Whether someone is already a big fan of Game of Thrones (GOT), or trying to start watching, but does not have enough time to watch all three seasons, the following episodes will be a good way to know what is going on in Westeros. GOT is a sprawling story with no single main character, locations all over the world, and more story lines than most shows have people. A typical season of GOT films in around 1,000 locations, uses 3,000 costumes, 4,000 props, has 257 cast members, 703 crew members, and applies 87,014 frames of visual effects. No matter the viewer, it can be a lot to follow. The following episodes will be beneficial to re-watch before season four of Game of Thrones starts, since it has been nine months since the season three finale and a lot has happened.
[Warning: The writer has tried to stay as broad as possible, but there are still some spoilers ahead for those who have not watched the show]
Season one, episode one: The pilot is a crucial episode for any show (obviously), but in GOT it is paramount. This is where it all happens. The opening scenes are with White Walkers north of the Wall, then the show quickly jumps to Winterfell, introducing viewers to the Starks. The Starks are a noble household and when King Baratheon shows up everything in the seven kingdoms changes. What is interesting about season one, episode one, is that everyone is so innocent. As fans who have watched every episode know, half the characters from this first episode are not alive anymore and the ones that are have been changed forever. Viewers are also introduced to Daenerys Targeryon.
Season one, episode three: Jon Snow gets to the Wall and joins the Night’s Watch and ramifications of what happened at Winterfell are revealed. The king’s party, along with Ned Stark, get to King’s Landing and the politics of Westeros are explained.
Season one, episode five: It is called the Wolf and the Lion, and two of the prominent families start a war. Catelyn Stark visits her sister with a prisoner and Daenerys finds out she is pregnant and her marriage is not as bad as she thought.
Season one, episode six: Viewers find out Daenerys’ secret about her and fire, and Catelyn Stark’s prisoner decides he wants a trial by combat. King Robert Baratheon goes on a hunting trip and things in King’s Landing change forever.
Season one, episode nine: For those who do not watch the show, but want to know what is going on, they have to watch this episode. Just a head up, episode nine of any season in GOT is always the climax of the season and will leave viewer’s jaws dropped. This is the episode when viewers will find out just how brutal the world of GOT really is.
Season one, episode ten: Season finale’s are usually just the aftermath, but this episode has many key moments in their finale, so this would be a necessary watch as well. Viewers will find out how the war of the kings is started and what Daenerys does with her dragon eggs.
Season two has been the slowest of the three seasons thus far. There is a lot of back and forth, strategizing and everything takes a while to form. GOT is adapted from books that are 800 to over 1,000 pages long. So much happens that sometimes it is important to watch the slower moving episodes just to know what is going on.
Season two, episode two: Daenerys is dealing with her choices from the season one finale and wondering if she can deliver on the promise she made her people. Theon Greyjoy travels home and viewers learn something about the Stark’s. Tyrion, with his new title in King’s Landing, learns how to play the political game, finding out he is very good at it too.
Season two, episode four: Called Garden of Bones, viewers travel to Quarth, a city Daenerys and her people travel to for shelter. Tyrion tries to keep King Joffrey in line in King’s Landing, but it is harder than expected.
Season two, episode six and seven: These episodes discuss the changing of the guard in Winterfell, as well as moves the war of the kings along. There is not much action in these episodes, but developments take shape that alter the rest of the seasons. These Game of Thrones episodes are necessary to re-watch before the start of season four for that reason.
Season two, episode nine: Just like in season one, this is a very important episode to watch. Firstly, HBO spent the majority of season two’s budget on this one episode. This episode features by far the biggest battle yet in Game of Thrones and re-watching it before season four starts is very important as it is one of the few to stay in one location for the majority of the episode. The finale of season two is important as well, but if time is a big issue, watching just the second half will be enough to know what is going on; especially the last ten minutes.
Season three, episode one: This is when viewers follow Jon Snow to the other side as he meets the king beyond the Wall and sees his army of more than just men. Viewers will also find out who is left from the party of 300 Night’s Watch who traveled north. In King’s Landing Tyrion has to learn to adjust to everything that has happened to him in the battle, and things are looking good for King Joffrey since his wife-to-be is swaying his perception amongst the people. The episode also visits a defeated Stannis Baratheon, Robb Stark’s army and Daenerys, whose dragons have grown.
Season three, episode three: Daenerys visits the slavers that train the unsullied, an army of slaves, turned into obedient killing machines, and she makes a deal the slaver can not refuse. North of the Wall, the army of Free Men comes across the work of the White Walkers, who arranged horses in such a way. Jaime Lanister loses something very valuable to him at the end of this episode as well, something that changes everything for him.
Season three, episode four: This is one of the strongest episodes of the series. The Night’s Watch run into problems amongst their own and settle it the only way they know how. Tyrion and Varys strike up a friendship, Bran learns what the premonitions in his dreams mean and more is learned about the Lord of Light. The final scenes of this episode are some of the best yet when Daenerys shows her true colors and demonstrates how she plans to lead.
Season three, episode six: This is one of GOT‘s best visual episodes. Jon Snow and a group of wildlings take on the Wall, Tywin Lanister does some more shady dealings in King’s Landing and Robb Stark makes a deal with Walder Frey that changes everything.
Season three, episodes eight, nine and ten: The last three episodes of season three should all be watched. Episode eight introduces viewers to the second sons and Daenerys has to learn if she can trust one of them or not. Lady Melisandra does something with leaches and fire, and Tyrion is forced to get married, but almost loses his head when he insults King Joffrey. Episode nine of season three is called the Rains of Castamere, but everyone refers to it as, the Red Wedding. Fans of the show know this episode is the most powerful episode yet and proves that no one is safe in the world of GOT. The final episode of season three is important as well because it sets up season four, and after the ninth episode, anyone would have trouble not watching the tenth, just to see what happens.
Those are all the episodes that should be re-watched before season four starts; if this is still too much, another shortcut is to watch the first or second episode, an episode in the middle and always episode nine of every season. GOT is the biggest (as far as size) show on television, will more characters and locations than any other. The best way to really know what is going on is to watch them all, but that is not always possible. These episodes are a good reminder of what has happened and act as a good introduction to those who want to watch the new season, but have not seen one episode. Game of Thrones is a sprawling epic, so being able to re-watch these before season four starts should go a long way to understanding and following the complex world.
Opinion by Chris Dragicevich