As we await Game of Thrones’ final season, let’s look back at how far some of the show’s most beloved characters have come over the past seven seasons – and speculate where they could be heading…
By Maisie Williams
From Bastard of Winterfell to Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch to King of the North, it’s safe to say that Jon’s development is one of the most interesting character arcs of the entire series. Somewhat ostracised from his family due to his illegitimacy, Jon accepted his future serving the Night’s Watch. What followed was multiple run-ins with Wight Walkers and Wildlings alike, the attack on The Wall at the end of season 4 being a particular highlight in demonstrating Jon’s ability to lead, as well as his compassion for his fellow Brothers. Qualities that may be vital for his future given that the latest season revealed he is in fact the true heir to the Iron Throne. Whether Jon will sit on the throne and take up his claim, or whether it’d be the Wights and/or Daenerys that stand in his way, all remains to be seen next season.
Daenerys’ journey is not one without its ups and downs either. Over the duration of the show it has been an exciting adventure to watch this once vulnerable and innocent girl become an almighty force of nature. Despite her many titles she’s been awarded over each season for liberating slaves, conquering cities, and the like, Daenerys has developed into a just and compassionate queen. Unlike many others in positions of power within Game of Thrones, she rarely abuses it, looks beyond demeaning titles such as ‘imp’, ‘bastard’ and ‘slave’, and for the most part still considers the advice of her counsel. At her core, Dany is a young woman who wants to claim her believed birth right and use it to make the world a better place. Whether she is a Targaryen who will achieve greatness or spiral off into madness is an unknown and, for all her morality, Daenerys’ tyrannical streak should definitely not be wholly forgotten going forward.
From the Dwarf of Casterley Rock to Hand of the Queen, Tyrion’s character development has seen him make the very most of his wit and intelligence. Whilst charming and somewhat charismatic in early seasons, it could not be denied that he was a lady’s man who enjoyed a privileged lifestyle. However, events such as his forced marriage to Sansa, demonstrated that he had a good heart and that, despite doing his best to uphold the legacy of House Lannister, he was never seen as an equal by his own family. Seeing Tyrion interact with Daenerys in later seasons allows us to see that along with a good strategic mind, he truly believes in her vision to help build a better world, regardless of where his family’s place in it is. Although, despite of the treatment he’s received from them over his life, it’s evident when Tyrion is finally reunited with Cersei at the end of season 7, he still deeply cares about his family. It will be interesting to see which side Tyrion will remain on as Daenerys gets closer to taking back the throne.
Since her first episode, where she watched her twin brother push a ten-year-old Brandon Stark out of the tower window, Cersei has always been portrayed in an antagonist light. Cold-hearted and ruthless, Cersei has always cleverly had the upper hand in many of the situations she finds herself in. However, the show still also manages to evoke sympathy from the audience for her. Trapped in loveless marriage to an oaf who was still heartbroken over his first wife, Cersei’s bitterness is explained by how she is personally affected by the sexism of their world. In earlier seasons she was a woman who wanted to maintain power and authority, hence why she despised both her father and Margery alike. After the deaths of all three of her children, it is clear that Cersei is very much playing the game for herself, backstabbing Daenerys and casting Jaime away. Thought it seems very unlikely the ‘Mother of Madness’, as Tyrion once fondly called her, will win in the end.
Often undermined and underappreciated, Sansa’s story is not one to downcast due to her femininity or lack of physical prowess. Whilst many of the show’s fans have been rather vocal in writing her character off as being naïve and gullible, Sansa has proven her bravery and strength of character as she survived many tragedies and villainous characters. Not many others would have been able to contend with Joffrey’s torment, Ramsey’s brutality or Littlefinger’s manipulation for as long as Sansa did, but the eldest surviving Stark sibling was present to see the demise of all three of these antagonists, having an active hand in orchestrating the last two. It has been an intriguing thing to watch Sansa develop from a timid girl with a teenage crush to steely-face politician and Lady of Winterfell over the past seven seasons.
What do you think of the character development over the course of the series? And who do you think has had the most interesting journey?