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

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By houses:

Stark: Jon Snow. He is one of the most pragmatic and witty people out there. Yes he could have approached the battle for Winterfell differently, but other then that i find no fault in the guy. 

Lannister: Tywin with the obvious weakness when it  comes to his children. Jamie, controversial i know but the guy has good world knowledge, at one point yes hid overplay his hand and lost it..but still a smart character nonetheless. Tyrion for obvious reasons.

Tyrell: Ollena and Margery, world wits, cunning, know how to play to their strengths.

Baratheon: Renly, he got defeated by magic, but other then that he was smart, cunning etc.

Martell: Oberyn, now this guy did it all. Books, fighting, fucking everything that moved:)

Greyjoy: Euron from what we have seen so far.

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On 2/12/2017 at 0:24 PM, Cron said:

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)

I think you're definitely right about Missandei. She does seem to be very knowledgeable but there is a lot of missing information. I think Margaery is also someone who we can't entirely understand in the books due to a lack of POV chapters for her. She seems very intelligent, but in the books, we don't know for sure what her motives, plans, etc are.

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On 14. 2. 2017 at 9:50 AM, Nocturne said:

By houses:

Stark: Jon Snow. He is one of the most pragmatic and witty people out there. Yes he could have approached the battle for Winterfell differently, but other then that i find no fault in the guy. 

Lannister: Tywin with the obvious weakness when it  comes to his children. Jamie, controversial i know but the guy has good world knowledge, at one point yes hid overplay his hand and lost it..but still a smart character nonetheless. Tyrion for obvious reasons.

Tyrell: Ollena and Margery, world wits, cunning, know how to play to their strengths.

Baratheon: Renly, he got defeated by magic, but other then that he was smart, cunning etc.

Martell: Oberyn, now this guy did it all. Books, fighting, fucking everything that moved:)

Greyjoy: Euron from what we have seen so far.

What you described is bookJon not showJon who is a dumbass, acting like a fool, he's supposed to be more mature given that they're older on the show compare to books. They just dumb him to swordfighter, who makes these faces and is one of the main protagonists. But to actually make a smart , cunning decisions.

Ramsay by all account was a genius.

You can put Tyrion up there, Varys and Roose until they decided that he should act illogically and didn't see Ramsay's bertrayal. Davos is partially smart too. Also, we can mention. Qyburn is a very intrigueing character. 

Edited by Lord Friendzone

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6 hours ago, Lord Friendzone said:

What you described is bookJon not showJon who is a dumbass, acting like a fool, he's supposed to be more mature given that they're older on the show compare to books. They just dumb him to swordfighter, who makes these faces and is one of the main protagonists. But to actually make a smart , cunning decisions.

While i agree that the book offers more insight to the way Jon thinks, how is he a fool in the show? Let's re-cap:

- He was clever enough to deceive Mance, and everybody beyond the wall that he is on their side.

- He was strong enough to sacrifice love for duty. Read duty as in sacrificing his love, to save a lot of people.

- He was smart enough to get the willdlings to not only commit to fighting the WW, but also to fight in the Battle of the Bastards on his side.

- His only real mistake was not executing/ exiling Throne when he was chosen as Lord Commander.

I'm really curios, what do you think show Jon did to categorise him as a fool.

 

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On 21. 2. 2017 at 11:28 AM, Nocturne said:

While i agree that the book offers more insight to the way Jon thinks, how is he a fool in the show? Let's re-cap:

- He was clever enough to deceive Mance, and everybody beyond the wall that he is on their side.

Ygritte knew and tbh Mance doubted him even tho he wanted him to be part of widlings culture because he maybe saw a bit of himself in him.

- He was strong enough to sacrifice love for duty. Read duty as in sacrificing his love, to save a lot of people.

That's not smart but being brave.

- He was smart enough to get the willdlings to not only commit to fighting the WW, but also to fight in the Battle of the Bastards on his side.

It requires charisma and tbh they had to because of white walkers, also Tormund helped. Without Tormund not sure many of them would join him.

- His only real mistake was not executing/ exiling Throne when he was chosen as Lord Commander.

Actually, that was a smart decision of not executing him but sending him elsewhere would've been better. 

I'm really curios, what do you think show Jon did to categorise him as a fool.

