"Everything that has a beginning, has an end." This may be a line from the tremendous Matrix Trilogy but it's also perfectly suitable for Game of Thrones. Since we're currently in the middle of the final season, and just experienced one of the most exhausting, intense, and relentless, battle-sequences of all time in The Long Night, it's the perfect time to go back and look at the endings of the series' most beloved characters. Some of the Game of Thrones characters who have passed on were given tremendous final scenes worthy of their greatness. In fact, we deeply miss these characters and wish that they were still around in the fight. But other characters haven't been so lucky. Whether it was their fault or that of the writers, the exits of these characters actually harmed the integrity and quality of the beloved show. This article will dive deep into some of these moments, as well as the characters we miss so dearly. Of course, this article contains [MAJOR SPOILERS] for those who haven't fully caught up, so beware.
Like all great-nerdy things, such as Star Wars or The Avengers, we expect that many fans will take issue with a few of the entries included on this list. Some will argue the validity of entries while others will defend. Some might even wait until the story concludes to full pass judgment. Whatever the position is, we encourage polite and constructive honesty, especially when it comes to a story and characters that mean so much to us all. But, at the end of the day, just like Game of Thrones, this is a bit of fun. So, without further ado, here are 10 Character Exits That Hurt The Show (And 10 Fans Want Back).
20 Hurt The Show: The Night King
There is still more story to be told in the final season of Game of Thrones, so we can pray that some dimension will be added to The Night King, the White Walkers, and their goal. Additionally, we can still hope that the filmmakers will answer some of the mystery that surrounds their symbols, creation, and why they woke up from their thousand-year slumber. But say their story concluded with that surprising moment at the end of The Long Night; would that make you feel rewarded? Was that enough? Sure, Arya taking down The Night King was a great surprise, made sense to her arc, and could even mean that she is Azor Ahai, but the big-bad being taken out with such a lack of ceremony seems ill-fitting to the set-up he received. Plus, GOT fans expect more complexity.
19 Fans Want Back: Olenna Tyrell
The Queen Of Thornes, AKA Olenna Tyrell, went out like a boss! Although she didn't have a whole lot to do in the Seventh Season of Game of Thrones, she was certainly given a great exit scene. What a wonderful way to honor the superb Diana Rigg, who just rocked this character. She went out doing what she did best, one-uping anyone she was in conversation with. Not only did she run around Jaime in the scene, but Cersei by-proxy. Of course, she admitted that it was her who was behind the passing of King Joffrey all those years ago. It's just too bad she's gone because we just can't get enough of her snarky, quick-witted personality. We want her back right now!
18 Hurt The Show: Littlefinger
Littlefinger was poorly served in the Seventh Season of Game of Thrones. Actually, as soon as the filmmakers had no more books to adapt, his character lost a great deal of quality. His plan to out-smart the Stark sisters came down on him so harshly that it didn't feel right to a man who successfully ran-around far-more brilliant minds in Westeros including Tywin, Cersei, and Tyrion. Not to mention, the plot-line that ended in his passing made no sense. At best, it was deeply convoluted without the intricacy of some of his earlier schemes. If you're going to take out one of the best manipulators in television history, do it in a way that honors the character.
17 Fans Want Back: Oberyn Martell
Years later, fans are still squirmy in their seats at the mere thought of the demise of Oberyn Martell. The character wasn't even in a full season of Game of Thrones and yet made one of the biggest impacts. This is because he was pure "cool". He was quick-witted, focused, powerful, and utterly charming... which is basically what all the best characters on the show are like. So, needless to say, we were all crushed (no pun intended) when he was taken out at the end of The Mountain and The Viper. But, unless you were a book reader, this twist was so wonderfully unexpected that it's easily become one of the audiences' favorite moments on the show. So, we can't find fault with this scene, but we can wish that he was still around to kick some behind.
16 Hurt The Show: Stannis Baratheon
Visible phone-charger aside, Stannis Baratheon's final scene was shot beautifully. But that's pretty much the only positive thing we can say about it. First of all, Stannis felt wasted in his final episode, even if it felt like payback for all the awful things he let happen in the episodes before it. But Brienne taking him out also didn't feel set-up. It had been many years since Stannis was responsible for the demise of his little brother, Renly. And thus many years since Brienne sought revenge. She had a new duty, one that had been set-up and built upon. Having Stannis offed by her in such a quick moment (that wasn't even shown) felt like the writers just wanted him gone. This wasn't a suitable way to end a character that's been around since Season Two.
