Game of Thrones Fandom-Wide Survey, Part 4: Episode Ratings!

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By Chris Wright, aka James Rivers, with Petra

We’ve reached the thrilling conclusion of our survey results! In Part 4, we’ll learn how respondents rated each of Game of Thrones‘ 67 episodes. We’ll also take a final look at differences in how men and women (and other groups) see the show.

If you want to have some fun, the 15 top-rated episodes are represented above, emoji style. They may involve the episode’s name, an episode plot point, or both. Some require more interpretation than others. A couple may require too much interpretation entirely. (David Rosenblatt successfully vetoed the very confusing original image for No.1.)

As for earlier survey articles: You can find Part 1, which reviews survey basics, season rankings, plot ratings and more, here. Part 2, focused on the morality of characters, is here. And Part 3, focused on the morality of various murders, is here. Parts of each were presented at Con of Thrones back in May.

Onward!

Rating the 67 Episodes

At the very end of the survey, respondents could rate episodes on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being best. They could give as many episodes a 10 (or a 9, or…) as they wanted. The episodes were set off by season (so Season 1’s ten episodes were listed together) but the seasons were presented in a random order. Brief synopsis, kindly curated by Patrick Sponaugle, were provided to refresh respondents’ memories. Around 1,000 of the survey’s 2,500 respondents chose to rate episodes.

Note this is “rating” episodes as opposed to “ranking” them — the rankings below come from the average rating. Got that?

There are many other “1 to 67” rankings out there; many are based on the opinion of the writer or of a small group of people. At the other extreme is IMDB, where thousands and thousands have rated episodes. However, there’s no way of knowing if someone has voted multiple times, or when the votes occurred (Right after someone watched? Months after, when they happened upon the IMDB site?), or how a respondent chose which episodes to vote for.

Which is not to say other lists are better or worse than the below. They were just largely compiled in a different manner.

So, let’s get started. These are listed in reverse order, and the charts show the overall rank; season, episode and title; average rating on the 1 to 10 scale; and the episode’s rank among the 10 (or seven) in its season. Each season has a different background color.

OK, bottoms up! Here’s No. 67 — which is looking pretty bowed, bent and broken, and by a wide margin — through No. 51.

Episode Ratings 1

So yes, that’s seven episodes from Season 5 in the bottom section alone.

Petra: It’s no surprise which episode is No. 67. But it’s interesting how many episodes including crowd-pleasing moments are listed here. Arya poisoning the Freys in “Dragonstone” was received well, as I remember.

Here are the next 15 episodes, including the  bottom-rated episode from what we learned in Part 1 was the top-ranked season (Season 1):

Ratings2

We’ve blown through eight of the 10 episodes from Season 2 now. It’ll be a bit before we see the remaining two.

Petra: I expected “The Broken Man” to rank higher, given that the Hound’s return was so well-received.

We’ve reached the mid-to-upper tier of the episode list…

Ratings3

Petra: I’m always interested in whether people rank episodes by individual favorite scenes or by the episode as a whole. Going by this list, it seems to be the latter (which I suppose is fairer). The fact that “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” which contains the fan-favorite rescue scene, ranks in the middle surprises me.

We’re up to the top 20! Should we take a commercial break? No? Okay…

Ratings top 20

Yeah, half of Season 1 made the Top 20. But four from Season 4 made the Top 12.

And drumroll…

Top 10 Ratings

Is “The Mountain and the Viper” a relative outlier in this ranking, versus other Top 67 lists? I feel like it’s often seen as a second-tier big-time episode, not an all-timer along the lines of “The Door.”

Petra: There’s a fair balance of different seasons (sans Season 7) in the top 10. No surprise that “The Winds of Winter” is at No. 1.

Show-Onlys Like Winds, Book-Firsts Prefer Rains

Views on the top episodes differ based on if the person read the books or not — to a point. Interestingly, “book first,” “show then book” and “show only” respondents all had the same top 11 episodes, but the order differed. Here’s a look at that.

Show Book Rankings

Petra: It makes sense that, since “Rains of Castamere” brings one of the most famous scenes from the books to life, book readers would favor it — while show-only viewers prefer the Season 6 finale that delivers so much wish fulfillment.

Looking at the series as a whole, the per-episode viewpoints of “book first” and “show-only” viewers diverge over time. The chart below shows that the groups had nearly identical average ratings (8.41 and 8.37 out of 10) for Season 1’s episodes. But the most recent three seasons see a much larger gap, with consistently higher episode ratings from show-onlys.

Viewer Type

Our respondents were consistent. Remember those season rankings from Part 1? They went 1-4-6-3-2-7-5. If you instead rank the seasons based on their average episode rating (the yellow bars above), you get the same order.

Looking at individual episodes, the 10 below had the biggest difference in ratings among the three groups. No surprise that all are from the past three seasons:

Biggest Differences

These results are a bit skewed since overall, show-only viewers gave out higher ratings. So we can also look at how far apart episodes were ranked, based on those ratings. For instance, “The Kingsroad,” Season 1 Episode 2, was ranked 26th by book-firsts and 38th by show-onlys despite having virtually identical ratings from the two groups (8.01 and 7.98).

Here are the 10 episodes with the biggest gaps in ranking, as opposed to rating. On the left are those ranked more highly by show-only viewers; on the right are those favored by book-firsts.

Biggest Differences 2

If the episodes on the right seem somewhat random, that may be because they are from early seasons.

All right. Time to take a deep breath and venture into one final look at overall results…

Older! Wiser! And…Fonder of the Night’s Watch?

Game of Thrones is viewed by people of every age, race, gender identity and political orientation out there. And it’s worth pondering if different groups of people absorb and consume the show differently. (Hint: They do.) But before proceeding, let us recall this nugget from Part 2.

“It’s easy to overinterpret demographic results such as these. Most will fall into one of three categories:”

  • “That makes a lot of sense.”
  • “Huh. That’s interesting but not what I expected.”
  • “WTF??”

The same certainly applies here. But let’s take a cautious look at the starkest differences across demographic groups when it came to survey responses.

LGBTQIA Chart

Nearly nine in ten LGBTQA+ respondents saw the arrest of Loras as unjustified. They appear to have an affinity for Shae — look at that 19-point difference regarding her murder — but the Hound not so much. There are also potentially “WTF?” results regarding Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch.

genderThere was a consistent gender-based response to the death of Renly. Note that men were also more pleased by Stannis’ defeat of the Wildling army. (By the way, “Nonbinary” or a blank to fill in were also options for the gender question; not enough did so to attempt using in this breakdown.)

Age chartThe three age categories let us look at the most significant trends. Younger respondents appeared to find violent acts more justified across the board. The only statistically significant exceptions, which aren’t listed above due to the smaller margins, were Dany burning the Khals and Brienne killing Stannis. In both cases age 50+ respondents found the acts more justified than those age 34 and under, by 9 and 7 percentage points respectively.

Chart 4This was a difficult question to parse, since respondents could of course check more than one box, and a large majority selected white, with other racial or ethnic groups individually getting relatively little representation. African/African-American/Black respondents had more big differences, and most of those focused specifically on Dany, whose actions they consistently found more justified than others. The nearly 25-point difference on the burning of the Tarlys is the third-widest demographic difference in the entire survey.