His tactics at BOTB were dumb but that goes for other too but Tormund is a not a stategist, neither is Davos or skilled in this. Jon had some training but first battle. Racing after Rickon some people would consider it dumb. Not explaining Hardhome to his fellow brothers. Ignoring Sansa to certain extent because she has some knowledge, not much but still at least something. Following Craster and getting himself beaten. A lot of his decisions are brave and some are smart but for most part he acts like in a weird way and not so smart. 

 

 

Edited by Lord Friendzone

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On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 10:26 PM, Lord Friendzone said:

Ramsay by all account was a genius.

Agreed!  His taking advantage of Theon's blundered taking of Winterfell, his creating Reek to easily dismiss the Iron Born holdouts at Moat Cailin, his rise to legitimacy, his use of 20 good men to outfight the greatest military commander in Westeros, his solidifying his alliance with the Karstarks and Umbers after murdering his father in order to strengthen his claim as Warden in the North, his knowing not to trust Osha, his superior battle strategy compared to Jon Snow's... Ramsay was pretty damn smart.

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I'm not sure Ramsey was 'smart' as much as he was devious, underhanded, sneaky, and a master of manipulation. He didn't create Reek to dismiss the Iron Born. Even Roose says, "You played your games with Heir to the Iron Islands, and now we have no hostage." He was a sadist, and used Theon (and then Sansa in the show) to satisfy his own mental twists.

Jon is the complete opposite, running on emotion and the notion of 'doing the right thing". Which is why even though Sansa tells him not to fall for Ramsey's tricks, he completely ignores her advice because saving Rickon is the right thing.

For smartest characters, I would have to chose Tywin Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, and Varys. All three play the Game well, but each has a character flaw which prevents them from completely dominating.

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On 2/21/2017 at 10:28 AM, Nocturne said:

While i agree that the book offers more insight to the way Jon thinks, how is he a fool in the show? Let's re-cap:

- He was clever enough to deceive Mance, and everybody beyond the wall that he is on their side.

- He was strong enough to sacrifice love for duty. Read duty as in sacrificing his love, to save a lot of people.

- He was smart enough to get the willdlings to not only commit to fighting the WW, but also to fight in the Battle of the Bastards on his side.

- His only real mistake was not executing/ exiling Throne when he was chosen as Lord Commander.

I'm really curios, what do you think show Jon did to categorise him as a fool.

 

Show Jon is a dumbass. He's reckless, commits to idiotic engagements, fails miserably to communicate with his men, indirectly causes the death of Rickon, fails to spot the most obvious incipient mutiny ever and fails to give a single order in the battle he commanded, costing the lives of thousands. Jon is not smart.

I'm going for Varys, Tywin and Tyrion. Everybody else is susceptible to occasional stupidity syndrome.

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18 hours ago, Lady Sansa's Direwolf said:

I'm not sure Ramsey was 'smart' as much as he was devious, underhanded, sneaky, and a master of manipulation. He didn't create Reek to dismiss the Iron Born. Even Roose says, "You played your games with Heir to the Iron Islands, and now we have no hostage." He was a sadist, and used Theon (and then Sansa in the show) to satisfy his own mental twists.

Jon is the complete opposite, running on emotion and the notion of 'doing the right thing". Which is why even though Sansa tells him not to fall for Ramsey's tricks, he completely ignores her advice because saving Rickon is the right thing.

For smartest characters, I would have to chose Tywin Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, and Varys. All three play the Game well, but each has a character flaw which prevents them from completely dominating.

He also murdered his step-mother which would enrage the Freys, some of the only allies he has. But that had no payoff, so never mind. 

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6 hours ago, TheCasualObserver said:

He also murdered his step-mother which would enrage the Freys, some of the only allies he has. But that had no payoff, so never mind. 

Well by that time, apparently Arya had infiltrated the Freys and they had bigger problems than Ramsey Bolton. Like who will take Walder Frey's position as head of the house?

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1 hour ago, Lady Sansa's Direwolf said:

Well by that time, apparently Arya had infiltrated the Freys and they had bigger problems than Ramsey Bolton. Like who will take Walder Frey's position as head of the house?

True, but Ramsay didn't know that at the time. We mustn't fall into the trap of presentism. Killing your father and his politically connected wife is a bad move and must inform on our assessment of his intelligence.  

