Published May 13, 2019 by Asher Fergusson
Whenever major Game of Thrones characters die and/or there’s an epic battle scene, IMDb ratings spike!
Recently while looking at the ratings of different Game of Thrones episodes on IMDb I stumbled upon an interesting trend.
It appeared that the highest-rated episodes according to IMDb also happen to be when major characters die and/or there is an epic battle scene (such as Battle of the Bastards).
So I decided to delve deeper and found that the correlation is almost uncanny (especially in Seasons 1 – 7), as you can see in our chart below.
(Click to expand)
Our fascination with death
The concept (and often fear) of death has always had a unique hold on the human heart and soul. In this day and age we’ve taken it to a new level. With the current onslaught of media, the once morbid and occult have become mainstream news on every TV, computer, and phone screen, and they’re on 24/7.
With death comes a certain type of ethos, and nothing portrays that better than the world-wild phenomenon of Game of Thrones. With the death of a beloved character like Ned Stark comes the intense emotions of sadness, anger. You mourn the loss. However, if it’s someone you hate like – Joffrey Baratheon – intense emotions like happiness, joy, and relief come to mind and you cheer for the loss. In both situations, intense emotions are felt, adrenaline is pumped through our bodies, and we feel an almost addictive sensation. GoT can really cause you to question morality, and I think that’s the point.
Unpredictable plot lines
makes Game of Thrones stand out
The first major shock was the death of Ned Stark. Right away audiences lost their minds. How could this show kill off one of the leading, most popular and noble characters? Though Ned Stark didn’t quite make it through the first season, the attachment to him and his unexpected death almost felt personal.
While some fans vowed to never watch another episode, the overall feeling was a creeping desire to see what would come next, and so the show became that much more exciting and addictive. It left audiences with a longing to see the impossible, possible. This wasn’t going to be the typical Hollywood predictable bullshit where well-liked characters were immune to death.
What do the highest-rated episodes have in common?
Unsurprisingly, the four highest-rated episodes all shared common elements that kept audiences on the edges of their seats. Each of these IMDb 9.9 rated episodes was filled with impending doom and hopeless situations with no way out, which ultimately left viewers with an overwhelming sense of urgency and a powerful emotional response.
- Rains of Castamere – Starks are trapped in the Frey’s dining hall before being murdered at “The Red Wedding”.
- Hardhome – Wildlings and Jon Snow are trapped on the shores of Hardhome as the White Walkers and Wights descend to kill them.
- Battle of the Bastards – Jon Snow and army are trapped in a battle mosh pit surrounded by Ramsay’s army with no way out.
- Winds of Winter – High Sparrow and Tyrells are trapped in the church before it explodes and the Frey family are trapped in their own dining hall by Arya.
For me, it was Battle of the Bastards and the Winds of Winter that took the prize for the all-time best episodes. This is because they also had the element of relief when characters we had despised finally died. In Battle of the Bastards, we had the fulfillment of Sansa releasing the hounds on Ramsay which was definitely a time to celebrate since he was probably the least-liked, most evil character of the entire show. In the Winds of Winter, although Tommen committed suicide (upon seeing his wife murdered with the church explosion), it was a huge blow for Cersei who’d lost last child, and the ultimate finale was Arya getting her revenge by killing the entire Frey family. In my opinion, Battle of the Bastards was the most incredible episode of the entire show. I was literally trembling and sweating in my seat because I knew that Jon Snow and his army could easily have been the ones to die.
Use our interactive tool to sift through the GoT seasons
Instructions: Simply click on the column titles to sort by that filter. For example, click on the “Episode” title and the list will show the episodes in chronological order. Or use the search function to find a specific episode etc.
Please note: If you’re on a mobile device you can scroll horizontally to see all the data.
