Joffrey Baratheon is one of the most hated characters in Game of Thrones. The sadistic boy king tormented the people of King’s Landing and shocked viewers with his cruelty. But is Joffrey really the worst character in Game of Thrones? Let’s take a look at some other villains and see who could give the infamous Joffrey a run for his money in the competition for Westeros’ most despicable character.
Ramsay Bolton ranks high on the list of Game of Thrones villains. He was ruthless, sadistic, and took pleasure in inflicting pain and tormenting others. Some of Ramsay’s worst acts include:
- The prolonged torture of Theon Greyjoy, including physical abuse and psychological manipulation.
- Forcing Theon to take on the persona of “Reek” and turning him into a broken shell of his former self.
- Hunting women for sport and feeding them to his dogs.
- Murdering his father Roose Bolton in order to become Warden of the North.
- Repeatedly raping and abusing Sansa Stark after forcing her into marriage.
Ramsay was a remorseless psychopath who enjoyed inflicting suffering on others. His cruelty seemed to know no bounds. While Joffrey took pleasure in exercising his power as king, Ramsay reveled in much more intimate, hands-on cruelty.
Was Ramsay worse than Joffrey?
In some ways, Ramsay’s evil acts exceed Joffrey’s in their brutality and depravity. However, Joffrey held more power and authority as king and was free to torment the populace of King’s Landing at will. Ramsay’s terror was more localized to Winterfell and his prisoners. Overall, Ramsay Bolton compares to Joffrey in his sadism and lack of empathy for others, though his penchant for torture and sexual violence sets him apart as exceptionally vile.
Cersei Lannister was another character capable of shocking cruelty. As queen, she routinely manipulated, betrayed, and murdered anyone she perceived as a threat. Some of Cersei’s worst acts include:
- Conspiring to murder her husband King Robert Baratheon.
- Orchestrating the death of the High Sparrow and Margaery Tyrell in the destruction of the Great Sept of Baelor.
- Using the zombie Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane as a weapon to crush her enemies.
- Lying about her aid to the North and leaving them to face the White Walkers alone.
- Ordering the execution of Ned Stark and the massacre of his household.
Cersei was fueled by ruthless ambition. She would do anything to retain her power as queen, no matter how morally bankrupt. She had a habit of using others as pawns in her schemes, showing little concern for collateral damage.
How does Cersei compare to Joffrey?
While similarly ruthless, Cersei exercised her villainy less openly than Joffrey. She preferred to scheme behind the scenes, while Joffrey relished in taunting his victims publicly. However, Cersei was capable of just as much gratuitous violence, such as her murder of Robert’s bastard children. Overall, Cersei’s higher body count and penchant for indirect murder through conspiracy make her arguably as nasty as Joffrey.
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish
Littlefinger should not be underestimated when ranking Game of Thrones villains. He was cunning and ambitious, willing to betray anyone to further his political interests. Some of Littlefinger’s sinister actions include:
- Betraying Ned Stark and conspiring to have him arrested.
- Framing Tyrion Lannister for the assassination attempt on Bran Stark.
- Convincing Lysa Arryn to poison her husband Jon Arryn, setting into motion the War of the Five Kings.
- Marrying and later murdering Lysa.
- Turning Sansa and Lysa against each other in his twisted games.
Littlefinger was a master manipulator who sparked conflict whenever he saw potential personal advantage. He had a disturbing obsession with Sansa Stark and sought to control her while posing as her protector.
How does Littlefinger’s villainy measure up to Joffrey’s?
While not overtly cruel, Littlefinger destroyed countless lives through his duplicitous scheming and callous disregard for anything but power. However, he preferred to manipulate from the shadows rather than publicly gloat over his evil acts like Joffrey. His behind-the-scenes sinister conspiring makes it hard to compare the scale of his villainy directly to Joffrey’s very visible acts of malice.
Tywin Lannister was the domineering patriarch of House Lannister. He was ruthless and uncompromising, willing to take any measure to uphold the formidable reputation of his house. Some of Tywin’s most morally questionable acts include:
- Orchestrating the Red Wedding, violating guest right to massacre Robb Stark’s forces.
- Ordering the death of Robb Stark’s pregnant wife Talisa at the Red Wedding.
- Supporting the execution of Ned Stark and the purge of his household in King’s Landing.
- Condoning the rampant cruelty of Joffrey’s reign as long as the Lannisters maintained dominance.
- Desecrating the corpses of Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn.
Tywin valued legacy and realpolitik over morality. He was willing to employ Machiavellian tactics without concern for honor or ethics. His ruthlessness added an aura of menace to House Lannister.
How did Tywin’s villainy manifest compared to Joffrey’s?
