THE BEST 30 EPISODES OF 2016
We’ve already reached the last year list of 2016: the 30 best episodes of 2016. First, I want to thank the users of the IMdB-board ‘Game of Thrones’ and the Redditors of r/GameofThrones. The results this year were surprising, to say the least. Let’s not wait any longer and count down the very best thirty episodes.
A throwback to last year’s top 5:
- 5. The Rains of Castamere
- 4. The Children
- 3. The Winds of Winter
- 2. Hardhome
- 1. Battle of the Bastards
Director: Mark Mylod
‘The Broken Man’ contains a lot of memorable moments. Sandor Clegane returns as a broken man, trying to find a greater meaning behind his survival. Yet, he learns that killing is necessarily in this cruel world but that he can use his fighting skills for better purposes. That’s why he decides to join the Brotherhood later on season 6. We also have some great dialogues in the Broken Man. Do you recall Olenna and Cersei’s final confrontation? The acting was superb there. We’ve also had this touching scene where Olenna has to say goodbye to her granddaughter, Margaery. I admit, the two parting ways was very emotional. Septon Ray is another great character who was introduced in the Broken Man. His dialogues were strong and well-acted.Another great return in the Broken Man: The Blackfish. It was a great idea to bring this legendary warrior back into the story. Unfortunately, he didn’t last too long but he had some great last scenes, though. Good to see a resolution to his arc. In the Broken Man, we also meet Lyanna Mormont who later turns out to become a big fan-favourite. The cinematography was very beautiful in this episode too (e.g: Jaime’s close-up when he’s waiting for the Blackfish or Theon and Yara’s close up when they decide to leave Theon’s past behind. Beautifully done!) One thing I didn’t really like in The Broken Man was The Waif stabbing Arya. The scene was unnecessary and only served to increase the show’s shock value. For the rest, it deserves to end at #30 and to gain 8 spots in our list.
The Hound’s long-awaited return in ‘The Broken Man’. (HBO)
Director: Brian Kirk
As the Tournament of the Hand of the King continues, we find out more about the suspicious death of Jon Arryn. Not only we have a kind of Cleganebowl, but we also meet House Tyrell by the introduction of ser Loras Tyrell. The build-up in this episode is excellent. We feel that a war between the Lannisters and the Starks is about to start, which causes the first casualties: Jory Cassel. The bloody confrontation between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister was tense and a great ending to a great episode. Besides, we are also introduced to the Vale and its crazy residents. It’s also the moment where you start to really feel for Tyrion’s character. In the Wolf and the Lion, we also get a well-written dialogue between Cersei and Jaime about their wedding. One big theatre that causes the Seven Kingdoms to stay together for more than seventeen years. The Wolf and the Lion is another excellent episode, filled with well-written dialogues and decent action scenes. Unfortunately, The Wolf and the Lion loses 8 spots this year.
Ned Stark and Barristan Selmy talk about their opposition in the past. (HBO)
Director: Alik Sakharov
Tyrion sealed his fate by choosing for a trial by combat. He receives three visitors the day(s) after his trial. His brother, Jaime, who would want to fight for Tyrion but admits that he could never win because of his lost sword hand. Another visitor is Bronn, Tyrion’s ‘best’ friend. Yet, Bronn chooses for gold instead of honor which fits his characters perfectly. Help comes from a strange corner in life. Oberyn visits Tyrion at night to tell Tyrion about his lust for revenge after the Lannisters killed his sister he loved so much. He decides to fight for Tyrion in order to seek his long-awaited revenge on the Mountain. The backstory, the acting, the raw emotions… Everything is great in the scene between Oberyn and Tyrion and has become as one of Game of Thrones best scenes. This slower episode contains a huge amount of dialogues: Arya and the Hound, Melisandre and Selyse, Daenerys and Daario, Daenerys and Jorah, Brienne and Hot Pie, .. I understand why a lot of people think of ‘Mockingbird’ as a boring episode but the quality of dialogue is incredible here. I loved the backstory of the Hound when Arya wants to treat his wound. The episode ends with a major death: Lysa Arryn is pushed through the Moon Door by Petyr. Petyr Baelish shows again how far he’d go to achieve his goals. We didn’t cry for Lysa but the acting in those scenes was perfect. Great episode! ‘Mockingbird’ gains 15 (!!) places on our list.
