You Starks are hard to kill…

Posted: March 29, 2016 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, Opinion, TV
Tags: , , , ,

This post will be talking about Game of Thrones, and if you’re behind on the show and consider knowing who lives and who dies as spoilery info, this will not be the post for you.


The second episode of Game of Thrones, the Kingsroad, is particularly poignant on rewatches. This was the last episode all of the Starks were in one place. The partings were very rough.

Ned: The next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother.

Nope. Ned never gets the chance.

Robb: Next time I see you, you’ll be all in black.

Nope! Oh, well Jon did go on to dress all in black, but Robb and Jon Snow never reunite. (Damn you, Walder Frey!)

I can’t help but feel the words “next time” are some kind of curse.

One of the other things said during the parting of Robb and Jon seems particularly ironic and sad.

You Starks are hard to kill.

Oh, Jon.

To be fair, he was remarking on Bran Stark’s expected recovery from falling from the Old Tower. Bran did survive the fall, much to Jaime and Cersei’s disappointment.

Despite what Jon states, the Starks don’t seem all that hard to kill. But that might just be a subjective emotional response. Maybe we should do some science. Or at least some math.

Stark Death Roster

Let’s take a look at the family, shall we?


  • Eddard Stark – dead
  • Catelyn Stark – dead
  • Benjen Stark – uh, missing? Presumed dead? Maybe alive?
  • Robb Stark – dead
  • Sansa Stark – alive (the trailer for the new season made that clear, she didn’t die jumping off the wall.)
  • Bran Stark – alive
  • Arya Stark – alive
  • Rickon Stark – alive (let’s assume)
  • Jon Snow – dead (I count him as a Stark, and I say he’s dead dead dead… for now…)

So, there are four confirmed dead and one presumed dead. Let’s turn the presumption of Benjen’s death into half-dead for purposes of our calculations. So there are 4.5 dead out of 9. 50% is pretty significant. It seems fair to say the Starks aren’t all that hard to kill.

But let’s compare them to at least the Lannisters and Baratheons, the major houses in power during the first season.

Lannister Death Roster


  • Tywin Lannister – dead
  • Kevan Lannister – alive
  • Cersei Lannister – alive. But shamed. Shame! Shame!
  • Jaime Lannister – alive. Just not as handy.
  • Tyrion Lannister – alive, still nosing around.
  • Joffrey Baratheon – dead, thankfully.
  • Myrcella Baratheon – poisoned. I’m saying dead. I’m sad to say that.
  • Tommen Baratheon – alive! (But for how long? Since he’s married to the Tyrell Widow.)
  • Lancel Lannister – alive.
  • Martyn Lannister – dead.
  • Willem Lannister – dead.
  • Alton Lannister – super dead.

I hope I’ll be forgiven for putting Joffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella in the Lannister camp. Since the Thenns are more likely to have Baratheon DNA than Cersei’s children.

So, unless Myrcella makes a shocking recovery, that’s six dead Lannisters out of twelve, or 50%.

So the Starks don’t seem to be easier to kill than the Lannisters. Just saying. But how is everyone doing in relation to the Baratheons?

Baratheon Death Roster


  • Robert Baratheon – killed by a boar.
  • Renly Baratheon – killed by that bore, Stannis. (Okay, by Melisandre’s smoky vagina demon, if I must be accurate. But Stannis was involved!)
  • Stannis Baratheon – look he’s totally dead. I know there are people who think Brienne didn’t kill him, but I’m not in that camp.
  • Selyse Baratheon – dead.
  • Shireen Baratheon – 😦
  • Gendry Waters – as far as we know, alive and rowing back to Flea Bottom.

So, that’s five dead out of six, or 16.66% survival rate.

But wait! Since I counted Gendry, we should count that baby girl Bara that Slynt killed in the brothel. And I’m estimating 13 more deaths as the Goldcloaks initiated the Arthurian hunt to eliminate royal bastard threats. So that makes twenty Baratheons in total, with one presumed survivor.

5% survival rate.

Wow, the Baratheons are totally not hard to kill. (We can debate those numbers further. Maggy the Frog predicted that Robert would have 20 children, which raises the Baratheon totals to 25. If we assume they’re all alive, then with Gendry that’s a 24% survival rate. But I bet they’re dead too.)

The Targaryens are clocking in at 33% with Viserys crowned in gold and old Aemon bucking the trend of violent death by passing peacefully, leaving Daenerys the last dragon standing.

