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Tear Jerker: Game of Thrones
"The wolf is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher."
"I will not ask you to stay or go. You must make that choice yourself, and live with it for the rest of your days. As I have."
"Hush now, child. I'm off to see your father."
—Ser Rodrik Cassel
"Tell me, if your precious Renly had commanded you to kill your own father, and stand by while thousands of men, women, and children burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then?"
—Ser Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer
"You know nothing, Jon Snow."
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1 — Winter is Coming
Robert paying his respects to his late fiancee and Ned's sister Lyanna Stark the only woman he ever loved. You can tell just by looking that if she hadn't died, he wouldn't have become the fat wine drinking, skirt chaser he turned out to be.
The situation that Dany is at the start of the series - living with her brother, who creeps on her and cares more about regaining his throne than her, and now engaged to a Strong Man who scares her to death.
2 — The Kingsroad
Ned, who deeply cares for his children and their well-being, nonetheless has to kill Lady after Cersei demands it from Robert. Lady is completely innocent (Nymeria is the one who attacks Joffrey when he goes Ax-Crazy) and the order itself is hard enough to stomach, but the fact that he chooses to do it personally makes it even sadder. "She is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher."
Ned's farewell to Jon Snow:
Ned: There's great honor in serving the Night's Watch. The Starks have manned the Wall for thousands of years, and you are a Stark. You may not have my name, but you have my blood. Jon: Is my mother alive? Does she know about me, where I am, where I'm going? Does she care? Ned: The next time we see each other, we'll talk about your mother. Hmm? I promise.
Too bad they will never see each other again, so they will never get to talk about her and who she was. Jon will be lucky to learn about her at all at this rate.
Catelyn's depression as she watches over the comatose Bran.
Bran's conversation with Robb, where Robb has to confirm that, yes, Bran is no longer going to be able to use his legs. The ensuing lines leave Robb speechless.
Bran: I'd rather be dead.
Robb: Don't ever say that.
Bran:I'd rather be dead.
5 — The Wolf and the Lion
Robert and Cersei's conversation. At first they both share a harsh laugh at how their utter sham of a marriage is the only thing holding the Seven Kingdoms together. Then things take a turn for the depressing as they both discuss the problems that have hung over their entire marriage. Cersei and Robert both have issues the viewers can dislike them for, but the sheer lack of love or even basic respect in their marriage is sad to see, especially when contrasted with Perfectly Arranged Marriages like Ned and Cat's or Dany and Drogo's. No wonder they were both screwing around with other people. One moment especially is when Cersei finally asks Robert about Lyanna Stark. Robert just sounds so completely broken when he talks about her.
Cersei's final question to Robert. She almost sounds desperate to hear him say "Yes."
Cersei: I felt something for you once you know.
Robert: I know.
Cersei: Even after we lost our first boy — for quite a while actually...was it ever possible for us? Was there ever a time, ever a moment?
Robert: (after a very long pause) ...No. Does that make you feel better or worse?
Cersei: ...It doesn't make me feel anything.
7 — You Win or You Die
Robert, as he is dying, begs Ned to help Joffrey to be a better man than him.
Even Joffrey, one of the least sympathetic characters in the entire series, looks heartbreakingly devastated as the man he believes is his father says his last words to him.
Robert: I should've spent more time with you...shown you how to be a man. I was never meant to be a father. (Beat) Go on. You don't want to see this.
8 — The Pointy End
The First Sword of Braavos does not run.
What do we say to the God of Death?
The look on Septa Mordane's face as, having done all she can to protect Sansa, she walks towards what she knows will be her death; clearly frightened, but determined to Face Death with Dignity. And then we see the bloody swords...
9 — Baelor
Aemon's reveal to Jon of the time when he was tempted to forsake his oath to the Night's Watch at the slaughter of his family, the Targaryens, despite already being old and blind.
Tyrion's story of his first love.
Ned Stark was forced to forsake his principles in order to save his and his daughter's life. The fact that the credits music was unutterably solemn didn't help.
Yoren protecting Arya from seeing Ned's execution.
Sansa's hysterical cries and screams when Ned is executed, struggling against those trying to restrain her, were wrenching. You can just see all her dreams of a fairytale life with Joffrey come tumbling down. Even worse is that Sansa had begged Joffrey, in front of his court, to be merciful to her father, and he promised her he'd spare Ned. She believed him, because she truly thought he was a decent person. And then she sees that happen. Right before Joffrey's line, you can see her give this little relieved and proud smile, as she's completely convinced that she saved her father, that everything's going to be okay. And then... even Cersei is shocked and horrified. Cersei.
10 — Fire and Blood
Joffrey forcing Sansa to look at her father's impaled head to make a statement to her.
and by the end of Season 3 has become so very much sadder.
Catelyn Stark stoically walks through a gauntlet of Stark bannermen, nodding to acknowledge their sympathies if she reacts at all, before she collapses against a tree, having learned of her beloved husband's execution. Similarly, Robb laying into a tree with his arming blade, lost to his grief and rage. (Sobbing) "I'll kill them all! Every one of them." And just the delivery of Catelyn's "You've ruined your sword." is heart-wrenching. Not to mention Lady Stark's emotional fortitude; she must remain strong for her son when she'd like nothing more than to break down herself. 'Family, Duty, Honor' indeed.
1 — The North Remembers
That poor woman, screaming as her infant daughter is murdered on Joffrey's command.
Dany's mare, Drogo's wedding gift to her, dying of thirst.
2 — The Night Lands
Dany comforting Irri after Rakharo's death. Sad on a couple of levels; firstly because he was a genuinely likeable character and it was gutting to have him die so horribly, but also because Irri's reaction confirms what many viewers suspected but was never shown on screen — they were in love.
After Tyrion makes a crack about the rumors of her affair with Jamie, Cersei responds that he's always been funny, starting with when their mother died giving birth to him. Tyrion's face after that is heartbreaking. Also the audience realizes she's hated him for that ever since.
Tyrion: She was my mother too.
Cersei: Mother gone. All for the sake of you. There's no bigger joke in the world than that.
3 — What is Dead May Never Die
Poor Brienne; having just earned her place on Renly's Kingsguard, she's dismissed by him almost immediately — to take Catelyn to her tent. The worst bit is, she seems almost resigned to this sort of treatment and is quite willing to die for Renly anyway; it speaks whole volumes about what her life must have been like before now. And the flatness in her voice when she tells Catelyn "Brienne's enough — I'm no lady" is heart-wrenching.
Theon's outburst at Balon, calling him out for treating him as soft and corrupted by the Starks (for bringing up the more strategically sound Stark-Greyjoy alliance of all things), pointing out that it was Balon who gave him up in the first place. Countering Balon's demand that the Ironborn "are not subjects or slaves" and that they "take what is theirs" Theon brings up his father's submission to King Robert Baratheon and that he didn't "take what is his" then, which earns him a smack across the face so hard it sends him across the room. Theon (tears in his eyes) recovers enough to remind his father that it was Balon who gave the last of the Greyjoy sons away like "some dog that he didn't want anymore" and yet he has the nerve to curse him when he returns home. This noticeably stuns even Balon momentarily before he marches out of the room, face frozen with what could be described as regret from someone who has never shown regret in his life.
Sansa telling Shae to stay and brush her hair becomes one when you realize her reasons for it. Even though Shae clearly has no idea how to be a handmaiden, Sansa asks her to stay with her because she literally has no one else to talk to who isn't trying to harm or manipulate her in some way. Poor Sansa is completely alone and surrounded by people who would have no qualms about killing her to achieve their own ends. And she's just a kid.
Also before she left Winterfell it was her mother that usually brushed Sansa's hair.
Arya's cry when Needle, Jon's last present, is taken from her.
4 — Garden of Bones
After their summit where the Baratheon brothers bicker and snark at each other over who should be king and threaten each other with their armies, as Stannis' party rides away, Renly says bitterly "Would you believe, I loved him once?"
Made even worse in the next episode, where Stannis remarks to Davos that he feels the same way, loving the boy his brother was. But not grieving over the man he became and had to kill.
Catelyn crying over Ned's bones. Including her heart-rending delivery of a simple "Get out." How does Michelle Fairley even make those sounds?
Arya, alone and afraid and lying in mud while the rain pours down and the prisoners around her are depleted, can only whisper the names of the people she wants dead.
The woman who's been reduced to talking in a Creepy Monotone about how her family has been tortured to death one by one at Harrenhal.
Ser Jorah coming very close to admitting to Dany that he loves her, and they now both know how he feels about her for sure.
Jorah: [seemingly describing Dany as a queen] There are times when I look at you, and I still can't believe you're real.
5 — The Ghost of Harrenhal
Ser Loras Tyrell driven to grief and bitterness by Renly's death, stroking his lover's face while saying, "He would have been a true king, a good king." It gets worse when you realize that a lot of what Loras is feeling is not just grief but also guilt. After all, he was the one who talked Renly into making a bid for the Iron Throne.
This is made painfully explicit here. In the deleted scene, Loras is wearing black, the colour of mourning, but it's also one of the colours of House Baratheon, and Renly wore only black clothing throughout Season 1 (with the exception of the tourney).
The sight of Irri dead on the floor after Dany's dragons are stolen.
The sound Dany's dragons make as they're being carried off in a sealed box to the House of the Undying. They really do sound like infants crying for their mother to save them.
Not to mention Dany's reaction to finding them gone. Her frantic searching and crying really gives the impression of a desperate mother, especially considering that the dragons essentially are her children.
Rodrik Cassel's death, which is very painful as the stroke to his neck is repeatedly botched, and Bran and Rickon look on, weeping. Bran has just yielded Winterfell to Theon to keep his people safe, and is then forced to watch as one of his family's most loyal knights is brutally killed. The whole time, Bran's leaning forward and generally giving off an air of wanting to charge over there and stop it from happening, but because he's paralyzed he can't even try.
Rodrick: Hush now, child. I'm off to see your father.
These final words to Theon:
Rodrick: Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy. Now you are truly lost.
The parallels to 'Baelor' and Ned's death. The older Stark child, screaming and begging someone they'd once trusted and loved not to murder a father figure, while the younger Stark is being shielded from watching.
The look on Theon's face as he builds up to executing Ser Rodrick. He's obviously torn between his loyalty to his family and these people he really does care about, and he's struggling to bring himself to do it...and then after he takes Ser Rodrick's head, he just stares.
Myrcella, a completely innocent pawn stuck in the middle of the power plays around her, crying as she's shipped off to Dorne as a glorified hostage.
Cersei saying she hopes Tyrion deeply loves someone one day, so she can take that person away from him. Tyrion looks like he's going to give a nasty zinger back, but then just walks away.
Made worse by the fact that Tyrion brokered the deal in part to get Myrcella out of King's Landing, soon to be attacked by Stannis' forces. He sends her to the relative safety of Dorne because his niece is one of the few members of his family he actually cares about.
Tywin asks Arya (who he believes to be a peasant girl) what killed her father, and she answers simply, "loyalty".