Oberyn emotionally tells Tyrion why he’s longing for vengeance. (HBO)
Director: Daniel Sackheim
‘The Book of the Stranger’ is an emotional rollercoaster, for sure. We start with the reunion between Sansa Stark and Jon Snow. We’ve waited for this since many years and the payoff was great. I’m sure many people have shed a tear there. Sansa and Jon also share their first conversation. The first seeds of the war between the Starks and the Boltons is planted in the Book of the Stranger. Sansa convinces Jon to fight the Boltons and to take their home. Yet, Ramsay influence even increases now that he’s got Rickon Stark. This episode also marks the return of Theon to Pyke. Yara witnesses how much Theon’s character has changed and the confrontation is hard. Another ‘Reek’ emerges in the form of Loras Tyrell’s character. We see how strong sister’s love can be this episode. Not only when it comes to Sansa and Jon or Theon and Yara, but also to Margaery and Loras. Margaery tries to make Loras believe in himself, but fails nonetheless. The ending was not everyone’s cup of tea. Many grew tired of Daenerys’s ‘epic’ scenes where she’s portrayed as a god but I think this could mark the beginning of Daenerys’s madness. She took a lot of pleasure in burning the khals and thought of herself as a goddess. We also lose one of our great characters: Osha. To be honest, her arc was very disappointing last season. It was still a pity to lose her. ‘The Book of the Stranger’ ends at #27 and loses quite some spots (14!). I am still happy it made the top 30, though.
The first Stark children to reunite after the War of the Five Kings.
Director: Alik Sakharov
‘The Climb’ is a great episode which contains a good balance between action scenes and dialogue. The Climb can be viewed as a metaphor. Jon Snow, Ygritte, Tormund and the other Wildlings literally climb the Wall. On the other hand, Littlefinger explains his strategy to Varys. He likes to cause chaos in order to gain influence. He sees is it as an opportunity to climb the ladder even though the risk exist that he could fall off the ladder. The dialogue between him and Varys can also be considered as one of the very best scenes of Game of Thrones. The climbing of the Wall itself contains a lot of beautiful scenes (esp. the ending when Ygritte and Jon are standing on top of the Wall). Theon’s physical and mental torture continues. The plotline in King’s Landing is more intriguing than ever now that the Tyrells try to climb the ladder as well. For them, it ends badly. Tywin Lannister found out about their plan and puts a plan on the table to prevent it at all cost. Sansa didn’t take the opportunity to climb the ladder (she didn’t go with LF) and stays behind. Heartbroken. Arya meets the Red Woman, Melisandre in an interesting scene. The show also uses a fascinating way to foreshadow future plotlines (Arya meeting Melisandre again / Arya killing lots of people). ‘The Climb’ is a very decent episode and manages to climb 3 spots on our list.
Littlefinger reveals his strategies to Varys.
Director: Daniel Minahan
‘You Win or You Die’ starts with an incredible dialogue between Tywin Lannister and his son Jaime. It’s always entertaining to see the first scene of a great character again and Charles Dance does a great job portraying him. It’s a great addition to have him among the cast. Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister, another awesome dialogue, where the legendary phrase comes from: ‘When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.’ We realized how ruthless Cersei can be right there. A dark tone starts to take over this episode. We feel that things are going very wrong. Certainly after Robert Baratheon’s death. A pity to lose him so soon in the show. ‘You Win or You Die’ has a lot of other great moments: Jon finding out he becomes a steward not a ranger and later say his vows together with Sam, Khal Drogo’s speech about invading Westeros and of course Joffrey’s declaration as King of the Seven Kingdoms. It’s right here where I really became invested in the show. The pace, the perfect balance between action and storytelling and the written quality was incredible in this episode. Good that it still makes the best 25.
