Top 15 Game of Thrones Characters Ranked – Who Should Be #1?

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  • Who are the best Game of Thrones characters, and who is deserving of being #1?
  • Characters ranked in this list had to appear in at least 40+ episodes to qualify.
  • Jon Snow vs. Khaleesi for the top spot? You may be surprised at who heads this list.

Game of Thrones as we know and love it is over. However, HBO still keeps the brilliant series relevant with prequels and talks of potential Game of Thrones spin-offs.

Who knows? Perhaps one day we’ll revisit more than a few of these characters, or maybe the entire series will be continued or even rebooted.

Whatever the case, Game of Thrones fans are about as die hard as it gets. When you have elite source material and an amazing show that branches out of it, that tends to happen.

It also creates plenty of conversation, like who are the best Game of Thrones characters and who should rank #1 ahead of them all? I try to answer that – as inherently subjective as it is – by ranking every main character in the series.

To be fair, I only included characters who appeared in 40+ episodes of the series.

15. Theon Greyjoy

Greyjoy kicks off my Game of Thrones character rankings in the dead last position. If I were opening this up to very Game of Thrones character ever, he’d be much further down the list.

At his best, Greyjoy was mild comic relief, a friend of House Stark, and a redeemed hero. Of course, you often can only redeem yourself after falling woefully short of expectations.

For much of his tenure on GOT, Greyjoy was borderline insufferable. He was sexist, he was a traitor, and he was weak. You felt for him during his toughest stretch, but it was a hole he dug based on pride and selfishness.

Greyjoy ultimately came full circle, but he was still one of the worst Game of Thrones characters.

14. Bran Stark

Another Game of Thrones character that was pretty necessary to the series – but one I didn’t love – was Bran Stark.

His character was in some ways awesome, of course. He had a direct connection to both the past and the future, he could warg into other people and animals, and there were some pretty wild theories as to just how powerful he could be.

Or who he might actually be.

There are endless Bran theories out there, and they do add some mystery and intrigue to the character.

In the end, however, he was a soft spoken kid who didn’t actually do very much. And he was handed the throne for now good reason.

Okay, I’m actually fine with an unbiased and just mind taking over Westeros, but Bran just didn’t do much for me. Had he been revealed to be The Night King, maybe I’d changed my tune.

13. Samwell Tarly

Is Samwell Tarly one of the best Game of Thrones characters? Hardly. Was he even for sure a better character than Theon Greyjoy? Possibly barely.

Was he more impactful than Bran? Major nope.

He was, however, a good person, and he was a well acted character.

More than that, he was completely redeemable. He was also at the center of a lot of key storylines, and it was his research and smarts that helped a few people out of impossible jams.

He was Jon Snow’s best bud, and he was an unlikely hero for The Night’s Watch.

All that said, he doesn’t climb too much higher for my personal GOT rankings. He wasn’t an imposing or overly impressive character, but it’s fair to admit he was very much necessary.

12. Lord Varys

Another underrated GOT character that some felt was boring or didn’t make a big impact is Lord Varys.

Whoever says that couldn’t be more wrong, of course. Not only was Lord Varys a steady voice of reason throughout the series, but he also played a hand in some pretty monumental storylines in and outside of Westeros.

He was also incredibly quotable.

Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.

Lord Varys on Tyrion Lannister’s impact on the great game.

Lord Varys also was pretty defiant up until his last breath, as he was used as a mild catalyst for the downfall of Daenerys Targaryen.

While not my favorite Game of Thrones character, Lord Varys still offered punchy commentary and Conleth Hill played him flawlessly.

11. Sansa Stark

If you can notice a theme, we’re gradually working our way up from somewhat boring characters to ones who truly left a mark during their time on GOT.

I’m not sure I’d classify Sansa Stark as boring, though. Instead, she just wasn’t very likable at first.

Sansa Stark didn’t know it at the time, but she actually played a huge hand in the temporary downfall of her own family.

Her odd affinity for Joffrey Baratheon pit her against her sister early on, and got one of her family’s wolves killed. Things quickly took a turn for the worse from there, and the rest is history.

While she kicked off her Game of Thrones tenure as a character most of us disliked, Sophie Turner eventually turned in a pretty controlled and stoic performance.

There is some impressive range here, as Sansa sinks into a deep state of despair as she’s pretty much left to fend for herself, with nothing but her good looks and charm to save her.

