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

See also the [[DeconstructedCharacterArchetype/ASongOfIceAndFire Deconstructed Character Archetype A Song Of Ice And Fire]] page

[[foldercontrol]]

[[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: There is a possible plus-side: if that one member of the House is loathed enough, the rest ''might'' get off by throwing him to the wolves and blaming most of the collective monstrosities on him, then citing whatever can be proved of as their own doing as, "We were just trying to protect our own blood -- even if he was an unpredictable, AxeCrazy idiot. Will his head and reparations do?" Maybe.]]
** The Freys were already this before the war, mocked and looked down upon for being opportunistic weasels. But after [[spoiler:their betrayal in the Red Wedding]] they are now loathed by nearly everyone in the Riverlands and the North. Everyone in the Riverlands and the North will take the opportunity to kill every Frey they encounter, and people will not think twice when one of them dies. In essence, Frey hunting becomes a trendy new sports in Westeros. This mean that the very very few decent Freys (who can all be counted with one hand) could get killed just as much as the rotten majority. Thankfully the the ones who inherited [[ThePatriarch Walder Frey's]] 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" whose lives have been turned upside down. Having said that, her possitive legend is still alive in parts of Essos she hasn't yet been to. For example, in Volantis, a city filled with slaves, she's regarded as TheMessiah with even cynics like Vogarro's Whore praying for her arrival. But, little is said about how the nobles there feel.
** Aegon V Targaryen has gone down in history as one of the honestly and straightforwardly [[TheGoodKing Good Kings]], particularly among the smallfolk. His reign is seen as the trend-bucking, shining highlight of about 200 years worth of dismal lowlights and strife, which even the nobility admit -- despite his attempts to errode "rights" aka "unequal treatment". 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:A]]
* AbductionIsLove: The Free Folk believe that kidnapping women to be brides is justified because the woman can just stab a man she doesn't like while he sleeps. This justification falls apart because the practice also applied to women from below the Wall, many of whom probably don't have much experience putting knives in people and even if she could she'd be stuck beyond the Wall and surrounded by friends and family of the man she just killed.
* 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. Dany ''is'', of course, the "Mother of Dragons" and she must make her child obey or risk more innocent people getting burned, and striking a dragon with your bare hand isn't going to do much good, but it's still a bit ironic.]]
* 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.
* 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 Kingdoms people.
* ArmoredVillainsUnarmoredHeroes: Armor's unwieldiness can be exploited by unarmored opponents (Ser Vardis vs. Bronn, Oberyn vs. The Mountain) but going up against someone in armor with the wrong kind of weapon can get you killed (Syrio Forel vs. Ser Meryn).
* 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. In contrast to the usual "follow your heart" philosophy other more romantic series would preach, [[MarryForLove love matches]] like Doran Martell and Mellario can fail while some arranged marriages like Ned and Catelyn Stark can work out.
* 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 he was incapacitated.
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[[folder:B]]
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: It's possible that the Targaryens' [[spoiler:urgent 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]].
** Blackfyres, a dragon egg, skullduggery and one bratty four-year-old equals one badly handled second rebellion that takes a lot out the Blackfyre cause. And, yes: in this, they count as part of the family the prophecy could relate to.
** Whatever else may have occurred at Summerhall, Aegon V was trying to hatch eggs. It went poorly, and took a significant chunk of his family and advisors with it.
** Jaehaerys II made his offspring Aerys and Rhaella marry each other even though they were in love with different people.
* BigFancyCastle:
** The 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 and very expensive to uphold. Harrenhal remains Westeros' ultimate symbol of AwesomeButImpractical.
** [[spoiler: Theon Greyjoy]]'s [[AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs occupation]] of [[spoiler:Winterfell]] turns into a nightmare. He has too few men to properly garrison the place, [[spoiler:Winterfell]] is too far from reinforcements and most of the people around there hate the occupiers, but [[spoiler:Theon]] refuses to abandon it. It demoralizes the enemy, but his refusal to sack it and leave leads him to ruin.
* BlingOfWar: Ghiscari masters in general, and Yunkish ones in particular, have gone so overboard with their peacock displays on their slave soldiers that they're barely able to fight.
* 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's relationship is intensely romantic but his reputation as her hatchet man and his low origins is one of the things hated about Dany's regime.
** Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Ser Criston Cole were rumored to have loved each other but their relationship soured along the way. They eventually ended up on opposite sides during the Dance of the Dragons.
** [[spoiler:Then there's Cersei's relationship with a Kingsguard who is her brother and fathers her children. When the truth comes out it leads to a war over succession.]]
* BreadAndCircuses:
** Ned Stark opposes hosting a [[TheTourney 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.
* 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]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:C]]
* 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. [[spoiler:He tried a duel with the man she was engaged to for her hand, and got beaten badly.]] 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[=/=]OldFriend: Sometimes nostalgia blinds people to the true and often unsavory characters of those they knew long ago. What happens in the years between is just as important, if not more, than the reunions.
--> '''Catelyn''': You knew the man. The king is a stranger to you.
** Robert chose Ned as his new Hand of the King because Ned was the person he trusted most with the position. 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]].
** While investigating [[spoiler: the attempted assassination of her young son]], Catelyn was found by Petyr. She trusted him with sensitive information and took his every word to heart because she thought he had no reason to lie to her. What she didn't know was that in the years since they last saw each other, Petyr had grown to be a ruthless manipulator and self-serving chessmaster -- precisely ''because'' they had been separated.
* 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 woman 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, married at 13 and already Queen at 16, has severely affected the slave trade and taken over Meereen. She even takes advantage of her age and sex so some of her enemies will underestimate her. But she's still subject to a teenage girl's lusts. The stresses of ruling and having to constantly compromise to the slavers laying siege to her city and holding slave auctions in front of her gates, and marrying a potential enemy to maintain a semblance of peace prove too much and [[spoiler:she flees Meereen atop one of her dragons.]]
** [[spoiler: Tommen]] signs any decree someone puts in front of him, making him very easy to manipulate.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: [[spoiler:Walder Frey didn't bring his troops when ordered to by his liege lord, only showing up after the battle had been won, 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 new king 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.]] Inevitably, the GenreSavvy characters are catching wise; for instance, [[spoiler: Tyrion]] points out (though it's a tad ambiguous as to how serious he was) that the only surefire way to force Dany into conquering Westeros is to create a situation where she'll need to swoop in on her dragons and save the day--[[spoiler: in this case, having her young nephew attempt a land invasion in which he cannot possibly be successful without her]].
* 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 to spare him. 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: In a world of political turmoil, double dealings and betrayal, there is no such thing as a coincidence. Except when there is.
** 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 scorn of the entire realm.
** Everyone believes Queen Cersei had Jon Arryn's squire Ser Hugh kill him to hide evidence of Joffrey's real paternity. Then Gregor Clegane "accidentally" killed Ser Hugh [[HeKnowsTooMuch just to be certain]]. Actually, [[spoiler:it was Jon's wife Lady Lysa who had him killed. Gregor killed Hugh because [=YOLO=]]]
** Everyone believes [[spoiler:Joffrey had Ned Stark executed to hide his paternity when the plan was to exile him to the Wall but this also starts a war and puts himself and his family in danger just to show off his new power]].
* 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. Of course, this is the entire point of the Iron Throne: to constantly remind any king that supreme power is supremely dangerous and not a thing to be trifled with.
* 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 overtly gaudy that it attracts unwanted attention if you're wearing anything other than BlingOfWar -- heaven help you if you're trying for "undercover" in the bad parts of anywhere. Even worse, [[spoiler:the blade was not only [[ReforgedBlade reforged]] from Ned's sword Ice, but its also recognizable as a Lannister sword, 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.
** [[spoiler:Queen Cersei Lannister is trapped in a loveless marriage with King Robert. She engages in {{Twincest}} with Jaime, leading to a civil war when the truth about her children's parentage is revealed.]]
* 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 it's 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]]
* DavidVersusGoliath: The Mountain vs. The Viper showed that size and strength counts little against a warrior experienced with fighting bigger opponents. [[spoiler: This advantage is moot when showboating comes into play, however...]]
* 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.]]
* DecadentCourt: Nearly everyone capable of protecting the realm is too wrapped up in politics to deal with the wildling invasion or even realize that there is an 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 not to be a good model of governance. 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. That further forces people to realize they may need to actively remove someone from power. Deadly decadence breeds more deadliness and marks you as a tool to be used in your own downfall.
