Game of Thrones fans love the show for its characters. Viewers align like the factions in the show, rooting for one or more characters to emerge victorious in the titular game. The characters you know by one name – Dany, Jon, Sansa, Tyrion – are championed by audiences as they march toward the show’s inevitable conclusion. Others are wept for after meeting their tragic end, mourned in the viral Youtube reaction videos where they will live forever.
Most often, the characters that are true fan favorites are the strong ones – great warriors like Jon; skilled operators like Tyrion; righteous and vengeful rebels like Arya. This list isn’t about them.
This list is about identifying the weakest characters in the Game of Thrones show universe. These are characters that exist on screen, so no book-only entries. For the purposes of the ranking, weakness refers to a critical lack of power – complete impotence. Characters that are inept, cowardly, soft, stupid, broken, or all of the above. Each of them are – to varying degrees – doormats and dipsticks; at best, they sit haplessly on the sidelines; at worst their ineptitude is a negative force.
These are the 15 Weakest Characters in Game of Thrones.
15. Edmure Tully
Edmure Tully was born with all the tools to become lord of a proud house and keeper of a fine ancestral home in Riverrun. As younger brother of fan favorite Catelyn Stark, Edmure inherited plenty of good will with the show’s audience despite being an unknown quantity for the shows first two seasons.
Alas, we should have known what to expect from Lord Edmure after being introduced to him feebly trying to use an arrow to light his father’s funeral boat in Season 3. After three failed attempts, The Blackfish – sufficiently exasperated by this display – moved Edmure aside to handle the rite himself.
After that, we saw Robb Stark deliver a tongue lashing to Edmure for a military folly motivated by a search for glory, so you can count out tactical prowess as a hidden skill of Edmure’s. Finally, Lord Tully was kidnapped at his own wedding, and held hostage by the Freys until he resurfaced in Season Six – to surrender Riverrun and become a hostage of the Lannisters. Pretty weak.
14. The Lord of Bones AKA Rattleshirt
The lord of a bones is a character that didn’t live up to his own hype. We saw him in three seasons: the first two times, we heard a lot of talk about how intimidating he was, how ferocious a leader he was of the free folk. But all we saw on screen was the fearsome lord of bones being cowed by Ygritte and smashed to bits by Tormund Giantsbane.
Not to take anything away from Tormund, who would place highly on any strongest characters list, but we aren’t sure whether he simply made Rattleshirt look weak, or if Rattleshirt was weak to begin with. There has to be more gusto in a guy who dresses himself in the remains of dead humans which he claims to have vanquished; as viewers, all we saw was a man who ran his mouth and was quickly and easily dispatched.
13. Mace Tyrell
We like Mace Tyrell, really. He has been a good source of comic relief in the three seasons we’ve known him. Still, rare is the comic relief who is also powerful. It didn’t take long for viewers to determine exactly who ran House Tyrell after meeting the bumbling Mace and his much smarter mother, the acid-tongued Lady Olenna (who openly describes her son as an “oaf”).
We must concede that Mace is a somewhat skilled delegator and a relatively successful politician; but most of that success has come from flip-flopping between who he and his considerable forces support, based on who is winning and who has the most to give the Tyrells.
In The War of the Five Kings, Mace declared for Renly Baratheon… until Renly died, at which point the Tyrells pivoted into an alliance with the Lannisters. During Robert’s Rebellion, Mace declared for the Mad King; when all was lost, the Tyrell army conceded immediately and Mace was treated delicately.
So, Mace’s strength is essentially just a survival tactic that manifests itself as a lack of conviction. This isn’t strength at all, it’s the disposition of a doormat that’s smart enough to make friends with the shoes that tramp all over it. Weak!
12. Selyse Baratheon
Selyse Baratheon is weak in the uniquely sad way of some zealots. She is a person who has surrendered every ounce of her agency, opting instead to follow the whims of the Lord of Light and his disciples – such as Melisandre, who she brought to Dragonstone.
The problems that Selyse’s zealous weakness brought forth were numerous, and grave. As a quick refresher: feeling the burden of her failure to produce a son for her husband, Selyse turned to the teachings of the Lord of Light with a complete commitment. She brought the Red Woman to Dragonstone to facilitate her ascent to the throne.
