17 Major Characters Who Died in Game of Thrones Season 8

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead!

Between two brutal battles and the all-out destruction of King’s Landing, you might think more of our favorite Game of Thrones characters would have perished in the final season. It was always a given that we would see some gruesome deaths—some of them warranted and some of them not so much. After all, Game of Thrones wouldn’t be Game of Thrones without characters dying, and that's exactly what we got. So to commemorate all of this season’s fallen characters, here’s a list of every major death that made us either reach for a tissue or shout with joy.

1. Eddison Tollett // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

One of the first deaths during the Battle of Winterfell was Eddison “Dolorous Edd” Tollett, loyal brother of the Night’s Watch. After saving Samwell Tarly from a pack of wights, Edd was stabbed in the back by one of them.

2. Jorah Mormont // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones
Iain Glen and Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan, HBO

Jorah Mormont’s last moments saw him fighting to the death to protect Daenerys Targaryen, the woman he loved.

3. Lyanna Mormont // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

Lyanna Mormont proved that size really didn’t matter when she took on a huge undead giant and stabbed it in the eye as it crushed her. She was one of the true heroes of the Battle of Winterfell.

4. Beric Dondarrion // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

We finally learned why Beric was brought back to life so many times: During the Battle of Winterfell, we saw that he was meant to protect and sacrifice himself for Arya Stark as he blocked out wights and allowed her to fulfill her destiny of killing the Night King.

5. Theon Greyjoy // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

Theon Greyjoy definitely made some questionable choices throughout the series, including betraying the Starks. But when he decided to return to fight for Winterfell, he was ready to right his wrongs. He died protecting Bran Stark during the battle, and finally got his redemption.

6. The Night King // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

Maisie Williams and Vladimir Furdik in Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams and Vladimir Furdik in Game of Thrones.


No one expected one of the biggest villains to be defeated so easily. Arya swung out of nowhere and stabbed the Night King with the dagger Bran had previously given her. The Night King burst into shards of ice, and so did all of of his fellow White Walkers. Without the White Walker magic to animate them, the horde of wights collapsed, too.

7. Melisandre // Died in “The Long Night," Season 8, Episode 3

Returning to Winterfell despite being banished, Melisandre knew she needed to carry out her destiny as well. She used her sorcery skills during the Battle of Winterfell and lit the trenches on fire, forming a barrier against the undead army. And when she reminded Arya of the prophecy she had told her back in season 3, her job was complete. When the battle was over, she walked out into the snow, dropped her necklace, and disintegrated.

8. Rhaegal // Died in "The Last of the Starks," Season 8, Episode 4

Rhaegal and Drogon soar in Game of Thrones
Rhaegal and Drogon soar in Game of Thrones

Sadly for Daenerys, Rhaegal—one of her two remaining dragons—was taken out by Euron Greyjoy's scorpion-equipped Iron Fleet as the Mother of Dragons's crew headed back to Dragonstone. It was not an end Rhaegal deserved, nor was it one that viewers were necessarily expecting.

9. Missandei // Died in "The Last of the Starks," Season 8, Episode 4

Missandei’s death was one of season 8's most shocking. After being captured in the attack by the Iron Fleet, she was executed in front of both Grey Worm and Daenerys. In a way, Missandei's murder was the first major move in the battle between the two queens.

10. Lord Varys // Died in "The Bells," Season 8, Episode 5

Varys’s intentions were pretty set when he learned that Jon was the true heir to the Iron Throne. He quickly took action to spread the secret, and that of course was a threat to Daenerys and her claim. In the end, Varys was torched by Drogon’s fire for treason—as Daenerys said he would be if he ever betrayed her.

11. Qyburn // Died in "The Bells," Season 8, Episode 5

One of the more satisfying deaths of the season goes to Qyburn, who was quickly tossed and killed by The Mountain simply for being in the way. After The Hound approached his brother, clearly ready for their highly-anticipated fight, the zombie-like giant killed the man who brought him back to life before taking on the person who really mattered ...

12. and 13. The Hound and The Mountain // Died in "The Bells," Season 8, Episode 5

Rory McCann and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson in Game of Thrones
Rory McCann and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson face off in Cleganebowl—finally!—in Game of Thrones.

Everyone knew that Cleganebowl was coming. While Daenerys was busy burning King’s Landing and its many innocent citizens, The Hound set out to find his brother, The Mountain—and Cleganebowl commenced. But because The Mountain had been brought back from the dead, it was almost impossible for his brother to kill him. In the end, The Hound was forced to sacrifice his own life—by throwing himself off the steps of the Red Keep along with his brother—in order to achieve his goal.

