My 6 Favorite Game of Thrones Characters…So Far

How cool is it that Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are two of the most popular shows on TV? Here are two genres – fantasy and zombie – that would have been relegated to just us geeks and nerds only a few years ago. But instead they’re cultural phenomenons! This is an exciting time to be a geek, that’s for damn sure.  Of the two, Game of Thrones is definitely the better show. Thanks in no small part to the power of HBO, Game of Thrones is an epic, world-spanning story of power, intrigue, war, sex and dragons.

I am not a full Game of Thrones geek like some of my friends. I’m up to date on the TV show – and am currently watching the third season like the rest of the world – but I’ve only read the first two books. I’ve decided to go show-first, book-second. They make great companion pieces. The books provide further detail and depth to the show’s characters and world, while the show turns the characters into flesh and blood people, giving you a better visual understanding and experience that you can take back to the reading. I’m all for letting our imaginations run wild, but sometimes it really does enhance the experience to know what people and places look like when reading a book.

Dun dun Dunna dun dun!

I wanted to do something Game of Thronesy for my List of Six this week, so I’ve decided to run down my top 6 favorite characters in the series, often forged from a combination of show and book. I put ‘so far’ in the title, because Game of Thrones is, first of all, a long way from being over, and second, notorious for killing popular characters. I’m more than a little nervous that some of my favorites won’t live to see a happy ending. But such is the risk you take when you fall in love with such an amazing series!

I’m going to do my best to avoid any major SPOILERS, but even still, you should be warned. Join me after the jump!

First, a quick word about the show just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, but still, for whatever reason, want to check out my list. Game of Thrones is a show on HBO based on the book series A Song of Fire and Ice by author George R.R. Martin. It’s a medieval fantasy story set in the fictional continent of Westeros, full of swords, war and a little bit of sorcery. The story is about half a dozen powerful families battling for the throne of the King of Westeros. The title ‘Game of Thrones’ stands for the politics, both large and small, that one must maneuver on their quest for power. Who do you trust? Who do you love? Do you stand for justice and the greater good? Or do you work only for yourself and stab your friends in the back?

Because in the game of thrones, you win or you die!

Believe me when I say the real show is a lot more complicated than that little paragraph I just wrote. There are dozens of characters and almost each one has their own subplot. It’s a sprawling tapestry that stretches to all corners of this fictional world. I could spend hours trying to explain it all to you. And I’d probably love that. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll spare you the big explanation and give you a few quick important facts.

The Starks: The main characters of the series are the Stark family, the father of whom, Ned Stark, was played by Sean Bean, and is famous for saying, “Winter is coming”. The Starks are a proud, noble family who are in charge of the city of Winterfell in the north. The Starks are big on honor and duty.

The Lannisters: Opposing the Starks are the Lannisters, the richest family in Westeros and the current rulers. The sadistic teenager Geoffrey is King, and most of his family is with him in the capital city of King’s Landing. The Lannisters are usually selfish and cunning, not afraid to use their riches and their intelligence to get what they want, while maintaining their own personal code of honor. A Lannister always pays his debts, after all.

Daernerys Targaryen: Before the Starks, Lannisters and the other families started warring for the throne, Westeros was ruled by the Targaryn Dynasty, but they were overthrown. The last surviving member of that family is the young Daernerys, who has fled across the sea to the far east. Daernerys wants the throne back, and is trying to build an army to march back to Westeros and take it by force. It helps that she recently came into possession of three baby dragons, the first dragons born in hundreds of years.

That should be enough to understand my list. Now then, on with the show!


6. The Hound


Ladies?

This scarred warrior is the personal bodyguard of King Geoffrey. He’s a no-nonsense thug who is very aware that he looks like a monster and doesn’t give a crap what other people think of him. He does what he’s told, even when he’s being ordered around by the brat Geoffrey. But I think there’s more to the Hound than we’ve seen so far. There have been hints here and there that the Hound has a softer heart than he lets on. I think there’s some nobility hiding behind his burned face, and he’s just looking for the right moment to prove just how awesome he can be. Or maybe I’m wrong and he really is just a thug. I don’t know yet, but for now, the Hound is a pretty cool dude.


5. Robb Stark


For real…ladies?

