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.
MISSED: Ser Arthur Dayne
Rarely does the hype live up the real thing. But no one could ever say that about the legendary Ser Arthur Dayne, “The Sword of the Morning.”
Almost two decades after he was felled during Robert’s Rebellion, seasoned knights still talked about Ser Arthur having been the greatest swordsman to ever flash steel in all the history of The Seven Kingdoms.
But it wasn’t until we accompanied Bran on one of his green-sight-seeing trips to the past that we saw what all the buzz was about. Squared off at the Tower Of Joy against a then-young Ned Stark and his crew of raiders, Ser Arthur put on a display of swordsmanship that left us gasping! Brandishing two swords, he took on and swiftly felled all comers. He would have finished off Ned Stark, too, had not a wounded Howland Reed risen up and put a blade through his back.
We’d heard so much about him. But we saw far too little. And Ser Arthur Dayne will be missed by all who follow this epic tale. Because for just a few shining moments, he gave us swordplay the likes of which no one may ever see again.
NOT MISSED: Janos Slynt
The world is full of them. Cowardly stuffed-shirt bureaucrats, empowered by their office, who serve no one other than themselves and their own petty agendas.
Janos Slynt acted pretty tough when he was the Commander of the City Watch, basically King’s Landing’s Chief of Police. Protected by his Gold Cloak, he had no problems torturing a Street of Steel armorer, nor murdering a baby on Lannister orders.
And he had little issue with betraying the King’s Hand, having sold his loyalty to Cersei, who had offered Harrenhal for his treachery.
Once banished to The Wall, Slynt had little fear of deriding Jon Snow, so long as he was slotted in as Alliser Thorne’s sycophantic toady.
But when the giants were at The Wall’s gate, and Wildlings were killing inside Castle Black, Slynt quickly turned tail, hid in the kitchen, and wet himself.
Always believing that he had powerful friends in high places, once Jon ordered his head be put on the chopping block, all this puffed-up bully really had were blubbering pleas for mercy and admissions of his own deeply rooted cowardice. Slynt got exactly what he deserved –- a pathetic and friendless death.
MISSED: Prince Oberyn Martell
His reputation preceded him wherever he went -– and he went a lot of places.
A lengendary spear-wielding warrior from Dorne, Oberyn Martell was a student of more than just spear-work, having developed great expertise in exotic poisons. And he held no inhibitions in applying his knowledge.
With his combat opponents often dying in agony days after suffering his wounds, Oberyn became known as “The Red Viper” for a reason.
So when Oberyn came to King’s Landing, not for Joffrey’s wedding, but for revenge against The Mountain who had killed his sister and her babies, the Lannisters took notice.
The Red Viper would need to be dealt with. But then, the Lannisters’ Viper problem seemed to offer its own solution. To exact his revenge on The Mountain, Oberyn volunteered to be Tyrion’s champion in his Trial by Combat. No one ever willingly fought The Mountain. It seemed like suicide.
But then, we saw him fight! Oh, how we wanted to see more of that! Armed with just a spear, Oberyn danced and spun, and struck and cut his way into our hearts. But then, sadly, The Red Viper’s pride got the best of him… and so did The Mountain.
MISSED: King Joffrey Baratheon
We don’t miss King Joffrey because he was a fearsome super-villain who out-foxed all those whom he targeted. Joffrey couldn’t out-fox a puppy. We don’t miss him because his psychopathic cruel streak was wider than the Blackwater Rush and made him such an unpredictable source of drama. Joffrey was as predictable as dawn.
Missed Joffrey because he was so easy to hate, and so easily dissed by those over whom he held the power of life and death. Tyrion repeatedly slapped him. His grandfather dismissed him from his own Small Council meetings.
In all The Seven Kingdoms, one could find no teenager more ill-suited to be King. And there he was, seated on the Iron Throne, thinking a crown made him powerful. He was the petty boy king we all loved to hate.
That his reign would be a short one surprised no one. But still, a longer turn on the throne would not have been unwelcomed.
Because watching his Lannister keepers struggle to keep him from destroying their family or from falling under the seductive spell of his Queen Margaery was a source of great entertainment!
NOT MISSED: Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger
A lowly lord of a minor house who had risen to serve as the realm’s Master of Coin, really, Petyr Baelish’s title should have been Master of Con. This upjumped pimp spun out one lie after another as he skillfully climbed the ladder of chaos and confusion that he himself created.
