Joffrey very quickly becomes this, revelling in his power over life and death and taking the cruel option at all times, whether or not it makes any political sense. He even bears a striking resemblance to Caligula himself.
Everyone is mine to torment.
The Posthumous Character Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King, was a bad enough ruler that his sworn guard Jaime was driven to kill him.
"What do we say to the god of death? 'Not today.'"
When Renly realizes that Loras is jealous of Brienne in Season 2, it mirrors the scene from Season 1 where Loras notices that Renly is jealous of Ned because Robert loves his friend more than his own brother.
Loras told Renly in Season 1, "I've never fought in a war before, but I'd fight for you." He keeps his promise by wearing Renly's armour during the Battle of Blackwater.
After gleefully telling the injured Tyrion what a mess he's in, Grand Maester Pycelle flicks him a coin, saying, "For your trouble," calling back to when Tyrion arrested him in his bedroom and tipped his prostitute using the same words.
In the House of the Undying, Daenerys rejects her vision of living with Drogo and their child by repeating the words said to her by Mirri Maz Duur, that she would have a child "when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east" and so forth. When Daenerys rejects the vision, Drogo's face also grows blank and expressionless like he was after the botched ritual.
When Varys asks about his plan to defeat Stannis, Tyrion says "pig shit," calling back to Bronn's accusation that Pyromancer Hallyne was a Snake Oil Salesman.
In "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Sansa has to remind Loras of their first meeting when he gave her a red rose at the Tourney of the Hand. The audience knows that the reason why Loras doesn't remember Sansa is because he was too busy staring at Renly at the time.
In "Walk of Punishment", Jaime explains to Locke his wide vocabulary is due to being forced to learn to read for hours as a child. In the previous season, Tywin tells a disguised Arya that Jaime is dyslexic, so Tywin had to teach him for hours every day how to read.
The terrified way Brienne screams "NO!" in "Walk of Punishment" sounds similar to the cry she let out when she had witnessed Renly's murder in Season 2, the last traumatic event that she had experienced.
The beheading of Rickard Karstark in "Kissed by Fire" strongly resembles that of Rodrik Cassel in "The Old Gods and the New". The scenes share the same background music, the same weather (rain) and both of the condemned use their last words to insult their executioner. Both of these scenes harken back to Ned's beheading of a Night's Watch deserter in Season 1, showing how Ned has influenced Robb and Theon. Theon botches the beheading and makes an utter fool of himself, while Robb takes the head off clean in one swing.
When Loras describes how he dreamed of marrying a bride wearing a "beautiful gown of gold and green brocade", it's reminiscent of the richly decorative cape that Renly wore at the Tourney of the Hand.
Littlefinger's speech to Varys ("chaos is a ladder") is eerily reminiscent to Varys' speech to Tyrion on the same topic ("power is a shadow on the wall"), albeit each character arrives at a very different conclusion after their insight.
As they are leaving Harrenhal, Jaime tells Roose Bolton to give his regards to Robb Stark. Several episodes later, Roose passes on the sentiment as he kills Robb.
In Season 1, Sam admits that he always wanted to be a wizard. In Season 3, Gilly calls him a wizard, causing him to beam.
Much of Tyrion's trial is made up of Call Backs. Meryn Trant's testimony is of Tyrion stopping Joffrey from beating Sansa, Tyrion asks Varys if he remembers admitting Tyrion saved the city, etc. As a whole, Tyrion's speech at the end is also a very dark Call Back to him being on trial for another murder he didn't commit at the Eyrie in Season 1. His behavior, however, is much different this time.
Yara's speech in "The Laws of Gods and Men" is really a retread of Tywin Lannister's speech in the first season about reputation.
Tywin: If another house can seize one of our own and hold him captive, with impunity, we are no longer a house to be feared.
Yara: As long as they can hurt our prince with impunity the word 'Ironborn' means nothing!
People keep warning about the White Walkers, but no one's doing anything about it. Even those who do seem concerned, like Tyrion and Ned, get distracted by other matters and seem to completely forget about them.
"Winter is Coming," the Stark motto, could be considered this. While everyone is busy playing power games and coups — and indeed, each house's words reflect this — the Starks' only concern is the long and brutal winter that's on the horizon, which could last years.
Catelyn warning Robb to "never trust a Greyjoy.".
King Robert regarding the threat of Dothraki invasion.
