When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. Although a lot of the time, it seems no matter who you are, even if you don't play the game of thrones, you're likely to die. That is, unless you're one of these warriors, nobles or creatures of legend. They come from all corners of George R.R. Martin's dark fantasy world and they all have one thing in common: they've survived through sheer strength. While it's important to note that these characters have each exhibited strength in all its forms (strength of will, strength of character, etc...), we're mostly talking about how they use their physical strength and skills to dominate the world around them.
So who's the strongest character in all of Westeros and Essos? To answer that question, we've ranked each character according to the feats of strength they've displayed. Of course, even though we're focusing on physical strength, we will take the more abstract aspects of that concept into account, because in the end, it's all important when navigating the harsh laws of medieval society and dark fantasy. That does mean that characters like Daenerys and Tywin Lannister -- powerful as they may be (or may have been) in other respects -- will not be appearing on this list. For the sake of fairness, we'll be looking at these characters as they were at their peak. It's also worth noting that we will not be taking the books into account. Now that that's clear, let's take a look at the strongest beings in Game of Thrones.
30 THEON GREYJOY
Since the first season, Theon has been through quite a journey and he's proven that he is far from the strongest warrior in Westeros. Where other characters have proven themselves capable of performing clean executions, Theon had trouble executing Ser Rodrick at Winterfell. It took not one, not two, but three swings of his sword for Theon to behead the former master-at-arms.
Theon has endured a lot over the course of the show and has learned to keep fighting even if he isn't the strongest in the fray. He proved that during his fistfight with the ironborn soldier who refused to obey his command. After being beaten to within an inch of his life, Theon rose up and struck back, finding victory. Whatever your thoughts are of Theon, it's undeniable that there's a strength there worth praising.
Judging by her readiness to kill and her general attitude, there's no doubt that Shae is a fighter. Very little is known about her as she never revealed her origin or how she came to be at that camp where she met Tyrion, but we can gather that she's been through quite a lot of hardships and violence. It's why she was ready to murder the handmaiden who would have told Cercei that Sansa was ready to bear children.
She was never seen in an actual fight so there's no way of knowing how strong she is or how skilled she is with knives, which seem to be her weapon of choice. The fact that she doesn't shy away from fights suggests that she's more than capable of holding her own. She might have actually overpowered Tyrion in the end, if it weren't for that golden necklace.
Like most other wildlings, Ygritte endured a harsh life growing up beyond the Wall. It's likely how she developed her skills as a hunter and a fighter. The show made it very clear that Ygritte is an exceptional archer. Tormund said that he'd seen her hit a rabbit's eye from 200 yards. That kind of steady aim requires a lot of strength, as any archer would know.
Other than that, she's proven her strength by tussling with Jon Snow more than once and by scaling the height of The Wall. She's an extremely capable wildling warrior but she seems to be deadlier at a distance as opposed to close combat, which is where she's at a disadvantage when up against the others on this list.
27 ROBB STARK
The Young Wolf proved himself a worthy opponent to the feared Tywin Lannister. He was as good a fighter as the rest of them, as we could see when he took on the wildlings who threatened Bran. What really distinguished him from others was the fact that he knew his limits. When Jamie Lannister offered to end the war with a duel, Robb declined because he knew he wouldn't win.
Unfortunately, his limited skill and strength in combat is why he ranks this low on the list. He's something of a military mastermind, but he's young and relatively inexperienced in combat. All things considered, it wouldn't have mattered anyway. Even if he was a master combatant, he couldn't have escaped the bloody ambush at the Twins.
Gendry was simply a blacksmith's apprentice and one of the many illegitimate children of the debauched King Robert Baratheon. He trained with the weapons he helped to make but as we saw in Harrenhal, he wasn't exactly a master swordsman. His weapon of choice, as we later discovered, is a war hammer.
During his escape from King's Landing in the seventh season, he proved himself effective with the hammer when he dispatched two gold cloaks as they were about to seize Tyrion. Much like his father was, Gendry is a mighty combatant. However, so far we've only seen him up against wights, making it difficult to ascertain just how strong he is when fighting other formidable opponents.
