Best Game of Thrones episodes

Written by:
April 20, 2019

Best Game of Thrones episodes

Based on George R.R. Martin's book series "A Song of Ice and Fire," the HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones" has brought the saga of Westeros to a larger mainstream audience. Ever since the show premiered in April 2011, it has thrilled audiences with dazzling fantastical action sequences, while consistently shocking viewers with unexpected character deaths.

The HBO series is reaching its eighth and final broadcast season, with fans questioning who will eventually sit on the Iron Throne. The television show has since surpassed the book series in terms of source material, meaning that these final six episodes will be unpredictable. Fan favorite characters like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister will have to band together in an unlikely alliance in order to defeat the threat of the undead White Walkers.

Prior to this war between the living and the dead, "Game of Thrones" presented 67 episodes over seven broadcast seasons. Not all fans agree on which of these episodes were the best, so Stacker turned to the hard data. Using information from IMDb, Stacker has compiled a ranking of the best "Game of Thrones" episodes, from worst to best. These episodes are ranked by the user ratings of each episode, with ties being broken by the number of votes. The data was pulled from IMDb as recently as April 5, 2019.

Each entry of this list will have a brief summary of that episode, along with any significance it may have held to fans and interesting pieces of trivia. With the final season of "Game of Thrones" now upon us, fans are undoubtedly refreshing their memories through binge-watching. Which "Game of Thrones" episode was your favorite?

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#67. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- IMDb votes: 20,229
- Air date: May 17, 2015
- Season 5, episode 6

Perhaps one of the most controversial episodes in the show's run was “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” which is named after the House Martell motto. The Sand Snake sisters from House Martell ambush Jaime Lannister and Bronn in a fight scene criticized for its choreography and editing. Most significant was the wedding between Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton, who later rapes Sansa in a scene that was widely viewed as exploitative and unnecessary.

#66. Blood of My Blood

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb votes: 23,613
- Air date: May 29, 2016
- Season 6, episode 6

Old characters returned in this season six episode, with the infamous Walder Frey (David Bradley) reappearing three years after the so-called “Red Wedding.” But more significant was the return of Benjen Stark, as Benjen had been missing since season one of the series.

#65. No One

- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- IMDb votes: 26,437
- Air date: June 12, 2016
- Season 6, episode 8

After failing at numerous tasks in her training to become an assassin, Arya Stark finds herself on the run from a rival. Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen returns to Meereen with new forces, only to find the city under attack from slavers. Some critics found Arya's plotline to be anticlimactic, while viewers were disappointed in the off-screen death of the character known as the Blackfish.

#64. High Sparrow

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb votes: 17,022
- Air date: April 26, 2015
- Season 5, episode 3

Named after the character played by Jonathan Pryce, “High Sparrow” fleshes out this pious figure. He is named the High Septon by Queen Cersei Lannister over the course of this episode. "High Sparrow" also features a significant crossover between two characters, as Tyrion Lannister is kidnapped by Jorah Mormont, who intends to take him to Daenerys as a gift.

#63. The House of Black and White

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb votes: 17,716
- Air date: April 19, 2015
- Season 5, episode 2

"The House of Black and White" refers to the headquarters of the Faceless Men, the organization of disguised assassins that Arya Stark hopes to join. As she waits outside the titular location, her brother Jon Snow faces a new challenge at The Wall. In a close election, Jon is elected the new lord commander of the Night's Watch.

#62. The Night Lands

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb votes: 17,954
- Air date: April 8, 2012
- Season 2, episode 2

This early season two episode contains some important setup, though many critics dismissed it as a “placeholder episode.” "The Night Lands" introduces some of Theon Greyjoy's family, including his father Balon Greyjoy and his sister Yara. Stannis Baratheon continues to plan his campaign for King's Landing and is seduced by his Red Priestess Melisandre, who promises a son.

#61. The Wars to Come

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb votes: 20,754
- Air date: April 12, 2015
- Season 5, episode 1

This season five premiere was the rare “Game of Thrones” episode to feature a flashback, beginning with a young Cersei Lannister learning her future from a fortune teller. At the Wall, Stannis Baratheon sentences the “King Beyond the Wall” Mance Rayder to death for not swearing loyalty after his defeat, with Jon Snow shooting Mance in the heart to spare him from being burnt at the stake. Overall, critics described “The Wars to Come” as a solid, if uneventful, premiere.