Davos is certain that Melisandre can't be trusted and repeatedly tries to warn Stannis about this.
"Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross."
In one of the most ironic scenes in Season 3, King Joffrey (normally portrayed as short-sighted and stupid) demands his Hand investigate the rumors of Daenerys and her dragons, but Lord Tywin shoots him down with cold, implacable logic (no-one has been able to successfully breed a dragon in hundreds of years, and those ones were severely stunted).
Natalie Dormer as Margaery. The role is quite similar to her turn as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors. Both are ambitious queens of dubious virginity with a close bond with their gay brother — all that, and the fact that her house sigil (a rose) is almost exactly the same as that of The House Of Tudor.
The series' regular audiobook narrator Roy Dotrice was going to play Pycelle, but health concerns forced him into a cameo as Pyromancer Hallyne.
And of course, even those who hadn't read the books would be pessimistic of Ned Stark's survival chances when he turned up played by Sean Bean.
Literal example in the Battle of Blackwater when the mounted forces of Ser Loras Tyrell and Tywin Lannister arrive at the last moment and drive back Stannis' forces to win the battle.
The season 4 finale has another literal example when Stannis's army arrives to help the night's watch against the wildlings.
Cavalry Betrayal: During the last days of the Mad King, Tywin Lannister's forces entered King's Landing as allies and then proceeded to sack the city in Robert's name. Jaime knew too well his father was invoking this trope, but his warnings were not heard.
Loras Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth are this to Renly.
Davos Seaworth and Melisandre of Asshai are both this to Stannis, though they disagree on everything else.
Chance Meeting Between Antagonists: While going about their own business, Catelyn Stark and Tyrion Lannister recognize each other at an inn, causing the intrigues of other characters to spiral out of control into an all-out civil war.
The Charmer: In "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Sansa says that Renly was very gallant, and Olenna then adds "...charming and very clean. He knew how to dress and smile..." Mace Tyrell liked him enough to crown him king. People are naturally drawn to Renly's charisma, according to Loras in "The Wolf and the Lion".
Loras: People love you. They want to serve you because you're kind to them. They want to be near you.
Jorah's talk with Rakharo about how a Dothraki blade won't pierce plate armor.
When Jaime Lannister notes Jory Cassel's scar, Jory explains that a Greyjoy man-at-arms nearly took his eye at the siege of Pyke. Later, when their swords become locked during a fight, Jaime pulls his dagger and stabs Jory in the same eye.
Also, the dragon eggs.
The Lannister lion necklace that Tyrion gives Ros as a tip, seen in "The Wolf and the Lion", gets her implicated as Tyrion's whore in "The Prince of Winterfell".
Daenerys teaching her dragons to breathe fire on command, first presented as a pet trick, becomes very important in Season 2 finale "Valar Morghulis".
Littlefinger threatens Ros with the story of the Lyseni whore. Later he makes good on his promise when he finds out she's Varys' spy by giving her to Joffrey.
In Season 2, the Night's Watch discover a stash of obsidian blades buried beyond the Wall. In Season 3, Samwell Tarly discovers they have a lethal effect on the White Walkers while steel blades only shatter at their touch. Thus whoever buried them likely meant to invoke this trope.
Directly after becoming Master of Coin, Tyrion discovers that Littlefinger had been taking out loans from the Iron Bank, and expressed concern that if they didn't pay those loans back, the bank would fund their enemies. In "The Laws of Gods and Men", Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth make their way to Braavos and convince the Iron Bank to fund Stannis' claim on the throne.
The Medieval European Fantasy equivalent of the gun referred to in the original quote by Anton Chekhov — Joffrey's custom crossbow. Also as per the quote, it's even hanging on the wall when Tyrion takes it down and uses it to kill his father.
Bran's habit of climbing the walls and buildings of Winterfell is established early on in the pilot.
Later on, Theon's archery skills, which he rightly boasts about.
In Season 4, after his wildling adventure, Jon Snow is shown teaching the new Night's Watch recruits about fighting against Dual Wielding opponents. The very next episode, he faces off against the mutineer Karl, who has a pair of knives. He manages to hold his own against his more experienced opponent, but ultimately requires assistance to succeed.
Sansa is established to be good at sewing in the very first episode. Four seasons later, it actually becomes useful when she unveils her Evil Costume Switch.
