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TV Testimony: Top 5 Favorite Game of Thrones Characters

May 11, 2011

GOT to have GOT on HBO.  That’s right, after a year and a half of gleefully racing through the Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George RR Martin, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the premiere episode of the adaptation on HBO.  So far, I’ve been impressed with the production values, scripting and overall feel of the show.  The most impressive to me, however, is how well the casting was done.  Here, so far, are my favorite characters in the HBO adaptation, from least to most fabulous.

5.) Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish


Played by Irish actor Aiden Gillen, who is an HBO veteran (he was also on The Wire), Petyr is the typical smarmy genius.  He’s the man with the brains (but not the looks) to rise to the top, and he’s making the most of the “game” of the title by backstabbing everyone in sight.  Harboring a crush for long-lost love Cat Stark (from when she was Cat Tully), he butts heads with Ned for more than one reason.  Littlefinger is a font of information with a seemingly endless network of spies, but whose side is he really on, anyway?   In the books, Petyr’s course of action makes him one of the most interesting characters to follow.  He’s a mastermind of cruel manipulation, but seductively intelligent.

4.) Ned Stark


Sean Bean was the perfect actor to fit the role of the morally stalwart, but fatally flawed Lord of Winterfell.  Ned is much more of a pawn than a player, but his sense of nobility makes him tough to dislike, even when you fear for him.   Disdaining the “game” of the title makes him a poor fit for his current job as the Hand of the King, who must navigate the dangerous corridors of King’s Landing with the likes of  Varys and Cersei.    First and foremost, he is also a loving husband and parent, which has been shown this first season in his masterful scenes with daughter Arya, who is more of a true heir to his values and talents than any of his other children.

3.) Jamie Lannister


Hear me out, naysayers!  To be fair, having read the books, I know much more about his character arc than will be revealed in this first season.  The golden and seemingly impervious Lannister knight is an enigma on many levels. He is a murderer who commits incest, but in Martin’s well-crafted world, all is often not what it seems.  Known as the “Kingslayer” for his butchering of the mad king Aerys Targaryen (father of one of our other main characters, Daenerys, who has troubles of her own), he is willing to kill to protect his sister Cersei and their band of creepy blond clones, I mean, children, but he is also serving a king and a kingdom that may not be worthy of loyalty in the first place.  We are getting a glimpse of  the many layers of this faceted character thanks to the canny acting of  Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, whose smirky delivery hides a tormented but sharp mind.  He will be one to watch in the coming seasons.

2.) Tyrion Lannister


Who else could play the imp like Peter Dinklage?  He has such soulful eyes.  The sad forgotten coda of the Lannister line, Tyrion combats the short-sightedness of others with a combination of wit, wine and women galore.   Dinklage shines in his scenes, especially those where he plays the hapless advisor to Jon Snow.  There’s something about Jon that Tyrion feels empathy for within himself, no doubt due to their similarities in upbringing.  Both are rejected by their parents, both are struggling to find a way to live in a world that doesn’t seem to accept their contributions to it.   Tyrion is  the most intelligent and compassionate of the trio of  Lannister siblings, and for that reason, he is the most interesting.

1.) Arya Stark


Little Maisie Williams, you stole my heart from the first episode.  From her slightly unwashed, unkempt hair to her plucky and proud attitude, this little actress has Arya down pat from the get go.  In Arya is everything Ned Stark could want in a potential heir: a penchant for military might, a strong sense of justice, and more than a little dose of courage and wit.  Alas, as a girl in a noble house, her dreams of battle and leadership seem lost to the realm of imagination.  From the moment she steps in to stop the horrible  Prince Joffrey from harming her friend, she sets in motion a chain of events that will catapult her to the top of any fan’s list.  You can’t help but root for her because her judgment of character is so right on – every single time.  She’s a whirlwind of pluck and power.

Honorable Mention:  Jon Snow


Jon is one of the most interesting and vital characters in the books, and I’m looking forward to his story moving forward at a faster pace.  The actor who plays him,  Kit Harington, is right on the mark, but there just isn’t much for him to do right now in terms of moving the action forward.  At times, this plot arc is even overshadowed by the awesome digital effects of The Wall itself.  I admit, though, I was impressed with his scenes with Samwell in the last episode.  Samwell is another Point-of-View character in the books, and I enjoy how Martin lets us see events through the eyes of more than just our standard heroes and heroines.  Give it a few seasons and Jon will  no doubt be at the top of the list.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. James permalink
    May 14, 2011 12:29 am

    Having never read the books, I fully expect Arya Stark to be dueling people left-handed to prevent it being over too quickly, oh, by the age of 17.

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