Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Characters Who Have Perished in A Song of Ice and Fire


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (an popular meme hosted by the blog, The Broke and The Bookish) theme was “The Top Ten Characters Who _____” and we are left to fill in the blank. Naturally I went with Top Ten Characters who Died Memorably in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (and its television counterpart, Game of Thrones). My ground rules for inclusion: the death is significant to the story, shocking, gruesome, or involved a main character. As far as the George R.R. Martin books vs. the HBO Series, I guess I’m using both – mostly the series, though, as it’s fresher in my mind. (They’ve become hopelessly mixed together in my brain anyway) I will say all occur before where we are in the series now, and what the series reflects up to in book three, “A Storm of Swords.” I did notice in my research too that “Access Hollywood” kind if scooped me in this area, but there’s room for everyone on the GoT bandwagon, right? And – do I even need to say it? – MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!

11-13 (Honorable mentions) Beric Dondarrion
How many times has “The Lord of Light” brought him back now? Maybe this should be 11th thru 14th?

10. John Arryn (poisoned)
This is “The Death that Starts it All” and leads to the calamitous events that are still befalling the Stark family and the rest of Westeros.

9. Sansa’s direwolf, Lady (put down)
If there was any doubt at the Lannisters being “The Bad Guys” (and there shouldn’t have been at this point), Cersei’s insisting that Ned kill Sansa’s direwolf should have removed them.

8. Ser Hugh of the Vale (jousting “accident”)
Setting the standard (and I’m talking more about the series here) for an incredible run of blood gushing, opened throats that will greatly shorten broadcast times when they are removed to make the series suitable for network television.

7. Doreah and Xaro Xhoan Daxos (entombing)
We gain further evidence that Daenerys is not to be trifled with. Man, I hated to see Doreah go, though (at least in the series, where she is portrayed by actress Roxanne McKee)

6. Kraznys (incinerated)
See sentence one of the previous entry.

5. Polliver (sword through the throat)
I wanted to rank this one higher, but it bothers me that I liked this scene where young Arya Stark avenges the death of her friend Lommy by using the same words his killer did.

4. Viserys (“crowning” with molten gold)
Yep. No one was sorry when this happened. Daenerys is free to be her own person (and is now the rightful heir to the Iron Throne) when Viserys suffers a Crassus-like fate at the hands of the Parthians, er, I mean Dothraki.

3. Robb & Catelyn Stark (crossbow bolts and knife wounds)
I still wonder what people who hadn’t already read the books thought about this episode. Roose Bolton’s “The Lannisters send their regards” line as he delivers the coup de grace to Robb was one of the most memorable in the series. And Catelyn? What was I saying about opened throats earlier? We get a two-fer with her death, and though Ser Hugh’s might have been best in gruesomeness, Catelyn wins the blood spurting distance category. Did she have high blood pressure?

2. Eddard “Ned” Stark  (beheading)
This was a shocker both in the book and the TV series. Appropriately, we first meet Ned when he is beheading a deserter from the Night’s Watch. What goes around comes around?


1. Joffrey (poisoning)
Maybe I’m ranking this number one because it “just happened” (in series broadcast time anyway) or because I hate Joffrey so much. I mean, who are viewers/readers going to focus their hate on now? As Joffrey choked and Cersei lamentingly wailed, I kept hearing Jerry Seinfeld’s “That’s a shame…” line in the back of my mind.

Are YOU a reader/watcher of these books/this series? Which are in your top ten character deaths? If you’re not, what kind of “top ten characters who ____” did you decide to do?



  1. Melissa said,

    April 22, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Oh man! So many fantastic deaths. Lady’s death made me really sad (as did the death of Robb’s direwolf), but not so much for some of the others. Death by crowning might be the most fitting and original!


    • Jay said,

      April 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      When I did my ‘research’ for this, I found that Access Hollywood had a list of 20(!) deaths. Quite a series that can boast the opportunity to come up with a list that long!


  2. April 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Awesome topic choice! I am so glad you included Lady, the direwolves are so important to the story.


    • Jay said,

      April 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks! I was so mad about that passage! I love the direwolves.


  3. lynnsbooks said,

    April 22, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Haha, I’m only surprised you could restrict your list to 10 knowing what GMMR is like!
    Lynn 😀


  4. Jay said,

    April 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Ha! Yes! When I did my rough draft I did have to pare it down quite a bit. 🙂


  5. joyweesemoll said,

    April 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Fun list! That’s a lot of deaths for one series.


  6. Stephanie said,

    April 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    This was a brilliant idea even if Access Hollywood did scoop you!:) I can’t add anything to the list but maybe would have shuffled a couple around. Ned would probably be number one for me because that moment in the book blew my mind back umpteen bajillion years ago when I read it. I knew I was no longer on safe ground:). It set the tone for me for the rest of the series.


    • Jay said,

      April 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thank you – and so true about Ned’s death. You know at that point that anything goes.


  7. mattcowan13 said,

    April 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Great list! I’d include Khal Drogo in there maybe aound #8 or so. I didn’t expect someone who seemed like he was going to be a major force to go so softly and early.


    • Jay said,

      April 29, 2014 at 8:16 am

      Hi Matt,
      Yeah, he was on my preliminary list of about twenty but didn’t make the final cut. I was rather disappointed that he kind of went out with a whimper instead of a bang, and in a way he needed to go in order to clear the path for Daenerys’ trajectory to badass-ery anyway. 🙂


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