|Episode||Name||IMDB||Major Death||Epic Battle|
|S3 E09||The Rains of Castamere||9.9||Robb, Caitlyn & Talisa Stark|
|S5 E08||Hardhome||9.9||Battle at Hardhome|
|S6 E09||Battle of the Bastards||9.9||Ramsay Bolton, Rickon Stark||Battle of the Bastards|
|S6 E10||The Winds of Winter||9.9||High Sparrow, Margaery Tyrell, Tommen Baratheon|
|S7 E04||The Spoils of War||9.8||Dothraki and Dragon destroys Lannister army|
|S2 E09||Blackwater||9.7||Battle of Blackwater Bay|
|S4 E02||The Lion the Rose||9.7||Joffrey Baratheon|
|S4 E06||The Laws of Gods and Men||9.7|
|S4 E08||The Mountain and the Viper||9.7||Oberyn Martell|
|S4 E10||The Children||9.7||Shae and Tywin Lannister|
|S6 E05||The Door||9.7||Hodor|
|S1 E09||Baelor||9.6||Ned Stark|
|S3 E04||And Now His Watch Is Ended||9.6||Daenerys sacks Astapor|
|S4 E09||The Watchers of the Wall||9.6||Ygritte||Wildlings attack Castle Black|
|S1 E10||Fire and Blood||9.5||Khal Drogo|
|S5 E09||The Dance of Dragons||9.5||Uprising at Daznak’s Pit|
|S7 E07||The Dragon and the Wolf||9.5||Littlefinger|
|S2 E10||Valar Morghulis||9.4|
|S1 E07||You Win or Die||9.3|
|S7 E03||The Queen's Justice||9.3||Olenna Tyrell|
|S1 E06||Golden Crown||9.2|
|S6 E04||Book of the Stranger||9.2|
|S7 E06||Beyond the Wall||9.2||Battle beyond the Wall|
|S1 E01||Winter Is Coming||9.1|
|S1 E05||The Wolf and the Lion||9.1|
|S1 E08||The Pointy End||9.1|
|S2 E06||The Old Gods and the New||9.1|
|S3 E08||Second Sons||9.1|
|S4 E01||Two Swords||9.1|
|S5 E07||The Gift||9.1|
|S5 E10||Mother's Mercy||9.1||Stannis Baratheon, Jon Snow|
|S2 E07||A Man Without Honor||9|
|S3 E05||Kissed by Fire||9|
|S2 E01||The North Remembers||8.9|
|S2 E03||What Is Dead May Never Die||8.9|
|S2 E04||Garden of Bones||8.9|
|S2 E05||The Ghost of Harrenhal||8.9|
|S2 E08||The Prince of Winterfell||8.9|
|S3 E01||Valar Dohaeris||8.9|
|S3 E03||Walk of Punishment||8.9|
|S3 E06||The Climb||8.9|
|S4 E03||Breaker of Chains||8.9|
|S1 E02||The Kingsroad||8.8|
|S1 E04||Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things||8.8|
|S3 E07||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||8.8|
|S4 E05||First of His Name||8.8|
|S5 E04||Sons of the Harpy||8.8|
|S1 E03||Lord Snow||8.7|
|S3 E02||Dark Wings, Dark Words||8.7|
|S5 E05||Kill the Boy||8.7|
|S6 E07||The Broken Man||8.7|
|S8 E02||A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms||8.7|
|S2 E02||The Night Lands||8.6|
|S5 E01||The Wars to Come||8.6|
|S5 E02||The House of Black and White||8.6|
|S5 E03||High Sparrow||8.6|
|S6 E01||The Red Woman||8.6|
|S6 E06||Blood of My Blood||8.5|
|S6 E08||No One||8.5|
|S8 E03||The Long Night||8.5||Night King, Theon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont||Battle of Winterfell|
|S5E06||Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken||8.1|
Game of Thrones impact on tourism
As a travel writer, another mass appeal of Game of Thrones is the amazing set locations. Game of Thrones spans continents and the overwhelming success has had both positive and negative effects on local economies.
If you look at the below Google Trends chart for the keyword “game of thrones tours” you will see that the interest has been gaining momentum for years but is now absolutely exploding!
The GoT effect on local economies
Here is a list of all the countries where Game of Thrones has been filmed:
- Northern Ireland (Winterfell, Iron Island, Forests, The Stormlands)
- Croatia (King’s Landing, Braavos, Meereen, Red Keep)
- Iceland (North of Westeros, North of The Wall, Wildling camp)
- Spain (Dorne, Volantis, Daznak’s Pit)
- Malta (Daenery’s And Drogo’s Wedding, Red Keep, King’s Landing)
- Morocco (Pentos, Astapor)
- Scotland (Winterfell)
- Canada (Filmed scenes with Wolves)
- United States (Filmed scenes with the bear)
The effects the show has had on the local economies of Croatia, Northern Ireland and Iceland has been especially interesting. Most of the set locations double as both a popular tourist destination in and of themselves, but the intrigue of a vacation within the same location as a scene from a favorite show takes a holiday to a whole new level.
Whether or not you’re one of the millions who enjoy watching the deaths on Game of Thrones, there is little doubt that the show has struck a chord with the masses. Humankind’s fascination with death will certainly continue for millennia to come because if you’re born then you’re gonna die!… 🙂