George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire was already a cultural phenomenon before HBO got its hands on the rights and started cranking out episodes of Game of Thrones in 2011. The series quickly shot to into the TV hall of fame thanks to its beautiful sets, expansive mythology, and unforgettable characters.
Long before the stories hit the small screen, fans were hard at work interpreting what those character might actually look like. While we have actors and actresses portraying those people on screen, that is only one interpretation of how people like Jon Snow, Sansa Start, and Daenerys Targaryan should look.
Fortunately, there are thousands of artists who are also fans of the books and the television series who have put their talents to use in the name of Game of Thrones. Based on the novels and some elements of the TV show, artists from around the world have come up with beautiful pieces of art depicting their favorite characters.
After digging through sites like GameofThronesFanart, DeviantArt, and others, we came up with the 25 best pieces we feel represent the characters even better than the show.
To kick things off, the top image belongs to CreaSdOutlineR, which he made to honor the series. Valentin v. Uslar-Gleichen paints digitally and clearly has a love for Game of Thrones and other fantasy series. His work usually features a postcard-esque theme as seen in the above image.*
Valentin isn't the only talented artist out there contributing work in honor of the series. Here are our picks for 25 Crazy Fan Redesigns Way Better Than The Show
25 BRIENNE OF TARTH
Bella Bergolts is a Russian artist whose real name is Eugenia. She studied art at university and has worked professionally as a digital artist at numerous studios. When it comes to portraying her favorite characters, she tends to stray towards high-fantasy and shows like Game of Thrones.
This portrait of Brienne of Tarth highlights her unique "unfinished" style, which features a strong brushstroke and adherence to the character's look.
In the books, Brienne is described as unfeminine and unattractive, tall, muscular, and ungainly with stray-colored hair. Neither the actress playing her nor this picture depict an ugly woman, but the painting clearly depicts nobody but Brienne of Tarth.
24 DAENERYS STORMBREAKER
Marcos Feittosa is a Brazilian artist who spends much of his time working on portraits based on characters from his favorite works, including A Song of Ice and Fire. The majority of his portfolio depicts characters as they are described in the books, including his take on Daenerys Targaryan.
In this image, Feittosa drew Daenerys wearing a Hrakkar in a beautiful drawing titled "If I look back, I'm lost." A Hrakkar is a breed of white lion native to the Dothraki Sea. In the books, Daenerys began wearing the pelt belonging to a lion Drogo hunted.
23 ARYA STARK
Hikaru Yagi is a Russian digital artist who lives and works out of Japan. Her work consists of interpretations of comic book, manga, anime, film, game, and fantasy television characters including those from Game of Thrones. She sells her work online and offers commissions as well as classes and tutorial videos for anyone looking to learn her techniques.
This image of Arya Stark depicts the character in a Japanese kimono in the style of the House of Stark.
The drawing looks much like her character on the show and features Arya holding a Japanese katana in her right hand,which differs from her left-handed version in the books.
22 CHIBI GAME OF THRONES
This adorable Chibi representation of the principal Game of Thrones characters was illustrated by the talented Clau Calderón, a Peruvian artist who paints under the name MeduClau. Unlike most of the illustrations and paintings on this list, MeduClau works in a physical medium, often drawing in pencil and then finishing her work with watercolors.
This composition includes her favorite characters: Khal Drogo, Olenna Tyrell, Hodor, Ygritte, Cersei Lannister, Melisandre, Daenerys Targaryan, Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Drogon, and Nymeria.
MeduClau maintains a YouTube channel where she demonstrates her talent via instructional videos.
21 CERSEI LANNISTER
Jiarui Liu is a Chinese digital artist who lives and works out of Beijing, China. Liu's work predominantly features digital interpretations of high fantasy characters including various creatures, monsters, and demons. While Liu's work features a beautiful portrait of Tyrion Lannister, we decided to select his take on Cersei Lannister.
As the sitting Queen of Westeros, Cersei has certainly established herself as a true monarch.
This picture perfectly encapsulates her regal nature by placing her on the Iron Throne.
While she shares visual similarities with her onscreen counterpart, this depiction differs slightly, but still has the commanding presence only Cersei can pull off.
20 EURON GREYJOY
GibiLynx is an Austrian digital artist and hobbyist. This painting of Euron Greyjoy was done as a speedpaint commission for one of Lynx's many clients. The painting remains true to the character by showing him with an eyepatch over his left eye. The eyepatch earned him the nickname "Crow's Eye," which is an appropriate name for a man who spent his life as a wealthy pirate.
Euron's representation by Pilou Asbaek in Game of Thrones is quite different from the book version. He lacks any magic powers and still has both eyes.
19 DAENERYS TARGARYEN
This painting of Daenerys Targaryen was painted by the previously mentioned Bella Bergolts, aka Eugenia. The painting is one of many she has crafted in honor of the books and series. Like some of her other work related to the series, this painting is a concept piece based on imagery from the books, which is why it doesn't look much like Daenerys from the series.
In the books, she is described as having a classic Valyrian look: violet eyes, pale skin, and long silver-gold hair.
