Thursday, April 9, 2015

Top 5 Non-Death Moments in Game of Thrones

Obviously, spoiler alert.

As I mentioned in my previous article, Game of Thrones really feels like it's all about death, but that's not exactly true. There are plenty of instances where a character has a particularly memorable moment in which they don't check out. Granted, there may be deaths associated with the event, but it's Game of Thrones; someone's always dying.

So here are my top five non-death moments in Game of Thrones.

5. Stannis Rides Down the Wildling Army - This could have been higher, should have been higher. But it occurred right at the beginning of the final episode of season 4, so it had no time to build. In the books, this was one of the most incredible scenes because of its total surprise factor. There was still a surprise in the show, but as I said, the scene itself needed a few minutes to ruminate, in my book. Still, cavalry always makes for great television.
4. The Hound Saves Sansa - This is a little bit of a cheat because there are definitely deaths in the scene. But the scene isn't about the deaths; it's about Sansa being moments away from rape, murder, and who knows what else, and Sandor Clegane showing his true colors and saving the day. We'd had a few hints at the "goodness" eating away at him, like when he defends Loras Tyrell at the tournament in season 1. But this was white knight, damsel in distress stuff. Very interesting, very telling.

3. Jamie Pushes Bran Out a Window - This might not be quite so high on my list had it not taken place as the cliffhanger of the very first episode. But it was the perfect act to set the tone for the show; Lannisters don't give a damn about Starks, even though they're lords. Jamie has no concern for (attempted) murder. And, naturally, the bastard-born children of Jamie and Cersei are what drives much of the story in Westeros. A big, early moment in the show.

2. Beric Dondarrion Dies...and Then Doesn't - The Hound and Thoros of Myr are two of my favorite characters in the show (Thoros is less interesting in the books). This scene is surrounded by a bunch of conversation involving those two, so it's a recipe for success. But the resurrection (or at least delayed death) of Beric Dondarrion is compelling stuff. It's the first time we see some "magic" type stuff outside of Melisandre, and it gives you the sense that there's a lot at work in this world. Also, flaming sword, trial by combat, epic quotes, it's all there. Great stuff.

1. Jamie Loses His Hand - One of the landmark moments of the series is when the made-for-TV character Locke chops off Jamie Lannister's sword hand. It's not quite the game-changer that Eddard Stark's death is, but it's right up there. Jamie is a completely different character after he loses his hand; he's utterly defeated. Even as he returns to King's Landing, everything's changed for him. The loss of his hand, and the transformation of him into an unexceptional fighter, forces him to forge a new identity.

In putting together this list, I realized the deaths are just way more heavy. Yeah these are good spots, but because there's so much death in the show, death of important characters, these non-death moments are just basically the background events, the build-ups. Still, they're good scenes.

Did I forget one? Almost certainly I did. Say what you liked best in the comments!

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