If there is one constant in a Walking Dead fans’ life, it’s knowing that at some point, your favorite character will probably die. Over the last six-plus seasons, we’ve bid bloody goodbyes to dozens of characters; some that came and went like the wind, and a few that stuck around for years before finally biting the dust. The series has made a name for itself for the grisly way it tends to dispose of its ensemble members — but there’s no doubt that some deaths have been harder to take than others. Here are our picks for the most devastating Walking Dead deaths of all time.
Warning: spoilers for all seven seasons of the show ahead!
In a series full of complicated characters and antiheroes, Hershel Greene was a breath of fresh air. While he first resisted letting Rick and his friends find refuge on his farm, he ended up becoming a true father figure to all, and a shining example of kindness, love, and grace under fire.
That’s why his death at the hands of the Governor in the Season 4 episode, “Too Far Gone” was so difficult to swallow. Until his last moments, Hershel hoped that the world would come back from the brink of total destruction — and he was clearly proud that Rick tried to save his life through negotiating rather than pointing his gun. Instead, he lost his life (and his head) to someone who had no interest in making peace, while those who loved him most — including Maggie and Beth — watched helplessly from behind prison gates. Hershel’s death marked a turning point for many of the characters, most especially Rick, and served as a painful reminder that in The Walking Dead universe, no good deed goes unpunished.