An Analysis of Mental Illness in Westeros.

Recently, I have become very attached to the characters in the Game of Thrones universe as I have recently become a major fan of the show. My biggest conclusion about the show is that if you strip out all of the fables, lore, tales, and fantasy, we are all hooked on the characters because of their biggest struggle: mental illness.

The wonders of this theme have become a major phenomenon of exploration because it enters a realm of the unknown. Still to this day, many of the types of disorders do not have set cures because the types of illnesses are not a one size fits all diagnosis.

Back then (GoT times), if you were mentally ill, you were viewed as a crazy person. Maesters even had no such knowledge of such things in the books or the show.

After reading loads of books on mental illnesses and studying it closely, I have come to the conclusion that for a professional to give a clear diagnosis, the subject needs to be observed over a long stretch of time.

There is no such blood test to figure out what mental disorder someone has.

Since mental illness is a matter of observation, luckily, we have over 60 plus hours of material to observe our favorite characters to make an educated assumption.

Here is my diagnosis of mental health disorders in Game of Thrones.

Jamie and Cersei Lannister, the two biggest antagonists are defined by Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. The two most mentally ill in the series, Cersei being Borderline whereas Jamie suffers from being a Narcissist. The reason why I say they are the illest is that they suffer the most and they are obliviously ignorant of combatting these disorders.

Cersei is defined by her identity crisis, only identifying with her children, which is her only redeeming quality, going to great lengths in order to protect and preserve their power. There is a flip-side of this coin, with the ulterior motive of keeping herself in power; a major tell tale sign of BPD.


Another identifying factor of BPD is that they are attracted to people with the Narcissistic Personality disorder because they feel as one with them, hence why Cersei loves Jamie so much. Many times, she has reiterated that she’d rather have been born a man, seeing in her brother what she has always wanted to be.


Fear of abandonment is another huge trait of BPD. Thus, the reason why she hates Jamie for being captured or disappearing multiple times and the major smothering of her little lion cubs. Her beauty and sexuality towards her brother give her a sense of security, satisfaction, and validation.

On the other hand, Jamie craves validation and attention, giving him the motive of being attracted to someone like Cersei.

People with BPD endlessly are attracted to people with risky behavior and a strong sense of self-identity, henceforth why Cersei is enamored with her brother. BPD and NPD are a very dangerous combination thereupon, Jamie’s actions give Cersei the identity that she craves.


Adding to this, when Jamie is away from Cersei, he becomes more rational and relatable to the audience while being away from her influence. The worst part of all is that this is not even the most messed up relationship of the show which belongs to Stannis and Melisandre.

The two suffer from Shared Psychosis from different points of view. Both are enamored with the notion of “Me, myself and I”, causing them to lose all sense of reality.

Imagine if Jamie and Cersei had some couples therapy, and how that would change their perspectives on how they view and treat each other. If you want more information about couples counseling, click this link right here. 

The Red Priestess has a messed up view of the world and a strong sense of identity making her the perfect master of the marionette to control Stannis. She uses her sexuality and extrasensory visions to influence Stannis’ missing sense of identity.


Moving on, Narcissistic Alcoholism is the spot on diagnosis for Tyrion Lannister, everyone’s favorite dwarf from Casterly Rock. He suffers from being outcasted and is the reason why he turns to alcohol to mask his insecurity and pain. Also, he suffers from the family trait of narcissism and by adding constant drinking to the mix, it only adds fuel to that fire.

Alcohol is the worst drug for mental illness because it is legal and it is a depressant providing provocations of mental illness within the categories of addiction and risky behavior. The drug brings great highs of happiness for short periods of time then to only bring traumatizing lows for even a much longer time after the drug is cleared from your system, leading to more even more consumption.

As prescribed by every psychiatrist in the world, they say to absolutely not drink alcohol if you suffer from any mental illness, especially while on medication.


The correct term for this diagnosis that I will elaborate on is called Anti-Social Personality Disorder, in more common terms; being a sociopath. The second most hated character on the show, Joffrey Baratheon is a diagnosed with this, in which not to be confused with being a psychopath.

Being the most unstable character in the show, he never took consideration of others, not even for his own Mother. With that, he had no control of his emotions or outbursts which are another indicating factor of being a sociopath.


Joffrey took pleasure from sadism by killing, hurting and torturing people out of pure irrational thought, doing what pleased him at that very moment. Incapable of empathy, he had no control of his emotions and lacked charisma, classifying him as a sociopath.

Changing lanes, Arya Stark has been on quite the journey. Since arriving in King’s Landing and at the moment of her Father’s beheading, she has always been in survival mode. This the foremost defining characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Arya has constantly been on the run from many others, as well as the Lannister’s. Our favorite little Avenger has lost friends, family, and everyone she’s cared about. During her sojourn from Winterfell, she has witnessed the most gruesome sites that we have seen. She is always looking for danger and is hypervigilant, causing her to be perpetually trapped in the mindset of survival, trusting nobody.


Despite her reuniting with her family, you can see these trait’s of Arya blatantly come out. The only thing that can ease her PTSD is being in a safe space and for her to recognize it, and I believe that she has the potential to do so now that she is home.