Tywin opening up to the disguised Arya about how his own father was a good, loving man whose weakness nearly destroyed their family. He doesn't explicitly say that he made a decision not to make the same mistake, though that's clearly what he's thinking. It makes you wonder what sort of person Tywin might have been in a world where it wasn't necessary to scheme and fight simply for the survival of the people you care about. Tywin finishes his speech with the statement "I'm cold". Even though it's an instruction to light a fire, the way he says it makes it clear what he really means, and that he's saddened by it.
Tywin's description of how he taught Jaime his letters (by the sound of it Jaime's dyslexic, though of course Tywin doesn't use the term). Even though he ignored the maester's advice to accept it and made Jaime's life miserable trying to cure it, it is clear that Tywin put in a great deal of personal effort to help his son, which says a lot about him. It's a perfect demonstration of both Tywin's good and bad aspects with regards to his children. On the one hand, he loves them enough to put in a lot of time to help them, and is willing to incur their hatred for it, which would be painful for a father who actually did love his children. On the other hand, he rejects the maester's advice to "just accept it", and makes Jaime's life miserable to make sure he lives up to his perfectionist standards, and consequently he detests Tyrion for being unable to be cured of his own imperfections.
7 — A Man Without Honor
Maester Luwin's cry of despair when he sees the burnt bodies of the boys.
Cersei lamenting how Joffrey turned out, and Tyrion trying to comfort her by telling her that Myrcella and Tommen still turned out all right. Cersei actually starts to cry, letting her guard drop around Tyrion, and he just stands there without saying anything, at a loss for words. For extra tear-jerker-ness, this episode aired on Mother's Day.
Tyrion's palpable uncertainty about whether he's meant to put a hand on her shoulder or hug her or something makes this worse, as it makes you realise that he has probably never been in a situation like this before; Cersei hates him too much to let him see her cry, and while he and Jaime are close, it's hard to imagine Jaime ever breaking down crying, so it's unlikely Tyrion has ever had to console a crying sibling in his life. She notices Tyrion approaching and a quick half-confused, half-disgusted look from her provides a final discouragement. It really drives home how cold and screwed up the Lannisters are.
Sansa's pure desperation when she realises her period's started and Joffrey has license to start raping her, trying to hide the evidence and moaning in horror.
Later, when Cersei is giving her some genuinely heartfelt advice (see the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming page), Cersei says that the only people Sansa should allow herself to love are her children, to avoid being hurt. This would be sad enough on its own, but Cersei then says that women have "no choice" about loving their children; she's fully realised what a monster Joffrey is, but still can't stop loving him as a mother.
The look on Jorah's face when Quaithe plainly states he loves Dany, and the emotion in his voice when he answers the question of whether he'll betray her again with one word: "Never."
8 — The Prince of Winterfell
"Don't die so far from the sea."
For context, after viciously and furiously calling out Theon in front of all her men for his idiotic and immoral(even in the eyes of a brutal raider like her) actions in taking Winterfell, Yara dismisses her soldiers to speak alone with Theon. At which point her hardass demeanour fades and she begs him to come home with her, revealing that she still sees him as her beloved baby brother but is terrified that he will die pointlessly far away from his home. Given their conflict beforehand (and the unspeakable torture and suffering Theon will go through because of his refusal to come home with her) this is an extremely humanising moment for the Greyjoys.
Luwin and Osha's conversation about the orphan boys being killed, which Bran unbeknownst to them overheard.
For book readers especially, Robb and Talisa finally giving in to their love for each other and sealing Robb's fate, as the music swells sorrowfully. If Robb had listened to his mother had remained faithful to his deal with the Freys, the Red Wedding would not have happened.
9 — Blackwater
Cersei telling Tommen a fairy tale as she prepares to Mercy Kill him and herself.
Loras leading the cavalry charge disguised as the "ghost" of his recently deceased lover. In doing so, he keeps his promise to Renly ("I've never fought in a war before, but I'd fight for you"). While House Tyrell agreed to ally with the Lannisters out of a desire to gain more political power, Loras himself only wanted to avenge his beloved's murder. The Knight of Flowers knows that Stannis is responsible for Renly's assassination, and Loras partially achieves his goal by helping to defeat Stannis' forces.
10 — Valar Morghulis
Dany's vision of Drogo and a living, healthy baby Rhaego in the House of the Undying. Its not made clear if this is just a vision or actually happening, but the emotion in that scene was intense, especially the sight of infant Rhaego and her face when she realizes (or decides) it's not real and she has to walk away from the husband and son she's still deeply grieving and missing. What's worse is Drogo's face. Once she decides she's not going to stay it just... goes blank. That same dead expression Drogo had after he was "saved" by Mirri.
Tyrion's whole exchange with Shae, in particular Tyrion breaking down and sobbing when Shae makes it clear that she isn't going to leave his side. When she begs the convalescing Tyrion to leave the capital with her, he's literally torn apart, but he can't quit the game because he likes it. His desire to stay in that nest of vipers speaks volumes about his underappreciated life.
Tyrion: I can't. I belong here. All these bad people are what I'm good at — out-talking them, out-thinking them, it's what I am. And I like it. I like it more than anything I've ever done.
Stannis's agonised admission of his guilt: "I murdered my brother!" All he did and he thinks it was all for nothing.
Theon and Luwin's scene. Theon furiously swearing, voice hoarse and cracking, to "the Drowned God, the old gods, the new gods, to every fucking god in every fucking heaven" that he will kill the hornblower really drives home how desperate and scared he is. Theon's voice when he talks about how everyone telling him how lucky he was of how well the Starks have treated him as he was their captive. It really shows how broken Theon has gotten and how he has been of two minds for a very long time.
The hanged women Brienne and Jaime come across. Their only crime was trying to survive in a war torn Westeros, and the Northern army butchered them for cooperating with the Lannisters. Even worse, one of the men who did it heavily implies that they did worse to at least one of the women before they were hanged...
To make things even more disturbing, either intentionally or not, the man is played by an actor with a slight resemblance to Ned. Jaime is quick to remind Brienne that he was a Stark man...
Luwin's death. After all he's done to help the Starks and even Theon, he is unceremoniously stabbed by Dagmer, and left to die. The look on his face as he lies dying at the base of the weirwood shows that he is just so happy, despite all, to see the Stark boys alive and safe.
Hodor's very quiet "Hodor" to Rickon when they leave the dying Maester Luwin. It's clear that despite him being a simpleton who can only say that one word, he knows what's going on and is emotionally affected by it.
When Loras has to bend the knee to Joffrey (whom he described as a monster in Season 1), his body language is practically screaming that he finds the act abhorrent. Loras' desire to crown Renly as king was partially motivated by his hatred of that little shithead, and the Knight of Flowers is now paying a heavy price for gaining some form of revenge on Stannis.
1 — Valar Dohaeris
The entirety of Tyrion's meeting with his father. The guy spent the entire last season making a better place out of King's Landing and nearly lost his life for the capital...and his jerk ass of a father denies him even the slightest bit of gratitude. And then goes off on a completely uncalled for rant about how Tyrion is not deserving of his rightful claim to Casterly Rock. For the second time, a family member heartlessly and childishly blames Tyrion for the death of his mother...you know, because your mother dying from giving birth to you is your fault.
He doesn't just tell Tyrion that he's undeserving of Casterly Rock. He outright tells him that the only reason he wears Lannister colours is because he cannot prove that he's not his son. And all Tyrion can do is sit there and take the abuse until he's cruelly dismissed.
Listen closely to Tyrion's words. Gratitude for keeping Stannis' army away is just his secondary wish. What he truly wanted was for his father to come and see him while he was wounded, to acknowledge him just once. The poor man looked like he wanted to cry when he left his father' office.
Worse yet, study Tyrion's actions before he leaves the room. When his father says "One more thing", Tyrion turns around and the very second that Tywin utters the word "whore", Tyrion nods quickly and storms out of the room just as his father says the next one he finds he will hang. Poor Tyrion clearly has had enough of his father using that word to the point he has to excuse himself from losing his shit.
Davos's despair about the death of his son. Even Salladhor Saan is subdued.
Salladhor Saan: But, Davos, you were a good father.
Davos: If I were a good father he'd still be here.
The aftermath of Harrenhal. Rickard Karstark's solemn and heavy "200 Northernmen....slaughtered like sheep" really rams it in.
A very very very very very minor one but when Joffrey sees Margaery's talking and hugging and kissing all the orphans, all he does is stare in utter bewilderment. Like the concept of being nice and generous is a completely alien concept. And then you realise, no one was there to teach him human kindness and he believes people like those orphans are his to do as he pleases and fear is the best way to rule. So concepts like charity and generosity really are foreign concepts to him.
In the opening credits, Winterfell is now a smoking ruin similar to Harrenhal.
Somehow even more so when you see the clockwork godswood bloom.
2 — Dark Wings, Dark Woods
Sansa finally getting to spill her guts about the hell she's been suffering through, while still terrified that this may reach Joffrey's ears.
Just watch how much she has to struggle to say anything! She blurts out how Joffrey killed her father in front of her and made her stare at the dismembered head. Then, she quickly starts backpedaling in the only way she can think of — denouncing her father, her brothers, and herself as traitorous and thus that she shouldn't be listened to. It takes Margeary and her grandmother several minutes of coaxing and promising that it's safe to talk freely before Sansa can open up, and finally all she can get out is "He's a monster!" Then she begs them not to call the wedding off, no doubt picturing what Joffrey would do to her if he found out she drove his fiance away.
Robb finally finds out what happened in Winterfell: the burning of the city...and that his two little brothers weren't found. He and Catelyn's reactions are just heartbreaking: he tries to hold onto hope, that maybe they got away or that Theon took them as hostages to the Iron Islands. Catelyn just looks...broken, and asks in a haunted voice why Theon hasn't sent word if he truly has her two youngest sons.
Keep in mind that Robb had to deliver this devastating news to her on the heels of her finding out that her father died.
Catelyn Stark saying she thinks everything is her fault because she once swore to the gods she would love Jon Snow like her own son, and quickly broke this oath.
Oh, it's much worse than that. The reason that Catelyn made such a vow was because she'd prayed to the gods that Jon — her husband's bastard child that she's hated just for that fact — would die and leave her in peace. Then he got the pox. She stayed with him all through the night and prayed for forgiveness. For Jon to live, to even have his father's name and be made one of them officially...and to love him in the way his own mother couldn't. So she thinks that everything that has happened to their family — Bran's fall, Ned's death, her daughters being held hostages and her two little boys possibly dead in Winterfell — is all her fault.
If you go back and watch the second episode of Season 1, in the scene where Catelyn is sitting with a comatose Bran and Jon goes to say his goodbyes...The look on Catelyn's face as she is watching Jon speak to her son...You see her anger and resentment in a new light: She's sitting there remembering how she once sat next to Jon watching over him the same way she is now doing for Bran, but the anger and resentment is at herself. She's remembering the promise she broke, and she can't bear to look at Jon anymore and roughly tells him to leave.
And remember: she died believing that Jon Snow was the last Stark son left alive — and that The Gods have an utterly awful sense of Humor.
It puts her "It should have been you" to Jon in a whole new light.
Sam lying down to die, convinced no one cares about him and the current situation is all his fault.
Theon desperately crying out his reasons for sacking Winterfell. What he did was terrible, but the torture looks so painful you can't help feel sorry for him.
Bran reliving his first scene in the series in his dream, complete with Ned's voice.
