The 38 most gut-wrenching Game of Thrones deaths, ranked

From the brutally bloody to the dreadfully disturbing, these Game of Thrones deaths stand out among the tens of thousands so far.

Jessica Learish
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38. Petyr Baelish: Sliced by the sisters Stark

Game of Thrones is is known for savagely offing characters in the most cruel and unusual ways. Here, we've ranked 37 deaths on the show from least to most traumatizing.

One of the most satisfying (and least upsetting) moments of the show's seventh season was when Sansa announced that it was Littlefinger who was on trial rather than Arya. The death that followed was pure poetic justice.

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37. Ramsay Bolton: Eaten by dogs

After five seasons of Ramsay flaying, stabbing, mutilating, violating and manipulating his fellow citizens of Westeros, we were more than ready to see him go. His death was more gleeful than gut-wrenching for most.

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36. Joffrey Baratheon: Poisoned at his own wedding

Joffrey was still humiliating Tyrion up to the moment he took his final sip of poisoned wine. We weren't particularly affected by his demise either.

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35. Walder Frey: Checked off Arya's list

We'd be lying if we said we didn't cheer a little when Arya, wearing a borrowed face, fed old Walder a pie with his sons cooked into it before slittling his throat.

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34. Everyone in the Sept of Baelor: Wildfire

Cersei tapped into the Mad King's stash of wildfire to blow up a room full of enemies, including the High Sparrow and Margaery Tyrell. The explosion wiped out a lot of people, but was rather impersonal, so it's down here at No. 27.

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33. The Khals: Burned alive by Daenerys

While the Khals debated Dany's fate, they called her "a midget" and "paler than milk." She promptly burned them all alive.

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32. Viserys Targaryen: Death by molten gold

Viserys was really into a gold crown, so Khal Drogo granted his wish, dumping a hot cauldron of molten gold on his head. It looked painful, but at least we only had to listen to him scream "I am the dragon" for six episodes.

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31. Lysa Arryn: Pushed out of the Moon Door

After the insufferable Lysa tried to attack Sansa in a fit of jealousy, Littlefinger pushed her through the Moon Door. We haven't really missed her.

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30. Maester Pycelle: Stabbed by murderous children

Qyburn and his vicious "little birds" ambushed Pycelle, stabbing him repeatedly. We never liked Pycelle, but being brutally assassinated by a band of evil children is a rough way to go.

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29. Roose Bolton: Stabbed by Ramsay

We already knew that Ramsay was a no-good, ruthless opportunist by the time he stabbed his father. Roose, on the other hand, never saw it coming.

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28. Tywin Lannister: Toilet assassination

Tyrion found his father in a vulnerable position, the men's room of the Red Keep, then killed him with a crossbow. In retrospect, Tywin was a stand-up guy compared to Cersei.

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27. Varys: Executed, Drogon-style

Dany sentenced Varys to death when she learned he was meddling in Westerosi politics in support of her rival for the throne, Jon Snow.


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26. Robert Baratheon: Gored by a boar

We didn't get to see Robert Baratheon get gored by this alleged boar, but all the talk of the bad-smelling wound was enough to land his death on this list.

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25. Kraznys mo Nakloz: Burned by Drogon

The slave trader thought he was buying a dragon in exchange for slaves. He obviously didn't read Dany's resume. 

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24. Septa Unella: Tormented by The Mountain

For all Septa Unella's shame-mongering, her death scene was still a brutal one. Being humiliated by Cersei, then tormented by The Mountain is a one-two punch fit for only the worst villains.

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23. Sand Snakes: Killed by Euron Greyjoy

Euron Greyjoy is gut-wrenching in general. Euron Greyjoy offing most of Ellaria Sand's brood with their own weapons while screaming like a lusty, sadistic pirate is worse.

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22. Jon Snow: Stabbed by the Night's Watch

Stabbing your Lord Commander dozens of times in an act of mutiny is not a very nice way of thanking him for protecting you from the Night King.

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21. Pyat Pree: Dany's first 'Dracarys'

Pyat Pree had Daenerys and her dragons chained in a dungeon in the House of the Undying, but after one uttering of "Dracarys," Pree was definitely dead. Did anyone order warlock well-done?

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20. Renly Baratheon: Assassination by Shadow

Stannis and Melisandre conceived a Shadow child to swoop in and assassinate Renly before evaporating into nothing. The most gut-wrenching part of this scene was the look on Brienne of Tarth's face.

