Skip to main content

Game of Thrones featured plenty of villains in its eight seasons on HBO, but few were more despised than Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon). Both characters performed atrocious acts during their runs on the show, and most fans cheered when they met their respective ends. But which one takes the cake for being the worst villain on Game of Thrones?

Game of Thrones Iwan Rheon
‘Game of Thrones’ star Iwan Rheon | Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Inside Joffrey’s rise to power on ‘Game of Thrones’

In season 1 of Game of Thrones, everyone’s worst nightmares came true when Joffrey took the Iron Throne following Robert Baratheon’s (Mark Addy) death. After forcing Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) to watch her father get decapitated, he took her to be his wife.

But instead of marrying Sansa (which would have been awful enough), Joffrey tortured her and picked someone else to wed. He even beat Sansa in public and basically made her a pariah throughout his short reign.

Aside from his antics towards Sansa, Joffrey was guilty of murdering people for the fun of it. He also had a very bad anger problem and even his own mother, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), had trouble controlling him.

Joffrey’s time on the throne came to a fitting end in season 4 when he was poisoned. Just about every fan rejoiced when Joffrey got what was coming to him, and we later learned that Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) was the one who actually poisoned him.

Although many fans considered Joffrey a complete monster for what he did, his death came around the same time Ramsay came onto the scene.

A look at Ramsay’s crimes on ‘Game of Thrones’

Ramsay was first introduced in season 3 of Game of Thrones as Theon Greyjoy’s (Alfie Allen) captor. What Ramsay did to Theon is pretty unspeakable. Not only did he endlessly torture Theon after taking over Winterfell, but he also cut off the poor guy’s penis and transformed him into a shell of his previous self.

To make things even worse, Ramsay married Sansa, whom he beat and severely mistreated. While Joffrey and Sansa had their moments, there is an argument to be made that Ramsay treated her far worse.

As the Game of Thrones progressed, Ramsay took over his family’s house by killing his adopted father, Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton). He then fed his stepmom and baby brother to his pack of starving dogs.

Ramsay’s rule ended at the hands of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in the season 6 episode, “Battle of the Bastards.” Although Ramsay survived the battle, Sansa appropriately killed him off by feeding him to his own dogs. 

Who was worse — Ramsay or Joffrey?

Game of Thrones fans will ultimately have to decide for themselves if Joffrey or Ramsay was the worst. While both characters did terrible things, Ramsay might edge out Joffrey as the worst villain, but just barely.

The thing Joffrey has going against him is that he was the show’s first most-despised villain. He also had a longer run on the series and, being the King of Westeros, had ultimate power with few consequences. This made Joffrey a total wildcard as you never knew what he was going to do next.

That said, Joffrey was still a young boy when he took the throne. That does not excuse his behavior, but we have to cut him a little slack for being so young. He also had a psychopath for a mother, which probably did not help.

Ramsay, on the other hand, was a full-grown man when he performed some of his worst acts, so we cannot use age as an excuse for his behavior. The things he did were also arguable worse in terms of their brutality, and the fact that he was an active participant sets him apart from Joffrey, who relied on others to do his bad deeds.

Luckily, neither Ramsay or Joffrey made it to the end of Game of Thrones and both of them got what they deserved.