Dee Discusses: Top 10 Game of Thrones Characters

Posted: May 24, 2013 by Dee in Dee, Game of Thrones, General Media, Specials, Television, Top 10
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This will contain spoilers for the books

For the sake of this top ten list, I’m going to pick the more prominent characters who are in both the show and the book series for now. We haven’t got into the Martells yet in the show, so I think I’ll hold off on commenting about them and a few other people until later. This will contain spoilers for the show and maybe some of the books. That’s right I bolded it twice. I don’t want anyone going ahhhh I got spoiled accidentally. Nothing’s on accident here. I may try not to delve into too much of the later books in explanation, but yeah, I’m not going to hold back my deeper musings on the characters. Also keep in mind most of the characters in this series are problematic. I might talk about reasons I like them, but I am completely aware that they have done and will do terrible things over the course of the series. I find them complex and fascinating, not necessarily someone I want to have tea with. 😉 Except maybe Olenna. Even if she’d probably deconstruct my personality and mock me until I cried.

10. Ygritte

I like Ygritte for a variety of reasons. She has easily the best catchphrase in the show, which is funny because there are a lot of them. I don’t know why “you know nothing, Jon Snow!” sticks in my head but I think it all the time. I often say it to people, only obviously putting their name in instead of Jon Snow. It might be because I have a fondness for feisty gingers (“fire kissed” so they say). I like Ygritte’s bluntness, her confidence, her surety in what she’s doing, and that she’s found a strong place for herself. In the books there’s a lot of talk about how hard it is especially for the women to break out of the patriarchal system, and the wildings are a different set of folk. They don’t quibble as much about women playing the part of warrior because they’ve probably come across someone like Ygritte, who is fearsome all on her own. She knows who she is and she owns it, and she doesn’t apologize for it either. She’s intelligent and practical too. She understands the world in a way Jon never can. Honestly the only weakness I find in her character is her relationship with Jon Snow. I’m not entirely sure what it is about him she loves. Maybe his innocence and the idea of converting him gives her a challenge. Maybe for whatever they just have a connection. I can’t help watching them and being like what is it about this kid you find particularly attractive, Ygritte? I guess he’s different from everyone she’s ever known. Either way, I love her!

9. Bronn

This guy. THIS GUY. I love Bronn. I find him absolutely hilarious. I feel like there’s a trend here where I like people who are honest and confident, and that is true of Bronn too. Here’s another person who knows exactly who he is and likes it that way. He’s a great partner/foil to Tyrion and balances him out well. I love that he stepped in to help Tyrion; yes he knew there would be a reward, but he also liked his pluck. Bronn sells his sword and he’s direct about that being the reason for his loyalty, but I think he genuinely likes Tyrion too. The guy cracks him up. He might get better offers eventually, and I think unless it was a really good offer, he’d still lean toward Tyrion instead. Bronn’s often a voice of reason and he’s intimidating too. When he wandered by in the first episode and saw Cersei’s guards outside Tyrion’s door, I believe absolutely he would cut those bastards down to get to Tyrion. And I’d be rooting for him. Of course there’s more to his story coming up, and I don’t want to ruin it. Needless to say, he’s a great character and I always enjoy him.

8. Davos Seaworth

The Onion Knight, my dearest darling. Ha okay here’s another guy who is honest, but in his case he is also fiercely loyal. Davos is the moral compass for Stannis. I think he has a touch of Ned Stark in him, but in a much more reasonable and sympathetic way. He does care about honor, and he cares about Stannis’ honor, and at the same time that wouldn’t stop him from being smart and savvy. He understands the common man and the soldiers well. Yes he might be screwed right now for questioning Melisandre, but he’s right about her … at least so far. A little background about Davos I don’t know that they put a lot of time in, he was very low born and worked  as a smuggler. He’s called the Onion Knight because he smuggled food to Stannis when they were under siege and saved his men. He was knighted … and also got a few parts of his hand chopped off as punishment for being a smuggler. That’s Stannis for you, amirite. And for whatever reason that actually made Davos like him more. There’s a guy that rewards loyalty but also sticks to the laws of the land. I don’t know, it’s just a great storyline and friendship and Davos is a great character. He became a POV in the books and I always loved reading his thoughts. For a criminal he’s still very clear on what is right and wrong.

