Game of Thrones 10th Anniversary Special
Game of Thrones deals with the highest stakes on television. At any given moment, one of the main characters can die in the blink of an eye. We have seen countless characters come and go, whether we wanted them to or not. Because of the incredibly high stakes on the series, there are plenty of moments that are quite possibly the most satisfying in TV history. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most satisfying moments on the HBO series.
"Battle of the Bastards" episode of "Game of Thrones" and whiny boy-king Joffrey Baratheon's blubbering death by poison in the episode “The Lion and the Rose” was the most satisfying departure on the series. However, there are several other satisfying moments as well but these two episodes top them all.
Joffrey Baratheon, very possibly the most hated man in Westeros, met an untimely end at his wedding where he was poisoned by an unknown assailant, coughing and spluttering to death in the arms of Cersei Lannister. The King's mauve cheeks led to the scene being dubbed the 'Purple Wedding', a follow-up to season 3's rather more sanguine Red Wedding, which saw three Starks bumped off by the Lannisters.
Joffrey is not stabbed by a catspaw in a private moment or killed in the frenzy of battle in a death like the one Cersei tried to deliver to her brother Tyrion. He chokes to death, vomits, and hemorrhages out at his wedding, in front of hundreds of guests. Joffrey is not just killed: He is made ridiculous in death. I have no love for Joffrey Baratheon, who showed himself to be a petty tyrant, a sexual sadist, and a nasty example of what happens when boys are taught the world is theirs to command, all before he entered his third decade of life. But as Joffrey died in his mother’s arms, he looked terribly young and very small. For a boy to earn this sort of death before he grows to maturity is a horrible “achievement.” The cruelty Olenna Tyrell visits on Cersei Lannister is inextricable from the mercy she shows her granddaughter Margaery in sparing her a marriage to Joffrey.
“The Lion and the Rose” spends more than 24 minutes on Joffrey’s wedding, a remarkable piece of social theater. But cruelty is the real theme of the episode, rather than the rather more obvious lesson is that you never, ever want to go to a wedding in Westeros. It is for that reason that the episode begins with the only character on “Game of Thrones” who can situate Joffrey’s behavior on a continuum with other human beings: Ramsay Snow.
Ramsay, acted with tremendous power by Iwan Rheon, shares a taste for casual cruelty with Joffrey, though he has more leeway to indulge it. He hunts a woman through the woods for sport, telling her “your presence has become a bit of a problem.” But more than Joffrey, Ramsay understands the power of cruelty and pain to not just cow a person, but reshape them entirely. His father Roose Bolton may be a traitor to the Starks, descended from a line of men who flay their enemies, a teetotaler in an age where almost everyone is sedating themselves against the past or the present. But in this, Roose’s thinking is more conventional than his illegitimate son’s.
Ramsay may be mad — it is more comforting to think of him as insane than to believe that this is sanity — but he is not exaggerating the efficacy of his methods. And other characters turn to the same tools repeatedly during “The Lion and the Rose.” When Tyrion appeals to Shae’s safety and his love for her failure to get her to leave King’s Landing, he falls back on cruelty. “You’re a whore. Sansa is fit to bear my children and you are not. I can’t be in love with a whore. I can’t have children with a whore? How many men have you been with? 500? 5000?” Tyrion tells Shae, who is shocked by what he is telling her. But what comes after when she throws his sexual history back at him is even worse: “I have enjoyed my time with all of them, and I have enjoyed my time with you most of all. But now that time is over.”
"Battle of the Bastards" received immense critical acclaim, with several reviewers calling it a "masterpiece", and being praised as one of the series' best episodes as well as one of the greatest television episodes of all time. Critics described the battle in the North as "terrifying, gripping and exhilarating", Harington's performance received high praise, and Daenerys' reunion with her dragons at the beginning of the episode was deemed "thrilling”.
The main story arc follows Stark bastard Jon Snow as his army faces off against bastard Ramsay Bolton and his icky flayed-man banners in a fight to regain the Stark home of Winterfell. You can nearly smell the stench of bodies, fear, and blood during the tense battle scenes. But what we were waiting for was the ultimate answer as to which bastard survives: Snow or Bolton.
It wasn't surprising Bolton ends up dead, but the way his passing is delivered is one of the most stomach-turning and visceral moments ever delivered by a show that already revels in beheadings and blood spurts. It's not Jon Snow who ultimately presides over his exit. It's Snow's sister Sansa Stark, the woman who was wed to Bolton and horrifyingly mistreated by him.
What is it about a television character getting chewed on by large dogs that makes so many people so happy? Here's a quick reminder as to why Ramsay Bolton was the most hated man in Westeros: He raped Sansa. He stabbed his father. He murdered his half-brother. He castrated Theon Greyjoy. He killed young Rickon Stark with an arrow. His favorite hobby was feeding people to his starving dogs. And that's just part of his rap sheet.
"Game of Thrones" never shied away from taking beloved characters away from us. But George R.R. Martin and the TV series writers don't just take away, sometimes they give back. Ramsay's horrifying death was a gift to the fans, but it's also a gift to Sansa. She wears a hint of a smile as she walks away from her torture screams.
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