Game Of Thrones / Tropes C to D

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  • Cain and Abel:
    • Stannis and Renly Baratheon. Stannis is generally considered the Cain, though their dynamic is actually quite complex. Both fully intend to kill the other after their final parley and, while Stannis is both the elder brother and a much more abrasive character, he is also the rightful heir and the underdog with a much smaller army.
    • Gregor and Sandor Clegane, ever since Gregor melted Sandor's face in a brazier. However, except for a brief spar in "The Wolf and the Lion", they have never come to blows.
    • Selyse Baratheon née Florent is an enthusiastic participant in her brother Axell's human sacrifice.
    • Ramsey Bolton feeds his dogs with his baby brother.
    • Cersei becomes outright murderous towards her brother Tyrion when he is framed for her son's death. By Season 7, she had extended it towards her other brother Jaime, as she is willing to execute him for walking away on her but she doesn't have it in her to do it right away.
    • Subverted with Arya and Sansa.
  • The Caligula:
    • Joffrey becomes this very quickly, reveling in his power over life and death and taking the cruel option at all times regardless of the political implications. He even bears a striking resemblance to the trope namer.
      Everyone is mine to torment.
    • Its very much clear that he got it from his mother Cersei as shown in in Season 6 where she usurps power by blowing up all her political rivals when they are united in one place, and proceeds to rule in her own right just as cruelly as he did.
    • The Posthumous Character Mad King Aerys Targaryen was a bad enough ruler that his sworn guard Jaime Lannister was driven to kill him. Even his former allies have long since admitted he was an Ax-Crazy tyrant.
    • Karl Tanner's reign at Craster's Keep involves a great deal of violence and debauchery.
  • Call-Back: Has its own page.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Theon calls his father out on his hypocritical abuse by noting it was Balon himself who gave Theon to the Starks after his own Might Makes Right attitude got him curb-stomped by Robert Baratheon. Balon responds by knocking Theon to the floor and storming off.
      "You act as if I volunteered! You gave me away, if you remember?! The day you bent the knee to Robert Baratheon! After he crushed you! Did you 'take what was yours,' then?!"
    • Cersei tries to call Tywin out for favouring his sons over her (which isn't exactly true, particularly of Tyrion) and for valuing his family legacy more than his actual family.
    • Tyrion makes a few attempts to criticize his father for his poor treatment, but Tywin keeps trumping him.
    • Yara Greyjoy tears into Balon when he callously writes off Theon.
    • Tyrion and Cersei both finally succeed in calling their father out in "The Children". Ironically, the episode first aired on Father's Day. Cersei hammers it home when she realizes that Tywin has blinded himself to her twincest for twenty years, and Tyrion hammers in an actual crossbow bolt followed by an "I am my father's son" speech.
  • Call It Karma: After murdering the late king's illegitimate children in the previous episode (and his betrayal of Ned Stark before that), Janos Slynt is stripped of his rank and titles and banished to the Wall by Tyrion to make room for his own man. Soon afterwards, he is then executed for insubordination by the newly elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Jon Snow — Ned Stark's illegitimate son.
  • Came Back Wrong:
    • Khal Drogo, type Soulless Shell, comes back in vegetative state.
    • The wights, type Damaged Soul with some Demonic Possession.
    • Beric Dondarrion mentions that every time he's resurrected, he feels that he loses a bit of himself.
    • In "The Children", Qyburn says his methods may leave his subject somewhat "changed" but certainly not weakened.
    • Narrowly averted with Jojen Reed, who is showing signs of becoming a wight when he is incinerated.
  • The Cameo:
    • Jason Momoa reprises his role in "Valar Morghulis", exactly one season after his character was killed off.
    • In "Walk of Punishment", Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol leads Locke's squad in singing "The Bear and the Maiden Fair".
    • In "Dragonstone," pop star Ed Sheeran has a cameo as a Lannister soldier who sings "Hands of Gold at a camp site. The showrunners intended it as a gift to Maisie Williams, who is a fan, but the cameo received some backlash on social media.
  • Camp Follower: Shae begins as this before stepping up to be The Mistress.
