Nihlus

Which characters count as supervillains?

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Posted (edited)

I often hear a lot of ASOIAF characters referred to as "supervillains" offhand in conversations here. This has me wondering, what actually is a supervillain? How is that term defined? By my personal definition of the term, at least Gregor Clegane and Euron Greyjoy would definitely qualify. Both are fairly flashy antagonists with superhuman abilities (Euron for his magic doodads, Gregor for his physically impossible strength and attributes), distinct and unusual designs, a gimmick, and code names/fancy titles (The Mountain and Crow's Eye respectively). 

Edited by Nihlus

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Roose Bolton is one that could qualify, perhaps. It is constantly mentioned in the books about his cold pale eyes and skin. There are many theories out there - ranging from possible to ridiculous - regarding Roose, but all that appears to be clear about Roose is that he is different and a villain, having turned on the Starks.

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Roose is a very misterious and powerful (on a mental, personal level) villain. 

He gets regular leechings to get rid of the "bad blood", which is badass of him knowing and admitting he is very vile, but has to control this in order to think clearly and survive. A rapist, tongue-cutter, a skin flayer, a cold-blooded killer and an opportunist who acts in the second he finds out some new facts he must count on.

He is a classic medieval villain, if there is one. And has characteristics of a comic book villain, with his evil-witty comments and cruel japes.

I guess also Ramsay, Gregor and Euron qualify. 

 

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Also:

- Lady Catelyn, as she so was cruel to Jon and was mean to another cool character, Tyrion

- Varys, as half of the shitstorm in Westeros is his doing

- Littlefingers, as the remaining half of the shitstorm in Westeros is his doing

 

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59 minutes ago, TMIFairy said:

Also:

- Lady Catelyn, as she so was cruel to Jon and was mean to another cool character, Tyrion

- Varys, as half of the shitstorm in Westeros is his doing

- Littlefingers, as the remaining half of the shitstorm in Westeros is his doing

 

Lady Stoneheart is definitely a super-villian. Cat? Nope. Cat's just human, flawed and emotional like everybody else.

She was a woman raised to believe that the most important things in life were Family, Duty and Honour and then her husband turned up with his bastard and just expected her to accept him like he was her own. He gave her no answers either. She lived her entire married life believing that the man she loved, who was famed for his honour, loved someone else so much that he not only dishonoured himself but he couldn't even speak her name.

It's no wonder she resented Jon. He was a living reminder that she couldn't be the perfect, understanding wife, that she was raised to be.

She was mean to Tyrion only because Littlefinger, who she trusted, told her he'd hired an assassin to kill her son. Again it was a totally emotional and human response to someone she loved being threatened.

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I haven't heard the term used much in reference to ASOIAF before but I imagine to qualify as I supervillain one has to be both powerful and capable of committing massive atrocities or very personal gross crimes against POV characters.  In this sense, Joffrey, Tywin, Walder Frey, Roose Bolton, Ramsay, Cersei, Euron (based on TWOW), and Lady Stoneheart would fit the supervillain role, with Qyburn, the Mountain, Vargo Hoat, Polliver, and the Tickler not quite making the cut.  Daenerys and Aegon each have supervillain potential, as do Littlefinger, Varys, and Melisandre.

Another way to consider supervillain might just be "who gave the Starks the most trouble and gets a lot of words dedicated to them in the books" - in this case it is Joffrey, Tywin, Roose/Ramsay Bolton, Cersei, Littlefinger.

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@Nihlus Good question. Personally, I'm not sure I would rate Gregor as a supervillain, at least not compared to his liege & master, Tywin the (Tantrum-Throwing) Tyrant. Don't get wrong, the Mountain is an utter monster (& of course, now he literally is, if perhaps without his own cognition anymore), however he is more the Lannisters' tool than a player of his own. Meanwhile, I believe Tywin is arguably the greatest perpetrator of war crimes & atrocities against humanity of not only the ASoIaF timeline, but potentially since the 

Definitely agree with Euron, though. He's absolutely the primary human antagonist now with Tywin dead & the Boltons soon joining him, along with being a magical opponent second only to the Others themselves.

@JordanJH1993 & @The Sunland Lord Absolutely Roose, both well said. "A peaceful land, a quiet people."

