In the world of Westeros that George R. R. Martin has so lovingly crafted, house reputation means a great deal. It is the deciding factor in creating an alliance or an enemy. It is a means of garnering power, respect, and often fear.
With the numerous houses that reside in Game of Thrones, a hierarchy is inevitable. Some houses are simply better than others, and this list intends to uncover just that -- to distinguish between the lowly houses of moon doors and flayed men, to the true powerhouses in Westeros.
A house’s status may change in a single day. With an explosion of wildfire, a scorch of dragonfire, or a single fell swoop of a sword, a house’s lineage may be ended completely.
However, it’s not just how long they can survive -- or how long they survived for -- that makes them great houses, nor is it their official status as a Great House. Instead, this is based on what the characters in each house do in that timeframe.
There is always a winner -- the interesting triumph over the bland, the complex over the one-note, the strong over the weak. The size of the house is negligible -- a very small house can cast a very large shadow.
Here is Every Game Of Thrones House Ranked Worst To Best.
18 House Frey
From having a sleazy and treacherous pedophile as their lord to slaughtering the Starks under their own roof, was House Frey’s status as the worst house in Westeros ever in doubt? The showrunners seem to agree, judging by the Freys’ pathetic attempt at taking back Riverrun via siege, and Jaime’s brutal put-down of Walder Frey in season 6's episode 10.
They’ve had a lengthy reign as the laughing stock of Westeros, relying on Lannister supervision to keep afloat. With an ancestral seat at The Twins, they are an important house, but you wouldn’t think it judging from their men. While Walder Frey is inarguably the worst of the lot, his men are weak, unpleasant, and wear goofy leather caps instead of helmets.
Thankfully, the house’s existence has all but ended with Arya Stark avenging her family by poisoning the entire male line of Frey descendants in season 7’s premiere. Good riddance.
17 House Arryn
As one of the Great Houses of Westeros, and one whose previous head was Hand to the King, House Arryn’s future now rests entirely in the hands of a sickly little boy.
Robin Arryn (or Robert in the books) is the nominal head of House Arryn and Lord of the Eyrie, which is frightening considering his enthusiasm for sending people flying from the Eyrie’s infamous moon door. He’s a spoiled brat with an unhinged mind only outmatched by his mother Lysa Tully.
In a way, it’s hard to blame the poor boy -- he leads an extremely sheltered life, which includes being breastfed by his mother, and results in a twisted mind stemming from a poor upbringing.
House Arryn’s saving grace is its large army -- the knights of the Vale are the ones who rescue Jon and co. from imminent death at the hands of the Boltons. Sadly, that’s not enough to make up for a house consisting of a single batty child.
16 House Bolton
As one of the series’ major antagonists, House Bolton were involved in the demise of the Starks at the Red Wedding, took the Stark's castle for themselves, and gave us Ramsay -- a despicable scenery-chewing villain without any semblance of humanity.
His father, Roose Bolton, isn’t much better. Silky voice aside, he betrayed the Starks and taunted his bastard with the prospects of having another, trueborn child, knowingly urging on the monster inside Ramsay.
Yet there’s something to admire amid their loathsome acts and detestable deeds. House Bolton may not provide characters to root for, but they certainly provide entertainment. Game of Thrones wouldn’t be the same without a cheesy villain for our protagonists to defeat.
Also, to be fair to them, they did well for themselves -- they managed to take Winterfell for a short period. It’s understandable that they tried, considering how ugly the Dreadfort is.
15 House Karstark & House Umber
House Karstark and Umber are northern houses who served as bannermen for Robb Stark’s forces before betraying the Starks and siding with their enemies, the Boltons. The two houses are quite similar, so it’s difficult to separate them.
Each house has followed similar trajectories along the course of Game of Thrones, and have defied the Starks in equally reprehensible ways. Lord Rickard Karstark ignored Robb Stark’s orders and murdered two innocent Lannister children as a way of getting revenge on Jaime, while Smalljon Umber gave up Rickon and Osha as a way of making an alliance with the Boltons.
Credit where credit’s due; they did initially side with the Starks, and have reason to turn their backs on them. Robb beheaded Rickard Karstark, and his foolish decisions lead to the death of many Umbers at the Red Wedding.
With their armies dead at the Battle of the Bastards, and with their lords having not even reached adulthood, the future of both of these houses looks bleak.
