This one’s for all you Game of Thrones fans out there. Though you should keep in mind that I’m basing this list off: 1) the characters in the books who get their own point of view chapters, and 2) their book personality, instead of their TV one. Though I will be very careful not to spoil anything that hasn’t already happened on the show.
10) Asha Greyjoy.
Asha is sort of a terrible person. She has no qualms about killing people, she’s a bit rude, and that prank she plays on Theon was a little too mean, even if Theon was a terrible person at the time. But like most, if not all, of the female characters in this series, she gains audience sympathy through all the sexist bullshit she has to put up thanks to Westeros’ rather terrible society. She’s only a minor POV character, and she’s only had one ridiculously over the top sex scene so far, but she’s still made herself a memorable addition to the cast.
9) Eddard Stark
He was a bit of an idiot, but he was an honorable idiot, and one that we could all get behind. You know someone’s a great character when his death is still causing conflict four books after it happened.
8) Catelyn Stark
Sure, Catelyn has made some huge mistakes, but so does everyone else in the Stark family. And sure, she was mean to Jon, but he’s a tough kid. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Besides, her flaws are what makes her human to begin with. I don’t want to read about an all-knowing mother who knows what’s best for her family and always makes the best decisions.
All the decisions she’s made, however, were made because she loved her children and would do anything for them. Which makes her the most tragic character in the entire series, in my eyes. Her primary motivation throughout everything is to keep her family safe, and she dies thinking she failed to do that. As far as she knows, Bran, Rickon, Robb, Arya and Ned are all dead, and Sansa is trapped in King’s Landing with the Lannisters. She straight up loses her mind in the final paragraph, which also might be the saddest paragraph in the History of Ever:
“It hurts so much, she thought. Our children, Ned, all our sweet babes. Rickon, Bran, Arya, Sansa, Robb . . . Robb . . . please, Ned, please, make it stop, make it stop hurting . . . The white tears and the red ones ran together until her face was torn and tattered, the face that Ned had loved. Catelyn Stark raised her hands and watched the blood run down her long fingers, over her wrists, beneath the sleeves of her gown. Slow red worms crawled along her arms and under her clothes. It tickles. That made her laugh until she screamed. ‘‘Mad,’’ someone said, ‘‘she’s lost her wits,’’ and someone else said, ‘‘Make an end,’’ and a hand grabbed her scalp just as she’d done with Jinglebell, and she thought, No, don’t, don’t cut my hair, Ned loves my hair. Then the steel was at her throat, and its bite was red and cold.”
If that paragraph doesn’t make you pity her at least a little bit, then you’re simply a terrible person.
7) Theon Greyjoy
I think Theon beats out Catelyn as the most tragic character in the entire series, not because he was such an outstanding guy or anything, but because the horrible fate he was given was almost entirely the result of his own terrible decisions.
As much as you all may hate him, you can’t really deny that he was well written. Well, you can, I would be forced to disagree with you. Throughout A Clash of Kings, my feelings for him kept going back and forth between hatred and pity. Sure, he was an arrogant, misogynist tool, but he was so lost and misguided, it was sad. He was kind of like Hamlet, I think. I’ve never actually read Hamlet, but I’ve heard someone compare him to Theon once, so that’s the comparison I’m going to use.
6) Jon Snow
I’m going to be honest, I found Jon Snow kind of boring in the first two books. He wasn’t as charismatic or as witty as the other characters, and he was a bit mopey and all “Boo hoo, I’m a bastard. Feel bad for me!” shtick in the beginning.
Then Ygritte showed up, and things got interesting. Suddenly I found myself invested in his storyline, and actually looking forward to his chapters. In A Storm of Swords, Jon grew from a whiny teenager to a mature adult, having gone through more struggles and dilemmas than most people have to face in their entire life. George R. R. Martin gets a lot of crap for how he treats his characters, but in ASoS he gives Jon a surprisingly uplifting ending, and considering how much hell he went through, it felt earned.
The ending to A Dance with Dragons was slightly less happy, but, well, this is A Song of Ice and Fire, after all.
5) Daenerys Targaryen
Oh, Dany. I feel like she has the most inconsistent storylines in the novel.
