"The wolf is of the North. She deserves better than a butcher."
"You want to know the horrible truth? I can't even remember what she looked like. I only know she was the one thing I ever wanted. Someone took her away from me... and seven kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind."
— Robert Baratheonnote
For House of the Dragon, see here.
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1 - Winter is Coming
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 Joffrey 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. It is no coincidence this is the page-image, as it is pretty much emblematic of every tragedy that befalls the Starks in the future. Of which there are many.
- Cersei's story about her own lost child. Which is different from the books, where she aborted it.
- Catelyn's depression as she watches over the comatose Bran.
- Jon being kicked out of Bran's room by Catelyn.
- Jon's good-bye to his half-brother Bran before he leaves.
- Robb and Jon's farewell scene.
- Ned's farewell to his illegitimate son, 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 might 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.
- Which is sad because this is unknowingly the last time he and Jon end up seeing each other before Ned is arrested and executed. Come Season 6, it's even more heartbreaking because there were so many things to speak about.
- Dany silently sobbing as Drogo rapes her.
3 - Lord Snow
4 - Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things
- Jon asks Samwell Tarly, who "can't fight, can't see, is afraid of heights and everything else" why he joined the Night's Watch. Sam gives this heartbreaking answer:
"On the morning of my eighteenth nameday, my father came to me. "You're almost a man now," he said, "but you are not worthy of my land and title. Tomorrow you're going to take the black, forsake all claim to your inheritance, and start north. If you do not," he said, "then we'll have a hunt, and somewhere in these woods your horse will stumble, and you'll be thrown from your saddle to die. Or so I'll tell your mother. Nothing would please me more."
- Keep in mind, this is after Jon states the simple solution (if Sam had to leave his home, why not go to the Citadel to be a Maester, which would fit Sam's temperament and abilities so much more?) and Sam says he did bring that route up to his father... to which Randyll Tarly said that if chainsnote are what Sam wanted, he could have them and chained him in the dungeon of Horn Hill.
- Seeing Viserys become increasingly more abusive towards those around him, especially his sister. Even when she's just sending someone to tell him it's time for dinner or try to do something nice like have a gift made for him, he just speaks cruelty or physically intimidates her.
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.
- Jory's death.
- 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.
- The topper for that moment? Robert's pause before answering Cersei and his face shows that he knows how this has hurt her... but feels he's gone too far.
6 - A Golden Crown
- The Riverland peasant describing the destruction of his homeland by the Mountain that Rides and how their children were tarred and feathered before being set alight. He sounds utterly broken as Ned, Baelish, and Pycelle all listen to the account of the atrocities. It's telling when even Littlefinger is disgusted by such acts.
- Although hardly a sympathetic character and even though he had just threatened to kill his last remaining sibling and his unborn nephew, Viserys' terrified screams for his little sister to help him are tragedy incarnate. And all Daenerys can do is watch. We can fully appreciate just how lost the poor boy has become to sink so low.
- Most book readers interpret his demanding of "the crown he promised me" not to be his own once he takes Westeros, but their mother's, Queen Rhaella's crown, which he sold to keep Dany fed and sheltered. Dany even acknowledges in A Clash of Kings that this was the moment when what little joy was left in his heart left him.
- After Drogo "agrees" to give him the crown, Viserys, for a brief moment, actually looks like a normal amiable man, happy that his calamities may finally come to an end. Makes you wonder just how different could he be in other circumstances.
7 - You Win or You Die
- The confrontation between Ned and Cersei, where she states her infamous line and hence the episode's title, is a huge source of sadness when looked at in hindsight, for both Ned and Cersei. Ned's part is obvious: this conversation is one of the main factors sealing his doom. It was partly motivated because he blamed Cersei for what happened to Bran and Jon Arryn (even though she actually had nothing to do with the latter's murder), but it was mainly so that he could warn her that he was going to tell Robert the truth about her, Jaime, and their children so that they could flee before Robert had them all killed. In trying to do the right thing, Ned only made things worse for himself. Less obviously, though, this moment is also perhaps a massive mistake on Cerise's part. Considering all the terrible things that befall her and her family from this moment until the end of Season 6, you have to wonder if Cersei and her children would have been better off taking Ned's offer, fleeing King's Landing, and making a new life for themselves...
- Robert, as he is dying, begs Ned to help Joffrey 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.
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.
- The truth about how Pypar, or Pyp, ended up as part of the Night's Watch: He was a singer at Acorn Hall when a Lord felt him up and tried to force him into a sexual situation, and when rebuffed, tried to have Pyp's hands cut off by falsely claiming he'd stolen silverware, presumably leading to Pyp choosing to serve under the Watch rather than lose his limbs. He tells people he got caught stealing a wheel of cheese to feed his baby sister who hadn't eaten in three days, most likely out of shame. Imagine someone trying to molest you and then getting you basically imprisoned for life after you fight back.
- When Lord Commander Mormont asks if any of the new recruits keep the old gods, not only Jon, but even Sam stands up. Mormont asks surprised about the faith in his house, and Sam admits no, he was named by a septon, in a sept, seven oils and rainbow and all. Why he would deny his father's faith, then? Because the Seven never listened to his prayers.
8 - The Pointy End
9 - Baelor
- Aemon's reveal to Jon that he knows exactly what Jon is going through: conflict between his love for his family and the oath to the Night's Watch. Aemon reveals who he is by telling Jon that there was a time when he was tempted to forsake his own oath to the Night's Watch at the slaughter of his family, the Targaryens, despite already being old and blind at the time. Particularly when his voice just breaks on the line "and even the little children..."
- Tyrion's story of his first love: when he was 16 years old, he and his brother Jaime rescued a wheelwright's orphan named Tysha from a pair of would-be rapists. Whilst his brother pursued them, Tyrion took her to an inn to feed and comfort her. Drunk and bedazzled, she seduced him into her bed and he fell in love with her, getting a drunken septon to officially wed them. They lived happily for a fortnight, and then Tyrion's father, Tywin, found out about it. He then cruelly revealed to Tyrion that Tysha was actually a whore, and the entire scenario had been an elaborate roleplay concocted by Jaime to help Tyrion lose his virginity. To hammer it home, Tywin took Tyrion to the barracks and made him watch as untold numbers of Lannister soldier (implied to be dozens, if not hundreds) gang-raped Tysha, who was given a fortune in silver coins to cement her "position".
- Perhaps making this worse is that this whole scenario was originally Jaime's idea; the one Lannister whom Tyrion has always liked and who honestly seems to like him back, set him up for this cruel scenario in the belief that it'd help him.
- In-Universe, even Bronn, himself no paragon of virtue, seems discomforted by the tale, icily noting that he'd have killed any man who pulled something like that on him. Harsher in Hindsight, when you remember how it ended...
- After hearing the story Shae says Tyrion should have immediately caught on. Why? Because a girl recently saved from being raped is not likely to end up in bed with another man as soon as Tysha did. Tyrion, with a rueful smile, can only say he was young and naive then.
- Ned Stark was forced to forsake his principles in order to save his and his daughter's life. The fact that the music playing during the end credits was unutterably solemn doesn't help.
- Yoren protecting Arya from seeing Ned's execution.
- Arya, sitting on the statue of Baelor, has to see an entire crowd of people hurling abuse at her father.
- Sansa's hysterical cries and screams when Ned is executed, struggling against those trying to restrain her, are 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 that 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, but it all goes wrong. And then... even Varys and Cersei are shocked and horrified. Cersei.
- The fact that Ned is dead is heartbreaking in itself. Sure Sean Bean dying can be a bit of a running joke these days. But he's a familiar face, so you feel almost immediately attached to his character.
- The last thing Ned hears before he dies is his daughter crying and screaming, begging the man she's betrothed to to spare her father. He only gets the minor consolation that Arya won't witness his death firsthand.
- Jorah describing what will happen to Daenerys once Khal Drogo dies.
- Robb's guilt in sending 2000 men to their deaths, lamenting that the dead won't hear the songs about their bravery and sacrifice.
- Ned's speech in his cell and his anger at the Lannisters for what they did to him and his family, and Varys's look of disappointment and hopelessness.
10 - Fire and Blood
- Joffrey forcing Sansa to look at her father's impaled head to make a statement to her. He then coolly explains that beheading was merciful for a traitor and that otherwise Ned would have been drawn and quartered. Sansa's not even putting up a fight; she's begging for an explanation, and to not have to face her father's head. He then orders Sir Meryn to strike her when she suggests Robb may give her Joffrey's head.
- He also makes her look at Septa Mordane's head on a spike - confirming that the soldiers indeed slaughtered a defenceless old woman just because she tried to get Sansa to safety.
- After that, Sansa considers pushing Joffrey off the ledge. If she's lucky the effort would cause her to fall as well, and die. If she's less than lucky, she would have to face Cersei's wrath. Before she can do the deed, however, the Hound interrupts her and helps wipe the blood from the blow.
- Daenerys sobbing as she smothers Khal Drogo.
- While Daenerys has her dragon hatchlings, it doesn't make it any less a Tear Jerker that it cost her her husband, son, and most of her Khalasar.
- 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.
- Jon, distraught over his father's death, wants to join his brother Robb and avenge their father, and tries to — but is reminded and urged that he can do nothing as he took the Night's Watch oath. Mormont is understanding of the situation and makes Jon realize there is nothing he can do, no matter how much he wants to.
- Arya, with no other option, is forced to forsake her identity and go on the run to avoid capture by the Lannisters — while distraught over the death her father and parted from her family.
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
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 this point. 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 to her, is taken from her.
4 - Garden of Bones
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).
: I loved
: I know you did. Loras
: [bursts into Manly Tears]
- Brienne, who's been The Stoic for the previous two episodes, screaming in grief at Renly's death.
- After Davos leaves, the camera lingers on Stannis a moment as he stands alone in what used to be Renly's pavilion before he was assassinated. For a moment, it looks as if he is about to cry, before consciously choking back whatever emotion he was feeling.
- His defensiveness towards Davos during the rest of the scene beforehand. This is the first time we've seen Stannis even a little bit excited, and it's clearly because he's trying to amp himself up about what he has gained (a massive army) as opposed to wallowing in guilt over what he has lost (his little brother).
Davos: I'm sorry about your brother, Your Grace. I wanted to let you know people grieve for him.
Stannis: Fools love a fool. I grieve for him as well, for the boy he was, not the man he grew to be.
6 - The Old Gods and the New
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 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.
- Stannis' perspective is pretty sad when you hear it: He went through hell to support Robert in the last war, holding Storm's End even as his men starved and were forced to eat rats and dogs (animals he's actually fond of). Then Robert gives Storm's End to Renly who was only a child. Stannis stayed loyal to his brother despite the injustice because Robert was the King, but when Stannis discovers he's the rightful heir to the throne and it's everyone else's turn to support him...he gets the least support because he's not "likable" and men flock to Renly. (Or support the Lannisters or Starks). He acts so unpleasantly and there are so many characters perspectives it's easy to forget that the throne is rightfully Stannis' and ultimately he's the one who's been cheated out after more than paying his dues.
9 - Blackwater
- Thousands of men burning alive after wildfire explosion. Even Sandor and Bronn are terrified of its effect.
- Cersei telling Tommen a fairy tale as she prepares to Mercy Kill him and herself.
- Cersei throughout the episode fell into this, as she's presenting In Vino Veritas and revealing herself as a spiteful, jaded woman whose only love is reserved for her brother and children.
- 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.
- Surprisingly enough, when Lancel reports Cersei's urging Joffrey to the Red Keep, he doesn't immediately flee for safety and of all things actually turns to ask Tyrion — Tyrion, of all people!! — what he should do. When Tyrion tells him to make his stand, he does seem to actually mull it over before deciding to depart, though delegating two Kingsguards to fly the flag in his place... and thereby passing on one of the biggest chances he had to redeem himself in fans' eyes as worth something, whereas even novel Joffrey got to express a desire to at least continue to command the crossbowmen. Still, the shame he evidently feels at running away does do something to humanise the little monster.
10 - Valar Morghulis
1 - Valar Dohaeris
2 - Dark Wings, Dark Words
- 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 Margaery 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 fiancée 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, and indeed, just before Robb gives her the news from Winterfell, she asks if he will take her to Riverrun to Hoster Tully's funeral in manacles.
- 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.
Catelyn: When my husband brought that baby home from the war, I couldn't bear to look at him. I didn't want to see those brown stranger's eyes staring up at me. So I prayed to the gods, take him away. Make him die. He got the pox. And I knew I was the worst woman who ever lived. A murderer. I'd condemned this poor, innocent child to a horrible death all because I was jealous of his mother! A woman he didn't even know! So I prayed to all seven gods, let the boy live. Let him live and I'll love him. I'll be a mother to him. I'll beg my husband to give him a true name, to call him Stark and be done with it, to make him one of us.
Talisa: And he lived.
Catelyn: And he lived. And I couldn't keep my promise. And everything that's happened since then... all this horror that's come to my family... it's all because I couldn't love a motherless child.
- If you go back and watch the second episode of Season 1, in the scene where Catelyn is sitting with a comatose Bran and his half-brother Jon goes to say his goodbyes to him... 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. Even Grenn is visibly guilty seeing Sam just break down.
Sam: (crying) You left me! When the White Walkers came, you left me!
- 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 neither Arya nor Gendry have the heart to say otherwise and nod in agreement. As she leaves, Arya calls back to Hot Pie saying "it's 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 have been even more awful 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?
- It's utterly heartwrenching to see Theon's hope of escape ripped away from him so cruelly. After being "freed" he finds himself chased on horse by a group of men clearly working for those he's trying to escape from, they knock him off his horse with a painful blow to the head, and one of them kicks him and then shoves a boot on his back to hold him in place while he struggles. As this is happening, the others pin down his arms, leaving him helpless, while the man in charge of the group order them to take off his pants so he can rape him, saying he'll fuck him into the dirt as punishment for running away. Theon's struggles are useless and all he can do is hoarsely beg them ("No, no, please!") over and over until they're abruptly killed by his 'savior' from earlier. Except it's not a rescue, and by what he ends up going through after, Theon may have simply wished the blow to the head had simply killed him by the end.
4 - And Now His Watch Is Ended
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, and 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 brokenness. He may be a Lannister but even he doesn't wish any further misery on Sansa whom he truly seems to care about.
- 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.
- "My children. You've disgraced the Lannister name for far too long." They are only what you made them, Tywin.
- 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.
- We knew Stannis was Brutally Honest already, but now we discover that he can hardly even bring himself to tell white lies to spare his own daughter's feelings. She asks him if he won his big battle, to which he bluntly tells her he didn't. He gives in a little by telling her that Davos fought bravely at The Battle of the Blackwater (which he really didn't have a chance to do), but when Shireen tells him about how much she likes her friend, The Onion Knight, Stannis feels bound to tell her that Davos is a traitor and is locked in the dungeon for his crime. His reaction to her sad frown and his hasty departure makes it clear that Stannis knows he screwed up this father-daughter moment just by being himself.
- In a way, the Hound surviving his trial by combat against Beric Dondarrion, especially what he says to Arya afterwards: "Looks like the gods like 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.note
- 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.
- It's hard to imagine Cat and Robb aren't reminded of Bran and Rickon, who like Martyn and Willem, were two innocent boys who got caught in the middle of a war not of their making, and (as far as they know) were murdered by someone they should have been able to trust.
- Robb's furious shout of "THEY WERE BOYS!" is particularly heartbreaking when we know Martyn and Willem were 14 and 15. Robb himself was only 16 when all this began. He was younger in the books. It's a reminder that, for all Robb's kingly honour and valour, for all his military successes, he really is just a teenage boy who was forced to grow up entirely too fast.
- 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."
- Just that Gendry always expected to lose Arya when they reached her family. Previous scenes indicated he was uncomfortable about her being high born, but here it's revealed he thinks being separated due to their class differences is inevitable...and has probably been thinking that way since Arya told him her identity in Season 2. For Arya, reaching Cat and Robb has meant getting home, but for Gendry it's meant getting closer to losing his only friend. The Brotherhood has given him another option other than being forced to serve and bow to the only person he has left, and be something other than Lady Arya's tag-along bastard while she reunites with her family.
- Extra heartbreaking because Arya herself has always treated him as an equal, and even when she was a lady she befriended those "below her" like Mycah and would have fought tooth and nail to remain close to Gendry. But Gendry - who has been abused by high borns his whole life - is justifiably cynical about how a noble family will treat a bastard from Flea Bottom who dares to get close to their daughter. note
- There's also the fact that Gendry evidently doesn't bear Arya any grudge for returning to her family. He doesn't say "You would be My Lady." with any hatred or resentment, he says it with a sad, accepting smile. The fact he easily accepts the class-divide between them so easily, as nothing more than the accepted order of the world, is truly heart-rending. He evidently doesn't want to cast aside his friendship with Arya. But to him, it's just the way it is.
- 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. You're alive.
- 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.
- Arya and Gendry's last moment together as he bound and dragged away. They keep gazing at each other until Gendry is pulled out of sight and both look utterly broken. Through all the hell they've been through since leaving King's Landing they've at least had other to depend on, Arya's had someone she trusts with her true identity and Gendry had a friend who - seemingly for the first time - truly cared about him. Now they're completely on their own.
- 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?
- During Varys' and Littlefinger's confrontation, for the most part, Varys maintains his usual obsequious demeanor, but when Littlefinger smugly informs him of Ros' fate he loses his temper, if only for a moment. He seemed to quite genuinely respect her - as genuinely as Varys can be said to do anything - and is enraged by how casually Littlefinger has her murdered.
- 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 came back to their house trying to kill her, and she had to burn the place down to destroy the monster he'd become.
- 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" after they sold Gendry.
- 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.
- Gendry talking about growing up as the lowest of the low in King's Landing - Westeros is a Crapsack World at the best of times but he had it as bad as it could get right from the beginning.
Melisandre: Haven't you ever wondered where your strength came from? Your talent for fighting?
Gendry: I'm lowborn, as low as can be, my mother was a tavern wench.
Melisandre: Your blood is noble.
Gendry: I was born in Flea Bottom. I'm just a bastard.
8 - Second Sons
- Depending on your point of view, Tyrion's behavior on his own wedding can be a Funny Moment, Awesome or this. He's really quite broken, tired of his father, Joffrey and the noblemen's hypocrisy about it all, as well as very sad and pissed off about both his and Sansa's humiliation over this. Still, he keeps a festive and joking demeanor up, getting shitfaced to get through it all, until the point Joffrey declares he'll use the lord's right to rape Sansa, at which moment he shows how really angry he is and threatens to cut off Joffrey's manhood. The look on his face can be both nightmarish and tear-jerking.
- 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."
- Gendry - having being bound and leeched by Melisandre - desperately pleading Stannis and Davos to stop her. Stannis just watches Gendry screaming and then ignores him like he isn't even there. It was only a few episodes ago that Gendry told Arya he was tired of his life being controlled by high borns and was "done serving" - now he's more at the mercy of nobles than he's ever been before and is forced to beg them for his life.
- 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 - her expression is that of a corpse from that point on, even before 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.
- Despite her having left Volantis out of disgust with the Ghiscari slave-owning culture, Talisa's family clearly still loved her, enough to keep in touch. The Red Wedding will probably not be as big news in Essos as it is in Westeros, meaning they'll probably never even know what happened to her.
- 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".
- 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.
- Finding out Talisa suggests to name her and Robb's child Eddard is both this and a crowning moment of heartwarming, doubled by the warm smile Catelyn, who resented their marriage up until about now, gives the couple... and then the Frey men close the doors, the music tunes in Rains of Castamere and the whole thing goes so horribly, horribly bad in every. Imaginable. Way.
- 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.
- Finally, the sad truth is that a good bit of it was her fault. She seized Tyrion on the word of one man (Littlefinger), setting off the war in the first place, and then she set Jaime free, which caused massive discontent amongst Robb's bannermen.
- 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, the look in the girl's eyes clearly says she doesn't expect Walder to try to save her, and Catelyn is more surprised than she is by Walder offhandedly sentencing her to death. This says quite a lot about how she must have been treated by Walder.
- 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 its 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. And to make it worse Arya is literally right outside the door - Cat was so close to getting one of her children back and never even knew it.
- Not only was Arya about to be reunited with her family, she would have met her sister-in-law for the first time and found out she was to become an aunt.
