Part of the reason that Game of Thrones has been so successful is because of the characters that the fans love to hate, meaning those who make terrible people but outstanding characters for narrative purposes. However, there are also plenty of Game of Thrones characters who are flat-out terrible with no redeeming purposes to them whatsoever, thus resulting in fan hate of similar intensity if perhaps not similar nature. Whatever the case, the series is filled with characters who have received more than a little bit of ire for various reasons, meaning that it can be interesting to go through them.
Here are 20 of the most hated Game of Thrones characters:
Robert Arryn is someone who has both nature and nurture stacked against him. Nature-wise, his father’s advanced age as well as the traumatic effects of his mother’s forced abortion suggest that he might very well have some real developmental disabilities. Nurture-wise, the whole situation has not been helped by his mother’s influence, which has had a whole host of negative effects on him even though she is intent on seeing him safe. Unfortunately, while there are clear reasons why Robert Arryn is the way that he is, that does not stop a fair number of fans to regard him with more than a little bit of loathing, particularly since his actions have caused a fair amount of trouble for better-liked characters. One excellent example is the whole Moon Door business, which was one of the closest times that Tyrion has ever come to death in the series.
There is a reason that people sometimes say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Yes, Melisandre is one of the few people who realized the threat that was rising beyond the Wall. Yes, Melisandre has a genuine desire to defeat said threat, which is poised to kill countless thousands of people not just in Westeros but also throughout the rest of the setting. Yes, Melisandre has real magical power, which she is willing to put to use for the sake of fulfilling her self-appointed purpose. Unfortunately, while she possesses great power, she remains as human as the rest of the cast, meaning that she is fully capable of making horrendous mistakes. For proof, look no further than the fate of those who put their trust in her more than was wise.
Shae is a curious character, not least because the book and show versions are so different from one another. Book-wise, Shae is a prostitute, nothing more and nothing less. She is willing to offer Tyrion what can be considered the “girlfriend experience” provided that he pays her, but beyond that, she has no real loyalty to him because to be perfectly honest, why would she? As a result, while Tyrion was devastated by her choice to testify against him when Cersei held power over her, he should have known better, not least because his internal thinking revealed that he did know better but decided to cling onto her anyways. In contrast, Shae of the show seems to have been genuinely in love with Tyrion, which makes the whole business that much murkier. Regardless, both Shae of the books and Shae of the show met with a similar fate because of similar choices, so it should come as no surprise to learn that there are a lot of people who are very sympathetic towards Tyrion who have what can be called a less than positive opinion of her.
There can be no doubt that Tywin Lannister is an evil man, but at the same time, there can be no doubt that Tywin Lannister was a very charismatic man as well. For proof, look no further than the fact that there are still plenty of people who are willing to defend his decision to kill his enemies at a wedding feast in spite of the clear evidence against him. After all, he didn’t kill a small number of people to save the rest because the Stark supporters who were murdered at the Twins numbered in the thousands. Furthermore, wedding day massacres are how generation-long blood feuds start, not least because they encourage other parties to escalate, thus making it that much more difficult for people to pull back from the brink of the abyss. With that said, while Tywin Lannister wound up becoming a rather vile man, it is not difficult to sympathize with why he became so, seeing as how he was the child of a man who was so weak that the Iron Throne had to step in on multiple occasions to keep him on top of the Westerlands. As a result, it is no wonder that Tywin Lannister is so joyless, though that shouldn’t excuse either his behavior to his family or his behavior to other people beyond his family.
Varys has been responsible for a lot of terrible things. For example, he maintains a network of child spies, who have had their tongues removed for the purpose of protecting his secrets, meaning that in a real sense, he is inflicting horrendous abuses upon the vulnerable even though he was once one of those who were vulnerable. Furthermore, he is one of the figures stirring up chaos in Westeros, meaning that he has a direct role in causing the continent-wide civil war that has resulted in thousands and thousands of casualties. Something that is particularly problematic because of the Others that are about to sweep down towards the realms of men, though to be fair, he could not have predicted that particular outcome. The one saving grace of Varys is that he is committing his crimes for the sake of a higher cause, but that is something of a double-edged sword at best. After all, those who justify their atrocities by invoking the greater good won’t ever hesitate because of their conscience, which will be urging them on.
