go on and on to hit literally every actor and character in Game of Thrones. Just one bad apple—in terms of acting ability or attitude behind the scenes—would have stood out in a cast this tremendous, but there were none.

 

 

Team

The actors have to be great for a television to be top-notch, but the entire crew all the way down to the extras must be exceptional for a show to be as successful as Game of Thrones. From the outside looking in, it appears that everyone involved with Game of Thrones (including all the actors) seems to truly get along like a family. If every single person that was part of the cast and crew wasn’t great, who knows what would’ve happened? The show might not have lasted more than a season or two.

 

The showrunners

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss correctly answered the question from George R.R. Martin: “Who is Jon Snow’s real mother?” From there, the rest is history, and HBO trusting the trio, securing the television rights to the ASOIAF books after getting the story brought to them, and giving D&D the freedom to create Game of Thrones with never-before-seen budgets and no known interference is probably the best decision the premium network has ever made. Benioff and Weiss had easy material to work with in the novels, along with great co-writers like Bryan Cogman, but they kept things going smoothly after they ran past the books—Season 6 is thought of by many as the best season of the show, and the final two seasons completed the story to perfection. It says a lot about Benioff and Weiss that Game of Thrones operated at a high level from top to bottom.

 

A+ directors

It would’ve been nearly impossible for Benioff and Weiss to direct all 73 episodes of the series, and everyone probably would’ve gotten tired of each other after a while if that happened. But there were directors that could be trusted to handle episodes and ensure everything feels connected from week to week. Tim Van Patten, Daniel Minahan, and Alan Taylor were three directors well-known for their work on previous HBO series, and their presence probably helped the show find its footing early on. David Nutter (directed the last two episodes of Season 3 and Season 5, among others) and Miguel Sapochnik (“Hardhome”, “Battle of the Bastards”, “The Winds of Winter”) were heavy-hitters brought back for the final season, but every director that participated in the show appeared to do A+ work.

 

Under-the-radar crews

The special effects in Game of Thrones—from the dragons to all the different types of destruction like wildfire and dragonfire—were second to none in television or film. The makeup and prosthetics for the White Walkers, battle scars, head explosions, etc. were crazy good. And the settings, costumes, and weapons teams made the world of Westeros feel more real every Sunday night. Everything looked realistic, even if it was totally fake walls that looked like real stone or the dragons that were built from scratch into life-like beasts.

 

 

Music

Earlier, it was discussed how Game of Thrones is arguably the best show under a handful of different genres; but the show being the best extends to the acting, directing, special effects, and—perhaps most of all—the music. Composer Ramin Djawadi created the most epic scores you’ll hear for a show or movie, and all the background music helped with the theme of the show and set the tone for what was happening in a scene. I am no music expert, but these are some of my favorite usages of music in Game of Thrones:

 

“The Rains of Castamere” (the song of House Lannister) is played throughout the series, but it’s best use is undoubtedly when it’s played by the Frey men at the Red Wedding. You’re not sure what’s going to happen, but the music gives you this feeling that something isn’t quite right.

 

“Two Swords” combined the Stark and Lannister theme in an astounding song that gloriously complements the scene when Tywin Lannister melts down House Stark’s ancestral sword Ice.

 

The different songs using the Targaryen theme, including “Finale”, “Mhysa”, and “The Winds of Winter” give a feeling of triumph to Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, which is unfortunate when you consider her downfall.

 

“The Light of the Seven” from “The Winds of Winter” (Season 6, Episode 10) and “The Night King” from “The Long Night” (Season 8, Episode 3) both use the piano to build tension in the case of the former, and to make you feel incredibly sad and feel like the living is going to lose in the case of the latter.

 

The songs used during the scenes with Jon Snow and Daenerys were phenomenal, as they went from hopeful and optimistic throughout Season 7 to sad and dramatic for the Daenerys death scene.

 

Finally, the last two songs of the series—“The Last of the Starks”, which is a beautiful version of the Stark theme, and “A Song of Ice and Fire”, which is a twist on the opening title theme for the closing credits—are two of the best. And that iconic main title theme has to be mentioned.

 

 

Emotional moments

Game of Thrones is filled with highly emotional moments—moments that just give chills, incite feelings, or just break your heart more than any other television series. Even something as simple as Jon Snow and Robb Stark saying farewell in the second episode of the first season hits you, especially when you look back and think the two brothers never see each other again. These are some examples of undervalued emotional moments throughout the series.

 

Michelle Fairley was another recast for the second pilot, and that decision obviously worked out. As Catelyn Stark, Fairley delivered powerful moments filled with emotion—including when she talked to Talisa Stark about Jon Snow, and very early in the series when Cersei Lannister visited Catelyn at Bran’s bedside and discussed losing a child.

 

In the aftermath of the Red Wedding, the viewers were able to get a feel-good moment across the Narrow Sea to end Season 3, as Daenerys Targaryen addressed the crowd of newly-freed Yunkish slaves, giving a speech about them taking back their freedom. As the crowd chanted “Mhysa”, Daenerys learned it meant “mother”, as the Mother of Dragons was jubilantly carried throughout the crowd while her three dragons flew overhead.

 

In the penultimate episode of Season 5, Daenerys had another awe-inspiring moment when she escaped danger, flying away on Drogon while leaving Tyrion Lannister and her other allies stunned at this young queen riding a dragon. Earlier in the episode, it’s difficult not to shed a tear when Shireen Baratheon is burned at the stake while her father Stannis and mother Selyse look on.

 

And in the “The Long Night”, the look Tyrion and Sansa give each other as they face impending doom in the Crypts of Winterfell says it all. Thankfully, they both survived, but it looked like those would be their last moments when the music hit.

 

Other emotional moments include Daenerys ordering Jorah Mormont to find a cure (then Jorah’s eventual return), Theon’s return to Winterfell, and Hodor’s crushingly-sad origins as revealed in “The Door”.

 

 

Battles

We didn’t see battles early in Game of Thrones; for example, Whispering Wood occurred off screen. But when they happened, they got better and better—and by far the best in the history of television or film, which is crazy considering the show has to contend with feature films that far exceed even the big budgets for Game of Thrones.

 

Blackwater

While King Joffrey cowered despite a lot of tough talk earlier about giving his Uncle Stannis a “red smile”, Tyrion Lannister was forced to lead the defense of King’s Landing. The swift use of wildfire led to a victory for the Lannisters, but there was plenty of suspense throughout the battle, mostly focusing on Cersei Lannister. The final scene in the Great Hall, where Cersei sat on the Iron Throne ready to poison Tommen and herself to avoid being taken by Stannis before it was her father Tywin’s army that emerged victorious, was a brilliant end to the battle.

 

Watchers on the Wall

Jon Snow had always been a traditional hero that always tried to do the right thing, but the defense of Castle Black in “The Watchers on the Wall” is when his natural ability as a leader and a warrior really started to shine. The young Stark bastard first took command of the defense atop the Wall, but then he eventually made his way down to the more dangerous part of the battle when he joined the action below. Wielding Longclaw, Jon took his bumps and bruises, but he killed a Thenn and was the most skilled fighter out there. However, he was within striking distance of Ygritte, who just couldn’t pull the trigger on the man she loved. Jon’s final moment with Ygritte, as he cradled her in his arms, is one of the best shots of the entire series.

 

Hardhome

The massacre at Hardhome came out of nowhere for everyone, including book readers that knew something happened at the Free Folk village but nothing close to this level, with Jon Snow and Night’s Watch members in middle of a sudden attack by the Army of the Dead. Like during the battle at Castle Black, the attack on Hardhome mostly centered around tracking Jon, who looked like he’d be another hero killed before Longclaw held against a White Walker that was then shattered by the Valyrian steel weapon. The action was complete chaos, and it was a major defeat for the living from start to finish, as they were forced to retreat while contemplating the ultimate threat they were dealing with in the form of the Night King and his army of hundreds of thousands of the dead.

 

Battle of the Bastards

Cinematically, there is no battle that matches the Battle of the Bastards, which was perfect throughout. The score as Jon Snow took off his scabbard and gripped Longclaw as he set to face a charging Bolton army was exquisite, and the results of the fighting went about the opposite way Jon’s army had hoped—instead of setting up a double envelope, they were caught within a double envelope and getting squeezed in to the point that Jon almost suffocated to death after just recently being brought back to life, which seemed possible in a world as unforgiving as Game of Thrones. Even as Jon emerged, the battle was lost until the Knights of the Vale swooped in at the last moment, sweeping away the enemy in a stunning mid-battle twist. The Battle of the Bastards was so gritty and violent that it made Jon look almost like a beast instead of a human, and it’s rightfully hailed as a crowning achievement for the series.

 

The Battle of the Goldroad

The Battle of the Goldroad was the only battle in Game of Thrones history with two main characters on opposite sides of the battlefield, as Daenerys Targaryen decided she had enough of sitting around at Dragonstone and decided to ambush the Lannister army—led by Jaime Lannister—at the Blackwater Rush. The look on Jaime’s face when he heard Drogon’s screech in the distance said it all—it was staggering to see the dragon in action, laying waste to anything in his path. The Scorpion weapon, shot by Bronn, led to Dany having to land Drogon to remove the giant spear, setting up perhaps the most intense moment of the entire series, as Jaime charged the Dragon Queen in a moment where it looked like Daenerys was done—until, Drogon turned his heard in front of his mother, making it appear that it would be Jaime that meets his end in the battle; but Bronn was again there to save a Lannister, tackling Jaime into the water to end a high-stakes moment.

 

The Great War

In the words of Jon Snow, the only war that matters was the Great War, and it lived up to the hype with two main battles: the battle beyond the Wall at the frozen lake and the Battle of Winterfell.

 

The frozen lake battle was a bit of a surprise battle, as it was meant to be a stealth mission where the Eastwatch squad would secure a wight and return south of the Wall to bring it to Queen Cersei; but things changed when they became stranded on a little island in middle of a frozen lake, and the Night King showed up with a few White Walker lieutenants while the living were surrounded by thousands of dead. Daenerys arrived just in time with her three dragons, destroying thousands of wights with dragonfire as the tide immediately turned in favor of the living—but the Night King calmly was handed an ice spear and struck Viserion, whose terrible cries clearly affected Daenerys. Being the hero that he is and knowing how much Dany’s children meant to her, Jon was very angry and stared down the Night King, but his heroics led to him getting tackled into the ice, forcing Daenerys to leave without him. The battle was over, but Jon thankfully emerged from the water and narrowly survived with help from his Uncle Benjen.

 

The Battle of Winterfell was the most hyped battle in the history of TV or movies, and it took 55 nights to shoot it, with main characters like the Night King, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Jaime Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Theon Greyjoy, Bran Stark, Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm, the Hound, Beric Dondarrion, Gendry, Melisandre, Davos Seaworth, Samwell Tarly, Eddison Tollett, Tyrion Lannister, and Sansa Stark all involved, along with hundreds of extras and remarkable special effects to bring the battle to life. The battle took place under moonlight, but the presence of fire—created by the dragons and by Melisandre—delivered the ideal contrast in the battle that helped lead to optimism for the living. There were continuous shifts throughout the Battle of Winterfell, and—with the help of the musical score “The Night King”—it appeared that the dead would successfully eliminate our heroes at Winterfell, including the Three-Eyed Raven at the godswood. We weren’t given a predictable Jon-versus-Night King single combat showdown because it simply wasn’t realistic for the former King in the North to get close enough to even have a shot at an unstoppable force like him, and Arya (who remember is a masterfully-skilled assassin) flying out of nowhere to deliver the Valyrian steel catspaw dagger to the body of the Night King was really the only way for the ultimate enemy to be defeated realistically. The Battle of Winterfell captured suspense, action, drama, and horror all within the one episode.

 

 

Twists

There were plenty of twists and turns throughout Game of Thrones, including many of the biggest events of the series.

 

Littlefinger turns on Ned

Again, the first season was mostly based around politics of King’s Landing while following Warden of the North Ned Stark as he tried to operate just and honorably. When Littlefinger turns on Ned in “You Win or You Die” (Season 1, Episode 7), holding a knife to the person he just said he was behind, most viewers probably realized Game of Thrones was different than any other show before it.

 

Ned Stark’s death

If you didn’t realize Game of Thrones was different in Episode 7, you certainly found out in “Baelor” (Season 1, Episode 9). Ned Stark was the main character of the show to this point—he was the person most viewers were behind, and Sean Bean was listed first in the credits—so there wasn’t much thought about him actually being killed. You just don’t kill off the main character like that, so we thought Ned would simply be sent to the Wall. Citing the “soft hearts of women,” King Joffrey had other plans, uttering the words, “Ser Ilyn, bring me his head,” and changing the realm forever as the King’s Justice dealt a sudden and crushing blow to House Stark.

 

The Red Wedding

The Starks had been through a lot since the start of Game of Thrones, so it was good to see everything was going so well at the wedding between Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. Edmure was happy with his new bride, while Walder Frey seemingly forgave the King in the North Robb Stark for following his heart and going against his vow to marry one of his daughters—or so we thought. The heartwarming moment of Talisa Stark telling her husband that they would name their son Eddard if it’s a boy, followed by Catelyn Stark happily watching her son interact with his wife, slowly but surely turned into the most shocking and terrible event in Game of Thrones. “The Rains of Castamere” began to play, and it was too late; the Starks were butchered at what would become known as “the Red Wedding”, completely turning the series upside down as Roose Bolton put a knife into the heart of Robb. Killing Ned Stark was bad enough, but to eliminate one of the main heroes and his family in middle of the series—in middle of a wedding—is simply mind-boggling, making it simultaneously the worst and best moment in TV history.

 

Tyrion Lannister’s trial

Tyrion Lannister’s trial for the murder of King Joffrey was like a courtroom drama on steroids, as we were forced to watch the Lannister dwarf get wrongly accused precisely because he was a dwarf. You couldn’t help but feel there wasn’t any way Tyrion would get out of his predicament until Jaime was able to set up a back-room deal with Tywin to send Tyrion to the Wall while he would quit the Kingsguard and take his place in Casterly Rock to continue the family name, which was exactly what the leader of House Lannister wanted from the situation. However, one last gut-punch to Tyrion—Shae testifying against him—led to a surprising twist to end “The Laws of Gods and Men”: Tyrion requested a trial by combat. The reactions from Jaime, Cersei, and Tywin captured the character’s emotions, as did the aftermath of the actual trial by combat when Oberyn Martell lost to the Mountain after one mis-step (as was hinted at when Bronn said he wouldn’t fight for his acquaintance), getting Tyrion sentenced to death.

 

Jon Snow’s death

Ned Stark was killed, Robb Stark was killed—Jon Snow wouldn’t be the next to go, would he? All the signs were there that trouble was afoot for the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but he had just stared down the Night King while no other main character believes the Army of the Dead was even real, so his death didn’t seem likely. But Game of Thrones operates realistically, and sure enough, as Jon jumped up and eagerly wanted to hear from this supposed eye-witness that saw his Uncle Benjen, he found a sign reading “TRAITOR” in the courtyard, only to turn around and get stabbed by members of the Night’s Watch, including Olly delivering the final blow. Unlike the deaths of Ned and Robb, Jon’s death ended the season, with a sad Stark theme playing as he bled out in the cold snow.

 

Jon Snow’s parentage

While many people—including Benioff and Weiss to get permission from George R.R. Martin to use his books in a show—figured out Jon Snow’s parentage, Game of Thrones still delivered it masterfully on two occasions: first, when Bran’s flashback showed Lyanna Stark handing Ned a baby and the scene transitioned to Jon in the present day; and second, when it was revealed that Jon had never been a bastard, as Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna loved each other and were married in secret, making Jon the heir to the Iron Throne. The first revelation helped keep Ned’s honor more intact in the eyes of the viewer despite only a few people in Westeros knowing the truth, and the second revelation led to the events of the final season, with both Daenerys Targaryen and Jon dealing with the bombshell.

 

Littlefinger Death

Aidan Gillen was exceptional as Lord Petyr Baelish, also known as “Littlefinger”. Lord Baelish worked his way up from nothing, and by the time we are placed into the universe for Game of Thrones, he was seemingly always in control because of his political acumen and manipulation skills—save for a few occasions, like when Ned choked him and Jon choked him in similar scenes seasons apart, and when Cersei gave the memorable “power is power” line and could’ve had his throat cut with the snap of her fingers. Throughout the course of Season 7, Littlefinger looked to be in as much control as ever, apparently turning Arya and Sansa Stark against each other to the point where it looked like one of them would die at the hands of the other—the scene where he placed Sansa’s forced letter to Robb back during the War of the Five Kings while realizing Arya was spying on him was excellent. So when Sansa brought Arya to court and then asked Lord Baelish how he pleads to the charges, it was a swift and stunning turn that led to the master manipulator finally not having the upper hand and begging for his life before Arya cut his throat with the catspaw dagger that was used to help turn the Starks and Lannisters against each other early in the series.

 

Daenerys Targaryen’s turn

For 71 episodes, most fans cheered for Daenerys Targaryen as she looked to make it all the way from Essos to Westeros and take the Iron Throne. The Dragon Queen had as many delightful moments as any character in Game of Thrones, and she showed ability as a just ruler across the Narrow Sea—but there were signs that a turn toward madness was possible dating all the way back to Season 1, when she unemotionally watched her brother Viserys die horrifically via molten gold, coldly telling Jorah Momront: “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.” She then lost two dragons and two of her best friends, and Jon Snow turned her down because of their relation—all causing enough grief to make her snap. Despite the signs, Dany was an overwhelmingly “good” character, which made her destruction of King’s Landing stunning and heartbreaking.

 

 

Impactful and memorable

Game of Thrones was legitimate appointment television and did things that will be nearly impossible for another show to match. Every Sunday night for eight seasons spanning nearly a decade, viewers were captivated by Westeros and Game of Thrones’ vast characters and history within different genres.

 

Originality

Game of Thrones was able to spawn many original quotes and references that’ll live on forever. There’ll be years of people saying “Winter is Coming” during the summer and fall, and being asked to hold the door can instantly bring up thoughts about Hodor’s origins for fans of the series. Game of Thrones is like The Godfather version of television, as aside from it being a masterpiece, it’s the most quotable show in the world—with original quotes, from Tyrion Lannister’s advice to Jon Snow (“Let me give you some advice, bastard. Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”) that can be used in real life to a simple “Dracarys” from Daenerys Targaryen or a “not today” from Arya Stark.

 

Blurred lines

The Starks were largely good from start to finish in Game of Thrones, but the show blurred the lines between good and evil more than any show, as it was like a real world with real actions—and its depth and capacity meant a ton of characters and relationships to navigate. Characters flipped back and forth between “good” and “bad,” and most of them were just seen as people in the end. Only Game of Thrones could make you feel bad for a character like Cersei Lannister during her final moments—and most viewers were probably even somewhat in Cersei’s corner during her showdown against the High Sparrow. Daenerys Targaryen’s invasion of King’s Landing flipped things totally around, as the Golden Company was given the same perspective that Jon Snow and his army had during the Battle of the Bastards had. As stated earlier, anything can happen, and things certainly don’t go exactly as you might want them, but Jaime fighting and making it back to Cersei in time was perfect—despite the weirdness of their relationship, you either feel bad for them or don’t know what to think. And in the end, Daenerys certainly wasn’t pure evil, which made Jon’s decision to kill her a painfully difficult one.

 

Unmatchable

Maybe another creator will come around and make a story as expansive as Game of Thrones and find the perfect storm of showrunners, cast, crew, and television network to execute the plan—but it doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon, if ever. As the world moves toward more streaming and more impatience, with many people barely able to put down their phone for 15 minutes let alone an hour or so to watch even an edge-of-your-seat event like Thrones, will something like this ever happen again? Game of Thrones was a phenomenon that might never be matched.

 

 

The End

Bringing a show like Game of Thrones to an end is complicated, but the characters received fitting conclusions that remains true to them all. “The Iron Throne” was a perfect finale, with an ultra-dramatic climax that led into the aftermath of Jon Snow killing Daenerys Targaryen.

 

Bran Stark could rule the Six Kingdoms as the Three-Eyed Raven, and the people could be sure he’d be a fair and just ruler. Tyrion Lannister became Hand of the King (his third time as Hand), which is something he enjoyed doing despite stating otherwise—with an interesting cast on the Small Council, including Maester Sam. Ser Brienne of Tarth would lead King Bran’s Kingsguard, and she filled up Jaime’s previously-light pages on the White Book. And the Stark sisters would be doing their duty in representing their family—with Arya leading a Stark voyage to the west of Westeros and Sansa ruling an independent kingdom as Queen in the North. The pack survived winter, and House Stark was now dominant throughout Westeros after years of heartbreak and suffering.

 

The story came full circle, as the final scene of Game of Thrones mirrored the opening scene of the series—only this time, as opposed to Night’s Watch members getting killed by White Walkers, Jon’s Watch was ended peacefully. After years of fighting, he could join Ghost and live out his life without worrying about his family south of the Wall—the Starks were all right, doing what they loved.

‘Game of Thrones’: Top 25 Episodes Of The Series

‘Game of Thrones’: Top 25 Episodes Of The Series

Any number of episodes could have made the list, but with the hit HBO series now concluded, these are our picks for the top episodes in Game of Thrones history.

 

25. “The Lion and the Rose” (S4E2)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

Typically, Game of Thrones followed a formula where the big moments/deaths came at the end of the season, so it was a shock for those who didn’t read the books when King Joffrey was murdered at his own wedding in the second episode of Season 4. Even before the gruesome death, director Alex Graves masterfully weaved all the character interactions together at the feast, and viewers have their guard down by the time Joffrey starts choking because we had just seen the intensity ratcheted up (when Tyrion was humiliated as cupbearer) and suddenly halted (when Margaery wisely shouted for the cake). But even for someone as wicked as Joffrey, it was a horrible to see his discolored face with the life being sucked out of him and Cersei screaming for Tyrion to be taken.

 

24. “Home” (S6E2)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

A lot was going on in “Home”—from Bran visiting Winterfell in the past (when Ned was a boy), to Jaime’s confrontation with the High Sparrow, to Ramsay killing his father—but the ending is what gives it a spot among our top episodes. Despite not being a “devout man” by his own admission, Ser Davos urged Melisandre to try to bring the Jon Snow back from the dead, but it seemed to fail, as the former Lord Commander remained motionless while everyone left the room. However, Ghost wakes up and looks towards Jon, who eventually opens his eyes and realizes he is somehow alive. Unsurprisingly, composer Ramin Djawadi had the perfect score to play through the end credits.

 

23. “And Now His Watch Is Ended” (S3E4)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

The episode title is named for the mutiny at Craster’s Keep that resulted in Lord Commander Mormont’s death, but that wasn’t even the final scene in “And Now His Watch Is Ended”, which also included the Hound learning his trial by combat would come against Beric Dondarrion (actually instilling a bit of fear in him), and most importantly, Daenerys’ first large-scale use of her dragons. The latter moment showed the Mother of Dragons take control of the Unsullied while earning their trust as free men.

