174,373 deaths have been shown, but these are still alive somewhere.
1. Edmure Tully
The majority of Westeros must be in absolute disarray by the end of the season seven. With the passing of Olenna Tyrell and Ellaria Sand, both The Reach and Dorne are leaderless. The state of Casterly Rock is once again unknown in The Westerlands, and the Stormlands haven’t even been a factor in anybody’s decision making since the demise of Renly Baratheon back in season two.
Nobody seems particularly concerned about this possible anarchy, or the situation in the Riverlands after the ruling House Frey were all slaughtered at Arya Stark’s hand. Control could have passed to Roslin Frey given that her infant son may have been the only male member of the house that wasn’t killed, or nominal rule could’ve reverted to Riverrun and her husband Edmure Tully, assuming he was once again released from captivity after his captor’s demise.
Edmure’s defining attribute on screen has always been cowardice and ineptitude, evidenced by his momentary release in season six solely to order the surrender of the castle of Riverrun, which his uncle Brynden had been holding against all odds. In the books his actions are more heroic, and he surrenders the castle only after delaying long enough for the Blackfish to escape.
Both presumably have a part to play in the Winds of Winter and beyond, but in the truncated television adaptation it seems that Edmure is done without any of his remaining family batting an eyelid.
The Brotherhood Without Banners were amongst the series’ longstanding absentees that resurfaced in season six, where Beric Dondarrion and Thoros Of Myr took The Hound into their still sizable ranks. By the time they played a part in season seven’s excursion beyond the Wall, only the three of them remained and the question about what happened to the rest of their number wasn’t asked or answered.
Bar a number of new individuals (with the exception of book character Lem Lemoncloak) that were introduced in the sixth season to depict the descent of elements of the Brotherhood into banditry, the only member bar Beric and Thoros ever specifically identified on screen was Anguy, who was by the pair’s side throughout their season three narrative.
Disappearing during the three season gap between their appearances, Anguy hasn’t been acknowledged as dead or as having deserted, so it can only be assumed that he was forgotten about (and that the audience wouldn’t notice) or that the actor wasn’t available.
Anguy is an almost anonymous member of the Brotherhood in the books, so it’s intriguing that he was used as a composite of the various supporting players such as the aforementioned Lem and Tom O’Sevens. His only moment of note actually occurred two books before the Brotherhood rose to prominence, as he won one of the tournaments held to honour Ned Stark’s appointment as Hand of The King.
3. Illyrio Mopatis
Daenerys Targaryen has come a long way since her introduction in the series’ first episode. There she and her domineering brother Viserys were shown as the guests of Illyrio Mopatis, a wealthy Pentosi merchant and long-time Targayren sympathiser.
Mopatis is mentioned as having sheltered the pair for many years. He arranged Dany’s wedding to Khal Drogo, before bestowing the three dragon eggs that would eventually become Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal on her as a parting gift.
Illyrio appeared once more a few episodes later, where he attended a covert conference with Varys in King’s Landing that was overheard by Arya Stark. This revealed the Master of Whisperers’ allegiance to the Targaryen cause much earlier than in the books, where his ultimate loyalties are still somewhat murky as of the end of A Dance With Dragons.
Their plan to crown Viserys with the backing of Drogo’s Dothraki horde went awry as a result of his molten crowning and whilst Varys switched his support to Dany, Illyrio has never been seen again.
In the books, Varys makes use of his friend’s hospitality again when he helps to engineer Tyrion Lannister’s escape from King’s Landing. In the series, his estate was also utilised to shelter the Imp, but he didn’t even pop by for a drink with his guest and Dany has never queried the whereabouts of her former protector.
4. Ilyn Payne
Few figures in the series have looked as menacing as the Kings Justice Ilyn Payne. The mute executioner was present throughout the show’s first season, where he carried out the death sentence imposed on Ned Stark. He then made just a singular appearance in season two, attending Cersei Lannister and the ladies of Kings Landing as they sought refuge from Stannis Baratheon’s assault on the city.
