The Iron Anniversary
Top 10 Most Unforgettable Game of Thrones Moments
Ten years ago this April, HBO Original Game of Thrones premiered, and for eight seasons fans devoured and discovered a story made up of a strong ensemble cast, epic battles, emotional turns, and shocking twists. Choosing a favorite moment is an almost impossible task, but, in celebration of the Iron Anniversary, we asked the fans to vote for the ones they’ll always remember. Pulled from over 34,000 votes, here are the results:
10. Battle of the Bastards (Season 6, Episode 9)
It speaks volumes that the fight that made it to No. 1 on the “Greatest Battles” list is in the No. 10 slot here. Game of Thrones has always been so much more than just bloody frays. That said, no confrontation has stuck with us more than when Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton faced off for the fate of Winterfell. It was a hard, dirty, breathtaking episode, worth revisiting time and time again.
9. Daenerys Frees the Unsullied (Season 3, Episode 4)
Yes, Daenerys had technically said the infamous “Dracarys” before when her baby dragons set fire to Pyat Pree, but it’s this moment, when she turned the table on Kraznys, leading to the sacking of Astapor, and the freeing of the Unsullied army, that will forever stick with us. No one word encapsulates a Thrones character so well. We always knew Dany was made of fire and blood, but this is where she truly declared it.
8. Arya Kills the Freys (Season 7, Episode 1)
“Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe.” After watching Arya take out Walder Frey at the end of Season 6, some viewers may have been caught off guard to return to the Riverlands at the top of Season 7 and see Walder raise a toast to his men. But the momentary confusion is exactly what this cold open was aiming for. David Bradley’s performance, as he delivers his lines as Arya as Walder is what’s so fun to go back and rewatch here, but the scene itself is undeniable as a form of closure we didn’t even know we always needed. Winter came for House Frey, and it was arresting.
7. Brienne Is Knighted (Season 8, Episode 2)
Perhaps one of the most emotional, but joyful, moments of the entire series, the scene where Brienne of Tarth kneels before Jaime Lannister and is finally knighted is a thing of beauty. In a huge ensemble cast, Gwendoline Christie’s character captured our hearts with her bravery, loyalty, and ability to somehow be a kindhearted fighter. No character deserved the honor more.
6. The Reveal of Jon Snow’s Parents (Season 6, Episode 10)
From Ned Stark’s subtle language around his relationship to Jon, to the rumors circulating around Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen from the beginning, there were a lot of signs pointing to Jon Snow’s true lineage. But a theory is just a theory until the show confirms it, and the fade from the baby in dying Lyanna’s arms to Jon’s adult face cemented it all in place. His legitimacy reveal, and Jon finding out himself, all happen in Season 7, but the finale of Season 6 was the moment we’d all been waiting for.
5. Ned Stark’s Death (Season 1, Episode 9)
Ned Stark’s beheading was the ultimate game-changer. From this moment onwards fans knew Thrones was willing to literally kill its darlings. In just nine episodes Sean Bean knocked out a performance dear enough to remain in the hearts and minds of every fan (and every character) for the rest of the series. Jon Arryn’s death pre-premiere may have set everything in motion, but Ned Stark’s was the spark that changed the fate of Westeros forever.
4. Hold the Door (Season 6, Episode 5)
In a show full of complex characters, Hodor stole our hearts with his simplicity. A setup long in the making, discovering the meaning of his one-word utterance was painful, and shook audiences to the core. We can’t mention this scene without also mourning the loss of the Three-Eyed Raven, Leaf, and our beloved Summer, but it’s the echoing of young Wylis’ voice that will stay with us forever.
3. The Great Sept Explosion (Season 6, Episode 10)
Oh no she didn’t. Cersei Lannister was never a woman to trifle with, but in Season 6 she took it to a whole new level when she destroyed the Great Sept and all within it by way of wildfire. Queen Margaery and her brother Loras Tyrell, the High Sparrow, and his followers, and everyone in between were taken out by the then Queen Mother, and what did she do? Smile and take a sip of wine. All in a day’s work.
2. Arya Kills the Night King (Season 8, Episode 3)
To say Arya Stark had been training for this for a full eight seasons is probably an understatement. She may not have realized back in Season 3 that these were the “blue eyes” she’d shut forever, but as soon Melisandre repeated her proclamation it all clicked into place. Ultimately, it’s not surprising the kill that was never on her list made it to the second spot here — it wrapped up the very first storyline fans saw in the opening of the pilot episode.
1. The Red Wedding (Season 3, Episode 9)
There is a reason why this event made it to No. 1 on both the Most Shocking Deaths and Unforgettable Moments lists. It was that huge. Even viewers who caught on that something was up before Catelyn did were not prepared for what unfolded at Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey’s wedding feast. Shocking almost doesn’t cover it. From the use of score to the incredible performances, the Red Wedding was a show-defining moment for the series that will haunt us for the rest of our days.