Finally, Winter has come for us. Nearly 8 years to the day after we first observed members of the Night Watch get brutally devoured and murdered by the White Walkers, we are going to see how this wonderful, chaotic, marvelous and visually stunning story concludes. I don’t normally devote an entire week of entries to television, or anything really, but for me, and likely many of you, this is a big deal. Today we start our week with the best characters throughout the years. Some of these start as horrible people and grow, some go the opposite way. One thing is for sure. All of these characters have been through hell and back, and what they’ve seen in the previous seven seasons has changed them, for better, and for worse. Without further adieu, I present to you the best characters of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.
EDITORS NOTE: All of these blogs will be in countdown style with five entries each. As always I welcome comments, opinions and sharing. Lastly, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
When we first see him in season one, Tyrion is firmly enjoying the benefits of being a Lannister. He drinks, knows things, and has a voracious sexual appetite. The problem for the youngest Lion is that he can’t sustain it. He’s nearly killed multiple times, is betrayed by the ones he values most (even if they don’t value him), and is set off on a quest that means unknown trials but ultimate glory. Finding the Breaker if Chains is crucial to Tyrion because it gives him hope. Tyrion is more than likely the most intelligent person in the world, yet with that brain power comes the capacity and unfortunate knowledge that nothing stays positive or good. Darkness always finds a way. For Tyrion, it’s a long, hard journey that brings him to the side of his chosen queen Daenerys. What comes next, we don’t know, but I’m willing to bet his most formidable adversary, his sister Cersei, has an idea of how she wants “the mistake” to be taken care of.
4 DAENERYS, MOTHER OF DRAGONS
I’ll be honest here. I was never really a fan of her during the early years. Much of this might of had to do with how she was presented in the novels, but for better or worse I wasn’t a fan. What turned me to her was the sheer will she possesses. Continually, unflinchingly and at times heroically she renewed faith in the high born and sought to bring peace to the forgotten souls. Whether it was the devastation of Slaver's Bay, or the triumphant way she dismantled the armies and ships of the Masters after they ignored the agreement they had initially, she's thoroughly bad ass through and through. Yes she has her negatives (such as always having Missandrie announce all 85 of her self given titles) but she overcomes these obstacles by being not just a talking point but by ensuring her people she will always have her followers best interest at heart. Not to mention, her dragons are Fucking incredible and oh my are they so fun to watch.
3 JON TARGARYEN
By now we all know the truth. “The Bastard from Winterfell” isn’t a bastard at all. Rather, Jon Snow finds his way in the dark terror filled world by not only being resilient but also by being the best man he could be. This all starts with his Uncle Ned Stark. Think about it: the Stark's are proud, strong and perhaps too trusting for their own good, but all this serves the purpose of making Jon perhaps the fiercest warrior in ASOIAF. he suffers daily taunts and is ridiculed by his own family, is ignored and pushed aside by his “step mother,” and after that he finds his place at the wall as part of the night's watch. This ends up being fatal to him, but clearly, the Lord of Light wasn’t done with him. He triumphs over the traitors that killed him for doing the right thing, survives Hardhome and the battle of the bastards. But he’s still not done. He goes through despair at the feeling of wanting to do the right thing in a world of wrong, but his perseverance is a mandate he can’t let go of. His story and how it ends will be a huge deal in the coming weeks, but for now, we know he’s ready to face the Night King, and won’t stop until the
life has been sucked out of his lungs, for what’s likely to be the final time.
2 JAIME LANNISTER
What would you do if the woman you loved lost her mind? Well, if you’re Jamie of House Lannister, you stand beside her until you can’t. When we meet the Kingslayer in season 1, you hate him immensely. He’s rich, smug, and worst of all, blond. Yet, over the course of 7 seasons he’s come to stand as one of the most honorable men in Westeros. You’re likely to still have a bone to pick with him over the whole almost killing Bran thing, but there’s so much more to him. You also have to remember that during the opening season he was still desperately trying to hide the fact that not only is he banging his sister, but all of her kids also happen to be his, thus making the basis for Ned reaching out to Stannis all the more vital and important. Over time though, we learn why he killed the Mad King, and the reasoning is sound and logical. He literally didn’t have a choice. The key moments for him though comes with the separation of his sword hand from his arm. He’s quoted as saying “I was that hand,” and it’s true. But in losing his hand, Jamie changes, and becomes a different type of person. His reasoning becomes more sound and less about saving his house. He’s still trying to save Cersei, but by the end of season 7, he abandons her because of the word he gave to Jon and all the others to help destroy the coming storm. That’s what makes him honorable, and ultimately an insanely interesting character.
1 ARYA STARK
Really, where to begin. Simply put she's a bad ass hell bent on bringing the glory back to her house. When we first meet her she feels very much like a person meant for great things. However, she’s the wrong sex in the medieval sense. In the world of Fire and Ice, women aren’t meant to be warriors, but rather waiting hands to strong men with desires for power. That all changes with the death of Ned. Instantly she’s plucked away and begins a years long journey. She has a list, and while she’s gradually building up her talents for killing she’s also keeping the names on her list front and center in her mind. The introduction of the Hound to her journey at first seems like a death sentence, but she learns from him, even while still wanting to kill him. The two of them together are a force to be reckoned with, and when that concludes (after the Hound is seemingly killed by Brienne of Tarth) her journey takes her to Braavos, and that’s when things get even trickier for her. She’s torn between becoming “No One” but also honoring her family and seeking vengeance. She learns a great deal from the House of Black and White, but that all comes to a head with the fight against the Waif ( or rather, a faceless man meant to push her to her limits). In the end she becomes stronger than ever before. She manages to take the lessons to heart and to become a faceless man, albeit not in the traditional way. She chooses the Stark crest while still embracing the the lessons she learned from Jaqen. In doing that she manages to escape with her life and a strong purpose. From there she heads north. Some of the best Arya moments come after that. Her killing of not only Walder Frey but literally everyone else in House Frey is a maddening moment where we get to see her drive and, quite darkly, her joy at dismantling the enemies that had long forgot her. The North remembers, and it’s in Arya's journey that we see that idea put forth over and over again. She still has names on her list, and she’s primed to seek bloody vengeance. It’s been a fascinating journey for her, and the girl is now a warrior. For all of these reasons, Arya is the best character in this heartless, cruel world, and the story is that much better because she’s part of it.
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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