  • Camp Straight: Heterosexual Ser Lancel Lannister's appearance and demeanor are somewhat effeminate.
  • Canis Major: The Stark direwolves.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Tywin Lannister is killed in the privy.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water:
    • Inverted by the Dothraki, a human culture who fear to cross the sea because they have a mythological mistrust of any water their horses cannot drink. It's Serious Business when Khal Drogo announces that he plans to cross it.
    • After an army of Wights invades the Wildling settlement of Hardhome, the zombies stop their advance at the shorelines and don't attempt to pursue the fleeing humans into the sea.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Sam, either because of his oath or his overall awkwardness, is unwilling to admit any romantic feeling for Gilly despite her less-than-subtle hints that his affection would be welcome.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Cersei refers to Joffrey as her firstborn in "First of His Name," despite discussing the loss of her dark-haired son — her first baby — with Catelyn in "The Kingsroad" and with her husband Robert Baratheon in "The Wolf and the Lion". Either the writers forgot their own Canon Foreigner or Cersei has invoked this trope In-Universe and doesn't count that child because he was her son with Robert, not Jaime.
  • Canon Foreigner: Has its own page.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Ramsay Snow claims this is why he won't kill Theon Greyjoy. It's pretty obvious that the real reason is that he's having too much fun torturing his prisoner. His father Roose even berates him for wasting such a potentially valuable hostage. However in the following season once he's broken Theon, he does put him to good use in getting the surrender of a castle that's been seized by the Ironborn.
  • Cape Snag:
    • Syrio Forel disables one guardsman by grabbing his cape in "The Pointy End".
    • Bronn outright states that this trope is why he won't wear a cape.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Robert and his beleaguered squire Lancel:
      Robert: What do you mean it's empty?
      Lancel: There's no more wine.
      Robert: Is that what empty means?! So. Get. More!
    • Tywin's miffed line, "You shot me?!" in "The Children."
    • Sansa and Jon argue about whether urging him to "not do what Ramsay wants" in the upcoming battle is too obvious to be useful advice.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough:
    • Lord Commander Mormont and Ser Alliser Thorne of the Night's Watch.
    • Robb Stark and Greatjon Umber during Season 1.
  • Cartwright Curse: In "Breaker of Chains", Margaery seems perturbed that her husbands have a habit of dying gruesomely, even though it's clear she didn't love them. Then again, considering the amount of political maneuvering and payoffs she and her family have to go through to get these marriages, she's probably frustrated at the extra amount of work she has to keep putting in.
  • The Casanova: Daario Naharis considers seduction one of life's two great pleasure.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • The White Walkers are returning, but very little is being done about it. Even those concerned by the rumours, like Tyrion and Ned, get distracted by other matters and forget about them. The Walkers' return also drives the wildlings into full-scale war with the Night's Watch, distracting the ancient order founded to stand against them.
    • The Stark motto, "Winter is Coming," is meant to be this. While other houses are busy playing power games (as their mottoes reflect), the Starks' first concern must always be the brutal, years-long winter ahead. Unfortunately, the current generation has been swept up in the power games instead.
    • Drogo's bloodrider Qotho was very right about not trusting Mirri Maz Duur.
    • Catelyn's warnings "Never trust a Greyjoy," and "Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross."
    • Subverted between Davos and Melisandre. Davos is certain Melisandre cannot be trusted and the viewer can sympathize, but as time goes on and her allegiance does not waver, Davos seems to realize she's not treacherous, just a Blue and Orange Morality zealot. He still vehemently opposes her morality, but no longer questions her loyalty.
    • In one of the series' most ironic scenes, Joffrey (who is normally very short-sighted) is concerned by the very real rumours of Daenerys and her dragons, but Lord Tywin shoots him down with the cold and implacable yet incorrect logic that no one has successfully hatched a dragon in over a hundred years.
    • Correctly predicting a Cavalry Betrayal, Jaime and Varys warned the Mad King not to open the gates to Lord Tywin but were ignored.
    • Varys' repeated warnings are often ignored or forgotten, particularly those concerning the threat Littlefinger poses and the danger Shae is in.