5 hours ago, TMIFairy said:

Lady Catelyn, as she so was cruel to Jon and was mean to another cool character, Tyrion

Yeah, nah. Perfectly said truth, @UnFit Finlay

For very much the most part, agreed, @Lucius Lovejoy

Others from various regions:

  • Beyond-the-Wall: Varamyr Sixskins. He has a tragic story from his childhood that goes someway to allowing one to understand how he developed, but there's no way many of his heinous acts can be condoned.
  • North: When the Roose is loose. Mayhaps Ramsay too, although I feel similar with him as with Gregor, expressly in regards to how Roose is somewhat his Tywin figure.
  • Vale: For obvious reasons, Littlefinger.
  • Riverlands: Undoubtedly, a number of Freys - Lord Walder, Lame Lothar, & Big Walder. Black Walder?
  • Iron Islands: As I've said, Euron for certain. For partial shits & giggles, the Drowned God.
  • Westerlands: Again, as already stated, Tywin all the way. In his own way, Kevan too. He wasn't Tywin's right-hand man just for his loyalty.
  • (Acting predominately in the) Crownlands: Varys the Spider. The monumental toll against Westeros to bring his "perfect prince" to the throne is mind-boggling.
  • Reach: Olenna?
  • Stormlands: Renly, all day & every day.
  • Dorne: Dankstar?
  • Essos: Definitely Illyrio, in Pentos. The Shavepate & the Green Grace, in Meereen. Also, to a lesser extent, but a figure connected to both places; the twisty rogue himself, the Tattered Prince.

Historical:

  • If Storm's End as we know it was built by Durran's Godsgrief & the Children of the Forest helped him out by giving their magical wards to it, both likely imo, then he really was a special kind of asshole for claiming the Rainwood against them (especially as it was probably after the Pact).
  • The Night's King for pretty much working for the Others.
  • Gyles I Gardener, the Woe, for being the Tywin Lannister of his era.
  • Royce "Redarm" IV Bolton for being (afawk) the first person to take Winterfell & put it to the torch, along with the lovely way in which he earned his epithet - ripping out the entrails of his prisoners with his own hands.
  • King Morgon Banefort, for (if his story is true) the necromancy he used to produce more thralls for his warring & curse upon Loreon I Lannister.
  • Ronard Storm for how amazingly over-the-top his tale is.
  • Corwyn Corbray (assuming he was behind the brutal fates of Dywen Shell & Jon Brightstone, as is likely) Gerold Grafton of the Andal invasion of the Vale.
  • Perhaps controversially, I'm going to throw Theon Stark out there. He was a military genius, but he also sought out war for as much as he had to do it defensively. Particularly if he was the King of Winter who oversaw the Rape of the Three Sisters, most especially, mass slaughters for (what I interpreted as) sacrifices to the Old Gods & of course, allowing Belthasar Bolton to have his Pink Pavilion. Count Belthasar in too. He makes a distinct sense if he was Rogar the Huntsman's son & so had once been Theon's ward, likely having a foster father-son relationship with the Hungry Wolf.
  • Lorimar Peake. Kudos to how thoroughly he hoodwinked Perceon III & gained through him.
  • Tyrion II Lannister, the Tormentor, the proto-Joffrey.
  • The Shrike for how outrageously extremist & militant he was (among many other things) & his somewhat-puppet king, Hagon "the Heartless" Hoare, for allowing the mutilation of his own mother. For ease of not having to list them all separately, other ironborn kings like Urras "Ironfoot" Greyiron, Qhored I Hoare, Joron I "Maidensbane" Blacktyde, Loron Greyjoy "the Old Kraken", Urron "Redhand" Greyiron, Harrag Hoare, Qhored Hoare (the Justman destroyer), & Horgan "Priestkiller" Hoare.
  • Harren "the Black" Hoare, for enslaving (& effectively killing) thousands to build his compensation of Harrenhal. His grandfather, Harwyn Hardhand as well, for his conquest (& brutal suppression) of the Riverlands. Not to mention, likely hiring a Faceless Man to kill his older brother. I want to say Halleck (Hard-in-the-head) too, just for how astoundingly moronic he was.
  • The Wyl of Wyl, the Widowlover, from the First Dornish War. Having the sword hands of dozens & dozens of Stormlander captives, including the Hand (heh) Orys Baratheon, cut off immediately before they were ransomed for their weights in gold. Also, the atrocities against Fawnton & Old Oak.
  • The Hightower (or perhaps Hightower-allied) High Septon of c.20-44AC for how Shrike-like he was, with the Seven.
  • Maegor the Cruel, for very clear reasons. Throw in Tyanna with him. Part of me wants to say Visenya ...
  • Otto and/or Alicent Hightower?
  • He certainly had his badass moments, but I would be amiss not to mention Daemon Targaryen, the Rogue Prince. He really was a (generally, highly competent) monster. Rhaenyra (although far less capable) as well?
  • The proto-Varys, Larys Strong.
  • Dalton Greyjoy, the Red Kraken.
  • Unwin Peake, regent & Hand to Aegon III from 132-134AC. Really, besides the natural deaths from the Winter Fever & whatnot, we know he was behind much of the bullshit of the Regency, & I would say likely also Gaemon's poisoning (meant for Aegon & Daenaera) & the plot against the Rogares & Lord Rowan, culminating in the Maegor's Holdfast being besieged & his bastard brother, Mervyn Flowers of the KG, murdering his Lord Commander who was attempting to arrest him. I think Corwyn Corbray's death is suspicious & given the proximity & timing, perhaps even Jeyne Arryn's.
  • Lord Wyl, during Daeron I & Baelor's reigns, for his rather anti-Targaryen antics.
  • Aegon IV?
  • I'd say Bloodraven (prior to his exile to the Wall, the "theories" that postulate that he is evil as the Last Greenseer are ridiculous) & Bittersteel. Whilst Aegor in particular did so much to bring the Blackfyre Rebellions about, it was Brynden especially whose actions ensured they continued.
  • Ellyn Reyne for sheer persistence & avarice. Also, her brother Reynard for being such a sly cat.

