5 Shocking Game Of Thrones Episodes We’ll Never Forget

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With the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones about to premiere, fans are bracing for more of what the show does best: deliver shocking deaths of crucial characters. You can try to guess what will happen next, but if the show’s history is any indication, you should expect the unexpected. A complete list of Game of Thrones’ signature surprises would take days to compile, but here are the five episodes that left us in a state of shock.


5. Episode 4.2 – The Lion and the Rose

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While many of the shocks in Game of Thrones have caused viewers to grieve, the demise of Joffrey was cause for celebration among most of the show’s devoted fans. A consistently insufferable presence, he finally got the poisoning he deserved on his wedding day early in Season 4. It actually wasn’t the most shocking wedding in the show’s history, but it was the most satisfying.


4. Episode 6.5 – The Door

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There’s no shortage of talk in Game of Thrones, detailing all kinds of mythological and political complexity. Hodor bypassed all of that, thanks to his limited vocabulary consisting of only word: his own name. For whatever reason, his inarticulate nature added to his massive audience appeal, making his few additional words (“hold the door”) especially impactful in his final moments as he sacrifices his own life to save Bran and Meera.


3. Episode 1.9 – Baelor

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After seven seasons of Game of Thrones, it’s easy to forget just how little most viewers knew when the series unleashed its first devastating shock near the end of Season 1. While readers of the novels saw even some of the most shocking deaths coming from a mile away, those introduced to Ned Stark on TV were utterly dumbfounded when he was brutally beheaded—and nobody awoke from a dream to erase this alarming development.


2. Episode 5.10 – Mother’s Mercy

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By the time Season 5 concluded, even the most innocent Game of Thrones fan knew that any character could die at any moment, but you can never anticipate the precise circumstances. This is an extreme understatement when it comes to the death of Jon Snow, who was viciously betrayed by his inner circle. In retrospect, Jon’s Season 6 return dulls the impact of his death, but if you tuned in to watch “Mother’s Mercy” on June 14, 2015, there’s a good chance it took you a few days to recover.


1. Episode 3.9 – The Rains of Castamere

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No show has ever gone further with the potential of violently dysfunctional family dynamics than Game of Thrones. For proof of this, look no further than the notorious “Red Wedding” that occurred late in Season 3. If you promise to marry one of Walder Frey’s daughters, you better follow through. In “The Rains of Castamere,” Robb Stark learns this the hard way—when Walder murders him, his mother, and his pregnant wife.

The final season of Game of Thrones premieres Sunday on HBO Canada.