Every child and baby on Game of Thrones, ranked

One of the most remarkable things about Game of Thrones which is easy to forget when you’re actually immersed in it: the child actor casting.  The show has arguably a perfect track record in this regard (nobody can be blamed for the fact that Isaac Hempstead-Wright apparently has giant’s blood).  Below please find my personal rankings of children* and babies of Game of Thrones, in order of best to worst, based on no objective criteria whatsoever.

Inclusion on this list was based on being a “child” at the time of the character’s first introduction on the series.  It’s arguable that by season 4 neither Joffrey nor Sansa are really “children” anymore, but somebody gotta draw a line somewhere.

  1. sansa-stark-sophie-turner-game-thrones-then-now__iphone_640Sansa (Sophie Turner).  Dating tip: every time you go out with a guy for the first time, ask him what he thinks of Sansa Stark.  MRAs and incel sympathizers tend to treat Sansa as the pretty girl who wouldn’t look at them twice, and so they hate her and call out her most stupid decisions, without showing empathy or any understanding of things like context or the fact that being held hostage tends to affect one’s self-concept.  Over the years, Sansa has changed from Westeros’s version of Regina George to a fully realized character who recognizes that she can be a slow learner, but she does eventually learn.  Shireen-Baratheon-death-595135
  2. Shireen (Kerry Ingram).  She survived greyscale.  She taught the Onion Knight and Gilly how to read.  She was the only trueborn heir to House Baratheon.  And burning her alive turned Stannis from our Mannis the Rightful King into the most hated man in all the Seven Kingdoms!  R.I.P. Shireen.  It was truly heartbreaking to see you go. 2101a4b3b36d9efb_gameofthrones14_58
  3. Joffrey (Jack Gleeson).  Admit it, when Joffrey’s successor turned out to be kind of a wimp who couldn’t even get his own wife and mom out of jail, you reminisced fondly about King Joffrey.  Whether he was being simply cruel (making Sansa look at Ned’s head on a pike), tyrannical (ordering hundreds of peasants killed for throwing a cow pie at him), or cowardly (running away from the Battle of the Blackwater at his mother’s orders), he was undoubtedly the worst king of all possible options and a huge reason for the show’s early success.  hqdefault
  4. Shadow Baby.  One of the early signs that maybe this Lord of Light guy isn’t an entirely trustworthy deity, the Shadow Baby also stands out as one of Game of Thrones’s best horror-genre moments.  He did such a good job at murdering his Uncle Renly, Stannis was all hyped and ready to make more (too bad his fires were running low, Davos must not have told him about the fermented crab).  arya-stark-photo-u25
  5. Arya (Maisie Williams).  I want Arya Stark to be my favorite character, I really do, and I’m sure if anybody is reading this, there’s a high likelihood you’re mad at me right now for not ranking her higher.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all of Arya’s violent scenes and took pleasure in her vengeance against the Freys just as much as the next guy who was traumatized by the Red Wedding.  But what I think I’ve realized in the past few seasons is that, while the showrunners regularly put Arya in physical danger, they have rarely allowed her to show emotional vulnerability.  This is a common problem of “strong female” characters (Daenerys has the same issue, which is why it was so gratifying to see her finally show softness with Jon).  I’m hopeful that it will get corrected at least a little bit before the end.  bran1
  6. Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright).  I’ve always felt that Bran’s has been one of the most underrated arcs of the series, and the recent revelations his powers have allowed us in the past couple of years have proven me right.  But even while rewatching the early years, it’s striking me how much  Bran has been at the center of moments we didn’t realize were so important, but which actually shaped the future of Westeros, and shed huge insights into other characters as well.  Getting pushed out the window by Jaime, in a scene that revealed the lie at the heart of the Baratheon succession.  Attacked with a Valyrian steel blade that set off the War of Five Kings and which even now is still in play.  Trying to be a good lord in his brother’s absence and getting betrayed by Theon, sending the North into chaos for four years.  And through it all, Hempstead-Wright has carried far more than most actors his age could handle.  Baby
  7. White walker baby.  If I’m not mistaken, the season 4 revelation that Craster’s sons are taken far north and turned into white walkers stands out as the very first time the show spoiled the books.  This was HUGE when it aired, and I still consider it one of the most significant insights into the white walkers.  lyannasmaller
  8. Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey).  She stole the show in her first appearance, when she promised Jon Snow her 62 fighting men.  She was later instrumental in crowning Jon as the new KINGINDANORF.  I do think the showrunners have rested just a little too much on Lyanna Mormont being tiny and fierce, especially at the start of season seven, but it’s hard to blame them for over-using such a fun character.  arya-hot-pie
  9. Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey).  Hot Pie is who I like to remind people of, whenever they get too worked up about whether Jon’s true name is Snow or Sand or Targaryen, that this is a land where a character’s actual legal name* is literally HOT PIE.  (*Yes, I know that he probably doesn’t have a birth certificate or any concept of a legal name.  Shut up.)  The recurrences of Hot Pie after his initial departure have always been a welcome respite.  Also, the actor who plays Hot Pie has opened a real bakery selling direwolf cakes called You Know Nothing Jon Dough.  GOT-610-Tommen-Window
