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30 Best Game Of Thrones Characters Ranked From Most To Least Evil

There are dozens upon dozens of characters who grace the screen in HBO's pop culture smash hit "Game of Thrones." The series, created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, is based on the fantasy novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin. The first season premiered on the cable network in 2011 and ended with its eighth season in 2019. Not only did the show take over the cultural zeitgeist for most of the 2010s, but it also launched the careers of several now-A-list stars like Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and Sophie Turner. 

Like any good fantasy franchise, each character introduced into the world of Westeros and its surrounding continents is complex and morally ambiguous. Some begin the series as characters we root for until they take tragic turns into darkness and villainy. Others find the audiences against them only to slowly win them over as they reveal deeper layers to themselves.

Despite the show's divisive final season, the show has remained a hot topic of pop culture, especially with the premiere of HBO's prequel series "House of the Dragon" in 2022. As fans struggle to decipher who to trust and who to root for in the Targaryen civil war, it'd be worthwhile to remember the spectrum of evil to good in its predecessor. 

1. Ramsay Bolton

Few would argue that Ramsay Bolton is one of the most despicable characters in all of Westeros. The character makes a memorable debut in Season 3, appearing to be a lowly servant boy who offers a captured Theon Greyjoy freedom. However, the escape ends up a ruse of its own, as the then-mysterious Ramsay leads Theon back to his prison. This becomes the first of Ramsay's many psychological manipulations throughout the series, which quickly grow in proportion. 

With Theon as his prisoner, Ramsay tortures him into submission, renaming him "Reek" after maiming his fingers — and other parts of his body. Eventually, it's revealed that Ramsay is the bastard son of Roose Bolton, the detestable traitor to the Starks, responsible for the final blow to Robb Stark during the Red Wedding. Roose and Ramsay reclaim Winterfell for the Boltons after the Starks have fallen, becoming one of the show's biggest threats in Seasons 5 and 6. 

Ramsay's most horrific actions come during those seasons. Petyr Baelish ignorantly weds Sansa Stark to Ramsay to give the lord-to-be a claim to the North. Sansa ends up the victim of Ramsay's cruel and torturous abuse until she escapes with Theon and later returns to Winterfell with Jon Snow to kill Ramsay and take the castle back. Perhaps one of the show's most satisfying moments comes when Sansa feeds Ramsay to his hounds, giving him a taste of his own medicine.

2. Tywin Lannister

Tywin Lannister is a powerful force in Westeros for the first four seasons of "Game of Thrones." Portrayed by the legendary Charles Dance, he is the intimidating father of the show's Lannister siblings: Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. From the first time viewers meet Tywin, they know he's not a man to be trifled with, as he skins a deer alive during a conversation with Jaime. Nevertheless, it's easy for viewers to warm up to him in Season 2 as he bonds with Arya, who poses as his cupbearer during his occupation of Harrenhal. 

It's Tywin's tenure as Hand of the King to Joffrey that truly reveals how unforgivable his actions are. He's cruel to Tyrion, admitting he'd have killed him as a baby if he wasn't a Lannister. Even more detestable are Tywin's actions prior to the events of "Game of Thrones." He commanded a raid on King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion that resulted in the deaths of many innocent civilians. Additionally, he had a woman Tyrion eloped with sexually assaulted and beaten in front of him out of spite. 

Tywin's conflicts with Tyrion are mainly what makes him one of the cruelest characters in the show. It gets even more heated when Tyrion is accused of killing Joffrey and Tywin sentences him to death. After escaping with the help of Jaime and Varys, Tyrion discovers his former paramour Shae in Tywin's bed, leading him to finally kill Tywin while he sits on the toilet. 

3. Cersei Lannister

By the time "Game of Thrones" reaches Season 8, there are few characters that audiences are rooting against more than Cersei Lannister. The character is manipulative throughout the entire show, but she reaches a new level in Season 6 after facing punishment from the Faith of the Seven. While she is supposed to face trial from the High Sparrow, she is a no-show, but as the fearful crowds try to escape the Sept of Baelor, Cersei watches as wildfire consumes the building, killing all inside. 

Soon after, Cersei's final child, King Tommen, commits suicide after watching the horrific genocide. Though Cersei does deeply love all her children, there's nothing left for her to do but create terror, causing her to claim her seat on the Iron Throne. As Daenerys arrives in Westeros to claim her family seat, Cersei wages war, allying herself with the chaotic force that is Euron Greyjoy and his Iron Fleet. Even as Jon Snow tries to convince her to set aside arms to face the threat of the White Walkers, Cersei has no intention of giving up her throne. 

