banner
Entertainment

Ranking all the 'Game of Thrones' episodes

Posted April 24

Although summer is around the corner, winter is coming and "Game of Thrones" fans are anxiously awaiting season six, which premieres Sunday, April 24, at 9:00 p.m. on HBO. The first book, "A Game of Thrones," was published in 1996, and the series has since become a cultural phenomenon, with HBO cashing in on the complex and often violent tale by George R. R. Martin.

Throughout its five seasons, "Game of Thrones" has expertly intertwined the elaborate storylines of House Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Tyrell, Baratheon, Martell, Greyjoy, Bolton, Tully and Frey, plus hundreds of other characters in the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. "Game of Thrones" continues to be one of the most-watched shows on TV, with good reviews and high ratings to match.

To prepare for the new season, the experts at PrettyFamous ranked all 50 episodes of the entire "Game of Thrones" series based on each episode's IMDb rating. In the case of a tie, the episode with more votes ranked higher. All 50 "Game of Thrones" episodes scored over a seven, but only 10 episodes reached nine and above. For each episode, we also note the total viewership, as reported by Nielsen. However, we didn’t factor viewership into our analysis and total viewership did not necessarily lead to higher ratings.

Immerse yourself in the world of White Walkers, dragons, murder, religion, family loyalty and betrayal. Season six is fast approaching. As Jon Snow once said, "Winter is coming. We know what's coming with it. We can't face it alone."

#50. The Night Lands

IMDb Rating: 7.3

This episode from season two is the lowest-ranked "Game of Thrones" episode of all, probably because most of this episode is building up to more intense scenes later in the season. Perhaps the most memorable scene occurs when Tyrion confronts Cersei at the small council meeting, shaming her for her incestuous relationship with Jaime.

#49. Dark Wings, Dark Words

IMDb Rating: 7.4

Fans of the book series will recognize the saying "Dark Wings, Dark Words," as the phrase is used often to signify bad news brought by ravens. Feisty Olenna Tyrell (played by Diana Rigg) is introduced for the first time in this episode.

#48. Garden of Bones

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Robb Stark leads a successful nighttime assault against the Lannister army, his direwolf Grey Wind violently rips apart multiple soldiers across the battlefield. In 2012, this episode won a Creative Arts Emmy for art direction in a single-camera series.

#47. The Ghost of Harrenhal

IMDb Rating: 7.5

"The Ghost of Harrenhal" focuses on the relationship between Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre, the creepy — yet entrancing — Red Woman. Using her dark powers, Melisandre successfully assassinates Renly Baratheon. Renly's loyal servant, Brienne of Tarth, is the only witness, and thus gets accused of Renly's murder.

#46. The Prince of Winterfell

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Although fans might assume the "Prince of Winterfell" refers to Robb Stark, Theon Greyjoy actually gave himself the nickname, and he makes it clear that he wants to claim Winterfell for his own. Meanwhile, Robb Stark discovers that his mother, Catelyn, has freed Jamie Lannister, their most valuable captive. This episode won a 2012 Emmy for costumes in a series.

#45. The Climb

IMDb Rating: 7.5

"The Climb" refers to the daunting climb Ygritte, Jon Snow and the rest of their wildling bunch must make up the Wall, a formidable 700-foot wall of ice and rock. At the end of the episode, Jon and Ygritte affirm their feelings for each other when she states "Don't ever betray me," and they embrace.

#44. First of His Name

IMDb Rating: 7.5

Tommen Baratheon is crowned King of the Seven Kingdoms following Joffrey's death. While his mother Cersei is still grieving over Joffrey's murder, she finally admits in this episode that the realm hasn't had a good king in over fifty years, including Joffrey. There is hope that Tommen will be the first "good" king.

#43. Walk of Punishment

IMDb Rating: 7.6

This episode from season three mainly focuses on Daenerys and her decision to purchase the Unsullied army in exchange for one of her dragons. The title refers to an unsavory practice Daenerys witnesses in Astapor. Misbehaving slaves are tied to crosses along a path and left in the elements to die. To our surprise, this strange custom appears later in the season — when Daenerys exacts revenge on the slavers.

