Over six weeks, and with enough popcorn to feed a tiny Westeros army, a team of Australian Red Cross volunteers, all experts in the laws of war, watched the 67 GoT episodes aired to date. Afterwards, they crunched the numbers and cross-referenced their spreadsheets, to find the worst perpetrators. Tongues firmly in their cheeks of course.
Fans of this pop-culture TV series phenomenon certainly know there’s no shortage of gruesome fictional crimes – from the use of dragons to rain fire down on people to the conscription of child soldiers – and a litany of bad guys to ponder. Our dedicated volunteers calculated there had been a gob-smacking 103 violations of the laws of war over the seven seasons.
While our analysis sits firmly in the realms of fun-fiction the laws of war are serious business. Every day they protect the lives of people who are not, or are no longer, part of a conflict – including civilians, wounded soldiers and prisoners.
They forbid acts like torture and inhuman treatment; protect hospitals, aid workers and cultural property; and limit weapons and tactics to avoid unnecessary suffering. Also known as international humanitarian (IHL) they’re laid out in the Geneva Conventions, which have been signed by every country on earth, and other international treaties. Red Cross has a legal mandate to promote and protect these laws.
So who is the worst war criminal with a massive 17 serious violations? Joffrey was always a nasty lad? And Cersei is surely not one for the rules? And how does hero-to-many, Jon Snow, rate?