Deaths are a hallmark of Game of Thrones. Ever since Ned Stark lost his head, it’s been clear that no one is ever safe. Scores of characters have died in a myriad of ways. For me, the best deaths aren’t the most gruesome or even the most surprising, although both of those characteristics factor into my list.
I believe the best ones are the ones with the most impact. The way the characters around them react is as much a part of the death as the death itself. Often times this results in some really great snippets of dialogue.
5. Walder Frey (Season 6, Episode 10)
Our favorite little assassin has returned to Westeros with one thing on her mind — crossing names off her list. Using her newfound skills, Arya manages to infiltrate the Frey celebrations and get close to the grumpy old man while he’s alone. After serving him some pie with some, ahem, secret ingredients, she reveals herself and slits his throat. Her dialogue offers more impact to his death.
“My name is Arya Stark. I want you to know that. The last thing you’re ever going to see is a Stark smiling down on you as you die.”
4. Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger(Season 7, Episode 7)
After squirming his way into every important thing that has happened since the show began, Petyr Baelish finally breaks his smug, rock-solid facade while begging for his life after Sansa has laid out every single thing that he’s done. The execution is made by Arya, with Littlefinger’s own dagger. This time it’s Sansa who has the poignant words.
“Thank you for your many lessons, Lord Baelish. I will never forget them.”
3. Ramsay Bolton (Season 6, Episode 9)
Ramsay was definitely one of the most terrible characters on the show. He was a psychopath gifted with a highly intelligent mind. This enabled him to manipulate people into doing exactly what he wanted them to do. Iwan Rheon’s portrayal of his character was often humorous, making Ramsay’s psychotic nature even more clear. At the end, Ramsay meets a death that’s a form of poetic justice. Everyone knew his death was coming, but very few suspected how it would happen. All of this has even more of an impact because it ends up being Sansa who has orchestrated his death.
“Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.”
2. Viserys Targaryen (Season 1, Episode 6)
Pretty much everyone hated Viserys from the beginning. He was arrogant and cruel, most of all to his sister. The very idea of selling ones sibling into marriage is despicable, but Viserys clearly picked the wrong person to sell her to. After making his final demands, Viserys receives his “crown” from Khal Drogo. Daenerys punctuates the scene.
“He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.”
1. Lady Olenna Tyrell (Season 7, Episode 3)
Lady Olenna has been one of my favorite characters in the entire series. Her wit and scathing unapologetic demeanor added a lot of humor to the show. In the end, we don’t even technically see her die. So, why is she my top pick for best death? Because she’s the only character who managed to go out on her own terms. Her words and Jaime’s reaction to them is one of the best scenes of the entire series.
“I’d hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple… a shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. You see, I’d never seen the poison work before.
Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”