My 8 Favourite Game of Thrones Characters
Part 2, 4-1.
Okay, time for part two of this. Part one is up here, by all means take a look, and let's crack on with number four through one.
4. Daenerys Targaryen.
Daenerys is a fan favourite, so it's probably no surprise that she's on this list. Like Sansa, Daenerys is a character who we've been able to see grow into the character she is now, starting off in an impossible situation (made more impossible by Benioff and Weiss again tacking on rape scenes that didn't exist in the books and that twist her character arc into odd shapes) to eventually become the queen of most of Slaver's Bay - with the finale of the most recent series seeing her sailing to Westeros to join Dorne and the Reach as they try to take over the Seven Kingdoms.
Daenerys' character development has headed in an entirely different direction from Sansa's, though: While Sansa has become a Littlefinger-esque player of the game, Daenerys has turned out more like Stannis - a general-queen whose rigid sense of justice has seen her leave a trail of (pretty much completely warranted) violence across Slaver's Bay.
The most recent few episodes have given some hints that Daenerys might be suffering from the Targaryen madness, and while I hope that's not the direction the show eventually goes in, it is, at least, an interesting angle to explore.
3. Tywin Lannister.
Who doesn't love Tywin? I mean, probably a lot of people, since he was legitimately a terrible person, but I find it difficult to hate any character played by Charles Dance. The man does urbane, cultured evil really well.
Tywin is the patriarch of the Lannisters, and for a while he was a genuine contender for the series' main antagonist, alternating between tormenting his family in King's Landing and orchestrating some of the worst atrocities of the series, including the infamous Red Wedding. But he was always a joy to watch, effortlessly stealing every scene he was in and adding a tone of menace to the entire show.
It's arguably a shame that he died in such a ridiculous (if also gruesome) way, but that sort of works for the show's themes - Tywin was a larger than life character who loomed over the entire story, so it's fitting, in a way, that his death wasn't especially grandiose, but instead undignified and unwitnessed, and the result of his familial spite instead of his political scheming.
2. Robb Stark.
This might be the one I have the most difficulty justifying, because in a list filled with people with interesting character arcs or mysterious agendas, Robb is pretty straightforward: He wants his family back, and he wants an independent North, and most of his arc is about him struggling to do that while maintaining his own sense of justice.
Like Tywin, though, Robb had a certain amount of presence and charisma, one that sets him pretty far apart from his brother and the new King in the North, Jon (who has all of the charisma of a potato), which made scenes with him pretty engaging to watch . For a while, he was tied with Sansa for the most interesting storyline of the Stark children, as well, something only enhanced by the fact that he had a decent supporting cast in the form of Catelyn Stark, Roose Bolton, and Theon Greyjoy.
For a while, fans had hopes that he'd come back to life with a wolf's head, but that doesn't seem likely. Also, that's just a ridiculous idea in general.
1. Cersei Lannister.
Cersei was pretty much always going to be in the number one spot here.
Perhaps more than any other character in the show - and definitely more than any of the other antagonists - Cersei's a tragic figure, one who really wouldn't be out of place in a particularly gory Shakespearian tragedy. She's had to struggle with powerlessness, an overbearing and often ruthless father, an abusive husband, and the foreknowledge that all of her children will die and that there's nothing she can do about that.
It's really no wonder that she spends so much time lashing out and committing atrocities of varying severity to protect herself and her children - she's constantly under threat but never given the power to deal with those threats, and she knows for a fact that one day, sooner or later, she'll fail and everything she has will come crashing down around her. It puts her reaction to Tyrion threatening her happiness in a whole new light, contextualises her alternately sympathetic and hateful treatment of Sansa, and provides a weird reasoning for almost every terrible thing she does.
Cersei's compelling to watch, and she's tragic in large part because she could have been a good person, under different circumstances.