Who are the heroes of House Lannister, in Game of Thrones, and who are the villains? It’s not as black and white as some might expect.
Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV shows of the past decade. Based on the A Song of Ice and Fire book series by George RR Martin, the fantasy series built a global reputation for its venomous characters, its subtle political scheming, and its stunning and award-winning action sequences.
One of the most notable families in the world of Game of Thrones is the Lannisters, with Lords of the Westerlands drawn into open conflict with House Stark in the first season of the show. This leads many to view the Lannisters as a villainous family, but they’re far more complicated than that. It’s worth mentioning that Jaime and Cersei Lannister’s children will not be included in this list as they’re legally Baratheons.
6 Most Heroic: Tyrion Lannister
Tyrion Lannister is one of the most popular characters in the series, with Tyrion showing himself to be one of the more likeable members of House Lannister. The youngest of Tywin’s children, Tyrion Lannister was also the ‘black sheep’ of the family, with his father refusing to acknowledge him as his heir after Jaime Lannister gave up his claim over Casterly Rock when joining the Kingsguard.
Tyrion’s sharp wit and friendly personality certainly helped make him one of the most popular characters on the show. While he is undoubtedly the most heroic Lannister, he is far from the most heroic character in the show, with his murder of Shae being a particularly dark moment.
5 Kevan Lannister
Kevan Lannister may be one of the most underrated characters in Game of Thrones. The brother of Tywin Lannister, Kevan Lannister served as the Hand of the King after Tywin was murdered by Tyrion Lannister. Unfortunately, though, Kevan Lannister wouldn’t last long in that position.
In the show, Kevan is killed by Cersei Lannister in the wildfire explosion. In the books, Kevan is killed in the epilogue to a Dance with Dragons by Varys. The Eunuch was forced to kill him to bring King’s Landing into chaos, after Kevan was doing such a good job as Hand of the King.
4 Jaime Lannister
In the first season of Game of Thrones, Jaime Lannister looked like a hero in a fantasy story. He was a handsome, attractive character with a charismatic smile. However, as George RR Martin does, Jaime Lannister wasn’t the typical fantasy hero. He had an incestuous relationship with his sister and attempted to kill a child in order to keep this affair secret. In addition to this, he also killed his own cousin so that he could escape from a Stark prison in the earlier seasons.
While Jaime Lannister first appeared, he was undoubtedly a villain. However, as the series went on, Jaime embarked on a redemption arc, with the character learning to act with honor and not just do whatever Cersei told him to do. While in the show, Jaime and Cersei die together, in the books Jaime has been more explicit in his distrust for Cersei.
3 Lancel Lannister
Lancel Lannister is one of the lesser members of the Lannister family. While the Lannister family is one of the largest in the series, the show actually cut out several members of House Lannister that appeared in the books, with Lancel Lannister avoiding being cut from the show.
Lancel is essentially a passive character in the series. He is first used by Cersei as a replacement for Jaime, before he is then used by Tyrion to spy on Cersei, and finally, he is used by the Faith Militant.
2 Tywin Lannister
Tywin Lannister is one of the most compelling characters in the series. In many ways, Tywin is the archetypical Machiavellian character, with Tywin often using deceit and trickery to gain an upper hand in political situations. The most obvious example of this was the Red Wedding, with Tywin orchestrating this betrayal and defeating the rebellion in the north without winning a battle.
That being said, it’s not fair to label Tywin a villain or even as evil. Even in the case of the Red Wedding, in the books he claimed that this one betrayal cost thousands of lives. Seeing the effects of the War of the Five Kings in the Riverlands, it’s hard to disagree with Tywin on this point.
1 Cersei Lannister
Which other Lannister could have topped this list? Joffrey Baratheon may have stood a chance had his last name been Lannister, but without Joffrey the path to ‘most villainous’ was only open to Cersei Lannister. Throughout the series, Cersei showed herself to be a scheming, manipulative leader who will stop at nothing to get the power she believes she deserves.
While she was an understandable villain, much of her moments in the show followed Cersei trying to grab power in Westeros. The most notable example of this was her destruction of the Sept of Baelor, but another villainous moment was when she refused to help defend Westeros against the Others so it would weaken the Dany and the north.
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