top of page

Game of Thrones Episode Ranking: 30-21

43 down, 30 to go. This list gets tighter and tighter as we inch closer to the top episodes of the show. Today, we'll look at some episodes that some people tend to forget, but still have a strong impact on the show. There's also two episodes on this part of the list in particular that are in the top 10 on most other lists. Although I don't think those episodes are as strong as other people suggest, they are still great overall despite their flaws. Here is your mandatory spoiler warning, proceed with caution.

Photo: HBO


30. Dark Wings, Dark Words: Season 3, Episode 2

This episode seems like it's themed around people getting what they deserve. Theon gets strapped up and tortured by some unknown figures, Rast gets stuck making sure Sam stays alive after making fun of him, and Jaime and Brienne get captured by Roose Bolton's men. We also get two incredible scenes with Cat and Talisa talking about Jon Snow and how Cat couldn't love a motherless child, and Joffrey and Margaery talk about Renly and if she could kill something. The scene subjects are unexpected, but the fact they deliver some great foreshadowing and add more depth and complexity to the characters involved greatly improves the episode and their plotlines further.

29. Two Swords: Season 4, Episode 1

First and foremost, gotta give it up for Pedro Pascal and his performance as Oberyn Martell. In just 1 season, he becomes one of the most charismatic and tragic characters across the entire series. His motives are just, and his demeanor scene by scene captures everyone's attention. With his role, we learn more about Rhaegar, as well as the everlasting distaste between the Lannisters and the Martells. Outside of King's Landing, Jon deals with the backlash at Castle Black for sleeping with a wildling, Dany and company make their way to Meereen, and Arya and the Hound find an inn to rob. While they spy on it, Arya notices Polliver, the man who stole Needle from her. We get some enticing threats from the Hound towards Polliver, and the episode ends with Arya exacting her revenge on him and taking Needle back from him. It's a somewhat full circle moment, and is one of her best moments in the show.

28. Breaker of Chains: Season 4, Episode 3

We see the fallout of Joffrey's death happen rapidly. Tyrion is accused of killing him and is taken into custody, Sansa escapes with Ser Dontos and is brought to Petyr, and Tywin starts to prepare Tommen to rule as king. With Joffrey's death, we also see Stannis become more confident than ever, as he feels the need to shore up his forces and strike now while the crown is weak. In other areas, Sam brings Gilly to Mole's Town, the Night's Watch learns about the mutiny being held up at Craster's Keep, and Dany rides into Meereen. Fun fact: the champion of Meereen recites dialogue from Monty Python and the Holy Grail while he taunts Daario.

27. Hardhome: Season 5, Episode 8

This episode is best known for the jaw dropping sequences that take place at Hardhome, but most people forget that a lot happens before that. Jorah returns to Dany and Tyrion is brought onto her council, Reek tells Sansa that he never murdered Bran and Rickon, and Cersei gets tortured by Septa Unella while in her cell. Ramsay also prepares to sabotage Stannis's camp, while Arya continues her training. Then, we get the chilling scenes at Hardhome, and even though the entire sequence is unforgettable, it still has some flaws. The biggest flaw is Jon not being killed by the White Walker on three separate occasions in the matter of a minute, but it did lead up to one of the coolest moments in the show when Jon blocks the Walker's blade with Longclaw. Jon hits him with a counter move and slices the Walker in half, shattering it into pieces. This is the first time we see the true power of Valyrian Steel, and it still gives me goosebumps to this day. The episode ends with the Night King bringing those who died back to life, only this time as a member of the Night Army. It's a spine-chilling collection of scenes, and worth a re-watch over and over again.

Photo: HBO

26. Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things: Season 1, Episode 4

We get to see Ned start his investigation into Jon Arryn's murder this episode, and we learn some other major details along with it. Ned asks Pycelle why Jon Arryn came asking about a book, Ned learns that Robert has a bastard son, and Petyr tells Ned that distrusting him was the wisest thing he's done since arriving in King's Landing. All three pieces of information he gathers add layers upon layers to the overall story and prove to be monumental. Dany also grows leaps and bounds as she stands up to her brother, while also realizing he will never take the Seven Kingdoms. In the surrounding storylines, Jon Snow meets his future best friend in Samwell Tarly, Sansa learns the story about the Mountain and the Hound, and Cat captures Tyrion. While this episode won't be remembered by most, I think it's one of the most important in the first season.

