19. 'Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things' (Season 1, Episode 4)
This key early episode saw GoT come into its own as a series in love with storytellers. Littlefinger reveals the awful origin of the Clegane brothers to Sansa; Sam regales his protective new friend Jon Snow with tales of how his father abused him; that monologue about the horrors of winter beyond the Wall by Ser Alliser Thorne that's reminiscent of Quint's war story in Jaws. The show found its voice by listening to those of its characters, something that's as much a key to the series' success as its plot twists and bloody set pieces.