* DeceasedParentsAreTheBest: Viserys ''tried'' 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]] [[TheFarmerAndTheViper who have their own ideas of who the rightful ruler should be]]. He also pardons Balon Greyjoy despite their revolt, [[spoiler:and after Robert's death Balon revolts again.]] Stannis even points out that he wouldn't have been so merciful, [[spoiler:and considering how treacherous many of the people Robert pardoned show themselves to be, he has a point.]]
* 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 uprising at a stroke]].
** According to Ironborn custom, Victarion 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, when Margaery is found to not be a maiden, she's arrested. But since highborn ladies often lose their maidenheads by horse riding, her fate hangs on a trial. 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.]]
* {{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 and respects her into a trap because of same.]]
** The Martell's single minded pursuit of their goals also cost them dearly.
* 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.
* 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.]]
* 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 behaviour 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]]
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: The exotic fortress of Dragonstone was deliberately built to look scary to hide the fact that it's not very defensible. Some believe its dragon-shaped towers will supposedly 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. And his obsession with keeping the family name respected and feared ultimately drive his daughter to become a power-hungry and resentful paranoid, his elder son to defy him and choose to remain out of the lawful line of inheritance, and his younger son to [[spoiler: eventually murder him.]]
** 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 realize the extent of the danger.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:F]]
* 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. After each of his fights Thoros needed a new sword.
-->'''Davos''': The Red Sword of Heroes looks a proper mess.
* 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 is 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, meaning though he succeeded in taking the throne he proved an incompetent King.
** 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]]
* GoodRepublicEvilEmpire: A theme that is moving closer to the foreground in recent volumes:
** Westeros is pure aristocratic and rests on the Divine Right of Kings, and rigidly maintained feudal divisions. The Wildlings and Mountain Clans have some kind of democracy owing to harsher weather conditions putting a greater value on merit, yet they are considered highly uncivilized and primitive by Westerosi standards, even progressives like Tyrion. They are also highly violent and indulge in guerrilla/terrorist raids. The Iron Born which is a macho culture of Rape Pillage Burn has a tradition of every captain being a King of his ship, and every King needing to captain his ship, there are also cases where women may sail and pillage with men. They are paradoxically more primitive and meritocratic than mainland Westeros. The least gender-based and ethnically diverse region is that of Dorne that runs on monarchy but is more relaxed in terms of bloodlines and class than the rest of the continent.
** Republics such as the Free Cities are oligarchies run on pure mercantilism and slave trade, which Westeros explicitly forbids. The major exception is Braavos which is recognizably a more idealized republic with a strong abolitionist tradition though its fortune and influence comes via a MegaCorp like the Iron Bank that instigates WarForFunAndProfit on non-payment of loans.
* 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]]
* 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.
* 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 it's 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.
** What's more, after [[spoiler:Tywin is killed, Tyrion is in exile, and Kevan alienated]] it does fall on Cersei to rule the Lannister regime in the capital, and thanks to the sexist gender roles of Westeros and the holes in Cersei's education, she has never learned ''how'' to rule. She makes multiple foolish mistakes while thinking she's outplaying all sides, empowers a dangerous new rival for power while trying to lessen the influence of an allied faction, and generally makes a hash of things until she's caused a major crisis for the throne. Only teaching the skills of ruling and leadership to men means when you do need a woman to step up, they may be missing the basics that would allow them to do so.
** [[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.]]
* 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, Eddard Stark, and Tywin Lannister as "The Usurper and his dogs" 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 façade he 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 kingslaying 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.
* 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 getting a confession out of the Mountain instead of [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim just ending him]] triggered the mess in the first place.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:I]]
* 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 honour -- and later on he goes to considerable lengths to honour his bargain with Catelyn]].
** Theon was taken from his home, Pyke, to be a ward of the Starks to prevent his father from rebelling against the crown again. The Starks grew so used to him that no-one but Catelyn expected him to [[spoiler: seize Winterfell in his father's name]]. Theon's chapters also highlight the psychological consequences of being raised in such circumstances.
* IJustWantToBeBadass: Being badass is usually seen as a virtue (particularly for men) not just in Westeros, but in Essos, too. So, naturally, we get this stage of it on display. In all shapes, sizes, successes, failures... and unintended consequences.