7. Littlefinger & Varys

I had to put these two together, because I see them as two sides of the same coin, and their conversations/rivalry make me happy. I could watch the two of them verbally and mentally banter for an entire episode. They do it plenty in the books. I think the funny thing is these two are probably the most powerful people in the Kingdom, only in a secretive way. They keep that power because no one is paying enough attention to see how key they are. They’re both low born, Varys having been a slave and gelded, and Littlefinger being not worth anything in the eyes of the Tullys. That led him to his obsession with Catelyn, but that’s another story. I like these two as shadow selves. They are both scheming, vicious, creative, and have dubious intentions. Varys survived working for the Mad King and he was too important to be taken out. Littlefinger has climbed the ranks and made himself valuable. They got through on their wits and willingness to do anything. It seems that Varys has better intentions in he cares about the kingdom, where Littlefinger is just out for himself. All the same, I suspect these two will be scheming the whole way through and I’m not sure who will come out on top. My money is on Varys, since he doesn’t have the personal downfalls that Littlefinger does.

6. Arya Stark

Oh Arya. I liked her from her very first chapter, and it’s no wonder since on a personal level she’s the one I connect with the most. I was much more like her as a kid, and since she’s pretty much badass, I’m like hell yeah I could’ve been that awesome! In my dreams. Here’s another character who is direct and plainspoken, except she shouldn’t be since she’s a “lady.” Not that she gives a crap about that. She’s fiercely loyal to her friends, like when Joffery had the baker’s boy killed and she’s planned revenge on him ever since. Before he killed her father, even! Her intensity was enough that Jon and Ned both saw she needed that violent outlet and gave her a sword / taught her how to use a blade. She’s well on her way to being one of the most lethal characters, because who would see a little girl coming if she wanted to kill you? She holds such a grudge, enough that she plots the murder of several people and recite them to herself every day. She’s persevered through horrific situations. I will say I liked her scenes with Tywin in the show. Those were not in the books. She’s smart as a whip and challenged him. She lacks wisdom and strategy though. That might get her into trouble one day. Of course she’s a freaking kid so what do you expect? I love seeing her stuff and I look forward to more of her story coming up.

5. Olenna Redwyne (and by extension the Tyrells)

I’m using this as a blanket subject for all the Tyrells, since I’m rather fond of the whole family. We haven’t gotten a huge amount of them on the show, outside of Olenna, Loras, and Margaery, but I think people can already tell they’re a great household. The Tyrells are particularly of interest to me because they’re a matriarchal family. Olenna, the Queen of Thorns, is clearly the head of the family. She rules with a sharp tongue and an even sharper wit. While she rolls her eyes about her son and Loras, it should be noted at least in Loras’ case that he is an exceptional fighter and knight. They seem to lean only on his orientation, but he’s a warrior in his own right. At least he seems to have a semi-supportive family who knows he’s gay and think it’s not a big deal. Margaery was willing to share her husband with her brother gladly. Margaery herself is a very strong character on the show, no doubt thanks to Natalie Dormer being a BAMF. I did like her in the books, but we’ve seen very little from her point of view. Dormer’s instead put her front and center as a main character and it works for her. And we can see exactly where her analytical strength comes from considering Olenna shows up and pwns everyone. You better watch out, Lannisters. I’d vote House Tyrell. We’ll see just how dangerous this house can be later in the season and next season too.

4. Brienne of Tarth

I was going to put Brienne and Jaime together, because they are my OTP of OTPs, but it seems wrong not to give these two an entry of their own. Brienne first. I think what I like about her in particular is that she’s this weird blend of Arya and Ned. My friend Nathalie linked me to a post about how Arya is a lot more like Catelyn than Ned, and I agree with that completely. Ned was naive and overly honorable in a lot of ways. Brienne clearly is from that same school. She has high expectations of the world and romantic notions. She had this dream of being a knight and worshipping Renly from afar. His Lancelot, basically. Little did she know he already had one! That sort of blindness is endearing to me, however. Her innocence runs so differently from the jaded snark of Jaime, and I think that’s why the two of them are so complementary and their arcs are opposing that way. She’s getting more mature and down to earth, which is  a little unfortunate because she was probably happier in her delusions. She is intelligent though and the best warrior out there, better than Loras and better than Jaime to be honest. Probably because the two of them have so much more experience than her too, and she still wiped the floor with them. Love it. I like there’s still a nobility about her, one that she won’t let go of even now, and the journey she’s gone through is impressive. Plus I have automatic connection to women who don’t conform to certain standards, both in action and in beauty, and I want to hug Brienne a lot. And also be her friend.

