‘Game of Thrones’ Turns 10: Revisit These 17 Essential Episodes

game of thrones season 8 episode 2 emilia clarke kit harington
Helen Sloan/HBO

Winter has come and gone, but Westeros’s stories will live in the hearts of Game of Thrones viewers forever.

Whether it was an enjoyable viewing experience throughout all eight seasons or not, there’s no denying that the HBO fantasy series delivered some definite gems over the years. From fantastical battles to heartbreaking deaths, there are a few episodes that stand out from the crowd.

All the 'Game of Thrones' Spinoffs Currently in the Works at HBO and HBO MaxSee Also

All the 'Game of Thrones' Spinoffs Currently in the Works at HBO and HBO Max

In light of George R.R. Martin's just-announced deal with the network, it's time to take a look at the canon to come.

Celebrating 10 years since its Season 1 premiere in April 2011, it’s the perfect time to reflect on Game of Thrones‘ impact by catching up on some of its best installments. Below, we’re rounding up some of the essential episodes worth a revisit. And since we can’t list all of the essentials, let us know what your favorite installments are in the comments section.

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HBO

"Baelor" (Season 1, Episode 9)

In a twist that some viewers didn’t see coming, the apparent lead character, Ned Stark (Sean Bean) faces extreme consequences after agreeing to plead guilty to treason for “wrongfully” accusing that Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) wasn’t a rightful air to the Iron Throne.

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HBO

"Fire and Blood" (Season 1, Episode 10)

What’s more iconic than the show’s high-flying dragons? Perhaps this episode, which sees the hatching of Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, making Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) known forevermore as the Mother of Dragons.

Game of Thrones Blackwater Peter Dinklage Jack Gleeson
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"Blackwater" (Season 2, Episode 9)

In one of the show’s first major battles, Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) fleet attacks King’s Landing in a bid to reclaim the Iron Throne. The spectacle features wildfire, fighting on land, and sea, as well as the kind of chaotic moments that make way for life-altering decisions, like Sansa’s (Sophie Turner) decision to stay behind despite The Hound’s (Rory McCann) offer to escort her to Winterfell.

Game of Thrones Daenerys Season 2
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"Valar Morghulis" (Season 2, Episode 10)

A lot goes down in this episode which sees Theon (Alfie Allen) take control of Winterfell, Arya (Maisie Williams) and crew escape Harrenhal with the help of Jaquen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), and so much more. But it’s probably Daenerys’s trippy experience at the House of the Undying in Qarth.

Game of Thrones Season 3 Emilia Clarke Nathalie Emmanuel
HBO

"And Now His Watch Is Ended" (Season 3, Episode 4)

There’s one scene in this episode that’s enough reason to revisit when Daenerys takes control of the Unsullied Army. Her wits work in her favor as she “gives up” one of her dragons in exchange for the troops, her full intention is to keep both for herself. Plus, we get a peek into Beric Dondarrion’s (Richard Dormer) abilities when he faces off against the Hound.

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HBO

"The Rains of Castamere" (Season 3, Episode 9)

Otherwise known as the Red Wedding episode, “The Rains of Castamere” will forever be known as one of Thrones‘ most iconic. Relive every jaw-dropping second from the ill-fated affair featuring Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Robb (Richard Madden), and Talisa (Oona Chaplin) and see what’s in store as this finale episode sets up several character’s paths for the next chapter in Season 4.

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

During the show’s run, there were few villains as hated by viewers as Joffrey Baratheon, which made his wedding to Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) an occasion to witness. Apart from the familial tensions between the Lannisters, Joffrey’s poisonous toast is something to be… celebrated?

Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage Season 4
HBO

"The Children" (Season 4, Episode 10)

From Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) encounter with the Three-Eyed Raven to Brienne’s (Gwendoline Christie) battle with the Hound, there’s plenty of action happening in this installment but the most memorable scene goes to Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Tywin (Charles Dance) who have an interesting heart-to-heart conversation in the privy.

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"Hardhome" (Season 5, Episode 8)

Sure, the Night King and the White Walkers may not have amounted to much by the end of the series, but nothing was more terrifying than when it was learned he could reanimate dead wights. After attempting to recruit a Wildling army, Jon (Kit Harington) and Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) are forced to make a quick escape that still has our hearts pounding.

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"The Dance of Dragons" (Season 5, Episode 9)

Stannis makes a final bid for the Iron Throne and allows red witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to commit an atrocity by burning his only living daughter Shireen (Kerry Ingram) for the sake of his own advancement. It doesn’t take long for him to realize that it won’t help him win the war, but it will take you a while to recover.

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HBO

"Home" (Season 6, Episode 2)

After being fatally stabbed in the Season 5 finale, fans patiently (or not so patiently) waited to learn about Jon Snow’s fate. This episode finally answers that question and much more. Plus, Sansa finally escapes the clutches of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Bran learns about his family history from the Three-Eyed Raven (portrayed by guest star Max von Sydow).

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HBO

"The Door" (Season 6, Episode 5)

A heartbreaking story unfolds as viewers discover the inspiration behind Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) name and his constant repeated phrase. His valiant efforts to protect the youngest Stark sons hits an all-time high in this installment which also reveals an explanation for why the White Walkers were created in the first place.

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HBO

"Battle of the Bastards" (Season 6, Episode 9)

Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton lead the charges against one another in an episode of epic proportions, featuring battles so real looking it’s still hard to believe it’s just TV. Thankfully the Starks prevail and Sansa gets a brief moment of pleasure from watching Ramsay meet his much-deserved ending.

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HBO

"The Winds of Winter" (Season 6, Episode 10)

Set to face a trial at the Sept of Baelor, Cersei (Lena Headey) pulls a devious trick by orchestrating a trap and sparking a wildfire explosion beneath the structure. Her plans destroy the Sept and everyone within it including Margaery Tyrell and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). The move certainly cements Cersei’s spot as one of TV’s best villains. Plus, Arya uses her newfound skills as an assassin to exact sweet revenge on Walder Frey (David Bradley) for having her brother and mother killed at the Red Wedding.

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"The Queen's Justice" (Season 7, Episode 3)

It’s the episode where Daenerys and Jon Snow meet face to face for the first time, and things aren’t too warm between the leaders. While they try to come to some kind of mutual understanding, Cersei exacts revenge on Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) for killing her daughter Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free). Plus, Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) has a secret of her own to share with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

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"The Dragon and the Wolf (Season 7, Episode 7)

While it’s wild to see the Lannisters, Jon Snow, and the Mother of Dragons all in one place, that does not even come close to the confrontation happening at Winterfell. As usual, Lord Baelish (Aidan Gillen) thinks he can create chaos and go unpunished, but Arya, Sansa, and Bran know better as they make Littlefinger pay for his many crimes.

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HBO

"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" (Season 8, Episode 2)

On the eve of The Battle of Winterfell, most of the show’s characters come together for an evening of conversation, closure, and more. Whether you were a fan of Season 8 or not, it’s hard to find fault in this relatively sweet entry. If you got through Brienne’s knighting ceremony with dry eyes, then maybe it’s not for you…