3 — Walk of Punishment
Hot Pie deciding to stay at the Inn that Thoros and the Brotherhood stopped after taking him, Arya, and Gendry over for some food after the cook was impressed with some bread he baked and he felt he has no place in the war alongside two brave souls like Arya and Gendry. Both Arya and Gendry look quite saddened he won't be joining them and the sentimental music kicks in as Arya and Gendry both say their farewells to him as he walks back in the inn.
In the same scene, Hot Pie bakes Arya a bread in the shape of a wolf. The form is pretty poor, but neiter Arya or Gendry have the soul to say otherwise and nod in agreement. As she leaves, Arya calls back to Hot Pie saying "it tastes really good". Farewell hopefully for now, Hot Pie.
Listen to Arya's voice as she calls back to Hot Pie about the bread. It sounds like she's on the brink of tears.
Catelyn recalling how she would wait for her father by a certain window, and wonders if Bran and Rickon had been doing the same. Then she breaks down, and it's clear that unlike Robb, she has no hope that they're still alive.
Brienne screaming as she's dragged off to be raped by Bolton men. Luckily Jaime intervenes.
When going down the Walk of Punishment, Dany stops and offers a drink of water to a dying slave on a cross. He refuses and asks her to let him die. When she asks Missandei about this later, the other girl sadly replies "There are no masters in the grave."
Jaime losing his hand. He just stares at it for a few seconds, before he starts screaming...
Poor Gilly's terrified and heartbroken face when she realizes that her newborn baby is a boy. Bad enough that she's married to her own father. Now she has to lose her baby to those...things that Craster sacrifices his sons to.
It could arguably be worse if she'd given birth to a girl. What's worse: having a boy and knowing that he'll be sacrificed to unholy monsters before he's a week old? Or having a girl and raising her, knowing that once she's reached a certain age, your husband and father will do to her what he did to you?
4 — And Now His Watch Is Ended
Theon admitting that he truly does consider Ned Stark his true father, even after he's destroyed any chance of being considered family by the other Starks.
Theon: My real father lost his head at King's Landing.
Really, Theon's sheer horror and guilt over all he had done, starting off trying to justify what he did, but breaking down when he realises just how thoroughly he has both betrayed those he truly loves and crossed the Moral Event Horizon in murdering the two orphans to try and keep hold of Winterfell and make his father proud, despite the fact he really loved the Starks more than his "real" family more than anything. Despite all he has done, its impossible not to feel for him as he bares his soul to "the boy".
And then his one source of solace and comfort left in the world is nightmarishly shattered as he seemingly arrives at his sister's fort and calls desperately for his sister, only for "the boy" to light up a torch and reveal he is right back at the Bolton torture rack in the Dreadfort, and that the boy is really one of his tormentors and has simply been playing a sick and sadistic game with Theon.
The worst is that "the boy" is heavily implied to actually be Ramsay Snow, who's actually their leader. In other words, he planned the escape attempt, killed his own men and then betrayed Theon, simply to fuck with his head. And now, after Theon has bared his soul and his deepest insecurities, he has even more ammunition with which to torture him.
Brienne looking on helplessly as the Bolton men mercilessly beat the crap out of Jaime.
Just how broken and hopeless Jaime now is contrasted to his usual arrogant and snarky persona.
There's a brief minute when Jaime is knocked to the ground and he reaches for his sword. He immediately and instinctively tries with his right arm.
When Margaery suggests that Sansa marry her brother Loras in order to move to Highgarden, the look her face is heartbreaking — poor, much-abused Sansa is about to cry at the prospect of getting away from her captors, and at Margaery's seemingly genuine affection. Sadder, of course, because the viewers know that, however Margaery may feel about Sansa, it's an act done out of political calculation.
It works both ways. It's clear that Sansa wants to trust Margaery and be friends with her but months living in the Capital has jaded her against well-meaning strangers.
More depressing is the fact that while Sansa sees a fantastic life in Highgarden with Loras, the truth of it is that he's not only gay, but in mourning and will never love the girl, which is what she desperately wants from a marriage.
5 — Kissed by Fire
Jaime revealing how he became the Kingslayer. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau gives the performance of his life as he reveals how noble the act really was, and yet he knew Ned Stark would never believe him even if he'd revealed that.
Also when he nearly faints and Brienne calls for aid, saying the "Kingslayer" needs help, he mutters, desperate and near delirious, "Jaime... My name's... Jaime..." Damn right, performance of a lifetime!
He somehow manages to sound like a lion, even while sounding like he's about to be torn apart as each word comes out. "Stark. You think the Honorable Ned Stark wanted to hear my side? He judged me...guilty,... the moment he set eyes on me. By what right does the Wolf judge the Lion?"
Tyrion once again on the end of abuse from his father and his cruel bitch of sister as they force him to wed Sansa. He is utterly disgusted and there is a noticable amount of strain when he shouts to his father's face she is a child.
And again at the end of this meaningless abuse, Tyrion is left with a look of a combination of uncontainable fury and heart brokeness. He may be a Lannister but even he doesn't wish any further misery on Sansa whom he truly seems to care about her well being.
When Tywin tells Tyrion that it's past time he was wed, Tyrion furiously snarls "I was wed. Or don't you remember?"
Even Cersei can get some viewer sympathy in this scene when Tywin basically orders her to marry Loras Tyrell. She sounds like she's about to cry as she begs him not to force her into another loveless arranged marriage. Harsher even because it's another marriage that will be entirely loveless and haunted by a dead significant other from the past. Poor Cersei.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Shireen Baratheon, possibly the saddest and loneliest little girl in all of Westeros.
Not only does the poor kid have a disease that has left half her face disfigured, but it's implied she's basically shut up in her room by her mother and that Davos is her only friend. Her father does seem to love her, but only rarely comes to see her. To top it all off, when Stannis does want to see her, her own mother tries to dissuade him and calls her a 'distraction'.
Her conversation with Stannis is rather sad. At first she's happy to hear Davos has come back safely from the battle, only to be bluntly told by her father that her only friend is rotting in the dungeon. The crestfallen look on her face is heartbreaking.
Really the entire scene was a massive one for Stannis, and a good hint as to why he has become so embittered and unhappy. He has a wife who is utterly insane and with whom he is barely able to even speak to despite clearly wanting to do right by her, and a daughter he clearly loves (even if he is a bit awkward around her) yet whom he is forced to keep confined to her dark little cell for her own protection because of her affliction (and thus the utter hatred, fear, and contempt shown to those like her by most people in Westeros). These are among the very few people he has genuine affection for and they both suffer horrifying illnesses, mental in the case of his wife, and physical in the case of his daughter.
In a way, the Hound surviving his trial by combat against Beric Dondarrion, especially what he says to Arya afterwards: "Looks like the god likes me more than your butcher's boy." It just drives the point even further home to the poor girl that there really is no justice in the world, and even the Lord of Light doesn't give two shits about the death of a butcher's boy. The manner of the duel makes it worse; had it been an ordinary trial by combat, the Hound might have won simply because he's a superb fighter, but the fact that there are clear and undeniable supernatural powers at work confirms that it really is a divine judgement that her friend goes unavenged.
Making it worse is Arya grabbing a knife and trying to kill the Hound and having to be dragged back kicking and screaming by Gendry. Her anguish is clear.
Arya: BURN IN HELL!
The murders of Martyn and Willem Lannister. Poor kids never stood a chance.
Especially Robb and Talisa looking at them for a moment before they bring in the men who killed them. As if they're trying desperately to compose themselves.
Gendry saying he intends to stay on with the Brotherhood instead of going to Riverrun with Arya, saying the Brotherhood could be like a family he never had. The look on Arya's face is just heartwrenching; it doesn't looks like she lost some friend, it looks like she just lost someone she truly loves.
Arya:I could be your family.
Gendry: You wouldn't be my family. You'd be mi'lady.
Maisie Williams' performance in this scene is so good, it just really sells the sadness Arya's feeling.
Maisie said in an interview that they did several takes of this scene, and used the one that sounds most like Arya is making a declaration of love.
The look on Gendry's face after. As one Youtube commenter pointed out: "It's how he swallows; after she leaves. It's how he looks away when she goes. It seems to hurt him, this decision, losing her."
While talking with Arya, Beric and Thoros of Myr talk about Beric's many deaths and how often he has been brought back to life. All throughout Arya is silent. And then...
Arya: Could you bring back a man without a head? Not six times. Just once.
Thoros: I don't think it works that way, child.
Beric: Your father was a good man... I wouldn't wish my life on him.
Arya: I would.
Thoros: It's not getting any easier.
Beric: I know.
Shireen offers to teach Davos, who is locked up, to read. This is a Tear Jerker/Heartwarming moment all on its own, as she's been told he's a traitor — by her own father, whom she loves dearly, no less — and yet still decides to visit him, simply because he is one of the few people that has been consistently kind to her. What makes it an out-and-out heartbreaker, though, is her response to Davos telling her that she can't because they'll both get into serious trouble. She points out that they are both already beyond practically all punishment.
Shireen: What are they going to do, lock us up?
6 — The Climb
Sansa breaking down after Tyrion informs her they are going to be married, after she'd turned down Littlefinger's offer to get her out of King's Landing in the hopes of being able to marry Loras. Her first true attempt to play the game, and she lost hard.
Also, the look in Tyrion's eye when he realizes he will be forced to tell Sansa this in front of Shae, who he truly does love and whom he knows will be hurt by this.
Thoros of Myr no longer believed in the Lord of Light, but the first time Beric was killed he said a prayer over his body. "Because he was my friend, and he was dead. And they were the only words I had."
The Brotherhood selling Gendry to Melisandre while Arya berates and shames them for it, half-hysterical. None of them seem pleased with the turn of events.
Worse still is that it shows just how poor Gendry can never catch a break. He spent his whole life wanting a real family, and just when he thought he had found one, and one where he can make a difference and stop being a disposable pawn of higher powers (i.e. his old master, the night's watch, and the Lannisters), they sell him out for a quick buck to someone (who is ironically enough taking him to his actual blood family) with a fairly blatant desire to hurt/imprison him. All while his one real friend left screams impotently for them to stop.
And Arya says "you're going to hurt him." She doesn't ask, she just knows. Her bitterness is incredibly heartbreaking.
Ros becoming live target practice for Joffrey. Sure she wasn't well liked, but did they really have to give her such a brutal death?
Tyrion and Cersei's moment in "The Climb". Despite still clearly hating each other, they are each-other's sole confidantes in the subject of their forced marriages and even try in their own way to make each other feel better (i.e. Tyrion reminding Cersei that Jaime is coming back and will not let it happen, and Cersei trying to assuage his fear over being assassinated while telling him point blank he saved the city while Hand and thus saved her and the family, something he had been wishing to hear since episode 1 of the season) and share clear empathy over their shared ordeal while discussing what they will do next. Just brings home just how fucked up they and their lives have been because of Tywin, and how the two might have been as close as Jaime and Tyrion are had Cersei not been imbued with her father's hatred for her little brother.
Loras agreeing with Sansa that King's Landing is "the most terrible place there is."
