As the long-awaited final season of Game of Thrones bids a final farewell to most of our favourite characters, it's a perfect time to look back on the whole cast from season one, as we remember all of the Westerosi faces that were taken from us too soon.
When you think back to all of the epic death scenes - including the Red Wedding, the Battle of the Bastards and the Battle of Winterfell - there are actually a lot of significant characters we've had to say our goodbyes to.
The show has also re-cast many characters over the years; Tommen Baratheon, Daario Naharis, The Mountain, Dickon Tarly, The Three-Eyed Raven, et al.
Here’s our helpful, alphabetical guide to all the main characters and the cast who play them on HBO’s Game of Thrones – alive and/or dead.
Maester Aemon (Peter Vaughan)
The long-serving Maester of the Night’s Watch was born Aemon Targaryen – the last known Targaryen in Westeros. His casting vote saw Jon Snow elected Lord Commander of the Watch. Master Aemon died as Snow fought Walkers north of the Wall.
Lord Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen)
Brothel keeper and political dabbler, “Littlefinger” Baelish was among the best connected men in Westeros. But he gambled too far, trying to pit Sansa Stark against her shape-shifting assassin sister Arya. (The fact that she was a shape-shifting assassin really ought to have given him pause.)
Believing he had caught them in his spider’s web, he discovered too late that it was he who was the helpless fly. Sansa accuses him of killing his wife (and her aunt) Lysa, and of plotting the murder of Hand of the King Jon Arryn, and framing her father, Ned Stark – all true. A death sentence was inevitable – and as it happened, Arya was on hand to smilingly slit his throat.
Littlefinger had been introduced to viewers as Master of Coin on King Robert Baratheon’s Small Council, and later conspired to assassinate horrid King Joffrey. Catelyn Stark was his one true love. He would wed her sister Lysa Tully and push her to her death as she turned on Catelyn’s daughter Sansa. “In his own horrible way, I believed he loved me,” Sansa would tell Arya after Baelish’s bumping off.
Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson)
Joffrey was a product of the incestuous relationship between Queen Cersei and Kingsguard warrior Jaime Lannister and, even by Game of Thrones standards, irredeemably unpleasant.
A bully and a braggart, Joffrey crumpled into a snivelling wreck when Stannis Baratheon’s forces surrounded King’s Landing. His marriage to Margaery Tyrell was short-lasting, with the dreadful young king dispatched by poison before the wedding feast was completed.
Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free)
Joffrey’s sweet and naive younger sibling, Myrcella was a rare carrier of Lannister blood who seemed not to possess a calculating side. Not that it did her any good. Shipped off to Dorne by her uncle Tyrion for an arranged marriage into House Martell, she was poisoned by Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes as retribution for the death of Oberyn Martell.
Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony)
The younger brother of King Robert and Stannis Baratheon, Renly was also the secret lover of Ser Loras Tyrell. He could be cunning and, with Robert dead, wisely urged Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell to kidnap Joffrey and rule the Seven Kingdoms. A political marriage to Margaery of House Tyrell was intended to boost his claim to the throne – an ambition that came undone when Stannis and Melisandre sent a shadow demon to kill him.
Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy)
The once dashing leader of House Baratheon who toppled the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen and claimed the Iron Throne. In his later years Robert sank into gluttony and lechery and endured a heartless political marriage to Cersei Lannister. He never stopped pining for his true love, Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark. Robert died in a stag hunt, having been fed super-potent wine by Cersei.
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane)
Robert’s younger sibling was a man of principle, but one also fatally seduced by Red Witch Melisandre and her prophecy that the Lord of Light had marked him for greatness. He demonstrated courage and strategic skill in almost defeating the Lannisters at the Battle of the Blackwater, and later toppled the Wildling King Beyond the Wall Mance Rayder. But burning his daughter Shireen was a sacrifice too far and, with his forces deserting him, he was defeated by the Boltons at Winterfell.
Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman)
As short-lived boy king of Westeros, wide-eyed Tommen was easily manipulated by both his wife Margaery and scheming mother Cersei. His indecision allowed the conflict between Cersei and the Sparrows spiral out of control. With Margery perishing in Cersei’s destruction of the Great Sept, he calmly jumped from his window.
Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon)
The utterly loathsome Ramsay was the illegitimate product of a union between Roose Bolton (not very likeable either) and a peasant woman raped by Roose after she wed without his permission (the husband he had hanged). A rotten apple that didn’t fall very far from the tree, Ramsay tortured Theon Greyjoy with sociopathic glee and similarly mistreated his arranged bride Sansa Stark. After killing his father, stepmother and half-brother, he lost the Battle of the Bastards to Jon Snow and was fed by Sansa to his own peckish hounds.
Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton)
Having owed fealty to House Stark, Bolton enjoyed his moment of betrayal. “The Lannisters send their regards,” he cackled, plunging a dagger into pregnant Talisa Stark. But as Lord of Winterfell he failed to install loyalty and few grumbled when he was cut down by heir Ramsay.
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)
Brienne was introduced as a member of Renly Baratheon’s Kingsguard. She was haunted by his slaying at the hand of the smoke demon, holding herself responsible. Blamed for Renly’s death she fled the camp, having sworn loyalty to Catelyn Stark. She subsequently escorted Jaime Lannister back to King’s Landing, their antagonism developing into an unexpected friendship.
When Catelyn perished at the Red Wedding, Brienne considered her oath of protection transferred to the dead woman’s children. She would finally avenge Renly, killing Stannis after his defeat by Ramsay. She has since allied with Jon Snow and tested her mettle against Arya in single combat. Brienne even patched up her differences with The Hound, whom she seemingly left for dead. All of that, and now she's even confronted the White Walkers. In the Battle of Winterfell she fought alongside Jaime Lannister after being knighted in season eight, episode two. Only to be abandoned by him, post virginity-loss, twenty-four hours later. Her story came to a conclusion as the sole female member of King Bran's Small Council.
Bronn (Jerome Flynn)
The foul-mouthed mercenary saved Tyrion Lannister’s life by defeat Lysa’s champion in trial by combat at the Eyrie. His expertise would prove vital during the Battle of the Blackwater and he was knighted by Joffrey. Bronn later accompanied Jaime on his mission to rescue Myrcella in Dorne and fought at his side at Riverrun. Bronn was sent on a mission by Queen Cersei to kill her brothers Jaime and Tryion but came clean to them as soon as he arrived in Winterfell, believing he was on the losing side. He's already saved both their lives once, anyway. He has been repaid, in a sense, by being made King Bran's Master of Coin.
Gregor Clegane (“Thor” Björnsson)
“The Mountain” was a freakishly tall knight, fiercely loyal to House Lannister. When Tyrion Lannister demanded justice by trial by combat upon being accused of killing King Joffrey, Cersei nominated Gregor as her champion. This made the fight personal for Tyrion’s representative, Oberyn Tyrell, as the Mountain had brutally slain Oberyn’s sister during Robert’s Rebellion. The Viper died in the tussle, with The Mountain sustaining fatal injuries. Nevertheless, he was re-animated by the necromancer Qyburn and continued to serve Cersei until his brother arrived during Daenerys' destruction of Kings Landing. After years of hype and speculation, Cleganebowl finally happened. After a brutal fight, the two brothers fell to their deaths from the burning tower.
Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann)
“The Hound” is the younger brother of “The Mountain”. As Prince Joffrey’s bodyguard, he was cruel and ruthless. But he demonstrated a human side too, offering to protect Sansa Stark during the Battle of the Blackwater and later becoming a traveling companion of Arya Stark.
He was seemingly killed by Brienne of Tarth, but death cannot keep a dogged warrior down, and after studying with a warrior-turned-preacher (Ian McShane), he allied with the Brotherhood Without Banners and assisted in Jon Snow’s mission to capture a White Walker. At King’s Landing he confronted Gregor and quietly informed his ghoulish sibling that he would die at Sandor’s hand. That is, literally, fighting talk - and right he was. The Hound survived the Great War against the Night King and the White Walkers, with one ambition in mind - he would finally reunite with his brother Gregor to get his revenge. As Daenerys and Drogon wiped out Kings Landing, Sandor and Gregor did battle before falling to their deaths in flames of rubble.
Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer)
If there's any evidence the Lord of Light is real - it's Beric Dondarrion. He was apparently resurrected from the dead five times by the Red Priest.
He went down in a blaze of glory during the Battle of Winterfell, saving vital lives. He threw himself at the White Walkers to save Arya and The Hound, of course leaving the young assassin to go on and finish the Great War.
Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa)
A warlord of the Dothraki, Drogo was introduced as Daenerys Targaryen’s brutish husband-to-be. Yet their marriage blossomed into genuine love, and she was devastated when he was killed by a minor wound turned septic. Drogon the dragon is named in his memory.
Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton)
Edd was an original member of the Night’s Watch gang when Jon Snow first arrived at the Wall. He's remained a loyal fighter throughout the series.
Sadly though, he was an easy character to kill off in the Battle of Winterfell - he was the first to go and died trying to save Samwell Tarly from the White Walkers.
Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide)
The embittered ruler of the Iron Islands turned his son Theon against his adoptive Stark family. He himself came to a sticky end with the return of younger brother Euron, who flung his older sibling to his doom.
Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk)
Game of Thrones’ latest villain, Euron declared himself the living manifestation of the Drowned God. Crowned leader of the Ironborn in Balon’s place, his early ambition was to travel to Slaver’s Bay, furnish Daenerys Targaryen with boats and take her, forcibly, as his wife. His plans, however, took a dramatic turn when he stuck an alliance with Cersei Lannister and vowed to put a prince in her belly. (yuck!) The Queen couldn't have been more onboard with Euron's plan, after he brought her the Golden Company and killed one of Daenerys' precious dragons Rhaegal.
Euron's death was inevitable - and quite obviously written into plot for the purpose of Jaime Lannister finding out the love of his life/twin sister had been sleeping with another man. Despite a couple of stabbings, Jaime eventually finished Euron off. He was left bleeding to his death, while Jaime fled to save Cersei.
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen)
Theon was raised at Winterfell and considered a brother to the ruling Starks in all but name. But his father Balon turned him against his adoptive family, and he staged a botched invasion of Winterfell. He later fell into the clutches of Ramsay, who tortured and castrated Theon and forced him to take the name Reek. Fleeing with Sansa, he at last earned the respect of sister Yara and struck an alliance with Daenerys.
He later reunited with his stepbrother Jon Snow, goes on to win back the respect of the Iron Islanders by having them kick him in the crotch – long story – and aligned with them to rescue his sister Yara. In an ultimate redemptive arc, he died trying to kill the Night King (after protecting Bran from endless streams of White Walkers) in the Battle of Winterfell.
Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)
Theon’s older sister is a natural leader, and was on the brink of claiming the Salt Throne until silver-tongued Euron intervened. Crossing the Narrow Sea with the Iron Fleet, she entered a coalition with Daenerys – with whom she also appears to share a romantic spark. She was later captured by Euron, along with the surviving Sand Snakes from Dorne, and dragged in chains through King’s Landing. Thankfully, her brother Theon was determined to free her and cut her loose.
Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson)
The leader of the Unsullied, a legion of warrior eunuchs commanded by Daenerys Targaryen, has become one of the Mother of Dragons’s closest advisors – though Tyrion is fazed by his lack of any sense of humour. He has also begun a somewhat unlikely relationship with Daenerys’ advisor Missandei. Proving his fighting skills in the Battle of Winterfell, Grey Worm survived the Great War against the Night King and his White Walkers. Seeing Cersei behead his love, Missandei, a few days later seemed to instigate a Daenerys-esque rage; he killed many surrendered Lannisters in The Last War. Following his Queen's death, Greyworm set sail for Naath with the Unsullied.
Gendry (Joe Dempsie)
The sole surviving illegitimate son of King Robert Baratheon. A blacksmith by trade he fled Joffrey’s purge of Robert’s "bastards" and took up with Arya. He was later handed over to Melisandre who leeched his royal blood, believing it possessed magical properties. He seemed to pass out of the Game of Thrones timeline when Ser Davos sprung him from Dragonstone and he set off for King’s Landing in a rowing boat.
