Because I have yet to get over the last episode of Game of Thrones (The Viper and the Mountain), I’m posting this collection of my favorite characters in the series so far. Not all of them are alive because this show has a high casualty rate, but their deaths don’t make them any less awesome.
1. Tyrion Lannister: Born as an imp and considered an abomination by the powerful Lannisters, Tyrion has been the subject of his father and sister’s disgust since the moment he was born. He is the smartest person in Westeros but no one truly recognizes his genius because of their preoccupation with his appearance. He has managed to outwit even the greatest leaders in the Seven Kingdoms which did not help with his popularity issues. He has shown great kindness to Ned Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow, as well as his niece Myrcella and nephew Tommen, and basically baited Joffrey every opportunity he got just because the guy was a major douche. Peter Dinklage gives life to his character with a depth and vulnerability that won him an Emmy in the show’s first season. His heartfelt speech in his own trial where he lashed out at the jury and the audience will most likely earn him a second one. STATUS: Alive but sentenced to death
2. Eddard “Ned” Stark: One of the only genuinely honorable people in Westeros, Ned was smart but too trusting. Despite holding all the cards, he made a lot of poor choices during his time as the Hand of the King, made a lot of enemies and underestimated the pure malice of King Joffrey, to whom he originally betrothed his daughter Sansa. His heart was in the right place but in a place like Westeros, doing the right thing is not always the best way to go. Played by Sean Bean, Ned is added to the list of dead characters he played on the big screen and television. STATUS: Dead by beheading
3. Joffrey Barratheon: The most evil and vile character in the Seven Kingdoms, Joffrey was the product of incest between his mother Cersei and her twin brother Jamie. because he was naturally malicious, he enjoyed torture and watching people’s suffering. He bullied the weak and took great pleasure in humiliating his uncle Tyrion and talking down to just about anyone except his grandfather Tywin Lannister. Jack Gleeson, who portrayed the role was a a class act, always hitting the mark every time, getting people to unite against Joffrey in hatred. I’m not surprised that he’s chosen to take a break from acting after his Game of Thrones gig because his role must have been very taxing. Despite his character raising my hackles every single moment, I find that I miss him very much. STATUS: Dead by poison in his own wedding.
4. Cersei Lannister: A queen embittered by her King’s lack of attentions and obvious pining for another woman, Cersei early on learned the hard way that she must be ruthless in order to get what she wants. An intelligent woman by nature, her natural maternal instincts are only matched by her ability to scheme and conspire with Westeros’s political lechers to get the crown for her sons. Lena Headey portrays her role with a balance of vulnerability and strength. Nobody messes with Queen Cersei, especially since she delivered the most iconic line in the franchise : When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. This pretty much sums up the show so far. STATUS: Alive and on a warpath after the death of her firstborn.
5. Stannis Barratheon: For all intents and purposes, Stannis Barratheon, Lord of Dragonstone should be the successor to the Iron Throne following the death of his brother Robert in a hunting accident, because none of Cersei’s children are biologically Robert’s blood. A hard man, but a fair one, Stannis is a battle worn and quiet man whose broodiness is often mistaken for insanity, especially since he takes the counsel of the Red Woman/Red Witch named Melissandre, who often manipulates his decisions. Stannis has only one child, Shireen, a sweet girl whose face is deformed. So far, despite his gruffness and seeming lack of affection for her, Stannis has stood firm in wanting to keep her safe and safeguarding her birthright. He will also be the only contender for the throne who actually sends aid to the wall against the Whitewalkers and that’s a major plus in my book. STATUS: Alive and in debt to wage war against the Lannisters, later diverted to the Whitewalkers
6. Prince Oberyn Martell: Prince Oberyn might have only been introduced in the show’s fourth season but he sure made an entrance (and exit). The sexy prince of Dorne came to King’s Landing to attend the wedding of King Joffrey to Renly Barratheon’s widow Margaery Tyrell, but secretly wanted to exact revenge for the death of his sister Elia and her children at the hands of Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides at the command of Tywin Lannister during the war that brought the Barratheons to power. In his limited engagement, Chilean actor Pedro Pascal managed to make Prince Oberyn a larger than life character with sensual drawl and fluid grace. I am still frustrated as hell over the outcome of the trial by combat in which he set out to seek his revenge in what was to become the most brutal scene in Game of Thrones history, for now. STATUS: Dead by eye gouging and skull crushing.
