"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword."You don't get to become HBO's most popular show ever by not being one powerful series. Here are some moments that show just why. WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS!
— Eddard Stark
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1 - Winter is Coming
- The very first sequence of the series, which introduces viewers to the White Walkers and shows us why they are something to be feared.
- When we see Bran practicing archery, he's not doing great but he's trying his hardest. A few moments later, he pulls back his bowstring, and an arrow slams straight into the bulls-eye... from behind Bran, revealing it was his sister Arya who managed to score a perfect hit from further away than him. Even better — just before Arya shot, Ned observed Bran struggling and pointed out to the amused Jon and Robb that neither of them was a marksman at 10 — indicating than Arya may be better than all three of her brothers. Which is definitely echoed in their reactions as Robb looks plain gobsmacked and Jon is grinning with obvious pride.
- So... Ned is a rather warm parent. Where's the stern Northern lord with enough gravitas to freeze the Wall over again?
- "He won't be a boy forever. And winter is coming."
- ... Holy shit.
- Jon quickly using First Men superstition to save the direwolf pup litter and acknowledging his illegitimacy in public without a qualm, using it so his half brothers and sisters can have a direwolf pup of their own. And after this, Jon ends up finding his own pup as well, symbolizing he is still a Stark in all but name.
- Bran's Le Parkour on Winterfell's battlements; the boy is putting Ezio to shame. Earlier, the fact that he doesn't balk at his first sight of bloody death when his father beheads the Night's Watch deserter.
- This exchange between Jaime and Ned during the feast at Winterfell.
Ser Jaime Lannister: It would be good to have you on the field. The competition has become a bit stale.Lord Eddard Stark: I don't fight in tournaments.Jaime: No? getting a little old for it?Ned: (wry smile) Hm, I don't fight in tournaments... because when I fight a man for real — I don't want him to know what I can do.Jaime: (smirks) Well said.
- Princess Daenerys, though clearly horrified, is able to maintain her composure when she sees a Dothraki warrior having his entrails spilt out in front of her, followed by his head being half sliced off for his braid. At her own wedding, no less. The girl has Nerves of Steel.
2 - The Kingsroad
- Tyrion slapping Joffrey three times for refusing to give Catelyn his condolences for Bran's injury and subsequent coma. It is also a Funny Moment as Joffrey is twice Tyrion's height.note
Joffrey: The boy means nothing to me. Huh, I can't stand the wailing of women.Tyrion: [SLAP] One word — and I hit you again.Joffrey: I'm telling mother!Tyrion: [SLAP] Go. Tell her. But first you will get to Lord and Lady Stark, and you will fall on your knees in front of them and tell them how very sorry you are, that you are at their service and that all your prayers are with them. Do — you — understand?Joffrey: You can't—Tyrion: [SLAP] Do you understand?
Sandor: Joffrey will remember that, my lord.Tyrion: I hope so. If he forgets, be a good dog and remind him, won't you?
- The Hound just stands by and lets Tyrion slap Joffrey around with a look that screams: "and not a single fuck was given that day." One can almost think that Sandor was quietly cheering Tyrion on.
- Then, after Joffrey leaves, the Hound ominously warns Tyrion that he's risking the wrath of the future king. Tyrion not only shows zero fear, but doesn't even stop snarking.
- Arya defending a common butchers boy against the crown prince of Westeros, and then Arya's direwolf, Nymeria savaging Joffrey's sword arm when he attempts to cut her to ribbons for hitting him with a stick.
- And before that, Bran's direwolf coming to his master's (and Catelyn's) defense and promptly tearing out the assassin's throat. Bear in mind, in the immediately previous episode, they were still suckling pups.
- Arya hurling Joffrey's sword into the Trident was particularly cathartic. Until it became evident that, if she had held onto it, the blood from Mycah's cheek still on the blade might have helped prove her side of the story.
- Arya is almost stabbed by Joffrey, chased down by soldiers and then dragged before the entire court and royal family. How does she respond? Repeatedly declares that Joffrey was the one who hurt Mycah and refuses to back down. Given how feared Cersei and Joffrey are, and that both Ned and Sansa fail to stand up to the royal family, it really shows you how gutsy this little eleven year old girl is.
- Ned gets a subtle one when he tells Cersei, in no uncertain terms, that he refuses to let Sansa's direwolf Lady be killed by a heartless executioner and takes responsibility for the royal order himself. And you can tell how much he's both bracing and hating himself for his actions, but still does it out of a sense of duty and mercy to the poor wolf. Also counts as Tear Jerker material.
Ned: (to Cersei) The wolf is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher.
3 - Lord Snow
- Jon using his superior training to help his fellow recruits, all of which are lowborn, master the sword.
- Daenerys begins to push back against Viserys. She's not the weak, hopeless girl we saw in episode one anymore.
- Earlier that scene:
Daenerys: Tell them (the khalasar) to stop.Jorah: You want the entire horde to stop? For how long?Daenerys: Until I command them otherwise.Jorah: You're learning to talk like a queen.Daenerys: Not a queen. A khaleesi.
- Syrio Forel's first scene. Hello, instant Ensemble Darkhorse.
"There is only one god, and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: not today."
- He certainly has one of the more memorable lines in the show thus far.
- Old Nan's story about winter, the Long Night and the White Walkers. An amazing capper to the career of Margaret John. Conveyed with good narration, and Nightmare Fuel.
- It's a small one but nonetheless significant. As Tyrion jokes with Yoren in the common hall of Castle Black, Benjen Stark walks in and takes offence at the rather jovial tone in Tyrion's assessment of the Night's Watch and his assertions that there's only men beyond the Wall. Not only does Yoren shut up immediately, but in the end he manages to shut up Tyrion Lannister, who's always ready for a witty retort... at least until he leaves the room.
Benjen Stark: The wildlings are no different from us. A little rougher, maybe. But they're made of meat and bone. I know how to track 'em and I know how to kill 'em. It's not the wildlings giving me sleepless nights... You've never been north of the Wall, so don't tell me what's out there.
4 - Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things
- Daenerys fully standing up to her brother and proving that she Took a Level in Badass. And throughout this "Reason You Suck" Speech, Viserys' expression is one of utter shock and confusion.
Daenerys: I am a Khaleesi of the Dothraki! I am the wife of the great Khal and I carry his son inside me. The next time you raise a hand to me, will be the last time you have hands.
- Littlefinger tells Ned he's taking him to meet with Catelyn and leads Ned to one of his whorehouses. When Ned realizes this, he responds to the perceived insult to not only his honor but his wife's by choke-slamming Littlefinger against a wall. Considering everything that Littlefinger does throughout the series it's immensely satisfying in hindsight to see him suffer a little.
- Catelyn actually managing to catch Tyrion in a moment of Genre Blindness, setting him up slowly and steadily by calling upon members of various loyal Houses in the inn — just before accusing him of trying to assassinate Bran and requesting that they take him into custody. It's a rare feat to get the drop on Tyrion, especially with one Badass Boast. This gets better in the next episode: despite making the arrest right on the spot with no plan, she had the presence of mind to announce that she was taking Tyrion to Winterfell, when she actually planned to take him to the Eyrie, leaving anyone trying to rescue him to look in the wrong place.
- Jon asks everyone to take it easy on Samwell, and Rast doesn't agree. That night, Jon and the others pay him a visit along with Jon's direwolf, Ghost, and the next day he's fully committed to leaving Sam alone.
5 - The Wolf and the Lion
- First we have Loras Tyrell (aka: the Knight of the Flowers) using an underhanded trick to beat Gregor, the Mountain, Clegane in a joust, which prompts Gregor to kill his horse painfully and charge at Loras... only to have his brother, the Hound, intervene. Not only does the scarred man fight his older (and much larger and stronger) brother to a standstill, he even immediately acknowledges the King's command to stop, kneeling down so that his brother's blade slashes through the air over his head!
Robert: STOP THIS MADNESS IN THE NAME OF YOUR KING!
- We also get to see a glimpse of what Robert was like back in the Rebellion when he finally has enough.
- Arya gets confused for a beggar and insulted by two palace guards. This is her response:
Arya Stark: My father is Hand of the king. I'm not a boy, I'm Arya Stark of Winterfell. And if you lay a hand on me, my father will have both your heads on spikes. Now, are you going to let me by, or do you need a smack on the ear to improve your hearing?
- The Greyjoys. They rule the Iron Islands. Their symbol is the Kraken. Their castle is called Pyke. The Kraken is a motif throughout their kingdom, carved onto fireplaces etc. They worship The Drowned God. Their rituals use salt water. Their words "We Do Not Sow" (i.e. "We steal your shit") are praised in-story for their awesomeness.
- The skirmish against the mountain clan warriors. Tyrion (who for reference is about four feet, five inches tall) takes down a hatchet-wielding, frothing brigand with nothing but a kite shield in combat, saving his captor, Catelyn's life in the process. Even better in that it was the first time he killed someone with his own hands. Dinklage perfectly conveys his mix of pride, happiness and fear with one perfect expression.
- While the best moment in the fight against the mountain clan was Tyrion's, Ser Rodrik Cassel and Bronn do pretty well in the fight as well, the former taking a hit to the back and walking it off, the latter ending the fight with nary a scratch on him.
- Ned resigning as Hand of the King and telling Robert off for ordering Daenerys's assassination, even when everyone else on the council disagrees with him.
Lord Eddard Stark: I followed you into war, twice. Without doubts, without second thoughts. But I will not follow you now. The Robert I grew up with, didn't tremble at the shadow of an unborn child.
- Robert and Cersei's conversation after Ned's resignation, in which Robert demonstrates to Cersei why the Dothraki are such a threat to Westeros, and why the realm is woefully unprepared should they invade in support of Viserys Targaryen. Robert might have been a lech, a glutton and a drunkard, but he was no fool at least in military matters, as demonstrated by his "five or one" question to Cersei.
Robert: Let's say Viserys Targaryen lands with 40,000 Dothraki screamers at his back. We hole up in our castles. A wise move. Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. They leave us in our castles. They go from town to town, looting and burning, killing every man who can't hide behind a stone wall, stealing all our crops and livestock, enslaving all our women and children. How long do the people of the Seven Kingdoms stand behind their absentee king, their cowardly king hiding behind high walls? When do the people decide that Viserys Targaryen is the rightful monarch after all?Cersei: [pours herself wine and sits] We still outnumber them.Robert: Which is the bigger number, five or one?Cersei: Five.Robert: [holds up his left fingers] Five... [clutches his right fist] ... one. One army, a real army, united behind one leader with one purpose. Our purpose died with the Mad King. [Robert pours himself wine] Now we've got as many armies as there are men with gold in their purse, and everybody wants something different: your father wants to own the world. Ned Stark wants to run away and bury his head in the snow.Cersei: What do you want?Robert: [Gestures at his wine and sits] We haven't had a real fight in nine years. Back-stabbing doesn't prepare you for a fight. And that's all the realm is now: back-stabbing and scheming and arse-licking and money-rubbing. Sometimes I don't know what holds it together.Cersei: Our marriage. [Robert stares at Cersei, then bursts out laughing. Cersei joins his laughter]
- The duel between Eddard and Jaime at the end of the episode, sadly cut short by a spear to the former's leg.
- Which obviously pisses Jaime off, as he proceeds to punch the soldier responsible in the face with his sword's cross-guard, quite likely killing him. His expression mid way through the duel clearly has him regarding Eddard as the best opponent he's faced in some time.
- It gets even more awesome when you realize that Jaime is one of, if not the best swordsmen in Westeros. And Ned was on the way to beating him.
- During the fight, Ned punches Jaime in the side hard enough to spin him a full 360 degress, whereas Jaime doesn't land a single blow despite his finesse. And at the end of the fight, right before the Lannister guard interferes and stabs Ned in the thigh, the two have locked blades, and Jaime—one of the best swordsmen on the continent—is struggling to push Ned off him.
6 - A Golden Crown
- "You shall have a golden crown, that men shall tremble to behold." Beware those Exact Words. It goes to show that while Drogo may be a barbarian, you do NOT threaten a Papa Wolf's wife and unborn child with a blade. Especially in a holy place, where blades are forbidden so all the easy ways of dying are out. And Daenerys shows that she has grown, too. Viserys had spent the entire series up until that point abusing her emotionally. But when he looks at her for mercy, he gets an expression that could have been chiseled from solid stone.
Khal Drogo: A crown for a king!
- Renly's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Robert. Renly is one of the very few people on the series who openly disagrees with the king. Ser Barristan Selmy's silent reaction during Renly's rant shows that he completely agrees with the younger brother.
Robert: Those were the days!Renly: (scathing) Which days were those exactly? The ones when half of Westeros fought the other half and millions died? Or before that, when the Mad King slaughtered women and babies because the voices in his head told him they deserved it? Or way before that, when dragons burnt whole cities to the ground?Robert: Easy, boy, You may be my brother, but you're speaking to the king.Renly: I suppose it was all rather heroic, if you were drunk enough and had some poor Riverlands whore to shove your prick inside and "make the eight"!
- Daenerys vs stallion heart. Om nom nom nom!
- Bronn's fight to win Tyrion's freedom, followed by casually accepting that he doesn't fight with honor... which is why he won.
- Theon coming back to snipe a wildling who was holding Bran hostage after going off in a strop because Robb insulted him and his House. (Granted, he and Robb are at each other's throats again seconds later...)
- Robert finally has enough of Cersei's BS and slaps her. Hard. Misogynistic maybe, yet oh so gratifying.
Cersei: I shall wear this like a badge of honor.Robert: Wear it in silence, or I'll "honor" you again.
- Ned sentences the false knight Gregor Clegane to death, and then summons Tywin Lannister to the capital to explain his banner-man's actions or be branded an enemy of the crown and a traitor to the realm.
- Lord Stark's retort to Baelish:
Petyr: Gold wins wars, not soldiers.Eddard: Then how come Robert is king, and not Tywin Lannister?
7 - You Win or You Die
- Khal Drogo's Rousing Speech declaring that he'll cross the ocean, conquer the Seven Kingdoms, crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and hear the lamentations of their women! Do not anger the Papa Wolf.
"And to my son, the stallion who will mount the world, I will also pledge a gift. I will give him the iron chair that his mother's father sat upon. I will give him the Seven Kingdoms. I, Drogo, will do this. I will take my khalasar west to where the world ends and ride wooden horses across the black salt water as no Khal has done before. I will kill the men in iron suits! And tear down their stone houses! I will rape their women! Take their children as slaves! And bring their broken gods back to Vaes Dothrak. This, I vow. I, Drogo, son of Bharbo! I swear before the Mother of Mountains, as the stars look down in witness. As the stars look down in witness!"
- Cersei Lannister ripping up Robert's will and managing to secure Joffrey as king and her own position as queen regent, solidifying her as a woman fans Love to Hate.
8 - The Pointy End
- Syrio Forel takes a Moment of Awesome, a Heartwarming Moment, and a Tear Jerker, ties them up with a bow, and smacks them into the middle of next week with a wooden sword.
Syrio Forel: Are you men or snakes, that you would threaten a child?Lannister Guardsman: Get out of my way, little man.Syrio: I -- am Syrio Forel...Guardsman: Foreign bastard!(fully armored and armed guard advances, drawing his broadsword, and Syrio effortlessly lays him out with a wooden practice blade and two flicks of his wrist)Syrio: ... and you will be speaking to me with more respect.
Syrio: What do we say to the God of Death?Arya: Not today.
- Not to mention his Famous Last Words to Arya before she escapes.
- Septa Mordane gets a very subtle one when the Lannister troops begin killing all of the Stark household. She hears them coming, tells Sansa to hide, and then calmly advanced toward them. The real amazing part is that in spite of there being four of them, with bloody swords in hand, when they see this single old, unarmed woman calmly striding toward them, the four soldiers stop and start very slowly backing away. Though she still ends up getting killed, the fact that her silent acceptance and defiance actually gives armed soldiers who were butchering others before her pause is pretty damned awesome.
- Robb's response to his summoning to King's Landing to bend the knee. "I'll go to King's Landing, but not alone. Call the banners". When Luwin asks "all of them?", Robb's firm answer subtly fills the Maester with pride and lights up his craggy face.
- The Greatjon gets uppity at Robb. Grey Wind takes him down a peg.
Your meat...! Is bloody tough!
- Jon dispatching the wight of Othor by throwing a lantern into him and setting him alight, even though this badly burns his palm.
- Drogo killing a horde member who insulted Dany by slicing his throat open with his own arakh and ripping his tongue and most of his esophagus out of the gaping wound, refusing to let getting cut across the chest interrupt his Badass Boast in the process. The guy pulls out a BFS and Drogo pulls out twin knives, then he drops them because he wants to kill the guy with his bare hands.
Drogo: I will not have your body burned. I will not give you that honor. The beetles will feed on your eyes. The worms will crawl through your lungs. The rain will fall on your rotting skin until nothing is left of you but bones!
- Robb letting a captured Lannister spy go — not as an act of mercy, but so that he can deliver a message to Tywin Lannister. Even better when this is revealed in the next episode to be a Batman Gambit on Robb's part.
- When Tyrion and Bronn are ambushed by the hill tribes. They're outnumbered, surrounded, and only Bronn has a sword. Tyrion first talks the clan out of killing him with a joke. Then saves Bronn's life and turns the hill tribes into his own personal army, just by persuasion and promises.
Tyrion: The Lords of the Vale spit upon you. The Lords of the Vale want me dead. I think it's time for some new Lords of the Vale.
- Barristan Selmy chewing out King Joffrey and the Kingsguard after his forced retirement and accurately stating that he "could cut through the five of you like carving a cake!"
- Then tossing his sword down in front of Joffrey and contemptuously telling him to melt it down and add it to the others on the Iron Throne. It should be remembered, the Iron Throne is made of the swords of the king's enemies. In the centre of the royal court, in front of the king himself, Barristan Selmy has declared openly 'I am your enemy'. And nobody moves a muscle.
- Mere seconds before, Littlefinger made a joke about Barristan being a naked knight as he's taking off his cloak and gloves. Everyone starts laughing, that is until Barristan pulls out his sword. Then even Petyr and Varys shut the hell up.
- Some context makes this even more amazing: Barristan isn't just saying he could cut through five soldiers. He's talking to five other members of the Kingsguard, who are supposed to be some of the greatest knights in the kingdom. Plus, the Hound and several Lannister guards are standing nearby, but when Barristan draws his blade, everyone in that room shuts up. He might be sixty three years old, but nobody doubts his ability with a blade.
9 - Baelor
- Maester Aemon's absolutely incredible monologue, gripping from start to finish. It really puts Jon Snow's problems in perspective, especially once we learn that Aemon is a Targaryen as well.
- A pregnant Dany gets shoved down by Qotho after allowing blood magic to be performed on a dying Drogo, causing her to go into premature labor. Jorah Mormont of Bear Island doesn't take kindly to this. We get a nice realistically short duel between a Dothraki bloodrider and a Westerosi knight. Which ends with Jorah's armor saving his life and allowing him to break the douche's neck with a back-hand sword swipe!
- Robb's previous Badass Boast, seemingly straightforward and also rather stupid to an extent, is actually part of an enormously clever plan. Tywin think that he's bringing the whole Northern army down to face him, when in reality Robb sends only two thousand men and takes the rest around to surprise Jaime. He thus manages to capture the freaking Kingslayer himself and completely shatter his 30,000 strong army, precisely half of the Lannisters' standing manpower. Hell. Yes.
- Tyrion gets a small one when he gives a Rousing Speech to the hill tribes just before they go into battle. By the end of it, they're cheering him.
Tribesmen: Halfman! Halfman! Halfman!
- Ned roaring "Baelor!" at the Night's Watchman Yoren, telling him to retrieve Arya from her perch at the nearby statue. Even as he's being dragged through an angry mob by the gold cloaks, Ned still does everything in his power to keep his children safe. One of his finest, and last acts.
10 - Fire and Blood
- Sansa gets a quiet, subtle one in the final episode — after bowing and scraping to the Lannisters for much of the season, she displays her first act of defiance when Joffrey shows her the castle wall adorned with the heads of her father and the members of her House. It's clear that Joffrey is very disappointed by her reaction:
Sansa: (showing no emotion whatsoever) How long do I have to look?
- Sansa finally growing a backbone and telling Joffrey (with impeccable politeness) what she truly thinks of him.
Joffrey: After I raise my armies and kill your traitor brother! I'll give you his head, as well!Sansa: Or maybe he'll give me yours.
- The sheer Tranquil Fury in Sophie Turner's voice, as well as the Kubrick Stare she gives Joffrey, really sell this scene, and raised Sansa's stock with a lot of people. Especially since immediately after she is very clearly about to shove Joffrey off the draw bridge, and even though she doesn't get the chance, it proves once and for all that Sansa really has the wolf's blood, just as much as Arya.
- Also, on Joffrey's orders, Meryn Trant hits Sansa in the face three times, wearing a metal gauntlet. She doesn't make a sound when he does this. Compare and contrast with Joffrey, who whimpered like a puppy because Tyrion (who is half his size) slapped him.
- The brutally agressive Hound stopping her from killing the new king to protect her from the backlash. A quiet moment, but awesome for his character.
- Catelyn promising Robb that after saving Arya and Sansa they will wipe out the Lannisters. Really, Catelyn in that whole scene. She walks through the camp totally proud and calm, and you wonder if she hasn't heard yet or something... then the moment she's out of view of the men, she just collapses in grief. And then she hears Robb and puts away her sorrow to go comfort him.
- "THE KING IN THE NORTH!" "THE KING IN THE NORTH!" "THE KING IN THE NORTH!"
- Arya thoroughly intimidating one of the Night's Watch recruits she takes up with, talking about how much she loves killing fat boys. Bonus points for Gendry's (re)-introduction:
Gendry (to Hot Pie): Oh, you like picking on the little ones, do ya? Y'know, I've been hammering an anvil these past ten years. When I hit that steel, it sings... you gonna sing when I hit you?
- Sam refusing to get out of Jon's way when he rides out of Castle Black.
- Jon Snow, intending to desert the Night's Watch to ride beside his brother to avenge his father's death, being caught and reminded in no uncertain terms by his friends Pyp and Grenn and even self-avowed coward Sam Tarly that he took an oath. Nicely summed up by Commander Mormont in the following scene, in which Jon objects to Mormont's statement that honor brought him back.
Jeor Mormont: Honor made you leave, honor brought you back.Jon Snow: My friends brought me back.Jeor: I didn't say it was your honor.
- And, of course, their having reminded him of his duties by reciting the Night Watch's Badass Creed, the oath he'd taken upon becoming a member.
- Jeor Mormont's speech afterwards, informing Jon that they'll be riding beyond the Wall to face the true threat to the Seven Kingdoms; after Jon has spent the whole season whining about his problems and how no one can understand them.
"I'll not sit meekly by and wait for the snows. I mean to find out what's happening. The Night's Watch will ride in force against the Wildlings, the White Walkers, and whatever else is out there. And we will find Benjen Stark, alive or dead. I will command them myself. So I'll only ask you once, Lord Snow: are you a brother of the Night's Watch, or a bastard boy who wants to play at war?"
- The final scene of Season 1, where Daenerys gives a Badass Boast / Rousing Speech to a bunch of recently freed slaves that their enemies will "die screaming" if they team up with her, then she burns Mirri Maz Duur on Drogo's funeral pyre before walking in herself.
Jorah: Blood of my blood!
- The next morning, as the music swells, Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, rises naked from the ashes of her husband's funeral pyre, the first three dragons to be seen in generations curled around her in a manner reminiscent of Botticelli's "Birth of Venus".◊ Ser Jorah and what remains of her Khalasar fall to their knees in awe and reverence. Cut to black.
1 - The North Remembers
- We jump right back into the action with the entertainment for King Joffrey's name day. The episode immediately opens in the middle of an intense duel between the Hound and another knight. The random knight gets quickly and ferociously wrecked, ending with a bloody Disney Villain Death.
Joffrey: Well struck, dog!
- Also counts as Nightmare Fuel.
- Cersei putting Littlefinger in his place by showing how easily she can have him killed. "Power is power." Littlefinger does get her subtly back, since she indeed doesn't kill him; his knowledge is too powerful to throw away like that. Littlefinger is so awesome in this scene you actually root for him — the series' resident Magnificent Bastard at his best. In response to Cersei's put-downs regarding his unimpressive lineage and the fact that as a child he had feelings for Catelyn Stark, he calmly turns the conversation around to the fact that brothers and sisters are susceptible to the same feelings. The mere fact that he manages to provoke her into lashing out counts as this trope.
- Melisandre taking a drink of poison after she's seen it start to affect Maester Cressen, just to make a point of her power being real.
- Robb intimidating Jaime with Grey Wind, the first time we see a full-grown direwolf.
- A small one for Robb's actor too since this scene doesn't have any equivalent in the book, and was added in because of how impressed the writers were with his acting.
- Not to mention not long after that, when he sends his terms to the Lannisters via Alton. "Third, Joffrey and the Queen Regent must renounce all claim to dominion of the North. From this time, to the end of time, we are a free and independent kingdom. Neither Joffrey nor any of his men shall set foot in our lands again. If he disregards this command, then he shall suffer the same fate as my father. Only, I don't need a servant to do my beheading for me."
- Joffrey of all people gets one after Cersei slaps him, showing that he's not going to be her puppet.
- Sansa and the Hound quickly tag-teaming Joffrey to not only spare Ser Dontos a horrible death, but actually spare him outright and appoint him court fool. Although, in the Hound's case, it seemed to be more about protecting Sansa.
- Tyrion crashing Joffrey's name day party, verbally slapping him when he insults Ned in front of Sansa, before strolling into the small council where he announces himself as acting Hand and lays into Cersei for letting Joffrey screw things up so badly. And the smugness as he points out that for once he's the one in their father's good graces is just icing on the cake.
- Stannis Baratheon solidifying himself as The Determinator right away when he refuses to negotiate or align with either his brother, the Lannisters, or the Starks, because each one seeks to either steal his kingship or divide the realm. Despite the fact that each faction vastly outnumbers his own.
Stannis: I've always served thieves according to their deserts, as you well know, Ser Davos. Joffrey, Renly, Robb Stark, they're all thieves. They will bend the knee or I'll destroy them.
2 - The Night Lands
- Even though he's a cruel, evil bastard, Balon Greyjoy still becomes badass as all hell when he announces: "No man gives me a crown. I pay the iron price. I will take my crown. That is who I am. That is who we have always been."
- Tyrion gives Janos Slynt a brief "The Reason You Suck" Speech over his honorless betrayal of Ned Stark and his part in The Purge at the end of the previous episode, then reveals that he's replaced him as Commander of the City Watch with Bronn, before having him dragged off by his own former soldiers to be shipped off to the Night's Watch. Bonus points for never raising his voice or losing his calm during any of this.
Tyrion: I'm not questioning your honor, Lord Janos. I'm denying its existence.
- Summed up best with one line:
- Bronn gets his own moment during this; first, he pulls a Stealth Hi/Bye on Janos, followed by him nonchalantly giving the order to have him dragged off.
- Tyrion has another moment earlier in the episode. He walks into his private chambers, only to find Varys there, chatting up Shae. Varys comments on how lovely Shae is, and what a shame it would be if Tywin found out about her — at which point Tyrion coolly reminds Varys that unlike Ned Stark, Tyrion understands how the backstabbing politics in King's Landing work, and if Varys threatens him again, Tyrion will make him pay.
- Varys gets a bigger one as his Take That! he calmly tells Tyrion that other men have tried to kill him before and reminds him that no matter what political or violent turmoil happens in King's Landing he always survives.
- Varys more subtly implies that, powerful and savvy though Tyrion may be, the Master of Whisperers is not to be trifled with through easily missed body language: when Tyrion holds the door closed to confront Varys, he uses his whole hand and some of his weight to intimidate Varys. When Varys holds the door closed to counter Tyrion's threat, he uses a single finger.
- Yoren and his knife that's sharp enough to shave a spider's arse, refusing to let the gold cloaks take Gendry. Also the rest of the group slowly converging on the two gold cloaks threateningly with pole-arms and all manner of improvised weapons, then staying silent to protect Gendry, even if it's somewhat spoiled by some of them reconsidering later.
- Sam telling Ghost to stay away from Gilly; it really shows that Sam is one of the only two people a direwolf like Ghost would listen to.
3 - What Is Dead May Never Die
- Considering how misogynistic and sexist Westerosi society is, Renly's acceptance of Brienne into his Kingsguard is quite astounding, and this act alone makes him one the most progressive characters on the series. Everyone (except perhaps Catelyn) around him is unhappy with the decision, and he could've very easily refused Brienne's request, saying something along the lines of, "I wish I could give you the position, but only men may serve as a Kingsguard." But Renly defies his followers' expectations in favor of publicly showing his respect and admiration for a warrior who has proven herself worthy. Even Loras' sulking and Lysistrata Gambit afterwards doesn't change the king's mind. Also note that after Brienne defeats Loras in the melee, Renly is the only person who claps and smiles for her. After she is appointed to his Kingsguard, watch Renly carefully as he applauds. He actually winks◊ at Brienne to further communicate his warmth and reassurance that he's on her side, regardless of the others' negative reaction.
- Brienne thinking outside the box, and fighting dirty to win her duel with Loras.
- Catelyn putting all of Renly's knights, along with Ser Loras, in their place with one line. And best of all, judging by Renly's smile, he agrees.
"My son is fighting a war, not playing at one."
- For those who have read the books, it's a very nice touch to see TV!Renly merge the colors of House Tyrell with his own stag sigil. He's indeed the King in Highgarden!
- After the awesomeness of Tyrion giving Joffrey a well-deserved smacking in Season 1, how does he follow up? By making a huge splash as Hand of the King in the King's Landing political scene, simultaneously showing balls and a sharp mind by outperforming the three resident Magnificent Bastards at their own game and outright defeating one of them (Pycelle).
- Yoren's You Shall Not Pass against Amory Lorch's men, starting with killing the guy who shot him.
Yoren: I've always hated crossbows. Take too long to load!
- Yoren rather easily takes out around five men after he's been shot at close range. Note that he doesn't just kill five men before he dies, he kills five men with a crossbow bolt sticking out of his chest.
- Followed by a very impressive piece of quick thinking by Arya to keep Gendry hidden.
- Yara's speech to Theon, in which she tears into him about how he treated her before he realized she was his sister. He's furious with her for not telling him and making him look like a fool. She coolly replies that she didn't tell him because she wanted to see what kind of man he was. She then quite accurately points out that he had every opportunity to ask her name and family, and she would have told him; but all he cared about was molesting who he thought was an everyday, lowborn woman... who was helping him, out of the kindness of her heart, when nobody else gave a damn. It's pretty satisfying to see Theon, a womanizer at best, taken down a few pegs.
- Theon's scenes following the revelation that he must choose his loyalties swiftly because the Ironborn are going to war against the North and House Stark with or without him. Not particularly an awesome moment for Theon, but a brilliant piece of cinematography, acting and storytelling (and perhaps the highlight of the episode):
"Let Theon your servant be born again from the sea as you were. Bless him with salt, bless him with stone, bless him with steel. What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."
- It begins with Theon sitting at a table having written a warning letter to Robb Stark of the impending Greyjoy invasion. The entire room is pitch dark, save for Theon himself and the writing table, illuminated by a single candle. Theon stares at the letter as he weighs his decisions to either support his adopted family or his biological family while a somber rendition of the Stark theme plays in the background...to be abruptly interrupted by the beginnings of the Greyjoy theme as Theon's gaze falls on the candle. Theon proceeds to burn the warning letter as darkness envelopes the scene until only he is visible, holding up the burning paper as if watching his years spent in Winterfell turned to ash. The Greyjoy theme rises and stands strong in the next scene as we see Theon at his "baptism" of the Drowned God on the windswept shores of Pyke, surrounded by his father, his sister, his uncle Aeron/a Drowned God Priest and attending bannermen as he takes his place in the war to come, noticeably conflicted but resolute in proving to Balon that he truly belongs with House Greyjoy.
- Theon Calling the Old Man Out. True, it didn't accomplish much, but it's the one time we actually see Balon Greyjoy show any kind of remorse for his actions.
Balon Greyjoy: Your time with the wolves has made you weak.Theon Greyjoy: You act as if I volunteered to go. You gave me away, if you remember. The day you bent the knee to Robert Baratheon, after he crushed you. Did you take what was yours then?!
