Monster: A Song of Ice and Fire
As would be expected from a Doorstopper series with Loads and Loads of Characters, A Song of Ice and Fire and its television adaptation Game of Thrones have many complex antagonists with very understandable motives. However, there exist several characters who are, indeed, total monsters.
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A Song of Ice and Fire
- Despite his young age, King Joffrey Baratheon stood out as one of the vilest characters in the series. While always shown to have a darker side, Joffrey finally crossed the line when he had Ned Stark executed, ensuring that the war with the Northerners would never reach a peaceful conclusion. Joffrey not only did this in front of Ned's daughter, Sansa, Joffrey's own fiancée, he then forced her to look at the decapitated heads of her father and household afterwards. This was then followed by a long period of Domestic Abuse during which Joffrey had her regularly beaten by his Kingsguard and threatened to rape her even after she married his uncle, Tyrion. As king, Joffrey reveled in his power over life and death, and his reign was filled with all manner of pointless cruelties. Joffrey's crimes included having a minstrel whose song offended him choose between losing his hands or his tongue, attempting to have a drunken knight drowned in a cask of wine, firing on starving peasants with his crossbow, ordering his bodyguard to cut through a crowd of peasants to get at one of them who threw manure at him, nailing antlers to the heads of Stannis sympathizers and firing them from trebuchets as entertainment during the Battle of the Blackwater, and attempting to convince his grandfather to execute everyone who fought against him, regardless of whether or not they surrendered. A budding psychopath who believed being the king gave him the right to do whatever he liked, Joffrey's sadism was so great that he was well on his way to surpassing his predecessor as the next Mad King of Westeros.
- Joffrey's predecessor, the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, wasn't exactly a paragon of justice either: The people of Westeros had been living under the Targaryen dynasty for almost 300 years, even though it meant putting up with monarchs like Maegor the Cruel and Aegon the Unworthy, yet all it took was 20 years of Aerys' rule to cause five of the seven kingdoms to rise up against the Iron Throne in open revolt. He was really just that bad. Among his worst acts was his execution of Rickard Stark; after the former demanded a fair Trial by Combat, Aerys had him slowly roasted over an open flame, reasoning that fire was his personal champion. Just for kicks, he also had Rickard's son Brandon forced to watch while strapped to a torture device that slowly strangled him to death as he struggled to rescue his father. Aerys also made the Stupid Evil decision to replace all of his competent councillors with deranged alchemists who shared his "enthusiasm" for burning people alive. To top it all off, when Aerys finally realized he had lost his war against the rebels, he decided to go out with a bang by ordering his pyromancers to burn Westeros' capitol city to the ground - knowing that it would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people - purely out of spite. Thankfully, even his own sworn bodyguard realized that Aerys was going too far and took matters into his own hands before the plan could be carried out.
- Ser Gregor Clegane is an eight foot giant kept in a constant state of rage due to migraine headaches. Alias The Mountain That Rides, Gregor is one of the most feared characters in the setting, and with good reason. He is rumored to have killed his sister when they were children, to have arranged for his father's Hunting Accident, and to have murdered both of his wives. The things that we know he did are even worse. As a twelve year old boy, he burned off half of his younger brother Sandor's face when the latter dared to play with one of Gregor's toys—a toy that Gregor himself, it should be noted, did not want anymore. At seventeen, he dashed the baby Prince Aegon's head against a wall, and then raped and murdered his mother, Princess Elia, with her son's brains still on his hands. At a tournament at the start of A Game of Thrones he kills one of his opponents, and tries to kill another, and that's before he's turned loose on the countryside. He and his men proceed to rape and murder anyone who falls into their hands, often torturing people to see where they have hidden their gold. At one point in A Clash of Kings each day, for ten days, Gregor picks one person from a group of villagers and has his Torture Technician, "the Tickler," question that person over and over, until they die from the torture. One of the villagers, a mother, volunteers to be taken if they will spare her daughter. The next day, he has the daughter questioned too, to make sure the mother didn't leave anything out. Another time he smashes a girl's face in for speaking when he wanted silence, than turns her over to his men to be gang-raped for days. At one point, he kills some of the Brave Companions before cutting off strips of flesh from Vargo Hoat and feeding them to him. When confronted by the brother of Princess Elia, who repeatedly asserts that "Her name was Elia of Dorne. You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children," Gregor's only concern (besides killing him) is that the man has gotten the order of events wrong.
"Her name was Elia of Dorne. First, I killed her screaming whelp. Then I raped her. Then I smashed her fucking head in. Like this."
- Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of Bolton, stands out as one of the most savage and depraved men in Westeros. Suspected of murdering his good-hearted, trueborn brother, Ramsay first comes to prominence after he forces Lady Hornwood to marry him to gain her lands. Having already starved her to death, Ramsay avoids death at the hands of Winterfell soldiers by impersonating his servant, Reek, then sending his "friend" to die in his place. When Theon Greyjoy takes over Winterfell, the imprisoned Ramsay allies himself with Greyjoy and acts as a corruptive influence, ultimately being the one to convince Theon to cross the Moral Event Horizon by murdering two little boys to pass them off as Bran and Rickon Stark. Gathering his own forces, Ramsay slaughters Ser Rodrik's Northerner soldiers, then betrays and captures Theon before ordering his men to raze Winterfell and slaughter everyone inside. One of Ramsay's favorite past-times is flaying people alive and he's done this many times, from the people he tortures, to the girls he hunts for fun that give him bad sport, to the surrendering Ironborn forces of Moat Cailin after Ramsay promised them mercy. Ramsay is also responsible for physically and mentally torturing Theon Greyjoy to condition him into a pathetic, insane wretch who believes himself the new Reek. Taking an Arya Stark impersonator as his wife to maintain Bolton control of the North, Ramsay abuses her constantly, despite her usefulness, even forcing Theon to participate in her wedding night bedding. A half-feral beast of a man, Ramsay lives to satisfy his sadistic urges and is so pointlessly and moronically cruel that even his own sociopathic father has to hold himself back from killing him.
- Craster is a particularly vicious Wildling and ally of the Night's Watch (each of whom identifies him as belonging to the opposing organisation) who, in his own words, kneels to no man, including Mance Rayder, King-Beyond-The-Wall. Living alone in a huge, ramshackle compound, Craster keeps a harem of women in line with brainwashing and violence, breaking their spirits until they cannot rise up against him, despite the fact that they vastly outnumber him. All of these women are his "wives"; many of them are also his daughters and granddaughters. When one of them becomes pregnant, Craster waits to see if it is a boy or a girl. If the child is female, he waits until she is old enough (read eleven or twelve) and does his best to impregnate her. If the child is a boy, Craster leaves him in the woods to be killed by the cold or devoured by the Others; this way they cannot challenge his control over the women. Obsessed with his own hedonism, and raising the next generation of wives, Craster uses his alleigance with the Night's Watch to make sure that nobody, not even the Watch, interferes with his business.
- The self-styled "Lord" Vargo Hoat is the leader of a psychotic mercenary band, known as The Brave Companions or, more commonly, "The Bloody Mummers." A vicious barbarian with no regard for morals or innocent life, Hoat allows his band to Rape, Pillage, and Burn, at their discretion. Each man in the group is a monster with sickening crimes to his name, but Hoat allows all of them to indulge their darkest desires as long as Hoat profits. Hoat himself has a penchant for maiming victims, having earned the name "Footman" for lopping off the feet of his victims. Hoat initially works for the Lannisters, until he betrays Harrenhal to the Boltons. Once this is done, he has the Lannister commander Ser Amory Lorch fed to a bear. While Lorch was a child murdering pig of a man, all Hoat cared about was the entertainment. When his men capture Jaime Lanninster and Brienne of Tarth, Vargo has Jaime's sword hand chopped off to curry favor with his new allies and later tries to rape Brienne himself. When she resists and bites his ear off, he throws her to the bear as well with a useless practice sword. Hoat is feared by all who know him as a vicious lunatic who leads the worst group of beasts posing as men in Westeros, and will kill someone for noticing his speech impediment, for not referring to him as a proper lord, or simply because he thinks it's funny.
- Hoat's company, the Brave Companions, are a bad lot, but noseless paedophiliac serial rapist and serial killer Rorge is acknowledged in-universe and out as the worst of them. Freed from the Black Cells under King's Landing, along with his companion, Biter, Rorge signs on with the Brave Companions after Arya Stark saves him from certain death. He offers to repay her by anally raping her with her own wooden sword, only stopping when she threatens him with Jaqen H'ghar. He later goes against Hoat's own orders when he tries to rape Brienne of Tarth, and tortures the recently crippled Jaime Lannister by kicking him in his stump, when Jaime reminds him that Brienne is supposed to remain unharmed. It's after Hoat's death, though, that Rorge really comes into his own. Taking control of a gang of brigands, he burns down the town of Saltpans, in an act so savage that it shocks the sensibilities of a Westeros long inured to the atrocities of Gregor Clegane and Vargo Hoat. Killing twenty men himself, Rorge rapes every woman and child in town, most notably raping a six year old girl while wearing chainmail; he also rapes nuns before feeding them to Biter. Upon encountering Brienne again, he expresses a desire to "cut off her legs and set her on her stumps so she can watch me fuck the crossbow girl." The girl in question is under ten years old. Sidematerials would indicate that he is also the reason why Biter is the way he is—finding an orphan boy, Rorge removed his tongue, filed his teeth, and made him fight dogs with only his new fangs. A consummate Woman & Child Hater, and a serial predator in a world full of warriors, Rorge earns the enmity and disgust of everyone he meets.
