After all the backstabbing, battles, and scheming, we're finally here: the gut-wrenching tally of main characters who die in the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones.
The people behind the show warned that many the players we've watched over the years will die as the Seven Kingdoms confront the White Walkers and fight among themselves for the Iron Throne. Who will perish as Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow rally against the White Walkers? Or as Cersei Lannister stops at nothing to retain control of the Iron Throne?
As the answers to those questions unfold, we'll be updating this list of main characters who don't survive the great game:
Beric Dondarrion, Episode 3
Claim to fame: Lord Beric Dondarrion, head of House Dondarrion, led the Brotherhood Without Banners resistance group, and after he died and was brought back to life by the Red Priest, he adopted a belief in the Lord of Light and grew close to Melisandre.
Manner of death: Beric was stabbed to death by the White Walkers in the halls of Winterfell during the battle when he and the Hound went to save Arya. “The Lord brought him back for a purpose, and now that purpose has been served,” Melisandre said to Arya and the Hound after Beric died.
How we feel about it: While some of Beric’s past choices were questionable, mainly concerning his belief in the Red God, he died defending Arya Stark and fighting for the greater good, which is admirable.
Eddison Tollett, Episode 3
Claim to fame: A brother of the Night’s Watch and friend to Jon Snow, Tormund, and Samwell Tarly, Eddison was a true fighter and defender of the North from his start to the end.
Manner of death: After saving his friend Samwell from a White Walker in the Battle of Winterfell, Eddison was stabbed in the back by another member of the Night King’s undead army.
How we feel about it: It’s always sad to see one of the good guys die, but Eddison Tollett would go easy knowing that he went out as an honorable defender of the North and of humanity in the greatest battle of all.
Theon Greyjoy, Episode 3
Claim to fame: From betraying Robb Stark and invading the North with his father, Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, to becoming Ramsay Snow’s tortured prisoner, Theon had a difficult road to redemption and healing, to say the least. His journey closely intertwines with the Starks, his true moment of heroism being when he helped Sansa escape from Ramsay’s grasp and ultimately reunite with her brother Jon.
Manner of death: Theon was killed by the Night King himself during the Battle of Winterfell. In an attempt to save Bran from the leader of the undead army, Theon charged at the Night King knowing that death was coming.
How we feel about it: Theon has arguably been through more trauma than most of the other GoT characters, and it was always clear he would meet his end at some point, but at least he was able to die having made amends with the Stark family, offering to defend Bran, aka the Three-Eyed Raven.
Lady Mormont, Episode 3
Claim to fame: Lady Lyanna Mormont was one of the few women — and a young woman, at that — to head her house in a world full of men. An incredible leader, Lady Mormont also named Jon Snow King in the North and pledged allegiance to House Stark in the fight against the Night King.
Manner of death: During the Battle of Winterfell, Lady Mormont was seized by a giant White Walker, but before she was killed she was also able to stab the undead giant in the eye and took him down with her.
How we feel about it: Lady Mormont was a badass leader who never feared any man, woman, or child when she was making decisions for the betterment of all people. A true moral compass of the North, she will be deeply missed, especially as everyone makes their way to King’s Landing to fight Cersei.
Jorah Mormont, Episode 3
Claim to fame: A former spy for King Robert's spymaster in King's Landing tasked with keeping tabs on the Targaryen exiles, Jorah eventually grows to respect — and possibly fall in love with? — Daenerys, only to be exiled from her presence when she discovers his past treachery. On his own but still acting in the interests of Dany, he painfully survives a bout with deadly greyscale disease and eventually ends up serving her once more for the Great War.
Manner of death: Jorah was killed by White Walkers while he tried to defend Daenerys during the Battle of Winterfell. After the Night King was defeated, the White Walkers finally backed off, but it was too late for Jorah, and he died with Dany crying over his body.
How we feel about it: This is a man who staked his fate on Dany by continually trying to prove his devotion to her, so it’s really no surprise that his last act would be in her service. RIP, Jorah. In death may you get the approval you so desperately wanted.
Melisandre, Episode 3
Claim to fame: Melisandre, also known as the Red Woman, was a priestess in the Lord of Light religion. While she was at the center of some controversial moments — like the sacrificing of Shireen Baratheon — Melisandre also famously brought Jon Snow back to life after he was killed by members of the Night’s Watch.
Manner of death: Even though she survived the battle, after it was over, Melisandre walked out of the gates, removed her magical choker from her neck, and then aged hundreds of years into a very old woman. It was then that Melisandre turned into dust in the snow.
How we feel about it: Melisandre was integral in carrying out certain events leading up to the Night King’s demise, not just during the Battle of Winterfell but throughout the entire series. Since her purpose was fulfilled, her death is completely justified and she will be remembered for everything she did to help win the Great War.
The Night King, Episode 3
Claim to fame: Notorious leader of the White Walkers and commander of the army of the dead, the Night King aggressively sought out death and destruction since the time of the First Men in Westeros. He was an unprecedented and dangerous threat to all of humanity and served as a uniting force for the North, Daenerys Targaryen, and everyone to fight against except for Cersei, Euron Greyjoy, and their armies in King’s Landing.
