Three years have passed since the last season of Game of Thrones aired, and still, the series fans remember most of the characters as if they are etched in their hearts. The credit belongs to the author George R. R. Martin, whose book series ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’ the Game of Thrones series is inspired, and the creator David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, who adapted it for the screen.
“Tell them the North remembers.” – Arya Stark.
Three years have passed since the last season of Game of Thrones aired. And still, the series fans remember most of the characters as if they are etched in their hearts. The credit belongs to the author George R. R. Martin, whose book series ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’ the Game of Thrones series is inspired, and the creator David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, who adapted it for the screen.
They fleshed out such detailed characters with rich backgrounds and dubious morals that you couldn’t help but get invested. By the end of the series, you would have fallen in love with someone who started out as a villain (read, Jaime Lannister) or you would have been praying for someone’s death who was originally a hero (read, Daenerys Targaryen)!
“You know nothing, Jon Snow” – Ygritte.
For those who have forgotten (because you have a happening life!) and those living under a rock, here’s a brusher.
This American HBO television series of the fantasy drama genre aired its first season in April and wrapped up in 2019 after eight seasons and 73 episodes. Game of Thrones took place in the fictional lands of Westeros and Essos and mainly revolved around an Iron Throne. The politics of different royal families of the Seven Kingdoms played in trying to attain it. It also boasts of a great ensemble cast.
There is the Stark family in the North. The head of the house is the noble Eddard Stark (Sean Bean). He has a wife Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairly), sons Robb Stark (Richard Madden), a bastard son (actually the son of Ned’s sister with a Targaryen) Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), Brandon Stark and Rickon Stark.
He also has two daughters, Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). Then on the other side, you have the king Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) with Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and her brothers – marked swordsman Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and wise dwarf Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage).
Across the Narrow Sea lives Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa). This is just one-fourth of the total interesting characters Game of thrones drums up in its runtime.
What was the First Season Like?
Robert Baratheon visits his friend Ned Stark and asks him to accompany him to King’s Landing. The marriage of their kids Joffrey Baratheon and Sansa Stark is fixed to join House Stark and House Baratheon. Across the Narrow Sea, Viserys Targaryen sells his sister Daenarys Targaryen in hopes of getting the Dothraki army to claim back the Targaryen throne (which the Mad King Aerys Targaryen II ruled).
In Robert’s Rebellion, the combined forces of Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark, the head of house Lannister – Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), and his son Jaime Lannister along with the Lannister army usurped the Iron Throne. In the first episode, we find out that Cersei Lannister is sleeping with her brother Jaime Lannister committing incest unbeknownst to anyone. Unfortunately, ten years old Bran Stark witnesses it from a window which results in Jaime pushing him from the tower.
Bran Stark slips into unconsciousness. Jon Snow decides to join the Night’s Watch under the Lord Commander. Ned Stark’s eldest son Robb Stark stays behind in Winterfell (the fort of House Stark) to rule in his father’s place. Now, Ned Stark goes to King’s Landing with his two daughters, Arya and Sansa.
There he discovers that Robert Baratheon’s children are not his and actually Jaime Lannister has fathered them. Ned confronts Cersei about it and pays the price of his knowledge with his head! Prince Joffrey and Sansa Stark are betrothed. Arya Stark is left all alone in King’s Landing.
That was just the beginning. After this, many things happened. A lot of blood spilled, loyalties shifted, people performed morbid betrayals and took subsequent revenges, and massacres happened in the garb of weddings, poisonings, and wars. Oh, can’t forget dragons and dire wolves. And zombies too. I mean, Night Walkers!
“There is only one god, and his name is Death.”- Syrio Forel.
On top of it, several of our favorite characters bit the dust. Starting with the execution of noble Eddard Stark ordered by King Joffrey Baratheon. Then, we witnessed the death of the younger brother of King Robert Baratheon – Renly Baratheon, who was a strong contender for the throne as he had the support of House Tyrell with him.
He died at the behest of his older brother Stannis Baratheon and his shadow demon. The other gruesome death scene which still haunts the fans has to be the Red Wedding which saw the ruthless massacre of a part of House Stark – Lady Stark, Robb Stark, and his pregnant wife. The death of the smart and beautiful Margaery Tyrell and the warrior Oberyn Martell also tugged at the heartstrings.
On the other side, I feel the deaths of people like Tywin Lannister, Walder Frey, and Ramsay Bolton must have made the fans cheer!