14 House Baelish
House Arryn may own the Vale, but it is House Baelish who is in charge of it (or, at least, used to be). Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, created the house’s sigil from scratch, and is its only living member. It may be a small house, sure, but it’s home to Westeros’ most conniving figure.
Since Littlefinger was its only previous resident, this is less a ranking of House Baelish and more a ranking of Petyr Baelish against every major house in Westeros.
However, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for him: his manipulations have led to the deaths of Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, and Lysa Tully. He has managed to ascend the Game of Thrones hierarchy from lowly noble-born boy to Master of Coin to Lord Protector of the Vale.
The only reason House Baelish is ranked so low is that it’s hard to claim Littlefinger as a true Baelish. Raised with House Tully since the age of eight, he’s been eager to escape the trappings of his small background, and with it, House Baelish.
13 House Tarly
All things considered, House Tarly is rather pleasant. Lady Melessa and Talla Tarly treated Gilly well during her stay at Horn Hill, while Sam Tarly is one of Game of Thrones’ major protagonists.
However, House Tarly does have one big problem take takes the shape of a racist, fat-shaming father. Lord Randyll Tarly may be an astute military commander, but while he cares for his troops, the same can’t be said about his eldest son. Threatening to hunt Sam down unless he joins the Night’s Watch, Randyll despises Sam for not being like his father.
In a cruel twist, the son he had molded in his own image wanted to be too much like him, as Dickon Tarly joined his father in getting roasted by Drogon.
To top it off, Randyll Tarly is racist and xenophobic towards the Dothraki hordes and shameful of Sam’s marriage to a Wildling. This is a shame, considering how incredible House Tarly’s castle is and how lovely most of its inhabitants are.
12 House Greyjoy
Once, House Greyjoy would have ranked lower on this list. Ruled by an angry and ruthless man, Balon Greyjoy, and home to a collection of thieves and pirates, House Greyjoy was one of the most unlikable Great Houses in Westeros. That’s failing to mention Theon Greyjoy’s betrayal of the Starks and attempt at taking over Winterfell.
Thankfully, those times have passed. Balon is dead, Theon is slowly working his way through an arduous redemption arc, and House Greyjoy is now represented by two of Westeros’ most awesome characters: Theon and his ruthless sister Yara.
Yara Greyjoy is a fierce warrior who’s likeable despite functioning entirely as a Greyjoy -- which includes looting and pillaging. She’s not to be outdone by Euron, one of the show’s most entertaining villains and formidable warriors.
The House’s impact on Westerosi affairs may have been dampened somewhat with the transition from books to show, but they’re certainly making a splash in season 7... or Theon is, at least.
11 House Tully
As one of the Great Houses of Westeros and home to more than a few protagonists, House Tully never truly got the attention it deserved from the show. Catelyn Tully took up the bulk of her house’s screentime, as the fierce but honorable mother of the Stark children.
Her qualities are shared by her uncle "the Blackfish," a strong and defiant figure whose entrance in the show is one of Game of Thrones’ most kick-butt character introductions. However, House Tully is a family of two halves.
It’s fair to say that Lysa Tully is a nutcase who is over-protective of her son Robin Arryn and paranoid of everyone and everything. Edmure Tully is less crazed and more of a bumbling idiot, played mostly for comic relief.
If the show had paid House Tully more attention, such as extending the Riverrun siege plot to feature in more than two episodes then maybe they would have ranked higher. Unfortunately, with almost all of its members dead, and Edmure potentially still in captivity, House Tully is no more.
10 House Seaworth
It’s testament to a character when his presence alone hauls his house up into the top 10 houses in Game of Thrones. That’s what has happened with Davos Seaworth, the sole representative of House Seaworth in the show-- following the death of his son at the Battle of Blackwater-- and one of the show’s fan favourites.
There’s a reason why he’s loved by everyone. He’s honorable, choosing to stand with Jon Snow against the Night’s Watch mutineers; he’s affectionate, which is exemplified by his tragic paternal relationship with Stannis’ daughter Shireen Baratheon; and he’s just plain funny.
Unfortunately, House Seaworth is yet another house that may have its line ended before the series is over. Ser Davos may have a wife, who we haven’t seen and most likely never will in the show, but with his son’s death he has no direct male descendants. (Although he does have plenty of other children in the book series, though not much is known about whether they're still alive or not.)
