There’s only twenty days left until the season premiere of Game of Thrones season 7! Can you stand the wait any longer, people? Well, you have to- but we’re going to make that wait a little easier for you all with some entertainment.
There will be plenty of options! Earlier today, we opened up our newly revamped forums, as a place for all our readers (book readers and Unsullied alike) to hunker down together as this Long Night ends. So mosey on over to the WotW Community Forum to find your spot!
You can also look forward to the return of our Game of Thrones Memory Lane, starting July 6th. Last year, we counted down the last fifty days until the premiere of the new season by looking back on the first fifty episodes of the series, one each day. Since we’re completists, we’re going to refresh our memories and recap the season six episodes this year in the final ten days leading up to July 16th’s season 7 premiere.
Now, for today’s entertainment! Well, the title is a bit of a spoiler, isn’t it?
Welcome to Day 1 of The 101 Greatest Moments of Game of Thrones! We’ll be getting revved up for the new season by spending the next five days counting down the 101 most amazing, heartbreaking, game-changing, beautiful, funny, horrifying, memorable and important moments from the past six scenes of our favorite show.
What’s the criteria? Subjective. That’s why everyone hates and loves lists, isn’t it? There’s always controversy, and there will be here, I’m sure, because oh boy, we couldn’t fit some great scenes on the list. We’re spoiled for choice. But the Watchers on the Wall came together to create this list, and tell you a little about these scenes and moments, and here we are. We’ve enlisted a few readers to share their thoughts on the countdown entries along the way, as well.
And if you don’t like our choices? Make your own damn list! No, seriously, make your own list. We’d love to see what you all would choose for your top 101. Or top 101-81, since that’s how we’re organizing today. Or tell us what you loved about these scenes!
Enough with the introductions. Let the countdown begin!
101. Opening Scene, Episode 101 “Winter is Coming”
Where else could we begin our list but with Game of Thrones’ opening? The curtain rises with the Wall’s portcullis as the ill-fated Will, Gared and Ser Waymar Royce depart Castle Black. The Night’s Watchmen riding out give us our first staggering glimpse of the Wall and the lawless lands beyond it, filled with strange shapes and murderous creatures. It’s an effective introduction to the magic, terror and mystery of Game of Thrones; it’s no wonder HBO released the first 15 minutes of “Winter is Coming” two weeks before the series premiered! With this as the bait, fans were hooked from the get-go. – Sue the Fury
100. Arya Says Goodbye to Needle. Episode 503, “High Sparrow”
Though this is one of the most memorable scenes in A Feast for Crows, it’s also one of the many that is not easy to translate to the screen, as it has no dialogue. Without resorting to an uncharacteristic soliloquy, Maisie Williams must express what Needle means to Arya only with the power of her acting… And she knocks it out of the park. Throwing away her raggedy old clothes is easy enough (I imagine Arya was as happy for a change of clothes as Williams was), but Needle is another story. She perfectly captures the deep feelings associated with this blade — her feelings for Jon, the feelings for the whole Stark family and their home, and the tragedy that befell them both. – Luka Nieto
99. Stannis Shares a Memory With His Daughter Shireen. Episode 504, “Sons of the Harpy”
Stannis’ touching conversation with his daughter is one of season 5’s tougher scenes to re-watch for obvious reasons. Still, it remains a powerful exchange that highlights the struggle between heart and duty that made Stannis, well, Stannis. He really did love Shireen. Make of that what you will. – Petra
98. Margaery Bests Cersei in a Battle of Wits. Episode 503, “High Sparrow”
Until this moment, Cersei had always wielded the greater power in the superficially saccharine but fiercely antagonistic relationship she shares with Margaery… but now, the tables have turned, and the new Queen is loving it. In a series of incisive and darkly hilarious remarks, Margaery mocks Cersei’s age and her dependence on alcohol, stokes her mother-in-law’s fears about her dwindling status into a full-blown obsession, and openly revels in her own position as the master of Tommen’s heart (and his … everything else). Cersei, seething but politically hamstrung, has little choice but to stand there and suffer a barrage of insults delivered through a veneer of excessive courtesy that cuts deeper than knives. When the Lioness retreats, the Rose’s laughter ringing in her ears, the murderous look on her face makes it clear that she is determined to silence that laughter forever. Through shame and fire, she would eventually find her way. – Jared Kozal
97. Arya Bids Goodbye to Hot Pie and His Wolf Bread. Episode 303, “Walk of Punishment”
In a sentimental and poignant scene, Arya bade farewell to Hot Pie. He remained at the Inn at the Crossroads to serve as payment for all the meals the Brotherhood Without Banners had eaten there. As the Brotherhood departed, Hot Pie gave Arya a loaf of bread vaguely resembling a direwolf (at least he tried!). It was tender and funny moment, with Hot Pie awkwardly wishing her well and mispronouncing her home’s name (Winterhell – close enough). Here’s hoping they reunite…and that Arya is impressed by his improved direwolf dough-sculpting skills. – Vanessa Cole
96. Robert and Cersei Share an Honest Moment About Their Marriage. Episode 105, “The Wolf and the Lion”
We all know the story; this conversation was a late add, owing to the need to pad the episodes that came in way too short. It’s hard to believe it wasn’t part of the original script, but sometimes inspiration comes from perspiration, and here we see how a marriage between adults who hate each other is still a marriage between adults. Robert here treats Cersei with respect in his explanation of how a Dothraki invasion could expose them; he (finally) doesn’t mince words about their relationship. But the acting, so strong here between Lena Headey and Mark Addy, conveys much about a shared history there that nobody else has. Marriages that end make history like that seem painful, but it remains theirs, just the same. – Greatjon of Slumber
95. Bran Witnesses The Creation of the Night King. Episode 605, “The Door”
This scene felt momentous as soon as it began, with the Children of the Forest creepily sacrificing a First Man by a weirwood tree; it was clear we were in for something big, and we were. The vision (along with Leaf’s later added historical context, much needed for non-book readers especially) may be one of the most striking lore revelations of the whole show: the Children of the Forest used dragonglass to weaponize First Men in the war against them, thus creating the White Walkers. It may be an understatement to say that plan got out of hand. This scene matters because understanding the villain is a key part of making them interesting; and who knows, knowing about the origins of the White Walkers may be crucial to winning the new war for the dawn. – Luka Nieto
94. Stannis Saves the Wall. Episode 410, “The Children”
It was glorious. It was cathartic. The Wall was in danger and in a rare instance for Game of Thrones, someone showed up in time to save the day.
