It's a Knockaert

The ramblings of a football obsessive and Game of Thrones nerd.


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A Song of Ice and Fire: A Quote for Every Chapter

To make the seemingly unending wait for The Winds of Winter a little more interesting, I’m going to post one quote for every chapter of the five existing books. Hopefully updated every day, but we’ll see.

A Game of Thrones

Prologue

The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.

Ser Waymar met him bravely. “Dance with me then.” He lifted his sword high over his head, defiant. His hands trembled from the weight of it, or perhaps from the cold. Yet in that moment, Will thought, he was a boy no longer, but a man of the Night’s Watch.
Bran I
Bran saw his father’s face change, saw the other men exchange glances. He loved Jon with all his heart at that moment. Even at seven, Bran understood what his brother had done. The count had come right only because Jon had omitted himself. He had included the girls, included even Rickon, the baby, but not the bastard who bore the surname Snow, the name that custom decreed be given to all those in the north unlucky enough to be born with no name of their own.
Catelyn I
She could see the rippling deep within the steel, where the metal had been folded back on itself a hundred times in the forging. Catelyn had no love for swords, but she could not deny that Ice had its own beauty. It had been forged in Valyria, before the Doom had come to the old Freehold, when the ironsmiths had worked their metal with spells as well as hammers. Four hundred years old it was, and as sharp as the day it was forged.
Daenerys I
The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli, the land of the Andals. In the Free Cities, they talked of Westeros and the Sunset Kingdoms. Her brother had a simpler name. “Our land,” he called it. The words were like a prayer with him. If he said them enough, the gods were sure to hear. “Ours by blood right, taken from us by treachery, but ours still,ours forever. You do not steal from the dragon, oh, no. The dragon remembers.”
Eddard I
“I was with her when she died,” Ned reminded the king. “She wanted to come home, to rest beside Brandon and Father.” He could hear her still at times. Promise me, she had cried, in a room that smelled of blood and roses. Promise me, Ned. The fever had taken her strength and her voice had been faint as a whisper, but when he gave her his word, the fear had gone out of his sister’s eyes.
Jon I
“Let me give you some counsel, bastard,” Lannister said. “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
Catelyn II
Catelyn looked to her husband. “Now we truly have no choice. You must be Robert’s Hand. You must go south with him and learn the truth.” She saw at once that Ned had reached a very different conclusion. “The only truths I know are here. The south is a nest of adders I would do better to avoid.”
Arya I


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The Mummer’s Farce is Almost Done

I’ve experienced almost every emotion that exists during season five of Game of Thrones. Scepticism became hope, which became disgust, which became hope again before very quickly returning to disgust, and has now settled down with a state of blissful nirvana. Because Game of Thrones has finally jumped the shark. Any semblance of a story as deep as A Song of Ice and Fire is gone, and in it’s place is a clusterfuck of scenes designed to provoke shock and outrage, characters forced together for no logical reason, characters contradiction themselves and making brainless decisions, and the complete death of character development.

S P O I L E R S

Jon and the Night’s Watch

Jon is one of very few, perhaps the only, character to emerge from this season in a better-than-terrible state. Most people’s highlight of the season is his dramatic battle with the white walkers at Hardhome, which is possibly the only change made which improved on the books. Jon’s arc in ADWD isn’t one of my favourites, and another glimpse of the real enemy would have certainly livened it up a bit, as there have been precious few thus far. Also, a long-standing theory that Valyrian steel can be used to kill the walkers was confirmed.

In other episodes, we had the death of Maester Aemon, which was the most moving moment of the season. Peter Vaughn has been an underrated actor on the show and will be missed. Mance Rayder was burnt by Stannis, and it was seemingly the real deal, not Rattleshirt wearing a glamour as in the books, rendering Mance’s character on the show basically pointless. We had our unnecessary Melisandre nude scene when she bared all to seduce Jon, and failed. Sam came to the rescue of Gilly, who was going to be raped by some more disreputable watchmen (because they just love using rape as a catalyst for male character development), and she rewarded him with sex! Yay! Except no, just no.

The climax, which everyone had been dreading, came in the final scene of the season. The Benjen tease in the ‘previously on’ turned out to be nothing more than bait for Jon to come out into the courtyard and get stabbed. Olly had the last stab, in the most heavily foreshadowed event possibly of all time.

Plotline Overall Rating: 6/10

Stannis Baratheon

Oh, it all started off so well. The Stannis scenes in the first few episodes gave us all hope that he was finally getting the treatment he deserved as one of the most beloved characters. A bonding moment with Shireen had us all delighted, and when Melisandre suggested burning her, he told her to get to fuck. And then he burned her. In the next episode. Because he lost some supplies.

Seriously???

Stannis LOVES Shireen. He may not express it often, but he told his knights to seat her on the throne of DIE TRYING if something should happen to him. And when she was burning, it was SELYSE who came running to her and fell to the ground crying. And then there’s the fact that Stannis Baratheon, the finest military commander still alive, was somehow thwarted by Ramsay Snow, a bastard with no military training. Did he not have guards posted? How did twenty men just ride into his camp and burn his supplies?

Selyse promptly hung herself in the next episode, in a frankly pathetic reason to get her off screen now that they had no further use for her. Stannis and his forces marched on Winterfell, having no idea that the Bolton’s were charging straight for them, and were routed. Stannis fought off a couple of soldiers before collapsing to the ground wounded. And there was Brienne, who must have some kind of GPS given that she can track down any character she pleases. A far cry from the Brienne who spent a whole book walking around hopelessly looking for Sansa. She also seems to be acting as some sort of eraser for D&D, removing characters they no longer want. And that was that. Stannis Baratheon was dead. It’s fine though, because Book Stannis won’t be anywhere near as incompetent.

Plotline Overall Rating: 3/10

Sansa, Theon, and the Boltons

After Sansa’s transformation to Darth Sansa at the end of season four, all the build up focussed on how she was going to become a major player in the game of thrones. She would learn from Littlefinger, and finally gain some agency after being constantly at the mercy of the series’ cruellest characters. So how did that turn out?

She was married to Ramsay Snow by Littlefinger, in a move that made absolutely no sense for him, and had him force himself upon her in the most harrowing piece of television I’ve ever seen.

Even the rape scene, horrendous as it was, focussed more on Theon’s reaction to it, because rape is only there to develop male characters. And given that it was Theon who rescued her in the end, and not Sansa herself, it’s clear that it was there purely for shock value, not as a catalyst for her to develop agency. Their story ended with Theon chucking Myranda off a wall, and then the two of them leaping from the same walls to an unknown fate. Book readers will know that they land in a deep patch of snow, but show watchers are probably assuming that they’re dead, or at the least have broken bones. Ramsay meanwhile, seems to have become D&D’s favourite character, having a ridiculous amount of screen time. They’ve really gone overboard with the whole ‘bad guys always win’ thing.

Plotline Overall Rating: 2/10

Dorne

Oh, boy.

Dorne is one of my favourite plotlines in the books. Arianne is the strongest female character in the series, the Sand Snakes, while cartoonish, are pretty badass, the unveiling of Doran’s plot led to an insane amount of hype, and Ellaria’s impassioned plea for peace was a welcome relief from all the lusting for vengeance.

None of that made it in.

Instead, we had the Sand Worms wearing matching costumes, an Ellaria who seems to have gone a little bit mad, giving Myrcella the kiss of death just one season after she said ‘We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne’, a passive Doran who seemingly has no plan at all, and a vomit-inducing romance between Myrcella and Trystane. What was the point of recasting Myrcella if she was just going to die?? Every Sand Snake scene was awfully cringeworthy, not least the farcical battle in the Water Gardens when they happened to show up at exactly the same time as Jaime and Bronn. Oh yeah, Jaime and Bronn are in Dorne. No one really knows why.

A complex and fascinating plot featuring multiple strong female characters was totally discarded for a buddy comedy with two characters who deserve better. I’m done here.

