''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' deconstructs so many tropes it needed its own page. '''Be warned, for the night is dark and full of SPOILERS.'''

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[[folder:0-9]]
* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Maintaining power when everyone under you hates you isn't easy.
** Cersei Lannister is very disliked by the "sparrows", religious smallfolk who are dissatisfied with the Lannister regime after the war. The new High Septon, nicknamed the High Sparrow, is able to manipulate Cersei into [[ChurchMilitant rearming the Faith]] in part by claiming it will make her more popular with them. [[spoiler: However, once she does so, they gain the power to arrest her for her crimes.]]
** Despite her intent to make things better, Daenerys is so despised in Slaver's Bay that chaos reigns more than she does. Innocent people who support her are murdered at night by the [[TheRemnant Sons of the Harpy]] [[spoiler: and there is an attempt made on her life. She can barely control her own court and is forced to marry a possible enemy to placate her opponents.]]
** Tyrion's demonisation by the commons in Kings Landing wouldn't have helped his case with his father after Blackwater when Cersei was able to convince Tywin that most of the defensive work was her doing. Had the blame for most of the Lannister mistakes been applied to the correct people in the popular mind instead of reaching for the easy "Demon Monkey" scapegoat role they loaded him with, Tywin might have actually taken note. [[TheUnFavourite Well, maybe]]. At the very least, Cersei would not have come out of it quite so glowingly.
** Roose Bolton ponders the pitfalls having such a negative public image can plague a whole House with if even only ''one'' member pushes the envelope. If Ramsay continues being gratuitously StupidEvil in front of people's faces, the whole House, not to mention the population of the Dreadfort, could be exterminated by the combined effort of the unhappy Northern Houses in less time than it took them both [[spoiler: to work their way into holding Winterfell's lands and titles in the first place.]] And, that whole speculation was made before [[spoiler: the revelations of House Bolton being actively involved in the Red Wedding]] had even started to leak through various sources. [[spoiler: If that one member of the House is loathed enough, the rest ''might'' get off by throwing them to the wolves and blaming most of the collective monstrosities on them, and citing whatever can be proved of as their own doing as, "We were just trying to protect our own -- even if he was an unpredictable, AxeCrazy idiot -- but, he's gone way too far now. So, you can have him and we'll make reparation for his deeds. Please spare the rest of us." Maybe.]]
** They Freys are already this before the war, they are mocked and looked down upon for being opportunistic weasels. But after [[spoiler:their actions in the Red Wedding]] they are now loathed by everyone in Westeros. Everyone will take the opportunity to kill every Frey they encounter, and people will not think twice when one of them dies. This mean that the very very few decent Freys(who can be counted with one finger) could get killed just as much as the rotten majority. Thankfully the the ones who inherited [[ThePatriarch Walder Freys]] genes get killed more often.
* HundredPercentAdorationRating: Making sure everyone likes you is really hard work.
** The Tyrells demonstrate that aiming for widespread, positive publicity on this scale is a constant battle of time, energy, resources and some exceedingly calculated and, occasionally, very dirty dealing behind the scenes; from cheating while dressed ''spectacularly'' at tourneys, to being able to manipulate food supplies for "fortuitous" timing, to murdering bumps in the road undetected, to calculating when to walk away from people who could be too damaging to associate with. And there's the risk of a misstep the whole time.
** Baelor the Blessed is fondly remembered by the faithful and has been put on an enormous pedestal for decades. But, it's rather easy for readers (and Tyrion as well as others in-universe) to come to the alternate conclusion that he might just have been taking the Targaryen family nuttiness to new, religious places when reading of his exploits. [[ManBehindTheMan His uncle]], Viserys, may have had a large part to do with the positive spin and damage limitation placed on Baelor's actions at the time, to boot, as one of the more successful Hands before taking the throne himself. And, he's considered pretty much an EvilChancellor in folklore for his pains.
** By not working to maintain and consolidate what she had pragmatically and politically, Daenerys lost quite a bit of the adoration she started out with among her freed "children". Though her legend is still alive across Essos, and in Volantis, a city filled with slaves, she's regarded as TheMessiah with even cynics like Vogarro's Whore praying for her arrival.
** Aegon V Targaryen has gone down in history as one of the honestly and straightforwardly [[TheGoodKing Good Kings]]. His reign is seen as the trend-bucking, shining highlight of about 200 years worth of dismal lowlights and strife. However, all this packaged goodness wouldn't have happened without Bloodraven cutting down errant family members left and right while gaining a much-deserved reputation as a Kinslayer, [[TheSpymaster Spymaster]] and a (possibly less-deserved one of) EvilChancellor. Without him thinning the Blackfyre threat considerably beforehand and setting the stall up for more peaceful times in other ways using some ''very'' pragmatic means, Aegon's reign would have been plagued with many more problems than it was. He even shuffled off the scene quite openly by getting banished to the Wall for his supposed wrongdoings by Aegon. Which, ''could'' even have been by his own suggestion, in part to make sure that none of the taint of previous issues would bleed into Aegon's Small Council by his remaining an obvious mover and shaker. [[spoiler: Not that it's ever exactly stopped him from keeping his eye on the realm via the tree-network and raven-post, of course. Or trying to interact with it in various ways.]] Yet again, we have the GoodCopBadCop thing going on.
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[[folder:A]]
* AbsurdlyYouthfulMother: There is an abundance of them in this series because women are encouraged to breed ASAP. This also means miscarriages and DeathByChildbirth are common.
* TheAce: Ser Addam Marbrand is one of the most capable men in Westeros. He's honorable, a skilled fighter, and a natural leader. This means that Tywin likes to shift him from problem area to problem area, counting on him to fix each mess and then sending him off to the next critical area as soon as the first is stable. Addam notably hates this, but is too loyal to complain all that much.
* ActionGirl:
** LittleMissBadass: [[HarmfulToMinors The things Arya Stark has to do to survive]] turn her cynical and bitter well before her time, [[spoiler: eventually turning her into a ruthless killing machine losing touch with her true identity.]]
** Asha Greyjoy's failures make her afraid she might be set aside for new leadership. Even though she's proven time and again that she can rough it with the boys and throw an axe like nobody's business, she has no more social or political power than most other highborn women, badass or not.
** Brienne of Tarth is sneered at and considered a freak. No amount of openly blatant badassery with a sword and shield will get a girl general acceptance for what she's actually good at in Westeros, ''because'' it's the wrong area for her to be good in. Oh, the odd individual will acknowledge her, but... she'll still get used by others as a "knight," though, even if they openly doubt her skills to her face, laugh at her behind her back and never actually hand over any of the perks of the position without some form of irony or outright mockery. She also averts the LadyOfWar archetype. Fighting has damaged her already homely face.
** Historically, "Brave Danny Flint" -- going SweetPollyOliver to be badass gets you a very sticky end.
* TheAlcoholic
** [[spoiler: Viserys Targaryen, Robert Baratheon, and Aerion Brightflame]] die because their penchant for the bottle leads them to commit [[TooDumbToLive life-threateningly stupid]] acts.
** Cersei spends most of ''Feast'' drinking or drunk to deal with the stress of ruling, [[spoiler: the loss of her firstborn and father]], and her severe paranoia. Not only does her drunkenness affect her ability to function, it drives away people that could help her, most notably Jaime.
** Daeron the Drunken drinks [[spoiler:to drown out his "dragon dreams"]].
** Tyrion is a high-functioning case. He ''does'' drink way too much when given the opportunity to, and openly admits this, but the drink itself rarely seems to affect him much. However, his detractors are easily able to use it to smear his reputation. When he sinks into depression in ''A Dance With Dragons'', he shows his potential to be a wretched and vicious drunk.
* AllAnimalsAreDogs: At first, Dany's dragons ''do'' behave in a puppylike manner, while they're still small enough to ride on her shoulder and generally do exactly as she asks. As they grow, though, they become far more aggressive and dangerous to be around. As of ''A Dance With Dragons'' they have become so out of control that [[spoiler: Dany is forced to chain them up (which doesn't help matters) after Drogon eats a human child. Drogon even attacks Dany, and she is forced to use a whip ( [[HarsherInHindsight "A dragon is no slave!"]]) to make him obey her.]]
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys[=/=]DracoInLeatherPants:
** Despite signs that Joffrey wasn't the kind of person she should be marrying, Sansa didn't realize how psychotic he was until it was too late.
** Daenerys falls for Daario but his less than sterling behavior becomes a liability to her regime.
** Cersei falls for Aurane Waters, despite her terrible experiences being married to Robert, and heaps undeserved praise and favor on him. [[spoiler: Once she's out of power, he abandons her by stealing her fleet and sailing away to the Stepstones.]]
* TheAlliance: Forging one of these is an arduous task due to all the [[EnemyMine political infighting and divergent agendas]]. They are also very fragile in times of defeat or betrayal--times when they are needed the most.
-->'''Tyrion''': A wrong word, an ill-timed jest, a look, that's all it will take, and our noble allies will be at one another's throats.
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: [[spoiler: Theon Greyjoy]]'s occupation of [[spoiler:Winterfell]] turns into a nightmare. He has too few men to properly garrison the place and [[spoiler:Winterfell]] is too far from reinforcements, but [[spoiler:Theon]] refuses to abandon it. It demoralizes the enemy, but his refusal to sack it and leave leads him to ruin.
* AncestralWeapon: Valyrian steel weapons are treasures often handed from generation to generation and it is said the most impoverished family would rather sell their children rather than give up one of theirs.
** Tywin Lannister's youngest brother Gerion got himself lost in his quest to find his family's precious Brightroar. Tywin later [[spoiler: melts down the Stark greatsword Ice and has it reforged into Oathkeeper and Widow's Wail. He did it both to give his family Valyrian steel swords and to spite the Starks.]]
** Aegon IV handed his baseborn son Daemon the Targaryen sword Blackfyre, which many interpreted as a sign that he is the true heir to the Iron Throne. This, among other factors, eventually sparked the Blackfyre Rebellion.
* AngstWhatAngst: If a character doesn't seem to be overtly affected by a traumatic event you ''know'' they're in for some serious psychological problems further down the road. Just ask Littlefinger, whose curb-stomping led him to [[spoiler: start a civil war]], or Arya, who [[spoiler:becomes a ruthless killer]], or Tyrion, with whom a lifetime of family abuse and neglect caused him to [[spoiler: murder his own father]].
* AristocratsAreEvil: Stannis Baratheon's blunt manners and tendency to speak nothing but the truth make him seem like a {{Jerkass}} but they also make him more relatable to the common folk. His talk about how people owe him their allegiance makes him seem like a glory seeker but his little moments behind closed doors show his empathy for the less fortunate which he can't show openly for fear of being seen as weak.
* ArmiesAreEvil: The "good" armies like the Starks and Baratheons aren't immune to doing things like rape and plunder. Daenerys buys the Unsullied especially to prevent this trope but Jorah still points out that they will still kill and ravage, earning the hatred of the Seven Kingdom's people.
* ArrangedMarriage: Among the nobility, marriage is an institution meant to facilitate alliances and land exchanges, so personal happiness means almost nothing to the people setting them up. It's also extremely politically charged and could mean the difference between war and peace or life and death. Actual [[MarryForLove love matches]] are usually out of the question.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: As noted by the Night's Watch, the only reason highborn lords and knights tend to be better swordsmen is because they've had formal training in it. Skill and training with a blade is much more important than raw strength.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority: The Dothraki way. Initially, this is believed to make them an incredibly dangerous threat to Westeros and a highly advantageous ally to Viserys Targaryen. However, the series also demonstrates that this philosophy doesn't make them the threat Robert and Viserys imagine them to be.
** Firstly, because they only respect strength, their culture makes them largely uninterested in ambitions of pursuing wealth or conquering nations, as none of these things indicate authority to them. This also makes them far more difficult to ally with than Viserys anticipated, given his lack of understanding for their culture.
** Secondly, even though Khal Drogo was convinced to set his sights towards an invasion of Westeros, that ambition only lasted as long as his life, and the khalasar fragmented and turned away from this goal the moment a new Khal took over.
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[[folder:B]]
* BackFromTheDead: The characters who come back from the dead are marked by the moment and circumstances of their death rather than the life and happy memories they enjoyed, since the manner of death involves crushing agony and pain; more often than not characters ComeBackWrong.
** Lord Beric Dondarrion is killed six times and each time he loses memories of his first life, becoming a shell of a man and deteriorating further and further. His successor Lady Stoneheart, [[spoiler:the undead Catelyn Stark]], is marked by the horror and madness she felt at her death and is a vengeful woman who is feared by her own followers, a far cry from [[spoiler:the loving and elegant ProperLady that she was in life]].
** Stannis' jester Patchface is suspected of coming back from the dead after surviving a shipwreck. He's gone mad and rambles constantly about life under the sea.
* BadassGrandpa: [[spoiler: Ser Barriston the Bold]] secretly doubts his fighting ability due to his old age. He is haunted by the {{Protectorate}}s he outlived, deeply ashamed of his past failures, and worried about ruining his last chance to serve a ruler he truly admires.
* TheBadGuyWins: The series point how playing fair too much could get you outmaneuvered but the opposite is also true. [[spoiler:The North is defeated by treachery but the other Houses stop trusting the Lannisters, Freys and Boltons. Their enemies refuse to bend the knee and are siding with other contenders to the throne like Stannis Baratheon. Their bannermen begin plotting to get rid of them or replacing their leaders with more sympathetic men.]]
* BarbarianHero:
** Khal Drogo's people only obey him because of his strength, [[spoiler:and they abandon him when he falls ill.]]
** Victarion Greyjoy is an honorable and straightforward man, but he has done some terrible things (an example: after his brother Euron rapes his wife, Victarion was bound by Ironmen custom to kill her). In ''A Dance With Dragons'', he accepts some sorcerous help from a priest of R'hllor, Moqorro, in contrast to the typical Barbarian Hero who usually has little use or respect for magic users.
* BastardBastard: It is widely believed that bastards, being born of lust and lies, are lawless and untrustworthy by nature. It is also feared that they might try to usurp their half-siblings' inheritance. The result is that ''all'' bastards get grief for the circumstances of their birth whether they're bad people or not. Some chose to [[ThenLetMeBeEvil embrace the sentiment]] as revenge for their treatment. [[spoiler: Partly because of his bastardy, many brothers of the Night's Watch misinterpret Jon Snow's actions and intentions, and thus become convinced that he is a {{Turncoat}}.]]
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: It's possible that the Targaryen's [[spoiler:need to make the prophecy of the [[TheChosenOne Prince that was Promised]] come true]] is what doomed their dynasty.
** Aerys I neglects fathering an heir [[spoiler:knowing The Prince will not be born from his line but from his brother Maekar's]].
** Aegon V makes his grandchildren marry each other even though they were in love with different people, which made the future Mad King Aerys II bitter.
* TheBerserker: Ramsay Snow's fighting style is described as vicious and highly aggressive, more like a hacking with a butcher's cleaver than a sword, as a result of his lack of formal training. Several characters note that this leaves him open and ill-equipped to fighting anyone who has formal training.
* BigBad: The series is notable for lacking a single real BigBad or main villain, rather a series of villains who act like main villains in fantasy stories only to be subverted or PlayedWith in the story:
** Usually the heroes, as in Robert's Rebellion, must form an alliance to defeat the BigBad, whom they disagree with on matters of principle but also because the BigBad made it personal much like the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. However, the Mad King, the PredecessorVillain who behaves and acts like an EvilOverlord complete with all the requisite mistakes to be avoided on the list, is defeated for making those very same mistakes, including his BadBoss tendency of abusing and killing his henchmen for [[YouHaveFailedMe their failures]], and [[SanitySlippage growing paranoia]]. He isn't defeated by the heroes, rather he is betrayed by his former henchmen and associates, who parlay their treachery into prime positions in the succeeding government. Furthermore, the BigBad was part of a dynasty that ruled the continent for 300 years. His defeat, and that of his heirs, ends a tradition and creates a vacuum that the rebels could not really replace since their original purpose rested on revenge rather than a real vision for the future of Westeros, subverting the cliché of a BigBad serving as a ConflictKiller for existing political issues in an EpicFantasy story.
** Tywin Lannister serves as a BigBad for the War of the Five Kings and looms large as a figure of hate for the Starks, the Martells and his own son Tyrion. Where other stories would promise an EvilGenius who offers no margin for error, and yet somehow loses because of grabbing a late-game VillainBall, this story doesn't. As such, [[spoiler:Tywin wins the War of the Five Kings, eliminates the Stark faction in a cruel massacre]] that he orchestrated, and is so dangerous that even Doran Martell was wary of going in open opposition with him. Whereas most villains would end up being punished for a great act of evil, [[spoiler:Tywin ends up getting murdered by his son Tyrion for one specific act of cruelty that most of Westeros would perhaps rate as one of his normal KickTheDog moments rather than his more vicious atrocities like the Sack of King's Landing or the Red Wedding]].
** A BigBad who serves as the ManBehindTheMan doesn't have to live in a secret base and be shrouded in shadows. He can operate in plain sight and occupy a minor position as a bureaucrat like Petyr Baelish, [[spoiler:who sets off the War of the Five Kings with a single assassination and by exploiting the suspicious, prickly nature of diplomacy in the Seven Kingdoms, and uses the chaos to propel himself to a position removed from the conflict he created]].
* BigFancyCastle: Construction of Harrenhal Castle almost bankrupted both the Riverlands and the Iron Islands. Unfortunately, it was [[CripplingOverspecialization designed for defense against a ground attack]], and Aegon Targaryen had [[GameBreaker dragons]]. Even though most of it is a ruin 300 years later, it's still too big to be properly garrisoned. Harrenhal remains Westeros' ultimate symbol of AwesomeButImpractical.
* BigScrewedUpFamily: The main branch of [[spoiler:The Lannisters]] are beaten not on the battlefield but by their own messed up relations. [[spoiler:Cersei and Jaime's incest causes a war and awareness of her infidelity makes him refuse to help when she is dethroned. Jaime rescues Tyrion but reveals a dark secret which causes Tyrion to kill their father Tywin, further destabilizing the realm.]]
* BlingOfWar: Ghiscari mercenary companies have gone so overboard with their peacock displays that they're barely able to fight.
* BloodKnight
** Robert Baratheon only excelled in battle and he went into decline when he became king. [[spoiler:He eventually dies killing a boar despite being too out of shape and drunk to fight.]]
** Sandor Clegane professes to love killing, but it is really just his way of lashing out at the world for rewarding his actual BloodKnight brother (who as a teenager burnt half of his little brother's face off for playing with his old toys).
** By that same token, Gregor Clegane, the "actual BloodKnight brother," doesn't particularly care about the quality of battle. [[LovesTheSoundOfScreaming He just likes hurting, killing, and raping people]]. However, he overdoes it when he professes his crimes while killing Oberyn Martell, which sours the already poor relations of the Martells with the Lannisters, and the Lannisters need to kill him to get them back on their side.
