HBO's Game of Thrones is not a show for the softhearted. In fact, you have to have a slight dark side to really, really enjoy a show that puts the main characters through so much pain and suffering. Some of the characters are righteous and moral, and do not deserve the suffering they’ve endured. (We’re talking about all of the Starks, obviously.) Other characters are about as evil as they come.
The evil on Game of Thrones varies, as some characters are brutal and others are master manipulators. The manipulators will coax others into doing their dirty work. They’ll gain power and wealth. They’ll wage wars, but never have to pull their own sword. The brutal characters are evil because of the sheer violence they are willing to unleash on other characters. Ranking evil characters is difficult when the precise type of evil can vary so greatly, but we did it.
We ranked the 20 worst, worst, worst characters on Game of Thrones. These are the characters that have made you cringe and have made you cry. They make you scream and throw a pillow at your TV. They’re the characters who stabbed Jon Snow, burned Shireen alive, raped Sansa, or killed any of the dearly departed Starks. Some of the evil characters on this list have already gotten what’s coming to them, while others are alive and living the good life.
Below are the most evil characters on Game of Thrones ranked from pretty bad to the worst ever. We have to admit, deciding between Joffrey and Ramsay was hard, but we did it for you guys.
15 The Night King
If you’re shocked that the Night King is only ranked at #20, let us explain. Yes, he’s the big bad villain. Yes, the Night King is most likely the evil that all the kingdoms will truly have to deal with in the final seasons. However, season six revealed the back story of the Night King and it showed us that there is much more than meets the eye.
Sure, he takes babies. Sure, he’s responsible for the army of White Walkers. Sure, White Walkers killed the most beloved Hodor. However, the Night King is an unwilling villain. The Children of The Forest turned a perfectly normal, very terrified man into the Night King. They intended for the White Walkers to defend them, but the White Walkers rebelled. Well, duh. If you created a strong army to fight for you and they realize they are much stronger than you, they are going to rebel.
While the Night King and his army seem evil AF, we don’t actually know his motives. Could he be misunderstood? Yes. Plus, the fact that he did not want his role does make you feel some compassion for him, right?
If you’re trying to think about who Doreah is, she was in one of the hottest scenes in all of Game of Thrones. She was Daenerys’ handmaiden, who had spent time in a whorehouse. When Dany asked her about how to please a man, Doreah basically rode Dany, until Dany flipped her and started riding her too. It was, like, the hottest non-sex scene in the history of TV.
Unfortunately, Doreah had plans of her own. She was having sex with Viserys, hoping that if he did become king, she would be queen. Clearly, that didn’t pan out for her or Viserys. In Qarth, Doreah changed up plans and went full-on villain. She betrayed Dany and teamed up with Xaro, who was said to be the wealthiest man in Qarth. Doreah then murdered Irri, Dany’s loyal handmaiden, and helped steal Dany’s dragons. Yep, Doreah betrayed Dany. Who the hell betrays the head bitch in charge with dragons?
The fact that she betrayed Dany's trust makes her evil. Doreah was completely self-serving and may have done more damage had she stuck around longer. Dany shut Doreah down quick and locked her in an empty vault with Xaro. It doesn’t pay to be evil, Doreah.
18. Euron Greyjoy
We’re confused about Euron Greyjoy, but we’re sure that he’s evil. Just how evil he is, is anyone’s guess. It’s been speculated that he’ll be one of the big, bad villains in season seven of Game of Thrones. We’re pretty sure that he’s going to get much more evil, but as of right now he only comes in at #18.
In his introduction scene, we watched as Euron kills Balon, his brother and the father of Theon and Yara. At this point, Euron pretty much steals the throne from Theon/Yara and decides to murder them. However, Yara and Theon both got away to Meereen, where Dany and Yara may or may not have had some hot chemistry. Team Dany and Yara, am I right?
What we’ve seen from Euron has been bad, but we’re pretty sure he’s about to get a lot worse.
14 The Mad King
The Mad King’s inability to rule is what, more or less, started the complete mess that is currently on Game of Thrones. Since he may have been straight-up insane, we didn’t place him too high on this list. Also, the fact that he began his rule benevolently found him in the #17 place as well. He was not always a bad king and that's more than we can say about Joffrey.
When he went mad, Aerys ordered to "burn them all" before Jaime Lannister finally put a sword in his back. Before his death, The Mad King had burned both Rickard Stark (Ned's father) and Brandon Stark (Ned's brother) alive and laughed about it. Burning a Stark to death definitely gets you on the baddie list. Actually, killing a Stark period gets you on this list because the Starks are gold.