Am I forgetting any historical ones?

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Posted (edited)

I think the term "supervillain" specifically comes with some very specific sort of baggage, as they are not just greater-villains, but counterparts to "superheroes." And a superhero is more than just a very effective hero.

I think the common threads between the two of them, in addition to power and scope, are iconography, representation and identity projections.

A supervillain, like a superhero, has an iconic identity representation that they seek to impress upon the world. Except a supervillain tends to want to subject the world to their identity, rather than defend the world through their identity.

Superheroes are intrinsically conservative in the sense that they reflect virtues or themes that already exist in society and demonstrate how those virtues or themes can be brought to bear to protect or save society or elements of it.

Of course this isn't the same as the political access of conservative/liberal, which doesn't have much to do anymore with changing or not changing. I mean it more in the sense of arc - the scope of what is familiar versus what is new.

Supervillains, on the other hand, want to impress something new on society - they want to change it to make it conform in some way to their identity. They want to break down the boundaries between people, or between people and danger, or people and their environment. They want to collapse the identities of others and superimpose their own identity.

(Think of how the Bat Signal impresses an identity from the top of the police station in Gotham, reinforcing the identity and role of the police station, versus how the Joker makes other people's faces like his, in a perverse means of removing their identity.)

Also, superheroes tend to have smaller teams than supervillains and operate more individually. Supervillains tend to have a lot of help.

Of course there are exceptions to all of this, but that I think is the center of gravity of it.

The story is full of supervillains, because it is full of psychic, magical or political means by which people extend their will onto other people and take over their identities. But it's also, like Wild Cards, confounding fairly often, but not always, the idea of whether the person who is more like the superhero or the person more like the supervillain is the good guy or bad guy.

Lady Stoneheart is a supervillain because she consumes everyone around her in her quest for vengeance against the Freys.

Euron Greyjoy is a supervillain because he replaces people's cultural and religious devotion with devotion to himself and wants to plunge the whole world into a darkness that reflects his own soul.

Bloodraven / Bran might be a supervillain as the story continues and the weirwood net comes more into play. Or he/they/it might be some sort of Zordon/Alfred mentor figure. It's unclear. But the weirwood net definitely seems like something a supervillain would try to use.

Bloodraven in the old days is something of a supervillain if you see Daemon Blackfyre as a superhero - and The Mystery Knight goes into that and how that's a likely but problematic sort of thing to do.

Daenerys appears as a supervillain to some and a superhero to others. She really skirts the line. Same with Azor Ahai.

Illyrio Mopatis, Varys and Littlefinger could all potentially be supervillains depending on what their actual plans are, or what means they are willing to use to achieve them - basically how things escalate. Illyrio comes closest, especially if part of his goal is to open up Westeros to his contraband slavery and non-contraband cheese businesses.

The Kindly Man, or whoever is behind the Faceless Men, may be a supervillain.

Ramsay Bolton might be seen as a supervillain in certain ways of framing the story, though he's more of a Shakespearean bastard that serves to negatively mirror the virtue in other characters more than to change the world.

