Ahead of Monday’s final episode of Game of Thrones’ seventh season, Colette Keane takes a look at how events have shaped the main characters since we first encountered them way back in 2011. There’s also a good chance not all of them will survive Monday’s show
Tyrion Lannister summed Jon up this season: “You look a lot better brooding than I do.” From the bastard of Winterfell to the King of the North, Jon has battled from his boyhood to be accepted.
His moral compass is strong thanks to Ned Stark’s teachings. He has always believed he is Ned’s son, but a vision has revealed he is actually the son of Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark and Daenerys’ brother Rhaegar — making him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, a potential dragon rider (on the conveniently named Rhaegal) and nephew to the woman who has finally melted his icy and recently restarted heart.
Ned trained Jon to be one of the best swordsmen in the kingdom and instilled in him a moral backbone — perhaps fearful that one day his true identity would be discovered and to ward off any potential ‘Mad King’ leanings in the young Targaryen.
He sent him to The Wall, where he rose to the ranks of Lord Commander, he has been slain, betrayed, resurrected, won back his family home and chosen as King of the North by the Northern Lords.
He has finally got the acceptance he has alway craved, but may lose it all when they find out he is not actually a Stark. He’s one of the good guys, which surely means he won’t see it through to the end.
Ygritte had it right: “You know nothing Jon Snow.”
We first meet Dany as a young girl about to be sold off by her brother Viserys to the horselord Drogo so he can attempt to reclaim the Iron Throne. But his plans backfire when Drogo and Dany fall in love and she warns her brother: “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.”
Drogo eventually crowns him with molten gold as she watches. She hatched her three dragon eggs on Drogo’s funeral pyre and called the largest and her favourite after her late husband.
Years wondering in poverty and in fear of death have shaped her and she has created an army of free slaves and Dothraki so she can reclaim the Iron Throne.
Tyrion fears there may be too much of the Mad King’s blood in her veins and is constantly trying to bring the fire extinguisher to the fire-breathing party.
Having lost Viserion the dragon to the Night King to save Jon, we truly will have a song of fire and ice to look forward to.
Best quote: “Dracarys!”
Sansa started the show as a wide-eyed innocent, who wanted to dress up in pretty dresses and marry a prince and live happily ever after.
She has watched her father beheaded, been beaten on the orders of her betrothed Joffrey who also ordered the deaths of her mother and brother Robb, been forced to marry Tyrion the dwarf, been rescued by Littlefinger who, despite professing his love for her as his fixation with Catelyn gets even creepier, proceeds to bargain her away to be the wife of the psychopathic Ramsay Bolton.
The sly smile that played on her lips as she fed Ramsay to his own dogs just shows you how far she has come.
The Lady of Winterfell, whose intervention won the Battle of the Bastards, has evolved to become a player, and not a pawn as Littlefinger would see her. But can she see past his plans to drive a wedge between her and Arya?
Best quote: “No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone.”
From golden-haired queen married to a drunk who never loved her by a father who saw her as a brood mare, Cersei moved beyond them all to take the Iron Throne for herself. Raising her and Jaime’s children as rightful heirs, she set about murdering Robert’s bastards.
She has hated Tyrion from the moment of his birth, blaming him for killing their mother. She believed Tyrion killed her beloved son Joffrey and ever since he escaped the executioner’s block with the help of Jaime, she has wanted his head on a platter.
She was outmaneuvered by Olenna Tyrell and taken prisoner by the High Sparrow, had her lovely locks shorn, stripped and forced to walk the streets of her city — a move that cost Olenna her entire family when Cersei blew up the Great Sept.
Now pregnant again with Jaime’s child, she has warned her brother never to cross her. Not even the dragons scare her, but as she plans the great meeting in the final episode, we have seen in the past how her plans tend to backfire.
Best quote: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
Ah Tyrion, the self-proclaimed god of tits and wine. While the makeup department has given up on dying his hair Lannister gold, Tyrion’s script writers continue to give him some of the best one-liners in the series. Cursed, in his father’s eyes, from birth to be a dwarf, he is the ultimate outsider decried as an imp and a half-man.
Tormented by Cersei, and later her son Joffrey, Tyrion’s only affection is for Jaime and whores — two of which captured his heart. The first one Tysha he married in secret, but when Tywin found out he gave her to the guards and forced Tyrion to watch as each one had her in turn.
The second, Shae, is forced to give evidence against him in a sham trial, and when Tyrion escapes the cells and finds her in his father’s bed he grabs the crossbow and heads for the privy.
He escapes with the help of Varys and signed up to Team Daenerys. Now her Hand of the King, his advice so far has proved disastrous. As he tries to rein in her desire for fire and fury, he is treading dangerous ground.
Best quote (on Cersei): “You love your children. It’s your one redeeming quality. That and your cheekbones.”
Perhaps the reason Jon and Arya are so close is because they both know what it feels like to be an outsider. Ayra was never happy to be the diligent daughter learning her needlework.
She always wanted to be a knight, a person of action — and was gifted her first blade, Needle, by Jon.
She too has been traumatised by watching the death of her father and was forced to escape King’s Landing. She met Gendry and Hotpie, was captured by the Hound and they were taken to Harrenhal as slaves.
Here she met Faceless Man Jaqen, who helped her escape, only for her and her friends to be captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners. She escapes again and is recaptured by the Hound who decides to sell her back to her family for a ransom.
They are just in time to witness her brother’s body strapped to a horse with his head replaced by that of his direwolf. She then flees to Bravos where we spend too much time watching her learn how to become an assassin.
After murdering Walder Frey and his entire family with the words “Leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe,” she is back home in Winterfell. Her list still has a few names left, but has Littlefinger’s meddling added Sansa’s name to that list?
Best quote: “Joffrey... Cersei... Ilyn Payne... Ser Meryn... the Hound.”
He was the golden-haired knight, the best swordsman in the land and set to rule House Lannister. He gave it up to become a Kingsguard, where he could never marry or inherit lands, in a bid to be close to his twin sister Cersei.
Jaime’s only motivation is his love for Cersei. Cursed throughout the land as the Kingslayer, the man who plunged his sword into the Mad King, we find out the reason he did it was to save the city of King’s Landing from Aerys’ plans to burn it to the ground.
He has been captured, had his sword hand cut off and risked his life to save Brienne from a bear pit. He is now the leader of Cersei’s armies but if she continues to let the power of the throne corrupt her, he may intervene.
Best quote (about Bran to Cersei): “The boy won’t talk. And if he does, I’ll kill him. Him, Ned Stark, the King, the whole bloody lot of them until you and I are the only people left in this world.”
From a youngster happy to climb the walls of Winterfell and listen to stories of White Walkers, to magical defender and knower of all things, Bran’s transformation has been unique.
His love of climbing cost him his legs and was the first time we realised all the usual rules of TV would be broken by this series as Jaimie casually pushed him from the high tower without a backward glance and with the killer line “the things I do for love” after Bran caught him and Cersei having sex.
Bran was to train as the new Three Eyed Raven, the link between the human world and the magical Children of the Forest, but the advance of the Night King saw him promoted faster than he hoped.
He can transport into animals and see what they see and knows all things. He was the one who caused the collapse of the mind of Hodor by allowing him a glimpse of his future when he would have to hold the door against an army of the dead in order for Bran to escape.
He is the one who knows Jon’s true parentage and perhaps how all this ends.
Best quote: Three-Eyed Raven: “You won’t be here forever. You won’t be an old man in a tree. But before you leave, you must learn.”
Bran Stark: “Learn what? “
Three-Eyed Raven: “Everything.”
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