HBO’s Game of Thrones has spent four seasons introducing audiences to a broad range of characters with skills and weaknesses ranging across a very wide spectrum. Most of these characters are connected in some way—through blood or alliance, and sometimes even old grudges. This season, there have been a lot of plotlines on HBO’s drama revolving around fathers, as well as their relationships with their children, and on the whole, these moments haven’t exactly made them look like Ward Cleavers. With a finale airing on the same day as Father’s Day, we decided to celebrate some of this incompetence by ranking the more famous dads from best to worst.
To be honest, not one of the characters on this list is an exemplary father, for many reasons. Notably Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have taken a nod from series author George R. R. Martin and have created a rich tapestry of complicated characters. No father on this list gets it right 100% of the time. Even Ned Stark, whose parental skills were exemplary, isn’t really as virtuous as people like to remember.
We foraged through the list of potential Game of Thrones characters, pulling the best and worst examples of fathers who appeared on the hit subscription cable series. It was harder than it might look. There are plenty of dads who only appeared via stories, including but not limited to Jon Arryn and Aerys II, as well as dads who never got to see their children born, including Robb Stark and Khal Drogo. So, they’re out. In addition, we also chopped all those fathers whose appearances were too brief or too unimportant to have a lasting impact. That left us with 10 men.
Without further ado, here is our list of the very best and worst in fathers Game of Thrones has to offer. If you are mostly caught up on the series, this list is pretty spoiler-free, but if you’re yet to plunge in to the show at all or a season or so behind, you may want to backlog on HBO as quickly as possible.
Mace TyrellStrengths: Good-natured, knows a good deal when he sees one, wants the best for his kids, above average facial hair
Weaknesses: Hard to take seriously, easy to push around, loves food too much
Analysis:Mace Tyrell is kind of a doofus. He’s a fat older gentleman who dreams of nothing more than to make his daughter the Queen. He wed her off to Renly, then to Joffrey and now plans to have her marry young Tommen. In the scheme of things, his children are much more politically savvy and capable than he is. However, the Tyrell children could certainly do worse than a portly father with the best of intentions. Take this placement more as a scathing indictment of everyone else and less as a sign of his own abilities. In a book filled with less horrors (and whores), he would be decidedly average.