Game of Thrones is rife with brilliant characters. With so many characters coming and going, it can be difficult to keep up and therefore any screen time they do get is immensely important. Most important is how they are introduced to the audience, as this will shape the audience’s perception of the character going forward and it can be hard to change this. Fortunately, they have done a fantastic job of introducing both major and minor characters and some of these have been the best characters introductions in all of television. First impressions count for a lot, and these 10 characters certainly made the most impact in that regard.
10. Syrio Forel
After discovering that Arya has been given a sword and is desperate to learn how to use it, Eddard Stark enlists Syrio Forel to train his daughter. Forel, a master sword-fighter, begins to train Arya in the Braavosi style known as the Water Dance. Syrio not only teaches her an elegant way of fighting much like dancing, but he also teaches her many important life lessons. Many of these have stuck with Arya throughout the course of the show. In their first lesson, Eddard watches on happily and is impressed by his daughter’s skills.
However, Ned also realizes that his daughter may well be training for war. The lessons between the two provide some of the greatest scenes from the first season and are pivotal in establishing who Arya is as a character. Although Syrio only appears in a few episodes, he had a brilliant introduction and his presence can still be strongly felt through Arya.
It seems like an eternity ago that fiery redheaded Wilding Ygritte graced our screens. During her time on the series, her passion, quick wit, and bravery made her a fan favorite. She first made an appearance in season 2, and it certainly was an introduction to behold. Led by Qhorin Halfhand, the scouting party of the Night’s Watch are continuing to search for Wildlings north of the wall. They encounter a group and kill all but one, an outspoken young woman named Ygritte. She immediately picks up on Jon Snow’s hesitance to kill her, giving her the upper hand and it appears she can read him like a book. Jon says he will kill her and the others leave, but she escapes when he is unable to do it. Although Jon and Ygritte’s relationship was complicated, to say the least, the pair some of the funnier and more touching scenes in the series, thanks in large part to Ygritte’s constant teasing.
8. Oberyn Martell
Oberyn Martell did not last too long, but he certainly made an impact. In season 4, Tyrion meets the lords of Dorne outside Kings Landing, only to find that Oberyn will be representing House Martell and not his ruling brother Doran . Fittingly, Tyrion’s introduction to Oberyn begins in one of Littlefinger’s brothels. Oberyn is seen assisting his paramour Ellaria in choosing a prostitute, and he then selects the male Olyvar for his own pleasure. His fun is cut short when he hears “The Rains of Castamere”, which sends him into a silent rage. Before they can react, he then drives his dagger through one of the Lannister men’s hands. Tyrion arrives in time to break up the tense confrontation, and after leaving the brothel we learn why Oberyn Martell has arrived in the capital and what he is there to do.
7. Arya Stark
We get a great insight into Arya as a character with her introduction at the start of the very first episode. With Robb and Jon teaching Bran how to use a bow and arrow in front of their father Ned, Arya is seen knitting with the other girls and looking less than amused. With Bran struggling to hit the target, we then see an arrow whiz past and hit the center of the target. He turns around to find that Arya is the sharpshooter. She then curtsies before running away from an infuriated Bran. We immediately knew that this girl does not conform to what is expected of women in Westeros, and also that she has the potential to be skilled in combat. Aryahas gone on to undertake all kinds of training to become a deadly character out for revenge, but also has some cheek and attitude about her.
6. Tyrion Lannister
The self proclaimed “god of t*ts and wine”, we first find Tyrion Lannister indulging in just that. Accompanying King Robert Baratheon to Winterfell, Tyrion decides not to make a dramatic entrance with the party but instead to visit a brothel after weeks on the road. He is seen guzzling wine and being intimate with Ros, all the while displaying his now iconic wit and charm through their conversation. He is interrupted by his brother Jamie, who then brings in three more girls in an attempt to ensure that Tyrion attends the dinner that evening. Tyrion is an immediately likable Lannister, and we get great insight into what this character enjoys most – drinking and lust. Shortly after, we also get to see him slap Joffrey a few times, which only solidifies his status as a likable character. He has, unsurprisingly, gone on to become a fan favorite.
