We’re nearly at the end of the road, Game of Thrones fans, with this Sunday’s episode being the show’s penultimate outing before calling it a day. It’s been a rough go of late, with heartbreaking goodbyes, stunning deaths and a TON of negative reactions to the show’s final season. Whatever your opinion of the show, you can’t deny that the show’s action scenes have been pretty effective of late — and while the fight against the undead was pretty cool, we’re here to talk about what happens when the thing you swing a sword at swings one right back at you. That’s right folks, as we have done time and time (and time) again, we’re breaking down the greatest warriors of Westeros. We’re evolving the grade school debate of “Who would win in a fight” and marrying it with clickbaity listicles to find out who is the greatest warrior in all of Game of Thrones!
We’re nearing the end of this list, but that doesn’t mean we still won’t blast through some Honorable Mentions.
Honorable Mention: Tywin Lannister
If we weren’t being so literal on the “body count” element, Lord Tywin may have made the list (probably in the 50s). Still, Tywin Lannister is a bad dude. A tall and powerful man, Lannister casts a long shadow both literally and figuratively. He was the architect of the War of the Five Kings, saw combat himself (offscreen) at the Battle of Blackwater, and is (in one way or the other) responsible for the death of THOUSANDS of people over the course of the show. He may not be much of a fighter, but Tywin’s one mean bastard.
Honorable Mention: Shagga, Son of Dolf
Shagga, Son of Dolf, leader of the Storm Crows and the mightiest of the hill tribesmen was a fun character who didn’t really get a lot of screen time past his first appearance. So while we know that the Storm Crows are bad dudes, and Shagga likes to cut off dudes’…um…parts, and feed them to the goats, we don’t actually see him kill anyone on the show. Sorry, Shaggy, maybe you’ll get more play in the books. Nah, that’s not going to happen either.
And now for the real list…
- Sir Barristen Selmy
Once one of the most feared knights in all of Westeros, Sir Barristan remained a badass well into his old age. Though he was deemed too old to serve on the King’s Guard under Joffrey Barratheon, my man Barry found new life in the service of Daenerys Targaryen, where he became the savior of the city of Mereen…in the books. On the show, he was more of a voice of reason in Dany’s court, who did manage to take out several sons of the Harpy, but was still struck down by a gang of untrained rich boys in gold masks. An inauspicious end to a great warrior, but at least he went out as a warrior.
- Grey Worm
The Unsullied are said to be the most best army in the world: Men without fear, desire or drive beyond satisfying their master’s whims. Even when granted their freedom by Daenerys, their leader Grey Worm still stuck to most of these traits. A fiercely loyal warrior, Grey Worm has a knack for surviving major battles that he absolutely should not, whether that be against the Sons of the Harpy, a Lannister Ambush, the undead or against Euron Greyjoy’s fleet. Through it all, Grey Worm has always stood his ground, spear in hand, ready to jump into any battle his queen demands.
- Sir Loras Tyrell
Though he’s more of a tournament fighter than a proven commodity on the battleground, the knight of flowers has proven to be a pretty stellar swordsmen when push comes to shove. His prowess in battle was best on display in the Battle of the Blackwater, where he distinguished himself as a hero in Joffrey’s court. His personal proclivities may have dominated his time on the show, but Loras is both a lover and a fighter, and not one to sleep on.
- Stannis Barratheon
The last Barratheon brother standing, Stannis (the Mannis) was a celebrated soldier willing to do anything to find himself on the iron throne. Yes, even burning his daughter alive. He’s more known for his questionable choices off the battlefield, but Stannis is no slouch with a sword. The man wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, fighting the wildlings and the defenses of Kings Landing from the vanguard and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. The man died with a sword in his hand, and that’s about as good a death as he deserved.
- Ramsay Snow
In a show filled with characters that are not entirely good or evil, Ramsay Bolton (née Snow) is proof that pure evil exists. The man lives to torture, whether that be physically or emotionally, but has also proven to be a ruthless and scrappy fighter. Just watch him tear through the Iron Islanders who came to rescue his precious Reek. If you’re still not convinced, watch him in portions of the Battle of the Bastards or his attack on the weakened forces of Stannis and tell me this creepy little bastard is someone you want to swing a sword at.
- Tormund Giantsbane
I would say that there’s a considerable jump in the prowess between Ramsay and Tormund, and the rest of this list will be much tighter. Anyway, what can you say about Tormund? The man is alpha berzerker, standing head and shoulders above the rest of the wildlings. He may have made it higher on this list too, if he had a defined battle style instead of just random, wanton violence. He’s another survivor, though, and I could see him taking out either of the next two people on this list.
- Sir Jorah Mormont
A knight through and through, Jorah Mormont is written almost as a Samurai. Wise beyond his years and with a world weary viewpoint, the man lived to serve his Khaleesi — and even though it got him killed, I think that’s exactly how he would have wanted to go out. Through countless battles, tilts with wayward horse lords, time spent in the fighting pits of Mereen and even a bout with the undead, Jorah has proven a skilled and clever fighter who knows how to use all the tools at his disposal. His cool, calm demeanor has allowed him to earn a reputation as a scrappy survivor, but his devotion to his queen may keep him from getting too much higher on this list.
- Euron Greyjoy
Wildcard, baby! Euron is an unpredictable violent sort who tore through the Sand Snakes like his Scorpions tore through Rhaegal’s neck (too soon?). Whether it’s a sword or an axe in his hand, Euron is a pretty fierce warrior who thrills in the spoils of battle and has a pretty serious bloodlust. He’s another one that is more comfortable on the sea, but is clearly able to comport himself on the land as well. It’s amazing that he’s made it this far in the show, but I imagine he’s going up in smoke (literally) in the series’ penultimate episode. Still, I kind of miss the guy who looks entirely too modern for the show. It was always a little fun to see who looked like the bass player for some mu-metal band chilling out next to the Mountain.
- Ned Stark
From the most unscrupulous character on the show to the most honorable. Ned Stark was a true paragon, too pure for the backstabbing and two-timing world of Game of Thrones. The man who sullied his own honor for more than a decade just to honor his sister’s dying wish was also a celebrated warrior, winning many battles during Robert’s Rebellion — most notably slaying two members of the king’s guard at the tower of Joy. Even in his older age, Ned proved a match (albeit briefly) for the Kingslayer Jamie Lannister himself. Still, that pesky honor just kept getting in the way, leading to his inevitable death at the hands of the King’s Justice.
- Daario Naharis
Honor isn’t much of a concern for Daario Naharis, the bad-ass Tyroshi sellsword who changed faces between seasons without having to go through all that training with the Waif. In all seriousness, Naharis is a cutthroat warrior who follows his own whims and doesn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of his pleasures. This includes killing his partners in the Second Sons to join up with the Dragon Queen, liberating the city of Mereen to get into her bed, and one-shotting the city’s champion just to show off. The man never seemed be shaken by any challenge, and never met an enemy he couldn’t kill. That being said, he never met any of the people above him on this list.
And that will do it for this week. It’s best to steel yourself for what has been promised to be a bittersweet ending, as we’re not expecting a lot of our favorites to make it out of the looming conflict at King’s Landing. If you’re along for the ride, who do you think is making it out of this thing alive? Who will end up on the Iron Throne? Sound off in the comments to let us know.