Cherry Tapping: Khal Drogo does this when Mago challenges his authority. He casually dodges Mago's attacks and completely disarms himself, then kills Mago with Mago's own weapon to show how many orders of magnitude more badass he is.
When Robb leaves Winterfell to fight against House Lannister, Bran becomes the acting Lord of Winterfell.
Bran's cousin Robin Arryn is the Lord of the Eyrie. Littlefinger attempts to invoke this in "The Mountain and the Viper". He pushes the elders of the Vale to let Robin train as a warrior to lead the people of the Vale against the Lannisters, as Robin is the only known living male who's part of Lysa and Catelyn's bloodline (since Bran is off the radar and Jon Snow is Ned's son, but not Catelyn's).
Then there's a very dark example in the teenaged King of Westeros, Joffrey Baratheon.
After Robert won his rebellion, he bestowed the title of Lord of Storm's End to his youngest brother Renly, who was only a child at the time.
Child Soldier: Arya Stark resembles one. She began as a spirited tomboy Foil to her ladylike sister Sansa, but the horrors of war have left her a hardened killer seeking vengeance.
Even though the Freys are bannermen for House Tully, they have a history of refusing to help unless they have something to gain. The Starks and their more trustworthy allies are Genre Savvy enough to assume that House Frey could sell them out at any moment if they don't know the Starks or Tullys could give a better price.
Littlefinger warns Ned Stark that the Gold Cloaks will only be loyal to whoever pays them the most.
The Greyjoys led a rebellion against Robert in the backstory, leading to Theon being forced to live with the Starks as hostage. The second Theon returns, to offer peace terms from Robb, Balon Greyjoy plots to rebel against the North again, and Theon joins him.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Daenerys Targaryen has put her plan to conquer Westeros on hold indefinitely while she frees the slaves of Slaver's Bay.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Greatjon is missing after Season 1 due to scheduling conflicts with the actor. It's unclear whether the character will ever return.
Circle of Standing Stones: The Night's Watch ventures beyond The Wall on a recon mission, and make camp at a circle of standing stones said to have been made by the "Children of the Forest."
The City Narrows: Flea Bottom is the main slum of King's Landing. Joffrey and his entourage are attacked by a mob there in Season 2, and Margaery visits orphanages there in Season 3 as part of her family's PR campaign.
City of Spies: According to Littlefinger, just about everyone in King's Landing is a spy for someone.
The Clan: Each of the major houses could be considered one, what with their long and complex histories, tangled branches, sigils and mottoes, and similar looks. House Frey is a notable example, with Lord Walder Frey's multitude of descendants giving rise to jokes that he could field an army out of his breeches.
Tyrion is accused of an attempt on Bran's life, because Littlefinger claims that the dagger found on the assassin belonged to Tyrion. Tyrion beats the charges thanks to Bronn winning the Trial by Combat.
Tyrion is in the wrong place at the wrong time during a wedding, is accused of killing Joffrey and faces a trial for it.
Season 1: Sansa is held captive in the court of King's Landing. Tyrion is sent to King's Landing. Arya, disguised as a boy, joins a caravan of "volunteers" for the Wall. Robb is declared King in the North. Jon Snow joins a great ranging beyond the Wall. Daenerys hatches her dragon eggs.
Season 2: Littlefinger offers to get Sansa out of the city. Tyrion loses power to Tywin and the Tyrells. Arya escapes Lannister custody and vows to return to her family. Robb breaks his marriage pact. Jon Snow goes to meet Mance Rayder. Daenerys departs Qarth. Theon is betrayed, Winterfell is razed, and Bran and Rickon flee north. The White Walkers move to attack the rangers beyond the Wall.
Season 3: Sansa remains a captive, but now with nowhere to escape to. Arya is on the run with the Hound. Jon Snow barely makes it back to Castle Black alive. Roose Bolton and Walder Frey assume power. Theon finally breaks completely under Ramsay's torture. Yara Greyjoy sets out to rescue her brother. Bran Stark passes beyond the safety of the Wall. Daenerys gains control of a massive horde of freedmen.
Clingy Jealous Boy: Loras becomes jealous of Brienne after she defeats him in the melee, and he "punishes" Renly for accepting her into the Kingsguard by withholding sex.
Clock Punk: Not the show itself, but the opening animation invokes it. Watch as King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and land across the Narrow Sea come out of the ground. Later locations, like the Eyrie and the Twins, are depicted here as the show focuses on them.
