Fans are still recovering from and assessing the final season of Game of Thrones. For such a wildly popular show, its final episodes seem to have left a bad taste in a lot of fans’ mouths. The discussion around the show has been so negative as of late that some people seem to have forgotten the show produced far more great episodes than bad ones.
The good people at Rotten Tomatoes have put together a full breakdown of the show’s episode list ranked by their critical scores. There are surprises with both the best and worst reviewed episodes, as well as a few you were probably expecting. Here are the 5 best and 5 worst episodes of Game of Thrones according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Best: High Sparrow (100%)
"High Sparrow" is not a high-profile episode, but this Season 5 chapter features some very compelling developments in some of the show's biggest storylines. As the episode title suggests, we are introduced to the High Sparrow for the first time. He is presented as a devote follower of the Faith of the Seven who wants to see the sinners of King's Landing held responsible for their indiscretions.
This is also the first episode where Sansa meets Ramsay in what would become one of the show's most distressing storylines. But the show's highlight is Jon's struggles with his new role as Lord Commander. With Stannis looking on, Jon proves he will hold his men accountable.
9 Worst: The Long Night (74%)
The fight against the White Walkers is something the show has been building to for many years. The very first scene of the series introduced the White Walkers as a very real and dangerous threat. Many thought that the fight against Westeros’ common enemy would be the focus of the final season. So when it was all over after the third episode, it was a letdown for many.
While the Battle of Winterfell produced some epic moments, it fell far short of fans' expectations. The body count was surprisingly low, key characters made stupid decisions, and the dark setting made the whole thing very hard to see.
8 Best: Hardhome (100%)
If fans were let down by the confrontation with the White Walkers in "The Long Night," it might be due to "Hardhome" setting expectations too high. For most of this Season 5 episode, it dealt with such things as Arya's training in Braavos and Tyrion's new alliance with Daenerys. Few of us were expecting things to take the turn they did when the White Walkers attacked the wildling camp.
The massacre of Hardhome was the first time we saw how dangerous this enemy could be and gave the first real introduction of the Night King. The episode had so many epic moments, like Wun Wun's rampage and Jon's Valyrian steel revelation. But nothing compares to those haunting final moments.
7 Worst: The Last Of The Starks (58%)
Following the defeat of the Night King, many fans wondered where the rest of the series would go. The follow-up episode is when many people started to have a bad feeling about the conclusion. Aside from the controversy with the coffee cup, "The Last of the Starks" seemed like a very rushed and messy step towards the finale.
The touching goodbye to the fallen comrades was good, but there were many problems to follow. The sudden appearance by the Iron Fleet, Rhaegal's random death, and Missandei's odd capture -- it all felt like the show was just trying to wrap up as quickly as possible.
6 Best: The Lion And The Rose (100%)
Surely, it cannot be a coincidence that one of the highest ranked episodes of all-time is also the one where we get to see Joffrey die a painful death. The spoiled king had been hated since Season 1, so Season 4's second episode is a delight.
The build-up to the moment was excellent with plenty of tense and entertaining character interactions, something that has always been the highlight of the show. Tyrion and Joffrey's final standoff was a brilliant lead into one of the show's best death scenes.
5 Worst: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (54%)
The Dorne storyline was one of the most hated aspects of the show. Though an interesting setting from the books, Season 5's adventures in this new location ground the whole show to a stand-still. So it's not surprising that the episode that heavily-focused on this plot and the thinly written characters who were involved would be so poorly received.
To add to the displeasure of the episode, it also featured the high controversial rape of Sansa Stark by Ramsay Bolton. The moment was yet another example of the uncomfortable sexual violence which the show had often failed to deal with appropriately.
4 Best: Mockingbird (100%)
"Mockingbird" might not stick out as one of the most significant episodes in the series, but it is satisfying for its great character interactions as well as some big moments. The biggest moment is obviously Littlefinger pushing Lysa Arryn out the moon door to her death, thus showing another side of his villainy. But there are also some great smaller moments.
The Hound and Arya share a quiet moment when they come across a dying man. Jon tries to prepare the Night's Watch for Mance Rayder's army. The most compelling moment is Oberyn's chat with Tyrion in which he volunteers to fight for him in the trial by combat.
3 Worst: The Iron Throne (49%)
No show would want to see their final episode ranked so low but unfortunately, the reaction to Game of Thrones' end was not met as warmly as they had hoped. With such a divisive season, the finale stood no chance of wrapping everything up in a satisfying way.
While the ending for many of the characters makes a lot of sense, the show once again rushed it so that it loses its emotional weight. It wouldn't be surprising if this is the basic way Martin's books end but they will likely be handled with a lot more depth. This conclusion just felt empty.
2 Best: Book Of The Stranger (100%)
So many episodes of Game of Thrones can leave the viewers depressed due to the hopelessness of the story. "Book of the Stranger" stands out as having two of the most cheer-worthy moments from the entire series. Both of these moments are pleasing for very different reasons.
The first is Jon and Sana's reunion at Castle Black. We've been waiting since the end of Season 1 for a Stark reunion and while these two might not have been extremely close, seeing them embrace after going through so much melted our hearts. The second moment came from Daenerys when she burned all the Dothraki calls and became sole ruler of the Dothraki, back when she was a character we could cheer for.
1 Worst: The Bells (48%)
Daenerys' transition to murderous conqueror is an interesting one and it's very likely the books will follow that same path. However, the show really botched the execution of this very important storyline. It seems to come out of nowhere in this episode, angering fans.
The reaction to this episode might be more about what came before as the destruction of King's Landing is undeniably thrilling. On its own, it is not a bad episode. That's not to say there aren't bad moments, such as Jaime's odd motivations and his pointless fight with Euron. Perhaps in time, this episode will be regarded more favorably.