Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders: The Main Characters, Ranked by Bravery

Peaky Blinders is full of strong characters, each one braver than the next. How do they stack up against each other in a courage competition?

It’s been more than two years since the Peaky Blinders fifth season cliffhanger left audiences in suspense about gang leader Tommy Shelby’s fate. Now, fans are anxiously awaiting the release of Season 6, which is set to premiere in early 2022. The new season will be the final one for the popular series, but will be followed by a movie that aims to provide closure surrounding Peaky Blinders’ many characters.

Perhaps one of the secrets to the show’s success is the depth of its characters. Despite their unscrupulous behavior, they have won audiences over with their rich backstories and personal challenges. It may be these very experiences which have strengthened them and enabled them to exhibit great bravery in the most serious situations. Here’s a look at ten of the Peaky Blinders main characters which stand out as the bravest in the lot.

10 Ada Thorne

Ada is the only sister of the Shelby siblings, and the only family member initially not involved in the Peaky Blinders. She often stands up to her brothers and essentially does what she wants regardless of their opinion.

Ada’s boldness is seen early on in the series in her forbidden relationship with Tommy’s communist foe Freddie Thorne. Ada continues to sneak around with Freddie, and ultimately accepts his marriage proposal despite expected disapproval from her family.  She is outspoken around her brothers, and makes it known that her voice is of equal importance as theirs. Her bravery remains evident as her character evolves throughout the series, particularly later on when she decides to isolate herself from the family business.

9 Jessie Eden

Jessie Eden is based on a real historical figure — the British communist and union convener of the same name.  This strong female character exhibits tremendous bravery during the two seasons she is featured on the show.

Jessie’s bravest move is undoubtedly when she stands up to Tommy Shelby demanding equal pay for the female workers in his factories. She later leads the female factory workers in a strike, a tremendous feat for a woman at that time. Despite their differences, Tommy admires Jessie’s courage and tenacity.

8 Tatiana Petrovna

Tatiana is a Russian royal who was forced to flee her country after the revolution. She is shrewd and clever, and impressed by Tommy Shelby’s ruthless assassin skills.

Tatiana’s escape to England took bravery, as did her dealings with the Peaky Blinders on behalf of her family. This duchess is no damsel in distress, and is capable of theft and even murder. Whether or not it was an honorable move toward her own family, Tatiana shows extreme courage when she helps Tommy pull off the jewel heist in Season 3.

7 Gina Gray

As the cunning American who marries into the Peaky Blinders, Michael’s wife Gina quickly becomes a prime antagonist of the Shelby family. She is assertive and manipulative, which ultimately leads Tommy to banish her and Michael from the family.

Gina is hungry for Shelby power and plans a takeover of her in-laws’ business, seeking to have her husband take control of Shelby Company Limited away from Tommy. Her wickedness aside, there’s no question that Gina’s brazen moves are fueled by immense bravery. Despite being shunned by the Shelbys and threatened by Tommy, Gina fearlessly continues her quest to oust Tommy without caving to his intimidation.

6 Michael Gray

Michael reconnected with his mother Polly and his Shelby cousins after years of living in foster care. He faced tremendous adversity in his young life, and grows and changes throughout the series as his character evolves.

Michael exhibits both physical and mental toughness, as well as bravery that is often fueled by his pursuit of revenge. On multiple occasions he turns down the easy way out and instead chooses to face danger and risky situations for the sake of the family business and his personal goals. His courage seems to increase when he teams up with his shrewd wife Gina. At the end of Season 5, Michael sets his sights on taking control of the Peaky Blinders, plotting against his formidable cousin Tommy.

5 John Shelby

While on the surface he may not seem as ruthless as his brother Tommy, John Shelby is a tough member of the Peaky Blinders who is a brave and competent gangster. He does not fear the police, and his fierce loyalty to the reputation of his family business compels him to fight authority at all costs.

In addition to physical bravery, John is courageous by standing up to his family when necessary. Early on in the series his brothers and Aunt Polly criticize his choice to be with Lizzie Stark, but John almost violently defends his decision — and Lizzie.

4 Polly Gray

As the matriarch of the Shelby clan, Polly Gray is a tough, no-nonsense character who more than holds her own as a strong and capable woman among a family of brash men. She takes on anyone and everyone, and a trademark of her brave personality is her unwavering calmness under pressure.

This series makes it clear right from the start: don’t mess with Aunt Polly. Her allegiance to her family organization makes her a stoic, fearless force who seems more comfortable being callous than feeling.  Despite hints of an emotional side, one of the most remarkable deaths in Peaky Blinders is when Polly kills Inspector Campbell in cold blood.

3 Grace Shelby

Grace enters the series as a police accomplice who works undercover at the Shelbys’ pub. She has a sweet face, a sweet demeanor, and a sweet singing voice . . . but viewers soon see that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Although Grace seems refined and shy on the surface, acting as a special agent for the Birmingham Police takes guts. She’s taken on her fair share of thugs and has the courage and smarts to save herself from dangerous situations, like covertly shooting Inspector Campbell through her handbag. Grace’s bravery and strength only increase as she becomes involved with Tommy. And surely Grace’s courage is one of the things he finds most attractive about her.

2 Arthur Shelby

The oldest sibling of the Shelby family, Arthur’s role in the family business lands him in some compromising situations. A veteran and skilled boxer, fighting comes naturally to Arthur.

He’s taken a beating — literally — multiple times, but never falls victim to fear or compromise. Arthur’s experience as a fighter and his unflappable bravery makes him a strong asset to the Shelby criminal organization.

1 Thomas Shelby

He’s ruthless and seemingly cold-hearted, but that’s just what makes Tommy the courageous gang leader he is. As the leader of the Peaky Blinders, Tommy Shelby has no choice but to act as a brave symbol of his family’s business.

Tommy’s dastardly behavior is undoubtedly fueled by the loss and trauma he has experienced in his life, which make him able to bravely confront danger and adversity head-on. He rarely displays a conscience, which helps him maintain his stoic demeanor. Despite his ruthless actions, audiences often sympathize with Tommy. Love him or hate him, he is mentally sharp and consistently courageous, making him the ideal leader of the Peaky Blinders.

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