The definitive ranking of heartbreaking Game of Thrones deaths

Stay strong, guys. This is gonna be tough.

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Look, this probably doesn't need saying, but SPOILERS. OMG SO MANY SPOILERS. If you are not up-to-date on Game of Thrones just do not keep reading. Honestly, what's wrong with you? Stop it.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we'd like to clarify that this list does not contain deaths that literally no one cared about (those weird Doctor Who-looking tree women, any of the Baratheon brothers). It also doesn't refer to any disputed deaths where there is a possibility for return e.g. the Hound, Syrio Forel or Benjen Stark. Lastly...

WARNING: If you don't feel like looking at some (pretty brutal) images of dead/dying people you might want to avoid scrolling down.

  1. 25 Maester Aemon (Targaryen)
    maester aemon death
    Source: HBO

    Sure he was cute and old but guys - Maester Aemon died of natural causes! That is literally unheard of in Westeros (or Essos or any of those other weird places).

    For that reason, we're chalking this death up as a win. Hats off, Aemon. For a Targaryen, you lasted surprisingly long.

  2. 24 Shireen Baratheon
    shireen death
    Source: HBO

    This was rough but like - she was pretty annoying. So.

  3. 23 Jeor Mormont
    jeor mormont death
    Source: HBO

    Jeor Mormont died doing what he loved: getting stabbed in the back both literally and metaphorically.

  4. 22 Mance Rayder
    mance rayder death
    Source: HBO

    Tough one this, as it almost falls into the category of "disputed death". In the books [SPOILERS!] Melisandre helps Mance Rayder switch places with another wildling, meaning he gets to escape with his life. Does that mean there's a chance of him returning to the series even though he hasn't been mentioned, thought of, or had any relevance to the plot since the start of season five?

    Yeah, he's probs dead.

  5. 21 Barristan Selmy
    barristan selmy death
    Source: HBO

    This episode did that classic thing of giving the about-to-die character a nice long stretch of heartwarming dialogue before sending them off to their untimely death. In Barristan's case, he reminisced to Daenerys about what a good bloke her brother Rhaegar was and then promptly trotted off to be killed by the Sons of the Harpy.

    RIP Barry.

  6. 20 Ros
    ros death
    Source: HBO

    Ros might not have been a central character but she was a genius invention for the TV show, and one who gave us important insights into the political machinations that go on inside the brothels and sleazy dens of King's Landing.

    Not only was Ros's death by crossbow incredibly brutal and unexpected, it also really sealed that whole "Joffrey is a psycho" deal.

  7. 19 Myrcella Baratheon
    myrcella death
    Source: HBO

    Another season five episode, another murdered teenage girl. Tough being a teen girl in Westeros, guys.

    We didn't have much of an attachment to Myrcella, but her death came straight off the back of a tender scene in which she revealed that she knew - and was glad - that her uncle Jaime was her father.

    It's almost like the showrunners enjoy manipulating our emotions?

  8. 18 Jory Cassel
    jory cassel death
    Source: HBO

    Hey everyone, remember the days when Jaime Lannister was a big old bastard who went around throwing children out of windows and doing murders all the time? We may love him now but when he killed Jory Cassel (BFF of Ned Stark and all round Good Guy) we hated his guts.

    Also, he stabbed Jory in the EYE which is definitely one of the top five worst places to get stabbed. Dick move, Jaime. Dick move.

  9. 17 Shaggydog
    shaggydog death
    Source: HBO

    When they turned up in a recent season six episode, we'd totally forgotten about Shaggydog and Rickon (the most pointless character in all the realm) but STILL! The direwolves deserve better than having their heads popped off with what looks like a giant corkscrew.

  10. 16 Pyp
    pyp death
    Source: HBO

    Pyp might have been a plucky Westerosi Cockney with a heart of gold but he also just had that death-y look about him. Like, we all just knew he was gonna die at some point.

    But while his murder at the Wall didn't come as a shock, it was still pretty sad (damn you and your arrows, Ygritte).

