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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Editorial: My 8 Favourite Game of Thrones Characters, Part 1.

Fluffy, short editorial today, since it's going to be a busy day for me.

Editorial: My 8 Favourite
Game of Thrones Characters.
Part 1 - 8-5.

Have I done this before? If I have, then this is the updated version for updated people, but anyway, here's the first part of my eight favourite Game of Thrones characters, since I may as well get all of my Game of Thrones rambling out of my system. 

8. Stannis Baratheon.

Stannis Baratheon is the guy I would want leading the UK, if I had to pick any Game of Thrones character to be unopposed dictator of the entire country.

Scrupulously just (um, until shortly before his death, at least), doggedly determined to achieve what's his, and possessing one of the most ironclad senses of ethics in the entire Game of Thrones universe, Stannis stood out among the other contenders in the War of the Five Kings for being a genuinely honest, fair person.

Unbendingly so, even, but for me that was part of his charm. It's a lot more interesting to watch someone whose morality absolutely won't allow him to compromise or bend on anything than it is to watch someone who  

7. Brienne of Tarth.

I am a little biased here because I adore Gwendoline Christie as an actress, but in all fairness, Brienne is a great character. Much like Stannis, she's a character who is completely dedicated to a certain code of ethics - albeit in her case, it's a knightly code - and she serves as a stark contrast to the other knights in the series.

Unlike Stannis, however, Brienne also demonstrates how difficult it is for a woman in Westeros to be taken seriously as a knight, facing barbs from - well, nearly every character who encounters her, despite the fact that she's easily one of the better swordspeople in the show.

The series has under-served Brienne for a while, having her essentially perform the role of 'aimless wanderer' for a series and a half before finally having her enter Sansa's service (although even then, her only role in the series was to decisively fail to convince the Blackfish to lend his armies to Sansa's cause, all of which seems to just be to make sure she's out of the way for the Battle of Winterfell), so hopefully the show will do a bit more with her.

6. Sansa Stark.

Let's face it, everybody loves Sansa. 'My skin has changed to porcelain to ivory to steel,' is probably the most quoted line from the novels, bar the obvious ones like 'winter is coming' or 'the Lannisters send their regards.' 

And, in fairness, part of what makes Sansa so appealing is that she's kind of an everyman character. We all remember being children, most of us recall being innocent and kind of bratty and a bit wrapped up in our own fantasies of the future, which is why it hits pretty close to home when we see Sansa suffer, and why it feels like such a triumph when she emerges from that suffering as a bona fide player of the game.

(It's also a small part of why when Benioff and Weiss decided to backtrack her arc a couple of series with Ramsay, it was so unpalatable. A small part, because most of it was that it made no sense, was fetishistic and creepy as all get out, and the fact that it was exceedingly obvious that they had been waiting for Sophie Turner to turn eighteen so that they could have that particularly violent sexual scene play out.)

Sansa has always been a very interesting character, and she's only become more interesting as we've seen her get more Machiavellian and cunning, and I think most of us are hoping that she ends up as Queen in the North (and, preferably, of the Vale and Riverlands).

5. Petyr Baelish.

I should note that unlike the other examples on this list, I don't really like Baelish - or at the very least, he's not somebody I would ever want to meet, and that has a lot less to do with the canny political games and a lot more to do with his creepy interest in a young woman half his age because she bears some resemblance to the woman he was not-so-secretly in love with.

But it's the canny political games part of him that makes him interesting, especially as he starts off the series as a member of a minor noble house whose only claim to fame is being on the Small Council and owning a brothel. You can't say Baelish didn't work for what he got during the show so far, although you can say that most of that work involved exploiting others in every possible way.

What really sells Baelish is Aiden Gillen's performance. He's not a good person, or a nice character, and I sincerely hope he dies a horrible, fiery death, but he is at least interesting to watch.

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