Joffrey isn't quite a supervillain because Joffrey never really tries to accomplish anything outside the scope of his own power. He's more like a villain in a Western, a bad man that is too rich and powerful for anyone to stop, and reflects corruptions within society rather than an attempt by an individual identity to subvert or destroy society.

The Undying of Qarth might have been supervillains, but I think it's an important part of their story that Daenerys and Drogon kill them before finding out who they actually are and what they are actually trying to accomplish. They may turn out to have been something very different.

Any of the three folks who meet Dany outside Qarth might be supervillains - Quaithe, Pyat Pree or Ducksauce. And Marwyn might be a supervillain. But they aren't in enough of the story yet to know.

Edited by GyantSpyder

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Littlefinger always gave off twirly mustache villain vibes.

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Posted (edited)

EDIT: Ignore what I posted. I accidentally replied to the wrong thread. :blush:

As for your question, I would say Littlefinger, Roose and Euron are supervillians. They all have varying goals of destabilizing the status quo & achieving regional/world domination and will go to any actions necessary to achieve their goals.

Edited by Visenya Stark

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5 hours ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

@Nihlus Good question. Personally, I'm not sure I would rate Gregor as a supervillain, at least not compared to his liege & master, Tywin the (Tantrum-Throwing) Tyrant. Don't get wrong, the Mountain is an utter monster (& of course, now he literally is, if perhaps without his own cognition anymore), however he is more the Lannisters' tool than a player of his own. Meanwhile, I believe Tywin is arguably the greatest perpetrator of war crimes & atrocities against humanity of not only the ASoIaF timeline, but potentially since the 

Definitely agree with Euron, though. He's absolutely the primary human antagonist now with Tywin dead & the Boltons soon joining him, along with being a magical opponent second only to the Others themselves.

@JordanJH1993 & @The Sunland Lord Absolutely Roose, both well said. "A peaceful land, a quiet people."

Yeah, nah. Perfectly said truth, @UnFit Finlay

For very much the most part, agreed, @Lucius Lovejoy

Others from various regions:

  • Beyond-the-Wall: Varamyr Sixskins. He has a tragic story from his childhood that goes someway to allowing one to understand how he developed, but there's no way many of his heinous acts can be condoned.
  • North: When the Roose is loose. Mayhaps Ramsay too, although I feel similar with him as with Gregor, expressly in regards to how Roose is somewhat his Tywin figure.
  • Vale: For obvious reasons, Littlefinger.
  • Riverlands: Undoubtedly, a number of Freys - Lord Walder, Lame Lothar, & Big Walder. Black Walder?
  • Iron Islands: As I've said, Euron for certain. For partial shits & giggles, the Drowned God.
  • Westerlands: Again, as already stated, Tywin all the way. In his own way, Kevan too. He wasn't Tywin's right-hand man just for his loyalty.
  • (Acting predominately in the) Crownlands: Varys the Spider. The monumental toll against Westeros to bring his "perfect prince" to the throne is mind-boggling.
  • Reach: Olenna?
  • Stormlands: Renly, all day & every day.
  • Dorne: Dankstar?
  • Essos: Definitely Illyrio, in Pentos. The Shavepate & the Green Grace, in Meereen. Also, to a lesser extent, but a figure connected to both places; the twisty rogue himself, the Tattered Prince.

Historical:

