Barber

A definitive taxonomy of all the best and worst facial hair on Game of Thrones

All anybody can talk about right now is Game of Thrones. It makes sense. The final season starts this weekend. But in all the tweets and all the blogs and all the podcasts and all the videos, one aspect of the show has been criminally ignored: the dudes of Westeros has some weird-ass facial hair. Let’s examine.

First of all, Rodrik Cassel, your payos are too fucking long. Second of all, you braided them. This is nonsense. I wouldn’t even want to be seen with someone who left the castle looking like this, let alone have him as one of my bannermen.

Janos fucking Slynt, man. This is some bullshit. Not only did he cower in the corner during The Watchers on the Wall, but he had the nerve to do it while sporting the worst neckbeard this side of Andrew Luck. Jon Snow should have taken this guy’s head off before he even had the chance to disobey orders.

Let’s talk about Euron Greyjoy. Early Euron looks like Jim Halpert grew a beard but was pranked by another version of Jim Halper who shaved off the hair from his chin. Late Euron looks like Pacey Witter started a punk band. Neither of these looks is very good but at least you can tell he has a neck in his Season 7 look. The earlier version of Euron never would have gotten Cersei to agree to marry him, even if she was definitely lying.

So up top we’ve got the original-style Ned Stark beard, which is very I Rule The North With A Steady Hand And I Will Chop Off Your Head For Breaking Your Oaths-y. Below, we’ve got the Ilyn Payne Is About To Chop MY Head Off beard, which is just a little bit longer, thanks to his being caged up in the black cells for a few days. Varys brought him all kinds of shit but apparently couldn’t be bothered with a razor. It looks good, though. Too bad it only lasted long enough to walk up to the guillotine.

You know how you know Robert Baratheon just did not give any fucks? Look at this King right here. Lounging. Dope crown. Epic gut. A beard that looks like a goddamn mane. Robert may have been a drunk whoremonger but he knew how to lean into the IDGAF look.

The Kingslayer’s beardvolution was actually pretty terrific. He was as clean-shaven as humanly when he first showed up on the show, but while he was a prisoner of the Starks and then traveling with Brienne, we found out the man can grow himself a beard. Even during his early days in captivity he looks great. The out of control follicular stylings he was sporting while bathing with Brienne look even better. And he decided to keep the beard even after the bath so that by the time he got back to Kings Landing to see (and try to bang) his sister, she would know he can grow the beard, if that’s something she might like to see (and feel) in the future.

Robb Stark’s beard was too pretty and that’s why he was always going to die.

DROGO!!!!!! Tell Rodrik Cassel that this is how you do a braided beard. You keep growing it because you’ve never lost a goddamn battle and just add some twisty things into it so it doesn’t get out of control. It helps if you have an awesome eye scar and some war point and you’re fucking jacked but Drogo is the beard champion of this show, hands down.

Thank the Gods that Dany got this imitation Drogo-ass clown out of the paint.

I was originally planning to do separate entries for Theon and Reek but let’s be honest, he was just as much of a cowardly little shit as Theon as he was as Reek. Even his beard doesn’t have enough courage to fully grow in around the sides.

THIS is how you grow a beard, and age it gracefully. Early Jorah’s beard is mostly blonde, but it is absolutely immaculate. Westeros must have heard some incredibly beard-trimmers back in the day. Late Jorah somehow did not see his beard get too long despite spending however long he spent at the Citadel getting his grayscale peeled off, but it did turn entirely gray, and it still looks amazing. When I get to his age I want to cut-and-paste his beard and put it on my face.

Late-era Hound’s fuller beard just looks so much better. First of all, it offsets the scars. Second of all, he looks significantly more intimidating. This is a major improvement.

On the left we’ve got early Littlefinger, and honestly it’s Ned Stark’s own fault that he died because you should absolutely never trust a man with a soul patch. In the middle is Littlefinger’s Paulie Walnuts look. Aiden Glenn is on every damn HBO show in history and they can’t even find him an original hairstyle and had to give him the wings on the side of his hair. No wonder his plan to pit the Stark sisters against each other went awry; all of Paulie’s always did.

Now this is a man who knows how to sell the Westerosi equivalent of Viagra. (With a beard that makes you look like you have been places and seen things.)

I maintain that Meryn Trant should have had a mustache so that we all could have seen the pedophile development coming.

Ah, Grenn. You died well. Alas, we hardly knew ye. But still, the brown-ish hair with red-ish beard look is a pretty good one, especially when you’ve got a bunch of dirt and scars running through it.

Right from the first second you saw Mace Tyrell and these whiskers, you know he was the worst, dumbest little shit around. He was just so damn happy to be around the Lannisters that he listened to literally everything Cersei said as if she wasn’t manipulating the hell out of him. What a nincompoop this dude was. And nincompoops deserve nincompoopular facial hair, so this makes a ton of sense.

Rickard Karstark is basically what would have happened if Robert Baratheon actually lived to see old age.

If he didn’t have the double braids, Illyrio Mopatis would look like Ron Swanson did when he went to live in that cabin in the woods after Tammy 1 showed up. Alas, he has those braids. And they are straight up terrible. What is the purpose of that? Who are they for? Who’s grabbing onto them, there? The only thing they can do is get in the way.

Shagga, Son of Dolf. This is the kind of beard that happens if you just live in the woods and run away from the rulers of the Vale. The helmet with the sideways viking horns doesn’t come close to masking the monstrosity on his face.