Petyr Baelish has the dubious distinction of being worse than Varys. In part, this is because he has no higher purpose than climbing the social ladder at the expense of everyone around him, whereas Varys could at least point at his claim of seeking the greater good. However, it should be noted that Baelish’s actions have inflicted immense suffering on the person he called his childhood love. After all, Baelish didn’t just get Catelyn killed but also bore a significant share of the responsibility for the suffering that her children endured. On top of that, Baelish took advantage of Lysa’s love for him, so much so that he actually wound up killing her when it suited him. Moreover, he actually went to the trouble of smearing salt into the wound by telling her exactly what he thought of her before doing so, thus making it very ugly in a very personal manner.
Grand Maester Pycelle
Theoretically, Grand Maester Pycelle is supposed to be loyal to the king sitting upon the Iron Throne. After all, his oaths as the Grand Maester say as much. In practice, while Pycelle has shown a rather remarkable sense of loyalty, his loyalty is to Tywin Lannister rather than the men to whom he was sworn. In fact, Pycelle actually had a huge role in the downfall of House Targaryen, seeing as how he was the one who convinced Aerys to let Tywin’s men into King’s Landing, thus resulting in a sacking of the city as well as all of the horrors thereof. Otherwise, Pycelle is more pathetic than anything else, which just makes him that much more loathsome.
Sometimes, something that is less horrible but more relatable can spook us more than something that is more horrible but less relatable. Janos Slynt is an excellent example because while he had a pivotal part in the downfall of Ned Stark, who remains one of the better-liked characters from the series, he was also essentially a very crooked police chief. For example, he sold offices, which explains the extent to which the Goldcloaks had fallen at the start of the series. Furthermore, he was willing to go to horrendous lengths for the sake of his superiors in exchange for being rewarded, as shown by his comments regarding those of Robert’s bastard children who were born within King’s Landing. As a result, it is not exactly hard to see why a lot of people cheered when Tyrion sent him to the Wall before cheering even harder when Jon Snow executed him with a Valyrian sword.
The tension between their oaths as a knight and their oaths as a member of the Kingsguard is one of the most interesting issues for those who wear the white cloak. However, Meryn Trant seems to have no such hesitation for the simple reason that he is a thug for his masters and nothing more. As a result, he is more than willing to beat Sansa when Joffrey orders him to do so, which is on top of him being the one sent to arrest Arya when she was with Syrio Forel.
Alliser Thorne has had an antagonistic relationship with Jon Snow since the start. He is a rather unpleasant fellow, who becomes worse over the course of the series. As a result, it is not difficult to see why there are a lot of people out there who don’t hold him in much regard, particularly not when he compounded his previous problems with what can be called shortsightedness.
Theon Greyjoy is one of the more interesting characters in the series because of the tensions that exist within him. On the one hand, he sees himself as an outsider in the Stark home, which makes sense because he is a political hostage held for the purpose of ensuring his father’s good behavior; on the other hand, his upbringing has made him an outsider in the eyes of his father, thus ensuring that he will never be able to go home in a meaningful sense. As a result, Theon’s struggle to reconcile the two parts of him make for fascinating TV. Unfortunately, Theon is also someone who digs deeper when they find themselves trapped in a hole, which would have been hilarious if it wasn’t for the suffering that he caused not just himself but also everyone around him. As a result, while Theon is sympathetic, he has also more than earned a place on this list.
Cersei Lannister is another curious case of a character who is very different in the books and the show. The Cersei of the books is thoroughly unpleasant individual who has an almost cartoonish understanding of her father’s political thinking, with the result that she is relentlessly brutal towards other people. For proof, look no further than her willingness to commit atrocities as well as her willingness to encourage her son to do the same. In contrast, the Cersei of the show is grayer, both because some of her counterpart’s worst actions are handed to other people and because the context has changed. As a result, while she should still be on a list of the most hated Game of Thrones characters, she occupies a lower spot than what her counterpart from the books would have managed.
