“Game of Thrones” is finally over. The revolutionary fantasy TV show has left audiences with 8 seasons worth of deep characters, huge plot twists, and memorable moments. Some of the most iconic moments on Game of Thrones were the character deaths. In a world where one wrong move could have serious consequences, even the most beloved characters weren’t safe from the Grim Reaper. Here’s a look back at the show’s 15 most memorable deaths.
Note: The deaths below are presented in chronological order.
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15 most memorable Game of Thrones deaths
15. Ned Stark
Ned Stark was one of the first major deaths on Game of Thrones, and it was a twist that many audience members didn’t see coming. After discovering that Joffrey Baratheon was the secret child of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, Ned and his personal forces storm the Throne Room in an attempt to keep the Lannisters from seizing power for themselves. Unfortunately for Ned, he’s betrayed by Littlefinger, his forces are slaughtered, and he gets condemned to death. After being set up to be one of the show’s main characters for most of the season, Ned is publicly beheaded for treason on the orders of King Joffrey. It’s easily one of the show’s most shocking moments, and the audience holds out the hope that Ned will somehow survive right up until the blade passes through his neck.
14. Viserys Targaryen
Viserys Targaryen is the cruel and spiteful older brother of Daenerys Targaryen. He regularly abuses his younger sister while harboring ambitions of returning to Westeros to seize the Iron Throne for himself. As part of his plan to do so, he arranges Daenerys’ marriage to Khal Drogo. Unfortunately for Viserys, the Khal ends up liking his sister a little too much. In a drunken fit of frustration and rage, Viserys storms into one of the Khalasar’s most sacred spaces and threatens Daenerys at swordpoint. He’s swiftly subdued by Khal Drogo’s men, and Daenerys sentences her older brother to death. As she watches on, Khal Drogo dumps a pot of molten gold onto a screaming Viserys, giving him the crown that he always wanted.
13. Robb & Catelyn Stark
The Red Wedding has doubtless left an indelible mark in the memories of every Game of Thrones fan. After the death of his father, the young Robb Stark takes up arms and launches a rebellion against the Lannisters. Together with his force of northern lords, Robb wins essentially every battle he fights. Everything’s looking up, and it seems like nothing can take Robb down… until he makes one fatal mistake. He renounces his arranged marriage to the daughter of Walder Frey to marry Talisa, the daughter of a foreign noble.
The spiteful Lord Walder conspires with Robb’s ally Roose Bolton and the Lannisters to betray and slaughter Robb’s forces in a surprise attack during a feast at The Twins. The pregnant Talisa is stabbed to death, Robb is shot with several arrows and stabbed by Roose Bolton, and Catelyn Stark’s throat is viciously slit in the ensuing bloodbath. Bolton’s chilling whisper of, “The Lannisters send their regards,” echoes in the heads of many “Thrones” fans to this day.
12. Joffrey Baratheon
Cruel, petulant, and just all around hated, Joffrey Baratheon’s comeuppance was a long time in the making. After abusing Sansa Stark and keeping her in the court as a hostage in everything but name, Joffrey sets her aside in favor of an arranged marriage to the ambitious Margaery Tyrell. What Joffrey doesn’t know is that she has no intention of being his wife. At their wedding feast, Margaery’s grandmother Lady Olenna slips a vial of poison into Joffrey’s wine. Joffrey chokes to death, his face turning purple as blood pours from his nose and eyes. It’s an immensely satisfying moment… despite the fact that Tyrion gets blamed for the murder.
11. Lysa Arryn
Lysa Arryn was the jealous and temperamental sister of Catelyn Stark. Together with her secret lover, Petyr Baelish, Lysa conspired to murder her husband Jon Arryn. This betrayal kicked off the events of the series and eventually led to The War of the Five Kings. After Littlefinger and Sansa flee King’s Landing, they take refuge with Lysa at her mountaintop castle, The Eyrie. Sansa’s presence causes her to become increasingly unstable, as she harbors suspicions that Sansa and Baelish are lovers. Eventually, she attempts to murder her niece in a fit of rage. Littlefinger then betrays Lysa, pushing her through the castle’s Moon Door. Sansa and Littlefinger watch on as Lysa plummets to her death on the rocks below.