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36 minutes ago, TheCasualObserver said:

True, but Ramsay didn't know that at the time. We mustn't fall into the trap of presentism. Killing your father and his politically connected wife is a bad move and must inform on our assessment of his intelligence.  

Point taken and given that our various character lines aren't moving in the same time continuum, makes perfect sense.

And proves Ramsey isn't intelligent, just twisted. <Riding that fine line between madness and...> 

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Great conversation in this thread, by many, many people.

I love analyzing and examining these characters from many different angles, perspectives and points of view.

I think that's what makes the books and show so great, and we see a lot of that here on these boards, too.  Many of the characters seem to be highly intelligent, but sometimes do incredibly stupid things, and others, on the surface, don't seem as smart, but manage to make the right decision over and over, and survive where others have been crushed and destroyed.

Ultimately, it just goes to show that there are many ways a person can be smart, and many ways a person can be foolish.  Just like in the real world, where some people may be extremely good at certain things (like, say, making money), yet their lives are total disasters when it comes to other things (such as personal and/or family relationships, and true happiness)

Great stuff.

 

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I am always surprised that people, especially in the context of the show, think that Tyrion is all that smart, because I don't see it that way.  First of all he makes the mistake that has kept Prostitutes in business forever, he falls in love with them.  He fell in love with Shae.  He actually bought her whole act, "my Giant of Lannister".  And then, when he is in charge of Meereen he also makes the mistake of assuming that his enemies are dumber than he is, he assumes that he understands them and that they operate off of their baser emotions as he does.  Giving Tyrion a prostitute may buy Tyrion's eternal gratitude but it did nothing for the slavers.  And he refuses to believe that Missandei and Grey Worm just might know more about slavers than he does, after all they had spent most of their lives as slaves while Tyrion's own experience was short (no pun intended) and atypical.  One of my favorite Tyrion moments (and here I want to say that I love the character, I just don't think he is as smart as he thinks he is) is when he tells Dany that Meereen is on the upswing while it's being attacked by the Slavers.  And quite frankly had Tyrion really been smart he would have taken Sansa on an extended Honeymoon to say Dorne or the Free Cities and never come back, at least as long as Joffrey lived.  As the Clint Eastwood line goes "A man has to know his limitations".

 

My three smartest;

  1. Tywin, undoubtedly the best Hand in recent Memory.  He realizes what Joffrey is and why and I think that had they both lived Tywin could have brought him in hand (again, no pun).  Earlier when he was Hand he brought about years of Peace and Prosperity.  In the show you can really see that maybe the tragedy of Tywin's life is that the Stark children aren't his.  His interactions with Arya are remarkable.  Meanwhile Tywin correctly assumes that Robb is the greatest threat and can't be beaten in the field so he arranges to have him killed at the Red Wedding.  He smashes Stannis through a ruse.
  2. Petyr Baelish, he doesn't really plot and plan anywhere near as much as people think he does, what LF is best at is thinking on his feet.  When an opportunity presents itself he is off and running.  Did he not understand Ramsay or did it just not really matter in the moment?  I think that latter.  It's funny, Tyrion tells Dany that he has come to see her because she was born with nothing but a name and here a few years later she has a huge Army, Dragons and Victories under her belt.  Petyr Baelish is born with very little rises to the small council, takes over the Vale without crossing a sword and saves the future "King in the North".  That takes more than average cunning.  He even instigated the break between the Lannisters and the West and The Starks and the North. Then he even manages to destroy the Lannisters themselves, he removes Tywin and Tyrion from the board, leaving Cersei as the brains of the operation. 
  3. Varys, the ultimate survivor, you don't do that around these folks without having plenty of smarts.  Varys sees the big picture.  He will tell you what he thinks you need to know but if what you want to do conflicts with his endgame, the good of the Realm, he will see that what you command doesn't happen. 

None of these characters are without their flaws, GRRM doesn't write about characters without flaws.  But I think that, at the moment they are the three smartest going. 

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On 25. 2. 2017 at 7:27 PM, TheCasualObserver said:

Show Jon is a dumbass. He's reckless, commits to idiotic engagements, fails miserably to communicate with his men, indirectly causes the death of Rickon, fails to spot the most obvious incipient mutiny ever and fails to give a single order in the battle he commanded, costing the lives of thousands. Jon is not smart.

I'm going for Varys, Tywin and Tyrion. Everybody else is susceptible to occasional stupidity syndrome.

