From ‘Game of Thrones’ to ‘Supernatural’: 13 Terrifying Secondary Villains in Fantasy TV Shows

Everyone loves a good villain and with good reason. The best baddies serve as challenging foes to the story’s protagonists, both in a physical and thematic sense. With the right actor to bring them to life, they remain in the hearts and minds of audiences for years to come.



The fantasy genre is no stranger to good villains, especially in television shows. Be they recurring antagonists or gone after one episode, many villains have left their mark thanks to how terrifying they are, either through their powers and actions or what they represent in the show’s mythology.

Updated on June 29, 2023, by David Caballero:

Fantasy shows are hotter than ever on television. Recent series like House of the Dragon, Good Omens, and Outlander continue the genre’s dominating on streaming, thanks to intriguing narratives and stellar production values. These shows also have incredible characters, including memorable villains, and while the main enemies are always the hook, some supporting foes steal every scene they’re in, becoming instant hits with audiences.

13 The Weird Sisters — ‘Gargoyles’ (1994 – 1997)

The weird sisters, from left to right, Phoebe Selene, and Luna

When Oberon (Terrence Mann) declared that his children must spend time among humanity, he tasked three sisters named Phoebe, Selene, and Luna (Kath Soucie) with safeguarding the island of Avalon. They did so until they were banished by the Magus (Jeff Bennet), who arrived with Princess Cathryn and a host of gargoyle eggs. Enraged at this humiliation, the sisters allied with an evil Archmage (David Warner), working for thousands of years to reclaim their home.

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The threat of the Weird Sisters comes from their timeless nature and magic powers. They don’t have the same sense of morality as others: manipulating the lives of mortals, or even directly mind-controlling them, is a justifiable means to an end of reclaiming their home. Being immortals, they have all the time in the world, and defeat is merely a temporary setback.

12 Orgalorg — ‘Adventure Time’ (2010 – 2018)

Orgalorg, the true form of the penguin, Gunter

Wherever the Ice King (Tom Kenny) goes in the Land of Ooo, he is often accompanied by his faithful penguin manservant, Gunter (Tom Kenny). Unknown to him, Gunter is an ancient, eldritch entity called Orgalorg. Though currently trapped in penguin form, a head injury causes Oralorg’s personality to resurface and resume its quest to absorb the all-powerful Catalyst Comet.

Even before the reveal, Gunter showed signs of being different from the other penguins, such as when he used some of the Ice King’s magic in the episode “Reign of Gunters.” The reveal offered Adventure Time another chance to dip into cosmic horror with the implications of such all-powerful beings. It’s just too bad that Orgalorg’s appearances were limited and his defeat too quick because he is among Adventure Time‘s best villains.

11 Peter Pan — ‘Once Upon a Time’ (2011 – 2018)

Pan smiling confidently in Once Upon a Time.
Image via ABC

Once Upon a Time featured a brilliant premise that overextended its welcome. However, it had a wonderful first three seasons that provided a subversive and refreshing take on classic fairy tales. Season 3 might be the show’s best, especially because of its villains, the first of which was the bratty and loathsome Peter Pan.

Within the show’s narrative, Pan is Rumpeltstilskin’s selfish father, who corrupted Neverland by staying there to avoid growing up. Wicked, annoying, and destructive, Pan presented a genuine threat to the main characters. Once Upon a Time had flashes of brilliance, even if it was never consistent. Pan was loathsome, menacing, entertaining, and one of the best villains of the past decade.

10 Sol Regem — ‘The Dragon Prince’ (2018 – )

Sol-Regem meets with Ziard, the first dark mage

Once the king of the dragons, Sol Regem’s (Adrian Hough) reign saw the humans of Xadia unlock Dark Magic to put them on par with the naturally magical elves and dragons. When the mage Ziard (Brian Drummond) refused to give up his magic staff, Sol Regem threatened to burn the human city of Elarion. Ziard managed to blind Sol Regem, forcing him to abdicate his throne.

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The centuries since his blinding have only served to stoke the fires of Sol Regem’s hatred for humanity. He views them as lesser beings trying to rise above their station and won’t hesitate to kill any he encounters. This makes Sol Regem an interesting display of the sin of wrath, especially when he threatens to kill the dragon prince to get at the human mage, Callum (Jack De Sena).

9 Umbrasyl — ‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ (2022 – )

Umbrasyl facing off against Percy, Grog, and Pyke

After liberating the city of Whitestone from the Briarwoods, Vox Machina is given no time to rest before four ancient dragons attack the capital city of Emon. They are forced to flee the city and seek powerful weapons to stop the dragons. Meanwhile, the black dragon, Umbrasyl (Matthew Mercer), is tasked by the red dragon, Thordak (Lance Reddick), to kill Vox Machina.

Though not the largest of the four dragons, Umbrasyl easily eclipses them in terms of personality and activity in Season 2. While he shares Thordak’s ambitions for ascension, he quickly realizes the artifacts’ power and makes it his mission to claim them from Vox Machina. His powers also help him stand out, from his acidic breath that can melt flesh and bone in seconds to his chameleon-like skin that can turn him invisible.

8 Aredian — ‘Merlin’ (2008 – 2012)

Aredian, the Witchfinder

When Merlin’s (Colin Morgan) magic is accidentally seen, King Uther Pendragon (Anthony Head) calls for Aredian the Witchfinder (Charles Dance) to root out any hidden sorcerers. Aredian began his work immediately, especially when he learned that Uther’s court physician was Gaius (Richard Wilson), a known sorcerer who gave up practicing magic. Not willing to let him escape again, Aredian plants evidence and uses brutal interrogation tactics to convict Gaius.

