Game Of Thrones: Best And Worst Mom Moments

Throughout the eight seasons of Game of Thrones, HBO's mega hit series, there have been plenty of memorable moments. Some were great and some were arguably terrible, but nearly all will be engrained in our minds for, well, probably as long as we live.


Unlike many of our favorite characters, we managed to pull through the gory Red Wedding of Season 3 and go on to survive Season 8's Battle of Winterfell unscathed. With the show having a fanbase of over 17 million, it makes sense that not everyone is happy with how things have ended up. After the penultimate episode aired, nearly a million fans started a petition demanding a rewrite of the eighth season.

Whether you were soured by the turns taken in the final season or were happy to let it all play out, no fan can help but reminisce about all the ones we've lost and the few we still have left — especially our favorite dynamic and complicated female characters. From the choices of the Queen Mother to those of the Mother of Dragons, here are some of the absolute best and worst mom moments in Game of Thrones. Warning: Spoilers ahead.


Best: Ellaria Sand and her loyal Sand Snakes

While you might find Ellaria Sand's decision to involve her daughter, Tyrene, in what is essentially a gang, you have to admit that this mom raised one pretty freaking fierce kid. And, despite having the cruel task of killing people as one of the Sand Snakes, Tyrene has a surprisingly loving relationship with her mother. In Season 5's fourth episode, Tyrene refers to her mom as "Mama" and greets her parent with a hug. In return, she receives a kiss on the forehead from her mom. Aw.


Although Ellaria very clearly wants revenge against the Lannisters, she gives her Tyrene and her daughter's half-sisters the choice between "Doran's way and peace or my way and war." That offer does not deter Tyrene, who quickly responds, "I'm with you. Always."

We also find out in this episode that Obara recalls a time when her own mother was weeping to the girls' father, Oberyn, opining that her daughter was "too young and a girl." Of course, we know the young women all eventually became Sand Snakes and joined Ellaria in seeking revenge.

Worst: Lysa Arryn's helicopter parenting

In the first season of GoT, we meet Lysa Arryn, Catelyn Stark's sister and the late wife of Jon Arryn. After her husband's death, she was apparently never quite the same. Lysa and her 6-year-old son, Robin, fled to the Vale where Lysa then basically became helicopter mom of the year. In the fifth episode, "The Wolf and the Lion," Lysa is shown breastfeeding the son she dubs "sweet Robin," so... yeah. The awkward breastfeeding scene aside, we come to realize that Lysa is a bit off her rocker. Paranoid, she locks Tyrion in a sky cell after thinking he conspired to kill her late husband. Her fanatical doting over her son has also resulted in some serious entitlement.


In a later episode, it becomes clear that sweet Robin is not living up to his name. After Sansa crafts a model of Winterfell using snow, she tells her cousin about her home. Before long, Robin has a major meltdown over the castle's lack of a "moon door" — you know, the hole in the floor where Robin can throw away all the bad people — and he completely smashes Sansa's snow creation. Oh, sweet, sweet Robin.

Best: Olenna Tyrell poisons Joffrey for her granddaughter

If you've never watched GoT, you might have trouble seeing how poisoning someone could be a symbol of a mother's — or, in this case, grandmother's — love. But this is Joffrey we're talking about — the sadistic king and son of Jaime and Cersei Lannister. 


As Elite Daily recapped, Joffrey was a horrible ruler — one that, by comparison, even made Cersei look good — but the one bright spot of his rule was the presence of Margaery Tyrell. Thanks to some careful planning on her grandmother Olenna's part, Margaery was able to gain power by marrying Joffrey. But she didn't have to remain married to this Lannister for very long.

At their wedding, Joffrey was poisoned — a scene which made pretty much every fan jump for joy — but we wouldn't find out until Season 7 who actually killed the king. "Only Margaery knew the truth," the publication highlighted, "after Olenna confessed she couldn't bear to see her granddaughter married to Joffrey any longer." That's right. Olenna, in an act of love, did away with the tyrant king.


Worst: Catelyn Stark's resentment of Jon Snow

Although we would learn the parentage of Jon Snow much later in the series, Catelyn Stark — and everyone else — had long been led to believe that Jon Snow was her husband's bastard son. And, for that, she deeply resented him. In the second episode of Season 3, "Dark Wings, Dark Words," Catelyn admitted her feelings to son Robb's wife, Talisa. 


"When my husband brought that baby home from the war, I couldn't bare to look at him," she revealed. She continued, "So I prayed to the gods, take him away. Make him die." Yikes. It's true that Catelyn did at least feel guilty about this. She admitted to Talisa that when he did become ill with "the pox," she knew she'd become "the worst woman who ever lived." Plagued with guilt, Catelyn promised her gods that she would love Jon as her own and even give him the Stark name if only they would let him live. He lived, but she "couldn't keep [her] promise." Despite her guilt, Catelyn never came around to love Jon and believed her family was cursed because of it.

