Whether fans love them or love to hate them, Game of Thrones has introduced a sprawling cast of magnificent characters. The scope of HBO’s fantasy epic is enormous, and the production value of the series is the best that TV has probably ever seen. The show would be nothing, however, without charming and likable figures like Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark and, of course, Tyrion Lannister. Yet there are more than a few characters who get nowhere near that upper echelon of awesome.
Keep in mind, this is not a list of the most unlikable characters on Game of Thrones. The likes of Cersei and Joffrey will not be found here, because while they are awful people, they are genuinely terrific characters due to the acting and writing that breathes them to life. This is also not a collection of characters who were severely changed from the source material of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice of Fire.
The folks gather here have had little to no impact on the story of Game of Thrones or, through a combination of bad writing, poor casting, or underwhelming performances, just made for bad TV. Take a look at the 15 Worst Game Of Thrones Characters, Ranked.
15. Stannis Baratheon
For a would-be King of the Seven Kingdoms, Stannis didn’t exactly inspire loyalty from the fans or characters from Game of Thrones. While his lack of personality was essentially the entire point of his character, the series went several extra miles with Stannis – in the wrong direction. Stannis wasn’t just stoic, he was ungodly boring.
In the books, Stannis manages to be a quiet but oddly charismatic figure. He isn’t a charmer by any means, but he leads through power and might. In the show, Stannis was just a pawn in Melisandre’s bigger schemes. He acted almost completely at the whim of the Red Woman, and the show never bothered to explain why beyond religious fervor and lust.
The one time that Stannis did show some genuine emotion (and likability) was with his daughter Shireen. But Game of Thrones also managed to ruin that solid part of his character by the end. His decision to sacrifice his daughter came far too quickly, and the fallout was over just as briefly. No one mourned when Stannis lost his head to Brienne of Tarth, even if Game of Thrones denied fans the satisfaction of witnessing the beheading.
14. Selyse Baratheon
As drab as Stannis was to watch, he was at least a step above his nutty wife. Game of Thrones fans knew they were in for a wild ride with the Queen of Dragonstone when she was introduced in a room full of jarred dead fetuses. While Stannis approached his devotion to the Lord of the Light with the same level of excitement he dealt with everything (a shrug and a grunt), Selyse was 110% in the crazy bag for Melisandre. It was exhausting.
Selyse was basically a cartoon character, and Thrones never bothered to give her a deeper motivation than she was a few ravens short of a flock. Selyse’s extreme devotion to the Lord of the Light stretched belief in a series that typically does such a good job of explaining character’s belief systems and motivations, even if they are not meant to be likable.
The most insulting thing about Selyse is at the end of her life, the series tried to make her into a sympathetic and tragic figure. While Stannis stuck to his guns after killing his daughter, Selyse was racked up guilt and even tried to stop the sacrifice from happening, eventually killing herself in shame.
13. Renly Baratheon
Rounding out our trio of disappointing Baratheons – this is the last one, we promise – is Renly. While Stannis was meant to be unemotional and Selyse was supposed to be unlikable, Renly was expected to be a charming counterpoint to his boring brother and crazed wife. The problem is that Renly was just as poorly presented and developed as either of them.
Renly smiled more than Stannis and was less of drunken mess than his other brother, King Robert, but he definitely wasn’t the second coming of Baratheon glory like the show tried to claim. Renly was meant to be funny, charming, and eloquent. In reality, he was just propped by the Tyrells, and his only purpose was to introduce the far more compelling Margaery Tyrell.
Renly’s lack of charisma even affected other characters. Before Brienne grew out of her slavish devotion to him, it just seemed bizarre how much she loved a king who acted like an enormous idiot. The same goes for Loras Tyrell. Though he quickly seemed to forget that Renly existed, Loras’ initial deep mourning for Renly was hilariously void of meaning for the audience.
12. Kevan Lannister
It can’t be easy growing up with one of the biggest badasses in Westeros, Tywin Lannister, as an older brother. This is the twist of fate that befell Kevan Lannister. While the books presented Kevan as the slightly disappointing sequel to Tywin – still impressive, but not as awesome as his brother – TV’s Kevan is the lamest of lions. (Well, second lamest…stay tuned for more on that.)
In the books, Kevan is Tywin’s right-hand-man and intellectual equal. In the show, Kevan manages to get bullied out of King’s Landing by Cersei of all people. No major player in Game of Thrones should be losing a battle of wits against Cersei, except maybe poor innocent Ned Stark, and not just because she is usually three sheets to the wind in any given scene.
If Tywin hated Tyrion so much for being just a tad short, there is no reason that Tywin should have kept Kevan around at all. Given how pathetic Kevan proved to be after Tywin died, its one of the show’s greatest mysteries why his older brother didn’t disown him during his life.
