Death is pretty common on Game of Thrones. Whether it is a minor or a major character, it seems that in every episode at least one person meets their maker (usually at the hands of somebody else). Although viewers have become used to seeing characters perish prematurely on a frequent basis, these deaths can still be brutal, shocking, and emotional. In some cases, these deaths have been accompanied by epic (or sometimes humorous) final words that help make these departures stand out among the many that have occurred over the course of the show’s six seasons.While we are sure there will be many more epic last words to come, these are the best final words from characters to date.
15. Tywin Lannister – “You’re no son of mine.”
Harsh words from Tywin before being shot with a crossbow by his son Tyrion, these final words summarize the elder Lannister’s feelings about his son, which he does not hide throughout the show. Tyrion replies that he has always been his son, before fatally shooting him once again. After being falsely convicted of Joffrey’s murder by Tywin and discovering his father sleeping with his lover Shae, Tyrion kills Tywin, thus ending their hostile and complex relationship.
14. Barristan Selmy – “Your Grace.”
There are not many honorable characters in Game of Thrones, but Barristan Selmy certainly fit that description. Famed for being the best swordsman in the Seven Kingdoms, Ser Barristan was harshly dismissed from the Kingsguard by Joffrey, and later Daenerys in hopes of making amends for not protecting her family during Robert’s rebellion. When the Sons of the Harpy kill several Unsullied, Ser Barristan draws several away from Grey Worm and goes down doing what he does best – swinging his sword. However, he is outnumbered and is stabbed multiple times, but his last words of “Your Grace,” reflects Ser Barristan’s identity as a man of honor, while also acknowledging Daenerys as the true Queen of Westeros.
13. Stannis Baratheon – “Go on. Do your duty.”
Although not a likable character, these are fantastic final words from Stannis as he prepares to be executed by Brienne (although it’s not depicted on screen). Brienne had sworn to avenge Stannis’s brother Renly’s death, which the former confesses to after his army has been destroyed by the Boltons. Understanding Brienne’s oath, he does not put up a fight and instead allows her to execute him in Renly’s name. As his death is not shown on screen, some fans believe that Stannis is still alive and was spared by Brienne.
12. Alliser Thorne – “I fought. I lost. Now I rest. But you, Lord Snow, you’ll be fighting their battles forever.”
He may have been a despicable character, but Alliser Thorne’s departing words were pretty epic and saw him get the last laugh with his personal battle with Jon Snow. A key player in the mutiny against Jon, he is taken prisoner after Melisandre resurrects the Lord Commander. As he and the other mutineers are set to be hung, Jon asks for last words and Alliser manages to dishearten him with his. He does not regret his actions and would do them all again and reminds Jon of the many conflicts to come, preventing Jon from deriving satisfaction from his enemy’s death.
11. Brynden Tully – “I haven’t had a proper sword fight in years. I expect I’ll make a damn fool of myself.”
It has to be said that the death of The Blackfish was disappointing, as he was such a storied character, yet we did not even get to see him die (did he really?). Although this was disappointing, as he arguably deserved a much better sendoff, Brynden Tully’s final words were still fantastic, turning Brienne’s offer of escape down when Jaime Lannister retakes Riverrun. His reasoning is noble in that he claims that he ran at the Red Wedding, but he would not be running again and that this is his family home.
10. Yoren – “I’ve always hated crossbows… take too long to load!”
With Lannister soldiers arriving to take Gendry back to Kings Landing, Yoren does what he does best, which is to protect his recruits for the Night’s Watch while disrespecting and defying the Lannister’s. After refusing to drop his weapon, Yoren is shot with a crossbow. He delivers these words, before taking out the crossbowman and going out in a blaze of glory – killing several Lannister soldiers before Ser Amory Lorch brutally drives his sword through the back of his neck. Yoren was a great protector of the vulnerable (particularly Arya), upholding this trait right through to his heroic yet sad death.
9. Maester Aemon – “Egg…I dreamed I was old…”
Not many Game of Thrones characters get the luxury of dying of old age, but Master Aemon did and uttered emotional last words as he was tended by Sam and Gilly. Although they may sound like dementia setting in, book readers will recognize Aemon’s final words as being spoken to his brother, Egg (Aegon V), as he is having hallucinations of being young once again. There are many different interpretations of these final words, but regardless it is an emotional moment as a likable character passes away. Aemon is then given a very fitting eulogy by Sam.