** Cersei used Loras Tyrell's love of battle to [[spoiler:get rid of him by [[UriahGambit sending him on a suicidal mission to retake Dragonstone]].]]
* BodyguardCrush: Romances between highborns and those who protect them never seem to work out.
** Everyone knew Brienne loved Renly, so when [[spoiler:he got killed she was blamed for it because it was easy to see her as a WomanScorned.]]
** Jorah Mormont falls for Daenerys Targaryen but he couldn't take back the fact that he had previously betrayed her for a royal pardon. [[spoiler:It comes back to bite him and he is exiled.]]
** Daenerys' and Daario Naharis' relationship is intensely romantic but his reputation as her hatchet man is one of the things hated about Dany's regime. [[spoiler:Daario is currently in captivity and it's unknown whether she will even bother to pay his ransom.]]
* BoisterousBruiser
** Robert Baratheon's drinking, eating and whoring is symptomatic of depression caused by the loss of the woman he loved.
** Aeron Greyjoy's former bruiser qualities are just a cover for how miserable he feels because of a number of childhood traumas (molested by one brother and partly responsible for the death of another).
* BookWorm: Aerys I's love of reading made him ignore his royal responsibilities such as ruling the realm or even fathering an heir, though it's possible [[spoiler:he discovered that the Prince That Was Promised will not be born from his line]].
* BreadAndCircuses:
** Ned Stark opposes an expensive [[ThTourney tourney]] held in his honor because it is way too expensive and contributes little in way of actual revenue to the people. Littlefinger, Varys and Pycelle argue that the tourney is a useful distraction for the common people and helps subsidiary businesses such as prostitution and bars that are also entertainment/distraction businesses. When the tourney takes place, the city faces riots and frenzies that the Gold Cloaks find it hard to contain. Likewise in [[Literature/TalesOfDunkAndEgg "The Hedge Knight"]], a bar hostess tells Duncan vis-a-vis the Tourney of Ashford that she's never known an instance of a tournament actually cutting down the cost of grain.
** When Tyrion becomes Hand in ''Literature/AClashOfKings'' he instates a period of austerity so as to secure resources for preparing a siege. To this end, he shuts down businesses pertaining to expensive armory and other luxury businesses and then shuts down the fisheries wharf, which was also coupled with a blockade of food sent by the Tyrells to King's Landing. Tyrion's refusal to supply some form of distraction makes the people of King's Landing angry at starvation and war deprivation, triggering a riot and mass anger at the government and especially the Demon Monkey whom they associate with the bad times, whereas the real culprits such as Joffrey and Cersei are associated with a period of peace. This also leads businessmen such as the Antler Men to plot defection to Stannis because they feel Tyrion is bad for business since he brushed away their feelings, citing an imminent siege rather than giving assurances. When the Tyrells arrive alongside his father, they come bringing food and are greeted as heroes despite being responsible for a mini-famine by depriving food to begin with. His father, Tywin, puts a tax on prostitution and other pleasure businesses which gets labelled the "dwarf's penny" because Tyrion was demoted to Master of Coin without his consent. Tyrion's genuine service to the realm and protection of the common people gets brushed aside thanks to empty displays of charity and superficial rhetoric of heroism simply because he never put in token efforts of distraction and indeed scorned displays such as the Royal Wedding with its 77-course meals at a time of widespread starvation in the city.
* BrilliantButLazy: Robert Baratheon had all the traditionally accepted traits of the perfect king. He was both ruthless to his enemies and had a knack for making allies. But he found that VictoryIsBoring and preferred letting others rule in his stead. His inattentiveness ruins the stability of the realm.
* TheBrute: The Mountain, Amory Lorch, and Ramsay Bolton are all useful in putting fear in the hearts of their liege lord's enemies but their violence borders on StupidEvil and they soon become liabilities better to be gotten rid off.
* BuryMeNotOnTheLonePrairie: Ned Stark brought back his sister Lyanna's remains back North as per her last wishes but [[DueToTheDead he did not do so to his companions]]. [[spoiler:Now Lady Dustin vows to destroy his remains when she finds them in revenge for Ned not bringing back her husband's remains]].
* ByronicHero: Broody loner Jon Snow puts his inner sense of right and wrong ahead of tradition and popular opinion, and because he has resigned himself to being a misunderstood outsider, he often doesn't even bother to try and dispel others' misconceptions about his character. Instead of making him an effective hero, this maverick attitude repeatedly gets Jon into trouble and alienates the people he needs on his side to make his plans as [[spoiler: Lord Commander]] work.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:C]]
* TheCape:
** Stannis Baratheon [[TheFettered adheres]] to [[IncorruptiblePurePureness a strict code of honor]] and [[LawfulGood sense of authority]] but is [[KnightTemplar notoriously inflexible and perceives things in black and white]] and [[BrutalHonesty painfully straightforward]]. Breaking the rules hurts him emotionally. He even has the square jaw of a classic Cape.
** Gendry is not that far behind his uncle, being more a Cape-in-training. He hasn't completely solidified his code of honour or sense of justice, yet, but has distinct ideas and lines he won't cross, both traits that lean Cape-wards (while also having that Baratheon chiseled physique). He is also prone to selecting ChronicHeroSyndrome as a default response to what he decides is unjust treatment of somebody who didn't deserve it. The problem is he is just as likely to fall into [[KnightsTemplar Knight Templar-dom]] as grow fully into TheCape: the people he's surrounded himself with are all too likely to push him in that direction. And, if it happens, he will go into it with the best of intentions.
* TheCharmer: Renly Baratheon's charisma leads the Stormlords and Reachmen to support his claim based on superficial reasons, rather than following the law or assessing his competence as a war leader or administrator. As a result, the war against the Lannisters is [[WeAreStrugglingTogether fatally undermined]] because the Stormlands and Reach are driven by factionalism.
* TheChessmaster: The series' main manipulators can't control everything, and sometimes their plans almost fall apart because they take too long to make decisive action.
** [[spoiler:Prince Doran]] is unable to control his hot-headed relatives, who throw caution to the wind when it comes to getting what they want. [[spoiler: His daughter also plots a coup against him]] because he tells no one of his plan to [[spoiler: restore the Targaryens to power and get revenge for his sister and her children]].
** [[spoiler:Illyrio's]] plan kept getting delayed because [[spoiler:Viserys dies and Dany is bogged down in Meereen. Aegon VI convinces the Golden Company to invade Westeros without Dany's support]].
** Despite having the greatest spy network in the world, Varys is driven from his seat of power and forced into hiding by a one-handed man with a knife who was only interested in some secret passageways. Varys' over-reliance on his scheming left him vulnerable to even the bare minimum of physical force.
** Littlefinger's plans look likely to complicated in the near future as he's taken into his service a hedge knight [[spoiler: who was looking for Sansa Stark, and may very well know 'Alayne' is her in disguise.]] This shows another Chessmaster weakness, the inability to truly know everything.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: When this trope [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend goes wrong]], the emotional fallout of someone losing the person they grew up with and loved haunts them well into their adult years. Their inability to move on leads them down dark paths.
** Petyr Baelish couldn't marry his childhood crush because he wasn't highborn enough for her. So, he orchestrated a civil war to get back at the world for Catelyn's ArrangedMarriage.
** Lysa's obsession with Petyr, compounded with a loveless marriage and resentment about his feelings toward her sister, left her vulnerable to his manipulation. Not only does she [[spoiler: murder her husband and lay the groundwork for a war, she also tries to murder her niece from fear that she might take Petyr away from her. And ends up getting killed by Petyr who was done using her.]]
* ChildhoodFriends: Robert chose Ned as his new Hand of the King for this reason. Ned does Robert a favor by breaking up his family to go to King's Landing. Unfortunately, they've grown so different over the years and ended up in such different circumstances that Ned can't integrate into Robert's new life [[spoiler: and pays for it with both their lives.]]
* ChildrenAreInnocent
** Rickon Stark is relatively overlooked by his parents, and has something of a savage streak. [[spoiler:He is currently staying with a wildling who has no qualms about killing people on an island full of cannibals.]]
** Joffrey is seen as a nuisance and its thought he will be easily manipulated. That changes when he [[spoiler:has Eddard Stark executed]].
** Arya is easily trusted or dismissed by the people around her because she's a little girl. [[spoiler: They don't realize that she also has a disturbingly high body count. No one looks at her twice while she's being trained as an assassin.]]
** Bran Stark openly flirts with ObliviouslyEvil [[spoiler: when he innocently commits MindRape on poor Hodor when skinchanging into him]], even though he is aware that the guy doesn't like it. And he's broken other skinchanging tenets out of both ignorance and necessity.
** Robert "Sweetrobin" Arryn really likes to watch people get thrown off a mountain or duel to the death as a form of entertainment, but doesn't seem to really get what death means or how the world doesn't revolve around his needs. As self-centred and bonkers as Joffrey, if just a bit sweeter because he really doesn't know any better and is a lot frailer. There is no actual, overt malice in him, just childish glee, tantrums, and an epic-class MyBelovedSmother to pin much of the problem on.
* AChildShallLeadThem: This trope crops up more commonly here than you'd normally expect in most modern fantasy fiction. However, it becomes much more reasonable when you look at what ''actually'' tended to happen in Real Life, particularly in times of strife when older figures in feudal systems tended to die a lot. The general absence of sentimentality towards childhood (you need to apprentice at something and ''work'' -- including at knighting), combined with children having to grow up faster socially than they can physically or mentally (a girl is a women after her first period, whenever that happens; a boy a man either after he starts growing a beard, has killed somebody, or started doing "man's work") means that they have to try restraining whatever childish impulses and inevitable youthful, inexperienced mistakes they're still likely to make. Which, given these children's circumstances, will cost them ''much'' more because of the power of the positions that are thrust upon them. Worse, its hard to know who to trust to help guide you while you're vulnerable.
** Robert Arryn is too physically and mentally unwell to rule the Eyrie. His step-father and bannermen are all vying for the title of Lord Protector so they can rule in his name.
** Joffrey Baratheon is a spoiled sadist who's more interested in indulging his destructive impulses than in any actual ruling. He becomes TheCaligula even before he leaves his teens and is regarded as a tyrant in the making in his childhood. His stupid childish whim of ordering Ned Stark's execution plunges the realm into civil war [[spoiler:and eventually his allies end up killing him at his own wedding at the age of 13]].
** Robb Stark is forced to become AFatherToHisMen at an early age and live up to his father's legacy, ably supported by the advice of his mother and experienced commanders like the Blackfish. However, his impulsive decision to chivalrously honor Jeyne Westerling, a girl [[spoiler:he had sex with for comfort after learning of Bran and Rickon's death]], leads to him breaking an all-important marriage pact. This folly of youth ends up costing him [[spoiler:the loss of valuable support, leads to betrayal at the Red Wedding and his death and that of his mother]].
** Jon Snow [[spoiler:is made Lord Commander of the Night's Watch at age 17, due to Samwell Tarly's scheming. He has a gift for leadership and strategy as well as his father's sense of honor, but many of his officers don't respect him because of his youth, or mistrust him because of his illegitimate birth and time with the wildlings. He ends up betrayed and stabbed by his own men, and it's left ambiguous whether he survives.]]
** Daenerys is popular among Essos' smallfolk but she has an affair with sellsword captain [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys Daario Naharis]] born of young lust, and her refusal to negotiate with the leaders of the city-states she conquers causes revolts [[spoiler: which forces her to flee.]]
** [[spoiler: Tommen]] signs any decree someone puts in front of him, making him very easy to manipulate.
* TheChosenMany: The Night's Watch [[BrokenPedestal disillusions Jon]] because they have become an ArmyOfThievesAndWhores who are mocked for guarding the realm from a threat most think is mythical. When he becomes Lord Commander, his attempts to shake them up into an effective force and form a peace with the wildlings cause distrust and hatred. Just when it seems that they will finally be in a position to save the realm, [[spoiler:they turn against him because they want to stay TrueNeutral.]]
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: [[spoiler:Walder Frey didn't bring his troops when ordered to by his liege lord, only showing up after the war had become a one-sided power grab, which to many signifies disloyalty. For this he became known as the Late Lord Frey and his family's reputation took at hit. When the Freys betray Robb at the Red Wedding they figured it would be for the best, as they had a bunch of people to stand by them. But because everyone knows they're involved, it taints their reputation basically beyond repair, to the point where even their allies are taking swipes at them. And its not just their reputation at stake -- some members of House Frey are in fact being ''murdered'' because their betrayal broke one of the most fundamental elements of pre-modern society, [[SacredHospitality guest right]]. The effect extends far beyond the Twins; now, ''no one'' can trust ''anyone'' not to murder them at dinner.]]
* ChronicHeroSyndrome: Dany could not bear the oppression and suffering of the slaves in Slaver's Bay, so she decided to liberate them, even though it diverted her from her aim of claiming the Iron Throne. The result? [[spoiler: Astapor is taken over by a dictator and then depopulated by war, famine, and plague; Yunkai reverts to business as usual as soon as she leaves; and Meereen descends into a political and economic quagmire. Even then, she refuses to let go of her need to help her "children," to the point where it starts to look less like idealism and more like a neurotic compulsion.]]
* {{Cincinnatus}}: Ned Stark is chosen to be Hand of the King because he is a simple honorable man who does not really want power, and so can be trusted not to abuse it. Unfortunately, the royal court is so corrupt and full of intrigues that he effectively has ''no'' authority to abuse even if he wanted to. And because he is a simple honorable man who has never stooped to playing politics, he has no practice at it. [[spoiler:When the time comes that he has no choice but to play the Game of Thrones, he loses ''big time''.]]
* CockFight: Petyr Baelish challenged Brandon Stark to duel for the hand of Catelyn Tully [[WrongGenreSavvy thinking that]] UnderdogsNeverLose. He only survived because Catelyn begged Brandon for his life. The duel left Petyr physically and emotionally scarred and he spent the rest of his life [[MagnificentBastard screwing everyone else over]] because he couldn't let go of his bitterness.
* ContrivedCoincidence: Jaime Lannister's killing of the Mad King is believed to be part of Tywin's power play to ingratiate House Lannister into the soon-to-be new regime. It turns out he killed the king to save the city from destruction but the timing is so perfect everyone believes he was in on his father's plan. Jaime even has a NotWhatItLooksLike moment when Ned Stark caught him sitting the Iron Throne. This earns him the nickname "Kingslayer" and the enmity of the entire realm.
* CoolChair: The Iron Throne [[ThroneMadeOfX made from the thousand swords of Aegon the Conqueror's enemies]] is incredibly uncomfortable and is rumored to have killed Aegon's son Maegor.
* CoolSword: Oathkeeper, given to Brienne by Jaime is an expensively jeweled weapon with a uniquely multi-colored [[AbsurdlySharpBlade Valyrian steel blade]]. Unfortunately, it has some real downsides. In itself, it is so gaudy that it attracts unwanted attention. Even worse, [[spoiler:the blade was [[ReforgedBlade reforged]] from Ned's sword Ice, and is recognizable as such, with the effect that having the weapon makes Brienne a walking target in the eyes of Stark supporters.]]
* CourtlyLove:
** According to the Greens, Lord Commander Criston Cole and Princess Rhaenyra were in love but he wouldn't touch her since he upheld his vow of celibacy as a knight of the Kingsguard. She took this as an insult and slept with Ser Harwin Strong. This is one of the reasons Criston turned against Rhaenyra and sparked a civil war between her and her half-brother Aegon II. The idea of pure selfless love without sex is thus seen as absurd.
** It is possible Aemon the Dragonknight and Queen Naerys' relationship was platonic but this didn't stop wagging tongues from twisting their relationship into something more. It got to the point where Aegon IV himself believed the rumors and came to question the paternity of his son and heir Daeron, with terrible consequences.
* CultureClash:
** The Targaryens were of Essos and brought with them practices Westerosi find detestable, like RoyalInbreeding and slavery. They eventually abandoned the latter but kept the former, which caused the Faith Militant to rise up in rebellion. It was quashed and the Targaryens were accepted but the incest always remained taboo among non-Targaryens. Jaime Lannister even naively thought that incest should be legal since its been tolerated so long.
** Daenerys detests slavery and tries to stamp it out in Essos [[spoiler:which leads to economic and political unrest]]. Because she finds so many aspects of Ghiscari culture repulsive, she has difficulty compromising with the people of Slaver's Bay. On the flip side, they see her as an oppressive foreigner who's out to destroy their way of life.
** Theon demonstrates the culture clash between the Iron Islands and the North quite [[{{Pun}} starkly]]. He winds up dithering between the two, unable to fully choose between the "raid and pillage" ethos of the one and the "hold and steward" pattern of the other. The result is a bloody mess for him and all those remotely near him -- particularly the Starks, but also the Greyjoys.
** The idea of CultureClash is itself brought into question since many ideas such as slavery are opposed by cultures like Westeros which imposes serfdom and class oppression on the lives of the majority of people living there, where most peasants will lose limb or life for giving lip to their masters or liege lords. Indeed [[spoiler: Tyrion Lannister]], during his travels across Essos, notes that quite a few slaves live a lifestyle that is actually ''better'' than peasants in Westeros, seeing very little difference between both beyond one enjoying a polite euphemism. The Ironborn likewise oppose chattel slavery but see no problem in taking captives as "thralls", indentured labourers whose children would be freemen, and "salt wives". In many cases, people are clinging to the notion of civilization by linguistic gymnastics.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:D]]
* DamselInDistress
** Lyanna Stark's disappearance, the details of which are fuzzy even in-universe, starts a chain of events that lead to a blood-soaked watershed of a war. Apart from the thousands of soldiers that die in battle, many innocent people also meet grisly ends. Lyanna herself dies shortly after her brother arrives to rescue her.
** Sansa is held hostage by people she thought she could trust. During her stay in the GildedCage of King's Landing, she's repeatedly abused and manipulated, with only the hope that Robb and Catelyn will save her to keep her going. [[spoiler: She never gets saved by her family and is instead forced to run and hide from court and taken under the wing of Littlefinger, who grooms her and molests her because she looks like her semi-dead mother. So not so much of a rescue]]. The psychological trauma of her experience is clear, and she's been bitterly disillusioned about royal court and her place in society.
** Lady Hornwood was already dead by the time her would-be rescuers arrived and [[TheBadGuyWins Ramsey Snow was allowed to keep her land]]. Everyone was too busy with the war to take notice of a widow in distress.
* DangerousDeserter: [[spoiler: Septon Meribald]] explains to a group of highborn knights that most "broken men" are peasants who were dragged far away from home, watched their friends and family be killed in battle for some lord they've never met, and now are lost hundreds of miles from home with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their weapons and are suffering from some serious PTSD. Not really surprising many turn to banditry.
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Nearly everyone capable of protecting the realm is too wrapped up in politics to deal with the wilding invasion or even realize that there is upcoming ZombieApocalypse at their door, despite [[CassandraTruth repeated warnings]] from the Night's Watch. [[spoiler: Stannis is the only one who took those warnings seriously.]]
