11 of the most shocking moments in Game of Thrones history
Game of Thrones isn’t known across the world for being cute and fluffy. Its gritty and gory content have had us at the edge of our seats for the last eight years.
With the final season underway, we look back at some of the most shocking moments in Game of Thrones (and television) history!
There is a mountain of spoilers ahead – you have been warned.
Season three’s ninth episode, The Rains of Castamere, provided one of the most jaw-dropping moments to ever grace our screens. A literal blood bath sees some of our favourite characters to date lose their lives.
Robb Stark apologises to Lord Walder Frey – previously, Robb had approached Frey about an alliance. Robb’s plan was to attack Casterly Rock, home of the Lannisters, with the help of Frey. The issue at hand was that Robb was meant to marry one of Frey’s daughters, as Frey had let the Stark Army pass through the Twins to save Robb’s dad, Ned.
The deal couldn’t go through because Robb married Talisa, who was now pregnant with his child. Edmure Tully would take Robb’s place to marry Roslin, Frey’s daughter. Robb’s apology is accepted and the wedding goes ahead. The happy couple are taken to their chamber, the banquet doors are closed and music begins to play.
When Robb’s mother, Catelynn notices that Roose Bolton is wearing chainmail, she can tell her family has been betrayed. Talisa is stabbed in the stomach, killing her unborn child as well as killing her, before Robb is shot by crossbows. His bannermen are massacred and Arya sees some of the destruction caused to her family. Catelyn holds Joyeuse, Walder’s wife hostage to make sure Robb can leave. Roose Bolton stabs Robb in the heart, proclaiming “The Lannisters send their regards.” Cate kills Joyeuse before her own throat is cut.
Jon Snow’s death
The final episode of the fifth season was a wilder ride than most of us were prepared for. It was jam-packed with intense moments like Cersei’s walk of atonement and Myrcella’s death, but most shocking of all was Jon Snow’s demise.
Jon is aware that many of his brothers in the Night’s Watch aren’t happy with his new found relationship with the wildlings. When Samwell is sent to Oldtown along with Gilly and her baby, Jon is told that his uncle Benjen Stark had been spotted by a wildling. He is taken to go speak with him, but has been double crossed by his own brotherhood.
Jon is stabbed repeatedly by a number of his men, with each of them uttering “For the Watch” as they do it. Jon Snow is left to die and after it aired, fans had to wait an excruciating 10 months to find out what happened to him.
Death and Game of Thrones go hand in hand. Some deaths we almost cheer for, but one death broke almost any fan’s heart.
Stannis Baratheon’s only living child, Shireen, is isolated from her parents and suffering from greyscale. Her father loves her, her mother thinks her child is sinful, and Melisandre has terrible plans for Shireen’s future.
In Season 5’s penultimate episode, The Dance of Dragons, Ramsay Bolton and his men infiltrate the Baratheon camp. Supplies are burnt, horses are killed and Stannis realises that his army won’t be able to survive winter. He’s advised to retreat to Castle Black by Ser Davos, but Stannis only sends Davos to go and get more supplies and reinforcements.
With Davos offside, Stannis allows Melisandre to burn his daughter Shireen at the stake in order to please the Lord of Light. Shireen had told her father that she would do whatever she can to help him, and boy, did he take it literally. Shireen begs her parents to help her – her mother Selyse tries to but it held back. The sacrifice seemingly works, and Stannis’s army press on, but Selyse hangs herself after watching her daughter die.
The rightful heir
Ned Stark learning that Robert Baratheon’s children aren’t biologically his own presents a number of problems. It means there’ll be no rightful heir when Robert dies, and it exposes the incestuous practices of the Lannister family. In spite of that, Ned tells Cersei that he knows Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen are actually Jaime’s children, telling her to leave with her children before Robert learns the truth.
Robert dies in a hunting accident, expressing that Ned is Lord Regent and Protector of the Realm until Joffrey is old enough to take over. Ned is betrayed by Cersei and is imprisoned. To make it out alive, Ned is told to swear loyalty to the now King Joffrey. When he learns Sansa’s life hangs in the balance if he doesn’t, Ned confesses to treason and swears his loyalty to Joffrey in front of a gathered crowd.
That fixes everything, right? Wrong. Joffrey is drunk on power and is of course, a truly terrible person. Cersei and Sansa are happy with the outcome and ask him to spare Ned, but Joffrey goes back on his word and orders Ned’s execution. In spite of attempts to intervene the beheading, Ned dies in front of his daughters Sansa and Arya.
A wounded Lannister
Jaime Lannister might be known as the Kingslayer, but his fate takes a dark turn when he is captured by Robb Stark. Little does Jaime know, Robb will actually be the least of his worries when he’s in captivity.
Catelynn Stark, Robb’s mother, lets Jaime go along with Brienne of Tarth to make sure she gets her daughters Arya and Sansa back. Riders from House Bolton find the pair and Jaime is once again taken as a prisoner. Led by Locke, the riders plan on attacking Brienne until Jaime explains they’ll be rewarded handsomely if she’s returned unharmed. It works, and Jaime tries to save himself by explaining his own father will pay up when he is returned safely.