Said Red Woman slept with her husband, conceiving a murderous shadow monster. Selyse was undisturbed by this, firm in her faith. The Red Woman later convinced Stannis and Selyse to burn their only daughter at the stake, as an offering to the Lord of Light. Selyse was happy to go along, until it was way too late. Faced with this disgusting act, Selyse hung herself from a tree branch.
11. Hizdahr zo Loraq
Hizdahr presents a style of weakness unique to privileged, ill-equipped members of the ruling class who suddenly fall sharply out of their element.
When we first meet Hizdahr zo Loraq on the show, he is petitioning Dany on behalf of his father, a former great master (slave owner), who has recently been crucified and who Hizdahr believes deserves a proper burial. Hizdahr goes on to somehow fall backwards into a space on Dany’s small council, representing the interests of the former masters.
For a while, Hizdahr didn’t seem so weak; instead, he looked like a clever operator carving out space in the new world for the deposed former ruling class. Until, after a Sons of the Harpy attack that claimed the life Ser Barristen Selmy, Dany enchained all the heads of Meereen’s “great” houses and Hizdahr’s true character presented itself. Sufficiently terrified by Dany’s dragon Raeghal (we can’t fault him there), Hizdahr was reduced to a begging puddle. As an olive branch, Dany took him to be her future husband – a purely political entreaty. Later, during the games at the fighting pits, the Sons of the Harpy attacked once more. Hizdahr tried feebly to rush Dany to safety before being stabbed repeatedly by four of the rebels.
10. Podrick Payne
We aren’t here to drag beloved characters through the mud. Pod has been a loyal squire to fan favorite characters Tyrion and Brienne in times of trouble and a source of great comedy in times of respite. He is, rightly, a well-regarded second tier character who seems to have a truly kind heart and innocent worldview, which makes him a refreshing breath of clean air in the otherwise dim Game of Thrones universe.
Now, having said that, Pod is weak. He is weak, no matter how much we don’t want it to be so and hope that it changes soon. But as Bronn said as recently as last week, Pod is a bit old to be a squire. And yet, he still is. He is allegedly training to fight, but seems to have learned next to nothing. His life so far has been defined by cleaning the equipment and cooking the meals of other, stronger characters.
We hope someday soon we will be able to strike Podrick Payne from this list. We know that the ladies of Littlefinger’s brothels, like some of you, may not be happy to see him here in the first place. But as of now, Pod is weak.
9. Joffrey Baratheon
Where to begin? Joffrey tried for a very long time to convince the world around him that he wasn’t weak. He wore his Kingship like an offensive shirt, an affront to every person he encountered. He sneered, he demanded, and he whined. Like another of the show’s psychopaths, Ramsay Snow, he tortured, maimed, and killed, for sport.
Here’s the thing, though – Joffrey Baratheon is no Ramsay Snow. Ramsay Snow wouldn’t have cried and begged helplessly at the wrong end of Arya’s sword in season one. Ramsay Snow wouldn’t have needed hard men like The Hound to stand behind him while he made empty threats. Ramsay Snow wouldn’t have turned tail and fled at the Blackwater. Ramsay Snow killed his own father, taking a throne for himself; Joffrey Baratheon would have been nothing without his mother and grandfather pulling the strings behind him. No matter how strong he pretended to be, he was an utter coward with no inherent strength or will.
8. Viserys Targaryen
Viserys, like Hizdahr, was an entitled brat who was unknowingly overmatched by his situation. Like Joffrey, he was a scared fool who compensated by feigning rage and a capacity for violence that he didn’t actually have.
It’s been five seasons since we’ve seen Viserys, the older brother of Dany. When we first met the two of them, Dany was being wedded to the great Kahl Drogo, part of Viserys’ plan to reclaim the iron throne for the Targaryens. Viserys’ miscalculations were many. He was unable to see that the raw power and danger presented by the Dothraki would immediately render him useless; he also failed to see that once Kahl Drogo developed a true relationship with his sister Dany, his uselessness would only be cemented.
