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The 50 Best Game of Thrones Characters, Ranked

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Game of Thrones has an incredibly deep bench of characters, and there will be more in Season 7. If we had to pick the top 50, dead or alive, who would we choose?

The Known World is vast, and there’s plenty more people in the Game of Thrones universe to meet. In six spectacular seasons, we’ve met kings, imps, traders, smugglers, dragons, queens and a little guy named Hot Pie. As we march on toward the summer of 2017, let’s take a step back and reminisce about some of the great Thrones characters we’ve gotten to know over the years. Alive or dead. And since there’s a ton of them to choose from, we can definitely get away with a top 50 list. Fair warning: major SPOILERS ahead!

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113 Comments

  • I know this is opinion based and I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer but I had a bad feeling as soon as I saw Tywin & Stannis at 50 & 49, respectively. How Ellaria and the SS’s (especially the show’s depiction) could be ranked higher than those two or even on the list when Bobby B isn’t is beyond me. Again, I know it’s opinion based but it made it hard to take the rest of the list serious. With that said, I appreciate the content.

    • completely agree. How could 2 of the biggest players of the formative seasons be ranked so low? they had more impact on events than anyone else for seasons 1-5

      • This only shows how different all of us see the Game and by game I mean what the Game Of Thrones REALLY is about (life choices, morals, character changes etc).
        Personally, I agree with many parts of the list and disagree with others. And even if I HATE the guts out of Tywin Lannister, I admit he was a good player- not the best- but still good. Stannis on the other hand, I don’t understand all the love and admiration for him- to me he was always spiteful and a very boring and uninteresting character- let alone manipulated by Melissandre. So place 49 was too much for him, he deserved less. BUT I know, there will be many people to disagree with me and it’s fine, like I said: it’s a matter of how differently we all view things.

        And I am more than glad that someone FINALLY put Jon Snow lower than No.1 already!!!! I’m tired of seeing him in the “highest ranks” everywhere. He’s a likeable character and honourable and all but there are characters far more realistic and complex and deserving than he is. And yes, I’m gonna get hated for this but I don’t believe he deserves to be King of Westeros. He’s a very charismatic fighter- the man obviously has an excellent skill with the blade and a trustfull leader but that’s it- that’s where he belongs, not the Iron Throne.

        Ok, feel free to hate me now. :)

          • That’s your opinion and I respect it but I definitely disagree. As a book reader myself, I’ve always loathed Stannis’ character in both the books and the TV-series. I just don’t like him and yes, there are certainly some differences with book Stannis VS TV Stannis (like with MOST characters) but they are not THAT big to be honest.. So, my point is, everything is a matter of view: the person who made the list obviously has a different opinion than yours, and so do I. What does that mean? That we’re all wrong or “this show is dumb” just because you consider Stannis “one of the best characters of the books”….?

    • This.
      I could go lengths about how a bunch of these choices are ridiculous (Sansa #4? She was stupid for 4-5 seasons, and then… she was stupid for 1-2 more seasons but they tried to pass that as being clever, somehow?) but this one comparison will show just about everything that is wrong with this ranking :

      Tywin is 50th and Hodor is 11th.
      Yeah.

      If I didn’t know what GoT was and someone was trying to pitch the show to me and told me that one of the top characters (almost top 10!) on the show is :
      -A simple minded stableboy
      -Constantly says “Hodor!” and nothing else for 99.9% of the series
      -Does absolutely nothing but carry a cripple boy for 99.9% of the series
      -When he does something (the remaining 0.1%) , it’s because someone else is mindcontrolling him

      …Yeah. I don’t think I’d watch that show.

      As you said, it is opinion based, but I assume the article author’s opinion didn’t go much further than “I think saying HODOR! HOLD THE DOOR!” is funny so that makes him one of the best character on the show.

      Also ranking Stannis that low painfully reminds me how the show butchered him so badly. When you think about how he’s the favorite character of a decent amount of book readers… Yet on the show, people hate him about as much as the sandsnakes or even ramsay. And not just because of the Shireen stuff… They just didn’t give him all the things that made him liked by the readers. His great speeches and dialogues and all that… Cut it all out, but on the other hand Daenerys can’t go 10 feets without having a speech.

