Even when it's not good, it's still pretty damn good. HBO's Game of Thrones recently passed the Sopranos as the network's most watched show, and the honour is well deserved- Game of Thrones continues to rivet its viewers to the screen week after week and inspire heated discussion over the fates of everyone's favourite characters. With the fourth season now at its close, there have been 40 episodes of the show aired, and while the series has its awesome jaw-dropping high points, it also has its low points, like Theon being tortured for a season and a half or Daenerys whining as she wanders around in the desert. This list will attempt to bring some order to the chaos and rank the episodes of Game of Thrones from worst to best, or from good to great. Feel free to say in the comments what disagreements you have with the list, and whether or not an episode has been criminally under or over ranked- but please do it kindly! And naturally, spoilers will occur. Without further ado, the episode taking the spot at the bottom of the pack as the worst hour of Game of Thrones ever is...
40. The Night Lands (Season 2 Episode 2)
The Night Lands is by no means a bad hour of TV, but its nowhere the near the best that Game of Thrones has to offer. During this episode, Tyrion Lannister is still in his early stint as Hand of the King and continues to shine in a position of power, especially in a threatening dialogue with Varys over Tyrion's whore Shae. Tyrion also exiles Janos Slynt, the City Watch commander who betrayed Ned Stark, to the Night's Watch and appoints Bronn as the new commander. Meanwhile in the less interesting parts of Westeros, Daenerys wanders the Red Waste doing nothing besides finding the severed head of one of her Dothraki followers. Jon Snow and the Night's Watch stay at Craster's Keep for the first time and Jon makes the discovery of White Walkers taking Craster's baby sons. Normally, this episode would just be a little less eventful than the rest of the show and not deserve a place at the bottom of the list, but the introduction of the supremely non-interesting Greyjoy plotline lands it at #40. Theon's attempt at feeling up his sister upon his return to the Iron Islands was just plain weird, and although his dilemma over sticking with his birth or adopted family makes you feel for him, that struggle doesn't kick off until later episodes, earning this one its place on the list.
39. What Is Dead May Never Die (Season 2 Episode 3)
Not much really happens in this episode, meaning it is only this low because so much happens in all of the others. During this hour we meet Renly Baratheon again, but this time as king, alongside his ally Brienne of Tarth and his queen Margaery Tyrell. Although these characters are a nice inclusion to the series and will go on to be a bigger part of the series, the episode that introduces them just doesn't have enough meat on its bones. In the North, Bran has weird dreams for yet another episode, Tyrion continues to be an absolute boss as Hand of the King, and Theon decides to side with his family and betray Robb Stark. The scenes in which Theon wrestles with his moral dilemma are very well acted, and Tyrion's deception in which he tells Littlefinger, Varys, and Grand Maester Pycelle three different things in order to determine which of them is a spy is a standout of the season. This episode is really just set-up, just like the episode before it, and suffers for that reason. However, the things that are set up by this episode go on to become awesome moments, so we really can't hold a grudge against it. For these reasons, What Is Dead May Never Die (awesome title by the way!) earns its place at #39.
38. The Prince Of Winterfell (Season 2 Episode 8)
Yet another mediocre episode of Season 2 is The Prince of Winterfell, mostly just setup for Stannis Baratheon's arrival in King's Landing in Episode 9. The rest of the episode is also setup in other places - Jon and Qhorin Halfhand begin fighting among the wildlings in order to convince them that Jon is a traitor, and Daenerys goes towards the House of the Undying in Qarth in order to recover her dragons. The things that elevate this episode above #40 and 39 are the revelation that Bran and Rickon Stark are alive after Theon supposedly killed them and the culmination of the story at Harrenhal. Tywin Lannister leaves the castle to go help King's Landing, leading to Arya frantically enlisting her Faceless Man friend Jaqen's help in order to escape with her friends. Arya gives Jaqen his own name as her third kill, causing Jaqen to agree to kill the entire group of guards and help Arya escape. This is a very cool scene both because of the action and the well-written dialogue between Arya and Jaqen.
37. Walk Of Punishment (Season 3 Episode 3)
In this episode, Jaime Lannister's hand is cut off. That may make you think that it should be higher on the list, but that is literally the only scene of note in an episode full of setup. In the other parts of Westeros, the Starks attend Hoster Tully's funeral, Tyrion is appointed Master of Coin, and Mance Rayder orders Jon Snow to climb the Wall alongside a group of wildlings. This episode earns its place at #37 because of that last scene, however - Jaime thinks that his captor might set him free because he would pay him, but then he is quickly tied down and gets his hand cut off. It's a very shocking moment that came utterly unexpected for those without prior knowledge of the books, and Jaime's character became very different following this event. As the show cuts to credits immediately after Jaime's hand is cut off, the music launches into the rock ballad "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", a tune that seems very at odds with the land of Westeros and thus providing a nice contrast to yet another scene of violence.
36. The Bear And The Maiden Fair (Season 3 Episode 7)
The Bear and the Maiden Fair is a decent hour of television, but once again, the fact that it is part of Game of Thrones hurts it in comparison to its fellow episodes since they are so epic. Honestly, one of the reasons it is this low is because of a horrible scene with Theon Greyjoy in which Ramsay castrates him. That storyline goes on for far too long and leaves way too little to the imagination, making most viewers groan whenever the show would give it precious screen time. The highlight of the episode is the living re-enactment of the song "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" by Jaime's former captors - they do this by giving Brienne a wooden sword and forcing her to fight a real live bear. In a scene that shows the Kingslayer's changed morals, he decides to return and come to Brienne's aid, clearly saving her life and making her captors release her. This episode also kicks off the show's best pairing when the Hound takes Arya Stark captive; the two characters' dynamic is great and they both learn from each other as the show goes on. This and the bear fight scene rescue the episode from complete boredom and elevate it to #36.
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