Looking Forward, Game of Thrones Ep. 609: Battle of the Epic 9s


Sunday night will be historic.

Perhaps the Starks reclaim Winterfell. Maybe Ramsay croaks. Maybe Jon dies (again). And maybe, it will be the best episode of the season. We will find out soon enough.

But one fact cannot be denied… if the rumors of the abbreviated final seasons are true, this will be the last of the Epic 9s.

Prep the Kleenex dispensers and ready your sentimental shields, for a man is not ready to see this run end…

For 5 years, 58 episodes, 2 Daarios, 2 Myrcellas, 2 Berics, 2 Tommens, 3 Mountains, and a shitload of CGI, the fandom have energetically awaited the coming of the coveted 9th installment of the respective season. Sunday night, it will presumably come to an end.

For historical significance only, years ago the good people who run this site were working at another site and inadvertently coined the term, the Epic 9s. The term got thrown for a loop last year when the Hardhome curveball was hurled in a surprise 8th episode. But 509 stood its own ground in the wake.

I’ve never been the type to credit “ranking lists” for anything more than what they normally are: the usual “dangling carrot” articles derived to serve the single purpose of guilting you to click when you know you shouldn’t. I mean, what are they really? It’s typically a subjective opinion piece from someone who is, most likely, attempting to emotionally bait you into an online article that you will most certainly disagree with.

And that is why I’m going to let YOU do the dirty work.

I provide the brief review. You rank ‘em below in the comments. And let’s all hope that the final 9th episode comes out somewhere near the top. Cool?

Ned's execution

Episode 109: Baelor

You all know what happened. Cat negotiated with Frey. Jon received Longclaw. Jaime was captured. And the rules of television no longer applied when GoT killed off the presumed lead character of the show. This was the beginning of a fixation for a man who does not make a habit of becoming fixated.

Wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater

Episode 209: Blackwater

Cersei gets some poison, just in case. Varys’ learns of Stannis’ relations with a Red Priestess (and is unimpressed). An unmanned ship leaking wildfire floats through the attacking fleet. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater is born. Lancel is injured. Tyrion is slashed. Pod kills Ser Mandon. The Hound runs away, and Joffrey runs to momma.

I had the old Sony cranked up, with the discount surround sound system kicking. The explosion rattled the windows of House Oz. I’d never seen anything quite like it.


Episode 309: The Rains of Castamere

You don’t need me to remind you about this one. A lot of beloved characters got the business thanks to Roose, Walder, and the regarding Lannisters. Hodor didn’t like the thunder. Bran didn’t like the “Hodor-ing.” Bran wargs into Hodor. Osha and Rickon head to the Umbers. Jon kills Orell. And Dany is given Yunkai by Worm, Jorah, and Daario v.1.

Just when the viewer-only contingent thought it couldn’t get much worse in Westeros, the Red Wedding occurred. Coverage of the events depicted in the episode were reported on every major news platform. Reaction videos went viral. And supposedly, the entire internet crashed for a brief period.

Giant numbers are coming

Episode 409: The Watchers on the Wall

An entire episode dedicated to one location (ah, the good ol’ days) and the namesake of this fine site, The Watchers on the Wall provided some of the most memorable moments of the series.


In retrospect, Ser Alliser admits that he should have sealed the tunnel. A giant arrow disintegrates a crow off the top of the Wall. Slynt runs for the basement. Sam kills a Thenn. Jon kills a Thenn. The fucking Thenns have a bad night. The giants and a mammoth attempt to pull down the gate. Grenn and company bravely defend the tunnel from a freight train. The epicness that was the scythe is released. And Owen Teale leaves us with one of my personal favorite exchanges:

“I said nock and hold, you cunts! Does nock mean draw? Does fucking hold mean fucking drop? You all plan to die here tonight? That’s very good to hear!

Dany escaping the fighting pits

Episode 509: The Dance of Dragons

Forever overshadowed by the episode 8 punch in the mouth otherwise known as Hardhome, The Dance of Dragons carried its weight with memorable moments as well.

Arya follows Meryn Trant to a brothel and learns that he was truly a sick fucker. Jon returns to the Wall with the wildlings (and Wun Wun gains admirers, whether he wants them or not). 20 men set fire to Stannis’ camp. Stannis sets fire to his daughter. Jaime meets with Doran Martell. Bronn meets Hotah’s fist. Jorah establishes himself as the premier spear thrower of the world. And Dany goes for her inaugural dragon ride.


Episode 609: Battle of the Bastards

Contents unknown. But wow at the potential.

I’m trying to keep a level head and not overextending expectations, but the cast and crew have not made that an easy task.


If you are a longtime supporter of Ramsay getting a well-deserved grisly, horrible death, then you have ample reason to be looking forward to Sunday night. But what if he actually survives? What if this battle proves to be one more nail in the coffin in the death of House Stark?

All I’m really hoping for is a well-orchestrated, choreographed clash that leaves a man drooling on his couch at the conclusion. And with Sapochnik (Hardhome) at the helm, we all have reason to believe that this final Epic 9 will rank among the top of this coveted category.

If this is, in fact, the last of the Epic 9s, let’s make it count.

Pictured: Ian Whyte as Wun Wun Credit: Courtesy HBO
Pictured: Ian Whyte as Wun Wun Credit: Courtesy HBO

Rank away, kiddos! I’m interested to see the differing opinions. Or, share your Unsullied thoughts about the upcoming Battle.

Speculation welcome. Official preview thoughts welcome. LEAK SPOILERS UNWELCOME!

See you good-looking guys and gals Monday morning for the Bastard recap. Until then, be nice to each other, and may there always be peace in your realm. -Oz

Find Oz on Twitter.

**SPOILER NOTE: The Management of this fine site would like to remind you that spoilers (book or leak) are not allowed in Unsullied posts. This includes spoilers that may be covered by code or otherwise. Personally, I appreciate feedback from Sullied and Unsullied alike, so long as they do not include any type of hinting or conversation related to the written verse. However, spoiler coded comments do tend to lead to further Sullied conversation and for that reason, we ask that you please refrain from posting any SPOILERY content whatsoever in Unsullied posts. Thank you for the coop. -Oz


  1. The 9’s have been incredible episodes…..I have no reason to expect this one to be different.

    Can’t wait.

  2. It is a difficult decision, but here’s my list:
    1. The Rains of Castamere 10/10
    2. Blackwater 9.5/10
    3. The Dance of Dragons 9.1/10
    4. Baelor 9/10
    5. The Watchers on the Wall 8.5/10

    They are all exceptional episodes, but I feel that the first two are just that little bit better than the rest. Those two are almost faultless, hence the high scores. The others are merely excellent, but that is still high praise.

    Really looking forward to watching another big one tomorrow. Hopefully it knocks it out of the park, and is another rare 10/10 episode.

  3. And just remember, this is an Unsullied post, so if it wasn’t in the Preview, it is a spoiler. Thanks!

  4. For me:

    5. The Dance of Dragons
    4. Blackwater
    3. Baelor
    2. Watchers on the Wall
    1. The Rains of Castamere

    Words cannot describe my excitement for tomorrow night!

  5. I always thought that Rains of Castamere was the best one just because of how shocking it all was. It was the first time I remember being completely speechless after watching it. However if Hardhome was a part of this list I would definitely rank it as the #1 episode.

    1. Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. Blackwater
    4. Watchers on the Wall
    5. The Dance of Dragons

  6. Nope. I looked and thought and considered – I can’t rank them. They were all amazing hours of acting and story telling. I’ll see what others say, maybe someone can sway me but for now its a 5 way tie…..

  7. 1. Watchers on the Wall
    2. Blackwater
    3. Baelor
    4. Rains of Castamere
    5. Dance of Dragons

    Hopefully, each drops down one as “Battle of Bastards” takes first Sunday night!

    Thanks, as always, Oz!

  8. Best to worst (who am I kidding, there is no worst):
    The rains of Castamere
    The watchers on the wall
    A dance with dragons

    Can’t wait for S6E9. Should easily crack the top three

  9. 1. Blackwater
    2. Baelor
    3. The Watchers on the Wall
    4. The Rains of Castamere
    5. The Dance of Dragons

  10. My ranking (so far):

    1. 3×09. The Red Wedding. ‘Nuff said! This episode single-handedly made GoT a global phenomenon.

    2. 1×09. Poor Ned. This is the episode that officially sent notice GoT was not your typical epic fantasy.

    3. 2×09. The battle of Blackwater, and it’s set up, was utterly epic. Season 2 had been leading up to this battle and it didn’t disappoint.

    4. 4×09. The other single-location episode. Extremely well-done, and visually stunning. But with only two major characters (Jon & Sam), the stakes didn’t feel as high.

    5. 5×09. Suffers because it happened right after Hardhome. Also Seasons 4 & 5 were the seasons where Ep 8 was the “epic” episodes.