10. Oberyn Martell
After Tyrion is imprisoned on suspicion of the murder of King Joffrey, he invokes his right to trial by combat. He enlists Prince Oberyn Martell as his champion, going up against the fearsome Ser Gregor Clegane. Martell and Clegane have a personal history: The Mountain brutally murdered his sister, Princess Elia, and her children after Baratheon forces invaded King’s Landing during Robert’s Rebellion. A skilled warrior, Oberyn dances circles around the much larger Mountain during their fight. Landing several brutal blows against Clegane, Oberyn’s victory seems assured.
Oberyn takes an opportunity to gloat, demanding Gregor confess to the murder of his sister. The wounded Clegane seizes the moment and takes Oberyn by surprise, landing a hit that knocks most of his teeth out and sends him tumbling to the ground. Clegane then drives his thumbs through Oberyn’s eye sockets before crushing his skull with his massive hands.
9. Lord Tywin Lannister
After losing his trial by combat, Tyrion is sentenced to die by his own father, Lord Tywin Lannister. Fortunately for Tyrion, he’s freed by his brother Jaime. Before fleeing King’s Landing, Tyrion takes a detour to exact revenge on his father. He heads to Tywin’s chambers to find his former lover, Shae, in his father’s bed. The enraged Tyrion strangles her before continuing on to find his father sitting on the toilet. As Lord Tywin tries to talk him down, Tyrion takes revenge for a lifetime’s worth of cruelty and abuse, shooting his father twice through the chest with a crossbow. It’s an ironic end for the proud, noble Lord Tywin.
8. Ser Barristan Selmy
It’s hard to call Ser Barristan’s death anything but heart-wrenching. The aging knight was once a hero, a celebrated member of the venerated Kingsguard. In spite of his heroism, he’s publicly embarrassed and excommunicated in front of the court by Joffrey and Cersei. Ser Barristan then sets off across the world in search of Daenerys Targaryen. Finding her, he offers a heartfelt apology for having failed to protect her father and family, and offers her his sword in the hope of making things right. He becomes one of Dany’s most loyal protectors, and dies doing just that. He meets his end facing down the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen. The old knight fights honorably until the bitter end, taking down several of the fighters before finally succumbing to his own wounds.
7. Stannis Baratheon
Robert Baratheon’s older brother Stannis is known for his pride, iron will, grammatical prowess, and a strict-but-fair interpretation of justice. After Robert’s death, he goes to war with the other factions making claim to the crown. By the time Stannis meets his end, he’s a broken man. Having murdered his younger brother Renly, burned his daughter alive, and witnessed his wife’s suicide in his pursuit of the Iron Throne, Stannis recklessly marches his forces into battle against the Bolton troops occupying Winterfell. His army is wiped out in the ensuing fight, and Stannis is also severely wounded. In the aftermath, he’s found by Brienne of Tarth. Formerly Kingsguard for his brother Renly, Brienne accuses Stannis of Renly’s murder. Stannis admits to the deed, and willingly allows Brienne to execute him.
Hodor’s name is the only word he’s capable of saying. The gentle giant makes it through six seasons as the companion and protector of Bran Stark before fulfilling his destiny. After gaining his powers as the Three-Eyed Raven, Bran goes back in time to impart a message to Hodor: “Hold the door.” As Bran, Hodor, and company are pursued through the northern tundras by hordes of undead wights and White Walkers, Hodor does exactly that. He uses his tremendous strength to hold a door shut and buy Bran the time he needs to escape, saying “Hodor” over and over again as the wights tear him apart. It’s easily one of the saddest deaths of the series.
