Who will win? Who will die? Who will die and then win, after being resurrected by dark and terrible magic? All will be revealed soon, as the epic saga of Game of Thrones finally comes to an end — and the last man (or woman or White Walker) standing finally takes their seat on the Iron Throne.
But while we’re looking forward to the thrilling denouement to come, Us Weekly is also looking back at the drama, intrigue, betrayal, vengeance and naked walks of shame that have made Game of Thrones so compulsively watchable from the very start. Below, we’ve round up the ten most memorable moments from the past seven seasons.
Many years ago, in the young and innocent days of its very first season, Game of Thrones marched Ned Stark (Sean Bean) onto the executioner’s scaffold — a predicament which didn’t worry us at all, because everyone knew he would be just fine. After all, Ned Stark was the series’ hero! And you can’t just kill the her – OH, they chopped off his head.
Daenerys Burns It Down
From the moment Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) walked into a bonfire and emerged unburnt with three baby dragons on her shoulder, you knew that fire would be the woman’s weapon of choice. Sometimes she had help from her dragons, but when it came to seizing control of the entire Dothraki army, Daenerys torched the Khals all on her own before emerging nude and ringed by fire to take command.
The Death of Oberyn Martell
In a series where horrific deaths are a dime a dozen, this one — in which the Mountain gouges out Martell’s (Pedro Pascal) eyes with his bare hands before popping the man’s skull like a grape — stands out for its pure brutality.
The Purple Wedding
After a short reign of terror on the Iron Throne, small blond sociopath Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) was memorably, grotesquely vanquished at – where else? – his own wedding by a potent poison. The kicker: a bonus runner-up moment when Lady Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) revealed that she was the one who’d dosed him, stating, “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”
Leave it to Game of Thrones to put the villainous Cersei Lannister (Lena Heady) through an ordeal so horrific that you could almost feel sorry for her. After being held captive and tortured by the leader of King’s Landing’s premiere religious cult, Cersei was allowed to go home — but only on foot, butt naked, while being pelted with lettuce and excrement as a lemon-faced old septa called out, “Shame! Shame!”
A Lannister always pays her debts — or collects them. And after that whole paraded-naked-in-the-streets incident, it was only a matter of time before Cersei got vengeance on those who’d wronged her by collecting them all in the local sept and then blowing the whole place sky-high. BOOM.
The Battle of the Bastards
This epic showdown between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) was one of the most anticipated moments of the entire series, and it didn’t disappoint. After reclaiming control of Winterfell from Roose Bolton’s sadistic bastard son, Jon left Ramsay’s fate in the hands of his soon-to-be-widow, Sansa (Sophie Turner) — who taught us that revenge is a dish best served piping hot and in a dog food bowl.
Hold the Door
The life of every Game of Thrones fan can be divided into two distinct stages: the time before you understood the true meaning of “Hodor,” and the time after. Rest in peace, big guy.
The Night King Cometh
For all the havoc wreaked in Westeros by families feuding for the throne, this moment was a chilling reminder that an even larger threat lurks beyond the Wall. After launching an invasion at Hardhome and turning nearly every human being into a zombified wight, the Night King’s cold and wordless challenge to Jon Snow is the stuff that nightmares are made of.
The Red Wedding
Still not over it.
The Game of Thrones returns with its final season on HBO Sunday, April 14, at 9 p.m. ET.
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