It's sometimes difficult to tell the heroes from the villains on Game of Thrones. The good guys seem to do their fair share of killing and betrayal, while the bad guys are often victims of tough situations. That said, Game of Thrones has provided some unforgettable villains, from the supernatural to the psychotic. George R.R. Martin and the HBO Game of Thrones creators seem to have a knack for capturing human behavior at its most depraved and creepy, creating plenty of evil characters who remain in our heads and in our nightmares long after their time on the show.
While one can make an argument that characters from Tyrion to Sansa qualify as villains on Game of Thrones based on some of their actions, I've chosen to limit my selection to those characters who seem to have few, if any, redeeming qualities. There are those whose desire to win the game of thrones is so machiavellian and ruthless that there seem to be no limit to what they'll do, those with rigid beliefs that are violently enforced on others, those who are sexual predators, those who are thoughtless murderers and sadists, you name it. In order of least to most memorable, here are 21 villains Game of Thrones fans aren't likely to forget, whether or not the characters have lived to continue their tyranny on the show.
You can't expect anything good from the man who does Roose Bolton's dirty work.
The scarred Styr is one of the scariest wildlings and is best remembered for cannibalizing some of the Night's Watch.
19. Roose Bolton
Bolton is only slightly less creepy than his son and is an evil patriarchal orchestrator, like Tywin but with more torture.
18. The High Sparrow
The leader of the Sparrows is tyrannical and rigid in his moral beliefs.
Littlefinger is subtle in his villainy, but his cunning, scheming charm is terrifying in its own way.
16. Ser Meryn Trant
Trant follows the Lannisters' orders unquestioningly, which is a recipe for disaster before you factor in his affinity for young girls.
15. Grand Maester Pycelle
Pycelle seems like a feeble old man but is actually a cunning schemer, which is chilling to realize.
14. Cersei Lannister
We see too much of Cersei's suffering for her to be a true villain, but she is certainly one of the show's most memorable characters.
13. Stannis Baratheon
While Stannis seemed like an OK guy at first, he was evil in his weakness against the more powerful Melisandre, who eventually led him to kill his own daughter.
12. Tywin Lannister
Tywin was a horrible father and an evil puppeteer for the Lannisters; he was a memorable villain, though he didn't do a lot of his own dirty work.
11. Viserys Targaryen
Viserys was controlling, ignorant, power-hungry, and overly sexual towards his sister; if he had lived longer, he would surely have been higher on this list.
10. Lysa Arryn
The scheming, insane sister of Catelyn was most memorable for her creepy love for her son Robin.
9. Sons Of The Harpy
With their golden masks and interest in preserving slavery, the rival gang is a memorable enemy to Daenerys.
With his habit of marrying his daughters, Craster is unforgettable as one of the grosser characters on the show.
7. Lord Walder Frey
A major orchestrator of the infamous Red Wedding, Frey will go down in evil Game of Thrones history.
6. Gregor Clegane
Otherwise known as The Mountain That Rides, Clegane is terrifyingly large with an appetite for violence to match.
5. Pyat Pree
While only briefly on the show (to unsuccessfully steal Dany's dragons), the warlock was memorably creepy looking and cunning.
4. The Night's King
The ruthless and terrifying to behold leader of the White Walker's represents the supernatural threat at the edge of Game of Thrones.
Melisandre comes from a long history of evil, magical queens that includes Morgan Le Fay and Ursula the Sea Witch. She can seduce almost anyone, which makes her particularly dangerous.
2. Ramsay Bolton
Ramsay spends so much time torturing people that it would be hard to forget him, his face so closely associated with some of the show's darkest moments.
1. Joffrey Baratheon
Joffrey was like if your little brother never grew out of his worst phase and then was given a ton of power and resources. Sure, the gross circumstances of his birth weren't his fault, and he was young at the time of his death, but he's as memorable a villain as Game of Thrones has ever produced.
There are probably many other evil contenders I've missed, and I'm sure that the series has plenty of villainy in store that will require this list to be updated. After all, one thing you can't deny Game of Thrones is good at is creating bad, evil, unforgettably creepy characters.
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