    I expect 6×09 will end up in the top half of Episode 9s.

  11. 1. Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. WOTW
    4. Blackwater

    The first two are part of television history shock and emotionally-wise. The last two are better than the majority of today’s 200$ movies combined. Dance of Dragons was a mix of those elements and I loved it but it suffered being after Hardhome. I really can’t wait for tomorrow and for ‘Battle of the Bastards’ to take its place as part of television history like all the previous 9s.

  12. My favorite is Watchers on the Wall. I can’t count how many times I watched it and I’ll probably do that once more tonight but that doesn’t mean that others were worse: the Red Wedding or Shireen’s sacrifice are simply not for relax. Baelor is my least favorite, probably because I saw during a bang-watch and I had no time to mourn Ned and think of the injustice of the world. And the Blackwater is almost as good as the Watchers of the Wall (maybe I’ll re-watch tonight instead of the former).

  13. 1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. Blackwater
    3. Baelor
    4. Dance of Dragons
    5. Watchers on the Wall

  14. I wish I could teleport myself into the episode and kick over those Bolton shields in the picture.

    My ranking:

    1. The Watchers on the Wall (perfect episode; wouldn’t change a thing)
    2. Blackwater (some of the best character development for Cersei, good dialogue and good effects and stunt work despite the shoestring budget)
    3. Baelor (iconic episode)
    4. The Rains of Castamere (good action in the Riverlands and the North; I can’t remember anything else)
    5. The Dance of Dragons (eh)

  15. I can’t rank them tbh but one thing i’m sure of is that BotB will be my top favorite episode of the entire show SO FAR (if Sansa declared Queen in the North in final then ep 10 will replace it solely for that reason). Now off to preparing myself for an incredibly important exam tomorrow afternoon.

  16. ??????Take a bow Oz!! Excellent looking forward!! Never thought that this could be the last episode 9!??? Love your humor as always! I would rank the episodes 9 from best to worst:
    1. Battle of the Bastards (as I think this will be the Best one yet, heck the trailer is awesome)
    2. Watchers on the Wall
    3. The Rains of Castamere
    4. Blackwater
    5. Baelor
    6. Dance of Dragons

    Beyond excited for tomorrow night!! And Oz has managed to make it even more exciting! Thanks Oz!!!!!!

  17. 1. Blackwater – It’s an amazing battle, but it has also some amazing character moments. And it’s funny that it’s my favorite of the nines considering season 2 is my least favorite season.
    2. The Rains of Castamere – Still the most emotional episode in GoT for me. I’m actually thankful that I hadn’t read the books, nor been spoiled about this back then, because it was a truly shocking and jaw dropping experience.
    3. The Watchers on the Wall – The Helm’s Deep of GoT. It’s amazing battle episode, and it’s one of those episodes that I like to just re-watch now and then because it’s basically like watching a short movie.
    4. Baelor – It’s a great episode, but aside from the last scene I don’t think there is anything phenomenal about it.
    5. The Dance of Dragons – Good episode, but as said, Hardhome was really the epic one of season 5.

    I expect and hope TBoB to land at least on top 3 of my Epic 9 ranking.

  18. 1. Dance of the dragons – I was in awe the whole time
    2. Watchers on the wall – just amazing
    3. Rains of castemere – the feels I got from this were inexplicable
    4. Blackwater
    5. Baelor. The shock from this episode was also unreal but an episode as a whole the others were better

    They were all still amazing and range from 10/10 to 10/10 lol


  19. Ashara D,

    May I just tell you, once again, how in love I am with your brother!?! 🙂

    Oh, boy…the rankings are tough, so tough, in fact, there is a 3-way tie for me. Among those 3, although I tried, I just can’t say one is better than the other, so…

    1. The Rains of Castamere – The episode still completely floors me. In some ways, it floors me more now than it did when I first saw it. Why? Well, I’ve watched the episode several times, and even though by now I know the beats, the anticipation, the sense of dread, the mounting alarm, the…holy fuck, what are they doing to me…has not waned. Every time I’m left speechless.

    2. (in a 3-way tie, thus in no particular order) Blackwater, Baelor, The Dance of Dragons –

    – I’m not a big battle person, but Blackwater, imo, struck such a great balance between battle and quieter moments. I was also blown away by the wildfire explosion, and I’m not usually one who is won over by great spectacle.

    – Baelor left me with my jaw hanging open. It’s when I knew I was hooked beyond hooked. It may not have been as strong an episode as the other two in the tie, at least not overall, but it was such a seminal moment for me, I can’t rank it any lower.

    – Even with Hardhome before it, The Dance of Dragons blew me away. It contains the one scene I haven’t been able to watch, again (Shireen’s burning…her screams…I just…I can’t). It also had me chanting “c’mon, Drogon…now…you have to show up…now,” and then he did. When Dany climbed on him and flew off, well, even though I had a brief Neverending Story flashback, and even though Dany is far fro my favorite character, I got tears in my eyes. I can’t explain why, but I did.

    3. The Watchers on the Wall – While a great episode, I’m just not one for battles. When I finally got all the way through the episode, I realized how excellent it was, but it took me a couple of tries before I could finish it. It’s just my own personal thing about not being into long battles.

    This is fun, Oz. Thanks! 🙂

  20. 5 – Dance w/Dragons
    4 – Baylor
    3 – The Rains of Castamere
    2 – Blackwater
    1 – Watchers on the Wall

    If tomorrow’s episode is half as good as Watchers – we’re in for a treat.

  21. Okay, let’s go and try to rank’em… though thing to do…

    1 – Watchers on the Wall.
    2 – The Rains of Castamere.
    3 – Blackwater.
    4 – Baelor.
    5 – The Dance of Dragons.

  22. Nymeria Warrior Queen:
    3. The Watchers on the Wall – While a great episode, I’m just not one for battles. When I finally got all the way through the episode, I realized how excellent it was, but it took me a couple of tries before I could finish it. It’s just my own personal thing about not being into long battles.

    Rains #1, Baelor #2, and the others aren’t as high because, like Nym, I’m not much for war. However, Hardhome may even top these, which is why I’m so excited that Sapochnik is directing this episode, as well. That and the fact that the episode will be Jon- and north-centric, I’m hoping for something that is worthy of being the last Epic 9.

  23. #1: Blackwater

    Three words: “Fuck The King!” The Hound officially became my favorite character that night.

    #2: Watchers on The Wall

    The Scythe. Gren and Mag, Mag and Gren. Ghost unleashed. Sam and Pyp. Tormund Gone Wild. “Do you remember that cave?…”. Tears.

    #3: Baelor


    #4: The Dance of Dragons

    Never thought I’d find myself cheering for House Bolton, but here we are. Fuck you, Stannis.

    #5: The Rains of Castamere

    Well, if you wanted to put me in the ‘Hope every Lannister not named ‘Tyrion’ dies a horrible death’ camp, and actually hope Walder Frey gets a sword run up his ass when you finally kill him, mission accomplished.

    If tomorrow night’s episode is as epic as Liam Cunningham says it’ll be, the only thing I won’t like about it is the lazy ass title…and every episode on this list will get bumped down a notch.

  24. 1. Battle of the Bastards — They shot for 25 days on this sequence alone. It’s likely the episode that broke D&D and fated us to having this be the last 9 and to having shortened seasons. So much would have to go horribly wrong for this not to take the top spot.

    2. The Rains of Castamere — Because Sullied or Un, that depiction of the Red Wedding made us all go “Oh. S—.”

    3. Baelor — The thought of Ned still makes me hurt. And it’s the event that kicked off this whole craziness.

    4. The Watchers on the Wall — That I put this at #4 speaks to how mind-blowing a show GoT is. They dropped a giant scythe on an ice wall! Giants! Mammoths! Jon took charge but lost his lady love. And four brave souls held the tunnel. For this and all the nights to come.

    5. Blackwater Bay — If you weren’t a Tyrion fan before this episode, you were afterwards. And we see wildfire (maybe not the last time).

    6. The Dance of the Dragons — Aw, our widdle baby dragons are all grown up.

  25. Excellent article, Ozzy. And I tend to agree with your viewpoint on ranking, too, but…

    1. Watchers on the Wall (Me and my best friend rank this as the finest episode in the series. I recall the fandom not being quite as hot on it when it premiered — which isn’t to say we didn’t mostly love it, but not to the point that it’d top a list. It’s great seeing folks like Flayed Potatoes who share my passion for it.)

    2. Blackwater (Sensational. What an episode.)

    3. Dance of the Dragons (The way David Nutter chose to end Shireen’s death sequence to the raucous cheers in Meereen will never fade from my scarred, scarred mind. Great ep.)

    4. The Rains of Castamere (Pretty low by most standards, no? Here’s the thing: the Riverlands and the North were great, but there’s something about… everything involving Daenerys and the taking of Yunkai that has always felt bizarrely amateur to me. It distracts me.)