#60. The Red Woman

- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- IMDb votes: 29,566
- Air date: April 24, 2016
- Season 6, episode 1

At this point in “Game of Thrones,” the HBO series had surpassed the book series in plot progression, with season six delving into new story territory. Jon Snow's allies begin to lose hope after he was killed by mutineers within the Night's Watch; meanwhile, Arya Stark struggles in Braavos, having been blinded after a previous failure. While the season six premiere was generally liked, many critics took issue with the Dorne plotline, especially as it diverged further from the books.

#59. Dark Wings, Dark Words

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- IMDb votes: 17,251
- Air date: April 7, 2013
- Season 3, episode 2

A relatively slow episode in the third season, “Dark Wings, Dark Words” introduced some important new characters. Dame Diana Rigg made her first appearance as Lady Olenna Tyrell, nicknamed the “Queen of Thorns,” while Bran Stark's allies Jojen and Meera also debuted. Most prominent was actor Iwan Rheon, whose character would later be revealed as Ramsay Snow.

#58. Kill the Boy

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- IMDb votes: 17,849
- Air date: May 10, 2015
- Season 5, episode 5

In the middle of season five, Jorah Mormont continues his trek with Tyrion Lannister as his prisoner. After the duo is attacked by men heavily infected with greyscale, Jorah unexpectedly falls ills with the same disease. At the Wall, Jon Snow seeks advice from Maester Aemon, who advises to "kill the boy and let the man be born."

#57. Lord Snow

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- IMDb votes: 20,542
- Air date: May 1, 2011
- Season 1, episode 3

Jon Snow, believed to be the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, arrived at the Wall early in the show's first season. Mockingly called “Lord Snow” by a detractor, Jon proved his worth as he defeated every opponent while training with other recruits. During this time, Jon befriended Tyrion Lannister, who bonds with Jon Snow over being a fellow outcast.

#56. The Broken Man

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- IMDb votes: 22,808
- Air date: June 5, 2016
- Season 6, episode 7

“The Broken Man” began with a rare cold open before the credits, in order to contain a surprise. Sandor Clegane, also known as “The Hound,” was alive and well, despite his absence for over a season. In Braavos, Arya Stark was wounded by the Waif.

#55. Dragonstone

- IMDb user rating: 8.7
- IMDb votes: 37,184
- Air date: July 16, 2017
- Season 7, episode 1

The seventh season premiere marked Daenerys Targaryen's return to Westeros, making landfall on her family's home of Dragonstone. Bran Stark arrived at the Wall, as Sansa Stark and Jon Snow quarreled at Winterfell. Meanwhile, Arya Stark killed the rest of House Frey. Arya also encountered a Lannister soldier played by pop star Ed Sheeran, which many viewers hated.

#54. The Bear and the Maiden Fair

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 16,872
- Air date: May 12, 2013
- Season 3, episode 7

“A Song of Ice and Fire” author George R.R. Martin is credited as the writer of this season three episode, which is named after a folk song in Westeros. Theon Greyjoy is imprisoned by the still unnamed Ramsay Snow, who subjects Theon to significant violence and torture. At the end of this episode, Jaime Lannister saves Brienne of Tarth, who is thrown into a pit and forced to fight a bear.

#53. Sons of the Harpy

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 17,649
- Air date: May 3, 2015
- Season 5, episode 4

King Tommen Baratheon struggles to keep control as his queen's brother is taken captive by the Faith Militant. The titular Sons of Harpy, meanwhile, pose a similar threat to Daenerys Targaryen. The climactic battle between Daenerys' Unsullied army and the Sons of Harpy resulted in the death of the loyal Ser Barristan Selmy.

#52. First of His Name

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 17,793
- Air date: May 4, 2014
- Season 4, episode 5

Not long after the poisoning of Joffrey Baratheon, his younger brother Tommen is crowned king. The always-scheming Petyr Baelish agrees to marry Sansa Stark's aunt, Lady Lysa Arryn of the Vale. Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow leads a group of Night's Watch brothers and squashes the mutineers who murdered their lord commander.

#51. Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 19,519
- Air date: May 8, 2011
- Season 1, episode 4

Jon Snow meets Samwell Tarly, sent to the Wall for his supposed unworthiness to his family name. Tyrion Lannister helps Bran Stark gain mobility after his paralysis, but this good deed is quickly punished. Tyrion is accused of attempting to murder Bran and taken prisoner by Bran's mother, Catelyn Stark. An early episode of “Game of Thrones,” critics lauded it for progressing the story at a quick pace.

