Over nine years and eight seasons, audiences have had the pleasure of watching the cast of Game of Thrones grow up, change, and get brutally murdered right before our eyes. We got to watch Bran go from an innocent, walking child to an emotionless Three-Eyed Raven.
We even got to see Cersei go from an evil, sadistic queen with long hair to…an evil, sadistic queen but with short hair. Check out how every Game of Thrones character has transformed over the years.
Audiences have had a difficult love-hate relationship with Jaime Lannister. In season one, he was a selfish Lannister who was in a relationship with his sister and pushed Bran out of a tower window. Over time, we’ve watched him develop a little bit of a moral compass and even a possible relationship with Brienne of Tarth (we can dream).
Jaime will have to choose an allegiance for the final season. Fans have noticed in season eight he’s wearing armor of the North, instead of his usual decadent Lannister armor, so maybe he’s seen the light.
After watching her father get beheaded, becoming a Faceless Man, and starting a bakeshop with Hot Pie, Arya Stark has finally returned home to rule the north with her sister and brothers.
She’s been through a lot but at her core, Arya’s the same little girl we saw in season one. The revenge-driven tomboy has always been feisty. Even in the first season, she was learning how to fight, even if it was with a wooden sword and not her trusty sidekick Needle.
One of the most hated characters in the series hasn’t changed much over the years. Well, except for the one detail of having her hair chopped off and getting shamed through the streets of King’s Landing.
Since that experience, Cersei has (somehow) turned even more evil and will definitely be a force to reckon with. Now Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Cersei will likely stop at nothing to keep getting revenge on basically everyone in Westeros.
Nothing says “transformation Tuesday” like getting murdered during an uprising then being brought back from the dead by the Red Priestess. Jon Snow, played by Kit Harrington, may not have changed too much physically over the years but his role in saving Westeros definitely has.
In season one, he was simply an unwanted child with beautifully curly hair destined to spend eternity with the Night’s Watch. Now, his hair is in a Man Bun and he’s ready to be King of the North.
Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, has had one of the most interesting character developments in the show. In season one, she was dead set on being the proper Stark woman, being married off to a powerful man, and spending her days doing cross stitch.
She had a rough go with various suitors — being married to both Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton would give you serious PTSD — but she has come out on the other side as the headstrong Lady of Winterfell.
We had a lot of hopes for the second-youngest Stark boy in the first season. So sweet, so innocent, so mobile. Then he was pushed out of a tower, broke his legs, watched most of his family die before his eyes, wa dragged across the North, and eventually became the Three-Eyed Raven.
Now Bran is an emotionless seer who can probably see the end of days coming and is just waiting for it all to fall apart around him.
The change from season one to season eight for Tyrion means growing independent and just plain gritty. Tyrion has seen some stuff over the years and his choice to betray his family and pledge allegiance to Daenerys has definitely left a crack in the Lannisters.
During his time, Tyrion has been married to Sansa, put on trial by his lover, and shot his father with a crossbow while he was on the toilet. Considering he suffered a lifetime of abuse from him, we won’t blame Tyrion for that last one.
Played by Emilia Clarke, Daenerys Targaryen AKA Mother of Dragons AKA Breaker of Chains AKA…you get the point. She’s become a fan favorite as we’ve watched her grow from an insecure girl married off to Khal Drogo, to a queen in her own right.
The final season has her pairing up with lover Jon Snow to defeat the White Walkers. She’s swapped out her usual feminine dresses for a warmer, but still fashionable, coat so she’s ready to fight in the north.
Sandor Clegane started out the series as the personal bodyguard for Joffrey Baratheon, and over time has shown he increasingly follows a moral code. The Hound’s travels with Arya, the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Tyrion show that he’s really not as bad as we thought he was.
After an epic fight with Brienne of Tarth, everyone thought the Hound was dead. Nope, he’s still alive and rather than protecting one person, The Hound is on a mission to stop the Army of the Dead.
Theon—formerly known as Reek—is one of those characters you love to hate but simultaneously feel a little bit bad for. Theon started out innocent enough as a ward of Ned Stark, but after betraying the Stark family and ending up as the tortured slave of Ramsay Bolton, he’s clearly got some issues.
Even in the later seasons, it’s hard to decide if you like Theon. On one hand, he was instrumental in saving Sansa from Ramsay. On the other hand, he left his sister to die on that ship to save himself.
Ser Davos Seaworth
Ser Davos has probably changed the least since we met him in season two. That suspecting side-eye has stayed with us over seven seasons and we’re so glad it has. Davos is one of the few people in Westeros with a stable mind and who doesn’t get caught up in power. He’s just trying to do the right thing.
