Friday, April 11, 2014

The body count in the Walking Dead and a Game of Thrones results in the ultimate question.

"Valar Morghulis" means "All men must die." But actors in need of a job
may be hoping that it is not their turn for the cutting room floor.
So now that HBO's Game of Thrones is back on television and dripping with the stench of those they carved up last season in the infamous "Red Wedding" episode...and given that "The Walking Dead" is on hiatus until fall but left Rick Grimes and crew basically locked up in the post-apocalyptic version of a larder for cannibals...there is a question that's been burning in the back of my mind. But before I get to that question for you (my readers) to decide, I want to present a thorough analysis beginning with George R.R. Martin's work. These are deaths of major and/or semi major characters in the story (they all appeared in more than one episode and had lines).

Eddard Stark was played by well-known fan favorite and actor Sean Bean. Many of us thought for sure that with this casting, he wouldn't get killed. But he got his head chopped off in season one.

What about Robb Stark, his son? Well Robb got murdered along with his mother Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding. Weddings are supposed to be happy occasions. I guess Walder Fray never got the memo.

Renly Baratheon? Murdered by a demon sent by Melisandre the witch.

Kal Drogo? Poisoned by a soothsayer and witch. The best parts of him died when Daenerys refused to let him go and was rewarded with a body that lived but had no mind. Then she killed him.

Robert Baratheon? He was a king and I quite like the actor. But he got done in by conspirators and traitors and died too.

Talisa Stark (Robb's wife)? She got stabbed in the baby maker at the Red Wedding. That's like killing two wolves with one rock.

Viserys Targaryen? Kal Drogo crowned him with molten gold. That had to hurt.

Ros? Littlefinger found out she was spying on him for Varys so he gave her to King Joffrey who used her as a live target, brutally killing her by filling her with crossbow bolts.

Jeor Mormont, leader of the Crows, has his watch ended in Crastor's keep by Rast who betrays him.

Xaro Xhoan Daxos is killed when Dany seals him in his own vault from which there is no escape.

Pyat Pree the necromancer is set on fire by Daenerys' dragons.

Rakharo, one of Daenerys' blood riders, dies off screen when his horse returns bearing a severed head.

Body count for HBO's Game of Thrones is 13 (and this excludes probably a hundred minor characters). Okay, so now for The Walking Dead. Here's who we've lost thus far (by the end of season four):
These iconic characters didn't die yet. But do the actors have job security?
Decide by taking my poll!
Amy (Andrea's sister) got bitten in the neck and died of blood loss.

Jim got bit in the stomach, died of infection.

Dr. Edwin Jenner and Jacqui died in an explosion at the CDC via suicide.

Otis was hobbled by Shane and devoured by walkers.

Sophia (Carol's daughter) died of infection from a walker bite.

Dale got disemboweled by a walker. Rick Grimes put him out of his misery with the trusty colt python.

Randall got his neck broke by Shane.

Shane was stabbed in the heart by his best friend Rick.

Jimmy got devoured by walkers.

Big Tiny got his head bashed in repeatedly.

Tomas got his head split in half by Rick and a machete.

T-Dog got devoured by walkers.

Andrew was shot in the head.

Lori was dying from childbirth complications so her son, Carl, killed her out of mercy.

Merle was shot in the chest by the Governor.

Milton was stabbed repeatedly in the stomach by the Governor.

Andrea got bitten on the shoulder by Milton and then committed suicide.

Karen and David were killed by Carol and then set on fire.

Caleb (the doctor) died from an unknown flu.

Caesar Martinez got bashed over the head by the Governor who then fed him (while still alive) to walkers.

Hershel got decapitated by the Governor.

The Governor was stabbed in the chest by Michonne (and killed).

Lizzie got put down by Carol (in one of the most shocking episodes ever).

Joe (leader of the claim gang) got his throat ripped out by Rick Grimes (and he bled to death).

That's twenty-four deaths of characters that got varying degrees of screen time, but all of them had speaking parts on the show. Just from memory (and looking at these numbers) I'd have to say that the group of actors in HBO's Game of Thrones probably have better job security in their characters. The Walking Dead is just way more brutal.

Agree? Disagree? What say you? Please take my poll and have a good Wednesday.
Which group of actors have better job security? free polls 


  1. Even after reading all of the jokes Nigel posted yesterday about Martin killing characters, I knew The Walking Dead had killed far more.

  2. I've never watched Walking Dead but I don't think anyone is safe in either show. I suppose you can get a better idea of who's going to die in GoT by reading the books; I'm not sure how close Walking Dead follows the comics. BTW, which book are they on in GoT by now? Is it the fourth book or kind of bits from books 1-5?

  3. I couldn't stand seeing so many good characters get killed on GOT. I had to stop watching.

    As a writer, though, I've known my share of guilt over killing a great character. I'm really mad at myself for getting rid of one in particular.

  4. Informative post, although i had to skip the body count on The walking Dead because I'm only up to season II and didn't want it to be spoiled.

  5. I haven't seen either show but I heard the author of Game of Thrones really doesn't mind letting a "few" characters die.

  6. I am offended by you talking about the bullet in my head. That's private!

  7. I think both are equally likely to kill off characters, and also to introduce new ones (to kill off).

    Moody Writing

  8. Have not watched Walking Dead after the first season. Game of Thrones--I take peeks now and then, but seeing my favorite characters dropping makes me angry. My husband keeps me informed.

  9. I would feel much less safe on The Walking Dead but then again, Martin isn't done killing yet.

  10. Is it about job security, though? How many actors try to get out of successful shows after being on them for a time? This might be a blessing. They have the cache without the backlash of having asked to get out of their contracts.

  11. Sigh. I had to put my fingers in my ears and go LA LA LA LA LA very loudly and not read your post. This is because I want to see Game of Thrones from the beginning and I mustn't look at any spoilers. I am so very behind in my serious TV watching.

  12. I've never seen The Walking Dead and don't want to. I love Game of Thrones but don't have HBO so I have to wait till next year when season 4 comes to DVD. :/ It's amazing to see the major actors cut down in their screen prime!

  13. THey're all dead eventually but it seems like in Walking Dead the main characters last a little longer whereas in Game of Thrones the main characters get taken out at any time.
    I'll guess time will tell...

  14. I think it's a good thing for audiences to know that main characters are vulnerable. Ratches up the tension big time!

    Nobody's safe.

  15. I guess Joffrey didn't have much job security, lol.

  16. @Pat: Jack played that character so well. However, no one will miss Joffrey. He was so evil.

  17. Hmm, to me it feels like the characters in Walking Dead who die were often inserted in order to be killed, while GOT doesn't seem to do that as much. Characters generally feel more deep in GOT, more fully realized and not just there to add to the body count.