Game of Thrones has proven itself time and time again as being one of the greatest and smartest TV shows of all time. Now, obviously most of its success is due to the brilliant writings of author and creator George R. R. Martin, but no one can argue the fact that showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have done their fair share of work thus far - even if they’ve altered quite a bit from the books. With that said season six will be the first season where both Benioff and Weiss are completely alone, with no book to guide them; so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
Despite having no guidance going into season six one thing is for certain, no one is safe in the world of Westeros. If Game of Thrones has taught us anything, it’s that the rise to power can be altered at any time. Petyr Baelish touches on this with his analogy about climbing a ladder, as do Tyrion and Daenerys when describing the “Game of Thrones” as a wheel that keeps on turning. Everybody is playing the game and each character uses their own distinct traits to further their rise to power. Which begs the question: who are the most powerful characters in Game of Thrones? Wit, patience, strength, skill, coin, madness, each of these assets have proven to be useful throughout the past five seasons, yet which character utilizes their strengths best? Continue reading to find out which surviving Game of Thrones characters make the list as the most powerful in the realm.
15 Alliser Thorne
Although Alliser proved he wasn’t the most skilled fighter in the north during the Battle of Castle Black, he was surprisingly valiant. However, this act of valor was relinquished after he led a mutiny against his Lord Commander Jon Snow, where he landed the first treacherous blow. This mutiny along with Stannis’ death and defeat is what leaves Thorne in such a powerful position. Not only is he now Lord Commander by default, but he also has Melisandre and Davos Seaworth at his side. Both are useful companions, if they chose to stand by him that is. However, things could backfire for the grumpy backstabber if Melisandre decides to bring Jon Snow back from the dead. But for the time being, Alliser has managed to land himself in a pretty comfortable position in the North.
14 Jaime Lannister
It may seem strange to see the eldest son of one of the most feared families in Westeros near the bottom of the list, but the Lannisters have been taking some pretty hard hits as of late. With the death of Tywin and the absence of Tyrion, all Jaime has left by his side is his sister Cersei. Though she has proven to be quite a daunting force in the past, she is also rather unpredictable and stubborn to work with. Jaime was known as one of the most deadly swordsmen in Westeros, but since his parting with his sword hand his reputation has dwindled. He has proven that he can still fight, but his family name is now more intimidating than his skills with a blade. However, Jaime is still the Lord Commander of the King's Guard, and will surely use this power to make some changes following his return to King's Landing.
13 Cersei Lannister
Here we have the other Lannister sibling who was once considered one of the most powerful characters in Westeros. Sure Cersei is the mother to the King of the Iron Throne, but Tommen is far too light hearted to handle the responsibilities and hardships that come with being King. Remember, he let both his Queen and his mother become imprisoned by a bunch of religious fanatics who aren’t even trained fighters. Now, even though Cersei has been knocked down a few notches she still has her unrelenting will to never give up and is no stranger to manipulation. Being a Lannister, she still has many loyal companions, one of which is the hulking killing machine Gregor Clegane otherwise known as The Mountain, who was recently revived by Qyburn. Cersei will surely have her revenge in season six, and once she learns her daughter Myrcella has been killed, her wrath won’t go unnoticed.
12 The High Sparrow
This cheeky old bastard has undoubtedly had the fastest rise to power compared to any other character in Westeros. This alone proves just how powerful he can be, yet his army (if you can call it that) consists of a bunch of peasants in robes with shoddy weapons. Nevertheless he still managed to imprison both Margaery Tyrell and Cersei Lannister within a short period of time, while also gaining approval of what seems like a large percentage of King's Landing’s population. His actions are played out like a game of chess with a surprisingly brave hand. He’s both clever and impervious to bribes, which is probably one of his most dangerous features. This could just be a taste of what the High Sparrow is capable of, but there’s a good chance he will soon be introduced to Cersei’s new bodyguard along with Jaime and the rest of the King's Guard.