Loras' description of imagining his bride in a "gown of gold and green brocade" initially sounds like it's meant to be humorous; a stereotypical gay man gushing over pretty clothes rather than the bride. It becomes much sadder when you realize that the cloak Renly wore while watching Loras joust was made of green brocade. Green is one of the colours of House Tyrell, and Renly (who was dressed only in House Baratheon black throughout Season 1) obviously brought the cape to the tourney to show his love and support for Loras.
7 — The Bear and the Maiden Fair
Osha revealing what led her to join the Wildlings going "as far south as south goes." The man she loved was turned into a Wight, and she had to burn her house down to kill him again.
Tyrion losing Shae's favor because of his arranged marriage to Sansa. He tries to explain that he loves her and only her, but she remains convinced that he only sees her as a whore.
Shae's furious response to Tyrion telling her that he would always provide for her and any children they'd have:
Shae: Children? You think I want children who can never see their father? Who would be killed in their sleep if their grandfather found out about them?
Tyrion: Listen to me, my lady...
Shae: I'm not your lady.
Tyrion: You are. You will always be my lady.
Shae: I'm your whore. And when you are tired of fucking me I will be nothing.
Jon explaining to Ygritte that there is no way the Wildlings can defeat the Night's Watch, because they have never succeeded before. Ygritte eventually accepts that they may as well be on a suicide mission.
Particularly as you can see her slow realisation that Jon's completely right. The Northmen know the lay of the land and are ridiculously well versed on every single Wildling invasion they've ever crushed, while she can't seem to name any. Ygritte looks like she's suddenly just realised that despite their claim that this is "their land", she knows nothing about how things work South of the Wall...
Brienne accepting her fate and telling Jaime to go, using her last words to him to remember his oath to return the Stark girls, and for once calling him "Ser Jaime".
Hell, Brienne's situation in general. She's imprisoned, forced to wear a dress and knows she's going to be left at the mercy of Locke.
Arya sitting away from the Brotherhood and sounding like a little girl for the first time in almost two seasons, tearfully saying "I don't talk to traitors."
Theon getting castrated. Especially when he starts screaming hysterically for mercy as The Boy's men reach out for a dagger. If there was anyone else who was still cheering for Theon getting tortured, they would have definitely stopped by this point. ... then again.
During the actual service Joffrey casually takes away Tyrion's step, forcing him to make Sansa kneel so that Tyrion can place the bridal cloak around her, causing nearly the entire congregation to quietly laugh at him.
Then there's his exchange with Sansa, which is both this and heartwarming. He refuses to bed her just because of his father's command, and will only share a bed with her when she wishes to. When she asks what if she never wants him to, Tyrion's expression shows some disappointment, obviously aware that she doesn't look forward to losing her virginity to a dwarf. He then gives a broken smile, toasts her with his cup and declares as a final joke.
There's also the bit during the exchange where Tyrion stops Sansa from taking off her clothes, saying he can't do this to her...and then immediately corrects himself to assure her that he can — that is, he's capable, very capable really — he just doesn't want to.
Consider Sansa's dream wedding (or, really, anybody's normal conception of their wedding) versus her actual wedding: being married to somebody she doesn't want, into the family that killed her father and is waging war on her family, with the guy who ordered her father's death grotesquely acting in his place (and then threatening to rape her afterward), with at most one friendly face in the crowd (Margaery).
When Sam and Gilly discuss a name for her baby, and she suggests, what else, Craster, Sam is disturbed but only half-heartedly objects. When she suggests his father's name, he pleads against it. That's right, his own father bears worse connotations for him than a vile, debased brute of a wildling. That's just sad.
When Gilly asks Sam if Randyll Tarly was cruel like Craster, Sam is clearly terrified just talking about his brute of a father and can only weakly chuckle that Randyll is a "Different kind of cruel."
Tyrion raising his glass in pity to Loras; his facial expression reads, "You're next to get married." Loras, who is already quite irritated, sighs and turns his head away.
9 — The Rains of Castamere
The Rains of Castamere. Sweet R'hllor The Rains of Castamere... When The Red Wedding finally came on screen, it became without a doubt one of the single biggest, most heartrending and horrifying tearjerkers in the entire series. Take a long look at the entries listed above (and most likely all of those listed below in the next few seasons), and you will find few entries that can even hold a candle to this scene. In the space of about ten minutes there are no less than four moments near guaranteed to draw inelegant sobbing from the viewers.
Catelyn's increasing terror as she realizes the Freys and the Boltons are planning to murder her son and the bannermen, and her distraught face as she watches first her daughter-in-law (and unborn grandchild) brutally stabbed to death by the Freys, her friends and bannermen butchered like dogs around her, and her son shot with multiple crossbow bolts before he can even react, while Catelyn herself is hit with crossbow bolts and slowly bleeding to death. Worse than this however is her insanely desperate begging of Walder Frey to let her son go, and her cry of anguish after she sees Robb get stabbed in the heart by Roose followed by utter blank shock, even as her own throat is slit.
Robb watches his wife and unborn child horrifyingly murdered right next to him, right after his wife tells him she wants the child to be named after Ned so Robb can "teach Ned Stark how to ride a horse", and even after he is shot with crossbow bolts he still tries to painfully crawl to his wife, only for her to die in his arms. At which point, and for the first time in the series, we see Robb Stark, one of the proudest, most passionate, and heroic characters in the series, break down like a child in stunned shock unable to react to anything, and the last thing he says is a quiet and resigned "mother..."' as he looks at Catelyn, before Roose Bolton finishes him off with a dagger.
Talisa watches one of the Freys viciously stab her in her pregnant stomach again....and again...and again...and again...and again...dying a horrible and painful death and watching her unborn child die before her eyes, all after happily talking with Robb about their future as a family.
Arya witnesses the Frey's treachery and attack on the Stark men and Grey Wind's death and realizes at once she has lost her mother and brother after everything she had been through. For the first time in the series since her Father's death she goes into utter shock as she wanders around the carnage outside the keep, and is saved only by Sandor Clegane knocking her out and carrying her to safety. Just moments before, when she snuck into the castle and realized she was just a few steps from reuniting with her family, she had the sweetest smile and was looking happy for the first time since Ned died. We won't be seeing that smile for a very, very long time.
"It's too late".
—Sandor Clegane [as he knocks out Arya.]
Moreover, there is a far wider tearjerker in this scene. The bad guys have won. The one faction in Westeros who had a good(ish) claim to being "the Heroes", the characters pretty much everyone was rooting for in the War of the Five Kings for three seasons, have utterly failed and were butchered by their own allies; all they have fought and sacrificed for over three seasons was in vain, all they fought to protect was lost, and despite their best efforts Ned Stark remains completely unavenged, and scumbags like Joffrey, Walder Frey, Roose Bolton, and Tywin Lannister have effectively won the War and now control everything the Tullys and the Starks once held.
While the Red Wedding was easily the biggest block of tearjerkers of the episode (and the entire season, as well as possibly the whole series), there were other tearjerker moments scattered through the episode.
Bran and Rickon parting ways, with Rickon tearfully telling his brother he wants to protect him, and Osha telling the Reeds that Bran means everything to her.
The look on Jorah's face when Dany asks about Daario. He's just lost all hope his queen will return his feelings for her.
Ygritte when Jon is forced to abandon her after his cover is blown.
Tormund and Ygritte both urge Jon to kill the horse breeder, while Orell just gloats that he's a crow. They WANT him to be on their side, which makes his betrayal even worse for them and the audience.
Rains of Castamere is just a Downer Ending to Catelyn Stark's character as a whole. Pretty much all three seasons so far were piling up one disaster after another for her to cope with. First, she lost her beloved husband, believed both her daughters were taken hostage by the enemy. She witnessed how her eldest son's alliances slowly crumble. Then she is told her two youngest boys were brutally murdered when her home was sacked by someone who grew up with them. And then comes the Red Wedding, where she has to watch her daughter-in-law stabbed to death in the worst possible way (for a mother, anyway), her bannermen slaughtered like sheep, her only remaining child (in her knowledge) having first his heart broken and then pierced with a dagger, as she is powerless to help. No wonder she just stood there in the end.
Let's face it: once Robb died, Cat was already dead. The dagger to the throat just made it official.
Another one comes if one recalls her conversation from the beginning of Season 3. In a moment of bitterness and anger, she prayed for Jon's death, an action she thinks the Gods have been punishing her for ever since. And she dies believing that he's the only son of Winterfell to survive.
Though it's overshadowed by all the other tearjerkers taking place Cat's murder of Walder Frey's young wife could count. Walder clearly doesn't give a shit about her when Cat has a knife to her throat, dismissively saying he'll find another wife. The poor girl was likely an innocent pawn who had nothing to do with the massacre and was clearly terrified up until her death. Not to mention that she couldn't have been more than sixteen years old when she died.
Even worse, who says she wasn't pregnant as well? And who says, Lord Frey wasn't perfectly aware of that possibility?
The last exchange between Robb and Catelyn deserves it's own bullet point. Robb has just watched his wife and unborn child murdered in front of him, and his cause is literally collapsing around him. Catelyn is begging him to get up and save his own life, but it's obvious that at this point he doesn't want to. His last word to his mother is delivered in a tone of desolate acceptance — the King in the North has simply given up. He knows there is no way out of this and almost seems to be asking his mother to stop since there is nothing more that can be done. And, once he is killed, Cat gives up too.
Catelyn spends much of seasons two and three missing her other children, and dies without ever getting closure on them. Bad enough she watched Robb get murdered right in front of her, but she died without ever knowing Arya, Bran, or Rickon's true whereabouts, and knowing that Sansa is a hostage of her sworn enemies.
The utterly broken look on Arya's face as she sees Grey Wind's head sewn onto Robb's body. Worse is that it recalls the scene in Season 1 where Yoren specifically hid the sight of her father being killed from her. Here she gets no such thing.
Indeed, the only consolation for Ned as he died was that Arya didn't have to see it happen. Two seasons on, and she sees something much worse front and centre.
Similarly, consider this for a moment. Ned's head was placed on a pike for a time, before being returned along with the rest of his bones to Cat in Series 2. Even the Lannisters, who've made it their mission to crush the Starks, still chose to afford their enemy the right to be buried with dignity. But the Frey's chose to profane Robb's corpse in the most despicable manner possible!
Arya clinging desperately to the Hound and burying her head in his chest while he takes her away. It says a lot about howbroken the little girl is when the only remaining person she can find some comfort in is the man she hates for killing her friend.
And then, a few scenes later, she ends up stabbing one of the Freys to death in revenge. Listen to her voice as she does this: it sounds as though she's crying. This is the first time Arya gets to vent her grief at everything that's happened, and it's accomplished through knifing a man in the throat; and afterwards, she just stands there, deathly still and barely even reacting when the Hound starts asking questions. She just... stares.
Even worse when you think that Arya had no idea of how she'd get out of that fight alive. There were several Freys sitting around that campfire, and if the Hound hadn't interfered she'd be dead.
News of the Red Wedding has reached King's Landing, and Tyrion enters Sansa's chambers to tell her that her brother and mother are dead. When he calls out her name, the pain on her face tells him that she already heard the news. No other words are spoken. Just silence as Tyrion turns around and walks out to leave Sansa to her mourning. This is made all the more bitter by the fact that a few scenes earlier showed they were forming a genuine friendship and bond which has now been utterly dashed.
