Amateur squires beware: spoilers run rampant.
It’s not real news to anyone, fans and strangers of the show alike, that HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones tends to lean on the gory side. Swords clash, arrows shoot, characters die (then unsurprisingly come back to life). Alongside several other industries, the mortuary business has been booming since the birth of the show. And we’ve gotten use to it by now. However, all deaths aren’t equal. Whether it is the gods’ will or not, there are obviously some deaths that would be far more preferable than others for countless reasons. Reasons range from cause to circumstance, and we have looked across all six seasons to bring to you the top five worst deaths.
5. Viserys Targaryen Earns His Crown of Gold
Recap: Viserys is being an asshole (big surprise there), and Khal Drogo decides to shut him up for good. He melts down his golden belt and pours it over the Beggar King’s massive head.
Now just because Viserys barely broke into the list does not mean that this first one wasn’t the smallest bit fun to watch. We’ve hated him from the beginning, and as cruel as it sounds, it was nice to see him get what he deserves. But it was still incredibly gruesome, scorching his skull and searing his skin. The main factor bringing Viserys to the top five is the originality and pure irony.
4. Shireen Baratheon Feels the Burn
Recap: Stannis Baratheon wins the Dad of the Year Award as he allows Melisandre to burn his daughter at the stake in a sacrifice to the Lord of Light.
For starters, this was just a tough scene to watch. More than that, it was a tougher scene to listen to. Though the producers spared us the visual image of Stannis’s only child burning away in the wind, we heard her piercing cries and appeals for help all too well. Even the generally thick-skinned soldiers of Stannis’s army couldn’t stand the horror, turning from the sacrifice and deserting. Meanwhile, his wife committed suicide and his priestess fled. But perhaps there was still one positive consequence of Shireen’s brutal burning: it made her father’s death that much more satisfying.
3. A Prisoner Provides a Feast Fit for a Rat
Recap: Though the prisoner never had a name, his captor did. The Tickler interrogates a man with a bucket of rats against his bare flesh, heating the end of the bucket and forcing the rats to eat their way out the other end.
Though this one was not particularly graphic nor key in the storyline, it stilled earned its way onto our list. Rats alone are plain gross, but the mere concept of being eaten alive by one is beyond words. The Tickler’s unapologetic cruelty brought the tension to a new level, leaving our skin crawling and our head spinning.
2. Walda Bolton Recieves a Baby Shower Gift
Recap: Threatened by the arrival of a new baby brother, Ramsay Bolton sets the dogs on his stepmother and her newborn boy to settle any dispute with a potential heir in advance.
Though there have already been a few deaths by wolf thus far, Walda Ramsay and her son easily cruise to the front. Along with Craster’s sons beyond the Wall, Walda’s young boy is one of the youngest to be murdered on the show, only surviving for a couple of hours before being torn apart. Although the brutality of the death is not the worst Game of Thrones has seen by a long shot, his age and the completely unnecessary nature of the crime (unsurprising for a character with a track record as prolific as Ramsay’s) pulls him and his mother to second place.
1. Oberyn Martell Loses His Head
Recap: Like you don’t already know.
Perhaps the most pivotal and totally disgusting of any death throughout the six seasons, Oberyn’s death marked a turning point in the show. A large part of season four was built on Tyrion’s trial and “guilt” and conviction, and after both Bronn and Jaime denied him, the last of all his hopes rested on Oberyn. But after a virtual victory, his pride and fury betrayed him, giving the Mountain the chance to throw him off balance and trap him. Then the fight turned primitive. Without any real weapons, Gregor Clegane resorted to the most gruesome of all methods. We had not seen anything so brutal before or since then, and we have hardly witnessed anything so important. Oberyn’s death forced Tyrion to escape, leading to the death of Tywin as well as Tyrion’s own service under Daenerys Targaryen. It cracked the Lannister stronghold, eventually splintering members of the family across the globe from the Red Keep to Dorne.
But let’s be real. Half of the reason we all love Thrones is because it is so gosh darn explicit and extreme. Keep the deaths coming, and we won’t move an inch. But do you disagree with the list? Are you a superfan, and do you think there is someone missing who the gods really had some beef with? Send a raven and let us know (or leave something in the comments)! Now go out there and show your love with some t-shirt madness.