Update for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 6 - "The Iron Throne"
The Game of Thrones series finale, "The Iron Throne", provided arguably the biggest death of the series. In the penultimate episode, "The Bells", Daenerys Targaryen became the Mad Queen and attacked King's Landing, burning the capital to ashes. The Dragon Queen won the war against Cersei Lannister, who perished in the bowels of the Red Keep with her brother Jaime, but in doing so, she embraced fear instead of mercy and lost the support of Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, and her allies from Westeros.
"The Iron Throne" concluded the stories of the surviving Game of Thrones characters: the Seven Kingdoms are now the Six Kingdoms, with the North an independent country ruled by Sansa Stark, the Queen in the North. The new King of Westeros is Bran Stark, dubbed Bran the Broken, who was elected by the lords and ladies of Westeros in a new system where children of kings and queens will no longer inherit power. Tyrion Lannister was chosen by Bran to be Hand of the King and lead a new Small Council that includes Samwell Tarly, Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, Davos Seaworth, and Ser Brienne of Tarth. The Grey Worm took the Unsullied to Naath while Arya Stark sailed west to discover what lies west of Westeros. None of these endings would have been possible without the final, major death of Game of Thrones:
In "The Iron Throne", Daenerys Targaryen was killed by Jon Snow, who stabbed her in the heart. Jon was urged to kill his lover/aunt/Queen by Tyrion, whom she had imprisoned and sentenced to die for treason, out of fear that she would become a dictator. The death of Daenerys ends the story of one of the core characters of the series who, like Jon and Tyrion, was introduced in the pilot episode of Game of Thrones season 1. Daenerys was an exiled Targaryen who was sold by her brother Viserys to Khal Drogo, but she ultimately empowered herself and rose to become the Khaleesi of the Dothraki. When she magically "gave birth" to three dragons, Daenerys began a journey that saw her become the Breaker of Chains where she liberated millions of slaves in Essos, ultimately settling to rule in Meereen.
Along the way, Daenerys gained loyal supporters like Jorah Mormont, Missandei, and Grey Worm, the leader of the Unsullied. However, the Dragon Queen also exhibited numerous instances of ruthlessness; she crucified the Masters of Meereen and presided over many executions, including the Tarlys and Varys, her own Master of Whispers who was plotting against her. Whether or not Daenerys was always a Mad Queen or if Game of Thrones season 8 properly set up her heel turn dramatically is up for debate, but Daenerys came to Westeros believing it was her destiny to "break the wheel" and she ultimately did, in a way. Her death marks the end of House Targaryen and is a pivotal turning point in the annals of Westeros.
After Daenerys died, her dragon Drogon burned and melted the Iron Throne, which is also symbolic of the end of this era of Westeros. The Iron Throne was traditionally the possession of House Targaryen and the titular game of thrones plunged Westeros into decades of war as it passed from House Baratheon to House Lannister back to House Targaryen. The Iron Throne was forged by Balerion the Dread, the black dragon of Aegon the Conqueror, who was the first King of the Seven Kingdoms. Ironically, Daenerys never got to actually sit on the throne before Jon killed her and it was destroyed by Drogon, Daenerys' black dragon.
The final deaths of "The Iron Throne" and Game of Thrones were Lannister soldiers executed by Grey Worm under Daenerys' orders. Although they had surrendered, the Dragon Queen decreed that anyone who fought for Cersei had to die and Grey Worm, who remains distraught over the death of Missandei, carried out his Queen's command.
Update for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5 - "The Bells"
The Last War of Game of Thrones and the battle for King's Landing has finally arrived - and it was a horrifyingly decisive victory for Daenerys Targaryen. In last week's episode, "The Last of the Starks", Daenerys suffered two more losses of loved ones: her dragon Rhaegal was killed by Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet and Missandei, her last loyal adviser from Essos, was executed by Cersei.
In the penultimate episode, "The Bells", Game of Thrones went all-in on Daenerys becoming the Mad Queen. While Jon Snow, Grey Worm, and Davos Seaworth led the Unsullied, Dothraki, and the Northern Armies against the Lannister Army and Cersei's mercenaries, the Golden Company, Daenerys took matters into her own hands and led Drogon into battle. Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister freed his captive brother Jaime and asked him to sneak into the Red Keep and get Cersei and their unborn child to safety. Also, Arya Stark and the Hound Sandor Clegane entered King's Landing on their own missions of revenge: the Hound was looking for his final confrontation with his brother Gregor, the Mountain, while Arya was looking to kill Cersei and scratch that final name off of her list.
