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

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Image credit: HBO/Helen Sloan


Love just wasn’t meant to last on Game of Thrones. Jon and his wildling girlfriend, Ygritte, have a special kind of meet-cute in which they both try to kill each other. It’s all very Mr. & Mrs. Smith. That is, until Jon goes all “bros before hoes” and ditches her because his honor compels him to do so. I probably would have aimed a few arrows his way, too.

Along with Pyp, Grenn, and others, Ygritte dies during the battle at Castle Black. She and Jon are on the brink of either reconciliation or death when Olly strikes her in the back with an arrow of his own. “We should have stayed in that cave,” Ygritte tells Jon as she dies. But then, neither of them were the sort to stay behind when they were needed elsewhere.

Jon’s relationship with Ygritte allows him to form an attachment to the wildlings that is made more profound because of her. That’s not to say that Jon wouldn’t have allied himself with the wildlings without her. Indeed, Jon’s code of honor would have prompted him to behave more or less the same once he recognized the wildlings’ side of things. That is, the wildlings are just trying to live through the winter like anyone south of the Wall. But having loved Ygritte when he’d prepared himself to never find any love at all impacts Jon in a different way. He betrayed his Night’s Watch oath for her, and may have abandoned them entirely if it weren’t for his sense of duty.

Jon has questioned his duty and honor several times throughout the series. But loving Ygritte is the first time that he questions it in relation to his own happiness, beyond anything else. His belief that he might deserve more than a bastard’s life dies with her. Only now, back at Winterfell, does it seem that Jon may once again begin to believe that he’s meant for something more.