The Top 10 ‘Game of Thrones’ Deaths (So Far…)
Spoilers just in case if the title wasn’t a giveaway.
Game of Thrones is a full blown pop culture phenomenon, and there’s plenty of reasons why it’s garnered such success. It’s got a great cast, amazing writing and astounding production values. And, as the cover image tells us, no-one is safe. The massive cast of characters are vicious and desperate, and it’s rare that we get through an episode without another body on the pile. Here are some of the character deaths that had the biggest impact on the story and the audience.
10. Walda Frey and Son
After one massively despised character was taken out of play, another more horrifying figure rose to power. Ramsay Bolton was a pretty scary dude from the get-go, his central role being torturing Theon for months at a time. The event that really cemented his reputation as a monster was his method of dealing with a threat to his leadership claim. On the news that he had a brand new step-brother, Ramsey murdered his father and went to meet his step-mother, Walder, and her new-born infant. After luring them into his kennels he calmly fed them alive to his dogs. It was a moment that genuinely shocked viewers who were already used seeing brutal death as part of this world.
9. Viserys Targaryen
This guy was a creep from the moment he walked on to the screen. An entitled and slimey outcast from a disgraced royal line, Viserys firmly believed that he was owed the Iron Throne and felt that everyone he met was obligated to help him reach that goal. After keeping her underfoot and tormented her whole life he sold his sister off to the Dothraki in a futile attempt to raise an army. Viserys pushed his luck one time to many when his sister’s new husband, Khal Drogo, gave him the crown he desired by pouring a pot of molten gold over his head. This wasn’t just satisfying for the viewers but set Daenerys on her path towards queendom.
8. Shireen and Selyse Baratheon
Stannis Baratheon, one of the fives kings who drove the kingdom to war, could have been a character we got behind. He did have a claim to the Iron Throne following Robert’s death and hadn’t done anything especially awful in the grand scheme of things. Turning up at The Wall and saving Jon Snow’s life certainly put him on the side of good, and he could have helped shift the power dynamics away from the Boltons. Unfortunately he was hoodwinked by Melisandre and her magical abilities. When he got desperate he turned to her for advice…and that advice was to burn his innocent young daughter to death. Already a sympathetic character being afflicted with Greyscale and teaching Davos to read, being killed in a pyre by her own father was awful to watch, with her mother’s suicide immediately after forced the tragedy home. As a result the death of Stannis felt well deserved.
7. Jory Cassel
This one goes back a ways, and may not seem as significant as some others on the list. To refresh your memory, Jory Cassel was the nephew of Sir Rodrick Cassel, the long bearded Master-of-Arms in Winterfell. Jory was the head of the guards himself, and distinguished himself in the Greyjoy Rebellion. He was known throughout the land as a master swordsman. Lord Eddard Stark trusted Jory to accompany him to King’s Landing, care for his daughters and keep his secrets. He was definitely one of the good guys and pretty damn cool. When Jaime Lannister pulled a dirty move to stab him in the eye it set the tone for the show, letting us know that the heroes weren’t going to be safe.
6. Tywin Lannister and Shae
Tyrion Lannister is one of the best characters in the show. Audiences fell in love with his sharp tongue and quick wit, which allowed him to survive in a world where brute force solves most dilemmas. As the enemies closed ranks and conspired against him, Tyrion wound up with his back to the wall. During his escape from the Red Keep he took a detour to confront his father, the man who tormented him his entire life. Upon finding his lover in his father’s bed, Tyrion reached breaking point. He strangled Shae to death and impaled his father with a crossbow bolt while Tywin sat on the toilet. This powerful and dignified leader was given an especially unpleasant death, left with his pants around his ankles while bleeding to death. It marked a significant character moment for Tyrion who was free to forge his own destiny from that point on.
Damnit people, we liked Hodor. He was an innocent! This gentle, giant figure seemed to live a happy life at Winterfell before everything went to hell. Even then he had a simple purpose – he provided legs for the crippled Bran Stark. He had a lot of character for someone who only spoke one word. It wasn’t until season 6 that we learned the backstory of Hodor, seeing that he was once more normal. We even found out why he only said Hodor…apparently it was because he was left ‘holding the door’ against the White Walker’s while Bran made his escape. And just like that they made Hodor one of the most tragic figures in the series.
4. Joffrey Baratheon
This horrid little pipsqueak…there was a time we couldn’t envision someone worse on television. The sadistic, spoilt child became a hellish king who used his power to torture people psychologically and physically. He breaks his word to Eddard Stark and uses his death to torment Sansa, the girl he’s determined to force into being his bride. Joffrey is happy to be seen as a champion of the battlefield but is too cowardly to fight for himself. His method of dealing with the people is to scream, stamp his feet and demand more people be put to death. When he was poisoned to death at his own wedding the internet just about exploded with happiness. Since the beginning of the series we’d wanted nothing more than for this twerp to get his comeuppance.
3. Eddard Stark
Apparently George R.R. Martin had a plan for Lord Eddard Stark. He was set up to be the hero archetype for the series, the one who we wanted to succeed, who upheld positive values…then he’d be killed off to show what kind of world this was. Eddard was a strong leader and a good family man who was instrumental in creating the stability the kingdoms were enjoying under King Robert. Although he’d put his trust in the wrong people it was expected that he’d make a comeback from the Wall. But he never took the Black, instead Joffrey had him decapitated him in front of his daughters to satisfy his own vindictive drive.
2. Ramsay Bolton
Ha! Finally! After Joffrey we needed a new person to hate and Ramsay rose to occasion. Spending his days torturing and castrating Theon, feeding women to his dogs and committing patricide, there really wasn’t anything to redeem this creep. At least with Joffrey we could blame his upbringing, but we didn’t learn anything about Ramsay to make him in any way sympathetic. Lead by Jon Snow his control of Winterfell was crushed, leaving Sansa to deliver the final blow in satisfyingly ironic manner.
Wait…are we going to get someone worse?
1. The Red Wedding (Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark and Talisa Stark)
It’s hard to say something that hasn’t already been said. This event was shocking and brutal to watch. Robb Stark was the one figure in a seat of power who could stop the Lannisters, and seeing him cut down in such a nasty way was downright disgraceful. Betrayed by his allies, ambushed and stabbed in the back along with his mother and pregnant wife, the death of Robb, Catelyn, Talisa and many others during this wedding marks the most unexpected twist of the blade Game of Thrones has delivered.