** Arya was so desperate to be a BadassPrincess, she was willing put time into learning the base skills. Well, [[GoneHorriblyRight she's definitely badass]]. A badass Assassin that is.
** Brienne is another girl who's worked damn hard to get the skills and not just wasted her time wishing. Much good that's ultimately done her in the misogynistic society she's in.
** Benfred Tallheart and the rest of the Wild Hares badly wanted the glory of battle and to go down in song. Unfortunately, wanting is no replacement for basic stealth and scouting. If they get songs, they'll wind up as cautionary tales.
** Quentyn Martell is a shy Prince and decent soldier but he's not a {{Badass}} and Daenaerys doesn't see him as someone worth throwing Meereen and her present responsibilities away. So he decides to prove that he's a badass [[spoiler:by stealing her dragons. He ends up getting burnt to death and then releases them on the city.]]
** Theon Greyjoy likewise wanted to show he's a real badass Ironborn too. He ended up being really bad at it and ended up making an ass of himself. [[spoiler:Since then he's been gaslighted into becoming TheIgor and ended up being gelded too, so he's never going to get there]].
** Jaime Lannister's tale is this gone horribly wrong told in flashback. He defied his father not just to be with his sister, but to fulfil his fantasy of being a noble, badass knight of the Kingsguard rather than a Lord. It started to go downhill the minute he realised what serving a Mad King meant, and has never got better. He got to be badass, but at what cost?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:K]]
* KickTheDog: Tywin Lannister's brutality is calculated to leave a lasting impression. [[spoiler: He is killed by his own son for an act of unbelievable cruelty in his youth instead of an enemy looking to avenge his more well known atrocities]].
* KickTheSonOfABitch:
** Oberyn Martell not only wanted to kill Gregor Clegane, he wanted to humiliate and get a confession out of 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 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 the same BastardBastard, who is an even bigger monster than Joffrey,]] that he becomes utterly pitiful and you feel sorry for him.
* KingmakerScenario: Ned Stark was imprisoned for supporting a rightful heir over a usurper and an illegitimate son. Varys makes him realize his choice has far reaching consequences and he had just invited war to his home and his family is now in danger. Ned has no choice but to recant to save The North. [[spoiler:It is too late and he is beheaded]].
* KlingonPromotion: House [[spoiler: Bolton]] and House [[spoiler:Frey]] reached their current positions -- the titles of [[spoiler: Lord Paramount of the North and Warden of the North]] for the former; several new castles and marriage alliances for the latter -- by betraying their liege lords. Their new bannermen are ''furious'' over the regime change because breaking an oath of fealty and [[spoiler: violating SacredHospitality]] are both considered crossing the MoralEventHorizon. Because the feudal system rests on a lord being sure that his vassals are loyal and trustworthy and the vassals being sure that their lord is firm but fair, the [[spoiler: Boltons and Freys]] remaining unpunished for their crimes is a huge affront to people's sensibilities; which is why [[spoiler: the northerners and riverlanders are secretly plotting to get the Boltons and Freys out of power by any means necessary]]. And that's not even mentioning the people's UndyingLoyalty to the ousted lords.
[[/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.]]
* LooksLikeJesus: King Baelor was Westeros' version of Jesus, but his religious piety and fervor might have been just another manifestation of the Targaryen family mental instability.
* 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. Most people don't even believe that magic still exists, making them terribly unprepared for what's to come. No wonder [[spoiler:the Maesters of the Citadel are trying to replace it with science.]]
* 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.
* 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.
** Renly emulates Robert in trying to win the crown by force, disregarding his older brother Stannis' claim for no other reason than his army is bigger. [[spoiler: His huge army doesn't do him any good when Melisandre uses magic to assassinate him, meaning Renly's attempt at conquest accomplishes nothing besides wasting time and pitting potential allies against each other]].
** 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.]]
** King Maegor Targaryen lived and breathed this philosophy. This turned into [[KillEmAll a lust for violence]] that alienated all of Westeros' institutions and great families including his own. No one came to his support when Prince Jaehaerys came gunning for the crown and he died alone.
* 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.
* MisunderstoodLonerWithAHeartOfGold: Tyrion's storyline shows how emotionally and morally crushing it would actually be for someone to try to maintain a HiddenHeartOfGold when practically everyone assumes the worst of him. He keeps it up for awhile, but he grows increasingly miserable and cynical starting at the end of the second book, before finally snapping entirely.
