20 Best 'Game of Thrones' Episodes

From Blackwater to the Red Wedding, we count down the HBO fantasy epic's greatest hours

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Helen Sloan19/20

19. "The Lion and the Rose" (Season 4, Episode 2)

Normally, a wedding would be ruined if the groom got murdered at the reception. But there was nothing normal about this matrimonial man of the hour — the sadistic boy-king Joffrey Baratheon. Played by brilliant young actor Jack Gleeson, who retired from showbiz immediately after shooting this episode, Joffrey was a top contender for the most entertainingly loathsome TV villain of the decade. His protracted on-screen poisoning made his "Purple Wedding" — named after the color his slap-worthy face turned as he asphyxiated — nothing less than the social event of the season.

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