Jon is disappointed with the results. I hope you are not.
Director: D.B Weiss
‘Two Swords’ had my favorite opening scene of all episodes! The forging of ‘Ice’ was an excellent opener to an equally excellent fourth season. It marked the fall of House Stark and victory of House Lannister (if the Red Wedding wasn’t heartbreaking enough, though). The aftermath of the RW is still very present in ‘Two Swords’. Sansa still has difficulties to put everything in perspective, while Jon remembers Robb. This episode also introduced the wonderful character ‘Oberyn Martell’. His introduction fitted his character so well: swift and as dangerous as a viper. Oberyn immediately stole all of our hearts. The best moment in Two Swords involved Arya and the Hound. Arya meets Polliver once again and seizes the opportunity to take Needle back and to seek revenge for Lommy. She manages to fulfill her wishes and crosses off another name off her list. The first episode was excellent and the best season premiere to date. The episode climbs 2 spots this year!
The Hound wants some chicken!
Director: David Nutter
Theon’s evil side starts to show in ‘The Old Gods and the New’. The start is very powerful, with Theon beheading ser Rodrik Cassel. The acting in this scene is amazing: props to Hempstead-Wright and Allen. Jon meets Ygritte is an iconic moment on the show and will become one of Jon main’s storylines throughout the tv-series. The riot in King’s Landing provides the needed suspense and shock to a slower second season. Arya and Tywin’s conversation is another well-written scene in the sixth episode. The overall pace and plot development is one of the episode’s main strengths. Theon’s evolution has become more intense and interesting than ever. The notorious ending where Daenerys shouted in agony for her dragons wasn’t loved by anyone, though. ‘The Old Gods and the New’ loses five spots this year.
‘Where are my dragons’?
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Jon Snow starts his voyage to Hardhome, while Maester Aemon watch ended for good. ‘The Gift’ is a very darkish episode in my opinion. Sansa’s situation is depressing. We see how Sansa begs Theon to help her and when we think she’s finally about to be helped, we misplaced our trust in Theon. We are back at square one. Aemon’s death was a both heartwarming and sad scene. Stannis’s situation looks depressing as well. Melisandre tries to make Stannis sure that the Lord of Light needs Shireen so they can win the war in return. Olenna’s trying everything she can to get her grandchildren out of prison. Her conversation with the High Sparrow didn’t go as planned so she seeks a last resort: allying with Littlefinger. The conversation between those two is great (esp. the acting). Cersei finally gets what she deserves in ‘The Gift’. Her plan backfires and the Lion Queen herself ends up in prison. We happily watch her being thrown into prison but it’s also frightening to see how much influence the High Sparrow is gaining. ‘The Gift’ also marks the meeting between Daenerys and Tyrion! Something we’ve been wanting to see for a long time. ‘The Gift’ may be a slower episode, the written quality is almost back at the level of previous seasons.
Serves you right, Cersei!
Director: Alan Taylor
Tyrion wakes up after almost being killed at the Battle of Blackwater. His face is scarred for good. Stannis suffered a great defeat and has retreated to Dragonstone where he’s consumed by Melisandre’s vision. ‘Valar Morghulis’ serves as an excellent build-up to the third season: the marriage proposal of Margaery Tyrell, Brienne’s quest with Jaime, Robb’s marriage with Talisa. All of this will have a bigger meaning in the third season. Most arcs have a decent resolution: Arya escaping Harrenhal and meeting Jaqen once again, Bran and Rickon escaping Winterfell after it is burnt down, Theon’s rise and fall, Daenerys prophetic dream. Those are all memorable scenes so the episode didn’t bore us for one second. The last scene was terrifying and quite a dark ending to the second season. The second half of the second season was quite strong and it ended on a high note. Too bad ‘Valar Morghulis’ lost 5 places this year.