Nevertheless, the White Walkers lose, and Daenerys sets her sights back on Cersei's throne. However, Cersei doesn't hold back in antagonizing Daenerys, ambushing her on her return to Dragonstone and publicly executing Daenerys' servant Missandei. Cersei never feels remorse for her actions — at least not until Daenerys unleashes her wrath on King's Landing and Cersei dies as the Red Keep collapses on her

4. The Mountain

Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain, makes a big impression on viewers in the early seasons of "Game of Thrones" as a giant, muscle-bound knight serving the crown. Viewers hear all about his earliest evil actions in whispers of his brother Sandor, who goes by the moniker the Hound. As children, Gregor forced Sandor's face into a fire for stealing one of his toys, permanently scarring the Hound's face. However, viewers get a lot more details on more despicable acts of Clegane during Season 4, which coincides with a third recasting of the role.

When Oberyn Martell arrives in King's Landing for Joffrey and Margaery's wedding, he makes it clear that he still holds resentment towards Tywin Lannister for commanding the Mountain to kill his niece and nephew during Robert's Rebellion. Furthermore, Gregor also raped and murdered Oberyn's sister, Elia Martell. Oberyn's chance for revenge comes when Tyrion demands a trial by combat and needs a warrior willing to face the Mountain. Despite doing a number on the Mountain, Oberyn is eventually killed in one of the show's most brutal sequences

After the Mountain continues to suffer from poisoning during his fight with Oberyn, he's eventually restored to a zombie-like state by Cersei's right-hand man, Qyburn. He remains Cersei's muscle throughout the show's final seasons until he finally dies during a highly-anticipated brawl with his younger brother as King's Landing burns by dragonfire. 

5. Joffrey Baratheon

In the early seasons of "Game of Thrones," few characters made more of a mark on pop culture than Jack Gleeson's portrayal of the petulant King Joffrey. The character's introduction is hilarious in context, as the son of King Robert Baratheon whom Sansa Stark crushes on. However, he quickly proves to be somewhat of a brat, particularly in his treatment of others and Sansa's sister Arya. Nevertheless, when Joffrey inherits the throne from Robert, he proves his devilishness when Ned Stark questions the legitimacy of his birth and Joffrey has him executed.

Joffrey quickly became one of the most hated characters in TV history. His treatment of Sansa is borderline cruel and sadistic, keeping her prisoner while the Seven Kingdoms head to war. However, once Tywin returns to King's Landing to assume the role of Hand of the King, Joffrey takes a backseat in terms of control and power. Nevertheless, he satisfies himself in his own ways, such as killing the prostitute Ros as a favor to Petyr Baelish, who has discovered that she was a spy for Varys. 

Joffrey's tenure in the show ends up being rather short, as he is poisoned and dies a horrific death in Season 4. Though he cruelly humiliates Tyrion moments before this, reminding audience members how despicable he is, it's hard not to feel bad for Joffrey as he turns purple in his mother's arm. Actually, it's quite easy and well-deserved — but it remains a terrifying way to go. 

6. Littlefinger

Petyr Baelish, also known as Littlefinger, certainly takes the cake for one of the most conniving characters in Westeros. The Master of Coin to Robert Baratheon quickly shows the audience that he is not to be trusted in Season 1 when he tells two prostitutes that the only woman he's ever loved is Ned Stark's wife, Catelyn. Suffice it to say, Littlefinger turns the city watch on Ned when the Hand of the King attempts to expose Joffrey's illegitimacy. The ensuing events of the War of Five Kings that most of the show centers on all stem from Petyr Baelish's plans to get with Catelyn.

Petyr is later the mastermind behind the Tyrells' alliance with the Lannisters, arranging for Margaery Tyrell to become betrothed to Joffrey. However, this all plays into Petyr's hands, as he plans to smuggle Sansa, who reminds him of Catelyn, out of the city when the timing is right. After Sansa rejects his proposal to come with her to the Vale, Littlefinger finally returns after Joffrey is poisoned to help Sansa escape. However, he quickly sends her off to be married to the cruel and abusive Ramsay Bolton. 

Sansa is quick to distrust him, but he tries to prove himself once again by offering the Knights of the Vale to the Battle of the Bastards. Nevertheless, his whispers to Sansa in Season 7 go unlistened to and she has Arya execute a sniveling Baelish after he tries to drive a wedge between them. 

7. Daenerys Targaryen

For the most part, Daenerys Targaryen is easy to root for throughout "Game of Thrones" thanks to Emilia Clarke's brilliant portrayal of the character. When the show starts, she's being sold to the barbaric seeming Khal Drogo. However, she eventually falls for Drogo and assumes control over his Dothraki people after his death. Later, she takes her three dragons with her to prepare for a conquest of Westeros, freeing the enslaved Unsullied army and becoming a figure of liberation for all of Essos, the companion region to Westeros. 

Eventually, in Season 4, Daenerys takes up residence in the slave city of Meereen, emancipating the city's slaves and finding herself in conflict with high society. Despite her tendency to unleash her dragons, it's always against evil slave owners, rebels, and barbarians. All the while, she rejects a history of Targaryen madness to grow and evolve into a leader that her people can trust. 