* MommasBoy: On the face of it, Joffrey is the head-strong, pugnacious (if DirtyCoward) antithesis of the trope; at first blush, it certainly looks as if nobody else but he has access to his strings, since [[SpannerInTheWorks nobody can tell exactly what Joffrey will do from moment to moment]], so forget being confident in having him move according to a plan. Even if you are Cersei. 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, backs him to the hilt and will cover whatever he does as best she can: for all she also finds it annoying that she can't actually control him in return. She also actively went all-out to prevent others trying to correct his egocentric and sadistic behaviour as a child as part and parcel of trying to make him a proper ruler as she sees them: but, that backfired as her own snobbery got hurled back at her. He does ''actually'' show more genuine emotion beyond cruelty towards her than he does to most others in the series, even if he doesn't follow her advice. His beliefs often do closely mirror her own, and his actions are her kind of cruel deal, just larger, more obvious and a lot less cunning. She actually ''likes'' and is proud of his "boldness" on many levels even when it becomes a serious liability -- and, that always comes across. The result... is an uncontrollable boy-king willing to destabilize entire countries because he never learned any impulse control, social skills beyond parroting courtly behaviour 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]]
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Lord Walder Frey's sires name their children after him (regardless of gender) to curry favor. This makes for a confusing family tree.
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:O]]
* 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.
* 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.]]
* 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. By the law of Westeros he ''is'' the legitimate heir to the throne, however the fact that after the rebellion he was posted by his brother to a small island with few resources and and less vassals than other regions means that he has trouble getting enough support to enforce his claim, prolonging the war.
[[/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. It's 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.
** Aegon I made Aenys (elder son from the younger wife) his heir over Maegor (younger son from the older wife). Maegor would retaliate later by violently usurping the crown from Aenys' sons.
* PartyScattering: The remaining Starks are dispersed, 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 cut 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:Roose Bolton solidifies his rule by having his son marry an imposter Arya Stark]].
* 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.
[[/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.]]
** ImpossibleTask: The Targaryens had dragons and esoteric Valyrian knowledge that gave them a serious edge in a world post-Doom without much of either. They lost both over successive generations and a great deal of family in-fighting. Regaining it all became an obsession to the dragonless descendants. To the point that when a dusty [[PropheticFallacy prophecy that kind-of, sort-of]] gave pointers about what circumstances needed to be met to get everything back was found, succeeding generations tried to force it into being: [[SolveTheSoupCans and, failed utterly]]. Mainly thanks to no longer having the [[RequiredSecondaryPowers knowledge or culture they needed]] to [[TheKeyIsBehindTheLock interpret it correctly any more]]. They damned near exterminated their own linage multiple times trying, in fact. Yes, they've finally found their "Prince That Was Promised". Through no direct attempt to, this time (although, [[EpilepticTrees others might have used them knowing more than those that played parts did]]). However, there are not that many of them left to celebrate the return of dragons. Worse: there are no Targaryens around who know how to train or control the things now they're back. Also, there are plenty of people willing to take them off the Princess. Wonderful.
** 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 most of 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". The last anyone saw of him was in Volantis where he bought slaves to replace the crewmembers that left, and it's presumed his quest met with failure and resulted in his death.
[[/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 (actually a very petty noble: she has a last name, but little more than that). BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor -- [[spoiler:she is sold to Ramsay Bolton and married as Arya Stark as part of his plan to 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 of 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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"]].
* 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 it's 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]]
* SacredHospitality: Guest Right is the one tradition everyone in Westeros and beyond values but that doesn't mean some (like [[spoiler: Mance Rayder incognito in Winterfell]]) won't exploit it to their advantage. Others [[spoiler:like the Manderlys]] find loopholes so they can break it without coming off the aggressor. [[spoiler:The Red Wedding]] orchestrated by the Freys, Roose Bolton and approved by the Lannisters is the biggest breach of the right yet it ends the War of the Five Kings in one fell swoop. But it also causes a downward moral spiral for the rest of the realm. Now no one feels safe having strangers in their homes
* 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 another, younger and more beautiful, 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.]]
