Cron

The 3 Smartest Characters, In Order, Are...

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I'd like to throw Qyburn into the discussion. We know very little of him, of course, but he certainly has intellect, a good grasp of what's going on around him and how to best play his cards.

He made it from being a disgraced outlaw into the inner circle of the realms power in a few months(?), that at least puts him in the same league as Varys or LF imho.

Edited by Rhollo

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On 1/31/2017 at 3:23 PM, Cron said:

Very interesting.

Yeah, they are candidates, but they also all have deep flaws, too (as I've discussed above for each one of them), and they also all have marks against them because of their advanced ages (since IQ is weighted based on age), especially Olenna and Tywiin.

But hey, I'm not saying you (or anyone else here) are "wrong."  I understand this is highly subjective and relative stuff, and I acknowledge that.

You are right, they do have flaws. Tywin is so obsessed with his Legacy that he fails to realize that his children are his legacy and he treats them like shit most of the time, especially Tyrion. In the show he treats Jaime pretty good and seems to respect him for the most part. Lady Olenna is to worried about her granddaughter to realize that Loras is more important when it comes to the future of House Tyrell. Show version of Littlefinger is not nearly as cautious as the book version. High Sparrow underestimates the High Lords of Westeros thinking that he can outsmart them all and seems to forget that The Lannisters and the Tyrells have the largest Armies in Westeros. Imagine if the Sparrows executed Cersei in season 6... Jaime would've marched on KL with the Lannister Army and kill the High Sparrow and all his followers. High Sparrow was a fool if he really thought he could kill Cersei Lannister and get away with it just because he brainwashed her son.

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18 hours ago, LordMiddleFinger said:

You are right, they do have flaws. Tywin is so obsessed with his Legacy that he fails to realize that his children are his legacy and he treats them like shit most of the time, especially Tyrion. In the show he treats Jaime pretty good and seems to respect him for the most part. Lady Olenna is to worried about her granddaughter to realize that Loras is more important when it comes to the future of House Tyrell. Show version of Littlefinger is not nearly as cautious as the book version. High Sparrow underestimates the High Lords of Westeros thinking that he can outsmart them all and seems to forget that The Lannisters and the Tyrells have the largest Armies in Westeros. Imagine if the Sparrows executed Cersei in season 6... Jaime would've marched on KL with the Lannister Army and kill the High Sparrow and all his followers. High Sparrow was a fool if he really thought he could kill Cersei Lannister and get away with it just because he brainwashed her son.

Yeah, it's interesting to see how some people are extremely "smart" in certain ways, but in other ways they are way below average.

I'm guessing everyone here has known someone in their life who has great "book smarts," but makes a lot of really poor decisions in relationships, and/or is otherwise really lacking in "common sense" or 'street smarts."

I've long believed there are many ways a person can be "smart," and many ways a person can be "not smart," and a lot of those things are stuff that I don't think most people usually associate with "smartness" at all.  Just a few examples out of many I could list:  Artistic ability, athletic ability (large parts of which come from the brain), and moral goodness and kindness (I believe it's smart to be good and kind, as I believe that people who are good and kind tend to live happier, more fulfilling lives, and thus it's to their personal benefit and well being to be good and kind, especially if you are living in a "fantasy fiction" world, where the "good guys" are almost always certain to prevail in the end over the "bad guys," even if some good guys fall along the way).

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On 2/1/2017 at 7:03 AM, Rhollo said:

I'd like to throw Qyburn into the discussion. We know very little of him, of course, but he certainly has intellect, a good grasp of what's going on around him and how to best play his cards.

He made it from being a disgraced outlaw into the inner circle of the realms power in a few months(?), that at least puts him in the same league as Varys or LF imho.

Qyburn is interesting.  It's been over 5 years since I read the books, so I can't really remember a whole lot about him there, but the show is much fresher in my mind, and I kind of have the feeling that he's presented better in the show than in the books.  

Seems like in the books I thought of him more as a "bad guy," but in the show his character seems more morally ambiguous.  He messes around with "dark science," but also seems caring when he helps Jaime with his hand, and when he's determined to save Gregor's life, and when Cersei returns from her Walk of Shame.  Or is that all part of his scheming?  I dunno.

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On 1/31/2017 at 6:53 PM, Meera of Tarth said:

I think that the most intelligent person is Olenna Tyrrell. She has been consistently clever during the six seasons. I can't think of anyone more intelligent and clever than her. After her, I agree with the OP that Bran is one of the smartest characters in the show, along with Samwell Tarly. 

Other intelligent characters are Margaery, LF (until the 5th season when he becomes one of the most stupid ones), Tywin Lannister, Arya, Meera Reed as well.

Great stuff.  More votes for Sam and Margaery.  The more I think about these two, the more I think they are edging out other people in this discussion (but not my top 3, in my opinion).  Sam and Margaery are both very young (and as I've mentioend several times, intelligence is relative to age, which is why IQ tests take age into account), and neither have deep flaws (although they each have weaknesses, I don't believe they have "deep flaws" like some of the other characters being discussed), and have shown intelligence many times.  For just one example, at the GreenTrial the High Sparrow (and everyone else there except Margaery) was clueless that something was severely wrong, but Margaery knew it and was saying it (too bad for her the people around her who had the power to do something about it were so clueless even when she was telling them something was really wrong, so they all died)

Meera Reed is an interesting mention as well.  Also very young, I see her as extremely wise, well-adjusted in life, good and compassionate, all of which things I consider to be aspects of intelligence.

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I would like to add a name to the list that will surprise a lot of people, but first let me lay a little ground work.