- Grey Wind - the proud and loyal wolf who has followed Robb since the first episode - is also not spared from the slaughter. Hearing the wolf's painful whimpering as he's shot with multiple arrows, and Arya seeing his lifeless eyes from the bottom of the pen...
- The whole episode was such a Tear Jerker that, according to most of the 2013 Comic-Con panel, everybody was in tears at the end of the shoot, including the people responsible for most of the Red Wedding.
10 - Mhysa
- 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 how broken 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, especially since Tywin and Tyrion had all-but forbade him from enacting his original plan to literally serve her brother's head to her at the Royal Wedding feast.
- Even worse is that Sansa may very well have known about it for a good while, since we don't really know how long she's been sitting there and staring out the window.
- 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.
I have to go home now. I know you won't hurt me. Ygritte: (whispers) You know nothing, Jon Snow. Jon: (tearful smile)
I do know some things. I know I love you. Ygritte: (sobs) Jon:
I know you love me. (tearfully)
I have to go home now.
- There's also the fact that despite having filled him full of arrows, Ygritte isn't trying to kill Jon, and when he finally gets on his horse, she lets him go, tears in her eyes. For all her fury at Jon's betrayal, it proves he wasn't wrong, she genuinely did love him.
- 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 leads to his son's death.
- Gendry pointing out that his feelings and life are worth nothing to high borns. The show has proved he's more than right as - with the obvious exception of Arya - every noble, from Robert to Joffrey to Stannis, has treated him as a pawn in their game and he's never been able to fight back.
Gendry: We're not really people to you are we? Just a million different ways to get what you want.
1 - Two Swords
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.
"Now that Robb Stark
is gone- Oh, that's right, Reek. Robb Stark is dead. Sorry. I know he was like a brother to you, but my father put a knife through his heart."
- 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.
- The fact that Theon isn't even kept in chains or under guard when he is outside. He is so utterly broken that Ramsay doesn't even expect him to try run away and has him tag along with him and his girlfriend on the hunt, hobbling behind them and trying to keep up as if he were some strange Igor character. Which he is now. It's a tragic far-cry from the cool yet arrogant young man we met in the beginning.
- 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, demonstrating how 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.
- It's tragic that every time 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.
- Sadly, this makes Tyrion's use of Insult Backfire even worse for his position — Joffrey named Tyrion his cupbearer as an insult, forcing his Uncle to wait on him. However, as Tyrion points out, the position is actually considered one of the highest honors that can be bestowed, as it means the Royals trust the person enough to handle the cups without fear of poison.
- Equally tearjerking was the fact that Cersei didn't even consider that Joffrey, in his delirious and dying state, might have been pointing at the glass itself instead of Tyrion. Cersei has hated Tyrion since his birth. She had no problem whatsoever believing that her own brother had murdered her own son. For as much as the Lannister family name seems to matter to the family itself, the sheer level of dysfunction that occurs between its members is just awful to watch.
- 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.
- A rather minor example occours when Tywin tells about the unfortunate fate of kings Baelor and Orys. Two among the most honourable rulers destroyed along as the hopes for a better kingdom, because they couldn't play the game of thrones.
- 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.
- 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 Hollard, 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 is 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 acts like a jerk 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.
- 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. Nearly everyone can agree that this is one part of the books that the show has genuinely mishandled.
- It's very subtle but Olenna Tyrell has a moment where she's talking to Margaery about the death of Luthor. Despite poking fun at him for years, it's very clear that she misses her husband and that his sudden death shocked her.
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 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
- 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
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.
- We learn that Ramsay wasn't lying about keeping Theon in the kennel with his bitches. We finally see Theon sleeping in a cage alongside the other dogs when Yara comes to rescue him. Judging by how the dogs react to everyone else by barking, snarling and biting the bars of their cages, it seems that they now see no difference between themselves and "Reek."
- Theon's utter terror when Ramsay makes him undress and bathe in front of him. That, and the scars that cover Theon's body. It's easy to imagine how the Bastard of Bolton has been spending his free time with 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 Awesome 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 from 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 hes 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 twenty 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.
- When Jaime tells Tyrion of their plan, Tyrion wants to decline, because he is offered a place in the Night Watch, just like Ned Stark was- not to mention him and Jaime both know it wouldn't be a real mercy.
- Not to mention that pretty much every Awesome moment Tyrion had prior to this season is now being used as evidence against him in the murder trial.
- 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.
- Running out of options, Stannis - at the urging of Davos - applies for a loan from the Iron Bank. Here is a man who's always done his duty, what he thought was right and appreciated people for their skills rather than their connections. And for those crimes, he has been insulted, side-lined or outright ignored for his entire life! He is Robert's true heir but no one gave him a chance all because 'he has the personality of a lobster'! In Bravos, it's the same, Stannis has swallowed his pride and come to beg for a loan from the Iron Bank and is rejected once again. He doesn't say anything but the way he just walks away without even trying to argue further just screams 'what did I expect?'.
7 - Mockingbird
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 sent by 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 beginning, 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.
- Adding in a bit of Fridge Brilliance, that assassination attempt was what prompted Khal Drogo to go on the warpath to raise funds (via slaving) for an invasion of Westeros. Without it, the sheep village might not have been raided (as it would take a while for Daenerys to convince Drogo to go to Westeros), meaning that she may, rightly or wrongly, be blaming Jorah for the deaths of her husband and unborn son.
- 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.
- 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.
- Not butchered. Butchery implies it was clean. The man was flayed.
- 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 — 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 taken over 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 sympathizers 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.
- Tyrion's monologue about his cousin Orson, who was dropped on his head by a wet nurse and rendered simple. He would spend all day in the courtyard crushing beetles with a rock which, over time, fascinated Tyrion and made him wonder what was the point of it all. He eventually had nightmares about the poor beetles and tried to stop Orson once, but failed since Orson was twice his size, and he continued to do it until he was killed by an angry mule. It's clear, years later, Tyrion was trying to find out why bad things happen in the world, and he never got an answer.
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 Jon holding her in his arms, their final exchange, and their love for each other.
Ygritte: Jon Snow...
Jon: Hush - don't talk.
Ygritte: D'you remember that cave?... We should've stayed in that cave...
(Exhaling softly, she goes still in Jon's arms as a devastated Jon holds her amidst the fighting.)
- Aemon's story about the woman he loved before he joined the Night's Watch. He can still see her.
- This actually gets sadder if you compare it to Robert Baratheon's pining for Lyanna. While he never moved on from Lyanna and continued to protest his love for her, he "can't even remember what she looked like". Maester Aemon, having made peace that his choices separated him from the woman he loved, continues to remember her with fresh fondness (as if it was just yesterday).
- 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 his 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 who Drogon ate, which is heart-wrenching — 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 while doing so. And it's absolutely heartbreaking.
- 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 Drogon's 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 is bound to the Night's Watch, and Sansa, who is missing, with Winterfell is burned to the ground. Following this, Arya comes across a ship and tries to get to Jon but she is told the ship is heading east, not north. As it's her only option at this point, it's not hard to understand why Arya decides to head to Braavos.
- Jon Snow's Not So Stoic moment in the woods where he makes a funeral pyre for Ygritte's body — the girl he was in love with and who is another loved one Jon has lost so far. Jon 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. The look on his face after he says it shows that he is disgusted with what he just said, but he is so desperate to die that he will say anything to goad Arya.
- Worst of all, the entire reason Sandor ended up in that position was his refusal to hand Arya over to what appeared to be a Lannister soldier, despite no longer having any financial interest in keeping her around and her presence proving to be a very dangerous burden to him several times. He makes it clear that he cares about her, fights valiantly to protect her and is rewarded with betrayal.
- Even sadder, Arya may well have killed him mercifully if he used a different approach, and appealed to her not-entirely-dead sense of compassion. But by bringing up his murder of Mycah and thoughts of raping Sansa, Sandor only reminded her of all the original reasons Arya wanted to kill him and sealed his fate.
- 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.
- Arya choosing to hide from Brienne and Podrick. Other than Arya's remaining family, Brienne is one of the few people in all of Westeros who would actually take care of Arya and was completely genuine in being motivated by her oath to Catelyn... But by this point, Arya has lost so many companions and witnessed so much betrayal that she doesn't trust anyone.
- It's even more painful considering what Arya ends up suffering by going to the Faceless Men instead. In the following scene, she tries to get to her brother Jon — her final attempt to return to her family — but when she is told the boat she needs to board is going east (not north), she realizes it's hopeless and her only option left is Braavos. It's horrible to realize Brienne would have at least given Arya a chance to get where she wanted to go — to Jon, who'd protect her — but, instead, Arya ends up more alone than ever.
- Especially tragic, as in Arya and Brienne's brief moment together before Sandor appeared, the pair were instantly friendly, bonding over their fighting skills, lack of ladylike qualities and rebellion against their fathers. Had things gone differently, Arya would have had a female mentor and learned to fight from a woman she truly admired. Instead, she's headed to a guild of assassins.
- It's a tearjerker on Brienne's end too, as this is another oath she failed to keep. She failed to protect Renly, save Catelyn, and now she's failed the lost Stark girl mere minutes after finding her.
- An uncharacteristically somber Tormund telling Jon: "She belongs in the north. The real north. You understand?" He's holding back tears as he asks to know if Jon really loved Ygritte (and he did), affirming to Jon that Ygritte genuinely loved him, even after he left her.
Tormund: Did you love her? She loved you.
Jon: She told you?
- 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 immediately surrendering in order to protect them. He may have been a major threat since Season One 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 least favorite son's ability to survive despite his efforts, and that, when it 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 Three, 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.
- Tyrion not only took the crossbow, he also took the reload lever, and an extra crossbow bolt. His hands were steady. There was never any panic, never any hesitation when he shot, reloaded, and shot again. Walking all the way from the room, down the hall, into the privy, Tyrion didn't want to just scare Tywin. He knew he was going to kill his father. And that may just be the worst fate of all... for both of them.
- Tywin's death. For all the bad he's done, it's hard to deny that he has done some good as well as his genuine desire to work for his family's glory. His rather sad and ignominious death on his privy signals the end of that dream.
- Tywin's death is just the cap to a series of events that left a massive power upheaval in Westeros, fracturing the seven kingdoms even further. With Tywin and Prince Oberyn dead, along with Tyrion and Varys gone, the government of King's Landing is essentially in the hands of a sadist (Cersei) and a child (Tommen). King Tommen, in his first year as ruler, will now have to contend with the following: (1) backlash from Dorne due to Prince Oberyn's death by the Mountain, (2) the Vale in the hands of Littlefinger, (3) Stannis Baratheon back to full strength to resume his claim to the throne, (4) the Night's Watch crippled, (5) the North in the tentative hands of the evil Boltons, (6) the Riverlands in the tentative hands of the equally evil Freys, (7) his mother clashing with the Tyrell's unopposed, and (8) the massive debt to the Iron Bank—all without his grandfather's influence and money.
1 - The Wars to Come
- The updated opening. Winterfell is restored, the black smoke is gone... and then you notice the Bolton emblem on the central spire instead of a direwolf's head, the sigil of House Stark.
- Despite the absolute hypocrisy in Cersei of all people lecturing someone on rightful thought and consideration before committing to an action; it's hard not to feel sorry for Jaime when she claims that Tywin loved him "more than anyone in this world."
- One of the Unsullied, White Rat, goes to a prostitute and pays her to sing him a lullaby, since he can't have sex with her. Then she betrays him to the Sons of the Harpy and he gets his throat slashed.
- Mance Rayder's death. He accepts his fate bravely, but he admits outright that he doesn't want to die, and his fear is palpable as he approaches the place of his impending death. Then the fire is lit, and as he struggles against his bonds, his terror starts giving way to excruciating pain, all horribly visible on his face even as he fights to stay strong to the very end. And then, as the flames begin to consume him, he starts crying out... Only to be cut short by Jon's desperately-needed Mercy Kill. He can only stare in shock at the arrow in his chest as the life fades from him.
- The situation is tragic on several levels; Stannis doesn't really want to kill him, Mance does not want to die and Jon tries his best to find a compromise, but fails and the man burns all the same.
- His nostalgic, resignated line, "this was my home for many years" is specially sad.
- The frequent cuts to Tormund as he watches Mance die become even worse when you remember that the last thing they said to each other on screen was, "We'll meet again, old friend."
- Brienne giving up on her quest and snapping at Podrick when he tries to encourage her, just as a carriage with Sansa inside drives by.
2 - The House of Black and White
- To secure the loyalty of the North, Stannis offers to legitimize Jon as Eddard Stark's heir, making him Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell. It's something Jon has dreamed of for all his life but he decides to turn it down for the oath he has already sworn to the Night's Watch. The look of longing on Jon's face as Stannis makes the offer, coupled with the Winterfell theme playing in the background, really makes the scene heart wrenching.
- The way Selyse treats Shireen. There's nothing there even resembling the love a parent should have towards a child; in fact, she tells Shireen not to speak to Gilly anymore, one of Shireen's only friends on the Wall (or anywhere.)
- What makes this even worse is Selyse's absolute hypocrisy when Shireen asserts that Gilly would never harm her. "You have no idea what people will do. All your books and you still don't know." Uh, yeah... and whose fault is that? Perhaps it could have something to do with you keeping your only daughter locked away her whole life because you can't bear the shame of her deformity?
- When Daenerys executes Mossador, all of the slaves present at the execution hiss at her, as they feel that their 'Mhysa' has betrayed them. The shocked and confused expression from Daenerys indicates that she's realized too late her actions have backfired horribly.
- Also, Mossador's literally childlike faith in Daenerys is gut-wrenching as he asks plaintively for her to forgive him as if he is about to receive an early bedtime and not capital punishment. It is exacerbated by the calm acceptance he shows in the face of his imminent decapitation. His whispered prayers proving that he truly believes she is in the right even when he is about to die. His loyalty and love for her is that strong.
- Jaime's expression as Cersei viciously tears into him how he was never a father to their children — especially when he points out that if he acted like one, they would have likely been killed, as the truth of his and Cersei's twincest could have become publicly known.
3 - High Sparrow
- Arya throws all her possessions into the canal, but can't bring herself to throw away Needle, the sword her brother gave her all the way back in Season 1. She's almost in tears holding it over the water. Instead, she hides Needle so the Faceless Men won't get rid of it. The Stark Theme playing during the scene is the icing on the cake.
- The shot of Sansa walking past Theon. He ducks his head and looks down at the floor, hoping she doesn't see him, either because he's afraid of what she'll do to the man she thinks killed her little brothers, or because he feels too guilty/unworthy to look her in the eye, or both.
- Before that, her complete meltdown at the thought of returning to Winterfell but having to marry into the family that killed her mother and brother.
- Hell, the fact Sansa is going to marry Ramsay. Hasn't the poor girl suffered enough?
- Although he had been nothing but an unrepentant bastard and coward for the entire show and had absolutely nobody to blame but himself for his execution at Jon's hands, Janos Slynt's final moments elicit some sympathy, mostly due to his actor Dominic Carter's performance. When he breaks down, admits that he has always been afraid of death and begs for mercy, it's enough to make even Jon, who has every reason to hate Slynt for the role he played in Ned Stark's death, hesitate for a moment before delivering the killing blow.
- Similarly, Cersei pays Margaery a visit, quietly accepting every subtle sling and pointed barb flung at her while emphasizing that she'll do anything that her son's wife wants, so long as she's not forced to part from her only remaining child in Westeros.
- Brienne explaining why she's so devoted to Renly, even though she knew he could never love her the way she loved him, and her determination to avenge him because she couldn't protect him.
- The sorry state we find Jorah in and the fact that it is heavily hinted he's most likely slept with the knock-off copycat of Daenerys in his pain and deeply regrets it, since he has now tarnished the memory and high-ideal of his queen as much as their platonic relationship had been previously shredded.
- It's a small detail and more of a Fridge Tearjerker, but notice the dress the woman is wearing resembles the one Daenerys wore at the audience where she banished him. One wonders how that played out in Jorah's mind, whether or not he slept with her.
- Tyrion charming a whore - only to find he cannot bring himself to sleep with her, presumably because of her passing resemblance to Shae.
- It could be that Shae's betrayal has left him hesitant to sleep with other whores in fear of history repeating itself.
4 - The Sons of the Harpy
- When Bronn tells Jaime to give Tyrion his regards if he ever sees him again, Jaime has this to say:
Jaime: He murdered my father. If I ever see him again, I'll split him in two, and then I'll give him your regards.
- Melisandre, after Jon Snow refuses to be seduced by her, saying he's bound by his vow and his feelings are for Ygritte, utters the one line guaranteed to twist the knife deeper:
Melisandre: You know nothing, Jon Snow.
- The heroic death of Ser Barristan the Bold. He faces up against impossible odds, even for a master swordsman like himself, all for the sake of saving his comrade's life. Ser Barristan, in the end, died as he lived: the truest knight in Westeros, valiant and damned well not retired.
- Shireen asking Stannis if he is ashamed of her like her mother is and saying that her mother had explicitly told her she didn't want to bring her along to the Wall with them, assuming Stannis feels the same.
- Sansa mentions that her father could never talk about his sister, Lady Lyanna, but would come down the crypts to light a candle in her honor. He still mourned her everyday and was clearly haunted by the fact that he couldn't save her.
- Littlefinger telling Sansa about the Tourney at Harrenhal. How Rhaegar Targaryen silenced everyone's cheers when he won and crowned Lyanna Stark with blue winter roses over his own wife, Elia Martell. This is the event that eventually leads to Robert's Rebellion. Even Littlefinger notes that such carnage could have been avoided had Rhaegar stayed with his wife and denied his love for Lyanna.
- Tommen standing in front of Baelor's Sept, listening to the common folk call him a bastard and abomination. He is an illegitimate child born of incest, but that's hardly his fault. He just wants to get his brother-in-law free. When he fails to do so, Margaery gives him the cold shoulder.
5 - Kill the Boy
- Daenerys's sorrowful fury over The Sons of the Harpy's last insurrection, particularly Ser Barristan's death.
Daenerys: Barristan the Bold, they called him. He crossed a continent to serve me. He was a loyal friend. And he died in an alley, butchered by cowards who hide behind masks.
- We learn why Maester Aemon was sick previously: he's dying.
- Dolorous Edd speaking out against Jon's decision to make peace with the wildlings. It's hard to argue with him when he reminds you that they killed Grenn and Pyp and fifty more brothers last season.
- After Jon announces his polarizing plan to align with the wildlings, he has a one-on-one talk in his chambers with Olly. It's tough watching Jon try to explain to this boy, who saw everyone he ever knew or loved get slaughtered by wildlings and who looks up to Jon as a hero, why they must join forces with the people he hates. Part of you wants to believe that some of the forgiveness Jon showed Olly after he killed the woman he loved has rubbed off on the kid, but no. It's clear from this point that the men of the Night's Watch, who hate the wildlings now, won't grow to love them any time soon, no matter the circumstances.
- The moment where Gilly apologizes to Sam that she doesn't know more about the world on his side of The Wall. It's a deeply sad reminder of the miserable life she was born into.
- Stannis' aside remarks about Robert being defeated at the Battle of Ashford because Robert ignored Stannis' words of caution may come across as self-centered complaining, but that defeat led directly to the Siege of Storm's End, which brought much misery, slights and zero glory to Stannis. His embitterment is quite justified.
- Brienne meets an old man in the town on the outskirts of Winterfell. Something about this man's bitterness and disillusionment over the loss of The Starks as his liege lords and the fact that he and the rest of his people now have to live under the Boltons' tyrannical rule is quite depressing. Similar to the victimized individuals Arya and The Hound encountered in the Riverlands last season, it's a revealing insight into how the common people are enduring this Crapsack World.
- The shot of Sansa gazing up at the tower that Bran "fell" from in the first episode of the series, an event which served as one of the motives for the war between the Starks and Lannisters.
- Sansa and Theon's reunion in the kennel. It starts out as pure Nightmare Fuel with The Dark Chick Myranda and the aggressively barking hounds, but when the two see each other it's just heartbreaking on multiple levels.
- When Sansa says his name his only response is to shake his head repeatedly, either because he's been brainwashed to only respond to the name "Reek" or because he doesn't want her to recognize and judge him. Maybe both.
- The look on Sansa's face. It's a combination of barely-concealed anger that he's still alive after all he did and disbelieving shock at what's become of him. Sophie Turner captures all the grief, rage and horror at seeing this face from her past who dealt perhaps the worst betrayal of her family.
