I don’t know why but lately I’ve been remembering HBO’s GAME OF THRONES here and there. What a wonderful series it really was and what an event to have followed from start to finish, especially after having read the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books. The show had great production value, but what made it incredible was the story, the characters, the dialogues, the actors, the directing, the strength of it all. I know many people, including yours truly, were disappointed with the last season. I spoke about it here. But when you look back I’m sure you will be able to identify many incredible moments that made you a fan and locked you to the screen every time the show was on. So today I’m going to talk to you about 5 memorable scenes that stuck to my mind and make me wish the show had never ended. Of course, there are many more brilliant scenes and maybe there were even better ones – but these are a few that I immediately recall and which I’d like to remind you of. There is no particular order, as you may perceive from my usual lists. Oh, and SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t watched GOT yet, don’t ruin it by reading this article.
1. MHYSA – At the end of the third season, Daenerys has freed the Unsullied in a spectacular fashion and has become known as the freer of slaves. She and her forces arrive at Yunkai and demand for the slaves to be freed. They don’t know what will be the reaction of these slaves as they are given to the Mother of Dragons. Will they bite the hand that’s feeding them? The mass of slaves exit the city and face Daenerys – hesitant. And she speaks to them. She tells them they are free now. Suddenly, slowly they start calling her ‘Mhysa! Mhysa! Mhysa!’ The word is translated. It is means ‘Mother’. Daenerys is being hailed. She smiles and says – ‘These people are not going to hurt me.’ She climbs downs from behind her soldiers and she goes into the crowd. Every slave is trying to reach her, to touch her, enthralled. They pick her up and the beautiful music of Ramin Djawadi starts playing. The camera climbs to the heavens and on the ground, we see the lovely pattern of the concentric circles of slaves trying to touch Daenerys as she is raised by them. What a brilliant ending! First-class!
2. RED WEDDING – There are innumerous shocking scenes in GOT, but few have had more impact than the bloody Red Wedding. The Scene is well laid out. Robb Stark – the King in the North, his mother, and his bride are attending a truce wedding at the Castle of the Frey’s. It’s a way to appease the Lord because of the failed marriage of Robb with one of his daughters. As the celebrations carry on, Caitlyn Stark is looking at Robb and his lover wooing when she notices a man going to close the doors to the room. Something is wrong. The scene moves to the exterior, where the Hound and Arya are arriving, but they cannot pass the gate, for the guard tells them the party is over – yet, we see armed soldiers going in. At the wedding room, the musicians start playing The Rains of Castamere. Caitlyn is suspicious something is wrong. When she finally finds out that the men of the house have mails beneath their clothes she understands the danger and shouts. But it’s too late. The killing of the Starks begins, starting with Robb’s wife and the unborn child but continuing with Robb, his mother, and any other present. The scene sent shock waves across the globe and I remember watching videos of outraged reactions from many countries and understanding the absolute terror people were feeling. Absolutely brilliant!
3. HODOR – Oh, this is no doubt one of my favorite scenes of the series, maybe even my absolute favorite. It happens halfway into the sixth season. Hodor is the big guy who has been taking care of the handicapped Bran. Whenever he needs strength, Bran gets inside the retarded companion’s mind, and this happens again when Bran and Meera are escaping a zombie-infested cave beyond the Wall. As Hodor holds the door allowing for his friends to escape, Bran is able to see back into the past, to when Hodor was a boy – and the presence of ethereal Bran seems to set Hodor into an epileptic spasm. He starts shouting ‘Hold the door! Hold the door! Hold the door!’ until he can’t, until he is only capable of shouting ‘Hodor! Hodor! Hodor!’, the one-sentence he has been saying all along. We gather, then, that his whole life was resumed to that single moment – the moment he would hold the door to save Bran. This, I guess, is the mark of George R.R. Martin. It’s a moment that it’s not in any of the books but which could only have come from his mind (what other reason could there be for Hodor to be called Hodor?). It’s a nugget of brilliance that we can trace back to the mind of a genius.
4. ARYA KILLS – Arya was always one of my favorite characters in the saga, along with Tyrion and Dany. Her storyline always seemed to be distant from the others but we knew it would amount to something great. Among the clumsy episodes of the last season, especially the strangely unsatisfactory Battle of Winterfell, one of the greatest moments was, of course, the moment Arya manages to kill the Night King. The Battle is already lost when the powerful Night King approaches Bran and we know he intends to kill him. Jon, which we might think would be the King’s match, is pinned down facing the Ice Dragon, and Theon, Bran’s last guardian, is dead. So now what? At the last moment, Arya jumps in as a light breeze, ready to stab the King in the back with her special Valerian dagger. But as Bran senses her coming, so does the Night King, who turns around just in time to catch her by the neck. And that’s when the Princess of Winterfell made use of one of her tricks, letting her dagger fall into her free hand, and stabbed the King of Evil. As with many other twists, feel free to search the Internet for the numerous foreshadowing instances of this moment. It still made me jump in my seat.
5. BATTLE OF THE LOOT TRAIN – The first battle of Daenerys Targaryen, Drogon and the Dothraki against the Lannisters is in my view the best battle in the entire series. Old Robert Baratheon once had said: ‘Only a fool would face the Dothraki in an open field.’ But as the forces of Jaime Lannister and Bronn were ambushed as they came in from the South with a train full of loot, they didn’t just face the Dothraki, they faced Daenerys herself mounted on the great Drogon. The scene is 9-minutes long and was shot over an 18-day period. It’s tremendous. I always speak about it when I refer to a great Pay-off to a good Build-up. The reaction you can find online by people all over the world to the appearance of Drogon is a writer’s dream! Completely cathartic.
And these are five beautiful moments of this fantastic series. I hope you agree and I hope mistakes of the last season don’t discourage you to revisit the series once again, as it was, in fact, a very special event that we were lucky to witness. See you around the next campfire, fellow warriors.