Aerys also created a powder keg by taunting Tywin Lannister. He denied Tywin's marriage proposal between Cersei and Rhaeger Targaryen, citing that she was not worthy of marrying the royal family. That made the proud Tywin angry. Then, Aerys appointed Jaime Lannister into the Kingsguard. This was not necessarily for his skill, but rather to take away the possibility of Jaime having children since Kingsguard cannot marry.
The Mad King’s taunting of Tywin certainly led to the vicious way King’s Landing was sacked and the Lannister's rise to the throne.
13 The Alliance Between Stannis And Melisandre
Separately, they both suck, but together they were pretty evil. Stannis’ insistence that he should rightfully have the Iron Throne was pretty pompous, but not evil. I mean, he certainly had more of a claim than Renly or Robb Stark. When Melisandre got involved, Stannis was even hungrier for the throne and went truly evil. He made a shadow baby that killed Renly, his brother who seemed genuinely nice. Then when Melisandre suggested that they burn Shireen, the sweetest and most innocent, at the stake, Stannis agreed. He wasn’t like, “Slow down, you redheaded devil woman.” That was totally the reaction he should have had, by the way.
After Stannis died, Melisandre redeemed herself slightly by bringing Jon Snow back from the dead, but she still burned a little girl alive. That is never cool. Like we said, they were only truly really evil together, so they make this list as a duo.
12 Kraznys mo Nakloz
This guy was the worst. In fact, he’d be much higher on the list but he didn’t stick around too long.
Kraznys mo Nakloz was the slave-trader who owned all of the Unsullied. He was such an asshole that he cut off one of the soldier’s nipples just to prove what strong warriors they were. Just like that, cut a dude's nipple off. Kraznys also boasted about the fact that, to graduate from his training and become an Unsullied, a soldier must kill a slave baby in front of the mother.
Throughout his conversations with Dany, Missandei acted as his translator because Kraznys didn’t know Dany knew Valyrian. He insulted Dany several times, thinking that she could not understand him. Kraznys, you can do many things in this world but insulting the mother of dragons is not one of them.
Dany traded Drogon for the Unsullied army, and when Kraznys complains that Drogon is not behaving, she tells him, in perfect Valyrian, that a dragon is not a slave. Boom, mic drop. Kraznys realizes that Dany knew Valyrian the whole time just as Drogon burns him to a crisp. Had we had to deal with this dude for long, he would certainly be higher on the list. Also, if anyone out there can pronounce his name, points to you.
Myranda was overshadowed by her main man, Ramsay Bolton, but she was not as sweet as cherry pie. In fact, she took pleasure in the evil that Ramsay would unleash. The way she would relish watching Ramsay’s other lovers be torn apart by his dogs probably came from her affections for Ramsay. She thought that Ramsay feeding his other lovers to his dogs meant that she was his favorite. Okay, maybe we’re just trying to humanize Myranda and get into her psyche at this point. In all honestly, she may have just been as sadistic as Ramsay.
The fact that she threatened Sansa Stark when she tried to escape was certainly a baddie moment. As a woman, you’d think that she’d want to help another woman, who is being raped every single day, get out of there. Of course, Myranda got hers when she was thrown off a building. Sucks to suck, Myranda.
10 Roose Bolton
Coming up next is someone else attached to Ramsay Bolton: Roose Bolton. First things first, Roose is on this list partially just because Ramsay is his son. No human is as evil as Ramsay Bolton just from genetics. Clearly, Roose’s parenting had something to do with Ramsay’s sadistic behavior.
Early in the series, Roose fights for Robb’s army, but then betrays him at the Red Wedding, the goriest wedding in the history of weddings. Roose is the one who delivers a knife to Robb's stomach and says, "The Lannisters send their regards." Like we said, anyone who kills a Stark ends up on this list. The Starks are snow angels sent from above. The fact that Roose helped put the Red Wedding together means that he's responsible for Robb, Catelyn, Talisa, and unborn Ned Stark's deaths.
As if that wasn't enough, anyone who comes from a family that flays people makes this list. Skinning people alive is awful. Roose, of course, met his end by the hand of his own son. This proves that if you raise an evil shit of a son, it will bite you in the ass.
9 Ellaria Sand
You may be thinking that Ellaria Sand has her reasons for killing those who she has murdered. True, but every single character has their reasons for committing awful crimes… well, most of them at least. These characters can all rationalize their actions in their heads. Being that Ellaria had to watch the most brutal death of Oberyn Martell, we understand where her vengeance comes from, but the actions she committed since his death are pretty evil.
