List Planet’s Top Seven Characters from Game of Thrones

SPOILER ALERT: Robert Baratheon didn’t make the cut.

With just over five weeks until Game of Thrones‘ third season premieres on HBO–and hot on the heels of its long-awaited full trailer–we figured the timing couldn’t be better for a ranking around everyone’s favorite fantasy incest saga. Though many fans are far ahead of the TV show in the greater Song of Ice and Fire storyline thanks to George R.R. Martin’s original book series (myself included), there are sure to be a number out there who haven’t read them, so we’ll restrict this countdown only to characters who have appeared in the first two seasons of the show. And why a Top Seven? Because there are too many good characters to limit the show to a Top Five, and G.R.R.M. has planned for a seven-book story arc. Sound good? Read on for our Top Seven Game of Thrones characters.


7.  Jaqen H’ghar

Why He’s Here: Jaqen’s short-lived interaction with Arya Stark injects the perfect amount of mystery into Season 2. You’re never quite sure how Jaqen pulls off the murders he’s promised to Arya–or why he’s so terrified of pronouns–but frankly, you don’t need to. As a Faceless Man of Braavos, he’s supposed to be an enigma, and the show pulls that off to perfection. Quite a bit’s gone down at Jaqen’s hand by the time he changes face (literally) and departs at the end of “Valar Morghulis,” and seeing him go winds up an even greater disappointment than in the books.

6. Arya Stark

Why She’s Here: Simply put: the show has made Arya a more sympathetic character than George R.R. Martin ever achieved through the first two volumes of his book series. While Arya becomes a more dynamic character as the books unfold (don’t worry, no spoilers coming here), her point-of-view chapters through the first two books are often…a bit tedious, to say the least. In the show, Maisie Williams injects a great sense of personality into her interactions with those around her–be it Jaqen H’ghar or the blacksmith Gendry–and transforms Arya into a real highlight of the saga so far.

5. Cersei Lannister

Why She’s Here: Cersei is as evil and conniving as they come. Though she’s as much a Lannister as Tywin, Jaime or Tyrion, you get the sense that she’d go farther than any of them for glory. Somewhere along the line, Cersei kicked the crazy factor into high gear, and you can see–whether through the advice she gives to her son, the boy king Joffrey, or in her overbearing interactions to his betrothed, Sansa Stark–that she’ll be a true menace for her entire run on both the show and the greater Song of Ice and Fire saga.

4. Joffrey Baratheon

Why He’s Here: Younger readers, cover your eyes/ears for this one: Joffrey Baratheon–or as he should really be known, Joffrey Lannister–is one evil little shit. The apple didn’t fall far from Cersei Lannister’s crazy tree on this one, folks–once he inherits the throne from his father, Robert, Joffrey becomes a kind of evil, volatile leader that not even J.R.R. Tolkien or Robert Jordan could have come up with on their deadliest turns. You’re never quite sure who Joffrey will turn against next; in fact, the one thing about him that we know for certain is that the rare moments of reproach he gets from The Hound or his uncle, Tyrion, are absolute joys in and of themselves. He’s a character you just love to hate, and he thoroughly earns his place on this list.

3. Jon Snow

Why He’s Here: There are a myriad of back-stories on Game of Thrones, but Jon’s is one you can’t help but get behind. As the bastard son of Ned Stark, Jon is effectively an undesirable in the realm of Winterfell. After leaving to join the Sworn Brothers of the Night’s Watch, he flourishes in a leadership role  on the Wall and is eventually sent on a reconnaissance mission to join Mance Rayder’s wildlings. He’s perpetually the underdog, facing adversity from his family (specifically, Ned’s wife Catelyn), his superiors on the wall (Ser Alliser Thorne) and even from the Wildlings he’s sent to infiltrate. Yet through it all, he keeps his head in the right place and guides himself primarily through a sense of right and wrong–rather than the senses of power and glory to which so many in Westeros fall victim.

2. Daenerys Targaryen


Why She’s Here: Dragons, boobs, awesome Conan-like husband who talks in one-word-bursts, dragons, exile story, redemption, dragons, gorgeous. Daenerys has all of the above and then some. The moves she makes are arguably the most cautious calculated of anyone on the show (which is saying something) because of her precarious position as the last Targaryen–exiled from Westeros and trying to reclaim her family’s throne. Dany’s relationship with Jorah Mormont is also a highlight–sort of a creepy, father-figure-daughter-figure type of way, but still…it helps alleviate the constant danger and betrayal that lurk around Dany at every corner. But in the end, it all comes down to one thing: SHE WALKED INTO A FIERY TOMB AND GAVE BIRTH TO THREE DRAGONS. What more do you need after that?

1. Tyrion Lannister

Don’t fuck with Peter Dinklage. NEVER fuck with Peter Dinklage.

Why He’s Here: Do you really need to ask? Tyrion’s not just the best character on the show; he’s one of the best characters on television period. He’s one of the most active players in the game of thrones, yet you never quite know which side he’s playing for. Is it for his family, the Lannisters–whose slogan he regularly boasts with pride, yet among whom he’s treated as a sort of cockroach? Is it for the good of the realm–as his dealings with Varys or the Night’s Watch might suggest? Who knows! And in a realm overcrowded with self-important characters who take themselves too seriously, Tyrion’s brash, reckless persona is a breath of fresh air. On Game of Thrones, characters don’t get any better than this.

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About Dan

Syracuse University '11. Arsenal, Bulls and Timbers for life. Co-host at @HornsUpPodcast. Frustrated guitarist. I cook things sometimes and it's okay.

Posted on February 24, 2013, in List Planet - Books, List Planet - TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great list, have to say I agree with most of them. Very glad to see ‘the faceless man’ here, I wish he’d been around longer!

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