14. Euron Greyjoy // Died in "The Bells," Season 8, Episode 5

Everyone wanted Euron to get what he deserved, and he eventually did when he fought with Jaime. As both were wounded, Jaime found the strength to stab Euron and kill him.

15. and 16. Jaime and Cersei Lannister // Died in "The Bells," Season 8, Episode 5

Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in 'Game of Thrones'
Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau say their final goodbyes in Game of Thrones.
Helen Sloan, HBO

When Jaime left his fight with Euron badly injured to go find Cersei, we knew he wouldn’t make it. The pair went down to the basement to find a way out, but all of the exits were blocked. In the end they died embracing each other, as the walls of the castle caved in on them.

17. Daenerys Targaryen // Died in "The Iron Throne," Season 8, Episode 6

This was arguably the most shocking death of the entire series, let alone the season. After Dany began exhibiting similar traits to her father, "The Mad King," Jon realized there was only one way to stop her ... and that was to kill her. The Mother of Dragons died in Jon’s arms, and was taken away by a heartbroken Drogon.

10 Dramatic Downton Abbey Fan Theories

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey (2019).
Jim Carter as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey (2019).
Focus Features

Despite its exhaustively polished veneer, Downton Abbey was always a soap opera. Julian Fellowes's historical drama about a family of aristocrats and their many servants could never resist a good shocker, and it deployed plenty of them over the course of six seasons. The valet was suspected of murder (twice). One of the Crawley sisters got knocked up by her older married boyfriend, who promptly went missing. And another sister’s first sexual encounter ended in death. Considering all this, it should come as no surprise that fans have developed similarly wacky theories about the show. These fan theories include secret parentage, undercover spies, and, of course, poison.

Brush up on the best of them before the Downton Abbey movie hits theaters—just in case the whole miscarriage curse comes up.

1. Mr. Carson is Lady Mary’s father.

This theory all comes down to eyes. As you may recall from science class, certain genes are dominant and others are recessive. This is perhaps most easily understood through eye color, where brown eye color, a dominant gene, is expressed as BB and blue eye color, a recessive gene, is expressed as bb. A parent with brown eyes might carry the recessive blue eye gene (i.e. Bb), but if you plot out genetic probabilities on a basic Punnett square, two blue-eyed parents with double bbs have seemingly no shot at producing a Bb baby. Now, what does any of this have to do with Downton Abbey? Both Lord and Lady Grantham have blue eyes, but their eldest daughter, Mary, has brown eyes. This has led some fans to speculate that Lady Mary is actually the daughter of Carson, the family’s beloved butler who has always acted as as sort of second father to Mary. As debunkers have noted, two blue-eyed people can have a brown-eyed child, because recessive genes aren’t that simple. But isn’t it wild to think of Carson and Cora having an affair?

2. Thomas Barrow poisoned Kemal Pamuk.

One of the soapiest subplots of Downton Abbey's first season involved “poor Mr. Pamuk,” the dashing Turkish diplomat who makes a fateful visit to the Abbey. After enjoying a day of fox hunting and an evening of sparkling conversation, Kemal Pamuk drops dead ... right in Lady Mary’s bed. The cause, it is later revealed, was a heart attack, but many viewers suspected something more sinister. Earlier in the episode, the Crawleys’ closeted footman, Thomas Barrow, made a pass at Pamuk, which the diplomat rejected quite forcefully—so much so that he threatened to get Thomas fired. That placed the footman in a tricky situation, but it was nothing a little poison couldn't fix, and that’s exactly why some fans believe Thomas slipped something into Mr. Pamuk’s dinner.

3. Lady Grantham’s miscarriage started a curse.

In the Season 1 finale, tragedy strikes. The newly pregnant Lady Grantham slips on a bar of soap, falling onto the bathroom tiles and inducing a miscarriage. It’s a sad moment, but it’s also, Reddit claims, the source of the house’s future misfortune. According to this theory, the miscarriage kicks off a curse of deadly pregnancies: Lady Sybil dies in childbirth; Matthew Crawley dies in a car accident soon after the birth of his son; and when the maid Ethel Parks becomes pregnant with Major Bryant’s child, he dies, too.

