“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” That infamous phrase uttered by Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones’s first season can be read as a proclamation of the show’s overriding thematic through line, which is that if a character isn’t successfully outmaneuvering everyone around them, they’re probably going to die. Every season of the show has come with some major character deaths, but season six represents an interesting time in the show’s history as, without any source material to pull from, it’s very difficult to predict who will make it out alive and who will not. Still, there are definitely some characters who have a higher chance of dying over others, and while we’re not saying that all of the following characters will die in season six, they are certainly at the top of the list.
12. Cersei Lannister
Although some sites are ranking Cersei much higher on their death lists, we’re not so sure the former Queen of Westeros will get what’s coming to her this season. Cersei may have been undone by her own overconfidence and foolish actions last season, and there’s certainly the possibility that she will make a fatal mistake as she lashes out at her enemies this season, but it’s also important to remember that Cersei is a cockroach who just so happens to be a master of playing the game of thrones. She may not have many allies left, but she does have Ser Robert Strong, the overpowered, zombified husk formerly known as Ser Gregor Clegane, fighting in her corner.
If Strong loses his trial by combat, Cersei could very well be sent to the gallows by the Faith Militant, but the most recent trailer shows Cersei’s brother Jaime arriving in King’s Landing with an army at his command, suggesting that a retaking of the city is a very real possibility for the Lannisters. There’s a good possibility that Cersei won’t make out of this situation alive, but we think it’s more likely that she’ll stick around a little while longer (Bold prediction: Arya assassinates her in the final season; Cersei is one of the only remaining names on her list, after all).
King Tommen Baratheon (ahem, Lannister) is such a sympathetic character that it’s surprising he wasn’t killed off ages ago. With both of his siblings having been assassinated, the likelihood of Tommen surviving already looks suspect, but there’s also the issue of him being much too innocent to be in a position of power to contend with. As a king, Tommen is almost completely ineffectual and is definitely not suited to sit on the Iron Throne, which makes him an easy target for any would-be power players looking to take him out and claim the throne for themselves. That being said, Tommen still has a lot of protection and with his mother Cersei now free from imprisonment and ready to fiercely protect her only remaining child, there’s a chance that Tommen’s life may be spared; we’re just not holding our breath.
10. Ser Davos Seaworth
There’s no real evidence to suggest that the Onion Knight will meet his maker anytime soon, but by the same token, characters as loyal and honorable as Ser Davos Seaworth don’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to survival on Game of Thrones (RIP Ned). Also working against Davos is that he begins the season in a compromised position, defending Jon Snow’s body against the Night’s Watch. We’re reasonably confident that Davos will survive this encounter, but there’s a lot more uncertainty surrounding the events that will take place after.
The recent season six trailer hints that Davos makes it to White Harbor, a northern city still loyal to the Starks, which suggests that Davos’s storyline will line up more with the one from A Dance With Dragons, where he’s sent by Lord Manderly to retrieve Rickon Stark from the isle of Skagos, in addition to his desire to unite the North against the White Walkers. Everything after this is a total mystery, meaning that Davos could very well perish in his mission; we sincerely hope that isn’t the case, of course, because Davos is awesome, but if Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that we should never stay too invested in our favorite characters because they could end up with a blade in the gut at a moment’s notice.
9. Margaery Tyrell
Things really don’t look good for Margaery right now. Not only is she facing the possibility of execution by the Faith Militant, but even if the Lannisters manage to take down the High Sparrow and his followers, she’ll still have Cersei to contend with, who has made no secret about her desire to see her daughter-in-law lose her head. The only real hope for Margaery at this point is if Tommen somehow grows a pair and fights to spare her life, or if her grandmother Lady Olenna Tyrell finds a way to save her. Of the two, we’re much more confident in the latter scenario’s likelihood, but by the same token, it’s hard to see Margaery staying alive much longer. On the bright side, her death would almost surely cause the Tyrells to go to war with the Lannisters and we all know that there are plenty of others who wish to do the same (could an alliance with Dorne be in the cards, perhaps?).
8. Loras Tyrell
It will be shocking if season six ends without at least one of the Tyrell siblings being killed and right now, Loras looks like the more likely of the two. For one, his “crimes” stand as much more heinous in the Faith Militant’s eyes, making his execution look all but certain. There’s also the not insignificant matter of Finn Jones, the actor who plays Loras, recently being cast in Marvel’s Iron Fist TV series, so it’s hard to see Jones staying committed to Game of Thrones when he has a starring role in another series. It would be nice to see Loras live his life free from persecution for his sexuality, but Westeros isn’t exactly the most liberal place, so it’s surprising that he’s even survived this long. Assuming that Margaery isn’t killed off as well, at least Loras’s death will incite quite the uprising in the Tyrell camp, which is not something the Lannisters are well equipped to deal with right now.
