To help everyone make the most of their self-isolation, HBO has stepped up by offering up 500 hours of its original series, documentaries, as well as a few Hollywood blockbusters to stream for free. Among some of the original series offered up include the mob drama The Sopranos, and the political satire Veep. However, you can also catch up on its wildly popular sword-and-sorcery epic, Game of Thrones.
The series, which just concluded in April of 2019, spans several years of life in the fictional kingdom of Westeros. While the first several seasons are rife with political backstabbings and the all-consuming quest for power, it eventually brews toward a massive showdown between the living and the dead. Before resuming with a couple of episodes of squabbling amongst the living. Given that the show was a massive hit, and one of the most pirated TV shows of all time, it's never been (legally) available without ponying up for a subscription to HBO. In fact, all you need to do is sign up here.
For newcomers who are interested in the show, its eight-season run will definitely eat up some time. However, for those just looking for a quick rewatch, here are some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones.
"Baelor," S1, E9
After almost a full season of setting up an uneasy balance of power from King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) to his hand, Ned Stark (Sean Bean), things go dramatically off course. While Robert's son, Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) orders Ned to be executed for his crimes, it came as a huge shock to viewers — particularly those unfamiliar with George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series that it was based on. It also set an important precedent: any character, no matter how beloved or revered, was expendable.
"Blackwater," S2, E9
Throughout its run, each season of Game of Thrones would gradually ratchet up its scope, and Season 2's "Blackwater" was its first truly epic battle. As Robert's brother, Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) attempts to seize the Iron Throne for himself, he's pitted against the forces of King Joffrey, led by fan-favorite Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage).
"The Rains of Castamere" S3, E9
No matter how much Ned Stark's death came as a shock, nothing could prepare viewers for the absolute massacre that happens in "The Rains of Castamere," which is more commonly referred to as "The Red Wedding." It was a devastating moment of television — and one that rippled throughout the rest of the show's run.
"The Lion and the Rose," S4, E2
Game of Thrones often saved its most gut-wrenching moments for the ninth episode of its early seasons. But death can come for any character at any time, as viewers found out in "The Lion and the Rose," which found an already-unhappy wedding become a deadly affair. And one of the few times that karma seemed to catch up to its less likable characters.
"The Mountain and the Viper," S4, E7
The show's fourth season also introduced Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), a prince from the Kingdom of Dorne, who steps into some royal infighting as he agrees to fight for Tyrion in a trial by combat. Things seem to go his way at first, but once that changes, it becomes one of the most wince-inducing moments in the show's violent run.
"Hardhome," S5, E7
Another one of the show's increasingly-epic battles, "Hardhome" was the first time viewers saw just how formidable the armies of the dead were, particularly under the leadership of The Night King. After a frantic battle that claims many lives, it ends on a terrifying, ominous note, it forever changes Jon Snow's (Kit Harington) motivation throughout the rest of the series.
"The Door," S6, E5
In the show's sixth season, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) continues to explore his burgeoning magical powers and how they could be utilized in an upcoming fight against the armies of the dead. As things go wrong (they often do in Game of Thrones), it reveals both the tragic backstory — and even more tragic end — for the simple-minded Hodor (Kristian Nairn).
"The Battle of the Bastards," S6, E9
The showdown between Jon Snow and Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) was a long time coming for Game of Thrones fans. "Battle of the Bastards" not only showcases the sheer scale of a massive battle but the terrifying ugliness of battle. Albeit, it does have one satisfying ending.
"The Spoils of War," S7, E4
For years, viewers watched as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) nurtured her baby dragons into full-grown behemoths. By the time "The Spoils of War" rolled around, they were the size of commercial airplanes and wasted no time putting their destructive powers to use. It was a satisfying moment, and one that showed just how much the show's budget had grown from the early days.
"The Long Night," S8, E30comments
As the battle between the living and the dead grew ever closer, the show brought most of its characters together at Winterfell as they prepared for what was to come. However, before the big, brash battle, the episode took a breath, and followed each of the characters as they interacted with one another before facing (what many assumed would be) certain death.
It was a quiet, dialogue filled episode that was reminiscent of Game of Thrones' earliest days when it relied entirely on its characters before its big-budget battles ended up taking center stage.