The Game Of Thrones series finale is swiftly approaching and with it will surely come the destruction of many of the most beloved characters and houses the series has spent the better part of a decade building up. Before what will undoubtedly be a truly devastating season for anyone who happens to call Westeros home, we should take some time to go through the strongest contenders for the thrones and just what makes them so fearsome.
The houses of the seven kingdoms can’t seem to stop squabbling amongst themselves long enough to notice the undead threat heading towards them, so let’s see just who’s strong enough to survive the coming winter.
10. House Mormont
I think Lyanna says it best herself when she says “We are not a large house but we are a proud house”. Their home on Bear Island separates them from a lot of the conflict that takes place in King’s Landing, with the exception of any fight that involves a Stark. The Mormonts know no king but the King in the North and they will stop at nothing to protect the Stark family, entering any battle for them at the drop of a hat. House Mormont’s family motto “Here we stand”, combined with their house animal the bear, display how fierce and loyal the Mormonts can be despite the hardships they've faced.
9. House Baratheon
House Baratheon is all but extinct now, but before they were they held quite a bit of military power. After Robert’s death, the Baratheon family splinters into just a shadow of its former self. The Baratheons are hot-headed and brash, always ready to start or end a fight, which is definitely a significant factor in what ends their house. The three Baratheon heirs all but destroy themselves and each other after Robert’s death, making it difficult to imagine what they could’ve been capable of as a united house. Only Gendry is left to carry on the legacy of the Baratheons but the power he wields, at least at this point in the series, is questionable at best.
8. House Greyjoy
The Greyjoys have one of the largest and most impressive naval fleets in all of Westeros. They are truly a sight to behold while locked in battle on the open sea but when they become landlocked it’s a much different story. House Greyjoy is used to fighting, using to paying the “iron price” for what they have. The Greyjoy family motto “We do not sow” lets you know everything you need to know about their military and fighting capabilities. They refuse to play by a lot of the rules the other houses play by and sustain themselves mostly by pillaging and taking what they need from whomever they can take it from.
7. House Bolton
House Bolton has both an official motto “Our blades are sharp” and an unofficial motto “A naked man has few secrets; a flayed man, none”. This alone would probably get them to the top of a “Most Sadistic Houses In GoT” list, it doesn’t, however, speak much to their militaristic prowess. The Boltons aren’t just fighting with soldiers and weapons, they are fighting with rumors and terror. One of the only houses that seem to lack empathy on a genetic level, the Boltons use abuse, and terror masterfully. There is no line that a Bolton isn’t willing to cross, that makes them one of the most dangerous and unpredictable houses in all of Westeros.
6. House Arryn
House Arryn, hidden away in the impenetrable fortress called the Eyrie, may not initially seem like much after the death of Jon Arryn left a young Robyn Arryn to lead the men of the Vale. But should you take the time to look past their young leader you'd find a capable infantry as displayed during “The Battle Of The Bastards” and a castle that even the Lannisters dare not try to invade...yet. When the Baratheons and Starks needed the Vale to stand up the Mad King, Jon Arryn and the men of the Vale stood tall and fought against the tyranny of a corrupt and maniacal king.
5. House Tyrell
The House Tyrell motto “Growing Strong” reminds the people of Westeros that their power lies not in their political or military prowess but in the wealth of the resources at their disposal. The Tyrells are the wardens of the south, keeping a watchful eye on the fruitful lands that have been left in their charge. They are outwardly generous and one of the only house to be actively liked by the common folk of Westeros. House Tyrell hides its power in its good-natured outward appearances, protecting and caring for the land and the people of Westeros while subtly and secretly amassing power and working to fortify that power. House Tyrell is another house on this list that is led by a strong matriarch, a theme you’ll see continue as we make our way down the list.
4. House Martell
The Martell family motto “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” fits aptly for this household as they are, despite appearances on the show, a formidable house. House Martell, much like house Tyrell, isn’t a stranger to wealth. They are also very skilled warriors and they are by far the most progressive house in the series, having no problem allowing women into positions of power and accepting bastards without shame. The Martells, unlike many of the other houses in the series, have gained most of their power through marriage rather than war. The Dornish people were the last to join the seven kingdoms, but they certainly don't let them hold them back in the power games the houses play.
3. House Stark
As much as any decent viewer wanted it to happen, it does not look like the Starks will ever be taking the iron throne. Mostly because they don’t want it. The Starks know their place is up north and away from the politics and viciousness of King’s Landing. “Winter is coming” is the Stark’s family motto. They could have used it for self-promotion of self-aggrandizement but they use it to remind the other houses that there is much more going on in Westeros than there seems. While the Starks make noble leaders in the north and have the support of their bannermen they don’t hold the support needed for a claim on the throne. Honestly, even if they did it wouldn’t have meant much to them anyway. Men may fight and die for the throne but winter is always just around the corner.
2. House Lannister
Ah, the Lannisters. A family nearly entirely devoted to the pursuit of power when we first visit Westeros. Now House Lannister is down to mostly just Cersei, and while some would argue that’s a weakness, we hold the opposite opinion. Cersei Lannister is no longer encumbered by her bonds. She has no one left to hold her back, to tell her no. The Lannister’s may have you fooled into believing their family motto is “A Lannister Always Pays His Debts” but this is actually just in service to their actual motto: “Hear Me Roar”. The more popular of the Lannister mottos gives them power in almost any situation as it is a promise as well warning for anyone the comes in contact with them. Cersei may have King’s Landing, the crown, and the iron bank in her pocket but did you really think she was going to be sitting in the number one spot?
1. House Targaryen
Now here a house truly determined to get back into power. All of the ambition of this house is held on the shoulders of it’s only surviving member -- sort of. Daenerys Targaryen is a woman on a mission and it’s very likely that there is nothing in all of Westeros that will be able to stop her. Khaleesi went from being a woman on the run and a bargaining chip to becoming one of the most threatening characters to make her way to Westeros. The legacy of house Targaryen may now rest solely on the shoulders of Daenerys but she is more than capable of bearing the burden. The mother of dragons has been on a meteoric rise from the series premiere and with the Dothraki, the Unsullied, some of the fastest ships in the Iron Fleet, and her dragons, Daenerys is certainly a formidable opponent.