** As well as this, such a set-up proves itself not exactly a good model of governance, generally. The reason those in high positions still have a kingdom to rule is because at least some of them are sane enough to try running things properly. With them gone, the only ones left are too busy [[KickTheDog being needlessly cruel to people]] and otherwise neglecting their day-to-day duties, which churns out nothing but misery and ruin for the realm as a whole... which further forces people to realise they may need to actively remove them from power. Deadly decadence breeds more deadliness... and marks you as a tool to be used in your own downfall, in short.
* DeadpanSnarker
** Tyrion Lannister's smart mouth keeps getting him in trouble.
** Jaime would like to point out that this smart mouth may be genetic and it bites him, too.
** Littlefinger tends to talk himself into trouble though he talks himself out of it easily. Far as we know, unlike Tyrion, he is unaware of this failing.
** Theon Greyjoy's snarkery has also bitten him in numerous ways over the series, even though it's probably [[ActuallyPrettyFunny one of the reasons]] why Robb actually likes him in the beginning. [[spoiler: The way he learns to stop doing it at any opportunity that presents itself is beyond horrific.]]
* DeceasedParentsAreTheBest: Viserys ''tries'' to invoke this trope for Daenerys throughout her childhood; not just about their parents, but their older brother as well. Unfortunately, his tales involved a lot of whitewashing that crashed horribly against the dark and complex reality Daenerys learns actually exists when Ser Barristan, a firsthand source, alludes as to the very real madness of her father, the very human limitations of her mother, and the failings of the supposedly perfect Rhaegar (who he, nonetheless, still admires). Not to mention the fact that Viserys was a terrible example of a parental-sibling-potential-husband figure, so he was not exactly the best advertisement for the caring side of the Targaryen family dynamic he tried to portray, himself. But Daenerys is so emotionally invested in the idea that her family had always been just, gifted, beloved and wrongfully usurped that she has acute difficulty accepting the nuances of their history, even though she now knows it's not entirely how Viserys painted it as.
* DefeatMeansFriendship: King Robert was known for making enemies into friends but he never truly forgave them, and had no interest in the kind of diplomacy that could have consolidated such alliances. He kept a tight rein on the minor Crownlands houses (including many strong Targaryen loyalists) by appointing his ruthless brother Stannis to control the fleet from Dragonstone, but he did little to appease those who had bent the knee more readily. His court is filled with men like [[TheMole Pycelle]] and [[WellIntentionedExtremist Varys]] who have their own ideas of who the rightful ruler should be.
* DefiledForever:
** Hoster Tully was afraid his daughter would not be able to marry well if people knew she was pregnant-by a boy from a lower class no less. [[spoiler: So he deceived her into taking abortifacients. The loss of her child left Lysa so bitter and traumatized that she refused to see her father while he was dying.]]
** Robb Stark married Jeyne Westerling after having sex with her to keep her honor and to not repeat his father's mistake of having an illegitimate child. [[spoiler:By doing this, he broke his marriage pact with the Freys, which lead to his death ''and'' ended the Northern rising at a stroke]].
** According to Ironborn custom, Victorian Greyjoy had to kill his wife after she was raped/seduced by his brother Euron. He still loved her and didn't want to kill her, [[HonorBeforeReason but he had to]] and it was the most painful experience of his life. [[spoiler: Now he's trying to steal the woman Euron wants to marry as revenge.]]
** Cersei, fearing that Margaery Tyrell is becoming more popular and powerful than herself, [[spoiler:has her framed for adultery. Because Margaery swore she was a maiden when she married Tommen, a child, if Margaery is found to not be a maiden, her marriage will be annulled, she will lose her crown, and she will be sent back to Highgarden in disgrace. However, Cersei's accusations infuriated the Tyrells, who refuse to be shamed and deprived of the throne. The most powerful alliance in Westeros is being stretched to its breaking point, threatening to drag the realm into yet more chaos because of the uncertainty over one girl's virginity.]]
* DepravedDwarf: Tyrion is, if anything, the WhiteSheep of the Lannister clan, but that doesn't stop everyone from his father downwards seeing him as this. It creates aspects of SelfFulfillingProphecy -- his inability to trust women leads him to visit prostitutes all the time, which gives him a reputation as a lech; his BlackSheep treatment forces him to struggle with his own family for the power any other man would be afforded by birthright, which gives him a reputation as disloyal; his having to fall back on EveryManHasHisPrice gives him a reputation as profligate. When he serves as Hand of the King to Cersei and Joffrey, he single-handedly keeps the city from collapsing into chaos, but the populace target him as a {{Scapegoat}} for all the regime's injustices. He's also the number one suspect in the attacks on both Bran and [[spoiler:Joffrey]], despite having nothing to do with either, and his reaction to the latter is to further ruin his reputation by [[spoiler:killing his father.]]
* {{Determinator}}:
** The Baratheons refuse to compromise, which just makes things needlessly more difficult for themselves and the people around them. [[spoiler: Stannis and Renly's inability to reconcile leads to the former killing the latter.]]
** Brienne never, ever gives up, not when she's trying to [[spoiler:protect Jaime]] and not when she's sent out to [[spoiler:find Sansa]]; not because they're what she wants to do, but because she [[IGaveMyWord promised to do them.]] She takes any failures very hard, even small or inevitable ones or ones she couldn't prevent (such as [[spoiler:Jaime losing his hand]]), and by the midpoint of AFFC she flat-out admits that what she really wants is to go back to Tarth, and oaths be damned... but she can't, and she won't, [[HonorBeforeReason because she swore an oath.]] She's increasingly psychologically drained and traumatized, and [[spoiler:as of ADWD her obsession with doing the right thing and damning the costs almost lead to her death, because she couldn't lie to an undead crazy lady. Now she might be leading one of the only people who likes her into a trap because of same.]]
** [[spoiler:Quentyn Martell's]] refusal to give up his mission directly led to his death because he didn't KnowWhenToFoldEm.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Aemon the Dragonknight was hopelessly in love with his sister Naerys and pursued her no matter how hopeless he was. He even joined the Kingsguard to stay close to her, despite his vow of celibacy. His crush became an open secret and gossip spread that she loved him back. This "forbidden romance" helped spread the rumor that King Daeron II is illegitimate and led to a rebellion led by his half-brother.
* TheDogWasTheMastermind: [[spoiler:Doran Martell]] hides a brilliant scheme by pretending to be weak and appeasing. Unfortunately this means his allies as well as his enemies believe he's useless and they make plans of their own without telling him. Not only do these plans fail, they interfere with [[spoiler:Doran]]'s much better thought out ones.
* TheDreaded:
** Ramsay Snow is quite proud of his fearsome reputation in the North, but its actually detrimental to his position as [[spoiler: Lord of Winterfell and heir of the Dreadfort]] because ''absolutely no one'' wants him in power. His father worries that [[spoiler: rather than just accept it, the Northerners will try to overthrow their house, and he might be right.]]
** Tywin Lannister is greatly feared for his power, ruthlessness, and prodigious mind. However, [[spoiler: his death starts a number of conspirators thinking they can now take on the Lannisters, even though they'd just won the War of the Five Kings, and the atrocities Tywin committed over his lifetime start to haunt his family as his victims or their loved ones decide they want revenge.]]
* TheDulcineaEffect: Daenerys's surprisingly fast military successes in Essos are in large part due to talented and skilled warriors falling in love with her and wanting to help her. [[spoiler: As they leave her one by one due to death, exile, or betrayal, her rule begins to falter just as quickly.]]
* DumbIsGood: Westeros values martial strength over intelligence and views TheSmartGuy (both GuileHero and ManipulativeBastard flavors) as dishonorable and untrustworthy, no matter how useful they are. But with winter coming, it is also shown that brute force probably won't work with The Others.
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: One minor character in ''A Dance With Dragons'' suggests that focusing on heroism in death can lead to a lack of respect for life--and the behavior of many Westerosi knights seems to bear this criticism out. Despite the belief that kings, lords, and warriors should die in a heroic or dignified manner, they are not so great that they can't die pointless, humiliating deaths like the peasants they care so little about.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:E]]
* TheEveryman: Ned Stark is a simple guy caught up in a massive power grab beyond his comprehension. His effort to prevent a major upheaval that would tear the realm apart using fair, direct methods [[spoiler:gets him killed and starts a war]].
* EvilChancellor: Tywin Lannister, Maegor the Cruel, Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers and Viserys II Targaryen were Hands that had horrible reputations for villainy, but kept things ticking, as well. Pragmatism wins out, even if people hate you for it in this series.
* EvilOverlord:
** The Mad King Aerys is a good demonstration of what happens when you try to act like a Dark Lord without the requisite magical powers. He gets stabbed by his own bodyguard when he decides to torch his capital city in a fire that will kill everyone within it.
** Most of Westeros sees Stannis Baratheon as an EvilOverlord and a song at Joffrey's wedding even calls him a "Dark Lord". He has an exotic fortress, his most powerful counsellors are an EvilSorcerer and a former smuggler, association with dark magic and a reputation for burning disbelievers and lack of mercy, all of which make him seem the worst candidate to be king. Yet all these also make him the only practical choice not just to be king but to be the one who will save the world from The Others.
** Euron "Crow's Eye" Greyjoy seems to deliberately cultivate this image among the Ironborn, promising them fresh conquests, proving himself to be TheCorrupter and seeking to build a power base with magic and promising to build a kingdom where the Ironborn will be free to practice "the Old Way" of RapePillageAndBurn with impunity.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: The exotic fortress of Dragonstone was deliberately built to look scary to hide the fact that it's not very defensible. Its dragon-shaped towers will apparently come to life when The Prince Who Was Promised returns.
-->'''Salladhor Saan''': If the red woman brings them to life, the castle will come crashing down, I am thinking. What kind of dragons are full of rooms and stairs and furniture?
* TheExtremistWasRight: When they are right, they can be very, very right. When they overdo it, it goes ''[[GoneHorriblyRight badly]]''.
** Tywin Lannister, for all his hard-headedness, definitely sets the stall up for ruthlessness being the right call when the situation demands it. The problem is that you can prove ''too'' ruthless, even when it ''is'' the right call. The fallout from his actions in bringing the Red Wedding to be, alongside the ravaging of the Riverlands and other ruthless acts has meant that [[spoiler: with his death, the lid is off and people are angling for payback,]] regardless of the reprieves his actions gave the realm in the short-term.
** As far as most in the Night's Watch are concerned, Jon's actions as Lord Commander firmly put him in the extremist camp. He might have been bending the rules too much as they see things, but he wasn't ''wrong'' to. The main threat has never been the Wildlings, but the Others and the factions within the kingdom not working together with the Watch to fend them off. Jon was actively fixing the problems way too much and far too fast for them to cope with without explaining himself well enough to them. And, it's wound up costing ''a lot'', as very few now realise the extent of the danger.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:F]]
* TheFederation: The Northmen's diversity shows that they need firm but reasonable leadership lest they turn against their liege lords. This is shown when a minor land dispute [[spoiler:snowballs into a coup against the Starks spearheaded by House Bolton]]. This is in contrast to the tight-laced [[TheEmpire Westerlands]].
* FishOutOfWater: [[spoiler:Eddard Stark, Viserys Targaryen and Janos Slynt's]] inability to adapt to their new environments gets them all killed.
* FlamingSword: The WeaponOfChoice among R'hllor worshippers is shown many, many times to be CoolButInefficient. The fire weakens the steel and makes it brittle.
-->'''Davos''': The Red Sword of Heroes looks a proper mess.
* FoolishSiblingResponsibleSibling:
** Jaime and Cersei Lannister. Cersei actually resents being the responsible one, neglecting her needs for the good of the family. As she gets closer to the Iron Throne, she loses people who can counsel and guide her ([[spoiler: Jaime, Tyrion, Tywin, Kevan and even Pycelle]]) and her disregard for the needs of others eventually gets her [[spoiler: dethroned]]. Jaime on the other hand, sticking too much to his family's credo of not caring what the "sheep" might say will get him in trouble.
** Catelyn is always responsible, but she gets tired of obeying other people's orders and being strong all the time for her family in light of all the bad stuff that's happened. Her sister Lysa seems to be the prodigal child gone straight, married Jon Arryn and had his child, as is her duty. But it turned out [[spoiler:she never stopped loving Littlefinger and even had her husband killed at his behest. Then Littlefinger killed her when she served her purpose.]]
** Catelyn and Edmure are each suffocated by their mantle of "responsible" and "foolish" respectively. Catelyn's various responsibilities end up in conflict with one another, and force her to be separated from her family, and lead her to make some highly questionable decisions, effectively showing how the mantle of "the responsible one" is nearly impossible to live up to in practice, or when one's many duties and responsibilities are in conflict with one another. Edmure, meanwhile, highly resents his designation as the foolish sibling (having a reputation for being 'hot-headed but good hearted') and he does everything in his power to try and disprove his "foolish sibling" status by taking on actions that seem to be what the "responsible sibling" would do, and always trying to do what he thinks is right for the family or what he thinks Robb needs him to do, but his actions actually make him something of a liability. There is reason to think that they would each be happier in the other role. But, ultimately, [[spoiler: Responsible and Foolish are each taken UpToEleven with Lady Stoneheart becoming the leader of the Brotherhood and ruthlessly eliminating anyone associated with the enemies of her family, while Edmure is repeatedly humiliated and embarrassed as a hostage to the Freys and Lannisters.]]
** Robert & Renly Baratheon dislike Stannis for being a PrinciplesZealot while Stannis hates Robert and Renly for wasting their time in useless luxury. Stannis finds too late how much he misses them both after they die.
* FourStarBadass:
** Robb Stark is a great tactician, but a poor strategist. He does not create alliances (all his troops were either his own bannermen or his Tully grandfather's), he wins battles but has no grand vision on winning the war [[spoiler:and his HonorBeforeReason philosophy costs him allies and his life.]]
** The same can be said of Daeron the Young Dragon. He charged headfirst into Dorne without realizing what he was up against. Not only did his invasion ultimately fail, it took many years to undo all the damage.
* FreeRangeChildren:
** [[spoiler: After her father's death]], Arya Stark ends up in the company of criminals and assassins. Her chapters are also filled with graphic depictions of the hardships of being homeless in an epic fantasy world.
** Bran and Rickon Stark are only able to go on an adventure of their own because [[spoiler:their home is destroyed and they are presumed dead.]]
** Viserys and Daenerys lost their home, their parents, and any access to the benefits of their titles, meaning Viserys had to turn into a ParentalSubstitute for his baby sister in [[TheExile exile]] at a young age while [[ImpoverishedPatrician selling everything they had that connected them to the past in a bid to make do]] as well as steadily losing support by attrition. When they ran out of both, they were stuck having to allow themselves to be used by others for their own ends while moving between pillar and post hoping to get lucky. It heaped strain on both and the result hasn't been that pleasant for either. On the plus-side, they ''did'' get a premier opportunity to see many sights and learn a few languages. The price, however...
* FreudianExcuse: Cersei justifies her mistreatment of others by believing that she has been unfairly treated herself, or that she is merely protecting herself and her family, or that she taking what she is owed. However, most of her excuses are paranoid delusions or distortions of the truth. When her claims of victimization are legitimate, she continues the cycle by victimizing others for her own gain.
* FreudianTrio: The Baratheon brothers. Rather than balancing out each others' weaknesses and maximizing their strengths, this is why they can't get along with each other.
** Robert (id) has the most dominant personality when he bothers to use it.
** Renly (ego) is more interested in amusing himself than anything else. He then tries to usurp the throne just because he thinks he can and excuses himself by claiming he is merely emulating his big bro.
** Stannis (superego) believes in always doing what is right for the realm but can't get along with anybody because his moral standards are too high and unrealistic.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:G]]
* GirlInTheTower:
** When Ramsay Snow locked Lady Hornwood in a tower, she died from starvation, but not before eating four of her own fingers.
** Ned Stark lost five of his friends before he could rescue his sister Lyanna from the Tower of Joy. [[spoiler:Its also implied she ''wanted'' to be there.]]
** Sometimes a girl gets herself locked in the tower, wishing for rescue she doesn't really need, for a ''very'' good set of reasons. Arianne Martell found that out the hard way when [[spoiler: she decided to try a little plotting of her own and truly messed with her father's long-term strategy]]. House arrest wasn't so much a punishment as it was an attempt at kick-starting the learning curve with a bucket of cold water over hot-headed impatience.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: Queen Cersei is a [[SmugSnake bad, arrogant person]], and [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a queen]], and [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs therefore a bad queen]], but she also averts most of the associated tropes. The setting outright prevents her from ruling directly under any circumstances, thus forcing her to try to rule as RegentForLife through a PuppetKing. Her attempts are variably successful. Even once all the checks on her power are removed, she has no idea how to maintain her power, let alone whom she should befriend and whom she should intimidate. Even her [[{{Narcissist}} vanity]] and [[TheVamp vamping]] angles are less about being FairestOfThemAll and more about how being sexually desirable is ([[CripplingOverspecialization ill-advisedly]] and [[DidntThinkThisThrough fleetingly]]) one of the cornerstones of her power; a lot of her influence can ([[SlutShaming and does]]) fall apart should she lose her reputation as WorldsMostBeautifulWoman. Basically, no woman, no matter what her status, could act exactly like stereotypical Evil Queen in an setting with any degree of historical accuracy; the simple act of a woman gaining and keeping the throne would require not only ''fantastic'' [[TheCharmer PR skills]], but [[TheChessmaster patience]] and [[XanatosSpeedChess savvy]] well beyond [[BigBadWannabe Cersei's]] ken.
* TheGoodChancellor: A stated intention in the series is to subvert the principle of a "good man" automatically being good at ruling. For all the good they tried to do for the realm, Jon Arryn and Eddard Stark couldn't control King Robert simply because both believed that the king can do what he wants, and never managed to prevent poor decisions on his part. Also, Ned's honorable and just nature leaves him completely unable to handle the political machinations of people like Cersei and Littlefinger.
* TheGoodKing: The rule of many "good" kings are actually run by ruthless backstage players who use whatever means necessary to keep the realm stable. A theme in later books is the idea, expressed by some Wildlings, how good a person can possibly still be if they still want others to see themselves as Kings and Queens. Robert Baratheon was a King who was loved by the smallfolk even if he was a hedonistic spendthrift who brought the realm to bankruptcy but was known for his generosity, something which Renly hopes to emulate and which Stannis Baratheon considers irresponsible:
--> "[[LonelyAtTheTop Kings have no friends]]. [[ThisIsReality Only subjects and enemies]]."
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Tyrion, who was already unpopular, was further disdained by the people of King's Landing because he lost part of his nose, a typical "bad" scar, in the Battle of Blackwater, even though he was fighting [[UngratefulBastard to save their lives]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:H]]
* HalfIdenticalTwins: As children, Cersei and Jaime were so alike that not even their father could tell them apart. They would dress up each other's clothes and pretend to be each other without anyone noticing the difference. But because they lived in a sexist society, [[KnightInShiningArmor Jaime was raised to be a leader and warrior]] while [[StayInTheKitchen Cersei was raised to be a wife and mother]]. Cersei, having tasted the kind of freedom boys are allowed by posing as her brother, grows up to be resentful of her expected role and desperate for the power that she is denied.