- Theon/Reek actually recoils from her when he sees how angry she is, as if fearing she's going to attack him. This is perhaps the first time Sansa has ever struck fear into anyone, and it's still so sad.
- Ramsay forcing Theon/Reek to apologize to Sansa for "murdering her brothers." They both know it's not true, but Theon isn't even capable of denying his master. The forced nature of the apology makes it a very hollow gesture. And, of course, a cruel gesture on Ramsay's part.
- What makes it worse is that Bran and Rickon are alive, as Roose, Ramsay and Theon are well aware, yet while Theon/Reek is forced to apologize for something he didn't do, Roose, the man who personally put a dagger through Robb's heart, gets to just watch while Ramsay twists the knife in.
- And the fact that Theon could have told Sansa that Bran and Rickon are still alive (and the measure of happiness and hope that would bring to her), but is too broken to even consider doing so. Instead he's used to taunt Sansa about the loss of her family and hammer in that she believes she's utterly alone in the world.
- And in a very cruel twist, Ramsay points out that with the rest of her family dead, missing, or in the Night's Watch, the closest thing to a living relative Sansa has left is Theon. Ramsay then manages to twist the knife even further by suggesting that Theon, the man who betrayed Sansa's family and is (allegedly) responsible for the death of her younger brothers, should give her away at the wedding.
- Grey Worm's reaction to the death of Ser Barristan.
Grey Worm: I failed him. I failed my men. I failed my queen.
- Tyrion and Jorah reciting the song about the Doom of Valyria as they pass through the ruins is quite tragic and melancholy, especially the poignant way Peter Dinklage and Iain Glen deliver it.
Tyrion: "They held each other close and turned their backs upon the end.
The hills that split asunder and the black that ate the skies;
The flames that shot so high and hot that even dragons burned;
Would never be the final sights that fell upon their eyes.
A fly upon a wall, the waves, the sea wind whipped and churned
Jorah: The city of a thousand years, and all that men had learned;
The Doom consumed it all alike, and neither of them turned."
- The Oh, Crap! look on Jorah's face when he realizes that he's infected with greyscale.
- Spare a thought for the stone men. Remember how Stannis pulled strings and called all the maesters and healers in Westeros he could find to save his daughter from the horrible end that awaited her? Now imagine if unlike Shireen, you weren't the daughter of the Lord of Dragonstone and the king's own niece. If you are poor and infected with greyscale, being sent to Valyria and other fantasy-leper colonies will be your fate. You are left without treatment, alone save for your fellow outcasts in a desolate river valley, filled with waters burning with volcanic ash, no civilization anywhere around you. You're doomed to turn into a feral monster that attacks anything that moves.
6 - Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
- The conversation between Jorah and Tyrion is filled with this for both sides.
- Arya giving the sickly little girl the gift of mercy. Even sadder than the girl's death or her father's grief, is the fact that it signifies Arya drifting even further away from the girl she once was.
- Arya telling the girl that her father loved her just as much as the girl's. It's clear she still misses Ned very much.
- From the same plotline, Arya listening to the Waif's story with a growing smile on her face, clearly happy to have found some commonality with the girl at least - even after all the abuse the Waif heaped on her. It's sad enough that Arya's so desperate for companionship that she's looking for friends among people who've treated her with nothing but scorn, but then the Waif reveals that the whole thing was a lie - and the look of crushed hope on Arya's face is nothing short of heartbreaking.
- Myrcella's rather splendorous romantic fantasy is quickly shattered when Bronn knocks out Trystane and she is left cowering next to his unconscious body while Jaime and Bronn fight the Sand Snakes, both of whom are attempting to abduct her.
- During the trial, the obvious pain and anger in Loras' face when he's force to deny the existence of his relationship with Renly is heart-wrenching.
- The normally unflappable Olenna Tyrell is visibly distressed when Cersei manipulates the High Sparrow into imprisoning both of her grandchildren.
- Margaery shouting for Tommen to do something as she's dragged away is quite upsetting, especially since Tommen just sits there looking bewildered and impotent, wordlessly begging his mother for a counsel that never comes, since Cersei is the one who orchestrated everything. He may be a Nice Guy, but he's no ruler.
- Oh, it's even worse. The immediate reaction of the guards to their queen being taken was to draw their swords, but Tommen actually made a motion with his hand that could be interpreted as ordering them to stand down. Obviously, he didn't want her taken, but he either didn't realize what he'd done or consciously placed his usually admirable pacifistic convictions over the safety and well-being of his wife.
- Sansa's wedding. Every moment of it.
- The simple fact that Sansa is being forced to marry into the family that killed her family, and is being given away by the man who she believes killed her younger brothers.
- Theon asks for Sansa's arm to escort her to the godswood for her marriage, but Sansa refuses. Theon replies that Ramsay ordered him to take her arm, and he will be punished if he doesn't obey. Sansa doesn't care.
- Ramsay asks who is giving Sansa away for the marriage, and Theon pauses for a moment, clearly terrified that this is a trick question. He then stumbles over his response, uncertain how to refer to his relationship with Ned.
- The crowner of it all: Ramsay consummates his marriage with Sansa, ripping her wedding dress to get at her, and she submissively bends over the bed and cries as he takes her. And the whole time, Theon is watching and crying himself, because Ramsay ordered him to.
7 - The Gift
- As mentioned in the Heartwarming moments, Jon hugging Sam before he leaves Castle Black is eerily similar to the scene in Season One where he last saw his brother, Robb. The "Goodbye Brother" theme even plays as Jon leaves.
- Maester Aemon's death. He keeps calling out to his brother Aegon, whom he refers to by his Affectionate Nickname "Egg".
Aemon: Egg? I dreamed... that I was old.
- Sam's eulogy for Maester Aemon is also pretty damn sad.
Sam: His name was Aemon Targaryen. He came to us from King's Landing, a Maester of the Citadel, chained and sworn. And a sworn brother of the Night's Watch, ever faithful. No man was wiser or gentler or kinder. At the Wall, a dozen Lord Commanders came and went during his years of service, but he was always there to counsel them. He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. And now his watch has ended.
- And, of course, Alliser Thorne makes the moment even more depressing by telling Sam, "You're losing all your friends, Tarly."
- Hell, even Thorne seemed upset by Maester Aemon's death — if you look closely at him, he seems to have tears in his eyes as the fire burns.
- An understated, villainous example, but Littlefinger quietly observing the ruins of his infamous brothel is a small moment of loss for our resident Manipulative Bastard. In a way, it's a loss to the viewers as well, considering what a staple of King's Landing it has been for the past five Seasons. He takes it well, but doesn't hesitate to wax poetic about its... charming history to Olenna Tyrell.
- The scene between Tommen and Cersei. It really illustrates how powerless and out of his depth poor Tommen is as he angsts over his inability to help the woman he loves.
- Cersei's telling Tommen how much she loves him in their last scene together before she goes and gets herself imprisoned by the Faith Militant. It actually does leave her in tears.
- Myrcella telling Jaime, "You don't know me." What's really sad is that Jaime can't say anything, because he really doesn't.
- After impressing her by taking down all of Yezzan's pit fighters non-fatally, Jorah removes his helmet to reveal himself to Daenerys. How does she react?
) Get him out of my sight.
- She tries to sound stern but her face and tone betray equal parts of rage and sadness. She sounds weary, revealing how much his betrayal still hurts her and how she misses his friendship.
- Jorah fighting the men hauling him away and his desperate shouts to his Khaleesi.
- For the first time in the series, Margaery loses her composure completely, shouting and cursing at Cersei. And she knows it.
8 - Hardhome
- Sansa confronting Theon about his betrayals of both her personally, and the Starks as a whole. She coldly tells him that if she could hurt him the way Ramsay did, she would, and then furiously condemns him for the murder of Bran and Rickon. Becomes a Heartwarming moment for Sansa when Theon confesses that the two boys he killed weren't her brothers, and that she might still have family alive.
- Theon, answering only to Reek, speaks about his former self in the third person. It's heartbreaking to hear him retell his horrific journey and describing to Sansa the hell that is life with Ramsay.
Theon: I was helping you. You wanted to escape. There is no escape. Not ever. Theon Greyjoy tried to escape. The master knew. He knows everything. He hunted him. He caught him, strapped to a cross, cut away piece after piece until there was no Theon left.
- Tommen falling into a deep depression after the Faith imprison his wife and his mother. He refuses to eat and has locked himself in his chambers, not even letting his uncle Kevan see him. Qyburn relates this to Cersei in her cell, and she looks completely heartbroken for her son.
- Even though she had it coming and completely deserved it, it's hard to see the once proud Cersei slowly starving and reduced to licking water off a dirty floor to stave off her thirst, all the while being beaten and abused to get her to confess to her crimes.
- The last twenty minutes of the episode, in which the Others and the armies begin their invasion, starting with the utter destruction of Hardhome and most of the wildlings living there. What makes it worse is that these people know what the white walkers can do: with no-one to burn their bodies, they will be forcibly resurrected and made to fight their own clans and families. Which is exactly what happens at the end of the episode. All Jon and Tormund can do is watch.
- The wildling chieftainess, Karsi, who sends her daughters off on the boats before the invasion arrived. She fights off wights until she's confronted with turned children. Unable to bring herself to cut them down, she surrenders and lets them maul her to death.
- The look on Jon's face as the boats sail away from what was Hardhome. You can tell he wants to go back and help so badly, but he knows he can't.
- Tormund Giantsbane is even more affected by what he sees. He's driven to Manly Tears.
- The meeting between Dany, Tyrion and Jorah is very bittersweet. Dany clearly wants to forgive Jorah, but as Tyrion reluctantly points out, eagerly welcoming back a traitor would be seen as a sign of weakness, which is something she can't afford to do. Thus, she has no choice but to banish Jorah once again, and Jorah willingly returns to the fighting pits to become a gladiator, not caring whether he lives or dies so long as he can see his Khaleesi just once more.
- The man who is trying to get money for his three children, only to be dragged away by the uncaring gambler.
9 - The Dance Of Dragons
- Shireen being sacrificed to the Lord of the Light via being burned at the stake on Stannis's orders. Absolutely horrifying to watch, devastating for Selyse, who had advocated it so zealously earlier, and one of those things nobody was expecting to happen.
- The build up to the scene is equally heartbreaking. Shireen enthusiastically talks to Stannis about the book she's reading and, for the first time, Stannis doesn't use his typical Brutal Honesty. She tells him she's eager to help him in any possible way, and even repeats what her father told her at Castle Black. When she hugs him, Stannis is quicker than usual to hug her back. It really shows that, despite everything, their father-daughter relationship is one of genuine love... and then Stannis whispers, "Forgive me".
- The flawless acting only makes it more tragic. Stannis talks (and by the end of the scene, looks) as if he were dead inside, Shireen shifts from enthusiasm to terror when she sees the stake, and an already nervous Selyse breaks down as she tries to save her daughter; all this while Melisandre keeps her own Dissonant Serenity intact.
- It's not just the fact that Shireen suffered such a cruel and horrifying death. It's the fact that she first screamed for help from her father, then kept screaming for her father to stop, begging him not to do it until she could do nothing else but scream. Shireen died knowing that her own father sentenced her to death and did nothing to stop it.
- An even more horrible, gut-wrenching detail: she's still clutching the stag Davos got her as she dies. The one person who would have stood up for her and protected her like her father should have. Even worse, Davos begged Stannis to let him take Shireen with him only to be rebuffed.
- Even the soldiers look incredibly disgusted and disturbed from the moment they realize what is going to happen to this sweet little girl. Many of them can be seen turning away or outright leaving, some with tears in their eyes. It's likely that a large portion of these soldiers, even the sellswords, have daughters or little sisters of their own, and are rightly horrified that their king and general is capable of burning his own child alive.
- Selyse's Big "NO!" after Shireen dies is pretty heart-wrenching.
- This is where we discover just how sad and flawed a character Stannis Baratheon truly is. Having lived his whole life believing he should fulfill his duties no matter what and being led to believe that he is not only a king, but The Chosen One and that the fate of the world rests on his shoulders, his entire worldview has been shattered by conflicting values: his own principles versus the greater good. His stubborn, obsessive personality and desperation to succeed has led him down a path him that ultimately puts him in a situation where he feels he must burn his only daughter and heir alive for The Needs of the Many. To hear him try to put his own predicament into words, you get the sense of how trapped this great warrior and so-called king really is.
- In the scene where he orders Davos away to Castle Black, Stannis can barely even look his friend in the eye, let alone face him directly.
- Jon is not taking his loss at Hardhome well. He believes that the rescue was a complete disaster and that he failed everyone who died.
- To make matters worse, he is met with the contemptuous, accusing eyes of his Night's Watch brethren when he returns from his mission with five thousand wildlings. His brief smile upon seeing Olly dies when the boy turns his back on him.
- The poor little girl who ends up getting picked by Meryn Trant in the brothel. He makes Walder Frey look decent by comparison — at least Walder's wife had gone through puberty! The girl looks bewildered and scared as he drags her off — not least because her clothing and badly-applied make-up suggests that she isn't trained at all for this — and the Madame clearly isn't happy about it either. Even worse, Trant comments that he'll need a "fresh one" tomorrow.
- The moment during the pit fighting scene where Jorah locks eyes with Daenerys as he's stabbing a man in the heart. It's a raw moment that shows how far this man has gone to prove his love and devotion: He's to the point where he's sold himself into slavery, fighting to the death and killing men, just to be close to her.
- Hizdahr's death. Very quick during a high-action sequence, but thanks to Adaptational Heroism being fully in play, it will be felt in future episodes.
- Drogon getting hit by the Harpies' spears repeatedly. He just shrugs them off, but Daenerys' reaction is just heart-wrenching anyway.
- When Dany watches the Games, she's visibly disgusted by it all, but she's the only one. Everyone else is cheering, both the nobility and commoners alike. Hizdar was right, the Games were the one thing that brought masters and slaves of Mereen together, which is rather depressing.
- When Jorah proves to be the winner of the gladiator combat, Dany has to mask her look of concern with one of cold disapproval. At least if Jorah had died it would have been over; now she has to go back to being The High Queen.
10 - Mother's Mercy
- Jon's assassination. He's stabbed once by a few members of the Watch, including Olly, who had idolized him and does so with sincere regret in his eyes.
- Worse still, the music that plays during the scene is the Starks' Leitmotif, specifically "Goodbye Brother" from Season 1. Even though Jon never bore the Stark name, he died the same way his father and half-brother died, betrayed by his own people while trying to do what was right.
- Selyse hangs herself out of despair after Shireen's death. Even if their marriage was cold and unhappy, Stannis is clearly shocked by her death. The grimness of the whole scene combines this with Nightmare Fuel.
- It's implied that he doesn't even have time to see his wife properly buried. They have to leave her body there, slumped against a tree.
- Cersei walking through the streets completely naked while being insulted and having garbage thrown at her while her feet bleed. Once she gets back to her home, she breaks down crying. Never has she seemed so disgraced and humiliated, and while some may say she's had it coming, it's still upsetting to see her like that.
- She was also subjected to a Traumatic Haircut before this... and when it concluded, part of The Rains of Castamere were played, signifying how low she'd fallen. Even as her feet begin to bleed, she has spit, garbage, and who knows what else on her and has all kinds of verbal abusive thrown her way, Cersei keeps looking up at the Red Keep and you can almost see her thinking, "Tommen." Tyrion was right — for all her faults, Cersei really does love her kids. Which is going to make it even worse when she hears about Myrcella's fate...
- Myrcella's sudden death, right after she reassures Jaime that she is happy to have him as her father. All of Jaime's efforts to connect with his child and Doran's attempts to avoid war are dashed because of one woman's desire for revenge.
- Trystane Martell will likely be just as devastated, considering how much he seemed to love her.
- Stannis' storyline ends in one big Shoot the Shaggy Dog. His burning Shireen alive ultimately proves to be pointless. Half his men desert the night before the battle, likely because they don't wish to serve a king who is willing to sacrifice his only child, meaning that he might have lost because of the sacrifice. Melissandre abandons him during his greatest time of need, and his wife Selyse hangs herself over grief of their daughter's death. The icing on the cake is that his death is served by Brienne of Tarth, who reminds him of his hand in murdering his brother Renly. In the end, Stannis dies knowing that all of his Shoot the Dog actions amounted to nothing.
- It ends up being one for Brienne as well. She finally gets to dish out some vengeance on her sworn enemy, Stannis, who killed her beloved King Renly. What she finds is a defeated, wounded, sad shell of a man who shows no fear, freely admits to the crime he's accused of, makes no excuses, does not beg, and is entirely accepting of what is about to happen to him. She even visibly hesitates when he gives his last words: "Go on, do your duty." You can see that she's finally realized that the man she's hated for so long is not a monster but someone who is, in many ways, just like her.
- Just seeing Stannis, who up until now has been The Stoic Warrior Prince in command of an army and in pursuit of a just cause, at the end of The Battle of Winterfell. He's gravely wounded and all of his men are dead. We watch him, the same man who had to be dragged out of The Battle of Blackwater, try futilely to stagger off into the woods using his own sword as a crutch. Where before we'd seen him cleave through one soldier after another, here he's barely able to overcome two Bolton men who attempt to kill him. As he collapses against a tree trunk, crying out in pain and rolling his eyes at his maimed leg, Stannis goes from a Memetic Badass to a portrait of crippling defeat.
- The shooting script had Stannis deliver a Final Speech to Brienne, where he admits he doesn't believe in the afterlife (contrary to his religious beliefs) but if there is one, asks her to apologize to Renly for him because he knows he'll be in Hell and won't get the chance. He begins to ask her to also apologize to Shireen, but he's immediately overcome by grief and tears. Not wanting to die weeping in front of a stranger, he cuts it short and tells Brienne to do her duty.
- After suffering through a grueling winter snowstorm, then having their supplies burned by raiders in the night, then getting relieving weather only after sacrificing your king's princess, Stannis Baratheon's army (well, what's left of it) is finally able to march on Winterfell and defeat the Boltons. That is, they would, if their sellswords hadn't lost faith and rode off during the night with all the horses. Oh, and their queen hanged herself, and their one source of magic and foresight into the future just hightailed it out of there as fast as she could. And Stannis still wants to march. After walking the rest of the way to Winterfell, the men are too tired to even effectively fight the massive Bolton cavalry charge they are met with upon arriving. Everyone there knows they have no chance of winning. Unfortunately, their leader is Stannis Baratheon, and there's no way he's backing down now that he's reached this point. As you can imagine, the army is utterly massacred, with any remaining stragglers getting cruelly dispatched by Ramsay and his men.
- Melisandre arriving at Castle Black as the Sole Survivor of Stannis's army. She's never looked more lost or hopeless, not to mention unflattering from the long ride. Then the silence of her Heroic BSoD crushes any hopes Jon or Davos had, when they realize that Stannis is gone and so are all his people.
- The abuse those poor little girls suffer at the hands of Ser Meryn Trant. If not for Arya's Batman Gambit, one or all of them would have surely been beaten and raped without mercy. And he'd totally get away with it.
- Arya losing her eyesight.
- Her grief at Jaqen H'gar's Heroic Sacrifice. Only it wasn't truly Jaqen H'gar. And his sacrifice wasn't truly heroic.
- The way Arya cries out, "No! You can't die!" is heartbreaking. The kid's lost her father, mother, one of her older brothers, her two younger brothers (to her knowledge), Syrio, Yoren, Gendry and even The Hound. For a moment, it seems she has lost yet another person important to her (which is sad in of itself, since Jaqen was much colder to Arya here than back in Season 2). Meanwhile, The Waif gloats over how Arya didn't really know "Jaqen" at all. Great acting from Maisie Williams.
1 - The Red Woman
- Edd's reaction to Jon's death. For the first time in the series, he's completely speechless. No jokes, just sadness over the death of his last friend.
- Also Ghost's reaction to seeing his master dead. He knew Jon was in trouble but was trapped inside his pen and all he can do is howl in mourning. When reunited with Jon's body, he nuzzled his hand and then laid in a corner moaning.
- The deaths of Doran Martell and his son Trystane at the hands of Ellaria and the Sand Snakes. It's made particularly heartbreaking with him asking during his final moments what will happen to his son. Consider now that House Martell is effectively extinguished with the last surviving members of their line now dead.
- Melisandre's depression over how far her prophecies have gone off the rails. She looks heartbroken even before the glamour comes off.
