Wednesday, September 21, 2022

List of Thrones: Abel The Bard

After finishing a Game of Thrones re-watch and starting a books re-read, I decided to rank the top 100 characters in the show and books. My opinions are based on an amorphous mix of show and book stuff, even when they contradict. I don’t have something interesting to say about all 100, so they’ll be listed without comment.
100-81 | 80-61 | 60-41 | 40-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

40) Grey Worm
39) Ros

One of two characters on this list made up entirely for the show. She was a great add, giving us a conduit to explore the underbelly of the world. Her rise and demise through Littlefinger’s ranks was satisfying and tragic.
38) Shireen Baratheon
37) Ellaria Sand
36) Arianne Martell

I loved Ellaria, but she was the first hint the show gave us that they had no interest in delving into the Dorne story, whose central figure is Arianne. Arianne is the one who plots to kidnap Myrcella. Arianne is the one trying to outsmart her father, Doran, but who is ultimately outsmarted herself and let in on the bigger Dornish plot. Clearly, she’s not going to be a part of the ultimate resolution of the story, but I’m excited to see where she goes as the standard-bearer of the Martells.
35) Ygritte
She was right, they never should have left that cave. Somewhere between GRRM’s words and Rose Leslie’s charisma, this character came to life. Every boring ass main character needs a strong woman to challenge his every belief.
34) Maester Aemon
33) Mance Rayder

The show did him so dirty. Show Mance is boring AF. Book Mance disguises himself as a Bard to infiltrate Winterfell. No wonder the stuff beyond the wall was so fucking boring. The show removed everything interesting about it.
32) Renly Baratheon
31) Aerys II Targaryen
30) Petyr Baelish

Still the biggest X-factor in the books, Littlefinger represents the ambition of one man with the power to destabilize everything else.
29) Joffrey Baratheon
This little shit is such a well-drawn villain, the actor who played him gets death threats. If Joffrey isn’t the prime reason to abolish birthright royalty, I don’t know what is. He was so awful, it was satisfying watching him get put in his place, and almost gleefully when he brutally died.
28) Ramsay Bolton
27) Qyburn
26) Robb Stark

I read once that the key to a good fantasy story is to create a world, then imagine a character least likely to succeed in it. That was Ned Stark, and even moreso, it was his eldest son. Robb is just an honorable guy, trying to do the honorable thing, and he gets killed for it. Props to this story for somehow pulling the rug out from under us TWICE. We fooled ourselves into thinking Robb would be the new main character after Ned’s famous and shocking death, and somehow we thought that would keep him safe.
25) Robert Baratheon
24) Jaqen H’ghar
23) Davos Seaworth

Is Davos the most important perspective in the entire story? He goes all over the place in service of a batshit religious zealot, but he maintains a sense of street-level practicality. He’s the reminder that all of this war and strife is over who will make lives better for actual people. His king things people will bow because he deserves to be bowed to, but Davos knows people will do whatever serves them. And that is a person we need in power.
22) Varys
21) Septon Meribald

The show just barely touches on a shadow of this character. Ian McShane imbues the surface adaptation Septon Ray with as much depth as the limited character allowed. Meribald has seen it all. He’s bawdy. He’s real. He has a dog named Dog. He walks barefoot to atone for his many sins, and his take on faith is as pragmatic as this world allows. He’s still out there making his Riverlands loop, so there’s hope we’ll meet him again.

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