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New to the ‘Game’: The Best and Worst New Characters from ‘Game of Thrones’ Season Two

Game of Thrones

Helen Sloan/HBO; Oliver Upton/HBO; Helen Sloan/HBO

The Game is over. The season finale of Game of Thrones aired Sunday night, and the seven gods finally revealed who will survive to play next season. That makes it the perfect time to rank the Game's rookies as they continue (or don't) into their sophomore phase. Many new faces appeared in Season Two – some stayed in the background while others drove the action and became fan favorites. We're counting down the top 15 new characters from worst to first. Who'll be the Game's rookie of the year?

By Sean T. Collins

Margaery Tyrell

Helen Sloan/HBO

5

Margaery Tyrell

Widow of the late King Renly and daughter of the second-richest House in Westeros, the gorgeous Margaery makes for a picture-perfect queen, in public anyway. Behind closed tent flaps, however, she'll do whatever it takes to be the woman behind the Iron Throne, including most un-queenly threeways with Renly and her brother or alliances with the scheming Littlefinger. The ego and insolence with which actress Natalie Dormer delivers the once and future Queen's creedo – "Do you want to be a queen, my lady?" 'No…I want to be the queen" – is the best line reading of the season.

Davos Seaworth

Helen Sloan/HBO

4

Davos Seaworth

The Onion Knight provides the court of Stannis Baratheon with just the right seasoning. This former smuggler turned trusted advisor isn't afraid to tell it like it is to his monomaniacal boss, or to question the creepy cult the Red Woman has formed around him. Actor Liam Cunningham gives him a rich, rolling voice as salty as the sea by which he lives or dies.

Jaqen H'ghar

Helen Sloan/HBO

3

Jaqen H’ghar

The Boba Fett of Game of Thrones – if Boba Fett ever, y'know, actually did something. Played with sleepy-eyed sex appeal by Tom Wlaschiha, Jaqen's a curiously courteous prisoner who slowly reveals himself to Arya Stark as quite possibly the most dangerous man in Westeros. You want to know more about him, but worry about what you might find out (with good reason, as we discovered in the finale).

Brienne of Tarth

Helen Sloan/HBO

2

Brienne of Tarth

Discriminated against for her gender, mocked for her appearance, in love with someone who could never love her back, cursed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, quite possibly doomed for swearing allegiance to people whose fortunes are falling rapidly: The warrior woman Brienne embodies nearly every misfortune that can befall the people of Game of Thrones, all in a single character. And towering actress Gwendoline Christie embodies Brienne in turn: If it weren't for "Blackwater"'s wildfire explosion, her very real height would be the season's best "special effect."

Stannis Baratheon

Helen Sloan/HBO

1

Stannis Baratheon

Villains become antiheroes by being more charismatic and charming than the heroes themselves. So how do you explain the magnetism exerted by Stannis, the least charming man in Westeros? Despite being almost deliberately humorless and unlikeable, the man who would be king attracts followers and audience members alike through sheer stubborn relentlessness. When steely-eyed, jaw-clenching actor Stephen Dillane growls "The Iron Throne is mine by right," or when he gazes wild-eyed into the flames that allegedly foretell his victory, he leaves no doubt that his Stannis will fight until his dying breath, making him a worthy foil for all the Game's more sympathetic or scintillating players – and marking him as Season Two's rookie of the year.

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