The Most Underrated Episodes of ‘Game of Thrones’

The long night is here and revisiting some of lesser discussed episodes of  ‘Game of Thrones’ can be a good way to pass the time.
Game Of Thrones Episodes Golden Crown
By  · Published on April 13th, 2018

Each spring since 2011 has signaled Game of Thrones season. With the new and final season not premiering until 2019, Thrones fans everywhere are finding ways to fill the void that is a spring season with no Game of Thrones

For all of its gore, violence, and dark storylines Game of Thrones can make for an interesting rewatch which is not something a whole lot of dramas can say. All of the intricate character connections and political intrigue can be better understood after a second or even third viewing. The material is rich enough that infinite viewings may not even be enough to catch everything depending on what perspective your bringing to the show, whether you’re analyzing it as a book reader, or as a historian trying to catch all of the references, or a casual fan just looking to relive the enjoyment from the first time you watched the series. All of this in part is what makes the show so much fun to engage with and revisit from time to time.

So, in planning a rewatch for the long amount of time before season eight premieres, we’ve decided to highlight not necessarily the best or most popular go-to favorites, but a list of important episodes from each season that are significant and often get overlooked amongst all of the others. While particular scenes from each of these episodes are iconic and well-remembered, the episodes in their entirety are not as often referenced as episodes such as “Baelor,” “The Rains of Castemere,” or almost all of the season finales. And upon rewatching these, some set the tone for each season’s role in the show’s overall narrative.

As per usual, beware of spoilers below.

Season One, Episode Six: “A Golden Crown”

Season one is jam-packed with great moments from each episode. It’s the first season! And probably the season with the best cliffhangers too. But between “Baelor,” possibly the most memorable episode of the entire series which will induce tears no matter how many times you’ve seen it, and the dragon births in the season finale, “A Golden Crown” holds significance as well. It’s pretty major to the entire plot of the show. For one, this episode has lots of fun with Tyrion as Catelyn’s prisoner at the Eyrie, and his confession, which turns out to be no real confession at all. He makes a deal with Mord, famous for really his only quote of the season “No gold!” We also meet Bronn for the first time and thus, a dynamic duo is born  (which doesn’t become a dynamic trio with Pod until about season 3).

Meanwhile, after Ned is reinstated as Hand of the King after a disagreement with Robert over Daenerys’ life, he stumbles upon the noble ancestry book, which leads him to the discovery that Joffrey and the Baratheon children are not Baratheon’s at all. It goes unsaid that after this, Ned, unfortunately, does not come out of this situation triumphant. However, it’s a moment of true revelation in the series. In a classic story, this would be our protagonists’ call to action and Ned at this point in the show very much feels like our main hero. His discovery and determination here allow Game of Thrones to do what it does best: string along audience expectations, only to subvert them in the most heart-wrenching of ways later. Except, we don’t know that at this point.  We want Ned to take the Lannisters down, and this episode makes us believe that maybe he can. Of course, Daenerys’ plot is really where the episode gets its name, and this is the time when our Mother of Dragons eats a horse heart, finds out she’s having a boy and discovers that she is the bearer of her Targaryen destiny. Plus, she finally gets rid of Viserys, and I don’t think anyone shed a tear for that.

Season Two, Episode Five: “The Ghost of Harrenhal”

Game of Thrones-Ghost of Harrenhal

Picking an underrated episode of season two was a little difficult because each of them feels a little less exciting and important in comparison to episodes from other seasons. That said, season two was a time of setting things into motion and putting pieces in place, and “The Ghost of Harrenhal” does a really good job of that. The episode kicks off with Renly’s murder by Melisandre’s shadow baby of Stannis, which launches Brienne and Catelyn into action, ultimately leading to one of the most important oaths made in the entire series. Brienne not only pledges herself to Catelyn but vows to avenge Renly and kill Stannis, two promises that dictate her storyline through season seven. And after Renly’s death, we begin to discover who Margaery is as a character, as she sits next to Renly’s body declaring, “I don’t want to be a queen. I want to be the queen.”

Daenerys makes some progress in Qarth,  but even more significant, the dragons learn how to eat on their own! Arya works as Tywin’s cupbearer, in one of the best diversions from the books the show has ever done. Tyrion also gets to have his fun manipulating Lancel. He shines as a character in season two, and this episode indeed highlights some of his best qualities. He even discovers Cersei’s stash of wildfire which is something an average watcher could probably quickly forget about, and not remember when it becomes of importance in the season six finale, which is why a rewatch of this episode is so helpful.

