Since that fateful day, years ago, when King Robert Baratheon came riding through the gates of Winterfell, we’ve lost some 200 named characters and thousands of extras from this epic song of ice and fire.
The death toll has been high, and it’s hard to remember all of the fallen. But some, we just can’t forget. Many of those who have been killed, Missed very much, their stories having intrigued and entertained us so. Likewise, there are more than a few characters to whom we say a collective ‘good riddance.’
Here is a list of 15 Game of Thrones characters whose loss we still mourn, as well as 10 characters whom we are glad to see gone, missed by no one.
And it is not suggested that Missed only good and heroic characters. A few of them were characters whom we just loved to hate.
Likewise, a few characters whom we are glad to be done with weren’t necessarily villains either. They simply confounded (or annoyed) us too often.
MISSED: Khal Drogo
When first rode up this barbarian bad boy, Khal Drogo said not a word. He merely scrutinized the girl being offered him, grunted his approval, and rode off. A massive brute of bronzed muscles and intimidation, Drogo seemed more beast than man. It was no wonder Daenerys protested the marriage that had been arranged. After all, it was no secret that the Dothraki treated their horses better than they treated their women.
But then, the battle-hardened Khal Drogo revealed that he had a softer side. Because his young bride was determined to tame this beast and bend him to her will.
So as Daenerys won over Drogo, Drogo won over the audience. He loved his Khaleesi Daenerys so much, he was even willing to break with time-honored Dothraki beliefs and lead his Khalasar across The Narrow Sea to conquer Westeros for her.
So, when a festered wound and some disturbing blood magic left him in a mindless catatonic state, it wasn’t just Daenerys’s heart that broke as she smothered him with a pillow. Drogo had come a long way. It would have been thrilling to see him lead a charge of Dothraki screamers at an army of lions.
NOT MISSED: Stannis Baratheon
He truly was the rightful heir to the Baratheon throne. And not merely by birthright. He’d earned it. During Robert’s Rebellion, while his brother was racking up glory-filled victories, Stannis did his duty, holding the Baratheons’ Stronghold of Storm’s End despite a brutal siege by the Tyrells, still loyal to the Targaryen crown at the time And as a battle commander, Stannis had few rivals, courageously leading from the front, the first man off the boats at King’s Landing. Yet, no one wanted Stannis Baratheon as their king.
So dour, so humorless, this rigid man had a stick so far up his butt, he could pick his own teeth with it. In all the kingdoms, there were only two people who truly loved Stannis: Davos, whose devotion and honesty earned him time in dungeon cells to mull his execution; and Shireen, whose unbridled adoration of her father was repaid with a shocking act of filicide.
And while ‘book Stannis’ still lives, series producers wisely killed off Stannis soon after he sacrificed Shireen to his new god. Because they sensed, just like half of Stannis’s army deserted him after he burned his daughter at the stake, half the audience would likely have deserted the series, had Stannis not been made to pay for that.
MISSED: Tywin Lannister
When playing a game, one doesn’t need a likable opponent to enjoy the experience. But for that game to be enjoyable, one would want to respect their opponent.
And in the game of thrones, there were few players who had Tywin Lannister’s moves. Lord Tywin was a master strategist, reading all the pieces on the gameboard in a flash, leaving no lethal moves unmade as he plotted his way to victory.
The lordly patriarch of House Lannister, Tywin was the power behind three thrones — that of The Mad King, and, almost two decades later, those of his grandsons, Joffrey and Tommen. And he always knew just what buttons to push to get them to bend to his will and to consolidate his own power, even if that meant sending King Joffrey to bed without his supper.
He was ruthless. Cruel, even. But when his most-put-upon child shot two bolts into him while he sat on the privy, the great game of thrones lost one of its greatest players. And House Lannister – the House we all enjoyed hating so much – has never been the same without him.