We’ve gone through all the goody two-shoes of #Westeros, now it’s time to go through all of the murderous bastards, backstabbers, liars and cheats. Y’know, all the people that keep you watching or reading to see what kind of red-redding-child-burning-peasant-massacring shenanigans they’ll get up to next. Here are all of the evil characters you love to hate. And be sure to check out our guide to the good alignment heroes of Westeros as well as the morally grey neutral ones.
Ah, everyone’s favorite evil little shit. He’s like Draco Malfoy dialed up to 11. You couldn’t ask for a better example of chaotic evil than Joffrey. He shows little to no concern for actually governing the kingdom; this sadistic little monster’s only operating parameter was governed by his need to torment anyone and everyone around him and humiliating any easy target. He never even really bothered to play the Game of Thrones since the only thing governing any of his ruling decisions was seemingly unending spiteful whims. Even his own mother could do little to control him with the only thing holding back his more destructive tendencies being the supreme authority held by his venerated grandfather #TywinLannister.
I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement here, but just to be sure, let’s take quick stock of the things #Joffrey has done. Lied to make sure a boy was hunted down and killed. Deliberately lied to Sansa about letting her father go to amuse himself with her suffering. Had one of his minions beat #Sansa because he felt like it. Ordered a singer’s tongue cut out. Tried to execute a knight for showing up to a tournament drunk. Refused to help the masses as they starved to death. Ordered the death of hundreds of commoners because someone hit him with cow shit. Left members of his entourage after said entourage started losing the riot he started after ordering his men to kill peasants after he was hit with a cow pie. We could go on. So yeah. Chaotic evil.
Ramsay is easily the worst bastard in the entire series, and considering Joffrey, that’s saying something. Ramsay was kind of built into being a Joffery 2.0. But in all honesty, Ramsay is even worse than Joffrey because Ramsay, unlike Joffrey, understands the full implications of everything he is doing. It’s what makes Ramsay an infinitely more terrifying presence. Joffrey lived a relatively pampered existence letting most other people do his vile bidding, but Ramsay has been out on his own committing vile acts before Roose even acknowledged him as his bastard. He tortures and murders, well, pretty much anything and everything that gets in his way on his own initiative and without nearly the font of power and wealth that Joffrey has at his disposal and with none of Joffrey’s attention seeking neediness. Ramsay is evil because… do I really need to explain why he’s evil? If I have to explain why Ramsay is evil, I might as well explain why people need air to breath. Given time, Joffrey might have eclipsed Ramsay, but only because he would have had more resources at his disposal.
Let’s just look at his chaotic side instead. #Ramsay does not care. That’s pretty much it. Ramsay kills and maims who he waits, counting on either his own cunning, his father, or other people’s fear and apathy to let him get away with it. He doesn’t consider the consequences of his actions, and if he did, I’m guessing he’d probably do the same stuff anyway and then try to murder his way out of the situation. He has no concern for law, doing only what he wants whenever he wants. If he was suddenly disowned by his father, he’d probably go on murdering and take to life as a highwayman… after trying to kill Roose of course.
This has given him a vicious cunning that is far more dangerous than anything Joffrey could ever pretend to be. Joffrey may be a psychotic bully, but as much as he loves talking the talk, he always backs down when things don’t appear to be going in his favor. Ramsey can take care himself and is cunning enough to maneuver his way out of any fiasco his chaotic nature might find himself stuck in. But despite what meager intelligence and cunning he might have, his cruel and chaotic nature will always see him as more of a destructive liability to his father who has the common sense to keep quiet about his own misdeeds.
Balon is kind of like a kid with a cookie jar who keeps on being scolded by his mother. He knows he shouldn’t put his hand in because someone will slap it, but he can’t help himself. Only in this case, the candy is gold and sweet sweet murder. His entire culture is pretty much predicated on the idea that you’re only worth what you can kill, rape, and pillage, so is it any wonder the guy is a walking viking stereotype? The only thing keeping him from rampaging his way across the coasts is the threat that someone will take notice of him and slap him down again like Robert Baratheon did the last time he tried that.
He bent the knee and promised to be on his very best-est behavior when that happened, which of course only lasted until the mainland stopped paying attention for five minutes because of an internal squabble. All of a sudden, Balon is shouting about the old ways and swearing he’s going to take himself a kingdom! He’ll never get it; someone will always slap his hand for touching the cookie jar. He’s like a dog eating table scraps despite knowing better; the taste of what few little morsels and crumbs he can get his grubby little hands on makes it all worthwhile.
