My Top 12 Favorite “Game of Thrones” Moments

20 Jun

Forever, my father.

We all love it. We all hate it. We all want more. We all wish it would just end. We all got our friends to watch it, then reconsidered our decision to do so after the Red Wedding. We love it because it’s intelligent, because it’s real, but mostly because, unlike most stories told these days, it’s a game.

There are many players in the Game of Thrones. Once they enter the Game they have two options, as disclosed by Cersei Lannister early on: win or die. Opting out has been tried, but proven unsuccessful thus far. My advice? Don’t join unless you plan on being the victor.

Game of Thrones has been an exciting, powerful series thus far, filled with highs and lows, twists and turns, incredible battles and unforgettable characters. Today I’m going to talk to you about my favorite moments in the show hitherto. Note that I’m writing this prior to the release of Season 4. I may update it, I may not. For all we know the fourth chapter in the series could suck thanks to rising egos in the cast and crew (I’m not saying it will happen, I’m saying it could).

In case you’re in the middle of watching the show and are worried about spoilers, I’ve labeled each moment with their respective season and episode. That being said, let’s dive right in with…

Don't worry, you'll be possessing fucking wolves soon.

12. The Fall of Bran (Season One, Episode One)

If one could pinpoint the exact moment when Game of Thrones announced itself as “the show where anything can happen,” it would have to be Bran’s fall at the end of the first episode. I remember seeing him break his promise to Catelyn and thinking, “Good boy,” not at all aware of the potential negative ramifications of him doing so. Suddenly, as he drew closer to the tower I thought, “Wait, the music changed. Something important’s about to happen.” And then there they were: Jamie and Cersei  Lannister getting busy. I wasn’t all that shocked that there was incest going on, nor that it was incest between those two. However, I was shocked when Jamie grabbed Bran by the collar and uttered, “The things I do for love,” before tossing him the ground far below.

In most stories, especially in the case of TV shows, children are left undamaged. It’s sort of an unspoken rule regarding television, cinema, etc. Game of Thrones doesn’t play by conventional rules, it has its own.

"What is dead may never die."

11. The Dreadfort Assembly (Season Three, Episode Ten)

Let’s face it, as pissed as we all were at Theon for betraying Robb, cutting off his “favorite toy” was a bit much. I was among his many sympathizers during his time with Ramsay Snow, and even now I hope he’ll be okay in the end. My hope was strengthened after the most recent episode in the series, wherein his prized possession was sent to Balon Greyjoy, his father, as a threat.

Balon was asked to give up the lands he’d invaded recently in exchange for his son’s safety. He refused, calling the boy a disobedient “fool” who should’ve followed orders. Theon’s sister, Yara (called Asha in the books), doesn’t give a damn whether Theon made a mistake or not.

“I’m going to pick the fastest ship in our fleet,” she began. “I’m going to choose the fifty best killers on the Iron Islands. I’m going to sail up the Narrow Sea all the way to the Weeping Water. I’m going to march on the Dreadfort. I’m going to find my little brother…

…and I’m going to bring him home.”

"That was all I wanted."

10. A Golden Crown (Season One, Episode Six)

To me, this is the moment where Daenerys became a badass. Throughout the entire first season, up until this point at least, Viserys had been a real dick to his sister, and I mean a REAL dick. He’d beaten her, threatened to have the entire Dothraki Horde and their horses have sex with her, by force if necessary, and done all sorts of things that just left me thinking, “When does he die?” Seeing sweet justice exacted was more than appreciated, especially in such a gruesome form.

But the pouring of gold wasn’t what made this moment terrific. It was Daenerys saying, “He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.” And then I understood how important she actually was, for she was the dragon Viserys claimed to be.

I miss him.

9. The King in the North (Season One, Episode Ten)

After a very significant event occurred (further on down the list), the Northerners were left without a Warden. And so, because of this, a new nation was formed, with a new king chosen by its people: Robb Stark. Robb is probably one of the top five best characters in the entire series, and his “badassery” skyrocketed after his new title was granted.

"Valar morghulis."

8. Everything with Jaqen H’ghar (Seasons One and Two)

I know this is kind of cheating, but, pardon my French, I really just don’t give a fuck. Jaqen H’ghar is a baller the like of which has not been equaled in the series thus far (I’m sorry, I think he’s cooler than Daenerys). His stealth and precision are unrivaled and his ability to change faces the way he does is literally perfect. I hope Arya trains under him next season. And by the way, nobody send me anything about it, but I think Jaqen and Syrio Forel are the same person, for various reasons which I’ll talk about another time.

Valar morghulis.

Spiders and Ladders

7. Everything with Varys and Baelish (Seasons One, Two and Three)

Okay, okay, this is the last time I’m cheating. But honestly, it’s so hard to choose the best of these back-and-forths between the two. The Spider and Little Finger always have the best discussions regarding the condition of Westeros. If I had to choose one that stood out, I might pick the “Chaos is a Ladder” speech that Baelish gives Varys. In every other discussion, they are equal to one another. In that one in particular, Baelish actually outwits Varys, a character I personally believed to be invulnerable.

All in all, these two always steal whatever scene they’re in, unless Tyrion’s in it. Speaking of which…

What is dead may never die.