Robb Stark is the oldest child of the Stark family, and the heir to Winterfell. He’s tall and handsome and lives to be as honorable as his father. Whether or not he will succeed is one of the main overall plots of the series, and one I find myself enjoying most of all in the books. He’s more of a minor character on the show, but has a larger, more exciting presence in the books, and he has definitely grown on me. The war for the throne, with Robb leading the charge, seems like a bigger deal in the novels. It doesn’t help that HBO can’t exactly afford to film Braveheart-esque scenes of battle for the show. Such is our loss. But HBO is finding more and more for Robb to do, and his story of leadership and responsibility is one I am enjoying above most others.


4. Jorah Mormont


So friendzoneded

Jorah Mormont is the personal bodyguard of Daernerys Targaryen, quite possibly because he’s in love with her. He’s a noble and heroic knight who wants to help her regain the throne because he believes she’ll make a good ruler. Jorah is also a great example of why it helps to read the books along with the show. Most people probably just know that Jorah is a knight and he hangs out with Dany. That’s all I knew about him when I first started watching. He’s a cool knight and is very honorable, and I figured that was all there was to know about him. But that’s not the case at all. The Mormont family actually serves several key roles throughout the series. Not only do they hail from a place so badass that it’s called Bear Island, but his sister fights in Robb Stark’s army, and his father is the gruff, old leader of the Night’s Watch. I had no idea that Jorah was connected to these characters until my brother pointed it out to me. And there’s even more to discover in the books, like how Jorah ended up in the far east and what become of his family sword. The whole Mormont family is just awesome.


3. Arya Stark w/Gendry


The most badass character on the show is a little girl

Arya Stark is the youngest daughter in the Stark family, and she’s something of a tomboy. She had no interest in being a princess and learning all of the ladylike skills and lessons she’s expected to learn. Instead, she wants to fight and kill people with a sword, and Arya’s secret sword fighting lessons in the first book and first season are one of the best parts. She’s a scrapper, and I’m very excited to see what she does with her life. Will she be the one to bring honor to her family in the end? Will she become a leader among the people? Or will Arya sneak across the sea to the far east and train to become a Faceless Man assassin? I think were all rooting for the latter. Arya is joined on her adventures by Gendry, bastard son of the former king. He’s a tough, handsome, blue collar sort of kid, but he’s pretty cool when teamed with Arya. Because even though Arya is going to be a badass warrior chick, it’s still cute to think she’s probably going to get a crush on her companion down the line.


2. Varys


He looks kind of sticky

On the surface, Varys is one of the least likeable characters on the show. Bald, fat, pampered and greasy, Varys comes off as a hoity toity creep waddling around the castle as some kind of advisor to the king. It doesn’t help that everybody is always pointing out that he’s a eunuch, which just makes him all the more creepier. But then you have to pay attention to what he actually does, and you have to read about his exploits in the books. You will quickly learn that Varys is probably the biggest warrior for truth and justice in the entire series. Varys serves as the king’s chief spy, and he always seems to know exactly what everyone is doing anywhere in the world. Varys uses this information to advise the king, but secretly, he uses it for the good of the land. He wants peace and prosperity, but he’s not a big strong warrior who can achieve peace through strength of arm. And he’s not going to stupidly stick his neck out for things like honor and nobility. He’s going to be sneaky and do what he needs to do for the good of the realm, while letting everyone think he’s a creepy, evil weirdo. Varys is happy to play that role for the greater good, and that’s why he’s such a cool character.


1. Tyrion Lannister w/ Bronn


Now for real this time…ladies?

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Everybody loves Tyrion, and why shouldn’t they? He’s written to be the coolest character in the series. You’re supposed to like him. And played by the amazing Peter Dinklage, Tyrion comes alive on the screen as the smartest and best schemer in the entire kingdom. Tyrion is the dwarf son of the Lannister family, viewed as a disappointment and disgrace to the proud, rich Lannisters. But he’s still a member of the family, so he still gets the finest clothes and the best education. Tyrion is the underdog who we all know is better, smarter and cooler than everybody else, no matter what his family might think of him. He’s kind to the good guys and he’s smarmy to the bad guys. With his bodyguard and best friend Bronn at his side, watching and reading about Tyrion playing the game of thrones is the best part of the show and book. Although, this almost makes me think Tyrion is not long for the world. He’s everybody’s favorite character…which probably means he’ll be killed for highest dramatic effect. But again, don’t spoil it for me. I’ll have my heart broken at the proper time, thank you very much.

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Those are my favorite characters, who are yours? Whether in the book or the TV show, who do you love on the Game of Thrones? Or who do you absolutely hate?

