‘Game of Thrones’ Characters and Their ‘Arrested Development’ Equivalents


It’s hard to dispute that Arrested Development and Game of Thrones are the two most talked-about TV shows right now. One just unleashed its first new season in seven years; the other just unleashed its most jaw-dropping plot twist to date on a (partially) unsuspecting viewership. Given their mutual popularity and shared preoccupation with large, dysfunctional families, it’s surprising that the two shows aren’t compared more often. And that got us thinking: if our favorite Westerosi power players decamped for Orange County, which Arrested Development characters would they be? Read on for our opinions on this very crucial issue, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Cersei Lannister=Lindsay Bluth

This was an easy one. Cersei is the resident gorgeous blonde of the Game of Thrones ensemble cast, and she spends most of the first season trapped in an unhappy marriage that’s more or less open, even if her husband thinks that openness is one-sided. Both women are attractive but aging, with an overinflated sense of their own abilities that occasionally gives rise to a desperate desire for validation (Lindsay) or control (Cersei). Like Lindsay, Cersei isn’t one for traditional wifely activities, repeatedly wishing she’d been born a man and freaking out at the idea of becoming a “brood mare” again after being matched with Loras Tyrell. One imagines the eldest Lannister’s efforts at cooking wouldn’t be much better than Lindsay’s hot ham water, either. Lindsay’s also got more than a bit of Cersei in her: remember when she tried to seduce Michael after finding out she was adopted?

Olenna Tyrell=Lucille Bluth

Another no-brainer. Although Olenna seems way too on top of things to indulge in the medieval equivalent of vodka martinis, she plays perfectly into the same witty matriarch archetype that Lucille fills out so well over on Arrested Development. Both women (and the actresses who play them) are obviously a blast for writers to work with, blessed with scores of one-liners in every scene they inevitably steal. And though we’ve never seen it play out on screen, based on her withering comparison of Margaery’s betrothal to riding a horse off of a cliff, Olenna’s got about as much respect for her eldest son Mace as Lucille does for, well, any of her kids. Tywin Lannister may not be as easily manipulated as George Bluth, but at the end of the day both women have the supposed men in charge squarely in their place. Girl power!

Edmure Tully=G.O.B. Bluth

“He’s my nephew, and I love him,” the Blackfish told Catelyn shortly before shit began to hit the fan, “but he’s a fool.” He might as well have been any member of the Bluth family talking about G.O.B., perennial laughingstock, failed musician, and general disappointment. Edmure desperately wants to be valued and admired, leading him to do incredibly stupid things like raid a completely useless mill in a vain attempt to impress Robb, his king and commanding officer. G.O.B., too, is constantly aiming to prove himself, particularly his ability to manage the Bluth company; the object of G.O.B.’s efforts is his father, not his nephew, but one imagines Edmure was just as eager to please when Hoster Tully was alive. And both men had pretty cringe-worthy wedding ceremonies: Edmure’s was awful for all kinds of reasons, and G.O.B.’s involved a failed magic trick and a staged crucifixion.

Tyrion Lannister=Michael Bluth

Michael’s bio in the Arrested Development intro is as spot-on a description of Tyrion as it gets: in between a power-hungry sister, a sadistic nephew, and a kingdom perpetually on the brink of collapse, the Halfman really is the one son who had no choice but to keep them (both his family and the Seven Kingdoms) all together. Though they’ll never give him any credit (not even a banner!), Tyrion has made endless sacrifices for his family, just like Michael — although in Tyrion’s case, the stakes are higher, and his family’s rejection harsher. Neither protagonist has been lucky in love, with first marriages that ended in death (Michael) or finding out she was a prostitute (Tyrion), followed by romances that just never seem to work out. Finally, each man’s relative sanity compared to that of his family members obscures his own significant personal flaws: Michael’s self-absorbed and afflicted with a pretty severe messiah complex, and Tyrion’s wealth makes his capacity for empathy rather limited.

Daenerys Targaryen=Maeby Funke

It takes an awful lot to claw your way to the top as a teenager with minimal parental supervision, but both Maeby and Daenerys seem to be doing just fine. Daenerys’s parents were killed when she was just an infant, and although Maeby’s parents are technically still around, they might as well not be. So both young women took matters into their own hands, with admirable results. At 19(ish), Daenerys is the proud mother of three healthy dragons and ruler of two liberated slave cities, while Maeby won a lifetime achievement award for her work in the entertainment industry at the tender age of 23. Besides breaking into notorious boys’ clubs (Hollywood producers, warlords — same difference), each woman has a checkered past when it comes to incest: Maeby made out with George Michael when she still thought he was her biological cousin, and Daenerys’s family is notorious for marrying off brothers and sisters, making her relationship with Viserys extra creepy.

Jon Snow=George Michael Bluth

Sometimes, an extra-close relationship with your dad can be a good thing, and sometimes it can prevent you from accomplishing some much-needed personal growth on your own. Both Jon Snow, the bastard son of Game of Thrones’ initial protagonist Ned Stark, and George Michael Bluth love their fathers, but end up shortchanged by them. Jon blindly accepts his father’s promise to tell him about his mother eventually, even as he wises up to his need to grow up and ditches Winterfell for the Night’s Watch. In his senior year of college, George Michael makes his own bid for independence by kicking Michael out of his dorm room, but not before spending his teenage years being constantly talked over by his well-meaning father. Neither teenager made a particularly great choice for his first girlfriend, either: forgettable Ann may be the polar opposite of fiery Ygritte, but neither relationship was built to last.

Walder Frey=Annyong

He was a minor character providing some decent comic relief during Season 1. But after spending most of the series off-screen, viewers forgot all about him. Then Season 3 came around, and it turned out he was plotting our favorite family’s downfall the whole time. He’s the worst.