25 LORAS TYRELL
We never quite got to see Ser Loras of Highgarden in intense combat before his death at the Great Sept of Baelor, but there are two great examples by which we may judge his strength. The first is his performance at the tourney when he jousted against the Mountain. He managed to knock the colossal knight off of his horse. That took a great amount of strength and steadiness.
The second great example is his duel with Brienne of Tarth, which he lost. He handled himself well but was unfortunately not strong enough to defeat her. That's why, although he's a formidable opponent at tourneys -- reportedly defeating Jaime Lannister at one -- he shouldn't be seen as that great a warrior, at least not as he's depicted in the show.
24 OBARA SAND
Seemingly the toughest of the Sand Snakes, the eldest of Oberyn's daughters relied only on her strength in combat. The first look we're given as to that strength was during her introduction in the fifth season when she threw a spear right through the head of a captured merchant. Before that, she gave Ellaria a speech about the weapon she chose when she was just a girl, meaning she had likely trained since she was very young.
That experience and training showed when she battled Bronn and Jamie in the Water Gardens in Sunspear, Dorne. It's difficult to determine what the outcome of that battle would have been if it hadn't been interrupted by Areo Hotah and the Martell guards. Obara was definitely her father's daughter.
23 RAMSAY SNOW
Cruel, sociopathic, maddeningly strategic and villainous to the core -- unlike most of the characters in Game of Thrones -- Ramsay Snow, later Bolton, is someone you definitely don't want to mess with. He's a decent archer, a fearless fighter and a sadist. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for everyone else), he's not quite the strongest warrior out there in Westeros.
He enjoys pain, which is evident in his relationship with Myranda. It's also evident in the way he rushed into battle without armor when Yara and the ironborn invaded the Dreadfort. Armed with just a hand axe and a short sword, he managed to dispatch his fair share of fully-armored and shielded ironborn soldiers. Despicable as he may be, that's still an admirable feat of strength and skill.
22 YARA GREYJOY
A true ironborn warrior, Yara Greyjoy exhibited everything old Balon wanted to see in each one of his sons. She's a fearless captain and a deadly warrior. Those qualities allowed her to fight her way into the Dreadfort with just a handful of soldiers at her side.
During that battle, she managed to defeat the Bolton guards and corner Ramsay. He might very well have been killed if it weren't for his dogs and the fact that Yara believed her brother to be lost to the submissive creature named Reek. Her strength and bravery is the reason why Yara is such a strong contender for the throne of the Iron Islands. Over the course of the show, Yara has only truly been bested by one person: her borderline insane uncle.
Over the course of the series, Bronn has gone from common sellsword, to bodyguard, to commander of the city watch, to knight, all because -- as he told Oberyn -- he killed the right people. He's an exemplary fighter and while he's usually ready to take on any opponent, he knows his limits, which is why he refused to fight The Mountain for Tyrion.
Aside from that, as we said, Bronn readily fights everyone else, relying on his strength and speed to take on adversaries like the Hill Tribe warriors or the soldiers of Stannis' army. More than that, he uses his head in combat, which often leads to the use of dirty tactics. It might be unfair, but it shouldn't detract from his many feats of strength.
20 JORAH MORMONT
Jorah the Andal has a long history as a soldier. He fought to quash the Greyjoy Rebellion and was knighted by King Robert Baratheon. After he sold poachers into slavery and fled into exile, Jorah eventually found himself marching and fighting alongside a Dothraki horde before finally being appointed as Daenerys' bodyguard.
He may be old, but he consistently proves himself in combat. He fought Dothraki soldiers in the first season, he fought in the fighting pits of Meereen to get back to Daenerys and more recently, he fought an army of wights alongside Jon Snow and company. There can be no doubt about Jorah's strength as a soldier. That being said, there are several soldiers who have proven themselves even stronger.
