RANKED: The 31 Best Game Of Thrones Characters

***WARNING*** THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. If you have not watched all seven seasons and would be upset to learn about some of Game Of Thrones‘ most epic moments, we urge you to close this article and return once you have consumed all 67 episodes.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how the 31 most crucial characters stack up against one another.

31. Hodor

Hodor remained a mystery throughout his time on the show… that is, until we learned of his tragic backstory and eventual demise. Formerly known as Wylis, Bran Stark’s guardian tragically lost his mind when the future Bran warged into a young Wylis during a vision. Hodor met his end protecting Bran from wights, as he listened to Meera shout “Hold the door!” The gentle giant lived a tragic life, but he died a hero.

30. Khal Drogo

Drogo was as intimidating as they come. Drogo was a khal — Dothraki warlord — who was never defeated in battle. His impact on Daenerys Targaryen cannot be understated. Soon after the two newlyweds learn they are to have a child, the great khal succumbs to injuries suffered in battle. Things turn for the worst when their child is stillborn, leading Daenerys to walk directly into Drogo’s funeral pyre. To everyone’s surprise, Dany is found unharmed the following morning, holding three newborn dragons — the first dragons to be seen in over a century. Drogo may have had a short run on the show, but his impact is tremendous. Dany’s short time with Drogo resulted in two incredible powers — dragons and command of an army.

29. Theon Greyjoy

From Theon to Reek, there aren’t many characters with a bigger transformation than Theon Greyjoy. After Ned Stark raised him as one of his own, Theon betrayed Robb Stark, seizing Winterfell in the process. Theon’s betrayal comes back to bite him when he is captured by House Bolton. Ramsay Snow mutilates and tortures Theon — going as far as renaming him Reek. Theon eventually found a bit of redemption by helping Sansa Stark escape Winterfell, and now is tasked with saving his sister, Yara.

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28. Olenna Tyrell

Olenna Tyrell wasn’t always the loudest personality, but when she spoke, her words were stinging. Known for her intelligence and sarcasm, Olenna made a big move early on in the game. With her granddaughter, Margaery, set to marry the maniacal King Joffrey, Olenna secretly poisoned Joffrey. The Tyrell matriarch suffers a horrible loss when most of her family are killed at the Great Sept of Baelor, but she wouldn’t go quietly. Faced with certain death, Jaime Lannister allows her to drink poison instead of suffering a more gruesome fate, which is when she reveals to Jaime that she murdered his son, Joffrey. It’s a fitting end for the sharp-tongued Tyrell.

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27. Robert Baratheon

Ned Stark’s best friend, and King of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Robert Baratheon was the first king we met. Once engaged to Lyanna Stark — who is very integral to the story as we come to know — Robert eventually married Cersei Lannister in an effort to unite the Kingdoms. Unfortunately for Robert, he wasn’t the greatest of leaders after he claimed the throne. With Ned in King’s Landing, Robert is fatally wounded while on a boar hunt. His death would lead to utter chaos — namely the execution of Ned, and the beginning of the War of the Five Kings.

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26. Stannis Baratheon

The younger brother of King Robert Baratheon, Stannis was hellbent on claiming the Iron Throne when he discovered Joffrey wasn’t Robert’s son, but actually the bastard son of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Stannis and Melisandre conceive a Shadow child — a magical creature or demon of darkness believed to be created by the Lord of Light — that is tasked with assassinating Stannnis’ younger brother, Renly. Stannis heads to King’s Landing where his fleet is defeated in the memorable Battle of the Blackwater. After his defeat, Stannis’ attention is shifted towards the North. Stannis’ forces are defeated by the Boltons, and Stannis is ultimately killed by Brienne of Tarth — in retaliation for his role in Renly’s death.

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25. Davos Seaworth

A loyal man through and through, Davos has been on one hell of a journey. Despite being privy to Renly’s murder and Stannis’ impact on Davos’ son meeting his maker, he remained loyal to his king. Following Stannis’ demise, Davos has pledged his allegiance to Jon Snow. Davos has been a trusty voice and adviser to the King in the North, and will be an important ally for the remainder of Jon’s journey.