  • If Storm's End as we know it was built by Durran's Godsgrief & the Children of the Forest helped him out by giving their magical wards to it, both likely imo, then he really was a special kind of asshole for claiming the Rainwood against them (especially as it was probably after the Pact).
  • The Night's King for pretty much working for the Others.
  • Gyles I Gardener, the Woe, for being the Tywin Lannister of his era.
  • Royce "Redarm" IV Bolton for being (afawk) the first person to take Winterfell & put it to the torch, along with the lovely way in which he earned his epithet - ripping out the entrails of his prisoners with his own hands.
  • King Morgon Banefort, for (if his story is true) the necromancy he used to produce more thralls for his warring & curse upon Loreon I Lannister.
  • Ronard Storm for how amazingly over-the-top his tale is.
  • Corwyn Corbray (assuming he was behind the brutal fates of Dywen Shell & Jon Brightstone, as is likely) Gerold Grafton of the Andal invasion of the Vale.
  • Perhaps controversially, I'm going to throw Theon Stark out there. He was a military genius, but he also sought out war for as much as he had to do it defensively. Particularly if he was the King of Winter who oversaw the Rape of the Three Sisters, most especially, mass slaughters for (what I interpreted as) sacrifices to the Old Gods & of course, allowing Belthasar Bolton to have his Pink Pavilion. Count Belthasar in too. He makes a distinct sense if he was Rogar the Huntsman's son & so had once been Theon's ward, likely having a foster father-son relationship with the Hungry Wolf.
  • Lorimar Peake. Kudos to how thoroughly he hoodwinked Perceon III & gained through him.
  • Tyrion II Lannister, the Tormentor, the proto-Joffrey.
  • The Shrike for how outrageously extremist & militant he was (among many other things) & his somewhat-puppet king, Hagon "the Heartless" Hoare, for allowing the mutilation of his own mother. For ease of not having to list them all separately, other ironborn kings like Urras "Ironfoot" Greyiron, Qhored I Hoare, Joron I "Maidensbane" Blacktyde, Loron Greyjoy "the Old Kraken", Urron "Redhand" Greyiron, Harrag Hoare, Qhored Hoare (the Justman destroyer), & Horgan "Priestkiller" Hoare.
  • Harren "the Black" Hoare, for enslaving (& effectively killing) thousands to build his compensation of Harrenhal. His grandfather, Harwyn Hardhand as well, for his conquest (& brutal suppression) of the Riverlands. Not to mention, likely hiring a Faceless Man to kill his older brother. I want to say Halleck (Hard-in-the-head) too, just for how astoundingly moronic he was.
  • The Wyl of Wyl, the Widowlover, from the First Dornish War. Having the sword hands of dozens & dozens of Stormlander captives, including the Hand (heh) Orys Baratheon, cut off immediately before they were ransomed for their weights in gold. Also, the atrocities against Fawnton & Old Oak.
  • The Hightower (or perhaps Hightower-allied) High Septon of c.20-44AC for how Shrike-like he was, with the Seven.
  • Maegor the Cruel, for very clear reasons. Throw in Tyanna with him. Part of me wants to say Visenya ...
  • Otto and/or Alicent Hightower?
  • He certainly had his badass moments, but I would be amiss not to mention Daemon Targaryen, the Rogue Prince. He really was a (generally, highly competent) monster. Rhaenyra (although far less capable) as well?
  • The proto-Varys, Larys Strong.
  • Dalton Greyjoy, the Red Kraken.
  • Unwin Peake, regent & Hand to Aegon III from 132-134AC. Really, besides the natural deaths from the Winter Fever & whatnot, we know he was behind much of the bullshit of the Regency, & I would say likely also Gaemon's poisoning (meant for Aegon & Daenaera) & the plot against the Rogares & Lord Rowan, culminating in the Maegor's Holdfast being besieged & his bastard brother, Mervyn Flowers of the KG, murdering his Lord Commander who was attempting to arrest him. I think Corwyn Corbray's death is suspicious & given the proximity & timing, perhaps even Jeyne Arryn's.
  • Lord Wyl, during Daeron I & Baelor's reigns, for his rather anti-Targaryen antics.
  • Aegon IV?
  • I'd say Bloodraven (prior to his exile to the Wall, the "theories" that postulate that he is evil as the Last Greenseer are ridiculous) & Bittersteel. Whilst Aegor in particular did so much to bring the Blackfyre Rebellions about, it was Brynden especially whose actions ensured they continued.
  • Ellyn Reyne for sheer persistence & avarice. Also, her brother Reynard for being such a sly cat.

Am I forgetting any historical ones?

Wow, that's a very good and insightful analysis.

You reminded me of Beyond the Wall.

Craster, while arguably nothing is super about him, he is villainous. I mean the man is batshit crazy. Quite no one has done what he's done. Was there someone like him? 

Also you're spot on about Tywin. The biggest war criminal EVER, fittest description. I put Roose above him being a super-villain because Tywin is totally oblivious about it, and has a dellusion of being a "great family man". Which makes him a type of a real-life narcissistic mentally insane dictator pulled out of 20th century. 

 

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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, Lord Corlys Velaryon said:

@Nihlus Good question. Personally, I'm not sure I would rate Gregor as a supervillain, at least not compared to his liege & master, Tywin the (Tantrum-Throwing) Tyrant. Don't get wrong, the Mountain is an utter monster (& of course, now he literally is, if perhaps without his own cognition anymore), however he is more the Lannisters' tool than a player of his own. Meanwhile, I believe Tywin is arguably the greatest perpetrator of war crimes & atrocities against humanity of not only the ASoIaF timeline, but potentially since the 

Definitely agree with Euron, though. He's absolutely the primary human antagonist now with Tywin dead & the Boltons soon joining him, along with being a magical opponent second only to the Others themselves.