19 EURON GREYJOY
Euron seemingly emerged out of nowhere, murdered his brother Balon and took over the Iron Islands by force, forcing his nephew and niece into exile. Euron has authority in Westeros. He commands the Iron Fleet and has allied himself with the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, Queen Cercei. He was able to achieve all that thanks to his strength and skill in combat.
He has said that he has travelled the world and seen many things and the experience shows in his readiness and frivolousness in combat. He laughs as he swings the sword and doesn't seem to fear death, which suggests that he's faced worse and grown from it. It's likely why he was able to duel his niece Yara and capture her mid-battle during the Assault on the Targaryen Fleet. He proved to be the stronger. In fact, just before that fight, he defeated Obara Sand with her own spear and lifted her body off the ground in a tragic but impressive display of physical strength.
18 STANNIS BARATHEON
Stannis was a warrior at heart. He was famously stoic and almost never smiled before his demise at the hands of Brienne. He was an experienced soldier and it showed in the way he endured even the most excruciating battle wounds, as he did after his failed assault on Winterfell.
He limped through the woods, bleeding out and even then, he was able to take on two Bolton soldiers and defeat them. That strength and endurance is the reason why so many people, such as Ned Stark, respected Stannis Baratheon and trusted him to lead in battle and times of struggle.
17 BARRISTAN SELMY
The former lord commander of the Kingsguard was commanded to step down by Joffrey because of Selmy's failure to protect King Robert from the boar that ultimately killed him. That was a mistake, as Selmy is among the strongest knights in the kingdom. When he claimed that he could cut down the other knights of the Kingsguard, he wasn't exaggerating.
That was made abundantly clear in Selmy's last moments when he took on a horde of the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen. He managed to slay more than a dozen of his attackers before he was finally defeated. It was thanks to Ser Barristan's undeniable strength that saved Grey Worm from certain death that day.
16 NED STARK
Even in his youth, Stark was a powerful soldier. He was able to hold his own against the more experienced Arthur Dayne below the Tower of Joy, after the latter -- along with Gerold Hightower -- had slaughtered the four soldiers accompanying him. As he got older, his skill and strength only improved and we see that several times throughout the first season.
The first bit of evidence that speaks to Ned Stark's strength is the fact that he wielded a greatsword of Valyrian steel with ease. Then there was his duel with Jamie Lannister in the streets of King's Landing. Jamie's mastery of the sword was well known across Westeros, but Ned was able to fight him and might have actually beaten him if it weren't for the Lannister soldier that wounded him.
15 OBERYN MARTELL
The Viper was known for his speed in a fight. The first time we see that was in Littlefinger's brothel in King's Landing, where Oberyn nearly killed a Lannister guard for insulting him... and for fighting for the Lannisters. He was able to draw his blade and fix it into the guard's wrist before the guard even had a chance to draw his sword.
Then there's Oberyn's climactic duel against The Mountain. For the most part, Oberyn fought using his speed and agility, both of which require a certain amount of strength. Even more impressive, yet easily missed, is the fact that Oberyn was able to even parry the giant knight's greatsword. He may have lost the battle -- rather spectacularly at that -- but he showed great strength before he did.
14 JAIME LANNISTER
In his prime, before he lost his hand, Jaime was known as one of Westeros' greatest swordsmen, if not the greatest. We saw the Kingslayer take on Ned Stark in front of Littlefinger's brothel in King's Landing and he managed to be doing quite well before one of his guards intervened.
Even more impressive is the fact that he managed to hold his own against Brienne of Tarth while his hands were bound and after weeks of relative inactivity. Even after the loss of his hand, Jaime displayed strength in almost all its forms. His strength was clearest in the Battle of the Goldroad, when Daenerys unleashed her dragon upon the Lannister army. Bravely, even after all he had witnessed, after ending more than one Dothraki screamer, he mustered the courage and strength to charge at a full grown dragon.
