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Game of Thrones Episode Ranking: 50-41

Welcome back to the GoT ranking series, where I list every episode of the show from worst to best. Today, we crack the top 50 and get into good/great episode territory. There is one episode in this range that is going to be ranked lower than where a lot of other people would put it overall, so don't get too upset when you see it. As always, here's your spoiler warning, enjoy!

Photo: HBO

 

50. The Gift: Season 5, Episode 7


This episode sets up a lot of events that happen later this season. Jon heads to Hardhome with the wildlings, Melisandre hints to Stannis that they need to burn Shireen in order to secure their victory, and the Sand Snakes use "The Long Farewell" on Bronn. We also get some long awaited moments like Cersei being thrown in a cell, Tyrion and Dany finally meet, and Sam standing up for himself against the some of the other men in the Watch. Sprinkle in a few mind games between Ramsay and Sansa, and Olenna and the High Sparrow, and it makes out for a pretty solid episode.


49. The Wars to Come: Season 5, Episode 1


Season 5 kicks off hinting at Cersei losing all of her children, Jaime being blamed for Tywin's death, and Tyrion arriving in Essos. Speaking of Essos, we see the rise of the Sons of the Harpy, and Varys talks with Tyrion about teaming up with Daenerys. With the harpies starting to kill more innocents, and Dany struggling with either honoring traditions and reopening the fighting pits or staying true to herself and building a new world from scratch, she has her hands full and finds it challenging to rule. The episode ends off with a fantastic scene between Jon and Mance, as Mance refuses to kneel to Stannis in order to keep the wildlings together. While he's on the stake about to burn alive, Jon shows mercy by shooting an arrow into his heart, sending him off in a silent and sudden death.


48. Book of the Stranger: Season 6, Episode 4


In this episode, we get our first Stark reunion between Jon and Sansa, which quickly turns into planning to retake Winterfell and receiving a threat from Ramsay. Petyr continues to undermine the Vale by manipulating Royce and Robin, and the Tyrells and Lannisters agree to "work together" to take down the High Sparrow. Tyrion's attempt to rule and potentially bargain with the masters goes horribly because, for some reason, he just can't seem to think more than one step ahead like he did earlier in the show. The episode ends on a triumphant tone as Dany reclaims the entire Dothraki Khalasar and steps out of the fire, reborn as the Khaleesi.


47. Kill the Boy: Season 5, Episode 5


This episode is all about overcoming adversity. We see how Dany manages the fallout from Barristan being killed by the Harpies, and Jon talks with Aemon and the men of the Night's Watch about his idea to save the wildlings. Tyrion and Jorah sail through Valyria, where they're attacked by the stone men - leaving Jorah marked with Greyscale, and Dany agrees to marry Hizdar in order to bring peace between the masters and the former slaves. The episode does get dragged out as a third of it takes place in Winterfell, where Sansa keeps getting toyed with by Ramsay and Myranda, but we do get to see her find Reek for the first time since she left Winterfell as a child.


46. The Dance of Dragons: Season 5, Episode 9


For the most part, this episode leaves a gapping pit in your stomach. Stannis army gets ambushed by Ramsay, Jon comes back feeling like he failed his mission, and Shireen gets burned at the stake. We don't get to see her die, but her screams and the horror on everyone's face is enough to bring tears to everyone watching the show. We also see Arya plan her revenge against Meryn Trant, and Dany watches the great games. During them, the Harpies attack the common people and her Queensguard. Right as they are about to be slaughtered, Drogon soars in and decimates the Harpy soldiers. The episode ends with Dany riding a dragon for the first time, leaving Meereen and everyone behind.

Photo: HBO


45. The House of Black and White: Season 5, Episode 2


Season 5 really gets rolling as this episode, as we are thrusted into multiple plotlines. Arya arrives in Braavos, Brienne gets close to saving Sansa, and Cersei receives a threat from Dorne. We also get some unexpected moments from our main characters, as Jon is elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and Dany chooses to have one of her council members killed for betraying her. Some future plots get established, as Jaime tells Bronn they are traveling to Dorne together, and Arya enters the House of Black and White, beginning her journey in becoming a faceless man.