    • Sansa warns Jon that Ramsay will toy with him in the coming battle. Jon brushes it off — his half-sister isn't a warrior, after all. He then falls for every one of Ramsay's misdirections.
    • Margaery urges everyone to flee the Great Sept of Baelor after Cersei fails to appear for her trial, reasoning that she is up to something. She's right, but the Faith Militant won't let anyone leave.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Melisandre's shadow assassins are implied do this to her partner. When Stannis requests she produce another, she says, "Your fires burn low, my king." In the novels, this manifests physically as Stannis becoming frighteningly gaunt and sunken, but Pragmatic Adaptation makes this less clear.
  • Catapult Nightmare:
    • Bran tends to wake up this way after his recurring nightmares.
    • Sansa has one of her traumatic Attempted Rape brought on by her first period in "A Man Without Honor".
  • Catch-Phrase:
    • Each house has a motto that serves as their creed:
    • Ygritte's "You know nothing, Jon Snow!" is so obviously a catchphrase that later episodes even begin subverting it such as during Jon and Ygritte's sex scene when it provides one of the series' rare moments of outright comedy.
    • Irri: "It is known."
    • Sam: "I read it in a (very old) book."
    • Syrio Forel: "Just so."
    • The Hound: "Fuck the X." His favourites seem to be "Fuck the king," and "Fuck the water."
    • Varys: "The city has been made brighter by your presence."
      Lady Olenna Tyrell: Is that your usual line?
    • One in the Telltale Game based on GOT and not ASOIAF, for the Forresters: "Iron From Ice".
  • The Cavalry: Usually a literal example, given the setting:
    • "Blackwater," when the mounted forces of Ser Loras Tyrell and Tywin Lannister arrive to drive the enemy back at the last moment.
    • "The Children," when the mounted forces of Stannis Baratheon arrive to save the Night's Watch from sure defeat.
    • "Battle of the Bastards," when Littlefinger arrives with soldiers of the Vale.
    • "Beyond the Wall," when Daenerys arrives with her three dragons to rescue Jon's company north of the Wall.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Walder Frey has been called "the late Lord Frey" ever since his army arrived conveniently late to the decisive battle of Robert's Rebellion, prompting suspicions he deliberately missed the battle so he could join the winning side.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: During the last days of Robert's Rebellion, Tywin Lannister's forces entered King's Landing as allies, then proceeded to sack the city in Robert's name. Varys and Jaime guessed what was about to happen, but their warnings went unheeded.
  • Cavalry Refusal: Lysa Arryn refuses to lend her support when the Starks call for aid, declaring, "The knights of the Vale will stay in the Vale where they belong, to protect their lord."
  • Celeb Crush: Some of the highborn-nobles are so well-known that they becomes the target of desire for commoners.
    • Salladhor Saan, a pirate allied with Stannis' army, talks about how he wants to seduce Queen Cersei as his only demand for taking part in the siege on King's Landing.
    • Queen Daenerys' rule in Slaver's Bay leaves such an impression on Essos that a prostitute in Volantis imitates her appearance to get more clients.
  • Celibate Hero: The ideal of the Night's Watch and the Kingsguard, but also a frequently broken vow.
    • Jon Snow gives this a good shot, refusing to bed whores and striving to refuse the advances of women. That is until Ygritte finally talks him into it "Kissed By Fire".
    • Samwell Tarly keeps his vow of celibacy despite his attraction to Gilly up until Season 5, when he rescues her and they have Rescue Sex while he is still gravely injured.
  • Central Theme: A few because of the sheer density of the series.
    • Extremism is dangerous. Fire can be deadly, but ice will kill you just as dead. Rigid insistence on the law or morality can be just as harmful as disregarding them completely.
    • Moral Ambiguity. Each of the Loads and Loads of Characters has their own particular shade of grey, Jerkasses often have a point, everyone has a Freudian Excuse, and even the most sympathetic characters sometimes have glaring moral blind spots. Forgiveness, Redemption, and Revenge are common dilemmas posed to both the characters and the audience. How many good deeds does it take to outweigh a bad one? What is truly unforgivable?