Manner of death: In one of the most unexpected and surprising moments of the series, the Night King goes to meet Bran Stark in the Godswood of Winterfell intending to kill him, but Arya sneaks up and takes him out by stabbing him, even after he grabs her by the throat, ending the Battle of Winterfell.
How we feel about it: Now that the people of Westeros defeated one of the ultimate villains once and for all, we’re left with a wide range of emotions, including a sense of relief that the Stark family and so many other beloved characters are safe, some confusion about the lack of clarity and mythology around the Night King, and a lot of questions about what’s still to come.
Missandei, Episode 4
Claim to fame: Missandei first met Daenerys when she was a slave and interpreter to Kraznys mo Nakloz of Astapor, and after Dany frees her from slavery Missandei becomes the Khaleesi’s longtime adviser, close confidant, and trusted friend. When she meets Grey Worm, an Unsullied soldier, the two also develop a romantic relationship.
Manner of death: Captured by Euron Greyjoy’s army while en route to King’s Landing, Missandei is beheaded by the Mountain at Cersei’s orders in front of Daenerys, Grey Worm, Tyrion, and the rest of the Northerners who traveled down south. When Cersei tells Missandei to say her last words, she replies, “Dracarys.”
How we feel about it: After surviving the Battle of Winterfell against the White Walkers and being an unwavering supporter of Dany in her journey to claim the Iron Throne, it’s upsetting to see Missandei die, especially by surprise. Her death stings and stands out because she was beheaded in an episode that didn’t include any other major deaths. But the most upsetting thing about Missandei’s demise is the fact that she’ll never be able to have her well-deserved happily-ever-after with Grey Worm.
Rhaegal, Episode 4
Claim to fame: Rhaegal was one of the three dragons born to Daenerys after she was given three mysterious eggs as a gift during her wedding to Khal Drogo. He’s named after Dany’s eldest brother and Jon Snow’s biological father, Rhaegar Targaryen.
Manner of death: When Daenerys, Tyrion, Missandei, Grey Worm, and the remaining Unsullied and Dothraki soldiers are on their way to King’s Landing to face Cersei in the Last War, Euron Greyjoy and his Iron Fleet attack them by surprise at sea. They take down Rhaegal by firing scorpion bolts into the air.
How we feel about it: After boasting the power of her three dragons for so long, Rhaegal is now the second dragon Daenerys has lost after Viserion, who was turned into an ice dragon at the hands of the Night King. The loss is a devastating one for Dany on a personal level, since she considers her dragon to be her children, and in terms of her ability to fight against Cersei in the Last War.
Varys, Episode 5
Claim to fame: Lord Varys, born a slave, was a eunuch and served as the Master of Whisperers on the King's small council. He eventually pledged his loyalty to Daenerys Targaryen in her quest to take back the Iron Throne.
Manner of death: After Tyrion told Daenerys that Varys knew the truth about Jon Snow’s lineage and that Varys had betrayed her, Dany sentenced him to death. She signaled her last remaining dragon, Drogon, to kill Varys by fire.
How we feel about it: Despite his sometimes questionable decisions and sneaky behavior, it’s less than ideal to see Varys go out like this, especially because Dany’s Master of Whisperers and was usually so smart and strategic. His death was meaningful, though, because it allowed Tyrion and Jon Snow to see how ruthless Daenerys has become, with Varys’s final message to Tyrion being, “I hope I’m wrong” about Dany’s ability to rule on the Iron Throne.
Jaime Lannister, Episode 5
Claim to fame: Known in Westeros as the King Slayer for killing the Mad King (Aerys Targaryen) as a member of his own Kingsguard, his ego mania and brutal humbling with the loss of his sword hand led him down a path of redemption and back at Winterfell to fight, abandoning his treacherous sister in the process.
Manner of death: Jaime returns to King’s Landing after escaping Dany’s imprisonment for betraying her and the North, but he first encounters Euron Greyjoy before reaching Cersei. In a duel, Jaime kills Euron but not before being stabbed himself. He finally finds Cersei in the castle at King’s Landing and they die together, in each other’s arms as it all crumbles and burns.
How we feel about it: At the beginning of the season, viewers think they might see a redemption story from Jaime since he betrays Cersei to go and help the North fight against the Night King. But when he went to return to King’s Landing to be with Cersei, it was pretty clear he wasn’t going to survive the Last War. We wanted more for Jaime, but he didn’t want more for himself: He chose to die with his one true love/sister.
Cersei Lannister, Episode 5
Claim to fame: Being a backstabbing, DGAF-about-bearing-children-with-my-brother, power obsessive queen who will literally not stop at anything (including murdering hundreds of people at once) to stay on the Iron Throne.