Only Spymaster Varys seemed to have penetrated Baelish’s mask of helpful nonchalance to see the naked ambition that drove this power-hungry brothel keeper. “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes,” states Varys, recognizing the danger that Baelish imposes.
But as the saying goes, ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.’ After he’d sown so much discord, mayhem, and murder, the Starks finally caught on to Littlefinger.
Baelish was caught off guard as Sansa confronted him at a trail that he had thought would sentence Arya Stark to death. Instead, shocked to have been found out, ensnared in the tangled web of lies of his own weaving, his pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears.
And with a swipe of Arya’s blade, Littlefinger’s grasping climb to power came to a well-deserved and bloody end.
MISSED: Ser Barristan Selmy
Arguably the greatest living swordsman in all The Seven Kingdoms, his sense of honor was as a legendary as his blade-work. As a member of the Kingsguard, Barristan the Bold loyally served three kings and a crown prince, bravely fighting battles for all.
Decades earlier, as a teenager, Jaime Lannister had once squired for him. Claiming that he never knew men could fight like that, Jaime likened Barristan’s artistry with a sword as him being “…a painter who only used red.”
When Cersei foolishly forced him out of the Kingsguard, Barristan balked at the retirement package offered. He didn’t want riches or servants. He was a knight who just wanted to serve. So, he sought out and pledged his fealty to Daenerys, believing that he was finally serving a monarch worthy of his support.
But, sadly, we never got to see Barristan return to Westeros to help his Queen assume the Iron Throne. In a street fight with the Sons of the Harpy, Barristan came to the rescue of Grey Worm and was killed, saving the Unsullied Commander. And when Barristan fell, so fell the most noble knight on either side of The Narrow Sea.
NOT MISSED: Mace Tyrell
His own mother described him as “a ponderous oaf.” But then, his mother was Olenna Tyrell, the infamous Queen of Thorns. (That couldn’t have been easy.)
Still, the Queen of Thorns had a way of stating it just right, and Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden, was something of a highfalutin bore. He was amiable enough. But with his overly fancy attire, his curled mustache, and his habit of walking through the streets, singing a song that no one wanted to hear, Mace Tyrell tended to come across as a pompous ass.
Due to its control of The Reach, the breadbasket of the kingdom, House Tyrell had grown wealthy. And as its Lord, Mace Tyrell had been wise enough to ally with the right houses at the right times to see the Tyrells become the second most powerful family in the kingdoms. But when he threw his family’s lot in with the Lannisters, he was suddenly very much out of his depth.
The Lannisters played Mace Tyrell like a lute. And once Cersei made her most fateful move, there would be no more unprompted songs sung by Mace. And there would be no more Tyrells in Highgarden.
MISSED: Brother Ray
Brother Ray, we hardly knew ye!
He showed up late. So much carnage had already played out. So many Houses had risen or fallen. So many bloody battles had already been won or lost. But show up he did! It was Brother Ray who had found The Hound near death and nursed him back to health. A former sellsword with a brutal past, this reformed roadside septon had first saved The Hound’s life. Then, he worked on saving Sandor Clegane’s soul.
Despite having admittedly committed countless atrocities during his sellsword days, Ray now preached nonviolence to his followers. “All I can do with the time I’ve got left is to bring a little goodness into the world. That’s all any of us can do, isn’t it?”
Brother Ray’s time in this tale was brief. He came. He saved The Hound. He hanged. But because this roadside septon placed Sandor Clegane on his road to redemption, we, and likely all of Westeros, will remain eternally grateful. Because while it may prove challenging for The Hound to “bring a little goodness into the world,” we know that he can take a lot of badness out of it!
NOT MISSED: Ramsay Bolton
When Ramsay Snow began his torturous toying with Theon Greyjoy, few could question that Theon deserved to be punished. But, cut by cruel cut, as Ramsay reduced Theon to a quivering wreck of a eunuch, people actually started to feel sorry for Theon. That’s how savage Ramsay was.
Seeing the bastard Ramsay legitimized as a Bolton son and heir only deepened our loathing of him. And by the time Littlefinger presented Sansa to be Ramsay’s bride, we knowingly shuddered for the oldest Stark daughter. And, sure enough, her body would be gleefully carved by Ramsay’s blade.
That such a depraved sadist had risen to being the Lord of Winterfell was not just an affront to the North. It was an affront to the entire feudal system. He needed to go! And mercifully, with a delicious twist of irony, it would be Sansa, and her call to the Knights of the Vale, that would see Ramsay’s reign of cruelty end.
