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40 Best ‘Game of Thrones’ Characters – Ranked and Updated

From Arya to Yara, the Night King to the Mother of Dragons, we count down the ‘Game’s best and worst players

The strongest story arcs. The best one-liners. The most shocking demises. Whether they win or die, whether they’re hero or villain – or like most people on this show, somewhere in between – each character on Game of Thrones can employ an entire arsenal of factors to win the game that matters most: the battle for being crowned the series’ best character. As David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ smash-hit fantasy saga returns to HBO for its seventh season this weekend, we’re counting down the 40 most memorable characters from worst to best – updated since we last did this around the start of Season Four. In a cast so sprawling that some heavy hitters didn’t even make the cut (also: sorry, Podrick Payne, we still love you!), who is the one true king or queen?

HBO

1

Daenerys Targaryen

She’s the heir to a powerful, dysfunctional family with even more powerful and dysfunctional enemies. Her story is a non-stop confrontation with complex ideas about sex, war, gender, race, politics and morality. She’s played by Emilia Clarke, an actor who went from unknown to star overnight, with the Rolling Stone cover to prove it. Oh, and she’s a fireproof messiah with a trio of flying nuclear dinosaurs at her disposal. Now, after six seasons of waiting, she’s headed to Westeros to take back the Iron Throne, and quite possibly save humanity from extinction at the cold hands of the White Walkers in the process. The Mother of Dragons is the human embodiment of everything that makes Game of Thrones great. Bow down.

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