In Game of Thrones, the lands of Westeros and Essos are dangerous places, with violent deaths pretty much a given at any moment.
But survival is not impossible, you just have to know what to do. Here are several things to take note of if you’d like to not end up with your head on a pike.
The usual spoiler warnings apply (up to season 5’s The Gift)
1) Never trust Littlefinger
Lord Petyr Baelish, the current Lord of Harrenhal, may seem to be a nice bloke on the surface (well, if you’re Sansa Stark, anyway), but most of us are well acquainted with Littlefinger’s devious ways.
From betraying Ned Stark. to shooting Ser Dontos in the face after he helped poison Joffrey Baratheon (whom he turned Ros over to when he found out she was spying for Varys), to pushing Lysa Arryn to her death, Baelish has had a hand in most notable events thus far.
Even Sansa, the child of his beloved Catelyn Stark, is now a prisoner in her own home and wed to the serial flayer Ramsay Bolton, because she trusted him.
Notable victims: Ned Stark, Ros, Joffrey Baratheon, Ser Dontos, Lysa Arryn
2) Don’t attend weddings
Ah, weddings. Here in Singapore, the most notable wedding victims are sharks and your wallet. In Game of Thrones, however, that’s an entirely different story.
Whether it’s a Dothraki wedding, or a Westerosi one, it doesn’t feel like a wedding without someone dying. Or threatening to cut your king’s junk off.
In some cases, it’s just the show’s most hated character for the first three seasons. In others, it might be Robb Stark and his immediate family, unborn child included.
Pro tip: If you ever hear The Rains of Castamere, just get the hell out of there.
Notable victims: Robb Stark, Talisa Stark, Catelyn Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, random Dothraki
3) Kill first, showboat later
This goes without saying, but if you’re winning a duel to the death, you might want to stand out of reach of your opponent before delivering your victory monologue. Especially if you’re holding a spear.
Notable victims: Oberyn Martell
4) Avoid being anywhere near a “moon door”
We’re no experts on medieval infrastructure, but the Eyrie does not look architecturally stable.
So you’d think anyone living there would be wary about walking around, let alone when they’re within 10 feet of a manhole to a grisly death.
Notable victims: Lysa Arryn, Ser Vardis
5) Declare yourself something other than “king”
Who doesn’t want to be king? Probably Jon Snow, so he does know something after all.
Even if we discount Aerys Targaryen, the Game of Thrones series has seen his son, the “Beggar King” Viserys, crowned with molten gold. In other words, he’s dead. Khal Drogo (Khal is essentially Dothraki for king) joined him soon after being cursed by a witch.
Across the Narrow Seas, King Robert Baratheon was skewered by a boar and his brother Renly was killed by a shadow demon spawn (made by his older brother Stannis and Melisandre).
The King of the North Robb Stark’s final moments saw his direwolf’s head sewn on his body.
King Joffrey Baratheon was probably better off dead when his mother and daduncle got in on near his corpse.
The King Beyond The Wall, Mance Ryder, was only spared a crispy Scorpion-ish toasting by Jon Snow’s mercy.
Yeah, at this point in time, we think King is probably a cursed title.
Notable victims: Viserys Targaryen, Khal Drogo, Robert Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Mance Ryder
6) Lock the toilet doors
This should go without saying, but you really should lock the doors when you do your business. Especially if you’ve just sentenced your son to die cause you don’t like him, after sleeping with the woman he loves.
Notable victims: Tywin Lannister
7) Always carry some dragonglass with you
This is more a precautionary measure, though consider it a priority item if you’re North of the wall. If you’re intent on a picnic with the Free Folk, we’d suggest getting a set of dragonglass cutlery while you’re at it.
8) If you’re a coward, don’t try to act tough
We all can’t be warriors. Some of us are going to have to be the ginger in charge of digging a new latrine for the Night’s Watch. That’s just how life is.
That being said, if you’re a bloody coward, just admit it and ask for help.
There’s no point in acting all defiant then hoping for mercy at the last minute. Especially if you’re begging for mercy from the man whose father you betrayed back at King’s Landing.
Notable victims: Janos Slynt
9) Find a travelling buddy
Whether it’s Arya and the Hound, Brienne and Pod, Jaime and Bronn, or Tyrion and Jorah, everyone needs a travelling companion in the lands of Westeros and Essos.
Ever so often, they can save you when you’re in trouble, so long as you repay the favour (and not leave them there to die, how could you, Arya).
Of course, it’d be nice if we could also have direwolves and Hordors, but we can’t all be Bran.
10) Don’t be a fan favourite
Unfortunately, this one might be a little harder to control, but let’s face it, if your popularity grows, you’re gonna have a nice target painted on you.
Because someone clearly seems to derive untold amounts of pleasure from killing off our much-loved characters, feeding off the tears of fans across the globe.
I’m not saying it’s George RR Martin, but you know, he does write the books… Then again, RIP, Ser Barristan.
Notable victims: Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Oberyn Martell, Barristan Selmy
Of course, there are many other situations in which death is unavoidable in Game of Thrones.
When life gives you such lemons, you just have to say “Valar morghulis” in response and at least try to make the Internet weep tears of outrage over your demise.