Keeping track of Thrones characters has always been a tricky affair. The world has changed beyond recognition since the beginning of the show, with the vast majority of the original cast dead and buried, but there’s still a huge world to rein in, and it’s important that each major player of the game gets a chance to shine.
The amount of side-characters, one-off no hopers, and lumbering bags of meat and blood is truly enormous, though they’re all mainly used as walking-talking target practice. Forget about the pawns, your attention needs to be directed straight at the major pieces, although some of the top figures in Game Of Thrones could still be put to better use.
Some characters have been suffocated under the quantity of side-shows, others have been completely anonymous, while a few have been poorly interpreted from the books. It’s certainly a case of ‘the books always know best’ but with one character in particular, surely world-renowned warrior status would be more interesting than their TV outcast position.
Here are 10 characters who should be used better in Season 6…
Varys is one of the unsung heroes in Game Of Thrones. His motives, his loyalties, his actions have all been questioned intensely since the opening season, but guess what? He’s fantastic. Varys smuggling Tyrion out of King’s Landing was one of his most genuine moments, and from then on, we’ve grown to love him.
Well, that is until Tyrion was snatched by Jorah in Volantis. Varys was banished to the Gendry, Beric Dondarrion and Benjen Stark society for drop-out characters, and fans were even starting to worry about whether he’d make a return as the weeks wore on without the eunuch. Now he’s made it to Meereen and linked back up with Tyrion, there should be no more exile for Varys. He’s back, and he must stay that way.
9. Tommen ‘Baratheon’
Tommen is a boy King with an innocent heart, naive mind, and an unfair war swirling within his own castle walls. Margaery is seducing him one way, while Cersei is clawing him in the opposite direction. You’d thinking ruling a realm would be a great position to be in, but that’s not the case for poor Tommen.
I understand he’s in too deep, he’s not designed to fight back and assert pure authority, but his character really needs to offer some form of reaction in Season 6. He simply vanished for large parts of Season 5 with the reasoning being that he barely left his bedroom. We simply need more from Tommen, in both screen time and bravery. The KING needs to act like one.
8. The Mountain
No wonder they can’t nail the role of The Mountain down to just one man. Three actors have played the savage Gregor Clegane in a combined total of nine episodes across five entire seasons. For such a big man with an utterly savage reputation, he’s barely been given any time to develop.
It seems like The Mountain had to ‘die’ for the creators to realise he could be useful going forward. So far he’s simply shown up when there’s a fight to be had. Now that he is, well, whatever he is now, we can expect The Mountain to remain in King’s Landing, leading to greater screen time and hopefully a better representation of the colossal Clegane.
7. Kevan Lannister
Kevan Lannister has always been a strangely used character. Being the late-Tywin’s brother, you’d expect a more to be made about him. He’s had that blow to deal with on top of the revelations surrounding his son Lancel and Cersei’s affair, so surely he must be gearing up to respond?
He rejected Cersei’s grab for power and headed for Casterly Rock, but the end of Season 5 saw his return to the capital as Hand Of The King. Kevan won’t show any forgiveness to Cersei, nor will he offer any mercy, but he could be a major player in the King’s Landing game if he begins to steady the ship and solidify the city.
6. Bran Stark
Season 5 proved to be a lovely spot of time off for Bran Stark. He’s been through a lot in his short life, but surviving his perilous trek to meet the Three-Eyed Raven is a great achievement and surely the start of a fantastic string of storylines for the true Stark Heir of Winterfell.
I’ll admit to dreading parts of his storyline in the show up until he reached Beyond The Wall. The long, trundling road to nowhere simply didn’t do Bran any justice, but now he’s reached his destination, the creators must ensure he rises back to relevance in an intriguing, exciting way. He can be so much more than a passenger in this show, so let’s see the real Bran Stark.
5. Brienne Of Tarth
Brienne has cultivated hero status among many fans, but I’m yet to be truly convinced. As an individual, she is a brilliantly strong-willed, incredibly loyal woman, but her story has been drawn out for so long with little end result to justify the time she has been given.
Season 5 made a mockery of her potentially excellent character by omitting her almost entirely, and when she did feature, 90% of her time was spent motionless, peering out at Winterfell, waiting for a signal. Killing Stannis gives some purpose to Brienne still surviving, but she really does need to be used in a more integral role if she is to justify her status as a ‘good character’.
4. Sand Snakes
You only need to watch their final fight scene to understand why the Sand Snakes should be put to far better use. It boils down to the trio of vicious, deadly, gorgeous, devastating warriors against a cripple and his bodyguard, yet they’re tame, they’re languid, and they’re rendered utterly pointless after being thrown into a jail cell.
The Sand Snakes (and Dorne itself) offered a fantastic opportunity for Thrones to showcase a whole new area of Westeros, but the result was severely underwhelming. The idea of the Sand Snakes, led by Ellaria Sand, is insanely cool, but the execution was sorely lacking. They will feature in Season 6, but hopefully they return with 100% more fire than in Season 5.
3. Sansa Stark
Sansa Stark is quickly becoming a personal favourite character of mine. She’s had one of the roughest journeys in Westeros, yet she’s slowly maturing to the point where she understands how the game is played, and the necessity to master it.
But come on, HBO, we get it. Sansa’s had a torrid, torrid time but every time she actively seeks to grow and leave it all behind, she’s dragged back into an even worse state. Sansa Stark is far more than a physical, sexual and mental torture item. Her character and her situation has becoming increasingly alarming but she really needs to be allowed to develop as a powerful figure, not just an object to mistreat.
2. Loras Tyrell
“Seventeen, and beautiful, and already a legend. Half the girls in the Seven Kingdoms want to bed him, and all the boys want to be him.” That’s a snippet from a Tyrion POV chapter in A Storm Of Swords. “Loras is a capable warrior, using swords, axes, and morningstars to deadly effect. He is beloved by the smallfolk, especially the women. While courteous he is still thirsty for glory and can be short-tempered and impetuous.”
Why haven’t we seen ANY of this? So far in the entire series, we’ve only seen Loras as a pretty face. In the show, that’s all he is. He’s a young but growing legendary warrior in the books, but in the series he bare no resemblance to that powerful knight. His character simply doesn’t have the same edge as his book counterpart, and with Season 6 looking like a defining time for him, we need to see the creators make a real effort with him.
1. Arya Stark
Yes, Arya has potential to be the coolest character in Westeros and beyond, but it’s time some people woke up and accepted that she’s not at that level. Yet. Arya’s rampant popularity is based on her potential, and while Maisie Williams does a fantastic job of bringing the youngest Stark daughter to life, her storylines are – dare I say it? – largely irrelevant.
Arya in Braavos has bee a slow ride, and the longer she stays across the Narrow Sea, the less of an impact she’s having on the overarching plot. To summarise, Arya’s personality is great, Arya’s set of skills is exciting, Williams’ performances are inch-perfect, but Arya’s relevance to the fate of Westeros has been wavering for a long time now. She needs a big season, she needs a return to the Seven Kingdoms.