The moment Ned Stark was publicly executed during season one of Game of Thrones, the HBO show became an anomaly. Wait, viewers thought, wasn't he the main character? Despite the sprawling ensemble cast, it definitely seemed that way. He was certainly the most noble. Then, just like that, he was gone.
The seasons since haven't been much kinder. Every time a likable character emerges, viewers start biting their nails. It's only a matter of time before a lethal shadow baby comes along or a crew of supposed allies starts pulling out knives.
Of course, it's not just the good guys dying. There was Joffrey's purple-faced poisoning and Myranda's spill off a Winterfell rampart. Game of Thrones doesn't discriminate when it comes to death. The only thing certain is no one is safe.
So who's going to get it this season? That's anyone's guess. (And now that the TV show has caught up to the source material in George R.R.
Martin's books, it really is a guess.) But we have some ideas, in order of most likely to least.
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen)
The clock is ticking for the honorable, lovelorn Jorah. After all, he was infected with greyscale last season when he and Tyrion came under a zombie-like attack while sailing past Old Valyria. For now, he's keeping his condition under wraps, so hopefully he'll be able to save his beloved Daenerys from the Dothraki before he becomes a full-blown stone man.
Ramsay Bolton. Probably Roose, too. (Michael McElhatton and Iwan Rheon)
The good news is that the show's most sadistic characters don't last too long. The aforementioned Joffrey and Myranda, plus the incestuous rapist Craster, Janos Slynt, Meryn Trant and all kinds of other beasts have met a totally timely end. In other words, it's high time for someone to take out the Boltons.
The bad news is that new, awful characters always sprout up in their place. Whatever -- it will still be fulfilling to see this father-son duo kick the bucket, especially Ramsay, whose favorite pastimes include rape, torture and flaying people alive.
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham)
Every season, Game of Thrones breaks hearts by killing off a supremely lovable and curiously upstanding character. Arya's sword-fighting instructor, Syrio, had the honor in season one and last year, Barristan Selmy had to go.
This year, we're betting on Davos, much to our own dismay. There are other possibilities - Brienne of Tarth or Samwell Tarly - but Davos has reached a level of charming that's always a death sentence on the show. Plus, you can see from the season six trailer that he's put himself in a rather precarious position, taking on a bunch of Night's Watch men at Castle Black. We can only hope that he manages to kill Alliser Thorne before taking his last breath.
Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale)
Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon)
This is another potential death hinted at in the trailer for season six. The tattooed Faith Militant loon appears to be readying himself to take on the undead version of Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane. Oberyn Martell proved that no one should do battle with the Mountain when he was alive, and Grand Maester Pycelle's restoration probably hasn't made the monster any less dangerous.
Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson)
According to the rules of Game of Thrones, a Stark has to die nearly every season (or, in the case of season two, a fake Stark). Since he hasn't done much, well, ever, Rickon would be the most likely contender this time around.
Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg)
The show also has a tendency to send wise, old truth-tellers to their graves: Maester Aemon Targaryen, Jeor Mormont, good-hearted Maester Lewin. Well, we're running out of wizened sages, which means it's either going to be Olenna Tyrell, or the Three-eyed Raven (played this season by Max von Sydow) will die just after teaching Bran everything he needs to know.
Tommen Baratheon (Dean-Charles Chapman)
Another Game of Thrones rule: Either a character sitting on the Iron Throne or someone vying for it will die. Since it's hard to imagine Daenerys leaving us just yet, we're betting on Tommen. Sure, it seems like a long shot, but just imagine the drama: Who would even be next in line to take his place? There's only one way to find out.