Summer may be starting, but winter is coming in little more than a month. That’s right, Game of Thrones season seven is almost upon us and we can’t wait to see what will happen to Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen and all of our favorite characters. With the series approaching its endgame, it looks like season seven will be its most epic yet. With book readers now in the dark just as much as non-book readers were these past six years, no one knows what to expect from the show. In fact, if Game of Thrones has taught us anything at all, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Over the course of six seasons, we have witnessed countless deaths from many cherished characters. We have awed at the sheer spectacle that the series brings. We have laughed, cried, cheered and gasped all along the way, sometimes all in the same episode. What Game of Thrones did best was subvert our expectations. It managed to shock us and surprise us, all at times when we least expected it. As we get ready to head back to Westeros, join us as CBR takes a look at 15 moments that made us scream at out televisions throughout the show’s six-year history.
SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for all six seasons of Game of Thrones.
15. ARYA GETS HER REVENGE
Arya Stark has been a fan-favorite character from her first appearance in the show’s pilot. She has been a character we have actively rooted for, thanks to her undying dedication to her family and her quest for vengeance against people we have come to loathe in the series’ six-year history — things she has never lost sight of, no matter the hardships or the obstacles in her path.
Which is why, after a long season of training with the Faceless Men, we openly cheered when Arya got to use her new found skills to kill Walder Frey, the man responsible for half of her family’s death. It was a scream of fulfillment that was only rivaled by the fear we felt creep up inside of us as we realized that Arya was becoming something else entirely… an agent of death.
14. “FOR THE WATCH.”
In a show that saw its fair share of fan-favorite characters and openly good guys get the short end of the stick time and again, Jon Snow was as safe as one could be in Game of Thrones. Sure, every protagonist we came to side with usually ended up dying, but Jon Snow was always on the safe side – the one we all thought the showrunners wouldn’t dare mess with.
And yet, in the closing moments of the season five finale, we saw Jon betrayed by his “brothers” in the Night’s Watch, every single one of them stabbing him for doing the right thing instead of honoring their code. We all had theories on how Jon Snow could still be alive and though he would ultimately return to life in season six, it didn’t stop us from openly cursing his fellow “brothers” when they murdered him.
13. WHENEVER A DIREWOLF DIES
The Stark children’s direwolves were introduced all the way back in the very first episode of the series as adorable little pups that melted our hearts. Soon they would grow, first to the size of dogs, then wolves, and then, even bigger. When they grew beyond the size of dogs, it would obviously be harder and harder for the show to have the direwolves on-screen. We all knew that, and we all understood why.
Still, it didn’t make it any easier to watch any of these direwolves die. First, Ned had to execute Sansa’s Lady himself. Then, Robb’s Grey Wind was brutally killed by arrows. Rickon’s Shaggydogg was killed by the Umbers and finally, Summer sacrificed himself so that Bran could escape from the Wights. Every single time, the death of a direwolf tore our hearts open. And with only two of them left, we openly fear for their safety.
12. THE RED VIPER GETS HIS SKULL CRUSHED
At a point when the series was bleeding good guys faster than we could recover, Oberyn Martell arrived to give us a new character to stack our chips on. He had the attitude and the moves and he didn’t flinch in front of anyone. He had a personal quest of vengeance fueling him against The Mountain, whom we all hated. He volunteered as champion to fight in Tyrion’s name, and that made us cheer him on.
We were sure his fight against the Mountain would be a spectacular one, a fight that would see him emerge victorious thanks to his fancy and handy moves with a spear. But we should have known that the other shoe would drop sooner rather than later. When victory was almost at hand, the tables turned, and The Mountain crushed the Red Viper’s skull with his bare hands, leaving us all screaming in desperation once again.
11. CERSEI KILLS… PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE SHE HATES
Cersei Lannister may not be anyone’s favorite character, what with all of the heinous things she has done over the course of six seasons, directly or indirectly. But still, Lena Headey has done a tremendous job in portraying her character as three-dimensional, to the point that we as an audience can sometimes find ourselves rooting for her. Such was the case when she was at the mercy of the High Sparrow.
We didn’t really know what to expect come the season finale of season six. Some fans had hopes and theories as to how Cersei would enact her revenge, but it was something else to actually see it unfold. The explosion in King’s Landing was absolutely shocking, made all the more brutal when we realized how many characters we knew were inside the Sept of Baelor when it exploded.
10. YGRITTE DIES IS JON’S ARMS
There isn’t much room for love in Game of Thrones. Whenever you might see the sparks of love flicker, they will quickly be extinguished by a vicious foot stomping on our hearts. And yet, while we knew better, we still allowed ourselves to be swept up by Jon Snow and Ygritte’s fateful romance, a push-and-pull relationship that spanned separate kingdoms and a giant Wall of ice.
Separated through extraneous circumstances, the two hadn’t left things on the best of terms, but there was still a palpable love between the two, one we hoped would one day return. But all of our hopes were savagely stomped on when Ygritte was shot by an arrow in front of Jon’s eyes. At that moment, there was a collective scream heard all around the world by Game of Thrones fans, and we were first among them.
In the closing moments of the season six finale, we were witnessing Daenerys Targaryen’s full army of ships, setting sail for Westeros, with her three, almost-fully grown and gigantic dragons. But before these dragons grew to their full size, before Daenerys was in control of her army, she was just a sole Dothraki queen, with almost nothing but her name.
We followed Daenerys through many hardships and ordeals, and this all lead her to this character-defining moment. Where Daenerys reached a point where she was ready to take the Unsullied as her own army and free the slaves of Astapor. And it all began with a single word: “Dracarys.” Drogon unleashed his flames, and Daenerys declared herself queen in a scene where many victorious expletives were let out by anyone who was watching.