There's also some Fridge Horror there; Tyrion was obviously going to break the news to her as gently as possible, but since Sansa already knew, and it seemed that the Small Council were the only ones privy to the information at that point, who told her? Given how much Joffrey enjoys tormenting Sansa, it might well have been him.
Jon Snow tearfully telling Ygritte he loves her and she loves him, right before she fires three arrows into him and he's forced to escape.
Jon: I have to go home now. I know you won't hurt me.
Jon: I know you love me. *tearfully* I have to go home now.
Tyrion confronts his father about the ease with which he makes decisions to commit dreadful acts for the sake of the family. He asks if Tywin ever did something against his will and solely for the family's benefit. The answer? Not drowning Tyrion in the sea the day he was born. The scene is obviously painful for father and son both.
Theon's new name. After his unspeakably horrific torture, mutilation and finally castration at the hands of Ramsay Bolton, Theon has been reduced to a weeping, sobbing wreck who can only beg Ramsay to kill him. Ramsay, being the nice guy that he is instead decides to give Theon a new name, as "Theon Greyjoy" is far too noble. He chooses the name "Reek" since he sees Theon as nothing but a reeking slab of meat. Theon desperately tries to cling to what little dignity he has by refusing to call himself this despite Ramsay beating him when he calls himself Theon, but after Ramsay savagely beats him again and again, he finally relents and starts to call himself Reek.
Cersei's reaction to Jaime's return. First her face lights up with Joy at seeing him again... but then she notices his lack of swordhand and realizes he will not be able to save her from her marriage the way Tyrion said he would.
A bit earlier, Jaime is rudely talked down to by a peasant. Brienne shares a look with him of "Yes, this is what people who aren't you deal with all the time."
"I'm going to find my little brother and I'm going to bring him home."
Tyrion and Cersei voice a question and a sad answer that surely many fans have asked themselves.
Tyrion: How long does it go on? Cersei: Until we've dealt with all our enemies. Tyrion: Every time we deal with an enemy, we create two more. Cersei: Then I suppose it will go on for quite a long time.
Immediately before this is Cersei's sad recollections to Tyrion of a baby Joffrey and how much happiness he brought her, and how these memories are almost all she has to keep herself from suicide.
Davos relates to Gendry he didn't want to be a lord and only accepted it because it meant a better life for his son. Sadly, serving Stannis eventually lead to his son's death.
In several of the trailers we see and hear the reactions of Jon and Sansa to The Red Wedding and the death of Robb and Catelyn. Sansa at least has Tyrion to confide in but Jon, who was out of contact with events in the south since Season 1 is seemingly numb from shock at how his entire world (outside the Nights Watch) has been taken from him.
This is made even worse when one remembers Aemon's speech to him in Season 1 in which Aemon revealed how this exact same thing happened to him and how he has been forced to live with the choice not to forsake his vows and save his family ever since, of which the only comfort was the fact he was already blind and frail with age and thus he did not really have a choice. Jon however, has no such comfort.
1 — Two Swords
Jaime viewing his paltry entry in the official history of the Kingsguard, which isn't likely to get much more distinguished now that he's middle-aged and missing his sword hand.
Jaime's life back in Kings Landing, in general. He went through hell, lost his hand, and above all changed as a person. Now that he's back, Cersei doesn't want him because he "took too long to get back to her", Tywin has practically disowned him, and Joffrey takes a few jabs at his aforementioned lack of a future. No one is simply happy that he's alive (except for Tyrion, probably), and it is definitely wearing on him.
Tywin claiming his prize from the defeated Starks by melting down Ned Stark's sword Ice to be reforged into two new Lannister swords and burning the scabbard as a final insult, with a rendition of Rains of Castamere playing solemnly in the background, as the audience is reminded once again that the Starks have utterly and completely lost.
This is made only worse by the brief montage of clips of Ned using the sword and his own execution with it. The destruction of Ice not only symbolises the fall of the Starks, but the obliteration of the last physical remnant of Ned Stark.
Oberyn's monologue to Tyrion about what happened to the Martells during Robert's Rebellion, how his sister was humiliated by the noble Rhaegar who ran away with Lyanna Stark despite the fact she was a good woman who truly loved her husband and personally tended to her royal children, only to suffer one of the most horrific fates in the series at the hands of Gregor Clegane on Tywin Lannister's orders after her own children were butchered. While describing this his Dashing Hispanic mask cracks for the first time with a mixture of utter sadness and utter rage at what the Lannisters did to his family, to the point where he seems dangerously close to either bursting into tears or physically attacking Tyrion, showing that for all his sexual prowess and badassery, he is at heart a heartbroken brother yearning to avenge his beloved sister.
Tyrion's reaction to this is telling as well, with him averting Oberyn's eyes and the sheer shame and horror of what happened being evident in his voice and body language as he can only numbly protest that "he was not there". Made even worse by the fact this is twice in a single day that he has been confronted with a reminder of his father's despicable actions for which he can do nothing to atone for.
One hundred and sixty-three miles. One hundred and sixty-three murdered children.
Sansa is in deep depression after hearing about the Red Wedding massacre and refuses to eat and meet people. The cold, unfeeling way that she retells how Robb's body was mutilated and her mother was thrown into the river is heartbreaking. The real sadness is when she goes to the godswood and Tyrion hopes that she finds some consolation in religion, but Sansa disabuses that thoroughly by telling she goes there to be alone not to pray, in a way that suggest she's lost her faith.
Tyrion's reactions are itself telling: he doesn't have any comeback or snarky way to make it right. He's torn by the pain felt by Sansa and Oberyn who suffered losses at his father's commands, and despite his Token Good Teammate status and not having anything to do with it, he accepts that he is complicit by association and the guilt eats at him.
Poor Shae is starting to believe that Tyrion's pushing her out. She's much nicer than her book counterpart, but it seems like she's just taking a different path to the same end. Giant of Lannister, indeed.
Dontos Hollard talking about his once-great family, a powerful house with a bright future, brought low because of the blunders of its members.
Dontos: I don't have anything else left. That's all. Take it. Wear it. Let my name have one more moment in the sun before it disappears from the world.
Bizzare as it may sound, I felt bad for Tywin. Unlike his daughter or grandson he seemed genuinely glad to see Jaime back, he didn't think any worse of him because of the loss of his hand, didn't chastise him for his failures during the war. Quite the opposite, he presents him with an invaluable Valyrian-steel sword and names him his heir and Lord of their family estate, only for Jaime to throw it back in his face, basically denying Tywin his dream of the great Lannister dynasty, and restricting himself to what Tywin, not without grounds, considers a dead end job of being Joffrey's (Joffrey's!) bodyguard. Of course, Tywin remains a hard-ass about it, but you can feel that the man is deeply shaken, as he watches his legacy crumbling before his eyes, and his favorite son being hell-bent on becoming another dissappointment.
2 — The Lion and the Rose
The play performed at Joffrey and Margaery's wedding is a huge slap in the face to Robb Stark and Renly Baratheon. Sansa, Tyrion, Varys, Oberyn and the Tyrells are clearly not amused.
When the "Robb" actor "dies" and the subsequent thousand yard stare from Sansa.
When the "Renly" actor is "killed", Loras storms off from the party, and Margaery begins to grimace at this point.
Tyrion telling Shae to leave, and he does not do it nicely. Tyrion's main motivation was to keep Shae safe from his father, but since up until this point Shae refused to leave Tyrion was forced to shun her in the worst way possible. What hurts the most is that Shae's reaction isn't anger like their previous arguments, but instead she breaks down in tears for the first time in the series.
The way Tyrion smacks his goblet in disgust after the fact.
Tyrion's face and body language during the entire rant is heartbreaking. You can tell that it visibly pains him to say these things to Shae, but feels he has to in order to protect her. It's a sad mix of pain and disgust as he insults the woman he loves in order to protect her.
Theon. Or rather, Reek.
Ramsay has Theon hold a razor to his throat, then taunts him with Robb's death after deceiving him the previous season into confessing that he considered the Starks his family. And he does it all so that Theon will be even more aware of how broken he is that he can't slit the Bastard's throat.
There's also Theon's grimace when he gives Jon Snow's name to The Boltons, suggesting that he's painfully aware that he can't even stop himself from selling out the only "brothers" he has left in the world to his captors.
Theon's expression while being forced to watch Ramsay's hunt.
The hunt itself — this poor, innocent girl is being chased around the forest like an animal, shot with an arrow, and eaten by dogs; the whole time she's sobbing and begging for her life.
Two pieces of serious fridge tearjerker in these moments as well.
Firstly, despite begging for death at the end of last season and being given the perfect opportunity to kill Ramsay (or even himself) Theon is too broken and terrified to even try, meaning Ramsay has utterly broken his mind as well as his will.
Secondly, given how he knew a furious Robb would be coming for him to avenge his crimes from Season 2 as soon as he was able to return to the north, his heartbreak at hearing about his death may very well have been due to the fact his last desperate hope of Robb Stark coming to save him by way of a swift and relatively dignified execution has now been shattered. Or even that he was now unable to at least atone for his betrayal with his death.
As much as many viewers were looking forward to it, Joffrey's death is horrifying and traumatizing rather than fully emotionally satisfying. No-one would disagree that Joffrey had it coming, but Cersei and Jaime's reactions as he slowly and painfully dies are absolutely heartbreaking.
The sight of Jaime sprinting forwards and holding his secret son for the first and last time was a painful one.
Cersei's horror and disbelief as she realizes she's unable to save Joffrey and can't do anything but watch him die.
Cersei: (sobbing as she cradles Joffrey's body) My son...!
It was both strangely heartwarming and deeply saddening to see Cersei and Jaime holding their son together as he died, for once acting as concerned parents — when it was already far too late and their child had gone off the deep end and ended up assassinated for it.
Meanwhile, in the background, Tywin's immediate reaction once he realizes that Joffrey is about to die is to rush to Tommen's side and shield him from watching it. It's small, but moving considering the character and the circumstances.
It's tragic that everytime Tyrion gets out a small mess, like his father finding out about Shae, an even bigger mess occurs, like being accused by his sister for regicide is waiting around the corner. The sad part is that Tyrion was actually on his best behaviour during the wedding, he was keeping his cool, and trying very hard not to snark back at Joffrey. Tyrion only uttered a single, elegant, witty quip about Joffrey's conduct during the Battle of Blackwater while he undergoes humiliation and indignity like nothing else in his life. He's even the first one to note that something is wrong with Joffrey's health when he starts coughing, and you can tell he's piecing together how it was happening, and then Cersei crashes everything down, just because Joffrey clearly extends a hand to Tyrion or the wine glass, more likely, given how weak his senses were.
It's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but Loras does sigh as the septon is speaking during the wedding ceremony. Loras is not at all happy that his sister is marrying a Psychopathic Man Child, and is probably thinking how this union is so much worse than Margaery's marriage to Renly.
3 — Breaker of Chains
"He was our son. Our baby boy."
