HBO’s Game of Thrones is loved for many reasons; the action-packed battles, amazing plot twists and powerful characters. While many of the show’s characters have changed in between the first and latest season, very few of them underwent a significant change in their personalities and in the values they hold. Some of these characters were not particularly liked by the fans in their first appearance, but have eventually gained our favour as they changed in the show. Examples of such characters is Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Collins), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and Sandor ‘the Hound’ Clegane (Rory McCann).
We first see Theon Greyjoy in season one living with the Starks in Winterfell as a hostage and ward. Despite this, Theon was well looked after and even became good friends with Robb Stark and Jon Snow. Living amongst members of a well-respected house influenced Theon’s character, shaping him to be arrogant, cocky and entitled. While he was not particularly likable in the first season, Theon managed to infuriate fans in season two, when he travelled to his home, the Iron Islands, in attempt to persuade his father to assist the Starks in the war against House Lannister. This encounter had left Theon with the need to prove his worthiness to his father, so he led a ship of men to attack and capture Winterfell for himself.
Theon’s arrogance was at its peak, for he prided himself on becoming the lord of Winterfell, even though the castle was unprotected when his men attacked. At this point, viewers saw Theon as a man who betrayed a family who was good to him, claimed victory over a trivial accomplishment, and was responsible for the deaths of two innocent farm boys. Our perception completely changed in between season three to five, when House Bolton took over Winterfell, and Theon became a prisoner to Ramsay Snow. In the beginning of Theon’s imprisonment, we may have found it hard to feel sorry for the traitor. However, when Ramsey tortured him in unspeakable ways, we might have found ourselves trying, and failing, to justify the horrors Theon had to endure. By the end of the fifth season, Theon managed to escape with Sansa Stark from Winterfell, and began to work to redeem himself of the crimes he committed. In the sixth and seventh season, the arrogant and entitled man who betrayed the Starks had turned into a humble and loyal servant to his sister, Yara. There was a moment in the seventh season when Theon saved himself instead of trying to rescue his sister, but that was due to the psychological trauma that Ramsey inflicted, rather than self-centeredness. Overall, Theon Greyjoy’s character developed tremendously throughout the show, in personality and the values he carries, which can be highly respected by viewers.
Jaimie Lannister was very like Theon in the first season, in the sense that they were both arrogant and entitled men from noble houses. While Jaimie was never inherently evil, he committed a great crime when he tried to kill Eddard’s son, Bran, who accidentally discovered his taboo secret. Even though Jaimie failed to kill Bran, his actions still left him crippled for life. Eddard’s wife Caitlyn arrested Tyrion Lannister for Jaime’s crime, and out of revenge, Jaime ambushed Eddard with a group of soldiers, and stabs a sword through his leg. The smugness and ego that came along with the wrongdoings portrayed Jaime in a light that made us despise him, one that changed throughout the rest of the seasons.
In the third season Jaime was captured by a group of Bolton soldiers while he was on his way to King’s Landing with Brienne of Tarth. Jaime attempted to use his social status to persuade Locke to free him, which only angered the man, and prompted him to chop off Jaime’s sword hand. This was a defining moment in Jaime’s life, for it deflated his ego, which in turn changed the way he held himself around others. Very soon after he lost his hand, Jaime found himself in a position where he could, and did, save Brienne’s life, despite the fact that he was previously her prisoner. Even though his allegiance was with the antagonist House Lannister, Jaime’s actions throughout the rest of the show indicated that he was not as bad as we first saw him. Aside from saving Brienne’s life when he didn’t have to, he was the only member of his family who cared about and looked after his dwarf brother Tyrion, and stood up for him whenever Tyrion experienced injustice. In the latest season, we witness Jaime’s good conscious truly awaken, when he abandoned his evil sister’s side and travelled to help Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow in the war against the White Walkers. Jaime’s character development was not only significant to the plot, but it impressed viewers, considering how we was previously a man who would kill a child to maintain a reputation.
Sandor Clegane, aka ‘the Hound’, is one of the show’s most favoured characters, even though he carried out Joffrey Baratheon’s evil biddings in the first two seasons. During his service to Joffrey, Sandor killed an innocent butcher’s boy, and worked with the Lannister guards to attack the Stark family, and captured Sansa Stark in the process. When Sandor had enough of working for Joffrey, he left King’s Landing, and eventually came across Arya Stark. He captured Arya, and travelled to deliver her to the Starks for ransom.
Just like Jaime, Sandor was not inherently evil, but the trauma that was inflicted upon him by his cruel older brother during childhood left the Hound with bitterness, a strong contempt for the knight’s honour, and no faith in divine justice. His hatred was often expressed in the way he avoids interaction with people, and degrades them whenever he does speak to them. While his bitterness and hatred for the world didn’t change throughout the show, he did, however, change the way he treats people at the start of season six. Sandor befriended a village leader, and helped the village build a sept. When a group of men slaughter the people of the village, the Hound took it upon himself to avenge the death of the innocent, which was something he previously wouldn’t do. In the seventh season, Sandor came across a house that belonged to a family he once robbed. He discovered that the father and his daughter froze to death, and out of compassion, he gave them a proper burial. Even though Sandor wasn’t particularly disliked in the first season, we can observe the difference in his actions in season one and season seven, and see how he changed into a better man.