You Win Or You Die: Ranking the 99 Game of Thrones Deaths

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Image credit: HBO/Helen Sloan

Maester Aemon

Unbeknownst to the Night’s Watch and much of Westeros in general, Maester Aemon is a Targaryen. Uncle to the Mad King Aerys, the maester has dedicated so much of his life to his work that his origins are long forgotten. He does, however, reveal his history to Jon when the younger man wishes to abandon his post in the wake of Ned’s imprisonment. Aemon expresses his own struggle during the aftermath of Robert’s Rebellion. His family had been slain and dishonored, but he had sworn his life to the Watch.

Throughout his time on the show, Maester Aemon proves himself to be a man of great insight, integrity, and kindness. He sympathizes with others’ trials as though they were his own. Indeed, at around one hundred years of age, it’s likely that Aemon has shouldered more than his fair share of obstacles. Despite his vows, he laments that he is too “useless and dying” to help Daenerys, his last known family, fight her battles.

Whatever Aemon endured in his lifetime, his death is a peaceful one. It’s quite the novelty on Game of Thrones, but Aemon dies without violence or any fanfare whatsoever. He is old and ill, and he passes with a smile as he imagines his brother waiting for him.

His death was necessary to Jon’s story arc, but it was nevertheless a shame to see him go. Maester Aemon was proof that there is goodness to be found in the dark and dreary Thrones world. And, at the very least, we didn’t have to watch him suffer. His life was long and rich, and he stuck around long enough to keep Jon alive when perhaps Alliser Thorne would have tried to off him sooner. Thanks for lookin’ out, Aemon.