"Oh, my sweet summer child. What do you know about fear? Fear is for the winter when the snows fall a hundred feet deep. Fear is for the the Long Night when the sun hides for years, and children are born and live and die, all in darkness. That is the time for fear, my little lord; when the White Walkers move through the woods."
—-Old Nan tells Brandon Stark about the monsters of the ice and snow...
"Do you hear them screaming? All those burning men, in the water... Crying for their mothers, for their gods, for help. Until the moment the Blackwater swallowed them."
Robert's discussing with Ser Barristan about last words of their foes, and calls in Jaime to quiz him about his own experiences - and needle him once again about the fact that, yes, he killed Aerys Targaryen. It backfires when Jaime replies perfectly calmly and coldly, "He said the same thing he'd been saying for hours - burn them all."
5 - The Wolf and the Lion
Ser Gregor Clegane cutting off the head of his horse in a temper tantrum.
6 - A Golden Crown
A group of wildings discuss how they'll head south in order to avoid the White Walkers. Implying that the wall may not be keeping everything out of Westeros...or won't be for much longer...
The Sky Cells are a pretty frightening concept when you imagine what it must like being a prisoner there. There's no protection from the elements, and you could never sleep easily, always fearing that you would fall out of the window- not to mention the terrifying vertigo you'd have all the time. It seems like the ultimate point is to drive prisoners to suicide and give them an easy means of accomplishing it. The floors are also somewhat slanted, meaning you can unconsciously find yourself rolling right off the edge in your sleep. Tyrion's Oh Crap look when that almost happens to him says it all. Apparently there are worse cells that have even steeper inclines.
While it's a comparably tame scene for that show's standards (which of course doesn't mean a lot), the way Viserys is killed (by getting a pot of molten gold poured on his head) is pretty nightmare fuel-ish, as you can only imagine the pain...
9 - Baelor
In "Baelor," while we don't get to see anything, the unearthly screaming noises coming out of Khal Drogo's tent as his life is "saved" through blood magic are more than a little chilling. Add in a litte Fridge Horror, it's clear from the way that the other characters are acting that only Dany can actually hear the sounds.
Ned Stark's execution is still unpleasant to watch. The utter build up towards the scene whilst Sansa screams hysterically for Joffery to stop it, Ser Ilyn getting ready to use the sword, and Yoren constantly holding Arya back from watching is mentally unnerving. Worst is the fact Ned's only fear of the situation was that Arya may have to watch his execution to which luckily he died knowing she wasn't and Yoren was there , but just imagine the inner turmoil he would have suffered before death if Yoren wasn't there to shield Arya from watching. It get's worse. Once it was over, Yoren lifted her up so that she was looking over his shoulder. He was walking away from the Sept, so while Arya may not have seen the execution as it happened, she did see her father's headless body and the Hound holding up his head.
1 - The North Remembers
The massacre of Robert's bastards, including slitting a baby's throat, repeatedly pushing a boy into the ocean until he drowns, and torturing Gendry's boss by pushing his face into his own forge.
2 - The Night Lands
Littlefinger's pleasant little story about a whore he bought who was much too sad and how his losses were mitigated. It's as much what he doesn't say as what he does - nothing about his tone when he says "he wanted to transform her" suggests that the man who bought that poor girl was just going to turn her into Westeros's Next Top Model. The rumors earlier in the series of him catering to necrophiles don't help.
We actually get to see hints of what happens to Craster's sons. It's not pretty.
4 - Garden of Bones
In the opening titles, amidst all the beautiful clockwork intricacies of the different cities on the map, Harrenhal is a blackened, broken piece of clockwork where nothing works or moves.
We find out that Joffrey is more interested in watching women forced to beat each other, possibly to death, than having sex.
Arya gets to watch people being tortured horribly by ingenious use of a rat, a bucket and a torch, (which actually was a realmethod of torture in the past) killed and having their heads hammered onto pikes for at least two days, all the while knowing she could very well be next. Many of the people she's with are watching their families receive this treatment.
