• Jordan Laube

Game of Thrones vs. Breaking Bad: Which is Better?

During the Golden Age of Television, two shows dominated headlines, ratings, and mass media. These two series with completely different plots struck us with laughs, shock, tears, and wonder. If you haven't watched either of these shows, I highly recommend both as they are my two favorite shows. For those that haven't seen either series, or haven't completely finished them, this is a polite request that you close out this blog and come back when you finish both. For those that have finished one show and not the other, feel free to read my recap of whatever show you've seen, as I will compare both after I have summarized each show. There are going to be some heavy spoilers and some theories spelled out in this blog. For those that have watched both, sit back, relax, and enjoy my breakdown of both series.

Photo: Unknown

Breaking Bad


Summary:


Walter White, a high school Chemistry teacher, and Jesse Pinkman, a former student of Walt, team up to cook methamphetamine so Walt can leave behind money for his family. On his 50th birthday, Walt was diagnosed with lung cancer, and is given two years to live. While growing their meth business, they come across the likes of Tuco Salamanca, the Cartel drug lord of Albuquerque, Gus Fring, a meth king pin for the Cartel, and Jack Welker, a neo-Nazi idealist who runs the White Power Prison Gang. Along this journey, Tuco, Gus, and Jack want to get their hands on Walt's meth, which is the purest meth ever made (99.1% pure to be exact).


Throughout 5 seasons, Walt, a kind, gentle man who did everything for his family, turns into Heisenberg, a well-thought-out, cold blooded killer with no love in his heart, and is the alter-ego he used to hide his true identity. In total, Heisenberg was connected to 201 total deaths, and directly murdered 16 people, including himself. His transformation, in my opinion, is finished during the episode "Crawl Space", where he finds out that over $600k of his laundered money was used to help Ted Beneke, Skyler White's mister (Skyler is Walt's wife), pay the IRS. Walt let out a violent scream, which gradually turned into maniacal laughter, and then a loud silence. At this moment, Walter White had died and Heisenberg was truly born.


The day after his 52nd birthday, Heisenberg confronts Jack and his gang, killing them with a rigged M60 in the trunk of his vehicle. Heisenberg, who saved Jesse by jumping on him to cover him from the fire, is shot in his stomach. Jesse, who had been abducted to cook meth for Jack and his men, flees the hideout in an El Camino. Heisenberg walks through the lab Jesse had been working in, amazed by how clean and well kept everything is. The last we see of Heisenberg is a distorted reflection of him on one of the cooking barrels. He falls back, finally succumbing to his blood loss, and dies with a smile on his face.


Favorite Character: Jesse Pinkman


Jesse's story is one of the most heartbreaking in TV history. After being kicked out of his home, he gets manipulated by Walt to join his meth business. Along the way, his girlfriend, Jane, chokes on her own vomit during an overdose, which Walt watched happen. He wakes up the next morning to find her dead body, his world is rocked, and he turns to drugs to cope with his depression and trauma. Later, he meets Andrea while rehabbing from drug abuse, and they start to date. Andrea's son, Brock, is poisoned by Heisenberg, but Heisenberg pins it on Gus in order to convince Jesse to help him kill Gus. After Brock makes a full recovery, Jesse puts two-and-two together realizes Heisenberg was the one that poisoned Brock. To get back at him, he teams up with Hank Schrader, Walt's brother-in-law and DEA agent.


After faking out Heisenberg, they get him alone in the desert to arrest him. Before turning himself in, Heisenberg calls Jack and his gang to come help, but then changes his mind. After some time, the gang shows up and Jack kills Hank in front of Heisenberg. Jesse, who was hiding under a car, is abducted and taken hostage. They force him to cook meth and he is treated like a slave. After attempting to escape, they force Jesse to watch Todd Alquist, Jack's nephew, shoot and kill Andrea on her own front porch. They threaten to kill Brock if he tries to escape again. After escaping and driving off in the El Camino, Jesse lets out a liberating yell as he speeds out of the hideout.


