15 – Barristan Selmy
Barristan “The Bold”, or as they call him behind his back, Barristan “The Old” is one of the most notorious swordsman and fighter of Westeros. Legends of him being unstoppable in combat roam all across the realm, and he proved his valor in combat many times over during his lifetime. He even got pardoned by Robert Baratheon after his rebellion, even though Ser Barristan was fighting for the other side.
In the books, he looks over Mereen as the Queen’s counselor after Danaerys leaves the Fighting Pits riding Drogon. He tries to maintain order in a city with inner turmoil with regards to the rule of the Mother of Dragons.
The show however, decided to give this task to Tyrion, who has yet to meet Danaerys in the books, and kill off Ser Barristan as he lived: By The Sword. It was sad to see this legendary fighter die in combat during the only fight we actively see him in the entire show…
14 – Mance Rayder
The King Beyond The Wall, brilliantly portrayed by Ciarán Hinds, refuses to bend the knee to Stannis and is therefore executed at the stake, only to be shot an arrow to the heart by Jon Snow as mercy. That scene happens in the books and in the show as well. End of story, correct?
Not really! In the books, Melisandre casts a spell that allows Mance to “change appearance”, or at least give the impression to others. The Nights Watch, and Stannis’ men take the wrong Wildling to the stake, thinking it is Mance since he looks like him, and leave Mance under another Wildling’s appearance.
Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, eventually learns of the Ruse, and sends Mance with Stannis to save Winterfell from the Boltons. Last we hear of Mance, Ramsey claims, in his infamous “Pink Letter” that he has captured “The King Beyond The Wall” and his “False King” (Stannis) and will execute them…
13 – Shireen Baratheon
The (second) most shocking death in Season 5, moreso considering the previous scene shown between Princess Shireen and her father Stannis. Stannis had earned points as a father when he told his daughter that despite the Greyscale, he was never going to let her rot in the Valyrian Ruins. “You are Princess Shireen Baratheon. And you are my Daughter!”, followed by Shireen rushing to hug her father.
All this affection disappeared in an instant, when in the next episode, Stannis took the big step and sacrificed her Royal (Valyrian) Blood to the Lord of Light to secure victory at Winterfell. Now as sad as that scene was, especially Shireen’s scream which is what nightmares sound like, that sacrifice was not in vain. The sacrifice did indeed melt the snow, but not for Stannis to win since he ends up losing after half his army deserts him following this horrific scene. The snow melted for Melisandre to return to Castle Black where she would be needed for another task involving another “Prince That Was Promised” (Wink, Wink)
In the books, Shireen never leaves Castle Black, and is safely there while her father’s army is about to attack Winterfell.
12 – Selyse Baratheon
Stannis’ wife and mother to Shireen never showed true affection for her daughter, in both the books and the series. When her husband, the One True King, decided to sacrifice their only daughter for the Lord of Light to grant them victory, she initially agreed, as she is an avid supporter herself.
It is when the fire starts to take her daughter away that her mother’s instinct kick in and make her run to the pyre for an attempt to save her, but alas, too late. The devastation of her daughter’s death pushes her to hang herself before her husband gets to lead his army for battle.
In the books, she is still at Castle Black, with Melisandre and Shireen, safely waiting for Stannis to attack and regain the North.
11 – Myrcella Baratheon
Another Baratheon in this list. Season 5 was not kind to the Stag. Although only a Baratheon by name, Myrcella resides as a ward in Dorne with the Martells, as a gesture by then Hand of the King, Tyrion, to ensure no bad blood between the 2 families during the War Of Five Kings. In Sunspear (Dorne’s Capital), she eventually is betrothed to Trystane Martell with which she falls in love with.
Her “Uncle” Jaime Lannister goes on a mission to save her with Bronn, only to get captured by the Martells, some of which (The Sand Snakes) had plotted to kill Myrcella as payback for Oberyn Martell’s death in Season 4. A discussion with Prince Doran, a shake of hands with the grudgeful Sand Snakes and Ellaria Sand (Oberyn’s Paramour), and the Martells and Lannisters are at peace, correct? Not Really, Ellaria kisses Myrcella with poisoned lips that kill her on the boat ride back to Kings Landing.
In the Books, there is a plan to actually have Myrcella crowned. That plan fails, leaving Myrcella slightly injured (For now). Oh and Jaime never travels to Dorne in the books….
10 – Hizdahr Zo Loraq
Danaerys’ “Husband” in Mereen, he meets his fate at the end of a blade held by one of the Sons Of The Harpy, who openly rebel against the Mother of Dragons and all her supporters.
In the books, he survives the attack during the Fighting Pits. Barristan Selmy and Daario Naharis suspect him to be part of the Sons Of The Harpy.
9 – Pyat Pree
The Warlock from the House of the Undying captures Danaerys’ dragons during her stay in Qarth. He then invites her to the House of the Undying to see them, only to have her captured for their presence enhances the Warlocks’ Magic tremendously. Drogon spits Dragon Fire at him, and he dies burning while Daenerys escapes with her dragons.
