Game Of Thrones: 11 Best Characters Not From Major Houses, Ranked


  • Characters outside major houses add depth to
    Game of Thrones
    story, with Sam, Varys, and Tormund bringing unique contributions and entertainment.
  • Melisandre’s impact on Jon, Davos’ loyalty, and Bronn’s rise to power show the progression and complexity of characters throughout the series.
  • Littlefinger’s manipulation, The Hound’s redemption, and Brienne’s honor showcase the diverse character arcs and relationships within Westeros.



Throughout Game of Thrones‘ successful decade-long run, the show’s ensemble has been universally praised for portraying complex and detailed characters that make up much of Westeros. In George R. R Martin’s vision, the author created a fantasy world full of variety, with many of his characters seamlessly transitioning to TV when the HBO show started airing.

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The nine major houses, such as the Starks, Targaryens, Lannisters, Tyrells, and Martells, all hold many of the most important and popular characters throughout Game of Thrones. Despite this, several characters outside these houses offer much to the story with their involvement in significant events, while some even bring high entertainment value to the show.

11 Samwell Tarly

From Timid Night’s Watch Member To Grand Maester

game of thrones samwell tarly

  • Debut
    : Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things, Season 1, Episode 4

Samwell Tarly is a Night’s Watch member whose strengths lie in his knowledge and care for others, evident in his time throughout the show. This can be further seen as Sam’s knowledge and kindhearted nature put him out of place with many in Castle Black, even despite Jon Snow having his back with the problems that arise. Besides his involvement in the Night’s Watch, Sam aids Jorah Mormont at the Citadel, curing his grayscale, which allows him to return to Daenerys Targaryen for the fight against the Night King.

Even in season eight, when Sam’s involvement is shortened, the character provides his importance as he is the one to tell Jon about his heritage, with Sam’s actions playing a major role in Daenerys’ downfall. At the show’s end, Sam manages to elevate himself to become Grand Maester as part of Bran Stark’s reformed small council, showing his progress throughout the story.

10 Varys

Spy Master Who Aimed To Do His Best For The Realm

Varys with a fan in Game of Thrones

  • Debut
    : Lord Snow, Season 1, Episode 3

Varys has played the game effectively throughout Game of Thrones, with the spymaster maneuvering himself to whatever party suits his best interests. As a small council member under Robert and Joffrey Baratheon’s rule, Varys served his kings diligently despite having ulterior motives. Varys is a character full of wisdom and humor, with the eunuch finding a lot in common with Tyrion Lannister as the pair go on to serve as a comedic duo.

Varys’ most significant contribution to the story was his involvement in freeing Tyrion from his impending death, with the eunuch taking him to Essos to meet Daenerys, formally becoming a part of her small council. Despite lacking an affluent upbringing, Varys climbed the social ladder to try and help oppressed citizens. The spider always looked for the right choice to be monarch in Westeros, no matter the cost to himself or others.

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9 Tormund Giantsbane

Voice Of The Wildings Who Becomes One Of Jon’s Greatest Allies

Tormund Giantsbane speaking with The Hound beyond the wall in Game of Thrones

  • Debut
    : Valar Dohaeris, Season 3, Episode 1

In Game of Thrones, no character is as wild and ferocious as Tormund Giantsbane, a wildling leader from beyond the Wall. Tormund starts out as one of Mance Rayder’s closest confidants, with Tormund initially being Jon’s enemy after Jon escapes from Ygritte and the wildings.

After Jon saves Tormund and the rest of the free folk, Tormund becomes a key ally of Jon, with Tormund being involved in many significant battles, such as the Battle of the Bastards, the fellowship sent beyond the Wall, and the Battle of Winterfell. Through all events, Tormund has become a fan favorite for his not-subtle demeanor, with the character’s fascination with Brienne of Tarth making for electrifying entertainment.