- A hidden one for Sansa during her dinner with Cersei and her two children. Cersei asks her what she will do once the war is won and Sansa responds she will meet the king happily and show her love for him. Read between the lines and you notice she never says Joffrey. She is clearly thinking of her brother Robb, the King in the North. But since she never says it Cersei can't accuse her of anything in front of her two children.
- Not just that, but she says she'll do it in front of the gods. She doesn't mean the Faith of the Seven, she means the godswood, her family's gods. She's playing along for now, but she's a Stark, not a Lannister.
4 - Garden of Bones
- The scene where Tyrion saves Sansa. He shuts down Joffrey simply by showing up, making the bastard recoil in worry, warns him that being a king is no source of protection (citing the moment when Jaime murdered the Mad King). Tyrion is the only person in the world Joffrey is actually afraid of. Tyrion. Let that sink in for a minute. And when Ser Meryn tries to accuse him of threatening the King, his simple response that confirms the little man is the most powerful person in the room.
Joffrey: You can't talk to me like that. The king can do as he likes!
Tyrion: The Mad King did as he liked. Has your Uncle Jaime ever told you what happened to him?
Sir Meryn: No one threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard!
Tyrion: I'm not threatening the king, Ser; I'm educating my nephew. (turns to Bronn) Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?
Meryn Trant: No one threatens his Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard!Tyrion: I am not threatening the King; I am educating my nephew. Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. [Bronn grins and Trant balks] Now that was a threat! See the difference?!
- Also, this line:
Joffrey: I'm punishing her.Tyrion: For what crimes? She did not fight her brother's battle, you halfwit!
- Bronn gets a smaller Moment of Awesome during this scene, when Tyrion walks in and chastises Ser Meryn. When Trant attempts to intimidate Tyrion, Bronn in turn casually threatens the knight, who is noticeably intimidated into silence by said threat. Meryn Trant is known as one of the better fighters in the Kingsguard, and he noticeably recoils when threatened by a sellsword!
Tyrion: (condemning) What kind of knight beats a helpless girl?Ser Meryn: The kind who serves his king, imp!Bronn: Careful now, we don't want to get blood all over your pretty white cloak...
- It happens again a moment later when Trant tries to come to Joffrey's aid again; Tyrion bluntly shuts down his attempts to be threatening and bluntly tells Bronn to kill Trant if he speaks again. The look in Trant's eyes when he sees Bronn clearly grinning with glee at the thought of doing so is most satisfying. It's clear Bronn would happily kill Trant purely for the satisfaction of doing so.
- Sansa herself gets one as Tyrion escorts her out of the chamber; he asks if she wants her engagement to Joffrey ended, she regains some of her poise and declares her "one true love" for him in a manner that lets Tyrion know she hates her fiancé's guts, but she's learning The Game. When she walks out of the throne room with her head held high after being beaten and nearly stripped in front of everyone there, even Tyrion can't help but be impressed.
Tyrion: Lady Stark...you might survive us yet.
- Also, this line:
- When Littlefinger arrives at Renly's camp, Margaery offers to show him around the campsite. As they walk, Littlefinger makes jabs at her marriage to Renly and the fact that her husband is sleeping with her brother, Loras. Margaery, having previously shown that she doesn't mind Renly's sexual preference or his affair with her brother, doesn't get upset, barely reacts to his remarks, and then tells him to piss off (in much more polite language, of course) before walking away with a smile on her face. Margaery, you are one classy lady.
- Renly's ability to turn Melisandre's oh-so serious prophecy into on the one of the best jokes of the series.
Renly: Born amidst salt and smoke... Is he a ham?
- Tyrion revealing he knows Lancel is Cersei's glorified bed warmer, and threatening to spill the beans to Joffrey. He gets the lad down on his knees and essentially tells Lancel: "you're my bitch now".
- Hot Pie looking Gregor Clegane in the eye as he picks who gets tortured to death. Yes, he had been told that it could save his life (and he visibly pisses himself immediately afterward) but still, that took guts.
- Daenerys has finally had enough, and outright threatens the Thirteen of Qarth to let her khalasar into the city — impressing Xaro enough to vouch for her.
- Catelyn pulling a knife on Littlefinger. What makes this scene great is the fact that one of Littlefinger's motivations for betraying Ned was so he would have a chance to woo Catelyn. This scene, however, makes it very clear to that Magnificent Bastard that his beloved Cat now knows just what kind of man he is and hates his guts for betraying her husband. In that moment it is made clear to him that he absolutely will not have his way in this regard, in spite of all of his manipulations.
- Who would have thought Tywin Lannister would have a (sort of) Big Damn Heroes moment? But he does, even if he doesn't know it. He also manages to see through Arya's disguise almost at once. Not to mention calling out his men for wasting perfectly good workers for the sake of pointless torture. Tywin may be evil, but at least he has a brain in his skull.
- Robb winning at Oxcross. Though we don't actually see it, when several thousand Northmen bellow: THE KING IN THE NORTH! after the Greatjon in unison, you know asses are about to be kicked.
- One for the opening credits: after twelve straight episodes of that same pan to King's Landing and then Vaes Dothrak (which wasn't even accurate for more than half of them), it's quite something to see the camera instead swoop high above the map, pass over the sun astrolabe, and land on Qarth.
5 - The Ghost of Harrenhal
- Brienne cutting down two of her fellow Kingsguard brothers with ease when they attack her believing that she has killed Renly, and she's still in shock from his death. Not only that, but she keeps a clear enough head to know the best way to get out of the camp and make a clean getaway.
- Loras has this moment even when he's grieving over Renly, who was killed by Melisandre's shadow demon, but only Catelyn and Brienne had witnessed it. Margaery is quick to accuse Brienne because she fled, but Loras defends her even though he felt humiliated being defeated by the Maid of Tarth in the melee. He knows Brienne would have never hurt Renly and rightfully puts the blame on Stannis.
- An enraged Loras Tyrell draws his sword on Littlefinger and points the tip of the blade right at his eye. Littlefinger doesn't even blink.
- Margaery's Establishing Character Moment over Renly's corpse.
Littlefinger: Do you want to be a queen?Margaery: No. I want to be the queen.
- Arya, incognito as Tywin Lannister's serving girl, is grilled by him for the Northerners' views on Robb Stark, during which she, a girl not even in her teens, gets a solid serve on the most fearsome man in the kingdoms. Double props for Maisie Williams being good enough to act opposite to a veteran like Charles Dance.
Tywin: And what do they say of Robb Stark in the North?Arya: They call him the Young Wolf. They say he rides into battle on the back of a giant direwolf. They say he can turn into a wolf himself when he wants. They say he can't be killed.Tywin: (smiling to himself) And do you believe them?Arya: No, my lord. Anyone can be killed.Tywin: Fetch that water.
- Arya's interactions with Tywin were pretty impressive from Tywin's perspective, too. He recognized she was a girl at first glance when people who had spent weeks with her had no clue. He figured out she was highborn from her speech patterns. From their banter, he got her to give away her Northern sympathies. He already knew that one of the Stark girls had escaped and was missing. If other events hadn't intervened, Tywin would have likely figured out her true identity before long.
- Even after Joffrey had at least one subject mutilated for publicly insulting his family, a street preacher is seen publicly shouting out much worse for all to hear, even to the city watch and passing Lannisters.
Street preacher: Brother fornicates with sister in the bed of kings, and we're surprised when the fruit of their incest is rotten?! YES! A rotten king! A dancing king! Prancing down his blood-stained halls, to the tune of a twisted DEMON MONKEY!
- Tyrion setting things up for the future:
"You will no longer be making wildfire for my sister. You will be making it for me."
- The moment when the pyromancer opens the door to 7,811 jars of wildfire. Even Tyrion is shocked.
- Jaqen H'ghar giving Arya her first death. Specifically, the knowing look he gives her afterward. The funny part is how nonchalant he is, eating a pear like nothing has happened.
6 - The Old Gods and the New
- Rodrick giving Theon a ruthless "The Reason You Suck" Speech and spitting in his face, likely knowing he'll be killed for it.
- Theon's execution of him is a meta-example — Alfie Allen's acting is just brilliant in that scene.
- Rodrick managing to reverse some of the tragedy with a heartwarming Obi-Wan Moment "Hush now, child. I'm off to see your father."
- Tyrion, seeing that a riot is imminent at a glance, instantly spins around and orders the gold cloaks to get Tommen out of there, immediately.
- Tyrion's blistering tirade against Joffrey, culminating in another slap just as good by itself as the three last time.
Joffrey: Traitors! I'll have all their heads!Tyrion: Oh, you blind, bloody fool.Joffrey: You can't insult me.Tyrion: We've had vicious kings, and we've had idiot kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot for a king.Joffrey: Y-Y-You can't—Tyrion: I can, I am.Joffrey: They attacked ME!Tyrion: They threw a cow pie at you so you decide to kill them all. They're starving, you fool! All because of a war you started!Joffrey: You are talking to a KING![Mega-tonne Smack]Tyrion: And now I've struck a king. Did my hand fall from my wrist?!
- Immediately afterwards Joffrey screams to let the mob rape the missing Sansa to death. Tyrion wastes no time calling him out on this too.
"If she dies, you will never get your precious Jaime back! You owe him quite a bit you know!"
- Speaking of slaps, the Hound was there when Tyrion did it the first time and gives his thoughts on Joffrey.
Joffrey: I want them executed!Sandor: They want the same for you!
- Even more awesome, he does it right in front of the Kingsguard, who just stand and watch. You can almost see them thinking: "the little guy has a point".
- And one to the random peasant who hit him in the face with a unidentified animal pat.
- Going further back, Sansa's brief indulgence of Refuge in Audacity by reminding Joffrey of the time Arya reduced him to tears.
- Immediately afterwards Joffrey screams to let the mob rape the missing Sansa to death. Tyrion wastes no time calling him out on this too.
- Sandor rescuing Sansa from a trio of rapists, including disemboweling one while holding him by the neck with the other. Notably, he sheathes his sword when picking up Sansa, but coming through the door, the sword is out again and very bloody, which implies he was literally fighting through the crowd while carrying Sansa.
- A minor one compared to others, but when she is cornered by the trio of rapists, Sansa, terrified for her life, turns and slaps the first one in the face. It doesn't do much, and she's hit much harder right after, but she shows that Stark backbone by refusing to go down without a fight.
- Jaqen managing to kill Amory Lorch in a matter of seconds, and do it undetected despite it being daylight with Lannister troops everywhere. Jaqen apparently has poisoned darts on his person just in case something like this comes up.
- The best part is how it plays out. After receiving the name from Arya, Jaqen apparently intends to bide his time and carry out the assassination with careful planning, but Arya, who was desperate to prevent Lorch from speaking to Tywin, keeps screaming in his ear to get it done "NOW!", and he reluctantly obliges. The scene then immediately cuts to Lorch strolling through the door and looking Tywin right in the eye, and it's apparently already too late... until he promptly drops dead at Tywin's feet.
- Gets better in the next episode, where it is clear that despite interrogating and hanging many people, Tywin is no closer to working out who killed Lorch... and this was a sloppy kill for Jaqen!
- Osha sleeps with Theon and then seduces and kills a guard, so that she can help Bran, Rickon, Hodor, Summer and Shaggy Dog escape from an occupied Winterfell.
7 - A Man Without Honor
- Seeing Tywin boss around The Mountain without the slightest hint of fear is pretty damn awesome, as well as funny. He even mockingly questions the Blood Knight's skills when Clegane starts making excuses. You can tell this pisses Gregor off, but he doesn't respond. Even the World's Strongest Man knows better than to challenge Tywin Lannister.
Tywin: You gone soft, Clegane?
- Arya may have overstepped herself as Tywin's Morality Pet, but the fact that she still manages to have a proper conversation with someone so far above her and actually point out where he's wrong without losing his favor is very impressive.
- After having a few moments in other episodes where she seems to channel Viserys' unjustified confidence in Targaryen superiority and their "right" to rule Westeros, Daenerys fully proves how different she is from her blinkered and unreflecting brother by showing that she has actually taken the Spice King's observations to heart.
- The unnamed Spice King repeatedly shooting down Daenerys' attempts at Badass Boasting are a nice reminder of the fact that, even though she has dragons, she is not a queen yet, and is still entirely dependent on the goodwill of others, and consequently her Viserys-esque Young Conqueror pretensions aren't all that impressive under the circumstances.
- Xaro Xhoan Daxos ascending to Magnificent Bastard-dom by declaring himself king of Qarth, while he and Pyatt Pree kill the rest of the Thirteen. And he has Daenerys well over a barrel too.
- Jaime's ability to remain a Jerkass Deadpan Snarker even when faced with being imminently lynched by an angry mob is quite impressive. Also, his pointing out the Logic Bomb of the contradictory vows he had to make may not have gained him any sympathy with Catelyn and Brienne, but neither could they come up with a good counter to it.
- Maester Luwin showing that he has not forgotten how to be a Deadpan Snarker when he points out how unsuccessful Theon's hunt for Bran and Rickon has been "So far, hunting seems little different from riding."
- Catelyn doing a bit of Shaming the Mob to save Jaime, despite (as she points out) having just as much reason to hate him as anybody else.
"HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ME, SER?"
- Shae pulls a knife on one of the queen's informants to protect the secret that Sansa's now able to bear Joffrey's children, calling to mind the bit in the last season she threatened Tyrion if he ever mentioned her family again, and now we see that she probably meant every word of it. The fact that the queen found out through other means in no way diminishes the awesomeness of Shae's actions here. Her protecting Sansa also has an entry on the Heartwarming Moments page, given how willing she is to stick her neck out for Sansa despite having no real reason to like her.
8 - The Prince of Winterfell
- Arya misses the chance to sic Jaqen on Tywin, but she more than makes up for it when, in order to get Jaqen to help her, Gendry and Hot Pie escape Harrenhal, she names... Jaqen himself. And stands her ground in the face of his growing annoyance and anger, even giving him a tiny little shrug. "A man can go kill himself."
- And that shrug is in response to Jaqen saying she doesn't have honor. She's really learned from her father's mistakes.
- Only topped by the moment when Arya puts her faith in Jaqen and walks towards the gates despite the fact that there are Lannister guards apparently on duty. Only when they get closer do they realise that Jaqen has already killed them all and just propped them up to look like they were still alive.
- Tyrion thinks that Cersei has captured Shae and is aghast and panic stricken — and then the guards drag in Ros. Tyrion does not let his guard fall to show his immense relief for even a second, continuing to play the game and utterly dupe Cersei. There's a meta moment worked in as well, because this scene is a complete masterpiece of acting on Peter Dinklage's part.
- "I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you're safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you will know the debt is paid." Too bad this one was turned on him at his trial...
- Arguably Ros has one too, for going along with Tyrion's deception and not revealing the truth, even after she's been tortured.
- Brienne putting up with Jaime. Enough said.
- Bronn's method of lowering the crime rate in King's Landing. He found all the known thieves, and had the gold cloaks kill them. His is a simplicity that even impresses Varys.
"Now all we need to worry about are the unknown thieves."
- Yara absolutely ripping into Theon for killing the miller's boys, who he is still passing off as Bran and Rickon, giving him a scathing dressing-down for doing something so stupid and outright evil. The kicker: it actually works, and Theon visibly starts to regret his actions.
- And the cherry on top has to be the magnificent barrage of Cluster C-Bombs that would have Malcolm Tucker beaming with pride.
- Pretty much anything Yara does. She's a woman in a medieval setting, but she has twice her brother's balls and thirty ships under her command; thirty ships of Iron Islanders, who respect strength and capability, nothing less. She didn't get where she is because of her noble blood; she got there because she's damn good at what she does.
- A small one for Theon when, after one of his men mock him for letting Osha escape, finally decides he had enough of all the shit he's gone through and punches the guy out, then he proceeds to give him one hell of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. after seeing Theon suffer massive Badass Decay through the entire season it is satisfying to see him finally react. bonus points because Theon actually punches him so hard he hurts his own hand, but doesn't bother and keeps hitting, not to mention the guy he sends kissing the soil is the same one who was mocking him a few episodes before.
9 - Blackwater
- The beginning of the episode, Davos walks up the steps of a ship, while the song 'Warrior of Light' is playing. Then we see the entire Baratheon fleet and Stannis with a glare cold enough to freeze volcanoes.
- King Stannis Baratheon personally leads his army in the Battle of Blackwater on foot, with himself in the vanguard, conspicuously without a helmet or shield, straight through a hail of flaming arrows, and manages to reach the wall on the far side of the landing zone well enough to take part in the siege at close proximity.
Stannis: COME WITH ME AND TAKE THIS CITY!
- Sansa's conversation with Tyrion before the Battle of Blackwater, in which she lets the only Lannister smart enough to pick up on it know exactly what she thinks of him:
Sansa: I pray for your safe return.Tyrion: (pleased) Do you?Sansa: Yes. Just as I pray for our king.
- And Tyrion only grimaces at this: he's actually impressed. At a stretch, this could potentially work another direction, assuming that Sansa believes the rumor about Joffrey's parentage. By "our king" she could be repeating the same trick her father used when putting "the rightful heir" into Robert's will... meaning she actually likes Tyrion.
- Or she was just praying that Stannis would win.
- Stannis' rampage on the walls of King's Landing. What really defines this moment of pure badassery? Stannis leads from the front. The first ladder to be set against the wall, he scales, and he is the very first man up that ladder, braving swords and spears and arrows and hurled rocks to be the first man to hit the wall and just start cleaving through Lannister troops. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Stannis has earned his place as one of the five kings.
- Even after the wildfire decimated his ships, Stannis got up and ordered his remaining fleet to land anyway. He was the first to set foot on the shore, his sword already drawn.
- Even after it became apparent his army was going to lose, Stannis had to be dragged off the battlefield kicking and screaming.
- Tyrion, Bronn and Hallyne destroying most of Stannis' fleet with wildfire. More than just a crowning moment for the characters, it was a crowning moment for the producers as well. The massive fireball that engulfs the fleet is an UNBELIEVABLY awe-inspiring sight which really shows off how they made best use of the extra money they got for this episode. Stannis only marches forward because 'The Imp' could only play this trick once. He's yet to met Tyrion in this series. His reputation preceded him.
- Bronn casually saving the Hound's life despite the two of them being about to kill one another before the battle began. Bronn then proceeds to kill several other Mooks within the span of a few seconds. The said Mook, as well. On fire, dying, and still attacking the Hound head on. Even Sandor himself is too shocked to act (though it's implied that's because he himself almost burned to death as a child).
- Sansa trying to goad Joffrey into fighting on the frontlines by comparing it to her brother.
- Sandor Clegane deserting to the tune of, "Fuck the King." Even better: seeing Joffrey utterly and completely deflate after the fact. Prior to that, Clegane leads a sortie out to repel the attackers on the beach. As he draws his sword and shoves a soldier forward into the fight, he yells out: "If any man dies with a clean sword, I'LL RAPE HIS FUCKING CORPSE!' He then goes on to cleave men into pieces with his broad sword.
- Tyrion taking over the troops after Joffrey runs away in disgrace, entering the battle by slicing off the leg of the man in charge of the battering ram.
- Tyrion's Rousing Speech to the men, when they appear on the verge of breaking and running, starting with "They say I'm half a man -- what does that make you?", and ending with "Those are brave men out there knocking on our door. Let's go kill them!". The boast, and Tyrion by extension, is unassumedly enhanced because he's gallantly recognizing the worthiness of his foes in an ominous moment. "The Rains of Castamere" playing in the soundtrack enhances the scene some more.
- Better yet is Peter Dinklage living Tyrion Lannister — his posture, the expressions on his face... fear, remorse, doubt... all overcome by determination not to fail the task his asshole father gave him: rule King's Landing. Preserve it and prepare it for his rule. He knows that the men about to sack the city are no different from the men defending it, and if positions had been reversed, every man inside the walls would be every bit as eager as those outside them to Rape, Pillage, and Burn that literal shithole city. He's just lucky enough to be on the defending side. So he defends a city that calls him a "demon monkey" because he refuses to let it all burn.
- Sansa taking over as the leader of the women, after Cersei proves to be horrible at the job.
- Shae telling Sansa to run. "No one is raping me," she says, showing the knife she has tied to her leg.
- When Sansa flees, Shae gives Ilyn Payne the mother of all Death Glares, as if to say: "Yeah, just try and go after her. See what happens."
- Podrick saving Tyrion after a member of the Kingsguard turns on him, stabbing the man through the head from behind.
- Tywin and Loras teaming up to save the day. The cavalry charge, led by the Knight of Flowers in disguise as his dead lover, was beautifully shot in slow-motion.
- Hearing 'The Rains of Castamere' sung both by the Lannister soldiers and over the credits as an end to an amazing episode. It's also an Awesome Moment for Bronn, who proves that he's even good at singing.
10 - Valar Morghulis
- Theon's amazing speech to his men. Even though they betray him right after he finishes. Dagmer even notes that the reason they didn't immediately turn on Theon was because it was a good speech and he didn't want to interrupt.
Theon: You hear that? That's the mating call of the Northmen! They want to fuck us! Well, I haven't had a good fuck in weeks! I'm ready for one! They say every Ironborn man is worth a dozen from the mainland. You think they're right? We die today brothers! We die bleeding from a hundred wounds with arrows in our necks and spears in our guts! But our war-cries will echo through eternity! They will sing about the Battle of Winterfell until the Iron Islands have slipped beneath the waves! Every man, woman, and child will know who we were and how long we stood! Aggar and Gelmar! Wex and Urzen! Styg and Black Lorren! Ironborn warriors will cry out our names as they leap onto the shores of Seagard and Faircastle! Mothers will name their sons after us! Girls will think of us with their lovers inside them! AND WHOEVER KILLS THAT FUCKING HORNBLOWER WILL STAND IN BRONZE ABOVE THE SHORES OF PYKE! WHAT IS DEAD MAY NEVER DIE!
- Dany's dragons, breathing deadly fire for the first time, killing the real Pyat Pree and freeing themselves and Dany. What really makes it awesome is the way the fire erupts. Most fantasy depictions of dragonfire involves a steady stream of flame, like a flamethrower. When these dragons breath fire, it comes out in a barrage of rapid bursts of small fireballs, almost like flaming machine gun fire, and makes it suitably more awesome for it.
- Dany and her khalasar robbing Xaro blind after imprisoning him in his own vault. On a more out-of-universe level, the spine-tingling sight of Emilia Clarke in the Red Keep set. Or beyond the Wall.
- Despite also qualifying as terrifying, "three horn blasts".
- Brienne is outnumbered three to one by the Northmen, but manages to dispatch them all in about three seconds. And she has a particularly fitting fate in store for one: "Two quick deaths." Jaime is impressed...although that's not necessarily a good thing.
- "I don't serve the Starks... I serve Lady Catelyn."
- And after that she tells him to "stay", much like she would a dog — and he does.
- Though the moment of the reveal rather negates it, a Fridge one for Xaro Xhoan Daxos rising to such power in Qarth on literally nothing.
- Pycelle may be a weasel, but his abandoning his old man act to intimidate Tyrion was surprisingly awesome.
- Dany seeing the vision of Drogo in the House of the Undying has her wondering how he can be there. He replies "Maybe I told the Great Stallion to go fuck himself and came here to wait for you." She can only reply that that sounds like the sort of thing he would do.
1 - Valar Dohaeris
- Davos Seaworth's return to Dragonstone. Even though it ends with him getting thrown in the dungeons, it's heavily implied that he's the only one with enough balls to call Stannis and Melisandre out on moping and burning prisoners alive, instead of continuing to fight the war.
- The scene of Davos' rescue; when asked who he serves, Davos, after only a moment of doubt, proudly proclaims to serve "the true king" Stannis Baratheon. While he could have simply said Stannis or Joffrey and hope for mercy if they belong to the other side, he went all the way to show his true loyalty, even after having been stranded on a tiny rock for days.
- Ser Bronn being more than willing to cut through Ser Meryn Trant and another Kingsguard if they get in his way after telling them just what he thinks of them.
Ser Meryn: You're an up-jumped cutthroat, nothing more.
- The first time you see the giant in Rayder's camp. Just... Wow. Jon's reaction says it all, being a mixture of "We are so screwed!" and "Why don't we have those?!"
- During the trip back to the palace from the Sept, Margaery Tyrell (seemingly) whimsically stops the entire procession so she can visit an orphanage, mainly populated by children whose fathers were killed during Blackwater. Keep in mind that the last time Joffrey was in Flea Bottom, a riot broke out and the previous High Septon was torn to shreds. She even runs straight into a highly threatening and scarred looking man who ogles her for a moment, and she just cheerfully smiles and apologizes for being in his way before brushing past him. When Margaery comes out... she's surrounded by happy children, smiling gently and asking the matron to please send word whenever the children need toys or food. In less than ten minutes, Margaery has raked in a shed-load of goodwill from the common people, not just for her as the future queen but for Joffrey as well.
- It becomes clear that Margaery is also doing this so she can remove Joffrey from his mother's influence. Watch how he immediately defends her when Cersei tries to insult her for going off on her own in Flea Bottom. Cersei is cowed by her son, and soon realizes that Joffrey's new bride-to-be is not the 'little dove' that Sansa Stark was.
- The entire dinner was a highly cathartic reversal of a similar dinner with Sansa the previous season, where Cersei was revelling in politely taunting and threatening her.
- Look again at the toys she's giving out to the orphans: they're her house colours, and the knight kind of looks like her brother Loras. Margaery is making sure that these children (and the people in the same district) don't forget who their saviour is, and which House she comes from, ensuring their loyalty when they're old enough to raise arms for her family. The people — and the next generation — will be nominally loyal to Joffrey, but ultimately loyal to her. The only other people who are playing the game of thrones that long-term have been Petyr Baelish and Varys, the two most Magnificent Bastards on the show.
- And her charity work also sets her apart from the current Queen and current ruling House. Can you imagine Cersei — or indeed any Lannister — going around orphanages? No, because it's seen as below them and Tywin wouldn't even allow it anyway — Joffrey even has to pause to remember the word "charity", indicating that it's not exactly in the Lannister lexicon. But the Tyrells are making sure they're seen as friends of the lower classes, which is a brilliant PR strategy and would help prevent more riots, and is something even Tyrion did not think of when he was bemoaning his abysmal reputation with the common people the previous season.
- The reintroduction of Daenerys, as the dragons swoop around the "small ship" we last saw her heading off to buy, with her theme swelling triumphantly. Special mention to one of the dragons catching a fish, tossing it up, roasting it, and letting it fall into his mouth, all in one smooth motion.
- Ghost coming back to save Sam from a wight.
- An assassination attempt is made on Daenerys, using a scary giant scorpion-esque creature called a manticore. She's saved by the mysterious figure in a black cloak who first appeared to be trying to kill her himself, who then reveals himself to be Barristan Selmy. Now that's how you show He's Back!
- That is not even the impressive part. Jorah gets him in a chokehold after he knocks the box out of Dany's hands, but he manages to overpower Jorah and escape offscreen quickly enough to kill the manticore in time (16 seconds). That is some serious ownage (and Jorah is not really bummed after he sees who nailed him).
- Jorah seems rather awed at the moment of reveal, given his role of exposition it's also a good way to name-check Barristan Selmy.
2 - Dark Wings, Dark Words
- Brienne and Jaime's duel on the bridge. Brienne wins handily, against a man who's been repeatedly described as the best fighter in Westeros (even if he's not currently in top fighting form). Previously, she defeated Loras Tyrell, another man often described as one of the best fighters in the land. And this is a woman in a culture where the idea of women being warriors is completely unaccepted, who wouldn't have had remotely the top-tier quality of training that Jaime and Loras — sons of two of the major noble houses — would have had.
- Another thing that cannot be emphasized enough, is that at first, it's very much an even match between Brienne and Jaime, even if he is out of shape and currently bound. However, we very quickly see Brienne figure out Jaime's style and learn to anticipate his every move, to the point that by the end of the duel, she's barely trying anymore and if anything, actually appears to have gotten bored.
- Keeping in mind that the fight is a bit handicapped, since Jaime was not only chained hand and feet but had been imprisoned in a muddy pen for over a year. He looked to be losing stamina quickly (note he initiates rests a few times during the fight while she just waits for him to attack). Adrenaline only takes you so far.
- Jojen Reed approaches Bran, and Osha puts a spear at his back. He responds that he's unarmed...because his sister is better at fighting. Meera instantly has a knife at Osha's throat.
- Margaery playing Joffrey like a fiddle when she gets a moment alone with him, and not losing her cool even when he says he might make homosexuality punishable by death in spite of what that would mean for her brother.
- When Sansa is finally persuaded to tell Margaery and her grandmother that Joffrey's "a monster", Olenna just gives a mildly disappointed "that's a pity", and Margaery, despite marrying the monster, just gives an "Oh, well" shrug, because both Tyrells are totally confident that Margaery will be able to handle him. It takes all of five minutes for Margaery to prove that their confidence is well-founded.
- Anguy shooting an arrow into the air with perfect accuracy to come down on Hot Pie's head in about ten seconds.
- After Rast goes back to his Kick the Dog ways regarding Sam, and succeeds in convincing him to lie down and die, Commander Mormont declares that if Sam doesn't make it back for any reason, he won't either.
- A subtle one. After Sansa calls Joffrey "a lion", Olenna interrupts and says "Yes, all Lannisters are lions." No one bothered mentioning that Joffrey is technically a Baratheon.
3 - Walk of Punishment
- During the funeral of Lord Hoster Tully, after Edmure repeatedly fails to hit the boat with a flaming arrow, Blackfish simply knocks him out of the way and takes the bow, fires once, turns around, and chucks it back at him, before the arrow even hits.
- Daenerys showing us which Targaryen she chooses to emulate.
Ser Barristan: When your brother Rhaegar led his men at the battle of the Trident, men died for him because they believed in him. Because they loved him. I fought beside the last dragon that day, my grace. I bled beside him.
Jorah: Rhaegar fought valiantly. Rhaegar fought nobly. And Rhaegar died.
Daenerys: Did you know him well, Ser Barristan?
Ser Barristan: I did, your grace. Finest man I ever met.
Daenerys: I wish I had known him. But he was not the last dragon.
- Mance Rayder's Badass Boast when he describes the signal he'll give to the wildlings climbing the Wall.
Mance: I'm going to light the biggest fire the North has ever seen!
- It turns out that Podrick Payne, quiet, virginal, occasionally badass, and certified by Cersei as an "odd little boy" is actually a Sex God beyond even the likes of Tyrion. With no experience whatsoever, and completely spur of the moment after Tyrion bought them in for him as a reward for his services, he is able to pleasure several extremely experienced whores to such heights that they refuse any charge and do everything for free. Tyrion and Bronn are clearly shocked, a little bit jealous, and eager to learn. Even better, the next episode has Varys and Ros discussing his sexual exploits during their secret meeting, with Ros revealing the whores described Pod as "the most extraordinary man they have ever had" with both trying to work out just what the hell he did. This discussion took precedence over Varys' plotting regarding Littlefinger. Sex God does not even cover it at this point.
- It's an Offscreen Moment of Awesome, but Brienne is heard clearly fighting off her would-be rapists, and judging by their angry yells she gave them a hell of a time.
- Theon being rescued by the Boy, who effortlessly picks off four men with his bow.
- Before that, when Theon is being hunted down by the Bolton men. There's just something incredibly stunning about the scene: Theon, battered and bloody but still fighting, galloping headlong on a pure white horse in a doomed race against four men in black, dodging arrows with the Greyjoy theme rising in the background...
- After Daenerys warns Missandei about the risks she faces going with her, Missandei simply replies "Valar morghulis." Rather badass on its own, but what makes it even sweeter is Dany's reply.
Daenerys: Yes... All men must die. But we are not men.
- Missandei's little smile says it all. Especially as Dany has subtly revealed that, of course, a Targaryen would speak High Valyrian... which Missandei's assholish old masters had been cheerfully insulting Daenerys in and forcing her to censor them in translation. That smile is a mixture of "I think I'm going to like her" and "Oh, she's good."
- Plus, the development this shows for Daenerys. This time last season, she never would have been able to stand there and take it while waiting for the right time to strike back.
