I haven’t counted, but I’m guessing around 9,219,291 people have died on Game of Thrones through its first three seasons. That body count is going to increase by about 8,292,928 in season four, but we’ll get to that. Let’s stay focused on all those who have been stabbed, maimed, decapitated, and been set on fire over the first 30 episodes of the HBO series, which FINALLY returns this Sunday.
Specifically, the tragic deaths. It’s one thing for Kraznys mo Nakloz to die. He had it coming. It’s another when OH GOD “RED WEDDING” FLASHBACKS. Here are 20 of the most tragic Game of Thrones deaths, with one note: I only included killings you see on-screen (with one sort-of exception). I’m not saying Robert Baratheon would have made the list, but he’s not eligible anyway because you never actually see the wild boar that mortally wounds him. Got it? Here we go. Bring some tissues.
20. Rickard Karstark
Let’s begin with Rickard Karstark, a father who lost one of his sons to Jaime Lannister and another to the war. He’s a grieving man who’s out for vengeance, and he gets it, by killing youngsters Martyn and Willem Lannister. Robb’s furious at the Lord of Karhold, who thinks the King of the North lost the war when he married Talisa (he did). WWNSD (what would Ned Stark do)? Behead Karstark for his treasonous words.
19. Red Wedding Guests
They were known only as That Guy In the Back and What’s His Face? Y’know, the One with the Thing on His Face, but they were loyal to the Starks, therefore, their Red Wedding deaths were tragic, if vague.
18. Rat Bucket Guy
Speaking of people without names, Rat Bucket Guy died the way he lived: with a rat in a bucket chewing his chest open. He was some poor peasant who was unlucky enough to be captured and dragged to Harrenhal, where he was questioned by the Tickler before succumbing to injuries inspired by his name. Oh the irony.
I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but Lommy was kind of a dick to Arya. He bullies the poor girl, er, boy with that studly slice of a man Hot Pie, though the three do eventually become not quite friends but people who don’t want to die alone (so I guess they are friends). Lommy does die, though, courtesy of a Needle poke from a Lannister man-at-arms. His lifeless body is mistaken for Gendry’s, and that’s the last we hear of ol’ Lommy. The moral here is: don’t ever be a dick to Arya.
16. Viserys Targaryen
Viserys was a terrible person. He essentially sold his underage sister into sex slavery, a sister he also occasionally fondled while she was nude, all because he wanted to be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms (most Game of Thrones characters could be described with sentences ending, “…ruler of the Seven Kingdoms). His grisly demise wasn’t tragic in the least; he deserved what he got, courtesy of Khal Drogo’s “golden crown.” No, he’s here because of the gold caked on his skull. Such a waste of a pretty metal.
Trying to follow the Walder Frey family tree is hopeless. He has dozens of sons and daughters and grandkids, not to mention at least eight wives, including Joyeuse, a poor nothing of a girl without an official pre-Frey background. During the Red Wedding, she took shelter under a table, before being grabbed Cat Stark, who thought she had a bargaining chip. She didn’t, and before long, Joyeuse was yet another corpse.
14. That Horse
That horse was only one day away from retirement.
13. Khal Drogo
The thing to remember about Khal Drogo is, he’s a monster of a man. Both in terms of his physical prowess and also the fact that he kind of, maybe rapes Dany and has killed god knows how many people. (Also, total bro.) Khal’s a brute, but one who’s portrayed in such a way that once Khaleesi begins to genuinely love him, so do we. That probably means we’re terrible people, so I’ll leave him in the middle of this list.
12. Jeor Mormont
As the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jeor is used to dealing with the unwanted scum of the Earth. He looks and acts like a boulder frozen in ice, but when his men revolt at Craster’s Keep over a lack of food and respect from their host, there’s only so much he can do to stop them. He’s outnumbered and the Night’s Watch plays dirty, especially Rast, who literally stabs his commandeer in the back.
11. Qhorin Halfhand
The Halfhand sacrificed himself for a noble reason. His death ensured that the Wildings would trust that crow Jon Snow. “We are the watchers on the Wall,” he tells Jon before going to the Great Wall in the Sky. Also, if Halfhand’s duel with Jon hadn’t been at least somewhat staged, he would have DESTROYED fake-Morrissey.