Throughout the month of November, we’re soliciting readers’ help to definitively answer an age-old question: Who is the actual worst character on television? We reviewed your submissions, did our own research, and came up with a list of 32 characters across four different categories, who’ve gone head to head over the last three weeks. Only four are left. Which one of them will be crowned as the most despicable, unlikable, flat-out awful (fictional) person on the small screen?
Spencer Kornhaber: We meet for a Trial by Blogging Combat. The parties: Ramsay Bolton and Jim Moriarty, both finalists for the title of Actual Worst. Their champions: Me, for Ramsay, and you, for Jim. Hide your eyes and don’t waste your time chanting at me.
Okay, apologies, Sophie. This little metaphor probably doesn’t makes a ton of sense to you because you’ve never seen Game of Thrones. Well, I’ve never seen Sherlock. So this should be fun. Your initial writeup indicated that Moriarty is a psycho terrorist archetype, someone who murders innocents through fantastical plots, largely out of an obsession with the show’s hero. Sounds scary, sure, but also a bit typical of TV and movies, no? So he played a horrible game of “Guess Which Pill Is Actually Poison” with random taxi passengers—was he twirling a mustache, too?
Ramsay might twirl a mustache, if he had facial hair instead of cherub cheeks. But the distinction between him and what you’d call “Joker-style lunatics” is really important. For the most part, Ramsay uses brutality as it’s commonly been used in history: for power. This was the case when he imprisoned and tortured Theon Greyjoy, destroying his body and soul so much so that he became a quivering slave named Reek. And one of the more underratedly sickening Ramsay moments came when he casually told his dad how he got a rebellious house in their kingdom to start paying taxes: by skinning alive the lord, his wife, and his oldest son—while forcing the lord’s youngest son, suddenly head of household, to watch.