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Jon Snow with a DragonHBO

Was this Game of Thrones truth bomb the greatest TV reveal of all time?

The TV epic loves a good plot twist - and so do some other classic shows

Harvey Day
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This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Gossip Girl, Westworld, The Good Place, 24, Newhart and Dallas.

After 18 long months, Game of Thrones made a triumphant return to UK screens this week. According to HBO, the final season opener hit a record high of 17.4 million US viewers and 3.4 million UK fans, and the reviews were mostly positive.

Along with plenty of tear-jerking family reunions and one absolutely gruesome crucifixion-style incident, the most significant moment came towards the end of the episode when it was finally revealed to our boy Jon (Kit Harrington) that he is, in fact, a Targaryen.

“Your mother was Lyanna Stark. And your father, your real father, was Rhaegar Targaryen. You’ve never been a bastard. You’re Aegon Targaryen, true heir to the Iron Throne,” Jon’s pal Sam (played by John Bradley) told him in the crypts beneath Winterfell.

Sam, who uncovered the mystery of Jon’s true lineage at the end of last season with the help of Jon's 'brother' Bran, worked out that the former King in the North isn’t Ned’s illegitimate son - as he’d long thought - but is, in fact, Dany’s nephew.

This, of course, will have a major ramifications, both politically and also personally. Without putting too fine a point on it, Jon and Dany are kind of an item now, aren’t they?

Fans reacted to the bombshell scene with typical rational calmness.

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GoT director David Nutter recently warned in a Reddit AMA that the final season is going to be filled with more twists and turns like this, so strap yourself in for a wild ride. 

“As far as season eight compared to the Red Wedding I just have to tell you — hang onto your seat 'cause it’s going to be special,” David said, before calling the final season "spectacular, inspiring, satisfying," with "lots of surprises and shocking moments".

And this latest episode was filled with plenty more dramatic moments and revelations, including the death-stare showdown between Jaime 'Kingslayer' Lannister and Bran 'Three-Eyed Raven' Stark, and details about Cersei's plot to take out both of her troublesome brothers.  

And there have been lots more head-twisting, mic-drop, truth bomb moments throughout the course of the show. Who can forget the Night King capturing one of Dany's dragons? Or the bloody horror of the Red and Purple Weddings

But no horrifying plot twist - from Cersei blowing up the Sept of Baelor to poor old Ned's decapitation at the end of the very first season - had the same effect as the most emotionally torturous moment of them all: the totally unexpected death of everyone's favourite, Hodor. 

The over-sized servant, played memorably by Kristian Nairn, met his demise in the season six episode The Door - and critics fell over themselves to praise the heart-wrenching twist. 

"I don't actually think I've ever wept during a Game of Thrones episode," reviewed a critic for IGN. "[But] Hodor's demise really stuck its landing though. I was sobbing." 

Here are a few more times that TV programmes memorably dropped a truth bomb that changed the course of a show. Reminder: major spoilers ahead!

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl, which ran for six seasons from 2007 to 2012, was loved by teens (and a fair few older fans too) across the world. And its final revelation that Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) was the true identity of Gossip Girl was both shocking and pretty controversial.

“The revelation that Dan ‘Lonely Boy’ Humphrey was Gossip Girl all along was a fitting end to the show, in the sense that it was an incomprehensible mess best enjoyed as self-parody,” wrote Cosmopolitan.

Even Penn Badgley himself admitted the plot twist was wild and ridiculous beyond belief. 

The Good Place

The Good Place, starring Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil and Ted Danson, won legions of fans with its funny imaginings of the afterlife. But in the season one finale, the show really pulled the rug out from under us with the revelation that, instead of actually being in 'The Good Place' - that is, a form of heaven that the four inhabitants had been given as a reward for a righteous life - they had actually been in 'The Bad Place', a torturous hell, the whole time.

“The Good Place has already made a convincing case that it deserves an award for most flawlessly executed TV twist of the year,” argued Vulture.

Westworld

HBO’s Westworld was positively overflowing with plot twists in its first season: there were multiple ‘worlds’ in the park, there were multiple timelines, Bernard was actually a host all along, and William and the Man in Black were the same person. It was almost too much to keep up with!

24

Kiefer Sutherland’s action-packed espionage drama 24 kept fans on the edge of their seats for eight and a half seasons (the ninth, Live Another Day, was just half a day of action). And one of the most eye-popping moments came back in the opening season when Jack Bauer’s former lover Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) was revealed as a mole, shooting dead his unarmed wife before Jack could save her. Needless to say, this injustice spurred him on for the following 180 hours (plus a special) of action.

Newhart

Nearly 30 million people tuned in to witness one of the most memorable shocks in TV history, when it was revealed that Bob Newhart, who had spent the previous eight seasons on his eponymous sitcom playing the role of a Vermont innkeeper, was in fact dreaming the whole thing.

“People still come up to me and talk about it,” the legendary US comic told Entertainment Weekly in 2010. “It’s held up to other shows as the standard.”

Dallas

Classic US soap opera Dallas, a staple of '80s television, made one of the most bizarre plot twists in TV history when it brought back character Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) a year after he'd been killed off. 

His appearance in the shower - and the explanation that the whole affair had been a dream - didn't sit well with critics or fans. The Associated Press called it "the most famous shower scene since Psycho", while TV Guide complained that it "rendered the entire past season’s episodes meaningless."

Here’s hoping Game of Thrones will hit us with even more gut-punching plot twists in the final season. And considering some of the outrageous fan theories about how it’s going to end, we’re probably in for a wild ride.

Also, let's give a shout-out to all those folk who haven't been infected with GoT fever. We see you too!