Ultimately, Daenerys gave into her worst instincts and, despite the surrender of the Lannisters, she decided to burn the city of King's Landing to the ground, including much of the Red Keep. Driven by fury over Missandei's death, Grey Worm followed his Queen's lead and decided to lead the slaughter of the Lannister forces. Untold tens of thousands died by sword and by dragonfire, but here are the major character deaths in "The Bells":
Before the battle began, Daenerys had Varys executed for treason by dragonfire, fulfilling her promise that she would have him burned alive if he ever betrayed her. After Tyrion told Varys that Jon Snow is really Aegon Targaryen, the Spider sent letters to the lords of Westeros hoping they'd back his claim over Daenerys'. Varys' death also called back to how Daenerys executed Randyll and Dickon Tarly in Game of Thrones season 7.
After Daenerys and Drogon burned down Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet and all of the scorpions planted around the city, she made short work of Harry Strickland and the Golden Company, who were massacred by dragonfire. Euron Greyjoy died next after he brutally fought Jaime Lannister. The Kingslayer ran the pirate king though the belly with his sword. Euron stabbed Jaime in the torso several times and died boasting that "I killed Jaime Lannister!" but that wouldn't be the case.
As they tried to flee the collapsing Red Keep, Cersei's Hand Qyburn was killed by the Mountain for trying to stop him from fighting his brother the Hound. The Cleganebowl fans have been wanting to see for years ended with both the Mountain and the Hound falling to their fiery deaths from the Red Keep after the Mountain gouged out Sandor's eyes and the Hound stabbed his older brother in the forehead.
Finally, Jaime and Cersei Lannister died when the Red Keep collapsed on top of them. After they reunited, Jaime tried to lead Cersei through the dungeons beneath the castle where the skulls of the dead Targaryen dragons are kept. However, the exits were blocked with rubble and the Lannister twins had nowhere else to go when the castle crumbled on top of their heads, killing both Jaime and Cersei (and their unborn child).
Update for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 4 - "The Last of the Starks":
Fans hoping for a respite from death after the Battle of Winterfell were shocked by Game of Thrones this week. "The Last of the Starks" killed off two long-running fan favorite characters loyal to Daenerys Targaryen. In "The Long Night", thousands died before Arya Stark ended the Great War by killing the Night King with Littlefinger's Valyrian steel dagger. However, Daenerys lost her closest friend, Jorah Mormont, who died fighting to keep his beloved Khaleesi alive. But more heartbreak visited the Dragon Queen this week.
After burning the dead, which included Lyanna Mormont, Dolorous Edd, and Beric Dondarrion, the survivors of the Great War celebrated in Winterfell. Casting a shadow over their well-earned festivities was the Daenerys' dawning fears that the North would rally their loyalty to Jon Snow if they found out the truth that he's really Aegon Targaryen and the true heir to the Iron Throne. Jon insisted that he had to tell Arya and Sansa, since they're his family - which he eventually did despite Daenerys begging him not to. Regardless, with the Great War over, Daenerys has turned her attention to the Last War with Cersei Lannister for the Iron Throne. Jon and Dany divided their forces, with Jon leading the Northern Army to King's Landing on the Kingsroad while Daenerys takes her forces home to Dragonstone via ship. The Dragon Queen and her fleet were caught completely offguard by Euron Greyjoy's ambush; Cersei's new paramour was waiting for Daenerys off the coast of Dragone and attacked her forces.
The first of two major deaths in "The Last of the Starks" was Rhaegal. Daenerys' green dragon was still recovering from his injuries fighting the Night King's ice dragon Viserion during the Battle of Winterfell and fell victim to the scorpions Euron had mounted on his ships. Rhaegal was easily killed by three bolts - two to the chest and one that pierced him through the neck. Rhaegal crashed into the Narrow Sea and died, making him the second of her three dragons Daenerys has lost.
