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.
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.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.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2016 Some Rights Reserved