WARNING: Major Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Game of Thrones! Read at your own risk!
In one of the most heart-pounding episodes of the entire series, Game of Thrones just sent fans on a roller coaster of emotions with the return — and immediate death — of a character that we all nearly forgot about.
Just when Jon Snow was about to die — again — the unthinkable happened, he was saved by the man he believes to be his uncle, Benjen Stark.
As Jon was surrounded by wights, Benjen came riding in on a horse, swinging a ball of fire at the enemy. He easily killed a few of the undead before dismounting his horse and revealing himself to Jon.
The duo are still surrounded and Benjen orders Jon to get on his horse and escape. As the horse rides away, Benjen charges into the army of the night. Jon turns back around just in time to see his beloved uncle go down.
Why Was Benjen There?
Benjen has been absent for the majority of the series, popping in only a couple of times throughout the seven seasons.
The brother of Ned Stark was in the very first episode, where he came to Winterfell to tell Ned about the coming winter. As the First Ranger of the Night’s Watch, Benjen was charged with leading expeditions beyond the wall, and he knew that trouble wasn’t very far away.
Jon always wanted to join Benjen at Castle Black, and he accompanied his uncle back to the wall.
Not long after that, Benjen told Jon that he was going out on another expedition beyond the wall. Two men who were with Benjen on his expedition were found dead, and their bodies were reanimated as wights after they were brought back to Castle Black.
Jon never saw his uncle again. However, Benjen did run into Bran in season six.
After Hodor was killed by wights last season, Benjen and Meera were trapped. They were being chased by a group of the undead and couldn’t escape. Just when they seemed doomed, Benjen came riding in with that swinging ball of fire.
After saving them, Meera asked why Benjen had come to help. He said that he was sent by the Three-Eyed Raven.
Benjen went on to explain to Bran that he had led the expedition north of the wall and he was attacked by the white walkers, one of which stabbed him in the gut with a sword of ice. Just when he was about to die, and turn into a wight, the Children of the Forest appeared and shoved a piece of dragonglass into his heart.
This gesture saved Benjen, but it also keeps him above the wall. Since he was saved the same way the white walkers were created, Benjen isn’t exactly alive. This prevents him from travelling south of the wall.
Unfortunately, Benjen wasn’t the only substantial character to die in “Beyond the Wall.”
When Jon and his men got close to the White Walkers, they were attacked by a wight-polar bear. After killing a couple of unnamed men, the beast attacked Thoros of Myr.
The Red Priest later died from his injuries, meaning that Beric Dondarrion is surely on his very last life.
When Daenerys brought her dragons north of the wall to save Jon, the Night King showed off his might by throwing an ice-spear at one of them. Much to Dany’s heartbreak, this killed Viserion.