Nope. In fact he was the only one (hi Sansa) who gave a shit about him.

Rest of it bar mutiny which he failed to see even in the books, apart from it we should thank D&D and their crappy writing. Other characters too. Not sure how smart Tyrion was with the masters tho. not much better than Dany who had shit thrown at her for dealing with them the way she didl. LF is plan and simply lucky and his plans involves it. Olenna was pretty damn smart, Cersei too. She wiped them all out and showed who is the boss around there.

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On 3/12/2017 at 3:12 PM, Byfort of Corfe said:

I am always surprised that people, especially in the context of the show, think that Tyrion is all that smart, because I don't see it that way.  First of all he makes the mistake that has kept Prostitutes in business forever, he falls in love with them.  He fell in love with Shae.  He actually bought her whole act, "my Giant of Lannister".  And then, when he is in charge of Meereen he also makes the mistake of assuming that his enemies are dumber than he is, he assumes that he understands them and that they operate off of their baser emotions as he does.  Giving Tyrion a prostitute may buy Tyrion's eternal gratitude but it did nothing for the slavers.  And he refuses to believe that Missandei and Grey Worm just might know more about slavers than he does, after all they had spent most of their lives as slaves while Tyrion's own experience was short (no pun intended) and atypical.  One of my favorite Tyrion moments (and here I want to say that I love the character, I just don't think he is as smart as he thinks he is) is when he tells Dany that Meereen is on the upswing while it's being attacked by the Slavers.  And quite frankly had Tyrion really been smart he would have taken Sansa on an extended Honeymoon to say Dorne or the Free Cities and never come back, at least as long as Joffrey lived.  As the Clint Eastwood line goes "A man has to know his limitations".

 

My three smartest;

  1. Tywin, undoubtedly the best Hand in recent Memory.  He realizes what Joffrey is and why and I think that had they both lived Tywin could have brought him in hand (again, no pun).  Earlier when he was Hand he brought about years of Peace and Prosperity.  In the show you can really see that maybe the tragedy of Tywin's life is that the Stark children aren't his.  His interactions with Arya are remarkable.  Meanwhile Tywin correctly assumes that Robb is the greatest threat and can't be beaten in the field so he arranges to have him killed at the Red Wedding.  He smashes Stannis through a ruse.
  2. Petyr Baelish, he doesn't really plot and plan anywhere near as much as people think he does, what LF is best at is thinking on his feet.  When an opportunity presents itself he is off and running.  Did he not understand Ramsay or did it just not really matter in the moment?  I think that latter.  It's funny, Tyrion tells Dany that he has come to see her because she was born with nothing but a name and here a few years later she has a huge Army, Dragons and Victories under her belt.  Petyr Baelish is born with very little rises to the small council, takes over the Vale without crossing a sword and saves the future "King in the North".  That takes more than average cunning.  He even instigated the break between the Lannisters and the West and The Starks and the North. Then he even manages to destroy the Lannisters themselves, he removes Tywin and Tyrion from the board, leaving Cersei as the brains of the operation. 
  3. Varys, the ultimate survivor, you don't do that around these folks without having plenty of smarts.  Varys sees the big picture.  He will tell you what he thinks you need to know but if what you want to do conflicts with his endgame, the good of the Realm, he will see that what you command doesn't happen. 

None of these characters are without their flaws, GRRM doesn't write about characters without flaws.  But I think that, at the moment they are the three smartest going. 

Great stuff, I read it all with interest, and you highlight the strengths of Tywin, LF and Varys well.

But of course, this is a highly subjective matter of opinion.

All three of those characters DO have great strengths, but two of them (Tywin and LF) are deeply flawed as well, much more so than some other characters we have seen.  In the end, I don't see how I'll be able to rank Tywin above a number of other people since his blunders have already caused his own death, and I'm sure the same will soon be true for LF, too (not only has LF made some pretty major blunders, but I'm absolutely convinced that before the story is done his blunders will cost him his own life)

Regarding Varys...I would give him a grade of "incomplete."  He's so mysterious...he MIGHT be a super-mastermind, but he might not, so I just can't grade him above some people whose goals and motivations are well known. and thus whose "actions and results" are much easier to judge and grade..

But again, great stuff, and it's all personal opinion.  I enjoyed reading your views,and I think a lot depends on how we look at it, which is the genius of GRRM's work, of course.

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