Game of Thrones isn’t exactly teeming with LGBT+ characters.
However, what the show may lack in queer representation, it more than makes up for in pure camp majesty. Thrones has produced some of the most glamorous, over the top, iconic characters that are beloved by LGBT+ viewers the world over.
These characters are gay icons not because they are queer (though some are), but because they are atypical. They don’t fit into the mould that Westerosi society has placed them in, and their break from the status quo is what makes them so appealing to us. After all, what’s more camp than a queen who acts like a king? Or a little girl who is more over it than any of us will ever be?
They are loved by us because are feisty, funny, sometimes fearsome – but mostly because they are just fucking fabulous.
Take a look at Game of Thrones’ gay icons, from worst to best:
10. Loras Tyrell
Loras may be gay, but that doesn’t stop him from being supremely irritating and unlikeable. He was once one of the most skilled knights in the Seven Kingdoms, but as the series progressed he decided to spend all of his time moping around feeling sorry for himself. Mind you, he was arrested and imprisoned simply for being gay, so maybe he had a reason to be a bit sullen, but we’ve had enough of seeing miserable gay characters on TV. At least he’s been reunited with Renly now …
The show’s resident femme fatale, Melisandre uses her sexuality to bend the wills of the men around her, forcing them to do her The Lord of Light’s bidding. Who among us hasn’t wanted to have this kind of control over a man? Hell, we’d settle for her anti-aging abilities. As enviable as her powers are, the Red Woman’s shtick got pretty tedious after a while and we were glad when she took her leave from Westeros at the beginning of season 7.
8. Renly Baratheon
James Dean. Marilyn Monroe. Barb from Stranger Things. Some people become more iconic in death than they ever were while they were alive. Renly Baratheon is not one of those cases. We barely remember him even existing, aside from that shaving scene with former lover Loras, which was the most accurate display of sensuality ever seen on television. Renly does get recognition for his taste in accessories (why aren’t people wearing antler crowns to music festivals?), but Renly’s untimely demise in season two left us wondering whether he really should have been there to begin with.
7. Daenerys Targaryen
The sheer pomposity of her name justifies her inclusion here. Anyone who refers to themselves as ‘Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons’ with a straight face deserves their place among television’s greatest egomaniacs, alongside Joan Collins’ Alexis Colby Carrington Dexter Rowan.
We realise that putting Daenerys so low on the list is a controversial move, but she gets points off for taking herself far too goddamn seriously. Would it kill her to be a little less stoic? She may be the Mother of Dragons, but her personality is colder than the army of the dead.
6. Brienne of Tarth
Brienne is an outsider. One of the most skilled knights in the Seven Kingdoms, her skills are often belittled by men who soon learn not to mess with her. A true loner, she has only really formed a relationship with her squire, Pod, which means her social skills aren’t the greatest. Her sarcasm is as legendary as her awkwardness, especially around Tormund. If those two crazy kids don’t end up together by the end of the series then all eight seasons would’ve been for naught.
5. Sansa Stark
Sansa has been through it. Out of all the characters on the show, it’s difficult to think of anyone who has had a harder time that her, but she has come out on the other side stronger and more sure of herself, with the fashions to match. This was never more apparent than it was when she dealt with Ramsay Bolton at the end of season six, cementing Sansa as someone who is not to be fucked with.
We can’t make up our mind whether she’s loyal to her family or just to herself, we’re beginning to suspect that she’s an evil genius. But isn’t that what makes her so great? She’s an enigma who doesn’t trust anyone.
4. Lyanna Mormont
Lyanna Mormont is the tween girl we all wish we could be. Cold, disinterested, and wise beyond her years, she appears to have zero time for anyone. Lyanna has only appeared sparingly in season 6 and 7, but her glare of disgust is already the stuff of legend. Plus, she’s the fucking Lady of Bear Island, which immediately puts her at the front of a Pride float.
The human embodiment of Gay Twitter, Varys never met a rumour he didn’t like. His official title is Master of Whispers, which means that gossip is basically his job. Varys loves nothing more than strutting around in a gown while stirring up some drama for his own amusement. After years of being ostricised for being a eunuch, he has learned to make fun of himself and his lack of genitals. He may not have royal blood, but he’ll always be a queen to us.
2. Olenna Tyrell
As an elderly woman, Olenna would be expected to sit back, enjoy her retirement, and let her son take over the family business. But Olenna is not that kind of girl. She rules over House Tyrell with an iron first. She knows everyone’s secrets and she is the puppet master behind some of the show’s biggest moments. She’s also totally cool with her grandson Loras’ homosexuality, affectionately referring to him as a ‘sword swallower’, which is our new favourite euphemism.
Besides all that, Olenna gave us the chance to hear septuagenarian Diana Rigg say ‘cunt’.
1. Cersei Lannister
Was it ever going to be anyone else?
Cersei is the person we all wish we could be, but know we never will. She spends all of her time drinking in elaborate formalwear, plotting to murder her enemies in the most violent way possible. She engineers elaborate plans to get her own way, and has zero time to worry about what anybody thinks of her. Plus, much like all the best gay icons of her time, she was kind of betrothed to a gay guy.