I think the truest test of intelligence is the ability to look at a pile of data with a clear eye - to pick out the salient points and leave the rest behind, to dismiss opinion of others and to also dismiss what is considered common knowledge. The ability to do this - to pick out what is important data and to throw away the rest and then draw a true conclusion is a sign of real intelligence and is an ability to rely upon in decision making moments. We saw Jon do this particular type of mental gymnastics at the Wall when he determined that the Wall was built to keep out the supernatural beings and not the wildlings. The wildlings had been perceived to be the threat for thousands of years. He made the mental leap and determined the true enemy. The fact that he underestimated the resistance to this revelation and got himself stabbed is irrelevant. Jon is not a good judge of character, especially of bad character. But he is intelligent.

Tyrion is generally considered to be one of the most intelligent of characters yet he stood at the Wall and accepted generally accepted knowledge that the Wall was built to keep out the wildings. Later he heard about the supernatural incidents and dismissed them. I cannot recall any times Tyrion thought outside the box. In fact he seems all too ready to go with the flow of general opinion.

Lady Olenna is very clever. She, like Daenerys, can make shrewd political moves, bold moves, but do either one of them think out side the box? Bran does because he doubted The Three eyed Crow's that the past could be changed. This is from the book when he believed that Ned heard him in the Godswood. ( I have trouble remembering which medium is which.)

So considering which characters are intelligent in their ability to think outside the box, I'd say Bran, Jon and Sam. And I would also include Lady Lyanna, and maybe Davos. They do not rely on conventional viewpoints.

 

 

 

 

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On 1/29/2017 at 0:03 PM, Cron said:

Don't think I've ever seen a topic on this, but I've done quite a bit of thinking about it.

In my opinion, The 3 Smartest Characters, In Order, Are:

(1)  Lyanna Mormont.  Intelligence is relative to age, and she is so young that she's even a kid compared to Bran.  Despite her very young age, though, she routinely out-thinks and manipulates people much older and more experienced than her.  Her vocabulary and speech indicate high intelligence, and we have been shown her wisdom many times already as well.  In sum, she is a very powerful intellectual package, in a very young body. 

(2)  Bran Stark.  Also extremely young, we are told and shown over and over that he is highly intelligent.  It is natural, it is believable, and it is consistent with the role he plays (and will play) in this epic story. (I believe when it's all said and done Bran will have been one of the three most important characters)

(3)  Tyrion Lannister.  He's a lot older than Lyanna Mormont and Bran Stark, but he's been smarter than nearly everyone he's ever met for just about his entire life.  He is very well informed about a great many things, and has had life experiences which make him well rounded intellectually, in addition to having a lot of natural intellectual horsepower.

Your thoughts???

I am quoting your original post to point out the question you asked, which was quite simply the three smartest characters. This would be regardless of age. I am not going to dispute the fact that IQ tests take into account age, that is solely do to the reason they are meant to compare IQ's across that age bracket. That does not mean to say a child with an IQ of 120 is smarter or as smart as an adult with an IQ of 120 (or even 100 for that matter). To very different things I am afraid. 

Edited by Ice Spider

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18 hours ago, Ice Spider said:

I am quoting your original post to point out the question you asked, which was quite simply the three smartest characters. This would be regardless of age. I am not going to dispute the fact that IQ tests take into account age, that is solely do to the reason they are meant to compare IQ's across that age bracket. That does not mean to say a child with an IQ of 120 is smarter or as smart as an adult with an IQ of 120 (or even 100 for that matter). To very different things I am afraid. 

With respect, I think you're quibbling over highly subjective semantics.

It seems that you have one interpretation of the word "smart," and I have another.  To me, it's very clear that whether someone is "smart" has got to take into account their age, both for logical reasons and because IQs are calculated based in part on age.  IQ scores are not just sorted by age after they are generated, they are calculated based on age, and that is a critical distinction.

I believe you claim that the only reason IQ tests take age into account is "to compare IQ's across that age bracket," but I respectfully disagree.  My undestanding is that age is a factor taken into account in order to generate the IQ score itself.  My understanding is that a test is taken, and the person's score on that test is then divided by their  age, thus generating a standarized IQ score that can be and is compared across all age ranges.

You seem very focused on what word or words were or were not in the title I made for this topic.  My friend, the titles for the topics are very short, I cannot explain my entire position completely in detail in a topic title.  So we use a sort of "shorthand," and I used the word "smart," one aspect of which is an IQ score, and IQ scores are calculated based in part on age.  Then, in my very first post in this topic, I brought age into the discussion almost immediately (Indeed, the very first thing I said about the very first character I discussed, Lyanna Mormont, was that "Intelligence is relative to age.").  In sum, there is no inconsistency in my positions here.

Now, of course, other people can and do have different views, and that's cool, that's why we are here, for discussion.  Apparently you seem to have an opinion about the meaning of the word "smart" that does not take age into account at all.  Okay, that's fine, you are entitled to your opinion, but you seem to be pretty intently arguing with me about what I meant when I wrote the title for this topic, despite the fact that I'm positive I know what I had in mind when I wrote that title, and I'm positive that that included a definition of the word "smart" that does take age into account, cuz I've been aware for a very long time that IQ scores are calculated based in part on age, something which makes perfect sense when you think about the reasons why.

Good conversation, though, thanks for contributing to my topic.

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22 hours ago, Not a kneeler said:

I would like to add a name to the list that will surprise a lot of people, but first let me lay a little ground work.

I think the truest test of intelligence is the ability to look at a pile of data with a clear eye - to pick out the salient points and leave the rest behind, to dismiss opinion of others and to also dismiss what is considered common knowledge. The ability to do this - to pick out what is important data and to throw away the rest and then draw a true conclusion is a sign of real intelligence and is an ability to rely upon in decision making moments. We saw Jon do this particular type of mental gymnastics at the Wall when he determined that the Wall was built to keep out the supernatural beings and not the wildlings. The wildlings had been perceived to be the threat for thousands of years. He made the mental leap and determined the true enemy. The fact that he underestimated the resistance to this revelation and got himself stabbed is irrelevant. Jon is not a good judge of character, especially of bad character. But he is intelligent.