For a while, the right thing was being Stannis Baratheon’s right hand man but now Davos has seen the light and joined forces with Jon Snow.
Most rookie Game of Thrones fans can agree that we never expected Lord Varys to last this long. When we first met the Spider in season one, he was masquerading quite effectively in the King’s court alongside other manipulators like Littlefinger.
Varys has lasted so long in the show because his allegiance has long lied with Daenerys. His one change from happy-colored robes to robes of mourning means that even he knows something bad is coming.
The Red Woman wields the power of the Lord of Light and has done some pretty influential things in her time with that power. When we first met Melisandre in season two, she was Stannis Baratheon’s right-hand woman. She had so much influence that she even convinced him to burn his own daughter at the stake.
After Stannis’ death, Melisandre managed to make us all forget about the whole child-burning-thing by bringing Jon Snow back to life and pledging herself to him. She’s forgiven…for now.
Brienne Of Tarth
Since we first met Brienne of Tarth in season two, she’s been one of the few honorable people in all of Westeros. Her adventures are all thanks to her different pledges of allegiance—first to Renly Baratheon, then to Catelyn Stark, and now to Cat’s daughters Arya and Sansa.
Keeping a pledge isn’t easy though. She’d even had to fight The Hound to keep her girls safe. She’s definitely the person you want by your side when fighting the Army of the Undead.
If you completely forgot about Benjen Stark in season one, we don’t blame you. We were all so young and naive during the first season to know how important Benjen would be later on. The younger brother of Ned Stark just seemed like a throwaway character who taught Jon Snow the ways of the Night’s Watch.
In season six he comes back into our lives when he saves Bran and Meera from North of the Wall, and then again in season seven when he gives his life to save Jon Snow.
While Samwell Tarly’s only major change over the seasons is that he’s learned how to slick back his hair with dragon grease, we’ve watched him grow with confidence over the years. After meeting Jon Snow in the Night’s Watch, he’s finally found his place in life as a budding Maester.
Samwell even stood up to his father in season seven in defense of his girlfriend Gilly, which made us all swoon.
We first met Yara Greyjoy in season two and from the start, you could tell she was a strong-willed woman that would factor in later on. Her brother Theon mistakes her as a commoner and after realizing who it was, realized she’s a stronger leader for House Greyjoy than he’ll ever be.
That comes back to factor in later on when Yara and Theon join forces against their tyrannical uncle Euron.
A slave when audiences met her, Missandei quickly became one of Daenerys’ confidants and her translator when all the slaves of Astapor were freed. For most of the seasons, Missandei has stood faithfully at Daenerys’ side and is often shown bringing out the more private side of her queen.
Over time, Missandei has gained more independence and confidence, even sparking up a romance with the Commander of the Unsullied Army, Grey Worm.
Missandei’s unlikely lover Grey Worm was introduced in season three. He’s the named Commander of the Unsullied Army and, well, he’s just as strict and rigid as when Daenerys first met him.
The character has always remained loyal to the queen who freed the army from Astapor but over four seasons has grown his personality. His love story with Missandei allowed him to learn the common language and share more about his background.
Gilly has gained a bad reputation from fans over the years but she’s certainly grown a lot since we met her in season two. She’s one of the many daughters (and wives, ew) of Free Folk leader Crastor. She managed to escape and is saved by Samwell, where the two start a relationship.
Gilly grows a lot over the seasons. Transforming from a quiet, unsure Free Folk woman to eventually learning to read and fight alongside Samwell.
The uncle of Yara and Theon Greyjoy makes a brief appearance in season one but it isn’t until season six that we get a real taste for how terrible he is. Euron essentially pronounces himself king of the Iron Islands over his brother Balon and begins plans to strike down his niece Yara.
Euron is one of those characters that you forgot how evil he can be. By season seven, he had fully betrayed his family, captured Yara, and joined forces with Cersei.
People can forget just how powerful Margaery Tyrell was in some major Game of Thrones plot lines. When we first met her in season two, she was completely in the know about her husband Renly Baratheon’s homosexuality. She then managed to marry both Joffrey and Tommen.
For most of the series, Margaery was the most powerful widow in Westeros. Her crazy reign came to an end when Cersei finally won out over the younger queen.
A lot of characters in Game of Thrones are evil but Ramsay Bolton was just plain sadistic. Born Ramsay Snow, he was legitimized by his father Roose Bolton after successfully taking over Winterfell.
