Honor, respect & loyalty. They mean nothing to the Game of Thrones.
With the throne comes great power, to rule over several kingdoms and have hundreds of thousands of subjects. Such power is coveted by many in Westeros, although few manage to get close to it.
Many try, though, giving us the events of the incredible Game of Thrones series. We see plenty of characters try to climb their way up the ladder, only to fall or stumble at different points.
Some characters were destined to be great rulers, yet their time ended way too soon. Others just didn’t respect how the game is played, so they didn’t survive.
To list the 10 best players of the Game of Thrones is to look at each character and what they achieved, or would have achieved if not for unforeseen events.
10. Renly Baratheon
This Baratheon brother had a rather short time on the series but in doing so, proved his worth. He clearly states to Ned Stark to murder the Lannisters in their sleep, knowing they’ll take the throne for themselves. Renly also had the wisdom to escape King’s Landing and raise an army.
9. Margaery Tyrell
A people person, through and through. Margaery is an expert in social situations, and capable of making the absolute best of any circumstances.
She even managed to sway Joffrey to actually enjoy the attention of commoners!
That, by itself, shows plenty about her as a player.
Margaery managed to see through Cersei’s plan to blow up the Sept of Baelor, it’s a pity she wasn’t allowed to leave. There’s no question the following seasons would have changed dramatically with Lady Tyrell’s presence.
8. Daenerys Targaryen
Not only did our beloved Daenerys play the game when she had to, she bent the rules. She showed the world (and the audience) that things can be different, by sheer power and will.
Many years of reading, advice from veteran knights and the ability to see outcomes that no others can, made Daenerys a political stalwart. This was shown many times, with her managing to acquire near 100,000 troops by the time she set sail for Westeros.
It’s a shame she went down the route of the Mad King. Daenerys could have provided stability to Westeros and ended the Game of Thrones for good.
7. Ramsay Bolton
He ruled by fear and it worked very well.
In the end, he made too many enemies. None that he couldn’t have defeated under slightly different circumstances. Ramsay’s power waned after a surprise entrance by the Vale, something few could see coming and plotted by other game players who are further down on the list.
6. Tyrion Lannister
For a time, Tyrion was arguably the greatest player of the game. Intelligent and capable of doing what needs to be done, Tyrion had most of King’s Landing in the palm of his hand, soon after his appointment of Hand of the King.
Where he falters is his clear enjoyment of the game, rather than a want to win it. Evidenced by his feats after King’s Landing, where he doesn’t make the greatest of decisions in Meereen, as well as the under-estimating of opponents back in Westeros.
Even after all that, Tyrion is someone you’d want on your side. Expert knowledge of Westeros and how it runs, a keen military mind and excellence in diplomacy talks.
5. Olenna Tyrell
Intelligent, knowledgeable and cunning, Olenna Tyrell master-minded many plans to further her family’s cause.
Only one person managed to find themselves beating the Queen of Thorns in a conversation. She faced many worthy opponents and provided some fan favorite lines against the less worthy.
As Olenna herself admitted, her downfall was the lack of cruelty. That’s not to say she wasn’t cruel when she had to be, she just came up against others who played the game better.
4. Petyr Baelish
Devising countless plots and schemes, Lord Baelish single handedly plunged the realm of Westeros into years of war. Such chaos opened gaps for opportunists to increase their wealth and power, which he did almost perfectly.
At the end, though, Little Finger over-played his hand. Even if his downfall came through the magic of the Three-Eyed Raven, there’s no denying he shouldn’t have found himself in Winterfell in the first place.
3. Cersei Lannister
Growing up as a Lannister and becoming an adult in King’s Landing, Cersei had to become an exceptional game player to have even a slight chance of a happy life.
Regardless of how cruel, if there’s a way Cersei can destroy her enemies, she’ll do it. Such ruthlessness as well as a knowledge of how to understand her enemies made her extremely powerful by the last series.
2. Sansa Stark
Even when Sansa was a young child in the first few series, her aptitude for the game was on full display. Fools would have made many mistakes leading to their own death, or even more of their followers. During her stay in King’s Landing, Sansa spent much of her time learning from her mistreatment.
By the time she actually wields some power, Sansa a master of the game and holds her own against many of those who have come on this list previously.
Ending up as Queen of the North, the first recognised monarch since Aegon’s Conquest, says it all.
1. Tywin Lannister
Since the Mad King first named Tywin Lannister as his hand, the Warden of the West has been the true power of the seven kingdoms. Only the highest of people know that though, which Tywin is fine with. The Game of Thrones is simply beneath him.
No one could ever hope to topple him through normal means. The seven kingdoms fell into disrepair upon his death, as it rang throughout Westeros and even parts of Essos.