Welcome back Westerosi faithful, to the third week of our definitive ranking of the greatest fighters on Game of Thrones, and what a week we had, huh? Boy it sure does look like a whole bunch of named characters are gonna bite it this weekend, right? And who saw little Podrick Payne stepping up to be such an accomplished fighter? If we had waited until after this season, we probably wouldn’t have put him so low on last week’s list. Alas, we are forced to make due with the information that was available at the time of the initial ranking, and though next week will surely give some of our favorites a chance to impress, the die is cast, the check is in the mail, and our rankings are secured. So who’s next in the lineup? Who’s the deadliest Dothraki? The nastiest knight? The wiliest wildling? Well reader, let’s start – as we always do – with the honourable mentions.
Honourable Mention: Qhorin Halfhand
A famed ranger of the Night’s Watch, Qhorin is a guy with a lot of street cred, it’s just nothing that we see on screen. He commands a certain level of respect among the Wildlings, which suggests he means business, but his squad is pretty quickly ambushed and killed once Jon gets separated from the crew, and given the fact he threw the fight against Lord Snow, it’s kind of hard to place him on this list. Honourable mention it’ll have to be.
Dishonourable Mention: Edmure Tully
I guess I could assume a body count based on his sacking of Stone Mill, but the fact that he was a castle-raised first-born son of a lord suggests he underwent similar combat training to Robb and Jon, so I guess I would put him above the “survived by luck” crowd – but let’s be real: Dude’s a joke. He couldn’t nail an arrow on his father’s funeral pyre, he’s routinely embarrassed by his far more capable family members, and he spends most of his time in both the book series and the show as a captive. In the Game of Thrones, Edmure’s barely even a spectator.
As one of the Wildling leaders called to Hardholme, it’s clear that Karsi is no joke. Shoot, the Magnar of Thenn even valued her advice (to a point), showing that the wild woman is a force to be reckoned with. She was even doing a good job of tearing through the rampaging Wights before she caught glimpse of the undead children mixed into the crowd. It’s that hesitation that sinks her this low on the list, as though there are some good people on this list who wouldn’t dare to swing a sword at a child, most wouldn’t literally freeze up in the middle of a battle when they see them. Still, Karsi would wreck shop in a melee, provided there were no kids in the periphery.
- Brynden “The Blackfish” Tulley
If we knew him in his prime, I’m sure the Blackfish would’ve made it higher on this list, but even in his advanced age Brynden Tully is one hell of a fighter. Whether he’s acing arrow shots at his brother’s funeral, sneaking out of the Twins during the Red Wedding or taking down swarms of Lannister guards in his ancestral home of Riverrun, Brynden has definitely proved that he’s top Tully. Even in his 60’s, dude’s a beast.
- Styr, the Magnar of Thenn
While all of the wildlings could safely be called “berzerkers,” none are nearly as downright scary as the Thenns. The bald, fashionably scarred cannibals are so notorious that even Tormund Giantsbane is creeped out by them. Standing head and shoulders over his contemporaries is Styr, the Magnar of Thenn – the biggest, baddest, axe wieldingest wildling this side of The Wall. This eerie bastard killed and ate Olly’s parents, as well as several unnamed members of the watch, even getting one up on Azor Ahai himself, Jon Snow. Unfortunately for Styr, it wasn’t meant to be, and dude caught a blacksmith’s hammer to the dome. A scary fighter inside and out, Styr’s not the kind of guy you want on the other side of the battlefield…or the same side of the battlefield…or just anywhere near you, dude’s a creep.
One of Drogo’s loyal bloodriders, Rakharo was a talented Dothraki warrior who was fiercely loyal to his Khal and more than willing to step in to spill blood in his name…or just for his own whims. With his long braid and his status near the head of the Khalasar, Qotho is a man that demands respect from all around him. He is also a bit of a hothead, however, which is what led to his eventual downfall when he picked a fight with a (fully armored) Jorah Mormont. Turns out there may be something to those metal dresses the Westerosi wear after all.