    • Genre Deconstruction. The series mixes splendor and squalor to deconstruct romanticized fantasy settings and both good and bad characters subvert or suffer for fitting romanticized fantasy archetypes.
  • Cerebus Call Back: In "Stormborn," Tyene's fellow Sand Snakes tease her by joking about the way she brings up and calls for her "Mama." In "Queen's Justice," it's her last, horrified word as Cersei poisons her in front of her parent.
  • The Chains of Commanding:
    • Robb starts to feel them when his father's departure and his mother's breakdown leave him in charge in "The Kingsroad". By "Baelor", he's led an army to war and and sacrificed two thousand men for victory. Things only get worse as the war drags on and some of his men start to lose faith despite his victories.
    • Daenerys starts to feel them in Season 2, when her people become dependent on her. They only get heavier as her responsibilities increase.
    • Alliser Thorne tells Jon that a commander will always face criticism for his decisions, but if he ever begins second-guessing himself he will become indecisive, an even worse trait than being wrong.
    • Jon sends his friend Grenn and five others to hold the crucial inner gate even though he knows it is likely a Suicide Mission.
  • The Champion:
    • The Kingsguard are supposed to be this for the royal family, but unfortunately not everyone measures up to the positive aspects of it and the series deconstructs what happens when bad rulers force them to choose between My Master, Right or Wrong and I Did What I Had to Do.
    • Loras and Brienne are so utterly devoted to Renly that they freely dedicate their lives to serving as his Kingsguard, eschewing their respective rights and responsibilities as the heirs to Highgarden and Tarth.
    • Davos and Melisandre share this role for Stannis, though they disagree on everything else.
    • Sers Jorah Mormont and Barristan Selmy both swear undying fealty to Daenerys and are completely devoted to serving her.
  • 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.
    • In "The Children" the two character duos wandering the Riverlands and the Mountains of the Moon bump into one another by chance.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: The trope image is a cartoon of George R.R. Martin; enough said.
  • Character Exaggeration:
    • Much of House Tyrell's collective character is exaggerated from the source material as part of their Adaptation Expansion.
      • The family's Women Are Wiser aspects are played up on account of the two most competent Tyrell sons (Willas and Garlan) being Adapted Out, Loras' character arc stalling in Season 3 and 4, and Mace's fecklessness being exaggerated from a blustering but tenacious man into an ineffectual and sycophantic Momma's Boy.
      • Margaery's sex appeal and cunning are also exaggerated. In the books, her power comes from her persona as a Princess Classic, not The Vamp, but on the show her Stripperific outfits and open ambitions make her more sympathetic to viewers as more liberal than the conservative Lannisters she contends with.
      • The Tyrell's Good Samaritan qualities are also played straighter. In the novels, they end the famine with the very provisions they withheld to create it while supporting Renly (Tyrion is quite bitter about getting the blame instead) and immediately ostracize Sansa once she's engaged to Tyrion rather than consoling her.
    • Edmure Tully's General Failure and Glory Hound tendencies are played up compared to the books, and few of his positive traits are even touched upon. Most notably, his victory at Stone Mill is turned into a Pyrrhic skirmish instead of part of defeating Tywin Lannister and Gregor Clegane in open battle.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Hodor can crack walnuts bare handed in "A Man Without Honor." Thankfully, he's a Gentle Giant.
    • This is also the main reason Gregor Clegane is The Dreaded. He is the largest and strongest man in the Known World and wields a BFS one-handed.
  • The Charmer: Renly is described as this by Olenna Tyrell in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" and Loras says people want to serve Renly and be near him because of his kindness in "The Wolf and the Lion".
  • Chase Scene: Theon is chased by his captors on horseback in "Walk of Punishment".
  • Chastity Dagger: Although she is far from chaste, Shae carries one during "Blackwater", insisting she won't be raped if the castle is taken.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Jaime notes Jory Cassel's scar, Jory explains that a Greyjoy man-at-arms nearly took his eye at the siege of Pyke. A few episodes later, when their swords become locked, Jaime pulls his dagger and stabs Jory in the same eye.