* HappinessInSlavery: Depending on how kindly your master treats you, and how limited alternate possibilities are and how distant some better world is to where you are from, slavery can become quite convenient.
** After suffering a long voyage on a ship and suffering the humiliation of a slave auction where several dubious slavers want to capture him, [[spoiler: Tyrion, Jorah and Penny]] end up being bought by Yezzan, a Yunkish slaver who is relatively lenient and treats his captives, in [[spoiler: Tyrion]]'s experience, better than most smallfolk in Westeros. During his captivity, [[spoiler: Tyrion]] finds himself becoming adjusted to the conditions to his own distaste, since the alternatives for [[spoiler: a dwarf in Slavery's Bay, wanted for murder and deprived of funds, is deadly.]]
--> There was never a slave who did not [[SadisticChoice choose to be a slave]]. Their choice [[MortonsFork may be between bondage and death]], but the choice is always there.
** Dany finds that some of the slaves especially the ones who were quasi-professionals (scribes, healers, teachers) miss the job security and relative comfort of their earlier lives over her "liberation" and beg to be allowed to sell themselves back into slavery, where they at least had enough to eat and somewhere to sleep. Daenerys finds herself handicapped in her attempts to rebuild Slaver's Bay to a slave-free society especially since she underestimates the complexity of the situation and society at large.
* HandicappedBadass: Often played straight, due to the series' fondness for "cripples and bastards and broken things". However, it's not portrayed as easy;
** Being dead is considered preferable to being handicapped in Westeros; Bran overhears people muttering that if he had any courage, he'd kill himself. He's also forced, despite Tyrion designing him a special saddle, to give up his dreams of knighthood and focus on developing other strengths.
** [[spoiler:Jaime Lannister]] finds out that there's no easy way to being this after losing his hand, and swordsmanship is [[DamnYouMuscleMemory not easily transferable to your off-hand.]]
** Although dwarfism isn't exactly a handicap in quite the same way losing a hand or lower leg is, in battle, it's certainly not much help. Yet, Tyrion shows that, given the right armour, equipment (not always easy to come by) and calibre of enemy, he can hold his own at a pinch -- much like any newbie ChildSoldier with gait issues would. But, surprise, being a smaller target with an unexpected [[GroinAttack angle of attack]] can only get you so far: after a while, the differences in reach, weight, equipment, stamina and training become a distinct problem. He loses much of his nose and any remote hope of his father's esteem as a result.
* HeelFaithTurn: Although played straight in a few cases (i.e. The Elder Brother and Septon Meribald), characters "finding religion" generally does not come with an overall improvement in personality and behavior:
** Following a grievous injury at the Blackwater, Lancel Lannister becomes fervently religious, but no more likable, and his newly found asceticism furthers the damage to his health and looks wrought by his injury.
** Ser Bonifer Hasty known as "Bonifer the Good" is renowned as a KnightInShiningArmor turned champion of the Faith who embodies the virtues of the Seven. However, at least in Jaime's POV, he largely comes across as a humorless, self-righteous prig.
** Formerly a lovable BoisterousBruiser, Aeron Greyjoy's embrace of religion turned him into a stern, humorless fanatic. More importantly, both his earlier recklessness and current fervor are implied to stem from deep-seated emotional issues tied to implied sexual abuse by his brother Euron as a child.
** Thoros of Myr went from a skirt-chasing BoisterousBruiser who was nominally a Red Priest into a true believer in Rh'llor after [[ReligionIsMagic his religious observances suddenly came with magical powers]]. In this new state, Thoros belongs to a band of righteous outlaws, who over time, go from somewhat ruthless defenders of justice to outright knight templars. While Thoros isn't happy about this shift, the effect is that he is involved with much worse behavior following his religious conversion than before it.
** With the rise of the [[ChurchMilitant Faith Militant]], many an outlaw, ruffian (male or female), and hedge knight is likely to join up; if only for the promise of regular meals and a stable mode of living that won't get them hanged. They'll still be doing pretty much the same old things only now its sanctioned by the clergy.
* HeirClubForMen:
** Most of Westeros, except the Dornish, practices agnetic-cognetic succession[[note]]The eldest son of the deceased is first in line to inherited, followed by the deceased's other sons, then daughters, then brothers, then sisters; all in line according to birth order.[[/note]], which is responsible for putting many evil, insane, or incompetent men in power instead of more suitable female candidates.
** The bloody civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons began when Aegon II rose against his older sister Rhaenyra, their father's chosen heir. When Rhaenyra lost the war, the Targaryen line of succession became even more strictly biased against women, wherein a more distant male claim can override a closer female one.
** Cersei is incredibly bitter about the fact that she is the last choice for Tywin's heir despite being his eldest child and the one most interested in ruling. Even after Jaime gives up his claim to Casterly Rock by joining the Kingsguard, he's still held in higher regard than her.
** [[spoiler: Sansa Stark, Alys Karstark, and Donella Hornwood]] are considered relatively unimportant while the male heirs of their houses are alive. When their family members die, other men try to marry them to take control of their inheritance without even giving them the chance to grieve.
** Even though Dorne averts this by not showing preference to either gender, Princess Arianne fears being cast aside in favour of her younger brother Quentyn. [[spoiler: She plots a coup to stop her father from denying her birthright, only to have it fail and learn that her father had been planning to make her queen of the Seven Kingdoms.]]
* HeroWithBadPublicity:
** Jaime and Tyrion's terrible reputations are due in part to their own attitudes and way of dealing with people, and in part due to [[ThenLetMeBeEvil playing up to people's expectations out of pride and/or spite]].
** Stannis Baratheon refuses to clean up his image and expects the small folk to just believe his true accusations that [[spoiler:Joffrey and his siblings are incest-born]]. The regime's slick PR machine in turn claim Stannis' daughter Shireen is the child of his fool Patchface. Its easy to believe because to even acknowledge the issue is beneath his dignity.
* TheHighQueen[=/=]WomenAreWiser: This is the image Cersei and Daenerys project, but it takes more than the force of will to rule. By the end of ''Dance'' [[spoiler:both are ousted from power due to the substandard handling of their authority.]]
** Cersei see's herself as a strong leader with a firm grip on the realm. Yet she continues to abuse her powers for petty reasons, creating rifts with the allies she needs, recruits yes men as her cronies, and creates nothing but ruin to the kingdom. She is latter remove from her authority by the High Septon, who charges her of adultery removing her from her position, and her supposed subordinates abandoned her.
* HiddenDepths: The characters have these but unexpected circumstances prevent them from being shown and known to others. If they did, many of them would probably be able to get along and realize that they have more in common that they would assume.
** Daenerys will always remember Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark as "The Usurper and his dog" thanks to Viserys and Jorah Mormont's stories. Even after being told by Ser Barristan that Ned Stark tried to oppose the order of assassination, she still hates him for being a rebel who opposed her father, and that [[spoiler:Robert tried to rescind his kill order on her]].
** Ser Jaime Lannister is the only Lannister other Lannisters like partly because they (Cersei, Tyrion, Tywin) see him as the one with the least complications and least baggage, a facade that he has carefully developed to avoid dealing with the trauma of serving Aerys while he burned people with impunity and raped his wife while Jaime was told to stand guard and not ask questions, actions which culminated in his act of kinslaying and much bitterness about the notion of honor and knightly virtues which he had once genuinely believed in, as well as his guilt in [[spoiler:following his father's orders about Tysha]].
** Likewise, the Starks tar all Lannisters as being dishonorable because of their appearance and bad reputation which leads them to neglect their PetTheDog moments and make false assumptions. Catelyn Stark arrests Tyrion because she suspects him of killing Bran, solely because she took the word of Petyr Baelish over a man who had befriended Jon Snow and Bran Stark by building him a harness, neither of which she knew about. Jaime Lannister is also quite critical of Ned Stark for passing judgment on him for killing Aerys, believing him to be TheQuisling when he had in fact done a heroic action. Later, he personally tasks Brienne with protecting Sansa and/or Arya Stark despite believing (wrongly) that Sansa conspired with Tyrion to kill Joffrey, keeping a vow he kept to Catelyn Stark. [[spoiler:The undead Catelyn Stark, Lady Stoneheart, who remembers Jaime's oath, believes that he had betrayed her and forces Brienne to bring Jaime to her]].
* HonorBeforeReason:
** Many characters that place value on honor instead of money, power or the family name often end up betrayed and dead, as people who ''do'' value those things see them as obstructive to their ambitions and have them removed. This is even lampshaded by Varys, who notes he's met few men with a sense of honor as strong as Ned's, and understands why when he sees what it gets them.
** Inversely, characters that are considered dishonorable become pariahs, however well-meaning their actions. People refuse to trust them, ally with them, or utilize their valuable skills. Thus, people like Tyrion and Jaime become bitter and disillusioned.
** People who are honorable and determined to a fault, such as Stannis Baratheon and Ned Stark, are seen as lacking mercy and will gain a reputation as a HangingJudge.
** The notion of honor is, however, also regarded as a sign of civilization and hospitality, the violation of the same at the Red Wedding leads to further chaos in the Riverlands and across Westeros, causing much PoorCommunicationKills. Moreover the violation of the same from the wealthy and powerful sets a negative precedent for the poorer sections of society. Even a decent woman like Jeyne Heddle [[spoiler:thinks nothing of selling out Brienne to the Brotherhood despite offering bread and salt at the Inn of the Crossroads]], blithely justifying it by saying, "Guest right doesn't mean what it used to."
* HotBlooded:
** Ned's older brother, Brandon, unwisely threatened Mad King Aerys and got himself and his father killed. Ned also blames the "wolf blood" for the death of his sister Lyanna but the reason is still unknown.
** The Sand Snakes' and Arianne Martell's attempts to rush into revenge plots of their own without careful hedging cause merry hell to Doran Martell's carefully constructed (and, perhaps, over-convoluted) attempts of same over decades. Having said that, his brother was no help, either, for all he was supposed to throw up concealing smoke with his actions. His hot-headed insistence on playing with The Mountain instead of [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just ending him]] triggered the mess in the first place.
* HypercompetentSidekick: Tywin Lannister did such a good job of being Hand that King Aerys grew jealous of him, which drove a wedge into an otherwise effective regime.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:I]]
* IdealHero
** House Stark is basically a family of traditional fantasy heroes dropped into a Medieval CrapsackWorld. They're known for their integrity, honor, and sense of duty. They hold themselves to a relatively high moral standard and refuse to compromise their virtues or play politics. And they genuinely love each other rather than see family members as pawns or bargaining chips. In any other fantasy setting, these would be good qualities to have. Here, [[spoiler: they're the very things that get nearly all of them killed.]]
** Daenerys Targaryen is balancing being an ideal hero and an ideal ruler, to dispel her family's terrible reputation. It doesn't always go well.
** Stannis Baratheon's high moral standards seem ideal for a more optimistic fantasy setting, but in Westeros its just unrealistic.
* IGaveMyWord:
** Jaime Lannister points out that the many vows knights are made to take eventually contradict each other, so expecting a knight to keep all his promises is ridiculous. He also notes that many times those [[MyMasterRightOrWrong vows are swore to terrible people]] because those are the ones in power, meaning knights are expected to go along with their lieges' atrocities [[MortonsFork but]] are also condemned for committing them or letting them happen.
** Brienne gives her word several times, and does her utmost to keep it for each one. Shame the world around her has absolutely no interest in letting her manage to do so. The more she fights to stay loyal, the harder it gets and the more she faces conflicting loyalties.
** The Starks try to live by this as a general rule. Then things happen and they can't fulfill their promises, either due to circumstances outside their control or because another set of promises clashed. It rarely goes well. The more adaptable Starks have since quit trying to do this quite so much or started learning ExactWords.
* IHaveYourWife: Hostage taking is a common practice in Westeros. [[GrayAndGrayMorality Both villains and protagonists do it and often for similar reasons, depending on the context]].
** Anyone can be made into a hostage, often in ways so subtle it requires a double-take to notice. Sending your child to be someone's ward or squire involves either coercion or a huge amount of trust. Some people get KickedUpstairs where they can be watched, such Harys Swyft, [[spoiler:whom Cersei named Hand of the King]] so his son-in-law Kevan wouldn't make a move against her. On the flip side, some people may have to be wary of their in-laws, such as Elia Martell, who was held against her will by her father-in-law, King Aerys, so her family would fight for him.
** Some people are unable or unwilling to negotiate for their loved ones because the terms of release are too demanding (at least to them) or they don't actually care about that person. In other cases, the party holding the hostage has no intention of letting them go regardless.
** Robb wants to trade his sisters for Jaime Lannister, but fears that his bannermen won't respect him if he gives up the Kingslayer, an extremely valuable hostage, for two mere girls. Catelyn calls him out on letting sexism stop him from saving his sisters [[spoiler: and carries out the prisoner exchange behind his back in a desperate bid to be reunited with her daughters. Robb arrests his own mother for treason and the exchange doesn't go through due to several complications. [[ILied Not that the Lannisters were going to honor the pact anyway]]; though Jaime actually would have returned the girls to Catelyn had it been left to him -- mostly because nobody would expect it of the man with shit for honor -- and later on he goes to considerable lengths to honor his bargain with Catelyn]].
** Theon was taken from his home, Pyke, to be a ward of the Starks in case his father rebelled against the crown again. The Starks grew so used to him that no-one but Catelyn expected him to [[spoiler: sack Winterfell in his father's name]]. Theon's chapters also highlight the psychological consequences of being raised in such circumstances.
* TheIngenue: Sansa Stark's naivete doesn't work well in the CrapsackWorld of Westeros, and very soon she's a BrokenBird.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:J]]
* JustLikeRobinHood: The Brotherhood Without Banners started out as a peacekeeping force driven primarily to aid and protect the smallfolk during the War of Five Kings. When their leader, Beric Dondarrion, gives up his life force to resurrect [[spoiler: Catelyn Tully Stark]], now known as Lady Stoneheart, they make a change for the worse. Lady Stoneheart took the reins of the band and used them to carry out vengeance against the people that killed her and her son (who stayed dead). Over time, the Brotherhood became a bunch of [[KnightTemplar Knight Templars]], [[HeWhoFightsMonsters no better]] that the people they fight against yet claiming moral superiority. A few characters, including one of their own, call them out on their hypocrisy.
** Outlaws in general exist because of the breakdown of the King's Justice. Jaime Lannister who in his youth combated the Kingswood Brotherhood noted that Ser Arthur Dayne successfully shut down their rebellion because he embodied the KnightInShiningArmor trope to the hilt, won the hearts and minds of villages in the kingswood and was able to do more through his appeals with the King than the well-meaning brotherhood ever could. As soon as their support dwindled, the brotherhood were cornered and cut down. However, as an adult, Jaime Lanniter finds it hard to combat the Brotherhood Without Banners because of the resulting SuccessionCrisis, the lack of popular support for the Lannisters and the Freys, and despite his new-found convictions and kindness to commoners, he is still the hated Kingslayer because of his HeroWithBadPublicity.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:K]]
* KickTheSonOfABitch:
** Oberyn Martell not only wanted to kill Gregor Clegane, he wanted to humiliate him too. He succeeds [[spoiler:but not before getting killed first for excessive showboating]].
** [[spoiler: Viserys Targaryen]] was killed by [[spoiler: the Dothraki]] for being to much of an asshole, but [[spoiler: Daenerys]] does feel sorry for his death, as he did took care of her when she was still a baby.
** Theon Greyjoy [[spoiler: allowed Ramsay to kill two children but was tortured in such excruciating methods by a [[BastardBastard Ramsay Snow]], who was an even bigger monster than Joffrey,]] that he becomes utterly pitiful and you feel sorry for him.
* KidHero
** Arya and Bran Stark are now without guidance and resort to things they never thought they'd do to survive. The powers they gain along the way are actually harmful to others. And Gods know what Rickon is up to, but it can't be good.
** Robb Stark proves a capable leader and dangerous enemy, in part due to his lack of experience, which results in him taking risks that more experienced leaders would know better than to take. [[spoiler:Eventually, his recklessness and lack of forethought cause him to break a marriage vow, leading to his eventual betrayal and death.]]
* KingmakerScenario: Pray you're not the linchpin in one of these. If the regrets don't get to you, the consequences will.
** The Lannisters side against the Mad King as a ploy to make themselves powerful backroom players and everybody knows it. That's why [[spoiler:Jaime doesn't tell anyone he killed Aerys to save the kingdom because no one would believe him anyway.]]
** Ned Stark supported Stannis' claim to the throne and expected both his opposing contenders, Joffrey and Renly, to bend the knee. [[spoiler:He is betrayed and eventually beheaded for treason, sparking a five-way civil war]].
** Any bets on how badly Samwell Tarly is going to regret having angled his best mate into the position of Lord Commander of the Night's Watch when he [[spoiler: hears about the stabbing, let alone the probable undoing of half the much-needed reforms he tried to push through]]?
** Arianne Martell fancied herself a Queenmaker [[spoiler: and hatched a plan to put Myrcella Baratheon on the Iron Throne as per Dornish inheritance customs. She was woefully unprepared to stand against her own father, who had someone else in mind for the throne, let alone the Lannisters. She was imprisoned, Myrcella was maimed, and her co-conspirators were killed, scattered, or punished.]]
** Varys is playing a long game to get [[spoiler:a Targaryen]] on the throne (be it possibly [[spoiler:Viserys]] to start with, [[spoiler:Daenerys]] when he goes bust or, ''maybe'' [[spoiler: his prime choice of Aegon Targaryen]]... whichever). Which is much, much more complicated than saying "I think X should rule" because he has no steadfast allies in Westeros. He relies on stealth, manipulation, and precise timing. However, his plans are so elaborate, they're extremely fragile and could tear apart if certain people don't play their expected roles -- and, have had plenty of setbacks as well as unexpected boosts. All needing him to very, very quickly adapt.
** Petyr Baelish elevates the worst candidates for wielding power specifically so he can exploit the ensuing chaos. He aims to get revenge on the great lords because he couldn't marry the highborn woman he loved, but [[spoiler:[[{{Irony}} his actions lead to her death]].]]
** [[spoiler:Jon Connington's]] failure in trying to keep [[spoiler:Rhaegar]] in place as heir to the throne is now fuelling his [[spoiler: attempts to put who he considers his real King's son solidly on it.]] He's already been paying the price for years, having lost practically everything that was dear to him when he lost his bid at king-preserver the first time. Having to flee into exile, to then pretend to be disgracefully dead to raise [[spoiler: a young Pretender]] under the radar? Will do that. And, [[spoiler: the grayscale]] suggests he's likely to lose his life with this attempt at actual kingmaking this time. Sure as little apples are green, it's not going to be [[spoiler:Varys' or Illyrio's]] names to be put forward as the primary instigators of [[spoiler: Aegon's arm of the Targaryen comeback]] should things go south, whatever happens.
