After what feels like a very long winter, we are a mere week away from the Season 8 premiere of Game Of Thrones! But with the excitement that comes with every season, comes a certain amount of sadness, too. This marks the final season of HBO’s hit fantasy series, of our favourite series here at Fiction’s Mistress, and it’s difficult knowing that this is going to be the last time we see our beloved characters. But what better way to prepare ourselves than by re-watching the incredible past 7 seasons!? Of course, not everyone has time to binge all 67 episodes. Luckily, one of the writers of the series, Bryan Cogman, has revealed the must-watch episodes to best prepare you for the exciting and intense final season! Cogman certainly knows his stuff. Not only has he written episodes such as The Laws Of Gods And Men (Season 4, Episode 6 AKA Tyrion’s trial), he is also a producer for the series, and has been with the show since Season 1! Take notes, because we only have a few days left!
Episode 1. Winter Is Coming.
There truly is no better way to begin than with the beginning. Winter Is Coming, the series premiere, introduces us to some of the most major plots and characters of the entire series. From White Walkers to Jon Arryn’s death, Daenerys Targaryen to Jon Snow, this episode is packed, even more so than we realized at the time. And let’s not forget how it ends; with Jaime Lannister pushing Bran Stark out of the tower.
Episode 2. The Kingsroad.
We start to really understand the characters and their motivations in this episode. We see Joffrey for the coward and awful person he is, and how far the Lannisters are willing to go to protect their own. We see the Starks say goodbye, which is so much more emotional when you re-watch it. The second episode of the entire series is the last time that many of the Starks see each other. And by the end of the episode, we see the first glimpse of Bran’s power as a warg.
Episode 9. Baelor.
This one may seem like an obvious choice. In truth, it is. This episode made audiences everywhere gasp when Joffrey demanded Ned Stark’s head. It made all of us understand that this was no ordinary series, that this show was not afraid to kill off its main characters. But there’s so much more that goes on in this episode than Ned Stark’s execution. Daenerys goes into labor, Robb wins his first battle and captures Jaime Lannister, and Jon is gifted the Valyrian sword Longclaw by the Lord Commander. We also find out that Maester Aemon is a Targaryen!
Episode 10. Fire And Blood.
This episode focuses on the ripple effect, and of the consequences of one boy’s actions. A war that could have been ended in weeks is now set to last for years. Jon attempts to leave Castle Black, only to be brought back by the loyalty and resilience of his friends and brothers of the Watch. The Stark sisters suffer most of all. Arya has no choice but to leave with recruits for the Night’s Watch, disguised as a boy. And Sansa must endure Joffrey, who will only become crueler. But the episode does end on a high note, when Daenerys steps into the fire with her dragon eggs, and emerges as Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt and the Mother of Dragons. Now that is a season finale to remember!
Episode 3. What Is Dead May Never Die.
Also known as the episode where everyone starts hating Theon Greyjoy, as instead of sending the letter warning Robb of his father’s rebellion, he burns it and turns against him. This is the beginning of a long and dark path for Theon. And as we know, he pays for it dearly. Arya and her new companions are captured by Lannister soldiers, and the young Stark sees a lot of blood spilled before the night is out. And who can forget Brienne of Tarth (who we meet for the first time in this episode!) beating the Knight of Flowers in combat? We also meet Margaery Tyrell. This episode was huge!
Episode 6. The Old Gods And The New.
Who could ever forget this episode? Beyond the Wall, we meet Ygritte for the first time, and it’s obvious to everyone involved that Jon is as taken with her as we are. There is a riot in King’s Landing in which the King is unharmed (unfortunately), but Sansa is taken and almost raped and killed. Luckily, the Hound saves her just in time, proving yet again, he’s actually a good guy deep down. Well, a good guy who likes killing a little too much. Littlefinger visits Tywin Lannister and discovers Arya in his midst, but reveals nothing. And we wish we could forget, but this is also the episode when Theon completely botches the beheading of Ser Rodrik when he takes Winterfell. Oh! And Daenerys has her dragons stolen from her and unknowingly creates the iconic “WHERE ARE MY DRAGONS” meme.
