The Iron Anniversary
Top 10 Greatest Game of Thrones Battles
HBO Original Game of Thrones burst onto the scene 10 years ago, and along with its assortment of characters, settings, and storylines, came many battles. From small, one-on-one skirmishes to some of the biggest battles ever shot for television, fighting is synonymous with the series. To celebrate the Iron Anniversary, we asked fans to help pick the best battles and fights from throughout the series. Curated from more than 34,000 votes, here are the results of the Choosing.
10. Arya Spars With Brienne (Season 7, Episode 4)
Two fan-favorite characters coming together after all these years? And for a sparring match? Fans loved to see it. The courtyard face-off with Brienne and Arya was a delightful full circle moment for both characters, showing truly how far they’d come since Brienne defeated the Hound in an effort to protect Arya. Even though fans knew neither character’s life was in jeopardy (a rarity for Thrones), the joy we got from seeing these women fight it out was more than memorable enough for this list.
9. The Loot Train (Season 7, Episode 4)
In a show where anything can happen, when the Lannister army faced off against the Dothraki, it seemed like it might be the end for some of our favorite characters. But in a display of fiery glory, Drogon tipped the scales, and almost took out Jaime Lannister in the process. From Bronn using Qyburn’s Scorpion weapon, to Jaime’s reaction when he first understood the true scale of Dany’s might, this battle delivered in shot after shot.
8. Brienne vs. The Hound (Season 4, Episode 10)
One must never underestimate Brienne of Tarth. This confrontation, over the safety of Arya Stark, was brutal, and proved once again that Brienne was a determined (and skilled) fighter. Their duel-turned-fistfight would help send Arya down a new path.
7. The Frozen Lake (Season 7, Episode 6)
Can you say tension? With Jon Snow and company surrounded by a horde of White Walkers, it looked like the end of the line could be near for anybody — and was, unfortunately, for the beloved Thoros. Luckily, Daenerys had dragons. But the day wasn’t saved without a huge loss and a big twist: Viserion was killed, and later turned into a Wight. The scope and scale of all those White Walkers was awe-inspiring, and Dany’s loss of her first child a very real game-changer for anyone who thought the dragons could not be beat.
6. Battle of Castle Black (Season 4, Episode 9)
Heartache, high stakes, mammoths, and giants. This battle took us all on an emotional journey, with impressive fight choreography, and series-changing moments for some of our favorite characters, especially Jon Snow.
5. Battle of Blackwater (Season 2, Episode 9)
The first major battle Thrones-fans got served, the Battle of Blackwater Bay helped set the rule: You know it’s going to be a spectacle when a battle takes place in the penultimate episode of the season. With Tyrion Lannister at command of the army defending King’s Landing, and Stannis Baratheon's fleet attacking the bay, we got to witness a true mix of firepower and one of the series’ best rally speeches.
4. The Viper vs. The Mountain (Season 4, Episode 8)
We had seen trial by combat before, and even for Tyrion Lannister. But no one knew what to expect when Oberyn Martell stepped into the ring with Sandor Clegane. His battle to the death with the Mountain was fierce, fantastic, and left viewers breathless right up to the shocking end.
3. Hardhome (Season 5, Episode 8)
If you didn’t know the dead were coming before, you sure knew it now. One of the earlier — and larger — battles between the living and the dead in the series, this one left our heroes with a heartbreaking victory, and an important lesson on the value of a Valyrian steel sword. The image of the Night King raising his arms is one of the most iconic in the entire series, so this battle making its way into the Top 3 is no surprise.
2. The Long Night (Season 8, Episode 3)
It all came down to this. With a united force of the living (sans Cersei Lannisiter’s support, thanks for nothing, Cersei), almost every character stood at Winterfell to face off with the Night King and his Army of the Dead. The entire episode was from start to finish, culminating in several touching sacrifices (Jorah, Theon, Beric Dondarrion, the list goes on), and a world-shattering strike by Arya Stark.
1. Battle of the Bastards (Season 6, Episode 9)
Jon Snow. Ramsay Bolton. The stakes? Pretty much everything that’s wrapped up in good vs. evil, including control of Winterfell. Although Jon, Sansa, and their supporters discussed their strategy in detail, best-laid plans often go awry when Ramsay is your nemesis. From the moment young Rickon Stark was brought out, audiences knew this fight was going to be dirty. The sheer scale of the episode blew viewers away, and “BoB,” as it’s referred to by the show, was the epitome of gut-wrenching, even though our heroes emerged triumphant (thanks in no small part to a little ingenuity of Sana’s).