Game of Thrones is many things to many people: Sexy men for people that like that sort of thing, wicked wenches if your tastes run that direction, violence to satisfy our baser instincts, and a dwarf with a penchant for prostitutes.
The smash HBO hit has been anything but boring. Even the slow parts are still crowned with intrigue and possibilities. Here’s an unabashed looked at five of the most powerful and impactful moments from the Seven Kingdoms. Vote for your favorite here.
A Golden Crown
One of the real gems from Game of Thrones involved a gruesome death, witnessed unflinchingly by Dany (Daenerys), that couldn’t happened to a more deserving douche bag, namely Viserys Targaryen.
Way back in the first season, Viserys was mucking about the land, acting like a thug and getting drunk. Known as the “Beggar King,” he gets himself exiled from the Targaryen empire, which only serves to elevate and exacerbate his narcissism. Just what everyone needs, right? An exiled prince with a bad, self-centered attitude.
One day, while in the city of Vaes Dothrak, he gets good and drunk on some rotgut wine, followed up by the outlawed practice of drawing one’s sword inside the city’s limits. He went too far when he threatened Dany’s unborn child. This, of course, enrages the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo, hubby to Dany, who decides it’s time to put an end to ol’ Viserys. And by end, we mean a real end, the permanent kind; a dirt nap.
After going on and on about how he was to be crowned Lord and King, Drogo decides Viserys is correct, and gives him a golden crown. Ah, what a stupendous gift. Hot,melted gold poured over young master Visery’s head!
Dany watched on without exhibiting any real emotions, which is a tad odd considering her brother just had his brains scalded and ensconced for posterity. No doubt this helped shape her more measured approach to life in later episodes, including the mercy killing of her husband.
In the end, no matter how it all plays out, we’ll never forget Viserys and his arrogance. He was quite deserving of his golden crown.
Khal’s got your Tongue?
Before Khal Drogo’s old lady punched his last timecard, he used to command a militarized gang of 10,000 warriors. A guy like Drogo doesn’t come into power because he takes a lot of guff from people. And he certainly doesn’t allow another Khal to insult his woman without at least giving him a good tongue lashing.
This particular salvo of shock and awe was especially tantalizing for faithful viewers. Not only did we get to see Drogo fighting—something we’d heard a lot about but hadn’t seen in equal share—we witnessed an interesting end of someone’s life.
Khal Drogo is a large man, like professional footballer large, and yet, in his unarmed fight against a warrior with a wicked-bad sword, he is surprisingly agile. He’s light on his feet. He doesn’t get sliced up by his opponent. Instead, he does some never-before-seen slicing.
From just the perfect distance, Drogo slices the throat of the man who disrespected his wife with the only sword in the fight, then proceeds to reach into the slice and extricate the tongue for all to see. He held it above his head like it was the Stanley Cup. That will definitely make the next guy stop and think for a good long while before talking poorly about Dany.
A truly gruesome scene, props to the special effects team for bringing life to this death. Bravo!
Dragons Show They’re More Dangerous than House Cats
Are you starting to see a theme? Dany seems to be involved in every important event. She does have star power. Anyway, this is about Dany and her dragons. They had different house pets back then.
Dany finally tracks down her trio of dragons at the House of the Undying. They are chained to a concrete precipice, but they know when momma’s nearby. Dragons are like scorpions, or pirates, in that they’re all business all the time. To look at them, and to consider their appearance as nature made them, is to know with certainty that the only good time to be had with a dragon, scorpion, or pirate was actually a very bad time indeed. Well, for bad guys anyway.
The warlocks who insisted on telling Dany she and her dragons were now their prisoners, completely misunderstood the situation. Those little fire-breathers, on her command, meant to burn the castle to the ground. Instead, they settle for a little warlock à la crispy exterior.
The importance of this moment to the show is in its payoff to its viewers. Dany is one with her dragons, and having them stolen was no less a kidnapping than had it been her flesh and blood. Not only was the reunion special for fans of the show, it was quite rewarding to see the whole sordid affair redeemed in a bath of fire.
Mother of Dragons
Every society cherishes its spectacular stories of bravery, accomplishment, and heroism. Daenerys Targaryen will long be remembered in the Seven Kingdoms. She may eventually become saintly, should her stories be told long enough and without borders.
The long-suffering Dany has endured too much death, including those of her own children, husband, and brother. She’s lost nearly all her warrior guards, with those who remain ticking off the days until retirement or death from old age.
With nothing left to lose, Dany mustered all the faith of the ages and took her three dragon eggs into Drogo’s funeral pyre. Fans were torn in this moment. Was it bravery or stupidity? Suicide before our very eyes, or was there a plan? The tension was heightened and something had to give.
Just when it was looking like this was the final chapter in a life that had nothing left, she emerged from the pyre unhurt with three dragons in tow. Powerful, for sure, and perhaps, if the story finds a permanent, growing audience, the stuff of saintly legend. Time will tell.
Poor Sean Bean (Ned) Dies Again
One of the most perplexing and head-scratching turn-of-events in Game of Thrones was the sudden and unexpected death of Eddard “Ned” Stark. Let’s call it the Curse of Sean Bean; more on this after a word or two about Ned.
The one constant of any good drama, sitcom, story, or joke, is the notion of a main character and Ned Stark fits the tab as a main character. He was the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. He also becomes the Hand of the King after the death of an important Lord.
We got a sense he was going to be killed, or perhaps even die honorably, but would the writers really go through with it? Would they whack a big name like Sean Bean, and a main character and decent man in Ned Stark? Not to mention it was the first season of a show that was just finding its audience? Apparently, yes, that was the plan. Whack Ned, generate some buzz, and perpetuate the Curse of Sean Bean. Or if you read the book series, you knew it was coming.
Curse, you say? Indeed. Here’s how it goes: Sean Bean’s characters, throughout his acting career, die at an alarming rate. He’s been killed no less than 21 times in movies, including six by gunshot, five flat-out homicides, four by grizzly medieval means, two in a comfortable setting, and an amazing nine times while anticipating his own death.
There’s plenty to love about Game of Thrones, and countless huge moments. Which one will you vote for?