All Men Must Make Lists: A Complete Ranking of Every ‘Game of Thrones’ Character
George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series has a cast of characters so large that each book contains a lengthy appendix reminding you who everyone is and where their allegiances lie. The HBO series Game of Thrones wisely trims the number of characters from Martin’s novels down to a more manageable number. Instead of many hundreds of names, viewers only have to remember a few hundred.
With Game of Thrones returning for a fifth season of murder, sex, betrayal, and sex, we decided that we must take on a task that would make even the most powerful nobles in Westeros recall their banners. We have ranked every single remotely noteworthy character on the show from worst to best.
Our calculations put the number of characters belonging on this list at 150, a number we arrived at by following these three rules:
1. In order to qualify for this list, a character must have a name and they must have appeared in at least two episodes of Game of Thrones.
2. We are allowed to break rule number one under specific circumstances. There was no way we were going to try to rank all of Littlefinger’s whores, even if they have been in a bunch of episodes as background nudity. There were also a handful of one-off characters who deserved special consideration.
3. All ranked characters must be human. Sorry, no dragons, direwolves, or White Walkers.
And now, we begin. Major SPOILERS for all four seasons of Game of Thrones to follow.
150. Rickon Stark
The youngest of the Stark kids is so boring, so useless, and so inconsequential that no one has asked where he went after he vanished into the wilderness at the end of season three. The little bastard even had the nerve to take the wonderful Osha with him when he f---ed off.
Of the two gross prisoners who share a cage with Jaqen H’gar and menace Arya, he’s the one with the normal teeth who does talk.
148. Old Nan
Actress Margaret John passed away after filming two episodes as Winterfell’s elderly servant and storyteller. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough time to leave much of an impression.
147. Tobho Mott
Remember Gendry? Everyone loves Gendry! Remember Tobho Mott, his blacksmith mentor who sold him out to the Gold Cloaks? No one remembers Tobho Mott!
Theon Greyjoy’s crew of Ironborn soldiers are a fairly forgettable bunch, but at least Drennan gets the honor of being brutally murdered by Osha when she flees Winterfell with the Stark boys.
Farlen is Winterfell’s kennelmaster and he gets a nice moment when he refuses to acknowledge Theon’s control over the castle. Then he gets beaten up for that loyalty. And then he stands around with the extras for another episode or so.
144. Ser Hugh of the Vale
Ser Hugh serves two purposes. First, his mysterious knighting after the death of Jon Arryn alerts Ned that all is not right in the capital of Westeros. Second, his hilariously ugly death at the hands of Gregor Clegane in what was supposed to be a fair joust helps establish “The Mountain That Rides” as a real threat. But as an actual character? Eh.
143. Prendahl na Ghezn
Prendahl was the more boring of Daario’s former mercenary partners. He’s the one on the right.
142. Myrcella Baratheon
Remember how Cersei’s only daughter was shipped off to Dorne in season two, never to be seen again? She should finally become important in season five. Seriously.
141. Hizdahr zo Loraq
While we’re all cheering and fist-pumping Daenerys’ brutal evisceration of Essos’ slave-owning one-percenters, Hizdahr shows up to provide a noble face for the Mother of Dragons’ enemies and make us feel bad for our bloodlust. Thanks, guy. Thanks a lot.
140. Lothar Frey
One of Walder Frey’s many sons, Lothar is instrumental is planning and executing the infamous Red Wedding. He’s a jerk, but he’s a background jerk.
139. “Black Walder” Rivers
“Black Walder” is one of Walder Frey’s bastards, who is also instrumental in planning and executing the Red Wedding. He gets ranked higher than his half brother because he’s the one who actually cuts Catelyn Stark’s throat and is therefore a bigger jerk.
Mero swaggers onscreen, threatens Daenerys, acts like he’s going to be a big deal in the episodes ahead ... and then gets murdered offscreen by Daario. Goodbye, Mero. The show was already too full of misogynistic, bearded psychopaths.
137. The Tickler
The head torturer serving the Lannister forces garrisoned at Harrenhal, The Tickler is most noteworthy for being the first guy to bite the dust when Arya gets the chance to use Jaqen as her murder puppet for a few episodes.