15 Fans Want Back: Ned Stark
The lose of Eddard "Ned" Stark is one of the greatest accomplishments in television history. When we first saw it, we had our expectations turned on their heads. We found out that this wasn't going to be like any other fantasy series. We knew that stakes were real and anyone could be next. But besides all that, we loved the guy. We didn't want to see him go. And we especially didn't want to see him go in front of his daughters at the end of a pathetic little twerp like Joffrey. Nowadays, the moral compass for GOT lives in Jon Snow most of all. But as great as Jon is, he is no Ned Stark. We'd give anything to have Ned Stark back again. Obviously, that won't happen. But we'd settle for some flashbacks before the series concludes.
14 Hurt The Show: Dolorous Edd
Who? ...Oh! ...That guy from The Night's Watch. Obviously, if you're reading this, chances are you know precisely who Dolorous Edd was. But most casual fans have ZERO clue. For a guy that's been around since the very First Season, he's basically been given nothing to do. He's mostly been the guy in the background who backed Jon and took over after he left The Watch. So, his demise in The Long Night didn't feel as emotional as it could have been. If he was given some more depth, maybe the moment would have hit home. Additionally, Sam hardly mourned for his friend, he just ran off. If one of Edd's best-friends didn't feel the gravitas of this moment, why were we expected to?
13 Fans Want Back: Lyanna Mormont
In comparison to others, Lyanna Mormont had very few scenes. But she was always memorable... always. This was mostly due to the tremendous charisma that actor Bella Ramsey brought to her characters. it's also undoubtedly the reason why she got such a spectacular final scene in The Long Night. Seriously, this moment was utterly fantastic and worthy of being included in the best moments of the show! Pitting the little, but utterly determined, Mormont against a zombie giant was beautiful visual storytelling. It was also so intense and unnerving that we wish that she were still around. After all, she would have undoubtedly made Westeros a better place if she had lived to see it's better days... assuming that those are coming, that is.
12 Hurt The Show: Benjen Stark
How the writers handled Benjen Stark throughout the series was one of their most notable mistakes. The character was set-up beautifully in the first few episodes and then completely vanished until making two deus-ex-machina saves later in the story. The first time he returned, very little was revealed about who he had become and what he was up to. Fans of the books know a bit more about Benjen, AKA Cold Hands, but even George R.R. Martin hasn't explained too much. Being kept in the dark didn't help the credibility of his demise after he saved Jon from the lake. The man literally appeared on screen for 20 seconds before being taken out. This exit utterly harmed the mystery his character set-up and reminded us that the writers clearly didn't care about him.
11 Fans Want Back: Melisandre
Before we get into how fantastic The Red Witch was in her final episode, we should say that we wanted more answers to why she disappeared, what she was doing during that time, and how she got past an entire army of Wights in The Long Night. But these quibbles aside, Melisandre did manage to fulfill her prophecy and encourage Arya to shut those all-important "blue eyes." Then, after she did what she was "sent" to do, she kept one final promise... to walk off into the snow and vanish forever. Although most of her actions were just downright heartless, we can't help but think that she would be valuable moving forward. Not to mention that Melisandre always added great mystery to the world of Game of Thrones. She'll be missed.
10 Hurt The Show: Ser Barristan Selmy
Fans of the books know that Ser Barristan Selmy is still around in the original material. But on the show, the great night met his end rather randomly. Although an unceremonious ending for a regal character is dramatic irony, his character served little purpose in his final episodes. We can't help but feel a little lackluster to his demise since the character felt shoehorned in for fan-service more so than anything else. If he had impacted the plot more than he did, his demise at the hands of The Sons of the Harpy would have resonated. But, instead, we got something swift, random, and kind of pointless. This is too bad since the character had an interesting backstory and was played by a wonderful actor.
9 Fans Want Back: Hodor
Maybe it was because Hodor was just so purely "good" that his demise still haunts us. Seriously, the way Hodor goes was enough to send many of us to a shrink. It was just so emotional and well-executed. It even opened up a completely new story-world within Game of Thrones; time-travel. Here's hoping that the writers actually pay this off and explore more of how Bran has influenced the past instead of just leaving it. This would add greater depth to Hodor's demise. But regardless of this, we LOVED Hodor. We loved Kristian Nairn's subtle performance. We loved how he went out a hero. And we wish that he was still around to help make Bran a little less wooden and boring. Hodor, we miss you!
