Who Will Die In The Battle Of Bastards On 'Game Of Thrones'? The Likeliest Casualties, Ranked

We've come to it at last, the great battle of our time. This Sunday, HBO's Game Of Thrones will air one of its biggest episodes to date. Titled "Battle Of The Bastards," the hour will feature the long-brewing clash between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. GoT viewers are preconditioned to expect the ninth episode of each season to be an epic, bloody affair; previous penultimate hours have featured such climactic events as the execution of Ned Stark, the battle of the Blackwater, the Red Wedding, the battle of Castle Black, and the dance of dragons. So who will die in "Battle of the Bastards"?

It's a question most fans are probably asking themselves apprehensively right about now. Ninth episodes have been notoriously unkind to fan-favorite characters, having featured the traumatic deaths of not just Ned Stark, but also Robb and Catelyn, Ygritte, and Shireen. It's not even a question of if a character will die, but rather which character(s) will die. (Yes, there could even be multiple casualties.)

Here are the nine main characters we know will be present for the assault on Winterfell, ranked by their likelihood of shuffling off their mortal coil this Sunday:

9. Jon Snow

Oh, come on. They didn't resurrect Jon Snow just to kill him off again seven episodes later without having accomplished much. The promo shows him asking Melisandre not to resurrect him again, so I think we're supposed to be slightly worried for his fate — but I'm just not. I mean, we haven't even gotten the second half of the Tower of Joy flashback yet!

8. Sansa Stark

Even putting aside the fact that actress Sophie Turner herself already basically confirmed to E! News that Sansa won't die in Season 6, it still wouldn't make much sense to bump her off at this point. After five years of abuse and brutality, Sansa is finally on an uptick for the first time in Game Of Thrones history, and killing her before the character has had a chance to show her full potential would just be bad storytelling. Besides, Sansa is the most important character on Game Of Thrones , didn't you know?

7. Melisandre of Asshai

Last season, Melisandre was so sure Stannis would emerge victorious against Ramsay because she'd had a vision of herself walking the ramparts of Winterfell. The Red Priestess has misinterpreted her visions before… but she's never been outright wrong. So it seems fairly certain she'll make it through the episode unscathed — unless it ends with Davos literally throwing her over that rampart after he finds out she burned his beloved Princess Shireen alive.

6. Ghost

It's tempting to rank Jon's direwolf higher on the list, just because Season 6 has already been such a bad year for the Stark pets. (RIP, Summer and Shaggydog.) But killing off three of them in one year? I don't think even Game Of Thrones is that cruel. Ghost is the only direwolf the show has spent any amount of time actually developing, and I'm sure he's gonna come in handy when Jon finally faces off against the White Walkers.

5. Tormund Giantsbane

It will feel awfully cheap if the good guys emerge from the Battle of the Bastards without a single major casualty, and there's no denying that Tormund is the most expendable named character fighting for Jon. However, that almost makes it too obvious for Tormund to die. And if he were to go, then the audience — and the characters — would lose essentially their last recognizable link to the wildlings, since Mance and Ygritte are both gone.

4. Davos Seaworth

Is it almost time to bid adieu to the Onion Knight? I certainly hope not, although it's hard to deny that his death would be perhaps the most emotional one the writers could choose. Ser Davos did his best to help Jon Snow unite the North; it's hard to predict what future use the show might have for the stalwart adviser, especially as the writers continue whittling down their supporting cast in anticipation for the show's endgame.

3. Wun Wun

Poor Wun Wun. He's such a high-value asset for Jon's army — so you just know that Ramsay's soldiers are going to target him pretty fiercely. One arrow or spear may not do much damage, but even the last of the giants can be brought down by several hundred. We can take solace in the fact that he'll bring down at least a few dozen Bolton bannermen before he's finally felled.

2. Rickon Stark

Season 6 has been kind to the Starks. Too kind. Suspiciously kind. The resurrection of Jon, the reunion between him and Sansa, the return of Benjen, Arya's victory against the Waif… It's about time for something horrible to happen to Westeros' unluckiest family. And with Rickon in the clutches of the most sadistic man in the Seven Kingdoms, there's pretty much no good outcome; surely Ramsay will be sure to take the littlest Stark down with him as soon as the battle starts going south.

1. Ramsay Bolton

"If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." Once again, Ramsay will be proved right — except this time, the unhappy ending will be his own. Part of me wants Ramsay to make it out of the battle alive just so he can survive long enough for Theon to get back to Westeros and finish the bastard off himself. But really, this has to be the end of Ramsay Bolton. It just has to be. No other conclusion to the episode will be remotely acceptable.

TV Promos on YouTube

There will undoubtedly be losses on both sides during the Battle of the Bastards. The only question that remains is, how tragic will those losses be? We'll find out when the episode airs this Sunday night.

Maybe have a kleenex or two handy just in case.

Images: HBO (4), Helen Sloan (6)/HBO