This week’s question is pegged to the showdown on everyone’s mind: Who do you want to die in tomorrow’s Game Of Thrones?
Call it an act of mercy, but I’m going with Theon Greyjoy, who basically signed his own death warrant (assuming they have those in Westeros) when he betrayed the Starks. I admire his rescue of Yara as much as I appreciate her response—a headbutt—and sure, he helped Sansa get away from Ramsay. Despite a stray act of bravery here and there, Theon’s been shuffling his way off the mortal coil for several seasons now, eager for the sweet oblivion of death and for everyone but the North to forget what he did. I say we give it to him.
I’ve been resistant to “Death Pools,” because I don’t want to pin myself into a certain idea of the show’s endgame and end up disappointed, but when faced with this question I realized I really want to see how they’re going to kill Ghost. That seems morbid, I know, but they’ve exhausted so many potential direwolf deaths: You had the execution of Lady, the defiling of Grey Wind, the heroic sacrifice of Summer, and the performative off-screen beheading of Shaggydog. If Ghost is going to die, and I certainly believe he will, I want to see what kind of end the writers have cooked up that manages to avoid feeling like a retread of one of his siblings’ fates. If they didn’t get fed up dealing with the logistics of his survival and kill him at earlier opportunities, I truly feel they must have something especially tragic, heroic, or brutal in mind, and I’m going to focus my curiosity there to avoid confronting the sheer volume of lives hanging in the balance at the moment.
I know my heartstrings are going to be torn to shreds after the Battle Of Winterfell is over. There are too many characters I love and have grown to love—Ser Brienne, Samwell Tarly, The Hound, Arya—who are all going into battle that has a potentially small survival rate. But one thing I would like to see happen is the death of Daenerys’ two remaining dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal. I’m thinking ahead: Assuming Daenerys survives the battle with the White Walkers, she’ll go on to challenge Cersei for the Iron Throne. I’d like to see her do that without the advantage of her dragons. It would put her and Cersei on more equal footing. Dragons make Daenerys formidable and frightening; without them, she’d have to use only her cunning to advance in the game of thrones.
If one of the Starks has to go—and it’s been a while since this show engaged in some good old-fashioned Starkicide, so at least one of them is probably going to go—I suppose we could kill off Bran Stark. He was absent for all of season five, so I’m not as attached to him as I am to the other Starks, for one. And he’s been spending the majority of this season in the courtyard at Winterfell staring at people, so it might actually be kind of a relief for whatever common folk are left after the battle to not have him sitting there watching them forge weapons and cart grain all day. His siblings would miss him, of course. But, as sick as it feels to even say it, there’s an upside to Bran dying: his warging powers. If Bran sends his consciousness into an animal right before his human body dies, he can live on inside that animal, meaning that if Myles is right and Ghost dies in the Battle Of Winterfell, Arya, Sansa, and/or Jon can have a new pet Bran instead.
Off the top of my head, how about Grey Worm? I think he’s cool, I’ve enjoyed his arc, and I always like it when fictional characters choose their path rather than just blindly embrace their destiny (What’s up, Daenerys?), but he sealed his own fate in that last episode. Everybody was finding ways to spend what they thought could be their last night alive, but Grey Worm and Missandei were one of the few pairings to talk about what they were planning to do after the war to win Westeros. Haven’t they ever seen a big battle like this in pop culture? Making romantic plans for later is no different than putting a big target on your chest that says “Hey White Walkers, kill me first.” It seemed like foreshadowing that one of them would die was kind of the whole point of their conversation (and the whole episode), but if they’re going to risk it anyway, they might as well pay the price of such apparent disregard for storytelling tropes.
As someone whose love for Game Of Thrones has been decidedly hit-or-miss over the years, I’m going to plunge straight into the heart of purest, most bitter schadenfreude with my pick: Daenerys Stormborn doesn’t deserve Tyrion Lannister, the series barely deserves Peter Dinklage, and so I say we watch both of them try to get by without either of their individual aces in the hole. Killing Tyrion—guys, you know those crypts aren’t safe, right?—would blow a hole right through large parts of the dramatic heart of the series, leaving little more than a bunch of addled teenagers fumbling around while trying to keep humanity alive, a.k.a. exactly the sort of chaos that I crave. And hey, I know I said in a previous Q&A that Tyrion would make a perfect final claimant to the Iron Throne, but, then, when has anyone in Westeros ever gotten, or deserved, perfect rulership? Meanwhile, as a firm believer that the only fitting end for the series is a win for Team Night King, finally wiping out this planet full of crappy, fractious people once and for all, taking out one of the last Smart People standing can only move the needle a little further along.
It’s been a long time since this show really shocked me with one of those awful, unexpected deaths that used to happen at least once or twice a season. Which is why I would like it to do so one last time—and the only way I can think of it really doing that is a gruesome, violent death for Lyanna Mormont, a.k.a. Tiny Mormont. True, the show has already proven it’s not above killing kids in the most horrifying ways (R.I.P. Shireen), but can you imagine the sheer fortitude it would take to murder arguably one of the only universally liked characters on the series? The howls of despair that would likely greet such a death would be matched only by the admissions of acknowledgment that Game Of Thrones managed, one last time, to craft a disturbing surprise. Of course, this would destroy my hopes for a Tiny Mormont spin-off series, but I genuinely can’t imagine a more startling death on the next episode than the cold-blooded murder of Winterfell’s pint-size badass.
I’m on the same wavelength as Alex, as all I want is for my jaw to drop like it did during the Red Wedding or, well, the Purple Wedding. Basically, I want another capital-W wedding but since the impending death of Grey Worm—one-half of the show’s only healthy relationship—ensures that won’t happen, give me Samwell Tarly’s drooping head on a spear. Gilly, too, and turn that baby into ice, White Walker-style. I have reckoned with the deaths of Davos and Tormund, of Brienne and Arya, of Jon and Dany, of Jaime and Cersei. But, while I can see George R.R. Martin having the stones to kill one of Westeros’ most sweet, innocent characters, I simply can’t imagine David Benioff and D.B. Weiss doing it. I say it’s high time to remember that, in this world, good people can die in horrible ways. Give me chaos. Give me futility. Give me the old Game Of Thrones.
The death I always envisioned for Jaime Lannister was that he would meet his sister face to face on the final battlefield and the two would stab each other in a murderous embrace like Arthur and Mordred at the end of Excalibur. They were closest in life, so it only makes sense that they would also be closest in death. It would be a perfectly operatic death for those two incestuous glam rockers. But Game Of Thrones isn’t really about those operatic moments. It’s about small cruelties and lethal unfairness and muck and mud. So it really makes the most sense for him to die at Winterfell so that Cersei, who has already had her children taken from her, will also be without her brother and lover and at the end of her reign, be truly alone. She has the throne, she has the Iron Fleet and the Golden Company (sans elephants), but she has driven away everyone who she has ever loved into the arms of death. So, sorry, Jaime. But you have to die so that another may feel even worse.