20 Best ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes, Ranked According to IMDb

Although Game of Thrones concluded in 2019, its popularity has persisted in part due to the debut of its prequel and sequel House of the Dragon as well as the show’s enduring quality. However, despite some controversy surrounding the finale among viewers and critics, the milestones the program attained during its eight-season existence are irrefutable.

Game of Thrones, which has a 9.2 rating on IMDb, is among the best television programs of all time for several reasons including superb performance, epic staging, and sharp writing that brought the characters to life without a hitch. There are several episodes throughout the entire series that are nearly perfect, demonstrating how adored this program is by both fans and critics.

Updated on September 22, 2023, by Jessie Nguyen:

Even though Game of Thrones ended in 2019, fans of the show are still talking about its epic battles, political intrigue, and unexpected twists that kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Moreover, its cultural impact extended beyond television, sparking fervent discussions and spawning countless fan theories. Thus, despite its disappointing final season, Game of Thrones still left an indelible mark on the history of television with lots of incredible episodes.

20 “A Golden Crown”

Season 1, Episode 6 (2011)

_A Golden Crown_

IMDb Ranking: 9.1/10

Recovering from his skirmish with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) outside Little Finger’s (Aidan Gillen) brothel, which left him with an injured leg, Ned (Sean Bean) finds himself tasked with governing the kingdom as Robert (Mark Addy) heads off on a hunting expedition. Ned makes the decision to send Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) back to Winterfell to ensure their safety. In the meantime, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and her brother Viserys (Harry Lloyd) engage in yet another confrontation, but this time, Drogo (Jason Momoa) personally intervenes to resolve the matter. Meanwhile, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who is imprisoned, insists on a trial and requests a trial by combat.RELATED: The Best TV Bookworms, Ranked

This episode’s title, “The Golden Crown,” serves as a fitting explanation for what transpires within, making it one of the series’ most shockingly gruesome episodes. It also marks the final chapter for one of the most universally disliked characters in the show. It also underscores the immense political pressure and peril that Ned must navigate while ensuring the safety of his family.

19 “Home”

Season 6, Episode 2 (2016)

_Home_ (1)

IMDb Ranking: 9.3/10

In this episode, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) continues his training with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow), while in King’s Landing, Jaime imparts some fatherly advice to Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman). Tyrion seeks positive developments but ends up creating his own. At Castle Black, the Night’s Watch supports Alliser Thorne’s (Owen Teale) leadership. Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) puts forth a strategy, and Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) considers alternative proposals.

“Home” proved to be a packed episode that managed to maintain a steady pace without feeling rushed. It witnessed the fall of two prominent lords, introduced a new character from the Iron Islands, and brought back a character we had all been concerned about through the uncertain yet well-intentioned actions of a priestess. Moreover, the storytelling in this chapter flowed smoothly, like fine wine, creating a satisfying narrative filled with themes of death and resurrection.

18 “Valar Morghulis”

Season 2, Episode 10 (2012)

_Valar Morghulis_

IMDb Ranking: 9.3/10

After emerging victorious in the battle, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) appointed his grandfather, Tywin (Charles Dance), as the Hand of the King. This decision has an immediate impact on Tyrion, who regains consciousness in significantly smaller and more modest accommodations, nursing his wounds from the recent battle. Additionally, the King becomes intrigued by Lady Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) and opts to marry her. Arya successfully escapes from Harrenhal with the assistance of Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), who reveals a glimpse of his true abilities to her. In Qarth, Daenerys ventures into the House of the Undying in her quest to recover her dragons

“Valar Morghulis,” named after the phrase Jaqen teaches Arya, served as a compelling and fitting conclusion to the season. Much of the finale’s structure mirrored that of the Season 1 finale, “Fire and Blood.” It featured numerous aftermath scenes dealing with the consequences of a significant penultimate episode, along with a pivotal moment involving a foreshadowing for Daenerys.

17 “The Dragon and the Wolf”

Season 7, Episode 7 (2017)

_The Dragon and the Wolf_

IMDb Ranking: 9.4/10

In King’s Landing, a momentous meeting unfolds between Cersei (Lena Headey) and Daenerys, while Theon (Alfie Allen) reaffirms his loyalty to Yara (Gemma Whelan) and engages in reconciliation and rescue efforts. Sansa and Arya execute an unexpected and strategic plan, systematically outmaneuvering Little Finger and delivering their own form of retribution. Finally, the full truth about Jon’s (Kit Harington) parentage comes to light, and the relentless army of the dead arrives at the Wall, setting the stage for a dire and dramatic confrontation.RELATED: The Lowest-Rated Episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’, According to IMDb

“The Dragon and the Wolf” clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, stands out as the longest episode of the series to date. As expected, it was predominantly dialogue-driven, allowing for deep character interactions and pivotal revelations in the epic conclusion of the season. Moreover, just as viewers might have anticipated the episode concluding without a moment of sweeping violence, the Night King entered the fray atop his new mount and wreaked havoc by demolishing a section of the Wall along the sea at Eastwatch.

