Exploring Villains: The Lannisters
House Lannister is one of the richest and most powerful families in Westeros, the fictional land in the Song of Ice and Fire book series and later the Game of Thrones TV series.
Their sigil is an example of their power consisting of a golden lion on a blood-red backdrop. The house words "hear me roar" alongside "A Lannister always pays his debts" is an example of how House Lannister operates with both cunning and control.
That is what makes The Lannisters some of the most intriguing villains in literature and on screen. To quote Lord Tywin Lannister...
"The Golden Lion is rightly both admired and feared throughout the Seven Kingdoms."
Now, not all of the the Lannister clan makes the list of top villains. That is because I don't consider some of them villains at all. In fact, a case could be made for all of the Lannister clan that they are simply trying to get by with the cards they were dealt.
Except for Joffrey...everyone knows he was evil to the core! Here now let me present House Lannister's top villains.
LORD TYWIN LANNISTER: Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Hand of the King, Savior of the City...the list of accolades is almost as long as Daenerys Targaryen's. All the boxes are checked for Tywin Lannister when it comes to great bad guys. He is imposing, intelligent, not afraid to get his hands dirty and has a take control quality that even his children fear. Played by the amazing Charles Dance in the HBO series, the minute Tywin comes on screen you know he will be a force to be reckoned with. In fact, his appearance shows him butchering a deer...that tells you all you need to know about Lord Tywin Lannister.
QUEEN CERSEI LANNISTER: Cersei is what I would call a 'delicious' villain. She has all the markers to make you hate her character but you love seeing her deliver dastardly deeds she has been plotting. Cersei's lust for power comes in large part from being ignored. Unlike her brothers Jamie and Tyrion, Cersei actually has the ambition, passion, and skill to be a great leader. However, because she is a woman her role is to be that of a wife and mother. So, she rules through her children until it is finally time to take the throne herself...no matter who she has to kill along the way. Lena Headey's portrayal of Cersei Lannister in the series should've garnered her many awards. She is captivating in every facet of Cersei's journey including the infamous "walk of shame" where viewers actually start to feel sorry for her.
KING JOFFREY BARATHEON: Even though King Joffrey carries the Baratheon name to his grave, we all know the truth. Joffrey is a pureblood Lannister through and through. Perhaps because his birth parents are brother and sister is the reason why Joffrey is a little bit off in the head. His cruelty is on another level that makes him one of the most sinister villains of all time. From the moment he takes the throne, no one is safe, not even his family...especially his uncle Tyrion. Joffrey goes made with power dishing out abuse to everyone he comes across. Only his wife Margaery Tyrell seems to be able to tame him. They often say that the nicest actors can portray the best villains. I'm not sure why that is, but Jack Gleason delivered a masterclass in evil with his performance as King Joffrey.
SER JAMIE LANNISTER: I hesitated to put Jamie in the list because he actually winds up becoming a bit of a hero in the end. However, lets not forget all the terrible things he did "for love" as he states in the very first episode after shoving young Bran Stark out the window. The thing is, Jamie's dastardly deeds are perpetrated like a chess match. He needs to move certain pieces out of the way in order to reach his ultimate goal which always seems to lead back to Cersei. In the TV series, his journey comes to and end because he has a need to return to Ceresei even after aiding in the fight against the White Walkers alongside people he used to consider enemies. So, you could say Jamie Lannister starts as a villain and ends up something of a hero. Actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays these different sides of Jamie beautifully on the hit series.
You may wonder why I haven't added Tyrion, Myrcella, or Tommen to this list. As I said in the open, they aren't really considered villains. The children especially are almost victims of their royal House and the deeds of their relatives. Tyrion has his demons, but he isn't inherently evil.
Learn more about House Lannister in the video below:
"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels for deviant minds including urban fantasy vigilantes and heroic adventure fantasy.