The Greatest HBO Character of All Time: Day Eight (Part Two)

Day Eight of Giddy Up America’s Greatest HBO’s Greatest Character Ever Tournament: It’s the third round of the Stringer Bell Bracket. Stringer versus the Mother of Dragons.

I’m still a little emotionally exhausted from today’s earlier match up between Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones and Omar from The Wire but I have a schedule to keep. The show, unlike poor Tyrion, must go on.

But before I go any further, a quick endorsement of Rdio. Rdio, for those poor souls who’s work computers are governed by IT departments that don’t alloy Spotify. Rdio doesn’t look as cool as Spotify, but it still gets the job done.

Here’s an Rdio playlist to listen to while reading this post:

Now let’s get to it.

The Stringer Bell Bracket: Round Three

1. Stringer Bell (The Wire) vs. 6. Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)

An issue that keeps coming up in this tournament is the issue of pitting characters on shows that are done versus characters on shows that are currently airing. It poses tricky what if’s and forces us (me) to either predict what will happen to a certain character and take that into consideration or completely ignore what might happen with a character and just judge them based on what they’ve done up until this point. It came into play with the Tyrion/Omar match up and it’s possible Dimitry might never talk to me again. It’s a situation that is also apparent when judging Stringer Bell and Danys Targaryen.

Through two seasons of Game of Thrones Danys has gone from quiet little lass to powerful little lass to wandering nomad little lass to freakin’ out because her dragons were stolen little lass to finally an empowered and determined little lass. That growth is what helped her beat Ari Gold from Entourage in round two. Looking ahead at this season it’s hard not to imagine Danys becoming even more of an empowered and determined little lass as previews have shown her own a boat (which is presumably sailing towards Westeros,) looking over a massive army, and hanging out with her dragons who are all grown up and all sorts of breathing fire.

How is she not going to be a major player this season?

Okay, that’s a good question. But here’s another good question.

What if she isn’t?

This is a tournament about what is not what ifs. I am basing my irrational arguments with myself on facts, not fiction (although I’m actually basing all arguments on fiction technically, but shut up.) I can’t take into account my theories about what the future holds for Danys because they are just that, theories. And if March Madness brackets and Fantasy Football are any sort of judge- I am terrible at making predictions. Danys will have to beat Stringer with her resume, not her forecast.

Yeah and that’s going to be a little tough. But let’s give it a shot.

For starters, here’s one thing that Stringer and the Mother of Dragons both have in common- they both lack street smarts. That lack of street smarts is what ultimately did Stringer in and what got Khal Drogo under the medical care of a crazy and vindictive witch. Let’s just be honest, when it comes to The Game- whether it’s the Game of Baltimore or the Game of Thrones, Stringer and Dany aren’t necessarily the sharpest players out there and are more often victims of the game than they are benefactors of it. Luckily both characters are surrounded by strong characters who help them survive. For Stringer it’s Avon and dudes like Slim Charles (someone who would have been in this tournament if it was expanded to 64) and for Daenerys, it’s someone like Jorah Mormont (another person who probably would have made a field of 64.)

Daenerys is tough to judge rationally because she’s ended both of the first two seasons so strongly.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Our final impressions of something is a powerful thing. They distort and mangle our memories. A shitty date looks better the next day if it ended in good sex in the same ways a bad Red Sox season (2004) looks a hell of a lot better when it ends with a World Series Championship. Wait, what’s that? The 2004 Red Sox season wasn’t bad? No it was, hot shot. Remember Nomar? Yeah, the Sox didn’t ship him out of town because they thought his moping and bitching was a positive thing. If not for how that season ended, that would have been the lasting image of 2004. But it’s not.

This is.

Last impressions. You could even say that they’re stronger than first impressions.

Our last impressions of Dany, fueled by those two seasons are like propaganda and they make us think the Mother of Dragons is possibly more awesome and possibly even greater than Stringer Bell when in actuality she spent season 1 dividing her time between subservient wife and manic widow and season 2 acting like a baller even though she wasn’t a baller quite yet. Perhaps you’ve forgotten her whining about her missing dragons for what seemed like 20 episodes towards the end of season two. I haven’t (thanks to Darling Wife who reminded me.) Strong last impressions combined with the fact that she’s easy on the eyes makes it easy to think Daenerys is better than she really is.

You know what my overall impression of Stringer Bell is, and by overall I’m referring to my first, last, lasting and overall impressions- it’s that Stringer Bell was the mother fucking man. Stringer Bell was stone cold, a true baller. Stringer Bell had Omar’s boy Brandon ripped apart and left to rot in the projects. He had D’Angelo killed and was going to have Avon killed, except Avon got to him first. And when he did get caught, he simply didn’t give a fuck.

Stringer died because like Daenerys, he didn’t totally understand how the game was played. It was his major and fatal flaw, something that all great characters have. He thought he was above all the gangster shit and that money trumped a dude’s word. Stringer Bell could have been just another one dimensional gangster, but instead he was wildly multidimensional and on a show that had at least twenty great characters on it, he was one of the top three.

Daenerys might have a bright future ahead of her, but we can’t be sure. With Stringer there are no doubts.

Winner: Stringer

Next up: The Final Four
Tony Soprano vs Larry David
Omar vs Stringer Bell

Photos: HBO

  1. […] talked about depth when I had Stringer versus Daenerys Targaryen in the Elite Eight. When working my way through that match up, I asked Joe Nixon what he thought. […]


  2. […] HBO Character of All Time Tournament. No Wichita State here. The closest thing we had to it was Daenerys Targaryan making it to the Elite Eight as a sixth seed- beating Christopher Moltisanti (The Sopranos) and Ari Gold (Entourage) before […]


  3. […] For a hot minute I even thought that the Mother of Dragons could make a run. […]


  4. […] tournament, she was a tough out and a serious up and comer. She gave Stringer a serious scare in the bracket’s championship match. So here’s my question- would Danys be as formidable of an opponent if we did the whole thing […]


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