It’s hard to call any character on “Game of Thrones” an outright villain. Most characters are difficult to pin down as good or evil, because those two extremes are often a matter of perspective. Heroic characters often commit less than heroic deeds, and plenty of villainous characters have sympathetic moments. With that said, there are some characters that are unmistakably evil, the villains you just love to hate. Here are our top 10 villains on “Game of Thrones.”
WARNING: Spoilers for “Game of Thrones” ahead.
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10 best Game of Thrones villains
10. The High Sparrow
Much about the man known as The High Sparrow remains a mystery. He purported that he was the son of a cobbler that eventually rose to the upper echelons of society, delving into the depths of extravagance and debauchery. Eventually, he renounced his lavish ways in favor of a higher calling, and became the humble leader of a particularly zealous sect within the Faith of the Seven.
Cersei Lannister seized on his growing popularity and made him an ally in her political war against the increasingly powerful Tyrell family. Unfortunately for Cersei, the Sparrow eventually turned on her as well. Though hidden behind his pious facade, the Sparrow was a cunning and ambitious man willing to do anything to gain power, coming alarmingly close to becoming the true ruler behind The Iron Throne. Fortunately, Cersei outmaneuvered him and he met his end in the fiery explosion at the Sept of Baelor.
9. Walder Frey
There’s not much to like about Walder Frey. A lecherous old man with a habit of taking exceedingly young wives, he was known for a spiteful streak. The Lord Frey had a chip on his shoulder, which stemmed from the fact that he didn’t believe his house got the recognition it deserved. Vicious towards anyone he perceived as not giving him the proper respect, Lord Walder’s ambitions eventually took a turn for the worse.
After Robb Stark renounced his arranged marriage to one of Frey’s daughters in favor of another woman, the furious Lord Walder secretly allied himself with the Lannisters. Along with Roose Bolton, he orchestrated the ruthless slaughter of Robb and his armies while he hosted them at his castle. This infamous event, known as the Red Wedding, would eventually be Walder Frey’s downfall. After training as an assassin in Braavos, Arya Stark returned to murder the entire Frey clan, even serving up a pie containing bits his dead sons to Lord Walder before slitting his throat.
8. The Mountain
Ser Gregor Clegane, also known as The Mountain, was known throughout Westeros for his sadism and brutality. During Robert’s Rebellion, The Mountain participated in the sacking of King’s Landing, during which he raped and murdered Princess Elia Martell before murdering her two infant children.
Aside from these heinous crimes, Ser Gregor held no love for his brother, Sandor Clegane. As children, Gregor shoved Sandor’s face into a fire after he discovered Sandor had stolen one of his toys. This led to The Hound’s hideous burn scars and fear of fire.
The Mountain’s other acts of cruelty are numerous: he beheaded his horse in public after losing a joust, ordered the executions of hundreds of prisoners at Harrenhal, and gouged out Prince Oberyn Martell’s eyes in a duel before crushing his skull with his bare hands. Though nearly dying in the fight, former Maester Qyburn turned The Mountain into a hideous undead abomination. Eventually, The Hound and The Mountain faced each other during Daenerys Targaryen’s sacking of King’s Landing, and the two killed each other in the ensuing fight.
7. Euron Greyjoy
Euron Greyjoy boasted an ego larger than his fleet of ships. An impressive naval commander in his own right, Euron let his prowess in battle go to his head, and he harbored delusions of being the human incarnation of the Ironborn’s Drowned God. After killing his brother Balon, Euron crowned himself King of the Iron Islands, but he didn’t stop there.
After agreeing to an alliance with Queen Cersei, Euron aimed to seduce her and become the King of all of Westeros. He fought viciously in battle, bringing an end to the Dornish Sand Snakes in a variety of gruesome ways and taking his niece Yara hostage while gleefully mocking his nephew Theon. He’s also responsible for the absurd bullseye murder of Daenerys’ dragon Rhaegal.
Eventually, he encountered Jaime Lannister during Daenerys’s sacking of King’s Landing, and the two inflicted several near-fatal wounds on each other before Jaime finally got the upper hand and drove a sword through Euron’s chest. Not one to die without acknowledging his own accomplishments, Euron died with a smile on his face while congratulating himself for fatally wounding The Kingslayer.
Subtle, manipulative, and devious, Petyr Baelish was not a man to be trusted. A former childhood friend of Catelyn Stark, Baelish rose to become a man of importance in the King’s Landing. Known as Littlefinger, he played the political game with skill and cunning.
His first and perhaps most infamous act of treachery was the betrayal of Ned Stark to the Lannisters, eventually resulting in Lord Stark’s beheading. His machinations also led, if indirectly, to the War of the Five Kings.
