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25 Greatest ‘Game of Thrones’ Moments

As enhanced editions of George R.R. Martin’s novels come to iBooks, we’re celebrating the most unforgettable ‘GoT’ scenes

When novelist-turned-screenwriter George R.R. Martin returned to the printed page to publish A Game of Thrones 20 years ago, he had a mission: write an epic fantasy too spectacular to be filmed. In a sense, he was successful. Game of Thrones, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' blockbuster adaptation of the Song of Ice and Fire series that the show's namesake novel kicked off, was too spectacular to be filmed – until the risk-taking, boundary-pushing New Golden Age of TV Drama made it possible. The result is, in every sense of the word, one of the biggest shows on television.

Now there's a version of the source material that's even bigger. Enhanced Editions of all five Ice and Fire novels to date – A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance With Dragonsare coming to Apple's iBooks Store, featuring interactive maps, family trees, annotations and more. To honor this maester-worthy event, we're counting down the 25 greatest moments in GoT history. From kisses to killings, baths to beheadings, shock endings to weddings of every color – these are the scenes and sequences that make Westeros the home of great storytelling.

The Mountain and the Viper

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8

The Mountain and the Viper

Season 4, Episode 8: "The Mountain and the Viper"
Played with swagger and style by Narcos' Pedro Pascal, Prince Oberyn Martell was the breakout star of the show's fourth season — horny, funny, and deadly in equal measure. The Red Viper had come to King's Landing to seek vengeance against House Lannister and its chief goon for their role in the death of his family back in the day. There's just one problem: Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, portrayed by world-class strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, is the biggest, scariest, toughest creep in the Seven Kingdoms. Just when it seemed the prince had defeated the behemoth, the Mountain rallied just long enough to confess his crimes … and crush the Viper's skull like a casaba melon. Gross even by GoT standards, the moment left us as shocked as the Imp.

The Night King Triumphant

HBO

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The Night King Triumphant

Season 5, Episode 8: "Hardhome"
You want an anti-war metaphor? How about a literal avalanche of bloodthirsty corpses raining down on humanity? That was the fate that befell the isolated village of Hardhome in an out-of-nowhere attack by the White Walkers and their undead army on those who'd gathered there in a last-ditch attempt to get everyone out of harm's way. But the truly stunning moment came after the fighting stopped and the few survivors, including Jon Snow, started drifting away on their boats. The Walkers' leader, the Night King, raised his arms – and every man, woman, and child who'd just died rose again, ready to kill. Accompanied only by the sound of the waves, this face-off between good and evil was the series at its epic-fantasy best.

'Hold the Door' Hodor

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‘Hold the Door’

Season 6, Episode 5: "The Door"
Nietzsche's warning that he who fights monsters may well become a monster himself has received more than its fair share of support here. But few things were more heartbreaking, and surprising, than what happened to young psychic Bran Stark and the towering, mentally disabled Hodor. Fleeing from a raid on the cave where the little lord was learning magic, Bran and his companions exited the cavern with the living dead just yards behind them. Thanks to the boy's telepathic time travel, his friend Meera Reed's plea to "hold the door" was psychically burned into the mind of a young servant named Willas decades earlier. His vocabulary was reduced to a shortened single-word version of the phrase: "Hodor." Through a cruel twist of fate, Stark could only live to help save humanity from the White Walkers by accidentally inflicting damage on an innocent man. The revelation was breathtakingly sad.

Mother of Dragons

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Mother of Dragons

Season 1, Episode 10: "Fire and Blood"
Stop for a second and think about the out-there image that both Game of Thrones and its namesake novel ended with: A nude young woman emerging from the ashes of her husband's funeral pyre, her body crawling with freshly hatched dragons. This iconic visual marked a major turning point in the life of Daenerys Targaryen, her followers, their society –and for us as well. It was a mainline injection of capital-f Fantasy, fantastic beasts and all. The ruthlessly realistic world of Westeros and its neighbors just got way more magical. And the Mother of Dragons got her name.

Bran Pushed Out the Window

HBO

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Bran Pushed Out the Window

Season 1, Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming"
"The things I do for love." Ask any reader of George R.R. Martin's first Song of Ice and Fire novel, and they'll likely tell you this was the moment that hooked them. A playful, good-hearted little boy stumbles across the queen fucking her own brother – then gets unceremoniously thrown by Jamie Lannister to what appears at first to be his death? This simply isn't done in fantasy, whether on the page or on the screen. But Martin went ahead and did it anyway. The show smartly ended its pilot with Bran Stark's fall, sending the message that anything could happen here, to anyone …