  11. 15 Khal Drogo
    drogo death
    Source: HBO

    Ah, Drogo. Such a problematic fave. Then again, for a murdering, enslaving, rapist war lord he was a pretty chill guy.


  12. 14 Ygritte

    Ygritte's quiet, dignified death amidst the chaotic battle for the Wall was beautifully done. In fact, we felt genuinely choked up watching her die in Jon's arms. Then again - she was kind of a dick?

    In the end, everything got nicely resolved seeing as: Ygritte killed Olly's dad and then Olly killed Ygritte and then Olly killed Jon and then Jon killed Olly.

    Has a kind of poetry to it, doesn't it?

  13. 13 Osha
    osha death
    Source: HBO

    This was surprisingly upsetting, seeing how we hadn't heard from Osha since season three. First Tonks and now this?

    Please, someone kill Ramsay before he slays any more of our faves.

  14. 12 Grenn
    grenn death
    Source: HBO

    Oh Grenn. Big lovely Grenn. You were killed by a wildling giant whilst defending the Wall and your death was about 34% sadder than Pyp's, although we aren't sure why.

    We'll miss you, big guy.

  15. 11 Catelyn Stark
    catelyn stark death
    Source: HBO

    Like Mance Rayder, there's a little bit of a question mark over Catelyn Stark's death. If you've read the books you'll know [SPOILERS!] that Catelyn is brought back to life by Beric Dondarrion and goes on a mega quest for vengeance under the badass new label of Lady Stoneheart. Fans were expecting to see Lady S emerge in season four but she hasn't materialised - or been spoken of - since her shocking murder at the Red Wedding.

    Yeah, she's probs dead.

  16. 10 Talisa Stark (and unborn child)
    talisa stark death
    Source: HBO

    Let's not.

  17. 9 Shae
    shae death
    Source: HBO

    In her time on the show Shae was a truly great addition who injected depth and heart into Tyrion's character. But after betraying him during his trial for the murder of Joffrey, she did the unthinkable and starting banging his (hella mean) dad.

    Upon discovering Shae in his father's chambers after Jaime helped him escape from jail, Tyrion murdered her (partially in self-defence) by strangling her with the gold chains around her neck. Heartbreakingly, these chains were a gift Tyrion gave her at a happier time.

    It's true that she kinda got what was coming to her but, man alive, that scene was hard to watch.

  18. 8 Summer
    Source: HBO

    We couldn't find an image of Summer's recent heroic death at the hands of those bastard snow zombies so instead, here's one of him in his prime. Let's remember him this way.

    *sobs forever*

  19. 7 Hodor

    He held that door so fucking good.

  20. 6 Grey Wind

    If the deaths of these direwolves aren't offending your soul on a very basic level then you're almost certainly a psychopath.

  21. 5 Oberyn Martell

    Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper - a man we all thought too sexy not to live forever - officially died the worst Game of Thrones death ever. His head-crushing at the giant meaty hands of Gregor Clegane was heartbreaking to the max. And fully gross!

    (P.S. sorry about the gif)

  22. 4 Robb Stark

    Never before has such a handsome, curly-haired, nice-faced man been murdered so brutally.


  23. 3 Lady
    lady direwolf death
    Source: HBO

    In case you had forgotten the UTTER TRAGEDY of this moment, let's recap the details. Arya's direwolf Nymeria (sister of Lady) attacks Joffrey in defence of Arya. Arya sends Nymeria away to protect her from the inevitable Baratheon/Lannister vengeance and when Nymeria cannot be found, Cersei orders that Lady (Sansa's direwolf) be killed in her place. In the end, it's Ned who does the the deed and though we don't see the moment of Lady's death (thank the old gods and the new) it's still unacceptably brutal.

    Honestly, this is the greatest miscarriage of justice we have ever witnessed.

  24. 2 Eddard "Ned" Stark

    The first cut is the deepest.

  25. 1 Joffrey Baratheon

    Gone too soon. Sleep tight, sweet angel xx

    Feature image © HBO