21 of the Most Important ‘Game of Thrones’ Character Deaths

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Game of Thrones - John Standing

Jon Arryn (Season 1, Episode 1)

Death: Poisoned with the Tears of Lys by his wife Lysa Arryn

We never actually see Jon Arryn (John Standing), Hand of the King and Lord of the Eyrie, alive during the first season, but his death is crucial because it sparks the series of events that pits the Starks against the Lannisters and is a catalyst for the political drama and death that follows.

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Viserys Targaryen (Season 1, Episode 6)

Death: Burned with molten gold by Khal Drogo

The first immensely satisfying death in the show goes to Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), who was ironically killed by the “crown of gold” he was so desperate for.

Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones
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Robert Baratheon (Season 1, Episode 7)

Death: Gored by a wild boar

Robert Bartheon’s (Mark Addy) death may have seemed like an accident when he was attacked by a wild boar during a hunting trip, but we know that his death was orchestrated by his wife Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) by getting him drunk on wine right before he set off on that fateful trip.

Game of Thrones - Sean Bean as Ned Stark - Season 1, Episode 9
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Ned Stark (Season 1, Episode 9)

Death: Beheaded by Ser Ilyn Payne

It was the death that shocked the world and left audiences in denial for a week until it was revealed in the next episode that Ned Stark (Sean Bean), the main character at the time, was beheaded on the Sept of Baelor. Seven years later and we still aren’t over it.

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo in Season 1 of Game of Thrones
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Khal Drogo (Season 1, Episode 10)

Death: Smothered by Daenerys

Fresh off of Ned’s death we get hit with Khal Drogo’s (Jason Momoa). He was cursed by the witch Mirri Maz Dur after his wife Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) made a deal to save their infant son’s life. What Dany didn’t know was that in order for their son to live, Drogo became paralyzed, so Dany made the heartbreaking decision to end his life.

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Jeor Mormont (Season 3, Episode 3)

Death: Stabbed through the back

After wildling Craster is killed beyond the wall, Rast, a rebellious member of the Night’s Watch, stabs Commander Jeor Mormont (James Cosmo) in the back literally and figuratively.

Richard Madden as Rob Stark in Game of Thrones - Season 3, Episode 9
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Rob Stark (Season 3, Episode 9)

Death: Shot full of arrows and stabbed at the Red Wedding

Rob Stark’s (Richard Madden) death during the Red Wedding will be forever remembered as one of the most shocking character deaths on television (right after Ned of course). For poor Rob, this is what happens when you choose love over duty.

Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark in Game of Thrones
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Catelyn Stark (Season 3, Episode 9)

Death: Throat sliced at the Red Wedding

After witnessing the death of her eldest son Rob, her daughter-in-law Talisa (Oona Chaplin) and her unborn grandchild, Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) was the last victim of the Red Wedding, but not before going down without a fight, killing Walder Frey’s wife before own death.

Game of Throne - Jack Gleeson
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King Joffrey and Margaery,
Game of Thrones

Less monumental but still notable is Season 4’s Purple Wedding, which, true to Game of Thrones’ morbid predilection, resulted in the poisoning of King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson). Mere hours after marrying his new Queen, Margaery (Natalie Dormer), he chokes and dies in the arms of his mother.

Game of Thrones - Kate Dickie as Lysa Arryn and Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
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Lysa Arryn (Season 4, Episode 7)

Death: Pushed out the moon door by Littlefinger

For Petyr Bealish, a.k.a. Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen), his one true love will always be Catelyn. After witnessing his new wife Lysa Arryn (Kate Dickie) attempt to push Sansa out the moon door, he shows just how deep that love for Catelyn goes by declaring that he will never love Lysa. He pushes her, sending her free-falling to her death.

Game of Thrones - Pedro Pascal
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Oberyn Martell (Season 4, Episode 8)

Death: Skull crushed by the Mountain

One of the most frustrating deaths in the show has to go to Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), the Red Viper. He was on the verge of victory during Tyrion’s trial-by-combat fight against the Mountain, but his ego got the best of him, allowing the Mountain to get the upper hand and crush him (literally).