36. Meryn Trant
As one of the only Kingsguard to appear in the show (at least to be named), you might think Ser Meryn is not a dude to mess with – and you’d be right for the most part. He’s a scumbag and a thug with a thing for abusing young girls – a fact that eventually gets him scratched off Arya’s hit list. As far as on-screen kills go, he’s mostly got some no-names. That being said, it’s largely accepted that this tool managed to kill the great Syrio Forrell, the former first sword of Bravos. Sure, Syrio was at a considerable disadvantage, and may actually have escaped from his battle with Ser Meryn. Plus, The Hound once declared that “any boy whore with a sword could beat 3 Meryn Trants,” so I can’t put him much higher on this list.
- Ser Alliser Thorne
Ser Alliser Thorne was a real piece of work, who spent most of his time with the Night’s Watch bullying brigands and thieves into being “good” brothers in black – and took an instant disliking to all of the crows we love. Still, while he was a gruff a-----e to those in his command (and occasionally his superiors), Ser Alliser did actually manage to present a sense of honor in his demeanor. Always putting the watch ahead of his own needs (or those of it’s brothers), Ser Alliser never shied away from a fight, taking down many a wildling during the battle of Castle Black before being taken out by Tormund. His adherence to what he thinks is best for the watch even led him to lead a mutiny against Lord Commander Snow – which was both a successful assassination and a failed coup, paradoxically. That would prove to be his final mistake, of course, but Thorne even went out like a hard ass, keeping a stone face as he swung from the gallows.
- Beric Dondarrion
As the head of the Brotherhood without Banners, Beric likes to lead by example…of course, it’s led to him dying several times, but it’s the thought that counts. Like Thoros, Beric hasn’t shown much in the way of combat skills on the show. We’ve heard about his involvements in past tournaments, served a tour of duty North of the Wall with the Westeros Expendables, and put up a hell of a fight against the Hound, but let’s not forget that fight ended with Clegane’s sword buried deep in Dondarion’s collarbone. He’s almost assuredly going to bite it in this week’s episode…probably for good this time.
Though he seems to disappear from the show an awful lot, Gendry’s shown that he’s not bad with a war hammer. Whether he’s wrecking Gold Cloaks in King’s Landing or Wights at the Fist of the First Men, Gendry’s got the enthusiasm of youth and his (illegitimate) father’s blood pumping through his veins to make him a formidable force on the battlefield. That being said, he’s more a brawler than a soldier, and is still pretty new at this whole “fighting against the end of the world” stuff, so we can’t really expect much of Robert’s bastard. I believe Arya’s paramour is going to make it through the battle with the dead, and likely the inevitable conflict for the Iron Throne. What happens next for the bull of Steel Street? I guess we’ll find out in a few weeks.
- Theon Greyjoy
Oh what is to be made of Theon Greyjoy, the man who would be king…of the Iron Islands. Theon started the show as a brazen and cocksure lout who thought he was god’s gift to the world. Now he doesn’t even have a co…confidence issue, as years spent as Ramsay Snow’s plaything, Reek, have brought sweet Theon lower than anyone ever expected. That he was able to crawl back to anything is an accomplishment, and though he’s a shadow of his former self, Theon has shown to still know his way around a bow and have the ba….courage to stand up for what he believes against even the most dire of odds. I still think Theon from season 1 would whoop his more mature self, but the post-reek Greyjoy is certainly more pleasant to be around.
- Ser Rodrik Cassell
This man’s sideburns alone would put him high on this list, but even based on what we’ve seen on the show, Ser Rodrik has proven to be a tough old bastard. Rodrik’s mostly felled untrained hill tribesmen and wayward Ironborn, but don’t get it twisted – dude’s a knight who will mess you up. Of course, he’s also in his 60s and a step past his peak, so he can be overwhelmed by numbers it seems. Unfortunately, that allowed Ser Rodrik to be among the first victims of Theon Greyjoy’s descent into irredeemability (before his years of torture somehow pulled him out of it). Still, this is the rare northern knight, and Ser Rodrik has been through enough battles to know how to swing a sword.
And that’ll do it for this week! Join us next time when we cross the halfway point and enter the 20s. I imagine some of the people on next week’s rankings may not be with us at that point.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!