We’ve seen many different methods of parenting on Game of Thrones, so how do they measure up against each other?
Every parent has different methods of parenting, but there definitely are better ways than others. Some choose to mentor their children, while others prefer criticizing them. They say it’s nobody’s business how you choose to raise your children, but we’re going to judge anyway!
Also note how few of these fathers are still alive six seasons in, and there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between life status and good or bad parenting. Basically, if you’re a dad, you better watch your back. Look at Robb Stark. He didn’t even make it to true fatherhood before he was axed.
Here are the Weseterosi dads, from best to worst!
Status: Killed on Joffrey’s orders
It’s pretty easy to say that Ned is the best father. After all, all of his kids have turned out the most capable and sane, and he had six of them (maybe seven)! Even Theon wasn’t awful until he reunited with his real dad.
Let’s take stock of some of his best parenting moments. He understood Arya wasn’t interested in ‘girly’ things and arranged for her to get sword training. He made sure to start teaching Bran at a young age, but old enough, how to rule nobly. And he gave his kids direwolves. #CoolestDadEver
If anyone could come close to Ned’s parenting it’s Davos. Though we didn’t get to see him interact much with his son in the show before Matthos died, we did get to see Davos act fatherly towards Shireen.
Every scene with Davos and Shireen was sure to put a smile on your face. He treated her with such kindess, love, and respect. It was made all the more moving because Shireen was the sweetest character on Game of Thrones, despite how her own parents treated her. She brought much needed purity and optimism to the show, traits emphasized with every interaction she had with Davos.
Status: Killed by traitorous Night’s Watch brothers
Unfortunately, we never got to see Jeor interact with his son, Jorah, and now that Jeor is dead, we never will. We do have context clues though, that indicate their relationship. Jeor voluntarily renounced his lordship of Bear Island and head of House Mormont to join the Night’s Watch, leaving Jorah in charge. Presumably Jeor wouldn’t have willingly given his son control of Bear Island if he didn’t respect Jorah and think he was capable.
Then, when Jorah finds out his father died, he’s upset by it, and of course, you don’t get upset about someone dying if you didn’t care about them, and if you care about them, odds are it’s because they were good to you.
While we didn’t see Jeor and Jorah interact, we did see Jeor and Jon interact. Jon became a kind of surrogate son to Jeor. He chose Jon as the Lord Commander ‘heir,’ and even gave Jon Longclaw, the sword meant for the Mormont heir. Jeor even went so far as to have the hilt redone from a bear to a wolf, to fit Jon’s heritage.
Mormont had a soft spot for Sam too. He acknowledged Sam’s weaknesses without berating him for them, and encouraged his strengths. During a blizzard, Sam was ready to give up and die, but Mormont wouldn’t let him, and he ordered men to force Sam onward.
I imagine Jeor gives great bear hugs, rare they may be.
Status: Killed by the Mountain
Oberyn never had screen time with his daughters, so we must glean from conversations what kind of father he was. Judging by the fact that his daughters were hellbent on getting revenge for Oberyn’s death, it’s safe to assume they loved him dearly and vice versa.
It’s also clear he spent a lot of time with his daughters when they were growing up. He trained Obara to use a spear, like himself, and he taught Tyene of poisons. He fiercely loved his family (indeed, he seemed to love people in general), and was willing to do anything for them, like getting killed fighting the Mountain. Odds are he would have done the same for any of his daughters.
Status: Killed by Ramsay
Roose was ruthless and evil but he actually wasn’t a terrible father. He didn’t disown Ramsay despite him being a bastard, and even went so far as to legitimize him. He consistently scolded Ramsay for having his cruel fun (even if it wasn’t for the noblest of reasons), and he was always willing to give Ramsay advice.
It’s true that he’s a violent, backstabbing, throat-cutter, but he cared for his son in his own warped way, and that’s more than can be said for other fathers on this show.
Mace has not been granted much substantial screen time other than for comic relief, and in this case, no news is good news. He seems kind, jovial, and we’ve no reason to think he doesn’t love and care for his children. Margaery and Loras have never spoken ill of him, and the worst his mother has said of him is that he’s an idiot.