For starters, poisoning Myrcella Baratheon was a bit over the line. Myrcella was one of the few innocent characters on the show. Her hands were clean of any wrongdoing. She just wanted to love Trystane Martell and stay out of it all. Ellaria also takes out Trystane, Areo Hotan, Doran Martell, and every single guy in Dorne. We get that Ellaria is angry. We're angry too, because Oberyn Martell was an amazing character. Everyone loved the Red Viper. However, you can’t kill a city’s worth of men just because your lover was unjustly killed. Ellaria's revenge blinded her and has pushed her into evil character territory. We're also guessing that her actions will have repercussions deeper than what we've seen thus far.
From the season six finale, it seems that Ellaria may be teaming up with Dany so there's hope for her yet. Characters can turn it around. Theon would have once upon a time made this list, but after being tortured and saving Sansa, we'd say that he's paid his dues.
Olly, you bastard. We’ll say this, Game of Thrones is not without its kids who totally suck. For the record, Olly totally thought he was doing the right thing in every situation, but, like we said, most of these characters do.
Olly first broke our hearts when he shot Ygritte with an arrow and killed her. If you didn’t cry when Ygritte died in Jon Snow’s friggin’ arms, you should check your pulse. That was truly one of the most sentimental and saddest moments on the show. Despite how terribly sad it was, one could reason that Olly thought he was killing an enemy. Okay... then Olly stabs Jon Snow! What the actual hell? What is this little kid thinking? He killed Jon Snow. Jon Snow, you guys!
What both of Olly’s major kills come down to is the fact that he was so deeply racist against the Wildlings. He killed Ygritte for being a Wildling. He killed Jon Snow for becoming allies with the Wildlings. As we all know, being racist is not a good thing, so yeah, Olly sucks.
10. Viserys Targaryen
Viserys Targaryen didn’t last too long on the show, but he's remembered as an evil-ass dude, and an especially evil brother. He basically sold Dany as a sex slave to Drogo in return for the Dothraki’s support. He even tells Dany to please Drogo on their wedding night, which is totally creepy.
Viserys simply believed he should be on the Iron Throne, but showed absolutely no leadership skills or loyalty to anyone, not even his own sister. In fact, he told Dany that he would let the entire Dothraki army and their horses rape her if it would get him on the Iron Throne. Yes, that little gem was something he actually said.
He didn’t last all that long on the show, but if he had, we’re betting he would have gotten even more evil. Drogo took him out, because no one talks to his Khaleesi like that. Viserys may be one of the most inconsequential additions on this list, but we really can't get over the fact that he told his sis he'd let horses rape her. That is pretty far past the line.
7 Tywin Lannister
Tywin Lannister is a tough one. He never seemed as full-on evil as some of the other characters, but he was the one pulling all the strings. For example, he may not have been at the Red Wedding, but he helped put it together. That blood is on his hands too. And, it was Stark blood. Before the events of the show, Tywin also put together the Sack of King’s Landing. Again, that blood is on his hands. Tywin may never actually pull his sword, but he orders others to, which may be even worse. If he didn't order those deaths, they would never have occurred.
There’s also the story of Tyrion’s first marriage, in which he unknowingly married a prostitute. When Jaime told Tywin of the prank he played on Tyrion, Tywin forced Tyrion to watch as all the guardsmen had their way with his prostitute wife. That is some evil parenting. We have to say, Tywin totally deserved it when Tyrion shot him.
The sibling rivalry between the Lannisters is also completely Tywin’s fault. He raised them to be at odds. He raised Cersei, you guys! In the end, Tywin is on this list because he's the best politician in Westeros. You never seen him pull his sword, but he kills hundreds.
6 Ser Meryn Trant
Ser Meryn Trant is one of the most deranged characters on the show. When we first meet him, he’s just another servant of the Lannisters. If you're wondering, that job title just means he does evil ass things because the Lannisters said so.
While trying to obtain Arya, he spars with Syrio Forel, Arya’s wonderful swordfighting teacher. While Syrio Forel’s fate was not revealed, it’s assumed that he’s dead. This assumed death earned Meryn a spot on Arya’s list, because girlfriend loved her sword teacher.
Other things he's done? Meryn held Sansa and forced her to look at her father’s head on a spike. At Joffrey’s orders, Meryn beat and stripped Sansa in the middle of the court. All of this sucks, but what earned Meryn a spot this hight on this list is what he does in his spare time.