Political Orientation

Right-leaning respondents were more approving of certain executions that took place according to the system of justice depicted on the show. They also were less likely to see Loras’ arrest as unjustified than left-leaning respondents.

location chart

North Americans appear to be bigger fans of Brienne than those elsewhere in the world, and Europeans are a bit more fond of House Lannister and seem to be less enthused by Dany. What say you, Luka Nieto?

Wrapping Up: Viewing in a Vacuum

We’ve looked a lot at how the survey has illustrated differences in viewpoints between book readers and show only-viewers. Part 1 reviewed how the groups see the show’s seasons and plotlines, for instance. You can refresh your memory on that with the chart linked here.

The survey also asked how often respondents talked to others (online or in “real life”) or read about the show, both in season and when it’s not airing. From those responses, I created three groups, from little interaction to high interaction. By looking at survey results across those three groups, we can see how groupthink might play a role in how people perceive the show:

Interaction with other viewers

The act of discussing and reading about Game of Thrones appeared to affect perceptions of four of the 10 plotlines we measured (see Part 1 for full results on those questions). Those who spent, say, an hour or less a week interacting regarding the show had more positive views of the Dorne plot and Season 7’s wight hunt and Winterfell scheming. On the other hand, they were less positive about the “Theon as Reek plot,” which those with high participation in Game of Thrones discussion liked more.

Petra: I’ve found from my own involvement in the fandom that a lot of fans warm up to Theon’s story by learning of the varied opinions other people have of the character. Those who don’t discuss him with others tend to have a more straightforward “rat bastard” opinion of him. So, I appreciate that the stats support my own anecdotal evidence.

We can go one step further, and look at the smallish group of respondents who A) have not read the books and B) interact very little with others about the show. This is as close as we can come to some sort of laboratory environment where there’s no outside bias seeping in.  Here are the biggest differences we saw with “isolated” viewers. Look to bottom right for some true chasms:

isolated viewers

The Season 5 Dorne plot, by far the most maligned overall, was nonetheless seen as ineffective by only 41 percent of these viewers in a relative vacuum, compared with 70 percent of other respondents. And we see differences of more than 20 points for three other measured plots.

That’s it! Special thanks to Petra, for assisting with the survey questions and co-hosting the Con of Thrones panel on the results, plus of course offering her thoughts for these posts. And thanks to Sue the Fury for her patience, as I waded through mountains of data (plus Watchers Patrick and David for QA’ing some things).

Further exploration of how those who haven’t read the books and don’t participate in online discussions see Game of Thrones differently may be in order … but that can be someone else’s endeavor!

95 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. In my opinion…

      Battle of the bastards is the most overrated episode in the entire Game of Thrones.
      Battle in Mereen was far more interesting imo, than thousands of men rolling in mud in Winterfell.
      Plus that episode underlined even more, that Jon isn’t a very good leader.
      Only good scene among the Winterfell-scenes was Sansa’s revenge on Ramsay.

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    2. I loved guessing the emoji’s. Well done! Some I had right, some I had wrong. The ones I had right were: 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 15.

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    3. While it isn’t a surprise to see what was #67, I still think people automatically rate it low on memory of those two short scenes alone (Water Gardens & rape). The episode as a whole isn’t so much worse than every other in my opinion, and it’s not my personal lowest rated. I do expect it lowest on any list though, so *shrug*

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    4. Nina: Battle of the bastards is the most overrated episode in the entire Game of Thrones.
      Battle in Mereen was far more interesting imo, than thousands of men rolling in mud in Winterfell.

      Umm, you do remember that the Battle in Meereen was in the same episode, “Battle of the Bastards,” right? The episode began with Meereen being shelled from the masters’ ships – to Daenerys flying Drogon.

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    5. Clob,
      … as for the battles comparison. I do favor the Battle in Meereen for endlessly rewatching over the BotB. There are fantastic elements to the BotB and it was epic, but Daenerys jumping on Drogon and fetching Rhaegal and Viserion scene was so cool and badass that that scene alone could have escalated the episode to one of my favorites.

      After “Battle of the Bastards” episode was over I didn’t think any could ever top it. One week later we get an episode starting with the haunting “Light of the Seven” music and we ended up with a contender.

      I’m a ‘book-first’ viewer and I’m just fine with the overall top five list above. I’d probably just switch “Hardhome” to 4 and “Blackwater” to 5.

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    6. These surveys are so interesting. Nothing too surprising, but still, it’s great to see so much data. Thanks for the in-depth results !

      Seems like Seasons 5, 7, and 2 are generally regarded as the weakest, while Seasons 1 and 6 are considered the strongest, closely followed by 3 & 4.

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    7. Despite technically being a “Book First” viewer, I find myself agreeing FAAAAAAAAR more with the “Show Only” crowd when it comes to the episode rankings. But I always suspected that would be the case. 😉 In general, I think that’s because I have a higher opinion of the latter seasons relative to the earlier seasons than a number of book-first viewers, seeing them as markedly better-crafted television episodes overall and caring substantially less about things like the fidelity of adaptive choices (or, God forbid, travel times). Hell, I’ve got three episodes from Season 7 in my personal Top 10! Looks like I’m an outlier there, but that’s perfectly fine with me.

      It’s particularly interesting to see the difference in how “isolated” viewers perceive certain storylines. That’s a perspective that I’m always keen to learn about (I usually use my parents as a gauge – they adore the show, watch it every single week … and pay attention to essentially none of the online discussion about it). I personally consume a ton of Game of Thrones-related content, particularly in-season, and I’ve found that the tenor of the discussion surrounding that week’s episode can affect my enjoyment of it on mid-week rewatches. Even if the prevailing arguments about the episode in question are ones that I don’t agree with, I can hear them echoing in my head and spend more time mentally engaging/refuting them than reveling in the episode itself. Whenever I do my offseason rewatches, those discussions almost never reach my thoughts – I’m just along for the ride.

      Thank you for conducting this survey, James and Petra! It was very informative. And yes, those emojis are excellent! 🙂

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    8. Nina,

      Have to say my views are similar. BOTB was a well filmed, well produced episode, but very predictable. Even at Jon’s low point in the battle, as a viewer I wasn’t watching thinking he was going to die, but waiting for the inevitable twist that would flip turn the tide of battle.

      I read the books between seasons 1 & 2, so I don’t know how that would categorise me in this survey, but knowing what would happen definitely reduced the impact of most episode in seasons 2 thru 5, which seems the opposite from those listed as book first. My favourite episodes tended to be those you really didn’t see coming like Hardhome & the Door, or those that were simply packed with drama whilst being of the highest quality such as Winds of Winter.

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    9. Nina:
      In my opinion…

      Battle of the bastards is the most overrated episode in the entire Game of Thrones.
      Battle in Mereen was far more interesting imo, than thousands of men rolling in mud in Winterfell.
      Plus that episode underlined even more, that Jon isn’t a very good leader.
      Only good scene among the Winterfell-scenes was Sansa’s revenge on Ramsay.

      I agree that the episode is extremely overrated, but respectfully disagree on the rest. I hated Sansa’s revenge scene, and I personally think Jon is underrated as a leader, and unfairly blamed for certain things.

      Also, Battle of the Bastards is in the same episode as Battle of Meereen.

