Game of Thrones started as a very predictable show where you could tell that the Stark children would finish in a position of power and that Jamie and Cersei would die agonizing deaths. However, things changed for the worst the moment Robert Baratheon died. Everyone started showing their true colours as they were tested to their limits, and everyone’s next action relied on the death of another. It became a show guided by death. So, which death changed Game of Thrones the most?
Robert was an old drunk that had stopped caring about the seven kingdoms long before his death. All he wanted was peace in the Red Keep. He was under the illusion that he had everything under control and that his Small Council would keep the realm safe, but he was wrong. However, as long as Robert lived, things remained calm, and everyone stayed in their place.
No one could dare start a rebellion against the first non-Targaryen ruler of Westeros, believed to be the greatest soldier in the realm. Then Ned Stark started uncovering unpleasant truths and the Lannisters decided to kill Robert to protect their position in King’s Landing, and that is how everything went to hell. The Game, as Varys and Tyrion called it, actually started the day Robert Baratheon died.
Ned Stark believed in doing everything right according to his definition of right, but it just couldn’t work. However, after the death of his foster father, Jon Aryn and his friend Robert, Ned seemed like the most suitable person to keep the realm together.
He was a veteran of the very war that made Robert king, and he would have restored King’s Landing back to its Halcion days before the Mad king. No one expected Ned to die, especially at the hands of an insolent deranged kid like Joffrey. Ned Stark’s death exposed the deep-lying hatred among the prominent houses in Westeros and caused the War of The Five Kings.
The Night’s Watch had kept the realm safe for eight millennia while staying away from the politics of Westeros. It was a united brotherhood that didn’t care about the many differences its members had, and Joer Mormont was the peak of the brotherhood’s glory days. He was the last great Lord Commander before the long night came. The mutiny at Craster’s Keep got him killed as he was struggling to keep the brotherhood together in spite of the abandonment by the capital. His death marked the start of a new era of the brotherhood that didn’t care much about the rules anymore.
Viserys Targaryen hoped that Khal Drogo would finally change his mind and sail across the narrow sea to help him take of King’s Landing. It was true that Viserys was the true heir to the Iron Throne, but Khal Drogo had a responsibility to his own people, and there was no way he would have given that up to bend to the will of a maniac. Drogo had grown to love Daenerys, and he seemed like the person that would finally bring the long-awaited battle to the nobles of Westeros. His sudden death caused confusion in the Dothraki camp and left Daenerys weaker than she ever was before.
With Ned Stark dead and Jon Snow at the wall, the future of House Stark was in the hands of Robb Stark. He was doing a great job at keeping the North together, and all he had to do was keep the Kastarks and the Freys fighting for him. Robb, however, was more like Ned Stark and wouldn’t change just a little bit for the greater good. He chose to follow his heart and marry Talisa and also got fooled into going to the Red Wedding. His death was basically the rock bottom for House Stark that everyone was afraid of. It was also the peak of Lannister power in Westeros.
When Robb Stark died, Tywin Lannister became the de facto ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, although he hid behind the shadow of his grandson Joffrey. He was a heavy-handed man that didn’t care about anyone else but himself. With Tywin ruling the Seven Kingdoms, all the other houses were at his mercy, and it seemed like he would be the worst tyrant in the history of Westeros.
Then came Tyrion, the man hated and despised by everyone who just wouldn’t give in to the oppression. He saved everyone by killing Tyrion but also ushered the seven kingdoms into the oppressive rule of his sister Cersei who was no better than Tywin.
Joffrey Baratheon deserved to die long before he ever became king. In fact, if Robert’s death wish was to be upheld, Joffrey would never have sat on the Iron Throne. The future seemed very bleak if the fate of the Seven Kingdoms lay at the mercy of the impulsive boy king. He also hated the Starks and Tyrion and wouldn’t have made any life-saving decisions. Olenna and Petyr Baelish saved everyone by killing him, although the death was more brutal than everyone expected. Joffrey’s death was also proof that no one was really indispensable in Game of Thrones.
Stannis Baratheon was not the best of leaders, but he was better than the alternatives, which were Cersei, Tywin and Joffrey. All he had to do was stop listening to the Red Witch and follow the advice of sensible people like the Onion Knight and Jon Snow. While he was using his mind, there was always hope that he would regain his senses and save the realm until the day he agreed to burn his own daughter at the stake. When Shireen died, Stannis lost himself and never made any other sensible decision. Her death was also the end of Stannis Baratheon
Missandei never seemed to harbour hatred for anyone. Not even the slavers of Mereen that had kept her in chains all her life. She got a special place in Daenerys’ heart, and she was the only person that seemed to understand the Mother of Dragons. When Cersei captured her, Daenerys was willing to negotiate and would have given up a lot to save her. However, when Cersei beheaded her, she also signed the death warrant for King’s Landing. Missandei died saying the words “Dracarys,” the same words Daenerys used to order her dragons to breathe fire. Missandei’s death turned Daenerys into the Mad Queen.
Daenerys lived her entire life for the Iron Throne and was obviously the most deserving person to rule the Seven Kingdoms until the day she turned around and committed genocide in the capital. When she died, the Game of Thrones was basically over. Jon Snow could not claim the throne because he never wanted it and the seven Kingdoms seemed to have finally reached their breaking point. Her death was finally the end of the wheel that had hurt the continent for centuries.