Tywin’s evil was less impulsive than Joffrey’s. He cultivated a sinister reputation deliberately, using fear as a political tool. However, like his psychopathic grandson, he had no qualms about brutal violence like the Red Wedding. His penchant for calculated cruelty makes him comparable to Joffrey in villainy.
Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane
Few characters inspire visceral dread like Gregor Clegane. Known as “The Mountain That Rides,” Gregor was a brutally violent man of massive size. Some of Gregor’s worst acts include:
- Burning his brother Sandor’s face over a childhood toy.
- Murdering Elia Martell and her children during the Lannister sack of King’s Landing.
- Leading raiding parties to pillage the Riverlands, killing civilians in horrific ways.
- Decapitating a horse during a joust with his bare hands.
- Oberyn Martell’s horrific death during Tyrion Lannister’s trial by combat.
Gregor was a savage follower of his house’s worst impulses towards violence. His peak physical strength allowed him to terrorize Westeros through displays of extreme brutality.
How did Gregor’s violence stack up against Joffrey’s villainy?
While not the mastermind Joffrey was, Gregor’s shows of strength and cruelty inspired immense fear. His lack of self-control mirrored Joffrey’s impulsive sadism. Overall, Gregor epitomized the remorseless violence that the Lannisters used to grasp power, though as a weapon more than a ruler like Joffrey.
Euron Greyjoy stands out as exceptionally wicked even in the rogue’s gallery of Game of Thrones villains. This unpredictable pirate captain caused chaos throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Some of Euron’s vilest deeds include:
- Murdering his brother Balon to usurp leadership of the Iron Islands.
- Orchestrating the deaths of additional brothers to consolidate power.
- Viciously attacking the Tyrell and Martell fleets to ingratiate himself with Cersei Lannister.
- Capturing his niece Yara and abusing her psychologically.
- Bragging about raping and molesting his brothers as children.
Euron had a sadistic and unhinged quality that makes him comparable to key “psycho villains” like Ramsay Bolton and Joffrey. He seemed to revel in spreading as much mayhem and cruelty as possible.
Did Euron exceed Joffrey in terms of pure villainy?
While not having the resources of the crown like Joffrey, Euron’s utterly chaotic violence was incredibly destabilizing. His delight in inflicting physical and psychological torture on his own family shows a capacity for evil on par with the worst in Westeros. Overall, Euron represents an agent of pure chaos and malice rivaling beloved hate figures like Joffrey and Ramsay.
Viserys Targaryen was another secondary villain who left an impression on Game of Thrones viewers. Exiled after the fall of the Targaryen dynasty, Viserys’s sense of entitlement curdled into cruelty over time. His worst acts include:
- Psychologically and physically abusing his sister Daenerys to punish and control her.
- Cruelly disregarding Daenerys’s traumatic childhood memories of fleeing assassins.
- Selling Daenerys to the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo in exchange for an army.
- Growing increasingly bitter about the power and respect Daenerys gained.
- Threatening Daenerys and her unborn child when she stood up to him.
Viserys demonstrated the famous Targaryen penchant for instability and violence. His sense of superiority combined with jealousy of his sister created a toxic, dangerous mix.
How did Viserys compare to Joffrey as a villain?
While less overtly sadistic than Joffrey, Viserys shared his entitled worldview and tendency to lash out when challenged. However, he lacked real power for most of his time on the show. Overall, he exhibited many of the same malignant personality traits that defined Joffrey, even if their circumstances differed.
The Night King
As the embodiment of death itself, the Night King presents an interesting case. This ancient enemy leads the relentless White Walkers, intent on purging all life and warmth from Westeros. The Night King’s villainy includes:
- Mercilessly slaughtering any humans and Children of the Forest in his path.
- Converting babies into White Walkers by exposing them to his icy touch.
- Raising the dead as wights to swell the ranks of his undead army.
- Leading assaults on humanity’s last bastions like the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave and Winterfell.
- Seeking to create an endless winter to wipe out all living things.
The Night King represents death, destruction, and an end to all memory and hope. He is less a character with motivations than a primal destructive force.
How can the Night King be compared to human villains like Joffrey?
As a supernatural embodiment of annihilation, the Night King defies direct comparison. Though merciless, he lacks the petty motivations and cruelties that define human villains like Joffrey. However, the existential threat he poses makes him arguably the most dangerous force in Game of Thrones. His complete inhumanity makes defining him on a moral spectrum difficult.
While no one matches Joffrey for sheer pettiness and impulsive sadism, other Game of Thrones villains give him a run for his money in terms of their capacity for evil. Ramsay Bolton exceeds him in terms of intimate brutalities. Cersei Lannister rivals him in ruthlessness and spite. Tywin Lannister cultured fear deliberately as a political tool. And Euron Greyjoy creates chaos on a scale hard to match. While Joffrey remains a fan favorite villain we love to hate, these other characters demonstrate the show featured no shortage of despicable antagonists to root against.