We should have known Xaro Xhoan Daxos was up to no good when he was living in Essos and having a perfectly-manicured beard. There was like no water for 1000 miles when Dany and Co. were walking around in the desert. How is he finding shaving cream? And if he found shaving cream, well, obviously it cost him everything inside his precious vault and that’s why it was empty.

I dig Orell’s Pirates of the Caribbean look.

Your man Hizdahr Zo Loraq basically looks like if Klay Thompson let his hair grow out and had a beard that was even patchier than it already is. Not a smooth look.

There is precisely one person in the Seven Kingdoms who could have pulled off a chin strap, and this is the guy right here. Everything about Oberyn captured his swagger, up to and including his facial hair. Rest in Pieces, Viper.

So, here’s what I don’t get: Jon spends, seemingly, YEARS beyond the wall … and his beard just kinda stays the same length? How is that possible? If you can grow a full beard, there is no way it just stops growing at a certain length like this. It would at least get all clumpy around the sides. And where is he getting shaving material when he’s at the wall anyway? Also, does he know how to shave? When the Baratheons/Lannisters are coming to Winterfell in the pilot, someone shaves Jon’s face for him. Lotta questions here.

How did Doran maintain his beard if he literally never got out of that chair?

Brother Ray lasted only one episode, but the memories of his majestic beard will last a lifetime. This is salt and pepper perfection, my friends. Everything here works. The hair, the length, the color, the shagginess. A+.

The best word I can find to describe Tywin’s beard is stately. I’m not 100 percent sure what it actually means but I feel like it was invented to describe the hair on this man’s face.

We’re on a nice run here. No wonder Daario was one of two men anywhere who could charm the Mother of Dragons into bed. I somehow doubt Westeros actually had the kind of beard manicuring tools necessary to blend the length into the sideburns like Daario this, but it looks so damn good that it doesn’t really matter.

If you look closely, you can see that the Lord of Bones does indeed have a heard under that mask. And just, why?

Dickon (not Rickon) Tarly may have been a moron and unnecessarily devoted to his racist asshole of a father, but A. he saved Jaime’s life in the loot train battle; and B. the Season 7 version of him had a nice scruffy look going on. A man in battle shouldn’t be entirely clean-shaved, so it’s a nice job by Dickon to let things grow at least a bit.

Dongo was not as well-known (and is not as much-missed) as his giant brethren Wun-Wun, but what he lacked in memorability he made up for in beard length. This is presumably the longest beard on the show, considering Dongo is probably something like 27 feet tall. On a show filled with notably long beards, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Speaking of Wun-Wun … his nice-looking beard in life looks creepy as hell in death. The Wun-Walker is the scariest looking undead dude on this show, and it’s not particularly close. The fact that he still has his beard even though he has no skin is one of the leading factors in that.

The Night King doesn’t have any facial hair but it sort of looks like he shaved some lines into his face? Not sure what’s up with that but it feels notable.

Archmaester Ebrose’s pathetic excuse for a beard matches his pathetic excuse for leadership in the Citadel. Granted, he does not know that Sam is one of the heroes of this story, but still, when he tells you he has seen the army of the dead and they are coming, you should probably listen, just in case he isn’t lying. He deserved to get all those books stolen from his library.

Sam the Soldier, Sam the Slayer, and Sam the Maester. Each beard looks better than the last. No wonder he won Gilly’s love.

Not Drogo (aka Qhono) never speaks but he carries a big sword and and an intimidating glare that helps carry off the battle-beard.

Iron Bank Guy (apparently named Tycho Nesteris) was clean-shaven in his first appearance but later took on his full read beard. I like this look much better.

What is dead may never die … except for your hair follicles, you fucking rodent.

Syrio Forel looks like he glued on one of those Darkest Timeline goatees from Community. Which makes sense, because the people of Westeros are absolutely living in the Darkest Timeline. How else do you explain Joffrey?

Living Benjen basically looks like if Adam Driver grew out his hair and got a beard. Undead Benjen looks … like a dude who has been frozen and living in the mountains and can’t take it anymore. He looks tired, man. No wonder he told Jon there was no time for him to get back on the horse. It probably takes him like 15 minutes to climb on and off.

Renly’s crown completed his whole look. In Season 1 he doesn’t really cut any kind of figure at all. In Season 2 he’s playing at being a King and basically just sitting around holding tournaments for no reason, but at least he’s got a distinctive look. The crown, the longer hair, and the beard coalesce into a much more appropriate figure. Of course, he was murdered by a shadow demon in the shape of his brother.

This is the cover shot for Westerosi GQ.

Tyrion was clean-shaven early in the show (most of the folks in Kings Landing either have no beards or bad ones) but once he went on the run with Varys, he grew that shit out and he’s kept it in his role as Hand of the Queen. And our man looks DOPE. Never shave, Tyrion.

Tyrion and Bronn did Pycelle a great disservice by cutting off the extra length on his beard. The dude is so old that that portion of his beard was basically see-thru, and it was literally the only redeeming thing about him.

This is the beard you have to grow if you want to lay with Brienne of Fucking Tarth. Our giant warrior lady seemed to appreciate a bearded man while she was traveling with Jaime, but she has not yet warmed up to Tormund’s fiery face. We’ll see what happens in Season 8.

Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor. Hodor.

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