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

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Image credit: HBO/Helen Sloan

Ned Stark

Lord Eddard Stark may have played at the main character, but Game of Thrones is an ensemble cast. Everybody’s up for grabs. Still, his death came as a shock to those of us accustomed to more traditional fantasy. You just don’t kill the good guy off like that. But then, without Ned’s death, none of what has happened since would have come to pass.

Looking back on it, Ned’s Boy Scout code of honor really doesn’t do him any favors. He failed to recognize that not everyone lives by his rigid set of rules. He couldn’t adapt his train of thought to consider “Okay, confronting Cersei with the truth is a solid plan, but what if it’s actually not?” Ned underestimates her power and her character. He’d called King’s Landing a dangerous place, and yet he still couldn’t measure the depth of what he’d gotten himself and his family into.

Ned would have done anything to protect his family. That meant outing Cersei and her children. But, wonder of wonders, Cersei is just as fiercely protective of her kin—perhaps more so, considering the secret she’s forced to shield.

If viewers ascertain Cersei’s character, it’s not too difficult to see Ned falling because of her. Of course, it’s Joffrey who gives the order, but we sort of knew he was an unruly sociopath to begin with. In that retrospect, maybe we really should have seen Ned’s death coming.