Before that, we have Cersei barely keeping it together as she stares down at Joffrey's body in the Sept. Then to add insult to injury, Tywin comes in and chooses that moment to start counseling Tommen by pointing out how Joffrey was not a good king in the slightest, and if he had been, he would still be alive. In other words, Tywin basically says that Joffrey got what he deserved, while his mother is standing there. And the scene ends with Tywin gently leading Tommen away, and the way it's played, it's more than obvious that he's leading Tommen away from Cersei before she 'corrupts' him like she did Joffrey.
Stannis chewing Davos out for letting Gendry go, for Joffrey died not long after he burned Gendry's blood and Stannis is certain he would've won by now if he still had him. It gets even worse as Stannis is still in very bad shape from his defeat at Blackwater, and he spends the entire scene reminding Davos of that. Poor Davos has been doing everything he can to make the situation better, and while he did manage to win the loyalty of a few minor houses, Stannis still doesn't have the men he needs, or the gold needed to hire mercenaries. It really, REALLY sucks to be good in Game of Thrones.
Stannis' own sense of desperation is also poignant. He's a man of justice and firm resolve and despite his high competence and authentic claim to the throne, he's opposed by illegitimate and incompetent claims and he has to rely on black magic and mercenaries to form his army. The fact that the black magic produced tangible results(seemingly) and Ser Davos, for logical reasons, argued for a practical approach that hasn't borne fruit adds to the sense of frustration both of them feel.
"I'm running out of time and that means you are too."
Speaking of Being Good Sucks, Dontos is killed by Littlefinger's men after getting Sansa out of King's Landing. No reason for doing so, Littlefinger just decided to be a worm as usually. Just when it looked like things were looking up for Sansa and she had a friend as well.
Littlefinger proved that Ser Dontos was his stooge, retelling Sansa that cover story about the family heirloom and then proving that the necklace he had was fake. Ser Dontos in the boat, even tells Littlefinger that he wants to go back to King's Landing, which means he doesn't want to see if Sansa is safe and looks up when Littlefinger tells him he's getting paid. Despite that the way he died is still sad, being dispensed like garbage and dying pathetically in the middle of the sea.
Specially considering that Dontos' talk about House Hollard is entirely true according to the books: Dontos is the last member of a great House that was once in the rise, but now that has crumbled to dust under its own weight. Dontos' death means the definitive downfall of House Dollard, that will now fade away and become a footnote in Westerosi history.
For Sansa, the fact that her rescuer was a fraud only adds to her disillusionment and helplessness, leave alone that she was rescued by Littlefinger who she feels ambivalent about at best.
Gilly's reaction to Sam's plan to move her to Mole's Town.
"Are you bored of me?"
Doubly sad because it shows that Gilly's still traumatized by growing up under Craster; she can't fathom a man doing something solely for her benefit and not his own.
Podrick and Tyrion's final farewell. Despite proving himself to be the epitome of Undying Loyalty to Tyrion and being willing to stand by his side even when implicitly threatened with torture and/or death, Tyrion is forced to make Pod leave the city after realizing the danger Pod is in due to his association with him. Unlike Shae where he put up a Jerkass Façade to make her leave, Tyrion is completely honest in describing how Pod will almost certainly suffer and die for his loyalty, and that he refuses to let him die on his behalf. Despite this Pod still wants to stay, citing how Tyrion has been good to him until Tyrion is forced to directly order him to flee, but not before declaring to the now tearful Pod that he is the finest squire who ever lived.
The Hound's Kick the Dog moment is sad for the farmer and his daughter. Two simple decent people in the middle of nowhere provide genuine kindness to perfect strangers solely out of loyalty to the fallen Tullys. Arya who was almost becoming friends with the Hound is disgusted and disappointed with how he acted.
And on some level, you know that his blunt analysis that the farmer and his daughter won't survive the winter has sound logic to it.
It's pure, Grade A Sandor Clegane: cynical, brutally violent, oddly honest and with a point. And, he also doesn't like it much, either, but just does what works as "the thing you do to survive". What's a little sadder about the whole scene is the unspoken nod towards Arya: he's telling her all this because he doesn't seem to think she's all that weak, and can learn to survive (but, forget "thriving": not an permanent option in the world as he knows it). If she applies herself to the lessons he's giving, that is. It's as bleak as anything, as it underscores that for him, "social mores", "honour" and "law" only can mean "target" when the basic rules boil down to "whatever helps me keep what I can take".
The Wildlings' raid on a tiny village. It comes out of nowhere, and by the time it ends, only one survivor is left: a little boy who watched both his parents die and was told that they would be cannibalized before he's sent to warn the Night's Watch.
While Tommen and Cersei are silently mourning for Joffrey, Tywin comes in and asks Tommen what he thinks it means to be a good king. Tommen is visibly scared at having to answer that question, and Tywin has to gently tell him that he isn't trying to trick him. It shows how dysfunctional the Lannisters' family dynamics are that Tywin has to assure his grandson that this conversation isn't going to take a dark turn. Which means you have to wonder what other conversations Tywin and Tommen have engaged in, that Tywin has to say "I'm not trying to trick you" as an opener.
Actually, when you think about it, this is probably the first conversation between Tommen and Tywin. EVER. Tywin stayed in Casterly Rock most of time, and Tommen grew up with Cersei and Robert in King's Landing, and both Robert and Cersei are the insensitive types who most likely told "their" young kids about their grandfather being a cold, ruthless men who once annihilated two noble houses entirely and sacked King's Landing. Tywin's notoriety and iron behavior have made him The Dreaded to everyone... even his grandkids. Now he has to try show he is Tommen's grandfather trying to help, not some old, cold-hearted man.
It is not made clear whether Tommen has, in the past, been tricked by Tywin or someone else in his family. Given the fact that this may be his first serious conversation with his grandfather, and the contemptuous attitude Joffrey demonstrates for him in Season 2, it's more possible that Tommen's big brother was the one verbally abusing him.
That's when it hits that Cersei has basically lost all her children at this point, in some form or the other. Myrcella is a glorified hostage in Dorne, Joffrey has died and now Tommen is being led away from her care by Tywin.
What happens afterward is a cross between this and Nightmare Fuel. There's no two ways about it; Jaime rapes her. The one person in the world she always knew she could trust, even if she was angry and afraid and lashed out at him; the one person she ever wanted, her second half, the only human being besides her children she ever loved. And he wrestles her to the floor beside the body of her son and forces himself on her while she's crying and telling him to stop. It was uncomfortable in the books; in the show it's ten times worse. A stark reminder that this really is the same man who shoved Bran out a window.
In the books, it's certainly not rape and is effectively consensual; gross and wrong as it is. Here, there's no question it's rape.
4 — Oathkeeper
When Hodor is captured and cruelly tortured by the Night's Watch mutineers for kicks you suddenly remember that he is not just some lovable Gentle Giant, but a terrified, mentally disabled man-child far from home, too benign and good natured to even defend himself.
Those poor babies that Craster — and now Karl — give to The White Walkers. Taken and turned into them by The possible Big Bad Night King. You realize that Sam (the baby) almost suffered the same fate.
When the baby starts crying it's heartbreaking; he's cold, confused and scared, and there's nothing that can save him from being turned into a monster. And the worst part is that he sort of smiles at the Night King, just before he's transformed.
Not to mention what The Mutineers are doing to Craster's daughters. The fact that Karl is eager to kill the baby himself before they implore him to "give to the gods" well, say what you want about the White Walkers, at least they don't kill kids.
Craster's daughters madly chanting for their last brother/child to be sacrificed; even with the rotten bastard long dead, Craster's hold on them is still too strong for any of them to even think of disobeying.
The fate of Jeor Mormont is the worst desecration of a corpse since Robb Stark and Grey Wind became an effigy. from the books This is doubly appalling to readers of A Storm of Swords since the Old Bear received a relatively peaceful death in Samwell Tarly's arms rather than having his Skull become a Tankard, even asking Sam to deliver a message to Jorah if possible.
Missandei and Grey Worm talking to each other about how they became slaves. All Missandei remembers of her home is the day she was taken away, and Grey Worm doesn't even remember that. All he remembers is being Unsullied, and when Missandei asks if he wants to go home, he doesn't even want that. What does he want? "Kill the Masters."
Ser Barristan tries to talk Dany out of her brutal (and pretty well deserved) revenge on the Great Masters of Meereen, saying that sometimes injustice is better put paid with mercy. While his suggestion can be argued as naive, remember that the old knight has seen firsthand how big a conflict born from a Cycle of Revenge can be and now he wants to prevent it from happening. His counsel is ignored because Daenerys is too caught up with protective rage.
Sansa's scene with Littlefinger just emphasizes how thoroughly powerless she has become. At King's Landing, she was a pawn to the Lannisters and the Tyrells. Now after Joffrey's death, she has to go on the run and has a large bounty on her head, with Cersei offering a knighthood to anyone who brings to her Sansa's head. The only person she can rely on is the man who created this predicament knowingly to make her dependent on him. The fact that she only now realizes that Littlefinger is a schemer with no scruples and who seems to enjoy leering at her only makes it worse, as she has nowhere to go and no one to turn to.
5 — First of His Name
After Tommen is crowned, the only two people in the crowd (besides the on-duty gold cloaks) who don't immediately applaud are Cersei and Loras. Cersei is still in deep pain after Joffrey's death, and is in no mood to celebrate. Loras begins clapping after a few seconds to maintain decorum, but he's obviously distracted by his own emotional turmoil. His expression is fairly severe when we get a close-up of the Tyrells, especially in comparison to his smiling sister and his exhilarated father. (Most likely, Loras is still furious over the way Joffrey had dishonoured him and Renly's memory at the wedding banquet.) And of course, both the Queen Regent and the Knight of Flowers are dreading their upcoming wedding.
Cersei confiding in Margaery of all people about how much Joffrey horrified her no matter how much she loved him. Sure, Cersei may well have been trying to trick the younger woman, but given what she said to Tyrion and Sansa in seasons past about how much Joffrey scared and disgusted her, she is certainly being honest about that, at least.
Later, Cersei and Oberyn have a moment of empathy when they discuss how despite all their power and prestige, they failed to protect those they loved.
She then nearly breaks down as the topic changes to her daughter as she begs Oberyn to tell Myrcella how much she loves her.
Jorah informs Dany that despite her efforts last season, Yunkai and Astapor have been retaken by slavers and fallen into chaos respectively, thus making everything she did to save so many people all for nothing.
The revelation that under influence from Littlefinger, Lysa was responsible for setting off the events of the series all the way back in episode 1 by framing the Lannisters for her husband's murder is this in hindsight; it means EVERYTHING Ned Stark, Catelyn, and the Starks in general went through were all based on lies and a betrayal from Catelyn's own sister.
Sansa realizing that her aunt and "uncle" might be as bad as the Lannisters. She finally escaped King's Landing, was taken to one of the safest places in Westeros, and was reunited with some of her last living relatives — only to learn that her aunt is secretly cruel and terrifyingly unstable. And the audience knows that Lysa and Petyr don't have her best interests in mind, but she has no one else to turn to. Not only that, they are the reason she's so broken and vulnerable in the first place.
Sansa bursting into tears as Lysa hurts her, telling her that Baelish calls her a stupid little girl with stupid little dreams. It's clear that that's also what she's telling herself at this point. 'You stupid girl, why did you expect things to get better when you should know by now they always get worse?'