8 Hurt The Show: Rickon Stark
Don't get us wrong, the way Ramsay Bolton disposed of the youngest member of the Stark family was genius writing. It was a great way of continuing to develop both Ramsay and Jon as well as authentically activate the battle between them. But, it would have worked even better if Rickon had more than ten lines throughout the entire series. Rickon was easily the most underused and underdeveloped character in the Stark family, to the point that the majority of the fans believed that Bran was the youngest male Stark. Although the books didn't fare much better, we still wish that he was given a few moments to shine. That would have made his demise all the more tragic and not just work for the plot and surrounding characters.
7 Fans Want Back: Theon Greyjoy
Given how recently Theon met his end, it's still a little tender for some people. But... WOOF! What an ending for a character that went through one of the most dramatic arcs in television history. It was the right time for him to go, as well as the right way, but we still wish that he was around. We wish that he got to help others learn from the mistakes he's made. But, then again, that's not the world of Game of Thrones. He had to pay for the bad things that he had done, and doing it for the greater good is the best possible way for this beloved character to leave us. Still, we will miss Alfie Allen and all the dimension he brought to Theon Greyjoy/Reek.
6 Hurt The Show: All The Direwolves
Okay, phew, we may still have two Direwolves left as Ghost can be spotted in the teaser for episode 4 of the final season. Although, for a moment there, it appeared as if the wolf had been unceremoniously removed from the story when he charged into battle in The Long Night. This is the treatment that most of the wolves received on Game of Thrones. In the first episode, they are set-up to be all-important creatures but really ended up being a sort of lazy symbol for the survival of their owners. Nymeria may still be alive as well, but even she has been short-changed. As for the wolves that are certainly gone, none of them really impacted the stories of their owners beyond the first season.
5 Fans Want Back: Khal Drogo
Sorry, Jon, Khal Drogo is still the best romantic partner that Dany has ever had. Seriously, even before Jason Mamoa became Aquaman, he was a huge star. This guy just took over the screen when he was on it and we deeply miss those days. It would be great to have him back. It would be stellar to see how he'd fight alongside his Khaleesi. But, it probably wouldn't serve the story in the way that his demise did. Khal Drogo's passing was one of the most natural, and yet surprising, story progressions in the series. It was also great to see a character that strong be taken out by an infected wound, a bit of magic, and eventually, a pillow.
4 Hurt The Show: Viserion
So, we're talking about Viserion's second demise, not his first. When the dragon was taken out by The Night King, it was one of the most uncomfortable and intense moments in the show. He then was resurrected as a zombie dragon that took down The Wall, allowing The Night King and his army to pass through. But after that, he really served little purpose. Viserion was dreadfully underused in The Long Night. The writers even skirted a real one-on-one confrontation between him and his mother, Dany. Sure, there were a few very hard to see moments where he locked jaws with his brothers, but that was it. Then, the dragon simply dropped after The Night King was taken out... not very exciting.
3 Fans Want Back: Margaery Tyrell
What purpose would Margaery Tyrell serve if she were still in Game of Thrones? Probably none. Her arc was basically completed by the time Cersei took her out in that big puff of wildfire. But still, we loved Natalie Dormer and her take on the rose-loving Tyrell. She was one of the more interesting and talented players in the game and was supremely entertaining to watch. Therefore, we have to say that we wished she were back, especially to add some conflict to the current lackluster scenes with Cersei. But, at the same time, her demise was impressively surprising and made for great television. We just wished that she was given a shot or two more during the explosion to remind fans that it wasn't just The High Sparrow that met his end at the hands of Cersei.
2 Hurt The Show: The Sand Snakes
There's no way we could do a list like this one without discussing the universally disliked Sand Snakes. Fans of the books adore these characters and know that the show did them all wrong; seriously, they became one-note assassins with minimal screen-time. One might have thought that getting rid of them would have solved the problem, but it actually hurt the show. Instead of trying to course-correct, the show doubled down on what they set-up with these characters and then had Euron Greyjoy take them out. Well, he ended two of them. The third one got a more creative final scene at the hands of Cersei. But it would have been far more impactful if we had actually cared about her to begin with.
1 Fans Want Back: Jorah Mormont
There was no more poetic way of ending Jorah Mormont's life than to have him go out defending the Queen he vowed to protect and love from the start of this entire journey. His final moments were arguably the toughest in The Long Night and the most well-earned. Not to mention, visually gorgeous... if your screen was bright enough. Having said that, there are few characters that Dany had that good of a report with on-screen. It will be challenging to see how she fares moving forward. Additionally, Jorah has become one of the fans' most beloved characters. So, as well executed as his final scene was, we still wish that we could have him back with us as the series meets its end.
Who do you think fans want back the most? And which character exits hurt the show? Let us know in the comments below!