See Who Each State Would Pick To Represent Them In “Game Of Thrones” Trial By Combat

Of course New Jersey takes the brainless, muscle-bound meathead.

See Who Each State Would Pick To Represent Them In “Game Of Thrones” Trial By Combat
Rory McCann as The Hound [Photos: Helen Sloan, courtesy of HBO]

Trial by combat seems like a very weird way to operate a criminal justice system, which is probably why King Tommen outlawed the practice on Game Of Thrones earlier this season. (Although we suspect that the people of Westeros might be similarly baffled by how our system worked if they watched the O.J. Simpson 30 For 30 documentary, so it’s probably just a matter of perspective.) The ability to pick the biggest, meanest bastard in all of the land and pay him to kick the hell out of the other side’s big, mean bastard in order to prove your innocence isn’t really intuitive, at any rate.


But as we contemplate the challenges in dispensing justice in such a matter, there’s another, more pressing question that comes to mind: Namely, which Game Of Thrones character would you pick to represent you in trial by combat? And now, thanks to law firm Tario & Associates–which polled Game Of Thrones fans around the nation–we have some data about where Americans are leaning on this. Specifically, we have a map that traces each state’s preferred champion should it come to trial by combat.

It probably comes as no surprise that the most successful trial combatants that the show has presented, Gregor and Sandor Clegane (also known as the Hound and the Mountain), take the overwhelming number of states. The Hound is the preferred pick in much of the heartland–Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota form a nice belt of Hound supporters (incidentally, it’s a similar belt to the one that Ted Cruz took in his campaign against Donald Trump in the 2016 GOP primaries, which probably means something it’ll be headache-inducing to think about). The Brothers Clegane tend to split the South and the Northeast, while the Mountain, like Trump, is the clear favorite of the Mountain West states–taking Idaho, Montana, Arizona, South Dakota, and more.

Hafpor Julius Bjornsson as The Mountain, and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

It’s not all Clegane vs. Clegane, though–even if Game Of Thrones fans are still desperate to see that play out on their screens. Bronn, the good-natured dirty-fighting sellsword who found himself promoted to knight of the crown thanks to his affiliation with the Lannisters, gets a handful of states–Wisconsin and South Carolina–which is a strangely small number since he’s such a fan-favorite we expect that he’s probably the least likely of any character on the show to die. Khal Drogo, meanwhile, who was last seen dying like a weak kitten after being the subject of a hex in season one, does well in the corners of the country–Washington, Hawaii, North Dakota, Maine, and Missouri all favor the Dothraki horse-lord.

More interesting than all of that, though, is which states lean toward the Lannisters. Jaime Lannister, one of the show’s ostensible villains, wins only a handful of states–but what states they are! Nevada, New Mexico, Maryland, and Florida, all potential swing states in November, seem to find special identification with a very rich guy who’s quick to mock his enemies, news that should probably give the Clinton campaign some pause. Meanwhile, the good people of Oregon seem to lean into their Portlandia stereotype, as the feminist bookstore employees that make up the state’s population are the only people in the country to elect Brienne of Tarth as their champion. (Of course, the fact that Brienne defeated The Hound in combat suggests that the rest of the country might have just missed out on their best shot.)

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

All of this is silly, of course–especially because even in the fictional world of Game Of Thrones trial by combat isn’t really a thing anymore. But as we prep for Sunday night’s “Battle of the Bastards,” this is a fine diversion.

(h/t The A.V. Club)

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.