8. THE PURPLE WEDDING
For the better part of three full seasons, Joffrey Baratheon was the character everyone hated the most on television. He was whiny and bratty at first and quickly grew to be immensely cruel. He was responsible for the suffering of so many characters we loved and the death of countless others. And in a show filled with the death of beloved characters, somehow Joffrey, against all odds and to much disdain, persisted.
But finally, when we had all but accepted that Joffrey wasn’t going anywhere, all of our praying and hoping was answered in the second episode of season four. After once more picking on beloved character Tyrion Lannister, Joffrey came to realize that his drink had been poisoned, and every fan out there let out a primal scream of unabashed joy that he had gotten what he had deserved for so long.
7. WHENEVER LITTLEFINGER IS ONSCREEN
Lord Petyr Baelish was a bit of a question mark early on in the first season of the series. He seemed to be on the side of our heroes, yet remained difficult to figure out. But the more we saw of him, the more we came to realize how devious he actually was. It has come to a point that Littlefinger can easily be seen as one of the most dangerous men in Westeros and one of the main antagonists of the show.
But for all of his trickery and secrets, not many characters are privy to his true goals. His allegiance is to himself alone, the rest be damned. And for that reason, the more we hear him speak, the more we know he is lying and manipulating, and that makes us shout “DON’T TRUST HIM!” whenever he is talking to a character we care about.
6. NED STARK’S EXECUTION
Back in season one, before most had read the books — and before people who had read the books took to spoiling things for non-readers — the main character we followed in the Game of Thrones journey was Ned Stark. An honorable man in a land without honor. A man who was just looking to do the right thing. Little did we know just what exactly Westeros was really like.
It was something we would learn the hard way. Because when we thought that the bad guys would be stopped, when we thought it was over for them, Ned got the rug pulled out from under him. Our main character, our hope for goodness to prevail, was executed in front of our eyes and we found out, unequivocally, that Game of Thrones would not be your typical television series.
5. THE BATTLE OF HARDHOME
“Winter is coming.” For five seasons, this was the warning. What we all heard. But come the eighth episode of Game of Thrones‘ fifth season, we finally saw winter arrive. We finally got to see why winter came with such a warning, why it was spoken with such gravity. After catching few glimpses of the White Walkers in action, we finally saw their full might revealed in “Hardhome.”
In the extended war sequence, we saw the Wights reveal their numbers, and we saw just how brutal and dangerous they were. We saw Jon and his friends try to survive a veritable onslaught of enemies, and we saw Jon use a dragonglass blade to kill one of them. And all of that ended with the reveal of the Night King, staring down Jon Snow to conclude a sequence that had us all exclaiming and shouting throughout.
4. SHIREEN BURNED AT THE STAKE
No one is safe in Game of Thrones. More or less. But even though we know that, sometimes we watchers can be foolish. Some characters, we come to realize, surely must be off-limits, right? Wrong. Such was the case with Shireen Baratheon. Never anyone’s favorite, never a main character, yet always endearing, sympathetic and sweet. So far away from the main conflicts that we never thought a horrible fate awaited her.
She was just a child, a young scarred princess that never wished ill will on anyone. Which is why, when her father, under Melissandre’s guidance, ordered his only daughter to be burned at the stake to guarantee his army’s safe passage in the snow, we were beyond horrified. The poor princess was tied to a pyre, and we screamed and cursed her father into oblivion.
3. THE RED WEDDING
After the world-shattering, series-defining death of then main character Ned Stark, we had found ourselves rooting for his son Robb Stark to avenge his father. And things were looking his way too, with solid victorious battles under his belt and a wedding to his love at the Freys’ castle. At this point in time, Robb’s was the story and quest we were the most invested in, along with his mother’s.
Book readers knew this one was coming. But whether you knew what would happen or not, there is no denying that seeing Walder Frey turn on his guests and order such a massacre of the Stark clan was a devastating scene to watch. Robb, his wife and unborn child, his mother Catelyn, his direwolf and all of his friends and allies were swiftly executed in a terrible betrayal that occurred during a time that was supposed to be joyous.
2. “HOLD THE DOOR.”
Hodor was a simpleton of a character. He only spoke one word — his own name — but he was devoted to Bran Stark, whom he was tasked with protecting. He was dependable and always there, a peripheral character to Bran’s own story. But over time, we grew immensely fond of Hodor thanks to his endearing mannerisms, his bravery and his strength.
What we didn’t know was how much we were attached to the character, until his final moments. It was something we hadn’t expected, and the way it occurred left us in complete shambles. Not only was his heroic sacrifice devastating, but also the added reveal that a time-traveling Bran was responsible for “creating” Hodor in the past — as he kept on repeating “Hold the door” until there was nothing but “Hodor” left — was enough to break us down completely.
1. RAMSEY GETS MAULED BY HIS DOGS
We never thought we would hate someone as much as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones. What we didn’t expect however, was a character we would come to loathe so much more than Joffrey. Such was the case of Ramsey Bolton, a character so vile and despicable that he quickly went up at the top of our list of characters who deserve a swift and terrible death.
The character grew even more powerful as time went on, to the point that he was one of the main antagonists of the series. But finally, we got our wish after Jon Snow defeated his army, beat him to a pulp and reclaimed his home of Winterfell. But Jon didn’t kill Ramsey. That honor belonged to Sansa Stark who, just like her sister at the top of this list, finally got to enact her revenge, and set Ramsey’s own hungry dogs loose.
What Game of Thrones moment made you lose it? Let us know in the comments!