Relive our favorite (and our least favorite) moments of the show! (Hint: if you don’t like Tywin Lannister, you should leave.)
The Ones We Love to Watch and Listen To!
- THE KING IN DA NORF (Season 6)
Kelly: Episodes 9 and 10 of Season 6 are the best one-two punch of the entire series. We come off the Battle of the Bastards (a rough road getting there and an episode that doesn’t really makes sense when you think about it) that has some of the most impressive work in stunt coordination and shot composition in TV history and after years of torment and three seasons of the flayed man atop their tower, the Starks retake Winterfell. Then, immediately following that, we get the Winds of Winter and the biggest reveal of the entire series(R+L=J CONFIRMED) is told in a very quiet and one of the most creative ways. It’s a whole lot of pay off for years and years of waiting around. And if that isn’t satisfying enough for you, Jon Snow is embraced as a Stark and named King in the North in a wholly bittersweet and sob worthy scene.
- Joffrey’s wedding goes horribly wrong (Season 4)
John: I loved seeing this jerk die. As a non-book reader, it was something I never thought would happen but it was a great change of pace and lived up to the idea that anybody- not just the protagonists- could die. All the ensuing drama in the entire wedding- the Lannisters vs. the Martells, Cersei vs. Brienne, etc- what I loved most was that my favorite characters were forced in the most uncomfortable situations possible and they had to deal with it. It’s worth it just to watch everyone’s reactions to Joffrey’s antics and his death. “Oh look- the pie!”
- “Help help, the Kingslayer!” Brienne and Jaime take a bath (Season 3)
John: We finally get to see Jaime, who has largely been an antagonist, break down and show that he’s complicated. He’s not just black-and-white, but he has morals and principals. The acting is great, the staging is very vulnerable instead of exploitative, and the nudity is used to make a point about the characters instead of implying sexual tension. What easily could have been exposition turns into one of the most human moments of the entire series.
- Tyrion fires everyone with the help of Bronn and Pod (Season 2)
John: Tyrion in power is one of the most entertaining things to watch. He’s been belittled throughout the first season so it’s nice to see him capable and worthy of leadership. He’s a goddamn war hero. He shows that he’s more capable of leadership than everyone else who has postured up, shows actual skills, and creates practical policy- and can get shit done.
- Tywin babysits Arya (Season 2)
Kelly: I mean, aside from getting the most out of Charles Dance’s velvety baritone, these scenes are excellent development for quite a few storylines and the characters that pass through. Most importantly, we get Arya not killing Tywin even though she has several chances to- her hate only goes so far and it’s almost as if she develops an admiration for him. It humanizes Twyin, provides more complexity to seeing the Lannisters as the Bad Guys, and gives both him and Arya much more depth when they have this unspoken understanding of the other.
The Ones That Make us Cry!
- The Red Wedding (Season 3)
Kelly: This was tough but I have to rank this above Ned’s death simply for how it plays out. Ned’s obviously a moral character and the catalyst to all of the following events, but we’re allowed to spend a really long time with Robb and Cat. It’s hard to watch them make poor decisions (really poor), because we know what’s at the heart of their actions and we still follow them and believe in them like the true Northerners we are. Not to mention, the way the Red Wedding plays out is weirdly eerie and extremely hopeful- until it all goes terribly wrong. The way the entire episode is constructed, it’s masterful and heartbreaking.
- Ned’s head (Season 1)
John: As a book reader- shocking. They killed Sean Bean, who’d have thought? But really- I was expecting to spend years with this character- maybe join Jon at the Wall, but nope, just dead. Aside from the Red Wedding, this was GRRM telling us that the series would have consequences.
- You know nothing, Jon Snow (Season 4)
Kelly: This is a purely selfish pick- there is no other death in the series that I take more personally or harder than Ygritte’s. It’s hard to describe, but I think once they meet, it’s clear that she’s had an impact on him- even after she dies you can see that she’s always in his thoughts, especially in Season 5. Kit Harington does an amazing job of internalizing his Ygritte-centric thoughts, proving just how much her character meant to him in both life and death.