But we were reunited with him in season seven, where he returned to low-key employment as a smith in King’s Landing. Ser Davos wanted him on Team Jon, and so Gendry was talked into journeying north to help retrieve one of the undead invaders. He played a crucial part in the battle there, running back to the Wall and alerting Ser Davos that the rest of the party were in deathly danger. After much flirtation and romance, he proposed to Arya after The Battle of Winterfell but was rejected so she could prioritise her kill list.
Gilly (Hannah Murray)
A Wildling and one of the cursed “wives” of Craster, Gilly fled Craster’s Keep when members of the Night’s Watch mutinied, bringing with her a newborn son. At Castle Black, she named the baby Sam. She and Tarly become romantically involved and she accompanied him as he travelled to the Citadel to study as a Maester.
But it was Gilly who makes the breakthrough, alerting Sam to an old passage in which a “Prince Ragger” has his marriage annulled so he can wed again in secret. This is Rhaegar Targaryen and, though neither she nor Sam quite put it together at first, they have stumbled upon a secret that has since turned Westeros on its head.
Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju)
With the killing of Mance Rayder, the hulking Giantsbane became de facto leader of the Wildings. Though he has misgivings about working with “Crows” south of the Wall, he is a firm ally of Jon Snow – and has been throwing significant looks toward Brienne of Tarth. Though many thought he died when the Night King brought the Wall down, Tormund and his pals survived and rushed towards Winterfell to fight in the Great War. The strong - but sweet - giant survived the fight against the undead and headed North, with Ghost, to be back where he belongs.
Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha)
A deeply mysterious member of the Faceless Men. Imprisoned at Harrenhal, he helped Arya escape and invited her to join his organisation in Braavos. But when Arya took up the offer, she was initially reluctant to leave behind her own identity and “become no one". After her defeat of the Waif, Jaqen seemed pleased and declared that Arya had indeed achieved a state of “no one”-ness.
High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce)
Though assuming the persona of a humble, unworldly man, the leader of the Sparrows was soon revealed as deeply Machiavellian. He allowed Cersei to believe she was using him, but turned the tables and had her cast into prison when her affair with cousin Lancel was revealed. The Sparrow was in turn outsmarted, as Cersei destroyed the Great Sept with Wildfire.
Hodor (Kristian Nairn)
“Hold the door… hold the door” screamed Meera Reed as the Walkers rampaged through the Three-Eyed Raven’s hideout. Thus was revealed the dreadful truth behind this gentle giant’s simple-mindedness. Hodor became Hodor when time-travelling Bran Stark “warged” into the adolescent then known as Wylis. He echoed Reed’s future demand that he “hold the door” – which became the monosyllabic grunt “hodor”. Across the world, millions of jaws were scraped from the floor in shock.
Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey)
An orphan from King’s Landing who became a travelling companion of Arya Stark. Along with the Stark princess, he was taken prisoner at Harrenhal and subsequently escaped with her. In a rare example of a Game of Thrones character having a happy ending, he retired from adventuring to become a baker’s apprentice at a roadside inn – but not before presenting Arya with a loaf in the shape of a dire wolf.
Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
The only daughter of Tywin Lannister and twin of Jaime. Cersei is cruel and vain – but her love of her children was genuine. As a young woman she was told by a witch that all her offspring would eventually wear "golden shrouds" – a prophecy which proved bloodily accurate. She endured an empty marriage with Robert Baratheon while romantically involved with Jaime, father of her children. Having eliminated her enemies when destroying the Great Sept, she sits upon the Iron Throne.
And now she is plotting one final betrayal. Pregnant by Jaime (we think!), she entered an alliance with Jon and Daenerys when they visited King's Landing for support against the White Walkers. Yet, on the sly, she had accepted Euron's 'romantic' gift of the Golden Company – a mercenary army through which she hopes to retain her rule. But even they couldn't save her. Daenerys' mad fire massacre of King's Landing left both Cersei and Jaime dead in the rubble of the Red Keep.
Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
“Kingslayer” Jaime cut down Aerys II Targaryen before he could destroy King’s Landing with Wildfire. Jaime is mercurial and self regarding, though with a sense of honour, as demonstrated when rescuing Brienne of Tarth from a bear fight. He was much diminished when he lost his hand to soldiers of House Bolton. He remained by Cersei’s side and nominally loyal – though clearly uneasy about her spiralling megalomania – until her betrayal of Jon and Daenerys proved too much.
He fought for the living alongside the Starks and Targaryens in the Battle of Winterfell - and surprisingly survived. But Cersei has always been the Kingslayer's achilles heel. After a drunk romp with Brienne he tried to return to Winterfell, got caught by Daenerys' army, was freed by Tyrion, stabbed repeatedly by Euron in the chaos of The Last War and died under the Red Keep with Cersei, trying to save her.
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)
Clever and sensitive, Tyrion is an outlier among the Lannisters. He is a dwarf whose mother died in childbirth, for which he earned the enduring derision of Cersei and his father Tywin. However, Tyrion is also extremely intelligent and his tactical savvy was on display as he led the defence of King’s Landing at the Battle of the Blackwater. Wrongly accused of Joffrey’s murder, he was sprung from prison by Jaime, killed his father Tywin (who was sleeping with Tyrion’s lover Shae) and fled to Essos. There he became counsellor to Daenerys Targaryen.
This has not gone as swimmingly as might be hoped. His advice that the Mother of Dragons should win hearts and minds rather than torching castles has clashed with her more aggressive strategy. His plan to seize the Lannister seat of Casterly Rock was revealed, in particular, to have been a grand folly. The Lannisters left the castle purposefully undefended and seized the more strategically significant Tyrell holding of Highgarden instead.
The witty advisor remained in the Crypts during the Battle of Winterfell - but his bravery shone through when he was forced to fight the dead. Back in King's Landing, he is now the only Lannister survivor of the Mad Queen's killer rampage and was made Hand to King Bran as punishment for back-stabbing Daenerys.
Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance)
The cunning head of House Lannister, Tywin was for decades the true power in Westeros. However, his underestimation of Tyrion as a pitiable freak backfired when his son shot him dead with a crossbow bolt.
Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal)
“The Viper” was a hot-blooded noble from the desert kingdom of Dorne. He came to King’s Landing determined to avenge his sister, Elia, killed by Lannister henchman Gregor Clegane. Alas, the Viper perished in trial by combat with the Mountain. But his death has reignited tensions between Dorne and the Lannisters, and prompted the Sand Snakes to kill Myrcella Baratheon.
Melisandre (Carice van Houten)
The Red Woman convinced Stannis that he was destined to rule Westeros and save it from the Walkers. His defeat by Ramsay Bolton shook her confidence – and she seemed genuinely shocked as the Lord of Light answered her prayers and brought back Jon Snow. When Ser Davos revealed that Mesliandre had urged Stannis to sacrifice Shireen, Snow sent her into exile.
Back in Dragonstone she met Daenerys, and seemed to imply that the Mother of Dragons could be the “prince who was promised” – and that Daenerys’s fate is entwined with that of Jon Snow. It is she who suggested they meet – thus setting in motion events that have the potential to rock Westeros to its core.
At the Battle of Winterfell, she used every magical power possible to help the living's cause before seeing them succeed and removing her life-preserving necklace to die.
Daenerys' translator, confidante and most trusted pal – Missandei of Naath – started looking towards the future after she and Grey Worm survived the Battle of Winterfell. Unfortunately, she was taken as a prisoner after a surprise attack by the Golden Company and unceremoniously murdered in King's Landing upon the arrival of those she loved. By the Mountain, no less.
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
Exiled from the Seven Kingdoms for slave trafficking, Ser Jorah is a trusted ally to Daenerys, with whom he is incurably besotted. When she sent him away after learning he initially spied on her for King Robert, he tried to win back her favour by kidnapping Tyrion Lannister. On the journey to Meereen he contracted Greyscale and was commanded by Daenerys to seek a cure.