* KnightErrant: The wandering warrior stereotype is shown to be very rare and the ones who take this choice do so for selfish reasons. And, those who do not take it up for purely selfish reasons have had to for social, economic or political ones... Either they and/or their liege lord messed up or they didn't have sufficient social standing anymore and no alternative was forthcoming when they lost their backing. With the rise of the [[ChurchMilitant Faith Militant]], more of them will come out of the woodwork to join it as a means of getting by. So much for the romantic view of the trope.
** Jorah Mormont is only wandering because he is a fugitive. He sold some poachers into slavery and fled to escape his liege lord's justice.
** [[spoiler:Sandor Clegane]] is a ShellShockedVeteran. He starts wandering when he goes AWOL during a battle and becomes a fugitive hunted by his former employers.
** Robert Baratheon considered abdicating to be the "Sellsword King" and thereby abandoning the throne he took after lots of bloodshed.
** Ser Duncan the Tall was probably not actually officially knighted, but was very errant at the start of his career for social and economic reasons: his mentor (and adopted father in all but name) had been a hedge knight himself without the funds or standing to see right by his common-born squire before he died. He got a rather important sponsor and dropped the "errant" bit as soon as was practical to eventually become Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Although a lot of what he gets up to in his own adventures with Egg during his wandering phase can meet the trope, the "righting of wrongs" and "fighting monsters" bits are usually all part and parcel of just trying to get by day to day, rather than aiming to actually do any of that at all. Worse, the "monsters" are rarely straightforwardly bad or the "wrongs" all that easy to work out as being significantly worse than the "rights".
* KnightInShiningArmor: Most knights are just EliteMooks, that is if they didn't buy their title and have actual skill. The most shining knight in the series, Brienne, isn't a knight at all because she's a woman. The Kingsguard, which is supposed to be made up of only the shiniest of knights, is a shadow of its former self. A number of knights who play this trope straight end up paying for it, due to putting HonorBeforeReason or facing off against a CombatPragmatist and assuming they'll stick to the unwritten rules of battle. We're also constantly reminded that, one way or another, knights exist to kill, and the people they kill are ''not'' AlwaysChaoticEvil. Even Ser Barriston, widely considered the epitome of knighthood, indirectly admits that knights are NotSoDifferent from common killers. Discussed at length in universe, where the term for this trope is a "true knight."
--> '''Sandor Clegane''': 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:L]]
* LadyAndKnight:
** Sandor Clegane is charged with protecting Sansa and immediately it goes wrong. She sees him as a violent drunken killer and he sees her as another spoiled highborn. Sansa later gets another "champion" in the disgraced knight turned jester Ser Dontos Hollard. [[spoiler:He is actually in Littlefinger's employ]].
** Brienne becomes Catelyn's knight [[spoiler:but the latter turns against her when she refuses to join her and the Brotherhood Without Banners in trying to kill the reformed Jaime Lannister]].
** Arys Oakheart loved Arianne Martell and she convinced him to [[spoiler:help in a coup that resulted in his death and the maiming of his charge, Princess Myrcella.]]
* LadykillerInLove: Robert Baratheon fathered a lot of illegitimate kids despite professing undying love for Lyanna Stark. She apparently didn't believe he really loved her and had little hope that he would be the kind of husband she wanted.
** Ned also expresses that Robert didn't know Lyanna as well as he believes he did. Despite how sincere Robert perceives his love to be and how genuinely heartbroken he was by Lyanna's death, it's implied that Robert might have ended up just as unhappy with Lyanna as he was with Cersei if they had gotten married and Lyanna failed to conform to the image he had of her. See TheLostLenore below.
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Princess Arriane Martell cooks up a failed coup to oust her father Prince Doran because it appears she is to be passed over as his heir. Unnecessary bloodshed could have been avoided had she been clued in that [[spoiler:its all a part of his plan to oust the Lannister/Baratheon regime and restore the Targaryens to the throne.]]
* TheLostLenore:
** Robert professed his love of Lyanna Stark to his dying day, but he didn't really know her well as a person. He was in love with [[LovingAShadow an idealized version of Lyanna]], one that represented the joy, freedom, and vigor of his youth. His marriage to Cersei failed miserably in part because she couldn't live up to his fantasy.
** Tywin's beloved wife Joanna died giving birth to their youngest child, Tyrion. He never forgave Tyrion for it, even though the poor boy could hardly help being born. As a result, Tywin was extremely [[AbusiveParents abusive]], to the point that [[spoiler: Tyrion couldn't stand it anymore and murdered him.]]
** Rhaegar Targaryen is this both to Cersei and [[spoiler:Jon Connington]]. Cersei appoints the untrustworthy Auranne Waters as Admiral of the fleet because he looks like Rhaegar. Auranne later abandons her when she loses her authority. [[spoiler:Jon Connington is obsessed with helping Rhaegar's son Aegon become king, even if it kills him]].
* LoveableRogue:
** Some of the [[LaResistance Brotherhood Without Banners]], especially Tom O'Sevens and Lem Lemoncloak. Their justice while serving in Beric Dondarrion's outlaw band is swift and brutal, and that's before Beric dies and the much more ruthless Lady Stoneheart takes over the group.
** There's a consistent trend with charming mercenaries in the series (i.e. Bronn, Brown Ben Plumm, and Salladhor Saan) wherein they tell a client and friend that despite liking them, they are OnlyInItForTheMoney and will change sides if things get too perilous/they get a better offer. Unlike in other works where the lovable rogue would naturally [[ChangedMyMindKid ultimately decide to stick with their friends]], the ones here [[RealityEnsues really mean]] those [[SarcasticConfession clever lines about ultimately being totally out for themselves.]]
* LoveAtFirstSight
** Jorah Mormont and UptownGirl Lynesse Hightower fall in love and get married right way but their personalities and lifestyles don't mesh. Jorah is exiled for selling slaves to finance his high-maintenance wife's needs, but she abandons him for a richer man.
** Sansa's instant infatuation with Joffrey blinded her to his cruelty and sadism [[DomesticAbuse until he turned on her]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:M]]
* MachiavelliWasWrong: Probably the most discussed and subverted trope in a fantasy series concerned with {{Realpolitik}}.
** Renly and Stannis are useful contrasts. Renly openly cultivates the image of a benevolent prince, a man who loves people through displays of superficial charm and generosity and who wants to rule through love despite the fact that his claim rests on a military alliance and superior numbers. Stannis is disliked and feared for being a duty bound killjoy obsessed with justice, old grudges and fierce discipline, traits that lead to him to be far more meritocratic than Renly's simplistic "common" touch. In the end, Stannis commands loyalty through his devotion to duty, for being the only king to realize that a king has to protect his people for them to accept him as a king, actions which cause him short term defeats but keeps him alive in the long run and leads him to command genuine loyalty from the likes of Ser Davos and Melisandre and his fellow soldiers; because despite not being loved and feared by some, he is never hated and commands genuine respect from the likes of Jon Snow who does not like him personally but admires him for his BrutalHonesty and reserve.
** Tywin Lannister commands fear and respect because of his policy of cold, calculated atrocity concentrated for a short period of time, that in his view stops war and prevents violence. This was his justification for the Sack of King's Landing and the Red Wedding and his use of Gregor Clegane and his men as his private goon squad. He tells Joffrey that while he is brutal to his enemies, anyone who actually bends the knee will be helped back on their feet. However the scale of his atrocities is such that people mistrust or disbelieve his overtures of peace and as soon [[spoiler:as he dies]] the Lannisters go from feared to hated under his daughter Cersei, brother Kevan and son Jaime all of whom, despite their different moral leanings find themselves at the receiving end of the consequences of Tywin's actions.
** The Starks rule through love and friendship among their allies and supporters, and keep the North safe to such an extent that women could walk through the roads in the North without being afraid of rape. Their refusal to submit to callow brutality allows [[spoiler:underhanded enemies like the Boltons]] to endure and plot future betrayal, but it also makes it very hard for them to be replaced since their vassals and the people prefer the lifestyle they enjoyed under the Starks to any future promised by Roose and Ramsay Bolton.
** Littlefinger being the most beholden to {{Realpolitik}} in principle and practice shows that Machiavellian tactics, playing off alliances on necessity and interest rather than bonds of love and common ideals work.
* TheMagicComesBack: Most fantasy portrays the return of magic as heralding the return of a golden age. Here, its making an already bad situation worse. Because of the loss of knowledge over time, very few people can understand, control, or protect against this powerful, and in many cases ''dangerous'', force. No wonder [[spoiler:the Maesters of the Citadel are trying to replace it with science.]]
* MamaBear and PapaWolf: To the extent that many parents will resort to murder ([[FateWorseThanDeath or worse]]) to protect their families:
** Hoster Tully [[spoiler:forced Lysa into having an abortion, as having a baby out of wedlock would make her ineligible for marriage to a nobleman (not to mention it would cause a scandal).]]
** Lysa Tully-Arryn [[spoiler:murdered her husband because he wanted to send their sickly young son to foster with another house, likely to toughen him up.]]
** Cersei Lannister [[spoiler:has her husband and almost all of his bastards murdered ''and'' frames three innocent girls for adultery. The former was to ensure there was no [[ChocolateBaby physical comparison to challenge her children's legitimacy]]; the latter was an effort to prevent an unwanted outside influence on her son from fear that they turn him into their PuppetKing.]]
** Jaime Lannister [[spoiler: hurled Bran off that tower mainly because the discovery of his and Cersei's [[{{Twincest}} relationship]] would bring the paternity of their children to light.]] Realizing this made Ned Stark wonder about the depths people will go to protect their own children, "If it came to that, the life of some child I did not know, against Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon, what would I do?"
** Tywin Lannister [[spoiler:orders the pillaging of the Riverlands and later organizes a massacre that kills thousands of people. The former was because a noblewoman from those lands arrested his younger son; the latter was because that same woman's son held his other son hostage.]]
** Rickard Karstark [[spoiler:murders two young hostages, as vengeance for his own sons' deaths.]]
** Walder Frey [[spoiler:participates in a massacre that violates the rules of SacredHospitality, to avenge a slight against his family.]]
** Sybell Spicer-Westerling [[spoiler:helps arrange the murder of her son-in-law, Robb Stark, because his rebellion put her family at risk of retaliation from the Lannisters.]]
** Olenna Redwyne-Tyrell [[spoiler:participates in a plot to assassinate Joffrey and frames Tyrion for it. Based on [[BreakTheCutie Sansa's experience]], she was afraid that Joffrey would abuse her granddaughter once they were married. Although according to Littlefinger, her concern was not so much for Margaery's well-being as it was that Loras might become a Kingslayer by killing Joffery in retaliation.]]
** Lady Stoneheart [[spoiler:has hanged at least three men for their complicity in her son's murder, and so far shows no sign of stopping.]]
** Wyman Manderly [[spoiler:kills three Frey men and probably feeds them to their kinsmen because of their involvement in a massacre that killed his son Wendel.]]
** Aerys II The Mad King [[spoiler:had Brandon Stark, his father, his companions and their fathers executed in grisly ways for threatening the crown prince Rhaegar.]] [[{{Understatement}} Ultimately, that didn't turn out working quite as expected]].
* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Having questionable paternity leads to trouble among highborns because the [[SuccessionCrisis line of succession]] may be called in question. Highborns will start devastating wars to protect their own claims and bolster their family name. In such cases, the true heir is [[WrittenByTheWinners whoever wins]].
** Much like in real medieval England, the potential consequences of uncertain paternity in the line of royal succession make it an act akin to treason to lie with the Queen or for the Queen to have extramarital affairs, as this is a direct threat to the royal bloodline and potentially undermines the legitimacy of heirs if there is even a possibility that their father was not the King.
** This mentality imposes stricter norms of propriety for women over men and is essentially patriarchal. King Robert can father bastards in double digits with women across Westeros and he would face no rebuke, but Cersei, equally guilty of adultery, [[spoiler:faces rituals of humiliation and submitted to a ShamefulStrip made to walk naked across King's Landing in broad daylight in a ritual meant "to break her pride."]] Likewise, Aegon the Unworthy apparently invoked this trope to cast doubt on the paternity of Daeron II over that of Bastard Pretender Daemon Blackfyre, because the latter's battle prowess appealed to his vanity far more than the scholarly Daeron ever did.
* TheManBehindTheMan: Cersei tries to be this when Joffrey is on the throne, but she has very little control over Joffrey's cruelty, which sparks the War of Five Kings. As much as she tries to do this she falls flat to people like Tywin who know how to manage things properly, and Margaery Tyrell who know how to please people and win their trust.
* MessianicArchetype: Baelor Targaryen's fervor may have been motivated by the Targaryen mental instability.
* MightMakesRight: Several characters gain power by right of conquest, only to find that conquering and ruling are two very different things.
** Robert was an excellent warrior, but useless in peacetime. He gives up trying to be a good leader because he finds kingship less exciting than battle, meaning injustice and corruption are rampant in his court.
** Daenerys tries to be a good queen in Meereen, but her conquest left wounds in the city's social, economic, and political infrastructure, many of her new subjects hate her for disrupting their lives, and she has to sacrifice her personal morals and desires to fix the mess she caused.
** [[spoiler:The Lannisters won the Iron Throne in the War of Five Kings, but personal issues brought up by war and politics bring them to the brink of destroying themselves almost immediately afterwards.]]
* MightyWhitey:
** Daenerys becomes something like this after freeing the slaves of Yunkai, but this ends up biting her in the ass later in the series when her insistence on viewing her subjects as her "children" leaves her wide open to manipulation, and eventually the cities she "liberated" rise against her in rebellion. In Yunkai, the slaves she freed are back under the heel of their old masters, and Astapor has collapsed into bloody anarchy after an outbreak of the "pale mare" (dysentery) causes the attacking Yunkai'i to quarantine the city; this leaves the slaves of Astapor even worse off than before Daenerys' coup.
** As Queen of Meereen, Daenerys realizes the hard way that ruling a foreign culture involves absorbing and assimilating into their culture, including their clothes, their customs and tradition and their food, all of which she finds abhorrent but refuses to change by imposing her values on the Ghiscari. So she willingly tries to assimilate for the sake of peace and order in Meereen, however, as noted by the Shavepate, a socially mobile collaborator who is casting off the trappings of Meereenese culture, she would be better off if she went full-on in conqueror mode and actually made changes to the society and made them submit.
* MommasBoy: On the face of it, Joffrey is the head-strong, pugnacious (if DirtyCoward) antithesis of the trope; it only seems unlikely that Cersei pulls his strings since [[SpannerInTheWorks nobody can tell exactly what Joffrey will do from moment to moment]]. Then you look closer and see that he manages to be ''exactly'' what she made him to be. She can find no wrong in many of his excesses -- beyond being annoyed that they mean she can't actually control him -- to the point she actively went all-out to prevent others trying to correct his behaviour as a child. On top of this, he actually shows more genuine emotion beyond sadistic cruelty towards her than he does to most others in the series. His beliefs often closely mirror her own, and his actions are her kind of cruel deal, just larger, more obvious and a lot less cunning. She likes and is proud of his "boldness" on many levels even when it becomes a serious liability. The result is an uncontrollable boy-king willing to destabilize entire countries because he never learned any impulse control or respect for other people.
* MosesInTheBullrushes: [[spoiler:Aegon VI Targaryen, believed to have been killed as a baby, is alive and was raised abroad by allies of his family. In an attempt to [[InvokedTrope invoke]] how this trope usually plays out, Aegon is given a broad range of education and experiences so that he will be ideally suited for ultimately reclaiming the throne a la The Once And Future King. There are hints that Aegon [[RoyalBrat may not be the perfect hidden prince his protectors hoped for]], and he may not even be the real Aegon at all (even if he himself doesn't know that)]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:N]]
* TheNeedsOfTheMany: Doran Martell, the Prince of Dorne, cares deeply about his people noting that Dorne has the smallest population of the Seven Kingdoms and cannot afford to antagonize the rest of Westeros nor can they possibly wage a war of revenge or conquest, as such he believes that its important to never tackle any conflict that he cannot be sure of winning because the consequences of defeat are deadly for him. [[spoiler:Hence his cautious attempts to broker an alliance with the surviving Targaryen children in secret]] while pretending to currying favor with the Lannisters by promising neutrality and a marriage alliance. To do this, Doran must, publicly, let the deaths of his sister Elia, [[spoiler:and brother Oberyn]] go unpunished despite his own grief and anger. Unfortunately this gives him a reputation as weak-willed in a HotBlooded BloodKnight culture that is Dorne, even if all these compromises were made to protect the people and ensures Dorne is spared from wartime deprivations. Doran laments to Areo Hotah about this:
--> ''"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?"''
* NiceToTheWaiter: Eddard always told his kids to see their servants as equals. Arya took this to heart which made her empathetic to everyone, regardless of class. The death of her loved ones hits her hard and fuels [[IJustWantToBeBadass her obsession to gain power to protect]], no matter the cost.
* NoTrueScotsman: The Ironborn have a vaguely undefined set of codes as to what constitutes true ironborn behaviour. In [[BeliefMakesYouStupid Aeron Greyjoy]]'s views, true ironborn are drowned in saltwater as per the religion of the Drowned God, but many Ironborn, not wanting to risk certain death. take a more user-friendly ritual to Aeron's contempt. All of them look down on maesters and book learning but the richest lord of the Iron Islands is [[KlingonScientistsGetNoRespect Rodrik "The Reader" Harlaw]]. Balon Greyjoy looks down on Theon Greyjoy for being a "greenlander" but nominates his daughter Asha Greyjoy as his heir, going completely against the macho viking culture he wants to install. Likewise everyone despises Euron Greyjoy for his blasphemy and relative cosmopolitanism, but [[spoiler:he gets voted in as King of the Iron Islands because he has a bigger plunder than any of them have ever seen]]. Victarion Greyjoy despises chattel slavery but has no problem with taking thralls, salt-wives and executing male prostitutes. The idea of a culture being a SingleIssueWonk of RapePillageAndBurn is obviously shown as a ridiculous endeavor.
* NobleFugitive
** Viserys and Daenerys are both on the run from Robert Baratheon's assassins. Viserys dreams of one day reclaiming the throne, but the constant running and living in fear and poverty turn him bitter and hateful. The life of a fugitive destroys whatever kindness he had to start with and leaves him less than noble. Daenerys, on the other hand, cares nothing for the throne (until her fortunes change later) and only wants to go "home" to Braavos, to the house where they stayed with Ser Willem Darry until he succumbed to illness.
** Arya Stark doesn't even have the Targaryen advantage of having allies and she resorts to stealing and killing to survive.