Manner of death: Even though Cersei surrendered to Daenerys as she destroyed all of King’s Landing with dragon fire, Dany continued to wreak havoc and burn the city to the ground. Cersei died in the arms of her brother/one true love in the dungeon of the castle as everything crumbled around them.
How we feel about it: Cersei was one of those characters who you loved to hate because she was just so good at being evil and conniving. That said, her decision to renege on the Westeros forces in the Winterfell battle in some ploy to strengthen her position as queen was clearly the wrong move and, well, she had it coming. In her final moments, Cersei wasn’t brave or badass or tough; she was crying and devastated that she and her future child would no longer have a chance at ruling or at living.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, Episode 5
Claim to fame: Sandor Clegane, aka the Hound, was the Kingsguard for King Joffrey Baratheon and then after going AWOL after the Battle of the Blackwater, he linked up with Arya Stark and the two built a complicated but strong bond while traveling together. When he was a kid, half of his face was burned by his arch nemesis and older brother, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, leaving marks and scarring often covered by his long hair.
Manner of death: The Hound journeys to King’s Landing for the Last War and even amidst the chaos brought on by Daenerys and Drogon, he’s determined to accomplish one mission only: Kill his brother, “The Mountain.” In the highly-anticipated Cleganebowl, The Hound is severely injured as the two brothers fight to the death. But ultimately, he’s able to push The Mountain over the walls of the castle below into the dragon fire, unfortunately bringing himself down, too.
How we feel about it: It’s upsetting to see The Hound die, since he was so beloved and was a major asset to anyone fighting alongside him in battle. But if The Hound was going to die, this was the best way for him to meet his end: By killing The Mountain.
Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, Episode 5
Claim to fame: Head of House Clegane and loyal to House Lannister, Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane is arguably the most violent, fear-inducing man in all of Westeros. He’s known for cruelly murdering children, raping women, and being an all-around evil man and protector of the Lannisters. The Mountain was also brought back to life by Qyburn in a mysterious kind of experiment, making it impossible to kill him. (Well, almost impossible.)
Manner of death: After years of fighting with his brother and enemy, The Hound, The Mountain finally dies during the Last War at King’s Landing when The Hound confronts him in a gruesome battle. The Hound tackles The Mountain as he jumps off the side of the castle, leading them both into dragon fire.
How we feel about it: The Mountain was a terrible, terrible person who absolutely had it coming. We’re thrilled to see him die, especially at the hands of The Hound who deserved his revenge after all these years.
Euron Greyjoy, Episode 5
Claim to fame: Hailing from the Iron Islands, Euron Greyjoy was Yara and Theon (RIP) Greyjoy’s uncle and Balon Greyjoy’s brother. Euron murdered Balon, who was the King of the Iron Islands, and caused a major rift between he and Yara and Theon. Also the captain of the flagship boat of the Iron Fleet, Euron teamed up with Cersei and the Lannister army to fight against Daenery, Jon Snow, and their armies in the Last War.
Manner of death: During the Last War, the Iron Fleet was destroyed by Daenerys and Drogon. Euron washes ashore and sees Jaime Lannister, who’s on his way to find Cersei and save her. Even though Euron initiates a battle with Jaime and manages to stab him, Jaime also stabs Euron to death before he stumbles away to find his sister/lover. Euron’s last words on-screen are, “I’m the man who killed Jaime Lannister.”
How we feel about it: Euron’s been an unpleasant presence since we met him, but especially since arriving at King’s Landing to court Cersei and side with her in the Great War fight against the Night King. He was an arrogant jerk responsible for countless trauma, and now that he’s dead we say, “Goodbye and good riddance.”
Daenerys Targaryen, Episode 6
Claim to fame: The breaker of ridiculously long titles and mother of three full grown dragons that she rode from obscurity in Essos to within grasp of the Iron Throne. Along the way, she set slave cities free and was able to convince Jon Snow — the King in the North and unwitting nephew to Dany as the secret son of Lyanna Stark and her brother, Rhaegar Targaryen — to bend the knee, a decision that cost him a lot of political capital. Before her end, she notoriously scorched King’s Landing and killed Cersei and Jaime Lannister, even though the bells of surrender were rung.
Manner of death: After Dany’s burned innocent civilians to death and completely wrecked King’s Landing, her close council started to question whether she was truly fit to rule. Fearing she had become the Mad Queen others (ehem, Varys) had warned him about, Jon Snow betrays Daenerys and stabs her in the heart as he kisses her one last time. After she takes her last breath, Drogon burns the Iron Throne until it completely melts away.
How we feel about it: Jon Snow killing Daenerys’s is a bit of a shock, especially after the long journey that brought them to King’s Landing. Dany’s descent into the “madness” and rage that prompted her to scorch hundreds of innocent people has been hotly debated, but the fact that it is largely what cost her the Iron Throne, and ultimately her life, makes for a sad and — for many fans — too swift an end for such a fierce character.
For more on the final season of Game of Thrones, click here.
Beric Dondarrion was stabbed in the halls of Winterfell. An earlier version of this post misstated the location.