Musician Wilko Johnson, who played the character (his first and only acting credit) was diagnosed with apparently terminal cancer in 2013 and elected not to undergo chemotherapy. Seemingly out of respect his character was retired instead of killed off, with his role in the books as Jaime Lannister’s sparring partner and confidant following the loss of his hand more than adequately served by Bronn instead in subsequent seasons.
Johnson made a miraculous recovery and has now been declared cancer free, but he hasn’t returned to the series in the years since. It’d certainly be interesting to see where Payne stands in the current climate – has he remained loyal to the Lannisters? Will he ever face the consequences of being on Arya Stark’s death list for his part in her father’s death? We’ll probably never know, though it’d be a fitting tribute to Johnson and his recuperation if his character was given some closure.
Part of Daenerys Targaryen’s season six storyline saw her kill off a significant number of Dothraki Khals and unite the race behind her in advance of her conquest of Westeros. Since then they’ve been used to great effect, engaging the Lannister armies whilst the Unsullied were held under siege at Casterly Rock. She already had a Dothraki contingent by her side once before, however.
Said contingent was admittedly small and made up of remnants of the khalasar that served her husband, Khal Drogo, following her to Qarth in the series’ second season. This journey claimed the life of Rakharo, a composite of Dany’s three bloodriders from the books. He remains alive in those, with his departure on the show forced by actor Elyes’ Gabel’s decision to take up a role on Body Of Proof.
Out of nowhere then came the original character of Kovarro, the epitome of what TV Tropes defines as a ‘suspiciously similar substitute’. He served Dany throughout the rest of season two and was by her side when she condemned Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah to a long and slow death in the former’s treasure chamber.
Kovarro then disappeared before season three and bar the occasional background appearance, the Dothraki were forgotten about in favour of the Unsullied. No Dothraki character has done much of note since A Clash Of Kings, so their absence wasn’t nonsensical.
One of the elements of A Song Of Ice And Fire that has been heavily diluted in the transition from page to screen is prophecy. Some of the predictions made by Maggy The Frog in Cersei’s youth have remained intact and driven her descent into madness, whilst the ‘Azor Ahai/Prince Who Was Promised’ prophecy has been widely cited and interpreted as Stannis Baratheon, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen on different occasions.
These have been pretty much it, however, with key book scenes such as the House Of The Undying heavily trimmed and others omitted entirely.
One of the series’ most mysterious characters is the masked Quaithe, who made two brief appearances in season two. Her enigmatic instructions to Dany from the books were not replicated and she did not reappear either in a dream on Meereen, where her literary equivalent gave a long warning against individuals that matched the descriptions of Victarion Greyjoy, Moqorro, Tyrion Lannister, Quentyn Martell, Jon Connington and the supposed Aegon Targaryen. All but one of these were cut from the show, though they’ll surely all play a part in her journey to Westeros in the Winds Of Winter and A Dream Of Spring.
Quaithe was the only character associated with Qarth that wasn’t dead by the time season two finished. She remains a mystery, and since both she and Melisandre hail from the mystical Asshai, a meeting between the two regarding Dany’s fate certainly would’ve been intriguing.
7. Salladhor Sahn
If Salladhor Sahn had never shown up again following his second appearance, his part in proceedings could’ve easily been considered finished. The acquaintance of Davos Seaworth first appeared in season two, where he pledged his ships to Stannis’ cause in exchange for gold after an awkward conversation (invented for the show) about raping Cersei.
He was not seen during the Battle of the Blackwater, but presumably participated in it off-screen, given that he popped up once more at the start of season three to save his old friend from the depths and deliver him back to Dragonstone, leaving shortly after in the belief that his contract had been fulfilled despite Stannis’ loss.
The fourth season saw him once again show up in a singular episode, however, as Davos sought out his services for Stannis’ cause once more after they were successful in negotiating a loan from Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank of Braavos. With Stannis’ stubborn personality, it’s certainly surprising that he would’ve entertained engaging somebody who’d absconded from him before, but the hiring was never mentioned again.
It could be easily interpreted that Sahn abandoned Stannis once again, but it seems questionable to have introduced him twice without having him do anything.
Nestoris reappeared in season seven, where his poor investment wasn’t addressed as he opted to pledge his Bank’s coffers to Cersei Lannister instead. How he’s still in a position of power after that is anyone’s guess.