He eventually fetched up at the Citadel, where Sam cured him. Reunited with Daenerys, he joined the mission to capture a wight. He died, bravely, protecting Daenerys in the Battle of Winterfell after she was left without a dragon.
Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey)
Lyanna Mormont, cousin to Jorah, was the 13-year-old ruler of house Mormont, a Northern family located on Bear Island. Lyanna became an integral character in Game of Thrones. The young leader allied with Jon Snow to offer her army in the Battle of the Bastards.
In season eight, she had even trained women and children to prepare for the Night King's attack. Despite Jorah's very understandable persuasion that she remain in the crypts, Lyanna refused to retreat from the battle. Instead, the toughest and bravest child in Westeros ran full pelt at an undead giant in the Battle of Winterfell. Even has her body crushed in his hand, the small girl fatally plunged her Valyrian sword into his eye. What a hero.
Qyburn (Anton Lesser)
The former Maester was ejected from the order for conducting unethical human experiments. He appears to have resurrected Gregor Clegane, whom he rechristened Ser Robert Strong, and helped Cersei to retrieve the Wildfire with which she destroyed the Great Sept and most of her enemies. He remained faithful to Cersei and was fascinated and delighted when Jon brought a wight to King’s Landing.
At the start of Cleganebowl, he tried to protect Cersei but became a sideline casualty. Qyburn was killed by Gregor with one unbelievable push.
Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick)
Along with her brother Jojen, Meera was convinced that Bran Stark would be of crucial importance in the war against the White Walkers. She helped Bran to reach the Three-Eyed Raven, then to escape when the Night’s King came calling. It was she who shouted “hold the door” to Hodor as Wights bore down. Having brought Bran back to Winterfell, she departed for her own family seat of Greywater Watch, to be with her house when the Walkers come.
Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma)
The lover of Oberyn Martell was determined to avenge his death. She poisoned Myrcella Baratheon and seized control of Dorne by killing the vacillating Prince Doran, and pledged to support House Targaryen in the war against the Lannisters, along with the Sand Snakes: her daughter Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers), and Oberyn’s two bastard daughters by other women, Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Nymeria (Jessica Henwick).
Captured by Euron Greyjoy, however, she was forced to suffer as Cersei did, by watching her own daughter Tyene die from a slow-acting poison.
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham)
The “Onion Knight” was a faithful lieutenant to Stannis Baratheon, acquiring his sobriquet while smuggling vegetables to the besieged Stannis at Storm’s End during Robert’s Rebellion. He disapproved of Melisandre’s influence over the King, however, and after Stannis’s death he revealed her wrongdoing to Jon Snow. He became an unofficial advisor to the latter, constantly at his side, and was brought into Bran's council at the end of the series.
Shae (Sibel Kekilli)
The former prostitute became Tyrion Lannister’s true love. They kept the relationship secret, with Shae officially in King’s Landing as handmaiden to Sansa Stark. For her own safety, Tyrion insulted and rejected her. When he discovered her in the bed of Tywin, he wept as he crushed her windpipe.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington)
The Bastard of Winterfell was introduced as the illegitimate son of ruler of the North Ned Stark and an unknown mother. We know now that he is, instead, the love child of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark – and thus a plausible heir to the throne. But will that put him in conflict with his lover, military ally and auntie Daenerys Targaryen?
A pensive soul, Snow joined the Night’s Watch and, ranging north of the Wall, fell in love with the Wildling Ygritte. When the Free Folk attacked the Wall, lovers become foes – though he was devastated when she was killed. Elected Lord Commander of the Watch, he struck an alliance with the Free Folk against the Walkers. For that he was betrayed and assassinated by his own men, though later resurrected by Melisandre. Having defeated Ramsay Bolton before the Gates of Winterfell, Snow is now King in the North. He fought for the living in the Battle of Winterfell, survived the Night King and White Walkers (thanks to his little 'half-sister'/assassin Arya Stark), and killed his lover-aunt Daenerys to save the Seven Kingdoms after the Mad Queen's massacre in King's Landing. He was sent to live out the rest of his life with the Night's Watch as punishment.