The fact that the Mountain picks the guy who was staring at him. He had escaped being picked before, thinking it was because the Mountain was put off by his stare, but it turns out that it was completely random. The idea that someone could be so completely detached from humanity that he literally has no more reaction to someone looking at him than to a turned back is terrifying.
The closing scene, wherein Melisandre gives birth. The shadow child/son/demon/shadow sounds like Stannis.
5 - The Ghost of Harrenhal
Renly's death. Being stabbed in the back by a shadowy assailant, and seeing your own wound in the mirror - and then as you're choking on your own blood, you see that your attacker looks quite like your older brother. And then it roars at you before it disappears.
6 - The Old Gods and the New
Theon executing Ser Rodrik Cassel. He doesn't have the strength or proper armament to behead him in a single swing, so there is a gruesome scene of Theon repeatedly hacking away and then roughly kicking Ser Rodrik's head away.
The riot at King's Landing turns into this when the starving townspeople start dismembering and devouring members of the royal entourage and Sansa is chased down and almost raped by a group of men. Sansa screaming and pleading as she's held down is really hard to watch. Thank god the Hound had a Big Damn Heroes moment, though it was really close.
7 - A Man Without Honor
The Pyat Pree doubles. They slit the throats of the Thirteen without a flicker of emotion. Their dissonent serenity follows Daenerys as she tries to escape: 'A mother should be close to her children!' Stab one through the back? It just sighs in exasperation and disappears, leaving only garments behind.
Daenerys and Jorah's attempt to escape the Qarth council chamber, with doubles of Pyat Pree blocking their every path. The off-kilter camerawork just adds to the unease.
Theon presenting the burnt corpses of the boys.
8 - The Prince of Winterfell
The troops that Jaqen had killed effortlessly and undetected,then propped up in their at the gate of Harrenhal so that Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie can escape. What did he do to that guy's head?
9 - Blackwater
The effects of wildfire on Stannis' troops. The troops at King's Landing can hear the mens' screams from across the water.
Stannis gets to the walls of the city with a few of his troops; almost immediately a thrown rock from the defenders smashes a mook's head into his shoulders and Stannis's face is sprayed with blood. Uuuuugh.
As Stannis is cutting down Lannister soldiers like the boss he is, he manages to cleave the top of a man's head clean off. The man's eyes rolling up with the blood spilling over his face doesn't even begin to describe the utter squick and horror of seeing that.
Cersei's reason for having Ser Illyn with the women and children: they would not take any of them alive if the battle was lost. Who knows if the other women knew this already, but it sure frightened Sansa when she was told...
Cersei sitting on the Iron Throne with Tommen on her lap, telling him a fairy tale to keep his courage up - while preparing to poison him so Stannis doesn't get his hands on her youngest child.
In his commentary, George R.R. Martin has a hilarious ongoing rant about how much he hates the trope Helmets Are Hardly Heroic...except the part where he explains why he feels this way, as during filming of the first script he ever wrote for television, a stuntman got his nose cut off thanks to the director insisting on his visor being left open.
10 - Valar Morghulis
Having Brienne killing you is scary already. Having her state to your face that she is going to kill you, in the slowest and most painful way possible, by ramming a sword up your crotch, while you're lying on the ground unable to do anything about it is a lot worse.
Dany's experience in the House of the Undying. Eventually she comes to the throne room of the Red Keep in King's Landing. Why is this scary? Winter has come.
The fates of Doreah and Xaro - locked in an dark, empty vault to slowly die of thirst, starvation or asphyxiation.
Our first good look at a White Walker, and the massive army of wights at the end.
1 - Valar Dohaeris
The state of Harrenhall. 200 prisoners of war were butchered by the retreating Lannisters and left rotting in the open just to spite Robb. As Robb surveys the carnage one of the bodies starts to cough, his throat slit, seemingly the only survivor. His name? Qyburn.
During Tyrion and Cersei's conversation, we get a glimpse of Cersei's Troubling Unchildlike Behavior growing up. It's easy to see where Joffrey gets it from:
Cersei: You've slandered me to father before.
