If I could attempt to sum up Game of Thrones, it would go something like this: epic dragons, iconic battles, and unforgettable villains. Regarding the latter, GOT fans had much to say on Twitter in deciphering which villain stands above all the rest.
No doubt, there are many despicable characters in Game of Thrones, so everyone strap in, and let’s explore some of the internet’s top villain preferences!
Cersei v. Ramsay
The tweet that started it all put forth a matchup for the ages: Cersei Lannister against Ramsay Bolton. The subsequent responses showed a clear distinction between the two that ultimately expands the villain discussion towards a deeper question: what type of villain makes the best villain?
Lucidly, the Team Cersei crowd came out swinging, testifying to her cunning, complex character, which arguably trumps Ramsey’s untempered insanity.
Another vital consideration in this villain debate is their overarching impact on the show. Whereas Ramsay Bolton only reached his villain heights in Season 5, Cersei is a key player from start to finish. Notably, per Screen Rant, “Cersei appeared on 62 episodes of the show’s 73.” To compare, Ramsay only totaled “20” episodes.
Given we become much more familiar with Cersei and even feel for her in some instances (ex. walk of atonement), her villain role is much more complex. She’s a character we love to hate and hate to love. For instance, who can deny Cersei blowing up the Sept of Baelor as one of the most iconic moments in television history? I’m still reeling from that scene!
Ultimately, I understand the Team Cersei hype. Yes, Ramsay is one of the most horrific, sadistic villains in TV history, but Cersei’s calculated revenge plots make her a fantastic, morally gray character. Honestly, whenever I want to tap into that female villain energy, I channel Cersei Lannister. What does this look like, you ask? I simply pour myself a glass of wine and stare out the window dramatically (with a subtle smirk).
Types of Villains
As mentioned, the recent Twitter discussions highlight that there are various types of villains. While Ramsay Bolton is 100% evil, other villains are harder to pigeonhole into a character archetype.
One such character brought up in GOT Twitter was Peter Baelish. No doubt, Littlefinger is responsible for setting a lot of the plot in motion, though his influence is deliberately behind the scenes. He is a conniving, deceptive figure whose villainy is more understated than Ramsay’s, but equally important.
Also, if we’re talking of Cersei’s villainy, we have to incorporate her brother/lover, Jaime, and their horrible tyrant of a son, Joffrey. Honestly, much of the Lannister clan can be read as villains in some light (save for Tyrion of course).
Whereas Joffrey is an absolute monster, Jaime has a bit of a redemption arc. Starting off as this smug and apathetic character, we see Jaime undergo a significant transformation. I mean, considering he pushed Bran out of a tower window in episode one… he could only go up from there! He’s one prime example of a character whose villain status was only a starting point.
Finally, another pick I feel must be added to the villain discussion is Melisandre. Though she spent most of the series in the shadows, manipulating Stannis, one cannot forget that she was behind one of the most horrific acts of the series: burning Shireen Baratheon alive.
Yes, she came through last minute during the Battle of Winterfell, igniting a much-needed wall of fire to temporarily hold back the army of White Walkers. Still, I’m under the impression that sacrificing Shireen unchangeably cements her as a villain. It’s just unforgivable!
Clearly, one of Game of Thrones’ many successes was providing an array of villainous talent that contributed to the series’ grittiness, heartbreak, and unpredictability.
Do you have a particular GOT villain that tops all the rest? It’s never too late to take to Twitter and debate away. The fandom will meet you there!
Looking for more Game of Thrones discourse, check out our recent article on the newly-announced Jon Snow spin-off here.