11. The Mountain
It says something that when The Mountain was turned into a mute zombie whose face is entirely obscured, he remained just as interesting, if not more so, as a character. It says something even more that Gregor Clegane has portrayed by three actors and no one even really noticed. The Mountain is nothing but an enormous meathead, before and after he was resurrected to be Cersei’s main protector.
It’s true that Game of Thrones has never tried to make The Mountain more than just a beefy threat with a sword. That’s not acceptable. When Thrones can make a character as awful as Joffrey into a human being, albeit a terrifying one, The Mountain shouldn’t have such a bare bones character running around.
The series has spent a great deal of time developing The Hound, but done almost nothing with his brother, The Mountain. Given that fact, it’s pretty hard to not root hard against Gregor when it comes to the long-held fan theory that the two will eventually face off in “The Cleganebowl”.
10. Doran Martell
Game of Thrones casting an actor as magnificent as Alexander Siddig and having him do nothing but sit in a chair and give disapproving glances will forever be one of the show’s most confusing choices. Doran Martell could have been great, and there were a few glimmers of potential in his short tenure on the show. (The book version of him is pretty incredible.) The former head of Dorne was just less than the sum of his parts in the end.
Doran was so ineffectual and meaningless that he almost made the Sand Snakes a viable option as a suitable ruler of Dorne. Just let that sink in for a moment. Doran should have been the wise and measured leader of his southern nation. He was at least presented at times as the yin to Oberyn’s hotheaded yang. Yet Thrones never did anything to capitalize on what could have been with Doran.
When Ellaria killed him in the season 6 premiere, it didn’t come as a huge shock. It didn’t even come as a crowd-pleasing victory. It was just a relief that Siddig was free to move on to projects that actually wanted to use his talents as an actor.
9. Robin Arryn
Whiny and weak Robin Arryn is meant to be precisely as irritating as he has been presented. There is a reason that the greatest scene in Game of Thrones involving Robin came when Sansa smacked him across the face. She’d survived being tormented by Joffrey and taunted by Cersei, yet she never rose a hand to either of them. Robin was so irritating that he made Sansa finally lose control, albeit in a subdued way.
Robin being a brat is not a problem for Thrones, but Robin being such a brat that you let out a deep sigh every time you have to spend any time with him is an issue. Joffrey was a monster because he was a sadistic kid who went mad with power, but the show made the audience understand that fact. Robin is awful because his mom breastfed him too long … maybe?
8. Bran Stark
Controversial statement: Game of Thrones probably would have been better off if Jaime Lannister had just finished the job in the first episode and killed Bran. Yes, this means that Game of Thrones would have had to find another way to confirm R+L = J. Fans also wouldn’t have gotten cool scenes like seeing the birth of the White Walkers or have a reason for Hodor to turn into a fan favorite. On the other hand, there wouldn’t have been multiple seasons of Bran doing nothing but getting dragged around North Westeros.
As Bran has discovered and tapped into his Three-Eyed Raven powers, the scenes involving him have greatly improved. It is not nearly as much a drag as it used to be for Bran to pop up anymore. But even then, it’s just the situations around the character that are more interesting. Bran himself is precisely as interesting as a bowl of bran flakes. (Get it?!)
Bran serves a purpose on Game of Thrones. In fact, he could end up being one of the most powerful people in the story, and the ultimate savior of Westeros. But until the show has Isaac Hempstead Wright do something other than look mildly perplexed, Bran isn’t going to get much more compelling as a character.
7. Hizdahr zo Loraq
A Game of Thrones character engaging in a grand conspiracy to try to kill Daenerys Targaryen should immediately launch them to the top of the most compelling character list. Despite doing just that, and getting so close to actually succeeding, Hizdahr zo Loraq, barely made a blip on the radar for most Game of Thrones fans.
Meant to be the charismatic local noble in Mereen who charmed Dany into marrying him to strengthen her throne, small screen Hizadahr is about as drab as they come. Hizadahr was completely overshadowed by Dany in all of his scenes, and Game of Thrones never even focused on the most interesting part of his character. In the books, it’s widely assumed that he’s at least a prominent voice within the Sons of the Harpy, if not their leader, and he’s seemingly made an attempt or two on Dany’s life. The series, however, just made him another annoyance, one that was thankfully killed off in the fighting pit showdown with the Sons of the Harpy back in season 5.
6. The Waif
Arya’s training with the Faceless Men should have been exciting and the culmination of her story up to that point. Thanks to The Waif, Arya learning to be No One was mostly a tedious and groan-inducing experience. While Jaqen H’ghar nailed the whole murderous Dumbledore thing Game of Thrones was going for, The Waif was a sad excuse of a Draco Malfoy substitute. For being a part of an organization that was meant to teach the virtues of being as inconspicuous as possible, The Waif was an overload of personality – and not a remotely interesting personality either.
