To say that Game of Thrones is one of the biggest and finest fantasy drama programmes to air recently would not be an exaggeration. The series had a lengthy run of eight seasons, and despite some criticism for a climax that many fans did not like, it is still one of the most watched programmes ever!
While it is well known for its nearly flawless medieval scenery, excellent acting, and compelling storyline, the programme also has a dark side that does not hold back on graphic brutality and gore.
The incredible savagery on display is maybe a little too shocking, but the idea that even the most significant characters are susceptible to terrible ends keeps the audience on their toes the entire time. The squeamish are urged to keep away from this video because it contains some of the programme’s bloodiest scenes.
The Mountain vs. the Viper: (Season 4)
This battle will undoubtedly rank as one of the best duels in the show because of its epic magnitude. After being detained on baseless charges of poisoning King Joffrey, Tyrion Lannister swiftly came to the conclusion that the trial was a ruse to have him executed. The dramatic courtroom sequence where he demanded a trial by fight certainly helped the viewers mentally get ready for their beloved character’s horrific demise.
However, an unexpected champion intervened to stand up for Tyrion. The person chosen to face Tyrion, the Mountain, was Oberyn Martell, the lord of Dorne, who had some unfinished business with him. This guy, a mercenary for Tywin Lannister, was suspected of raping and killing Elia Martell and her children. He was Oberyn’s sister. All that remained was a battle for vengeance in which the Mountain, one of Westeros’ most powerful soldiers, would square off against the lanky and skilled warrior Oberyn.
Oberyn did not even put on his armor before the duel, which was somewhat out of character for him. Right before the match, he was busy trash-talking his opponent while drinking wine, and his confidence was over the roof. He demonstrated his quick movements in front of a large crowd, and the Mountain found him to be a little too agile.
He slowly defeated the large warrior with one of his techniques, and he was about to exact the ideal retaliation when the unimaginable occurred. He was overcome by overconfidence and failed to take into account the Mountain’s superhuman strength. Despite being severely hurt, he managed to pull Oberyn down and get on top of him after viciously punching him in the mouth.
The Mountain then displayed his animalistic abilities by driving his thumbs deep into Oberyn’s eyes and inflating his cranium like a balloon, making the audience squirm in their chairs. It was shocking to see the two warriors lying in a pool of blood and brains after the battle, and the turnaround was unexpected as well.
The Horrors of the Red Wedding: (Season 3)
Those who were familiar with George RR Martin’s books were well aware of the terrible fate that King Robb Stark was about to encounter. However, since the show did change some of the things, it was still an excruciating anticipation, waiting for the worst to happen.
Eventually, it all came together at the Red Wedding, where the infamous Walder Frey banquet was held for the Northmen. The leaders of all major allies of Robb Stark were present at this wedding, and they did not have the slightest idea about the horrors that were about to follow them. Robb’s mother, Catelyn Stark, eventually finds out that Roose Bolton, one of the leading conspirators, is wearing armor inside his attire. However, it is a little too late as in a swift move the Northmen and Robb’s allies are slaughtered inside the hall.
King Robb watched helplessly as his pregnant wife was stabbed in her belly repeatedly, and he himself was battered by arrows that immobilized him. Catelyn does make a valiant effort by holding Walder Frey’s wife hostage, but the old man couldn’t be moved to a bargain. Finally, Robb Stark is stabbed to his death by Roose Bolton, and Catelyn gets her throat slit.
This chilling scene is a truly depressing moment for the fans, who also watch the Stark’s pet dire-wolves die in this battle. One of the highlights of the Red Wedding has to be the impeccable soundtrack that plays in the background, perfectly eerie and hinting to the viewers about the mayhem that’s about to happen. Thousands of Northern soldiers are killed in this cold act of betrayal, and it just goes on to show that valor and bravery alone are not enough to win the Iron Throne. It is the episode, where the fans were moved to tears, and it is the episode that ended the whole story arc of Robb Stark heading to get revenge from the Lannisters for his father’s death.