* SheIsAllGrownUp: Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen wanted Criston Cole to see her as a grown woman and not the little girl he protected so she took lessons from her uncle Daemon on how to please men. These "lessons" became infamous and "the realm's delight" became "the whore of Dragonstone".
* ShootTheDog: While this series warns how playing too fairly can cause one to be outmaneuvered, playing too dirty can make one look too dishonest. [[spoiler: Just ask the Lannisters, Freys and Boltons after the Red Wedding]].
* 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.
* 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 loathing of being made to act [[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 become 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, notably 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.
* StandardHeroReward: Getting rewarded for saving the kingdom ain't its all cracked up to be, especially when politics and personal feelings get involved.
** Robert Baratheon became king after overthrowing the last Targaryen. He came to hate this new duty as well as his new queen because he still loved his former betrothed.
** Stannis became Lord of Dragonstone, the most powerful lord in the Crownlands, because it is a hotbed of Targaryen loyalists. He and others believe it was punishment for his failure to kill the Mad King's children since Dragonstone is pretty much just a bare rock in the middle of the ocean, whereas the Baratheon ascentral seat, Storm's End, is a much more desirable castle.
** Robert and Stannis' ancestor King Maekar was made Prince of Summerhall for his role in crushing the Blackfyre Rebellion, bypassing his bookish older brother Aerys. So when Aerys became king, he bypassed Maekar in turn as Hand, instead appointing their bastard uncle Bloodraven. Its implied Maekar was given Summerhall to keep his unsavory sons Daeron and Aerion away from court.
** Orys Baratheon got the last Storm King's castle and daughter after the Targaryen Conquest. Some say it's because his rumored legitimate half-brother Aegon the Conqueror didn't see it fit to legitimize him as a real Targaryen.
* 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. 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.
** Peasant women often don't have men who can really protect them, so less scrupulous men are often free to rape and beat them. Knights are sworn to protect the fairer sex, but this usually only applies to noblewoman. Yet, conversely, being a ProperLady still isn't a guarantee that a woman is really safe, even from men who are suppose to protect her. During the Battle of Blackwater, Cersei explains to Sansa that when the men protecting a city die in battle, chivalry goes out the window and all the woman inside are fair game, from the lowest whore to the queen herself. And none of them can do anything to protect themselves.
* 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. There's never really a clear answer. 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. The ones who choose Lawful are seen as cruel even though they are in the moral right.
** Jaime's choice to be Good over Lawful in the breaking of his oath and killing Aerys made him one of the most despised men in all of Westeros. Even genuinely good men such as Ned Stark and Barristan Selmy treat him as irredeemable for this act. The fact that he became so despised for choosing Good over Lawful made him bitter to the point where he stopped really caring about either.
* 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.]]
* TheTrickster: Tyrion Lannister, Varys and Paetyr Baelish rely on wits because they aren't physically strong. They are hated for being dishonorable cowards though it is reminded that virtues of honor and courage is easier to exalt when one actually has the strength to defend oneself.
* 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.
* 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]]
* UndergroundCity: Castamere is mostly located underground, full of tunnels and mines. It comes back to bite them when Tywin orders Castamere to be sealed and flooded. [[KillEmAll With all Reynes inside]].
* 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 are plotting against the [[spoiler: Boltons]] and the Iron Throne under the condition that [[spoiler:Winterfell be liberated and a Stark, ''any'' Stark, be reinstated as the rightful lord]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder:V]]

* VillainRespect: Gwayne Corbray so impressed Daemon Blackfyre during their duel at the Battle of the Redgrass Field that Daemon had him carried off the field to be tended by his own maesters. This took too long and allowed Bloodraven and his archers to zero in on Daemon's position, killing him and his sons.
[[/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.
* 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.
* WithCatlikeTread: The band of Northern warriors called The Wild Hares would ride out singing. The Ironborn ambush and kill them because they could be heard from miles away
* 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.
* 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]]
* YoungestChildWins: Renly tries to invoke this, much like stories where the third son ends up being the ruler. However this involves him going against Westerosi law, including his older brother Stannis. 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? When Stannis offers Renly very reasonable terms, such as making him the heir until Stannis has a son and giving him Storm's End, Renly mockingly dismisses him. [[spoiler:Though Renly is killed this situation leads to the Tyrells turning against Stannis and prolongs the war when such an alliance would have quickly finished it.]]
[[/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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