15) The Hound Returns (The Broken Man; Episode 7)
Season 6 of Game of Thrones was a season of the returns. The undying Sandor “The Hound” Clegane is certainly no exception in that department, marking his first appearance season the end of season 4. Less so of a return from the dead since it was never confirmed that he was, bringing to light our now favorite TV rule— “If they don’t show it, then it didn’t happen”—-let’s hope that that’s the case with Stannis Baratheon and the Blackfish. The Hound certainly hasn’t lost his taste for bloody deaths during his long absence and he has now come back with a vengeance.
14) The Mountain Kills (No One; Episode 8)
Cersei Lannister has always been a character of drunken confidence, whether that be from the wine or her overall demeanor, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a lobotomized zombie with the strength of ten men serving by her side. The Mountain’s effortless vigor has never been displayed more than when he unceremoniously yanked the head and backbone off of one of the Faith minions. He has no qualms painting the Red Keep even redder with the bloody puddles of High Sparrow believers.
13) Roose Bolton & Fat Walda (Home; Episode 2)
If further evidence is needed to prove the sinister nature of the newly legitimatized Ramsay Bolton, than look no further than his treatment of his father, step-mother, and step-brother— all in one day. It would be enough for even Ramsay’s devoted fanbase to admit that he might have gone too far. After some good old fashion patricide, Ramsay could have called it day, but instead chose to kill two birds with one stone by securing his position as Warden of the North and feeding his hounds— that’s where Fat Walda and her newborn son come in.
12) Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viscerion (Battle of the Bastards; Episode 9)
I don’t remember when it was that Daenerys locked up her two abiding dragons (at the end of season 4 or something). They’ve been locked away for two seasons while Drogon roamed free, we thought we’d never get to see the beautiful sight of all three dragons flying side by side. I suppose there’s no better time for that sight to come into play than when Meereen is experiencing a siege.
11) Jon & Sansa Reunite (Book of the Stranger; Episode 4)
Honestly, I was half expecting one of them to die as they began their way for a long-awaited hug. However, in un-Game of Thrones fashion, it didn’t happen. Neither one of them thought that they’d miss each other as much as they did since Sansa never considered Jon a Stark and Jon certainly felt her animosity. Maybe it’s cause there just aren’t too many Starks left, but the two truly felt at home when they were together.
10) Tarly Dinner (Blood of My Blood; Episode 6)
Randyl Tarly won’t be winning Father of the Year, but the man is certainly interesting to watch. One would have to wonder just what exactly Samwell did to make Randyl hate him so much, I mean it couldn’t just be because he prefers to have a book in his hand instead of a sword to wield. The dinner sequence was equal parts disheartening and enticing. It was the first time we saw Samwell at his home in Horn Hill, but it surely felt like we grew up with him and witnessed his unbearable childhood. The look on Gilly’s face throughout Randyl’s tirade also helped solidify just how low he can take his son. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of him, I mean did Samwell think he could steal Heartsbane with little consequence.
9) Daenerys Stormborn, the Unburnt (Book of the Stranger; Episode 4)
Reminiscent of the season one finale, Daenerys Stormborn,The Unburnt Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men Queen of Meereen Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea Breaker of Chains Mother of Dragons has had a lot to prove to herself just as much as anybody else. Her unscathed reemergence from the flames has patently proclaimed her the rightful Queen of not only Essos, but Westeros too. It was a nice callback to Daenerys’ first innocent potential and a reminder of just how much she has changed throughout the seasons.
8) Frey Pie (The Winds of Winter; Episode 10)
A diversion is one of the many changes that books-to-movies have to decide upon during adaptation, however, a complete story shift is entirely different. Many seasons ago, Bran told a story of human pies being made and served to a family. In the books it is a recent urban legend in the world of Westeros, Wyman Manderly killed and baked three Frey’s before serving the Frey Pies to those who attended Ramsay Bolton’s wedding in Winterfell. We didn’t get to see that during the Winterfell wedding last season, but we did get to see a nod to it. Right before Walder Frey’s larynx separated from his esophagus it was the taste of his sons that it relished in. A fitting retribution and who else but Ayra, who only made it to the front doors the night of the Red Wedding, decided to actually go back and finish the deed herself.
7) Ramsay Bolton and the hounds (Battle of the Bastards; Episode 9)
Not many people noticed this, but Ramsay’s hounds have only ever really been heard and rarely seen onscreen. It makes sense to show them in their full glory now since we want to see every second of them tearing apart their owner. Not having fed them in seven days is torture enough, but their viciousness comes from having an owner such as Ramsay. It was swift poetic justice to have them be part of Ramsay’s eventual demise.
6) The White Walkers Attack (The Door; Episode 5)
It is the only time we get to see the White Walkers, and it was certainly enough to distinguish the havoc to be wrecked. This is more of a scene where questions are meant to arise as opposed to answers to be met. Why are the White Walkers after Bran exactly? Why did the White Walkers turn on the Children of the Forest again? The evilness is pure and their perseverance is unparalleled.
5) Jon Snow Resurrection (Home; Episode 2)
Can you believe that there was a time when most thought Jon Snow would never wield Longclaw again? Melisandre almost redeemed herself by bringing back our beloved character, but his return had visibly changed Snow. He was even less humorless than we were used to and even less sure about what was right and what was wrong.
4) R+L=J (The Winds of Winter; Episode 10)
This is a theory that has been beaten nearly to death. So much so that it wasn’t so much of a question of if, but rather when. Even than, it wasn’t entirely confirmed, mostly implied. Lyanna Stark was a lover, not a captive to Rhaegar Targaryan, their child was spared only when Ned Stark chose to honorably deem it as his. It was a secret so deep in consequence that even his faithful wife, Catelyn, did not know. So, I guess that makes him Daenarys’ nephew or something, a conflict or two is more than likely to take its toll when the two eventually meet.
3) Battle of the Bastards (Battle of the Bastards; Episode 9)
One of the best episodes of the season and one of the best action sequences of the entire series. The Battle of the Bastards was a long awaited war that we all got a bit nervous about. Sure many put their money on Jon Snow for the win, but Ramsay’s power is that he is underestimated. He uses that underestimation to his advantage by pulling on his opponents’ mind strings. Killing Rickon “Zig Zag” Stark was just a ploy to bring out Jon’s army for a circular death. On the interesting side: the surrounding circle was a direct influence of Hannibal’s military tactics in the Battle of Cannae against the Roman army.
2) Hold the Door (The Door; Episode 5)
Hodor’s death was a much more emotional than most for one simple reason— he’s the only character with no ulterior motive. His sole purpose, as we found out, was to hold the door for Bran to keep off the White Walkers. A spiraling paradox if there ever was one, Bran’s warging determined the fate of Wyllis long before he became Hodor. Repeating his first and final words as his brain began to deteriorate, what was born was an unquestionably loyal servant to House Stark. He served his purpose and died serving it.
1) Wildfire and Death (The Winds of Winter; Episode 10)
The only thing that stayed in my mind while all of the characters currently in King’s Landing dressed, awaited the trials of Loras Tyrell and Cersei Lannister at the Sept, chased young children underneath the city, stabbing Maesters— all beautifully synchronized with Game of Thrones’ original score— was the baptizing scene from The Godfather. The smooth transitions from religious undertones and brutal deaths has now helped the film reach a legendary status. There’s a lot to say about this scene since it was edited both frenetic with ambiguousness, but really stood out was just how finely tuned it was executed, all of the dominos fell in its perfect place and, in doing, declared Cersei as the show’s coldest character.