Coitus Ensues: Averted. Many episodes have at least one sex scene, yet the writers go out of their way to ensure the scene isn't just there for the sake of T&A. Although not the first production to combine actual plot movement with sex scenes, reviews of the series are responsible for coining the phrase "sexposition" to describe scenes that might otherwise stop the show dead, yet actually provide sometimes quite important plot information.
The Lannisters are jerkass blondes. The Baratheons are all black-haired warriors. The Targaryens are all universally white haired and pale, because they're descended from Valyrians (also, incest). Actually plays a rather large part in the plot, especially considering hair color isn't the only thing being passed down.
Soldiers' uniforms: Stark soldiers wear grey and brown, Lannister soldiers wear black, red and gold, Baratheon soldiers wear light brown and orange, soldiers of the Vale wear blue, the Kingsguard wear bronze and white cloaks, the Night's Watch wear black and Greyjoy soldiers wear dark, Cambridge blue.
Combat Breakdown: The duel between Sandor and Brienne starts with swords and finishes with grappling, biting and rock-clubbing.
Combat Pragmatist: Since this is a series where things don't go well for those who act honorably, there's multiple examples of characters winning fights by not fighting "fair":
Loras Tyrell wins his joust with Gregor Clegane by riding a mare in heat (knowing Gregor would be riding a stallion). Characters disagree over whether or not this is cheating.
Bronn wins his Duel to the Death because he didn't fight with honor and his opponent did. He avoided his heavily armoured opponent until the knight was too tired to fight.
The Dothraki believe that armor is for the weak. Jorah fights one wearing armor, and the Dothraki's speed doesn't do much against plate and mail.
Robb refuses to fight a Combat by Champion against one of the deadliest warriors in the Seven Kingdoms, because he knows he would lose.
In a tournament between Brienne and Loras, Loras disarms Brienne, but she tackles him and draws a dagger, forcing him to yield.
When Jaime fights Ned's bannerman, their swords lock together. Jaime suddenly pulls out a dagger with his other hand and stabs his opponent in the eye.
Yoren threatens a mounted king's soldier by pointing a dagger at his femoral artery, stating that men are so worried about their necks that they often forget about everything below it.
Lord Tywin scolds Jaime for sparing Lord Stark because of his desire for a clean fight and asks Tyrion why killing 10,000 men in an open battle is more noble than slashing a dozen at dinner.
Come with Me If You Want to Live: "If you want to live, we have to leave now", says Joffrey's fool to Sansa as yet another wedding goes bad in "The Lion and the Rose".
Comet of Doom: Visible in the skies of Westeros in the Season 2 premiere.
Comforting the Widow: Littlefinger tries this on Catelyn after her husband dies. She pulls a knife on him and tells him to get out, since he's the reason her husband is dead. To make it even more inappropriate, the reason he was meeting with her was to deliver her late husband's bones.
Compressed Adaptation: As of Season 4, it has generally proven to be more faithful as an adaptation of A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings than the books that followed, removing and/or significantly altering certain subplots (Tysha, Sansa/Alayne, the Lords Declarant, etc.) that are still in progress in the books.
Jaime Lannister provides the page quote. If you are sworn to defend the king and the innocent, what do you do when the king massacres the innocent? Later in the wake of the Purple Wedding, Jaime essentially has to go against his family and his vows to the Kingsguard to protect his innocent brother.
Ned Stark consistently chooses Honor Before Reason until he must choose between honor and his other core value: his family.
Jon Snow constantly struggles between his oath to the Night's Watch and family, love, and justice. Later when he comes The Mole for the Night's Watch within the Wildlings, he has to maintain a purpose while deceiving and betraying the Wildlings he genuinely comes to be fond of, and in the case of Ygritte, fall in love with.
Theon Greyjoy gets caught between the Starks, a foster family who takes him hostage after his father's failed rebellion and his father who regards him as a symbol of his failure and humiliation. He finds that he can't be fully a Stark so he tries to be a Greyjoy only to realize far too late that "he chose wrong".
