It’s hard to believe the final season of Game of Thrones is here. It seems like just yesterday we were being introduced to the Starks and Lannisters. Now, after eight seasons the time has come to say goodbye in what promises to be an epic and bloody finale.
There has been a lot of chaos leading up to this conclusion. There’s been nonstop war, a lot of death and more than a few weddings. But as we look to how it will all end, some moments standout as very important in the series. These are the moments that defined the key characters of the show and helped set the stage for the conclusion. So before it all comes to an end, check out the most important moments leading up to the final season.
15 Ned Stark’s Execution
Few moments have changed the show like the death of Ned Stark. The person on all the promotional materials was killed off, throwing everything into a place of uncertainty. In terms of the story, Ned’s death was the catalyst for a lot of bloodshed to follow as Westeros fell into a long war.
Most importantly, this is the moment that has defined the remaining Starks. They have all needed to adapt and respond to the death of Ned. Some made poor choices and died, others became stronger and survived. After all these years, Ned's presence is still strongly felt.
14 The Return Of Dragons
Daenerys Targaryen went through some massive changes in the first season. She started the show as a timid and submissive girl and became a real threat for the iron throne. A big part of that change was the birth of her dragons.
We learn that dragons were used to conquer Westeros in the past. Therefore, we understand the significance of them returning after all these years. Indeed, as the characters get ready to face the army of the dead, dragons could be their path to victory. Or perhaps the greatest weapon used against them.
13 Theon Takes Winterfell
This was yet another blow to House Stark. As Robb Stark was winning the war in the South, they lost their home which further splintered their family. What’s worse, it was taken by someone they thought was their friend. Theon Greyjoy was torn between being a Stark or a Greyjoy and ultimately chose wrong.
This was a turning point for Theon Greyjoy and one he regretted from that moment forward. Since his downfall here, he has been seeking redemption and may find it in this final season.
12 The Red Wedding
If Ned Stark's death didn't convince you, the Red Wedding was the moment every viewer realized there weren't going to be many happy endings in this show. Despite being the clear heroes of the show, all hope of a Stark victory was quickly extinguished as Robb, Catelyn and their army was wiped out.
This moment ended Robb's reign as King in the North, fractured the Northern houses and exposed terrible new enemies like the Boltons and Freys. However, this was also the moment that inspired the remaining Starks to fight back and have their revenge.
11 Tyrion’s Trial
Tyrion Lannister has gone through many highs and lows throughout the series, but when he was put on trial for the murder of Joffrey Baratheon, he found his lowest point. Having been mistreated his entire life by his family and ridiculed by everyone else, he finally cracked under the weight of it all.
His intense "confession" remains some of Peter Dinklage's best acting on the show, but it is also the moment that put Tyrion on a new path. He was no longer going to be pushed around, even if it meant turning against his family.
10 Massacre At Hardhome
The White Walkers and their army had been a vague threat throughout the entire series. However, with the Lannisters, Boltons and other enemies in the forefront, they hardly seemed like a pressing concern. That is until Jon Snow took a trip to Hardhome and saw what they were capable of.
The massacre scene is one of the most brutal things the show has done and the White Walkers suddenly became the show's biggest threat. A solid and proper introduction to the Night King and his powers made us all wonder how the hell our heroes were ever going to win.
9 Jon Snow’s Death And Resurrection
When Jon Snow was killed at the end of Season 5, it started a year-long speculation about where the death was permanent. Indeed, he was resurrected early into Season 6 in a moment that still doesn't sit well with all fans. However, there is no denying that this was a pivotal moment for the character and cemented his place as the show's hero.
There have been so many theories about Jon Snow and his importance in the overall story. Coming back from the dead further inspired the notion that he was the person who was going to lead Westeros in battle in the Great War.
8 Bran Becomes The Three-Eyed Raven
Bran Stark's storyline was not always the most interesting in the show. However, in the more recent seasons, it has become clear how important his journey has been towards this final conclusion. His transformation into the Three-Eyed Raven meant the end of Bran Stark as we know him. He had now taken a role that could help them win the final war.
The powers Bran now has are still unclear, but his ability to see into the past has already provided some of the show's biggest reveals. And the fact that he can potentially interact with the past might reveal even more.
7 Starks Retake Winterfell
This was the moment fans had been waiting for since Season 2. It was hard seeing the Stark home in the hands of the Boltons, but Jon and Sansa finally came together to take Winterfell. Without Winterfell, the Starks were scattered and alone. This victory allowed them to begin reuniting after all these years.
The return of the Starks to Winterfell also meant the North was secure once again. After Robb's death, the land was fractured but now they have all come together to face the greater threat heading their way.
6 Cersei’s Revenge
Cersei Lannister is a character who is used to having power. To see that power ripper away from her was jarring. However, she is also one of the strongest people in Westeros and it was only a matter of time when she regained that power.
It was hard to imagine that even Cersei was capable of such a thing, but when she blew up the Sept of Baelor and killed all her enemies in a single moment, she pretty much became the Mad Queen. And now that Cersei sits on the Iron Throne, you have to imagine what she'll do to ensure it doesn’t go to anyone else.
5 Jon’s Parentage Revealed
This was something that was speculated about before the thought of a Game of Thrones television show was even suggested. Book fans had solved this mystery years ago, but the confirming reveal was still a truly powerful moment.
It remains to be seen what impact Jon Snow's true parentage will have for the rest of the series. It could put him at odds with the North or even some of the other Starks. It might mean he'll sit on the Iron Throne. It certainly will make his relationship with Daenerys more awkward.
4 Daenerys Arrives In Westeros
This could very well have been the most anticipated moment in the series. Ever since the show began, we have been waiting for Daenerys to return to Westeros to take back the Iron Throne with her dragons. It was a long road to get there, but the wait was worth it in the end.
As soon as she stepped foot on Dragonstone, the balance of power shifted in Westeros. The question then became would Daenerys be the savior of Westeros or just another conqueror? While that remains to be seen, having dragons in Westeros is going to come in handy.
3 The Night King Gets A Dragon
It was hard to imagine the Night King becoming any more dangerous but he certainly proved us wrong. Not only did he manage to kill a dragon with ease, something many have tried and failed to do, but he also resurrected it to serve him.
Watching one of these magnificent creatures die was a terrible, heartbreaking moment. Then when its eye reopened, we realized how much trouble our heroes were in. What's perhaps even more frightening is that this seems to have been the Night King's plan all along.
2 Jaime Leaves Cersei
No relationship has caused more harm in the show than that of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. From the moment Bran came across their incestuous affair, these two have done some terrible things to keep their love a secret and to stay together. But the final breaking point came at the end of last season as Cersei refused to help fight the White Walkers.
Despite seeing the proof for herself that the army of dead exists, Cersei will not yield to anyone. This leads to a tense showdown between the Lannister siblings which leads Jaime to finally leave her. This could set up Jaime's final redemption as well as make Cersei more dangerous than ever before.
1 The Wall Falls
We knew it was coming. It was inevitable. But when the Wall finally came down and the White Walkers entered Westeros, it was still a scary sight.
This is the beginning of the showdown we have known was coming for years. The Night King and his army are a seemingly unstoppable force and now they have a dragon. As almost every main character in the show converges on Winterfell to face them, there is no telling what the outcome will be. To borrow a phrase from another wildly popular series, "We're in the endgame now".