Meanwhile, he also harbored hopes of seducing Catelyn, and later, her daughter Sansa. At the same time, he married Catelyn’s sister Lysa Arryn before murdering her and becoming Lord of the Vale.
Eventually, his scheming ways came back to bite him. After devising a plot to pit Sansa and Arya Stark against each other, he soon found that the two sisters had been the ones plotting against him all along. After being sentenced to death by Sansa, Arya summarily slit his throat and he died in a pool of blood.
5. Roose Bolton
Roose Bolton, like Littlefinger, was skilled at hiding his true nature. A Northern lord and bannerman to House Stark, Lord Bolton was one of Robb Stark’s most trusted advisors in his war against the Lannisters. However, Bolton had been long planning to betray the Starks and seize power for himself. Along with the Freys and the Lannisters, he orchestrated the slaughter of Robb and his forces at The Twins after secretly freeing the imprisoned Jaime Lannister.
In exchange for his alliance with the Lannisters, Lord Tywin named Roose Bolton as Warden of the North and rewarded him with dominion over Winterfell. Arguably a genuine sociopath, Roose’s calm and almost pleasant demeanor masked a man who delights in torture, violence, and preserved his own self-interest above all else. Ironically, Bolton was eventually betrayed by his own son, who stabbed him to death in the same manner that Roose did to Robb Stark.
4. Tywin Lannister
Lord Tywin Lannister was the feared and respected head of the noble House Lannister. First rising to power after wiping out a rival family at Castamere, Lord Tywin returned his house to prominence after it was nearly brought to an ignoble end at the hands of his father. Valuing his family and reputation above all else, Tywin used his keen political and tactical mind to ensure that Lannister interests always came out on top.
Initially serving as Hand to the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, Tywin eventually betrayed the King in support of Robert Baratheon’s rebellion. Meanwhile, he maneuvered Lannister interests into the true position of power behind the Iron Throne. Though not particularly cruel or sadistic, Lord Tywin was not above using any means necessary to pursue his goals. Verbally abusive and contemptuous towards his son Tyrion, Tywin eventually died an undignified death at Tyrion’s hand. He expired while using the toilet after Tyrion shot him through the chest with a crossbow.
3. Ramsay Bolton
The bastard son of Roose Bolton, Ramsay Bolton was proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Arguably more vicious and sadistic than his father, Ramsay took particular pleasure in violence and torture, both physical and psychological. After capturing Winterfell, Ramsay took Theon Greyjoy hostage and systematically abused and broke him down to become the obedient servant known as Reek.
Meanwhile, Ramsay delighted in using his pack of trained hunting dogs to go on human hunts in the forests around the castle, and committed countless other heinous acts all the while. After murdering his father, raping his unwilling bride Sansa, and taking control of the north, he faced down Jon Snow in battle after summarily executing his younger brother Rickon. After being defeated, he was sentenced to death. Imprisoned in Winterfell’s kennels, Sansa Stark watched on as he was torn to shreds by his own hounds.
2. The Night King
The mysterious Night King was created hundreds of years ago to be a living weapon. Before his transformation, The Night King was once a member of The Night’s Watch before being captured by the Children of the Forest. Fearing extinction at the hands of The First Men, the Children created the Night King to fight back. Unfortunately, The Night King soon proved uncontrollable.
Biding his time over hundreds of years, The Night King retreated north, raising an army of White Walkers and undead in the lands beyond The Wall. Soon enough, however, The Night King marched south with his armies, threatening to wipe out all human life and bring about an eternal winter. The Night King and his armies were eventually halted in one final battle at Winterfell, where his forces were defeated by a ragtag army led by Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. The Night King himself was killed with a Valyrian steel dagger wielded by none other than Arya Stark.
1. Joffrey Baratheon
Worse than the Night King? Hear us out.
Spiteful, cruel, and petulant, Joffrey Baratheon was crowned king after the untimely death of his father Robert. One of Joffrey’s first acts as king was to order the beheading of Ned Stark, and the acts of cruelty only got worse from there. The secret child of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, Cersei did nothing to curb her son’s nature. She watched as he abused his fiance Sansa Stark, ran rampant over the royal court, and cruelly participated in the killing of a hired prostitute.
As a King, Joffrey held no love for his subjects, and barely hid the fact that he actually despised the smallfolk that he ruled over. After casting Sansa aside, Joffrey was betrothed to Margaery Tyrell. Unfortunately for him, Margaery was aware of Joffrey’s cruel nature, and along with her grandmother Olenna, poisoned the young king at his wedding feast. Joffrey will forever hold a spot as the most widely hated character in the history of Game of Thrones.
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