7. Daenerys Targaryen: Of all of the contenders for the Iron Throne, Daenerys, mother of dragons is one of the most evolved characters in the franchise. Starting off as the meek sister of another douchebag, Viserys Targaryen who luckily met his end in the early parts of Season 1, Dany’s innocence and charisma served her well in earning the love and compassion of her Dothraki husband Khal Drogo as well as his Khalasaar. In the seasons that followed, Dany has proven herself formidable, weathering assaults to her people, and amassing a loyal army of Unsullied warriors, thousands of freed slaves as supporters, and commanding the fear of Masters in Slavers Bay. She may well be the female version of Spartacus. STATUS: Alive, holding court at Mereen and ruling the three cities of Slaver’s Bay.
8. Varys: One of the most intriguing characters in the Game of Thrones universe is Varys, a eunuch who holds all of the secrets among all key players in Westeros and beyond. Varys sometimes speaks in riddles and gives hints to help those whom he thinks will be able to help the Kingdom. However, there are times when even Varys’s motives are unclear as he shows no particular allegiance in sharing the secrets that he has received from his “Birdies.” He has said at some point in the series, that he served “the realm, someone must,” and at some point indicated to Littlefinger that they are not of the same ilk as Baelish is guided by ambition and not loyalty to the people. Conieth Hill’s portrayal of this the mild mannered eunuch with a backbone of steel has made his character one to watch. STATUS: Alive and still collecting secrets.
9. Petyr Baelish: Like Varys, Petyr Baelish, also known in the Kingdom as Littlefinger, the motives of Petyr’s actions were initially unclear. Growing up with the Tullys of the Vale, it was known from the beginning that he was in love with Catelyn Stark for a very long time and resented the fact that Catelyn saw him only as a brother. He amassed great wealth by making strategic allegiances, first in his role as Master of Coin in the Small Council and by running a brothel and other illicit businesses. He is known to be clever and loyal only to his own ambition. When his role was revealed in the death of Ned Stark and King Joffrey, the depth of his machinations was surprising but made sense, given his character. STATUS: Alive and plotting to manipulate/kill Robyn Aryn, Lord of the Vale, or possibly marrying Catelyn’s daughter Sansa. Its hard to tell with Littlefinger.
10. Davos Seaworth: A reformed smuggler, Ser Davos is Stannis Barratheon’s most loyal adviser, who constantly warns him against the ways of the Red Witch. Time and again, despite being thrown to the dungeons and ignored by his King, Davos has continued to caution and counsel Stannis in his campaign to secure the Iron Throne. He was also responsible for freeing Robert Barratheon’s bastard son Gendry from Dragonstone before Melissadre could kill him for his blood. Davos shares a friendship with Stannis’s daughter Shineen, who teaches him to read and write. Liam Cunningham has effectively carried on the role since Season 2 and has not faltered in his portrayal of Stannis’s faithful right hand man.
Robb Stark: A brilliant tactician who shares his father’s integrity but made a fatal error in failing to abide by his agreement with Lord Frey to marry one of his daughters. I mourned his death because he was the most gorgeous among the Starks. STATUS: Dead by betrayal at the Red Wedding.
Podrick Payne: Tyrion’s former squire whose fierce loyalty to his Master did not waver even during the most difficult and dangerous times. He saved Tyrion’s life in Blackwater and refused to believe his guilt in the death of Joffrey. He now serves Lady Brienne in the quest to find the Stark daughters, at Tyrion’s request (so that he may also escape King’s Landing).