We may already know “valar morghulis” (all men must die), but on our TV screens and the home of HBO’s Game of Thrones, there are definitely some who deserve it more than others. Over the past six seasons and 60 episodes, we have seen the good and the bad of Westeros take their quest for the pointy chair to some great extremes.
Sure, there are heroes like the mopey Jon Snow, fiery Daenerys Targaryen, and the no-nonsense Arya Stark, but for every good egg, there is a stinker rolling around in the basket. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss sure aren’t afraid to throw a pantomime villain our way, and beautifully bring the scumbags of George R.R. Martin’s world to life.
The show may be a “slightly” watered-down version of Martin’s work, but with a network that isn’t afraid to go a little R-rated, Game of Thrones manages to perfectly capture the essence of heroes vs. villains. While some like Jaime Lannister and Sandor Clegane appear to have turned over a new leaf, there are others that are just bad to the bone.
As we approach season 7 and it looks like most of the Big Bads have been killed off, let’s not forget that there are some questionable characters still out there in the Seven Kingdoms. With that in mind, here are the 15 Most Twisted Game of Thrones Characters, Ranked.
16. Viserys Targaryen
Let’s take it back to the original bad guy of the show. We have to go back to the early days of Game of Thrones to remember the deplorable Viserys Targaryen. The blonde-haired thumb-sucker would do anything to rise to power and got exactly what he deserved – a crown for a king!
The melodramatic older sibling of Daenerys Targaryen, Viserys prayed on his sister in those weaker days when she wasn’t riding dragons. It is hard now to imagine Dany is such a fragile state, but Viserys exploited her for all he could. It is beyond horrible at your sister that you would allow all forty-thousand Dothraki men and horses have their way with her, just to get on the Iron Throne – talk about brutal.
Up there with Joffrey Baratheon as the snot-nosed brats of the series, Viserys was a spineless coward who took up far too much oxygen for our liking. Thankfully, his arrogance and stupidity got him that fine piece of molten jewelry of Khal Drogo, meaning that Viserys became one of the show’s first big casualties.
15. Tywin Lannister
There has always been something very intense about a performance from Charles Dance, but as head of the dysfunctional Lannister family, he took it to another level. With a fearsome reputation as a warmonger, Tywin ruled for the first five seasons of the show. Perhaps highest on his list of crimes? Well, anyone who can produce such ghastly offspring must have something wrong with them.
What made Tywin quite so twisted was his unwavering tactical skill; hopping into the proverbial bed with anyone who could solidify his grip on the Seven Kingdoms. Away from his deplorable treatment of his son Tyrion, let’s not forget that Tywin was the one who gave the final order to slaughter the Targaryen family and put Robert Baratheon on the throne.
Always cool, calm, and collected, there was something unnerving about the Lannister patriarch, and with a heart colder than a White Walker, there was no love or loss shown for any of his children or grandchildren. Instead, Tywin merely saw people as objects on his chessboard of political power.
Bringing a whole new meaning to daddy-daughter time, the nefarious Craster was a lawless member of the Free Folk who lived beyond the wall. While most of the people who made this list are here for murder or torture, Craster’s crimes are altogether more twisted. We assume that there was once a Mrs. Craster, but for as long as anyone can remember, he has been keeping his bloodline flowing by sleeping with his own daughters.
His sons get a grim fate of being left in the snow to become White Walker fodder, whereas his “wives” get a seemingly worse life. Although Craster was a tentative ally of the Night’s Watch, it wasn’t through the choice of Lord Commander Mormont, especially when, at last count, Craster had 19 wives and numerous daughters knocking around at “Craster’s Keep.”
After a few episodes of making us feel sick, Craster met the pointy end of a sword during a traitorous coup by some of the Night’s Watch. We sadly lost Jeor Mormont too, but at least Craster met his maker.
13. Euron Greyjoy
We were promised big things from the arrival of Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy on Game of Thrones, but so far, we have seen relatively little of the bearded pirate. Arriving with a somewhat dramatic entrance in season 6, Euron wasted no time in tossing his brother off a rope bridge and ascending to rule the Iron Islands.