Khal Drogo killing his challenger: (Season 1)
The fans often complain that Khal Drogo was killed off a bit too soon, all the way back in Season One, and we completely agree. He was a real badass, and there were some moments that showed how great a warrior he was! He was the leader of the Dothraki, a nomadic, battle-hardened tribe of savages, and you can imagine that his rule was cemented through blood and violence. One of his men, Mogo, was displeased with Daenerys ordering them around, and he questioned the rule of Khal Drogo who simply obeyed his wife. It was enough of an insult to the ruthless leader, and when Mogo challenged him to a fight, Drogo was quick to remind him that he had basically dug his own grave.
It was yet another jaw-dropping moment of heroism from Drogo, who went into the fight without a weapon. Mogo drew first blood, but the warlord didn’t even flinch from the wound. Throughout the short fight, he kept talking about how he would leave Mogo’s body to rot, where maggots would consume his body.
It took him a few seconds before he used Mogo’s weapon to slit his throat and ripped out his tongue using his bare hands. As his opponent fell to his death, Khal Drogo calmly walked back to his throne, still not concerned in the slightest about his wound. It was symbolic of the kind of warriors that the Dothraki were, but in hindsight Drogo might have avoided the injury because it got poisoned and eventually left him in a vegetative state.
The Revenge of the Red Wedding: (Season 6 and 7)
When Walder Frey slaughtered the Stark men and their allies during the events of the Red Wedding, Arya Stark was a helpless spectator. Since then, her story arc evolved quite a lot and she trained as a faceless assassin, skilled in the art of deception and fighting undercover.
She continued to strike off names in her killing list, and Walder Frey and his family obviously had their names right up there! The scene of avenging the slaughter of her family is more shocking than it is violent, but it is extremely satisfying to watch some of the most-hated characters in the show die horrible deaths. She first killed his sons Lothar and Black Walder and carved them into pieces to be cooked into pies.
She then served these pies to Walder Frey during his meal. The old man was in shock after realizing that one of the Stark girls was now getting the perfect revenge for his betrayals on her family. She slits his throat just like her mother was killed before, and Walder Frey dies without the slightest resistance, much to the joy of the viewer!
However, it was not over yet! The entire Frey family and their allies had been involved in the Red Wedding, and Arya Stark found a way to kill them all. She used Walder Frey’s face to pose as the lord and commanded them all to a toast. The wine was spiked with a deadly poison and every one of them died gasping for their last breath. She leaves the scene after avenging the Red Wedding, and Walder’s last wife is the only survivor. She was kept alive to tell the story of how winter came for House Frey, and this moment basically reinstated the faith in House Stark’s comeback through the youngest daughter of the family!
The Killing of Sir Rodrick: (Season 2)
We had all grown to love this loyal old man who served House Stark faithfully from the very first episode. Thus, it came as a shocker, when we had to watch him die in a truly horrifying fashion. It all started with Theon betraying Robb and using the unavailability of the Northern forces to seize the castle Winterfell with a handful of men.
He forced young Bran to yield the castle to him, and just when you started thinking that it would be a peaceful transition of power, all hell broke loose when Theon’s guards brought in Sir Rodrick. They report that the gallant knight had cut down two of the men before they could imprison him, and he still shows no signs of bending the knee. His iconic dialogue, “It grieves me that you have less honor than a back-alley whore” still rings a bell with the fans, and it was a brave defiance from the old man while it lasted.
Theon was left visibly shaken by his former mentor Sir Rodrick, and when the knight spat on his face, it was too much of an insult. Theon’s second-in-command forbade him from taking Sir Rodrick as a prisoner because the men wouldn’t respect Theon’s authority if someone spitting on his face got away with it. He ordered Sir Rodick to be beheaded, even as the Stark children cried and pleaded for his life.
Even in his last moments, Sir Rodrick didn’t bow down and reminded Theon that the one passing the sentence must swing the sword. It took more than a few blows to decapitate him completely, and even then Theon required a few kicks to the head to get the job done. It stands out as one of the most disturbing moments in Season Two, especially because it marks Theon’s descent into darkness. Later, he does pay the price for his betrayal, and ultimately, Theon has one of the most mature character developments in the show!