Plotline Overall Rating: 0/10

King’s Landing

King’s Landing has been at the heart of Game of Thrones’ best storylines so far. This continued in AFFC, with Cersei’s ascent to power and following descent into madness and imprisonment, made for great reading. By contrast, Cersei seemed to have her shit together more this season than ever before. Littlefinger rocked up, for… reasons unknown. Meanwhile, Margaery and Tommen…

Yeah, that scene was as weird as you can imagine.

Loras was finally punished for the heinous crime of being a token gay character. The High Sparrow apparently has more power than anyone in Westeros. Olenna had a half-hearted attempt to have her grandchldren set free, but he put her in her place. Then there was another highly anticipated scene, Cersei’s walk of atonement. It certainly captured the spirit of the scene from the books, and Lena Headey put in surely the acting performance of the season. An acceptable effort. And we got a glimpse of Robert Strong. Hype.

Plotline Overall Rating: 5/10

Tyrion, Daenerys and Meereen

Tyrion seemed at a bit of a loose end this season. He spent most of the season travelling to Meereen, forming a short lived partnership with Jorah Mormont. It wasn’t a patch on meeting the long-thought-dead Aegon motherfucking Targaryen, and exiled lord Jon Connington. He finally met Daenerys, something long awaited, but they weren’t together long before Daznak’s pit, the scene I had been most eagerly awaiting,. It came immediately after the burning of Shireen, and I wasn’t paying much attention due to my disgust, but it was a huge let down. Whereas in the book, everything was going swimmingly before Drogon showed up, and he began burning innocents by the dozen, in this adaptation he arrived as a deus ex machina to save Dany from a random Sons of the Harpy attack. Despite the fact the whole reason Dany married Hizdahr and re-opened the fighting pits was to achieve peace, but what is logic. Dany flying away on Drogon’s back was badly CG’d, and her story ended with her surrounded by Dothraki while Jorah and Daario set off on a merry quest to find her. The buddy comedy is sorted for next season, have no fear. Jorah was incredibly annoying this season, btw.

Oh, and then there was Barristan’s death. The most noble and celebrated living knight, cut down by some randoms in masks while the Unsullied continued to be more useless than the Stormtroopers from A New Hope. What was the point in even reintroducing him?

Plotline Overall Rating: 6/10 (only because the dragons look so cool)

Arya, Braavos, and the Faceless Men

This storyline actually turned out alright.

Having Jaqen back was cool, even if it completely contradicted the point of the Faceless Men, there were some very impressive special effects on show, and the hall of faces looked awesome. Arya spent a lot of time training, before Meryn fucking Trant showed up with Mace Tyrell. Apparently we didn’t have enough reason to hate Meryn yet, so we got to see him picking out young girls to fuck (he’s a pedo apparently?) and then knocking them about a bit. Lucky us. Arya killed him in predictable bloody and psychopathic fashion, and then she was blinded. I actually have hope that this story could turn out ok, because they really love Arya on this show.

Plotline Overall Rating: 7/10

To sum up, the show is now so far removed from believability, enjoyability, and the canon of ASOIAF that I don’t have it in me to get angry any more. They’ve tossed out depth and complex plots for cheap shocks (raping Sansa, burning Shireen), having characters contradict themselves (Stannis, Ellaria), and giving us CGI heavy action sequences to make up for it. The simple fact is that D&D are poor writers. Good writers let the characters drive the story, whereas they are trying to force characters into the book storylines that they want, no matter how illogical they are. Next season we enter the complete unknown, as we’re at the end of the the book’s timeline. What will happen is anyone’s guess, but I’m not too worried about the possibility of The Winds of Winter being spoiled, because we’re now so far away from what most of the characters are actually doing. Sansa is in the Vale, flirting with Harry the Heir. Theon and Asha (remember her?) are captives of Stannis, who all agree is likely to defeat the Boltons. Jaime and Brienne are headed for deadly showdown with Lady Stoneheart (who??) in an encounter that keeps me up at night with worry. Euron is ravaging the Reach, with a potential dragon on the way. Barristan is marshalling the defence of Meereen against all the scum of the world. The storylines of major characters, especially the big four (Tyrion, Dany, Arya and Jon) most likely will be spoilt however, and for that reason I’ll be giving next season a miss.

Overall review of Season Five:

I’ll conclude with a formal congratulations for Balon Greyjoy, sole remaining contestant of the War of Five Kings. Long may he reign!


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Top 20 Favourite Moments of ASOIAF

It’s pretty much common knowledge now that A Song of Ice and Fire is the greatest story of all time, and that the books are unfathomably better than that terrible fan fiction show on HBO. Recently on Twitter, some people have been working out their top ten favourite moments of the story, however when I began compiling my list I realised that there were far too many amazing moments to narrow it down to just ten, so I have listed my top twenty. Included herein are moments that made me laugh, moments that made me cry, moments that made me think about life. This story has it all.

20. A Feast for Crows – Jaime VII

There was a rap upon his door. “See who that is, Peck.”

It was Riverrun’s old maester, with a message clutched in his lined and wrinkled hand. Vyman’s face was as pale as the new-fallen snow. “I know,” Jaime said, “there has been a white raven from the Citadel. Winter has come.”

“No, my lord. The bird was from King’s Landing. I took the liberty … I did not know …” He held the letter out.

Jaime read it in the window seat, bathed in the light of that cold white morning. Qyburn’s words were terse and to the point, Cersei’s fevered and fervent. Come at once, she said. Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once.

Vyman was hovering by the door, waiting, and Jaime sensed that Peck was watching too. “Does my lord wish to answer?” the maester asked, after a long silence.

A snowflake landed on the letter. As it melted, the ink began to blur. Jaime rolled the parchment up again, as tight as one hand would allow, and handed it to Peck. “No,” he said. “Put this in the fire.”

19. A Dance with Dragons – Jon II

This is wrong, Jon thought. “Stop.”

Emmett turned back, frowning. “My lord?”

“I will not hang him,” said Jon. “Bring him here.”

“Oh, Seven save us,” he heard Bowen Marsh cry out.

The smile that Lord Janos Slynt smiled then had all the sweetness of rancid butter. Until Jon said, “Edd, fetch me a block,” and unsheathed Longclaw.

By the time a suitable chopping block was found, Lord Janos had retreated into the winch cage, but Iron Emmett went in after him and dragged him out. “No,” Slynt cried, as Emmett half-shoved and half-pulled him across the yard. “Unhand me … you cannot … when Tywin Lannister hears of this, you will all rue-“

Emmett kicked his legs out from under him. Dolorous Edd planted a foot on his back to keep him on his knees as Emmett shoved the block beneath his head. “This will go easier if you stay still,” Jon Snow promised him. “Move to avoid the cut, and you will still die, but your dying will be uglier. Stretch out your neck, my lord.” The pale morning sunlight ran up and down his blade as Jon clasped the hilt of the bastard sword with both hands and raised it high. “If you have any last words, now is the time to speak them,” he said, expecting one last curse.

Janos Slynt twisted his neck around to stare up at him.  “Please, my lord. Mercy. I’ll … I’ll go, I will, I …”

No, thought Jon. You closed that door. Longclaw descended.

“Can I have his boots?” asked Owen the Oaf, as Janos Slynt’s head went rolling across the muddy ground. “They’re almost new, those boots. Lined with fur.”

Jon glanced back at Stannis. For an instant their eyes met. Then the king nodded and went back inside his tower.

18. A Dance with Dragons – Epilogue

File:Mike Capprotti Varys.JPG

“Varys?”

The eunuch set the crossbow down. “Ser Kevan. Forgive me if you can. I bear you no ill will. This was not done from malice. It was for the realm. For the children.”

I have children. I have a wife. Oh, Dorna. Pain washed over him. He closed his eyes, opened them again. “There are … there are hundreds of Lannister guardsmen in this castle.”

“But none in this room, thankfully. This pains me, my lord. You do not deserve to die alone on such a cold dark night. There are many like you, good men in service to bad causes … but you were threatening to undo all the queen’s good work, to reconcile Highgarden and Casterly Rock, bind the Faith to your little king, unite the Seven Kingdoms under Tommen’s rule. So …”

A gust of wind blew up. Ser Kevan shivered violently.