(His real name, incidentally, is Aegon Targaryen, though he may wish to continue using Jon Snow as it’s much easier to spell.)
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)
The feisty younger Stark sister, Arya saw her father beheaded and was at hand when her mother and brother (and sister-in-law) were cut down at the Red Wedding. She fled to Braavos, studying at the House of Black and White assassin’s guild. Returning to Westeros, she demonstrated how good she was at becoming “no one” when donning a disguise to get close to and kill Walder Frey, whom she held responsible for the death of her family.
Back in Winterfell, she had an awkward reunion with Sansa, their bad blood stirred by the manipulative Lord Baelish. Yet they were wise to his machinations, and Arya gladly cut his throat at Sansa’s command. She has since gone on to save the literal day and night by killing the Night King.
Rejecting Gendry's proposal (sob), she headed to King's Landing to kill Cersei but arrived in the chaos of The Last War and The Mad Queen's depraved destruction. Accepting The Hound's advice to let circumstance kill the Queen, she tried to escape but ran into many war-torn roadblocks. Waking up to the aftermath, she escaped on a white horse. In the aftermath, she decides to leave the rest of her family and set sail for whatever's west of Westeros.
Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright)
Poor little Bran was crippled and almost killed when flung from the top of a tower by Jaime Lannister. His crime: seeing the Kingslayer canoodle with his twin, Cersei. Bran Stark has been haunted by visions and has the ability to project – or “warg” – his consciousness into the body of an animal.
In Winterfell, Bran has been creeping everyone out, mouthing prophecies and generally acting in a deeply idiosyncratic way. In his more recent visions, he established that Jon is the child of Lyanna and Rhaeger, telling Sam that his friend is therefore an heir to the Iron Throne.
As episodes went on, more and more questions and theories bubble around the Three Eyed Raven (what did the Night King want with hin - and where on earth did Bran go during the Battle of Winterfell?). Though none were answered, Tyrion convinced the Great Houses to nominate Bran 'The Builder' as their new King.
Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley)
Eddard’s loving wife, Catelyn was among the first to suspect that the Lannisters were up to no good. Not that it did her any favours: she was brutally slain at the Red Wedding, alongside her son Robb. Catelyn was always dismissive of Jon Snow, her coldness surely contributing to his grumpy demeanour.
Eddard Stark (Sean Bean)
Noble Ned was also Deeply Naive Ned and, appointed Hand of The King by Robert, found himself on the losing side of the Game of Thrones. The predictable winners were the Lannisters, whose boy-prince Joffrey ordered Lord Eddard of Winterfell beheaded before a baying mob.
Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson)
The youngest Stark sibling shared in the unhappy fate of the rest of his family. Handed over to Ramsay Bolton by the treacherous Karstarks, he was cut down with an arrow as Ramsay and Jon warmed up for the Battle of the Bastards.
Robb Stark (Richard Madden)
His father’s son, Robb believed that good would inevitably prevail over evil (and incest). Unfortunately, he also believed in backing out of arranged marriages. Breaking off his betrothal to the daughter of Walder Frey sealed his faith, as Walder concluded a secret deal with Tywin Lannister. Result: the Red Wedding, and lots of dead Starks.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
Initially a flighty teenager, Sansa has been forced to mature as she has watched her nearest and dearest cut down before her one by one. She had an uneasy relationship with Petyr Baelish, who long held a candle for her mother and appeared drawn to Sansa too. On the other hand, he facilitated her marriage to the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton and tried to subtly pit her against her brother Jon Snow.
Sansa developed a cruel streak, as confirmed when she fed Ramsay to the hounds. Left in charge of Winterfell while Jon Snow went off forging alliances, she had an initially difficult reunion with Arya, but they were soon reminded of their familial bonds and turned on the treacherous Baelish. She verbally handed Winterfell over to Daenerys and has been an incredibly effective side-leader throughout the castle's treacherous trials. Following Bran's new appointment, she requested the North be left independent and returned to Winterfell to be crowned Queen of the North.
