Game of Thrones is a series filled with a myriad of deaths. Though to a new viewer they may seem random, it is important to keep them all in mind as each death has a major political impact that affects the realm. Now, we’re not going to get into the details of each and every murder because we might just end up re-writing the whole series here! So, the following are some of the major deaths and their implications that you definitely need to know:
Jon Arryn – The Hand of King Robert Baratheon
Jon Arryn’s death is probably the most important death of GOT, as his death is the one that leads to all that happens in the series. When Jon Arryn dies, his body is kept at the throne room in the Red Keep. Jamie and Cersei Lannister talk about how he had learnt about their incestuous relationship and it was good that he died. When Ned Stark comes to know about his death, he is devastated as Arryn was a father-like figure for him. When Catelyn gets a letter from her sister Lysa, wife of Jon Arryn, accusing the Lannisters for Arryn’s death, she gets worried. Ned Stark leaves for King’s Landing and then slowly finds out about the same things Arryn had known. Arryn had identified that none of Cersei’s three children were Robert Baratheon’s and were fathered by Jamie Lannister instead. He also found that there were many bastard sons and daughters of the King spread in the capital. Ned accepts that it must be the Lannisters who killed Jon Arryn. However, we later get to know how Littlefinger had asked Lysa to poison her own husband, his first genius move in his masterplan.
Viserys Targaryen- The pseudo Dragon
No one really liked Viserys due to his mistreatment of his sister, Daenerys Targaryen. He treats her like a commodity and then forces her to marry Khal Drogo, the leader of the Dothraki people. However, when Dany and Khal fall in love, Khal does not like a single word uttered against his beloved wife. During a feast, Viserys goes way out of line and demands that Khal Drogo to help him dethrone Robert Baratheon, as he had promised, and get him the crown he deservs. What he gets is a golden crown made of the molten gold. Khal Drogo pours hot melted gold on top of Viserys, fulfilling his wish and killing him in the process.
Robert Baratheon’s death is the one that led to the War of five Kings as it is. Robert Baratheon had a loveless marriage with Cersei Lannister, as he only loved one woman in his life, Lyanna Stark. He had his share of emotional outbursts with Cersei and even struck her once. He did not hold Jamie in high regard either. All this led to Cersei plotting to kill her husband, King Robert. In one of his hunting sprees, Cersei orders Robert’s squire to keep him busy drinking so that he is not in his senses when the time comes. When a wild boar attacks Robert, he just cannot react as quickly as he should and succumbs to death.This looked like an accidental death but everyone knew that there was foul play involved in it.
Ned Stark’s death set the tone for the show and made the viewers realise that not even the lead protagonist is safe in this world. Ned Stark, while uncovering the mystery behind Jon Arryn’s death, stumbles upon multiple truths that shock him to the core. However, Ned being the righteous man that he is, warns Cersei about how he knows everything about her incestuous relationship with her twin brother Jamie and how Joffrey is not the legitimate heir to the throne. Cersei mocks him and reminds him that in the game of thrones, one either dies or wins. Ned, the Hand of the Late King Robert, orders the Kingsguard to arrest Joffrey and his mother but instead sees them turning against him with Littlefinger placing a knife to his throat. Littlefinger had plotted with the Lannisters and betrays Ned atthis instance. Ned is taken in as a prisoner with the charges of treason against him for plotting against the Throne. Varys asks him to accept the charges and lead his life away at the Wall, in exile. Ned declines the offer but accepts the charges when is about to be beheaded in front of the subjects of the capital.He accepts only because of the pleas made by his daughter Sansa. However, the cruel Joffrey decides to go ahead with the beheading and orders the executioner to chop Ned’s head off.
Khal Drogo dies of a small wound decaying and getting worse in his body. During an altercation, Mago, a Dothraki in the tribe, holds his arakh to Drogo’s chest. The superior Drogo presses the arakh to his chest to show his masculinity, which leads to a wound. The Khal then fights off Mago and kills him after that. Drogo allows one of the slaves to tend to his wound, upon Dany’s continuous pleading. However, during their ride, Khal Drogo falls from his horse, unconscious. Amongst Dothraki people, a Khal not able to ride his horse is not fit to lead the men. Dany asks Mirri Maz Duur to heal his wound and use any kind of witchcraft to heal him. Duur later reveals that she never intended to save the Khal as she wanted to take revenge for the sacking of her village at the hands of Drogo. Dany is left devastated and hence smothers her husband with a pillow to end his misery.