4 - And Now His Watch Is Ended
- The Liberation of Astapor. By the Old Gods and the New, the liberation of Astapor. Daenerys buys all of the Unsullied with Drogon, and as Kraznys struggles to control the dragon, she speaks to the Unsullied in High Valyrian, causing Kraznys to have a massive Oh, Crap! moment as he realizes she's understood all the insults he's been hurling at her.
"I am Danaerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen. Valyrian is my mother tongue."
- Made a bit funnier by the fact that Jorah and Barristan notice she's testing her new soldiers by giving orders in High Valyrian, but Kraznys is too busy with an uncooperative dragon to realize it until Daenerys tells him off.
- And as icing on the cake, Missandei looks over at her old master, and she just smirks.
- Then Daenerys orders the Unsullied to kill all of the slavers in Astapor. As Kraznys shrieks at them to kill her instead...
Daenerys: A dragon is not a slave.
- By sundown, Astapor is free and Daenerys is leading a huge Unsullied army, and the episode closes by showing them marching out of the city as Dany's three dragons fly overhead. Day-um!.
- Even better, Jorah and Ser Barristan, who have disagreed with each other all throughout the season, share a look of pride while Dany is pulling all of this off.
- Really, the fact that Dany gets a "cool girls don't look at explosions" moment◊ is just gravy at this point. And the way she discards the ceremonial whip that represents her ownership of the Unsullied (signifying their freedom) serves as the equivalent of a Mic Drop.
- Varys' monologue about how he was castrated by a sorcerer, then thrown into the street to die. But just to spite the man, he did whatever he had to to survive, and make his way into power. And then the perfect capper, as he reveals that his long desire for revenge has finally paid off and he has the sorcerer at his mercy, trapped in a tiny crate and looking quite tortured. The shot of Varys' face framed in a dark and tarnished mirror is particularly awesome, reminding viewers that while he may come across as a sycophantic suckup, behind the facade is a total badass.
- Margaerey has become an Ensemble Darkhorse after the events of episode four. She's got Joffrey wrapped around her little finger to the point he's more willing to comply with what she wants than Cersei. Not only that, but her actions from the previous episodes of the season has the townspeople chanting her name wildly outside the castle gates and the people adore her so much they're even willing to root for Joffrey as she successfully manipulates him to act decent in front of them for once as his mother looks on in jealousy. You can only smirk with delight at Cersei's obvious jealousy.
- Cersei knows he's being manipulated, and goes to her father. What does he say when she informs him of the Tyrell's scheme?
Tywin: Good! I wish you could manipulate him!
- Even more awesome whether it's genuine or not, Margaery being kind to Sansa borders between this and Heartwarming Moment. She shoos away Sansa's guards so that they can chat like ladies, share secrets and laugh. That and Margaery shows great interest in marrying Sansa to Ser Loras so that she may spirit her away to Highgarden. Out of genuine goodness of her heart or not, Margaery knows how a true queen should act.
- Her befriending of Sansa is a MoA in that it once more shows how the Tyrells are playing the long game. If you look at a map of Westeros, you'll notice that the Riverlands (loyal to the Starks), and the Westerlands (belong to the Lannisters, and will fall if they lose) are on the Tyrells' borders. If Tywin wins, she'll have lost nothing, but if Robb wins, they have the Starks' gratitude for rescuing Sansa.
- Cersei knows he's being manipulated, and goes to her father. What does he say when she informs him of the Tyrell's scheme?
- Lord Commander Mormont, after taking a fatal stab wound from Rast, spends his last few seconds trying to choke the man who did it to death.
- The Night's Watchman played by Burn Gorman calling Craster a bastard to his face. What he does after may violate the most sacred laws of Westeros (a guest must not kill his host and vice versa), but seeing Craster get his just desserts was very satisfying.
- To his credit, Craster did also try to kill him.
- Sam, seeing just how much shit has hit the fan, immediately runs to Gilly and escapes with her and the baby, saving her from whatever would have happened if she'd been left to the mercy of Rast and his gang.
- Lady Olenna's verbal sparring with Varys is both hilarious and awesome in that it shows perfectly that she is easily a match for some of the most manipulative chessmasters in Westeros and is not going to take any shit from any of them.
- Anticipation for Beric Dondarrion's reappearance into the story was very high and its safe to say those expectations were met in glorious amount from his initial confrontation with the Hound before their trial by combat.
Sandor Clegane: King Robert is dead, Ned Stark is dead; my brother is alive. [spits] You all fight for ghosts.Beric Dondarrion: Oh, but that's what we are, ghosts. Waiting for you in the dark; you can't see us... but we see you. No matter whose cloak you wear; Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, you prey on the weak... The Brotherhood without Banners will hunt you down!
- Jaime stealing one of the Bolton men's swords and fending them off for about a minute before his weakened condition, maimed dominant limb and the muddy bog stop him. Brienne, completely bound, moves to join him when he starts to fight. What's great about this show of defiance is that even with his left, untrained hand, the Bolton men are unwilling to get near Jaime when he faces them directly and all of their attacks hit him from behind as they circle him.
5 - Kissed by Fire
- Sandor Clegane's literal trial by fire. He fights Beric Dondarrion, who has a flaming sword, and wins. Not only that, but he kills Dondarrion. Who is promptly brought back to life by Thoros of Myr, but still, pretty amazing.
- Depending on how recently the trial takes place after he was captured, he might still be ferociously hung over. Season 2 also established that Sandor is terrified of fire. Imagine his fear every time that flaming sword came near him, then imagine the strength of will it took for him to not only hold his own and fight like a demon, but to actually win.
- While Dondarrion may not ultimately win the duel, he also proves he's far from incompetent in that scene by managing to duel Sandor almost to a standstill. Even considering he has the flaming sword, it's still pretty cool, particularly given how Sandor has cut through more or less everybody he's fought against so far.
- During the fight, Beric's flaming sword lights Clegane's shield on fire. The fight is then decided when Clegane staggers Beric with said burning shield, then shatters Beric's flaming sword. The Lord of Light made his favor VERY clear.
- Jaime's monologue about how he became the Kingslayer, as we learn he saved the whole city and countless lives with the act everyone hates him for, with a spellbinding performance by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Even before that, the moment we see that he's regained his trademark arrogance, acid tongue and general fearlessness even when he's at the mercy of his enemies is profoundly satisfying after seeing how low he was in the last episode.
- Jaime refuses to be drugged with any anesthetic while his festering hand stump is cleaned out by flensing the rotting flesh and exposed nerves away.
Qyburn: There will be pain.Jaime: I'll scream.Qyburn: Quite a bit of pain.Jaime: I'll scream loudly.
- The DVD Commentary elaborates that a major part of why he refused was fear that Qyburn would take the arm while he was unconscious — to make sure he only cut the portions Jaime approved of, he had to remain awake.
- The Blackfish punching Lord Karstark in the face when he mouths off at Robb.
- There's also Robb decapitating Lord Karstark with an even quicker and cleaner stroke than his father managed in the first episode. Bonus points since the last time we saw someone executed was Theon's bloody mangling of Ser Rodrik, making this another example of how Robb's The Ace compared to Theon in every way. While the act may have been a potentially fatal case of Honor Before Reason, (as is pointed out to him by his various allies), you can see him thinking to himself "what would my father do?", and deciding to follow his example deserves props.
- One of the traitors begs for mercy, saying he didn't kill anyone and only watched the others do it. Robb tells his men to hang that guy last so that he can watch the others die first. That sentence quite vividly illustrated that Good is not always Nice; when crossed, the Starks can be as brutal with their justice as the other Great Houses.
- He may have been an utter dick, but Karstark NEVER even considers begging for his life, he just tells Robb where to shove it and just to hurry up with it. His final words are him telling Robb what an utter failure he is.
- In the wake of this, and while looking over a tactical map of Westeros, Robb is despairing about what to do after having lost half his forces due to his decision. Then he has his Eureka Moment. This also counts as one for the writers, who came up with that Eureka Moment to give Robb a new, attainable goal — and thus keep the infamous Red Wedding a surprise for viewers who hadn't read the books.
- Tyrion finally Calling the Old Man Out on his cruelty to everyone, particularly poor Sansa Stark at that moment, and looking him straight in the eye and reminding him about his first marriage.
Tywin: You're still fertile. You need to marry again and breed.
- It may be in the middle of an extraordinary Kick the Dog moment, but Tywin's proving that he can make both his stubborn and rebellious children do exactly what he says with the force of his personality alone is quite impressive. As Cersei points out, she is Queen Regent, and thus technically outranks Tywin, but he is able to reduce her to begging simply by raising his voice.
- Tywin shouting at Cersei is certainly Laser-Guided Karma, as only moments ago she was taking sadistic glee in watching Tyrion forced into his marriage with Sansa.
Cersei: I am queen regent, not some broodmare!
Tywin: You're MY DAUGHTER! You will do as I command!
- Look at a map of Westeros and you'll see that if Tywin's plan works, the Lannisters will have a hand in ruling six of the seven kingdoms, with only the Iron Islands (which no one wants anyway) left apart from them. One could suggest that Tywin's plan for dealing with the Iron Islands is already right there. Instead of wasting forces by engaging them directly, he's going to first seize all of Westeros, allowing him to cast as wide a net as possible around them, before tightening his hold. In other words, his plan has less to do with war and more to do with fishing.
- Littlefinger taking all of two minutes of screen-time to completely destroy the Tyrell's plot for Sansa, complete with lampshading of "That didn't take long."
- Sansa gets a small one, showing that she's learned something by lying to Littlefinger about the Tyrell's plans. She doesn't do it very well, but at least she's learning not to blab secrets, unlike Loras.
- Upon seeing Tyrion and Olenna in a room together, we prepare for an epic Snark-to-Snark Combat. Instead, Olenna destroys Tyrion, who barely gets a word in and is left with an expression of "So that's what that feels like."
6 - The Climb
- If the sight of the wildlings climbing eight hundred feet up the Wall wasn't awesome enough, then how about a massive chunk of the Wall breaking off, casually wiping out half of the wildlings. And what makes the sheer scale of the Wall more impressive: We can see afterwards that the avalanche barely even made a dent in it.
- Jon saving himself and Ygritte when Orell cuts their rope while they were halfway up the Wall.
- Tywin actually getting the better of Olenna, after she'd held her own against Varys and Tyrion. She even remarks on how refreshing it is to finally meet a Worthy Opponent. Though she still handles herself pretty well by bringing up Jaime and Cersei's incest point blank to his face, and gladly defending her grandson from Tywin's homophobic mockery while point blank suggesting Tywin himself indulged in this with his cousins. This lady is probably the single most badass character in the series now.
- Littlefinger's chilling monologue about how no one can actually get their happy ending, because the "climb" to reach it is all that really exists, played over a montage of his handiwork for the past couple episodes.
- Arya actually grabs Melisandre and makes her turn around. Melly's so flabbergasted at the kid's nerve that it takes her several seconds to react. And then she looks into Arya's eyes and her expression morphs into one of horror when she sees what the little girl in front of her will do and what she will become in the coming future.
- The absolutely fantastic shot of Westeros from the top of the Wall at the end. The World Is Just Awesome doesn't even describe it. Bonus points for it being the background to a fantastic kiss on the part of Jon and Ygritte.
- As soon as it seems as if Roose Bolton is about to have her and Jaime killed, Brienne, unarmed and wearing a pink dress, lays her hand on the fork in front of her, indicating that she was fully prepared to leap across the table and stab him to death with it had Jaime not stopped her.
7 - The Bear and the Maiden Fair
- Jaime turning the Bolton column escorting him back to Harrenhal to rescue Brienne. When they get there they find that Locke has thrown her into a pit with a bear to fight with a wooden sword while wearing a dress. What does Jaime do? He leaps in to the pit and helps Brienne escape by giving her a boost on his back. Brienne escapes safely, but Jaime is still in the pit, so Brienne helps pull him up while the bear is advancing on him. They both get out and Locke can only look on while they leave safely with "The Rains of Castamere" playing.
- Brienne once again shows just how brave and determined she is: before Jaime came back for her she must have known she wasn't going to get out of this alive but, seven hells, she's not going down without a fight, even after taking a bear claw to the neck. Even before that, there is one when Jaime is saying goodbye before parting. Jaime tells her that she is to be left alone with Locke, which she is for good reasons unhappy to hear. After he tells her that he is indebted to her, instead of asking help for herself, she reminds him of his promise to Lady Catelyn of saving the Stark sisters to consider his debt paid. Until the end, and even in the worst of circumstances, Brienne is not going to forget her vows or honor — the definition of a Knight in Shining Armor.
- Please note that Jaime climbs the bear pit with only one hand.
- Jaime doesn't even have a sword. He jumps in with nothing. Yes, that self-absorbed, snarky, arrogant "Kingslayer" faced an eight-foot-tall pissed-off bear with nothing but that one hand. And his first words to Brienne? "Get behind me." Character Development, thy name is Jaime Lannister...
- And Brienne didn't waste time relishing still being alive as soon as she was out, even though she had every right to; at once she's all "Hold my legs!" and is reaching back in to pull Jaime up to safety.
- She also got a last one by walking away on her own, despite having been clawed by the bear at least 3 times.
- His scene with Qyburn is also pure awesome. After finding out Qyburn "experimented" on living people, and shows his disgust and anger, Qyburn smugly asks him how many people Jaime has killed, and then how many he has saved. Jaime proudly replies he has saved half a million people, the entire population of King's Landing. Then after finding out Brienne is in danger, he blackmails him into taking him back to Harrenhal.
- Daenerys receives the Yunkish emissary, Razdal mo Eraz, and forces him to sit in a lower chair while her titles are rattled off. Having received the gift of two chests of gold bars to bribe her to leave Yunkai alone, she then states that she'll destroy Yunkai unless its population of 200,000 slaves are freed and compensated. When Razdal tell his slaves to take back the gold, Drogon roars and screeches at them, sending them scampering away while poised over the open chest; Smaug would be proud. He's already learned to hoard!
- The shot of Dany sitting in her tent with three dragons the size of large wolves around her.
- Not even looking at the emissary while he's implicitly threatening her with 'glorious and mighty' Yunkai, the mother of dragons throws a slab of meat to her children. The dragons take flight within the tent inches away from everybody. If you look closely, Viserion loses the yummy snack to Drogon and Rhaegal emerges the victor while his brothers squabble over nothing. That moment was fucking awesome alone for the pant-wetting look on Razdal's face while Dany remains impassive to the beasts tumbling about. Like a boss.
- Tywin faces his grandson, who up to this point has been a dangerously uncontrollable psychopath who no one dares cross. He proceeds to walk right up next to the Iron Throne, chastise him for not attending council meetings, tell him he needs to learn more about the kingdoms he's ruling, and finally turn and walk away with a smirk on his face while Joffrey looks like he wishes he could sink into the throne. The scene was a long time coming, and paid off beautifully.
- Made all the more awesome in that Joffrey was clearly attempting his typical veiled threats about why it's not wise to make a King walk to a meeting, but Tywin is having none of it and politely informs him that if it's that much of a problem, they can have him carried.
- There's also all the sarcasm and disrespect Tywin gets across without saying anything at all; first, as he approaches the throne he stops at the places where we've seen other people ritually kneel/bow, just to make the point that he's not bowing to Joffrey. Second, when Joffrey complains about the stairs, Tywin slowly and deliberately climbs the steps up to the throne's dais uninvited, both making it look as if he's demonstrating how stairs work for an idiot child, and once again making the point that he's got no interest in following the usual protocols. Third, he spends the rest of the meeting looming over the squirming Joffrey rather than letting him look down on him. Fourth, he decides to leaves as soon as he gets the last word rather than waiting to be dismissed, and when he says his final "Your Grace" his body language makes it look like he almost forgot to say it, and nearly left without saying anything at all.
- His witheringly dry promise to ensure that Joffrey is properly informed of all "important" events when "necessary" is another one, because it's so blatant what he's really saying that it's hard to believe that even Joffrey could miss it, raising the possibility that Joffrey does know that he's being completely shut out of running his kingdom but is too scared of his grandfather to object.
- A small and subdued one for Joffrey, of all people. While usually the greatest Smug Snake in the seven kingdoms, he somehow heard, and is Properly Paranoid, about Daenerys and her dragons at Essos. While he's still being quite the smug bastard, he actually takes the possible threat somewhat seriously, whereas Tywin is being completely skeptical, which earns him a few points for finally using his brains. It's also possible that Margaery brought it up and he's just sucking up to her, but still.
- Tywin still wins points here for telling Joffrey to basically shut up when, up to this point, no other character has even come close to simply telling his Royal Prickness what to do.
Tywin: ... Curiosities on the far side of the world are no threat to us.
Joffrey: But how do we know these dragons are just curiosities, and not the beasts that brought the whole world to heel?
Tywin: (exasperatedly and very quickly) Because we have been told as much by the many experts who serve the realm by counseling the King on matters in which he knows nothing.
Joffrey: But I haven't been counseled!
Tywin: (Slowly, and with extreme pointedness, accompanied by a Death Glare) You are being counseled at this very moment.
- Tywin later admits to Oberyn Martell in "Breaker of Chains" that he is aware of the threat of Daenerys and her dragons. Either Joffrey's comments made Tywin later look into these "curiosities", or Tywin didn't bother to disclose to Joffrey due to the latter's ineptitude. (Joffrey did cower in the Battle of King's Landing; he wouldn't stand a chance against dragons.) Either way, awesome.
- Made all the more awesome in that Joffrey was clearly attempting his typical veiled threats about why it's not wise to make a King walk to a meeting, but Tywin is having none of it and politely informs him that if it's that much of a problem, they can have him carried.
- Gendry discovering his father's identity when in the shadow of the Red Keep, with the wrecked boats from the Battle of Blackwater around him and with King Robert's Leitmotif playing in the background.
8 - Second Sons
- Self-described coward Samwell Tarly stands up to a White Walker who's come for Gilly's baby, with no hope at all, just because it's the one good thing he can do before he dies. And even after his sword is destroyed and he's easily tossed aside, he attacks again with the one weapon he has left... an obsidian dagger which turns out to be able to kill White Walkers. That's right, "Ser Piggy" is likely the first person to slay a White Walker in thousands of years. It might be the same White Walker that saw Sam at the end of Season 2. If so, looks like it made a fatal mistake in sparing him. The White Walker almost seems to realize this fact as it dies, its face contorting with disbelieving fury, shrieking in defeated rage as it saw just who killed it.
- The Establishing Character Moment of Daario Naharis, after he's ordered to sneak into Daenerys' tent and kill her. He instead presents Daenerys with the heads of his two co-captains of the Second Sons, and pledges himself to her. Daenerys also gets a moment in that scene: after Daario presents the heads of his two co-captains, Daenerys just arches an eyebrow and asks if that's supposed to impress her. Then she gets out of the bath, slowly walks down the steps stark naked while giving Daario the coolest, most regal icy glare, as if daring him to objectify her even once. It's a parallel to her first scene in the series, where Viserys forces her to undress before she gets into the bath. It shows how far Daenerys has come from being a scared young girl to becoming a mighty queen.
- Dany negotiating with the three leaders of the mercenary band.
"Take off your clothes and come sit on Mero's lap, and I may give you my Second Sons."
- Tyrion putting down that son of a bitch Joffrey during his wedding when as per usual Joffrey proceeds to make a dick of himself to try and humiliate Tyrion and torture Sansa further into starting the bedding ceremony. Tyrion's response is as follows when Joffrey refuses to cut out the act.
Tyrion: (slams knife into table) Then you'll be fucking your own bride with a wooden cock!
- Joffrey is so enraged by this he is literally and physically seething with fury as he looks at Tyrion. Similarly, we can see Tyrion shaking with anger as he's digging the knife into the table, causing Joffrey to give it a few nervous glances as if weighing up how serious that threat was. The best part? Tywin actually has to defuse the situation before things escalate further, thus defending Tyrion and Sansa from Joffrey.
- A more subtle one before that was Tyrion's rather successful efforts to make his father feel uncomfortable during their conversation.
- The best part about all this is that Tyrion has been suffering from Badass Decay all season, due to his father being around constantly and having to kiss up to the Tyrells in order to pull the crown out of debt. In this episode he starts snarking and threatening just like his old self. No need to fear the old Tyrion is completely gone, he is still around.
- Furthermore, Tywin actually manages to get Tyrion out of the room and prevent Joffrey from thinking of a sadistic punishment, which is quite impressive when Joffrey has mutilated people for less. It's an awesome moment for Tyrion too, as he likely knew that Tywin would be able to force the king into accepting that he'd been told where to stick it.
- When the congregation in the Sept start laughing at Tyrion's attempts to fix the bridal cloak around Sansa's shoulders without the aid of a stool, one guest laughs a bit too loudly. Tywin looks round at him and glares, and the man instantly shuts up. Clearly someone forgot Lord Tywin Lannister absolutely hates laughter directed at his family, even if in this case it's Tyrion.
- Tyrion, even when completely piss-faced drunk, still manages to stick it to his father by absolutely refusing to sleep with Sansa if she doesn't want it.
Tyrion: If my father wants someone fucked I know where he can start.
- Cersei gets a moment against Margaery when she reminds her about the origins of "The Rains of Castamere" — a family much like the Tyrells stood up against the Lannisters, and as a result, Tywin wiped them out.
Cersei: If you ever call me "sister" again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep.
- Margaery gets a minor one directly afterwards. One of the most influential women of Westeros just threatened her life and although there's fear on her face, we also get a glimpse of "It is so on..."
9 - The Rains of Castamere
- The Red Wedding. The way the scene plays out is so brilliant and disturbing, made more so by the music, the acting of every single cast member, and the evil death stare of Walder Frey. Also, the fact that the scene is something of a legend and is pretty much the scene that everybody was waiting for. It did not disappoint. Despite its Tearjerker and Nightmare Fuel content, the Red Wedding could be argued as a crowning moment for Tywin Lannister. Arguably one of his greatest and most brutally cunning plans to end the Stark campaign in one night, without even having to battle them. Just another indicator of his Magnificent Bastardry.
- Ser Jorah, Daario Naharis, and Grey Worm vs. a large squad of eunuch soldiers in Yunkai. They beat them all handily in a Multi-Mook Melee with some effort... and then the NEXT, LARGER wave of soldiers surrounds the trio. 'To Be Continued... Right Now!' One transition scene later we see them all arrive at Dany's camp, caked in gore... And the city is hers.
- Grey Worm, in particular, is a remarkable fighter, moving with all the grace and poise of a dancer. Made more impressive that unlike Jorah and Daario who are clearly trying to upstage each other, he's coldly taking down men with brutal efficiency, using only a spear. He's got a shield too, but barely anyone gets close enough for him to need to use it.
- Daario gets a mention when it seems quite likely that he did kill both Mero and Prendhal in single combat considering how he distinguishes himself in the battle. At one time blocking an attack from behind without even looking and saving Jorah's hide with his thrown knife.
- Team Mormont: Tag-teaming combo-finishers with Daario and fighting multiple opponents at once and holding his own alongside the two sprier men who must be about half his age. It seems that when fighting for the love of a woman, Jorah is the equal of Jaime Lannister. (In the books: Jorah fought with Jaime to a draw in the Lannisport tourney melee and King Robert declared him the victor; this was when he'd been offered Lynesse Hightower's favor, his future second wife. And fought all the harder for it.)
- It seems that Jorah, when lovestruck, gains increased badass to go with his increased dumbass.
- That's about the nub of it, yes: Att +5, Def +5, Str +5, Dex +5, Wis -10, Awesome +15.
- Bran warging deliberately for the first time, using Summer and Shaggydog to save Jon when the Wildlings turn on him. Hell, Bran warging into Hodor counts as this too, because by doing that, Bran stopped Hodor's cries of distress from revealing their position to Tormund Giantsbane and his group of Wildlings. This is especially impressive because, according to Jojen, NOBODY can warg into another person.
- Jon taking on the Wildings, and as a more subtle moment, how he 'accidentally' banged a rock as they charged the horse breeder. That spooked the horses, which gave the breeder warning enough to get away.
- Jon killing Orell:
Jon: You were right the whole time!
- Rather a villainous moment for Orell, but just as Jon kills his human body, Orell wargs into his eagle and swoops down on Jon, tearing his face a new one and getting very swift revenge.
- Jon killing Orell:
- Arya. A little girl of twelve. Talked down the Hound at every corner of episode 9. She called him out on his Blood Knight behavior and tried to mock his habit of going down on vulnerable people to dissuade him from killing a defenseless trader (he finally relents when she begs). When he talked about her fear as they got closer to the Twins, she retorted by mentioning his fear of fire and how he had 'looked like a scared little girl' when going up against Beric's flaming sword. She even brought up the tale of his experience with Gregor's brotherly affection, when for all she knew it might be his Berserk Button. She concluded with a curt but detailed description of how she intends to end Sandor one day. And in every instance, Arya's speech and her stone cold gaze stunned Sandor into silence. That was Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?, Staring Down Cthulhu and Shut Up, Hannibal! all combined into some of the best "The Reason You Suck" Speech delivered, ladies and gentlemen.
Arya (after the Hound suggests killing an innocent man to avoid witness): You're so dangerous, aren't you? Saying scary things to little girls. Killing little boys and old people. A real hard man you are.Sandor: More than anyone you know.Arya: You're wrong. I know a killer. A real killer. You'd be like a kitten to him. He'd kill you with his little finger.
- Then again, the hound gets a moment of his own with the very next line.
- Later on in the episode, we get this exchange:
Sandor: I know fear when I see it. Seen it a lot.
Arya: I knew fear when I saw it in you. You're afraid of fire. When Beric's sword went up in flame, you looked like a scared little girl. And I know why, too. I heard what your brother did to you. Pressed your face to the fire like you're a nice juicy mutton chop.
- Clegane gives as good as he gets, hitting a little too close to home.
Sandor: They're just over the river. The closest you've been to family since Ilyn Payne snipped your daddy's neck.
Arya: Someday, I'm gonna put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull.
- Sandor does eventually retort back, by saving her life.
- Robb is in too much deep shock at the brutal murder of Talisa and his unborn child to notice the twin bolts protruding from his lungs and the quarrel sunk into his thigh as he crawls towards her and then follows this up with a tragic rendition of Died Standing Up. As noble and dignified as his father was when standing upon the steps of Baelor. "The North Remembers"; now more than ever. He has to be stabbed in the heart to finally be taken down.
Walder Frey: (mockingly) The King in the North arises!Robb Stark: (And so he does, while fucking perforated.)
- Also Catelyn's utterly feral Mama Bear moment as she threatens to slash Joyeuse Frey's throat if her husband does not let her son live. Since Walder doesn't give two shits about his wife, he lets Robb die at Roose's hand and Catelyn makes good on her vow regardless of its futility. Dark as all hell but it shows how badass she is.
- And just before the bloodshed starts, Cat realizes that Roose Bolton has betrayed Robb, hauls off and slaps him right in his smug face before she shouts a warning.
- Sandor helping the pig farmer fix his cart's wheel spoke by lifting the entire open wagon by himself. Further magnified by the fact that the pig farmer said just a second ago that one would need eight hands to be of any help.
- The horse breeder facing death with dignity and asking to die like a man, standing up. Tormund's agreement is also a touch heartwarming, in a morbid sense.
10 - Mhysa
- A supremely satisfying Kick the Son of a Bitch moment. As Sandor travels with Arya through the Riverlands, they come across some Frey soldiers talking and bragging about the Red Wedding. What does Arya do? She gets off Sandor's horse and walks over to them. Pretending to be an innocent, scared little girl, she asks if she can sit by their fire. They tell her to fuck off. She says she has money, and extends a single coin to one soldier, but drops it. As he bends down to pick it up, she pulls out a dagger and repeatedly stabs him in the base of the skull. As the other soldiers pull out their swords, Sandor swoops in and kills them all near effortlessly, his only admonishment to Arya being that she didn't tell him she was going to do that. Even better, what was the coin she handed to the soldier? Jaqen's coin from earlier. "Valar Morghulis". Afterwards, Sandor asks where Arya got the dagger. She stole it from him without him even noticing it was gone. She then hands it back to him completely casually. Arya Stark is a goddamn ninja. Also note that the Frey soldier was only seconds earlier bragging about being the one who desecrated Robb and Greywind's corpses and mentioning how difficult it was to hack away at their necks. Arya had no trouble with his.
- Yara going against her father's wishes and assembling a fleet to save Theon. Also a Heartwarming Moment.
Balon: I've made my decision.Yara: (with cold, slow, determination) ...And I've made mine. I'm going to pick the fastest ship in our fleet. I'm going to choose the best fifty killers on the Iron Islands. I'm going to sail up the Narrow Sea, all the way to the Weeping Water. I'm going to march on the Dreadfort, I'm going to find my little brother, and I'm going to bring him home.
- Sam standing firmly by his decision to help Gilly and his epic justification to Maester Aemon when he accuses him of forgetting the code:
Sam: I remember every word of the oath. Night gathers and my watch begins. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. The realms of men; that means her, as well as us. We didn't build five hundred miles of ice wall, seven hundred feet high to keep out men. The Night is gathering, Maester Aemon, I've seen it. It's coming for all of us.
- Davos sending Gendry away in a small rowboat to save him from Melisandre, knowing he could die for it.
Gendry: Why are you doing this?Davos: Because it's the right thing to do. And I'm a slow learner.
- Davos saves himself from execution by revealing that he knows how to read now and can understand Maester Aemon's letter about the White Walkers. Stannis and Melisandre realize they need his help to beat them.
- During the Small Council meeting, Tywin politely informing Joffrey that in no uncertain terms, he's only the King because Tywin allows him to be King, before flat-out ordering him to go to his room without supper.
- When Joffrey proposes to have Robb's head serve to Sansa at his wedding feast, Tyrion flat out threatens Joffrey's life. Again.
Joffrey: Everyone is mine to torment. You'd do well to remember that, you little monster.Tyrion: Oh, I'm a monster. Perhaps you should speak to me more softly, then. Monsters are dangerous and just now kings are dying like flies.
- And this time, unlike in Tyrion's wedding, Tywin attacks Joffrey's Evil Gloating instead of bothering to correct Tyrion. Tywin may never vocally approve of anything Tyrion says, but he nevertheless proves himself above Joffrey's level of evilness. And who's to say that Tywin doesn't see a bit of Aerys II in Joffrey when he looks his grandson in the eyes and says what everyone thinks to his face?
Joffrey: (to Tyrion) I am the king! I will punish you!Tywin: Any man who must say, "I am the king" is no true king. I'll make sure you understand that when I've won your war for you.
- Joffrey's outburst at Tywin is a completely failed example. Were it anyone else in the show furiously calling out Tywin for his inaction during Robert's rebellion and talking with pride about how their "father" was a true hero it would almost certainly be awesome. However since it is screeched at Tywin by Joffrey of all people, any awesome trait is instantly revoked.
- On the other hand, there is something extremely satisfying in the silent reactions as Tywin Death Glares his grandson down. Even Cersei, who moments ago was gently trying to defuse the situation on Joffrey's behalf, just looks at him with an expression that says "Sorry, kid, can't help you now."
- Also the reactions of the rest of the Small Council are impressive: Pycelle looks mortified, Varys smirks softly to himself (having already voiced his own objections to Joffrey's plan to humiliate Sansa further) while Tyrion is gleefully watching to see which of the two relations he hates most will triumph over the other.
- The revelation that Ramsay repaid Dagmer and his crew for selling Theon out by having them all flayed alive. Brutal as hell, but still, that's for killing Maester Luwin.
- Theon having the strength to say his real name twice rather than immediately giving in to his tormentor. Considering everything he's gone through by this point, having any free will left at all is quite an achievement.
- Jon Snow tells Ygritte that he knows that she won't hurt him because she loves him and he loves her. She shoots him full of arrows anyway.
- The departing farewell of Season 3. Centering around Daenerys liberating Yunkai's slave population. Designed to reaffirm faith in humankind after the horrors of the previous episode, we get great composition and cinematography along with the loads and loads of extras that appear on screen, giving the scene a really epic feel. Not to mention the accompanying newest reprise of the Targaryen leitmotif, "Mhysa", with plenty of eerie High Valyrian lyrics that will give even the most cynical of viewers shivers.