I am Hers and he’s Mine.
THE BEST 20 EPISODES
Director: Alex Graves
‘Kissed By Fire’ is one of my personal favorite episodes and I’m glad to see the episode climbing on our list. The episode starts with a great fight between Beric and the Hound. Beric is later brought back to life by Thoros (which paralleled nicely with Jon’s reanimation (mind the soundtrack during the fight and the ending of ‘Home’). Jon and Ygritte finally took a big step in their relationship. Qyburn proves Jaime that he’s an excellent Maester and removes his hand with ‘pleasure’. There’s a heartwarming scene between Arya and Gendry. Robb has a chilling scene where he beheads Lord Karstark. The acting, soundtrack and sphere are absolutely stellar here! We are introduced to the family Baratheon of Dragonstone. We meet the sweet Shireen who immediately becomes one of the nicest characters in Thrones. Jaime has a beautifully written and acted (!) dialogue with Brienne about the murder of the Mad King. Tywin puts his plan forward to end the Tyrell marriage plans before it can come true. ‘Kissed By Fire’ is another excellent Thrones episode with very well-written dialogues (Jaime / Tywin and his children) and great memorable scenes (Thoros vs. the Hound / beheading of Lord Karstark). Five spaces up this year!
Jaime bares his heart to Brienne.
Director: Daniel Minahan
Daenerys discovers that she’s the dragon’s daughter after she finds out that she’s fire-resistant. She finally steps up against her evil brother and lets Khal Drogo burn him to death. Poor Tyrion is still locked up and chooses for a trial by combat (a choice he later makes again). The fight between Bronn and ser Vardis Egen was an awesome one. Since this season, ser Bronn became very popular instantly. Ned Stark sits on the Iron Throne for a short time, which was nice to see. The choices he made are honorable but not so clever. Joffrey declares his love to Sansa but we all know this will all hit back right into Sansa’s face. Ned does a major discovery: he finds out that Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are not Robert’s children. ‘A Golden Crown’ ends with one of the best death scenes in Game of Thrones yet: Viserys’ golden crown. Viserys seemed an interesting villain. Too bad we didn’t get to see more of him. This episode gains 3 spots on our list and enters the top 20.
Ned wakes up after being ambushed by Jaime Lannister.
Director: Alik Sakharov
‘The Laws of Gods and Men’ loses a great amount of places this year (-7). Although Peter Dinklage is giving the best of himself in this episode, the Laws of G&M possesses some flaws. Yara’s rescue plan was badly-written and too hurried. They better didn’t include it, as it made no difference to any storyline. Daenerys’s scenes were ok, although they started to drag a bit. It got really interesting when King’s Landing came into the picture. All of the scenes were amazing and Dinklage last speech was the best he has done in the show up to now. The emotions he conveyed to the small screen were one of the very best I have ever seen. Dinklage was really robbed of an Emmy that year. I’m sad to say that this episode didn’t make the top 10 this year! Hopefully next year!
Tyrion’s breakdown in ‘The Laws of Gods and Men’.
Director: Jeremy Podewsa
‘Home’ brought us a lot of memorable and iconic scenes in Game of Thrones. First and foremost, we have Jon Snow being brought back to life. A moment where we’ve secretly hoped for and assumed to come true. The scene itself was a bit predictable but it served its purpose: cheering viewers! Not only good things happen this episode, you can think of the death of Lady Bolton. Poor Walda Bolton didn’t deserve this fate at all and we didn’t see this one coming. Or at least, not so cruel. Ramsay revealed himself to be the main villain of the sixth season and was declared as Lord of Winterfell. The Greyjoys came back into the picture and we met a new member of the family: Euron Greyjoy. His introduction was quite memorable as he immediately killed his own brother, Balon. The Ironborn finally seemed to get a more extensive arc this year and it didn’t disappoint (like Dorne). The Red Woman was a bit disappointing, but things really took off with ‘Home’. It was also nice to see Bran Stark again after an absence of two years. His vision with a younger Hodor was really fascinating. Good to see Wun Wun again in action in ‘Home’. This year, ‘Home’ loses 7 spots and ends at #17.