Renly Baratheon has one of the most mysterious deaths in the show as he is killed by smoke, created using witchcraft by Melissandre, the Red Woman. The smoke or the black dust form is born out of Melissandre herself and has the face of Stannis Baratheon. The smoke reaches the tent where Renly, Brienne and Catelyn are having a conversation. It takes a human form and stabs a dagger into Renly’s chest, leaving him dead.
Jeor Mormont, The Old Bear, is the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He is the one who grooms Jon Snow to become an able leader and even gifts him his family sword, the Longclaw. He gets killed by a dagger to his nape, during the Mutiny at Craster’s Keep. Some of his own men turn against him and it all leads to a big mess. Mormont fighting Rast, pushes him to the wall with all his might but ends up coughing blood due to the knife wound. The wound is mortal and makes Mormont weak. Once he is down, Rast sits on top of him and repeatedly stabs his throat to kill him. His death leads to Jon Snow becoming the next Lord Commander.
Unnamed White Walker
This is a major death in the show as it is the first time we see a White Walker dying. When the White Walker approaches Sam, Gilly and her son, Sam tries to fight it. The White Walker wants that little baby and is ready to kill anyone who comes in his way. Just when the White Walker is about to get a hold of the baby, Sam stabs his dragonglass dagger on the Walker’s scapula. The White Walker just freezes, turns into ice and then shatters. This is important to the plot as it reveals how dragonglass can kill White Walkers.
Catelyn Stark, Robb Stark, Talisa Stark
Who can forget the Red Wedding! One of the saddest moments in the show, it leads to three major deaths – Catelyn Stark, her son Robb and Robb’s wife, Talisa. The Freys and the Boltons plot against the Starks to kill them. The Freys do it to avenge their pride, as Robb did not marry one of Lord Frey’s daughters as promised and the Boltons do it on the orders of the Lannisters. All the chaos starts when Catelyn finds that Roose Bolton is wearing his armour underneath his clothes, which is quite unusual at a wedding feast. She suspects foul play but before she is able to warn Robb, all hell breaks loose. Every Stark man is killed, Robb riddled with arrows and the pregnant Talisa is stabbed several times in her abdomen. Catelyn begs Walder Frey to leave Robb alive and take her hostage instead. She even threatens to kill Lord Frey’s wife but Frey does not care. Following that, Roose Bolton holds Robb and tells him that the Lannisters send their regards, before giving him the final blow. Catelyn slits the throat of Frey’s wife and just stands there in shock. One of Walder Frey’s son slits Catelyn’s throat, ending the whole massacre.
The evil Joffrey meets his end in the most dramatic fashion – spitting blood, turning purple and dying in his mother’s arms, all on his wedding day. He had been enjoying the feast and celebrations in his usual manner by bullying everyone around him. He drinks wine like water and feasts on the pigeon pie. He mocks Tyrion for being a dwarf and even humiliates him by pouring wine all over his head. He further asks him to be his cupbearer. Joffrey forces him to serve him wine, not allowing him and Sansa to leave when they wanted. However, in a matter of seconds, Joffrey starts to cough and choke before falling down on the floor. He vomits and spits blood before Cersei and Jamie reach to his aid, seeing that it is too late to save him. Joffrey points to Tyrion before dying, leading to Tyrion being the scapegoat for a crime he never committed.
Lysa Arryn’s false pride and whimsical nature is what led to all the happenings of the show. She killed her husband Jon Arryn, following the task given to her by Littlefinger. Lysa, madly in love with Littlefinger, follows whatever he asks her to do. However, karma comes to hit her back, when Littlfinger himself kills her by pushing her through the Moon Door in her own castle. All of this happens when Lysa spots Sansa and Littlefinger kissing. Filled with rage, she summons Sansa to scold her and keep her away from Littlefinger. The man himself intervenes and tells Lysa that he loved just one woman all his life. Lysa calms down but then, to her surprise, Littlefinger reveals Catelyn Stark to be that woman. Before Lysa can respond, we see her falling through the Moon Door.
One can say that Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper, got killed because of his cockiness but it is not true. He just wanted to make the Mountain confess his crimes and avenge the death of his sister, Elia Martell. When he had the Mountain down and out, Oberyn got a bit emotional and lost his attention, falling within reach of the Mountain for the first time in the duel. The Mountain then shows why he is the most powerful fighter in the realm. He crushes Oberyn’s skull with his bare hands, leaving everyone in shock. This truly was the most gruesome death among all the deaths in the show.
