The final episode of Game of Thrones 94% season 7 smashed viewership records for the series, once again proving that it, like its Mother of Dragons, has the love of the masses. But it wasn’t one of the best Game of Thrones episodes; in fact, it ranks as one of the bottom 15. As bottom 15s go, however, this one’s pretty stellar.
When trying to choose a favorite among the series’ episodes, we turned to the experts: The vast pool of Tomatometer-eligible TV critics, who’ve weighed in year-after-year, season-by-season, week-after-week to be counted toward the episodic scores of one of the biggest phenomenons in TV history.
The series released 67 episodes since it first began airing on HBO in 2011. We give you a full accounting below, ranked by score from lowest to highest, with ties being broken by the number of reviews, so that an episode with more reviews ranks higher on the list. Where two or more episodes had the same score and the same number of reviews, the number of “Top Critics” weighing in broke those ties.
For five and a half seasons, the series managed to stay entirely Fresh. Not every episode reached 100% on the Tomatometer, of course, but there were no Rotten episodes to be seen until “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” (episode 6 of season 5). To date, it’s still the only Rotten episode — of course, how season 8 will fare remains to be seen. And you can be certain, we will update our ranking as each of the new season’s episodes are released and receive a score.
Season 3 currently boasts the most episodes in the top 10: four. Seasons 4 and 5 follow close behind, with two episodes earning 100% scores with more than 40 reviews each. Season 4 has the highest season-level score of any of the seven at 97% on the Tomatometer. While season 6 saw an episode average of 92% on the Tomatometer, “Book of the Stranger” (episode 4) wowed 63 critics, earning it a coveted spot in the top 10 of our ranking.
Seasons 1 and 2 saw fairly high episodic scores (the average episode score back then was 97%), but that was back when approximately 20 critics were reviewing each episode. The number of weekly reviews practically doubled after season 3. Virtually every new season saw a jump in coverage; each year, approximately five new critics began covering Game of Thrones episodically. By the end of season 7, more than 60 critics covered the series week to week.
After season 8 begins airing on April 14, check back to see where each new episode lands on the list, and find out if any of them make it into the top 10 best Game of Thrones episodes ever.
What was your favorite episode of Game of Thrones? Tell us in the comments.
Game of Thrones Episodes Ranked: 1 2
Critics Consensus: Unbalanced storytelling and unnecessary, excessive brutality add up to disturbing viewing, although “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” still includes enough plot revelations to offer hope for future episodes.
Critics Consensus: “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” feels like a bit of a holding pattern as Game of Thrones moves its pieces into place for the final three episodes.
Critics Consensus: Tywin Lannister and Olenna Tyrell steal the show with their exquisite negotiation as “The Climb” builds towards the Wildlings’ death-defying scaling of The Wall.
Critics Consensus: Underscored by an especially heartwrenching moment and spectacular display of power, “The Dance of Dragons” successfully delivers the shock and awe audiences have come to expect from the series’ penultimate episodes.
Critics Consensus: “Beyond The Wall” delivered the epic battles and plot twists that are expected from the penultimate episode of a Game of Thrones season — although sometimes in ways that defied logic.
Critics Consensus: “The Gift” is a jam-packed installment that delivers long-awaited plot turns in a satisfying manner, even though it continues a disturbing theme from the previous episode.
Critics Consensus: “No One” sees some fan favorites back in action and moves the final few pieces into place for a momentous — and long-awaited — battle.
Critics Consensus: “Lord Snow” is an intriguing and heavy transitional episode with standout performances from Bean and Gillen, though it would be better served with more focus on character change and development.
Critics Consensus: A solid season opener, The Red Woman balances its ongoing mysteries with a bit of humor and features Sansa’s touching reunion with Brienne of Tarth.
Critics Consensus: The most solid episode of season six so far, “Oathbreaker” boasts no shocking reveals or breathless cliffhangers, just strong forward-moving storytelling.
Critics Consensus: While much slower in pace than the season that preceded it, “The Dragon and the Wolf” delivered satisfying conclusions to several story arcs, and masterfully set up the series’ final season.
Critics Consensus: Full of new revelations and one very anticipated resurrection, “Home” is a slow burn that finally sets the last pieces in play for a thrilling season six.
Critics Consensus: Moodier than the premiere and full of dark intrigue, “The Night Lands” introduces viewers to exotic new locations in Westeros and delivers some pivotal character moments.
Critics Consensus: Crucial power dynamics are reassessed and significant characters return in the skillfully plotted “Blood of My Blood.”
Critics Consensus: Burdened with character and plot reintroductions, “Dark Wings, Dark Words” starts slow before revving up and delving into the real intrigues of the season.
Critics Consensus: “The Queens Justice” saw the much-anticipated meeting between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen — but had much larger surprises in store before its shocking end.
Critics Consensus: Smart writing, a few surprising plot developments, and an ominous final scene make “Valar Morghulis” a satisfying conclusion to a stellar season.
Critics Consensus: A bit of well-placed levity perfectly compliments the shocking final scenes of “Walk of Punishment,” adding up to hands down the most thrilling episode of the season so far– minus one hand.
Critics Consensus: “Mother’s Mercy” wraps up a particularly dark Game of Thrones season with a finale that delivers strong character work and and a handful of appropriately bleak cliffhangers.
Critics Consensus: With a blistering opening salvo, Game of Thrones charts an assured path for its anxiously-anticipated final stretch.
Critics Consensus: Though surprisingly bloodless, hard-fought reunions, bone-chilling surprises, and unexpected humor help “Winterfell” set the stage for what should be an epic final season.
Critics Consensus: While not particularly eventful, “Two Swords” expertly lays the foundation for the coming excitement of season four with superb writing.
Critics Consensus: While “The Watchers of the Wall” lacks the emotional punch of previous episodes this season, it succeeds as an action-packed hour with cinema-worthy visuals.
Critics Consensus: With “The Wolf and the Lion,” Game of Thrones tightens its grip while ratcheting up the tension through powerful writing, terrific acting, and an evocative, immersive setting.
Critics Consensus: A solid season premiere, “The Wars to Come” ratchets up the anticipation for inevitable bloodshed while deepening focus on characters and locales.
Critics Consensus: “Eastwatch” traded the fiery spectacle of Thrones’ previous episode for a slow-burn approach, but nonetheless delivered some spectacular revelations and reunions.
Critics Consensus: “The Ghost of Harrenhal” utilizes some unexpected character pairings to explore GOT’s shifting power structure and build momentum leading into the second half of the season.
Critics Consensus: Quieter and more meditative than previous episodes, “A Man Without Honor” is bolstered by incredible performances and a welcome return to an unlikely but surprisingly satisfying onscreen duo.
Game of Thrones Episodes: 1 2