#50. The Kingsroad

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 21,711
- Air date: April 24, 2011
- Season 1, episode 2

“The Kingsroad” refers to the long and winding road that cuts through Westeros, leading to King's Landing. On the way to King's Landing, a dispute among the children leads to a minor conflict between the Lannisters and the Starks. Ned Stark being must kill one of his children's direwolf pets to settle the score.

#49. Oathbreaker

- IMDb user rating: 8.8
- IMDb votes: 23,820
- Air date: May 8, 2016
- Season 6, episode 3

Jon Snow is found alive, having been successfully resurrected at the end of the previous episode. While his (supposed) father Ned Stark remains dead, “Oathbreaker” shows a much younger Ned through flashback. The episode ends grimly with Jon Snow executing would-be mutineers, leaving the Night's Watch soon afterward.

#48. Garden of Bones

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 17,116
- Air date: April 22, 2012
- Season 2, episode 4

The "Garden of Bones" refers to a desert Daenerys travels through to reach the city of Qarth. The Baratheons are on the move, with brothers Renly and Stannis Baratheon making respective claims to the throne. At the end of the episode, the Red Priestess Melisandre gives birth to a horrific shadow creature meant to serve Stannis.

#47. The Ghost of Harrenhal

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 17,254
- Air date: April 29, 2012
- Season 2, episode 5

Stannis Baratheon finds himself with one less opponent, as the shadow creature birthed by Melisandre murders his brother and rival, Renly Baratheon. That event spurs Brienne of Tarth, who is loyal to Renly, to flee and swear revenge on Stannis. At Harrenhal, Arya Stark serves as a cupbearer to Tywin Lannister, who does not know her true identity.

#46. The Prince of Winterfell

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 17,368
- Air date: May 20, 2012
- Season 2, episode 8

Arya Stark remains stranded in Harrenhal, but escapes with the help of the Faceless Man Jaqen H'ghar. King in the North Robb Stark grows closer to Lady Talisa Maegyr, making him reconsider his vow to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters. Critics overall enjoyed the character interactions in the episode, which was named for Theon Greyjoy, who captures Winterfell.

#45. Walk of Punishment

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 17,442
- Air date: April 14, 2013
- Season 3, episode 3

Written and directed by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, “Walk of Punishment” sees Jaime Lannister at perhaps his lowest point. At the end of the episode, his captor chops off his right hand, leaving the Kingslayer in agony. This twist is immediately followed with a contemporary rock version of Westerosi folk song “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” The song was included to shock viewers, although it alienated quite a few of them.

#44. The Climb

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 17,600
- Air date: May 5, 2013
- Season 3, episode 6

Tyrion Lannister finds out who ordered him killed during the Battle of Blackwater. Not long after, he is forced into an engagement to Sansa Stark. In the North, Jon Snow and the wildlings climb the Wall. The episode has a memorable speech from Littlefinger, in which he declares that “chaos is a ladder.”

#43. What Is Dead May Never Die

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 17,780
- Air date: April 15, 2012
- Season 2, episode 3

This episode represents a turning point for Theon Greyjoy, whose family prayers include the phrase "What is dead may never die." Having essentially been adopted by the Starks, Theon chooses the Greyjoys over his surrogate family. This episode was also significant for introducing Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer).

#42. Oathkeeper

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 18,465
- Air date: April 27, 2014
- Season 4, episode 4

The characters are reeling after several events, including a mutiny within the Night's Watch at Craster's Keep and the poisoning of Joffrey Baratheon at his wedding. Brienne of Tarth is given a sword called Oathkeeper by Jaime Lannister and takes on Podrick Payne as a squire. The end of this episode introduces the Night King, the leader of the White Walkers and ultimately a main villain of the show.

#41. The North Remembers

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 19,103
- Air date: April 1, 2012
- Season 2, episode 1

He's mentioned several times in the first season, but this season two premiere finally introduces Stannis Baratheon, who falls under the influence of the Red Priestess Melisandre in his quest for the Iron Throne. Robb Stark continues his campaign against the Lannisters, incited over the execution of his father. The title refers to the Westerosi phrase “The North remembers,” a signifier of revenge.

