Thursday 22 March 2018

Game of Thrones: the deaths in numbers

How many characters in Game of Thrones have been killed by sword, and how many by poison? And who has racked up the most on-screen kills?

King Joffrey
King Joffrey
Conleth Hill, Aidan Gillen, Sean Bean, Game Of Thrones - 2011
The Purple Wedding, Joffrey and Margaery's union
Kit Harrington
Game of Thrones, Season 5
Game of Thrones

Rebecca Hawkes

Death is a pretty much constant presence in Game of Thrones: since its inception in 2011, the HBO fantasy series has become known for its robustly cut-throat attitude to cast members.

It's difficult to say just how many characters have been killed on-screen since the show began, but according to some tallies, the current figure stands at 5,348. Fans have even lovingly compiled montage videos, detailing every single death in the first four seasons (the first clip below is set, delightfully, to the strains of Dick Van Dyke singing Put on a Happy Face).

Now, the website has conducted a new analysis of the death count within the first four seasons of the show. Unlike the figure given above, their research focused on the visible deaths of named characters, as opposed to unlucky nameless extras.

Here are some of the most interesting facts to emerge from their analysis (contains spoilers):

133 named characters have been killed since the first episode of Game of Thrones (and the very first death was Ser Waymar Royce, at the hands of the White Walkers).

Six of these deaths were Lannisters (including characters belonging to the minor branches of the family, but not including "secret" Lannister Joffrey), four were Starks (Eddard, Robb and Starks-by-marriage Catelyn and Talisa) and just one was a Targaryen – although, with his "crown of gold", poor Viserys did get one of the most gruesomely impressive deaths of all.

116 of these deaths have been male, 17 of them female.

There were 37 named character deaths in season four (or 39 if you believe that The Hound and The Mountain definitely aren't coming back), 37 in season two, 33 in season one, and "only" 22 in season three.

The deadliest-ever episode for named characters was season four's The Watchers of the Wall, which saw 10 named characters meet their end, including Jon Snow's former lover Ygritte.

13 named characters have been killed by sword since the series began, and 10 by arrows. Seven have been burnt to death, courtesy of red priestess Melisandre, Daenerys Targaryen (who burns Mirri Maz Duur alive in season one), and Daenerys's dragons. Seven have had their throats slashed, and four have been poisoned.

When it comes to the question of the most off-screen kills, or kills pre-dating the beginning of the show, it's difficult to say who would triumph. It's even harder if we're talking about indirect deaths: Tywin Lannister, for example, could arguably be held accountable, or at least partially accountable, for all the slaughter at the Red Wedding, despite not being physically present at the event. And scheming Littlefinger could, technically speaking, be seen as responsible for The War of the Five Kings, and for all the resultant deaths.

However, when it comes to on-screen named character kills, it's Queen Daenerys Targaryen who tops the leaderboard, alongside Jaime Lannister: both have dispatched five characters. Jon Snow is just behind with four named character kills, while warrior woman Brienne, ironborn raider Dagmer and sadistic Ramsay Snow (now Ramsay Bolton) have all accrued three kills each.

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