While there is no shortage of Game of Thrones characters who made terrible decisions, some choices are definitively worse than others. While these make for some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones, it's hard not to cringe when looking back at some of these life-altering - and in some cases, life-ending - choices.
So many brutal Game of Thrones deaths could have been easily avoided with some less reactive decision-making on the characters' parts. Think about it: what would have happened if the Starks never left Winterfell? Or if Stannis never trusted the Red Woman? Or if Robb had just married into the Frey family as promised instead of following his dumb heart?
Between pivitol plot points and characters you might've forgotten about, the families of Stark, Baratheon, Targaryen, Lannister, Martell, Greyjoy, Tully, Tyrell, and Arryn have all made some really terrible, damning decisions, plummeting Westeros and beyond into bloody wars, chaotic politics, and mass scale deaths.
Oberyn Mocking The Mountain During Their Fight
Prince Oberyn - AKA the Red Viper - mocks and taunts The Mountain during the trial by battle, asking him to admit to murdering Oberyn's sister, Elia. The time spent talking allows The Mountain to turn the tides of the battle, confess to Elia's murder, and then brutally defeat Oberyn.
Ned Confronting Cersei
In Season 1, Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister and says he intends to tell Robert Barathian, her husband, about her incestuous infidelity. He even gives Cersei a chance to flee with her children. But as we all know, this does not end well for Ned.
Dany Burns King's Landing After Winning The Battle
Despite constantly saying she would never be like her father, Dany burns King's Landing down with Drogon after winning the battle. Her choice leads to thousands of innocent deaths.
Daenerys Didn't Scout With Dragons For Potential Ambushes
After defeating the wights, Daenerys ignored her advisors' warnings and went straight to King's Landing. Had she taken some time to do some recon, she might not have lost Rhaegal.
Theon Invading Winterfell
Trying to gain respect from his father and fellow ironborn, Theon Greyjoy betrays the Starks and invades Winterfell.
Sansa Not Going With Brienne Of Tarth
When Sansa refuses to go with Brienne of Tarth, she endures atrocities at the hands of Ramsey Bolton.
Sansa Lying About The Wolves To Protect Joffrey
When Sansa lies about the wolves to protect Joffrey, she not only aligns herself with her abusive and petulant future-husband, but she loses her beloved direwolf Lady in the process.
The Starks Leaving Winterfell
The Stark family leaving Winterfell kicked off a series of horrible events for the family, including many, many deaths, wars, and harrowing marriages. In Season 6, reunited with her brother Jon Snow, Sansa reiterates, "We never should've left Winterfell."
Robb Marrying Talisa
As eldest Stark and heir to Winterfell, Robb was arranged to marry a Frey daughter in order to quell tensions between the two houses. However, Robb falls for Talisa, and against literally everyone's advice, marries her.
Talisa says, "I am his and he is mine, from this day until the end of my days." Which is rather imminent, unfortunately for her.
Cersei Allying With The Sparrows
In an attempt to regain some power in Westeros, Cersei makes the fatal mistake of allying with The Sparrows, a religious fanatical group who later imprison and enforces the infamous Walk of Shame on the Queen Mother.
Daenerys Trusting The Witch
Daenerys trusts the witch in hopes that she can save her husband Khal Drogo, but the witch takes the life of Daenerys' unborn child. The witch does not heal Drogo at all - she turns him into a walking corpse.
Robert Baratheon Trusting The Lannisters
Robert Baratheon married Cersei Lannister and believed he had three heirs by her. This was not the case, and Cersei eventaully orchaestrates Robert's death.
Daenerys Didn't Let Her Troops Rest After The Battle Of Winterfell
Dany wasted no time after the Battle of Winterfell going to King's Landing. She believed the longer she waited, the stronger her enemy would get. Unfortunately, her haste cost her troops, a dragon, and her closet advisor Missandei.
Stannis Invading Winterfell
Believing himself nearly invincible thanks to the Red Woman, Stannis Baratheon attempts to invade Winterfell while it is held by the Boltons. It turns out, he is not who the light promised.
The Freys Betraying The Starks
After Robb Stark married Talisa in secret and went back on his vow to marry a Frey daughter, Walder Frey and his men commit the Red Wedding massacre, killing Robb, Talisa, Catelyn, and most of their bannermen.
Tywin Killing Tyrion’s True Love
While it's a little unclear whether or not Tywin killed Tyrion's first wife, Tysha, he definitely lied to Tyrion about her being a sex worker and forced the guard (and lastly Tyrion) to forcefully enter her.
Later, Tyrion finds out Tysha was not a sex worker, and that she genuinely loved him. Tyrion kills Tywin for this betrayal.
Stannis Trusting The Red Woman
When Melisandre the Red Woman tells Stannis Baratheon that he is the rightful King, she dooms him and his entire family to a bloody and short life full of war and ill-fated quests for the throne.
Dany Taking All Dragons North Of The Wall
When Dany takes all three dragons north of the wall, she comes back with only two, effectively gifting the White Walkers a terrifying, undead dragon.
Robert Baratheon Getting Drunk While Hunting
At Cersei's request, Lanscel (her lover and kin) ensures without much difficulty that Robert Baratheon gets good and drunk while hunting. In his inebrieted state, Robert is run through by a wild boar and dies shortly after.
The Tyrells Forming An Alliance With The Lannisters
While forming an alliance with the Lannisters may have seemed advantageous to the Tyrells at the time, it ultimately e the Tyrell line in bloody, wildfire flames at the sept.
Jamie Pushing Bran Out Of The Tower
In Season 1, Bran catches Jamie and Cersei Lannister getting more intimate than any siblings should. In order to hide this incriminating fact, Jamie pushes Bran out of the tower, permanently paralyzing the child.
Jon's Battle Plan During The Battle Of Winterfell
Jon's battle plan to fight the White Walkers during the Battle of Winterfell was to put all of his troops outside the castle and then light a fiery moat that trapped them from retreating.
Dany Trusting The House Of Undying People
The House of Undying People attempt to murder Dany when she enters. Not entirely suprising, really.
Tyrion Chooses Bran As The New King
After Jon kills Dany, Westeros is in need of a new ruler. From all the choices of high lords and ladies, Tyrion suggests Bran lead them because of all he's endured. Shockingly, everyone agrees.
Bran Messing With The Three-Eyed Raven’s Visions
When the Three-Eyed Raven takes Bran into his visions, Bran regularly defies the Raven's suggestion that he refrain from interacting with the past. Bran continues to call out to his father and stays inside visions longer than he should. Hold the door, anyone?