If the Lord Of The Rings films’ metal equivalent is Blind Guardian or, at a pinch, the more crunching parts of Nightwish’s canon, Game Of Thrones is more comparable to Autopsy or Immortal. So we got thinking… who from the cast of characters best represents metalness? Here’s the thoroughly (ahem) scientific results.
Inevitably, this contains spoilers from the first four series of the show, and the corresponding books of A Song Of Ice And Fire
10. SER BARRISTAN SELMY
A surprising entry on first glance, the Knight-Commander of the Kingsguard is one of the few genuine good guys of the series – which should almost immediately disqualify him. The thing is, while heavy metal is fascinated with evil, mostly we’re saying it’s bad (Black Sabbath, Angel Of Death etc) or using it for dramatic effect (death metal), and that’s also overlooking the entire sub-genre devoted to the heroic (power metal). So heroes can be metal. Add in that he kicks serious arse and demands your respect regardless of his age, and the fact that he, like metal fans to the bands they love, is a truly loyal man, and he’s metal as a really metal thing.
9. YARA GREYJOY
The Ironborn are all metal as hell to begin with (they’re called the fucking Ironborn, for crying out loud), even before it’s obvious that they’re basically the Westeros equivalent of Vikings. So one of them was always likely to be included. Yara wins out based on being a better Viking metaphor than those around her, gleefully outwitting her brother and making far more astute tactical decisions than the war-bred Theon. Oh, and her determination when she puts her mind to something is pure steel.
8. JAQEN H’GHAR
Chances are this inclusion will either leave you shouting “YES!” in agreement, or asking “who?” in confusion. The red-and-white-haired, face-changing assassin from Braavos kills without question or remorse, but with consummate skill and great style. Plus “valar morghulis” (“all men must die”) is a metal phrase if ever there was one. Sold.
7. SANDOR CLEGANE
Arguably the most complex antihero in the series, The Hound is one of many characters where we’re never sure whether we hate their violent, sadistic, amoral guts, or whether we love them for being kickass hard bastards with more great lines than a Testament guitar solo. What’s sure, though, is that you don’t fuck with Sandor Clegane. Lethal in a fight, vicious when necessary, but in truth, a damaged, tragic figure whose anger at the world is justified, even if the manner in which he carries it out is not. Put another way, the younger Clegane brother is like one of the black metallers from the early 1990s who took it way too far… only with a much higher body count.
The former maester is decidedly sinister in nature, which is a good start, but it’s when you get into why he got kicked out of that order that he becomes metal enough to make Amon Amarth blanch. Qyburn has a heretical interest in forbidden lore and knowledge conventional wisdom says is too dangerous and immoral for man to possess. The conformist maesters, not best pleased, stripped him of his chain and expelled him. Probably not what George RR Martin was thinking when he came up with Qyburn, but the parallels with a priest who falls to worshipping Satan are so convincing, you’d be forgiven for thinking Dimmu Borgir wrote In Sorte Diaboli about him.
5. OBERYN MARTELL
Does this one even need explaining? The Red Viper is more metal than a giant flaming sword sticking into a beer keg. He fights, he fucks, he has verve and style, and he serves as a champion for the chronically unloved and unfairly maligned.
4. WHITE WALKER
It’s uncanny how much the whole frozen north aspect of Game Of Thrones resembles something out of Immortal’s lyrics, and nothing more so than the White Walkers. Grim and frostbitten? Check. From the heart of winter? Check. Ancient icy demons determined to bring darkness and cold to all the world? Check. Awesome crabwalk and killer warpaint? Sadly not, but we’re lobbying the show’s producers to bring that in for future series. We doubt that GRRM is actually a black metal fan, but there’s a bit of us that hopes he does whack on Damned In Black when he writes the scenes set in the north.
3. KING ROBERT BARATHEON
Bearded, beer-swilling, with his heart in the right place even if he can’t always get his intentions to come to fruition, King Robert is another tragic figure. We’re slightly surprised there aren’t a flurry of epic doom records coming out based around his story as a result. In fact, from his fondness for the warhammer, we were so surprised he didn’t come out in first place on this list, we had to check our calculations, but then we remembered that he was gored to death by a boar because he was too drunk, which is all kinds of not-metal. That he still ended up third just shows how metal everything else about him is.
2. BRIENNE OF TARTH
Arguably the best fighter in Westeros, Brienne is a woman in a world that tells her gender to shut the fuck up and get back to knitting kittens and giving birth to cakes, and responds by hacking her foes to death. Add to which she has a strict code of her own to follow, something above herself she believes in, and is sadly misjudged by all around her, and hers is a story many a metalhead can sympathise with. Only with more plated mail, obviously.
1. TYRION LANNISTER
The reason his father Tywin turned out not to be able to shit gold was in truth because everything metallic about Lannister Snr had already gone into making Tyrion. Drinks like a fish, shags whenever he can, has more courage than the lion on his family’s crest, is smarter than he looks, has a wicked way with words, and is underestimated by all. Plus, contrary to what many may think, he has a heart, rather than being the unfeeling bastard people think he is. More metal than all.