Following two episodes of buildup, the epic third episode of Game of Thrones‘ eighth season saw Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen and the rest of our still-living heroes face off with the Night King and his army of dead in the Battle of Winterfell. It was reportedly the longest battle in cinema history, according to EW.
That means it was a brutal night for viewers that resulted in the deaths of a number of fan-favorite characters. In earlier seasons, Game of Thrones was well known for killing off main players in the most heart-wrenching ways imaginable. But this time, it wasn’t just the good guys — read on for a complete list of everyone who lived and died at the Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones.
Here’s who lived through the Battle of Winterfell
It’s a good thing that Jon doesn’t have to be brought back to life again now that Melisandre is gone. Despite several near-death encounters, the Warden of the North lived through yet another battle with the dead. Jon started the night by riding Rhaegal into battle alongside Daenerys and Drogon. But after being thrown from his dragon’s back, he once again found himself face to face with the Night King, who proceeded to raise all those who had already died in the battle to prevent Jon from getting to him. Jon desperately tried to reach Bran in the godswood, but ultimately couldn’t get past undead Viserion, leaving Arya to take out the Night King and save the day.
The Lady of Winterfell has now not only survived Game of Thrones‘ two most evil human villains — Joffrey and Ramsay — but also the leader of the army of the dead. Although she wasn’t involved in any actual combat, Sansa tried to ensure the safety of anyone who wasn’t fighting at Winterfell. Since Sansa’s transformation into one of Westeros’ most qualified rulers is still ongoing, it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that she made it out alive. Still, “The Long Night” proved to be a meaningful episode for Sansa as she found herself trapped in the crypts with Tyrion, who was once her husband.
This was Arya’s night to shine. Thanks to her training with both Syrio Forel and the Faceless Men, the youngest Stark sister will live to see another day on Game of Thrones. With wights everywhere and her comrades struggling to survive, Arya was up against powerful forces. But she triumphed, killing the Night King — and his entire army with him — after Melisandre helped her realize her fate. The dead fell like dominos after Arya stabbed their leader with her Valyrian steel dagger, proving that she’s the GOAT of GOT.
Daenerys may have seemed preoccupied with the status of her claim to the Iron Throne leading up to the showdown, but the Mother of Dragons came through in the end. After she was knocked off her dragon, Jorah sacrificed himself to save her. However, some fans are speculating that Daenerys’ unwillingness to compromise on being the sole ruler of the Seven Kingdoms will still turn out to be her fatal flaw. Nevertheless, she rode valiantly, and eventually watched one of her closest friends die in her arms (more on that later).
Despite the fact that he was in the crypts when the Night King raised all of the dead, Tyrion once again found a way to survive a battle that he probably shouldn’t have. With Sansa at his side, Tyrion was ready to sacrifice himself to defend the defenseless. As the Hand of the Queen told Daenerys leading up to the fight, “I have fought before. I can do it again.”
The Kingslayer apparently only needs one hand to survive a battle against the greatest threat that Westeros has ever encountered. While fighting under Brienne’s command, Jaime defended the castle until the end. Jaime’s heroics square with Bran cryptically hinting that Jaime would have a major role to play in the war during the episode, “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”
As Sam reminded Jon and Edd in season 8’s second episode, he was the first man to kill a White Walker. But on Sunday night, “Samwell Tarly, Slayer of White Walkers” didn’t get his chance. With Gilly and little Sam down in the crypts, Edd saved Sam from the screeching wights, dying in the process. Sam’s survival could potentially lend credence to the theory that he will turn out to be the one telling the story of Game of Thrones.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane
The Hound has yet to face off with his brother, the Mountain, in the pretty-much-guaranteed-to-happen “Cleganebowl.” So it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that he made it through the skirmish relatively unscathed. Paralyzed by his fear of fire, at one point, the Hound resigned himself to a losing battle. But he finally rose to the occasion when Beric alerted him to the fact that Arya was in danger.
Brienne of Tarth
When Jaime knighted Brienne in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” some fans felt as though he might as well have signed her death warrant. But luckily, Sunday’s episode proved them wrong. The Stark sisters’ beloved protector was able to hold off the army of the dead until Arya saved the day.
If Bran knew that the Night King would come for him in the Winterfell godswood, did he also know that he would survive the resulting clash? After Theon fell protecting Bran from the Night King, Arya vanquished the leader of the White Walkers with the Valyrian steel dagger that Bran gave her in season 7. And just like that, the long line of Three-Eyed Ravens continues to thrive. It looks like fans can take some comfort in the fact that he may have more to reveal about what he’s seen.
If speculation was any indication, Game of Thrones may as well have just put a target on Grey Worm’s back instead of letting him make retirement plans with Missandei. But the commander of the Unsullied showed no fear in the face of the dead, and his bravery was enough to save him from the swarming wights.
