Valar morghulis. All men must die, and as usual, episode two of Game Of Thrones’ sixth season kept that promise. The big story, as you probably already heard, involved a character defying that edict. But in the end the Many-Faced God retained his advantage over the Lord Of Light, with five men, one woman, and one child meeting their ends to the one who came back to life this week. Here’s a handy guide to recently deceased:
Who died? Balon Greyjoy, king of the Iron Islands, Lord Reaper of Pyke, and patriarch of House Greyjoy, died at his castle in the midst of a rainstorm. A stubborn, hard man, he believed deeply in the Drowned God and the Old Way of the Iron Islands, a ruthless martial code embodied in the Greyjoy house motto, “we do not sow.” Sadly, he died without realizing his greatest dream, which was to retake the North for the Ironborn after failing to do so in an uprising many years ago. He is survived by his beloved daughter Yara Greyjoy—who’s going to be pissed if she doesn’t inherit her father’s throne—as well as his less-beloved son Theon Greyjoy (a.k.a. “Reek”) and his brothers Euron, Aeron, and Victarion Greyjoy. What is dead may never die.
How did they die? After a typically cranky exchange with Yara, Balon went out to the rope bridge that separates the two castles at Pyke, presumably to go to bed or maybe the bathroom. There, he encountered his brother Euron Greyjoy, who had gone missing several years before. Some salty (no pun intended) words were exchanged, and being the tough old bird he is, Balon rushed forward to stab his younger brother. He failed, though, and was thrown from the flimsy bridge onto the rocks below.
How shocking was it? With zero being “died peacefully in their sleep” and 5 being “eyes squished like grapes inside their skull,” this one rates a 3, mainly because we forgot Euron Greyjoy even existed, and hadn’t even thought about the Iron Islands in a while, honestly. So yeah, the whole thing came as a surprise.
How awesome was it? He fell from a great height into the sea, which is appropriate for an Ironborn, but not especially awesome from a viewer perspective.
How much do we care? On a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), this rates a 2.5. Although undeniably an important man in Westeros, Balon did little to endear himself to anyone but Yara in his lifetime, and he was heartless to her at times, too. She loved him, though, and will do her best to carry on his legacy. So it’ll be like he never left—unless this Kingsmoot goes sideways.
What does it mean for the show? Kingsmoot! Kingsmoot! Kingsmoot!
Who died? Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort and Warden of the North, was assassinated at his adopted castle shortly after the birth of his son. A pragmatic and tough leader, he was lord of House Bolton, known throughout Westeros for its gruesome sigil of a skinned man hanging upside down on a cross. After the majority of House Stark was wiped out at the Red Wedding, Roose and his men fought their way North, eventually taking up residence at Winterfell, the historical seat of power in the region. He is survived by his wife and her baby boy (although not for long), along with Ramsay Snow, the bastard son Roose legitimized as his heir.
How did they die? Stabbed in the stomach by Ramsay, who’s a real bastard in more than one sense of the term, after going in for a congratulatory hug.
How shocking was it? With zero being “died peacefully in their sleep” and 5 being “eyes squished like grapes inside their skull,” this one only rates a 2. Roose—who had always been somewhat blinded toward his bastard son’s true nature—didn’t seem to see this coming, but the guards impassively standing by as Ramsay stabbed his dear old Dad sure seemed to.
How awesome was it? It was more pathetic than awesome.
How much do we care? On a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), this rates about a 2.5. Roose was the only thing that kept Ramsay’s evil in check, but he wasn’t doing a very good job of that lately.
What does it mean for the show? Ramsay can rule the North unopposed—for now.
Lady Walda Bolton and Son
Who died? Lady Walda Bolton (née Frey), a.k.a. “Fat Walda,” the young wife of Lord Roose Bolton, was killed in the kennels at Winterfell along with her unnamed newborn son, Roose’s only legitimate heir. Unbeknownst to Lady Walda, her husband had also recently been murdered at the hand of his son Ramsay (né Snow), whose claim to the lordship was threatened by the mere fact of the baby’s existence. She is survived by the sprawling, eccentric, and treacherous clan known as House Frey.
