With the slow melting of a block of ice, HBO revealed to fans the official release date for the seventh season of Game Of Thrones. The process was tedious, for sure, but over 160k people tuned in to find out when the show was back.
With July on the horizon, fans all over the world have started binging through Game Of Thrones once again, preparing for a brand new season.
As you watch the series over - and the shock has worn-off, you begin to realize that some episodes are just down-right better than others.
Which of these episodes rise above the rest? Check out our ranking of the top ten episodes of Game Of Thrones!
Honorable Mention: The Laws of Gods and Men (4.6)
After the murder of King Joffrey, Tyrion Lannister is on trial for the crime and is pleading for his innocence. As the trial evolves, and his lover, Shae, stands against him, Tyrion delivers a powerful speech that shook the hearts of every character, and every fan watching.
Full of vengeance and hatred, Tyrion condemned his entire family, and claimed he wishes it would have been he who murdered Joffrey. Peter Dinklage had already proven himself as one of the strongest actors in television, but this speech alone earned him his second Primetime Emmy award for the role. The episode itself was good, but the final few minutes propelled it into the company of the all-time greats.
10. Baelor (1.9)
After being accused of killing Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark is on trial in King's Landing. The newly crowned King, Joffrey, gets to decide if Ned lives or dies, and he chooses to show his power instead of a little mercy. With a swift command in front of an entire city, Joffrey removed every fan's favorite character, and instantly became one of the most hated characters in Westeros.
No series has ever killed off its main character this early on, but the death of Ned Stark is what truly kicked off the Great Game. It began Robb's conquest as King In The North, sent Joffrey into a power-trip, drove Arya toward her future life as a faceless assassin, and gave every evil man in Westeros an open shot at the Iron Throne. It was awful to watch Ned die in front of his daughters, but we have this episode to thank for Game of Thrones becoming what it is today.
9. The Lion and The Rose (4.2)
The episode was focused on the wedding of King Joffrey to Margary Tyrell, but no one could have seen the celebration ending in another murder. Poisoned by his own cup, Joffrey fell to the ground and Cersei screamed for help that wouldn't come. Tyrion was immediately blamed for the assassination, as it was he who delivered the cup, but we learn later on that it was part of an intricate plan set in motion by Littlefinger and the Tyrells.
As satisfying as it was to finally watch Joffrey take his final breaths, it was just as exciting watching the look of hopelessness and horror wash across Cersei's face. Both of these characters were more than hated by fans, and this gave us all a chance to revel in their misery. The Red Wedding was a knife to the heart, but the Purple Wedding was the perfect revenge.
8. Blackwater (2.9)
This entire episode focused on the Battle of Blackwater, Stannis' attempt to take the Iron Throne by force. With a fleet of ships, and the God of Light's magic, Stannis sailed into Blackwater Bay a formidable threat. Joffrey is charged with uniting his troops to defend the city, but runs at the first sign of trouble. Tyrion steps up when no one else well, and leads the Golden Army to victory.
Many pieces of this episode were iconic, but there were three that became monumental to the series. First, there was Joffrey's retreat into the castle. He was already an enormously hated character, but this action showed he was more of a coward than anyone had thought. Second, we saw Tyrion instantly become the definitive fan favorite. He was already beloved by many viewers, but his rally speech to the troops, and ability to stand up for others, turned even the coldest fans toward his favor. Lastly, this episode introduced us to the biggest secret of King's Landing; the stash of wildfire in the tunnels. It was a great tool for defeating Stannis, but this information set up one of the show's biggest moments over five years later.
7. The Mountain and The Viper (4.8)
After volunteering to represent Tyrion Lannister in his trial by combat, The Viper was finally ready to get his revenge on Ser Gregor Clegane. Brains vs Brawn, Revenge vs Loyalty; everything about this battle was set up perfectly. It was poised to be one of the most incredible fights we'd ever seen, and boy did they deliver.
Having The Mountain on his death bed, Oberyn's pride got in the way and he wouldn't deliver the final blow until Gregor admitted to his crimes against the Martell family. In one quick moment, The Mountain took down Oberyn, and caved in his skull using nothing but his bare hands. Both men lay dead in the arena, and every fan was left with nothing but shock at the sight.
6. The Door (6.5)
While running from the White Walker attack, Bran was trapped in a vision of a young Hodor in Winterfell. Proving that his powers were stronger than anyone had ever imagined, Bran accidentally sent young Hodor a message. The boy fell to the ground, chanting, "Hold the door" again and again. He writhed and screamed until all he could say was the name he would be called for his entire life, Hodor. In the present time, Hodor stood strong and held the door shut and Bran was able to make an escape. As wights broke through and tore him apart, Hodor didn't waiver. He held the door tight until his final breaths, and Bran was long gone.
This episode perfectly captured the amount of thought and planning that has gone into this series. George Martin has known Hodor's purpose since he began writing the story, and it's just now coming to fruition. The ending scene also brought about a whole new respect for Hodor, as he became one of the most honorable men in all of Westeros. His life was dedicated to saving another, and he didn't shy away when his moment finally came. This well-crafted episode was the result of incredible perseverance by the creators, as well as the characters themselves.
