• We take a look at how two of the most-watched shows on TV stack up. (History, HBO)
They both feature plenty of brutal violence, bad behaviour, broad-ranging kingdoms and political mischief backed by blades – but how do TV’s best sword’n’board series stack up?
By
Shane Cubis

26 Apr 2016 - 11:04 AM  UPDATED 26 Apr 2016 - 11:04 AM

1. Mightiest warrior 

Duke Rollo

Yeah, he’ll stab you in the back eventually, but while he’s on your side, there’s no better fighter and strategist than Rollo. Even trussed up in perfumed French togs, he’s still a military genius.

The Mountain that Rides
Not even Bronn wanted to face this monstrosity of a man, who once burned half his little brother’s face off for stealing toys and can demolish a man’s skull with his bare hands. Even in death, he’s unstoppable.

2. Deadliest glare

Ragnar Lothbrok
Yeah, he’s adventurous and a lateral thinker, but you’d have to say at least 40 per cent of Ragnar’s authority comes from those unblinking blue orbs.

Arya Stark
Even the king of Denmark would quail before the steady gaze of this little girl who has been through the wars and still has plenty of attitude (of course, being blind now puts her at a bit of a disadvantage).

3. Weirdest trickster 

Floki
The clue is in his name – sounding a lot like the god of mischief, fanatical Floki is always ready with a giggle and a spanner to slip into the works (once he invents the spanner, that is).

Jaqen H’ghar
A man has many faces. A man trains a girl to be like him. A man is no-one. And so forth.

4. Greatest moustache 

Emperor Charles of Frankia
From the looks of things, Charles spends far more time curling the ends of that thing than actually ruling his kingdom.

Mace Tyrell
If pomposity could be summed up in one piece of facial hair, surely the arrangement lurking under Mace’s nose would be it.

5. Toughest blonde 

Lagertha
This shieldmaiden is one of the fiercest warriors to come out of Kattegat – and isn’t afraid to drive a knife into your belly if she thinks it’s best.

Brienne of Tarth
No contest. She’s tall, tough, takes zero crap from anyone and is loyal to a fault.

6. Scariest wife 

Aslaug Sigurdsdottir
It was all roses and chocolate boxes at first, but now Aslaug hates Ragnar so much that she’s cheating with possible sex god Harbard and subtly suggesting the mysterious wanderer should think about overthrowing him. Maaaaybe Ragnar should have stuck with Lagertha.

Daenerys Targaryen
Khal Drogo got more than he bargained for when he wed the shy, frost-haired girl back in season one. Not only was she stronger than he anticipated, but she ends up killing him after a botched attempt to heal his blood poisoning. If only he could see her now!

7. Best drinker

Floki
He’s eased back on the mead these days, but Floki’s capacity for booze used to be legendary. Let’s hope he rediscovers his taste for the good stuff soon.

Tyrion Lannister
Providing inspiration to functional alcoholics everywhere, Tyrion can neck the wine and still manage to be the smartest, most capable man in the room.

8. Most missed

Athelstan
He’s appearing in visions, causing rifts between former friends and has a secret son who could probably do with some fatherly support.

Ned Stark
If it wasn’t for him losing his head, the Seven Kingdoms wouldn’t be in such a mess at the moment.

9. Worst couple

Ecbert & Judith
They’re not technically related, but it’s still fairly gross to be Eskimo brothers with your own son. Especially while he’s still married to the woman involved.

Jaime & Cersei Lannister
It’s not just that they’re brother and sister, or even that they’re twins – when this pair are together, they end up pushing small boys out of windows and making everyone around them miserable. Plus, poor Tyrion never even gets a look in.

10. Most gruesome death

Nameless Berserker
Sent to murder Bjorn, this bloke probably never imagined he’d be trussed up with fishing line and hooks before being casually disemboweled, dying in agony as his entrails steamed in the snow.

Oberyn Martell
Thought they’d cut away while The Mountain popped The Red Viper’s head like a melon with his bare hands during their duel? Nope!

11. Worst kid

Ivar Ragnarsson
Even in the womb, this boy was fated to become a monster. And now he’s buried a hatchet in the head of another kid, it looks like those prophecies are coming true.

Joffrey Baratheon
The ultimate bad boy, Joffrey wouldn’t think twice about murdering a playmate – except he’d probably want to torture him a bit first.

12. Father of the year

Ragnar Lothbrok
He ditched Bjorn to chase Aslaug, wanted to have Ivar put down, never sees Magnus and left Ubbe and Hvitserk in an undefended camp while he went off fighting. Probably not the guy you want to hire next time you need a babysitter.

Stannis Baratheon
Say what you will about Ragnar, but he never had his beloved, innocent daughter burned at the stake to further his own ambitions.

13. Kinkiest freak-off

Count Odo
With more whips than Indiana Jones, Count Odo’s bedroom adventures are always tinged with brutality.

Ramsay Bolton
There’s less of an erotic charge in Ramsay’s horrific tortures, but when he removed Theon Greyjoy’s “sausage” then made him watch as he raped Sansa on their wedding night, you know you’re dealing with next-level sexual sadism.

14. Creepiest magicker 

The Seer
Monstrously deformed and difficult to access visually, The Seer drops prophecy bombs like they’re going out of style – and isn’t above telling people when they’re going to die, in a matter-of-fact way.

Melisandre
She actually seems to be the only character who knows what she’s doing, knows what she wants and is on her way to getting it. Shame it comes at a cost …but you can’t make an omelette without murdering innocents for their royal blood, can you?

15. Biggest betrayer 

Duke Rollo (obvs)
This hulking warrior will betray you three times before breakfast and twice after. Just because he can.

Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
At least Littlefinger has some greater goal in mind when he betrays Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, Ser Dontos, Lysa Arryn, Sansa Stark…aaaand so on.

 

Watch the mid-season finale of Vikings season 4 on Wednesday, 27 April at 9:30pm (AEST) on SBS. Every episode will be on SBS On Demand after it airs.