11 Game of Thrones characters who should’ve survived to the end

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In the brutal universe of Game of Thrones, no one was ever safe. From cunning strategists to innocent bystanders, everyone’s number came up eventually. The promise of unexpected exits — often served with a generous side of gore — turned the series into a thrilling spectacle; when a character managed to avoid death, viewers were honestly relived, whereas in a lot of shows the survival of the main characters was a foregone conclusion.

Still, there were some characters we wish could’ve stuck around longer. I’m not saying they didn’t meet their end in a manner befitting the story, but they still left us wanting more.

Today, we celebrate those souls snatched away too soon. Here are 11 Game of Thrones who should have lived through to the end:

11) Oberyn Martell

Ah, the Red Viper of Dorne. Before Pedro Pascal became the internet’s daddy, he came into our lives in the fourth season of Game of Thrones as the charismatic Oberyn Martell. Oberyn was a cocktail of seductive wit, combat skill, and sexual fluidity; he was a breath of fresh air in the buttoned down world of Westeros. Viewers loved him immediately, despite the unspoken understanding that characters as dazzling as him rarely lasted long.

Still, the swiftness and savagery of Oberyn’s death surprised even seasoned Game of Thrones fans, in part because we all saw how he could have avoided it. Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane killed Oberyn after Oberyn had already beaten him in single combat; if only Oberyn had showboated a little less while trying to get Tywin Lannister to admit to his part in the death of Oberyn’s sister, if only he had finished off the Mountain when he had the chance, maybe he would still be alive.

Had Oberyn lived, Tyrion’s journey would have been very different, too, since Oberyn and the Mountain were fighting over his life. The raw brutality of Oberyn’s death, with its suddenness and spectacle, was a jarring reminder of the kind of unpredictable show we were watching.