7. Brienne of Tarth
Brienne is a rare breed on Game of Thrones: a fiercely loyal and kind knight with a knack for displays of heroism. While these traits make her an easy character to root for, they also paint a huge target on her back. It’s difficult to gauge where exactly Brienne’s storyline is headed in season six, but judging by a recent reveal by fan site Watchers On The Wall, things aren’t looking good for “Brienne the Beauty.” Based on that information, it looks like Brieene’s story will fall in line closer with that of the books, which means that she could very well end up being hanged by the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Brienne’s life is spared in the books, but it’s possible that things could take a different turn on the show, and the fact that we don’t know much about Brienne’s fate after this event does not bode well. We’d like to see Brienne not only survive, but thrive, but characters like her rarely survive long on Game of Thrones and she’s already lasted much longer than anyone probably would have expected. Season six may represent the point when her luck finally runs out.
6. Roose Bolton
If Ramsey ends up making it to the end of season six, there’s at least the possibility that the show will throw viewers a bone by offing his not-quite-as-bad-but-still-pretty-awful father Roose. With the Wildling army on one front and Sansa seemingly making a power play on the other, the Boltons’ hold on the north is looking increasingly precipitous. At this point, Roose’s bastard son Ramsey seems more likely to die, as Roose has shown himself to be proficient at survival by allying himself with the side that has the greater chance of winning, a trait that may crop up again if the Boltons fall. Still, it’s important to remember that Roose was the one that sold out the Starks to the Lannisters and Freys, and personally killed Robb Stark, so it’s highly unlikely that anyone in the North who is sympathetic to the Starks will spare his life.
5. Ramsey Bolton
Of all the characters on this list, Ramsey is the one who is arguably the most deserving of death, but whether or not that means he will actually die remains to be seen. Game of Thrones pretty much has two options with Ramsey at this point: keep him around to continue making everyone’s lives miserable or have one of the many characters he’s wronged enact swift and brutal vengeance against him; we’re holding out hope for the latter option.
Game of Thrones is a show where karmic justice is rarely ever carried out, but there’s a chance that our expectations will be thwarted by having someone such as Sansa or Theon successfully kill Ramsey. George R.R. Martin has said that the series’s ending will be “bittersweet,” claiming “I think you need to have some hope,” and it’s difficult to think that any type of hopeful conclusion includes someone as vile as Ramsey sticking around. There’s also the possibility that Ramsey will die in battle with the Wildlings which, while disappointing, would at least take him out of the picture for good and at this point, viewers will take anything they can get.
4. High Sparrow
As successful as the High Sparrow was in almost effortlessly taking over King’s Landing last season, he made one fatal mistake in doing so: he made an enemy out of Cersei Lannister. As has been shown time and time again, those who cross Cersei (or any Lannister for that matter) typically end up losing their head. While season six begins with the High Sparrow in a position of power, that probably won’t last for long. With Jaime returning to King’s Landing with vengeance on his mind on account of Myrcella’s death and Cersei now having Ser Robert Strong at her disposal, the High Sparrow’s days are certainly numbered. The only question now is whether Cersei will order someone to carry out the execution or if she’ll get her hands dirty (being imprisoned and forced to walk naked through the streets on a shame walk makes us lean towards the latter scenario).
3. Alliser Thorne
The chief instigator among Jon Snow’s murder unit, Ser Alliser Thorne is very much the cancer of the Night’s Watch, infecting everyone around him with his anger and disdain for anyone who is sympathetic to the Wildlings. However, things don’t look promising for the grumpiest member of the Night’s Watch as season six begins. We know that Thorne will engage in battle with Ser Davos and his men early on, which may or may not end with the former character’s death. Even if Thorne survives that battle, he still has a whole Wildling army to contend with, and if a shot from the most recent trailer is any indication, it looks like the Wildlings invade Castle Black at some point; a situation that Thorne will be hard-pressed to make it out of alive. And if Ser Davos or the Wildlings don’t get him, there’s always the chance that the White Walkers will.
2. Balon Greyjoy
Frankly, we’re surprised that Balon Greyjoy has made it this far. In the books, the Lord of the Iron Islands dies in a fall while crossing a bridge during a storm (an event that takes place chronologically before the Red Wedding), and although he hasn’t actually been seen on the show for awhile, he is still alive at the start of season six. That being said, it’s almost a guarantee that he will be gone soon enough. We already know that more of the Greyjoy clan will be introduced this season and in the books, they all gather to find a successor to Balon’s title. There’s also a theory that Euron Greyjoy, Balon’s brother, is actually Balon’s killer and judging by the brief glimpse we see of Euron in the season six trailers, standing on a bridge in the middle of a storm, this scenario will likely play out on the show.
1. Jorah Mormont
Jorah is the odds-on favorite to die at some point in season six, as he’s got a lot working against him. For one thing, as season six begins, he has departed on a dangerous mission to find Daenerys, which automatically puts his life in danger. As if that wasn’t enough, Jorah also has a bad case of greyscale, which might as well be a death sentence considering the disease turns people into rage-induced monsters. The question now is whether Jorah will succumb to that disease or perish before that can happen. We’d wager a bet that he will give his life to protect Dany, as this would help satisfy his devotion to the would-be Queen of Westeros before he dies. Whatever happens, this is a character who will most certainly not receiving a happy ending.