Nothing says “you’re fired” like getting your character killed off on Game of Thrones. The death is going to be gruesome, unconventional and downright nasty. What’s worse is that the life after your Games of Thrones death might not get any better. Even when Donald Trump fires you on The Apprentice, there is hope for your future. But for most of the main and minor actors on this tremendous show, there is not much to be happy about now that the biggest gig of your life is done with; unless of course, you had a foothold in movies and television before GoT.
This is the year when virtually all of the deaths were predictable and expected, veering from the past when only the good guys got killed while the monsters survived. And if you were that monster in season 6, then good luck finding work. That’s not to say that there is no future work, but most of the cast of this show are British or Irish. Put a girl in a big puffy dress, or an amazon woman costume, or give a male character a sword with some armor or just his muscular chest in the buff, and movie producers automatically assume you need that accent to pull it off. It doesn’t matter whether the movie is set in ancient Persia, Egypt, Greece or whatever. Hollywood has typecast you if you are British, Scottish, Welsh or Irish.
So if you were a Game of Thrones actor, and you are still searching for your next big gig, this article will make you relive your spectacular death on the show, while hopefully promoting your most recent efforts right after your death, as unspectacular as they may seem in comparison.
Attention: Spoilers ahead!
15. Iwan Rheon, AKA Ramsey Bolton Will Play A Young Adolf Hitler
In a recent New York Times article, Iwan explained his future role like this: “I’m playing a young Hitler,” referring to the British television movie Adolf the Artist. Then some mock despair appeared on the actor’s face as he cried out: “Oh, I’m typecast already!”. The film is a satirical movie centering around a young Adolf Hitler’s attempts to enroll in the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.
Talk about moving from one ruthless you know what, to another within minutes of your demise. Easily the most evil human in the mythical land of Westeros (or any land for that matter), Ramsey Bolton had a list of crimes so long it almost compares to Hitler’s. He fed his step mother, younger siblings and an innocent girl who made his equally sick girlfriend jealous, to his dogs. He flayed every last man at Moat Cailin after promising them free passage in exchange for their surrender. He flayed Sansa Stark’s elderly maid and forced his wife Sansa, to watch. He burned children at the stake. He slayed a child, Rikkon Stark with an arrow as if hunting him. He even r*ped his young bride Sansa Stark.
How did he die: In a very satisfying death, Ramsey Bolton was held captive in the dungeons of Winterfell after losing the battle that saw the Northern Kingdom return to its rightful owners, The Starks after so many years. To avenge the rape and humiliation the young monster made her suffer, Sansa released Ramsay’s dogs into his jail cell with Ramsey all tied up. Ramsey tried to dismiss the dogs as “loyal beasts” who would not harm their master. But then Sansa reminded her ex-husband that after not being fed for a week, the animals will eat anything. Quite fittingly the hounds did eat their master, in the same manner that their master used them to kill others. Such poetic justice.
14. Jonathan Pryce, AKA The High Sparrow
Moving from one period piece to another, the British actor who played the multi dimensional cleric has a starring role in a British-American TV Mini-Series, due out this year called Taboo. All we know for now is that it chronicles the journey of a British adventurer who returns home from Africa along with fourteen stolen diamonds to avenge his father’s death during the era of the East-India Company.
In Game of Thrones he has the most humble of beginnings as a man of the cloth giving up all worldly possessions to serve the poor and needy. Queen Cersei then gave the man power in order to imprison her daughter-in-law and eliminate her as an arch rival. Absolute power corrupts absolutely as does a feeling of moral superiority and as such the High Sparrow turned on the queen herself, imprisoning her for crimes against the gods, then releasing her on bail in the most humiliating of fashions, while simultaneously transforming Kings Landing into a theocracy centered around the faith.
How did he die: In a battle of whits that pitted one power hungry megalomaniac against another, the Queen un-did the damage she caused in the most spectacular fashion. On the day of her trial, Queen Cersei stayed at her castle while her loyal cohorts arranged for lots of wildfire (kind of like combining fire with gasoline) to blow beneath the Grand Sept of Baelor, thus killing everyone who was in the great hall awaiting the trial. In one grand fashion, Queen Cersei eliminated her original target, her daughter-in-law and her newest enemy, the High Sparrow and all of his followers. Alas the victory cost her last remaining child, King Tommen as he committed suicide after witnessing the exploding hall.