Rhaegal had survived since being magically born at the very end of Game of Thrones season 1, along with his brothers Drogon and Viserion, when Daenerys survived being burned in a pyre. The green dragon was named for Rhaegar Targaryen, the older brother of Daenerys and the true father of Jon Snow. In fact, Jon was the only person to ride Rhaegal, though Jon opted not to mount the dragon in order to let him heal from his injuries. If Jon had been riding Rhaegal, he might also be dead from Euron's attack. The loss of Rhaegal is a major blow to Daenerys' ability to make war and to intimidate her enemies; now she only has one dragon left and this proves that the Dragon Queen's mighty beasts can indeed be killed by conventional weapons of war.
The second death in "The Last of the Starks" was Missandei, who tried to escape the ambush on a skiff and was captured and brought to Cersei in King's Landing. Daenerys' loyal friend and translator was beheaded by the Mountain Gregor Clegane in front of the Dragon Queen and her forces. But before her head and body fell from the top of King's Landing's gate, she defiantly uttered her last word: "Dracarys!"
Missandei of Naath has been by Daenerys' side since she was freed along with the Unsullied in Astapor in Game of Thrones season 3. Missandei was with Daenerys as she conquered the cities of Essos, including Yunkai, and when she ruled in Mereen. Once Missandei came to Westeros, fans began to suspect her days were numbered since she had outlived her purpose as a translator once Daenerys came to her homeland. Missandei also fell in love with Grey Worm; when they made plans to sail to her home in Naath together after the war ends, fans assumed they would die at the Battle of Winterfell. Although they survived "The Long Night", Missandei and Grey Worm would ultimately be denied their happy ending.
Update for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3 - "The Long Night":
Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell saw the Army of the Living finally fight the Great War against the Night King and the White Walkers. This week's episode, "The Long Night", brought thousands of deaths including several major characters.
With the Army of the Dead arrived to siege Winterfell, the first to fall was the infantry of Dothraki led by Jorah Mormont, who were equipped with flaming swords by Melisandre, and were accompanied by Jon Snow's direwolf Ghost. However, the Dothraki were immediately wiped out by the dead, who then charged the castle and collided with the Army of the Living, killing untold thousands of Northmen and Unsullied.
The first name character to die was Dolorous Edd when the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch was stabbed in the head by a Wight after he saved Sam Tarly's life. The Wights eventually climbed over Winterfell's walls and got through the gates and into the castle. The next major character to perish was Beric Dondarrion, who received multiple stab wounds while fighting Wights as he saved Arya Stark. By the time Arya, the Hound, and Beric made it into the safety of a locked room where Melisandre happened to be, the leader of the Brotherhood of Banners finally died, and this time the Lord of Light wouldn't be resurrecting him.
A giant Wight smashed through the castle gates and hurled Lyanna Mormont aside, injuring him. The Lady of Bear Island still rose and fought the giant; despite being squeezed to death in his grip, little Lyanna heroically stabbed the giant in the eye and killed him before dying from her injuries.
The Night King fought off Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and their dragons Rhaegal and Drogon with his own ice dragon, Viserion. However, the Night King was knocked off his dragon and then Daenerys went for the kill, roasting the leader of the undead with dragonfire - which he survived unscathed. The Night King then reanimated the dead, including Lyanna Mormont and Dolorous Edd, to fight for him while he made his way to the Heart Tree towards his target Bran Stark. Many refugees of the North died in Winterfell's crypts when the reanimated dead suddenly broke out of their tombs and attacked.
Theon Greyjoy was the last of the Ironborn alive defending Bran (Alys Karstark was also there and is presumed to have died) and the Lord of the Iron Islands was killed by the Night King, who stabbed him in the side. Then came one of the greatest moments in Game of Thrones history when Arya Stark killed the Night King with Littlefinger's Valyrian steel dagger, which ended the war! Once the Night King perished, so did all of the White Walkers and Wights, including Viserion.
Meanwhile, Jorah Mormont fought valiantly to protect Daenerys from attacking Wights and he eventually succumbed to his many injuries and died after all of the Wights were wiped out. With Jorah and Lyanna dead, this leaves the future of House Mormont in question. Finally, once the battle was over, Melisandre walked out of the castle, removed her magic necklace, and reverted back to her true form as an ancient crone. The Red Woman died in the snow, fulfilling her vision that she would die in Winterfell.