#42. What Is Dead May Never Die

IMDb Rating: 7.6

"What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger," is a well-known prayer in the Iron Islands, spoken by worshippers of the Drowned God. One of these worshippers, Theon Greyjoy, struggles with his loyalty to the Iron Islands and his affiliation with Winterfell in this episode.

#41. Second Sons

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister are wed in King's Landing. Thousands of miles away, beyond the Wall, Samwell Tarly and Gilly face certain death when a White Walker confronts them. Sam stabs the creature with dragonglass, and we learn this is one of the only ways to permanently kill White Walkers.

#40. A Man Without Honor

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Catelyn Stark calls Jaime Lannister "a man without honor" when she releases him into the custody of Brienne of Tarth and sends them on to King's Landing. Beyond the Wall, Ygritte and Jon Snow's relationship continues to develop and she utters her classic phrase, "You know nothing, Jon Snow," for the first time in this episode.

#39. Kissed by Fire

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Jon Snow and Ygritte are intimate for the first time, and we learn the wildlings believe those with red hair have been "kissed by fire" — a sign of luck. Jon has now broken his Night's Watch vows. The Jon/Ygritte relationship is a fan-favorite. It was reported in 2016 that this on-screen relationship has become a real-life romance between actors Kit Harington and Rose Leslie.

#38. The North Remembers

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Season two kicks off with this episode, setting the stage for the ongoing conflict between the Starks in the North and the Lannisters in King's Landing — who have just made an awful mistake by publicly removing Eddard Stark's head. Eddard Stark's discovery that Joffrey is the illegitimate child of Cersei and Jaime Lannister spreads quickly around the Seven Kingdoms.

#37. Oathkeeper

IMDb Rating: 7.7

Tyrion sits in a cell deep within the walls of the Red Keep, accused of his nephew Joffrey's murder. Luckily, he is able to convince his brother Jaime of his innocence in this episode. Jaime also allows Brienne of Tarth to leave King's Landing and search for Sansa Stark.

#36. Valar Dohaeris

IMDb Rating: 7.7

"Valar Dohaeris" is High Valyrian for "all men must serve." The saying ends with "Valar Morgulis," which means "all men must die." In this episode, we see men serving Robb Stark's faltering army, and the haggard Night's Watch at Castle Black struggling to survive.

#35. The House of Black and White

IMDb Rating: 7.8

In the second episode of season five, Arya Stark arrives at the House of Black and White, eager to begin her training. This episode also marks the first time the Kingdom of Dorne appears, where Myrcella Lannister is being held, and Doran Martell contemplates revenge against Cersei for his brother Oberyn Martell's death.

#34. The Old Gods and the New

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Jon Snow, along with Qhorin Halfhand and a group from the Night's Watch, are still traveling beyond the Wall. They encounter a band of wildlings, and this is the first time Jon and Ygritte meet. According to IMDb, filming for the scenes beyond the Wall was done in Iceland at Vatnajokull Glacier.

#33. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

IMDb Rating: 7.8

"Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" is the saying of House Martell, the family featured prominently in this episode. Jaime Lannister and Bronn travel to Dorne to try and take Myrcella from the Martell's captivity, only to learn that she's become close to the Martells — and that she is in love with Trystane Martell. Bronn and Jaime are intercepted and arrested.

#32. Breaker of Chains

IMDb Rating: 7.8

The kingdom celebrates King Joffrey's death, while Cersei and the rest of the Lannisters (perhaps) mourn. The most controversial scene in this episode occurs when Cersei and her brother Jaime make love in the sept near Joffrey's dead body.

