If there’s one thing we all know about HBO’s Game of Thrones, it’s that no character is safe. Over the last six seasons, we’ve seen several fan favorites lose their heads, hands, hearts, and sometimes even their manhood (!!), and the latest offering by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff -- currently showing on Sunday nights at 9pm E.T. -- is already ramping up to become another all-out, season-long bloodbath.
And why not? There’s quite the surplus of kings and queens knocking around the Seven Kingdoms at the moment, and that’s not to mention the army of the dead making its way towards the Wall. The realm is definitely due another helping of gruesome, bloody death… and thankfully, death is one of the things the show does best. Still, there’s surely got to be someone who’s capable of surviving the Battle of the Long Night, right?
Listed below are the 8 Westerosi Houses we reckon are worth rooting for (and, of course, the other 8 Houses we can’t wait to see fall). SPOILERS lie ahead for those of you who aren't caught up!
16 PREVAIL: House Clegane
They say every dog will have his day, and nobody deserves it more than “The Hound,” Sandor Clegane. Although he started out as a cold-hearted, remorseless killer in Season 1, he’s since become a firm fan favorite (thanks in part to the quality of his expletives), undergoing one of the most satisfying personal redemption arcs ever seen on Game of Thrones. Okay, so being a good guy doesn’t usually pan out well in Westeros, but we’re holding out hope that Sandor’s story is far from over.
Whereas most characters have adopted the cold-blooded logic of survival to keep their heads and further their own interests, the Hound doesn’t care about keeping himself alive anymore. He just wants to make amends for his past misdeeds, as shown in "Dragonstone" (S07E01) when he offered a heartfelt eulogy to the family he robbed back in Season 4 ("The Children," S04E10). What better way to redeem himself than by taking down his now-zombified brother, the Mountain, and halting Cersei’s reign of terror? Cleganebowl is still totally on, people!
15 FALL: House Baelish
Petyr Baelish, aka “Littlefinger,” has had his beady little eyes on the Iron Throne since the first episode of Game of Thrones, and he’s willing to do anything to get it. Remember how he started the War of Five Kings by convincing Lysa Arryn to poison her husband and blame the Lannisters, then arranged her, ahem, “suicide” via the Moon Door when she’d outlived her usefulness? And that time he betrayed Ned Stark when the poor, trusting sap needed him most? That’s not to mention how he sold off Sansa Stark -- the person he claims to care about more than any other -- as a bride to the evil Ramsey Bolton in perhaps his coldest move to date!
Littlefinger may be clever, but his habit of playing both sides is bound to catch up with him (hopefully sooner rather than later!). But seriously, death may be the only way to stop him from creeping on Sansa. Or killing her. Or some weird mixture of the two, like his WTF relationships with her mother and aunt.
14 PREVAIL: House Seaworth
House Seaworth may be one of the newest Houses in Westeros, but it has already seen its fair share of strife and heartache. Davos Seaworth lost his son Matthos in the Battle of Blackwater Bay, watched his beloved King Stannis fall under the spell of the red witch Melisandre, and if it weren’t for the Knights of the Vale, he’d have perished in the "Battle of the Bastards" (S06E09) with the rest of Jon Snow’s men!
Yup, the Onion Knight sure has been unlucky, but he has a habit of turning a bad hand into something playable (or in the case of the fingers King Stannis chopped off for smuggling, wearable). He’s honest, charming, and far more concerned with keeping everyone alive than he is with advancing his own position. His ability to act as the voice of reason in any argument makes him a potentially irreplaceable Hand to the new King of the North, Jon Snow, and if that’s not a good enough reason to keep him alive, we don’t know what is!
13 FALL: House Tully
House Tully was once ranked among the most powerful families in Westeros, but its legacy now lies in tatters, its seat at Riverrun has been abandoned, and its current Lord, Edmure Tully, is taking orders from the Lannisters. Whatever happened to “family, duty, honor,” eh guys?