One of Craster’s few spouses/victims who is given an actual name, Morag leads the contingent of wives who refuse to accompany Jon Snow back to the wall after the Night’s Watch mutiny is put to a bloody end. She’s not much of a character, but her defiance helps establish just how much the “Free Folks” hate the “Crows.”
135. Lord of Bones/Rattleshirt
Cool costume, bro!
Of all the slimy, disgusting, rotten soldiers working directly under Theon in season two, Lorren is one of the slimier, most disgusting, and slightly more rotten of the bunch.
133. Willem Lannister
In the ever-gray world of Game of Thrones, sometimes an innocent Lannister has to die at the hands of a Stark ally to muddy the waters. Sorry, Willem.
132. Martyn Lannister
See above. Sorry, Martyn.
With a mask that cool, you’d think Quaithe’s sage wisdom and mysterious prophecies would translate to more than “Yo, those guys really want those dragons, so watch your back!” Alas.
Shagga! Son of Dolph! One of Tyrion’s clansman allies, he vanishes along with the rest of his crew in the space between episodes.
Timett! Son of Timett! Another one of Tyrion’s clansman allies who vanishes sometime in season two. He gets ranked a little higher because he has that fun scene where he threatens to remove Grand Maester Pycelle’s manhood before settling for his beard.
A member of Daenerys’ khalasar who hangs around looking really handsome for most of season two before disappearing into thin air when season three begins. However, he does get to be present for a number of Dany’s best season two moments.
Daenerys’ badass, whip-wielding bodyguard who goes off scouting in the season two premiere and returns as a severed head in a bag. Ouch.
126. Tycho Nestoris
Hey! It’s a very stern fantasy accountant whose entire job on the show is to approve a bank loan for Stannis Baratheon! Snooze, right? Wrong! He’s played by Sherlock star Mark Gatiss, so he’s instantly interesting.
125. Kevan Lannister
We promise that Tywin’s loyal younger brother has more to do in the books. In the show, he’s just a somewhat familiar face who gets to nod approvingly while Charles Dance acts his ass off.
124. Donnel Waynwood
The commander of the Bloody Gate outside of The Eyrie, Donnel Waynwood doesn’t do much, but he does set up the biggest laugh in the entire series when he informs Arya that her aunt is dead.
123. Amory Lorch
Another cruel Lannister soldier who pisses off the wrong Stark-girl-disguised-as-a-boy, Amory is the second guy murdered by Jaqen at the behest of Arya. His death is dramatic enough to elevate him this high, but no higher!
For the sake of sanity, we cut most of the named prostitutes from Littlefinger’s brothel from this list. But we couldn’t cut Mhaegen, whose cries of despair when the City Watch murders her baby (a bastard son of the late King Robert) still haunt our dreams.
You’ve got to appreciate the kooky old man who lives in the castle basement and dedicates his life to creating medieval WMDs. His reaction to Tyrion’s use of his Wildfire supply is perfect.
When Ros was killed off, Olyvar took her place as “prostitute spy who manages to sleep with as many major characters as possible while collecting information for Littlefinger.” Except that he has a bit more penis than his predecessor did.
Of course Ramsay Snow would have a psychopathic girlfriend who gets all hot and bothered by murder. Of course.
118. Ser Vardis Egen
We can’t tell you much about Ser Vardis Egen as a character, but we can tell you that he’s the knight who makes the tragic/hilarious mistake of battling Bronn in Tyrion's trial by combat. Remember, kids: When you fight with honor, you get thrown out the Moon Door.
The simpleton in charge of the Sky Cells at the Eyrie, Mord is an amusing nothing of a character who leaves an impression because he’s just so strange. He should get a sitcom with Hodor.
Daenerys’ loyal servant and translator for the first two seasons, Irri was murdered offscreen during the Great Dragon Heist of season two. She was a minor character, but her constant presence in the early Dany scenes certainly endeared her to us.
The bard Marillion just so happens to be around when Catelyn abducts Tyrion for trying to kill Bran. (What a mistake that turned out to be, eh?) He accompanies the group to the Eyrie, recording the entire journey in song-form. Later, Joffrey orders his tongue torn out for singing lewd songs about his parentage. You never know where the music biz will take you.
