If you've ever watched Game of Thrones, then you know by now that it is pretty much chock full of mommy and daddy issues. Even if you've only caught an episode or two, though, it's not hard to see the running theme underneath all of that iron throne talk. Thanks to the parents of Game of Thrones and the awesomely bad parenting skills they posses, we've got almost every main player of the show getting down with mommy and daddy issues at one point or another. (I'm looking at you, Robert Baratheon.)
It's probably a given that the (former) King Joffrey had mommy issues, being that he exhibited disrespect and cruelty toward almost every woman he came into contact with. But the issues with the parents of Game of Thrones go beyond Joff's psychotic behavior. Because Theon probably wouldn't have spent Season 5 as a castrated, brainwashed mess, had it not been for his need to seek approval of his father by trying to take over Winterfell. And Jon Snow could certainly do with a few answers as to his correct parentage line, since Ned never did have "that talk" with him.
No Game of Thrones character is particularly safe when it comes to mommy and daddy issues on the show, just like it's safe to say that pretty much every parent of Game of Thrones is inherently flawed. And none of these characters are free from their issues with their parents.
1. Joffrey And His Mommy
That would be Cersei, of course. Throughout his life span on the show, which lasted scarily longer than a lot of other characters, Joffrey tortured Sansa Stark emotionally, mutilated and humiliated prostitutes, and constantly demeaned his Uncle Tyrion.
And all the while, Cersei looked on with expressions of almost approval. And during his wedding reception, it was legit pride that she looked on with, as he forced Tyrion to wait on him before beckoning his planned his reenactment of Robb Stark's death with dwarfs.
2. Jon Snow And Ned
Jon Snow grew up as Ned Stark's bastard son, without even getting the chance to bear the Stark name, and all the while feeling like an outcast in at least some respect. True, Ned was as affectionate as he could be with his son, allowing him to stand with the family when they welcomed the king to Winterfell, and eat with them during banquets. But there was also so much that Jon Snow never learned from his father, namely, the identity of his mother, which Ned had promised to tell him as soon as he was back from King's Landing. Which, as we all know, never happened because he never did come back home. And if there is any truth to R+L=J, then we can only assume that what Ned had had to say would have been earth shattering for Jon.
3. Robin And Lysa
The first time we see Robin Aryyn, he's a bratty 10-year-old suckling at his mother's teet for all of their subjects in the Eryie to see. If that wasn't enough to totally put us off as viewers of this overly attached kid, there is the whole obsession he has with the moon door and tossing people out of it, to their deaths.
Which, OK, is thanks to his mother Lysa's own love of the door that can kill anyone at the crank of a lever. But this kid never stood a chance.
4. Cersei And Tywin
Cersei was forever imploring her father to treat her like the tough, brave fighter that she can be and allow her to be taken seriously as something more than a king's mother. But he never does, and is actually ready to marry her right off to Margaery's brother, despite her protests. Basically, before Tywin's death (which was not at all too soon), he saw Cersei first as a means to the throne and then as someone to simply get out of his way.
5. Tyrion And Tywin
The life of Tyrion has been full of being either neglected or plain insulted by his father Tywin. Telling your youngest son that you wish they had died as an infant cuts them pretty deep no matter who you are, especially if you're as naturally cruel as Tywin is. And the first chance he gets, he acts as judge in order to sentence Tyrion to execution for Joffrey's murder, which he most definitely did not commit. Then, he plunged the knife even deeper by pitting Tyrion's only lover against him at the trial and then, you know, sleeping with her. Basically Tywin had no shame and died exactly as he deserved: with a couple of arrows shot through him, as he sat on the toilet.
6. Samwell Tarly And His Dad
The Night's Watch is a troupe of soldiers made up of criminals or misplaced persons of Westeros who really have no other purpose and are sent to the wall to serve on the guard. So it's kind of curious that Jon Snow's BFF, Samwell, was sent to the wall, having come from a noble and decidedly wealthy family.
He is no bastard, as he does speak of his family a few times, but being unskilled as a soldier and fighter, his father, a commander himself, sent Sam to the wall out of disappointment that his son was not as strong or brave as he had expected. It was originally Sam's birthright to grow up to be one of the most powerful lords to be sworn to House Tyrell, but as of right now, Samwell is on his way to the Citadel with Gilly to become a skilled maester.
7. Jon And Catelyn
With the knowledge of the widely known GoT theory R+L=J pushed aside, Catelyn Stark spends her entire marriage under the pretense that Jon Snow is definitely her husband's bastard, the result of a fast love affair while he was away at war. And as the noble woman that she is, Catelyn accepts that Ned bring home this baby and raise him in their home of Winterfell.
But that doesn't mean that she was ever happy about it, sharing very little screen time with the poor kid on the show and giving us a few scenes of curt exchanges that left too much to be desired. From what is known of the books, Catelyn is much colder to him there, solidifying the fact that Jon not only grew up as a bastard to an important lord, but also with no real motherly figure.
8. Ramsay And Lord Roose
Ramsay is another bastard of Westeros, but unlike Jon Snow, he grew up in House Bolton, whose sigil is that of a flayed man. Literally, on their family's banner is the image of a man skinned alive. So Ramsay probably never really stood a chance, but by comparison, he makes Joffrey look like an angelic prospective boyfriend for Sansa Stark. Strangely, though, a lot of Ramsay's antics that involve flaying enemies for sport are to make his father proud.
9. Shireen And Stannis (And Selyse Too, Actually)
Stannis Baratheon's daughter Shireen spent her entire life locked away because of the Greyscale permanently inflicted on her face. But if it wasn't enough that her parents kept her locked up, away from most people, Shireen's mother, Selyse, constantly thought of her as a mistake, being that she wasn't born a male and therefore not a real heir for Stannis. Speaking of which, he wasn't nearly as frightening for Shireen, as he was simply neglectful. That is, until he gave into the red witch's visions and burned his daughter at the stake. At the stake...alive.
10. Arya And Catelyn
Arya always sort of identified with her father since she has always leaned more to fighting and masculine activities of Westeros, instead of sewing, romance, and dancing like her older sister Sansa. Therefore she was never able to really bond with Catelyn and when Ned took Arya to King's Landing with him, he also inadvertently took away any chance of the two developing any sort of relationship. Had Catelyn been more able to be close to Arya, maybe the girl would have found her way back to her sooner than the Red Wedding or would have even wanted to stay behind.
11. Theon And Balon Greyjoy
Theon may have lived in Winterfell from the time he was just a boy, but after Ned Stark was executed and Robb was going to leave Winterfell to fight for his house, he urged Theon to return to the Iron Isles and gain control that was rightfully his. Flash forward a few crazy episodes and we have Theon so thirsty to please his father — his real father, unlike Ned, whom he was merely a ward to — that he was willing to take over Winterfell, the place that had been his home for like 10 years.
12. Sansa And Ned (And Catelyn)
As most things in life for Sansa, she gets the short end of the stick when it comes to her parents. While Catelyn did once try to urge her that marrying Joffrey was not necessarily what she had to do, she never outright discouraged it and in the end allowed Sansa to leave Winterfell for King's Landing to live with the Lannisters, a family Catelyn had never trusted.
To the same tune, Ned knew at least part of what Joffrey was capable of, thanks to Arya's honesty, but stayed firm with the plan to marry the Stark family to House Baratheon. And once in the Capital, when given the chance to get his girls out of there, he totally dropped the ball by basically telling Cersei his plan to shame her, thus allowing her to get several steps ahead of him. Great job, Eddard.