Viserys wasn’t very subtle; mostly he just threw tantrums, and threatened Dany not to “wake the dragon”. His impatience and complete lack of foresight eventually led to him being bathed in molten gold by Kahl Drogo. It was the last we saw of Viserys the Weak.
7. Tommen Baratheon
Is it worse for a character to be offensively, horrifically, tragically weak, such as Selyse Baratheon, or weak in a forgettable sense, almost completely unremarkable in their lack of impact? We try to answer that question here, with the entry of Tommen Baratheon.
After the joyous death of King Joffrey, many show-watchers might have needed a quick visit to Wikipedia to remember the name of Joffrey’s brother, next in line for the throne. Tommen, sweet as he may be, has been a non-factor for much of the series. Once he was handed the Iron Throne, Tommen quickly assumed his predecessor’s role as a puppet for smarter, stronger characters – he just plays it with less panache.
Tommen went from desperately trying to maintain a relationship with Margaery, who overmatches him in every way; to watching as the High Sparrow stripped Tommen’s own mother of whatever dignity she had. He followed that up by aligning with the Sparrow – undoubtedly a play that he considers smart politics. But the audience can plainly see that everyone else is playing a different game than Tommen, himself a mere pawn. It hurts us to write that Tommen might be a worse king than his brother… but that doesn’t make us wrong.
6. Lysa Arryn
Lisa Arryn, sister of Cat Stark and wife to the late John Arryn, is as weak as she is insane, which means she is many degrees of weak.
It’s worth noting that we only know Lysa on the show in the time after the death of her husband, which seems to have substantially shattered whatever sanity she may have once had. But in that time, we have seen her be a paranoid character bent on isolation, one that raises her child and rules over her castle with complete emotional instability.
Notably, When Cat Stark asked Lysa that the Knights of the Vale, her ancestral home, join house Stark in fighting the Lannisters, Lysa withheld her help; preferring instead for the forces to remain at home protecting her son Robin. Her fragility made her a perfect target for the machinations of Littlefinger, who easily used Lysa for his own gain as we saw in Season Four. Once her craziness outweighed whatever utility she may have had, he went ahead and killed her.
5. Ser Dontos Hollard (The Fool)
You remember Dontos as the knight who inexplicably arrived drunk to compete at King Joffrey’s name day tournament, and later gifted Sansa a necklace secretly containing poison. Dontos must not have always been weak, as he was in fact a knight, but he’s certainly been weak for as long as we’ve known him.
On the day of Joffrey’s tournament, Dontos was saved from a forced wine drowning (exactly how it sounds) only by the quick thinking grace of Sansa Stark, who reminded Joffrey that taking a life on his nameday would result in bad luck. The necklace he would later give Sansa as a thank you was laced with deadly poison intended for King Joffrey. This would count as a point in Ser Dontos’ favor if he had anything to do with engineering the planned assassination, but he didn’t. Instead, it was Littlefinger once again manipulating a weaker character to do his bidding. Much like he did with Lysa, once Littlefinger exhausted Dontos’ usefulness, he dispatched him.
4. Rickon Stark
Rickon has been basically a baby for most of the series, so this feels a little bit like taking a cheap shot. But in the interest of list integrity, we have to include the youngest Stark boy, who has been either peripheral or elsewhere altogether or in a dungeon for as long as we’ve known him.
In fact, even the character descriptions on various Game of Thrones wiki articles describe Rickon’s show plotline as little more than being in the room while his older brother Bran did important things. The last we saw of poor Rickon was in season three, until he reappeared in season six as a prisoner, gifted to the despicable Ramsay Snow. Since then, we can only assume he has been in a dungeon waiting to be rescued.
3. Janos Slynt
You may remember that early in the show, during his stint as head of the King’s Landing City Watch, Janos Slynt betrayed Ned Stark and killed his men, before going on to murder as many of the Baratheon bastards as he could get his hands on. This included one infant. Later, Tyrion would reprimand Slynt for his actions by sending him north to Castle Black, to join the Night’s Watch. Slynt, like the other weaklings on the show who substitute a lack of honor for strength, quickly made himself a pilot fish to Ser Aliser Thorne, currying favor by picking on the few weaker than himself.