Maybe he’s not father of the year, and unless Davos dies he never will be, but he’s far from the worst father and that counts for something.
Jaime isn’t the acting father of Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen, that falls on Robert, but he is the biological father. Because he couldn’t admit they were his children, Jaime tried to keep somewhat of a distance between them and himself, to make it easier, but he was still more active in their lives than Robert ever was.
It’s implied that Jaime has spent time with his
niece and nephews daughter and sons, and in the first season we even see the Lannisters all having breakfast together. In season 5, Jaime goes to Dorne to rescue Myrcella, and the two have a heartfelt moment. As for Tommen, in season 6 we’ve seen Jaime trying to counsel Tommen, give some fatherly advice.
We haven’t really witnessed Jaime as a father figure, but the little we have seen and can piece together would indicate that, had he been able to openly parent them, he would have been pretty good at it.
Status: Killed by boar (probably Cersei and Lancel)
Bet you forgot Robert was technically a father. Did we ever see him interact with his kids? At best, we saw him talk about Joffrey, though it wasn’t to sing his praises. Not that anyone should be singing Joffrey’s praises, but at least Cersei loved him despite acknowledging how awful he was.
To be fair, Robert wasn’t much good at anything at the time Game of Thrones starts, and he was definitely a worse husband than father. He never hit ‘his’ kids. But it’s not much of a justification.
Status: Killed by Tyrion
Tywin is a weird mix between Ned and Randall: He did what was necessary to keep his children alive, but he treated them with varying degrees of disdain. His dedication to keeping his children alive was not born of any love for them, it was a love for the family name and keeping that name alive and powerful. However, despite the contempt he showed them, Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion still respected their father and abided by his wishes.
Of all his children, Tywin probably loved Jaime the most. Jaime was a skilled fighter and, while not the smartest child, he wasn’t terribly stupid either. In many ways he was the glory of the house, and Tywin even wanted Jaime to rule Casterly Rock in his place. As for Cersei, she tried her hardest to emulate her father, but Tywin was always quick to remind her that she isn’t as smart as she thinks she is. He also couldn’t care less about what she wants, insisting she do what’s good for the House, as when he commands her to marry Loras. Then there’s Tyrion. Tywin despises Tyrion for ‘killing his mother’ in childbirth, and constantly reminds Tyrion that he’s an embarrassment to the family.
If it weren’t for Tywin’s kindness to Arya in season 2, I’d say he had no fatherly attributes. Clearly he was capable of it, but he rarely acted on it with his own kids.
Status: Killed by Euron
There’s not really any positives to say of Balon’s parenting, it’s just that his poor parenting isn’t as bad as some others. He actually gave his own son away for 10 years, and blamed him for not acting ‘Iron Born’ enough. Theon spent half of his life raised in Winterfell by a completely different family. His formative years were spent with the Starks, of course he’ll act like them.
Moreover, he didn’t care about Theon’s fate at the hands of the Boltons. Yara had to attempt a rescue mission on her own. Perhaps he gains a dad point or two for being able to praise Yara on occasion, but that’s about it.
We’ve only seen Randall once but that’s all we need to know that everything Sam ever said is true. He’s certainly not a 21st century thinker.
He’s a fat shamer and misogynist, unable to understand that men can be intellectually strong but not physically strong, and that women can fight and hunt as well as any man. He threatened Sam’s life and forced him to the Wall just because he’s not the ‘ideal’ son. Well, guess what, Randyll? You’re not an ideal dad!
Status: Killed by Brienne
Okay but does it really get any worse than sacrificing your own daughter, a sweet, innocent girl, for your cause, regardless of what that cause is? Yes it does, see below. But it doesn’t get much worse.
We never felt Stannis was a loving father throughout the seasons but that didn’t mean he was a bad father. Shireen was cared for well enough. Even if the only kindness she was shown was from Davos, at least she got it somewhere. And then in season 5 we saw a softer Stannis. He did show he cared and our hearts definitely melted a bit. Then he went and melted Shireen, and any dad points he scored burned with her.
Status: Killed by Karl
It’s kind of hard to label anyone worse than the guy who gives his newborn sons to White Walkers and rapes his daughters.