When she arrives in Westeros, she becomes entangled in Jon Snow's war against the White Walkers and strikes up a romance with him. She sacrifices a lot for this war, but when Cersei antagonizes her during the show's final episodes, something changes in Daenerys. She descends into madness after Euron Greyjoy kills one of her dragons and Cersei executes her handmaiden Missandei, ultimately unleashing a genocidal rampage on King's Landing. Thousands of innocent civilians die by dragonfire, while Daenerys' final moments invoke fascism

8. Khal Drogo

Khal Drogo was a breakout role for Jason Momoa, despite only lasting on "Game of Thrones" for a single season. He debuts in the first episode when Daenerys' brother Viserys sells her to the Dothraki king as a bride. Though their marriage begins with Daenerys being sexually assaulted, she eventually becomes close with the Dothraki and even falls for Drogo while expecting his child. 

By the time Drogo is confronted by Viserys, viewers root for him as he pours molten gold over his head. The character is brutal, but Daenerys is able to unlock a side of him that viewers may not anticipate. When Daenerys is the target of an assassination attempt thwarted by Jorah Mormont, Drogo decides it's time for the Dothraki to cross the Narrow Sea and invade Westeros. 

Nevertheless, the start of Drogo's conquest leads to a lot of abuse towards other women, which Dany tries to dissuade. Drogo's men question his leadership and Daenerys' influence over him, leading Drogo to recklessly get into a fight where he ends up wounded. After the wound gets infected and a witch unsuccessfully tries to revive him, Daenerys ends up smothering the vegetative khalasar. 

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9. Stannis Baratheon

Stannis Baratheon debuts in Season 2 of "Game of Thrones" as the younger brother of King Robert who learns of Joffrey's illegitimacy and wages a war for the Iron Throne. Though he has his supporters, Stannis is a recent convert to the Lord of Light and bends to the advice of the Red Priestess Melisandre. Nevertheless, Stannis' brother Renly has stronger support, so naturally Stannis has sex with Melisandre, creating a shadow demon baby with his face that assassinates Renly. 

Stannis' siege against King's Landing fails miserably, with most of his fleet destroyed by dragonfire. His determination to win the Iron Throne doesn't waver, but he changes tactics. After recieving a loan from the Iron Bank of Braavos, Stannis takes his army beyond the Wall to assist the Night's Watch in their war against the wildlings. Taking up residence at Castle Black to prepare for a siege of Winterfell, Stannis even offers Jon Snow a chance of legitimacy — one that Jon rejects in favor of becoming Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. 

The rest of Season 5 features a dark descent for Stannis. The harsh weather of the North depletes his army, sending him massively unprepared for a siege of Winterfell against the occupied Boltons. Desperate, Stannis takes Melisandre's advice to sacrifice his daughter Shireen to the Lord of Light. It all ends up pointless, as Stannis' wife commits suicide, his army is crushed, and Stannis is executed by Brienne after the battle is over. 

10. Jaime Lannister

Season 1 of "Game of Thrones" takes little time to establish Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer, as a self-centered, despicable character. In the very first episode, he and Cersei are caught having sex by Bran in Winterfell, and Jaime pushes the young boy out of a window to protect his secret. He later ambushes and cripples Ned Stark when he hears that Tyrion has been captured by Ned's wife, Catelyn. By the time he gets captured by Robb Stark's army, there's little love lost for the son of Tywin Lannister.

However, during his time in captivity, the audience starts to warm up to him. While he travels with Brienne of Tarth to be traded for Catelyn's daughters, Jaime loses his right hand, which is a humbling moment for him. He later opens up to Brienne about his nickname, recounting his murder of the Mad King after he was ordered to kill his father and let King's Landing burn. By the time Season 4 comes, the audience roots for Jaime, even when he reminds us how despicable he is by forcing himself onto Cersei next to Joffrey's dead body

Cersei's callousness eventually gets the best of Jaime, who abandons her to help fight the war against the White Walkers. By the middle of Season 8, he's practically a completely redeemed character. That is, right until he races back to King's Landing to protect Cersei from Daenerys' army and the incestuous lovers end up dying in each others' arms.

11. The Hound

Sandor Clegane, also known as the Hound, is one of Westeros' most morally ambiguous characters. Despite the whispers of other characters and his cynical personality, he makes a warm impression on viewers early in the series. When Sansa is humiliated in court by Joffrey, the Hound covers her with his white cloak and later saves her from the riots in King's Landing. However, his fear of fire causes him to flee the Battle of Blackwater, offering Sansa a chance to come with him, which she rejects. 

He later meets up with Arya Stark, and the two travel together as Sandor plans to sell her to her mother and brother. When they happen upon the Red Wedding in action, Sandor continues to rescue Arya's life and protect her as they find somewhere to go. Eventually, Sandor is beaten in battle by Brienne of Tarth, who is looking for Arya, and he is presumed dead. 