For extra Fridge Horror and tear-jerking, those words are the same as Sansa used when Joffrey would become verbally abusive to her — "I'm a stupid little girl". She's gone from being abused at Kings Landing by Joffrey to being abused at The Eyrie by Lysa and Littlefinger.
Hodor's utter horror at being forced to break Locke's neck by a warging Bran.
Moreover, this is easily the darkest thing Bran has ever done. Of course, it was justified given the circumstances, but forcing the gentlest and most benign character in the series to snap a man's neck against his own will is just horrifyingly nasty, and a pretty fundamental betrayal and abuse of Hodor. Poor guy just cant catch a break in Season 4.
Cersei, watching Tommen be crowned, states her belief that he's the first king in fifty years to actually deserve the throne. Considering the three kings who came before him, as well as what the War of Five Kings has done to Westeros... yeah, pity that poor continent, and its unfortunate residents.
Arya has added Beric and Thoros to her kill list, showing just how deeply their betrayal cut her.
Even sadder, we know Beric and Thoros are actually nowhere near as bad as the other people on her list (even Melisandre is a wild card on that account) and they genuinely intended to bring Arya back to Robb and Catelyn. Plus, they are among the rare people on the series who sincerely give a crap about the smallfolk — the group that has suffered the most from the War of the Five Kings — and the two men try to save and help them.
Even SADDER, Arya is now to point where she wants to kill anyone she feels has wronged her, even if they don't really deserve to die like Tywin and The Mountain do.
6 — The Laws of Gods and Men
After Yara sees "Reek" and is forced to flee after Ramsay kills half her men and then sets the dogs on her, she says the following.
"My brother's dead."
Yara and "Reek's" interaction when they initially find him. "Reek" thought Yara was just someone who had come to trick him, calling back to Season 3 with the trick Ramsay played on him to earn his trust initially, to the point he ends up attacking her and trying to get back into the cage they had tried to break him out of until Yara is forced to just give up on him.
Shae betraying Tyrion. Near the end of his trial, Shae arrives as the star witness to inflict the nastiest and most heartwrenching betrayal Tyrion has ever suffered, lying about all their moments together and claiming that he forced her to be his sex slave before claiming he told her of his plans to kill Joffrey. Just... wow.
Tyrion's reaction (see the CMOA page for the actual speech) is both tearjerking and utterly terrifying. As she starts to speak, Tyrion smiles as if he hopes she'll speak on his behalf, but as she betrays him he visibly wilts, and when she starts turning their most intimate moments against him, he quietly begs her to stop. In the words of the James Hibberd form Entertainment Weekly...
When he tells Shae, "Please, don't," you know he's not doing that to try and save his head. He's saying that only to prevent his heart from being broken before he’s executed.
...Only to rise almost roaring with rage at the court that he should have let Stannis kill them all when he had the chance, and from there he explodes in rage and bitterness at his father for despising him despite all he did, just because he is a dwarf. He then turns to Cersei and tells her how much pleasure he got from watching Joffrey die in her arms, and declares it a greater pleasure than a thousand lying whores (as he glances furiously at Shae), before turning to his audience again and roaring that he wishes he was the monster they thought him to be so he could watch them all die. While his rage is perfectly understandable and entirely justified, seeing one of the few (and getting fewer by the season) truly heroic and moral characters in the series get so broken that he has nothing left but hatred and revenge is just heartrending.
Worse yet, his raging about how he wants to kill them all sounds disturbingly like Joffrey for just a moment. Tyrion has been hurt so bad that he is starting to sound like the monster responsible for so much of his suffering and humiliation.
Given Tyrion did break her heart several episodes earlier, Shae has a somewhat understandable reason to be upset, but her intentional twisting of the knife by warping Tyrion's most treasured memories of their romance into details to humiliate and hurt Tyrion is just repulsive. Also her condemnation of Sansa was completely unwarranted. Shae had no reason whatsoever to distrust Sansa, and even declared her love for Sansa. As much as she was hurt by Tyrion's Shoo the Dog, going this extra mile to hurt him and Sansa out of spite is just horrible.
Jaime's face as he witnesses all this is heartbreaking, too. He was willing to resign from the Kingsguard, a role he had spent his entire life striving for and which was his single greatest source of pride and honour that he held more dearly than any land, titles, or wealth that Tywin offered, simply so that he could ensure Tyrion would not die. As the above plays out, he sees this final desperate sacrifice crumble before his eyes, and at the end of the episode he is on the verge of tears, both from seeing how much his brother has been hurt and from knowing his last desperate plan to save him has utterly failed.
And a little bit of Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize he is watching his brother go mad with rage and start ranting about how he so desperately wants to kill everybody in the room... the exact same room he watched the Mad King say such chillingly similar words 20 years ago.
Also tearjerking for Jaime was when he offers to resume his position as Tywin's heir in exchange for Tyrion's life, in what is clearly a very painful sacrifice for him, Tywin's immediate and calm acceptance of it makes it clear that Tywin had deliberately manipulated him. Watching Jaime realise that his father, who may have been harsh, but was always honest with him, has played him for a fool is tragic.
At the very start of the trial where Tommen recuses himself from the proceedings with a standardized sounding speech, the moment he says the line "If he be found guilty, may the gods punish the accused," he looks Tyrion in the eye and his voice quavers in what could either be sadness or anger. The poor kid has enough on his plate with being a Puppet King, but the fact he now suspects his beloved uncle of murdering his brother (and whatever other lies Cersei has been filling his head with about him) is just tragic considering how close they were at the start of the series.
Varys' reaction to Tyrion's question. After incriminating Tyrion as a witness, he's asked by him whether or not he has forgotten that Tyrion saved King's Landing and the promise he would never forget. Varys responds he never forgets a thing. His facial expression sells it; he feels guilty for selling out Tyrion, but knows he has no choice as he has everything to lose from defending Tyrion.
Dany's confrontation with the son of one of the Meereenese slave masters who she had crucified. He hits her with a devastating, emotional rebuke of her policy of "answering injustice with justice". While she initially stands firmly by her decision, Daenerys looks and sounds utterly sickened with herself by the end, with the loss of composure in her voice plain to hear as she orders her next audience.
It's subtle, but Margaery and Loras are extremely conflicted during the trial. They obviously hate how unfairly Tyrion is being treated, but they can't come to his defense because their grandmother is guilty of regicide.
More of a tear jerker to Cersei and Tyrion than to the audience, but Mace finds it mind-boggling that Tyrion would want to turn his sister's "joy into ashes." Mace is leaning forwards in his chair, and he asks Cersei, "Your own brother said this to you?" Mace is from a close-knit family, so he can't fathom any of the Tyrells threatening each other, and the Lannisters' dysfunction astonishes him.
7 — Mockingbird
Oberyn's story revealed that Cersei never loved Tyrion, blamed him for her mother's death, and has wished him dead since he was born. Even Tyrion, who knows Cersei hates him, looks dejected.
When Oberyn recounted how disappointed he was that Tyrion wasn't the clawed, tailed monster that had been described to him, and what he said to Cersei to voice his disappointment: "That is not a monster. That is just a baby." Because that's what Tyrion's been trying to tell everyone his entire life.
And the tragic irony that a complete stranger saw clearly and immediately what people who have known Tyrion for years still refuse to see.
Robin tearing down Sansa's snow castle.
And her reaction to him accidentally knocking down the first tower. She's so desperate for home that she's violently protective of a replica made out of snow.
Bronn's polite, in-person refusal of Tyrion's request to champion him. It's clear Bronn likes and cares for Tyrion, and regrets that he's unwilling to face the Mountain on his behalf. Both men part ways with as much respect and fondness as is possible under the circumstances, with Bronn clasping Tyrion's arm as a friend and wishing Tyrion well. Tyrion also darkly jokes about killing the Mountain himself, and Bronn quietly says he'd like to hear the song they'd make about that.
Bronn: We had some good times, didn't we?
When they clasp hands, Tyrion grasps tightly, keeping Bronn from pulling away. He's desperate to not have his last true friend leave him and it shows. In the end, the last of Tyrion's three pillars puts another hand over him as a sign of sympathy, respect, and affection.
The Hound noting that Arya's brother gave her Needle, then remarking that his own brother shoved his face into a fire. Sandor tells Arya the whole story of how he was only playing with one of Gregor's toys when it happened, and how his father defended Gregor and covered the whole incident up by blaming it on bedsheets catching on fire. This is probably the first time he's ever opened up and showed vulnerability to anyone because as he says, he is truly alone in the world, unlike Arya who still has living family members who love her.
Oberyn volunteering to be Tyrion's champion in order to take vengeance against Gregor Clegane for the murder of his sister. The look of thankfulness on Tyrion's face is heartrending.
Before he becomes creepy to Sansa, Petyr, just like in the book, is quite charming and endearing to Sansa, reassuring her that there might be a way for her to get home again. When asked why he killed Joffrey, Petyr's mask drops and he reveals his grief at losing Catelyn and insisting that he loved her all his life to Sansa and that in a world where his youthful romanticism could have defeated Brandon Stark's strength, he could have had the life he wanted. It's sad and disturbing that something like innocent, misguided romance can make someone that dark and bitter.
Lysa Arryn may be crazy, jealous and generally unpleasant, but it's still really sad to see her cry when she realizes that Littlefinger, the man she had loved her whole life, was only using her. Despite everything she did for him, he still pines for Catelyn and by extension, Sansa. The look of over-eager happiness when Littlefinger tries to assure her that he only loved one woman is betrayed with two simple words: "Your sister." She gets one last look of heartbreak before being shoved through the Moon Door.
8 — The Mountain and the Viper
Jorah's banishment. After years of faithfully, if not fanatically serving and protecting the woman he loves, Ser Barristan receives the pardon from Robert Baratheon from all the way back in Season 1 which was made to reward Jorah for his work when he was still Varys' spy. To give Barristan credit he does inform Jorah about this and the fact he will have to tell the queen about this, but this just allows the audience time to see Jorah's entire world crumble before his eyes as he desperately tries to think of how he can explain this to Dany. When she summons him to answer for this, he is on the verge of tears as he reveals he had been giving information to Robert Baratheon, a man she still despises for murdering her brother and attempting to exterminate her family, and asks her forgiveness, only for Dany to furiously rebuke him and exile him from Meereen on pain of death, even when he begs her on his knees for forgiveness. Sure you can see her point of view but....damn.
It's hardly pleasant for Dany as well, as she is not only visibly furious, but very evidently distraught at this ultimate betrayal of her trust from her oldest and most faithful companion, and after she exiles him, she looks utterly heartbroken.
That's an understatement. When she was introduced, she was a terrified little girl, constantly on the run from the assassins of Robert Baratheon, with only Viserys to protect her. When she was sold to Drogo in exchange for an army, Jorah was her first friend in her new life, someone she could trust and ask for advice. One can only imagine how she felt when she learned that from the very begining he was a spy for the man who murdered her entire family and his information nearly caused her death and the death of her unborn child. Betrayed doesn't begin to cover it.
