6 Gloriously Lighthearted 'Game of Thrones' Moments That Were Overshadowed by Oberyn vs. The Mountain

Those who tuned in to Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones probably don't remember much from before the last ten minutes. Sure, there were a ton of big events — Sansa saving Littlefinger, Dany exiling Jorah — but how could anyone pay attention to that when The Mountain splattered Prince Oberyn's brains all over the battle floor at the episode's end?! Call it The Red Wedding Effect: when something terrible happens at the end of a Thrones episode, no matter how much has preceded it, that final scene will be the only memory you have from the entire installment.

Which is pretty unfortunate, considering that every Thrones episode is jam-packed with action no fan would want to miss, and "The Mountain and the Viper" was no exception. In the fifty minutes preceding the grossest fight in Thrones history, characters ranging from Arya to Ygritte saw their plots move forward and challenges thickened. It's understandable that fans might've been too preoccupied with the much-awaited battle to give everything that came before it much notice, but those who did certainly missed out; not only were those pre-fight scenes important, they actually contained some of the most lighthearted moments Thrones has seen this season. Yet if you were only paying attention to the episode's last ten minutes, you probably thought the whole night was as gloomy as its ending. The six happiest (by Thrones standards, at least) moments of Sunday's episode:

Ygritte Sparing Gilly and Baby Sam's Lives

Only in Thrones would someone not killing someone be considered lighthearted. As the Wildlings sacked yet another village, Ygritte stumbled upon a terrified Gilly, hiding in a corner and holding her baby. Ygritte decided to let them live, and Thrones fans everywhere let out a cheer; we couldn't bear to see Sam lose his only family, especially by someone as savage as a Wildling. Also, how cool was it to see Ygritte and Gilly together? If characters as random as those two could meet up, there's no telling who else could reunite by season's end.

Dany And Missandei's Girl Talk

Was this an episode of Thrones or Girl Code? Watching Dany and Missandei do each other's hair, talk boys, and gossip about their friends (okay, warriors) felt jarring, but in a good way; it's not often we get to see those characters relax and have fun, let alone discuss topics like "the pillar and the stones."

Sansa's Makeover

Sure, Sansa's new look was done for her survival, not desire for a makeover, but even still, it was pretty great to see the ever-badass Stark daughter stun Littlefinger (and audiences) with her transformation. The once shy, scared little girl has morphed into a mature, if cautious, teen, and her appearance on those steps showed that she has no intention of turning back. That black hair, that revealing outfit, that seductive look; Sansa Stark is ready to do whatever it takes to get Littlefinger on her side, and reclaim the Stark glory of seasons past.

Arya Laughing

When one has spent the last however many months grieving the deaths of half her family, pretending to be a boy, traveling with a murderer, and killing anyone who gets in her way, it's impossible to imagine that things could get worse. Yet that's exactly what happened when Arya and The Hound finally reached the Eyrie, only to learn that Lysa had died — and, thus, the only relative Arya thought she had a chance of reuniting with was out of the picture. So what did she do? She laughed, hysterically — and although the action was out of disbelief, not humor, it was one of the funniest moments in the episode.

Tyrion and Jamie's Bro Bonding

Tyrion and Jamie's jail cell talks have made for some of this season's most entertaining scenes, and Sunday's brotherly bonding session was a highlight. Reminiscing over a disabled cousin's love of crushing beetles, the siblings seemed closer than they ever have, and for a few blissful minutes, it distracted viewers from the horrible reason they were bonding in the first place.

Oberyn's Fighting

Oh, Prince Oberyn. Why'd you have to get cocky? Before his appalling demise, Tyrion's champion was doing quite well; not only had he knocked down The Mountain, but he'd done it with style. Oberyn's elaborate sword tricks were a pleasure to watch, beautifully graceful and enormously exciting. The scene was one of Thrones' all-time most enjoyable to witness — that is, until, well, you know what happened next. R.I.P, Red Viper. It was nice knowing ya.

Images: HBO