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24. Bronn

Arriving on the scene just in time to save Tyrion’s life, Bronn has quickly become a fan favorite. With Tyrion facing a trial by combat, Bronn champions for the over-matched Lannister. After saving his life, Bronn becomes Tyrion’s right-hand man — utilizing his immense skill with a sword to protect his friend. Bronn’s adventures with Jaime have become some of the show’s best moments. Bronn has saved both Jaime and Tyrion from likely deaths, and remains an integral part of the story as the battle for the Iron Throne intensifies.

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23. Oberyn ‘The Red Viper’ Martell

Oberyn’s inclusion on this list is for a morbid reason. No matter how skilled of a fighter he was, Oberyn is ultimately remembered for the gruesome manner in which he died. Seeking justice for the death of his sister, ‘The Viper’ volunteers to fight for Tyrion at his upcoming trial by combat. Oberyn seemingly defeats his opponent, Gregor Clegane, only for Clegane to catch him by surprise and brutally end his life. Before crushing his skull, Clegane admits to killing Oberyn’s sister, resulting in one of the most brutal scenes in the show’s history.

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22. Tormund Giantsbane

Between his unabashed efforts to win over Brienne of Tarth and his unprecedented decision to work with Jon Snow, Tormund is a legend. The gregarious wildling has become a crucial member of Jon’s brain trust. He is a skilled fighter who has been through it all. Tormund’s time and experience as the leader of the wildlings is invaluable. When we first met Tormund, he was Jon’s enemy. Now, he is one of Jon’s most trusted comrades. All signs point towards Tormund being a crucial figure as the game nears its end.

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21. The Night King

Not much is known about The Night King. The Children of the Forest seemingly transformed him into his current being in an effort to protect themselves, but now he is hellbent on killing anyone in his path. The Night King is the leader of the White Walkers and now has control of a dragon, making him even more dangerous to the rest of the realm. Daenerys and Jon are privy to The Night King’s power, but it is unknown if he can be stopped.

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20. Melisandre

A devout follower of the Lord of Light, Melisandre has become a crucial character as she searches for the king of Westeros. Her visions have come with shocking consequences — Renly’s murder, the sacrifice of Stannis’ daughter — but she has arguably made one of the biggest moves thus far. The Red Woman resurrects Jon Snow following his murder, believing him to be The Prince That Was Promised. Jon’s discovery that she was responsible for Shireen Baratheon’s death led to her banishment from the North, but the Red Priestess has since connected with Daenerys. Melisandre remains one of the most interesting figures in Westeros.

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19. Samwell Tarley

At first glance, Sam is very unassuming. Portly, unskilled with a sword, and ostracized by his father — Lord Randyll Tarly — Sam is often looked down upon by his fellow members of the Night’s Watch. However, Sam is incredibly intelligent and well-educated. Jon Snow quickly becomes Sam’s best friend at Castle Black, and with his newfound confidence, Sam starts to come into his own. Sam’s journey led him to the Citadel, where his diligence led him to the discovery that Jon Snow is in fact the true heir to the Iron Throne. From being the easy target, Sam has transformed into a crucial player who will have an immense impact on the future of the Seven Kingdoms.

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18. Gregor ‘The Mountain’ Clegane

Ser Gregor Clegane is the most terrifying knight in the land. The Mountain makes his presence felt early on when he kills Ser Hugh of the Vale in a joust. The Mountain is known throughout the realm for being an incredible fighter, but also for burning the face of his younger brother, The Hound. As previously noted, The Mountain is responsible for arguably the most gruesome death thus far — crushing Oberyn’s skull. Although he won the fight, Clegane was gravely injured due to Oberyn coating his sword with manticore venom. The Mountain is ultimately ‘saved’ by Qyburn, a former maester, but now has a ghoulish appearance. The Mountain has acted as Cersei’s main protector since his renaissance, and remains the most intimidating knight in Westeros.

