As it prepares to start the first half of its final season, Game of Thrones has become a television icon. Adapting George R.R. Martin’s best-selling novels, the show has grown beyond them, faithful but new touches that keep fans going. It’s earned multiple Emmys, a fantastic following and slews of fan theories abounding. It’s also earned a reputation for its rather adult content from open cursing to brutal deaths to, of course, plenty of sexy moments. Practically every female actress on the show has doffed it all at one point or another, some multiple times. Saturday Night Live has parodied the show’s apparent need to have a naked woman around to fire up a scene and do exposition in a brothel. While the series has so much drama around, these adult scenes are what comes to mind when the show is mentioned.
Thus, you can imagine there’s plenty of moments from the series you wouldn’t want to watch with your parents. Sure, they may be able to take some of the content but several scenes are just too much. It’s easy to list the slews of sex scenes, nudity and other wild content. But there are other bits, some brutal, others dark in tone, that make it less likely you’d want to be with Mom and Dad while watching the show. Here are 15 GOT moments you may not want your parents to see with you and why this show’s edge is unlike any other series on television.
15. Ned’s Beheading
It’s the moment that forever changed not just the show but fan perceptions of it. It was a shocker to book fans and some truly though the series would never do it as well. Yet they did and it ended up being huge. Throughout the first season, Ned Stark was clearly set up to be the hero of the saga. Played by Sean Bean, he was a good man of honor who sadly realized too late that he was in a dark world where honor meant nothing. Pressed to be the Hand of the King, Ned realizes that Cersei and brother Jaime have been lovers for years and her son Joffrey is Jaime’s, not Robert’s. Ned foolishly gives Cersei the chance to tell the truth, not realizing the lengths of her power hungry motives.
Instead, Cersei arranges for Robert to be fatally mauled and Joffrey be king. Ned then makes the mistake of trusting Littlefinger, who betrays him and Ned is tossed into jail. He’s told the deal will be pleading guilty in public to treason and sent to the wall and to keep his family safe, Ned agrees. But, in a move even his mother isn’t prepared for, the mad Joffrey decides to make an example by killing Ned. Before the horrified eyes of his daughters, Ned is beheaded in the square and fans shocked to realize the supposed main character is gone. This proved no one was safe in Thrones and watching it with your parents can add too much emotion to an already dark moment.
14. Not A Nice Mourning
The key scene of the first episode of the show is the final one. Climbing up a tower in his home, Bram Stark sees Cersei and Jaime Lannister having an encounter that proves they’re more than just brother and sister. To keep him from speaking out, Jaime pushes the boy off the window, setting so many dark events into motion. This twisted relationship has been going on for years with Ned realizing that this Joffrey is the son of the duo and setting a lot of things up. It’s clear they do love each other in their own twisted way and that carries them through things.
However, this “love” reaches a very dark point in season four. Finally making his way home after a long ordeal that cost him a hand, Jaime finds Cersei mourning Joffrey and tries to get through to her as it’s his son too. Cersei is consumed with anger against Tyrion (who she wrongfully believes to be the killer) and Jaime wants to calm her down. It builds up to him throwing her onto the floor and taking her right by the body of their murdered child. Even by the standards of the Lannisters, this is jarring on multiple levels and why this show is hardly family viewing.
13. Melisandre’s Birth
GOT had touched on magic now and then but not in a big way. Sure, the big first season finale had Dany hatching a trio of young dragons but aside from that, it was easy to see this as a medieval-style tale. When Melisandre first appeared, her talk of serving the Gods and having dark powers looked to be just that, talk. However, one scene not only proved magic existed in this world but a truly dark sight to behold. Serving Stannis Bratheon, Melisandre claims “The Lord of Light” will see his way to the Iron Throne. She claims she can win his war against brother Renly in one swoop and he has soldier Davos row her to a secluded spot near Renly’s camp.
Davos makes it clear he doesn’t believe in Melisandre or her faith. He changes his tune fast when the woman steps out, suddenly looking about eight months pregnant. She lies on the robe, moaning out and then, from under her clothes, comes a dark shadow. Davos can only stare in horror as the Shadow forms and goes to kill Renly. Hands down, it’s the freakiest “birth” in television history and a scene showing Melisandre far more than human and one your parents may not approve of watching.
