If George RR Martin is merciless, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are brutal. Did you know there are more dead characters on “Game of Thrones” than there are in “A Song of Ice and Fire series?” The life expectancy of characters on the show is far shakier than the books. As the joke goes, if you have a favorite character that is extremely likeable, Martin probably already has a ruthless death in store for them. Six seasons are gone by and the Iron Throne prospects are dropping like flies. As the game gets more intense and the show is at the brink of its seventh season, let’s round up some of the most famous deaths on “Game of Thrones.”
Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t started watching the show yet, now is the time to turn back.
15. Jon Arryn
The sweet and wise Lord of the Vale and Hand of the King was in the wrong place at the wrong time, meddling with the wrong people. As Cersei once said, “when you play the game of thrones, you either win or you die.” His character made one fleeting appearance on the show, that too as a corpse. Who would have thought that the mystery behind his death would collapse the seven kingdoms? It gets murkier and murkier from there, until it is revealed in Season 5 that his death was a plan hatched by his lovely wife, Lysa Arryn in partnership with the ever ambitious Lord Baelish, aka the Littlefinger.
14. Ned Stark
The death of honorable Lord Eddard Stark, the next hand of the king and warden of the North left the fans reeling with pain and anguish. It is unforgettable how the fans let out a collective shriek of horror when Ned Stark was beheaded on the orders of cruel boy-king Jeoffrey Baratheon. The last thing you expect to see is the most important character die first. But then, this is “Game of Thrones,” and you must know by now that getting too attached to a character is the quickest way of finding his grave. Remember when Littlefinger asked Ned Stark not to trust anyone, he should have believed him!
13. Khal Drogo
Do you remember Daenerys Targaryen from Season 1? The demure girl, abused by her brother, married to the barbaric king of Dothraki tribe? Yes, that silver-haired beauty that is now the biggest conqueror of the seven kingdoms, giving Westerosi a nightmare. Her relationship to the king was off to a rocky start, but Dany soon learned the way to her man’s heart. But as is with all the likeable characters on the show, just when Khal Drogo became the ideal husband to his wife and queen of his tribe, he was killed by an infection! Yes, a strong king who never once lost a fight in his life, succumbed to a wound.
12. Oberyn Martell
Death of Oberyn, the amorous and valiant prince of Dorne, was one of the most shocking moments on the show. If there is one thing the “Game of Thrones” fans can never get used to is the turn of events when you are least expecting it. Oberyn fans are still torn between his causes of death, was it The Mountain gouging out his eyes or his hubris that killed him? That scene, the dance of the Viper, his winning moment and then a sudden misstep changed everything. His need for vengeance and his blinding rage, err.. metaphorically, cost him not just his life but also Tyrion’s trial.
11. Myrcella Baratheon
The sweet child of Cersei and Jamie, (yes, the incestuous brother and sister) was shipped off to Dorne by Tyrion to help form an alliance with the Martells. The ever-hateful Cersei loathed Tyrion for that. But to be fair, she never really loved him. But now, Myrcella, who is promised to King Doran’s son, prince Trystane, will have to pay for her mother’s sins! Ellaria Sand, Oberyn’s paramour, gives Myrcella one last kiss before she sets sail to her home in Kings Landing. Only this was to be her kiss of death. Myrcella dies on her way home, being the second of Cersei’s three children to die.
10. Joffrey Baratheon
The first being, Joffrey, who was the cruelest and one of the most detestable characters on the show (hold that thought until you read about Ramsay Bolton!) Do you remember a time when you did not want someone to strangle him in his sleep? Me neither! In fact, Joffrey’s cruelty even made Cersei cringe at times; wondering if his personality is a punishment for being born out of incest. Joffrey was mean and brutal and his death was a joyous moment for team Ned. His death by poison, also engineered by Lord Baelish, this time with Lady Olenna, was a sigh of relief.
9. Lyanna Stark
Lyanna, the strong and beautiful sister of Ned Stark (and later revealed to be the mother of Jon Snow), was the reason why all real game of thrones began in the first place. Robert started a rebellion to punish the Targaryens for kidnapping and raping his intended. While he managed to dethrone the king and kill the other Targaryens, Dany and her brother were shipped off to Volantis where they lived in exile. If you have been following the books and the show closely, then you will love how its storylines come full circle. It turns out that honorable Ned did not lose his honor after all. Yay, score 2 for team Ned!
