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Game of Thrones returns on April 14 for its final season, and even with all the emotional highs and lows the series has provided over the years, the impending realization that it’s all coming to an end is the most disheartening.
You probably aren’t ready to give it up just yet, or maybe you haven’t seen it and you’re about to play catch up on Crave. Whatever the case, watching the Mountain crush the Viper isn’t easy. Luckily, we’re here to help you get through the incoming emotional roller coaster as painlessly and smoothly as possible, and the best way we know how to do that is through music. Here are 11 songs to help you emotionally comprehend some of Game of Thrones‘ heaviest moments.
Also: you’ve had eight years to catch up so if you get spoiled that’s on you, but regardless, be aware that there are obvious spoilers ahead.
Game Of Thrones Season 8 premieres this Sunday on HBO.
Season 1, Episode 9: “Baelor”
Ned’s death was undeniably the first big heartbreak of the show, and the moment that set the tone for the remainder of the series in that it completely changed how fans came to understand the series going forward. In that sense, Ned’s execution is really the most freeing thing to happen in GoT and in many ways, was the best thing we never had. His death left viewers lost, with no clear main character, sense of plot, or direction. The continuous chaos and uncertainty throughout the series has contributed to making Game of Thrones the cultural phenomenon it is.
Season 1, Episode 10: “Fire and Blood”
Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys had a tough first season. Her brother sold her to the Dothraki in exchange for an army, and although she somehow found love, she also allowed the use of blood magic from a red priest in an attempt to save her husband’s life after he was poisoned in battle, leading to the death of their unborn child. Furious, Daenerys has the priest who tricked her burnt at Drogo’s funeral pyre and steps into the fire with her petrified three dragon eggs, emerging the next day unburned and the Mother of Dragons. All her obstacles didn’t magically disappear, but she definitely saw more clearly after that moment.
Season 2, Episode 9: “Blackwater”
Game of Thrones was not a hit after its first season. The Battle of Blackwater changed that. It was the culmination of two seasons of tension and conflict, and it became the moment when most fans truly fell in love with the series. Seriously, if the battle for King’s Landing between Stannis Baratheon and the Lannisters didn’t have you thinking out loud, “I love Game of Thrones, this is the best show ever!,” nothing will. The episode-long battle scene and the epic battle scenes that followed helped transform Game of Thrones from good to great. And on the subject of battles, look out for the Battle of Winterfell during Season 8—according to showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, it’s supposedly the longest battle scene in cinematic history.
Season 3, Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”
The War of Five Kings is over. The Lannisters have won. Robb and Catelyn Stark are dead. Not even music can comfort you. Sometimes you just need to be alone, in silence, in the dark.
Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
Jack Gleeson’s portrayal of Joffrey Baratheon earned him the title of the most hated man on TV. Not an easy feat, but the honour could only be bestowed to the entitled, cowardly, bratty adolescent King of Westeros. For four seasons, viewers revelled in the thought that he would one day get what was coming to him…which made it all the more euphoric watching him slowly turn purple and choke to death on his wedding day, quite possibly the most satisfying payoff in TV history. It indeed felt like a beautiful day.
Season 4, Episode 8: “The Mountain and the Viper”
In the one season he appears, Prince Oberyn Martell, The Viper, was one of the series most beloved characters. He arrived in King’s Landing with a grudge against the Lannisters for ordering the Mountain to murder his sister Elia Martell. The Viper heroically volunteers to battle the Mountain during a trial by combat for Tyrion Lannister. What follows is the series’ most outwardly shocking moment—it looks like Martell has won, but the Mountain somehow gets the upper hand and crushes his head like a watermelon right before admitting to raping and murdering his sister. The imagery was so horrifying, disgusting and unexpected that viewers couldn’t help but say, “Wow.”
Season 5, Episode 10: “Mother’s Mercy”
By the time Jon is betrayed and murdered by the remaining members of the Night’s Watch, Game of Thrones viewers had already seen their fair share of deaths. At this point, we viewers were emotionally numb—not too much shocked us anymore. Plus, it was totally obvious that Jon wasn’t gone for good—too much of the remaining plot relied on him. But even if it was goodbye, it would have been okay—we were all pretty good at them at that point.
Season 6, Episode 5: “The Door”
Westeros can be confusing. Between memorizing the various houses, character relations, and locations, it can get complicated. But nothing makes Game of Thrones fans’ gears grind more than Bran Stark/Three Eyed Raven theories, especially after seeing his involvement in disabling Hodor. In a nutshell, the theory suggests that Bran (now the Three Eyed Raven) is responsible for turning a servant boy named Willas into his mentally disabled companion Hodor decades earlier, through time travel and by accidentally psychically engraving the message “hold the door” into him. Willas shortens the phase to “Hodor,” and for the remainder of his life it’s all he can say. It’s all very puzzling, heartbreaking, and leaves you with a lot to think about. As confusing as Game of Thrones is as times, the introduction of time travel just made it that much more complicated.
Season 6, Episode 9: “Battle of the Bastards”
Beautifully shot and wonderfully poetic, a lot can be said about the Battle of the Bastards: the amazing symmetry between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, the overwhelming sense of relief when Sansa marches in with the Knights of the Vale, and the sombre joy of seeing the Starks take back Winterfell. Not to mention the mental exhaustion felt both on and off screen when you realize what it took to get here. It’s Game of Thrones at its best, and the whole episode feels like an epic night at the opera.
Season 6, Episode 10: “The Winds of Winter”
If God is indeed a woman, her name is Cersei Lannister. The religious fundamentalist of High Sparrow found this out the hard way. Biding her time for a season and a half, in one clean sweep she rid King’s Landing of all her enemies, blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor during the trial of Margaery and Loras Tyrell. Yes, her only surviving son, King Tommen, jumped out of a building as a result, but who needs a king when you can have a queen?
Season 7, Episode 6 “Beyond the Wall” / Season 7, Episode 7 “The Dragon and the Wolf”
The Night King is coming. And he has an army and a freaking white walker dragon! Nobody is ready. Nobody is safe. If you’re taking bets this season place all your money on him! We repeat, the night king is coming! And! He has a freaking white walker dragon. A. White. Walker. DRAGON. One he killed with his bare hands and then reanimated, just to fuck shit up! Nobody is safe. Everybody will die. The hype for Season 8 is so real.