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About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on April 17, 2013, in Books, Lists of Six!, Television and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. themusesguildoutlook

    Reblogged this on The Muses Guild:THE OUTLOOK.

  2. Besides the ones you already mentioned I like Podrick, Dany Targaryen, the Brienne/Jaime pairing and last but certainly not least, one of the most important and awesome characters in there, second only to tyrion, the coolest bastard in the north, Jon Snow, why isn’t he in there?

    • I would definitely agree on Podrick, Dany and Brienne/Jamie, they’ve all been given a bigger, cooler presence in this third season, Dany especially. I think they have some of the better storylines this season so far. As for Jon Snow, I dunno. I just haven’t been big on Jon Snow. I love the idea of the Night’s Watch and the Wall, and that there’s this huge supernatural threat looming over all the petty political stuff in King’s Landing, with only this ragged handfull of honor-bound nobodies standing in it’s way. But I just haven’t been all that interested or entertained by Jon Snow, either as a character or as a storyline. I think mostly it’s because I like the idea of the Night’s Watch more, and when Jon Snow first joined them, he was kind of a brat about the whole thing.

  3. I have a very different list than yours. Mainly because I don’t like the “good guys” on the show and you do. The “good guys” (and I use the term loosely because everyone in the show is a little of both for the most part) are boring and probably going to die. Robb Stark is good and honest and fights to save his little sisters and avenge his father’s death. Oh and he falls in love with a hot foreign noble-woman? Boring! Here are six characters who are all essentially douche-nozzles but absolutely brilliant to watch.

    6. Balon Greyjoy – First, I like the Greyjoy sigil the most. A Kraken is easily cooler than dragons and dire wolves. But also Balon’s whole philosophy is different and interesting. “We do not sow.” They take what they want by paying the “iron price.” It’s pure badassery. I loved when Theon came home and his dad gave him shit about buying a nice cape and wearing a skirt. Why do all the north-men where skirts? Pants must certainly be better for fighting. Of course he’s an awful person, but all the best cowboys have daddy issues. Which brings me to…

    5. Tywin Lannister – Now this guy….this is the guy. He completely owns every scene he’s in. He butchers a pig (which his actor learned how to do that day) while giving his son the business. He’s surrounded by idiots and now surrounded by schemers. He strikes me as neither. It always feels like he could run everything himself, fight every war himself, and his family and followers just get in his way. I’m desperately waiting for the scene where he realizes that Geoffrey is cuckoo-pants and has a good pig-butchering conversation with him.

    4. Stannis Baratheon – Lawful Neutral! As anyone will tell you, Lawful Neutral is the hardest DnD alignment to play. In a game where you can do just about everything, it is nearly impossible to strictly follow the rules no matter what. So what if he’d be the shittiest of all the kings, he’s the one who’s supposed to actually be king. We as the audience all know it is supposed to be him, but we don’t care; we don’t like him. He burns the statues of the 7 gods, kills his brother with a shadow demon, and gives Robb Stark’s mom the finger. But all that evil is fine because he’s still the only one following the rules! If the Game of Thrones were an actual game, then he’s got the rule book in his hands and everyone else is making stuff up or just outright cheating. For that he gets #4.

    3. Ygritte – I don’t understand why the Wildlings are bad guys. Maybe I missed something. Are they trying to invade and conquer south of the Wall? Why was Osha captured? Isn’t she more of a refugee than anything else? So the Wildlings are cool in my book and Ygritte’s the coolest. She is free. While the south is playing some dumb Game of Thrones, the Wildlings are dealing with real stuff like White Walkers and Wights (which I’m not perfectly sure on the difference yet). I don’t get why the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings aren’t teaming up and fighting this stuff. In fact, I’m starting to realize that I’ve watched both seasons twice now and most of the North stuff still confuses me. But Ygritte is simple. She’s funny and clever. She makes the most sense out of everyone north of the Wall right now. And also, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” I hate Jon Snow most days.

    2. Bronn – Bronn is not a good guy. The show has gone out of its way to explain that fact very clearly. But boy he is cool. He won me over in his first fight in the Aerie. And since then he’s continued to do more and more badass things. He’s smart too, which is nice. Oh and when he sang, perfect. Only on Game of Thrones do we get that nice pairing of willing to kill babies for money and lovely singing voice.

