It’s a special day for Game of Thrones fans — and no, it’s not because George R. R. Martin has finally finished The Winds of Winter. But there's still reason to celebrate: Today is the A Song of Ice and Fire author’s 70th birthday.
Born on September 20, 1948, in Bayonne, New Jersey, Martin would become one of the greatest fantasy authors of the modern era. And his sci-fi and horror writing isn’t anything to scoff at, either, including his novella Nightflyers, which is getting a television adaptation treatment from SYFY later this year.
While Martin is enjoying a happy birthday, one that’s no doubt bolstered by HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation winning yet another Best Drama award at the Emmys earlier in the week, we can’t help but think of all the GoT characters who didn’t get a chance to enjoy turning 70. Because George R. R. Martin killed them.
So, in honor of Martin’s birth, here are 15 lives he ended. This is not a complete list, because there have been literally hundreds of deaths in this series. Also, deaths that occurred in the later seasons of Game of Thrones, once it went past the books, aren’t included because technically the blood is on showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’s hands, not Martin’s. At least, not yet. Happy birthday/RIP.
The first casualty of the entire series, Ser Waymar was a ranger in the Night’s Watch whose young life was tragically cut short when the White Walkers killed him during a venture north of the Wall.
According to the A Song of Ice and Fire wiki, he was about 18 years old when he died. RIP.
Mycah was a young boy who Arya befriended during the trip from Winterfell to King’s Landing. As the son of a butcher, he probably handled goat meat at some point in his young life, but he became the ultimate scapegoat, killed by The Hound when Joffrey lies and says that the butcher’s boy and Arya beat him up.
He was 13. RIP.
Sansa Stark’s beloved direwolf, Lady, was unjustly put to death because Cersei demanded direwolf blood, even though it was Nymeria who had bitten Joffrey, not sweet Lady.
She was 7, in dog years, when she died. RIP.
Jory was Ser Eddard Stark’s captain of the guard at Winterfell, and he served his lord proudly and ably — until he’s killed on Jaime Lannister’s orders as retaliation for Catelyn Stark’s kidnapping of Tyrion Lannister.
He was 25. RIP.
All Viserys ever wanted was to be the King of Westeros. He never got to live out that dream, as the molten golden crown Khal Drogo gave him ended the Beggar King’s reign before it could begin.
He was 22. RIP.
With the death of Ned Stark, George R. R. Martin also killed any expectations that readers might’ve had that this was a “normal” fantasy series. Though politics were not his strong suit, Ned was a devoted family man with a good head on his shoulders... until it wasn't.
He was 36. RIP.
Kraznys mo Nakloz
It’s bad form to speak ill of the dead, but Kraznys mo Nakloz was a slave trader who did truly terrible things while “training” Unsullied. Even so, he was a person — was being the operative word because Daenerys had Yung Drogon burn him to a crisp.
His exact age at death is unknown. RIP.
The entire Red Wedding party
Each one of the deaths at the Red Wedding had meaning, but let’s be real — If I were to take the time to single out every one of the deceased individually, GRRM would be done with The Winds of Winter before I was done.
While the TV show made it so Matthos was Ser Davos Seaworth’s only son, in the books he’s actually one of seven children. Still, his death in a wildfire explosion at the Battle of the Blackwater is a pain no father should endure.
His exact age at death is unknown. RIP.
Actually, no, don’t pour some out for Joffrey Baratheon. In the words of Jon Snow in A Game of Thrones, he was “truly a little s***.”
He was 14 when he drank poison and died. [spits]
The last surviving member of a disgraced house, Dontos Hollard lost his knightship when he irritated Joffrey Baratheon, and lost his life when Littlefinger no longer had need of him after rescuing Sansa Stark.
He was 38. RIP.
Biter may not have had a real name or a tongue, but he did have teeth that were sharpened into points. Biting was his passion, and he died doing what he loved — biting part of Brienne of Tarth’s face off before Gendry stabbed him.
His exact age at death is unknown because, c’mon, we don’t even know his name. RIP.
Hey, for real, I’ve been joking seriously in my mourning of all these other characters, but this one stings. Oberyn Martell was a noble man and a gifted warrior, who may have liked to showboat a bit too much.
He was about 42 when he died. RIP.
This book-only character went on a horrifying journey to Meereen, hoping to marry Daenerys at the request of his conniving father. Instead, all his friends died, she rejected him, and then he tried to tame the dragons only to get horribly burned by Rhaegal’s fire and die in agony three days later.
He was 18. RIP.
Okay, so, like, in the books, Jon Snow hasn’t come back to life yet. So he’s technically still somebody who is dead because of George R. R. Martin. Technically he would have... still died, so he belongs on this list?
He was about 16 when he died. RIP?