Warning: Spoilers and Bloody Deaths Ahead!
The first rule of Game of Thrones is “there are no rules.” When George R.R. Martin wrote the books, he took no prisoners when it came to killing off his main characters. Good or bad, characters were dispatched in dramatic and bloody scenes. The show’s screenwriters and producers seem to share Martin’s flair for the dramatic as they faithfully, and graphically, hack their way through the ranks of the cast.
Some of these deaths were highly anticipated and thoroughly celebrated, some brought us to our knees in an outpouring of grief and others left us with a sense of bewildered surprise. Love them or hate them, these character deaths are some of the most memorable from the first six seasons of this hit show.
10. Prince Oberyn Martell
Seeking revenge against the Mountain for the brutal rape and murder of his sister, Oberyn agrees to act as Champion for Tyrion Lannister in a trial by combat. Believing he had the upper hand, Oberyn chose to demand an admission of guilt from the Mountain instead of killing him outright. The Mountain took advantage of this cockiness and, despite his own mortal wounds, was able to trip Oberyn. With Oberyn down, the Mountain proceeded to gouge out his eyes and crush his skull with little more than his bare hands. A truly gruesome death and memorable mainly for the sheer brutality involved.
9. King Tommen
It was the death of his wife Margaery that sparked the surprisingly anti-climactic death of young Tommen. Watching the explosion of the Sept from the safety of the Red Keep and knowing his beloved wife had perished were too much for his young heart and mind to comprehend. In a show known for blood-thirst and violence, the Shakespearean tragedy of Tommen’s suicide was simple, yet effective.
8. Queen Margaery
Queen Margaery’s death in the wild fire-fuelled explosion that tore the Sept of Baelor asunder was as quick as it was fiery and unexpected. Just as it looked as though Margaery had a scheme in the works, we had to farewell her. Who knows if we will ever find out what she had been plotting.
7.Â Catelyn and Robb Stark
Murdered at the now infamous Red Wedding by the scheming Walder Frey, Catelyn and her son Robb were the next in a growing line of Starks to meet a grisly end at the hand of a supposed ally. Who could forget the look on Catelyn’s face as her throat was slit, after she was forced to watch the deaths of her son, daughter-in-law, and unborn grandchild? The Red Wedding was the first real taste of mass brutality that many of the show’s fans experienced.
6. Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark
The first of the Stark’s to meet an untimely death at the hands of a Lannister, Ned’s beheading was witnessed by both of his young daughters. His death was the catalyst that saw young Arya begin the journey that would ultimately lead her to seek revenge against many who had wronged her family.
5. Jon Snow
Although Jon was resurrected at the beginning of season 6, his death at the hands of his fellow Night’s Watchmen at the end of season 5 was a heart-wrenching blow to many fans. The sight of Jon laying dead in the forecourt of Castle Black was one that would stay with us all while we waited impatiently for the start of the new season. Much speculation and rumour centred around whether or not Jon would make a return to our screens.
4.Â Princess Shireen
This truly sweet little girl wormed her way into our hearts from the moment we first saw her teaching a jaded Ser Davos to read. Betrayed by the people who should have protected her above all else, young Shireen was burned at the stake on the orders of her parents and the Red Lady as an offering to the God of Light.
Hodor’s apparent death at the hands of White Walkers tore at the heartstrings of most fans. I say apparent because we did not see his body and the return of the Hound is proof positive that no assumptions should be made regarding the living status of a character. A seemingly innocuous background character, we never really got to meet the true man until minutes before his death. Courtesy of this gentle giant, the simple words “hold the door” now have the power to bring a tear to the eye of any true fan. We can but hope that the show’s writers take mercy on our poor fragile hearts and we don’t see Hodor rise again amongst the ranks of the Night King’s army.
2. King Joffrey
Joffrey was the first Game of Thrones character we all truly loved to hate. An arrogant and sadistic masochist, Joffrey couldn’t die soon enough for most of us. He was a spoiled and cruel individual who took great pleasure in leaving a trail of suffering in his wake. Joffrey’s death by poisoning would have to be one of the most highly celebrated deaths of the entire series.
1. Ramsay Bolton
Considered by many to be the most hated man on television, Ramsay was cruel to his core. He turned human hunting into an art form and set forth on the north to incite terror for his own sick pleasure. Responsible for the capture, torture, and maiming of Theon Greyjoy; the rape of Sansa Stark; the murder of his Father; and mauling death of his Step-Mother and baby Half-Brother, to name but a few of his twisted crimes. Ramsay’s defeat at the hands of Jon Snow and his subsequent demise at the jaws of his savage hunting hounds was a fitting end for this sadistically brutal bastard.