Ranking Game of Thrones’ Character Endings: Who Won Out & Who Deserved Better?

Jaime ups and leaves Brienne in the middle of the night to go back to his old sister-lover and abandon all his character growth and development so they can rather pointlessly die together by having stuff dropped on them (in a long tradition of unsatisfying deaths that also includes Captain Kirk in Star Trek: Generations and Rocket Romano in ER). Worst of all, he claims to Tyrion that he “never really cared” about the innocent people of King’s Landing, which pretty much re-writes his entire character and all the actions that created him as the Kingslayer in the first place. We can only assume that he is lying to both Tyrion and himself to make himself feel better about his choice to come running back to Cersei out of misplaced love and loyalty. Brienne sees it as “protecting his Queen”, but Jaime and his fascinating and complex story deserved so, so much better.

41. Varys (Conleth Hill) – Dies

Varys was a compelling secondary character made great by Conleth Hill’s performance and by his heightened intelligence and knowledge from his network of spies, whose friendship with Tyrion, the other character known for his intelligence and political savvy, was one of his most interesting and endearing characteristics. So it’s just utterly disappointing to see Varys betrayed by Tyrion and executed by Daenerys after he correctly points out that Dany is on a slippery slope to mass murder and that Jon would be a better choice for King. Tyrion couldn’t have warned him to get out and go into exile? Or, even better, listened to him being absolutely correct as usual?

40. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) – Dies

Missandei’s death can be described by using the sometimes controversial term “fridging”. The trope of “women in refrigerators” originally referred to the killing off of a female character in order to motivate a male character, without providing a satisfying resolution to the female character’s own story, named for the death of one of Green Lantern’s girlfriends. These days the term can be used to refer to the death of one character in order to motivate another, regardless of gender, and that’s what happens to Missandei. There’s an argument to be made that, with all her happy plans with Grey Worm, Missandei’s story was at an end and she was ripe for a tragic death. But although her last words to Danaerys, “Dracarys”, are kind of badass, they also lead to the slaughter of all of King’s Landing, which is unfortunate, and her execution by Cersei feels like a pointless move designed simply to motivate Danaerys since Cersei is usually more calculating than, for example, her son Joffrey.

Game of Thrones Missandei death scene

39. Rhaegal the Dragon – Dies

Already wounded from a battle with his own undead brother, poor Rhaegal is the other character who is “fridged” to motivate Danaerys’ turn to the Dark Side, abruptly killed by Euron Greyjoy, because, according to the show-runners, the Queen had “forgotten” about Euron and his fleet. Really?!

38. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) – Dies

The idea that Melisandre’s story had come to an end with the death of the Night King makes sense, but the execution was a bit lacking. She just wanders off into the snow, takes off her magic necklace and dies, even though we’ve seen her take it off without immediately dying before and there’s no obvious reason for her to do this. Some explanation along the lines of being worn out from magical exertion or R’hllor only wanting her to live long enough to defeat the Night King would have helped.

37. Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – Dies

We were all expecting Cersei to die, but the way it happened was a bit underwhelming. It was a surprise to book readers because it didn’t fit the book version of Maggy the Frog’s prophecy to Cersei, that “the valonquar” (meaning “little brother”), would kill her. The TV version of Maggy’s prophecy left that part out, and it fudged the rest of the prophecy anyway (Cersei is indeed replaced by a younger and more beautiful queen, and all her three children die before her, but in the TV show, her daughter Myrcella is never crowned). But even without the valonquar prophecy, this is a deeply unsatisfying end for Cersei. True, she wasn’t as despicable as Ramsay Bolton, or her own son Joffrey, and didn’t need such an horrific end as those two. And the decision to make her pregnant in Season 8 also complicates viewers’ desire to see her killed in a horrible way. But she was still the last primary antagonist standing and watching her get crushed by falling rocks while weeping and pleading for the life of her unborn child is just not a satisfying way to see out a character we mostly loved to hate.


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