We’ve got some shocking news. Like more shocking than major-character-deaths-in-the-debut-season-of-a-prestige-fantasy-series, shocking. Game of Thrones is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month.
That’s right. It’s been ten years since we visited this fictitious land filled with dragons and warring houses and a Night King. It’s been ten years since the Starks left Winterfell, since a Targaryen gave birth to flying firedrakes since the battle for the Iron Throne first began. Book readers might still be waiting on George R.R. Martin to finish the damn story, but if all you know of Westeros is what happened on the HBO series, then this recap is for you.
To commemorate the show’s anniversary, we thought we’d check in on the main characters from season one to see how they’re faring after all the unpleasantness of the show’s final season — and by unpleasantness we mean genocide and zombie invasions and the true horror of knowing a kid named Bran was now in charge of your kingdom. Where are the characters from Game Of Thrones now? We’re glad you asked.
Then: Way back on season one of Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke’s many-named queen was just trying to have a nice, quiet sad girl summer when her twin brother decided to sell her off to a Dothraki warlord. She’s really not responsible for any of the death and carnage that came after.
Now: The Mother of Dragons did not learn her lesson — mainly, that now Targaryen male should ever be trusted — and she met the pointy end of her nephew/lover’s sword. Did she deserve to be painted as a woman gone mad with power and the need for revenge? No, but when the writers have you barbecue an entire city, the happiest possible ending is probably a quick, painless death and one last ride off into the sunset.
Jon Snow / Aegon Targaryen
Then: When he wasn’t hacking up practice dummies and pining for a life of service in the Night’s Watch (who knew forced celibacy could be so motivating), Kit Harington’s baby-faced bastard spent most of his time sulking about his sullied heritage. He struggled to acclimate to the rigid, unforgiving regimen of life on The Wall but boy did he perfect that whole “historical-fantasy-emo-f*ckboi” vibe.
Now: After convincing his aunt/lover to sacrifice a dragon and her life’s pursuit of the Iron Throne to travel North and defeat The Night King, Jon basked in the glory of victory for a bit too long. Long enough that Daenerys would come to lose yet another dragon, a good portion of her army, and her best friend. Jon seemed shocked when she burnt King’s Landing to the ground, though his brother Bran probably saw it coming. After killing his queen, he needed a fresh start so currently, he’s on a pilgrimage North of the Wall with Tormund and a band of Wildlings. We imagine it’s like Burning Man, but with fewer drugs and more fur. At least Ghost got to go along this time.
Then: When we met Drogon, he was a fire-breathing cinnamon roll too pure for this world. One of the first dragons to be seen in centuries, he’s the reason at least one of your exes got a full back tattoo, learned High Valryian, and started telling people he was bilingual.
Now: Drogon lost his entire family thanks to those Westerosi people, so here’s hoping he found a nice place to settle down and enjoy a burnt shepherd’s boy or two in relative peace. He’s earned it.
Then: There were exactly three things Sophie Turner’s pre-teen princess was good at when we first met her: needlework, complaining about her younger sister, and making a total mess of everything. It’s not Sansa’s fault she was taught that marriage and status were the only things a young girl should aspire to — it’s the patriarchy’s fault.
Now: Sansa survived her fair share of hardship and she’s currently thriving back in Winterfell. She became a Queen, but on her own terms, and she’ll get to live out the rest of her days knowing she really did manage to feed her abuser to a pack of rabid dogs — a story she probably recounts every time she gets a little toasted at the annual “Battle of the Bastards” celebration feast. What an icon.
Then: Arya Stark could never be accused of being a “lady,” but man, did she spend an ungodly amount of time convincing people she wasn’t just some kitchen boy in the show’s first season. Most of the trouble came when she was shipped off to King’s Landing and forced to make nice with the Lannisters at the expense of her direwolf, her relationship with her sister, and eventually, her father’s life. Still, she had a good time taking those “dancing” lessons with Syrio Forel.