    5. Baelor (A fine episode to be sure, but mostly just for that last unforgettable sequence IMO. Otherwise it’s good but not great.)

  26. Baelor > Hardhome > black water > dance of dragons > rains of Castermere

    Not that an of them were bad!

  27. Queenofthrones:
    Baelor > Hardhome > black water > dance of dragons > rains of Castermere

    Not that an of them were bad!

    Ah, Hardhome. An eighth episode so fantastic, it’s got some Thrones fans convinced it was the ninth. 😉

  28. 1. Watchers on the Wall – my second favourite episode of the series after Hardhome.

    2. Rains of Castermere – This episode punched me in the face.

    3. Baelor – I hadn’t read the books yet at this point, and it devastated me. I loved Ned. So very, very much.

    4. Blackwater – Fantastic episode.

    5. Dance of Dragons – This one comes last because it didn’t leave the same kind of lasting impression on me. Still a solid episode though.

    I think tomorrow’s episode is going to be incredible. But I am so very scared. There’s no way we’re getting out of this one without losing some beloved characters.

  29. Okay, I’ll play:

    1) Blackwater – The battle is fine but the conversations surrounding the battle really set this one apart: Tyrion & Varys, Sansa & drunk Cersei, Sansa & the Hound

    2) The Watchers on the Wall – Thorne shows his fighting skills & Jon takes charge. Plus we see some of the defense mechanisms on the wall itself.

    3) The Dance of Dragons – Dany fulfills her Targaryan destiny by riding a dragon and Tyrion is there to see it.

    4) Baelor – Downgraded for Joffrey being so pleased with himself.

    5) The Rains of Castamere – Yeah, the Freys and Roose Bolton are evil but really Robb brought this on himself through his own naivety and poor leadership.

  30. I think there are quite a few of us that place watchers on the wall up there in first place. It was a truly epic cinematic episode. I cried when Ygritte died too which was a first and only for me until a certain episode this season involving a door.

    After that; Baelor blew me away and made me read the books, Blackwater was intense, Raynes was great even though I knew what was coming, and last is Dance which I didn’t like much until the Meereen scenes redeemed it.

  31. I might put WotW #1 among the Epic 9’s as well. Season 4 was the best season overall. The only actual bad part of the season I can remember was the botched Theon rescue, yeah? Hardhome is the best single episode of the series though.

    Blackwater has a few moments that show GoT still didn’t have the budget that it now clearly has for Bastard Bowl.

  32. 1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. Blackwater
    3. The Dance of Dragons
    4. Watchers on the Wall
    5. Baelor

  33. Ginevra: Sapochnik

    I’d still be really excited for this episode, but knowing he directed it, well, it’s what has me anticipating it to the extent I am. They can talk huge budget, how long it took to film, how many extras, or horses, or what have you, but the name Sapochnik is all I need to know.

    Miss Stark: But I am so very scared. There’s no way we’re getting out of this one without losing some beloved characters.

    It’s so funny. I’m playing all these game with myself in an attempt to prepare myself for whatever happens. Having decided I was taking the pessimistic route, and I still am, I’m now trying not to think of any specifics. I want to be go into it completely open-minded and let whatever happens wash over me like a wave. I have a funny feeling I’m going to need to employ some deep-breathing exercises to get myself through the episode.

    In through the nose…
    Out through the mouth…
    In through the nose…
    Out through the mouth…

  34. Mark:
    I always thought that Rains of Castamere was the best one just because of how shocking it all was. It was the first time I remember being completely speechless after watching it. However if Hardhome was a part of this list I would definitely rank it as the #1 episode.

    1. Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. Blackwater
    4. Watchers on the Wall
    5. The Dance of Dragons

    Same here!

    After The Rains of Castamere i decided not to keep been Unsullied! I really admire those that still are, because it’s a very difficult task to avoid spoilers!

  35. Another vote for Watchers on the Wall. Perfect combination of exciting battle action, excellent character development, great acting, a sense of meaning and momentousness to the story, and (last but not least) giants riding wooly mammoths. After that, it would be the Blackwater episode, for the same reasons, basically as good except that I didn’t really want the Lannisters to win, so there’s that. The others were momentous and gut-wrenching and soul-destroying at the time, but they’re not episodes I find myself re-watching very often. WoTW is an episode I can watch over and over again. Hopefully BoTB will be just as good, or better.

  36. 5. Watchers on the Wall

    This is a great episode, but I didn’t feel QUITE as invested, with Jon as the only major character in play the entire episode.

    4. Baelor

    Again, phenomenal episode. The closing scene is what resonates most with me though – the other three have more memorable moments throughout the entire episode IMO.

    3. The Rains of Castamere

    Brilliantly executed, and poor fucking Arya.

    2. Blackwater

    As someone else mentioned, S2 may be my least favorite, but I love this episode. Tyrion stepping up, Cersei spiraling, Pod kicking ass. It’s great all around.

    1. The Dance of Dragons

    I realize I’m in the minority with this, but DoD might be my favorite episode of the series (so far). I never loved Stannis but his scenes were all brilliant. Burning Shireen was horrible to watch but so powerful in demonstrating his demise AND setting us up for The Red Woman at the beginning of this season. The stuff with Dany also gets my heart racing every time.

  37. Rhaenys Stark:
    1. Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. WOTW
    4. Blackwater

    The first two are part of television history shock and emotionally-wise. The last two are better than the majority of today’s 200$ movies combined. Dance of Dragons was a mix of those elements and I loved it but it suffered being after Hardhome. I really can’t wait for tomorrow and for ‘Battle of the Bastards’ to take its place as part of television history like all the previous 9s.


  38. Hmmm…this is hard. Best way for me to rank these is gonna have to be based on the sheer shock and awe I felt after each one…

    1. Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. Dance of Dragons
    4. Watchers on the Wall
    5. Blackwater

    I loved each of these (still do), so I couldn’t think of how else to rank them a little more easily for myself than that. I’m excited at the prospect of tomorrow’s episode taking my #1 spot though!! Having Sapochnik at the helm amps my confidence 100% too.

  39. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

    I’m with you. Should I go ahead and make plans for a support group page now, or should I try to hold out hope that we aren’t gonna be sending Kleenex stock thru the roof tomorrow?

  40. I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof waiting for 609.
    I’ve been home sick for the last week, so I’ve rewatched all the major scenes mentioned above. I still cry at the Red Wedding.
    I have my hazelnut coffee, Tim Tams and tissues ready.
    Plus I’ve warned my neighbours there may be some strange yelling and possible foul language coming from my place.
    Bring on 609!

  41. 1. Baelor
    Ned. Arya. Dany. That absolute atmosphere of despair.
    I will never, ever forget it.
    2. The Rains of Castamere
    The Red Wedding. Michelle Fairley’s screams.
    3. Blackwater
    Two wonky moments aside, a perfection of how to do a battle story.
    4. The Dance of Dragons
    Two odd choices, but not terrible, really.
    Shireen and her heartbreaking end.
    Dany and Drogon, plus the best of Ramin Djawadi’s score.
    5. The Watchers on the Wall
    Anticlimactic ending.
    Neil Marshall, FTW.
    Giants riding mammoths.
    Jon and Ygritte Forever.

  42. Lady_Vicious1984,

    Well, a support group sure couldn’t hurt! Hope is always good, of course, but I dare not hope. I said on another thread I was going to just prepare myself for the deaths of everyone I don’t want to die, then that way, when at least one of them survives, I can focus on how happy I am about that.

    As for Kleenex stock, damn, I should have bought some shares, yesterday…hahaha.

  43. 5. “The Dance of Dragons”
    4. “The Watchers on the Wall”
    3. “The Rains of Castamere”
    2. “Baelor”
    1. “Blackwater”- My pick for the best Thrones episode of all time, FWIW.

  44. The Lady Daisy,

    I know right? For almost two months out of the year, Sundays are my favorite day of the week because of Thrones. Every Sunday night, I’m either clapping, yelling an expletive or crying, so I’m sure my neighbors must think I either must really hate Sunday nights or love them.

  45. Laurinha219: Same here!

    After The Rains of Castamere i decided notto keep been Unsullied!I really admire those that still are, because it’s a very difficult task to avoid spoilers!

