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Jerkass Woobie / Game of Thrones

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While a lot of the characters in Game of Thrones may be assholes, they can be sympathetic:

  • Robert is an obnoxious oaf most of the time, but deep down, his excesses are the way he overcompensates for the unwanted life he's living. The bloody King of Westeros complaining about his station in life really says something about the overall malaise of the characters. And then it turns out in the Season 7 finale that the woman he loved never loved him.
  • Viserys is a complete dick to everyone around him, including his sister.
    • However, the reason he's such a jerk is because he's lived his life as "The Beggar King," a royal outcast forced to mooch off of others and beg for help in winning a throne that he's been told is his birthright. It doesn't help when his sister acquires a position of prestige and authority, yet he remains a useless beggar.
    • Another thing that's often overlooked is that he managed to get Daenerys to her wedding day healthy, unharmed, reasonably innocent and with her virginity intact — a very impressive feat in the Crapsack World they inhabit — which seems to suggest there's slightly more to him than just being an asshole.note 
  • It is hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Lancel Lannister after all the abuse Robert and later Cersei and even Tyrion give him.
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  • Theon is a JerkAss in early seasons but he also takes hideous amounts of shit from all sides and can't find a place in which he truly belongs. He wants to be a Stark but he can't because he's a Greyjoy, and his own father doesn't consider him a true Greyjoy because he was raised by the Starks. By the third season, he's a helpless torture victim and no longer has any ability to be a jerkass.
  • Lord Rickard Karstark is very rude and disrespectful towards his king Robb and Robb's mother Catelyn, who is the window of Karstark's liege lord. Rickard murdering two innocent boys just because they were Lannisters is atrocious, but it's all because he's a father in deep mourning for his dead son who was killed by Jaime Lannister when Jaime unsuccessfully tried escaping from the North's detainment. Rickard is a grieving father driven by the need to avenge his murdered son and it's plainly clear he loved his son dearly.
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  • The fans who dislike Daenerys tend to see her as this. It's undeniable that her childhood and teenage years have not been nice — at all.
  • Tywin Lannister is a hardass because he's had to deal with his otherwise Nice Guy father's blatant incompetence that nearly destroyed their house and name, vowing not to make the same mistakes Tywin became calculating and ruthless.
  • Cersei Lannister. Okay, so she's an incestuous, arrogant bitch who's responsible for at least half the shit that happens in the story — but between Lena Headey's amazing acting, a more Sympathetic P.O.V. for Cersei overall, and because Cersei really does suffer for her actions, it's hard not to feel sorry for her at times. It helps that she is generally a hell of a lot more sympathetic than her book counterpart:
    • Her Heel Realization scene where she acknowledges that Joffrey is awful and that it's all her fault is especially powerful. Even Tyrion, smug as he is, tries to comfort her in his own way.
    • And then Joffrey dies in Cersei's arms, choking on his own blood and vomit; Cersei's father shows her precisely no sympathy whatsoever for the loss of her son, and Jaime forces her to have sex beside Joffrey's corpse. Yeah, Joffrey caused a pointless and expensive war but, from Cersei's point of view, it's hard not to feel sorry for her as a mother who loved him all the same because he was her child — especially since her children are her one soft spot.
    • By the time her second child, Myrcella, dies and she laments how she felt giving life to someone as good as Myrcella makes her think she's not a monster, you just want to cry with her.
    • Well, the sympathy for her finally vanishes after she kills her son's near and dear ones in order to save her own hide, including Margaery and Kevan, the ones who were steering him out of his Puppet King tendencies, and effectively driving him to suicide as well. While it's understandable why Cersei crossed the Despair Event Horizon at that point, as Tommen did abandon her to her fate and nobody is going to mourn after the High Sparrow, the fact that Cersei decided to go homicidal in response and killed many innocent people crosses her off the "Woobie" list forever.
  • Jaime Lannister, after losing his sword hand. The Bolton soldiers make him wear the hand around his neck, deprive him of food and drink, and trick him into drinking horse piss just for a good laugh.
  • Possibly Lysa Arryn, as well. Despite all her Ax-Crazy and dangerous behaviour, and trying to kill her own niece, in the end she is just a pathetic and emotionally broken woman, desperate for a bit of affection, and is being played like a fiddle by Littlefinger.
  • Sandor Clegane becomes this, especially when he confesses to Arya his painful memory of Gregor scarring him, telling her that the worst part of it was the fact that it was his own brother who did it, and his father covered it up simply because of his family ambitions and the fact that he literally has no one. Arya feels genuinely sympathetic toward him on hearing this.
  • Selyse Baratheon is an uncaring mother and a religious fanatic who supports human sacrifice. This is all because her sanity was shattered by a string of miscarriages that left her unable to produce a male heir. Ultimately, she is too late in repenting her disregard for her daughter and suffers terribly for it, eventually committing suicide.
  • Even considering his Adaptational Villainy, Stannis Baratheon can be considered this. He lost his parents when he was still a child and he never managed to get along with his brothers, yet he sided with Robert when he rebelled against the Mad King. During the war, he (along with Selyse) suffered starvation while holding Storm's End with a small army against the Tyrell forces for a whole year and the only reward he got was the small, barren Dragonstone. Shortly after Shireen's birth, the girl contracted the greyscale from a doll he had bought for her and, although he found a way to stop the disease, the girl was left disfigured and was constantly mistreated by Selyse. While he resorts to extreme means, he does it out of desire to bring justice to Westeros, which adds to the tragedy of Shireen's sacrifice, something he accepts to do in a desperate attempt at winning a war for which he has gotten no help.
  • Olly receives a lot of hate from the fandom for his part in betraying and murdering Jon Snow and while stabbing his Lord Commander in the heart was horrendous, he is a teenager who had witnessed his entire village (casualties including his parents) brutally raided by a group of wildlings. After seeing Jon, who he looked up to as a Big Brother Mentor, ally with and save the wildlings, some of whom were a direct part of the attack on his home village in which his parents were killed, it's understandable why he became so angry and bitter.


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