Season Three, Episode Four: “And Now His Watch Has Ended”

With perhaps one of the more iconic Daenerys moments of Game of Thrones at the end of this episode, no one is probably saying this one is underrated. By remembering this scene so vividly though, everything leading up to it often gets forgotten.  This episode is all about important pairings, for better or for worse. Yes, Theon discovers Ramsey’s evilness in this episode and in turn, we breathe a sigh of frustration that yet another, even worse Joffrey is on the loose in Westeros. That said, the Theon and Ramsey stuff never really ever gets easier to watch, so maybe in planning a rewatch fast forwarding through it all together is a good option. But on a much brighter note, Sansa makes a friend with Margaery. Olenna and Varys team up. We get even more confirmation that Pod is indeed a stud. And of course, watching Margaery manipulate Joffrey is always interesting to watch. It’s no “Rains of Castemere,” sure. Nothing before or since will ever be able to match it, but this episode definitely has its own merits and moments that make it worthy of our attention.

Season Four, Episode Seven: “Mockingbird”

“Mockingbird” and “The Mountain and the Viper” premiered one after the other, with the latter being the one most remembered for its suspenseful build-up and twist ending and remarkable cinematic execution. “The Mountain and the Viper,” however, could not have existed without “Mockingbird,” which is an episode that sets in motion events that come back to bite characters later. Oberyn visits Tyrion in his jail cell, and he vows to be his champion, giving one of the best monologues ever shown in the show. That alone is reason enough to rewatch the episode. Oberyn’s place as a beloved character is cemented in Game of Thrones history. And of course, we all know how his story turns out. Jon arrives back at Castle Black and is met with hostility, from Alliser Thorne specifically. Again, a hostility that carries forward to an unpleasant outcome for Jon at the end of season five. Not to mention, this episode also has Lysa Arryn’s infamous death at the hands of Littlefinger, with Sansa as a witness. While at the time, it was a move which shocked and relieved many, now, after having seen season seven, this was a move which came back to bite Littlefinger later.

Season Five, Episode One: “The Wars to Come”

So, season five is no one’s favorite, I’m sure. But compared to the rest of the season, the premiere episode has value in its own right before things fall too far off the rails. Jon does indeed waste time training Olly, and later has some strange moments with Melisandre, but putting that aside, in true Jon Snow fashion, he steps in to end Mance Rayder’s life in a more humane manner, making his death feel more poetic. This episode is also where we learn of Cersei’s prophecy from Maggy the Frog, which partially explains why she is the way she is and does some of the awful things she does. Knowing this makes the death of Cersei’s children and her level of intimidation from Daenerys’ presence when they meet in the Dragonpit in season seven much more impactful. It also makes for some fun speculation as to how Cersei’s story could ultimately end.

Meanwhile, Varys whisks Tyrion away from Westeros, and after years of trying to determine the Spider’s motive,  we discover that he’s put his cards in with Daenerys Stormborn. However, Dany at the moment is experiencing dragon troubles as Drogon is nowhere to be found and Viserion and Rhaegal are angry with her. Typical Mother of teenage Dragon issues. It’s an average season premiere, but one that, along with the season finale, probably tells you most of what you need to know about the events of season five.

Season Six, Episode Four: “Book of the Stranger”

Game Of Thrones

With all of the reunions that occur in season seven, forgetting that Sansa and Jon reunited in season six is an understandable mistake. And with episodes like the “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” later in the season, again, it’s easy to forget.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the most rewarding moments of the entire series. After everything both of them went through, this felt extremely emotional and well-deserved, even if they never shared any significant screentime together before this moment. This episode deserves to be revisited if for no other reason than to watch this scene again and catch yourself tearing up for something you never knew you needed as a Game of Thrones fan. The episode as a whole, after the reunion, gets depressing. We lose Osha. Margaery and Loras are locked in cells and appear to be in pretty bad shape. But the episode ends on a rather triumphant note, with Jon agreeing to make plans to take back Winterfell from Ramsey, who’s all of a sudden more terrifying in letter form than he is in person. And Daenerys manages to escape the Dosh Khaleen on her terms and picks up a few thousand Dothraki along the way.

Season Seven, Episode Three: “The Queen’s Justice”

While season seven gets heat for some  of its rushed and illogical storylines,  it also gets a lot of praise for possibly one of the absolute best Game of Thrones episodes ever  “The Spoils of War.” And rightfully so.  That episode is amazing. In “The Queens Justice” however, perhaps the most epic joining of two characters on a television show ever occurs. The first meeting between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen is something that fans of the books and the show have long been anticipating and is one that is sure to make the pop culture history books. After all, “bend the knee” continues to provide meme material for probably longer than it should. This episode also has one of the best deaths ever on Game of Thrones, which is no easy accomplishment. Olenna Tyrell knew how to go out like the badass woman she always was, giving us some satisfaction, and finally putting an end the murder mystery that began in season four.

Related Topics:

Film lover and pop culture enthusiast.