Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 7: Best Death Scene – Preliminary Round

WotW season7-awards

Welcome to the 2017 Watchers on the Wall Awards Preliminaries! Voting is now in session, Game of Thrones fans. Once again you the readers created the pool of nominees, and now it’s time to whittle ’em down, until we have the ultimate winners, the best of the best of season 7!

We’ll be starting off our voting with a category perfectly appropriate for this time of the year. Halloween is just around the corner; what better time to get ghoulish and discuss the best death scenes. So today, we want you to choose your five favorites from the preliminary poll!

The standard rules: Select up to FIVE nominees from the poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you cannot choose more than 5. (Visit the initial WotW Awards post for a complete explanation of the rules and process.)

At the end of 72 hours (Saturday 10/21/17 at 6PM Eastern Time), whichever five death scenes have the most votes will continue on to the finals. The results of the poll will be revealed when it’s time to choose the winner of Best Death Scene in a few weeks.

Thanks to Greatjon of Slumber for tallying up the initial nominee suggestions. Now, let’s vote!

(And no, we’ve never quibbled about whether or not you have to actually see them croaking onscreen in order to qualify! If they’re in the poll, they count.)

49 responses

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    1. “I’d hate to die like your son.. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth… eyes blood red… skin purple… Must’ve been horrible for you, as a kings guard, as a father… It was horrible enough for me… a shocking scene..

      Not at all what I intended… You see… I’d never seen the poison work before.

      Tell Cersei… I want her to know it was me”

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    2. Picked House Frey, Olenna, Petyr, Thoror, and Tyene. I know Viserion will get in over Tyene and or Thoros, but I just think those were better scenes overall.

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    3. Olenna Tyrell downs her wine and sends a final message.

      Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish finally gets what’s coming to him and has his throat slit

      Tyene Sand is poisoned by Cersei, as Tyene’s mother Ellaria is locked away with her forever

      Viserion the dragon is felled by the Night King

      Winter comes for House Frey, with a little help from Arya Stark and some poison.

      Honorable Mention: Randyll and Dickon Tarly are executed by dragonfire after the battle

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    4. I only voted for the two I wrote on the nominations thread. Others are good and fine but I don’t want the pool too full of water. 😛

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    5. Viserion unexpectedly broke my heart more than I had thought it would. Olenna was magnificent. Loved how Arya offed LF, no words and not drawn out. Dickon and Randyll – great subtlety by James and Tom. And starting the season off right – bye Freys.

      Olenna is my #1, but I liked all of these scenes.

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    6. Benjen – This death seemed to happen very quickly, but it reminded me so much of the deaths in the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave in season six. Benjen is sacrificing his life so that someone more important can survive. In this case, Jon. Once again, Jon is forced to watch as someone he loves is killed in front of him just as they have been reunited.

      House Frey – A chilling scene with one of the best speeches of the season; both David and Maisie were fantastic here. The North Remembers. This was a great scene to open season seven with, and demonstrated that the House of Black and White training scenes from last season had a purpose – and Arya is using what she has learned. Arya was outside the Twins when the Red Wedding took place, and this is her showing us what Stark vengeance looks like.

      Petyr – So fitting that it is Sansa who brings Petyr to justice (even if she didn’t carry it out) and that it happens in Winterfell. Ned was out of his depth in the cesspit that is King’s Landing, and I think Petyr was equally out of his depth in Winterfell. His manipulative tendencies could only get him so far, and trying to separate the Starks ultimately proved to be his undoing.

      Olenna – Diana Rigg was only in two scenes in season seven, and both were highly memorable. There is a grim sense of achievement in Olenna’s eyes when she speaks to Jaime. Tell Cersei. Olenna knows that even in defeat, there can be small victories. Olenna completely owns Jaime here.

      Tyene – This is a beautifully crafted and acted scene. Neither Rosabell nor Indira say anything, but they are both fantastic here – as is Lena. There are echoes of both Myrcella’s death and the executions of Rickard and Brandon Stark. Cersei is rapidly becoming the Mad Queen. But Lena’s performance is so amazing that you’re reminded this is a woman avenging the death of her only daughter. Wouldn’t anyone else in her situation want to bring the women who plotted their child’s murder to justice? Cersei references Oberyn’s death and when she asks Ellaria why she killed Myrcella, it reminded me powerfully of Oberyn’s who gave you the order?

