HBO's Game of Thrones is responsible for introducing some of the most beloved characters in all of the modern era of entertainment, including Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen (well, before the final season, at least), Tyrion Lannister, and Sansa Stark. Its heroes were always heroic and human, lovable and empathetic. But when it came to villains, there's truly no other shows on TV that made characters so truly easy to hate as Game of Thrones did.
Its villains were unpredictable, violent, and cruel, but oftentimes also some of the smartest people in the room. While some of these loathsome characters certainly more than over stayed their welcomes (if their welcomes ever even existed in the first place), there was also something you could always count on Game of Thrones for: satisfying endings to these villains' arcs, usually in the form of a violent death at the hands of one of our heroes. Here, we look back at the ten most satisfying of these killings.
10 Lysa Arryn
From the moment viewers met Lady Catelyn's sister Lysa Arryn in the first season, it was clear that something was off about the woman. Still breast feeding her much too old son Robin, and unmistakably cold toward her own family, Lysa's truly mad nature only became public knowledge upon her return in the series' fourth season. It was then that it was revealed that she conspired with Petyr Baelish to kill her own husband, former Hand of the King Jon Arryn, and thus set off the very beginning of the game of thrones itself.
It was also during the fourth season that Lysa's truly paranoid nature came to light, too. She harshly interrogated and threatened her own niece Sansa Stark, then seventeen years old, and was convinced she was having an affair with Lysa's now-husband, Petyr. Threatening to kill Sansa by throwing her out the moon door, it was in fact Lysa who was sent flying when Petyr intervened and threw the mad woman to her death.
9 The Mountain
Long before he served as the series' quasi Frankenstein, Ser Gregor Clegane, best known as The Mountain, was absolutely a hateful individual. Known for his over the top violent methods, Ser Gregor's physique was a threat to anyone who encountered him. He raped and murdered Elia Martell, and savagely crushed Oberyn Martell to death by squeezing his head with his bare hands.
Years before that, he was responsible for the permanent disfigurement of his own brother, The Hound or Sandor Clegane, when he shoved him face first into a fire. So it was only fitting, therefore, that The Mountain should receive his just desserts at his brother's own hand. The "Cleganebowl" was something fans wanted to see for years, and it didn't disappoint, culminating with the monstrous beast and his brother plummeting into the fiery hell of a sacked King's Landing.
8 Ser Alliser Thorne
For five long years, Ser Alliser Thorne was, quite fittingly, the thorn in Jon Snow's side. As the Master at Arms for the men of the Night's Watch, it was Thorne who was responsible for training the latest recruits, and, in turn, determining their future among the Watchers on the Wall. He resented Jon Snow from the moment he met him, almost never calling him anything other than "bastard," and eventually, he took part in orchestrating the assassination plot against then Lord Commander Snow.
After Jon was resurrected from the dead by the work of Melisandre and the Lord of Light, justice was swiftly handed out to all of those who conspired to kill him, including Ser Alliser Thorne himself. Thorne and his fellow mutineers are hanged for treason at Jon's command.
7 Stannis Baratheon
Few characters in the series have had the level of entitlement and self-involvement that Stannis Baratheon possessed. Fully convinced of his right to be king, thanks in large part to the whispered words of the likewise loathsome Melisandre, Stannis undertakes foolish venture after foolish venture, routinely proving that he has nothing of what it takes to be a leader in any regard.
He relies on the dark magic of the Lord of Light, kills his own brother Renly Baratheon and his own disabled daughter, and is responsible in turn for his wife's suicide. When Stannis suffers a humiliating military defeat at the end of the series' fifth season, karma finally comes around to get him, as Brienne of Tarth - once sworn to his brother, Renly - executes him.
6 Tywin Lannister
As the patriarch of the privileged Lannister family, Tywin Lannister is one of the most shrewd players in the entire game o f thrones. At the same time, he might just win the award for being one of the worst fathers in the entire series. Completely oblivious to the fact that two of his own children are lovers, Tywin spends his whole life also denigrating his youngest child and treating him as an absolute embarrassment to the family name.
