OK, so A Song of Ice and Fire has, to put it mildly, a lot of characters. Far more characters than a single reader can possibly remember. If you've only seen the Game of Thrones TV show, you might think that there sure are a lot of people with a lot of names running around Westeros, but you don't even know the half of it. From the Sand Snakes to the Greyjoy uncles to Dany's Meereenese entourage, George R.R. Martin has populated his world with characters we love, characters we hate, and a whole lot of characters we love to hate. Here are a few of the most underrated characters from the Song of Ice and Fire novels, because with so many characters it's easy to miss these gems.
There are so many characters, in fact, that even some of the main characters don't get nearly enough love. A lot of people write Sansa off for being a "silly" little girl, when in fact she is becoming a master manipulator like her Uncle/creepy older friend Littlefinger. Davos and Sam are quite possibly the only decent dudes in Westeros, but they're always playing second fiddle to brave dummies like Stannis and Jon. And remember way back when that guy Ned was the lead? Whatever happened to him?
Here are a few characters, both major and minor, who really don't get nearly enough respect:
OK, so Pod is probably the most beloved underrated character of all time, but still. He saves Tyrion's life at the Battle of the Blackwater. He's nice to Sansa when she's a Lannister hostage. He's loyal to Brienne, and apologizes profusely every time he mis-genders her. He's an all around stand up guy, and let's hope that (spoiler alert) he escapes from Lady Stoneheart's noose and grows up to be one of Westeros's few honorable knights.
Alleras has only appeared very briefly in the books, but hopefully "he" will get some more time in the spotlight when we return to Sam at Maester school in Oldtown. It seems like Alleras must secretly be Sarella Sand, a daughter of Oberyn Martell, disguised as a boy to study at the Citadel, which is pretty awesome. He/she is notably smart, good-looking, quick with a bow, and (hopefully) about to be Sam's new best friend.
Remember this dude? Illyrio played host to Dany and Viserys way back at the beginning of the series, arranged Dany's marriage to Khal Drogo, and gave her those dragon eggs. He sent Barristan Selmy to help Dany out when she was struggling. He's kind of a big deal, plot-wise. In A Dance with Dragons, Illyrio has another supposedly "Targaryen" kid who he wants to help out... and I'm starting to sense a pattern here. Illyrio may seem like a jolly old man with an oily beard, but he's actually a master chess player, manipulating all the Targaryens (or possibly fake Targaryens) from behind the scenes. He's more dangerous than Varys, and he keeps his dead wife's hands in his bedroom (which is just creepy).
Poor Quentyn. His sister, Arianne, is arguably the better character, but I think Quentyn deserves a little more love than he gets from the fans. Sure, he's a tad naive and yes, he does get totally gobbled up after he makes the questionable decision of releasing Dany's dragons to prove his love for her... but he tries, doesn't he? He crosses half the world and puts in a valiant effort to win Dany's hand in marriage. He didn't know that he would get fried by a dragon in the process...
TV Missandei is pretty cool and all, but book Missandei is only about ten years old and still a linguistic and political genius. She sticks with Daenerys of her own free will, both out of love for Dany and to protect her two Unsullied brothers. She's also way smarter than the Mother of Dragons (sorry, Dany) when it comes to cultural observations and political acumen. Is it too late for Missandei to be queen instead?
House Manderly is low-key the best house in Westeros. They make a big show of being loyal to the Freys and the Boltons, but Wyman Manderly is a secret Stark loyalist who bakes some Freys into a pie and serves them to some other Freys. Arya might get his big pie moment in the TV show, but book Wyman is a secret badass who keeps it together despite constantly being insulted and body-shamed. Also, shout out to his granddaughter, Wylla Manderly, who's an outspoken teen with green hair.
The youngest Stark gets almost no love. He's too little to fully grasp what's going on when Robb and his parents are killed, and now his sisters are MIA, his half-brother is currently dead, and his other brother is a psychic tree. He and Osha (another underrated character) are kicking it in Skagos with the cannibals and the unicorns. But don't assume that Rickon is just a silly little kid: he's shown a vicious streak, his wolf is the wildest by far, and it's implied that he inherited the family warging abilities—at least, he's magical enough to sense when Ned Stark is killed. He's also the heir to the North, until Bran gets back from being a tree. Rickon could be incredibly dangerous if he falls into the wrong hands.
Marwyn the Mage
What's up with this Marwyn guy? He seems like he might be a less evil Qyburn? Or possibly just as evil? Most of the Maesters roll their eyes at magic nonsense, but Marwyn is 100% on board with magic. After meeting with Sam Tarly, he decides to ditch the Citadel and hightail it to Meereen to meet this Dany chick himself. He seems to be pro-dragons but let's not forget that Mirri Maz Duur, the witch who essentially killed Khal Drogo, was taught by a maester named Marwyn. So... the jury's out on how evil Marwyn is, but he's definitely a cool Gandalf-style wizard man.
Every Mormont Woman
It was just too hard to choose. The Mormont men are fairly disappointing, what with Jeor getting stabbed up by the Night's Watch and Jorah being a huge pervy creep (Jorah apologists and Snape apologists are the same people and they are wrong). Maege Mormont is Jeor's sister, a kick ass single mom known as the She-Bear. Her daughter Dacey is a traditionally feminine warrior woman who likes to wear dresses and stab people. Her daughter Alysane is a traditionally masculine warrior and also a cool single mom. And her youngest daughter, Lyanna, is a stone cold bad ass despite being about nine years old.
Sorry, but can we talk about how Tommen's kitten, Ser Pounce, chased off Balerion, the big mean tom cat formerly owned by Princess Rhaenys Targaryen? Ser Pounce essentially defeated a Targaryen in one-on-one combat. Ser Pounce is definitely not getting enough credit for his work. Sure, Ser Pounce is probably just in the books to show us the Tommen is a sweet, innocent kid, but I choose to believe that Ser Pounce is going to play a vital role in the plot. I mean, the dragons and the wolf puppies get to play a major role. Why not Ser Pounce?