In “Game of Thrones,” are Outsiders the Most Powerful Characters?


In Game of Thrones (2011), we see an immense variety of characters representing all tiers of societal and class systems. Several of the main characters are viewed as “outsiders” in the world of Westeros. Jon Snow, the bastard son of the Stark family, retreats to The Wall with the Night’s Watch. Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) both disappear from society, and for most of the story, nobody significant even knows Arya is alive. Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), the dwarf son of the most powerful family in the land, never fits in with his family and barely lives by any of the motivations that drive his kin. Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) gets paralyzed and travels far on the outskirts of the world following a raven, also assumed dead by most. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) spends almost her entire story separated from the rest of Westeros. And Ned Stark (Sean Bean) never has much time for the politics and attention of King’s Landing, despite being best friends with the king.

Some of these characters, particularly the younger ones like Jon (Kit Harington) and Arya, originally see their outsider status as a bad thing. They feel small and insignificant, like they have something to prove - and thus, they do. Older characters like Ned and Tyrion seem happy to be outsiders. Ned is proud to live in The North far from the politics and nonsense of King’s Landing, and Tyrion is happy to be awarded the pleasures of being a Lannister without subscribing to the family’s loathsome behaviors.

It’s unarguable that many of these outsiders have grown to show great promise or advancement. Jon became Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch over veterans with decades of experience. Daenerys commands an entire army of Dothraki and has seized towns. Arya and Sansa have both survived when the odds were massively stacked against them, and have wisdom and partnerships with powerful people. And Tyrion has an intelligence that surpasses most - a powerful thing in a brutish world like Westeros.