If we’re being honest, no one really liked Balon Greyjoy, and murdering your sibling isn’t exactly a major crime in the Seven Kingdoms. We have already heard about his ship The Silence, where Euron reportedly cuts the tongues of his crew out to keep his secrets, so it is the promise of what is to come that makes Euron Greyjoy all the more twisted.
Ahead of season 7, Euron has chopped down most of the Iron Island trees to make a thousand ships for his bloodthirsty quest to kill his niece and nephew. He also hopes to make good on his promise of marrying Daenerys Targaryen, but could he instead find his evil equal and a supporter in Cersei Lannister? With most of the Thrones villains deceased, look out for Euron in the show’s final run.
12. Ser Meryn Trant
Joffrey Baratheon sure knew how to surround himself with some questionable characters, and his personal Kingsguard and Ser Meryn Trant are no exception. With a long-running feud with Bronn, and Sandor Clegane mocking Trant’s fighting skills, it seems even the other lowlifes of Westeros aren’t a fan of him either.
No one quite makes us cringe like Ser Meryn Trant and his penchant for younger women. As well as stripping and beating Sansa Stark in front of a baying King Joffrey, Trant is responsible for one of the show’s worst crimes – the death of the dancing Syrio Forel. Many innocent lives have been lost during the “War of the Five Kings,” but with Forel as Arya’s personal mentor, it was a tough blow to us all.
Trant’s time ran out in season 5 – and another one was crossed off Arya’s infamous list. In one of the most graphic deaths to come to the show, Arya violently butchered him in a Braavos brothel. First, she stabbed his eyes out, and then she slit his throat – she is sure getting good at that, isn’t she?
11. Ellaria Sand
First introduced in season 4, Ellaria Sand seemed to be a friend to anyone who wasn’t a Lannister when we first met her. However, after the death of Oberyn Martell, it is safe to say she went a bit off the rails.
The whole Dorne plot of season 5 was widely panned, and it was uncomfortable to watch Ellaria try and cement herself amongst the other huge villains of the show. That being said, it was somewhat worth the wait when Ellaria got her own back and killed off the sweet Myrcella with a poisoned kiss.
Not content with just offing the young Lannister heiress, Sand then took her daughters and slew her way through the Dornish royal household to sit on their throne. While Sand is still sunning herself in warmer climes as we speak, expect her to meet back up with Cersei (and a possible early grave) in season 7.
10. Walder Frey
David Bradley’s performance as Walder Frey managed to get right under our skin. With a key stronghold at the Twins, Frey controlled a key crossing and managed to play the North and the South against each other in a dangerous game of chess.
Remembered for the shocking episode “The Rains of Castamere,” the Frey house was home to the Red Wedding and the great Stark massacre. Many fans wanted to punch the TV as the lecherous Frey smirked from behind his table, while we watched Stark bannermen fall around him. The womanizing pervert also had no fear of Catelyn Stark killing his current wife, citing that he could find another in heartbeat.
Previously known as the “late” Walder Frey for his tardiness, he is now really is the late Walder Frey. Being served your own sons in a pie and then having your throat slit by Arya Stark seems like pretty good dinner time entertainment for the man behind the Red Wedding. We do know that Bradley will return for season 7, so here’s guessing Arya makes good use of his scowling face.
9. Roose Bolton
Bannerman turned Judas, Roose Bolton is one cruel but cool customer. While his flirting with Catelyn Stark was creepy enough to land him on the list, let’s remember that Bolton was involved in one of the best TV twists of all time and one hell of a death scene.
Roose lured the Stark forces to the Twins for the marriage of Edmure Tully to Roslin Frey, and the Red Wedding will ring through the TV ages. Who can forget the thrilling moment that Catelyn realized Roose had trapped them, then gave him that epic slap across the face?