- Cersei's excitement at a ship from Dorne sailing in becomes heartbroken horror as she sees a somber Jaime with a coffin covered in a golden shroud, and realizes that her daughter is dead. After everything she's been through last season, the thought of Tommen secure on the throne and Jaime bringing her only daughter back is what's kept her going...
- Cersei reminiscing about how Myrcella was always a kind and gentle soul, all the while showing some heartbreaking self-awareness.
Cersei: She was so good. I don't know where she came from, she was nothing like me. I thought, if I could create something so sweet, so pure... then maybe I wasn't the monster I thought I was.
- Even worse is the aftermath. She tells Jaime that she can't bear the thought of Myrcella decaying in a dark crypt, and worries that the prophecy the witch told her is all coming true...
- Margaery's continued ordeal in prison. She doesn't protest her innocence anymore; all she wants is to see her brother again.
- A blind Arya having to beg on the streets of Bravos to survive, then being beaten every day by the House of Black and White acolyte (the Waif), who mocks her before leaving. It's implied that this has been going on since last season. The scene is mercifully brief, but it still conveys how bad things are for Arya.
- A terrified Sansa and Theon realizing the Bolton soldiers have found them, and they're going to be taken back to Ramsay.
2 - Home
- Theon breaking down in tears, admitting that doesn't want to be forgiven for his crimes and all he wants to do before he dies is to escort Sansa to the wall and return home to the Iron Islands.
- Bran seeing his father and uncle as children happily playing in Winterfell, only to be snapped out of it by the three-eyed raven.
Bran: You finally show me something I care about, and then you drag me away!
Three-Eyed Raven: It is beautiful beneath the sea, but if you stay too long, you drown.
Bran: I wasn't drowning! I was home!
- Meera is clearly still hurting over her brother Jojen's death, and while Bran is learning about his past and developing his powers, she can do nothing but wait — stuck north of the Wall with only Bran and Hodor for company.
- Poor Fat Walda when she realizes Ramsay has killed Roose and he intends to also kill her and her newborn baby to secure his birthright. She might have come from a backstabbing family of opportunists and was married to a sociopath, but she wasn't a bad person herself and didn't deserve to be fed to Ramsay's dogs along with her innocent child.
- The saddest part is that she had no say in any of it. She didn't get to choose who she married, she was forced to do it. And while she could have found happiness with Roose, ultimately there was only one way it could have ended and there was nothing she could have done to stop it.
- Melisandre openly breaking down in front of Davos, of all people, revealing how deeply her faith has been shaken to him.
- Tyrion's childhood story to Viserion and Rhaegal about asking for a dragon on his name day and his reaction to hearing that they had gone extinct:
3 - Oathbreaker
- Though they were traitors, its hard to not feel sympathy for the Night's Watch conspirators when they are about to be hanged. When they are asked what their final words are:
- Jon's feelings of devastation by having to take this course of action.
- Just Jon leaving the Night's Watch in general can count as this, especially after confronting the people who killed him. He spent seasons proving his loyalty to the organization and to protect the Wall from the threat of White Walkers, and he was repaid with betrayal. The fact that Olly, who he helped train and mentor, spent his last moments hating him with no regrets killing him was bad enough. When Jon decides to give his Lord Commander's cloak to Edd and walk away, he's just destroyed by all of this and leaves, feeling there's nothing more he can do for the Watch now.
Edd: What do you want me to do with this?
Jon: Wear it. Burn it. Whatever you want. You have Castle Black. (walks out) My watch is ended.
- Daenerys goes to Vaes Dothrak and meets the Dosh Khaleen. As she tries to posture to and intimidate them, the eldest tells her she remembers Daenerys eating the stallion's heart and she thought Khal Drogo would conquer the world with her by his side. They all thought so of their khals. But now they are here, and so is Daenerys. She's young, but she'll learn like they did how things actually work. It could just be a reminder to Dany that life can suck like hell, but the beaten-down and almost tender way she says it just makes her sound like a mother comforting her daughter.
- Arya drinks from the fountain and receives her eyes again, signifying she has truly become "no one." While it's also a Moment of Awesome, it's a sign that her identity may have been truly destroyed now.
- The Umbers betraying the Starks by handing over Osha and Rickon after giving them shelter for several years. Not only have they already unceremoniously beheaded Shaggydog, the fact that Osha and Rickon are now at the mercy of Ramsay Bolton doesn't promise good chances for either of them.
4 - Book of the Stranger
- Combined with heartwarming, Jon and Sansa reuniting, in the first Stark children reunion since Season 1. They don't even say anything to each other in the courtyard; they just stare and finally exchange a huge hug.
- The death of Osha. To the very last, she remained loyal to the Starks, and her last act was a failed attempt to protect her "little lord" Rickon.
- Made even sadder by the fact that none will remember her. With the exception of Bran, who no longer cares, nobody who knew about her at Winterfell survives. So, nobody will remember her loyalty
- Theon's return to Pyke and reunion with his sister is almost the complete opposite of the reunion of the Stark siblings. While Jon and Sansa's meeting is one of reminiscence and warmth, Yara and Theon's is one of anger, sorrow and Yara's suspicion of her brother's motives for returning to Pyke. When Yara accuses him of returning only to take advantage of Balon's death and crown himself King of Pyke, Theon tearfully says he had no idea Balon was dead until he had arrived, and that his first decision after hearing that was to support his sister. You can hear how betrayed he feels by his sister's words.
- Loras' imprisonment by the Sparrows absolutely broke him. He doesn't care anymore if he is declared innocent or not, he just want it to end, one way or another.
- After putting up with a number of mean-spirited taunts from Daario about being old, Jorah gets his ass handed to him by a Dothraki bloodrider. Seeing him getting knocked around so brutally is heartbreaking... and then there's Daario's response when he sees Jorah's greyscale.
- A Lhazareen Dosh Khaleen remembers how she was forced to marry her khal when she was just a 12-year old girl and after she gave birth to a female child in the following year, he broke her ribs. Another example how absolutely vile the Dothraki culture is.
- And if you remember anything about the Lhazareen from Season 1, you'll know that this teenage girl who got to be a Khaleesi for a short time (she was widowed at 16 - four years of forced marriage) was one of the lucky ones.
- When Kevan Lannister proves stubborn about authorizing Cersei and Jaime's plan to overthrow the High Sparrow, Cersei asks him if he wants to get his son back. Kevan responds, "Of course I want him back!", with visible tears in his eyes.
- Prior to the arrival of Jon's sister Sansa at Castle Black, Edd calls out Jon for wanting to abandon the Night's Watch despite the impending threat of the White Walkers and pleads with him to reconsider but Jon feels he's failed and there's nothing more he can do. Later, when Sansa tries to convince Jon to help her reclaim Winterfell from the Boltons, Jon snaps at her and, in the process, reveals just how absolutely broken he's become over the course of the series, wanting nothing more to do with the conflicts that have brought nothing but pain and suffering to him and his friends and family... until he receives Ramsay's ultimatum.
Sansa: Winterfell is our home, and Arya's and Bran's and Rickon's, wherever they are! It belongs to our family and we have to fight for it—
Jon: I'M TIRED OF FIGHTING! It's all I've done since I left home! I've killed brothers of the Night's Watch, I've killed Wildlings, I've killed men that I admired, I hanged a boy! Younger than Bran! I've fought... and I lost.
5 - The Door
- The entire Battle of The Cave of the Three-Eyed Crow. The Night's King intercepts one of Bran's visions and finds the location of The Crow's Cave by touching Bran. The Children of the Forest put up a valiant fight but do little to stop the advancement of the White Walkers. First, most of the Children die defending Bran and the Crow. Then Summer dies for the same. The Night's King kills the Three-Eyed Crow. Leaf performs a Heroic Sacrifice against the wights. And finally, Hodor is left behind to die holding back the door against the wight. All of this makes this episode one of the biggest tearjerkers since the Red Wedding. Just saying "hold the door" is going to be painful for the fanbase.
- The worst part of it is, if Bran hadn't ventured into greenseeing himself, none of this would happened. Imagine the guilt he must be feeling at not only causing so many deaths, but the fact that he's the reason Hodor is the way he is.
- Hodor's Heroic Sacrifice is sadder as this is right after you find out why he is the way he is, and what makes it sadder is the possibility that Hodor-in-present suddenly remembered the moment he broke down and learned the truth of his condition. Three words: Hold. The. Door. For bonus points, we get to hear the progression from those three words to "hold door" and finally to Hodor. In short, it's literally Narm done right.
- The circumstances surrounding his condition become even bleaker when further examined. Consider that he was deprived of his intelligence or a normal life and reduced to a simpleton, whose whole point in existence was to sacrifice his life to buy enough time for his friends to flee. Unlike other characters whose downfalls were attributed by their own actions, Hodor wasn't even allowed to have that. Even though he went down performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save others, it wasn't because he chose to, it was because he was meant to do. His entire life was ruined by circumstances beyond his control, as well as the one responsible (Bran Stark) and there was nothing either could do anything about it. This makes him hands down one of the most tragic characters in the show, if not the one.
- And yet in spite of all that, he wasn't under Bran's control at the end - as much as he has ever been free to make his own decisions since the event that turned him into a simpleton, he was free to choose not to sacrifice himself. And he still did it.
- In a show where many heroes fall like fools, Hodor was a fool who fell like a hero.
- Arya watches a play about Robert's death and Ned's execution that followed, and to add insult to injury Ned is flanderized as a bumbling fool. Note also the fact that here, Arya can clearly see the act of his head being chopped off whereas in real life, she was thankfully spared the sight.
- There is also the fact that Arya finds out that unlike before, her target is not an Asshole Victim but a perfectly friendly pregnant woman.
- How the other characters in the play are represented. Tyrion goes from someone actually concerned with the fate of others and Sansa in particular to a selfish schemer who literally takes Littlefinger's place as the traitor. Joffrey is made to appear completely innocent despite already being a cruel tyrant who needlessly exacerbated the conditions of Robb's rebellion. Cersei is not jealous and spiteful like in reality. Even Robert is humiliated despite being twice the king either his immediate successor or predecessor were.
- Also sad when we realize from the perspective that Arya is watching from. Unlike the audience (us, not the play's audience) Arya has no idea how much was fabricated. For all she knows, her sister really was raped by Tyrion, and Tyrion was the one who plotted to have Ned killed.
- As a final play of manipulation, perhaps to cause future division, Littlefinger advises Sansa that she needs to forge an army loyal specifically to her since Jon is only her half-brother. The fact that she keeps this meeting hidden from Jon leaves the implication that the seeds may have been planted.
- The moment during the war council when Davos states that even the bravest men "don't want to see their wives and children skinned for a lost cause..." and you clearly see Melisandre in the background, looking away in shame. Because this is exactly what she did to Stannis, who was one of the bravest men and certainly didn't want to sacrifice his own wife and child, yet did so because she convinced him to fight for a lost cause.
- Jorah's bittersweet reunion with Dany. She has finally forgiven him but his greyscale has progressed to a point where he can no longer be with her. And even though Dany had threatened to kill him twice before, the reality of his impending death makes her break down in tears.
- After finally gaining some brief respite from his ordeal under the Bolton's captivity, Theon along with Yara are forced to go into exile when Euron wins the Kingsmoot and orders their execution. Given the many enemies the Ironborn have made, it's unlikely they will find any safe refuge to turn to for the moment.
- Euron revealing Theon's castration to the entire Iron Isles, and they laugh.
6 - Blood of My Blood
- The episode opens on a pitifully sad note. Despite the final efforts of Hodor, Summer, and the Children, the undead horde catches up to a still-unconscious Bran and a rapidly-flagging Meera. With no options left, Meera pulls Bran's sledge to the relative shelter of a tree and tearfully steels herself to defend him to the last. When Bran finally wakes, they both understand that, barring a miracle, this is the end of the line for them.
Bran: Meera. They found us.
Meera: (pulls him into a desperate hug, sobbing) I'm so sorry.
(Bran quietly reciprocates the gesture, accepting the inevitable.)
- Fortunately, Benjen Stark proves to be that miracle.
- It's also heavily implied that Bran knows his mother and Robb are dead, if the blink-and-you'll-miss-it visions he has are anything to go by. He also clearly witnessed his father's execution. Knowing that, and hearing how completely calm Bran is when he wakes up and realizes the wights are closing in, is enough to make one wonder if Meera isn't the only one who's crossed the Despair Event Horizon following the previous episode.
- A window to Sam's appalling past life as we watch Lord Tarly "in action", an Archnemesis Dad of the highest caliber and a bigger asshole than Tywin Lannister, which is saying something. It ends with Sam being banished from his home just because his father does not accept Gilly due to his hatred of Wildlings.
- After all he's been through, and for trying to stop Margaery's walk of shame, Jaime loses another thing that he holds dear to him: His place in the Kingsguard, at the order of his own son, the king.
Jaime: Im not going to the Riverlands.
Cersei: What, then?
Jaime: Im going to give Bronn the largest bag of gold anyones ever seen and have him gather the best killers he knows. Ill take them to the sept and Ill remove the High Sparrows head and every other sparrow head I can find.
Cersei: You cant.
Jaime: He has our son! He stole our son!
- The brief shot of Edmure Tully, weakened and in chains, as Walder Frey plans to use him as a hostage to take Riverrun back from his uncle the Blackfish. He's been imprisoned by the Freys since the Red Wedding.
7 - Broken Man
- Even though he refuses to aid the Starks, it's hard not to feel sorry for Lord Glover, after all he's been through. The episode's title could be applied to him as well.
- Trying to convince a feisty little girl in a position of power who's wise beyond her years to aid his cause definitely reminds Davos of Shireen.
- The fact that Robb's actions have broken the Northern Houses' Undying Loyalty to House Stark, as well. The Lannisters and Baratheons are not the only houses whose reputations have been ruined.
- Hearing Lord Glover refer to Talisa as "that foreign whore." While you can certainly argue that Robb made a bad political move when he married her, Talisa herself was a kind woman undeserving of such scorn. Yet to the very people she was queen of, her reputation seems to be that of The Vamp who lost them the war.
- The Blackfish refusing to listen to Jaime because he's an oathbreaker. Once again, his greatest heroic achievement, killing the Mad King, bites him in the ass. Even worse when he brings up how he failed to complete Catelyn's quest.
- On a subtle note, Bronn cuts Jaime short when he tries using his family's motto - given his long travels and friendship with Tyrion, and how often he'd used the "Lannister always pays his debts" line, it could be more residual guilt than being fed up with the phrase.
- Arya's complete terror after being stabbed by the Waif as she stumbles through the crowd, too afraid of where the Waif might be hiding to ask anyone for help.
- To put this in perspective, the scene before had Arya successfully buying her way onto a ship back to Westeros. She finally decided she was no longer No One - and then she's brutally stabbed in the stomach.
- The final shot, where the devoted builders we'd been following through The Hound's eyes during the episode are revealed to have all been slaughtered for the crime of having no material worth for the Brotherhood Without Banners thugs to steal.
8 - No One
- The fate of poor Lady Crane. Arya finally found someone who was a truly good person Lady Crane (who even looks a bit like Catelyn), and the Waif murders her. To throw salt in the wound, the Waif admits that she murdered Crane painfully just to spite Arya for failing her mission. Even worse when you remember that she was happily married and expecting.
- The scene where Arya confronts J'aqen is this. After he bluntly confesses to sending the Waif after her, you can see tears start to form in her eyes briefly. Twisted and amoral as he is, Arya still saw J'aqen as a mentor, maybe even a substitute father/older brother figure, and only joined up with the Faceless Men because of him. And even though she knew the consequences of failing her mission, it still stings.
- The Reveal that Edmure has a son that he's never met, due to the whole snag of being locked up in the Frey dungeons. Going by a rough year-a-season timeline that the show tends to use, this kid's a toddler already.
- And to rub it in, Jaime even points out that the little boy was conceived on the wedding night.
- Brienne's mission to Riverrun is a complete failure. Not only did she fail to secure troops for Sansa, but the Blackfish is dead and Riverrun's soldiers under Edmure don't look likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.
- Brynden saying Sansa is just like Cat, his beloved niece, and admitting that even if he didn't need to protect Riverrun, he would have too few men to help Sansa take back Winterfell, though he knows how important it must be to her because they are both fighting for their homes.
- The way Riverrun is taken back is just tragic on all sides.
- First, we have Edmure who, after being prisoner for so long, comes to the castle to demand being let in under duress from Jaime and betraying his own family's ancestral seat and ordering his own uncle to be chained and given over to the Freys for a chance to finally live a normal-ish life and see his wife and son.
- Second, we have the Blackfish, who saw through the ruse and didn't want to let Edmure in but the Tully forces undermine his authority because he renounced his rights to Riverrun when he broke ties with his brother Hoster, so he goes to fight one last time while knowing it will really be the last time and he can't help Sansa, to die an unceremonious off-screen death.
- Third, we have the Tully forces, who are first torn between loyalty to the rightful lord of Riverrun Edmure and the man who led them to take back the place and who was ready to help them keep it, Brynden, only to see their eventual decision to trust Edmure over the Blackfish is the wrong one as he sells them out.
- And still gets thrown back in a cell.
- Fourth, as Brienne and Podrick escape Riverrun, Jaime catches sight of them, and he and Brienne mournfully wave each other farewell, knowing that the next time they meet, it will be as enemies.
- On top of that, the way the Lannisters march into Riverrun and unfurl their banners strongly invokes images of the Wehrmacht marching down the Avenue Foch.
- Jaime telling Brienne he's surprised Sansa is alive because in his experience "girls like her don't live very long." He could only be thinking about his and Cersei's daughter Myrcella, who, like Sansa, was sweet and naive and who was recently murdered by the Sand Snakes in Dorne.
- There's just something incredibly depressing about Jaime's speech to Edmure about Cersei. He insists that she "needs him" and he'll do anything to get back to her, but he utterly fails to see that his devotion to her is completely one-sided. Cersei is the woman who shagged his cousin when Jaime was being held prisoner, lashing out at him for defending Tyrion from her bullying, telling him outright it was his fault Tywin died and has used sex to manipulate him since he was a teenager. When Jaime was with Brienne, he started to realize who he was and that being a worthy knight was important to him, yet here he's throwing it all away just to be Cersei's lapdog.
- Even before then, Jaime and Brienne's meeting is quite sad. From her end, Brienne has to watch Jaime work in the service of his evil, twisted sister and remind him (and herself) that she will fight him if she has to. And from Jaime's end, he has to face Brienne knowing that he is more than capable of being a better person, in large part with her help and inspiration, and yet he is slowly throwing away his own growth because of Cersei. Furthermore, just like Tyrion was in the earlier seasons, we can see that Jaime is clearly disgusted by the actions of his father and the Freys, but because of his obligations towards his family and house, he must still continue these actions and alliances. When Brienne calls him out for giving Riverun back to the Freys, who usurped it via the Red Wedding, he just hisses, "Exactly!" while noticeably cringing and grimacing. It's very painful to see.
- After repeated failed attempts, Tyrion finally manages to break the ice with Grey Worm and Missandei. But then the slave masters, just like they predicted, attack the city and they lose faith in Tyrion for ignoring their warnings.
- Cersei may have brought her fate on herself, but her reaction to Tommen's distance and his (seemingly) unwitting betrayal of her is painful to watch. She's slowly been stripped of everything she cares for: power, respect, and now one of the few remaining people she loves.
9 - Battle of the Bastards
- Rickon's death. Ramsay, sadistic bastard that he is, lets him go and run across the battlefield to his brother Jon, who rides desperately to save Rickon. Ramsay takes his time firing arrows at Rickon until the fourth hits and kills Rickon mere feet from a devastated Jon (not instantaneously, as his pained expression shows). After retaking Winterfell, Jon tells Sansa he intends to bury him with their father.
- As if to hammer in the point that yes, he's really dead, we're treated to a shot of his corpse being riddled with Bolton arrows as Ramsay lets loose another volley.
- Sansa tears up a bit when she's trying to make the case to Jon to write Rickon off before the battle. It may be the right and pragmatic thing to do, but that doesn't make giving up on him any easier.
- Davos finds the toy he gave to Shireen last season right beside a pyre and immediately realizes what happened to his sweet little friend.
- Wun Wun fights beside Jon until the very end. He singlehandedly smashes Ramsey's hopes of holding out in Winterfell, taking a barrage of arrows in the process. He falls to his knees, looks at Jon and seems to be holding on, and then Ramsay shoots an arrow into his eye.