The obvious deviation in this painting is the shortened hair, but you can't mistake those captivating eyes.
Just looking at that one feature establishes this work as Daenerys.
18 HODOR SMASH!
Sometimes, a fan comes along and makes a beautiful rendition of their favorite characters. Occasionally, that fan is an established artist like Brian Kesinger, a talented digital artist who spent 16 years working for Walt Disney Studios. Kesinger's work often leans towards the Steampunk genre, which he utilized working on films including Treasure Planet and Meet the Robinsons.
In this drawing appropriately titled, "Hodor Smash," we see Hodor smashing the reanimated warriors who attacked Bran on the ice.
Even as a static image, you can't help but feel engrossed in the action depicted.
The look on Bran's face as he uses his warg abilities to control Hodor help set the tone in the image.
17 THE HOUSE OF STARK
Gigei, otherwise known as María Pérez Pacheco, is an artist who lives and works in Spain. Her work leans more towards the cartoonish rather than realistic like many of the images on this list. While she does work with Game of Thrones characters, she also illustrates Doctor Who and Disney within her particular style.
When the series and books began, it looked as if House Stark was going to live a long and happy life. It didn't take long for everything to fall apart, but before it all went down, the Starks were happy.
This image perfectly depicts the entire clan in an idealized, cartoony style.
16 JON SNOW
Ramón Nuñez is an artist and graphic designer who holds a degree in Graphic Design. He started out as a Visual Developer for various clothing brands doing illustration work in 2013. Following this, he branched out to work as a freelance artist doing commissions for digital painting and illustration. He also works as a concept artist for game design.
After watching the season seven episode "Dragonstone", Nuñez got busy on a new series of Game of Thrones characters inspired by the episode.
In addition to Jon Snow, he drew nearly every major character from the episode.
His Game of Thrones series and many other works of art can be found on his Instagram page.
Michal Dziekan is a Polish illustrator and character designer who has worked in both film and animation as a motion capture artist and art director. His biggest passion has always been in illustration and character design, which is why he shifted focus in 2011 to "commentary, grotesque illustrations with fair dosage of black humor and twisted characters."
This gorgeous painting of Daenerys Targaryen focuses on her visage as the Khaleesi, consumed by fire. In many ways, Daenerys was born in fire and it was the flames that brought about the birth of her children (her three dragons). The stark imagery and use of color beautifully depicts the true Queen of Westeros.
14 LYANNA MORMONT
The image above was created by an artist who goes by the name AbsurdUnicorns. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any details on the artist including who they are and where they are from.
A true queen of Westeros, Lyanna Mormont was only a child when she first appeared in the sixth season of the show. Don't let her age fool you; she is a well-established ruler of her people and is very capable of ordering her armies across Westeros. This static image came from an animated GIF you can watch here.
13 RHAEGAR TARGARYEN
Joseph Taylor is a freelance artist who lives and works out of Cambridge, England. His work tends to depict a cartoonish style akin to many of the Disney animated films from the 1990s. His portfolio includes homages to numerous characters throughout pop culture in the form of portraits.
One of the most important characters in the Game of Thrones series has been gone a long time.
Rhaegar Targaryan is depicted here in exactly the manner he was described in the book.
His violet eyes, pale skin, and long white-golden hair depicts a perfect representation of the former Prince of Dragonstone.
12 THE KING IN THE NORTH
Aivoree, also known as Karina Sennikova, is a freelance illustrator who lives and works out of Bryansk, Russia. Her talents tend to lean towards animal and creature illustration, which is why she was able to perfectly capture Ghost and the horse in the image above.
At the beginning of the series, it looked as if Robb Stark would become the self-proclaimed King in the North. Due to some rather nefarious events at the "Red Wedding," Robb and his mother were both removed from contention and the job fell to Jon Snow. As Snow's true lineage became apparent, he embraced his royal lineage and began to drive his army South.
11 DAENERYS TARGARYEN
Ross Tran is an American artist who operates under the name, Rossdraws. Tran is a professional artist who studied Industrial Design in Los Angeles. His work brought him into Hollywood where he provided character design on Earth to Echo. He spends most of his time these days teaching illustration via his YouTube channel.
Tran drew this beautiful rendition of Daenerys Targaryan and streamed it on his YouTube Channel.
His first drawing on the channel two years prior was also Daenerys so it's clear he has a special connection to the Breaker of Chains.
10 SANSA AND THE HOUND
This painting by GibiLynx is a concept piece called "Sansa and the Hound." The work reimagines Sandor Clegane, otherwise known as the Hound, as a literal dog laying beside Sansa Stark in the woods. As you can see in the image, the Hound's face is scarred in the same way Sandor's face is burned in the books and television series.
Sansa Stark is one of the core characters in Game of Thrones. As a Stark, she is seen as the key to winning the North by those in the South, but Sansa refused to follow that path. After escaping Ramsey Bolton's cruelty, she rejoined her brother, Jon Snow, and fought to retake Winterfell.
9 SHIREEN BARATHEON
Hikaru Yagi's work continues to impress with this depiction of Shireen Baratheon.
