HBO’s Game of Thrones features some of the shadiest, most despicable, no-good reprobates in all of literature and television.
George R.R. Martin, the man behind the A Song of Ice and Fire books said it himself: “An artist has an obligation to tell the truth… the true horrors of human history derive not from orcs and Dark Lords, but from ourselves. We are the monsters. (And heroes too). Each of us has within himself the capacity for great good, and great evil.”
Here are the six most reprehensible “monsters” of the bunch:
1. Ramsay Snow
In a house infamous for flaying its enemies, Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Roose Bolton, is a shitty apple among an already thoroughly spoiled bunch.
Ramsay didn’t just “Lorena Bobbit” the captive Theon Greyjoy, shattering the guy physically — he tormented Theon psychologically as well, twisting him into little more than a castrated automaton named Reek.
As Reek, Theon is every bit Ramsay’s dutiful lackey; he’s evinced this in Episode 4.02 “The Lion and the Rose,” when Ramsay orders Reek to shave him even after dropping the bomb that Roose stabbed Robb Stark (who Theon had grown close with during his wardship with the Starks) through the heart during the “Red Wedding” and again in Episode 4.06 “The Laws of God and Men” when he botched his own sister’s (Yara Greyjoy) attempt to rescue him.
It takes a real sadistic son of a bitch to condition someone to that level of servility and Ramsay has reveled in every moment without a hint of remorse.
2. Joffrey Baratheon
You know how heated it makes you when some little shit kid throws a tantrum in public and the parents do nothing about it?
Or bullies another one that won’t fight back?
Or spouts a litany of profanities at you over XBox Live because his parents aren’t home yet?
Now imagine that kid is the goddamn king, knows he has power, and abuses it every chance he can.
All of the above is what makes Joffrey that much more infuriating than your run of the mill sadist dickhead. (And let’s not detract from Jack Gleeson’s performance as Joffrey on the television series; never has there been a more punchable face/voice/demeanor.)
Joffrey even threatened to have his little brother Tommen’s cat Ser Pounce skinned alive and served to him as a meal.
The Hound said it best: “Fuck the king.”
3. Aerys II Targaryen
Aerys II Targaryen doesn’t technically appear in the Game of Thrones TV series (though he was supposed to appear in a flashback), but he was king on the Iron Throne just before Robert Baratheon and is mentioned often enough to deserve a place on this list.
Referred to as “The Mad King,” Aerys’ proclivity for burning his victims alive eventually led to his downfall when he burned Rickard Stark, then Lord of Winterfell, alive while Rickard’s son Brandon was forced to watch with a noose around his neck and a sword just out of reach.
The executions caused much outrage and sparked Robert’s Rebellion, which eventually led to Aery’s expulsion from the throne (and death).
4. Walder Frey
The infamous “Red Wedding” from Episode 3.09 is one of the most talked about (and loathsome) events in Game of Thrones.
And guess who had a front row seat the entire time, clapping his wrinkled, liver-spotted hands together and cackling with glee the entire time it took place? Even when Robb’s pregnant wife Talisa got stabbed multiple times directly in her baby bump? Even when Catelyn Stark begged for her son’s life? Walder Frey, despicable old coot that he is.
5. Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane
With a nickname like “The Mountain,” Gregor Clegane is naturally a big dude. (The 8 foot tall, 420 pounds of solid muscle sort of big.)
Gregor doesn’t just have size in his favor; his notoriety as one of the Seven Kingdom’s most dangerous and violent warriors, as well as Tywin Lannister’s main enforcer ensure he has gotten away with some pretty rotten stuff.
For starters, we learn in Episode 1.04 that Gregor burned his little brother’s (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane) face over a flame simply because little bro borrowed one of his toys without asking.
Gregor’s actions during the Sack of King’s Landing were his worst. During the assault he raped and murdered Elia Targaryen, the crown prince’s wife (and Oberyn Martell’s sister) and killed her baby son by bashing his head against a wall.
And of course, in Episode 4.08, he pops Oberyn Martell’s head like a pimple at the conclusion of their one on one fight.
6. Petyr Baelish
Petyr Baelish may not be as overtly malign as some of the others on this list — but to exclude the man they call Littlefinger would be just plain wrong.
Baelish’s game doesn’t include pitching helpless infants against walls or skinning cats — but behind the scenes he is cunning, devious and has no qualms about manipulating others around him or doublecrossing those that consider him an ally just to improve his own standing.
And his ambitions are pretty damn lofty. As he remarks in Episode 3.06, “The Climb”:
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb; they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”
Episode 4.07 “Mockingbird” truly demonstrates Littlefinger’s ruthlessness when he pushes new wife Lysa Arryn/Tully through the Moon Door of the Eyrie and to her death.
Which character is your most hated? Which do you find to be most despicable? Sound off in the comments.