The 15 Most Memorable Moments In 'Game Of Thrones' History

Game of Thrones is finally ending.

After nine years, eight seasons and an unfinished book series spanning decades, Game of Thrones is finally reaching its conclusion.

We'll soon find out who lives to the end, who will still die, and who -- if anyone -- will sit on the Iron Throne.

With that in mind, we looked back on some of the most memorable moments of the series.

Ned Stark's Death

Who could forget the execution of Ned Stark, and with it, a firm promise this series was like nothing else? If Game of Thrones was willing to execute its main character, nobody was safe.

Sansa begging Joffrey for mercy and Arya watching from the crowd just made this moment all the more heartbreaking to watch.

ned stark
Image: HBO
Melisandre's Smoke Baby

Melisandre birthing a shadow monster to kill Renly Baratheon in Season 2 was so impactful that when Carice van Houten (who plays Melisandre) became pregnant, shadow babies were all anyone could joke about.

Image: HBO
The Red Wedding

The Red Wedding -- which saw the brutal deaths of Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark and Talisa Stark delivered in one swift scene -- was the moment Game of Thrones went from hit show to global phenomenon.

Fans of the books knew it was coming, while show-only people were shocked. The Red Wedding jarringly altered the course of Westeros so thoroughly, you can probably trace all the death and destruction that came later back to this one, pivotal moment.

The Lannisters send their regards.

red wedding
Image: HBO
Joffrey's Death

It's a true testament to actor Jack Gleeson that millions upon millions of people were desperately waiting for his character Joffrey's death. After seasons of unimaginable cruelty, the young king got what he deserved: a violent, painful, painstakingly drawn out death.

In a show with a body count in the thousands, Joffrey's death is by far the favourite of almost every Game of Thrones fan.

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Image: HBO
The Viper Vs The Mountain

Only Game of Thrones could deliver a fight sequence where the hero 'wins' by killing his opponent, only to then die himself. Oberyn Martell, seeking vengeance for his sister's rape and murder, offers to represent Tyrion in trial by combat. He delivers what appears to be the killing blow to The Mountain, only to have his skull brutally and explicitly crushed through the eye sockets.

It was only Qyburn's dark resurrection of The Mountain that meant he technically didn't die -- although you could hardly call the obedient, flesh-tinged thing The Mountain became really alive.

viper vs the mountain
Image: HBO
Tyrion Shooting Tywin On The Toilet

For years, Tyrion had dealt with the painful knowledge that his father only tolerated him and his sister wanted him dead. When Tyrion was wrongly accused of Joffrey's murder, he was sentenced with the full knowledge his father didn't really believe he was guilty -- but didn't care either.

It was only a rescue by his brother Jaime that Tyrion was able to live. He stopped by his father's chambers and caught his lover, Shae, in Tywin's bed. In that moment, Tyrion knew he was betrayed by everyone, and so he killed first Shae and then his father.

Image: HBO
The First Time Daenerys Used Her Dragons

When Daenerys' dragons hatched, they were small, helpless and not the winning ticket the audience wanted to see. It took several seasons for them to become a formidable arm of power for Dany to wield.

READ MORE: 'Game Of Thrones' Creators Explain Why Daenerys Snapped

The first time we saw the Dragon Queen go full Dracarys was during the Sack of Astapor. She offered to sell one of her dragons in exchange for an entire army of Unsullied, but after ensuring the armies were hers, tells Kraznys mo Nakloz that no dragon is a slave.

"Dracarys," she instructs, and Drogon burns the Master -- while her newly acquired Unsullied kill the rest.

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Image: HBO
The Night King's Hand Raise

As Jon Snow is making a hasty retreat from Hardhome, the Night King stares him down, before raising his arms in a ritualistic motion. Slowly, the freshly killed Free Folk and Night's Watch also rise, new members in the Army of the Dead. It's a move we'd come to see several seasons later, during the Battle of Winterfell. It was also the moment when the true hopelessness of fighting the Night King's armies was realised.

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Image: HBO
Lady Olenna Tyrell's Death

There's just one thing you need to remember here:

"Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me."