12. Theon’s Torture
Theon Greyjoy was sent to the Starks as part of a complex deal involving his family. He always felt a bit of an outcast and so when sent back, felt the need to act out and prove himself to his domineering father. Thus, he turns on the Starks to sack Winterfell. He in turn is defeated in battle by Ramsay Bolton’s forces and taken prisoner. From there, Ramsay subjects Theon to one utter humiliation after another, all of them very hard to take. It starts as pure torture, hitting Theon, piercing him with hot irons and such. Then, he arranges for Theon to be taken by a trio of ladies who call him names and remind him he’s nothing before Ramsay interrupts. Then, Theon’s manhood is cut off and mailed to his father. It breaks the poor guy, now named “Reek” and becoming so afraid of Ramsay that he doesn’t even taken the chance to escape. It’s truly disturbing on multiple levels and watching alone is bad enough but try getting family to join you for this dark journey.
11. Arya’s Revenge
Of the many transformations of the show, this was one of the biggest. Arya Stark was always a bit adventurous, tough and tomboyish. While Sansa loved being a princess, Arya was learning swordplay. She had to grow up fast when she saw Ned’s murder and then took off into the wild, her hair cut short. For several seasons, she endured various dangers, even working for Tywin Lannister before meeting a mysterious guild of assassins. They trained her in fighting, disguise and more but then Arya went on her own to brutally murder Meryn Tarant and was struck blind.
Her sight later restored, Arya went on her own and seemed to vanish. In the sixth-season finale, Walder Frey is shown at his home, taking dinner from a servant girl. He asks her to find his sons and she responds they’re already there. Frey looks around for them but the girl points to the food he’s been eating to repeat “they’re here.” Staring, Frey finds a finger in the food. He looks up as the serving girl rips off her mask to reveal herself as Arya who gloats before slicing Walder’s throat. That’s right, she made Walder eat his own kids before she killed him. Now that is a revenge best served cold.
10. Dany And Drogo
It’s truly remarkable to see the transformation of Daenerys Targaryen. When she first appeared, she was an innocent lady, being pushed by scheming brother Viserys to marry Kal Drogo, all so Viserys can become king. The first encounters between her and Drogo are among the first wildly sexual encounters of the show with him dominating her as any man of his tribe would. But then Daenerys does something unexpected: She turns to face him during their mating, a move that takes Drogo aback. Suddenly, Daenerys is the one in charge, more dominating in the bedroom and it’s the first step in her transformation. At first looking mere “fanservice,” Emilia Clarke manages to find the heart of Dany and how this is the move that asserts her as a future queen. Of course, it’s still a very hot scene yet it’s a testament to the show how well it works and while it can be uncomfortable watching it with others, it’s a key moment in one of the biggest characters.
9. Cersei’s Shame
It’s hard to imagine feeling sympathy for Cersei Lannister. The woman is a conniving and quite possibly psychotic schemer whose actions sent the kingdom into chaos. It was her work that put sociopath Jeoffrey on the throne and caused massive deaths. Yet you still had to feel for her in the season five finale. After arranging for rival Margaery to be captured by the ultra-religious High Sparrow, Cersei’s plot backfires when the Sparrow decides to arrest her for her many sins. After weeks of torture to force her to “repent,” Cersei finally gets a reprieve…in a way.
She is allowed to return home but only by the High Sparrow’s conditions. Which means being stripped naked, her hair cut off and then marching through the streets. Cersei begins looking as high and mighty as she can with a priestess after her, ringing a bell and yelling “Shame!” At first, the onlookers just stare at her. But then, as if unleashing years of pent up frustration, they start ripping at Cersei with insults than throwing fruit, rocky and various unsavory items at her. By the time she reaches the Keep, Cersei is bloodied, covered in dirt (and other nasty bits) and on the verge of tears. No matter how she may deserve it, it’s still amazingly uncomfortable watching this woman put through such an ordeal.