Best: Catelyn begs for Robb's life to be spared

Catelyn Stark most certainly had her faults. She was, by all accounts, a truly terrible mother to Jon. Remember when she didn't even want to let him say goodbye to Bran when he was leaving for the Night's Watch? Ugh. As painful as their relationship — or lack thereof — was, Catelyn did very much love her biological children and was a fierce ally of her son Robb.


Catelyn's love for her eldest son is most evident in the famous Red Wedding episode of Season 3. Taking Walder Frey's wife hostage in a last ditch effort to save her son's life, she begins petitioning for leniency. "Let it end. Please," she cries to the patriarch. "He is my son, my first son. Let him go and I swear that we will forget this. I swear it by the old gods and new. We will take no vengeance." When Walder does not budge, she continues, yelling, "Take me for a hostage, but let Robb go." She pleads with her son to walk out, but we know how that went. It's a horribly sad and brutal scene that ends without mercy.

Worst: Melisandre gives birth to a murderous shadow baby

You might not initially think of Melisandre as a mom, but she did conceive and birth a "child." Well, technically she gave birth to a shadow assassin. As Polygon recapped, Melisandre believed that Stannis Baratheon was the rightful king back in Season 2. Shocker: he wasn't. At the time, the Red Woman was über determined to get him on the Iron Throne. And so, she birthed a homicidal shadow baby for the sole purpose of killing Stannis' brother — aka his rival — Renly. Not to mom-shame, but, um, having a kid for the sole purpose of murder pretty much makes her one of the worst mothers not just on Game of Thrones but on any television series ever.


We also can't forget that Melisandre would've also made one horrid step-mom. Although Stannis was married and had a daughter by the time the priestess came around, Melisandre and the hopeful king were having an affair, and Melisandre later convinced him to sacrifice his own daughter to the Lord of Light. Yeah, she's kind of the worst.

Best: Daenerys Targaryen brings dragons back from extinction

Without Daenerys Targaryen, we would have no dragons. In the first season of Game of Thrones, Dany earns two of her titles: the Unburnt and the Mother of Dragons. In Season 1, we watch as she walks into Khal Drogo's funeral pyre and hatches her three adorable and then-tiny baby dragons: Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion. 


While having dragons as kiddos is not exactly #momgoals — though some moms would probably argue that parenthood does feel like raising a brood of fire-breathing monsters at times — this scene with Daenerys communicates a powerful message. Dany's dragons aren't her pets. They are her children, which just goes to show that giving birth is not required to become a mom. Go, Dany!

We also can't ignore the fact that hatching her three dragon eggs meant that she also literally brought an entire species out of a centuries-long extinction. Wait, so may she is #momgoals.

Worst: Daenerys chaining her dragons

You may want to hold off on making that "Mother of the Year" ribbon for Daenerys. Although she has been a good mom at times, she's also made some pretty horrible parenting choices. In the Season 4 finale, we learned that Drogon had been terrorizing the town while his mom was away, and, well, he killed a child with dragon fire and then ran — or flew — away. Teenagers, amirite?


Ultimately, Dany decided to essentially punish her other two dragons for Drogon's mistake and chained them up in the catacombs. Um, what? We know there's no manual for parenting — especially when it comes to parenting dragons — but this has to be a pretty epic mom fail, right? Her kids are pretty pissed when Daenerys — ironically the Breaker of Chains — shackles them in a dungeon. As Dany turns to leave her screaming dragons, she does at least seem to feel bad about her decision. But that doesn't negate what she did. Yes, we're still mad.

Best: Cersei Lannister's attempt to save Myrcella

It could be argued that Cersei Lannister's only redeeming quality is her love for her children. It was what made her somewhat human. Though you can't really think about Cersei's children without also remembering that they were born of incest. They were, after all, her and her twin brother Jaime's kids. Anyway, for the sake of this argument, we'll ask you to look beyond all of that. 


Throughout the series, Cersei experiences the loss of all of her children. First, she witnessed the poisoning of Joffrey and mourned his loss. Later Cersei learns that Myrcella has been kidnapped and that her life is in danger. In one episode, a scared and angry Cersei mutters (via Vulture), "I will burn their cities to the ground if they touch her!" She then sends Jaime to sneakily recover their daughter — but he's too late. Like Joffrey, Myrcella had also been poisoned, and she dies Jamie's arms. The whole thing had been an undoubtedly risky mission, which just goes to show the depth of love Cersei had for her children.