    1. Jorah Mormont – The fact that you call him “noble” shows me that you’ve entirely missed the point of Jorah Mormont. He is a slaver. He is the disgraced banished son of Bear Island. His valerian steel sword was taken and given to Jon Snow, whom we’ve already established “knows nothing.” He spent his time in exile living with the Dothraki, the worst possible company to keep. Then he sold out Daernerys to be killed so he could finally go home. He’s a bad man. But he’s a survivor. I’ve got a good feeling about this one. Everyone else on our lists is probably doomed (I’m placing bets now that Arya, Bronn, and Tywin don’t make season 4). But Jorah’s gonna live dammit. He stands among the filth, the horror, the evil, and the crazy and it all bounces off him like a Dothraki blade against his armor. Also I’m a sucker for a good unrequited love story.

    • You don’t think Jorah Mormont is noble? The man has made a lot of mistakes and done some bad things, but he’s still got a good heart and noble bearing. He wasn’t a slaver because he loves gold and doesn’t care about people. Jorah Mormont cares. Obviously not as much as Dany, but he is definitely noble. He may not be Ned Stark’s kind of noble, but Jorah is definitely noble.

      Tywin is a good choice. His scenes with Arya were some of the best in season 2…and did you know they weren’t in the book? The two characters don’t have anything to do with one another while they’re at Harrenhall. Though I too am waiting for the scene where Tywin has to face up to what a little brat his grandson the king has become.

      Bronn and Ygritte are good choices. I think the problem with Wildlings is that they’re mostly vicious bandits. You ever play a role-playing game where your quest is to just go kill a local bandit gang living in a nearby cave? Those are like the Wildlings. They’re uncivilized robbers and killers. But now Mance Rayder has managed to UNITE THE CLANS and achieve some kind of order. And I do think they plan to just march south and kill/conquer whomever they come across.

      I believe the difference between wights and white walkers is that wights are just zombies, whereas white walkers are those actual ghostly snow monsters we saw in the last few minutes of the season 2 finale, the blue-skinned monster that, for some reason, decided to just let Sam Tarly go.

      And how can anybody like Stannis Baratheon or Balon Greyjoy? Ugh. They’re both just pathetic old men. I will admit the whole Iron Islands thing is cool, but Balon himself is the worst kind of loser. That’s why he loses.

    • I don’t think you like Balon as much as you love the Iron Islands culture, as a person who reads the books I must tell you that he is not only a terrible person but also a terrible ruler, even by Greyjoy’s standars, he is a pretty useless and unimportant man to the overall story. Now his brothers, that is a completely different matter, I think if you actually like Balon then when you meet his brothers you’ll fall in love with them, they are great characters that will show you the real badassery of the Iron islands.

      I agree with you about the rest, especially Stannis but I’ll talk about that later, and I wouldn’t call the wildings evil, they are more like chaotic neutral, too savage and unpredictable to being able to interact in a good way with the other cultures, but at the same time the only thing they want is to survive and if to do that they must assault and cross the wall then that is what they are going to do.

  4. Ok, this one is for both of you, I didn’t especially liked Stannis at first, I could somehow in a way “respect” or at least understand him for trying to go “by the rules” and while he did some despicable things it wasn’t anything that didn’t happen regularly in those times, hell, in the books is stated that Renly was making plans to having him killed, he just acted preemptively, but I just couldn’t see him as king, I saw him more like the kind of guy you would put in command of the army and take care of Westeros in a time of crisis like a war, but I couldn’t imagine him as a ruler in time of peace, and his attitude didn’t help, as a person I couldn’t see him as anything less than a hardass that just wanted the throne without caring about anything else.

    BUT THEN, something happened that changed my mind, I won’t spoil it for you but there was an “event” that showed that Stannis is aparently the only person in the books willing to put aside his personal goals and plans to do what is necessary for the good of the kingdom, he withdraw himself from the war (momentarily) to do “something” for Westeros that nobody else would because they were too “ocupied” with their politics, backstabbing and stuff.

    That’s when I (and plenty of people both IN and OUT of the books) realised that while he might not be the best candidate for king (I fully support Daenerys taking back the throne), he doesn’t want to be king for riches or power or just because, he actually CARES for Westeros and actually WANTS to protect the people and improve the country, sure he might be ruthless but there is a good person in there, and with a good council he could be a pretty competent and practical ruler, and with winter coming that is exactly what they need.

  1. Pingback: My 6 New Favorite Game of Thrones Characters…Probably | Henchman-4-Hire

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