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17. Bran Stark

Once an adventurous boy who loved to climb, Bran is now a paraplegic thanks to Jaime Lannister. Jaime’s decision to shove Bran out of a window seemed like the end of his story, but Ned Stark’s youngest son has become a vital piece to the game. Bran’s ability to warg has led him to become the new Three-Eyed Raven — using his telepathy and time travel powers to influence the past, present, and future. Through Bran’s visions, we discover the truth about Jon Snow’s lineage. Bran’s true influence on the realm is not fully known at this point, but there are many reasons to believe that Bran may be the most important character of them all.

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16. Margaery Tyrell

Before the High Sparrow and Cersei set out to ruin the lives of Margaery and her family, Mace Tyrell’s only daughter proved to be one of the game’s most powerful players. Using her wit and charm, Margaery worked her way into a position of power by engaging Joffrey Baratheon. Margaery was set on becoming the queen, in the process creating an enemy out of Cersei. Unfortunately, Cersei made life a living hell for Margaery — eventually killing her, her brother and her father, by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire.

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15. Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane

Unlike his deranged brother, The Hound has found ways to endear himself to those around him. The personal bodyguard of Prince Joffrey, The Hound was first introduced to the audience as a brash, bitter man. After abandoning the Kingsguard during the Battle of the Blackwater, The Hound found himself on the lam with Arya Stark. The duo’s travels were full of strife, yet also occasional humor. Although Arya wanted to see him dead, she decided against killing him as she had seemingly grown a soft spot for the downtrodden Hound. Clegane has since joined forces with Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in hopes of preventing another Long Night. Here’s to hoping the Clegane Bowl finally comes to fruition before the story ends.

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14. Tywin Lannister

The most powerful man in the kingdom, head of House Lannister, Hand of the King three times, and Protector of the Realm, Tywin Lannister was a dominating presence. Father to three of the game’s main players — Cersei, Jaime, Tyrion — Tywin was a ruthless figure. His general disdain for his children, especially Tyrion, was only matched by his hatred for his enemies. His incessant belittling of Tyrion was ultimately his downfall, as Tyrion sought the ultimate revenge — killing his father with a crossbow.

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13. Varys

With Littlefinger out of the picture, there may not be a man who knows more than Varys. Nicknamed ‘The Spider’, Varys is a master manipulator and is privy to everything going on across the realm. Varys served as a confidant to Ned Stark and Tyrion while they were in King’s Landing. The Master of Whisperers has since revealed his true loyalty lies with Daenerys, giving the Mother of Dragons priceless access to information and an experienced mind to rely on.

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12. Brienne of Tarth

One of the more likable characters on the show, Brienne of Tarth has endeared herself to the audience through her loyalty and determination. An imposing figure, Brienne has proved herself to be a great fighter. Originally named a member of King Renly Baratheon’s Kingsguard, the good-natured soldier becomes friendly with Catelyn Stark. In the aftermath of Renly’s murder, Catelyn helps Brienne escape the camp, and in exchange, Brienne becomes her sworn sword. Stannis ultimately pays the price for Renly’s murder at the hands of Lady Brienne. The lone Tarth daughter is committed to keeping Sansa and Arya Stark safe, as she must keep her promise to Catelyn.

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11. Ramsay Bolton/Snow

Some of the biggest villains in Westeros have redeeming qualities. Cersei is ruthless, but she loves her children and will do anything for them. The Night King might be trying to end civilization, but he was turned into a White Walker against his will. Ramsay is simply an evil human being. A bastard son of Roose Bolton, Ramsay is the most despicable figure in the Game of Thrones. Ramsay betrayed Robb Stark, held Theon captive where he tortured and mutilated him, physically and emotionally abused Sansa Stark, and murdered his father. Due in large part to Sansa’s intelligence, Ramsay’s forces lose the Battle of the Bastards. After the Stark’s take back Winterfell, Sansa feeds Ramsay to his hounds — ending his life in the same way he killed Roose’s wife and newborn son.

