Valar morghulis. All men must die, and episode three held fast to Game Of Thrones’ cardinal rule by meting out justice to mutineers, killing off historical supporting characters in a flashback scene, and thumping the head of a direwolf onto a table. Here’s a handy guide to the recently deceased:
Who died? Ser Alliser Thorne, first ranger of the Night’s Watch, was executed for the crime of mutiny along with three of his fellow conspirators. Born into the noble House Thorne—a vassal to House Baratheon—Ser Alliser nevertheless fought on the side of House Targaryen during Robert’s Rebellion. After Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne, Ser Alliser was given the choice between execution and serving in the Night’s Watch for his role in the conflict. He took the latter, working his way up to the rank of master of arms and eventually first ranger under Lord Commander Jon Snow, a position he accepted bitterly, for Ser Alliser wanted to be lord commander himself. This time, he was not given a choice.
How did they die? Hung by the neck until dead in full view of his brothers in the Night’s Watch and the band of wildlings currently camping at Castle Black, whose presence was a major point of contention between Ser Alliser and his lord commander.
How shocking was it? Listen, we all knew Jon Snow was going to come back at some point, and when Jon Snow came back, Ser Alliser was done for. So with zero being “died peacefully in their sleep” and 5 being “eyes squished like grapes inside their skull,” this is a 1.
How awesome was it? Ser Alliser prefaced his death with a spiteful speech about how he got to rest while Jon Snow had to live (again) with what he had done. Combined with the gruesome detail of his body twitching and jumping as the life drained out of him, it’s a death any Westerosi could be proud of.
How much do we care? On a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), this rates about a 2.5. Alliser Thorne has been Jon Snow’s main antagonist at the Wall since the days when “Lord Snow” was just a taunting unsult, but now that Jon’s out of there, it all feels a little pointless.
What does it mean for the show? That we can move on from the tedious politics of the Night’s Watch, hopefully.
Who died? Olly, a farm boy originally from the area just south of the Wall known as The Gift, was executed for the crime of mutiny under orders from his former friend and current archnemesis, Lord Commander Jon Snow. Olly originally came to Castle Black to deliver a message about wildlings eating the bodies of his dead parents and has had a chip on his shoulder ever since. He was given refuge among the brothers of the Night’s Watch and was generally treated very kindly there, eventually becoming Jon Snow’s personal steward after Snow’s election as lord commander. Olly’s loyalties changed, however, after Jon Snow decided to let the wildlings come south of the Wall onto Olly’s former home of The Gift. It was then that Olly joined in the mutiny against the lord commander, personally dispatching him with a sword to the chest. Bet you didn’t know that blood magic could bring him back, did you, Olly?
How did they die? Hung by the neck until dead in full view of his brothers in the Night’s Watch and the band of wildlings currently camping at Castle Black, who, to be fair, did kill Olly’s parents. He got revenge for that when he killed Ygritte in season four and when Jon Snow executed Slynt in season five, though. Betraying Jon Snow was another thing entirely.
How shocking was it? Like Ser Alliser, once Jon Snow came back, Olly was done for. On any other show, killing a kid would give you extra points, but worse things have been known to (and presumably will continue to) happen on Game Of Thrones. Sorry, Olly, but your death is a 1.
How awesome was it? Did you see that close-up of his lifeless corpse just hanging there, all blue and everything? The camera lingered on it for a while. It was probably supposed to be shocking, but it was awesome.
How much do we care? If you’re A.V. Club editor-in-chief John Teti, who put big money on Olly biting it in our dead pool last week, a lot. Otherwise, on a scale of “nameless mercenary” (zero) to “Jon Snow” (5), Olly only rates a 2.
What does it mean for the show? Now that both Joffrey and Olly are dead, this show is getting low on little shits who’d we like to give a big, fat wedgie.
Who died? Othell Yarwyck, who held the senior position of the first builder in the Night’s Watch, was executed for the crime of mutiny. A member of House Yarwyck, a noble house sworn to Casterly Rock, Yarwyck’s high birth and education led him to become the first builder, responsible for maintaining the Wall and its castles. Like others in the Night’s Watch, Yarwyck supported Lord Commander Jon Snow until he allowed wildlings safe passage through the Wall; he was the second person to stab Jon Snow, leaving him for dead in the snow.
How did they die? Hung by the neck until dead in full view of his brothers in the Night’s Watch and the band of wildlings currently camping at Castle Black, who Yarwyck apparently hated enough to kill Jon Snow over. And they didn’t even kill his parents.
How shocking was it? Alliser Thorne and Olly are the only conspirators we really cared about; Yarwyck was ancillary. Sorry dude, you’re a zero.
How awesome was it? His final words were to request that Jon Snow write to his mother that her son died fighting wildlings. Jon’s silence to the request was appropriate for something so lame.
How much do we care? Not at all.
What does it mean for the show? Besides the notable instance when Stannis Baratheon corrected Yarwyck’s use of “less” instead of “fewer” when referring to wilding individuals, Yarwyck didn’t do much but assist stronger personalities at the Wall.
Who died? Bowen Marsh, first steward of the Night’s Watch, was executed for the crime of mutiny. Hailing from the lesser noble House Marsh, he oversaw the day-to-day logistics of the Night’s Watch.
