It's no wonder so many characters from Game of Thrones turn out evil, because their parents are the absolute worst. While a lot of humans in the real world might suffer from a toxic parent or two, the families of Game of Thrones take dysfunction to a new high. And it's not just about childhood; some of these parents take pleasure out of destroying their adult kids' lives, too (I'm looking at you Tywin Lannister).The parents on GoT use their kids as pawns in their chess match of taking over the Iron Throne. They don't care who they marry their daughter to, or how many children they've fathered, or which child's life they sacrifice for "the greater good." These parents are, often, simply horrible.
But which parents are the most toxic ones on Game of Thrones? There is some pretty heavy competition here, because there is a while lot of bad parenting going on in The Seven Kingdoms, but some horrible mother or father has to come out on top (or bottom, depending on how you look at it). Here is the ranking of the worst parents GoT has ever seen, from pretty bad to absolutely terrible.
12. Catelyn Stark
Sorry, Catelyn, but maybe if you hadn't let Jaime Lannister go, you, then your son, his lady, and all his bannerman wouldn't have been murdered. Sure, his marriage pissed people off, and sure you didn't deserve what happened, but that move was a catalyst for the terrible things to come for the Starks.
11. Jaime Lannister
Cersei isn't the only one who deserves hate for birthing children out of incest and generally being a terrible parent (but more on her later). Jaime is responsible for some pretty bad parenting, and takes half of the blame for the way Joffrey turned out.
10. Robert Baratheon
In Season 2, viewers found out that when Cersei was giving birth to she and Robert's (alleged) three children, this "proud" papa would go out hunting. He didn't even care enough about his children to be there when they were born –– all they were to him were heirs.
9. Danaerys Targaryen
It must be difficult to rear dragons when no one has done it for thousands of years –– it's not like there are any What To Expect When You're Expecting Dragons books out there. That being said, chaining up a wild animal doesn't seem like a great idea, Dany. Also, this Mother of Dragons totally sacrificed her actual child to save her husband, which didn't even work out.
8. Walder Frey
It's pretty narcissistic that he makes his family name their children after him in an attempt to curry favor. It's probably very confusing at family reunions.
7. Roose Bolton
Ramsay Bolton would be super evil even without his father's help, but Roose has definitely not been the best example of lordship. Fans will never forget his role in the Red Wedding, or his love of flaying people. It also wasn't very nice when he took his bastard son up a hill to show him everything that would someday belong to his actually legitimate brother.
6. Lysa Arryn
Spoiling and sheltering your child so much they turn into an odd little monster is just as messed up as not caring about them at all. Poisoning their father to be with another man? Also frowned upon in most societies.
5. Balon Greyjoy
Remember when Balon totally left his only remaining son to fend for himself, after Theon tried so desperately hard to get his approval? Not cool, dude. Theon killed two little boys and sacked his old homestead for you, and you left him, letting him become a tortured young man named Reek.
4. Tywin Lannister
Nothing says "I like to constantly undermine you and am therefore a super toxic parent" quite like forcing your son to marry a child and then taking his actual one true love away from him. Then there was all the talk of how Tyrion killed his mother when she gave birth to him, which was, obviously, not his fault at all.
3. Cersei Lannister
Coming in at #3, Cersei messed things up right out of the gate when she gives birth to kids via incest, and spends their entire lives lying to them about it. She's responsible for Joffrey being a total monster, and takes such control over her kids' lives that it always ends in disaster.
I'm going to say that marrying all your daughters and then brutally leaving their sons in the snow for some sort of White Walker training camp puts Craster in a position of high dysfunction.
1. Stannis Baratheon
It takes a special sort of toxic parenting to sacrifice your child to a fire god. There's nothing quite as selfish as murdering your child to get what you want. Get it together, Stannis.
From the looks of things, many of GoT's poor characters had some pretty miserable childhoods forced upon they by their toxic parents. Sure puts things in perspective, doesn't it? It's going to be very interesting to see what some of these parents (the ones that are still alive, at least) do next in Season 6. I'm wishing for some apologies and redemption, but in my heart, I know it's not to be.
Images: HBO, Giphy (11)