5. Ramsay Bolton
Like Joffrey Baratheon, Ramsay Bolton’s death is a cathartic moment. Responsible for sadistic acts of cruelty and torture against both Theon Greyjoy and Sansa Stark, Ramsay is a verifiable psychopath. Among his other sadistic hobbies, one of Ramsay’s favorite pastimes is hunting humans in the forests around Winterfell with his pack of hounds. After going into battle against forces led by Jon Snow, Ramsay is defeated and imprisoned in Winterfell’s kennel. While Sansa watches, his own starving hunting dogs rip him to shreds.
4. The Tyrells
For most of Season 6, Cersei Lannister finds herself scrambling as her enemies threaten her from all sides. Chief among them is the Tyrell family, with Margaery Tyrell at the helm. Margaery displays Machiavellian levels of cunning that give Cersei a run for her money, and the Tyrells are poised to become the true power behind the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, both Cersei and Margaery underestimate the power of the High Sparrow and his sect of religious zealots. Due to stand trial at the Sept of Baelor, Margaery and the Tyrell family arrive to see Cersei receive her punishment and finally seize power. Cersei, however, doesn’t show.
Cersei watches from The Red Keep as her agents ignite the vast stores of wildfire stored beneath the Sept. The building explodes in a massive green fireball, eliminating The High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras, and Lord Mace Tyrell in one fell swoop.
3. Lady Olenna Tyrell
Matriarch Olenna Tyrell outlives her family, but not for very long. Cersei sends Lannister forces commanded by her brother Jaime to confront The Queen of Thorns at Highgarden. Jaime faces Olenna alone, giving her the option of a peaceful death by poison. Not one to beat around the bush, Lady Olenna nonchalantly downs the poison in a single gulp. She also seizes the opportunity for one last dig at the Lannisters, and Olenna uses her final moments to confess to Joffrey’s murder. She specifically requests that Jaime tell Cersei that she was the one who did it. Olenna was an iron-willed woman who died as she lived: her own way.
2. Jorah Mormont
Jorah Mormont first met Daenerys Targaryen when she was a young girl, at her forced wedding to Khal Drogo. The exiled Westerosi lord soon fell in love with the young princess. Though Daenerys never reciprocated Jorah’s feelings, she soon came to look to him as one of her most trusted advisors, protectors, and friends. The two stayed together through betrayals, separations, and conquests. Jorah never wavered in his love and faith for his Queen, and watched as she grew from the meek young girl who married Drogo into a capable and powerful woman.
He sailed back to Westeros alongside Dany’s forces to lay claim to the Iron Throne, but they soon found themselves faced with a potentially greater threat. The Night King and his armies were marching south from The Wall, threatening to wipe out all life in the realm. Jorah fought with Dany and her troops at Winterfell in a last ditch effort to stop The Night King’s forces. In the battle, Dany was separated from her dragon and found herself facing down hordes of the undead alone. Just as her death seemed certain, Jorah appeared, using his Valyrian steel sword to protect Daenerys even as he sustained mortal wounds. As the battle came to a close, Jorah died in Dany’s arms as she sobbed, mourning the man who had been at her side her entire life.
1. Daenerys Targaryen
As a young girl, Daenerys grew up hearing stories about the kingdom her family had lost. Her life was not an easy one, as she endured hardships and abuse of all kinds in pursuit of her goals. She grew from a meek girl to a Khaleesi, the mother of three powerful dragons, and the conqueror of several cities. She also became known for her compassion, freeing slaves from their oppressive masters wherever she went and striving to make life better for the common people. Though her path took many turns, her ultimate goal never wavered: returning to Westeros to claim her birthright as ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys’ most heartfelt desire is to be loved by her subjects, but she soon realizes that won’t be possible after her arrival in Westeros.
She soon finds out that her lover Jon Snow is really Aegon Targaryen, the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne. This, combined with years of trauma and hardship, causes Dany to finally snap, and she incinerates King’s Landing and the Red Keep on dragonback. Appalled by the death and destruction, Jon Snow confronts her in the throne room, but Daenerys doesn’t waver. She truly believes that her way was the only way, and begs Jon one last time to rule by her side. The two share a final kiss, and Jon stabs Daenerys in the chest. The Mother of Dragons dies at the foot of the Iron Throne, the goal she spent her whole life pursuing.
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