8. Ramsay And Sansa
As scumbag as the Lannisters may be, they’re saints compared to Ramsy Bolton. The cruel, sadistic head of his house, Ramsay is obsessed with power at any cost and is a brutal psychopath. He showed it already with his treatment of Theon but he perhaps saved the worst for Sansa Stark. As if it wasn’t bad enough already having been with the twisted Jeoffrey, Sansa is now forced to marry Ramsay as a political move. Their wedding night is a nightmare as Ramsay forces himself on Sansa and forces Theon (now known as Reek) to watch helplessly. It’s not just once either as Ramsay continues to attack her every night and enjoys flaunting his power. When he finds Sansa trying to send a message for help, Ramsay flays her maid and forces Sansa to admire the corpse.
It gets darker as Ramsay, losing it, kills his own father and half-brothers. He then leads his forced against Jon in a brutal battle which he loses. Sansa then gets the final revenge, pointing out to Ramsay that when he dies, so does his House. Then, she lets Ramsay’s own hounds chew him to pieces. From top to bottom, a truly dark turn for the show and why it’s hard to enjoy Ramsay even as a villain.
7. Lysa And Her Son
Catelyn Stark, for all her faults, was shown to be a good, smart and very honorable woman. She does have a tendency to look before she leaps, however, proven when she jumps to the conclusion that Tyrion was the one who tried to kill her son Bran. So when she finds Tyrion at an inn, she has him arrested and decides to bring him to the Eyrie, where her sister, Lysa, rules. Tyrion warns Cat of stories of Lysa losing it after her husband died but she ignores him.
As it turns out, she should have listened. Lysa is now a paranoid mess convinced of enemies all around her and Tyrion killed her husband. What makes the whole thing freakier is that Lysa is talking while breast-feeding her eight-year old son. Cat and Tyrion are as thrown as the audience (Tyrion actually seems to be thinking “and I thought my family was a mess”) and while it shows how Lysa is nuts, the bits of the kid are a reason this is one rough scene to watch.
6. A Watery Chat
It’s harder to imagine an odder couple on the show than Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. He’s the Kingslayer, the arrogant man whose been carrying on a secret affair with his twin sister. She’s a proud and noble knight able to take down men twice her size. Brienne was given the task by Catelyn Stark to bring Jaime to King’s Landing to prevent further attacks. This leads to the two having antagonizing banter with each other only to be captured by Bolton soldiers who end up cutting off Jaime’s arm. It’s a humbling experience for the man and Brienne actually feels some pity on him.
This leads to Brienne taking in a communal bath when Jaime matter of factly joins her. They have a bit of an argument with Jaime dismissing her as just like any man and Brienne stands straight up, the camera showing her bare backside as if defying Jaime to ignore her. This leads to a big moment with Jaime confessing how he slew a mad king to save thousands of lives but has been condemned for it. It’s actually a good scene but the fact it’s happening between two people naked in a pool makes it bit uncomfortable to watch.
5. Podrick’s Reward
Introduced as a goofy helper, Podrick was a well-intentioned lad made out to be an innocent in this dark world. He got into trouble with his father and so was sent as the “squire” to Tyrion, who took pity on this kid and helped him out. Podrick saved Tyrion’s life during the Battle of the Blackwater, earning Tyrion’s eternal respect. He also becomes a good aide to Tyrion when he manages as the Hand of the King. So, Tyrion decides to “reward” Podrick in his own unique way. He brings the boy to a brothel with three very experienced “ladies,” one of whom shows her ability to bend her body in impressive shapes. Handing the kid a bag of gold, Tyrion tells him to enjoy himself.
This leads to an absolutely hysterical bit where Podrick returns to put the bag of gold on a table. Tyrion sighs, thinking the boy couldn’t do it. Instead, Podrick tells him that not only did he “perform” but did so well that these three experienced ladies refused payment. Tyrion and Bronn just stare in open-jawed amazement before demanding Podrick tell them what he did in “copious detail.” It’s a great bit to show how dark the humor of the show can be.
