Plot twists have become a thing of legend when it comes to Game of Thrones. From the Red Wedding to key characters getting killed when you least expect it, the plot twist is a kind of art form in its own right.
Even the creators are aware of how important they are: Last November, Game of Thrones director David Nutter took part in a Reddit AMA where he discussed the show and the plot twists of season 8 came up. “As far as season 8 compared to the Red Wedding I just have to tell you — hang onto your seat cause it’s going to be special,” Nutter said.
When everything is said and done, where will the season 8 plot twists stand in the pantheon of Game of Thrones plot twists? To get us thinking about that with the final season premiering this weekend, here is a ranking of the best Game of Thrones plot twists:
#10: Hodor, you god damn legend
When: Season 6, episode 5 “The Door”
One of the best twists in the show came with a setup flashback. Poor Hodor seemed like the village idiot, but he had a good heart and did as he was told. It wasn’t until season 6 episode 5 that we learned his inability to say anything but a single word was Bran Stark’s fault. Bran tells “Hodor” from the future to hold the door when he’s a child so as to hold back White Walkers trying to kill him. Somehow speaking to the younger Hodor to “hold the door” made him forever say the word “Hodor,” hence his name. Time travel man, it’s a tricky thing.
#9: Tyrion commits the murder we all hoped for
When: Season 4, episode 10 “The Children”
In season 4 episode 10, Tyrion does the unthinkable and kills his father and the girl he loved…because she was sleeping with his father! It was a moment where a bad deed done by a good person left the audience completely relieved. Yes it was murder, but considering how powerful Tywin seemed up to this point, and the stature of the actor playing him, it was unbelievable this happened at all.
#8: Littlefinger goes out like a chump
When: Season 7, episode 7 “The Dragon and the Wolf”
We’d all been wondering when Littlefinger would meet his maker, but in the season 7 finale he met his end almost out of nowhere. It might have seemed insane that Sansa didn’t kill him sooner, but alas she seemed to be playing the game…of thrones…as well as she could. To make this twist even harder to see coming, Sansa seemed to be falling for Littlefinger’s ploy to kill her own sister, Arya. The filmmakers did a great job setting this up and making us believe Littlefinger had won only to see him lose for the final time.
#7: The best of us dies like the rest of us
When: Season 1, episode 9 “Baelor”
It may not have been the biggest surprise since it was such a big part of the first book, but seeing Ned lose his head gave you that sickly feeling, like the bad guys can’t lose. It was a shock to the characters and it rocked the show so hard we’re still feeling the ramifications.
#6: Take my pride, but I’m going to have to take those eyes
When: Season 4, episode 8 “The Mountain and the Viper”
It was the match we were all waiting for. The Viper vs. The Mountain. Two cleverly named badasses go at it to the death. It was a battle where we were all rooting for the Viper, but sadly it did not go well for him. To make this an even more shocking twist, the way in which he was murdered made us all shudder in the night.
#5: Jon Snow dies, and lives again
When: Season 5, episode 10 “Mother’s Mercy”
I think most of us knew something was up when Olly killed Jon Snow. It was hard to believe one of the top three characters in the series really could die like that. And he didn’t! In season 6 we find out some can be brought back with the right sort of magic.
#4: Church goes boom
When: Season 6, episode 10 “The Winds of Winter”
In season 6 it seemed like Cersei was done for. In the finale, we assumed her power was all but vanquished and religion would reign supreme. Cersei seemed to be thinking, “Hold my goblet,” taking out all of her enemies and making herself a supreme leader by destroying the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire. The green explosion took everyone off guard and ended them all. Unfortunately for her King Tommen, her son kills himself when he finds out his wife was among those killed. Cersei was made the queen, but at a price, it seems.
#3: Jamie Lannister defeats Daenerys’ crucial allies
When: Season 7, episode 3 “The Queen’s Justice”
Sometimes this show can be very good at making the audience believe one thing only to completely change gears. There is perhaps no better example than “The Queen’s Justice.” We all thought Tyrion was the master at strategy, but during one of the most important moments as Daenerys’ right-hand man, Jaime outwitted him, went to Highgarden, and took out one of his most crucial allies. And so it goes this twist also meant the end of Olenna, one of the fan favorite characters who opposed Cersei.
#2: That time Tyrion thought he was clever but gave the enemy the best weapon
When: Season 7, episode 6 “Beyond the Wall”
Tyrion really bungled a lot during season 7, from the battle I mentioned above to the next plot twist on the list. Sending Jon Snow and a ragtag group north was already risky, but it ended in total failure when Daenerys was forced to send one of her dragons to save Jon. The Night King used this to his advantage, captured Viserion and turned the dragon into an ice dragon. The dragon proceeded to head to the nearest Wall and destroy it. Yipes. To make matters worse, Tyrion did this simply to prove to his sister Cersei walkers exist.
#1: Who doesn’t love a wedding?
When: Season 3, episode 9 “The Rains of Castamere”
The Red Wedding is one of the most famous scenes in the show’s history and there’s a reason Nutter referred to it when talking about twists in season 8. It blew everyone away. Even the folks who read the books and knew it was coming were shocked and appalled. It was bloody, grotesque (who stabs a baby, honestly?!) and totally ruined everyone’s sleep. In the world of Game of Thrones, the good guys don’t always win and this sequence proved they can, in fact, lose everything.
Just thinking about all these twists has made me more interested in season 8, especially if we can trust Nutter. How can you top these amazing twists? Well, Nutter also said on the Reddit AMA the final season will be “spectacular, inspiring, satisfying,” with “lots of surprises and shocking moments.” Here’s to hoping the plot twists can live up to what have come before.