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    7. Olenna, Littlefinger, and Ellaria/Tyene were easy to choose. Some of the best scenes of the season. I would actually be pretty happy with any of them winning ultimately.

      The death of the Tarlys was also a pretty easy choice. I thought it was pretty impressive how they humanized them in their final moments, especially Randyl, who is such an evil bastard. Giving him a touching moment with his son forever complicated my images of either of them. I will be kind of sad if this one doesn’t make it to the top 5, but I’m not optimistic.

      Last slot went to the mass murder of the Freys in the premiere, because David Bradley was so great throughout that scene. So creepy, disturbing and satisfying all at once.

      I actually really liked the understated death of Thoros. That would be my honorable mention.

      Honestly, not feeling much love for the death of Viserion. Cool moment, but because Viserion wasn’t really a character, I don’t think the actual “death” part of the death scene was nearly as impactful as the deaths of human characters (even pretty minor characters). I’m a little surprised anyone was emotionally rocked by his death, to be honest. Maybe I’m just not an animal guy. Happy others got more out of it than I did, but I’m personally hoping this doesn’t crowd out any of the human deaths in the final five.

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    8. Clob,

      Eh, maybe. Probably not for me though. A large reptile with more screen time is still just a large reptile. I mean, they didn’t even bother to mention the names of any of these dragons until like Season 4. Because the names didn’t really matter. They are plot devices, not characters, at least from my perspective.

      I will say, though, that Emilia was really good in her reaction to the death of the dragon. I don’t think I am capable of seeing the dragons as her children, but I felt sad for her in her scene with Jon afterward.

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    9. -Nymeria and Obara Sand are killed with their own weapons, up against Euron Greyjoy
      -Olenna Tyrell downs her wine and sends a final message. (For the win!)
      -Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish finally gets what’s coming to him and has his throat slit
      -Randyll and Dickon Tarly are executed by dragonfire after the battle
      -Tyene Sand is poisoned by Cersei, as Tyene’s mother Ellaria is locked away with her forever

      Honorable Mention: House Frey. While well-executed, I can’t justify voting for the death of primarily nameless characters (in the show, at least) over named, established characters in the Best Death category.

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    10. Littlefinger because his death was so satisfying for me that I actually drank a glass of wine and toasted to the pack :).

      Olenna because she was a badass until the very end.

      Randyll and Dickon because I found both of them brave, staying true to their decisions and facing the certain death.

      Tyene‘s poisoning was slightly painful for me to watch because it was built up perfectly and even though she did all these evil things it hurt to see Ellaria this helpless, being completely … overthrown?/beaten? by Cersei.

      I then chose between the Freys and Viserion and it was Viserion because I am sure that the Frey massacre is going to get many votes.

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    11. Clob:
      I only voted for the two I wrote on the nominations thread.Others are good and fine but I don’t want the pool too full of water. 😛

      Which two?

      I only voted for three.

      I disqualified wights because in my view undead can’t have a death scene.

      As much as I was glad to see LF voted off the planet, his execution was too quick, as if Arya remembered “Oh, I forgot to turn off the kitchen light”, flipped the switch, and walked away. Also, as Sandor would say: “All over in an instant. Where’s the punishment in that?”

      Tyene and Ellaria betrayed their own “we are kickass warrior women” attitude with their whimpering. They should’ve gone out stoically.

      Benjen: “Hello, I must be going.”

      So, my three choices were….
      (cont….)

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    12. Clob,

      Cont. from above
      (Apologies; spontaneous “page reloading” problem)

      My three choices were:

      1. “If people ask you what happened here, tell them: The North remembers. Tell them: Winter came for House Frey.”
      Because all of those jackssses who “helped slaughter the Starks at the Red Wedding” had it coming. And in my book Arya can do no wrong, ever (except for getting stabbed by the Waif in S6, though that was a dubious directorial decision; and the contrived feud with Sansa in S7). It says something about the show – or me – that I applauded mass murder by a teenaged girl.
      But most of all, because I was sick of seeing those stupid Frey caps. Good riddance.

      2. Olenna: Going out in style by getting the last laugh – hurling multiple insults at her executioner, capped off with the mother of all zingers. By the end of that scene, I think the executioner felt worse than the condemned.
      And no bitching and moaning by the genteel Queen of Thorns. (Take note, whimpering Ellaria…)

      3. Randyll and Dickon Tarly: Traitor Randall deserved it; he not only betrayed Olenna and House Tyrell, but allied himself with the mad queen who had incinerated Loras, Margaery and Mace.
      More egregiously, he disinherited and fat-shamed Samwell. Now that is something the gods just cannot forgove.
      Glad to see Randall nuked.