13 DAARIO NAHARIS
The former lieutenant of the of the Second Sons sellsword company, Daario, was molded by the unforgiving societies of Essos. He told Dany that he was sold by his mother at the age of 12 and ended up fighting in the pits where he earned fame. When his master died, he offered his strength and skills to any who could afford it, as a sellsword.
Aside from that little contest he had with Grey Worm where they held their swords in the air the entire morning, Daario proved his strength once again in the fighting pits, when he helped to defend Daenerys and Missandei from the swarm of Sons of the Harpy before Drogon arrived to end the attack completely.
12 GREY WORM
Each of the Unsullied were trained, often from birth, to fight. They trained from dawn to dusk with a variety of weapons. They were broken down from the inside so simple, thoughtless soldiers could be forged. The process was cruel -- Master Kraznys stated that only one in four survived -- but it produced soldiers of purportedly unmatched skill.
Grey Worm was one out of eight thousand and has proven himself to be an exceptional soldier of the Unsullied. He has proven himself to be at least as strong as Daario Naharis. What distinguishes him in strength is the fact that, unlike other Unsullied, who perished at the hands of the Sons of the Harpy, Grey Worm managed to survive his ambush, fighting the Sons to the last man.
11 JEOR MORMONT
Lord Commander Mormont was feared by some, beloved by others and respected by all at the Night's Watch. He was a hardened soldier who readily faced the horrors Beyond the Wall, undeterred by supernatural creatures such as the undead wights. That's likely why he was able to survive the attack on the Fist of the First Men at the end of the second season.
Mormont exhibited great strength in everything he did until the bitter end. His strength is what kept him standing even after being stabbed in the back. He managed to hold Rast in the air by the throat for quite a long time after being mortally wounded. It's that kind of strength that earned him the nickname "The Old Bear."
10 JON SNOW
Here's where we start delving into the mystical. There's much more to Jon Snow than meets the eye. His return from death proves that the Lord of Light watches over him. Whether or not R'llor aided him in battle is up for debate. What's certain is the fact that Jon has proven himself more capable than most other characters in the show. He's fought everything from rogue members of the Night's Watch and Free Folk to White Walkers.
He doesn't run from battle; in fact, even when death seems certain, he charges into it and so far, he has always emerged victorious, thanks to pure might and fury. For his strength, both physical as well as his strength of character, those he leads are generally incredibly loyal.
9 TORMUND GIANTSBANE
There is little doubt that Tormund is among the strongest of the Free Folk north of the Wall. We saw his incredible strength in the way he scaled the Wall and still managed to stand where the others had to collapse momentarily to catch their breath. We also saw his strength during the wilding attack on the Wall.
His wild and powerful attacks were more than enough to dominate Ser Alisser Thorne in one-on-one combat. He fights with a singular ferocity and confidence. It's why he was chosen to lead his battalion of wildlings and it's why other wildlings respect him, no matter what clan they come from... except for those terrible Thenns, but they don't respect anyone.
8 THE HOUND
There's a reason why Sandor Clegane has been able to move about Westeros with the kind of freedom no other character seems to possess. Remember that this is the man who insulted the king and walked away from his place in King's Landing, confident that no one would stand in his way. Sandor is one of the strongest fighters in Westeros and that was made clear in the first season at the Hand's tourney.
Gregor Clegane, the Mountain, lost his joust against Loras Tyrell and in a fit of rage, attacked Ser Loras. Luckily, Sandor intervened and duelled his brother to save the Knight of the Flowers. He held his own in that duel, which is impressive, considering the Mountain's size and elephantine strength.
7 BRIENNE OF TARTH
Brienne wasn't like other ladies in Westerosi society. For one thing, she was bigger. She also enjoyed fighting, which is why her father, Lord Selwyn Tarth, decided to have her trained in the use of swords so she could fight properly. Her skill and strength has served her extremely well. She was easily able to defeat Loras Tyrell in a duel, earning her the title of Kingsguard to Renly Baratheon.
In a great show of her strength, Brienne was able to take on Sandor Clegane. She fought him first with her sword before they both moved on to using their fists and brute strength. Unfortunately, we'll never know if Brienne would have truly emerged victorious since it was gravity that ended up defeating the Hound.