 

22. “You Win or You Die” (S1E7)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

After being introduced to Tywin Lannister in a memorable opening scene where he talks to Jaime about the family legacy, viewers are given an insight into “the game” back at the capital with Cersei Lannister telling Ned Stark, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” The Hand of the King was trying to show mercy by telling Cersei he knew the truth about her children actually being Jaime’s (hence, giving them all a chance to leave), but we find out by the end of the episode that honor doesn’t play well in King’s Landing, as Ned ends up with a knife to his throat (via Littlefinger) and his men killed. Also in the episode: Jon Snow takes his Night’s Watch vows beyond the Wall, which leads to Ghost finding a severed hand.

 

21. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (S8E2)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

People who can’t watch a show without looking at their phone might not have enjoyed this dialogue-heavy episode enough to rank it among the best, but we think it undoubtedly deserves a spot. Things started out with Brienne vouching for Jaime and his pledge to fight for the North (because Daenerys and Sansa didn’t believe him), and he eventually returned the favor by knighting Brienne in a heart-warming scene. The episode name could be about that moment, but in general, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” may have actually been about Jaime and how far he’s come as a person, which he explained to Bran in the Godswood. It also happened to be arguably the funniest episode of the series (and that’s a good tool to use prior to a huge battle), but things got serious when Podrick started signing “Jenny of Oldstones” and the montage carried us to Jon Snow telling Dany who he is right before the horns blow with Death approaching.

 

20. “Winter Is Coming” (S1E1)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

The series premiere started with a chilling pre-credits scene that introduced us to the White Walkers, while the rest of the episode gave us a feel of the Starks, Lannisters, and Baratheons in Westeros, and the last two known Targaryens—Viserys and Daenerys—in Essos. Simply through conversations, viewers were able to get an idea of all the characters, but the final scene where Bran Stark is pushed by Jaime after he catches him with Cersei was a surprising end to this new fantasy world on HBO. Plus, on a happier note, who doesn’t love direwolf puppies?

 

19. “The Watchers on the Wall” (S4E9)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

The Night’s Watch barely had the numbers to hold Castle Black when the wildlings attacked, but the heroism of Jon Snow—first taking command on top of the Wall and then joining the action on the ground—allowed it to stand yet again (as Alliser Thorne said it a speech, the castle had never fallen before). The highlight of the episode was the long sequence where Jon leaps from the elevator, pauses for a moment at the top of the steps, and then joins the action, as we got a look at all the characters we know (Ygritte, Tormund, and even Ghost) before Olly eventually saved Jon by killing Ygritte. In the morning, Jon made the executive decision to go beyond the Wall and try to assassinate Mance Rayder, so we weren’t sure what was in store for the Season 4 finale.

 

18. “The Laws of Gods and Men” (S4E6)

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

In a crucial scene before Tyrion is put on trial for Joffrey’s death, Stannis and Davos went to Braavos, and the Onion Knight was able to convince the Iron Bank to support the only remaining Baratheon in his war against the Lannisters. Also, the dungeon fight to free Theon—a knife-wielding Ramsay Bolton and his men against Yara and her men—was unsuccessful but awesome to watch. The entire trial was what made “The Laws of Gods and Men” so great, though, as in a backroom deal, Jaime was able to convince his father to let Tyrion live out his days on the Wall if he pleads for mercy, which all three Lannister men agree to under one condition—no more outbursts from the accused. However, when Shae was brought in as a witness to lie about him, Tyrion couldn’t take it and decided to wish death upon the entire crowd before demanding a trial by combat.

 

17. “The Children” (S4E10)

 

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“The Children” had a ton of events packed into it—Tyrion killing his father, Bran reaching the Three-Eyed Raven, Daenerys locking up her dragons, the Hound fighting Brienne, the beginning of the Mountain’s transformation, and to start the episode, Stannis attacking Mance Rayder and the wildlings—but two of the more underappreciated scenes were centered around Jon Snow. First, he tells Stannis that his father would have told him to burn all the dead bodies if he’d seen what he’s seen, and later, he says goodbye to Ygritte by creating a funeral pyre for her beyond the Wall as suggested by Tormund.

 

16. “Fire and Blood” (S1E10)

 

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With Ned Stark now dead, it looked like Daenerys Targaryen and Robb Stark were the two main heroes of the story. For his first scene in “Fire and Blood”, Robb is crying and repeatedly striking a tree with his sword after hearing of his father’s death, but Catelyn reminds him that they need to need Sansa and Arya back—“and then we will kill them all.” At the same time, Daenerys is abandoned by the Dothraki and has nothing except for three petrified dragon eggs. But soon enough, Robb is named King in the North, and Dany becomes the Mother of Dragons.

 

15. “The Bells” (S8E5)

 

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The Last War didn’t really turn out to be much of a war at all after Dany laid waste to Euron’s fleet, the Golden Company, and the Lannister forces, but how could an episode where two of the five principal characters die (Jaime and Cersei) and another is revealed to be the show’s final villain (Daenerys) not make the list? Even though the signs were there looking back, the Mother of Dragons ignoring the bells of surrender was equally shocking and heartbreaking to watch. Besides Jaime reaching and dying with his sister, the destruction of King’s Landing led to an apocalyptic Clegane Bowl, Jon Snow seeing the horror of what’s happening, and Arya somehow surviving and riding off on a white horse for the penultimate final scene.

 

14. “Blackwater” (S2E9)

 

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The first battle episode in Game of Thrones, “Blackwater” was outstanding television from start to finish. Like “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” provided prior to “The Long Night”, there were some comedic moments before Stannis attacked King’s Landing, including Joffrey’s misplaced confidence and arrogance as Sansa sees him off the battle. But substance came once the fighting began, and very real emotions came to the surface for the Hound (fear), Joffrey (cowardness), and Cersei (worry), forcing Tyrion to take charge and help save the city. However, Ser Mandon tries to kill the Lannister dwarf and ends up slicing his face before Podrick saves him, and we see more forces—led by Tywin and Loras Tyrell—win the battle.

 

13. “Mother’s Mercy” (S5E10)

 

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The Season 5 finale starts about as dark as possible when Stannis—after being told that half his army has deserted him—gets even worse news when he goes out to the woods and sees his wife has hanged herself after their daughter’s death by fire in the previous episode. To make matters worse, a previously confident Melisandre left despite Shireen’s sacrifice melting the snows away, but Stannis still marches on Winterfell—leading to a Bolton victory and beheading at the hands of Brienne in the aftermath. Before the big moment (Jon Snow’s shocking death at the hands of his brothers), Cersei is forced to endure a walk of atonement, which was absolutely humiliating and showed the power of the Faith Militant. But “Mother’s Mercy” ranks so highly because of the cold-blooded group assassination of the Lord Commander, who bleads out in the snow.

 

12. “Beyond the Wall” (S7E6)

 

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Hardhome was such a one-sided massacre that it probably didn’t count, so the events of “Beyond the Wall” could be classified as the first battle of the Great War. Things started off sort of like a stealth mission when the Eastwatch crew picked off a White Walker and captured a wight, but they soon found themselves trapped at the center of an ice lake, forcing Daenerys and her dragons the go north. Unfortunately, the awesomeness of dragonfire wiping out the Army of the Dead was soon turned into horror when the Night King used a spear to strike Viserion, killing the majestic beast, who crashed into the ice. Then, it looked like the King in the North might be lost when he was tackled into the water, but his Uncle Benjen made his final appearance while saving another family member. After Jon made it back to the Wall to the relief of Daenerys, he and the Mother of Dragons came to an understanding—the Night King and the Army of the Dead must be destroyed at all costs—leading to Jon swearing his allegiance to Dany. The final shot of Viserion’s eye turning into an icy blue is one of the most memorable final shots of the entire series.

 

11. “The Door” (S6E5)

 

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The ending sequence of “The Door” is easy to remember, but a lot more happened before the events north of the Wall. Sansa Stark gave Jon Snow a handmade cloak with the Stark sigil—a lot like the one Ned Stark used to wear; we found out the origin of the White Walkers via Bran Stark’s vision (the Children of the Forest created them to protect themselves against men); Euron Greyjoy took control of the Iron Islands, forcing Theon and Yara to flee; and Daenerys Targaryen had a very emotional scene with Jorah Mormont where she orders her former advisor to find a cure for greyscale and return to her. The main draw, though, was the Night King arriving to kill the Three-Eyed Raven, which led to Bran becoming the new Three-Eyed Raven earlier than expected—and a heartbreaking death/origin for Hodor.

 

10. “Baelor” (S1E10)

 

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The entire first season revolved around Ned Stark, so his sudden death in “Baelor” was simply mind-boggling for those that had no knowledge of the books Game of Thrones was based on. At the beginning of the episode, an imprisoned Ned talked to Varys and delivered one of the best quotes of the series: “You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honor for a few more years…of what? You grew up with actors. You learned their craft and you learnt it well. But I grew up with soldiers. I learned to die a long time ago.” Lord Stark was adamant that he would not lie and bend the knee to a false king, but Varys was able to convince him by asking if his daughter’s life is precious to him, setting the stage for the final scene of the episode—which was all the more tragic after things were looking up for the Starks following Robb’s victory and capture of Jaime Lannister at Whispering Wood. After it looked like Ned would be sent to the Wall to live out his days with Jon Snow (who had received Longclaw from Lord Commander Mormont earlier in the episode), King Joffrey said six words—”Ser Ilyn, bring me his head”—to change the realm (and television) forever.

 

9. “The Spoils of War” (S7E4)

 

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Aside from the episode-ending battle, “The Spoils of War” included Arya Stark’s long-coming return to Winterfell, a fun display of swordsmanship between the Stark assassin and Brienne, and Jon showing Daenerys what he found on the walls while mining the dragonglass. But when Dany is furious after being told that the Lannister forces took Highgarden, it causes her to wonder if she should fly to the Red Keep with her three dragons to end the war (Jon says it wouldn’t be a good idea). Shortly after, Theon arrives at Dragonstone, and when he asks about the queen, Jon tells him she isn’t there. The way the scenes were set up was masterfully done, as the viewers learn at the same time Jaime and Bronn do that Daenerys didn’t fly to King’s Landing—she was attacking the Lannister army as they were moving through the Blackwater Rush. The combination of the Dothraki and the dragons was seemingly unstoppable until Bronn was able to ground Drogon with a Scorpion bolt, and it opened the door for Jaime to charge at the Mother of Dragons to end the war. However, as we see by Tyrion’s reaction as he looks on (“Flee, you idiot”), the attempt at her life probably wasn’t going to end well. It looked like one of them would die for certain—first Daenerys, who had her back turned; then Jaime, when Drogon turned his head to protect his mother—but Bronn was able to save the Lannister knight, as all the main characters lived to fight another day. “The Spoils of War” is the shortest episode of the series, but it might have been the most intense.

 

8. “The Dragon and the Wolf” (S7E7)

 

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The Season 7 finale was a monumental episode, as the five principal characters—Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, and Cersei Lannister—were all together for the first time, leading to several interesting interactions during the dragonpit meeting. Of course, the end result was Cersei lying about marching north to join them, but that caused Jaime to finally leave his sister’s side as he honored his pledge to fight the Army of the Dead. Overall “The Dragon and the Wolf” had both subtle moments (everyone criticizing Jon for being too honorable; snow falling in King’s Landing) and big moments (Littlefinger’s death), but the two biggest were Jon being revealed as the true heir to the Iron Throne, and the Night King using the undead Viserion to take down the Wall—creating a path for his army to destroy the Seven Kingdoms.

 

7. “The Dance of Dragons” (S5E9)

 

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Sandwiched between “Hardhome” and the Season 5 finale “Mother’s Mercy”, “The Dance of Dragons” is sometimes forgotten about among the best Game of Thrones episodes. However, it was yet another great, eventful penultimate episode of a season, especially because of the final two scenes. First, Princess Shireen was burned at the stake in one of the saddest and most disturbing moments of the series. It was tough to watch the look of anguish on Stannis Baratheon’s face and Selyse having a change of heart, but it was even tougher to see Shireen—who just wanted to help her father—realize what was happening and then get burned alive. The fact that the moment didn’t end the episode showed a) how good Game of Thrones is, and b) what was in store for Daenerys in the final scene. The Mother of Dragons didn’t seem to be in any immediate danger watching the fights in the Great Pit of Daznak, but when she hears Jorah’s voice, you could see shock/fear come over her, which Emilia Clarke did a tremendous job of showing with her facial expressions. He survives, but soon Dany is in danger, as Jorah throws a spear right by her to take out a masked member of the Sons of the Harpy. From there, it’s absolutely mayhem, and our heroes are surrounded until Drogon comes to the rescue to save his mother—leaving Tyrion and the others in complete awe as she flies away.

 

6. “Battle of the Bastards” (S6E9)

 

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The same case can be made for every single one of the battles in Game of Thrones, but “Battle of the Bastards” is the finest example of the show delivering the best battle scenes ever put on screen. The penultimate episode of Season 6 also treated viewers to Daenerys turning Slaver’s Bay into the Bay of Dragons, but the focus was obviously Jon Snow trying to take Winterfell back. The pre-battle meeting (including Jon challenging Ramsay Bolton to a one-on-one fight to prevent thousands from dying, and then Sansa promising her husband that he’ll die tomorrow) was great, as were the final preparations—with Sansa telling Jon that he doesn’t know Ramsay, and Jon telling Melisandre not to bring him back if dies again. Prior to the start of the action, the former Lord Commander was sadly unable to save Rickon before Ramsay put an arrow through his heart, but the shot of Jon unsheathing his sword as the Bolton forces charged is one of the most memorable in history. Fortunately, the Knights of the Vale arrive just as it looks like the battle would be lost, leading to a retreat by Ramsay and a one-on-one fight between he and Jon in the Winterfell courtyard. The end result is Jon pummeling Ramsay, and the episode fittingly concludes with Sansa unleashing her husband’s hungry dogs on him.

 

5. “The Long Night” (S8E3)

 

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“The Long Night” was arguably the most hyped episode in television history, as it was the ultimate battle of good versus evil between the living and the dead—and no one knew what would happen. The battle started out with the Jorah, Ghost, and the Dothraki (who had their Arakhs lit on fire by Melisandre) riding out to attack the wights, but it was an unsettling sight to see all their flames slowly go out in the distance with only a few of them returning. The plan for the living went out the window as Daenerys saw her people get destroyed, but despite some early success with her and Jon Snow providing air support, the White Walkers proved to be too dominant. Even a midair dragon battle that got the Night King on the ground wasn’t enough to beat him, as he quite literally smiled after Drogon’s fire didn’t affect him. The expectation was that Jon would face the Night King in a one-on-one fight, but the dead were too overpowering, and wights simply rose to keep our favorite hero from getting in striking distance. The long sequence of the Night King walking to Bran—including Theon’s heroic ending after being told he’s “a good man”—looked like a buildup for the Three-Eyed Raven to be killed, but Arya flew in to save her brother and keep Westeros from having a never-ending winter. In time, hopefully “The Long Night” gets more respect, as most people seem to simply be disappointed that their theories didn’t come true more than anything else.

 

4. “Hardhome” (S5E8)

 

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Jon Snow’s expedition to Hardhome was an attempt to get as many wildlings as he could south of the Wall before they became part of the Army of the Dead, but it certainly took some convincing. The Lord Commander gave a powerful speech to some of the tribe leaders about putting their differences aside because everyone needed to come together to beat the Night King, and many of them seemed to agree when Tormund backed his friend. However, when the weather began to turn, it didn’t take long for a straight-up massacre to breakout. The big events in Game of Thrones were usually saved for the penultimate episodes every season, so “Hardhome” was a complete surprise to viewers. Importantly, Jon killed a White Walker by using Longclaw (which drew the Night King’s attention), but that was a minor victory for what was 20 minutes of chaos and death. When the Night King walked to the edge of the dock to stare down Jon and add thousands of dead to his army, all everyone could do was helplessly watch as they saw Westeros’ biggest threat become clear.

 

3. “The Winds of Winter” (S6E10)

 

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Including Arya crossing a name off her list by killing Walder Frey, there were four huge moments in the Season 6 finale. First was the unforgettable opening scene of Cersei’s supposed trial, which she made sure didn’t take place by blowing up the Sept—and all her enemies—with wildfire after an intense buildup thanks to Ramin Djawadi’s score. Later in the episode, Bran goes back in the past to the Tower of Joy and finds out that his father never had a bastard during Robert’s Rebellion; he was tasked with protecting his sister Lyanna’s baby: Jon Snow. The scene transitioned to Jon in the present day for what was a chill-inducing moment, and he gets named King in the North by all the northern lords despite his bastard status. Finally, “The Winds of Winter” ended with a triumphant scene of Daenerys sailing to Westeros after six seasons in Essos, which set the stage of the final 13 episodes of the series.

 

2. “The Iron Throne” (S8E6)

 

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People seem to dislike the Game of Thrones finale because what they wanted to happen didn’t happen, but “The Iron Throne” was top-notch drama with a perfect ending to the greatest show of all-time. Jon Snow, Tyrion, and Arya knew that Daenerys needed to be stopped after what happened in “The Bells”, but we don’t see the true extent of Dany’s sudden villainy until she begins talking about liberating the entire world—including Winterfell. Combined with finding Jaime and Cersei killed, the frightening speech to the Dothraki and Unsullied caused Tyrion to resign as Hand, which leads to him to be taken prisoner. The climax of the entire series comes after Jon’s talk with Tyrion about killing Daenerys (without actually saying it), as he’s able to pass Drogon (who trust him because he’s a Targaryen) and enter the Throne Room. The former King in the North pleads with the woman he loves to see things a different way, but she insists her way is right, causing a broken Jon to kill his queen and end her reign before she even gets a chance to sit on the Iron Throne. Following Drogon’s torching of the throne and carrying his mother away to rest in peace, everyone is left to pick up the pieces. Bran is named King of the Six Kingdoms, with Tyrion as his Hand; Sansa is named Queen in the North; Arya goes west of Westeros; and Jon—who was sent to the Wall to live out his days to avoid more bloodshed for killing Dany, leading to a difficult goodbye with the rest of the Starks—goes where he found the most happiness in his life: “The Real North”.

 

1. “The Rains of Castamere” (S3E9)

 

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It’s worth noting a couple key moments that don’t take place at the Twins in “The Rains of Castamere”, as Jon Snow—unknowingly aided by Bran warging into a direwolf—was able to escape the wildlings (leaving Ygritte heartbroken and betrayed), while Bran tells Rickon that he can’t go with him beyond the Wall, which caused the youngest Stark to cry and say he needs to protect his brother in a sad scene. However, the Red Wedding—an event that led to creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss making George R.R. Martin’s book series into a television show—is the reason for the penultimate episode of Season 3 ranking atop our list. Viewers can only watch in complete shock as the Starks are attacked with the song of House Lannister playing, but Robb looks like he might be able to make it out alive before the traitor Roose Bolton stabs his king in the heart, telling him: “The Lannisters send their regards.” The final shot of the episode was painfully long, with Catelyn Stark standing motionless having watched her son die before getting her throat cut and seeing the screen cut to black with dead-silent credits rolling.

The ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Criticism Is Unfair

The ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Criticism Is Unfair

We’ve had a lot of Game of Thrones content this week, and this article was not planned; but we need some positivity to combat all the negativity (which you will mostly find on Twitter and from critics’ reviews instead of the real world, where most people I’ve talked to are good with the finale).

 

Because of all the bad user ratings on IMDb in middle of the season, I decided I wouldn’t be looking at user ratings anymore—and I didn’t look at all for the final couple of episodes leading up to the finale. But when the final episode was over, I thought it was so perfect that I decided to look on IMDb that night, expecting to see a 9.9 rating for a conclusion most people would be happy about in terms of quality (despite the unfortunate fate of the fan-favorite Daenerys Targaryen). So, it was stunning to see the episode rated at a 5.0/10, which is shockingly low—though I might’ve expected it if I knew “The Last of the Starks” was a 5.7 and “The Bells” was a 6.2, and it seems people were going to hate the final episode no matter what happened.

 

Currently, the finale is even lower at a 4.3, which puts it in the range of the lowest-rated episodes, shows, and movies ever. There are many one-star reviews, with the common blanket complaint being “terrible writing.” There is even a petition that’s gained over one million signatures to have Season 8 re-written. Keep in mind, this is a small part of Game of Thrones’ massive fanbase, and most people probably believe the suggestion to re-write the final season is ridiculous.

 

SomeGame of Thronescast members have come out and defended the show, with some specifically calling out the petition. Pedro Pascal (who previously played Oberyn Martell) said the critics should shut up because the finale was perfect. Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) called the petition “absurd.” Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) called it “disrespectful.” Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) called it “rude.” And Kit Harington (Jon Snow) told Esquire weeks before the finale that “whatever critic spends half an hour writing about this season and makes their judgement on it, in my head they can go f*** themselves. Because I know how much work was put into this.”

 

They are all absolutely right. Sure, there could’ve been more episodes and seasons; George R.R. Martin said so himself, and I don’t think anyone would’ve been against more Game of Thrones. But showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have said for a while they thought the story would be 73 episodes, and you have to respect them sticking to the plan. It’s a hard thing to let go of a show so many people love, but it was time for Game of Thrones to end.

 

The criticism of Benioff and Weiss is very unfair. Some people have asserted that the show creators didn’t really care about the final season and just wanted to get it done so they can move on to Star Wars. It’s utterly ridiculous to suggest people that have spent a decade of their lives working on something—especially something as great as Thrones—wouldn’t work as hard as possible to finish it right. D&D knows Game of Thrones is a truly special show, and they certainly wanted to do it justice—for the cast and crew that’s worked so incredibly hard for years, for the fans, and for themselves.

 

The assertion that Dan and Dave got lazy and/or are terrible writers is what makes me most upset and makes it easy to not take the critics seriously. Harington’s past remarks about the critics were prescient, as people are taking a lot of energy pushing negativity out there with not much substance behind it. Suddenly, everyone became an expert on writing overnight, and the critics all could’ve done a better job than a team that put the best show on television for nearly a decade.

 

It’s safe to say the cast and crew—hundreds if not thousands of extras included—worked as hard as usual for the final season. People were set on fire, the Battle of Winterfell had a 55-night shoot, and the actors delivered powerfully during their final run in characters they’ve grown with. Obviously, not everyone has to like the final season and the last episode, but the criticism has gone way overboard, particularly the remarks about D&D. They and the crew did their best.