Well, to me a supervillain isn't defined by how many people they kill. It's defined by how bombastic or fantastical they are. Gregor has genuine superhuman abilities (even his size doesn't explain his strength, and at that size moving the way he does should be impossible), doubly so after he was revived as a zombie, an aura of dread, a moniker, and a unique and impractical character design. He fulfills most requirements.

 

The Mother of Dragons will probably qualify as well, soon enough.

Edited by Nihlus

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10 hours ago, Lucius Lovejoy said:

I haven't heard the term used much in reference to ASOIAF before but I imagine to qualify as I supervillain one has to be both powerful and capable of committing massive atrocities or very personal gross crimes against POV characters.  In this sense, Joffrey, Tywin, Walder Frey, Roose Bolton, Ramsay, Cersei, Euron (based on TWOW), and Lady Stoneheart would fit the supervillain role, with Qyburn, the Mountain, Vargo Hoat, Polliver, and the Tickler not quite making the cut.  Daenerys and Aegon each have supervillain potential, as do Littlefinger, Varys, and Melisandre.

Another way to consider supervillain might just be "who gave the Starks the most trouble and gets a lot of words dedicated to them in the books" - in this case it is Joffrey, Tywin, Roose/Ramsay Bolton, Cersei, Littlefinger.

I usually hear it used in reference to Victarion, Littlefinger, and Euron.

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18 minutes ago, Nihlus said:

I usually hear it used in reference to Victarion, Littlefinger, and Euron.

Oh wow!  Yeah Littlefinger I get, he has been conniving, deceptive, did some really sick stuff to Jeyne Poole and his whores, etc.  Euron I get too based on the TWOW sample chapter for Damphair.  But Victarion?  He doesn't seem that awful.  His religious sacrifices of the girls was the only real bad crime he did, and having R'hllor's smoking hand isn't a big deal yet.  Plus he is pitting himself against Euron.  Not sure how he gets included as a supervillain.  Especially if folks like Ramsay and Joffrey are not.  Littlefinger doesn't have magic powers that we know of so it can't be magic stuff tying all 3 together.

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From the saga: Euron seems to be setting up to be THE supervillain.

In the past, there has been some villains: Daemon Targaryen, for example.

On the low level of villains, the ones who takes every chance to damage people but goes no further than that: Gregor Clegane. Mindless, focused evil.

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I've seen the term 'supervillain' used in a derogatory fashion to describe one-dimensional and over-the-top mustache twirling types with little character depth or motivations other than being evil, usually found in comics*. I guess characters like Gregor, Ramsay, Euron, the Bloody Mummers and most of Dany's rogues gallery would fit this criteria.

* Of course, that's bullshit, since myriad comics feature antagonists with far more complexity, rounded motivations and character development than the likes Ramsay. 

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Joffrey, Euron, Ramsay, the Mountain. They do evil things because they enjoy it, they like people suffering and dying.

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I don't think the novels is set up to have villains and heroes.  Yes, there are extreme characters but all of the major ones are in the center of the scale.  Even Walder Frey.  George Martin wrote a complex story and within the pages of the story some seemingly good-hearted characters like Rhaegar, Lyanna, Jon Snow, Catelyn Stark actually did more damage to the people than a murderous thug like Gregor.   For a real world example: Bernie Madoff destroyed more lives than the criminal who robbed the convenience store, just to use an example.  Let's not forget that putting a nice person in a position of authority might seem like the good thing to do but it's not.  Tywin was a harsh and brutal man but he would do a good job in leading Westeros.  Aegon the Conqueror gave Westeros a choice:  "bend the knee or die".  Aegon basically gave them a choice.  Recognize him as the new ruler over them, they get to keep what is theirs, or else oppose him and they will get destroyed.  We know Aegon ruled well and was a good king.  Being a good ruler doesn't mean being a softy and being squeamish about violence.  They live in a violent world.   So I don't think there are super villains nor are there super heroes, but there are those who will do great things that benefit the many like winning the freedom for millions of slaves in Essos (Daenerys) and there will be others who will act selfishly to bring on mass suffering (Rhaegar, Lyanna, Littlefinger). 

 

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