At one point, Viserys wasn’t chaotic. He might have even been considered to be neutral or lawful evil. But years of constantly begging for the generosity of others to support his claim to the throne of Westeros slowly eroded at Viserys’s already meager fortitude and moral constitution. Any pride he might have had was completely demolished to the point where his ancestral #Targaryen incest rage took over any form of rational thought. The straw that broke the camel's back was when Khal Drogo preceded to take his time in fulfilling his vows to sack the Seven Kingdoms and return the Iron Throne back to Viserys. This brought out the worst of Viserys’s incest rage, causing him to lash out against his sister, since her being the one last thing he could torment.
Of course, this was amidst Dany’s ascension as #Khaleesi making it the absolute worst time he could pick to try to bully his sister into submission. She was surrounded by a khalasar of 40,000 warriors willing to butcher him if he so much touched a single hair on her head. His malicious and petty nature would ultimately get the best of him when he thought he could use a sword in the Dothraki Capital. But #KhalDrogo showed him quite easily that he didn’t need any weapons to get the job done. His nature ultimately won him a golden crown, but it was also one that killed him as well.
Asha isn’t particularly evil by nature. She’s just a skilled daughter doing her father proud. Better than that, she’s so good at her family’s trade she manages to outdo all of her siblings both living and dead. Her crew is fiercely devoted towards her and she’s easily respected as one of the premier commanders of the Iron Fleet. But the thing, is her family’s trade is reaving and raiding, and she doesn’t seem to particularly have much of a conscience about the consequences of her action. Nothing is done out of any form of malice; if you asked her, she’d probably just tell her she’s just doing a job. Asha has managed to step into the role and make her father proud as one of the most competent and skilled raiders and viking warriors in all of the Iron Islands. Despite the fact that she’s evil because that’s how she was raised, that doesn’t make her actions any less horrible. Killing someone because that’s what everyone else is doing doesn’t make it not evil.
So what about the chaotic? Well, her entire culture is chaotic. Freedom, individuality, and literally taking anything and everything that isn’t nailed down is pretty much ingrained in her culture. It’s implied in the King’s Moot that she’d probably like to lead her people in a direction that’s less likely to leave most of the seven kingdom’s screaming for their heads given that retribution is inevitable. While they're great at raiding and conquering, the Ironborn are terrible at holding territory for any length of time because they’re literally too chaotic to set up any kind of stable, lasting infrastructure.
On the television adaptation of #GameofThrones no supporting characters have been given better treatment then the duo of #Littlefinger and Varys. They both have origins of rising up to their station from common peasantry due to their own talents. Their services are often required by the highborn nobles, but no matter how indispensable they prove themselves to be they are never fully trusted or respected. While Varys is one of the very few characters who operates for the good of the realm Little Finger only gives a damn about himself.
He doesn’t care about the consequences of his actions or the people he hurts. In fact, he was the architect of the inciting event that caused the War of Five Kings in the first place. His poisoning of Jon Arryn single–handedly managed to destabilize the realm and destroy some of the oldest and most powerful houses in the seven kingdoms. He is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of peasants and high born, not to mention nearly complete obliteration of house Stark. All just to get back at one guy who stole a girl he liked, But that was all just a bonus for him.
Okay, so that definitely makes him evil… like hidden monster levels of evil. But what makes him neutral? Quite simply, the fact that he doesn’t care about anything other than himself. He’ll do things for the good of the people, but only if that benefits him. Varys said it best, “He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes.” And the worst thing is, almost no one would see him do it. He hides behind the law as a member of the Small Council. He cooks the books and manages the treasury. But he also breaks the law every time it’s opportune to do so, just so long as he doesn’t get caught.
At the same time, the measured calm and consistency with which he approaches his plans pretty much rules out chaos. He’s not interested in personal freedom; he wants power. He’s willing to play the petty coin counting bureaucrat and fake subservience if that’s what pulls him up through the ranks of society. There are no wild flights of revenge fantasy or displays of temper. If he can slight or hurt someone who hurt him, he will, but only if it doesn’t interfere with his current plans. He’s interested in himself, and the calculated, measured way he goes about his plans preclude the likelihood of a chaotic aspect of his personality. He uses chaos much like he uses the law, for his own selfish interests.
It’s not exactly hard to see Cersei is kinda evil. She kills… a lot of people or has them killed. She puts up with her son’s own evil shit and even encourages it. She doesn’t object when Jamie throws a small child to his assumed death. None of this makes for a good person. But is she lawful or chaotic? Honestly, neither. I’m pretty sure #Cersei would be some kind of lawful if she was a man, and we’re not saying that a change in gender would somehow radically change her disposition. Instead it has everything to do with the problems she faces in the society she lives in. She’s constantly furious that she’s not a man, and it’s easy to understand why. Not being born with a penis pretty much screwed her over in Westeros politics. She has the scheming nature and natural affinity for politics of her father, but she’s not allowed to rule the way a man would.