 

Since the finale, we have yet to hear from the Game of Thrones showrunners, and the vocal backlash (from the minority, not the majority of Thrones fans) is probably the reason why. Benioff and Weiss said they’d be far away from the internet on May 19 when the final episode aired, but they have probably heard about the reaction by now. It’s unfortunate, because I and many other fans wanted to hear from Benioff and Weiss, but now it’s feeling like we might never hear them talk about the end of the show unless this Sunday’s “The Last Watch” gives some insight—we haven’t even gotten the “Inside The Episode” for the finale released yet.

 

Regardless, I hope all those unhappy about the final season watch “The Last Watch” to see all the effort and heart that was put into the final season of Game of Thrones. Hopefully the inside look will flip the switch, get critics off the backs of Benioff and Weiss, and help everyone properly appreciate a once-in-a-lifetime show.

‘Game of Thrones’: Best 50 Moments Of The Series

‘Game of Thrones’: Best 50 Moments Of The Series

Death. Betrayal. Triumph. Heartbreak. Any number of scenes could have made the list, but here our the best moments in Game of Thrones history with the all-time great series now concluded.

 

50. King’s Landing parley (S8E4)

 

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Following the sudden death of Rhaegal and the capture of Missandei, Daenerys wanted blood. However, Tyrion ended up convincing her to sue for peace, and it only led to the heartbreak with Missandei getting beheaded by the Mountain—but not before a powerful “Dracarys” added more fuel to the Targaryen Queen’s fire heading into the final two episodes.

 

49. Robb wins at Whispering Wood (S1E9)

 

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We didn’t know who would emerge from the woods when Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrick were waiting during the Battle of the Whispering Wood, so it is very emotional to see her reaction when Robb and his men ride back as victors—bringing along Jaime Lannister as a prisoner. When challenged to a one-on-one fight to decide the war, Robb wisely declines (“If we do it your way, Kingslayer, you’d win… We’re not doing it your way.”) and gives a heartfelt speech to his men because the war is far from won.

 

48. Jon Snow executes his betrayers (S6E3)

 

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Murdered by his own “brothers,” Jon quite literally gave his life to the Night’s Watch. After being brought back, he asks the traitors for their final words—Alliser Thorne admits he has no regrets, while Olly says nothing—before angrily striking the rope to hang them all. Some of the other men cringe a bit, but Jon looks them in the face before giving Edd Castle Black and declaring that his Watch has ended.

 

47. Daenerys leads the Dothraki (S6E4)

 

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Jorah Mormont and Daario were able to infiltrate the city and reach Daenerys to free her at Vaes Dothrak, but she had other ideas. As planned, Dany met with the Khals, claiming none of them are fit to lead the Dothraki—but she is. Laughs turn to screams when the Mother of Dragons sets the large hut ablaze and once again emerges unburnt, this time to the amazement of the entire Dothraki people, all of whom bow to her as their new leader.

 

46. Clegane Bowl (S8E5)

 

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Clegane Bowl definitely did not disappoint as an event that was years in the making and came with extreme anticipation. The Mountain was always loyal to Cersei and Qyburn, but that ended when his brother came to settle a score with a fight to the death. The apocalyptic backdrop as dragonfire rained down and buildings collapsed was amazing, and the fight itself matched it. The Hound delivered what should have been multiple death blows to the Mountain, but he was basically an unstoppable force in his current state until being tackled into a pool of fire that sent both brothers to their death.

 

45. Jon Snow speech for the dead (S8E4)

 

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The first scene after the Battle of Winterfell was very emotional, as there was a mass funeral for Theon, Jorah, Beric Dondarrion, Lyanna Mormont, Edd, and the thousands of others who fell fighting the Army of the Dead. Sansa putting a Stark sigil on Theon and Dany crying over Jorah were difficult goodbyes, and Jon Snow’s speech echoing his Night’s Watch words was regally delivered to give the unsung heroes a proper ending.

 

44. Daenerys frees the Unsullied (S3E4)

 

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Jorah and Barristan Selmy were surprised that Daenerys offered a dragon in exchange for the Unsullied, but they—along with the viewers—found out soon enough what she was thinking. As soon as the Unsullied were under her command, Dany began speaking in High Valyrian and commands the slave masters and soldiers be killed, while telling Kraznys a dragon isn’t a slave before ordering Drogon to burn him with a stern “Dracarys.” The display leads to asking the Unsullied if they will fight for her as free men, and they unanimously agree.

 

43. Tyrion says goodbye to Jaime (S8E5)

 

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Jaime’s relationship with Tyrion was more proof that he was a good-hearted person despite any evil deeds, so it was tough to see their final goodbye when the younger brother returns a favor by setting his older brother free. The acting is top-notch from both Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, especially when Tyrion tells Jaime he wouldn’t have survived his childhood without him (“You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster… you were all I had.”) and they embrace one final time.

 

42. The Moon Door (S4E7)

 

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Littlefinger shouldn’t have been a character that sane people pulled for in the series, but the craziness of Lysa Arryn actually made it possible at the end of “Mockingbird”. After saving Sansa from potentially being pushed out of the moon door, Littlefinger calmed his new wife down by saying that he’s only loved one woman his entire life (making it seem like he’s going to say her), before changing tone and telling Lysa “your sister” and pushing her to her death.

 

41. Chaos is a Ladder (S3E6)

 

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Montages were not common throughout Game of Thrones, but when utilized, they were beautifully done. Littlefinger’s monologue to Varys in the Throne Room was more of an insight into the lengths he will go to get what he wants, and it was also an interesting way to look at things—“Chaos is a ladder… The climb is all there is.” The words transition to a literal climb with Jon Snow and Ygritte reaching the top of the Wall for one of the few purely romantic scenes of the series.

 

40. Arya wipes out House Frey (S7E1)

 

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The pre-credits scene to start Season 7 was a bit confusing at first, as it seemed like it may have been some sort of flashback (likely via Bran) where Walder Frey and his House were celebrating. However, things slowly took a turn when the Frey imposter began mocking his own family for the Red Wedding, and everyone dies coughing up their own blood. Of course, the assassin was Arya wearing Walder’s face, and she tells the female survivor: “When people ask you what happened here tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.”

 

39. Olenna admits she killed Joffrey (S7E3)

 

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Leaving Casterly Rock open was a genius military maneuver by the Lannister army, as they were able to take Highgarden and all the riches that go with it. For Jaime, though, the victory was short-lived because he and Lady Olenna had a talk that concluded with her telling him she killed Joffrey—but not before the Kingslayer had already given her a painless death via poison. The final words by Olenna—“Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”—were a punch to the gut for Jaime and one final victory for the Queen of Thornes.

 

38. Jaime pushes Bran (S1E1)

 

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The Starks and the Lannisters were clearly not fond of one another in the series premiere, and things come to a shocking head when a Bran—who had been warned about climbing—catches Jaime and Cersei together. The Queen makes it clear that Bran saw them and something needs to be done about it, so Jaime decides to push the child to his probable death, reasoning aloud, “The things I do for love.”

 

37. Tyrion’s escape (S4E10)

 

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After a twist of fate in his trial by combat, Tyrion was forced to await execution, but is freed in the dead of night by Jaime (with the help of Varys). Unfortunately, things couldn’t be that simple, as Tyrion wanders to his father’s room and finds Shae in his bed, causing a hand-to-hand fight that results in her death by strangling. Then, he takes Joffrey’s crossbow and searches for his Tywin, eventually taking two fatal shots at his father to end the life of the most powerful man in Westeros. Varys sums everything up perfectly when he asks a bloody Tyrion, “What have you done?”

 

36. Brienne is Knighted (S8E2)

 

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“In the name of the Warrior, I charge you to be brave. In the name of the Father, I charge you to be just. In the name of the Mother, I charge you to defend the innocent. Rise Ser Brienne of Tarth, a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Brienne claimed just seconds earlier that she didn’t care about being a knight, but the look on her face afterwards certainly said otherwise in what was a very touching moment, especially since she was knighted by Jaime. The two almost seemed lost in the moment before Tormund’s clapping broke the silence.

 

35. Castle Black stands (S4E9)

 

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The entire sequence of the Night’s Watch defending Castle Black against the wildlings was great, including the epic longshot of Jon Snow coming down from the top of the Wall to get in on the action, which followed him, Ygritte, and Tormund around the courtyard and back to a fight between Jon and the Magnar of Thenn. After narrowly defeating Styr (the Thenn), Jon is faced with a crossbow-wielding Ygritte—but she hesitates, and Jon smiles at her just before Olly surprisingly puts an arrow through the wildling’s heart. Ygritte dies in Jon’s arms, getting out some final words: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

 

34. Sansa gets revenge (S6E9)

 

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We knew Ramsay Bolton wasn’t going to live much longer after losing Winterfell, but the way he died was a fitting end for one of the show’s best villains. While Ramsay did his best to get in some last jabs against Sansa by saying he will always be a part of her, she countered (“Your words will disappear. Your House will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.”) before reminding him that he hasn’t fed his dogs for seven days when he insists they won’t harm him. The soft smile on Sansa’s face when she walks away as Ramsay was eaten alive said it all.

 

33. Daenerys sails for Westeros (S6E10)

 

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Daenerys was working her way back to Westeros for six seasons, so it was a monumental moment for her to sail across the Narrow Sea with a huge fleet, multiple armies, several trusted advisors, and three large dragons flying overhead to end “The Winds of Winter”. The triumphant Targaryen soundtrack that plays throughout the scene and into the credits basically lets the viewers know that Dany is officially in the game.

 

32. The Mountain kills Oberyn (S4E8)

 

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Going into it, Tyrion’s trial by combat seemed like it was a toss up between the raw power of the Mountain and the fast flamboyance of Oberyn Martell, but the Prince of Dorne was able to pretty much handle him. However, with the Mountain seemingly defeated, Oberyn circled the beast, demanding he admit to raping and murdering his sister and killing her children on the orders of Tywin Lannister. The provoking led to Oberyn losing focus, and the Mountain was able to turn the tables and literally crush his head to the horror of the spectators, his partner Ellaria, and of course Tyrion, who is sentenced to death.

 

31. A Stark smiles down on Walder Frey (S6E10)

 

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In the aftermath of a feast celebrating the Frey victory against the Blackfish (which was really Jaime’s doing), Walder is served pie by a servant girl who we previously saw eyeing up the Kingslayer. When Lord Frey asks where his “damn moron sons” are, the girl says they’re already there, and a confused Walder learns they have been carved up and turned into a pie. Arya unmasks herself and—before crossing a name of her list—tells the traitor: “The last thing you’re ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.”

 

30. The Lord of Light brings Jon back (S6E2)

 

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After being convinced by Ser Davos to at least try, a broken Melisandre attempts to bring the murdered Lord Commander back from the dead. She washes the blood of Jon Snow, cuts his hair, and says the words over him—but you can soon sense her desperation, which leads to a sigh and a whispered “please.” Melisandre gives a look of defeat to Davos when that doesn’t work, and everyone filters out of the room expect for Ghost, who wakes up and looks at Jon. Seconds later, his eyes open as he is miraculously resurrected.

 

29. Littlefinger’s death (S7E7)

 

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We have seen Littlefinger play “the game” better than anyone throughout the series, so it seemed as if the wedge he drove between Sansa and Arya was real, leading to the younger Stark to be called to the Great Hall. Both the viewers and Lord Baelish himself thought Sansa was putting Arya on trial when she said, “You stand accused of murder. You stand accused of treason. How do you answer these charges…”; but after a pause, she turns to Littlefinger and continues, “Lord Baelish?” Shocked, the man who previously turned on Ned Stark is facing perhaps the only scenario that he didn’t play out in his head, and it was satisfying to see him literally beg for his life before Arya slit his throat.

 

28. The Purple Wedding (S4E2)

 

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King Joffrey was much more of a monster than Littlefinger, but the fact that you actually feel bad for him as he gasps for air after being poisoned is a testament to how well done the show was. For all his wickedness, Joffrey had arguably the most gruesome death of the series, and it was difficult to watch Cersei be absolutely devastated—which turns into pure anger directed at Tyrion, who is caught red-handed with the cup in his hands despite having nothing to do with the assassination.

 

27. The Wall is destroyed (S7E7)

 

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As if the Army of the Dead marching out of the woods wasn’t frightening enough, hearing a dragon’s screech and then seeing it emerge hurling blue fire to break the Wall was the living’s worst nightmare. All Tormund, Beric, and the others are able to do it run, as the Night King controls the undead Viserion to blast a chunk off the Wall for his army to get through, creating a scene that could have been straight out of a horror movie to end the penultimate season and set up the Great War.

 

26. Littlefinger turns on Ned (S1E7)

 

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Most viewers were probably hooked from the start, but “You Win or You Die” might have been the first episode that made people say OK, this show is for real. In the final scene, a wounded Ned Stark goes to the Throne Room after King Robert’s death, and he’s told by both Littlefinger and the honor-lacking Janos Slynt that they are on his side. After Cersei is defiant when Ned brings the royal decree naming himself protector of the realm, Lord Stark orders his men and the City Watch to take the Queen and her children away, urging that no blood be shed. After a brief standoff, though, Slynt orders his men to attack Ned’s men, and in the chaos, Littlefinger puts a blade to Lord Stark’s throat, saying “I did warn you not to trust me.”

 

25. Jaime loses a hand (S3E3)

 

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To save Brienne from being raped by Locke’s men, Jaime tells Roose Bolton’s “best hunter” that her father would pay him handsomely—as ruler of the Sapphire Isle—if she is returned to him “unbesmirched.” Locke seems to take the bait by ordering Brienne back and then discussing what Tywin might pay for Jaime, and he even grants the Kingslayer’s request to no longer be chained to a tree. But it was just a ploy, and Locke puts a knife in Jaime’s face, telling him he’s nothing without his father before relenting—and then suddenly chopping off his hand. As the showrunners said, it was essentially killing a character without really killing him.

 

24. Mhysa (S3E10)

 

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After the heartbreak of the Red Wedding in the penultimate episode of Season 3, things end on a high note when Daenerys Targaryen liberates the slaves of Yunkai and tells them they must take freedom for themselves. At first, it looks as if the people don’t fully understand because they wait to react, but they eventually begin calling out “Mhysa” (or mother) to Dany, who tells her growing dragons to fly and goes out into the crowd. The former slaves softly touch her—continuing to chant—and then lift Daenerys up to worship her as perhaps the story’s new main hero.

 

23. Stannis is defeated at Blackwater (S2E9)

 

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The Battle of Blackwater was the first big, single-location battle episode of the series, and despite the wildfire blowing up much of his fleet, it looked like Stannis would win after breeching the walls, so Cersei went to the Throne Room with Tommen—preparing to give him milk of poppy for a painless death. As she told her son the story about the mother lion and her cub, we see Baratheon forces (which were slowed by Tyrion) get attacked by a surprise wave of solders, and just before Tommen drinks, the doors open and men come inside led by Loras Tyrell wearing Renly Baratheon’s armor. After cutting to Stannis outside seeing the battle be lost, Tywin comes into the Throne room and declares victory. No matter how people felt about the Lannisters, it was a moment that should have given you chills.

 

22. Daenerys goes beyond the Wall (S7E6)

 

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Jon Snow and the Eastwatch crew were in big trouble beyond the Wall as the Army of the Dead closed in on them, but Daenerys and her dragons arrived just in time to save them—which unfortunately cost Viserion’s life. Shortly after the dragon was tragically struck by the Night King’s spear and crashed into the ice, Jon Snow was also tackled into the ice after fighting off wights to give the others time to escape. Dany had no choice but to leave Jon behind, but after the King in the North emerged, Benjen Stark served his final purpose by saving his nephew.

 

21. Jon Snow is heir to the Iron Throne (S7E7)

 

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In the Season 6 finale, Bran learned that Jon Snow was actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Tagaryen, but in the Season 7 finale, he was able to piece everything together with Samwell Tarly’s help. The different scenes—Bran and Sam talking, the flashback, Jon and Daenerys getting together, and Tyrion suspiciously standing down the hall—were woven together beautifully to reveal the truth: Jon’s real name was Aegon Targaryen, and he was heir to the Iron Throne.

 

20. Death marches on Winterfell (S8E2)

 

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The events in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” could have been the final night for everyone in Winterfell with the Army of the Dead marching on the Stark home, and Podrick’s rendition of “Jenny of Oldstones” was basically a perfect calm before the storm as we got a look at all our favorite characters waiting for a fight against Death. The song ends as Daenerys goes down into the crypts where Jon is looking at the statue of his mother, and he tells her about his true parentage (“My name… my real name… is Aegon Tagaryen”)—causing a stunned reaction from Dany before they hear horns and prepare for the White Walkers.

 

19. Robb is named King in the North (S1E10)

 

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The new leader of House Stark following his father’s death, Robb explains to his men that they need to back Stannis over Renly because he’s the older brother, but that causes Greatjon Umber to make his own case by proclaiming Robb as King in the North. Viewers should have had goosebumps as they watched everyone chant for the Young Wolf as their new king, and Robb is clearly humbled by the honor as he turns to Catelyn and gets a proud look from her in one of the more underappreciated scenes of the series.

 

18. Tyrion demands a trial by combat (S4E6)

 

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Jaime—who knew that his little brother didn’t kill Joffrey—is able to strike a plea with Tywin to let Tyrion live and join the Night’s Watch if he asks for a formal plea of mercy; Tyrion agreed, and all he had to do was not have any outbursts. However, that was easier said than done when Shae is brought in as a witness to lie about the man she called “my Lion,” and Tyrion can’t bear to listen for another second, leading to him losing it and demanding a trial by combat. The reactions from everyone—particularly Jaime (because he knows he threw it all away), Cersei, and the stare down between Tyrion and Tywin—as the “Rains of Castamere” played was masterful television.

 

17. Jon Snow says goodbye (S8E6)

 

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It was bittersweet to watch Jon Snow bid farewell to Sansa, Arya, and Bran before leaving to rejoin the Night’s Watch and live out his days, and the acting—which was likely influenced by real-life feelings of the actors with the show ending—made it an extremely touching scene for the last time the remaining Starks were together. Despite Jon’s real father being a Tagaryen, it was clear that Jon was a true Stark, and the sisters and brother he grew up with viewed him as such.

 

16. Mother of Dragons (S1E10)

 

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There were hints about Daenerys not being affected by fire throughout Season 1, but no one had any idea that she would be able to step into a large funeral pyre with three petrified dragon eggs and somehow emerge with three baby dragons. Viewers are basically mesmerized with Jorah when we see Dany slowly show her face and stand up as the Mother of Dragons, and hearing them screech is actually quite unsettling because of the power they will bring to the world.

 

15. Shireen is sacrificed (S5E9)

 

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Melisandre had burnt people at the stake in the name of the Lord of Light before, but not like what we saw in the penultimate episode of Season 5. Stannis—convinced it was necessary to win the Iron Throne—reluctantly allowed the Red Woman to burn his only child alive, and Shireen’s screams/pleads are enough to make her mother (who was always cold towards her) break and try to stop it. The sacrifice is one of the best scenes in Thrones history, but it’s also one of the toughest to rewatch.

 

14. Cersei blows up the Sept (S6E10)

 

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Some of composer Ramin Djawadi’s best work came in “The Winds of Winter”, including the immense buildup for Cersei’s trial, which we—along with Margaery Tyrell because she’s able to use some common sense unlike the self-absorbed High Sparrow—soon realize won’t be going on as planned. Things start to get put in motion when Lancel Lannister is stabbed and Grand Maester Pycelle is killed, but we aren’t quite sure about the extent of Cersei’s plan until the candle burns low enough to reach the wildfire and blow up the Great Sept of Baelor—wiping out basically all her enemies from the comfort of the Red Keep.

 

13. Daenerys ignores the bells (S8E5)

 

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Daenerys promised to use fear to take the Iron Throne following deaths and betrayals all around her, but it was an absolute shock to see the extent she went in the penultimate episode of the series by ignoring the bells of surrender and laying waste to King’s Landing. The war was over far quicker than anyone thought it would be, but Mother of Dragons didn’t feel it was enough, and the look on her face before taking flight again said it all, setting up Dany as the show’s final and most destructive villain after the biggest twist since the Red Wedding. Also, the deaths of Jaime and Cersei should be mentioned as a part of this seemingly never-ending sequence of destruction.

 

12. Hold the door (S6E5)

 

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The Night King brought winter with him wherever he went, so when Meera noticed that she could see her breath inside the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave, we find out that the Army of the Dead had arrived. Of course, the Night King killing the Three-Eyed Raven and Summer going down fighting were just part of this scene, as in the past, Bran was wandering around the Winterfell courtyard, and he somehow heard Meera telling him to warg into Hodor. That leads to he and young Wylis locking eyes, and Bran helplessly watches as the boy goes into a seizure and keeps repeating “hold the door,” which morphs into “Hodor”—while at the same time in the present, Hodor sacrifices himself so Bran and Meera can escape.

 

11. Drogon saves Daenerys (S5E9)

 

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We have already discussed multiple triumphant moments for Daenerys, but most awe-inspiring one was likely being saved by Drogon at the Great Pit of Daznak. All hope seemed to be lost for Dany with the Sons of the Harpy surrounding her, Tyrion, Jorah, and the others, but a dragon screech caused everyone to freeze, and Drogon arrived and went to work protecting his mother. Daenerys is able to get out by commanding Drogon to fly, which ends the episode as everyone else looks on in wonder at their Queen.

 

10. Battle of the Bastards (S6E9)

 

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The odds were stacked against Jon Snow and his army in the Battle of the Bastards, but through luck and skill, the former Lord Commander was able first survive going out in the open in an attempt to save Rickon, and then being pushed to the bottom of a pileup that nearly caused him to suffocate. Both were shot beautifully, but the latter emergence allowed Jon and the viewers to see what Ramsay was also seeing: the Knights of the Vale joining the fight and wiping out the Bolton forces. Sansa looked on confidently before noticing Jon, Tormund, and Wun-Wun chasing Ramsay back into Winterfell—where the two former bastards have the one-on-one fight Jon previously proposed, ending with Ramsay’s defeat.

 

9. Jon Snow kills Daenerys (S8E6)

 

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Always the one to do what was right no matter what it meant for himself, Jon Snow entered the Throne Room following a talk with Tyrion where the two seemed to know what needed to be done. The former King in the North was on the verge of tears as he basically tried talking Daenerys into seeing things his way, but it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. After telling her “you are my queen, now and always” and kissing the woman he loves, Jon plunged a knife in Dany’s heart to end the Targaryen reign before she even got a chance to sit on the Iron Throne. It was absolutely heartbreaking for both characters considering all they had been through coming from opposite sides of the world, but Jon’s sacrifice and Drogon burning the Iron Throne saved the realm and achieved Daenerys’ dream of breaking the wheel.

 

8. Tower of Joy/King in the North II (S6E10)

 

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The entire top ten probably has a case to be as high as No. 1 on the list, including the reveal of Jon Snow being Lyanna Stark’s son. The scene perfectly transitions from Bran’s vision of the Tower of Joy to the present day where Jon is sitting in front of the northern lords, as the powerful Stark theme plays to show all he has accomplished despite being raised as a bastard out of necessity. Then, following by a fiery speech by Lyanna Mormont, Jon is named King in the North, and you could tell it is an overwhelmingly proud moment for him to be accepted as a true Stark by the rest of the North.