The Golden Crown for Viserys Targaryen: (Season 1)
I think that we can all agree on the most-hated Targaryen from the show – Viserys, the undeserving and cowardly brother of Daenerys. He was ambitious about getting himself on the Iron Throne someday, but he could do just about anything to achieve his goals.
For starters, he treated his sister like some commodity and sold her off in marriage to a Dothraki warlord named Khal Drogo. He never showed any real love or respect towards his sister, and was solely concerned about his own selfish aspirations. Thus, fans were longing for a fitting death for this loser, and they got the desired moment in the sixth episode of the first season.
Viserys was extremely unhappy with Daenerys’ growing popularity among the Dothraki and the love that she received from her husband Khal Drogo. He saw his importance crumble before his eyes, and with Daenerys’s pregnancy, there was talk about how her son would go on to rule the world. Viserys first tried to steal the dragon eggs to get himself an army to fight for the iron throne, and later, he made the worst mistake of his life by threatening Daenerys in front of her husband.
We all know how vicious Drogo can become, and you can imagine his response when someone threatened his wife and his unborn child. He had his men hold down Viserys while he melted gold in a pot and poured the molten gold on his head. It solidified on his head and his screams soon went silent as he fell down dead. Even with all the hate that we had for the character, it was an uncomfortably brutal scene to witness!
Jon Snow stabbed to death (Season 5)
The last episode of season five came with an unexpected surprise for the viewers when one of the primary protagonists of the show was stabbed to his death. Jon Snow was always the hero that the fans loved. He was brave, righteous, and he was a fierce warrior who proved his skills time and again in battle.
As the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, he made some decisions that weren’t appreciated by some of his men. He decided to allow the Wildling folk South of the wall, which was against the laws of the Night’s Watch. He did this on humanitarian grounds to protect them from the White Walkers, but it was enough to start a mutiny against him without his knowledge.
John Snow just received some distressing news about the death of Stannis at the hands of the Boltons, and his personal steward Olly barged into his room requesting him to come outside immediately. The young boy claimed that some wildlings had been apprehended and they had news about John’s missing uncle Benjen Stark. As he walked outside, John watched a gathering of men, and he soon realized that it was all a part of an elaborate plan to kill him.
Led by Alliser Thorne, these men stab him one by one, and he falls helplessly to the ground, bleeding from multiple wounds. The saddest part about the whole scene was when he was stabbed by Olly, the boy he had loved the most and trained over the years to become a capable ranger one day. With the season ending in such a dramatic fashion, there was a lot of speculation about the fate of the show. Of course, in the next season John was brought back to life by the Fire Priestess, and he continued to have a major role in the further events of the series.
The Hound vs. Brienne: A No-holds-barred fight till death (Season 4)
How do you react when two of your favorite characters have a go at each other? Well, the fans of the show were in for such a confusing moment, when the Hound and Lady Brienne faced off in a savage swordfight. It all started with the argument regarding the custody of Arya Stark, and the Hound obviously didn’t like the challenging tone from the beastly woman.
The fight, however, was not exactly a fair one because the Hound was nursing some injuries and wasn’t exactly well fed at that point in time. Yet, he fought like a true warrior and the vicious swordfight almost ended in victory for him. There was a particularly badass moment, when he was held at the tip of the sword and the Hound held her sword in both hands and twisted it backward. It just proved how freakishly strong he was even in his weakened state!
Brienne of Tarth had to deal with some powerful punches and kicks, and just when it seemed like a lost game for her, she managed to bite his ear off. At this point, the fight ended up being absolutely animalistic and it was no longer about skill or technique. The two warriors were simply trying to kill each other, and finally, Lady Brienne used a large stone to land a few lusty blows on his head. The Hound was then thrown from a cliff, and he was seen in a near-death state, terribly wounded and immobilized. Arya Stark left him to die, and set out on her own adventures, and luckily for the Hound, he had some unexpected help coming his way soon!