“Are you cold, my lord?” asked Varys. “Do forgive me. The Grand Maester befouled himself in dying, and the stink was so abominable that I thought I might choke.”

Ser Kevan tried to rise, but the strength had left him. He could not feel his legs.

“I thought the crossbow fitting. You shared so much with Lord Tywin, why not that? Your niece will think the Tyrells had you murdered, mayhaps with the connivance of the Imp. The Tyrells will suspect her. Someone somewhere will find a way to blame the Dornishmen. Doubt, division, and mistrust will eat the very ground beneath your boy king, whilst Aegon raises his banner above Storm’s End and the lords of the realm gather round him.”

“Aegon?” For a moment he did not understand. Then he remembered. A babe swaddled in a crimson cloak, the cloth stained with his blood and brains. “Dead. He’s dead.”

“No.” The eunuch’s voice seemed deeper. “He is here. Aegon has been shaped for rule since before he could walk. He has been trained in arms, as befits a knight to be, but that was not the end of his education. He reads and writes, he speaks several tongues, he has studied history and law and poetry. A septa has instructed him in the mysteries of the Faith since he was old enough to understand them. He has lived with fisherfolk, worked with his hands, swum in rivers and mended nets and learned to wash his own clothes at need. He can fish and cook and bind up a wound, he knows what it is like to be hungry, to be hunted, to be afraid. Tommen has been taught that kingship is his right. Aegon knows that kingship is his duty, that a king must put his people first, and live and rule for them.”

17. A Storm of Swords – Epilogue

The outlaws parted as she came through, saying no word. When she lowered her hood, something tightened inside Merrett’s chest, and for a moment he could not breathe. No. No, I saw her die. She was dead for a day and a night before they stripped her naked and threw her body in the river. Raymund opened her throat from ear to ear. She was dead.

Her cloak and collar hid the gash his brother’s blade had made, but her face was even worse than her remembered. The flesh had gone pudding soft in the water and turned the colour of curdled milk. Half her hair was gone and the rest had turned as white and brittle as a crone’s. Beneath her ravaged scalp, her face was shredded skin and black blood where she had raked herself with her nails. But her eyes were the most terrible thing. Her eyes saw him, and they hated.

“She don’t speak,” said the big man in the yellow cloak. “You bloody bastards cut her throat too deep for that. But she remembers.” He turned to the dead woman and said, “What do you say, m’lady? Was he part of it?”

Lady Catelyn’s eyes never left him. She nodded.

Merrett Frey opened his mouth to plead, but the noose choked off his words. His feet left the ground, the rope cutting deep into the soft flesh beneath his chin. Up into the air he jerked, kicking and twisting, up and up and up.

16. A Storm of Swords – Jaime IX

File:White Book.jpg

Jaime sat alone at the table while the shadows crept across the room. As dusk began to settle, he lit a candle and opened the White Book to his own page. Quill and ink he found in a drawer. Beneath the last line Ser Barristan had entered, he wrote in an awkward hand that might have done credit to a six-year-old being taught his first letters by a maester:

Defeated in the Whispering Wood by the Young Wolf Robb Stark during the War of the Five Kings. Held captive at Riverrun and ransomed for a promise unfulfilled. Captured again by the Brave Companions, and maimed at the word of Vargo Hoat their captain, losing his sword hand to the blade of Zollo the Fat. Returned safely to King’s Landing by Brienne, the Maid of Tarth.

When he was done, more than three-quarters of his page still remained to be filled between the gold lion on the crimson shield on top and the blank white shield at the bottom. Ser Gerold Hightower had begun his history, and Ser Barristan Selmy had continued it, but the rest Jaime Lannister would need to write for himself. He could write whatever he chose, henceforth.

Whatever he chose …

15. A Feast for Crows – Samwell IV

Sam donned his blacks to say the words, though the afternoon was warm and muggy, with nary a breath of wind. “He was a good man,” he began … but as soon as he had said the words he knew that they were wrong. “No. He was a great man. A maester of the Citadel, chained and sworn, and Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch, ever faithful. When he was born they named him for a hero who had died too young, but though he lived a long long time, his own life was no less heroic. No man was wiser, or gentler, or kinder. At the Wall, a dozen lords commander came and went during his years of service, but he was always there to counsel them. He counselled kings as well. He could have been a king himself, but when they offered him the crown he told them they should give it to his younger brother. How many men would do that?” Sam felt the tears welling in his eyes, and knew he could not go on much longer. “He was the blood of the dragon, but now his fire has gone out. He was Aemon Targaryen. And now his watch has ended.”

14. A Storm of Swords – Arya XIII

File:Yoann Boissonnet Titan's Daughter.JPG

I have no home, Arya thought. I have no pack. And now I don’t even have a horse.

The captain was turning away when she said, “What ship is this, my lord?”

He paused long enough to give her a weary smile. “This is the galleas Titan’s Daughter, of the Free City of Braavos.”

“Wait,” Arya said suddenly. “I have something else.” She had stuffed it down inside her smallclothes to keep it safe, so she had to dig deep to find it, while the oarsmen laughed and the captain lingered with obvious impatience. “One more silver will make no difference, child,” he finally said.

“It’s not silver.” Her fingers closed on it. “It’s iron. Here.” She pressed it into his hand, the small black iron coin that Jaqen H’ghar had given her, so worn the man whose head it bore had no features. It’s probably worthless, but …

The captain turned it over and blinked at it, then looked at her again. “This … how …?”

Jaqen said to say the words too.  Arya crossed her arms against her chest. “Valar morghulis,” she said, as loud as if she’d known what she meant.

“Valar dohaeris,” he replied, touching his brow with two fingers. “Of course you shall have a cabin.”

13. A Dance with Dragons – The Sacrifice

The banker studied her with shrewd dark eyes. “You are the Lady Asha of House Greyjoy, unless I am mistaken.”

“I am Asha of House Greyjoy, aye. Opinions differ on whether I’m a lady.”

“The Braavosi smiled. “We’ve brought a gift for you.” He beckoned to the men behind him. “We had expected to find the king at Winterfell. This same blizzard has engulfed the castle, alas. Beneath its walls we found Mors Umber with a troop of raw green boys, waiting for the king’s coming. He gave us this.”

A girl and an old man, thought Asha, as the two were dumped rudely in the snow before her. The girl was shivering violently, even in her furs. If she had not been so frightened, she might even have been pretty, though the top of her nose was black from frostbite. The old man … no one would ever think him comely. She had seen scarecrows with more flesh. His face was a skull with skin, his hair bone-white and filthy. And he stank. Just the sight of him filled Asha with revulsion.

He raised his eyes. “Sister. See. This time I know you.”

Asha’s heart skipped a beat. “Theon?

His lips skinned back in what might have been a grin. Half his teeth were gone, and half of those still left him were broken and splintered. “Theon,” he repeated. “My name is Theon. You have to know your name.”

12. A Storm of Swords – Arya XIII

The boy didn’t seem to hear him. “I came for the girls,” he whimpered. “… make me a man, Polly said … oh gods, please, take me to a castle … a maester, take me to a maester, my father’s got gold … it was only for the girls … mercy, ser.”

The Hound gave him a crack across the face that made him scream again. “Don’t call me ser.” He turned back to Arya. “This one is yours, she-wolf. You do it.”

She knew what he meant. Arya went to Polliver and knelt in his blood long enough to undo his swordbelt. Hanging beside his dagger was a slimmer blade, too long to be a dirk, too short to be a man’s sword … but it felt just right in her hand.

“You remember where the heart is?” the Hound asked.

She nodded. The squire rolled his eyes. “Mercy.”

Needle slipped between his ribs and gave it to him.

11. A Game of Thrones – Jon VIII

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“Jon, did you ever wonder why the men of the Night’s Watch take no wives and father no children?” Maester Aemon asked.