 

7. Attack on Hardhome (S5E8)

 

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An “off-screen” event in the books, Game of Thrones took the attack on Hardhome to another level, putting Jon Snow in middle of the action as the Night King and the White Walkers oversaw an attack by their Army of the Dead on the wildlings and a small number of Night’s Watch members. Jon was able to win a one-on-one fight with a White Walker using Longclaw, which showed that Valyrian steel could destroy the dead while also intriguing the Night King. But the numbers were too many, which forced a retreat to the water, and the ultimate enemy came down below and walked to the edge of the dock, raising thousands of wights for his army. We’d seen the Night King before, but not in a scene quite as chilling as the one at Hardhome.

 

6. The death of Ned Stark (S1E9)

 

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In Season 1, Ned Stark was the main character in Game of Thrones, but as we would soon find out, that by no means kept him safe from getting killed off. At the time, though—even as he was brought before King Joffrey in chains to possibly be executed—it didn’t seem like the story’s main hero would be killed because that just doesn’t happen. But with six words (“Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!”), Joffrey gave the order against the wishes of his mother to send Ned to the Wall, proving Thrones was far unlike any show we’ve ever seen before.

 

5. The Battle of the Goldroad (S7E4)

 

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There were incredible battles throughout the show’s run, but “The Spoils of War” ended up delivering the only one with two of the five principal characters—Daenerys Targaryen and Jaime Lannister—on opposites of the battlefield. The start of the attack was astonishing, with Jaime stunned at the screech of a dragon and the sight of Drogon in the distance after initially believing they could hold off the on-the-ground Dothraki force, and it was crazy seeing the foreign army in action while a dragon laid waste to the Lannister army. Bronn was able to use the Scorpion weapon to wound Drogon, and the conclusion of the scene—when the Kingslayer went for it all by attempting to kill Daenerys and end her conquest (despite Drogon being right there to protect her)—made it look like at least one of the main characters would die; but just as Drogon opened his mouth to breath fire, Bronn was able to save Jaime’s life to end legitimate heart-pounding action.

 

4. The death of Jon Snow (S5E10)

 

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While Jon Snow was able to save many wildlings at Hardhome, things looked bleak after the Night King raised thousands of new members for his Army of the Dead. So when the Lord Commander heard that his long-lost Uncle Benjen had been spotted alive by a wildling, he of course immediately sprang into action and wanted to hear from this eye-witness. However, we are left completely shocked when Jon walks outside to see a stake labeled “TRAITOR”, with turncoat members of the Night’s Watch surrounding the Stark bastard when he turned around. Several men stabbed their leader, claiming it was “For The Watch”, including Olly delivering the final blow to the heart before repeating the phrase. As the Stark theme plays in the background of the cold climate at Castle Black, another hero had been lost.

 

3. The Night King reaches Bran (S8E3)

 

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The White Walkers were the ultimate threat to Westeros, and they showed their overwhelming dominance in the Battle of Winterfell, as dragonfire did nothing to the Night King, and Jon Snow couldn’t even get within ten feet of him. It looked like all hope was lost when the Night King and his lieutenants reach the Godswood, and the slow, dramatic buildup—with perfect music to increase the tension—seemed to be headed towards Bran’s death by ice sword. However, with everyone else on the brink of defeat, Arya came flying through the air in an attempt to save her brother. After being caught by the throat and unable to strike with the Catspaw dagger, Arya put her assassin training to good use by dropping it into her other hand and stabbing the Night King to shatter him and the rest of his army to end the Great War and save the world from a permanent winter.

 

2. A Time for Wolves (S8E6)

 

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After all the tragedies that the Starks endured throughout the series, it was fitting to end with them as the focus for the final scene. Bran was now King of the Six Kingdoms, Sansa was crowned Queen in the North, Arya was set to explore west of Westeros to potentially conquer a new world, and Jon was back where he had the most happiness in his life—what Tormund called “The Real North”. It was very emotional to see Jon in particular get an ending that he deserved, as beyond the Wall, he could simply live out his days as a free man without having to worry about the politics of Westeros. The final shot of Jon leaving everything behind was the perfect way to conclude the greatest television show of all-time.

 

1. The Red Wedding (S3E9)

 

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We unfortunately have to go back a bit for the final moment on the list, and it’s the opposite set of emotions for House Stark. When Catelyn hears the “Rains of Castamere” playing at Edmure’s wedding at the Twins, she knows something is wrong, and as Walder Frey gives a toast, Lady Stark pulls back Roose Bolton’s sleeve to see he’s wearing chainmail. Catelyn calls for Robb, but it’s too late, as Talisa—who is pregnant—suddenly gets stabbed repeatedly in the stomach, and Robb goes down after being shot with multiple arrows. Outside, Grey Wind is killed with Arya watching, and the Hound knocks her out and takes her away because he knows the Starks are being ambushed. In a last-ditch effort to get Robb out alive, Catelyn holds a knife to Walder’s wife, and viewers are given some hope that the King in the North will be able to leave; but when he is basically frozen in shock after seeing his wife and unborn child killed, Roose Bolton walks up and tells Robb “The Lannisters send their regards” before stabbing him in the heart. All Lady Stark can do is scream out in pain before cutting the throat of Lady Frey, and then another Frey cuts Catelyn’s throat as she falls to the floor and the screen cuts to black. The penultimate episode of Season 3 remains the only episode of the series with silent credits.

‘Game of Thrones’: Top Quotes From The Series

‘Game of Thrones’: Top Quotes From The Series

While some people were disappointed by the final season of Game of Thrones, we thought it was great—and there’s no question the final six episodes delivered plenty of quoteworthy and important lines. This week, we’ll be going over some of the best parts about the series now that it’s over, and we’re starting today with the best Game of Thrones quotes.

 

125. “I am the gift. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Your Grace. My name is Tyrion Lannister.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

124. “A crown for a king.” – Khal Drogo

 

123. “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died.” – Jorah Mormont

 

122. “Go on, do your duty.” – Stannis Baratheon to Brienne of Tarth

 

121. “Now you are truly lost.” – Rodrik Cassel to Theon Greyjoy

 

120. “Do you like games, little man? Let’s play a game.” – Ramsay Bolton to Rickon Stark

 

119. “Take Lord Janos outside. Olly, bring me my sword.” – Jon Snow

 

118. “Kill the boy, and let the man be born.” – Maester Aemon Targaryen to Jon Snow

 

117. “Whilst Lord Janos was hiding with the women and children, Jon Snow was leading. Ser Alliser fought bravely, tis true. When he was wounded, it was Jon who saved us. He took charge of the Wall’s defense, he killed the Magnar of Thenns, he went north to deal with Mance Rayder—knowing it would’ve almost certainly meant his own death. Before that, he led the mission to avenge Lord Commander Mormont. Mormont himself chose Jon to be his steward. He saw something in Jon and now we’ve all seen it too. He may be young, but he’s the commander we turned to when the night was darkest.” – Samwell Tarly

 

116. “The big woman still here?” – Tormund Giantsbane

 

115. “Brothers! A hundred generations have defended this castle! It’s never fallen before; she will not fall tonight! Those are Thenns at our walls! They eat the flesh of the men they kill! Do you want to fill the belly of a Thenn, tonight? Tonight, we fight! And when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand! The Night’s Watch will stand! With me now, now with me!” – Alliser Thorne

 

114. “The greater the risk, the greater the reward.” – Varys

 

113. “I know a killer when I see one.” – Arya Stark

 

112. “Forgive me.” – Stannis Baratheon to Shireen Baratheon

 

111. “I’m a slow learner… it’s true. But I learn.” – Sansa Stark

 

110. “I don’t believe you.” – Jaime Lannister to Cersei Lannister

 

109. “Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine.” – Rickard Karstark to Robb Stark

 

108. “Fewer.” – Stannis Baratheon

 

107. “I didn’t come here to argue grammar.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

106. “We do not kneel.” – Mance Rayder

 

105. “I’m no king. But if I were, I’d knight you ten times over.” – Tormund Giantsbane to Brienne of Tarth

 

104. “I have only loved one woman—only one—my entire life… your sister.” – Littlefinger

 

103. “I understand that if any more words come pouring out of your **** mouth, I’m gonna have to eat every f***ing chicken in this room.” – The Hound

 

102. “Tyrion Lannister, I name you Hand of the Queen.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

101. “Arise, Brienne of Tarth, a Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” – Jaime Lannister

 

100. “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

99. “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” – Varys to Tyrion Lannister

 

98. “Dragons are where our partnership ends.” – Bronn to Jaime Lannister

 

97. “I’ve always had blue eyes!” – Tormund Giantsbane

 

96. “Your words will disappear. Your House will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.” – Sansa Stark to Ramsay Bolton

 

95. “There never lived a more loyal squire.” – Tyrion Lannister to Podrick Payne

 

94. “The King in the North!”

 

93. “My name is Arya Stark. I want you to know that. The last thing you’re ever going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.” – Arya Stark to Walder Frey

 

92. “Look around you. We’re all liars here. And every one of us is better than you.” – Littlefinger to Sansa Stark

 

91. “For the sake of the mother who bore us, I will give you this one night to reconsider. Strike your banners, come to me before dawn, and I will grant you your old seat in the council. I’ll even name you my heir—until a son is born to me. Otherwise, I shall destroy you.” – Stannis Baratheon

 

90. “What is dead may never die.”

 

89. “Are you refusing to obey my order?” – Jon Snow to Janos Slynt

 

88. “This should help you remember!” – Locke to Jaime Lannister

 

87. “Are you with me, now and always?” – Daenerys Targaryen in speech to the Dothraki

 

86. “I will be your champion.” – Oberyn Martell to Tyrion Lannister

 

85. “This is Jon Snow… He’s King in the North.” – Davos Seaworth

 

84. “My real father lost his head at King’s Landing. I made a choice… and I chose wrong.” – Theon Greyjoy

 

83. “I want to fight for Winterfell, Lady Sansa, if you’ll have me.” – Theon Greyjoy

 

82. “If we did it your way, Kingslayer, you’d win. We’re not doing it your way.” – Robb Stark

 

81. “They say Stannis never smiles… I’ll give him a red smile. From ear to ear.” – Joffrey Baratheon

 

80. “What kind of person climbs on a f***ing dragon? A mad man, or a king!” – Tormund Giantsbane

 

79. “I don’t fight in tournaments because when I fight a man for real I don’t want him to know what I can do.” – Ned Stark to Jaime Lannister

 

78. “I’m not questioning your honor, Lord Janos. I’m denying its existence.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

77. “Half a million… The population of King’s Landing.” – Jaime Lannister on how many lives he has saved

 

76. “We’re family. The four of us. The last of the Starks.” – Arya Stark

 

75. “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.” – Maester Aemon Targaryen

 

74. “I choose violence.” – Cersei Lannister

 

73. “Anyone can be killed.” – Arya Stark

 

72. “You’re a Greyjoy… and you’re a Stark.” – Jon Snow to Theon Greyjoy

 

71. “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.”

 

70. “I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men.” – Samwell Tarly

 

69. “Burn them all!” – The Mad King

 

68. “I know death. He has many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.” – Arya Stark

 

67. “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

66. “And he lived. And I couldn’t keep my promise. And everything that’s happened since then—all this horror that’s come to my family… it’s all because I couldn’t love a motherless child.” – Catelyn Stark

 

65. “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.” – Daenerys Targaryen to Viserys Targaryen

 

64. “The battle is over. We have won!” – Tywin Lannister

 

63. “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” – Olenna Tyrell

 

62. “We march to victory, or we march to defeat. But we go forward. Only forward.” – Stannis Baratheon

 

61. “Sorry about the sapphires.” – Jaime Lannister to Locke

 

60. “My armies will not stand down. I will not pull them back to the capital. I will march them north to fight alongside you in the Great War. The darkness is coming for us all. We’ll face it together. And when the Great War is over, perhaps you’ll remember I chose to help with no promises or assurances from any of you.” – Cersei Lannister

 

59. “He would see this country burn if he could be King of the Ashes.” – Varys on Littlefinger

 

58. “By what right does the wolf judge the lion?” – Jaime Lannister

 

57. “You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster.” – Tyrion Lannister to Jaime Lannister

 

56. “You stand accused of murder. You stand accused of treason. How do you answer these charges… Lord Baelish?” – Sansa Stark

 

55. “Mother…” – Robb Stark

 

54. “Hold the door!” – Hodor

 

53. “There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.” – Tyrion

 

52. “Nothing else matters. Only us.” – Jaime Lannister to Cersei Lannister

 

51. “I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards, and broken things.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

50. “Don’t fight for a king. Don’t fight for his kingdoms. Don’t fight for honor, don’t fight for glory, don’t fight for riches, because you won’t get any. This is your city Stannis means to sack. That’s your gate he’s ramming. If he gets in it will be your house that burns. Your gold he steals. Your women he rapes. Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!” – Tyrion Lannister

 

49. “Thousands of men don’t need to die. Only one of us. Let’s end this the old way. You against me.” – Jon Snow to Ramsay Bolton

 

48. “Jon, a raven came from the Citadel. A white raven. Winter is here.” – Sansa Stark

 

47. “His name is Aegon Targaryen.” – Lyanna Stark

 

46. “I will answer injustice with justice.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

45. “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep.” – Tywin Lannister

 

44. “There’s great honor in serving the Night’s Watch. The Starks have manned the Wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood.” – Ned Stark to Jon Snow

 

43. “I did warn you not to trust me.” – Littlefinger to Ned Stark

 

42. “If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

41. “I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

40. “You’re going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well.” – Sansa Stark

 

39. “WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS?!” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

38. “They were the shields that guarded the realms of men, and we shall never see their like again.” – Jon Snow

 

37. “I will take what is mine with fire and blood.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

36. “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

35. “Love is the death of duty.” – Jon Snow and Maester Aemon

 

34. “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again—the fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” – Littlefinger

 

33. “The long night is coming, and the dead come with it. No clan can stop them. The free folk can’t stop them. The Night’s Watch can’t stop them. And all the southern kings can’t stop them. Only together, all of us, and even then it might not be enough, but at least we’ll give the f***ers a fight!” – Jon Snow

 

32. “There are no men like me. Only me.” – Jaime Lannister

 

31. “I’ve won every battle, but I’m losing this war.” – Robb Stark

 

30. “You have your Needle?” – Jon Snow to Arya Stark

 

29. “You will always be my queen.” – Jon Snow to Daenerys Targaryen

 

28. “When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies.” – Jon Snow

 

27. “He’s never been a bastard. He’s the heir to the Iron Throne.” – Bran Stark on Jon Snow

 

26. “Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true king.” – Tywin Lannister

 

25. “Theon — you’re a good man. Thank you.” – Bran Stark

 

24. “Dracarys.” – Daenerys Targaryen

 

23. “Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last. The enemy always wins. And we still need to fight him.” – Beric Dondarrion

 

22. “Let me give you some advice, bastard. Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion Lannister to Jon Snow

 

21. “There’s only one war that matters: the Great War… and it is here.” – Jon Snow

 

20. “The things I do for love.” – Jaime Lannister

 

19. “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.” – Arya Stark

 

18. “I will not give my life for Joffrey’s murder and I know I’ll get no justice here, so I will let the gods decide my fate… I demand a trial by combat.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

17. “My Watch has ended.” – Jon Snow

 

16. “You’re a dragon… Be a dragon.” – Olenna Tyrell to Daenerys Targaryen

 

15. “Not today.” – Arya Stark

 

14. “My name… my real name… is Aegon Targaryen.” – Jon Snow to Daenerys Targaryen

 

13. “You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honor for a few more years… of what? You grew up with actors. You learned their craft and you learnt it well. But I grew up with soldiers. I learned to die a long time ago.” – Ned Stark

 

12. “For the night is dark and full of terrors.” – Melisandre

 

11. “A Lannister always pays his debts.” – Tyrion Lannister

 

10. “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” – Ramsay Bolton

 

9. “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” – Cersei Lannister

 

8. “Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!” – Joffrey Baratheon

 

7. “For the Watch.” – Various

 

6. “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” – Ned Stark

 

5. “The North remembers.”

 

4. “The Lannisters send their regards.” – Roose Bolton

 

3. “When the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.” – Sansa Stark

 

2. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” – Ygritte

 

1. “Winter is Coming.”

‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale (Season 8, Episode 6) Recap: “The Iron Throne”

‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale (Season 8, Episode 6) Recap: “The Iron Throne”

Everything has to end, and the end of Game of Thrones could not have been better in my opinion. The final episode, titled “The Iron Throne”, was filled with drama and satisfying, emotional endings to help etch the series in history as the greatest of all-time.

 

Previous Episode: “The Bells”

 

Episode: “The Iron Throne”

Runtime: 79 minutes

Original Air Date: May 19, 2019

Director: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

 

Plot (via HBO)

Coming soon.

 

Best Moment: The End

Obviously, the best moment from the Game of Thrones series finale could have been a conflicted Jon Snow killing Daenerys Targaryen in a stunningly dramatic climax, but it’s hard to top the final scenes. After Bran “The Broken” was named the King of the Six Kingdoms with the North as an independent kingdom led by Sansa Stark, the last beats of the show continued to follow House Stark—including Jon, who has lived like a Stark as much as anyone—with a beautiful score accompanying it.

 

Arya was to journey west of Westeros, where no one knows. The writers could have made the Hero of Winterfell take Gendry Baratheon back up on his marriage proposal, but that’s still not her despite the Hound getting through to her about living a life of vengeance. Just like her direwolf Nymeria, Arya is an adventurer that should be going on another journey.

 

Sansa really grew into the Lady of Winterfell, and the North has always been a kingdom that wants to be independent—and was for thousands of years before the Targaryens conquered Westeros. After two King in the North scenes (for Robb and Jon), it was fitting that Sansa was named the first-ever Queen in the North by people that followed her lead and respected her.

 

Finally, while getting sent back to the Wall wasn’t the choice of the rightful king, Jon had the perfect ending to conclude Game of Thrones. The former Lord Commander was surprised to learn that there was still a Night’s Watch with The Long Night over and the White Walkers defeated for good, but there has to be someplace to send people for punishment. Jon met Ygritte beyond the Wall; he previously thought about just forgetting about the chaotic life south of the Wall (the politics, the killing, everything) before Sansa convinced him to win back Winterfell; and earlier this season, it was hinted that this could be his ending when he told Tormund he wished he could go with him to what the wildling called “The Real North”.

 

After Jon was unable to have a worthy goodbye with Ghost in “The Last of the Starks”, he had a heartwarming fist-pump moment with his loyal old direwolf. And as the main hero of the show looked back at the tunnel closing behind him, it looked like that might be the last time he sees south of the Wall. If he stays North, he can father children and do whatever he wants, so that might be what he does—or maybe he’ll see Tyrion again in ten years as they discussed in their final meeting. But whatever happens after Game of Thrones, Jon’s story and the entire “A Song of Fire and Ice” story ended on the right note.

 

Best Quote

“You are my queen, now and always.” – Jon Snow to Daenerys Targaryen

 

Character Deaths

-Lannister soldiers

-Daenerys Targaryen

 

MVP: House Stark

Throughout the first handful of seasons, House Stark had it the worst of any family by far. Things eventually worked out for him, but Bran was pushed out of a tower and simply wanted to die for a time; Ned Stark (who would have been happy to see how things turned out for Bran, Arya, Sansa, and Jon) was beheaded in Episode 9; Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa were slaughtered at the Red Wedding; Arya was forced to fend for herself as a young girl; Sansa had to live with the people that murdered her family and went through two marriages she wanted no part of; and Jon was betrayed and killed by his own brothers of the Night’s Watch. Now, the North is independent, Bran is Protector of the Realm in the south, Sansa is Queen in the North, Jon is living out his life beyond the Wall, and Arya is leading a Stark conquest to the west. In the end, it was a time for wolves: House Stark basically rules every part of the world and exits Game of Thrones better off than any other family.

 

Everything Else:

-Plenty of action took place throughout the first 72 episodes of Game of Thrones, and the final episode was set up for outstanding poetic drama. The highlight in terms of drama, of course, was Daenerys’ death—the lone significant death of the finale. Jon loved Daenerys and stuck with her as long as he could, and he was intensely conflicted from the start of the scene, to the moment he put a knife in the heart of his queen, to contemplating what he’d just done. The Targaryens have connections with their dragons, and Drogon knew something happened to his mother—the special effects of our last scene with the dragon and the destroyed Great Hall covered in snow as the backdrop was remarkable. Really, the visuals for the entire episode (like Drogon’s wings behind Daenerys as she walked to the stairs, and just the final shots for each of the characters) were arguably the best of the series, so David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did an exceptional job of directing their finale.

 

Specifically, the acting by Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke in Daenerys’ final scene was extraordinary. This was the scene that got Harington emotional during the final table read of the scripts for Season 8, and it’s easy to see why; Clarke said she took a five-hour walk after she first read it. And they both put the scene on screen masterfully.

 

When the Mother of Dragons said all the other people don’t get to choose what they think is good, you could see in Jon’s face that was not what he wanted to hear, but it looked like he might still be loyal to her when he said she’d be his queen now and always—until the sound of a knife. It wasn’t completely clear that Jon stabbed Daenerys at first (instead of the other way around, as Dany had reason to kill the rightful heir), but the honorable former King in the North actually went through with it then cradled Daenerys in a similar way to how he cradled Ygritte during her death earlier in the series. And in that final moment for Daenerys, you couldn’t help but feel bad for someone that was one of the heroes for years and started as a helpless young woman on the edge of the world.

 

When Drogon arrived, Jon easily could’ve been put to ashes; but instead, the last dragon finished his mother’s wishes of breaking the wheel—which she had just talked about again—by destroying the Iron Throne. The absence of the Iron Throne was part of leading to the new process of selecting a ruler; so while Dany obviously didn’t accomplish the goal the way she wanted to, ultimately, it was accomplished.

 

-It’s a shame Daenerys was barely in the series finale, but as stated for previous episodes, not everything just goes perfectly in a show that reflects the real world when you put the magic aside. Things just didn’t work out for Daenerys—she didn’t even get to actually sit in the Iron Throne despite winning the Last War, which is also kind of heartbreaking.

 

Burning King’s Landing and its citizens was a bad act, but Dany did plenty of good in her life. It could be way off, but my theory is that while Drogon took her away, she was also taken away spiritually to live peacefully in the afterlife with Khal Drogo and her unborn son Rhaego (healthy in the afterlife). When Daenerys touched the Iron Throne in the finale, it was similar to the vision she had in the House of the Undying in Season 2 when she didn’t touch the Iron Throne, instead walking away to the screams of her baby dragons and finding a tent with Drogo and Rhaego inside. Maybe that’s where she ended up after death. Ultimately, Daenerys might have been bad, but she wasn’t evil. (Yes, Jon said there was nothing after he died, but he came back to life.)