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    10. Since couple of you have misunderstood me…
      Yes, I know that battle in Mereen happened in BotB episode.
      I wasn’t clear enough it seems.
      I meant, that in that episode battle in Mereen was more interesting than the actual battle of the bastards.
      Every scene that happened in Mereen in that episode was far more interesting imo, than battle of the bastards.
      I would’ve rather watch Daenerys and Yara flirt the entire episode, than watch too long battle scene in the north.

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    11. These posts were a treat! My heartfelt thanks to all who made them happen. Though I am reminded once more why I hated maths in school.

      I am a book first guy; I read AGoT years before the show, and was acquainted with the story through some friends years before still. That said, my view of episode rankings is more in tune with the show-only crowd. There’s some strange shenanigans going on with Season 5: half the Season in bottom 10, including some truly outstanding episodes like 5×03 High Sparrow and 5×05 Kill the Boy? 5×07 The Gift, also one of the highlights of the Season, is at #58, which is quite interesting. I am uncertain: do people really think these episodes are relatively bad (relatively being the operative word, of course) or are they indiscriminately lumped together in the “bad column” due to the prevailing opinion on Season 5 quality (or lack thereof). What Is Dead May Never Die (2×03) is also an excellent early episode that seems to be in low regard. Top spots are reserved for Big Moment episodes, which is to be expected. I would personally place some of the quieter ones up there among them, 3×05 Kissed by Fire definitely being a strong contender for Top 5 in my view.

      Again, great job everyone! :Waves:

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    12. More than half of Season 7 in the bottom grouping – that doesn’t bode well for Season 8. Fingers crossed Season 8 will have a less rushed sense about it.

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    13. Clob: While it isn’t a surprise to see what was #67, I still think people automatically rate it low on memory of those two short scenes alone (Water Gardens & rape). The episode as a whole isn’t so much worse than every other in my opinion, and it’s not my personal lowest rated. I do expect it lowest on any list though, so *shrug*

      “UUU” is nowhere near the worst episode of GoT. But yeah, fandom tends to fixate on 1 or 2 things they dislike and ignore everything else. And, as I think the survey shows in the other section about interaction, fandom interacting online amplifies people’s distaste for an episode, with people feeding each other’s dissatisfaction.

      As for the rest, well, I think people overate season 1 episodes sometimes out of misplaced nostalgia.

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    14. I was surprised to see ‘dragonstone’ get such a low rating even though I, myself wasn’t a big fan of the episode, the problem for me was that season 6 ended on such a high note that it really raised my expectations for that season, but the tone of the was different, there were no colorful essos scenes, characters were in situations that we were not used to see them in, Jon snow was brooding less.. . However as time passed and on my second watch, I came to really appreciate season 7.

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    15. Nina,
      Okay, I understand what you’re saying now. I’d have to disagree with your claim that it’s “the most overrated episode” though. Of course I’ll accept that YOU didn’t enjoy the entirety of it to within the top two or three rated episodes in the series. I can say though that you’re in a small minority that would call it overrated. Pretty much anywhere you look that has done ratings and/or rankings we’ll find the episode right up near or at the top, most citing the BotB as one of if not the greatest battle scenes ever on tv. (*) Pairing that with the Battle in Meereen I believe it earned the spot and would call it “appropriately rated,” for the majority. 😀

      * I’m not one that clamors for sword & board battles usually. I was fine in earlier episodes of the series when they cut short or skipped showing battles entirely. They usually end up rather bleh in my opinion with a lot of the same stuff we’ve seen before. BotB however was just so beyond the ‘normal’ for the genre that it was noteworthy.

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    16. Sue the Fury: As for the rest, well, I think people overate season 1 episodes sometimes out of misplaced nostalgia.

      Agreed! I did love S1 the first time through and still do, but rewatching years later there was some clunky stuff the likes of things that people have berated in later seasons.

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    17. MeeraReed,

      Has nothing to do with season 8. Season 7 was good I thought and Beyond The Wall gets a bad rap I still don’t fully understand. BotB was great but to me The Door and Hardhome were as good or better.

      I expect season 8 to be great.

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    18. Sue the Fury,

      What do u think is the worst episode Sue?

      On the whole these ratings are not that surprising especially the view of show only viewers.

      I know many people who have only watched the show and don’t participate in the online fandom and none have ever really commented to me about early seasons being better or fixate as much on Dorne as people in the fandom do.

      Although, to be fair some of those people did mention the chains and the conveniences in Beyond the Wall.

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    19. I think this information is interesting when looking at the Directors. Of course, Directors can only work with the material they are given, but looking at the bottom group, both Mark Mylod and Jeremy Podeswa have FOUR episodes each hanging out in the basement. Thankfully they are not involved with Season 8.

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    20. House Monty,

      I should say that I genuinely don’t think there’s a terrible episode of Game of Thrones. We’re blessed in that sense. There’s awesome, there’s really good, and then there’s okay. The worst episodes of Game of Thrones are still way better than most anything else on TV. It’s all relative.
      For least-good, “Dark Wings Dark Words” springs to me. It’s not particularly well-written or directed, and it has a lot of forgettable scenes that serve to set up the rest of the season but not in an interesting way. All it has going for it is the Jaime-Brienne on the bridge scene (which I like but it could’ve been a lot better), and the BWB’s meeting with Arya, which is cute.

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    21. “Petra: I’m always interested in whether people rank episodes by individual favorite scenes or by the episode as a whole. Going by this list, it seems to be the latter (which I suppose is fairer). The fact that “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” which contains the fan-favorite rescue scene, ranks in the middle surprises me.”

      _______
      • “Two Swords” at #29 has the best scene out of all 67 episodes (Arya & Sandor in the last 9 minutes), though the rest of the episode overall wasn’t as compelling.

      • The Bear and the Maiden Fair” also had a classic Jon & Ygritte scene. I too am surprised the episode wound up in the middle.

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    22. Wait a second. How is “Mockingbird” (S4e7) at #32? That was chock full of memorable scenes, including Sandor telling Arya how he got burned. Paraphrasing: “The smell was bad. The pain was worse. But the worst thing was that it was my brother who did it; and my father, who covered for him, told everyone my bedding caught fire…
      You think you’re on your own?”

      😢

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    23. MeeraReed:
      I think this information is interesting when looking at the Directors. Of course, Directors can only work with the material they are given, but looking at the bottom group, both Mark Mylod and Jeremy Podeswa have FOUR episodes eachhanging out in the basement.Thankfully they are not involved with Season 8.

      Which also explains why “The Broken Man” rated so poorly, even though Sandor’s return in the cold open was received so well.

      The rest of the episode was Ian McShane phoning it in. (Unlike, by contrast, Jim Broadbent, who disappeared so completely into his role as Maester Ebrose that I didn’t recognize him right away.)

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    24. Clob,

      Me too. Dany + 3 dragons vs. Masters’ armada to open S6e9 was a wonderful surprise. I enjoyed it more than the pre-hyped Team Jon vs. Team Ramsay mud & horses battle that followed.

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    25. Ten Bears,

      “The Bear and The Maiden Fair” is a real mixed bag of an episode. I think it belongs in the middle of the pack. I remember it not being very well-received when it first aired. A ton of people felt really let down by the handling of the bear scene, like it was anticlimactic.

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    26. Miguel Sapochnik has 3 episodes in the Top 5. (Winds of Winter; Battle of the Bastards; and Hardhome.) Not surprising.