- In this deleted scene there is the truly awesome sight of Tywin Lannister fishing on the shore of King's Landing while verbally bludgeoning Pycelle for trying to screw Tyrion over the previous season, revealing he is perfectly aware of his "doddering old man" act, and casually threatening to kill him if he irritates him.
- Pycelle (of all people) also has a few subtle awesome moments once he stops the aforementioned "weak old man act", with him revealing his perfectly sane reasoning for the act (he does not want to be seen as a threat by anyone which allows him to stay in a position of power while those around him fall) and being pretty much the only person in the series so far aside from Olenna Tyrell and Arya to talk perfectly frankly and openly to Tywin without flinching or showing any sign of fear, even managing a bit of snark about how it is "the King's council" not Tywin's when asked why he should be allowed back on it.
- Tywin, of course, isn't intimidated and orders him to take the fish he's caught to the cook, showing that while Pycelle may be able to snark back and may not be as harmless as he lets on, he cannot hope to match him.
1 - Two Swords
- The opening sequence, depicting Ice being reforged into two blades. We later see one of them being given to Jaime Lannister, and it looks gloriously well-designed.
- It's also one for Tywin, at least to himself. The war is over, his son has returned, and thanks to his careful planning, the Red Wedding ensured not only the end of the war, but the end of the Starks, and that no one will dare challenge House Lannister for a thousand years. So, what does he do to finally put the period on this sentence? He gives his family not one, but two Valyrian steel swords, which they have wanted for years. He doesn't smile, but you can see the satisfaction in his eyes. He has won, and he knows there's nothing anyone can say to question that.
- Oberyn's extended Establishing Character Moment, trolling Tyrion by skipping his own grand entrance to King's Landing, pinning a Lannister soldier's wrist to the table with his dagger, and finally fully laying out exactly why the Martells hate the Lannisters so much... and that they are not the only ones who pay their debts...
- The sheer speed with which Oberyn humbles the Lannister dogsbody is fantastic.
- The Visual Effects of Awesome that Dany's children now represent even further than the earlier series moments. You truly believe those dragons are living, breathing and very dangerous animals when they interact so closely with Emilia.
- Grey Worm and Daario, while competing in an albeit rather stupid contest: they were engaged in when Dany found them — holding their swords flat, resting on their hands with their arms out perfectly straight, with the prize being the right to ride beside Daenerys on the road to Meereen. It's late morning by the time Dany comes to find them having heard they were "gambling", and they had been at it since the previous evening. And neither of them were showing any signs of letting up until Dany told them that the last man holding his sword could find a new queen.
- Missandei's "I told you so" look as she turns and follows Dany away suggests that she knew exactly what the two men were up to, and the fact that it's cast solely toward Grey Worm says that she almost certainly told him it was stupid.
- Daario deserves some credit for the fact that he managed to get Dany on her own, bring her flowers, get away with it, and actually make it work, all while giving her genuine advice that she takes to heart.
- Dany coldly insists that she will look at the faces of all 163 crucified slave children on the road to Meereen. When she finally gets there, there will be no mercy left in her, and everyone around her knows it.
Missandei: They say a thousand slaves died building the great pyramid of Meereen.Daenerys: And now an army of former slaves is marching to her gates. Do you think the great masters are worried?Missandei: If they're smart, your Grace.
- Missandei understands perhaps better than anyone.
- Brienne visibly expects rejection from the Tyrells, and doesn't get it. Rather, Olenna is actually pleased, even thrilled to meet her — Brienne has a reputation, and it's impressive enough that the Queen of Thorns allows herself to be outwardly impressed by someone. Of course it's almost certainly an intentional manipulation — the Tyrells are always playing the game. But the fact that Brienne of Tarth is considered a valuable enough ally for them to go to the trouble speaks volumes.
- She manages to browbeat Jaime into acknowledging that he still has the spirit of an oath to keep. Whether he appreciates the reminder that he has a conscience is another thing, but she does remind him.
- The Hound and Arya vs the punks that took Needle from her. Five men, Arya kills two. The last one she hits with a full blown Ironic Echo and it is glorious, if frightening as all hell.
Polliver: You don't seem to understand the situation.Sandor: I understand that if any more words come pouring out your cunt-mouth, I'm going to have to eat every fucking chicken in this room.Polliver: You lived your life for the king. You gonna die for some chickens?Sandor: Someone is.
- Afterwards, the two of them leave. Arya on her own horse, even though Sandor spent a fair amount of time explaining why she had to keep riding with him.
- Arya's calm, almost serene pleasure in killing Polliver. She enjoyed it, she enjoyed every second of it, and in the end she's proud of what she's done and has learned that not only does killing people she hates make her feel good, it is an excellent way to get what she wants. Maisie Williams nails Arya's quiet discovery perfectly, and it is chilling.
- The reprise of the main theme that plays at the end of the episode, just on its own, is fantastic. It's dark and hopeful and triumphant all at once, as if to suggest that yes, the revenge of House Stark begins now. It also segues into a reprise of "Valar Morghulis". A man should be pleased a girl is following in his footsteps.
- The Hound is possibly the only man alive who can take an exchange as ridiculous-sounding as this, and make it sound absolutely badass, followed by him taking on all five men at once:
- Restoring in-world memetic badass status after fleeing the battlefield also counts.
- A guy with the dagger manages to get Sandor on the ground. Sandor grabs his head in one hand and his wrist in the other and slams the guy's head eye first into his own dagger.
2 - The Lion and the Rose
- Joffrey dies! And to whoever poisoned him, we give only the highest accolades.
- Sansa stares defiantly at Joffrey before she picks up the goblet he kicked and hands it to Tyrion, saving Tyrion from having to search for it any more. Another comes before this when Sansa calmly watches the horrible reenactment of the war that tore her family apart and ended with nearly all of her family dead. Not only does the actor playing her brother have a wolf head mask, reminding her of his ultimate fate, but when the actor for Joffrey proceeds to engage in a Westerosi version of teabagging after killing "Robb", Sansa still remains in her seat and keeps her cool when earlier Loras stormed off in a huff after seeing his lover's memory mocked.
- Tyrion refusing to kneel to Joffrey. And a bit earlier, doing one better than his "wooden cock" line by telling Joffrey to go into the mock dwarf battle himself, and be careful they don't rape him. And he says the whole speech in a completely clear, level tone, making everyone see it's not the wine talking this time. It also includes the not so subtle reminder that during the Battle of Blackwater Tyrion was outside the wall fighting and receiving a scar for it while Joffrey, who likes to boast that he defeated Stannis, had not fought a single battle.
- Oberyn's Refuge in Audacity conversation with Tywin and Cersei, coming so close to outright telling them he's after revenge on them, and also reminding them his family is holding Myrcella, though that might also be in order to emphasize that they'll never stoop as low as the Lannisters and mistreat her ("the rape and murder of women and children is considered distasteful...").
- Tywin's speechless expression and barely contained fury to that remark practically sealed the moment. You would get the feeling if it wasn't for Myrcella being in the Martell's custody, Tywin would have throttled Oberyn on the spot.
- Ellaria also gets in on the action when Cersei insults the fact that she's a bastard, staring her right down and boasting "I have ten-thousand brothers and sisters" without even flinching, not bothering to let the queen of the seven kingdoms faze her.
- Bran's abilities as a warg continue to grow in a big way, with him first spending hours inside Summer's body and then warging into a weirwood. That montage we see is awesome in its own right, including a welcome glimpse of the much missed Ned Stark wiping Ice and culminating in an awesome Money Shot of a Dragon's Shadow flying high over King's Landing. That creepy voice we hear is also cool.
- Loras's epic comeback when Jaime tries to intimidate him, saying that Loras will never marry Cersei.
Loras: (smiles smugly) And neither will you. (pats Jaime on the arm)
- It's Evil vs. Evil, but after Roose Bolton's smug Evil Gloating with Walder Frey, it's kind of nice to see Ramsay Snow get in his face and take him down a peg by telling him that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive; the This Cannot Be! expression on Roose's face is a sight to see. And all while Ramsay is casually getting shaven by Theon/Reek, fully confident that his plaything can hold a blade to his throat and yet won't dare to harm him. Likewise, Roose wiping the smile off Ramsay's face when he reminds him that the flayed man isn't Ramsay's sigil — it's Roose's. He's a Bolton, while Ramsay is still a bastard.
- How Margaery controls the mood of the wedding is awesome too, expertly defusing things every time Joffrey's Ax-Crazy nature upsets the party, changing the mood with a slight voice modulation.
- Cersei gets a rare moment of heroism when she swoops in and saves a Tyrell serving girl from what would have been a likely very intrusive examination from Pycelle. Then follows it up with an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the maester. Unfortunately she sent her to Qyburn, instead. We can only hope that he hasn't restarted his experiments, yet.
- Almost the moment after she makes the implication, Stannis decisively shoots down his wife's suggestion to sacrifice their daughter.
- Speaking of Shireen, her refusal to take any of Mellisandre's crap. From Arya it wasn't much of a surprise, but it's quite a bit more powerful coming from this sweet, innocent girl.
- The sparring session between Jaime and Bronn is awesome for a different reason. Jaime's footwork is excellent and even though it's his non-sword hand he still uses it very well, even though he's crippled Jaime Lannister is still a force to reckon with, and he's merely Brought Down to Badass after being The Ace all his life, noting to Bronn that he hasn't used sparring swords since he was nine.
3 - Breaker of Chains
- Daario Naharis' defeat of Meereen's champion in about thirty seconds by killing his horse with a throwing knife and cutting him down right afterwards. And then after the duel, the Meereenese archers try to fire at Daario, but he manages to stand just outside their effective range. Once the arrows land, he then pisses on the ground right in front of them as a final insult.
- Dany's siege of Meereen. The opening volley of her catapults fling fragile wooden barrels that burst open on impact to reveal that they were filled with the slave collars from the slave children crucified along the road. There will be no mercy for Meereen.
- Tywin and Oberyn's inevitable face-off is awesome for both characters; Oberyn openly tells Tywin that he holds him personally responsible for his sister's brutal rape and murder, and Tywin (fully aware of Oberyn's feelings) willingly talks to Oberyn unarmed and unguarded, totally confident that Oberyn wouldn't dare harm him for fear of the Cruel and Unusual Death he would suffer in retaliation. This scene also marks the second time Tywin actually speaks to someone as an equal (the first being Lady Olenna); he admits that they "need each other," and the handshake he offers Oberyn is one man to another, rather than a superior giving orders to a subordinate.
- The Hound's blunt answer to Arya's blind idealism. Sure, he beats up a good man and steals his silver, but when Arya insists that he's a terrible man, his answer is hard to argue with:
Arya: You are the worst shit in the Seven Kingdoms!The Hound: There's plenty worse than me. I just understand the way things are. How many Starks they gotta behead before YOU figure it out?
- Grenn and Edd manage to escape Craster's Keep and get back to the Wall — after having been held prisoner and presumably abused and starved for quite a while — with virtually no supplies and without getting caught by the mutineers, Wildings or White Walkers.
- Tywin's condensed lesson in statesmanship is quite impressive. In a single scene, he reasserts his political credo and acumen, while delivering one of his trademark "The Reason You Suck" Speech — posthumously — to several historical kings and still coming off as a cool mentor to his grandson.
- And at the same time he's still completely playing the game, getting Tommen dependent on his help by the time he actually takes the throne.
4 - Oathkeeper
- The taking of Meereen. For so many reasons.
- Firstly it is done by infiltrating Unsullied dressed as bondsmen to rouse the slaves into open rebellion with a Rousing Speech by Grey Worm, and by the next day the city is taken.
- Secondly, Dany finally gets bloody retribution for the murdered 163 slave children. How you may ask? By herding exactly 163 masters out to the city steps and crucifying each and every one of them to similar mile-posts that they crucified the little ones to. When Barristan suggests she treat injustice with mercy, she icily replies she will treat injustice with justice. And gives him the mhysa of all death glares for daring to suggest otherwise.
- Thirdly, the scene ends with a gigantic black and red Targaryen flag draped over the great pyramid's harpy statue. While Daenerys surveys her new Queensland from the pinnacle balcony.
- Earlier, when one of the Meereen slave owners sees the "Kill The Masters" writing on the wall, his fury turns to unbridled terror when he notices the three-headed dragon sail adorning the great pyramid, he turns to run and then sees that all three exits are rapidly filling with pissed off slaves.
- Jaime has gotten better at fencing left-handed to the point that Bronn has to use two hands to fend him off. The sellsword also shows off his creativity this episode by pulling off Jaime's prosthetic hand and using it as bludgeoning instrument.
- And the revelation as to who killed Joffrey, and thus avenged not only Ned Stark, but countless other innocents for the shit he had pulled over the years. OLENNA MUTHERFUCKIN' TYRELL! (with assistance from Littlefinger) She was already a very popular character, but now she takes her rank alongside the most beloved characters on the series.
- This wasn't part of her original plan, but Joffrey's death also serves as sweet revenge after the king publicly humiliated her grief-stricken grandson's love for Renly in front of the Westerosi nobility at the wedding feast. Olenna was pissed off over the vulgar display, and the regicide keeps Loras safe as well, as it was only a matter of time before Joffrey enacted a law that would make homosexuality a capital crime.
- The exchange in which this is revealed is just perfect given how calm, yet dangerous she sounds in that moment.
Olenna: The Queen Regent is rather distracted at the moment, mourning her "dear departed boy." Accusing her brother of his murder, which he didn't commit.
Maergery: Well, he could have done.
Olenna: Oh, he could have done, but he didn't.
Maergery: You don't know, grandmother.
Olenna: But I ''do'' know. (smirks ever so slightly as Margaery realises what she is saying) You don't think I would let you marry that beast, do you?
- Long story short... do NOT fuck with the Queen of Thorns, or her family.
- It's possible that Olenna decided to kill Joffrey in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" a season earlier, when she had Sansa tell her and Margaery the truth about Joffrey. If thats the case, Sansa was able to avenge her father without even realizing it.
- At the very end we get to see something not even the book readers have seen yet. The Leader of the White Walkers. Naturally this is crossed with a colossal dose of pure nightmare fuel.
- Sansa putting some of the "lessons" she learned in King's Landing to use when discussing Littlefinger's role in Joffrey's murder. It's not much, but it's solid proof that she's been paying attention to the game.
- When Jon asks for volunteers to deal with the mutineers at Craster's Keep, who are the first to stand up? Grenn and Edd, who just made it to safety from that place against all odds.
- Vile and twisted as Karl may be, it was still quite satisfying to see Karl make Rast his bitch.
5 - First of His Name
- Locke pulling some ninja-style moves to gather intel on the mutineers at Craster's. Later, he handily kills a few of them in the fight.
- Bran warging into Hodor and breaking Locke's neck is this, even if it ends with a tearjerker as Hodor realizes what he was made to do.
- What really makes this awesome is the fact Bran managed save himself, Meera, Jojen, and Hodor without Jon's help. Took a Level in Badass indeed.
- Jon and Craster's wife killing mutineer Karl. It's also an Awesome Moment for Karl since he went down fighting, vile as he may be.
- The revelation that Littlefinger instructed Lysa to poison Jon Arryn, essentially setting in motion the War of Five Kings. When Varys called him "one of the most dangerous men in Westeros", he was not kidding. What a Manipulative Bastard.
- It also served to highlight just how long Littlefinger has been playing the game for — he'd seduced Lysa after being rebuffed by Catelyn, and then used her lingering affection to his advantage.
- Jon and the Night's Watch giving the mutineers exactly what they deserve while showing up just in time to prevent Meera from getting raped. Not only that, but as a result of their actions, Craster's daughters are finally liberated from oppression and able to improve their circumstances. Dolorous Edd and Grenn get some pretty cool kills as well.
- Jojen telling Karl about his death, while looking incredibly creepy doing so.
- Arya loudly adding "The Hound" to her list of future victims, after explaining to him exactly what it is. And it seems to get to him, given his Oh, Crap! reaction when he wakes up to find her missing.
- Arya's water dancing practice. She's got good at it. Doubles as a funny moment because, if you pay attention, once she knows the Hound is watching she really begins to show off.
- During Arya's waterdancing, Sandor starts insulting her swordplay teacher, getting in an awesome insult for his hated former king, Joffrey:
- The Hound: Braavos? Greasy-haired little bastard, was he? They all are.Arya: What do you know about anything?The Hound: I bet his hair's greasier than Joffrey's cunt.
- The Hound's hard life lesson for Arya. She may know how to somersault and everything, but Sandor proves that such things are useless when your opponent is well-armored and armed. She thrusts her sword into his chest with no effect, he knocks her to the ground and cements his point with these awesome lines:
The Hound: Your friend's dead, and Meryn Trant's not, 'cause Trant had armor. And a big fucking sword.
- Where Arya displays her improving swordsmanship, her sister Sansa shows improvement elsewhere: playing the game. When confronted by an envious and raging Lysa Arryn about her relationship with Littlefinger, Sansa immediately bursts into tears about how Littlefinger always called her a 'stupid little girl'. Littlefinger never called Sansa stupid nor berated her, only telling her she is naive.
- And when Lysa eerily snaps back into comforting, motherly mode and embraces Sansa, Sansa stops crying. It's clear that she was genuinely scared, as she should be, but her tearful cowardice was a deliberate exaggeration in order to get Lysa to back off, and it worked.
- Craster's wives declaring they don't need the Night's Watch's help and that they'll make their own way is awesome, considering all of the horrors they've endured.
- Rast having a giant Oh, Crap! when he realizes Ghost is out of his cage, and hears him growling somewhere, right before Ghost leaps on him from offscreen.
- Margaery smugly proves to Cersei that she doesn't fear the Queen Regent at all when the younger woman muses, "I don't even know what to call you: sister or mother." In the Season 3 episode, "Second Sons," Cersei had coldly threatened Margaery's life with, "If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep."
6 - The Laws of Gods and Men
- The Money Shot of our first glimpse of Braavos, the camera scaling up from Davos and Stannis in their fairly large galley that is dwarfed by the huge statue of the Titan of Braavos and in the background we see the city skyline.
- Yara reads off the letter Ramsay Snow sent to Balon Greyjoy last season and makes an epic Rousing Speech to her team before leading her men over the battlements of the Dreadfort, quickly reaching Theon's pen... only for a half naked Ramsay, fresh from both coitus with Myranda and wearing the blood of his butchered enemies to lead a small squad of Bolton men into the fray; effortlessly slaughtering a path through half her troops and unleashing his caged dogs to chase them out of the castle.
Ramsay: This is turning into a lovely evening! (Charges six armoured men)
- Tyrion's closing speech of the episode is just... terrifyingly awesome even if it is part of a massive tearjerker due to the frankly magnificent performance by Dinklage. After being put through a Humiliation Conga worse even than what Joffrey inflicted on him when Shae lies to the court about being his sex slave and him being responsible for Joffrey's death, twisting their most precious moments together to humiliate and incriminate him, Tyrion looks for a moment utterly defeated and on the verge of tears... but then he offers this speech.
Tyrion: Father, I wish to confess. I wish... to confess.Tywin: You wish to confess?Tyrion: I saved you. I saved this city and all your worthless lives! I should have let Stannis kill you all.Tywin: Tyrion! Do you wish to confess?Tyrion: Yes, father. I'm guilty. Guilty. Is that what you want to hear?Tywin: You admit you poisoned the king?Tyrion: No, of that I'm innocent. I'm guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I'm guilty of being a dwarf.Tywin: You are not on trial for being a dwarf.Tyrion: Oh, yes, I am. I've been on trial for that my entire life.Tywin: Have you nothing to say in your defense?Tyrion: Nothing but this—I did not do it. I did not kill Joffrey, BUT I WISH THAT I HAD! Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief THAN A THOUSAND LYING WHORES! I wish I was the monster you think I am! I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you! I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it!Tywin: (as the court goes nuts) Ser Meryn! Ser Meryn! Escort the prisoner back to his cell!Tyrion: I will not give my life for Joffrey's murder! And I know I'll get no justice here! So I will let the gods decide my fate. I demand a trial by combat.
- Throughout the whole thing, he keeps his enraged tone and demeanour, finally being able to vent his rage at the ungrateful bastards around him for a lifetime of mockery and contempt. Honestly, this might well be Dinklage's best performance in the series so far.
- The final shot of him smirking at Tywin and not backing down one bit from his father. Before when Tywin glared at someone, they wilted after a few moments, but Tyrion stares him eye to eye not backing down one inch. Tywin's glare of disdain no longer has any hold on him, and Tyrion wordlessly tells his old man to go screw himself. The fact that not many would be able to get a rise out of the normally stoic Tywin Lannister by giving the ones attending the trial a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech and giving Tywin a silent "fuck you" death glare is awesome in Tyrion's part.
- Whether Tyrion knows it or not, he also finally destroyed any hope of Tywin making Jaime his heir and continuing his legacy.
- Jaime calling Tywin out on everything, including the fact that the trial is very much not in Tyrion's favour, how Tywin has always treated Tyrion unfairly, how Tywin is clearly using the trial as an excuse to get rid of Tyrion, and also pointing out that Tyrion is the rightful heir to Casterly Rock.
- He also makes a point of telling Tywin that the last order Aerys gave him, the one that convinced Jaime to kill him, was to bring him Tywin's head. Tywin stops and pauses as Jaime tells him, and it's one of the few times he's clearly caught off-guard.
- And then Tywin himself gets a villainous one when, after Jaime offers to renounce his oath to the Kingsguard and resume his position as Tywin's heir, Tywin simply replies "Done", and immediately tells Jaime how the scenario will play out, showing that there were two possibilities; 1. Jaime's heartbreaking offer was likely All According to Plan, and upon re-watching the conversation it looks like Tywin might have been leading Jaime's thoughts in this direction. 2. Tywin was never intending to execute Tyrion anyway, and Jaime has just pledged to renounce his recently-found honor for no reason. Seeing the look on Jaime's face as he realizes how Tywin has, once again, played everyone is a major Tearjerker, but it also reminds everyone just what a Magnificent Bastard Tywin is.
- While we're mentioning Tywin's awesomeness in this episode, his description of Barristan Selmy's dismissal from the Kingsguard as "insulting and stupid" was definitely a highlight. To have someone finally call Cersei out on her treatment of him is wonderful, even more so because only Tywin could get away with telling the queen regent what an utter failure as a ruler she is in front of the whole council.
- Davos getting the Iron Bank to back Stannis, with a Rousing Speech about how it's not only the right thing to do but also the most practical, as Stannis is the one man in Westeros who can get their investment back to them in a timely fashion. Stannis' stunned expression is also amazing to behold. Remember that line by Salladhor Saan about smugglers having to testify on behalf of kings. It's awesome that the only man who can get Stannis a loan from the wealthiest and most powerful bank in the world is a former smuggler who once tried to rob their ships (which they have obviously not forgotten).
Davos: *shows his removed fingers* This is the payment that was demanded by King Stannis for my crimes. I consider it an honest accounting. He's an honest man, and he's your best chance to get back the money you've sunk into Westeros, which is a lot, I imagine. Wars are expensive.
Tycho: The war is over.
Davos: As long as Stannis lives, the war is not over. Who's the real power in King's Landing?
Tycho: Ser Davos...
Davos: Now, humor me.
Tycho: Tywin Lannister.
Davos: How old is Tywin Lannister?
Davos: Sixty-seven, and when he dies, who's in command? A half-grown boy, the product of incest? Cersei Lannister, the queen whose people despise her? Jaime Lannister, the man best known for killing the king he was sworn to protect? When Tywin's gone, who do you back?
Tycho: That is a problem for another time.
Davos: Begging your pardon, I think it's a problem for now. There's only one reliable leader left in Westeros: Stannis. He's got the birthright. He's in his prime. He's a tried and tested battle commander, and he doesn't just talk about paying people back, he does it.
- Varys' snark session with Oberyn Martell. He's utterly unfazed by the Dornish prince's teasing, and explains that he's always been quite glad to be free of fleshly desires, as they inevitably distract a person from other things — he says with a glance at the Iron Throne. When the show decides to remind you every so often that Varys is a badass, it leaves no doubt in one's mind that the man is dangerous.
7 - Mockingbird
- Littlefinger. Saving Sansa from being dropped out the Moon Door. Then immediately mixing this with Nightmare Fuel when he throws Lysa out of it instead.
- Oberyn volunteering to champion Tyrion against The Mountain. The scene provides an amazing counterpoint to Peter Dinklage's big scene last episode. After showing how well he can sell a big speech, here he gives a performance just as good while hardly saying a word.
Tyrion: [choked up] If you want justice, you've come to the wrong place.
Oberyn: I disagree. I have come to the perfect place. [music swells] I wish to bring those who have wronged me to justice, and all those who have wronged me are right here. I will begin with Ser Gregor Clegane, who killed my sister's children and then raped her with her blood still on his hands, before killing her too. ... I will be your champion.
- Arya and Sandor come across one of the men that Yoren had prisoner when they were going to the Wall in Season 2, one who had threatened to rape her. Sandor asks her if his name is on her list, and she replies no because she doesn't know his name. Sandor asks the name and the second he says it, Arya whips out Needle and stabs him in the heart. Sandor sums it up best just seconds before.
Sandor: This day's really not working out the way you planned.
- Sansa finally decides she's taken enough shit from people and slaps Robin after the latter wrecks her snow castle. Doubles as a bit of a tearjerker since she's immediately horrified and apologetic because it's the first time in the series she's ever resorted to violence, but the little shit really had it coming. It may have been that she was finally able to hit somebody after a very long time of keeping the rage and anger she felt at Joffrey and others at King's Landing locked inside out of fear and it had just built up. Also may have been a the symbolism for her of losing Winterfell again, even just a small version of it.
- Cersei gets a quiet one when she meets Gregor Clegane, walking through all the gore and entrails of the people he's been killing seemingly as part of his exercise routine. She's fearless and cold talking to Gregor, the biggest and most psychopathically violent character in the series.
8 - The Mountain and the Viper
- The titular duel between Gregor Clegane and Oberyn Martell. With two weeks of waiting there was certainly plenty of hype for this from both book readers and non book readers, and it certainly did not disappoint.
- Firstly, let's look at how Gregor did. Despite being toyed around with and ultimately skewered and stabbed multiple times by Oberyn's spear, Gregor was a fucking tank throughout the fight, hurling blow after blow at his opponent and tossing him around like a rag doll whenever he got his hands on him. While Oberyn was certainly faster and more skilled, Gregor's strength was nearly enough to give him the edge. If Oberyn had been wearing even a few more pounds of armour, Gregor would have won the fight. And of course there's what happened when Oberyn let his guard down after winning the fight...
- Secondly Oberyn. Put simply, Oberyn not just won, but DOMINATED the fight against the most feared knight in Westeros, while giving him a speech that could make Inigo Montoya blush. After starting the fight with an almost polite introduction to his opponent, he calmly reminds Gregor of how he raped his sister, murdered her, then killed her children, and as the fight goes on, and as he effortlessly avoids Gregor's blows, using his spear to tear away at Gregor's armour, he keeps repeating "You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children", at first arrogant but growing increasingly enraged as the fight goes on and he wears Gregor down. Then, after unbalancing Gregor, he rounds on him one last time and furiously roars "YOU RAPED HER! YOU MURDERED HER!" as Gregor lunges at him, only for Oberyn to dodge, rip his spear down the back of Gregor's calf sending him to his knees, and then charge the prone giant with his spear as he screams "YOU KILLED HER CHILDREN!", impaling him through the stomach to the arena floor. Even his head being popped like a pimple by an angry Gregor after his arrogance got the better of him didn't take away from Oberyn's victory just beforehand.
- On that note... Gregor popping Oberyn's head like a pimple. Sure it is absolute Nightmare Fuel and possibly the most horrible thing yet seen in the series, but it sure as hell showed the audience just why Ser Gregor Clegane, whom had been relegated to Offscreen Villainy for almost the entire series so far, is the single most feared fighter in the seven kingdoms.
- There's also the reason Oberyn demands the confession — he doesn't just want to hear Gregor admit he did it, but he orders him to admit Tywin told him to. After escaping retribution for so much including the Sack of King's Landing and the Red Wedding, it's satisfying to see someone try to force Tywin to take responsibility for what he's done, in front of the court no less.
- Sansa turning the tables a bit on Littlefinger by revealing her true identity to Lysa's counsel, after which she spins her own story that still makes him look good, but not without making him sweat a bit first. Then she explains she's decided to stick with the devil she knows, and we next see her wearing a Pimped-Out Dress designed after a mockingbird. What exactly she's up to remains unclear, but she's definitely learned her lesson about how to get ahead in the Crapsack World of Westeros.
- It's also a surprisingly clever move on Sansa's part because by confessing her true identity, she's ensured that Royce and the rest of the Council will be looking out for her safety — which they would not have done for a half-witted bastard niece of a man they all openly dislike. If Littlefinger gets handsy with her again, he's probably going to buy himself a one-way ticket through the Moon Door or a stay in the sky cells.
- More so, considering she told them that he had kissed her, and left the context ambiguous long enough to put ideas in their heads. If Littlefinger touches her without consent or attempts any other funny business, her accusations will be a whole lot more believable.
- Even more so, she actually got the jump on Littlefinger of all people.
- The commander of the ironborn at Moat Cailin correctly refusing to believe Ramsay's peace terms, and furiously telling Theon off despite being so sick he can barely stand.
- Gilly noticing the wildling raiders sneaking into the town before their attack.
- Tywin Lannister is able to sow dissent and deal a major blow to Dany's team merely with just some quill and paper; a letter with the seal of the Hand of the King to Ser Barristan relating Ser Jorah's past as Varys' informer, which gets Jorah banished. A scene from two episodes earlier shows that it took Tywin less than a minute to devise this wedge when he was debriefed about Daenerys and his two advisors.
9 - The Watchers on the Wall
- Like "Blackwater," this episode focuses on a single battle (in this case an amalgamation of three battles from the books) and is naturally full of these, like:
- The Epic Tracking Shot across the entire Castle Black courtyard, checking in with several major characters and their part in the fight.
- Alliser Thorne finally steps up and shows himself to be a fine leader, giving a couple of nice Rousing Speeches before taking on Tormund Giantsbane and lasting longer against him than anyone else.
- Ygritte pulls up the Watch's own flaming arrows on their assault of the southern gate to use in her bow. While firing in a kneeling position for greater accuracy, she does an epic Nonchalant Dodge of a tracer shaft then immediately puts her own arrow through the sniper's head!
- Grenn and his chosen five men's Dying Moment of Awesome defending the tunnel from a giant after one last recitation of the Night's Watch oath. They all die, but they succeed in their job. The chilling bravery of this scene cannot be overstated. Five men recruited from ordinary thugs and criminals face down the medieval equivalent of a fucking tank, something they have never seen before and were in no way prepared to fight. (The other giant needed to be taken down with artillery, and they're armed with puny swords.) Actually managing to slay the damn thing was icing on the cake; standing tall where sane men would have fled was a victory in itself.
- Pyp kills a wildling with an crossbow on his third try, and although he dies a short time later from Ygritte's arrows, he died knowing that he had played his part in the ultimate defence of Castle Black.
- Dolorous Edd unleashing "the scythe," cutting several Wildlings off the Wall with a giant bladed pendulum.
- Jon's fight with Styr, using several Improvised Weapons after he loses his sword and finally taking him down with a blacksmith's hammer. Conversely, Styr smacking Jon around for most of the fight and nearly killing him.
- Jon's descent to Castle Black. He prepares to lead a counterattack, gives Sam the order to cross the Godzilla Threshold and release Ghost, and then when the elevator still has about 10-15 feet to go, jumps out and kills four wildings before the others reach the ground.
- Throughout the battle, Tormund Giantsbane takes a multitude of wounds but just won't stop, and even after the battle is over and he's alone, surrounded by enemies, three arrows protruding from his broad back and one stuck in his gut; it takes one more quarrel to the leg and Jon disarming him before he'll submit to capture.
Jon Snow: Tormund. It's over. Let it end.
Giantsbane: This is how a man ends! (Attacks closest crow)
- The fact that this episode had a giant riding an equally large mammoth while shooting giant arrows at the Night's Watch.
- The Giant Archer. Seconds after a Wildling fails to reach the top of the Wall with his own shot, the giant strolls up beside him, nocks an arrow the size of a small tree on a bow as tall as a house and on his second shot, manages to impale one of the Crows with such force that they are flung off the Wall, before crashing down right in the middle of Castle Black.
