Every “Game of Thrones” fan out there has their favorite house. Some prefer the noble Starks, while others love the strong Targaryens, and still others like the Greyjoys.
I kid. No one likes the Greyjoys.
However, with respect to all of your varied opinions, there is only one correct way to rank these houses. So, on that note, I give you the Definitive Ranking of the “Game of Thrones” Houses, as of season 4. To keep it simple, I’ve only included the commonly recognized Great Houses from the start of the series, so you won’t find Baelish or Bolton on here. Spoilers abound.
9. House Greyjoy
There is absolutely nothing to like about the Greyjoys. Yes, yes, I know Asha was lovely in the books, and I’m very happy for her. But it’s time for book readers to admit that “Yara” doesn’t get to do very much except be tough and have uncomfortable incest scenes with her brother. Speaking of her brother, he is somehow insufferable as not one, but two different characters, going from bothersome and annoying as Theon to bothersome and sad as Reek. Their father is terrible, the Iron Islands are boring and gross and between costuming and color correction everything associated with the Greyjoys just seems…well, grey. No one likes them.
8. House Arryn
I have to be honest with you guys. I forgot this house existed for, like, two seasons. Literally. There was the whole Jon Arryn thing and then they didn’t mention him or his family for a very long time and it completely slipped my mind that there was another Great House until Petyr moved in with Lysa and that terrible, terrible child. Lysa’s really only introduced because of her Tully lineage, and while we hear good things about Jon Arryn, all we’ve gotten from him is a whole lot of pain for the Starks because of his death. If the Greyjoys are in the negative for their lack of redeeming qualities, then the Arryns are stuck at zero for their lack of qualities period.
7. House Tully
Maybe it’s just my personal loathing of fish, but House Tully seems like a very blah house. Catelyn is wonderful, of course, but when we meet her she’s already a Stark and spends the series living with her Stark family. House Tully gets important for a handful of episodes and then gets promptly shut down by the disaster that is the Red Wedding. However, they’re genuinely decent people, with only the occasional exception (Yes, I’m looking at you, Lysa. Crazypants.).
6. House Baratheon
As houses go, the Baratheons are all over the map in terms of whether or not they suck. That’s probably because there are so many branches of House Baratheon. There’s Robert Baratheon, who was so stupid that he ran his country into massive debt and didn’t notice that his wife was sleeping with her brother and giving birth to crazy incest babies. There’s also Stannis, who has some very legitimate grievances considering he’s been screwed out of a crown that he was technically next in line for, but he lets Melisandre manipulate him constantly and his storyline is extremely boring. On the flip side, they also had Renly, who was interesting, intelligent and fair, and whose death I still haven’t recovered from. So the bad and the good equal out to a very middle-of-the-road house.
5. House Targaryen
Some might cry foul that these silver-haired dragon lovers only got fifth place, and I know we all love our Khaleesi, but one really cool woman a whole house does not make. Sure, the last remaining member of House Targaryen is powerful, motivated and a snappy dresser if there ever was one, but she comes from a long, long line of incest-loving crazies, the most recent of which literally sold his sister in exchange for an army and whined so much that Drogo killed him just so he’d stop talking. Considering Viserys Targaryen is a whopping 50 percent of the Targaryen family present on the show, it takes all of Daenerys’ coolness to even get House Targaryen to the number five slot. Plus, though I know it’s GoT blasphemy to insult the Mother of Dragons, I think it’s time we admit that she’s kind of an immature teenager who wants to conquer a country she’s never been to because she can. Sometimes I seriously expect her to break into the chorus of “I Want It Now” from “Willy Wonka” when Jorah is explaining why they can’t go to Westeros yet. Still, she has dragons, and she takes what is hers with fire and blood.
4. House Martell
Last year, House Martell would have ranked even lower than House Arryn in lack of qualities. However, in a surprise play by an extreme underdog, Oberyn happened and managed to shoot his family up the list to the top five. We don’t get to see many of the Martells, but from what Oberyn says about their home Dorne and what we learn by his example, they are fun people. Things in King’s Landing were getting far too drab when, suddenly, Oberyn emerged onto the scene in all his sexily accented, sexually liberated justice-craving glory. We see that House Martell and their people are accepting and loving to bastard children, something the rest of Westeros certainly can’t say (ehem Joffrey ehem Catelyn). With their playful and sexy clothes and attitudes, the Martells (or, at least, Oberyn) are definitely the house you’d want to party with.
3. House Stark
Arguably the protagonist house, if you can say there is such a thing on “Game of Thrones”, they have a set of values and morals that most of the other houses don’t. There isn’t a bad one in the bunch. They’re realistically flawed and nuanced, but they have a respect for family and a devotion to the truth that makes them admirable. They’re perhaps not the cleverest of the Houses (seriously, Ned, it’s like you wanted to get yourself executed), but for the most part, all these people want to do is be fair leaders in an unfair world. While we might all love to hate the other houses, we can just plain love the Starks.
2. House Lannister
Yah, alright, you can pretend to hate the Lannisters as much as you want. No one believes you. Yes, after four years, they still find creative ways to shock the audience with just how awful they are. There’s the cruel, heartless father, the twins who had three children…together, the “nice” one, who recently murdered his Dad and ex-girlfriend, and Joffrey, whose horror needs no explanation. But you know what? They are really good at being horrible, and they’re the most intelligent of the houses. I mean, they’ve managed to maintain control over the Iron Throne for basically the whole run of the series with no legitimate claim to it whatsoever! Meanwhile, many great Houses with fewer skeletons in their closets have collapsed as the Lannisters watched from their big ass castle. You may think they’re monsters, but they don’t care what you think, because they are richer, prettier and far more powerful than you are.
1. House Tyrell
Not quite as dumb as the Starks. Not quite as evil as the Lannisters. Not nearly as unlikable as the Greyjoys. It’s a poorly kept secret that the Tyrells are the only functional human beings in Westeros. In fact, the Greyjoys and the Tyrells are the only houses that haven’t lost a member during the show’s run, and considering how Theon’s made out thus far, we’re going to have to give this one to the Tyrells. They are powerful, rich and have strong armies and talented warriors among them (see: Loras), but they are also intelligent, charming and adaptable. They’re one of the most progressive houses, containing the show’s most prominent LGBT character. And, let’s be honest: no one even pretends that the men wear the pants in that house. If you’re still not convinced that they’re the perfect blend of ambition and restraint, just remember this: they killed Joffrey.