    Usually I can‘t avoid spoilers no matter what I watch. Even more so when it comes to Game of Thrones. : )

  46. Thank you Oz, for pointing out the poignancy!
    I will make sure the watchers at my house toast the end of Episode 9’s…

    I think my fave might be Blackwater. Balor and Reigns were highlights I anticipated because I was a bookreader – and after 3 in a row there were expectations. But Blackwater was such an unexpected surprise and at the time the most epic hour of television ever made…

  47. 1 – The Rains of Castamere
    2 – Baelor
    3 – Blackwater/Watchers on the Wall indifference
    4 –
    5 – The Dance of Dragons

  48. The correct rankings are below:

    Tied 1st: The Watchers on the Wall
    Tied 1st: Baelor
    Tied 1st: Blackwater
    Tied 1st: The Rains of Castamere
    Tied 1st: The Dance of Dragons
    Tied 1st: The Battle of the Bastards (assumption at this point but I’m pretty confident)

    The Watchers on the Wall gets listed first because it’s also the name of the best site on the internet.

  49. Dee Stark,

    If I go by SHOCK value I would go with
    – rains
    – dance
    – watchers (edge of my seat the whole time for Jon)
    – blackwater

  50. 1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. The Watchers on the Wall
    3. Baelor
    4. Blackwater
    5. The Dance of Dragons

    I hope Battle of the Bastards will be everything we expect it to be. The North Remembers!

  51. hexonx,


    Ok, If I went by how much I remember about the entire episode:

    1. Blackwater
    2. Watchers on the Wall
    3: Baelor
    4. Castamere
    5 Dance of Dragons

    But I agree with Hexoux – they are all #1!

    Can’t wait till tomorrow – this is gonna be so cool no matter how it ends up!

  52. My list:

    1. Rains of Castamere
    2. Blackwater
    3. Dance of Dragons
    4. Baelor (I think I’m in the minority in thinking that Ned’s execution aside, this was a fairly average episode – though I respect the gut punch it must’ve been at the time)
    5. Watchers On The Wall

  53. Hands down No. 1–Baelor. The perfection especially of the last sequence, the shockwaves around the television world, and the fact that even I, who had read the books, was overcome with emotion (due to my great affection and respect for Ned). This is the episode that MADE GoT and changed television for the current era.

    2. Rains. Similar feelings to Baelor, though shock at Talisa. I never liked her, but that stabbing was so sadistically brutal. D&D had upped George’s game.

    3. Blackwater–the most unitary episode in the series, brilliantly conceived and executed.

    4. Watchers on the Wall–Moving, inspiring, clarifying. The only downside was the heroic last-minute rescue by Stannis and followers. I consider last minute rescues cheap shots, and GoT and ASOIF are full of them. Surely we’ll see another one in the next Epic 9.

    5. Dance of Dragons–Good, but almost not in the same category as the other 4.

  54. A Man Grown: Blackwater has a few moments that show GoT still didn’t have the budget that it now clearly has for Bastard Bowl.

    For some reason, the scene on the battlement where there is so much hatred between Tyrion and Joffrey, they have to use the Hound and Lancel to communicate to each other even though they’re all standing next to one another, is still one of the funniest moments in Game of Thrones. To me, that was what separated Blackwater from Watchers episode.

  55. Mine:

    1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. The Watchers on the Wall
    3. Baelor
    4. The Dance of Dragons
    5. Blackwater

    With the caveat that Battle of the Bastards will probably blow them all away tomorrow night.

    I hadn’t realized until this post that this may very well be our final epic 9 episode. I’m kinda sad now. 🙁

  56. 1. Blackwater – The Hound duh
    2. Dance of Dragons
    3. Rains of Castamere
    4. Watchers on the Wall
    5. BAElor

  57. BunBunStark: I hadn’t realized until this post that this may very well be our final epic 9 episode. I’m kinda sad no

    Unless….all we’re getting now are Ep 9’s, and that’s why the shortened seasons.

  58. Just wanted to let you all know that I’m enjoying the hell out of these responses. Keep them coming, and thank you all for participating. The Battle is going to be epic.

  59. Just impossible for me to classify!

    Episode 9 in ALL SEASONS has been incredible, but I reckon this one will ‘take the biscuit’ and surpass them all – S6E09 will be fucking EPIC 😮

    No hype or speculation from me. I will watch it; certainly love the cinematography and the CGI, but will probably shout abuse at the telly at various points or get well pissed off if much loved characters get killed… That doesn’t include Ramsey Bolton BTW and sure I speak for many others in this WotW chat group!

    Its about time he got his comeuppance for being such a nasty shit after all he’s done – Here’s hoping 😉

  60. 1. Dance of ‘fookin’ Dragons
    2. Baelor (it gets 2nd place just by its virtue of shock value)
    3. Rains of Castemere
    4. Blackwater
    5. Watchers on the Wall

  61. Not really looking forward to a 1 location only episode (I like multiple story lines) or all the fighting. I know, in the minority here, but lot of fighting does nothing for me – who lives, who dies, the rest is fan service… but would be interesting to see if they included some Wun Wun reactions – he is a freaking GIANT – some of Ramsey’s few good men should freak out accordingly… he is a ‘mythical creature’ in the flesh, I don’t think enough outsiders (westerosi) react to him enough.

    How would you expect people to act if they saw Wun Wun for the first time? Similar to seeing a dragon for the first time, there should be reactions, freak outs, hesitation, etc… so yeah, looking forward to that 🙂

  62. Lundy:
    Hardhome! Hardhome! Hardhome!

    Lol! Omg right? I could watch it a thousand times and still love every minute. Jon’s choreography when he put down the white walker was so damn good. And then the Night King’s epic “come at me bro” moment…

    Nymeria Warrior Queen:
    Ashara D,

    May I just tell you, once again, how in love I am with your brother!?!?

    Someone mention Ser Arthur? *slobber slobber drool drool*

    As a book reader, who wishes she could have experienced this story not knowing everything that was going to happen, I still rank The Rains of Castamere at the top of the list. It made telly and social media history. And even though I had already mourned everyone years ago, after throwing my kindle down like a mic toss and grieving for days, I still sat on my couch horrified and emotionally wrecked when they cut to black. How on earth did Michelle Fairley not win an Emmy? It was an absolutely gut wrenching performance.

    2. Watchers on the Wall: Epic. The ice wall wind shield wiper scene: badass. The giant cross bow arrow sending the night’s watch brother sailing over the wall and spearing him into the ground on the other side: badass. Thorne’s speech: badass. Jon’s smile when he locked eyes with Ygritte, and her goodbye words to him: beautiful. And Sam grew balls! Big giant brave balls. I still miss Ygritte to this day. She was both a novel and show favorite for me. Scaling the wall in The Climb: “Are you staring at me ass Jon Snow?”

    3. Blackwater: I can still picture the glowing green goo in the water and sky. Wildfire is gorgeous!

    4. Dance with Dragons: Dany and Missandei holding hands: sweet besties moment. My heart was skipping when Drogon came sailing over that wall like Maverick and Goose doing a tower fly by. Drogon laying down his low suppressive fire, and then Dany taking him for a test drive. I mean, I was grinning from ear to ear. I even forgave her for not giving her friends a ride and leaving them surrounded by harpies.

    5. Baelor: last place by default, only because I liked the others better. I sure wish I didn’t know this moment was coming, but it was fun watching my husband’s mouth hanging open and looking at me like WTF just happened.

    Can’t wait until tomorrow night!!! Thanks for this post, I think I will marathon watch all of the niners before Battle of the Bastards. With Hardhome thrown in for good measure.

    Cheers Everyone!

  63. 1. Baelor

    Love that episode. Ned’s execution; Tyrion’s Tysha monologue; “Love is the death of duty;” Jorah versus the bloodrider was pretty sweet as well, and Catelyn negotiating with Walder Frey has an added weight in retrospect. It’s just a beautiful episode, consistently entertaining.

    2. Tie: Blackwater and Watchers on the Wall

    Honestly, I kind of enjoy Watchers on the Wall more. On a technical level I think it is more impressive, and the action is stronger. Plus, significant characters died in it, including Ygritte, so it felt more emotionally impactful. I can’t argue though that Blackwater had a stronger group of characters to follow, so it might be objectively a better episode.

    3. Rains of Castamere

    Love the Red Wedding, although it probably wasn’t as heart wrenching to me as it was for those first watching it since I was expecting it. The scenes at Yunkai feel out of place to me though (especially with old Daario), and Jon’s fight with Orell was just okay. I don’t think it is as consistently good as some of the other Epic 9’s.

    4. Dance of Dragons

    Mereen stuff was exciting, Shireen’s death was brutal but brilliant. But my least favorite storylines that year (perhaps of the series) were Dorne and Arya’s Facless-Man training, which are the only other major storylines to get significant screentime in the episode. So easily my least favorite Epic 9, even if it’s strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

  64. I will be annoyed if this big action sequence isn’t grounded in character developments. They keep hyping it as “huge action scene” but that can only go so far – I hope it’s more like Blackwater, which was a big battle but connected to the characters. We shall see.

  65. The Dragon Demands,

    Well, the relevant character development and character evolution should already have happened. It’s too late to do it during the big battle. The key bit of evolution probably will turn out to be Sansa’s realization that she could not be fussy about her allies: and that what actually makes someone a reliable ally is not idealism, but some sense of debt.