      Gives us reasons to be excited for S8.

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    27. Sue the Fury:
      Ten Bears,

      “The Bear and The Maiden Fair” is a real mixed bag of an episode. I think it belongs in the middle of the pack. I remember it not being very well-received when it first aired. A ton of people felt really let down by the handling of the bear scene, like it was anticlimactic.

      Maybe I can’t be objective. The episode has the “Oh! A spider! Save me Jon Snow!” scene that I loved. And I didn’t feel let down by Jaime’s rescue of Brienne from the bear pit.

      However…I think I’ll always cherish this episode because I was a latecomer to the show; during an HBO marathon preceding S4, the very first scene I watched – for all of ten seconds – was two men talking in a field around some rocks or boulders. I thought to myself: “Guys in rags. Sitting in a field. Talking.” Click! on the remote to surf to the next channel.* I didn’t realize until later that was Jaime and Qyburn when Jaime decided to go back to rescue Brienne.

      I wound up checking out S1e1 to see what the hoopla was all about. Once that little girl zinged the arrow into the bullseye and took a bow, I was hooked, and I binge-watched the 30 episodes of S1-S3. Once I got to “The Bear and the Maiden Fair”, it reminded me how I had misjudged the show based on a ten-second, short attention span viewing of a part of one scene.

      * (I had also seen a TV Guide summary of an episode that said: “Jon climbs the Wall” and thought: “Oh. How exciting. Like “Jon watches paint dry.” Sounds dumb. Think I’ll pass.”)

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    28. Sue the Fury:
      Ten Bears,

      “The Bear and The Maiden Fair” is a real mixed bag of an episode. I think it belongs in the middle of the pack. I remember it not being very well-received when it first aired. A ton of people felt really let down by the handling of the bear scene, like it was anticlimactic.

      I actually didn’t mind the bear pit scene (I could suspend disbelief of Jaime’s impressive dexterity with one hand), but as I am not a big fan of the Ygritte character, it was almost opposite for me as for most fans! 🙂

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    29. Sue the Fury,

      .

      As for the rest, well, I think people overate season 1 episodes sometimes out of misplaced nostalgia.

      Yeah, probably. I just rember the wonder of it all – many of us in my group of readers were just not sure this was going to go well. Watching it that first time, nothing could be wrong (well except for that thing LF does in the brothel) I’ll never forget how that season got me hooked on this incredible show, and its one of my favorite to rewatch

      David and Petra, once again thanks for all of your hard work here!

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    30. I’m very glad “The Mountain and the Viper” soared so high (best of the season). I certainly liked it far better than “Watchers on the Wall”.

      But it really seems people vote Season 1 higher out of nostalgia and Season 7 lower due to recent memory (I mean it has its fair share of fuckups, but it’s still wonderful – “Spoils of War” not making Top 10 is sad).

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    31. Ser Brocolli McBrocolliface,

      • I can overlook the raven to Dragonstone + Dany to Frozen Lake round-trip timeline in “Beyond the Wall.” I can tell myself a few days had elapsed even if they didn’t show it. I’ll let slide for now nobody mentioning Arya during their chit chats, even though four of the Snow Patrol members (Gendry, Thoros, Beric and Sandor) + Jon had personal connections to her and would
      be expected to inquire about her welfare.

      My only real gripe was the Benjen ex machina, coming from out of nowhere to rescue Jon from the swarming wights in a 10-second scene, especially after the Benjen ex machina in S6 to rescue Bran and Meera from the swarming wights. I kind of hoped that after Jon had been left with the mystery of Uncle Benjen’s fate since S1, his “reunion” with Benjen would consist of more than Benjen giving Jon his horse and telling him “No time” – or whatever he said.

      It would’ve been better if Benjen hadn’t shown up at all.

      But this is all nitpicking. I still enjoyed the episode. (And it had the wonderfully absurd scene of a bored Sandor deciding to throw rocks at the zombies!)

      • I too expect S8 to be great. Two episodes directed by Sapochnik. Harbingers of many ASNAWP fantasy action scenes. Likely reunions of Arya with Jon and Arya with Sandor. Dany & Arya scene(s).

      • Still to come I’m sure: One or more familiar characters getting killed…and returning as wights. I wonder who will be the first?

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    32. I’m not that familiar with how strict the rating system is on IMDB, but it’s interesting to note that a full 38 out of the 67 episodes have a 9+ rating there (with no less than 4 being a 9.9) vs. 7 being a 9+ in this survey. So clearly the more hardcore fans are a little harsher when it comes to episode ratings. 🙂

      I believe I mentioned this before in another thread, but a somewhat overlooked gem of an episode in my opinion is “The Kingsroad”. It’s the episode where we really get our first taste of what we’re in for as far as how power is wielded and exploited, injustices, and tragedy.

      Overall though, I’m not that surprised by the ratings, except perhaps for that many episodes from season 5 being in the bottom. I’m currently at the end of season 2 of my rewatch, so I’m going to be curious when I get to season 5 to see how it stacks up for me after all this time.

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    33. Sue the Fury:

      As for the rest, well, I think people overate season 1 episodes sometimes out of misplaced nostalgia.

      I completely agree. I really don’t see how are the first 5 episode of S1 that much better than the first 5 episodes of S5, as the fans here think. It’s really strange.

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    34. Enharmony1625,

      👸🏻🚂⚠️ Arya thread derailment warning…

      I think “The Kingsroad” had the first speaking lines for Maisie/Arya, and she was wonderful: The scene in which Nymeria is “helping” her pack when Jon comes in to give her Needle.

      And that scene was preceded by a pompous Jaime being a real dick to Jon because of Jon’s inexperience and naïveté. Talk about role reversal: Now Jon’s the battle-hardened, renowned swordfighter, and Jaime’s… not so competent anymore without his right hand.

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    35. I wasn’t able to take the survey but my top 5 has always been, Winds of Winter, Hardhome, Rains of Castamere, Fire and Blood, and Battle of the Bastards.

      GoT earned its place in the pantheon of great tv by pulling the rug out from under its viewers and some of my favorites episodes did exactly that. Winds and Hardhome in particular, were both epic and legit game changing episodes. Winds marked the end of GoT’s countless entertaining political machinations. Season 6 as a whole was kind of an end of an era for the show, with Roose, Ramsay, Margaery, Walder Frey, all gone. Its entirely up to Cersei to bring the rug pulling come S8, with Baelish dead.

      I hope season 8 plays out like a 6 hour long Winds of Winter, rather than a 6 hour long Beyond the Wall (ridiculous episode, hated it). I mean the white walkers couldn’t cross the lake? the freaking night king was there, he is all ice he could have just frozen that damn lake if he wanted. Also Gendry’s Usain Bolt like sprinting and the ravens, it was truly a ridiculous episode.

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    36. The points about Season 5 episodes being clumped together at the bottom (and Season 1 being idealized) is interesting and something I was a bit worried about going into this. Ideally, I’d have presented the list of episodes to be rated in an entirely random order (and a different order for everyone who took it), rather than with the others in their season (albeit with the order of seasons presented randomly), so that people couldn’t think “oh, Season 5, that kind of sucked, right?” and maybe downgrade episodes because of that. That would have been the best way to minimize having the rating for one episode affect that of the one that aired right before or after.

