Updated: 23rd October 2017

Game of Thrones: the survivor awards (aka how the hell did they make it out alive?)

In this bloody and unfair world, the only thing more shocking than the deaths is the survival of some characters over others. Here, we salute the ones who perished not

Some Game of Thrones deaths are deemed unimportant enough to happen off screen (sorry, Blackfish). Others are treated with a dignity befitting their status, such as Ned and Stannis, both of whom got a tasteful cutaway the moment before the gruesome stuff happened. But the deaths of baddies (and, for some reason, poor Oberyn) are shown in all their gory, purple-faced glory.

The one thing they have in common is that they are all shocking. But even more shocking is the survival of characters we would never have expected to make it this long in a bloody and unfair world. Minor characters who really should have been shock-death fodder long ago, but just keep on trucking, oblivious to their precarious position. To those who have somehow made it this far, we salute you.

Sam Tarly

Not
Not even a White Walker managed to kill him Sam Tarly. Photograph: HBO

When Sam first showed up as Jon Snows chubby, endearingly useless friend, his path was clear. Hed bring light relief at The Wall for one season, maybe two, before being horribly murdered to spur Jon on to become a brooding, vengeful hero. The fact that hes not only still here, but has an entire plot line of his own (and a romantic subplot!) is remarkable. Not even an actual White Walker managed to kill him. We hope you live long in that library, Sam.

Podrick Payne

We all know about Pods impressive sex skills (even if we are still denied the details of quite how he can pleasure so many women in such a short space of time), but his survival skills are the real mystery. He managed to survive his former master Tyrion being sentenced to death, only to end up with Brienne instead a woman who actively seeks out sieges. And yet, despite having no discernible fighting skills, Pod is still alive. Apparently theres hope for anyone in Westeros.

Tormund Giantsbane

Fiery
Fiery magnificence Tormund Giantsbane. Photograph: HBO

He first appeared in season three as little more than a background Wildling, singled out only by the fiery magnificence of his beard. Now, after four seasons, the show cant possibly kill him off because fans are so invested in the idea that he and Brienne might get together and have beautiful giant babies.

Dolorous Edd

No one is more surprised by his own survival than Dolorous Edd. At the start, Edd wasnt just Jons comic relief friend he was Jons third-tier comic relief friend. The look of surprise on his face when he survived the Wildling attack on Castle Black was shared by everyone in the audience. And yet now the scrawny lank-haired joker is Lord Commander of the Nights Watch, a fact which he struggles to comprehend as much as we do.

Lord Varys

Varys, were pretty sure, could plot and talk his way out of any deadly situation, but were worried that one day his luck will run out. After watching him lose his silver tongue after a Red Priestess seemingly read his mind, we worried he might be losing his touch until we learned of his thrilling new fire and blood alliance in Dorne.

Missandei

She
She still hasnt been roasted alive by a dragon Missandei. Photograph: HBO

Every time the show fleshes out Missandei either to bring her closer to Grey Worm or show her growing confidence when she stands up to Tyrion were convinced its because theyre about to kill her off. And yet she hasnt been roasted alive by a dragon or killed by the Sons of the Harpy, even though just about everyone else in Meereen has been. Never mind that Daenerys doesnt even need a translator she speaks the languages herself!

Davos Seaworth

Raise your hand if you expected Davos to outlive Stannis. No? No one? Somehow the kindly Geordie adviser and professional Voice of Conscience lives on, despite repeatedly declaring himself to be useless in battle. He must be doing something right, because hes made it through the Battle of the Blackwater, the attack on the Wildlings, Stanniss battle with the Boltons (which he avoided altogether) and the Battle of the Bastards. Hes hardier than he looks.

The Sand Snakes

Ned. Stannis. Robb. Hodor. Ygritte. Oberyn. Catelyn. Khal Drogo. Maester Luwin. Rickon. Osha. All these characters are dead. Yet somehow, all the Sand Snakes the illegitimate daughters of Oberyn Martell are still going. How they could have sprung from the loins of the endlessly charismatic Viper is anyones guess.

Bronn

One
One of the only sources of amusement in these grim times Bronn. Photograph: Sky TV

A comedy side-character with an excellent line in creative swearing(theres no cure for being a cunt remains the most accurate assessment of Joffrey the show ever came up with) has become one of the shows most popular characters, despite often disappearing for episodes at a time. Bronns death has been teased a lot (most notably when he was poisoned by the Sand Snakes) but, frankly, the show cant afford to lose one of its only sources of amusement now that winter has come.

Meera Reed

Bran doesnt have a great track record when it comes to keeping his companions alive. Theyve all died even the direwolves. We wouldnt blame Meera if she decided to pack it in and go home. Bran is clearly a magnet for death and heartbreak. Weve still not forgiven him for Hodor.

Gilly

Read more: <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/jun/28/game-of-thrones-the-survivor-awards">http://www.theguardian.com/us</a>

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