Also, let’s not forget that despite sending the Lannister’s regards, Roose Bolton was actually the one who killed Robb Stark. Walder Frey may have hosted the slaughter, but Roose was the one who held the dagger.
After the Red Wedding, things went pretty south for the North. Roose helped his son Ramsay rise to power, but also took the position of Warden of the North – a position he thankfully wouldn’t be in for long. After one too many underhand deals, Roose was slain by Ramsay in cold blood. Well, we can’t say he didn’t deserve it.
Game of Thrones’ very own wicked witch, Melisandre is the evil puppet master with an odd beauty regime and some pretty impressive tricks for defying her age.
Underneath the “False King” Stannis Baratheon, Melisandre was never afraid of getting her hands dirty to see him rule the Seven Kingdoms. After a night of passion with Stannis, and in one of the show’s most graphic scenes, Melisandre birthed a shadow demon and then watched it go on a murderous rampage.
As well as relying on blood magic, Melisandre took credit for the deaths of Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy, as well as Renley and Joffrey Baratheon – her kill list is close to matching Arya’s. Admittedly, she did resurrect Jon Snow, so give her some credit in the good deed department.
Melisandre’s mistakes have fortunately caught up with her, meaning that a broken Red Woman has been cast out ahead of season 7. We will have to wait and see whether she will be turning over a new leaf or return to her wicked ways, but expect Mel to have a little more blood magic up her sleeve before she meets the Lord of Light.
7. Stannis Baratheon
One man who definitely won’t be winning Father of the Year is the stony-faced Stannis Baratheon. As a noble fighter and once-contender for the Iron Throne, Stannis’ luck ran out in season 5 when he was cut down by Brienne of Tarth.
While Melisandre was the woman behind the scenes, Stannis was the face of the evil operation – quite literally – when that smoke monster plunged a dagger through his brother Renly. Almost mad with power, Stannis wouldn’t even let family get in the way of his dogged race to the throne.
However, rocketing Stannis up the twisted list was the decision to sacrifice his own daughter in that monumental outdoor BBQ. Melisandre may have been the one to suggest Shireen’s sacrifice, but Stannis was the one who went through with it. Even his wife realized the monstrosity of such an act, but Stannis simply fixed his gaze as his daughter went up in smoke.
6. The Mountain
Lots of people have sibling rivalries, but everyone can agree that shoving your brother’s face into the fire may be a bit extreme – or everyone except Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain. With a reputation for violence that is as large as his stature, Clegane’s villainy started long before the show. He played a crucial part in the sacking of King’s Landing, raped and killed Elia Martell, and also smashed baby Aegon to death against a wall.
Since then, the Mountain has shown himself to be one of the most skilled – but dangerous – members of the show. Giving us one of the best fight scenes ever, Clegane went up against the nimble Oberyn Martell. After getting the last minute upper-hand, the Mountain took great pleasure in cracking Oberyn’s skull open like a walnut.
Even death couldn’t stop Clegane, and Oberyn’s poisoned blade left us with a zombified Mountain when brought back to life. There are many in the Seven Kingdoms who are against the Lannister queen, but having a reanimated beast by your side is one surefire way to keep your enemies quiet. Now, under the alias of Ser Robert Strong, Clegane is Cersei’s own personal Frankenstein’s Monster.
5. Petyr Baelish
Sure, there are some (sand) snakes in Westeros, but is anyone quite as slippery as Petyr Baelish? Without even lifting a blade, one weaselly man – with bad facial hair – has brought the entire Seven Kingdoms to war so he can sit on an uncomfortable chair.
If being a seedy pimp wasn’t bad enough, how about setting the entire “War of the Five Kings” into motion? In season 4, there came the shocking reveal that it was Baelish who persuaded Lysa Arryn to kill her poor husband, thus making Ned Stark Hand of the King, and starting the whole ugly mess.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Baelish also supported the Lannisters’ claim to the throne, manufactured Joffrey’s death at the Purple Wedding, pushed his new wife out a handy Moon door, and married Sansa to Ramsay Bolton.