Instead she has to resort to trickery and seduction to get what she wants. She has to use her son as a proxy when she really wants to exert authority on her own. For the most part, she works within the confines of the law as best she can, but has no problems breaking them behind the scenes when she finds it useful. Also, she has some impulse and anger control problems, which, I can’t really blame her for, but it kinda presents some problems. Reinstating the Faith Militant, hiring cronies for the small council, building a fleet, and refusing to repay the Iron Bank were not the most politically savvy moves though I bet it was pretty satisfying at the time. Ultimately she becomes her own worst enemy, unlike Margery who utilizes the tools of her station to the best of her ability, all while keeping fantastic public persona, Cersei does not have the disposition to fake that kind of kindness to use as weapon outside of social platitudes. Her bitter anger ultimately comes back to bite her in the end when the long term consequences of her short term solutions come back rearing their ugly head.
Not all evil has to have grand schemes for power. Sometimes evil is just petty, and sometimes spite is all that’s needed for the most malicious acts. #WalderFrey is a vindictive, sour old man who hates everyone and everything. Hell, he even hates his own family. The only thing keeping him from acting on his hatred for them is a bitter understanding that they’re the only thing that will ultimately preserve his legacy. Frey, despite the astounding amount of hate crammed in such a shrunken old frame, is clever enough to make deals. Anything that will benefit him, he’s willing to dicker over, and provided it continues to benefit him, I’m inclined to think he’s probably as good as his word.
Hell, with enough flattery, he’d probably be willing to cling to a deal just to spite everyone else who hadn’t bothered approaching him first. Of course, any kind of slight, and all bets are off. Rob made a fatal mistake when he went back on his word, leading to possibly the most brutal sequence of events in the entire series. Why? Because he pissed off Walder Frey, someone who doesn’t even care about the throne, just himself. If Frey was a little more lawful, he probably could have gotten a pretty sweet deal out of Rob’s stupid decision. After all, the Starks needed him, and he knew it. He probably could have named his own terms and even had Rob publicly acknowledge his debt to the Freys.
Instead, in a fit of rage, he killed pretty much everyone he could get his hands on. Roose Bolton probably would have wrangled more lands, gold, and promises of future titles out of Rob’s impulsive fit of teenage love just by keeping calm. But not Frey. You see, Frey is content to sit on his land and milk every ounce of strategic advantage it can provide. But honestly, I don’t think it’s really about any kind of power and wealth. He’d old enough that he doesn’t care because all that power and money would go to his family. Who he hates. Deep down, I’m pretty sure it’s all about being able to tell anyone and everyone that Frey dislikes to go screw themselves. Because Frey is just that petty.
Okay, there are a ton of lawful evil people in The Song of Ice and Fire, but by far my absolute favorite is Roose Bolton. I have seen vinyl pop figures for Ramsey Bolton, Little Finger, and even Hodor. But I’ve never seen Roose. I’ve seen giant pint glasses and shot glasses for all the major houses, but never house Bolton. And that is a goddamn shame. I would buy everything and anything I could get my hands on. Why? Because Roose Bolton knows how to win the Game of Thrones. You win the game of thrones much like you win Call of Cthulhu or Diplomacy - by not playing.
Anyway, my fangasm aside, Roose Bolton epitomizes lawful evil. The man fought against the Targaryens because he’s a Stark bannerman, and that’s what is expected of him. Oh, and let’s not forget the rest of the North rose up as well, and it would have been a death sentence not to. When the rest of the Stark bannermen proclaimed Rob Stark King in the North, he goes along with it. Why? Because he owes Rob Stark his allegiance since a plurality of lords decided to break away from King’s Landing, he would have been a dead man if he didn’t. When he attacks Stark at the red wedding, it is both because the original government offered him a deal, and I suspect because Rob was stupid enough to go back on his word, throwing their victory into question.
Roose doesn’t care about power for it’s own sake. He enjoys his rule and the comforts it brings, but he his more than willing to serve if it means his own continued prosperity. Of course, that alone doesn’t make him evil. Just lawful. He might easily be lawful neutral. What makes him evil are the lengths he is willing to go to in order to ensure tranquility. He ignores the violent, psychotic behavior of his son. He willfully betrays a comrade to ensure a better situation for himself. Roose has no interest in political power. He doesn’t want to be feared. He’s not playing the game of thrones, he’s playing for survival.