      But Dickon’s death was truly tragic. His voluntary immolation, whether foolish or courageous, really got to me.

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    13. Ten Bears,

      Retraction:
      I wrote: “I disqualified wights because in my view undead can’t have a death scene.”

      However, although I did not vote for the Snow WW and wights ambushed by the Snow Patrol [final candidate listed in the preliminary round poll], I DID nominate Captured Wight.

      Regrettably, Captured Wight 💀 did not make the preliminary round. He was my #1 overall choice for Best Death.

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    14. Hodor Targaryen,

      Maybe next season non-humans (animals, undead, etc.) should have their own categories? If so…

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Drogon and Ghost will vye for Best Actor by a creature; NK will be the runaway winner of Best Death scene; and Nymeria will sweep Best Fight, Best Actress, Best Battle Scene, Funniest Scene, and Best Dramatic Scene.
      This could all be thrown into disarray if Toby the (Charred) Zombie Polar Bear is reanimated and returns in S8.

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    15. I am sooooo glad Drogon didn’t die.

      1. Frey’s
      2. Olenna
      3. Thoros
      4. Benjen
      5. Tarlys
      (No specific order)
      1 and 2 really struck a note with me as with 5 as far as feeling the scenes. I never enjoy animal deaths even though I know it’s all fake. LF death was unnecessary and dull as F. Was it deserved? Kinda. A few more have their throats sliced THEN justice has worked however, I highly doubt it will happen.

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    16. 1. Olenna

      Not only did she go out like a champ, but she did it in a way where she left a clear impact on the story (particularly in regards to Jaimie’s arc), which always makes for the best type of death in a story.

      2. House Frey

      Sure, they’re all nameless characters, but this was done with too much style, and also made clear just how dangerous Arya is now.

      3. Littlefinger

      While I would have liked it more if this had come when Littlefinger still felt like an important character (as opposed to being reduced to a creepy stalker), it was immensely satisfying and poetic to watch him slowly realize how his schemes had come back to slice his throat.

      4.

      For characters that I didn’t like, this was quite a fitting end, with great acting all around. Ellaria and Tyene trying to reach out to each other but failing, just like Rickard and Brandon Stark did, was a very foreboding image.

      5. Randyll and Dickon

      I respected them for staying true to their convictions, however noxious Randyll’s were. Still can’t say I was to torn up about Randyll dying, and I felt bad for Dickon’s misguided loyalty to his jerk of a father.

      H.M.:

      While the sheer spectacle of Viserion’s demise was tremendous, and the reactions from the other dragons and Dany were great (particularly in Dany’s scene with Jon later), but he never really felt like enough of a character for me to mourn, unlike if Drogon had died. I suppose it didn’t help that I was spoiled about it beforehand, or that I couldn’t tell whether it Rhaegal or Viserion that got hit without those spoilers.

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    17. 1-Viserion Death…..OMFG my heart still hurt 2-Littlefingers Death……you got what you deserve 3-Lady Olenna Death……..she dies like a badass 4-Winter came for House Frey……Arya in her most sassiest moments 5-Tarly burned bacon+Dick On[what a fuckin name]…Danny in her most badass moments

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    18. Olenna – The whole segment was great, as she watches from the ramparts as the Lannister army bears down upon her, to Jaime striding through the courtyard past those gold bars, then him taking a seat as she tells him he must be very wise by now. But I think the “death scene” actually starts when she mutters “and now the rains weep o’er our halls.” Hearing her say the words to the Lannister revenge song, I started mentally applauding the whole scene. You just know how bitter she must have felt about the outcome, but she was always one to give as good as she got. “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me.” CLASSIC. Great writing, great acting.

      The Freys: good riddance. The Red Wedding was a foul trick, needing payback far too long. (The only Frey I ever gave a damn about was poor Fat Walda.) I did feel sorry for those broken down women, glad Arya spared them But a great scene, by both David and Maisie and all those astonished girls. The scene was perfectly staged, and we are voting on death “scenes” are we not? Winter has come for House Frey, oh yeah.