Jesse's character arc and story, going from a deadbeat druggie, to a professional gunman and meth master, is one of my favorite character arcs in any show I've watched. His redemption movie, El Camino, is a great follow up to Breaking Bad, and does a wonderful job continuing Jesse's story.

Photo: AMC


Best Character: Walter White/Heisenberg


Is anyone shocked by this? Walt might be the best character in TV history. Bryan Cranston did such an unbelievable job portraying Walt, that I forgot he was acting for most of the show. The transformation from Walt to Heisenberg is flawlessly conveyed, and Cranston plays a huge part in that factor.


Favorite Scene: The Ending of Granite State, Season 5, Episode 15


If you want to know how to end the episode before the series finale, look no further than Granite State. Heisenberg walks into a bar and calls he police to turn himself in. He orders one last whiskey to enjoy, while the bartender flips through channels on the TV. While finding a show to watch, Heisenberg sees two of his former colleagues, Gretchen and Elliott Schwartz, on TV talking about Walter White, and asks to bartender to go back. The three created Gray Matter Technologies, a company which Walter left with a $5,000 buyout. Today, the company is worth over $2.16 billion. When asked about Walt's contribution, they said he only came up with the name. After hearing this, Heisenberg has a blank look on his face, but not of defeat, but of purpose. As he looks down, the Breaking Bad theme song starts to play. Police officers roll up to the bar he is in, shotguns drawn and ready to detain him. They bust in the doors, scurrying the bar to find where he is. The camera pans from right to left, the music swells, and as the main part of the theme song plays, the camera comes into focus on an empty seat with an unfinished whiskey glass in front of it, symbolizing that Heisenberg still has some unfinished business to attend to. It's the perfect alley-oop for an incredible slam dunk of a finale.


Best Scene: The Ending of Crawl Space, Season 4, Episode 11


I talked about this part earlier, but it is the best scene in the entire show. Walt's uncontrollable anger and frustration, Skyler's frightened expression, the phone ringing with Marie, Hank's wife, being told that the cartel was coming for Hank, and the loud thuds and intense sound build up makes this one of the most memorable scenes in TV history.


Favorite Episode: Felina, Season 5, Episode 16


I couldn't think of a better way to end the series. There's nothing better than tying up all loose ends, keeping the episode intriguing, and having you guess what's going to happen right up to the final moment. Heisenberg gives his remaining money to Gretchen and Elliott to "donate" to his family, he meets with Skyler for one last time to tell her that he did everything for himself all along, and he kills off the last people on his hit list. Perfection.


Best Episode: Ozymandias, Season 5, Episode 14


The episode starts off strong, as Jack kills Hank right in front of Heisenberg. For the last time, we see Heisenberg in total shock, disbelief, and great sadness. After being let go by Jack, he rushes home to get his family so they can escape. Skyler fights back, and she pulls a knife on Heisenberg. The two scuffle, with Walt Jr. defending Skyler as the collapse to the floor. Heisenberg abducts Holly, their infant daughter, and runs away. In one final phone call with Skyler, Heisenberg lets her have it, and he reveals everything that happened and blames it on her. With whatever kindness he had left, he leaves Holly in a firetruck at the fire department before he heads out of town. He gets picked up in a red minivan, and rides off to lead a new life.

Photo: AMC


*Fun fact: this is the only episode in TV history to be rated 10/10 on IMDb*


Honorable Mentions:

  • Walt runs over his competition

  • Hank confronts Heisenberg

  • Walt punches the paper towel dispenser

  • "Say My Name"

  • Train Heist

  • Walt meets Tuco

  • "I am the one who knocks"

  • How Breaking Bad uses colors

Rating: 10/10


Breaking bad is the only show I've ever watched that got better with every season, had an incredible pilot episode, pivotal moments in each season finale, and had an incredible ending that no one saw coming. An absolute masterpiece of a series and is worth multiple rewatches.