Ygritte was one of the few likeable characters we have had on this show but in true GoT fashion, she too does not last long. She is the one who is able to bring out Jon Snow’s softer side, make him forget about his duties for once and make him fall in love. What Jon and Ygritte had was pure but did not last long, as Jon snaps out of the safe haven they’ve created, and goes back to The Wall to protect his brothers. When the Free Folk attack the Wall, Ygritte is among them. Jon does not see her but Ygritte does. She later follows him when Jon is fighting a huge Wildling. Jon almost loses the battle and dies but manages to find a hammer, which he uses to kill the Wildling. He comes out to see Ygritte pointing her arrow at him. Right when they are about to meet each other, an arrow strikes Ygritte. Olly made the hit in order to save Jon. Jon holds her in his arms, seeing her die. A sad end to their love story.
The proud Tywin Lannister, who loves royalty, meets his end sitting on his pot. That is what you call irony at its best. We all know how cruel Tywin has been to Tyrion, just because he was a dwarf. In fact, he wanted to kill his dwarf son right when he was born. Tywin even sentences Tyrion to die for a crime he never committed. Tywin had the wisdom to understand that Tyrion would have never killed Joffrey, yet he plays along the accusations made against Tyrion to see him dead. However, this is not what happens, as Tyrion kills him in the end. When Jamie frees Tyrion from the dungeons, the youngest Lannister goes to his father’s chambers to have one last conversation. He kills Shae when he finds her in his father’s bed and then kills his father as well with the crossbow that Joffrey once used. Tywin’s death not only made the Lannisters weak but also resulted in Tyrion and Varys leaving King’s Landing and joining hands with Daenerys Targaryen.
Unnamed White Walker # 2
During the first real battle against the Army of Dead, we get to see Jon fighting a White Walker. The White Walker clearly overpowers Jon Snow but he manages to escape from his grasp. When Jon draws a sword against the ice spear of the White Walker, the sword shatters into pieces. Post that, Jon picks his own sword, Longclaw, and tries to stop an oncoming blow from the White Walker. This time Jon is able to stop the blow, much to his own surprise (and the White Walker’s as well)! He then makes his move and takes a swing at the White Walker. This kills the White Walker in a second, making him fall apart into pieces of ice. This is the first time we get to see that Valyrian steel has the power to kill the White Walkers.
Shireen Baratheon was one of the sweetest girls in a world otherwise filled with shrewd, evil and selfish people all around. Her death was one of the lowest points of the show, especially with the way she died. Stannis Baratheon, her own father, sacrifices her after Melissandre suggests this to propel his claim to
the Iron Throne. Stannis tells an old story to Shireen the night before about how one has to do whatever it takes to achieve what is already written. Shireen says that she wants to help in whichever way possible but she never would have imagined what her father had in mind. Stannis sends Davos to the Wall to keep him away from the proceedings. Shireen is tied to a cross before being burnt alive by Melissandre as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light.
The most shocking death of the show occurred when Jon Snow died in the season 5 finale. Olly asks Jon to come out from his chambers to meet Benjen Stark. Jon is excited to hear the news, as his uncle had been lost for months now. However, when Jon arrives, he sees a board that reads ‘Traitor’. He does not understand what that is supposed to mean. Even before he utters a word, Allyser Thorne stabs him in his gut and says, “For the Watch”. The other brothers of Night’s Watch follow suit and stab Jon. The last blow comes from the young Olly. Jon falls down, bleeding profusely, and is left to die.
When Oberyn Martell dies, Ellaria Sand and her daughters are not happy with how Doran Martell does nothing. She calls him a coward and says that he is incapable of taking vengeance and hence not worthy enough to sit on the Dornish throne. Ellaria’s daughters kill the guards before Ellaria kills Doran with her own hands. This death meant that the kingdom of Dorne now sits with Ellaria Sand.
Walda and Roose Bolton, along with their newborn
When Walda and Roose Bolton have a son, Ramsay Bolton, Roose’s bastard son, gets insecure. Even though Roose had promised Ramsay that he would remain the heir to his throne, Ramsay does not believe him all that much. He wanted to eliminate all the possibilities that could take him away from his goal. Ramsay kills Roose with his own hands, stabbing him repeatedly. He then takes Walda and her new born son to the dungeons where his hounds are kept. Walda pleads with him to let her and the baby go and promises that she will never cross his path but Ramsay does not budge. He signals his hounds to feast on Walda and the baby, and this makes him the sole successor of the Bolton empire.