6 KHAL DROGO
In Dothraki culture, warriors who are defeated must cut off their braids. Khal Drogo's braid was significantly longer than most, meaning he was never defeated in combat. What ultimately ended his rule over the Dothraki horde was poison and witchcraft, courtesy of Mirri Maz Duur.
It's easy to see why he was never defeated. In the one and only fight we see Drogo engage in, he drops his weapon and relies purely on his own physical strength. With his bare hands, Drogo manages to almost literally tear his opponent, Mago, apart, by tearing Mago's tongue out through his open throat. He even takes a strike to the chest and barely flinches, showing immense strength.
5 THE MOUNTAIN
Even when he was alive, Ser Gregor Clegane was a nearly unstoppable fighter, able to cleave a man in two with just one swing of his sword. That indomitable brute strength is what earned him command over his own unit during the War of the Five Kings and it's why he was, and continues to be, Cercei's most valued knight. So valued was he that Cercei saw fit to have Qyburn raise him from what looked to be certain death.
The Mountain's strength is made abundantly clear throughout the show and not just through other characters talking about it. There was the Hand's tourney when, in a fit of rage, he beheaded his horse with a single swing. Then there's his fight with Oberyn Martell, when lifts the Viper with one arm and proceeds to crush his head. It's horrific but a clear example of his physical power; the strongest human in the show.
4 WUN WUN
Far stronger than any human are the giants from beyond the Wall. Wun Wun -- though seemingly the last of his kind -- was a testament to the strength of the giants. When Jon Snow first met him at Hardhome, they were forced to fight their way to the boats. That's when Wun Wun first proved just how physically powerful he was.
He tore the wights apart and managed to destroy them by lifting and swinging a giant log. Few other characters on the show are capable of those feats. No one else could simply punch their way through the gates of Winterfell or endure dozens of crossbow bolts and arrows for as long as Wun Wun did in his final moments... except for our last three.
3 THE NIGHT KING
As Bran witnessed for himself, the Night King was created thousands of years ago to help protect the Children of the Forest from the First Men. Not only is he capable of effortlessly raising the dead, creating White Walkers from inbred babies and mystically marking his targets, the Night King is also incredibly strong.
All other White Walkers on the show have exhibited unnatural strength, so we can assume that the Night King is at least just as strong, if not stronger, in combat. We've only seen him physically kill one thing: Vyserion. It took just one throw. Before Daenerys' dragons could obliterate his army of wights, the Night King hurls a spear far into the air with such force that it managed to pierce the hide of Vyserion and kill him. That's more strength than most creatures have shown.
2 RHAEGAL AND VISERION
For the sake of simplicity, we're treating these two Dragons as creatures of legendary strength. They are each capable of great destruction and not just because of the mystical power behind their fiery breath. Their physical strength allowed them to destroy the walls of their prison in Meereen when it was time to join Drogon and Daenerys in retaking the city from the slave-owning invaders.
Even after being starved and imprisoned, these two dragons still proved to be active and dangerous, which speaks to the inconceivable level of strength they possess. We must also consider the strength of their breath, which destroyed the thick stone door to their prison and incinerated an entire ship, easily.
The largest of Daenerys' dragons was given the nickname, the Winged Shadow, owing to the black of his scales and wings and the sheer size of him. Drogon has always been the most aggressive of the three and because he was able to roam free, he has proven himself to be the most powerful.
Drogon is no stranger to combat. Even when he was a much smaller, younger dragon, Drogon was clearly stronger than any human and managed to incinerate Master Kraznys, easily. When he grew larger, he was able to take on dozens of Sons of the Harpy during the attack in the fighting pits, enduring their spears. It was easy to see how terrifying Drogon would become later on. When he finally unleashed his power upon the Lannister army, the raw power of his fire and his ability to keep flying, even after being wounded by the scorpion, was something we all knew he was capable of.