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Image: HBO
The Battle of the Bastards

Between Ramsey Bolton's smirk, Jon Snow's armies surrounded and Sansa feeding Ramsey to his own hounds, how do you pick one stand-out moment?

The Miguel Sapochnik-directed episode was briefly IMDb's highest rated episode of television ever (it remains number three, having been overtaken by the Season 6 finale 'The Winds of Winter', and an episode of Lucifer).

If you had to pick one stand-out moment, though, I propose this: Jon Snow facing down the incoming cavalry, sword-in-hand, knowing he's seconds away from death and preparing to fight anyway.

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Image: HBO
Cersei Blowing Up The Sept

For seasons, we'd watched Cersei Lannister wrestle for power from everyone around her: her husband, her sons, her father, and finally, from the High Sparrow. This was the moment Cersei chose unimaginable violence, crowning herself queen and daring anyone to question her.

The entire sequence -- set to a haunting piano piece from master composer Ramin Djawadi -- was one of the most perfectly choreographed scenes in Game of Thrones history.

READ MORE: Huge Backlash Over Latest 'Game Of Thrones' Episode

Image: HBO
Hodor Holding The Door

For seasons, Hodor had been something of a lovable prop, reduced to carrying Bran around and saying just one word: "Hodor". In this season, we learned his real name was Willis, and that once upon a time, he'd been able to speak as well as anyone else.

During a pivotal Season 5 moment, Bran wargs into Hodor while visiting the past, in order to make current-day Hodor help them escape the Night King. As present-day Hodor literally "holds the door" against the army of the dead, past Hodor begins to seize, repeating the words his future self is being told -- "hold the door" -- until it becomes one word: Hodor.

The sudden, awful realisation that Bran's using of Hodor as a human shield is the reason for his entire being broke the hearts of Game of Thrones fans around the world.

Image: HBO
Sansa And Arya Executing Littlefinger

Littlefinger was a scene-stealer, so choosing just one moment is difficult. But his death was a powerful moment for him, Arya and Sansa, so we're going with this one.

Audiences were tricked -- somewhat unjustly -- into believing Sansa and Arya were turning on one another, so the reveal that Sansa was putting Littlefinger, not Arya, on trial was a memorable one. From Littlefinger attempting to worm his way out justice to the moment he realised it was impossible, this scene was the final wrap-up in story lines from day dot.

littlefinger death
Image: HBO
The R+L=J Reveal

Back when Game of Thrones theories used to mean something, R+L=J was *the* theory to get around. For years, fans had speculated that Jon Snow was not Ned Stark's bastard, but the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

It was the show's closest held mystery, and we were drip fed information over seasons: in Season 6, we learned Jon was Lyanna Stark's child, but it wasn't until Season 7 that we also had confirmation Jon was the true born son of Rhaegar.

Of course, this being Game of Thrones, we learned this truth at the exact same moment Jon hooked up with Daenerys -- a.k.a. his aunt -- and the world was distracted by Kit Harington's peachy ass.

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Image: HBO
Brienne Being Knighted

The final season of Game of Thrones hasn't quite delivered what fans were hoping for, but one moment everyone can get behind was Jaime knighting Brienne. It was the perfect culmination of both their friendship and Brienne's story. For years, Brienne had gruffly claimed she "wasn't a knight" -- all because she was a woman. The smile on her face at becoming Ser Brienne was one of the last moments we'd see anyone in Game of Thrones happy, ever.

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Image: HBO

There's simply too many to write about, so a special shout-out to: any scene with Varys and Littlefinger and/or Tyrion; Jon Snow coming back to life; Arya murdering Walder Frey; Margaery Tyrell's power play with Cersei; anytime Ygritte told Jon Snow he knew nothing; any scene where the Hound or Bronn swears; the first time Dany rode a dragon; the fight between Brienne and Arya; Khal Drogo pouring molten gold on Viserys' head; and any line uttered by Lady Olenna ever.

READ MORE: 7 Things You Missed From The Penultimate 'Game Of Thrones' Episode