So with Game of Thrones coming back next week, I've got Game on the brain. Luckily for you, my adoring fans, that means a lot of articles this week. I'll be posting a different Top 5 each day between now and Sunday, the day of the Season 5 premiere. That makes for five different Top 5 lists. These lists will be in regard to the television series, though I may give some hints about book content here or there. I invite you to come along for the ride, and post your own Top 5s in the comments!
Top 5 Deaths (So Far) In Game of Thrones
From the beginning, Game of Thrones has been a show about death. The seven kingdoms thrown into war, deception and murder at every turn, it's a story about ends and beginnings. And after episode nine of the first season, anybody who watches the show realized that no one is safe. The deaths bring life to the show (and to the books), so we'll start this set of Top 5 lists with the top five deaths from the TV series.
5. Ghost Stannis Kills Renly - This killing wasn't as surprising or gruesome or emotional as many of the others, but it gets bonus points for the gravity of how things changed in Westeros because of it. Renly Baratheon's death occurred just moments after he had solidified a peace with the Starks that (without dark powers at work) would've made this a two season show. But when Renly is murdered, the Starks are suddenly on their own again, Stannis' power is solidified, and the Tyrells become allies of convenience with the Lannisters. As I said, not an exceptional death scene, but an important one in the lore of the lands.
4. The "Deaths" of Bran and Rickon Stark - As if we needed further reminder of how brutal a medieval, feudal world could be. While I think most people with any sense could tell that something was amiss on television, you can see how the people of Winterfell would believe that their liege lords had been slain and burned alive. This also started Bran's trip north of The Wall, which while not terribly entertaining, has definitely been a big part of the story, and figures to be even more so going forward.
3. Ned Stark Loses His Head - I kind of wish I'd gotten on board Game of Thrones right away, so I could've seen Baelor in real-time. I feel like the moment when you realize there's nothing that's going to save this character, this man who you thought would endure the series, that's why the show is such a phenomenon (see #1). It also was telling that the character who was most stubbornly moral was unable to survive the first season of the show. The talk is all about White Walkers and "Taking The Black," but in Westeros, only gray survives.
2. The Execution of Lady - It says something about humans that we all feel more sympathy and sadness for a cute wolf than we do for a human being, but it's utterly true. I think maybe we see all the flaws of humans, whereas animals seem innocent, like children. This death also introduced us to the cruelty of Queen Cersei, which endures to this day. Every time I re-watch the episode, I cringe when Ned is forced to put down Lady, and I'm reminded of how despite her random moments of kindness, Cersei is a miserable bitch.
1. The Red Wedding - I would've liked to have found a way to not be so predictable as to put this at number one, but anything else would've been insincere. The truth is, there were no deaths I was as unprepared for as Robb and Catelyn Starks'. It was before I had read any of the books, and I hadn't even really thought about the mechanics of a season (generally, episode 9 is the one with the greatest surprises/events). So I went into the episode without any idea of what was coming, and it was brilliant. I mean it was terrible, shocking, brutal, even more brutal than the original story. But if we consume art to experience emotions, the Red Wedding is one of our generation's greatest works.
That's my top five. Do you disagree? Leave a comment in the...well, in the comments!