Tyrion meets Viserion and Rhaegal.
Director: David Nutter
A big surprise right here! Although Mother’s Mercy has its flaws, there were some truly excellent moments in this episode. I think most people will agree when I tell that I didn’t like Stannis’s resolution. It was rushed and he didn’t get the resolution he deserved. Encountering Brienne seemed a cheap way to finish his storyline. Other than that, I really liked this episode. Sansa and Theon’s escape was quite engaging, even though surviving the jump seemed a bit too lazy-written. Arya’s revenge on Meryn Trant was amazing, nothing to remark about that. The Dorne’s resolution was OK, it was the only logical ending it could provide and it was foreshadowed at the beginning of season 5 that another child of Cersei would die. Afterward, I would have loved if Doran Martell worked together with Ellaria the whole time, revealing his master plan. Daenerys is captured by Dothraki. Nice to see those men again! I loved hearing their soundtrack after a long absence. Cersei’s Walk of Atonement was one of the very best scenes in Game of Thrones. The acting from Headey was sheer perfection! She made this episode together with Williams and Harington. The closing scene was the perfect ending scene to a dark and depressing season 5. Jon’s arc was one of the very best character’s arcs the show has seen.
Cersei’s Walk of Atonement
Director: David Nutter
Stannis’s camp is attacked by Ramsay Bolton and his 20 men. His army is starving and a lot of sellswords deserted him, he sees no other option than offering his daughter to R’hollor. Meanwhile, Daenerys decides to leave Meereen on Drogon’s back after the Sons of the Harpy attempt to assassinate her. The first half of the Dance of Dragons is quite slow which is weird because we usually see a more intense episode 9. Things really take off during Shireen’s death scene. Her death remains the most emotional one in the history of Game of Thrones (which means quite a lot since so many characters died). The acting of Kerry Ingram was on point, so was Dillane and Fitzgerald. Daenerys’s screentime is greatly expanded in ‘The Dance of Dragons’ and it gets really intense when the Sons of the Harpy attack Daenerys Targaryen. Drogon senses that his mother is in trouble and comes to rescue her. Her mounting Drogon is a moment where we’ve waited for since the beginning of Game of Thrones. The soundtrack that went along with that scene was very epic! ‘The Dance of Dragons’ does a good job this year and manages to climb 2 spots!
Drogon comes to the rescue!
Director: Alex Graves
‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ keeps it precious fourteenth spot and I don’t complain. This episode is one of the more eventful episodes in a slower third season. We see Jaime breaking down step-by-step and we learn more about Varys’s backstory. The situation in beyond the Wall has taken a 360 degrees turn as the Lord Commander is shockingly killed in a mutiny by men of the Night’s Watch. Craster finally gets what he deserves, though. The scenes in King’s Landing are more interesting than ever: Margaery clutching her claws into Joffrey, Olenna and Varys’s conversation about his plan, Margaery bonding with Sansa. All of the scenes were well-written and the actors did a wonderful job. Thoros confronts the Hound and Arya is able to avenge the butcher’s boy. The greatest scene in this episode is Daenerys commanding the Unsullied army. The scene has even grown into an iconic moment throughout the series. ‘And Now His Watch Is Ended’ ends at #14.
‘A dragon is not a slave’!
Director: Tim van Patten
This iconic first episode can not miss our list, of course. ‘Winter is Coming’ got the party started. We first met House Stark: a happy family who happen to live in the cold North. We discover that there icy creatures beyond the Wall that are killing off humans. The Stark children all get a direwolf puppy and we are introduced to King’s Landing where the King and the Queen lives. Even though, nothing too great happens in the first episode (apart from Bran’s discovery) this episode is a bit nostalgic and a decent introduction to the series. We get a bit of everything in the series’ premiere: violence / nudity / .. Typical HBO-stuff but it’s a good way to introduce us to the wonderful world of Game of Thrones. ‘Winter is Coming’ impressively climbs 11 spots this year.Wow.
