25 Best ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes – Updated – Rolling Stone
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25 Best ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes – Updated

From Blackwater to the Battle of the Bastards, we count down the HBO fantasy epic’s most memorable hours

When you play the Game of Thrones, you play it one hour at a time. With a novelistic sprawl inherited from author George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, the popular HBO show often feels less like a premium-cable series and more like a 73-hour movie. But showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have delivered a number of stand-alone knockouts – individual installments that soar high above the rest like Daenerys’ dragons. As the July 16th premiere of Season Seven approaches, sit back in your Iron Throne as we settle the question of which episodes from the first six seasons reign supreme.

Game of Thrones

Jerome Flynn/HBO

1

‘Blackwater’ (Season 2, Episode 9)

The best episode of the series features the best battle ever aired on TV, hands down – but it’s much more than just scaffolding for an incredible set piece. Written by the creator himself, George R.R. Martin, and directed by action specialist Neil Marshall, it gave war a human face, and its outcome real stakes. For every massive wildfire explosion, there was a quiet calm-before-the-storm conversation between warriors. For every battering-ram assault, there was a parent fearing for their child. And for every bold heroic charge, there was someone shattering under the strain. No episode was more spectacular, nor truer to the spirit of the series. If Game of Thrones were Led Zeppelin, “Blackwater” would be its “Stairway to Heaven.” Long may it burn.

Rob Sheffield revisits ‘Game of Thrones’ most gamechanging moments – from the Battle of the Bastards to the reddest wedding of them all. Watch here.

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