Brienne of Tarth is a sworn sword to Renly and later to Catelyn, she is charged by the latter to escort Jaime and give him safe passage to the capital and return her daughters to safety. In the course of that voyage, Catelyn dies, she and Jaime become friends after he saves her life and she is later charged to protect her daughters with a sword made from Ned Stark's Valyrian sword but with a Lannister hilt and pommel, essentially symbolizing her divided loyalties and doing her little favour in the eyes of Arya Stark and the Hound.
Con Lang: Several have been created for the series by conlanger David Peterson, based only on the few scraps of Fictionary provided by the source material. It's reached the point where George R. R. Martin consults him on the fragments of languages he puts in the later books.
Cool Chair: The Iron Throne was forged in dragonfire by Aegon the Conqueror out of the swords of his defeated subjects. Many promotional shots for the show feature various characters sitting on it. As you might expect from a chair made from blades, it's bloody uncomfortable to actually sit on (which was Aegon's intention when he had the thing made as a true ruler should never be comfortable with the power they hold).
Varys: Ugly, don't you think? Baelish: Yet it has a certain appeal.
Tommen's cat Ser Pounce is working his way there memetically after only one appearance.
Cool Sword: The Starks' Valyrian steel greatsword Ice, Arya's Needle and Jon's Longclaw. Joffrey boasts he's named his sword Hearteater... but he flees the battle before taking the opportunity to use it. Oathkeeper in Season 4.
Corpsing: In-universe; Varys, who prides himself in his ability to act (he was actually trained as one in the past), struggles or fails to keep a straight face in public several times when Tyrion mocks Joffrey.
Couch Gag: The world map in the credits highlights the major areas featured in each episode.
Could Have Avoided This Plot: Tywin and Tyrion repeatedly point out that, if Joffrey hadn't killed Ned Stark, he could have been traded back along with Sansa and Arya to avoid the war with the Starks.
The unforgettable moment when Jaime Lannister says he'd be willing to go to war with the king over his sister. "They can write a ballad about us. The War for Cersei's Cunt." (Cue Armor-Piercing Slap from Cersei.)
Renly too, in reference to the Lannisters.
Tyrion in regards to his father.
Bronn spouts his own brand of unique, worldly wisdom with regards to Joffrey.
Yara drops it on Theon at Winterfell. He tries to protest, but she just repeats it louder.
Locke uses it to describe Catelyn.
Courtly Love: Gender-flipped with Renly Baratheon and Brienne of Tarth. She is a devoted knight who will do anything for her beloved king, and she is resigned to the fact that he will never return her feelings. (Brienne believes that Renly's lack of romantic interest is due to her ugly looks and lower social status, not because he's gay.)
Crapsack World: In the cutthroat world of Westeros the nobility are squabbling over the throne whilst hideous monsters are waking from their long sleep and will likely invade, but no-one is preparing properly for it. Most of the smallfolk are treated horribly and many nobles think nothing of raping or murdering them. Winters can last for years and everybody worries about starvation; if there isn't enough food set aside, everyone will die. Meanwhile, in Essos, the Dothraki go around raiding, slaughtering and enslaving anyone who can't buy them off or get out of the way in time, and the cities to the East are pretty much dependent on slavery. To aggravate things some more, Being Good Sucks.
Cross Referenced Titles: "Valar Morghulis"/"Valar Dohaeris", the Season 2 finale and Season 3 opener. The former is a Valyrian phrase taught to Arya by Jaqen meaning "All men must die," the latter the traditional response, "All men must serve."
Crowd Surfing: Daenerys does this with the slaves she has just freed in Season 3 finale "Mhysa".
Crown of Horns: Robert, Joffrey, Tommen and Renly wear crowns which feature stylized stag antlers; the latter's is arguably the most striking piece of headwear in the series. In fact, Renly is the image for the trope page.
Cruel and Unusual Death: Khal Drogo is an expert at this. Like ripping out someone's tongue for speaking ill of his wife. Or dumping molten gold over a guy's head.
The Faith of the Seven is vaguely reminiscent of the Catholic Church. It worships One God with Seven Aspects (or "faces"). It has a hierarchy of celibate clergy, with Septons (priests) and Septas (nuns) at the bottom and a single High Septon at the top. Being part of the Faith (or at least paying lip service) is mandatory to become a knight (i.e., styled "Ser"). It's the official religion of the Seven Kingdoms, having been brought over through conquest to supplant the local, pagan religion of the "old gods."
Melisandre's Lord of Light, a fire deity whom she constantly describes as the "one true God". It bears a strong resemblance to Zoroastrianism.