    • Jorah Mormont explains to Rakharo that a Dothraki arakh won't pierce plate armour. Qotho discovers the fatal truth of this in "Baelor."
    • Daenerys' dragon eggs turn out to be far more than just priceless curiosities and her resistance to heat come into play in "Fire and Blood".
    • Gendry's bull helmet, introduced with the character, comes in very useful for faking his death.
    • The lion necklace Tyrion gives Ros as a tip, seen in "The Wolf and the Lion", gets her implicated as his whore in "The Prince of Winterfell".
    • Littlefinger eventually makes good on his threat to sell Ros to a murderer when he finds out who's been spying on him for Varys.
    • The cache of obsidian blades buried on the Fist turn out to have a lethal effect on the White Walkers.
    • Upon becoming Master of Coin, Tyrion discovers Littlefinger has been financing the kingdom with loans from the Iron Bank, who will fund their enemies if they don't meet their payments. In "The Laws of Gods and Men", Davos convinces the Iron Bank to help keep Stannis' cause alive just in case they need such an enemy.
    • Tyrion presents Shae with a golden chain in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". He strangles her with it in "The Children".
    • Joffrey's custom crossbow becomes the medieval equivalent of the Trope Maker when Tyrion uses it to kill his father. As per the quote, it's even hanging on the wall.
    • The iron coin Jaqen H'ghar gave to Arya in "Valar Morghulis" buys her passage to Braavos in "The Children".
    • Those caches of wildfire that the Mad King wanted to detonate, before Jaime shanked him? Cersei used all of them in the destruction of the Sept of Baelor in the Season 6 finale, " Winds of Winter."
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The Night's Watch recruiter Yoren begins as a seemingly minor character who brings word of Tyrion's abduction to Ned, but several episodes later, he is present for Ned's confession (presumably to escort Ned to the Wall afterward), allowing him to rescue Arya.
    • Stannis is Ned's candidate for king despite never appearing in Season 1, but he becomes a major contender in Season 2.
    • Beric Dondarrion is sent out to arrest Gregor Clegane in "A Golden Crown" and reappears as the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners in "And Now His Watch is Ended".
    • The Tullys, Arryns, Greyjoys, Tyrells, Martells are all mentioned before they gain much plot importance.
    • The traveler who cross Brienne and Jaime's path in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" really did recognize him and sells them out to Locke.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Syrio lectures Arya on the difference between looking and seeing, then puts it into practice moments later.
    "And why is it that Lord Eddard is sending Lannister men instead of his own? I am wondering."
  • Chekhov M.I.A.:
    • Ser Barristan Selmy storms off in defiance at being forcibly retired in "The Pointy End", but reappears to join Daenerys in "Valar Dohaeris".
    • So far subverted by Arya's direwolf Nymeria who has gone completely unseen and unmentioned since the second episode of the series, despite reappearing in the books.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Bran's habit of climbing the castle walls is established early in the pilot and pays off at the end of the episode.
    • Theon's archery skills, which he rightly boasts about, come in very hand during a particularly tense sense later in the season.
    • Daenerys teaching her dragons to breathe fire on command as a pet trick becomes very important in "Valar Morghulis" and again in "And Now His Watch Is Ended".
    • Davos learning to read becomes important in "Mhysa".
    • Olly's declaration that he was the best archer in his hamlet in "Oathkeeper" becomes important in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Jon Snow teaches the new recruits about fighting against Dual Wielding opponents in "Oathkeeper" and puts it into practice in "First of His Name", though he ultimately needs 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.
    • Arya learns to fight while blind in Braavos. This comes in handy later; when The Waif tries to kill her, Arya gains the upper hand by extinguishing the room's only light source, a candle.
    • Inverted in the case of Bran and Arya. In early episodes, we see Bran being taught the sigils and words of houses of Westeros by Maester Luwin. However, it is Arya, who employs this skill when she successfully bluffs Tywin during their screentime. It is safe to assume that Maester Luwin was teaching all Stark children so it might be more of a case of expected Chekhov's Skill.
  • 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.
    • Ramsay deliberately misses Rickon several times while shooting arrows at him in "Battle of the Bastards."
