With six seasons of Game of Thrones under HBO’s belt, the eager eyes of fans are now firmly focused on the highly anticipated Season 7, which premieres on July 16. However, for some of us, that anticipation is too much to bear, leading to repeated binges of the past seasons as we await the return of our friends and foes from Westeros.
We here at Epicstream already decided to take a look back at the 10 best episodes of Game of Thrones, but since we just can’t get enough of this series, we wanted to take it one step further. So, with that in mind, here’s our ranking of the Game of Thrones season finales so far:
Season 3 – Mhysa
After the drama and death of the Red Wedding, the Season 3 finale helped raise viewers’ spirits by bringing back some familiar faces, with Jon Snow, Sam, and Gilly returning to Castle Black, and Jaime and Brienne finally arriving in King’s Landing. However, this episode isn’t without its fair share of action, such as a profound and shocking moment for Arya, who stabs a soldier in the throat for mocking her dead brother. We also witness the continued torture of Theon Greyjoy, in a sequence that truly establishes just how sick and twisted a character Ramsey Bolton is. What ultimately holds this episode back, though, is the conclusion. While Daenerys earning the loyalty of thousands of slaves is an important facet of the overall series, it pales in comparison to previous finales, where we witnessed the introduction of dragons and White Walkers, faced grim outlooks for our favorite characters, saw and huge revelations that had been building for multiple seasons. While “Mhysa” is by no means a bad episode, it’s still the weakest of the season finales thus far.
Season 2 - Valar Morghulis
After the breathtaking Battle of Blackwater, we see that rather than being rewarded for his valor, Tyrion is instead ostracized by his nephew Joffrey. Additionally, we see Sansa forge a new alliance, Daenerys reunite with her dragons, Theon fall from his short-lived grace, and Winterfell burn. Still, arguably the best moment of the Season 2 finale is the ominous final scene, which introduces a new threat in the form of the White Walkers. It’s a moment that truly makes you question whether or not we should even care about the war between the Lannisters and the Starks. After all, will the outcome even matter when the victor will surely have to deal with the White Walkers in the long run? That’s the question this season finale raises, and it’s one that many of us are still pondering as we head into Season 7.
Season 1 – Fire and Blood
In “Fire and Blood,” we witness the massive fallout of Eddard Stark's execution: Sansa is taken hostage, Arya flees in disguise, Robb and Catelyn lead an army against the Lannisters, and Jon Snow struggles with his divided loyalty. Meanwhile, Daenerys is forced to deal with the consequences of her decision to use blood magic, which has in turn led to the death of her husband, her unborn son, and the loss of her Dothraki army. What she gains, though, is the gift of three dragons, which have since become a major factor in Daenerys’ attempt to restore the name of House Targaryen. This episode also plants the seeds for the massive power struggle that’s been playing out for the remainder of the series thus far, with news of Joffrey’s true parentage – and in turn, his claim to the Iron Throne – failing to be buried with Ned Stark.
Season 5 – Mother’s Mercy
How satisfying was it to finally see Cersei pay for her crimes? Sure, her so-called ‘redemption’ would be short-lived, but her walk of atonement will likely never fail to put smiles on the faces of viewers who watched her mercilessly throw her weight around for five seasons. Still, the episode ends on a dour note thanks to the loss of Jon Snow, who’s brutally stabbed by his supposed brethren of the Night’s Watch and left to die in the freezing cold. And while Sansa’s intriguing storyline felt a bit too hurried, a number of appropriately bleak cliffhangers still manage to propel the episode to a favorable position on this list.
Season 4 – The Children
“The Children” is equally as emotional as it is action-packed. Daenerys being forced to chain up her dragons is a truly poignant moment, as is the conclusion to Brienne and The Hound’s epic swordfight. The real star of the episode, though? Tyrion, who murders the woman he loved and the father he already hated after he discovers they were having an affair. We all knew Tywin was cruel, but I don’t think any of us saw that coming. Additionally, we get to see the aftermath of Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch’s battle with the Wildlings from “The Watchers on the Wall,” and witness a major step in the evolution of Arya Stark, who sets sail for an uncertain future in Braavos after refusing to put the dying Hound out of his misery.
Season 6 – The Winds of Winter
“The Winds of Winter” is one of the most eventful episodes of Game of Thrones to date, serving as the culmination of just about every major plot point that’s been brewing since Season 1. Jon Snow is declared King in the North, Arya completes her two-season arc in Braavos, Cersei eliminates all of her enemies in one fell swoop, Tommen commits suicide, Cersei ascends to the Iron Throne, and most importantly, Daenerys finally sets sail to Westeros, setting the stage for what’s sure to be a massive power struggle in Season 7 as she attempts to claim what’s rightfully hers. Perhaps most notable, though, is the confirmation of Jon Snow’s true parentage, which should make for an intriguing dynamic between him and Daenerys, who are both rulers in their own right.