Game of Thrones: The 50 Best Villains

There are a lot of bad eggs in Westeros. These fifty are the best of the worst.

Game Of Thrones Villains

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Separating baddies from goodies in Game of Thrones is, like most things, a matter of whose flag you fly. There are plenty of pretenders to the Iron Throne to root for, and pretty much all of them have done terrible things. Even the most protagonist-y of the bunch have some modicum of blood under their nails. Lest we forget: Jon, Daenerys, and Theon have all killed children at one point or another. And yet we stump (no offense, Jamie). Speaking of Jamie: there’s also no shortage of pivoting heels now enjoying full-blown redemption arcs. All to say: War is full of messy bitches. Ethical gray areas just come with the territory.

However, lest we continue to wallow in the moral ambiguity swamp: it needs must be remarked that Game of Thrones has some of the best big bads in the small screen business. Evil-doers with their flags firmly planted in the villainy camp.

In order to separate the Reek from the chaff and rank these malefactors, I did the evilest thing of all and made a spreadsheet do it for me. I came up with five factors that make a perfect villain, scored each factor on a five-point “what makes a good villain” rubric, then leaned back, rubbing my hands together while automated maths wrought their dark magic. In the event of a tie, a kill count was consulted.

Factors for villainy included notoriety, aka the reach of one’s reputation for eeeeeevil. You could be bad to the bone but if no one’s heard of you, sorry, you’re going to lose points. Next up is panache aka The “Look.” Think of these as style points; good villains have good branding. Their status as a worthy adversary was also up for consideration; the degree to which their physical and/or mental prowess could be considered a veritable threat. A good villain’s evilness has to be understandable to the audience. We need to be able to look at what twisted them and go “oh god, in similar circumstances that could have been me.” Great villains are great because we understand where they’re coming from. They see themselves as the hero of their own story and are convinced that what they’re doing is right. Finally, there’s the elusive “fun factor.” When a villain fucks you simultaneously dread and anticipate their screentime. No matter how many dicks they chop off.

And so, eviscerated appendages and all: here are the top 55 Game of Thrones villains, so far, ranked for your pleasure.


50. Doreah

Game Of Thrones Doreah

Who’s Your Baddie

Daenerys most trusted handmaiden.

Why They’re The Worst
  • Betrays Daenerys by sleeping with Xaro
  • Helps Xaro steal the dragons
Last Seen

Being permanently sealed inside Xaro’s empty treasure vault


49. Dagmer

Dagmer Cleftjaw

Who’s Your Baddie

First mate of the Sea Bitch; skilled ironborn raider and reaver

Why They’re The Worst
  • Helps during Theon’s “if I raid enough things maybe my dad will love me” phase
  • Encourages Theon to kill to display dominance
  • Stabs Maester Luwin
  • Participates in the murder of not-Bran and not-Rickon
Last Seen

Betrayed and flayed alive by Ramsay


48. Rast

Rast

Who’s Your Baddie

Career criminal and rapist forced to join the Night Watch

Why They’re The Worst
  • Antagonizes Samwell Tarly
  • Literally stabs Commander Jeor Mormont in the back
  • Taunts Ghost
  • Stabs Hodor in the leg
  • Sacrifices Craster’s last son
Last Seen

Mauled by Ghost


47. Meryn Trant

Meryn Trant

Who’s Your Baddie

Knight of the Kingsguard who does not think twice about carrying out Joffrey’s ridiculous orders.

Why They’re The Worst
  • Killed Syrio Forel
  • Frequently beats Sansa
  • Goads Tyrion during his trail
  • Pedophile
  • Quote the Hound: “Any boy whore with a sword could beat three Meryn Trants”
Last Seen

Throat slit by Arya


46. Polliver

Polliver

Who’s Your Baddie

Man-at-arms in service of House Lannister

Why They’re The Worst
  • Compares torturing people to carpentry
  • Jokes about picking his teeth with Needle
  • Brutally murdered a child
  • Beat up an old woman
  • Attempted rape
Last Seen

Stabbed to death by Arya in Season 4


45. Janos Slynt

Janos Slynt

Who’s Your Baddie

The former commander of the King’s Landing City Watch forced to join the Night’s Watch

Why They’re The Worst
  • Lies to Ned Stark about his allegiance
  • Massacres Ned’s men and arrests him in exchange for Lordship
  • Helps murder King Robert’s bastards
  • Cowardly
  • Tries to get Jon Snow killed by sending him on an expedition to Caster’s Keep
Last Seen

Beheaded by Longclaw


44. Xaro Xhoan Daxos

Got B

Who’s Your Baddie

Member of the ruling council of Qarth

Why They’re The Worst
  • Orchestrates violent coup to declare himself King of Qarth
  • Steals Daenerys’ dragons
  • Scammer (renowned for wealth he does not have)
Last Seen

Being permanently sealed in his empty treasure vault


43. Amory Lorch

Amory Lorch

Who’s Your Baddie

Knight in service of House Lannister

Why They’re The Worst
  • Heads the Glod Cloak effort to find and kill Gendry
  • Kills Yoren
  • Complicit in Ser Gregor’s Harrenhal torture party
Last Seen

Killed by Jaqen H’ghar with a poisoned dart at the behest of Arya.


42. Lothar Frey

Lothar

Who’s Your Baddie

One of Walder Frey’s shittier sons

Why They’re The Worst
  • Hired Coldplay for the Red Wedding
  • Fatally stabs pregnant Talisa in the stomach
Last Seen

Baked into a pie


41. Walder Rivers

Red Wedding Game Of Thrones

Who’s Your Baddie

A bastard son of Walder Frey, a.k.a. Black Walder

Why They’re The Worst
  • Cuts Catelyn’s throat
  • Torments Edmure Tully
Last Seen

Baked into a pie

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