HBO's Game of Thrones wouldn’t have become the biggest TV show of a generation without incredible characters.
You can throw together mammoth battles and flying dragons, but if there aren’t characters who make you laugh, cry and cheer, you’re going to come up short.
The magic of the series is that every character - from the smallest cameo to an eight-season lead - leaves a mark.
You'll loathe the villains, weep over fallen heroes and your heart will break for those who zig-zag between the light and dark side of Westeros.
Ahead of the release of Game of Thrones: The Final Season in the BT TV Store, we've ranked our 15 favourite characters of all time.
15. Ned Stark
Poor old Ned, taken from us far too soon. Casual viewers unfamiliar with the George RR Martin books presumed that Sean Bean’s Stark family patriarch would be the ultimate hero of the story.
However, the version of the story where Ned doesn’t lose his head would be a much shorter and less interesting series. So not only should we grateful for what the character gave us in such a short amount of time, but also for what he helped create with his shocking season one exit.
Has any TV show ever created as many fabulous villains as Game of Thrones? Euron Greyjoy and Ramsay Bolton are worthy of mentions for being demented and despicable creatures, but nobody got quite under our skin like Joffrey.
The most snivelling and snide Lannister started the series as a fairly pathetic figure, but as he rose to power, the young King abused and tormented anyone that he took a dislike towards and committed some of the most disturbing
12. Khal Drogo
Jason Momoa became a superstar off the back of his performance as the brutal barbarian.
Drogo's relationship with Daenerys was a complicated and not without its disturbing elements, but the passion and power of their romance by the end of their relationship was so strong it turned the pair into the show’s ultimate power couple. Well, until Drogo met an untimely end.
If the world of Westeros was filled with Bronns it would be a much simpler place. The prize fighter and big drinker always looks like he’d quite like to end all the squabbling and bickering and focus instead on boozing and bedding women.
But if there is going to be almighty war to end all wars, Bronn is the dude we would want by our side as we head into battle.
The Mother of Dragons would have featured much higher on our list, but in recent series she’s started to show signs of being everything that she originally rallied against. She’s become power-hungry and dangerously ruthless, but who can really blame her when she’s got some fire-breathing pets by her side.
In a kingdom filled with sneaks and traitors, Sam is the loyal friend that gives us hope of a better world. His romance with Gilly is a rare love story without a disturbing twist or sinister edge, so we should all be grateful for that.
7. Tormund Giantsbane
There are plenty of fierce warriors in Game of Thrones – the Red Viper, the Mountain – but none would put the fear into us quite like Tormund. The raider from the Free Folk stands loyal with Jon Snow following the death of Mance Rayder and his flirtation with Brienne has become one of the most popular memes in the series.
(HBO's Game of Thrones: The Final Season - Available to buy now in the BT TV Store)
Aidan Gillen was many viewers tip to eventually end up in the Iron Throne. His plotting and scheming was responsible for many of the deadliest moments in the series and he appeared more aware than anyone how to survive and always back a winner.
However, he didn’t bank on the loyalty of the Stark sisters, who ultimately got their revenger on the sneak who betrayed their father.
5. The Hound
The Hound always finds a way to survive. He’s been left for dead on several occasions, but somehow always comes back fighting.
The most intriguing part of The Hound’s character is his relationship with children such as Sansa and Arya, who is determined to protect. And although he lacks the terrifying brutality of his brother The Mountain, his humanity has made his journey across the series one that deserves a significant ending.
She’s possibly suffered more than any other character on the show, ending up either abused, persecuted or forced into marriage with Joffrey, Cersei, Littlefinger and Ramsay – a roll call of the very worst of Westeros.
However, not only has she survived, she’s come out stronger and heading into the Final Season, she has as good a claim as any to the Iron Throne.
3. Jaime Lannister
No character has swung our emotions quite like Jaime. From pushing Bran out of the window in season 1 to saving Brienne and protecting his family, he’s a hard character to nail down.
He may be nicknamed the Kingslayer and sleep with his sister, but Jaime is a world away from the villainy of Cersei, Tywin and Joffrey and ultimately has more in common with his brother Tyrion.
How his story will unfold across the Final Season will be fascinating to watch.
The ultimate outsider and outcast, Brienne has found herself connected to nearly all the key players at some point in Game of Thrones.
Brienne has it all. Able to hold her own as a fighter against the most fierce warriors, a love interest for Jaime and Tormund, a hero willing to place her life on the line to keep her word and help others.
If she doesn't make it out of the Final Season alive, there won't be a dry eye in the house.
"You win or you die." The Lannister matriarch has somehow managed to make it through to the Final Season despite being the brutal, unforgiving and permanently sour-faced.
Rather than keeping her enemies close, Cersei wants them all dead and buried.
Sat on the Iron Throne at the end of season 7, we wouldn’t put it past her that she’s plotted the whole thing and will make it all the way to the bitter end. .
It was a tough call and we could have picked any of the top 5 to take the top spot, but purely for the range of emotions we’ve gone through with Tyrion, he takes the top spot.
Villain, hero, cunning, tragic, witty, lover, fighter, leader, follower – he’s a bundle of contradictions and that makes him the most well-rounded character in Westeros. We wouldn’t complain if he was the last man standing and sat on the Iron Throne.