      Littlefinger – yes, he did deserve it. His lifelong boner for revenge on the Stark men and the mayhem he caused throughout the land because of it, messed up thousands of innocent lives. He was well on his way to decimating the relationship between the Stark children, and no doubt at least one of them would have seen damage if he hadn’t been stopped. The scene itself was beautifully played, especially by Aiden, from the startled surprise on his face as he hears Sansa say “Lord Baelish,” instead of Arya’s name, to the last moment down on his knees as Arya almost nonchalantly puts an end to him.

      Tyene getting the kiss of death from Cersei. Now, THAT was a “scene.” The whole thing, full of suspense, because we didn’t know what horrible thing Cersei would have in store for Ellaria, to our guilty sighs of satisfaction when Cersei leaves the room. Because, as horrible as it was going to be for Ellaria, it seemed to be the perfect solution. Each woman was perfect – Tyene’s wide open eyes as Cersei kisses her and Tyene realizes what’s been done to her. Ellaria trying to appear brave in front of Cersei. And Lena’s delivery of that speech, OMG. Get a copy of that speech and read it, and see if your admiration for the way Lena handled it isn’t amplified tenfold.

      Randyll and Dickon. Randyll’s choices in life damaged both his sons. Luckily, Sam’s tenaciousness will carry him through, but Dickon’s death was due totally to Randyll’s unrelenting pride. That’s a high, nasty price to pay for pride. The scene itself was totally engrossing, as you watched both men turn down their choices for life and opt for death. Tyrion’s frustration was palpable, Dany’s determination equally evident, and Drogon did his duty.

      I actually quibbled between the Tarley deaths and Viserion. I nominated Viserion’s scene, because watching him twist through the sky in agony, then slide into the water, really got to me. But during nominations I somehow had totally forgotten the Frey scene, and that nudged Viserion to sixth place. I couldn’t NOT vote for the Frey scene, I’d been waiting for it for years. So, there you have it.

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    19. Ten Bears: And in my book Arya can do no wrong, ever (except for getting stabbed by the Waif in S6, though that was a dubious directorial decision; and the contrived feud with Sansa in S7)

      LOL, I’m still annoyed by that, too. That was totally the direction. He wanted the “Terminator” effect or some such thing. Oh well, Maisie pulled it through.

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    20. I voted for Olenna, Tyene and the Tarlys. LF’s death was in line with his arc since S5, lame and underwhelming.

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    21. Olenna. I wish I could go with such dignity when my time comes.
      The Freys. I love Arya in this scene, and I love how she spared the women.
      Littlefinger. Not that much dignity in the end.
      Benjen. Heartbreaking.
      Viserion. Dito.

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    22. Jon Targaryen I: I suppose it didn’t help that I was spoiled about it beforehand,

      We were kind of spoiled about a dragon death long before season 7. A few weeks ago there was a discussion of Tyrion’s beetle smashing monologue, and I remembered seeing a cartoon of GRRM sitting in the middle of a bunch of bloodied characters with a rock in his right hand, going KHUU, KHUU, KHUU. I think it was Pigeon or Ten Bears who was kind enough to find it for me. (thanks again)

      Well, take a look at that cartoon again – in GRRM’s left hand is a wide-eyed Dragon, next in line to be smashed. It didn’t register at the time, but I chuckled when I just looked at it. SOMEbody knew ahead of time that a dragon was going down. At the time it was unthinkable, but, well, things do change, don’t they?

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    23. ghost of winterfell: LF’s death was in line with his arc since S5, lame and underwhelming.

      I voted for it, because it was a good scene, but I think some of the lameness you were feeling was because of an awkward attempt by the writers to draw out suspense as to whether the girls were going to plot against each other at LF’s instigation. With him always hanging around, lurking around corners, trying to set up Arya and talking with all the help, it got tedious. Pigeon was right, too many “balcony” scenes, with LF and Sansa standing there watching stuff in the courtyard. Sansa’s arc moved along, but LF’s got stale.

      Still, I thought it was a fairly good death scene – or maybe I was just really ready for him to be gone.

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    24. All the Sand Snakes x2. They finally had a non-comical impact. And Tyene’s death scene is my favourite by far this season.

      Olenna Tyrrel, well, that was predictable.

      The Freys, because that was a grandiose cold open.

      And Viserion being felled was more impactful than it should have been.

      Honorable mention: Thoros died kinda peacefully, among friends. And after encountering an undead polar bear. “Funny old life.”

