The fantasy genre really got a kick in the balls with Game of Thrones. Suddenly, dragons and magic didn’t seem much fun. But beyond all the child murdering, head exploding and penis cutting, there’s also moments of true, actual sadness in the show. Moments like these.
1. When you find out Hodor’s back story.
Realising that Hodor’s mental impediment wasn’t due to some random injury, but because of some Bran Stark induced timeline juju was pretty messed up.
In fact, while watching him being eaten by white walkers was disturbing, what really hurt was the fact that he was a regular boy who suddenly lost his mind.
2. Catelyn Stark’s scream at the Red Wedding.
The blood soaked nuptials really turned our collective tummies, but it was Catelyn’s reaction to watching her son get popped that really hit us.
That blood curdling, soul crushing scream of a mother who’s lost it all was a real downer.
3. When Theon Greyjoy escapes from the Bolton prison only to realise it was a trap.
After Theon gets captured by the Boltons, Ramsay pretends to be someone sent to help him escape. This is the first time any of us are seeing Ramsay, mind you.
He takes him on a wild goose chase, only to reveal that it was all part of a twisted mind game. The fact that this was just the beginning of ‘Reek’s’ woes makes it all the more devastating.
4. Arya and Sansa watching Ned Stark’s beheading.
Lopping off Ned Stark’s head shocked all of us, but that fact that his daughters Sansa and Arya had to watch haplessly really drove the scene home.
At the time, we weren’t exactly fond of Sansa, but seeing her scream for mercy as her dad was killed was heart-wrenching.
5. Daenerys banishing Jorah for lying to her.
When the Mother of Dragons found out that Jorah had initially been sent to spy on her, she banished him. Just the imploring look on his face was enough to break the toughest of us.
6. The passing of Maester Aemon.
Okay, so his death wasn’t all blood, guts and exploding heads, but the saddest ones don’t always have to be.
He dies in Castle Black of old age, and in his final moments, imagines he’s talking to his late brother. “Egg, I dreamed that I was old.”
Cue the waterworks.
7. Shireen Baratheon being burned at the stake by Stannis.
Burning your kid alive is pretty much as evil as it gets. The fact that this girl was a sweetheart, the apple of the Onion Knight’s eye, and a survivor of greyscale just made it a 100 times worse.
Watching Shireen scream for her mother, who never even showed her any affection, put a lump in everyone’s throats.
8. Ygritte getting shot by an arrow in front of Jon Snow, and by that damn kid Olly, no less.
The love between Jon and Ygritte was true and beautiful, which is why George R.R. had to go and kill her off in one of the most annoying ways possible.
Watching Jon cradle her dying form in his arms was like, super sad dude.
And later having to burn her body so she wouldn’t turn into a wight was just pain all around. Hang in there, buddy!
9. The Hound revealing how his brother burnt his face and gave him his scars.
While talking to Sansa, Sandor Clegane reveals that when he was a child, he started playing a toy that his brother, The Mountain, wasn’t using.
The next second, The Mountain grabbed him and stuck his face in a fire, almost burning off the right side of his face. This also the reason for his extreme phobia of fire.
10. The realisation that Tyrion would go to jail after The Mountain killed Oberyn.
Watching The Mountain literally crush Oberyn Martell’s head in was deeply disturbing, but it was the aftermath that really dug deep.
Not only does Oberyn’s lover scream like no one’s screamed before, you also realise that Tyrion’s chance at having any life in King’s Landing has been deferred.
11. Rickon getting shot by an arrow while running away from Ramsay.
A lot of the deaths on GoT are brutal and jarring. Rickon’s death hurt in a different way however, because we had hope, right up till the last moment.
He’s making a run for it, Jon Snow is riding towards him…
And zing! Ramsay gets him. God I hate this show.
12. Sansa getting married to Ramsay Bolton.
At least when Sansa was getting married to Joffrey she was an annoying little shit and we didn’t feel too bad.
By the time she was wed to Ramsay, all of us knew things were going to go really, really wrong, and we felt really, really bad.
13. Tyrion finding out Shae had been lying to him the whole time.
Oh god, this was heartbreaking. When Shae goes against Tyrion in court, and lies about him, we thought hey, maybe she’s being tortured into it or something.
