Full disclosure: I have not read any of the books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. This post is written from the point of view of someone who has only watched the Game of Thrones TV series. All characters referenced are currently still alive in the latest season 5 episode, “High Sparrow.” SPOILERS AHEAD! You’ve been warned.
Who would have ever thought I would miss King Joffrey Baratheon, the bastard son of an incestuous relationship, the bloodthirsty demon seed with the most punchable face in all of the seven kingdoms? Sure, I cheered like the Cleveland Browns had just won the Super Bowl when his ugly mug went purple and blood trickled out of every orifice on his face, but now that the golden-headed Hitler is in the dirt, I miss the little guy. Out of the remaining monsters that are still left in Westeros, and I’m talking human monsters, not White Walkers or any unknown creature beyond the Wall, not one has the hate-inspiring panache like Joffrey enjoyed. Out of everyone currently left alive on the show, there isn’t a soul that’s more fun to hate than the former king. Regardless, let’s take a look at the remaining villains left roaming the western continent and try to name a successor to the fans’ Most Hated Human in Westeros.
Is there anything worse than a traitor? The current Warden of the North swore his allegiance to the King in the North, Robb Stark, and then went behind his back, and brokered a deal with the Lannisters. That shady double-cross led into the set-up of the series: The Red Wedding, which saw Robb, Catelyn Stark, and most of the Stark bannermen slaughtered at Edmure Tully’s wedding.
Roose has just as big as a penchant for cruelty as Joffrey did, and the House Bolton gets its rocks off by flaying their enemies. But Roose is also highly intelligent and a master strategist; Roose knows when it’s appropriate to indulge in his more nefarious instincts and when to show some tact, which at least makes him more bearable than Joffrey, unlike…
The former bastard son of Roose, now officially gifted with his father’s last name, should have been Joffrey’s best friend. They both love playing sadistic torture games and have an insatiable bloodlust. Hell, Ramsay is so evil that he even made the Douchebag of the North, Theon Greyjoy, a sympathetic character by subjecting him to mental and physical torment, chopping off his “favorite toy,” and transforming him into a subservient slave named Reek. It rhymes with weak.
Ramsay constantly disappoints his father by being overzealous with his displays of violence and torture. He truly delights in flaying and shows zero remorse for any of his actions, except when they upset his father. The worst part about Ramsay is how giddy and giggly he becomes at the first sign of anguish or blood. He never thinks about the consequences of his dastardly deeds, which can be seen by the way he squanders the chance at utilizing Theon as a political pawn by using torture to completely erase the Ironborn’s identity. Ramsay Bolton could very well be as bad or worse than Joffrey Baratheon.
The Queen Regent and the eldest child of the late, great Tywin Lannister, Cersei is the Head Bitch-in-Charge in King’s Landing, no matter how much power Margaery Tyrell acquires. Cersei had a hand in her husband’s death, double-crossed Ned Stark, was party to the paralysis of young Bran Stark, and hates her youngest brother Tyrion so much that she almost had him killed for a crime he didn’t commit. She’s cold, ruthless, and will betray anyone that tries to displace her, her children, and her lover/brother, Jaime.
As manipulative and cunning as Cersei likes to believe she is though, she’s actually more like a spoiled, petulant child. She’s as arrogant and short-sighted as her deceased son. That doesn’t mean she should be underestimated; Cersei will use real emotions to mask her manipulations, and would be much larger a threat if she wasn’t so flippant and constantly drunk. Cersei may be a nightmare of a person, but she isn’t half as dangerous as she thinks that she is.
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Easily one of the most intelligent, manipulative, and dangerous men in Westeros, Baelish may not be physically imposing, but he’s a sociopath capable of incredible destruction. His schemes kicked off the events of the entire series, as he was responsible for engineering the death of John Arryn which brought Ned Stark to King’s Landing, plotted Stark’s betrayal and death, and kickstarted the War of the Five Kings. He also conspired with Olenna Tyrell to poison Joffrey, murdered Lysa Arryn to become Lord of the Eyrie until her son Robin comes off age, and is currently using Sansa Stark to gain leverage in the North.
Like, COME ON! How do you get more cunningly evil than that? In no time, Littlefinger may find himself in control of two of the largest, most impenetrable regions of Westeros, and since no one is sure what his true motivations or plans are, that’s a terrifying thought. Littlefinger is so good at being bad that you almost have to appreciate it, and it definitely makes him a character you love to hate.
Lady Melisandre, The Red Woman
Does she really have mystical powers or is she just a seductress who’s incredibly deceptive and tricky? She must have some magical skill if she birthed the Smoke Baby that killed Renly Baratheon, but something tells me she isn’t always channeling power from the Lord of Light like she portrays. Melisandre uses her sex appeal and witchy ways to turn Stannis Baratheon from a grim bore with a legitimate claim to the throne into an unreasonable religious fanatic that burns anyone who crosses him. Stannis wouldn’t be nearly half as deplorable if it wasn’t for Melisandre’s influence, and that’s why he escapes this list. The Night is definitely Dark and Full of Terrors, but that might be because Melisandre’s out there preying on the feeble-minded.
Ser Meryn Trant
Member of the Kingsguard, Meryn might have the second most punchable face next to Joffrey. I like to call it “poo face,” as Meryn constantly looks like he caught a whiff of a nasty turd. A Lannister yes-man who routinely breaks the knights code of honor, he beats women like Sansa at Joffrey’s order, insults and threatens fan favorites like Tyrion and Bronn, and is just a generally disgusting sycophant. Hopefully Ser Meryn Trant meets his demise soon.
Lord Walder Frey
Old piss and vinegar, pervert, all-around miser Walder Frey is the other chief operator in the downfall of the King in the North, his mother, and bannermen. After Robb Stark went back on his promise to marry one of Walder’s many daughters, the sleazy, grotesque scumbucket wasted no time hatching a deal with the Boltons and Tywin Lannister to become Lord of Riverrun, more out of spite for the Tullys than anything else. With the Blackfish (Brynden Tully) still out there, and Arya needing new material for her dwindling list of names, here’s hoping the old man finally becomes “The Late Walder Frey” like Lord Tully once called him.
Note: The last spot on this list originally belonged to Janos Slynt before viewing “High Sparrow.” Good riddance, coward.