When the Hound returns in Season 6, he's living a much simpler life until he's thrust back into the world of violence. He becomes an ally of Jon Snow's, but deep down he's still harboring a grudge against his brother, the Mountain, for scarring his face as a child. The Hound's drive toward revenge eventually leads to his death when he returns to King's Landing to die facing his brother. Before he goes, he does get a moment to tell Arya to leave the Red Keep while she still can. 

12. Melisandre

When Melisandre first debuts in Season 2 of "Game of Thrones," viewers immediately can tell she's bad news. She is a red priestess serving the Lord of Light, manipulating and often speaking on behalf of Stannis Baratheon. Using her magic, she assassinates Stannis' brother Renly with a shadow that she births herself. Later, she's instrumental in collecting Gendry from the Brotherhood Without Banners, separating him from Arya Stark and leeching his Baratheon blood for her spells. 

Melisandre later takes an interest in Jon Snow, the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, during Stannis' visit. After convincing Stannis to sacrifice his daughter Shireen for the Lord of Light, Melisandre returns to Castle Black distraught when Stannis loses his battle against the Boltons. Unlike other evil characters, Melisandre feels the immense weight of her actions, as it is revealed to the audience that she is actually hundreds of years old, with her magic giving her the illusion of appearing young. At this moment, Melisandre finally appears more human

Nevertheless, Davos inspires Melisandre to revive Jon Snow back to life, which works. She becomes an ally of Jon during his victorious reclaiming of Winterfell before Davos discovers her crime of burning Shireen and exiles her. She gravely pays for her mistakes and redeems herself by arriving at Winterfell for the Army of the Dead's arrival. After assisting the living in defeating the dead, she returns to her true age and accepts her death as the sun rises over Winterfell. 

13. Arya Stark

Arya Stark was a fan-favorite "Game of Thrones" character from the very first episode. As the tomboyish daughter of Ned Stark, Arya looks right at home taking sword-fighting lessons in King's Landing. However, when Ned Stark is executed, Arya's life turns upside down, and she finds herself on a perilous journey through Westeros hiding from forces that want her and her family dead. This experience turns Arya from a determined child to a revenge-driven, bitter, cynical killer. 

Her interactions with the Hound show this change in Arya most clearly. Arya finds comfort in killing those who wrong her and her family. When she witnesses her family's murder at the Red Wedding, she goes to an even darker place. Eventually, she leaves the Hound to die and travels to Braavos, where she takes a job as a face-swapping assassin. Nevertheless, her time with the Faceless Men reaffirms her identity as a Stark, causing her to head back to Westeros by the end of Season 6. 

After picking off some of the names on her list, such as Walder Frey, Arya finds her way back to Winterfell after hearing that Jon and Sansa have reclaimed it for the Starks. There, she continues her violent streak, murdering Littlefinger and fighting in the war against the White Walkers. Her final blow against the Night King establishes her ultimately as a force of good – but she certainly has lots of blood on her hands. 

14. Theon Greyjoy

If any character in "Game of Thrones" suffers the most for their actions, it's Theon Greyjoy. The character is introduced as the ward to Ned Stark, but during a return to his family's home in the Iron Islands to gain their support for Robb Stark's campaign for the Iron Throne, he ends up defecting. While claiming Winterfell for the Greyjoys, Theon fakes Bran and his younger brother Rickon's deaths to incite fear into the citizens of Winterfell, although he is quickly done away with by the Boltons. 

Theon later finds himself as the object of torture for Roose Bolton's bastard son Ramsay. During this grueling plot throughout several seasons, Theon is maimed, psychologically manipulated, castrated, and renamed Reek by the cruel Ramsay. By the time he reunites with Sansa at Winterfell, he's a shell of a man accustomed to sleeping in dog cages who refuses to trust anyone. However, it becomes quite a heroic moment for Theon when he helps Sansa escape Winterfell at the end of Season 5. 

Theon's journey in the last three seasons of the show is one of redemption. He and his sister Yara devote their fleet to Daenerys' cause, but Theon ultimately runs away during a naval battle against his uncle, Euron. Still, when Jon Snow encourages Theon to embrace his status as both a Greyjoy and a Stark, Theon never falters again, rescuing Yara and later being killed by the Night King while protecting Bran. 

15. Oberyn Martell

Oberyn Martell makes a startling debut four seasons into "Game of Thrones." As the leader of Dorne, he arrives in King's Landing for the wedding of Joffrey and Margaery. He quickly makes it clear to Tyrion that he means to seek justice for the cruel murder of his sister, Elia, during Robert's Rebellion by the Mountain on orders from Tywin Lannister. This makes him a suspicious character when Joffrey ends up poisoned at his own wedding. 

