Which have been the most memorable, gruesome, satisfying, or heartbreaking deaths in 'Game of Thrones'? Here's ten of our absolute favorites.
You have to hand it to Game of Thrones. When it comes to deaths -gruesome, spectacular, horrible, powerful deaths- they play in the big leagues. We weren’t even ten minutes into the show, and people were already getting beheaded. As the show progressed, we were getting deaths by the minute. Horrible characters were getting what they deserved, but then great, noble characters also died. That’s when we knew this show was different. These have been the best deaths in the show.
Much of the first season is told from his perspective, as he goes on a quest to get to the bottom of Jon Arryn’s mysterious death. Unbeknownst to him and the viewers, Ned is being played. Ultimately, he gets arrested and accused of treason, but he is given the chance to confess to his fabricated crimes and eventually does so for his daughters’ safety, so the show leads everyone to believe Ned is to be spared. But he wasn’t. We got to watch him get beheaded live! This is one of the best deaths in television, not because it was satisfying, but because it hurt viewers to the core. It’s the death that really put the show on the map, a show that subverted each and every established cliché, a show that wasn’t afraid of exposing the real world for what it was: a dangerous endeavor in which no one is safe.
Renly’s death signaled things were getting super weird. He was killed by a… shadow? With the face of Stannis Baratheon. Ok, truly anything can happen on this crazy show.
Robb Stark, Talisa and Catelyn Stark
On the night of a beautiful and fun wedding between Edmund Tully and one of Lord Frey’s daughters, the Freys, feeling they have been cheated, betray the Starks. They murder all Northern men in cold blood, shoot arrows at Robb and Catelynn, and stab Talisa’s pregnant belly multiple times. Then, Catelyn found enough strength to beg Lord Frey to allow a wounded Robb and her to leave. There’s a moment in the scene, caught between shock and hope, where viewers feel these two main characters might actually have a chance of coming out alive.
But, just as Catelyn is volunteering to remain hostage, provided her son is spared, Roose Bolton comes and says “The Lannisters send their regards” and stabs Robb Stark in the heart. Catelyn lets out a whimper of hopelessness and, as she stands, bewildered, a Frey man cuts her throat right in front of us while the camera zooming in on her until she collapses to the ground. This is by far the most shocking scene in television.HBO
Bloodthirsty psycho king Joffrey Baratheon gets what he deserves on the day of his wedding. This isn’t just a surprising death, it is a satisfying death. We get to see it all play out, from the moment he drinks the poisoned wine, to him collapsing, to his skin turning purple, to his eyes turning red, to blood coming out of his nose and mouth. Ha!
He's killed by his own son while taking a dump. If that's not memorable, I don't know what is.
Oberyn, the Red Viper, became famous for being a great warrior, and this is the one scene where we get to see him at his best. He has volunteered to be Tyrion’s champion at the trial. His armor has snake scales, and his weapon of choice is a spear, which he swings and spins in the air as he jumps and twirls. It’s pretty spectacular, and since he’s counting on his audience, he’s not just fighting, he’s performing. His rival is The Mountain, a big, fearsome man known across the Seven Kingdoms for his cruelty and invincibility.
Suddenly, against all odds, Oberyn seems to be winning this fight. But, Oberyn doesn’t think it’s good enough to kill The Mountain, which he could have done in the blink of an eye. Oberyn wants a confession. He wants to force The Mountain to say he raped and murdered his sister by orders of Tywin Lannister, who is sitting in the crowd as part of the jury. As The Mountain finally lies unconscious on the floor, Oberyn grows overconfident, thinking the fight is over, but the Mountain delivers a surprise punch so hard that all of Oberyn’s teeth come flying out. The tables turn and now the Mountain comes over the Viper and presses his thumbs against Oberyn’s eyes until blood start coming out, then he cracks Oberyn’s his head until it explodes on the ground. Tyrion just lost his trial.
Oleanna Tyrell has more sass than all the other characters combined. She’s also smart, scheming, and conniving. Hell, she’s one of the best at playing the game of thrones. Sadly, she doesn’t win. Does she go gentle into that good night? Absolutely not. She’s an old woman, so as a courtesy, Jaime Lannister gives her a poisoned cup for her to kill herself with. She drinks it, gracefully, and in her final moments she confesses to being the one who poisoned Joffrey, while she described how agonizing his death must have been. Jaime instantly regrets not flaying her alive. Her last words are the best words. “Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”
Perhaps the most painful death of all is Hodor’s death. He’s the one character who is 100% good. But most importantly, he dies by a confusing criss-crossing of timelines which Bran messes with, making Wyllis witness his own death as Hodor, thus sealing his fate.
We don't witness his dying, but the Battle of the Bastards is good enough. Then, Jon gives him the ass-whipping of a lifetime, and Sansa leaves him with starving hounds, so it's enough knowing he died a slow and painful death.
We can all agree that he had it coming, but what's specially nice about this is that it's Arya's first kill now that she's back in Westeros, and she does it right after feeding his sons to him (in a pie). It's both incredibly violent but also a wink to Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Hell yeah.
Everyone at the Great Sept of Baelor
This scene is absolutely spectacular. Played against the backdrop of an amazing soundtrack, it’s supposed to surprise everyone: victims, rivals, and viewers alike. It’s by all means a terrorist attack, and though we lose many characters we like, it’s greatly planned out. It also helps consolidate Cersei, but guess what? Something goes wrong. King Tommen remains shocked and commits suicide. Now there’s no good left in Cersei, and here we are.