He’s dangerous and morally corrupt not because he wants to rule the kingdom, but because all he wants the peace, quiet, and comfort a lawful, ordered society brings, especially when you’re part of the ruling class and he is willing to do anything and kill anyone to get it. And yes, Roose died at the hands of his own son. Despite Roose’s expert ability to game the system to his advantage, his lawfully aligned loyalty to his own flesh sealed his fate. Ramsay’s chaotic nature and complete disregard for the consequences of his actions are what finally did Roose in because Roose is a man who only ever thinks about what the consequences might be. And despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, he never expected Ramsay to do something as completely self destructive as killing the man responsible for keeping him out of trouble.
This should not even be a question. Tywin is an evil, scheming son of a bitch. He had a bunch of his guards gang rape his son’s wife because he said she was a whore. He had songs written about the brutality with which he dealt with the upstart houses of his bannermen. His goal, his only goal, is the restoration of his house to glory, and damn anyone and anything that gets in his way, including his own family. Let’s not forget that he disowned Jamie for his disobedience. Oh, and he keeps Gregor Clegane and his men around as a brute squad should he need anything completely and thoroughly pillaged, burned, and otherwise ravaged for purposes of intimidation or political advantage that he can disavow at a moment’s notice. So, Tywin is a cold hearted bastard with little to no problem committing heinous acts to further the cause of house Lannister.
Wouldn’t that be more in line with neutral evil like Petyr Baelish? Well, it would except for one little thing. A Lannister always pays his debts. Tywin is a firm believer in that, and I very much doubt he would see his betrayal of the Targaryens as anything more than falling into line with the victorious noble house, and thus accepting the next obvious ruler. Remember, lawful evil has a desire for order, especially if that order results in substantial privileges given to them. While Tywin schemes, he schemes as a lord playing the game of thrones within the ever shifting balance of power between the houses. He is not Little Finger, ready and willing to cast aside any law that no longer serves him. Tywin rewards those he believes have served him well and honors his agreements for as long it is possible to without completely jeopardizing himself or the Lannister house. So long as someone is willing to bend knee and obey, they’re safe from the bald headed lion stalking Casterly Rock.
Okay, let’s just start off with a very simple premise that I don’t think anyone should really have too much of a problem with. Sacrificing people to your god by burning them alive is an evil act. And don’t give me any of that “but what about the greater good? Surely a few men to save the world from endless winter is a worthy trade” crap. Human sacrifice is evil. Just because you’re doing it to try to stop a bigger, more terrifying evil doesn’t mean you’re not evil yourself. Also, it means your god is evil. Just going to throw that out there too. So okay. #Melisandre is evil. Hopefully that wasn’t a hard sell.
I’m pretty sure her being lawful shouldn’t be too hard either. Roose is lawful because of his adherence to worldly order and power, but Melisandre is lawful for her adherence to the divine. Now, don’t get me wrong. If your god is neutral or chaotic and you’re a fanatic, you’re probably neutral or chaotic as well. The thing is, all we have to go on is how Melisandre acts towards R’hllor and other people, and man is she pretty okay with the power structure. Most of what I’m going on is who she chooses to associate herself with. The red flag for me is that she attaches herself to Stannis, possibly the most stick up the ass lawful man in Westeros at the order of her god. That in and of itself should suggest something about what her god and by extension she values.
Gregore Clegane AKA The Mountain That Rides
At first glance you might be wondering why this inhuman monster of muscles is in the lawful evil category. Isn’t he just a rape and murder machine renowned for committing hundreds of untold atrocities across the land with little consideration for the repercussions of his actions? Yes. Yes he is. But think about it; #Clegane may be an awful monster of a man, but this monster is smart enough to understand when not to bite the hand that feeds him. Generally he keeps his destruction limited until he finds himself unleashed and given orders by his liege Tywin Lannister. He even obeys the command of Robert Baratheon to yield. He is built for only one thing, but he’s smart enough to keep his baser instincts in check until he receives the command to sow chaos and destruction wherever he goes. He understands his very simple purpose as a living weapon meant to be unsheathed when his liege lord commands. It’s a very simple understanding of the law.
But for someone like Clegane, it’s all he really needs to understand. His lord’s command is absolute. His lord’s word is law and that law dictates who can be murdered, tortured, robbed, or raped and who can’t. Probably the part of the whole deal to him is that he isn’t even required to do any critical thinking. All he has to do is unleash hell upon whatever poor soul Tywin sets him against.
So, what do you think? Did we somehow get Tywin wrong? Should Gregore be neutral evil? Or maybe Roose is right where he’s supposed to be. Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our list of the good heroes of Westeros as well as the neutral morally grey lords and ladies of Westeros.