Tyrion: Slandered? When?
Cersei: You told him I had my guards beat that servant girl at Casterly Rock.
Tyrion: You did have your guards beat her. A girl of nine, I believe.
The Unsullied, a slave army trained from birth with only a quarter of them surviving. Their final test is to buy a newborn baby slave and kill it in front of its mother. They currently number eight thousand. The scene where the slave trader slices off one of their nipples to demonstrate their imperviousness to pain isn't too pleasant to watch.
Dany sure is lucky Ser Barristan Selmy came to her rescue or she'd have fallen prey to the Manticore that was inside a seemingly harmless ball the warlock girl gave her. The Manticore itself is creepy enough; a large shimmering green scorpion like bug with what looks like a face on its stinger and a poison so powerful it kills in seconds.
2 - Dark Wings, Dark Words
Orell during his warg period. There is a brief three second shot of him looking up to the sky with completely white and vacant eyes *shudder*
The Walk of Punishment, where slaves are crucified after being tortured for the tiniest disobedience. Daenerys offers water to one, but he refuses, looking forward to being free in death.
The scene of Locke chopping off Jaime's hand alone is nightmarish. We don't even get the kindness of a Gory Discretion Shot, we watch the bastard bring the knife down on Jaime's hand and the moment it's done it takes a few seconds for Jaime to realize what just happened and he pulls back his stump where his hand once was as he begins to scream in horror and we see the injury in all it's disgusting glory.
Brienne's attempted gang rape at the hands of the Boltons. For a character so strong, confident, and generally badass and awesome to brutally beaten and dragged off into the darkness while screaming in fear is extremely unnerving.
Theon gets caught in his attempt to escape the Dreadfort and is captured by Bolton men. They actually brace him to the ground and pull down his pants as one of the Bolton men seems to be undoing his while promising to fuck Theon into the dirt. We are left with the horrific certainty that they were going to rape Theon right there and then had the boy not come and saved Theon. Going from the remarks their leader made this is standard practice for them whenever they apprehend escapees..
The spiral of severed horse parts arranged in the snow, no doubt left by the White Walkers for the Night's Watch to see.
4 - And Now His Watch is Ended
The story of how Varys was castrated: a sorcerer fed him a potion that paralyzed him but left him fully able to feel the pain, then used the parts for a spell that let him talk to some demon or spirit. Varys is a man who knows of terrible things, yet he still has nightmares of the voice coming from the flame. And then the reveal of that very sorcerer in a box, very much at Varys's mercy. The background music is extremely creepynote it's Melisandre's theme, Tyrion looks more and more freaked out until the revelation, the sorcerer is clearly terrified and whimpering through his gag, and Varys is...calm, and very satisfied. What truly makes the scene is that you feel terrible for Varys. He's describing the worst and most terrifying moment of his life and its hard to not feel bad for him. And then you see Tyrion's face as he looks at the box and is connecting the dots. And that's when you realize that behind the persona that Varys shows to other characters, he's truly one of the most dangerous men in series.
Cat shaking Bran up a tree in one of his dreams, calling back her last conversation with him in a deranged fashion, before pushing him off the tree.. "Promise me! Promise me! PROMISE ME!!!"
Theon suddenly discovering that he's been led straight back into his torture chamber is terrifying; he's so stunned he can't even articulate the betrayal and can only beg incoherently, while his betrayer has a truly deranged look of enjoyment on his face. Also, while it's not elaborated on in the scene, so might be more a case of Fridge Horror, it makes you wonder; what sort of person would go through all that trouble (including killing some of his own men,) and build up so much trust (including getting the only true confession of Theon's feelings in the series,) just for the sake of playing some sort of game?
The scene at Craster's Keep is all very subtle and very effective Nightmare Fuel, as tensions in the house rise and you can just see the more level-headed brothers of the Watch getting more and more uneasy, knowing something awful is about to happen. Everyone's reactions are chillingly realistic, as anyone who's been in a similarly unstable situation with many people involved could tell you.