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Khal Drogo is usually powerfully stoic but when he makes a speech, then by the Mother of Mountains, a speech will be made!
    • Lampshaded when Renly jokes about the table rising six inches every time Robert speaks of killing Daenerys.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Varys, the enigmatic Master of Whisperers.
    • Littlefinger, who has engineered the entire War of the Five Kings for his own ends.
  • Child by Rape: Although not explicitly stated, it's pretty clear Gilly's son Sam is conceived this was, along with the other children Craster fathers on his wives (especially since they're his daughters as well). No doubt he would not view it as rape.
    • Ramsay.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: An occasional and sometimes expected outcome of the practice of fostering between noble houses.
    • Petyr Baelish fell in love with Catelyn Tully as a child, but she only thought of him as a little brother.
    • Sansa accompanies her father to King's Landing with the intention of having one of these with Prince Joffrey.
  • Children Are Innocent: Played with. Westeros certainly considers childhood to be special, but it also ends much earlier than the modern norm. Boys become legal adults at 16 and girls at their first menstruation, but Bran is taken to his first execution at 10.
    • The Stark kids all start this way before their respective Break the Cutie arcs.
    • Averted by Joffrey Baratheon, the teenaged Caligula of Westeros.
    • Played straight by Tommen and Myrcella Baratheon in contrast to their brother Joffrey.
    • Despite being squires captured in battle, Willem and Martyn Lannister seem quite innocent in their concern that Robb Stark might actually turn into a wolf and eat them.
    • Deconstructed in-universe by Varys, who determines that it is Ned Stark's concern for this trope that ultimately seals King Robert Baratheon's fate.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them:
    • When Ned is captured, his heir Robb steps up to lead House Stark on a Roaring Rampage of Rescue. Robb, in turn, leaves his younger brother Bran as acting Lord of Winterfell during his absence.
    • Averted by Robin Arryn, who despite being the official Lord of the Vale is still quite young and sheltered, leaving the rule to his regents, first his mother Lysa and then his step-father Petyr Baelish.
    • Then there's the very dark example of the teenaged King Joffrey Baratheon, who quickly becomes The Caligula.
    • After winning his rebellion, Robert bestowed Storm's End and the Stormlands on his youngest brother Renly, who was only a child at the time.
  • Child Soldier:
    • Although not a soldier per se, Arya Stark resembles one more and more as the horrors of war leave her a hardened killer seeking vengeance.
    • Squires such as Willem and Martyn Lannister are expected to accompany the knights they serve into battle even though they are still boys even by Westerosi standards.
  • Chivalrous Pervert:
    • Tyrion is infamous across Westeros for his drinking and whoring to the point that the brothel in Winterfell awaits his arrival with great enthusiasm. However he almost always treats women with great respect (his sister excluded, though that is quite another matter), and loathes to see them harmed or abused in any way.
    • Grey Worm is entranced by nude Missandei, but since he's a eunuch it is much more about intimacy than sex.
    • Daario forgoes prostitutes and rape because he prefers making women want to fuck him. Salladhor Saan also refuses to rape anyone, but has no issues cavorting with prostitutes.
  • Chocolate Baby: King Robert Baratheon, his brothers, his forefathers, and even his bastard children all have dark hair. All three of his children by Cersei Lannister are blond. They were fathered by Cersei's twin brother Jaime.
  • The Chooser of The One: Melisandre identifies Stannis as the Lord of Light's chosen one.
  • The Chosen One:
    • The faith of the Lord of Light believes in a prophesied champion who will stand against the darkness. Melisandre believes she has found him in Stannis Baratheon.
    • The dosh khaleen prophesied that Daenerys and Drogo's son would be "The Stallion Who Mounts the World," the legendary unifier of the Dothraki who will conquer the world.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • The City Watch of King's Landing will always support whoever pays them the most.
    • Littlefinger betrays his patron Jon Arryn (who made him Master of Coin), Ned Stark to the Lannisters, the Lannisters to the Tyrells, and Lysa Arryn.
