Game Of Thrones: 15 Worst Relationships (And 10 Of The Best)
In a few days, Game of Thrones final season begins. After years of rising popularity, becoming one of the most-watched and beloved series ever, the bid for Westeros is finally coming to an end. With White Walkers on the rise and several possible grand leaders in the running, who knows where things will end. All that's certain is that it's been an exhilarating ride.
One of the reasons Game of Thrones has become so popular is its characters. While the world is fairly normal medieval fantasy fare, every character on the show has unique motivations, ideals, backstories, and more. Across the internet, everyone is rooting for a different favorite to wrest control of the Iron Throne. Fan favorites like Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister are in the fore-runnings, but the list of options is never-ending.
Part of the reason some of these characters are more beloved than others are their relationships. Game of Thrones is hardly a romance, but it does have quite a few romances in it. Some of them are beautiful and sweet, others are cruel and selfish. The relationships in this show truly help shape the characters involved and demonstrate the sinister nature of fighting for power.
Here are the 15 Worst Relationships (And 10 Of The Best.)
25 WORST: Cersei And Jaime
Like all good couples counselors will say, "love is not enough". While Jaime and Cersei Lannister certainly love one another, that doesn't change all the bad things they've done or how they feed into one another's fears. The twins leaned on each other to survive their rough childhood, and that blossomed into a romantic and toxic love. In their first episode, they tossed a kid off a tower to keep their relationship secret.
However, over the years, they've only made worse and worse decisions and caused more pain and turmoil around them. After losing all their children and tearing Westeros to shreds, it's time this couple called it quits. Considering Cersei's prophecy and Jaime being the younger twin, that might be exactly what happens.
24 BEST: Jon And Ygritte
Easily one of the most beloved Game of Thrones couples to date, Jon and Ygritte are an easy pair to root for. She's a fierce Wildling with a soft spot for him. Jon was a Night Watch member who bent the rules for her and her people. Both hardened people, they found affection and love in each other's arms. While their relationship ended in tragedy, it changed Jon Snow irreparably. Not only did he become more compassionate and loving, but he learned to become a leader, not just a rule-follower. After all, if he followed the rules he never would have gotten the alliance with the Wildlings or end up naked in a pool with a girl.
23 WORST: Sansa And Ramsay
Ever since Sansa was left trapped in Casterly Rock after her father's execution, life hadn't gone well for her. The Lannisters trapped her in an abusive betrothal to Joffrey, a cruel and wicked twerp. When he tired of her, his family shoved her onto his uncle, Tyrion, and forced into marriage. The Freys brutally betrayed her mother and brother. As Petyr Baelish whisks her away from the Lannisters and life looks brighter, everything only gets worse.
In the north, she's wed to the horrible and bloodthirsty Ramsay Bolton, who assaults her on their wedding night. During this marriage, Sansa becomes as cold and calculating as the man who "saved" her from Casterly Rock. This relationship ends, aptly, with Sansa letting the vicious Bolton hounds feed on their master.
22 WORST: Catelyn/Sansa And Petyr
While most of Littlefinger's machinations are all around power and secrets, his loyalty to the Stark women is a little more sincere in the worst way. Since he was a child, he adored Catelyn Stark (nee Tully.) When she married Eddard Stark, it devastated him. He did everything he could to get close to her, even marrying her widowed sister.
Once Catelyn fell, Petyr deferred his affections towards her eldest daughter, Sansa. With Sansa looking so much like her mother, it was easy to pretend he had the beautiful Tully red-head that he always dreamed of. Lucky for Sansa, after learning a lot about spy-mastering from him, she caught onto Baelish's selfish lust and got rid of him.
21 BEST: Gilly And Sam
In early seasons of Game of Thrones, Sam Tarly was just the chubby, awkward best friend of protagonist Jon Snow. Over time, though, he's shown to have much more merits of his own. Kind, intelligent, and dedicated, he's figured out a lot of secrets in Westeros. All along the way he's been supported by Gilly, a daughter of Craster who wanted more for herself and to save her son. Together, they are the most "normal" couple of the series, building a life, raising a child, and just trying to make the world a better place.