      The showrunners just never liked the character, and it really shows.

      • I agree… Sansa at #4 is way too high. Is this really a “best characters” list? I don’t understand anyone that believes Sansa is a ‘best’ in either book or show. They even had to give her Jeyne’s story arc just to give her something to do other than simply sitting around sulking as events happened to other characters around her. She at least got to do ‘something’ but unfortunately it led to just more sitting around sulking.

    • Totally agree. Tywin and several others should be much higher. Even Baelish should be higher considering their undeniable reach within the “game”.

  • I disagree with so many but the one I disagree with the most is Petyr Baelish. He should be in the top 10 at least. He started everything and Sansa would not be where she is without him.

  • hands down, bend the knee, Cersei is easily #1 considering acting performance, character writing, size of the roll, & probably directed.

    sometimes, and it happens far to often in bollywood, a character is sensationalized beyond the limits of the story.

    Arya is simply among the best character-rolls i have ever seen come out of hollywood, ever. i am terribly vexed that Martin himself did not exploit this character more than he did. she was worthy of her own setting & story, and not being part of a greater whole. finally, for a long time now, i have seen a character surface again, that was greater than the show being televised, so rare. thanks HBO & martin, but you guys screwed-up.

  • I agree with almost everything, except for leaving KING STANNIS out of the Top 20.

    Where is Davos again?
    WHERE IS AZOR AHAI?

  • Wow, the Sand Snakes are ranked higher than Tywin? Tywin’s #1, and Danaerys is #45. Jon’s 10, and the Sand Snakes and Ellaria can’t be ranked…well, on a Top 50 scale, they are like number 1000…

    • Tywin is definitely a top 10 character probably top 5.
      Stannis number 49
      Theon #45
      Rob and Jorah in the 30s horrible. Edd and jeor Mormont totally excluded?
      Do they actually watch the show or just look at Facebook memes?

  • Remove Sand Snakes, drop Margaery down to about 45 add Ygritte. Why is she seriously not in this she was kissed by fucking fire!!!

    Theon is an onion character – so many layers – he should be top 15. Viserys has had far more impact in his 6 episodes than someone like Grey Worm who is so uninteresting (not saying I don’t like him, he’s most just existent).

    Lady Mormont can drop – fight me folks.

    I do agree that Davos is right where he needs to be and Tyrion is clearly the best show character. I would maybe have the Hound and Oberyn higher again because they are layered characters and Oberyn is such a fan favorite.

    Also, Ser Pounce got snubbed.

  • No way, Sandor at 23 ? He should be in the top 10. He’s one of the most fascinating characters in both the books and the show. I thought the list was a load of crap so many wrong placings.

  • I too was a bit shocked at some of the positions, especially those already mentioned in above posts. IMO the top 3 are right but I’d shuffle around most of the others final 10. Sansa should certainly not be above Cersei, Arya or Davos. FWIW, I also think Theon, Ned, Jorah, and especially the evil but fascinating Littlefinger should have been higher. It’s almost universal opinion that the Sand Snakes are awful–they should not be on this list. Anybody–Jory, Old Nan, Shae, Kinvara, Ghost–is better than them. King Robert deserves more than honourable mention, and Mance Rayder and Qyburn deserve at least that. One observation: characters with little screen time in the last two seasons seem to have not done well, but memory plays that trick on us all.

    These were Gina Annunziato’s opinions. I don’t know who she is, but she’s entitled to them. Maybe we should all make our own top 50.

  • Twyin at #50 made me disregard the rest of the list. He was the most powerful man in Westeros for 5 seasons, orchestrated the Red Wedding and was responsible for shaping the personalities of his three children. His interactions with them, as well as with Arya, Joffery, Thommen and the Queen of Thorns were often the highlight of the episode.

    • Tywin was one of the perfect ones for me too. there was only one scene that was a disappointed for me. that was the deer scene w/his son jamie. i would have like that scene to have involved at-least the real kill-shot, and a real string-up. field-dress, and skinning, on the spot. i would have enjoyed that memory.

