HBO’s extremely popular television series Game of Thrones, stimulates way more conversation than any other show on television. With its unpredictable plot lines and nobody’s safe approach, it is no wonder fans are constantly on edge, spawning an endless flurry of conspiracy theories. Fortunately, the television show is a major departure from the books, making it all the more shocking and entertaining when unexpected events occur.
But for all the deliberating, fan favorites Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen always seem to take the center of the stage. However, they are not the only heroes of Westeros and Essos… While the following 10 characters may not boast the looks, intelligence or battle prowess of the big three listed above, they’ve certainly had a much greater impact than they’re given credit for.
10. Jorah Mormont
Jorah Mormont has all the hallmarks of a true hero. He’s a distinguished fighter, willing to die for his beliefs and seeks redemption for his past sins. Aside from that, he’s saved Daenerys’s skin so many times it’s hard to keep track: from a poisonous wine merchant (though admittedly his fault), an angry Dothraki bloodrider, and most recently, a masked Son of the Harpy in Daznak’s Pit. Jorah may be head-over-heels in love, but when he’s filled with such raw emotion, there’s nobody more gallant and admirable.
9. Maester Aemon
Without Maester Aemon to watch his back and push him in the right direction, Jon Snow would have never become the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. During season four he was one of five Black Brothers to judge Snow for his actions, which included “fooling” around with a Wildling and killing a fellow Brother in order to infiltrate Mance Rayder’s army. If Maester Aemon never spoke out, Jon might have been sentenced to death. Moving forward, his wisdom and advice has proved invaluable, especially after he decided to seek aid against the White Walkers. Just think, if his messenger ravens never got word out to Stannis, we’d have no Night’s Watch left at all.
8. Shireen Baratheon
Poor little Shireen had the nicest heart in all of the Seven Kingdoms — it’s hard to believe that she’s the offspring of Stannis and Selyse Baratheon. Her father, while honorable, clearly wouldn’t make the best king. It was nice to see half of his men desert him after (cough, cough) he burned his sweet innocent daughter alive. It just shows how much of an impact she had on the troops. In the end, the kind little greyscale survivor who taught the Onion Knight to read exerted more respect than her “king” and “queen” parents, even if she didn’t know it. After the disturbing penultimate finale of season five, the fall of Stannis — who we all rooted for at one point — was quite pleasant to watch.
Where would Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals and… — you know the drill — be without her trusted translator/adviser Missandei? She probably wouldn’t have become one of the most powerful women in Essos, that’s for sure. The former slave speaks 19 languages fluently, taught Grey Worm the common tongue and, as of the latest episode, is helping Tyrion run Meereen in Daenerys’s absence. To top things off, she’s easily the most socially informed character of all, having a deep understanding of the etiquette and traditions of virtually every culture in Essos. Not all heroes are fighters… Expect greatness from this one.
Imagine what Westoros would be like if the men, in the words of Tyrion Lannister, couldn’t “dip their wick” in the brothels. Sex is a big part of Game of Thrones and often treated as a form of stress relief. Throughout the first three seasons, the red-headed sex worker, Ros, was always around to keep the men satisfied, regardless of which side they were on. She pleased Tyrion at Winterfell, was a long-term favorite of Theon Greyjoy, flashed Jon Snow before he took his vows, entertained Pycelle in Kings Landing, worked for Littlefinger, spied for Varys, and had a short-lived stint as King Joffrey’s “plaything” — until he took his S&M antics a little too far.
Yoren is a sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch, responsible for finding new recruits. In fact, Castle Black probably wouldn’t have half the amount of Brothers without his many years of service. Luckily, when Eddard Stark was executed, he kept Arya from witnessing the death and instructed her to pose as a young boy. He originally intended to take her back to Winterfell, but his friendly motives were disrupted when Gold Cloaks attacked his party of recruits, demanding that he hand over Gendry, the bastard child of King Robert Baratheon. Yoren was valiant till the end, choosing death and honor, rather than giving up his future Brother in Black.
4. Brandon Stark and Hodor (Combo)
Bran can’t walk, Hodor can’t talk, but together they’re damn good at fighting! Ever since we discovered that Bran was a warg, we’ve been waiting for him to take control of a dragon and burn the Others to ash. Since he was pushed from the tower at Winterfell, Hodor has taken on the responsibility of transportation. On their journey north of The Wall, they’ve encountered everything from traitorous members of the Night’s Watch to skeleton zombies, and that’s not to mention surviving and escaping the Greyjoys and Wildlings earlier in the series. They’ve fared pretty darn well considering their disabilities; however, they’re definitely at their best when they’re one entity.
3. Lancel Lannister
Lancel Lannister went from golden locked knight to bald-headed cult follower. After engaging in incestuous intimate relations with his cousin, Cersei Lannister, Lancel found God, carved a weird sign into his head and pursued the path of righteousness. But why is he a hero? Cersei has been somewhat responsible for half of the problems in Westeros; however, when Lancel confessed his sins, she finally got her comeuppance — starved in a cell and marched through Kings Landing as naked as the day she was born. While she’ll probably come back stronger and angrier than ever before, just think of what could have been had she not been behind bars.
2. Samwell Tarley
He may be a wimp, but he could also be the true savior of Westoros. Samwell Tarly isn’t your typical hero with a chiseled jawline and eight pack, but when he’s angry he’ll certainly stand his ground. Samwell killed a White Walker with nothing more than a shard of dragon glass, discovering their venerability. In addition, it was his quick wit and knack for manipulation that helped Jon Snow achieve the rank of Lord Commander. Even after being beaten half to death, he still managed to stand up for Gilly and subsequently… satisfy her (and his) needs.
1. Podrick Payne
So, why does Podrick Payne deserve the number one spot? Well, if it wasn’t for his bravery in the Battle of the Blackwater, everyone’s favorite fantasy dwarf would no longer be with us. Both the television show and the books just wouldn’t be the same without Tyrion’s jocularity and charm. Podrick’s loyalty, even when he’s faced with an assassin knight of the Kingsguard, is unrivaled by any conventional hero in the Game of Thrones world. His new ward, Brianne, simply doesn’t know how lucky she is to have him as her squire. Maybe if she knew about his natural mastery of lovemaking she’d see him in a different light.