Then we realise that she was in bed with Tywin the whole time. Even Tyrion strangling her to death didn’t help.
14. Theon abandoning Yara and jumping ship when Euron attacked.
Theon’s entire arc has been a rollercoaster.
He was an asshole, then he got his dick chopped off and kind of redeemed himself, and then he goes and bails on his sister. While they’re on a burning ship. And Euron is choking her.
As annoying as it is, it’s also emotionally devastating, as you realise he’ll never truly redeem himself.
15. Arya leaving The Hound to die after his battle with Brienne.
The Hound might have killed the Baker’s Boy, but he also rescued Arya and did a whole lot of other good deeds later on.
After his epic battle with Brienne, he’s close to death and unable to move, begging Arya to end it.
She leaves him in agony however, because he’s on The List. This hurt, both because he probably didn’t deserve that fate, and also becase you see the transformation within Arya by this point.
16. When Daenerys’ dragon Viserion was struck by a spear from the Night King.
In the swirl of of snow and blood, you knew there was a sense of foreboding that all would not end well.
And of course, before everyone could get to safety on the back of Dany’s dragons, the Night King flings a magic ice spear right through wee ol’ Viserion, devastating Dany in the process and giving the rest of us sleepless night as well.
17. The death of Sansa’s direwolf Lady, at the hands of Ned Stark.
One of the first few reasons we get to really hate Cersei is when she demands that Lady be killed in place of Nymeria, who had bitten Joffrey and then been driven away by Arya to avoid a similar fate.
Ned Stark gives her a swift and painless death, though he is just as heartbroken as the rest of the Northeners.
18. When Daenerys sees how her life would have turned out if her baby and Khal Drogo had lived.
While in the mysterious House of the Undying, Dany sees a vision of Khal Drogo and her stillborn child, alive and living together as a family in the afterlife.
As tempting as it is to give in, she decides to go back to the real world, and save her dragons. It’s a painful moment all around.
19. When Wun Wun the giant was killed by Ramsay Bolton.
During the Batle of the Bastards, Ramsay’s forces retreat into Winterfell, believing they are safe inside. However, Wun Wun uses the last of his energy to smash through the wooden doors, being riddled by arrows in the process.
As he looks to Jon Snow, Ramsay shoots an arrow through his eye. Ramsay gets his comeuppance soon enough, but the damage is done, and Wun Wun the friendly giant has fallen.
20. When Summer dies protecting Bran from the White Walkers.
When a sea of wights attack the cave where Bran is up to his usual wargyness, Meera and gang have to hightail it out of there. Summer protects Bran, and gets a few good bites in before being overpowered by the attackers.
21. Ellaria Sand being forced to watch her daughter Tyene poisoned to death.
After she is captured by Euron Greyjoy and delivered to Cersei, Ellaria is sentenced to life in the Black cells.
She is also forced to watch helplessly as Cersei fatally poisons Tyene with the same poison used to kill Myrcella.
22. Tommen jumping to his death after witnessing the explosion at the sept.
As Tommen sits captive in a tower, he watches as the Sept of Baelor is blown up by his mother, taking his lover Margaery Tyrell with it, and you can feel his sense of loss.
You also see that this betrayal by his mother is too much, which is why he wordlessly steps out the window to his death – possibly the only thing he’s ever done with conviction.
23. The death of Ser Davos’ son, Matthos, by wildfire.
When Stannis attacks Blackwater Bay, Matthos is part of the fleet of ships. However, as we all know, the plan goes awry – by a longshot.
Tyrion signals for the ignition of the wildfire, which results in a massive explosion that kills Matthos, who was standing in the bridge of a ship. The whole situation is especially painful because Davos has already been through so much.
24. When Jaime Lannister tells Brienne about the burden of being the Kingslayer.
In the infamous bath scene, Jaime – tired,handless and finally safe – breaks down. In a particularly rare moment of vulnerability, he reveals everything he’s had to go through since he killed the Mad King.
He’s been hated, despised and constantly mocked, because people thought he did it for his own gain, when he actually tried to save everyone from the atrocities of Aerys. Watching this cocky knight show his true self was emotional for everyone involved.
I’m not crying, you’re crying.