The Drowned God faith, confined to the Iron Islands and inspired also from Scandinavian mythology, is a monotheistic religion based on a figure that died but came back to life. Ironborn people believe it may them to reave and rape-the so-called "Old Way." The god has a more evil counterpart in the Storm God and initiation is marked by a baptism in sea water, considered holy. It has a saying ("What is dead may never die/But rises again, harder and stronger") which reflects the belief that if they serve the Drowned God, they will be reborn into his halls under the waves after their death.
"You Win or You Die" (played at the climax of the eponymous episode) is this for "The King's Arrival" (which plays when Robert and his entourage arrive at Winterfell). Also reprised in "The North Remembers" as "The Throne is Mine", which plays over a vignette of the Gold Cloaks purging all of Robert's bastard children, on Joffrey's orders. Inverted in the same piece, as a more triumphant rendition of the Baratheon theme "Black of Hair" plays when Gendry escapes the purge.
The National's "The Rains of Castamere" during the end credits of "Blackwater" acts as this for a far more cheery rendition performed by Bronn earlier in the episode.
"The House of the Undying", played during Bad Future vision in the House of the Undying sequence near the end of "Valar Morghulis". It's a grimmer rendition of "Finale", the track played over the reveal of the dragons at the end of the first season, mixed with elements of "The Wall".
"Three Blasts", the music that accompanies the march of the White Walkers at the end of the Season 2 finale, is an extremely dark, foreboding, slowed-down variation on the series's main theme.
Theon's Season 2 theme, "What Is Dead May Never Die," is first heard when he is returning to the Iron Islands. It is played again at the end of episode 7, this time sounding very twisted and dissonant, hinting at his deteriorating mental state. Taken even further in Season 3: The first half of "Reek", played when Theon is escaping from The Boy's men early in the season, is Theon's theme sped up and set to a drum beat, reflecting his panic. The second half plays in the season finale when Ramsay tortures Theon into accepting his new name.
Deadpan Snarker: Tyrion Lannister truly is the Lord of House Snark. His sellsword companion Bronn and older brother Jaime also bring the snark plenty themselves. Sansa becomes a master of subtle insults and back-handed compliments in later episodes. Davos Seaworth is likely the only man in Stannis' service comfortable enough to be this to his king's face.
Brienne gives Jaime a very menacing one in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" when his gay jokes about Renly go too far. She also shoots daggers from her eyes when the Kingslayer insults her for being unable to protect her king in "Kissed by Fire".
Tywin's threatening gaze in Second Sons is enough to silence wedding guests who are chuckling at Joffrey's prank.
Death of the Old Gods: The Faith of the Seven has largely replaced the Old Gods, who were worshipped by the original inhabitants of Westeros. The Northerners who pray to the old gods and the new are virtually the only worshippers left. The religion of R'hllor, a militant, monotheistic religion from the East, has taken a foothold in Dragonstone, where Stannis embraces the Lord of Light and burns the statues of the the Seven at the beginning of his bid for the throne. Arya is taught and adopts a Braavosi cult: there is only one god, and his name is Death.
In "Second Sons", Daario presents Dany with the heads of his former bosses as proof of his loyalty.
Joffrey makes Sansa see her father's head, and threatens to present Robb's head to her as well once he defeats him. Following the Red Wedding, Joffrey orders Robb's head delivered so he can follow through, but he is refused.
On hearing that Dany has become leader of her own tiny khalasar, a rival khal sends back the head of one of her bloodriders in the saddlebag of his horse.
Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Arya throws the Lannister men off the trail of Gendry by claiming that a kid they'd already killed was Gendry. Luckily the dead kid had stolen Gendry's distinctive helm.
Declaration of Protection: Faithfully serving Renly as a member of his Kingsguard is Brienne's quiet way of expressing her (unrequited) love for him.
Robb Stark, whom George RR even stated was killed off to not make Game of Thrones "A revenge story"./
Viserys Targaryen is this trope's inversion, a Decoy Antagonist.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: All over the place. A notable theme of the series and the novels is to deconstruct heroic fantasy and show why a realistically-medieval fantasy world would not be a nice place.
Demoted to Dragon: Houses Stark, Lannister, and Arryn were kings before they bent the knee to the Targaryens and became wardens.
Demoted to Extra: Several characters suffer from this, particularly secondary lords and members of the Kingsguard.