Jon shrugged. “No.” He scattered more meat. The fingers of his left hand were slimy with blood, and his right throbbed from the weight of the bucket.

“So they will not love,” the old man answered, “for love is the bane of honour, the death of duty.”

That did not sound right to Jon, yet he said nothing. The maester was a hundred years old, and a high officer of the Night’s Watch; it was not his place to contradict him.

The old man seemed to sense his doubts. “Tell me, Jon, if the day should ever come when your lord father must needs choose between honour on the one hand and those he loves on the other, what would he do?”

Jon hesitated. He wanted to say that Lord Eddard would never dishonour himself, not even for love, yet inside a small sly voice whispered, He fathered a bastard, where was the honour in that? And your mother, what of his duty to her, he will not even say her name. “He would do whatever was right,” he said … ringingly, to make up for his hesitation. “No matter what.”

“Then Lord Eddard is a man in then thousand. Most of us are not so strong. What is honour compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms … or the memory of a brother’s smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”

10. A Dance with Dragons – Davos IV

“Soon I must return to the feast to toast my friends of Frey,” Manderly continued. “They watch me, ser. Day and night their eyes are on me, noses sniffing for some whiff of treachery. You saw them, the arrogant Ser Jared and his nephew Rhaegar, that smirking worm who wears a dragon’s name. Behind them both stands Symond, clinking coins. That one has bought and paid for several of my servants and two of my knights. One of his wife’s handmaids has found her way into the bed of my own fool. If Stannis wonders that my letters say so little, it is because I dare not even trust my maester. Theomore is all head and no heart. You heard him in my hall. Maesters are supposed to put aside old loyalties when they don their chains, but I cannot forget that Theomore was born a Lannister of Lannisport and claims some distant kinship to the Lannisters of Casterly Rock. Foes and false friends are all around me, Lord Davos. They infest my city like roaches, and at night I feel them crawling over me.” The fat man’s fingers coiled into a fist, and all his chins trembled. “My son Wendel came to the Twins a guest. He ate Lord Walder’s bread and salt, and hung his sword upon the wall to feast with friends. And they murdered him. Murdered, I say, and may the Freys choke upon their fables. I drink with Jared, jape with Symond, promise Rhaegar the hand of my own beloved granddaughter … but never think that means I have forgotten. The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer’s farce is almost done. My son is home.”

9. A Storm of Swords – Tyrion X

Tyrion stared up at his father’s hard green eyes with their flecks of cold bright gold. “Guilty, “ he said, “so guilty. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

Lord Tywin said nothing. Mace Tyrell nodded. Prince Oberyn looked mildly disappointed. “You admit you poisoned the king?”

“Nothing of the sort,” said Tyrion. “Of Joffrey’s death, I am innocent. I am guilty of a far more monstrous crime.” He took a step toward his father. “I was born. I lived. I am guilty of being a dwarf, I confess it. And no matter how many times my good father forgave me, I have persisted in my infamy.”

“This is folly, Tyrion,” declared Lord Tywin. “Speak to the matter at hand. You are not on trial for being a dwarf.”

“That is where you err, my lord. I have been on trial for being a dwarf my entire life.”

“Have you nothing to say in your defence?”

“Nothing but this: I did not do it. Yet now I wish I had.” He turned to face the hall, that sea of pale faces. “I wish I had enough poison for you all. You make me sorry that I am not the monster you would have me be, yet there it is. I am innocent, but I will get no justice here. You leave me no choice but to appeal to the gods. I demand trial by battle.”

“Have you taken leave of your wits?” his father said.

“No, I’ve found them. I demand trial by battle!”

His sweet sister could not have been more pleased. “He has that right, my lords,” she reminded the judges. “Let the gods judge. Ser Gregor Clegane will stand for Joffrey. He returned to the city the night before last, to put his sword at my service.”

Lord Tywin’s face was so dark that for half a heartbeat Tyrion wondered if he’d drunk some poisoned wine as well. He slammed his fist down on the table, too angry to speak. It was Mace Tyrell who turned to Tyrion and asked the question. “Do you have a champion to defend your innocence?”

“He does, my lord.” Prince Oberyn of Dorne rose to his feet. “The dwarf has quite convinced me.”

8. A Storm of Swords – Jon X

It’s done, Jon thought, they’re breaking. The wildlings were running, throwing down their weapons, Hornfoot men and cave dwellers and Thenns in bronze scales, they were running. Mance was gone, someone was waving Harma’s head on a pole, Tormund’s lines had broken. Only the giants on their mammoths were holding hairy islands in a red steel sea. The fires were leaping from tent to tent and some of the tall pines were going up as well. And through the smoke another wedge of armoured riders came, on barded horses. Floating above them were the largest banners yet, royal standards as big as sheets; a yellow one with long pointed tongues that showed a flaming heart, and another like a sheet of beaten gold, with a black stag prancing and rippling in the wind. Robert, Jon though for one mad moment, remembering poor Owen, but when the trumpets blew again and the knights charged, the name they cried was “Stannis! Stannis! STANNIS!”

7. A Dance with Dragons – Theon I

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Theon led the way up the stairs. I have climbed these steps a thousand times before. As a boy he would run up; descending, he would take the steps three at a time, leaping. Once he leapt right into Old Nan and knocked her to the floor. That earned him the worst thrashing he ever had at Winterfell, though it was almost tender compared to the beatings his brothers used to give him back on Pyke. He and Robb had fought many a heroic battle on these steps, slashing at one another with wooden swords. Good training, that; it brought home how hard it was to fight your way up a spiral stair against determined opposition. Ser Rodrik liked to say that one good man could hold a hundred, fighting down.

That was long ago, though. They were all dead now. Jory, old Ser Rodrik, Lord Eddard, Harwin and Hullen, Cayn and Desmond and Fat Tom, Alyn with his dreams of knighthood, Mikken who had given him his first real sword. Even Old Nan, like as not.

And Robb. Robb who had been more a brother to Theon than any son born of Balon Greyjoy’s loins. Murdered at the Red Wedding, butchered by the Freys. I should have been with him. Where was I? I should have died with him.

6. A Game of Thrones – Bran IV

That night, after the plates had been cleared, Robb carried Bran up to bed himself. Grey Wind led the way, and Summer came close behind. His brother was strong for his age, and Bran was as light as a bundle of rags, but the stairs were steep and dark, and Robb was breathing hard by the time they reached the top.

He put Bran into bed, covered him with blankets, and blew out the candle. For a time, Robb sat beside him in the dark. Bran wanted to talk to him, but he did not know what to say. “We’ll find a horse for you, I promise,” Robb whispered at last.

“Are they ever coming back?” Bran asked him.

“Yes,” Robb said with such hope in his voice that Bran knew he was hearing his brother and not just Robb the Lord. “Mother will be home soon. Maybe we can ride out to meet her when she comes. Wouldn’t that surprise her, to see you ahorse?” Even in the dark room, Bran could feel his brother’s smile. “And afterward, we’ll ride north to see the Wall. We won’t even tell Jon we’re coming, we’ll just be there one day, you and me. It will be an adventure.”

“An adventure,” Bran repeated wistfully. He heard his brother sob. The room was so dark he could not see the tears on Robb’s face, so he reached out and found his hand. Their fingers twined together.

5. A Clash of Kings – Tyrion XIV

Finally, he rolled over the side and lay breathless and exhausted, flat on his back. Balls of green and orange flame crackled overhead, leaving streaks between the stars. He had a moment to think how pretty it was before Ser Mandon blocked out the view. The knight was a white steel shadow, his eyes shining darkly behind his helm. Tyrion had no more strength than a rag doll. Ser Mandon put the point of his sword to the hollow of his throat and curled both hands around the hilt.

And suddenly he lurched to the left, staggering into the rail. Wood split, and Ser Mandon Moore vanished with a shout and a splash. An instant later, the hulls came slamming together again, so hard the deck seemed to jump. Then someone was kneeling over him. “Jaime?” he croaked, almost choking on the blood that filled his mouth. Who else would save him, if not his brother?