As Sansa tells Ramsay as she sentences him to death-by-dog, “Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.”
If only the scars he left would disappear as well.
Surrounded by longtime enemies, there stood Jon Snow, Commander of the Night’s Watch, and he’d made his pitch that the Wildlings and the Watch join forces to take on the coming White Walkers. It was Jon’s hard sell at Hardhome. And it wasn’t going well.
When a Thenn growled, “My ancestors would spit on me if I broke bread with a crow!” it was Karsi who spoke up, saying, “So would mine. But, fuck ‘em, they’re dead!” With that, Karsi turned the tide of the parlay, with most Wildling chieftains following her lead, agreeing to Jon’s offer.
A realist, Karsi cared about one thing — getting her children to safety beyond The Wall. And even when she’d gotten them onto the boats that would take them to safety, she chose to stay ashore, fighting the hordes of attacking wights, to make sure the boats could get away.
In the battle, Karsi fought courageously, but, unable to fight back against a group of attacking wight children, she fell and, sadly, joined the ranks of the risen dead.
NOT MISSED: The Waif
While teenage Arya was being schooled in The House of Black and White, The Waif was there, serving as the resident mean girl -– a mean girl with a fighting stick.
The Waif was tough on Arya, seeing her as a highborn interloper who hadn’t earned the right to learn at the feet of Jaqen H’ghar. Initially, The Waif’s relentless assaults on Arya seemed to have some kind of educational purpose. Nothing personal.
But just how many whacks to the face was Arya supposed to take before it became obvious that The Waif had it in for our favorite little wannabe-assassin? When Arya clearly rebelled against the temple’s code for a second time, The Waif was so clearly happy when Jaqen cleared her to kill the wayward young wolf from the Westerosi North. It was very personal, indeed!
Happily, our favorite teen killer was able to turn the tables on the overly confident Waif. Luring her into darkness, Arya made The Waif pay for all those whacks she delivered while Arya had been struck blind. But Arya’s payback involved no fighting sticks. Instead, there was a Needle working in that blackness, and it found The Waif with its pointy end.
MISSED: Thoros of Myr
At the Siege of Pyke, brandishing his flaming sword, his legendary rush through the breach is glowingly recalled by all who beheld it… except for Thoros himself. He was too drunk to remember it.
A failed Red Priest from Myr, Thoros came to Westeros to convert kings and lords to the ways of The Lord of Light. Instead, King Robert made Thoros his drinking companion, showing him the ways to the brothels of King’s Landing.
A free-spirited rascal, as a priest, Thoros was utterly faithless, just going through the motions, offering the occasional prayer only when someone needed to say something.
And that’s what he was doing when he gave the last rites to his fallen leader, Beric Dondarrion. But to Thoros’s astonishment, The Lord of Light heard his faithless prayer and brought Dondarrion back to life.
Suddenly, Thoros believed! And he would use his powers to resurrect Beric five more times as The Brotherhood became a ragtag order of holy avengers. And yet, while now possessing the power of life and death, Thoros remained happy-go-lucky right to the end. Having been fatally wounded by a dead zombie bear, his response was to smile, and offer, “Funny old life!”
NOT MISSED: Viserys Targaryen
Though not a product of a common Targaryen brother-sister coupling, Viserys certainly seemed to carry the family crazy gene. On the run since childhood, he was convinced that he was “the blood of the dragon” and was destined to retake the Iron Throne, if for no other reason than his surname was Targaryen, and his family once owned some dragons.
But really, this Beggar King, as he became known, was more of a self-deluded little snotnose royal pretender than King Joffrey. And everyone knew it. Even his kid sister.
Viserys didn’t play long on the gameboard of thrones. His was the first set piece to be taken off the board very early in the game. And rightfully so. Because once he had sold off his younger sister to Drogo, Viserys became nothing more than an annoying hanger-on.
He no longer served any purpose but for that of a master storyteller, who gave us one of the most shocking forms of execution ever devised. Because Viserys had always wanted a crown of gold that men would tremble to behold. And happily, Drogo obliged, giving Viserys that golden crown that made us all tremble.
MISSED: Shireen Baratheon
Closeted away in the dim and dank confines of Dragonstone castle, scorned by her own mother for having been born a girl and not a male heir, facially scarred by the feared greyscale virus, how such a light ever shone is beyond wonder.
