Game of Thrones is often not kind to fantasy tropes, and as a result, the somewhat classical character of the raw, untrained prodigy whose sheer inherent skill and power carries them against better-trained opponents tends not to fare well in the story. Several characters make the point that experience and other practical considerations often carry the day, and bright-eyed novices often fall or are chastised by the more experienced.
Nonetheless, even Game of Thrones has times where a character’s raw potential and natural talent outshines their trained skills, or even the training of others. Sometimes all the practice in Westeros can’t achieve what inherent ability can.
8 Bran’s Warging Far Exceeds Others
Bran Stark doesn’t use his warging ability, even subconsciously, until he is thrown from a window by Jaime Lannister and left as a paraplegic as a result. While he has an unusually close connection to his direwolf, it is no different than the connection all the Stark children share with their ferocious pets.
Once Bran becomes aware of his power, and meets greenseer Jojen Reed, however, he quickly becomes a prodigy. Most notable is when he reflexively wargs into Hodor, which Jojen notes should be almost impossible. Bran hasn’t achieved this skill through training, but by being naturally gifted.
7 Daenerys’s Valyrian Blood Lets Her Ride Drogon
By the time of the events shown in Game of Thrones, the last dragons have been dead for over a century, with most of them butchered during the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. As a result, Daenerys is forced to rely on stories and her natural connection with her dragons to tame them.
When the attack of the Sons of the Harpy draws Drogon to the pit in Meereen, Daenerys is able to climb the dragon and fly away, becoming the first dragonrider in decades. This is largely due to her Valyrian blood, rather than any time spent taming the previously-wild dragon.
6 Tyrion’s Manipulation Of The Small Council
When Tyrion Lannister first arrives in King’s Landing as Hand of the King, one of his first orders of business is to find out who on the Council is more loyal to his sister. To this end, he tells Varys, Littlefinger and Pycelle each a different notion of whom to marry Princess Myrcella to, and Cersei’s furious confrontation confirms that Pycelle is the traitor.
All three men have been playing the game far longer than Tyrion, and have spent far more time and effort amassing influence and knowledge. Nonetheless, Tyrion’s natural cunning allows him to play them all – to Littlefinger’s fury.
5 The Mountain Is Legendary For His Size, Not His Skill
Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain That Rides, is the most feared knight in Westeros. He is Lord Tywin’s mad attack dog, used when he needs something burned, plundered, or destroyed, and famed for his unkillable nature and his sadism.
Nonetheless, Gregor Clegane is not a particularly skilled warrior. Instead, his lethality comes from his gigantism, which leaves him taller than any man in Westeros, and exceedingly muscular. He is able to wield a greatsword in one hand and wear armor that would crush most men. The divide is best seen when he fights Oberyn Martell, spending most of the bout flailing his sword at the far more nimble man.
4 Arya Doesn’t Use Her Faceless Men Skills To Kill The Night’s King
Arya goes through one of the most intense bouts of training with the Faceless Men in Seasons 5 and 6, learning to lie, steal, change her face, and kill silently, as well as the order’s religious rites. She spends over a year with them, learning their skills.
In her most notable act in Season 8, however, Arya does not use these skills. When she kills the Night King, aside from a dagger hand-switch requiring some skill, she primarily kills him by sneaking and running – which she is shown to be naturally gifted at – and a simple stab.
3 Robb Stark Is A Born Tactician
During his campaign in the Riverlands and Westerlands in the War of the Five Kings, Robb Stark earns a reputation as the ‘Young Wolf’, a battlefield commander who never loses a battle, even against more experienced soldiers such as Jaime Lannister.
While Robb has doubtlessly had an education that included battlefield maneuvers, he is best known for his prodigious natural talent. He goes up against numerous commanders who have had far more time to study war than himself and beats them through intuition and his bond with Grey Wind. Ultimately, however, he is done in by inexperience at strategy and diplomacy.
2 Jaime Begins As A Living Legend With A Sword
Before his maiming, Jaime Lannister was considered one of the best swordsmen in the Seven Kingdoms, on par with knights like Ser Barristan Selmy. Some consider it the only thing he is good at, and his assignment as a bodyguard is considered a humiliation.
While there is no doubt that Jaime’s training is extensive, he was noted as a prodigy even from a young age. His skills – and political considerations – had him named to the Kingsguard at just fifteen. When he loses his hand, however, it is Jaime’s hard work that makes him a competent swordsman once more.
1 Daenerys Doesn’t Need Her Skills To Kill The Khals
During her time as a Khaleesi, conqueror, and Queen of Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen learns a great many skills. She is able to command, wield firmness and compassion, mislead others, inspire loyalty, and fight with dragons. Ultimately, when she is kidnapped by the assembled Khals of the Dothraki, who threaten to torture her to death, she needs none of these.
The Khals are so below Daenerys that all it takes is her inherent fire immunity. Rather than any of the complex tricks she has learned, Daenerys simply pushes over a brazier and sets fire to the building they are in, burning all of the Khals alive and leaving her unharmed.