Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Death


Death is something Game of Thrones does fantastically well, and there was a strong batch of nominees in round one. Five winners stood above the others (until their untimely ends, anyway), and have made it to the final round of voting.

As you can see from the results, the deaths of Oberyn, Ygritte, Grenn, Joffrey, and Tywin were the most memorable to Watchers on the Wall voters.

Best Death

All deserving finalists. Which one will take the prize for Best Death of Season 4? Will it be Grenn’s final stand with his brothers of the Night’s Watch? Or Ygritte taking an arrow through the heart and dying in Jon’s arms? Joffrey’s gruesome death by poison or his grandfather Tywin dying with two crossbow bolts in him, courtesy of Tyrion? Or will it be Oberyn Martell’s ill-fated duel with the Mountain?

You have one vote in the finals! The poll will be open for 48 hours, until 9/23/14, at 10AM.

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Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of


  1. Grenn has my vote, the way he yelled his oath when the giant come through the tunnel, it was just awesome.

  2. I find Ygritte’s death scene very affecting still. Tywin’s is probably the least affecting for me of the top five, but I like it better without having watched the botched Shae scene right before it. That put me in a weird place when watching the season finale initially.

  3. Grenn’s demise was easily one of the best deathscenes this show has done so far, so it gets my vote.

    EDIT: Even so, I would have voted for Ygritte, if she had taken an arrow to the knee 😉

  4. Grenn holds the Gates gets the vote mainly because i didn’t see it coming and the reciting of the vows sent a little shiver down my spine. Joffrey a close second as i like the scene and Jack Gleeson has done a spectacular job making everyone hate the character. The two big deaths loose out due to translation issues. Whilst i liked Ygrittes scene it was to obvious the kid would kill her providing you knew she was gonna die.

  5. Oberyn. The whole scene leading up to his death was well done and emotional, and his death itself was just so horrifying. Still not over it.

  6. They were all so great! I went with Tywin because I thought the acting by Dinklage and Dance was just spectacular, and I loved the low camera angle, but I think Grenn’s stand was the most emotional! It wasn’t Donal Noye, but I was very moved!

  7. Would love to have had a glimpse into what actually happened between Grenn’s heroic group and the giant but it was quite affecting nonetheless. RIP Grenn.

  8. Somewhat surprisingly I went with Grenn. I didn’t think I was going to, but I think about the way that was shot, with him saying the oath with his brothers, and then not seen what happened until the very end when Jon closes his eyes, was very affecting.

    Tywin’s death was good more for the character than the scene itself.

    Oberyn’s end was fantastic and incredibly violent. I appreciate the way that it was shot, and the incredible makeup and special effects. Ultimately though I like three other ones better.

    Ygritte’s end was marvelous, with Jon cradling her as she dies in his arms and the Nights Watch taking out the last few Wildlings.

    And Joff!! Christ we were waiting for that 1 for four years! The makeup is incredible and Jack Gleeson of course makes you feel bad for the little bastard at a time when nobody ever wanted to feel bad for him. It’s a great moment, and if it wins that’s totally cool with me too. In fact any of the five except Tywin I would be great with for winning.

  9. Oberyn head explosion…

    🙁 so messed up.

    When Jon burned Ygritte’s body…the music and camera angles…beautiful.

  10. Grenn’s death because it was unexpected and sadly heroic.

    I knew the other ones were coming and was prepared…to a point, anyway. Oberyn’s final moments were horrific; I closed my eyes for much of it. Ygritte’s was sweet and sad. Tywin’s was anti-climatic – not sure why – maybe the anticipation of it. Joffrey’s death was perfectly done. Jack Gleeson was brilliant.

  11. Wow! I’ve reading WiC since 2008 and getting really disappointed lately. I just discovered this site! I was really missing Fury, FaB, Marco, etc. Thank you for launching this site!!!!!

  12. Joffrey because, despite it being the one death we all hoped for, it still has a really creepy atmosphere and because of Jack’s acting. He nailed it.

  13. I went with Oberyn, as I thought both that scene and the plot leading up to it were very well-handled (one of the standout parts of the season). Grenn is such a non-entity on the show to me, I thought both Joffrey and Tywin’s deaths were underwhelming due to the handling of the scenes overall, and Ygritte’s near-complete disappearance from the season leading up to episode 9 seriously muted the impact of her death.

  14. Glad to see that all five of the nominees that I voted for in the preliminary round made it through to the finals. Of course, that makes things a bit harder now.

    Tywin Lannister’s demise is an iconic moment in the series, and a critical turning point for Tyrion’s character. The actual staging of the scene itself is less memorable than the other contenders here, but the absence of dignity and ceremony were perversely fitting trappings for the death of a man who so often appeared to be larger than life. Rather than worrying about what wasn’t there, I focused on what was. And I thought that Tyrion telling his father “I am your son. I have always been your son” was a powerful conclusion to a relationship that, thanks to Tywin’s arrogance and close-minded hatred, was always destined for a bloody and tragic end.