- Every named character present does something awesome during the fight. Except Janos Slynt.
- While most of the Brothers we see in the courtyard serve as Redshirts to be cut down the cooks inside the great hall utterly stomp the wildlings who come inside using a pan, a cleaver, and everything except (maybe) the kitchen sink.
- Ghost being unleashed and mauling several Thenns.
- Olly proving he really was the best shot in his hamlet by saving Jon's life with a well-placed arrow. He even manages to gain some manner of vengeance as his target was Ygritte, the woman who killed his father.
- Pretty much everything Sam does during the episode.
- Sam makes sure he doesn't die before getting his first kiss with Gilly.
- While Pyp is freaking out over the impending battle, Sam is able to keep his cool and focus on preparing for battle while giving Pyp a pep talk to help psyche him up.
- "I'm not nothing anymore." Those of the words of a man discovering that he not only has a pair, but that they're made of steel. His name is Samwell Tarly.
- Sam and Pyp teaming up together with Sam reloading the crossbows and Pyp shooting so they can keep up a steady stream of arrows.
- A Thenn notices Sam from across the courtyard and starts charging him. Does Sam run? Does Sam cower? Nope, he quickly loads his crossbow and puts a bolt clean through the Thenn's head.
- Despite Gilly's protests that Sam would get killed, he survives the battle and returns to her as promised. Meta-wise, he managed to avert Tempting Fate in the series that has become the poster child for Anyone Can Die.
- The nameless Stewards in the kitchen take out a bunch of attacking wildlings with a pot of stew and a meat cleaver.
- The fact that Gilly was able to avoid and not get spotted by the wildlings army, after which she makes it to Castle Black. She might be undereducated, inbred, abused and out of her depth in a world beyond Craster's Keep, but her Hyper Awareness, bravery and stealth remind you that Gilly is a wildling girl through and through. She could probably make a few Rangers blush: after all, it wasn't just Sam who navigated from Craster's to Castle Black. Her woodscraft, knowledge of "myth" and practical know-how was also pretty vital.
- Alliser Thorne has a simultaneous Moment of Funny and Awesome when Grenn drops a barrel off the wall when he tells them to hold. He immediately switches from the Badass leader figure to a nagging teacher. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that Alliser was the drill instructor for the Night's Watch, and that by lecturing the men, he's making them think of it as similar to his training — the tension of the moment eases slightly as he does his teacher routine.
Ser Alliser: Archers nock! Everyone else, hold!Archers draw while Grenn slips and drops a barrel over the wall.Ser Alliser: I said nock and hold you cunts! Does nock mean draw?Everyone else: No, Ser.Ser Alliser: Does fuckin' hold mean fuckin' drop?Everyone else: No, Ser.Ser Alliser: Do you all plan to die here tonight?Everyone else: No, Ser!Ser Alliser: That's very good to hear! Draw!
- It's goosebump-worthy reading the title of this episode was and what it's about. Despite most of the Seven Kingdoms not taking the Night's Watch seriously and how the once proud order had degenerated into a place where criminals and unwanted people are dumped (though noble-born and highborn bastard sons still join voluntarily), they have proven that they truly are the watchers on the Wall.
10 - The Children
- Stannis and his army reaching the Wall and rescuing Jon Snow and the Night's Watch during their darkest hour with a HUGE cavalry charge.
- A specific moment is when Stannis and Davos dismounts to meet with Mance. A wildling charges at them with an axe, but Stannis doesn't even flinch or draw his sword, while a passing knight cuts down the wildling.
- Plus, unlike the books, Davos actually gets to see the fruits of his labors firsthand.
- Cersei finally finding a way to truly hurt and fuck with Tywin in revenge for him forcing her to marry Loras... revealing her incest with Jaime. For the first time in the series Tywin is utterly shocked and can only walk away uttering quiet denials. Her "The Reason You Suck" Speech leading up to it is pretty awesome too, as she condemns him for ignoring his own family while obsessing over the name Lannister.
Cersei: One look in the past twenty years, one real look at your own children and you would have known.
- A fight which was never in the books between possibly some of the biggest badasses left in Westeros: BRIENNE VS (an admittedly weakened) SANDOR CLEGANE. Long story short, after a protracted sword fight which Brienne wins handily, Sandor pulls her sword away and begins an extremely brutal brawl, which after some agonizing moments and extremely underhanded tactics... Brienne only barely wins. Special mention goes to a particular moment during the fight. Brienne has disarmed the Hound and is holding him at sword point. Does he surrender? Fuck that, he grabs the Valyrian Steel sword with his bare hands, and forces it out of her grip.
- After a lifetime of abuse, four seasons of suffering, betrayals, and humiliations, and half a dozen episodes of pure hell at the hands of his so-called family Tyrion finally... finally is able to get his long deserved revenge. Confronting Tywin, the most feared character in the series who is responsible for so much of the suffering seen so far, from the Red Wedding to Gregor Clegane's atrocities to the extermination of the Targaryen children, in the privy while armed with Joffrey's old crossbow, he forces his father to answer for his abuse....before flat out executing him for insulting his now-dead lover Shae. With two crossbow bolts, Tyrion single-handedly destroyed any hope of Tywin's precious legacy surviving and ensured the Lannister regime is effectively doomed now due to the countless crises faced by the crown (i.e. the Iron Bank, the wrathful Dornish, the continued Greyjoy rebellion, and of course the imminent threat of Winter) which only Tywin had a hope of handling. All with "The Rains of Castamere" playing for awesome irony.
- An added bonus, Tyrion managed to give Cersei a final "fuck you" by foiling her wish to see him executed.
- Especially gratifying when you see his thought process right after his rescue. His freedom is right in front of him, but then he pauses and looks back, clearly thinking "Maybe I'll make a quick stop, first..."
- To further add to that not only did Tyrion kill Tywin, he killed him in arguably the most humiliating fashion possible — the great and feared Tywin Lannister shot with a crossbow while taking a shit by his dwarf son.
- Arya gets the hell out of Westeros.
- Plus, instead of giving the Hound what he wanted, she chooses not to Mercy Kill him and leaves him to die alone.
- Also, look at the face of the Braavosi captain when he sees the iron coin. Seems like people don't just hand them out to anyone.
- The Late Red Viper Oberyn Martell is likely smirking and chuckling to himself from wherever he is, as Gregor Clegane has been infected with manticore poison coated and inflicted from Oberyn's spear from their duel, leaving him to die a well-deserved, long, and painful death.
- Mance Rayder quickly deduces everything about Jon's plan since the beginning, the fact that there were far fewer men in Castle Black than Jon originally informed him, how the Watch would not hold against a second attack, and that Jon plans to assassinate him. Mance gains the upper hand in the negotiation and dares Jon to try to kill him before his guards can stop him. If it weren't for Stannis showing up just in time, Jon would have been completely screwed.
- Mance steadfastly refusing to kneel to Stannis despite the latter's implicit threat to his people if Mance does not kneel.
- While making their way to where the Three-Eyed Crow resides, Bran and his party are ambushed by wights. Meera does a good job handling herself against them, while Bran does his warg thing and bring out Fist of the North Hodor! When it looks like Bran's party is about to be overrun, one of the Children arrives in a Big Damn Heroes moment and starts blowing up wights with some kind of alchemical bombs, or what could even be bolts of magic power.
1 - The Wars to Come
- The toppling of the gigantic harpy statue from the summit of the Great Pyramid.
- Under urging from Daario, Daenerys goes down into the catacombs in the dead of night and tries to tame Viserion and Rhaegal, but quickly undergoes a panic attack in the face of their viciousness and fire-breathing antics. However, you have to give the girl queen credit for plucking up the bravery to go down there alone in the first place when she had just admitted to being unable to control them anymore!
- When Mance Rayder is being burned alive, at first it seems like Jon can't bear to watch and leaves as a form of protest. Lo and behold, Mance's anguish is promptly spared when he's shot through the heart. Tormund and Stannis look up to see Jon was the archer who delivered the fatal arrow. The Bastard of Winterfell then walks off camera while tossing down said bow.
- The King Beyond the Wall also has balls of Valyrian Steel to hardly betray a peep as he's subjected to slow burning from the feet up.
- Mance is Face Death with Dignity incarnate; in his last scene with Jon he admits he's afraid to die, knows that the method will be particularly painful and humiliating, and he still prefers that to bending the knee to Stannis and pledging his people to fight in a foreign war.
2 - The House of Black and White
- Brienne curbstomping Littlefinger's hired goons, including pulling off a Big Damn Heroes and riding in the nick of time to bail out an unarmed Pod and shattering an opposing knight's sword.
Brienne: You can stand up now, Podrick.
- Ten year old Lyanna Mormont's reply to Stannis' command for fealty and loyalty: "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark." All in a small girl's handwriting. Even Jon has to smirk at her audacity...
- ... and because of that girl demonstrating how much power the name Stark still commands in the North, Stannis offers Jon the chance to serve him in return for being legitimized as both a Stark and as Lord of Winterfell.
- Kevan's dressing down of Cersei, in front of the entire Small Council. The sheer Refuge in Audacity leaves her unable to get a single word out.
- Jon becoming the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
- Before that, there was Sam's passionate speech about how Jon is the leader they deserve. And when Janos Slynt tries to make fun of Gilly, Sam reminds everyone that Gilly, her baby and Janos were all hiding in the Keep while everyone was defending the Wall. It cuts Janos down to size and undermines Thorne's own vote.
- Lest we forget when the votes between Jon and Alliser are tied and Maester Aemon rectifies that by taking his own token out and placing it for Jon.
- Arya has another go at catching a pigeon, this time easily taking its head off (and with a sword designed for jabs).
- The yet unnamed Faceless Man scaring away Arya's bullies simply by showing up. Looks like Braavosi thugs know well to not mess with anyone from the House of Black and White. Even better, when he afterwards reveals himself to be a man once called Jaqen H’ghar!
- And before that Arya was fully prepared to skewer the vagabonds if they didn't back down.
- Drogon's return and Dany's bravery as he looms over her. Every subsequent appearance of the black and red dragon makes him look more and more magnificent; the individual scales on his head and neck sometimes ruffle like a cat's fur.
3 - High Sparrow
- Margaery begins to take the reins of the realm, from the royal bed, without really breaking a sweat as she is withholding some if not much of the sex. She is clearly manipulating her poor, clueless husband, but her mendacity is ever so sweet. She also starts to land audacious and barely-disguised insults and blows to a deserving and increasingly powerless Cersei. Margaery even calls her "mother". Not so long ago, Cersei threatened to kill Margaery Tyrell if the word "sister" was ever pronounced again.
- Sansa and Littlefinger launching their plan to take back the North, complete with Sansa being able to smile and curtsy at the man who killed her brother in a way that would make Dany proud. Capped by her maid giving a simple "The North remembers," showing that she has more allies than she thought.
- Baelish's power of conviction remains as magnificent as ever: "Stop running. There's no justice in the world. Not unless we make it. You loved your family... Avenge them."
- Jon promoting Alliser Thorne as First Ranger. Why is this awesome? Because Jon proves that he is a better man than Thorne. Jon could have abused his power as Lord Commander to get revenge for Thorne's mistreatment, but instead acknowledges Thorne's experience and valor and for his leadership during the wildling attack on the wall, and makes him First Ranger as a reward for his skills. Thorne can only react in shocked silence that the man he mocked and abused would give him such honor.
- It's also Jon's fair treatment of Thorne that prompts him to stand aside and let the other brothers take Janos outside. Janos has been Thorne's number one ally/bootlicker since Tyrion sent him to the Wall, but continuing to partner with him would have been career and actual suicide for Thorne.
- Jon's execution of Janos Slynt for refusing his order, swinging the sword himself just like his father, and getting revenge for Slynt's betrayal of Ned completely within the law. He also produces a perfectly clean cut, like a true Stark, and with a Valyrian steel sword like his father as an added bonus.
- The camera makes sure to show that while Janos is dragged outside and tied down for execution, Jon doesn't even bother to get up until he's finished his drink. Like a boss.
- Stannis's nod of approval from the same scene.
- Tyrion, in a brothel with no money, no title, extremely drunk and looking like a ragged and disgusting dwarf rather than a well-bred one, successfully seduces one of the girls. His combination of jokes, compliments to her and insults to the rest of the world get her undivided attention and also show that whatever else he may have lost, his wit and charm remain undiminished.
- In a way, Lancel leading the Sparrows in dragging the High Septon out of Littlefinger's Brothel, and forcing him to walk naked in the streets. In the past seasons Lancel has been everyone's Butt-Monkey to kick around. Now he's the one doing the kicking.
4 - The Sons of the Harpy
- Jon resisting Melisandre's advances.
- This is doubly impressive if one considers the Stark’s infamous history of poor romantic judgment; Robb’s affair caused the Red Wedding, Lyanna Stark possibly eloping with Rhaegar Targaryen triggered a massive war, and an ancient Stark was seduced by the White Walker Queen which nearly ended the world (to say nothing of Jon's most recent relationship, which got him stuck full of arrows). Rejecting Melisandre was more than just a a moment of restraint; Jon conquered an all-too-familiar flaw that had been plaguing his family for generations.
- Even more impressive considering Melisandre's borderline supernatural powers in controlling people, and that she managed to "seduce" normally reserved and honourable men like Stannis and Gendry. Thus far Jon is the only one strong enough to resist her.
- We find out why exactly Littlefinger is marrying Sansa to the Boltons: He predicts that the Northern lords will never truly accept the Boltons, and that Stannis will soon rally the North to take back Winterfell and kill Roose and Ramsay; Littlefinger considers this a certainty. Stannis will then rescue Sansa, who, as the Stark in Winterfell, will then be named Wardeness of the North. The marriage puts her in the perfect position to reclaim the North, avenge her family, and become one of his strongest allies. How well this will actually go is hard to say, but it sure sounds like an awesome plan.
- Jaime and Bronn's fight against four Dornish horsemen.
Bronn: That one should be slow enough.
- To elaborate: After being ordered by the leader to drop his sword, Bronn does so and throws his kukri at the man's throat, dropping him. A second later, his sword is back in hand and stabbed into the gut of another rider charging Bronn from behind. He readies himself and then takes the leg off a charging rider's horse and leaves him for Jaime.
- He then strides off toward the final horseman in an utterly casual and unworried manner. His victory is such a foregone conclusion that it isn't even shown.
- Jaime's C Mo A comes in when, after being backed down a sand dune by the mook and has been disarmed, he raises his gloved golden right hand to stop the blade, catches it between his thumb and fingers. Before the mook can react, Jaime seizes the opportunity by grabbing his own sword and skewering the mook like a kebab. Which then turns into a brief Funny Moment when he can't easily remove the sword.
- At the end of the episode, the Sons of the Harpy attempt an uprising. Most of Dany's forces are caught off-guard and quickly overwhelmed, but the platoon of Unsullied led by Grey Worm manages to put up a fight and kill many of the Sons, with Grey Worm alone dispatching at least seven of them.
- The Sons manage to kill off all of the Unsullied except Grey Worm. They proceed to surround him and just as they're about to go in for the kill the sound of a sword strike is heard. One of the Sons falls dead to reveal none other than Ser Barristan Selmy, bloodied sword in hand. Most of the remaining Sons then charge towards Ser Barristan, who proceeds to decimate their entire group before being forced to his knees and taking a hit to the side, even then still managing to kill around three more Sons. Then just as the last remaining Son prepares to slit Ser Barristan's throat, he is promptly impaled by Grey Worm, granting the old knight a more dignified death.
- Meta example, this is the episode where we finally get to see what Ser Barristan is capable of. Remember that other awesome scene he got, back in Season 1, where he claimed he could carve through any five of Westeros's greatest knights "like cake?" He wasn't lying. Barristan Selmy killed over a dozen armed men, who were all coming at him at once, in under a minute. Gods know what he could do in his prime. Sadly, it's the only time we'll ever see him in action.
- Possibly a bit of Fridge Brilliance in that we are shown that the Sons of the Harpy are still outside slaughtering The Unsullied when Barristan arrives to help Grey Worm. How did he get around all those men swarming the area to enter that hall? By going through them, of course.
- After simply finding out Jorah is taking him to Daenerys rather than Cersei, Tyrion is able to Sherlock Scan his way to figuring out exactly who Jorah is and what's going on. And Jorah's reaction counts — given how many times Tyrion's been able to talk his way out of trouble, it was rather amusing to see someone completely No-Sell his line of questioning and smack him in the face for asking a question too many.
- We get to meet Oberyn's daughters, and all three of them are fierce, exotic, highly skilled warrior princesses. That's pretty awesome.
5 - Kill the Boy
- Daenerys demonstrating that she's tired of being harassed by the Sons of the Harpy by assembling the heads of all of the noble families in Meereen and making an example of one of them by having him burned alive and eaten by her dragons.
- Of all people, Hizdahr zo Loraq gets one when Dany is just about to push him into the path of her dragons, to which he stands up straight and calmly says, "valar morghulis." Slightly subverted when he later begs for his life and admits that he didn't want to die like a coward in that situation.
- Jon managing to convince Tormund to have the wildlings enter into an alliance with the Night's Watch. Jon calls Tormund a coward, which causes Tormund to get in Jon's face and claim that's an easy thing to say to a man in chains. So Jon unchains him.
- Brienne aligning with the Northern smallfolk to undermine House Bolton and help Sansa Stark.
Brienne: I served Lady Catelyn. I serve her still.
- Ramsay gets a little too big for his britches when dining with Sansa, Roose, and Walda. So Roose gladly informs him that Walda is pregnant, and the maester says the baby is likely to be a boy. Meaning Roose will have two trueborn sons, and less use for Ramsay if he gets out of hand. In a way, Ramsay shutting down Myranda's Clingy Jealous Girl behaviour by telling her to stop boring him with her jealousy over Sansa, or else. It's marked difference from his attitude in Season 4 when he was happy to hunt down Tansy just to pacify her.
- Missandei stepping up from being a mere interpreter and becoming one of Daenerys' advisors.
- The ruins of Valyria. It's like a wasteland full of Harrenhals.
- The look on Tyrion's face when he sees a dragon for the first time.
- Jorah fighting off the stone men attack on their boat and rescuing Tyrion from a dire fate off-screen. Too bad it doesn't stop him from being infected with greyscale.
6 - Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
- This episode gave us some impressive visual spectacles.
- Ramsay and Sansa's wedding in the snowy godswood.
- The introduction to the House of Black and White's room of faces is both epic and eerie.
- Littlefinger wrapping Cersei around his... ahem, little finger.
- Specifically, he informs her that Sansa is being married into House Bolton, convincing her that they are traitors. He advises her to let the Boltons and Stannis Baratheon destroy each other in battle, allowing her to dispose of whoever remains. After he gets her to reveal her lack of help in the war department, LF kindly offers to rally an army from the Vale to take Winterfell in the name of House Lannister. Blinded by her desire to crush her enemies, Cersei consents to his only condition: that he be named Warden of the North.
- There's also the casual way he explains how detrimental antagonizing the Tyrells can be, and makes another subtle jab at her relationship with Jaime.
- There's also the fact that by doing this, Littlefinger is aiming to get everything he wants in one fell swoop — Roose and Stannis destroy each other and Littlefinger comes in with the knights of The Vale to crush the leftovers and become Warden of the North — and marry Sansa on top of it all (since Roose would keep Sansa alive for her political use, and Stannis wouldn't hurt Ned Stark's daughter), then presumably unite the Vale and the North to take the weakened South. The man has serious ambition.
- Of course, he also accomplished this by exploiting the hell out of Exact Words.
Cersei: If war comes to Westeros, will the Knights of the Vale fight for the king?Littlefinger: Young Lord Robin heeds my advice. And I have always counseled loyalty to the throne.
- Littlefinger not being fazed at all when surrounded by armed, pissed-off Sparrows.
- As Myranda tells Sansa about the previous girls Ramsay's had that he tired of and killed, Sansa picks up on what she's doing and asks how long she's loved Ramsay and if she hates Sansa for taking him from her. She then tops it off by proudly stating she is in her rightful home of Winterfell, and she won't let Myranda frighten her:
Sansa Stark: I'm Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my home and you can't frighten me.Myranda: (wry smile, it's not her she has to be afraid of...) Are you done with your bath, my lady?Sansa: Go. I can finish on my own.
- Though totally outclassed, Trystane Martell gets points for recognizing the blood stains on Jaime and Bronn's stolen Dornish clothing, and drawing his sword to defend Myrcella from both.
- Myrcella gets a subtle one when one of the Sand Snakes tries to drag her away — she initially resists, despite having a knife waved in her face and being outnumbered and unarmed, because she doesn't want to leave Trystane's side. She does get pulled away, but she gets points for trying.
- Tyrion is captured, and yet again he evades certain death using his quick wits and persuasion skills. In a moment reminiscent of his recruitment of the Hill Tribes back in Season 1, Tyrion manages to talk the slavers (who have just caught him and Jorah and were about to slit his throat), into putting them into a position to get to Daenerys through shipping them to the Meereenese fighting pits.
- It happens so often that Tyrion almost makes it look like it's not that big a deal, which is awesome by itself. This time he just manages to get the words out that stays the slaver's knife; almost averting the Like You Would Really Do It moment, as befitting of a long-running character.
- Jorah also nonchalantly backing up Tyrion's claim of him being a master swordsman, and though the slavers spit on the accomplishment, the act of unseating Jaime at the tourney of Lannisport is no mean feat. They are more impressed when he follows this up with a quiet statement of him defeating a Dothraki bloodrider one-on-one. The amazing part is that both are totally true.
Malko: Jousting. You're talking about jousting. A fancy game for fancy lads. The men who fight in the pits of Meereen will swallow him whole.
Ser Jorah Mormont: I killed a Dothraki bloodrider in single combat.
Tyrion Lannister: (beaming like a loon at this bit of news)
Malko: (intrigued, gets up in Jorah's grill) Liar.
Jorah: (placidly) It's no lie. His name was Qotho. He was bloodrider to Khal Drogo. Take me to Slaver's Bay, put a sword in my hand, I'll prove my worth.
Malko: ... (face cracks into a grin and he nods his assent)
- Olenna Tyrell returns with her usual snark, sees right through Cersei's thinly veiled plot to discredit her house, and spells it out for her just why she needs to let her grandson go. Unfortunately, she is faced with a pig-headed stubborn fool of a woman, and her plan fails because Cersei is too stupid to grasp how dire her situation truly is.
Cersei: As for your veiled threats...
Olenna: What veil?
- Even if she is obliviously doing everything she can to shoot herself in the foot, Cersei managing to get both Loras and Margaery imprisoned by the Faith Militant using the sketchy Westerosi legal system is an evil awesome moment for her.
7 - The Gift
- As he's being brought out and unchained, Tormund Giantsbane stares down Ser Alliser Thorne, whom he very nearly killed during the battle at Castle Black. The stare continues until Tormund is free, and he proceeds to hold out his arms as if to say Bring It.
- Sansa calls Ramsay a bastard and tells him outright that Tommen Baratheon's own bastardy means there's no legitimacy to his Bolton name. All without blinking an eye as he subjects her to an insane Death Glare.
- As soon as Ramsay turns his back on her, Sansa discreetly grabs a corkscrew.
- That tough old serving lady who Ramsay has flayed; she did not break and give up her allies under even this extreme torture. Looks like Roose was wrong... a flayed man can still have secrets.
- Gilly gets one, slapping the man from the Wall who won't let her pass without a kiss. Then, again, when the two go after Sam, she tries to tackle one of them. They overpower her, but she doesn't go down easily.
- In the same scene, having been badly beaten, Sam gets back up and tells the brothers to back off once again, and when they threaten to kill him, he says 'I killed a White Walker, I killed a Thenn, I'll take my chances with you.' Granted he's saved by Ghost, and he probably would have been killed, but Sam is no coward anymore.
- Everyone at the slave auction laughs at Tyrion when he claims to be a great warrior in a bid to go along with Jorah. He then drags one of the overseers to the ground and proceeds to beat the shit out of him, to everyone's amusement. In the end, his scheme works and Yezzan purchases him as well.
- The verbal sparring between the Queen of Thorns and the High Sparrow.
- Olenna's threats to Littlefinger aren't bad either. Finally Lord Baelish got himself a co-conspirator who isn't stupid enough to trust him. Partially meta, since the showrunners' warnings about several cases of Death by Adaptation this season plus the pre-released pics of the two of them alone in his house made many fans fear for her life. Don't worry, this Cool Old Lady seems fine...
- Jorah, who manages to live up to his reputation as a badass and takes out the competition in the slave pits to impress Dany. The most impressive part, though, is that he doesn't kill any of them — just knocks them out. Even before he enters the pit, Yezzan, his new slave master, tries to halt him. Jorah smashes his elbow into the man's face. No one's getting in the way of him reuniting with Daenerys.
- Tyrion's trying to hack off his chains so he can go present himself to the queen, only to be caught by a large, brutish-looking slave fighter. The man then slashes the chains apart with his blade, freeing Tyrion and giving him a respectful nod.
- Marg drops a great "The Reason You Suck" Speech on Cersei, saying what many have thought. This is especially noteworthy after revelations about the Sparrows' methods in "Hardhome". Margaery has been starved and tortured in an attempt to make her confess to having intentionally hidden Loras' homosexuality, and she still managed to have the strength to not give in to Cersei's gloating.
Margaery: Lies come easily to you. Everyone knows that. But innocence, decency, concern, you're not very good at those, I'm afraid. Perhaps that's why your son was so eager to cast you aside for me. Leave. [...] Get out, you hateful bitch!
- And, of course, there's the High Sparrow's very passionate Break Them by Talking monologue to Cersei that culminates in her imprisonment in a cell just like Margaery's. While it is left ambiguous as to whether Lancel told the High Sparrow about Cersei's infidelity with him from the beginning or after Littlefinger or Olenna somehow persuaded him (the HBO Guide conforms Olenna persuaded him... which is awesome in and of itself), what's impressive is how it's strongly implied that the High Sparrow has actually been planning to imprison Cersei from the moment he took power, only waiting so that she could help him solidify his political position. Lancel getting justice through this for all the abuse and manipulation he suffered under her too.
The High Sparrow: What will we find when we strip away your finery?
- Septa Unella's wordless "Bitch, please" reaction to Cersei telling her to get out of her way.
- Cersei's Badass Boast that caps off the episode. It doubles as a Blasphemous Boast, given the setting and who she's saying it to.
Cersei: Look at me! Look at my face. It's the last thing you'll see before you die.
- Stannis, who's grown increasingly dependent on Melisandre, is utterly horrified at her suggestion that he burn Shireen alive to ensure his success, and quite rightly tells her to get the hell out of his tent.
- Tommen's utter frustration at Margaery's arrest. Also proves that Dean can act an emotion other than "useless".
- Tyene once again proves herself to be perhaps the most impressive member of the Sand Snakes, being the first character in the whole stretch of the series to get Bronn's number. After five seasons of slaughtering his way through pretty well every enemy he's encountered, Bronn nearly dies to a poisoned dagger scratch on the arm, and only lives on Tyene's mercy. It should not be understated that Tyene is all of maybe eighteen years old.
8 - Hardhome
- You know the Zombie Apocalypse that Jon Snow's been worried about? It finally arrives, and it leads to one of the most memorable action sequences in the show.
- The moment when Jon decides to stand and fight.
Jon: (draws Longclaw) Night's Watch, with me!
- Jon versus the White Walker general. After having his ribs caved in and spending most of the fight being thrown around like a Frisbee, Jon brings Longclaw to bear against the Other's metal-shattering ice spear... and accidentally discovers the White Walkers' second weakness: Valyrian steel. Cue a spectacular Oh, Crap! face from the Other as Jon forces its spear away and wastes it with a single blow.
- This makes Jon the first man to kill a White Walker in single combat in over eight thousand years.
- When Jon and the Magnar of Thenn are confronted by the White Walker, the Thenn doesn't hesitate for a second; he tells Jon to get the glass while he buys time by dueling the monster. He doesn't last long, but it's pretty awesome for someone who hated Jon a few minutes ago.
- The moment when Jon decides to stand and fight.
- While the retreat sequence is very bleak, there is one ray of glorious hope: THE GIANT
- He kills several wights as if they were fleas, he treats them as nothing more than a minor annoyance. Goes to show that giants in Game of Thrones are awesome.
- In the heat of the battle, Jon and Loboda the Thenn can't help but pause for a dozen of seconds to appreciate his raw power as he makes short work of the wights.
- It's easy to miss but that giant is none other than Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, or Wun Wun. As Tormund names him during their tactical withdrawal. During their retreat, Wun Wun singlehandedly turns around and holds the line, wielding a piece of burning timber like a club, and is last seen calmly walking through the freezing ocean to the Watch boats.
- The epic tracking shot of Jon running to retrieve the dragonglass from the meeting hut. He runs through the fray with massive chaos going on around him, killing wights as he goes, culminating with him reaching the hut, which is now on fire, and then Wun Wun bursts through a wall. All in one shot. During the tracking shot, Jon kills a wight without stopping, cutting it in half so hard that the wight practically disintegrates.
- The attack on Hardhome is acknowledged by Word of God as a deliberate show of strength on the part of the White Walkers. Their army of the dead quickly overwhelms the wildling masses and wade through all of their defenses and strongholds. The White Walkers even join in on the slaughter, with one slaying the new Magnar of Thenn as if he were nothing. Then, of course, there's the Night's King himself coming down to the docks to personally taunt Jon Snow and the wildlings by resurrecting all the people he just killed in a clear display of his power. The episode ends on a note of extreme dread, so they certainly made their point. There is a hope spot in all of this, however. Benioff and Weiss acknowledge that the Night's King sees Jon as a threat, and so confronts him face to face to assert his dominance over him. That's right, Jon intimidated the Night's King.
- The Lord of Bones starts asking Tormund whether he's sucked Jon's cock. He doesn't finish saying it, as Tormund takes the wildling chief's staff, beats him to the ground with it and doesn't stop until he caves the man's own skull in. Then he proceeds to nonchalantly address the rest of the free folk.
Tormund: (tosses away the bloodied bone staff) Gather the elders, and let's talk.
- The scene where Jon speaks with the wildlings to negotiate an alliance. The Rousing Speech on the part of Jon and Tormund are especially cool.
Tormund: What he did took courage. And that's what we need today. The courage to make peace with men we've been killing for generations...Jon: ... I'm not asking you to forget your dead. I'll never forget mine! I lost fifty brothers the night Mance attacked the Wall. But I'm asking you to think about your children now. They'll never have children of their own if we don't band together. The Long Night is coming, and the dead come with it. No clan can stop them, the free folk can't stop them, the Night's Watch can't stop them, and all the southern kings can't stop them. Only together, all of us. And even then it may not be enough, but at least we'll give the fuckers a fight.
- While the book readers are still waiting for the long-promised meeting of Tyrion and Daenerys, the show delivers perfectly on it, with Tyrion offering a completely honest appraisal of why Dany would want his services, and even a balanced view of what she should do with Jorah, securing the job of her new right hand man. Daenerys also gets a major Moment of Awesome. Her "break the wheel" speech which people took issue with in promos becomes awesome thanks to the addition of a single word: Targaryen. That's right, Dany sees her own family as being part of the same feudal cycle, and she's vowed not to be like the Mad King or Viserys and selfishly chase after her family's Glory Days:
Queen Daenerys Targaryen: Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one's on top. And on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.Tyrion Lannister: It's a beautiful dream, stopping the wheel. You're not the first person who's ever dreamt it.Daenerys: I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel.
- Arya's sequence in Braavos, where she walks the streets in disguise and prepares for her first assassination. The editing combining Arya's activities with her playing the game of faces with Jaqen is quite good.
- Reek tells Sansa the truth about the fate of her younger brothers without being allowed to do so by Ramsay. There seems to be some Theon left in him.
- The fact that Sansa got him to do so is awesome in itself too, especially the way she guilts Theon into confessing, assuming that he Can't Spit It Out because he wants to deny he killed Bran and Rickon, forcefully grabbing him to make him confess. Theon finally does so against his will.
- Also, the moment when Theon opened the door clearly expecting to see Sansa curled on the bed. Instead, he sees her calmly waiting for him and he immediately goes Oh, Crap!.