      Butttt that would have made it much harder for casual fans to effectively take the survey, removing the context of seeing the episodes listed in order. Imagine being a casual viewer and having to rate “Dark Wings, Dark Words” followed by, I dunno, “Oathbreaker” and then “Second Sons.” You kind of would need the story to play out in your head chronologically, even with the mini episode synopses. And, of course, the casual fans would be least affected by groupthink, which might make their ratings purer in a sense.

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    37. Ten Bears,

      Both excellent scenes! The look on Arya’s face as she’s about to hug Jon.. heartbreaking. There’s also that great scene between Ned and Robert discussing a possible Dothraki invasion, and the scene between Tyrion and Jon: “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

      Also, Arya did have several lines in the first episode. She has that little bit where she talks about Jamie being Cersei’s twin brother during their arrival. Then she asks Sansa, “Where’s the Imp?” And then when Robert asks her name (nice bit of foreshadowing), she of course answers “Arya”.

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    38. James Rivers,

      Rating 67 episodes is an almost impossible task, no matter how they were listed.

      As Petra observed: “I’m always interested in whether people rank episodes by individual favorite scenes or by the episode as a whole. Going by this list, it seems to be the latter…”

      I for one probably fall into the category of people who rank episodes by individual favorite scenes, That’s why I would’ve rated “Mockimgbird” (S4e7) and “Two Chickens” – I mean “Two Swords” (S4e1) higher than the they are ranked on the poll.

      Episodes composed of excellent scenes from start to finish, like “Hardhome” and “The Spoils of War”, deserve the highest rankings.

      But everybody’s got their own criteria for what’s “best.” And as Sue commented:

      “I genuinely don’t think there’s a terrible episode of Game of Thrones. We’re blessed in that sense. There’s awesome, there’s really good, and then there’s okay. The worst episodes of Game of Thrones are still way better than most anything else on TV. It’s all relative.”

      I don’t think I’ve ever finished watching an episode and thought “well, that totally sucked.”

      Anyway, I’d like to see a post-S8 ranking of the “best” individual scenes. That should be interesting. 🐓🐓

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    39. Enharmony1625,

      Oh sh*t, you’re right. Arya did speak in Episode 1. I forgot about “Where’s the Imp?” and telling Robert her name.

      I guess I was so impressed how she ran the gamut of emotions in that brief scene with Jon in Episode 2 that I forgot the snippets of dialogue in Episode 1.

      When people say they don’t watch the show because they think it’s about dungeons and dragons or too violent, I have them watch clips of Arya’s archery scene and Jon et al. finding the direwolf pups in Episode 1, and Arya & Jon in Episode 2.

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    40. James Rivers,

      Yeah I don’t think there was pefect way to create this poll. You can’t avoid hive mind and echo chamber effects.

      But nostalgia is the only way I can explain how some episodes from the first 3 seasons are raited that high. I mean “Dark Wings, Dark Words” and “Garden of Bones” being better than “Kill the Boy” or “Stormborn” ? Really???

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    41. I don’t like big battles (well played, Clob and Luka Nieto, I still have a good laugh any time I remember your dialogue) and that’s why my favourite battle episode is Blackwater – more human interactions than actual fight.
      Of course, for the first time I watch a battle episode fearing for the characters involved and horrified by the general end of the world feeling. But when I rewatch (and I rewatch a lot) I just want the battle to end. However, this doesn’t apply to the Battle of Meereen, where the dragons were awesomeness with wings and fire!
      I don’t rank episodes because I don’t have the patience for it and it’s also very hard to decide. I somehow consider my favourite episode Kissed by Fire because of the bathtub scene, my favourite in all show. Two Swords is a close second… Ten Bears can guess why 🙂 I too prefer short episodes containing memorable events for my favourite characters.

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    42. Sue the Fury,

      I think a much better final scene (that was originally planned to be the final scene) in The Bear and The Maiden Fair should of been when Arya was escaping from the BWB when out of nowhere The Hound grabs her…

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    43. Interesting reading the bottom 15 episodes. Whilst I largely agree that most comes from S5 (which is the weakest season in my view) I am surprised there is nothing from S1 which on re-watch now isn’t as good as later seasons. I do wonder if there is some bias because it’s more or less a perfect adaptation from the book?

      Dragonstone’s inclusion seems very harsh, as I in my opinion it’s one of the better season openers above SE1, SE2 and S5 openers and maybe even S6.

        Quote  Reply

    44. Sue the Fury:
      House Monty,

      I should say that I genuinely don’t think there’s a terrible episode of Game of Thrones. We’re blessed in that sense. There’s awesome, there’s really good, and then there’s okay. The worst episodes of Game of Thrones are still way better than most anything else on TV. It’s all relative.
      For least-good, “Dark Wings Dark Words” springs to me. It’s not particularly well-written or directed, and it has a lot of forgettable scenes that serve to set up the rest of the season but not in an interesting way. All it has going for it is the Jaime-Brienne on the bridge scene (which I like but it could’ve been a lot better), and the BWB’s meeting with Arya, which is cute.

      I’ve always thought that ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words’ did itself a disservice by not ending the episode with the reveal that the Brotherhood had captured The Hound, and Arya sees him, knowing immediately who he is – this was the first time we saw him since he fled The Blackwater so I thought it would be a great episode ender! I feel that it was much more climactic and exciting than the weird fade to black as Jaime and Brienne surrender. They truly bungled the ending there.

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    45. Wow I’ve just read episodes 50-36 and I am shocked at how much of Season 6 in there (the best season overall in my opinion). Broken man and Book of the Stranger plus Oathbreaker from S3 would be top 25 for me. Also surprised at the lack of S1 still as that’s probably 2nd or 3rd weakest season on re-watch.

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    46. Not surprised to see that Season 7’s episodes are so low rated considering that The Winds of Winter is people’s favourite episode and Season 7 came along and took a massive great dump on everything that occurred in it.

      Is there anything that was set up in The Winds of Winter that was satisfyingly followed through on in Season 7?

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    47. Episodes 35-21 again a number of big surprises for me. The Dance of Dragons I am shocked how high this is, would be one of the weakest episodes for me. It’s probably second to UBUBUB.

      At the other end of the spectrum I’m surprised to see Home so low. This for me is top 15 of all time, closely pushing top ten. Equally the laws of Gods and Men from S6 feels way too low, the whole court stuff with Tyrion is amazingly well acted and full of drama, also pretty faithful to book if I recall correctly.

      Largely agree with the rest but I’d have the S1 episodes in the upper thirties or low forties myself.

      Super interesting to read through like the rest of the survey results and I’ll finish the rest later tonight.

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    48. Enharmony1625,

      The problem with Season 5 is that it contains a couple questionable character and story arcs that tend to show the whole season in a bad light.
      As a whole, it certainly isn’t that bad as the ratings (and rankings) here would suggest. Again it appears as though mostly people rated episodes as a whole and a single bad scene could have weighted the whole episode down while a single really good scene wasn’t enough to pull the episode up (see episodes with the famous chickens, bear fight, etc.). In such conditions, consistent episodes and whole seasons tend to do better even when they’re not particularly memorable or breathtaking, packed with awesome scenes.

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    49. I don’t agree with a lot of this.

      Too many season 5’s ranked low, including UUU.. which I love.
      Too many season 7 and 6 ranked low
      Too many season 1’s ranked high…

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    50. Sue the Fury: I should say that I genuinely don’t think there’s a terrible episode of Game of Thrones.