“Be still, my lord, you’re hurt bad.” A boy’s voice, that makes no sense, thought Tyrion. It sounded almost like Pod.

4. A Clash of Kings – Bran VII

At the edge of the wolfswood, Bran turned in his basket for one last glimpse of the castle that had been his life. Wisps of smoke still rose into the night sky, but no more than might have risen from Winterfell’s chimneys on a cold autumn afternoon. Soot stains marked some of the arrow loops, and here and there a crack or a missing merlon could be seen in the curtain wall, but it seemed little enough from this distance. Beyond, the tops of the keeps and towers still stood as they had for hundreds of years, and it was hard to tell that the castle had been burned and sacked at all. The stone is strong, Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me, he thought. I’m not dead either.

3. A Storm of Swords – Jaime V

“Has my tale turned you speechless? Come, curse me or kiss me or call me a liar. Something.

“If this is true, how is it no one knows?”

“The knights of the Kingsguard are sworn to keep the kings secrets. Would you have me break my oath?” Jaime laughed. “Do you think the noble Lord of Winterfell wanted to hear my feeble explanations? Such an honourable man. He only had to look at me to judge me guilty.” Jaime lurched to his feet, the water running cold down his chest. “By what right does the wolf judge the lion? By what right?” A violent shiver took him, and he smashed his stump against the rim of the tub as he tried to climb out. Pain shuddered through him … and suddenly the bathhouse was spinning. Brienne caught him before he could fall. Her arm was all gooseflesh, clammy and chilled, but she was strong, and gentler than he would have thought. Gentler than Cersei, he thought as she helped him from the tub, his legs wobbly as a limp cock. “Guards!” he heard the wench shout. “The Kingslayer!”

Jaime, he thought, my name is Jaime.

2. A Feast for Crows – Arya II

She stood on the end of the dock, pale and goosefleshed and shivering in the fog. In her hand, Needle seemed to whisper to her. Stick them with the pointy end, it said, and, don’t tell Sansa! Mikken’s mark was on the blade. It’s just a sword. If she needed a sword, there were a hundred under the temple. Needle was too small to be a proper sword, it was hardly more than a toy. She’d been a stupid little girl when Jon had it made for her. “It’s just a sword,” she said, aloud this time …

… but it wasn’t.

Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father,  even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell’s grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan’s stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow’s smile. He used to mess my hair and call me “little sister,” she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes.

Polliver has stolen the sword from her when the Mountain’s men took her captive, but when she and the Hound walked into the inn at the crossroads, there it was. The gods wanted me to have it. Not the Seven, nor Him of Many Faces, but her father’s gods, the old gods of the north. The Many-Faced God can have the rest, she thought, but he can’t have this.

1. A Storm of Swords – Jaime IV

“Jaime,” Brienne whispered, so faintly he thought he was dreaming it. “Jaime, what are you doing?”

“Dying,” he whispered back.

“No,” she said, “no, you must live.”

He wanted to laugh. “Stop telling me what to do, wench. I’ll die if it pleases me.”

“Are you so craven?”

The word shocked him. He was Jaime Lannister, a knight of the Kingsguard, he was the Kingslayer. No man had ever called him craven. Other things they called him, yes; oathbreaker, liar, murderer. They said he was cruel, treacherous, reckless. But never craven. “What else can I do, but die?”

“Live,” she said, “live, and fight, and take revenge.” But she spoke too loudly. Rorge heard her voice, if not her words, and came over to kick her, shouting at her to hold her bloody tongue if she wanted to keep it.

Craven, Jaime thought as Brienne fought to stifle her moans. Can it be? They took my sword hand. Was that all I was, a sword hand? Gods be good, is it true?

The wench had the right of it. He could not die. Cersei was waiting for him. She would have need of him. And Tyrion, his little brother, who loved him for a lie. And his enemies were waiting too; the Young Wolf who had beaten him in the Whispering Wood and killed his men around him, Edmure Tully who had kept him in darkness and chains, these Brave Companions.

When morning came, he made himself eat. They fed him a mush of oats, horse food, but he forced down every spoon. He ate again at evenfall, and the next day. Live, he told himself harshly, when the mush was like to gag him, live for Cersei, live for Tyrion. Live for vengeance. A Lannister always pays his debts. His missing hand throbbed and burned and stank. When I reach King’s Landing I’ll have a new hand forged, a golden hand, and one day I’ll use it to rip out Vargo Hoat’s throat.


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Game of Thrones Review: S4E8 “The Mountain and the Viper”

Just when you thought you had this show figured out, something like this comes out of the blue to remind you that no one and nothing is safe. The climax of this episode is on a par with the Red Wedding for shock value, and the reaction all over the internet has been extraordinary. Spoilers to come. 

The wildling army continues to bear down on the Wall, and the raiding party led by Tormund this week reached Mole’s Town. Gilly was lucky that only Ygritte found her, or she would have been slaughtered along with everyone else. Back at Castle Black, our favourite rangers were reacting to the news of their brothers being killed. Dolorous Edd got some good lines for a change – one of my favourite characters in the books, he’s been severely underused in the show so far. 

Then it was time for the unnecessary nudity of the week, as the Grey Worm/Missandei romance continued. It’s a sweet little subplot but I’d rather the time was spent with more important characters. Later on in Meereen, it was time for the big event of Dany’s storyline this season, as she found out that Jorah was initially spying on her. When she sent him away, she was incredibly cold and even cruel, whereas in the book it was an agonising decision for her. This has been a recurring theme this season, when Dany has seemed a lot more cold and emotionless than she should be. 

We visited a new location this week, Moat Cailin, the castle that must be passed if you with to enter the north. The Bolton’s needed the Ironborn holding it to be cleared out so that their armies could pass through, and Ramsay sent Theon to do it, since the Ironborn should respect their prince. The leader refused to flee like cowards, but the axe that someone put through his head soon sorted that problem out. Ramsay of course didn’t actually let them go. Later, he rejoined his father Roose, and they shared a Lion King-esque moment as they looked out over the North, the land they now ruled. Roose then told Ramsay that he had been legitimised – he was no longer Ramsay Snow, but Ramsay Bolton. The Boltons and Theon then made their way to their new home, and for the first time in two seasons, we got a glimpse of Winterfell. 

Littlefinger was facing the consequences of his actions last week, as he was questioned about the death of Lysa Arryn. Sansa was called in to giver her side of the story, and she bailed him out. Sophie Turner’s acting continues to be very impressive this season. Later, Petyr and Robin prepared to go on a tour of the Vale. A dark haired woman appeared at the top of the stairs, and for a few seconds I thought it was Catelyn – but of course it wasn’t, just Sansa who has finally dyed her hair to conceal her identity. 

 

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Elsewhere in the Vale, the Hound and Arya finally arrived so she could be sold to Lysa Arryn. I feel like the writers are misunderstanding Arya’s character – she isn’t a psychopath who loves killing, she was forced to do it, but the way she was talking about killing Joffrey seemed really wrong. As it did when she burst out laughing when they were told that Lysa was dead. It was a really bizarre moment, if a little amusing to see the Hound’s reaction.

Finally, we came to what we were waiting for – the trial. But not before a long conversation between Tyrion and Jaime about simple minded cousin Orson Lannister who loved to crush beetles. It was an interesting conversation with some possible deeper meanings, but it really did go on for a bit too long. Finally, Tyrion went out to the arena where Oberyn and the Mountain would fight. Oberyn absolutely nailed the whole fight – it was so well done, that even though I knew what was going to happen, for a few moments, I was thinking that Oberyn would really do it. So when the Mountan tripped him up, gouged out his eyes and smashed his head in, it was like experiencing the initial shock when I read it all over again. Ellaria’s scream deserves a mention as well, it really added to the horror of the scene. It is one of the best moments in the books and it was recreated perfectly. 

9.5/10


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Game of Thrones Review: S4E4 “Oathkeeper”

For some time now, fans have been concerned that Game of Thrones will overtake the books in the storyline, owing to how slow a writer George RR Martin is. However, no one expected it to happen this soon. Not only that, but this episode also saw perhaps the biggest deviation from the books, and it lead to quite a lot of confusion and outrage immediately after the episode aired. Spoilers to come.

