Gabbing Game of Thrones: Top Ten Cleverest Players (Spoilers)

We are days away from the final season of Game of Thrones; one of the greatest shows of all-time!  In preparation for the season premiere on April 14th, we are looking back at the first seven seasons and making lists about…everything!

Today, we are looking at who best uses their brains to play the Game…

Here we go!

Top Ten Cleverest Players

10. Samwell Tarley

How Clever are They?:  Sam is not a sneaky player in the way other players of Game use brains over brawn; but it doesn’t mean he’s not a baller!  He uses his scholarly curiosity to help make Westeros a better place.  What a novel concept…

How They Win:  “I read the book and followed the instructions…”  Sam uses his leisure time reading every book he can on the Wildlings and the White Walkers to help inform the folks who make the military decisions.  SCHOLAR!

Best Maneuver:  Thanks to his research, he now knows Jon is the rightful heir to Westeros.

Biggest Mistake: He sometimes lets his love for Gilly get in the way of his own safety.  Ah, love…

9. High Sparrow

How Clever are They?: He climbed from nothing to stand among the nobles and play the Game at the highest levels.

How They Win:  He uses religious fervor to get the masses on his side to offset his lack of formal power.

Best Maneuver:  He manipulates Tommen into serving as his puppet and begins a shadow rule to inflict his zealotry.

Biggest Mistake: He underestimated how ruthless Cersei was…

 

8. Littlefinger

How Clever are They?:  He is a master player of the Game. Sure it ended with a throat cut, but he rose from near obscurity to the Lord of Harrenhal and the de facto ruler of the the Vale.

How They Win:  Chaos is a ladder… Littlefinger sowed the seeds of chaos and used the distraction to consolidate his power.

Best Maneuver: Littlefinger started the War of the Five Kings by conspiring to poison Jon Arryn, allowing him to move up the ladder considerably.

Biggest Mistake:  He didn’t know when to pause and wait for a better moment.  Had he taken his time, he might have achieved his goal… but his constant scheming finally caught up with him.

7. Mance Rayder

How Clever are They?:  He has a great vision of what needs to be done, and knows how to get people to follow him so he can see his plans through.

How They Win:  Leadership and charisma.  Mance was a Wildling, who was raised by the Night’s Watch.  He abandoned his brothers to return to the Freefolk.  Those same tribes  followed Mance when they ordinarily would never have followed ANYONE else.

Best Maneuver:  Assembling an Army of Wildlings into an army of 100,000 people; consisting of tribes who had been warring for thousands of years.

Biggest Mistake:  He trusted Jon Snow enough to let him in his inner circle….twice…

6. Queen of Thorns

How Clever are They?: Oh…she’s clever.  She got her granddaughter married off to a king THREE times!  She is a top tier player.

How They Win:  She is sneaky, but unlike Littlefinger, her collaborator on a big scheme, she plays the long game.

Best Maneuver: Lady Ollena plotted the assassination of the dreaded Joffrey so her beloved granddaughter could marry the sweet Tommen.

Biggest Mistake:  She did not anticipate the High Septon’s move to pull Tommen into his manipulative web.

5. Tyrion Lannister

How Clever are They?: He drinks and knows things.  A dangerous combination.

How They Win: He uses his curiosity and deviousness for a good cause now; helping break the wheel with Daenerys.

Best Maneuver:  Using wildfire to win the Battle of Black Water Bay against overwhelming offs.

Biggest Mistake:  Thinking Jamie would defend their home of Casterly Rock, when Jamie instead marched on The Reach.

4. Cersei Lannister

How Clever are They?:  Despite living in an era where women are second class citizens, Cersei is able to rise to the Iron Throne.

How They Win:  She will do anything to take out those who oppose her.

Best Maneuver: She killed like…EVERYBODY she didn’t like in Kings Landing when she took out the Great Sept with Wildfire.  The number of people who died in that one sequence reminded me of the wipe out scene in the Godfather.  I would love to see a mashup of all the deaths of those two scenes, ending with Moe Greene getting shot in the eye.

Biggest Mistake:  I think she made it when she decided to avoid making peace with Daenerys.  Time will tell…

3. Daenerys Targaryen

How Clever are They?:  She has risen from a refugee with an asshole older brother, to a serious contender for the Iron Throne.

How They Win:  She has inspired others to follow her.  Plain and simple. People CHOSE to follow her instead of being forced; a couple of Tarley’s not withstanding…

Best Maneuver:  Daenerys convinced the slaves of Yunkai and Meereen to rebel against their masters and come to her cause.

Biggest Mistake:  She seems to be leaning into her Targaryan curse and burning her enemies.  Not sure if she can keep the inspirational leadership with that trait.

2. Tywin Lannister

How Clever are They?:  So clever!  He is really the master player, but is knocked down one spot for not making it to the end.

How They Win:  He’s six moves ahead of everyone else with his strategic vision.  He also rules with fear and brutality.  The Rain of Castemere is a song about the utter destruction and murder of a whole noble family who rebelled against him.    It is hard to knock him for dying at the hands of his son, who was freed by his other son.

Best Maneuver: He so overwhelmed Joffrey, a previously uncontrollable sociopath, that he literally sent him to bed without dinner.

Biggest Mistake:  Other than hoping to take a shit in peace, his only real mistake was letting Arya Stark serves as his cup bearer and then slip out of his reach.

1. Varys

How Clever are They?:  He was a eunuch cast out to die, and rose to the top levels of Westerosi leadership.

How They Win:  Whispers. He gets his network of spies around the world to let him know what’s going on.

Best Maneuver:  He snuck Tyrion out of King’s Landing and met up with Daenerys; following through on his plot to restore the Targaryen dynasty.

Biggest Mistake:  He once favored Visarys to reclaim the throne and that clearly would have been worse than the reign of Robert Baratheon.

Bonus List- The Five WORST players of the Game of Thrones!

5.  Ned Stark– He was too honorable.

4.  Robb Stark–  He let his romance get in the way of his victory.

3.  Janos Slynt–  He didn’t play the game well in ANY city he inhabited.

2.  Visarys– He thought it a good idea to threaten Khal Drogo in a Dothraki camp.

1.  Catelyn Stark– Every move she made was awful…

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