Despite their complex past and terrible fathers, they're both good people with even better hearts who deserve the love they give each other.
20 WORST: Tommen And Margaery
After Joffrey's untimely poisoning, his younger brother, Tommen, took over as king of Westeros. While kinder, Tommen was much easier to manipulate and that danger followed him throughout his reign. Shortly after losing his brother, Margery set sights on the young Lannister and made him her betrothed, too. Anything to be queen, right?
Practically a child, the relationship between Maergery and Tommen screams manipulation and abuse of power. Though he's king, she's a wiser, more cunning adult. The poor boy never stood a chance. If only he had been able to be with a girl his own age, one who wasn't jut using him for power. He deserved better.
19 BEST: Loras And Renly
Fans never got to see much of Loras and Renly, as Stannis Baratheon slayed the king-to-be, his own brother, dishonorably. However, the pair were the first gay characters the show displayed. While they kept their relationship hidden, they were sweet, affectionate, and even a bit domestic. They respected one another and offered counsel. In another world, in another time, they could have been a very happy couple.
Unfortunately, while that could happen, it wasn't fate. Instead, Renly lost his life and Loras went on to more than his fair share of sham engagements. Neither man found happiness, not once Stannis maliciously ripped them apart.
18 WORST: Cersei And Lancel
Cersei is known for doing whatever she can to get what she wants, and when it came to Lancel, she did. While missing Jaime and needing a loyal henchmen, she took in her young cousin to sate both needs. Her time with him distracted from her heartache as well as get her a dutiful ally. During this tryst, Lancel was completely devoted to Cersei, becoming her errand boy, minor spy, and more.
However, as far as Cersei was concerned, Lancel was nothing more than a disposable plaything. When Jaime returned and she was done with him, he was discarded.
Perhaps if he never became Cersei's short-term lap dog, Lancel would have lived a fuller, un-Sparrow-ed life.
17 WORST: Rhaegar And Elia
While a poor match, the marriage between Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell caused more heartbreak than horror. Rhaegar remained ambivalent to the pairing, but Elia adored him. Though pregnancy was difficult for her, she bore him two children that she loved. Their relationship wasn't perfect, but she put her all into it.
Unfortunately, the second Rhaegar laid eyes on Lyanna Stark, she didn't matter to him anymore. He divorced her in secret and married Lyanna. Meanwhile, she was alone in King's Landing caring for their children.
Along with her children, she was massacred by Lannister forces when the Targaryen line was destroyed.
16 BEST: Margaery And Renly
Of all the relationships on this list, Renly and Margaery are one of the most interesting for one simple fact: their coupling was never romantic. While Margaery married him to become queen, she had little interest in earning his love. Renly's sexuality only made this agenda easier for her. She was more than happy to keep his secret and protect his romance with her brother. All she asked for was the throne and an heir.
Though Margaery manipulated half of Westeros while she was alive, her relationship with Renly was likely her most mutually beneficial and friendly. They could have become great friends and allies if they ruled the Iron Throne together.
15 WORST: Lysa And Petyr
While Lysa and Petyr have committed a lot of plots together, it isn't because they're both masterminds. The calculating Littlefinger only married her because of her sister and the ability to manipulate her. He convinced the emotionally unsound woman to poison her own husband, then marry him. Her jealousy and desperation for attention led her to make poor choice in her adulthood. Her end, pushed into a pit by her husband, was just as sad as the way her life devolved.
Between her unsteady mind and Petyr's machinations, their relationship was riddled with lies and toxicity. In the end, they both ended in ruin.
14 BEST: Khal Drogo And Dany
When it comes to controversial relationships, this one takes the cake. They started out an unequal and abusive pairing, Drogo doing whatever he wanted to the young Dany. With time, though, they grew a respect for one another that superseded his culture and made them a formidable pair.
While the early days of their marriage are unforgivable, they made each other better people. She taught him to have more respect for women and herself. He taught her to be a fearless leader. Khal Drogo helped make Dany the Mother of Dragons that she is today, and that will never stop being important to the young Targaryen's story.
