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Monday, 10 July 2017

Game of Thrones: Top 10* Episodes (*actually 11 episodes)


The TV Phenomenon of recent years has been Game of Thrones. The HBO series based on the Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin has had viewers on the edge of their seats and critics running out of superlatives to describe how good it is. Even if you're not a fan of the fantasy genre you’ll still get drawn into the intrigue and betrayal that occurs in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. But, who am I kidding, everyone is a fan of Game of Thrones, right? I’ve been watching since it started and after a few seasons I managed to get Mrs Cool to watch too (which was a great excuse to watch the whole thing again). Here are my top 11 episodes (I couldn't narrow it down to just 10) from the 1st 6 seasons if you haven’t seen these yet do not continue as what follows contains a LOT of spoilers!

11 - Dance of Dragons - Season 5 Episode 9

There are two reasons why this makes it into the top 11, two unforgettable scenes. The 1st is a scene where Stannis Baratheon sacrifices his only child to the Lord of Light. This is one of the most shocking scenes in all of Game of Thrones and it gets uncomfortable to watch as the child Princess is dragged from her room and tied to a stake and then the Red Woman, Melisandre, lights the flames. The Princess Shireen’s screams as her father watches on are truly horrific. The 2nd scene is the final scene where Daenerys Targaryen has opened an arena to host bloody death matches when a revolution breaks out with masked assassins all over the arena killing as many people as they can and while Daario Naharis, Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm and even Tyrion Lannister try to save the Queen (Mrs. Cool mentioned that the thing she likes about Tyrion is that he is ready to fight when he has to). All looks doomed as they are trapped and surrounded on the arena floor when a screech echoes above the arena as, Drogon, one of Daenerys’ dragons returns to save the day and the Mother of Dragons leaves in impressive fashion on the back of Drogon.

10 - Two Sword - Season 4 Episode 1

This episode introduces one of my favourite characters, Oberyn Martell, he has come to Kings Landing for Joffrey’s wedding (but is really seeking revenge for the murder of his sister and niece and nephew). However the main reason why I like this episode is it’s when Arya Stark shows how much of a badass she is. Arya is with ‘The Hound’ Sandor Clegane and they find an Inn where some Lannister soldiers (one of which Arya recognises as Polliver the man who killed her friend and took her sword). They go into the inn and all starts well as they have a drink but then when The Hound insults the King all hell breaks loose. The Hound kills several of the soldiers but its is Arya who incapacitates Polliver before coldly reciting what he said when he killed her friend before taking her sword back and stabbing him through the throat. 

9 - Baelor - Season 1 Episode 9

Ned Stark is in jail accused of treachery and his son Robb Stark is heading south with an army of Northmen to depose the King. Robb needs to make a strategic crossing of the Trident River and in doing so sets in motion events that will eventually lead to the Red Wedding (see the Rains of Castamere below). Now before Game of Thrones started all the promotional hype and build up was around Sean Bean playing Ned Stark but here before the first season has even finished one of the main characters (and arguably the star of the show) is beheaded. This sets the tone for the entire series that no one is safe.

8 - The Laws of Gods and Men - Season 4 Episode 6

Tyrion Lannister is one of my favourite characters and this is a great Tyrion episode. He is on trial for the assassination of King Joffrey. Everyone is trying to stitch him up from his sister Cersei to Maester Pycell. Tyrions brother Jamie is the only one looking out for him and makes a deal with their father to spare Tyrions life but realises too late that this whole trial is a plot by Tywin to get Jamie to resume his role as Heir to the Lannister fortune. However when Tyrion is betrayed by the woman he loved, Shae, he gives a brilliant enraged speech to the court and demands a trial by combat, denying his father a victory in the process.

7 - The Mountain and the Viper - Season 4 Episode 8

A lot happens in this episode but the reason why it features on this list is down to the last 10 minutes. As the culmination of Tyrions trial ends with the trial by combat between ‘The Mountain’ Gregor Clagane and ‘The Viper’ Oberyn Martell. This is probably the best one on one fight in all of Game of Thrones and it leads to without a doubt the most gruesome death in the whole series.

6 - The Lion and The Rose - Season 4 Episode 2

For the most part Game of Thrones seems to be series of horrific events where the worst people imaginable get their own way, but every now and then you get an episode like this. For all of seasons 1, 2 and 3 Joffrey Baratheon has been an evil,  sadistic, nasty piece of shit and at his wedding to Margaery Tyrell he finally gets his comeuppance. Drinking poisoned wine he suffers a slow agonising death.

5 - Blackwater - Season 2 Episode 9 

This is another great episode for Tyrion Lannister, Kings Landing is under siege, Stannis Baratheon’s fleet is approaching, but Tyrion has a plan. He sends a single ship loaded with Wildfire into the heart of Stannis’ fleet and sets off a spectacular explosion that decimates the fleet. Stannis' forces still attack the city and as Joffrey retreats to his chambers it is down to a rousing speech from Tyrion to motivate the soldiers. In the end his victory is stolen by his father who brings the Tyrell army to repel the last of Stannis’ troops.

4 - Hardhome - Season 5 Episode 8

There is a lot going on, Tyrion is trying to persuade Daenerys not to kill him, Arya is still training with Jaqen H’ghar and Cersei is in jail. But this episode is all about Jon Snow, north of the wall trying to form an alliance with the wildlings at Hardhome. Then they are attacked by the White Walkers and an army of the dead. The battle that ensues shows just how powerful the White Walkers are and especially their leader the Night King.

3 - The Watchers on the Wall - Season 4 Episode 9

This is just about the most epic piece of television ever made. Mance Rayder's Wildling army attack Castle Black from north and south of The Wall and the Nights Watch must defend it. Jon Snow steps up to lead the Nights Watch when no one else seems capable, He is reunited with his true love Ygritte only for her to die in his arms after being shot with an arrow. The scale of this episode easily rivals most blockbuster movies and the action is incredible. This is as close to TV perfection as you can get.

2 - The Winds of Winter - Season 6 Episode 10

The good guys seem to be getting what they want in the episode. Arya Stark gets revenge on Walder Frey, Tyrion Lannister is named hand of the Queen, Daenerys Targaryen and her army sets sail with her dragons headed for Westeros and Jon Snow's true lineage is revealed and he is named King in the North. But Cersei is the real winner, she arranges the murders of Grand Maester Pycell and Lancel Lanniser. She misses her trial and blows up the Great Sept of Baelor so she can get rid of Margaery Tyrell, The High Sparrow and anyone who wanted to see her fall. Her only remaining child (the King Tommen does kill himself however, but Cersei is unltimately named Queen. It plays out like the final act of The Godfather when Michael Corleone kills all of his enemies and becomes Godfather.

1 - The Rains of Castamere - Season 3 Episode 9


The Red Wedding - what more can I say. When you watch this episode for the first time it's like a punch to the gut. Robb Stark tries to make piece for breaking his oath to Walder Frey but is betrayed and slaughtered along with his men, his mother, his wife and unborn child during a bloodbath that seems to go on forever. When I first watched this episode I sat in silence for a few minutes after it finished so I could process what I had just seen. The most shocking episode in the entire series.

There's not long until the new season starts and I can hardly wait. Do you agree with my list? Are there any episodes you would've included in the top 11?

Valar Morghulis

S




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