Unless you’ve been on Mars for the last two years, you’ll know that Game of Thrones is the HBO series, now in its third season, taken from GRR Martin’s best-selling book series A Song of Ice and Fire series of books. An intelligent sorcery-light fantasy which dwells more on politics than dragons and wizards, it has gripped everyone with its fine casting, acting and sets, and its faithfulness to the books. Not pulling its punches in the nudity and gore areas, it has rightly received many awards and accolades. Here are the top ten characters from the first two series:
10. Brienne of Tarth
Brienne breaks the expectations and conventions of women from the time, however she has developed into a formidable warrior, and a fiercely loyal one at that. She is over-tall, unlovely of face, awkward and slightly clumsy in her plate armour, but is a feisty fighter. Hardly a glamorous role for a glamorous actress (Gwendoline Christie).
9. Walder Frey
A reluctant bannerman of the north, he is a resentful, grotesque, unhealthy old Dickensian-like character who has umpteen ugly kids and under-age wives. But he holds a key crossing and exacts a high price from the Starks to allow them to cross and attack the Lannister’s forces.
8. Theon Greyjoy
Another flawed character who thinks he is better than he is, and deserves better than he gets. A womaniser, and a disappointment to his father, he attempts to show that he is a brave knight by taking Winterfell Castle when most of its soldiers are off fighting the war against the Lannisters. In fact he’s another sneaky and weak character who even botches a straightforward execution of old Stark man Ser Rodrik at the end of this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYMThpIkp6g
7. The Dragon Prince: Viserys Targaryen
Infinitely more interesting than the limp and wimpy Danerys, Viserys is a cowardly bully who thinks he is smarter than everyone else, and that it is his divine right to rule over Westeros. He comes to a suitably sticky end as he assumes his golden crown….
6. Ayra Stark
After witnessing her father’s execution Ayra goes on a long and dangerous adventure with her “stick them with the pointy end” sword, Needle. Feisty and clever, she has to keep her real identity a secret. She’s the character all the younger viewers identify with, and will blossom in series three to a major power in Westeros methinks!
5. Tywin Lannister
The big cheese. Head of the Lannister Clan. Majestically played by the great Charles Dance. First seen in a memorable scene skinning a reindeer in his tent on the Battlefield, a scene where he was given expert tuition from a master skinner! He is pragmatic, aggressive and when needs must, diplomatic. An inspired choice of actor. Every time he is on the screen he steals the scene with his commanding presence and superb diction.
4. Joffrey Baratheon
The sons of an incestuous relationship between warrior Jaime Lannister and his scheming Sister, Cersei, Joffrey is arguably the most unlikeable character in the series. He’s a cowardly back-stabbing, conniving little shit-weasel, and it’s amazing he has made it through to series three without being topped… It’s he who ensured Eddard Stark lost his head. However the best scene is when he is slapped a number of times by his uncle Tyrion: see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rxLOXUGmRKI
3. Jon Snow
The heart-throb of all the ladies who watch the series, Snow is the bastard son of the Lord of Winterfell, Eddard Stark. He quickly “takes the black” and heads up North to become a Member of the Night’s Watch. Rarely seen without flecks of snow in his dyed black hair, he has the best direwolf, Ghost, and some good scenes in the wintry lands beyond the Wall.
2. Lord Varys
“Storms come and go, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.” Lord Varys, a Eunuch, is the Master of Whisperers, also known as the Spider, who uses his legions of “little birds” to spy and gather intelligence about his friends and enemies alike. The best scenes are often of him and Littlefinger, verbally fencing and vying for greater power in the courts of the Westeros Royal capital, King’s Landing. However, he does all this not for his own personal gain but for “the realm”.
1. Tyrion Lannister
There can be only one person on the top step of the podium; the best character in the books, and thankfully, also the best character in the TV series, the Dwarf, Tyrion, also known as “The Imp”. Marvellously plated by Peter Dinklage, the only criticism that can be levelled at his portrayal is that he is a) too good looking and noble as compared to the character described in the book (bow-legged and pug-ugly), and that dodgy English accent, most noticeable when he says the words “You are a bastard, John Snow” with “Snow” coming out like “Sneurrw..”
Oh well you can’t have everything. Tyrion is an intelligent schemer kept alive by his wits rather than his family associations. In a recent poll online, of the 30 characters that people voted for, Tyrion romped home first with nearly 40% of the votes.