Nevertheless, Oberyn remains a mysterious and cool presence in the show for most of Season 4. He's unpredictable, charismatic, and intimidating all at once. When Tyrion demands a trial by combat, he seizes upon an opportunity to get revenge by offering to be Tyrion's champion against the Mountain. Despite all the odds, Oberyn gets the upper hand in the battle, and it seems like justice will prevail. Sadly, pride always comes before the fall, and Oberyn ends up with his head smashed in after demanding that the Mountain confess, which in all fairness, he does. 

Thankfully, for his starring role in "The Mandalorian," Pedro Pascal negotiated for a helmet. 

16. Varys

Varys is an intriguing and often confusing character throughout "Game of Thrones." As the Master of Whisperers to King Robert and later Joffrey, he possesses a vast network of spies and informants that makes him a powerful behind-the-scenes figure in Westeros. He often comes to verbal blows with Littlefinger, who holds his own secret plans of self-preservation, though for most of the series Varys' allegiances are unknown. 

That continues until Varys helps Tyrion escape King's Landing following his death sentence and the two end up across the Narrow Sea. Varys reveals his true allegiance falls with Daenerys Targaryen, with his desire to restore the Targaryen dynasty to the Iron Throne. He becomes a valuable member of her council in both Meereen and during her early conquest of Westeros. Nevertheless, the ever-so-morally ambitious Varys began to suspect that Targaryen restoration may come at the price of the realm's safety

Once Daenerys shows signs of madness in Season 8, Varys has a change of heart and attempts to support the claim of Jon Snow, the secret son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. When Daenerys discovers this treason, she burns Varys with dragonfire, then proceeds to succumb to madness anyway as she burns King's Landing. While Varys' hopes were always pure-of-heart, he's nevertheless prone to treason and switching sides whenever it benefits him or the realm. 

17. Grey Worm

After Daenerys frees the Unsullied warriors in Season 3 of "Game of Thrones," the army joins her cause of liberation throughout Essos. The faction is led by Grey Worm, their chosen commander, who often acts throughout the series as a spokesperson for the castrated soldiers from birth. Nevertheless, this seemingly emotionless and blunt warrior finds his way into the hearts of audience members, as he not only remains loyal to Daenerys but falls in love with her handmaiden, Missandei.

Throughout his fighting alongside Daenerys, Grey Worm never wavers in his dedication to her cause of both freeing enslaved people in Essos and later invading Westeros. He continues to prove to be one of the best fighters in "Game of Thrones" as he survives the Battle for Winterfell against the White Walker army. It's not until Daenerys makes herself her own heel in the show that Grey Worm's decision-making can be questioned. While Varys, Tyrion, and even Jon Snow hesitate in their support for her, Grey Worm never does.

Grey Worm only continues down this dark descent after Missandei is publicly executed by Cersei at the gates of King's Landing. Like Daenerys, Grey Worm becomes an unstoppable killing machine, leading the Unsullied army into King's Landing alongside Jon and Davos. When Jon tries to stop Grey Worm from executing the surrendering Lannister soldiers, Grey Worm remains steadfast in following Dany's orders. He even tries to argue for Jon's execution after his assassination of Daenerys, never disloyal to his queen

18. Tyrion Lannister

"Game of Thrones" was a career revival for Peter Dinklage, who shone in the series as Tyrion Lannister, the unloved son of Tywin Lannister. While he doesn't boast the strength or beauty of his twin siblings, Tyrion possesses great intelligence, which makes him a valuable member of King Joffrey's court. Of course, all that changes when Tyrion is accused of murdering his nephew and escapes to Essos with Varys. There, he discovers the campaign of Daenerys Targaryen and pledges his support for a chance to mold her into a decent leader.

Tyrion's assistance of Daenerys in Meereen becomes a true sign of his moral status, as he aids the freed slaves and citizens of the foreign city. His work there awards him the role of Hand of the Queen to Daenerys as they set sail for Westeros. However, Daenerys begins to question his tactics, which force her war into crisis as she loses the Greyjoys, Martells, and Tyrell armies. He continues to worry as she decimates the Lannister army, almost killing his brother Jaime. 

Once the White Walkers are defeated and Daenerys' sights are set on the Iron Throne, Tyrion and Daenerys begin to collide over her use of fear to rule. By the time Daenerys destroys King's Landing, the cost of supporting Dany weighs too heavily on Tyrion, leading to his imprisonment for treason. Nevertheless, Tyrion proves his good conscience in the show's finale, restoring his status and becoming the Hand of the King to Bran Stark.

19. Margaery Tyrell

Margaery Tyrell, played by Natalie Dormer, is one of the most interesting characters to follow in "Game of Thrones." She's introduced in Season 2 as the recent wife of Renly Baratheon before he's murdered by a shadow. Soon, the audience discovers that her true desire is to be the queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Soon enough, she and her family strike a deal with Petyr Baelish to betroth Margaery to King Joffrey, fulfilling that wish.

