As a high fantasy drama filled with dramatic events and endless bloodshed, it's no real surprise that Game of Thrones is filled with characters who do incredibly bad things on a regular basis. Even the series' most beloved characters are guilty of countless crimes; it's just a matter of perspective and sympathy as to whether any of these shocking acts can be excused or understood.
After eight long seasons of war and betrayal, love and loss, Game of Thrones finally wrapped its run in the spring of 2019. But even after the series' end, its characters continue to have a lasting effect on popular culture - for better, or for worse. Here, we've taken a look at the worst things the series' main cast of characters ever did.
10 Jaime: Pushing Bran from the tower
It was one of the first major twists in a series that would come to be known for countless incidents of shocking and appalling behavior. At the very end of the series' first episode, "Winter is Coming," the curious and mischievous young Bran Stark is climbing a tower when he happens upon incestuous twins Jaime and Cersei Lannister having sex.
After realizing they've been caught, Jaime is quick to apprehend the young Stark boy. Rather than negotiate with the boy, Jaime assumes that he will do the worst, and throws him from the tower, paralyzing him for life.
9 Tyrion: Killing Tywin and Shae
Generally speaking, Tyrion Lannister is one of the few voices of reason in a series full of characters prone to fits of madness, jealousy, and rage. He had moments of poor judgment throughout the series' run, but for the most part, it's hard to find fault with his judgment.
But even in moments where you can understand his logic, it's not always easy to sympathize with his actions. Take, for example, the drastic actions he takes in the series' fourth season finale. After being betrayed by the both of them, for a brief time and for a lifetime respectively, Tyrion savagely strangles his former lover Shae in bed, then kills his father Tywin in cold blood while the man sits on his chamber pot.
8 Cersei: Nearly killing Tommen
Cersei Lannister very nearly made it all the way to the end of Game of Thrones, and given her often callous and calculating behavior, it's not hard to see why. But the most shocking decision she ever made came during the legendary Battle of Blackwater Bay.
Fearing that the Red Keep had finally fallen, Cersei took to the Throne Room with her youngest son, Tommen, and readied to kill him with poison. It was a truly shocking moment, not least of all because characters try to justify Cersei's behaviors because of her love of her children, and even more shocking in retrospect, as Tommen would eventually kill himself because of Cersei's actions.
7 Joffrey: Killing Ned
It's hard to think of a single thing that Joffrey Baratheon ever did, either before or during his reign as king. But arguably the worst thing that the petulant little monster ever did was execute Ned Stark toward the end of the series' first season.
After betraying negotiations that he had agreed upon with his advisors, and Sansa as well, Joffrey seemingly relished in killing the Stark patriarch, boasting about the fact that his blade had killed him for years to come. Of course, the death of Ned Stark only served to truly ignite the game of thrones in the end, so Joffrey played a key role in his own undoing.
6 Robb: Breaking his pledge to House Frey
Robb Stark was hardly the most competent leader that the series ever introduced, but he wasn't exactly the worst of them, either. But Robb's greatest mistake and failure as a leader was breaking the vow he'd taken part in with House Frey.
In order to marry Talisa, for love, rather than one of Walder Frey's many daughters, as had been promised in the deal agreed upon by his mother Catelyn and himself, Robb dishonored the longstanding bond between the Starks, Tullys, and Freys. As a result of his breaking of the oath, the Freys would go on to exact revenge in the cruelest possible way at the infamous Red Wedding.
5 Arya: Threatening Sansa
Arya Stark has done a lot of things in her life. She's trained with the Faceless Men of Braavos and the Hound. She's exacted justice and revenge for the injustices against her family by killing countless evil men and women alike. But the worst thing she ever did in the grand scheme of things was briefly turn against her own sister, Sansa.
As the result of Littlefinger's machinations, Arya was led to believe that Sansa was a traitor to House Stark, thanks to the reappearance of letter she'd been forced to write during Ned's trial. During a tense confrontation between sisters, it truly seemed like Arya was considering killing her own sister. Thankfully, the sisters mended fences, but it was still a truly shocking act.
4 Bran: Hodor
For most of the series' run, Bran was an innocent little boy who never did much of anything wrong. But in the series' sixth season, all of that changed when he truly became the new Three-Eyed Raven. As a result of his warging and assuming the role of the mythical being, Bran winds up causing a truly tragic event.
Through his time traveling, Bran inadvertently wargs into a young Hodor, rendering him incapacitated as he simultaneously lives two timelines. In the present, the adult Hodor heroically sacrifices himself to hold the door, allowing Bran and Meera to escape, but losing his life in the process.
3 Sansa: Taking part in accusing Ned of treason
Over the course of the series, Sansa Stark transformed from a foolish young girl to a fearless leader. She endured unspeakable harm and saved countless lives, before earning her rightful place as the Queen in the North.
But long before Sansa became the queen we all deserve, she was an easily manipulated child who found herself duped into accusing her own father of treason. She was forced to write a letter to her brother, Robb, with Cersei's words and charges, aligning herself with the Lannister belief that Ned was a traitor. As a result, even if inadvertently, Sansa played a part in Ned's ultimate demise.
2 Jon: Pledging loyalty to Daenerys
This might be a surprising one, but bear with us here. From the moment Jon metaphorically bent the knee to Daenerys as his queen, everything was downhill from there. Jon lost his authority as a character, effectively betraying his loyalty to the North.
After pledging his loyalty, he became romantically involved with his newly pledged queen, a clear mistake even before additional truths came to light. Soon after his pledge of loyalty, the truth of his heritage was revealed, leading to further complications and drama and eventually Daenerys's isolation and madness. Basically, if Jon never bent the knee, much of what went wrong in the series' final season could have been avoided.
1 Daenerys: Destroying King's Landing
Whether you agree with Daenerys's sudden descent into madness, there's no denying that the worst thing she ever did was raze the city of King's Landing to the ground after previously having agreed to back down. The battle had already been won, Daenerys's people were already retreating, and the people of King's Landing were innocent and unarmed.
But none of that mattered. In her fit of rage and madness, Daenerys basically leveled the city to the ground, needing to exert her authority and prove that she was the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms - even if she never truly was.