STANNIS!!!! I shouted in the IMAX theater. STANNIS!!!!
Stannis is dead now after doing some bad things. But this was Stannis in his prime: strategic, relentless, willing to change up his whole game because the North is part of the Seven Kingdoms too and he’s the king, goddamnit. – Bex
93. The Hall of Faces is Revealed to Arya. Episode 506, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”
The beginning of Arya’s assassination training was a moment of wonder and terror for both her and the audience. After becoming as impatient as Arya, we’re finally guided through a chamber of identities and start to understand the power of the Faceless Men. The possibilities of the assassins are horrifying and intriguing as they begin to challenge the identity of Arya Stark. Maisie Williams’ impressive performance paired perfectly with Ramin Djawadi’s beautiful and chilling “House of Black and White” and will leave this moment one of my favorites from the lethal wolf. – Nate
92. Tyrion Slaps Joffrey. Episode 102, “The Kingsroad”
The slaps heard ’round the world! This was the moment Tyrion did what the entire viewing audience wished we could do. Joffrey showed his true colors by acting like a petulant child when Tyrion instructed him to give his condolences to the Starks, and Tyrion took him to task for it. With the show setting the stage for a Lannister/Stark conflict, this scene revealed that Tyrion would be a wild card in the deck – superficially siding with his family, but willing to oppose them when necessary. – Vanessa Cole
91. Theon Stands For His Sister Yara at the Kingsmoot. Episode 605, “The Door”
The Kingsmoot in Game of Thrones deviates considerably from its literary counterpart in A Feast for Crows but to me, this is the moment that makes it all worthwhile. Four seasons ago, Theon Greyjoy committed atrocities to avoid “being treated like a fool and a eunuch by [his] own people.” Here, he endures his uncle Euron’s jibes about his castration and the laughter of other men to endorse his sister Yara as queen of the Iron Islands. It’s a well-earned character moment and Alfie Allen absolutely gives it his all. – Petra
90. Barristan Selmy Offers to Carve Up Some Cake. Episode 108, “The Pointy End”
As a badass mostly by reputation, Ser Barristan Selmy is often accused of getting the shaft in the adaptation. However he had a few great moments, some of them quite emotional, such as when he gleefully told Daenerys stories about her brother Rhaegar and ominously warned her about his father the Mad King. But the first time show watchers sat up and took notice of the good knight was when he was dismissed from the Kingsguard. He faced it proudly, and made it clear that, old as he may be, he was still more than able to “cut through” the other five Kingsguards “like carving a cake.” Who knew Barristan had a way with words, too! – Luka Nieto
89. The Small Council Plays a Silent Game of Musical Chairs. Episode 303, “Walk of Punishment”
Let’s set the scene. Tywin calls his first meeting as Hand, and disposes all the chairs on his left side of the table. Each of the councilors then play out their roles in life in this little game: Petyr pushes past an annoyed Varys to prove just how great of a slimy fuck he is; Varys gets second place, and remains annoyed at life; Pycelle, who survives by never standing out but also never coming last, sits third; Cersei says “fuck it,” breaks the rules and moves her chair to Tywin’s right side; and Tyrion breaks the rules too but in a way that will annoy his father, making the chair creak and placing himself opposite Tywin, as a rival of equal stature. This scene is hilarious, but that might have not been enough to make it into this list. It earned the cut because each of their decisions is the perfect distillation of all of these characters, from Tywin’s mind games and his children’s foul play to the other councilmen’s varying levels of lickspittlery. – Luka Nieto
88. Tyrion Thwarts Death on Trial in the Vale with Bronn’s Help. Episode 106, “A Golden Crown”
Bronn shows up in episodes 4 and 5 of Game of Thrones‘ first season, but all one needs to understand about his character can be conveyed through his fight with Ser Vardis Egen, the first true duel of the show’s run. He “stands for the dwarf” more or less on a lark, wears light armor to avoid weighing himself down, conserves his energy – shown through Jerome Flynn’s lithe, smooth movements – and ultimately wins as a result of it. And true to Bronn, he flicks away Lysa Arryn’s admonition of how Bronn didn’t fight with honor with a quip: “No,” he says, glancing down at the Moon Door. “He did.” – Greatjon of Slumber
87. Littlefinger Pushes Lysa Through the Moon Door. Episode 407, “Mockingbird”