- Marriage is “consummated” by rape (Season 1, Season 5)
Kelly: Game of Thrones the show had a whole lot of rape that didn’t show up in A Song of Ice and Fire at all, notably Dany and Drogo (it was much more empowering for her in the books) and Sansa and Ramsay (never even happened in the books) and each of these took palce on their wedding nights. While it might have opened up much needed discussion on sexual obligation within the confines of marriage (hint- there really isn’t any) and if rape can occur in marriage (hint- yes), it was highly unnecessary to put either of these women in these situations. They didn’t use it to further either of the women’s storylines and it seemed like it was just brushed aside.
- Tywin gets killed in the loo (Season 4)
John: The show has never been the same since Tywin left and Charles Dance had a gravitas that we haven’t seen since. My enjoyment severely declined since this moment. The real tragedy in this scene is that Tyrion is meeting his main influence and trying to validate their relationship as his son and Tywin still tells him in his last moments that Tyrion is not his son. It’s a relationship that has been ambiguous- you never know if Tywin cares or if it’s just convenience for him- and in this moment, he confirms that Tyrion was never more than an object to him.
- Shireen’s sacrifice
Kelly: Don’t give a crap if our numbers are inconsistent; it’s OUR list. Watching Shireen get sacrificed by Melisandre was one of the most traumatizing moments ever to air on television. Not only is Shireen one of the purest and genuinely good characters in Westeros, but she’s sacrificed solely for Melisandre’s agenda in making Stannis the Prince who was Promised. Nobody else wanted this to happen, but they stood by and watched. Davos speaks for everyone when he tells Jon that Melisandre deserves to be executed.
The Ones That Make us Flex!
- Dany takes over the Unsullied and then conquers Yunkai (Season 3)
John: It was refreshing to see someone who started from such a low place, gaining power through winning the hearts and minds of the people, and using her own skills and deception to trick a man to give her the tools she is going to use to conquer the world. It’s kind of hilarious and cement the other character’s thoughts that she is an entity and a joke- he calls her a whore and child- but she turns and speaks to him in Valyrian. It’s before announcing her titles got tiring and she acknowledged that she was going to use her power to reshape the world. To compliment that, the scene in Yunkai cements what she means to the people and what she could potentially bring to Westeros.
(Kelly: As much as I don’t like how she’s written in the show, I have to admit that I chuckle and fist-pump whenever she says “Dracarys.” It’s fun to watch the dragons swoop in as everyone’s faces turn to horror)
- Cersei blows up the Sept of Baelor (Season 6)
Kelly: As much as you love to hate her and as much as this was a cheap way to wrap up some loose ends, you have to admit this is is an impressive display of power. Cersei is willing to ignite a giant powder keg where hundreds of innocent people are, put her son through turmoil to the point where he ultimately commits suicide, in order to take out her enemies and cement her place on top of the Iron Throne. Was it well thought out? No. Was the stuff leading up to that interesting? Kind of. It’s the perfect example of Cersei’s short-sightedness and descent into Mad King territory.
- The Red Wedding (yup)
Kelly: As much as I hate to love this scene, I have to admit- Tywin gets some serious flex power in when he wipes out all of his Northern enemies in one scene. After this, it’s impossible to ignore influence over the rest of the realm- not only are Roose Bolton and Walder Frey asking to join his ranks but they’re willing to break a sacred tradition. More than that, it’s reflective of people’s confidence in his power- they joined Tywin because they knew that if they joined Tywin, he would win, over aligning with Robb who might win.
- Arya wipes out House Frey (Season 6 & 7)
Kelly: We don’t get a lot of Stark redemption and the ones we’ve gotten up to this scene have all been a little tame or a little sad- they usually take the time to reminisce about the ones they lost, you know, really twisting those knives in. Not here! After Walder Frey brags about wiping out the Starks, Arya feeds him his own sons, takes out the rest of this children via poison, and spits out “Winter came for House Frey” with her own brilliance and stealth. It’s badass and oh- it feels so good.
- Hardhome (all of it) (Season 5)
John: The show has been showing us very little of the White Walkers. Up until this point, they are shown in a fog or you see a small group of them at a time. This is the exact moment you realize as an audience member that these things are going to kill everyone and are pretty much unstoppable. At this point, the dragons are in Meereen, dragonglass is scarce, they don’t know about Valyrian steel. I didn’t know what was coming in this scene and I kept thinking that a dragon was going to fly over (foolish, I know, but I heard rumbling)- after this, I did not take them lightly any more. Also- when Jon kills his- it’s badass. The scene ends when the Night King raises his hands and it’s one of the most metal moments in the show.