Game of Thrones is known for its broad and unique variety of characters with complex personalities. So, naturally, this includes a number of characters that have made some truly unwise (even if sometimes understandable) decisions that resulted in tragedy.
Let’s take a look back at some of those decisions that made us really scratch our heads.
Oh, and spoilers… like, everywhere…
Ned staying in King’s Landing after Robert’s death
Poor honourable Ned Stark made some fairly dumb decisions during the first season of the hit series, from trusting Peter ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish, to conversing with Cersei and staying in King’s Landing when things turned south.
After the former King (and Ned’s long-time friend) Robert Baratheon dies in a hunting “accident”, Ned chooses to stay in King’s Landing to try and overrule Joffrey, who’s now been declared King. Ned’s forces had dwindled after the skirmish against Jamie and he was right in enemy territory with the Lannisters and the City Watch (who side with Cersei). Instead of choosing to retreat back to Winterfell, he decides to stay to resolve the tension diplomatically with Robert’s decree to make Ned acting King. In the end, Ned’s honour was his downfall and the beginning of the chain of conflicts that erupted over the coming seasons.
Everyone trusting Littlefinger
By season seven, many, many characters know to never fully trust Littlefinger. The man has arguably backstabbed and betrayed more characters in this show than any other. It seems his victims have often been the Starks, from backstabbing Ned, to leading Sansa straight to the insane Ramsay Bolton. He’s concocted a web of lies over the series to ensure he reaps the benefits when the dust settles.
Theon taking Winterfell
Theon was another character that met a dire fate after, you guessed it, making one of the most idiotic decisions by betraying the Starks. To be fair, the poor bloke was only trying please his stubborn father, who refused to let go of the past when Theon’s brothers were killed during his rebellion. Balon attempted to capitalise on Winterfell’s desertion as Robb led an army south to take on the Lannisters.
Theon was left with an ultimate decision: Betray Robb and take Winterfell or stay loyal to the only family he’s ever known. Choosing the former resulted in his men being killed, him being severely tortured and castrated by the sadistic Ramsay, and left suffering from PTSD, effectively becoming a shell of his former self. Maybe he would have been better off sticking with Robb? Or maybe he would’ve been killed at the Red Wedding as well? Not a very comforting decision either way.
– Renly declaring war against Stannis
Siblings fight all the time, but when you have a good chance to work together to overthrow the current house in power, you may want to put those differences aside. Unfortunately, Renly and Stannis chose to argue over who had the better claim over the throne instead, and with Melisandre aiding Stannis and confiding with him, neither side appeared willing to drop their own obsessions over the throne.
Call it stubbornness, but in the end both Baratheon forces came to a finish, with Renly killed soon afterwards and Stannis taken down when he goes up against the Boltons. Maybe if they had worked together they would’ve had a better chance. Even allying with the Northern houses could’ve created a very formidable force, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. This is Game of Thrones, where if an unlucky outcome is possible, it’s probably the outcome that will occur.
– Stannis trying to take on Bolton
Stannis appeared plagued and trapped from the start with the seductive Melisandre constantly whispering in his ear. The Red Witch corrupted his thoughts and logic with a deluded belief concerning his rule as King of Westeros. While he did have the strongest claim, listening to her did him no favours. From gathering his army in the North, to attacking the Boltons, to burning his own daughter to death, Stannis’ story was also one of immense tragedy as he fell further and further into a pit of despair.
As Ramsay’s massive army approached his at the end of Season 5, Stannis’ expression conveyed a simple acceptance of defeat as he marched forward. In the end he was killed by Brienne as revenge for the murder of Renly. For Stannis, it was probably a mercy killing.
More bad GoT decisions on the next page…