The long-awaited and highly anticipated eighth season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” began airing on Sunday, April 14. In order to properly get excited for the season, I’ve undertaken the daunting task of collecting some of the most iconic moments from the series thus far. From Daenerys Targaryen’s first moments as the mother of dragons to the death (and rebirth) of Jon Snow, this show has no shortage of jaw-droppers for viewers to anxiously enjoy.
Please note, before we begin — this is in no way an exhaustive list of GoT’s best moments. In order to do that, you’d have to include almost every scene from every episode. I’ve collected what I feel are some of the most poignant, meaningful and simply iconic of the series. With that said, let’s venture all the way back to season one …
Season one, episode 10 : Daenerys emerges from the funeral pyre
In many ways, season one of “Game of Thrones” sets the stage for the years to come, for the characters’ actions and ramifications play out over the next seven seasons. As Ned Stark travels south with his daughters, the reign of King Robert comes to an end, and we’re introduced to Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled princess of the former regime. Daenerys is clearly the underdog, as she’s married off to Khal Drogo, a brutal warlord who doesn’t speak her language. Thankfully, Drogo softens over time, and he and Daenerys fall in love. When Drogo falls ill due to a festering wound, Daenerys panics. On the advice of a witch, she sacrifices her unborn son for her husband’s life, only to lose both of them in the process. Daenerys prepares Drogo’s funeral pyre and walks into the flames herself, but doesn’t forget to kill the witch who gave her false advice out of spite. In the morning, after the flames have burned away, Daenerys emerges unharmed and carrying three baby dragons. Jorah Mormont kneels before her and the Dothraki pledge to serve her. The mother of dragons is born. It’s probably the best moment of the first season, and it’s kept me rooting for Daenerys throughout the rest of the series.
Season three, episode nine: The Red Wedding
“The Red Wedding” is, without a doubt, one of the most devastating and tear-jerking episodes of the entire series. Robb Stark, the King in the North, has been slowly moving south, defeating the Lannister Army one battle at a time. His fatal mistake, however, was backtracking on a promise he made to Walder Frey. As revenge on the Starks, Walder Frey has his men savagely slaughter Robb, Catelyn, Talisa and the rest of the Stark’s men. To add insult to injury, Robb’s sister Arya had been travelling north, hoping to be reunited with her family. She arrives, however, just in time to see the massacre occur. I never read the books, so “The Red Wedding” was a horrific twist, leaving the lovable Stark family short three members. Thankfully, the remaining Starks will rally and keep fighting, which I love to see.
Season five, episode ten: Jon Snow is killed by his brothers
For much of the series thus far, Jon Snow has been living at the Wall as a man of the Night’s Watch. He’s aware of the threat to the north, the White Walkers, but has had a hard time persuading his brothers of the coming danger. In an attempt to save them all, Jon tries to integrate the Night’s Watch with the Wildlings, the people who live beyond the wall. Given that the Wildlings have been enemies of the Night’s Watch for centuries, this doesn’t go over very well. Jon is labelled a traitor and stabbed to death by multiple brothers. Though “Game of Thrones” is never short on the twists and turns, this was something I didn’t see coming. Jon is both an honorable man and a fan-favorite, and as I watched him die, I was admittedly worried for his fate. Thankfully, he’ll be resurrected by Melisandre two episodes later.
Season seven, episode seven: Jon’s parentage is revealed
Season seven included a number of moments that we’ve been waiting for since the series began. Daenerys finally makes landfall in Westeros and begins plotting to steal the throne from Cersei. Jon arrives to inform her that there’s a bigger threat coming, but she refuses to believe the White Walkers are real until she sees them herself. She flies north on her dragon and experiences the horror with her own eyes. Really, though, all I wanted to see is the blossoming romance between Jon and Daenerys. There’s an instant attraction between the two, and they spend most of the season dancing around their feelings for one another. On their way north, they finally consummate their love. For me, the moment is slightly undercut by the reveal that Jon is a Targaryen as well. Though Jon’s always believed himself to be a bastard, in reality, he’s the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Only “Game of Thrones” can make incest look romantic.
After rewatching all the GoT’s best scenes, I’m excited to see what season eight has in store for us. With fans forming hundreds of different conspiracies with guesses of what is going to occur, the final season promises to be a fitting conclusion to a series unmatched by any other.