The following post includes spoilers for every season of Game of Thrones. It is known.
The most devastating death of all time on Game of Thrones, as voted by more than 22,000 EW readers is: Jon Snow.
Maybe his glassy-eyed look in the season finale made voters sympathetic, or maybe no one actually believed Kit Harington’s word that the bastard Night’s Watch brother is actually dead. Interestingly enough, characters who took the black ended up in first and last place in the results.
Speaking of which, here’s how the votes broke down from our poll earlier this week (remember, voters could choose more than one answer, so the percentages won’t total 100):
With all this data, we’ve learned a few things. First, the Starks—and Stark-related—characters topped the list with a whopping collective of 22,296 votes. (RIP Winterfell). And then there’s the Baratheon contingent: Despite being hated for his actions in the final run of episodes this season, Stannis’ (supposed?) death at the hands of Brienne still garnered votes from 623 readers, placing him above the Hound, who, with 576 votes, beat Karsi and the deaths in “Hardhome” by a single vote. The next closest deaths: Two votes elevated Arya’s beloved water dancing master Syrio Forel above the Old Bear, Jeor Mormont, and two votes helped Maester Luwin’s death in the Winterfell godswood squeak into 18th place, just above Joffrey’s Purple Wedding poisoning. (And as several commenters noted, the 25 deaths above did fail to include the brutal—and unfair—death of Sansa’s direwolf Lady, so she’s officially an honorable mention.)
As for the least devastating deaths, those votes went to Robert Baratheon, Lysa Arryn, and Qhorin Halfhand, each with less than 200 votes. The cause of Robert’s death—the boar and some, uhh, extra-fine wine—appeared offscreen, so his death did have less shock value when it eventually happened. Lysa’s flight through the Moon Door was certainly dramatic, but her unpopularity may have repelled voters. But Qhorin Halfhand? The brother who sacrificed himself so Jon Snow could appear to be a traitor of the crows and embed himself with the wildlings? Maybe readers simply forgot what happened to him. (And after all, now his watch has ended.)
Finally, here’s a breakdown of the most devastating Game of Thrones deaths by House or group, just to drive (hard)home the obliteration of the Starks:
Valar morghulis, Game of Thrones fans.
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