What a damn week in Game of Thrones fandom, huh? After years of speculation and prophecy the Long Night is over, the Night King is defeated — the White Walkers are no more. It’s been a long time coming and not everyone made it through the battle. All of the Dothraki, most of the Unsullied and a handful of named characters were trampled under the steady march of the undead. Still, a lot of our favorites made it through — many of whom showed some awesome feats in battle! Who would have thought Samwell frickin’ Tarly would make it through this battle? Podrick Payne made it through! What the what? Who even is the strongest in Westeros? That’s actually exactly what we’re here to discuss. As we have done over the past several weeks, we’re ranking the biggest and baddest fighters in the entire Game of Thrones series, and as usual, we’re starting with the honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention: Orell the Warg
Another member of the Night’s Watch…..’s arch nemesis, the Wildlings, Orell was a crafty and clever combatant who definitely gets a leg up on the competition because of his special ability: he’s a warg. By tapping in to his innate magical abilities, dude can send his consciousness into any animal within their area. That makes him an ideal scout, given his predilection toward birds, but has a ton of potential for battlefield slaughters. As such, I give him the edge for survivability and innovation, even if as a warrior he seems mostly average.
and in light of this week’s episode…
Honorable Mention: Lyana Mormont
Lyana Mormont was never supposed to be much of a character. A one-scene ‘joke’ meant to show the toll that wars can take on powerful households, Lyanna was merely a 13 year old girl thrust into the dangerous world of Westerosi politics. Yet, while most of us would crumble under that kind of pressure, Lyanna kicked the goddamn door in and commanded every scene like she had already taken the Iron Throne. When the battle vs. the Undead came to her doorstep, what did she do? She stood her ground, gritted her teeth and MURDERED A GODDAMN ZOMBIE GIANT. That she died while doing it may be a bit of a letdown, but it’s Game of Thrones. We’re used to seemingly awesome things being huge let downs.
- Areo Hotah
A much cooler and better developed character in the books, Areo Hotah is a big dude with a spear (even though in the books it was an axe) who defends Prince Doran around the gardens. He’s a fearsome dude with a substantial bodycount…except in the TV series, where all he does is hang around Dorne and fail to protect his prince. He could have been so much cooler, but weak writing, a lack of development and more interesting actions elsewhere kept his screen time to a minimum. Sort of like Dorne in general, now that I think about it.
- Nymeria Sand
The second oldest of the Sand Snakes, Nymeria’s a fair deal stronger than her younger sister. Sure, she primarily uses a whip, which isn’t the most effective or efficient weapon, but she proved herself a fairly capable warrior in tilts with the Dornish guards, Jamie and Bronn and (to an extent) the Ironborn aboard the Silence. Of the three, Nymeria also appears to be the most even tempered, which should make her a smarter warrior than her sisters. Alas, it’s the fate of everything Dornish to be underdeveloped, and so we just don’t have a great idea of what she’s capable of.
- Obara Sand
The oldest Sand Snake is also the most celebrated warrior. With her spear in hand, Obara’s not the kind of person you want to mess with. Tyene may have been the clever one, and Nymeria the composed one, but Obara is the most ruthless snake in the pack — even putting her spear through her nephew’s face to secure her family coup. Still, like her sisters, she’s a bit of an unproven commodity in a fight, but her father is a legend, and the apple didn’t fall all that far from the tree.
- Robert Baratheon
If we were to look at Robert at his peak, he would be a hell of a lot higher on this list. Going off the events of the show, however, the mighty stag is an old fat man who has lost a step, to be kind. Once a feared and powerful warrior, the man famously defeated the great Rhaegar Targaeryan at the Battle of the Trident. It’s just that he’s spent the interim years drinking and whoring his way into the sad state that he found himself in at the beginning of the show. He’s still a badass who would wreck nearly half of this list, just not quite the man he was before that long road to Winterfell.
- Robb Stark
The Young Wolf makes it this high on the list mostly by reputation, though as a skilled commander who led from the vanguard, Robb had to be one hell of a fighter to make it through his (mostly) successful campaign against the Lannisters. We don’t get a chance to see Rob in many one-on-one battles — and he seems more than happy to let his dire wolf, Greywind, do a lot of the heavy lifting. Still though, Robb’s a young and quick soldier who was taken out before he got much chance to shine in battle before being cut down by fate…and Roose Bolton…and the Freys…
- The Waif
Arya’s training “partner” in Essos, the mysterious Waif was a skilled assassin without mercy, who worked with the faceless men to help train Arya in their ways. Cold and calculating, the Waif is a master of stealth and disguise, who is just as adept killing from afar as getting up close and personal with a dagger. No doubt she’d fell a healthy portion of the folks on this list, but in a straight up fight? She’s got enough flaws that those higher on this list would probably be able to get past.
Yeah, maybe I’m giving Ygritte the benefit of the doubt putting her over the Waif, but thinking of the two going at it, I just don’t see Ygritte losing. Maybe that’s plot armor, but in this series, that doesn’t mean much. Ygritte’s shown to be no slouch in melee combat, but it’s with a bow that she really shines. Many a Crow fell to her arrows, and it took a distraction to claim her hide. Still, how great would it have been to see this wildling warrior get some revenge on scumbag Olly? That’s probably not fair, as she contributed to his parents getting killed and eaten…man, shades of grey on this show…
All that stuff about shades of grey? Doesn’t really apply here. Locke is unabashedly a bad guy. A sadistic mercenary who tortured Brienne and took Jaime’s hand, the dude would have even killed a pre-creepy Bran if it weren’t for the would-be three-eyed-raven warg-ing into Hodor. Still, Locke left a brutal trail in his wake, even eclipsing his book equivalent in the court of public opinion. He still falls into the “more sneaky than strong” category, and just wouldn’t hold up in a physical throw down.
- Yara Greyjoy
Known as Asha in the books, Yara is the woman who would be King of the Iron Islands. A rough and tumble reaver who grew up running raids with crews of iron islanders, Yara is a battle-tested hard ass who would make short work of half of Westeros — especially those who underestimate her. Yes, she’s more comfortable fighting on the water, but she’s also proven to know her way around a sword and pike while trying to free her brother from the clutches of Ramsay Snow. Sadly, she’s proven to be a bit overconfident at times, and that sort of thing will get you killed on Game of Thrones.
- Syrio Forrel
The famed water dancer of Essos, Syrio Forel was a bad bad man. The guy could tear through a military patrol and a few kingsguard with little more than a practice sword. Syrio utilized a swordplay style more akin to fencing, and it allowed him to outwit most of his opponents. While we don’t know his true fate following a tumultuous tilt with Ser Meryn Trant, we do know that any fair fight would have gone for the Braavosi. Syrio gives up a lot of size to many of the people on this list, and has proven to be a bit too proud of his skills for his own good. As such, he narrowly misses the top 20.
And that’ll do it for this week! We’re nearing the end of our list — and the show itself! Join us next week when we crack the top 20 and see who is truly the most dangerous person in all of Westeros.