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10. Joffrey Baratheon

Another rotten person, King Joffrey was a complete sociopath. Given ultimate power at such a young age, Joffrey was ultimately undone by his impulsive decision making. His decision to have Ned Stark executed infuriated the realm and pitted more than one house against him. Joffrey had Sansa abused, and ordered the murder of children. He also proved to be a miserable fighter, one who cowered in the face of actual conflict. Although he was hated, Joffrey was one hell of a character. His death became one of the most well-known scenes in the show’s history, and will forever live on through memes.

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9. Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish

Perhaps the only character more elusive than Varys, Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish is as fickle as they come. The Lord Protector of the Vale grew up with Catelyn Stark and has loved her ever since. The Master of Coin on the Small Council under King Robert Baratheon and Joffrey, Littlefinger plays an instrumental role in the death of Ned Stark. Following Catelyn’s death, Littlefinger turns his attention to Sansa. His attempts at gaining control and manipulating Sansa end up being his downfall. Bran returns to Winterfell as the Three-Eyed Raven and subsequently outs Littlefinger for his role in Ned’s death. Arya ends his life with the same dagger that Littlefinger had given an assassin to kill Bran.

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8. Eddard Stark

Throughout the show’s first season, Ned was billed as the star. Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, and Hand of the King, Ned seemed destined to be a mainstay for seasons to come. All of this made his death one of the most shocking moments in television history. Ned was a loyal father, friend, and leader. His execution at the hands of Joffrey, Cersei, and Littlefinger triggered the War of the Five Kings. His decision to raise a bastard — Jon Snow — as his own was not a decision many admired, but in reality, it was the most noble thing he could have done. As revealed several seasons after his death, Jon is the son of Ned’s deceased sister, Lyanna. Ned spent his adult life protecting the true heir to the throne, knowing his life would be in danger should his true identity ever be revealed. Ned wasn’t around long, but his impact is felt throughout the story.

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7. Jaime Lannister

From villain to fan favorite, Jaime has had one of the more dynamic character arcs on the show. After Bran caught Jaime and Cersei being intimate, Jaime shoved the young Stark from the top of the tower, permanently damaging him. Nicknamed the Kingslayer — Jaime stabbed the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen, in the back — Jaime is one of the best fighters in the realm. Jaime remains an unlikable guy up until the point where he loses his right hand. In the aftermath, a humbled Jaime saves Brienne’s life. Jaime’s moments with Brienne and Bronn become particularly enjoyable, as does his growing compassion. The last time we saw Jaime, he was seemingly at his wit’s end with Cersei. Jaime understands the danger that lurks, while Cersei is strictly power hungry. Is Jaime starting down a path that will end with a familial betrayal?

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6. Sansa Stark

Sansa has endured a lot over the years. When the Starks first arrived at King’s Landing, Sansa had dreams of marrying Joffrey. The thought of potentially being the queen excited her, but also blinded her to what was really going on. It wasn’t until her father was sentenced to death that Sansa grasped the reality of the situation. Tyrion offers some support amidst a barrage of hate and vitriol served from the rest of his brood, but Sansa doesn’t feel relief until she escapes King’s Landing following Joffrey’s murder. Littlefinger betrays her trust by selling her to the Boltons and the crazed Ramsay, putting Sansa back into an awful spot.

Once reunited with Jon, Sansa is instrumental in their victory over the Boltons in the Battle of the Bastards. Throughout her torturous few years, Sansa blossomed into a smart, calculating leader. Her personality and tactical moves provide a nice balance to Jon’s direct ways. With Jon no longer in Winterfell, Sansa is the de facto Queen of the North. Her maturation process has been incredibly difficult, yet impressive. Lady Stark figures to remain a key player in the game until the end.