The Journey of the Characters
“That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things” – Tyrion Lannister
Unlike most series, Game of Thrones focused on the minute details and background stories of its side characters and secondary leads. Most of them had more interesting arches than their main counterparts. Without further ado, read about some of the most interesting Game of Thrones characters and their journey through the series.
1. Ser Bronn of the Blackwater
Jerome Flynn played this character in the series and ended up being one of the beloved ones to the fans. He started as a skilled sellsword (someone who fights for money) whom Tyrion Lannister takes into service. He fights for Tyrion in his trial of combat at Eyrie, serves as the City Watch Commander for some time, and is knighted after fighting at the Battle of Blackwater.
Bronn eventually becomes close to Jaime Lannister and helps him train after Jaime loses his arm. Pretty good ending for a common sellsword, especially where kings were dropping dead as flies! By the end of the series, Bronn is the Master of Coin, Lord Paramount of the Reach, and the new Lord of Highgarden.
2. Khal Drogo, the Great Khal
Jason Momoa graced our screens as he played the chieftain of the savage group of Dothrakis in Season 1 of Game of Thrones. He was a warlord beyond the Narrow Sea. Nobody had ever defeated him in battle until he died due to witchcraft.
He desired to have a wife who was of exotic origin and beautiful. Thus, Viserys Targaryen sold his sister Daenerys Targaryen to Drogo and expected the latter to give him the Dothraki army to win back the Iron Throne.
Esmé Bianco played the role of a prostitute belonging to a brothel in the North in Winterfell, which was the home of House Stark. Her biggest mistake was to go to King’s Landing. In the first season, Tyrion Lannister is serviced by Ros in the North. Later she gets a job in the establishment of Petyr Baelish.
By season 3, Ros is working with Varys to keep an eye on Petyr Baelish, which Peter gives her to Joffrey on coming to know about. Joffrey, the cruel psychopath he is, ties her up and shoots her with his crossbow, killing her cruelly.
4. Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger)
Petyr Baelish, also known as Littlefinger, is one of the most interesting characters in the series. He was a slippery eel who even the viewers didn’t know was loyal to whom. The role was played to perfection by the Irish actor Aidan Gillen.
Petyr Baelish was in love with Catelyn Tully but could not marry her. He is seen to manipulate people throughout the series for his gain. He plots with Olenna Tyrell to murder King Joffrey Baratheon on his wedding day and smuggles out Sansa Stark.
Baelish then marries Catelyn’s sister Lysa Aryn of the Vale and becomes the lord of the Vale. His downfall comes when Sansa becomes a queen in Winterfell. And then Arya Stark slits his throat at Sansa’s command to the great satisfaction of the fans.
5. Lord Varys, the Spider
Another sly brain of King’s Landing, Conleth Hill played this character. The fans loved him because, in contrast to Littlefinger, whose loyalty only lies to himself and his ambitions, Varys says his loyalty doesn’t lie with any monarch but with the people.
The series opens with him being a member of the Baratheon Small Council as the open eunuch Master of Whisperers. He later shifts his loyalty to Daenerys Targaryen, who eventually burns him when he starts recognizing her signs of madness.
6. Oberyn Martell, the Red Viper of Dorne
Pedro Pascal played the role of Prince Oberyn Martell and was one of the most shocking deaths of the series. His sister Elia Martell was married to Rhaegar Targaryen and Gregor Clegane raped her and gutted her open during Robert’s Rebellion on the order of Tywin Lannister. He had a positive disposition towards Tyrion Lannister and even fought as his champion in the duel against Gregor Clegane, who was responsible for raping and murdering his sister Elia.
In the duel, the Red Viper turns out to be very talented with the spear and wounds and brings down Clegane, only to lose in the last minute beacause in his cocky confidence he underestimates Gregor. Clegane pulls him down and gouges his eyes out, crushing his skull and killing him.
7. Gregor Clegane, the Mountain
This character of a knight from House Clegane and Icelandic actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson played it with conviction. It was mostly a one-dimensional character who acted as a killing machine for House Lannister. He was cruel to his core, and the fans were not at all sorry to see him die in the last season because of his brother Sandor Clegane. If anything, he stayed alive for too long!
8. Sandor Clegane, the Hound
He was the younger brother of Gregor and was at the receiving end of his brother’s cruelty since childhood when the Mountain intentionally burned his face. The Hound was also in the service of the Lannister but later struck out and has had a positive character arc since then.