The episode kicked off with Daenery’s conquest of Meereen. Grey Worm entered the sewers and gave weapons to the slaves, allowing them to kill the masters from within. We then saw the first signs of Dany’s more sadistic side, as she crucified 163 of the masters, one for each of the slave girls they had executed. Barristan tried to counsel her to be merciful – is it possible he was having flashbacks to the Mad King, and trying to steer her away from going down the same path?

Then we had another scene with my new favourite bromance, Bronn and Jaime. After Bronn knocked Jaime to the dirt with his own golden hand, he told him how Tyrion had asked for Jaime to champion him at his trial by combat in the Eyrie – this realisation of how much his little brother valued him finally convinced Jaime to go and visit Tyrion in his cell. Tyrion asked, somewhat ridiculously, that Jaime free him, which he obviously refused to do. Then we were back on Littlefinger’s ship with Sansa, and Littlefinger admitted to killing Joffrey. He then failed entirely at subtley saying who his accomplices were, and we cut straight to them – the Tyrells. Olenna told Margaery that she was involved in Joffrey’s murder. I don’t really like how Margaery seems to have been dumbed down somewhat on the show – in the books she was every bit as good a schemer as her grandmother. However, we started to see how she is learning from her, as she follows her advice on how to get Tommen away from his mother’s clutches and into hers. She entered the boy king’s chambers late at night – fulfilling every teenage boy’s dreams, although it was rather creepy watching a 30 year old woman seducing a young teenager. 

After the confusion over last weeks apparent rape scene, many were anticipating how Cersei and Jaime would act towards each other, and it didn’t exactly do any favours to those who claimed it wasn’t rape. Cersei was completely cold and distant towards Jaime, not even calling him by name. Jaime then gave Brienne his sword, and sent her out to find Sansa. She named the sword Oathkeeper, although it was Jaime who gave it the name in the book, and he sent Podrick along to squire for her. Jaime and Brienne’s parting was suitable emotional, and the great roadtrip of Brienne and Podrick was under way. 

The rest of the episode was spent either at Castle Black or north of the Wall. Roose Bolton’s accomplice Locke showed up at Castle Black training and struck up a friendship with Jon – it will be interesting to see where this goes. Jon gave an impassioned speech to his brothers asking them to come to Craster’s with him and kill the mutineers. It was a great show of camaraderie between him and his friends, including Grenn and Dolorous Edd. 

After that, was where the big changes began to happen. We went to Craster’s Keep and saw Karl, who seems to have taken the place of Chett in the books, drinking wine from the skull of Lord Commander Mormont, which was incredible macabre. He sent Rast out to dispose of one of Craster’s sons, and to feed Ghost on the way (apparently it’s easy to imprison a direwolf in a flimsy wooden cage.) Bran and company heard the baby crying, and Bran sent Summer out to investigate, only for him to be captured as well. After going themselves to find out what was going on, they were taken prisoner by the mutineers. This is a pretty massive change to Bran’s storyline –  and given the other big change, that Sam actually told Jon about Bran going north of the wall, it has lead to speculation that the brothers might be reunited, something that seems far too fantasy cliche for this series. 

The episode ended in an unfamiliar location, possible the Lands of Always Winter, at the northernmost point of the known world. Here, a group of white walkers seemed to transform Craster’s son into one of them – a pretty big insight into how the white walkers work, and one we didn’t yet know about from the books. There was one white walker that looked different to the others, and although he wasn’t referred to by name in the episode, an episode summary on HBO’s website outed him as the Night’s King, a legendary figure in the history of the Night’s Watch. He was the thirteenth Lord Commander, and he fell in love with a white walker and took her to the Nightfort, one of the Night’s Watch’s other castles, and declared himself their king. He sacrificed his sons to the walkers, in a similar way to Craster, and many other atrocities were commited during his thirteen year reign until he was defeated. The fact he is still around, if it is indeed him, is potentially a huge spoiler from the future books – or it could just be something HBO have invented for the show. Either way, this is the first sign of some book readers worst fears becoming reality. 

7/10


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Game of Thrones Review: S4E3 “Breaker of Chains”

After the brilliant opening episode, and the dramatic shock in last week’s episode, you could say we were due a slightly more boring episode, and we got one. This week’s episode featured a lot of conversations and not a whole lot of plot progression, but worse than that, there was a pretty awful change from the books that has enraged a hell of a lot of people. Spoilers to come.

We picked up immediately from the end of episode two, with Joffrey’s dead face staring right at us. As Tyrion was arrested, Sansa made a frantic escape with Ser Dontos onto Littlefinger’s ship. It’s the first time Sansa has left King’s Landing since she arrived there way back in season one, and this is where her character really starts to come into it’s own in the books. Hopefully seeing her change as a character will sway the people who still absurdly consider her annoying and weak. Littlefinger remains incredibly creepy.

Margaery and Olenna have a brief conversation about death, which wasn’t as interesting as it sounds, and then we were in the sept with Cersei, Tywin, the new king Tommen and Joffrey’s corpse. Tywin and Tommen had an interesting conversation about what makes a good king, and then it was time for the scene that many fans had been waiting for – Jaime and Cersei having sex in the sept. However, although it was consensual in the books, and the director and writer of the episode claim it was meant to be portrayed as consensual, this was very clearly rape. A really poorly done scene which has quite rightly made a lot of people angry.

After not seeing them last week, we then back with the Hound and Arya. They met a farmer and his daughter and had dinner with them, before the Hound robbed and beat the farmer up – despite claiming not to be a thief in episode one. I’m starting to agree with the writer of this tumblr post – http://donewithwoodenteeth.tumblr.com/post/83458059934/hi-i-know-everyone-is-talking-about-how-they-screwed – that Arya is becoming something of a comic relief character, and that they have missed out on a lot of her character development, such as her mourning her family, and how she got offended when people thought the Hound was her father – now they’ve got her claiming he is her father herself. Arya never stops hating the Hound in the book, but the show has her almost as his side-kick.

We then had some pretty boring scenes with Sam and Gilly that dragged on far too long, on either side of a scene with Stannis and Davos. Stannis was a lot more interesting this week, pulling out the “I will not become a page in someone else’s history book” line from the trailers, and then a scene with Davos and Shireen that seemed to set in motion where this particular storyline is heading this season – to Braavos. This is a totally new direction from the books, hopefully it will work out alright.

Then we were treated to yet another scene of Oberyn in a brothel, before Tywin comes to ask him to serve as a judge in Tyrion’s trial, and denies telling the Mountain to kill Oberyn’s sister Elia – although he does not deny that it was the Mountain who killed her, as he did in the book. One issue I have with this scene is that Tywin is far too proud to lower himself to going and visiting someone in a brothel – he would have summoned them to him. Pedro Pascal is still playing Oberyn really well however, getting better every week I feel.

Then we came to my personal highlight of the episode, Podrick going to visit Tyrion in his cell. They discussed his trial, and how Podrick was bribed with a knighthood to testify against Tyrion, which he refused. Tyrion told him to escape King’s Landing before it was too late. It was a really moving scene, I had a tear in my eye when Tyrion said “There has never been a more loyal squire.”

Then there was a pretty brutal scene of the wildlings massacring some people living near the wall. The Night’s Watch want to go and defend them, but Jon and Alliser Thorne remind them that that is what the wildling’s want – to draw them out and pick them off. Then, Grenn and Dolorous Edd returned from beyond the wall, where they were being held prisoner at Craster’s Keep. Jon points out that if the wildling army finds the Keep, they will find out how few men there are at Castle Black, and that they should go and kill them. Another deviation from the books, but this one looks more promising.

