The ever-changing landscape of television has allowed for more compelling, provocative, and downright violent series to air across multiple networks, causing more than a few shocking moments over the years. Thanks to shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, virtually every episode brings along with it a surprising and graphic demise of a beloved character, almost making the unexpected become the expected.
Despite fans coming to expect twists, turns, and torture with certain series, other series that aren't typically known for their violence have given us some baffling character deaths that audiences still talk about.
When it comes to the zombie apocalypse or a fantasy epic full of dragons, it's hard to shock, but these characters weren't ones you expected to have to say goodbye to, making their absences be felt much more strongly in subsequent episodes.
Scroll down to read some of our picks for surprising character deaths!
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE FEATURES SPOILERS
To kick things off we have Glenn from The Walking Dead. Brutal? Yes, probably the most of all of these selections. Most memorable? Maybe. It definitely won't be forgotten!
It was during a panel at Walker Stalker Con in Nashville, Tennessee where
“It’s hard to leave family after seven years of being together but also it feels very complete,” Yeun said. “Something needed to happen to propel this next season.”
“It’s been over a year and everybody is still so cool. They’re so sweet and they’re very sad about the death but that’s awesome. I think the coolest part about the death in and of itself is, I don’t know if there’s ever been a character like Genn before in any
A single death of a beloved character is gruesome enough, but Game of Thrones has always found a way to go above and beyond.
During The Red Wedding, the HBO killed three of its main characters at once, and in the most tragic way possible.
The episode saw Robb Stark betrayed by Roose Bolton and Walder Frey, as they set up a wedding between Stark's cousin and one of Frey's daughters. The wedding was only a front, and all of the Stark army was locked inside, awaiting their doom.
Robb was a big loss for the show, as was his pregnant wife. It pained audiences to watch her stomach get pierced with the blades of Frey's men.
To wrap it all up, Lady Stark was executed on the spot. Half of the Stark family was killed in a matter of 10 minutes.
Susan Ross, played by Heidi Swedberg, first appeared in Season 4 of Seinfeld, serving as an NBC executive that George Costanza (Jason Alexander) was trying to woo. The two dated off and on during the season, but Susan eventually left the series.
With the Season 7 premiere, George proposed to Susan, hoping to rekindle their romance and demonstrate he was a changed man. The two squabbled throughout the entire season, with George seemingly losing interest in the romance as every day went by.
In the season finale, George picked a low quality set of wedding invitations that featured a toxic glue on the envelopes, which poisoned and killed Susan.
What made the character's death so surprising was that rarely were there permanent consequences to any character's actions, let alone fatal consequences, on a show known for being relatively light-hearted.
From the very first episode, the raunchy animated series South Park, which focused on 4th graders in a small Colorado town, shocked audiences by killing off one of the children. With the next episode, Kenny reappeared, seemingly unharmed, with no character mentioning his prior death, only for him to die again.
Audiences grew accustomed to seeing Kenny get killed in a variety of ways, but the ways in which his character met his demise never grew any less shocking.
As time went by, the creators of the series grew tired of coming up with ways to kill off Kenny, ultimately deciding that they'd kill off the character for good. In Season 5, Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided to kill off the character after developing terminal muscular dystrophy. Seeing a character who had comically die of such a tragic disease was incredibly unsettling, but the show creators were sick of coming up with gags.
Kenny ultimately returned to the series, but the gag of him getting killed was used far more sparingly.
Originally debuting on ABC, Nashville chronicled the lives of various country singers, including the "fading" musician Rayna James, played by Connie Britton.
After four seasons, the series was canceled by ABC, much to the surprise of its fans, but that's when CMT stepped in to revive the series for a fifth season. However, some of the show's stars, including Britton, had decided her character's time had come, resulting in rumors that she would be exiting the series.
What made James' death so shocking was that, throughout her final season, one of the recurring plot points was that James had a stalker, which, when combined with rumors that Britton was leaving, seemed like writing on the wall that the character would meet her demise at the hands of the stalker. Instead, it was a shocking car accident that caused fatal injuries for the character, allowing Britton to leave the show behind.
Ever since Grey's Anatomy debuted in 2005, one of the most integral components was the on-again-off-again relationship between the main character, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), and the doctor she met in the first episode, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). The character also gave birth to the nickname "McDreamy," a term given to him around the hospital for his "dreamy" good looks.
Throughout the series, Grey's Anatomy gained a reputation for its revolving door of characters, with every character that moved on from the hospital or got killed getting replaced by someone new to take up the slack. Supporting characters came and went, but seldom would main characters make their departure.
That is, until Season 11, when Shepherd gets into a devastating car accident, from which he cannot be saved. Despite how many characters the show had said goodbye to, the legacy of McDreamy felt like one that would continue until the end of the series.
The AMC series about a chemistry teacher applying his knowledge to creating and selling crystal meth had its fair share of violence and intense sequences, but while other similar shows, like The Wire, had a large cast of characters that could be killed off, Breaking Bad only had a handful of major players.
Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) proved to be the thorn in Walter White's (Bryan Cranston) side that he just couldn't shake, taking more and more drastic measures to keep White under his thumb. In Season 4, Fring proved to be an inescapable threat for White, making Fring do whatever it took to keep his drug-dealing business functional, leaving White with no choice but to take drastic measures.
When Fring went to visit an acquaintance at an elderly home, viewers had no idea they were about to watch the character's demise, as hidden inside a wheelchair was a bomb that a man was willing to set off in order to kill himself and Fring along with him, providing the series with one of its most shocking and violent sequences.