In a series filled with brutes, Gregor Clegane tops them all in not just a physical sense but also in a moral sense. After all, this is the man who Tywin sent to not just kill children but also their mother. Granted, there are those who would argue that Tywin had no way of knowing that would happen, but considering what Gregor did to not just Sandor but also his other family members, that is rather difficult to believe, particularly since Tywin hated Elia of Dorne. Whatever the case, that was no more than one in a long succession of atrocities committed by Gregor, meaning that his long and agonizing death at the hands of Oberyn Martell was well-deserved.
Some of the villains on Game of Thrones are hot-tempered. In contrast, others are much colder and much stranger people, with an excellent example being Roose Bolton. With that said, that makes Bolton no less evil, though it is grimly amusing to note that all of his actions to advance his own house at the expense of his fellow Northerners did nothing but bring him closer to his grave. In the end, his ultimate fate at the hand of his son was nothing more than his comeuppance, though it is unfortunate that he dragged Walda Frey down with him.
At one point in time, Viserys was a loving brother to Daenerys. After their guardian died of illness, he was the one who more-or-less raised her, which was a rather remarkable feat considering that he was no more than a child wandering around a rather hostile continent at the time. Unfortunately, Viserys underwent a thorough degeneration after he sold the last memento of their mother, with the result that by the time that the series started up, he was not just physically abusive but also sexually abusive as well. Combined with how Viserys utterly failed to comprehend the Dothraki even though he sought to make use of them by selling Daenerys to Drogo, his fate was seen in a positive light by more than a few fans, who welcomed the fact that he was crowned at last.
For those who don’t remember what Craster did, he was the one who married his daughters and sacrificed his sons to the Others. There isn’t anything more to him, and to be perfectly honest, there doesn’t need to be anything more to him for Craster to earn a spot on this list.
To an extent, Lysa’s actions were sympathetic. In short, she was someone who had become pregnant by having sex with Petyr. As a result, her father forced her to have an abortion, which seemed to have had long-lasting effects on her reproductive health, as shown by a number of failed pregnancies before she had Robert Arryn. On top of that, her father married her off to Jon Arryn, who was old enough to be her father, which was not exactly an outstanding marriage even by the standards of her times. As a result, it is no wonder that Lysa was extraordinarily upset with how her life turned out, particularly when compared to the life that her older sister Catelyn was living. With that said, that does not excuse the fact that Lysa essentially conspired to turn the Starks against the Lannisters by claiming that the Lannisters had murdered Jon Arryn, meaning that she had a critical role in the downfall of her own relatives. Based on this, her ultimate fate was well-deserved, though it is a shame that she didn’t drag Petyr down with her at the same time.
There are a lot of Westerosi nobles who embrace the symbols of their house, but when those symbols happen to be a flayed man, who cannot help but think that one should reconsider in this regard. Unfortunately, while Roose’s older son Domeric was one such individual, his bastard son Ramsay was not. As a result, when Domeric sought out Ramsay for the companionship of a brother, Domeric soon contracted some sickness of the stomach that Roose identified as the result of poison. That was no more than the first in a succession of horrendous deeds committed by Ramsay, meaning that it would have been much better if the death order of the brothers had been the other way around.
The Late Lord Frey has one virtue in that he is at least willing to house his immense family at his holdings as well as at his expense. Otherwise, it is all downhill from there. In no particular order, the Late Lord Frey is disgusting, more than a little bit venal, and more than a little bit reluctant to honor his obligations to other people. Of course, his worst deed by far is the murder of the Starks while they were guests at his home, which is the sort of thing that receives universal condemnation. In fact, the violation of guest right is literally the sort of thing that causes the divine to start smiting people, as shown by the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. As a result, House Frey was doomed the moment that the Late Lord Frey overreacted in such a manner instead of something more sensible such as using the broken betrothal to justify switching sides to the Lannister-Tyrell alliance.
At one point, Joffrey Baratheon had all of the malice of an out of control child as well as all of the power of an out of control king. As a result, it is no wonder that he was such a horror in the series, particularly when his parental examples happened to be Robert Baratheon and Cersei Lannister, who were not exactly paragons of parenthood by any standard of measurement. In the end, Joffrey managed to be so horrible that people actually welcomed the on-screen murder of a teenager, which sounds completely and utterly horrible when stripped of the context.