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    25. QOT, House Frey, and Littlefinger.
      I liked how Cersei and Ellaria Sand interacted and Lena was sooooooo cold, but Tyenne gave a good death just that the first three were more gratifying then Sand Snakes.

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    26. Thronetender,

      The problem with Littlefinger, is that you could feel somewhere around season 5 that there was no real endgame plan for him in the mind of the writers. He was just doing things for the sake of moving the plot, and none of his actions made sense if tried to analyze them.

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    27. Hurray!!! It is award time again!!!
      We start with an easy pick I see… I will be greatly surprised if Littlefinger doesn’t get this. Followed closely by the Lady Olenna.

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    28. HelloThere: The problem with Littlefinger, is that you could feel somewhere around season 5 that there was no real endgame plan for him in the mind of the writers.

      I agree

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    29. 1. Olenna. The OG.

      2. Petyr. 2 reasons: 1. He played them game of thrones. He didn’t win, so…. and 2. The Winterfell plot of S7 had to end…HAD TO.

      3. The Freys: The north remembered, and so did we! Gold star for Arya.

      4. Viserion: Still tough to watch this beautiful, awe-inspiring, yet completely fake, effects-created creature go out in apparent agony.

      5. Tyene: Congrats to Cersei on her one, and likely only, justifiable homicide. Cheers.

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    30. The 3 I chose- based on how emotional each made me:
      1. Littlefinger: Fina-fu*kingly! My heart was pounding in glee and anticipation as I watchedit unfold- then I was shocked to see him so vulnerable and it threw me for a loop! I went from pumping my fist in the air in celebration to feeling sorry for him in his final seconds…underneath it all, he really was weak and afraid.
      2. Viserion: Even though it broke my heart and I still get teary-eyed on rewatches- it was so well done… Dany’s shock, his dragon brothers’ reactions- don’t get me started or I will cry as hard as I did the 1st time. (I’m an animal lover)
      3. Olenna: Ranking last because we didn’t get to see her actually die- but I was so proud of the Queen of Thornes still going out on top, confident as ever, delivering one last (emotionally catastrophic) blow to her enemy. Well done!

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    31. Didn’t want to fill the pool so decided on my top three.
      1- Olenna
      2- Littlefinger
      3- Tyene

      Each stunning in there own way and left such a deep emotion in the other characters in the scenes. Honestly so shocked by Cersei / Tyene scene and would have been higher if I could bring myself to care for the sand snakes.

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    32. I voted for Olenna’s death and nothing else. I based it on rewatch value. Which death would I want to go out of my way to rewatch again? Olenna is the one and only.

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    33. Sue,
      I haven’t been able to pin down the poll button, probably because of the way my Mac is configured. This AM I briefly saw a button that said something like “Take our Poll”. But it disappeared and nothing I do can bring it back. Help, please.

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    34. Thronetender: I voted for it, because it was a good scene, but I think some of the lameness you were feeling was because of an awkward attempt by the writers to draw out suspense as to whether the girls were going to plot against each other at LF’s instigation. With him always hanging around, lurking around corners, trying to set up Arya and talking with all the help, it got tedious. Pigeon was right, too many “balcony” scenes, with LF and Sansa standing there watching stuff in the courtyard. Sansa’s arc moved along, but LF’s got stale.

      Still, I thought it was a fairly good death scene – or maybe I was just really ready for him to be gone.

      Yup, the writing wasted too much potential and made some long awaited events kinda dull.

      Seemingly less important poll, but it actually reminds me why I still feel disappointment after this season. Hell, some part of me is even terrified, but this actually makes me happy there’s just one season left.
      Season opened with the Freys and closed with LF dying. Bot scenes strayed away from GoT, were designed as spectacular fan service, and naturally fell short of logic and continuity. Sand Fakes dying was a relief, but ofc two of them had to do it their way – like characters from some childish comic book. Who wrote those characters and why are they not banned from writing for life?

      Olenna and Ellaria/Thyene were very good , which is kinda funny, considering we didn’t see anyone actually dying. Says something about the other scenes…

      Also the wight in the Dragonpit got a spectacular ( thanks to Sandor and Jon ) and, unlike many others, rather meaningful death. The unsung hero of the season.

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    35. I’m sad that I missed the vote! I’ll have to be more proactive from now on. Hopefully, the opening Frey deaths will make it to the final round…

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