Surviving Season 1 cast membersEdit
Out of curiosity, I put together a list of recurring characters who were introduced in Season 1 who are still alive at the end of Season 4.
I subdivided this between characters who have appeared at least once a season, and those who have disappeared for at least one season but are still alive.
I was really focusing more on "the original gang" who helped make the TV series happen the first critical year, so I'm not really counting recast characters - though the only two of those who qualified were Beric Dondarrion and Gregor Clegane. Dondarrion was just a placeholder and they knew that, besides he hasn't appeared in every season. Gregor Clegane, meanwhile, has been recast twice and been played by three separate actors so...that's off in its own special category.
I thought of making this list when I first realized that Hot Pie is one of the few cast members who was part of the show in Season 1, and who managed to appear at least once every season.
Fundamentally, of course, this doesn't really prove anything, as even I frequently point out that some characters just take time off in the books (i.e. Illyrio Mopatis is fairly important despite his brief runtime, and Jason Mamoa was amazing as Khal Drogo but fundamentally he only appeared in one season...as did, you know, Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon.
Meanwhile, Team Stannis is very important, but due to the structure of the narrative only get a big introduction at the very beginning of Season 2 (though they mention Stannis before that). Anyway:
"Characters introduced in Season 1, who have appeared at least once every season, and are still alive at the end of Season 4:"
- The Big Seven: Jaime, Cersei, Tyrion, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Sansa, Arya
- Samwell, Bronn, Jorah, Theon
- Littlefinger, Varys, Pycelle, Meryn Trant
- Hot Pie
"Characters introduced in Season 1 who are still alive but who at times took a season off:"
- Barristan, Gendry, Tobho Mott, Janos Slynt, Ilyn Payne
- Kevan, Lancel
- Aemon, Alliser Thorne, Bowen Marsh/Othel Yarwyck (same actor)
- Illyrio Mopatis
- Robin Arryn, Mord (surprised he wasn't in Season 4 as a cameo)
- Walder Frey
- Bran, Hodor
Greatjon Umber - given that the character is alive in the books and TV series because he was taken prisoner at the Red Wedding, but he only "appears" in the first three novels...the actor knew this, and I'm annoyed that he got into scheduling conflicts. One season, maybe. But by season three they should have just recast him. I'm hesitant to keep him on the list anymore than Rickard Karstark or Robb Stark.
The few recastings so far do not alter this list, because Gregor, Tommen, and Myrcella did not appear in Season 3 at all, putting them in the "characters who appeared in Season 1 who are still alive but who at times took a season off" category...though this list is more focused on *actors* than characters, and their appearance was kind of minimal in Season 1.
In Season 4 we lost a few other big ones, Joffrey and Tywin, Lysa, also Shae, Grenn, and Pypar.