In "The Night Lands", Cersei justifies not sending more men to the Wall on the basis that she's sure the members of the Night's Watch can ably defend the realm. Cut to Watch member Dolorous Edd amusing the others with fart jokes.
Tyrion warns that for every enemy they kill, they create two more. Cut to Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark just before they hack down some Freys. In the same episode, Bran tells a story of how the gods punish those who violate Sacred Hospitality; cut to Lord Walder Frey Evil Gloating over his part in the Red Wedding.
Stannis Baratheon begins the war as the weakest and least popular king, but moves to attack his strongest rival anyway. He takes control of half of this army by assassinating his own brother. Then he nearly captures the capital of the realm but is disastrously defeated. Rather than concede, Stannis struggles to raise more forces and continue his fight.
King Renly collapses into Brienne's arms after he is stabbed through the heart, and she holds him for a moment before he dies.
Talisa Stark dies in Robb Stark's arms after being mortally stabbed.
King Joffrey Baratheon dies in his mother's arms.
Dirt Forcefield: Loras should be covered in blood, sweat and grime in "Blackwater", yet he's completely clean. His immaculate appearance is highlighted when Tywin enters the throne room coated with blood and dirt.
Ygritte dies while Jon Snow is holding her in his arms.
"The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword" is a customary law in the North, where the incumbent Lord Stark judges, passes and personally carries out every death sentence. It's meant as a safeguard against tyranny because a ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is and may become arbitrary. Ned's son, Robb, later follows this philosophy.
Ned sacrifices Lady because she deserves better than a butcher, but he's afflicted by Robert's call.
Stannis shows regret over killing Renly despite rationalizing that his brother wronged him by stealing his bannermen.
Dirty Coward: During the battle at the Wall, a terrified Janos Slynt retreats from the fighting and hides in the same room as Gilly.
Walder Frey is an old man married to a 15-year-old girl. He gropes her in public and brags about taking her to bed.
The elderly Grand Maester Pycelle has more spunk than he lets on, and is seen following an assignation with the young prostitute Ros. Later he offers a free "medical examination" for a young woman before Cersei stops it.
Craster has them all beat. He had sex with his own daughters, and their daughters, and their daughters...
Joffrey forces a prostitute to beat another so badly it is unclear whether she survives.
Littlefinger reveals that he's not above letting his customers murder his prostitutes, especially if they displease him. In the third season, we see the truth of this claim when he gives Ros to Joffrey for target practice because she spied on him for Varys.
Common with Joffrey. Lampshaded by Tyrion when Joffrey orders that an unruly mob be slaughtered. "They threw a cowpie at you, so you decide to kill them all?!"
In "The Rains of Castamere", the Red Wedding. Walder Frey's idea of making things even after Robb goes back on his word to marry one of his daughters is to have him, his pregnant wife, his mother and most of his men slaughtered during a wedding. What makes it more galling is that he broke the sacred laws of hospitality. All because he lost his chance to become the father of the Queen of the North and the grandfather of the future king.
Gregor Clegane burned off half his brother's face for playing with his toy.
Draconic Humanoid: Although not seen, Daenerys Targaryen's stillborn son Rhaego is described as having come into the world with draconic features such as scales and wings after a blood ritual in which he was sacrificed in a sabotaged attempt to save his father, her husband Khal Drogo, demonstrating that the Targaryens are the real blood of the dragon.
Jaime to his father Tywin in Season 1, replaced by Gregor Clegane in Season 2. In later seasons, Tywin himself serves as Dragon-in-Chief to his nephew Joffrey.
Bronn to Tyrion.
Ser Vardis Egen to Lady Lysa Tully.
Viserys considers Khal Drogo to be his Dragon (though he thinks he himself is "the Dragon" in a different sense). Drogo doesn't care what Viserys wants and kills him off when he threatens Daenerys and her and Drogo's unborn son.
Ser Jorah Mormont for Daenerys.
Dagmer to Theon.
Locke to Roose Bolton.
Janos Slynt to Alliser Thorne.
Dragon-in-Chief: Lord Tywin is the trope page image. Nominally, he is second-in-command to King Joffrey, but in reality Joffrey is little more than a figurehead and anyone wishing to oppose Joffrey's reign must contend with Tywin. After Joffrey's assassination his little brother Tommen, unlike him, doesn't even try to stand up for himself.
