Game of Thrones Betting: Battle of Winterfell Produces Lower Death Count Than Expected

Posted on: April 30, 2019, 09:38h. 

Last updated on: April 30, 2019, 10:45h.

[Warning: Contains massive spoilers] For lovers of Game of Thrones death-pool betting going into Sunday’s earth-shattering episode, it wasn’t so much a matter of “who will die?” as “who will live?” as the remorseless Army of the Dead prepared to descend on Winterfell.

Battle of Winterfell
Grey Worm and the Unsullied at the Battle of Winterfell, which killed off just six named characters, many fewer than anticipated. (Image: HBO)

In fact, given the show’s reputation for dispatching its best-loved characters with little sentiment or fuss, a surprisingly large number survived the Battle of Winterfell.

OK, so the entire Dothraki army bought it — their flames snuffed out in the distant darkness in one of those “less is more” moments GOT is not famous for — but almost all the major characters survived with vital organs intact to fight another day, including’s two tips for eternal rest, Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth.

At least we think they did — the fog of war occasionally made things hard to follow.

The notable exceptions were Ser Jorah Mormont, who perished nobly defending the woman he loved unrequitedly; Theon Greyjoy, who died nobly defending Bran, and of course the Night King.

Unexpectedly Night, Night, Night King  

Theon was actually a favorite with the bookies to meet his doom, at 5/4, but that may have had something to do with actor Alfie Allen posting a picture of Theon’s breastplate and a broken heart emoji on Twitter the day before the episode aired, to the irritation of fans who felt he gave the game away.

Jorah was pretty much evens with the bookies to die and a slight favorite to live — which shows the vig in action — although for us his death was foreshadowed from the moment Samwell Tarly presented him the family sword.

The Night King’s demise was less expected. Sure, deep down we knew that he had to die if the army of the living was to prevail, but it seemed unlikely they would kill off this great existential threat in the third episode of a six-episode season. Surely he had more to contribute to the narrative? We weren’t even sure exactly what he wanted.

I guess we’ll never know because Arya had other ideas, popping up to plunge a dagger of Valerian steel into the Night King’s torso, turning him and his army of white walkers to dust — and just in the nick of time.

Who Else Died?

So, who else bought it? Picking through the corpses, we see plucky child warrior Lyanna Mormont was killed in the act of killing a giant.

Beric Dondarrion — having been brought back to life six times — died for the final time, permanently, after saving Arya (his work was done).

And Red Priestess Melisandre walked out into the snow, removed her enchanted necklace, and aged herself to death (her work was done) – because, as we learned in season 6, despite her pert bosom she is actually several hundred years old.

That was pretty much it. Six named-character deaths in all and hardly the bloodbath we all expected.

And so, with the Army of the Dead defeated, attention now turns to Cersei and battle for the Iron Throne. With just three episodes left in the entire GOT juggernaut, the hot betting topic is now: who, if anyone, will kill Cersei?

Will it be one of her brothers? Or will Arya finally get to cross Cersei’s name off her kill list? On episode 3’s performance, we wouldn’t bet against her.