Sandor had a soft spot for both of the Stark sisters. He helped Sansa and Arya at various times and saved their lives. He died while killing his brother as they fell to their death while dueling in the very last episode. Rory McCann played this character with a lot of heart and precision.
9. Osha of the Free Folk
Played by Natalia Tena, she was a member of the Free Folk who lived beyond the Wall. She came to Winterfell and the Starks employed her there. After the Sack of Winterfell, he helped Bran Stark and his younger brother Rickon Stark to escape and became their sworn protector.
Later Ramsay Bolton captures her and Rickon. She still does not give up and lies to escape, but unfortunately Theon Greyjoy had already betrayed her to Bolton. Bolton is too fast for her and slits her throat killing her.
10. Theon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands
The English actor Alfie Allen became prominent while playing this role with precision. His father, king Balon of House Greyjoy in the Iron Islands, led a rebellion which Nedd Stark subdued in time. Theon Greyjoy remained in Winterfell as a hostage.
Later, as time passed the Stark family treated him as a ward and raised him along with the Stark boys. His journey was a rollercoaster ride, with betraying Robb Stark and taking over Winterfell. Then becoming a slave of Ramsay Bolton and getting his, ahem, sausage cut, allying with his sister Yara Greyjoy, and eventually giving his life to protect Brandon Stark in the last season.
11. Melisandre of Asshai
Sometimes known as the Red Witch or the Red Woman. She is one of those characters of the Game of Thrones series that has done both extreme good and extreme bad. She revived Jon Snow when he died to the delight of the fans, and her help contributed a lot to the fall of the Night King, where she wielded the power of R’hllor.
But on the other hand, she did the detestable task of sacrificing the child Shireen Baratheon who she burned alive at the stake, to appease the gods. Later Melisandre commits suicide.
12. Gendry of House Baratheon
We are happy that this is one of the characters who survived the finale. Another English actor Joe Dempsey played the bastard son of king Robert Baratheon. He was the only surviving heir of House Baratheon. Gendry sided with the North in the battles.
During his journey, he befriends Arya Stark and protects her on various counts. By the end, Daenerys Targaryen legitimizes him and makes him the head of House Baratheon and Lord of Storm’s End. He asks Arya to marry him, telling her that this is what their fathers wanted – joining the houses of Stark and Baratheon in marriage.
However, he fails to do so twice, once with Lyanna Stark and Robert Baratheon and once with Sansa and Joffrey. But Arya lets him down and repeats what she had always said that she was not destined to be a lady.
It would be a dishonor not to mention some other fan favorites like Grey Worm, the leader of the Unsullied and fought for Daenerys Targaryen, and his tragic love story with the now-dead Missandei.
Speaking of tragic love stories, there is Ygritte, the love of Jon Snow’s life, who died in his arms. The actress Rose Leslie, who is married to Kit Harrington in real life, plays this character.
Then there is Hodor, who was trapped in time. His entire life’s purpose was reduced to saving Bran Stark by holding-the-door…hold-door…Hodor, get it?
There was the betraying prostitute Shae whom Tyrion Lannister fell in love with. However, he to kills her after she betrays him and sleeps with his father. GoT has no shortage of unfortunate love stories, it seems!
“The Things I do for love” – Jaime Lannister.
The love for this beautiful series makes us come back to it again and again. It makes us dissect the characters, motivations, and final fate long after everything has turned to dust. The series ended with Bran Stark, who had now transformed. He transformed into the three-eyed raven to become the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
Game of Thrones will go down in history as one of the most well-made series of its time, even with the poor writing of the last season. But then again, once people watch the entire series and fall in love with the characters and the plot. People will keep coming back to it, not withstanding its meager faults.
Some Surprising Facts About Game of Thrones:
- Sam Heughan auditioned nearly seven times for various roles.
- The cost for shooting one episode of Season 6 was around $10 million.
- The author George R.R. Martin had a cameo but unfortunately it didn’t make it to the series.
- Actor Kit Harington once told in an interview that his costume weighed around 33 pounds and his sword was 4 pounds and on top of that he had to wear high heels to look taller than the others.
- Peter Dinklage’s character Tyrion Lannister is the most appeared character out of all other characters on the series.
- Tamzin Merchant was originally going to play Daenerys Targaryen.
- Sansa adopted her onscreen direwolf Lady IRL.
- There are only five episodes in the entire eight season series where no one dies onscreen.
- When Peter Vaughan was cast to play the character, blind Maester Aemon, he was partially blind IRL while he was shooting for it.