16 “The Dance of Dragon”

Season 5, Episode 9 (2015)

_The Dance of Dragon_ 

IMDb Ranking: 9.4/10

Jon Snow and the survivors of the attack at Hardhome manage to return safely to the Wall, but the reception they receive is far from warm and welcoming. In Braavos, Arya spots Lord Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths), who has arrived to converse with representatives of the Iron Bank. He is accompanied by Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie), one of the people on her list. Meanwhile, in Meereen, the Great Games commence, but the senseless bloodshed does not align with the values of Daenerys and Tyrion. Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) triumphs over his adversaries in the arena, but the situation takes a dark turn when a trap is triggered, leading to a violent attack by the Sons of the Harpy.

In “The Dance of Dragons,” viewers were treated to two emotionally charged moments. First, there was the heart-pounding ambush on Daenerys, where her life hung in the balance until she soared over the arena on the back of Drogon. Second, there was the horrifying and morally reprehensible act committed by Stannis (Stephen Dillane), who resorted to burning his own innocent daughter alive in pursuit of a supernatural military advantage. These moments elicited a wide range of intense emotions from the audience.

15 “Fire and Blood”

Season 1, Episode 10 (2011)

_Fire and Blood_

IMDb Ranking: 9.4/10

While the brothers of the late King Robertindividually challenge Joffrey’s claim to the throne, the North breaks away from the Seven Kingdoms and announces Robb Stark (Richard Madden) as king. Meanwhile, the witch’s cunning magic causes Daenerys’s baby to be born dead and malformed, while Khal Drogo is left in a vegetative state. After sacrificing herself in Drogo’s funeral pyre, she walks out unharmed when the embers die the following morning, with three newly-hatched baby dragons.

Many of the best characters on Game of Thrones experience substantial character growth in this episode, notably Daenerys Targaryen, who gains a new title and power following the death of her husband Khal Drogo. The birth of Daenerys’ dragons also has significant implications for the rest of the series and continues to be one of the show’s most iconic scenes.

14 “And Now His Watch Is Ended”

Season 3, Episode 4 (2013)

_And Now His Watch Is Ended_

IMDb Ranking: 9.5/10

Jaime Lannister is still depressed about losing his hand after having it amputated in the last episode. Meanwhile, the remaining Night’s Watch men at Craster’s Keep fighting their host because they are starving. As a result, Craster (Robert Pugh) and Mormont (James Cosmo) are killed in the struggle. To exchange one dragon for the Unsullied army, Daenerys meets with the enslaver Kraznys while Cersei grows impatient with the Tyrells.RELATED: ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Already Better Than ‘Game of Thrones’ in One Major Way

The episode contains lots of epic moments that go down in cinema history including Daenerys’s acquisition of the Unsullied, and the fiery death of Lord Commander Mormont. It also features a significant amount of political intrigue which is complex and engaging, adding to the depth of the show and contributing to the show’s reputation.

13 “The Children”

Season 4, Episode 10 (2014)

_The Children_

IMDb Ranking: 9.6/10

As Stannis Baratheon and his army invade the Wildling camp and capture Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), Jon’s truce meeting with Mance comes to an abrupt end. Bran finds the weirwood tree he saw in his visions, but as the group is attacked by skeletal creatures, Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) is killed. The Three-Eyed Raven is discovered to be an elderly man enclosed in tree roots inside a safe cave after being saved by a Child of the Forest who then takes the others there. Arya leaves for Braavos after refusing to go with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and leaving The Hound (Rory McCann) to his death.

The episode includes pivotal moments for the character arcs of Bran and Arya as well as major character growth. It also features several epic moments including the battle between Brienne and the Hound, the arrival of Stannis at the Wall, and the revelation of the true nature of the White Walkers. “The Children” is also visually stunning, with beautiful shots of the landscape and impressive special effects that fans cannot help but be in awe of.

12 “The Watchers on the Wall”

Season 4, Episode 9 (2014)

Kit Harington as Jon Snow fighting a man in Game of Thrones.
Image via HBO

IMDb Ranking: 9.6/10

The Wildlings attack from both sides of the wall as The Night’s Watch gets ready for the fight. Grenn (Mark Stanley) and five other people risk their lives to stop the Giant from entering Castle Black through the tunnel. Meanwhile, Alliser Thorne joins the battle in the southern sector, leaving the Wall’s inept commander Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) in charge. After witnessing Jon kill Styr, Ygritte (Rose Leslie) raises her bow at him but hesitates and is shot fatally by Olly (Brenock O’Connor).

