'Game of Thrones' is a masterclass in how NOT to parent your child
Being a dad is tough. Get it wrong and you may produce a psychopath or twins that are fonder of each other than the dictates of society allow.
Television thrives off characters that are the results of bad dadding. Just look at Game of Thrones, a show with enough daddy issues to fill an entire How Not To parenting manual.
These three dads are the progenitors of some of the show's most odious characters, giving us a good guide to what to avoid when it comes to bringing up the young 'uns.
SPOILER ALERT! This article contains spoilers for previous seasons of 'Game of Thrones'.
Cersei, Jamie and Tyrion
Cold, largely emotionless and characterised by the unattainable standards that Lannister senior expected his children to live up to. He also had a knack for pitting his spawn against each other.
Cersei hates her brother Tyrion and blames him for her mother's death. Conversely, she loves her twin brother Jamie so much that she has borne him three children. Cersei is probably the most similar to her father in terms of ambition and temperament but has a rash and vindictive side to her that her father could not abide.
Aside from an ongoing affair with his sister, Jamie lacks the talent or desire for leadership that his father has sought to instil in him. Jamie is the boy who glitters but is not gold. A lifetime of being Tywin's favoured child has made him arrogant and mildly vain.
There have been few relationships so strained as the one between Tywin and his youngest son, Tyrion. The head of House Lannister holds the dwarf in contempt and nothing showed his feelings more than when he was one of the judges in a trial that sentenced Tyrion to death.
Consequently, the Imp, as he's known in the show, has a talent for drinking and whoring but is also incredibly sharp, with arguably better survival skills than either of his siblings. Tywin's treatment of Tyrion eventually came back to bite him in the ass when, having discovered his father in bed with his pseudo-girlfriend, the son committed patricide.
Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran, Rickon
Loving, though mildly formal and conservative. Stark also tended to shelter his children from the realities of human nature.
On the face of it Stark senior seemed like a nice dad. He played with his kids, taught them the ways of his people and generally tried to be a fixture in their lives. Sadly all the Stark children, including Jon, share one tragic flaw with their father - they're all hopelessly naive.
Ingenuousness is the single biggest contributing factor to the downfall of House Stark and it all comes from Ned. His almost willful ignorance of the lengths that people in power will take to protect their position saw his head lopped off. His son Robb was equally guileless when he walked most of his family and a large part of the Stark army into the trap that was the Red Wedding.
Sansa's naivety is slowly and painfully scrubbed off her as she endures hell in King's Landing and then again as the wife of Ramsay Bolton. Arya, Jon and Bran all suffer outside the safe confines of Winterfell as they come to realise that the real world can be vicious.
Jon has an odd relationship with his dad. Being the only bastard in the brood, he often has feelings of inadequacy and a lack of surety about his place in the world.
Ramsay Bolton (nee Snow)
More or less indifferent until Roose finds a use for his son.
Roose Bolton and his less than cuddly parenting has produced one of the best television villains ever. His bastard son Ramsay is concentrated evil. No character in the show, perhaps with the exception of Joffrey Baratheon, took nearly as much delight in causing pain just for fun. Ramsay's dismantling of Theon Greyjoy's psyche was a master class in sadism. Combined with a strategic mind, it made him a formidable opponent.
• 'Game of Thrones' season 7 airs tonight at 9.30pm on DStv channel 101.
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