The Game of Thrones universe is renowned for creating complex and difficult characters that viewers can both love and hate. They are meant to be representative of what humans are really like; not entirely good and not entirely bad, but somewhere in between. Fans are then able to sympathize with characters despite the terrible things they might have done.
It isn’t hard to empathize with the people of Westeros, as the worst and most horrific things seem to frequently and often befall them. No character is spared, no matter their story, development, or popularity. The most harmless and sweet person could have the worst things happen to them, or fans might find themselves sympathizing with the worst villain.
10/10 Theon’s Loss Of Self Leads Viewers To Forgive Him
Theon was not a particularly likable character in earlier seasons of Game of Thrones due to his betrayal of Robb and his decision to take over Winterfell. He discarded his upbringing with the Starks and chose to be a Greyjoy instead.
When the Boltons take over, Ramsay kidnaps Theon, tortures, mutilates, and utterly destroys him. Theon entirely loses his sense of self as Ramsay gives him the name Reek and insists he is there to serve his every whim. Theon deeply regrets betraying the Starks, and, in the end, he sacrifices his life to protect Bran.
9/10 The Death Of The Strongs Was Uncalled For
Both Harwin and Lyonel Strong are sympathetic characters in House of the Dragon, as they lose their lives totally out of the blue in an attack orchestrated by their own family member. Harwin’s brother and Lyonel’s son, Larys, organizes their death to gain Queen Alicent’s favor.
The father and son died in a fire, which is a horrific end, without ever getting to know why. It was all because Larys selfishly sought favors from Alicent, so he killed his family even though she hadn’t requested him to do so.
8/10 Tommen Gains Everything & Quickly Loses It All
Poor Tommen did absolutely nothing wrong but also didn’t do much of anything at all. He didn’t perform as king and was no use to Cersei or Margaery when they needed him.
From the moment he lost his brother Joffrey, Tommen had the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders. Margaery came into his life, wowed him, and he fell deeply in love. However, Tommen didn’t ask for the crown or the marriage, and he was too young to handle it. Tommen kills himself when he hears news of Margaery’s death, tragically ending his short reign and short life.
7/10 Rhaenys Loses All Her Children
Rhaenys proves herself to be a true fighter throughout the first season of House of the Dragon while simultaneously gaining sympathy for her position. She is not chosen as the heir to the Iron Throne, despite most people agreeing that she would certainly make for a better ruler than Viserys.
Rhaenys becomes taunted with the title ‘The Queen That Never Was.’ In addition, she loses both of her children while her husband Corlys Velaryon leaves to fight for several years. She has to deal with everything alone, not knowing if he is even still alive.
6/10 Sansa Suffers A Lot Over The Years
Sansa, like Rhaenys, is a woman of true endurance and strength. She was just a child in the beginning and desired to be with Joffrey, so she made some stupid mistakes.
Sansa not only had to watch her father’s beheading but was forced to see his head on a spike afterwards. She was tortured by Joffrey and later sold to the Boltons to be tortured by Ramsay. Despite all the horror that befell her, Sansa manages to stand tall and ends Game of Thrones as the Queen of the now-independent north.
5/10 Alicent’s Life Isn’t Her Own
Alicent chose to go on a path against her best friend Rhaenyra and went as far as to place her son Aegon on the throne when Rhaenyra was the rightful heir. Still, it is hard not to sympathize with her while still being angry at her decisions.
Alicent’s father, Otto Hightower, pushed her into Viserys’ arms. He was a much older man who she wasn’t interested in, but she did as her father asked. Alicent’s life was set by other people rather than herself, and like Rhaenys tells her, she lives her life in servitude to the men in her life: her father, husband, and son.
4/10 Myrcella Was Just An Innocent Child
Myrcella did not deserve to die in Game of Thrones, especially in such a sad and terrible way. She died in the arms of her father, Jaime, whom she had just acknowledged as her parent rather than her uncle. Myrcella was returning home after many years and hadn’t seen her family in a long time.
Unfortunately, Myrcella never got to see her family again, as Ellaria Sand poisoned her in response to her partner Oberyn’s death. However, Myrcella had no part in that and was a completely innocent young girl looking forward to her future with her love. She died for no reason other than revenge.
3/10 The Season Finale Took Everything From Rhaenyra
In the final episode of House of the Dragon‘s first season, Rhaenyra is told of the loss of her father and the Iron Throne. She loses her biggest supporter and her future reign within a few moments. To make matters worse, she then goes into early labor and delivers a stillborn baby.
To top the finale off, Daemon tells Rhaenyra that her son Lucerys is dead. Just this one episode of is enough for fans to deeply sympathize with Rhaenyra, but she also endured so much before this and deserved to ascend the throne like her father planned.
2/10 Daenerys Endures So Much & Dies Young
Daenerys has been told her whole life that she and her family belong in King’s Landing, on the Iron Throne. She was not to be crowned, however, but her elder brother Viserys, who was callous and abusive. Dany is then sold to Khal Drogo by Viserys, who also abuses her.
Dany experiences such horror throughout her life, and she is still quite young when she dies. To add to the tragedy, it is her lover and partner, Jon Snow, who stabs and kills her. Jon is the one person she trusts above everybody, and he looks her in the eyes, kisses her, and takes her life. It is terribly sad, especially considering all she has done to finally arrive in the throne room, only to die there.
1/10 Aemma Loses Her Autonomy & Her Life
Aemma suffers so much in House of the Dragon because Viserys becomes king. She was already expected to have his children, but upon her husband being named heir, there was an incredible amount of pressure added on to her.
Viserys needed to have male heirs to carry on the Targaryen royal line, and so he pushed Aemma. She ended up having multiple miscarriages and stillborns. When Aemma finally does give birth to a boy, both she and the baby die. Viserys had his wife cut open without her knowledge or consent. It must’ve been a terrifying and painful way to die, and it was done at the hands of the person Aemma loved.
NEXT: 10 Ways The Dance Of The Dragons Could’ve Been Avoided