 

-And while it was a shame Clarke was only in the first part of the episode, it was nice to see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Lena Headey in the credits and in the episode as Tyrion found the bodies of his Lannister siblings. So all five principle characters (Tyrion, Jaime, Cersei, Daenerys, and Jon) were all in Game of Thrones through the final episode.

 

-That scene where Tyrion found Jaime and Cersei was tough to watch, and a sad “The Rains of Castamere” playing in the background made it even better. Peter Dinklage was crazy good in that moment and for the entire episode, as he was for the entire series.

 

-Tyrion’s first meeting with Jon, when the former Hand of the Queen attempted to convince the true heir to kill his queen, took us into Jon’s head and led us into the dramatic scene in the Great Hall. Then when things were turned around, with Jon as the prisoner, it was interesting to hear them discuss whether they did the right thing by killing Daenerys—and Tyrion said to ask him in ten years. Those two scenes were really great for a final episode.

 

-The meeting of the most important people in Westeros representing the top Houses in the land was excellent. It set up that Jon was being kept alive as a prisoner because thousands of northerners were ready to storm the city and cause much more bloodshed if their former king was harmed, but Grey Worm, the Unsullied, and the Dothraki wanted justice for their queen’s death. The tenseness was then cut with the hilarious moments of Sansa calmly telling her uncle Edmure to sit down and Sam getting laughed at for suggesting they let the people decide their own ruler instead of the noblemen deciding. Tyrion was right that Bran “The Broken” would be a good king, as the Three-Eyed Raven didn’t want anything but knew he should be king and traveled all that way for a reason.

 

-The Unsullied are following the lead of Grey Worm, who is taking the army to Naath, where he and Missandei planned to go before Queen Daenerys’ advisor’s death. It fit what Tyrion said about not anyone really being happy—though overall, the Starks were OK with how everything turned out.

 

-Set free and being accompanied north to Castle Black, Jon led the very emotional final Stark farewells with Sansa, Arya, and Bran. It’s difficult not to get chills thinking about it, and Sophie Turner and Maise Williams’ goodbyes (their characters still had much more emotion than Isaac Hempstead Wright as the Three-Eyed Raven) with Kit Harington felt legitimate and real. Sansa would lead the northerners at their home, Winterfell; Arya had her Needle and would be doing what she loved; and Bran would rule for the good of the realm. It was simply perfect.

 

-Brienne had her heart broken by Jaime, but it was really nice to see her fill out the Kingslayer’s pages in the Whitebook, which chronicles the accomplishments of Kingsguard members. In case you forgot, early in the series, King Joffrey taunted Jaime for having an empty page compared to other legendary members of the Kingsguard like Ser Arthur Dayne. Ser Brienne wrote of Jaime’s actions, including his bravery at the Battle of Winterfell, ending it with “Died protecting his Queen.” Again, it was perfect.

 

-Tyrion—again Hand of the King—setting up the first Small Council meeting was fantastic, and it was reminiscent of some of the earlier scenes in the show when those Small Council meetings were all about power. Bronn (Lord of Highgarden), Ser Davos, Brienne, and Maester Sam (good for him!) all create an interesting dynamic on King Bran’s Small Council. It was funny to find out Tyrion wasn’t mentioned in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book, but the appearance of the creation and appearance of the book in general was awesome. While he said he didn’t want to be Hand for a third time, it was the ideal ending for Tyrion (he said he didn’t want to be Hand, but it’s clear he loved it based on his organizing of all the chairs to be perfect) to be doing what he does best—and it looks like he was even able to tell that “jackass and honeycomb” joke.

 

-Drogon was said to be heading east, so he was likely going back to the birthplace of himself and his two brothers in Essos. Daenerys was truly beloved across the Narrow Sea, so she should have been put to rest there—and again, would potentially join Drogo, Rhaego, and maybe Visierion and Rhaegal, in the afterlife.

 

-The final montage following Arya (embarking on her new journey), Sansa (officially named Queen in the North), and Jon (joining Tormund and Ghost to go back beyond the Wall), with the last version of the Stark theme (titled “The Last of the Starks”) was the best way the show could have ended.

 

-The first shot of the series was the gate opening as members of the Night’s Watch explored beyond the Wall. The last shot of the series was the gate closing behind Jon Snow. It was beautiful, and now our watch has ended.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: A Defense Of The Final Season

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8: A Defense Of The Final Season

I think the social media outrage might be coming from a very vocal minority that hated the conclusion to Game of Thrones, as I have yet to hear detailed reasoning for the criticism. That said, here are counterpoints for the 16 biggest blanket issues that people had about Season 8.

 

Daenerys and Jon go for ride on the dragons

Did people expect Jon to simply get on Rhaegal with no prior experience and hold his own against the Night King in a dragon battle? Daenerys saw how Drogon reacted to Jon in Season 7, so she figured if there’s anyone else in the world who could take control of a dragon, it was him.

 

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (Episode 8.02) was pointless

The consensus seems to believe that the second episode was the best of the season, but after the Battle of Winterfell, some labeled it as pointless. I couldn’t disagree more. Even if you felt the deaths were not sufficient against the Army of the Dead, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was still basically a love letter to the characters before the tragic final four episodes. I don’t see how anyone could say Podrick signing “Jenny of Oldstones” with a montage of all our favorite characters wasn’t beautifully done as the perfect leadup before Death marched on Winterfell.

 

Darkness in “The Long Night” (Episode 8.03)

I didn’t even know darkness was an issue for people until hearing about it the following day. Anyone who watched on a high-quality television in a darkened room—so, not with some lights on for a watch party or on a TV with incorrect settings such as power-saving mode turned on—should have had zero problems. After the episode, LG even sent out an email advertisement about their televisions having perfect blacks, which would have given fans the ideal viewing experience. To me, “The Long Night” looked extremely realistic for a battle under moonlight.

 

No main characters died in the Battle of Winterfell

I guess everyone forgot about Theon Greyjoy, who had perhaps the greatest character arc in television history. Or Jorah Mormont, who was by Dany’s side (more or less…) since the beginning of the series. Or Melisandre, who was as powerful as anyone in Westeros and was the focus of the final scene in multiple episodes. Beric Dondarrion and Eddison Tollett were also popular characters that fell by saving others in Arya Stark and Samwell Tarly, respectively. And seeing everyone else—Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Sansa, Jaime, Brienne, Tormund, Varys, etc.—on the brink of being overwhelmed and killed made Arya’s death blow to the Night King all the more significant.

 

Jon didn’t fight the Night King

Would I have loved to see a one-on-one battle to decide the Great War? Absolutely; but how would that have happened? Were the White Walker lieutenants going to simply stand aside and let them fight? The point of everyone being so helpless by the end of “The Long Night” was to show how absolutely dominant the Night King was. Jon couldn’t even get within ten feet of him, so a “sneak attack”—in the same spot Arya snuck up on Jon in the season premiere—was the only way to defeat him.

 

No backstory for the Night King

Sorry that Bran wasn’t the Night King. I mean, did people even watch the origin story in Season 6? If anything, I would argue we didn’t even need to see the White Walker backstory at all, as the mystery is what made them such an intimidating force.

 

Jon didn’t pet Ghost in “The Last of the Starks” (Episode 8.04)

It wasn’t an issue of CGI costing too much, as the Jon and Ghost moment was saved for the finale. And for people who claim that it still doesn’t make sense to not see Jon saying goodbye to his companion (because he obviously didn’t know he would come back north): he likely was too emotional to give anything other than a nod, which is understandable.

 

Cersei didn’t just kill everyone at the King’s Landing parley 

This is a complaint I saw a couple times looking through reviews of “The Last of the Starks”. There are rules of engagement that even the least honorable of people follow, so Cersei was in no position to send forces out to kill Daenerys or shoot Drogon with a Scorpion weapon. A parley where both sides agree to meet and try to sue for peace is different than blowing up the Sept.

 

Daenerys didn’t have any build up for her heel turn

I guess everyone missed the first 71+ episodes of the show.

 

Arya didn’t kill Cersei wearing Jaime’s face

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (who played Jaime) is six-foot-two. Maisie Williams (who played Arya) is five-foot-one. I don’t think that popular fan theory was very plausible. As for the “green eyes” the Stark assassin would shut forever as prophesized by Melisandre? Littlefinger in the Season 7 finale.

 

Drogon destroyed the Iron Throne

The dragons had a very strong connection to Daenerys (and Jon because he was also a Targaryen), so I think Drogon was intelligent enough to know the Iron Throne corrupted her and is really what killed his mother. I don’t get why that’s so difficult for people to comprehend.

 

Jon should’ve lied about killing Dany

Say what you want about Jon Snow, but he wasn’t a liar. Besides, would Grey Worm and the others believe that their Queen decided to simply ride away when there was a pool of blood on the ground in the Throne Room?

 

Bran didn’t deserve to be King

First of all, the main plot points/conclusions are the work of George R.R. Martin, so take it up with him. But throughout the show, it has been clear that the best rulers are the ones who don’t want to rule at all—Ned as the Warden of the North, Robb as the King in the North, and Jon as King in the North—so is it that difficult to get behind the impartial Bran Stark as King of the Six Kingdoms? While Jon Snow has been and always will be a Stark, the last true son of Ned Stark “winning” the Game of Thrones is a very satisfying ending.

 

Jon was a Targaryen for no reason

Set up by the reveal of Jon’s true parentage in the Season 7 finale, the entire premise of Season 8 was centered around Dany’s fall, and much of that was due to her finding out Jon was true heir to the Iron Throne. If not for that, there would have been no reason for any sort of conflict between the two, and Daenerys would have never turned into a villain.

 

Jon was brought back for no reason

This might be the worst complaint of all. I know a lot of people can’t wait a full 80 minutes without getting on Twitter, but did they pay attention to the show at all? After being brought back, Jon united the North, the wildlings, and the Targaryen forces to beat the Night King (who everyone thought was a myth until the former Lord Commander proved otherwise by going beyond the Wall)—and even that was almost not enough to win the Great War. If not for Jon, Westeros would have been turned into the Land of Always Winter.

 

Jon should have been King

There are several reasons this doesn’t make sense as an ending. First of all, Jon needed to be “suffer” the consequences for killing his queen. And what makes it great for viewers is that the punishment of being sent to the Wall is the ending Jon deserves because he ends up in the place that made him happiest (the “real North” as Tormund calls it). Also, as previously stated, Jon wasn’t a liar, so he wouldn’t trick Grey Worm into leaving before taking the throne for himself. Perhaps most importantly, he simply never wanted to be King. Now, Jon can live out the rest of his days in peace knowing that House Stark will rule Westeros with honor.

‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale: Potential Final Episode Titles

‘Game of Thrones’ Series Finale: Potential Final Episode Titles

It’s hard to believe Game of Thrones concludes in just two days, and we’ll soon learn how the legendary series ends and gets etched in history. The last 79 minutes remain mysterious, and one other thing we won’t know until the episode is over is the final episode title. We don’t want to speculate too much on what’ll actually happen in the finale, but these are our best guesses for the Game of Thrones finale title.

 

“The Iron Throne”

Much of the horror that’s taken place throughout Westeros for eight seasons has been because of the iron seat of power that sits in King’s Landing, so a simple title of “The Iron Throne” might be the perfect final episode title. This would be a better title if the last shot of the epic series is someone (Daenerys or whomever else) sitting on the Iron Throne.

 

“A Song of Ice and Fire”

As the iconic opening credits say for every episode, Game of Thrones is based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin”. Jon Snow (ice) and Daenerys Targaryen (fire) have come together from opposite sides of the world, and that ice-and-fire theme could come into play one more time for the last episode.

 

“For The Throne”

The campaign for the final season was #ForTheThrone. Every death, battle, betrayal, alliance, and sacrifice throughout the first 72 episodes was For The Throne, so it’d be fitting for the conclusion to the series to be titled “For The Throne”.

 

“A Game of Thrones”

The first episode of the series could have easily been called “A Game of Thrones” based on the name of the first book in George R.R. Martin’s series (the premiere was instead called “Winter Is Coming”), so maybe the show will end with the classic title. It could also just be the show’s title “Game of Thrones” without an “A”.

 

“A Time for Wolves”

Originally in contention for the title of GRRM’s last book in the ASOIAF series, “A Time for Wolves” would be a perfect episode title if the Starks overthrow Daenerys to end Game of Thrones. Keep in mind, the Season 8 episode titles have not been revealed until after the episodes have aired, and maybe HBO did that because they didn’t want to give away the finale.

 

“A Dream of Spring”

The title of GRRM’s last book is now expected to be “A Dream of Spring”, so it makes sense for the final episode of Game of Thrones to be the same. After all the fighting and death, everyone might just want to go back to when it wasn’t winter. The only downside to this potential episode title is that the White Walkers have already been defeated, and they were a big part of the dream of spring.

 

“The North”

We know the Starks don’t care much for the south, and maybe they just won’t care about whatever is going on in King’s Landing with Daenerys. “The North”, or maybe even “The Real North”, would be a great episode title if Jon ultimately decides to join Tormund and Ghost north of the Wall to live out his days.

 

“The Targaryens”

If the final episode centers around Jon and Daenerys—whether they square off against one another, or Jon still accepts Daenerys as his queen despite her drastic actions—“The Targaryens” could be the choice for the title. The Targaryens were the ones who created the Iron Throne, and that’s what a lot of this story has been about.

A Comprehensive List Of Evidence Leading To Daenerys’ Turn Into The Mad Queen

A Comprehensive List Of Evidence Leading To Daenerys’ Turn Into The Mad Queen

Daenerys Targaryen’s sudden transformation into the final villain on Game of Thrones was a definite shock, but looking back at the series, all the evidence was actually there. Here is a season-by-season breakdown with some general evidence at the end.

 

Season 1

 

“Winter Is Coming” (S1E1)

-Viserys warns Daenerys not to “wake the dragon” when she says she doesn’t want to marry Khal Drogo, indicating his Targaryen rage can be triggered.

-Daenerys is mesmerized by the dragon eggs gifted to her by Illyrio Mopatis.

-Jorah Mormont gives Daenerys books about the history of Westeros, which surely includes the ruthlessness of her family.

 

“The Kingsroad” (S1E2)

-Dothraki handmaidens tell Daenerys all the legends they have heard about dragons.

 

“Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things” (S1E4)

-Daenerys instinctively hits Viserys back after he hits her, and she warns him, “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.” He is shocked at her boldness.

 

“A Golden Crown” (S1E6)

-The Dothraki claim Dany’s son will be a conqueror after she eats the stallion’s heart.

-Daenerys coldly watches as Viserys is burned to death when Drogo pours molten gold over his head, and she tells Jorah: “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.”

 

“You Win Or You Die” (S1E7)

-After a merchant attempts to poison Daenerys (on King Robert’s orders), Khal Drogo promises to wage war against the men of Westeros and claim the Iron Throne.

 

“Fire and Blood” (S1E10)

-Daenerys finds out her child was born dead and deformed, as Mirri Maz Dur used his life to keep Drogo alive. The witch admits to tricking Dany despite the fact that she saved her from the Dothraki raping her (though others had already raped her before being saved).

-Daenerys orders that Mirri Maz Dur is burned alive for tricking her into trading her child’s life for Drogo’s (as an unmoving mute). Dany says she will hear the witch scream, and when Maz Dur claims she won’t hear her scream, the young Tagaryen confidently insists: “I will.”

-Daenerys steps out of the fire with three baby dragons.

 

Season 2

 

“The Night Lands” (S2E2)

-Daenerys swears revenge for the Dothraki that murdered Rakharo after his head is sent back with his horse.

 

“Garden of Bones” (S2E4)

-When she and her khalasar are denied entrance into Qarth, Dany tells the Thirteen, “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who wronged me. We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!”

 

“The Ghost of Harrenhal” (S2E5)

-Daenerys explains to Xaro that the Iron Throne is hers by right and he’s not as ambitious as her. He disagrees, offering a marriage proposal and promising her the Seven Kingdoms by using what’s behind his vault to buy horses and ships. When Dany tells Jorah about it, she questions his motivations for saying it’s a bad idea, but he tells her, “The allies we need are in Westeros.”

 

“The Old Gods and the New” (S2E6)

-Daenerys tells the Spice King her “dreams come true” when talking about retaking the Iron Throne, and she gets angry when he denies her request for ships: “I will take what is mine, with fire and blood. I will take it!”

-At the end of the episode when her dragons are gone, Dany reverts to being scared and desperate.

 

“A Man Without Honor” (S2E7)

-Dany is quick to question loyalties when Jorah returns after hearing the dragons were stolen, skeptically asking the Westerosi knight, “Is it you I should trust?”

 

“Valar Morghulis” (S2E10)

-Daenerys has a vision in the House of the Undying, which begins with a destroyed Throne Room that’s covered in snow—including snow on the Iron Throne. Then, before touching the Throne, Dany goes outside to a vision of the Wall and sees a Dothraki tent with Khal Drogo and their baby (both alive and happy) inside, but leaves when she hears her dragons.

-After getting her dragons back by burning Pyat Pree, Dany goes to Xaro’s house and finds him in bed with Doreah. As punishment for their betrayal, Danaerys leave them both to die in Xaro’s empty vault.

 

Season 3

 

“Walk of Punishment” (S3E3)

-Daenerys reminds Jorah and Barristan Selmy that Rhaegar “was not the last dragon.”

-Later when negotiating with Kraznys for the Unsullied, Dany offers a dragon without consulting Jorah and Barristan, which causes them to immediately question her. Afterwards, the Mother of Dragons chastises them for doing so in public.

 

“And Now His Watch is Ended” (S3E4)

-While justified, Daenerys commands the Unsullied to kill the slavers and has Drogon burn Kraznys alive.

 

The Bear and the Maiden Fair” (S3E7)

-Daenerys tells Razdal mo Eraz that Yunkai must immediately free their slaves, promising to show them “no mercy” if they refuse.

 

Season 4

 

“Oathkeeper” (S4E4)

-Daenerys ignores Barristan Selmy’s advice about showing mercy to the slavers, instead ordering 163 masters to be crucified in retribution for the dead children that endured the same fate.

 

“The Laws of Gods and Men” (S4E6)

-Hizdahr zo Loraq tells Dany that his father was one of the masters she had killed, but he was actually a respected citizen who spoke out against children being crucified. She maintains the actions were just, but relents when Hizdahr pleads for a proper burial.

 

“Mockingbird” (S4E7)

-Daenerys sends Daario to execute all the masters in Yunkai without talking it over with her advisors, but Jorah is able to convince her to give them a choice. Dany sends Hizdahr with Daario and tells him to explain what happened in Meereen: “They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one.”

 

“The Mountain and the Viper” (S4E8)

-Daenerys is furious when she finds out Jorah was previously spying on her for Varys, telling him, “You betrayed me.” He is banished from her service and the city.

 

Season 5 

 

“The Wars to Come” (S5E1)

-Daario advises Daenerys to show strength by using her dragons.

 

“The House of Black and White” (S5E2)

-Barristan tells Dany about her father (the Mad King), revealing that he wasn’t always a cruel and “gave enemies the justice he thought they deserved… until the very end.”

 

“Sons of the Harpy” (S5E4)

-Barristan Selmy is killed in an alleyway fighting off the Sons of the Harpy with Grey Worm, leaving Daenerys with one less advisor and no real connection to Westeros.

 

“Kill the Boy” (S5E5)

-Daenerys rounds up the leaders of the great Meereenese families and brings them to the catacombs—where Rhaegal and Viserion are being kept. One of the former masters is burned and eaten alive, with Dany calmly watching and wondering aloud if her dragons should determine guilt.

 

Season 6

 

“Book of the Stanger” (S6E4)

-Daenerys takes control of the Dothraki by burning all the khals alive and once again emerging from the flames unburnt.

 

“Blood of My Blood” (S6E6)

-Daario asks Daenerys what happens after she takes the Iron Throne, telling her, “You weren’t made to sit on a chair in a palace.”

-Dany gives a rousing speech to the Dothraki about sailing across the Narrow Sea and taking the Iron Throne.

 

“Battle of the Bastards” (S6E9)

-Tyrion compares Dany’s plan to crucify the masters and destroy their cities to her father’s plan to plant wildfire all around King’s Landing.

 

“The Winds of Winter” (S6E10)

-Daenerys coldly tells Daario that she won’t be coming with her to Westeros because he is a liability in her quest to take Iron Throne. She admits to Tyrion that she felt nothing when breaking the news to a man that cares for her.

 

Season 7

 

“Stormborn” (S7E2)

-Daenerys promises to burn Varys alive if he betrays her like he did other rulers, but he pledges honesty with her.

-Olenna Tyrell gives Dany some advice after a meeting to discuss their war plan: “You’re a dragon. Be a dragon.”

 

“The Spoils of War” (S7E4)

-Daenerys wonders if Tyrion still has loyalties to his family after being told the plan to take Casterly Rock backfired because the Lannisters simply allowed it to happen and instead took Highgarden.

-Dany considers flyers her dragons to the Red Keep, but Jon Snow advises that using her dragons to “melt cities and burn castles” would make her more of the same as a ruler.

-After a single “Dracarys” command from Daenerys, Drogon lays waste to most of the Lannister forces with dragonfire.

 

“Eastwatch” (S7E5)

-Dany tells the remaining Lannister soldiers that they can bend the knee or die. Randyll Tarly remains standing along with his son, Dickon, so they are sentenced to death. Tyrion pleads with Daenerys to reconsider, as she would basically be wiping out House Tarly, but she insists they have been given a choice. Both Tarly men are burnt alive.

-Alone, Tyrion and Varys hope that Dany won’t turn into her father.

 

“Beyond the Wall” (S7E6)

-Daenerys is angry with Tyrion when he brings up a succession plan for her, as it takes more than one lifetime to create change.

-Viserion is killed by the Night King’s spear.

 

“The Dragon and the Wolf” (S7E7)

-Daenerys shows her strength—perhaps as Daario previously suggested—by arriving late to the dragonpit meeting on top of Drogon.

 

Season 8

 

“Winterfell” (S8E1)

-The North, including Sansa and perhaps following her lead, doesn’t fully embrace the Mother of Dragons.

-Daenerys tells Samwell Tarly that she executed his father and brother, which basically causes him to think she’s a psychopath. When Sam tells Jon the truth about his parents, he criticizes Dany and asks whether she would give up her crown like the former King in the North did.

 

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (S8E2)

-Daenerys tries to create a bond with Sansa based on their love for Jon, but the conversation becomes cold when Lady Stark asks what will happen to the North after Dany takes the Iron Throne.

-When Theon returns to Winterfell, he doesn’t even really address Dany, instead asking Sansa if he can fight for the North; the Mother of Dragons is clearly affected by the love directed towards Sansa.

