“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
Game of Thrones is inching ever closer to its eventual conclusion, as the smash hit HBO fantasy series only has a single season (of just six episodes) left in its run. Someone will end up sitting on the Iron Throne at the end of it all, but it’s still a huge mystery which characters will prevail in the wars to come.
Throughout the first seven seasons, we’ve watched dozens of men and women from politically powerful families attempt to scheme, bribe, blackmail, betray, and fight their way to the top of the pile. Some want the power for themselves, while others are content to serve an aspiring leader, hoping their loyalty will be rewarded if their chosen player ends up winning the game.
One obvious lesson from the show is that some players are better at the game than others, acquiring more power and staying alive longer than others. In this article, we’re ranking the 15 best players (even some who eventually ended up dying — they were doing so well though!) to step into the Great Game. It’s not just the strong warriors who make our list, as some of the best players in the game actually just lurk in the shadows and pull the strings.
When Season Eight eventually rolls around and concludes the tale, we’ll update this list again based on how everything plays out. But until then, here are the best players from the Game of Thrones.
15. Margaery Tyrell
Ever since she was a little girl, Margaery Tyrell wanted to be a queen. Not just any queen, though. She wanted to be THE queen. And she was well-positioned for it, being the attractive young daughter of Mace Tyrell, Lord of Highgarden and patriarch of one of the richest and most influential families in all of Westeros. She married King Renley Baratheon during the War of the Five Kings, but it was only a political move since Renley had the hots of Margaery’s brother Loras.
After Renley’s death, Margaery angles her way into a marriage with young King Joffrey, convincing him to cast aside his previous promise to marry Sansa Stark. Margaery becomes Queen, but her own grandmother Olenna Tyrell conspires to poison her new husband on their wedding day. Margaery gets one last chance, as she marries Joffery’s younger brother Tommen instead.
She briefly managed to control Tommen with her seductive powers, but when that turned Tommen against his own mother Cersei, the writing was on the wall. Margaery even managed to sway the High Sparrow into believing she had reformed herself as a disciple of the Seven. She played he game well, using brains and beauty instead of sheer power — that is, until Cersei blew her (and everyone else) up in the Great Sept of Baelor.