    Grenn was the surprise entry here, but his end was extremely powerful. The show could have stretched the budget even further to show us his epic battle against Mag the Mighty, but instead it told us everything we needed to know through a few brief images. The charging giant. The six terrified but resolute brothers drawing their swords and reciting their oath. And finally Jon closing his friend’s eyes, acknowledging that he had sent Grenn to his death but that his brother had done his duty anyway. A great example of how restraint can sometimes be more effective than pure spectacle.

    Joffrey Baratheon‘s death was the most viscerally satisfying demise of the season. The King loved few things more than an extravagant display that carried with it the prospect of intense suffering. Fittingly enough, his death at his own wedding feast had both qualities, and while he didn’t derive much pleasure from it, the rest of us certainly did.

    I spoke about how much I loved Ygritte’s death scene when I explained my votes for “The Watchers on the Wall” and Rose Leslie in the Best Episode and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively. I won’t repeat myself here, but I will add that the post-script to her death – Jon burning her body in the woods north of the Wall – was also lovely, and offered a nice measure of closure for this important character and relationship. Game of Thrones celebrated the countdown to Season 4 with a poster depicting a “Beautiful Death” from each episode of the series, and when you consider the cinematic craft and the inherent tragedy involved, Ygritte’s death certainly qualifies.

    (Seriously, go check out Robert Ball’s work at if you haven’t already. It’s stunning).

    Finally, we come to Oberyn Martell, whose death may seem to be the “obvious” choice. After all, it’s not every day that you see (and hear) someone’s head explode like an overripe melon. The spectacle, the stakes, and the operatic conclusion make the Trial by Combat an iconic moment for Game of Thrones whether you knew it was coming or not. But in this case, the weight of expectations was so immense that it can’t be overlooked. I thought that Game of Thrones handled that weight admirably, and delivered a memorable end for a character who won’t soon be forgotten.

    My Vote: Oberyn Martell (but Ygritte is very close).

  15. They’re all really good. I think I’ll go with Joffrey, though. Jack was awesome, and that scene was epic and perfectly done. I never really liked the Oberyn death scene in the books and the show was an accurate depiction of that (if a bit more messy) so I’m going to neglected good old Pedro.

    I’m dreading the day where I have to pick between Pedro and Alfie in the Supporting Actor vote.

  16. Joffrey’s was the most satisfying but Oberyn’s was by far the most gut wrenching. Had to go with the Viper’s death

  17. This is another hard choice. rudi upthread mentioned Grenn being the one that we weren’t expecting. I agree; while I loved seeing favorite book scenes coming to life, I knew what was coming. The way Green’s scene was staged, the whole oath starting low and building as the giant came through, then black out, gave me shivers; and the final silent moment when Jon finds him and his fellow watchers – all of that was totally unexpected, an added moment that made an already powerful part of the book even more so. So its Grenn for me.

  18. I’m glad I have a bit of time to decide.
    I’m going back and forth between Grenn, Oberyn, and Tywin.

  19. Joffrey. This one was easy for me. It had the best buildup. The entire long sequence was expertly done. I wouldn’t say the same for Oberyn and Tywin, which is why I chose Joffrey.

  20. Voted Oberyn, because I’m still not over that scene. I couldn’t even watch properly the first time, and the whole lead up was great – the way it made you feel like he stood a chance, like he was winning.

    Grenn holding the gate though? Close second. Wouldn’t even mind if it won instead of the Viper. :>

  21. I would have voted for Crow Meets Giant Arrow, but in lack of that, I went with Joffrey. Jack Gleeson was perfection from start to finish, and although I hated his character dearly, I didn’t rejoice at all upon his death because his acting made me actually care for Joff in that instance. The one other time this happened in GOT was when Viserys got his golden crown.

  22. TheBerylfly:
    I thought i was gonna be in minority voting Grenn, but man, apparently I suck at foresight

    You suck less at it then me, because honestly, I don’t have a clue as to what made Grenn’s final scene alive such a good “death scene”… (ok, I’ll go hide now)

  23. I went with Oberyn’s.

    Me next pick would have been Joffrey. It was very well done. But I also found Ygritte’s death quite touching.

    Tywin’s was good, but not as great as it could have been (not quite sure why… I just pictured it as more shocking). And Grenn’s was epic, but I can’t vote for a death that wasn’t even in the book.

  24. My vote goes for Grenn. That scene still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it, and seeing his body in the aftermath and in the pyre pained much more than I’d thought possible.

    Tywin Lannister’s death is great, but the whole escape scene felt so rushed. Although I have no problem with cutting Tysha from Jaime’s farewell, I think we should’ve seen Jaime wrestle with the idea of saving his brother between her scene with Cersei and the actual escape. What does that have to do with anything? Pacing. The escape happened way too quickly and I was still stunned by the time of Tywin’s death. Still, it was the best scene of that whole sequence.

    Joffrey’s death was grim and well realized, and I felt bad for the poor bastard, which I didn’t expect. Still, not good enough for my podium.

    Ygritte’s death was really good. This one may be my second or third favorite, mostly because of Jon’s smile that stalls her, her final words, and the subsequent beautiful funeral north of the Wall.