After giving the signal to light the trench from Winterfell’s battlements, Ser Davos went out into the field. Luckily, the Onion Knight’s lack of combat experience didn’t stop him from making it out alive and watching as Melisandre, who he had promised to execute, took off her enchanted necklace and collapsed to the ground before turning to dust.
Thanks to Gendry’s forging expertise, the army of the living had enough dragonglass weapons to make a successful stand against the dead. Looks like Game of Thrones fans hoping for a future Baratheon-Stark union don’t have to put that one to rest.
All of those hours he spent training with Brienne paid off. Podrick was able to fend off his fair share of wights.
Everyone’s favorite Wildling put up quite the fight against the army of the dead, and lives to provide more comic relief.
Besides defending Daenerys when Sansa made a snide remark about the Dragon Queen, Missandei didn’t have too much to do this episode. But we’re happy that she and Grey Worm may still have a chance to live out their dream of making a home on Naath.
In typical Varys style, the Spider kept Tyrion grounded when he wanted to leave the crypts to see what was going on in the battle. However, Melisandre’s declaration that he would die in Westeros just like her seems to suggest that Varys probably won’t make it through the final three episodes.
Gilly and little Sam both survived the wights’ terrifying assault on the Winterfell crypts. Hopefully Sam can take some much-needed comfort in the fact that his family lived through the night even if some of his friends didn’t.
We know Drogon powered through alive, and was right by Dany’s side to comfort her as she wept over Jorah’s body.
Rhaegal appears to be in the trailer for next week’s episode, a welcome sight to fans who feared he may have succumbed to his injuries.
After he ran into battle alongside Jorah and the Dothraki, we didn’t see too much of Ghost for the rest of the episode. But, like Rhaegal, Ghost also appears in the promo for next week’s episode, reassuring fans who feared we’d never get to see Jon interact with his direwolf again.
Here’s who died in the Battle of Winterfell
After Melisandre set their swords ablaze, the Dothraki bravely charged into the night to face the army of the dead as Winterfell’s first line of defense. Sadly, the Dothraki were no match for the wights, who quickly took out nearly all of Daenerys’ khalasar.
After saving his Night’s Watch brother Samwell Tarly from death at the hands of a wight, Dolorous Edd was stabbed in the back.
Lyanna Mormont refused to back down when Jorah asked her to sit out the battle, living up to her reputation of being the show’s youngest badass. But just as her cousin feared, Lyanna choosing to fight alongside her people ultimately resulted in her death. Much to fans’ distress, the fierce fighter perished at the hands of an undead giant. But instead of cowering, like many of her fellow fighters (cough the Hound cough), she ran directly at her fate. The Lady of Bear Island may have been small, but she was mighty.
After being resurrected by Thoros on six separate occasions, Beric’s ultimate purpose came to light when he sacrificed himself to save Arya. While fighting alongside the Hound, he succumbed to injuries he suffered while fighting off wights. Immediately after this death, Arya turned to find Melisandre, who was inspired by Beric’s many resurrections when she brought Jon Snow back to life. “The Lord brought him back for a purpose,” Melisandre told Arya. “Now that purpose has been served.” Her message indicates that Beric has finally died for good.
“I took this castle from you. Let me defend you now,” Theon told Bran in episode 2. And before he was cut down by the Night King, Theon did everything in his power to do just that. By sacrificing himself to protect one of the Starks, Theon was finally able to make amends for betraying the family who raised him and bring his story full circle. This moment was particularly poignant for fans who have long been waiting for Theon to, as he put it to Jon, “be the right kind of person.” And as the Night King entered the godswood, Theon received the redemption he was looking for from Bran: “You’re a good man. Thank you.”
After imparting some final words of wisdom to Daenerys about forgiving Tyrion for his mistakes as Hand of the Queen, Jorah rode out into the field to make a stand against the dead. But even House Tarly’s Valyrian steel sword Heartsbane wasn’t enough to protect him from the onslaught of the dead. Jorah died as he lived: protecting Daenerys, his queen.
The Night King
It’s hard to believe it, but our heroes’ attempt to lure the Night King into the godswood by using Bran as bait worked. Sure, a number of Westorsi — including Theon, who defended Bran to the death — fell in the process. But in the end, Arya’s surprise attack worked. After the leader of the White Walkers was vanquished, his army of wights and ice dragon also fell, giving the living an unexpected victory over the dead.
Viserion had to die after Arya drove her handy weapon through the Night King’s armor, setting off a domino death effect that toppled the ice dragon.
“I have to die in this strange country, just like you,” Melisandre told Varys in season 7. The red priestess called it again. After helping to turn the tide of the Battle of Winterfell by providing fire and crucial inspiration to Arya, she removed her enchanted necklace to reveal her true age. She then collapsed into the snow beneath her and turned to dust.