11 Olenna Tyrell
Olenna is the matriarch of House Tyrell and grandmother of both Loras and Margaery Tyrell. Although she is old, her wit is as sharp as Valyrian steel. She knows how people think and is skilled in the art of deception. A good example to back up this point is the hand she played in Joffrey Baratheon’s death. Everybody wanted this spoiled king dead, but no one was brave enough to do it - until Olenna arrived in King's Landing, that is. She swooped in and fabricated a plan resulting in Joffrey’s demise while also getting away scot free. If that’s not proof enough of how powerful she can be, she also controls a majority of Kings Landing’s food supply, which, if cut off, could result in much bigger problems for the capitol of the Seven Kingdoms. Olenna may not come off as intimidating, but her current status of power should not be overlooked.
10 Jaqen H’ghar
The name Jaqen H’ghar is more or less just one of many assumed identities of the Faceless Man. In season five we learn that Jaqen is the leader of an ancient order of assassins who train at the House of Black and White. These assassins or faceless men have the ability to shapeshift into different people, and are highly feared to all who have heard of them. Their full power still remains a mystery; what we do know is that Jaqen has the ability to blind people as well as slaughter many men singlehandedly in a stealthy manner. The ability to shapeshift alone could prove to be very useful depending on their overall intentions. The House of Black and White still remains very mysterious, yet their potential to gain a great deal of power is more than likely considering their attention in season five.
The Red Priestess is a master manipulator. Her relaxed yet confident personality helps reassure those she means to control. With the help of magic and some other obvious assets she has managed to convince Stannis Baratheon to have his younger brother killed, renounce his former religion, break his marital vows, burn his men alive and if that’s not enough, this red haired serpent even convinced Stannis to burn his own daughter at the stake. Now besides this, she clearly has some sort of magical powers, as she cannot be poisoned and can also withstand the coldest of temperatures. Another daunting power of hers is the ability to birth a ghost-like phantom assassin. Her grand plan is still unknown, and it wouldn’t be surprising if this two-faced seductress possesses even more unworldly powers.
8 Brandon Stark
Here we have yet another Game of Thrones character with magical abilities. Bran is kind of a wildcard, we know he definitely has unworldly powers, but we're not too certain how consequential these abilities of his are. It’s clear that Bran’s character is very important to the story, and that he will most likely play a major roll sooner or later, yet we're still very much in the dark when it comes to Bran’s true power. What we do know is that he holds the ability to enter the minds of both people and animals alike, using them as a sort of vessel to do as he sees fit. Now if Bran could enter the mind of say a dragon or one of the White Walkers he would belong at the top of this list, but for now we just have to assume his current abilities will only become stronger over the course of season six through his training with the Raven.
Varys is proof that power is attainable regardless of one’s status. For those who don’t know, Varys was born a slave in the lands of Lys where he traveled from city to city with a group of actors, until he was sold to a sorcerer who removed his manhood and left him to die. From this point on Varys refused to accept such a poor life and managed to work his way up to becoming a member of the King's Small Council, an illustrious title even for those born into a well-respected family. Varys excels at the art of manipulation, he also benefits from a large network of spies who feed him useful information which he strategically uses to plan his every move. Varys is currently working alongside Tyrion in Meereen, where he plans to help govern the city so he, Tyrion and Daenerys can utilise its full potential. Considering Varys' smarts along with his web of spies, he will surely surpass his former ranking in King's Landing.
6 Tyrion Lannister
The third Lannister to make our list is of course the fan favorite Tyrion Lannister. Although he is small, he has proven he can fight and is a skilled military strategist. He is also very intelligent and has proven to be extremely resourceful especially when it comes to manipulation; as he said to Jon Snow in season one: “a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much” Tyrion has managed to cheat death a handful of times and even became Hand of the King in season two where he successfully defended King's Landing against Stannis Baratheon’s army. He currently resides in Meereen, where he’s working alongside Varys. With those two working together anything is possible; Tyrion will surely shine in season six and will likely become more powerful than he ever has been.