Episode 9. Blackwater.
Blackwater is the first episode in the series that focuses on just one cast of characters. There’s no jumping around here. This is all about the battle at Blackwater Bay, where Stannis tries to take King’s Landing. If only he knew that the Lannisters had wildfire on their side. The Hound also tells the King what he can do with himself and escapes the Capital, offering to take Sansa with him, but she refuses. The episode ends with Tywin riding in and saving the city, just before Cersei was going to poison Tommen. Talk about good timing!
Episode 3. Walk Of Punishment.
Daenerys makes her first move to build her army when she agrees to trade 1 of her dragons for an army of 8,000 Unsullied. Tyrion becomes the Master of Coin in place of Littlefinger, and pays for his squire, Pod, to visit a brothel. Well, he tries to pay. None of the women will take Pod’s money due to his skills! The episode ends on a sour note, however. Jaime shows his true colors when he stops men from raping Brienne, only to have his right hand, AKA his sword hand, chopped off. That’s justice for you.
Episode 4. And Now His Watch Is Ended.
Theon gets the first taste of Ramsay Bolton’s games when he thinks he’s escaping and confesses he should have never betrayed Robb, when he arrives back in the torture room and gets tied back up. Varys takes revenge on the sorcerer who cut him, while Margaery plans to have Loras married to Sansa, finally giving her some temporary relief. There is a mutiny beyond the Wall, and the Lord Commander is murdered by his own men. Sam and Gilly barely escape. As for Daenerys? The Mother of Dragons frees her Unsullied as soon as she buys them. They kill their masters and her dragon kills the man who sold them. They follow her as free men, and the city of Astapor is freed.
Episode 5. Kissed By Fire.
This is the episode. The one where Yrgitte and Jon make love for the first time in a cave, and it is truly glorious. It turns out Jon Snow does know some things, after all. Beric Dondarrion and the Hound fight in a trial by combat, which The Hound wins, but Beric is returned from the dead by the Lord of Light. Robb is betrayed by one of his men, and beheads him for treason. And Jaime tells Brienne the true story of why he had to kill the Mad King. Of how he saved hundreds of thousands of lives, and no one would ever know.
Episode 9. The Rains Of Castamere.
Also known as the Red Wedding. We really don’t want to talk about this one. Yes, Daenerys takes control of Yunkai but that is the only good thing that happens during this entire episode! Bran and Rickon saying goodbye, and Jon finally having to give up the act and leave Ygritte is bad enough. But then the wedding happens. And it changes everything. Catelyn’s screams still echo throughout the Twins.
Episode 6. The Laws Of Gods And Men.
Stannis and Davos visit the Iron Bank, which surprisingly agrees to loan them money against all odds, while Daenerys learns that ruling is not as easy as she once thought. And not everyone can be categorized as good or evil based on her first interaction with them. But the most nail-biting part of this episode is Tyrion’s trial. We think he may actually get out of it alive until Tywin brings Shae out as a witness. Shae, who we thought had left long ago. You know what they say about a woman scorned. Tyrion confesses he never killed Joffrey, but wishes he had, and demands a trial by combat. His favourite type of trial.
Episode 8. The Mountain And The Viper.
Speaking of trial by combat, it’s only fitting that this is the next episode on the list! Oberyn Martell was taken from us far too early. We deserved better. He deserved better. And he was so close to victory when it all went south. Yes, a lot of other important things happen in this episode. Ramsay is legitimized, Jorah is exiled, and Sansa vouches for Littlefinger, becoming a great liar. But Oberyn deserved better. And that’s all we can focus on.
Episode 10. The Children.
This is a big finale. Jojen Reed dies just as he succeeds in his mission in getting Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven. Daenerys locks away her two dragons after Drogon goes missing and murders a child. Stannis overtakes the Wildling army, and Jon burns Ygritte’s remains beyond the Wall. Brienne and the Hound finally battle it out, with Brienne defeating him, and Arya runs to get on a ship that will take her to Braavos. And who can forget Tyrion murdering both Shae and his own father before escaping King’s Landing. We always forget how eventful Season 4 was.
Episode 8. Hardhome.