Yes, Edmure’s Tully is kind of over a barrel at the moment… but that’s part of the problem. He’s been held hostage since the Red Wedding, has an infant son he’s never met, and endured a tirade of ritual humiliation during the Siege of Riverrun. His decision-making skills have never been great -- let’s not forget that King Robb’s alliance with the Freys started because Edmure failed to follow orders, and we all know now that turned out -- but after being held prisoner for so long, he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to save himself and his kid. Even sacrificing the Blackfish. Which is straight-up unforgiveable. Riverrun needs a strong, capable leader with a keen military mind, not a Lannister puppet. Sorry, Ed!
12 PREVAIL: (What’s Left Of) House Baratheon
Technically, there is no House Baratheon anymore -- it officially died out when Tommen committed suicide in "The Winds of Winter" (S06E10). However, as none of Cersei’s children came from King Robert, it would be more accurate to say Brienne snuffed out its flame when she executed King Stannis in "The Dance of Dragons" (S05E09). Either way, it’s gone… but there is still someone alive with Baratheon blood who could play a very important role in the coming season.
Remember Gendry? Robert’s bastard and Arya’s pal who rowed away from Dragonstone in "Mhysa" (S03E10) to escape Melisandre’s flames and subsequently vanished? He’s one of the few people left alive who knows how to work with Valyrian steel, as he was trained by the blacksmith who transformed Ned Stark’s broadsword, “Ice,” into swords for Jaime and Joffrey Lannister back in Season 2. Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers, but there’s not much left in the Seven Kingdoms. Fighters might need to, erm, share it out a bit. See where we’re going with this? Without Gendry, they might all be dead!
11 FALL: House Arryn
Lord of the Eeyrie and Defender of the Vale, “Sweetrobin” Robin Arryn is quite possibly one of the least popular characters ever to appear on Game of Thrones. He’s whiny, spoiled, and far too keen on his (now dead) mother’s breasts for fans’ liking. Worse still, he’s blinded by loyalty to Littlefinger to the point that he would execute his most loyal followers on his ex-step-daddy’s say-so without a second thought. This is not a combination that bodes well for the young lord!
With that in mind, it’s not so much a question of whether House Arryn is going to fall, but rather, how and when it’s going to happen. Will Littlefinger have Robin thrown out the Moon Door, just like his barmy mother? Will the Knights of the Vale turn on him when the young tyrant disrespects them once too often? Or will he throw a tantrum so violent that his tiny, annoying little head explodes? Only time will tell, but this Sweetrobin’s days are definitely numbered, and we're fine with that.
10 PREVAIL: House Reed
Although House Reed are among the Starks’ most important allies, they remain somewhat of a mystery after seven seasons, cropping up at important moments in the story without really revealing much about their family history. They may not be out there winning battles and waving banners, but they’ve always taken decisive action when it counts and have consistently managed to stay one step ahead of the game, making it likely they’ll find a way to survive the perils of winter.
That’s worth cheering about if you’re rooting for the Starks... which most of us are! Jojen and Meera Reed have been vital to House Stark throughout the last four seasons, protecting and guiding Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven so he could absorb the realm’s memories from old tree roots… y’know, like you do. Fans also learned in "Oathbreaker" (S06E03) that it was Howland Reed who defeated the legendary Sword of the Morning, Arthur Dayne (stabbing him in the back, no less), ensuring Ned Stark’s survival, and by extension, Jon Snow’s. In short: Best. Allies. Ever!
9 FALL: House Of Black And White
Including the House of Black and White is bending the rules a bit, because the collective known as the Faceless Men are not a “House” in the traditional sense -- its members are not related by blood, nor are they “noble” in any sense of the word. However, as the second most dangerous group in the realm (the White Walkers, of course, being the primary threat), they warrant a mention here… and that mention is that they all need to die. Like, pronto.