- In a twisted way, that was a mercy kill for him, compared to the slow death by infection he would have surely suffered from all those wounds.
- While Smalljon Umber undoubtedly deserved to die for selling out to the Boltons, even he was just doing so to protect the North from the Wildlings, but thanks to his actions, he has likely permanently sullied the reputation of House Umber. The same house that had been one of the Stark family's most loyal supporters and to which his father Greatjon had proudly proclaimed Robb the King in the North, will now be forever regarded as traitors who betrayed the Starks when they needed them most.
- Jon promising his sister Sansa just before the battle that he won't ever let Ramsay touch her again and that he'll protect her no matter what, but Sansa has become so jaded and broken from all the lies and abuse she's been through that she can't even fully put her faith in Jon anymore — her own brother who loves her and who she loves — and her reply is heartbreaking:
- The moment itself is awesome, but there's something heartbreaking about the fact that Sansa Stark, the girl who once dreamed of nothing but being a Princess Classic, has been broken so thoroughly that she just smirks psychotically as she has a man Eaten Alive.
- That Sansa was driven to go to Littlefinger for help, and then has to deal with the aftermath of owing him for saving the day.
10 - The Winds of Winter
- Tommen killing himself after realizing what his mother had done.
- The tragedy of this is multi-layered: on a political level, Tommen would have had the chance to be a decent king in a world that wasn't so crapsack — or even in another era where he didn't have to deal with the fallout from Joffrey's disastrous reign. Given time, he at least would have been a better king than the last three. On a personal level, remove all the fantasy elements, and it's a distraught, confused, hopeless, roughly 14-year-old kid committing suicide. And in about six years of this show, as horrifically crapsack and brutal as the world could be, this is the first time it's shown an actual suicide onscreen.
- He knows that Cersei did it. He thought Cersei was the kind of person who would have Prince Trystane murdered, and he's put together why his mother's personal abhorrent bodyguard wouldn't let him go. That she killed the woman he loved, the man he'd come to see as a mentor, his uncle, and desecrated a place he held holy.
- It's somehow even worse because he does not cry, or break down, or hesitate for a second. The poor boy clearly crossed the Despair Event Horizon as soon as he saw that fire. He just gives a Thousand-Yard Stare out the window, and when he steps out of it, it's so casual it's like he was going for a stroll. It's evident that he was so sick of being powerless that he decided to do the one thing he still had any control over: ending his life.
- This is also the only choice Tommen ever gets to make by himself in the entire series.
- If you listen closely, you can hear the distant screaming. The fire is burning, and Tommen likely realizes he can't stop it, or rather that he could never stop anything.
- All three of Cersei's children are now dead and she was the direct or indirect cause for each of them. While Joffrey was an Ax-Crazy psychopath, it was Cersei who fostered this lunacy through incestuous breeding, severe coddling, and an inability to ever discipline him. Myrcella and Tommen were both sweet, kind-hearted kids who simply got caught in their mother's brutal machinations and lost their lives because of it.
- Even worse, Cersei was responsible for the death of three kings, all of them related to her: She aided in the murder of Robert; her constant spoiling of Joffrey, not to mention that he was the result of her incest, made him a megalomaniac tyrant; and she ruined Tommen's attempts to be a good king because of her pettiness, paranoia towards the Tyrells, and desire for power, which made him feel the Despair Event Horizon.
- Also, take note of what he does right before he jumps; he removes his crown and walks offscreen to set it down. He finally realized that he was no real king, and quietly abdicates his throne before stepping off the ledge. He doesn't even jump. He just stands and lets himself fall.
- In the last moments of his life, when he stands on that ledge, Tommen actually stands tall and upright. In nearly every scene with him he's always had his head slightly bowed, as if the weight of his crown was weighing him down. But in his first and final act as his own person, he stands tall without anyone or anything to weigh him down or pressure him into doing things he doesn't want to do.
- Not to mention, compare and contrast Cersei's reaction to Joffrey's death versus Tommen's. With Joffrey, she was furious, shocked and heartbroken, desperately trying to save him and screaming for justice and revenge for her child. Then for Myrcella, she was devastated but not surprised and talked about how sweet and good her only daughter was and how she couldn't stand to think of Myrcella all alone in the crypts. Tommen? She just tells Qyburn to burn him and then bury him with Tywin and his brother and sister before moving on to take the throne. Tommen was a sweet, decent person and his own mother barely mourns his death.
- Another kicker? The showrunners said that if Cersei had been there, Tommen wouldn't have jumped. What was she doing? Torturing Unella, instead of comforting her son, putting her needs above her only surviving child's. Ouch.
- Made even worse by the fact that she has reason to resent him. Throughtout the season, Tommen sabotaged his mother's attempts to fix the situation at every turn.
- It's even sad in a formal sense: the shot doesn't change during the scene, and the camera stays focused on the window when Tommen's out of frame. It makes his suicide seem all the more inevitable and all the more tragic.
1 - Dragonstone
- While riding with the Brotherhood Without Banners, Sandor returns to that old farm from Season 4 where the farmer and his daughter provided him and Arya with shelter and we found out what happened to them afterwards: as they were starving to death, the father killed himself and his daughter to spare them both a slow death. Sandor is wracked with guilt for stealing from them and leaving to their fate and after having his vision where he sees the dead crossing the Wall, he decides to bury their bodies so they don't become one with the horde. Even Thoros, who served as a Vitriolic Best Bud so far, helps him in burying them and give them their last rites.
- Jaime telling Cersei that they need to talk about Tommen, referring to him as their "baby boy" for perhaps the first time. For her part, Cersei is past the Despair Event Horizon and no longer wants to think about her children now that they are all gone.
- The worst part? Cersei believed that Tommen "betrayed" her which is Harsher in Hindsight if you remember in the last season when Tommen sided with the Faith and abolished the trial by combat behind her back. This might also be one of the reasons for Cersei's apathetic reaction to his suicide.
- The sight of Jorah Mormont, locked in a cell in the Citadel, slowly succumbing to advanced stages of greyscale, and still hoping to hear that Daenerys has finally crossed the Narrow Sea. Thankfully she does now, but the possibility of the two reuniting and Jorah being cured of his illness is bleaker than ever.
- While generally a heartwarming scene, when Arya is talking to the Lannister soldiers, one mentions his wife just had a baby and hopes it will be a girl, because girls take care of their fathers when they are old. Arya doesn't say anything, but the look on her face when he says this makes it all too clear she's thinking of how she has no father to take care of anymore.
- The fact that the poor guy doesn't even know if he has a son or a daughter due to the fact that common soldiers don't get access to ravens. Imagine being a parent working far away in order to work and have money to feed the mouths of his loved ones back home. Even worse to the loved ones at the most cynical scale, they might be thinking that they shouldn't get their hopes up about their sons/brothers/husbands/friends coming home safely.
- The Lannister soldier also hopes his baby is a girl because "all boys do is go off to die in someone else's war." You have to wonder how long he's been feeling disillusioned with his job.
- Jon as the King of the North has to decide what to do with the Karstark and Umber heirs following the Battle of the Bastards. He sees that the heirs are children, young enough to be his siblings as well. While he's obviously furious with the Umbers for turning in Rickon and getting his little brother killed, he also knows that the kids had nothing to do with their parents' idiotic and cruel decisions to side with Ramsay. Jon gives them a second chance and refuses to strip them of their titles, because he knows what it's like to be blamed for your parents' decisions. Sansa calls him out for this, but Jon chooses mercy, rather than pragmatism.
2 - Stormborn
- It's just heartbreaking seeing Theon's Trauma Button triggered, prompting him to return to his cowardly persona as Reek.
- This now marks the second time that Yara has been let down by Theon's cowardice, but this time, it has even more devastating implications. The tears on her face say it all: she's not just disgusted with her brother, she's disappointed and hurt that he can't muster the courage to save the one person who actually believed in him. And only minutes after she had been praising his loyalty and willingness to protect her. Euron's almost demonic cackling just to taunt her only twists the knife even further.
- Just the fact that this abandonment stuns Yara, of all people, to the point of tears. She's let down her hard, aloof mask by choice before during her more tender moments with her brother, but this is the first time we actually see that armor start to crack.
- Arya finally has a reunion with Nymeria, alive and well... but her beloved direwolf turns her back on Arya and returns to the wilderness.
- While this makes sense, it becomes sadder when you consider that Nymeria is now the alpha of the wolf pack. If she went with Arya, it would mean abandoning the pack and leaving it leaderless. You can tell that Nymeria wants to go with Arya, but she is obligated to stay with the pack. For anyone who has had a pet, specifically dogs, this can be hard on the heartstrings.
- Arya recognizing Nymeria cannot return to being a domesticated pet and must remain free in the wild with her pack when she says to herself, "That's not you" — a Call-Back to her telling Ned, "That's not me," when Ned tells her about her future as a lady of a castle.
- Lady Olenna has grown bitter, which is justified considering the fact her entire family was murdered last season, but lets this bitter mask slip once to reveal her sadness, when she mentions her granddaughter as a popular and beloved queen that died anyway, in order to convince Dany to be harsh if needed, and not loved by everyone.
- With no cure for greyscale in sight, Jorah is given the choice between falling on his sword or being shipped off to die among the stone men.
- The moment of farewell between Jon and Sansa. Neither want Jon to leave and two members of the Stark family must separate again after being reunited, but he has to go south for Danys aid if the North is going to have its best chance at defending against the White Walkers. It is reminiscent all over again of the separation of this family — and they just found each other again.
- During Daenerys' war council, Tyrion advises against the usage of foreign soldiers to strike King's Landing directly and instead opts to send the Unsullied to attack his birthplace of Casterly Rock. It's understated, but the look on everyone's face when he suggests this underscores the gravity of his decision to order a campaign against his own family, and the castle he might have inherited in another life.
- While largely a Heartwarming Moment, there's a moment before Grey Worm and Missandei have sex where he pulls away from her and asks her not to undress him completely. Grey Worm has never appeared vulnerable and uncomfortable about the mutilation that the Masters put him through until this moment. Anyone who has crippling issues and insecurities about their bodies will make one heart's feel for Grey Worm, in which his lack of sexual organs make him impossible to be successful in romance. Thanks to the gods that Missandei sees their love more than that, as she believes that they can always find a way to reaffirm their love.
- Before that, after he kisses her, Missandei breaks the kiss. Jacob Anderson's look of complete heartbreak will break your heart. Fortunately for Grey Worm, it was only to take things further.
- Disliked as the Sand Snakes were, their deaths are played quite sadly. Nymeria has to watch Obara die first and screams a Big "NO!" before she too is dispatched. They were ultimately killed with their own weapons.
3 - The Queen's Justice
- The death of Olenna Tyrell. As dignified as she went out (while also getting an awesome moment in by getting the last laugh on the Lannisters by revealing her part in Joffrey's poisoning), you're still seeing one of the favorite characters in the entire series meet her end.
- Even if you hate the Lannisters, the look on Jaime's face when Olenna reveals to him that she was the one who poisoned Joffrey definitely tugs at the heartstrings. And she tells him this only after he allows her a dignified and painless death via poison as opposed to the more horrific methods Cersei had in mind, despite the entire conversation between them up to that point basically amounting to Olenna accusing Jaime of being too controlled by Cersei and Jaime not really bothering to deny it.
- Really, the entire conversation between Jaime and Olenna can be seen as one for both parties involved: Olenna faces death with dignity and graciously accepts her fate, downing the poison in a couple of quick gulps... But only because she's really got nothing left to live for after the deaths of her son and grandchildren. Jaime essentially wins two battles-in-one at Casterly Rock and Highgarden... but is clearly unhappy about his continued submission to Cersei and has to deal with the fact that he let the murderer of his eldest son (and the woman who indirectly caused the downfall of the Lannister family) die a painless (and presumably quick) death.
- Jaime also has to face the hard truth that Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey, which means the numerous consequences of Cersei's crusade against Tyrion were completely avoidable. What consequences, specifically? The deaths of Oberyn, Shae, Tywin, Myrcella, Doran, Trystane, Areo Hotah, Margaery, Loras, Mace, Kevan, Lancel and Tommen to name a few, plus Cersei's public shaming, the destruction of the Sept of Baelor, the rebirth of Gregor Clegane into a half-dead abomination and the completely hopeless war they currently find themselves embroiled in.
- And the worst part of it all for Olenna? All of this was started by her desire to protect her beloved granddaughter from Joffrey. What she hadn't counted on was the dysfunction of the Lannisters to cause the deaths of not only Tywin, Myrcella, Lancel, Kevan, and Tommen, but the complete and total collapse of her house and everyone that Olenna held dear in the span of a few moments. All of that was for nothing. Talk about shooting the shaggy dog.
- Even if they deserve it for all the murders they committed, the revenge Cersei carries out on Ellaria and Tyene for murdering her daughter Myrcella is still horrifying and heartbreaking. Cersei forcefully kisses Tyene, who quickly realizes that Cersei has duplicated and taken the same poison that Ellaria used to kill Myrcella and plans to have Ellaria be Forced to Watch her daughter die and literally rot before her, with Cersei even vowing to force Ellaria to eat in order to keep her alive for as long as possible. As Cersei leaves, theyre struggling against their chains, just inches away, desperately trying to reach and comfort each other in Tyene's final hours.
- Just to twist the knife even further, Cersei has Qyburn confirm in front of them that the poison they've used on Tyene will mean certain death, but they can't be sure when, as the poison varies on how long it takes to kill based on the strength of its victim's constitution. Ellaria is left to be tormented with the knowledge her daughter will die, but not when.
- As if all the above wasn't bad enough, this represents a tragically pointless ending to House Martell as a whole, since all of its members were destroyed by a vicious cycle of revenge: Oberyn died trying to avenge his sister and her children while Ellaria, in turn, wanted to avenge him and went as far as crossing the Moral Event Horizon by killing his brother and nephew because they refused to declare war with the Lannisters. And for what? For Oberyn's children to brutally die one by one, and Ellaria being thrown into prison and suffering A Fate Worse Than Death without having contributed to the Lannister downfall in any meaningful way. What a Senseless Waste of Human Life.
- That being said, there is a small glimmer of hope: Oberyn told Cersei back in Season 4 that he had eight daughters. Given that we've only seen the deaths of his three oldest daughters, it's likely that House Martell is still clinging to life like House Arryn is.
- On another note, for all that she's an utter scumbag, Cersei's grief and rage when she talks about Myrcella and how Ellaria murdered her is genuine enough to make you feel a little sorry for her, as you're reminded that she's a mother who saw her beloved daughter killed for no reason but proxy revenge against her. She even confesses that she was so close to Myrcella that she broke with tradition and nursed her daughter herself, rather than handing her over to a wetnurse — a very rare thing for a queen to do.
- Sansa looks fully in control as the Lady of Winterfell but a happy tearjerker occurs when her mask slips upon seeing that one of her remaining siblings — her brother Bran — is alive and has returned home. Then it's followed up by a less happy one as Bran brings up her time as Ramsay Bolton's wife/prisoner in Winterfell, revealing he knows what happened to her. Sophie Turner does some amazing acting with her eyes here, as you can see the moment all of the trauma comes rushing back at once.
- It's hard to see Sansa teary-eyed and obviously overjoyed to see her little brother, only to have Bran barely react to her hug or her presence, and then say something that he clearly has no idea or even concern as to how hurtful it is for her. His stint in beyond the Wall has clearly taken its toll on the little boy she once knew.
- Theon also goes through another one this episode. He's saved by what appears to be a Greyjoy ship and while lying on the ship's wooden floor shivering and possibly crying, the captain of the ship asks him about Yara and his escape. Theon replies he did try to save his sister only to be rebuffed by the captain who tells Theon that he wouldn't be there if he tried. Theon is left alone on the floor without any respect from the other men on the ship due to his actions.
- This exchange between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.
He enjoys talking. Daenerys:
We all enjoy what we're good at. Jon: I don't.
- We are reminded that although Jon Snow is the great heroic leader that the world needs and the series' definitive badass, it's a destiny that weighs heavily on his soul.
- Despite everything that has happened, Tyrion holds no malice against Sansa. He seems to intuit that she had nothing to do with him being framed for Joffrey's murder while talking to Jon.
- "And now the rains weep o'er our halls."
4 - The Spoils of War
- Tyrion is despondent watching the destruction of the Lannister army. He's always given the impression that he no longer felt any loyalty to his family, going so far as to plan an attack on their ancestral house, but he can hardly speak watching the army burn.
- His concern for Jaime is particularly evident when he finally finds him amongst the chaos. As Jaime charges Drogon, all Tyrion can mutter is a quiet, "You fucking idiot."
- Made worse by the fact that Tyrion has been pushing for a pacifist approach to defeating Cersei and knows Daenerys has opted for the violent approach because he got outsmarted by Jaime, Euron, and Cersei. The very thing he's been trying to prevent from the start is happening right before his eyes, and he very well may consider himself to be responsible for all of it.
- For all we may know, some of the Lannisters soldiers may have once fought under Tyrion's command during the Battle of the Blackwater. Now he was watching some of the men he once fought side by side being either burned alive or being slaughtered by the Dothraki.
- Jaime has a quiet Heroic BSoD as he watches his army burn. When he finally spots Daenerys after Drogon is forced to land due to his injury, you can see him being overcome by a tranquil fury as he decides to charge her.
- It gets worse when Jaime tries to tell some of his soldiers who are next to him to take cover when Drogon breathes his fire on them, and they strategically put up shields — not that it did them much good as they were still burned to dust. Jaime can't even look them as he glances away from the burning bodies and when he does look at them, you can see the sorrow in his expression as he watches what's left of the soldiers as their burnt ashes float away.
- Worse still, under Aerys II's rule, several people were burned with hundreds of witnesses, Jaimie one of them. Seeing his men wailing about covered in flames must have brought back some really painful memories.
- Meera decides to go home so she can be with her family when the White Walkers come. She gives a heartfelt goodbye to Bran, and it's very obvious that she loves him. However, all Bran says in response is a mere "thank you" for bringing him to the Three-Eyed Raven. Meera realizes that the Bran she loved died in the cave when he became the Three-Eyed Raven.
- When Sansa and Arya reunite, Arya's face lights up when she hears that Bran is there as well... until she sees Sansa's face and realizes that something is very, very wrong, and the viewer sees the mirth fade immediately.
- Bran giving the dagger to Arya stating that it's wasted on a cripple is filled with this. When Bran was small, he wanted to be a knight and a warrior and probably would have wanted to hold the dagger on him. By giving it to Arya, he's more or less giving his childhood away.
- When Sansa and Arya see Ned's statue and the latter notices the poor likeness, with Sansa pointing out that the people who built that statue didn't know him and that most of the people who did know Ned would have died in the wake of the Greyjoy and Bolton sacks and occupations. Arya coming back to Winterfell and finding unfamiliar faces with Ser Rodrik and Maester Luwin more or less forgotten and unremembered likewise highlights how cruel the passage of time is, with the Stark children's own recent childhood memories becoming a bygone era right in front of them.
- Sansa's situation in this episode becomes this when you consider none of her hopes or wishes have come true. Jon gets acknowledged and accepted by society after dealing with Bastard Angst all his life, Arya gets to be a badass Action Girl and, upon returning to Winterfell, she gets to openly train and be a fighter without euphemisms or fig-leaf like "dancing master". As for Bran, he didn't get to be a knight, having become a cripple, but he's beyond caring because he's become the three-eyed raven. Sansa, on the other hand, didn't get her dream of a happy marriage with family and children. She's taking the changes in Arya and Bran hard, heightening her loneliness after Jon — the sibling who is most familiar to her now — must go south and she finds herself doing her best to adapt to and understand who Bran and Arya are now.
- When Arya tries to gain entrance to Winterfell, she mentions Ser Rodrik and Maester Luwin to the guards. They have never even heard of them. It really drives home how much has been lost in just a few years.
- Theon makes his way back to Dragonstone where he reunites with Jon and asks him if Sansa is alright, only to be grabbed by the collar by Jon, who makes it clear that Theon rescuing Sansa is the only reason why Jon isn't killing him on the spot for betraying the Starks back in Season 2. When Davos inquires about Euron's attack on Yara's fleet and mentions that everyone thought Theon died in the battle, Theon remarks, "I should be", clearly still haunted by abandoning his sister to Euron in addition to once again being reminded of his betraying his adopted family.