114. Jojen Reed
Bran’s greenseer buddy may be kind of boring and he may have been quickly dispatched as soon the show had squeezed the final drops of exposition from his sickly frame, but he was a vital part of explaining the show’s mystical side. He was necessary, but he will not be missed.
113. Lommy Greenhands
A lot of terrible things happen to the people in Arya Stark’s life. Lommy may have been a bit a dick, but he certainly didn’t deserve to be coldly executed by Lannister forces looking for Gendry. However, his death does propel Arya down her path of personal vengeance and that means a lot in the grand scheme of things.
Qotho is one of Khal Drogo’s most devoted Bloodriders and a constant presence throughout season one. When Daenerys tries to heal the dying Drogo with blood magic, Qotho intervenes and gets killed by Jorah for his trouble.
111. Illyrio Mopatis
We first meet the enigmatic Illyrio when he personally arranges the marriage between Kahl Drogo and Daenerys. Later, we see him plotting with Lord Varys in the dungeons of the Red Keep. This guy is up to something and his presence looms in the shadow of every conspiracy and plot. Not bad for a character with only a few episodes to his name.
Cool archers who do cool things with their archery are all the rage these days (thanks, Katniss), so Anguy gets ranked a little higher than a background character in the Brotherhood Without Banners scenes should.
109. Matthos Seaworth
Davos’ religious fanatic of a son initially exists to help beef up the aura of Melisandre and her religion and that’s a pretty important role to have ... but he ultimately exists to give Davos something to lose at the disastrous Battle of Blackwater Bay. In death, he’s become a motivating factor for a far better character.
If the show follows the trajectory of the books, Qyburn is about to become pretty important very soon. But right now, he’s just that slightly off former maester who treats Jaime’s hand stump and asks to experiment with the dying body of Gregor Clegane. If you think he’s a creep now, just wait. Future actions may boost him up a good 20 or 30 spots on this list.
107. Benjen Stark
Remember Benjen? Eddard’s younger brother and Night’s Watch veteran who went out ranging and never returned? Of course you do. The mystery of Benjen’s disappearance has created all kinds of a elaborate fan theories, but most importantly, it stripped Jon Snow of his most valuable ally in his strange new world.
106. Maester Cressen
Maester Cressen only has one big scene, but it’s one helluva show-stopper. His attempt to assassinate Melisandre ends with his own suicide, but there was no better way to establish the Red Witch and her power over the people of Dragonstone.
Oh Doreah. You could have had it all! You could have stood alongside Daenerys as she swept across the world with her armies and her dragons. Instead, you allied yourself with a guy whose name sounds like “ducksauce” and betrayed your people. Getting locked in a vault to starve to death was the right punishment for your crime, you dummy.
104. Meryn Trant
If you ever see a member of the Kingsguard being a dick on Game of Thrones, it’s usually Meryn Trant. His crimes include beating Sansa, killing Syrio Forel, and indulging each and every one of Joffrey’s sadistic whims.
103. Selyse Baratheon
Stannis’ loony wife keeps a collection of stillborn children on her shelf and is totally okay with her husband knocking up the local cult leader with shadow babies. She’s memorable, to say the least.
102. Dagmer Cleftjaw
Of all the sleazy members of Theon Greyjoy’s crew, Dagmer is the only one played by a veteran of The Office.
One of the foulest monsters on a show filled with foul monsters, Craster and his den of daughter/wives are some seriously unpleasant business.
100. Pyat Pree
There are times when Pyat Pree feels like the villain of a SyFy original movie, but his surreal goofiness actually makes him a nice change of pace from the all-too-real villains who populate the rest of the show. Sometimes, you just need a good old fashioned baddie who cries out for boos and hisses.
99. Jory Cassel
Ned Stark’s ill-fated right-hand man is the center of Game of Thrones first real “S--- just got real!” moment. When Jaime Lannister stabs him through the eye and demands that the Starks return the kidnapped Tyrion, the show leaps to a whole new level. We’re sorry you had to die, Jory, but someone had to.
98. Meera Reed
Of the two Reed siblings, Meera is less important the grand scheme of things. However, she is the far more entertaining character, introducing a splash of color and life into those “Bran and company endlessly wander through the wilderness” sequences.
