The saga of Game of Thrones was a story that captured the attention and adoration of so many people that it quite literally became a cultural phenomenon. The twists and turns of the story seemed never-ending, and the epic grandeur of the social, political, and existential tales that occurred in the show set Game of Thrones apart and distinguished it as a show that was unlike any other.
The story is one that crossed continents and intertwined dozens of different characters, relationships, and families. The scale of the fantasy and drama was so great that it would almost be hard to pinpoint what were the grandest or most important moments throughout the entire series. However there were a few plot twists and major moments that stand out from the rest. There were dozens of little moments that changed the course of this story, but there were a few decisive, explosive, and irrefutably crucial moments that were the most important. Here they are, in chronological order.
There will never be one single moment in Game of Thrones that was the defining moment of the series, but the execution of Ned Stark is about as close as any moment could ever get. After discovering that Cersei Lannister's children were fathered by Jaime Lannister and not King Robert Baratheon he's immediately arrested for treason.
Cersei manipulated the situation with the expectation that Ned would be shamed and exiled, but the unpredictable and uncontrollable Joffrey instead decides that Ned needs to die for his false crimes. Ned's death could be considered small in comparison to some other events throughout the series, but it is the catalyst for the entire story.
The death of dragons seemed to be the death of magic within the fictional world of Game of Thrones, so when Daenerys Targaryen brought three dragons into the world it changed everything. After losing her husband Drogo, Daenerys intends to sacrifice herself on his funeral pyre. She doesn't intend to go alone though, she brings along the sorceress who destroyed Drogo as well as three petrified dragon eggs.
Daenerys walks into the flames, but then miraculously walks out again. Once the fire is burned to ash Dany remains, along with three just hatched dragons, magically released from the eggs that were thought to be nothing more than artifacts from a long dead species.
If only Joffrey knew what he was doing when he executed Ned for treason. Ned died because he discovered that Joffrey was not the son of the king, but that information did not die with him. Robb Stark, enraged at the wrongful execution of his father, declares independence from the crown.
Stannis Baratheon seeks out to claim the throne that is now rightfully his, but his younger brother Renly wants to make his own play for the crown as well. And Balon Greyjoy declares independence for good measure. And thus began the War of the Five Kings, a war that completely tore Westeros apart.
The young wolf Robb Stark was inexperienced in war and politics when he became the King in the North, but he took to the role shockingly well. That is, until he decided to bail on the deal that he made with Walder Frey.
Robb initially agreed to marry one of Frey's daughters in exchange for his assistance, but after falling in love with Talisa Maegyr he unilaterally decided that the agreement was off. And thus Walder Frey decided to betray him. After marrying one of Frey's daughters to Robb's uncle Edmure, the Freys and the Boltons massacred Robb, his pregnant wife, and his mother at what became known as the Red Wedding.
Revenge is a dish best served in a cup of wine, apparently. Actually, when Olenna Tyrell decided to assassinate King Joffrey it wasn't for revenge, it was simply for the sake of convenience, but her actions exacted revenge for the dozens of people whose lives were destroyed by Joffrey.
And it's certainly not like he didn't deserve it, in a show that seemed to constantly torment its characters it was downright joyous to watch that sniveling, sociopathic brat choke out his last breath. And of course, the death of the boy king changed so much for so many different characters.
Although the true purpose of the Wall and the Night's Watch would become readily apparent towards the end of the series, for thousands of years both the Wall and Night's Watch served as a means of protecting the kingdoms of Westeros from the wildlings who lived beyond the Wall.
But as the other dangers beyond the Wall became too great, the wildlings determined that they had to get south, and they had to go through the Night's Watch to do it. Mance Rayder formed the largest army Westeros had ever seen in his quest to overrun the Wall and get his people to safety, and although they lost the battle Mance's wishes were ultimately fulfilled.
The Game of Thrones audience had certainly seen the Lord of Light achieve some pretty wild stuff before this moment, but Jon Snow's return from the dead was a twist to end all twists. After being executed for betraying the Night's Watch by letting the wildlings south of the wall Jon finds himself resurrected by Melisandre, and if it wasn't clear before that Jon was destined to do great things it was certainly undeniable now.
The Lord of Light had proven capable of resurrection before, but the revelation that Jon was literally too important to die was a really big deal.
There have been few moments throughout the Game of Thrones series that are well and truly do or die moments, but the Battle of the Bastards is certainly one of them. After centuries as the great house of the North, House Stark saw it's seat usurped by House Bolton.
Jon Snow and Sansa Stark decided to make a play to reclaim their home, and the battle between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton (the bastards of their respective houses, hence the name) would essentially decide the fate of the North as well as the fate of each house. And although it looked like the Starks were down for the count, Sansa ultimately made the winning play and reclaimed Winterfell and the North for House Stark.
You'd think after years of witnessing Cersei's specific, super intense brand of crazy most people would have learned not to cross her, but apparently not. Cersei has already been incredibly open about her perspective on the so-called game of thrones, and her attitude towards the political intrigue of Westeros is that you win or you die. And Cersei came to win.
So, when Cersei was feeling under attack from many different sides and had been shamed and abused by people she saw as her inferiors, she did what any mad queen would do. Blew them all the hell up.
The very first scene of Game of Thrones set the stage for what would ultimately become the Battle of Winterfell. The politics of Westeros were a dangerous game, but they were nothing compared to the threat that existed beyond the Wall. The white walkers had laid dormant for ages, but when they finally woke up they had plans for the world. Namely to end it.
After killing Viserion the dragon and destroying the Wall, the Night King and his minions headed south. The Starks, Daenerys Targaryen, and all of their allies faced off with the army of the dead at Winterfell, and if they had lost it would have literally meant the end of the world as everyone knew it.
The Game of Thrones world saw it's fair share of many major players who changed the course of history forever, but no one changed things more so than Daenerys Targaryen. Dany was one of the few people who wanted to revolutionize the world and had the power and means to do it, and that she did. But although she changed things for many people, her lust for the Iron Throne was relentless and was ultimately her downfall.
After successfully invading most of Westeros Daenerys finally headed to King's Landing, which she promptly burned to the ground. And then when the Iron Throne was finally in her grasp Jon Snow killed her to protect the world from the danger she posed.