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The 10 Most Important Game of Thrones Deaths, So Far

Of Course the Red Wedding Is in There

By Nathan Wahl ·
Death: it’s what makes life matter.

It’s also pretty much all that ever happens on Game of Thrones. And in honor of last night’s bloodbath of a season 6 finale, where it seemed like every other scene was one of annihilation, we’ve compiled this entirely subjective list of the 10 most important deaths in Game of Thrones.

You may want to sit down for this.

10. “The Dance of Dragons,” season 5, episode 9.
The victim: Shireen Baratheon.
The killer: Stannis Baratheon.
How: Burned at the stake.
The piece of flair: Melisandre’s necklace, which is something.
The importance: This was just so... heartless. We knew Stannis would do anything for power. We just didn’t think “anything” meant burning, not just a child, but his child, at the stake. Then it was all for naught since he died in the next episode.

9. “Mother’s Mercy,” season 5, episode 10.
The victim: Jon Snow.
The killer: Alliser Thorne and men of the Night’s Watch.
How: Stabbed, not once, not twice, but six times “for the Watch.”
The piece of flair: An all-leather tunic.
The importance: Snow forged an alliance (albeit a rocky one) between two former enemies. But also, sort of unimportant because he gets resurrected, so...

8. “A Golden Crown,” season 1, episode 6.
The victim: Viserys Targaryen.
The killer: Khal Drogo.
How: Khal Drogo poured molten gold on his head.
The piece of flair: The gold, obviously.
The importance: Viserys wasn’t especially kind to his sister, Daenerys, whom he sold into slavery and stuff. So it must have been immensely satisfying for her to watch her brother’s head fall to the ground with a thud. Plus it was the first death that made viewers realize just how brutal Game of Thrones could be.

7. “The Winds of Winter,” season 6, episode 10.
The victims: Walder Frey and his sons, Black Walder and Lothar Frey.
The killer: Arya Stark.
How: Two sons baked into a pie, served to Dad, who then got his throat cut. Damn.
The piece of flair: Arya, wearing another person’s face.
The importance: The Freys murdered almost all of Arya’s family. This revenge was a long time coming. Plus she gets to check a name off her “death list.”

6. “The Mountain and the Viper,” season 4, episode 8.
The victim: Oberyn Martell.
The killer: The Mountain.
How: Had his eyes pushed through his skull before his head exploded in the Mountain’s bare hands.
The piece of flair: Certainly not a helmet. But Oberyn did have some pretty incredible facial hair.
The importance: Oberyn was supposed to have his revenge since the Mountain “raped his sister, murdered her and killed her children.” But we know now that there is no underdog, there is no mercy, and good doesn’t always overcome evil. In fact, in this world, it almost never overcomes.

5. “Baelor,” season 1, episode 9.
The victim: Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark.
The killer: Ser Ilyn Payne, at Joffrey Baratheon’s command.
How: Beheaded.
The piece of flair: A half ponytail.
The importance: Turns out, trust and integrity are worthless in Westeros.

4. “The Lion and the Rose,” season 4, episode 2.
The victim: Joffrey Baratheon.
The killer: Lord Petyr Baelish and Lady Olenna Tyrell.
How: Poisoned wine.
The piece of flair: The king’s crown.
The importance: He was a dick. A death has never been more loudly cheered.

3. “The Winds of Winter,” season 6, episode 10.
The victims: Margaery, Loras and Mace Tyrell, the High Sparrow and hundreds of innocent bystanders.
The killer: Cersei Lannister, a tsunami of wildfire.
How: Cersei had candles set to melt into the city’s extensive wildfire storage, blowing up essentially everyone who opposed her in one fell swoop.
The pieces of flair: A tall glass of celebration wine and a riveted leather onesie.
The importance: Enemies? What enemies?

2. “The Door,” season 6, episode 5.
The victim: Hodor.
The killers: An army of wights.
How: Holding the door. (It’s okay to cry.)
The piece of flair: Too soon.
The importance: We learned how Hodor got his name. We learned that he wasn’t just a bumbling imbecile, but actually a more loyal companion to the Starks than anyone could have imagined, and a martyr condemned to fulfill a destiny thrust upon him. Heavy.

1. “The Rains of Castamere,” season 3, episode 9.
The victims: Fucking everyone.
The killers: Literally, Roose Bolton, Lothar Frey and a team of assassins costumed as musicians. By proxy, Walder Frey and Tywin Lannister.
How: Daggers, crossbows, swords... If the weapon existed, they used it.
The piece of flair: Chain mail.
The importance: This was the end of the House Stark threat to King Joffrey and possibly the most intense moment in television history.

Bonus: “The Winds of Winter,” season 6, episode 10.
The victim: A peasant.
The killer: A bell.
How: Bell burst from the sept after Cersei’s wildfire explosion.
The piece of flair: Approximately two tons of bronze.
The importance: None. It was totally gratuitous, but hey, points for creativity.

Nathan Wahl watched a lot of Roseanne growing up and wonders how much bearing that has on who he is as a person now.

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