Daenerys meets Khal Drogo in ‘Winter is Coming’.
Director: Alex Graves
Too bad to see one of my personal favorite episodes fall so hard. ‘The Children’ gets pushed out of the top 5, ending at #12 this year. The Children is a beautiful episode. Not only the soundtrack, but also the conclusions to several character arcs. Tyrion, for example, had an amazing arc in season 4, arguably his best one throughout the series. Him killing his own father is a major development in his arc and serves as a complete change in his storyline. Arya is another character who gets a wonderful ending. She finally leaves the past behind and tries to start a new life in Braavos where she has always dreamt of. Jon says goodbye to the love of his life, Ygritte and Bran finally reaches his destiny. The episode causes a lot of major changes in the great game as the major player, Tywin Lannister, is killed off and Tyrion is on his way to support another Great House. ‘The Children’ is more of a poetical episode. A goodbye to a painful past. It ends at #12 on our list.
Tyrion and Jaime part ways.
Director: Alan Taylor
The aftermath of Ned Stark’s death is still very present in ‘Fire and Blood’, which is of course very logical given that Ned Stark was Game of Thrones’s main character. Robb and Catelyn Stark decide to not longer hide and to start an open rebellion to the crown. Poor Sansa remains in the capital and finally came to the conclusion that Joffrey is no more than an evil prick. His character is fully developed and becomes the main villain of the TV-series (during the first three seasons). Jon and Daenerys take major decisions: Jon stays within the Night’s Watch and goes on expedition beyond the Wall because he realizes that whatever lurks beyond the Wall is far bigger threat than the war against the Lannisters. Daenerys burns Drogo’s body and hatches her dragons. We first meet Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal in an breathtaking closing scene. ‘Fire and Blood’ is an emotional ending to an excellent first season. This year, the episode almost managed to make the top 10. It ends at #11.
‘Blood of my Blood’…
…2016’s TOP 10 EPISODES
Director: Alex Graves
One of the most satisfying deaths in Game of Thrones happens in this episode. ‘The Lion and the Rose’ mainly centers around Joffrey’s marriage with Margaery Tyrell. Though, we all know that a wedding without at least one death is a dull affair and so Joffrey dies. Poisoned, he dies in the arms of his mother. Never we yelled so much after this pain in the ass died. For once, we were Littlefinger very grateful. Let’s not forget Olenna Tyrell’s part in it as well. The Lannisters start to have casualties as well. Not only the wedding appears, but also Roose Bolton returns home to the Dreadfort. We meet Walda Frey, Roose’s new wife. Roose doesn’t exactly thank Ramsay for running the Dreadfort in his stead. He has to make up for Theon’s brainswashing by making sure Moat Cailin is theirs. Melisandre burns another innocent lives and Bran gets closer to his destination. This episode is all about the Purple Wedding and it didn’t disappoint. The costumes, set, acting, everything was great about King’s Landing this episode and we finally got the long-awaited death scene. ‘The Lion and The Rose’ ends at #10, losing one place.
Joffrey gets his right cake served.
Actor: Neil Marshall
‘The Watchers on the Wall’ was one epic hour in Game of Thrones, no doubt about that. The storytelling wasn’t at its best but that’s ok. The prime focus was the battle and the action scenes and those were on point. The visual effects in this episode are great as it looked more like one short action movie rather than a TV-series. Storywise, I liked Blackwater more but the fighting scenes were way better in this one. Almost everything was present in this one: a strong build-up to the war itself and a great resolution. Too bad they didn’t include Stannis’s army invasion at the end of this episode but I understand the reasons why they didn’t. We also lose our beloved cast member, Rose Leslie, as the wildling Ygritte. The Watchers on the Wall really was another rollercoaster of emotions! It ends at #9 this year.