As Joffrey's betrothed, Margaery becomes the enemy of Cersei and gladly delights in passive-aggressively antagonizing her. She strikes up a healthy friendship with Sansa Stark, promising to have her marry her brother Loras, though Tywin eventually gets ahead of this and marries Sansa to Tyrion. Nevertheless, Margaery goes forward with marrying Joffrey until he's suddenly poisoned at their wedding by Margaery's grandmother Olenna, who doesn't want her daughter to marry the abusive king. 

Margaery continues to fulfill her dream of becoming queen by marrying Joffrey's younger brother, Tommen. Their marriage is loving, albeit Margaery is quite good at manipulating the young king. When she's arrested by the High Sparrow for treason, her true colors shine as she acts cruelly towards Cersei. She's eventually released after falsely dedicating herself to the faith, though she's later killed in a genocidal act by Cersei. Though her kindness and charity are acts of self-interest, she does die trying to help civilians escape the Sept of Baelor, making her ultimately a force for good.

20. Ygritte

Ygritte plays an important role in the life of Jon Snow, as does her actress, Rose Leslie, in the life of Kit Harington. Ygritte is a wildling, and Jon is trained by the Night's Watch that the wildlings are his enemy beyond the wall. However, after taking her as a prisoner, Jon acts as a spy to get close to the wildlings before eventually falling for Ygritte and bonding with other prominent wildlings in the series like Tormund and Mance Rayder. 

Through his experiences with Ygritte, Jon learns that the wildlings are not the biggest threat beyond the wall and returns to Castle Black with information about the White Walkers. However, Ygritte remains heartbroken and betrayed by Jon's abandonment of her as the wildlings prepare to scale the wall, and a battle commences. During that clash, Jon and Ygritte reunite when Ygritte corners him, her arrow pointed at him. When Ygritte hesitates to kill the man she loves, she's killed by an arrow from Olly

Dying in Jon's arms, one can't help but remember the positive influence she had on him as a character. Despite being violent and wise-cracking, she truly loved Jon, and he spends a long time after her death mourning her loss. Plus, she coined one of the most famous catchphrases from "Game of Thrones" — "You know nothing, Jon Snow," which she often repeats during their banter.

21. Sansa Stark

Viewers wouldn't be blamed for being annoyed by Sansa for most of Season 1 of "Game of Thrones." As Ned Stark's eldest daughter, she romanticizes high society and crushes over the petulant Joffrey. However, once Ned Stark is executed in front of her and she becomes the victim of the Lannisters' abuse, Sansa becomes one of the easiest characters to root for in the show. 

Nevertheless, she attracts the attention of the conniving Littlefinger, who helps smuggle her out of King's Landing during Joffrey's assassination. Through her time with Petyr Baelish, Sansa seems to break bad on her own, adopting an all-black outfit and spinning a lie to defend Littlefinger to the Lords of the Vale for the murder of Lysa Arryn. However, her girlboss era is short-lived as Baelish arranges for her to marry Ramsay Bolton and she again becomes the victim of traumatic abuse one too many times

Once Sansa and Theon free themselves from Ramsay, she returns with Jon Snow and a gathered army of wildlings, Northmen, and Knights of the Vale to retake her ancestral home. Winterfell becomes her home base as she reunites with her family, dispatches Littlefinger, and flexes the leadership skills she's gained from observing powerful Westerosi her whole life. When she negotiates independence for the North in the series finale and is crowned their queen, viewers may applaud Sansa for this well-earned victory. 

22. Jon Snow

Jon Snow, the eternal underdog, is one of the most important characters in "Game of Thrones." As the bastard of Ned Stark, he has little prospects for the Iron Throne and honorably travels to the Wall to join the Night's Watch. Though most of the men there are exiled criminals, Jon has respect for his position until his experiences with the wildlings convince him that there are greater threats. 

Throughout the first five seasons, Jon is, for the most part, a morally good character. He carries out justice, defends his Night's Watch brothers, and shows empathy towards others. However, that all changes when Jon is mutinied by his fellow brothers at the end of Season 5. He is revived by Melisandre in a shocking twist at the start of Season 6 but returns a changed man. A previous Jon may have shown mercy to his mutineers, but this Jon hardly hesitates to execute them, among them a young boy, before removing his Night's Watch cloak and leaving with Sansa to reclaim Winterfell. 

Jon's determination to unite the North against the White Walkers reminds audiences of his moral righteousness. He manages to gain the support of Daenerys Targaryen while also striking up a romantic affair with her, which neither of them realizes is incestuous. He remains a loyal supporter of her even as she slips into madness. In the end, though, Jon does the right (but painful) thing by mercy-killing her and accepts his exile in the Night's Watch. 

23. Robb Stark

The journey of Robb Stark in "Game of Thrones" is a heartbreaking one. The eldest son of Ned Stark raises up arms against the Lannisters after his father is executed by King Joffrey. Crowned the King in the North, Robb becomes a powerful force on the battlefield, garnering the support of many Northern houses, capturing Jaime Lannister, and showing promise as a young king. 