** [[spoiler:Tyrion tries to pull this and reach Daenerys. Instead, he ends up a maltreated slave.]]
* NonActionGuy: [[KlingonScientistsGetNoRespect Men with no fighting prowess are disdained]] in this world that values strength over intelligence. Vocations that don't involve fighting like maesters, septons or mummery are seen as less than manly. It is considered shameful for a firstborn son of a lord (like Samwell Tarly) to choose a life dedicated to education and learning. Non-action guys who become lords are often the subject of ridicule (like Tywin's father Tytos) or are seen as weaklings (like Daeron II, brother of Daemon Blackfyre).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:O]]
* OldMaid:
** [[spoiler:Cersei]] is still considered a valuable hand in marriage despite her age and previous marriage; less so than she was, but still the daughter of a wealthy and powerful lord who is widely known to hate his only inheritable son, not to mention [[spoiler: the mother of the king]]. However, she adamantly refuses to remarry, having hated being forced into an abusive ArrangedMarriage years ago and now finally having the power to refuse.
** Lady Hornwood is even older than [[spoiler:Cersei]], and a number of men pursue her after her husband and heir's deaths simply to obtain her land. She ends up forced into marriage by the sadistic Ramsay Snow, who then locks in a tower and simply lets her to starve to death.
* OnlyAFleshWound: [[spoiler:Khal Drogo and Vargo Hoat]] found out the hard way that wounds, no matter how small, have to be dressed so they will heal properly.
* OnlySaneMan: In a world where short-tempered and heavily-armed sociopaths hold all the political power, the few who are reasonable and competent do not do well. In fact, they're often the primary targets for their families' enemies, since they're the ones holding things together. Such was the case of [[spoiler:Kevan Lannister]], assassinated specifically ''because'' he's a stabilizing influence on the shaky Lannister regime. It's generally implied that such men do well in peacetime, but their skills don't transfer to times of war, upheaval and betrayal - and peacetime is rare in Westeros.
** In addition to the OnlySaneMan being perceived as a threat to enemies, they may also be suspected by the rest of their own faction. The attempts of an OnlySaneMan to restore reason and order often put him at odds with the short-sighted goals of others on their side, and they may have to spend so much time controlling others within their own faction that it actually makes them ineffectual or results in them being seen as a threat or a saboteur among their own people. Both Tyrion and Davos experience this to different degrees. And, in both their cases, it's also not clear if they really are the OnlySaneMan as they each believe themselves to be.
* OrderReborn: Attempted by Jon Snow, who believes the Night's Watch needs to be whipped back into shape in order to face the return of the Others. He pisses too many people off by trying to change things too drastically and too quickly, [[spoiler:and eventually gets several knives in the back for his trouble.]]
* OurElvesAreBetter: The Targaryens have qualities not unlike that of typical epic fantasy High Elves.
** InhumanlyBeautifulRace: They all have the stereotypically Valyrian traits of purple eyes and silver hair due to generations of incest, which resulted in unstable personalities more than once.
** Knowledge of forgotten arts: Wars and disasters have destroyed knowledge like Valyrian architecture, metal work and dragon taming. [[DeliberateValuesDissonance The scorn on education]] means many of these will stay forever lost.
** TheRemnant: Targaryens use incest to keep the royal bloodline pure. This really messes up family relations not to mention getting the disapproval of decent Westerosi.
* OutOfTheInferno: Daenerys survives walking directly into a roaring blaze unscathed except for losing all her hair (though [[BeautyIsNeverTarnished this detail was changed]] for the [[Series/GameOfThrones TV series]]), but this happens under very unusual, supernatural circumstances. Much later, after [[spoiler: Drogon returns to Meereen and burns down the fighting pits]], she once again loses her hair walking through fire, and this time suffers burns as well.
* OvershadowedByAwesome: Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon and Jon Arryn are always praised for defeating the Mad King but Stannis Baratheon, who weathered the Siege of Storm's End and took Dragonstone, is frequently left out. This makes him bitter and motivates him to get the Iron Throne no matter the cost.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:P]]
* ParentalFavoritism
** Tywin Lannister wants Jaime to become Lord of Casterly Rock and Warden of the West despite the fact he is Kingsguard, thus can never inherit, and that Tyrion has a better mind for politics and administration.
** Randyll Tarly forced his son Samwell to take the black because his brother Dickon fits his ideal of a warrior leader. Its only when Samwell is on The Wall does he show his superior political skills.
** Viserys I appointed his daughter Rhaenyra as heir over her younger brother Aegon despite the fact that Westerosi custom dictates only males can inherit. The resulting confusion regarding who was truly heir polarized the kingdom and resulted in a bloody SuccessionCrisis.
** Aegon IV favored his baseborn son Daemon over his trueborn son Daeron, one of the many factors that would lead to a rebellion; people began to believe that Daemon was the true heir to the Iron Throne. Arys Oakheart for one did not believe the rumors and chalked up the whole mess to Aegon playing favorites just because Daeron didn't meet his father's standards.
* PartyScattering: The remaining Starks are dispersed throughout the realm and while they all want their home back, [[AHouseDivided their methods have diverged and are sure to collide with each other]].
** [[spoiler:Littlefinger plans to use Sansa to unite the Vale, The North and the Riverlands]].
** [[spoiler:Most Northern lords have taken matters into their own hands by cutting a deal with Stannis Baratheon. They will accept him as king if he rescues and restores a Stark as their liege. The one who's location they know is Rickon who is on an island of cannibals]].
** [[spoiler:Ramsay Bolton solidifies his rule by marrying an imposter Arya Stark]].
* PraetorianGuard: The Kingsguard are supposedly the most morally upright knights of the realm but its clear that a knight's killing ability is the only thing that matters; very few of them live up to the order's pristine reputation. Their duty is to their king, and they often take that to mean the king can do whatever he pleases, even at the expense of others, and [[MyMasterRightOrWrong the Kingsguard have to obey]]. Jaime Lannister hopes to reform it as a force that will protect a ruler worth serving.
* PrinceCharming:
** Rhaegar Targaryen, supposedly a wise and thoughtful young man, kidnaps Lyanna Stark, who is betrothed to Robert Baratheon (and in contrast to a lot of arranged marriages in this universe, Robert is deeply in love with Lyanna, though she doesn't return his feelings). This sets off a chain of events that leads to [[http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Robert%27s_Rebellion Robert's Rebellion.]]
** Joffrey is taught to act like a prince just like Sansa is taught to act like a princess. He's actually a sadistic idiot. The idiot part isn't an exaggeration, he can't count past 6. And the sadistic part is an understatement; he orders the Kingsguard to beat and strip Sansa whenever she displeases him, or just when he's generally pissed off.
** Quentyn Martell believed himself to be this but got rejected for lacking both charm and the masculine prowess required in a martial society as Westeros. [[spoiler:He got dragon roasted for trying to prove his courage]].
* PrincessClassic: Princesses are little more than bargaining chips to be married off to cement alliances. Whether they like their betrothed is usually irrelevant. Awareness of this has [[BreakTheCutie disillusioned]] [[spoiler:Sansa]], turned [[spoiler:Cersei]] into an EvilMatriarch, and inspired [[spoiler:Arianne Martell]] to attempt a coup. [[ReconstructedTrope Myrcella, however, seems to like Trystane Martell a lot.]]
* ProfessionalKiller: So, you think you're a KnightInShiningArmour, the WarriorPrince or the FrontlineGeneral if you're swanky? Perhaps you're something more humble: one of the SoldiersAtTheRear or CityGuards? Or maybe you're a KnightInSourArmour who just happens to be a KnightErrant (of whatever description), as well? Perhaps you're TheSquire, rather? Or, maybe something a little more sinister: TheExecutioner or the less-trusted, but still required [[PrivateMilitaryContractors mercenary]]. Maybe you're part of the [[ChurchMilitant Faith Militant or the Faceless Men]] or you think yourself JustLikeRobinHood. You could be a simple [[HiredGuns ruffian or street tough]] or maybe something [[DangerousDeserter more dangerous]]? You could be in the [[ArmyOfThievesAndWhores Night's Watch]] or are a ProudWarriorRaceGuy, a ChildSoldier, a [[{{Conscription}} conscript]] (slave or not) in whichever army or band you belong to, drawing what passes for pay or meals for however long you're fighting for? Perhaps you fight in the GladiatorGames somewhere in Essos? Whoever you are, if you have been one of these, you have, at root, made your living trying to kill people. Whatever your preferred method, no matter how you care to look at it, this series makes it very clear that the differences between these jobs are not as great as people make them out to be. Each and every one of them racks up a body count if you're doing them right, no matter how much you might disguise it.
* ProudWarriorRace
** The Dothraki only care about strength so it's easy for them to bounce from one Khal to another. The Khal's Bloodriders are his only truly loyal troops and they are expected to die when he does, whether they want to or not.
** The Ironborn believe in doing things the hard way ("pay the iron price"). Things like alliances and fealty are considered cowardly, despite being the rational choice. Hence why they never really got a piece of the political action on the mainland and have to eke out a living on islands that are barely more than rocks.
** The Northmen, ostensibly the "good guys" as they are the vassals of one group of protagonists, the Starks, do some less than honorable things. The Umbers supposedly still practice DroitDuSeigneur, and the Boltons' ancient rivalry with the Starks is one reason why [[spoiler: Roose betrays Robb Stark]].
** The Wildlings/Free Folk's motto is "You take what you can get and you keep what you can hold". Sounds cool until you realize that beyond the Wall, only a handful of tribes (like the Thenn) have any semblance of law or order.
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone: Many characters dream of the future but few listen to it or know how to cope. Targaryens who can't deal with their "dragon dreams" either go mad or turn to drink.
* PuppetKing:
** Joffrey is one of these at the beginning of his reign. Unfortunately, he is still officially the king, and soon comes to realise that whatever his advisors tell him to do, they ''have'' to obey any public proclamations he makes or the illusion will be broken -- his first demonstration of this is particularly dramatic.
** Robert never wanted to be king, so he abnegates most of his power to his [[DeadlyDecadentCourt Small Council]] and spends money until the realm is deeply in debt. When he dies, the treasonous schemes and secrets that occurred under his nose boil over into a civil war.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Q]]
* TheQuest:
** EscortMission: Catelyn's quest to bring Tyrion to the Eyrie does not go well. Most of the men who accompany her get killed in skirmishes with the hill tribes. They aren't welcomed warmly when they arrive and Cat finds out [[spoiler:the letter Lysa sent fingering the Lannisters for Jon Arryn's death [[PoorCommunicationKills was a warning]], not an invitation to go to the capital]]. Tyrion wins his freedom in trial by combat by choosing a CombatPragmatist champion, effectively nullifying everything Catelyn had worked for up to that point. Worse yet, the whole ordeal sparked [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Tywin's attack on the Riverlands, Catelyn's homeland, and Jaime's attack on Eddard, her husband]].
** TheHerosJourney: Prince Quentyn Martell sets off with his loyal band of friends to find and woo the WorldsMostBeautifulWoman. Half of them get killed in a minor skirmish before we even get to their story. By the time Quentyn reaches his beautiful princess, [[spoiler:Daenerys is already set up for an ArrangedMarriage, while sleeping with a lowborn sellsword who's much more handsome and [[AllGirlsWantBadBoys dangerously exciting]] than Quentyn. Believing that TheHero can't be killed, Quentyn then tries to steal a dragon to prove himself worthy of her, only to be roasted alive for his trouble]].
** TheHomewardJourney: Arya Stark spends most of the second and third books trying to get back to Winterfell, a journey through the war-torn Riverlands with the threat of death ([[FateWorseThanDeath or worse]]) at every turn. Just staying alive from day to day is a challenge and all the trauma she faces damages her psyche. Eventually [[spoiler: she's forced to abandon the notion of going back to Winterfell because there's nothing left for her: nearly all her family is presumed dead, Winterfell is a ruin occupied by the Boltons and Freys, and the longer she stays in Lannister-controlled Westeros, the more likely it is she'll be captured.]]
** IWillFindYou: Brienne of Tarth's search for [[spoiler:Sansa Stark]] is nothing like the amazing, daring exploits that are often sung about. It consists of roaming the Crownlands and Riverlands asking people if they've seen her and looking for signs of her presence or movements. The task is arduous, dangerous, and tedious, especially for a woman with few concrete plans and little help. When she actually finds a lead, [[spoiler: it turns out to be a ShaggyDogStory and she has to fight her way out]].
** SaveThePrincess: Brandon & Rickard Stark were killed when they go to the Mad King directly, marking the beginning of Robert's Rebellion. Lyanna's captors were smart enough to move her around instead of keeping her in one place. She was already dying by the time Ned got to her.
** WalkIntoMordor: Gerion Lannister's quest to find the Valyrian steel sword Brightroar ended abruptly when his crew abandoned him in the Free Cities because he wanted to sail past The Smoking Sea. He forgot that "The Doom still rules in Valyria".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:R]]
* RagsToRiches:
** Lowborns who rise to prominence through their business acumen would be inspiring in a modern setting. But in the deeply class-ridden society of Westeros, Littlefinger and the Frey family are seen as upstarts who made their fortune through "dishonorable" means (prostitution and toll-raising, respectively). Walder Frey is still seen as a NouveauRiche despite his house being some six hundred years old, and as a result a lot of his actions are driven by his desire to make prestigious marriage matches for his children.
** Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, Lord Protector of Stokeworth (formerly: Bronn), is also viewed with suspicion, partially justified in that his wife inherited her title when he killed her brother-in-law (in a duel the other man demanded) and expelled her elder sister from the castle.
** People may be elevated to nobility or rewarded with lands and titles, and all the wealth that comes from that position, for acts in service to their liege lord or to the King, with Davos Seaworth being a straight example. However, much of what we see in the series is cronyism, elevating people who are loyal to your House, or as a reward for committing horrible acts in support of your House. The prospect of this RagsToRiches story can also be used to entice people to do horrible things, be it a bribe to the likes of Janos Slynt, or a reward to anybody who manages to bring Cersei the corpse of [[spoiler: her brother Tyrion after he escapes King's Landing.]] Being elevated to a higher position through these means also often backfires on the people involved, by making them stick out as potential threats, or by granting them far too much attention as people loyal to a particular house. Both Bronn and Janos Slynt are targeted as potential threats not long after they receive their higher position, swiftly nullifying their RagsToRiches story.
* RagsToRoyalty
** Ramsay Bolton is the son of a noble father and despite being raised by peasants, shares the traits of his father. Through his skills, Ramsay improves upon his situation and is ultimately recognized as the son and heir of his noble father. Ramsay is also one of the most vile and evil characters in the series (which is saying something), and he is like his father in being sadistically evil (although Roose is a lot better at hiding it), and got himself into the position of heir by murdering his trueborn brother. Interesting, Ramsay himself is apparently somewhat WrongGenreSavvy in that according to Roose, Ramsay thinks Roose and his mother had a great romance that transcended their classes, whereas in actuality, Roose [[DroitDuSeigneur raped her]].
** Sansa's friend Jeyne Poole is told she can never marry a Lord because she is a commoner. BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor -- [[spoiler:she is sold to Ramsay Bolton and is passed off as Arya Stark as part of his plan to marry her and legitimize himself as Lord of Winterfell.]]
* RapePillageAndBurn: The standard practice of armies on every side. The loot and women taken keeps men loyal. Those who refuse to practice this, like Daenerys and Stannis, are seen as weak even though leniency is a good way to win hearts and minds. During and after the War of Five Kings, the damage to local communities is so horrific, especially in the Riverlands, that it spawns a powerful new religious movement. Lead by the High Sparrow, the common folk for Westeros lash out at the nobles for failing to protect them and keep the peace.
* ReallyGetsAround
** Robert Baratheon sires a lot of illegitimate kids only to abandon them. [[spoiler: Most of them are later killed by his widow because of the threat they might pose to her children]].
** Aegon IV's voracious sexual appetite disrupted the already complicated relationships of the noble families by leading him to father kids from rival families.
** Pia the buttery girl is raped many times during the occupation of Harrenhal. One of her rapists tries to justify his actions by saying that because nearly everyone has already slept with her, her consent shouldn't matter anymore.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure:
** Eddard Stark and Jon Arryn [[spoiler:are killed when they underestimate the self-serving nature of the people around them.]]
** Kevan Lannister [[spoiler:is killed specifically ''because'' he might have actually succeeded in keeping the peace.]]
** Tywin Lannister's father Tytos was so generous that he almost bankrupted the House and his kindness was repaid with a revolt among his bannermen.
* ReassignedToAntarctica:
** The Night's Watch is both a dumping ground for criminals and a place where some go to serve the realm honorably. Unfortunately, by the time of the series, the former have overtaken the latter to the point where the few good men are unable to restrain the bad and a mass desertion happens.
** Stannis Baratheon became Lord Dragonstone instead of Storm's End probably because it would be easier to get along with Renly.
* RebelPrince: Stannis Baratheon and Oberyn Martell are disliked for their lack of manners and consorting with unsavory persons. They are also more relatable to the common man at times.
* RebelliousPrincess: Many female characters in this series come to regret their decision to break free of the constraints their noble births put on them.
** Arya Stark gets her wish to be normal but only because she becomes a fugitive forced to live in the street and consort with the wrong people.
** Sansa attempts to resist the Lannister's ploys and tries to help Margaery, who is set to marry Joffrey. [[spoiler:Instead, she ends up married to Tyrion, who disgusts her, and has to run away from King's Landing with [[DirtyOldMan Littlefinger]] to escape the blame for Joffrey's death.]]
** Arianne Martell believes she has been passed over as ruler of Dorne so she hatches a scheme that gets her imprisoned.
** If the Targaryen version of the story is true, then Lyanna Stark's defiance of her arranged marriage sparks Robert's Rebellion, which gets her and countless others killed.
* RedemptionQuest: The world of Westeros is so harsh and judgmental, places such a high value on honor, that regardless of religious notions of forgiveness, stains are hard to rub away, as noted by Jorah Mormont, Jaime Lannister and others. Even when Jaime Lannister makes a genuine attempt to be true to his vows to "never take arms against a Stark and a Tully", the fact that he fulfills it while serving as a conquering army to enable the hostile takeover of people who betrayed SacredHospitality makes it hard for others to see his actions as anything other than self-serving or self-delusional.
* RedshirtArmy: Most of the Stark household guard who joined the Brotherhood without Banners refuse to help Arya because they'd rather die for themselves instead of in the name of some lord they used to serve. She grew up with some of these men and only now noticed how [[WhatMeasureIsAMook her family should have cared about their welfare]].
* ReportsOfMyDeathWereGreatlyExaggerated:
** Great distances and lack of clarity because of the "fog of war" means that false reports are common and can be equally dangerous. When Bran and Rickon flee Winterfell, Theon fails to find them and [[spoiler:thanks to Ramsay/Reek, he decides to cover up their disappearance with two corpses of miller's sons as replacements, so as to demoralize the population and prevent further attempts to aid the "runaway princes" who will almost certainly be regarded as impostors]]. The reports of this greatly upsets Catelyn Stark, who [[spoiler:frees Jaime so as to protect Sansa and Arya]], and Robb Stark, [[spoiler:who seeks SexForSolace from Jeyne Westerling. Both actions help lead to the Red Wedding]].