    • House Frey is infamously unreliable because of their passive self-interest: they avoid taking sides unless they have something significant to gain. Most houses are smart enough to assume the Freys will sell them out the moment they receive a better offer.
    • Balon Greyjoy led a failed rebellion against Robert Baratheon in the backstory, which results in his son Theon to be taken hostage by Ned Stark in an effort to ensure Balon doesn't try that again. Balon rebels again the moment his son returns because turmoil engulfs the realm.
    • Cersei politely insinuates that Brienne has this, seeing how she swore to serve Renly, then Catelyn, then Jaime. Brienne replies that she does not serve Jaime.
    • The Stark family seems to be an inversion of this as multiple members are victims of betrayals which lead to their deaths.
      • Ned Stark was betrayed by Littlefinger and Janos Slynt to the service of Cersei and King Joffrey, ultimately leading to his beheading.
      • Robb and Catelyn were betrayed by the Freys and Boltons leading to their deaths well as that of Robb's wife, unborn child and bannermen in the infamous Red Wedding.
      • Jon Snow was tricked and betrayed by Olly and Allister Thorn along with other members of the Night's watch, all of whom took turns stabbing him then left him to bleed out. He got better.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Daenerys puts her dream of conquering Westeros on hold indefinitely while she conducts a prolonged Slave Liberation in Slaver's Bay. She even passes up several opportunities to parlay her conquests there into gold and ships to take her to Westeros. Even after completing her campaign, she passes on a chance to strike Westeros in favour of staying to consolidate her social reforms.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Despite being one of Robb's key supporters, Greatjon Umber is conspicuously absent after Season 1 due to scheduling conflicts with the actor. It's not until Season 6 that he's confirmed to have died off-screen.
    • Shagga son of Dolf, the most prominent of Tyrion's clansmen in Season 1, does not accompany him to the capital in Season 2.
    • Daenerys' remaining bloodriders, Kovarro and Aggo have not been seen since Season 2, with Aggo disappearing after his first appearance. Her khalasar has essentially disappeared into the background starting with Season 3.
  • Circle of Standing Stones:
    • Ned Stark executes Will the ranger within one during "Winter is Coming".
    • Jeor Mormont's great ranging makes camp within one at the Fist of the First Men.
    • The White Walkers turn Craster's last son into one of them within a version made of ice in "First of His Name."
  • The City Narrows: Flea Bottom is the main slum of King's Landing. It is where Arya survives after escaping the castle, where Joffrey and his entourage are attacked by a mob, and where Margaery visits orphanages as part of her family's public relations campaign. Gendry, Davos, and Karl all reference it as a fundamental part of their lowborn upbringing.
  • City of Canals: The Free City of Braavos, which is loosely based on Renaissance Venice, is built across several marshy islands in a lagoon and crisscrossed by hundreds of canals.
  • City of Spies: King's Landing is rife with spies for various members of the Deadly Decadent Court. In one scene, Littlefinger is polite enough to point out several of them, including his own.
  • The Clan: Each of the noble houses of Westeros, particularly the Great Houses, each with its own tangled history, its own sigils and mottoes, and its own genetic traits. House Targaryen is full of beautiful mad geniuses, the Starks are stoic and honourable, the Lannisters are vain rich blonds, and the Tyrells are obliging but grasping. Some of these traits are strongly influenced by the current head of the family, while others go back many generations.
  • Clean Cut:
  • Clear My Name:
    • Tyrion is accused of an attempt on Bran's life because of claims the dagger involved belonged to him.
    • Tyrion also faces trial for Joffrey's murder after being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time in "The Lion and the Rose".
  • Cleavage Window: At least one of Daenerys' Meereenese gowns.
  • Clever Crows:
    • Ravens are used as the fastest messengers because of their intelligence and strength, but are also birds of ill omen since the most urgent messages are often bad news, as referenced by the episode title, "Dark Wings, Dark Words". Special white ravens are used to herald the change of season as seen in "The North Remembers".
    • Bran's dreams are haunted by a three-eyed crow who is eventually revealed to be the avatar of a powerful magician who lives beyond the Wall.
