- INSIDER asked thousands of “Game of Thrones” fans to vote for the best characters and performances on HBO’s hit series.
- House Lannister was by far the family with the best-loved characters and performances by actors.
- Olenna Tyrell (played by Dame Diana Rigg) was also a top contender.
- Folks are really not fans of House Martell and the Sand Snakes, with the exception of Oberyn (Pedro Pascal).
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We’ve now had nearly a decade with “Game of Thrones,” and the cast of hundreds of characters that have graced the screen, from the lofty Queen Cersei Lannister to the lowly Poisoned Frey No. 1. These characters have been great and these characters have been terrible, while the series’ actors have garnered Emmy awards and critical accolades year after year.
But which actor in this stacked ensemble has delivered the best performance over the last 10 years? Which character is most beloved?
We needed to find a way to evaluate about 200 unique characters and performances. A survey could not do – even the most dedicated “Game of Thrones” fan, one of whom wrote this post, could not bear to take a 400 question survey.
To accomplish this, we developed two simple matchup generators and asked readers on social media to weigh in on it. In one, people would see two characters randomly selected from a group of hundreds. And in the other one of two actors from the group of actors that appeared on three or more episodes.
They then selected the character they liked more, or in the case of the performances, the performance they liked more. Forcing people to decide between two random options helps mitigate the impact of any vote stuffing, and we calculated these win percentages from 15,845 character matchup decisions and 20,972 actor matchup decisions.
Keep scrolling to see who the best-loved actors and characters are on “Game of Thrones.”
Overall, Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister came out on top.
Tyrion Lannister was the character people liked best, and Peter Dinklage is thought to have delivered a great performance.
In fact, all of the Lannisters are in the top for best performance on “Game of Thrones.”
Lena Headey (who plays Cersei), Jack Gleeson (Joffrey), Charles Dance (Tywin), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime), and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) make up five of the top six performances fans love the most on the series.
Dame Diana Rigg’s performance as Olenna Tyrell is the fourth most-loved portrayal on “Game of Thrones.”
Margaery (played by Natalie Dormer) came in just behind the Queen of Thorns, while her brother Loras (Finn Jones) was closer to the middle. Mace Tyrell (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) is the least likable of the family.
Of everyone who follows Daenerys Targaryen, Ser Jorah Mormont is the most loved.
We kept Jon Snow on the list of Night’s Watch characters, and Tyrion is just on here for perspective.
Though, if you’re curious about the “Tyrion is a Targaryen” fan prediction, you can read our analysis of that theory there.
As for Starks, fans believe Michelle Fairley delivered the superior performance as Catelyn.
Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) beat out Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Arya (Maisie Williams), and Robb (Richard Madden) by just a fraction.
There wasn’t much love for Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson) though. Maybe he should have zig-zagged.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Sam Tarly (John Bradley West) are the two most-liked Night’s Watch brothers.
You shouldn’t be surprised to see Janos Slynt (Dominic Carter) as the least-liked character of all the brothers in black.
Ygritte (Rose Leslie) is a favourite among the Free Folk.
The Night King (played by both Richard Brake and Vladamir Furdik), on the other hand, is surprisingly close to the dead center of our chart.
Out of everyone associated with House Baratheon, Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is considered the best character.
Selyse (Tara Fitzgerald) is one of the least-liked characters on all of “Game of Thrones,” while Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) were rated higher than Kings Robert (Mark Addy) and Stannis (Stephen Dillane), and Princess Shireen (Kerry Ingram).
Unsurprisingly, Theon (Alfie Allen) and Yara (Gemma Whelan) Greyjoy topped their elders.
Euron (Pilou Asbæk) and Balon (Patrick Malahide) were above the middle fold when it came to best acting performance.
House Martell has a majority of the characters in our worst-performance section of the chart.
Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal), on the other hand, was very high in the rankings of both loved character and better acting performance.
As for the other lesser houses and brigands and confidants, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) is preferred to all others.
Folks also really love Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), but aren’t as fond of Robin Arryn (Lino Facioli). As for Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), his character is deeply disliked but people seem to have preferred Rheon’s performance over many other characters in the pool.
For more results from INSIDER’s matchup series, see which character fans believe would be the better ruler, and who they think would actually win the Iron Throne here.