The 9 most satisfying deaths on Game of Thrones

Spoilers, obviously...

We all have our heroes on Game of Thrones. The characters we want to see live, succeed and, maybe, one day sit on the Iron Throne. After all, why else would we root for Arya in her battle with the Waif, cheer whenever Daenerys lights some Khals on fire, or emphatically jump for joy after Jon Snow was brought back from the dead? Because they’re the good guys, and we like good guys. Then of course, there are the other guys. 

Those are the ones who are evil, corrupt or just plain stupid (I’m looking at you Mrs. Robb Stark). They’re the characters we can’t wait to see axed off, ideally in the most barbaric and inhumane ways possible. Now that Ramsay Snow has met his end following The Battle of the Bastards, I thought it’d be great to look at some of the other oh-so-special deaths that have left us delighted instead of depressed. This is a list of my personal favorites, so be sure to comment with some of your own picks.

9. Balon Greyjoy

When: season 6, episode 2 - Home

How: Thrown off a bridge

Balon Greyjoy was just a pain to watch. He was stupidly stubborn, stuck in the Ironborn’s old ways without having any clue how to actually make things happen. Instead of ransacking and pillaging, like Ironborn are supposed to, Balon seemed to be ‘content’ staying in his freezing castle and making fun of Theon for the crime of being given to Ned Stark as a ward … by Balon himself! By the time season 6 came around, it was clearly time for him to go.

Luckily, we got a pretty fun replacement: Balon’s brother, Euron Greyjoy. He’s a pirate who’s traveled all over the world and wants to take over the Ironworld, and the world. The moment Euron showed up, you knew Balon’s days were numbered. I will say I didn’t expect Balon to get killed off so fast - although, considering they were on a rickety bridge hanging precariously over troubled waters, maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised when Euron pitched him overboard. Balon’s death also paves the way for Yara to emerge as Ironborn Supreme, with some serious shipping potential with our beloved Dragon Queen.

8. Ser Meryn Trant

When: season 5, episode 10 - Mother’s Mercy

How: Stabbed

Arya’s becoming quite the little assassin on Game of Thrones. She’s killed Polliver, Rorge and, most recently, the Waif. However, Ser Meryn Trant is definitely her most important kill, for more reasons than ‘he liked to beat up little girls.’ Although trust me, that’s a huge reason.

Ser Meryn Trant was a monster. He followed Joffrey’s orders without question, going so far as to physically strike Sansa on more than one occasion before Joffrey told him to. In a way, by killing him, Arya got justice for Sansa, even if she didn’t know it. Meryn was also kind of a stubborn weakling, refusing to fight when he didn’t want to on the grounds that ‘the king wouldn’t approve.’

Meryn was also the first person Arya’s killed from her list. That’s not to say he was the first one to die. Joffrey Baratheon and his grandfather Tywin Lannister were both killed in season 4, along with the Mountain (who was brought back to half-life) and, as far as she knew, The Hound (who, as it turns out, is not so dead after all). By stabbing Ser Meryn Trant, who she believes killed her sword master Syrio Forel, Arya forever solidified that she couldn’t become ‘no one.’ But he could. Because he’s dead.

7. Xaro Xhoan Daxos (and Doreah)

When: season 2, episode 10 - Valar Morghulis

How: Locked in a vault

Seriously, this goober. Xaro was the wealthiest man in Qarth, and the only member of The Thirteen who’d earned his seat instead of inheriting it. But, he wasn’t content with being rich, successful and powerful. He was basically the Thrones’ version of a Disney princess, always wanting more. First, he tried marrying Daenerys to attach himself to her coattails. When that didn’t work, he stole her dragons and declared himself King of Qarth. 

Unfortunately for Xaro, Dany’s dragons are more apt to burn buildings to the ground than surrender, so Daenerys was able to steal them away from the House of the Undying pretty quickly. And once she came across Xaro and Doreah, her servant-turned-betrayer, she locked them in a vault of riches to slowly starve to death in the dark. That’s a nasty way to go.

6. Olly

When: season 6, episode 3 - Oathbreaker

How: Hanged

Forget Joffrey. Forget Ramsay. For a while, Olly was the most hated character on Game of Thrones. Nay, on television itself. Olly was Jon Snow’s steward who broke his oath to protect that Lord Commander by, you know, stabbing him to death. We all knew it was coming. Olly, who was a show-exclusive character, clearly didn’t like Jon Snow’s partnership with the Wildlings. Olly had his reasons, since Wildlings murdered his entire family, but the moment Olly shot Snow’s girlfriend with an arrow, I lost all sympathy for that little snot.

I think a lot of fans had a mixed reaction to Alliser Thorne’s death. He explained his mutiny well. He was a man dedicated to the Night’s Watch and he didn’t want to see it come to an end for one man’s principles. But, Olly was just a punk kid who no one cared about. In fact, his death was one of the most celebrated in Game of Thrones’ history. Kinda creepy considering he was just a kid. Still, screw Olly.