Wasn’t he the sweetest? The giant simpleton who carried his crippled master, Bran Stark, around only to die in the end, doing his job to “hold the door?” This revelation was one of a kind on the show when Hodor’s hodoring was explained. This had to be an emotional moment for all the fans. I cannot imagine not being teary-eyed looking at the poor giant sacrifice his life to help Bran escape. Hodor’s death was not only heartbreaking but it opened a Pandora’s Box of questions about Bran’s ability to time-travel and influence the future by travelling into the past. Can he bring Ned back? Maybe not! This was one interesting twist in the show, minus Hodor’s death.
7. Tywin Lannister
Badass Tywin was the only true lion amongst all the other cubs, Tyrion, Jamie and Cersei. But for some reason, his death wasn’t so painful to watch. In fact, the proud Tywin was killed in a rather unsightly manner – while sitting on his chamber pot. Tyrion, who shared his father’s political acumen, killed Tywin to get revenge. Because of Tywin’s death at the hands of Tyrion, all hell broke loose in Kings Landing.
6. Robert Baratheon
King Robert who was too pained by Lyanna’s death and living his miserable life with Cersei, turned to drinking and whoring. How hard can it be to kill a man in his stupor, especially when he has Cersei for a wife and he lives in the world’s most dangerous place? After Robert “died” on a hunting trip, the seven kingdoms started to fall apart as the reigns of the kingdom now rested in the hands of Joffrey, the bastard who has no real claim to the throne. Robert’s death set off a chain of events that has now resulted in the death of all three bastards and made Cersei sit on the Iron Throne.
5. Margaery Tyrell
If there were two words that would best describe the beautiful and ambitious Margaery aptly, they would be sweet poison. The fans were so sure that Margeary would give Cersei a serious run for her money as the queen. She had so much character left in her, so much more to fight for. Margeary had come so close to teaching High Sparrow a lesson and dethroning the queen regent, Cersei. But that was not in Cersei’s plans. Instead, this daughter of Tywin put a merciless stop to Margaery’s conniving ways by blowing her to pieces in the Great Sept of Baelor debacle, ending Season 6 in the most shocking way.
4. Barristan Selmy
Ser Barristan Selmy, such a fine man and the head of Kingsguard for King Robert, was unceremoniously stripped of his services when Joffrey became the king. The old man didn’t take it too well and sailed across the narrow sea to serve the queen in the making, Daenerys. By this time, Dany had a large army as well as Jorah Mormont by her side. No wonder she became so powerful as Ser Barristan Selmy pledged to be in her Queensguard. His passing was another sad moment for the fans as he died in the alley fighting the Sons of the Harpy.
3. Catelyn Stark
We can’t speak about the deaths on “Game of Thrones” without talking about the infamous Red Wedding? The event that literally broke the internet! All the Starks were gathered at Lord Edmure’s wedding with one of Frey’s girls when Roose Bolton stabbed Catelyn along with her son Robb and his wife Talisa. Bolton was promised the North in exchange for betraying the Starks; a tradeoff he was only too happy to make. But what is this show if it isn’t about karma? What goes around comes around…Right?
2. Roose Bolton
When you join hands with the Lannisters, you make a lot of enemies. Bolton was safe while Tywin was alive. But now, Tywin is dead and they are ruling the North without a single Stark on their side. So Roose Bolton marries his bastard son Ramsay to Sansa, creating the perfect alliance to cement their position. Ramsay, however, has better plans. He doesn’t like to be threatened and his father was threatening him with a trueborn heir. What does a bastard do when his father is about to have a baby? They offer a “Game of Thrones” style celebration, stab the father and kill the mother and her child. Party over.
1. Ramsay Bolton
Saving the best for the last. If you hated Joffrey, then you probably despise, abhor and gawk at Ramsay and his cruelty. The man who feeds off people’s fears has no humane limits. Now that he is married to Sansa, he rapes her and dehumanizes her every night until she escapes one day with the help of Reek (erstwhile Theon Greyjoy) After the Battle of Bastards, rather than letting Jon Snow kill Ramsay, Sansa dealt him a final blow as she fed her dearest husband to his hungry dogs. His death was like graceful justice for what Ramsay did to his stepmother and her newborn. Befitting end, me thinks
“Game of Thrones” and the deaths on this show have only elevated in brutality from Season 1 onwards. Now that Season 7 is just a few months away, one cannot help but wonder who else is left to kill that can still elicit that same response from its fans. But then, this show has successfully managed to give us cringe-worthy deaths for 6 seasons straight. I am sure the showrunners will come up with someone interesting to kill off. Not everyone has the fate of Jon Snow!