Chris Long reveals Game of Thrones' best and worst characters.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman and Super Bowl champion Chris Long is a huge Game of Thrones fan. With the show returning to HBO Sunday for its seventh season, Long shares his thoughts on the show's legacy, the best and worst characters, internet theories and much more.
“I can’t get into a fantasy type of show.” “Doesn’t it have dragons and weird stuff like that?” “Is it like Lord of the Rings? I wasn’t into that.”
These are common responses to a faithful Game of Thrones fan pitching the show’s excellence to someone who hasn’t been introduced to the show.
At one point, I was that guy. In my estimation, shows with dragons, sorcerers and hobbits were generally left up to people who played Magic Cards. But Game Of Thrones has proven time and time again to be the outlier. Its legacy will be that it's one of the greatest shows in television history, and easily in the conversation with heavyweights like The Wire, Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. What sets GOT apart is its depth of characters. The closest competitor in this realm would be The Sopranos, with its layering of supporting characters who had real gravity. Still, the mob classic doesn’t spread the floor quite like GOT.
And hopefully, without a clear protagonist, the show can avoid that awkward twilight sequence where you feel like the series maybe could’ve ended a bit earlier. You know, like Jimmy McNulty running around like a weirdo in Season 5, or Walter White holed up in a cabin, isolated and ready to die.
Here are some of my favorite Game of Thrones characters who are still standing, and it’s not hard to imagine all five having key roles down the stretch.
Bronn: Coolest guy on the show. The guy you’d want to get a beer with. He’s a wanderer, with no ties to bind him. As self serving as anyone on the show, he does his own bidding unapologetically, transparently and with charm and style.
Cersei: Just the right amount of crazy. Well, maybe she could tone it down a notch. As characters around her, like Jamie, develop and transform, she remains stubbornly cold, calculating and evil. You sort of pull for her to soften up, but she self regulates her kindness remarkably. She almost catches herself drifting off into being a normal human, then boom. Back to being the stone cold psycho we love to hate. Also scores points for having an undead, indestructible body guard. Lena Headey has killed it the entire series.
Tyrion: The most brilliant, likable character on the show. He’s the one character whose mortality is off limits. Well, I’m sure it’s not. But I would complain a lot if he got offed.
Jorah Mormont: One of the coolest character developments on the show. From a dirtbag spy, to bordering on a super badass, stage-five clinger who somehow stalks with dignity. He’s endured greyscale and gone toe-to-toe with the Sons of the Harpy for Dany, yet he gets friend zoned harder than anyone in HBO history. Every dude can relate.
Night King: Not only have the creators of GOT nailed the character visually, they’ve teased him in beautifully. He’s never overused, leaving the character with a certain mystique. Wordless, thousands of years old and never in a hurry, the Night King is iconic. Central in one of the coolest scenes in the entire series, he can also raise the dead. The most interesting thing about this character and the white walkers, in general, is the possibility that they may actually be the least evil of anyone in the show.
One Character I'm Over
Khaleesi: Is it me or has Khaleesi gotten really full of herself? If her character had an Instagram, it would be insufferable. Every time she meets someone and unloads a 73-second self-righteous introduction, I keep hoping one of her dragons will fart out a fireball and engulf her. Then I remember she’s a badass and cannot burn. Her ascension onto the iron throne would also make for the most pedestrian ending to the show. I don’t want her to go, but I kinda do.
Most Interesting Internet Theory
This isn't a formulaic, complicated ending like many others on the Web, but a plausible and bold one. This theory coming to fruition would drive people absolutely insane. It deals with the possibility that nearly the entire show is comprised of a premonition within a dream. The dreamer would be Bran, and the vision would be a result of Bran losing consciousness upon falling from the tower in Season 1. He’d be able to wake up with this knowledge and go kick ass, accordingly. Crisis averted. It’d still be less of a copout than The Soprano’s ending.
Season 6 finale, “The Winds of Winter.” The 25-minute sequence to open the episode was magic. It was art. The score, the action, the shock. Cersei calmly watching the Sept being obliterated from her balcony with a glass of Merlot was epic.
In the "what are those people over there doing?” department: What’s up with the sort of obscure ironborn people? They live by the Ocean and drown each other. It rains a lot. Sometimes they get in the mix. Maybe it’s not a plot I’m that into, or maybe the plot’s obscurity is part of a plan to thrust it into relevancy late. How will they matter?
So with only 13 episodes remaining, we can say with certainty that the show’s hours are numbered. The big question is if a show that’s fed on chaos, ruthlessness and unpredictability will be able to satisfy its viewers with finality. Will the ending be callous and surprising enough to match the buildup? This is a task that has become increasingly harder as the characters we know and love have been almost arbitrarily slaughtered and internet theories have piled up like books in the Citadel Library. GOT is tasked with an ending that matches the buildup, which is a terrible burden. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up in just two short seasons. Can it be done without confirming the prophecy of some guy sitting in his basement on Reddit?
Like everyone else, I’m sad that this show has to end in the not-so-distant future. But for 13 more Sundays, the internet will stand still and people too busy to watch the damn show live will complain about spoilers. I was never a guy who read the books or memorized the Game of Thrones Wiki, just a casual fan who’s gotten really into the show. I used to think dragons were lame. I don't now.