Game Of Thrones pulls absolutely no punches when it comes to killing off its characters. A show known for its brutality and lack of mercy when it comes to even the most main characters, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’s going to survive the next episode; let alone the final season.
In terms of shock, upset, and impact, we’ve ranked the deaths on the show. Well, the main character deaths - if we were to include every minor character, this list would be eighty names long. George R.R. Martin and the writers of the show aren’t exactly known for going easy on the death toll.
10 Olenna Tyrell
Olenna’s death has a build up to it. We know it’s going to happen from the moment Jaime enters that room, but there’s one last conversation to be had, and one last confession to made. Olenna, like the boss she is, tells Jaime she killed his son before she drinks the painless poison he’s prepared. Ouch.
To be fair, it’s more of a dig at Cersei since Jaime didn’t seem to care much for Joffrey, but still. Everyone was sad to see Olenna go, used to her quippy one-liners and way of putting down the characters who most deserved it.
9 Joffrey Baratheon
Frankly, in terms of upset, this ranks least.
But in terms of impact, it’s pretty up there. Above all the minor deaths at least.
Joffrey is murdered at a wedding come to be known as the Purple Wedding, when poison is slipped to him. Tyrion Lannister and Sansa Stark both become suspects, each of them with a perfect regicide motive. But the true person behind the murder is Olenna Tyrell. It’s a pretty harrowing scene, to watch Cersei crying and pleading as Joffrey chokes and the life leaves him. But knowing how awful Joffrey was, it’s also a little satisfying.
8 Tommen Baratheon
It’s often difficult to believe Tommen is the product of Cersei and Jaime. He has none of their brutality, none of Cersei’s malice, none of Jaime’s warrior-like toughness. He’s a sweet boy just trying to do his best in life and trying to be a good king.
It’s not surprising he collapsed under the pressure, but it was still pretty surprising to see his suicide. If there’s one thing most fans can agree on, it’s that Tommen deserved better. He didn’t always do the right or noble thing, but he did the best he could when coming from a very dysfunctional family.
7 Myrcella Baratheon
A little more upsetting than Tommen’s death is Myrcella’s. She’s a little more believable as Cersei’s daughter, with all of her intelligence, but like Tommen, she’s very good and pure.
Poisoned by Ellaria Sand, she collapses in Jaime’s arms right after telling him she knows he’s her father. The two share a sweet moment and we almost forget how messed up their blood connection actually is until she begins to bleed from the nose and collapses. It’s also upsetting because we see how much Jaime actually cared about her. He may have been heartless when it came to a lot of things, but not his daughter.
6 Margaery Tyrell
And Loras, and the High Sparrow…
There’s a slight lead up to this death. Margaery senses something is off when Cersei isn’t in the sept, and then there’s the rumbling of wildfire and… boom. It’s not the first time we’ve seen wildfire on the show, since Tyrion used it in Blackwater Bay to defeat Stannis’ forces, but it’s a huge shock as it takes out the show’s beloved character. Margaery is still alive in the books, so it’s uncertain if she’ll meet the same end. But knowing Cersei, it’s highly probable that her end in the book will be just as awful.
5 Ned Stark
Ned is the first death of the series that really shocked fans; the first that makes us step back and say, “woah, these writers aren’t messing around.”
In the books, he’s a point of view character. In the show, he’s also a heavily featured main character. But at the end of season one, they still take off his head and pave the way for a very dramatic series. It’s a warning of things to come, the first moment that warns viewers exactly what they’re in for. If you keep watching after this, you can’t complain about any death being too emotionally draining.
4 Oberyn Martell
Oberyn is only in the show for one season, but Pedro Pascal manages to make him brilliant and loveable. The prince of Dorne is charismatic, charming, and downright dangerous. He’s here to get revenge for his sister Elia, who was murdered by the Mountain along with her two children, and he jumps at the chance to fight a trial by combat against Gregor Clegane on behalf of Tyrion.
And he would have won, if he hadn’t gotten so cocky. That’s what makes it so sad.
The Mountain, however, crushes Oberyn’s skull between his fingers instead. Ellaria’s scream makes this scene all the more heart-breaking.
3 Rickon Stark
Rickon is a death made all the more brutal by the fact that he’s toyed with first. Ramsay tells him to run back to his brother, back to Jon; the Starks are almost reunited! And then, while he’s running, Ramsay shoots him slowly and painfully, and he dies. It’s made all the worse by the fact Rickon is the baby of the Starks. He’s a representation of purity and innocence, and Ramsay shoots him dead.
The internet, however, was full of amusing reactions when this scene first aired, with fans screaming that this could all have been prevented if Rickon ran in a zigzag pattern rather than a straight line.
2 Jon Snow
People often forget that Jon actually died. But he did. And his death scene is brutal; rewatch it to see him being stabbed and bleeding out, if you’re a true masochist. It was done at the end of a season, and people agonized over whether he was truly dead or not. It didn’t seem possible, but the books are also at a point where Jon is presumed to be dead, so even the book readers couldn’t run back and check if he actually lived.
He does, of course, come back to life. But the scene itself was a huge shock, with people frantically speculating if Jon was done for good.
1 Robb Stark (The Red Wedding Guests)
It’s pretty much known for being the most bloody wedding scene in HBO history; perhaps in all of TV. Book readers knew it was coming, but nothing could prepare anyone for seeing the Red Wedding in all its gory, brutal glory.
Robb is shot dead. His pregnant wife is brutally stabbed in the stomach until she and her unborn child are no more. Catelyn Stark has her throat slit after watching her son die.
It’s a scene that leaves people completely silent after they watch, and left with a fresh hatred for Roose Bolton and the Freys. Don’t worry, though; they all get their comeuppance.