Valar morghulis. All men must die, as must dragons, in a game-changing twist that means Dany is no longer the only one in Westeros (or beyond) with a weapon of mass destruction at their disposal. “Beyond The Wall” gave us the penultimate bloodbath we’ve come to expect from a season of Game Of Thrones, and you weren’t the only one who had trouble keeping track of the episode’s deaths. Here’s your guide to the recently deceased.
Who died? Viserion, one of Daenerys Targaryen’s precious fire-breathing dragon babies. Named after Daenerys’ dickhead brother Viserys, who met his end back in season one.
How did they die? Taken by surprise by the Night King, who unbeknownst to the people of Westeros, is in possession of an icelike substance capable of killing a dragon when fashioned into a spear.
How shocking was it? Very shocking. Up until this point, the dragons were thought to be unbeatable, giving Daenerys an advantage in battle that’s now been seriously compromised.
What does it mean for the show? Now that Viserion has been resurrected by the Night King, our human heroes’ victory is much less certain than it was just an episode ago.
Who died? Benjen Stark, younger brother of Eddard Stark and uncle to Jon Snow and the rest of the Stark brood who went missing on a raid while serving as First Ranger of the Night’s Watch back in season one. While he was missing, he was attacked by White Walkers and left for dead, but saved by the ancient elflike race known as the Children Of The Forest. He pops up every once in a while to help out a Stark in trouble beyond the Wall.
How did they die? Consumed by a swarm of wights who overtook him as he held them back long enough for Jon Snow to escape on Benjen’s horse. Benjen appeared just as all hope seemed lost for Jon Snow, who stayed behind so Daenerys, her two remaining dragons, and the surviving members of his hunting party could escape from their icy ordeal.
How shocking was it? His appearance was more shocking than his death, as there was no way both he and Jon were making it out alive.
What does it mean for the show? Jon Snow escapes death, again, and the Starks need to be more careful when venturing beyond the Wall from now on.
Who died? Thoros Of Myr, a red priest who came to Westeros on a mission to convert then-king Robert Baratheon into a follower of the Lord Of Light. He was unsuccessful, but being a congenial sort, Thoros spent the next couple of decades drinking and cavorting with Robert anyway, and fought for him in the Greyjoy Rebellion. More recently, Thoros has been traveling with the Brotherhood Without Banners, formed after a disastrous military campaign in the Riverlands ordered by Eddard Stark back in season one of the show.
How did they die? Frozen to death in his sleep, after sustaining serious injuries fighting an undead polar bear that attacked the expedition beyond the Wall led by Jon Snow.
How shocking was it? Let’s be honest: One of the named characters had to go.
What does it mean for the show? Brotherhood Without Banners leader Beric Dondarrion made it back from beyond the Wall alive, so the Brotherhood will continue. But while Beric’s come back from the dead six times now, without Thoros and his resurrection skills, Beric’s seventh life will be his last—at least until he finds another red priest or priestess to help him.
Who died? A handful of members of Jon Snow’s wight-hunting party, one brought down by an undead polar bear, the rest by the wights themselves. Might be wildlings, might be Night’s Watch. It’s not terribly clear.
How did they die? Eaten alive, by one sort of zombie or another.
How shocking was it? Not at all. More shocking is the fact that the named characters mostly made it out alive, signaling that Game Of Thrones is no longer playing by its own narrative rules.
What does it mean for the show? Nothing that the deaths of more significant, named characters don’t signify.
Who died? Untold legions of the armies of the dead, and one of the White Walkers that commands them.
How did they die? A handful crumbled to dust when the White Walker who made them was killed in battle, a few dozen more met their second death at the pointy ends of our heroes’ weapons, and the rest were burnt to ashes in a blaze of dragon fire.
How shocking was it? The “crumbling to dust” part was an interesting development.
What does it mean for the show? We now know that if you kill a White Walker, the wights they resurrected die, too. Therefore, if you kill the Night King, the entire army goes down with him. With an undead dragon now in the White Walkers’ possession, this fun fact might also be humanity’s last hope.