5. The Children (4.10)
When you go back and watch it again, The Children was chock full of iconic moments. Up North, Jon Snow met face to face with Mance Rayder. His plan was to kill the Wildling leader and, when this plan went awry, he was seemingly saved by Stannis Baratheon. Not only that, we had to watch as Jon said goodbye to his lover, and fan favorite, Ygritte, after her death in episode nine. In Mereen, we watched as Daenerys locked up two of her dragons, and showed that she had become a slave owner of sorts. She had spent so much time breaking chains, only to lock up two of the creatures most precious to her. At King's Landing, Tyrion escaped the treacherous hands of his family. With the help of Jaime, Tyrion left his cell, murdered his lover, executed his father, and set sail for the other side of the world. In the middle of nowhere, The Hound was "killed" by Brienne of Tarth, after his long time of service to Arya. A death we all hated to see, but one that was reversed a couple of years later. Finally, we saw Bran make it to the Three-Eyed Raven, and Jojen gave his life to see the mission through.
Like I said, so much happened in just one episode. Game of Thrones had always been applauded for its ability to juggle multiple storylines, but The Children showed the world that the show-runners had perfected this difficult balance.
4. Hardhome (5.8)
Jon and his men went north, to the fortress called Hardhome, to discuss an alliance with the free folk. With Tormund by his side, a council was called in order to discuss the option, and many sat on both sides of the fence. After debating and fighting, some of the Wildlings had agreed to help Jon, others still refused. As the meeting ended, the White Walkers invaded the fortress. Over the next few minutes, an enormous battle erupted, and the Night King raised all of the fallen from the dead. The boats that managed to escape watched as their enemy gave them a glimpse of what was to come.
The entire series had talked about the terrors of the Night King, but Hardhome was his coming out party. As incredible as the battle sequences were in this episode, no one will soon forget that final shot. As Jon and the survivors rowed away, the Night King raised his arms, and his army, to let the people of Westeros know he was coming.
3. The Battle of The Bastards (6.9)
The battle started with sadness, as we watched Ramsay murder young Rickon Stark. This sent Jon into a frenzy, and he charged Ramsay's massive army with no one by his side. This moment, Jon standing alone against an entire cavalry, was one that gave every viewer chills. This one frame was everything the entire Stark house stood for, and it was the so-called bastard who encompassed his fallen father's legacy.
The battle that followed was one of the most technically brilliant pieces of television that anyone had ever witnessed. It played like a movie, and the effects were better than most big-budget blockbusters. In addition to the stunning look of the episode, the pacing of the story was brilliant, and the acting was second to none. The Battle of The Bastards was truly a work of art, and seeing Sansa finally put an end to Ramsay was a moment that had the entire world cheering.
2. The Rains of Castamere (3.9)
In the third season's penultimate episode, Robb Stark rode into The Twins for his cousin's wedding. He, his army, his mother, and his pregnant wife filled the halls of Walder Frey's dining room in order to celebrate the union. What we got, however, was far from a celebration. As doors began to lock and patrons began to leave, it was clear that something was wrong. Ten minutes later, almost half of the remaining Stark family was dead, and the King of The North was a thing of the past. Betrayed by bannerman Rosse Bolton, Catelyn and Robb were sent to their graves at the height of their conquests. Just as everything seemed right in their worlds, they were immediately ended.
This was a moment that shocked the world, and its impact is still being felt on the show today. It proved that no one on the show was truly safe, and many of our favorite characters could die all at once. The sadness and hopelessness fans felt in this episode still remains, and many even stopped watching Game of Thrones after the events of The Rains of Castamere.
1. The Winds of Winter (6.10)
There has never been an episode of television like this since the TV was invented, and there's a good chance one will never come. A perfect execution of masterful storytelling brought Season 6 to an end, and every fan's jaw was on the floor.
The first 20 minutes unfolded and no one could have guessed what was behind the curtain. Cersei's master plan was revealed, and it brought on the death of countless important characters. Margary, The High Sparrow, Lancel, Loras, Kevan, Lord Tyrell, Maester Pycell, and Tommen all met their ends as the church was brought to the ground, and Cersei was left smiling in her tower. This scene was flawlessly directed, keeping us on edge for every second. It also stood out as one of the most brilliant scores in the entire series, and it rivaled the work of composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Kudos to Ramin Djawadi for that masterpiece.
As if the events of King's Landing weren't enough, we were also treated to an array of wonderful moments. Sam finally made it to the Citadel, and watching his face light up at the grand library was a beautiful thing. Everyone's new favorite character, Lyanna Mormont, delivered a breathtaking speech that crowned Jon Snow the King in The North, and Bran got one step closer to reaching his siblings back in Westeros.
Revenge finally came for the Stark family, as Arya used her talents as a faceless assassin to return and slit the throat of Walder Frey. No one saw it coming, and the scene was the final piece of Arya's brutal transformation. We were also given the true identity of Jon Snow, as Bran's vision showed Ned's sister, Lyanna giving him up on her death bed. Jon was revealed as both a Stark, and a Targaryen, proving he has a claim to the Iron Throne after all.
As the episode ended, we witnessed Cersei taking her oath as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and Daenerys sailing to Westeros to crown herself. These two women are set up to provide us with an incredible battle over control of the known world, and it's not much longer until we get the pleasure of witnessing it.
Well, there you have it! The top 10 episodes in Game of Thrones history. Did you agree with these choices? Have thoughts of your own? Let us know in the comments below!