Rast and some other brothers staging a mutiny against Lord Commander Mormont at Craster's Keep, with Rast stabbing Mormont in the back. There's a Hope Spot where it looks like Mormont might at least choke Rast to death before he dies, but then Rast stabs him again and throws him on the ground before stabbing him over and over.
5 - Kissed by Fire
Qyburn cutting away the rotting flesh from Jaime's arm stump, after he refuses anesthesia. Complete with long, loving close-up. And meanwhile, Qyburn talks about how the Grand Maesters stripped him of his chain due to his experiments. He's vague about what this entails, but the circumstances point to Jaime currently being treated by the Westeros equivalent of Josef Mengele.
Lord Karstark's brutal murder of the two Lannister children Robb was holding hostage.A father's anger is understandable, but damn it Karstark, those were children who had nothing to do with your son's death, and the poor kids woke up just in time to see their guards killed and beg for their lives before they died.
It was truly chilling to hear Tywin Lannister finally yell at one of his children. Granted it was directed at Cersei , but it's genuinely not pleasant to see a man who has, up till now, combated defiance with a calm demeanor. Tyrion gets a very subtle look of rage as his father leaves which is unsettling as well. No doubt his father has already crossed the line.
Tywin's expression when he says he "remembers all too well" the woman Tyrion was in love with and married all that long ago.
Arya's reaction to Sandor winning his trial by combat: she grabs a knife and runs toward him to kill him herself or at least go down trying, and when Gendry drags her back she shrieks at him to "Burn in Hell." She definitely has good reasons for all of it, but it's quite disconcerting to see from a little girl and comes off as a possible Start of Darkness.
There's something about Robb's fury after executing Karstark for the murder of the two Lannister children and their guards that is completely terrifying. Perhaps even more disturbing is the fate he had in store for the men who helped Karstark.
"This one was just the watcher. Hang him last so he can watch the others die."
Selyse keeps the remains of her sons embalmed in vats in her room. What makes it worse is that for the first half of the scene, you never see/notice them until she moves to them and then that's all you ever see.
We learn exactly what the Mad King meant by "burn them all": Aerys had prepared wildfire caches all over King's Landing, and had given the order to his pyromancer to set them off and kill everyone rather than suffer defeat on his enemies' terms. Jaime killed the pyromancer, but Aerys still kept shouting it even as he was killed, too.
"I Know I Know", the closing credits song sung by Shireen. It's a truly chilling and haunting song sung in an innocent enough child voice, but there's something about it that doesn't sit well when you listen to it.
6 - The Climb
Theon'sentire torture scene, from beginning to end. Perhaps even worse than the gruesome physical abuse is the relentless and sadistic psychological torture. The torturer gives the victim a faint Hope Spot by "playing a game" with them, acts like they guessed right... and then cheerfully says that they should have asked first if he was a liar or not. Turns out, he is, and there goes one of your fingers. Even worse? He actually makes them beg him to cut the finger off. Just to clarify, he is not just chopping off the fingers, he is slicing and flaying them until the victim shrieks for him to cut it off. Poor, poor, poor Theon's nightmare has only just begun.
The Boy: This isn't happening to you for a reason... well one reason. I enjoy it.
Theon: PLEASE!!! CUT IT OFF!!! CUT IT OFF!!! CUT IT OFF!!!!
The Boy:I win.
Melisandre's look of pure terror upon coming face to face with Arya, and what she sees in her future of "all the eyes she will shut forever". Just to further emphasise the point, Melisandre is a woman who has a king wrapped around her little finger, burns people to death on a daily basis, consorts with the only "real" deity shown so far in the setting, and occasionally gives birth to nightmarish shadow demons. And Arya is the thing that freaks her out. Especially considering that Melisandre's prediction that she and Arya will meet again implies that Arya will kill her sometime in the future.
"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." Gets worse when you realize this one line could easily be the tagline of the entire series. And he says this while cutting Theon's finger open bit by bit, until Theon begs him to cut it off to stop the pain.