With the series’ tendency to kill off beloved characters, House Seaworth’s only way out of being condemned to the history books -- by Ser Davos and his wife having another child -- is something that will most likely not happen.
9 House Martell
A few seasons ago, House Martell would have been up there with the greatest houses in Westeros. Oberyn Martell was one of the series’ most popular characters, a fun and cocky figure too dedicated to justice to care about his own well-being. His death in season 4 was tragic, but at least fans had an exciting Dorne plot to look forward to and the revenge of the Martells.
As we all know by now, the Dornish plot didn’t turn out entirely as we expected... or at all. House Martell may be an exciting, exotic house with an interesting castle in Sunspear, but Oberyn’s brother, Doran Martell, and his nephew, Trystane, didn’t amount to much in the show.
Unlike the books, where Doran and Trystane are still alive and kicking, House Martell’s line has ended, with Ellaria Sand being imprisoned and forced to watch the death of her last Sand Snake.
House Martell may not be a bad Westerosi house -- it has one of the show’s greatest characters -- but it is certainly one of the most disappointing houses, at least in the Game of Thrones show.
8 House Reed
House Reed are the unsung heroes of Game of Thrones. Meera and Jojen helped Bran throughout his journey of becoming the Three-Eyed Raven with no complaints. Jojen even died for Bran in the process.
Their father, Howland Reed, fought alongside Ned Stark as he overcame Arthur Dayne. The house is the Stark’s greatest ally, so it’s a shame that they haven’t been afforded much screentime this series.
In fact, we haven’t seen Howland Reed at his current age at all. With Meera rejoining her father in preparation for the Winter, that may change, but it’s still a far cry from Howland’s presence in the books.
The only legitimate knock against House Reed is how bland they are as protagonists. They may be aiding our heroes, but the writing offers them little characterisation -- Jojen comes across as wooden and irritating more than anything, while Meera, honorable though her actions may be, is a little one-note.
7 House Clegane
As far as family rivalries go, House Clegane takes the cake. A collection of landed knights rather than a noble house, it is home to two of Westeros’ most formidable characters.
Ser Gregor Clegane, otherwise known as "The Mountain," is a giant hulking man that is now a zombified personal bodyguard of Queen Cersei Lannister. His brother, Sandor Clegane, or "The Hound," is one of the series’ most loved characters -- a foul-mouthed renegade with questionable morals and a unquestionable sense of humor.
House Clegane has it all: a famous sibling rivalry, a captivating backstory (Gregor pushed Sandor into the fire when they were children, giving Sandor both his scars and his subsequent fear of fire), and a fan theory-cum-meme involving the two brothers battling it out in a trial by combat. Get hyped.
6 House Baratheon
At the start of the series, House Baratheon was the most powerful house in Westeros. Following his rebellion against the Targaryens, Robert Baratheon was king. He had two brothers -- Stannis Baratheon, who resided in Dragonstone, and Renly Baratheon, who was on the small council.
Of course, it didn’t work out well for any of them. With the three brothers now dead, and Robert’s children to be Lannister bastards born of incest, the Baratheon line has ended in name, if not in spirit -- we still have Gendry, King Robert’s bastard who has finally made a return this season.
Still, the Baratheon siblings were incredibly entertaining to watch. King Robert’s friendship with Ned Stark and turbulent relationship with Cersei Lannister was one of season 1’s many highlights.
Renly Baratheon was a fan favourite, loved not just by fans but by the citizens of Westeros -- though perhaps wrongly. Additionally, Stannis’ storyline was the most tragic and fascinating of the whole lot, with his staunch demeanour relenting in the face of downfall.
The Baratheons may now be gone, but their impact on the show has certainly been memorable.
5 House Mormont
As Lyanna Mormont put it, “We are not a large house, but we’re a proud one. And every man from Bear Island fights with the strength of ten mainlanders.” The evidence in the show suggests that she is right.
House Mormont is home to three of Game of Thrones bravest characters. Jeor Mormont was the honorable Lord Commander at the Night’s Watch, grooming Jon Snow into the righteous son that Jorah wasn’t, and transforming him into the man he is today.
Jorah Mormont may have been exiled from the house, but he’s still definitively a Mormont -- he’s fearless and just, ably walking into battle for his queen Daenerys Targaryen.
One can't forget Lyanna Mormont, who is able to rule as Lady of Bear Island at such a young age, and continuously stands up for Jon Snow when other houses won't.