While Oberyn's death is mostly pure nightmare fuel due to how.....unimaginably brutal it was, the scream of horror from Ellaria as she watches Gregor literally explode his damn skull with his bare hands reminds you that he was not just a dashing, snarky badass, but also a loving partner and father. Worse yet, he had gone to such lengths and taken such risks to avenge his sister and her children, and it was still foiled in the last moment by his own arrogance, which is a whole new layer of tragic.
Oberyn and Ellaria's last exchange preceded by them kissing passionately:
Ellaria: Please don't leave me alone in this world.
Oberyn's screams are telling too — this man was a badass and to die like that...
Not to mention Tyrion's face as his last shot at living is literally crushed before his eyes. Oberyn is dead, but Tyrion knows he is a dead man walking.
Jaime's reaction as well, at first horrified at Oberyn's manner of death, then turning to despair over Tyrion being sentenced to death.
The events immediately before this, when Oberyn is circling the Mountain demanding he tell the world that Tywin ordered Elia's murder. Oberyn has been mostly in control of his emotions all season, but here you can hear his rage against the people who took his sister from him. He's fantasized about this moment for twenty years, but it's not enough just to kill the Mountain, he NEEDS to hear him confess — which leads to his downfall.
Sam's guilt at believing he sent Gilly and Little Sam to their deaths in Mole's Town.
Arya's insane laughter when she and the Hound reach the Vale and find out that her aunt is dead is funny, but Harsher in Hindsight — this girl has nearly run out of family members and she knows it. It's only a matter of time before she reaches her breaking point.
Before that, the Hound claims that Arya is never happy, and Arya protests that she was happy when she killed Polliver, and expresses disappointment and unhappiness with Joffrey's death only in that she wasn't there to watch the life fade from his eyes. This little girl really is on her way to becoming a remorseless killer just like Sandor.
It is even more tragiс when you take into account how close Arya was to reuniting with her family, what's left of it, anyways. Her sister was right there, a mere several dozen feet away, all it would've taken her was to look out of the window and, well, it wouldn't have been the best of the reunions, but there's no doubt the Stark girls would've been immensely glad for even each other's company, and Arya's story would've still ended more or less happily. Alas, she doesn't know Sansa is there, and the gate guardian doesn't know she's Sansa, hence no happy ending.
Theon selling out his own countrymen to horrible deaths, complete with a cut straight from one soldier's hopeful look to his butchered body.
Just before that, when he is outside the gates, the Ironborn ask who he is and he just stares ahead blankly. Eventually, he claims to be who he is, but he clearly doesn't believe it. It's small, but it reinforces how completely lost Theon — I'm sorry, Reek — is.
There's also the way he looks like he's about to burst into tears when the leader of the Ironborn starts shouting at him, and he starts twitching and muttering, "Reek" under his breath. Oh, Theon...
The triumphant reveal of Winterfell... now owned by the Boltons as Roose, Ramsay, Reek, and columns of Bolton soldiers march towards their new home, and the Stark theme plays just to twist the knife further.
A less obvious example than the above is Sansa's subtle yet clear shift to Bastard Understudy. Despite the Lords of the Vale being very evident sympathisers to her plight once she tells them of her identity, she decides of her own volition to manipulate them in order to better Littlefinger's position simply due to the fact that after everything she has been through, she can't afford to trust anyone, and at least she knows Littlefinger has plans to keep her safe. Worse yet, she now becomes party to his plans for her younger cousin Robin, whatever they may be, and even has an Evil Costume Switch to signify the fact she's now a willing player in his game. To see the single most innocent and naïve character in the series finally be corrupted is just tragic.
9 — The Watchers on the Wall
Grenn's Death by Adaptation. Jon Snow tells him to hold the gate and both of them know full well that he won't be coming back. When he and five others go down there to face a giant, one starts to panic and Grenn forces him to stay. Together, they begin chanting the Night's Watch oath as they raise their swords at the storming giant.
Pyp gets an arrow in the throat from Ygritte and dies in Sam's arms. But like Grenn, he has a Dying Moment of Awesome; he might not have killed hundreds, but he still killed a wildling before he died, and thus played his part in the defence of Castle Black.
Ygritte's death, while arguably karmic considering she was shot by the boy whose father she killed, is still an absolutely crushing downer. It's mostly driven home by her final exchange with Jon.
Ygritte: Jon Snow...
Jon: Hush - don't talk.
Ygritte: D'you remember that cave?...We should've stayed in that cave...
Although she had a Karmic Death, it's kind of sad to see that the little boy Jon took a liking to kill his lover in front of him, all the while blissfully unaware Jon loved her.
After she dies, they have Tormund Giantsbane cornered. Jon orders him thrown into the cells for interrogation.
Tormund: I should have thrown you from the top of the Wall, boy!
Jon: *quietly* Aye. You should have.
Aemon's story about the woman he loved before he joined the Night's Watch. He can still see her.
At the end of the Episode they have beaten The Wildings first attack but Jon knows they can't win if they attack again. Standing at the Gate he gives Longclaw to Sam who can only look on and ask what he is doing as Jon plans on going out there to try and kill Mance and stop the army. As Jon prepares to leave Sam tells him to come back and Jon faintly smiles at his friend before turning and going out into The Cold in an desperate attempt to save The Night's Watch.
10 —The Children
Dany's entire scene. A man who cannot take care of himself asks permission to return to slavery so he has a place to live and someone to feed him. Then a farmer comes to present her with the charred skeleton of his three-year old daughter that Drogon ate, which is heartwrenching not in small part due to the acting — he's so devastated that he can barely speak through his broken sobs; he sounds like he wants to die. Finally, she takes Viserion and Rhaegal into the catacombs and chains them up while they're busy eating; then as she walks out they notice and cry out for her, straining at their collars whilst doing so.
That last part becomes worse when you stop and consider that Drogon is the only one we've seen rampaging. His brothers still seem to be perfectly in Dany's control, and now they're getting locked up because of his actions while he still roams free.
And worse again when you consider the bitter irony of the situation. The self-proclaimed Mother of Dragons and the Breaker of Chains is putting her children in chains.
And then there's the look on her face as she turns back to look at them through the closing door, finally beginning to break down in tears.
Jojen's Death by Adaptation. The most unexpected death (to book readers at least) so far is made all the worse by how Meera is forced to not just leave him behind as they are swarmed by wights, but have to mercy kill him too.
Tyrion killing Shae. But even before that as he sees her lying in Tywin's bed and uttering his name. And then he cries and barely chokes out "I'm sorry...I'm sorry" after he strangles her.
To add some salt on the wound, even after her betrayal, Tyrion said that he loved her. He shoots Tywin because he calls her a whore twice.
Even worse? Before she sees who it is, Shae says, "My lion?", except it's meant for Tywin. Ouch.
The Hound telling Brienne straightforward that there's little she can do for Arya because there's no safe place for her; all of her known family are dead aside from Jon who has forsaken his family ties and Sansa who is missing, Winterfell is burned to the ground. Not hard to understand why shortly after Arya heads to Braavos; there's nothing left in Westeros for her.
Jon Snow's Not So Stoic moment in the woods, where he quickly and quietly breaks down after burning Ygritte's body.
The Hound pleading with Arya to Mercy Kill him so he doesn't have to suffer a long death even bringing up him killing Mycah all the way back in the second episode of the first season to try to goad her into killing him Arya however remembering all he did before and those he hurt wants him to suffer in agony and leaves him to die slowly.
The scene is heartbreaking because you can tell that The Hound has been a Death Seeker since before this. "At least I would have one happy memory".
The way he tries to goad Arya by mentioning Sansa, "Your sister- the pretty one. I should have taken her. I should have fucked her bloody." comes off as kind of sad that he's trying to use Sansa to get to Arya, despite the fact Sandor did everything he could in King's Landing to protect her.
Sandor and Brienne's duel. A pointless battle between two would-be-protectors of Arya Stark, due entirely to suspicion and Sandor's deep cynicism.
An uncharacteristically somber Tormund telling Jon: "She belongs in the north. The real north. You understand?" He was holding back tears as he demanded to know if Jon ever really loved Ygritte.
Tyrion and Jaime's farewell, knowing that they will never see each other again. They part ways on good terms, as opposed to the novels, but this makes it a mix of heartwarming and tearjerker, as you see these two brothers who love each other dearly forced to part ways.
Tyrion: I suppose this is goodbye, then. (Jaime kneels and hugs Tyrion) Jaime: Farewell, little brother.
Also, the look on Varys' face when the bells start ringing. He knows that he'll be a suspect in Tyrion's escape because he knows every inch of the castle and so he boards the ship with Tyrion.
Mance watching in horror as his people are slaughtered around him by Stannis's soldiers and him immidiately surrendering in order to protect them. He may have been a major threat since Season 1 but in the end his sole wish was to protect his people from the nightmare unfolding beyond the wall, and his numb reaction to seeing his last desperate hope for salvation crumble around him is telling.
Tywin tells Tyrion that's he developed a respect for his unfavorite son's ability to survive despite his efforts, and that when he comes down to it he'll never let his son be killed. It's exactly the grudging acknowledgement Tyrion wanted at the start of Season 3, and he knows Tywin is just saying it so he can get out of the privy and back to his chamber with the weapons on the wall and the guards just outside the door.
In the DVD Commentary for the first season, Maisie Williams talks about how devastated she was when Margaret John died, before Maisie even got to meet her.
The 2013 ComicCon video "In Memoriam" starts out pretty funny, making light of the constant deaths in the series by flashing them very quickly with humorous subtitles and Soundtrack Dissonance. However, we eventually turn to characters like Maester Luwin and Septa Mordane, and then the music becomes somber, each dead character gets a proper tribute, and we end with Ned, Robb, and Catelyn. The final shot is just "The North Remembers" in the title font.
First you're snickering as it seems to make light and fun of the constant deaths in the series showing them how they died. Then it pans to Rodrik about to be executed and as it goes to other characters such as Khal Drogo and Jeor Mormont you remember that some of the most popular and beloved characters have also died and you feel the twist in your gut. And now Oberyn and Ygritte are a part of that list as well.
In the DVD Commentary for the third season on episode 9 The Rains Of Castamere, poor Michelle Fairley is very audibly (and understandably) sad by what awaits her in watching the episode (Richard Madden asks if this is the first time Michelle is watching episode after filming, which it was). The commentary goes on as normal with the two and the director all reminiscing of wonderful times during shooting, and then by the time the episode is over, Michelle is audibly stressed and crying from The Red Wedding. Considering what a wonderful job she did as Catelyn Stark (and the fact she didn't even get nominated for an Emmy; something many fans were quite upset about), you honestly wanna give the woman such a hug and make her feel better.
Michelle and Richard congratulated each other on their performances and then said "I love you". Real life Stark bonding, hell, almost exactly like a mother and her son.
As much as the fanbase celebrated his character's death, Jack Gleeson's departure from the show has been a somber one. One can't help but feel that the show will never be quite the same without such an absolutely magnificent talent. Also, he's announced he's going to give up acting, and one can't help wondering if it's because of the hate he got from the Fan Dumb.
Along those lines, Pedro Pascal's performance as Oberyn Martell was fantastic, and it's a damn shame to lose him so soon after we got him.
Likewise, Charles Dance was absolutely one of the best actors on the show, and with Tywin's death, he's left a positively massive void to fill onscreen. Although his character won't be missed, he certainly will.