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19. Tommen Baratheon: Suicide

Poor Tommen just wanted to be happy with Margaery. We felt for him for the few seconds between Margaery's death and his.

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18. Myrcella Baratheon: Poisoned by the Sand Snakes

Jaime and Myrcella shared a touching father-daughter moment during which Myrcella said that she was glad she was inbred. Seconds later, her nose started bleeding and she collapsed, poisoned to death by Ellaria Sand.

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17. Theon Greyjoy: Skewered by the Night King

Theon has come a long way since betraying the Starks and pretending to burn Bran and Rickon. Bran snapped out of his warg coma to tell Theon, "you're a good man," shortly before Theon ran guts-first into the Night King's sword.

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16. Rickon Stark: Shot by Ramsay's arrow

If only Rickon would have zig-zagged. The saddest part of Rickon's death was that it was just so avoidable.

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15. Ellaria's daughter: Poisoned by Cersei

Cersei avenged Myrcella's death by using the same poison to kill Ellaria's daughter. Ellaria could do nothing but watch, a fate Cersei wasn't forced to suffer.

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14. The Red Viper: Head crushed by the Mountain

During a particularly lopsided trial by combat, The Mountain gouged out Oberyn Martell's eyes and crushed his skull. Viewers witnessed every bloody second of it.

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13. Khal Drogo: Poisoned by ointment

Mirri Maz Duur poisoned Drogo while she was cleaning his wounds, sending him into a vegetative state. Watching Daenerys smother her husband out of mercy was totally heartbreaking.

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12. Jorah Mormont: Done in by stabby wights

Jorah came to Dany's rescue and helped her battle back zombies. He was stabbed so many times we lost count, but ol' Jorah managed to stay alive until his Khaleesi was safe.

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11. Lyanna Mormont: Squeezed by the wight giant

Lyanna Mormont went out like she walked into this series, not taking an ounce of nonsense from anyone -- not even a zombified giant. The tiniest soldier was crushed like a peanut shell, but not before she pierced the outsize wight in the eye with a Dragonglass spear. 

Valar morghulis, Lyanna.

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10. Ygritte: Shot by an arrow in front of Jon Snow

Poor Ygritte, we hardly knew ye... but then again, we know nothing, right?

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9. Olenna Tyrell: Poisoned by the Lannisters

Though Olenna's death wasn't violent, her exit speech was one of the great ones in the show's history and cemented Olenna as an all-time favorite.

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8. The innocents in King's Landing: Burned by Daenerys

Tens of thousands of innocent citizens were burned alive when Daenerys went all in on the pyromania in King's Landing. 

This incident was gut-wrenching for two reasons: those people didn't need to die, and this was the moment the fan favorite Dragon Queen became a hard-core villain.

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7. Viserion: Speared by the Night King

Fan theories predicted the transformation of one of Daenerys' dragons into a big, undead, ice-breathing problem, but the moment itself was the saddest of season 7 so far.

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6. Everyone at the Red Wedding: Surprise stabbing attack

Walder Frey took out a large portion of House Stark at the wedding of his daughter to Edmure Tully. Innocent throats were slit. People were stabbed. The whole gory sequence lasted eight minutes and felt a whole lot longer.

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5. Daenerys Targaryen: Stabbed by Jon Snow

After Dany torched King's Landing, Jon and Tyrion conspired to kill her to prevent a dangerous future of dragon fire and despotism.

We spent seven seasons and four episodes with the Mother of Dragons as a just, if brutal, hero, so this was a hard one to watch. And don't get us started on Drogon's reaction.

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4. Ned Stark: Beheaded

Ned's execution was particularly gut-wrenching because it seemed like an escape plan could be in play at any moment (unless you read the books, of course).

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3. Lady: Ordered to die by Cersei

If anyone was truly innocent in this universe, it was Sansa's poor dog. Cersei ordered Ned to kill Lady after Arya's wolf, Nymeria, bit Joffrey and then escaped.

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2. Hodor: Eaten by White Walkers

Clearly, becoming a snack for the dead was his destiny, but watching the lovable Hodor hold that door to save Bran took an emotional toll.

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1. Shireen Baratheon: Burned at the stake by her father

We will never, ever forgive Melisandre for persuading Stannis to sacrifice his good-hearted daughter to the Lord of Light for the chance to win a battle.

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