-Jon tells Daenerys the truth about who he really is, and she is taken aback: “If it were true, it would make you the last male heir of House Targaryen.”

 

“The Long Night” (S8E3)

-After the Dothraki are mostly killed by the Army of the Dead, Daenerys abandons the plan to wait for the Night King and takes flight on Drogon.

-Jorah Mormont fights by Dany’s side until his last breath, and he dies in her arms before he can get out a final word.

 

“The Last of the Starks” (S8E4)

-At a feast following the Battle of Winterfell, Daenerys is clearly upset about how much the North loves Jon, but not her. Tormand calls him “a king,” and Varys notices she is unhappy.

-Dany begs Jon not to tell anyone about his true parentage, particularly Sansa and Arya.

-Jon allows Bran to tell Sansa and Arya the truth about him as long as they keep it a secret. The next day, Sansa tells Tyrion, who eventually tells Varys.

-Rhaegal is struck by three “Scorpion” bolts and killed when the Iron Fleet unexpectedly attacks on the way to Dragonstone. Missandei is captured.

-Varys and Tyrion are able to convince a furious Daenerys to meet with Cersei in one last bid for peace. Afterwards, the two advisors discuss whether Jon is a better fit for the throne, but Tyrion insists he in loyal to Dany, while Varys seems to suggest he will do what’s best for the realm—including eliminating their queen if need be.

-A parley on the edge of King’s Landing between Daenerys and Cersei begins, with Missandei standing in chains with the Mountain behind her. Tyrion and Qyburn negotiate, but it’s clear it won’t go anywhere. Tyrion walks by him and implores Cersei to think of her child. It doesn’t work, as Cersei asks Missandei if she has any last words. After looking at Grey Worm and then Dany, Missandei gives out a powerful “Dracarys.”

-Daenerys watches her friend and advisor beheaded by the Mountain and walks away with intense rage on her face.

 

“The Bells” (S8E5)

-Daenerys hasn’t eaten for two days following the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei.

-Varys writes a letter about Jon being the true heir to the Iron Throne, and he greets Jon when he arrives at Dragonstone in an attempt to convince him that he should be King. It doesn’t work.

-Tyrion tells Daenrys that she’s been betrayed, and he needs to correct her when she names Jon instead of Varys. However, she accurately explains how Jon told Sansa, who told Tyrion, who told Varys.

-That night, Grey Worm puts Varys in chains and escorts him to the beaches where Dany, Jon, and Tyrion are waiting. The Mother of Dragons coldly sentences him to death by dragonfire.

-After explaining how the people in Westeros don’t love her, a distraught Dany is then denied by Jon. Because love isn’t there, she opts for fear.

-Tyrion needs to convince Daenerys to spare the city if the bells ring to signal the Lannister’s surrender. She agrees, but tells Tyrion that Jaime was captured trying to get back to King’s Landing, and the next mistake the Hand makes will be his last.

-Riding Drogon, Daenerys obliterates the Iron Fleet, Golden Company, and the Scorpion weapons on the battlements of King’s Landing. It’s clear the war has easily been won, but it wasn’t satisfying for Dany, who wants blood for the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei.

-Daenerys, feeling alone after multiple betrayals and seeing several children/friends/advisors die, makes good on her claim to rule with fear, ignoring the bells signaling surrender to destroy what’s left of the Lannister army—and, in the process, thousands of innocent lives.

 

Other General Evidence

 

-Across the world at Castle Black, Maester Aemon (the Mad King’s brother) warns: “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing.”

-Cersei Lannister foreshadows Daenerys potentially going mad by saying, “Every time a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin.” That quote was used in the “Previously on” preview for Episode 8.05.

-While Daenerys routinely needs convincing to not be too ruthless (sometimes listening and sometimes not), Jon Snow is much more calculating with his Targaryen rage. The best example is the beheading of Janos Slynt, as he showed a slight hesitation before carrying out one of his first acts as Lord Commander. Another example is Jon not beating Ramsay Bolton to death because he knew it was a kill that Sansa deserved. Overall, Jon is much more likely to find non-violent ways to make things work, such as naming Alliser Thorne First Ranger in an attempt to make an ally out of him.

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings Ahead Of The Final Episode

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings Ahead Of The Final Episode

“When you play the game of thrones you win or you die.” Well Game of Thrones has lived up to those words throughout the series, as many more key characters including Cersei and Jaime Lannister were killed in last week’s penultimate episode, “The Bells”. We know that anything can happen in Westeros, but there appears to be under a dozen serious Iron Throne competitors heading into the final 79 minutes of the series. You can also read our recap for “The Bells”, check out the top musical scores from the show, and look at the final episode photo preview.

 

Dead and off: Cersei Lannister (2), Euron Greyjoy (7), Jaime Lannister (8)

 

10. Samwell Tarly – Last week: NR

Sam has made some good gut calls throughout Game of Thrones—including stabbing a White Walker with dragonglass, curing Jorah Mormont of greyscale, and being uneasy about Daenerys (basically believing the Targaryen queen was a psychopath for killing his father and brother). It’s unclear what is going to happen in the finale, but for Sam to sit on the Irone Throne, probably almost everyone would have to die or Jon would need to fight for the Throne and place Sam on it if he successfully takes it.

 

9. Yara Greyjoy – Last week: NR

With Euron dead, Yara is now the unquestioned leader of the Iron Islands. While Theon told Daenerys that his sister was taking back the Iron Islands in her queen’s name, there’s a chance Yara is caught in the Targaryen’s wrath if a) Daenerys doesn’t like that Yara didn’t help in the Great War or the Last War, or b) Daenerys doesn’t like there being another queen in the Seven Kingdoms, despite their past alliance.

 

8. Gendry – Last week: NR

Gendry was given Storm’s End by Daenerys, who didn’t seem threatened by the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon, but things might change after Daenerys snapped. However, Gendry is someone that Ned Stark thought should’ve been on the Iron Throne before the Lannisters, so maybe the current Starks will feel he’d be the best heir other than Jon if they’re somehow able to remove Daenerys.

 

7. Bran Stark – Last week: 10 (+3)

“The Bells” was set solely down south at Dragonstone and King’s Landing, but Bran might have been watching what was going on while home at Winterfell. Drogon flying over the capital appears to be what he saw in an earlier vision, which might be noteworthy. Despite being the son of Ned Stark, you would think Bran is safe from danger after the point of the Battle of Winterfell was to preserve human history by protecting him from the Night King.

 

6. Bronn – Last week: 9 (+3)

As we head into the final episode of Game of Thrones, Bronn is someone that lingers in the background somewhere. After Daenerys took the Iron Throne, the sellsword might come to collect his debt (High Garden) from Tyrion, but the Queen probably isn’t willing to hand out something that valuable to someone that tried to kill her and Drogon during the Loot Train Attack. Keep in mind that Bronn talked earlier in the season about House Lannister being built up from nothing, so maybe Bronn will continue his ascension into becoming Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms—though as skilled as he is, it’s difficult to see him staying alive for long even if he somehow kills Daenerys.

 

5. Tyrion Lannister – Last week: 6 (+1)

Obviously, things don’t look great for Tyrion after “The Bells”. Word is almost certainly going to get to Daenerys that her Hand let Jaime go free, and the Queen already warned the clever Lannister about any future mistake being his last. There’s a chance Tyrion is dead if he faces Daenerys, so retreat might be his only option. But maybe Tyrion will be in the mix to sit on the Iron Throne if Jon tells him he’ll seize it for him and let him rule in the south while the North is independent led by Sansa—something Tyrion would agree to (if he’s now OK with getting rid of Daenerys) because of his trust in the Lady of Winterfell.

 

4. Arya Stark – Last week: 5 (+1)

While Arya had been intent on killing Queen Cersei from the moment Ned was executed at the end of Season 1, the flip switched for the highly-skilled assassin after the Hound asked if she really wanted to be like him all her life. Now, perhaps Arya will accept Gendry’s marriage proposal, which could make for a powerful Stark-Baratheon combination to potentially rule.

 

3. Sansa Stark – Last week: 4 (+1)

Again, Winterfell was not shown during “The Bells”, but Sansa is undoubtedly going to feel she was right about Daenerys after the destruction of King’s Landing. However, despite the Lady of Winterfell being well protected, Sansa’s cold attitude toward Dany could really be an issue now. It’s been made clear that a Targaryen with a dragon can do whatever they want (especially with no more Scorpion weapons), and nothing would be able to stop Daenerys from flying to Winterfell and laying waste to the home of House Stark if she wants.

 

2. Jon Snow – Last week 1 (-1)

Ned might have made a mistake by not taking the Throne for himself after Robert’s Rebellion, and it’s possible Jon did the same by continuing to trust in Daenerys. The former King in the North was disgusted by his queen’s actions during the attack on King’s Landing, and it’s difficult to see him wanting to serve her any longer. Much of the northern army participated in the terrible actions in the capital, but maybe Jon could gather enough soldiers to make it one last fight for the Iron Throne. He must know he’d be a good ruler, and he’s been told that by many people; but after all the fighting he’s seen over the years, perhaps Jon has just had enough of it as he did before Sansa convinced him they had to take back Winterfell from the Boltons.

 

1. Daenerys Targaryen – Last week: 3 (+1)

After all the triumphant moments throughout the years, Daenerys finally got what she really wanted: The Iron Throne. However, the event was far from all the positive moments Dany has had in the past, as she laid waste to King’s Landing and its citizens in a major twist that sets her up as a villain in the final episode of Game of Thrones. With Drogon and an army of Unsullied and Dothraki, Daenerys is in an extremely strong position to keep the Iron Throne for good—but remember, she cannot have children (or so she was told by the witch Mirri Maz Dur), which means she cannot start a new Targaryen dynasty if she’s alienated her nephew Jon (a Targaryen that could potentially have heirs) enough.

HBO Releases Photos For The Final Episode Of ‘Game of Thrones’

HBO Releases Photos For The Final Episode Of ‘Game of Thrones’

The final episode of Game of Thrones is just four days away, and HBO has just released two photos previewing the conclusion to the all-time great series. Here are both images that can be viewed on HBO PR’s Medium page.

 

Photo courtesy: HBO

 

Photo courtesy: Helen Sloan/HBO

 

As shown in the final episode preview, a snowy King’s Landing is in ruins in the aftermath of “The Bells”. It looks like Tyrion Lannister is wondering what to think about recent events, and a lot of the finale could be picking up pieces after the destruction caused by Daenerys Targaryen and her army. There are usual several pre-episode photos shared, but it’s not surprising there are just two for the final episode so that the events set to take place to conclude the story remain a mystery.

 

There will also be more photos from the episode released after the series concludes, showing more moments from the final 79 minutes that are currently being kept under wraps.

 

The final episode of Game of Thrones airs this Sunday at 9 PM on HBO.

Top Ten Tuesday: ‘Game of Thrones’ Musical Scores

Top Ten Tuesday: ‘Game of Thrones’ Musical Scores

Say what you want about the final season (we think it’s been great), but there is no disputing that Ramin Djawadi’s musical scores in Game of Thrones have been basically perfect from start to finish. Heading into Sunday night’s finale, these are the top tracks—all of which can be found on Spotify—from the hit HBO series. [Note: the iconic main theme is not on the list, but it would obviously be very high if we were including it.]

 

10. “Truth”

 

 

The first song to make the list comes in the Season 7 finale when Jon Snow’s true parentage is finally pieced together by Bran and Samwell Tarly. While the music is beautifully done to match the voiceover revealing that Jon is actually heir to the Iron Throne, there is also a bit of a tragic feeling to go along with it as Tyrion stands outside Dany’s cabin knowing the complications that may arise by his queen and Jon becoming romantically involved—and that’s only proven more true in the penultimate episode of the series.

 

 

9. “Hardhome, Pt. 1”

 

 

Jon (as Lord Commander), Tormund, Ed, and others went to Hardhome to get everyone south of the Wall before the Army of the Dead attacked, but just when they are getting ready to leave after convincing many to join their cause, the weather starts to turn; and for the viewers, we are presented with  a “tick-tick-tick…” that creates a ton of tension before we even know the massacre the living is in store for. The original “White Walkers” track that’s played (particularly early in the show when they are more mysterious) also deserves recognition based on how chilling it is.

 

 

8. “Jenny of Oldstones”

 

 

You could go with Podrick’s rendition or the end credits song by Florence + The Machine, but either way, “Jenny of Oldstones” is beautifully done. The lyrics actually come from the books, so it was an great choice for what the characters felt could be their last night in the world with Death marching on Winterfell. The imagery that accompanies Pod’s singing—everyone sitting around the fire, Jorah riding on his horse and looking out in the distance, Sansa and Theon eating, Daenerys going down to see Jon in the crypts, etc.—is amazing.

 

 

7. “The Winds of Winter” 

 

 

One of the more triumphant tracks in Game of Thrones history, the “Winds of Winter” is a twist on the Targaryen theme that plays when Dany is finally sailing to Westeros in the final scene of Season 6. After everything the young Queen had been through, it was a monumental moment to see her and the fleet sailing across the Narrow Sea. Also, the song to end Season 3—“Mhysa”—could have easily made the list as another powerful Targaryen score, especially because of how well it goes with the end of the season as the dragons screech and Dany is basically viewed as perhaps the main hero of the story (and a new hope) following Robb Stark’s death.

 

 

6. “Finale”

 

 

Game of Thrones is a fantasy show, but it was (and still is) pretty straightforward and mostly centered around realistic political disputes. However, when Daenerys Targaryen stepped into the fire with three petrified dragon eggs and came out alive with three baby dragons, everything changed. “Finale” captures how big of a moment it was for Dany to become the Mother of Dragons—leaving viewers mesmerized and perhaps even a little fearful.

 

 

5. “Light of the Seven”

 

 

The opening scene of the Season 6 finale was supposed to be Cersei Lannister’s trial, but the deliberate score created by Ramin Djawadi built stunning tension as we—along with mainly Margaery Tyrell and Lancel Lannister—realized that something was up, and it wasn’t going to be good for Cersei’s enemies. The increasingly prominent use of a choir added another layer to the music, which continued picking up intensity until… boom.

 

 

4. “The Rains of Castamere”

 

 

“The Rains of Castemere” played at the end of multiple episodes—including the credits of Blackwater (S2E9) and The Laws of Gods and Men (S4E6)—and has been talked about throughout the series; but it was how it was used in-episode to signal the Red Wedding that makes it such a memorable song. Just thinking of Catelyn Stark’s reaction as she turns when she hears “dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun…” is enough to give you goosebumps. Episode 3.09 remains the only one to not have anything play during the end credits, because nothing would have topped the song of House Lannister before that.

 

 

3. “The Night King”

 

 

It’s difficult to put into words how awesome the music was when the Night King and the rest of the White Walkers reach the Godswood. All hope seems to be lost for the living, as Theon is killed, Jorah fights to his last breath as Daenerys is forced to also take arms, Jon is being chased by Viserion’s blue fire, those on the battlements are being pushed to the limit, and the crypts are being overrun by the dead. While all that goes on, the Night King coldly—but in a way, arrogantly—approaches Bran, and similar to “The Winds of Winter”, the intensity picks up as his Lieutenants watch him prepare to strike down the Three-Eyed Raven. It seems Bran is ready to face Death and defeat when the Night King grabs his sword and the score peaks, but Arya flies in to save her brother and the Seven Kingdoms to win the Great War.

 

 

2. “Winter Is Here”

 

 

Of course, things eventually take a dark turn when the Night King comes riding on Viserion to destroy the Wall, but before that, “Winter Is Here” was a perfect way to help set up the final season—as snow finally fell in the capital just as Jaime was leaving to go north and honor his pledge to fight for the living. It is basically a slowed-down version of the opening credits, and the choir makes “Winter Is Here” an absolutely unforgettable score.

 

 

1. “The Tower”

 

 

In general, the Stark theme is probably the best track in the show, and even though “The Tower” starts off differently, the transition from an unfamiliar song to the classic, powerful Stark theme—while at the same time seeing (through Bran’s vision) that Jon Snow is actually Lyanna Stark’s son—is about as emotional as it gets. The on-screen transition from baby Jon to soon-to-be King in the North Jon helps “The Tower” achieve the status of most impactful score in Game of Thrones.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 5 Recap: “The Bells”

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 5 Recap: “The Bells”

Wow. The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones was one of the most shocking and distressing episodes of the series, as Daenerys Targaryen finally made her attack on King’s Landing. I have not checked Twitter or other parts of the internet for months because of all the negativity, and I am not looking at IMDb after the recent crazy-low user ratings Season 8 episodes are getting, but I suspect people did not like “The Bells” because of the Daenerys twist. Many people cheered for Dany to eventually take the Iron Throne before this, so her actions are disappointing; but the realistic anything-can-happen scenarios are part of what make Game of Thrones great. Remember, this is a show that killed off Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa Stark at a wedding in middle of the series—not everything you want to happen is going to happen. And in some ways, Daenerys going mad is almost as bad as the Red Wedding because, while she always had this in her, the old her was basically killed out of nowhere after so many triumphant moments throughout the years.

 

Previous Episode: “The Last of the Starks”

 

Episode: “The Bells”

Runtime: 78 minutes

Original Air Date: May 12, 2019

Director Miguel Sapochnik

 

Plot (via HBO)

Varys betrays his queen, and Daenerys brings her forces to King’s Landing.

 

Best Moment: The Mad Queen

To open the episode, Daenerys was basically broken, and she later told Jon she would use fear in place of love (which she was not getting in Westeros like she did in Essos) to take the Iron Throne; but her actions were still shocking. First, the Targaryen Queen had what might be the last awe-inspiring moment on Drogon, as she channeled all her anger to lay waste to the Iron Fleet and then destroyed every Scorpion weapon and the soldiers manning them before striking a major first blow to the Golden Company on the battlefield. All the talk about dragons being unstoppable came true, and the Last War was basically a slaughter, as Cersei’s forces were no match for the combined Stark-Targaryen forces with a dragon in the sky. On-the-ground Lannister soldiers between Daenerys’ army and the Red Keep threw down their weapons, and there was no way Cersei would keep the Throne.

 

While Tyrion didn’t want his queen to attack King’s Landing and risk thousands of innocent lives at all, he was at least able to get Daenerys to agree to spare the city if the bells ring, which would mean surrender. During the battle, it was a tense few moments, but the bells did finally ring—but this victory just wasn’t enough for Daenerys, providing a stunning twist. All her Targaryen anger came to the forefront as she burnt the city and the people she meant to rule, causing mass destruction. However, it was not just all Targaryen rage, as this was a spur-of-the-moment decision that probably would not have happened if things leading up to the moment went differently.

 

Two of Dany’s closest friends and advisors (Jorah and Missandei) recently died—perhaps Jorah would still be alive if Cersei helped in the Great War, and Cersei chose to have Missandei executed. She lost two of her children: Viserion beyond the Wall when they were trying to get a wight to prove to Cersei the Army of the Dead was real, and Rhaegal at the hands of Scorpion weapons in the previous episode. And Jon not only continues to turn her down romantically, but Daenerys also feels the former King in the North betrayed her by telling Sansa and Arya the truth about himself, of which word then got to Tyrion and Varys. This was all part of pushing Daenerys to take extreme action with dragon fire.

 

Similar to the final shot of “The Last of the Starks”, you could see how incensed Dany was when she looked at the Red Keep and contemplated how she wanted to proceed. Emilia Clarke seems like one of the nicest people alive in real life, so she really does an amazing job portraying that anger on screen. Daenerys had always said she would take what is hers with fire and blood, and she did.

 

Best Quote

“You were the only one who didn’t treat me like a monster.” – Tyrion Lannister to Jaime Lannister

 

Character Deaths

-Varys

-Greyjoy soldiers

-Lannister soldiers

-Strickland

-Golden company soldiers

-Northern soldiers

-Unsullied soldiers

-Dothraki soldiers

-King’s Landing citizens

-Euron Greyjoy

-Qyburn

-Gregor Clegane

-Sandor Clegane

-Jaime Lannister

-Cersei Lannister

 

MVP: Jaime Lannister

The MVP of “The Bells” could have been Daenerys for finally accomplishing what she’s wanted for years by taking the Iron Throne; but it cost so many lives that Jaime can get the nod for MVP. With the help of Tyrion in an emotional farewell moment between the two Lannister brothers, Jaime was able to escape imprisonment, allowing him to get free, find a way throughout the chaos in King’s Landing, kill Euron, and make it all the way to the Map Room to find Cersei alone and scared. And in their final moment, Jaime was somewhat able to comfort Cersei despite the walls literally collapsing around them.

 

Everything Else:

-The “Previously on Game of Thrones” before the episode had the quote from Cersei about the gods flipping a coin whenever a Targaryen is born (about whether they are mad or not) among other past quotes and remarks concerning Daenerys, and it appears Jon and Dany have landed on opposite sides of that coin heading into the final episode. Jon was truly as loyal as possible to his queen even if he felt he would be a better ruler himself, but you could see how appalled he was at everything that was going on after the Lannisters gave up. Seeing all that destruction might make Jon regret not taking some of the warning signs about Daenerys. Also, the seeds of Dany being capable of this were planted throughout the series, including back in Season 1 when she coldly watched her brother Viserys die with zero emotion.

 

-Varys jumped from different rulers whenever he felt it was best, so his loyalty wasn’t with any king or queen—he truly wanted to do what he felt was best for the realm. The fact that he stuck his neck out for Jon despite that meaning his own chances of survival not being great shows that Varys really acted for what he believed was the greater good of the people. Maybe things would have gone differently if he wasn’t attempting to have Daenerys overthrown behind her back, but it appears he was right about her. And Melisandre was right about Varys needing to die in Westeros like she did after the Battle of Winterfell.

 

-Tyrion and Jaime have had a few heartfelt moments throughout the series, but their final embrace was probably the best of them all. Jaime might have been a hateful person like he said in “The Last of the Starks”, but the fact that he was basically the only person to treat Tyrion right while they were growing up shows that he was probably a good person all the way underneath his exterior.

 

-The sight of Drogon’s shadow flying over King’s Landing might have been familiar, as it seems to be what Bran saw in an earlier vision. Also in that vision, we saw snow falling on the Iron Throne (Daenerys also saw snow on the Iron Throne in her vision in the House of the Undying), which appears to be what we’ll see with snow in King’s Landing judging from the preview for the final episode.

 

-Tyrion was broken when he first met Daenerys, and the Mother of Dragons made him believe there was something worth living for. The Hand of the Queen is probably broken again after Daenerys made herself look no better than the rest of the previous rulers of Westeros, which makes Dany’s turn—after many positive moments for her throughout the series—all the more heartbreaking.

 

-Similarly, Daenerys’ Unsullied and Dothraki soldiers were also given meaning in life because of her—particularly Grey Worm. So they won’t see what their queen is doing as being “bad,” as she’s almost like a god-like figure to them.

