Game of Thrones

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Photo: HBO

Few series have as valid a claim as Game of Thrones to the title of Defining Show of the 2010s. Coming at both the tail end of TV’s Second Golden Age and the advent of the social media age, it was one of the final vestiges of the monoculture: Every week, millions of viewers across demographics were united — and often divided — in their speculation over the battle for the Iron Throne, the looming threat beyond the Wall, and the many human dramas, both petty and profound, in between.

Over the course of eight seasons, Game of Thrones invited no small amount of criticism and controversy, culminating in a divisive final season that strayed considerably (by necessity) from the foundation provided by George R.R. Martin’s still-unfinished A Song of Ice and Fire book saga. But even that maligned final chapter can’t tarnish the series’ legacy as the pinnacle of Peak TV, a moment of utter cultural dominance the likes of which we may never see again — unless Targaryen-centric prequel series House of the Dragon, the first of a planned five “successor shows,” proves that lightning can indeed strike twice.

  1. Episode 10 Fire and Blood
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Newbie and a Superfan Debate the Season Finale Can the season finale possibly keep up with last week’s major developments?
  2. Episode 9 Baelor
  3. Episode 8 The Pointy End
  4. Episode 7 You Win or You Die
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Newbie and a Superfan Debate the Westeros Honor Code Who knew prostitution lessons could be so illuminating?
  5. Episode 6 A Golden Crown
  6. Episode 5 The Wolf and the Lion
  7. Episode 4 Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things
  8. Episode 3 Lord Snow
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Newbie and a Superfan Debate Whether Winter Is Coming And who’s better at sword fighting: Jon? Or Arya?
  9. Episode 2 The Kingsroad
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Superfan and a Newbie Debate Who to Root For What do the characters want? Something! When do they want it? Eventually!
  10. Episode 1 Winter Is Coming
    Is Game of Thrones for Newbies or Superfans? A Post-Show Debate A newbie and a superfan debate the premiere.
  1. Episode 10 Valar Morghulis
    Game of Thrones Recap: These Bad People Last night’s season finale spread its arms wide to catch a lot of falling balls, then tossed them all back in the air.
  2. Episode 9 Blackwater
    Game of Thrones Recap: The Rains Weep O’er His Hall We always knew we were going to get a big, ass-kicking battle in this episode, and director Neil Marshall did not disappoint.
  3. Episode 8 The Prince of Winterfell
    Game of Thrones Recap: Westeros in Love Last night’s episode established romantic love — and its cousin, chivalry — as forces to be reckoned with.
  4. Episode 7 A Man Without Honor
    Game of Thrones Recap: Young Men With Big Jobs Surprisingly, Theon Greyjoy has become the heart of the show.
  5. Episode 6 The Old Gods and the New
    Game of Thrones Recap: Let He Who Dealt It At this point, the values espoused by dear old Ned Stark have been pretty thoroughly dismantled.
  6. Episode 5 The Ghost of Harrenhal
    Game of Thrones Recap: Brother Against Brother We’ve reached the halfway point of season two, and suddenly there’s one fewer person clashing for the Iron Throne.
  7. Episode 4 Garden of Bones
    Game of Thrones Recap: The High Road’s Very Pretty Congratulations, Melisandre! Your baby Dementor is adorable.
  8. Episode 3 What Is Dead May Never Die
    Game of Thrones Recap: How Do You Sleep? Oh, just another Sunday night, watching a kid get knifed in the throat.
  9. Episode 2 The Night Lands
    Game of Thrones Recap: Try Smiling With Your Lips Closed In which we are introduced to yet another piece of Westeros — the Iron Islands.
  10. Episode 1 The North Remembers
    Game of Thrones Recap: Upping the Ante on Shocking Violence Welcome back to Westeros, where women are strong, men are good-looking, and children live under constant threat of impalement.
  1. Episode 10 Mhysa
    Game of Thrones Season Finale Recap: The Morning After And so we bring the third season to a close.
  2. Episode 9 The Rains of Castamere
  3. Episode 8 Second Sons
    Game of Thrones Recap: Weddings and White Walkers Weddings, for all their joy and spangle, have a way of bringing out the worst in people.
  4. Episode 7 The Bear and the Maiden Fair
    Game of Thrones Recap: What’s Love Got to Do With It? Love unspools in many ways in Westeros, as last night’s episode made clear.
  5. Episode 6 The Climb
    Game of Thrones Recap: Chaos Is a Ladder Or a pit. It’s one of them.
  6. Episode 5 Kissed by Fire
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Song of Ass and Fire Last night’s episode was tied together by some key visual motifs: flames and, uh, butts.