The nail-biting climb up the Wall, especially when Ygritte causes an avalanche that kills half the group and leaves her and Jon dangling in empty space. And then Orell decides to cut them loose.
Beric Dondarrion's horrific existence. He's resurrected as many times as need be by the Lord of Light, but he still carries the scars of every fatal wound, and feels less like himself after each time.
While the sight of Sansa watching Littlefinger's ship sail away after discovering that she's marrying Tyrion instead of Loras is mostly a tearjerker, the look in her eyes is quite disturbing. She's clearly right on the verge of cracking up into a full-blown Freak Out, and it's like an even more intense and less rational version of the look she got right before she nearly pushed Joffrey off the ramparts. The likelihood of her either doing something desperate or having a complete breakdown is looking higher than ever.
The worried look on Varys' face when he realises that his previous comment that "Littlefinger would burn the entire world if he could be King of the Ashes", might have been a major understatement on his part. He's actually far more insane than that!
Towards the end, we see that Littlefinger was aware Ros was serving as Varys's mole. His response? Let Joffrey use her as target practice for his crossbow. As far as we know, this is the first time Joffrey's killed anyone with his own hands instead of via proxies.
7 - The Bear and the Maiden Fair
Osha's story about how her lover disappeared, and then came back one night...as a wight, who tried to kill her even after she stabbed it in the heart. She had to burn down their home to kill it, and is clearly still traumatised.
Theon's already nightmarish torture reaches a distressing new low. After the torturer baits him with beautiful women in order to get him aroused, he then brutally beats a weeping, trembling Theon to the ground before having two of his cronies hold him down, and then after smugly stating how he knows that Theon's cock is his "most precious part" and that he is "just going to make a few alterations", he crouches over a shrieking, flailing Theon's crotch with a hooked gelding knife, and gleefully prepares to start cutting while Theon begs for mercy... And note that the camera goes out of focus at the end of the scene. Yes, we've actually reached the point where even this show thinks something is too horrible to be shown onscreen.
The actual 'sex' itself is an exercise in Fan Disservice. At no point in the scene does it seem sexy- at best it seems to be a cruel parody of Theon's wildest fantasies, and at worse seems like actual rape, considering the girls climb aboard while Theon cringes and explicitly tells them to stop.
Locke and his men putting Brienne into a pit with a hungry bear, with only a wooden sword to defend herself. And laughing and singing as they anticipate her getting killed and eaten.
8 - Second Sons
Gendry's ordeal at the hands of Melisandre. First he is drugged with likely spiked wine and then is seduced by her, only to be tied to the bed and have leeches attached to his chest, abdomen, and... somewhere very painful.
Granted it's directed at Joffrey after he persists in making a total dick of himself again and this boarders with Crowning Moments of Awesome and Funny, but Tyrion's very audible and cold rage in his tone and the look of fury on his face as he holds a knife to the table as he fearlessly threatens to cut off his dick in front of everyone certainly left many viewers as silent as the court. Note that up until this point, Tyrion has done nothing worse than slapping his nephew and making non-serious threats behind his back and all to help him be a better man, but it's obvious at this point after Joffrey has attempted to have him killed and refuses to quit humiliating him, Tyrion's hatred for Joffrey is just as strong if not stronger than Joff's.
Joffrey's ever growing madness. It's very subtle, but he's pretty much telling Sansa to her own face how he plans to invoke Lord's Right and rape her after Tyrion's had her. He doesn't wait for a response telling her Ser Meryn and Ser Blout will hold her down for him.
The White Walker stalking towards Sam and Gilly, while a huge flock of crows perk on a nearby weirwood tree and scream. We also see just how useless normal weapons are against the White Walkers, when it grabs Sam's sword and shatters it.
9 - The Rains of Castamere
Arya is falling deeper and deeper into Troubling Unchildlike Behavior. One example is the way she calmly turns towards Sandor "The Hound" Clegane and tells him, "Someday, I'm going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull."
The Red Wedding.