While most characters get better or worse over the seasons, Ramsay was always equally awful. He began his reign of terror by torturing Theon and continued it by marrying, abusing, and torturing Sansa. No one was sad to see him mauled by a pack of hounds.
The feisty 11-year-old immediately stole our hearts in season six when she stood up and pledged allegiance to the Stark house. The Mormonts have a strong tradition of warrior women and Lyanna was raised with the expectation she’d be a ruler and commander.
Lyanna brought her army in to fight alongside Jon Snow and she was the first to stand up alongside Sansa. She’ll only be 13 years old in the final battle but she’ll probably still out-do everyone else.
Gendry is the illegitimate son of King Robert Baratheon who was known to have sired his fair share of illegitimate children. Gendry grew up in the slums of Flea Bottom in King’s working as a very skilled blacksmith apprentice to the revered Tobho Mott . After escaping the slaughter of all of King Robert’s illegitimate children in King’s Landing, he finds himself with Arya Stark where they struggle to survive on the road together.
Eventually, Gendry finds himself alongside with the rest of the show’s protagonist where it assumed his blacksmith skills will come in handy in fighting against the army of the dead.
Podrick has been a fan favorite character over the seasons and honestly, we’re surprised he’s lasted so long. Podrick was introduced in season one as Tyrion Lannister’s squire. He stood by him faithfully until Tyrion was arrested and then transferred his service to Brienne of Tarth.
Podrick trains and travels with Brienne until they both end up in Winterfell where they regroup with several other main characters. It is there that he waits and continues to train in preparation for the great war to come.
Even though honorable Eddard Stark shockingly lost his head at the end of season 1, it can be argued that the majority of the current story line can be traced back to him. Even though in the grand scheme of things he was only around for a brief period of time, his past actions, the morals he lived by, and what he instilled in his children have echoed throughout the show.
Little did anyone know that he lived with people with the weight that people thought he had an illegitimate child only to learn that he was protecting the secret Targaryen, Jon Snow.
Although there may have been a casting change, Daario Naharis first appears on the show as a lieutenant of the sellsword company the Second Son before he kills his superiors and takes control. He then pledges his allegiance to Daenerys Targaryen where he acts as one of her top advisors, warriors, and eventually her lover.
However, the last time we see Daario Naharis is when Daenerys tells him to keep control and order of Mereen before she sails across the Narrow Sea to take back control of the Seven Kingdoms.
We first meet Tormund Giantsbane beyond the Wall where he serves as one of Mance Rayder’s right-hand men. He is an incredibly fierce Wildling soldier who is instrumental in the battle at the Wall. Eventually, despite their differences, he befriends Jon Snow after he helps rescue thousands of Wildlings at Hardhome.
They then unite forces so they have a better chance of fighting the White Walkers. The last we see of him is when the Night King destroys the Wall astride an undead Viserion although it is assumed he is still alive.
Although his real name is Willis, Hodor is a usually large simple-minded servant of House Stark at Winterfell where he works in the stables. He is called Hodor because that is the only word he can say. He joins Bran, Meera, and Jojen on their quest to find the Three-Eyed Raven beyond the Wall.
However, he dies in the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave after Bran wargs into him in order to save him and Meera. It is then revealed that Hodor used to be a normal kid but Bran warging into his mind caused a seizure which left him mentally disabled.
Robb Stark is the eldest son of Eddard Stark and is the heir to Winterfell. However, after his father is taken captive in King’s Landing, Robb decides to call his house’s bannermen and declare war, marching down south to save his father.
After a series of decisive victories, he is named King in the North by the men he leads. He then marries a woman he loves, breaking a vow he made to another lord. He and his army are then slaughtered at a wedding by the lord he broke his vow to, leading the North in shambles.
Rickon Stark is the youngest of all the Stark children and is often referred to be wild and untamed, much like his wolf shaggy dog. For most of the series, he’s too young to fully understand what’s going on, and with most of his family dead, he essentially is on his own.
However, he becomes a prisoner after Ramsay Bolton takes over Winterfell. We don’t see him for some time until Ramsay Bolton kills him on the battlefield in front of Jon before the major battle for Winterfell.
Robin Arryn is the son of the former Hand of the King and now deceased Jon and Lysa Arryn. He is a sickly and weak child who is currently the Lord of the Eyrie, the head of House Arryn, as well as the Warden of the East.
The last we see of him is when Littlefinger convinces him to send the Knights of the Vale to aid Sansa Stark in taking back Winterfell from Ramsay Bolton, which results in the Stark reclaiming their home. Currently, his whereabouts are unknown with audiences being unsure if we’ll see him in the final season.