Worst: Cersei kills her son's wife

After losing Joffrey and Myrcella, Cersei had just one child left: Tommen. While he was not exactly prepared — or fit — to be king, Tommen ruled the Iron Throne after Joffrey's death. He also married Margaery — but that wouldn't last long. Using chemical warfare, Cersei burned the Sept of Baelor at King's Landing — and everyone in it, including Tommen's wife. The young king was safe but heartbroken at losing his wife. In a heart-wrenching scene, he kills himself by jumping from his bedroom window. Although she likely didn't picture this being the outcome, Cersei had to know that offing the woman her son loved wouldn't exactly sit well with him. So, great plan, Cersei. Great plan.


Continuing on with her bad mom mojo, Cersei also manifests an uncharacteristic reaction to her final child's death. While she mourned her other two children, she ordered Tommen's body to be burned and his ashes scattered along with the ruins of the Sept. "It seems that Cersei has stopped trying to fight the fate that was foretold to her many years ago," wrote The Wrap. Eek.

Best: Gilly fiercely protects her son

Throughout her time on Game of Thrones, Gilly has demonstrated just how great of a mom she really is. Her and Samwell Tarly's relationship has also proved worth emulating. As PopSugar summarized, Sam and Gilly met all the way back in Season 2. Wildling patriarch Craster was sacrificing the newborn sons of his daughter-wives — yep, you read that right — to the White Walkers. At the time, Gilly was pregnant and, naturally, fearful for her unborn child.


Sam promises Gilly that he would come back to help her and her little one escape. While still at Craster's Keep, Gilly gives birth to a boy, which, of course, only causes her to experience more fear. Thankfully, Sam is a man of his word. Craster winds up dead, and Sam helps Gilly and her baby get out of the Keep. Gilly later decides to name her son after Sam — aww — and Sam Sr. and Gilly officially become a couple. In Season 8, we find out Gilly is expecting again, and we can't help but fall even more in love with this blended family.

Worst: Selyse Baratheon sacrifices Shireen

If you weren't shouting obscenities and shielding your eyes during Season 5's ninth episode, what were you doing? Stannis Baratheon and his wife, Selyse, make the decision to sacrifice their only child, Shireen, to the Lord of Light.


Little Shireen was dealt a terrible hand from the outset of her life. As a baby, she nearly died from "greyscale" — a disease that is most often fatal. Stannis consulted "every maester on this side of the world" and "every healer, every apothecary," and he ultimately saved his daughter's life, but you couldn't exactly call him a loving father. Shireen lived most of her life hidden away.

Even worse than Stannis though was Shireen's mother. Selyse was deeply resentful of her daughter. In Season 3, Episode 5, we learn that Selyse keeps her stillborn sons preserved in jars and is devastated that she never bore a living son. She tells her husband, "I gave you nothing." Um, hello, Shireen! In the end, both parents agree to allow their only child to be brutally killed. While Selyse does ultimately come to regret her decision, we're still furious.


Best: Lyanna Stark's dying wish

Lyanna Stark may have only been a mother for a few minutes, but she was really the best mother in the entire series. Lyanna, who was Ned Stark's sister and King Robert Baratheon's fiancée, fell in love with Rhaegar Targaryen. Lyanna left the king and married her true love, but Rhaegar was killed after Lyanna became pregnant. After giving birth to their son — whom we eventually find out is Jon Snow — she died from complications. But not before entrusting Ned to raise her son as his bastard. This would protect him from being murdered at the hands of Robert. "You have to protect him. Promise me, Ned," she begs her brother just before she dies. "Promise me."


This is a pivotal scene in the series, as we get to know who Jon Snow truly is. And we also get to finally meet Lyanna and learn of the selfless love she had for her child. The story, as we'd always heard it, was from Robert's point of view. He'd claimed she had been kidnapped and raped by Rhaegar. He waged war against the Targaryens because of it, but, as we know now, what he said wasn't true.

Worst: Cersei could've saved her unborn baby but didn't

Cersei may very well have loved her children, but her bad mom moments certainly outweighed the good. Most frustratingly, Cersei was given the chance to more or less start over. There would be no replacing the children she lost, but she became pregnant yet again with her brother/lover's child. Tyrion and — let's be honest — most of us thought there might be a chance Cersei would surrender to Daenerys in Season 8 of Game of Thrones


In a compelling speech, her younger brother pleads with her to back down, telling her she's "not a monster." No comment, Tyrion. "I know this. I know this because I've seen it," he tells his sister. "You've always loved your children. More than yourself, more than Jaime, more than anything. I beg you, if not for yourself, then for your child. Your reign is over, but that doesn't mean your life has to end."

Although it looks like his words pierce through her cold, cold heart, Cersei does not surrender. In fact, she ups the ante by beheading Daenerys' friend and advisor Missandei. Neither Cersei nor her expected child had to die, but, well, you all know how that went down.