8. Myrcella Baratheon – “I’m glad you’re my father.”
Although the incestuous relationship between Jaime and Cersei makes everybody feel uneasy, it did lead to this touching, albeit tragic moment between Myrcella and Jaime as she passed away in her (real) father’s arms. Raised as a Baratheon like her other siblings, Myrcella knew the real truth of her parentage and her parting words will have been extremely emotional for Jaime, who has had to pose as an “uncle” to his three children for their whole lives. Jaime’s character development over the last few seasons has been fascinating, with this proving to be another key moment in his arc. Myrcella’s parting words could also be read as a not too subtle dig at poor old Robert Baratheon.
7. Mance Rayder – “I wish you good fortune in the wars to come.”
The King Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder became a prisoner of Stannis Baratheon after the Wildlings are defeated at Castle Black. Always staying true to his beliefs, Mance refused to kneel and is consequently sentenced to a brutal death – being burned alive. His last words are directed to Stannis before the pyre is set on fire. Jon Snow ends his suffering by shooting him with an arrow before he is engulfed by the flames. Interestingly, these are also the last words of Arthur Dayne before an epic battle with Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy.
6. Grenn – “I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch for this night, and all the nights to come”
Joining the Night’s Watch at the same time as Jon Snow, Grenn becomes a likable character who is honorable and commits himself to the Watch. During the Wildlings’ attack on Castle Black, Grenn, Donnel, Cooper, and three other sworn brothers are tasked with defending the inner gate. A giant charges at them and Donnel cowers, but Grenn shows his bravery by convincing his men to stay and he leads them as they recite the Night’s Watch oath. They kill the giant and hold the gate, but they all die in the process and are later discovered by Jon and Sam.
5. Ygritte – “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
What has gone on to become a phrase which has permeated popular culture, it was fitting that Ygritte’s final words were the ones which also united her and Jon Snow in the first place. During the Wildlings’ attack in Castle Black, Ygritte corners Jon but is unable to kill him, only to shockingly be taken out with an arrow fired by Olly (damn you Olly!). As she dies in Jon’s arms, Ygritte asks if he remembers the cave and says that they should have stayed there forever. Jon says that they will go back there, before she utters these powerful and emotional final words.
4. Rodrik Cassel – “Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy, now you are truly lost”
Theon’s return to Winterfell and subsequent betrayal of the Starks is truly horrific. In a heated conversation with Master-At-Arms Rodrik Cassel, Theon sentences him to death for disrespecting him. Despite the protests of Maester Luwin, Theon unsheathes his sword and is visibly shaken at the prospect of killing the man who trained him. When asked if he has any final words, Ser Rodrik unleashes these powerful and accurate words before bowing his head honorably. Theon then botches the execution, denying Rodrick a dignified death, further establishing Theon being past the point of no return. Fortunately, Theon would seek redemption for his sins in later seasons, but not before suffering mightily at the hands of Ramsay Bolton.
3. Syrio Forel – “What do we say to the God of Death?”
The fate of Syrio Forel is not seen, but rather assumed, as our last image of Syrio is him holding a broken wooden sword, punctuated by the sound of someone dying as Arya ran away from the Kingsguard. There are rumors that Syrio did survive and will be back again, which would make these “final words” truly epic. While training Arya, the First Sword of Braavos says to her “What do we say to the god of death? Not today!” These are also his parting words to her, but whether this was him imparting a final lesson or foreshadowing his return is yet to be determined.
2. Lyanna Stark – “Promise me, Ned.”
The major reveal (although hardly a surprise) of season six was the confirmation that Lyanna Stark died in the Tower of Joy giving birth to Jon Snow, making him son of Rhaegar Targaryean and not Ned Stark. With Ned holding his sister as she passed, she whispers “If Robert finds out, he will kill him. You know he will. You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned.” This was a secret that Ned kept his entire life, showing that he was, in fact, honorable. Previously, people questioned the “honorable” Ned Stark as he was unfaithful and brought a bastard son back to Winterfell.
1. Hodor – “Hodor!”
What was once funny has become heart-crushingly tragic, as one of season six’s biggest moments was the reveal of why Hodor can only say “Hodor.” As a young Hodor lays convulsing on the Winterfell ground repeating the phrase “hold the door”, this very gradually (and brilliantly done by the actor) becomes the word that we have all become so familiar with over the course of the show – Hodor. In present day, Hodor holds the door shut to keep the White Walkers at bay as Bran and Meera escape while Meera repeatedly shouts “Hold the door”.