The pilot episode for Game of Thrones – called Winter is Coming – premiered in 2011. Since then close to 70 hours of Game of Thrones, which spans over 7 seasons and 67 episodes, has been aired, telling the tales of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Now, with the final season approaching, there are some essential Game of Thrones episodes we recommend you watch to get you caught up for season 8 which airs on 14 July 2019.
SPOILER ALERT: There are major spoilers for the previous seasons of Game of Thrones in this article, so if you want to be like Jon Snow and know nothing, stop reading.
Winter is Coming – Episode 1, Season 1
As it is the pilot episode, Winter is Coming is one of the most essential Game of Thrones episodes to watch before the final season is upon us. In it, we’re introduced to the main players of the show and the scene is set for the next 8 seasons to capture the world in fire and ice.
Another reason this is one of the essential Game of Thrones episodes to watch before the premiere of season 8, is because the creators of the final season have said that the first episode of the last season will mirror the first episode of the show. This will give you the ability to not only remember where everything started (and how young everyone looks) but also to make comparisons like a true superfan.
What Is Dead May Never Die – Episode 3, Season 2
This third episode of the second season is packed with action, information, plot and character developments. It’s an essential episode because it shows how the game of thrones is really played. Tyrion Lannister (portrayed by Peter Dinklage) plots like only a Game of Thrones character can plot, playing the council members against each other. It’s also the episode which introduces a character that’s made it all the way to the final season (which is not easy in this show) – Brienne of Tharth (portrayed by Gwendoline Christie).
The Red Wedding – Episode 9, Season 3
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So many deaths. This is one of the Game of Thrones episodes that teaches you not to get too close to any characters, even if they’re major characters, as no one is safe from a brutal death in this HBO show.
The Children – Episode 10, Season 4
The last episodes of seasons are usually essential Game of Thrones episodes. They end the season off with a bang usually, and the final episode of season 4 has many important moments to catch before the final season.
In true Game of Thrones fashion, a ton of important characters die in this episode. But we also have other important moments like when Arya Stark (portrayed by Maisie Williams) meets Brienne, who fights the Hound aka Sandor Clegane (portrayed by Rory McCann).
Hardhome – Episode 8, Season 5
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As the final season will be focusing on the war against the living and the White Walkers, this episode from season 5 is very important. We see how that major Battle of Winterfell might pan out, and based on this episode from season 5, we’re in for a very wild ride.
The Door – Episode 5, Season 6
This episode is important for various reasons, the most being Bran Stark’s (portrayed by Isaac Hempstead Wright) training as the Three-Eyed-Raven. It’s in this episode where Bran is shown the Night King and we’re told where the White Walkers came from. The Night King marks Bran, to track him.
This episode also has that heartbreaking Hodor (portrayed by Kristian Nairn) backstory which makes me want to cry right now.
The Dragon and The Wolf – Episode 7, Season 7
It’s really hard to choose which season 7 Game of Thrones episodes are the most important to watch before season 8, as this season was HUGE. The final episode is probably one of the most epic and we recommend you catch it before the final season airs.
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In this episode, we learn that Jon Snow (portrayed by Kit Harrington) is actually a true Targaryen and not the bastard he was thought to be. It’s revealed that his parents, Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen got married before Jon was born, which legitimises his claim for the Iron Throne.
We also see the Wall being taken down by the Army of the Dead, with the Battle of Winterfell being set up nicely.
Which Game of Thrones episodes do you think are essential before the final season?