Four Letter Nerd

Game of Thrones Season 5 Obituaries

In continuing our yearly tradition, let’s take a look back, in remembrance, at those characters who perished on this season’s Game of Thrones:

Mance Rayder

When: Episode One/The Wars to Come

Where: The Wall

How: A merciful arrow from Jon Snow

Mance Rayder was the “king beyond the wall” who united all the Wildling tribes with the common cause of doing whatever is necessary to get south. Though our early impressions of the man give credence to Rayder as an anarchist who wants to cause trouble for the watch, all the man really wanted was to get his people away from the WhiteWalkers. His conversations with Jon were some of the best in the show and I believe one of the shows biggest mistakes was not having Mance involved more with season 4 (you know, the season where he was leading a large army to invade Westeros???).

Stannis’s army ultimately ended the Wildling threat, capturing Mance and requiring a bending of the knee to “the rightful king of Westeros” if he wanted to be free. But Mance refused, and so he was sentenced to death by burning. Jon, who gained much respect for Mance the previous two seasons, did not want to see the man burned alive. So he shot an arrow, killing Mance before the flames overtook his body.


When: Episode 2/The House of Black and White

Where: Meereen

How: Executed for disobeying Daenary’s orders

Mossodor was a well-spoken former slave who served as one of Daenarys’s advisors. How did he come to that position of power? No idea. He just kind of showed up early this season and started talking, giving advice to the mother of dragons like he had a right to do so. He made one brief appearance last year, giving a pep talk to the slaves of Meereen, telling them why they should fight for Daenarys. So it wasn’t his first appearance, but I hate it when shows place characters into the narrative and act like they’ve always been here without any kind of introduction or development for the character.  I mean, it makes sense for an educated former slave to advise Daenarys, but couldn’t we have met him sometime last season?

Mossodor believes in harsh punishment for the former slave owners. So when one is captured, instead of letting him go to trial, Mossodor breaks into his cell and kills him. Dany sentenced Mossodor to death for disobeying her, sparking a riot between former slaves and former masters.

Janos Slynt

When: Episode 3/The High Sparrow

Where: The Wall

How: Executed by Jon Snow for defying his orders

Tyrion Lannister once said of Janos Slynt (in one of my favorite quotes of the show and directly to the man’s face), “I am not questioning your integrity, Mr. Slynt. I am denying that it ever existed.”

Janos Slynt was the head of King’s Landing’s city watch at the start of season 2, a position he “earned” after betraying Ned Stark. Knowing Slynt was not trustworthy, Tyrion sent him to the Night’s Watch. Slynt reappeared in season 4, serving as a lackey to Allister Throne. His cowardice at the wall battle may have been worse than his betrayal of Stark or the baby he stabbed to death in a brothel (yes, he did that to one of Robert Baratheon’s bastards). So I do not believe a single tear was shed with the despicable Slynt met his deserved end, a beheading by Lord Commander Jon Snow when he refused Jon’s order to go to Grey Guard.

Various Members of the Unsullied

When: Throughout the Season

Where: Meereen

How: Killed in a brothel while “being held and sung to” and while fighting various Sons of the Harpy throughout the season.

I thought this would be a great moment to address one of the issues many had with season 5; the weakening of the Unsullied. And it was a rough season for the Unsullied, who spent most of it defending Meereen against sudden attacks from the Sons of the Harpy. How could such a strong military faction be made to look silly so often against masked upstarts?

Think of it like professional wrestling. In pro wrestling, the heel wrestlers (the bad guys) are built up for months and months at a time as evil, legitimate threats. In order to do that, they have to commit horrible acts to the face wrestlers (the good guys) and be very successful with those attacks. That face may be the current/multiple time world champion with a prestigious list of opponents he’s defeated in battle. But that heel must be able to get the better of the face for a time in or out of the ring because if he cannot, what good is the moment when the face ultimately defeats the heel? If the face can squash the heel quickly and easily, then the reaction to the final defeat that ends the feud is muted because the heel was never built up to be anything the face needed to be concerned about it.

This same philosophy was at work for season five. The Unsullied have a reputation already of being a dominant fighting force for two seasons. The Sons of the Harpy appeared for the first time this season and, in order to be established as a true threat to Dany and her rule in Meereen, had to get victories against the Unsullied. If the Unsullied could just squash them easily, then the threat to Dany’s rule is never established, the fighting pits never have a reason to be reopened, and Drogon never has a reason to appear at those pits and save his “mother.”

And much like those face wrestlers, I believe the Unsullied will be back (especially when their leader, Grey Worm, returns to health) and return to their dominant form. But they had to struggle this season because the Sons of the Harpy needed to be taken seriously by viewers and show characters alike.

So here is to all the Unsullied who gave their lives in service of Daenarys Stormborn this season. And I look forward to the ancient fighting force to be a significant part of Dany’s plans (whenever she returns to Meereen) in future seasons.