In Braavos, Meryn visited a brothel, where he was offered many prostitutes but he declared them all too old for his liking. He liked to beat and take advantage of little girls... really, really little girls. While many of the men on Game of Thrones are evil, this specific pedophilia is only really displayed by Meryn.
Of course, Arya takes care of him and crosses a name off of her list. You'll live on in our hearts, Syrio Forel.
5 The Dragons
Like Ser Meryn Trant, who is evil because he takes orders, Dany’s dragons could be considered evil as well. We know, we know. They’re fighting for Dany, the queen of everything, the queen who frees slaves, the queen wants to break the wheel. We know, guys. We’re just saying that these dragons have killed a ton of people. In fact, Dany’s dragons may have the highest body count of anyone on the show.
These dragons have killed a ton of people. Under the command of Dany, they may be killing “evil people" to help Dany’s righteous cause, but they are still deadly AF. If you factor in the theory that Dany may be the show's villain, these dragons could potentially be seriously evil. The likelihood of that theory panning out is slim, but it is an interesting way to think about things. Dany has been going around, collecting armies and inflicting her rule. She's a bit of a tyrant. She takes with force. She disregards the traditions of the cultures she oversees. What if she is a villain? Like we said, unlikely but fun to speculate.
Since the dragons need to eat meat to live, they're not opposed to munching on humans, so there's that too.
4 Cersei Lannister
There is much to be said about the woman who sits on the Iron Throne. She's a complicated case. Admittedly, she is one of the most fully developed characters on the show. Many times when Cersei does something evil, her motives are obvious and stem from a good, somewhat relatable place. Most of her seemingly evil choices have all been in defense of her family, for whom she will do anything. During the show, she said many times that she would burn cities to the ground for her family and in season six, she did just that.
Cersei is a master manipulator who took advantage of Sansa’s innocence and Ned’s morality. Of course, the Cersei we see now has been harden by the circumstances of her life. She lost her mother at a young age and endured a loveless marriage, all before we met her. All she had in life was her children, but then they all died. Cersei wasn’t born evil, but then she still blew up, like, a million people in the season six finale. It's interesting and frustrating to see a character evolve into making drastic, evil choice.
The fact that her character is so fully fleshed out may make Cersei even more evil. We can almost understand where she is coming from. It can also make audiences feel uncomfortable, as they consider what lengths they, too, would go to for their own. Whatever the case, Cersei blew up a ton of people and pushed her last son to suicide so yeah, she comes in at #6.
3 Walder Frey
If the first thing you think when you hear the name Walder Frey is "gross," no judgment here. Walder Frey was gross on several accounts. First of all, his face was evil looking. Like, no guy with that face would ever not be evil.
Moving on from that though, Walder Frey was the dude who pretty much pulled off the Red Wedding, y’know the most horrifying wedding ever. He simply watched the blood bath with an odd smile. When Catelyn grabs Walder's wife and begs for Robb’s life in exchange, Walder is unchanged. Catelyn even threatens to slit his wife’s throat, to which Walder says that he’ll simply find another wife. Seriously, that’s what he said, and so Catelyn did slit her throat and Walder did find another wife. That's how Walder Frey does it.
Walder met his end at Arya’s hand, mirroring the exact way Catelyn was murdered. He surely got his, but the dude was evil with no abandon. Even when Roose seemed to show some slight remorse for the Red Wedding, Walder just shrugged and talked about getting a new, young wife. He was evil, had no remorse, and no loyalty. Most of the other characters seemed to care about at least one person in life, but not Walder Frey. That earns him a #5 spot.
2 Gregor Clegane
Guys, The Mountain. He was evil enough when he was just a normal dude. Now that he’s a zombie, he’s 1000% more evil. If he had any political power, he would be higher on the list, but he is a simple servant of the Lannisters – first Tywin, and now Cersei.
Even before the series began, The Mountain did things so vile they would have landed him on this list. He held his brother into a fire for playing with one of his toys. This caused such unsightly scars all over his brother’s body and face that his younger brother is called The Hound. By the way, The Hound could have totally made an appearance on this list. Remember when he killed the butcher's boy? However, The Hound has seemingly done a 180, so we left him off.
The origin story about The Hound is not even the worst pre-series story. Before the events of the show, The Mountain sacked King’s Landing. He went to the Red Keep, killed Elia Martell’s two children, raped her, and then killed her. It’s rumored that he literally split Elia in half with a single swing of his sword, but The Mountain claimed to have smashed her head in. Either way, it’s gruesome.