- The Lannister soldiers period. If their appearance from the first episode is any indication, they are just normal, average men who are drafted in the war to earn a living (and sometimes not even then: if their lord commands them to fight, they have to, period). Despite their villainous acts (killing the people of the Reach, taking the food supplies, etc.), they're mostly just following orders. So seeing them getting killed by dragonfire, being turned to dust or just plain chased by the utterly merciless Dothraki, you can't help but feel sorry for them, despite their actions.
- The sheer hopelessness of their struggle is enough to make the audience feel exactly like Tyrion does. Against the Dothraki, with their pike formation and discipline, they had a chance. But against a fully-grown, fire-breathing dragon? It quickly goes from awesomely to horrifying, because there is nothing they can do. They're burned alive or blasted to ashes without a chance to retaliate, and those that aren't get trampled and butchered by Essos savages who barely understand the concept of taking prisoners (unless they're collecting new slaves). Cinematic and epic though the "battle" is, the director pulls no punches depicting just how inhumanly awful using a dragon in battle would be.
5 - Eastwatch
- Sam's disillusionment with the Citadel. As he leaves with the books and scrolls that he stole, Sam looks back at the library one last time, no doubt thinking of how happy and excited he'd been when he first arrived.
- Even though Sam gets no respect from the Archmaesters, they admit they haven't told him about his father and brother's death yet because they don't have the heart to.
- Jorah and Daenerys remarking how hard it is for them to say farewell once again.
- Jons reaction to receiving a raven telling him his younger brother and sister, Bran and Arya, are alive. His immediate thought is he needs to go home, worried for his family in Winterfell (and the North in general) because he also learns Bran has seen the Night Kings army marching towards Eastwatch: "If they make it past the Wall..."
- Jon reveals he thought both were dead. Brienne had seen Arya alive and Sam had seen Bran, but both instances were so long ago and he's had no word since that he had lost hope of seeing them again.
- Tyrion's reunion with Jaime. Jaime is still angry about his brother's murder of their father and is clearly holding back tears while Tyrion attempts to defend his actions. The way Tyrion almost cries about the abuse he suffered under Tywin's hands is simply heartbreaking. It's almost as if he was reduced to an abused and traumatized little boy.
Jaime: (on the verge of tears) Don't talk about our father...
Tyrion: (voice breaking) He was going to execute me! He knew I was innocent! He hated me because of what I am! Did he... did he... think I wanted to be born this way, did he think I chose it?!
- The revelation of Rhaegar Targaryen's annulment of his marriage with Elia Martell is actually Harsher in Hindsight. Though it did reveal an implication that Jon is indeed the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne, the fact that Rhaegar abandoned his wife and two children so he could be with Lyanna ignited a bloody civil war that destroyed thousands of lives and brought his house into ruin in the first place. This makes the man himself come off like a selfish idiot who never thought of the consequences of his actions. It also makes Oberyn's death and the destruction of House Martell more tragic; all because of Rhaegar who wanted to be with his mistress. Not to mention that his actions cost his house their hold on the Seven Kingdoms, leaving his two younger siblings, including the one he didn't know, into exile and living in poverty.
- Jerkass that he was, it's still somewhat heartbreaking to see Randyll Tarly go to his death. Not because of the man himself, who's a weapons-grade asshole, but because his son Dickon chooses to join him in death. Randyll barks at him to stay back in his only moment of humanity, wanting his beloved son to survive. Dickon, however, is in full Honor Before Reason mode and refuses to back down. Randyll accepts this with a small smile, proud of his son. Randyll and Dickon end up dying together, facing their end with dignity and fatherly love. Randyll may have been a massive asshole and Dickon a kind young man who died out of misplaced loyalty for his terrible father, but in the end, they died as father and son: together.
- The fact that Samwell saves the life of Jorah, whom Dany has come to treasure and love — if only as a friend and counselor — and Dany has unknowingly repaid Sam by killing his father and brother. True, Samwell didn't like his father, but that still might sting, and he definitely loved his brother.
- Jaime is in the middle of a Heroic BSoD when Bronn hauls him out of the river. In one fell swoop, he's lost his army, his loot, and any illusions he might have had about winning a war against an enemy with three full-grown dragons. It starts to sink in for Jaime that his side is done. His voice is so quiet, so small, when he says, "That was only one of them." No matter how big an army they raise, no matter what clever tricks they try to throw at their opponent, no matter how defiantly they stand against the opposite side, they will lose the war. You get the sense that maybe he would rather that Bronn had let him drown.
- His desperation in trying to convince Cersei of the same is heartbreaking, as he knows full well that the two of them are trapped; they can't surrender without dying and they can't fight without the possibility of not surviving. What really turns out to be a kick in the gut is how Jamie described the battle, with the Dothraki enjoying the slaughter as though it were a game to them.
- In Winterfell, Sansa is doing her best to try and keep things together as Jon's regent. The Northern lords are restless, believing that the "King in the North should stay in the North," and as such, say that perhaps they should have chosen Sansa as their ruler. While Sansa publicly smooths things out and reasserts Jon's authority, Arya is suspicious of Sansa's motives and, in a private talk with her sister, reveals she believes Sansa didn't do an adequate job of defending Jon because she thinks Sansa wants to be queen herself. When Sansa is crushed that Arya could believe such a thing, Arya responds that Sansa also feels guilty about wanting this and Sansa doesn't even protest — her face is just sad.
Sansa: (quietly) I have work to do.
- The fact that despite finally coming home and feeling welcome in Winterfell, Arya's experiences and her suspicious, now-cynical nature continue to color her worldview, putting her at odds with Sansa as she can't empathize with Sansa's own experiences. That she might actually get manipulated by Littlefinger, of all people, into clashing yet again with her sister is just the stuff of nightmares.
6 - Beyond the Wall
- Just the plain and simple fact that not only have we lost one of Dany's beloved dragons after seven seasons, but he's gone over to the side of the Night King once and for all.
- Thoros of Myr quietly dies in the night on the island on the lake. Either he froze to death or died of internal injuries. Even the Hound tries to offer some comfort by remarking, "It's supposed to be one of the better ways to go."
- Beric, who is one of the more loquacious characters in the group, is rendered near speechless by Thoros's death. He manages the funeral rites and then just walks away from the group without another word.
- When the Hound points out to Beric that, without Thoros, this life is his last, he says that he's looking forward to a true death.
- After Dany swoops in with her dragons to save Jon Snow's party, the Night King spots Viserion, picks up his javelin, and hits him with deadly accuracy.
- The look on Dany's face is heartbreaking. Imagine seeing one of your children die, and you're forced to leave him behind as he sinks into the cold depths. She does not scream or cry either. Her face just goes blank with numb devastation. Every member of the party just stares in pure horrified shock.
- Upon seeing Viserion get shot down, Drogon cries out, and Rhaegal even swoops down in a vain attempt to help. The two both mourn their brother after he sinks.
- Just the sheer horror of watching what happens to Viserion, while remembering that dragons are very intelligent creatures. The spear slices his neck open, causing blood and fire to spew out violently. Viserion then crashes through the permafrost ice of the lake, leaving a massive trail of blood behind. Finally, we see the light in his eyes go out alongside a final, fading cry before he sinks into the lake.
- Viserion joining the Night King's side as a wight has an added level of sadness to it. Both Drogon and Rheagal were named after people who were either good to Dany, or considered good people. Viserion was named after the one brother who used to be a sweet kid, then turned insane and violent, which is the state we see him in during season 1. This parallels in a tragic way with the timid Viserion, who will now be opposing Daenerys as a hostile Wight.
- The situation in Winterfell. No matter how many ways you look at it, Littlefinger is succeeding at dividing Arya and Sansa. With so many fans looking forward to the reunion of the Starks, it's downright heartbreaking to see two of them being forced apart in the span of one episode.
- The sheer terror on Sansa's face as Arya threatens to steal her face. After so many years of being threatened and abused by almost everyone around her, wanting nothing more than to go home and be reunited with her family, she's finally done it but now, her own sister is the one threatening her, so she's still not safe, her younger brother is not really himself anymore, and the only sibling who is protective of her is currently not at home. The poor girl.
- The only consolation is how Arya turns it into a strange mixed message where after threatening to steal Sansa's face, Arya gives Sansa Littlefinger's dagger. Granted, there was a long, long, LONG pause of Arya holding it out point-first, but she still gave Sansa a method of self-defense instead of stabbing her and taking her face.
- Arya noting, "The world doesn't let girls decide what they want to be". Which, given the fates of not only Arya and Sansa, but also of other female characters (Talisa, Lyanna Stark, etc.), is absolutely true. She then gives us a way to use her face masks for purposes other than assassinations... only to remind the audience that one has to kill to get such a mask in the first place.
- The final moment we see Benjen Stark. He sacrifices his second life for that of Jon's, sending him off to Eastwatch before fending off the horde of wights by himself. Jon's last sight of his uncle is the wights overwhelming him.
- Dany and Jorah overlooking Eastwatch as Drogon and Rhaegal audibly cry continuously over losing their beloved brother. Jorah advises Dany that they need to leave, but she asks him to wait a moment longer, still holding onto hope that Jon will return. After a moment, she turns to leave, but thankfully he finally shows up.
- Dany watching over Jon as he rests, seeing once and for all that he truly did take a knife to the heart for his people.
- Dany in general after Viserion dies. When Jon wakes and sees Dany, her face finally just crumbles to pieces. It seems that the impact of her child's death has finally, truly hit her, worse than when she actually saw it, and she's fighting not to break down into nothingness and visibly losing, and to top it all off, her worry for Jon's life made everything worse for her (feelings-wise). She was damn close to hitting the Despair Event Horizon until Jon survived.
- Jon sees the look of misery on her face and instantly feels that it's all his fault. He even wishes that she didn't come to save them.
Jon: I'm so sorry...
- Just the way Dany's voice shakes with pure pain, especially when she asks Jon to understand that the dragons are the only children she will ever have. She is trying so hard to hold herself together and she can barely even speak. She sounds much younger and far more vulnerable than we've heard her in years. Massive props to Emilia Clarke for her acting in this scene.
- Just the fact that losing a child had to be what finally got her to realize that her pride and demand for Jon to bend the knee to her was far less important than saving the world from the Night King. It turns into a Heartwarming Moment however when she tells Jon this and he decides that he might just bend the knee anyway after her saving them.
- Danaerys being uncomfortable with being called 'Dany' (which is meant to be an endearing nickname) because it reminds her of Viserys, whom she loathed for his abuse. And yet she still did have some affection for him, because she did name one of her dragons after him — Viserion. Which makes Jon's usage of that nickname, after the events at Eastwatch, even sadder and more upsetting for her.
7 - The Dragon and the Wolf
- Much of the conversation between Cersei and Tyrion falls into this category. Both of them are distraught, especially where the deaths of Myrcella and Tommen are concerned.
Oh, poor little man. Your papa was mean to you. Do you have any idea what you did when you fired that crossbow? You left us open. You laid us bare for the vultures and the vultures came and tore us apart. You may not have killed Joffrey but you killed Myrcella, you killed Tommen. No one would have touched them if Father was here, no one would have dared— Tyrion:
I have never been more sorry about anything— Cersei:
I will not hear it, not from you. I will not hear it! Tyrion:
Alright. You loved your family, and I have destroyed it. I will always be a threat. So put an end to me. If it weren't for me, you'd have a mother. If it weren't for me, you'd have a father. If it weren't for me, you'd have two beautiful children. I've thought about killing you more times than I can count. Do it! Say the word. (Long Beat where Cersei and Tyrion choke back their hatred. Tyrion pours both of them a goblet of wine)
I am more sorry about the children than you could ever know. Cersei:
I will not— Tyrion:
I don't care, I loved them. You know I did. You know it in your heart, if there's anything left of it.
- The very fact that this entire nightmare for Westeros, going all the way back to Robert's Rebellion which saw countless people die and families destroyed, all started because Lyanna Stark decided to run away with Rhaegar and let her fiancee Robert Baratheon believe she was kidnapped, rather than admit that she didn't love Robert, and Rhaegar was willing to cast aside his wife and children, and the security of the realm, to marry another woman.
- Imagine what it felt like for Ned. He knew the truth, but because his friend Robert had led a war based on a lie and he knows Robert wants to kill every Targaryen there is, Ned had to hide all these truths because if he didn't, his own nephew, an innocent child he protected, raised, and loved alongside his own children as per his promise to Lyanna, would be killed. And he had to keep these secrets for years because the consequences are far too dire if he breathes a word of the truth.
- This also makes the deaths of Rickard and Brandon Stark more tragic, because they believed Lyanna was taken by force and they each went to King's Landing to bring her home — except that they were put into a sick and twisted Combat by Champion courtesy of the Mad King and suffered a Cruel and Unusual Death. If Lyanna learned of this, imagine how she'd feel knowing that her actions caused the horrendous deaths of her father and brother.
- Lets not forget the deaths of Elia, Rhaenys, and baby Aegon. The three of them were murdered (and in Elias case raped) because Rhaegar ran off with another woman and Aerys kept them hostage, even when he sent his own wife and children away. And to make matters worse, Rhaegar annulled his marriage to Elia, meaning her children would have been considered disinherited.
- Robert's marriage to Cersei also becomes much more heartbreaking in hindsight with these revelations. If Robert did know the truth about Lyanna, maybe he would've moved on with his life and been a better king, and his marriage to Cersei would have been somewhat happier, with Robert's legitimate children being the rulers of Westeros, and perhaps even Joffrey could've been raised in a better way. All the crap Littlefinger and Varys and Tywin pulled in the series could have been for naught, with Robert (and Ned) possibly still being alive. To think that Robert devoted his entire life to a single woman who never actually loved him makes everything more bitter, harsh, and tragic.
- Jorah's face when Jon and Dany agree to sail together for PR reasons. While the previous episode made it clear that he wholly supports their relationship, you can tell it still pains the poor guy.
- The trial of Littlefinger is a tragic moment for a number of reasons:
- Sansa's Tranquil Fury and Death Glare as she does a Kirk Summation of how Littlefinger's treason tore apart and killed her family. It's not clear when she realized that the man she trusted attempted to assassinate Bran, but it's clear that was the last straw for her and she absolutely cannot forgive that. As she puts it, Littlefinger used the assassination attempt to start the feud between the Lannisters and the Starks, causing a Trauma Conga Line for all the surviving children. Petyr claimed to love her mother but betrayed Cat and Ned, and sold Sansa, whom he claimed to love, to Ramsay. One wonders what could have happened if Littlefinger approached things peacefully...
- While listing Littlefinger's many betrayals of her family, Sansa also notes that he turned Cat and Lysa against each other and tried to do the same to her and Arya. Sansa may not have fond memories of her aunt, but she was still family and Lysa did love her family once upon a time, before her Sanity Slippage and obsessive love for Petyr took over.
- The irony in how Bran hears and probably relives how he was tossed off a wall and then nearly stabbed in bed, but due to being the Three-Eyed Raven he's detached from his trauma and coolly recounts that Littlefinger betrayed their father.
- How it's set up as a Call-Back to the last time Sansa didn't take Arya's side, when Joffrey attacked Mycah: Sansa realizes that Littlefinger is trying to get her sister out of the way, after Arya had been missing for years. Arya has also never wanted to be a lady, let alone the Lady of Winterfell; she wants to twirl around her sword, do her own thing as a warrior, and be home with Sansa, Bran, and Jon. Sansa's Big Sister Instinct and bullshit detector both ring true.
- Arya sincerely asks her sister if she's sure she wants to go through with the trial. Sansa says that it's not about what she wants but about what must be done. She knows that killing the man she trusted is no easy task, let alone killing a man period.
- In a weird way, Littlefinger's death has more than a few shades of this if only because he gets so pathetic during it that while you may be glad the man he became is dead, you could at least feel sadness for what he once was — a kind little boy who just wanted to win the hand of the girl he loved and only ended up getting his ass kicked and nearly killed.
- During the conversation after Littlefinger's death, Sansa says that Arya is the strongest woman she has known. Arya replies that this is the nicest thing Sansa ever said to her. The two sisters really were on bad terms before, and it took years of separation and trauma for them to realize that they are family and have to stick together.
- Brienne trying to talk some sense into Jaime and get him to reason with his sister, so that Cersei will agree to support Daenerys and Jon in the North. With a counter that's half flippancy, half despair — "And tell her what?" — Jaime stalks away, leaving Brienne looking crushed with the knowledge that she's failed at what Sansa charged her to do, and also that she hasn't managed to get through to the man she respects, admires, and possibly even loves. She has no idea that, in the end, he chooses to help the North.
- This conversation between Jon and Theon.
Jon: Our father
was more of a father than yours
ever was. Theon:
He was. Jon:
And you betrayed him. Betrayed his memory. Theon:
(voice breaking) I did. Jon: But you never lost him.
He's a part of you. Just like he's a part of me.
- Jaime at long last parting ways with Cersei. For all that the relationship has become utterly toxic and exasperating to many viewers, Jaime has always loved Cersei. There has never been another woman for him. Near everything he's done has been for her. Meanwhile, if Cersei ever loved Jaime other than as a possession, that time has long since gone, and it's heartbreaking to see Jaime finally realize that his sister has become someone who'd sell out the rest of humanity — including him — if it meant she could rule over the corpses. There's utter devastation in his face when Cersei signs to the Mountain to kill him if he leaves, and he's on the verge of tears as he says, "I don't believe you." He has nothing left now, except the hope of some form of redemption in the North.
- Compounding this scene is the tranquil, beautifully sad scene of snow falling over King's Landing, a calm before the oncoming storm.
- With the Night's King now riding the undead Viserion, imagine how Dany will feel when she learns of this, knowing she's going to have to kill one of her beloved dragons again.
1 - Winterfell
- A more understated moment but still very sad: when Jon finally reunites with Bran, who he last saw in a comatose state, his joy soon disappears into bewilderment when he realizes Bran has turned Creepy Monotone. Of course, that is because he is the Three-Eyed Raven and little does Jon know that Bran, the little brother he once knew, has long died.
- Jon reuniting with Arya in the Godswood. It's been eight years since they saw each other and they rush to each other, holding the other just as tightly as they did in the beginning of the series when they had to say good-bye. Jon sees that Arya still has the sword he gave to her then, the only possession she could never bring herself to part with. When Jon asks if she's ever had to use it and Arya responds, "Once or twice," it becomes a little heartbreaking because of all Arya's been through with Needle.
- Jon's smile on seeing Needle fades as he studies it and realizes that Arya has used it. But he doesn't press the matter after Arya says "Once or twice," and he nods with understanding. He's her brother, and he knows what it's like to live with the memory of killing. Arya quickly covers it up with a smile and asks to see his sword, but it's obvious she knew what he realized.
- It takes a bittersweet turn when Arya says Sansa is protecting her family, and so is she... to which Jon says that he is family too. Arya hugs him and asks him not to forget that.
- Sam learning about the deaths of his father and brother. Initially, he is very enthusiastic when he meets with Daenerys who thanks him for curing Jorah. But the atmosphere changes when she realizes that Sam is a Tarly and reluctantly informs that she had his father and brother executed. Sam nearly breaks into tears but keeps his composure in front of Dany.
- Even though Randyll treated him like crap, Sam still loves his father and was grieved to hear of his death; but what really broke his heart is the death of his little brother, Dickon, who never mistreated Sam. Before Sam hears about Dickon, he consoles himself that at least he can visit home now that Dickon's in charge but when he hears Dickon is gone too, Sam breaks down.
- Though Sam is obviously the one who suffers the most in this scene, Daenerys is clearly affected by the realization that she executed the family of the man who saved the life of her most loyal follower. As Sam leaves, her face practically screams My God, What Have I Done?. The look on her face is heartwrenching as she has to break the news and sees the man so looking forward to serving her break down.
- Jorah too. He was clearly happy to be introducing Daenerys to Sam and no doubt expected the man who saved him to be rewarded. Instead, he has to watch Sam take in the news that his father and brother are dead — and at the hands of the woman Jorah has Undying Loyalty to, no less.
- Shortly after finding out about his father and brother's death, Sam goes to Jon to tell him the truth about Jon's parentage. They're happy to see each other and then Jon notices something is wrong — Sam tells Jon of Randyll and Dickon's deaths and asks if Jon would have executed them. Jon is shocked and sorry for Sam's loss but can't say he wouldn't because he, himself, has executed men for disobedience.
