J A Garrett

Curiously nerdy posts.

The top five badasses from Game of Thrones.

I originally thought I’d write up a Best and Worst of the five novels written in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but quickly ran into a major roadblock… namely, I can’t really discuss the novels in depth without creating a minefield of spoilers. And since spoiling the show is tantamount to a hate crime in the minds of the TV viewing public, I decided I’d go in a different GRRM-flavored direction.

There still might be some spoilers, but I’ll mark them very carefully. So no worries!

NOTE: I’m mostly going to be sticking to characters that actually existed during the time frame of the books, so no Ser Arthur Daynes or Rhaegar Targaryens to be found here. Sorry!

#5. Sandor Clegane, aka “The Hound”

This cave is dark too, but I’m the terror here.


He might not be able to read well, but boy can he fight.

I know what you’re saying. Why Sandor, and not Gregor, the Man Mountain? It’s pretty simple. Sandor is better at staying alive, and almost as fearsome a warrior. If you don’t have fire at your disposal, and The Hound is coming at you, you’re pretty well screwed. Besides, who stopped the Man Mountain from wrecking Loras Tyrell at the Tournament of the Hand in Game of Thrones? Sandor. Who fought heroically at Blackwater, and only quit because of fire and Joffrey being a whelp of a king? Sandor.

Okay, so get some fire and he loses. Nope! *spoilers* Beric Dondarrion tried that in Storm of Swords, and still lost. *Spoilers*

Also, he’s a veritable wealth of awesome quotes. Especially whenever he’s talking to Sansa.

The elder brother at a monastery where Sandor was last seen sums him up best:

I know a little of this man Sandor Clegane. He was Prince Joffrey’s sworn shield for many a year, and even here we would hear tell of his deeds, both good and ill.

If even half of what we heard was true This was a bitter, tormented soul, a sinner who mocked both gods and men. He served, but found no pride in service. He fought, but took no joy in victory. He drank, to drown his pain in a sea of wine. He did not love, nor was he loved himself. It was hate that drove him. Though he committed many sins, he never sought forgiveness.

Where other men dream of love, or wealth, or glory, this man Sandor Clegane dreamed of slaying his own brother, a sin so terrible it makes me shudder just to speak of it. Yet that was the bread that nourished him, the fuel that kept his fires burning. Ignoble as it was the hope of seeing his brother’s blood upon his blade was all this sad and angry creature lived for…

GRRM has stayed mum on his true fate, but I do hope to see more of the Hound before the series is over.

#4. Prince Oberyn Martell, aka “The Red Viper”

Ellaria: You’re going to fight that?

Oberyn: I’m going to kill that.

This is a character we don’t get to see much of, and really, that’s a shame. He was one of my favorites.

Why is that? He’s smart. He was close to becoming a maester, but left simply because he got bored of the process. He was a prince, but travelled the world and even created his own mercenary company for a time, despite the fact that he was a prince of Dorne and could’ve simply stayed home and lived the good life instead.

Also something interesting is how he sired 8 bastards, and decided to be a father to them all, which is EXTREMELY rare in the world of Westeros.

But why is he badass beyond that? Well… as viewers of the TV show will soon learn, he was part of the most awesome duel in the entire book series so far. It’s one of the best action scenes meshed with drama that I’ve ever read. I could almost feel the sparks coming off the pages as I read it.

In the end, he’s only this low because he technically lost. But he’s still badass, because he got what he wanted in the end.

#3. Jaime Lannister, aka “The Kingslayer”

Have no fear, Stark. I was only keeping it warm for our friend Robert. It’s not a very comfortable seat, I’m afraid.

I don’t really need to explain this one much, do I? In terms of ethics, he’s been a very gray character. When it comes to greatness on the battlefield, there aren’t many who can match him. He won numerous tournaments when he was still i his teens, and became a Kingsguard very early in life. He was the only one brave enough to slay the Mad King, even though he knew it would stain his reputation for the rest of his life.

Even when he loses a battle – like the one to Robb Stark at the Whispering Wood – he still cuts down at least 3 notable knights before he is captured. Even when he is captured and is in manacles, he is still a capable match for Brienne of Tarth, who is herself a good enough fighter to serve as a Kingsguard.

Though obviously his best fighting days are behind him, he is still a very badass character, both in words and deeds, and he is definitely one of my favorites as a result.

#2. Robert Baratheon, aka “The Usurper”

I swear to you, I was never so alive as when I was winning this throne, or so dead as now that I’ve won it.

Although by Game of Thrones, we only see the fat womanizing Robert who can’t even fit into his own breastplate anymore, let’s not forget one simple fact: He became King by fighting, and he kept it by fighting. He used a warhammer so heavy most men needed two hands to lift it. He won three major battles in a single day. He slew Rhaegar Targaryen, who himself was one of THE most badass knights of his day. And he did it by caving in his chest with that same massive warhammer.

Robert wasn’t the smartest guy in Westeros. Not by a long shot. But when it came to fighting, and leading an army, there were few better. The fact that it took a boar and some doctored wine to take him down even as an old fat man is saying something.

#1. Tywin Lannister, aka “The Lion of Lannister”

Kevan: Tywin seems a hard man to you, but he’s no harder than he’s had to be. Our own father was gentle and amiable, but so weak his bannermen mocked him in their cups. Some saw fit to defy him openly. Other lords borrowed his gold and never troubled to repay it. At court they japed of toothless lions. Even his own mistress stole from him. A woman scarcely one step above a whore, and she helped herself to my mother’s jewels! It fell to Tywin to restore House Lannister to its proper place. Just as it fell to him to rule this realm, when he was no more than twenty. He bore that heavy burden for twenty years and all it earned him was a mad king’s envy. Instead of the honor he deserved, he was made to suffer slights beyond count, yet he gave the Seven Kingdoms peace, plenty and justice. He is a just man.

Tyrion: You love him.
Kevan: He is my brother.

Yeah, my #1 badass never even picked up a sword in the books. And you know why?

He never needed to. He was the planner, the ruler, the facilitator. And he did it better than anyone. He was ruthless, and cunning. He was a dangerous man, and only cared for results. Therefore it shouldn’t be a surprise that he employed bannermen like Gregor Clegane, and sired children like Jaime, Cersei, and even Tyrion.

You need only look at how much things have fallen apart in Westeros since *spoilers* his death *spoilers* to realize how important he was to keeping everything in the kingdom working properly. He was a vicious man, a monstrous man, even.

But history needs such men sometimes. GRRM realizes that, I think. That’s why this character works. And that is why he is badass.


It’d be fun to do a more proper power ranking of this sometime. But this is my top five. There are many like it, but this is mine.





3 comments on “The top five badasses from Game of Thrones.

  1. patricksponaugle
    April 15, 2014

    Nice list. I’m also a fan of Thoros of Myr, who’s almost the Chuck Norris of Westeros.

    Winning melees with his flaming sword, the first guy through the breach during the siege of Pyke…

    Righteously badass.

  2. iMperialis
    April 25, 2014

    You totally missed sir Barristan Selmy. He is old but still kicking ass.

    • jagarrett
      April 25, 2014

      I thought about him, as he is one of my favorites as well, but what held him back from my top five was the fact that he hasn’t really had a really amazing feat of badassery to his name yet that we’ve seen. Given from the looks of the end of A Dance with Dragons, though, that’ll probably change soon enough!

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