Game Of Thrones: The 5 Best Episodes So Far

Game of Thrones image: © 2011/2012** HBO. Screen Invasion logo: © 2011 Screen Invasion. Game of Thrones font: © 2011 HBO.

We’re only two seasons into HBO’s fantasy epic Games Of Thrones and it’s already had a profound impact on television history. Rarely has a story been part of the cultural dialogue so much, inspiring debate, speculation and hysteria across the globe. But, more importantly, rarely has television storytelling been this good. With an incalculable ensemble of excellent characters whose gripping stories unfold on a scale unlike anything we’ve seen on the small screen before, it’s destined to go down as one of the definitive works of art from this golden era of television – that is, of course, if it hasn’t already.

Game Of Thrones remains so consistently thrilling from week to week that it’s almost impossible to identify the show’s best single installments. Not to mention that fact that George RR Martin’s story has such complexity and scope that it can surely only be viewed as one complete linear package. Nevertheless, to round off Screen Invasion’s Game Of Thrones week and celebrate the upcoming premiere of what promises to be another spellbinding season, five of our writers have attempted to recollect the show’s finest episodes yet.

Here’s how it worked: Each writer listed his or her individual five favorite episodes. Their top choice was given five points, the next four points, etc. Then, the total points were tallied up to create our selection of the standout moments in Game Of Thrones thus far. Discover what we picked below:

05. The Old Gods And The New

Season 2: © 2012 HBO

Season 2, Episode 6
Written by Vanessa Taylor, Directed by David Nutter
7 votes

The Old Gods And The New marks a turning point in season two. Plots shift, threats become real, and amidst it all, amazing character moments shine through. Dany’s dragons are taken and her handmaiden Irri (perhaps her only real friend) is killed, finally providing some much needed danger across the Narrow Sea. Jon Snow meets a fire-kissed wildling named Ygritte whose charm and sexy awkwardness hook us in the North. Arya and Tywin captivate in a brilliant tete a tete. Like the title suggests, it’s a contrast of new and old: Theon captures Winterfell, Robb reunites with Catelyn, even Myrcella’s departure from King’s Landing forces Cersei to face a new desperate reality. But to top it all off, the moment that catapults this episode to our favorites, which satisfies every urge we’ve had since the first episode, which brings joy to our hearts in a world of bleak darkness – when that wonderful little man Tyrion slaps the hell out of Joffrey. Oh gods, it’s good.

(Words by Sean Davis)

04. Winter Is Coming

Season 1: © 2011 HBO

Season 1, Episode 1
Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Directed by Tim Van Patten
8 votes

A pilot is a special creature among TV episodes. Its tale must be detailed and gripping enough to ensnare the audience, but it mustn’t give away so much that that the universe’s future is too easily surmised. The Game of Thrones pilot episode, Winter Is Coming, excels in all these regards and more. It introduces approximately 27 main/recurring characters, 4 Houses, 4 locations/cultures, 3 religions, and 2 languages, and features at least 6 deaths (showing 4—including 1 beheading), 3 couples having sex, incest, attempted murder, mail by raven, and dragon eggs—and still leaves you desperate to know what happens next. If all this, plus the instantly compelling plot lines, aren’t enough to pique your interest, then I simply don’t know what would be.

(Words by Sarah Katz. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahdkatz)

03. Valar Morghulis

Season 2: © 2012 HBO

Season 2, Episode 10
Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Directed by Alan Taylor
9 votes

There are illusions, and then there’s real, world-shaping magic. That’s the lesson of Valar Morghulis, the stellar second season finale that deftly handles the fallout from the Battle of Blackwater while managing to establish several intriguing new conflicts. Delusional conquerors – Stannis Baratheon, Theon Greyjoy – see their dreams go up in flames while the underdogs of Westeros – Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark – re-affirm their fighting spirit. But more than anything, this is the episode where the show’s slow-burning fantasy elements take a giant evolutionary leap. In a world of ritual and superstition and petty conjurers, powerful magic is finally returning – be it on the wings of a dragon or the pale horse of a White Walker ominously plodding towards the Wall and the civilization beyond.

(Words by Eric Ambler. Follow him on Twitter: @AmblerAmblog)

02. Baelor

Season 1: © 2011 HBO

Season 1, Episode 9
Written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Directed by Alan Taylor
13 votes

By this point in the first season everyone was rooting for Ned Stark, the noble and battle-weary patriarch of House Stark, to escape from captivity and lead a rebellion against the twisted and illegitimate King Joffery. Instead, he ended up dead, and while this was a shocking and frustrating moment for viewers, it also crystallized everything that makes Game of Thrones unique. Beloved characters can die, evil characters can thrive, and most importantly, the story isn’t simply about one heroic character’s heroic quest. One could make more than few arguments as to why Game of Thrones is a great show: the writing, the wonderful performances, the cinematic grandeur of it all, and of course… dragons. But Baelor is the episode that makes the series something more than just quality genre television; Baelor is the episode where you realize you’re watching something special.

(Words by Christopher Baldwin)

01. Blackwater

Season 2: © 2012 HBO

Season 2, Episode 9
Written by George RR Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall
15 votes

With four different kings marching towards King’s Landing the entirety of HBO’s show was building up to its first major battle for the Iron Throne. That moment came in the stunning penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones’ second season, Blackwater, in which Stannis Baratheon’s gigantic army attempted to take the city by sea. The Descent director Neil Marshall, who is no stranger to working magic on a low budget, didn’t disappoint. He staged a set piece unlike few we’ve ever seen on television before packed with dramatic wildfire explosions and grizzly sword fights that looked like a demented finale to a The Lord Of The Rings movie. But Blackwater was at its finest during the episode’s more intimate moments; the cold exchanges between Cercei and Stansa as war raged around them, for instance, or Tyrion winning the adoration of his men as he led them bravely into battle.

(Words by Daniel Sarath. Follow him on Twitter: @danielsarath)

Individual Lists:

Sarah Katz:

1) Winter Is Coming (Season 1, Episode 1)

2) You Win Or You Die (Season 1, Episode 7)

3) What Is Dead May Never Die (Season 2, Episode 3)

4) Valar Morghulis (Season 2, Episode 10)

5) A Golden Crown (Season 1, Episode 6)

Daniel Sarath:

1) Blackwater (Season 2, Episode 9)

2) Baelor (Season 1, Episode 9)

3) You Win Or You Die (Season 1, Episode 7)

4) Valar Morgulis (Season 2, Episode 10)

5) The Old Gods And The New (Season 2, Episode 6)

Eric Ambler:

1) Valar Morgulis (Season 2, Episode 10)

2) Baelor (Season 1, Episode 9)

3) A Golden Crown (Season 1, Episode 6)

4) Blackwater (Season 2, Episode 9)

5) Fire And Blood (Season 1, Episode 10)

Christopher Baldwin:

1) Baelor (Season 1, Episode 9)

2) Blackwater (Season 2, Episode 9)

3) A Golden Crown (Season 1, Episode 6)

4) The Pointy End (Season 1, Episode 8)

5) The Old Gods And The New (Season 2, Episode 6)

Sean Davis:

1) The Old Gods And The New (Season 2, Episode 6)

2) Blackwater (Season 2, Episode 9)

3) Winter Is Coming (Season 1, Episode 1)

4) Cripples, Bastards And Broken Things (Season 1, Episode 4)

5) The Wolf And The Lion (Season 1, Episode 5)

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The Author

Daniel Sarath

Daniel Sarath

Daniel is a 23 year old award nominated journalism graduate who has been writing film news and reviews online for the last four years. His work can be seen at Yahoo, Screen Invasion and HeyUGuys.