Game of Thrones
- Joffrey Baratheon is a dyed-in-the-wool sadist who seems to take pleasure only in fear and suffering. At first putting on a charming face, his true colors are hinted at when he begins carving up the face of Arya Stark's lowborn friend for fun, before trying to kill Arya herself for hitting him, despite the fact she's the younger sister of his fiancée, Sansa. After becoming king, however, Joffrey really comes into his own as a vicious bastard, ordering Ned Stark's execution even though it ensures a civil war with the North. Viewing Sansa as his toy, he frequently has her humiliated, beaten and threatened with death and rape. Among his many cruel acts, Joffrey has a bard choose between losing his hands or his tongue, tries to drown Ser Dontos with wine, orders a crowd of peasants executed because one threw some dung at him, forces one prostitute to beat another, possibly to death, at crossbow point, and eventually shoots Ros full of crossbow bolts just to experience what it's like to personally kill someone. The taboo of kin killing means little to Joffrey either, as he threatened to execute his mother for slapping him, tried to have his uncle Tyrion assassinated, and had his bastard siblings (including children and babies) butchered so no one would notice how little Joffrey resembled his supposed father, Robert Baratheon. In the end, Joffrey was merely a vicious, idiot king who believed ruling meant everyone was his to torment.
- Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, is the most feared knight in Westeros and works for Tywin Lannister and his family. A violent sadist who had once burned his brother's face for playing with one of his toys, Gregor is introduced in the Hand's tournament where he murders another contender via splintered lance; when Loras Tyrell manages to unhorse him, Gregor slaughters his own horse for failing him and attempts to murder Loras. When Gregor's own brother interferes, Gregor tries to kill him as well. When next seen, Gregor is head of the occupying Lannister forces at Harrenhal where he selects prisoners to be tortured to death by one of his men known as The Tickler. When Harrenhal is lost, Gregor has every prisoner put to the sword, leaving hundreds of corpses for the next arrivals to find. In Season 4, Gregor is seen practicing his sword skills by butchering prisoners in wholly one-sided duels before he enters into a Trial by Combat representing the Crown against Prince Oberyn Martell who wishes to force Gregor to confess to the murder of Oberyn's sister Elia and her children. When Gregor gets his hands on Oberyn, he shoves his thumbs through the prince's eyes before squeezing his head until it ''explodes'', wanting to hurt the man as much as possible while he roars out his guilt in killing the children before he raped and murdered Elia.
- Craster is a particularly nasty Wildling who resides beyond the Wall, making his living as an ally to the Night's Watch by providing them with supplies, shelter and info. Craster delights in antagonizing them, however, hiding behind the fact he's necessary to them to avoid reprisal. What makes Craster sickening is how he rules his self-given kingdom: Craster routinely marries any daughters he has when they come of age, beating and raping his many wives and daughter-wives. If they bear him sons, Craster sacrifices them by leaving them out for the White Walkers. Craster threatens violence on those he can't simply cow into submission and relishes the lack of law beyond the Wall to simply do whatever he wants, even having the audacity to claim he is a "Godly man" when criticized.
- Ramsay Snow, the Bastard of Bolton, lives up to every negative stereotype about bastards in Westeros. After capturing Winterfell and flaying the Ironborn who had held it, Ramsay engages in twisted games with the captive prince Theon Greyjoy. First he pretends to be an Ironborn agent who frees Theon, even killing his own men to keep up the illusion before he leads Theon back to the Dreadfort where he takes over the torture personally. Said torture consists of flaying bits of Theon's skin until he begs for the finger to be cut off, and even castrating him before sending the result to Theon's father in a box. All that remains of Theon is a beaten shell of a man Ramsay dubs “Reek” who serves without question. In his spare time, Ramsay and his equally psychotic lover Myranda release girls into the woods to hunt them with bows and arrows and Ramsay's monstrous hounds who maul the girls to death. When Ramsay makes Theon negotiate a surrender with other Ironborn, Ramsay promises them safe passage only to have them immediately flayed alive and displayed as gruesome trophies. Ramsay’s only motivation for these heinous acts is that he enjoys them.
- Walder Frey, while somewhat repugnant in his first appearance, seems to be a fairly competent ruler and willing to help the heroes, for a price. His next appearance even has him come across as a Cool Old Guy, forgiving Robb's slight against him. Then comes The Red Wedding, which opens with Robb's pregnant wife being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach, Robb, Catelyn, and the Stark Bannermen being murdered in a massive violation of guest right, laughing and eating the whole time. To top it off, when his wife is held hostage, he simply tells the hostage taker to kill her, she's expendable. To drive the point home, he begins the next episode by recounting the Red Wedding with glee, showing no remorse and celebrating the power his betrayal has brought him.
- Karl Tanner, in season 3, led a mutiny against his Lord Commander (and in the process becoming an oathbreaker (crossing an In-Universe Moral Event Horizon) by denouncing his vows to protect the wall. It's not until season 4's "Oathkeeper" that he reaches Complete Monster status, having taken up at Craster's Keep. Here he hurtles insults towards his men, encourages them to rape Craster's daughters/wives "to death, " and drinks wine from the skull of the very commander he betrayed. When one of the wives comes with a son who has been born, Karl's first reaction is to take a knife and kill it. He's only stopped when the rest of the wives point out they usually leave the sons out in the cold as a sacrifice for the White Walkers so he has that done instead. Once one of his men captures Bran and his group, he menaces Meera and threatens her to get Bran to speak. In the next episode, he intends to rape her in front of her brother, and then let his men do the same.