As the final season of Game of Thrones starts to wrap up, there promises to be more blood spilled fighting over the Iron Throne. As the end nears, it's interesting to look back at all the moments that brought us to this point. Some moments seemed inevitable while others are brought on by the decisions of the show's characters. Sometimes these decisions are made out of compassion, sometimes for one’s own self-interest. And, while they may have seemed insignificant at the time, these decisions have impacted the rest of the show's events, changing things forever. Check out some of the most game-changing decisions on Game of Thrones.
10 Ned Goes To Kings Landing
It’s interesting to think of all the ways things would have been different if Ned Stark had stayed in Winterfell. When asked to serve as Hand of the King for Robert, he could have refused. Likely, that would have hurt the relationship between the two friends, but it would also mean the Starks would stay together. Eventually, Robert would die, and the Lannisters would hold the Throne, but the Starks would still hold the North. Ned, Robb, Catelyn, and Rickon would be alive. They could rally the North to fight the White Walkers. On the negative side, Arya might never have been put on her path and might never have killed the Night King.
9 Catelyn Captures Tyrion
After the attempt on Bran Stark's life, war between the Starks and Lannisters seemed inevitable. It was only a matter of who would make the first move, and how smart that move would be. In a bit of a surprise, it was Catelyn Stark that took the first shot, and it was an ill-advised one. Going by Littlefinger's information, she captures Tyrion as recompense for trying to kill Bran. Tywin Lannister lays siege to the Riverlands in response, and the war is ignited. This brought the conflict between the Starks and Lannisters out into the open and forced the rest of Westeros to take sides.
8 Ned Turns Down Renly
After the death of Robert Baratheon, the Iron Throne was up for grabs. The line of succession was not a priority to most people, except Ned Stark. Ned knows that if Robert has no true-born heirs, the throne must pass to his brother, Stannis. So, when Renly Baratheon offers to help Ned take the throne from the Lannisters, Ned refuses. Ned instead foolishly trusts Littlefinger to help secure the throne. Would he have trusted Renly—backed by the Tyrell army—Ned could have easily overthrown the throne and kept his head. It's unclear what kind of king Renly would have been, but safe to say he'd be better than Joffrey.
7 Catelyn Frees Jaime
Catelyn Stark has bad luck with captured Lannisters. Robb had a big win early on in the war by defeating Jaime Lannister and capturing him. But when she is offered the chance to trade Jaime for Sansa, Catelyn releases him. Many have criticized this decision, but it was, in fact, a wise move. Without releasing him, Jaime would likely have been murdered by the Karstarks while in prison. Robb would still have to execute Richard Karstark and would still lose the war. The only difference being that the Lannisters would have killed Sansa in retribution, which means Winterfell would never have been saved.
6 Daenerys Trusts The Witch
Khal Drogo was presented as one of the strongest warriors in the show but was quickly murdered by a witch who Daenerys trusted to heal his wound. By tending to the wound himself, Drogo might have survived and followed through on his promise to bring the Dothraki to Westeros. With Drogo and Daenerys arriving earlier, they would be major players in the War of the Five Kings. Without dragons, it's no guarantee they would win but there would likely be a lot of carnage. It would also mean Daenerys would likely not be the ruler she is today. Time will tell if that's a good or bad thing.
5 Theon Betrays Robb
Theon Greyjoy is one of the show's most tragic characters. Torn between two families, Theon is faced with choosing whether to be a Stark or a Greyjoy. He ultimately chooses to return to the Greyjoy fold, a decision he regretted for the rest of his life. Betraying Robb meant Winterfell was lost and Robb lost the support of many allies. This gives the Boltons an opportunity to betray him, all of which lead to Robb's death. It also further separates the Starks and sends Bran on his search of the Three-Eyed Raven. For Theon, it meant hardship and loss, but it started him on a path of redemption.
4 Arya Doesn't Name Tywin
Arya Stark has gradually become the deadliest character on Game of Thrones, but earlier in her pre-assassin life, she missed an opportunity to take one of the game’s biggest players out early. While captive at Harrenhal, Jaqen H'ghar offers to kill any three people she names. Since Tywin Lannister, head of the Lannister army, was at Harrenhal at the time, he seems like an obvious choice, but Arya doesn’t name him. If she had, that would have spelled the end of the Lannisters. Stannis would have taken King's Landing and the war would most likely have ended.
3 Jorah Stays With Daenerys
Jorah Mormont was Daenerys' most trusted advisor for much of the series, but there was a time when he actively plotted against her. In exchange for a pardon which would allow him to return to Westeros, Jorah spied on Daenerys for King Robert. However, when Robert orders Daenerys to be killed, Jorah saves her and decides to remain loyal. This decision could have changed the entire landscape of the show. If Jorah had let Daenerys die, there would be no dragons. She would never come to Westeros. The White Walkers might still be trapped behind the Wall or they might have taken over all of Westeros by now.
2 Robb Breaks His Promise
After the death of Ned Stark, Robb became our chance to see justice served. He proved himself a skilled military commander, winning several significant battles and being named King in the North. However, he is also very much like his father and his judgment is not always wise. For Robb, love gets in the way of his success when he chooses to marry Talisa instead of the Frey he was betrothed to. The insult breaks the alliance between the Starks and the Freys, leading to the Red Wedding and the end of Robb's campaign. If he had kept his promise to Walder Frey, Robb might now be seated on the Iron Throne.
1 Ned Warns Cersei
Two qualities that could best describe Ned Stark are noble and naive. It is those qualities that lead him to make one of the worst decisions in the show's history. After uncovering the truth that Joffrey and the other Baratheon children are in fact the product of Cersei and Jaime's incest, there was a whole host of things he could have done with the information. Being honorable, he decides to tell Cersei in order to give her the chance to save her children. And being honorable, he thinks Cersei will graciously accept. The decision instead leads to the Lannisters killing Robert Baratheon, executing Ned, and beginning the War of the Five Kings that would leave countless dead.