At last count the cast of Game of Thrones totaled approximately 35,500 different characters. A number of the them are endlessly entertaining and intriguing individuals who are beloved and appropriately appreciated by fans of the series (The Hound). Many more are rightfully hated for their despicable actions (Cersei). In between are the supporting characters, who sometimes feel like they get lost in the shuffle.
These men and women don't stand out as fan favorites because they make us laugh, like Bronn or Olenna Tyrell, and they're not really characters we love to hate, like Littlefinger. They are also not annoying or completely dispensable like the Sand Snakes of Dorne. These are the people who keep the wheels turning against all odds. These are the people we hope make it out of this bloody game alive. These are the show's most underrated characters.
9. Jorah Mormont
Look, we know Jorah (Iain Glen) has proven to be a bit of a controversial figure on Game of Thrones. He is thirsty as hell when it comes to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), whom he met while in exile in Essos for some shady business dealings back in Westeros that stripped him of his lordship. And there was that bit about him initially being a spy for Varys (Conleth Hill) that caused some tension with Dany. But Jorah is also a fierce, intelligent warrior and someone you want on your side when things go south. The good definitely outweighs the bad, and we'd really like it if he survived his battle with Greyscale so he can continue to fight.
7. and 8. Missandei and Grey Worm
Daenerys may be overrated (she is, just admit it), but her entourage is not. Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) have both come into their own under Dany's leadership, and when Dany was out of the picture in Season 6, Missandei and Grey Worm stepped up and proved to be knowledgeable and competent in a way that Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) simply was not. They may not have authority and they may be quiet, but they see more than anyone realizes, and that makes them powerful.
6. Dolorous Edd
Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) may get lost among the drab Night's Watch crowd of rapists and rejects by most casual viewers, but Edd makes the most of every single line of his sparse dialogue. He's unapologetically Nihilistic and pessimistic — duh, it's right there in his name — and even though Game of Thrones can frequently be depressing, he always manages to take things a step further. With gems like "Before I die, please stop talking" and "There's nothing more sickening than a man in love," Edd is one of the show's most quotable sad sacks. However, despite his grim outlook on life, his loyalty to the King in the North is second to none, and he's one of the few who have believed in Jon Snow (Kit Harington) since the early goings.
Varys is a master manipulator with an expansive web of informants. This has made him incredibly powerful even if most of his string-pulling is done behind the scenes. But unlike the deceitful Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) — who keeps to the shadows in the hope that he'll be the last one standing and able to seize the Iron Throne for himself — Varys is not a total a-hole and does not appear to act out of personal gain. He wants what he believes is the best thing for the realm, and will do whatever he can to manipulate it into being. When all is said and done, we're pretty sure Varys is going to be one of the few people left standing because of his incredible talents and unrelenting drive, and we're more than OK with that.
4. Podrick Payne
Pod (Daniel Portman) may not be the greatest warrior in all of Westeros, but at least he's trying. He saved Tyrion's life in the Battle of the Blackwater and even survived being Tyrion's squire, which could not have been easy. Since then he has teamed up with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and he's become a better fighter, which reveals a desire to strive for great things. Sure, Pod is still mostly around for comedic purposes — his alleged sexual talents are pretty unforgettable, and we love watching him with Bronn — but he's growing into himself quite nicely.
2. and 3. Viserion and Rhaegal
It's hard out there for a dragon not named Drogon. Viserion and Rhaegal — yes, they have names, in case you never bothered to learn them — have always lived in the shadow of their larger, more aggressive brother. And what do they get for it? Locked up. When Drogon murdered a bunch of poor goats and a young girl in Meereen, Viserion and Rhaegal were chained up in the catacombs beneath the pyramid as a result. Meanwhile, the guilty dragon roamed free! Why must these two be punished for something they didn't do? Not being jerks all the time is not a crime! So yeah, Viserion and Rhaegal definitely deserve some love.
1. Yara Greyjoy
Over five seasons (she didn't appear in Season 1), Yara (Gemma Whelan) has proven to be one of Game of Thrones' best characters, despite her fairly limited screentime. A confident and competent leader and warrior, she easily dances circles around her younger brother Theon (Alfie Allen). She knows what she wants and she knows how to get what she wants. By allying with Dany in return for her help in defeating Euron (Pilou Asbaeck), Yara has also added "damn good negotiator" to the skills section of her growing resume. It's all we can do to hope that she makes it out of this battle alive so she can rule the Iron Islands and achieve greatness.
Game of Thrones returns for Season 7 on Sunday, July 16 at 9/8c on HBO.