In the Books however, Daenerys does indeed burn the House of the Undying down, but doesn’t kill Pyat Pree after the fact. Once in Mereen, she learns that he and other Warlocks want revenge on her, something she doesn’t seem too bothered by at the moment.
8 – Xaro Xhoan Daxos
The King Of Qarth, who betrayed Daenerys in Season 2 despite wanting to marry her, gets what’s coming to him, after she has him thrown in a Valyrian Steel safe for him to die. She then takes his ship and heads to Slavers Bay.
In the books, he comes to Mereen to visit Danarys and offers her 13 ships on the condition that she sails to Westeros. Her presence in Slavers Bay has disrupted the economies of Qarth and other cities like Volantis that depend on the Slave Trade. After she refuses the offer, he leaves a bloodied glove as a declaration of war between Qarth and Mereen.
7 – Meryn Trant
A Kingsguard that doesn’t like them “Too Old”, the show made it sure viewers were to hate this character as soon as they presented him. From potentially killing Syrio Forel and beating Sansa in season 1, falsely testifying against Tyrion in season 4, to his arrangements in brothels of Braavos in season 5, one thing was certain: this character is pure dirt.
Having “A Girl” cutting him repeatedly, blinding him, and slicing his throat, was a comforting death for the viewers that really hated this character.
However, in the books, he never leaves to Braavos to protect Mace Tyrell. He remains in Kings Landing, protecting the Royal Family in the Red Keep.
6 – Jojen Reed
Bran’s prophetic companion in their journey beyond the wall seals his fate in the show once they reach the cave of the Three Eyed Raven. A resurrected Wights ambush them at the entrance of the cave, one of them, stabbing the immovable Jojen to his death.
In the books however, he survives the ambush and gets inside the cave where he also meets the Three Eyed Raven. He continues having visions, including the one of his imminent death.
5 – Pypar (Pyp)
One of Jon Snow’s friend and Brother of The Nights Watch. He meets his fate when one of Ygritte’s arrows goes straight through his throat during the Battle of Castle Black.
But in the books, he survives the battle as he remains on top of the wall during the entire battle. At one point afterwards, he mocks the rituals of Melisandre to the Red God, and gets put in his place by Jon, now the Lord Commander of the Nights Watch.
4 – Grenn
Another Brother of The Nights Watch that sealed his fate in the tunnel within the wall during the Battle of Castle Black. His death is an honorable one as he was ordered by Jon to “Hold The Gate”, which he did along with 3 other crows when Magg the Giant tried to force his way in.
In the books, another member of the Nights Watch, Donal Noye, the Watch’s blacksmith who never made it in the show, defends the tunnel, and Grenn survives the battle.
3 – Talisa Stark/Jeyne Westerling
A weird entry since these are technically 2 different characters, but are the same role: Robb Stark’s wife.
In the book, during the War of Five Kings, Robb, who is winning the bar, ends up with Jane Westerling and “shames her honor”. As honorable as a Stark would be, he decides to break his oath to Walder Frey and marry her to avoid angering the Westerling Family even more, a family loyal to the Lannisters. Jeyne is not present at the Red Wedding, and avoids the massacre altogether due to her family’s allegiance to Tywin Lannister
The show decided instead to make it more brutal by having this new character, Talisa of Volantis (played beautifully by Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter Oona Chaplin). Talisa is a nurse that tends to the wounded in Westeros during the War, before eventually falling for The King In The North, who had already fallen for her. Just after she announces that she’s pregnant with his child, and wants to name him “Eddard” if a boy, the Freys betrayal get to her first and make her, and the unborn, the first victims of the Infamous Red Wedding.
This is still, to this day, one of the most traumatizing moment in the entire series.
2 – Stannis Baratheon
The One True King had a falling from grace in season 5. He sacrificed his daughter Shireen out of desperation for a victory against the Boltons, lost his wife to suicide after that, half his men of desertion afterwards, and finally lost the Battle in Winterfell to the Boltons.
He is then executed by Brienne of Tarth who finds him injured in a nearby forest, and decide to avenge Renly’s Death (Her former King, his younger brother). Although the producers confirmed he is dead, there are hints that can lead to the opposite.
1 – Catelyn Stark (Lady Stoneheart)
Well, technically Catelyn Stark gets her throat slashed at the Red Wedding in both the show and the books so she shouldn’t be on this list right?
Here’s the hic, in the books, the Brotherhood without Banners stumble upon her corpse on a river near The Twins 3 days after the Red Wedding. Beric Dondarrion, who was a bannerman of Robert Baratheon, recognizes her and asks Red Priest Thoros of Myr to resurrect her, which he refuses to. It is at this point that Beric sacrifices himself and gives Catelyn the “Kiss of Life”, trading his life for hers.
The reanimated Catelyn returns to life and takes the name “Lady Stoneheart”, with some soldiers from the Brotherhood following her lead afterwards. Her throat slashed means she can no longer speak, and the new name is given to her for she is only bent on avenging the evils that have fallen on her family this entire time.
While she would make a great addition to the show, giving fans hope for vengeance and justice towards the Starks, she is not relevant to the big picture. Which is probably why David Benioff and D.B Weiss decided not to include her in the show.