7. Tywin Lannister

When: season 4, episode 10 - The Children

How: Crossbow

Sometimes it’s hard to remember just how much power Tywin Lannister had over the Seven Kingdoms, but for a while he was a force to be reckoned with. Tywin was the Hand of the King for both Joffrey Baratheon and Tommen Baratheon, as well as the former Mad King Targaryen, and he knew what he was doing the entire time. He’s exerted an amazing amount of power over the decades, ruling the kingdoms more than any of his royal children ever could.

What’s amazing is not that he died, but rather how he died. For years, Tywin resented his son Tyrion for supposedly killing his wife in childbirth. As such, he’d taken great measure to torture his son, including forcing Tyrion to watch as the woman he loved, a prostitute, was paid to sleep with an entire group of guards. Tyrion was the one to finally kill him off, shooting him with a crossbow as he sat over the toilet in his pajamas. It was gratifying to see such an imposing man killed during such an embarrassing moment.

4. Lysa Arryn

When: season 4, episode 7 - Mockingbird

How: Pushed out of the Moon Door

Lysa Arryn wasn’t the most ruthless or dangerous of all the characters on this list, but she was definitely one of the weirdest. She was a woman unhinged, driven insane by jealousy. She was constantly envious of her sister, Catelyn Stark, and her daughter, Sansa, going so far as to threaten to murder Sansa because she thought her niece was seducing Petyr Baelish. Lysa murdered her own husband and framed the Lannisters, supposedly to gain Petyr’s favor. Then, of course, there was the whole ‘I’m going to breastfeed my preteen son in front of everyone’ thing. 

When Petyr declared that he’d only ever loved Lysa’s sister, right before pushing Lysa through the Moon Door she’d used to kill so many other people, it was one of the most fun deaths we’ve ever had on the show. Sure it looked silly, but it was just so delightfully devious to watch. 

3. Viserys Targaryen

When: season 1, episode 6 - A Golden Crown

How: Melted with gold

Viserys’ death is especially satisfying because it was the first ‘deserved’ death we ever really got on the series. He was Daenerys’ brother, a little meathead who basically sold her off to Khal Drogo in exchange for an army. Once Dany started becoming more beloved amongst the Dothraki, in particularly Khal Drogo himself, Viserys became more impatient and stupid. He threatened her several times and suffered on every occasion, including being forced to lose his horse, a big disgrace amongst the Dothraki. 

After Viserys broke the law by brandishing a sword in the ‘no weapons’ city of Vaes Dothrak, Khal Drogo delivered on his promise of giving Viserys a ‘golden crown’ and basically murdered him by pouring molten gold on top of his head. The thud his head made as it hit the ground solidified that not all of the deaths of Game of Thrones would be sad, that some of them could feel really, really nice.

2. Ramsay Bolton

When: season 6, episode 9 - The Battle of the Bastards

How: Eaten alive by his own hounds

Ramsay Bolton was a character who was born to be killed off. The checklist of horrible things he’s done is endless. He’s hunted women in the woods, tortured people by flaying them alive. He sexually assaulted Sansa Stark and made Theon Greyjoy watch, a man Ramsay had tormented and castrated the season prior. In the current season, he murdered his own father and had his mother-in-law and newborn brother fed to his dogs. This was not a nice person. 

Ramsay’s death was one of the most gratifying deaths on the series so far. This was a guy who spent his entire life torturing others without understanding what it was like to be tormented himself. It was simply amazing watching Sansa Stark casually walk away as Ramsay was eaten alive by his own hounds. Poetic justice at its finest.

So, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Ramsay was awful and his death was amazing, how dare she not make him number one?!’ Here’s why: His death may have been awesome, but it was still expected. We all knew The Battle of the Bastards was going to end with Ramsay’s death, even though it hasn’t happened in the books. It felt earned, but predictable. Still, watching dogs eat Ramsay’s face felt so good

Side props to Myranda, Ramsay’s squeeze who was flung to her death at the end of season 5.

1. Joffrey Baratheon

When: season 4, episode 2 - The Lion and the Rose

How: Poisoned

The death we wanted. The death we needed. And the death we deserved.
Joffrey Baratheon was one of those characters we couldn’t wait to see axed off. From the series premiere to his horrific end at the Purple Wedding, Joffrey was the nastiest piece of work out there. He was selfish, arrogant, stupid and infantile. I mean, who didn’t love it when Tyrion Lannister slapped him in the face over and over again? 

However, as the series went on, we found out there was more to Joffrey than being immature and petty. He had a real darkness to him that manifested in unpredictable ways. He put Ned Stark’s head on a pike and forced Sansa to look at it. He paid Petyr Baelish for prostitutes he could force to painfully whip one another. In one case, he even murdered one with a crossbow. It’s no surprise Margaery’s Grandmother ensured Joffrey’s glass of wine was poisoned, because she didn’t want her daughter married to such a monster. His death was also one of the longest and most painfully uncomfortable ones we’ve ever gotten on the series so far, slowly choking for air as his face turned purple. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth Elderkin is a freelance journalist based in Chicago, and co-hosts Shark Jumping on Channel Awesome. Follow her on Twitter @BethElderkin.
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