Game of Thrones is a show that is notorious for a lot of different things, but the one thing that seems to distinguish it from the rest of the TV shows in history is that the writers seem to be incredibly thirsty for the blood of their own characters. The series takes great delight in tormenting and killing nearly every character that graces its screen, and the list of GoT characters who have brutally died is probably a mile long by now.
However, some deaths are better than others. Many of the deaths on Game of Thrones were moments of utter shock and total heartbreak, while some were the most thrilling and triumphant moments in the entire series. There are plenty of character deaths on GoT, but a select few of them were completely unforgettable. So here are the five most heartbreaking deaths in the series, as well as the five we thoroughly enjoyed.
10 Broke Our Hearts: Ned Stark
The honor and honesty of Ned Stark is literally the stuff of Game of Thrones legend, which is why the fact that the only times in his life where he willingly lied was to save the people he loved, and that his lie to save Sansa is ultimately what led to his death, is the ultimate tragic irony. Ned was one of the few real heroes in Game of Thrones, and his willingness to let Cersei and Joffrey survive is what killed him. The people that Ned raised his children to be objectively made the world a better place in the end, but it was a shame he wasn't around to see it.
9 Enjoyed: Master Kraznys
After cheering on so many of Dany's more brutal executions, the grand finale of Daenerys Targaryen's obsession with burning people alive felt like a metaphorical version of being flogged in the streets while a septa shouts "shame" behind us.
However there is no shame in loving the moment when she lit up Master Kraznys, because it was one of Dany's coolest power moves of all time and he more than deserved a good "Dracarys." Watching his empire go up in flames just before he followed suit was one of the most epic GoT moments ever.
8 Broke Our Hearts: Robb Stark
Game of Thrones is known for its ruthless brutality, but it's hard to think of a crueler and more violent end than that of Robb Stark. Robb is the hero that everyone wishes that they could be, but he miscalculated his position, made one bad mistake, and it cost him his life and those of of his wife and unborn child. What made Robb's death so monstrously sad is that by the time he actually dies, it doesn't seem like he's that interested in surviving anymore. And why would he be? The Freys destroyed the most important thing to him already.
7 Enjoyed: The Night King
One of the most valid criticisms of Game of Thrones is the fact that after all of the insane buildup, the Night King and the entire White Walker army didn't seem to be much of a threat. However, even with that said, the end of the Night King was undoubtedly one of the greatest moments in GoT history. It really did seem like Winterfell was going to fall and Bran was going to die for a minute there, but in one astounding moment, Arya Stark literally flies out of the darkness to attack the Night King. Just when the King thinks that he has her, she pulls a classic Arya switcheroo and knifes him before he even knows what hit him.
6 Broke Our Hearts: Catelyn Stark
Something that seems to be a constant recurring theme within Game of Thrones is the idea of characters who have very limited power and have to use it to the best of their abilities; Catelyn Stark's story arc is a prime example of that. She can support and guide Robb, but the power is ultimately his.
If Robb had listened to his mother then he may have survived, but he didn't, so half of the Stark family was massacred in one fell swoop. And Robb's hopelessness in his last moments was crushing, but Catelyn's absolute resignation and disregard for her own life after Robb's death was impossible to stomach.
5 Enjoyed: The Freys
Some might say that revenge is a dish best served cold, but Arya Stark apparently believes that revenge is a dish served in literal pies and libations. After witnessing her massacre the entirety of House Frey, we're inclined to agree with her philosophy. The Red Wedding was one of the most brutal and shocking plot twists of all time, but Arya's vengeance on the behalf of her slain family was an absolutely epic and satisfying moment. If you leave one wolf alive, the sheep are never safe, and despite all of their attempts to prove otherwise, clearly the Freys were never anything more than sheep.
4 Broke Our Hearts: Hodor
Although Game of Thrones is a television show that has mastered crushing the hearts and souls of its viewers through shocking and tragic character deaths, it's hard to imagine one that is more gut-wrenching than Hodor's untimely demise. The episode "The Door" was masterfully written, and the revelation that Hodor was not only dying, but that Bran's presence in the past had somehow connected young Hodor with the moment of his death, and that on some level he had been living that death for every minute of every day in the intervening years, was an absolutely heart-breaking twist.
3 Enjoyed: Joffrey Baratheon
Even people who have the patience of a saint probably wanted to slap the life out of this insufferable little twerp from the moment he came on screen in Game of Thrones. As Joffrey grew, he only became more monstrous and intolerable.
There are few instances where a characters death is cause for celebration, but watching Joffrey choke out his last breaths was one of the most thrilling and sincerely enjoyable moments in all of Game of Thrones. It was almost sad to lose a character that everyone loves to hate so much, but by the Seven, was his death satisfying.
2 Broke Our Hearts: Shireen Baratheon
Game of Thrones certainly doesn't shy away from the ugliest parts of life, but even in this show's terms, the death of Shireen Baratheon was heartbreaking, repulsive, and utterly incomprehensible. Obviously power and the obsession with it is an enormous part of the series, but Stannis Baratheon proved that he was just as cruel, self-absorbed, and generally awful as even the worst Game of Thrones characters when he willingly burned his daughter alive in the bizarre hope that her sacrifice might ensure his own survival. Even in the grim world of Game of Thrones, kinslaying is one of the greatest sins, but murdering your own child is beyond the pale.
1 Enjoyed: Ramsay Bolton
Sansa Stark has proven herself again and again to be one of the kindest and most merciful people in the entire world of Westeros, so the very fact that she would end Ramsay Bolton's life in this brutal fashion just goes to show how much he truly deserved such a nightmarish end. Ramsay's only delight in life was torturing and murdering others, and after his treatment of the entire Stark family (including Theon), he more than deserved to die. But Sansa choosing to end him in the same way that he had mutilated and murdered so many people before him was truly poetic justice.