This is the only episode from the fifth season included on the list, but it certainly deserves to be on here. Daenerys takes Tyrion on as her adviser, but forces Jorah to return to exile. Instead, he moves to the fighting pits. Theon/Reek confesses to Sansa that her two younger brothers are alive and well, and the two share a moment of hope. And of course, the battle of Hardhome. Thousands of White Walkers can be found here, and more are added to the Night King’s Army. This is the first time in the series when we really get a glimpse of how real this threat is. How the battle against the White Walkers will be the final battle.
Episode 5. The Door.
This award-winning episode has been declared by many fans to be the most heartbreaking, unjust episode in the entire series. We have to agree. While it has moments of light, when Sansa confronts Littlefinger and comes into her own, for example, it is overwrought with sadness. Bran is split between two places in this episode. Part of his mind is in the present, where White Walkers are attacking and he must warg into Hodor to try and get everyone out, and part of his mind is in Winterfell, a long time ago, when Hodor was just a boy. Many sacrifices are made this episode. But the worst is Hodor, being torn apart by Walkers, holding the door all the while. Actually, we take it back. The worst is knowing that the reason Hodor is called Hodor, the reason that is the only word he says, is because he remembers ‘hold the door’ long before it even happens.
Episode 9. Battle Of The Bastards.
The Game Of Thrones showrunners promise that Season 8 will bring a battle more epic and more intensive than the Battle of the Bastards. But it’s hard to imagine. The cinematography is so beautiful, so immersive. This episode isn’t something you watch, it’s something you experience. You feel the weight of the corpses and soldiers crush you, trapping you in darkness as it does Jon. You feel the victory as Sansa Stark rides in with the Knights of the Vale. You feel the joy at seeing the Stark banner fly from Winterfell once more.
Episode 10. The Winds Of Winter.
Another incredible season finale. Daenerys finally makes her way to Westeros, with Yara and Theon by her side. Arya Stark takes her revenge and slits Walder Frey’s throat. Bran sees a vision of young Ned and Lyanna Stark, learning of Jon Snow’s true parentage (finally!). Jon is named the King in the North, and Cersei kills everyone. Well, not everyone. Just everyone in the Great Sept, AKA anyone who ever spoke or acted against her. Cersei finally becomes the Mad Queen. And the music in this episode is nothing short of breathtaking.
Episode 3. The Queen’s Justice.
Every single episode of Season 7 is epic in its own right. But The Queen’s Justice is truly a thing of beauty. Jorah is fully cured of greyscale thanks to Sam. Cersei exacts her revenge on the Sands for killing Myrcella. Olenna Tyrell dies of poison, but not before telling Jaime that she was the one who murdered Joffrey, and she wants Cersei to know. And of course, the highlight of it all, the joining of Ice and Fire. Daenerys and Jon meet for the first time. And it is everything we dreamed.
Episode 4. The Spoils Of War.
Jon and Dany strengthen their relationship in this episode, and the flirting kicks into high gear. Jon also has a meeting with Theon, which goes surprisingly well, all things considered. He gives Theon his forgiveness, as much as he can. But the real reason this episode is on the list? Probably because Jaime Lannister (who we love, don’t mistake us) is idiotic enough to charge a dragon. It is a miracle he survived. Seriously. We love you, Jaime, but how stupid do you have to be to charge a dragon!?
Episode 7. The Dragon And The Wolf.
This is arguably the best season finale of the series. So far, at least. This is the Infinity War of Game Of Thrones. Almost all of our central characters meet in one place to discuss the fate of the world! Jaime finally cuts ties with Cersei and rides North to fight the White Walkers! Arya and Sansa join together and kill Littlefinger, proving the Stark sisters are truly a force to be reckoned with. And Daenerys and Jon have sex! We know they’re related, but it is Westeros, after all. We don’t care. We ship it.
There you have it! If you can’t binge it all, these are the episodes you definitely don’t want to skip before Season 8. And if you don’t have time, you’re in luck! You can read our episode recaps over on our official Game Of Thrones page.
The Final Season Of Game Of Thrones Premieres April 14 On HBO.