By now, we've all heard the maxim of HBO's Game of Thrones fandom - "Don't get attached to anyone, because they're probably going to die." Major character deaths aren't just common on Game of Thrones, they're integral to the evolution of the story, and the more important a character is, the more important and game-changing their demise is sure to be.
The loss of characters in Game of Thrones has proven to be important to the series. Rising political leaders of Westeros are routinely bumped off to make way for hungrier competitors (or in some cases, just for revenge). In the heat of battle, brave warriors perish senselessly, often without dignity, and almost always without glory. In the world of Game of Thrones, everyone's head is up for grabs. When asking "who gets axed in Game of Thrones," the answer might as well be, "everyone."
Which demises were the most critical to the development of the series, and just how many characters have been struck down now, anyway? Vote up the most important, series-altering, notable deaths from GoT and let us know in the comments who you think will go next.
Ned's shocking passing at the end of Season 1 introduced what would become one of the show's signature moves - wiping out major characters violently and grotesquely, with little warning, and no apologies. Threatening to challenge the Lannisters' claim to the throne by exposing Jaime and Cersei's incestuous relationship, Ned's head was removed at King's Landing for treason.
Arya fled, Sansa was taken against her will, and Robb and Catelyn conspired to retaliate and seize the throne.
The Big Bad finally met his match in Season 8, episode 3. Towards the end of the Battle of Winterfell, Theon attempts to stab the Night King but is quickly vanquished. Fortunately, a ninja-like Arya sneaks up behind the Night King just before he ends Bran. She drops her two-sided dragonglass dagger and gets him right in the gut, effectively killing all of the wights along with him.
Along with most of his supporters, Robb was taken out by Walder Frey at the Red Wedding as punishment for reneging on his agreement to marry Frey's daughter. This was sort of Robb's own fault since everyone basically knows how untrustworthy and mean Walder Frey is.
As if termination wasn't bad enough, Robb's head was also removed, and he had the head of his dire wolf, Grey Wind, sewn onto his neck so that his corpse could be displayed as a trophy. Now that Robb is out of the picture, the heir to Winterfell is his sister, Sansa, and several people - including the Lannisters, and Petyr Baelish - have made moves accordingly.
Though there was a little funny business with the wine he was drinking, Robert's passing early in the first season was basically a whoopsy. He was gored by a wild boar while out on a hunting trip, having been too drunk to dodge and defend appropriately.
Robert's wife, Cersei, was excited about Robert's passing because it meant that her son, Joffrey, could finally ascend the throne. Ned Stark, however, had strong suspicions about the actual genetic lineage of Cersei's children, and the Lannisters' subsequent retaliation against Ned's claims are what sparked the current conflict over who is most entitled to rule Westeros.