    As for ranking the #9’s…. Um….. I won’t bother. They all were excellent. However, they also are really good only in the context of what you have just watched.

  66. All 10/10, I read the books after the red wedding just could not wait to find out what happened. Now back in the same place,unsullied. oh and hardhome 11/10

  67. 1: Rains of Castamere

    2: Baelor

    3: Watchers

    4: Dance

    5: Blackwater
    Never really bought into this eps. The fighting outside the gates just didn’t work for me. Obviously they didn’t have the budget the needed.

  68. They all make for very good TV but if I were to nitpick storywise, Dance of Dragons is at the bottom of the list.

    That fighting pit scene at Mereen in the show was a bit underwhelming and dumbed down if you compare it with the chapter in the books. Very much liked Penny and Tyrion’s ”act” being replaced by Jorah’s fight, but what followed-Drogon’s entry, the fight, Deanerys taking control-was way more dramatic and thrilling in the books.

    In that regard, you can say the show also struggled to capture Jon’s commandeering prowess in the battle at the Wall.

  69. 1. Watchers on the Wall “Edd, you have the wall.”
    “I’m not nothing anymore” (also notable for being the first time I wanted to punch Olly)
    And I’ll never forget Grenn and his gang reciting the NW vows as a giant came rushing toward them.

    2. Blackwater because of everything going on with the characters around this already insane and explosive battle- “F**k the king!” “Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!” “Tears aren’t a woman’s only weapon”

    3. Baelor. Longclaw and Ned and Arya…lots of crying. The instant that I knew that no one was safe.

    4. Rains of Castamere. The last time we saw Rickon (until this season) and then-well all I can think of is the sound of the door closing, the music starting to play-Cat lifting Roose’s shirt to see armor… “On my honor as a Tully, on my honor as a Stark”
    Powerful scene.

    5. Dance of Dragons–for me tbh it was Jorah fighting in the pits and the whole silent conversation going on between him and Dany that was my favorite part–and then the spear and her taking his hand.
    I try to block out Shireen’s screams. Also-man Arya went dark. 🙂

    I’m hoping that BotB will shoot to the top. Also hoping my “please don’t kill” list remains intact.

  70. I will go with

    1. Baelor – showed this was a very different show, everything shocking that has flowed has followed the Ned Stark beheading
    2. Red Wedding – one of the most shocking events of TV history, but brilliantly built up to
    3. Battle for Wall – there’s something rather bittersweet, we know people on both sides, people who die, and the whole battle ultimately revolves around attempting to escape and survive against the White Walkers/Others
    4. Blackwater – nicely done, had a nice build-up
    5. Dance of the Dragons – Shireen burning was a shock but the seasonal build-up wasn’t quite there compared to Blackwater for instance and I felt Drogon could have been bigger by this stage so while good etc there was some nagging issues in the background

  71. 309 Rains of Castemere
    109 Baelor
    209 Blackwater
    409 Watchers on the Wall
    508 Hardhome

    (Sorry, but Dance doesn’t even make my personal top 20)

  72. I’ve been thinking about it and I really can’t choose.Watchers is number one though then rains I think.Baelor Blackwater and Dance are in a three way tie with each other.

  73. 309: why this show was made. Hardest Chapter to read and one of the most famous episodes of tv ever
    409: one of my personal favorite episodes of any TV show. The continuous shot is one of my all time favorites and only episode to be featured on one event.
    109: I read the books in a month and a half after watching this episode. Mind blown
    209: well done would’ve loved a bridge of ships but best use of CGI in the show for where CGI was at the time. Tough to make this second to last.
    509: even harder to make this the last on my list but was def over shadowed by Hardhome. Great episode still

  74. Very hard to choose as they are all excellent for different reasons. Do I rate it by my reaction to single moments or do I go by the overall composition? Do I focus on the quality of the story or the excellence of the adaptation? Very hard indeed. So here are mine:

    1. Watchers on the Wall
    2. Baelor
    3. The Rains of Castamere
    4. Blackwater

    5. The Dance of Dragons

    Battle of the Bastards should be near the top for me I think, simply because it seems to have so many things in common with my two other fave episodes: WotW and Hardhome.

    Somehow I feel that if you rank Watchers on the Wall very low on your list, this upcoming Epic9 will not be your favourite. From the previews it seems that it is a cinematically stunning Jon-centric battle episode just like Watchers. Any other storyline mentioned (if they are at all) will take a backseat to that.

  75. I think Mother’s Mercy was the best Epic 9 of the show and Hardhome a close second, but they were episodes 8 and 10. Of the ones we have here, I’ll rank it like so:

    1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. Blackwater
    3. Baelor
    4. The Dance of Dragons
    5. The Watchers of the Wall

    All of them are great episodes, though.

  76. My ranking of the Epic 9s:

    1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. The Watchers on the Wall
    4. Blackwater
    5. The Dance of Dragons

    All great and epic episodes.
    Looking forward to another one tonight. Having to stay awake till 4am, it is going to be a Long Night.

  77. 1 – BAELOR
    I am sure BOTB will rank in my top 3

  78. Lets go:
    1) Blackwater
    Perfect Mix of action (battleships and wildfire) and personal drama with consequences;Sansa and Cersei, Tyrion and Pod, The Hound and Sansa, oh and yes…Geofrey
    2) Dance of the Dragons
    Death of Shireen, Failure of Davos to save her; Stannis defeating his better feelings; and the first ride of Dany because her beloved pet is injured…..ambigous, Black humour..yes…
    3)The Watchers on the Wall
    One Episode, one place , the purest action story told in partly quiet scenes–very good
    4) Baelor – thats when I got hooked
    5) Yeeesss lots of blood; the only astonishing turn that the Blackfish and Arya escaped
    Now start counting, my favourites will loose, as always
    Greetings from the old world

  79. I think Ramsey has overstayed his welcome in the series and it seems inevitable that he will perish by the end of this episode (hope I’m wrong).

    They missed a perfect opportunity to kill off Ramsey in true Game of Thrones / ASOIAF by not having Roose kill him as soon as the baby got announced. How good would that twist have been? It would’ve been worth sacrificing the pink letter imo.

    Of course we’ll see what happens this episode, maybe they have something good planned for Ramsey? I tend to think – like the rest of the season – we’re heading towards another anti-climactic ending to a story line.

    And my rankings for episode 9’s:

    The Rain’s of Castamere
    Dance of Dragons
    Watchers on the Wall

  80. Going to be lazy and say that they were all equally good in different ways, but “The Rains of Castamere” and “Blackwater” were probably just my favourites. “Baelor” holds a special place too because they did such a great job of showing Ned’s execution through Arya’s POV.

    TWotW and TDWD both have their moments too ( Oh, Shireen – cries like a baby!)

  81. 1) Rains of castamere
    2) A dance with the dragons
    3) watchers on the wall

  82. 1. Rains of Castamere
    2. The Battle of Blackwater
    3. Baelor
    4. The Watchers on the Wall
    5. The Dance of the Dragons


    They wanted Jon and Ramsay to meet. It was already destined these two guys should meet because they share many parallels and similarities and yet are diferent thanks to they way they’ve been raised. Jon could’ve ended up just like Ramsay without Ned and his family. Even their relatiosnhips with their fathers is fascinating. I would love to see Roose go out in different style but this clash of two bastards was already in their plans. Ramsay is one of my favourite villains and many will disagree but I love they way Iwan plays him. While I love to see Ramsay leave but part of me would miss Iwan on the show.

  83. Ow difficult! But… here goes:
    1. The Watchers on the Wall 9.5/10
    2. Blackwater 9.49/10
    3. Baelor 9.48/10
    4. The Rains of Castamere 9/10
    5. The Dance of Dragons 7.5/10

    I’m clearly more of a fan of the battles 🙂

  84. Quinton O'Connor:

    1. Watchers on the Wall (Me and my best friend rank this as the finest episode in the series. I recall the fandom not being quite as hot on it when it premiered — which isn’t to say we didn’t mostly love it, but not to the point that it’d top a list. It’s great seeing folks like Flayed Potatoes who share my passion for it.)

    Yes, it is rewarding to see that the community’s and fans’ assessment of Watchers on the Wall has become much more positive than it was when it aired. It is objectively a phenomenal episode that many initially had a lukewarm reaction to because it was placed right after KL intensive previous episodes. And looking at it with a critical eye, I would agree that its placement in the 9th slot is a bit unfortunate as it undercut a very strong “southern momentum”. I always thought it would have worked better at 4×07. All of that is irrelevant for the episode itself. It is one of the series best, without a doubt.

  85. Geralt of Rivia,

    I think the only parallels are that they are bastards and one is evil and one is good. To me this isn’t terribly interesting and I would’ve sacrificed the Jon / Ramsey fight in a heart beat to have that great twist.