Seriously, though: these people are paid assassins who openly worship death in the persona of the Many-Faced God, have the ability to wear dead people’s faces, and have no real identities of their own. They are, quite literally, dead men walking. Yes, their powers are useful -- as Arya showed in "Stormborn" (S07E02) when she managed to sneak into the Twins, execute a room full of Freys, and escape undetected -- but they’re also highly dangerous in the wrong hands. It’s about time the Faceless Men took their own advice: valar morghulis!
8 PREVAIL: House Tarly
We’re only two episodes into Season 7, but the decision to send Samwell Tarly to the citadel is already proving to be worth his weight in gold (which, bless him, is probably quite the fortune). He’s finally doing House Tarly proud, whether his mean ol’ daddy knows it or not, and he’s becoming a major reason why Westeros might actually survive the winter!
Why? Well, in "Dragonstone," Sam learned about the stockpile of dragonglass within the mountains at the episode's titular location. He promptly told his best mate Jon Snow, setting into motion the latter's much-anticipated meeting with Daenerys Targaryen and potentially saving the realm from icy doom. Hooray!
There’s a good chance, too, that Sam’s role is far from over: subtle hints have been dropped that he may actually be the person responsible for documenting the events of the show after the fact. The latest of these is in "Stormborn," when he advises his Archmaester that “The Chronicle of the Wars Following the Death of King Robert I” needs a snappier title. Like “A Song of Ice and Fire,” perhaps?
7 FALL: (What’s Left Of) House Martell
Oh dear, it’s not looking good for the Martells, is it? Officially, their House went extinct when Prince Doran and his son Trystane were murdered at the beginning of Season 6. But like the Baratheons, their legacy managed to live on in the form of Oberyn Martell’s illegitimate children, the Sand Snakes (because their daddy was the Red Viper, geddit?). With Oberyn's former paramore Ellaria Sand at the head of the group, they've inexplicably managed to take over Dorne, though not without annoying the majority of viewers along the way.
Bloodthirsty, greedy, and whiny, the Sand Snakes have never been very popular with fans of the show (although they’re pretty kickass in the books), leading many to root for their quick and bloody demise. Now, it looks like that wish is going to be granted in the ominously-named next episode, "The Queen’s Justice" (S07E03), when Euron Greyjoy will presumably present Ellaria and her last remaining daughter to Cersei as a “gift” to win her over, and the Queen will get revenge for Marcella’s poisoning by wiping out all traces of House Martell. Ah, well, nevermind… they were annoying as hell anyway.
6 PREVAIL: House Tarth
There’s no denying that Lady Brienne of Tarth is an absolute badass. Her abilities on the battlefield are unmatched by the male counterparts that have teased and taunted her all her life -- she won Renly’s favor by defeating the other members of his Rainbow Guard in 1:1 combat, bested a still-two-handed Jaime Lannister, and not even the Hound could take her down when the two met in "The Children."
Not only that, she is one of the few characters left in Westeros who is willing to live and die by a strict moral code, a trait which becomes ever-more admirable as those around her sink to new and even more despicable lows. It’s not hard to see why fans are rooting for her to survive... or, indeed, why Tormund would worship her as the spectacular woman she is. Could last year’s hottest ship possibly happen this season? All fingers here at Screen Rant are firmly crossed for a happy ending for Brienne, hopefully with everyone’s favorite wilding…
5 FALL: House Greyjoy
Now that Ramsey Bolton’s gone to the dogs, it looks like new King of the Iron Islands, Euron Greyjoy, is set to become the new Big Bad in Westeros. And that’s no small feat, given the abundance of despots competing for the crown!
So what does Euron want? Well, he’s currently preoccupied with finding himself a mad, bad Queen to rule the world with… it doesn’t seem to matter which one. His special brand of cruelty also seems to revolve around murdering his family members. He made short work of his brother Balon last season to secure his ascension to the Seastone Chair, and in "Stormborn," he captured his niece Yara at knifepoint (axe-point?) and sent his terrified nephew Theon fleeing into the sea.