Update for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 - "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms":
Shockingly, no one died in this week's Game of Thrones episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms". With the heroes in Winterfell preparing for imminent war with the Army of the Dead, the episode was comprised of scintillating character interactions, heartwarming reunions, romance, and even a touching song before the carnage begins. However, the White Walkers arrive at the end, so fans hopefully enjoyed this respite from tragedy. Next week, Winter is Here, the Battle of Winterfell begins, and death is sure to follow!
Update for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1 - "Winterfell":
Who died in "Winterfell", Game of Thrones' season 8 premiere? HBO's megahit series has finally returned with its final 6 episodes to wrap up its many storylines and answer the question of who will sit upon the Iron Throne in the end. But first, there's the Great War against the White Walkers to be waged and the Night King has claimed the first casualty of the season - Lord Ned Umber (Harry Grasby).
As season 8 begins, Jon Snow brought his lover Daenerys Targaryen home to Winterfell, along with the Unsullied, Dothraki and Dany's two dragons. Together, they are rallying the forces of the living against the White Walker army marching south of the Wall. As the heroes defending Westeros gather in Winterfell, have both touching and awkward reunions, and squabble over politics and alliances, the Night King struck at the Last Hearth.
In the final moments of "Winterfell", the season 8 premiere, Tormund Giantsbane and Beric Dondarion, who survived the destruction of Eastwatch by the Night King's ice dragon, Valerion, in the season 7 finale, meet up with Dolorous Edd of the Night's Watch at the Last Hearth. Together, their combined group of Crows and Wildings explore the eerily silent castle and find young Ned Umber pinned to a wall, seemingly dead, in a spiral symbol of bloody, severed limbs similar to other symbols left behind by the White Walkers throughout the series. They deduce that this is a message from the Night King - before Ned suddenly comes alive screaming and is finally killed by Beric's flaming sword.
Earlier in the episode, Sansa Stark sent Lord Umber back to the Last Hearth to bring his people back to Winterfell for safety because the Last Hearth is one of the closest castles to the Wall, but the Night King got to him first. Presumably, the White Walkers also got to the Umber men and made them part of the Army of the Dead, adding to their overwhelming numbers.
It's easy to forget just who Ned Umber was but the 11-year-old was made the head of House Umber by Jon Snow in season 7. Ned's father Smalljon Umber was killed fighting for House Bolton in season 6's Battle of the Bastards. When he was still King in the North, Jon summoned Ned Umber and Alys Karstark in front of him at Winterfell; both feared Jon would have them executed because their families fought for Ramsay Bolton. Instead, Jon made Ned and Alys the heads of House Umber and House Karstark once they bent the knee and showed fealty; they both promised to serve House Stark "now and always". Jon didn't want to punish the children for their father's sins, though Sansa Stark took issue with Jon's decision.
Ned Umber is the only 'name' death in the season premiere, but the other casualites were the crew of the Silence, the flagship of Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet, which was docked at King's Landing. Theon Greyjoy made good on his promise to rescue his sister Yara, who has been Euron's prisoner aboard the Silence since the conclusion of "Stormborn", the 2nd episode of season 7. Euron's Iron Fleet ambushed Yara's and the King of the Iron Islands slaughtered Yara's crew as well as Obara and Nymeria Sand. Theon abandoned ship and left Yara to be Euron's prisoner, while the Lord Reaper of Pyke also took Tyene and Ellaria Sand as prisoners for Queen Cersei to torture and kill as revenge for Ellaria murdering Cersei's daughter Myrcella in season 5.
Theon and his men boarded the Silence, massacred Euron's crew, and escaped with Yara; they sailed back to Pyke but Yara gave Theon her blessing to join the Great War at Winterfell while Yara returned to the Iron Islands to make House Greyjoy a sanctuary for Daenerys, if necessary. Sadly, Euron was at King's Landing enjoying a conjugal visit with Cersei and didn't meet the same end as his shipmates. All in all, "Winterfell" was table setting for the wars to come and it was certainly light on deaths, but Game of Thrones season 8 is still young,
Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sundays @ 9pm on HBO.