Next, we have the most hated character in the show, Ramsay Bolton (Snow). What is the difference between a Psychopath and a Sociopath you may ask? Joffrey and Ramsay are great examples to define this misconception. Ramsay is a master at controlling, manipulating and masking his emotions, especially to the situation and for other people’s needs. Like Ramsay, Psychopath’s are masterminds of malleable emotion on the outside but on the inside, they feel no remorse, sympathy or any empathy.


Being a master of manipulation, the best example of Ramsay is how he manipulates Sansa, Littlefinger, and Theon, tricking them for his own personal gain. Psychopaths act rational, planning 100 steps in advance with a greater ulterior motive. Being as strategic as Ramsay is, his number one goal is to find approval from his Father only in order to become warden of the North. Whereas Joffrey, a sociopath, has no personal agenda, acting cruelly out of impulse.

Let’s talk about one of the most beloved characters on the show, Jon Snow, a dreary bastard who represents the most common mental illness of Depression. Jon is the most relatable character in the show because just about everyone can relate to depression and he is one stoic gloomy dude.

Like many of us, Jon just wants to find his purpose in the world, wondering why he is here and has been put through all of this dismay. He is raised in the North and being the most far north of the wall, Jon like most northerner’s in real life are very prone to depression because of how cold climates and winter triggers depression.

Seeing as his love, friends, and family get killed while he can do nothing about it, this leaves him feeling like a failure. Being a bastard of Ned Stark has always lead him to believe that he is worthless in the world no matter how hard he tries to do the right thing. On top of that, even with his success of being the Lord Commander of the Night’s watch, an egalitarian society, half of his men hate him want him dead because he does the honorable thing by letting the Wildlings passed the wall.


Poor, Jon Snow.

After his resurrection, his watch ended and he is charged with the title as King of The North. Now he is tasked with the impossible mission of trying to defeat an army of ice demons and dead people. On top of this, no one really believes him about this threat. Don’t you just feel for this guy? His intentions are good but in the eyes of others and even within himself, he can’t do anything right no matter how hard he tries.

His depression is felt by many audiences and is why he is our favorite because the masses relate to this disorder. Notice how we relate to Arya, Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys more so than the others that I have mentioned because these are the most common illnesses that the masses particularize with.

I am in perpetual search of someone who is a loyal fan of Cersei.

Lastly, she is gentle or brutal, I want to end by talking about the Mother of Dragons. Representing Bipolar I disorder, her emotions, rationality, reasoning, temperament, and mood always fall under the scale of either mania or depression. There is no middle ground with her. We have seen her at many lows of sadness and depression with many highs of anger, frustration, productive ambition, and happiness.

People with Bipolar Disorder have an insurmountable image and expectation of themselves. For example, she thinks she is no ordinary human because she can’t be burned, birthed dragons and controls them. People follow her upon seeing her beauty and obey her. This makes her the most entitled character in the show because she thinks that the Iron Throne is hers automatically.

A lot of people who suffer from Bipolar I Disorder have an image similar to this of themselves, being delusional, but not many get to face the realities of their own self-image like Daenerys does. When a person with this disorder takes on the actual reality of whom they think they are, it is a very dangerous combination as we can see with the Mother of Dragons.

She hit’s depression many times for longer periods of mania, then she snaps out of it by unleashing her wrath upon people, furthering her feeling of invincibility as a pure source of a temporary fix for her frustrations. She fits the bill because we see her character go through the five parts of the Bipolar spectrum:

1. Depression
2. Dysthymia
3. Equilibrium (Normal)
4. Hypomania
5. Mania

She either slowly progresses one way or shoots from one side to the other.


Bipolar disorder for me is the hardest to explain in short terms out of all mental disorders because of the five parts which expand into many smaller fragments. There are so many factors that cause the chemical imbalance of the brain, mind body and soul when it comes to this disorder.

The most simple example of her is mania when she is conquering and dysthymia when she is ruling.

Afterall, she flys around on a dragon and you can see why she has this mythical idea of herself, which is why she is the representative Bipolar I Disorder.

Let’s look at the mentally healthy in the show:

1. The dead Starks.
2. Renly Baratheon.
3. Barisstan Selmy.
4. Doran Martell.
5. Jeor Mormont.
6. Lady Tulisa.
7. Loris Tyrell.
8. Marcella Baratheon.
9. The Queen of Thorn’s.
10. Margaery Tyrell.

What do these character’s have in common? They are all dead.

Throughout history, there has been a recurring theme of mad ruler’s and conquerors. No man or woman should have all this power because people who do, end up going insane. In Game of Thrones or in reality, people with power tend to overuse it from Donald Trump to Joffrey Baratheon; no one man or woman should have all that power.

In my final conclusion, whoever can tame their mental disorder the best in the show, will come out on top in the series finale.

Remember, “The Zos Knows”. 

-David Zosel

If you want to support my writing and for me to be able to create more content you can make a donation to either of these links:

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I will give 10% of the proceeds to ONETREEPLANTED, a charity that plant trees to restore life to degraded lands all over the world. For every dollar donated there will be one tree planted. 

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