13. David Bradley, AKA Walder Frey
A character who seldom appears on the show, but is still rather notorious as the man who seemingly eliminated all remaining Starks In the Red Wedding, became the very last person to die in Season 6. It’s not as if GOT was giving this man a steady paycheck, so the actor already had a diverse career and can be seen in a multitude of movie genres. To see the 74 year old David Bradley in action today, you have a couple of choices: North American viewers of the FX horror drama The Strain, know him as Professor Abraham Setrakian, the show’s main character who is enlisted to investigate and destroy a mysterious viral outbreak linked to some ancient vampire culture. Some time soon moviegoers can catch a small glimpse of him in a movie called The Young Messiah, which is obviously a movie about Jesus Christ. In the film, David plays an old rabbi.
How did he die: There were way too many satisfying and predictable deaths this year where evil men received poetic justice in virtually the same manner that they dished it out. Perhaps fans were getting tired of the unpredictable and needed satisfaction. The scene starts with a young servant girl serving the old tyrant Walder Frey a pie at the dinner table. The old man asks the young girl to fetch his sons. The servant girl then eerily states that his sons are here, in the room. Turns out the pie was made from the bones of Walder Frey’s sons. The servant girl then unmasks herself and reveals herself as Arya Stark killing the old man by slitting his throat, in the same manner in which the old man killed her mother. The final words Walder heard were “My name is Arya Stark. I want you to know that. The last thing that you’re going to see, is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.”
12. Natalie Dormer, AKA Margaery Tyrell; Finally Out of Silk and into Tight Jeans and a T-Shirt.
The character of Margaery Tyrell is one of bad luck for a person who had the wits to survive and to rule King’s Landing. She got herself into a position to rule by marrying into power, not once, not twice, but three times. That is one magic you know what she’s got there. Each time she was denied her power because of what someone else did that was out of her control, because when she was in control, no one could stop her.
How Did She Die: She died with the High Sparrow as described earlier in the article, after making a deal with him to exchange her brother for Cersei. Too bad because unlike the cleric, she never under-estimated Cersei, and tried to escape the blast that eventually killed her. She nevertheless made a career out of attaching herself to one doomed man after another and this time she could not escape the fate of her men.
What Does She Do Now: In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly she revealed that she was starring in, and writing a thriller called Darkness. She is also co-starring in Official Secrets with Martin Freeman and Harrison Ford. It seems her days of doing period pieces are over.
11. Kristian Nairn, AKA Hodor; He’ll Be Back
If there is one death that made us all sad, it occurred in episode 5. Not one person on this show grows up to be gentle and kind, but rather they become convoluted souls that probably don’t know the difference between right and wrong anymore. But in that death we also learn what it was that made him the gentle giant who could only mutter his name.
How Did He Die: The man died saving Bran Stark the young crippled boy who himself ruined Hodor’s life. In the most well written death of the season the young Bran, takes control of Hodor in the present while also looking into the past and ends up screwing up the whole situation. Bran Stark creates some form of time warp where the young stable boy Wyllis (Who later becomes Hodor) heard and felt his own death as Meera, fleeing from an army of wights while carrying Bran with her, told Hodor to “hold the door”. Her command flowed down through time.
What Does He Do Now: Normally when interviewed, actors always promote their upcoming projects. But not this man. In an interview with the Telegraph, the actor hinted that Hodor may be back. In Kristian’s own words “The interesting thing is it’s kinda left open, You don’t actually see him [die]. It’s implied. So who knows? He may come back as a White Walker, maybe he got away.”
10. Nethalia Tena, AKA Osha ; A Gypsy Musician
Probably the most selfless heroine in all of Westeros and proof that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. A wildling who becomes enslaved by the Starks after trying to steal Bran Stark‘s horse, ends up being the one person that keeps the two youngest Stark boys alive after Winterfell falls the first time around. She then devotes her life to keeping young Rickon Stark alive.