How did they die? Hung by the neck until dead in full view of his brothers in the Night’s Watch and the band of wildlings at Castle Black.
How shocking was it? Not very shocking at all, considering he stabbed Jon fucking Snow.
How awesome was it? As awesome as squandering his last words to note how crazy it was that Jon Snow came back to life—i.e., super lame.
How much do we care? We care as much as we really needed to see a fourth death by hanging in that scene. Zero points to the former first steward.
What does it mean for the show? The Night’s Watch is going to have to find someone new to stock the kitchen at Castle Black.
Who died? Shaggydog was killed by a sharp tool to the head, severed from his body to prove Rickon Stark’s identity. Shaggydog was Rickon’s direwolf, with him from the time he was a pup until his untimely death. He’s remembered for his unruly disposition, growing more wild in tandem with Rickon’s increasing moodiness. Although it’s unknown what dangers Shaggydog faced before his death, it’s safe to assume he was unwavering in his loyalty to Rickon.
How did they die? By what might be a farmer’s tool to the head, which also doubles as a handy carrying device.
How shocking was it? Rickon’s appearance was unexpected, as was his direwolf’s head; this is a 3 for the suddenness with which it hit viewers.
How awesome was it? Not very—firstly, we didn’t even see it, and secondly, it’s a devoted giant wolf-dog, protecting the youngest child of basically the only decent noble family in Westeros. His passing is sad.
How much do we care? Direwolves are cool, and whenever one dies it’s a shame. But Shaggydog isn’t exactly Ghost—we haven’t seen much of him, and he hasn’t played an important role—so we give his passing a 2 and a sigh.
What does it mean for the show? Rickon is back in play—but what does it mean? There’s hope that Smalljon Umber is not a good-for-nothing turncoat but that this is a Trojan horse to destroy Ramsay’s hold in Winterfell from within. If that’s the case, Shaggydog might not be dead at all, and the head could be of some lowly wolf. If he is dead, Stark family direwolves are down to Ghost, Nymeria, and Summer.
Ser Arthur Dayne
Who died? Ser Arthur Dayne, second son of Starfall and legendary knight known as the “Sword Of The Morning,” was killed in combat. At the time of his death, Ser Arthur was guarding the Tower Of Joy on the orders of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, for reasons that have yet to be revealed on the show, but everyone who read the books—or Reddit, for that matter—is pretty sure they understand. Ser Arthur Dayne was alive during the reign of the “mad king” Aerys II Targaryen, which means he was long dead before the events of the series began.
How did they die? As Bran Stark saw in a vision before the Three-Eyed Raven stopped him in the middle of it, Ser Arthur was killed through the combined efforts of Lord Eddard (a.k.a. Ned) Stark (who you might remember from season one) and Lord Howland Reed (father to Meera and Jojen, who we haven’t seen on screen before) as they fought to enter the Tower Of Joy. First, Howland stabbed him in the back of the neck with a dagger just as he was about to defeat Ned in hand-to-hand combat. Then Ned did the honorable thing and finished him off, which sounds like something good, old Ned would do.
How shocking was it? We already knew Ned Stark survives until the beginning of Game Of Thrones proper, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that Ser Arthur lost their sword fight. Howland Reed’s back (of the neck) stabbing assist was sneaky, though—and throws long-held assumptions about Ned Stark’s character into doubt—so let’s say a 2.5.
How awesome was it? Ser Arthur fought nobly, with a huge broadsword in each hand, and managed to pick off several Stark men before confronting their lord. Even Bran had to admit that Ser Arthur was a better swordsman than his father. In other words, he was awesome.
How much do we care? Considering that this was the first time the guy had ever appeared on screen, and all of this took place decades before the show even started, not especially. He gets a 1.5 for the whole “legendary knight” thing.
What does it mean for the show? Key information on the ultimate fate of Westeros, once that stupid Three-Eyed Raven stops clockblocking Bran while he’s trying to get his warg on.
Who died? Ser Gerold Hightower, also known by his nickname of the White Bull, died in service to his king, Aerys II Targaryen. Although he was of noble birth, Ser Gerold denounced his ancestral holdings in favor of serving on the Kingsguard of two Targaryen rulers, Jaehaerys II Targaryen and his son, the “Mad King” Aerys. Eventually appointed lord commander, Ser Gerold remained loyal, even after Aerys got into the habit of burning people alive in his throne room, among other sadistic and fucked-up acts. Ser Gerold was not present when King Aerys was eventually murdered by Jaime Lannister, because he was off protecting the Tower Of Joy under orders from Prince Rhaegar Targaryen.
How did they die? Despite his lofty title, Ser Gerold went down pretty quickly, stabbed in the throat by Ned Stark in the midst of the melee as Ned and his bannermen fought their way into the Tower Of Joy.
How shocking was it? Come on, they weren’t going to kill off Ned Stark in a flashback sequence. This dude was going down. A 1 at best.
How awesome was it? He spat out some blood when Ned Stark pulled the sword out of his throat, but the camera cut away before any really gory stuff happened. Could have been more awesome.
How much do we care? Considering we had never seen Ser Gerold before this flashback, and he was on the wrong side of Westerosi history, his death is even less consequential than Ser Arthur Dayne’s. 0.5 out of respect for the office.
What does it mean for the show? See Ser Arthur Dayne, above.