10 Shocking TV Deaths That Kept You on the Couch for Weeks

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

We're all still in shock from last Sunday's Game of Thrones. But maybe it'll help our grieving process to remember that we've been here before, and we survived. Plenty of TV series have damaged our psyche with startling character deaths. Here are 10 gut-wrenching deaths from past television shows, and how we coped.

Warning: old spoilers ahead...

1. Joyce Summers

Where: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Body"

Gut Check: The entire episode was just a string of rapid gut-punches. Starting first with the discovery of Joyce, dead on the couch. There's no magic, no villainous motive — she's a human, and she just died. Joss Whedon's music-free episode is the most realistic handling of actual death we've ever seen on screen, and this from a show with "Vampire Slayer" in the title. It felt almost invasive watching two daughters (and their friends) deal with the loss of an important family member.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: We'll let you know when the pain stops.

2. Ianto Jones

Where: Torchwood, Children of Earth "Day 4"

Gut Check: The abrupt ending to this love story really shocked the hell out of us. We really thought Torchwood would milk this love for all it was worth — but then again killing him off is a good way to milk our tears, as well.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: 2 hours.

3. Winifred Burkle "Fred"

Where: Angel, "A Hole in the World"

Gut Check: After finally hearing from Wesley that he's always loved her, Fred dies in his arms. But the real upset was when she comes back as the ancient god Illyria. Now you have a blue creature walking around in a Fred suit. It was quite upsetting.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: Couple of Months, until we stopped hating Illyria so damned much.

4. Anastasia Dualla

Where: Battlestar Galactica, "Sometimes a Great Notion"

Gut Check: A seemingly happy Dualla reconnects with absent husband Lee Adama, hums a little tune, and puts a bullet in her brain. The contrast in projected emotion and action was horrifying. Plus we LOVED this character. You had to peel us off the ceiling after witnessing the brutal and cold end to Dualla. Not only did this action snuff out a great character, but the suicide also wiped out the glimmer of hope we were holding on to that BSG's prophecy would come true for the characters we treasured the most.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: One Week.

5. Ben Sullivan

Where: Scrubs, "My Screw Up"

Gut Check: The wildly endearing character Ben Sullivan (played by Brendan Fraser) returns to Sacred Heart for one last time. Biggest unexpected twist: He's been dead for almost half of the episode.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: 8 Solid Hours.

6. Lieutenant Tasha Yar

Where: Star Trek Next Generation, "Skin of Evil"

Gut Check: Armus was a stupid, stupid monster with an unsettling voice. But holy shit, he totally killed Lt. Yar. Possibly the most shocking death in the silliest way. It made us mad, sad, bitchy — but mostly we were just shocked.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: 20 Minutes.

7. Curtis Donovan

Where: Misfits, “Series Four, Episode Four”

Gut Check: Killing off the main character in the middle of the season. No one saw this coming. No one... but it worked.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: 6 Months. Wow.

8. Dale Horvath

Where: Walking Dead, “"Judge, Jury, Executioner"

Gut Check: THIS IS NOT CANON, THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! Who will be the morality police for the group now? He was wasted, WASTED on this death. Andrea and Dale didn't even get to... you know.. that stuff. What a waste. We miss you Dale, everyone sucks now. Especially Andrea, you would have made her better, we know it.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: Ask us next season, we're still not happy with losing the heart of this show.

9. Prue Halliwell

Where: Charmed, "All Hell Breaks Loose"

Gut Check: Prue's death not only destroyed the dynamic of the group, it also destroyed her sister Piper Halliwell. Who became insufferable for years after this. But overall, we did not expect this cute witch show to kill off a core member of the coven. And then she was NEVER seen from again because Shannen Doherty's would have sued the shit out of the show. Ah well.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: About one year.

Eddard Stark

Where: Game Of Thrones, "Baelor"

Gut Check: The final slice. Even if you read the books, you can't BELIEVE HBO went there, and went there so crushingly well. Plus the build up almost seems to give the audience hope.


Amount of Time Spent On The Couch: 2 hours, he kind of brought it on himself.

Honorable Mentions:

Teri Bauer

Where: 24

Derek Reese

Where: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Bobby Singer

Where: Supernatural