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Game of Thrones Episode Ranking: 40-31

Updated: Aug 20, 2022

Welcome back to the GoT ranking series! As we crack through the halfway point, please note these rankings got tougher and tougher to make decisions on. It would have been better suited doing tiers, but 73 episodes is too much to tier into separate categories. As always, spoiler warning, you have been warned.

Photo: HBO

 

40. A Man Without Honor: Season 2, Episode 7


There are some great moments that get left by the wayside in this episode. First off, we get the infamous "you know nothing, Jon Snow" line from Ygritte, Arya and Tywin continue playing mind games with each other, and Jaime has a great monologue with his cousin, Alton, that shows a deeper side to him that we haven't seen before...and then he kills him anyway. Pyat Pree and Xaro Xhoan Daxos also share they have been working together to overthrow the other members of the Thirteen, and Pyat Pree kills the others. Bran and the others escape, only for Theon to end up hanging two burnt bodies in the yard of Winterfell. The episode does drag here and there, but still a fun watch regardless.


39. Lord Snow: Season 1, Episode 3


I always forget how damn good the first season is, and episodes like this one remind me of the masterful writing and incredible acting performances the early seasons had. We start with Ned confront Jaime about the Mad King's death, and we meet staple characters like Petyr and Varys. Petyr also starts his mind games by telling Ned and Cat that he lost the dagger, the one used to try and murder Bran, to Tyrion. This opens up a huge can of worms that redirects the entire show. Dany also learns how to truly be a Khaleesi and starts to command rather than ask. Jon has his difference with his fellow recruits at the Wall, but then he learns to work with them rather than against them. We get tons of backstory and even more set up for the rest of this season and the show, and the fact that this is the lowest ranked episode of season 1 truly shows how fantastic it is.


38. Garden of Bones: Season 2, Episode 4


This episode is a classic representation of how awesome Tyrion's character was early on. He has two great scenes where he stands up to Sansa while talking down to King Joffrey, and later he successfully mentally torments Lancel to the point where he agrees to work for Tyrion and feed him information. Dany finds her way to Qarth and saves her people from starvation, Robb meets Talisa, and Melisandre has a ghost baby sent to kill Renly. It's a wild episode with lots of witty dialogue and insults, and definitely worth a spot in the top 40.


37. The North Remembers: Season 2, Episode 1


After a mesmerizing first season, season 2 builds off that with introducing new mainstay characters like Stannis and Melisandre, while pushing the envelope with other plots like Joffrey's increasingly maniacal actions, Dany and the remaining Dothraki nearly starving to death, and Robb threatening Jaime with his life. We also get a brutal montage of Robert's remaining bastards being slain by the kingsguard, setting the tone for horrors we'll see later this season. In a battle of wits scene between Petyr and Cersei, we get the incredible "power is power" quote from Cersei, showing not only her power over everyone in King's Landing, but also telling Petyr he isn't truly in charge without ever saying it. It's a great start for a new season, and shows that GoT hasn't lost a step in any regard.


36. The Old Gods and the New: Season 2, Episode 6


This episode starts fast and never slows down. Theon takes Winterfell and kills Ser Rodrik, Joffrey gets attacked by the common people, starting an all-out brawl and massacre, Dany demands ships from the spice trader, and Jon meets Ygritte. We also get an awesome scene where Arya serves Petyr and Tywin while they discuss a potential alliance between the Lannisters and the Tyrells. The episode caps off with Osha and the boys escaping Winterfell, and Dany having her dragons taken from her. Between the fast pace and abundance of wow moments, this episode knocks it out of the park.

Photo: HBO


35. The Pointy End: Season 1, Episode 8


Much like the previous episode on this list, this episode starts fast with the fallout of Ned being betrayed by Petyr. Syrio Forrel defends Arya, Robb makes his moves to avenge his father, and Jon has to fight off a Night's Watch member-turned-wight. Tyrion and Bronn make some new companions with the hill-tribesmen, and Drogo fights one of his Blood Riders and rips out his tongue for denying his Khaleesi's demands. To end it, Ser Barristan is forced to retire, and Sansa pleads for her father's life to Joffrey. Joffrey tells Sansa that Ned must confess, or else there will be no mercy for him (which ends up being true according to him). It's a big set up episode for two of the best episodes in the series, but more on that later in the list.


34. The Night Lands: Season 2, Episode 2


During this episode, we get to see that start of Tyrion truly coming into his character. Between his two scenes where he challenges Janos and sends him to the Wall, and where he chats with Cersei about who set the attack out on Robert's bastards, we see how methodical, yet seemingly plain he is as he works through people's minds to get what he wants. Similarly, Jon finds out what's happening with Craster's boys. We also see Theon return to the Iron Islands, Stannis doing whatever it takes to have a son, and the Kingsguard looking for Gendry with the group of boys heading for the Wall with Yoren. The dialogue really hits its stride this episode, and it only gets better as the season progresses.


33. The Prince of Winterfell: Season 2, Episode 8


We see a lot of unexpected, or at least somewhat expected, turns this episode, as Robb learns that Cat let Jaime escape, Tywin and his men ride out for King's Landing, and Tyrion tricks Cersei into thinking she outsmarted him. We also see Qhorin get "mad" at Jon and shoves him down a slope, Talisa tells Robb the story about her younger brother, and Bran and Rickon have been hiding in the crypts with Osha and Hodor. In between these turns, Arya and company escape Harrenhal, and Tyrion plans the defense of King's Landing. Unlike episode 8 in the first season, this episode is geared towards driving the plot and throwing twists in the story, while simultaneously setting up events for the final two episodes.


32. Mother's Mercy: Season 5, Episode 10


The season 5 finale seems to be forgotten as it's shoved between two other great season enders, but this one is still impactful. Half of Stannis's men and Melisandre abandon him after the incident with Shireen, Arya exacts her revenge on Meryn Trant, and Jaime makes "peace" with the Martells of Dorne. All three of these actions lead to unfortunate events for our characters, as Stannis is executed by Brienne, Arya has her sight taken away by Jaqen, and Myrcella is poisoned by the Sand Snakes. The episode ends with three major characters also facing horrible realities, as Dany is captured by the Dothraki, Cersei makes her walk of atonement, and Jon is betrayed and murdered by men of the Night's Watch. This episode felt like it was a step back towards what made GoT spectacular through the first four seasons, and definitely left fans on an extreme cliffhanger for nearly a year.


31. Winter is Coming: Season 1, Episode 1


Rounding off this portion of the list is the episode that started it all. We get a eerie introductions to the White Walkers, as well as multiple foreshadows with a direwolf being killed by a stag, Jon getting an albino direwolf pup and Dany stepping into a steaming hot tub. We also meet tons of new characters, find out the intricate and intertwined stories of Westeros, and we get left with a cliffhanger after after Bran gets shoved out a window. The first episode, and first season as a whole, revolves around a murder mystery, which is a familiar trope in an unfamiliar fantasy genre. It's a great start to the series and opens the door for countless possibilities down the road.

Photo: HBO

 

Final Notes:


Going forward, there are only two episodes left from the last 4 seasons, everything else will be from the first half of the show. With 30 episodes left to rank, things should get interesting in terms of certain episodes being ranked above others.


Join me next time as I rank the next 10 episodes from 30-21!

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