Tyrion is generally considered to be one of the most intelligent of characters yet he stood at the Wall and accepted generally accepted knowledge that the Wall was built to keep out the wildings. Later he heard about the supernatural incidents and dismissed them. I cannot recall any times Tyrion thought outside the box. In fact he seems all too ready to go with the flow of general opinion.

Lady Olenna is very clever. She, like Daenerys, can make shrewd political moves, bold moves, but do either one of them think out side the box? Bran does because he doubted The Three eyed Crow's that the past could be changed. This is from the book when he believed that Ned heard him in the Godswood. ( I have trouble remembering which medium is which.)

So considering which characters are intelligent in their ability to think outside the box, I'd say Bran, Jon and Sam. And I would also include Lady Lyanna, and maybe Davos. They do not rely on conventional viewpoints.

 

 

 

 

Great food for thought there, I read it all with interest, thanks for contributing.

My own view, though, is that whether someone is "smart" depends on how they do overall in many categories of information processing.  Indeed, even raw "speed of thought" (being a quick thinker) is definitely a factor as well, which is why IQ tests are timed (if a person taking such a test had unlimited time, almost everyone would do better than they actually do)

But hey, I'm not even claiming IQ tests measure all forms of intelligence. There are other factors to be taken into account as well, and as far as I'm concerned they are all fair game for this discussion. (Two quick examples of things I've already mentioned that are not measured by IQ tests are artistic ability and athletic coordination, and I could list more)

I would make this comment about what you wrote, though:  I think you may be giving both Jon and Bran too much credit for some of the conclusions they reached, cuz they both had observable, empirical evidence that others did not.  

For example, Jon realized the Wall was to keep out supernatural foes, sure, but that was in part because Jon, unlike Tyrion, had actually seen and fought supernatural beings.  I'm guessing that if Tyrion had still been around for that stuff, he would have put 2 and 2 together on that subject real quickly, too. (Yes, others at the Wall failed to make that conclusion, so Jon gets more credit than them, but other characters on the show, such as Tyrion, were not around, so I think this cannot be an advantage Jon has over people like Tyrion)

The same is true of Bran and the Weirwoods.  To the extent that the past can be changed, Bran may have been ahead of the curve, but he had observable empirical evidence that, so far as we know, Bloodraven did not.   Bran didn't just infer a priori that the past could be changed, he (arguably) actually witnessed and experiened it, then made eonclusions from that .

(Note that I said "to the extent that the past can be changed," and that Bran "arguably" witnessed the past changing, cuz it's not clear to me that in GOT/ASOIAF that the past CAN be changed.  It is possible that we are viewing one timeline in different chronological orders.  Here's an example:  Was there ever a battle af the Tower of Joy where Bran was NOT present?  We have not been given that information, and if there wasn't then Bran did NOT change the past when he went there. even when Ned heard Bran. Similarly, was there ever a version of Hodor's life where Bran did not accidentally damage Hodor's brain when Hodor was a boy?  We have not been given that information, and if not such a version of Hodor's life then Bran did not change the past when he accidentally damaged Hodor's brain)

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8 hours ago, Cron said:

With respect, I think you're quibbling over highly subjective semantics.

It seems that you have one interpretation of the word "smart," and I have another.  To me, it's very clear that whether someone is "smart" has got to take into account their age, both for logical reasons and because IQs are calculated based in part on age.  IQ scores are not just sorted by age after they are generated, they are calculated based on age, and that is a critical distinction.

I believe you claim that the only reason IQ tests take age into account is "to compare IQ's across that age bracket," but I respectfully disagree.  My undestanding is that age is a factor taken into account in order to generate the IQ score itself.  My understanding is that a test is taken, and the person's score on that test is then divided by their  age, thus generating a standarized IQ score that can be and is compared across all age ranges.

You seem very focused on what word or words were or were not in the title I made for this topic.  My friend, the titles for the topics are very short, I cannot explain my entire position completely in detail in a topic title.  So we use a sort of "shorthand," and I used the word "smart," one aspect of which is an IQ score, and IQ scores are calculated based in part on age.  Then, in my very first post in this topic, I brought age into the discussion almost immediately (Indeed, the very first thing I said about the very first character I discussed, Lyanna Mormont, was that "Intelligence is relative to age.").  In sum, there is no inconsistency in my positions here.

Now, of course, other people can and do have different views, and that's cool, that's why we are here, for discussion.  Apparently you seem to have an opinion about the meaning of the word "smart" that does not take age into account at all.  Okay, that's fine, you are entitled to your opinion, but you seem to be pretty intently arguing with me about what I meant when I wrote the title for this topic, despite the fact that I'm positive I know what I had in mind when I wrote that title, and I'm positive that that included a definition of the word "smart" that does take age into account, cuz I've been aware for a very long time that IQ scores are calculated based in part on age, something which makes perfect sense when you think about the reasons why.

Good conversation, though, thanks for contributing to my topic.

That has to be the most ridiculous argument I have heard in a long time, in all due respect. The Question was who was smartest, not who had the highest IQ, for starters. 

Your understanding of how standard IQ tests are administered is extremely flawed, a different test is given, dependent on which age bracket the testee falls into. This does not equate to an IQ of 120 for a 12 year old = the same intelligence of an IQ of 120 for a 30 year old. Give them the same test and the scores would be much, much different. 

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In my opinion, Tyrion, Varys, and Olenna are the smartest characters, particularly in the sense of political strategy. I always find it interesting when any one of them has a scene with another one of them. However, I think there are many other characters in GoT/ASOIAF that are also very intelligent.

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On 2/6/2017 at 1:39 AM, Needle of Ice said:

In my opinion, Tyrion, Varys, and Olenna are the smartest characters, particularly in the sense of political strategy. I always find it interesting when any one of them has a scene with another one of them. However, I think there are many other characters in GoT/ASOIAF that are also very intelligent.

