The five best and the five worst Game of Thrones characters

I like this show. No, I love this show. For a long time I believed that no television program could surpass the heights reached by Lost. I was wrong. The television adaptation of George R.R Martin’s series is compelling television, and I’m sure I am not alone when I say I will have GoT withdrawals whilst awaiting the much anticipated fifth season.

Also like most viewers, there are those characters who keep me coming back for more, and those who I could easily do without. So here I present to you, the worst five GoT characters, followed by the best five.

First of all: what’s my criteria?

I’ve judged the list by how much the character gives to the show in terms of suspense, plot, complexity etc.

Character traits such as honour and integrity are of secondary importance.

So here we go…

Worst character number five: Stannis Baratheon

We first saw this guy shortly after the death of his brother, Robert. He follows the whims of that freaky red woman who gives birth to demons while he is quite willing to (nearly) execute his only wise adviser, Davos Seaworth.

His story is frustrating and non eventful. Perhaps the only highlight provided so far was when he spectacularly failed to take King’s Landing when the ‘imp’ managed to destroy nearly his entire fleet with wildfire.

He has no claim to the Iron Throne and he would make a pretty shitty king, given his propensity for poor decisions. Flog.

Worst character number 4: Lysa Arryn

This crazy eyed woman lost me the first time I saw her: breastfeeding her 11 year old child. What?

Sadly, it got worse. As if it wasn’t bad enough that she wanted to make Tyrion Lannister fly through the moon door,  she kept her niece Sansa up all night while screwing Little Finger, of all people.

She didn’t appear in many scenes throughout the series, but she was always batshit crazy when she did show her face. Thankfully, immediately after her frantic, jealous fit at Sansa Stark by the moondoor, she took her own unwanted journey south courtesy of Lord Baelish. Cheers Little Finger.

Worst character number three: Bran Stark

His scenes are usually a good time to get up and put the kettle on – since you’re almost guaranteed that little will happen.

For half the show he was dreaming about a raven and talking to whoever will listen while bed stricken, and then for the second half of the show he spent a large amount of time walking (with the help of Hodor). Quite ironic for the cripple.

Sure, he’s got the cool ability to take mental control of other beings, but it’s yet to really bear much fruit at this stage.

The saving grace for Bran is that most of his scenes feature Hodor.

Worst character number two: Theon Greyjoy (Reek)

This guy (?) certainly got himself into some rather shitty circumstances at the end of season four – but we’ll stick to calling him Theon.

Prior to losing his manhood, this guy was a very uncharismatic, sooky, narcissistic, try-hard leader. He failed to inspire any courage in the men he assumed to lead, and his actions at Winterfell sealed his status as one of the show’s biggest douchebags.

He couldn’t even behead a guy correctly without hacking away for a good twenty seconds. He also betrayed the Stark family for his father who couldn’t give two shits about him. Didn’t turn out too well, did it?

I couldn’t help but feel a little bit sorry for him during Ramsey Snow’s torture and mutilation of him – yet the whole time it only confirmed Theon’s weakness as a character.

Worst character number one: Melisandre

I can’t stand this woman. Her freaky subplot revolves around all things fire reading and begetting demons. I would even endure more scenes with Brienne in the bathtub if it meant no more of the droning, rubbish dialogue delivered by this menace.

She provides awful advice to Stannis Baratheon and wants the only one with any sense in his camp, Davos, executed because he dares to question her crazy, superstitious methods.

She just, kinda, hangs around like a parasite. The show would benefit from her lack of presence.

So there are the worst five. But what about the best five? Which characters add the most to the show?

Best character number five: Joffrey Baratheon

Yes I’m not joking – he’s in the best five.

He might give new meaning to the word ‘c**t’, but a good character is one whose every scene is compelling and guaranteed to incite audience emotion – something Joffrey managed to do with brutal consistency.

Whether it was tormenting Sansa Stark, torturing whores, executing honourable characters or just being an all round dick – Joffrey was never boring.

What’s ironic is that while writing this I discovered there’s a Chicago Ballet company also called Joffrey – they must be shitty with the show’s producers.

Best character number four: Arya Stark

I liked her character from the start. There’s no doubt that Westeros is an extremely patriarchal continent, and Arya’s refusal to have her life dictated by others adds complexity to the story.

