The Bastards Send Their Love: Where the F*ck Are All of the Dads on 'Game of Thrones?!'

Happy Father's Day! Two years ago, HBO's Game of Thrones gave us all the best Father's Day gift we never asked for: Tyrion Lannister straight murderin' Papa Tywin while he was on the pooper. Literal deuces to that one. 

There hasn't been an episode to capture that irony before or since. Ned Stark losing his head in season one (two weeks before Father's Day) is the closest we've come, and sure, you can throw Stannis setting his daughter on fire (also two weeks before) last season in the mix, but that's kind of dark. 

"Happy Father's Day to me! I'm gonna barbecue my only child on fire!" Totally a better gift idea than a necktie. Kids, this year, give your dad the gift of one less of you. (KIDS! DO NOT DO THAT. BAD IDEA. BAAAAD IDEA.)

But this year? F*ck the CleganeBowl. This is the Super Bastard Bowl. 

Yes, this week's episode, aptly titled "Battle of the Bastards," will feature the long-awaited second battle of Winterfell between Ramsay "The Dirty Bastard" Bolton and Jon Could-Have-Been-Stark-But-Said-Nah-Man-I'm-Good Snow.

It's what you want in this world, their world - any world at all, really: two men with daddy issues going head-to-head on the field of battle. 

But Father's Day introduces a different dynamic altogether, something we didn't even think about until Jaime Lannister threatened to launch Edmure Tully's son at the castle via catapult: Where the f*ck are all the dads? 

It's not a surprise that this fictional world is exceptionally unforgiving, but in a season where we're championing the strength of decidedly vindictive women, we've forgotten our men. Like Will Ferrell said in Daddy's Home, "We're dads! All we do is take sh*t!"


No, white men are not under attack by any stretch, but the central mystery of this Song of Ice and Fire seems (or at least seemed for a while) to focus on who Jon Snow's parents are. Such has been the focus of many Reddit threads, fan theories, sinister theorems and the like.

Is Ned Stark actually the father? Is Lyanna Stark the mother? Are the Starks actually as incestuous as the Lannisters and we just ignored all of the signs? What is at the top of the Tower of Joy? Who's the real daddy? Are you my mother? Do people in Westeros lose matching socks? What is the sock situation?

Like I said, so many questions. But the unexplored one is crucial: If we care so much about Jon Snow's true parentage, and we're fully committed to the insanity that drives Cersei's maternal instincts, why aren't we keeping track of all of the dead dads in Game of Thrones

So who sits atop the Dead(beat) Dad Leaderboard of Westeros? Here are all the dads we've seen this season, dead or alive. 

1. Davos Seaworth


A father who watched his kid get blown up by wildfire deserves special recognition. In the books, he apparently has a bunch of kids.

And if you think about it, he's also just been a solid father figure throughout the show.


He helped Gendry escape. He was more fatherly to Shireen Baratheon (his reading teacher) than her actual dad Stannis was. I also appreciate the dynamic between him and the Stark kids, as well as how he handled Lady Mormont of Bear Island. 

2. Walder Frey


Still kickin' it. Still marrying 14-year-olds. Still got his sons and bastards and goons wearing ridiculous hats.

Why is he at the top? Because nothing bad has happened to him yet. Retaliation on bloodlines is huge, and the Freys have a surprising longevity on this show despite not being the most powerful house in the game. 

3. Jaime Lannister

You've got to give credit to Jaime here. If we're accepting of his love for Cersei, then by proxy we have to kind of accept his love for his kids. Sure, they both caught a break when Joffrey got poisoned, but Jaime spent an entire season chasing after his daughter in Dorne only to watch her die in his arms.

Jaime gets sympathy points, but then you have to knock him down a peg or two because he and Cersei both seem to have punted on Tommen after he became a religious fanatic. Then again, what would Tommen do if he knew Jaime was his real dad?

4. Randyll Tarly 


Randyll has a dope pad, but we've heard very little of him and seen him only once in the Guess Who's Coming for Dinner? episode of this season. He would be higher because he's got it all: a son that's not Sexwell Tarly.