** Jon Snow's famous "Pink Letter" is of disputed veracity but is convincing enough for him to make a controversial decision that leads to his fellow black brothers [[spoiler:betraying him and stabbing him "For the Watch"]].
* ReplacementGoldfish: Cersei sexually exploited her teenage cousin Lancel while Jaime was away, causing the kid a world of guilt after his religious conversion. Jaime is furious when he learns this, and its part of the reason why [[spoiler: he didn't come to help her when she was arrested.]]
* RightfulKingReturns: Several claimants to kingship see ''themselves'' as this, causing a SuccessionCrisis.
** Stannis Baratheon is the rightful heir of his late brother, King Robert I, who won his throne by conquest and by being the first in line to throne after all Targaryen options were eliminated, due to his grandmother having been a Targaryen.. Likewise, Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen are the heirs of Aerys II (the king Robert deposed) and the royal line that ruled Westeros for nearly three centuries. [[spoiler: Their nephew, Aegon VI, is Aerys' grandson and direct heir, thought to have been killed as a baby.]] The Targaryens are thoroughly swept up by this trope, believing their return will inevitably unite the people and restore peace to the realm. However, it's frequently shown throughout the series that there's not necessarily any correlation between right to rule, ability to rule, ability to win a civil war, or public reputation.
** ''Literature/ADanceWithDragons'' establishes that [[spoiler:Varys and Illyrio, the sponsors of Viserys and Daenerys had never intended her and Viserys to be the heir, they wanted their own specially trained claimant, Rhaegar's son who supposedly survived the Sack of King's Landing, Aegon VI, to be the King with Daenerys as his HotConsort, because a male will always come before a woman in the line of succession]].
** In addition, the Targaryens themselves overthrew the previous rightful kings, including King Torrhen Stark, whose direct descendent Robb Stark is proclaimed King in the North when his bannermen decide to re-establish their independence. After his defeat, their former vassal [[spoiler: Wyman Manderly]] no longer cares who the rightful king is, but agrees to submit to King [[spoiler: Stannis]] so long as a Stark remains his liege lord.
** In addition its pointed out that regardless of how rightful a King's claim is, the so-called return will bring with it much war, destruction and political turmoil and tension, rather than the end of warfare and civil order that this trope normally embodies. Ser Davos feels very guilty appealing the Manderlys to fight for Stannis because regardless of his just claim, he's asking them to renew hostilities and risk the lives of their families for an uncertain future. Likewise, Daenerys Targaryen spent all her time trying to convince Khal Drogo to invade Westeros only to come face to face with the RapePillageAndBurn that the Dothraki will unleash on Westeros should she take them across the Narrow Sea. When the dragons start growing and get violent, she realizes that using them in battle will involve the death of innocents because "Dragons plant no trees".
** Daenerys, in particular, knows very little about the land she plans to rule because she was too busy just trying to survive to brush up on Westeros' history and politics. She even didn't know the sigil of her own sister-in-law's family. She believes the people are eagerly awaiting her arrival when in reality many of them don't know or care that she's still alive. Not to mention that when/if she returns to Westeros, it will be extremely difficult to tell potential allies from enemies.
* RousseauWasRight: The Free Folk and the Wildlings believe that the free primitive state of life they live in make them superior to the "kneelers" because they lack laws and enforcement of the same and are free of the corruption of a feudal society's obsessions with Kings, Castles and Titles. However the brutality of the landscape beyond the Wall and the presence of strange magic makes several characters such as the Weeper and Varamyr Sixskins become TheUnfettered and TheDreaded, alongside the relatively egalitarian male-female equation and quasi-democratic organization, making them less and more than the NobleSavage the romantic likes of Mance Rayder believe in.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:S]]
* ScrewDestiny: Cersei desperately attempts to avert a prophecy made when she was a child: [[spoiler: that she would outlive all her children, who would die as kings and queens, and that after everything she had was taken away by a younger and more beautiful queen, the valonqar (High Valyrian for “little brother”) would come to end her life.]] Her manner of doing so involves murder, torture, and treason. When the prophecy seemed to be [[YouCantFightFate coming true anyway]], her fear caused her to [[SanitySlippage unravel]]. Over the course of the ''A Feast For Crows'', she becomes increasingly unstable and irresponsible, her paranoia causes her to alienate her most valuable allies, and she gets herself into huge amount of political and religious trouble.
* ScrewTheRulesImDoingWhatsRight:
** Jaime Lannister, sworn bodyguard to the Mad King, finally realized just how dangerously insane Aerys had become and put him down. Everyone tacitly agrees that he did what needed to be done, but he's still almost universally reviled as an [[TheOathbreaker Oathbreaker]]. It doesn't matter that he did the right thing (or as right a thing as could be done under the circumstances); he broke his sacred vow, so in Westerosi society he's a pariah. Worse still, Jaime had been something of a callous JerkJock until that moment, and he regards the Kingslaying as the one good thing he's ever done. But everyone else considers it a MoralEventHorizon and Jaime eventually becomes as amoral as people think he is.
** Same can be said about Eddard Stark [[spoiler:and his doomed mission to put Stannis on the throne even though its a bad idea]]. Varys points out to Ned that the court is like a stage and they are all actors and they must all play their parts if they are to survive. Ned puts himself and his loved ones in danger for the sake of doing what is right.
** The right thing also being the ''pragmatic'' thing to do doesn't necessarily help, as Jon Snow finds out. The Night's Watch is drastically undermanned, most of the Wall is undefended and the Others are coming, as well as tens of thousands of wildlings who will be slaughtered, reanimated and sent against the Watch. And [[spoiler: Ramsay Bolton, a vicious psychopath, has declared open war upon the Watch]]. Jon ignores the Watch's traditions, laws and centuries-old prejudices to offer sanctuary to the wildlings, make those who are willing part of the Watch- including the women- and [[spoiler:makes to fight Ramsay himself, since the Wall cannot be defended from attacks from the south. He gets assassinated by his own men for his efforts.]]
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan[=/=]SiblingYinYang:
** Daeron II vs. Daemon Blackfyre: Many lords and knights rebelled against Daeron on Daemon's behalf because they'd rather have a warrior on the throne. Daeron and the loyalists won, but they had to deal with the Blackfyres staking claims to the throne for five generations.
** Edwyn Frey vs. Black Walder Frey: They are on the brink of fighting over who will be heir of the Twins because their father is dead and ThePatriarch of House Frey is incredibly old.
** Samwell Tarly vs. Dickon Tarly: Their father told Sam, a [[CowardlyLion cowardly]] [[BadassBookworm bookworm]], that he will either take the black or have an "[[OffingTheOffspring accident]]", because he wanted his second son to be his heir.
** Tommen Baratheon vs. Joffrey Baratheon: [[spoiler:The Tyrells assassinate the cruel and idiotic Joffrey so that Margaery can marry his kind, gentle younger brother Tommen and still be queen.]]
* ShelteredAristocrat:
** Sansa wanted to leave Winterfell and go to the royal court. She finds it both dazzling and dangerous. [[spoiler: Unfortunately, she starts off hopelessly over her head regarding the politics of royal court because she's never had to worry about anyone trying to harm or use her. She's easily manipulated into undermining her father's plans and unintentionally plays a role in his death]].
** Arya Stark realizes that being a rebellious princess is also a kind of privilege resulting from her father's benevolence when she sees first hand how the smallfolk she travels along have never had any of the advantages she has taken for granted, which reinforces her humility and commitment to justice.
* SidekickGlassCeiling:
** It's common for squires to remain squires well into their 40s because they never had the money and patronage to buy armor and titles and become full knights.
** Likewise novices in the Citadel such as Pate can spend a longtime serving a useless position with little advancement simply because highborn students get preferential treatment and early education that give them a leg up over poor students like him.
** In the Night's Watch, stewards and builders are underrated and looked down by rangers and would-be rangers like Jon Snow, creating a lopsided InterServiceRivalry.
* SingleLineOfDescent: On paper, you can often tell who might be the next king, queen or lord in some families, as they don't necessarily go in for bigger is better. But, it rarely turns out to be quite that simple, even without usurpation complicating things.
** Who gets to sit on the Iron Throne when ''would'' be a darned sight easier if the lines of decent weren't as murky as they actually are, for all it ''should'' be a simple case of Robert > Joffrey > Tommen. Even with the death of the vast majority of previously suitable Targaryens, there still are enough knocking about to make Robert's line [[{{Understatement}} debatable]]. And, the least said about which Baratheon should sit on the thing, the better, considering who Joffrey and Tommen's dad actually ''is''.
** Speaking of Targaryens, sticking to incest both to keep the blood pure and narrow the pool of potential problems by consolidation should have made it theoretically easy to follow the line, right? [[SubvertedTrope Not all the time]], [[BigScrewedUpFamily no]]. [[WickedStepmother The Dance]] [[TheEvilPrince of the Dragons]], [[TangledFamilyTree the]] [[BastardBastard Blackfyre]] [[LoveRuinsTheRealm Rebellion]], the [[UnexpectedSuccessor Great Spring Sickness]], [[TheUsurper Robert's Rebellion]] and now the likely [[RightfulKingReturns comeback of the exiled]] [[spoiler: (don't ask which)]] makes it plain that no, it does not. People have a habit of making an elegant theory not work out as you'd expect, even when they're ''that'' closely interrelated, and mostly all go back to two specific people (on both sides, even), you'd think it'd not matter.
** The Vale shows what happens when a simple equation goes belly up thanks to a key linage drying up unexpectedly in the male line. This leaves chasing an incredibly convoluted family tree through the various female links to work out that Harrold Hardyng is Robert Arryn's heir-apparent, which is utter torture for the heraldically challenged. All to avoid a costly war to settle the issue of who gets what.
** The Starks, being upright exemplars of Northernness, have what is actually a quite simple family tree thanks to a fair amount of OnlyChildSyndrome and using the Wall to trim any spares that do happen. Which becomes complicated when the survival of crucial current members remains unknown to most. Then, you need to add a bastard spanner into the mix, Wall or not. And, that's not accounting for a phoney, either. On the plus side, for all they should have been fairly easy to exterminate as a result, they're proving rather more stubborn than you'd expect.
** The Boltons also don't believe in sprawling family thickets. Of course, like the Starks, a fair few of them have wound up on the Wall over the years. But, some of it could well be thanks to the strong tendency towards breeding antisocial personality disorder in the family. Which on occasion, could well indicate that some of the streamlining occurs more directly. However, this ''could'' become a problem in the near future. As Roose has noted: not many Boltons means trouble if you annoy everybody.
** You can count the number of current Cleganes on two fingers. Mainly because Gregor has a habit of [[ForTheEvulz killing family members]], [[TheBluebeard wives]] or not. Also, them being a fairly new House. This [[StupidEvil isn't a good way]] of keeping a line simple. [[spoiler: Or, as it turns out, sustainable]].
* SilkHidingSteel:
** As Catelyn's internal monologues show, being strong for everyone else while maintaining the image of a ProperLady is emotionally exhausting. Eventually it starts to take a toll on her mental health and decision-making.
** Sansa develops this trait as a coping method for all the abuse and manipulation she suffered. She wears her courtesy like armor but secretly engages in small defiances [[spoiler: and plots against her captors]]. Even so, her success is limited because she's still a young, inexperienced girl at the mercy of a volatile royal court.
** [[spoiler: Arya learns to use a [[FilleFatale distinctly dangerous shade of this]]. And, it's far from a happy application of the trope. It is also rather sadly ironic, considering her previous general loathing of the very concept of acting [[TheIngenue demure or girly]]. She deliberately invokes UnderestimatingBadassery to get close enough to kill Raff the Sweeting using herself as bait. And, in doing so, continues to lose her connection to her previous sense of self.]]
* SlaveLiberation: Daenerys used force to end the slave trade in Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen, but in doing so, she actually made conditions worse for the people she tried to help. Freedmen becoming victims of vengeful terrorist attacks, trade has died out and some of the quasi-professional slaves (healers, scribes, teachers) as well as old and newly poor merchants decide to start selling themselves back into slavery. Not to mention, the far-reaching economic consequences of her decision forced various slave-dependent city-states (Volantis and Qarth) to plot war against her in order to regain their lost revenue.
* SlaveryIsASpecialKindOfEvil: The common belief of Westerosi, including the Ironborn and especially Daenerys Targaryen. However, Galazza Galare points out that slavery was the sole source of income and revenue in Slaver's Bay, a region devastated by dragon attacks from Daenerys' slave-owning Valyrian ancestors destroying much of their forests and farm lands and forcing them to rely on slavery for income and revenue.
* SmugSnake:
** Viserys Targaryen [[spoiler:is agonisingly murdered for being demanding and superior.]]
** Janos Slynt is sent to the Wall for pissing off one superior, [[spoiler:and beheaded for being insubordinate to another.]]
** Ryman Frey is dismissed for his incompetence and he ends up [[spoiler:murdered by outlaws.]] No one really cares, even his own sons.
** What [[spoiler: Theon Greyjoy]] goes through on account of being a SmugSmiler of a SmugSnake as the "guest" of a family that doesn't like the Smiling? You wouldn't even wish this ironic FateWorseThanDeath on Jack the Ripper.
*** Deep down he is just a man trying to find acceptance of who he is, he has tried changing his [[FaceHeelTurn cloaks twice]], and it screws him over. Now no one wants him around.
** When Cersei Lannister becomes queen regent, she starts alienating her allies (the Tyrells, her uncle Kevan, and even Jaime), and continues to piss off powerful people she needs (the Iron Bank, and the Faith of the Seven). Her actions continue to bring ruin to the kingdom, causing everyone around her to turn against her. [[spoiler: She is later imprisoned with most of her authority stripped from her (along with her clothes).]]
* TheStarscream:
** Janos Slynt's effort to take power on the Wall and open dislike of Lord Commander [[spoiler:Jon Snow]] gets him executed.
** The Boltons. While they are successful in becoming [[spoiler: the new Wardens of the North for their betrayal in the Red Wedding.]] But once in power no one in the North would bow before them, and are planning to revolt against them. Their only allies are their co-conspirators the Frey's, and people who plan to Starscream them [[spoiler: House Manderly]].
* StayInTheKitchen: Because Westeros is a misogynist society, women are forced into a position of passivity, but in a martial society, passivity entails vulnerability. Women are taught that dutifully obeying the men in their lives will bring them protection, but in reality, relying on men condemns them to violence because justice and chivalry don't mean anything unless men chose to enforce them. Appealing to men by conforming to traditional gender roles is no guarantee that a woman won't be abused, raped, or murdered, even by the men who are supposed to defend her. One hedge knight claims that "a true knight is the only shield a maiden needs", but all evidence suggests that maidens would be much better off with actual shields of their own.
* StrangerInAFamiliarLand: Theon's fellow ironborn reject him for living on the mainland the past ten years. The Ironborn, being extremely contemptuous of different lifestyles and ethnic groups, say he's gone soft and forgotten [[GoodOldWays the Old Way]]. He goes to great lengths to prove he's one of them but it only eats away at his sanity and ruins his life.
* TheSquire: It's not glamorous or even remarkable in the least for Westeros and is examined in all shades.
** Boys can squire from a very young age to a lord or landed knight who basically uses them as a messenger boy, a dollied-up chambermaid, or whatever else they might be good for -- or, actually get actively ''taught'' both knighting and statecraft, rather than expected to passively pick it up by osmosis. The squire might be assigned to a certain man as a political appointment; the appointment itself might serve as a gesture of friendship or as a thinly veiled hostage situation.
** They can wind up as a squire to a KnightErrant and not know where their next meal is coming from and fight for every crumb. If he's lowborn, the squire might latch onto a hedge knight because he is an orphan and needs an [[ParentalSubstitute adult figure]].
** The PintSizedPowerhouse can grow up to become violent and distinctly unpleasant partly thanks to being hurled into horror before he can shave. [[ChildSoldiers Or he might die in battle despite (or because of) the fact he's too young to be in combat]], regardless of his baseline strength.
** Older men can remain squires because they don't have the funds, prowess, renown or luck to be made knights.
* SuccessionCrisis: SeriousBusiness to say the least, but the various issues and resolutions based on succession, which seem silly and un-meritocratic to a modern society, do ''matter'' and affects medieval society on various levels.
** Renly Baratheon is the youngest of King Robert's brothers, whose claim succeeds his elder brother Stannis and his supposed "nephews" and "niece". However he decides to claim the throne via PopularityPower and AppealToForce via a marital alliance with the powerful Tyrells of the Reach. Robb Stark points out to his fellow lords that they can't support Renly in good conscience because the line of succession is the rule for their claim for titles as well, so what's to stop ''their'' younger brothers from revolting with an army and claiming seats based on AppealToForce if they support this precedent?
** Likewise bastard children are looked down upon by everyone execpt the sexually liberal Dornish. People cite the negative impact of the Blackfyre Rebellion, where Daemon, a bastard child of two Targaryens, was held by supporters to be a truer heir than Dareon II, who cite as evidence the favor of the father Aegon the Unworthy, who doted on Daemon. For Catelyn Stark, a noblewoman who prides herself on family and duty to her husband, her entire life work rests on her children's futures and Ned Stark educating Jon Snow along with his legitimate children gives grounds for other factions to make use of him. Not that Jon Snow would ever resort to that, but the fact that [[spoiler: Stannis and other Northmen treat him less as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and more as "the last known Stark in the North" in ''Literature/ADanceWithDragons'']] certainly stems from Ned's indulgence to his "acknowledged" natural son. And despite Jon's position in the TrueNeutral Night's Watch, he's given a deal of political influence and responsibility that he never expected to have.
** Anytime a woman in a position of high power finds herself aligned in the line of succession, a lot of MovingTheGoalposts ensue to prevent her from taking power, so as to arbitrarily ensure that HeirClubForMen remains status-quo. Princess Rhaenyra was the eldest surviving child of King Viserys I. She was personally nominated by him as his heir publicly and before several lords, and groomed for ruling from an early age. Upon his death, his ambitious second wife and her loyalists usurps the throne placing her own son Aegon II instead. Likewise, Balon Greyjoy nominates Asha as his heir but his brother Aeron, a traditionalist, expresses disfavor with his brother's choice, calling for a Kingsmoot instead, where the Ironborn manage to vote for the candidate Aeron disliked even more than Asha, Euron Greyjoy. Even Daenerys Targaryen's claim to the throne rests entirely on her three dragons and willingness to rule by conquest, since her duplicitous sponsors Varys and Illyrio [[spoiler:had trained their own HiddenBackupPrince, the supposed son of Rhaegar who, as the first son of the first son, leapfrogs over Dany's claim as the RightfulKingReturns]]. They and the Golden Company see Daenerys as a potential HotConsort, a "pliable child" and supplier of dragons, a delusion that Tyrion Lannister shatters to [[spoiler:Young Griff, driving him and the Golden Company to invade Westeros and lay claim before Daenerys returns home.]]