Barristan Selmy

When: Episode 4/The Sons of the Harpy

Where: Meereen

How: Died Fighting the Sons of the Harpy

Barristen Selmy was Lord Commander of the King’s Guard when the show started. When Joffrey dismissed him from service at the end of season one, Barristen the Bold stormed out, reemerging at the beginning of season three in the service of Daenarys.

Ser Barristen was a great source of information for Daenarys and the audience with his knowledge of her father (the Mad King) and oldest brother (Rhaegar). He guarded her for two plus seasons, falling in a street fight while coming to the aid of Grey Worm as he fought off the Sons of the Harpy.

Maester Aemon

When: Episode 7/The Gift

Where: The Wall

How: He was old (A Game of Thrones first, a death by “natural causes”)

Maester Aemon was a mentor and advisor to Jon Snow and Sam throughout their formative years as members of the Nights Watch. He could’ve been king if he hadn’t taken the maester’s vows before the throne passed to his younger brother, Aegon V. Always possessing great advice for those who sought it, Aemon’s wisdom and level-headed approach to managing affairs at the Wall have been and will continue to be sorely missed.

Old Woman in the North

When: Episode 7/The Gift

Where: Winterfell

How: Flayed and Murdered for trying to assist Sansa’s escape

 Early in the season, this old lady serving as maid to Lady Sansa informed her that the North has her back. The next time we see her, she’s hanging from a pole after being flayed by Ramsey. No show can snuff out the hope of its viewers quite like Game of Thrones.


When: Episode 8/Hardhome

Where: Hardhome

How: Beaten to death by Thormund Giantsband

Rattleshirt, also known as the Lord of Bones for the bones he takes from his victims and then wears as armor, was a wildling leader and advisor to Mance Rayder. After the Wildling defeat in their attempt to take the Wall, Rattleshirt fleed with the uncaptured Wildlings to Hardhome. His death was anti-climatic, as Thormund knocked him down and bludgeoned him repeatedly so he could talk to someone more reasonable.


When: Episode 8/Hardhome

Where: Hardhome

How: Overrun by Wight Children

So much promise here with Birgitte Hjort Sorenson owning her short-lived role as a female wildling leader who supports Jon and Tormund in their attempt to get the Wildlings off the island. I remember making note of who this character is and what possible inspirations could be coming from the text to inspire her character. But the mood shifted suddenly as Wights appeared out of the ground and, after getting her children to a boat, Karsi turned around and fought to her death, succumbing to a pack of former wildling turned Wight children. We may see her again fighting for the White Walkers, but Jon and Tormund lost a very strong potential ally here.


When: Episode 8/Hardhome

Where: Hardhome

How: Fighting the White Walkers

Another wildling leader on Hardhome who fell fighting the White Walkers, Loboda was the new leader of the Thenns, replacing Styr, who was killed by Jon Snow last season.


When: Episode 9/The Dance of Dragons

Where: The North

How: Burned as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light

No death was more tragic than the loss of Shireen. Born with greyscale and resented by her mother, Shireen still kept a positive attitude with her appreciation of various books and stories. She taught Ser Davos and Gilly how to read. And her star was shining as bright as any season this year with her positive interactions at the Wall and the endearing moments she had with her loving father, Stannis.

But we were all being set up with those moments. The positive character developments were only a means of increasing the emotional impact of Shireen’s demise when her own loving father sent her to be burned in some religious ritual in an attempt to turn the tide for his struggling forces.

Selyse Baratheon

When: Episode 10/ A Mother’s Mercy

Where: The North

How: Hung herself, unable to deal with the grief of her daughter being sacrificed

 The true religious zealot of the Baratheon family (though Stannis may have stolen that title for himself at the end), Selyse was as unpopular as any character in the history of the show. Her resentment towards her daughter and her inability to stand on her on two feet put her at odds with all Game of Thrones fans. And more screen time would include her with the likes of Joffrey and Ramsey on the most hated character list. But we were only meant to experience Selyse’s loose screws in moderation. A firm supporter of the Lord of Light, Selyse approved of any burning ritual Melisandre proposed until the final one, involving her daughter, tipped her over the edge. Stannis found her body hanging from a tree in the forest just before he rode off to his last battle.

Meryn Trant

When: Episode 10/A Mother’s Mercy

Where: Braavos

How: Stabbed repeatedly by Arya for killing Syrio Forel back in Season One

Trant’s role of late had not been very prominent. In fact, you may not have remembered him as anything but that guy who Joffrey ordered to hit Sansa. But Meryn Trant was a man who followed orders blindly with no concern for the morals behind what he’d been commanded to do. Trant killing Syrio Forel back in season one was the reason why the member of the Kingsguard was on Arya’s hit list when he arrived in Braavos as protection for Mace Tyrell. And while this show has featured from very brutal, Arya’s repeated stabbing of Meryn Trant is up there with the most gruesome of them all.