The Rains of Castamere starts to play. Nothing even happens as it does, but after an entire season of references to the song, the viewer already knows it's the Lannister's theme and know something really, really horrible is about to happen.
Catelyn turns to Roose Bolton (Robb's most powerful bannerman present and thus suppose to be his closest protector) for reassurance after the Rains finishes playing, only for him to slowly turn towards her with a flat-out disturbing, smug Psychotic Smirk (up until now, he has been a stoic, silent, and serious man with little obvious discontent with the Starks) and Kubrick Stare as he looms her via his eyes to lift the sleeve of his shirt to which Catelyn notices he's wearing chain mail and thus understanding immediately he has betrayed Robb.
Lothar Frey stabs repeatedly into a pregnant Talisa's stomach.
Some soldiers are playing at dice in the yard. As soon as the carnage starts, the Frey men all pull out their swords and violently massacre the shocked Stark soldiers before they can react. After this, some soldiers surround Grey Wind's pen and shoot him with crossbows.
Robb gets shot dozens of times with crossbows bolts.
Roose Bolton: "The Lannisters send their regards." *STAB*
Walder Frey is completely indifferent to Catelyn's holding a dagger to his own wife's throat, saying that he can always find another wife.
Catelyn has a catatonic reaction to Robb's death. She just slits the throat of Walder's wife and then looks on in Stunned Silence before Black Walder Frey comes up and slices her own throat open.
An extremely subtle one, but for those who have followed the 3rd season through the King's Roadmap, soon after this episode was broadcast, the app disappeared and in it's place was a page just saying 'Gone'.
10 - Mhysa
The box that is sent to the Greyjoy's, containing Theon's "favourite toy", looks like it's made from a Greyjoy breastplate, most likely Theon's own. The message that accompanies the box threatens to wipe all the Ironborn out if they don't leave the North, and promises to send more pieces of Theon if they don't withdraw immediately.
Bran's story about a Night's Watch cook who killed his king's son and served him in a pie. The king liked it so much he asked for more.
The Evil Gloating scene between Walder Frey and Roose Bolton about the Red Wedding, while several Frey servants are cleaning the bloodstains off the floor.. Now, Joffrey may have had his insane outbreaks, but he is just a child. This is the first time we see competent, serious villains revelling in the heinous crime they just committed. The smile Roose gives deserves special mention. The creepy smile just goes to show, like father, like son.◊
Arya once again demonstrating further slippage into Cute and Psycho territory, in the sheer cold and calculated manner with which she plays an innocent girl before brutally murdering the Frey Soldier who claimed responsibility for desecrating Robb's body. As well as the reveal that the knife she used was one she stole from the Hound, without him even knowing it. Suffice to say, even the Hound looks scared of her at this point. For extra creepiness points, the music that plays while Arya contemplates both her first adult kill and the Braavosi coin she used to distract her victim with is none other than Jaqen H'ghar's theme.
Ramsay decides that "Theon" is too noble a name, and decides to give him a name more befitting someone as broken as him. Like "Reek." Theon is in for a whole lot more suffering, but the scene just positively drips with No Yay, with Ramsay getting uncomfortably close to Theon and smelling him.
The Small Council meeting, where Joffrey gleefully tells Grand Maester Pycelle to send for Robb Stark's head, as he's planning to serve it to Sansa on his wedding feast. Everone present - Varys, Tyrion, Pycelle, even Cersei and Tywin, are alarmed (each in their own way) that their twisted little "king" is getting completely out of hand. And when the master schemers are scared, guess what that means for the general populace.
The sight of the Freys massacring the Stark forces is horrific. The entire camp is in flames. Men are being butchered all around. We see a man with his legs cut off, a man being lynched, and a man being stabbed over and over by at least 5 people. And then we see those Frey bastards parading around the decapitated body of Robb with Grey Wind's severed head impaled on it◊ while mockingly chanting "The King in the North." It really hammers home how twisted and evil the Freys really are. And unlike when Ned was executed, Arya has a front-row seat to witness the profaning of her brother's corpse.