      This morning I’ve been actively trying to figure out which is my least favorite episode and so far I still can’t decide. Most of the ones I recall being ho-hum have something I really liked or have ‘redeeming’ scenes. I checked the ones I knew had lots of talky High Sparrow and yep, there were other strong scenes. I’m pretty confident that I agree with you on “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” though and it would be near the bottom for me. It may actually be my least favorite since since even the best scenes in it aren’t top shelf.

      I think most of the bottom five from this survey have scenes that I enjoyed that supported the episodes for me.
      67. “Unbowed…” – Not my least favorite. For one, while rape is beyond terrible, I can’t simply downgrade the episode because they had Ramsay do it. It was in line for his character and it once again escalated how evil he was. I enjoyed the Arya scenes and it had Tyrion and Jorah discussing their fathers.
      66. “Sons…” – It is probably one of my least with all of the High Sparrow and Sept stuff. The Jaime-Bronn arriving in Dorne stuff was decent but the intro of the Sand Snakes was cheesy. However… I loved Tyrion-Jorah in a dingy. Melisandre trying to seduce Jon – Stannis actually being affectionate with Shireen all good. I never liked too much Littlefinger talk but we did get him telling Sansa the story of the Tourney at Harrenhal in this one. The best lift of the episode had to be Barristan giving us an accurate view of Rhaegar while telling Daenerys about him… and the fight with the SotH even if the result wasn’t happy.
      65. “High Sparrow” – While it still is probably one of my least favorite episodes it would be a lot more certain if not for Arya’s scene of throwing her things in the water… but not Needle.
      64. “The House of…” – This one is a little flat, but Tyrion and Varys in the carriage, Arya getting to Braavos/HoBaW, Jon voted in as LC are decent scenes.
      63. “The Wars to Come” – Also a little flat (by GoT standards) without much to prop it up.

      So just between the bottom five of the survey I’d probably rate “The Wars to Come” the lowest

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    51. My thoughts on 20-11 – initial reaction hard to disagree with a lot of that. The S1 episodes are the better ones but I’m still confused why they feature so highly overall. Episode 1 inparticular is an introduction with not a lot major going on other than Bran being thrown out of the window do people seriously like that or consider it an episode they want to watch over and over again? Also Spoils of War feels too low for albeit I get why some people prefer drama over action, hard to predict ten episodes better than that other than the obvious Hardholme and Winds of Winter.

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    52. Finally read the top ten, again I am surprised and not surprised. It was clear Winds of Winter would be number one but I expected Hardholme to be firm number two and Rains Of Castermere to be number 3. Very surprised to see Baelor feature in the top ten, yes it’s a big huge moment but overall I’m not sure it has the drama or action of other episodes far lower down the list. Also could people watch that episode repeatedly? I’ve watched Hardholme and Winds of Winter multiple times in isolation because they are simply that good from start to finish.

      Great analysis and such an interesting read overall as with your earlier articles.

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    53. Stoneheart:
      I was surprised to see ‘dragonstone’ get such a low rating even though I, myself wasn’t a big fan of the episode, the problem for me was that season 6 ended on such a high note that it really raised my expectations for that season, but the tone of the was different, there were no colorful essos scenes, characters were in situations that we were not used to see them in, Jon snow was brooding less.. . However as time passed and on my second watch, I came to really appreciate season 7.

      I agree with this both S5 and S7 suffered to an extent because what preceded them was such a rollercoaster of drama and action. In comparison both S5 and S7 were largely more drama orientated with fewer big moments.

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    54. MeeraReed,

      I never said you mentioned season 6. I responded mainly to your concern about season 8, and then added my own thoughts after that.

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    55. Clob,

      Individual perceptions and idiosyncrasies impact a viewer’s “ratings” of episodes. For me, any episode with the High Sparrow bloviating automatically gets downgraded. Same thing with redundant Ramsay scenes. (Okay, I get it! He’s a sadistic sick f*ck. Can we move on to something else?) LF grated on me from the beginning, and even more so after S4 when he started becoming irrelevant, until S7 when I got the feeling his “Sell By” date had passed and he’d become extraneous to the story.

      On the other hand, Sandor scenes enhanced any episode he was in. Except “The Broken Man”, which kind of dragged after the glorious cold open. I attribute that to Ian MacShane, who I felt didn’t take his role or the show seriously (“it’s only tits and dragons”), and the particular director’s style.

      Subconsciously, I guess I felt that underwhelming characters and unconvincing plot detours took away precious time from the characters and story lines I really like.

      #ASNAWP👸🏻
      #SandorAhai🐓🐓
      #Kinvara🔥

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    56. I’m weary of associating the ranking of episodes with the director. Is the episode ranked lower because of the actual directing or because of the material.

      People who dislike Beyond the Wall surely aren’t disappointed with the directing… It was beautifully shot. I get the issues with the timeline but that has nothing to do with direction.

      I think we can probably say the same thing about any of these episodes.

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    57. Ten Bears,

      I think that’s it. We all judge based on our likes and dislikes.

      Ramsay is Ramsay. Hes gonna Ramsay. Same with LF. I never felt either had become irrelevant though.

      LF had to leave Kings Landing and he was still trying to manipulate things. Unless he didn’t really die and it was a Faceless Man as I’ve heard some muse on, I agree his arc was rushed at the end.

      It’s a slow time so we can have fun with all this. Got a ways to go….

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    58. Thought experiment: Seeing a number of episodes called out as being underrated. But very few called out as overrated. To move six episodes up, six would have to go down. Hmm. (and keep in mind the rankings may be from 1 to 67 but the ratings are very compressed, with sometimes only a couple tenths of a point separating a bunch of episodes).

      High-rated eps mentioned as overrated in comments:
      BOTB
      Baelor
      Winter Is Coming
      Dance of Dragons
      Earlier seasons in general

      High-to-mid rated eps mentioned as UNDERrated:
      Hardhome
      The Door
      Spoils of War
      Kissed by Fire
      The Bear and the Maiden Fair
      Two Swords
      Mockingbird
      The Laws of Gods and Men
      The Kingsroad
      Home

      Lower rated eps mentioned as overrated:
      Dark Wings Dark Words
      Garden of Bones
      Earlier seasons in general

      Lower rated eps mentioned as UNDERrated:

      Broken man
      Book of the Stranger
      Oathbreaker
      Beyond The Wall
      dragonstone
      High Sparrow
      Stormborn
      Kill the Boy
      The Gift
      What Is Dead May Never Die
      UUU

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    59. Jon Snowed,

      Although I see you point, to me episode one was VERY important in setting the tone of the series – and the scenes with the beheading and of little Bran being shoved out the window was a wake up call to viewers on what kind of show this was going to be and it will either turn you off or get you excited for whats to come… that along with the more grounded feel (vs a LOTR style) coupled with the supernatural elements in the beginning were important to give viewers a taste of what is to come. Not to mention all the very short but to the point character introductions – you get to meet nearly all your principle players and a defining personal character trait/flaw that will either define them, become something they have to overcome or lead to their downfall.

