Still plenty of villains left in Westeros

I am a big fan of The Young Turks, and I really like the What the Flick? reviews of Game of Thrones.  I have been watching their reviews of the Season Five episodes, and one conversation intrigued me.  Cenk Ugyur made a comment that he missed some of the bad guys that died in Season Four, especially Joffrey (whom he particularly loathed) and Tywin Lannister.  That led to an interesting debate over who was more evil, and they even asked in the comments, “Who is more evil: Tywin Lannister or Littlefinger?”

That got me thinking about my own views of who the most evil people are in Westeros now that Joffrey, Lord Tywin, and the Mountain are dead.  And there are definitely some good candidates.

Littlefinger, in my opinion, is one of the worst people in Westeros.  I always thought he was slippery, but he has proven himself to be quite a vile man.  Let’s review some of the things that Littlefinger has done:

1) He was responsible, probably more than anyone else, for starting the War of Five Kings.  He had Lysa Arryn murder her own husband, Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, and then write a letter to her sister Lady Catelyn Stark blaming it on the Lannisters.  He also lied about who owned the dragonbone and Valyrian steel knife used by the assassin who tried to kill Bran in his bed, blaming Tyrion Lannister for owning the knife, which caused Lady Stark to take him prisoner, which essentially started the war.

2) When Ned Stark asked for his help enlisting the help of the Gold Cloaks of King’s Landing when he was trying to prevent the illegitimate Joffrey from taking the throne after King Robert died, Littlefinger pretended to cooperate, but in reality had already betrayed Ned, which led to his imprisonment and eventual death.

3) He gave his erstwhile assistant Ros to Joffrey, who proceeded to kill her with his crossbow.

4) He manipulated Ser Dontos into getting Sansa Stark involved in the death of King Joffrey, and then manipulated Sansa further to agree to marry Ramsay Bolton, who is one of the other leading evil characters that remains in the show. Of course Ser Dontos was killed at Littlefinger’s order before he could possibly reveal anything about Littlefinger’s plot.

5) He reveals that Sansa Stark is still alive to Queen Cersei, who wants her dead more than anyone else in Westeros.

6) He has been quite creeptastic with Sansa, probably hoping to have her to himself if he manages to take Winterfell and be named Warden of the North at some point.

7) He manipulated Lysa Arryn to do all sorts of things for him, then he married her in order to become Lord of the Vale.  Then he pushed her out the Moon Door.  I think he would have no problem whatsoever with doing any number of things to get whiny young Lord Robin killed as well.

So Lord Varys was right all along – Littlefinger is the most dangerous man in the Seven Kingdoms, because he wants there to be chaos, to give him the chance to advance and become more powerful.  He does not care one whit how many people suffer as long as he gets what he wants.  And what makes him especially dangerous is that he seems to be consistently underestimated by people who are more than willing to enlist his help.  He is able to manipulate everyone around him, including Sansa Stark, who many people seem to think of as Littlefinger’s one weakness.  I disagree.  I think he wants his advancement WAY more than he wants Sansa, and if he can get it at her expense, he will do it.

It’s easy to see where Joffrey got his sociopathic tendencies, whether you think they are genetic, learned, or both.  Cersei is petty, vindictive, manipulative, cruel, and selfish.  She says she cares about her children, but honestly, I see her as caring much more about herself than any of her children.  Even though her son Tommen is being propped up to a large extent by the Tyrells, she still does so many things to undermine the Tyrells and thus alienate them.  And she is also largely responsible for destroying her father’s attempts to win over Dorne as an ally.

Cersei has an exceedingly high opinion of herself, thinking that she is quite capable of running the kingdom and that the only reason she isn’t is because she is a woman.  Her father, before his death, correctly points out that she is not nearly as clever as she thinks she is and that this is the real reason that he does not confide in her very much.  So let’s look at some of the things Cersei has done, just that I can think of off the top of my head.

1) She encourages her brother to do something about Bran Stark when the boy sees them together, and so he then pushes the boy out the window of the Broken Tower.

2) She demands that Sansa’s direwolf Lady be put to death, even though she had nothing whatsoever to do with anything that happened to Joffrey.

3) She contemptuously rips up the order decreeing the Regency of Lord Stark, despite the protestations of Ser Barristan Selmy, Commander of the Kingsguard.  She then dismisses Ser Barristan from his position over his protests.

4) She herself does much to torment Sansa, constantly belittling her and again, allowing Joffrey to do what he wants to her.

5) She treats her brother Tyrion with utter contempt, blaming him for the death of their mother.  We even learn the story of how Tyrion was abused as a baby by a young Cersei.

6) She treats her erstwhile lover, her brother Jaime, with nearly as much contempt much of the time, most recently sending him off on a half-baked rescue mission to Dorne to try to bring back Myrcella.

7) She seems to care little for doing anything that may benefit or help other people, and regularly acts like a vicious Marie Antoinette in her disdain for the small folk of King’s Landing.  We see this when she changes Maergery’s orders to send the leftovers to the poor, and instead has them sent to the kennels to feed the dogs.   She also allows Joffrey to run amok in King’s Landing, doing much to alienate the populace.  This is much more apparent in the books, when he is shooting angry starving people outside the Red Keep with his crossbow and telling them to eat the bodies instead.

8) When Cersei gets her fortune read by the woman in the woods, we see a young Cersei who is already threatening people with violence is she is displeased with them.  What we don’t see (at least on the TV show) is that  Cersei is so upset by the prophecies that she murders her young friend by pushing her into a well, apparently to prevent her from telling anyone.  I was utterly horrified to read about this in the books.

9) Most recently, she is largely responsible for the arrest of Queen Maergery (in the books and the show) and her brother Ser Loras (just on the show) by the Faith Militant.  I can hardly wait until that blows up in her face.  It’s going to be wonderful.

So yeah, in my mind those are two of the biggest villains that are still around.  I have already talked about the Boltons a bit, so I won’t repeat myself here.  Obviously they are villains too, and in many ways Ramsay is the more vicious, less calculating version of his father.  And that last scene in Winterfell has certainly cemented him as being utterly vile (as if there was any doubt), although thankfully they didn’t show much.

-Geoff

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