‘We are the Watchers on the Wall!’
Director: Jack Bender
‘The Door’ provided another heartbreaking scene that no one saw coming: Hodor’s revelation. A seemingly unimportant character that surprised us all, was the sweet giant Hodor. We found out that Hodor is rather a contraction of ‘Hold the Door’, a phrase he kept repeating since Bran entered his mind in the past. Due to the trauma, he kept repeating Hodor all over again in order to save his friends from the Army of the Death. His fate was heartbreaking but the CGI that was used and the costumes were all amazing. Bran’s storyline in season 6 is at his best since he learned the ability to not only look into the past but also influence it. Besides the scenes beyond the Wall, we also got the Kingsmoot. Some people found it rather disappointing but I was ok with it. I think I expected a bit too much of Euron’s character, as I found the character to be a bit bland in ‘The Door’. Other than that, he still has the chance to evolve and we didn’t get to see him much at all. It’s still too soon to draw conclusions. Arya gets another task: she has to kill the main actress of a theater company. The woman, Lady Crane, seems rather friendly and compassionate. Arya’s slowly starting to turn against the principles of the Faceless Men. ‘The Door’ is a devasting episode which kept me open-mouthed by the end. The Ironborn seem to be more interesting than ever and it’s nice to have seen Jon leave the Night’s Watch (for good, hopefully). The Door keeps its eighth spot.
‘And he held the door.’
Director: Alex Graves
A newcomer in our top 10 is ‘The Mountain and the Viper’. Perhaps this is the best 1v1 combat I have ever seen in Game of Thrones. It was brutal and emotional at the same time. We started to care for Oberyn Martell and to see him go out in a way like that was gut-wrenching or better formulated, mind-bending. The worst death a character can receive, that’s for sure. At least, Oberyn achieved his goal and got ser Gregor confessing his crimes. Another heartbreaking scene is the exile of Jorah Mormont. Daenerys feels deep inside that there’s no one more loyal than Jorah, but if she wants to become a capable leader, she needs to punish those who betray her. The scene is sad, esp. when Jorah admits that he loves Daenerys. We also see Sansa’s character becoming darker and she’s starting to apply what Littlefinger taught her. Ramsay, on the other hand, manages to take Moat Cailin with the help from Theon and gets rewarded. He’s legitimated by Roose Bolton and father and son head to their new home: Winterfell. Yeah, it still stings! ‘The Mountain and the Viper’ isn’t the most eventful or best battle episode but the shocker at the end was well thought out and not only there for shock value. Oberyn had an amazing arc and still today, he’s regarded as one of the best GoT characters even though he only appeared in 7 episodes.
Jorah’s heart is broken.. again!
Director: Alan Taylor
Another iconic Game of Thrones episode makes a big climb on our list. ‘Baelor’ is the first true shocking episode of Thrones which revealed its cruel nature. No one would have guessed that the show dared to kill off its central character, but here we are. In ‘Baelor’ we are introduced to Lord Walder Frey, a man we would rather not meet. We also learn more about Khal Drogo’s fate and the fact that he won’t live long anymore. Daenerys’s arc becomes more interesting than ever now that she has to lead the Dothraki herself. The war between Robb and Tywin is the main storyline in Baelor and it’s a pity we never got to see the actual battle, but what comes after the battle is the true shocker and no battle could have filled that gap. The acting, the storytelling, everything about this scene gave me shivers. I remember myself to be very quiet after this episode ended. It still hurts to watch this. ‘Baelor’ ends at #6 and climbs 6 places!
‘Can you bring back a man without a head? Not six times, but once?’
Director: Neil Marshall
I am glad that ‘Blackwater’ makes it to the top 5 this year! What a great battle and way of storytelling it was! I loved the slow but imminent build-up, the careful use of CGI, the written quality of the dialogues. In my opinion, this is the best battle episode we have had in Thrones. Not because of the visual effects but of the well-written story. This war is so complex because we don’t know which side we have to root for. The outcome was so uncertain, that’s what made this episode so tense. No important character dies during this episode, but it still manages to hold a lasting impression on its viewers. The Wildfire explosion, for instance, was a great visual scene. Even better than the one we got in ‘The Winds of Winter’. I loved how there was a good balance between the actual battle scenes and the dialogues. It provided a better build-up to the ending of this wonderful battle. Blackwater ended at #5.