  10. Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman, Callum Wharry).  This poor kid.  All he wanted to do was play with Ser Pounce, sleep with his hot cougar wife, and be a holy, just, strong, and wise king.  In better times, he probably could have ruled over a golden era of Westeros.  But this isn’t a story about happy times, and Cersei isn’t wrong about Tommen.  He was too weak for this show. image
  11. Little Sam.  Aside from being the physical embodiment of the timeline of this series not making any sense, Little Sam is a pretty cool little guy.  Everybody seems to like him, and he hasn’t yet been forced into the stupid “baby cries, alerting enemies to its presence” trope.  However, he’s pretty underdeveloped as a character.  I’m mostly ranking him so high because I’m pretty sure that his continued presence on the show is an indication that the White Walkers haven’t forgotten he was supposed to be sacrificed to them, and somebody is going to have to make a terrible choice about this down the road. Screen-Shot-2015-12-02-at-2.26.17-PM
  12. Robin Arryn(Lino Facioli).  One of my clearest memories of being personally affected by this show’s audacity was the introduction of Lysa Arryn breastfeeding her eight-year-old son, Robin.  (I still think about the filming of this scene and the effect it could have on the child actor, arguably even worse than Bran peeping on some Jaime/Cersei incest.  I hope he’s doing okay.)  Initially, Robin seemed sort of like Tower Joffrey, bloodthirsty and petty.  Since his mom died and Uncle Petyr took him into his care, it seems like he has grown up a tiny bit; he does seem to feel a connection to his Stark cousins and helped them retake Winterfell.  Not sure if Robin has much more of a part to play in this story, but even if he hasn’t, he’s been a great, weird detail in this weird fucking show.8d0cac5bdb86d73c_lola.xxxlarge
  13. Children of the Forest (Octavia Alexandru, Kae Alexander).  Haha get it, the “children”?  Long alluded to by the older characters who believed in such things, the Children were kind of spoiled by the title of the episode in which they appeared (the season 4 finale, “The Children”).  It was nonetheless very cool to actually see them in person, and a little mind-blowing to later learn that they had been the ones who first created the White Walkers.  facebook
  14. Baby Bolton.  As I searched for a photo of this guy, it started to occur to me that possibly there was never any actual baby playing this role; Rhys Ifans and the actress playing Mrs. Bolton may have just carried around a bundle and cooed at it for a while.  Anyway, he was hardly around long enough to matter, but definitely died in a horrific and gross way.556bfdad378caf0d670e5128_508_promo_stills_1100162650[1]
  15. Wight Children (from the season 5 episode “Hardhome”).  In my personal favorite battle so far of the series, the Wight Children serve to freak out Karsi, the lady wildling chief we haven’t known very long but already like a lot.  She hesitates, and they take her down brutally.  They are very creepy, just look at them!  But it is kind of lame that the only reason they defeat Karsi is apparently because as a mom she just can’t bring herself to kill zombie children idk. hqdefault (1)
  16. Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free, Aimee Richardson).  I have no particular problem with Myrcella herself, although I find this recasting to be one of the more pointless examples of its kind.  She’s just more of a plot vector than an actual character, which rendered her final death scene with Jaime to be much more about his own failures than anything sad for Myrcella herself.  Later, when Cersei was setting up Ellaria’s torture dungeon and implied that Myrcella was Cersei’s own favorite child, I found myself more bemused than anything.  I consider the dumbness of Myrcella’s story to be a casualty of the disaster that was the entire Dorne situation. rickon1
  17. Rickon (Art Parkinson).  I’m pretty sure that Rickon’s entire character is a case of the author trolling us.  This is hilarious in its own way, but kind of stupid at the same time.  R.I.P. Rickon, and especially R.I.P. Shaggydog. Olly_hangs
  18. Olly (Brenock O’Connor).  I don’t hate Olly as much as others do, although I certainly think he met proper justice.  Killing Ygritte was completely reasonable and even kind of brave considering his background.  I find most of the Wall story to be pretty boring, and Olly’s no exception in that regard.1382cf31b568f9f6e3f8a1e13d98cbaa
  19. Lommy (Eros Vlahos).  You might not remember Lommy, because he was introduced as Hot Pie’s shitty little sidekick and soon died.  His character serves two good purposes: Arya pretended that his dead body was Gendry’s, allowing the real Gendry to escape assassins, and the Hound had a great, funny line about him two years later.  That’s it. Waiif_No_One_ep
  20. The Waif (Faye Marsay).  The Waif is one of the only elements of the series that makes me actually mad in real life.  You can set up a character to be a pure villain whose only job is to torment another character we already love, but you have to give her some qualities that lend actual entertainment value, too.  The Mountain is a big crazy guy who beheaded a horse.  Ramsey Snow is darkly hilarious eating his sausage in front of poor castrated Theon.  You get the idea.  The Waif not only beats up on Arya for no discernible reason, she’s boring about it.  The Faceless Men, along with Dorne, are probably one of the storylines that will go down as being most poorly served by the TV adaptation, and the Waif’s motivations are ultimately left unclear and unsatisfying.  It was cool when Arya killed her.

 

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