Dragon Rider: House Targaryen conquered Westeros this way, and its last scion Daenerys obviously aspires to this when her dragons are grown.
King Joffrey pitches a Smart Ball when he worries about the menace of Daenerys Targaryen and her three dragons, but Lord Tywin dismisses the brewing threat because he has more pressing concerns and outdated intelligence.
In "Mhysa", two lesser lords laugh at Tyrion as he walks with Sansa and Shae. He begins to repeat their names and Sansa asks if he is adding them to a kill list. He doesn't have such a list... but Sansa's own sister does.
The White Walkers, the legendary and feared monsters of the North.
Tywin Lannister became one after wiping out House Reyne of Castamere and sacking King's Landing. Tyrion defines Westeros as "Seven Kingdoms united in fear of Tywin Lannister" and even a vicious madman like Joffrey is intimidated in his presence.
The Iron Bank of Braavos is this to the Lannisters. When Tyrion takes over as Master of Coin, he's shocked that Littlefinger sunk the treasury millions in debt to the Iron Bank, who are famous for funding enemies of ruling states when they default. Tywin Lannister tells Olenna Tyrell that he's not worried about the Iron Bank, but she calls his bluff and tells him that he'd be a fool not to be scared of them.
Dress Hits Floor: A rare male version of this trope occurs in "The Wolf and the Lion" when Loras removes Renly's pants (and any undergarment the latter may be wearing) in one swift movement and letting them drop to the floor.
Drop Dead Gorgeous: An episode ends on the dead body of Ros the prostitute, who has been shot to death with a crossbow. The camera pans across her body, and somewhere between her tousled red hair and the soft lighting, she ends up looking like a martyr in a Renaissance painting. She was also scantily clad, a former sex worker, and killed whilst sitting tied to the end of a bed.
Stannis, victorious defender of the terrible siege of Storm's End, resents Robert because his older brother gave Storm's End to Renly, the sibling who never did any fighting.
After holding the fort for the family during a brief but good chancellorship, Tyrion brings himself to ask his father for some recognition, but Tywin only states that he shouldn't need "applause" for doing his duty, then transitions into a devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
Starks are buried in the catacombs of Winterfell in tombs adorned by statues of their likenesses. Robert's first request upon arriving is to visit the tomb of Lyanna Stark. Robert dislikes the cold, dark catacombs.
In the Faith of the Seven, it's customary to stand vigil over a recently deceased comrade, family member or loved one. When Ser Hugh gets killed, Ser Barristan stands vigil because there was no one else, establishing him as a man of dignity and compassion.
Tyrion returning the remains of Ned Stark is not only a political token of goodwill, but a humane gesture as well.
Loras stands vigil over Renly's body, and remains near his beloved even as Tyrell bannermen are panicking to flee the area before Stannis' fleet arrives. It's revealed in a deleted scene that Loras also buried Renly on his own.
A fallen comrade of The Night's Watch deserves a proper ceremony even if the unit is knee-deep in hostile territory in the far end of the world. Funeral services involve immolation and the ritual prayer "And now his watch has ended."
House Tully is introduced during the Viking Funeral of their patriarch. Edmure fumbling the arrow shot establishes him as a bit of a fuck-up.
Daenerys arranges a massive funeral pyre for Khal Drogo, though she has additional uses for the fire.
Disrespect to the dead is used by various characters to Kick the Dog.
Joffrey gloats over the heads he mounts on spikes, forcing Sansa to look at the head of her father.
The Hound threatens to desecrate the corpse of any soldier who wavers during the Battle of Blackwater.
The villainy of Walder Frey and his cronies hits a new low when they decapitate Robb, attach Grey Wind's head on the stump and parade it around chanting "The King in the North" as mockery. Later on, some random soldiers who gloat about it get a karmic death courtesy of Arya and Sandor Clegane.
DVD Bonus Content: The first season Blu-ray release contains an "In-Episode Guide", a series of pictures narrated by the actors over the history of Westeros, especially Robert's Rebellion, where each character tells the viewer of that event from their point of view.
Dying Clue: Jon Arryn's dying words are reported as "The seed is strong." It turns out he meant Baratheon black hair is dominant over Lannister blond.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Grenn and five other Night's Watchmen manage to hold off a fucking giant in the tunnel below the Wall