Save her, they do, of course, as she ends up being more powerful and even somewhat badass before all is said and done.

10. Jorah Mormont

I don’t recall a scene where Jorah Mormont wasn’t threatening to steal it. He started out as a quiet enemy to our beloved Khaleesi, but ended up being her greatest confidant.

Mormont was a loyal servant, even after Daenerys sent him off. And until his last dying breath, he did all he could to protect the woman he loved.

This was an incredibly well-acted character (hat tip to Iain Glen) that exhibited remarkable poise and resilience numerous times.

Mormont was your classic “glue guy” in this show, and in my opinion deserves a seat at the table of my top 10 Game of Thrones character rankings.

9. Davos Seaworth

As great as Mormont was, if we’re talking about glue guys, I think Davos Seaworth was a tad better. And regardless of where you rank the two, there’s no denying he’s one of the best Game of Thrones characters.

He wasn’t the imposing fighter Mormont was, but he also was never even a touch deceitful, and always had the greater good in mind.

Liam Cunningham played this character perfectly, giving us another loyal servant that could do no wrong in his plight to fight for his kingdom.

Seaworth was arguably even more courageous than Mormont. Despite not having the fighting skills or experience, he still stood up for what he believed in, and was constantly putting himself in harms way.

8. Brienne of Tarth

My goodness, is it possible to get even more noble than Mormont and Davos? Maybe you’d say no, but if you ask me, we get there with Brienne of Tarth.

Few are as well traveled as her, as she stood tall in the face of Jaime Lannister, and experienced a journey that eventually saw her become his friend.

A true warrior that played a key hand in the battle against the night walkers, Brienne was a faithful friend to House Stark, and showcased extreme perseverance throughout the series.

7. Jaime Lannister

I’m a big fan of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s work as Jaime Lannister. He really offers both sides of the coin here, as he’s pretty ruthless from the jump, but he absolutely has a soft and redeemable side.

Jaime is a badass warrior that seems unbeatable, but he’s one of the main reasons Game of Thrones gets flipped on it’s side in season one. It also takes losing his hand for him to change his colors and be a remotely decent person, but he still gets there.

Despite being rendered borderline useless in the eyes of his father, Jaime musters the courage to fight on, and has some touching moments with his siblings along the way – as well as Brienne of Tarth.

Lannister is a little bit one-dimensional as a character, but he’s well-played and you always knew what you were getting.

6. Cersei Lannister

Not every great Game of Thrones character had goodness in their heart or fought for the good guys.

Perhaps it’s literally her evil ways that have me keeping Cersei out of my top 5 Game of Thrones rankings, but it’s her conniving mentality that gets her inside my top 10, just the same.

Lannister was fairly one-dimensional and obviously a vengeful spirit, which naturally made her hard to like and rather unredeemable. Of course, most of the nasty acts Cersei did were to protect what was hers, so there was always that glimmer of hope for her soul.

That said, she was responsible for the fall of House Stark, and she lopped off the head of Khaleesi’s dearest friend. She got a final sweet moment with her brother, but Cersei truly didn’t deserve anything close to a happy ending.

As savage as she was, she delivered iconic moments in the series, and was a catalyst for major storylines. Playing such a brutal beast isn’t easy, either, so hats off to Lena Headey, who definitely deserves a top 10 slot in my Game of Thrones character rankings.

5. Arya Stark

I don’t care what the public says. Yes, the showrunners ended up botching the ending of Game of Thrones, but if you ask me, making Arya the unlikely hero that ends the long night was brilliant.

Everyone thought (or wanted) it to be Jon Snow or maybe Daenerys who took down the Night King, but if it were someone obvious, it would have been too easy.

Arya was probably the person the Night King least expected, and all of her training and torment led her to that magical intersection with fate.

I still get chills from that scene.

House Stark was the bread and butter of the start of this series, and we all came back to them in the end. Little Arya Stark was a key to that puzzle initially, and her road to becoming a sneaky assassin that saved all of Westeros began early on when she was training with a wooden sword.

Add in her roller coaster of a journey with The Hound and The Faceless Men, and Arya easily has one of the best stories within this series. It contributes to her being one of the best overall Game of Thrones characters, as well.

4. Jon Snow

Oof. Jon Snow isn’t #1 in someone’s Game of Thrones character rankings? Might as well stop reading now, am I right?