#40. Breaker of Chains

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 19,337
- Air date: April 20, 2014
- Season 4, episode 3

The Lannisters hold a funeral for Joffrey Baratheon, then begin preparations for his younger brother Tommen to become the new king. This episode was controversial for a scene in which Jaime Lannister rapes his sister Cersei Lannister as they discuss their son Joffrey's death. The title refers to Daenerys Targaryen's efforts to free the slaves in and outside of Meereen.

#39. Valar Dohaeris

- IMDb user rating: 8.9
- IMDb votes: 19,402
- Air date: March 31, 2013
- Season 3, episode 1

This season three premiere introduced a litany of new and important characters, one being the “King Beyond the Wall” Mance Rayder, played by actor Ciaran Hinds. Tormund Giantsbane, who would later become one of Jon Snow's confidants, also made his first appearance. 

#38. A Man Without Honor

- IMDb user rating: 9
- IMDb votes: 17,662
- Air date: May 13, 2012
- Season 2, episode 7

Jaime Lannister is still held captive by the Starks, and even kills a member of his own family in his attempt to escape. For this, Catelyn Stark labels him as "a man without honor." Theon Greyjoy takes control of Winterfell, but as he cannot find the young Bran Stark and Rickon Stark, he fakes their deaths.

#37. Kissed by Fire

- IMDb user rating: 9
- IMDb votes: 17,739
- Air date: April 28, 2013
- Season 3, episode 5

Fire was the theme of this mid-season three episode, mainly manifested in the intimate encounter between Jon Snow and the red-haired wildling Ygritte. The Hound faces his combat trial, squaring off against the fire sword-wielding Beric Dondarrion. Finally, Jaime Lannister tells his side of the story of how he killed the "Mad King" Aerys Targaryen, before using his cache of wildfire.

#36. Winter Is Coming

- IMDb user rating: 9
- IMDb votes: 28,271
- Air date: April 17, 2011
- Season 1, episode 1

The pilot episode of “Game of Thrones” proved troublesome in production, with so many characters from the Stark, Lannister, and Targaryen families being introduced at once. Eventually, director Tim Van Patten—a veteran from TV shows such as “The Sopranos”—reshot the pilot to create the famous series premiere of the show. The episode sees Ned Stark (Sean Bean) of Winterfell appointed the new “Hand of the King” for King Robert Baratheon.

#35. Eastwatch

- IMDb user rating: 9
- IMDb votes: 30,289
- Air date: Aug. 13, 2017
- Season 7, episode 5

The aftermath of the Targaryen loot train attack on the Lannisters unfolds. Daenerys's Hand of the Queen Tyrion Lannister unsuccessfully tries to convince her to spare some survivors of the attack. Tyrion also discreetly meets with Jaime Lannister to plan a parlay between Cersei and Daenerys, and Jon Snow puts together a team to traverse beyond the Wall.

#34. Stormborn

- IMDb user rating: 9
- IMDb votes: 31,108
- Air date: July 23, 2017
- Season 7, episode 2

Daenerys Targaryen, having just landed on Dragonstone, begins planning her conquest of Westeros. Jon Snow is summoned to meet Daenerys, to the objection of Sansa Stark. The episode ends with a battle sequence, in which Euron Greyjoy's forces, loyal to Cersei Lannister, attack Daenerys's allies Yara Greyjoy and the Sand Snakes.

#33. Second Sons

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 17,550
- Air date: May 19, 2013
- Season 3, episode 8

To their dismay, Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister are forced into an arranged marriage. The wedding ceremony is exceedingly uncomfortable, and Tyrion refuses to consummate the marriage. Gendry is taken to Dragonstone, as Melisandre intends to use his blood to benefit Stannis Baratheon. Daenerys encounters the mercenary group the Second Sons, which includes Daario Naharis.

#32. The Old Gods and the New

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 18,215
- Air date: May 6, 2012
- Season 2, episode 6

Theon Greyjoy tightens his hold on Winterfell, even as he botches an execution and unknowingly allows Bran and Rickon Stark to escape. Jon Snow is part of a Night's Watch expedition; after he is unable to execute a wildling survivor named Ygritte, he ends up chasing after her alone. In Qarth, Daenerys's dragons are stolen from her.

