If Game of Thrones characters were footballers
Winter has come
Game of Thrones is back. The wait is over. One year, seven months and 19 days after the final episode of season seven, the world's most popular show, with its dragons, ice zombies, epic battles and an uncomfortable amount of incest, has returned. Winter has come.
In celebration of this occasion, I have compiled a list of some of the show's best characters, and decided who their footballing equivalents are. There are a surprisingly high number of common themes in football and Game of Thrones, despite their obvious differences. Most notably: leadership, disloyalty and shithousery.
Arya Stark - N'Golo Kanté
Arya is undoubtedly the most popular character on the show. Constantly fighting against adversity and overcoming the odds, she doesn't have a bad bone in her body. Both tireless workers, Stark and Kante have endeared themselves to a worldwide audience with their humility and determination.
Jon Snow - Steven Gerrard
Both Jon Snow and Steven Gerrard are universally admired, if not adored. They have both led their respective armies to win huge battles against the odds (Battle of the Bastards, Istanbul), but ultimately their inherent desperation to be the hero is their biggest weakness.
Why the fuck are you standing in the middle of a battlefield with hundreds of horses running at you, Jon? You're lucky Sansa bailed you out. And Stevie, why the fuck did you play in that game against Chelsea knowing you weren't fit, before slipping and then spending the entirety of the second half shooting at literally any opportunity. I'm not even a Liverpool fan and it still annoys me. Fuck.
The obvious ending to Game of Thrones would be Jon Snow or someone equally popular sitting on the Iron Throne, but I am praying he has his slip moment. He won't because the creators will never, ever kill him. But he should. He has evaded death for too long thanks to the romance of narrative. He needs the equivalent of the Stoke 5-1.
Jaime Lannister - Cristiano Ronaldo
Much like Cristiano Ronaldo, Jaime has spent his entire life perfecting his craft to become the most lethal huntsman in the game. After their powers began to wane, they both evolved and adapted to the challenges that life presented. But despite these incredibly impressive achievements, there's something about them that you still don't like.
Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish - Mino Raiola
Not a footballer as such but a constant presence in the upper echelons of society, both Littlefinger and Mino Raiola are widely disliked characters. They attach themselves to the most influential figures in the game, and climb the ladder of chaos through pure and utter hustle.
Stannis Baratheon - José Mourinho
You can't doubt their credentials, but you can certainly question their man management. If there's one thing we can learn from their mistakes, it's that throwing the youth team under a bus, or burning them at the stake, does not have good results.
Samwell Tarly - Michael Carrick
I know the 'Michael Carrick is underrated' debate has been done to death, but hear me out. Sam is the only character in Game of Thrones who bothers to think about what he's doing. He's the only main character who does his homework, instead of charging full pelt into danger, high on adrenaline, like a big idiot. Carrick was similarly shy, unathletic and reluctant to fight on the front line, but his qualities were still very much necessary.
The Mountain - Adebayo Akinfenwa
Lord Varys - Zinedine Zidane
Neither Lord Varys nor Zizou allow a lack of hair follicles to stop them doing their job to the very best of their ability. Tactically astute and excellent man managers, they've both managed to survive at the very top of the game for a long time despite not having any obvious philosophy.
Daenerys Targaryen - Yaya Touré
The Breaker of Chains began her career in the shadow of her older brother, but quickly overtook him after impressing on the continent before moving north to the big leagues. Unstoppable on her day, Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen has the most powerful arsenal out of every character on the show. The main difference between herself and Yaya is, obviously, Yaya's lack of dragons. But maybe in his retirement he'll pick up the mic and spit some fire? I don't know.
Cersei Lannister - Florentino Perez
She holds the highest position at the most detestable institution in the show's universe, and somehow survives despite everything beneath her going to shit. Child monarchs will come and go, but Cersei will still be there, pulling the strings, being evil, drinking wine, blowing up her own town because her authority is being threatened.
*disclaimer: Florentino Perez has never blown up the city of Madrid.
Tyrion Lannister - Lionel Messi
Tyrion was sadly not afforded the luxury of growth hormones like Messi was, such is the shoddy level of healthcare during whatever fucking era Game of Thrones is meant to be set in. But he is nonetheless the savviest operator in the show. Universally popular and highly skilled despite his small stature, Tyrion is the people's champ. Protect him at all costs.