Stannis Baratheon

When: Episode 10/A Mother’s Mercy

Where: The North

How: Struck Down by Brienne of Tarth After Being Exhausted From Defeat

Unlike Selyse, the range of emotions for Stannis amongst fans ranged from admiration to loathing. And season five emphasized the best and worst of the man before bringing his attempt at claiming the throne of Westeros to an abrupt end.

From the moment Stannis received a letter from Ned Stark informing him that he was the true heir to his brother Robert’s throne, “the rightful king” had only one purpose; claim the Iron Throne. And once he believed it was his destiny, he was willing to go through any means to achieve this goal. That included killing his brother with a shadow baby to gain his forces. But after the failed attack on King’s Landing at the end of season 2, everything else Stannis did reeked of desperation. More people were burned, leaches were thrown in pots, and a whole lot of sulking and sitting around happened in seasons three and four before “the rightful king” finally left his giant rock to aid the Nights Watch in their defense of the Wall.

That victory set us on the roller coaster season five was for Stannis. Most of the season, the man was a fan favorite, unafraid to speak his mind and certain in his actions, knowing that he must push his claim to the crown soon or it would be forgotten. But as Stannis began to march, Winter started showing its early signs and the loses brought out the worst of the man that we had seen glimpses of in those early seasons. The last straw was the sacrifice of his daughter in hopes of reviving his dying chances of claiming the Iron Throne. When that did not turn the tide (making things worse with the lose of men) Stannis marched into certain defeat, knowing he had no other direction to turn, and his forces were routed outside of Winterfell, where he was struck down by Brienne of Tarth.

Stannis was the fourth of the five “War of Five Kings” participants to meet his end. He leaves behind one short-fingered peasant turned knight and a red priestess who discovered too late that Stannis was not the “one that was promised.”


When: Episode 10/A Mother’s Mercy

Where: Winterfell

How: Shoved Off a High Platform by Theon/Reek

Myranda was the female version of Ramsey, spending three seasons torturing and hunting for and with Roose Bolton’s bastard. I expected her end to come at the hands of Ramsey when she got jealous and went too far in attempting to be Ramsey’s only lover. But she stayed loyal to the man right up to her end, becoming a victim of a sudden change in mindset from the previously brainwashed Theon/Reek.

Myrcella Baratheon

When: Episode 10/A Mother’s Mercy

Where: On a boat leaving Dorne

How: Poison from a kiss on the check by Ellaria Sand

Oberyn told Cersei back in season four that “We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne.” Apparently, his paramour, Ellaria, wasn’t listening. Myrcella was simply a background character through the first two seasons until she was sent off to Dorne for an arranged marriage with Trystane Martell. But she reemerged this year as a happy, well adjusted teenager who had grown to love her now familiar surroundings in Dorne. But Game of Thrones is where “Happily Ever After” gets mauled with a machete. And for Myrcella, after experiencing a tender moment with her real father, succumbed to the poison put in her system by the lips of Ellaria and the resources of the Sand Snakes. Now, Myrcella is a character who we haven’t seen for certain that she is dead. But unless someone snuck some antidote on the boat, it’s highly unlikely.

Jon Snow

When: Episode 10/A Mother’s Mercy

Where: At the Wall

How: Stabbed repeatedly by the other members of the Night’s Watch

It’s funny how the producers of the show and the actor playing the character can insist “Jon’s dead” and “he’s not coming back,” but nobody seems to believe them. And while I personally don’t believe them either, I would regret not saying some final words for Jon Snow in case they truly meant to kill off Jon Snow for good. Because after all, Jon is dead. I don’t think there’s any question. The only debate would be if some form resurrection is coming.

But Jon has been a feature player from the beginning, from his time as the bastard Ned Stark brought home to Winterfell to Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

We watched Jon grow at the wall, training under Allister Thorne in Season One. He went out on the great ranging in season two, where instead of killing the wildling girl, Ygritte, Jon spared her life, only to be captured by her later. That single decision may have been what ultimately cost Jon his life. For if he had just killed Ygritte, she would not have captured him, forcing him to infiltrate the Wildling camp. Many did not trust Jon throughout the fourth or fifth season because of his time with Mance Rayder and his dalliance with the girl whose hair was kissed by fire.

But Jon’s maturity through the final two seasons was evident by his realization of impending threats nearing the Wall. His warnings of the Wildling invasion were ignored by most of the leaders of the Nights Watch. And they still don’t seriously value the White Walkers and the danger they pose to Westeros.

Unlike many of his fellow members of the Nights Watch, Jon was willing to put aside previous grievances he had for the greater good. That willingness led to Jon’s death. Let’s hope “Lord Snow” receives a reprieve.

This is the third of a five part series putting a cap on season five. Come back tomorrow for a quick preview of next season.

Monday: Season Finale Recap:


Today: Season 5 Obituaries

Tomorrow: Six Things For Season Six/An early look at next season

Monday: Comparing Game of Thrones to the Greats

About author View all posts

Jeff Merrick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *