Let’s Face It: We all love Game Of Thrones, yet despite how many times our favorite character(s) gets killed, we end up in the cycle of despair. The cycle goes like this: “NO! They Killed My Favorite Character! I’m NEVER Watching This Show EVER AGAIN”, then next week, we go back and watch the next episode.
Yet, despite all that, there are some amazing characters that we almost instantly started admiring and rooting for, only to have them taken away from us. Some of these deaths were key to the big storyline that George R.R. Martin has in mind, but yet, we still feel some should, and maybe could have lasted a bit longer. Or at the very least have more time to shine before their inevitable deaths.
For this list, we take into account characters that didn’t have enough screen time, even though some of them happen to be major characters with regards to the main plot.
10 – Qhorin Halfhand
Qhorin Halfhand was a veteran member of the Night’s Watch. An experienced ranger who was considered an elite scout and soldier. In Season 2, he leads a small party, along with Jon Snow to sneak into the Wildling Camps and eventually kill Mance Rayder before he gets a chance to organize the Wildlings. They cross path with a pack of Wildlings, only to kill them all except Ygritte, a job left to Jon Snow
Jon’s inability to kill Ygritte gets him and the Halfhand captured by the Wildlings, and brought as prisoners before Mance. Qhorin comes up with the idea of sacrificing himself, having the bastard kill him in front of the Wildlings to gain their trust and infiltrate their ranks.
The Sacrifice was worth it since Jon ends up getting close to Mance and later on in the 4th season, preparing the Nights Watch against the Wildlings’ eventual attack on Castle Black. Yet, still, it would have been interesting to see more of the Halfhand in action before his demise.
9 – Karl “The Fookin’ Legend” Tanner
Karl Tanner from Gin Alley, “A Fookin’ Legend” as he so eloquently put it. This brother of the Nights Watch led the Mutiny at Crasters Keep in Season 3, in which the “Daughter Fookin’, Wildling Bastard” Craster and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont lost their lives.
His speech in “Oathkeeper”, the 4th episode of the 4th season gave us a glimpse of how brutal this character can be, drinking wine “from the skull of Jeor Fookin’ Mormont”. He also gets rid of Craster’s last born son to the White Walkers.
His demise was inevitable, moreso after he had Bran Stark and his group prisoners. Even though none of these events, occurred in the books, they were generally well received, as Tanner made a great (temporary) antagonist for Jon Snow and the Nights Watch.
If only we could have seen a bit more from Tanner before his treason and inevitable (Very Gory) Death.
8 – Styr, Magnar Of Thenns
Styr, the Magnar of Thenns, is introduced, along with his tribe of Thenns in the very first episode of Season 4. They are shown as tall and fierce cannibalistic savages that even Tormund has a hard time dealing with, giving us the classic line “I Fookin’ Hate Thenns!”
Seeing him in action raid a village near the Wall was the first glimpse of action we got from the Thenns. Styr grabbing young Olly with his knife, showing him his dead parents before telling him he’s “going to eat them” was also a nice touch of evil for the character.
The Battle of Castle Black is where our Flesh Eating Thenn meets his demise at the hands of the future lord Commander Jon Snow, with an axe to the head.
7 – Renly Baratheon
The youngest Baratheon brother with the least believable claim to the Throne during the War Of Five Kings, yet Renly was loved by his people and his troops. Having most of the Stormlands’ Houses backing his claim proved it as well.
Sadly, his fate was left in the hands of his older brother Stannis, and the use of Melisandre’s Red Magic. The shadow creature with the face of Stannis stabs him just after he had unified his forces with Robb Stark’s, having the North and the Stormlands United Again to rebel against the throne.
His last words before his demise are creepy as well: “I’ll have better luck debating the wind”
6 – Viserys Targaryen
He belongs on this list simply because of how he was introduced: the surviving heir to the Iron Throne that is bent on reclaiming it from the usurper Robert Baratheon. Having him killed so soon in the first season was a first reminder that no one is safe, no matter their importance to the storyline…
Apart from that: Good Riddance. This Targaryen had no redeemable trait nor quality.
