Getting hired to appear on Game of Thrones must be a mixed blessing for an actor, considering their role’s life expectancy is statistically not very high. Numerous actors have pledged themselves to joining the epic struggle for the Iron Throne, only to see their characters meet untimely (and often gruesome) ends. What has become of those relegated to the Game of Thrones graveyard? We took a look at 10 actors who have been (literally) cut from the show’s roster to see what they’ve been up to since their characters were killed off.
10. Pedro Pascal – Oberyn Martell
Without a doubt the best character introduced in season 4, Pedro Pascal’s Dornish Prince Oberyn Martell was taken away from us far too soon, exiting the show thanks to a gushing, caved-in head courtesy of the beastly Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson). Since that sickening end, Pascal has kept busy with an extended guest appearance on The Mentalist in 2014 and a prominent role in the Netflix drama Narcos, a biopic detailing the crimes of Pablo Escobar. Pascall will be playing Javier Pena, a DEA agent tasked with taking Escobar down. Pascal is back for season two and also has a few other projects lined up, including voiceover work in the video game Dishonored 2 and a role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
9. Sibel Kekilli – Shae
German actress Sibel Kekilli played Tyrion’s paramour Shae on Game of Thrones, whose seemingly bi-polar attitude towards Tyrion made her an unpredictable presence on the show. Unfortunately for her, she made her true colors known when she betrayed Tyrion by testifying against him at his trial and sleeping with his father. Considering she was only killed off last season, Kekilli hasn’t had time to do much other work, with only an appearance in the comedy short Paare last year and a recurring role in the German TV series Tatort to her credit.
8. Rose Leslie – Ygritte
Known as the Wildling woman who was “kissed by fire”, Rose Leslie’s Ygritte was dramatically kissed by an arrow in the back near the end of the 4th season. Her appearances on Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey have made Leslie an in-demand actress, as she had three significant roles in 2015 alone. She’s not appeared in the 4th series of the popular BBC drama Luther, but also co-starred in the Vin Diesel action fantasy-vehicle The Last Witch Hunter. Next up, Leslie will appear in the family drama Sticky Notes alongside Ray Liotta and Gina Rodriguez, and the sci-fi thriller Morgan, which also stars Kate Mara and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
7. Mark Addy – Robert Baratheon
Mark Addy is a well-known British character actor who played the ill-fated King Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones’ 1st season. Addy’s had a number of TV appearances since his character was gored by a wild boar, appearing on the BBC-produced fantasy series Atlantis as an older, washed-up rendition of famous Greek mythological hero Hercules. So far in 2016, Addy has had a couple television roles, including the crime show New Blood, and will also appear in the romantic thriller Lies We Tell, which is currently in post-production.
6. Jason Momoa – Khal Drogo
If there’s one actor who’s truly used his death on Game of Thrones as a launching pad for bigger things, its Jason Momoa. Momoa’s Khal Drogo quickly trasitioned from villain to oddly charming barbarian as he warmed up to his wife Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) during the show’s 1st season. Sadly, Drogo was killed off right as he was starting to turn the corner. Fortunately for Momoa, his career has definitely not died with his character, as he not only starred in the Conan the Barbarian reboot, but is poised to launch his career into the stratosphere with his role as DC Comics hero Aquaman, who made a brief appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year. Momoa is set to reprise his role in 2017’s Justice League and 2018’s Aquaman.
5. Charles Dance – Tywin Lannister
Although his character’s death was satisfying from a narrative perspective given how dastardly he was, Game of Thrones has felt like a much emptier experience without the gravitas that Charles Dance brought to the table as the ruthless Tywin Lannister. Fortunately, Dance has contributed his talents to other projects, including film roles in Child 44 and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as well as voiceover work for the popular video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. In 2016, he has roles in both the Ghostbusters reboot and Underworld: Blood Wars.
4. Jack Gleeson – Joffrey Baratheon
The death of petulant, sadistic King Joffrey was easily the show’s most satisfying to date when it came early in the 4th season and will likely not be surpassed until even worse villain Ramsay Bolton is inevitably taken out (it has to happen, right?). As much as Joffrey was an incredibly easy character to hate, Jack Gleeson, the actor who played him, deserves credit for delivering such a memorable performance. Gleeson notably retired from acting after he was done playing Joffrey, claiming that the profession didn’t really interest him anymore, but he did appear in a play called “Bears in Space” last year at the Soho Theater.
3. Richard Madden – Robb Stark
One of the bigger male heartthrobs to emerge out of Game of Thrones (along with his on-screen brother Kit Harrington of course), Richard Madden’s character Robb Stark met a shockingly cruel end at the infamous Red Wedding in season 3. Fortunately, Madden didn’t have his hopes and dreams literally stabbed out of him like Robb, as he has done very well for himself since leaving the show three years ago. He had a major role as the Prince in Disney’s live action Cinderella film in 2015 and starred alongside Idris Elba in the espionage film Bastille Day earlier this year. Madden will return to TV later this year in the historical drama Medici: Masters of Florence.
2. Michelle Fairley – Catelyn Stark
Yet another casualty of the Red Wedding, Michelle Fairley’s Catelyn Stark was infamously murdered alongside her oldest son. Although there are still rumors that she will be brought back to Game of Thrones at some point (book readers will know what this means), Fairley has had no trouble moving on from Catelyn’s death. The actress has appeared in multiple films and TV series since her time on the show, including 2013’s Best Picture nominee Philomena, popular legal drama Suits, and 24: Live Another Day. She also had a role in the the Ron Howard-directed flop In the Heart of the Sea, and has had active TV work this year, appearing in the mini-series Rebellion and Arctic-set drama Fortitude.
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1. Sean Bean – Ned Stark
One of the most shocking deaths in popular fiction, the death of Ned Stark was a game-changing moment for Game of Thrones, establishing that no character, no matter how big or small, was safe from death in its universe. That’s probably small consolation to Sean Bean, who has become notorious for choosing roles that always seem to end in his character dying. Luckily, Bean was already an established character actor before starring in Game of Thrones, and he’s been just as active in the time since.
Some of his more notable appearances have been as the King in the Snow White adaptation Mirror Mirror, a starring role in the 2014 TV series Legends, and as a space-faring rogue in the critically-maligned, but quickly-developing cult favorite Jupiter Ascending. Bean also had roles in last summer’s Pixels alongside his Thrones co-star Peter Dinklage, as well as Best Picture-nominee The Martian.