Game of Thrones is known for its shocking deaths, its stirring of internet controversies, its nudity, its gore, its one-liners. But one of its most unsung — but no less important — elements is its critters. From direwolves to dragons, here’s a definitive ranking of the Pets of Thrones, taking their loyalty, usefulness, awesome names (looking at you, Ser Pounce) and cuddle-ability into account.
5. Orell’s eagle
At the end of Season 3, Jon Snow and Ygritte suffer a breakup that is literally filled with slings and arrows. Ygritte is furious when Jon betrays her and the Wildings to rejoin the Crows, as she calls them. But before that scene, Jon reveals his true intentions in a fight with Wilding wharg Orell. Orell had been a general dick all season, questioning Jon’s allegiance to the Wildings — in part because he wanted Ygritte for himself — and thus, when Jon finally stabs him, he says, “you were right the whole time.” Unfortunately, instead of dying immediately, Orell whargs into his trusty eagle.
The eagle therefore ranks lowest on the Pets of Thrones list because although it’s a loyal pet, it’s not loyal to the people we’re rooting for. Also it doesn’t have a cool name and is far from cuddly.
Drogon — the most vicious of Daenerys’ dragons — is, in many ways, an ideal pet. He’ll rescue you when you’re cornered by a vicious and terrifying army of assassins who don’t approve of your leadership methods (don’t you just hate it when that happens?) and he’ll smite your enemies. He’s even, in his own alarming and scaly way, somewhat cuddly.
But he’ll also smite people you don’t want smited, and he’ll take nap breaks at wildly inconvenient moments that result in you being captured by your dead husband’s army, as Daenerys is at the end of Season 5. Drogon is loyal, has an awesome name, and a certain unconventional cuddle factor, but his wild card unpredictability puts him low on the list.
Sansa Stark’s tragically short-lived direwolf (if her execution didn’t make you tear up, you have a heart of stone) is high in cuddle-factor, being a direwolf. Her name is just okay, as Sansa was still in her Disney-princess stage when she named her, but she’s certainly loyal. She was one of the first to give Joffrey what he had coming to him, and thus she’ll be an awesome pet for that. Her death is made slightly sweeter by the fact that Sophie Turner adopted her in real life.
2. Ser Pounce
Ser Pounce is hands-down the best character in Game of Thrones. If he died, the internet would riot more than it did for Jon Snow’s death. The royal cat is cuddly, he’s awesome, and he’s got the best name not just in the Seven Kingdoms, but in the entire world. The only thing that stops him from being #1 on this list is the loyalty factor. He does what he pleases, he pounces when he wants, and therefore he hasn’t been much help to Margery in prison or to viewers waiting on the edge of our seats for another Ser Pounce appearance.
Jon Snow’s direwolf ranks number one because he’s cuddly, he’s loyal, he’s gotten Jon and even Sam out of many a sticky situation, he’s got a hell of a name, and he will smite all the right enemies. Anyone would be lucky to have a pet like Ghost.
As Season 6 draws ever closer, aside from the return of Jon Snow, we can really only hope for one thing: Come at us, Ser Pounce. We’ll bring catnip.