5. Olenna Tyrell
With her sharp wit, wisdom, and penchant for speaking her mind (a rarity among women in Westeros), Lady Olenna Tyrell has quickly become a fan favorite. Following her granddaughter’s engagement to Joffrey, Olenna moves to King’s Landing and wastes no time making an impression. She first appears in season 3 where she invites Sansa to a lunch of lemon cakes and cheese alongside Margaery. The fact she is played by Dame Dianna Rigg immediately won many over, but the fact that she’s sympathetic towards Sansa and her many losses didn’t hurt her in the likability department, Her brilliant, no-nonsense talk then comes out when discussing Loras – “Loras is young and very good at knocking men off horses with a stick. That does not make him wise. As for your fathead father…” We know she is one of the good guys, but she also has some attitude – a winning combo.
4. Brienne of Tarth
A character loved by everyone, you always feel that whoever is under Brienne’s watch is safe. She also has a brilliant introduction which perfectly sums up her character and how she is perceived by others. Taken to King Renly Baratheon’s camp, Catelyn Stark arrives to find his men watching a duel between two fully armored knights. Margaery cheers for her brother Loras, who disarms his opponent but is then knocked off his feet after his opponent expertly steps under the swing of his axe. Loras yields when the unnamed knight lifts his visor and holds a knife to his face. Renly invites the winner forward and to remove their helm; the crowd are stunned to discover it is a woman. Renly then tells Brienne that she is everything that her father had promised. She requests to join his Kingsguard, to which he accepts and her story begins.
3. The Mountain
A character that makes all others tremble in their boots (plus the viewers at home), Gregor Clegane, or “The Mountain”, is a gigantic, notorious warrior who unleashes shocking and excessive violence on those that cross him. First appearing in season 1, he takes part in a jousting tournament and horrifies the crowd by killing Ser Hugh “accidentally” when a splinter from his lance impales his neck. Littlefinger (in his creepy manner) then explains to a terrified Sansa that the Mountain has a fearsome reputation and is responsible for The Hound’s (The Mountain’s little brother) gruesome burns. With armor concealing his face, this makes him even more terrifying. Later, the Mountain demonstrates his staggering strength by decapitating his horse in one swing after a loss, much to the complete horror of the crowd. He has done many, many more horrific things since then and has yet to meet his match.
2. Tywin Lannister
Manly, skilled, intelligent, and dangerous. These are all words that sum up Tywin Lannister, and that is exactly what is portrayed in his first scene in season 1. Having assembled an army of sixty thousand men on the borders of the Riverland, we find Lord Tywin Lannister in his tent with his sleeves up and skinning a dead stag. He makes extremely quick work of the stag and it is easy to be distracted by his impressive handy work, but while he works, he explains to Jaime (his eldest son) the importance of the conflict and how it will decide the fate of their family. He states that they will either forge a dynasty or cease to exist, and that Jaime must become the man he is meant to be. From this powerful speech, we also get an insight into the importance of the Lannister name to Tywin.
1. The Blackfish
Brynden Tully, or the Blackfish as he is more commonly known, is the uncle of Catelyn, Lysa, and Edmure Tully, and is known as a grizzled and formidable knight and battle commander. He does not first appear until season 3 during the funeral of his brother, Hoster Tully. Edmure is tasked with firing a blazing arrow onto the funeral barge as it floats downriver, but awkwardly misses on his first three attempts. In steps the Blackfish, who shoves Edmure out the way, takes one look at a flag to gauge the wind, fires, and then walks away without looking back, whilst throwing Edmure back the bow and arrow. The arrow, of course, lands true and is the Game of Thrones equivalent of not looking back at an explosion in an action film. Thanks to this incredibly confident display of skill, we immediately knew that this is a man who lives up to his formidable reputation.