Pretty much everyone in Game of Thrones is 50 (or more) shades of fucked up, but one thing in particular that many of them seem to share is a whole lot of daddy issues. Given the general paucity of good men on the show, this isn’t exactly surprising, of course, but even the characters who do have decent dads end up being beset with an abundance of father-related psychological problems. Here is a highly scientific ranking (featuring the patented Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™) of who’s fared worst.
Daddy was… doomed Season 1 hero Ned Stark, who was relieved of his head by Joffrey in the show’s first big “shock” killing.
What did daddy do? Refuse to tell Jon who his mother is, mostly, eventually leading Jon to join the Night’s Watch and the Internet to keep churning out theories as to who the mystery woman might be.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 1/10 batshit crazy Internet fan theories
Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon Stark
Daddy was… poor old Ned Stark.
What did daddy do? Got himself killed, basically, setting in motion a chain of events that left Sansa married to the ghastly Ramsay Bolton, Arya learning to be an assassin on an entire different continent, and Bran and Rickon disappeared somewhere into the Northern Wastes.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 2/10 severed heads
Daddy was… “Uncle” Jaime!
What did daddy do? Got it on with his sister, which even in the world of Game of Thrones is not at all OK. Two of the three resultant children — Tommen and Myrcella — seem to have turned out fine, but firstborn Joffrey was, as his uncle Tyrion so memorably put it, a “vicious idiot.” Oops.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 3/10 recessive genes
Ser Jorah Mormont
Daddy was… Night’s Watch Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, rewarded for his good nature with a knife in the back.
What did daddy do? In a rare reversal for Game of Thrones, Jorah’s daddy issues come from the fact that his father provided an ideal to which he was unable to live up. The one time Jeor speaks of the banished Jorah, he does so with evident shame and sadness, while Jorah is visibly stricken by news of his father’s death when Tyrion accidentally tells him of it years later.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 4/10 poachers sold into slavery
Daddy was…. The Mad King!
What did daddy do? Nothing to Daenerys specifically, given that she was a baby when he died, but having for a father a man who earned his name by burning people alive when he was bored… that’s gotta give you some sort of issues, and Daenerys has spent a decent amount of her reign in Meereen trying to convince herself that she’s not her father.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 5/10 recalcitrant dragons
Daddy is… Red Wedding betrayer and general shitbag Roose Bolton.
What did daddy do? Raped Ramsay’s mother, then largely disowned his crazy bastard son until Ramsay proved his worth by slaughtering the Ironborn at Moat Cailin. Before then, though, Ramsay was largely left to his own devices, and providing a bona fide psychopath with an environment in which he could rape, torture and kill as he pleased… well, it wasn’t exactly ideal fatherhood.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 5/10 flayed corpses
Jaime and Cersei Lannister
Daddy was… arch-realpolitik manipulator and cold-hearted bastard Tywin Lannister.
What did daddy do? Was generally cold, judgmental, and unloving, creating a family environment so spectacularly fucked up that brother and sister found solace in each other’s beds. Yikes.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 6/10 incestuous trysts
Daddy is… unseen but pretty awful-sounding Tyrell vassal lord Randyll Tarly.
What did daddy do? Abused, ridiculed, and threatened his shy, bookish son, eventually driving him away from his home and rightful inheritance under threat of death. (And, as a result, condemning Sam to spend the rest of his life in a freezing castle with a bunch of men, most of whom hate him.)
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 7/10 musty tomes
Daddy is… Grubby, unpleasant b-grade Viking Lord Balon Greyjoy.
What did daddy do? Gave Theon away to the Starks that so that he could retain his throne, then blamed his son for not staying loyal to his roots, and eventually abandoned him to the tender ministrations of Ramsay Bolton after deciding that a castrated Theon was no use at all if he couldn’t produce heirs.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 8/10 body parts in boxes
Daddy was… the aforementioned Tywin Lannister.
What did daddy do? What didn’t daddy do? Tywin was particularly awful to Tyrion, whose very existence he blamed for the death of his wife. Some highlights: forcing a young Tyrion to watch his new wife raped by multiple soldiers, sentencing Tyrion to death for a crime he didn’t commit, and to add insult to injury, shagging Tyrion’s one true love for good measure.
Daddy-Issue-O-Meter™: 10/10 crossbow bolts to the heart