Yeah, I think there are a lot of legitimate contenders, and this is especially true when we have such very limited information for quite a few of them.

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On 1/29/2017 at 9:03 AM, Cron said:

Don't think I've ever seen a topic on this, but I've done quite a bit of thinking about it.

In my opinion, The 3 Smartest Characters, In Order, Are:

(1)  Lyanna Mormont.  Intelligence is relative to age, and she is so young that she's even a kid compared to Bran.  Despite her very young age, though, she routinely out-thinks and manipulates people much older and more experienced than her.  Her vocabulary and speech indicate high intelligence, and we have been shown her wisdom many times already as well.  In sum, she is a very powerful intellectual package, in a very young body. 

(2)  Bran Stark.  Also extremely young, we are told and shown over and over that he is highly intelligent.  It is natural, it is believable, and it is consistent with the role he plays (and will play) in this epic story. (I believe when it's all said and done Bran will have been one of the three most important characters)

(3)  Tyrion Lannister.  He's a lot older than Lyanna Mormont and Bran Stark, but he's been smarter than nearly everyone he's ever met for just about his entire life.  He is very well informed about a great many things, and has had life experiences which make him well rounded intellectually, in addition to having a lot of natural intellectual horsepower.

Your thoughts???

Obviously hard to argue against Tyrion, after so many brilliant moves and deductions along with his penchant for reading, love of history, and rapier wit.  Bran, while obviously learning some things that give insight few if any can share, seems like Bran is a bit of a reach here.  While he handles himself admirably in many situations, his powers don't pertain to his actual intelligence level, per se.  I think that Arya is a better choice if you want to pick a youngin' and keep it in the family...she is put in awful situation after awful situation as a commoner after being raised in the most powerful House in the North, somehow surviving on her own in a war torn land as a young girl with no one to consistently lean on for support.

In the case of Lyanna Mormont, iirc, while one of my favorite characters (how freaking dope is she tho? classic low-hangers on a youngin') she hasn't been seen enough or referenced enough to really qualify imo, but also, while prudent to defer to one's counselors, she gets an awful lot of help in the scene where she denounces Sansa as a Lannister and Jon as a Snow.  I think she's more than proven she's no slouch, but to me the words loyal, bold, composed, frank, and righteous describe her character a bit more clearly. In fact, another character from that scene, Davos, is someone who deserves to be considered. Like Littlefinger, he rose from nothing not through a warrior's prowess in arms or physical attributes, but with his cunning, intelligence, resourcefulness, and bravery being his primary tools; he does seem to have more of a moral compass to him though, eh? 

Also, as to Littlefinger, while on the surface it does seem a blunder of epic proportions given his earlier feelings towards Cat, her death at the wasn't directly due to his actions, iirc. Wasn't that Tywin's doing? Not sure how early the Westerlings were up to no good as far as the Starks go, but The Red Wedding seems to have been entirely negotiated by raven through Roose Bolton, Walder Frey and himself, with the details of the killings and various roles decided on and disseminated with the upper crust of those Houses...I'm struggling to see Littlefinger's dcirect involvement, maybe I'm forgetting something.

However, and imo this is very important, recall Littlefinger revealing a couple relevant pieces of info: 1) He wants SANSA! and though he doesn't admit this until after Cat's death, she is the younger incarnation of Cat herself, and he sidles up to her as early as possible after her trip South...and Cat did spurn him...he was manipulating her from the moment he had Lysa send the fake message implicating the Lannisters in the Jon Arryn's death.  2) He finds opportunity and thrives on chaos, probably because he is able to see it coming as he's usually the one responsible!  And, 3) He has kept his true motives hidden, until he reveals to Sansa that he wants HER, and that he wants to sit the Iron Throne...but to what end? Perhaps the endgame isn't the Iron Throne itself, but what he specifically wants to do with that power.

Others that deserve mention, imo, are of course, Queen Margaery, and Queen Thorn Tyrell, Tywin, Lord Varys, Oberyn Martell (another personal favorite in so many ways,) Aemon Targaryen, and Sam at the top of the list, with Honorable Mention going to our Khaleesi and many of Daenarys' lieutenants and counselors (Grey Worm, Missandei, Jorah,) Jaime, even Cersei (she makes some big mistakes but still possesses enough cunning and raw audacity to pull one over on Tyrion and the (another honorable mention) High Sparrow; she's a good candidate for one who will give you a good game of chess, or cyvasse, but may never take the time to think enough moves ahead to actually win against other skilled oponents. 

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, and it's hard at times to completely distinguish the character's actions in the novels with their actions, or lack thereof, in the series...I'll throw in Pod and the Hound because they have their own brand of smarts and I love 'em both:)

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23 hours ago, Cron said:

Yeah, I think there are a lot of legitimate contenders, and this is especially true when we have such very limited information for quite a few of them.

I completely agree. We don't have as much information about characters that don't have POV chapters in the books and are not followed as closely on the show.

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10 hours ago, Russellstiltskin said:

Others that deserve mention, imo, are of course, Queen Margaery, and Queen Thorn Tyrell, Tywin, Lord Varys, Oberyn Martell (another personal favorite in so many ways,) Aemon Targaryen, and Sam at the top of the list, with Honorable Mention going to our Khaleesi and many of Daenarys' lieutenants and counselors (Grey Worm, Missandei, Jorah,) Jaime, even Cersei (she makes some big mistakes but still possesses enough cunning and raw audacity to pull one over on Tyrion and the (another honorable mention) High Sparrow; she's a good candidate for one who will give you a good game of chess, or cyvasse, but may never take the time to think enough moves ahead to actually win against other skilled opponents. 