- Just seeing Sansa, the eternal victim, actually dominating a situation and striking fear into someone with her anger. Sure, it's probably easy game with someone as broken as Reek, but still, you gotta start somewhere.
- Ramsay's Badass Boast when he brings up his thoughts on how to take out Stannis, with Roose immediately illustrating to him how reckless such an action would be in their current situation.
Ramsay Bolton: Stannis isn't from the North. You are, father. I think you're missing an opportunity to show the people of the North how House Bolton treats southern invaders.Lord Roose Bolton: And what do you recommend?Ramsay: That we not sit and wait for Stannis to decide what sort of fight this is going to be. That we hit first and hit hard and leave a feast for the crows.Roose: A smart commander does not abandon a defensive advantage. As long as we stay behind these walls, they can't touch us. Not to mention that the snow's so deep that we couldn't get an army through to engage them even if we wanted to.Ramsay: I don't need an army. I need twenty good men.
- On a meta-level, after a string of controversial episodes, this episode is the first of Season 5 to be universally praised by both fans and critics alike. As of June 2016, it's scored 9.9/10 of over 50000 votes on IMDb. IGN and AV Club critics also gave it the highest score, 10/10 and A respectively.
- After Jon's maddeningly vague excuses to Olly about why he's allying with the wildlings, Sam finally says to him essentially "Would you rather be fighting giants or fighting with giants when the White Walkers get here?"
- Cersei learning of the crimes she's charged for (fornication, treason, incest, the murder of King Robert) and denying it all. Her denying is not the awesome part. It’s the fact that someone is finally doing something about them all and is in that position that makes it so damn satisfying.
- Her receiving the same treatment as Margaery who's there because of her is also that. In addition to her attempts to intimidate being shut down and ignored.
- There's also the fact that it's a step-up from the books, where Cersei was placed on trial for sleeping with Osmund Kettleblack, which only happened after Robert's death. Here, she's getting placed on trial on damn near everything she's done.
- Jorah putting himself back into slavery so he can go back to the pits and Danerys will have to see him and cannot object. That way, he can try to win back her good graces before being touched by the stone man likely kills him. If he's gonna die, it'll be on his own terms.
- The way that the last fifteen to twenty minutes of this episode seem to parallel the last fifteen to twenty minutes of the next episode, in much the same way as the first and last scenes of the first season. Ice and Fire, baby.
9 - The Dance of Dragons
- Divisive or no for getting one past Stannis, one can't deny that Ramsay managing to sneak inside Stannis's camp and sabotage nearly all of his supplies without anybody realizing he was ever there until he and his men are long gone is awesome; the bastard obviously learned stealth tips from his hunting/torture buddy, Locke.
- Arya, even as a trainee, is able to successfully track Meryn Trant and gain valuable intel on him, like a true assassin.
- Jorah holding his own as a gladiator, defeating both a priest of Norvos and a Meereenese spearman. Pity he couldn't quite match up against a Braavosi water dancer, though. He also manages to throw the aforementioned spearman's weapon from his position on the arena floor into the chest of a Harpy assassin sneaking up on Dany.
- Although he's a One-Scene Wonder, the water dancer in general. He's the only one who is able to match Jorah evenly, and even gets a few good swipes in. Jorah could have possibly died right there if it wasn't for the surprise spearman. Shows that Syrio wasn't shilling what might have been just another order of warriors, but was praising what might be one of the best groups of Master Swordsmen in the Game of Thrones-verse.
- A minor one, but Hizdahr winning the verbal Cock Fight with Daario is really satisfying, especially when you consider that Hizdahr has always been The Chew Toy since Daenerys's conquest of Meereen.
- Tyrion saving Missandei from a Harpy about to kill her.
- Dany resigning herself to her fate when it seems her Praetorian guard will be overwhelmed.
- Drogon makes his grand return to Dany's side by roasting a bunch of Harpies during their attack on Daznak's Pit. Followed by Dany proving her brother was at least right about one thing: brave people don't kill dragons, they ride them. His big entrance is a true sight to behold. He first makes himself known with his signature roars, then he appears over Daznak's Pit bursting through a huge column of fire, soaring around the colosseum, then landing in the arena, crushing two Sons of the Harpy under his talons and finally ripping another in two by the strength of his teeth before bathing crowds of the terrorists in flame.
- Daario unleashing a sick reverse clothesline launch-slam attack on a Son of the Harpy.
- Dany pulling a spear from Drogon's neck, who proceeds to unleash a devastating roar right in her face, and she doesn't even flinch.
- The awestruck looks on Tyrion, Jorah, Daario and Missandei's faces when they see Daenerys take off into the sky on Drogon's back.
- In stark contrast to the bleak and depressing ending of Hardhome (featuring a huge battle that sees the White Walkers dealing a massive blow to the Night's Watch and the free folk with their powerful magic and sheer numbers), The Dance of Dragons ends in glorious, fantastical triumph as we are reminded of exactly how mankind is going to overcome such a threat: DRAGONS, that's how.
10 - Mother's Mercy
- Reek knocking Myranda aside when she's about to shoot Sansa with a bow and arrow, then tipping her off the battlements to her death.
- Much of those scenes at Winterfell are this: Sansa uses the corkscrew she pocketed to break out of her room and makes it to the Broken Tower to light her candle and signal for help. When Myranda aims the arrow in her face, she doesn't bat an eye. Then, following the, Reek/Theon takes Sansa's hand and leads her to the top of the castle, where the two jump into the snow drifts beneath Winterfell's walls, seemingly escaping Ramsay Bolton.
- Just to make it perfect, immediately afterwards when leading Sansa to freedom we hear a brief yet heroic (for once) reprise of "Pay the Iron Price" showing that yes, Theon Greyjoy has truly returned.
- Let's give some credit to Stannis Baratheon and his army. Though they were totally outmatched and slaughtered by Roose Bolton's army, when the battle is over we see thousands (not hundreds) of dead bodies everywhere, both out in the open and in the woods. It seems that, despite being starved, worn down, disillusioned and on foot, Stannis and his men were able to kill as many (if not more) Bolton men for every one of their deaths. They still lose, but, to be fair, the odds weren't in their favor at all.
- Before the battle begins, Stannis is just staring at the oncoming Bolton horde while his own soldiers can be heard saying, "We've got no chance!" and, "They outnumber us!" Stannis has a look of cold acceptance. Then he draws his sword and raises it in the air, marching forward with a Death Glare. Time to win or die.
- As the battle starts, Stannis can clearly be seen at the head of his army. From Sansa's perspective in the tower, we can see that this is where the Bolton cavalry converged. As the battle winds down, we see Stannis in the middle of the woods. He likely got caught up in a failed retreat into the woodland areas, which he might have tried to prevent given his aversion to abandoning a fight. Still, going from the middle of an overwhelming battlefield to its dwindling outskirts, and probably having to kill countless enemies in between, is pretty impressive.
- A wounded Stannis managing to kill two Bolton soldiers looking through the aftermath for easy pickings. He is also hamstrung much like Barristan was before even landing a blow and still takes them down to the seven hells.
- Brienne finally punishing Stannis for his kin-slaying by summarily charging him with his first perceived misdeed and executing him with Oathkeeper. Or did she...? Yes. Stannis's grim acceptance of his defeat and follies along with his epic, character-reaffirming Face Death with Dignity line, "Go on, do your duty." is also this.
- Arya brutally murdering Ser Meryn Trant (who is revealed to not only be a pedophile but one who enjoys beating little girls) by putting his eyes out, stabbing him half a dozen times and then slitting his throat. Both incredibly disturbing and satisfying to watch.
- Before that, when Arya is in glamour, her high degree of pain tolerance from being given the switch so much is proven when Trant breaks his cane over her head and she doesn't utter a peep or move an inch.
- That Arya's actions managed to save the two little girls Trant was beating. After seasons of Arya witnessing countless atrocities and being unable to fight back, despite her natural instinct to protect the most vulnerable (going all the way back to defending Mycah from Joffrey in Season 1 and Harrenhall in Season 2) she takes a villain down and prevents him from hurting more people.
- This may well be a very unpopular belief, but in a sick, twisted way, Ellaria giving Myrcella the poison kiss of death and finally getting her revenge was awesome. After Ellaria and the Sand Snakes had been shown up as inefficient nuisances, failures, and The Scrappy all season long, they get thrown a bone in the form of a The Bad Guy Wins conclusion in which they get the last laugh and Jaime ends up suffering a huge loss. Extra props for the badass way they all just walk away from the docks once it's all done.
- Varys making his return, living up to his reputation as the world's greatest spymaster by tracking Tyrion all the way to Meereen. Even more awesome is him teaming up with the Imp to govern Meereen.
- Daario, of all people, provides a non-combative example when he easily singles out the strengths of every one of Dany's supporters. He's pretty much the one who plans the Meereenese storylines for next season!
- The culmination of Tyrion's story arc this season. From a fugitive hiding in a box to the de facto ruler of a city and second-in-command to the Mother of Dragons herself. He's one of the only main characters whose lot has actually improved this season.
- Drogon lounging on his cliffside bed of bones. Outstanding Visual Effects of Awesome. We also have the Scenery Porn of the Essossi foothills where Drogon took Daenerys to.
- Dany taking off her wedding ring to leave as a marker for her loyal men when she's about to be abducted by a twenty-thousand-strong khalasar and taken back to Vaes Dothrak.
- Though vastly overcome with plenty of other negative emotions, the fact that Jon is still standing, (albeit for a short while), after five shivs to the gut is testament to the words he never believed would apply to him: "you Starks are hard to kill." Also, Jon betrays neither hatred nor fear to his murderers until his face turns to heartbreak when a firmly corrupted Olly steps up to deliver the coup de grace—reminiscent of good old Jules.
1 - The Red Woman
- Ser Davos and Edd's determination to protect Jon's body and avenge him. Ser Davos comes up with a plan of gathering the wildlings Jon protected to kick some turncloak ass. When Ser Alliser both tries to tempt Davos and co out with amnesty then obliquely threaten them, he sees right through his act, doesn't budge at all and becomes a total Deadpan Snarker in the face of danger. Edd, meanwhile, fearlessly races out to fulfil Davos's plan and is beforehand fully prepared to sacrifice himself for revenge. He even gets two badass boasts.
Edd: I don't care who sits at the high-table! Jon was my friend... Those fuckers butchered him. Now we return the favour.
- "If you were planning to see tomorrow, you picked the wrong room. We all die today." Equally impressive is many of the Night's Watch members present at the common hall debate hurling insults and shouts of "Murderers!" and "Traitors!" at Alliser and his lackeys when he attempts to brush his crimes under the carpet. They seem slightly subdued by his excuses shortly after, but seeing how much of the Watch, which mostly comprises men who've committed their own despicable acts, remain still loyal to Jon is satisfying in its own way.
- Roose is not happy with Ramsay, and his "The Reason You Suck" Speech towards him is epic. Ramsay almost looks like he's about to burst into tears by the end of it. Plus, Roose almost echoes the memetic "do you feel in charge?" that Bane gives to Dagget in The Dark Knight Rises.
Roose: Still, a great victory... Do you feel like a victor?
- Brienne and Pod rescuing Sansa and Theon from the Bolton men-at-arms. Brienne slashes one right out in a jousting charge, his light armor useless against Oathkeeper's valyrian steel edge. Brienne tries jousting at another, but a third right behind her foe knocks her off her mount (with the armor taking the blow). The horseman dismounts and kicks Brienne as she scrambles to grab her sword. He pays dearly for that, as Brienne makes quick work of him in a duel. The remaining horseman charges at her again, but she tackles him and the horse to the ground. After she recovers, she cuts his throat open as he begs for mercy. Meanwhile, Pod fights on horseback against another horseman, and eventually runs him through, but is dragged off his horse when the impaled soldier drags him down. Another Bolton soldier approaches him, puts him on the defensive and disarms him, but then a sword comes up from behind and stabs the mook through his neck; Theon had grabbed a sword off one of the fallen Bolton men and ran the last foe through.
- Theon faces the Bolton men alone, bluffing about Sansa's whereabouts, knowing full well that he'll be taken back to Winterfell and killed, or knowing Ramsay, much worse. It doesn't work against the hounds, but it took massive stones and shows just how far he's willing to go to protect Sansa.
- Four words from Dany at just the right moment before Khal Moro rips her dress off. "Do not touch me." She has proven time and again that a woman's courage doesn't equate to imitating male pursuits like a warrior; but through social intelligence, guile and utilization of her allure to manipulate male honour systems.
2 - Home
- The Big Damn Heroes moment when Tormund and an entire wildling army break into Castle Black to save Davos and the Night's Watch loyalists.
Ser Davos Seaworth: I've never been much of a fighter... (picks up Longclaw) Apologies for what you're about to see. (draws the Valyrian blade and determinately turns to face the door, in the first line of defence)
- Prior to that when Alliser and the mutineers are threatening to break into where the loyalists are holding up with Jon's body, Davos and the others, despite being outnumbered, flanked by archers and Davos not being particularly good with a blade due to his lack of fingers, still all draw their swords as the mutineers begin to ram the door. The icing on the cake is that Davos takes up Longclaw.
- During that scene, one of the mutineers makes the mistake of shooting Wun-Wun in the shoulder with a crossbow. Wun-Wun grabs the idiot, splatters him all over a nearby wall, and then tosses what’s left of him in front of his fellow turncloaks as casually as someone might dispose of a piece of garbage. You can just see Thorne and his men having a Mass "Oh, Crap!".
- The moment where the High Sparrow manages to intimidate Jaime, by making him realize that the High Sparrow and his followers are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own lives to achieve their goals.
- Tyrion being able to survive an encounter with the dragons and even befriending one of them.
- Roose's death at the hands of Ramsay. While it's downplayed by the fact that by doing so Ramsay is now Warden of the North, seeing Roose get his long overdue comeuppance for his role in the Red Wedding is still somewhat satisfying. It's also a clear sign that the Boltons' dominion over the North is finally starting to crack, considering it's unlikely Ramsay has his father's political savvy and pragmatism to keep the increasingly restless Northern lords in line.
- It gets even more fitting when you remember that Ramsay was only born because Roose took it upon himself to rape a woman under the swinging corpse of her dead husband. Roose brought Ramsay into the world in a moment of violence and cruelty and enabled his sadism. It’s only fitting that he be destroyed by the monster he created.
- As extra Karmic Death points, Roose dies exactly the same way he killed Robb Stark: brutally stabbed in the heart by someone he trusted.
- Euron Greyjoy's Establishing Character Moment aka boldness incarnate. He shows up in the dead of night during a storm, shittalks Balon Greyjoy, deflects all of Balon's insults with a Badass Boast, then tosses him off a bridge.
Euron: I am the Drowned God [...] I am the storm brother. The first storm and the last. And you're in my way.
- Jon Snow lives.
3 - Oathbreaker
- The battle at the Tower of Joy shows what the Targaryen Kingsguard's most famous knight was made of. Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, was almost a Total Party Kill for Ned Stark's group all by himself and only lost due to Reed's pragmatism. There is a reason why he and Selmy are regarded as living legends, their skills made them action heroes in a world of regular warriors.
- Keep in mind that TV!Ned was capable of holding his own against Jaime Lannister for an extended period of time. The fact that Dayne was able to dominate him and three of his companions speaks volumes for his level of skill — and not just as a swordsman. He begins the battle more or less surrounded, and works his angles so that all four of his remaining opponents are to his front and fighting uphill. No one in Ned's party can bring powerful strikes to bear for fear of hitting their own allies, and he picks off the remaining fighters one by one, until only Ned is left, a skilled but comparatively inexperienced fighter, wearing lighter armor and wielding a single blade, against the steel-armored Kingsguard badass Dual Wielding both an ordinary and a Valyrian Steel sword. The only reason he loses is because he knocked Howland Reed down early in the battle and didn't have time to check that he was dead.
- Even though he lost, Ned also deserves credit for his part in the battle. He kills Ser Oswell Whent and, although clearly outmatched, holds out against Dayne far longer than any of his companions.
- Ned killing Ser Oswell becomes more impressive when one considers the fact that Whent was a member of Aerys' Kingsguard, who man-to-man were of a higher caliber of warrior than Robert's Kingsguard, most of whom were political appointees and lacklustre warriors (with the exception of Ser Barristan Selmy and Jaime Lannister, the only survivors of Aerys' Kingsguard). This, together with him holding his own against Jaime Lannister, demonstrates what a formidable warrior Ned was.
- Also, the fact that Ned never tries to escape the fight, even when alone against the World's Best Warrior. Despite facing impossible odds, he will not give up the search for his sister.
- Hell, just the fact that this scene, being one of the most pivotal mysteries in the entire timeline, has been adapted to screen.
- From a meta perspective, the choreography could be a PHD thesis. A participant with two swords, and a five vs two fight melting into a five vs one that manages to make Arthur Dayne look like a god without making any of the attackers look useless. Neither of those things are easy to choreograph, and in spite of that the fight is incredible.
- Missandei showing a darker side when she advises Varys and Tyrion that the Masters only speak one language and it's time to take back Yunkai and Astapor but, this time, leave no survivors.
- Olenna Tyrell once again destroying Cersei's pretensions to greatness.
- After Jaime strong-arms himself and Cersei into having a seat with the small council, what does Kevan do? He and the rest of the small council abandons them to sit there like lemons. Finally, after five seasons of putting up with Cersei and her schemes, the people who are actually charged with governing Westeros are not going to let her or anyone still supporting her have their way and cause more problems for the realm.
Lord Kevan: No, we cannot make you leave. And you cannot make us stay. Not unless you're going to have that thing murder us all.
- After weeks, perhaps months, of training in the House of Black and White, Arya slowly evolves into a Blind Weaponmaster. While her Loss of Identity is certainly tragic, seeing her go from frantically waving her staff around at nothing, to calmly taking the hits, then parrying them, and then finally striking the far more experienced Waif across the face is its own kind of awesome.
- Smalljon Umber not showing Ramsay and Harald Karstark any kind of respect and openly insulting the late Roose Bolton, clearly having a blast provoking Ramsay. All without showing any kind of fear at all. Very satisfying to watch if you're fed up with Ramsay's antics in the north.
- Jon Snow executes the men that betrayed and murdered him by hanging them. Then he gives his cloak to 'Dolorous' Edd, says his watch has ended and walks out of Castle Black. The awesome part about all of this is that no one tries to dissuade him from any of these courses of action. Let's recap this: he executes the First Ranger, the Master Builder, and a teenage boy who all murdered him, then quits the Night's Watch, autocratically hands another man command of the Watch (when in nearly all other cases, it had been left up to a mass vote) and walks out. And no one lifts so much of a finger to stop him. It might have something to do with the fact that they're scared shitless of a guy that was already a badass warrior but has now come Back from the Dead, or it might have something to do with him being released from his vow because he was murdered by his own men but is now Back from the Dead.
- On the flip-side, Ser Alliser faces death with dignity, noting that he would do the same all over again if he had the choice, while Olly merely gives Jon a seething glare. They were both traitors, but faced death admirably and only did what they thought was right.
- The awesomeness is slightly downplayed by Olly's complete lack of remorse for murdering Jon and his clear hatred for Jon at this point. But the awesomeness comes right back when Jon gives Olly a saddened look in return and steels himself to go through with the task that rips him up inside and does so.
4 - Book of the Stranger
- Daenerys is brought before the gathered Khals at the temple in Vaes Dothrak so they can decide what to do with her. She lays out her plan to have the Dothraki join her forces; the Khals laugh and say they'll never serve her and will rape her to death instead. She clarifies that they are not part of her plan, and knocks the four braziers over. The temple quickly goes up in flames and the entire Dothraki leadership burns to death except her. With the entire horde gathering around the blazing temple, the Unburnt strides through the doors in a gorgeous Call-Back to the end of the first season. The assembled khalasars are properly awed and reverent; the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea has united them all under her banner.
- It's made clear that she engineered her escape plan long before Jorah and Daario showed up, and the outcome would have been exactly the same regardless of their presence.
Emilia Clarke: I just stand up and I go, 'I'm hearing what you're all saying, but funny thing, I'm going to kill you all. I forgot that I have an ace in my back pocket and now I win.'
- Before this, the Khals go on and on about how they're going to gang rape her, clearly wanting her to beg them not to. Instead, Dany keeps a Psychotic Smirk plastered on her face until Moro can't take it anymore and says she must be insane.
- As a faction, the Dothraki horde had hitherto been untouchable. They had been raiding, raping, and killing at their leisure throughout the series and well into the backstory. Even the King of Westeros (Not of just one kingdom, but the whole damn continent) was convinced that if 40,000 Dothraki screamers could cross the sea, it would threaten his entire realm. Yet what the most powerful cities, kings, and armies couldn't overcome for generations, a single unarmed girl accomplishes in a single night with a bar of wood and a brazier of coals. Even if her authority doesn't last, she's wiped out their entire leadership during an major summit, effectively crippling one of the mightiest hordes Essos has ever seen.
- It's made clear that she engineered her escape plan long before Jorah and Daario showed up, and the outcome would have been exactly the same regardless of their presence.
- Despite her nightmarish ordeal at the hands of Ramsay and her knowledge of just what he will do to her if she is captured, Sansa's first thought after reuniting with her brother Jon is to rally the loyal northern Houses and go straight back and kick Ramsay and his House out of her family's home, saying she will do so alone if Jon does not come with her. When Jon starts reading Ramsay's letter out loud, he stops when it comes around to what Ramsay wants to do to Sansa, mainly to spare her. But Sansa's not having any of that; she just snatches it from him, reads it out loud grimly, tosses the paper down, then starts making battle plans. She's not scared anymore.
- A villainous one for Littlefinger, when he demonstrates to Yohn Royce how easily he can manipulate Robin Arryn by convincing him to execute Royce for treason and then immediately persuade him to spare Royce in the space of a single conversation. Royce's Oh, Crap! reaction when he realizes there's nothing he can do to stop Littlefinger is what sells it. His convincing of Robin to join the fight against the Boltons also serves as one, and his expression at the end calls back to what he told Sansa after Joffrey's death about what people do to those who hurt people they love. He knows EXACTLY why Sansa escaped, and is ready for some payback.
- Brienne walking up to Davos and Melisandre, the loyal advisors and supporters of Stannis and point-blank tells them that she executed him, as he killed Renly with the help of a shadow assassin, all the while levelling a very stern Death Glare in Melisandre's direction.
- Even though it fails miserably, Osha definitely deserves some credit for at least attempting to assassinate Ramsay. There's no way she would have got out of Winterfell alive, she was clearly doing it for Rickon.
5 - The Door
- Sansa confronting Littlefinger about letting her being raped by Ramsay. Her refusing his help despite the army of the Vale being capable of winning the battle by itself also counts. She is now fully aware that making himself expedient is how Littlefinger lures everybody into his traps, and she's not falling for it, even if it risks Rickon's life.
- The Waif beating the crap out of Arya barehanded, while Arya is armed with her staff. Just in case you were still questioning her skills.
- Meera kills several wights and becomes the third living human to kill a White Walker by throwing a dragonglass spear at it.
- Summer pulling a You Shall Not Pass against the wights. Unlike his brothers and sister, who were unceremoniously executed, he goes down fighting, saving Bran one last time.
- Leaf's and Hodor's heroic sacrifices, with Leaf allowing herself to be torn to shreds by the wights before detonating her last firebomb and taking dozens of the undead horrors with her, and Hodor holding the door shut long enough for Meera and Bran to escape. If it weren't for both of them, Meera and Bran would have died as well.
- It turns out that while he was MIA for two seasons, Brynden the Blackfish has been retaking Riverrun and raising his own army, just in time for Sansa's attack on the Boltons... at least according to Littlefinger.
- We see Theon proudly affirm his true identity. And deliver another Rousing Speech, offering his support for Yara as queen.
- After Euron wins the Kingsmoot, Theon and Yara work together to literally steal the entire Iron Fleet right out from under his nose.
- The Kingsmoot itself is pretty awesome, both for Theon and Yara almost convincing the Ironborn to break with centuries of tradition and crown a woman for the first time, and Euron, spoiling the whole thing with nothing but charisma and Refuge in Audacity.
- Euron's ritualistic drowning is drawn out, and for a moment one might think this is just another case of boastful Greyjoys and Ironborn shooting themselves in the foot by being themselves. Then Euron miraculously comes back to life. While it might have just been dumb luck, the speed at which he composed himself after being "reborn" and immediately got back to plotting the death of his family (complete with Psychotic Smirk) makes one wonder if this Euron is as heavily associated with magic as his literary counterpart.
- One must also give credit to Michael Feast's rendition of Aeron Greyjoy's "What is dead may never die" speech, which makes the entire scene absolutely chilling.
- The Night King destroying the Children's defense in a matter of seconds.
- Davos proving a wise and capable adviser, despite knowing next to nothing about the North. He correctly surmises that Karstark support is lost, and dissuades Jon and Sansa from making a catastrophic mistake.
- We get to see Ned's father, Rickard Stark, and we get a firm reminder that the Starks have always been a badass family.
Rickard Stark: Don't get into any fights. But if you do, win.
6 - Blood of My Blood
- Benjen's rescue of Meera and Bran from the White Walkers and the wight horde.
- Arya saving Lady Crane from her own poison, warning her about Bianca, and reclaiming Needle.
- The High Sparrow turning the tables on the Lannister-Tyrell alliance by revealing that Tommen has decided that the Crown shall serve the Seven, playing some of Westeros's finest like royal chumps.
- The House Baratheon theme plays as Tommen makes this announcement, showing how he has been purged of his Lannister roots, and that House Baratheon is reborn with him.
- It's undercut because he's still a Puppet King, just with a different Puppet Master, but the fact Tommen managed what Tywin never could: getting Jaime to leave the Kingsguard.
- During the showdown, a mounted Jaime climbs the stairs with great élan and determination. It's ultimately pointless, but is a neat example of his character nevertheless, specially in contrast with the meek Lord Tyrell, the alleged co-commander of the day.
- Daenerys flying in on Drogon's back, and rallying the Dothraki to cross the Narrow Sea, and conquer the Seven Kingdoms, as Drogon roars. She truly has became Aegon the Conqueror's successor.
- Sam eloping with Gilly and Young Sam and stealing his abusive father's prized Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane.
- Lady Tarly standing up to her husband by leaving dinner with a single retort, taking Gilly and her daughter with her. Even Lord Tarly is impressed: he calls Lady Tarly a 'fine woman' and berates Sam for not being good enough for her.
- Walder Frey holds court with his sons, who inform him that the Blackfish did indeed retake Riverrun, meaning Littlefinger wasn't lying about that piece of information to Sansa as originally assumed. What's more, Walder's sons also inform him that the other Riverland houses are now rising up in revolt against the Freys. This causes Walder, the same man who took great pleasure in orchestrating the Red Wedding, to suffer a minor Villainous Breakdown as he angrily orders his sons to recapture Riverrun and quell the rebellion, despite their protesting that they lack the available manpower to do so. After spending the entire series up to this point as an insufferably Smug Snake, it seems karma is finally catching up the "Late Lord Frey".
- Brotherhood without Banners are rallying the commoners against them and raiding their supply lines, and the Freys are just ineffective at dealing with any of them.
- Despite his neglect and maltreatment in their dungeons, Edmure Tully still has enough wherewithal to stare daggers into his traitorous vassal.
7 - The Broken Man
- The first sign of something big happening is the cold open right after the "Previously On..." montage. It follows what appear to be a group of working smallfolk led by some sort of vaguely religious figure. The structure in question is a building made up of huge logs. Logs long enough and big enough that three men are required to carry just one. We see a few men pass by with their logs, except we linger on a man, on his own, carrying a log towards the building. The camera stops on a pair of legs, pans up and around to reveal a familiar, scarred, bearded face. SANDOR. FUCKING. CLEGANE. IS. BACK. At the episode's end, Sandor comes back from chopping wood to discover the entire group slaughtered by the Brotherhood Without Banners. After the rest of the episode had him being talked into a peaceful retirement, he now picks up his ax and heads off to get some sweet revenge.
- This episode also heavily features one Olenna Tyrell, who is as snarky and irascible as ever. "The Reason You Suck" Speech she gives to Cersei is massively satisfying.
Olenna: I wonder if you're the worst person I've ever met. At a certain age, it's hard to recall, but the truly vile do stand out through the years. Do you remember the way you smirked at me when my grandson and granddaughter were dragged off to their cells? I do. I'll never forget it...I'm leaving this wretched city as fast as I can before that shoeless zealot throws me into one of his cells. If you're half as bright as you think you are, you'll find a way out of here, too...You have no support, not anymore. Your brother's gone. The High Sparrow saw to that. the rest of your family have abandoned you. The people despise you. You're surrounded by enemies, thousands of them. You're going to kill them all by yourself? You've lost, Cersei. It's the only joy I can find in all this misery.
- Margaery in full fundamentalist mode tells Olenna to leave the city — but slips her a piece of parchment. On said parchment (implied to have been ripped out of the Faith of the Seven holy book) is a sketch of the Tyrell rose. It's made clear here that Margaery has staged an act beyond anything she's come up with since her introduction, and so played everyone in King's Landing, from the smallfolk to the High Sparrow and King themselves, for complete fools.
- Little Lyanna Mormont facing down Jon and Sansa before committing her house to their cause. Her courage can't be overstated. Despite having a pitifully small fighting force, she decides to remain loyal to House Stark and enter into rebellion against the Boltons. And rather than hang back at Bear Island and wait out the conflict, later on she's present when Jon's host makes camp. The little girl is standing behind her decision and is seeing things through, putting herself at very real risk of being captured, raped, tortured and executed by Ramsay and putting the future of her House on the line.
- Yara stealing not only the Iron Fleet, but Euron's master plan as well, by sailing to Meereen to negotiate a deal with Daenerys. It's likely she has a higher chance of success than her uncle ever would.
- After a few episodes of buildup, the Blackfish finally appears in the flesh again, first refusing to surrender under threat of Edmure's death, reasoning that he'd be killed no matter what, forcing the Freys to reveal it was an empty threat they can't pull again. Then he meets with Jaime and tells him plainly that there will be no talking him out of the castle, and he only took the parley because he was bored and wanted to size his new opponent up, finding him disappointing. Edmure himself deserves credit for managing to Face Death with Dignity every time the Freys threaten to kill him. With a rope around his neck, or a knife at his throat, he doesn't falter or beg, and comes across as more dignified than the men promising to kill him.
- Jaime making his contempt for his Frey "allies" clear when he pimp-slaps Black Walder across the face with his golden hand when he doesn't take Jaime's hint about "[making] threats he's not prepared to carry out". This was one of Jaime's most popular moments in the books and they adapted it basically perfectly.
- Though she doesn't manage to change his mind, check out Sansa's body language as Lord Glover rants about how much their House has lost because of Robb. Despite him being a warrior, she doesn't flinch, apologise or try to make excuses, she just listens to what he has to say. She really has evolved into Silk Hiding Steel.
8 - No One
- Seems like the theater troupe took Arya's improvement suggestions into consideration after all. And the audience is loving it.
- The Hound effortlessly kills a group of four Brotherhood bandits. He's still got it.
- The ending. Arya kills the Waif, puts her face in the Hall of Many Faces, holds Jaqen at sword point and makes this declaration before calmly walking away:
A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I'm going home.
- Before this, many viewers likely roll their eyes at Arya leaving so many obvious blood marks behind, especially after her pitiful showing last episode. Then it turns out she was deliberately leading the Waif into a darkened room where she has the advantage thanks to her time without her sight.
- The Mountain demonstrates why Cersei is so confident for her trial by combat by brutally dispatching a member of the Faith Militant who was trying to seize Cersei. He smacks the guy to the ground and rips his head clean off his body.
- Kevan continues to not give a single solitary shit about monstrous resurrected Mountain: When Cersei arrives with the Frankenmountain, literally everyone in the throne room backs away in terror, but Kevan not only doesn't move, he directly blocks Cersei's path and tells her she does not belong there. Cersei actually listens and shuffles away to sit with the other ladies of the court. Kevan Lannister must have balls of solid gold.
- Nah, gold is too soft. Balls of Valyrian steel, though...
- The Faith taking down Cersei's ace in the hole (trial by combat) with a very simple solution; calling it out for the bullshit it is and abolishing it.