How did they die? Ramsay fed them to his hounds, which was a bit on the nose considering Roose’s “wild dog” comment in the previous scene.
How shocking was it? With zero being “died peacefully in their sleep” and 5 being “eyes squished like grapes inside their skull,” this one rates a 3.5 simply for the sadism of the act. Obviously, Ramsay can’t let the baby live. But feeding them both to the dogs after she begs for her life? Damn, Ramsay.
How awesome was it? Killing babies is not awesome at all. Besides, we couldn’t see anything.
How much do we care? On a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), this rates a 1. We all knew that Ramsay wouldn’t hesitate to kill anyone who stood in his path to power, so the whole “legitimate heir” thing was a foregone conclusion anyway. And Walda, bless her heart, may have eventually won over her husband with her pliant nature, but he’s dead now. The rest of us barely knew her.
What does it mean for the show? Two things we already knew: that Ramsay Bolton is a sadistic psychopath, and that he will maintain his rule in the North by any means necessary.
Anonymous Night’s Watchmen
Who died? Two sworn members of the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch were killed in battle after the gates of Castle Black were breached by wildlings, including the giant Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun (a.k.a. Wun Wun). The wildlings arrived in the company of Dolorous Edd, sent out by Ser Davos Seaworth to recruit more allies in his quest to retake Castle Black from Ser Alliser Thorne and that smug little shit Olly after the death of Lord Commander Jon Snow. Their names were unknown, but we’re just going to imagine they were sent to the Wall after stealing a cask of wine and throwing up on a septon’s shoes.
How did they die? The swordsman died as he had lived—by the sword. But the archer’s death was more creative: Wun Wun, annoyed after being poked in the neck by an arrow, picked up the man who fired it by the back of his neck and smashed his body like a rag doll against the wall of Castle Black, then just as casually threw him aside.
How shocking was it? With zero being “died peacefully in their sleep” and 5 being “eyes squished like grapes inside their skull,” this one rates a zero. Sorry, fellas, but killing is just what giants do.
How awesome was it? The swordsman’s death was entirely forgettable, but the archer’s was pretty hilarious and, therefore, awesome.
How much do we care? On a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), this is a big old goose egg. There will be more cannon fodder next week.
What does it mean for the show? Wun Wun barely felt that arrow, but his arrival, and that of his compatriots, has changed the power dynamic at Castle Black.
Who died? Flea Bottom’s finest stand-up comedian died after imbibing a bit too much ale and telling a tall tale about Queen Mother Cersei Lannister at a pub. He was a pillar of the burgeoning King’s Landing comedy scene, and is survived by his hilarious routine about Varys and the cucumber.
How did they die? He appears to have fallen and hit his head on a brick wall while stepping away from the party for a quick pee. Only the incredibly large man with the red eyes seen leaving the scene shortly afterwards knows for sure.
How shocking was it? With zero being “died peacefully in their sleep” and 5 being “eyes squished like grapes inside their skull,” this one is about a 2. There was a time when talking trash about the Lannisters was, if not allowed, at least survivable. Remember the time the royal family was sending Myrcella off to Dorne, and that guy threw a cow turd at Joffrey’s head and everyone called him a bastard, and then the High Septon got torn to pieces by an angry mob? They were outnumbered that time, though, to be fair.
How awesome was it? His brains splattered all over the wall and made a squishy sound when he fell. It was awesome.
How much do we care? On a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), this rates a 1, just because he seemed like a fun guy.
What does it mean for the show? Like we already mentioned, making fun of the Lannisters wasn’t always an automatic death sentence. But with the conflict between the incestuous clan and the High Sparrow heating up—and Tyrion no longer around to slap some sense into his relatives—it’s becoming increasingly dangerous to shoot your mouth off in King’s Landing.