Balon Greyjoy has a conversation with Yara about how she took their ships to bring back Theon without his permission. Yara justifies herself by saying that she cannot lose another brother, as she had already lost 2 earlier in a war against the Starks. Balon says that he cannot waste men on pointless missions and is proud to be the last King standing in the War of Five Kings. After this conversation ,when he treads carefully on one of the hanging bridges to reach the other castle tower, he meets his brother, Euron Greyjoy. Euron calls Balon weak and unfit to rule. He says that he is the Storm and that he blows away whatever comes in his way. Just when Balon takes out his dagger, Euron pushes him down the bridge to kill him. Euron with this kill, makes his intentions behind his return to the Iron Islands quite clear.
Alliser Thorne, Olly and others
When Jon Snow is resurrected, he has a few duties to complete as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Sentencing Alliser Thorne, Olly and the other brothers to death for treason was one of the duties. He sentences all of them to death by hanging on charges of killing the Lord Commander. Jon himself cuts the rope to hang them until they die. Post this act, Jon steps down as the Lord Commander and leaves for Winterfell, to his home.
The 10 Khals
The Khals call Dany into the Dosh Kaleen Temple and discuss how to use her. Everyone suggests different things to do to her but the Dosh Kaleen insists that she is his. Dany tells the Khals what she wants. She tells them how none of them deserve to rule the Dothraki, as all of them are senseless savages who know nothing about leadership and ruling. The Dosh Kaleen hurls more insults at her, asking how she even dared to think that they would serve her. Dany responds by saying that they are not going to serve but die. She pushes the fire lamps kept around, killing all 10 Khals and coming out alive from the fire.
When the Night King and his army arrive at the cave of Three-Eyed Raven, he intends to kill the mystical man. The Night King does not want anyone to control or read his mind and he knows that he can get both Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven at the cave. Even though Bran and Meera manage to escape, the white walkers are able to kill the Three-Eyed Raven and burn down his cave as well. His death made Bran the new Three-Eyed Raven.
In the same incident when the Three-Eyed Raven dies, another death occurs. This has to be one of the saddest moments of the entire show. Everyone’s favourite, Hodor, dies. The beloved character dies while guarding the door of the cave, allowing Meera and Bran to escape. However, in this scene, we get to know why Hodor speaks just one word, Hodor itself. Bran, already in a vision, tries to warg into present day Hodor but ends up warging into the past Hodor who is present in the vision. This creates a tunnel of time that connects the present to the past. When Meera repeatedly says ‘Hold the Door’ to Hodor, the past Hodor who falls down due to an anxiety or seizure attack, keeps repeating the words ‘Hold the Door’. The words gradually turn to just ‘Hodor’ just when the present Hodor dies, making the past Hodor live with just one word for the rest of his life.
The Waif is given the task of killing Arya Stark by Jaqen H’ghar but ends up getting killed by Arya instead. This death has great significance in the storyline as it makes Arya the complete assassin she always wanted to be. The Waif hurts Arya a lot while chasing her down the streets of Braavos. Arya enters a crypt with minimal lighting and the Waif follows her. We just see Arya shutting the candle out, and as
Rickon Stark, who was under the custody of Ramsay Bolton all this while, finally gets a chance to meet someone from his family before the Battle of Bastards. Ramsay allows Rickon to go back to Jon Snow, asking him to run to the other side of the battlefield. However, the evil man picks up his bow and arrow and tries shooting RIckon for fun. When Jon sees this, he climbs upon his horse to ride towards his incoming brother. Ramsay continuously tries to hit Rickon with his arrow and misses each time. Just when he Jon is about to reach Rickon, an arrow pierces through the young Stark and takes him down to the ground.
When Ramsay Bolton loses the Battle of Bastards, he flees back to the castle in Winterfell. When Jon, his men and Wun Wun, the Giant, arrive at the castle, Ramsay makes the last shot that kills the Giant. Jon takes up a shield to protect him against Ramsay’s arrows. When Jon finally reaches Ramsay, he punches him hard and leaves his face all bloody and bruised. He punches his face repeatedly, letting out all his frustration in the process. He makes sure that Ramsay cannot get up after that pounding. However, he stops when Sansa arrives, letting her decide Ramsay’s fate. Sansa ties him up and feeds him to his own hounds, ending his life. For Ramsay too, karma made a full circle, making his death identical to the way he killed his step son and baby step brother.