Locke isn’t a fan of Jaime’s latest proposal and in order to teach him a lesson, he cuts off Jaime’s fighting hand. The next day, he’s forced to wear his own severed hand around his neck. Brutal.
Like we’ve said, death in Game of Thrones is pretty normal, but a character killing themselves is shocking. Especially when they’re young and in power.
Cersei’s youngest child, Tommen, comes into power following his older brother’s death. Tommen marries Margaery Tyrell which causes some tension with his mother. After becoming involved with the High Sparrow, who punishes Cersei for crimes including incest, Tommen is easily swayed. Tommen takes on the Faith and says it’s one of the two pillars that hold up the world (along with the Crown).
Trial by combat is abolished by Tommen which doesn’t suit his mother, but he should have known that Cersei Lannister will always have a trick up her sleeve. Before her trial, the Great Sept explodes killing hundreds of people including Margaery. With almost everything Tommen cares about being wiped out in mere moments, he steps out of the window and falls to his death.
Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me
Lady Olenna Tyrell is probably one of the best characters we meet on Game of Thrones. Her granddaughter Margaery marries into the Baratheon family – first through Joffrey, then through Tommen. These links benefit both families due to their status.
When Joffrey dies, there are question marks surrounding who had poisoned him, but let’s be honest, there was probably a queue of people waiting to do that deed.
It’s not until Season 7 that we find out who the true culprit is. When Jaime arrives in Highgarden and overwhelms Lady Olenna’s army, he gives her a quick and painless option to die – by poisoning her. She takes it, coolly and calming, before telling Jaime that she is in fact the one who poisoned Joffrey and to let Cersei know who was responsible.
Hold the Door
Hodor is the gentle giant that looks after Bran, after he’s disabled having been pushed out of the castle window by Jaime Lannister. He’s known as Hodor as it’s the only word he says, but despite his lack of speech, we love him anyway.
With Bran and the Three Eyed Raven’s visions, these help to piece together some of the stories we’ve learned so far. Bran is caught between a vision and being in the present with the knowledge that the Night King is able to find him.
The Night King kills the Three Eyed Raven whilst Bran escapes with Meera and Hodor and as his consciousness is split, Bran forges a connection between the present and past unintentionally. Wylis (who becomes Hodor) calls out ‘Hold the door’ over and over having listened to Meera’s orders, slurring to become Hodor. Hodor dies before our eyes, marking one of the saddest deaths so far.
Littlefinger’s trial and punishment
Petyr Baelish gets by pretty well by just screwing as many people over as he can. His luck ran out in the last season as he realised he’d actually been betrayed by Arya, Sansa and Bran who he thought he had the power to control.
Littlefinger tries to turn Sansa and Arya against each other when they are reunited at Winterfell. Sansa comes to the conclusion that Arya will kill her to become Lady of Winterfell, which Baelish loves as she’s following his plan.
Arya is summoned before the Lords by Sansa, but it turns out Arya is not on trial – Baelish is. He is accused of murder and treason, which Bran can vouch for. Littlefinger tries to worm his way out of it but it’s too late – he meets his end when Arya slits his throat.
Tyrion is betrayed
The Lannisters are shady characters but, youngest sibling Tyrion comes across as likeable – for a man who spends much of his time in brothels and drinking wine.
In Season four, tensions rise between Joffrey and Tyrion on Joffrey’s wedding day to Margaery. Joffrey is deliberately insensitive towards his uncle (what a surprise) and makes him the cupbearer. Tyrion hands a goblet of wine to his nephew who convulses and dies of poisoning. The blame for Joffrey’s death falls entirely on Tyrion who is arrested and put on trial for regicide.
When he’s on trial, a number of witnesses back up the claim that Joffrey died by Tyrion’s hand. Jamie strikes a deal with his father Tywin to allow Tyrion to join the Night’s Watch rather than be killed. Next to the stand is Tyrion’s lover, who he told to leave for her own safety, Shae. She falsely testifies that Joffrey’s murder was planned between Tyrion and Sansa as revenge for Catelyn, Robb and Ned Stark dying. Intimate details are shared about Tyrion, pushing him over the edge and demanding a trial by combat.
Battle of the Bastards
Possibly the most intense episode of the show so far, the Battle of the Bastards sees the final showdown between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton.
After Ramsay refused a one on one battle with Jon, they decide a formal battle is the way forward. Sansa believes Ramsay has the power to overwhelm Jon and his army, and having spent a considerable amount of time being tortured by Ramsay, she can see his trap.
Ramsay dangles Rickon Stark in front of Jon, eventually killing him before Jon can save him, to kick off the battle. As both armies are in the throws of combat, bodies begin to pile up and the living are struggling to get through the dead. Jon becomes trapped and has trouble even catching his breath. Luckily for Snow, a horn sounds – with Sansa and Littlefinger leading their cavalry to defeat Ramsay.
Bolton heads back to Winterfell, but Jon finds him to beat him to death. Jon does damage but holds off killing Ramsay when he sees Sansa. Miss Stark gets her final revenge on her former abuser when she feeds Ramsay to his beloved hounds, who have been starved.
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