The Rundown: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Most Pivotal Deaths

Above (clockwise): Ned Stark, King Joffrey, The Red Wedding and Jon Snow

Hundreds of people died at the Battle of the Blackwater. Hundreds more died when the White Walkers descended upon Hardhomme.

Literally thousands of lives have been lost over the course of five seasons of Game of Thrones, but not all deathes are created equal. While random extras falling in battle barely registers, there have been some deaths that really resonated with viewers. Whether it was a sense of relief or “I can’t believe what just happened,” some deaths carried more weight than others.

In the wake of last weekend’s Season 5 finale, here’s a look at the most pivotal deaths from The Realm.

Robert Baratheon

If King Robert doesn’t die, there is no King Joffrey and as much as everyone unanimously hated that kid, there is no denying that having Joffrey on the Iron Throne provided a couple seasons of quality entertainment and led to the rise of House Lannister into the central family on the show.

Ned Stark

The surprise death from Season 1, the beheading of Lord Eddard Stark, Warden of the North, Hand of the King, was our introduction to the reality that no one is safe on Game of Thrones. Here was the patriarch of what appeared to be the most important family in the series – a good man, an honest man, a loyal man – and that little brat King Joffrey had his head lopped off and stuck on a pole.

King Joffrey

Let’s just complete the triumvirate right out of the gate, since these three are clearly interconnected. After coming to power when his father (not his father) died whilst hunting, the maniacal boy king ultimately met his doom tipping a cup at his wedding. There were more shocking deaths over the years, but perhaps none was cheered more than when Joffrey went face down on the ground in front of everyone at his wedding reception.

Khal Drogo

If Khal Drogo doesn’t get sick and perish, Dany doesn’t sit in the fire and come out just a little singed with three baby dragons by her side. The passing of the Dothraki warlord may have brought an end to sexposition featuring Ms. Targaryen, but it served as the jump off point for “The Mother of Dragons” and ultimately, that’s more important than seeing Dany naked every other episode.

The Red Wedding

Catelyn and Robb Stark were slain at the same time, so they’re deaths are being remembered at the same time. It’s not just that they died, but it’s how they died – negotiated by Tywin Lannister, agreed to by Lord Walder Frey and carried out by Roose Bolton in an act of treason that he still has yet to pay for at this point. It’s one of the most memorable scenes in Game of Thrones history and two extremely pivotal deaths.

Tywin Lannister

Speaking of the patriarch of House Lannister, now would be a good time to mention his passing. As much as Tywin was a harsh, cold man, he was critically important for a couple seasons, even before he made an actual appearance or took up residence in the Red Keep. The fact that he was sent to his grave while “taking a moment to just relax” by the son he never cared for was both unexpected and awesome.


“You know nothing Jon Snow.”

Mance Rayder

Jon Snow showing compassion to the “King Beyond the Wall” was the turning point in the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch convincing large portions of the Wildlings to agree to his offer to join forces. Of course, tons of those same Wildlings got turned into Wights at Hardhome, so there’s that… Still, Jon’s relationship with Mance and eventual show of mercy to him at Castle Black had a major impact on this season.

Princess Shireen

Maybe the hardest death to watch and we didn’t even really watch it; we heard it. While eveyrone is going to have to wait until Season 6 to see how this really plays out, Stannis’ decision didn’t really pan out the way Lady Melisandre envisioned and led to his wife, Queen Selyse, taking her own life as well. If that’s not a pivotal death, I don’t know what is.

Jon Snow

I’m still not ready to talk about this yet.

Tags: Game of Thrones, HBO

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