Wait, why is this a fucking “greatest moment?” There wasn’t anything “great” about this moment. This was a sociopathic manipulator taking advantage of a misunderstood, damaged woman who just wanted to be loved, all in the name of personal gain. I’ve told all of you on multiple occasions that this SOB isn’t dying anytime soon. Who submitted this anyway? You people are sick. – Oz of Thrones
86. The Hanging of the Night’s Watch Assassins and Jon’s Resignation. Episode 603, “Oathbreaker”
An oh-so-satisfying scene as Jon gets his revenge on the men that stabbed him. Don’t tell me you didn’t give up a little cheer when Olly copped it (or was that just me?). Owen Teale puts in a superb final performance as Alliser Thorne, his character staying true to himself right until the end. Jon gets another patented misery moment as his watch is finally ended. I can’t help but smile every time I remember that Dolorous Edd is technically Lord Commander now, which will definitely end well. – Geoffery
85. Catelyn Arrests Tyrion. Episode 104, “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things”
By the time the audience and Tyrion realize what Catelyn is doing by appealing to all the men in the inn, it’s too late for him, and he has a dozen swords in his face. Cue credits! This is arguably the point of no return for the Lannister-Stark conflict, so Catelyn’s decision here is often perceived in retrospect as a fatal mistake, and rightly so. But wasn’t it so satisfying in the moment? One must remember this was a new show, season one, and the political stakes weren’t that high until this exact moment. Before, it wouldn’t have been crazy to assume the show would be all about noble family drama; after this, however, it’s very clear that war is on the horizon. – Luka Nieto
84. Daenerys Defeats the Masters Once and For All. Episode 609, “Battle of the Bastards”
In an episode dominated by Jon Snow’s near defeat in the North, Daenerys showed her dominance in the east. For those of us tired of the tedious politics of Meereen, Dany’s takedown of the masters was exciting to see. From watching her huge khalasar ride down the Sons of the Harpy to seeing all three dragons unleashed on the Yunkish fleet, this scene drew a collective “Hell yeah!” from the fandom. After six years, we finally got a taste of the “Fire and Blood” for which the Targaryens are known. – Vanessa Cole
83. Tyrion Sends Janos Slynt to the Wall. Episode 202, “The Night Lands”
Tyrion Lannister’s best year is his second according to most fans of both mediums, and that’s in no small part because seeing him in charge is such a delight. In this scene Tyrion gets his first taste of power, getting rid of the insufferable traitor Janos Slynt during dinner, and it’s just…delicious. Slynt being sent off to the Wall was the beginning of the end for him — but for Tyrion, this was only the beginning of a season of power politics, at a time when he got to flex his mischievous mind muscles more often. We miss that Tyrion, and this scene is a large part of the reason why. – Luka Nieto
82. The Legendary Fight at The Tower of Joy. Episode 603, “Oathbreaker”
Some book purists had nitpicks about the show’s depiction of the fabled showdown, but there comes a time when you have to throw aside your quibbles, and glory in a kickass sword fight. The scene is smartly framed as one of Bran’s visions, lending it extra weight as the boy watches his young father Ned (Robert Aramayo) duel the famous Kingsguard knight Ser Arthur Dayne (Luke Roberts) to an inglorious end. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve rewatched this scene for the sheer delight of it. From start to finish, it’s cool as hell and the teasing ending- cutting out as Ned heads up the stairs- leaves us all desperate for more. – Sue the Fury
81. Poisoned Myrcella Dies in her Father’s Arms. Episode 510, “Mother’s Mercy”
A Dornish scene being on this list may scare you off, but if it helps, this scene takes place at sea, away from poorly choreographed fights! For a few precious seconds, Jaime gets to be Myrcella’s dad. He’s never really been a father to his children (or else they would’ve been “stoned in the streets”, as he told Cersei). This is a big change for the Kingslayer, and he couldn’t have dreamed of a better result, as Myrcella already suspected the truth and, more than that, she is glad he is her father — a heartbreaking revelation that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays beautifully, in tandem with Nell Tiger Free. But then, of course, because this is Game of Thrones, all of our hearts break in a much less pleasant way as Ellaria’s devious machinations are revealed and Myrcella succumbs to poison. This may appear to be yet another sad step in the tragedy that is Jaime’s life, but for a few seconds there, Jaime got to feel like a father. More than that, a beloved one. – Luka Nieto
And that’s where we’ll leave you today. Tomorrow we resume with number 80, and the next twenty entries on our countdown!