  7. Episode 4 And Now His Watch Is Ended
    Game of Thrones Recap: Here Are My Dragons! After three hours of listless flitting, Game of Thrones let fly last night with a tight, rip-roaring belch of fiery goodness.
  8. Episode 3 Walk of Punishment
    Game of Thrones Recap: There Are No Masters in the Grave This episode was all over the place — until that very last scene.
  9. Episode 2 Dark Wings, Dark Words
    Game of Thrones Recap: The Raven Is You We catch up with everyone else and Diana Rigg shows up as the Dowager Countess of Westeros.
  10. Episode 1 Valar Dohaeris
  1. Episode 10 The Children
  2. Episode 9 The Watchers on the Wall
    Game of Thrones Recap: From the Wildlings to the Wall The mighty Wall is a fragile pane of ice separating society from chaos.
  3. Episode 8 The Mountain and the Viper
    Game of Thrones Recap: Quit While You’ve a Head Trial by combat time, and Oberyn did his best Cirque du Soleil impression of Inigo Montoya.
  4. Episode 7 Mockingbird
    Game of Thrones Recap: I Believe I Can Fly There were a number of moments last night that felt downright uplifting, given how grim this show is.
  5. Episode 6 The Laws of Gods and Men
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Great Reckoning for a Little Man It was great to see Peter Dinklage come roaring back to life in this episode.
  6. Episode 5 First of His Name
    Game of Thrones Recap: Wargs and Weird Relations Another glimpse at the insanity behind the Moon Door.
  7. Episode 4 Oathkeeper
    Game of Thrones Recap: Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue In last night’s episode, the Game of Thrones creators revealed the answers to two mysteries that lingered from last week.
  8. Episode 3 Breaker of Chains
  9. Episode 2 The Lion and the Rose
  10. Episode 1 Two Swords
    Game of Thrones Season Premiere Recap: Steel Yourself The stage has been reset following the Red Wedding.
  1. Episode 10 Mother’s Mercy
    Game of Thrones Season 5 Finale Recap: Facing the Music Through many of the story lines, there was a sense that what we were seeing was the consequence of past actions.
  2. Episode 9 The Dance of Dragons
    Game of Thrones Recap: It Will All Be Over Soon Game of Thrones explored some new emotional territory.
  3. Episode 8 Hardhome
    Game of Thrones Recap: Between a Wight and a Hardhome It feels odd to describe a relentless 15-minute action scene as luxurious, but that’s how it felt.
  4. Episode 7 The Gift
    Game of Thrones Recap: The Turning Point Several plotlines build to points we’ve seen coming for a while now.
  5. Episode 6 Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
    Game of Thrones Recap: I Am Sansa Stark This is the self that Sansa has been building to, step by step, for nearly a season now.
  6. Episode 5 Kill the Boy
    Game of Thrones Recap: Not a Boy, Not Yet a Man Moms — silly mamas, mean mamas, dead but loving mama bears — were all over the place.
  7. Episode 4 Sons of the Harpy
    Game of Thrones Recap: Get Back to Where You Once Belonged What sinister fate lies ahead for the cutest little button-face in all of the North?
  8. Episode 3 The High Sparrow
    Game of Thrones Recap: New Identities Big changes are in store for the Stark children.
  9. Episode 2 The House of Black and White
    Game of Thrones Recap: Ditch the Script What do you do when all your plans fall apart — when you, in essence, run out of script?
  10. Episode 1 The Wars to Come
    Game of Thrones Season 5 Premiere Recap: Jockeying for Power The mere sight of two girls walking alone through dense, black woods probably triggered that anticipatory stomach burble you’ve been missing these past ten months.
  1. Episode 10 The Winds of Winter
    Game of Thrones Season Finale Recap: Winter Is Here A very fine season ends with bloodshed, an explosive coup, and thorny questions about faith.
  2. Episode 9 Battle of the Bastards
    Game of Thrones Recap: Bastard vs. Bastard Jon Snow, Ramsay Bolton: Let’s get ready to rumble.
  3. Episode 8 No One
    Game of Thrones Recap: A Girl Is Arya Stark Arya’s final battle with the Waif is absurdly satisfying.
  4. Episode 7 The Broken Man
    Game of Thrones Recap: The Dog of War “The Broken Man” drops two big surprises, but it’s not as strong as previous episodes.
  5. Episode 6 Blood of My Blood
    Game of Thrones Recap: Moral Victories Yes, a girl has a name.
  6. Episode 5 The Door
    Game of Thrones Recap: Holding the Door Hodor? Hodor. Hodor, hodor, hodor.
  7. Episode 4 Book of the Stranger
    Game of Thrones Recap: So I Will Breaker of Chains. Mother of Dragons. Starter of Colossal Fires.