The episode is still regarded as having one of the best fight scenes in the Game of Thrones universe that demonstrates that nobody is safe. Along with valiant Grenn and Pip dying in the battle, the episode also shows the fan favorite Ygritte dying in Jon Snow’s arms, leaving a sad ending for their love story. Additionally, it is the first time Jon assumes leadership and demonstrates his abilities, while Slynt continues to demonstrate his incapacity and cowardice.

11 “Baelor”

Season 1, Episode 9 (2011)

_Baelor_ (Season 1, Episode 9)

IMDb Ranking: 9.6/10

The episode continues to follow several storylines, with a conflict between the Stark and Lannister increasing and Khal Drogo’s health deteriorating, but King’s Landing’s events where King Joffrey Baratheon’s order to behead Eddard Stark after promising to spare his life will live on in infamy.RELATED: The Best Antiheroes in ‘Game of Thrones’, Ranked

The episode is the turning point for Game of Thrones, which will forever be remembered as one of the greatest moments ever on for its shocking twists everyone knows by now. No character is safe in this cinematic universe, which solidifies the show’s brutal reputation.

10 “Blackwater”

Season 2, Episode 9 (2012)

Tyreon and Podrick in Game of Thrones
Image via HBO

IMDb Ranking: 9.7/10

King’s Landing is attacked by Stannis’ fleet, but Tyrion is leading the defense and uses wildfire to destroy many of the assaulting ships, forcing Stannis to launch an attack on land. Meanwhile, the Hound is overcome and retreats inside, denouncing Joffrey and departing. Cersei tries to kill both her and Tommen when Stannis’s force enters the castle, however, Tywin (Charles Dance) arrives in time and forces Stannis to retreat.

The episode features a massive battle sequence that was incredibly well-made, with impressive special effects and smart war strategy, contributing to the franchise’s reputation. It also features several pivotal moments of the show including The Hound leaving King’s Landing and unforeseeable defeat to Stannis’ fleet. It’s an emotional and action-packed episode that both fans and critics still cannot stop talking about until now.

9 “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Season 4, Episode 6 (2014)

_The Laws Of Gods And Men_ (Season 4, Episode 6) (1)

IMDb Ranking: 9.7/10

The episode features Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) visiting Braavos to negotiate with the Iron Bank of Braavos, Yara Greyjoy’s unsuccessful attempt to save her brother from the claws of Ramsay Bolton, and Daenerys eventually coming to grips with her duties as the ruler of Meereen. Nonetheless, Tyrion’s trial, in which he is accused of murdering Joffrey, takes center stage in this episode.

The trial is a farce since it has been set up to find Tyrion guilty with many coming forward to testify against him, but his former lover Shae is the most shocking of them. Both critics and viewers praised the episode, praising Dinklage’s masterful portrayal of the character – especially for capturing Tyrion’s anguish, rage, and determination to fight back.

8 “The Lion and the Rose”

Season 4, Episode 2 (2014)

Margaery and Joffrey at their wedding in Game of Thrones.

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

The main emphasis of the episode revolves around the highly anticipated royal nuptials of Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer). After consuming tainted wine during the reception, it ends with Joffrey’s horrible demise. Additional plotlines are Bran’s prolonged voyage north of The Wall and House Bolton’s attempt to recapture the North.RELATED: The Funniest ‘Game of Thrones’ Characters, Ranked

Bran, Theon (Alfie Allen), and Davos’ stories all progress in the episode, but they all fall short of what is happening in King’s Landing which is still regarded as one of the most satisfying deaths in TV history. In the pandemonium following the king’s demise, Tyrion is apprehended as the major suspect, resulting in the infamous trial, while Sansa (Sophie Turner) is escorted away from King’s Landing.

7 “The Door”

Season 6, Episode 5 (2016)

The Door” (Season 6, Episode 5) (1)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

The episode sees Daenerys realize the extent of Jorah Mormont’s devotion to her, Jon Snow makes plans to unite the north against the Boltons while Bran discovers the origin of the White Walkers and unintentionally makes the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) aware of his status, leading to one of the most devastating deaths of the show.

Bran, Meera (Ellie Kendrick), and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) attempt to escape as The Night King rapidly appears, murdering the Three-Eyed Raven, the Children of the Forest, and Summer. In the process, Meera constantly shouts “hold the door,” which causes a young Hodor who Bran wargs into while in a vision, to have a seizure and slowly shorten the phrase to “hodor.” The realization that Hodor was always destined to give his life for Bran at this precise time is such a heartbreaking one.