The rest of House Greyjoy is pretty much doomed, and it’s not much of a stretch to suggest whatever’s good for Euron going forward is probably bad for the realm. It’s certainly not working out well for his family. But hey, “what is dead may never die,” right guys?
4 PREVAIL: House Mormont
House Mormont is the gift that keeps on giving. First, we had “The Old Bear” Jeor Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who took Jon Snow under his wing and armed him with Valyrian steel (a move that has saved countless lives) before dying at Craster’s Keep. Then there’s Jorah Mormont, the disgraced knight whose unrequited love for the Dragon Queen has endured even through the cold, stony madness of greyscale. He let Samwell Tarly carve him in "Stormborn" in a bid to get better -- his determination to survive is surely unparalleled in the Seven Kingdoms!
Best of all is little Lyanna Mormont, current Lady of Bear Island and easily the fiercest of them all, whose speeches about women’s ability to fight for themselves are fast making her a feminist icon. What these characters share is the sort of loyalty and ferocity that truly embodies the North -- they’ll never back down, no matter the enemy, if their cause is just and their friends are in trouble. White Walkers better run!
3 FALL: House Lannister
Okay, hear us out before grabbing your digital pitchforks... The Lannisters have always been doomed. Cersei has known it since hearing Maggy the Frog’s prophecy (seen in a flashback in "The Wars to Come," S05E01), which foretold her marriage to King Robert, the birth of her children, and their early demise. But there’s still part of the prophecy that hasn’t come to fruition yet: Cersei’s death.
Maggy claims Cersei will die at the hands of her “valonqar” (“little brother”), which she assumes means Tyrion, because he’s both younger and “little” in stature. Cersei is determined to protect herself and so will stop at nothing to hunt Tyrion down and kill him (sob!), but her actions will likely trigger the chain of events that she’s so desperately trying to avert. Many fans believe it will be Jaime who kills his elder twin to save the realm (much like his king-slaying of “Mad King” Aegon Targaryen), and as they swore to “leave this world together,” Jaime will either be simultaneously killed by her, or commit suicide. Shame!
2 PREVAIL: House Stark
Winter has finally come, and we all know what that means: it’s time for House Stark to rise like a White Walker from the ice and lead humanity through the next Long Night. Or, y’know, at least try to get through one meeting without contradicting one another (yes, Sansa, that means you)!
On the surface, the Starks look strong enough to face anything that comes their way: Jon Snow is King of the North, Arya’s a super-assassin with a thousand faces, Sansa’s a political mastermind, and Bran’s the new “Three-Eyed Raven,” meaning he’s able to witness (and potentially manipulate) important historical events, have prophetic visions of the future, “warg” into animals, and even possess the minds and bodies of other people like he did with Hodor in "The Door" (S06E05). Yeah, the remaining Starks are badasses across the board.
However, their safety and familial unity is under threat from all sides, with Littlefinger and Daenerys being the two most obvious culprits for creating inter-family conflicts (perhaps by revealing Jon’s true parentage?). Here’s hoping they stay strong, stay together, and most importantly, stay alive!
1 FALL: House Targaryen
Daenerys Targaryen sure claims to be a lot of things: First of Her Name, “Stormborn,” Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, and Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, etc. However, the most important label of all is the one she shies away from: the conqueror.
Because make no mistake, Daenerys is a conqueror. She’s proven it time and again, whether by using dragon fire to burn her enemies or ordering the crucifixion of hundreds of noblemen as vengeance for the slaves nailed to crosses outside Meereen. She frequently allows her fiery temper -- a well-known characteristic of the notoriously unbalanced and incestuous Targaryens -- to get the better of her, and although her intentions are to bring peace to the realm, she’s far more likely to bring “fire and blood,” as her House words promise.
House Targaryen needs to fall, but hopefully not before fans get to see her dragons take on the White Walkers -- possibly with her riding one like some crazy, fire-wielding Nazgûl!
Are there any other Houses you’re hoping will win the Game of Thrones, or else perish in an icy grave? Let us know in the comments!