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I'm cataloguing all the characters in A Song of Ice and Fire, and am currently working out each of their status as dead or alive. Some characters are (spoilers AGOT)

missing and presumed dead, such as Benjen Stark, lost beyond the Wall. For those characters I would just say "Unknown"

Other characters you would think have died, but are still alive, such as (spoilers ACOK)

Kyra, Bandy, Palla, Turnip, Old Nan, and certain other residents of Winterfell, who didn't die in the Sack, but were taken prisoner by the Boltons. We only know about this because they're explicitly mentioned in the appendix.

What about minor characters who get no other mention in any canon source? For example, Lew and Donnis are two guards at Winterfell, mentioned in the beginning of AGOT (more spoilers ACOK)

Should I presume that Lew and Donnis are dead because Winterfell was sacked, and they haven't been explicitly mentioned? Should I presume that they are alive because there's no information to suggest that they've died? Or is their fate best marked as "Unknown"?

Essentially, what is the default position for whether a character is alive?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Möoz, Ward, The Fallen, DVK-on-Ahch-To, Meat Trademark Aug 31 '14 at 5:49

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    "Should an unseen character be presumed alive or dead?" No. – Kevin Aug 30 '14 at 17:16
  • Fixed the title. – Lou Aug 30 '14 at 17:21
  • The comma doesn't change the verity of Kevin's comment... – Mr Lister Aug 30 '14 at 17:32
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    There's also the possibility of someone being dead and still being an active character. – Joe L. Aug 30 '14 at 22:28
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    @LeoKing Regardless of how many times the cat is noticed to be alive, if it goes in the box alive, it's both. Often readers are led to incorrectly assume some likely conclusion that is false. For what context is the purpose of your "default alive-ness"? – Gorchestopher H Aug 30 '14 at 23:16
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As a general rule if a character's death is not confirmed, it would probably be best to classify them as Presumed Dead or Missing, presumed dead. Quite a few characters fall into this designation, including Benjen, Syrio, Tyrek Lannister, and most minor characters from Winterfell. I hope we get as much closure as possible over the next books, but I suspect that most of these presumed deaths will not be confirmed one way or the other by the end of the series.

As a final reference, you may also want to check each book's appendix for these characters, to see if their status is listed.

  • I'm checking the AWOIAF pages, just because it's a little quicker. But good idea. – Lou Aug 30 '14 at 19:41
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I would say that you should add the same status as Benjen's -- unknown. Since we don't know what happened to him or some other minor characters, we can only guess their fate. Some of the characters' fate (surely the main characters) would most likely be revealed in future books, but the fate of some other minors might be left unknown, even at the end of the series.

That is the reason why there are some theories about Benjen.

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