Princess Shireen, only living child of Stannis and Selyse Baratheon, had every reason to be a hateful and angry child. But instead, she was a delight.
She was smart, and caring, and whatever stubborn streak she may have inherited from her dour father, Shireen’s strong will was exerted to achieve good and selfless goals. She stayed on Davos, finally convincing the former smuggler that he needed to learn how to read.
She stood up to The Red Witch, challenging her practice of burning dissenters at the stake. She proved a more patient teacher than Samwell, cheerfully getting Gilly started on learning her letters.
After finding out that Shireen had been shockingly sacrificed to The Lord of Light, Davos angrily confronted Melisandra, shouting, “I loved that girl like she was my own! She was good! She was kind! And you killed her!”
Ser Davos raged for all of us. We all loved Shireen like she was our own.
NOT MISSED: Lysa Arryn
There she sat high atop the Eyrie, seated on the throne of the Vale, breastfeeding her son, Robin, who was ten! (In the books, her “Sweetrobin” was six – still pretty disturbing.) Our first impression of Lysa Arryn was not a good one. And she never did anything to raise our opinions of her.
She was shrill, paranoid, refused to come to the aid of her sister’s family, and spent all her time doting over her overly coddled Sweetrobin, bizarrely believing him to be a great ruler in the making.
Had Lysa not been highborn and married off to a great Lord, she’d likely have ended up in an asylum. But as Jon Arryn’s widow and regent ruler of the Vale, Lysa held great power. And she did nothing with it.
She cowered like a mouse, seeing threats everywhere, even where none existed. And yet, confoundingly, when a true threat, dressed up in brothel-keeper fineries, came calling, her low self-esteem kept her blind to the mortal danger Littlefinger presented.
That’s why, when Lysa Arryn was sent plummeting through her Moon Door, half of Game of Thrones fandom sat down and wrote George R.R. Martin a ‘thank you’ note.
MISSED: Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully
Their sigil may feature a fish, but for the Tullys, it’s always been “family first”. Yet, every family has its black sheep. With the Tullys, that black sheep became known as the “Blackfish.”
Meant as an insult, Brynden took the “Blackfish” tag as a badge of honor. Because The Blackfish had a penchant for telling it like it is.
Despite being the rogue Tully, Brynden always answered the call when the Tullys sounded it. He fought alongside of his niece’s son, Robb Stark, in The War of the Five Kings. And when the most well-timed bathroom break in the history of Westeros saw him escape the bloodbath of The Red Wedding, the Blackfish fought on.
He rallied the remaining Tully forces, retaking the Tullys’’ Riverrun castle from the murderous Freys. And when the Lannister army came to reclaim it, Blackfish was determined to make his last stand in the family castle.
How can he not be missed? Because as he walked off to face certain death, his final words were, “I haven’t had a proper sword fight in years. I expect I’ll make a damn fool of myself!” The Blackfish. Telling it like it is, right up to the end.
NOT MISSED: Catelyn Stark
We wanted to like Ned Stark’s wife, Catelyn, but she sure made that difficult. Not because her motivations were wrong -– they weren’t. She just wanted the best for her family. She was born a Tully, and for Tullys, family always comes first. But had Catelyn really wanted the best for her family, she should have just stayed in Winterfell. Because she just kept getting it wrong.
The counsel that she offered to Ned in King’s Landing -– that he could trust Littlefinger –- cost Ned his life. And her impulsive seizing of Tyrion Lannister only made matters more dangerous for her family. Believing Tyrion had armed and sent an assassin to kill Bran was idiocy. And it was so confounding to watch Catelyn refuse to recognize that idiocy, even when Tyrion so clearly spelled it out for her.
But the failings of Catelyn went even deeper. Because she hated Jon. In a case of astoundingly misdirected anger, somehow, that Jon was her bastard stepson was Jon’s fault, not Ned’s. She blamed Jon just for being born. Meanwhile, it turns out, the future of all families living in Westeros depends on Jon’s prophesised birthright. Catelyn just kept getting it wrong.
MISSED: Lady Olenna Tyrell, The Queen of Thorns
If words were blades, Lady Olenna Tyrell would have left a body count higher than The Mountain’s.
The barbs that routinely shot from the mouth of this Tyrell family matriarch were as cutting as they were funny. This Lady of House Tyrell had an amazing talent for dispensing with all the pretentious pretenses and needless niceties that those in power like to exchange. Lady Olenna liked to cut to the quick, and if that drew blood, better theirs than hers.
