HBO's Game of Thrones is tough to watch. That's just a fact. Sure, there are all the dragons. There's swordplay, psychic visions, giant wolves, incredible capes, and gorgeous hair, among other things, but the show can be a real bummer. As if the wait for Season 8 isn't agonizing enough, let's take a look at the most heartbreaking Game of Thrones moments. Why? Well, why not.
The incredible fantasy series, based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice & Fire novels, has crept into every corner of pop-culture consciousness. It got background mentions on 30 Rock, it's famously name-dropped in Parks & Recreation, South Park has referenced it, as have Key & Peele, The Office, and more. For all their many celebrations though, they never talk about what a tearjerker the series can be. Sometimes you just need a good cry, but you can't always spring for the P.S. I Love You DVD with director commentary. It's obvious that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have hearts as cold as a Winterfell morning; let them help you get all your feelings out.
Here are the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, get-me-the-tissues-now moments on HBO's Game of Thrones. For added pain, they're in no particular order. You won't know what to expect next.
1. Ned Kills Sansa's Direwolf
Not so bad, right? Just starting off the list in a way that eases you into it. This throwback to Season 1 is a smaller-scale heartbreak than what the show typically delivers, but it's enough to put a lump in anyone's throat. Anyone that likes to see justice served, that is.
2. Tommen Jumps Out A Window
The framing, the silence, the heartbreak in his eyes. Also, that it's technically his mother's fault? It's a lot.
3. Ramsay Shoots Rickon
Viewers kind of see it coming, but it doesn't mean they have to enjoy it. Jon Snow is even galloping toward him for the rescue. Sigh.
4. The One Where They Stab Jon Snow
Remember when Jon Snow dies? He dies in the world's most drawn-out "Et tu, Brute?" moment. The Night's Watch mutinies and stabs him to death. It was deeply uncool.
5. The Night King Takes Viserion
An ice dragon? An ice dragon. Why.
6. Arya Pulls Up To The Red Wedding
She's so close to her family. So, so close, for the first time since escaping King's Landing at the end of Season 1. The Hound gets her to Riverrun, just in time to... shield Arya from watching the men who betrayed her family parade her murdered brother's body around, complete with his direwolf's head on his shoulders. It's little moments like that that really cause a viewer to ask why they relax with a show like this.
7. Ned Stark Dies
Remember that time the series killed off its protagonist at the end of Season 1?
8. Khal Drogo Dies
Khaleesi loses her baby, and then her sun and stars not long after. Yes, she births her dragon babies on his funeral pyre, and that's pretty dope. Still, though.
9. Myrcella Dies
Ser Jaime went all the way to Dorne to rescue his daughter-niece for his sister-love, and then she goes and dies in his arms on the boat back. The only one of his children that knew he was their father, and this happens to her.
10. Ygritte Dies
Shot dead in front of her love by a vengeful child.
11. Sansa's Weddings
Sansa's tearful marriage to Tyrion Lannister wasn't fun for anyone... until she was married to Ramsay Bolton, and the real nightmare began. At her childhood home. Simply delightful.
13. Just, Like, The Red Wedding In General
The Lannisters send their regards.
14. Jaqen H'ghar Blinds Arya
Jaqen H'ghar blinding Arya Stark as punishment is a top-five "Oh my god, why!?" moment for this series. It's unexpected and painful to witness, and watching fan-favorite Arya suffer for episodes on end was brutal. That "What's happening?!" gasp will linger in viewers' minds forever.
15. Joffrey Makes Sansa Look At Ned's Decapitated Head
The apex of Joffrey's cruelty has to be telling his betrothed he has a surprise for her, and the surprise turning out to be her recently decapitated father's head on a spike outside of the castle, where (unbeknownst to her) she is currently held prisoner.
16. Tyrion Gets His Heart Broken
Tyrion's great love, Shae, testifies against him in his trial (lying, of course) and then sleeps with his father. It's agonizing. Has Tyrion not suffered enough? Even though he ends up killing her, and then his father, and then he escapes Westeros, it's still awful.
17. Theon Greyjoy's Entire Storyline
Every single thing that's ever happened to Prince Theon of the Iron Islands seems like a test to the viewers. Oh, you're still sympathetic to Theon? How about now? How about now? Are you having fun watching this show? No, no one is. Not when Theon's on screen. His storyline took a turn for Bummerville somewhere in Season 2, and it just never looked back. In Season 7, they decided to add PTSD into the mix, which, sure. Why not? At least one character in this universe deserves to have that journey represented on screen.
Honorary mentions: When Khaleesi dumps Daario, when it looks like the Hound dies, when the Mountain smushes Oberyn in combat, and pretty much anytime Catelyn Stark spoke to Jon Snow.
So, these are the 17 saddest moments on HBO's Game of Thrones, or at least, 17 of the saddest moments. You can't make an iron throne omelette without breaking a few dragon eggs, right? Fans will still have to wait until 2019 (at least) for Game of Thrones Season 8, but when you're feeling particularly down over it, come on back to this list and really lean in to all the feels.