#31. The Pointy End

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 19,120
- Air date: June 5, 2011
- Season 1, episode 8

For the first time in the series, author George R.R. Martin contributed a teleplay to the series. His episode “The Pointy End” depicted the chaos that ensued after Ned Stark was captured—including the escape of Arya Stark. Khal Drogo also fights a duel for his wife Daenerys, but is wounded in victory.

#30. The Gift

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 19,979
- Air date: May 24, 2015
- Season 5, episode 7

In his desperation, Jorah Mormont fights in the pits for Daenerys, but upon her rejection, he presents the captured Tyrion Lannister as a gift. Maester Aegon Targaryen falls ill and dies in Castle Black. This episode was directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who would go on to direct some of the most highly-acclaimed episodes of the series.

#29. The Wolf and the Lion

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 20,475
- Air date: May 15, 2011
- Season 1, episode 5

Halfway through the first season, “The Wolf and the Lion” took a more streamlined approach to its storytelling. Catelyn Stark takes her captive Tyrion Lannister to the Vale for judgment, while Ned Stark investigates the death of his predecessor. Critics praised the episode, even though it did not contain any scenes with Jon Snow at the Wall or Daenerys Targaryen.

#28. Two Swords

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 23,827
- Air date: April 6, 2014
- Season 4, episode 1

Tywin Lannister melts down the Stark ancestral sword, Ice, into two new swords, giving one to the recently returned Jaime Lannister. Actor Pedro Pascal makes his debut as the fan favorite character Oberyn Martell, who arrives in King's Landing. This episode was directed by the show-running team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who normally stay away from the director's chair.

#27. Mother's Mercy

- IMDb user rating: 9.1
- IMDb votes: 30,318
- Air date: June 14, 2015
- Season 5, episode 10

The season five finale dealt with some major consequences, a big one being the burning of young Shireen Baratheon at the stake in sacrifice. The weather began to favor Stannis Baratheon, but many of his forces abandoned him, leaving him with few men to take on Ramsay Bolton. In King's Landing, Cersei Lannister was forced to go on a humiliating walk of atonement, and at the Wall, Jon Snow was betrayed by some of his brothers in the Night's Watch.

#26. Mhysa

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- IMDb votes: 20,024
- Air date: June 9, 2013
- Season 3, episode 10

The season three finale focused on the aftermath of the so-called “Red Wedding,” the massacre of the remaining Stark forces. Daenerys was hailed as “mhysa,” or “mother,” by the slaves she freed. The final scene of the episode, in which Daenerys is held up by the former slaves, was criticized for some colonial undertones.

#25. Mockingbird

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- IMDb votes: 20,144
- Air date: May 18, 2014
- Season 4, episode 7

At King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister struggles to find a champion for his trial by combat, but Oberyn Martell volunteers in order to exact revenge for his sister's death. The episode mainly focuses on Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, who discusses his motives with Sansa Stark. Later, he murders her aunt Lysa Arryn by pushing her through the Moon Door.

#24. A Golden Crown

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- IMDb votes: 20,324
- Air date: May 22, 2011
- Season 1, episode 6

Viserys Targaryen meets a gruesome end in this late season one episode. Jealous of his sister's popularity, he attempts to take matters into his own hands. Critics praised his final scene, in which Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) gives Viserys a “golden crown” by pouring molten metal onto his head.

#23. Book of the Stranger

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- IMDb votes: 26,002
- Air date: May 15, 2016
- Season 6, episode 4

After years apart, Sansa Stark arrives at the Wall and reunites with Jon Snow. This episode went back to the show's roots, with the character Osha making a brief reappearance and Daenerys once again taking control of the Dothraki. The ending scene of Daenerys emerging from the flames was praised by critics for its feminist undertones.

#22. Beyond the Wall

- IMDb user rating: 9.2
- IMDb votes: 44,883
- Air date: Aug. 20, 2017
- Season 7, episode 6

Jon Snow leads a motley crew of characters beyond the Wall, hunting for a wight to prove to Cersei Lannister that the White Walkers exist. In Winterfell, Sansa Stark begins to question Arya Stark's intentions. Director Alan Taylor returned to the show after forays into film with “Thor: The Dark World” and “Terminator Genisys,” directing the significant death scene of the dragon Viserion.

#21. You Win or You Die

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- IMDb votes: 20,859
- Air date: May 29, 2011
- Season 1, episode 7

This season one episode contains one of the most iconic scenes of the series, in which Cersei Lannister and Ned Stark converse in a garden. "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground,” Cersei famously tells Ned, not only referencing the name of the show but also defining many of the story's themes.