Only problem is, A) just haven't seen enough of him, and B) he let Sammy get the jump on him by displaying the household Valyrian Steel sword on a mantle where literally anybody could take it, and that's exactly what Sam did. Dude better keep running for a while. 

5. Edmure Tully


Does he actually have a child, or did the Freys use that as a torture device? Even this hypothetical fatherhood deserves celebration, and if it is fiction, then it deserves our sympathy. 

6. Howland Reed


We've only seen him once in one of Bran's interactive flashbacks as he saves Ned Stark from Arthur Dayne, AKA, "The Sword of the Morning."

We don't know if he's still alive, but according to book nerds he's the father of Meera and Jojen, the two kids who got Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven. 


If he's alive, then we'll see him. We kind of have to, especially considering his oath of fealty to the Starks and how we should look for anything that can influence Sunday's "Battle of the Bastards." 

7. Kevin Lannister


Oh, Lil' Kev... 

He's a sh*t father with a sh*t son. He's still alive, but on the wrong side of Cersei and her FrankenMountain. His prospects are looking about as good as Lancel's forehead tattoo.


8. Eddard Stark

We saw him in a flashback, so we'll talk about where we're at with House Stark. Jon may or may not be one of them, Sansa might be a Lannister or a Bolton or a Stark - no, she'll definitely always be a Stark - and Arya has decided that she most definitely is going home. 

Oh, Bran and Rickon are still alive, so they definitely have a steady bloodline. 


Question: If the Tullys are ready to lay down their arms for a kidnapped Edmure, why isn't the rest of the North rallying around House Stark after word of Ramsay holding onto Rickon got around? That's bullsh*t. 

Ned, even if the North isn't totally sold on those Good Ol' Days of yore, we still miss you. 

9. Balon Greyjoy


What is dead may never die! Poor Balon. He lost his life in a weirdly quick way where it made it kind of hard to care. Show runners Benioff and Weiss remedied that pretty quickly by A) stacking that death with Roose Bolton's and B) giving us immediate, game changing ramifications with Uron Greyjoy. 

Even if he was a sh*t father who never did a thing for Theon, we remember. What is dead may never die!

10. Roose Bolton

His was a similarly unexpected death, but we kind of care about it more. Did he deserve to get knifed by the bastard? No, of course not. Should he have known that flaunting the news of a newborn, slightly more legit heir to the throne without proper protection would have led him to this end? Oh, most def. 

Also, he's got to be far down on the list as a result of both his death and his poor parenting. There's got to be something he did that enabled Ramsay's sadistic f*ckery, right? Right?!

11. Doran Martell


Is he a weak man? He got overthrown pretty, pretty, pretty easily. Also, the badass with the giant axe, if you can call it that, definitely dropped the ball, but that's also been a theme throughout the show: supposed badasses are cut down pretty easily. Just ask the Unsullied. 

Also he should have known that Tristane couldn't possibly be safe from the Lannisters or anyone else. Way to go, Dad. 

12. Stannis Baratheon


Pics or it didn't happen! 

We haven't seen him dead or alive yet, and we're getting so close to the moment where that's absolutely critical. 

Why? Because he was a "Meh, I Maybe Care Enough About This Religion" follower of the Lord of Light, and the only thing we never saw performed on him was a possible resurrection, and we've seen it all. I want to see the body, or I want to see the killing blow in a flashback. Doesn't matter which. 

13. Jeor Mormont

He's been dead for a moment, but he's a father of note (exiled his boy Jorah who's still looking for the cure for grayscale), and his granddaughter, Lady Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island. 


He's not around anymore thanks to the mutiny North of the wall, but we take the time to remember the great fathers that were. Thank you, Jeor. 

14. Jon Arryn


If you remember, his death is what started just about all of this. Cersei had him poisoned because he'd gotten a little too close to figuring out the real father of her kids, and it's because of that Robert Baratheon even asked Ned to be Hand of the King. 

Why do we include him? Because Robin Arryn is what happens when your dad ain't around in The Vale. Well, it's also what happens when your son is breastfed for a decade longer than they ever should. Here's to the dads that were poisoned before their time!

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