6. Ned (Season One, Episode Nine)

I don’t think I have to say much. To some, he was a fool. To others, he was the last honorable man in Westeros. To me, he was both. He didn’t play the Game properly, but he was a good man nonetheless, a strong man, a courageous man. Too trusting though. He didn’t walk softly enough. He didn’t control his pieces the way Daenerys and Tywin did. He played it the way a soldier would, and, unfortunately, soldiers don’t win the Game.

Long live Ned Stark, the true King in the North.

"Halfman!"

5. Halfman (Season Two, Episode Nine)

Although he isn’t my favorite character (and I know he’s everyone else’s), Tyrion has had some of the most epic moments in the series, the Battle of Blackwater being full of them. One of his best scenes involves a speech wherein he tells his soldiers very simply and bluntly, “Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them.” Soon after, chants of his alias, “Halfman,” resound through King’s Landing, immortalizing Tyrion as a legend of Westeros.

500,000

4. Jamie’s Redemption (Season Three, Episode Five)

Okay, now I know most people still hate Jamie, but there are those out there who, like me, have forgiven him for his acts of evil in the past. After hearing what he did for the people of King’s Landing, how he saved five hundred thousand people from being burned alive, I was absolutely blown away, realizing that everything Jamie ever does, no matter how ruthless it may seem, is done because he truly believes it’s for the best.

It’s not just the story itself that makes this moment so incredible. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau should win an Emmy just for this scene on its own. He tells Jamie’s tale so beautifully and brings it to life in such a powerful way that I, a former die-hard Jamie HATER, was able to sympathize for the man I believed to be one of the main villains of the piece. Congratulations, sir.

Sorry Bran, but I have to give credit where credit is due. The Kingslayer is now a hero in my book.

Fucking dragons.

3. Birth of the Dragons (Season One, Episode Ten)

After Ned’s death I was certain there was nothing bigger they could throw at me this season. And then I remembered those eggs, and how our girl here can’t be burned, and although it didn’t surprise me all that much, the birth of the dragons was one of the most impressive bits in the series. It’s the first real appearance of magic in Game of Thrones, and it gave me hope that things would get better from here on out, that the bad guys were toast and that, soon enough, all would be well in George R.R. Martin’s world.

And then, of course, Robb Stark had to go and break his oath…

Fuck the Freys

2. The Red Wedding (You Know the One)

Okay, if you seriously don’t know what this is, stop reading, because you’re about to read what I think may be the biggest plot twist in a television series, EVER. On the night of a beautiful wedding merging the Tully and Frey houses, Lord Walder Frey executes what might be the most sickening, dastardly, gruesome, villainous betrayal ever put on a screen. I know that sounds like an overstatement, but if you’ve seen it, and you watched every episode prior and grew attached to—nay, to love the characters involved, then you probably agree. The Red Wedding is messed up beyond belief, with the loss of Robb, his wife, their unborn child, and Catelyn all in less than ten minutes.

But, as horrible as it was, you have to admit…

I BET she's going to die.

1. The Unsullied Liberation and Mhysa (Season Three, Episodes Four and Ten)

Yeah, remember what I said before? Well, I never said “I promise,” so I’m not worried about my choice here. I simply couldn’t decide between these two because, in a sea of depressing moments, these two are some of the more inspiring scenes in Game of Thrones.

The first is the liberation of the Unsullied, which me and my brother TOTALLY CALLED the week before (I take credit for calling it first). Daenerys makes what appears to be a stupid trade in order to acquire an army for the taking of Westeros. What ends up happening is a badass coup wherein all of Astapor’s slave master’s are killed and the army of Unsullied soldiers is liberated. When given the option to live as they choose, they all decide to serve the Stormborn Queen, and a great bit of symbolism occurs when she drops the whip that once controlled them and they march over it, their chains shattered.

The second is the ending of the recent season finale, which I honestly think is a beautiful thing. Hope is what I wanted out of the last episode, and hope is what I got. Even though I personally think Daenerys is going to die this coming season, she still makes me think that, even now, this story might have a happy ending.

One of the other great things about the Mhysa scene is how perfectly it symbolizes everything about the show. We have a hero who, because of the potential dangers of the world, is forced to surround herself with shields and pikes. Even when the friendly slaves arrive, there’s this tension about whether they can be trusted, whether anyone can be trusted. The look on Jorah’s face is what I’m talking about. He knows that even the kindest of fellows might stab someone like Daenerys right in the back. But Daenerys isn’t willing to let that sort of thought process go on. She knows that in order the end the clash between fear and love, she must take a leap of faith. And so, when she walks into the crowd, knowing fully well she might be beaten to death right then and there, she is testing whether all men are evil, whether all men must die. And, in the end, she proves that all men aren’t evil, and that there is still good to be found in the world.

That’s why I love Game of Thrones. That’s why you love Game of Thrones. That’s why we love Game of Thrones. Because it isn’t just about betrayal and blood and horror and death and hopelessness. It’s also about righteousness, truth, heroism, love, and freedom. And it will have a happy ending, one way or another.

"Build it and they will come."

And to those still mourning the Starks, just remember…

…what is dead may never die.

~D.

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