The episode ended, as they so often do, with Dany. She approaches Meereen – alone, on a horse, a very easy target for any decent archer – and they send out their champion. Since Strong Belwas has been written out, it was expected that Daario would be her champion, and this proved to be correct. However the champion’s fight was over very quickly and felt very anticlimactic. She then gave a speech to the slaves about how she was not their enemy, the slaver’s are their enemies. I find it hard to believe that the slavers would have just stood there and let her put rebellious thoughts into the slave’s heads, which ruined the realism of the scene for me. She then sent barrels full of broken chains flying into the city with catapults – sending a pretty clear message to the slaves, and the moment that gave the episode it’s name.

6/10


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My Top 50 ASOIAF/Game of Thrones Characters

The world of A Song of Ice and Fire is vast, with an estimated 1,200 named characters across the five books. It is not only a huge cast, but an amazing one as well, with complex and polarizing characters that can create hours of debate. The TV show Game of Thrones has changed how we see them as well, with some characters who weren’t that likeable or interesting in the books becoming so, or vice-versa. Here I have attempted to list my personal favourite characters. Because the TV and book versions of characters can sometimes be quite different, I have used a picture of the TV version of a character to show that I like the TV version more than the book version, and I have used an artist’s interpretation if the opposite is true. I have also used a couple of quotes from or about each character, to give an idea of what they are like.

So, on with the list!

50. Loras Tyrell

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“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”

Robert Baratheon: “Have you seen Mace Tyrell’s boy? The Knight of Flowers, they call him. Now there’s a son any man would be proud to own.”

Jaime Lannister: He’s me. I am speaking to myself, as I was, all cocksure arrogance and empty chivalry.

49. Doran Martell

“Vengeance. Justice. Fire and blood.”

“Words are like arrows. Once loosened, you cannot call them back.”

“Until the mountain crushed my brother’s skull, no Dornishmen had died in this War of the Five Kings. Tell me, Captain, is that my shame or my glory?”

48. Eddard Stark

“The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

Petyr Baelish: “You wear your honour like a suit of armour, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move.”

47. Margaery Tyrell

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“I want to be THE queen.”

Sansa Stark: Margaery was different, though. Sweet and gentle, yet there was a little of her grandmother in her, too.

Jaime Lannister: So the girl is as clever as she is pretty. Tommen could do a deal worse for a queen.

46. Maester Luwin

“There’s nothing in dreams that a man need fear.”

Bran Stark: “They burnt everything.”

Luwin: “Not everything. Not you.”

45. Meera Reed

“Some people will always need help. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth helping.”

44. Balon Greyjoy

“Did Ned Stark dress you like that? Was it his pleasure to garb you in velvets and silks and make you his own sweet daughter?”

“No man gives me a crown, I pay the iron price.”

43. Varys

“The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling.”

“Why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?”

Grand Maester Pycelle: “There are things I might tell you of that eunuch that would chill your blood. . .”

42. Robert Baratheon

 “I ask you, Ned, what good is it to wear a crown? The gods mock the prayers of kings and cowherds alike.”

“I swear to you, I was never so alive as when I was winning this throne, or so dead as now that I’ve won it.”

Stannis Baratheon: “We all know what my brother would do. Robert would gallop up to the gates of Winterfell alone, break them with his warhammer, and ride through the rubble to slay Roose Bolton with his left hand and the Bastard with his right.” 

41. Jorah Mormont

The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are.”

“There is a beast in every man, and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand.”

Eddard Stark: “So the slaver has become a spy…I would rather he become a corpse.”

40. Mance Rayder

Mance Rayder by Amoka©

“The wall can stop an army, but not a man alone.”

Qhorin Halfhand: “He was the best of us, and the worst as well.”

39. Roose Bolton

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“Fear is what keeps a man alive in this world of treachery and deceit.”

“Get the keys and remove those chains from him, before you make me rue the day I raped your mother.”

Theon Greyjoy: Once, he had had enjoyed tweaking Bolton as they sat at council with Robb Stark, mocking his soft voice and making japes about leeches. He must have been mad. This is no man to jape with. 

38. Brynden Tully

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“I’ve had wet shits I like more than Walder Frey.”

“You always disappoint, Kingslayer.”

37. Renly Baratheon

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“Why the oldest son, and not the best-fitted? The crown will suit me, as it never suited Robert and would not suit Stannis.”

Stannis Baratheon: “What has Renly ever done to earn a throne? He sits in council and jests with Littlefinger, and at tourneys he dons his splendid suit of armor and allows himself to be knocked off his horse by a better man.”

Loras Tyrell: “I will defend King Tommen with all my strength, I swear it. I will give my life for his if need be. But I will never betray Renly, by word or deed. He was the king that should have been. He was the best of them.”

36. Wyman Manderly

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“My son Wendel came to the the Twins a guest. He ate Lord Walder’s bread and salt, and hung his sword upon the wall to feast with friends. And they murdered him. Murdered I say, and may the Freys choke upon their fables. I drink with Jared, jape with Symond, promise Rhaegar the hand of my own beloved granddaughter … but never think that means I have forgotten. The north remembers, Lord Davos. The north remembers, and the mummer’s farce is almost done.”

35. Olenna Tyrell

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“All these kings would do a deal better if they put down their swords and listened to their mothers.”

“I hope they play “Rains of Castamere.” It’s been ten minutes since I heard it last; I’ve forgotten how it goes.”

“All men are fools, if truth be told, but the ones in motley are more amusing than ones with crowns.”

34. Tormund

Tormund by Amoka©

“See, lad, that’s why he’s king and I’m not. I can outdrink, outfight, and outsing him, and my member’s thrice the size o’ his, but Mance has cunning.”

“If a man does not use his member it grows smaller and smaller, until one day he wants to piss and cannot find it.”

33. Daenerys Targaryen

daenerys

“It seems to me that a queen who trusts no one is as foolish as a queen who trusts everyone.”

Prendahl na Ghezn: “Woman, you bray like an ass, and make no more sense.”

Daenerys: “Woman? Is that meant to insult me? I would return the slap, if I took you for a man.”

32. Jeor Mormont

“They say the king loved to hunt. The things we love destroy us every time, lad. Remember that.”

“When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?”

“Are you a brother of the Night’s Watch . . . or only a bastard boy who wants to play at war?”

31. Beric Dondarrion

Beric Dondarrion.jpg

“Robert is slain, but his realm remains. And we defend her.”

“Can I dwell on what I scarce remember? I held a castle on the Marches once, and there was a woman I was pledged to marry, but I could not find that castle today, nor tell you the color of that woman’s hair. Who knighted me, old friend? What were my favorite foods? It all fades. Sometimes I think I was born on the bloody grass in that grove of ash, with the taste of fire in my mouth and a hole in my chest. Are you my mother, Thoros?”

30. Shagga

“When you meet your gods, you tell them Shagga, son of Dolf, of the Stone Crows sent you.”

Tyrion Lannister: “Shagga likes axes.”

29. Thoros

Thoros of Myr by Amoka©

“War makes monsters of us all.”

“Lord Beric’s fire has gone out of this world, I fear. A grimmer shadow leads us in his place.”

28. Yoren

“That’s no law, just a sword. Happens I got one too.”

“Lord Eddard gave me pick o’ the dungeons, and I didn’t find no little lordlings down there. This lot, half o’ them would turn you over to the queen quick as spit for a pardon and maybe a few silvers. The other half’d do the same, only they’d rape you first.”

“Wake up you lazy sons of whores, there’s men out there want to f*ck your corpses!”

27. Gendry

Gendry Amoka.png

“You shouldn’t insult people that are bigger than you are.”

Gendry: “You don’t have to be a knight to buy armor. Any idiot can buy armor.” 
Hot Pie: “How do you know?” 
Gendry: “Cause I sold armor.”

26. Qyburn

Cersei Lannister: “Go to Lord Qyburn on my behalf, bring him a white cloak, and tell him the time has come.”

Jaime Lannister: “You’re no maester. Where’s your chain?”

Qyburn: “The Citadel stripped me of it. They found some of my… experiments… too bold.”

25. Val

Val by Amoka©

“Lord Crow is welcome to steal into my bed any night he dares. Once he’s been gelded, keeping those vows will come much easier for him.”