It may not be so noticeable, due to the fact that each Mormont has been scattered across Westeros and Essos, but House Mormont is one of Game of Thrones' most formidable and important houses.
4 House Targaryen
Is there any other character in Game of Thrones more powerful at the moment than Daenerys Targaryen? She may have lost a dragon, but she still has two more, as well as a worthy hand in Tyrion Lannister, an Unsullied army, a Dothraki horde, and an army of Dornish forces that we’ve yet to see.
With Jon Snow’s status as Targaryen now officially confirmed, the House is home to two of the most important characters in the series. Both characters have suffered through many hardships to make it to where they are now, proving House Targaryen to be one of the most resilient houses in all of Westeros.
It’s hard to deny the formidable power couple of Jon Snow (or, rather, Jon Targaryen) and Daenerys, which to be fair, isn’t out of place considering the Targaryen’s long lineage of incestuous relationships to keep the house "pure."
Sadly, with an incestuous family line comes a history of crazed characters, including Aerys Targaryen, otherwise known as "The Mad King," and Daenerys’ controlling brother Viserys. House Targaryen hosts two impressive and heroic characters, but it has also birthed many a nutcase.
3 House Tyrell
In Game of Thrones, it’s rare to see a family functioning as a normal, loving family. The Starks maintained this for a time; the Lannister family dynamic has always been a touchy subject; the Targaryens’ sibling relationship was rather one-sided; and the less said about the Greyjoys, the Freys, and the Boltons, the better.
Out of every house, House Tyrell feels the most like a family. With a true family unit and a collection of sympathetic characters who are also smart and manipulative, it may just be the most underrated house in Game of Thrones.
Take Margaery, for instance: spruced up from her rather shallow characterisation in the books, she’s clever, able to bend the tyrannical Joffrey to her will, and also caring for Sansa and her situation, and for the poorer citizens of King’s Landing. She takes after Lady Olenna -- a sharp, quick-witted figure who acts for the good of her family.
Loras Tyrell may have been botched somewhat in the books, but he’s equally family-centric. Then there's Mace, who is a lovable bumbling fool. In a world of faltering relationships and family feuds, it’s always nice to see a house that manages to stay together... even in the face of wildfire.
2 House Stark
As the major protagonists of season 1, the Starks have disbanded, been slaughtered, and reunited as a collection of misfits with frazzled minds. They are the house that has endured the most over the series’ runtime, and as such, have strengthened and become a force to be reckoned with.
That’s not to say that House Stark managed to endure everything. The Red Wedding occurred due to Robb Stark’s foolish actions, defying Walder Frey by not marrying one of his daughters as promised. Ned’s stubbornness to always do the honorable thing ultimately cost him his life (and perhaps we may see the same happen to Jon).
The Starks are now left with three children -- though those three children are extremely powerful and cunning. Sansa Stark is Lady of Winterfell, and with the knowledge garnered from Littlefinger’s teachings, is wise beyond her years. Arya has taken a different direction, and is now a faceless assassin, while Bran is barely a Stark at all, now the all-seeing and knowing Three-Eyed Raven.
The Starks are now one of the series’ most interesting houses, no longer a bland guideline of morality.
1 House Lannister
If there was a house to sum up the show, it would be the Lannisters. House Lannister is undeniably the most interesting house -- a collection of developed characters that form a large part of the series’ entertainment.
Tywin Lannister may be an antagonist, but he’s pragmatic, resourceful, and carries out his actions for the good of House Lannister. His three children, introduced in the very first episode, are Game of Thrones most unpredictable and complex characters. They each share a separate trait of their father -- Cersei is ruthless, Jaime is a deft warfare tactician, and Tyrion is an excellent politician.
However, the attribute of House Lannister that typifies the show is that each of these characters are not definitively evil or good. Cersei may be destructive, but she still cared for her children. It was her one redeeming quality.
Jaime has followed a tremendous arc over the series, and is now a far cry away from the man who pushed Bran off the Winterfell tower in the opening episode.
Meanwhile, Tyrion is as complex as they come -- the black sheep of the Lannisters, pushed to his limit and forced to murder Shae and his father before fleeing Westeros. There’s nothing quite like a family this dysfunctional, captivating, and just plain entertaining.
Do you disagree? What Game of Thrones house is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!