  86. Not too excited about ep. 9 as it looks to be an action-heavy battle ep (set in the north, no less). Couldn’t care less about those, so my ranking isn’t that surprising:

    1. The Rains of Castamere
    2. Baelor
    3. Blackwater
    4. The Dance of Dragons
    5. The Watchers on the Wall

  87. I can tell that all these episodes are rated 10 on my rank list but here is the order:

    5) The Dance of Dragons (rank 14)
    4) Baelor (rank 13)
    3) The Rains of Castamere (rank 6)
    2) Blackwater (rank 4)
    1) Watchers on the Wall (rank 1)

  88. “The fucking Thenns have a bad night. ” Ugh, everyone who is anyone in this fandom knows it’s “fookin’ Thenns”.


    Personally based on both reaction @ first viewing & rewatchability I would rank the E9s:
    1 The Watchers on the Wall
    2 The Rains of Castamere
    3 Baelor
    4 Blackwater
    5 The Dance of Dragons (Which suffers by any means of comparison to the perfection that is Hardhome.)

  89. Wow, this is hard to rank. I worry about this week and who might not make it, but I will have tissues handy. Here are my rankings. Somehow, I think tonight might change things…

    1. The Rains of Castamere 10/10
    2. Blackwater 9.5/10
    3. The Dance of Dragons 9.1/10
    4. The Watchers on the Wall 9.5/10
    5. Baelor 9/10

  90. 1. The Rains of Castamere – other than the shocking, emotional gut punch of an ender, it also features strong action, writing and character work. Classic episode!

    2. Blackwater – the battle sequences are stunning and exciting, but it’s the scenes between Sansa and Cersei that I adore in this episode. The acting, especially from Lena Headey, is incredible and GRRM’s writing was very powerful.

    3. Baelor – similar to Rains, it should be remembered for more than just its ending, though what an ending that was! Tyrion’s and Dany’s scenes were amazing as well.

    4. The Watchers on the Wall – stunning directing, visuals and action. Once the fighting gets going it’s all very exciting, but the first 15 minutes are a drag, and it suffers from only really having Jon as a central character.

    5. The Dance of Dragons – I actually dislike this episode, and it’s my second least favorite in the series, just ahead of Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. Pretty much nothing fully landed here for me; Stannis’ decision flew in the face of everything that had previously happened, nothing happened with Arya really, Jon did nothing as well, and the fighting pits was decent but could have been so much more.

    Really, really, really excited for this coming episode!! I expect it to possibly top them all, or at least be in the top half. It’s gonna be insane!

  91. My ranking:

    1. 409 “The Watchers on the Wall” – Simply the best Game of Thrones episode to date in my opinion. Yes, the action has been surpassed, yes there have been more spectacular episodes, but for me it’s still the most solid one. It’s basically a movie, combining humor, action and drama on a massive scale. The pacing is perfect, so 10/10 from me.

    2. 109 “Baelor” – Aside from the ending that was one of the most defining moments of the series, this episode was filled with great scenes like Tyrion telling the story about about Tysha, Robb capturing Jaime, and Mirri Maz Duur trying to heal Khal Drogo (god that scene was eerie). Perfect pacing as well. 9.5/10

    3. 309 “The Rains of Castamere” – I’ll admit I havn’t seen this one in a while, but that final sequence alone earns in a place on this list. Jon betraying Ygritte and Bran warging for the first time was very memorable as well. 8/10

    4. 209 “Blackwater” – While it’s a great episode with exceptional battle sequences, I did find the pacing to be very annoying. The way it kept cutting between the messy, noisy battlefield and the quiet room where Sansa and Cersei are hiding reminded me of your average hollywood movie, which wasn’t a very good scene. The final scene however is probably one of, if not the best ending scenes GoT has had. Definitely another 8/10

    5. 509 “The Dance of Dragons” – While most of the episode was pretty solid, I was very disappointed with it’s big final sequence. The whole thing was very cliched, poorly shot and poorly written, making it look like mediocre TV at best. It didn’t ruin the whole episode but it did bump it down the list a lot for me. 7/10

    Anyways, I have no doubt that tonight’s big 9 will top them all 🙂

  92. I’m so anxious for the episode, I’ve got a horrible feeling they’re not done with Ramsay yet and he’ll live to see S7 or at least some of it! I really hope we don’t loose Tormand or Davos as I love them both but I’m not feeling confident that they’ll both make it!

    Think I’m going to have to pull an all nighter as I’m in the UK and the first showing airs at 2am!!!!

  93. My list:

    1. The rains of Castamere:
    The red wedding still remains as the defining moment of the series so far. Even after numerous rewatches, it does not lose it’s emotional pull. Brilliantly shot and performed, especially by Michelle Fairley. I also liked the Jon-Bran near miss. Jon showing his true allegiance, Bran warging into Hodor.

    2. Watchers on the Wall
    I am happy to see the love for this episode on this forum. I absolutely loved this episode, it was well paced, well shot. So many great moments, Jon’s leadership coming to the fore, Thornes’s speech, Grenn and co. preparing to face the giant, Jon showing that he had learnt from Karl Tanner and willing to play dirty, the scythe etc.

    3. Blackwater
    The first episode to show us the full scope of what this series is capable of. Brilliant episode.

    4. Baelor
    This was where we knew for sure that this series is unlike any other. The first time I cried while watching this show.

    5. The dance of dragons
    It was a bit of a let down for me after Hardhome.

  94. Every single Game of Thrones episode 9 had something I adored about it, soundtrack, character development, battles, interactions, and series defining moments that left your jaw on the floor, I can’t possibly rank these episode so easily.
    I loved/enjoyed them all 🙂
    Battle of the Bastards will be no exception 🙂

  95. There was no bad episode 9. I’ve just rewatched all of them today and it gave me a completely new perspective. It’s hard to compare them, they’re all different, but I’ll try to rank them depending on emotional impact, plot development and quality of character interactions.

    #1 is definitely ‘The Rains of Castamere’. When rewatching it grew on me even more, just forgot how good (but painful) it was. The Red Wedding overshadowed everything else but there were also plenty of great scenes elsewhere. The bad thing, this was only the second time I watched it and I don’t feel like watching it ever again.
    #2 ‘Baelor’, didn’t give it enough credit before, but every scene is gold here.
    #3 ‘Blackwater’ is the essence of what I love the season 2 for. Great characters, great dialogue and memorable lines (this is why we need GRRM back as a writer on the show), a setting that, in a way, feels so cozy and familiar, a massive and satisfying payoff for all the season-long build-up. (Something I hope to see today)
    #4 ‘Watchers on the Wall’. This one I rewatched so many times! It is a beautiful episode all located in my favorite location. And the battle itself is probably more exciting compared to Blackwater. Before seeing all the five episodes again, I though this one would be my top!
    #5 ‘The Dance of Dragons’: while Shireen’s death was, for some reason, the most devastating one for me and the scenes in Mereen were astonishing, this episode felt more like transition than culmination. I loved it when it came out, it is impactful, but it doesn’t top the rest 9s for me.

    I don’t see ‘Battle of the Bastards’ outdoing the fist two and I don’t mind at all. This time I really don’t want my heart completely shattered. I would prefer something like my #3 and #4. And I think, we can expect the best episode visual-wise.

  96. 1. Blackwater
    2. Baelor
    3. The Rains of Castamere
    4. The Watchers on the Wall
    5. The Dance of Dragons

  97. 1- The Rains of Castamere. The most iconic moment in the whole series. Single-handedly made GOT the biggest TV show in the world.
    2- Baelor. The final scene that made me realize that this show is not just “another medieval show”.
    3- Blackwater. Great dialogue, great action, the wildfire, Tyrion’s speech, Cersei and Tommen final scene… much to be love here.
    4- The Watchers on The Wall. Great action scenes, Thorne’s speech, the scythe, Grenn holding the gate, Ygritte’s farewell…
    5- The Dance of Dragons. Shireen’s death is the hardest scene to watch in the whole show, IMHO. Daznak was great, but a not as epic as the other great action scenes.

    And yeah, I must agree with others who said that Hardhome probably beats everything. One of the best hours of TV ever produced. And the guy who directed that masterpiece is the same who delivers tonight’s episode… Get hype!

  98. Don’t think I can make a list that much differently than most of these, nor describe how epic the 9s have been, better than what I’ve read from everyone.
    So I’ll just give my favorite scenes…
    Baelor- Arya in the square…. The birds flying as the shot cuts away from Ned… Perfect.
    Blackwater- the scene in the tavern… I still wanna see Bronn v. Hound(as long as neither die)
    Rains- watching the Red Wedding was so much worse than reading it.. Did they really have to make Talisa pregnant and attend the wedding? I never even cared about her til she died lol
    Watchers- I could play the longshot during the fight in Castle Black on an infinite loop
    Dance- pretty obvious, but I’d been waiting since 2011 to see Daeny ride Drogon.