44. Walk of Punishment: Season 3, Episode 3


With this being the lowest ranked episode from the first half of the show, you can see how superior the first four seasons are compared to the rest. In this episode, we see Robb struggle as a commander due to his men acting on their own accord, Tywin continues his plans of reaching out his power to as many areas as he can, and Theon gets saves twice by a mysterious person. Melisandre leaves Stannis to find more kings blood, Dany is shown the Walk of Punishment and then bargains with master Kraznys, and Tyrion and Bronn learn that Pod is a sexual prodigy. Everything about this episode goes along relatively smoothly, until Jaime gets his hand chopped off by Locke. It's a truly jarring moment, as your left wondering if you should be happy Jaime got what he deserved, or if you feel bad for how he's being treated just for wanting to get back to Cersei. The episode is a step down from the rest of the season, but still a great one.

43. Battle of the Bastards: Season 6, Episode 9


I know, I know, how in the world could I rank this episode so low? Like I said in the first blog of this series, major scenes won't make an episode outrank others solely for those moments; the entire episode as a whole has to be great. Although the actual Battle of the Bastards is fantastic, the first half of the episode is kind of wasted. Dany's reign and reconquering of Meereen is kind of short and dull, as the masters don't put up any fight against her and her dragons. Later, we see her meet with Theon and Yara, who just so happen to pop in as soon as the fighting is over. Similarly, in the Battle of the Bastards itself, Jon avoids death a crazy amount of times for what can only be deduced as plot armor. Yes, he's the Prince Who Was Promised, but that never really amounted to anything. Besides those things, the rest of the episode is fantastic. The music, cinematography, the rest of the battle from a logical standpoint, everything just fits so well together.


There are a good amount of people who say Sansa not telling Jon about the Knights of the Vale is kind of stupid, but from her perspective, she can't trust Littlefinger enough to tell Jon that she met with him and that he has an army. She takes a risk by riding out to see him, and it pays off. It is a great episode, but there are some things I can't overlook and that's why it lands outside of the top 40.

Photo: HBO


42. Mockingbird: Season 4, Episode 7


I think episode does too much by touching more plotlines than any other episode this season, but it's still good nonetheless. We see Tyrion get rejected by Jaime and Bronn, two men he trusts the most, Jon and his men return from taking out the mutiny at Craster's, and Dany is persuaded by Jorah on the best way to deal with the masters retaking Yunkai. Arya and the Hound continue their travels, Brienne and Pod press on trying to find Sansa and Arya, and Melisandre shows Sylese why they need to bring Shireen with them. The episode ends with two great scenes, as Oberyn claims himself as Tyrion's champion, and Petyr kills Lysa by chucking her through the Moon Door, effectively making him Lord of the Vale. It's a jam packed episode for sure, but it's still entertaining as ever.


41. The Ghost of Harrenhal: Season 2, Episode 5


This episode starts with a bang as our beloved Renly is murdered by a Stannis-shadow, thus killing the first king in the War of the Five Kings. More scheming takes place, as Tyrion interrogates Lancel on what Cersei is doing, Theon comes up with the idea to invade Winterfell, and Dany and Jorah plan on what to do about attacking Westeros. We also get the first of many awesome scenes between Arya and Tywin, as they play mind games with each other, all while Tywin has no clue he has a Stark right under his nose. Although it's my lowest rated episode of season 2, it's brings a lot of value to plots that weren't amounting to much before this point.

 

Final Notes:


With most of the second-half episodes out of the way, we're getting into the juicier and more substance filled parts of the show. Note that all of the remaining episodes are similar in quality, and each one edges out the episode before it by a small margin.


Join me next time as I rank the next 10 episodes from 40-31!

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