4. Mr. Bates is actually a bad guy.

Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt in Downton Abbey (2019).
Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt in Downton Abbey (2019).
Focus Features

Downton Abbey invests a lot of time and effort in convincing us that John Bates, Lord Grantham's trusty, is a great guy—despite his checkered past and multiple murder allegations. But what if everyone’s assumptions about Bates are exactly right? Some Redditors believe Bates is just a remorseless serial killer, pointing to his intense hatred of his first wife and “creepy vibes” as evidence. Anna had better watch out.

5. Michael Gregson is a spy.

Lady Edith’s boss and lover Michael Gregson is the publisher of a London magazine, The Sketch. Thanks to his job, he knows tons of important people, travels all over the world, and speaks multiple languages. He eventually disappears inside Germany in season 4, and later dispatches to the Crawley family imply that he was a victim of Adolf Hitler’s “thugs.” (The show timeline places Gregson in Munich right around the time of the Beer Hall Putsch.) Or at least, that’s the official story. Another one suggests that Gregson was a British spy gathering intel on the insurgent Nazis—and he might not have died at all. His superiors simply needed to feed Edith a lie that would discourage her from poking around, so they made up a cover story that someone who follows the news would believe.

6. Lady Rosamund Painswick is Lady Edith’s mother.

When Lady Edith becomes pregnant with Michael Gregson’s child, she finds a strong support system in her aunt, Lady Rosamund Painswick. Upon learning Edith’s secret, Rosamund travels to Downton Abbey to help her niece through her pregnancy, and suggests adoption options as the due date draws near. Some fans have interpreted this empathy as a clue that Rosamund, not Lady Grantham, is Edith’s true mother. It could also explain why Edith looks (and behaves) so different from her sisters. Or it could just be a sign that Rosamund cares about her niece.

7. Lady Mary’s “operation” was IVF.

In season 3, Lady Mary claims to have undergone a “small operation” that will help her start a family with Matthew. It’s maddeningly unclear what this operation entails, but one wild guess is that she had an early version of IVF. The complete crackpot theory is that this was a cover for Matthew’s infertility, which the doctors wouldn’t disclose to him, presumably to preserve his 1920s masculinity.

8. Lady Mary’s son George becomes a Royal Air Force pilot in World War II.

Lady Mary’s son George is only five years old in the series finale of Downton Abbey. But that means he would theoretically be 18 in the fall of 1939, which is exactly when World War II broke out in Europe. He would almost certainly enlist, as show creator Julian Fellowes himself has suggested. But Decider has more specifically theorized that George would join the Royal Air Force (RAF), “with a desire to rebel against his emotionally distant mother and find purpose in a greater cause.” Sounds like George would be taking part in some dangerous missions, putting the entire family’s future at risk.

9. Public tours keep the estate alive.

The Crawleys spend much of Downton Abbey fretting about the future management of their estate—partially because Lord Grantham is kind of bad at it. But Lady Mary has taken over when the series ends, and Fellowes believes she’d find savvy ways to keep her family’s home in their hands. “She would probably have opened the house to the public in the 1960s, as so many of them did,” Fellowes told Deadline. “And she’d have retreated to a wing, and maybe only occupied the whole house during the winters. My own belief is that the Crawleys would still be there.”

10. The Dowager Countess keeps Denker and Spratt around for the drama.

Gladys Denker is a maid to the Dowager Countess. Septimus Spratt is her butler. These two do not like each other, and they’re quite public about it. Denker and Spratt’s unprofessional squabbles would’ve gotten plenty of other servants fired, but fans believe the Dowager Countess keeps them employed for her own amusement.

You Can Rent This Wizard of Oz-Themed Cottage in North Carolina


This year marks the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book. In addition to watching the film, you can opt for a more immersive way to celebrate the occasion. As Travel + Leisure reports, a cottage in West Jefferson, North Carolina offered on Airbnb is perfect for any traveling Oz fan—and it’s only $35 a night.

The studio cottage is considered a glamping destination and is slim on amenities—it has a breakfast nook, porch, sofa bed, and a Porta John—but the Oz-themed details more than make up for the lack of luxurious perks.

A pair of stockinged feet are visible under the home, hinting at a witch’s untimely demise; a character mural of Dorothy and her three escorts, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, appears on the side of the cabin; inside, various other decorations pay homage to Baum's books, including a pair of ruby slippers and a few stuffed Totos.

A cottage with a 'Wizard of Oz' theme in West Jefferson, North Carolina is pictured

If you go, you’ll have to act quickly. The cottage is open only in the spring, summer, and fall, as it has no heat.

The Airbnb listing has a perfect score across 16 reviews. You can book it here.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]