      I knew the books going in and was worried about how it could be adapted for TV and episode 1 was a wonderful relief in that it felt like the showrunners/writers knew what they were doing and that the material would be in good hands. I can see how over time, since you already know these characters and the story, episode 1 isn’t as interesting on repeat viewing – but as an introduction it does A LOT and to anyone new to the series really helps set the tone on whether they want to take this journey or not… it might not have that ‘moment’ that really solidifies a fan for life (LOL) but it certainly puts in hooks into you so that you want to continue on. That is what Episode 1s are supposed to do – how can you fault it for just being episode 1, character intros, boring… if episode 1 was terrible (apparently the original pilot was really bad) would casual viewers have stuck around the next week for episode 2? probably not all of them, so give episode 1 some credit for doing what it was supposed to do and doing it really well!

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    60. Jon Snowed:
      Finally read the top ten, again I am surprised and not surprised. It was clear Winds of Winter would be number one but I expected Hardholme to be firm number two and Rains Of Castermere to be number 3.Very surprised to see Baelor feature in the top ten, yes it’s a big huge moment but overall I’m not sure it has the drama or action of other episodes far lower down the list.Also could people watch that episode repeatedly?I’ve watched Hardholme and Winds of Winter multiple times in isolation because they are simply that good from start to finish.

      Great analysis and such an interesting read overall as with your earlier articles.

      I think you are confusing what you like with what everyone else likes, obviously viewers are different and like different things about GOT – there are so many characters and storylines that satisfies many different types of viewers. Your examples are how you feel about them, obviously from the voting others felt differently or found other aspects in other episodes they liked more.

      Personally I don’t view individual episodes as standalones – it a series and is meant to be viewed as a whole – or if you have to break it down, then into the individual character storylines… It would be like reading a book and then deciding chapter 7 is the best chapter… they are all important to building your story.

      I’m impressed that so many people can even remember which episode number goes with which title and what happens in each – it all starts to combine together for me and little details like num/title don’t ultimately matter to me as much as characters and storylines which continues throughout … I think this was one aspect of the voting I skipped (too much work for someone like me 🙂 interesting to read the comments though

      Great job on all the analysis, it is fun to read and leads to some interesting discussions and insight.

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    61. I totally agree with everything you’ve written Viki yet I still don’t understand how people can rank that as better than latter episodes when comparing the series overall. Perhaps it’s how different people perceive an episode to be better or worse than others. I am looking at drama, action, unexpected twists and that wow factor when I rank my top episodes. Episode 1 doesn’t really have that apart from the very end, it’s merely an introduction to the characters.

      Worth my stating that I by no means think it’s bad, it’s very good in fact like almost every other episode.

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    62. The work that has been put into this is outstanding. Thank you so much yo everyone involved in the making of the surveys.

      Haven’t read all the discussion but I agree with the argument that Season 1 is viewed as better because of nostalgia. Although in the end I believe its better constructed than most seasons, episodes 2 and 3 aren’t really that interesting as a whole (they have great scenes like Arya meeting Syrio but don’t compare to some other stuff in the next seasons) and going forward the episodes became better produced, had better pace and more confident storytelling.

      Having read the books first I still gotta give it to the show-only watchers on this one.

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    63. viki,

      I’m impressed that so many people can even remember which episode number goes with which title and what happens in each – it all starts to combine together for me and little details like num/title don’t ultimately matter to me as much as characters and storylines which continues throughout … I think this was one aspect of the voting I skipped (too much work for someone like me 🙂 interesting to read the comments though

      So am I; this was why I could not vote on the episodes (the vote we did last year was easy,coz I didn’t need to remember what was where!) I agree with you, each episode is part of the arc of the story, and each scene whether we like it or not drives that arc. Thats not to say I liked all episodes, but even the ones I was iffy about wasn’t so bad that it didn’t move the story and or the characters. But like you I have enjoyed the comments, interesting discussion. Just glad Im not the only one!

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    64. James Rivers:
      To move six episodes up, six would have to go down. Hmm. (and keep in mind the rankings may be from 1 to 67 but the ratings are very compressed, with sometimes only a couple tenths of a point separating a bunch of episodes).

      It’s almost like that thing where every parent insists their child is above average — it’s mathematically impossible. If some episodes are moved into the top 10, others will be knocked out, and then it’s like “No, but that episode definitely needs to be in the top 10. And so does this one, and this one, and..” 🙂

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    65. viki,

      “I can see how over time, since you already know these characters and the story, episode 1 isn’t as interesting on repeat viewing – but as an introduction it does A LOT and to anyone new to the series really helps set the tone on whether they want to take this journey or not.”

      ____________
      As someone “new to the series” who’d never even heard of the books, Episode 1 was make-or-break for me. If it hadn’t drawn me in, I wouldn’t have had the patience to keep watching.

      The novelty value of realizing “Hey! That’s Dave from The Full Monty playing the King!” would’ve worn off quickly.

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    66. viki:
      I’m impressed that so many people can even remember which episode number goes with which title and what happens in each – it all starts to combine together for me and little details like num/title don’t ultimately matter to me as much as characters and storylines which continues throughout … I think this was one aspect of the voting I skipped (too much work for someone like me interesting to read the comments though

      Great job on all the analysis, it is fun to read and leads to some interesting discussions and insight.

      Thanks. And actually we had a tiny synopsis of each episode to help out. Cuz heck if I remembered what happened in Season 2, Episode 4 until looking back and seeing…

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    67. I didn’t take part in the vote. My visits to the site have been intermittent of late because of my fear of spoilers. Thinking of some of the earlier episodes made me think of some of the actors whose characters have been “bumped off”. I came to an appreciation of Lord Karstark’s actor (John Stahl) that I hadn’t had previously. I suppose I was annoyed initially at Lord K’s actions meaning Robb lost so many of his fighting men (and thus made it easier to put the Red Wedding in place). In retrospect I realise that the actor conveyed the part of a grieving father well. Apparently he played the butler in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (I watched a few episodes but wasn’t that taken with the show back in the day). Anyway I am providing a link to a Scottish newspaper from a couple of years ago regarding the actor (who is Scots in real life) https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/celebrity-interviews/scots-game-thrones-actor-prepares-7277127

      I thought the bit about midges under his wig in GoT was quite funny.

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    68. I am also spoiler adverse but the good news is there haven’t been any leaks this time around so I would say no need to avoid watchers unless the article header contains a warning.

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    69. Yeah I just saw Kim Renfro say the same on twitter although she thinks April is most likely. Feels like a long wait if so but preparing myself for it.

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    70. James Rivers,

      Hee, that helped a whole lot! Was hard to do but still managed a list

      Winter is Coming** (yes, nostalgia)
      Baelor*
      Fire and Blood*
      Black Water*
      Valor Margulus**
      Lion and the Rose**
      Laws of Gods and Men*
      Mockingbird
      Mountain and the Viper*
      Watchers on the Wall*
      The Children**
      Rains of Castemer*
      The Gift
      Hardhome*
      Mother Mercy**
      Home*
      Door*
      Battle of the Bastards*
      Winds of Winter*
      Baelor*

      Old Gods and New***
      Oathkeeper***
      Mockingbird ***

      *in top ten
      **in top twenty

      Interesting – with a few exceptions all of mine (just from the synopsis) showed up in the survey top 20.

      ***Also interesting that Mockingbird Oathkeeper and Laws of Gods and Men, were not higher on the survey.

      I will return to this list after I finish my rewatch, see how that changes things.