What we’ve seen of him on the show has also been gruesome. May Oberyn Martell, the coolest guy from Dorne and possibly in all of the kingdoms, rest in peace. The Mountain could definitely be ranked higher, but all of his actions are dictated to him by those in power. He doesn't necessarily decide to rape, murder and, crush skulls. He's told to... by the Lannisters.
3. Petyr Baelish
How does Littlefinger rank above people like The Mountain, Olly, or even Stannis? Well, because all of this is his doing. All of this.
He’s never sentenced anyone to death. He’s never even really lifted a sword. He’s the owner of brothels and a master schemer, but is he really that bad? Yes. Yes, he is. Littlefinger has set up all of the events we’ve witnessed so that he could climb to the top. All of the events of the show are because Littlefinger is making a play for the Iron Throne. Every death that happened is Littlefinger's fault, especially Ned Stark's. I repeat, Littlefinger is responsible for the death of Ned "Winterfell's Sweetheart" Stark.
If you think back to the catalyst for the show, it is that Jon Arryn, Hand of the King, died. That is what brought Robert Baratheon to Winterfell to ask for Ned Stark's service as Hand of the King. Upon arriving in King's Landing for the position, Littlefinger urged Ned to look into the parentage of the Baratheon children. Littlefinger claimed that was why Jon Arryn died, as he had found out about the Baratheon children's real father, aka Jaime. Ned’s discovery of the truth led to his accusations and thus his death.
This all seems fine, until later in the series when Lysa reveals that she murdered Jon Arryn due to Littlefinger’s urging. That means Jon Arryn was never asking about the true parentage of the Baratheon children. Littlefinger set it all up, guys! He went on to help kill Joffrey and marry Sansa off to Ramsay. He's creating a shit show in hopes to sit on the Iron Throne.
With the added fact that Littlefinger flies so far below the radar on the villain scale, that makes him even more evil. While others are obvious, Littlefinger has done so much wrong and has yet to be accused of it. Someone needs to find him out.
1 Joffrey Baratheon
He was the worst for the first few seasons. Most audience members would cringe just seeming him in a scene, because it meant that he was about to do or say something completely awful. He insulted everyone, from his mother to his betrothed. He made Sansa stare at her father’s head on a stake. He had Sansa beat in court. He threatened to take advantage of Sansa even after her marriage to Tyrion, because that's what kings do. He forced prostitutes to brutalize each other for his own amusement. He killed Ros for funsies. He ordered all of Robert's bastard babies be slain. There was no one who could control him, besides maybe Tywin from time to time.
On top of his brutality, Joffrey was a coward who was unwilling to fight in the Battle of the Blackwater. Arya could outmatch him with a sword. He was a pansy. Joffrey relied on the fact that no one could question him. He dealt out cruelty, knowing it could not legally be shown to him. Margaery looked like she may be able to outplay him, but she would have surely faced a torturous life as his wife.
When Joffrey died at his own wedding, not a single audience member was sad. He was pure evil.
1. Ramsay Bolton
In all honesty, deciding between Joffrey and Ramsay is difficult. One could make an argument as to why one or the other is the #1 most evil on Game of Thrones. While Joffrey made prostitutes brutalize each other, Ramsay let his dogs hunt the lovers he grew bored of. While Joffrey had all of Robert's bastards killed, Ramsay had his own baby brother and his mother eaten by his dogs. Joffrey killed Ned, Ramsay killed Rickon. They are nearly tit for tat in all areas of evil, except one.
The biggest sin Ramsay committed, that Joffrey didn’t indulge, was sexual. Joffrey died a virgin (Let’s all have a "ha-ha" moment about that, because screw Joffrey). Ramsay, on the other hand, raped Sansa Stark repeatedly. We really can’t forgive Ramsay for raping Sansa, while taking her virginity, and making Theon watch. What even is that? It’s basically the most evil you can be. Yes, Joffrey threatened Sansa with similar deeds, but Ramsay was the one who actually did such things.
When Sansa fed Ramsay to his own dogs, it may have been the single most satisfying moment in all of Game of Thrones. Yes, even more so than Joffrey dying at his own wedding.
Will seasons seven and eight introduce us to even more evil characters? We’re betting on it. We’re also betting on a few of these characters (uh... Cersei) becoming even worse in the final two seasons. At the very least, we can all be thankful that both Ramsay and Joffrey are forever gone from our Sunday nights.
If you're itching for more Game of Thrones, check out the 15 Worst Episodes of Game of Thrones, because even a show this good has some lackluster episodes.