- Sam telling Jon the truth of his parentage. Jon is in shock, disbelief, and sounds on the verge of anger when he approaches Sam and says, "My father was the most honorable man I've ever met. Are you saying he lied to me my entire life?" Sam tells Jon that Ned did it to protect him and if he didn't, Jon would be dead because Robert Baratheon would have murdered him. As Sam tells Jon his full name, that he's the true king of the seven kingdoms, Jon can only step back in helplessness, grief, and disbelief as the situation dawns on him and his world comes crashing down. It doesn't even look like Jon has realized the woman he loves is his aunt yet.
- When Jon replies Daenerys, the woman he has come to love and believe in, is their queen, Sam replies Jon should be king, not Daenerys. And if/when she and other people find out, and if people start taking sides, there might be a civil war at a time when they can least afford it. As Sam asks, Jon took off his crown to save his people, but will Daenerys do the same if Jon is proven to be a viable heir to the throne ahead of her in the line of succession?note And this after Jon had said he didn't want the Northern crown, all he wanted was to save his people.
- The full impact of this statement on Jon can't be undersold. Jon Snow's entire life and his character revolved around being a bastard and the son of Ned Stark. Being told that neither is true is nothing less than undermining his entire identity and his sense of self as he has come to see it. Jon has lived his life and based his decisions entirely on this identity; he's strived to live up to Ned Stark's code and beliefs, set his foundation on being Ned Stark's son, and thought he could never entirely be a true Stark because of his illegitimacy. Now, to be told that he was trueborn all his life, that the only parent he had ever known — the father he loved and idolized — had lied his whole life to save him, and he isn't the son of the man he looked up to above all is heartbreaking to watch him realize.
- The tragic irony of this is the illegitimacy that had caused Jon so much pain is the very thing that kept him safe.
- Drogon and Rhaegal are hardly eating. Dany says that it is because they don't like the North, but the timing and almost melancholy looks about the two dragons makes one think that they might still be in mourning for Viserion.
- Tying into this is the look of horror-stricken grief on Daenerys's face when Bran tells her "The Night King has your dragon. He's one of them now". Now, on top of the grief of losing one of her surrogate children, Daenerys has to bear the horrifying knowledge Viserion has become an undead monster under the command of the creature that murdered him.
- Tormund and Beric arrive at Last Hearth to find it abandoned, the ground soaked in blood, but no corpses. Further inside, they find Edd who leads them to the hearth where Ned Umber has been pinned to the wall by the White Walkers. The poor kid was already in over his head but tried to do right by his people by returning home to bring them to Winterfell, only for them to be slaughtered. To make matters worse, when Tormund turns away, the boy's eyes open and they're bright blue, before he lets out a truly horrific screech like some tortured soul from the depths of hell. Beric has to use his Flaming Sword to finish the now undead kid off.
- Adding to the tragedy of Ned Umber's death is the fact the boy was only back at Last Hearth when the Army of the Dead attacked it to try and do what any decent lord should: evacuate his people to the safety of Winterfell before it was too late. Instead, his people are massacred and turned into more of the monsters that killed them, while Ned is left nailed to a wall as a depraved calling card from the Night King.
- What's more, he was the last. House Umber, a famously loyal, old and bold family, is now completely gone. That's one for the history books: "And House Umber was the first to succumb to Winter."
- The episode ends with Jaime Lannister riding into Winterfell and locking eyes with Bran. The atmosphere is drenched with melancholy as Jaime (and the audience) remembers their previous encounter all those years ago, which crippled Bran and ultimately led him to becoming the Three-Eyed Raven. Jaime's past sins are almost literally staring him in the face, and he must now answer for the one that jump-started the chaotic Game.
- Even though she's a thoroughly horrible person who deserves every moment of her suffering, Cersei's predicament is very pitiable. She has burned every bridge and killed or alienated almost every possible friend and ally - including her twin brother, the one person who always supported her, even in her darkest moments. Her list of allies has shrunk to the mercenaries she can afford to hire (and they didn't even bring the elephants she wanted), the Mad Scientist who even creeps her out, the undead soldiers he's built for her... and Euron Greyjoy. The moment where Euron finally "seduces" her is Cersei's lowest point, as she realizes that the only way to hold onto the Iron Fleet - the one asset she really can't afford to lose - is to let this sleazy asshole have his way with her, and take the risk of passing off her incestuous baby as his. After having to sleep with him, Cersei takes comfort in a wine glass and looks half ready to start weeping. The Queen on the Iron Throne, the Lioness of Casterly Rock, objectively the most powerful person in all Westeros, is reduced to prostituting herself to her last remaining military commander. She may have brought this on herself, but Cersei Lannister is now completely alone in the world, and it's sad to see.
- The new opening sequence for Season 8 adds this rendering◊ of the events of the Red Wedding, reminding everyone of just how much shit the Stark family has been put through throughout the series just trying to do the right thing.
2 - A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
- Jaime apologizing to Bran for pushing him out the window all those years ago. It's a brave thing for him to do; it also pains him when Bran says thanks to that action they are no longer the same people they were, and he is no longer Brandon Stark. Jaime's voice cracks when he asks why Bran, who has every reason to hate him, didn't tell the truth to his siblings. Bran's response isn't comforting; for now, they need men on the battlefield, and there may not be an "after".
- The meeting of Davos and a little girl with a scarred face in the Winterfell courtyard. Gods alone know what thoughts are going through his head, but both the expression on his face and the sad reprise of 'It's Always Summer Under the Sea' makes it very clear who he's thinking of.
- Podrick's singing of "Jenny of Oldstones" and the montage showing the calm before the storm is both heartwarming and affirming, and tearjerking. One way or another, some of the characters we have just seen in the show will die in the coming battle, the status-quo and relationships that we have come to watch and enjoy across the entire show is over. In some respects, it really is a series finale before the series finale.
- Sansa and Theon's reunion — when Theon tells Sansa, "I want to fight for Winterfell, Lady Sansa... If you'll have me," Sansa can't help but tear up and rushes to him, whereupon they embrace, clinging to each other just like they did when they escaped from Ramsay.
- Jon recognizing the efforts his mother and uncle went through to protect him. He's clearly miserable about the truth but he acknowledges the lengths Lyanna and Ned went to in order to save him from Robert Baratheon.
- And then there's Dany's reaction when Jon finally tells her the truth. On top of learning that the man she's in love with is her nephew, she has to now grapple with the fact that he has a stronger claim to the Iron Throne simply by virtue of being the last male Targaryen. Everything that she's been through and sacrificed would be all for nothing if anyone else found out. And worse is that neither she nor Jon get the chance to talk it out (and Jon especially doesn't get a chance to tell her that he has no interest in the Iron Throne) before the White Walkers arrive.
"This is my whole existence," [Emilia] Clarke emphasized. "Since birth! Dany literally was brought into this world going: RUN! These f—ers [in Westeros] have f—ed everything up. Now it's, 'You're our only hope.' There's so much she's taken on in her duty in life to rectify. There's so much she's seen and witnessed and been through and lost and suffered and hurt to get here... and Jon doesnt even want it!"
- Doubling as a Heartwarming moment, Jaime knighting Brienne — something she's wanted forever and by somebody she feels deeply for. As Dan Weiss says:
Dan Weiss: When Jaime knights her, it's a general kind of validation she's wanted her whole life but even more importantly, it's the acceptance and validation of Jaime, who she obviously has feelings towards that she's never really come to terms with or even allowed to bubble to the surface of her consciousness but they're there all the same. We can see all of those things swirling.
- And after she's knighted, Brienne can't help but tearfully smile as quite the unlikely grouping of people brought together by a common cause clap for her: Tyrion Lannister, the wildling Tormund Giantsbane, Davos Seaworth, and her squire Pod.
- While Arya and Gendry getting together is both heartwarming and funny, Arya flat out stating she doesn't intend to die without having had sex at least once also makes it immensely sad. Both of them are so young and have already endured so much, and Arya just wants a shred of normality and human comfort before their possible deaths. It's likely she doesn't even find the peace she was looking for, since she's lying awake and staring into the dark while Gendry sleeps after their lovemaking.
- Gendry's face when Arya undresses and he can see that she is Covered with Scars. Upon a second watch, you can tell that he's feeling equal parts attraction, pity, confusion, and even fear. Arya is clearly not the little girl he remembers, and there's more than a bit of "I want this, but I'm not sure I should want it," in his demeanor.
- Samwell presenting Ser Jorah with House Tarly's Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane. Jorah is initially reluctant to accept the gift, but agrees after Sam admits he lacks the skill to wield it, and feels it is only right to help Jorah after all that Jeor Mormont did to help Sam. Practically on the verge of tears, Jorah agrees to wield Heartsbane in Jeor's memory, to protect the realm of men.
- After Jon learns of his true parentage, he is pretty much unable to process that the woman he loves is his aunt and spends the episode avoiding Dany — much to Dany's confusion. Heartbreaking in that Dany is in a place where she knows the Northern people don't want her, don't like her, she's come there to help them and is giving her all to save them but her one Northern support — her lifeline and love, Jon — is doing everything he can to avoid her and Dany has no idea why, making her feel even more alone in a cold and unfamiliar place.
- The simple fact that we finally see all the characters that we've come to know and love over the years together... and they spend the whole time coming to terms with the fact that this is probably their last night alive.
3 - The Long Night
- Grey Worm, after having the Unsullied cover the rest of the army's retreat and having safely made it behind the trench lines himself, has no choice but to abandon the rest of his men to light up the trench.
- There's also something about seeing The Stoic, who last season proclaimed that he had no fear for the Masters to prey upon, looking absolutely terrified and alone in the midst of the battle.
- Likewise during the battle we see a shot of Varys in the crypts. For the first time in the series we see him looking utterly terrified, and he feels as helpless as Tyrion and Sansa.
- Theon's apology to Bran as he prepares to protect his adopted brother to the bitter end.
- Arya giving Sansa a dagger in case the wights infiltrate the crypts and preparing to lead the invaders away. What happens is even worse: the dead rise in the crypts, and Tyrion sensibly leads everyone to retreat. Sansa has to witness all her dead relatives coming to kill her, and all she can do is hold her dagger and promise to go down fighting.
- Tyrion and Sansa's conversation: he jokes they should have stayed married, considering everything that happened after she fled King's Landing and he went into exile. Sansa tells him he was the best husband she had, and he understandably calls that a terrifying thought.
- Although they thankfully make it through the night, Tyrion and Sansa's silent goodbye to each other as they prepare to do their best to fight the wights in the crypt.
- All of the character deaths
- All of the Dothraki in the beginning charge the army of the dead only to be utterly decimated in under a minute.
- Dolorous Edd getting stabbed in the back by a wight after pulling one off Sam.
- Beric being shanked to death by wights and bleeding out after helping Sandor save Arya from certain death.
- Lady Lyanna Mormont getting crushed in an undead giant's grasp in a brutal moment of Surprisingly Realistic Outcome. As awesome as her final moments were, this is still a ten-year-old child dying on the battlefield.
- Theon charging the Night King in a last ditch effort to protect Bran, only for the Night King to quickly counter and stab Theon with his own spear.
- Alys Karstark too. She is one of the group protecting Bran and dies entirely offscreen but no less tragically. Even worse is that she was the last Karstark, a house as old as the Umbers and linked by blood to House Stark. With her gone, House Karstark is extinct.
- Jorah going down in a Last Stand to protect Dany from being devoured by wights. With his and Lyanna's deaths, House Mormont is no more.
- Melisandre after the battle is over, takes off her necklace and walks off into the cold wastes outside Winterfell and rapidly ages into nothing more than dust. Redemption Equals Death indeed.
- The agonised look on Jon's face when he sees Sam being attacked by Wights - he so badly wants to go save his best friend...but he has to save Bran.
- Seeing Lyanna and Edd open their eyes after the Night King raises all the dead in the vicinity for another round. After his request last episode, one thinks that such a fate is the last thing the pessimist of the Night's Watch would want.
- The long (and not so long) dead Stark Kings of Winter and Lords Paramount are raised by the Night's King and are forced to attack not only the descendants of their people, but as Sansa is there, their own descendant.
- Dany watching as Jorah takes his last breath and dies in her arms. She watches her closest confidante, her protector and her best friend for so many years die for her, and she just starts crying. Drogon comes in, knowing how much Jorah meant to his mother, and probably remembering the man who was there at his birth and tries to comfort Dany as best as he can, but looking sorrowful in his own way.
- Theon's death deserves a special mention. He went from a cocky adolescent wanting to prove his worth, to betraying his friend and razing his friend's home to win his father's approval, to a broken and tortured shell, to a man fighting to both atone for his wrongs and rebuild himself — his story concludes with an act of courage that ultimately saves Bran/The Three-Eyed Raven's life, if only by virtue of holding the Night King up long enough for Arya to ambush him. In his final moments Theon no longer runs and regains his honour.
- Bran's final words to him: "You are a good man. Thank you." Bran Stark's identity has been all but consumed by becoming The Three Eyed Raven, but surfaces oh-so-briefly to tell Theon that all the horrible things he did to The Stark family are well and truly forgiven. You can just feel the burden come off Theon in his final moments.
4 - The Last of the Starks
- The mass funeral pyre of the fallen defenders of Winterfell, punctuated by the named characters who died being sent off by survivors who owe them a personal debt.
- Daenerys, Arya, and Sam respectively have to burn Jorah, Beric, and Edd, each of whom died protecting them from the wights. Daenerys whispers something to Jorah, but the audience doesn't hear what.
- Sansa has to burn Theon, who momentarily shook off his conditioning as Reek to save her from Ramsay and returned to Winterfell to fight the White Walkers out of personal loyalty to her. She pins a direwolf pin on him just before she burns the body, signifying that she saw him as a true Stark and is visibly crying as he burns.
- And Jon has to burn Lyanna Mormont, the first Northern lord to pledge her forces to retake Winterfell from the Boltons, the first person to proclaim him King in the North, and the person who is named after his mother.
- What the truth of Jon's parentage means for Jon and Daenerys's relationship. They have fallen in love with one another, want to be happy with each other, and wish they never heard the truth of Jon's lineage. Dany begs Jon not to tell anyone else, to let things be as they are so they can go back to being happy, but Jon must be honest with his sisters about his true identity because they're still his family. Heartbreakingly, despite Dany confiding how much she loves him, Jon going down on one knee and promising she'll always be his queen, swearing his sisters to secrecy, and both wishing they could go back to the time before the parentage reveal — when they could be happy together — it can never go back to how it was. It's a tragic love story in the works.
: [in tears]
I've never begged for anything... But I'm begging
you now. Don't do this.
- There is also another tragic layer of this to Daenerys' overall arc. Prior to begging Jon, she notes how everyone looks at him the same way people used to look to her 'on the other side of the sea'. She's aware of how fragile her claim to the Iron Throne is due to her unpopularity, and how easy it would be for the wary lords to turn on her and press Jon's claim if word gets out. And she is ultimately proven right. As soon as Jon tells Sansa, Sansa lets Tyrion know, who then tells Varys and before long, both of them are actively plotting against Daenerys.
- During the victory feast, Gendry finds Arya practising archery all alone. He reveals Daenerys has legitimized him, making him Lord Gendry Baratheon, and proposes to her. She sadly turns him down, saying the life of a lady is not for her, leaving him heartbroken.
- Jon being torn between his family and Daenerys:
- Dany pleading with him not to tell his sisters the truth about his identity for fear it will destroy everything while Jon feels he must be honest with his sisters about himself, certain they'll keep his trust and not share his secret. Jon naively believes he, Dany, Sansa, and Arya can all live openly together with the truth.
- In his efforts to assure Daenerys he won't make a bid for the Iron Throne and will support her, he sides with Daenerys against the concerns Sansa raises, prompting Sansa, Arya, and Bran to have a word with Jon in the Godswood. Jon struggles between his family and Daenerys.
- Tyrion's grim, not to mention accurate summary of how Westeros got into its current hellish state.
- It's a little heartbreaking to see how isolated Daenerys is at the victory feast. Even as the ostensible Queen of the North, it's clear that there's a gulf between her and the rest of the Westerosi she hopes to rule, as people gather around Jon and Tyrion trading stories and smiles in a way that they won't around her. With Jorah and so many of the Dothraki dead, it's clear she's never been more alone. And this is before...
- Rhaegal is shot out of the sky by Euron's fleet, now armed with multiple versions of Qyburn's Ballista. The poor dragon gets one in the chest first, then the wing, and finally getting impaled right through the throat, just like his brother. What's worse, his death seems to be much more painful, as while Viserion was dead from a single shot, Rhaegal is hit multiple times and he has enough life to scream all the way down to the water.
- Dany has now watched two of her children be unceremoniously shot down by surprise attacks, and Drogon is now the the only living dragon left in the world.
- Fridge Tear Jerker: "I am Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, of the blood of Old Valyria. I am the dragons daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming." Now, two out of three of her dragon children have died screaming...
- And as if losing Rhaegal wasn't enough, Missandei is then beheaded by Ser Gregor while Grey Worm and Daenerys watch. Grey Worm, in particular, couldn't even bring himself to look as the Mountain beheaded the woman he loves, and we can see the clear look of anguish and rage on his face as he turns around. And this is Grey Worm we're talking about.
- Missandei's death completes Dany's slow descent into madness. Together with the deaths of Ser Jorah and her two dragons and the people of Westeros having no faith in her, Dany would do anything to kill Cersei and get the Iron Throne even if it means burning innocents.
- Adding another layer to the tragedy, Missandei was executed while being in chains. Several viewers found particularly upsetting that a former slave (and a woman of color to booth) died in essentially a similar state to her previous condition before being freed by Daenerys.
- Seeing Bronn acting so hostile to Jaime and Tyrion after everything they've been through together in the past seasons counts as well. Bronn looks like he's ready and even eager to kill the both Jaime and Tyrion with no hesitation, any friendship they might have had between them is long gone. Now it's all business. Seeing him showing his true colors as a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk is sure to put off many viewers who have been rooting for him so far.
- Jaime leaving Brienne because of Cersei is one of the most heartbreaking moments between the two. Despite Brienne telling him that he's a good man, Jaime painfully admits the terrible things that he did (pushing Bran out of the tower, strangling his cousin, etc.) are meant for Cersei and confesses that he too is as hateful as his sister. Whether he really means it or not, Cersei's influence on him really is so strong that Jaime can't seem to let go of her.
- Brienne cries while she watches Jaime leave. It really shows that she loves him and her influence really brings out the goodness in Jaime. Too bad Cersei already conquered his heart and Brienne tearfully watches the man who knighted and loved her is going to King's Landing to die.
- Before this, Brienne states, "I've never slept with a man before." ...And now she's losing the man she not only loved but lost her virginity to.
- Jaime's departure has been interpreted in a variety of ways. However, whether or not he's actually going back to the arms of Cersei, that he thinks he's on the losing side, or, that he believes he must personally deal with Cersei to save the greater good (and so on), it can be painful to see the look on Jaime's face as Brienne begs him to stay. At the very least, he still sees Brienne as a far better person than he and maybe even believes he is not good enough for her — he certainly looks like he wants to stay and hates that Brienne is hurting. But in the end, whatever it is that is pulling him away (be it Redemption Rejection or something hopefully more heroic) wins out in the end and the effect is gut-wrenching.
- Tyrion trying to drown his sorrows in alcohol again, to cope with the pressures of being Daenerys' hand while also dealing with Varys, his best friend and companion, plotting to undermine his liege. He wants her to be a good ruler so much, but her constant hardening against betrayals and the prevalence of said betrayals is giving him less and less ground to stand on. It's clear he would finally, truly break if she became just another tyrant as drunk on power.
- Tyrion's last desperate plea to Cersei to stand down, if only for the sake of his unborn niece/nephew, can come across as this. He desperately appeals to whatever good is left in Cersei, a woman who hates him, who has made his life hell since the day Tyrion was born, trying to convince her she's not a monster...and she throws it back in his face and proves herself beyond redemption.
- Cersei's eyes briefly become teary when he mentions her unborn child — for one moment, it seemed she was almost considering it.