  8. Episode 3 Oathbreaker
    Game of Thrones Recap: End of Watch Does Game of Thrones believe in God?
  9. Episode 2 Home
    Game of Thrones Recap: Eyes Wide Open Despite a happy surprise, “Home” quite literally goes to the dogs.
  10. Episode 1 The Red Woman
    Game of Thrones Season Premiere Recap: The Gray Lady Jon Snow is still dead, but there’s a big surprise in store for another character.
  1. Episode 7 The Dragon and the Wolf
    Game of Thrones Season 7 Finale Recap: The Sense of an Ending What kind of story will Game of Thrones ultimately be?
  2. Episode 6 Beyond the Wall
    Game of Thrones Recap: Dragon Ex Machina After a devastating tragedy, Daenerys and Jon move toward an alliance.
  3. Episode 5 Eastwatch
    Game of Thrones Recap: Choosing Sides Alliances in Westeros are more fraught than ever.
  4. Episode 4 The Spoils of War
    Game of Thrones Recap: Sibling Revelry “The Spoils of War” sets up delicious new tensions to unravel.
  5. Episode 3 The Queen’s Justice
    Game of Thrones Recap: Reunions and Farewells Lady Olenna doesn’t need Valyrian steel to slay.
  6. Episode 2 Stormborn
    Game of Thrones Recap: The Fullness of Time If Arya returns to Winterfell, will she also return to her hopeful self?
  7. Episode 1 Dragonstone
    Game of Thrones Season-Premiere Recap: The North Remembers A rich beginning to what’s sure to be an exciting season.
  1. Episode 6 The Iron Throne
    Game of Thrones Series Finale Recap: Broken Many died playing this game of thrones, but no one really won.
  2. Episode 5 The Bells
    Game of Thrones Recap: It Tolls for Thee A massively uneven, occasionally brilliant episode drags down not one but two queens.
  3. Episode 4 The Last of the Starks
    Game of Thrones Recap: Worst Laid Plans Did everyone suffer a collective knock on the head and forget what happened the last time a fleet of Targaryen soldiers sailed down south?
  4. Episode 3 The Long Night
    Game of Thrones Recap: Not Today The biggest battle of the series weaves intricate patterns around every character we know and love before giving us the deus ex machina we deserve.
  5. Episode 2 A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
    Game of Thrones Recap: And Now Our Watch Has Begun The long night before the Long Night begins, complete with too much booze, some unexpected singing, and a glorious act of redemption.
  6. Episode 1 Winterfell
    Game of Thrones Season Premiere Recap: Family Reunion We return to where this whole saga began in a homecoming episode packed with a bunch of reunions, a couple of dragons, and one big family secret.
  1. star market
    Who Won Game of Thrones (the Pop Culture Phenomenon)? The fantasy series was gold for nearly every person, place, and broadcaster involved. But who came out on top?
  2. vulture lists
    Every Game of Thrones Episode, Ranked We swear it by the old gods and the new.
  3. close reads
    Why Game of Thrones Ends With a New Beginning “The Iron Throne” invites us to imagine unwritten futures for the Starks.
  4. oral history
    An Oral History of Game of Thrones, As Told By Its Bit Players “Do you know how they keep cattle? That’s sort of how they keep us.”
  5. obits
    The Most Upsetting Game of Thrones Death Was the Show Itself And we couldn’t look away.
  6. game of thrones
    What’s West of Westeros? Arya Stark ended her Game of Thrones journey by sailing into the Sunset Sea, which has a long history of swallowing up anyone who tries to cross it.
  7. spoilers
    Tyrion Lannister Was the Real Winner of the Game of Thrones Finale In the end, everything happened because of Tyrion.
  8. game of thrones
    Our Lingering Questions About the Game of Thrones Series Finale Our watch has ended, but our questions have not.
  9. close reads
    The Tragedy of Daenerys Targaryen No matter how Game of Thrones ends, the Dragon Queen’s downfall really hurts.
  10. close reads
    Cersei Lannister Deserved Better So that’s really it for one of the best villains on television?
  11. vulture lists
    The 12 Best Game of Thrones Battles, Ranked Cry havoc and let slip the dragons of war.
  12. close reads
    Game of Thrones Did Brienne and Missandei Dirty “The Last of the Starks” is full of depressing beats for the show’s female characters.
  13. backstories
    How Game of Thrones Made ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’ So Emotional Writing Winterfell’s last night before battle, from Arya and Gendry’s hookup to Brienne’s knighthood.
  14. close reads
    The Horror of Game of Thrones Goes Way Beyond Jump Scares Underneath all the zombies lurks something much more intimately terrifying.
  15. endings
    A Complete Guide to Everything That Happened on Game of Thrones Reliving seven seasons of beheadings, recastings, and internet controversy.
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