    Oberyn. Great fight scene. Loved the execution, really. But after the shock, even knowing it was coming, it doesn’t affect me so much anymore. Still, a second or third favorite, no contest.

    So… yeah. Grenn’s Death. It’s gotta be him. He held the gate.

  25. I couldn’t not vote for Oberyn’s death… but Grell’s one was very close.
    I’m incredibly happy all my five votes got to the final!

  26. Tough one but I went with Joffrey. I really love the mixed feelings I have about his death. Both in the book and show. On the one hand, Joffrey is terrible. You hope he gets it the whole time. Then it happens and he slowly chokes while everyone, including his agonized mother watches helplessly. It’s difficult to watch and almost sad but at the same time so satisfying. I loved going through that emotional rollercoaster. Plus, the acting was just so good from everyone involved. Even from the actors who didn’t have many or any lines. The score was perfect too. This was probably one of the best if not the best scene of the whole season.

  27. With Joffrey’s death, they gad a rare opportunity to spend a ratger long time building up to it. I consider his death sequence to really start when the dwarves start their performance. There’s so much tension from then on out that it makes his death so much better. Besides the Red Wedding I can’t think of a death scene that had that much buildup immediately before the death. So I voted for Joffrey, even if it wasn’t as sad or shocking as the other deaths on the show or in this season.

  28. This category shows once again how spoiled we were this season. I mean first season Ned was an obvious pick, although Viserys had a good death too. But in second season the best deaths we got were for fairly minor characters, Rodrik and Luwin, and third season was pretty much just choosing which of the Red Wedding deaths was more impactful.

    But this year we got several major character deaths and all of them were really good. Joffrey, Tywin, and Oberyn would all easily make my top ten deaths in the show, and maybe Ygritte too.

    So would the Hound’s last scene, actually. I didn’t expect to see him on here, since so many people were confident we’d see him again, but I think we’ll regret not taking this opportunity to vote for him. Because they brought up the contrived way in which he’d somehow survive, and sarcastically dismissed it (“Unless there’s a maester hiding behind that rock, yeah, I’m done for”) I think that was the shiw’s way of saying “that ain’t happening.”

  29. I knew when I chose for the 5 finalists that it would be difficult to choose between Oberyn’s and Grenn’s demises, and I still can’t make up my mind.

    I liked Oberyn’s death because it so spectacular and gruesome and cinematographic and even more cruel than in the books.

    And I liked Grenn’s exactly by the opposite reason, it was so subtle, unexpected, courageous and heroic in such a subdued beautiful way.

    Can somebody help me, pretty please?

  30. I usually like to pick show specific things, but most of these scenes were in the book. Athough Ygrittes wasnt, that was about as cliche as it gets so I immediately steered away from that. Didn’t know that Tywin died. Thought he was tougher than that so no vote. Oberyn was great but I felt that Grenn just had more impact. I voted for the guy with the bad accent.

  31. Grenn’s death, because of the stirring recital of the oath, and because he knew he was going to die and fulfilled his vows so bravely.

  32. I knew about Oberyn’s death, but I got to admit that was mildly traumatizing. There’s just something unsettling about such cool headed character dying in a state of fear like that.

  33. My vote goes undoubtedly to Grenn.
    Let´s consider two things:

    1. We did not even watch him die in front of the camera, but his final moments were so powerfully played, we all were moved by his bravery. *MY HAT GOES OFF TO MARK STANLEY, WHO IS A GREAT YOUNG ACTOR, BY THE WAY.

    2. His time on screen, compared to Jeoffrey, Ygritte or Tywin was too scarce. Grenn is a “minor” character, but he was briliantly performed and I find great that many of us, still grief for him.

    3. We all know he should not have died… (Sometimes I hate D&D) At least, Grenn left the show in the most epic possible way.

    …however, all of the deaths in this show are amazingly performed, and all the actors played awesome scenes. Game of thrones is a such a great series! =)

  34. Went for Grenns death, for the simple reason it’s the only one that still gives me goosebumps.

    The other 4 all had their small (or bigger) problems, not with the acting itself but with the way the scenes were set up/played out. Problems that killed goosebumps rightaway, or on re-watch.

  35. Agreed I found Ygritte’s death very cheesey, it didn’t affect me at all. Absolutely loved Joffrey’s death (and Jack’s performance) but I had to go with Oberyn overall as even when I knew what was coming I still had to look away – I thought Pedro did such a fantastic job as Oberyn and the actual grossness of his death was so well done.

  36. Given how strong an effect Oberyn’s death had on me, I do have to vote for him. It was unlike anything I’ve seen on television before, I was petrified for a good 15 minutes after the episode ended, trying to grasp what was happening.

  37. Wow, we all seem to be going Grenn. I agree, although Ygrittes brought a tear to my eye too and would be my second choice.

    Surprised that Lysa didn’t make the cut.

  38. Had to go with Grenn. It was easily one of the best deaths in the entire series- heartwrenching yet perfect in every way.

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