3. Tyrion Lannister

This is a gimme. He’s on most people’s top list. He won the Emmy! I have a deep love for witty, sarcastic, and honest outcasts. Tyrion Lannister was made for me to love. If a character can make me laugh, I’m usually in his/her corner. If they can make me laugh and cry and all the emotions in between, congrats, you win. I think anyone who has felt like a misfit or an outcast in their life can sympathize deeply with Tyrion. Here is a guy who is his father’s son. He’s inherited his intelligence, his inner strength, and yes even his bravery, and he’s completely ignored because of his birth and dwarfism. Yes he’s a drunk and enjoys prostitutes, but I think I’d turn to drink too if I lived his life. Not to mention let’s be honest, it would probably be difficult for him (in that world) to get a woman to be with him without money involved. I love how realistic he is about who he is, he’s trained his mind to be smarter than everyone else, because he knows that’s his only weapon. He knows how to wield what power he has. But there is that pain underneath, that rejection and misery, and it’s hard to miss. I think my personal favorite thing about him is how kind he is in comparison to his family. He is kind and moral, or at least the Lannister version of those words. He has selfish desires, but when he became the Hand of the King he did genuinely seem to want to help the family and the kingdom and be useful to someone. Plus he saved the day! Anyway, he’s gone a little off track in the books from where I’d like him to be, I’ve lost a little of the shine for him, but Peter Dinklage plays him beautifully on the screen.

2. Daenerys Targaryen

My queen! The Queen of Dragons! Khaleesi! Her journey has been incredible. In the book it’s a little more nuanced, but they did a fairly good job in the show of bringing her from meek and dominated to the tower of strength she is now. It wasn’t just about getting the dragons, because they represented something that was always inside of her. Dany was a true Targaryen, she was the heir, fire does not burn her, but she wasn’t fully aware of that inheritance until she was forced into it. And that’s given her the confidence and spirit to be who she is now. She is fierce and fearless and regal. How much she’s grown up! And I’m rooting for her every step of the way. In my opinion she’s the person who will get the crown in the end, and I’m hoping that she’ll have learned the flaws of her ancestors so it doesn’t happen again. I love how in the series these female characters are presented with the ability to be both feminine and strong at the same time. Her love for Drogo did not make her weak. Her kindness toward slaves does not make her weak. She can rule with both compassion and ruthlessness. Media in general is getting slightly better at writing women, but it used to be that a “strong” woman was someone who showed decidedly masculine qualities. If you want to read up on this, check out TV Tropes section on Gender Dynamics Index. So! With that in mind I love how Dany has her own form of cunning and power. Is it bad I just want her to fly in on a dragon and eat Joffrey? Who’s with me? But she’s another character who I’m a little iffy on in the books currently, and yet I still love in the show. Dany has problematic qualities, just like anyone in this series, but I root for her anyway.

1. Jaime Lannister

People thought I was crazy that I said Jaime Lannister was my favorite character. Of course, this was in season one, when all they knew was he had sex with his sister and tried to kill Bran. Oh yeah, we’re getting into a real problematic character here, and I mentioned before I don’t deny that. Jaime has and will do some severely messed up stuff. That’s sort of what I like about him, because he’s complex and slightly unpredictable and he isn’t what I expected. In the first book or two he’s not really touched on much, we’ve heard a great deal about him and had a few scenes, but the Kingslayer is easy to see as a simple plot device and/or vague villain to start with. And then season three/book three comes along. HELLO CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT LET ME LOVE YOU. His arc is unmistakably redemptive, revealing an important tragic part of his background, plus digging him down into a ditch so he has to build himself back up again. New and different from before. Jaime, like his brother Tyrion, is very aware of himself and his place in the world. He knows he’s done problematic things and that he’s not a nice person. He’s also jaded about the world they live in and all the falsehoods of the nobility. He’s not great at intrigue. His explanation to Catelyn about “honor” and how one chooses the path to honor sticks with me. Because if you are told to honor your father, honor the people, honor the king, honor the gods, etc., what happens when all of those are at war with each other? What about when the king plans on murdering your family or all the citizens? They were all in a rebellion against the king, they meant to kill him, so what makes their rebellion just and his choice not? I LOVE IT. I think half of what I love about Jaime is how much I question things when I’m reading about him or reacting to his character. He changes the most, and he only keeps changing later in the books, and I do love a great journey. He’s forced to remake himself, because he used to be the arrogant Kingslayer, beautiful and fearless and violent, and then he lost his hand and was brought low. So who is he now? Of course I love Brienne and what she’s done for him, how her idealism mixed so poorly with his pragmatism that it made both of them find a middle ground. I will also ship them until the end of time and you can’t stop me. In the end, I think I love Jaime because he’s not what I expected. He’s gone in a direction I didn’t see. And I love redemption arcs. Unlike Dany and Tyrion, my interest in him hasn’t waned in the later books, it’s only grown. I expect because of this GRRM will destroy my heart by killing him eventually, but if he does, I think I’ll still be satisfied with his story.

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Comments
  1. […] and balances him out well. I love that he stepped in to help Tyrion; yes he knew there would be a reward, but he also liked his pluck. Bronn sells his sword and he’s direct about that being the reason […]

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