  • I’m fine with top 3,but the rest…oh boy…
    Sansa should definitely not be above Cersei,and yeah Tywin 50 that’s a No Bueno,he was the mastermind behind Red Wedding,at least top 10 geez…although I would put him top 5..

  • 1 Arya
    2 Tyrion
    3 Cersei
    4 Jon
    5 Jaime
    6 Sandor
    7 Davos
    8 Melisandre
    9 Tywin
    10 Theon
    11 Stannis
    12 Littlefinger
    13 Oberyn
    14 Olenna
    15 Sansa
    16 Bran
    17 Jorah
    18 Margaery
    19 joffrey
    20 Tormund
    21 Ned
    22 Nights King
    23 Asha
    24 Robb
    25 Brienne
    26 Barristan
    27 Lyanna Mormont
    28 Daenerys
    29 Qyburn
    30 Varys
    31 Roose
    32 Thoros
    33 Robert
    34 Edd
    35 Loras
    36 jeor
    37 Aemon
    38 Gregor
    39 Blackfish
    40 Walder
    41 Meera
    42 Lancel
    43 Shireen
    44 Renly
    45 Tommen
    46 Samwell
    47 Pycelle
    48 Gendry
    49 Ramsay
    50 Mance

    My list and yeah I know lots of fan favorites are far down or even excluded but different strokes for different folks.

    • This list is solid as fuck!
      Only swap I might make is Jaime (5) and Bran (16), just because of the overall importance I see in Bran’s arc.
      Love seeing Davos and Sandor so high. They might be considered “secondary” characters but they feed into the story lines of the main act perfectly. I might put Robert B. higher too.

  • As soon as I saw Tywin and Stannis at the bottom of the list I stopped looking at it as a ranking and more of an inventory of characters although there were some significant ones missing in action. Always glad for a good read, hope they do a Take the Black about it.

  • Congratulations, Davos 4 king for taking the first shot. Here’s mine. I excluded any character that appeared less than 3 times (apologies to Brother Ray and Karsi). It turned out that my top six included all five Emmy nominees plus Littlefinger. I love great acting, so probably the sheer excellence of these 49 actors helped make these characters as memorable to me as their parts in the narrative. And then there’s number 50 ;-}

    1 Tyrion
    2 Cersei
    3 Daenerys
    4 Jon
    5 Littlefinger
    6 Arya
    7 Tywin
    8 Ned
    9 Joffrey
    10 Davos
    11 Oberyn
    12 Varys
    13 Theon
    14 Melisandre
    15 Catelyn
    16 Jaime
    17 Sansa
    18 Sam
    19 Brienne
    20 Sandor
    21 Stannis
    22 Margaery
    23 Robert
    24 Khal Drogo
    25 Olenna Tyrell
    26 Jaqen H’ghar
    27 Ramsay Bolton
    28 Jorah
    29 Tormund
    30 Walder Frey
    31 Maester Pycelle
    32 Mance Rayder
    33 Bran
    34 Bronn
    35 Lyanna Mormont
    36 Robb
    37 Aliser Thorne
    38 Missandei
    39 Gendry
    40 Maester Aemon
    41 Qyburn
    42 Roose Bolton
    43 Jeor Mormont
    44 High Sparrow
    45 Hodor
    46 Podrick
    47 Yara
    48 Lady Crane
    49 Barristan Selmy
    50 Drogon

    • Glad to see lady Crane on your list. Ygritte is a tough call to leave off a top 50 list. Ollie did kill both Jon and Ygritte, though.

    • I definitely shouldn’t have left Jaqen off it was an oversight along with Alliser and i would probably have Bronn in 40 to 50 range. I intentionally left off Catelyn, Ygritte and the High Sparrow because I didn’t enjoy them at all. I would give honorable mentions to Eric ,Maryn Trant and Edmure.