8 Melisandre

Red Priest That Contributes To Characters Going In the Right Direction

Red Woman Melisandre Game of Thrones

  • Debut
    : The North Remembers, Season 2, Episode 1

Ever since Melisandre was first introduced, the character has had a tremendous impact on the story’s outcome, with the character’s connection to the Lord of Light proving both dangerous and valuable. As Stannis Baratheon’s red priest, Melisandre is able to conjure a shadow that kills Stannis’ brother, Renly Baratheon, causing the landscape of the War of the Five Kings to change significantly. Melisandre’s allegiances quickly change when she resurrects Jon from the dead, proclaiming him one of the Lord of the Light’s chosen warriors.

Melisandre’s constant impact on the story and specific characters builds up to the Battle of Winterfell, where she and Jon, whom she saved, play a vital role in defeating the Night King. Despite her frequent mishaps in judgment, Melisandre’s messaging helped the living to succeed during the Long Night.

7 Davos Seaworth

Loyal Right-Hand Man Who Does Whatever It Takes To Serve His King

Davos Seaworth played by Liam Cunningham

  • Debut
    : The North Remembers, Season 2, Episode 1

Davos Seaworth is a character in Game of Thrones who aims to do the right thing whenever possible, with the loyal advisor being a steady head for Stannis and Jon in moments of need. As Stannis’ most loyal advisor, Davos endured Stannis’ authoritarian leadership by standing by his beliefs, no matter the penalty. Davos’ beliefs eventually led to his fingers being chopped off, showing his perseverance and dedication to his king.

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Davo’s care for Shireen Baratheon, Stannis’ daughter, was of love and care, with Davos being utterly distraught at her death at the hands of Melisandre. Upon Stannis’ death and Jon’s resurrection, Davos became Jon’s advisor, giving the former Night’s Watch leader advice as he grew to be King in the North.

6 Jorah Mormont

Daenerys’ Oldest Ally That Protects Her From All Sorts Of Danger

Jorah Mormont at Winterfell in Game of Thrones

  • Debut
    : Winter Is Coming, Season 1, Episode 1

Ser Jorah Mormont has been an ever-present in Game of Thrones since the first episode, with the anointed knight being an advisor to Daenerys after she marries Khal Drogo of the Dothraki. Initially starting as a spy for King Robert, Jorah falls in love with Daenerys as she builds up her reputation with the help of her three dragons.

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Throughout their relationship’s ups and downs, Jorah has always aimed to stay by his queen’s side, with Jorah risking his life on several occasions. When Jorah is found to have Greyscale, the infection is not enough to stop the Westerosi knight from reaching Daenerys, with Jorah finding a cure to help him return to her service. Upon reuniting with Daenerys in Westeros, Jorah dies defending his queen in the Battle of Winterfell, showing loyalty till the end.

5 Bronn

From Lowly Cutthroat To Lord Of Highgarden

Bronn sits in a chair during a meeting with the King's Small Council

  • Debut
    : Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things, Season 1, Episode 4

Throughout the show, Bronn has emerged as one of the most comedic characters, with his back-and-forth banter with Tyrion and Jaime Lannister being among the show’s highlights. Bronn first appears when he stands for Tyrion in his trial by combat in The Vale, with the up jump cutthroat measling his way to being Tyrion’s right-hand man when Tyrion is appointed hand of the king.

After Tyrion escapes King’s Landing, Bronn attaches himself to his brother, Jaime, with the duo becoming formidable as they gallivant all over the Seven Kingdoms. Bronn’s trajectory from lowly warrior to Lord of Highgarden shows Bronn’s expertise at hedging his bets as he sticks with the Lannister brothers throughout. Bronn’s honest and openly selfish attitude has made him one of the most entertaining characters in all of Westeros, with Bronn managing to come out on top in the end.

