“A Game of Thrones” and Beyond – the Funniest Characters

by on March 7th, 2015
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With all the despicable characters in the books of A Song of Ice and Fire and in the HBO series A Game of Thrones, readers and viewers need some comic relief. George R.R. Martin delivers with a smattering of characters that lighten the mood now and then. Here are some of my favorites. Don’t see any of yours? Tell me who I left out in the comments.

BEWARE: Minor Spoilers

Tormund Giantsbane
He doesn’t even appear in A Game of Thrones. But from the instant readers meet Tormund Giantsbane, he is full of boasts and jests about his fellow wildlings. Throughout his association with John Snow, he unrolls a never-ending litany of jokes that make even the grim, baseborn son of Eddard Stark smile. He punctuates his lines – which usually involve the phrase “me member” – with a boisterous “har!”. A meeting between Tormund and Tyrion Lannister would be a surefire laugh-fest.

Tyrion Lannister
It doesn’t take long for Tyrion Lannister to establish himself as a fan favorite in A Game of Thrones. And it’s not just for his comic relief. He tries harder than many others seeking power to use his authority well (while he has it). But his sharp mind results in funny wordplay that make it easy for other characters to forget that he’s also very formidable. His interactions with his squire Podrick and the sellsword Bronn usually have some great banter. He’s quick to use humor about his stature to his advantage – since he’s so practiced at it, he uncorks many a good joke at his own expense.

Bronn of the Blackwater
Though he can’t read, the sellsword who saves Tyrion Lanister’s life several times starting in A Game of Thrones is a match for the dwarf’s verbal jousting. His humor usually carries a serious undertone, and often a someone else’s expense. And his jests often make good points or add foreshadowing menace. His best line happens before he marries Lollys Stokeworth – yes, even she’s better than fighting The Mountain That Rides.

Dolorous Ed Tollet
You know Dolorous Ed even if you never read a page of A Song of Ice and Fire: He’s the person in the next cubicle who manages to complain about everything. Ed just happens to do it while manning the Wall and defending the realm from wildlings and worse. He’s also self-deprecating enough to not get tiresome. These lines from A Dance with Dragons sums him up tidily: “Your boat’s not like to sink, I think. Boats only sink when I’m aboard.”

Oberyn Martell
They call him the Red Viper, and he’s considered a dirty, low-down, dangerous, lecherous dog. But he has a great sense of humor, which he introduces straightaway when meeting Tyrion Lannister outside King’s Landing. He skewers Tyrion Lannister with a story of meeting him just after his birth – with too many personal and embarrassing details for the Imp’s taste. He manages to lighten the dark mood of his meeting with Tyrion by revealing a few salacious details about his paramour.

Honorable mentions? One would have to go to Tyrion Lannister’s hulking henchman, Shagga, son of Dolf. His tendency to threaten to feed people’s bodily parts to goats is an ongoing joke. I look forward to seeing how he’s portrayed in the HBO series. “Gatehouse Ami” Frey also seems like she’ll have comic potential, but we’ll likely have to wait a few seasons.

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