A case could be made for most of these, though I tend to think of Grey Worm and (in the show) Missandei as being on the simple side. Cersei I had fourth on the list of the stupidest people in the show (behind Joffrey, Gregor and Balon) and that was at the end of season #3... I'd probably put her #1 now after what I'd describe as further acts of stupidity (though she has some serious competition from Faullaria and the Sand Fakes) through recent seasons, like (1) being adamant that her own brother killed her son, which f***ed everything up for her family, (2) having her own fiancé and daughter-in law arrested, never mind that they were the Lannisters' allies, which backfired spectacularly and (3) sure she got rid of the High Sparrow and many of his followers, but in the process also destroyed her uncle, cousin, Lannister loyalist Pycelle and most of the house that was the Lannister's allies, and hundreds of innocent people. She got incredibly lucky here that this plan succeeded and also earlier that she was not killed or even exiled as a result of her incest, especially after Ned found out. As it is, I feel like Cersei has almost single-handedly caused the downfall of her own house.

My impression was that Tyrion constantly got the better of her in season #2, the one time when he had real power (ratted out her informant Pycelle, got Lancel to turn informant, while Cersei thought she'd captured Tyrion's whore but hadn't).

Edited by CaptainTheo
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On 2/8/2017 at 6:35 AM, Russellstiltskin said:

Obviously hard to argue against Tyrion, after so many brilliant moves and deductions along with his penchant for reading, love of history, and rapier wit.  Bran, while obviously learning some things that give insight few if any can share, seems like Bran is a bit of a reach here.  While he handles himself admirably in many situations, his powers don't pertain to his actual intelligence level, per se.  I think that Arya is a better choice if you want to pick a youngin' and keep it in the family...she is put in awful situation after awful situation as a commoner after being raised in the most powerful House in the North, somehow surviving on her own in a war torn land as a young girl with no one to consistently lean on for support.

Great stuff in your post, I read it all with interest.  One thing I really liked about what you wrote is that you referred to so many different ways that a person can be smart (probably at least 10 or 15, I would estimate).  I've been a big believer for a very long time that there are lots of different ways a person can be smart, and lots of different ways a person can be "not smart" (to put it kindly).  I've even considered putting together a list of ways a person can be smart, and even though I haven't done it yet, I believe such a list would have at least 50 items on it, and maybe a lot more.

Next, please note that all my comments here are conversational opinions, not claims that you are "wrong," b/c this stuff is highly subjective, to say the least.

BRAN:   If you watch Bran's scenes closely, you will see not only that we are told that Bran is smart multiple times, but that we actually see it, most clearly when he is matching wits with Maester Luwin, who, as an elderly maester, was no mental slouch himself.  If you listen to their exchanges, you'll see that Bran is actually outwitting Luwin (albeit in friendly banter, for the most part).  

Also, you basically say that Bran's powers do not pertain to his actual intelligence level, but I'm not so sure about that.  You might be right, but I don't think we have enough information to say that for sure.  

(Also a mark in Bran's favor is how he deftly handles his leadership of his travelling group, definitely including the conflicts between Meera and Osha.  Skill in managing relationships is a form of intelligence.)

ARYA:  Great comments from you, I think she's probably the personification of "mental toughness" in the show, and mental toughness is a form of intelligence.

On 2/8/2017 at 6:35 AM, Russellstiltskin said:

In the case of Lyanna Mormont, iirc, while one of my favorite characters (how freaking dope is she tho? classic low-hangers on a youngin') she hasn't been seen enough or referenced enough to really qualify imo, but also, while prudent to defer to one's counselors, she gets an awful lot of help in the scene where she denounces Sansa as a Lannister and Jon as a Snow.  I think she's more than proven she's no slouch, but to me the words loyal, bold, composed, frank, and righteous describe her character a bit more clearly. In fact, another character from that scene, Davos, is someone who deserves to be considered. Like Littlefinger, he rose from nothing not through a warrior's prowess in arms or physical attributes, but with his cunning, intelligence, resourcefulness, and bravery being his primary tools; he does seem to have more of a moral compass to him though, eh? 

LYANNA MORMONT:  You make a point worth considering when you basically say our sample size of information on her is very small.   For example, some people are very smart in certain ways, but very foolish in others.  She might be such a person, we just don't know enough about her to be sure.  However, similar arguments can be made about some other characters, too, and when I made my initial list I believed I just had to go with available information.  Lyanna has only been in a few scenes, but so far she's always the smartest person in the room, even though she's only 10 years old.  How many 10 year olds have you known that you could say that about?

DAVOS:  An interesting mention, especially what you called his "moral compass."  I'm a big believer that it's smart to be good and not smart to be bad, for many reasons.  Davos has great faith in his own moral code and sense of right and wrong, and so far I think he's been right a lot more than he's been wrong about a lot of stuff.

On 2/8/2017 at 6:35 AM, Russellstiltskin said:

Also, as to Littlefinger, while on the surface it does seem a blunder of epic proportions given his earlier feelings towards Cat, her death at the wasn't directly due to his actions, iirc. Wasn't that Tywin's doing? Not sure how early the Westerlings were up to no good as far as the Starks go, but The Red Wedding seems to have been entirely negotiated by raven through Roose Bolton, Walder Frey and himself, with the details of the killings and various roles decided on and disseminated with the upper crust of those Houses...I'm struggling to see Littlefinger's dcirect involvement, maybe I'm forgetting something.

However, and imo this is very important, recall Littlefinger revealing a couple relevant pieces of info: 1) He wants SANSA! and though he doesn't admit this until after Cat's death, she is the younger incarnation of Cat herself, and he sidles up to her as early as possible after her trip South...and Cat did spurn him...he was manipulating her from the moment he had Lysa send the fake message implicating the Lannisters in the Jon Arryn's death.  2) He finds opportunity and thrives on chaos, probably because he is able to see it coming as he's usually the one responsible!  And, 3) He has kept his true motives hidden, until he reveals to Sansa that he wants HER, and that he wants to sit the Iron Throne...but to what end? Perhaps the endgame isn't the Iron Throne itself, but what he specifically wants to do with that power.