Perhaps Baelish gets away with it because we always underestimate him? There are no supernatural forces or armies rallying behind him, just a silver tongue and an eyebrow raise of intelligence. Time could well be running out for Baelish in season 7, but if not, he could be a big contender for the Iron Throne.
4. The Night’s King
This is one abominable snowman who is sure to give you the cold shoulder. Although we have seen relatively little of the Night’s King, his “come at me bro” stance at Hardhome shows that he has Jon Snow in his sights and is set to mean big trouble for the final two seasons of the show – fire up those dragons.
There are rumors that the Night’s King was once Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, so, seeing his affinity with Jon Snow, could our King in the North be heading down a similar path?
The episode “Hardhome” featured one of the most epic battles to grace the show, while Jon’s band of merry men couldn’t save the Wilding villagers from the Night’s King’s fight against the living. Between turning babies into his own blue-eyed puppets and eradicating life north of the Wall, the Night’s King seems to only have destruction lurking behind those eyes.
We briefly touched on his tragic backstory last season, and it was revealed that the Night’s King was an innocent man who was turned by those impish Children of the Forest. Wouldn’t you be pretty peeved if you’d just had your blood replaced with ice?
3. Cersei Lannister
While an incestuous relationship with your brother is just one way to kick off a show with a band, Lena Headey’s Cersei Lannister has really risen through the ranks of venomous vixen over the past six years. While her family tree now lays in tatters, don’t count on her giving up that throne without a fight, because Cersei certainly looks to be the show’s next big threat.
Cersei was always a woman of means, whose acid tongue and a glass of wine could usually get her out of any trouble. Perfecting that evil “smizing” into the distance, even a naked walk through the capitol had her down but not out. However, the Lannister heiress really turned a new corner in the season 6 finale. Seeing the powers against her closer than ever, Cersei blew up the Great Sept of Baelor and took a great portion of the cast with it.
Perhaps the only thing that saves Cersei from rising even higher up this list was her blinding loyalty to her children. Like a mother protecting her cubs, this lioness always put her offspring first. But now, with all her children deceased, where will she go next?
2. Ramsay Bolton
From the get-go, there was always something sinister about Iwan Rheon’s performance as Ramsay Snow. Narrowly missing out on the top spot, the genital-mutilating, raping, father-killing creep finds himself at number 2. What makes Ramsay quite so twisted was his love of sport and seeing all his ghastly deeds as just a bit of fun.
Despite being introduced in season 3 and taking a special piece of Theon Greyjoy as a souvenir, Ramsay’s full villain persona was adopted across season 5 and 6. Even in a world of evil queens and frozen zombies, he managed to become one of the most loathsome characters to grace our screens.
After defeating Stannis Baratheon, it was the aptly named Battle of the Bastards which saw Ramsay and Jon Snow use their outcast status to let off some steam outside Winterfell. In another classic representation of what a little toe-rag Ramsay is, he also shot down a doomed Rickon Stark with an arrow (should’ve zig-zagged).
1. Joffrey Baratheon
Whether it be impaling prostitutes with crossbows or ridiculing the vertically impaired, is there anyone worse in Westeros than Joffrey Baratheon? Not a single moment of Jack Gleeson’s performance provided any redeeming qualities to the character– truly a masterful performance from the young actor.
From the moment that King Robert was gored by that boar, the face of Game of Thrones changed for the worse. As soon as Joffrey sat on the Iron Throne, he did nothing but spread murder across the land. From killing the bastard children of King Robert for to bailing out of the Battle of Blackwater, this stroppy child would struggle to find a backbone in a morgue.
Perhaps what just pips Ramsay to the finish line is the fact that Joffrey was the one who ultimately led to Ned Stark’s death. There were those behind the scenes, but far too many innocent lives were lost by this child of incest rising to power.
Seeing Ramsay have his face gnawed by his own dogs can’t have been a patch on the collective cheer when we watched this little brat choke to death at his own wedding.
Who is your favorite Game of Thrones character that you love to hate? Sound off in the comments below!