Though he lacks any magic, Aredian proves himself to be one of the most dangerous foes in Merlin. His interrogation methods get inside his victim’s heads, causing them to reveal incriminating evidence without meaning to. He was also well-trained in his profession and nearly exposed Merlin and Morgana’s (Katie McGrath) connection to magic.

7 Iofur Raknison — ‘His Dark Materials’ (2019 – 2022)

King Iofur Raknison in his armor

In an alternate reality to ours, there lives a race of intelligent bears called the panserbjørne, known for being able to forge their own armor. Their rightful king, Iorek Byrnison (Joe Tandberg), was banished for killing a rival, so Iofur Raknison (Peter Serafinowicz) rules. However, Iofur secretly poisoned Iorek’s rival with the aid of the cunning and fabulous Mrs. Coulter (Ruth Wilson) to ensure his kingship and the imprisonment of Coulter’s rival, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy).

Aside from the fact that he is a giant talking polar bear, the terror that Iofur inspires comes from his intelligence. He thinks more like a human than a bear, keeping secrets and hatching plans rather than dealing with a problem directly. While this makes him cunning, it also makes him desperate to emulate human culture, which is a fitting lesson about trying to be something you are not.

6 Otto Hightower — ‘House of the Dragon’ (2022 – )

Image via HBO

The beloved but underrated Rhys Ifans plays the scheming Otto Hightower in the Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon. The show follows the events that led to the Targaryen civil war, known as the Dance of the Dragons, with Otto pulling the strings behind the scenes to put his family on the Iron Throne.

Like the most cunning characters from Game of Thrones, Otto is manipulative and charming. He easily sneaks around poor King Viserys, using his daughter to secure his hold on the Iron Throne. Otto might lack the compelling layers of the franchise’s best villains – Cersei, Littlefinger, Tywin, etc. However, there’s something admirable about his uncompromising and relentless villainy.

5 Hama — ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ (2005 – 2008)

Hama as the puppetmaster in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Born in the Southern Water Tribe, Hama (Tress MacNeille) and her fellow waterbenders were captured by the Fire Nation to be tortured and imprisoned. During this time, Hama realized that all living things have water within them, which she could use to escape. Years later, she continues to practice bloodbending by imprisoning Fire Nation civilians in a mountain cave to be tortured like she was.

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Hama’s power to control people’s bodies is gruesome to behold, with their limbs jerking forward like puppets on a string. But what’s truly terrifying about her is her lack of remorse for others. She sees nothing wrong with punishing innocents for the actions of their soldiers and forces waterbending protégé Katara (Mae Whitman) to learn bloodbending to pass on her teachings.

4 The Hunter — ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ (2019)

skekMal, The Hunter, wielding his blade

In the world of Thra, a race of immortal bird-like creatures called the Skeksis rule from their palace-like decadent emperors. That is, except for SkekMal (Ralph Ineson), known as the Hunter. While his brethren enjoy a life of luxury, the Hunter stalks the wilds of Thra, testing himself against beasts and only returning to the castle to receive orders.

Centuries of fighting for survival have left the Hunter physically changed from his fellow Skeksis. He moves swiftly in combat, leaping from trees as he pursues his prey with a single-minded determination. This is reflected in his puppetry, as he is the only Skeksis to be portrayed as a full-body puppet by Nick Kellington, Kevin Clash, and Ian Kay.

3 Craster — ‘Game of Thrones’ (2011 – 2019)

Close up on a man in the dark

Game of Thrones was full of despicable characters, but few held a candle to Craster. A contentious ally of the Night’s Watch, Craster lived beyond the Wall in a hut with his nineteen wives, most of whom were also his daughters. He fathered multiple children with them, keeping the women to eventually marry them once they were of age and offering the sons to the White Walkers.

Craster was a truly disturbing character. Game of Thrones had its fair share of shocking deaths and problematic storylines, but Craster’s unnerving, violent behavior made him one of the most reprehensible and loathsome characters in a show full of them.

2 Azazel — ‘Supernatural’ (2005 – 2020)

Azazel holding a gun to his head as he talks to Jake

A demon from hell, Azazel, or the Yellow-Eyed Demon, was one of the most fanatical followers of Lucifer. Following his master’s imprisonment, Azazel crossed the Earth to try and free him to start the apocalypse. He also began shaping Sham Winchester’s (Jared Padalecki) destiny, which involved killing his mother and girlfriend.

It’s natural to expect a demon to enjoy the suffering of others, but Azazel took this up to eleven. He takes sick pleasure in toying with his victim’s emotions, making them feel hopeless before finally taking their life. His arrogance is also the perfect level of smugness where you both hate to see him but hate it more when he leaves.

1 Ramsay Snow — ‘Game of Thrones’ (2011 – 2019)

Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton looking intently off-camera in Game of Thrones.

The bastard son of Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton), Ramsay (Iwan Rheon), enjoys reminding people why the flayed man is the Bolton sigil. While his father plays the long game, Ramsay enjoys torturing and tormenting those that fall into his hands. Only his father can keep Ramsay’s sadistic tendencies in check, and even that has its limits when he feels his position is threatened.

Ramsay is far from one of Game of Thrones‘ most underrated villains; in fact, he might be the show’s best enemy. His torture methods broke his victim’s bodies and minds by playing mind games to lure them into a false sense of security before taking away whatever they held dearest. By the end, his victims would beg him to end their suffering.

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