Last night, HBO subscribers and the people who “borrow” their passwords erupted in a collective yelp of joy when Joffrey Baratheon, king of Westeros choked and sputtered his way to a gruesome death by poison at his own wedding. But his demise does leave a weasel-size hole in our hearts. Who can we focus our hatred on without the transparently evil king humiliating and maiming people?
5. Margaery Tyrell
She’s never even done a good job of pretending to she is interested in anything besides being a social climber. If Joffrey had been less inbred he might have noticed. Now that she’s the queen, she’ll be able to bend the world to her whims without thrusting her chest in people’s faces quite as often. But as she never really demonstrated any motivation beyond becoming a monarch, who even knows what that will mean. She might be an irritating gold digger, but she’s a dud when it comes to having an evil personality. So far, “Look, the pie!” is one of her most memorable lines.
4. Tommen Baratheon
Who? Oh, right, Joffrey’s little brother. We haven’t seen him do much of anything in more than a year. Maybe he’s grown into a sensitive young man who spends his days smelling flowers and writing in his journal, or maybe he attacks cats with the vacuum cleaner. It’s not clear. We do know that the order of succession makes him the king, and power has a way of appealing to the worst parts of our nature. And since he’s as inbred as his lunatic brother, there’s probably something below the surface ready to start crossbowing people to death when given the opportunity.
3. Tywin Lannister
Even though he should have been able to wield all the power behind the scenes, he let Joffrey get away with torture and murder. Tywin will stop at nothing to preserve his legacy, even if that means orchestrating large-scale massacres. But he wants people to respect him, as well as fear him, so he’ll do only what’s necessary to win this war.
2. Ramsay Snow
The bastard of Roose Bolton certainly has the sadistic thing down. Until last night his most recent activities included cutting off Theon’s most important parts. Flash-forward and he has transformed his prisoner into some sort of post-op character from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But Theon was pretty unlikable himself before the whole torture thing and Ramsay clearly has an Iron Island shipful of daddy issues. However, he doesn’t wield that much power yet.
1. Cersei Lannister
So far this season, she openly mocked her brother/lover who had been kidnapped, lost a hand and traveled an agonizingly long way to reunite with her. Then she blamed him for taking so long. She forced her other brother to send perhaps the only woman he ever loved to live alone across the sea. She laughed as Sansa (now her sister-in-law) watched dwarves reenact the beheading of her Ned Stark. You just know she has a secret room where thousands of puppies are drowned every day. Joffrey was terrible, but at least he could use mental illness as an excuse. Cersei is just a basic bitch, plain and simple. Watching her son and source of all her power die in her arms is not going to help.