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House Of The Dragon Season 2 Proves Aegon Is Worse Than Game Of Thrones' Joffrey

This article contains discussions of sexual assault.

It's not unfair to say that, in a contest of "who's more awful" between King Aegon II Targaryen from "House of the Dragon" (played by Tom Glynn-Carney) and King Joffrey Baratheon from "Game of Thrones" (played by Jack Gleeson), everybody loses. Apparently, it's some kind of demented Westerosi tradition for power-hungry mothers and former queens like Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), respectively, to install their sons on the throne whether or not those sons have a solid claim to said throne, or, frankly, whether or not the sons in question are sane or normal in the slightest. So who's worse: Joffrey, or Aegon? Convincing arguments can be made for the former, to be sure, but as of Season 2 of "House of the Dragon," it actually seems like the "winner" in this godawful competition is Aegon.

Hear us out. Yes, Joffrey is absolutely intolerable, to the point that his now-infamous death in Season 4 of "Game of Thrones" is both brutal and an enormous relief when it happens ... but we'll return to Joffrey in just a moment. In a universe filled with horrific characters who commit absolute atrocities, Aegon is definitely up there, and he deserves the dubious honor of being declared "the absolute worst" in print. But first, let's examine Joffrey, who walked so that Aegon could run — how bad was he really?

Joffrey Baratheon was a deeply vile character during his time on Game of Thrones

There's no argument here: Joffrey Baratheon sucks. From his very birth, he's a problem — largely because he's not the rightful heir to his father King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) but the product of incest between Cersei Lannister and her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) — and when audiences first meet him in "Game of Thrones," he instigates a fight with an innocent kid and gets a dog executed after he gets his butt kicked by a girl (specifically, future trained assassin Arya Stark, played by Maisie Williams). From there, he orders the beheading of Ned Stark (Sean Bean), which instigates a massive war over the throne, and takes Ned's eldest daughter Sansa (Sophie Turner) as his captive fiancée, forcing her to look at her dad's head on a spike before starting to physically abuse her. During their brief engagement, Joffrey routinely brutalizes and torments Sansa until he casts her aside for Margaery Tyrell, and along the way, he kills a few King's Landing sex workers for sport. He's a real peach, basically.

By the time Joffrey dies — at his own wedding to Margaery, which is frequently referred to as the "Purple Wedding" by "Game of Thrones" fans — audiences have had more than enough of watching him whine and do a terrible job of being king ... and though it certainly seems, on the surface, that his uncle Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) committed the deed after years of Joffrey's abuse, he's innocent of the crime. (Nobody watching the show would have blamed him, though.) With all that said, how could Aegon possibly be worse?

Aegon is only worse because of the way his mother treats him

Both Cersei Lannister and Alicent Hightower seek to quietly rule Westeros through their demented kids, crowning these absolute jabronis just so the women can be named as Queen Regent and funnel decisions through two young idiots. Cersei, at the very least (and this is a low bar to clear) is sort of nice to Joffrey, even as she quietly tells others that she knows precisely how disgusting he is. While he's alive, Cersei encourages her son to remain loyal to his family and ignore outside critiques, which is definitely its own problem (considering that she's puffing up Joffrey's ego undeservedly). Alicent, on the other hand, has a hot temper that she frequently takes out on her eldest son.

Nobody's saying that Alicent doesn't love her kids, but she seems to harbor serious disdain for Aegon; in Season 1 of "House of the Dragon", she calls him an "imbecile" when he asks if she even loves him (damn, Alicent!) and slaps him smack across the face after yelling at him. (To Alicent's credit, Aegon deserved it, as he abused one of his wife's chambermaids, but we'll circle back to that atrocity.) In the same scene where she slaps him, Alicent uses a favorite insult of the legendary "Game of Thrones" antagonist Tywin Lannister, telling Aegon, "you're no son of mine." Putting the blame entirely on Alicent does feel wrong to some extent, but there's no question that her piss-poor parenting skills didn't help Aegon's naturally crappy personality from getting way, way worse as he got older.

It's not entirely Alicent's fault, though — Aegon is just terrible

Let's be fair for a moment, though. Alicent probably could have coddled Aegon half to death and he still would have turned out to be a total dud. In Season 1, we watch as Alicent has to give moon tea, which is thought to prevent pregnancy, to one of Queen Helaena's (Phia Saban) chambermaids ... and the chambermaid in question tells Alicent that Aegon sexually assaulted her. (A telling and upsetting moment in the Season 2 premiere of "House of the Dragon" sees Helaena's remaining maids grow stressed and still when Aegon enters her rooms, and for what it's worth, Helaena is Aegon's sister and wife.) It's also revealed, in Season 1, that Aegon loves visiting a specific kind of fighting pit in the bowels of King's Landing where feral children with sharpened teeth and nails are forced to battle to the death. 

Aegon only gets worse in Season 2, astonishingly! He's an openly terrible leader who loves writing checks the crown can't cash just to seem awesome and cool, and he's horrible to his brother Aemond (Ewan Mitchell), cruelly mocking him when he discovers Aemond seeking quiet solace in the arms of brothel madam Sylvi (Michelle Bonnard) in the season's third episode. Joffrey is bad; there's absolutely no disputing that at the end of the day. Aegon is, somehow, worse. Congratulations, then, to King Aegon Targaryen, second of his name, the worst boy king of Westeros there ever was ... though fans will have to keep watching "House of the Dragon" to see how long or short his reign is.

"House of the Dragon" airs new episodes on Sunday nights at 9 P.M. EST on HBO and Max.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).