The Faith and the Tyrells
Cersei managed to kill all her immediate enemies in one go by blasting the Sept of Baelor. It was one of the most powerful scenes, as it showed the level of evilness that Cersei had. She lays wildfire all around the crypts of the Sept with burning candles kept on top of it. While the Faith and Tyrells are busy with proceedings of the trial of Loras Tyrell, the candles in the crypt are burning away. When Margery Tyrell notices that Cersei is not present in the gathering, even though she was supposed to be here, she understands that there is some foul play. However, she is too late to do anything about it as the wildfire explodes and kills everyone present in the Sept. The High Sparrow, the members of the Faith, Margery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell and Mace Tyrell were some of the major characters that died in this incident.
When Tommen finds out about how his wife and love, Margery Tyrell, is no more, he commits suicide by jumping off the window from his chambers. The young boy was madly in love with his wife could not take the news. He did not understand the grand politics involved in all this. He was just a sweet little boy
who was in love. It was a sad death but as they say, there is no space for weak people in the Game of Thrones.
Walder Frey meets his end at the hands of a Stark, which he would have never imagined, as he himself orchestrated the death of the most powerful Stark left in the realm. When Walder Frey killed Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark and Talisa Stark, he thought he had eliminated all the threat from the Starks and moved on with his life. However, as the Starks say ‘The North Remembers’. Arya never forgot how her brother and mother were slaughtered with no mercy. Now a trained assassin, she dresses up as one of the serving maids and serves a pie to Walder Frey. She tells him that the pie is made out of the flesh of his dead sons, leaving Walfder Frey startled. Arya takes off her fake face and tells Frey her true identity, before slicing his throat to kill him.
Lady Olenna Tyrell- The Queen of Thorns
Olenna Tyrell dies the way she lived, cutting her opponents with her wit and guile. When Jamie and the Lannister army take over Highgarden, Olenna is waiting to meet her end in her chambers. Jamie and Olenna have a last conversation in which she warns Jamie to stay away from the monstrous Cersei. Jamie tries to defend her but Olenna makes him realize in a subtle way that Cersei would be his doom. She calls Cersei a ‘disease’ and it will plague him. An irritated Jamie gets up, suggesting that it’s time that they end it. Olenna asks the way it is going to end for her and Jamie describes the different horrific ways Cersei wanted to kill her. However, Jamie takes out a veil of poison and pours into the glass of wine. Olenna quietly asks if it would cause her pain to which Jamie replies that he ensured that it would not cause any. Olenna drinks the poisoned wine in one go and then reveals one of the biggest mysteries of the realm. She says that she would not have wanted to die like Joffrey died, spitting blood, turning purple and gasping for air. She reveals that she had not checked the poison before and hence did not know it would react once Joffrey drinks it. Olenna asks Jamie to tell this to Cersei, as she wants her to know that it was she who did it. Jamie is left puzzled before leaving the room, leaving Olenna to die. That was undoubtedly the most savage way to die.
Viserion’s death was one of the most shocking deaths in the show, as no one expected a dragon to die. However, the Night King kills the dragon by showing off his javelin skills with his ice spear. The Night King locks his target and kills the flying Viserion with one blow. The dragon plummets to the frozen lake beneath and then slides into the lake due to his sheer weight.
When Jon Snow is left all alone fighting the Wights, it seems we will lose him. Nevertheless, a man riding a horse with a chain of fire approaches him. He takes of his shawl from his face and reveals himself as Benjen Stark. A bewildered Jon is lost for words, as he thought of his uncle as a dead man all this while. Benjen makes Jon sit on his horse and asks him to leave as he sacrifices himself to the Wights to buy some time for Jon to reach the Wall. That is one more Stark dying in the show.
Littlefinger fails to make Arya and Sansa fight with each other, which ultimately leads to his demise. Sansa, ruling the North in the absence of Jon, charges him for treason and murder. He tries to defend himself but Bran reveals all the proof that he saw in his visions. Littlefinger asks for a trial by combat but no one agrees to help him out. The man is trapped with nowhere to go. He starts begging for his life. He tells Sansa how he loves her, how he saved her so many times but Sansa dismisses all his pleas. She asks Arya to carry out the sentence and Arya happily obliges. She slits his throat in one go, leaving him dead on the ground. This led to the death of one of the biggest players in the game of thrones.
Syrio Forel. Mirri Maz Duur. Rodrick Cassel. The High Septon. Irri. Maester Luwin. Xaro Xhoan Daxos. Craster. Ros. The Great Master. Locke. Styr. Jojen Reed. Shae. Mance Rader. Ser Barristan Selmy. Maester Aemon. Karsi. Selyse Baratheon. Myrcella Baratheon. Gerold Hightower. Leaf. Bryndedn Tully. Rickon Stark. Grand Maester Pycelle.