There are many defining elements which come together to create the rich tapestry of epicness that is George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice And Fire small screen counterpart, Game of Thrones. HBO’s sprawling fantasy boasts breathtaking exotic locations, painstakingly detailed costumes and a giant assembly of characters. It’s a phenomenon unlike anything recent television history has concocted.
But let’s not kid ourselves, though. Aside from those aforementioned gorgeous locales and stunning costume designs, there’s something that every fan of the series yearns to see in every episode. It’s the possibility of a gruesome demise of a beloved character which keeps viewers tuning in each week. With an average death count of over 100 per season, Game Of Thrones is one of the most lethal shows on TV.
From the very first episode in 2011, the writers have provided some truly creative and gruesome deaths: from exploding skulls to incineration by dragons, the battle for the Iron Throne has seen it all. The series is renowned for scenarios being played out with entirely unpredictable outcomes, and it’s made these grizzly endpoints that much more shocking.
With Season 5 unfolding on screens in a few hours time, the death toll is only set to rise higher. We list down 15 of the most shockingly disturbing deaths so far on the series. It goes without saying, spoilers ahead!
1. Ned Stark – No one ever really got over Eddard Stark’s beheading at the end of Season 1. Let’s face it – we all thought he was the noble and honest hero who would somehow, against all odds, survive! When Sir Ilyn Payne cut off Ned’s head (for Joffrey to later put it on a pike as decoration), that was when we knew that nobody is safe on this show. It might not be as gruesome as some of the others, but this one was the biggest shocker of all.
2. Kraznys Mo Nakloz – The mysogynist slave-trader who is foolish enough to believe he can one-up Daenerys Stormborn is sorely mistaken. A foiled attempt to belittle Dany in Valyrian backfires when it turns out the Mother of Dragons understood every one of his slurs. To teach him a lesson she sics her beloved fire-breather Drogon on him.
3. The Mountain’s Horse – In a jousting tournament at King’s Landing, the seemingly unstoppable Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane goes up against the far less intimidating – in name if nothing else – Knight Of The Flowers Loras Tyrell. Clegane’s the clear frontrunner to win, but it’s Loras’ mare in heat that meddles with the outcome as she fires off loads of horsey pheromones. Clegane’s steed detects them, and turns into the equine equivalent of a pre-pubescent teen with a copy of Playboy. As a result, Clegane loses the jousting and in a fit of rage unsheathes his sword and decapitates his horse. It was the first time we saw what an angry “Mountain” looks like!
4. Shae – After lying at Tyrion’s trial and then cosying up to his dad in bed (which BTW, super-weird!), Shae really kind of had it coming. The death of Tyrion’s beloved mistress at his own hands was rather gruesome and emotionally brutal.
5. Joffrey Baratheon – As a veritable who’s who of the King’s Landing aristocracy gather in Season 4 Episode 2 to celebrate the wedding of King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell, Tyrion unwittingly supplies his nephew with a goblet of poisoned wine. The real perpetrators, Lady Olenna Tyrell and Lord Petyr Baelish, look on along with the rest of the wedding party as the repulsive psychopath begins to choke and turns purple, with blood leaking from every orifice. It’s a hugely satisfying scene for Joffrey-haters, which is basically anyone who follows the show.
6. Craster – With the Night’s Watch holed up at Craster’s Keep to recover their strength, the admittedly-despicable patriarchal drunkard begins to berate the men of the Watch. After refusing to feed them – referring to his food stores as a source of sustenance for his pigs – one of the stewards Karl Tanner snaps at Craster’s continual goading, ending up driving a sword into Craster’s throat.
7. Karl Tanner – After mutinying and murdering Craster and Lord Commander Mormont, Tanner goes more than a little bit crazy and tears apart Mormont’s corpse. Good thing Jon Snow arrives and in the ensuing battle, drives his sword through the back of Karl’s head until it bursts through his mouth.
8. Ros – Remember the beautiful, clever and charming prostitute from Winterfell, Ros? Her vicious death was one of the most horrifying of the show. The biggest asshole of a king, Joffrey embraces his sadistic side when he orders Ros to beat the crap out of another prostitute and shortly after that, practices his aim on her, piercing her torso several times with his crossbow.
9. Viserys Targaryen – By the time his end rolls around, everyone’s pretty much had enough of Viserys. His smarmy face and entitled tone really make you wonder how it took six episodes for someone to take him out. Eventually his sister’s new husband Khal Drogo arrives at that conclusion, and pours a cauldron of boiling hot, molten gold over Viserys’ head.
10. Oberyn Martell – Our hearts still ache for the charismatic Dornish prince, The Viper, who suffered one of the more creative deaths of this series at the hands of one Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. While fighting The Mountain as Tyrion’s champion, Oberyn gets a little too worked up exacting revenge for his sister Elia’s brutal murder, and eventually gets his skull crushed by The Mountain’s bare hands. You need a strong stomach to watch this one, really!
11. Robb and Talisa Stark – All self-respecting GOT fans know exactly what the Red Wedding was – the harrowing triple Stark murders, plotted jointly by slimy Roose Bolton and sneaky Walder Frey, that ended in Catelyn Stark’s slit throat. But the more savagely heartbreaking were the killings of Talisa and Robb, both of whom were about to become parents. Oh and, what they did to Grey Wind was utterly disturbing too!
12. Polliver – Polliver, the murderer of Arya Stark’s helpless friend Lommy, was a member of Lannister man-at-arms, serving under Ser Amory Lorch. It took two seasons for Arya to rightfully avenge the death of her friend, and she proceeds to enjoy every second of it. While reciting what Polliver said to Lommy before killing him, we can see the satisfaction and new found fascination in murder clearer than ever in her facial expressions, not to mention how powerful the whole scene is – the transition of a somewhat shy girl who is starting to show no mercy in situations like this.
13. The Hound – Sandor Clegane was pummeled to almost death by Brienne of Tarth, and when he asked Arya Stark to end his life for good, all he got was a cold, emotionless stare and “I’ll last longer than you”. Although he didn’t die on-screen, most of the fandom safely assumes that he died of his wounds after Arya left him.
14. Tywin Lannister – Not the most graphically brutal of demises, but still a huge shocker. Tywin died a rather unglamorous death – on the toilet seat, possibly “shitting gold”, struck down by his own son.
15. Random Frey Soldier – After witnessing the aftershocks of the Red Wedding in which her brother and mother were brutally killed, Arya Stark took out a random Frey soldier who was describing the disgusting details of how they’d sewn Grey Wind’s head on Robb Stark’s decapitated body. This was the first time Arya actually murdered a man, and its a huge turning point for her character’s development.
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