Olenna was fiercely protective of her family and was as power-hungry as any high lord or lady in The Seven Kingdoms. But that was because she knew what Cersei knew, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
But in the end, in her ongoing battles with Cersei, she finally met her match. And even so, as the poison she’d been required to drink was already working its way through her veins, the Queen of Thorns fired back with one last and deeply cutting declaration…
“Tell Cersei!” she smiled at Jaime, talking about Joffrey’s murder, “I want her to know it was me.”
NOT MISSED: The High Sparrow
At first, this kindly former-cobbler-turned-preacher came across as some kind of a wise old grandfather, gently urging the smallfolk to live in virtue. At first…
But, as the cult leader of the fanatical Faith Militant, The High Sparrow was no harmless religious zealot, content to preach on the fringes of society. He had ambitions! In the biggest of her many mistakes, Cersei empowered him to bring his cult’s enforcement of extreme beliefs to bear on Loras Tyrell. Cersei hoped Loras’s homosexual lifestyle would be outed, allowing Cersei out of her arranged marriage to him.
But while The High Sparrow may have claimed virtue and may have rejected materialism, he clearly craved power. He was dangerous. Dangerous, not just to Cersei, but to the entire kingdom. Determined to overthrow the feudal system, The High Sparrow wanted to take Westeros back to even harsher theocracy.
Soon enough, The High Sparrow actually had us feeling sorry for Cersei. And when Cersei struck back, few shed any tears for the loss of The High Sparrow. Power had made him smug. All-knowing as he thought he was, he had overlooked one basic fact of life: in King’s Landing, nobody puts Cersei in a corner!
MISSED: King Robert Baratheon
When the royal entourage, with its knights and horses and carriages, came marching into Winterfell, as Robert Baratheon rode in, no rising trumpets needed to herald, this was the King!
Robert Baratheon rode like a king. Walked like a king. Talked like a king. (Gods, he had a voice!) Too bad, as Tywin Lannister would later state, Robert thought that ‘winning meant ruling’. There was so much more to being King than winning thrones.
And King Robert refused to do any of it. Robert just wanted to hunt, and to drink, and to whore away his days and his nights. And his kingdom suffered for it.
But The Seven Kingdoms would suffer even more upon his death. Because unlike those who would clamor to occupy Robert’s throne, he had a decent heart and a sense of fairness. And when King Robert Baratheon died, with him may have perished the last man in Westeros whose only agenda was looking for a good time. After his death, good times would be few and far between.
Hodor was as pure of heart as he was simpleminded. Despite weighing over 300 pounds, there wasn’t an ounce of malice in him. Even when attacked, Hodor shrank from violence, requiring Bran to use his warging to take control of his immense body to fight off attackers.
So Hodor’s innocence remained a constant source of smiles, his simple utterances of “Hodor” always amusing.
But then we found out why “Hodor” was all that he could say. Bran’s visits to the past revealed Hodor had once been “Wylis”, a gentle stable boy at Winterfell, not simpleminded, and fully capable of speaking.
And then, we see what broke his mind. It looked like Wylis had suffered a seizure. But really, back in time, Bran had been forced to warg into his mind, catching Wylis in a time loop.
His sudden yelling of “Hold the door! Hold door! Ho-dor! Hodor!” wasn’t young Wylis having a seizure. It was this stable boy experiencing his own future death when he fought desperately to save Bran by holding a door against a raging pack of attacking wights.
In a tale of countless killings and slaughters, Hodor’s fall may have been the most heartbreaking death of all.
MISSED: Ned Stark
As the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, Ned Stark’s sense of honor was legendary, laudable, and, once he went south, fatal.
Honorable men do not do well in the capital of The Seven Kingdoms, especially not if they serve as The Hand of the King. King’s Landing is where honor goes to die. Ned Stark never stood a chance. Not with the ruthless Lannister family pulling the strings of power while King Robert drank his way off the throne.
Ned’s honor cost him his head. But it has been that same Stark family honor that has seen his remaining children fight through so much turmoil and survive so many battles.
The powerful patriarch of the Lannister clan, Tywin, always spoke about entrenching a family legacy. Yet, the Lannister legacy is devoid of honor, and now quickly wanes with Lord Tywin no longer there to protect it. Meanwhile, the honorable young Starks have retaken Winterfell, rallied an army to their banner, and now stand as the last, best hope of all the kingdoms.