Game of Thrones is finally back for its seventh season this Sunday, which means one of our favorite collective pastimes is almost upon us: Arguing about Game of Thrones on the internet. Should Jon take the Iron Throne or should it be Daenerys? Is Tyrion still the objectively best character on the show or has someone overtaken him? Can the dragons beat the White Walkers? Who wins the ultimate hypothetical showdown between The Hound and The Mountain? These are all-important questions and we’re about to spend the rest of the summer discussing them and more.
In anticipation of this, the fine folks at Rotten Tomatoes decided to jumpstart the conversation with a fan survey of nearly 1,100 Thrones viewers. The questions covered everything from whether or not you’ve read the books (surprisingly few) to who the best hero is to what death shocked you the most. You can check out the whole thing over at the Rotten Tomatoes site, but here are a couple of the highlights.
And SPOILERS AHEAD, obviously.
First, something simple: Who is your favorite character. Here’s how the top five shaped up among respondents.
Well, the top three certainly aren’t surprising and Tyrion holding his top spot as a fan-favorite after his adventures in Season 6 is predictable. What is a bit more odd is what the bottom two look like. Arya ranking that far ahead of Sansa isn’t all that surprising, but how did no other character manage to sneak in there and jockey for fifth place. Where’s Brienne of Tarth? Where’s Hodor? Even Cersei Lannister, despite her often villainous portrayal, seems like she’d be able to pull in more than two percentage points. Some of you need to go back and rewatch her evolution over the last couple of season.
Cersei did manage to find her way into another prominent spot in the survey, though: She’s the show’s top villain. Ever.
Though we could argue all day over how villainous Cersei actually is (“cunning” and “ruthless” are better adjectives for her) it’s hard to argue that her rise even as villains like Ramsay and Joffrey fell has earned his this spot. The most surprising results here are actually in the hero category. Jon and Daenerys were always going to be fighting for the top position. What’s really shocking here is just how far ahead of Dany Jon managed to finish. Really? You like him that much, with his scowling and his lecturing and his general dourness? Yes, he’s inarguably a hero and he might end up being the most important one the show’s got, but Dany’s journey has been far more entertaining and she seems to be having far more fun along the way.
And, of course, we can’t talk about Game of Thrones without talking about shocking deaths. Here are the top 15 according to survey respondents.
The top three spots here are absolutely predictable. Ned Stark’s death was the first major shocking slaughter on the show and set up the “No One Is Safe” mentality that’s come to dominate the way we think about Game of Thrones. Robb and Jon were then each in turn set up as the righteous heirs to Ned’s particular code of honor, only to both get stabbed to death for their trouble (Jon got better, but still). The two that seem like they should maybe rank higher are Tommen Baratheon and Shereen Baratheon, who both died last season in brutal ways. It’s quite possible that they ranked so low because they’re supporting characters who don’t merit as much brainspace with fans, but Tommen’s end was just a gut punch. There was no build-up, no warning and nothing he did to deserve it. He just took a despairing step out of a window and that was it.
Game of Thrones returns Sunday on HBO. Let the fan debates begin again.