LITTLEFINGER:  A very complex character, to say the least.  I could be wrong (cuz we can't read his mind, and I don't think he expressly states this, and even if he did he might be lying), but I do not believe Sansa was his goal all along.  I believe it was Cat, until she died, then he shifted his focus to Sansa (I believe any interaction he had with Sansa before Cat died was motivated primarily by the fact that Sansa was an indirect connection to Cat, something to be exploited in the relationship LF hoped to have with Cat).  

I believe this is supported by the fact that, early on, Littlefinger's primary target was...Ned Stark.  He hated the Starks cuz of what Brandon did to him in their "duel," and b/c the Starks were in line to have Cat (first Brandon, then Ned) even though Littlefinger wanted Cat so badly.  Thus, LF conspired with Lysa to murder Jon Arryn (who, as a bonus to LF, was like a father figure to Ned), thus causing Robert to bring Ned to King's Landing where Ned was vulnerable so LF could arrange to have Ned crossed off so Cat would be a widow, thus clearing the path for LF and Cat.  (It is highly ironic that despite all the mystery and investigation by Ned about why Jon Arryn was killed, and the belief by Ned right up until his death that Jon Arryn was killed by the Lannisters b/c Jon Arryn was close to discovering the truth about Jaime being the father of Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen, that's not true at all.  Jon Arryn was NOT murdered by the Lannisters, in fact they had nothing to do with it, and the murder had nothing to with who the father of Cersei's children was, either.  Rather, Jon Arryn was murderedin a plan cooked up by LF in order to create a void that would bring Ned to King's Landing, and to set Stark against Lannister to create chaos on which LF intended to feast) 

But LF miscalculated terribly (he couldn't control the chaos he had created well enough), and as result Cat died (it's true LF did not directly cause her death, but he played a huge role in it indirectly).  

Note also that the things I have said so far are strongly supported by the fact that LF then conspired with Olenna Tyrell to murder Joffrey.  And why DID LF conspire in Joffrey's murder??  Once we find out he was involved, he lies to Sansa about the reason twice (first claiming it was random to keep people guessing and off balance, and then claiming he did it simply cuz his "new friends," the Tyrells desired it), but I think it's very clear from yet another scene that the REAL reason LF conspired in Joffrey's murder was...revenge against the Lannisters for their part in the murder of Cat at the Red Wedding.

Note also that LF blunders when he lies about the Valyrian steel dagger, too (he claimed he lost it in a bet with Tyrion, in which bet Tyrion bet against Jaime, whereas others later deduce that couldn't possibly be true, cuz Tyrion would never bet against Jaime), plus of course his enormous blunder in giving Sansa to the Boltons.

On 2/8/2017 at 6:35 AM, Russellstiltskin said:

Others that deserve mention, imo, are of course, Queen Margaery, and Queen Thorn Tyrell, Tywin, Lord Varys, Oberyn Martell (another personal favorite in so many ways,) Aemon Targaryen, and Sam at the top of the list, with Honorable Mention going to our Khaleesi and many of Daenarys' lieutenants and counselors (Grey Worm, Missandei, Jorah,) Jaime, even Cersei (she makes some big mistakes but still possesses enough cunning and raw audacity to pull one over on Tyrion and the (another honorable mention) High Sparrow; she's a good candidate for one who will give you a good game of chess, or cyvasse, but may never take the time to think enough moves ahead to actually win against other skilled oponents. 

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few, and it's hard at times to completely distinguish the character's actions in the novels with their actions, or lack thereof, in the series...I'll throw in Pod and the Hound because they have their own brand of smarts and I love 'em both:)

A lot more great mentions there.  I agree they all have their strengths.  Margaery probably does not get mentioned enough, nor the Red viper, and Aemon should probably get more consideration, too.  Missandei should probably be ranked pretty highly too (she is very young, even younger in the books, speaks 19 languages, and is very composed and wise as a counselor to Dany) Pod and the Hound are interesting as well.  Pod has character traits that are "smart," and the Hound has been the subject of some discussion (someone used the term "street smarts," and I think that's a good way to put it for Sandor .  He is nobody's fool, and has a much firmer grasp on the realities of what's going on around him than most people)

Again, great, great stuff.  One thing I would say though is that when I made my list and considered some of the characters you mentioned, I tried to not only credit them with their strengths, but also take into account their weaknesses, which for some of them means "very deep flaws."  Quick examples would be LF's obsession with Stark ladies (plus his colossal ego, which often makes him overconfident, setting forces into motion he can't control which then backfire against him in ways that destroy his own goals), Tywin's warped view of his family and legacy (which causes him to often treat his children poorly, thus, ironically, destroying his legacy), and the High Sparrow's extreme failure to realize that he was deeply humiliating and threatening the lives and livelihoods of very powerful people who were not likely to take kindly to it, and sure enough, he got crossed off (indeed, he was so clueless that he failed to realize it even in his final moments, even with Margaery standing there basically screaming in his face that something was terribly wrong, that Cersei had been underestimated by him, and that they were all in mortal danger and had to get out of there fast.  But no, High Sparrow still couldn't grasp it, so everyone there died)

P.S.  So, who were your top 3??  Maybe I missed it, but I don't think you said.

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On 2/8/2017 at 4:02 PM, Needle of Ice said:

I completely agree. We don't have as much information about characters that don't have POV chapters in the books and are not followed as closely on the show.