#20. The Queen's Justice

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- IMDb votes: 32,268
- Air date: July 30, 2017
- Season 7, episode 3

Cersei Lannister gets revenge on the Sand Snakes responsible for the death of her daughter. As the show had long surpassed the books in story progression by this point, this episode depicts a meeting that was not in the books: namely, a meeting between Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. This episode also marks the final appearance of Dame Diana Rigg as Lady Olenna Tyrell.

#19. Valar Morghulis

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb votes: 21,982
- Air date: June 3, 2012
- Season 2, episode 10

The characters feel the aftershocks of the Battle of Blackwater, especially scarred and injured Tyrion. Stannis Baratheon remains despondent after his failure, but his faith is restored by Melisandre. The episode ends with a brief glimpse at the larger White Walker army.

#18. Home

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb votes: 35,691
- Air date: May 1, 2016
- Season 6, episode 2

In the lead-up to season six, fans speculated about the fate of Jon Snow, who was stabbed by mutineers in the Night's Watch at the end of season five. In the end, Jon was resurrected by the Red Priestess Melisandre. Bran Stark and his traveling companions also returned to the show, having been absent through season five.

#17. Fire and Blood

- IMDb user rating: 9.5
- IMDb votes: 23,854
- Air date: June 19, 2011
- Season 1, episode 10

The Starks react to the death of Ned Stark at the hands of Joffrey Baratheon. Daenerys Targaryen loses Khal Drogo and their baby son, but her three dragon eggs hatch in a fiery scene that ends the first season. Critics overall praised the episode as a solid closer for season one.

#16. The Dance of Dragons

- IMDb user rating: 9.5
- IMDb votes: 31,264
- Air date: June 7, 2015
- Season 5, episode 9

Stannis Baratheon makes a controversial choice, having his much beloved daughter Shireen burned at the stake as a blood sacrifice. (Viewers and critics heavily criticized this disturbing scene.) Meanwhile, Daenerys and her entourage are attacked by the Sons of Harpy, but saved by her dragon Drogon, on whom she rides away.

#15. And Now His Watch Is Ended

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- IMDb votes: 24,358
- Air date: April 21, 2013
- Season 3, episode 4

The episode title “And Now His Watch Is Ended” refers to a chant by the Night's Watch, used whenever a brother in the Watch dies. At Craster's Keep, some of the Night's Watch members are angered by Craster and not only kill him, but their Lord Commander Jeor Mormont. Beyond Westeros, Daenerys earns the loyalty of the formerly slave army of the Unsullied.

#14. Baelor

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- IMDb votes: 26,927
- Air date: June 12, 2011
- Season 1, episode 9

A defining episode of the series, the penultimate episode of season one featured the unexpected execution of Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean. As Bean was the headliner of the HBO show, his death was shocking to viewers with no knowledge of the book's story. The highly-praised episode served as a warning to viewers that no characters—even protagonists—were safe.

#13. The Watchers on the Wall

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- IMDb votes: 30,711
- Air date: June 08, 2014
- Season 4, episode 9

This episode focuses solely on the Wall, with the Night's Watch warding off an attack from the wildlings. Jon Snow eventually finds himself the leader of the defense force, losing many brothers in the battle. The conflict also pits Jon against his former lover, the wildling Ygritte.

#12. The Dragon and the Wolf

- IMDb user rating: 9.6
- IMDb votes: 43,158
- Air date: Aug. 27, 2017
- Season 7, episode 7

The longest episode of “Game of Thrones” to date featured unprecedented character crossovers. Cersei Lannister's and Daenerys Targaryen's forces met to negotiate a ceasefire, with the impending threat of the White Walkers on their way. The explosive end of the episode saw the Night King and the White Walkers breaking through the Wall with the help of their newly undead dragon.

#11. The Children

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- IMDb votes: 30,513
- Air date: June 15, 2014
- Season 4, episode 10

Stannis Baratheon's forces arrive at the Wall to aid the Night's Watch from the wildlings. Tyrion, sentenced to death for the murder of Joffrey Baratheon, escapes from prison and kills his former lover Shae and his father Tywin Lannister. Despite the significant plot developments in this season four finale, fans of the book were disappointed that Lady Stoneheart did not make an appearance at the end.