  • Jon Snow is definitely my number 1 !!! ❤️

    Tyrion no 2
    And everyone is going to have their own list. 👍🏼 👑⚔❤️

  • Ffs, how do these people get to write for these fan sights when they keep saying ‘King OF the north’ when it’s ‘King IN the north” it’s silly and pety but not knowing the difference and why it is different is just laziness imo

    • totally agree i see some guy at comic con with some fan art, with king of the north.. when i said it should be king IN the north.. the look i got. lol

  • Top 10:
    1. Tyrion Lannister
    2. Arya Stark
    3. Jon Snow
    4. Daenerys Targaryan
    5. Ned Stark
    6. Davos Seaworth
    7. The Hound
    8. Melisandre
    9. Stannis Baratheon
    10. Oberyn Martel

    • 11. Brianne
      12. Tywin Lannister
      13. Sansa Stark
      14. Jaime Lannister
      15. Cersei Lannister
      16. Joffrey Baratheon
      17. The Night King
      18. Samwell Tarley
      19. Robb Stark
      20. Lyanna Mormont
      21. Jorah Mormont
      22. Theon Greyjoy
      23. Tormund Giantsbane
      24. Lady Crane
      25. Bariston Selmy
      26. Dolores Edd
      27. Yara Greyjoy
      28. Varys
      29. Walder Frey
      30. Bran Stark
      31. Catelyn Stark
      32. Ygritte
      33. Gilly
      34. Tommen Baratheon
      35. Hodor
      36. JaQuin Hagar
      37. The Waif
      38. Podrick Payne
      39. Ollie
      40. The Mountain
      41. Edmure Tarley
      42. The Blackfish
      43. Craster
      44. Visarys Targaryan
      45. Wun Wun
      46. Littlefinger
      47. Arthur Dayne
      48. Khal Drogo
      49. Lyanna Stark
      50. Ramsey Bolton

      • Margaery, Olenna, the High Sparrow and Septa Unella I regret not placing on the list. I knew the second the Septa started clanging that bell it wasn’t going to end pleasantly for her. I think she was more instrumental than the Sparrow in pushing Cersei to mass murder.

  • Well done Gina and welcome to the fold. It’s such a subjective compilation there can be infinite permutations. I think I managed to understand your progression as we move headlong into the war between the living and the dead.
    I would have liked to seen the characters who didn’t make the cut expanded. Some that I have an affinity for:
    Lady Crane – another integral piece of Arya’s survival and education.
    The Waif – No comment! the anti-Arya!
    Brother Ray – Ian McShane was brilliant as the doomed preacher.
    Mance Rayder – Brought together the immense and diverse free-folk especially….
    Wun-Wun – Much like Hodor, our loveable giant we hardly knew ya.
    Beric Dardarrion/Thoros of Mir – Two rebels we haven’t see the last of yet.
    Gregor Clegane – Yes he IS the most hated and muted murderous mountain to the Mad Queen. There is no humanity left in this one. Qyburn should have left well enough alone.
    Walder Frey – How can we not include the contemptible head of House Frey. Good Riddance!
    Edmure Tully – The decision to hand over Riverrun was heart wrenching. I only hope it was worth it.
    Black Walder/Lame Lothar – fitting that they should end up in a pie.
    Jeor Mormont – No one brought more dignity to the watch and nurtured Jon Snow as we know him.
    Pycelle – for all his bumbling, farting, whoring he provided some much needed comic relief in KL.
    Mace Tyrell – With his hangdog look he was mystified by the political machinations of the Lannisters not to mention the faith militant. His buddy Kevin Lannister can fit in here too. Which brings us to his hateful son:
    Lancel Lanister – I was so satisfied to see him and his hateful blind faith dissapear in a sea of green.
    Euron Greyjoy – Another comtemptuous evil villain with an enormous agenda not to mention armada. I’m afraid we haven’t seen the last of him.
    Night King – Though he was only a silent figure, his presence was enormous and will grow exponentially in the wars to come.

    Just a few that I felt needed to be mentioned.

  • this my top 10
    10 Bran
    9 Thormand Giants Bane
    8 Ned Stark
    7 Ramsey Bolton
    6 Stannis
    5 Tywin
    4 Cersi
    3 Danny
    2 Jon snow
    1Tyrion

    Ghost and Wun Wun could replace any on my list except top 3

  • I pretty much stopped reading when I saw Tywin Lannister at 50. Good God, he’s one of the best and deserves much better than that. I knew this list was messed up after that.

  • We’re all going to have our quibbles. I’m not going to try to rewrite the list; I just need to protest the absence of Dolorous Edd.