 

-Euron was a psychopath, and he probably challenged Jaime because he thought it would be fun to kill a legendary figure—and if not, he’d find out what death is like. The King of the Iron Islands died with a crazy smile on his face, believing that he’d struck fatal blow to the Kingslayer, but we’ll never know if Jaime would’ve succumbed to his wounds if he hadn’t died underground the collapsing Red Keep.

 

-After Rhaegal was killed, Cersei had good reason to be confident entering the Last War, but she kept hope alive for too long when she probably should’ve listened to Qyburn about the battle being lost. Daenerys destroying the city in front of Cersei’s eyes—meaning it was the end for her—almost made you feel bad for the Lannister queen, despite all the terrible things she’s done throughout the series.

 

-It was cool seeing Arya and the Hound return to King’s Landing and walk through the city to the Red Keep like a couple of bosses, and their last moment together was another case of Game of Thrones delivering people and relationships that are true to life. Some fans might have wanted Arya to finally kill Cersei, but this was like a real event that just didn’t work out that way. The relationship between the Hound and Arya built throughout their time together made it possible for Sandor to convince the Stark girl that she really doesn’t want to live her life looking for vengeance: “You want to be like me?” At that moment, it got through to Arya, and you could see in her face that she almost looked more like little girl we saw at the beginning of the series before all the horrible things happened to her family and she became an assassin with a hit list.

 

-One thing that fans have been clamoring for that was able to happen naturally was the Clegane Bowl. After the Mountain crossed paths with the Hound with the sky falling around them, he cared not for protecting Cersei anymore, simply throwing Qyburn aside, killing the person that brought him back to life; and it was kind of funny that Cersei was completely terrified as she scurried past out of the way. The fight between the two monstrous brothers had an apocalyptic backdrop, making it more epic, but the Mountain was unstoppable—and it took a tackle off the castle and into the flames for the Hound to destroy his brother using the weapon that initially and maliciously scarred him for life when they were children.

 

-Tracking Arya on the ground throughout the melting of the capital gave the viewer a character they really cared about attempting to survive the atrocious scene, and it also gave the perspective of the “good guys” that are left. While many of the Stark-Targaryen forces went into a free-for-all and did whatever they wanted after following Daenerys’ lead, people like Jon and Arya give a moral-compass perspective to the situation. In the aftermath of Daenerys taking the Iron Throne with fire and blood, whatever happens in the series finale might be insane.

 

-Jaime told Bronn earlier in the series that he hoped to go out in the arms of the woman he loved, and that’s what he did by making it back to Cersei. It wasn’t easy to get back, but Jaime more than made up for leaving Cersei last season, ensuring she wouldn’t die alone—it cost Jaime his life, but he went out the way he wanted to. The acting from everyone that died in “The Bells” was spectacular throughout the series, including Conleth Hill and Rory McCann, both of whom were in Game of Thrones from the start. But Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) and Lena Headey (Cersei)—playing two of the five principle characters (Daenerys, Jon, Tyrion being the other three)—in particular were remarkable, and it’ll be weird without them in the series finale.

 

Inside The Episode

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings After “The Last of the Starks” (S8E4)

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings After “The Last of the Starks” (S8E4)

There are just two episodes left of Game of Thrones, and the fight for the Iron Throne will come to a head during this Sunday’s penultimate episode. Where do key characters stand for the Throne ahead of the big battle in the Last War?

 

10. Bran Stark – Last week: 9 (-1)

In a conversation with Tyrion during the feast after the Battle of Winterfell, Bran again made it clear that he doesn’t want anything. It probably won’t lead to him sitting on the Iron Throne, but Bran is one of the most important people in the world as the Three-Eyed Raven, and he should be safe at home while the battle takes place in the south.

 

9. Bronn – Last week: 10 (+1)

If he didn’t make it clear enough over the years, Bronn is all about doing what’s best for himself, so he gave Tyrion the opportunity to double Cersei’s offer of Riverrun, which the Lannister lord claims he’s able to do with High Garden. Bronn is playing both sides in the Last War, and he might just join whatever side looks like it’s going to win.

 

8. Jaime Lannister – Last week: 8

After Jaime fought with the Stark and Targaryen forces during the Battle of Winterfell, no one appeared to have any issue with him staying in the North despite the history between the Starks and the Lannisters. Jaime would’ve been in good shape if he just stayed at Winterfell, but now he could be in danger from both sides as he looks to get back with Cersei.

 

7. Euron Greyjoy – Last week: 7

Jaime’s potential return to King’s Landing could be bad news for Euron if Cersei accepts her brother back, but things are going well for the brash ironborn right now. Only the Night King was able to kill a dragon before Euron eliminated Rhaegal, and Queen Cersei has seemingly fully accepted Euron as the father of her child, with Qyburn giving a nod of confirmation to help Cersei push the lie (as it’s actually Jaime’s child).

 

6. Tyrion Lannister – Last week: 6

Tyrion knows his discussion with Varys about pushing Daenerys aside for Jon is treason, but he seems to at least be strongly considering the idea—thanks in part because of his trust in Sansa’s judgement, and because the North would obviously be behind the Iron Throne if Jon were their king. But even talking about it behind Daenerys’ back is playing with fire.

 

5. Arya Stark – Last week: 4 (-1)

Arya says she’s not returning to Winterfell, which could indicate she’s simply on a suicide mission to kill Cersei. Killing the Night King and killing Cersei would likely make The Hero of Winterfell someone many people want to rule. Arya again showed that being a lady just isn’t her when she turned down Gendry’s marriage proposal, but the two of them could have been a mighty couple in Iron Throne contention.

 

4. Sansa Stark – Last week: 5 (+1)

Everyone loves and respects Jon, but Sansa is probably the tone-setter for the North at this point, and she’s still not fully in Daenerys’ corner despite the Dragon Queen playing a huge part in winning the Great War. Intentional or not, Sansa is positioning herself to be perhaps the most powerful person in Westeros if Jon becomes king and makes the North an independent kingdom.

 

3. Daenerys Targaryen – Last week: 2 (-1)

Out of nowhere, Daenerys lost another one of her dragons when Euron and the Iron Fleet attacked on the sea, taking out Rhaegal with three giant bolts from the Scorpion weapons. Not only did the Mother of Dragons lose another one of her children, but she lost her longest remaining friend and advisor when Missandei was executed by the Mountain on Cersei’s orders. The Iron Throne is something Dany has wanted for as long as she can remember, and these recent events have her more motivated than ever to take it. But down Jorah, Missandei, and two of her three dragons—along with people conspiring behind her back—things don’t look promising for Daenerys as she enters this battle at King’s Landing.

 

2. Cersei Lannister – Last week: 3 (+1)

The Night King took care of Viserion last season, and Euron took out Rhaegal in “The Last of the Starks”, so Cersei only has to deal with Drogon, and her army has plenty of Scorpion weapons to potentially neutralize Daenerys’ remaining dragon. As stated in last week’s power rankings, Cersei has had time to plot the defense of King’s Landing while the Great War was taking place in the North, and everything is going in her favor in the Last War to this point—including the yet-to-be-seen-in-action Golden Company on her side. However, Daenerys, Arya, and Grey Worm are three people that would love nothing more than to have her head, so the crown is certainly heavy right now; but it’s not something she isn’t used to.

 

1. Jon Snow – Last week: 1

While he probably believes he’d be a great King of the Seven Kingdoms and looked like he might be open to it when he learned the truth about his parentage, Jon has decided to forego his birthright and is still accepting Daenerys as his queen. The former King in the North remains in the top spot for the Iron Throne power rankings, though, as the entire North supports him, and Sansa is pushing Tyrion and Varys to consider backing Jon’s claim—often times, the best leaders are those that are not chasing after a position of power. Jon will be in danger once again during the upcoming battle, but he’s a legendary warrior that’s fought worse than Cersei’s army.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Recap: “The Last of the Starks”

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Recap: “The Last of the Starks”

Picking up in the aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell, a lot happened in “The Last of the Starks” as we approach the final two episodes of Game of Thrones.

 

Previous Episode: “The Long Night”

 

Episode: “The Last of the Starks”

Runtime: 78 minutes

Original Air Date: May 5, 2019

Director: David Nutter

 

Plot (via HBO)

The survivors plan their next steps; Cersei makes a power move.

 

Best Moment: Missandei is executed

Many scenes and events are in consideration for the best moment of the “The Last of the Starks”, including the death of Rhaegal. But the best moment is probably the parley at the very end of the episode, which unfortunately ends with the death of another key character and an important friend/advisor to Daenerys. Tyrion badly wanted to avoid any bloodshed—especially to the people of King’s Landing—so he put himself on the line and tried to plead with his sister to think about her child. For a moment, it looked like Cersei was at least slightly moved, but she’s simply too far gone at this point and believes giving up the Throne would mean surrender and death. A prisoner from the earlier attack and sadly back in chains again to end her life, Missandei’s final word was a powerful “Dracarys”, letting her queen know that she must win the Last War and complete her long quest for the Iron Throne. After the swift swing of the blade from the Mountain, Grey Worm obviously looked sick to his stomach—Missandei (and Daenerys as his queen) basically taught him what it was to be human, and now she’s gone. As always, there was great acting from Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Jacob Anderson, but Emilia Clarke’s seething reaction as Daenerys to end the episode—leading us to the penultimate episode—was really exceptional.

 

Best Quote

“They were the shields that guarded the realms of men, and we shall never see their like again.” – Jon Snow

 

Character Deaths

-Rhaegal

-Missandei

 

MVP: Euron Greyjoy

Things went terribly for Daenerys in “The Last of the Starks”, and Euron Greyjoy had the most to do with it after using The Silence and the Iron Fleet to attack the Targaryen ships as they arrived near Dragonstone. Euron was able to kill a dragon—something only the Night King had been able to do—using the bigger Scorpion weapons to send Rhaegal crashing into the water after three devastating bolts. Killing Rhaegal was a big enough win for Euron in the episode, but then Cersei told him she was pregnant with their son (although it’s actually Jaime’s child), seemingly fully accepting him.

 

Everything Else:

-Daenerys (Jorah) and Sansa (Theon) both had tearful goodbyes to open “The Last of the Starks”, with the Lady of Winterfell placing a Stark pin on Theon in an emotional moment that she probably wished happened while the Greyjoy was alive.

 

-He had some battle scars—as almost everyone did—but it was awesome to see Ghost did indeed survive the Battle of Winterfell. Everyone looked utterly exhausted after the battle, especially Jon.

 

-Jon’s gave an amazing speech about the thousands that had died defending Winterfell, incorporating words from the Night’s Watch into the final moments before the pyres were lit in a massive fire. It was a regal moment that made the rightful king look fit for the Iron Throne.

 

-The feast after the battle was subdued and restrained at first, but Queen Daenerys got things going when she proclaimed Gendry as Lord Baratheon of Storm’s End. It was a bit of a slick power move by Daenerys, showing that she’s in control, has the ability to proclaim such things, and is not threatened by Robert Baratheon’s son while also getting a grateful life-long ally at Storm’s End. From there, everyone started enjoying themselves—except Daenerys after seeing that the North loves Jon (it was hilarious when Tormund was talking about Jon being a “madman… or a king” for riding a dragon) but still hasn’t fully accepted her, which Varys takes note of. As is always the case in scenes with so many key characters, it was likely tough to shoot and act, as things in the background and things that are being said without actually being said are as important as the dialogue.

 

-It looked like Arya—the big hero after killing the Night King yet practicing her marksmanship instead of celebrating with the others—would say yes to a now-legitimized Gendry’s marriage proposal, but that’s just not who Arya is, especially with more work to do with Cersei still alive.

 

-That was high-class drama in the scene between Jon and Daenerys after the feast, with Dany begging (which is very uncommon for her) Jon to keep his true parentage a secret. While he’s actually Aegon Targaryen, Jon was raised a northerner by Ned Stark, so he simply doesn’t think it’s right to be with Daenerys (his aunt), and he also doesn’t think the truth is something he should keep from his family; meanwhile, Daenerys would be fine with the both of them just forgetting that they are related (though she did seem to wish that they weren’t related for more than just birthright, as she’d probably prefer to fall in love with someone other than her nephew despite her family history). It’s tragic for Daenerys because she’s finally found an equal to her, but now she’s being turned down because an underlying truth came to light.

 

-The relationship between Brienne and Jaime is also heartbreaking, as they both appeared to be happy together in Winterfell. But Jaime, who appeared done with Cersei after she refused to help in the Great War, has an addiction to Cersei and can’t stay away from her. And while Jaime has certainly had his share of redemption and heroic moments, he’s a true Lannister that’s put his family above all else and has done some terrible things because of it—he’s accepted that.

 

-I thought Bronn might’ve just killed Tyrion and Jaime right then and there at Winterfell, which would’ve been a terrible way for the Lannister brothers to go out. That long-standing offer from Tyrion of doubling whatever someone else was paying him came back up, as Daenerys’ Hand was forced to offer High Garden to Bronn. The selfish sellsword might come into play during the Last War by joining whatever side looks like it’s going to win, though it looks like Jaime might be off Cersei’s hit list as he returns to the capital.

 

-The plan, which was blown up by Euron’s attack by Dragonstone, was for Daenerys and Tyrion to ride to White Harbor and then sail for Dragonstone, while Jon and Davos march the army down the Kingsroad. By surrounding King’s Landing and using the dragons to destroy any ships that try to bring supplies, they would keep resources from entering the city, which would eventually turn the people against Cersei, causing minimal bloodshed. After the deaths of Rhaegal and Missandei, that won’t happen now.

 

-Jon sided with Dany against Sansa during the planning of the Last War, and the remaining Starks—Jon, Sansa, Arya, and Bran—all met in the Godswood, where Arya said she respects Jon’s loyalty to Daenerys but still doesn’t trust her. Because of Jon’s love for Sansa and Arya, it was unlikely he would be able to keep his true parentage a secret despite Daenerys pleading with him to do so. Arya can probably be sworn to secrecy, but it was going to be difficult for Sansa—who wants to do what she believes is best for her family and the North—to keep the information to herself after learning all about “the game” from Littlefinger and Cersei; she knew what would happen after she told Tyrion.

 

-The Hound had a couple of good moments with the Stark sisters, and though extremely rough around the edges, he’s set up as a good guy entering the war against Cersei (and his brother the Mountain). It was interesting that Arya told the Hound that she won’t be returning to Winterfell, as it’s unclear where she might rather go assuming she survives this upcoming battle.

 

-Jon’s farewells with Tormund and Sam (and Gilly, who is pregnant with Sam’s baby) were tough, as they’d been two of his closest friends for years. The former Lord Commander wishes he could go north of the Wall with Tormund, but he’s asked his wildling ally to bring Ghost with him—this is a call back to the first episode of the series, when Ned said direwolves don’t belong south of the Wall. Also, Sam and Gilly revealed that they’re going to name their child after Jon if it’s a boy. These goodbyes could be the last time we see Jon together with Tormund and Sam, but (skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want speculation on Jon’s potential end) perhaps Jon will decide he wants to live north of the Wall if he’s able to survive his trip south. His goodbye to Ghost was just a nod, though maybe he would’ve gotten too emotional if he went over to embrace his longtime companion.

 

-Rhaegal’s death was awful, as he took three bolts while Daenerys helplessly watched a child die out of nowhere for the second time. Dany’s anger got the better of her for a moment, as she nearly got herself killed attempting to immediately redeem Rhaegal before narrowly escaping bolts intended for Drogon. Clearly, Dany is as motivated as possible as she attempts to defeat Cersei’s army and finally take the Iron Throne.

 

-It’s possible Jon would be a better ruler, but Daenerys was loved by the people in Essos (as she said to Jon when talking about not getting that in Westeros) and would probably be loved by the people of King’s Landing, too. Varys (and Tyrion to a lesser extent) plotting behind their queen’s back is setting up a potential tragedy, with the Spider hinting that killing the Dragon Queen might be the best course of action for the realm.

 

Inside The Episode

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 3 “The Long Night” Is Not Too Dark

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 3 “The Long Night” Is Not Too Dark

“The Long Night” had a ton of hype to live up to as the Battle of the Winterfell—the biggest battle of the Great War—took place in the longest episode of Game of Thrones. The episode packed suspense, horror, action, and drama into the 82 minutes from start to finish; the tide continuously turned between the living and the dead; the Night King was at his most menacing as an unstoppable force; and the cinematography might have been the best of any episode in the series. So I’ve been stunned about the overall reaction to “The Long Night” after a few days of letting it breathe.

 

Currently, Season 8’s third episode is at an 8.9 user rating on IMDb, which is generally a pretty accurate consensus on how fans are feeling about the episodes and show overall. I don’t always agree with the IMDb user ratings—for example, “The Dance of Dragons”, when Shireen is burned at the stake, Jorah participates in an epic gladiator scene, and Daenerys and the others are narrowly saved by Drogon at the very last moment, is only a 9.5 instead of closer to a 9.9 like some of the other best episodes such as “The Rains of Castamere” and “Battle of the Bastards”—but the overall consensus on “The Long Night” is shocking to me.

 

The big complaint about “The Long Night” seems to be that the episode is too dark. When I first heard about this, I thought “too dark” meant it was too dreary and horrible (which the fight between the living and the dead should be) because of all the chaos and death, but the complaint is that it was too dark and people couldn’t see what was going on throughout the episode.

 

Things being too dark was not an issue whatsoever for me. The dragon fight might have been a little difficult to track, but it’s not easy to have two monstrous beings fight in midair. I recently got a high-end OLED television basically just to have the best picture possible for the end of Game of Thrones, so that helps conveying an accurate image on screen. But older televisions don’t have issue with the lighting on “The Long Night”, as long as you have the right lighting in the room with the television: darkness.

 

If you watch Game of Thrones at a party with other people, or simply with the lights on or even just a little lighting from another room or from checking your cell phone, that’s an issue. Ideally, you were able to watch the Battle of Winterfell in a cinema-like environment—which basically only requires sitting in a dark room and having the self-control to put your phone down for 90 minutes.

 

Another issue might have been that people try to adjust the picture settings on their televisions too much. On my OLED, the only thing I changed in picture settings was turning off TruMotion (which for some reason is on by default and delivers a soap-opera effect), and I never once thought about wanting to fool with the picture settings. Most TVs come with the right settings out of the box.

 

Also, I know some people might have had no other option but to stream the episode (which can decrease the video quality a lot on a bad internet connection) or watch on a laptop, and in that case it’s not surprising there were issues for a chaotic episode like “The Long Night”. But the fast-paced action might have been as big of an issue as darkness for those watching on a small screen or a lower quality video.

 

For those that were able to watch “The Long Night” in ideal conditions, it might have had the best cinematography of any episode in the series. A lot of the episode was certainly dark, but it was a battle taking place by moonlight, so it should have been dark. Darkness was perfectly contrasted with the fire brought by Melisandre and the dragons, creating breathtaking scenes that hopefully lit up your room with orange brightness compared to the other parts of the episode. The lighting of the arakhs to begin the battle, the fire in Melisandre’s eyes when she lit the trench, and the shot of Jon and Daenerys on their dragons up high in the sky with the moon were all amazing. The musical score was perfect, particularly at the end of the episode when it looked like the Night King—accompanied by his White Walker lieutenants through Winterfell and to the Godswood—would strike down the Three-Eyed Raven as all our heroes would die fighting a seemingly unbeatable enemy.

 

The situation is unfortunate because people love Game of Thrones, and most of them probably aren’t making their issues with “The Long Night” up (though some people like the be contrarians or just hate great things, and I could see people that haven’t even watched Game of Thrones giving it low ratings on IMDb). And it’s unfortunate for showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, director Miguel Sapochnik, and the staff that worked incredibly hard on a 55-day shoot for the Battle of Winterfell; they are probably really disappointed a good number of fans aren’t happy with one of the show’s most important episodes—these are people that know what they’re doing after several years of working on the greatest show of all-time.

 

But for those with non-lighting complaints that still didn’t like “The Long Night”, I’m not sure what people expected from episode. Maybe they wanted more main characters to die, but we lost Edd, Beric, and Lyanna Mormont. Jorah died protecting Daenerys, which was basically his life purpose, and Drogon even grieved in the dramatic moment amidst victory for the living. Melisandre served her life’s purpose by helping defeat the Army of the Dead and was at relative peace after 800 years of living. Theon’s acceptance from another Stark, Bran, and his subsequent death at the hands of the Night King completed perhaps the best character arc in history.

 

“The Long Night” might not be in consideration for best episode with “The Rains of Castamere” for most people, but the Battle of Winterfell had as much hype as possible, while the Red Wedding came out of nowhere and was an absolute shock that turned the series upside-down. However, “The Long Night” is clearly one of the best episodes of the series, and some people might feel it’s the best. The 8.9 IMDb rating, which might drop lower still, doesn’t do the Battle of Winterfell justice—especially with the main objection being that it was “too dark.”

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings After “The Long Night” (S8E3)

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings After “The Long Night” (S8E3)

[The latest Game of Thrones power rankings after “The Long Night” obviously include spoilers, so please stop reading if you are not caught up with the latest episode.] The Night King is dead, with the Army of the Dead shattered along with the ultimate enemy. This leads us into the Last War, with a shake up in the Iron Throne power rankings after the Battle of Winterfell, though the Night King was the only character in the top ten of the Iron Throne power rankings to die. In case you missed it, you can also read our recap of “The Long Night”.

 

Dead and off: Night King (2)

 

10. Bronn – Last week: NR

The final spot on the Iron Throne power rankings could have gone to Gendry after the bastard son of Robert Baratheon survived the Battle of Winterfell, but Bronn is already in a pretty powerful position in King’s Landing. After being given the task of killing Queen Cersei’s brothers, Bronn is in a good spot if he wants to take the Iron Throne for himself. Though an unlikely scenario, if Bronn kills both Tyrion and Jaime, getting into Cersei’s good graces, it might take just one more kill (Cersei herself) to take power for himself.

 

9. Bran Stark – Last week: 10 (+1)

Until Arya came to the rescue, it looked like the Night King was finally going to strike down the Three-Eyed Raven. Instead, Bran lives another day, and he holds critical information about Jon’s true parentage as the final fight for the Throne begins. Perhaps Bran will get more involved in politics—i.e. pushing Jon as the rightful king—now that the dead are no longer a threat.

 

8. Jaime Lannister – Last week: 9 (+1)

With just one hand, Jaime’s past training with Bronn—and a lot of luck—helped him survive the Battle of Winterfell. But with the Army of the Dead defeated (the reason he rode north from King’s Landing), Jaime might be in a difficult position between Cersei and Daenerys, Tyrion, and the people he just fought side-to-side with. Given Daenerys’ earlier actions after the Loot Train Attack, the Kingslayer might not live for much longer if he doesn’t pledge allegiance to the Dragon Queen.