“May I laugh when I kneel?”

24. Edmure Tully

Edmure Tully by Amoka©

“You will never know how sick it makes me to see you in this room, Kingslayer. You will never know how much I despise you.”

Eddard Stark: His wife’s brother was young, and more gallant than wise. He would try to hold every inch of his soil, to defend every man, woman, and child who named him lord, and Tywin Lannister was shrewd enough to know that.

23. Euron Greyjoy

“Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray.”

We are the ironborn, and once we were conquerors. Our writ ran everywhere the sound of the waves was heard. My brother would have be content with the cold and dismal north, my niece with even less … but I shall give you Lannisport, Highgarden. The Arbor, Oldtown. The riverlands and the Reach, the kingswood and the rainwood, Dorne and the marches, the Mountains of the Moon and the Vale of Arryn, Tarth and the Steptones. I say we take it all! I say, we take Westeros.”

Baelor Blacktyde: “Balon was mad, Aeron is madder, and Euron is the maddest of them all.”

22. Samwell Tarly

“I hope the wall is high enough.”

Jon Snow: The world was full of cravens who pretended to be heroes; it took a queer sort of courage to admit to cowardice as Samwell Tarly had.

21. Oberyn Martell

Oberyn Martell.jpg

“Elia Martell, princess of Dorne. Your raped her. Your murdered her. You killed her children.”

Ellaria Sand: “You’re going to fight THAT?”

Oberyn: “I’m going to kill that.”

20. Cersei Lannister

cersei

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

“Love is poison. A sweet poison, yes, but it will kill you all the same.”

Tyrion Lannister: “She never forgets a slight, real or imagined. She takes caution for cowardice and dissent for defiance. And she is greedy. Greedy for power, for honour, for love.”

19. Robb Stark

“Love’s not always wise, I’ve learned. It can lead us to great folly, but we follow our hearts … wherever they take us.”

“I have won every battle, yet somehow I’m losing the war.”

Rickard Karstark: “Yes, Lord Umber, leave me to the king. He means to give me a scolding before he forgives me. That’s how he deals with treason, our King in the North, or should I call you the King Who Lost the North, Your Grace?”

18. Sansa Stark

sansa

There are no heroes. . . In life, the monsters win.

The Hound is right . . . I am only a little bird, repeating the words they taught me.

Petyr Baelish: “Life is not a song, sweetling. Someday you may learn that, to your sorrow.”

17. Barristan Selmy

Selmy as Arstan Whitebeard.jpg

“I thank you, my lords…but I spit on your pity…I am a knight…I shall die a knight.”

Tywin Lannister: “Dismissing Selmy, where was the sense in that? Yes, the man was old, but the name of Barristan the Bold still has meaning in the realm.”

16. Jaqen H’ghar

“The Red God has his due, sweet girl, and only death may pay for life. This girl took three that were his. This girl must give three in their places. Speak the names, and a man will do the rest.”

“Gods are not mocked. This is no joking thing.”

“A man has patrol duty.”

15. Tywin Lannister

“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”

“When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.”

“You cannot eat love, nor buy a horse with it, nor warm your halls on a cold night.”

14. Tyrion Lannister

“Let me give you some advice, bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Make it your strength, and it can never be your weakness. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”

“Crowns do queer things to the heads beneath them.”

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

13. Arianne Martell

arianne

I was a foolish willful girl, playing at the game of thrones like a drunkard rolling dice.

12. Jon Snow

Jon snow by teiiku.jpg

“Tell Robb that I’m going to command the Night’s Watch and keep him safe, so he might as well take up needlework with the girls and have Mikken melt down his sword for horseshoes.”

“Edd, fetch me a block.”

Catelyn Stark: Whoever Jon’s mother was, Ned must have loved her fiercely, for nothing Catelyn said would persuade him to send the boy away.”

11. Asha Greyjoy

asha

Asha Greyjoy did not intend to be taken alive. She would die as she had lived, with an axe in her hand and a laugh upon her lips.

“At least we’ll die with our feet wet. Ironborn fight better with salt spray in their nostrils and the sound of waves at their backs.”

Her laughter drew more wolves to her, and she killed them too, wondering if she should start a count of her own. I am a woman wed, and here’s my suckling babe.

10. Melisandre

John Picacio Melisandre of Asshai.jpg

“These little wars are no more than a scuffle of children before what is to come. The one whose name may not be spoken is marshaling his power … a power fell and evil and strong beyond measure. Soon comes the cold, and the night that never end … Unless true men find the courage to fight it. Men whose hearts are fire.”

“Alone we are born and alone we die, but as we walk through this black vale we draw strength from one another…”

I pray for a glimpse of Azor Ahai, and R’hllor shows me only Snow.

9. Arya Stark 

I am the ghost in Harrenhal, she thought. And that night, there was one less name to hate.

Gendry: “If you need help, bark like a dog.”

Arya: “That’s stupid. If I need help, I’ll shout ‘help’.”

8. Sandor Clegane 

Sandor.jpg

“What do you think a knight is for, girl? You think it’s all taking favors from ladies and looking fine in gold plate? Knights are for killing.”

“There are no true knights, no more than there are gods. If you can’t protect yourself, die and get out of the way of those who can. Sharp steel and strong arms rule this world, don’t ever believe any different.”

“The septons preach about the seven hells. What do they know? Only a man who’s been burned knows what hell is truly like.”

7. Podrick Payne

“I’m his squire. But he left me.”

“I had a dog once. He was called Hero. He was a good dog. He died.”

Tyrion Lannister: It was Pod on the bridge of boats, the lad saved my life.

6. Davos Seaworth

Davos Seaworth by Amoka©

“What does Stannis offer you? Vengeance. Vengeance for my sons and yours, for your husbands and your fathers and your brothers. Vengeance for your murdered lord, your murdered king, your butchered princes. Vengeance!”

Stannis Baratheon: “What is the life of one bastard boy against a kingdom?”

Davos: “Everything.”

5. Dolorous Edd

Edd Tollett by Amoka©

“The dead are likely dull fellows, full of tedious complaints – ‘the ground’s too cold, my gravestone should be larger, why does he get more worms than I do…'”

“Once they figure a way to work a dead horse, we’ll be next. Likely I’ll be the first too. ‘Edd,’ they’ll say, ‘dying’s no excuse for laying down no more, so get on up and take this spear, you’ve got first watch tonight.”

“I just want to say to whoever is voting for me that I would certainly make an awful Lord Commander. But so would all these others.”

4. Stannis Baratheon

Stannis Baratheon.jpg

“I ask you, why did the gods inflict me with brothers?”

“Her own father got this child on her? We are well rid of her, then. I will not suffer such abominations here. This is not King’s Landing.”

Asha Greyjoy: His eyes were sunk in deep pits, his close-cropped beard no more than a shadow across his hollow cheeks and bony jawbone. Yet there was power in his stare, an iron ferocity that told Asha this man would never, ever turn back from his course. 

3. Theon Greyjoy

Theon Greyjoy.jpg

“I am the Prince of Winterfell! This is my seat, no man will drive me from it. No, nor no woman either!”

“I’m not him, I’m not the turncloak, he died at Winterfell. My name is Reek, It rhymes with freak.”

“Robb, who had been more a brother to Theon than any son born of Balon Greyjoy’s loins. Murdered at the Red Wedding, butchered by the Freys. I should have been with him. Where was I? I should have died with him.”

2. Bronn

“Careful now, don’t want to get blood all over that pretty white cloak.”

Lysa Tully: “You don’t fight with honour!”

Bronn: “No. He did.

Catelyn Stark: She had seen Bronn fight on the high road; it was no accident that he had survived the journey while other men had died. He moved like a panther, and that ugly sword of his seemed a part of his arm.

1. Jaime Lannister

“The things I do for love.”

“There are no men like me. Only me.”

“I think it passing odd that I am loved by one for a kindness I never did, and reviled by so many for my finest act.”

“By what right does the wolf judge the lion? By what right?”