#31. The Kingsroad

IMDb Rating: 7.8

The first episode to appear from season one on our list, "The Kingsroad" features many characters who were killed off in this season. Eddard Stark departs for King's Landing from Winterfell, and Viserys Targaryen ensures that he and Daenerys will continue traveling with the Dothraki. Robert Baratheon continues to drunkenly rule the Seven Kingdoms from King's Landing.

#30. High Sparrow

IMDb Rating: 7.9

In King's Landing, Tommen Lannister and Margaery Tyrell are wed, and Cersei's jealousy swells. Meanwhile, Arya Stark continues her training at the House of Black and White, and finally changes her clothing for the first time since season one.

#29. The Pointy End

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Author George R. R. Martin wrote the screenplay for this episode. While Eddard Stark is locked in the dungeons below the Red Keep, Lannister henchmen are ordered to capture the rest of the Starks. Arya escapes, but her sister Sansa is not successful and she is caught by Sandor Clegane, also known as "The Hound."

#28. Mhysa

IMDb Rating: 7.9

In the finale of season three, everyone is still reeling from the massacre that occurred at the Red Wedding. Each storyline feels incredibly grim, except the last scene showing thousands of former slaves in Yunkai crowding around Daenerys Targaryen calling her "mhysa," which is Ghiscari for "mother."

#27. The Wars to Come

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Season five kicks off with Tywin Lannister's funeral, and a flashback from Cersei's childhood. According to IMDb, this episode drew in 8 million viewers, a "Game of Thrones" record at the time.

#26. Mockingbird

IMDb Rating: 8.0

"Mockingbird" is a reference to Lord Petyr Baelish, who chose the mockingbird for the House Baelish sigil. At the end of this episode, he throws Lady Lysa Arryn to her death through the Moon Door in the Vale, affirming that he only ever loved one woman, Catelyn Stark, Lysa's sister.

#25. Sons of the Harpy

IMDb Rating: 8.1

The insurgency group Sons of the Harpy strikes in Meereen, slipping through the Unsullied army and mercilessly killing Daenerys Targaryen's trusted aid Ser Barristan Selmy. The Sand Snakes, Oberyn Martell's three feisty daughters, are also introduced in this episode.

#24. A Golden Crown

IMDb Rating: 8.1

Throughout season one, Prince Viserys Targaryen displays a selfish side very similar to Joffrey Baratheon later in the series. In this episode, he storms around the Dothraki camp, drawing his sword to Khal Drogo and threatening his unborn child. Khal Drogo reacts by giving Viserys a crown "that men will tremble to behold," and pours molten gold over Viserys' head. According to the Game of Thrones Wikia page, "due to the complexity of the scene, the scene had to be nailed in one take, which was successfully achieved."

#23. Winter Is Coming

IMDb Rating: 8.1

This is the first episode of "Game of Thrones," setting the stage for all of the shocking, treacherous and entertaining events throughout the series. Of course, "Winter is Coming" is the saying for House Stark. The scene where the Starks gather in the great hall of Winterfell marks the only time throughout the show that the whole family is together.

#22. Valar Morghulis

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Season two concludes with King's Landing recovering from the Battle of the Blackwater and the Lannister victory over Stannis Baratheon. Beyond the Wall, Qhorin Halfhand sacrifices himself to save Jon Snow. The last image in this season is of a particularly menacing White Walker riding an undead horse among a group of horrifying Wights.

#21. Fire and Blood

IMDb Rating: 8.4

"Fire and Blood" is House Targaryen's motto, and season one concludes amidst a torrent of fire and blood. Eddard Stark's head is gruesomely stuck on a spike in front of the Red Keep. Daenerys mourns the death of her son and Khal Drogo by lying with their bodies on their burning funeral pyre with her three petrified dragon eggs. The morning after, all her clothing has burned off and she is covered in soot. Three baby dragons emerge from the ashes.

