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Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Game of Thrones Season 8.
As hard as it may be to believe, Game of Thrones is very nearly over, and the penultimate episode thinned the herd of characters who will be alive for the final conflicts in the series finale. After the Battle of Winterfell failed to kill off as many characters as many fans expected, it was only a matter of time before a lot of characters bit the dust. With the series finale airing next week, Episode 5 was finally the right time to end some truly significant characters.
Read on for a rundown of all the Game of Thrones characters that were killed off in the battle for King's Landing. Let's go in chronological order.
Varys was the first major casualty of the fifth episode, and also one of the least surprising. The man who has survived king after king after king was finally unable to survive a queen. Tyrion felt compelled to tell Daenerys about Varys' plot to crown Jon rather than her -- although not in so many words -- and that was the last straw for Dany. Already on edge and isolating herself after Missandei's death, Dany was not to be trifled with and saw betrayals everywhere. When faced with one undeniable betrayal, she chose "Dracarys." Varys was roasted to death by Drogon on Dragonstone. R.I.P. Spider.
The Iron Fleet
The first major clash of the battle for King's Landing took place on the seas. It was essential for Dany's cause that the Iron Fleet be neutralized, and she had to be careful since learning last week that Euron's ships were mounted with dragon-killing scorpions. Well, Drogon was always the most maneuverable of the dragons, and Dany was able to avoid all of the bolts and roast the Iron Fleet to cinders on the Blackwater. She took care of the naval threat in minutes. At least Yara presumably has some ships with her on the Iron Islands!
The Golden Company
For all that the Golden Company (even without elephants) was touted as the variable that evened the field between Team Dany and Team Cersei, the 20,000 sellswords from Essos were dispatched with rather easily. Dany on Drogon burned through the wall behind them, which they were trying to guard to prevent the Unsullied, Dothraki, and Northern soldiers from breaching to get into the city. Some of them were burned by Drogon's initial blast, and the rest were killed by the Unsullied, Dothraki, and Northerners. The Dothraki were particularly effective, so good for Dany that they didn't all die in that ill-advised charge at the wights back at the Battle of Winterfell.
Well, for any who thought that Dany was 100% reasonable and not driven by her rage, I would say that her decision to torch King's Landing is proof to the contrary. She burned a path through the walls and destroyed the scorpions, which everybody seemed pretty cool with. It was when she no longer needed to burn soldiers and just had to wait it out that she snapped and began flying Drogon over the city, burning everyone and everything in her path, including civilians. Well, let it not be said that Dany can't surpass the Targaryens who came before her. Aerys only wanted to burn them all.
Euron survived Dany's assault on the Iron Fleet and made it to shore, and he was convinced enough that the city was lost that it was unlikely that he'd die in a heroic charge into the walls to try and save the day. He met up with Jaime -- who was trying to get to Cersei -- on the beach, and Jaime didn't take it so well when he learned that Euron had slept with Cersei. Euron commented on Jaime's status as "Kingslayer," and how he would be double Kingslayer if he killed Euron. The men came to violent blows, and although Euron landed a couple of deep stabs with his sword, Jaime was victorious and staggered away bleeding with Euron dying on the beach. Still, Euron's last words were kind of epic. "I'm the man who killed Jaime Lannister."
Cersei's Hand may have been able to kinda sorta subvert death like he did for The Mountain, but he couldn't prevent his own. Qyburn did survive through most of the episode, though, as he stuck by Cersei's side in the Red Keep. It wasn't until all was lost and they were hurrying down to Maegor's Holdfast in the Red Keep as a last resort to try and at least survive that he met his doom. The Mountain gave him a shove down the stairs, and it was with enough force that Qyburn hit his head on the stairs (and fallen debris courtesy of Drogon) and died.
The good news is that Game of Thrones fans finally got their CleganeBowl that pitted The Hound vs. The Mountain. The bad news is that The Hound didn't survive the encounter, although he did at least talk Arya into abandoning her quest to kill Cersei to save her own life. He did confront his brother, and there was apparently enough of Gregor Clegane left in Zombie Mountain that he was ready to abandon Cersei to face off against his brother. The Hound struck what should have been a killing blow, but The Mountain could no longer be killed by normal means. He stuck his fingers in The Hound's eye sockets and lifted him up, and The Hound ended by falling hundreds of feet backward out of the Red Keep.
The Hound wasn't alone when he fell to his death from the destroyed Red Keep! When The Mountain didn't die from being skewered by the sword or the many stab wounds The Hound inflicted with his dagger, The Hound just went ahead and made sure to grab his brother before plummeting to his death. He never expected to survive his encounter with The Mountain, so hopefully fans can rejoice in The Mountain's death without mourning The Hound too much. He died as he would have wanted to: killing his brother.
Jaime And Cersei Lannister
The Lannister twins met their ends in the most fitting way possible: together. Nobody got to strike the killing blow on either, although Jaime undoubtedly would have died courtesy of his wounds from Euron and Cersei would have been executed as soon as she was discovered. Their attempt at escaping the Red Keep via the dungeon with the dragon skulls was thwarted when the exit was blocked by debris. With the ceiling falling around them, Cersei finally began to crack and cry, saying that she didn't want their baby to die (or for her to die either). Jaime just told her to look into his eyes because they were together and that was what mattered. Then, the ceiling collapsed on them.
The episode technically didn't show their deaths, but it's difficult to imagine them surviving being crushed by rocks and unlikely to be discovered in time to be rescued. Plus, the mournful riff of "The Rains of Castamere" playing over the soundtrack makes it pretty clear. The Lannister line is down to Tyrion.
The bloodbath almost certainly isn’t complete just yet, and a bunch more characters could well be dying before the final credits roll next week. An HBO exec’s comments certainly suggest that the tragedies aren’t over.
Don’t miss the series finale of Game of Thrones on Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. It will mark the end of a long, complicated, and sometimes frustrating saga that has engrossed millions of people for decade. The Thrones universe will continue with at least one spinoff (that has already begun casting), and two more are in active development. Will a spinoff premiere before George R.R. Martin finishes Winds of Winter? Only time will tell. But probably.