This week's episode of Game of Thrones was filled with plenty of death on both sides of the Battle of Winterfell, but the death of one particular character hit fans particularly hard.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 3
During the Battle of Winterfell, there were a handful of major deaths. The second character killed was Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). Theon was killed when he rushed to the Night King in a heroic sacrifice to save Westeros. Unfortunately, he was simply cut him down by the Night King, but it capped off Theon's complete character transformation from betrayer of the Starks to a hero protecting Sansa (Sophie Turner).
"Theon... you're a good man. Thank you," Bran said. It was the last words Theon heard before he made the ultimate sacrifice.
THEON LITERALLY DOING ALL THE WORK— hope | got spoilers (@reysdaenrys) April 29, 2019
The episode marks the halfway point for the show's final season. There has already been plenty of bloodshed to go around during the show's first seven seasons, but the situation heading into Season 8, Episode 3 is unique because we knew at least one major death was coming.
In last week's episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," the major characters in Winterfell prepared for their final night by checking things off their bucket list after coming up with a strategy to face the Night King, the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) told Sansa (Sophie Turner) that she really loves Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who then later told Daenerys she is his aunt and has a claim to the Iron Throne.
In one of the most emotional scenes during the show's entire run, Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) knighted Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), making her the first female knight in Westeros. Later, Arya (Maisie Williams) and Gendry (Joe Dempsie) finally took their relationship to a romantic level, as Arya wanted to have sex before battle.
The episode ended with Jon telling Daenerys the truth about his family tree, which she did not believe at first. She was angry, but the interaction was cut short when the war horns blared, noting the arrival of the White Walkers.
A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin told The Hollywood Reporter the biggest deaths of the saga were planned early on in his writing process. Martin has written the first five novels of the series, with The Winds of Winter set to be published eventually.
"With the major characters, I have had the beats of this planned out since 1994 or 1995," Martin explained. "Sometimes, the minor characters, you're writing a scene about a viewpoint character and then you need someone for him or her to play off of. You add a new character. Sometimes that character comes alive in a way I hadn't planned. But there he is, in that scene, and he moves in a new direction. That's the whole gardener approach. The major characters, though, I know the major strokes. Not with some of the people who have barged in afterward."
Game of Thrones airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. There are only three episodes of the series left.