What Does She Do Now: Nethalia Tena is an accomplished musician as the lead singer of the band Molotov Jukebox, a band with a unique gyp-step (Balkan and Gypsy) sound. As many singers do, she is also a voice actress for an upcoming animated movie called Fishwitch which recently got screened at the Edinburgh film festival. The animated tale only lasts 8 minutes. The former Harry Potter star is bound to show up somewhere else. Along with her musical tours she also wrote and starred in a film called 10000km, about failed long distance relationships.
How Did She Die: After being captured by Ramsay Bolton along with young Rickon Stark, she once again tries to escape Winterfell in the same manner she did the first time, by seducing the sadistic ruler and then stabbing him. Alas she got stabbed first as Ramsay knew about the trick she used against Theon the first time around.
9. Ciarán Hinds, AKA Mance Rayder; Working with Martin Scorsese and Liam Neeson
We now move on to the dead from previous seasons starting with the Irish actor who was integral to the rise of Jon Snow. As the leader of the Wildlings, Mance Rayder was almost a demigod to his people as he was able to unite the various tribes into one fierce war machine before dying in Season 5.
What Does He Do Now: From an anarchist/atheist he will soon become a priest. He has been filming Silence, the newest historical drama from Martin Scorsese where he stars alongside Liam Neeson. The story follows two Jesuit priests as they travel to Japan where they face violent persecution for preaching Christianity and searching for their mentor. The film is supposedly a passion project for the director who has been developing it since 1991. Ciarán will play Alessandro Valignano (1539-1606), an Italian Jesuit missionary, who helped introduce Catholicism to the Far East. He is also filming a second movie, this time a boxing film called Bleed for This, which is yet another Martin Scorsese production.
How Did He Die: In season 4 he loses in battle to Stannis Baratheon and the Night’s Watch. He gets burned alive at the beginning of Season 5 by Stannis, after refusing to bow down to his conqueror. Jon Snow shows mercy on the leader as he is being burnt alive, by shooting him through the heart with an arrow, killing him instantly and ending his suffering.
8. Stephen Dillane, AKA Stannis Baratheon
He was an accomplished general and leader whose mind was blinded by a witch who showed him the road to grandeur that his ego so lusted after. His priestess guided him to kill his own brother, Renly, and finally guided him to do the unthinkable, convincing the now insane king to burn his own daughter at the stake thus pleasing the Lord of Light who would then guide him to victory at Winterfell. No single moment on this show was as gut-wrenching and tear jerking as hearing the screams of that little girl being burned alive by her own father. Thankfully the show killed off his character after that one.
What Does He Do Now: Stephen frequently stars alongside Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) in movies. This year is no exception as they are both in an Irish-English romance film called A Storm in the Stars. Where he truly shines across the pond is in the TV series The Tunnel where he plays the lead detective. The opening episode last year, attracted 2.2 million viewers in the UK and France. That’s not bad.
In North America, you can see him on a made for Netflix series later this year called The Crown, an American drama highlighting the Royal Family. He will be playing famed English artist Graham Sutherland. It will be the most expensive drama Netflix ever made so you know it will be heavily promoted.
How Did He Die: Stannis died in what appeared to be both a satisfying end to his life and a big plot hole. After losing the battle of Winterfell to that other monster, Ramsay Bolton, he somehow remains alive with only a wounded leg, after the rest of his army is decimated and seemingly all dead. Ramsay does not go searching after him, but somehow out of nowhere Brienne does and finds him at that specific moment. Karma took over and Brienne avenged the death of her former master, Renly Baratheon, by ending the life of his killer, Stannis.
7. Rose Leslie, AKA Ygritte
For those of you who live in the frozen northern parts of the world, women like Ygritte, covered up in pounds of heavy clothing and practically invisible to the eye, are the norm. That is why northerners look so forward to spring, when most of the clothes come off, revealing what we always envisioned during those cold dark months. When summer comes and everything comes off, well you have the picture on the right. To southern folk, you always have the picture on the right so it becomes a lot less exciting.