6 “The Mountain and the Viper”

Season 4, Episode 8 (2014)

_The Mountain And The Viper_ (Season 4, Episode 8)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

Tyrion’s trial by combat dominates this episode, with the majority of the other plotlines being resolved including Wildlings invading Mole’s Town, but Ygritte spares Gilly (Hannah Murray); and Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) legitimizes his bastard son Ramsay. The lone exception is in the Vale, where Littlefinger is being protected by Sansa with some deft lying while Baelish is on trial for the murder of Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie).

The Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson) versus Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) is a fun show, but its horrifying conclusion will live in infamy. Oberyn appears to have the advantage in the duel, but the Dornish Prince ultimately fails to owe to his tenacity in forcing Clegane to confess to killing his sister. The moment Oberyn died serves as another reminder to Game of Thrones fans that no character on this series is safe to count on.

5 “The Spoils of War”

Season 7, Episode 4 (2017)

_The Spoils Of War_ (Season 7, Episode 4)

IMDb Rating: 9.7/10

The final act of the series begins with Daenerys’ arrival in Westeros at the beginning of season seven. In order to win the war, Daenerys consults Jon and Tyrion before taking action on her own. When transporting the Red Keep’s gold, Jaime runs into an unexpected encounter.RELATED: ‘The Lannister Family Tree From Jason to Tyrion

The battle between the Lannisters and Daenerys’ army is expertly filmed, with fire and devastation pouring down as Bronn (Jerome Flynn) desperately tries to take out the powerful Drogon and save Jaime from being burned alive by dragon fire. The magnitude of the battle serves as a reminder to viewers of how enormous Game of Thrones can be and what makes it so renowned in TV history.

4 “Hardhome”

Season 5, Episode 8 (2015)

Kit Harington as Jon Snow fighting a White Walker in Game of Thrones.

IMDb Rating: 9.8/10

The final season of Game of Thrones may have hurt the show’s image thanks to it being one of the worst TV finales ever, but the battle scenes were always magnificent. This includes, “Hardhome” which is regarded as one of the most epic battles in the GoT universe. The main conflict of the episode is the fight between the Night’s Watch and the Free Folk against the army of the dead headed by the Night King at Hardhome, where Jon Snow leads a rare joint effort.

“Hardhome” is praised as one of the best episodes of the series and serves as a reminder of the Whites’ power and threat, as well as that of their King. The episode also showcases Jon Snow’s military prowess and leadership abilities, showing how he willfully saves those who would harm him in the interest of the greater good.

3 “The Winds of Winter”

Season 6, Episode 10 (2016)

_The Winds Of Winter_ (Season 6, Episode 10)

IMDb Rating: 9.9/10

The title of the season six finale, “The Winds of Winter,” strongly suggests that the main emphasis may be on the region north of the Wall. However, while Jon is proclaimed King in the North by the lords of the Northern houses, Cersei schemes to eliminate all of her immediate adversaries in one fell swoop, which also goes down in the history of television as one of the best scenes and episodes.

The episode marks the start and conclusion of several plotlines, including the revelation of Jon’s true parentage while Daenerys sets foot in Westeros for the first time. The episode’s soundtrack, “Light of the Seven,” which ranks among the greatest in the entire series, expertly blends melancholy and power.

2 “Battle of the Bastards”

Season 6, Episode 9 (2016)

Jon Snow facing an army in Game of Thrones.

IMDb Rating: 9.9/10

It is not an exaggeration to say that Game of Thrones is packed with epic on-screen battles that will go down in history as the best ever and “The Battle of the Bastards” more than merits inclusion on that list. The primary subject of the episode is the battle between Ramsay Bolton and Jon Snow over the control of Winterfell. Jon assembled an army, yet, he is vastly outnumbered.RELATED: The Best Duels in Game of Thrones, Ranked

The bodies are stacking up and actively affecting the battle, which is exceedingly harsh to watch. Ramsay receives a karma death by being fed to his own hounds, making it one of the most satisfying deaths for a TV character who should have died much sooner. It is yet another outstanding ninth episode of a season, with a fantastic battle at its core.

1 “The Rains of Castamere”

Season 3, Episode 9 (2013)

Robb Stark standing still and facing someone off-camera in Game of Thrones.

IMDb Rating: 9.9/10

The episode centers on Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) and Roslin Frey’s (Alexandra Dowling) wedding, which is also known as “The Red Wedding” and is one of the most iconic moments from the book series where Robb Stark and his banner-men are massacred at this wedding.

The massacre causes ripple effects throughout the Seven Kingdoms and intensifies the Starks’ ongoing sorrow in the early seasons. The episode’s title is the name of House Lannister’s signature song which recalls the tale of how House Lannister annihilated the rival House Reyne of Castamere when they dared to revolt. As it played in the wedding, it denotes the imminent bloodshed that will take place.

NEXT: ‘Game of Thrones’ Cast and Characters (And What They’re Doing Now)

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