The Waif’s laser focus hatred of Arya was exhausting. Though apparently the star pupil of The Faceless Men, The Waif exhibited all the qualities that Jaqen was trying to dissuade in Arya. The Waif was emotionally unstable, profoundly unsubtle, and an all-around betrayal of everything the House of Black and White seemed to be going for.
The Waif was not only an annoying character who was brought to life by a barely passable performance, she also did a lot to damage the lore of the show. The Waif made it seem like everything the Faceless Men were teaching was a hypocrisy, which cannot have been the intention of the character. We’re going to chalk this one up to an oversight.
5. Meera Reed
Bran at least has his godlike powers to justify his existence on the show. Meera, meanwhile, has been with Game of Thrones since season 3, but has not managed to prove all that useful yet. Meera and her brother Jojen have been equally worthless to Bran’s journey, knowing nothing and contributing nothing besides carrying stuff. While Jojen at least had the decency to die when Bran got to somewhere he could start developing his powers, Meera is still around and continuing to be a waste of space.
It’s not as if the show couldn’t make Meera interesting. She really could be another warrior woman in the style of Brienne or Arya, two of the best characters on the show. Meera could even be used to level out Bran’s blandness and give him someone to interact with, other than centuries old people who live in trees. Thrones seems to have no interest in doing that, however. Instead, Meera just literally drags Bran around from place to place.
4. Loras Tyrell
Long before Finn Jones went on to ruin many a Marvel fan’s expectations as Danny Rand on Netflix’s Iron Fist, he was playing an equally poorly executed character on Game of Thrones. There are few Thrones characters who have been more pathetic and virtually nonexistent as Loras Tyrell.
While the book version of Loras Tyrell is a charming, daring, and accomplished knight, the show version is an enormously stupid horndog. On the page, Loras is a less morally grey parallel to Jaime. He joins the Kingsguard after Renly dies because he is heartbroken and he will never love anyone else. It’s a beautiful sentiment, one that makes Loras, who is often portrayed as cocky, into a deeply tragic character. In the show, he jumps on the first piece of man meat he sees, despite it being an obvious trap that indirectly leads to his entire house’s downfall.
3. Lancel Lannister
Unlike most characters on this list, Lancel does go through a very clear progression as a character. Lancel has a real arc throughout his journey on Game of Thrones. It’s just that Lancel goes from one incredibly obnoxious character to another. Lancel began the series as clueless peon of Cersei (and secretely, Tyrion) and he ended his run as a clueless peon of the High Sparrow.
Lancel was a personality vacuum, and no matter if he was being used by Cersei or the High Sparrow, he remained as wooden and foolish as possible. The only good moments involving Lancel are those where he was being insulted by his anointed superior, as someone on screen was finally giving voice to the thoughts of the audience.
The disappointing part is that Lancel played a very big part in some monumental events. He facilitated King Robert’s drunken demise, and is a big factor in how the Lannisters gained control of the Iron Throne as a result. His work with the High Sparrow was a huge reason why Cersei began to lose her control in King’s Landing. And yet every time Lancel stepped on screen, you prayed for a bloodbath. His dragged out death sequence was well-deserved.
It’s a rough lot in life to be the character who is created to kill Jon Snow, but that’s what happened with Olly. Other characters did participate in the death of Jon, but Olly was the one who was supposed to hurt Jon the most. His dagger was intended to dig the deepest. Sadly, the series never made the audience care as much about Olly as Jon apparently did.
Olly might just be the most punchable character in all of Game of Thrones, because he not only killed someone as beloved as Jon Snow, he did it while not showing any different sides to his personality. Olly was terribly one-dimensional and a complete drag. From killing Ygritte to putting the finishing touch on Jon, there is not a single likable or human moment with Olly in the series.
1. Ellaria Sand
Though Ellaria Sand is, without a doubt, the worst character in Game of Thrones (so far), this entry represents more than Ellaria. Ellaria should be considered as a figurehead for all of the Sand Snakes. While all the Sand Snakes are awful, Ellaria (as their de facto leader) is the only one with a semblance of a personality. Unfortunately, any attempt to develop that personality by Game of Thrones has been woefully disappointing.
Ellaria is such a dreadful character because she has so much potential. Ellaria should be just as compelling and interesting as Dany. They are both women looking for revenge in a world driven by men, but Ellaria has no endearing qualities despite being set up as an avenging angel. Ellaria is foolhardy and brash. She has all of Oberyn’s drive, but not of his charm or wit.
Ellaria is also a complete waste of her actress. Indira Varma can do so much more than she’s been tasked with, but Game of Thrones has no greater ambitions for her. Ellaria is one of the main reasons that many fans would like the show to drop the Dorne plotline altogether, which is perhaps the series’ biggest failing to date.
Who do you think are the worst characters from Game of Thrones? Do you agree with this list? Sound off in the comments!
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