That. Battle. Dear. God.
You can have your Lord of the Rings-esque "Blackwater" and "Watchers on the Wall," or the otherworldly White Walker showdown in "Hardhome." I'll take "Battle of the Bastards," which delivered a new kind of epic action sequence: grimy, claustrophobic, miserable, chaotic, sinister, gut-wrenching, gut-splitting, gut-carving -- the Hell on Earth that was this fight. Medieval. There's been a handful of13th-century battles staged on the big screen (half of them directed by Ridley Scott), but none of them comes close to the colliding horses and broadsword bloodshed that made clear: a Lord of Light is looking out for ol' Jon Snow. When Jon climbs his way out from under a pile of bodies -- a scene pulled from both Rome's Battle of Cannae and the American Civil War, per D.B. Weiss -- and takes to a hill of his own men's dead bodies, we grabbed for the wine faster than Tyrion. Stressful. Grand. Perfect.
Knights of the Vale to the rescue
"Battle of the Bastards" went up against Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and I can promise you no basketball fan wooted at LeBron James louder than the Thrones-obsessed did when Sansa and Littlefinger appeared from over a hill with a rescuing army.
RIP, Wun-Wun. Hodor's death may be the most heartbreaking moment in the series' history, but the magic of Thrones is that every character's death stings.