National journalist Stewart Ward, who runs one of the biggest global Game of Thrones fan sites, sets out the most popular top five picks for Game of Thrones, as it draws to a close...

Top five ... twists

The National:

1: Red Wedding
A moment unmatched in television history. The shock deaths of Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark and Talisa Maegyr were the ultimate in Game of Thrones.

2: Ned Stark’s death
He was the hero, wasn’t he? The main character? That counted for nothing.

3: R+L=J
Rhaegar+Lyanna=Jon was the most popular fan theory for years. The show eventually proved it right, as Jon became Aegon Targaryen … and it meant Ned had lied all these years.

4: Daenerys freeing the unsullied
Unlike the books, that Daenerys knew the language of the Maesters remained a secret to the audience. Their insults came back to bite them with her iconic word: “Dracarys”.

5: Mad Queen Daenerys
The execution of the twist leaves much to be desired, but to have a Queen whom parents name their children after turn so evil is, on paper, one of the greatest twists of the show.

READ MORE: Game of Thrones: Why its achievements are likely to go unmatched

Top five ... battles

The National:

1: Battle of the Bastards
Director Miguel Sapochnik’s improvisation created an astounding battle, as Jon Snow fought off Ramsay Bolton at last … with Sansa Stark saving the day.

2: The Loot Train Battle
There are various names for this one, but it was the first time the full force of a dragon on the battlefield was witnessed. 

3: Battle of Winterfell
A zombie horde swarming over a castle we once saw the Stark children playing happily in. Evil defeated. And the longest battle in film and TV history.

4: Hardhome
Jon Snow travels north to first face the army of the dead. In the books, the only mention of Hardhome is in a stray letter, so this proved a masterful change.

5: Battle for the Wall
Wildlings versus Night’s Watch, beloved characters on both sides, and Stannis Baratheon saving the day.

Top five ... deaths

The National:

1: Ned Stark
As well as a stunning twist, this was the iconic death on the show. Anyone could die, and this proved it.

2: Catelyn Stark
While Robb was the highest-ranking casualty of the Red Wedding, it was Michelle Fairley’s Catelyn Stark who did most to show the horror.
3: Hodor
Hold the door. Who wasn’t in tears? Maybe only the one fan who, in a lift with author George RR Martin years ago, guessed the meaning.

4: Tywin Lannister
Tywin Lannister died on the toilet, shot by his son. “Tywin Lannister sh**s gold”, the saying went. The show can’t tell us Tyrion thoughts, but as he notes in the books, it wasn’t so.

5: Viserys Targaryen
Daenerys’s brother died with a golden crown, poured on to him by Khal Drogo. Drogo melted the gold in a soup cauldron, with fans working out this meant it was being cooked at 1500C. Quite the broth.

Top five ... arcs

The National:

1: Arya Stark
She’s been lost in King’s Landing, a rebel with The Hound, a deadly assassin and, finally, someone who gave up revenge to help others.

2: Theon Greyjoy
Alfie Allen’s performance is award-worthy. Recovering from “Reek”, his kindness and bravery earned him his name back.

3: Brienne of Tarth
Originally a follower and then a leader. “The big woman”, at the Battle of Winterfell, showed she had learned her own worth.

4: Jaime Lannister
His arc ended up back where it started, but it was an incredible route. His relationship with Brienne cannot be forgotten.

5: Sansa Stark
She dreamed of marrying a fairytale knight but became so much more. She won’t be popular with Dany fans, but she has endured, learned, and become an expert of the Game.

Top five ... happy bits

The National:

1: Brienne of Tarth being knighted
Writer Bryan Cogman deserves his own honour for the scene in which Jaime Lannister knights Brienne of Tarth. 

2: Joffrey’s death
While actor Jack Gleeson is a delight, Joffrey’s death was celebrated worldwide, with a bonus murder mystery.

3: Arya/The Hound
Rory McCann’s performance last week was stellar, and Arya calling him by his name – Sandor – was a huge moment for both characters. The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives, and they taught each other crucial lessons.

4: Sansa Stark/Jon Snow reunion
It took years, but it was worth it as these two finally reunited.

5: Daenerys appointing Tyrion her Hand
Tyrion Lannister finally, finally seeing someone recognising his worth was too touching. 

Top five ... quotes

The National:

1: Syrio Forel 
There is only one thing we say to death: Not today.

2: Cersei Lannister
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.

3: Ned Stark
When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.

4: Tyrion Lannister
Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you

5: Littlefinger
Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.