The Tyrell’s are currently the champs: we’ve been introduced to Mace, Olenna, Loras, and Margaery, all of whom are still around.

So the Starks aren’t super-fragile, nor are they the hardiest based on the numbers, but I’ll make a stand and say that based on what they’ve gone through, they are hard to kill. Stubbornly so.

  • Bran should have died falling from the tower.
  • Bran and Rickon both escaped a grisly end. Not from Theon and the Ironborn, who had reasons to keep them alive. From Ramsay.
  • Arya, had she not escaped King’s Landing, would have been such a nuisance to the Lannisters, Cersei would have probably thrown her down a well. Or Joffrey would have taken his revenge for Arya defying him at the Trident.
  • Sansa nearly met her end at the hands of her deranged aunt. (And she managed to survive King’s Landing and Joffrey’s madness.
  • Okay, Jon Snow has been stabbed and is super dead (for now) but out of anyone on the show, he’s the one who has escaped countless brushes with death. (Countless because I’m too lazy to count, I used up my math quota on all the dead/alive calculations above.)
  • And Ned Stark was lucky to be alive at the start of the show. Okay, I’m hinting at book knowledge, but there were at least two dangerous situations, very dangerous situations during Robert’s rebellion, where he probably should have died.

The Starks have had a lot of things stacked against them, so it’s not a surprise that so many have died. Luckily, they’re not extinct.

And, if I can get speculative for a moment, it’s possible the Stark survival % might improve. Benjen is missing, presumed dead. Maybe he’ll make it back…

But I’m really talking about Jon Snow.


Yes, I have said he’s dead. Even counted him in the dead department for the statistics.

But I’m in the camp that believes he’s coming back. That groundwork was laid with the resurrected  Beric Dondarrion and red priest Thoros of Myr. Red priestess Melisandre knows it can be done. Or at least it has been done.

If Jon can be brought back to life, at least one Stark will certainly have been extra hard to kill.

What Would Jon Snow Do…

Occasionally people suggest topics for me to discuss. I always appreciate this and usually try to accommodate.

Recently, one of my Twitter associates asked me to examine the similarities of a resurrected Jon Snow and Jesus Christ. This isn’t entirely unheard of in fantasy stories. After all, Aslan the Lion from Narnia is intended to be interpreted as a Christ-analogue.

There are some broad general things that can discussed as similarities between JS and JC. There’s certainly a mystery involving their birth. Both had progressive agendas and end up being betrayed and executed.

jon snow

Both had great hair!

If (when) Jon does get resurrected, that’ll be another point of similarity. But really that’s about as far as it goes.

Whereas Narnia’s Aslan works well as a Christ-analogue, I don’t think Jon does as well. Particularly his lack of confidence and the attribute of “knowing nothing.” I mean, Jon’s a good guy, but not someone who I’d consider an avatar of Good.

Although I do like the idea of associating Stannis in the role of Satan, offering Jon a lordship in exchange for serving him.

I guess I’m also inclined to downplay the Jon-Jesus analogy since it too strongly legitimizes the religion of R’hllor, which has the savior archetype in Azor Ahai. As a religion,  it’s a bit too pro-human sacrifice via bonfires for my comfort zone. I’d prefer if it’s revealed to be nothing more than a system of magic (dark magic), and not divinely miraculous.

Okay, talking about the possibility of Jon being some kind of savior archetype isn’t strongly connected to the theme of the post, which is examining the Stark’s hardiness. But Easter weekend was recently here with its theme of rebirth, so it seemed like a timely tangent.

You remaining Starks are (hopefully) hard to kill…

Winter is imminent in Westeros, and hopefully the Starks that we have left will be able to weather the cold (and the things that come with it) and prove Jon was right. Some Starks truly might be hard to kill. Even if they don’t come back. (Come back, Jon!)

I don’t think I can handle losing any more children of Ned and Catelyn from the show. And hopefully I’m not being too optimistic in wanting Jon’s condition to be reversible. Or for Uncle Benjen to come out of the cold and lend a hand.


Feel free to chime in. Does anyone think that we’ll be losing more Starks before the series is over?

(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)

Images from HBO’s Game of Thrones (obviously.) I’ll take credit for that ridiculous halo on Jon Snow. (Look, I’m just not an artist.)

I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text. So there. (Other than when I’m quoting the show, of course.)