5 Roose Bolton
When a man has no conscience his rise to power becomes much easier. Obviously everybody remembers The Red Wedding; this sinister act of betrayal was the first step in Roose Bolton’s rise to power. It’s a perfect example of how evil seems to trump good in the Game of Thrones universe. Roose is very patient and clever when it comes to plotting his next move. He managed to formulate a grand scheme which he pulled off, manipulating not only characters from the show but the audience as well. He is a master manipulator and a ruthless strategist. Despite losing “the key to the north” aka Sansa Stark, Bolton still remains quite powerful going into season six. Roose has proven just how devastating his tactics can be, so don’t count him out just yet; remember he still has his army as well as the walls of Winterfell.
4 Balon Greyjoy
Despite his lack of screen time Balon Greyjoy is one of the more powerful characters in Westeros. While most of the other houses were fighting against one another the Greyjoys sat back and watched the competition tear itself apart. Balon’s army has taken few hits since their introduction in season two. The Ironborn are fiercely trained warriors who should not be taken lightly. They are equally dangerous in the water as they are on land, having extensive training in naval warfare. Balon has always been a hardened ambitious leader; he’s just been waiting for the right time to strike. With the recent deaths of both Tywin and Stannis, Balon will surely draw in his anchors and show us the true meaning behind their house motto: “We do not sow”.
3 Daenerys Targaryen
Sure, Dany may have been captured by a clan of Dothraki bloodriders last season, but let’s face it she’s the Mother of Dragons, Drogon will surely come to her rescue after his wounds heal. Daenerys also speaks Dothraki which should buy her some time with the savage horselords. Besides her three dragons Dany also has an army of over 10,000 warriors, not to mention the counsel of both Tyrion and Varys. With Tyrion’s cunning intellect and Varys’s web of spies Daenerys should be virtually unstoppable. She went from being a slave wife to the Queen of Meereen, which is no easy feat. This young queen may have strayed from her path of conquest, but her prior achievements will surely be enough to lead her back. This is definitely not the end of the road for the Mother of Dragons.
2 Petyr Baelish
This devious little man has proven just how powerful one can be without even picking up a sword. Baelish is a master at the art of deception, he can lie better than he tells the truth and enjoys doing it. Let’s just go over a few things this mastermind has been able to pull off thus far: Plots a poisonous death for both Jon Arryn and Joffrey Baratheon, solidifies the titles Lord of Harrenhal and Lord Protector of the Vale and sent Lysa Tully flying through the Moon Door just to name a few. Littlefinger is extremely dangerous and unpredictable, it’s nearly impossible to anticipate his next move which is why he’s been so successful over the last five seasons. His ambition is his most dangerous quality and it only seems to be growing. One thing to point out is that The Vale is unscathed by war which makes it quite a safe place for a very dangerous mind. Baelish is more powerful than he’s ever been going into season six, he’s been climbing the ladder to power and has no intention of slowing down.
1 The Night’s King
What most may not know is that the Night’s King used to be the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, where he ruled over the Nightfort for thirteen years. He was defeated by Brandon the Breaker, the King in the North, and Joramun, the King-Beyond-the-Wall who joined forces to put an end to his reign. Not much is known after his defeat as all records of him were destroyed. Clearly he strived for great power after his defeat becoming the undead horned ice king we know him as now. This character’s unworldly power far surpasses any other on the Game of Thrones roster. Not only can he convert human babies into Wights or White Walkers (still unconfirmed), but he can also raise entire armies from the dead! Seriously this is insane; even if you manage to take out most of his “army of the dead” he will just bring them back along with your lost soldiers, as we saw in “Hardhome" the eighth episode of season five. Although we have yet to see him fight, we can only assume he’s a seasoned fighter when it comes to melee combat. If the population of Westeros even wants to stand a chance against this frozen king, they better start forging weapons made of Dragonglass or Valyrian steel - and lots of them.