Shireen's depiction is complete with her dress emblazoned with the Stag, the sigil for her father's house.
She is also holding a wooden carving of the same animal and shows her normally obscured, scarred face.
The story of Shireen Baratheon is one of the saddest in the series. After surviving Greyscale, she spends her life locked away in a tower so nobody will see her scarred face. When her father's madness overtakes his desire for power, he burned his daughter as a sacrifice to R'hllor, the Lord of Light.
8 SYRIO FOREL AND ARYA STARK
Flachzange, otherwise known as Marco, is a German artist who specialized in various styles of illustrations usually depicting women. His work is usually focused on portraiture, but favors fantasy elements and various forms of pop culture, which of course includes Game of Thrones.
Syrio Forel and Arya Stark are depicted doing what they did best: training Arya to become a proper swordswoman. The cartoonish style is vastly different from most of Marco's work, but still captures the characters perfectly in a scene where Arya learns a valuable lesson about how not to get stabbed.
7 THE RED LION OF CASTAMERE
Paul Van Calla is a conceptual artist and illustrator who lives and works out of Manila, Philippines. He studied art at the University of Santo Tomas and currently works as an artist at The Studio of Secret6, Inc. His online portfolio only features two images including the one we have chosen here. The other depicts the Punisher wielding a mini-gun, which he also uses as his profile picture.
His painting is of Roger Reyne, The Red Lion of Castamere. Reyne has been mentioned in The World of Ice & Fire and A Feast for Crows, and was briefly seen in an episode in the series depicting events at Castamere in 261 AC.
6 SAMURAI HOUND
Jaime Jr. Quiano is a concept artist and illustrator who lives and works out of Quezon City, Philippines. Jaime has worked professionally as an artist doing illustration work and concept drawings for game design. He has also worked as a 2D animator as well as a storyboard artist.
This drawing of the Hound, otherwise known as Sandor Clegane, is a deparature from the show.
The reimagined Hound features an imposing man wearing Japanese Samurai armor with a frightening helmet and sheathed katana. While his garb has been altered, his face still features his disfigurement caused by his brother years before.
5 DAEMON I BLACKFYRE
Mike Hallstein is an Australian artist who specializes in commissioned pieces of just about any character you might imagine. He clearly has a love for Game of Thrones seeing as paintings of characters from the series are spread throughout his online digital portfolio.
In this image of Daemon I Blackfyre - The Black Dragon, Hallstein has depicted the character in a glorious pose amidst a wheat field. Daemon Waters was the illegitimate child of Princess Daena Targaryen and King Aegon IV Targaryen. He took part in the first Blackfyre Rebellion and became known as the Black Dragon for his exploits.
4 RHAEGAR TARGARYEN
Andréia Carbonari is a Brazilian designer and illustrator who lives and works out of São Paulo, Brazil. She described herself as a "Graphic designer and illustrator. Coffee lover. Jedi, Ravenclaw student and sailor sometimes. INFP-T. Libra and Aquarius." Her work includes mostly portraits of pretty much every popular character in pop culture.
This drawing of Rhaegar Targaryan depicts him in a way akin to a Japanese Samurai, but still retains the imagery iconic to the character and the Valyrian people. His most prominent feature, the beautiful white flowing hair, easily dominates this amazing piece by Carbonari.
3 THE RED VIPER
Arden Beckwith is a Melbourne, Australia-borne freelance illustrator who specialized in drawing scenes from popular science fiction and fantasy books, card games, and video games. Beckwith works independently, but takes commissioned work whenever the need arises.
This painting of the Red Viper, otherwise known as Oberyn Martell, depicts the character as he was described in the books.
Martell is a forceful man and formidable fighter whose preference for red clothing earned him the nickname, "The Red Viper." In a fight against The Mountain, he failed to defeat his foe and succumbed to his injuries.
2 TORMUND GIANTSBANE
Joel-Lee is a freelance illustrator who lives and works out of Singapore. His goal is to one day get into professional concept art and design, which isn't surprising when you look through his portfolio. Much of his work details popular characters from comic books, video games, and television, with a great deal of effort going towards Game of Thrones.
Tormund Giantsbane is shown in this adorable image of the Wilding laying atop a rather thirsty-looking bear. As he eats (which he often does), he thinks of his one true love: Brienne of Tarth. Many fans want to see these two end up together, but Brienne has thus far shown absolutely no interest whatsoever.
1 VISERYS TARGARYEN
Adrien Jeannerod is a concept artist, character designer, and current art student studying the craft in Lyon, France. Looking through Adren's portfolio, it's clear there is a love for science fiction and fantasy. There isn't much devoted to Game of Thrones, save for the beautiful picture of Viserys Targaryen we chose to feature here.
The painting sums up the character perfectly with his self-made crown and paper dragon he is playing with. Viserys tried to trade his sister for an army he could use to take back the crown and win the Iron Throne, but he was only given a molten crown of gold by Khal Drogo.
What do you think of these Game of Thrones redesigns? Let us know in the comments!