If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site.

Β© Patrick Sponaugle 2016 Some Rights Reserved

  1. Haylee says:

    I enjoyed the mathematical breakdown – it shows that perhaps George isn’t quite as kill, kill, kill as I thought. I’d have put the percentage of deaths per house much higher, if asked a general figure. If Jon does comes back (crossing all the fingers and toes), do you think he’ll be predominantly CGI and therefore not continuing to make Kit Harington the biggest liar ever? Because technically, the actor then wouldn’t be back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m smiling thinking that Jon would be some creepy CGI thing. πŸ™‚

      I think he’ll not be a special effect, and there will be all kinds of chat about the parade of lies between season 5 and 6…

      I’m glad my statistics on the houses was entertaining. Science!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haylee says:

        Multiple, female dogs – the politest way I can respond whenever I hear that last word exclaimed!
        Ooh, ‘pants on fire’ Harington will come in for some right stick if that’s the case – of course he’ll be instantly forgiven because he’ll be aliiive! πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just the puns alone are fantastic. I think with the Starks, because the heads of the house are dead, many people count them as out of the great game. This is of course unwise.

    I did a Jon as Jesus post a little while ago! A lot of it is mostly symbolic, but it seems the show played the motif up at least in have Jon be betrayed and killed in front of a cross.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I need to edit my post and link to your article. I’m traveling right now, so it’ll be a few days before I can get to that.

      Glad you enjoyed my puns!

      I think you’re right about the feeling that if the head of the house is dead, that house it out. Even the Baratheons are still in the game, if we can get Gendry legitimized.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aw thank you so much! No worries or rush; I appreciate that 😊

        There is no substitute for a good pun. They are woefully underrated mores the pity (Mors the pity? Ah, trying too hard).

        I think that’s what it is. With the Lannisters even though they’re even with the death toll, Cersei and Jaime are still alive (and known to be alive) whereas the remaining Starks are children and/or presumed dead. That’s a deadly move on the part of their enemies.

        Be safe and have fun with your travels!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. KG says:

    you know, as soon as I read the maths calculations, I was like ‘they are still hard to kill’ but then got to the end of the post and was glad to see all my points listed there πŸ˜‰

    I am not a big fan of Jon Snow…but the picture with the star behind his head was funny πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m pleased that you liked my kind of amateurish halo image of Jon. I wrote this post and had it scheduled over a month ago, and this weekend there were a ton of well-made images of Jon with a beautiful halo, or in some kind of saintly presentation…

      I’m glad the end of my article sync’d up with your views on the Starks and their hardiness. As always, thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. jennnanigans says:

    “Or for Uncle Benjen to come out of the cold and lend a hand.”

    What you did there. I see it! I would put money on him coming south with a hail-mary pass that flies right over the North and the Riverlands and like, wipes out something happening in the Reach. Not a lot of money; say, double or nothing whatever I find laying in the gutter on my afternoon walk, but hey, I might wind up with TWO old chip bags and a pair of rusty pennies and Westeros winds up with a new zombie king who found the Horn of Jormugander or whatever it was called. You never know!

    Reading this list I started actually laughing to myself because I was imagining what percentage of Westerosi nobility die peacefully of old age. The answer is none. NONE die of old age, except Aemon Targaryen and I don’t know if he counts since he took the Black.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, you have a lot of hopes for Benjen! Right on! I’m in your camp.

      The only nobleman that I know of other than Aemon to die of natural causes would be Hoster Tully, Cat’s father. You bring up a good point that very few manage to ease their way peaceably into the embrace of the Stranger…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. alysonmiers says:

    That is an excellent observation, about all those additional Lannisters we’ve been introduced to, just long enough to get rid of them.

    I’m sure Jon is coming back. I’m a little worried about Rickon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bagga2007 says:

    I think it’s because we start of by following the Starks and when we see Ned kill the deserter with his sword saying things about honour that we always feel like they are the good guys even if they aren’t. For example , when Rob marries for love instead of what he has agreed to we feel like he is hard done by. Of course the Red wedding is a total over reaction but it is his fault, he agreed to marry so he could get his army across the river but backs out because he falls in love thereby failing at his own standards and those set by his father of honor. He should have gone through with what he agreed with in the first place. This is probably an example of the way the Starks think they are more noble than others as well but that’s another thing all together, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sb2711 says:

    Stannis should be alive. Gut feeling!! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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