One of the reasons we love Game of Thrones so much is the fact that the creator, George R. R. Martin is so unapologetic about how he treats his characters. He holds true to the brutality of the Medieval Fantasy genre and takes it a step further by describing that brutality in great detail. Why does this make us love it so much? Well, we know that he’s not holding back so he doesn’t piss off his audience. We respect him for that, and we’re engulfed in his world, because we want to see what he is going to do to the characters we love…but, more so, we want to see what he’s going to do to the characters we hate.
It starts as shocking, and soon, we contemplate how we would kill some of these characters if we were the writer…The deaths on the show and in the books are not only surprising at times, but they are also pretty gory. However, it is when characters are brutally murdered that we have the biggest reactions (whether we love these victims or hate them with a passion). Here are the top 15 characters on Game of Thrones that were brutally murdered.
SPOILERS…. Book and Show Spoilers!
15. Ned Stark
Anyone who watches the show remembers how they thought Ned Stark was going to save the day in the first episode. As a matter of fact, anyone who read the books thought that the series was going to be about Ned trying to protect Robert Baratheon and bring peace to the realm. Nope. In episode 9 of season one, and toward the end of the first novel, Ned loses his head after being betrayed by Littlefinger, and giving up his honor by admitting to being a traitor. After all of the promises that were made, and the sheer fact that Ned was “too big to fail,” Joffrey calls for his head at the Sept of Baelor. It stunned audiences who hadn’t read the book, and then we learned that no one was safe in this world.
Ros was Theon’s favorite prostitute in the North. She headed South with the travelling party that included King Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark, and all of the rest. She rose the ranks of Littlefinger’s brothel rather quickly, and learned the politics and the power behind having knowledge. When Littlefinger found out she was leaking that knowledge to his arch nemesis, Varys, he threw Ros to Joffrey for target practice. Joffrey, the most horrible human being alive (until we meet Ramsay of course), doesn’t see Ros as a human, and tries out his new crossbow on her.
13. Jon Snow
Alright, it took a while to bring him back, but that doesn’t erase the fact that Jon Snow was brutally murdered by his own people. After becoming the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Snow made the executive decision to save the wildlings, and let them pass through the wall. This clearly pissed off the tenured brothers in black who had been fighting the wildlings since they rampaged the surrounding villages, and of course Ollie, whose parents were brutally murdered by the wildlings. They staged a coup, and each gave Jon Snow a stab “For the Watch.” Oh man, when he got his vengeance, it was divine.
12. Catelyn & Robb Stark & Guests of the Red Wedding
Despite what book readers know of her now, Catelyn Stark was brutally murdered at The Red Wedding right after her son Robb. The Red Wedding itself was especially heinous, because it happened under guest right, which is the belief that guests will not be harmed under your roof. Well, Walder Frey didn’t really care about that. His men murdered Robb’s wife and child (in the show), Robb’s men, Robb’s wolf, Robb, and then his mother. Catelyn’s throat was cut all the way to the bone before she was thrown in the river. It was a brutal scene, and nothing in the books or the show prior to The Red Wedding could have prepared fans for what was about to come.
11. Jeor Mormont
Who dat guy? Jeor Mormont is Jorah Mormont’s father and Lyanna Mormont’s uncle, but you probably know him best as the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch when Jon Snow first arrived. He was Jon Snow’s mentor, and even bestowed upon Jon Long Claw, a sword made of Valyrian Steel…which ended up saving Jon’s life at Hard Home. Jeor Mormont was brutally murdered by his own men when they staged a coup at Craster’s Keep, killing the gross old man who took on his daughters as wives, and sacrificed his sons to the Night’s King. It was a shocking moment in Game of Thrones, and made us fear for the lives of the actual good guys at The Wall and beyond.
10. Walda Bolton & Her Son
Fans of the show know Ramsay Bolton (also known as Ramsay Snow) as a psycho. We weren’t big fans of Theon for betraying Robb and faking the deaths of Bran and Rickon, but we came to realize no one should be under the torture of Ramsay Bolton. Roose Bolton’s wife, Walda, is with child, and Ramsay knows that if it’s a boy, his right to Winterfell is in danger. When the maester arrives to deliver the news that Lady Walda has had a beautiful baby boy, Ramsay knows he must take action. He kills his father, then walks his step mother and her newborn child down to the dog kennel. Though it isn’t shown on screen, audiences know Ramsay, and they know exactly what he’s going to do. That poor woman and her poor child.
9. Sir Meryn Trant
Also known as “who dat guy #2,” was the man who killed Arya’s dancing instructor back when Arya was still at King’s Landing. He had been on her list for quite some time, and when they meet up again, she finds him in Braavos, and she’s been training to be an assassin. This member of the King’s Guard took a whole lot of pleasure in beating Sansa at Joffrey’s command, and even is shown wanting extremely young women at the brothel where Arya finds him. She reveals herself to him, and does her work, giving another name to the many faced god. His death was glorious, and Arya got to cross another name off her list.