Yeah, the more I think about it the more I think Missandei falls into this category.  No POV chapters in the books, and while she got an increased role int he show (compared to the books) there is a still a whole lot unknown about her, whereas what we DO know is very impressive (she speaks 19 languages at a very young age, and is one of Dany's most trusted advisors)

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On 2/8/2017 at 5:08 PM, CaptainTheo said:

A case could be made for most of these, though I tend to think of Grey Worm and (in the show) Missandei as being on the simple side. Cersei I had fourth on the list of the stupidest people in the show (behind Joffrey, Gregor and Balon) and that was at the end of season #3... I'd probably put her #1 now after what I'd describe as further acts of stupidity (though she has some serious competition from Faullaria and the Sand Fakes) through recent seasons, like (1) being adamant that her own brother killed her son, which f***ed everything up for her family, (2) having her own fiancé and daughter-in law arrested, never mind that they were the Lannisters' allies, which backfired spectacularly and (3) sure she got rid of the High Sparrow and many of his followers, but in the process also destroyed her uncle, cousin, Lannister loyalist Pycelle and most of the house that was the Lannister's allies, and hundreds of innocent people. She got incredibly lucky here that this plan succeeded and also earlier that she was not killed or even exiled as a result of her incest, especially after Ned found out. As it is, I feel like Cersei has almost single-handedly caused the downfall of her own house.

My impression was that Tyrion constantly got the better of her in season #2, the one time when he had real power (ratted out her informant Pycelle, got Lancel to turn informant, while Cersei thought she'd captured Tyrion's whore but hadn't).

Hmmmm...interesting food for thought.

Clearly, to me, Cersei would not be in the top 10 smartest people, probably not even in the top 20, but I can't put her at No. 1 on the "not smart" list, either.

She is cunning, crafty and ruthless, and quite a few people have underestimated her to their extreme regret.  She HAS blundered quite a few times, that's true, but it's not like she's never come out on top, cuz she has, quite a few times, in fact.  Robert, Ned, Pycelle, High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras, Kevan, and Olenna have all been bested by Cersei (not that I'm saying that that makes her smarter than all of them, just that she's had some success against them).  She managed to rid herself of Tyrion, too, who had to flee King's Landing hiding in a barrel just to save his life, and even then he only managed that with the help of Jaime and Varys.

Again, I'm NOT saying Cersei is smarter than all those people, but she's had her moments, and I just cannot put her at No. 1 on the "not smart" list.   I'd say she's not in the top 20 smartest, but she's not in the top 20 "not smart list" either.  I'd say she's in the middle of the pack, it's just that she's been in a position of power to DO some really stupid things that have backfired in a major way, of course, whereas other characters have not been in a position of such power.

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4 hours ago, Cron said:

Hmmmm...interesting food for thought.

Clearly, to me, Cersei would not be in the top 10 smartest people, probably not even in the top 20, but I can't put her at No. 1 on the "not smart" list, either.

She is cunning, crafty and ruthless, and quite a few people have underestimated her to their extreme regret.  She HAS blundered quite a few times, that's true, but it's not like she's never come out on top, cuz she has, quite a few times, in fact.  Robert, Ned, Pycelle, High Sparrow, Margaery, Loras, Kevan, and Olenna have all been bested by Cersei (not that I'm saying that that makes her smarter than all of them, just that she's had some success against them).  She managed to rid herself of Tyrion, too, who had to flee King's Landing hiding in a barrel just to save his life, and even then he only managed that with the help of Jaime and Varys.

Again, I'm NOT saying Cersei is smarter than all those people, but she's had her moments, and I just cannot put her at No. 1 on the "not smart" list.   I'd say she's not in the top 20 smartest, but she's not in the top 20 "not smart list" either.  I'd say she's in the middle of the pack, it's just that she's been in a position of power to DO some really stupid things that have backfired in a major way, of course, whereas other characters have not been in a position of such power.

One of the reasons for my low rating of Cersei's intelligence is that I put several of those people as not having been 'bested by Cersei' but 'shamefully betrayed by Cersei' or collateral damage from Cersei's actions, specifically Cersei taking out her own allies, which to me is rank madness, e.g.

  • Pycelle - Cersei's loyal lieutenant. He ratted out Tyrion to Cersei. Cersei treated Pycelle like dirt from season #4 onwards without good reason (apparently she didn't like him being a dirty old man) and I was left scratching my head as why she had him killed.
  • Loras - Again, shamefully betrayed by Cersei - they were engaged to be married. Tywin's death obviously meant that they were never going to be married but I couldn't understand why she would arrest him as his house was her house's ally. And unlike Pycelle there is no evidence that Loras ever wronged or challenged Cersei. This makes him 100% a victim.
  • Kevan - this is arguably worse than any of them as it makes Cersei a kinslayer - another change from the books that I hate (as with Pycelle). I put it down as another example of Cersei shooting herself in the foot, by taking out useful, loyal family members that might have helped reverse the fortunes of House Lannister. And Kevan was amenable to Cersei's suggestion of sending armies to attack the Faith Militant when Margaery was about to do the Walk of Shame. Kevan (and Pycelle) only took over power after Cersei had been imprisoned by the Faith - it's not like they took power off Cersei. I find it hard to believe that Cersei deliberately killed him (if she did she's even stupider than I think) more that he was collateral damage like all the innocent people who were blown up so that Cersei could get rid of the sparrows and the Tyrells.

She didn't even try to console Tommen, which led to his suicide. Granted, she did ultimately get the better of the others in the list, though she seemed to be incredibly lucky (it seemed very contrived by the writers actually) that (1) the faith didn't react after she chose violence and had Gregor kill a sparrow, (2) there was lots of wildfire conveniently stashed away that the faith didn't know about, and (3) when Cersei didn't show up to her trial there weren't more sparrows sent to find her. Otherwise there was a better chance of someone getting Cersei to the trial, or stopping the wildfire from blowing up (which Lancel almost did anyway).

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16 hours ago, CaptainTheo said:

One of the reasons for my low rating of Cersei's intelligence is that I put several of those people as not having been 'bested by Cersei' but 'shamefully betrayed by Cersei' or collateral damage from Cersei's actions, specifically Cersei taking out her own allies, which to me is rank madness, e.g.