Fierce, loyal and fearless, she’s a highly admirable character. Some of her lines are brilliant:

– “Someday I’m going to put a sword through your eye and out the back of your skull.”

– “My father is Hand of the King. I’m not a boy, I’m Arya Stark of Winterfell and if you lay a hand on me my father will have both your heads on spikes. Now, are you going to let me by, or do I have to smack you on the ear to help you with your hearing?”

– Her famous kill list that she recites every night before sleeping.

Her scenes with the Hound at the end of season four were compelling given the begrudged respect they seemed to develop for each other. Interesting that she chose not to kill him – despite multiple promises to do so. He’ll be back next season.

Best character number three: Jaime Lannister

Easily the most complex character in the series. Nothing is just black and white.

Yes, he screws his sister and appears like an arrogant twat – yet he has a softer side that is rather sensitive to his unofficial title, Kingslayer.

As the show progresses, Jaime’s character is revealed as one motivated more by honour and loyalty than anything else. He is the only Lannister who treats Tyrion as worthy kin, and he is the only member of the family who shows any heartfelt sympathy to Tommen after he has witnessed the death of his brother.

His best scenes were those with Brienne of Tarth. The entertaining dynamic between the two characters that developed from sworn adversaries to unlikely allies has been one of the best plot lines of the show.

Best character number two: Jon Snow

‘You know nothing Jon Snow.’

Ned Stark’s bastard son serving in the Night’s Watch is a compelling story.

A brilliant, honourable fighter with a strong sense of duty and loyalty. Episode nine of season four featuring the battle for Castle Black was quite possibly the best of the series.

Snow’s decisions drive the plot at the wall. He’s easily the best steward the Night’s Watch has ever seen.

Best character number one: Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion is far and away the best character on the show – in fact, no one comes close.

He is everything you could want: Eccentric, wise, empathetic, scheming, philosophical, party animal.

Much like how Jon Snow drives the narrative at Castle Black, Tyrion’s story drives the plot at King’s Landing. He has little time for his bitch of a sister, and he is able to navigate his way through the cesspool of lies, backstabbing and pretension that marks the high society of King’s Landing.

He stands up for Sansa – respect. He essentially calls Joffrey a dick on several occasions – respect. He destroyed Stannis Baratheon’s naval fleet through cunning and military genius – awesome! He killed the most powerful man in Westeros while he was on the can- only Tyrion!

Tyrion knows what he is and he knows where his strengths lie. His character is inspiring as much as it is entertaining. If he ever dies, my love of Game of Thrones dies with him.

What do you think? Agree with my list? Post your thoughts below.


11 Comments on The five best and the five worst Game of Thrones characters

  1. What about Ned Stark? He dominated season one…

  2. Joffrey in the top five? I get what you mean by what he adds to the show, but what about these people- Daenerys, the Hound, Sam Tarly, Ned Stark?
    Stark’s character drives the story even three seasons after his death. Lady Arryn probably isn’t in the show enough to rate a mention…

  3. The Hound?

  4. Sansa Stark would have to get a look in for the worst character. Very weak.

  5. Prince Oberyn?? Should be in the top five.

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  7. G’day Dale, I agree that Tyrion is number one best character… Although with saying that, I believe Arya Stark should be number two best character, i mean seriously she is number four….. whats with that?

  8. Love her or hate her, the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister is easily in the top 5 characters and also one of the best acted, after Dinklage. Pedro Pascal was awesome as Oberyn Martell in Season 4. The Hound was hilarious in all his scenes with Arya and it will be a shame to no longer have Charles Dance as Tywin, he was brilliant. As for the worst, Shae was acted horribly by a former porn star and Danaerys was actually rather wooden since the first season and her story in Essos is growing tiresome.

    Overall Best:
    1. Tyrion Lannister
    2. Cersei Lannister
    3. Arya Stark
    4. Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark
    5. Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

    Hard to choose, I may end up changing my mind repeatedly.

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  10. I know this post is old but I actually can’t believe nobody said Sam Tarly is one of the worst character… he’s wasting so much precious time of the story. He is the living proof that they are trying to slow down the story because the writer is taking a hell of a time to bring new content.

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