- Mereen under siege from the slavers' ships, the entire city burning. Grey Worm, Missandei, and the other Unsullied prepare for the pyramid to be assaulted, when a thumping sound is heard. Cue Daenerys triumphant return, with the Unsullied bowing before her, the screech of dragons heard in the distance.
- By the time the Hound catches up with the three Brotherhood members from the previous episode, Lord Beric and Thoros have already disavowed their actions and have sentenced them to hang. It turns out that the Brotherhood never truly went rogue after all. Upon offering Sandor a chance to join the Brotherhood, Beric explains that his new mission is to stop the White Walkers.
- Riverrun being taken near-bloodlessly by Jaime, at Brienne's urging. Viewers heard about a single death between the Frey, Lannister, and Tully forces. Jaime's Character Development from the last time he was in the Riverlands has gone far indeed. He accomplishes this by not only Taking A Third Option, but by doing what the Freys repeatedly failed: Make a threat that his enemies know he will follow through.
- Blackfish Tully. He sees right through Jaime's plans, even if his men do not, and when it all comes down to, he decides to go out on his own terms. A man of honor to the last.
9 - Battle of the Bastards
- The Masters have an armada of ships. Daenerys has three fire-breathing dragons. One very short battle later, Daenerys now has three dragons and an armada of ships. Her first command of her dragons in open battle is a spectacular success.
Razdal: Your reign is over!
- Let's take stock. At the start of the season, Daenerys had the Unsullied army, an unstable city, dragons she had trouble controlling, and a fleet of ships burnt to charcoal. Nine episodes later, she has a stable city, the Unsullied army, the entire Dothraki khalasar, a fleet of ships from the Masters and Ironborn to carry them, and three reasonably obedient dragons which can reduce ships to burning flotsam effortlessly. Or, to put it another way, she has an army equal to almost any in Westeros (which has bled itself significantly with in-fighting) and a tactical advantage of air power that they do not possess. A long way from a girl with "no wealth, no lands, no army, only a name and a handful of supporters", as Tyrion put it.
- On a subtle note, this is the first time all the dragons are fighting together. (Normally, it's just Drogon.) We now see what happens when three full-grown dragons coordinate with their mother.
- On a second subtle note, Tyrion more than made up for his underestimating of the Masters by coming up with the battle plan that saved not only Meereen, but earned them a new fleet and spared the citizens of the other Free Cities from further bloodshed while bringing them into line with Daenerys.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Look at how Dany is standing when Drogon arrives on the scene: she's pointing at a spot on the ground, and Drogon lands right there. The most fearsome beast of his time will obey this girl like a loyal hound. Dany has embraced the Targaryen family power and birthright, as Master of Dragons.
- When Daenerys tells Tyrion that she plans on razing the other slaver cities as a message for what happaned to Mereen; Tyrion stands up to a very pissed Dany. Tyrion tells her of Aerys' plan to destroy King's Landing rather than give it up to the rebellion. All people would have died, both the loyalists and the innocent alike to wildfire; Tyrion then explains that what Dany plans on doing is no different than what the Mad King would have done and everyone, the slavers and the innocent would have died to fuel Daenerys' vengeance. Tyrion is not only awesome for actually being what a good adviser is supposed to be (provide advice even if it's against the ruler's wishes) and for talking down Dany from killing countless innocents.
- Grey Worm calmly approaches the Masters, who have offered one of them up for sacrifice since "he's a foreigner and lowborn". Instead of killing him, Grey Worm slashes the throats of the two remaining Masters with one swift movement, then straightens his jerkin and walks away. Bonus points since they had just moments before threatened to sell him and the Unsullied (and Missandei) to the highest bidder. The Dog Bites Back, anyone? Shout out to Tyrion's short little 'pep talk' to the remaining Master. It's delivered in such an even way that you could be forgiven for forgetting that Tyrion is essentially telling him that he will die if even a hair is put out of line.
- The Sons of the Harpy are killing people by the gates of the city... only to look up and realize that the entire Dothraki horde◊ is bearing down on them. The fight between Riders and Assassins goes about as quickly as you would expect.
- Things are looking bad for Jon Snow. His army is surrounded by a wall of corpses and infantry on one side, and shields and pikes on the other three. Then Sansa arrives, with Littlefinger and the Knights of The Vale, and Ramsay is quickly routed.
- Sansa's tiny smile◊ as the Vale's army storms into the battle and outnumbers Ramsay's forces is the very epitome of triumph. In addition to that, you gotta love Littlefinger's shit-eating grin during this sequence.
- Ramsay Bolton has been forced to retreat to Winterfell, and is confident they can resist a siege. Wun Wun demonstrates why that's wrong by bashing through the main gate.
- Jon Snow giving Ramsay a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. This episode isn't nicknamed Bastardbowl or Snowbowl for nothing.
- Their brief one-on-one fight: Ramsay, a crack shot armed with a bow, has a massive advantage over Jon, who has nothing but a shield. Jon walks straight forward without flinching, blocking three of Ramsay's arrows with lighting-fast reflexes at point-blank range before smacking him to the ground with his shield and making mush out of his face.
- Also a beautiful Call-Back, but Ramsay is established to be one of the best archers in Westeros and had Jon at extremely close range. How does Jon stop him? He keeps his shield up!
- And to add to that, the shield Jon uses to block Ramsay's arrows bears the sigil of House Mormont.◊ One or more of Lyanna's 62 men survived the rain of arrows, cavalry charge and the human crush to reach Winterfell. As strong as 10 mainlanders indeed.
- The very fact that Lyanna's support paid off at a crucial moment. If she hadn't pledged her troops, that shield would never have been there, and Ramsay would have peppered Jon at his leisure. In a series were reality so often ensues and Infant Immortality is subverted, an idealistic ten-year-old was still able to make a profound difference by showing faith in a lost cause.
- Just the fact that it's Jon who gets to beat Ramsay Bolton into the ground and then hand him over to Sansa for final judgment. This is the man who spent months raping his sister and not even an hour ago murdered his little brother, which is more than enough reason for Jon to fly into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. His Death Glare and Tranquil Fury when finally coming face-to-face with Ramsay tells everyone that he's about to have a very bloody and painful death.
- Their brief one-on-one fight: Ramsay, a crack shot armed with a bow, has a massive advantage over Jon, who has nothing but a shield. Jon walks straight forward without flinching, blocking three of Ramsay's arrows with lighting-fast reflexes at point-blank range before smacking him to the ground with his shield and making mush out of his face.
- Before the battle, Ramsay boasted that his starving dogs would feast on his enemies once the battle was over. They get their feast, but it's their master who gets to be dinner.
- The delicious irony that Ramsay's dogs, the one thing that he is actually loyal(ish) to, are the ones that do him in.
- On that note, Ramsay tries to remain cool and denies the possibility that his hounds would eat their own master. Sansa reminds him that they haven't eaten in 7 days, as Ramsay said himself, and makes it clear about what they're going to do. Ramsay was internally panicking, and clearly becoming more and more afraid as the scene goes on, all while Sansa remains unflinching.
- Sansa's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Ramsay before his hounds devour him:
Sansa: Your words will disappear, your house will disappear, your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.
- After the generally unsatisfying and disturbing way in which Joffrey died, Ramsey's richly deserved downfall and death was deliciously, gruesomely satisfying.
- The fact that it was at Sansa's hand makes it even more satisfying. Of all the living characters on the show, only Theon has a convincing claim to having suffered as much from his actions. Theon got to be there in spirit because one of the hounds was named "Reek". One likes to think Ramsay came to this realisation before his richly deserved death.
- It also moves to a meta level, as the episode's director has said the part he's proudest of isn't any of his amazing achievements during the battle scenes, but the very simple shot of Sansa starting to walk away as the hounds get going, but then deciding to stay and watch a bit.
- Also, as she finally does walk away and hears the sounds of Ramsay getting torn apart in the background, Sansa smirks triumphantly.
- Sansa gets a Badass Boast before the battle: "You're going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well." The best part, of course, is that she's right.
- The Stark loyalists tearing down the Bolton banners over Winterfell and unfurling the direwolf banner over the battlements. At long last, the Starks have taken back their home. This leads to another awesome moment the more one finally lets it sink in. After years of the Boltons and their allies reaping the rewards of their betrayal against the Starks, justice has finally been served. This time, the good guys have won.
- When Theon and Yara arrive at Meereen, Dany is naturally quite skeptical about their offer. They start to win her over by revealing that they intend to make Yara and not Theon the ruler of the Iron Islands, and Yara only needs a few seconds to agree to put an end to the Ironborn's pirate lifestyle. Dany closes by refuting Tyrion's worry as they're simply asking for their freedom rather than demanding, and she'll be willing to hear out any other territories with the same request once she's on the Iron Throne. After starting the episode saying she's nothing like her father, here's where she proves it.
- The awesome girl power handshake between Yara and Dany. Cue the slashfics. The fact that Yara went from fleeing for her life to bargaining with the most powerful woman in Essos is nothing short of miraculous. Dany's reaction is basically, "I like her."
- Tormund Giantsbane living up to his name by ripping out Smalljon Umber's throat with his teeth before shanking the turncloak multiple times in the face with a crude knife.
- While she doesn't participate in the battle personally, Lyanna Mormont is present when Jon, Sansa, Tormund, Davos, and the other lords allied with them, meet with Ramsay and his allies. The entire time time, she sits on her horse fixing Ramsay with a Death Glare.
- After spending five seasons remaining neutral, the armies of the Vale show up in full force and easily crush the Bolton forces.
- Jon manages to evade a constant Rain of Arrows, stands up alone against the charging Bolton cavalry, and turns into an absolute demon on the battlefield, slaughtering countless enemies in one continuous long shot. He might as well have killed more enemies individually than anyone else in his army besides Wun Wun.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The very first enemy that Jon kills is struck by Longclaw so hard that Jon shatters his sword and knocks him out of his horse.◊
- For those rooting for the bad guys: The fact that Ramsay all but won this episode. He had Jon right where he wanted him, with no escape in sight. If Sansa hadn't come to save the day, he would have won.
- Another for the bad guys: Petyr Baelish is back. Not necessarily in Sansa's good graces, but now in a position where he could find his way in.
- Jon attempting to fight Ramsay in Single Combat before the war, and then pointing out after Ramsay declines that his men will hardly fight for a man who won't fight for them. Even Ramsay admits that his gambit is a good one.
- House Mormont proving their loyalty to the Starks. Longclaw, their ancestral sword, helping Jon and Sansa retake Winterfell and their shield◊ protecting Jon from Ramsay.
- The shot of Jon Snow drawing Longclaw when he's facing down Ramsay's forces who are coming at him full force, only for his own forces to run right past him and meet them head on is one of the most badass images ever put to film and already one of the most iconic shots from Game of Thrones ever. Even better, none of that scene was shopped in — it was completely real. And Kit didn't even flinch!
- The episode reached a 10/10 rating on IMDb from over 100000 votes, shattering the record previously held by the Breaking Bad episode "Ozymandias".
10 - The Winds of Winter
- We have a C Mo A right in the intro: After five seasons of being sacked and later under House Bolton's control, Winterfell once again displays the logo of House Stark.
- Davos stating the obvious to Melisandre when confronting her about Shireen's death:
Melisandre: I only do what my lord commands!Davos: If he commands you to burn children, your lord is evil!
- Much of that scene qualifies for Davos as he basically shames Melisandre into confessing what happened with a major What the Hell, Hero? and succeeds in having her exiled, something that he has tried on and off to accomplish since he was introduced in Season 2.
- Margaery remains as savvy as ever, being the only person to realize that something is very wrong when neither Tommen nor Cersei show up for the trial. It's still not enough to save her this time, though.
- There's also something to be said for how upon realizing she’s not getting out of this, she opts to spend her final moments giving the High Sparrow a major Death Glare showing him exactly where the blame for everything lies.
- The fact that as soon as the High Sparrow starts talking about "the gods" her response is a curt "Forget the bloody gods and listen to me!" Her Precision F-Strike is not only awesome in itself after all her Tastes Like Diabetes religious platitudes, but it lets the High Sparrow finally realise that her conversion was staged all along; he never dominated her as he thought he had, and she had played him for a fool as easily as he had played Cersei and Tommen, despite the huge difference in their ages and levels of experience. Seeing the old queen Margaery, praised by her grandmother as being "even better" than she had ever been, return in all her glory is awesome, even if it doesn't last long.
- Olenna barely lets Ellaria and the Sand Snakes get two words out before she gives them a sharp and well-deserved Shut Up, Hannibal! speech, reminding them that they're both king and kinslayers — two of the worst crimes in Westerosi society — and have no right to hold diplomacy talks with legitimate royals like herself.
- Since the whole Dorne arc has been quite unpopular with viewers, it's downright refreshing to see Olenna give them a verbal beatdown that's oozing with contempt and belittlement. She even tells Obara that she looks like an angry little boy, which actually describes her Ax-Crazy behavior pretty well and shuts up Nym and Tyene before they can even get a word in edgeways.
- Olenna also serves as a rather heroic Foil to the Sand Snakes. While she's teaming up with Dany to avenge her murdered family, it was the Sand Snakes themselves who murdered their own uncle and cousin in a bid for power. Their concept and rationality of revenge and justice couldn't be more different.
- Even if it's a case of The Bad Guy Wins, Cersei's final gambit is glorious. She abstains from attending her trial in the Sept of Baelor because she found out about the casks of wildfire the Mad King planted beneath it, and detonates them. The High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras, Kevan, Lancel, Mace, and the Sparrows — all of Cersei's enemies are cleared from the board in one fell swoop none of them saw coming. The entire sequence plays out similar to The Godfather's final sequence, though arguably more heartbreaking.
- Furthermore, she takes the Iron Throne for herself, ruling as queen in her own right. Queen Cersei Lannister, First of Her Name.
- This may prove awesome in an entirely different manner as time goes on. Cersei has finally become queen. But almost every house in Westeros, aside from those in the Crownlands and Westerlands, is now standing against her, and a furious Jaime — who already carries the title of Kingslayer for preventing the Mad King from perpetrating the very atrocity she (partially) successfully did — is shown lurking in the background shooting Cersei a withering Death Glare. Cersei killed a staggering number of her enemies that day, but, as Olenna predicted, she's already lost.
- Even considering it's the final sign that her sanity has finally gone bye-bye, her unflinching reaction to Tommen killing himself is this as well, as it shows that she didn't execute her plan under any delusions — she knew what price she would be probably paying for this all along.
- It's even better. The Witch's prophecy said that she would reign as Queen, "...until there comes another, younger and more beautiful, to cast you down and take all that you hold dear." Well, Cersei has never ruled as Queen before now — she's only been Queen Regent. She's smirking because she thinks by killing Margaery, she's escaped the prophecy. In fact, she's made sure it will be fulfilled. And any viewer knows of the young, beautiful dragon-queen who is on her way to Westeros.
- After Walder Frey insults the Blackfish for getting killed by Lannister mooks Jaime starts to question him on his own fighting talents. Walder immediately picks up on what he's getting at and gives a Not So Different rant about himself and Jaime, specifically about how their enemies mocked them yet they won in the end and killed them all. Jaime then viciously rips into him, not bothering to hold back his contempt and disgust, explaining that no one respects or fears the Freys and if Walder needs the Lannisters to come running and do his dirty work every time he has a problem, then he's not a winner and they don't need him. Walder is left sputtering as Jaime exits.
- A Frey servant girl reveals to Walder Frey that the pie he just ate is made up of the flesh of his own sons. The servant pulls off her face, revealing herself as Arya, and announces that the last thing he'll see before he dies will be a Stark smiling down at him. Arya then proceeds to slit Walder's throat in the same way her mother's throat was slit. With Walder's death, all the conspirators of the Red Wedding have met their richly deserved fates. Robb, Catelyn and Talisa's deaths have finally been avenged. Not only that, but all of them have died in the same way they killed the Starks: shot by crossbow (Tywin), stabbed in the chest by someone he trusted (Roose) and throat slit from behind (Walder).
Arya: They're already here, my lord... Here, my lord.
- A longtime fan theory is finally confirmed as Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen are revealed to be Jon's parents.
- In hindsight it's a C Mo A for Ned Stark. In Season 1, he was the Butt-Monkey of a Deadly Decadent Court, which eventually led to his death. But it was he, of all people, the one who managed to keep maybe the most dangerous secret of Westeros, fooling for almost twenty years consummate chessmasters of the size of Tywin Lannister, Littlefinger and Varys.
- Also with that comes vindication for Ned in the fact that he never fathered a child with anyone but Catelyn and was loyal to her through and through. One of Ned's few pitfalls was never true to begin with and, in addition to that, the real truth behind it all makes him even more awesome: Ned spent the rest of his life protecting his nephew (Jon), raising him as his own, and honored his sister's dying wish to save her son, out of love for them both. He accepted the stain on his honor and kept one of the most dangerous secrets in Westeros to protect the only child of his deceased sister.
- And it is another awesome moment for Ned (sadly posthumously) in that it is a subtle refutation of how men like Varys, Littlefinger, and Tywin think: they're all so focused on the politicking and backstabbing way of thinking that they never could have imagined or expected Jon Snow to NOT be Ned Stark's bastard son. As far as they were concerned, Jon Snow was simply an amusing reminder that no one, not even noble and upright Ned Stark, is perfect and that everyone has skeletons in their closet. They never once stopped to think that Ned Stark would choose to stain his reputation and cause a rift in his marriage to Catelyn simply because he was willing to do the one thing that Varys, Littlefinger, and Tywin Lannister seem incapable of doing: selflessly think of someone other than himself. As a result? Jon Snow stands poised to contend as the true King of Westeros.
- Jon and Sansa reaffirming that they are brother and sister no matter what.
- Five words that have not been heard for too long: The King in the North!
- And Jon Snow being named King in the North by the Northern lords in an Awesome Moment of Crowning, just as his late brother Robb was in the Season 2 premiere.
- Lyanna Mormont successfully Shaming the Mob to get to this Awesome Moment of Crowning by stating, "House Mormont remembers." Indeed. Even Tormund is impressed.
- The look on Littlefinger's face when Lyanna's speech begins to rile up the crowd. One of the smartest, most conniving men in all of Westeros just had his plans foiled by a child.
- What better to accompany an Awesome Moment of Crowning than the main theme.
- Daenerys and her absolutely massive fleet setting sail for Westeros. Hope you like the chair, Cersei, because you ain't keeping it.
- Not only has Daenerys emblazoned the sails of her ships with the sigil of House Targaryen (which makes them look awesome), not only do we get to see the dissident Ironborn fly their own banners and sails over their ships, but they are joined by House Martel and House Tyrell, who have set their hatred aside to take revenge on Cersei. Three of the Seven Kingdoms are now united against Cersei Lannister, and if Tyrion's assessment of her potential allies holds, the Starks and the entire North (as well as the Vale, who have allied with the North) with them may follow.
- One should also note that Daenerys has the support of Tyrion of House Lannister, while House Arryn are aligned with the Starks. With the fall of House Frey, leaving room for House Tully to rise again, Dany has the potential to have members from all surviving major houses contributing to her cause.
- When Littlefinger tells her how everything he does is to bring into the world a picture of him on the Iron Throne and her by his side, and tries to kiss her, Sansa pushes him aside, and dismisses his life's ambition as "a pretty picture." Not to mention, last time Littlefinger kissed Sansa, she was too shocked to react and pretty much had no choice but to passively comply with it. Here, she shoves Littlefinger away when he gets too pushy and leaves him standing by the weirwood tree alone, telling Jon that only an idiot would trust him. She's no longer a pawn to be moved where he wants.
- Even though he's been set back, Littlefinger gets one during "The King in The North" when Sansa spots him in the crowd and he gives her a knowing look. He's not done yet, not by a long shot.
1 - Dragonstone
- After six seasons, and her whole life, Dany finally arrives at Dragonstone.
Daenerys: Shall we begin?
- Arya disguised as Walder Frey manages to successfully assassinate seemingly EVERY male in House Frey in one shot by giving them poisoned wine.
- She gets karmic justice (by killing all the Freys in the same hall where the Red Wedding was done, by inviting all of her enemies to a feast, just like Walder himself did), spares an innocent from her vengeance, and spreads a legend for herself within literally the first five minutes of the new season. By mid-episode, Cersei doesn't know that it's Arya, but knows that some phantom out there took out the whole damn Frey family at once and is very concerned.
- Her speech to the family as Walder is also impressive, especially once they start coughing up blood.
Arya!Walder: Maybe I'm not the most pleasant man, I'll admit it. But I'm proud of you lot! You're my family! The men who helped me slaughter the Starks at the Red Wedding! (Freys cheer) Yes! Yes! Cheer! Brave men, all of you. Butchered a woman, pregnant with her babe. Cut the throat of a mother of five. Slaughtered your guests after inviting them into your home. But...you didn't slaughter every one of the Starks. No, no. That was your mistake. You should have ripped them all out: root and stem. (Frey men begin choking on their blood, and dying) Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe.
- Her Post-Mortem One-Liner is also oh-so-delicious.
- Lady Lyanna Mormont interrupting Lord Glover when the latter protests training women and girls to fight, by first volunteering to fight despite being a child and a girl, and then stuffing the old man's platitudes by telling him that she does not need his permission to defend the North. Then they exchange nods, clearly both understand that it's not about their egos, but what is the right thing to do.
- None of the lords attempt to sass the child, even though the age difference is large — she's Lady of her house and they treat her as such.
- Jaime expertly sizes up the dire military situation he and Cersei are now stuck in, and their only chance to maybe get out of it, very much giving the impression that Cersei might come out on top if she'd actually listened.
- The Greyjoy's armada of Cool Ship counts when you remember that last season Yara stole most of the best ships last season. This means they are brand new, built-under-a-year ships, which helps showing that while the Ironborn may have been the Butt-Monkey in everything else, they are pretty good when it comes to navy, especially since Stannis, who destroyed them in the Greyjoy Rebellion, is dead.
- Not for nothing, Euron reminds us that Jaime was once one of the greatest warriors alive when the Siege of Pyke is brought up.
- Sansa shutting down Littlefinger in a hilariously deadpan way:
Littlefinger: What about happy? What would make you happy?
Sansa: No need to seize the last word, Lord Baelish. I'll assume it was something clever.
- And then, as she leaves and Littlefinger attempts to say something else:
2 - Stormborn
- Confronted by Dany's accusations of his record of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, Varys demonstrates a highly insightful defense of his actions that suggests even Chronic Backstabbing Disorder can be a heroic act:
Daenerys: If [Varys] dislikes one monarch he conspires to crown the next one. What kind of a servant is that?Varys: The kind the Realm needs! Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty. As long as I have my eyes, I'll use them. I wasn't born into a great house. I came from nothing. I was sold as a slave, and carved up as an offering. When I was a child I lived in alleys, gutters, abandoned houses. You wish to know where my loyalties lie? Not with any king OR queen: but with the people! The people who suffer under despots and prosper under just rule! The people whose hearts you aim to win! If you demand blind allegiance, I respect your wishes. Grey Worm can behead me, or your dragons can devour me. But if you let me live, I will serve you well, I will dedicate myself to seeing you on the Iron Throne because I choose you. Because I know the people have no better chance than you.
- Daenerys responds by having him swear that, if she should ever fail the people, he'll tell her to her face. Proud the Dragon Queen may be, but her willingness to acknowledge her mistakes and correct them is a worthy trait indeed. Of course, she wouldn't be a Targaryen if she didn't follow it up with an almost cheerful, but dead serious threat. Good Is Not Nice.
Daenerys: And I swear this — if you ever betray me, I'll burn you alive.
- Daenerys responds by having him swear that, if she should ever fail the people, he'll tell her to her face. Proud the Dragon Queen may be, but her willingness to acknowledge her mistakes and correct them is a worthy trait indeed. Of course, she wouldn't be a Targaryen if she didn't follow it up with an almost cheerful, but dead serious threat. Good Is Not Nice.
- Olenna's speech to Dany, ending with the best sentence to finish a pep talk:
"Are you a sheep? No. You are a dragon."
- Randyll Tarly reveals his dry wit when he delivers a cold Take That! to the now disreputable House Lannister.
Randyll: I'm a Tarly. That name means something. We're not oathbreakers, we're not schemers. We don't stab our rivals in the back, or cut their throats at weddings.
- Completely upsetting everybody's predictions, In-Universe and out, that the dragons would make overthrowing Cersei effortless, Qyburn comes up with the ultimate anti-dragon weapon: the humble ballista. It's powerful enough that a single shot is shown cleaving deep into the skull of Balerion the Dread, the biggest dragon that ever terrorized Westeros, and yet it's a cheap, simple weapon that Cersei can produce by the hundreds — in contrast to Daenerys' dragons, which are only three and completely irreplaceable. The Mad Queen of the Lannisters isn't out of the game just yet...
- The scene in the Winterfell crypts is one for both Jon Snow and Petyr Baelish. The latter brazenly confronts the former for the first time, interrupting the solemn moment he was having before Ned's statue. As Littlefinger measures him, Jon Snow lets him know that he is not welcome and makes it clear that he doesn't plan on playing into his bullshit. Littlefinger suggests that Jon thank him for saving him during the Battle of the Bastards, and deliberately provokes Jon by outright confessing his intentions towards Sansa. It works a little too well, as Jon choke-slams Baelish into the wall and leaves him with a stern warning.
- Doubly awesome is the fact that this ends on a shot of Littlefinger, Jon, and the statue of Ned Stark between the two, Ned being the last man to nearly strangle Littlefinger the way Jon just did.
- While sitting by a fire in the woods, Arya encounters her long-lost direwolf, Nymeria. She has grown to a massive size, and is now leading her own pack full of fearsome wolves. Although, this quickly becomes a Tearjerker.
- Euron proving to be quite a threat using his fleet to crush Yara's. Charging himself with an axe and recovering a bit of the Ironborn's pride. This scene just goes miles to showcase how Ax-Crazy Euron is and he does a BRILLIANT job of it. From having an entrance that the WWE would do well to take lessons from, to killing two of the Sand Snakes with their own weapons complete with a face that screams terror and awesome. This whole scene was just one big Moment of Awesome for Euron Greyjoy who was considered more of a Smug Snake with more bark than bite.
- Despite the tortures he's endured, both physical and psychological, Theon avails himself well against Euron's raiders. For a time.
- After six seasons of it being an Informed Ability, we finally get to see the Ironborn's prowess in seafaring combat, and they're rather good at it.
- Even though Yara lost, her jumping form the upper deck to tackle her crazy uncle and then slapping him when Euron makes his Pre Ass Kicking One Liner is awesome.
- While not the most popular characters, the Sand Snakes deserve some credit in the battle. Nymeria makes an entrance by wrapping her whip around Euron's neck and is later seen casually killing an Ironborn raider, Obara goes straight for Euron, stabs him, and knocks him to the ground, and Tyene kills a man with a throwing dagger, then retreats below deck and defends her mother — alone — from several more Ironborn with nothing more than a knife. Although all three are beaten, for three young women who had never seen a real war before, they handle themselves pretty well against experienced Ironborn warriors.
- Jorah handling greyscale treatment with nothing more than a leather strap to bite down on. His infected skin is being flayed off him and yet he manages to stay quiet.
3 - The Queen's Justice
- The death of Olenna Tyrell, although sad, had tremendous dignity and inner strength. Jaime offers the old woman a vial of painless poison in lieu of the horrific and degrading public execution Cersei had planned. Olenna drinks the whole vial in her wine, and the Queen of Thorns has one final barb: she admits to Jaime that she was the one who murdered his son Joffery (also revealing that she knew of the King's parentage this whole time), and tells Jaime to tell Cersei that she was the one who did it. And she stays still in an upright pose like the regal, powerful, and awesome woman she was.
"I'd hate to die like your son—clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. It must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me: a shocking scene, not at all what I intended. You see, I'd never seen the poison work before. (Beat) Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me."
- Cersei gets her revenge once more. Her punishment of Ellaria Sand is brutal and horrific, but quite satisfying considering all Ellaria has done: Cersei fatally poisons Tyene in front of her and forces Ellaria to watch as Tyene dies and rots, and she herself will stay chained until she dies of natural causes.
- Euron continues to breathe life in the Ironborn storyline, building off of his great victory at the climax of last episode. He is ushered through the streets of King's Landing, with his prisoners trailing behind his horse in chains. He receives thunderous applause from the people and is given command of Cersei's naval forces.
- Euron: This is the life. Look at them! Cheering for a Greyjoy!
- Jaime, whose prowess as a general has been rather lacking so far, completely outplays Dany and Tyrion by diverting Casterly Rock's guard to capture Highgarden and end House Tyrell. The advantage Dany had over Cersei at the start of the season is almost completely gone.
Tyrion Lannister: They will face the bulk of the Lannister forces: they will be outnumbered, they will have less armour and fewer weapons. But my sister's armies fight for her out of fear. The Unsullied will be fighting for something greater. They will be fighting for freedom, and the person who gave it to them. They will be fighting for you and that is why they will triumph.
- The Lannister forces defending Casterly Rock are better armed and better armored. The Targaryen forces, on the other hand, are Unsullied, and they tear through the defenders like they're made of paper.
- During the attack on Casterly Rock, Grey Worm fights his way through the Lannister army and effortlessly kills at least ten Lannister men onscreen, topping it off with an expertly performed spear throw which sends an unlucky Lannister Mook flying and pins him to the wall.
- Sam fully succeeds in curing Jorah's greyscale, impressing the Archmaester enough that despite Sam's disobeying orders he's not expelled from the Citadel, albeit still doing menial work.
- The first meeting between Jon and Dany, for both of them. She gives a strong speech, recalling all the wrongdoings and terrors she endured with the hope of getting home again. For his part, even though he needs her help to defeat the White Walkers, Jon firmly declares that he owes no loyalty to the Targaryens and keeps his stance even when the dragons are brought up.
- Missandei's epic speech and introduction of Daenerys and all her various titles to Jon and Davos. Both for her delivery and veneer and for how much Daenerys has achieved. It's so overwhelming that Davos is completely at a loss for words as to how to announce Jon.
- YMMV on that last part. It can also be considered something of a facepalm moment for Jon and Davos, who are both less inclined to be impressed by flowery speeches and titles. Especially since Jon rules all of the North, whereas Dany is effectively only the ruler of a tiny island.
- Missandei's epic speech and introduction of Daenerys and all her various titles to Jon and Davos. Both for her delivery and veneer and for how much Daenerys has achieved. It's so overwhelming that Davos is completely at a loss for words as to how to announce Jon.
- Tyrion resumes his place as MVP of the series by speaking reasonably to Jon and Dany and building the fragile alliance between the Targaryens and Starks. The rest of the cast may have their swords and dragons, but Tyrion shows that he can still get more done than all of them by putting his mind and his words to good use.
4 - The Spoils of War
- Bran giving a creepy Ironic Echo to Littlefinger, throwing back his "chaos is a ladder" quote back at him and making The Chessmaster genuinely lose his cool considering that, to his knowledge, Bran never heard him say that.
- Arya managing to fight Brienne to a standstill, showing that her training under the Faceless Men has given her a serious edge. Also a C Mo A for Brienne, as she keeps up once she understands she's fighting a serious opponent rather than a relatively untrained young lady.
- Also note that Arya is now Dual Wielding Needle and the Valyrian steel dagger that almost killed Bran, and was originally owned by Littlefinger. The odds of this particularly ironic Chekhov's Gun are going up.
- Also note that Brienne is impressed — she finally has someone who can god damn hold her own in a fight.
- After the fight, Arya looks up at Littlefinger with a Death Glare. You could tell that the guy is probably shitting his pants before bowing out and Arya is mentally putting his name on her kill list. Do remember that Arya saw Littlefinger collaborating with Tywin Lannister during her time as a cupbearer in Harrenhal back in Season 2 which explains why she's surprised when Sansa mentions that Littlefinger is in Winterfell.
- Arya's Weapon of Choice are two weapons given to her by two of her brothers — she was given her Cool Sword Needle by Jon and receives her Valyrian steel dagger from Bran.
- Jon being about to pummel Theon for his Season 2 betrayal against Jon's family but stops, sparing Theon's life because he saved Jon's sister Sansa.
Theon: Sansa, is she alright?
Jon: What you did for her is the only reason I'm not killing you.
- Daenerys finally growing tired of Tyrion's overly complicated strategies and instead personally leads a head-on attack against the Lannister army with her Dothraki horde and Drogon. What results is an epic Curbstomp Battle.