We saw the true depth of Slynt’s cowardice during the Battle of Castle Black, when upon witnessing the strength of the wildling army, he surrendered command of the watch to Jon Snow and retreated to hide with Gilly and her baby.
It’s important that we are very clear here. The Theon Greyjoy of the show’s early seasons may not have been so weak. He certainly wasn’t strong, but he wasn’t defined by his weakness. Likewise, the Theon that we hope to see return soon after his sister Yara’s pep talk also might not be weak. But Reek – the broken version of Theon that served so long as Ramsay Bolton’s chew toy – was so very, very weak.
Weak is probably not even an accurate descriptor for Reek. Reek was weak, in the same way you might describe Mount Everest as “tall”. It’s a bit of an understatement. Ramsay so efficiently stripped Reek of his dignity, sanity, and anatomy that there was hardly anything left. During the attack on the Dreadfort, when Yara came to rescue her brother, Reek was so weak he couldn’t even bring himself to leave captivity.
The good thing about this list is that we can still root for the redemption of some of the characters on it. Reek/Theon definitely fits that mold, as his role in Yara’s aggressive maneuvering might still deliver him some modicum of power. But his time as Reek will always and forever be defined by his weakness.
1. Robin Arryn AKA Sweetrobin
You first met Robin Arryn – lord of the Eyrie – when he was breastfeeding. He was a tween at the time. It was the first sign of Robin’s horrible arrested development, undeniably afflicted upon him by his unwell mother.
As Lord of the Eyrie, Robin seemingly never left his castle to explore the lands over which he ostensibly ruled. That was true as recently as season four, when Littlefinger urged him to finally take some control of his own life. So Robin began sword fighting lessons with Lord Yohn Royce, who agreed to give him guidance but admitted there wasn’t much potential to tap. When we revisited him in season six, Robin was training as an archer with what seemed like similar ineptitude.
Robin training looks similar to the little league baseball player who would rather be anywhere else – be it picking daffodils, twirling around in circles, blowing gum bubbles – than catching fly balls. However, in this instance Sweetrobin’s interests lean more towards sending men through a very high trap door to their deaths.
There is no sign that Robin will ever develop into anything more than another tool for his uncle, Littlefinger, to use. He has no discernible skills or interests, beyond his morbid fascination with the moon door. He is unequipped, in every way, to do almost anything. He is the weakest character in Game of Thrones.
Bonus Entry #1 – Stronger Than He Appears – Samwell Tarly
You might be surprised that Samwell Tarly didn’t make the least of Game’s weakest characters – after all, it’s kind of his thing. But as we learned early on, Sam Tarly has a multitude of strong skills that just don’t fit the life he was born into.
After being cast out of his home by his own father for being too weak to carry on the Tarly tradition of military prowess, Sam went to the Night’s Watch where he didn’t change anyone’s mind. Second rate at sparring, scared of literally everything – scared even to not be scared – Sam only survived in the early days because of Jon Snow and Jon’s direwolf, Ghost.
Fans were delighted, though, as Sam used his superior intellect and gentle heart to win over his fellow watchmen, advance himself, and get himself out of some jams. He killed a White Walker, after all. He won a women’s heart, “adopted” a son, and appears to be a good dad. And he’s chasing his dreams of being a maester. Truth be told, Sam was never weak; he was just being measured with the wrong ruler.
Bonus Entry #2 – Might Actually Be Weak? – Stannis Baratheon
Stannis Baratheon’s character breaks a chief writing rule – show, don’t tell. As in, we are constantly told that Stannis is a fierce commander, genius strategist, and vaunted military mind. What we see, though, is Stannis losing battle after battle after conflict after conflict.
Furthermore, he allowed his mind to be warped by outside advisors to such a great degree the he is eventually amenable to burning his own daughter alive. Not exactly a strong moral compass.
The show clearly depicts Stannis up against long odds in many of his battles; but fighting those battles was foolhardy, not the action of a person who sees the whole board. He was trounced at the Blackwater, and took his limping forces north to get trounced once more at Winterfell. In between, he sailed to Braavos to ask for a loan. In the end, he burned his daughter, lost his wife to suicide, and lost his head to Lady Brienne. All we heard was that Stannis was strong; and all we saw was that Stannis was actually pretty weak.