Game of Thrones


Summary:


How the hell do you summarize a show with hundreds of characters, dozens of different settings, and multiple plot lines? You don't! There's so much going on, so here are the main things you need to know: The Starks are the good guys, the Lannisters (some of them, mostly Cersei) are the bad guys, the Targaryens are also the bad guys to some people, and the Baratheon's are the rightful heirs to the Iron Throne. There are some other important houses along the way, but those are the main four to focus on. Ned Stark, the most honorable man in the Seven Kingdoms, is married to Catelyn Stark, and both had five children together, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. After fighting in Robert's Rebellion, Ned brought home his "bastard", Jon Snow, and all eight of them ruled and lived in Winterfell, one of the most northern parts of Westeros.


In King's Landing, the capital of Westeros, live the Lannisters, comprised of Cersei, Tyrion, Jamie, and Tywin...oh and Lancel and Kevan. Cersei is married to Robert Baratheon, King of the Seven Kingdoms, and "together", they had three children named Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella. Cersei and her brother, Jamie, are in love and are the real parents of those three. Many in the kingdom are torn on whether this is true or not, as Joffrey's claim to the Iron Throne would be illegitimate if true, which it is.


Daenerys Targaryen is one of the last surviving children of the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen, who Robert had rebelled against. She escaped to Essos with her brother, Viserys. With the potential to build an army, Viserys weds his sister off the Khal Drogo, leader of the Dothraki, a group of savages. At their wedding, Daenerys is gifted three "petrified" dragon eggs. Daenerys becomes Khaleesi, queen of the Khalasar, and falls in love with Drogo.


With these three stories in motion, multiple events happen that shake the entire world of Game of Thrones. To summarize as quick as I can, Ned is asked to be Hand of the King and brings Arya and Sansa with him to King's Landing. Robb, Bran, Rickon, and Catelyn stay in Winterfell, while Jon Snow joins the Night's Watch, an army defending The Wall in the northern most part of Westeros. Robert is rammed by a boar and bleeds to death a day later. Cersei had Lancel, Robert's aid, keep giving him wine so he was too drunk to effectively hunt. Ned is named King until Joffrey is of age, but Cersei denies this claim. After the King's Guard betrays Ned, Joffrey has Ned beheaded for treason.

Photo: HBO


This sets a ripple effect across the world and the dominoes start to fall. Jamie was captured by the Stark's before Ned's death, but plays a more pivotal role since he died. Arya escapes King's Landing, while Sansa continues to be tortured by Joffrey. Jon Snow must stay at The Wall and can't help his family. Stannis Baratheon, Robert's brother, challenges Joffrey on his claim and declares war against the Seven Kingdoms. Stannis's brother, Renly, feels he is a better ruler and also challenges Joffrey and Stannis. Those in Winterfell want to become an independent nation again, and claim Robb as the King in the North. Balon Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, whose son, Theon, was captured and made a ward by the Starks, declares his own rebellion against the Starks and the Crown. This sets the War of the Five Kings in motion.


Along the way, Khal Drogo dies from an infected wound. Daenerys burns his body, with the three dragon eggs resting on him, along with the witch who said she could "heal" Drogo. Dany steps into the fire, which causes the majority of the Khalasar to leave. Daenerys emerges unburnt, and her dragon eggs hatched into three baby dragons, which convinces the remaining Khalasar that she is the one true Khaleesi.


A bunch of other stuff happens, and we learn Jon Snow isn't Ned's bastard, but he is the son of Lyanna Stark, Ned's sister, and Rhaegar Targaryen, Aerys's eldest son, who was murdered by Robert during his rebellion. Jon's real name is Aegon Targaryen, and he is the true heir to the Iron Throne (this makes Daenerys his aunt). Before learning this, he pledges his life to Daenerys's claim on the Iron Throne, and the two fall in love. Season 8 gets really weird, and really bad, as Jon is sent back to The Wall after killing Daenerys, who had just burnt King's Landing to a crisp, Sansa is named Queen in the North, Arya sails west of Westeros, and Bran is named King of the Six Kingdoms, now that Winterfell is an independent kingdom.


