WARNING: Spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8, episode 3.
Many Game of Thrones characters died bravely during the Battle of Winterfell, but none of the dearly departed had a death quite like Lyanna Mormont. In terms of storytelling and stakes, the young character had the “best” death, one that makes “The Long Night” a more effective episode.
Portrayed by 15-year-old Bella Ramsey, Lyanna Mormont has been the quintessential scene-stealing Game of Thrones character since first appearing in season 6's "The Broken Man." Despite her lack of life experience, at least in comparison to older characters, Lyanna Mormont showed great skill at playing the game in Westeros; she was able to effectively size up her opponents and communicate like a seasoned veteran. Whereas many Game of Thrones characters have contrived bravado, Lyanna Mormont was a born leader, a ride or die character who showed no fear, even in her moment of death.
Prior to the Battle of Winterfell in Game of Thrones season 8, Lyanna Mormont showed her vulnerable side when conversing with her uncle Jorah Mormont in "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms." For many fans, the death of both characters seemed inevitable. But Game of Thrones ultimately didn’t kill off Lyanna Mormont with an inconsequential moment. Instead, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made her the centerpiece of a pivotal action sequence.
The Stakes Of Lyanna Mormont's Death
As the Wights invade Winterfell, Arya Stark displays her battle skills and takes down multiple enemies. Meanwhile, Lyanna Mormont comes face to face with a giant. Wisely, Game of Thrones didn't use this particular sequence to contrast heroism with fear, at least between the two young girls. Instead, it's The Hound who becomes paralyzed by fear, which parallels Lyanna Mormont’s valiant battle cry as she attacks a legitimate Big Bad.
Lyanna Mormont whimpers upon being attacked, but she then composes herself and charges ahead, only to be literally crushed. But instead of appearing weak, naive, and inexperienced at war, Lyanna Mormont kills the giant with Dragonglass while seemingly taking her last breath. It’s a crucial Game of Thrones kill, and Lyanna Mormont once again steals the scene, her final scene.
Lyanna Mormont Compared To Other Battle Of Winterfell Deaths
When Ed dies during the Battle of Winterfell, it’s overshadowed by Samwell Tarley’s fear. And considering that Beric Dondarrion had previously been killed numerous times, his death is more dramatic than purely visceral. As for the Red Witch Melisandre, she plays a pivotal role in the Battle of Winterfell, and the episode ends with her walk of death, but it’s not a “great” death.
With Theon Greyjoy, a death via Wights (or the Night King) seemed inevitable the moment he volunteered to protect Bran Stark, and he does indeed receive a final moment of redemption. And Jorah Mormont similarly receives an honorable death while defending Daenerys Targaryen, a last stand that fans have been anticipating for years. But the nature of Lyanna Mormont’s death was entirely unpredictable; an iconic David vs. Goliath moment when all seemed lost.
Now that Lyanna and Jorah Mormont have been killed off in Game of Thrones, House Mormont is seemingly extinct (assuming that Daenerys didn’t cheat on Jon). And while Jorah Mormont’s death technically marks the end of the bloodline, it’s Lyanna Mormont who will arguably receive the biggest Battle of Winterfell statue and theoretically become a mythical figure to future generations.