#10. Blackwater

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- IMDb votes: 30,947
- Air date: May 27, 2012
- Season 2, episode 9

Directed by filmmaker Neil Marshall, “Blackwater” focuses on the battle for King's Landing between the Lannisters and Stannis Baratheon. The battle begins with a massive explosion of wildfire and culminates in a land battle between infantry forces. The episode received much acclaim and won a Hugo Award.

#9. The Laws of Gods and Men

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- IMDb votes: 33,544
- Air date: May 11, 2014
- Season 4, episode 6

With the help of Ser Davos Seaworth, Stannis Baratheon wins the help of the Iron Bank to fund his army. "The Laws of Gods and Men" was praised for the trial of Tyrion Lannister, in which Tyrion makes an impassioned and angry speech. In the end, Tyrion demands a trial by combat.

#8. The Mountain and the Viper

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- IMDb votes: 37,154
- Air date: June 1, 2014
- Season 4, episode 8

The trial by combat between Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane and Oberyn Martell was the centerpiece of this episode. Like many other famous episodes in the series, viewers were shocked by the unexpected nature of Oberyn's death. Also significant in this episode was Daenerys banishment of Jorah Mormont, who formerly served as a spy against Daenerys.

#7. The Lion and the Rose

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- IMDb votes: 38,365
- Air date: April 13, 2014
- Season 4, episode 2

The final episode of “Game of Thrones” written by George R.R. Martin, “The Lion and the Rose” depicted the wedding of Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell. Nicknamed the “Purple Wedding” by fans, this particular ending was praised for the buildup to yet another unexpected character demise. 

#6. The Door

- IMDb user rating: 9.7
- IMDb votes: 52,517
- Air date: May 22, 2016
- Season 6, episode 5

“The Door” features additional action from the White Walkers and their leader, the Night King. The Night King locates Bran, who is then forced to complete his training to succeed the Three-Eyed Raven (Max Von Sydow). The end of the episode explains the origin of Hodor.

#5. The Spoils of War

- IMDb user rating: 9.8
- IMDb votes: 64,959
- Air date: Aug. 06, 2017
- Season 7, episode 4

The shortest episode of “Game of Thrones” was also one of the most eventful ones, containing Arya's return to Winterfell. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen gain trust for one another, and the episode ends with Daenerys attacking Lannister forces after a recent loss against them. The destructive battle scene set the record for most stuntmen set on fire for a production.

#4. The Rains of Castamere

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- IMDb votes: 69,659
- Air date: June 2, 2013
- Season 3, episode 9

The ninth episode of the third season depicted what was undoubtedly the most infamous scene in all of the books and its TV adaptation. "The Red Wedding” unveiled the unexpected and violent assassinations of many Starks, including the King in the North Robb Stark. Videos of fan reactions to the deaths went viral shortly after the episode concluded.

#3. Hardhome

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- IMDb votes: 72,438
- Air date: May 31, 2015
- Season 5, episode 8

"Hardhome" depicted an event that was not actually seen in the books: a massacre of wildlings at Hardhome by the White Walkers. The action-packed final sequence had Jon Snow and company fighting off wights, with a chilling ending thanks to the Night King. Otherwise, the episode was significant for having Daenerys and Tyrion—two characters yet to meet in the books—enjoy their first full conversation.

#2. The Winds of Winter

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- IMDb votes: 110,349
- Air date: June 26, 2016
- Season 6, episode 10

The season six finale opens with an extended sequence, in which Cersei Lannister exacts vengeance on her enemies through the use of wildfire. The sequence contains original piano music from show composer Ramin Djawadi, a marked departure from the show's usual musical score. Viewers also learned a big revelation about Jon Snow's paternal background, confirming a theory that book readers had held for years.

#1. Battle of the Bastards

- IMDb user rating: 9.9
- IMDb votes: 160,437
- Air date: June 19, 2016
- Season 6, episode 9

The penultimate episode of season six contains two major action sequences. In the first, Daenerys takes back Meereen with her dragon, while in the second, a major battle takes place between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, episode director Miguel Sapochnik, and the rest of the crew were inspired by stories of medieval warfare and even imagery from the U.S. Civil War in plotting this large-scale battle. With a near-perfect user rating score of 9.9 out of 10, “Battle of the Bastards” is considered not just one of the best “Game of Thrones” episodes but one of the greatest television episodes of all time.

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