With HBO’s House of the Dragon set to air in 2022, many fans may have the urge to catch back up on the world and characters of the original before delving into the new series, which takes place around two centuries before Game of Thrones begins.
With Game of Thrones comprising of over seventy episodes, fans looking to focus just on the important parts would do well to take note of a few particular episodes. While they may not be the best in the series, they feature elements of worldbuilding and themes that may play a large role in House of the Dragon.
10 Season 1, Episode 1: Winter Is Coming Sets Up The Show Perfectly
Few first episodes of a series manage to capture to essence of a show as perfectly as the first episode of Game of Thrones, “Winter is Coming.” It introduces many of the most important families, such as the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens, as well as setting up some of the major conflicts in the early seasons.
For those looking to get back into Game of Thrones or just to brush up on the major players, there is no better place to start than the beginning. It is also the perfect reminder of just how innocents the Starks were before they went south and learned how dangerous the game really was.
9 Season 1, Episode 10: Fire & Blood Shows The Return Of The Dragons
House of the Dragon, which will focus heavily on House Targaryen and their dragons, will be set in a much different era than that of Game of Thrones. In the latter, the dragons all died out over a century before the show begins, long before the Targaryens lost their throne.
The final episode of Season One changes all that, however. In “Fire and Blood,” Daenarys Targaryen, seemingly the last living member of her house, walks into the funeral pyre of her husband Khal Drogo with the intention of sacrificing herself. She instead emerges unscathed, with the three petrified dragon eggs she carried with her having hatched into living, breathing creatures.
8 Season 2, Episode 5: The Ghost Of Harrenhal Introduces Several Important Concepts
Season 2 continues to ramp up the conflicts between the various individuals fighting in the wake of Robert’s death, including his two brothers, Renly and Stannis. During the episode, two major elements of worldbuilding are introduced — the magic of Melisandre as she produces the Shadow that would go on to kill Renly and the dangerous nature of Jaqen H’ghar.
“The Ghost of Harrenhal” goes a long way towards building up the strange and mysterious magic in Game of Thrones, which is rarely shown but plays a subtle and important part in the world. It also gives a further look at Harrenhal, a castle that has played an important part in the history of Westeros — including during the Dance of Dragons.
7 Season 2, Episode 9: Blackwater Depicts The Brutal Nature Of War
One of the most exciting episodes in the early seasons was “Blackwater,” which depicted one of the largest battles on television ever at the time. It also showed just how terrifying war was in the world of Game of Thrones — and how quickly the tides can turn.
“Blackwater” is important not only because of the battle that takes place during the episode, but where this battle takes place. King’s Landing is the most important city in all of Westeros and will no doubt play an important part in House of the Dragon. King’s Landing is sure to be a prize for both sides fighting in the war between the Targaryens.
6 Season 3, Episode 9: The Rains Of Castamere Was One Of The Most Shocking Moments In Television
Few moments in television history manage to capture the truly brutal and shocking nature of betrayal quite like that of “The Rains of Castamere.” Though fans of the books may have been expecting the events of the Red Wedding, many viewers were left both stunned and horrified as the events of the episode unfolded.
It is in “The Rains of Castamere” more than any other episode that fans began to truly understand just how unforgiving Game of Thrones would be towards its protagonists. Game of Thrones depicted Robb in many ways as a traditional hero, yet that was all taken away in the most vicious of ways by the end of the episode.
5 Season 4, Episode 2: The Lion & The Rose Shows Just How Cutthroat The Game Of Thrones Is
After “The Rains of Castamere” fans were in need of some revenge, and Season 4’s second episode would give it to them. The event known as the Purple Wedding among fans was both satisfying and horrifying in equal measure, but also showed that the antagonists were not immune to the machinations of those playing the game.
“The Lion and The Rose” also helps develop the power dynamics between some of the major houses, such as the Tyrells and Lannisters, which will also play an important part in House of the Dragon, though it may feature families that received little attention in Game of Thrones.
4 Season 5, Episode 8: Hardhome Demonstrates The Terrifying Nature Of The White Walkers
The threat of the White Walkers was a pervasive element throughout much of the early seasons, but this particular plotline really began ramping up towards the midpoint of the show. “Hardhome” was one of the best examples of that, showing just how dangerous the threat of these frigid monsters was.
While the White Walkers may have just been seen as a myth during the time of the Dance of Dragons, it is an important part of the worldbuilding surrounding Westeros and demonstrates that the magic in the world created by George R.R. Martin is more often dangerous and harmful than of any good.
3 Season 7, Episode 6: Beyond The Wall Displays The Power Of The Night King
While some parts of the final seasons may have begun to feel somewhat predictable, “Beyond the Wall” was a big departure from the expected. Fans elated to see Daenarys arrive to save Jon and his companions from the Night King would soon be devastated and horrified at the events that would transpire.
“Beyond The Wall” would go a long way towards showing just how dangerous the Night King was and how much of a threat he would be in the final seasons. It also showed that the dragons were not the invincible creatures they may have seemed to be, something that will no doubt be important to remember in House of the Dragon.
2 Season 8, Episode 3: The Long Night Brings The Threat Of The White Walkers To A Climax
While some fans may have had complaints about the way the battle at Winterfell was depicted, its importance to Game of Thrones cannot be understated. It was in this episode that not only would one of the most important plotlines come to its end, but it also featured some of the darkest moments in the show — both literally and figuratively.
“The Long Night” is also one of the truly great moments of success for the protagonists and while at this point in Game of Thrones it may have seemed obvious that they would somehow find success, they still managed to add the tension and sense of danger for the heroes that Game of Thrones was known for.
1 Season 8, Episode 5: The Bells Shows The True Nature Of The Targaryens
Perhaps the most contentious episode in the entire run of Game of Thrones, “The Bells” saw the Mother of Dragons turn from a heroic figure to a villain. While there may have been hints of her descending into this role, many fans found this change in character both unexpected and disappointing.
Within the greater context of the lore, however, this sudden change does have some merit. It is well-known that the Targaryens tend towards madness, leading to the saying of how every time a Targaryen is born, the gods toss a coin to see whether they will turn towards madness or greatness, something that will certainly be an important part of House of the Dragon.