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Why Father's Day is just so grim in Westeros

By Frances Burscough

Published 20/06/2015

Frances Burscough
Frances Burscough

It’s probably just as well that they don’t do Father’s Day in Westeros because, on the whole, the dads off Game of Thrones are a pretty lousy lot, all things considered, who don’t deserve a card between them - let alone a new aftershave.

In fact , they’re such a bad bunch of blighters I decided to mark the occasion — which follows conveniently on from the Thrones season finale — by listing them according to their paternal prowess. Or, more specifically, their lack of it.

So here’s my top seven from across the Seven Kingdoms, in descending order from pretty poor to absolutely abominable.

Jaime Lannister — It’s certainly saying something when the best of a very bad bunch actually fathered his children through incest with his own sister. No surprise that one of them turned out to be a deranged psycho. Yes, Joffrey, your uncle’s your da after all. Although he was initially portayed in the series as the epitome of evil, Jaime did, however, redeem himself in Season Five by setting out on a long and arduous journey to rescue his niece/daughter Myrcella from exile. She promptly died of poisoning on the way home, like, but this Game of Thrones is no walk in the park, is it?

Robert Barratheon — Poor old Bob Barratheon didn’t make it past Season One, but his ineptness and poor example as a father-figure to his three kids had very dire repercussions. I say ‘father-figure’ because, unbeknown to him, Robert’s wife had been getting jiggy with her own brother (see above) and so they were all a product of incest and of Westeros’s worst-kept secret. But it was his ineptness as a husband, too, that meant he never suspected a thing.

Tywin Lannister — Although Tywin’s entire life revolved around the glory of his family name, he was a bit of a dead loss as an actual father. He didn’t do love, ever. His approach was “You cannot eat love, nor buy a horse with it, nor warm your halls on a cold night”, so he didn’t inspire much either. In fact, he was so cold towards his son Tyrion that he had him thrown into a dungeon to await execution. No surprise then, that when Tyrion escaped, his first stop was to kill the tyrant Tywin as he sat on the bog.  

Balon Greyjoy — This particularly ugly piece of work is the father of Theon Greyjoy also known as ‘Reek’. Balon was so uncaring of his only son that he did absolutely nothing when the ruthless Ramsey Snow captured Theon and tortured him to within an inch of his life and a millimetre of his manhood. 

Walder Frey — Walder Frey had survived eight wives who had between them borne him 30 children, all of whom he treated with complete contempt. But when one of his daughters was jilted by Robb Stark, Mr Frey took bloody revenge and had Robb, his mum, his wife, their unborn child and assorted Stark soldiers all slaughtered in cold blood at the infamous Red Wedding.  

Stannis Barratheon — It’s difficult to imagine a more sadistic and savage father than young Stannis. In the penultimate episode he allowed his mistress Mellisandre (an evil witch, literally) to persuade him to sacrifice his only daughter to the god she worships. So Stannis just stands there and watches dispassionately as his 13-year-old daughter is burnt at the stake. Shocking beyond description.

Craster of Craster’s Keep — It would certainly take some doing to beat Stannis Barratheon to the top spot as the Worst Dad in Westeros, but if anyone can it’s Craster!  So what makes him such a bad dad? Well, he started off with one wife but then when his daughter grew up he married her as well, then did the same thing all over again and again and again. He now has 19 wives and the kiddies just keep on coming. But no sooner has a son been born, then he leaves the poor baby out in the cold, dark woods surrounding his home, as food to placate the monstrous man-eating White Walkers.

So next time you complain about your dad leaving the toilet seat up, just think of this lot and maybe he won’t seem so bad after all.

And on that jolly note, Happy Father’s Day!

Belfast Telegraph

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