However, Robb makes a grave mistake that dooms the fate of himself and his army. During his march south, Robb gains the alliance of Walder Frey, agreeing to marry one of his daughters in return. Against the advice of his mother, Catelyn, Robb goes back on his word against Frey when he falls in love with Talisa, a nurse he meets in the aftermath of a battle. With this decision, Robb forsakes the honor that his father was so well-defined by. As it turns out, betraying Walder Frey will not go unpunished.

While trying to repair relations by marrying his uncle Edmure to one of Frey's daughters, Robb and his army find themselves the targets of an assassination at the wedding. Subsequently known as the Red Wedding, Robb is stabbed by Roose Bolton after watching a pregnant Talisa be murdered. It's one of the most shocking and upsetting events in the entire run of "Game of Thrones," though no audience member can say that it wasn't a product of consequences for Robb's foolish actions. 

24. Jorah Mormont

Jorah Mormont is a heart-wrenching "Game of Thrones" character to follow. He first appears in the pilot, attending the wedding of Daenerys and Khal Drogo to pledge his loyalty to her. Secretly, he's actually a spy for Varys feeding the crown information about the last living Targaryens. However, Jorah develops feelings for Daenerys and foregoes his espionage to follow her faithfully. Daenerys doesn't find out about this treason until Season 4. 

Jorah returns in Season 5, accosting Tyrion Lannister in Essos and kidnapping him. With a Lannister in his capture, Jorah hopes to restore favor with Daenerys, who he still pines for. He ends up rescuing her from an assassination attempt courtesy of the Sons of the Harpy, helping her escape onto Drogon. Later, Jorah and Daario Naharis team up to rescue her again from the Dothraki, where he reveals to her that he's contracted the incurable greyscale during his travels, and she demands he take the time to heal himself.

After a meeting with Samwell Tarly at the Citadel to surgically remove the greyscale, he returns to Daenerys' side in time to join Jon Snow on the wight hunt beyond the Wall. He remains a steadfast and loyal ally to Daenerys, keeping his love for her to himself, and eventually dies protecting her during the Battle at Winterfell. For a man who began the series as a spy, he has more honor than most characters in Westeros. 

25. Catelyn Stark

Placing Catelyn Stark on this list would be more complicated if she followed the same trajectory as the books. She is the loving wife of Ned Stark, though she holds a lot of undeserved resentment towards Ned's bastard son, Jon Snow. Her love for her trueborn children, nevertheless, is pure. She risks a lot for her children throughout the series, including freeing Jaime Lannister from Robb's capture to negotiate the release of Sansa and Arya from the crown's clutches, unaware that Arya is off on her own journey. 

Sadly, Catelyn's story ends abruptly when she and Robb are brutally murdered at the Red Wedding. Her last moments are mere survival instinct, grabbing Walder Frey's wife by the hair and threatening to cut her throat if Walder doesn't cease his betrayal. When Walder refuses, she kills his wife before one of Frey's men walks over and cuts her throat the same way. 

While the show version of Catelyn is kind-hearted, save for some remaining grudges, her book version takes a very dark turn. Her body is found by the Brotherhood Without Banners, and she is revived by Thoros of Myr and becomes their new leader, exacting her revenge across the Riverlands. It's a shame the show didn't continue this story, as it could've been an interesting and less-than-good turn for the character. 

26. Ned Stark

There are none more honorable in the cast of "Game of Thrones" than Ned Stark, played brilliantly by Sean Bean. The character is the de facto main character of Season 1, as the family patriarch of the Starks and Warden of the North. However, after the mysterious death of the Hand of the King, Ned is visited by King Robert, who asks for Ned to be his new Hand, which he accepts out of duty to his friend. This visit to the capital for Ned, however, will be a visit with destiny.

As Robert lies dying from hunting wounds, Ned stumbles upon the illegitimacy of Robert's three children, who are actually products of incest between the queen, Cersei, and her twin brother Jaime. Knowing his honor won't let him lie, Ned writes to Robert's brother Stannis, encouraging him to make a claim for the throne. Unfortunately for Ned, he is betrayed by Petyr Baelish and others at court after Joffrey is coronated and finds himself imprisoned. 

Varys, knowing the good of the realm lies with Ned's fate, encourages the honorable Stark to lie and declare Joffrey as the true king of the Seven Kingdoms. Despite having no fear of death, Ned foregoes his honor to protect his daughters, publicly announcing Joffrey as the rightful heir to Robert's throne. Unfortunately, Joffrey is less inclined to keep his word and executes Ned anyway.  

27. Davos Seaworth

Prior to his introduction in Season 2 of "Game of Thrones," Davos Seaworth was a smuggler awarded a knighthood after helping Stannis Baratheon during Robert's Rebellion. As penance for his crimes, Stannis cut Davos' fingers off, and Davos eventually became his right-hand man. Their relationship becomes more complicated as Stannis seeks the Iron Throne and converts to the Lord of Light. Davos, an atheist, begins to question his friend's judgment. 