#20. Baelor

IMDb Rating: 8.5

In front of a large crowd in King's Landing, Eddard Stark admits his crimes and says that Joffrey is the rightful King of the Seven Kingdoms. This last-ditch effort to save his life is ineffective. King Joffrey says, "My mother wishes me to let Lord Eddard join the Night's Watch. Stripped of all titles and powers, he would serve the realm in permanent exile. And my Lady Sansa has begged mercy for her father. But they have the soft hearts of women. So long as I'm your King, treason shall never go unpunished! Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!" Eddard Stark is beheaded and Ilyn Payne presents the severed head triumphantly toward Joffrey.

#19. The Bear and the Maiden Fair

IMDb Rating: 8.6

This episode is one of the only in the series to include scenes filmed in the U.S. The scenes with the bear were filmed in a studio in Los Angeles. According to IMDb, the bear starring in this episode was named "Little Bart."

#18. Kill the Boy

IMDb Rating: 8.6

On his deathbed, Maester Aemon tells Jon Snow, "kill the boy, and let the man be born." Meanwhile, the kingdom of Valyria appears for the first time, as Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister drift slowly through the foggy ruins. At the end of the episode, they see the ever-growing Drogon fly through the clouds and Tyrion appears speechless.

#17. Lord Snow

IMDb Rating: 8.6

This episode focuses on Jon Snow as he struggles to be accepted as a member of the Night's Watch. This is the only episode in season one with no deaths.

#16. And Now His Watch Is Ended

IMDb Rating: 8.6

Emilia Clarke was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series based on her portrayal of Daenerys Targaryen in this episode. In a moving scene, she frees the Unsullied army and tells them to go forth and kill their masters. "Unsullied! Slay the masters, slay the soldiers, slay every man who holds a whip, but harm no child. Strike the chains off every slave you see."

#15. The Watchers on the Wall

IMDb Rating: 8.6

Mance Rayder's giant army of wildlings — including some actual giants — advances on the Night's Watch and begins to attack. Perhaps the most touching scene in this episode is when Ygritte dies in Jon Snow's arms and utters one final time "You know nothing, Jon Snow."

#14. Mother's Mercy

IMDb Rating: 8.6

The finale of season five is rife with unexpected deaths. Unable to deal with the role she played in her daughter's death, Selyse Baratheon hangs herself. Stannis Baratheon wanders away from the battlefield only to be met by Brienne of Tarth's sword. Perhaps the most controversial death in the entire series thus far is that of Jon Snow. He is stabbed mercilessly by nearly every member of the Night's Watch and bleeds out quietly into the snow. Many fans are hoping to see him come back somehow in season six.

#13. Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things

IMDb Rating: 8.7

This episode is unique because, according to IMDb, it is the only episode in which every main cast member appears at some point throughout the episode. The title of the episode is uttered by Tyrion Lannister when he visits Bran Stark, who is slowly becoming used to his life as a cripple after falling from a tower at Winterfell. "I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things," he says.

#12. Blackwater

IMDb Rating: 8.8

The entire episode focuses on the Battle of the Blackwater. It appears that Stannis Baratheon may defeat King Joffrey Baratheon, until Tywin Lannister and his army arrive, and the Wildfire that Tyrion obtained explodes in gigantic green flames around Stannis' fleet. Tyrion is almost killed when Ser Mandon Moore slams an axe into his face, but manages to escape when his squire, Podrick Payne, saves him.

#11. The Children

IMDb Rating: 8.8

Season four ends with the deaths of three major characters, the most shocking being the murder of family patriarch, Tywin Lannister. The night before his scheduled execution, Jaime Lannister arranges Tyrion Lannister's escape. As Tyrion flees the Red Keep, he visits his father's chambers and realizes that the one woman he was close with, Shae, is in his father's bed. Tyrion strangles Shae, grabs a crossbow and heads to the privvy where Tywin is sitting. Tyrion shoots his father in the chest and says, "I am your son. I have always been your son."

#10. The Gift

IMDb Rating: 9.0

At the Wall, Maester Aemon passes away at the age of 102. According to IMDb, he is the only character to die on-screen from natural causes. Tyrion meets Daenerys Targaryen for the first time in this episode. He is the only character in the series that speaks to both Aemon Targaryen and Daenerys Targaryen.