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    71. viki,

      I knew the books going in and was worried about how it could be adapted for TV and episode 1 was a wonderful relief in that it felt like the showrunners/writers knew what they were doing and that the material would be in good hands. I can see how over time, since you already know these characters and the story, episode 1 isn’t as interesting on repeat viewing – but as an introduction it does A LOT and to anyone new to the series really helps set the tone on whether they want to take this journey or not… it might not have that ‘moment’ that really solidifies a fan for life (LOL) but it certainly puts in hooks into you so that you want to continue on. That is what Episode 1s are supposed to do – how can you fault it for just being episode 1, character intros, boring… if episode 1 was terrible (apparently the original pilot was really bad) would casual viewers have stuck around the next week for episode 2? probably not all of them, so give episode 1 some credit for doing what it was supposed to do and doing it really well!

      Thank you. This, all of this. It might be nostalgic, but I remember how worried we all were, and how thrilled we were that it not only happened, but that it happened so well.

      Its also important to remember the budget back then. One wonders what season 1 would have looked like with the money the show gets now. So given what they had, and the wonderful young actors and experienced greats, despite some quibbles I did have, it was really a great season.

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    72. James Rivers,

      “Cuz heck if I remembered what happened in Season 2, Episode 4 until looking back and seeing…”
      ___________
      Now that you mention that episode..
      I’ve always thought it would be interesting to rank each character’s best scenes; sometimes those scenes are buried in an otherwise “middle tier” episode.

      For example:
      Contenders for Tyrion’s best scene included:

      His “trial” at the Vale including his honeycomb & jackass and turtle stew confessions;

      His encounter with the Hill Tribes (“How would you like to die, Tyrion son of Tywin?”);

      Deploying his wildfire ghost ship at the Battle of the Blackwater;

      “My Dinner with Janos” (“I’m not questioning your honor.. I’m denying its existence”);

      Strolling into the Small Council meeting, causing Cersei to lose her sh*t when he shows her the scroll naming him Acting Hand; and several other scenes.

      The #1 Tyrion scene [in my view] was in S2e4, when smug Lancel showed up at his door with a warrant to release Pycelle; by the time Tyrion was done inducing Lancel to incriminate himself without knowing it, Tyrion had converted him into a double agent to spy on Cersei for him.
      That scene is always worth a rewatch. There’s a great moment when Tyrion looks up with a twinkle in his eye, knowing he’s got Lancel cornered.

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    73. Ten Bears,

      You forgot about the musical chairs before the small council meeting 🙂

      Oh and I loved that photo of Maisie – I’d like to find others from that first season, all the kids, behind the scene stuff.

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    74. That section was HARD for me! I had to refer to the episode synopses because SO much happens in each…some are overall better than others, sure, but I find it extremely difficult to really have favorite “episodes” or even “seasons” when I see things as one long continuous series of events, without always remembering how those are divvied up. (Although I do love how episode titles are often symbolically representative of multiple segments, not only the most obvious ones.) Eps like Hardhome & BotB are much easier to remember as a whole.
      Agreed with Jared, Mr Fixit, Toiva, Ten Bears, Enharmony, Mau, James, Jon Snowed, & Sue. ^w^

      Hmmm, lemme see how I aligned with others of my demographics (show-then-book/much interaction, North American, politically central, female/31, white/non-Latina, non-LGBT [have wondered whether I might be asexual but still would never consider that LGBTQ, all of which are defined by desire for particular sexes and/or genders])…

      JUSTIFIED (or more justified than not; that applies to most categories): Arya poisons Freys, Jon beheads Janos, Tyrion kills Shae, Ned beheads Will, Jaime poisons Olenna (Okay, I LOVE Olenna and hated that the Tyrells lost & she had to die, but I at least loved Jaime for his mercy), Robb beheading Karstark (mebbe not so smart though), Khal/Tarly-burning, master crucifiction, locking up Xaro, Brienne kills Stannis (didn’t thrill me or anything but acceptable way for him to go rather than just dying on the ground or whatever I guess); beheading Mossador was a toughie (don’t want to start showing that anyone can get away with breaking the law…maybe clarify/emphasize the rules & then appease by saying “JUST this once & *never* again?” Or be wordier & go a bit more into why you must do this even though you’re very sorry it has to be done? Idk)
      UNJUSTIFIED: Jon’s murder; Loras’ arrest; Sept destruction, poisoning Tyene, Bran-pushing
      PLEASED: Jon’s/Beric’s resurrections, loot train attack (emoji Drogon going shopping is amazing)
      DISPLEASED: Sept destroyed (only pleased by the loss of the Sparrows; that problem bit Cersei’s stupid rear but so many innocents went with them)
      POSITIVE: Night’s Watch, BWB, Catelyn (mostly; she’s not a fave but I don’t hate her), Oberyn (same; I wish he’d just finished The Mountain off, the cocky fool), House Baratheon
      MODERATE: Brienne beats Hound (I like them both, so I didn’t wanna see either one get beaten/killed); Blackwater (I mean, there was a lot going on there, but overall fairly pleased I suppose); Stannis wins @ Wall (more pleased than not; less so by burning Mance but what’re ya gonna do, like the Tarlys he had a choice); Renly’s killing (didn’t hate him but it was war, Stannis had the rightful claim…); House Lannister (love Tyrion and like Jaime); Jaime/Dorne/Sand Snakes/wight hunt (don’t have as big a problem w/ those as many, the Dorne one’s not the best…)
      CHARACTER “GOOD”: Hound, Olenna, Cat, Drogo, Jaime; Bronn I suppose is on the good/better side of neutral
      CHARACTER “EVIL”: Shae
      EFFECTIVE: Tyrion+Dany, Arya+Faceless Men, Theon-Reek (he’s still not a *fave* but it’s well-done), Ramsay/Sansa/WF
      INEFFECTIVE: Littlefinger/Arya/Sansa plot

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    75. Well I’m late to this party, but some stray observations:

      I can’t disagree with “The Winds of Winter” being #1. It’ represents the best of the best that GoT has to offer. I still think Hardhome is #1 on my list, but it’s always changing based on mood.

      I have a hard time understanding how “Cripples, Bastards, and BRoken Things” could possibly be rated higher than “Two Swords” or “Mockingbird”.

      “Winter is Coming” is a fine episode, but the 14th best episode? Yikes! It’s high rating is clearly due to nostalgia. I didn’t think GoT fans were such softies 🙂

      A few episodes I feel are rated too high on this list:

      Baelor
      The Mountain and the Viper
      The Bear and the Maiden Fair
      The Kingsroad
      Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things

      Sorry, but everytime I watch “Baelor” i’m expecting to see one of the best episodes that GoT has to offer, but I always come away disappointed. Other than Ned’s death scene, this episode is pretty middle-of-the-pack for me.

      A few episodes that I feel are rated too low on the list:

      A Man Without Honor
      The Old Gods and the New
      The Queen’s Justice

      The second half of season 2 is criminally underrated, IMO. It’s some of the best stuff they’ve done.

      I admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of season 7, but The Queen’s Justice deserves to be higher. So does “Beyond the Wall” IMO.

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    76. ash:
      Ten Bears,

      Oh and I loved that photo of Maisie – I’d like to find others from that first season, all the kids, behind the scene stuff.

      I think I’ve got links to other behind the scenes pictures from S1. I’ll look.

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