25. A Golden Crown: Season 1, Episode 6

In one episode, Ned goes from being unnamed Hand of the King, then being renamed Hand of the King, to serving as Lord of the Realm while Robert is away, and finally discovering that Joffrey is not a true Baratheon, but is the bastard son of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, giving him no claim to the Iron Throne. Similar to Ned seizing more power, Dany becomes a full-fledged Khaleesi, while Viserys tries to flee with her dragon eggs. We then get some memorable moments with Bronn fighting for Tyrion and winning his trial by combat, Theon saving Bran and Robb from a wildling ambush, and Viserys getting his golden crown, which instead of giving him power, it leaves him powerless and dead as Khal Drogo pours melted gold onto his head. Between the continuing story building and abundance of shocking scenes, this episode is more than deserving of landing in the top 25.

24. The Winds of Winter: Season 6, Episode 10

What is critically acclaimed as the best episode in the series, fall outside of the top 20 for me. The first 20 minutes are sensational, as we get an incredible soundtrack, intense build up, and a season long payoff of Cersei blowing up the Sept of Baelor, killing almost all of her enemies in one blast of wildfire. From then on, the episode gets choppy. We get more great moments like Arya killing Walder Frey, Cersei waterboarding Septa Unella and Davos confronting Melisandre about killing Shireen. With that said, we get to the subpar moments, like Dany naming Tyrion his hand, even though he's messed up almost everything since she left, Petyr awkwardly professes his love for Sansa, and Olenna and the Martells make an alliance - for whatever reason. After all of that, we get the hype-inducing and bone-chilling reveal that Jon Snow is actually the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen - and then shortly after named King in the North, Cersei takes her place as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and Dany sails for Westeros (with Varys, who somehow got from Dorne to Essos in the matter of a day). Despite its flaws, this episode reigns supreme as the best in the second half of the show, and one of the most hype throughout the entire series.

Photo: HBO

23. Valar Dohaeris: Season 3, Episode 1

Season 3 kicks off right where the previous one left off, as Sam continues to run away from the White Walkers and Jon makes his way into Mance's camp. I absolutely love the first scene between Jon and Mance, as Jon tricks him by telling the truth that he wants to fight for the side that fights for the living. Mance believes him, while Jon knows his ultimate goal is get back to the Wall. We also meet Qyburn this episode, as he is one of the lone survivors from Harrenhal, and Davos is thrown in a cell by Stannis after Davos tries to kill Melisandre. The episode ends with Dany learning about the Unsullied army and getting saved by Ser Barristan, who then commits himself to her Queensguard. It's a great start to the season, and shows the series isn't slowing down anytime soon.

22. The Bear and the Maiden Fair: Season 3, Episode 7

Between Jon gaining full trust from most of the wildlings, Tywin overpowering Joffrey with his calm demeanor and piercing tone, and Dany showing her growth as a queen to Razdal by demanding freedom for the slaves, this episode puts an interesting spin on the idea of "role-reversal". Similar to this concept, Gendry goes from believing he's just a bastard to learning her has king's blood, Theon goes from ladies man to getting his precious bits chopped off, and Jaime turns from insulting Brienne constantly to saving her life from Locke and his men. It seems like every scene shows a different side to each character that hasn't been shown before, and it's a refreshing piece to a rather grim part of the show.

21. The Climb: Season 3, Episode 6

With another early season entry, we get another episode with iconic moments that are etched into the history of the series. Roose's bastard continues to torture Theon both physically and mentally, namely by having Theon guess who he is, Melisandre comes across the Brotherhood and questions how Beric has been brought back six times, and Jon and the Wildlings make the climb up the Wall. We get some banger moments of dialogue, the first with Olenna and Tywin trading blows on if Loras will marry Cersei or Sansa, with Tywin emerging victorious as he threatens to name Loras to the Kingsguard, and secondly with Petyr and Varys having another battle of wits, this time revolving around Vary's confidant, Ros. We also get one of the best monologues in the entire show, as Petyr goes on about how chaos isn't a pit, chaos is a ladder. It shows where his true beliefs lie, while also showing his power and strategy over others who think they can outsmart him.

Photo: HBO


Final Notes:

Over the weekend, we'll review the top 20 episodes of the show, all of which take place within the first four seasons. I'll also be dropping a full list breakdown the day after the top 10 drop, so make sure you look into that to see how each season faired against each other overall.

Join me next time as I rank the next 10 episodes from 20-11!


bottom of page