Game of Thrones ended its eight-season run in 2019, and even though the show’s last season wasn’t loved by fans, no one can take away from the fact that David Benioff and D. B. Weiss created an epic on television that has set benchmarks for fantasy storytelling for years to come. Based on the book series The Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, the show borrowed heavily from the books in its initial seasons, but as the storyline moved forward, the creators had to come up with original storylines.
While many have debated the show’s controversial last season, here are 10 Game of Thrones episodes that blew us away.
1. Winter Is Coming (Season 1, Episode 1)
The one that started it all and is just as effective upon rewatching. The number of characters in this series can easily baffle anyone, but the first episode here was so effective in establishing relationships, loyalties and the structure of the kingdom that it was hard to not stay invested. The first episode begins soon after the death of Lord Jon Arryn which leads King Robert Baratheon to travel to Winterfell.
2. Baelor (Season 1, Episode 9)
This episode first aired in 2011 but watching it in 2020 will still lead you to squint your eyes just a bit as Ned Stark gets beheaded in King’s Landing. With this episode, the show established that they were going to shock the audience beyond belief. Ned Stark, who had been established as the main character up until this point, was now dead and with this GoT announced its arrival.
3. Blackwater (Season 2, Episode 9)
Blackwater was the battle between Stannis Baratheon and the kingdom, which was planned by Tyrion Lannister. Stannis is coming towards King’s Landing using his ships, but his plans were laid waste by Tyrion’s wildfire that creates a big green blast in the water. Even though Tyrion carried the scars of this battle until the end, it was Tywin who took the credit by waltzing into King’s Landing towards the end.
4. The Rains of Castamere (Season 3, Episode 9)
The memories of watching this episode haunt me to this date. Even though we all knew that Robb Stark didn’t have the charisma to take on the seven kingdoms, we were all wishing for the Stark boy to succeed in avenging his father’s death. The massacre of ‘The Red Wedding’ as Edmure Tully got married to Walder Frey’s daughter destroyed the fans as they lost Robb, Talisa and Catelyn. The episode was gut-wrenching.
5. The Lion and the Rose (Season 4, Episode 2)
By this time, Joffrey Baratheon was the foolish villain on the show who was brutal for his own pleasure. His plans weren’t meticulous, but he was the teenager who had gotten the chance to become a king. He abused that power mercilessly, so it was quite a win when he died during the second episode of the season. His face turned purple as he surrendered, and Cersei assumed that it was Tyrion who was responsible for her son’s death.
6. The Mountain and the Viper (Season 4, Episode 8)
Even though Oberyn Martell had a short journey on the show, it was an impactful one. His combat against the Mountain was an act of vengeance by him but ultimately led to his demise. The moment when the Mountain crushed his eyeballs made us squirm.
7. Hardhome (Season 5, Episode 8)
Before we learnt that the white walkers were going to have a sudden end, this episode was perfect to establish the threat of the undead. As Jon Snow faced the undead army and came very close to death, Hardhome was enough to prove that the White Walker army was going to stay undefeated as they have the ability to multiply at a swift pace.
8. The Door (Season 6, Episode 5)
Hodor had become one of the loveliest characters of the show by this point. Watching his back story and his death, all in one episode was gut-wrenching. Bran’s character story got a massive push here as he took over the powers of the Three-Eyed raven.
9. The Battle of the Bastards (Season 6, Episode 9)
The battle between Ramsay Bolton and Jon Snow happened in this episode. By the time, Sansa had reunited with Jon, but Ramsay still held captive their little brother Rickon. The visuals of this battle are still etched in our memory. The galloping horse, Jon Snow getting sucked in the battlefield and the sinister smile of Ramsay as he watched Rickon die made us root for Jon till the end. Of course, watching Ramsay getting fed to the dogs was quite pleasing as well.
10. The Winds of Winter (Season 6, Episode 10)
In my opinion, this was the last great episode of the series. By this time, the R+L=J theory had made slight appearances on the show, but during the flashback, this theory was confirmed, and we learnt of Jon Snow’s true parentage. While the show did not really utilise that angle in the finale, it was a big deal to fans during the sixth season. Another high point of this episode was Cersei blowing off the Great Sept and killing everyone who had anything to do with the High Sparrow storyline.
Game of Thrones is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.