A few preliminary notes:
- This is a list of Game of Thrones characters ranked by how upset their death would make me heading into season seven. Things can change. If you stumble upon this post, say, six weeks from today and Arya has become an evil little sociopath, please disregard her entry.
- No, Daenerys and Jon Snow are not on this list. Neither one of them is going to die. Not yet, at least. Probably. I don’t know. Honestly, I wouldn’t even be that sad if someone killed Jon. Again. He’s a doof.
- This list is human-only, but please know that if any dragon or direwolf dies, I will be furious.
Okay, let’s begin.
Bronn presents a tricky case right from the jump. On one hand, I love him and I want him to survive the run of the show and, honestly, if you get a few drinks in me or just ask me nicely, I could make a pretty decent case that he would make the best monarch of anyone on the show, official claim to the throne be damned. Bronn is the best. He’s sarcastic and great at fighting and hates everyone. He’s like a young version of Mike from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. If he dies, it will devastate me.
On the other hand, I am not so blinded by my affection for Bronn that I can’t see the writing on the wall: he’s a non-essential character whose personality and general decision-making often put him in a position where people holding sharp and/or flaming things are upset at him. People like that don’t last long on Game of Thrones. He could go at almost any moment. Same goes for Daario, who is basically Fancy Bronn, and therefore much worse and not on this list.
So, anyway, I am prepared to make a compromise: I will handle Bronn’s hypothetical death well as long as he gets to go out in a blaze of glory. Charging into a dangerous situation, fighting off five to ten evil warriors to protect someone we care about, getting some painfully cool last line as he dies in someone’s arms, something along those lines. A full hero death. That, I can handle. But if he just gets vaporized by magic or gets his head popped like a cherry tomato by the Zombie Mountain or something, I will be inconsolable.
Varys is kind of like if Karl Rove was a lovable robe-wearing eunuch who had an army of child spies. This, somehow, is a compliment. I swear.
10. Arya Stark
I feel weird putting Arya this low on the list because Arya is pretty cool and has been through a lot in her short life she did the Jason Bourne roof jump last season, which was awesome. Here, look.
But Arya kind of falls into the same category as Bronn, especially where we are as we enter this season. She is a full-on assassin now. She cut a dude’s eyes out. She tricked Walder Frey into eating a pie made out of his own children, for the love of the old gods and the new. She is a vigilante who is hellbent on bloody revenge and once you really commit to living that kind of life, you invite the possibility of an early demise. I’ll be sad if Arya dies, and very surprised because the show has invested a lot of screen time in her journey so far, but I can talk myself into it as a consequence of doing business.
Here, dear reader, is where I begin revealing myself as a hypocrite. Because almost everything I said about Bronn and Arya can be applied to Brienne. She opted into a career of sword-swinging and protecting people whose lives are often in danger. She’s not one of the most central characters. She’s kind of Bronn if Bronn was less charming and had more honor. But for some reason that I haven’t quite identified yet, her death would probably make me more upset than his, even though I like him more. Her death would just feel more unfair. The closest I’ve come to figuring it out is comparing them to Riggs and Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon, with Bronn as Riggs and Brienne as Murtaugh, and yes I would watch a shot-for-shot remake of this movie, thanks.