  • Pycelle - Cersei's loyal lieutenant. He ratted out Tyrion to Cersei. Cersei treated Pycelle like dirt from season #4 onwards without good reason (apparently she didn't like him being a dirty old man) and I was left scratching my head as why she had him killed.
  • Loras - Again, shamefully betrayed by Cersei - they were engaged to be married. Tywin's death obviously meant that they were never going to be married but I couldn't understand why she would arrest him as his house was her house's ally. And unlike Pycelle there is no evidence that Loras ever wronged or challenged Cersei. This makes him 100% a victim.
  • Kevan - this is arguably worse than any of them as it makes Cersei a kinslayer - another change from the books that I hate (as with Pycelle). I put it down as another example of Cersei shooting herself in the foot, by taking out useful, loyal family members that might have helped reverse the fortunes of House Lannister. And Kevan was amenable to Cersei's suggestion of sending armies to attack the Faith Militant when Margaery was about to do the Walk of Shame. Kevan (and Pycelle) only took over power after Cersei had been imprisoned by the Faith - it's not like they took power off Cersei. I find it hard to believe that Cersei deliberately killed him (if she did she's even stupider than I think) more that he was collateral damage like all the innocent people who were blown up so that Cersei could get rid of the sparrows and the Tyrells.

She didn't even try to console Tommen, which led to his suicide. Granted, she did ultimately get the better of the others in the list, though she seemed to be incredibly lucky (it seemed very contrived by the writers actually) that (1) the faith didn't react after she chose violence and had Gregor kill a sparrow, (2) there was lots of wildfire conveniently stashed away that the faith didn't know about, and (3) when Cersei didn't show up to her trial there weren't more sparrows sent to find her. Otherwise there was a better chance of someone getting Cersei to the trial, or stopping the wildfire from blowing up (which Lancel almost did anyway).

I read your entire post with interest.  You raise many issues.

As I stressed, I am not necessarily saying Cersei is smarter (overall) than any or all of those people we've been discussing, just that I can't rank her as the least intelligent person on the show.  In my view, she's pretty solidly in the middle of the pack

I am certainly not a person who favors characters who "win" by betraying people (as I've already said in this thread, I believe it's smart to be "good" and not smart to be "bad," and I believe that's true for ASOIAF and for what we call "real life"), but the fact is that Cersei's betrayals do show her cunning, ruthlessness and determination to win at almost any cost and by almost any means, and show she has a much keener grasp on the realities of the world these characters live in than quite a few other characters do.  

An excellent case in point is Ned.  Many people believe Ned died b/c of his "honor," but I disagree.  Ned was a very honorable man, sure, but the reason he died was b/c he was extremely naive to the realities of how vicious a snakes' nest he had landed in, and foolishly believed other people there had the same sense of honor he did (when Ned confronted Cersei, he believed she would react as he would, by "honorably" taking her children and fleeing King's Landing in disgrace.  WRONG.).   

Anyone who believes Ned died b/c of his honor should ask themselves this:  Do you believe that if Ned had known how things would turn out, he would still have foolishly warned and confronted Cersei b/c his honor demanded it?  No way.  Ned blundered, pure and simple.  He was in way over his head, and he died b/c of it.   (Also worth considering:  At the Tower of Joy, when Howland Reed literally stabbed Arthur Dayne in the back to save Ned's life, I don't recall Ned complaining about what Howland did in any way.  Oh no, Ned seemed just fine with that.)

Regarding the collateral damage at the Green Trial:  Yeah, it's hard to perfectly know all of Cersei's motivations for wanting the various people there dead.  I believe her primary targets, by far, were the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant.   After that, I think Cersei would consider Margaery's death a bonus (even though she foolishly underestimated the impact of that on Tommen), Kevan's death an unfortunate necessity (simply b/c he was there), and Loras...whatever (I don't think Cersei cared any more or less about Loras than she cared about hundreds of others that were there).

Pycelle's death was done intentionally, though.  My beliefs about why Cersei had Pycelle crossed off:  First, there's a long history through the show of Cersei being contemptuous of Pycelle due to his incompetence and b/c of his lecherous ways.  Pycelle is a bumbling fool on many occasions, and a serious potential liability for Cersei, b/c Pycelle knows so many of Cersei's secrets.  Once Qyburn replaces Pycelle (due to Pycelle's incompetence as Grand Maester, no less, in failing to save Gregor), Cersei actually gives Pycelle's laboratory to Qyburn on the show, and kicks Pycelle out.  Once that occurs, Pycelle is truly useless to her, and nothing more than a "loose end" she believes she has to tie up (b/c Pycelle has so much dirt on Cersei b/c he was her henchman for so many years). and as an added bonus for Cersei she has no problem having Pycelle crossed off b/c he disgusts her.  

(Note that Cersei's contempt for Pycelle is shown in quite a few prior scenes.   Check out the exchange between Cersei and Pycelle at Joffrey's wedding, for an excellent example, all the way back in Season 3.  Pycelle is arguing with Cersei and defying Cersei when Cersei is countermanding Margaery's order that the leftovers from the feast be given to the poor, and Cersei is clearly very annoyed with Pycelle.  Note also that Pycelle's usefulness to Cersei was heavily damaged also going all the way back to Season 2, when Tyrion correctly exposed Pycelle as Cersei's agent and pawn.  Once Pycelles' cover was blown, his value to Cersei naturally went down dramatically.) 

Finally, while I enjoyed reading what you wrote, and i believe it contained a lot of great food for thought about other peoples' blunders which are highly relevant to this thread, I think a lot of it boils down to you pointing out that some other people were even stupider than Cersei in a number of ways, and I'm not sure how that supports what I understand to be your claim that Cersei is the least smart person on the show.

Look at the three numbered items you have near the end of your post, which you chalk up to Cersei being "lucky."  Here's my translation of that:  To the extent that Cersei was "lucky" regarding that stuff, her luck was that some other people were even stupider than her, at least in the ways you mention, and the person most responsible for all three of those other blunders you mention was...the High Sparrow.

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