Now: Arya Stark lived many lives over the course of the show’s run. She was a faceless assassin, a Lady of Winterfell, Littlefinger’s executioner, and eventually, she slayed the Night King himself. She earned whatever ending she wanted so even though she never personally crossed Cersei’s name off her list, we hope she’s having a hell of a time cosplaying as a Pirate Queen somewhere far away from the nonsense of the Seven Realms.
Then: Bran Stark was an odd little boy who liked ravens and scaling towers and spying on incestuous hookups between a certain set of Lannister twins and, weirdly enough, we preferred that version of the kid.
Now: Bran’s still odd, but in a more pretentious, all-knowing way, and though logically, he’s one of the better choices to sit on the Iron Throne, a rock has more personality than this guy so we’ll never fully get behind his upcoming reelection campaign. #JusticeForHodor
Cersei and Jamie Lannister
Then: Remember the good ol’ days of Game of Thrones? When Jamie Lannister still had both his hands? When Cersei just drank wine and threw shade at her useless husband? When the news that they were carrying on a romantic relationship was still fresh and rarely alluded to so as to give added shock value when Jamie pushed little boys from towers (because … love, obviously) and to keep us from throwing up in our mouths a little bit every time the pair featured onscreen?
Now: The upside to having to endure seasons’ worth of this twisted romance is that both of these characters got what they deserved in the end — even though being crushed by the falling ruins of King’s Landing felt completely anti-climactic. We’re pretty sure Jamie’s using his one good hand to serve Cersei wine in the afterlife though if you still need some closure.
Then: Speaking of wine, Tyrion Lannister was introduced to fans as the imp who “drank and knew things” in season one. He enjoyed a good welcome at the local brothel, being the cause of embarrassment for his sister and father, and making new friends — as long as those friends were mercenaries with no moral center named Bron. Out of all the Lannisters, he was the most likable… even if he was constantly on the wrong side of the war.
Now: We’re assuming he still drinks a lot of wine — killing your father and lover before betraying your queen and losing every other surviving member of your family in the process will drive anyone to the juice — and he knows some things, but the show’s final season wasn’t kind to Tyrion’s memory. Eventually, the pressures of running the kingdom’s finances will get to be too much and he’ll launch that line of beard care products he’s been harping on about, but it’s best to think of him fondly as the man who once — and with great gusto — slapped Joffrey into a pigpen.
Then: A man of honor who lived by a noble code, loved his family, treated his subjects well, and was loyal to his friends. Really, why were any of us surprised that Ned Stark didn’t last on Game of Thrones? He made some poor political calculations, revealing his hand far too soon, and it definitely wasn’t cool of him to keep Jon Snow’s lineage a secret from his wife all those years.
Now: Ned learned a powerful lesson: when your friend tries to rope you into a bros-only vacation after the mysterious death of your shared mentor, just say “no” … unless you want your head to be the centerpiece of your enemy’s medieval remodeling plans.
Then: Robb Stark was just a boy, learning to grow a man’s worth of facial hair in the first season of Game of Thrones. He had a great responsibility thrust upon him when his father went South and his mother went rogue. He’d eventually find himself crowned King in the North, but this show only cared about one throne so his survival odds took a real hit after that promotion.
Now: Where’s Robb Stark now? Why don’t you go ask that guy from Coldplay? Depending on who you talk to, Robb Stark is either a cautionary tale for white men hoping to achieve power and marry the hot nurse in medieval fantasy epics or he’s the best excuse an introvert can come up with when someone asks why they’re not attending a family member’s wedding. Either way, he deserved better.
Then: If everyone had just listened to Catelyn Stark, a lot of bloodshed could’ve been avoided on this show. A matriarch with a strong command over her family and an instinct for political machinations, the reigning Lady of Winterfell was wiser than most — though that whole kidnapping Tyrion plot was an admitted low point for her, intellectually speaking.
