I still haven't accepted it, but Sunday's Game of Thrones season 8 finale marks the end of a decade of swords, sex and Samwell Tarley. In an act of tribute and remembrance we asked the GamesRadar+ team, even the ones who don't watch the show, to share their favorite memories of the fantasy epic. Obviously, there are spoilers below.
This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.
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The Viper vs. The Mountain
There really are far too many great Thrones moments to choose from, but Oberyn Martell's death at the hands of The Mountain has to be my favorite, purely for the immediate adrenaline of its shock value. After the Red Wedding, I thought I had learnt to expect the unexpected in Game of Thrones, but - by introducing the suave and savvy Prince a mere few episodes before his death, and setting him up as a big new favorite character for the series going forward - Martell's sudden and horrific demise came as a gasp-worthy gut punch. It was made worse by the fact that this incredibly adept fighter had almost defeated The Mountain in the coolest way possible, only for HBO to snatch that momentum from under us with a last-minute twist of blood, screams, and brain matter. Compound that with the subsequent news of Tyrion's impending execution by his own family, and season 4, episode 8's ending is one of the most distressing Game of Thrones moments to date. Alex Avard
The set up for this moment was exquisite because it had taken a whole seven seasons for it to come to fruition. Infuriatingly, Littlefinger always seemed able to worm himself into a favorable position no matter who was in power, and we had watched Sansa get caught up in his wake for far too long. He sold her out to the Boltons, creeped over her in the Eyrie, and generally manipulated her into doing whatever profited him best - and the whole time we had no idea that Sansa was watching and learning. For him to feel like he had succeeded when Arya got called in front of her sister for charges that ranged from murder to treason, only for it all to be turned around, was a delight to witness. Suddenly his political maneuvering was useless: his demand for an escort to the Eyrie was ignored, and he melted into a pleading, begging mess. It was what we all knew he was deep down inside. Sansa's utter control over the situation and her unspoken bond with Arya was one relationship he couldn't manipulate, and when Arya's dagger slid into his throat I cheered. Zoe Delahunty-Light
Watching Joffrey die at 35,000 feet
I don't watch Game of Thrones, but I try not to be one of those "I don't watch Game of Thrones" people. I'm glad other people enjoy it, especially when one of those people is sitting a row up from me on an airplane and has one of the most satisfying moments of the show playing on their seat-back display. I don't know all the grim details about why Joffrey deserved to be poisoned at his party and die in agony, but I don't need to. You can tell Joffrey's a rotten little asshole as soon as you look at him - fantastic casting, really - especially with a crown to complete his Royal Lad About Town look. It probably would have been better if I could have heard him gagging too, but I thought better of asking the guy if I could borrow a headphone. Connor Sheridan
Cousin Orson loves smashing beetles
Sure, it's Game of Thrones' epic battles, bloody massacres, and shocking political twists that steal the headlines. But, for me, the best moments are the quieter beats; the intimate conversations that give meaning to the grand events and sprawling fights. Yes, the dual between the Mountain and the Red Viper of Dorne is incredible, but the conversation between Tyrion and Jaime that immediately precedes it is probably the best in the show. Facing what he assumes is certain death, Tyrion is visited by his brother in prison, and their conversation turns to cousin Orson Lannister, who was dropped on his head as a baby. Tyrion's musings on why cousin Orson spent all his days crushing beetles with a rock and shouting "Kun kun kun" is a wonderfully reflective moment, a comment on the show itself, and it's interlaced with moments of genuine humor and affectionate chat between the two brothers, both on their own redemptive character arcs. The chat sums up many of the show's core themes, ends with a brutally realistic anecdote (about how cousin Orson died), foreshadows another 'crushing' moment of violence, and showcases what is secretly one of the best relationships between Game of Thrones' main characters. It's perfect 'Thrones. Andy Hartup
Syrio Forel, the dancing master
It’s the end of an era, and everything in Westeros is going up in (very literal) flames. Choosing my favorite moment from the show so far would be tricky as a result; there are countless shocking, heartfelt highlights to choose from. However, my fondest memory would have to be the silver-tongued wonder that was Syrio Forel, First Sword of Bravos, owner of a superb ‘do, and Arya’s ‘dancing master’ from back in Season 1. As pointed out during a recent episode of Thronecast, he’s one of the few guest-stars to still be relevant ten years after his off-screen death. His lessons set the stabbiest of Starks on a journey that saw her change the entire landscape of Thrones, and his teachings continue to show the way even in the darkest of moments. What do we say to the God of Death? Not today. Syrio has also been one of the few positive role models in this show. More specifically, he’s a decent man who treated Arya as she wanted to be - not as the ‘lady’ everyone else tried to make her. Here’s to you, Syrio. Benjamin Abbott
Sam kills a white walker
For all its heroes, power, magic and beasts, humble Sam taking down a white walker all on his own showed that the quieter, less-grand characters had an equally pivotal role to play in Game of Thrones. It was not just the combat scene that made this tense and great but also the depiction of Sam’s as a somewhat-bumbling but protective man-about-the-house to Gilly and little Sam, as a moment of discovery about the white walkers’ weakness and the importance of dragonglass, and that anyone is capable of a narrative-turning heroic moment. With the white walkers sort of an unknown entity at this stage in the show, it still had a lasting gravity to it. Plus it’s always nice to see the intelligent but not physically strong characters do something awesome in combat (see also: Tyrion), and show that knowledge, information and intelligence are equally important weapons in Westeros. Rob Dwiar
Like Connor, I'm also a Game of Thrones abstainer who tries not to treat it like a marker of special identity. So I'll just say that even though I have no idea who Tyrion is or what makes him tick, I'm just so glad to see everyone appreciating Peter Dinklage and his acting. Admittedly I'm more familiar with his comedic work in Death at a Funeral (the original) and Elf, but he always struck me as a very likable dude. That Game of Thrones X Sesame Street video with Elmo further solidified my Dinklage fandom. Lucas Sullivan
You think avoiding spoilers is hard in today's social media environment? Try having the biggest reveal of season 5 ruined when your trousers are down by your ankles.
I was at a heavy metal music festival; I was an episode of GoT behind and people wouldn't stop talking about Thrones that weekend. Thankfully, the language barrier – and a deafening spectrum of distortion – helped keep the spoilers at bay. All of that changed when I ducked into a disgusting portaloo on the final day of the festival. I closed the door behind me, plastered tissue paper all around the toilet seat, turned around and sat down. As I look up towards the door, just scrawled all across it in what I still desperately hope was pen – but still secretly suspect might not have been pen – were the words "JOHN SNOW IS DEAD."
The words looked like they were dripping. I screamed a litany of expletives. My buddy, assuming I had fallen into the shit pit, busted the door down in an attempt to save me from it. But there is no saving a man once he has been taken to spoiler city. It was in that moment – trousers by my ankles, a gaggle of onlookers jeering me in a variety of languages; my friend, desperately confused; me, desperately trying to make sure he didn't touch the inside of the door – that I vowed never to watch Game of Thrones again. And friends, I haven't been upset by a spoiler since. Josh West
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