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5. Arya Stark

After witnessing the beheading of her father, Arya escaped King’s Landing by disguising herself as a boy. Always interested in learning how to fight, Syrio’s lessons would be instrumental to Arya’s future. Arya comes across, and saves, Jaqen. Jaqen offered to take Arya to Braavos to train with the Faceless Men. Although she initially declines, Arya finds her way to Braavos to begin her training. An arduous journey awaits, but the reward will be worth the pain and suffering for Arya. Arya uses her new found skills to kill Walder Frey and all of his sons, telling Walder’s wife that “the North remembers”.

Arya finally returns to Winterfell, reuniting with Sansa and Bran. Arya exacts revenge on Littlefinger, killing him for all the pain he has caused her family. Arya’s transformation from a young tomboy into a trained assassin has been both captivating and sad. Through all of her training Arya, has become one of the most dangerous individuals in Westeros.

Cersei should be scared.

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4. Cersei Lannister

One of Westeros’ smartest individuals, Cersei is a very powerful player. The Lannister matriarch is hellbent on ruling the Seven Kingdoms. From the outset, it has been clear that Cersei is all-in on becoming the most powerful person in the realm. She cared for her three children, all fathered by her brother Jaime, more than anyone else. It doesn’t matter who stands in her way — Ned, Margaery, The High Sparrow — Cersei will get what she wants. With Jaime and The Mountain by her side, Cersei is seemingly untouchable. As Daenerys and Jon become a greater threat to the throne, Cersei’s paranoia builds. While Dany and Jon are focused on defeating The Night King and his army, Cersei is willing to let everyone die just as long as she remains in power. Will her lust for power be her downfall?

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3. Tyrion Lannister

Arguably the smartest man in all of Westeros, Tyrion is a powerhouse. Despite growing up in the ruthless House Lannister, Tyrion has always seemed to do the right thing… or at least attempt to. Sure, he has had his awful moments — murdering his ex-girlfriend Shae and his father, Tywin — but Tyrion has made the most out of a tough position. Both Tywin and Cersei have despised him from the beginning, blaming him for Joanna Lannister’s death during child birth. Tyrion has abandoned House Lannister and decided to advise Daenerys, assuming the role of Hand of the Queen. Tyrion’s wisdom and knowledge of the political game are paramount to Dany and Jon’s success.

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2. Jon Snow

Aegon Targaryen, better known as Jon Snow, is about to discover how powerful he truly is. Jon’s journey began as a member of the Night’s Watch. There, he discovered the true dangers that lurked beyond Castle Black. His experience with the White Walkers and the Wildlings set the tone for Jon’s ultimate journey. Shortly after becoming Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, a few mutinous members of the Watch murdered Lord Snow. Enter, Melisandre. The Red Priestess resurrected Jon, giving further credence to the idea that he is the ‘Prince That Was Promised’.

The last time we saw Jon, he was pledging his allegiance to Daenerys. In denying Cersei’s request to bow his knee to her, Jon drew a line in the sand between the two factions. Following Jon’s pledge to Dany, the two consummated their new relationship — right as Bran discovered that Jon is the true heir to the throne, and Dany’s nephew.

Jon seems comfortable ceding power to Dany, but how might Bran’s revelation impact the King in the North? Alongside Dany, Jon is one of the most powerful players in the game. His knowledge and experience with the White Walkers is unrivaled. The Iron Throne may not ultimately be his, but Jon will certainly have a say in who gets there.

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1. Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys is a juggernaut. Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men. Protector of the Seven Kingdoms. Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. The Unburnt. The Mother of Dragons. With a claim to the throne, the realm’s largest army, and two dragons at her disposal, Dany is the strongest player in the game.

Dany has built up quite the force to stand beside her. Jon and Tyrion help complete a dynamic trio, one that is unmatched in Westeros. Her two remaining dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal, give her the ultimate advantage. The only real threat to Dany is the Night King and his army of wights. The most powerful woman in the realm may very well see herself on the Iron Throne at the end of the day, but she will have to contend with multiple enemies on her way.

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