Game of Thrones is a show full of characters we find ourselves constantly rooting for. Over the years, we’ve become inexorably attached to the Stark family, as the one house in the Seven Kingdoms genuinely concerned about the well-being of its citizens. Outside of the North, fans have overwhelmingly decided that Tyrion Lannister is everyone’s favorite, with his companion-in-arms Bronn running a close second. But for every character we love, there’s one we loathe to an equal degree of ferocity.
The sheer brutality of Game of Thrones really makes it easy to hate a wide swathe of characters, whether it’s because of their cartoonishly evil behavior, or simply their constantly getting in the way of moving the plot along.
1. Joffrey Baratheon
This one is probably the most obvious of the bunch. For his time, King Joffrey spent a majority of his run hitting women (or ordering others to do it for him), yelling at people who didn’t deserve it, and generally being a sociopathic twerp. Needless to say, no one mourned his death in the fourth season, making for one of the most satisfying moments in a show that usually revels in allowing its most hated characters to run free of consequences.
2. Ramsay Snow (Bolton)
We didn’t meet Ramsay Snow until much later in the show’s run, but that didn’t stop him from making his mark as one of the most evil characters in the entire universe. His main role: to gleefully torture the life out of poor Theon Greyjoy. Those who are faint of heart may have found themselves looking away as Snow peeled away fingernails and severed appendages, changing Greyjoy so profoundly that he completely remade his personality. Joffrey may have been a rich and spoiled brat, but Ramsay Snow consistently has made anything the King did look like child’s play compared to his sadistic brand of evil. And all this is without even mentioning the sexual abuse of his newlywed wife, Sansa, in Season 5.
3. Cersei Lannister
It’s easy to hate just about anyone in the Lannister clan, but Cersei stands above the rest. Jaime found his redemption in losing a hand, and Tywin worked for the good of his legacy and his house before dying at the hands of his son. Cersei, on the other hand, works only to impress people, whether it’s her father or the citizens of King’s Landing. In this, she’s been responsible for Tyrion’s sentencing to death, indirectly killing Ned Stark, directly killing Robert Baratheon, and Joffrey’s brief run on the throne. Behind her, she’s left a wake of destruction, making her the least favorite member of a family everyone already hated.
4. Roose Bolton
The Red Wedding was one of the more — if not the most — shocking moments of the entire series, with a death toll composed of Robb Stark, his wife, his unborn child, his mother, his direwolf, and countless nameless Northern soldiers. The man responsible? Roose freaking Bolton. Bolton was given control of the North in exchange for leading his allies into a crossbow-laden deathtrap, killing off our only hope for putting a Stark on the Iron Throne. It was a traumatizing moment for any viewer with a heart, and forever put poor Roose on the chopping block as everyone’s least favorite Northerner. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that he’s the patriarch for a house that literally flays people. Yeah. Not great.
5. Theon Greyjoy
Before he was tortured into insanity at the hands of Ramsay Snow, Theon Greyjoy made himself eminently unlikable from a very early stage. Originally, Robb trusted him enough to send him back to the Iron Islands to convince the Greyjoys to join their fight against the Lannisters. What he did instead was join his father in an ill-advised rebellion. He then took that as a cue to take Winterfell from the Starks by force. After getting a handful of innocent Northerners killed through his own treachery, his men finally turned on him long enough to hand him over to the Boltons, who then burned Winterfell to the ground. Thanks for nothing, Theon.
Most of the crimes of the characters on this list consist of things like death and dismemberment. Craster’s sins are far more egregious. When the Night’s Watch stumbled upon his keep north of The Wall, even the most hardened of them were horrified to see that Craster was busy making a regular habit of sleeping with his daughters, and in turn producing more daughters for his terrifyingly incestuous stable of sister-daughter-wives. He, too, finds his just desserts at the end of the sword, but not before we spent a solid three to four episodes wondering just how George R.R. Martin manages to keep topping himself when it comes to creating terrible people.
7. Alliser Thorne
The journey of Alliser Thorne’s character has been a strange one. He started as the entrenched Night’s Watch officer who chose to hate Jon Snow for really no reason, then became kind of OK when Snow saved his hide when the Wildlings attacked. His latest antics though are about as unforgivable as it gets, having led a mutiny against Snow, culminating in the assassination of a Game of Thrones favorite. Snow came back to life, but it doesn’t change the fact that Thorne was a big fat jerk anyway.
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