In A Game of Thrones, she had what might just be my favorite storyline in the entire book, as she grows from timid child to courageous, slightly violent queen. (with dragons!)
In A Clash of Kings the only interesting she did was go into the House of the Undying. I don’t remember a single thing else of interest to happen to her in that book.
Then A Storm of Swords came, and she started conquering cities, lighting people on fire, and just generally just being a total badass with those dragons of hers.
In A Dance with Dragons, she spends the majority of her time, ruling over Meereen (a doomed cause, as everyone but her can see) and doing everything but preparing to invade Westeros, something the readers have been waiting almost five thousand pages for already.
Despite the inconsistency of her storyline, she’s still one hell of an interesting character.
4) Sansa Stark
Sansa gets a lot of hate, especially in the first book, where she managed to be spoiled and bratty and pretty disillusioned with reality. It’s hard not to dislike her in the beginning.
But you’ve really got to question the empathy of people who still hate on Sansa, even after Ned died. I mean, the fact that the words, “I don’t want to marry you. You chopped off my father’s head!” actually made sense for her to say is just. . . horrible, in so many ways.
But I didn’t rank her so highly simply because of the horrible circumstances she’s forced into. I did so because of how well she managed to survive Joffrey, and the rest of King’s Landing, and not lose her humanity like all the other characters. She may not be stabbing people left and right like her sister, but she’s still easily one of the strongest characters in the wholes series.
3) Jaime Lannister
Keep in mind, I’m only talking about Book Jaime here, not the TV’s version, who is not nearly as complex and roughly twelve and a half times less likable. Being lazy, here’s a quote from myself, during my review of the Game of Thrones episode “Two Swords.”
One of my favorite parts about the show (and the books) is how Jaime Lannister actually ends up being a likeable character. While sure, the jerk-turned-nice guy development has been done to death, you rarely see a character who starts off as big of a jerk as the Kingslayer himself. I believe he’s first introduced having sex with his twin sister, and then, thirty seconds later, pushing a child off a castle.
(Of course, you can argue that his real motive was that he knew how boring Bran’s storyline would become, and so he tried to stop it from happening beforehand. Unfortunately, this backfired, when it turned out that shoving him out the window was the very thing that caused his boring storyline in the first place. If you think about it, Jaime was a hero from the very beginning.)
But then he got his hand cut off, which was a huge traumatic incident. I mean, that was his sword hand; his child-shoving hand! Even though he was jerk, I still felt a little bad for him. And after that moment, he continued to improve as a human being, to the point where he’s actually coming to be one of the more noble characters in the series. (Which isn’t saying much, to be honest.)
2) Arya Stark
Does anyone not like Arya? She has one of the most tragic storyline in the entire series, starting off as a fun, spunky eight year old girl to a cold-blooded murderer. I liked her the best in A Clash of Kings, where I wasn’t yet concerned by her unhealthy bloodthirstiness, because I hated her enemies almost as much as she did. My mixed feelings about the path she goes down aside, she’s the only character (I feel) who’s been consistently interesting to read about throughout the entire series. There was not a moment where I wasn’t excited to read the next of her chapters, which is something I can’t say about the #1 entry for this list.
1) Tyrion Lannister
This may stir some controversy, because depending on who you ask, Tyrion is either a total badass, who is smart and kind and funny and all around a great guy, or he’s an evil, horrible raging misogynist. Who’s right? Both groups. But mostly the first group.
Tyrion is great because he’s the most morally ambiguous character in the entire series. He manages to be loveable in some moments and utterly despicable in others, some of these moments within mere pages of each other. He’ll shoot his father with a crossbow (yeah!) right after strangling a whore to death with the necklace he gave her (uh. . . yeah?).
This guy has done some terrible things in his life, like having a guy cut into pieces and thrown into soup (supposedly) or threatening to rape his eight year old nephew. (Okay, that last part makes it sound worse than it was, seeing as he had no intention of actually going through with it.) He does some pretty terrible things in A Dance with Dragons too, but I can’t talk about that because spoilers.
But he also has the audacity to slap Joffrey in the face, so all is forgiven.
What do you think? Do you agree with my list? Do you not agree with my list? Comment below, if you dare.