  • I honestly might be done with WinterIsComing.net after this. I thought I was getting informed opinions and information, but this list is absolutely stunning in its stupidity. This list is saying you preferred Sand Snake scenes and Tommen scenes, and every other damn person better than TYWIN?!? He’s EASILY one of the best characters in the show’s history. I wouldn’t even gripe about him being #1. Please, find another website to write for.

  • I always enjoy rankings, which inevitably vary between people and can generate some interesting conversations. But we are amateurs. I was just browsing on IMDB News and came across The Hollywood Reporter’s newly-released list of 50 favourite female characters of TV and film. Their votes were tallied from 1800 Hollywood professionals–actors, writers, directors, etc–who presumably have high standards, long memories (Scarlet O’Hara was 1939!), and knowledge of the craft. So to be included on the THR list is very impressive. One hopes they’ll release a similar list for males. In the event, No 1 was Hermione from Harry Potter. But appropriately, 5 of our own GoT ladies also made the list. Cheers! to:

    44 Sansa Stark
    38 Brienne of Tarth
    34 Cersei Lannister
    16 Arya Stark
    8 Daenerys Targaryen

    For what it’s worth, there was a link to September’s THR list of 100 best TV shows. Nos 1 and 2 were Friends and Breaking Bad. I don’t recall 3, but GoT was No. 4. And here is the link for the full list of 50 female characters and a short commentary about each:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/50-best-female-characters-entertainment-industry-survey-results-951483/item/felicity-smoak-arrow-50-favorite-female-characters-951539

  • 1- Daenerys
    2- Tyrion
    3- Jon Snow (because he invented oral sex)
    4- Walder Frey
    5-Joffrey
    6-Davos
    7- Lady Olenna
    8-Oberyn Martell
    9- Stannis
    10- Jaime Lannister
    11- Roose Bolton
    12- Tywin Lannister
    13- Margeary
    14-Arya Stark
    15-Bronn
    16- Cersei
    17- Brienne
    18- Varys
    19- Ned Stark
    20- The Hound
    21- Bran
    22. Jacqen Hagar
    23- Tormund
    24- Sansa
    25- Littlefinger
    26- Samwell
    27- Dolorous Edd
    28- Rob Stark
    29- Theon Greyjoy
    30- Ser Jorah
    31- Viserys
    32- Shireen
    33-Ygritte
    34-Melissandre
    35- Gendry
    36- Yara Greyjoy
    37- Ramsay Bolton
    38- Podrick
    39- Three eyed Raven
    40- Edmure Tully
    41- High Sparrow
    42- Qyburn
    43-Missandei
    44-Meera Reed
    45-Catelyn
    46-Shae
    47- Lysa Tully
    48- Yohn Bronze Royce
    49- Night´s Ling
    50- Hot Pie

    • Yeah their list is a bit odd ( ours are definetely an improvement!) but the biggest mistake was to put Tywin and Stannis so low. I mean, even AZOR AHAI would agree they deserved better!

  • I cant believe the sand snakes are even on the list. Id take everyone on the bubble over them also i think stannis should be top 15 at worst other then jaimie i felt he had the best story progression. A tragic hero who gives up everything he holds dear in life to obtain the crown. Positively brilliant display of how power can corrupt ones soul and what one will give up to achieve it. Best final line before his execution ever

  • I really enjoyed the discussion of each character. People may quibble as to the order, and that’s probably a good thing.

    But Sansa as “Queen of the North”? In what sense? If her cousin is King of the North – and they’re not married – she doesn’t have “queen” status, or even King’s Consort. Lady of Winterfell is the closest thing she has so far, and ironically, she got that by marrying that bastard, Ramsey. (No, don’t tell me about her Stark father… He’s gone, and Winterfell lost to the Greyjoys and then the Boltons.)

  • Being an intense fan, I got to say, this list would be hard as the seven hells to make. Almost all the characters are perfect in my opinion. And don’t give Arya too much praise, she totally ditched the Hound when he clearly was acting like a dad to her. He ended up living anyways, but still, after all he did for her she just left him there. I have a hard time forgiving her.