‘But now the rains weep o’er his hall and not a soul to hear.’
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
One of the best visuals I have ever seen during a battle on the TV-screen is, without a doubt, during Hardhome. Not only it marked the first dialogue between Daenerys and Tyrion but also introduced us to the Night King himself. We briefly saw him in ‘Oathkeeper’ but we first saw him in all of his glory, showing his powers to us. Just like Jon Snow was, we were all terrified of the ending scene where the Night King raised the wildlings from the dead. All of the scenes in Hardhome were amazing and the battle itself kept us at the edge of our seats. ‘Hardhome’ also showed us Cersei in imprisonment and how low she has sunken when she had to drink water from the ground. We still didn’t feel bad for her, though. Too bad, this visual wonder called ‘Hardhome’ doesn’t make the top three this year. Still, it ends at a beautiful 4th place.
Daenerys and Tyrion talk about their cruel fathers.
Director: David Nutter
‘The Rains of Castamere’ is the episode where everybody refers to when talking about Game of Thrones. This is how cruel the show can be. They make you care for characters for almost three seasons and you’d expect to see a good ending for them because they have suffered more than enough, and then you get this. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is like an episode I like to rewatch soon. Not that it is bad or too cruel but because of the raw emotions Michelle Fairley and Richard Madden pulled off during the last 15 minutes of the episode. Fairley really deserved that Emmy, though. Other scenes worth mentioning are the Daenerys’s invasion of Yunkai (too bad we didn’t see a bit more of the battle, though) and Bran and Jon almost meeting each other. Bran also makes a very vital discovery when he accidently enters Hodor’s mind. ‘The Rains of Castamere’ is one of the iconic Game of Thrones episodes that SHOULD end high on the list. It’s this episode that made Game of Thrones of what it has become now.
Arghh.. It still hurts!
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
Unfortunately, Battle of the Bastards lost its first position. The episode was the first battle episode with a very positive outcome! Oh, we did all sheer when Sansa and Littlefinger (yeah even Littlefinger) showed up during the battle with the knights of the Vale. The battle was stunning, given that the budget was even higher this season, the CGI was breathtaking. The battle in Meereen, for example, was wonderful to see. Daenerys flying on Drogon and setting the slaver’s fleet on fire was the best visual scene I have seen in Game of Thrones up to now. The battle was very impressive as well, something I have never encountered in any series before. Miguel Sapochnik has outdone himself in Battle of the Bastards and it’s great to see his episode end so high on our list.
Director: Miguel Sapochnik
‘The Winds of Winter’ deservingly ends at the highest position of our list this year! What a great episode it was! The storylines wrapped up and most of them had a breathtaking conclusion (e.g Bran finding out about Jon’s parentage / Cersei having her vengeance on her enemies and becoming Queen / Jon becoming King in the North / Daenerys sailing to Westeros / Arya killing Walder Frey / Sam arriving in Oldtown). We have all waited a long time to see these things play out in Game of Thrones! After having more depression season finales (e.g. Mother’s Mercy), we end with a positive note: Daenerys allying with House Tyrell, Dorne and Greyjoy and sailing to Westeros. The soundtrack used in this episode is the best the show has had up to now (e.g: Light of the Seven). The cinematography is another wonderfully executed aspect of this episode. Sapochnik did an amazing job again. We hope to see him directing one more episode before it all ends. ‘The Winds of Winter’ won this year, but I am certain that we still haven’t seen the best of Thrones yet. We shall see next year!
RIP Queen Margaery – Queen of our hearts!
Thanks for all of your votes! I hope to see you next year again.