8. Viserys Targaryen
You know him as Daenerys’s whiney and abusive brother. You couldn’t wait for his comeuppance, and when it came, it was truly glorious. In Vaes Dothrak, you are not allowed to draw your weapon. So, when he enters the tent where Dany and Khal Drogo are feasting, with his sword drawn, demanding his crown, Drogo knows exactly what to do. He melts down a belt of gold medallions, and has his bloodriders hold Viserys down. When the belt is completely melted, Khal Drogo gives Viserys the crown he has demanded. This creative and brutal murder was done without a single weapon drawn. Poetic.
7. Lysa Arryn
Catelyn’s crazy sister, and a woman so obsessed with Petyr Baelish, Lysa Arryn is a little more than cray cray. When her and Petyr are finally married, Baelish takes his opportunity. Lysa accuses Sansa of sleeping with Petyr, and threatens to throw Sansa out the moon door. With the moon door open, Baelish enters, releases Sansa, and hugs Lysa tightly. Here is where we learn that Lysa and Petyr are the reason Ned went to King’s Landing, and all of the hardships we’ve faced happened because of these two fools. Well, at least one of them goes down. Baelish tells Lysa that Catelyn is the only woman he ever loved just before he throws her out the moon door. It’s a rough death, but it puts Baelish where he needs to be, in power of the Vale.
6. Walder and His Freys
The glorious moment at the end of Season 6 when Arya is serving the Frey allies at the feast held for taking back Riverrun and killing The Black Fish was beyond awesome. Diehard fans recognized the serving girl as Arya before she removed the serving girl’s face, because Arya had already been scolded for saying “My Lord” instead of “mi’lord” as an underling would. However, when Arya revealed to the host of The Red Wedding that he had just eaten his sons, then removed her face, cheers could be heard the length of the seven kingdoms.
In the opening scene of Season 7, audiences know that Arya is dressed as Walder, and they know some shit is about to go down. Arya poisons everyone in the room except Walder’s current wife. She signs off, by telling the pre-teen bride: “Tell them ‘Winter has come for the Freys,” and even more cheers could be heard.
5. Tywin Lannister
You knew him as the cold old man who was calculating, and incredibly intelligent (though not so witty), but you also know him as the person who was driven to keep his house alive and thriving through the worst of times. He had few qualms telling his children to obey no matter what they wanted, and he had even fewer qualms telling them when they were disappointments, that’s why we weren’t all that shocked when Tyrion went through the secret passage, found Shae in his bed, offed her, then found Tywin on the toilet. With a crossbow, Tyrion took out his father, in a rather brutal way.
4. Oberyn Martell
Oh, Oberyn…we hardly knew ye! We only knew him for one season, and we fell in love with him quickly. He was a warrior, a lover of men and women, a hater of all Lannisters (just like us!), and a witty, poetic dude. When Tyrion was sentenced to death, he did what Tyrion does, demanded a trial by combat. Just when it looked like there wasn’t any hope for Tyrion, Oberyn accepted the chance to be his champion… after all, it would be Oberyn’s chance to kill the man who murdered his sister, as the crown chose The Mountain as their champion. As Oberyn fights the mountain, it looks like he’s going to win. Audiences cheered in excitement, until… Oberyn got a little cocky, and started taunting The Mountain. He demanded that The Mountain admit to what he did… and what happens next… Probably the most brutal of all scenes in Game of Thrones (the books and the show).
3. Joffrey Baratheon (Lannister)
It was the moment most fans were waiting for. Whether you’re a fan of the books or just the show, you hated Joffrey. He was a spoiled brat. He didn’t care who he hurt. He loved his power. He loved being the king. He loved knowing he could make people hurt. He lied when it suited him, and he got whatever he wanted, and most significantly, he had Ned Stark killed against the advice of his most trusted advisors. His happiness over The Red Wedding put us all over the top, and when he was killed at his own wedding, fans found the ultimate justice.
2. Margaery Tyrell & Co.
I realize the wounds on this one are still pretty fresh. Anyone who saw the season finale of Season 6 knows what Cersei did, and it was nasty. Caches of wildfire had been stashed under the Sept of Baelor, and Cersei found them. When all of her enemies were in the sept waiting for her to arrive, Cersei had a little bird light a candle, and it was only a matter of time before it ignited the green flames. In one of the most intense scenes in Game of Thrones, we watched Margaery lose the game while trying to save her brother. She realized Cersei was up to something when she didn’t arrive for her trial, and the true Margaery came out. Unfortunately, it was all too late. The High Sparrow, all of the Septons and Septas, Loras Tyrell, and so many more died in the blast. It was too much for audiences, now, we can’t wait to see the brutal murder of the character Cersei Lannister.
In the episode titled, “The Door,” we learn the true story of our beloved giant, Hodor. You know Hodor as the gentle, simple-minded giant that helped Bran get around after his fall. He also took care of Bran, defended him, and allowed Bran to warg into him. Then Bran has to get all bored, and warg out without Bloodraven. When the Night’s King touches Bran, it’s all over. The Army of the Dead are coming for them. The tragedy in this death is solidified when you realize that Hodor spent the majority of our time with him protecting Bran, and then we learn that Bran is the one who made him the way he was the day he died.
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