- The Dothraki crest the horizon resembling nothing so much as the Hun army's charge in Mulan, a vast horde of light cavalry charging, weapons drawn and screaming, towards blood and glory. And then you see them standing at their saddles and fire arrows while riding (The awesome of this is also doubled when you read the related item on "Meta" below). One can hardly blame the Lannister men for trembling in their boots as they prepare to meet the wave.
- Despite the terrifying sight ahead of him, Jaime insists on staying and holding the line, saying that they can hold the Dothraki off. Cue Drogon's thunderous roar. Jaime's expression morphs from grim determination to one of helpless shock and horror as he, and the audience, realize just how badly This Is Gonna Suck for the Lannister forces. Seconds later, Drogon emerges from the clouds like Balerion the Black Dread reborn, and everything goes to hell.
- Human badassery on both sides notwithstanding, Drogon is undeniably the star of the battle. Infantry can't so much as touch him in the air, and arrows are simply No-Sold against the scales of his underbelly. The sheer heat of his fire breath makes the ground explode and reduces men to ashes blowing in the wind. He doesn't use it willy-nilly, either; Daenerys leads him on tight, controlled strafing runs, obliterating the supply train from above and punching strategic holes in the Lannister lines for the Dothraki to exploit. It's horrific, but quite cathartic (for Daenerys fans) and absolutely awe-inspiring.
- When the Lannister archer line gets a volley off on Drogon, he rears back in mid-air (protecting his vulnerable rider), puffs out his chest, and lets the arrows literally bounce off of him. The pose and his following roar scream "COME AT ME, BITCHES!"
- Despite the aforementioned curbstomp, the Lannister troops actually show that they were indeed Tywin's crack army — one particular stand out being a group of archers that stand their ground against fucking Drogon — and even got a volley off against him. Though his scales allowed him to No-Sell it, that's some serious ass bravery. The Lannister shield wall also holds its own against the Dothraki until Drogon torches them.
- Jaime locking blades with a Dothraki, even exchanging parade with his non-dominant hand beforehand. Note that unlike the book, Jaime's physical strength was rarely mentioned in the show yet he can hold his own against a barbarian warrior.
- The anonymous Dothraki who manages to overcome Bronn, at least initially. As the two charge each other on horseback, Bronn tries taking out the screamer by flinging his Kukri in his face (from an impressive distance, mind) but it is deflected with his arakh. Then, instead of engaging in a pass where Bronn has the advantage due to his longsword, the Dothraki instead leans down out of his saddle with stunning agility and uses his arakh to cut off the foreleg of Bronn's horse, forcefully dismounting him.
- Bronn gets his own oner as he hurries for the scorpion, and he handles himself very much like Jon Snow had done in the Battle of the Bastards, culminating with him skewering the Dothraki that unhorsed him with the scorpion (after giving the man just enough time to realize how fucked he was). Which leads to...
- With nothing more than the crack aim that let him turn Stannis' fleet to splinters with Wildfire, he nails Drogon in the shoulder and sends him into a death spin that the dragon only barely escaped from. It doesn't kill Drogon, but he was not too far removed from winning the war right there.
- Drogon tanking what for any human would be a hideous arrow wound; pulling his wing back into rotation even with a good three foot of barbed steel buried in the operating sinews. He even hovers above Bronn and turns the scorpion into charred timbers before shattering it into wood chips with a single stroke of his tail. Like a thunderbolt indeed. Which again leads to...
- With his army burning in ruin and being ran down by the Dothraki, what does Jaime do when he sees an opportunity to strike at Daenerys? He does what any Knight in Shining Armor would be expected to do: have a go at the enemy commander, sacrificing their life if needed, all for the chance to end the war then and there. As Stannis once said, Jaime was many terrible things... but the man was still a knight.
- This is actually one of the few times Jaime is seen onscreen during a pitched battle (most of his other fighting prowess is offscreen or in smaller-scale duels), and he acquits himself masterfully despite being Out-Gambitted and having to deal with an actual freaking dragon, and the largest and most aggressive of Dany's three dragons at that. And keep in mind, Jaime's getting older at this point, fighting with his left hand. One can see why a Jaime in his prime with both hands was something of a Living Legend (aside from the Kingslayer bit).
- And Bronn scores another one in his book as Jaime's plan backfires, and Drogon is about to have himself a Lannister fried to a crisp. Cue our favorite sellsword rushing in at the scene and tackling Jaime at the last possible moment, saving him from the dragon's breath.
- As noted above, Daenerys, together with Drogon and the Dothraki, firmly carry out an awesome Curb-Stomp Battle against Jaime and the Lannister forces. However, mad props go to Daenerys herself for facing the very real danger of being shot out of the sky to ride into battle with her men, as well as successfully changing the tide of the war in a single stroke. With much less gold to pay the Iron Bank, as well as the blockade on the Reach being effectively lifted, Cersei definitely has suffered a major setback.
- When she sees Jaime bearing down on her with a lance. Dany wears an almost perplexed expression; as if she can't quite believe someone would be dumb enough to make an attempt on her life with Drogon watching over her.
5 - Eastwatch
- Randyll and Dickon Tarly get a Dying Moment of Awesome when they refuse to bend the knee to Daenerys, even though the alternative is dragon fire. No matter their choice of politics, they faced death as men.
- Although upstaged by Randyll and Dickon, a big chunk of the surviving Lannister men also refuse to bend the knee (at least until their lords and commanders are roasted alive right in front of them). They'd been on the bad side of a Dothraki massacre, were disarmed and helpless, and standing in the shadow of the 100ft dragon who had immolated half their army, yet more than half of them had the balls to glare right back at it.
- Their deaths mean that Sam is now the rightful lord of House Tarly (with only a wafer-thin vow to the Nightwatch to prevent it), meaning he now has the authority to align his family, and possibly all of the Reach, with Jon's mission. He probably doesn't even know it, since the Archmaester kept his father and brother's horrible deaths from him. But he does have his father's stolen sword, which is passed on to the true heir of House Tarly.
- Additionally, it's hard not to take some satisfaction in Randyll's death due to how incredibly abusive he was towards Sam. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that Randyll's obsession with manhood directly causes his own death — as his pride and refusal to bend the knee gets him roasted alive for his troubles, while Sam has a loving wife, an heir, a Maester's knowledge, and his ancestral sword. Laser-Guided Karma at its finest.
- Jon reaching out and petting Drogon.
- Doubly awesome because Jon is visibly bricking it in this scene. Nevertheless, he doesn't back down, and however hesitantly, keeps his poise.
- Drogon himself is positively awe-inspiring. Where the previous episode's battle cemented his destructive power once and for all, this scene gives perspective on the sheer size of an adult dragon, and the strength it commands. The sight of his charge alone, all predatory muscle and scales, with fanged maw roaring a challenge, would probably be enough to send many a lesser man plunging off the cliffs of Dragonstone. It contrasts beautifully with Drogon's gentle restraint as he lets Jon touch him. It is more likely that Drogon has realized what Jon truly is, making this scene even more awesome.
- Davos, when coming to recruit Gendry, has a whole speech ready about why he needs to come. Gendry cuts him off by telling Davos that he's not going to sit around making swords for the people that killed his father and tried to kill him. He then picks up his new warhammer, complete with the Baratheon stag engraved upon it, and heads out. The Demon of the Trident lives on through his son.
- Davos is cornered by two Gold Cloaks because they recognized Tyrion. Gendry just grabs his hammer and smashes their heads in — Like Father, Like Son, indeed.
- Jon managing to convince Daenerys that the immediate peril at Eastwatch is more important than the immediate threat of Cersei — with no physical proof other than "I was there", he convinced her.
- This exchange:
Daenerys: I have not given you permission to leave.Jon: With respect, Your Grace, I don't need your permission. I am a king.
- This exchange:
- Gilly, of all people, gets the big Wham Line because Sam and Shireen taught her how to read. She finds an account which says Rhaegar Targaryen had an annulment from Elia Martell and married another in Dorne — with the implication it being Lyanna Stark. If true, this would make Jon the trueborn son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.
- After that, Sam's finally decided he's had enough of the Maesters of the Citadel treating him like a menial servant after he's done amazing things like cure Jorah's grayscale. He gathers whatever books and scrolls he thinks are important and commandeers a carriage for himself and Gilly. When she asks if he's sure about this, he replies "I'm tired of reading about the achievements of better men."
- This moment is severely understated. Sam, Non-Action Guy extraordinaire, who wants nothing more than to be a maester, turns his back on the order and heads off to the war. He basically trades everything he wants for everything he fears, simply because someone has to and Jon Snow can't do it alone. Badass.
- After that, Sam's finally decided he's had enough of the Maesters of the Citadel treating him like a menial servant after he's done amazing things like cure Jorah's grayscale. He gathers whatever books and scrolls he thinks are important and commandeers a carriage for himself and Gilly. When she asks if he's sure about this, he replies "I'm tired of reading about the achievements of better men."
- Littlefinger is working on turning Arya against Sansa by tricking her into suspecting Sansa. He's weaponizing Arya's distrust of him to serve his own nefarious purposes. Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest Magnificent Bastard in the series still has a few cards to play.
- Once they reach Eastwatch, Jon Snow puts together his Badass Crew for a Suicide Mission, that is hunting down and capturing a wight to prove the existence of the Night King's Undead Army. The team is composed of the Dragon Wolf himself, Ser Jorah Mormont, Tormund Giantsbane, Gendry Waters, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr, and Sandor Clegane. Talk about a Game of Thrones dream team.
6 - Beyond The Wall
- When a flaming undead polar bear charges him, the Hound freezes in horror... and is saved at the last second by Thoros of Myr, who knocks Sandor out of the way and withstands a fiery mauling before he is saved. Even Sandor was shocked at his selflessness. Despite his humble Self-Deprecation, Jorah may not have been wrong to think Thoros was the bravest man he ever saw.
- The polar bear wight is attacked directly by Thoros, Tormund, Jon and Beric, and it pretty much mows through them. As the bear clamps down on Thoros, Ser Jorah dashes up and jams a dagger in the beast's ear, killing it instantly and with one hit.
- Yes folks, a rampaging bear was taken down by a Mormont. Oh the Irony.
- Sandor manages to throw a stone across the wide lake and hit a wight in the jaw, breaking it off.
- That same wight is the first to cross the ice (using his own observation, no less!) and withstands two hits from a warhammer previously shown to shatter wights with his level of decomposition. The Hound is forced to shatter the ice below him to take him out of the fray, and he can later be seen as one of the wights who nearly drags Tormund Giantsbane to his death. Oh fuck, indeed.
- Gendry somehow managing to run all the way back to Eastwatch and send a raven to Daenerys in time for her to rescue Jon Snow's party.
- The entire group deserves a Crowning Moment of Awesome for being able to hold off the wights as long as they did alone. Sure, it is a losing fight, but the wights have shown before that they can rapidly overwhelm thousands of wildlings, the sheer fact that this mere band of fewer than seven can hold their ground instead of being immediately steamrolled is a legend on its own. The best part? None of the named character dies during the last stand. Even after the group is dwindled to just five against thousands, they fight on. Truly, Jon, Jorah, Sandor, Tormund, Beric live up to the fandom's expectation as the "Ultimate Game of Thrones Dream Team".
- While everyone in the party is attempting to escape on Drogon's back, Jon stays behind and seriously considers going after the Night King head on. While exhausted and battered from the battle with the wights!. Badass indead.
- Daenerys and the Dragons vs. the White Walkers and Army of the Dead. It's the first time either force has met its match: Dany incinerates hundreds if not thousands of the wights who were about to overwhelm our heroes yet again, and the Night King manages to kill one of her dragons — forcing Dany to retreat — then resurrect it as a new addition to his army.
- Jon and the Night King exchanging death glares again.
- Benjen-Coldhands pulling off a Big Damn Heroes moment and a Last Stand when he rides in and gives his life to rescue Jon. A Deus ex Machina for sure, but epic nonetheless.
- Even though he's an inhuman monster bent on wiping the human race from the face of the Earth, you have to give props to the Night King for being able to one-shot a full-grown dragon in flight.
- After Viserion is brutally killed by the Night King, Daenerys and the rest of the cast escape the frozen lake with a jaw-dropping shot: Drogon starts flapping its wings so quickly the wights are swept away by the ensuing wind gust, taking off just before the Night King throws a second ice spear. Instead of fleeing in a straight line, Daeny steers Drogon just before said ice spear passes trough the latter's back!. Bonus points for Drogon roaring either to mock the missed shot or express his relief.
- Viserion being raised as a wight can be this for book fans who speculated for years about the existence of the Ice Dragon.
- Jon adds a second White Walker to his body count. Where the first time was something of a fluke, this time he's fully aware of the capabilities of Valyrian steel and goes toe-to-toe with the Walker before ultimately killing it.
- Arya goes to confront Sansa over the letter she sent to Robb so many years ago. Sansa very quickly reminds her that, whatever she might have done as a child, it was Sansa that was responsible for retaking Winterfell. Arya, for her part, has no response.
7 - The Dragon and the Wolf
- In a sense, the Mountain's loyalty to Cersei. When Euron acts provocatively in a truce meeting, Cersei says a word and the Mountain steps forth. Euron wisely back down. When the wight comes after Cersei, the Mountain immediately attempts to put himself in front of her. Having an obedient juggernaut has never felt so awesome.
- Seeing the fear on Cersei's face when the wight charged after her was extremely satisfying.
- On the other hand, seeing her showing nothing more than being utterly unimpressed by the sight of dragons counts as a moment of awesome for Cersei. Notice that while everyone else at the scene were in awe when Daenerys arrives with her dragons, Cersei remained still at her seat just observing, not even flinching at the sight.
- The entire truce meeting in general. Particularly the Hound confronting the Mountain, Jon refusing to bow to Cersei's conditions, Euron grandstanding and being told to shut the fuck up by Jaime and Cersei of all people...
- Especially the Hound confronting his brother. It's not the Cleganebowl that fans have been waiting years for, but it's a promise that it is coming.
- The mere fact that the truce meeting scene has almost every remaining major players of Westeros together for the first time (only Littlefinger is absent). The tensions are through the roof as every faction, each of which has every reason to hate one another, arrives at the scene with their elite guards and trusted advisers and managed not to kill each other right then and there.
- Tyrion managing to convince Cersei into pledging her support for Daenerys and Jon's crusade against the White Walkers. Keep in mind, that Jaime has already failed to convince her and Tyrion is one of the people Cersei hates the most in the world. Tyrion not only makes Cersei back down from killing him with nothing but words, but also briefly silence her ranting and get her to listen. Too bad Cersei's lying through her teeth.
- And kudos to Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage for their performances.
- Jaime giving Euron a Shut Up, Hannibal! after he tells Tyrion that he would have been left to drown if he'd been born in the Iron Isles, out of mercy for the parents. Big Brother Instinct at its finest. It's easy to see why Tyrion has always loved him so much.
Theon: His wasn't even good.
- Also, when Euron makes a dwarf joke at Tyrion after insulting Theon, Tyrion remarks on his previous Don't Explain the Joke conversation he had with Theon. Theon then snarks:
- The Reveal that Cersei actually had a plan to fake out Daenerys during the truce before she even arrived, with Euron Greyjoy finding some excuse to be seen as fleeing back to the Iron Islands so instead he could secretly ferry the elite Golden Company of Essos to Cersei's side whilst Daenerys was absent. It's a genuinely clever plan from someone who everyone used to think had the tactical abilities of a brick, even if she's still a despicable person for putting personal gain above humanity's survival in the face of the Army of the Dead.
- The very fact that she managed to deceive those people, many of them who really should have known better, especially Tyrion. Several seasons ago, he was making a speech to Oberyn about Cersei "using her honest feelings (for her children) for dishonest goals" and here she's doing exactly that again and he still fell for it.
- After seven seasons of being the ultimate Karma Houdini, it finally happened: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish finally pays for his crimes with death by a dagger to the throat from Arya!
Littlefinger: I am the Lord Protector of the Vale, and I order you to escort me safely back to the Eyrie.Yohn Royce: (smugly) I think not.
- Littlefinger's execution. His gambit to turn Sansa and Arya against each other backfired, and he's finally been forced to answer for his crimes. His Villainous Breakdown is glorious. Especially because of the glorious Bait-and-Switch (the scene originally made it look like Arya was going to be on trial).Especially, as it begins, Littlefinger is at the side with his usual smirk of control watching Arya in the accused circle as Sansa relates the charges of murder and treason. Sansa then asks "How do you answer these charges... Lord Baelish?" He just blinks in confusion as a smiling Arya prompts him with, "My sister asked you a question." For once, Littlefinger shows nothing but utter shock and can't believe he just got played by the duo.
- Littlefinger tries to play innocent and claim that there's no proof, only for Bran to list off all the things he saw Littlefinger do in his visions that led to the War of the Five Kings, which makes Littlefinger realize the Starks have him cornered. Then, Littlefinger attempts to order Lord Yohn Royce to save him. Needless to say, the man has nothing to give but cold refusal.
- The best moment has to be Littlefinger literally falling on his knees and begging Sansa for mercy, telling her that he loved her and her mother, only for her to shut him down by pointing out that he still betrayed and hurt them both... and Arya slits his throat with the very same dagger Littlefinger almost used to kill Bran and started this entire mess. As he bleeds out, his last sight is the Stark sisters exchanging satisfied looks.
- Sansa pointing out that this isn't the first time Littlefinger has turned two sisters against each other and she and Arya didn't fall for it. Lysa might have been batshit insane, but it's nice to see Sansa calling Petyr out on his callous murder of her aunt and how he destroyed the sisterly bond between Cat and Lysa because he wanted Cat all to himself. Bonus points to the scene for ending with a Dark Reprise of the ominous four note melody from "Chaos is a Ladder", both highlighting Littlefinger's demise as well as the passing of The Chessmaster title from him to Sansa, Arya, and Bran.
- Then there is the fact that Littlefinger's behavior during his demise is in direct contrast to that of Ned Stark, the man he betrayed. Whereas Ned accepted his impending death calmly, Littlefinger flailed around before finally falling down on his knees and pathetically begging for mercy. Ned learned how to die a long time ago, as he told Varys in the dungeons. Littlefinger, on the other hand, only knew how to die as a coward.
- Jaime turning his back on Cersei after she reveals that she still doesn't intend to honor her agreements — and indeed has left him out of some critical decision-making.
- Jaime turning his back on Cersei is further awesome in that it finally allows Jaime to be a free man again. Jaime has known for a while that Cersei has lost it and wasn't being good to him. He couldn't leave, however, due to his one weakness: his love for her ("Why did the gods make me love such a hateful woman?" and "We do not get to choose who we love"). Cersei exploited this weakness willingly, telling him not to betray her again and thinking she can make him stay by stating no one walks away from her. Jaime, disillusioned, simply states that he does not believe her as he walks away. Cersei doesn't order Gregor to kill Jaime as he does, since the latter knows Cersei has the same weakness as he. Seeing him use that against her, and freeing himself in the process is very satisfying.
- The scene itself is understated awesome — a lone rider, his royal armor discarded, covering his maimed hand behind a glove as the snow starts to fall on King's Landing. He sets off on a cross-country journey on his own to fight an army of the undead. He'll also be the one to deliver the news that Cersei betrayed them, but he didn't. He might, though.
- Jaime finally calling Cersei out on her Stupid Evil decision-making process:
Jaime: When the fighting in the North is over, someone wins. You understand that, don't you? If the dead win, they march south and kill us all. If the living win... and we've betrayed them... THEY MARCH SOUTH AND KILL US ALL!''
- Theon decides to go rescue Yara just like she did for him. When the Greyjoy men won't listen to him and their ringleader attacks him, he's a complete Determinator and keeps coming back after every hit. Finally, Theon gets the upper hand as his castration lets him No-Sell a Groin Attack, after which he headbutts the guy and gives his own No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Speaking of said failed Groin Attack, Theon managed to take a traumatizing and horrific torture and turn it on its own head to win the fight and gain support. Theon practically smirks about his eunuch status. Somewhere in the fiery depths of Hell, Ramsay Bolton likely lost what little joy he had left to hold onto.
- This is capped off by Theon going to the water and throwing the salt water into his wounds as a reference to Greyjoy customs. What is dead may never die!
- Samwell remembers something that the nearly omniscient Bran completely misses. That the annulment of Rhaegar's marriage means Jon is actually the trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. As such, Jon is unknowingly the heir to the Iron Throne.
- While his refusal to abide by Cersei's terms are criticized by both his allies and likely many fans, Jon makes a profound rebuttal, which doubles as a poignant affirmation of the Honor Before Reason trope. It's enough for Daenerys to forgive him, and even Tyrion concedes he has a point.
"I'm not going to swear an oath I can't uphold. Talk about my father if you want, tell me that's the attitude that got him killed. But when enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies. And lies wont help us in this fight."
- It has finally happened after 7 seasons worth of wait, but Undead Viserion destroys a part of the Wall, with the Night's King riding him. The White Walkers have finally made their way into Westeros proper. Winter has now truly come in Westeros.
- The build-up to the scene. We have Tormund and Beric reminiscing upon the success of the Parley, while doing some small talk. Then the Army of the Dead arrives at the Wall. Tormund is relaxed because the magic of the Wall still works, and hence the Army of the Dead couldn't come south. Then, we hear a screech of hell descending on the wall, soon revealed to be the undead Viserion, who descends faster than any other thing shown, with none other than the Night's King himself riding it. The Oh, Crap! on Tormund's face sells it. Afterwards, Viserion uses the good distance to freaking melt the wall, with the wildlings at Eastwatch running like hell, possibly taking down Tormund and Beric as well, and he succeeds, destroying Eastwatch like it was a house of cards, and breaching the Wall. No one undermined the wall for 8 millennia, and the dragon destroyed it like it was some wooden house. The music accompanying the Army as they realize now they can enter the Seven Kingdoms sell it, as they finally infiltrate the North, in order to sack it, is the Dark Reprise of the show's main theme, and the White Walker theme, which drives home that the White Walkers won this big battle, without trying. Unless Jon and the rest arrive in time, which seems slow due to the speed of the ship, all the teleportation we have seen in this season alone, the North is doomed, and there is no one that can stop it.
- Special note to how awesome Viserion has become. When he was alive, he was one of Drogon's 'lackeys', as he and his mother did the main fighting. Now, after he becomes an undead, he has become the fastest dragon ever, covering the huge distance within seconds. He also now breathes blue firenote , which is possibly how he undermined the Wall's magic with ease. Also, with the Night's King himself controlling him (who has now proven himself to be the most opportunistic and Crazy-Prepared being in the show), he has also become clever and ruthless. If Daenerys and her remaining 2 dragons are to fight him, they are definitely in for a huge surprise.
- While he 'might' lose the war (emphasis on 'might'), the Night's King has proven himself to be no less clever than the human ones south of the Wall. His plan basically was to trap the Fellowship of the Wight on the island (where the Wall is still nearer), in order to lure Daenerys's dragons. The moment she arrived with her dragons, the Night's King (who was overseeing the whole business) readied the ice spears they managed to get somehow for this very specific occassion, finally doing the impossible and killing Viserionnote , and to kill rest of the dragons if he could, which was proven by the amount of chains they used to exhume Viserion. Turn him into a wight, attack from a safe distance, and the Wall is gone. This move made the Night's King one of the biggest subjects of WMG note , and also the clear winner of Season 7, as he finally managed to enter the Seven Kingdoms after 8000 years of wait.
- HBO Go was killed within minutes after putting up episode 1x7 a week early. That's one rabid fanbase.
- Peter Dinklage winning the Best Supporting Actor Emmy, something extremely rare for a fantasy show.
- In his commentary for "The Pointy End", George R.R. Martin himself denounces the They Changed It, Now It Sucks reaction some of the fans had to Ghost not being silent.
- For anyone who's listened to the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks, it's pretty darn cool to actually see Roy Dotrice as one of the hundreds of characters he created voices for.
- The episode 'Blackwater'. Although the episode received much of the new season's increased budget, the show was still limited in its resources compared to films. Yet they managed to create a visually stunning episode that many critics have called the best so far.
- All in all, the crew had only one hundred extras, twelve horses, and a single ship. With that, they created a battle sequence worthy of blockbuster fantasy epic films.
- Kudos also to the director, Neil Marshall, who was brought in to direct on extremely short notice and still managed to create one of the best episodes of the series.
- You didn't think they could top the cliffhanger ending of the first season in sheer awesomeness? Think again.
- What could be a better C Mo A for the creator of the much beloved "Ten Minutes of Tyrion Slapping Joffrey" YouTube video than the fact that on the DVD commentary for that episode, the first words out of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's mouth as Tyrion gears up to slap Joffrey are, "Did you see that YouTube thing?"
- Maisie Williams, a 15-year-old girl in her first acting role, had to spend a good deal of her scenes in Season 2 working opposite the highly experienced and respected Charles Dance, and easily stepped up to the challenge, going toe to toe with him over every nuance of every scene in their complex relationship, and always matching him. The scenes with the two of them have been widely hailed as some of the best acted in the entire series.
- The child actors as a whole have received acclaim as one of the best child casts in recent memory. Almost all of them are vital to the story, and even the ones that are not, are still forced to work with some of the darkest material imaginable. While Maisie Williams is most often pointed out for praise, all of them have received credit for their strong performances.
- Natalie Tena has managed to play her role so brilliantly that George R. R. Martin considers her portrayal of Osha more interesting than how he originally wrote her. The joke here of course, is whether that affects the odds of her survival.
- George R. R. Martin reciting the Night's Watch Oath.
- The ratings of Season 3, with the show's record being broken four times. In a row.
- The entire scene with the bear. A real, live, huge bear. All black and brown and covered in hair!
- Jason Momoa crashing the show's 2013 Comic Con panel and shouting "I'm not dead, George!"
- Iwan Rheon giving a "Bring it on" to Yara's rescue mission in the "Mhysa" commentary.
- Kit Harington filming Season 3 with a broken ankle. Even with copious use of body doubles, there's still a few shots where you can see him walking, and not letting the pain detract from his performance at all.
- As impressive as Season 3's ratings were, the Season 4 premiere not only beat them all, but crashed HBO Go that same day, and got the show renewed for two more seasons just two days later.
- Jack Gleeson deserves a mention here as he had the acting skills to portray a truly despicable character in all of his horrific glory, a character that is the complete opposite of his own personality.
- Peter Dinklage's performance in "The Laws of Gods and Men" was so impressive that it gained near unanimous praise and immediately led to both critics and fans declaring him a favorite for an Emmy win, as well as launching the #FreeTyrion hashtag as a response.
- With "The Mountain and the Viper," Game of Thrones officially became HBO's most successful series ever, beating The Sopranos' record with an average of 18.4 million hits across all platforms.
- The tracking shot from "The Watchers on the Wall" is a true thing of beauty
- The fact that Kit Harington was moving so fast during the fight scenes for the Battle of Castle Black, that Dan Weiss thought they had sped him up in editing.
- During the filming for the fight between Brienne and the Hound, Gwendoline Christie and Rory McCann did actually rough each other up to make the fight look real.
- Finn Jones cutting off a Joffrey pinata's head at London Film and Comic Con.
- A weird one. During the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, guess what the band decided to play.
- The show has now won two Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy. In 2013, "Blackwater" won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form against three Doctor Who episodes. In 2014, "The Rains of Castamere" won the same award against FOUR Doctor Who 50th anniversary stories. The BBC went all out in celebrating 50 years of The Doctor, and it still lost to The Red Wedding.
- After joining the show, Hafþór Björnsson broke several strength world records, including one that had stood for a thousand years, after which he quite justifiably yelled to the crowd "Nothing can break me!" They definitely cast the right man for the part.
- You want to know the reason for how this show came to be? David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the two guys who created this show, had lunch with George and pitched the idea for a TV show. George was skeptical about huge Hollywood adaptations, and thus the two resorted to their trump card. They correctly guessed the identity of Jon Snow's mother. Whether this counts as a second moment of awesome for David and Dan is up for debate, but they do have confirmation from the author himself that their own answer to one of the books' most infamous Epileptic Trees is the correct one and they have apparently managed to not spill the beans (until the Season 6 finale Wham Episode of course). Burning on the inside as they may be.
- The reaction videos on YouTube to the Purple Wedding. Never before has a TV villain's death, let alone a child's death, probably been met with such overwhelmingly positive reception. Nearly every fan or viewer response was cheering or applause.
- Well, not everyone...
- The reaction videos in general are awesome because we see genuine fan reactions to the biggest events on the show and they vary depending on who those reacting are.
- The fifth season was easily the most recognized TV Program at the 2015 Emmys, earning a total of 24 nominations (the most the series had ever earned in a given year). The show ended up winning 12 Emmys, beating The West Wing's old record of 9 awards for most wins in a single year.
- On the commentary for the extremely controversial final scene of "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken," Bryan Cogman handles it about as well as anyone possibly could, fully explaining how the scene came about in contrast to the accusations that it was only done for sleazy shock value, while also making clear that he understands perfectly well how people got that idea, and why they were so upset. It's a quite impressive showing after the crew opted to completely ignore the previous season's similar controversy by making the episode in question the only one in the season without a commentary track.
- The 360 degree version of show's opening is awesome where you can explore closely on the castles featured in the show.
- The fact that Jon Snow's Character Death being undone remained almost completely unspoiled. Many people did predict he'd return to life, most of them pegging Melisandre as an accessory to the deed, but the showrunners kept a lid on their biggest spoiler yet. Even more surprising is the fact they manage to keep the return previously thought to be dead or not likely to return characters which are Benjen Stark and The Hound a surprise. While everyone looked for any clue for Jon Snow's return, they completely didn't see those two coming.
- Season 6 once again provided the show with a fruitful number of Emmy nominations, at 23 total. Notably, both Kit Harrington and Maisie Williams broke through that year with their first nominations. For Williams, it is particularly impressive, given how difficult it can be for actors under 20 to stand out in a significant way with Emmy voters. And the three awards it won make for 38 wins in total, a new Emmy record for a scripted series. And there's still two more seasons to rack up even more.
- The second promo, "The Long Walk" shows the three rulers (Cersei, Jon and Dany) walking to their throne rooms. In Dany's case, she had a red slash on her right shoulder and her throne room is in Dragonstone, the original base of her ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror. This means that she's really embracing herself as a Targaryen.
- David Bradley's performance in the first episode of Season Seven as Arya disguised as Walder Frey was so impressive that Benioff and Weiss decided that it had to be the cold opening for the entire season, rather than just being fit later into the episode as was originally planned. It's clear why. The way he slowly changes his demeanor from that of Walder Frey to Arya Stark over the course of his monologue is stunning, and as he's watching the Freys die his expressions are so fitting for Arya that you'd swear that this seventy-five year-old man could easily be Maisie Williams's understudy.
- While filming the Battle of Blackwater Rush, the creators set a television record - for most people set on fire in a single shot. That's twenty stuntmen getting engulfed by a massive gas explosion fireball and then flailing about, lit up like Christmas trees, for a good ten seconds before being doused. Mad props to those men.
- In the same "making of" special, it's revealed that a line in the script called for Camilla Naprous, the series' horse master, to "do her tricks". She decided to have the Dothraki stand in their saddles and start shooting arrows. The initial reaction of Matt Shackman, the episode's director, was that "That sounds great, but it's not possible." Camilla's horsemen proved him wrong.
- Historically, the Mongols used to do it all the time. So did the Seljuk Turks and other Asiatic horsemen. Furthermore, US Cavalry anecdotes tell stories about Comanche and Lakota horsemen doing the same thing.
- For a show that's noted for its CGI, it's actually more impressive when they use pyrotechnics the old fashioned way.
- Someone made a mashup of the "Hardhome" episode and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, due to the very similar situations and atmospheres between the episode and the film (stranded soldiers and civilians race agaisnt time to escape to sea before their enemies come and finish them all). The result is epic.
- If Game of Thrones were an anime.
- Remember how awesome the "Tower of Joy" fight in season 6 was? You want to know how it could be more awesome? If everyone had lightsabers. The video's creator deserves special mention, as the effects are quite good, the sounds match to the impact of the sabers, and the music is perfectnote . As someone in the comments put it:
It's official. Lightsabers make all sword fights cooler.