Ramsay Bolton’s death after the Battle of Bastards: (Season 6)
When Jon Snow’s army met Ramsay’s Bolton army on the battlefield, it was not an evenly matched fight. The resulting battle saw some ultra-violent moments, but the best was saved for the last. After the surprising reinforcement from the Knights of the Vale led by Sansa Stark and Littlefinger, the tides of the battle turned.
The Boltons were slaughtered and Ramsay retreated back into Winterfell, hoping to withstand a siege with his remaining men. The castle had the reputation of being extremely difficult to breach, but Ramsay did not account for the Giant in Jon’s army. Wun Wun was mortally wounded, but not before he broke through the Bolton defenses and allowed Jon Snow and his men to enter Winterfell.
When Ramsay realized that he had no chance of escaping, he proposed a one-on-one combat. Jon Snow was too powerful for him and soon he was overpowered, with Jon reigning down punches on him, smashing his bloodied face into the ground. However, Sansa had something worse in store for him. She was once forcibly married to Ramsay, and the assault that she endured finally could be avenged.
Ramsay Bolton had a pack of hounds who usually obeyed his commands and preyed on his victims. Sansa purposely starved these hounds and locked him up with the ferocious beasts. The final moments of Ramsay Bolton were particularly agonizing as his so-called pets maul him to death, his screams echoing through the halls of Winterfell – revenge was rarely sweeter than this in Game of Thrones!
The Death of Meryn Trant: (Season 5)
Speaking of satisfying stories of revenge, this one was another that pleased the fans to no end. Meryn Trant was a notorious tyrant, known for his loyalty to the sadistic king Joffrey and his uncanny love for violence. He had no honor and did not hesitate to hurt women or children. Back when there was chaos in the capital, Meryn Trant killed Arya’s mentor Syrio Forel who died protecting her from the Lannister soldiers. Since then, Arya had come a long way and mastered her skills as a faceless warrior. When she spotted this lowlife in Braavos, she could not control her vengeful emotions and planned an assassination.
He was shown to have some disturbing preferences while choosing a girl, and Arya disguised herself as one of these girls. Her high pain tolerance made him select her, and a closer look gave him the shock of his life. She jumped straight at him with a knife in her hand, and plunged it deep into his eyes. He was stabbed repeatedly and his screams were stifled using a cloth to gag him.
Before he could die, Arya revealed her identity, and finally slit her throat in one of the most satisfying death scenes in the show after King Joffrey! This scene was one of the most expensive single death scenes, and the elaborate special effects and CGI cost a fortune. It also took a very long time to be filmed, which probably ensured the brilliance and realism in the scene that we appreciate.
Theon being tortured by Ramsay: (Season 3)
Theon hadn’t really established himself as the good guy till Season 3, but even then, the fans felt sorry for what happened to him next! He was a prisoner of Ramsay Bolton – one of the most sadistic and demented men in the Seven Kingdoms. Ramsay had some twisted thoughts in his mind, and his plans for Theon were hardly suitable for television. After putting him through some unimaginable torture, Ramsay went on to have his manhood cut off.
Theon was subjected to such an extreme level of mental and physical torment that it ended up having a psychological impact on him. Ramsay almost made a puppet out of him, named him Reek, and used him as his personal servant. Theon was so unsettled by then that he did not have the spirit in him to protest, and after his chopped-off manhood was sent to his family, it was clear that he was doomed. These graphic scenes of torture courted some controversies as well because it wasn’t easy to get used to something so morbid!
The Hound vs. the Mountain: (Season 8)
This iconic matchup between the two brothers was famously termed Cleganebowl, and it was an unforgettable fight when two of the best warriors of Westeros were pitted against each other. The brothers didn’t exactly have a history of bonhomie and it was made evident from the very first season. Sandor Clegane aka the Hound was the younger brother, and when he was a kid, his elder brother Gregor aka the Mountain pushed his head against a fire, burning half his face.
The bad blood continued into adulthood, and the Hound always wanted to get a final revenge on his demented brother. Over the course of time, the Hound was established as a rough but noble character, and the Mountain, on the other hand, was a sadistic brute. After being nearly killed by Oberyn Martell, he was revived in a zombie-like state by Qyburn.