- The overall tragedy of this episode. After seeing the Stark children and others in the cast go through the game of thrones and seeing the worst of Westeros' aristocracy, the fact that they themselves now get involved in it is sad. The status-quo post-Dawn seems to very much be the same world as before. Sansa becomes another schemer, who lies to her brother and undermines an oath he had taken to his Queen (albeit with good intentions, not political ambition), Arya leaves her family for her unfinished business in King's Landing, the Wildlings go back beyond the Wall rather than choose to settle down south, Jaime and Tyrion are revealed to have been users of Bronn with Jaime, in particular, calling the man who saved him multiple times a "cutthroat", Varys comes to believing in Heir Club for Men and sees no alternative but to perpetuate the patriarchy and more and more innocents die for the sake of an ever distant peace.
- Dany in this entire episode. Over eight seasons, she's grown from a frightened and abused girl forced to marry a man she didn't know to help her insane and abusive brother regain a throne he had no chance of winning to a powerful force of nature and the Mother of Dragons who actually might be the leader the Seven Kingdoms desperately needs right now. Everything that's been happening to Dany over the last few episodes, along with subtle hints that have been building over the past few seasons, hint that Dany might fall prey to the curse that has affected her family.
- A minor one, but when everyone is gathered at the war table, each of the commanders proclaim what losses they've suffered and remove roughly half their respective markers. Lord Yohn Royce is completely silent as he removes half of the Valemen markers.
- Jon asks Tormund to take Ghost North with him, saying, "He'll be happier up there." Tormund tells Jon, "So would you," and Jon agrees, wishing he were going to the far North instead of into battle. Jon bids his farewells to Sam, Gilly, and Tormund but before he leaves, Ghost whines, catching Jon's attention and their only farewell is a Meaningful Look. Ghost, Tormund, Gilly, and Sam all watch as Jon leaves for King's Landing.
- On a meta-level this is even sadder since Ghost was the last of the Stark's direwolves to still be with their respective Stark. The family only renewed their bond with their sigil animal for a few years before they were either dead or separated once again.
- We don't get to see Sansa and Arya learn about Jon's parentage on screen but the next scene we see Arya in is her riding away from Winterfell to King's Landing with the intent to never return. Sansa's next scene after the reveal shows her shaken up. Now that Jon has left for King's Landing to honour his promise to Daenerys, the Starks have split up again.
- It may even be that learning about Jon's true parentage contributed to Arya's decision since he was always the sibling she was closest to because they shared the Stark look. Learning that he wasn't her brother likely cut her deeply.
5 - The Bells
- Varys's execution. Despite his flaws, he really was trying his best to protect the innocent people of King's Landing from Daenerys's wrath, but that means going behind Dany's back. Tyrion had no choice but to inform the already vengeful and depressed Dany about it, and she has Varys executed. Before Drogon burned him alive, Tyrion and Varys exchanged understanding glances. Varys knows he played his last card and accepted his death. Worse still, Dany would then go on and burn down most of King's Landing anyway, the very thing he died trying to prevent... indeed, one could argue that his actions were partly the reason why she went off the deep end.
- Dany telling Jon she doesn't have love here, only fear, and Jon telling her, "I love you." But for all they love each other, it's not enough to overcome the barriers dividing them — Jon can't get over their blood relation, preventing them from going back to how things were between them, and Dany knows people are plotting to press Jon's claim over hers, no matter how he refuses the throne.
- Jaime and Tyrion's last moments together. A tearful Tyrion admits that Jaime has been the only family member who loved and protected him their entire lives, and Jaime makes it clear that he's never stopped caring for his little brother, never saw him as anything less than a man. They share a brotherly hug and it's so obvious that each knows they will never see the other again. Despite his faith in Daenerys, Tyrion loves Jaime so much he betrays his queen to try and help Jaime evacuate Cersei to safety, because he cares about his brother's happiness.
- Tyrion declaring that he's happy to betray Daenerys in this manner if it will mean that King's Landing will surrender quicker. As he puts it, the lives of a city full of innocent civilians is a good trade for the life of one not-so-innocent dwarf.
- The implication that Tyrion would not have survived his childhood had it not been for Jaime's love.
- Jaime is visibly distressed by what's about to happen. He tries lying to Tyrion and himself about not caring for the civillians but the prospect of annihilation for the place he's already saved before and the death of his sister colors his mood in this scene.
- What makes it worse is that it all turns out to be for nothing. Daenerys loses her mind and massacres the city's population even after Cersei's forces surrender, whilst Jaime and Cersei are ultimately crushed to death in the collapsing crypts beneath the Red Keep, because the damage from Daenerys' dragon-born attack caused their escape passage to cave in before they got there.
- Our beloved Dany becoming a Fallen Heroine. Even when the bells are finally ringing, she does not accept surrender, and something snaps for good inside of her — seeing the Red Keep that her family built but was taken from them, Cersei still desperately clinging onto what belonged to Dany's own ancestors, the losses Dany has suffered, the betrayals, the sad realization that she only had the people's fear in Westeros, not love, all this leads to this moment — it is a combination of these factors that spurs her onwards towards leveling the entire city and everyone in it. Eight seasons of Dany and her closest friends and advisors working hard to prove that she was not like her father at all, that she wanted what was best for everyone, that she fought to protect the innocent rather than harm them — All for Nothing.
- Cersei may be a horrible person, but watching her as she realises that there nothing else that she can do, that there are no more cards she can play, that all her allies are dead and dying, that her castle is falling down around her, that the younger and more beautiful queen has come for her and her child and that they are both going to die and she starts to break down, it's hard to not feel a twinge of sympathy for her.
- Cersei and Jaime's last moments together and Cersei breaking down, realizing what's coming for them and their child. All Jaime can do is hold her in his arms and stroke her hair, letting her take what little comfort she can from their love before they die.
- The sheer devastation that Dany and Drogon unleash is gut-wrenching considering that Kings Landing has been a staple location of the show since the first season. The city that so many characters spent time in is hard to see destroyed.
- Jon's reaction of horror to the carnage his Queen, and his own men, unleash upon the civilian population of King's Landing. When Grey Worm and the Unsullied start massacring surrendering Lannister soldiers, Jon desperately tries to stop his own troops from joining the carnage, but they're too swept up in their desire for revenge for all the atrocities the Lannisters inflicted on the north to want to show any mercy (and judging by the look Grey Worm gives Jon for trying to prevent a massacre, that mercy might come back to haunt him) and ultimately he is forced to defend himself as the Lannister forces start fighting like cornered rats, clearly not wanting to kill but having no choice.
- Tyrion, Davos, and Jon all looking utterly horrified at the fact the woman they loved and served has become a monster willing to destroy an entire city and slaughter thousands in her fury.
- It's worse when you realize the main reason Dany took on the Unsullied in the first place was that the Dothraki were too much into pillaging, looting and raping. Grey Worm is the first to start slaughtering the surrendered soldiers, effectively bringing the Unsullied down to the same level of mindless savagery.
- And then the Northerners finally do pull back — when they realize that they can't be sure Daenerys won't burn her own troops, so consumed by rage is she.
- Sandor telling Arya to forget about Cersei and not to become consumed by rage and vengeance, using his own life as an example of what happens to a person who lets those traits become the dominant force in one's life, and essentially pleads with her to leave King's Landing while she can and return home to her family. As this is going on, viewers can tell from the looks on both of the character's faces that they don't want to separate from one another, both coming to regard the other as surrogate father and daughter, but cruel fate has other plans. Arya, for her part, looks like she's ready to burst into tears, showing raw emotional vulnerability for the first time in a long while, once again forced to lose someone she grew to care about to unfair circumstances. As Sandor leaves her behind, she calls Sandor by his name and thanks him sincerely for all that he's done for her. Sandor smiles at that, before leaving to confront his murderous brother. Both parties never see each other again...
(softly to Arya while looking at Drogon's rampage and the collapsing keep) Go home girl. Fire will get her. Or one of the Dothraki. Or maybe that dragon will eat her. Doesn't matter, she's dead. (turns to look at Arya) And you'll be dead too if you don't get out of here. Arya:
(stubbornly walks past Sandor) I'm going
to kill her. Sandor:
(grabs and stops Arya forcefully by the arm, surprising her) You think you wanted revenge a long time? I've been after it all my life. It's all I care about...and look at me. (Arya shakes him off and turns away) LOOK AT ME!!
(turns Arya around by grabbing her again, forcing her to look Sandor in the face. He suddenly adopts a softer and more pleading tone) You want to be like me?
(caresses the back of Arya's head like a protective father would his daughter, the same as Ned would have done years ago. Arya is taken aback by his actions and looks scared) You come with me, you'll die here.
(She lowers her head in sadness, Sandor's words having finally broken through to her. As he moves away, Arya wrestles with her feelings before turning around and calling out to him one last time with his real name) Sandor. (Sandor stops and looks back at her.) Thank you.
(He smiles sadly, then walks away.)
- Sandor finally defeats Gregor, but at the cost of both their lives. The music playing as both brothers plummet toward the flames below is rightfully somber.
- All his life, Sandor was terrified of fire thanks to how Gregor burned him when they were children. In the end, it was to the flames he was committed. His two solaces is that he took Gregor with him to make him burn in the flames as he did all those years ago and that he dies with the knowledge that he had at least one person who cared about him, and that he saved her life, in more ways than one.
- In the midst of all the chaos, Arya is saved from being trampled by the fleeing crowd by a woman and her child. She later tries to save them by leading them out. The woman is injured and she begged Arya to take her child to safety, but in the end, the child runs back to her mother just as Drogon sweeps in and burns them both alive, while Arya could do nothing but watch in horror.
- The aftermath of the massacre. Ash is falling from the sky like snow, dead bodies riddling the streets, the whole place burning and falling apart...
6 - The Iron Throne
- Tyrion descending into the mostly collapsed crypts under the Red Keep and finding the remains of his siblings. He bursts into tears over their deaths, and it is heartwrenching.
- Even Harsher in Hindsight? Jaime and Cersei were the only two members of Tyrion's family left. Say what you will about the unhealthy dynamic between the siblings, but Tyrion cared for them. The reason he let Jaime go in the previous episode was so he would be free to start a new life with the woman he loved and their unborn child. And he ended up losing them anyway when Dany decided to burn King's Landing.
- It's sad enough for Tyrion to find Jaime's body — Tyrion and Jaime arguably had the most affectionate brotherly relationship in the series, with Jaime going against his entire family to free Tyrion from prison, Tyrion defending Jaime against his own Queen and being unable to save him in the end. But Tyrion is also clearly mourning for Cersei as well — the woman who has abused him since he was a baby, openly blamed him for the death of their mother and tried to kill him, but Tyrion takes no pleasure in her death. It really speaks volumes about what kind of person Tyrion is, especially when you compare his reaction to Cersei's death to Daenerys's reaction to Drogo killing Viserys.
- Drogon greeting Jon as he walks up to what's left of the throne room. Somehow the dragon looks smaller than usual, as though he's drawn into himself. All his life, Drogon has been used as a weapon by the being he regards as a mother. And this time it was for the pointless slaughter of innocents.
- The tragic culmination of Daenerys and Jon's relationship from each of their points of view:
- Jon finding he has no other choice but to assassinate his love, Daenerys, to save countless lives once she is resolved to continuing the destruction after she massacres the people of King's Landing. He tries and fails to urge her off of this path. Devastated, Jon does the deed as they kiss and embrace, declaring her to be his queen "now and for always." Daenerys can only look at the man she loves with shock as she dies and Jon holds her in his arms and weeps, echoing him holding the body of his First Love Ygritte when she died in the Season 4 finale. It destroys Jon to do this:
"This is the second woman he's fallen in love with who dies in his arms and he cradles her in the same way," [Kit] Harington notes. "Thats an awful thing. In some ways, Jon did the same thing to [his Wilding lover] Ygritte by training the boy who kills her. This destroys Jon to do this."
- The build-up to the stabbing is heartbreaking, as Jon urges Daenerys to spare Tyrion and the people of King's Landing, begging Dany to make the people see they've made a mistake, that she's not this person. He's clearly not just asking for mercy for Tyrion's sake, he's begging Dany to prove that she's still a decent person in spite of everything she's done so that he won't have to kill her to save everyone else. Sadly, she refuses and Jon finally realizes he has no other choice.
Jon: You can forgive all of them, make them see they made a mistake. Make them understand. Please, Dany.
- It's brutal from Dany's perspective too. After everything she suffered and everything she overcame, after all the times she beat the odds and came out a conquering hero, this is how she dies — betrayed with a kiss by the man she loves, at the very foot of the throne she spent her whole life fighting her way towards, and in with the sincere belief that her actions in King's Landing are for good and the way to start 'liberating' the world.
- And Daenerys truly wanted Jon by her side, to join her as they build this 'better' world, but Jon can't.
- Note that Dany only reaches out and touches the Iron Throne before Jon comes in. All that she went through, and she never even got to sit on the Iron Throne.
- Another level of tragedy to the mix? Jon kills Dany in roughly the same spot her father was killed — her father was killed by another who, like Jon, was sworn to the monarch in question but had to do it to save countless lives, bringing everything full circle for the Targaryen dynasty.
- When Tyrion is trying to convince Jon to assassinate Daenerys to save lives and Jon can't bring himself to agree to this, Jon recalls Maester Aemon's words to him — another Targaryen — from so long ago, "Love is the death of duty."
- When Tyrion fails to convince Jon, he asks Jon what would happen to his sisters if he chose not to act. It's very likely that Tyrion knows that Ned Stark, Jon's uncle, agreed to tell Cersei's lie to the people because he put his daughters ahead of his own honor, and deliberately invoked this with Jon.
- Drogon's reaction to Dany's death. He gently muzzles her corpse, as if begging her to wake up. Instead of frying Jon in revenge, he destroys the Iron Throne, the true source of evil that has plagued King's Landing for centuries, and flies off with Dany's corpse to parts unknown. It's worse when you think that Drogon is now all alone, with his mother and his siblings all gone and his only remaining 'relative' betrays them. He truly is the last of the dragons.
- Drogon's shrieking over his mother's corpse sounds unlike any other sound the dragons have produced throughout the show's run. Through the roars, you can hear the sound breaking and higher-pitched noises that almost sound like screams. Drogon is sobbing.
- When Drogon turns his attention on Jon, Jon only quietly braces himself instead of trying to run or defend himself. He fully expected to die after killing Daenerys and per the script for the final episode, it's revealed he wants to die after killing Daenerys.
- Crosses over a little bit into Heartwarming, but Daenerys ultimately succeeded in one of her most important goals. By establishing an elective monarchy, the world took the first step in breaking the wheel that had bound it for so long. The cycle that she had sacrificed so much to destroy might finally be ending, even if there's a lot more work to do. It's just a shame that she wasn't around to see what she did to see it and know that, in a way, she did make a better world.
- Varys's dream was always for a good ruler for the people (after so many of its kings and queens were either tyrannical or incompetent), and a better future for Westeros, and died trying to make it come true. In the end, his dream was realized - but he never got to see it.
- While it's understandable, given the devastation she'd just wrought, seeing that Daenerys won't be remembered by the people of Westeros as the one who lost so much to help save them from the Night King, but as a butcher who sacked the capital beyond what was necessary, can be heartbreaking. Jon mourns her, Tyrion acknowledges how her will is being enacted in the new governing system, and Dorne and the Iron Islands still hold her in high regard. But ultimately, in the wider memory of the continent, Daenerys will be remembered not for the good she did, but for her decent into madness.
- By the same token, she was very much a hero to the downtrodden of Essos, the slaves and victims of generations of bondage and violence. How will the people she saved, when she was at her best and kindest, react to the news of her death? How will Daario?
- Another sad thought can also be applied to Essos, which Daenerys left behind years ago with very little to protect it or ensure any type of stable rule. There's a very good chance that with her and the dragons long gone, the remaining Masters of Slaver's Bay will have violently retaken that which they lost, re-enslaving the very people Dany originally liberated.
- It's been stated several times that although Daenerys was a great conqueror, she wasn't exactly the best ruler, as evidenced by her attempts in Meereen. With what's happened in Westeros, and the likely state of her former lands in Essos, it's entirely possible that history will treat her as nothing more than an insane, hypocritical conqueror who either massacred or abandoned the very people she was supposed to protect. Which would mean that even the history of the people she saved wouldn't remember her best moments.
- Tyrion and Jon's final scene together, where Jon regrets killing Daenerys, feeling it wasn't right, and Tyrion can't even assure him.
- Jon bidding his adoptive siblings/cousins farewell before returning to the Nights Watch. Arya, in particular, looks most sad at saying goodbye to who shes always known as her big brother and begins to cry.
- Tyrion being named Bran's Hand is not a triumphant moment for him. After everything he went through and endured, he has lost the entirety of his family and his best friend, the queen he dedicated the last several years to and put all his faith in ultimately proved no better than his father, sister, and nephew, and, as Bran himself points out, he now has to live the rest of his life with his mistakes. Tyrion must live with the knowledge that not only is he partially responsible for House Lannister's destruction, but Dany's massacre of King's Landing is at least partly his own fault for having helped Dany get this far.
- Also of particular note is that he has to live with getting his best friend Varys killed, when by now he has realized that Varys was right. Though we can at least take some comfort in the fact that he didn't stand by this decision after witnessing firsthand what Daenerys had become, and is remorseful for it, as he would otherwise cease to be the Tyrion we know and love.
- There's also the part where Tyrion, expecting to be executed, asks Jon Snow, who has died and been resurrected, if there is an afterlife. Jon says, not that he's aware of, and Tyrion says - despite all the horrible things he's stood against throughout the series, and how much we love him - that oblivion is the best he could hope for after killing his lover and father, and narking on Varys resulting in his execution.
- Brienne, now Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, reads through the White Book where the deeds of all Kingsguard are recorded until she finds Jaime's mostly-blank page. Taking up a quill, she writes down everything he did throughout the series, framing everything in the most noble light she can- where Jaime had cited his capture of Riverrun by threatening Edmure's unborn child as proof that he was an evil man, Brienne only records how he took the castle without spilling a drop of blood. Filling almost two pages, she pauses for a heartrending moment before concluding with "Died protecting his queen". Regardless of how they parted, she loved Jaime and having him go down in history as a hero rather than only "the Kingslayer" was the final thing she could do for him.
- The soundtrack for this scene, "The White Book", is a heartwrenching blend of the series' recurring love theme "I Am Hers, She Is Mine" blended with Brienne's theme. It's commonly described as if the composer Ramin Djawadi symbolically married Brienne and Jaime through music alone, even after Jaime is dead.
- As the new Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Brienne has vowed to never marry, and knowing her she will keep that vow. To the end of her life, Jaime is the only man in whose arms she will have ever known love. And he's gone.
- The entire fate of the Stark family is this. It was established in the very first episode that the Starks place a high prominence on family and how the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. And despite everything they've been through and survived (mostly by sticking together), the family fractures apart for good forever. Bran is in the south, Jon is at the Wall and in the far North, Arya forsakes Westeros and decides to explore the oceans west "where the maps stop" and Sansa becomes Queen in the North, finally free (but mostly alone; even her protector, Brienne, remains behind in King's Landing to become Lord Commander of the Kingsguard). Yes, the siblings get to live a life fitting for them... but after great emotional pain. And who knows when and if they will all come back together as a family.
- Sansa's siblings aren't even present when she's coronated as Queen of the North. When Robb was made King of the North, he had Catelyn, Theon, and Grey Wind by his side. When Jon was made King of the North, he had Sansa, Davos, Tormund, and Ghost to turn to. Sansa is all alone, without even her own Direwolf to keep her company.
- Bronn becoming Lord of Highgarden and his open implication that he wants to use his position as Master of Coin to fund brothels can be seen as sad. For one, Highgarden was once ruled by House Tyrell and now House Tyrell is extinct. For another, the Tyrell rule of Highgarden was relatively benign, tolerant, and philanthropic with the likes of Olenna Tyrell reigning over the region, who valued strength in women such as her granddaughter Margaery. Under Bronn, with his spotty past and lacking morals, what Highgarden will become is uncertain.
- The final Small Council has a real Ironic Hell aspect to it when you consider it from Davos' point of view. After everything he lost in the War of the Five Kings, his reward in the epilogue isn't peace, rest, or retirement with his wife. No, it's him working till the end of his days alongside Tyrion and Bronn, both of whom killed his son at the Battle of Blackwater. And where Tyrion at least is humbled and chastened by his past and has suffered a lot since then, Bronn (the one who fired the arrow that lit the fuse that ignited that attack) is totally unrepentant and just as amoral. Tyrion introducing Bronn as "Ser Bronn of the Blackwater" while Davos is seated at the table, and the latter's visible disgust at Bronn sells it.