If there’s one thing that every Game of Thrones fan knows well, it’s that every single character’s days on that show are numbered.
No one episode seemed to embody that philosophy quite like Sunday’s season 5 finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” which killed off not one, not two, but six major characters in just under an hour. While it might not top the leader board in terms of the sheer quantity of blood spilled – that honor will forever belong to the “The Rains of Castamere” and its infamous Red Wedding – it’s hard to think of another finale that racked up quite so large a body count.
Now that we’ve emerged out of the state of immobilizing shock that the finale’s last scene left us in – and please take your time if you’re still mourning – we started wondering: Was this season finale truly Game of Thrones‘s most gruesome yet?
Warning: This post contains major spoilers for all 5 seasons of Game of Thrones. Proceed at your own risk.
5. Season 1, “Fire and Blood”
Number of Deaths: 2 – Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) and his and Daenerys’s (Emilia Clarke) stillborn son
Shock Level: About a 4 – you knew it was probably going to happen, but compared to birthing dragons, it was a pretty tame twist
4. Season 3, “Mhysa”
Number of Deaths: 4 – the Frey men that Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) meet on the road, plus one attempted murder of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) by Ygritte (Rose Leslie)
Shock Level: A solid 2 – we didn’t know those men, we didn’t really care about them and, frankly, we were still recovering from the Red Wedding the week before
3. Season 2, “Valar Morghulis”
Number of Deaths 5 – Maester Luwin (Donald Sumpter), Pyat Pree (Ian Hanmore), Qhorin Halfhand (Simon Armstrong), Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) and Doreah (Roxanne McKee)
Shock Level: 5 – Sure, Dany’s revenge spree was impressive, but it was Qhorin convincing Jon to betray the Night’s Watch that really earned it points.
2. Season 4, “The Children”
Number of Deaths: 5 – Jojen Reed (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), Shae (Sibel Kekilli), the Hound (McCann) and a Meereen citizen’s child
Shock Level: 8 – but the level of satisfaction we got from watching Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) kill his sadistic father (on the toilet, no less!) was a solid 10
1. Season 5, “Mother’s Mercy”
Number of Deaths: at least 6 – Selyse Baratheon (Tara Fitzgerald), Myranda (Charlotte Hope), Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free), Meryn Trant (Ian Beattie), Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington). And don’t even get us started on speculation over the death of Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
Shock Level: 12 – Now we know how Robb Stark (Richard Madden) must have felt at the Red Wedding