Now: In the end, Catelyn paid for her son’s failures. Though she tried to warn him against angering the Freys and constantly fought to rescue Sansa and Arya, by the time the Red Wedding came around, she was just the nagging, overbearing maternal figure whose death felt more impactful than her continued presence on the show. But we’d like to think she’s still out there somewhere, haunting the doorstep of her enemies as Lady Stoneheart.
Petyr Baelish / Littlefinger
Then: A scheming worm who excelled at manipulating anyone around him who happened to be a decent human being — sorry Ned — Littlefinger had some vague plans that never seemed to come to fruition. Did he want to marry Catelyn? Rule The Vale? Control Sansa? Become King of the Seven Kingdoms? Only he knew for sure, which made him especially dangerous in earlier seasons.
Now: As smart as Petry believed himself to be, he just never really understood women and he died on his knees in the home of the first Stark he ever betrayed. Fairly fitting, immensely satisfying. And, once again, another fun, bloody anecdote Sansa trots out whenever she throws one of those mythic Winterfell ragers.
Then: A beefcake who knew the power of a smokey eye and delighted in the chaotic brutality of a good Dothraki wedding ceremony, Khal Drogo was a warlord with potential. His union with Dany grew into one of the healthier, more romantic relationships on this show, and he still serves as one of the few men who didn’t let the future Mother of Dragons down. He was truly one of the good ones.
Now: Except, you know, he still had those bad Dothraki habits of pillaging and plundering and not taking a damn break from riding his horse so he could receive medical attention because he was also a slave to toxic masculinity. We wish he could’ve had a better death, but it should cheer you to know he was cheering on his wife from beyond the grave — as evidenced by Jason Momoa’s Instagram account.
Then: An exiled prince whose obsession with his sister gave Jamie Lannister a run for his money in the “eww, gross” department, Viserys wanted to live that high-flying, fire-wielding life but he just couldn’t take the heat.
Now: He’s probably sitting on a Dothraki’s mantle right now, serving as an interesting conversation starter during intimate dinner parties.
“Say Kovarro, where’d you get this interesting golden bust? It looks so realistic?”
“That’s actually a funny story, you see, there was this guy who crashed a baby shower claiming to be a dragon…”
Ser Jorah Mormont
Then: Unrequited crushes aside, Ser Jorah Mormont was one of the few true friends Daenerys ever made. He helped her to acclimate to Dothraki life, protected her at the cost of his own, and served at her side even after the death of Khal Drogo. He was a true ride or die.
Now: And die he did. He’s currently enjoying his eternal rest knowing that the boy who cuckolded him ended up murdering his queen and taking an extended vacation North of The Wall. Really hope Jorah decides to haunt Jon Snow at some point.
Then: This drunkard was a pretty useless king, though he did manage to verbally dress down Cersei Lannister a time or two. He harbored an unhealthy fixation with exterminating an entire family’s line and held a torch for a woman who really gave no f*cks about whether he lived or died.
Now: He’s regretting his choices in the afterlife we guess? How could you not when your reign was ended by an excessive amount of alcohol and a rogue swine?
Then: Theon Greyjoy was Ned Stark’s ward, which meant he constantly facilitated between considering Robb and the rest of the Stark children as his extended family and absolutely loathing them. He always felt he was destined for greater things and if betraying the people who raised him got him there, well, so be it.
Now: Sadly, “greater things” for Theon ended up being imprisonment, castration, and years’ worth of trauma that probably carried over. Here’s hoping the afterlife has a damn good therapist.
Then: Joffrey was the by-product of an incestuous love affair that would end up igniting chaos in the fragile hierarchy that ruled Westeros. He was also a mama’s boy. So really, the only thing he could have possibly turned out as was a sh*tty psychopath whose favorite pastime was torturing brothel workers and bullying Sansa Stark.
Now: If you want to make a trip to hell to check in with the guy, we won’t stop you.