So, for all of us Thronies, as the fandom likes to be called, season five of Game Of Thrones will be upon us in a couple of weeks – April 13th, to be exact, for all of you who have somehow not seen the trailers, TV spots and the excellent new poster depicting Tyrion Lannister, standing on the deck of a ship with a decidedly fierce-looking Drogon looming over him.
While those of us who either haven’t read or are still reading the books (but also watching the show, because let’s face it, it’s just that good) are waiting, with bated breath, to see what will become of the characters we know and love (and are still alive), here’s a rundown of my personal favourites of the inhabitants of The Seven Kingdoms. Needless to say, the night is dark and full of spoilers.
5) Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer)
I am NOT including Margaery Tyrell on this list just because Natalie Dormer is smoking hot. No, seriously, I’m not. Honestly….okay, maybe a little. But then again, the character is described as the most desirable woman in The Seven Kingdoms in the books, and when you really get to know her character, you can see that she knows how beautiful she is and she knows how to use it. Her undying ambition to take Cersei Lannister’s place as Queen can be noticed whenever she is on-screen and no matter how nice she’s being, the scheme shines through her eyes like Wyldfire. She’s willing to do absolutely anything to get the throne, whether that means allowing her grandmother, Lady Olenna, to poison King Joffrey only a short time after Margaery has married him, or suggesting to Renly Baratheon that the two of them have a three-way with her brother Loras Tyrell just so Renly can, *ahem*, perform. We know all of the claimants to the Iron Throne have voiced their dedication to their causes, but few have done so with as much conviction as allure as Lady Margaery.
4) Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)
Few characters have gone through as much significant development as the Kingslayer. He started off in the first episode as an arrogant knight who was full of pompous swagger, the best swordplay in Westeros and soft and bouncy hair that I envied with a passion. And he stayed that way for most of the first two and a half seasons, all while screwing his sister, pushing ten-year-old boys out of tower windows, being held in a cage and threatened with death by direwolf for the better part of a year, and making a mockery out of Brienne Of Tarth while she tried to take him back to King’s Landing. That all changed, however, when Jaime’s arrogance proved to be his downfall at the hands of Locke, who brutally severed Jaime’s right hand after the Kingslayer tried to negotiate himself and Brienne out of captivity by using his father’s wealth. Jaime came to realise the gravity of his situation, and it was here that his honesty and vulnerability began to shine through for the first time. Jaime without his right hand was like a snake without its fangs, and he returned to King’s Landing a much more mellow and noble character than he had been before. For the first time, we could sympathise with him, when he had once been one of the most hated characters in the series, with his only meritable trait being his loving relationship with his little (heh) brother, Tyrion. In a way, the Kinglsayer losing his most valuable asset was his biggest improvement.
3) Robb Stark (Richard Madden)
The Starks are perhaps the most prominent of family in Game Of Thrones, save for the Lannisters of course. And after Ned got his head chopped off courtesy of King Joffrey, his eldest son Robb rose to the occasion with revenge in his heart and a sword in his hand. Never has someone commanded an army with such precision and case as The Young Wolf, and he showed his desire for revenge on the Lannisters by soundly defeating every one of their armies that he came across, which clearly had Lord Tywin feeling uneasy – a feat only achieved by one other character, Lady Olenna Tyrell. This cements Robb and his army as a very real threat to the Throne, and his icy-cool composure throughout the entire process, not to mention his emotionally charged relationships with his mother, Catelyn, and his wife, Lady Talisa Maegyr and his bad-ass direwolf, Grey Wind, kept my eyes glued to Robb whenever he was on screen. He was my favourite of all the characters for a long time, making me oblivious to almost everyone else sharing a scene with him….which turned out to be a mistake. I only noticed Roose Bolton for the first time when he steped in front of Robb at The Red Wedding, stabbed the King In The North through the heart, and growled, “The Lannisters send their regards.” That little incident taught me the dangers of getting emotionally attached to Game Of Thrones characters, and it taught the North than the Lannisters always pay their debts.
2) Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aiden Gillen)
Schemer just isn’t the word with this dude. Littlefinger is one of the key players not just in the battle for the Iron Throne, but in the entire series. Look at him – he started off as a boy born into a lesser house, with next to nothing but an unrequited love for Catelyn Stark to his name. And now he is Lord of Harrenhal, Acting Lord of The Vale and a business magnate to rival Richard Branson….if Branson dealt in prostitues, that is. Don’t get me wrong, Littlefinger was thinking in the right direction when he went into the brother business – men and women of any standing like to get their bit now and again, and because Littlefinger owns brothels right in the heart of King’s Landing, his network and information on the comings and goings of the nobles is perhaps on par with that of Varys and his little birds. He’s cold, calculating, ruthlesss and completely without remorse, as shown during his intimidating conversations with Varys and Ned Stark, and his murder of Lysa Arryn, whom he pushed through the Moon Door of The Eyrie just to get her out of the way – but not before telling her that her sister Catelyn was the only woman he had ever loved. With his malevolent hiss of a voice, his knowledge on the Capital and his ruthless streak, Petyr Baelish is one of the single most dangerous men in Westeros, and if things keep going the way they’re going for him, by fair means or foul, he could very well wind up donning the crown and taking a seat on the Iron Throne himself.
Varys – flamboyant, intelligent, not someone to cross as he probably knows everything about you.
Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark – his honour was legendary but it didn’t do him much good in the end.
Daenerys Targaryen – one of only two people with a legitimate claim to the throne – not to mention an army of Unsullied and three dragons to help with that.
Arya Stark – a pint-sized lethal weapon.
Tywin Lannister – because…well, he’s just a bad-ass.
1) Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)
Come on, was it ever really going to be anyone else? Call him the Imp, the Demon Monkey, The Halfman, call him whatever you want, but Game Of Thrones wouldn’t be the same without Tyrion Lannister and his masterful portrayal by Peter Dinklage. Intelligent as they come and highly resourceful, Tyrion is one character who will always come out on top of any situation without even having to raise a sword, because his mind is much, much sharper than any blade, and his family’s wealth is more than enough to get him out of any sticky situation; and his current predicament after murdering his father, who sentenced him to death for Joffrey’s murder, can only be speculated upon. How will he get out of it? Where is that ship taking him and Varys after they escaped King’s Landing? One thing is for certain -Tyrion will find a way. He’s found a way out of two trials, successfully negotiated with the Hill-Tribes and led the Lannister army to victory against Stannis Baratheon at the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and that’s without mentioning that he stood on top of the Wall and pissed off the edge of the world. Tyrion might not be much to look at, and he might be the runt of his family’s litter with little respect held for him, but he’s more than capable of proving that a small man can cast a very large shadow.
So there you have it – my personal favourite inhabitants of the Seven Kingdoms. Got an opinion? Think Daenerys should have gotten a place, or that I overlooked Jon Snow simply because he knows nothing? Get in touch with us and feel free to comment!
-Luke “Shnakebite” O’Connor.