Genre Geeks: Defining Moments of the Winterfell Fallen

Last week’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode, “The Long Night,” featured the deaths of six beloved characters who perished during the Battle of Winterfell. Although the losses aren’t detrimental to the saga’s endgame, so often the courageous efforts of minor characters go unnoticed. Therefore, here is a tribute to the honorable six who lost their lives but not our unyielding love. Listed below are the defining moments of Eddison Tollett (Dolorous Edd), Lyanna Mormont, Beric Dondarrion, Theon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont, and Melisandre.

Dolorous Edd

Cause of Death: White Walker stabbing him in the back on the snowfields

Defining Episode: “The Red Woman” (Season 6, Episode 1)

Dolorous Edd is the sarcastic pal who will give characters a hard time but also defend them to the last bone. A member of the Night’s Watch, Edd is the rare example of “upstanding ally” among a slew of backstabbing ex-convicts. His commitment to the forged brotherhood who protect the Realm is second to none. His bravery at Hardhome, Craster’s Keep, and at Castle Black during the Wildling assault makes him one of the most dependable fighters in all of Westeros. Edd’s standout moment was aiding Davos in uncovering the Knight’s Watch conspiracy murder of Jon Snow, led by the conniving Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt. It was Edd’s persistent fight for justice that led to Tormund’s return, and subsequently the traitorous Night Watch commander’s overthrow. As a friend to Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow, it’s Dolorous Edd who puts action into that bond.

Lyanna Mormont

Cause of Death: Crushed by a wight giant (but not before killing it first)

Defining Episode: “The Broken Man” (Season 6, Episode 7)

Although introduced late in the series, Lyanna Mormont made an indelible impression on fans and heroes alike. Her shining moment was granting an audience to Jon Snow and Sansa Stark at her castle on Bear Island. Her steely resolve at such a young age as current head of House Mormont garners immediate respect. Winning over Lyanna’s allegiance took some convincing, but her fierce loyalty to the safety and autonomy of the North overrode her concerns about civil war. Furthermore, she sees a bit of herself in Jon Snow, a young, ardent protector of their homeland responsible for keeping House Stark alive to unite the surrounding families.

Beric Dondarrion

Cause of Death: Multiple stab wounds inflicted by wights trying to kill Arya

Defining Episode: “The Long Night” (Season 8, Episode 3)

Beric Dondarrion is enigmatic, unrelenting in his pursuits, honorable, and an endearing fool. Nobly serving Eddard Stark during his role as Hand of the King, Dondarrion is killed while hunting down the murderous Gregor Clegane, aka The Mountain. Following Ned Stark’s beheading, a Red Priest named Thoros revives Beric on behalf of the Lord of Light, Azor Ahai. Because of this miraculous return, Beric devotes himself to this religion, spreading the gospel one sword poke at a time.

For a man so prevalent in the series, and noted for his numerous returns from death, the irony is that he’s one of the few names the casual “Thrones” watcher has a hard time remembering. However, Beric’s towering character moment is his final breathing one. Preventing the horde of wights from attacking Arya Stark, Beric acts as human shield, a wall barrier that moves and slides to ensure the youngest Stark daughter is safe to fulfill her destined assassinations.

Theon Greyjoy

Cause of Death: The Night King’s fatal sword blow

Defining Episode: “The Old Gods and the New” (Season 2, Episode 6)

Theon Greyjoy is one of the most complex, aggrieved, and redemptive characters in the series. Alfie Allen transcends his sorrow from the books with Shakespearean ghoulishness. He’s a man whose soul was lost to him from irreversible action: his betrayal of adoptive family House Stark. However, his conflicting loyalties are understandable given that he was taken hostage as a child to keep the peace between the men of the North and Greyjoy’s native Iron Islands. In any other scenario, Greyjoy would have been viewed as a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. Yet, given the Starks’ inherent generosity and welcoming nature, Greyjoy organically becomes one of their kin. As Robb Stark’s closest friend and Eddard Stark’s most trusted ward, Greyjoy is the one who breaks his own heart the most.

With mounting pressure from his father and sister to reclaim Winterfell for the Ironborn now that it’s been left undefended, Greyjoy chooses to grovel for the respect of a “family” that despises him. Theon’s defining moment of the series is beheading Rodrik Cassel, the master-of-arms at Winterfell who trained Theon in the art of swordsmanship. This unspeakable act forever changes Theon, consequentially leading him to horrors no human should ever bear. And yet it’s guilt that becomes the lasting pain Theon cannot rid himself of.

Jorah Mormont

Cause of Death: Succumbed to his wounds while defending Daenerys Targaryen against White Walkers

Defining Episode: “The Dance of Dragons” (Season 5, Episode 9)

Jorah Mormont is a staunch friend and good man brought down by his crimes. The former knight poached slaves to afford his wife’s grandiose lifestyle and then spied on Daenerys to end his exile from Westeros. It’s not an exaggeration that Jorah endures one of the toughest lives among the Houses. Through it all, his love for his Queen never wavers. While his feelings for the Mother of Dragons is unrequited, Jorah continues honoring her as sworn protector even when he’s turned away. Jorah’s defining moment is saving Khaleesi from the Sons of the Harpy despite her obstinate refusal to forgive his treachery. In that pivotal moment, Jorah’s trustworthiness is unwavering. The redemptive knight is one of the few characters, shy of Brienne of Tarth, to reject self-preservation in favor of love.

Melisandre

Caught of Death: Removal of the enchanted necklace preserving her youth

Defining Episode: “Home” (Season 6, Episode 2)

Melisandre, known as the Red Woman, is a priestess of dark divinity. She acted as chief representative for Azor Ahai, Lord of Light, summoning His power to set into motion predestined events. Her seduction and manipulation of Stannis Baratheon depicted her as conniving and exploitative to further her religion’s agenda.

When it seems as though Melisandre is so engrossed in her heinous deeds that she rides the line of pure evil, a conscience buried within keeps her humanity afloat. Whether she’s atoning for the horrific sacrifice of Stannis’s daughter or simply following Ahai’s “master plan,” Melisandre has a hand in saving the entire realm by bringing Jon Snow back from the dead. If her supposed dark magic could produce something so genuinely beneficial, can her faith even be judged in ethical terms? The ambivalent nature of Melisandre is what makes her so fascinating, but now that she can rest forever, she’ll take her true intentions to the grave.

What are your favorite character moments from these fallen heroes? Let us know in the comments below!

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