4. Hot Tub Times
From the start, there was something about wilding Ygritte that got fans going. The feisty Wildling was well played by Rose Leslie, a tough fighter whose relationship with Jon was interesting. She ran him down constantly (creating the now famous line “you know nothing, Jon Snow”) and showed him how the Wildlings were far smarter and more capable than the Night’s Watch credited them for. The chemistry between Leslie and Kit Harrington was amazing and fans knew it was only a matter of time before things came to a head. It happened with Jon chasing Ygritte into what he thinks is a snowy cavern. Instead, he finds a hot spring as Ygritte disrobes before him, finally showing what’s under the furs. Despite his dedication to his oath, Jon can’t fight the attraction and is soon showing he does know a few things in how to pleasure a woman. It’s a steamy (literally) scene and showcases one of the hotter times on GoT that you may not want to watch with family.
3. The Red Wedding
Obviously, a moment that rocked the show hard. Book readers knew it was coming but even they were taken aback at how graphic it was. Hell, George R.R. Martin himself declared that “they took the darkest thing I ever wrote and made it darker.” It was supposed to be a great night, the wedding of Robb Stark and Talisa, overseen by Walder Frey. Robb had promised to marry Frey’s daughter but broke it yet Frey seems ready to host the party. It has a good vibe at first but as the band plays, Catelyn senses something wrong. She realizes Roose Bolton is wearing armor under his clothes and realizes what’s happening too late.
In a moment that both viewers and book readers screaming, Lame Lothar steps up and stabs Talisa several times in her pregnant belly. The massacre is on as the various guests immediately start attacking the Stark men with swords, knives and crossbows, many dying before they know what’s happening. Outside, it’s the same, even Robb’s beloved direwolf is killed in his cage. It builds up to Catelyn grabbing one of Frey’s wives, demanding he spare Robb. Frey just tells her to go ahead as Bolton stabs Robb in the belly. Catelyn kills the wife and just stands in dismay before someone slits her own throat. It’s hard to watch this scene with a crowd over the screaming and still one of the more graphic moments of the show.
2. Melisandre And Gendry
For several seasons, Melisandre was the alluring, gorgeous witch played by Carice van Houten. With her long red hair, ample curves and amazing manner, the lady captivated audiences right off. However, much of the perception was changed by the final scene of the sixth season premiere when Melisandre removes a necklace and it’s revealed she’s an ancient hag kept young by spells. Even before that reveal, there were some seriously dark moments for her, perhaps the biggest being her encounter with Gendry. The bastard son of King Robert, Gendry fled the city to avoid killers and had been on the run. He soon falls in with the Brotherhood Without Banners before Melisandre finds him.
Telling him the truth of his heritage, Melisandre offers to help him achieve his destiny. This includes laying with him in bed and Gendry later admits he saw it was a trap of some sort but worth taking a chance. He regrets it as Melisandre starts to lay leeches on him that begin sucking his blood and life force out. He manages to escape but still a wild scene that’s disturbing to watch.
1. Battle Of The Bastards
To GOT fans, this is the equivalent of the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. The show had done a lot of brutal fights and battles over the years but nothing like this. After a season of build-up, Jon Snow leads his forces of Night’s Watch and Wilding troops against the armies of Ramsay Bolton. What follows is a clash so epic, it took two weeks to film and more in post-production to finish up. This is no typical Hollywood clash of CGI or such. This is brutal, hard-core, old-style fighting as armies of men slam against each other in fury. The blood and mud flow easily together with truly graphic stabbings, slayings and more as limbs, heads and other body parts go flying about. You can’t help but wince watching the bloodshed and feel for guys on both sides putting up with such agony.
It looks like Jon is going down in defeat but, like the calvary of old, the Knights of the Vale charge the field courtesy of Sansa, to change the tide. A great bit is that Ramsay literally can’t fathom he’s lost, retreating to Winterfell and claiming to have “broken” the army that now pounds on his gates. He and Jon face off with Jon beating the living hell out of him before letting Sansa be the one to deliver Ramsay’s death. The most epic bloody battle of the show so far but one you may want to enjoy more in private.