With House Of The Dragon quickly approaching, fans patiently await to see how similar the prequel series will be in terms of quality and amount of blood spilled to Game Of Thrones. Alongside all of the political intrigue, House Of The Dragon should also deliver on death, something Game Of Thrones constantly gave audiences, even killing off multiple important characters in single episodes.
Whether in big battles such as ‘The Long Night,’ in which seven main/recurring characters fell in the Battle of Winterfell, or spread across single episodes, many main characters share an episode of death.
‘The Long Night’
Season 8, Episode 3
‘The Long Night’ saw the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell between the living and the dead. While many fans do not believe it lived up to the expectation, it was definitely an epic episode of television and one that saw multiple important deaths.
There were the likes of Dolorous Edd and droves of unnamed troops who met their end at the hands of the Wights. Lyanna Mormont also died in the episode, going out like the fearless hero she was. Melisandre died after the battle had finished, walking into the snow and accepting her end, and nobody felt sympathy for her. The two most emotional deaths of the battle were unquestionably those of Ser Jorah Mormont, who fell protecting Daenerys right to the end, saving her life, and Theon Greyjoy, whose consistently excellent character arc came to a gut-wrenching end as he protected Bran against the Night King. Speaking of, the Night King had the most essential death of the episode, and eight seasons of the built-up threat ended at Arya’s hand.
‘The Watchers On The Wall’
Season 4, Episode 9
‘The Watchers On The Wall’ was the episode in which the Battle of Castle Black took place and had a slew of casualties as the forces of Castle Black and the Free Folk, as well as a few Baratheon men.
There were not just unnamed deaths, though as some beloved recurring characters died in this episode. Two of the most memorable Night’s Watchmen, Pyp and Grenn, met their end defending Castle Black. Some other names from both sides include Donnell Hill, Dongo, and Thenn Warg. Of course, the death everybody remembers is that of Ygritte, which broke the hearts of fans and Jon Snow alike, undeniably one of the show’s saddest deaths.
Season 6, Episode 2
There were four deaths in the season 6 episode ‘Home’ worth talking about, and three of them are murders at the hands of the show’s sickest villain Ramsay Bolton.
First, this is the episode when the wildly underwhelming Euron Greyjoy made his debut and subsequently killed Balon Greyjoy – something nobody was really mad about. Back in the North, though, following the birth of his wife’s son, Roose Bolton got stabbed and killed by his bastard son Ramsay who went on to feed Walda and the newborn Bolton to his dogs. It is one of his evilest acts, which is saying something.
Season 4, Episode 10
Season finales of Game Of Thrones almost always delivered on quality and always delivered on some serious death. Season 4’s ‘The Children’ was no different, with Tyrion’s emotions driving him to kill to significant influences in his life.
Not a major death but one seriously affecting one that foretold Daenerys’s future was that of Zalla, a young girl inadvertently burned to a crisp by Drogon. Jojen Reed also got killed in this episode as Bran and his party managed to find their way to the Three-Eyed Raven. That was far less surprising than Tyrion’s murder of both Shae and Tywin Lannister after getting freed from the dungeons and finding his love in his father’s bed.
Season 6, Episode 5
Some episodes of Game Of Thrones will live on in the memory of fans as clear as day for the rest of their lives thanks to specific scenes and moments, and Hodor’s iconic “hold the door” is why ‘The Door’ will forever be remembered.
Dying protecting Bran and holding the door which held back the Wights, Hodor has one of the best and saddest deaths in Game Of Thrones. Other important deaths come before this, though, including both Leaf and Summer, and then, of course, the Three-Eyed Raven, whose death crucially allowed Bran to take up that mantle.
‘Battle Of The Bastards’
Season 6, Episode 9
“The Battle of the Bastards” is widely considered the greatest battle that the show has to offer, and if House Of The Dragon intends to have more epic Westerosi battles, it will see this as the standard-bearer – though nobody will or can hold it against the show if it cannot reach these heights.
The bulk of deaths in this episode are unnamed, with Jon losing a plethora of men while also losing more family in Rickon, who is murdered in a sick fashion by Ramsay before the battle begins. Jon would, of course, get his revenge as the entire Bolton army crumbled, including the likes of Jon Umber and Harald Karstark. Fans will never forget Ramsay’s immensely satisfying death in this episode either, where he is rather poetically fed to his dogs.
Season 5, Episode 10
‘Mother’s Mercy’ may instantly bring up memories of Jon Snow’s death, where he is betrayed by nauseatingly unlikable members of the Night’s Watch such as Olly and Alliser Thorne. His death, despite its importance, is not the only massive one in the episode.
This episode is home to one of the most violent deaths as Meryn Trant is slaughtered by Arya. The fall of House Baratheon is perhaps most important in this episode, with Stannis getting killed by Brienne, his wife hanging herself, and all of the Baratheon forces stuck by Stannis. Not all of the Baratheons fell in the North, though, as one death saw the poisoning of Myrcella as she sailed back to Winterfell from Dorne.
‘The Rains Of Castamere’
Season 3, Episode 9
There is arguably no other episode of television quite as universally shocking as ‘The Rains Of Castamere,’ which is, as every fan knows, the episode of the infamous Red Wedding.
Orell, the warg Wildling who was suspicious of Jon, also died in this episode, but his death is lost in the sea of blood that is the Red Wedding, where Robb Stark’s forces, including Robb himself, Talisa, Catelyn, and Greywind, all perish. It is such an impactful and hideous series of events, made worse by the subsequent taunting of Robb’s dead body.
Season 8, Episode 5
Should House Of The Dragon prove itself to be as great a show as early reviews suggest, fans will hope and pray it does something Game Of Thrones could not, which is stick the landing. ‘The Bells’ played its part in setting up one of the worst TV finales of all time.
The episode was full of death, with Daenerys turning into the Mad Queen and burning King’s Landing, with so many civilians dying. Deaths that did not come at the hands of Daenerys include Euron Grejoy (killed by Jaime), Qybrun (killed by the Mountain), and the Clegane brothers, who kill themselves during Cleganebowl. As far as Daenerys’ kills, she executes Lord Varys before burning Kings Landing to the ground resulting in the arguably underwhelming deaths of two of the show’s best characters, Cersei and Jaime Lannister.
‘The Winds Of Winter’
Season 6, Episode 10
One thing Game Of Thrones did so well throughout many of these episodes is to have these high-profile deaths be well executed and garner a response from audiences, which is arguably done best in ‘The Winds of Winter’ where so many die at Cersei’s hand.
Cersei’s destruction of the Sept of Baelor is one of the show’s most remarkable sequences and saw the deaths of Lancel Lannister, Kevan Lannister, Loras Tyrell, Mace Tyrell, Margery Tyrell, and the High Sparrow, who are all swallowed by wildfire. This resulted in the suicide of Tommen, and before the explosion, Grand Maester Pycelle was murdered by Qyburn’s little birds. These are not the only brilliantly executed deaths, as, in sweet justice, Arya Stark murders Walder Frey and his oldest sons. A truly excellent piece of television full of meaningful, impactful deaths.