A friend in coma wakes up after 20 years. She asks you to catch her up on everything she’s missed, all the news, all the movies, all the TV shows. After getting through the important stuff — “So, there’s this dog, and he has a blog…” — you tell her about Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. How long before the words “violence” or “murder” or “head-smashing” come up? Probably within the first 10 seconds. Both series are largely defined by the “V” in the TV Parental Guidelines — it doesn’t matter if you’re a White Walker or a “walker,” there’s a good chance you’re going to die (or die again, as it were).
But which show has the higher death count?
Redditor “nachorykaart” studied the first five seasons of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead to answer this important question. He separated the bloodshed into four categories: Main Character, Side Character, and Background Character Deaths, all of which went to Thrones; and Non-Human Character Deaths, which The Walking Dead “won” 1,007 to 95. (In case you’re wondering, only on-screen or “heavily implied” deaths were counted, and a Background Character is “someone with either no name, no lines or generally doesn’t provide anything to the show other than being cannon fodder. Think soldiers dying in a fight, or random villagers being slaughtered.”)
The final tally: The Walking Dead, 1,216 deaths (including one T-Dog); Game of Thrones, a measly 704. Of course, violence is only effective if you care about the person being killed, and in that respect, Game of Thrones is winning.