Davos, however, remains a refreshingly honorable and good man throughout the early seasons. He has an adorable relationship with Stannis' neglected daughter Shireen, who teaches him to read and write. After Stannis dies, Davos becomes a close ally of Jon Snow, convincing Melisandre to resurrect him. When he discovers Shireen's murder following the Battle of the Bastards, though, he tells Jon to execute her, but Jon offers her mercy and simply exiles her from the North. 

Davos remains a loyal supporter of Jon Snow, the King in the North, and remains so when Jon pledges his loyalty to Daenerys' claim for the Iron Throne. He fights alongside Jon during Daenerys' attack on King's Landing and eventually serves on the small council of Bran Stark as Master of Ships. For a show with many characters across the moral spectrum, Davos is one of the most decent and consistent in his values

28. Brienne of Tarth

Brienne was another quick fan-favorite, first appearing in "Game of Thrones" as a loyal soldier of Renly Baratheon's Kingsguard. She witnesses his murder by shadow and later escapes with Catelyn Stark, to whom she subsequently swears fealty. Later, Brienne is tasked by Catelyn to take a captive Jaime Lannister back to King's Landing and return with Catelyn's daughters. During this journey, the honorable Brienne clashes verbally many times with the dishonorable and sly Jaime. 

Nevertheless, Brienne warms up to Jaime once he loses his hand and becomes humbled. By the time she's in King's Landing during Season 4, Jaime tasks her to complete her oath to Catelyn and find Sansa and Arya, wherever they are. Brienne manages to quickly stumble upon Arya, though she clashes with the Hound and loses sight of her. She later fails to convince Sansa to come with her when the Stark daughter is the mentee of Littlefinger. However, she later rescues Sansa and Theon from the Boltons and becomes her sworn sword. 

For many of the characters she interacts with, Brienne becomes a sort of moral compass for them. She reminds Jaime of the good in him and encourages Sansa to embrace her family. She and Jaime even strike up a romance after the Battle of Winterfell, though Jaime later abandons her to return to Cersei, breaking her heart. By the finale, she's been promoted to Lord Commander of Bran's Kingsguard and honors Jaime with an entry in history books

29. Samwell Tarly

Samwell Tarly isn't a character one would expect to survive when he's introduced in Season 1 of "Game of Thrones." A young lordling exiled to the Wall by his abusive father, Sam strikes up an early friendship with Jon Snow, who protects him from the less honorable of men at Castle Black. When they travel beyond the Wall and arrive at Craster's Keep, Sam falls for one of his daughters, the innocent Gilly. He later rescues her and her baby from a mutiny of the Night's Watch. 

Later, while hiding beyond the Wall with Gilly and her baby, Sam has the distinct honor of becoming the first human in centuries to slay a White Walker while trying to protect her. By the time he's at Castle Black for the wildling siege in Season 4, he's braver and more confident now that he has someone to protect. After Castle Black's Maester Aemon dies, Sam smartly realizes he could be more useful to the Night's Watch if he goes to Oldtown and learns how to become a Maester himself.

In Oldtown, Sam finds himself doing dirty work before discovering the truth of Rhaegar's secret marriage to Lyanna Stark. He returns to Winterfell, where he and Bran piece together Jon's true parentage. Sam is later present for the Battle at Winterfell, but for the most part, he takes a backseat during the show's final episodes. However, when he becomes the Grandmaester of Bran's small council, it's hard to say it's undeserved.

30. Podrick Payne

Podrick Payne is not by any means a main character on "Game of Thrones." He is, however, perhaps the purest of heart. For most of the early seasons, he's a squire to Tyrion Lannister during the dwarf's time in King's Landing. The most memorable moment for the young man is when Tyrion rewards him for saving his life during the Battle of Blackwater with an all-expenses paid visit to Littlefinger's brothel. However, Podrick returns with all the money, claiming the women didn't ask for payment because they liked it so much

Later, Podrick accompanies Brienne on her quest to locate Sansa and Arya. During this time, she trains him in sword fighting, and the lowly squire finds another thing to be good at. When all three Starks arrive back at Winterfell, Podrick kindly reminds Brienne that she fulfilled her oath to Catelyn Stark by reuniting her children. 

During the show's final season, Podrick remains in Winterfell for the battle against the White Walkers, where he remains as Jon and Daenerys head to King's Landing. In the finale, fans even get to see that Podrick has been promoted to Bran's Kingsguard, a position he seems happy to have. Before that, Podrick is present for Brienne's knighting by Jaime and later has a notable moment in the final season when he sings "Jenny of Oldstones" as a small group of characters anticipate the White Walkers' arrival. Mark this as a third thing Podrick is good at.