He raises Jaime to be an arrogant fool, ignores Cersei to the point that she grows vindictive, and routinely humiliates Tyrion to the point that he grows wise and strong to spite him. When Tywin betrays Tyrion late in life by enlisting the services of Tyrion's ex-lover and prostitute, Shae, it serves as the breaking point for the youngest lion, who finally does what he was always meant to do: shoots and kills his father with a crossbow while Tywin is on the toilet.
5 Viserys Targaryen
Madness is, it seems, an inherent trait of the Targaryen family line. When the series began, however, it wasn't the Mad Queen Daenerys that viewers had to fear, but her insipid, violent, spineless older brother, Viserys Targaryen. Convinced that he was the Dragon who was meant to reclaim the Seven Kingdoms in the name of his late father, the Mad King Aerys, Viserys used his younger sister as chattel, forcing her into a marriage with Khal Drogo so that the Targaryens would have an army of Dothraki to support them.
Of course, Viserys didn't at all anticipate that Daenerys would become a powerful and revered Khaleesi, and that the people would come to loathe and mock him in return. After one violent outburst too many with the then pregnant Daenerys, Khal Drogo took it upon himself to give Viserys what he always wanted: a golden crown in the form of molten, liquid gold poured right over his head.
4 Ser Meryn Trant
You'd be hard pressed to find many good men who were willing to serve the likes of tyrants such as King Robert and King Joffrey Baratheon. But far and away the most loathsome of them all was Ser Meryn Trant. Willing to engage in any means of violence to get the job done, Ser Meryn routinely abused women and children, both on the job and off of it.
He was one of the first names to make it onto Arya's kill list, and when she was finally able to get the job done, it was more than deserved. She found Ser Meryn at a brothel, engaging in acts of pedophilia, and posed as another young girl to subject herself to his abuse. But then, removing her false face, Arya was able to brutally stab the evil man again and again, reminding him of who she was, and what he had done to deserve this fate.
3 Walder Frey
Speaking of Arya totally doling out some satisfying faceless justice, how could anyone ever forget the revenge she enacted against the odious Walder Frey? From his introduction, it was clear that Walder was not someone worth rooting for, or trusting. A perverted old man with dozens of teenage wives and even more children, Walder was only ever interested in the prosperity of his own house, and all the better if it was at the expense of others.
After betraying House Stark and ordering the savage killing of half the remaining members at the Red Wedding, Walder Frey presumed he was in the clear, free to enjoy his newfound alliance with both Houses Bolton and Lannister. But years later, Frey would be fed a slice of not-so-humble pie, when Arya killed his own sons, baked them into a pie, fed them to him, and then slit his throat.
2 Joffrey Baratheon
There was never a worse, more sadistic, and truly psychopathic ruler in the entire series than the boy King Joffrey Baratheon. Utterly twisted, a total coward, and the textbook definition of spoiled brat, Joffrey delights in causing pain wherever he can, especially when he's the one responsible for inflicting it himself. It's his rash decision to execute Ned Stark that leads to the worsening of the conflict in the battle for the Iron Throne, after all.
For years, Joffrey rules as a terror-inducing leader, feared by all who know him or know of him, but also scorned by them, too. It takes the plotting of both Petyr Baelish and Olenna Tyrell to finally do away with him once and for all. At his own wedding to Margaery Tyrell, Joffrey is poisoned and grotesquely chokes and bleeds out, right there for all his family and his people to see.
1 Ramsay Bolton
While Joffrey may have been the most sadistic royal ruler the series ever knew, there was truly no character more fundamentally twisted than the absolutely disgusting Ramsay Bolton. As Roose Bolton's bastard, Ramsay lived his life with a chip on his shoulder, given to using and abusing anyone he felt like hurting for his own pleasure.
He physically abused and reprogrammed Theon Greyjoy as his own castrated servant, Reek. He sexually assaulted and physically abused poor young Sansa Stark, after a brokered marriage went terribly awry. He murdered his own father, and fed his stepmother and stepbrother to his dogs. But in the end, it was the dogs who would prove to be his own undoing, as Sansa got to feed her own abuser to the bloodthirsty beasts and watch it all unfold firsthand.