Favorite Character: Jaime Lannister


The Kingslayer! Jaime's character arc (besides season 8) is the best in the show. Our first few interactions with Jaime, we see him banging Cersei, disrespecting Ned Stark, making fun of the Stark boys, and dueling it out with Ned. When Jamie is captured by Robb, he constantly berates Catelyn and challenges Robb. He is built up to be this awful character, until the middle of season 3 when he has his hand chopped off by Locke, the man who captured him while Brienne was escorting him to King's Landing. After arriving at Harrenhal, Jaime and Brienne share a bath where he tells his side of the story. In short, he stabbed the Mad King to prevent him from burning all of King's Landing. He begins to collapse at the height of the story, Brienne catches him and shouts "Help! The Kingslayer!" to which Jaime replies, "Jaime, my name is Jaime." An absolutely surreal moment in the show and the point where Jaime becomes a good guy.


Best Character: Tywin Lannister


Tywin is one of the most powerful men in all of Westeros, and Charles Dance does an incredible job conveying this in his mannerisms as Tywin. The father of Jamie, Cersei, and Tyrion, Tywin puts family and legacy above everything else. All he cares about is the family name living on. Not only is he strong in combat, but he is one of the smartest men in Westeros as well. His word play when talking with Oberyn Martell and Olenna Tyrell make for some of the best moments in the show. Additionally, his interactions with Arya in season 2 make for some great dialogue and battles of wit.

Photo: HBO


Favorite Scene: Daenerys Gets the Unsullied, And Now His Watch Is Ended, Season 3, Episode 4


This is the moment I got on the Dany Hype Train (besides the end of season 1). With a Dothraki horde and three dragons, Daenerys is looking to expand her army so she can conquer Westeros. She stops in Astapor to liberate the city and gain control of the Unsullied. She negotiates with Kraznys mo Nakloz, a slave trader who owns the Unsullied, and agrees to trade her biggest dragon in exchange for his army. After the trade, Kraznys gives Daenerys "The Whip", the controlling totem of the Unsullied. As Daenerys approaches her army, she says "Dovaogēdy", which means Unsullied in Valyrian. Not only does she have total control of the army, but she speaks Old Valyrian, which was unknown to the viewers and to the other characters. When Kraznys discovers she speaks Valyrian, he pleads for the Unsullied to kill her, to which she responds "Dracarys". Drogon rains fire down on Kraznys and burns him alive. The episode ends with Daenerys on horseback, dropping the whip into the ground and 10,000 Unsullied marching out of Astapor, all the while her three dragons are gliding above them. This was the most badass scene in the first four seasons.


Best Scene: Tyrion's Trial, The Law of Gods and Men, Season 4, Episode 6


Just watch this:

Source: Deventh


What a captivating moment. The dialogue, the acting, the music, all of it is perfect.


Favorite Episode: The Winds of Winter, Season 6, Episode 10


This episode covers a lot of ground and lays the land for Season 7 very well. Cersei gets revenge and blows up the Sept, Tommen commits suicide, Samwell reaches the Citadel, Bran finds out what happens in the Tower of Joy and that Jon Snow is Lyanna Stark's son, not Ned's son, Jon Snow is named King in the North, Tyrion is named Hand of the Queen, Cersei is named Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and Daenerys sets sail for Westeros with her entire army. From the writing, to the combination of multiple theme songs, this was the most hype moment of the show.