The Night’s Watch is home to its fair share of sniveling cowards who don’t have a loyal bone in their body and Rast is ... well, he’s certainly one of them! Although he never gets fleshed out, Rast is the general face of the ragtag group’s ugly side, always rearing his ugly head to whisper about mutiny or threaten Samwell Tarly’s livelihood. Bonus: He dies by getting torn apart by Jon Snow’s direwolf, which catapults him up an extra 10 spaces or so on this list.
96. Dontos Hollard
An early victim of King Joffrey’s cruelty, Dontos is the bumbling knight who only escapes execution-by-wine thanks to Sansa Stark’s careful interference. From there, he becomes the court fool and an unwitting pawn in a much larger scheme. Dontos has been toned down from his uber-creepy representation in the books, but he’s still an sad and unsettling presence, a reminder that commoners are just playthings in the eyes of royalty.
Of all those filthy Wildlings, Orell is the only one played by a veteran of The Office.
94. Alton Lannister
Alton Lannister only has a handful of scenes, but one of those scenes in the truly unforgettable conversation with Jaime that ends with a startling strangulation. That right there drops him into the top 100.
93. Tommen Baratheon
Joffrey’s much nicer little brother has a cat named Ser Pounce and gets to marry Natalie Dormer. Lucky guy.
Oh, Olly. You thought you were avenging your cannibalized family when you took it upon yourself to kill that Wildling raider, but all you did was kill Ygritte and end Jon Snow’s fledgling love life forever. Why, Olly? Why?!?
91. Mace Tyrell
The Tyrell women secretly have all of the power in the family while the men are bumbling fools. As the patriarch of House Tyrell, Mace is a forgettable doormat and Lannister yes-man, but that’s kind of the point.
90. Septa Mordane
Sansa Stark’s instructor in lady-dom spends most of season one being a scold before she heroically stands between her liege and a murderous band of Lannister soldiers. She deserved to be so much more than a head on a pike.
89. Spice King
The Spice King is the only character on this list to not have a name, but how could we not include the snob who educated Daenerys on the proper pronunciation of Qarth? If only all minor, nameless characters had so much personality.
88. Mirri Maz Duur
Mirri is a great characters because she exists in a total shade of gray. Was she justified in avenging her people and the countless violations done to her body and spirit! Hell yeah! But did she have to blood magic Khal Drogo’s lifeforce away and rob Daenerys of her unexpectedly rad barbarian husband? Boo! Boo, Mirri! Boo!
87. Janos Slynt
In a show filled with duplicitous scumbags, Janos Slynt somehow manages to stand out. From King’s Landing to The Wall, the former head of the City Watch has been a highly punchable loser across every region of Westeros.
86. Lancel Lannister
A key player in the assassination of Robert Baratheon, Lancel is a coward who eagerly jumps into bed with his cousin and acts a fool at that Battle of the Blackwater. This twerp is so much fun to hate.
85. Balon Greyjoy
There are a lot of terrible fathers on Game of Thrones. Balon Greyjoy is special because he’s somehow one of the absolute worst of the bunch. Really, Theon? You betrayed the Starks for this guy?
After his people attack a village, Styr bluntly informs a surviving child that he is going to eat his entire family. You don’t get colder than that.
83. Kraznys mo Nakloz
Kraznys made two massive and unforgettable mistakes. First, he assumed that Daenerys couldn’t speak High Valyrian. Second, he thought she would ever consider giving up one of her dragons. His errors resulted in him getting roasted to death with dragon fire and all of his slave-owning peers getting put to the sword. Daenerys is an engine powered by the blood of fools and Kraznys supercharged her.
82. Robin Arryn
As far as wealthy, spoiled, way-too-old-to-be-breastfeeding kids who love watching prisoners fly off mountains to their deaths go, Robin Arryn ain’t half bad.
81. Rickard Karstark
At some point, someone had to start calling the noble, selfless Starks out on their B.S. Rickard Karstark is a mourning father with every reason in the world to disobey the will of Robb Stark. You feel and understand his pain, but you also know that Robb has no choice but to take his head. How Robb reacts to Karstark forever changes the tone of his war against the Lannisters and leads countless characters to tragic ends. Who says an old bearded guy can’t stand out on a show filled with old bearded guys?