Game of Thrones is a series (both book and TV) filled with fascinating characters. One of my favorite elements of this series is the way the characters change over time. I greatly admire the way George R.R. Martin is able to make readers change how they feel about these people.
Warning: This post does contain spoilers up to A Feast for Crows!
Characters I Love
Dany is the reason I began watching Game of Thrones. I remember watching videos on Youtube, and after seeing Dany rise from the ashes with her dragons, I was fascinated. My respect for Dany has only grown as I read the books and watched the series. Dany begins as a rather obedient, pliable character, but as she grows up and comes into her own as khaleesi, Dany becomes an admirable character. I loved watching her go from a trapped victim at her brother’s hands to a strong leader in her own right. Dany also is not a perfect character. She makes mistakes, including trusting the woman who is – in some ways- responsible for Drogo’s death, but she learns from her mistakes and she does not allow them to make her bitter. Dany has also proven herself to be a clever leader. This is probably best evidenced in A Storm of Swords when Dany faces the slavers and ultimately triumphs repeatedly.
Brienne of Tarth
Ah, Brienne. I wasn’t sure about this character when she first appeared in season 2, but after reading A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows, I find her to be one of the most honorable, intriguing, and sympathetic characters of the series. Brienne’s back-story is quite sad. She is very much aware of the fact that she is not “pretty” and this has caused much distress throughout her life. She has been rejected by suitors, and mocked for her appearance. Plus, the fact that she has always seemed to prefer a sword rather than a needle has caused her even more difficulty in life. Brienne was in love with Renley, and his death nearly destroys her. However, she is convinced by Catelyn to escape Renley’s men. Brienne vows to Catelyn that she will deliver Jaime to King’s Landing and safely return Sansa and Arya to their mother. This journey begins a fascinating to new chapter in Brienne’s life as she and Jaime form an unlikely but heartfelt friendship. The bond between the two of them is utterly intriguing, and I think it brings out the best in both characters. Despite men repeatedly telling Brienne to give up her quest to save the Stark daughters, Brienne refuses, and she ends up journeying with Podrick Payne (Tyrion’s former squire) and one of Renley’s former knights. At the end of A Feast for Crows, Brienne’s fate is hanging in the balance, and if she does not survive, I will certainly be heartbroken. Brienne is one of the most original characters of the series.
Sansa is another reason I began to watch Game of Thrones. Watching her reaction to Ned’s death broke my heart, and, although I despised Sansa when I began watching season 1 and in the beginning of the first book, I have come to greatly respect her as a character. I was quite furious when I saw Sansa listed as one of the “Least Empowered Women” on this list. That may have been true at the start of the series, but I disagree with its truth as the series goes on. After Ned’s death, Sansa is forced to grow up, and she does so. Sansa proves adept at keeping herself alive, despite remaining as a virtual prisoner in King’s Landing. However, she is not completely compliant as evidenced by this moment. Sansa also proves to be intelligent and a capable leader. I have no doubt if Arya had been in Sansa’s place, she would certainly have provoked Joffrey to kill her. Sansa may not be as physically tough and capable as Arya, but she has her own form of quiet strength. I will admit that some of Sansa’s actions as “Alayne” disappointed me, but I still love Sansa and I have great hopes for her future.
I struggle with this one….a lot. This is the man who threw Bran out a window. He ambushed Ned and his men in King’s Landing. He has not been known to be a good guy. I mean he loves Cersei, who is kind of evil and just a little bit insane and his sister. So how can I love him?! Well, it has to do with the journey he takes with Brienne. The way she changes him and in some ways inspires him. Ultimately, I think it has to do with the loss of his hand, and how that forces him to become a different man. And I truly believe he has changed from the man he was when he threw Bran out the window. Jaime has begun to care about people beyond Cersei. This is the man who jumped in a bear pit without a sword hand to rescue Brienne, and the man who does everything in his power to keep the vow he made to Catelyn Stark. In Jaime, Martin has created a brilliant character, and I’m falling in love with him.
Osha (more the TV version)
Characters I Like
Arya was a character I loved in the beginning of the series, and I still like her. However, I am not a huge fan of her storyline from A Clash of Kings and onward. While it is often interesting, I find myself having a hard time becoming engaged in her story. I admire her determination though, and if you’re looking for the definition of a survivor, look no further.
Before I read A Storm of Swords, Tyrion would certainly have been placed upon my “Characters I Love” list. However, I still have not been able to reconcile myself to the actions he takes at the end of that book. I understand why he does what he does, but I do admit that it does make me think somewhat less of him. Although, I do think Tywin’s death is certainly necessary to move the plot forward, and I could probably forgive him of that. I struggle with him murdering Shae as I do not think we have ever been shown that she was completely guilty. Shae’s actions were not good, but I do not believe that she deserved to die.
Characters I Despise
Lysa (Tully) Arryn
Ach. I despise her so, so much. I know she has a sad background, but sympathy for that will only get her so far. I even tried to reason that she is just rather crazy and driven mad by her grief, but I still cannot agree with her actions. Lysa could definitely be diagnosed for something. She is extremely paranoid, although there is some justification for that, and she is exceedingly overprotective of her son. Then there is, of course, her obsession with Petyr Baelish. I think Lysa’s actions are understandable, but ultimately, unforgivable. She refuses to support Riverrun and Winterfell, which could have completely changed the course of the war. Also, there is her attempt to murder Sansa out of jealousy. Yes, I will admit I will not miss her.
Cersei (Lannister) Baratheon
Cersei is not a perfect fit as a character I despise. I certainly despise most of the actions Cersei takes, but I also find her to be absolutely fascinating. Cersei and Lysa actually have a few things in common. The biggest reason is certainly the way both women make poor decisions in the name of protecting their children. Also, Cersei, like Lysa, suffers from extreme paranoia. Cersei’s paranoia is rooted in her fear of Tyrion, which is ironic. I hate many of the things Cersei does. She is a schemer, a liar, a murderer, and a manipulator. I abhor the way she threatens Tommen into submission, but Cersei often amuses me. She repeatedly considers herself to be a lioness and Tywin’s best heir. However, her attempts to rule and to gain and keep power have consistently proven to be follies. For example, when she tries to destroy Margaery’s reputation, Cersei begins her own downfall.
Characters I Abhor
I hate him. Hate. Hate. Hate. Petyr Baelish is a deplorable human being. He is a conniver, a manipulator, and a murderer. He played a crucial role in Ned’s downfall. He seduces Lysa and later murders her. He also has a creepy relationship with Sansa (probably because she reminds him of her mother who he was “in love with”). Supposedly, Petyr’s motivated by his love for Catelyn Stark. However, I do not believe he ever truly loved Catelyn. If he had loved her he would have wanted her to be happy, and nothing he does ever works towards that idea. Petyr is a bitter man trapped by his jealousy and the grudge he has held because of Catelyn’s rejection.
If there is a more despicable character than Petyr Baelish it is Joffrey. Joffrey is mindlessly cruel and only gains pleasure from the pain of other people. Joffrey is a horrible character before becoming king (sending the assassin after Bran, for example), but once he becomes king, the power certainly goes to his head. Joffrey thrives on suffering which is evidenced by his treatment not only of Sansa, but of anyone who annoys him, disappoints him, or perhaps just sees him on a bad day. Joffrey, had he lived, would certainly have followed in the mad king’s footsteps.
Warning: This post does contain spoilers up to A Feast for Crows!
Game of Thrones is filled with marvelous and horrendous characters, and I could probably have written dozens of posts discussing the amazing cast Martin has created. Because I want people to continue to visit this blog, however, I decided to try to keep my ranting and fangirling short.