Now that its pay cable reign has come to an end, Game Of Thrones has carved out a place
in television history as one of its most beloved shows and also one of its most
controversial. Adapted from George R.R.
Martin’s series of acclaimed novels, it delivered a sprawling tale of intrigue
between multiple kingdoms in a mythical bygone era. Over eight seasons, it
brought the fantasy genre into the mainstream in a way that shocked and
delighted a fanbase that grew with each year.
It also had one of the most hotly debated final seasons
of any show ever. Schlockmania’s quick, spoiler-free take: between having to
continue an adaptation without source material and deciding to wrap things up
in a six-episode season, showrunners/creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
rushed events and character arcs that needed a few additional seasons to unfurl
smoothly. Thus, you had changes in character behavior that felt unnatural,
shorthand plotting that often felt implausible and an overall feeling that the
story got to what could have been a satisfying end place in the wrong way.
That said, the journey is still worth taking for the
genre-minded viewer: the first five seasons in particular are really strong.
The scope of the production is mindboggling for television, feeling like an
epic movie in virtually every episode. Best of all, there is a sprawling cast
of characters brought to life by a fantastic ensemble of actors. One of the
great strengths of Game Of Thrones
was its ability to handle develop rich and involving arcs for multiple
characters at once.
The following is the second half of a list of
Schlockmania’s favorite characters from the show, with an explanation of what
makes each noteworthy. It mostly shies
away from the expected lead characters in favor of the second and third-tier
players who made vivid impressions with less time than the more prominent
characters in the narrative. Watching
their journeys was the most rewarding part of Game Of Thrones for Schlockmania.
Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal): there are plenty of
colorful characters who pop up in a season to flesh out the plot but few are as
colorful as Oberyn. He was a prince who flouted convention by being openly
bisexual, a revenge-driven fighter who could also be kind to the
downtrodden. Pascal gave the character
an appropriately fiery and charismatic performance, working beautifully with
the show’s writers to create a character arc that is emblematic of the show’s
complexity and ability to deliver take-your-breath-away surprises.
Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram): dealing with the
misfortunes that fate can deal out is a running theme on Game Of Thrones – and poor Shireen gets some of the cruelest
treatment fate can dish out: born a girl to parents who needed a boy to carry
on the royal line, dooming her to be resented by her mother, and cursed through
no fault of her own during infancy with a disfiguring medical condition. Despite all these strikes against her, she is
a kind and welcoming soul and a virtual ray of sunshine to fellow traveler
Davos during some dark hours. In an unexpectedly heartwarming subplot, she even
teaches him how to read. Warning: there are plenty of characters in this show
whose plights might make you misty but Shireen will break your heart,
Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham): over the eight seasons
of Game Of Thrones, you see many
characters whose fortunes wax and wane – and their character is revealed by how
they handle the shifts in fortune. Davos
is one of the most satisfying to watch because he actually learns from
missteps, conducts himself with humility and does his best to do the honorable
thing in even when those he is dealing with aren’t willing to do the same.
Cunningham delivers a compelling performance that finds a blend of charisma and
subtlety that fits the role perfectly. Few of the show’s tough guys are as
charming or likeable as Davos.
Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg): There’s no shortage of
arrogant, sharp-tongued royals on Game
Of Thrones but the boss of the group has to be Lady Olenna Tyrell. The grand matriarch of her clan, she is as
canny a player of court politics as anyone else on the show and she delivers
the best putdowns of anyone on the show, which is saying a lot (her verbal
duels with all the members of the Lannister clans offer many of the show’s
wittiest barbs). Even when faced with
dramatic reversals of fortune, she never loses her sense of control or her
scorching wit – and veteran English actress Diana Rigg is a delight to watch in
Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen): of everyone associated with
the Stark clan, this is the character who inspires the most complicated
responses. He starts off as an adopted member of their group then rejects them
to prove himself to his birth family, becoming hateful and monstrous. He falls
from grace in a reversal of fortune that brings him unimaginable suffering…
and he struggles his way to redemption, attempting to piece his identity and
confidence back together while trying to right his past wrongs. Allen dives
into the role’s challenges fearlessly and creates what is in Schlockmania’s
estimation the most complex and rewarding character of the entire series.
Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen): Jorah fits into the group of Game Of Thrones characters who are driven by the idea of regaining a sense of honor. When we meet him, he has been rejected by kingdom and family alike, relegated to the depths where he is ordered to kill the young Daenerys to gain favor with the Lannisters. He regains his dignity by choosing to serve her instead. This begins a grand, tragic/romantic arc where he loves her from a distance and gives all to protect her. Even when he’s on the losing end of political machinations, he refuses to give up on his beliefs and proves his honor again and again in a way that humbles his staunchest critics. This makes him one of the most heroic characters on the show – and Glen’s performance is pure class all the way.