It’s Time to Start Rooting for the Bad Guys on Game of Thrones

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 6 Episode 1. If you’ve watched it, let’s talk about why it’s time to start putting our money on the bad guys in Game of Thrones.

After the return of Game of Thrones, all anyone can talk about is Melisandre, which shouldn’t come as much of a suprise, since you could call her Snickers-commercial-style twist of turning into the nude version of the old lady from Titanic pretty shocking.


What’s even more shocking is that despite our better judgement, the show is manipulating us into rooting for people we used to want to spit at. Does that mean the bad guys are becoming the good guys? In any case being a good guy never pays off anyway, so we all may as well consider changing teams if we’re trying to emotionally attach ourselves to the pony that could go all the way.

The Lannisters

While it’s easy to root for Tyrion (and probably smart, since he’s survived a lot of pretty serious scrapes) Season 5 definitely softened us toward her, and “The Red Woman” totally sealed the deal. We’ve always loved to hate her, she’s incredibly fun to watch, but now we’re starting to love to love her.

“Maybe I’m not a monster”

The show’s focus on her has definitely shifted to show what a crappy hand she was dealt, and is working to cultivate our respect for the grace with which she handles devastating situations. The show’s so good at manipulating our perspective on Cersei, in fact, that it now feels like we’re supposed to be rooting for the romance between her and Jaime, even though it created Joffrey, hobbled Bran, and is, at its roots, incredibly morally wrong.

Read more: Epic Diagram Charts All Game of Thrones Betrayals

When she says that Myrcella was so good and pure that she couldn’t believe she had come from a mother like Cersei, it’s heartbreaking. When Jaime comforts her, we identify with them as lovers, parents, and humans. When Jaime says “F**k everyone who isn’t us,” it’s like he’s saying it to all of us. Am I a Lannister bannerman now? I don’t even know who I am anymore.


The Boltons

First of all, I’d like to point out that a lot of AleHorn customers are diehard Bolton bannermen, and I’m not sure I really get it. Feel free to explain it to me in the comments. Or, maybe don’t, since that might involve the removal of some of my favorite body parts.

You guys told us we had to add this to our lineup or be flayed

As it is, we made a poll for the top six houses that we’d then make into engraved tankards. As the weeks went by and the requests (demands) for House Bolton tankards piled up, we had no choice but to add it as an official option. We really didn’t want to mess with you guys.

In short, there are folks out there who see the merit into attaching themselves to the Boltons. Roose was at the helm of the Red Wedding Stark betrayal, which I suppose was a huge win-over for those who are quickly bored by goodie two-shoes. I can understand that.

Before, I couldn’t imagine EVER rooting for Ramsay, but now I can even sort of see why some people might – he’s pretty hilarious, in a eating-a-sausage-in-front-of-you-right-after-castrating-you kind of way. I mean, he’s a rapist, and a pretty awful sadist, and a very obvious psychopath. But, much like early series Cersei, he’s interesting to watch nonetheless.

Just when I thought Ramsay was showing a softer, vulnerable side, he goes and chooses a “burial” like that.  #GameofThrones #theredwoman



The Greyjoys

Another baffling group is the Greyjoys – poor Theon is as confusing as he is confused. We feel bad for him, but come on, Winterfell, man! And his betrayal of Robb! And those poor farm kids! And isn’t he partly to blame for what happened to Sansa?

But maybe he’s paid the price, and we can root for him now? He’s surviving, that’s for sure, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can continue to grow some – uh – courage.

That awkward moment when…

While Theon’s character is developing in interesting ways, Yara (Asha in the books) might prove to be the better Greyjoy to root for, as the books make her a POV character telling of her struggle to hold the Seastone Chair after her father’s death.

Even if you can’t bring yourself to back Theon or Yara, you gotta admit that the iron determination of the house that “does not sow” is admirable.


Good guys are sooooo 2011

Right in the middle of Breaking Bad and before House of Cards, Game of Thrones Season 1 came in looking a lot like just another goody-two-shoes-always wins fantasy show. But then Ned’s head rolled, and we realized it wasn’t about the heroes – it’s about the anti-heroes.

Back when all of us were sweet summer children

The kickoff to Season Six is all but reinforcing this point – all the Starks are either dead, or completely changed. Jon is gone, and if he comes back, it’s likely the good guy part of him will stay buried. Arya’s either forgotten completely who she is or she’s a vengeful murderer, but either way, the spunky little Stark girl is history. Sansa’s a goth chick now. Bran’s a werewolf. Not sure what Rickon’s up to, but he’s probably a wildling by now.


After the Red Wedding, it was tough to know which way was up, but I think we’re finally figuring it out. Through making us sympathize with despicable characters, the show is helping us understand what drives them to do what they do. Every time a bad guy comes out on top, it’s tough not to keep going back to Cersei’s advice to Ned way back when “you win or you die.”

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It’s Time to Start Rooting for the Bad Guys on Game of Thrones