What Does She Do Now: This year is a big year for the actress, as we will first see her in Sticky Notes alongside Ray Liotta of Goodfellas fame. Here she plays a daughter taking care of her estranged father diagnosed with cancer. Sounds like a movie critics will love. But in a few months she will be a headliner in Morgan, a sci-fi horror flick directed by Ridley Scott. Here she portrays a feisty young woman. Sound familiar?
How Did She Die: Amidst all the violence and debauchery in Game Of Thrones, the writers installed one human moment in the GOT version of will they or won’t they get together. At the end of season 4, Ygritte dies in her final battle against her former lover Jon Snow. As the two face each other in battle, Ygritte raises her bow and prepares to strike down Jon. The young warrior, caught off guard, does nothing perhaps hoping she does nothing as well. Unfortunately, we never find out if she has the guts or vengeful mind to pull it off as Olly (who later kills Jon anyway) strikes down Ygritte with an arrow of his own, potentially saving his friend’s life. The scene ends with a messed up Jon running into the arms of the woman who just tried to kill him. Just before she dies she utters the words that defined the couple: ”You Know Nothing Jon Snow”. Lesson learned from all of this; men are just suckers and they need their bros to snap out of it.
6. Charles Dance, AKA Tywin Lannister
Many children, especially sons, have issues with their fathers. When we watch this man, Tywin Lannister, then we can all go back to our dad’s and realize that we have little to complain about. When we start complaining again, then just put on Game Of Thrones and watch this guy talk to his shortest son. Problem solved.
What Does He Do Now: Charles Dance has been in every movie you could probably think of as the bad guy for the last three decades. So what more can you expect from him then more of the same. In the remake of Ghostbusters he is the mean university dean that fires one of the heroines. In Pride Prejudice and Zombies he is the mean dad. In Underworld: Blood Wars he is a vampire. All three films are from this year, and this man is going to be playing some SOB for many years to come. He is just too good at it.
How Does He Die: In a children’s guide of what not to do to your mean father, he gets killed by his son Tyrion while sitting on the crapper performing a number 2. Admittedly the father did try to execute his son in a trial for a crime he didn’t commit and then slept with the love of his life. That’s pretty nasty. On second thought, in a land without laws, it may have been the right thing to do.
5. Michelle Fairley, AKA Catelyn Stark
The matriarch of the family that everyone roots for must have been quite a catch in her younger years as every older character on the show seems to pine about the crush they had on her as a child and whine about how she had to marry poor old Ned Stark.
What Does She Do Now: She can be seen virtually everywhere on every continent playing almost anybody from a female terrorist leader in 24: Live another Day, to a corporate hotshot in Suits. She won a best supporting actress award for an Irish TV Series called Rebellion where she plays a socialite that marries into a little wealth only to realize that her cosmopolitan society isn’t all that she thinks. The show can be seen on Sundancetv.
How Does She Die: Everyone remembers the show’s trademark moment in season 3, episode 9, The Red Wedding. The death orchestrated by Tywin Lannister himself gives the Boltons control of Winterfell thus introducing the sickest character of them all, Ramsay Bolton. You can also check out her dead son Richard Madden (AKA Robb Stark) in 2016 as he stars in an action thriller alongside Idris Elba called Bastille Day.
4. Sean Bean, AKA Ned Stark
From the matriarch, we go to the patriarch whose death pretty much made everything go to heck in the show. Ned Stark’s death is what cemented Game of Thrones as a show where no one actor was safe from losing his paycheck. Needless to say audiences got tired of finding someone new to root for every year and just put their foot down when Jon Snow got killed, thus keeping some of the good guys alive for just a little longer.
What Does He Do Now: His star among critics has risen since his character’s death, having won an Emmy award and receiving nominations for other words in the 5 years that he has been gone. His award came in the TV Series Accused (2012) where he won an international Emmy as best actor. He has produced and acted in Legends (2014-2015) where he was nominated for a people’s choice award. He is presently co-producing and starring in the The Frankenstein Chronicles which can be seen on A&E.