* SweetPollyOliver
** Arya is forced to pose as a boy when joining Yoren's band of recruits headed for the Night's Watch because being a girl in that situation is just too dangerous. Gendry sees through Arya's disguise when he notices she always goes to the woods to pee. Hot Pie only finds out when she has no choice but to pee in front of him and a dozen other captives.
** The story of Brave Danny Flint, who joined the Night's Watch in disguise [[spoiler:only to be raped and killed when her secret was discovered.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:T]]
* TeamSwitzerland: The Night's Watch is far more politicized than most people realize, only it is internalized into a destructive force that threatens what little stability the order has. The brothers of the Watch have to stand back as their homelands and families are ravaged because of their vows while the Game goes on in their own halls.
* ThinksLikeARomanceNovel: Sansa was raised on idealistic songs and stories, all of which she took at face value. But when [[RealityEnsues she entered the real world]], many traditional FairyTale tropes were thrown back in her face in the worst way. Believing that things would work out like they did in the stories only made things worse and further crushed her spirit when her hopes fell through.
* ToBeLawfulOrGood: A common dilemma faced by multiple characters. The ones who choose Good ''never'' make out well in the end, because the ones devoted to being Lawful are ruthless and merciless in their enforcement of it, and will tolerate no dissent.
* TokenEvilTeamMate
** The Lannister's betrayal of The Targayens allowed them to help win Robert's Rebellion [[BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork without damaging Robert's reputation]]. It made them powerful backroom players but also made them a lot of enemies.
** The Boltons represent the realistic dangers of TheHero having one among his bannerman. [[spoiler: They betray the Starks once they see a weakness that can benefit themselves.]]
* TomboyPrincess: Arya was unpopular among her peers because she didn't fit society's expectation of a highborn girl. She was constantly compared to her traditionally feminine sister Sansa, which hurt her self-esteem.
* TrialByCombat:
** Seen as a sure way of deciding who is right and who is wrong because the gods favor the winner. Two of the three we've seen in the main books have given false verdicts. The other one acquitted an innocent man, but the victory was won by using [[TheCombatPragmatist dishonourable tactics]] (though the result was respected anyway).
** The Trial of Seven, an old tradition seen in "The Hedge Knight", pits two teams of seven [[CombatByChampion champions]] against each other in a mini-battle. Dunk is acquitted, but feels incredibly guilty [[spoiler:that some of the men who fought for him died -- particularly since one of them was TheWisePrince and would in Dunk's opinion have made a great king when his time came.]]
* TrueNeutral: The Night's Watch try so hard to be this despite the realm falling to pieces all around them, men like Yoren getting killed in the crossfire and the abundance of people like Ramsay Bolton who don't respect the Watch's vow of neutrality. When Jon Snow finally decides to mobilize it to save the realm from itself before it can save it from the Others [[spoiler:he gets stabbed.]]
** Also its shown that neutrality is actually an impossible concept since the Watch find it hard to "take no part" in the politics of Westeros when the only King that actually responded to their cries for aid is the rebel lord Stannis Baratheon who also believes in their struggle against the Others. Some of the Night's Watch, especially Bowen Marsh, regret Stannis' rescue and would prefer a Lannister toady like Janos Slynt, who is completely in league with the Lannisters, be Lord Commander so as to appease the Iron Throne and their Bolton collaborators. Neutrality for them is not be seen as supporting the side most likely to lose.
* TurbulentPriest: Charismatic religious figures preaching against the corruption of the ones in power, whether the High Sparrow of the Faith in the Seven or Benerro of the Lord of Light in Volantis, have noble goals. The former wants to end the Lannister-era corruption while the latter wants to foment slave liberation, but religious frenzy and the control it has over its population carries with it the threats of riots, chaos and mob violence. As noted by Tyrion:
--> ''"Give me priests who are fat and corrupt and cynical, the sort who like to sit on soft satin cushions, nibble sweetmeats, and diddle little boys. It's the ones who believe in gods who make the trouble."''
** The religious figures who actually help people such as Thoros of Myr, the Elder Brother and Septon Meribald who help war veterans and the smallfolk do so without inflaming passion and causing unrest, a sharp contrast from the politically savvy High Sparrow who regardless of his intentions is carving power by raising an army and humiliating [[spoiler:the queen in a manner that is horribly misogynistic, regardless of how much of an AssholeVictim Cersei is]].
* TyrantTakesTheHelm: [[spoiler:Cersei finally takes power after the deaths of her son and father, and her cruelty and arrogance immediately gets her dethroned.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:U]]
* UndyingLoyalty:
** Say what you will about Pycelle but he is loyal to the Lannisters. He remains so even after losing Cersei's favor. [[spoiler:This causes Varys to finally kill him to destabilize the regime even though he's technically no longer a threat.]]
** Brienne's loyalty to Catelyn Stark (and her search for the two girls) is without question and she continued to try living up to it even after Catelyn's death. Except...[[spoiler:Lady Stoneheart doesn't quite agree with her interpretation or methods. And, is putting her through one of the cruellest tests of loyalty to be found in all the books combined by making her go directly against her loyalty to Jaime.]]
** The Kingsguard is composed of morally detached men who do whatever the king tells them to do because they were JustFollowingOrders. Jaime Lannister is trying to change this mentality.
** The loyalty of [[spoiler:House Stark's]] bannermen drive them to heroic and terrible acts. Many have bent the knee to [[spoiler:Stannis Baratheon]]. Others like [[spoiler:The Manderlys]] are plotting behind the Iron Throne's back. All of this under the condition that [[spoiler:Winterfell be liberated and a Stark, ''any'' Stark, be reinstated as the rightful lord]].
* TheUnfavorite: Tyrion Lannister is blamed for the death of his mother, something he has no control over. His father and sister do all they can to alienate him without any thought that he is the best they have. Eventually, he is accused for murder he did not commit, and they stage a show trial just to get rid of him, [[spoiler:then he escapes kills his father and runs for it. With those two out of the picture, the Lannister regime slowly collapses]].
* TheUnfettered: Nothing prevents Tywin Lannister from pursuing his goals, and he believes that having this image and attitude is his strength. However, his willingness to do absolutely anything to pursue his ambition of controlling the Seven Kingdoms and founding a family dynasty irrespective of morality and without concern for the emotions of others ultimately results in a multitude of factions viewing him and his House as enemies who must be destroyed rather than cowing to him out of fear. It has also resulted in all of his children being deeply screwed up and resentful towards him because he insists on controlling them and using them as pieces in his game, with no regard to their emotional needs or desires, and [[spoiler: this ultimately leads Tyrion to kill him for what Tywin did to Tysha.]]
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Long term decades in the making plans are brought into conflict with skilled on-the-fly improvisations that put the SpannerInTheWorks.
** Varys the Spider's plans [[spoiler:for a Targaryen Restoration is unrevealed until Book 5, right after the Golden Company finally land in Westeros, he covers all the angles, included a HiddenBackupPrince and a retainer who was friends with the boy's father]] but his plan becomes complicated thanks to Littlefinger [[spoiler:engineering the War of the Five Kings]].
* TheUsurper: The whole concept of "rightful rule" is explored from all angles.
** Robert usurped the throne from [[TheCaligula an utter maniac]]... but there are signs that Rhaegar had been planning to quietly remove his father from power if he hadn't been killed in the Rebellion, which would have prevented a terrible war.
** Stannis attempts to usurp the throne from Joffrey because he's not truly Robert's son, but there is a healthy dose of personal ambition spurring him on as well. Renly attempts to usurp Stannis, but raises the question of why bloodline should be more important than popularity or fitness to rule.
** Daenerys thinks of ''all'' the post-Targaryen claimants as "Usurpers", despite the fact that she herself is planning to invade Westeros with dragons and sellswords and seize the throne by force and is basing her invasion on an ''assumption'' of local support of which there is little to no evidence of. Ser Jorah Mormont notes that most of the smallfolk don't really care about the claims of a ruler. Likewise, Ser Davos Seaworth, a WorkingClassHero voices the opinion of the majority of the people when he states that a king who doesn't protect his people, who allows the land to become a CrapsackWorld and does nothing to solve its problems, is no true king at all.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:V]]
* TheVamp:
** Cersei uses sex as a way of getting men to do her bidding. However, she places far too much faith in the loyalty this inspires in them, and fails to consider how tenuous a position she's putting herself in: all her power being derived from her marriage, any public revelation of her infidelity risks it all. It really comes back to bite her when [[spoiler: the High Septon finds out and [[SlutShaming forces her to walk through the city naked and shaved.]] This destroys all the power she has gained; no one will respect her now that everyone has seen her in such a vulnerable state. Even Jaime is unsympathetic and abandons her in her time of need. He thought she was cheating on her husband with him because he was her true love, and the discovery that she's sleeping with other people to win their allegiance makes him question their entire relationship.]]
** Arianne Martell uses her feminine wiles to seduce Arys Oakheart [[spoiler:into taking part in her coup]] but she has little else in her arsenal - few allies, little resources, and a poor strategy. [[spoiler:After the coup fails miserably, Arianne is stricken with guilt over her manipulation of Arys and how it lead to his death.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder: W]]
* WeHaveReserves: [[BigScrewedUpFamily There are certainly a lot of Freys]]. So many, that the [[spoiler: rapidly accelerating]] number of character deaths that have occurred to the House have yet to raise alarm bells within it. This is partly thanks to 1) nobody particularly irreplaceable (even in other Freys' eyes) getting offed to draw the attention... [[spoiler: yet]], 2) the [[spoiler: (as it turns out, false)]] sense of security they have in their safety in numbers and 3) nobody being able to communicate enough to work out [[spoiler: that there is more than normal attrition going on]], thanks to their wide dispersal to keep their fingers in various important political factions' pies. The latter seems a fairly sound strategy, when you have a lot of bodies to throw at your priority of keeping your [[SmallNameBigEgo influence]] visible [[spoiler: (but, that has its own downsides when most hate your guts and, yet, are being reminded that there are a lot of you that can be used as CannonFodder ahead of their own troops)]]. The main problem in all this is... you can count the hard-working, practised and ''able'' Freys who are fully willing to and capable of working with each other (and chivvy others into moving their butts) on about one hand -- [[TeethClenchedTeamwork if that]]. They lose those key players, and it's Game Over for the House as a whole, regardless of the numbers they started with, as they'll either splinter and kill themselves off [[DysfunctionJunction rather directly]]. And/or, be even easier to pick off thanks to uncertain chains of command and leadership leading to even stupider strategic decisions than normal.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Several "villainous" characters are really just troubled young men or women trying to win the approval of their monstrous fathers, and they lose themselves in the process.
** Theon Greyjoy winds up doing terrible things (and having terrible things done to him) in the course of doing what he thinks would please Balon. [[spoiler: In the end it's all for nothing, and Theon realizes much too late that he's been trying to please the wrong father figure.]]
** Cersei Lannister is tears herself up trying to be what her father (and the rest of Westeros) respects [[spoiler: and wanting to outright upstage him]] without having the required ability to.
** Both Jaime and Tyrion wind up trying to move away from Tywin Lannister's shadow, to outright defy him on many points and, yet, to please him in some way at the same time, too. The inherent contradictions prove both difficult and messy for everybody.
** Samwell Tarly might hate his father's guts (with good cause), but he ''still'' wants to impress him, regardless of the fact he probably never would be able to impress the grown-up JerkJock that Randyll is in a month of Sundays.
* WhosLaughingNow: The Freys were among the least respected houses in Westeros, and Robb Stark's breaking of a marriage pact was TheLastStraw in a long string of humiliations. [[spoiler: So they killed him, his mother, and his bannerman during a wedding]] to show that they meant business. While [[spoiler:the Lannisters]] gave them new honors and good marriages, the Freys are actually worse off than before. Rather than merely being mocked, they're now ''[[NeverLiveItDown loathed]]'' by everyone, even their allies, [[spoiler: for breaking SacredHospitality]]. More Freys were killed in retaliation for this event than died in the war but no one bothers to help them.
* WickedStepmother:
** Cersei is certainly wicked, however you wish to define it, and, she puts every bastard child of Robert's she could find to death. The thing is, most of Westeros wouldn't find what she attempted to do all that surprising. Defending your "trueborn" children against their unrecognised bastard siblings ''makes sense'' in the public consciousness, and isn't considered as deplorable as other actions like defying SacredHospitality or killing family members by blood. Cersei also isn't a standard "stepmother". She didn't bring any of them up, nor did Robert marry any of their mothers.
** Catelyn Stark isn't the stereotypical kind of wicked. She's sincere, she's sympathetic and, by the Westerosi standards, she went beyond the call of duty by letting her husband raise a bastard under the same roof as his trueborn children without outright trying to kill the lad. And she didn't outright abuse Jon Snow either, even though she certainly froze him out enough times in many little ways and tried her best to make sure he couldn't threaten her kids' futures. From his point of view, it's not too hard painting her as a version of the trope, but as far as the rest of Westeros goes, she was a saint to him.
* TheWomenAreSafeWithUs
** Stannis castrates rapists, but it's presented as yet another way his principles lose him the good will of his followers.
** Daenerys tries to stop the Dothraki warriors from raping the women of defeated tribes. Since they view those women as spoils of war, she's seen as simply being ''greedy'' by claiming them for herself, so she only succeeds in protecting a handful. Later, one of those women rebukes Daenerys for seeing herself as a hero who "saved" her, when she'd already seen her temple burned, her people murdered, and indeed been raped several times already.
* WorkingClassHero: The glass ceiling is especially strict to crack this. Most peasants lack the training and education of children who grew up in a castle, lacking access to castle forged steel and remaining illiterate. The ones who are most martial tend to find work as sellswords and cut-throats, others like Janos Slynt, a butcher's son becomes a DirtyCop, while work as wandering minstrels, jesters and mummer's are low paying and frequently provoke disfavor.
** The two exceptions, Ser Davos Seaworth and Ser Duncan the Tall, are straight examples but even they needed unusual circumstances typical of a fantasy setting to get where they are, and even after that, they are always reminded of their roots by their enemies.
* WorkingClassPeopleAreMorons: Education and exposure to a wide range of influences are disproportionate advantages in a medieval setting ensuring a ceiling of reinforced steel rather than glass. Most smallfolk lack training in arms and have never been taught to hold a sword. However, the lack of book learning means that smallfolk often have a better grasp of society and the class system's ruthlessness than rebellious highborn like Arya Stark and the young Egg.
* WouldHurtAChild [=/=] WouldntHurtAChild: In a medieval world where children are treated less sentimentally than they are in later centuries, with royal children given access to entitlement and privilege and power at an early age, the idea of ChildrenAreInnocent is less at play. As such several characters have differing views about the morality of killing and/or sparing children.
** Lord Tywin Lannister believes in PragmaticVillainy and when fighting his enemies, he makes it a point of conduct to kill the family root and stem, be it the the Reyne-Tarbecks, the children of Prince Rhaegar and [[spoiler:Robb Stark]]. He defends the deaths of Prince Rhaegar's children as necessary for ensuring Robert's ascension to the royal throne. The existence of a single claimant allows for future enemies and supporters to stroke fires of rebellion in the decades to come. [[spoiler:The fact that Varys has presumably rescued Aegon VI from the clutches of Ser Gregor, and later the young Daenerys Targaryen becomes a YoungConqueror while still a girl proves that Tywin's fears if not his methods are justified. Later Jaime discovers that Tywin had conspired with Robb Stark's mother-in-law to ensure that Jeyne Westerling never conceives a child, noting grimly that it was a detail that Lord Tywin never missed.]]
** Eddard Stark will not kill a child because he was traumatized by the deaths of Prince Rhaegar's children. He discovers that Cersei had cuckolded Robert with her brother Jaime and that all three children, TheBully Joffrey and the nice and gentle Tommen and Myrcella are bastards born of incest. Because he will not kill a child, Eddard, despite his hatred for the Lannisters, forewarns Cersei to leave King's Landing and take the children with her. [[spoiler:This decision backfires on him spectacularly and in the end, Ned Stark, is executed on the whims of the very boy-king he had been trying to spare from Robert's wrath]].
** Daenerys Targaryen also will not kill the young hostages she takes from Meerenese nobles in the wake of the terrorist attacks of the Sons of the Harpy. The Shavepate points out, much like Tywin Lannister in Westeros, that her failure to follow up on her threats will make her appear weak and tractable and indeed, Daenerys ends up being forced into a political marriage of convenience and make concession after concession with her opponents making increasing demands in the belief that she won't actually hurt hostages and back up her threats.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Y]]
* YoungConqueror:
** Robert Baratheon was a great warrior in his youth and got the StandardHeroReward but [[SaveThePrincess the woman he loves]] is dead and he is forced to marry a Lannister woman he hates, while the job of actually ruling doesn't suit him nearly so well as warfare. He soon becomes a PuppetKing of the Lannisters, who makes every effort to avoid his responsibilities (he rarely ever attended meetings of his own royal council, leaving most of the work to Jon Arryn and later Eddard Stark).
** Robb Stark is never beaten in battle but sucks at diplomacy (witness his breaking of an important marriage pact) and is a HorribleJudgeOfCharacter. Has parallels with his namesake Robert, as he ignores cooler counsel [[spoiler:and allows himself to be surrounded by moles and traitors in league with the Lannisters]].
** [[WarriorPrince Daeron the Young Dragon]] conquered Dorne as a teenager but suffered massive casualties trying to hold it. He was ultimately killed trying to suppress Dornish guerrillas and within weeks of his death the Dornish had kicked the occupiers out.
** Daenerys gets completely sidetracked from her ultimate mission by [[ChronicHeroSyndrome constantly trying to solve every problem she encounters]] in Essos. Not to mention that her stubbornly idealistic attempts to radically overthrow and reform local customs she finds abhorrent (such as the slave trade) have made her dozens of new enemies and after the end of book 3 most of the continent is intent on crushing her before she can become a threat to their own countries or city-states.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Z]]
* ZombieApocalypse: Absolutely no one has any idea how to counter the return of the White Walkers because the kingdoms are fighting for supremacy. Most people in Westeros don't even believe they are still around, if they believe they existed at all outside of myth.
** They are also [[ZombieGait reeeeally slow]], and after five books they still haven't made it to the very wall that was built to keep them away.
** Yes-no: they're having to wait until the most logical point to cross south freezes solid enough for them to do so in any great number. When that happens, they won't have to bother with getting over or under the Wall by becoming able to totally bypass it instead. And, there's nobody much covering that gap, due to the humans being so intent on internal political shenanigans. Including the humans on the actual Wall itself, in part thanks to the wave of emigration their confirmed return locally has stirred up. In the meantime, the number of their recruits? Just keeps growing. The weather is against Westeros, and most of it doesn't even realise it's on the clock and hasn't started moving to guard the sea ice. They might be [[BlueAndOrangeMorality Blue and Orange]] to the point of being Bad News, but... so much for being simply the NightOfTheLivingMooks of doom. Even the apocalypse is somewhat in question: even before the Wall, the Others happened and people somehow survived. But, the culture of Westeros is probably doomed.
[[/folder]]
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