13 WORST: Ramsay And Myranda
Like many Game of Thrones men, just because Sansa becomes Ramsay's wife doesn't mean she's the only woman he's with. Very quickly, Sansa learns about the romantic tryst between her sadistic husband and his equally awful servant, Myranda. Not only does she happily abide to Ramsay's every whim, but Myranda also finds joy in helping him torture people.
Together, the pair are evil monsters that feed into one another's desires. Even when he marries Sansa, she still considers the Bolton heir hers and will do anything to keep his attention.
Luckily for everyone involved, both Myranda and Ramsay are unceremoniously slain by the two Winterfell residents they hurt most.
12 BEST: Grey Worm And Missandei
Over time, Dany builds a council of advisers around her that make her all the stronger of a leader. Two of the most important include Missandei and Grey Worm. In season 3, Dany liberated the translator from her slavers and bought Grey Worm and his Unsullied. As her confidantes, they spent a lot of time together and eventually fell in love.
Despite Grey Worm's nature, they find comfort and affection in one another. While he doesn't have certain parts of him anymore, he still finds her attractive and the feeling is mutual.
In the coming wars with the White Walkers, Grey Worm's involvement in the fighting could strain their relationship, however gentle and kind it may be.
11 WORST: Tyrion And Shae
At first, Tyrion and Shae had a sweet relationship forged between two outcast souls. The world looked down on her as a "bed-warmer". He was the halfling, unwanted son of Tywin Lannister. In each others' arms they found solace and a home. However, the second Tyrion brought Shae to King's Landing, the situation got progressively worse. Hiding her became harder and his forced marriage to Sansa made her jealous and frustrated.
Tyrion tries to send her away for her own safety, but that ultimately turns his beloved against him.
When Shae betrayed him to Tywin and, worse, slept with him, it tore Tyrion apart. After he has to end her life in self-defense, he's heartbroken and has remained that way.
10 WORST: Oberyn And Ellaria
If this evaluation was just based on how devoted and in love two characters are, Oberyn and Ellaria would undoubtedly be one oft he best couples. However, taking in consideration also their effect on each other and the world around them, that makes things very different. After all, not only were the pair selfish and impulsive, but after Oberyn's passing, Ellaria became a true villain. Their rage was something fierce and ruthless.
Without their violent and vindictive coupling, the Lannisters might not have lost their daughter and she wouldn't have decimated Dorne's royal bloodline. Doran and Trystane Martell could have lived much longer lives.
9 BEST: Robb And Talisa
As far as fairy-tales go, Game of Thrones has its own Cinderella story in Robb and Talisa Stark. Meeting on the battlefield, Robb becomes enamored with the outspoken and beautiful field nurse. Her kindness and intelligence win him over. While most men would just take a pretty commoner as their mistress, Robb wanted better for his beloved. Shirking a betrothal to a Frey, he instead marries Talisa. She goes from local nurse to a queen overnight.
However, much like Game of Thrones, this isn't where fairy-tales live. On the night of their wedding, Frey's men massacred the entire Stark family present. Cinderella and Prince Charming didn't even make it to their honeymoon.
8 WORST: Joffrey And Margaery
If a Game of Thrones fan is asked who the worst, most vile character existing in the universe was, most would say Joffrey Baratheon. The first-born of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, the young man has a real twisted sense of entitlement.
Ultimately, as king, he marries Margaery Tyrell, a beautiful, ambitious noble. While this pairing saved Sansa from his clutches, they were a more daunting pair to have on the throne. Between his cruelty and her selfish machinations, they could have rained terror on Westeros.
When Olenna Tyrell poisoned him during his wedding, the whole world heaved a sigh of relief and contentment. And Margaery? She just moved on to her next target.
7 BEST: Trystane And Myrcella
By far, the luckiest Lannister child was Myrcella, the only daughter of Cersei and Jaime. While her parents and other nobles played the game around her brothers, she was shipped off to Dorne for her own safety. House Lannister and Martell officiated the move with her betrothal to Prince Trystane. During her time in Dorne, Myrcella and Trystane fell in love, a rare thing among arranged marriages.