How Does He Die: In a moment that shows even the seal of a King is useless once a King is dead, Ned was beheaded for “treason” when he revealed that Joffrey was the son of Cersei and Jaime, and therefore had no real claim to the Iron Throne. Joffrey originally promised his bride to be, Sansa Stark that he would show mercy and force her father to join the Night’s Watch in exchange for his admission of treason. Instead he brutally beheaded her father and flaunted his death in front of her like a good model husband would. In true karmic fashion, Joffrey died later and the little you know what got what he deserved.
3. Mark Addy, AKA Robert Baratheon
Mark played a jolly old king, and prior to GOT was best known as the happy go lucky Dave in the Full Monty (1997), a man who decides to create his own strip-tease act. Poor guy hasn’t had much luck in film or TV since his short lived run on Game of Thrones. He did have a role in the British TV series Atlantis (2013-2015) that was probably as mismatched of a role as any. The pudgy 50 something year old played the mighty Hercules, the greatest of all heroes in Greek mythology. Admittedly in the series Hercules was an old drunk, so Mark fit the bill in that aspect.
How Does He Die: Way back in season 1, the king of all kings, who survived a life time in battle, goes down when he is gored by a wild pig (boar). Cersei, his loyal wife aided in his death by giving him lots and lots of wine before he went hunting for boar, hoping he’d get gored. She needed him dead because good old Ned Stark had proof that Cersei was cheating on her husband with her brother and Ned was dumb enough to tell Cersei about this, before telling the king.
2. Harry Lloyd, AKA Viserys Targaryen
His character was creepy and somewhat disturbing. A power hungry young man who wanted to regain the crown that he felt was rightfully his, as the son of the Mad King. He had the desire to rule, but lacked the skill. He used his sister Daenerys as a toy and pawn to get what he wanted. In the end we saw which sibling was qualified to rule, and indirectly his death helped launch the career of the Mother Of Dragons.
What Does He Do Now: Game of Thrones did not necessarily catapult this young actor to stardom. He has had a handful of roles on British TV, never a recurring one and never as one of the main stars. He did manage to secure a nomination for a British Academy Television Award in 2012, for The Fear, exactly one year after his demise on GOT.
How Does He Die: He is on this list for one reason, the creativity of his death. Viserys made a deal with Khal Drogo. Essentially he exchanged his sister for an army of Dothraki. By Episode 6, he still did not have his crown and he grew impatient with Drogo. In what has to be the dumbest move in the history of television, alone and surrounded by Dothraki, he threatens the life of the Khal and his own nephew if Drogo didn’t hurry up with the Crown that was promised to him. Drogo, in one of only three sentences he uttered all year, promises to give him “a golden crown that men will tremble to behold”, then pours molten gold on his head, killing him almost instantly. Even his sister seemed unfazed as she remarked that he couldn’t have been the true Targaryen heir, because “fire cannot kill a dragon”.
1. Jason Momoa, AKA Khal Drogo
The manliest of men who had the wimpiest of deaths. The leader of a race of fighters whose linguistic capability and fighting capability are reminiscent of Conan The Barbarian (who Jason did star as the same year as GOT) probably had the most financially lucrative career of them all. In the end the bare chested grunter who couldn’t last a season on the show had what it took to make it big.
What Does He Do Now: He is Aquaman in the DC Comics movie universe. He produced, wrote and directed Road To Paloma in 2014 and in the next few months audiences will see him in four movies in addition to his Aquaman role; The Bad Batch, Sugar Mountain, Going Under and Braven.
How Does He Die: In defense of his wife’s honor, he fights one of his men Mago, and receives a small scar from his blade. The wound gets infected. Daenerys, his wife, convinced Mirri Maz Duur to use her “blood magic” to preserve his life. Instead the witch in retaliation for her village that Drogo decimated, places a spell on the warrior that renders him a vegetable. The same spell also kills Daenerys’ unborn child. The future Dragon queen smothers her husband with a pillow to put an end to his life and misery. The man did rape and pillage at will so maybe his death was warranted even if it was just his tribe’s way of life.