HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones premiered in 2011 and ran for a total of eight seasons. The series has won dozens of Primetime Emmy Awards in the past eight years, with cast members like Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau bring praised for their performances.
The show was off the air for nearly two years between season seven and eight; unfortunately, when the show returned, it received lackluster to downright scathing reviews. At one point, the series had never dipped below an 8.0 on IMDb, but even with Season 8's underwhelming reception, the series still has a total score of 9.4 on the website. Here are the five best and worst episodes of Game Of Thrones (according to IMDb).
10 Best: “The Spoils Of War”-9.8
“The Spoils of War” sees the Lannister army transporting goods and money after they take Highgarden. On the way back to King’s Landing, they are attacked by 100,000 Dothraki soldiers, but that is the least of their worries as Drogon comes from the sky.
The Lannister and Tarly soldiers are incinerated by Drogon, but Daenerys’ dragon is hurt as Bronn was able to hit him with a scorpion bolt in the shoulder. Jaime sees an opportunity to kill Daenerys but as he approaches, Drogon gets ready to breathe fire. Bronn comes just in time to tackle him off the horse, but then Jaime sinks into the river as the episode ends.
9 Worst: “Winterfell”- 7.6
Fans waited almost two years, but when Season 8 was finally released, the opening episode ("Winterfell") was just okay. The episode mainly sets up the rest of the season and reunites various characters, including Arya with Jon and Sansa with Tyrion.
This episode also sees Bronn getting the task of killing Tyrion and Jaime, but it isn’t known whether he will complete it or not. Jon also rides one of Daenery’s dragons this episode, which he is able to do easily since he is a Targaryen. At the end of the episode, Ned Umber is seen hung on a wall with a mysterious spiral as he becomes a wight.
8 Best: “ The Rains Of Castamere”- 9.9
This episode continues the storylines of Jon, Samwell, Gilly, and Daenerys, but the real reason this episode got a 9.9 is because of the last 10 minutes of the show. After Robb Stark and his army arrive at the Twins, he apologizes to Walder Frey and his daughters for not keeping his promise before Edmure Tully meets his bride, Roslin Frey.
Catelyn notices that the banquet hall doors are closed and hears "The Rains of Castamere," but only knows for sure they are in a trap when she sees that Roose Bolton is wearing mail. Catelyn tries to warn Robb, but Lothar Frey stabs the pregnant Talisa and Robb is shot with a crossbow. Roose Bolton then finishes off Rob and after watching her son die, Catelyn doesn’t put up a fight when Black Walder slits her throat.
7 Worst: “The Long Night”- 7.5
While the first two episodes of season 8 were setting up the rest of the season, “ The Long Night” was the first episode to really be heavily criticized. This episode was supposed to be one of the biggest episodes of the series, with the living battling the undead.
Many people complained that the episode was literally too dark to see anything, but the ending was also heavily criticized. Some people didn’t think Arya should have been the one to kill the Night King, while others simply thought the way the Night King was killed was anti-climactic.
6 Best: “Hardhome”- 9.9
“Hardhome” shows Tyrion joining forces with Cersei, Arya continuing her training with the Faceless Man, and Sansa begging Theon to help her escape Ramsay’s grasp, but the real action is with Jon Snow’s storyline. After Jon convinced Tormund to join forces with him, they travel to Hardhome to get the rest of the wildlings on their side. As the group is gathering dragonglass daggers, a hoard of white walkers begins attacking the village.
While the Night King watches from a distance, one of his soldiers battles Jon. Jon realizes that Valyrian Steel is just as deadly as dragonglass and is able to shatter the white walker into pieces. The episode ends with the Night King raising his arms as all of the dead wildlings stand back up as wights.
5 Worst: “The Bells”- 6.1
“The Bells” is the episode where Daenerys officially turns into the Mad Queen. A vengeful Daenerys wants to storm King’s Landing and burn through anyone who gets in her way, but Tyrion convinces her to cease the attack if Cersei’s followers surrender and ring the city bells. Proving to be a pointless defense, the Golden Company is obliterated by Drogon as Daenerys burns the city.
The civilians eventually surrender and ring the bells, but Daenerys’ hatred takes over and she burns the entire city down anyway. Gregor and Sandor Clegane fight to the death while Jaime reunites with Cersei. Tyrion had set Jaime free to go rescue Cersei, but their escape route becomes blocked by debris. Realizing there is no escape, the siblings and lovers embrace as their city crushes them to death.
4 Best: “The Winds of Winter”- 9.9
The Season 6 finale is also one of the best-rated episodes in the series with a rating of a 9.9. The episode begins with a shocking twist of Arya Stark killing Walder Frey, but the twists don’t stop there! On the day that Cersei and Loras are to be tried, the former plans to destroy the Sept using wildfire.
Cersei's plan succeeds in killing several people, including the High Sparrow and Margaery Tyrell, which ultimately leads to Tommen committing suicide. With the king now dead, Cersei takes the crown to become the Queen in King’s Landing. The episode also reveals that Jon is the rightful heir to the throne since he has Targaryen blood and ends shortly after Tyrion is named Hand of the Queen.
3 Worst: “The Last Of The Starks”- 5.5
The episode begins with everyone celebrating their victory over the White Walkers. Everyone is drinking, Gendry asks Arya to marry him, and Jaime Hooks up with Brienne. After forming a plan to take down Cersei, Daenerys and company sail for King’s Landing. Somehow, Daenerys doesn’t see Euron’s fleet, leading to Rhaegal being shot and killed.
Missandei is captured during the attack, Jon tells Arya and Sansa about his true heritage, and Jaime leaves Brienne for Cersei. The episode ends at the gates of King’s Landing where Cersei is threatening to kill Missandei unless Daenerys surrenders. Unfortunately, they can’t come to an agreement and Missandei is beheaded.
2 Best: “Battle Of The Bastards”- 9.9
Based on the 181, 920 user ratings on IMDb, the episode “Battle of the Bastards” is the best episode of Game of Thrones. The episode begins with Daenerys and Tyrion facing the forces of Razdal mo Eraz, but the bulk of the episode deals with Jon Snow’s battle with Ramsay Bolton.
The twisted Ramsay tells Rickon to run to his brother, but just as Jon is about to save Rickon, one of Ramsay’s arrows kills Jon’s brother. Just when Jon and his army are nearly defeated, Sansa and Littlefinger save the day with the Knights of the Vale. Ramsay is captured, beaten by Jon, and then finally eaten alive by his hounds after Sansa sets them free.
1 Worst: “The Iron Throne”- 4.2
The worst-rated episode by a long shot is the series finale titled "The Iron Throne." After rushing through the storyline for the Night King and Cersei, it was time to rush through Daenerys' character arc. The previous episode set her up as the Mad Queen and “The Iron Throne” focuses on the aftermath of the battle at King’s Landing.
The episode shows Tyrion getting arrested and Jon confronting Daenerys. Just when Daenerys thinks she has Jon on her side, he stabs her in the heart. Jon is then confronted by Drogon, who instead of killing Jon, melts the Iron Throne. The series ends with Jon being banished back to the Night’s Watch and Bron becoming the Lord of the Six Kingdoms, which is not exactly an ending that many hoped for.