4 Petyr Baelish

Master Manipulator Responsible For Much Warfare In Westeros

Petyr Littlefinger Baelish Game Of Thrones

  • Debut
    : Lord Snow, Season 1, Episode 3

Petyr Baelish, otherwise known as Littlefinger, is a character that has manipulated and controlled much of Westeros from the shadows. Many events in Game of Thrones have been the cause of Littlefinger’s scheming, with Baelish being responsible for Jon Arryn’s death, which eventually led to the War of the Five Kings. Iconic scenes such as Joffrey’s death came from Littlefinger’s involvement, with the incident allowing Baelish to sneak away Sansa Stark, a prized possession he wished to keep.

Littlefinger’s aims and ambitions were revealed to be the ruler of Westeros with Sansa, his love, by his side. However, his discretion led to his downfall, with Sansa and Arya Stark killing Lord Baelish after he attempted to devise a harmful plan that would split up the sisters. Despite his shortcomings in later seasons, Littlefinger was a character that caused division in Westeros, leading to the downfall and deaths of many major characters.

3 The Hound

Menacing Warrior With A Soft Heart

the hound got

  • Debut
    : Winter Is Coming, Season 1, Episode 1

The Hound emerged as a fan favorite of many, with the brooding giant being a character famed for his obscenities and outbursts but also for his soft heart. In King Robert’s Kingsguard, The Hound was a feared knight through his appearance, with his brother The Mountain burning his face as a child. Since that incident, The Hound has focused on getting revenge on his brother, no matter the risk. After the Battle of Blackwater, The Hound flees King’s Landing, eventually ending up with Arya as the pair travel as an unconventional duo, building a rapport over time.

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After almost perishing in his duel with Brienne, The Hound finds his people when he eventually joins the Brotherhood Without Banners, helping out in the fight against the dead. Ultimately, The Hound gets his wish as he faces off against his brother, resulting in the pair’s death in Daenerys’ assault on King’s Landing.

2 Brienne of Tarth

Honorable Knight Sworn To Shield The Stark Siblings

Brienne watching Arya, Sansa, and Bran at Winterfell in Game of Thrones

  • Debut
    : What Is Dead May Never Die, Season 2, Episode 3

Brienne has suffered much throughout the show, with the honorable warrior trying to do her best while serving under different leaders. After the death of King Renly, Brienne makes it a point to exact revenge on Stannis, with the knight eventually getting her wish, as she is able to execute Stannis after his defeat to the Boltons. Brienne finds her way into the service of Catelyn Stark, where she is given the role of finding and protecting her daughters, Sansa and Arya, at all costs.

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While in Catelyn’s service, Brienne and Jaime become acquainted, with the pair bonding over the traumatic moments they share. Brienne and Jaime’s blossoming relationship is one of the sweetest and most heartbreaking in the show, with Jaime eventually leaving Brienne for his sister, Cersei Lannister. Despite losing Jaime, Brienne achieves her goal of being a part of the Kingsguard when she joins King Brans. As part of being the Lord Commander, Brienne brings her squire Podrick Payne into the Kingsguard, with the pair reaching the highest honor a knight can achieve in the Seven Kingdoms.

1 Ramsay Bolton

Psychopathic Villain That Inflicted Pain And Suffering Onto His Victims

Ramsay Bolton meeting Jon Snow before the Battle of the Bastards in Game of Thrones

  • Debut
    : Dark Wings, Dark Words, Season 3, Episode 2

Despite the character only arriving during season 3, Ramsay Bolton became one of TV’s most psychopathic villains. As the bastard child of Roose Bolton, Ramsay is tasked with taking Theon Greyjoy captive, which results in a horrendous and grotesque imprisonment. Ramsay’s psychological manipulation of Theon leads to the character being his slave, with Ramsay using Theon to do his bidding.

Ramsay’s vile torment continued over to Sansa when she became his husband, leading to Sansa becoming physically and mentally scarred by his wicked behavior. The contempt for Ramsay only grew for audiences, with the character facing off against Jon and his army, resulting in the death of Rickon Stark, who was used as war bait. After the Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay meets his demise as Sansa lets his hounds devour him, getting revenge in the process.

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