Talisa Stark (Oona Chaplin)
From the Free City of Volantis came this healer, who fell in love with Robb Stark. He chose to marry her instead of Roslin Frey, a lapse of judgement that led to the Red Wedding. There were many horrible deaths that night, but that of the pregnant Talisa, struck down with a dagger to the uterus, was probably the most unspeakable.
Harry Strickland (Marc Rissmann)
One of the new characters to be introduced in season eight is the leader of the mercenary Golden Company, hired by Cersei to win her lasting control of Westeros. Strickland will be familiar to readers of the Song of Fire and Ice novels. Unfortunately, he and his white horse managed little to no screen time once Mad Queen Daenerys decided to set fire to King's Landing.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
Daenerys Stormborn, Mother of Dragons and Magic Sex Auntie to Jon Snow, was perfectly placed to become the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. As daughter of the deposed Mad King Aerys, she had an army, an armada and three dragons (quickly reduced to one one). Introduced to viewers as a trembling young woman, Daenerys has taken naturally to the Game of Thrones and became one of the most admired and feared rulers either side of the Narrow Sea. This owes a little to her cruel, imperious character and rather a lot to her power trio of fire-breathing lizards (RIP).
She also had a spanking new boyfriend in Jon Snow – though she was less than pleased to discover she was also his aunt.
The many terrible events that have punctuated her life (most recently, the death of her second dragon and Missandei) seemed to send her off the edge; she burnt all of King's Landing (including its innocents) to the ground. When she finally reached the Iron Throne, Jon killed her.
Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd)
Daenerys’s cruel and ambitious older brother cynically married her off to Khal Drogo, on the understanding that this would furnish him with the men required to retake Westeros for the Targaryens. The plan backfired: Daenerys blossomed as the Khal’s wife, and Viserys had a crown of molten metal poured over his face.
Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West)
The bookish scion of House Tarly has become Jon Snow’s clever-clogs best friend. While no warrior, his insights into the behaviour and motivations of the White Walkers have been of huge assistance. He went to the Citadel, studying to be a Maester, which is where Gilly unlocked the secret of Jon’s parentage. Having learning all he felt he could, he returned to Winterfell to help Jon, with lots of purloined books and his hereditary Valyrian steel sword. As an unlikely survivor of the Battle of Winterfell, Tarly managed to secure a spot on Bran's council.
Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg)
The wily matriarch of House Tyrell was not quite wily enough to survive round one of the Lannister v Targaryen struggle. She was badly exposed when Tyrion’s move against Casterly Rock was anticipated by Cersei and Jaime. Striding into her throne room, Jaime granted her a merciful death by poison – but, devious to the last, Olenna had one final sting, informing her captor that it was she who poisoned loathsome Joffrey at the Purple Wedding.
Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer)
A “People’s Princess” with knobs on, Margaery was unusual among the nobility in understanding the importance of image. Though mendacious behind the scenes, in public she cultivated a kindly persona through her many acts of charity. Only Cersei appeared to see through her, as Margaery married first Joffrey, then Tommen. Alas, all the political cunning in the world couldn’t save her from the Lannister Wildfire.
Varys (Conleth Hill)
The former Master of Whisperers on the Small Council had a knack for knowing everything that’s happens in King’s Landing. He could be humane as well as cunning, and was instrumental in helping Tyrion flee Westeros after Tywin’s murder.
Varys believed a Targaryen restoration was the last, best hope for the Seven Kingdoms, and he moved to Daenerys’ side for her sailing to Westeros. He sat in the crypts among children and women, peacefully waiting for the Battle of Winterfell to be over - until the dead bodies started to creep out. Thanks to Arya who killed the Nigh King, Varys survived. But only long enough to find out Jon Snow was the Throne's rightful heir, switch sides in secret, and be dracarys-ed for treason.
Ygritte (Rose Leslie)
Torn between her love for Jon Snow and her loyalty to the Wildlings, for Ygritte there was never going to be a happy ending. She was killed during the battle for Castle Black, shot in the back by villager Olly and dying in Snow’s arms.
Which Game of Thrones character is your favourite and who do you want to be sitting on the Iron Throne come the end of the eighth series? Join the conversation by commenting below.