There’s no question that HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the most influential fantasy series to have ever appeared on television. Though a major focus of the series was on the conflict and competition for the Iron Throne, it is also a drama that focuses on the actions of individuals as they try to survive on a continent that grows ever more unsettled and dangerous with every year.
While the characters undertake many important actions, it has to be said that they are also capable of making some very bad decisions.
Jon – Letting The Wildlings South Of The Wall
Jon Snow is one of the series’ most important characters, and he plays a pivotal role in the fight against the Night King. However, though he is a survivor, it has to be said that he is capable of making some bad decisions, most notably when he lets the wildlings come south of the Wall.
As laudable as this decision is on a moral level, it sows the seeds for his eventual assassination at the hands of his fellow members of the Night’s Watch. Had he done it with more subtlety or attention to the desires of his brothers, he could have avoided his own death.
Ned – Taking Up The Position Of King’s Hand
Ned Stark remains one of Sean Bean’s best roles, and he is also one of the series’ most noble characters. However, he also makes some bad decisions during his time of the first season, and deciding to become Robert’s Hand is the worst.
It is the catalyst that sets all of the future devastation in motion, and had Ned been honest with himself about his fundamental inability (and unwillingness) to play the game, he could have saved many lives (including his own).
Cersei – Killing Missandei
Cersei is a ruthless political operator, and she yearns for nothing more than power and to sit on the Iron Throne. Unfortunately, she too often mistakes ruthlessness for political skill, and nothing shows this more than her catastrophic decision to murder Missandei on the walls of King’s Landing.
It’s the event that seals her fate (and those of the city itself) because it drives Dany off the ledge and into the realm of madness. It’s one of the moments where she reveals that she doesn’t know nearly as much about politics as she thinks she does.
Jaime – Returning To Cersei
Jaime is many things as a character, and he happens to be one of the bravest people in the series. However, he is also prone to making terrible decisions, but arguably the worst is when he leaves Brienne behind to go rushing back into Cersei’s arms.
While his bond with his sister is important and clearly pivotal to his character, it’s one of those moments where he abandons what could have been a more fruitful future with someone who cared about him in favor of a sister who is deeply cynical.
Sansa – Trusting Littlefinger
Of all of the characters, it is arguably Sansa who undergoes the most significant change during the course of the show, and she learns many harsh lessons. Though she becomes quite a canny political operator, before she does so she makes some less-than-ideal decisions, most notably when she decides to trust Littlefinger.
While some of this is desperation, it has to be said that she should have realized very quickly that he was only out for his best interests rather than her own.
Daenerys – Burning King’s Landing
There were many nonsensical moments in season 8 of Game of Thrones but arguably one of the worst was Dany’s decision to burn King’s Landing rather than accept their offer of surrender. It’s the most important moment for her development as a character, and it shows how completely she has fallen into the same madness as her father.
Just as importantly for her, it also seals her doom in Jon Snow’s eyes, since he comes to realize that he has no choice but to assassinate her so that her tyranny over Westeros cannot continue.
Tyrion – Believing His Father Would Ever Accept Him
Tyrion remains one of the best characters in Game of Thrones, and his strategy and wily brain saved both himself and the kingdom on a number of occasions. At the same time, he’s also quite capable of making bad decisions, and choosing to believe that his brutal father Tywin would ever accept him is definitely his worst.
It distorted his entire perception of what was going on in the court, and it caused him a significant amount of emotional pain that could only be assuaged by his eventual murder of his own flesh and blood.
Catelyn – Not Doing More To Control Rob
Catelyn Stark is another of the pivotally underestimated characters of this series, and while she is a canny strategist and knows how the courts of the powerful work, she does very little to actually control her son Rob.
Her decision to let him do what he wanted with little pushback from her–or at least any that was meaningful–would come to have fatal consequences for all of them, leading to the butchery at the Red Wedding and the collapse of her son’s dreams of a kingdom.
Arya – Staying At The House Of Black And White
Arya is without a doubt the bravest of the Starks, and she makes several important decisions during the show’s eight seasons. However, even she isn’t immune from making bad decisions, and staying at the House of Black and White is her worst.
Though it gives her the skills she needs to kill the Freys–and arguably the Night King, though she could probably have done that without the training–it seems like a great deal of effort and trauma for almost no reward.
Bran – Climbing Up That Tower
When the series begins, Bran is still a long way from becoming King of the Seven Kingdoms, and instead, he spends most of his days climbing the walls of Winterfell. Most importantly, he climbs the tower in which Cersei and Jaime are engaging in a forbidden tryst.
While his decision to do this can be forgiven in part because of his youth, he still should have known better than to spy on people and, if he was going to do it, he should have at least known to get away quickly rather than continuing to stare.