  99. I remember a few years ago when I finally sat down at my friends’ Insistence that I check this show out. At the time, it was between seasons 3 and 4.

    By the time I got to Baelor, I was hooked. Black water endeared me to Tyrion going forward, tRoC toward the end of my initial GOT binge made me realize that this was my favorite show as I had become so enamored of the characters.

    WOTW was truly a masterpiece, even saw the encore screening when they dos the IMAX thing.

    ADOD gave me chills when Dany got on that dragon and flew away.

    So, yup… I’ve got unrealistic expectations for tonight, but I have faith that it will deliver some (I hate to say it) fan service and be a feel good episode at the resolution.

    Can’t wait for tonight!

  100. I reckon Ramsay will survive the battle. However he will flee and be eventually mauled by Nymeria ans her pack of wolves. That would be epic! Although I do see Wun Wun, Tormund, Rickon and possibly Podrick to die. 🙁

  101. OMG, I hadn’t realized til now that “Battle of the Bastards” would be the last episode 9 we would ever get in GOT 😮
    So yeah, “Battle of the Bastards” will be even MORE memorable !

    Here is my personal ranking (On the first viewing and on the many many many many many many other viewings of each episode 9, I always knew which ones were the ones I loves the most and the ones I loved the least. So I never I changed my mind and my ranking always seemed bloody obvious to me) :

    5 – The Dance of Dragons
    4 – The Watchers On The Wall
    3 – Blackwater
    2 – Baelor
    1 – The Rains Of Castamere

    I expect “Battle of the Bastards” will be at least my 4th favorite episode 9 before “The Watchers On The Wall” and “The Dance Of Dragons”.

    I was wondering, if season 7 and 8 will get only 7 episodes each, should we expect the Epic 9s to become the Epic 6s ?
    Will D&D keep making huge excellent mind-blowing penultimate episodes for the seasons to come ?

  102. 1- ”Rains of castemare” Nothings needs to be said.
    2-”Dance of dragons” Loved all scenes. Shireens was just devastating and Dany was great, from Jorah to her riding the dragon, which was a moment I loved, because I dreaded it would be like in the books.
    3-”WOTW” Having only one setting hurt the episode for me a bit.
    4-”Baelor” Besides Ned, not much happened.
    5-”Blackwater” I’m in a minority but I never liked the battle, neither in the books or show, but it did have some great visuals in the show and I enjoyed most scenes.

    All episodes are 10/10 though only ”blackwater” is more around a 9-9,5.

  103. 1. 409
    2. 209
    3. 309
    4. 109
    5. 509

    1st four are all in my overall top ten and 509 is easily top 20.

  104. My top pick is Blackwater, mostly because it is almost a complete 1-hour movie. Even if you didn’t follow the whole seasonal build-up you can still enjoy this one. The battle has neat preparation, unfolding and ending whose impacts on involved characters are clear (the lack of which is what I felt amiss in Watchers on the Wall). The others are all great and it’s quite hard to make up my mind.

  105. Josh L:
    My ranking (so far):

    1.3×09. The Red Wedding. ‘Nuff said!This episode single-handedly made GoT a global phenomenon.

    2.1×09. Poor Ned. This is the episode that officially sent notice GoT was not your typical epic fantasy.

    3.2×09.The battle of Blackwater, and it’s set up, was utterly epic. Season 2 had been leading up to this battle and it didn’t disappoint.

    4.4×09. The other single-location episode. Extremely well-done, and visually stunning. But with only two major characters (Jon & Sam), the stakes didn’t feel as high.

    5.5×09. Suffers because it happened right after Hardhome. Also Seasons 4 & 5 were the seasons where Ep 8 was the “epic” episodes.

    I expect 6×09 will end up in the top half of Episode 9s.

    Yep, my order as well. My assumption is that BOB will slide into the #2 slot after tonight. Rains is pretty tough to beat.

  106. RG,

    “Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”

    Heh, loved this line when Tyrion said it, no so much when Euron did

  107. ash: RG,

    “Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let’s go kill them!”

    Heh, loved this line when Tyrion said it, no so much when Euron did

    Euron only said a very cheesy “Let’s go murder them !” with a smile on his face. It’s not quite the same thing.

  108. 1. The Rains of Castamere
    1b. Hardhome
    2. The Watchers on the Wall
    3. Baelor
    4. The Dance of Dragons
    5. Blackwater

    Battle scenes don’t usually do it for me, but Thrones has done a consistently good job of capturing those little “human” moments, of reminding us that there’s a cost to the amazing action sequences. As has been repeated again and again, the sequences themselves have been ridiculously impressive, especially for television. If Hardhome was any indication, we’re in for a treat tonight!!

    Great article, Ozzy! I hadn’t thought much about the “Epic 9” as a concept and/or legacy of GOT. If tonight’s indeed the last of them, they’ll be sorely missed!

  109. 1. Blackwater – perfection
    2. Baelor – great
    3. Watchers on the Wall – good
    4. The Dance of Dragons – meh
    5. The Rains of Castamere – overrated

  110. ash,

    Yep, that’s understandable 🙂

    Oh, by the way, I was wondering, if season 7 and 8 will get only 7 episodes each, should we expect the Epic 9s to become the Epic 6s ?
    Will D&D keep making huge excellent mind-blowing penultimate episodes for the seasons to come ?

  111. My favorite episode is Michelle McLaren’s Season 4, Episode 4. That ending with the White Walker taking the baby to the Land of Akways Winter is, IMO, the best ending in GoT series history. Followed closely by the Door, and Hardhome.

  112. plop_plop,

    Oh, sure, I have no doubt they will. But won’t there be ONE epic episode to rule them all in each season (7&8) ? 😀

    ArgonathofBraavos: My favorite episode is Michelle McLaren’s Season 4, Episode 4. That ending with the White Walker taking the baby to the Land of Akways Winter is, IMO, the best ending in GoT series history. Followed closely by the Door, and Hardhome.

    Sure, the ending was great but apart from the ending and the Jaime/Brienne scene, “Oathkeeper”, the 4th episode of season 4 is one of the weakest episodes of season 4 and one of my least favorite episodes of the show (I put it on the 48th spot in my Top 58 GOT episodes)

  113. Baelor will always be my favorite 9th episode, because none of the others had quite as big of an emotional impact. The Red Wedding never did it for me, I knew what was going to happen, I don’t like Nutter’s direction, which is why his episodes are the bottom two on my list. Watchers and Blackwater were both unique in that they were contained to one location and were almost purely action, but I will have to put Watchers as my # 2 followed by Blackwater.

  114. I sometimes forget Dance with Dragons was an episode 9! For some reason, it just felt anticlimactic – you don’t actually think anything is going to happen to any of Dany’s companions, and Dany riding Drogon was actually the one example of when I thought the CGI didn’t hold up (and makes me somewhat anxious about if they will ever actually do dragon riders on the show). If anything was the “true” episode 9 last season, it was Hardhome.

    And I agree, I’m not sure anything can beat the Rains of Castamere, even knowing exactly what was going to happen. It was horrible.

    My list of episode 9-ish 😉

    1) Battle of the Bastards!!!!!! (yes, I’m hyping)
    2) Rains of Castamere
    3) Hardhome 😉
    4) Baelor
    5) Blackwater
    6) Watchers on the Wall
    7) Dance of Dragons

  115. 1. Blackwater
    2. Rains of Castamere
    3. Baelor
    4. Watchers on the Wall

    I didn’t include Dance as it’s among my least favorite episodes. Had Hardhome been 509 instead, it would have come in second instead of Castamere.

  116. This is so awesome!!!!!!!!!!

    I would put my list this way:
    The Dance of Dragons
    Watchers on the Wall
    The Rains of Castamere

    I have a gut feeling this episode with be beyond EPIC!!! May Jon Snow and Company prevail! Forever House Stark.

  117. I can’t choose, I really can’t except to say Hardhome was definitely at the top, along with Rains of Castamere. I loved all these episodes and I’m sure BOB will rank alongside them.

    Being in the U.K means I need to get up at 6am before work and watch it four hours after a lot of you. Looking forward to the deluge of posts that I’ll be catching up with on Monday morning ?

    ***Please keep Davos and Tormund safe *** ??

  118. Trying to keep myself busy until tonight. Taking a break from gardening. Here are my picks. They really need to hit it out of the park tonight to replace Baelor as my #1.