In the fifth episode of the eighth season, the Hound finally cornered his monstrous brother. Daenerys’s forces were attacking King’s Landing, and the dragons were devastating everything with fire, but the brothers still had some old scores to settle. Even after the best efforts from the Hound, it looked like the Mountain was simply too strong. He could withstand a knife through his eyes and a sword through his guts, and the Hound was now convinced that his brother couldn’t be killed by normal means.
He even got a grip on the Hound just like he did for Oberyn Martell before crushing his skull, but the Hound managed to break free. In his last act of bravery, he flung himself at the murderous zombie and they both fell off the castle terrace to hundreds of feet below into a massive inferno. The Hound had to sacrifice himself to get his revenge, but it was the perfect completion of his story arc – the man who feared fire finally used it to defeat his ultimate enemy!
Wildlings attack the Wall: (Season 4)
There is not an individual scene here, but the whole episode featuring the war between the wildlings and the Night’s Watch involves some bloodied moments. As the Wildling army led by Mance Rayder attacks the wall, the handful of fighters of the Night’s Watch assemble under Jon Snow and organize the defense. It finally comes down to a fierce close-quarter battle, and the scenes have everything from decapitations to gallons of blood.
It also features a few depressing moments, such as the death of Ygritte, and Grenn and his men who died while defending the wall from a giant. The war ended on a victorious note for the Night’s Watch, but the tragedies of the night ensured that there wasn’t much to cheer about. Besides, Mance still had a bulk of his forces to attack once again, but the Night’s Watch was battered and bruised. A massive viewership of millions greeted the episode titled Watchers on the Wall, and it is indeed one of the most violent and touching episodes of the show.
The Torture involving Rats: (Season 2)
Game of Thrones certainly can spring a few surprises regarding some of the worst ways to die! The gruesome and innovative deaths always managed to shock the viewers, and even some scenes of torture pushed the boundaries of censorship. In Season 2, we get to witness one such instance, where the victim is tortured by a barbaric medieval method. A bucket of rats is strapped to his chest, and the other end is heated with a flame. As the temperature inside the metal bucket rises, there is only one way for the rats to escape – to burrow through the human body till he drops dead.
Arya Stark, Gendry, and some of their companions were brought in as prisoners by the Lannister soldiers and Gregor Clegane or the Mountain was the one enforcing such brutality on them. Just as Arya was being threatened, Tywin Lannister arrived and stopped this inhuman torture. The man might have had a thousand flaws, but brutalizing young boys and girls wasn’t one of them!
The slaughter of Robert Baratheon’s bastards: (Season 2)
Game of Thrones never shied away from extreme forms of violence, even if it involved something as distressing as children. King Joffrey had learned about his late father Robert Baratheon’s bastards, and after hearing about the rumors about how Jamie Lannister could be his real father, Joffrey realized that people might start questioning his legitimacy as a ruler. He wanted Robert’s bastard children out of the way, and for this lowly act he appointed Janos Slynt as the man in charge of the City Watch. Under his leadership, men barged into a brothel and killed one of the suspected bastards who was just an infant. Three more were killed in this disgusting mission, two of them stabbed to death and one of them drowned.
The soldiers slaughtered yet another baby in Flea Bottom, and most of these killings were made in the open view of the public. People were terrified of their new king because they realized that he could stoop down to extreme levels to extend his reign. Thankfully, Gendry, Robert Baratheon’s bastard son managed to escape the mayhem. He was traveling North alongside Arya to join the Night’s Watch, and the City Watch couldn’t reach him just yet.
Gendry did go on to have a prominent role on the show, and it is understandable why the makers would want him to go unharmed during this disturbing episode. There have been numerous moments when Game of Thrones pushed the limits of its viewers, but this one was particularly unnerving because it involved the young ones!
A Few Final Words
While these are our picks for some of the most ultra-violent moments from the show, we do realize that there are many others that we couldn’t fit in here. Do let us know in the comments below about the scenes from our list that you find the most disturbing, and also tell us about any other sequences that we might have missed out on! With the prequel titled House of the Dragon releasing soon, now might be a good time for a fun throwback to the show that built such a great legacy!