 

7. Euron Greyjoy – Last week: 7

King’s Landing was not a setting for a second consecutive episode, so there was no Euron Greyjoy. His positioning as an ironborn is stronger after the unfortunate death of Balon Greyjoy’s son Theon, though. And the preview for next week’s episode makes it appear Euron remains close to Cersei.

 

6. Tyrion Lannister – Last week: 6

Sansa was able to convince Tyrion there was nothing they could do during the battle, and it’s a good thing Daenerys’ Hand remained in the crypts. Despite Tyrion’s past heroics, it would’ve been hard to envision him surviving against the Army of the Dead. Tyrion now gets another shot at dethroning his sister after he was badly outmaneuvered by the Lannister army last season.

 

5. Sansa Stark – Last week: 5

Missandei was offended that Sansa wasn’t grateful for Daenerys bringing her armies North to help defend Winterfell against the dead, but we’ll see if the Lady of Winterfell is more receptive to the Targaryen queen after the Battle of Winterfell. The relationship between Sansa and Daenerys might come down to whether the North can be an independent kingdom—which could be more likely after the Starks and Targaryen forces fought together in the Great War.

 

4. Arya Stark – Last week: 8 (+4)

Arya might not have any desire to sit on the Iron Throne, but the person that killed the Night King is an instant legend that’ll live on forever. If this was a debate, Arya could say she ended the Great War and it’d be a difficult case to argue against.

 

3. Cersei Lannister – Last week: 3

Cersei must be happy the Army of the Dead was defeated, as Jon, Daenerys, and the others would have become members of the Night King’s army if the Battle of Winterfell went the other way, and that would’ve been nearly impossible to overcome. Two dragons won’t be easy to defeat, but the big-bolted Scorpion weapon has already shown damage can be done to them, and Cersei has had time to plot the defense of King’s Landing while the fighting took place in the North.

 

2. Daenerys Targaryen – Last week: 4 (+2)

Things did not look good for any of the living—and Daenerys in particular when Drogon was forced to flee—but the Mother of Dragons survived narrowly. Sadly, Dany lost her closest friend and most trusted advisor in Jorah Mormont, and she might be somewhat lost without him; but the northerners should be for her cause after she helped defend Winterfell from the Night King.

 

1. Jon Snow – Last week: 1

Having to first deal with the Night King raising the Army of the Dead again, and then having to contend with an ice dragon Viserion trying to kill him, Jon just couldn’t make his way to the Godswood during the Battle of Winterfell. It would’ve been awesome to see Jon fight the Night King in single combat, but the former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and former King in the North is typical the hero in Game of Thrones, and Arya delivering the final blow in the Great War probably made the battle more realistic. Everyone still knows about Jon’s heroics over the years, and he took back Winterfell (via the Battle of the Bastards) in the first place so that the living had a stronghold against the Night King. Jon could be in a strong position to eventually sit on the Iron Throne…if he wants it.

Limited Edition ‘Game of Thrones’ Complete Series Box Set Is Available For Preorder

Limited Edition ‘Game of Thrones’ Complete Series Box Set Is Available For Preorder

Winter is here, and it doesn’t have to leave.

 

Tipped off by a tweet by the official @gameofthrones Twitter account, Walmart and Amazon have details about the “Limited Edition Game of Thrones: The Complete Collector’s Set,” which is now available for preorder. The list price is $329.99 for all eight seasons of the epic HBO original series, but the current price is $249.95, and it should be released around the 2019 holiday season or shortly after (Walmart currently says it has a release date of December 30, 2019 but will be shipped to you or available for pickup for January 3, 2020, but those dates could be placeholders).

 

The artwork for the set is “coming soon,” but here is the full description:

 

Based on the best-selling novel series by George R.R. Martin, HBO’s drama series Game of Thrones holds the record as the most awarded series in television history. This limited-edition, custom-designed complete collector’s set includes all 73 episodes of this epic eight season series. Also included is 15 hours of bonus content and never-before-seen footage.

 

Included in the complete box set will be a reunion with past actors—including Sean Bean, who played Ned Stark in Season 1. Hopefully this limited edition Game of Thrones complete series box set is in 4K (which we would think it is given the price tag), but it’s unclear. However, the limited edition tag suggests they could sell out fast, so act quickly if you want to be assured of getting your collection for next winter—and all the winters to follow.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 3 Recap: “The Long Night”

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 3 Recap: “The Long Night”

“The Long Night” might not have been the best episode of Game of Thrones, but it had immense hype to live up to as the Battle of Winterfell, the biggest battle in the series, and it was an intense 82 minutes with suspense, horror, action, and drama shot over an 11-week period. Many theories came to an end with the death of the Night King, but this recap will again be light on speculation and theories as the final three episodes play out with the final war.

 

Previous Episode: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

 

Episode: “The Long Night”

Runtime: 82 minutes

Original Air Date: April 28, 2019

Director: Miguel Sapochnik

 

Plot (via HBO)

Winterfell fights the Army of the Dead.

 

Best Moment: Arya kills the Night King

There was so much going on during “The Long Night” that hopefully by the time the Night King made his way to the Godswood to kill the Three-Eyed Raven you forgot that we hadn’t seen Arya in a while. The slow, dramatic buildup—with perfect music, as usual—to the moment made it seem as if the Battle of Winterfell would be lost, with our heroes facing a relentless enemy led by a seemingly unstoppable leader in the Night King. Theon Greyjoy made one last charge and was killed; Jaime, Brienne, and the others inside the castle were barely surviving; the crypts were being taken over by the dead; Daenerys looks like she would be defeated in a matter of time; and Jon simply couldn’t get past Viserion to get to the Godswood. When the Night King reached for his ice spear to strike down Bran, it looked like the bad guys would win again in Game of Thrones—until Arya came flying out of nowhere. But the Night King caught the Stark girl by the throat, making it appear that a brief moment of hope would be ended quickly before a skilled maneuver by Arya got the Varlyian steel dagger to her other hand, allowing her to destroy the Night King, shattering the ultimate enemy and the Army of the Dead to end the Great War.

 

Best Quote

“Theon — you’re a good man. Thank you.” – Bran Stark

 

Character Deaths

-Dothraki soldiers

-Unsullied soldiers

-Northern soldiers

-Eddison Tollett

-Lyanna Mormont

-Beric Dondarrion

-Theon Greyjoy

-Night King

-White Walkers

-Viserion

-Army of the Dead

-Jorah Mormont

-Melisandre

 

MVP: The fallen

Episode MVP obviously could have gone to Arya for killing the Night King, but the fallen in the Battle of Winterfell should get recognition. Everything that happened in the battle helped lead to the exact moment of Arya being able to kill the Night King, and thousands were sacrificed in the process. Edd was the latest Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch to fall after saving Sam. Lyanna Mormont went out heroically while killing a zombie giant. Beric Dondarrion helped the Hound spring into action when he didn’t want to, and they then saved Arya, who would later kill the Night King. Theon Greyjoy more than made up for what he had done in the past, and he died bravely charging the Night King. And Jorah Mormont did as he’s done for years and defended Daenerys to his last breath. Melisandre even returned and had a huge impact on the Battle of Winterfell, fulfilling her role in the Great War.

 

Everything Else:

-Melisandre knew she still had a role to play, and she delivered after arriving just in time for the Battle of Winterfell. The theme of fire to fight the Army of the Dead was awesome, and it started with the Red Woman setting the Dothraki arakhs ablaze. In middle of the battle, she slowed the enemy by finally lighting the huge trench around the castle after continuously muttering a prayer in Valyrian. Melisandre was right about being needed as an ally in the battle against the Night King.

 

-After seeing Ghost in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” last week, it was good to see him again at the Battle of Winterfell—but it’s unclear if he survived. It was cool seeing Jon’s direwolf charge the Army of the Dead alongside Jorah, but we did not see him return from that initial attack with Jorah. Hopefully they just didn’t show Ghost come back with the several others that did, but we’ll probably find out next Sunday.

 

-At the start of the battle, the plan instantly fell apart when Dany couldn’t stand to just watch the Army of the Dead slaughter her Dothraki soldiers. Jon wanted to stick with the plan and wait for the Night King to arrive on Viserion so they could face him together using Drogon and Rhaegal, but good for Daenerys springing into action. As appears to be the case judging by the preview for next week’s episode, the Dragon Queen likely gained a ton of support in the North following the Battle of Winterfell.

 

-The battle plan didn’t work out, and there were many ebbs and flows during the fight between the living and the dead—as is the case with real-life battles. The dragon fire did a number on the wights, and everyone below probably would’ve died if Jon and Dany waited any longer to join the battle in the beginning.

 

-Another thing that made the Battle of Winterfell more realistic was that the deaths of some key players—like Beric Dondarrion and Jorah Mormont—didn’t end with feel-good final moments or words. Both Beric and Jorah appeared to try to get out final words, but it just wasn’t to be.

 

-The moon isn’t shown often in Game of Thrones, and that was an astonishing scene in the sky as Jon and Daenerys waited for the Night King amidst the chaos below. There wasn’t much fire used between the three of them against each other—Viserion was doing most of the fire-attacking with his blue flames—but the dragon fight was intense.

 

-Even before her final kill in “The Long Night”, Arya was a beast throughout the battle, carving through wights better than anyone when she was at 100%. But she had to use her skills to escape multiple enemies in the Winterfell library while dazed from hitting her head. After getting away with the help of Beric and the Hound, a waiting Melisandre then also helped plant the idea in Arya that she might be the one to kill the Night King.

 

-Overall, there was a horror vibe in the crypts, but the moments between Tyrion and Sansa were nice, and they had one of the best parts of the episode when they gave each other an emotional knowing look as they grabbed hold of their dragonglass daggers and prepared to face the enemy. The acting in Game of Thrones is always great, but thanks to Peter Dinklage and Sophie Turner in this moment in particular, it was arguably the saddest part of the episode; but thankfully both the Lady of Winterfell and the Hand of the Queen survived.

 

-Jon in single combat against the Night King would have been insane, and it looked like it might happen there for a minute; but again, things don’t always just line up perfectly like that in real battles. And when the Night King rose his army again, that’s when things really started to turn in favor of the dead.

 

-Daenerys looked like she was going to meet her end when Drogon was forced to retreat to avoid getting killed by dozens of wights, leaving his mother alone with no protection—but Jorah again saved his queen one last time. She always does her fighting on Drogon, but Dany showed she can handle a weapon, which was great—though she really had no choice if she was going to survive.

 

-Jorah’s death was very sad, but it was perfect that he was killed while protecting his queen. Daenerys and Jorah had been together so much throughout the series, so this was one of the toughest goodbyes possible—and it must have been tough for Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke.

 

-Theon’s return to Winterfell in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” was fantastic, and his redemption continued as he defended Bran at the Godswood. Both before and after Theon defended him from the wights, that was about as affectionate as Bran can get, as he told him that what he did brought him to where he belongs: home; and then he thanked him and said he was a good man, which is probably the best thing Theon could have heard from a Stark. He certainly went off track and was truly lost for a bit, but Theon had an outstanding character arc—along with Jaime and maybe Sansa, probably the best in the history of TV or film­—and would’ve made his “real father” (Ned Stark) proud in the end, just as he made Bran and Sansa proud with his recent actions. It’s chill-inducing to think about the character of Theon, and Alfie Allen’s acting was as good as anyone on the show.

 

-Eventually, the Night King fell, but it was just staggering to see him in his most extensive action during the Battle of Winterfell. He was at his most arrogant and confident during “The Long Night”: dragon fire did nothing to him, and he didn’t even need his White Walker lieutenants to do serious damage and breach the walls of Winterfell—but they did accompany him on his way to the Godswood, where he was as intimidating and menacing as possible. Despite only several appearances in the show, the Joker and Darth Vader can move over: the Night King is the greatest villain of all-time.

 

-Kit Harington admitted he was kind of mad at first when it wasn’t him that would kill the Night King, which is what you would expect to happen because Jon has always been the hero in Game of Thrones. But Arya flying through the air out of nowhere to deliver the final blow to the Night King was perfect. Arya had been training for a moment like this for a while, and it paid off when she ended the Great War.

 

-Melisandre completed her task, and she was ready to die in that country, as she told Varys she would do at Dragonstone in Season 7. For those confused, Melisandre is centuries old, but it was her necklace that kept her young—as was shown in the Season 6 premiere, “The Red Woman”. Carice van Houten was tremendous as the Red Woman, and her death after the victory in the Great War—which she was needed for against the only enemy that matters—now leads us to the final war.

 

-It’s 40 minutes, but “The Game Revealed” for the episode is worth your time:

 

 

Inside The Episode

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings After “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (S8E2)

‘Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne Power Rankings After “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” (S8E2)

The Army of the Dead has arrived at Winterfell after “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” showed the night before the biggest battle of the Great War. A lot might change next week if and when people die defending the castle, but where do the characters stand for the Iron Throne after the second episode of the final season of Game of Thrones? You can also check out our recap for “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

 

10. Bran Stark – Last week: 9 (-1)

Bran is being used as bait to draw out the Night King, so he’s obviously in a very risky position ahead of this Sunday’s episode; but as the Night King’s primary target, the Three-Eyed Raven will have a lot of protection—led by Theon Greyjoy on the ground at the godswood, and likely with help from Jon Snow riding Rhaegal in the sky. Overall, Bran drops a spot in the Iron Throne power rankings because he again showed he doesn’t care about politics when he told Jaime that he’s not angry about what happened between them years ago.

 

9. Jaime Lannister – Last week: 10 (+1)

Thanks to Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister lives to fight another day—but it might just be one more day with the dead lined up across from Winterfell. A one-handed man fighting against White Walkers isn’t ideal, but the Lannister knight does have a Valyrian steel sword (Widow’s Wail) and plenty of experience on the battlefield. If there’s any chance for good karma in Game of Thrones, Jaime probably has it with the way he’s acted—including knighting Brienne.

 

8. Arya Stark – Last week: 8

The weapon created by Gendry just for Arya was completed in time for the Battle of Winterfell, and the bastard son of Robert Baratheon and the daughter of Ned Stark could make an interesting power couple if they’re both able to survive against the Army of the Dead. As a Faceless Man, Arya is as skilled and prepared as anyone ahead of the battle—though based on the Season 8 trailer, it looks like she’s going to have a tough situation to get out of.

 

7. Euron Greyjoy – Last week: 7

There were no King’s Landing scenes in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, so there was no sight of Euron. He appears to be out of the reach of the Night King for now, so he remains in the same spot as last week.

 

6. Tyrion Lannister – Last week: 6

Tyrion does have battle experience and expertise that could truly help the living in their fight against the dead, but he didn’t have much say in the matter when Queen Daenerys declared he would be staying in the crypts. At least to start the battle, Tyrion will be out of harm’s way, but it won’t be surprising if the Hand of the Queen eventually makes his way to the battlefield if things aren’t going well for his friends.

 

5. Sansa Stark – Last week: 5

The Lady of Winterfell will definitely remain in the Crypts of Winterfell, so she’ll be safe if the Stark and Targaryen forces are able to hold off the Army of the Dead. Sansa has experience waiting out a battle from back in Season 2 during the Battle of the Blackwater, so she’ll likely be a calming presence for everyone as the chaos ensues outside.

 

4. Daenerys Targaryen – Last week: 3 (-1)

Jon finally found the opportunity to tell Daenerys the truth at the conclusion of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, and the Targaryen Queen looked like she couldn’t believe—and certainly didn’t want to believe—what she was hearing. Dany now has this hanging over her as she prepares to fight in the battle of her life against the Army of the Dead. The Mother of Dragons will be riding Drogon, but she has a disadvantage of not having any known skill with a sword or weapon if she’s forced to the ground at any point.

 

3. Cersei Lannister – Last week: 4 (+1)

Cersei rises a spot in the Iron Throne power rankings, as she’ll just sit comfortably in King’s Landing sipping wine while her enemies fight in the North. It’s possible the top two are just her and the Night King next week.

 

2. Night King – Last week: 2

We didn’t see the reaction from Daenerys about the news, but it’s known that the Night King has an ice dragon Viserion based on Tormund and Beric witnessing the Wall come down at Eastwatch in the Season 7 finale. And we haven’t actually seen the Night King yet in the final season, but he’ll be coming for Bran and the rest of the remaining heroes at Winterfell, with Viserion as a major weapon of mass destruction.

 

1. Jon Snow – Last week: 1

Again, as appeared to be the case shortly after he learned the news from Samwell Tarly, Jon Snow looks receptive to the idea that he’s the rightful king—probably because he knows he’d be a good king and because the crown is his by right. The Stark-Targaryen probably doesn’t think it’s proper to simply give his crown to Daenerys (just as Ned didn’t think Stannis should be bypassed for Renly), but his immediate order of business will be surviving against an enemy he’s been up against twice already. Jon might be on Rhaegal initially, but single combat against the Night King seems like a real possibility during the Battle of Winterfell.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 2 Recap: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 2 Recap: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” focused solely on Winterfell, as there was no Cersei Lannister or events in King’s Landing while the Stark and Targaryen forces prepared for battle against the Army of the Dead. The episode masterfully displayed the eve of what’ll probably be the biggest battle of the Great War. Again, this recap will mainly lay things out and clear things up and will be light on speculation and theories, as it’s probably better to just let the story unfold.

 

Previous Episode: “Winterfell”

 

Episode: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

Runtime: 58 minutes

Original Air Date: April 21, 2019

Director: David Nutter

 

Plot (via HBO)

Jaime faces judgement and Winterfell prepares for the battle to come.

 

Best Moment: Brienne of Tarth is knighted

From when we first met Brienne of Tarth, she had always wanted to be a knight, but she was never accepted as a true warrior because she was a woman—despite the fact that she is one of the best fighters in world. She nobly served Renly Baratheon, Catelyn Stark, and Sansa Stark, and she defeated The Hound in single combat; also, she is probably far more honorable than any of the knights left. Brienne deserved to be knighted, and it was fitting that it was Jaime that was the one to fulfill her lifelong dream. It was also cool to see Tyrion, Tormund, Davos, and Podrick give the first woman knight of the Seven Kingdoms a standing ovation, and you could see the joy on Brienne’s face—she didn’t need thousands of people to see her get knighted, she was just happy it finally happened.

 

Best Quote

“I want to fight for Winterfell, Lady Sansa, if you’ll have me.” – Theon Greyjoy

 

Character Deaths

-None

 

MVP: Jaime Lannister

Perhaps the best television arc in history continues with Jaime again showing how far he’s come from the beginning of Game of Thrones. Brienne reminded us that he lost his hand defending her honor, and that he kept his vow to Catelyn Stark to ensure her daughters would return home safely. Jaime then tried to somewhat make things right with Bran, who wasn’t angry with him anyway; and he also was back to normal with Tyrion despite promising to split him in half for killing their father, enjoying some wine along with the company of his brother and the others on what could be their final night. The Kingslayer’s humbleness was on full display when he asked Brienne if he can serve under her command. Finally, Jaime fully accepted Brienne when he knighted her, making the lady the first woman knight of the Seven Kingdoms; with the ultimate threat on the way, this might have been Brienne’s final chance to become a knight, and it happened thanks to Jaime.

 

Everything Else:

-This was obviously another set-up episode ahead of next week’s Battle of Winterfell, but it was very well done. “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” had heart throughout the 58 minutes, and it might have been the funniest episode of the series.

 

-If Brienne didn’t step up for Jaime, convincing Sansa that he should be allowed to stay, it would’ve been up to Jon or Bran to get the Lannister knight out of that situation. And it was interesting that Sansa pretty much took control of the de facto trial, as things turned in Jaime’s favor after the Lady of Winterfell agreed with Brienne.

 

-As Jaime approached to talk to Brienne, it was great to see how far Podrick had come as a fighter—he looked impressive and extremely confident while helping others train, showing that Brienne was an excellent teacher.

 

-Jorah Mormont’s advice to his queen about both Tyrion and Sansa was welcome advice for Daenerys. While Tyrion is Dany’s Hand, Jorah has been an advisor to the Mother of Dragons from the beginning of her journey, and he can be trusted by her more than anyone.

 

-Daenerys attempting to build a relationship with Sansa went as well as you can expect, as she used their common love for Jon and their similarities of ruling as women in a man’s world to get Sansa to warm up to her. However, they both instantly turned cold when the subject of the North’s independence was brought up. Daenerys does not appear at all willing to give the North what they want, at least not yet.

 

-Theon Greyjoy’s redemption in the final season has been amazing, and his returning to Winterfell and asking to fight for the Starks and Winterfell was in strong consideration for the best moment of the episode. When Theon returned to the castle in the presence of Sansa and Daenerys, he really looked like Theon Greyjoy and nothing like “Reek”. It was also interesting here that Theon directly addressed Sansa about fighting for Winterfell in the Great War instead of fighting for Queen Daenerys. Theon will have a critical role to play in the Battle of Winterfell next week after volunteering to defend Bran against the Night King at the weirwood tree.

 

-The battle plan scene clearly lays things out for next week in what’s sure to be a chaotic 82 minutes. The living know the odds are not great, and many people will die, but the points of emphasis are: holding off the dead from getting into Winterfell and killing the Night King, which will hopefully cause all of the dead to fall because he turned them all.

 

-Lyanna Mormont insisted to her cousin Jorah that she doesn’t care if she’s the future of their family; she’ll be fighting with everyone else when the dead arrive. A little girl with what appeared to be greyscale that was stopped (or at least some type of scarring)—clearly reminding Davos of Princess Shireen—also wanted to help in the fight, but Davos and Gilly were able to convince her that she could protect the crypts in a nice moment.

 

-With Samwell Tarly giving his family’s ancestral sword, Heartsbane, to Jorah, there are now four people with Valyrian steel swords ahead of the fight against the Army of the Dead: Jon (Longclaw), Jaime (Widow’s Wail), Brienne (Oathkeeper), and Jorah (Heartsbane). And Arya has the Valyrian steel dagger. For those that forgot, Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers, as can dragonglass.

 

-Podrick singing the original “Jenny’s Song”, which is from the A Song of Ice and Fire books, helped perfectly display the calm before the storm toward the end of what was a beautifully-laid-out episode.

 

-“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” focused on what many of the other people at Winterfell were doing in preparation for battle and was pretty light on Daenerys and Jon, likely because the Warden of the North was avoiding Dany until the right moment came for him to tell her the truth. As Jon was telling the story of Lyanna and Rhaegar in the Crypts of Winterfell, you could see Daenerys’ face start to turn as she became appalled at what she was hearing. Three horns blasted as the dead lined up across from Winterfell, giving the two no time to continue their discussion, but it didn’t look like Jon was too willing to just say Daenerys could be the one to sit on the Iron Throne. Depending on what happens in the Battle of Winterfell, there might just be one (or none) of them left pretty soon anyway.

 

Inside The Episode