Game Of Thrones - Rose Leslie as Ygritte
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Ygritte (Season 4, Episode 9)

Death: Shot with an arrow by Olly

Ygritte (Rose Leslie) should have stayed in that cave with Jon Snow (Kit Harington). Her death during the battle between the Night’s Watch and the wildlings broke our hearts and leaves us with one question: Olly, why did you do this to us?

Game of Thrones - Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister sitting on the throne
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Tywin Lannister (Season 4, Episode 10)

Death: Killed with a crossbow by Tyrion

Tywin Lannister’s (Charles Dance) death was ironic, to say the least. After betraying his son Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) by allowing Cersei to blame and bring him to trial over Joffrey’s death, Tywin meets his end when Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) frees Tyrion from prison and Tyrion corners him with a crossbow while on the toilet.

GAME OF THRONES - Ian McElhinney
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Barristan Selmy (Season 5, Episode 4)

Death: Stabbed by a Son of the Harpy

We think that poor Barristan Selmy (Ian McElhinney) should have had a more epic death, but instead the old knight was overtaken by eight killers of the Sons of the Harpy, managed to kill seven of them, but was stabbed by the eighth and succumbed to his wounds.

Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones
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Stannis Baratheon (Season 5, Episode 10)

Death: Beheaded by Brienne of Tarth

We were rooting for you, Stannis (Stephen Dillane)! That is, until you burned your daughter alive and led your loyal army to certain death during the Season 5 finale. We think the lord of light pushed this character too far past redemption, making his execution justifiable.

GAME OF THRONES - Iwan Rheon, Michael McElhatton
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Roose Bolton (Season 6, Episode 2)

Death: Stabbed by Ramsey Bolton

Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) was a pretty unlikable character from the start (he did have a hand to play in the Red Wedding, after all), so when his equally unlikable son Ramsey (Iwan Rheon) stabbed him in the back, we weren’t too torn up.

Kristian Nairn as Hodor in Game of Thrones
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Hodor (Season 6, Episode 5)

Death: Killed by White Walkers

Hodor (Kristian Nairn) was a man of little words, but his death on the show was anything but little. After Bran accidentally summoned the Night’s King and his army of the dead to the Weirwood Tree, Hodor was left behind to hold the door while Bran and Meera made their escape.

Game of Thrones - Iwan Rheon
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Ramsay Bolton (Season 6, Episode 9)

Death: Fed to his hounds by Sansa Stark

After Ramsey (Iwan Rheon) was humiliated and defeated by Jon during the Battle of the Bastards, Sansa was finally able to take her vengeance on her abusive husband by feeding him to his own hounds.

Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell in Game of Thrones - Season 6, Episode 10
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Margaery Tyrell (Season 6, Episode 10)

Death: Burned by wildfire

Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) became the ultimate casualty when Cersei blew the roof off the Citadel with wildfire when she was supposed to be attending her trial.

Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon in Game of Thrones
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Tommen Baratheon (Season 6, Episode 10)

Death: Suicide

King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) was so devastated after watching the Citadel explode from wildfire with his wife Margaery being one of the victims that he took his own life by jumping out from a window in the Red Keep.

Game of Thrones - David Bradley

Walder Frey (Season 6, Episode 10)

Death: Throat cut by Arya Stark

Walder Frey (David Bradley) finally got what was coming to him in one of the final scenes last season, when Arya (Maisie Williams) took her vengeance disguised as a maid, served him a pie made out of his own sons and cut his throat.

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If Game of Thrones is known for anything, it’s for killing off its many loved (or not-so-loved) characters, with murderous methods ranging from crowns of molten gold to deadly weddings and everything in between.

Ahead of the anticipated GoT Season 7 premiere July 16 on HBO, we compiled a gallery looking back at the 21 most important character deaths in the seven kingdoms throughout the past six seasons.