    • Varys, you have a valid point. It seemed very cold of her, indeed. But a lot of youtube reviewers think that it was brilliant for her to not to do anything. IMO, while the Hound begged for the mercy, Maisie’s stare show that Arya was so conflicted that she was paralysed for a moment. Her inaction became action–deserting him was punishment for killing Micah but, since she had removed him from her list, also gave him a chance to live. When in HOB&W Jaqen first plays the Game of Faces (lying) with her, she says she left Sandor to die and had wanted him to suffer because she hated him. Jaqen hits her. Twice more he asks and she repeats her lie. Jaqen says, “A girl lies, to me, to the many-faced god, to herself. ” In other words, whether she realised it or not, Arya hadn’t hated Sandor by then. Later, in S6E3, the Waif queries blind Arya about that moment of decision: didn’t Arya Stark want the Hound dead any longer? Arya: “She did and she did not”. Waif: “She sounds confused.” Arya: “Yes. She was”.

      The leaving of Sandor is also in the books, so D&D must have thought well of it to include it. I’m keen to see the complications when hopefully the two cross paths in Season 7. Ultimately they’ll probably be glad each other is alive and, if we’re all lucky, will pair up in mutual respect to do something important (and survive). My preference is for them to go to KL to take out Qyburn, the Mountain, and Cersei.

  • I would have added Ser Arthur Dayne to the list. The sword battle between him and Ned was fierce. I read on this site it took them six months to choreographed the TOJ scene. He also has been mentioned in all 6 seasons of the show.

    • I thought Ser Arthur Dayne was so hot ( I know, I am not that deep) and ever since they confirmed Tom Hopper is also cast, I am liking GoT a bit more every day.
      A girl likes pretty boys.

  • I think the writer of the list had one too many Limoncello’s when she decided to write this list.
    Was this list meant for April Fool’s Day?

  • I would like to make a “top 10 I would pick as my champion in a trail by combat”:
    1. Wun Wun
    2. Arthur Dayne
    3. The Mountain
    4. JaQuin Hagar
    5. Brianne
    6. Jon Snow
    7. Tormund Giantsbane
    8. Jaime with both hands
    9. The Hound
    10. Khal Drogo
    Honorable mention: Jorah Mormont, young Robert with his war hammer, young Ned, Bronn.

    • That is a good idea! I agree, except with Jacquen- he is a great assassin but maybe not as great as single combatent? I would place Jorah instead.

      • You are right. Oberyn beat the Mountain up until his head was crushed, and I was looking for another poison equipped character. JaQuin wouldn’t have been introduced in a cage if he were amazing at combat!

        • Jaqen plays a different game though. I believe he meant to train Arya. He either placed himself in the cage or in the cell at KL with Ned. But he meant to be caught to do that. I don’t think it required combat skills but stealth which he excels at.

          • Jaqen H’ghar was sent to the wall and was supposed to travel with Ned Stark there, but he died beforehand. What if he were hired by Littlefinger or Cersei to kill Ned on the journey? Joffrey just beat him to it.
            If they were in the same cell block, then face swapping in the darkness would be an interesting twist coming up, too.

        • I almost put Daenerys on the list, because, of coarse, her dragons would show up.
          Book Loras is a lot tougher than show Loras, so I would include him, too.

        • Bronn and Tormund fight “dirty”, Jorah seems more trained and disciplined. I don’t know between the three who would be best, but lowering Jorahs age may give him the edge.

  • Baelish is way too low on the list. I don’t like him either, but he’s basically been directing this play since day one. It’s ultimately a clash between he and Varys — two self serving men, one who cares about no one but himself, and the other who ultimately does what’s best for others. I agree whether Dany or Tyrion is on top is a matter of personal choice. I’m always going to favor her, but I almost wish they’d get married so we could root for them together.

  • top 10 IMO:
    1. Petyr Baelish
    2. Daenerys Targaryen
    3. Cersei Lannister
    4. Tyrion Lannister
    5. Jaime Lannister
    6. Varys
    7. Melisandre
    8. Robert
    9. Viserys
    10. Beric

  • I enjoyed this list – but: Ned Stark should have been much higher, Sansa should be lower than Arya and your top 3 is dead on. Thanks for your lists. I enjoy them!

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