#9. The Wolf and the Lion

IMDb Rating: 9.0

The wedge between long-time friends King Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark is driven further when King Robert declares that he wants Daenerys Targaryen and her unborn son killed. Although everyone in the small council agrees, Ned Stark vehemently disagrees and tells Robert, "I followed you into war. Twice. Without doubts, without second thoughts. But I will not follow you now. The Robert I grew up with didn't tremble at the shadow of an unborn child." He then resigns as Hand of the King.

#8. Two Swords

IMDb Rating: 9.0

This episode marks a turning point for Arya Stark. While she is still in the Hound's captivity, Arya becomes more daring and bloodthirsty. When they run into the King's henchman, Polliver, at a tavern in the Riverlands, Arya fearlessly joins in the brawl and drives her sword through his neck.

#7. The Dance of Dragons

IMDb Rating: 9.0

One of the most shocking and upsetting deaths happens in the ninth episode of season five. Stannis Baratheon, swayed by Melisandre and his wife Selyse, is convinced that he must sacrifice his young daughter Shireen. She is tied to a pyre and burned in front of Stannis and his army, her screams piercing through the cold air. Some argued that this was one of the most disturbing scenes in all of "Game of Thrones".

#6. The Mountain and the Viper

IMDb Rating: 9.0

Tyrion Lannister's highly anticipated trial by combat occurs in this episode. Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane and Oberyn "The Red Viper" Martell face off in a nail-biting battle. Oberyn Martell is quick and darts around the Mountain, repeatedly stabbing him with his poisoned sword. Just when it appears to be all over for the Mountain, he stands up and crushes Oberyn's skull in his hands.

#5. You Win or You Die

IMDb Rating: 9.2

"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground," Cersei Lannister tells Eddard Stark. Cersei does her part in playing the game by making sure her husband, King Robert Baratheon, dies of "natural causes" in this episode.

#4. The Lion and the Rose

IMDb Rating: 9.2

Another episode, another unsuspecting king's death. At the wedding feast of Margaery Tyrell and Joffrey Lannister, King Joffrey is poisoned and chokes to death. Immediately, Cersei blames Tyrion and he is detained. Fans have deemed this episode "The Purple Wedding" because of the purple shade Joffrey turns as he chokes to death.

#3. The Rains of Castamere

IMDb Rating: 9.5

Known simply as "The Red Wedding episode" to many fans, "The Rains of Castamere" shocked many fans who had not read the series and were not expecting Robb Stark and those closest to him (including his mother Catelyn) to be murdered in cold blood at the wedding of Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey. This episode was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding writing for a drama series and outstanding single-camera picture editing for a drama series.

#2. The Laws of Gods and Men

IMDb Rating: 9.7

Things are looking grim for Tyrion Lannister on the day of his trial. Everyone, including his father, Tywin, is against him. Tyrion makes a stand for himself, though, and proclaims, "I did not do it. I did not kill Joffrey, but I wish that I had! Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores! I wish I was the monster you think I am. I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you! I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it! I will not give my life for Joffrey's murder, and I know I'll get no justice here, so I will let the gods decide my fate! I demand a trial by combat!"

#1. Hardhome

IMDb Rating: 9.9

The eighth episode of the latest season comes in at number one, with a 9.9 rating on IMDb. The Night's Watch travels far beyond the Wall to Hardhome, a town of wildlings, to warn them of the White Walkers' imminent attack. The wildlings reticently agree to leave Hardhome, and pack their belongings into boats. As they leave, a menacing group of White Walkers, along with thousands of Wights, descend upon the village. Jon Snow narrowly escapes with his life, and we are introduced to the Night's King, the incredibly creepy White Walker with the ability to raise the dead into an ever-growing army of Wights.

Game of Thrones Ratings Over Time

If you are viewing this on the WRAL News app, click here for more.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all