Best Episode: The Rains of Castamere, Season 3, Episode 9


This episode still stings to this very day. Besides the wedding, the plot moves along nice and smooth. Daenerys, Jorah Mormant, Ser Barristan Selmy, Grey Worm, and Daario Naharis set their plans to sack Yunkai, Samwell and Gilly get to The Wall, Jon Snow betrays the Wildings, and Bran saves Jon's life without Jon knowing. Then comes the other parts of the episode. We all know what happens, it's gut wrenching, unexpected, eerie, and just messed up. We all knew something was up, but we didn't know to what extent and what would actually happen. The show completely changes after this episode, and your favorite characters aren't safe anymore. As Ramsay Bolton once said "if you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention".


Honorable Mentions:

  • Varys, Petyr Baelish, Margaery Tyrell, and Ramsay Bolton are incredible characters in terms of acting and portrayal

  • Jon Snow blocks a White Walker's ice spear (Valyrian Steel reveal)

  • Battle of the Bastards, the entire episode

  • Blackwater, the entire episode

  • The Children, the entire episode

  • Podrick singing "Jenny of Oldstones"

  • "Chaos is a ladder"

  • "Power is power"

  • Ghost being Albino, hinting that Jon Snow is a Targaryen from the first episode

Rating:


I'm gonna cheat on this one. From seasons 1-4, this is the best show of all time. Hell, you could argue with seasons 1-6 it's the best show. Despite how mediocre season 5 is, season 6 comes out with guns blazing and adds that Game of Thrones flare we loved in the first four seasons. Then, season 7 slowly showed a decline, even thought it still had some awesome moments. And then season 8. Oh boy. Besides The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, this season was absolute shit. Because of this, we'll rate the show in multiple ways:

  • Seasons 1-8: 9/10

  • Seasons 1-4: 10/10

  • Seasons 1-6: 9/10

  • Seasons 5-6: 8/10

  • Season 7: 8/10

  • Season 8: 2/10

The Verdict


Both shows are amazing in their own ways. Both are completely different genres, but bring that same intensity, heart-warming moments, and soul crushing events.


Game of Thrones is my favorite show, but Breaking Bad is the best show ever made.


If Game of Thrones stuck the landing with season 8, and gave us anything else other than the garbage we got, then it would have been the best show of all time. The Night King losing at Winterfell was a terrible writing decision, the last three episodes are garbage, Dany turning the way she did was ridiculous, and Bran becoming King makes no sense; he literally said "I can't be Lord of Winterfell, I can't be Lord of anything, I'm the Three Eyed Raven". Unless "anything" is a place that we never heard of, this can't be justified in my eyes. He'd make a much better Master of Whisperers since he knows everything that is happening up to the present.


Also, as much as I love her character, Arya killing the Night King made no sense. She had no previous encounters with the Night King, while Jon Snow battled his entire army at Hardhome and North of the Wall. Their third time meeting at Winterfell and having it result in a duel would have been incredible to watch. They also completely ditched the "Lightbringer" plot line, which would have been perfect for Jaime Lannister to wield Lightbringer since he has a golden hand that can't be burnt. In my eyes, I think the Night King should have won no matter what, because that's what the true Game of Thrones would have done. I hope George R. R. Martin goes that route when he releases the final book.


As far as Breaking Bad is concerned, I wouldn't change anything about the show. I love how consistent it stayed throughout the entire series, in terms of plot development, character chemistry, writing, and big moments. It seemed like everything happened at the right time, and even when things started to "lull", they had a purpose for doing so.

Final Notes:


Besides my last rant there, Game of Thrones is an amazing show for the first 7 seasons and is totally worth a rewatch regardless of how it ends (currently on my 5th rewatch). I can't say enough good things about Breaking Bad. It's perfect from start to finish, and "The Fly" is a really good episode, despite the flak that it gets. You're on the edge of your seat for the entire show, and there is not one single dull moment.


If you haven't watched either of these shows, I don't know why you read this, but you should definitely check them out. Sports content comes back this Friday with the return of NFL PRR: Special Teamers for 2021!

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