I don’t blame you if that’s your take. However, give me credit for acknowledging he’s a great character and that he at least deserves to make the top 5 cut. And hey, here he is.

Believe me, Jon Snow was an awesome character. He was a central figure to this show, and he had several massive moments in the series. None greater than this one, I reckon.

Snow was a huge piece to the puzzle early on, and he literally came back from the dead to continue to be a driving force for this show all the way to the very end.

Heck, he’s such a great GOT character that there has been chatter about Kit Harrington reprising the role for his own series.

However, Jon Snow’s “know nothing” shtick could be a bit tiresome, and he’s another character that lacked real depth. Maybe it’s because he wasn’t always the brightest, or perhaps it had something to do with his soul being sucked out of his body.

To me, this character was awesome, but it had a little more to do with the writing and how he was used, and a little less to due to the character itself. Still a great character, though!

3. Tyrion Lannister

Very much in the running for the greatest Game of Thrones character of all-time is the Imp. There’s ultimately nothing small about Lannister, who is played to perfection by the great Peter Dinklage.

He’s to thank for some of the most iconic quotes in the franchise’s history.

A fan favorite thanks to his sharp wit, charm, humor, and resilience, Tyrion faces adversity and rejection every step of the way in GOT.

Originally viewed as weak or soft, Lannister proves his worth, overcoming physical obstacles and triumphing in the face of death thanks to his intelligence and perseverance.

Hats off to Peter Dinklage, who appeared in more episodes (67) than any other main character on the show. If you want all of this to argue for him as the #1 Game of Thrones character, I won’t fight you.

2. Daenerys Targaryen

One of the biggest reasons why GOT is one of the most binge-worthy TV shows ever is due to Emilia Clarke’s portrayal of Khaleesi.

The would-be queen also known as Daenerys Targeryen was the heart of this show, offering the perfect blend of innocence, revenge, power, and determination.

From the jump, Daenerys was vulnerable, violated, and powerless. That changed swiftly, however, and suddenly you were cheering for her to win every step of the way.

That’s a credit to the character, but also to how Clarke played her.

There was such conviction in every word she uttered, as well as quiet confidence in the face of the most dire situations.

She was, to put it simply, a bit of a badass.

Daenerys Targeryen’s journey was cut short by some poor writing, and most GOT fans felt she was meant for big things. That said, she was easily one of the most iconic Game of Thrones characters.

Sadly, she’s doesn’t come in at #1 in my Game of Thrones character rankings. Blasphemy, I know, but before you toss me into a pit to be burned by dragons, hear me out.

1. Petyr Baelish

Not everyone will agree with me here, but the best Game of Thrones character, at least in my opinion, is Littlefinger.

First of all this dude has two of the best names in the show. His god given name is awesome, and then he has the dubious nickname of Littlefinger.

This guy is conniving, deceitful, advantegous, and altogether ruthless. He seeks power, he’s selfish, he’s cowardly, and yet he’s incredibly smart.

Littlefinger is responsible for so much death and finds a way to weave his web and escape so many problems, that you can’t help but come away impressed.

In fact, if it weren’t for poor writing – and a horrible death – some would argue there’s a greater ending for Aidan Gillen’s remarkable portrayal.

Gillen played this bottom-feeder character perfectly – so much so that a little part of me actually wanted him to come away with the win in the end.

Littlefinger was at the heart of so much turmoil in a world where everyone wanted to survive and compete for glory. He wasn’t a man of bodily strength, but his sharp wit and ability to manipulate nearly got the job done.

Who is the Best Game of Thrones Character Ever?

I’ll leave this debate fairly open. And to be fair, several amazing Game of Thrones characters aren’t listed because they weren’t featured enough in the series.

If you came here for official Game of Thrones rankings, I’ll be the first to say they don’t really exist, while my top pick is still just one person’s opinion.

I think Littlefinger is the greatest Game of Thrones character of all time, but if you ask 10 die hard fans, they may all come away with a different answer.

More often than not, the debate over who the best Game of Thrones character is probably comes down to Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen. Or maybe people have a soft spot for Tyrion, The Hound, or The Night King.

Regardless, the main point here is that there’s so many amazing GOT characters to choose from. I’m just ranking them based on predetermined criteria to hopefully keep the process somewhat fair.

Standing by my pick is one thing, but demanding you agree with me is another.

I’d love to hear which GOT characters other people view as the best ever – and why. Join in on the conversation in the comments below!

Alex Marps


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