    1. Baelor
    2. Blackwater
    3. Watchers on the Wall
    4. The Rains of Castamere
    5. The Dance of Dragons

  119. Ok, so I fell in love with this story through the books, and while I greatly appreciate what the show has done, I had certain book images that stayed with me through the years. I remember when I heard the show was coming, they were ones I couldn’t wait to see come on the screen. So I started trying to rate each 9 according to how well it matched the image in my head. Well I obviously couldn’t, because there was so much that changed in the translation to screen. But I thought I’d comment on which scenes from each episode absolutely nailed it for me (notice I am not rating them because its not possible. I am also not wanting to get into a useless book show fight. This is all about how I imagined it as a reader and what I saw as I watched, so please don’t start up another argument here. 🙂

    Season 1 Baelor The whole execution scene, but esp at the execution, Ned looking at Yolen and saying Baelor, and seeing Arya coming down from the statue

    Season 2 Blackwater the arrow flying in an arc to the ships and the world blasting into green fire Also the conversation bet Cersie and Sansa

    Season 3 Castamere – this was hard because there were so many changes, and to be honest, thought the book version much more powerful. But the image of them sitting at the table enjoying themselves and suddenly hearing music and arrows flying. Chilling, and perfect

    Season 4 WoW tbh, I skimmed most of this part in the book. So I didn’t have a specific image of what was happening aside from who won and who died. But the show had so many iconic scenes that it ended up being one of my fav episodes in terms of taking an arc and making it so powerful on the screen A perfect example of how the screen can take section of print and make it all come alive on the screen. Its not simplifying or dumbing down, its putting focus on where its needed to a powerful episode.

    Season 5 Dance of Dragons Dany’s Flight. I’d been waiting many many years to see that on screen. and while the CGI didn’t totally work, I was still very satisfied by what I saw

    That being said, I can’t really say anything about tonights episode because its totally off the books. Im hoping that it will be the best they’ve ever done. Hope so anyway!

  120. 1 – Watchers on the Wall; while it doesn’t have the Wildfire that made Blackwater stand out from the other battles in the Wot5K, I feel that Watchers came with a cost that Blackwater did not. The Watch won, but was decimated further; Jon was reunited with Ygritte, but it was to hold her in his arms as she lay dying; Sam kept his promise to Gilly by not dying, but we did lose Grenn and Pyp. There is a real sense of loss in this episode in spite of the fact that the NW ostensibly won the battle in the sense that they held the Wall.

    2 – The Rains of Castamere; even for those of us who had read A Storm of Swords before watching this episode (and I was one of them) it still comes across as shocking. Catelyn’s grief and sense of loss as she watches her firstborn child die in front of her is heartbreaking, and Arya looking down on the Twins and knowing her family – lost to her for so long – are so close and then she sees the murder of Grey Wind tugs at the heart strings so much too. This is one of the most emotionally draining GoT episodes to watch.

    3 – Baelor; interestingly, I just re-watched this yesterday! Baelor is really where the innocence of childhood ends for the Starklets, particularly with Robb leading troops into battle and Sansa and Arya present for their father’s execution. I also love that this early the Jon/Ned comparisons were on point. Both choose family over honor, the wolfish “pack” mentality. Ned swallows his pride to save Sansa, and Jon wants to join Robb rather than stay with his NW brothers. This first episode 9 set a very high bar, and – although we would not meet him until season 3 – proves true Ramsay’s edict that “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t being paying attention.”

    4 – Blackwater; this was the first time that we had an entire episode devoted to one location and one battle and it did not disappoint. While it did not come with the cost Watchers did, there were multiple key character moments and great acting. The contrast of the bitchy Cersei taunting Sansa and the frightened mother doing her best to comfort her son in what could have been their last moments was further proof (if we needed it) that Lena Headey is awesome. Also contrasted is the bravery of Tyrion and Pod, two very unlikely warriors, with Ser Lancel and King Joffrey, who both clearly are more interested in looking like they’re doing something than actually doing it. Years before The Broken Man gave us back Sandor Clegane, we saw his breaking point. This battle is a huge turning point for him, and he has some great lines too.

    5 –The Dance of Dragons; the prominence of Meereen and the North in this episode, as well as the burning of Shireen with the ground covered in snow, gives us a flavor of the ice and fire juxtaposition that I think has continued to an extent in season 6. This is not a bad episode – in fact it is an awesome one. It sets us up, as most episode 9s do, for the following season. And by following Meryn Trant, Arya shows us that she isn’t no-one, and that there is a part of her that will always be Arya Stark. There is almost a sense of justice in her plot to avenge Syrio’s death in his home city. And we have the small matter of dragon-riding, and the moment in which I think Tyrion fully understands for the first time why Jorah loves and follows Daenerys.

    The 9s are all epic, and all have consequences that last far beyond the end of the episode. Ned’s beheading brings the Stark/Lannister conflict to a new level and ensures that Robb’s war continues in earnest. Jaime’s capture in Baelor also sets him off on an arc that changes him forever. The loss he suffers at the Blackwater makes Stannis more susceptible to Melisandre’s voice……..and will ultimately lead him to make the ultimate sacrifice in search of the Iron Throne. Sandor breaks and only in the last couple of episodes have we seen the possibility of him healing. Sansa turns down his offer of protection and a way out of the city, and by remaining in KL she places herself in LF’s web. Back in Castamere, many would have thought little of Bran warging Hodor, and we know how THAT worked out. The Red Wedding allowed the rise of the Boltons and three episode 9s on we go for Stark v Bolton: The Re-match. Watchers gives Jon the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership skills for the Watch to see, and this is key in Sam’s argument at the LC election. Jon loved Ygritte and holding her in his arms as she dies, he knows inside that the wildlings are people too – and the rest of the Watch knows he loved her. This has an impact throughout season 5. Daenerys spends most of season 6 getting back to Meereen, the inner conflict of Arya’s identity in season 6 is also set-up by her re-acquainting herself with Meryn Trant. Whatever happens tonight, it will have consequences beyond the end of this episode, and beyond the end of this season. And I will have my fingers and toes crossed for #TeamStark.

  121. This has way more hype then Hardhome did last year, which i think will end up hurting this episode. I have no doubt it will be epic, but one of the great things about Hardhome is that it took everyone by surprise. BotB has immense hype to live up to now.

    Yes, i know HH was episode 8 last year, but it was the big battle episode of the season.

  122. 1. Watchers
    2. Rains
    3. Baelor
    4. Blackwater
    5. Dance – because the season was differently configured so that it was between two key episodes, 5.08 and 5.10

  123. 1. Rains of Castamere
    I twisted and writhed in physical pain as the bloodshed wrecked havoc on more than my pounding heart.

    2. Baelor
    It was the gut wrenching truth that *Good people don’t necessarily meet a good end *. It was the sight of Arya watching it all helplessly that hurt way more than poor Ned’s rolling head.

    3. Watchers on the Wall
    I can’t pick a moment it was all of it.

    4. Blackwater
    The visual brilliance of it all.

    5. The Dance of Dragons
    I cried when Drogon came to his mother’s recsue. Big blobs of saline water streamed down my cheeks unbidden.

    Hope & pray they give us TOJ closure this season itself.

  124. 1.Hands down, Watchers on the Wall. The guys dying to keep the tunnel closed. Reciting their owth. It still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
    2.Baelor. I had watched with medium interest up to this episode. Then the lead dies, and I’m all “wow”.
    3. The Rains of Castamere. Big shock, but I have to admit I was not a fan either of Robb or Cat.
    4. Blackwater. Best scene, the Hound’s “oh fuck it”.
    5. The Dance of Dragons. Its position just after Hardhome is not in its favor.

  125. My opinion:
    1. Baelor, because for me it was the first time a series could make me feel so angry and sad at the same time.
    2. Battle of the Blackwater, one of my absolute favorite episodes that i like to rewatch every now and then.
    3. The rains of Castamere
    4. The Watchers on the Wall, nothing much to say here, it was an OK episode for me.
    5. Dance of Dragons, i am no Dany follower as much as i love Dragons. I just think that her Dragons are her plot armor and overall i found this episode a bit boring and too predictable.

  126. I took the liberty of compiling our responses…

    Disclaimer: I can’t promise 100% quality, but I did my best to capture every response, including those with ties. I simply took a sum of all ranks, and then ranked based on the aggregate scores.

    5. Dance of Dragons (avg. rank 4.19)

    4. Blackwater (avg. rank 2.91)

    3. Watchers on the Wall (avg. rank 2.87)

    2. Baelor (avg. rank 2.84)

    1. The Rains of Castamere (avg. rank 2.18)

    As you can see, DoD (sadly) was a distant 5, and Rains of Castamere took first pretty easily. The other three were all incredibly close.

    A few fun notes:
    I counted 77 total responses
    47% of respondents ranked Rains of Castamere #1

    WotW was the most devisive:
    25% of respondents ranked WotW #1, but 14% ranked it #5, and it had the highest standard deviation of all episodes.

    60% of people ranked DoD #5.

    I hope there are other GoT and/or number-nerds out there who enjoy! GET HYPE FOR 6X09

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