The 10 Hardest Characters On Game Of Thrones: Ranked

Who would win in a Westerosi battle royale? We arbitrarily - sorry, definitively - decide

One of the geekiest pleasures of watching Game Of Thrones is considering who, in a world of warriors, is the greatest warrior of them all.

Who would you bet on at a tourney? Who would you nominate to save you in a trial by combat? Who, on fighting style alone, truly deserves the Iron Throne?

Like pitting superhero against superhero or heavyweight champion against heavyweight champion, it is a boyish delight of pointless speculation and bias, a Top Trumps fantasy for which we make no apology.

And so here, irrefutably, is the top ten hardest bastards in all of Westeros. It is known.

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10 - The Hound

Perhaps it is just that we spend more time with Sandor Clegane than most of the other warriors on this list, but the big man's weaknesses are too abundant - fire, ale, Arya - to rank higher than 10. Nevertheless, Joffrey's dog is a mixture of power and low cunning you'd back 9 times out of ten - even when he's had a skinful. Which is often.

9 - Barristan Selmy

"Even now I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake" said Barristan the Bold when confronted the King's Guard he once led. Had we not met the good knight in his twilight years he would undoubtedly be further up this list, but suffice to say, in his pomp Selmy wasn't known as the best swordsmen in the seven kingdoms for nothing and even with creaking knees he's tougher than a nail made of Valyrian steel.

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8 - The Mountain

Brute strength (and more recently, scary zombie eyes) is Gregor Clegane's biggest selling point as a fighter, but as his showdown with The Viper in the Greatest Game Of Thrones Scene Of All Time proves, the big man can also be slow, clumsy and – let's face it – a bit bloody thick when confronted with a smaller, craftier opponent. A giant among iron-clad knights – this is a man who cuts horses in half when he's irritated, lest we forget – it is nevertheless fair to suppose how well he'd do against a nimble Dothraki or Braavosi. We're guessing not very.

7 - Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun

Look, he's a giant OK? We have no idea how handy he is with a sword, but he's a giant. Oh - but he can't ride a horse, you say? No matter, he can ride a mammoth. And he's a giant. You only had to see him flick white walkers of his back like summer flies at the battle of Hardhome to know this fella isn't going down without a fight. The reason he is not top of this list is because he is so... slow... Anyone with some guile (and preferably a trebuchet) should be able to take him down. Did we mention he's a giant?

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6 - Ser Arthur Dayne

The 'Sword of the Morning' has only made a fleeting appearance on the show so far, but it just so happened to be the most impressive display of swordsmanship in Game Of Thrones history, so his place on this list is assured. Tackling a young Ned Stark (and about six others), he wielded not one but two swords at once, and would have killed them all easily but for a sneaky knife in the back just as he was about to take out Noble Neddy at the Tower of Joy.

5 - Greyworm

There is something about the furrow-browed eunuch's fighting style – all clean lines and tight, economic movement – that marks him out as perhaps the most underrated hard man in Game Of Thrones. Then there is the mentality. Greyworm may lack balls in a literal sense, but confront him with a few dozens Sons of Harpy and the man barely breaks a sweat. His only weaknesses are his small frame and indefatigable sense of honour which, let's face it, doesn't tend to get you far in this show.

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4 - Brienne Of Tarth

She's bested Baratheon knights, Lannister foot soldiers and – most impressively - The Hound in her time, not to mention Jamie and Stannis (admittedly neither at their best). The woman driven by a lifetime of misplaced scorn is a formidable fighter who is yet to meet her match. You would even have fancied her against the bear if she'd had her sword handy.

3 - Daario Naharis

Daenerys' lover may be the wrong side of cocky, but when he says he honed his skills in the fighting pits of Slaver's Bay - learning from aged 12 how to fight 'like a Dothraki screamer, a Norvoshi priest and a Westerosi Knight' - you better believe this polymathic killing machine isn't just all talk. His ability to adapt – and understand – more fighting styles than most edges him near the top of the pile. Plus he has that little dagger.

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2 - Khal Drogo

In the end, it took nothing short of black magic to bring down 'The Great Khal', who had never been beaten in combat when he met and fell for Daenerys. Few races in Game Of Thrones are as fearsome as the Dothraki – mainly because of that bloody great big moon-shaped curved blade (arakh) they all carry – and Khal was the most fearsome of them all.

1 - Prince Oberyn Martell

We're pretty sure it's not just the man crash speaking when we say Oberyn was unlucky in his great showdown with The Mountain. Undone by nothing more than heightened emotions and circumstantial hubris (who doesn't show off when their girlfriend is watching?), in purely fighting terms he made the great lummox look a fool with his majestic combat style we're going to officially call swirly-swirly-poke-poke. Spry as a springbok and lethal as, well, a snake, in any other duel the Viper of Dorne would come out on top. If he'd just wear a bloody helmet.