Death, poison, fighting, more death - Game of Thrones' 10 best moments

King Joffrey celebrates his wedding during the fourth season of Game of Thrones.
King Joffrey celebrates his wedding during the fourth season of Game of Thrones.

* This story contains spoilers

This year was slated to be the biggest and best season of Game of Thrones to date - and it certainly lived up to it.

There were so many shocks and game-changers that there was barely enough time to recover from each twist before viewers were hit with yet another to send them reeling.

The season started off quietly enough, picking up the story strands but quickly got going after the second episode.

The scripts were grander, with special effects and performances to match, but what were the moments that stuck out the most?

We take a look back over the past two and a half months and re-live season four - and of course there will be plenty of spoilers.

1. Joffrey's death

The highlight of the season came early on in episode two and delighted scores of fans. Finally, the bratty boy-king, who has caused so much pain and misery, is dead. Let's not forget, he has threatened to rape Sansa, killed a prostitute with his crossbow and ordered Ned Stark's head to be chopped off.

It was just a pity Tyrion couldn't slap him once last time before Joffrey carked it on a piece of pigeon pie laced with a side of dark magic.

2. The Red Viper getting his eyes gouged out

That poor cheeky chap from Dorne. If audiences thought that Joffrey's death was graphic then it pales in comparison to the demise of Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper, who met his fate at the hands of The Mountain. It was the most sickening and stomach-churning moment of the whole season. It was also grossly gratuitous and the image of the Prince of Dorne getting his eyes gouged out and skull crushed was disturbing and hard to shake.

3. Ygritte's death

Yes, her constant repetition of "You know nothing Jon Snow" was irritating but the wildling girl, with hair kissed by fire, had a certain charm about her. It was a pity that she was killed by a scared, little boy. If anything was likely to send fans into tears this season, it was the death of Ygritte. She won Jon Snow's heart and led him to break his vows to the Night's Watch. But to be fair, could anyone have actually imagined the pair getting married and settling down?

4. Lysa Arryn gets hurled out the Moon Door

There was plenty of death this year and Lysa Arryn's unfortunate incident with the Moon Door was another one of them. By "unfortunate", it was actually a relief watching Little Finger shove Lysa to her death but not before proclaiming his love for her sister Catelyn Stark. It was a shock but Lord Baelish probably did the Eyrie a favour by dispensing with its half-mad ruler, who still breast feeds her son even though he is about 10.

5. Arya and Brienne meeting

It was the meeting everyone wanted to happen. These two characters are so similar, both outcasts and tomboys, who prefer sword fighting than sewing. For a moment, it appeared that the pair would become friends until the awkward topic of the Lannisters came up.

6. The death of Tywin Lannister

What a way to go: shot by your own son with a crossbow while on the toilet. If Jaime is the Kingslayer then Tyrion is now the kinslayer. After the blood bath of the Red Wedding, this season the tables seemed to have been turned on the Lannisters. The Lions have lost a fair few of their family and rightly so.

7. The White Walkers taking Craster's child

This is the first time that audiences really got a glimpse of the White Walkers. Previously we have seen them marching towards the Wall or attacking people. But finally, we saw a group of them gathering around an icy version of Stonehenge and turning a baby into one of them. The whole scene was rather odd and a little bit of place but nonetheless compelling. Winter is coming.

8. Sam finally manning up

There was only so long that Sam could remain a wimp without getting killed. Watching him passionately kiss Gilley and telling Pyp that he'd let go of his fear were Sam's highlights of this season. 'Ser Piggy' has come a long way since season one.

9. The rape of Cersei

One of the most controversial moments on Game of Thrones this year: the scene differed significantly from the novels and saw Jaime force himself onto his sister. The pair were mourning the loss of their inbred son, whose cold, dead corpse was lying feet away when the rape took place. However, Cersei and Jaime's relationship has become even more ambiguous as the pair engaged in consensual sex in the last episode.

10. Tyrion's defence

Just give Peter Dinklage an Emmy Award now. In the performance of the season, Tyrion's defence in court was momentous. He departed from the sardonic imp witticisms and took aim at those who mocked him. Where's Bronn when you need him?

Now, only a year to go until season five ...

- Independent

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