In a perfect world, they could have been a rare and revolutionary couple, ruling with kindness and teamwork. Instead, Ellaria Sand's revenge plot struck down both teens before they could even get married. If only young love could stand a chance against the battle for the Iron Throne.
6 WORST: Cersei And Robert
When the Targaryen household denied Tywin's request for Rhaegar to marry young Cersei, the world began to fall against King Aerys. After the events of Robert's Rebellion, Robert Baratheon married Cersei Lannister and cemented a new alliance, however, one that neither young noble wanted. All of his life Robert had loved Lyanna Stark, the woman Rhagaer stole from him, and he found solace in countless local brothels. And Cersei? Well, she loved her brother more than any man. Safe to say, it was a loveless marriage.
Though the Lannister children were clearly not Robert's, he helped raise them into spoiled kids, Joffrey worst of all. If the past could be re-done, no one should put Robert and Cersei together ever again.
5 BEST: Jon And Dany
Though Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen's relationship is rushed at best, it is one based on mutual respect. They both see a dedicated leader who wants what's best for their people. They are strong-willed and willing to face the world together.
This coupling may not last long, and it may end in tragedy, but at least they can find comfort in one another for the time being. Together, they might be able to bring the White Walkers, and Westoros, to its knees.
All they have to do is ignore a few prophecies and the fact she's his aunt. No big deal. Normal Targaryen fare, right?
4 WORST: Stannis And Melisandre
When Robert Baratheon passed on, his house fell apart in its multiple bids for the throne. Both of his brothers thought they should be the new king of Westeros. While people found Renly likable, Stannis had more jealous ambition. In cold blood, he orchestrated a shadow creature stabbing his brother and sacrificed his daughter. Once an honorable man, his relationship with Melisandre and the Lord of Light warped him into something else. She abandoned him once she decided he wasn't the prophetic hero she thought he was.
Fate finally caught up to him when Brienne, once devoted to Renly, took justice into her own hands and beheaded him. If only he never met Melisandre in the first place.
3 WORST: Rhaegar And Lyanna
True love isn't enough to excuse plunging the entirety of Westeros into chaos. The kidnapping of Lyanna Stark drove the Baratheons and Starks to finally rebel against the Targaryens. Just by eloping and pretending they could be a normal couple in love, Lyanna and Rhaegar doomed their people.
In some ways, they did set in motion the prophetic events that are unfolding in Game of Thrones' final season. However, that doesn't excuse the damage they caused. As leaders in their own realms, they should have known better than to pull stunts like this.
While wholesome in their own way, their relationship was a flame that set the foundation of Westeros on fire. Overall, not good.
2 BEST: Ned And Catelyn
For most of her life, Catelyn Tully was betrothed to Brandon Stark, the eldest son of Winterfell and the future King in the North. However, when Aerys Targaryen executed both Bran and his father, everything changed. Suddenly she maried Ned Stark instead, his younger brother who was basically a stranger to her. The rebellion drenched their early marriage in bloodshed and assumed infidelity (see Jon Snow.)
With time, though, Catelyn and Ned fell in love and became great leaders and parents. The pair supported each other in the worst of times and were dearly devoted. Even with the constant reminder of Jon among her children, Catelyn cherished the life she built with Ned.
If only their love hadn't ended so tragically.
1 WORST: Sansa And Joffrey
When Game of Thrones started, Sansa was a dreamy-eyed girl in love with her royal fiance, Joffrey. While he had cruel tendencies, they started more as entitled brat actions instead of crazed madman. However, as the season devolved and so did Joffrey, that love and adoration turned into horror and disgust. By the time Joffrey executed her father and imprisoned her at King's Landing, Sansa didn't love him anymore.
Throughout their relationship, Joffrey was abusive, cruel, and possessive. He delighted in her pain, humiliation, and loved hurting her family. Sansa truly was lucky to make it out of his clutches alive.
Now, she gets to help shape the world while he rots in a grave.
Were there any other terrible Game of Thrones couples we missed? Or did any amazing ones slip through the cracks? Let us know in the comments below!