Game of Thrones is a show full of deaths. There have been 63 episodes in the HBO series, and someone has died in every single episode. There have been a ton of prominent deaths that have been huge influences on the story as a whole.
Despite the hundreds and probably thousands of deaths that have occurred on screen, the most recent one, which also involved the show’s most under-appreciated character, is the most important and the best.
That’s right, Olenna Tyrell’s death was the best in show history for several reasons: Her character was the show’s most under-appreciated, her death was pure and easy, and finally she absolutely crushed one of her enemies right before her death.
Olenna was a massively underrated character. Granted, she did get plenty of attention and praise when alive, but she didn’t get nearly enough. Just look at all the things she played a role in while alive:
- Pre-show: She seduced her husband Luthor Tyrell when she was engaged to someone else and Luthor was pledged to her sister. By seducing him, Luthor decided to pledge himself to Olenna and ditch her sister. In doing so, she made herself the wife of the Head of House Tyrell.
- Season 3 and 4: She played a major role in getting her granddaughter, Margaery, to become the Queen of Westeros.
- Season 4: She played a key role in the killing of King Joffrey.
- Season 6: She forced her way onto the Small Council under King Tommen while basically getting Cersei and Jamie kicked off.
- Season 6: She tells Cersei to her face that the death of her children is her fault because of her stupidity.
- Season 6 and 7: She helps bring Daenerys and her army across the Narrow Sea to Westeros.
- Season 7: She rises in prominence enough to become a trusted advisor of Daenerys.
- Season 7: She gets to choose her own death. While this may not seem big out of context, it is in a show where many people are beheaded or killed by ice zombies.
- Season 7: When confronted with death, she tells Jamie that she was the one who killed Joffrey, causing Jamie to possibly regret his decision to not brutally kill her.
While Olenna never played a role in killing a White Walker, freeing slaves in Essos, or blowing up the Sept of Baelor, she did play a role in so many different major events in the show. So why wasn’t she appreciated enough?
Well, she was never the lord or lady of a major house and instead always second in command. On top of that, she was never King or Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and never led an army. Finally, her army never played a huge role in winning a major battle.
Ultimately, none of that should matter for Olenna because she was able to steal a Lord’s heart, kill a King, sabotage a family, and bring Dany across the Narrow Sea.
Oh, and speaking of killing a King, in the timeline of the show, three Kings have died in Robert, Joffrey, and Tommen. Olenna is the only person who can say she killed a king (Joffrey) as the other two died by a boar (Robert) and suicide (Tommen).
Moving onto her death being pure, Olenna was technically murdered because Jamie poisoned her wine and she drank it, albeit willingly.
But instead of being skinned alive and hung from the towers of King’s Landing or whatever other messed up things Cersei could’ve come up with, Olenna died a peaceful death by poison. She didn’t suffer and she wasn’t tortured. Instead, she simply died without pain.
How many people that we’ve seen on the show can say they died without pain? I can only think of one and that’s Maester Aemon Targaryen of the Night’s Watch who died of old age. Every other major character on the show we’ve seen die by beheading, murder, poison, White Walker, wildling, burning, etc.
Olenna? She died by poison. But it wasn’t the same poison that gave Joffrey a frightening death. Instead, it was a peaceful one.
Finally, let’s get to the sickest burn in the realm.
That’s her whole death scene and to witness the burn again, you need to skip ahead to 5:52:
“I’d hate to die like your son clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood-red, skin purple, must be horrible for you as a Kingsguard, the father.
“It was horrible enough for me, shocking scene, not at all what I intended. Do you see? I’d never seen the poison work before. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”
Just moments after Jamie admits to being more merciful with her than Cersei would’ve been, Olenna turns it right back around and tells Jamie why he maybe should’ve been more cruel. Jamie should’ve followed Cersei’s lead and brutally killed the woman who killed his eldest son.
But instead, the last thing Jamie will ever hear Olenna say is that she killed his son and there’s nothing he can do to justify it anymore.
Olenna Tyrell isn’t just the most under-appreciated character on Game of Thrones, but also the owner of the show’s best death.