5 – Karsi (Hardhome)
Another Wildling that “Fookin’ Hate Thenns” like Tormund. This tough and good looking Wildling is introduced to us at Hardhome when Jon Snow, some of his rangers, along with Tormund, and his Wildling brothers head there to unite the two groups at war.
She believes in Tormund and follows his lead when he pleads the other Wildlings to unite with the Crows to fight the White Walkers. Only then, do the Army of Wights and Others come to wreck havoc and massacre everything on their path in Hardhome.
Our beloved Wildling is sadly lost in what is without a doubt, the most tense battle in the entire series thus far. As fierce as she is killing all the wights that stand in her way, seeing reanimated corpses of little children make her go completely “deer in headlights”, only to be killed by them. The Night King then reanimates her as a White Walker.
4 – Robert Baratheon
“King Robert Baratheon: Killed By a Pig!”. What’s sad about King Robert’s Death, is that we only see the Baratheon Warrior in his last days, way past his prime. The Legend of the Great Warrior that removed the greatest Dynasty the Seven Kingdoms ever had, is filled with stories of his bravery and his skills in combat. Only we got to see a fallen Warrior with nothing to fight for, lost in whoring, drinking, and hunting, the last two contributing to his demise.
He is a reminder that winning the Throne, and keeping the Throne each require completely different set of skills. The latter he completely lacked, as he was completely oblivious to all the schemes his council and wife were plotting on him.
3 – Khal Drogo
The Dothraki Leader, heavily inspired by the greatest conqueror of all time Genghis Khan, quickly became a fan favorite. An outstanding warrior and combatant, leading a horde of barbarians that rape and pillage everything in their path, and only follow strength.
With all the efforts put on him and his tribe, even to the point of HBO having to create the entire Dothraki language from scratch, it felt weird seeing this great warrior fall to an infected wound and to whatever sorcery was put on him…
Who knows what would have happened had Khal Drogo and his son to Daenerys Targaryen, Rhaego had both lived and crossed the Narrow Sea to reclaim the Iron Throne
2 – Ned Stark
The Honorable Lord Eddard Stark! Introduced right away to be the most likable character. On top of being portrayed by Sean Bean, and being the most prominent figure on all the HBO promotional material for the first season, it was clear to those that had no idea this show was based off a series of books that he would be the main protagonist. Which he was throughout all first 9 episodes.
Yet, despite being in the right and doing the right thing, his sole purpose was pretty much to remind us viewers that this show was not going to be like any other. His execution at the hands of Ilyn Payne (with his own Valyrian Steel sword Ice on top of it) is still felt by all viewers. The War Of Five Kings of Seasons 2 and 3 were pretty much the result of his findings and his death. He is the most central character in the story.
However, when re-watching the first season, now knowing the outcome, one cannot stop but fathom that while he may have been a great warrior, he was terrible in politics.
1 – Oberyn Martell
The Red Viper of Dorne. Another character that came to finally introduce us to Dorne, the only Kingdom that hadn’t been shown yet by the fourth season. Prince Oberyn, younger brother to the ruling prince of Dorne, Doran Martell, became a fan favorite from the very first scene he appeared.
His introduction to the viewers included going at Lannister Soliders in a Brothel, and taunting Tyrion Lannister of the Hatred he has for his father Tywin. He blames but cannot prove that during the Sack of Kings Landing, at the end of Robert’s Rebellion, his sister Elia was raped and killed, her Targaryen children as well, by Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, known to only obey Tywin Lannister.
It was clear that he was on a mission, and that mission got handed to him with Tyrion being falsely accused of Regicide. The Crown’s champion for his Trial by Combat being The Mountain, it was the perfect opportunity for Oberyn to have a go at Gregor in combat.
And we all saw what happened… His death is one of the most unexpected (unless you had previously read “A Storm Of Swords”, obviously), and most shocking for how quick, how gory and how brutal it happens, just when we thought all was going well on Oberyn’s end. The screams heard as his eyes are getting gouged are stuff of Nightmares.
How disappointing that you only included the males. There were some pretty big female key players!
there weren’t only males…….(in reply to Carrie)
No key female characters died too early as far as I can tell.
A good solid list.
Rob stark should have been on this list.
I’m pretty sure Styr took a hammer to the head not an axe