  • *Click* Hello: Osha pulls this on Jojen, then gets it pulled on her by Meera.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Season 2: Jon is set to be taken before the King Beyond the Wall and the White Walkers move to attack the Fist of the First Men.
    • Season 3: Jon returns to Castle Black barely alive. Yara Greyjoy sets out to rescue her brother.
    • Season 4: Tyrion plunges House Lannister into chaos before fleeing.
    • Season 5: Brienne raises her sword and sentences Stannis to death, Myrcella is shown bleeding from her nose and collapsing after Ellaria poisons her, Daenerys is shown surrounded by a khalasar, Sansa and Theon jumped off one of Winterfell's walls to avoid Ramsey's wrath, Arya is blinded, Jon is stabbed repeatedly by a faction of his men and left bleeding in the snow.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: The climactic battle presaged in the Season 2 finale "Valar Morghulis" is dealt with in a brisk Battle Discretion Shot in the Cold Open of the Season 3 premiere "Valar Dohaeris".
  • Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity: The primary way wildling raiders bypass the 700-foot Wall. Bonus points for it being made of ice and having a nasty habit of cracking off in great sheets. Jon himself makes the ascent in "The Climb".
  • Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb: Jon and Ygritte during "The Climb".
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Loras' provides a male example when he becomes jealous of Brienne in "What Is Dead May Never Die" and punishes Renly for promoting her by withholding sex.
    • Shae becomes this in Season 3, starting in "Dark Wings, Dark Words," but especially as Tyrion's wedding draws near.
    • Lysa Arryn absolutely loses it whenever she suspects someone of trying to steal Littlefinger's affection.
  • Clock Punk: The opening credits depict King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and other important locations rising out of the map like a mechanical pop-up book, evolving as the show focuses on new locations.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Lysa Arryn, and as a direct result, her son Robin.
    • Daario's mannerisms and his sensuous worldview shows hints of this, particularly as portrayed by Ed Skrein. Michiel Huisman's portrayal is more grounded, but still not totally rational (for example, his sweet-but-silly endurance contest with Grey Worm).
  • Coitus Ensues: A couple of times with Tyrion and Shae in Season 3 and with Daenerys and Daario in Season 4.
  • Coitus Interruptus:
    • Tyrion provides the trope quote in the series premiere, "Should I explain to you the meaning of a closed door in a whorehouse, brother?"
    • The series' First-Episode Spoiler is predicated on Bran catching Cersei and Jaime at their twincest.
    • This becomes a Running Gag in Season 4 when everyone keeps interrupting Oberyn to discuss politics while he's trying to set up an orgy in the brothel.
    • "The Laws of Gods and Men" opens with Yara Greyjoy's raid on the Dreadfort interrupting Ramsay Snow and Myranda.
    • ...Then it happens to Yara in "Stormborn". Euron Greyjoy's ship crashes into hers just as she's about to get it on with Ellaria Sand.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Gregor Clegane and his underlings employ it indiscriminately throughout the war, particularly at Harrenhal where Arya witnesses their work firsthand.
    • Roose Bolton advocates using it on prisoners to gain information in "Garden of Bones", but Robb adamantly refuses.
    • Joffrey quickly turns a night with two prostitutes into this in "Garden of Bones".
    • Theon is confined to a medieval Room 101 throughout most of Season 3.
  • Cold Equation: Stannis' arc in Season 5, leads to an almost classic example. He burns Shireen in a Human Sacrifice involving Blood Magic which in the series is shown to be real, powerful and effective. His other alternative is for his entire army to die in the bitter cold since their supplies and horses were set on fire, and Shireen would die anyway, alongside everyone else.
  • Cold Sniper: Ygritte goes into this mode in Season 4, remaining cold and focused with no qualms about shooting unarmed peasants. In "The Watchers on the Wall" she even argues she's killed more peasants than the Obviously Evil Cannibal Clan leader Styr.
  • Colonel Badass:
    • Greatjon Umber, Robb's right hand in Season 1.
    • Daenerys' commanders Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm, and Daario Naharis.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The Lannisters are jerkass blondes. The Baratheons are all black-haired warriors. The Targaryens are all white haired and pale, because they're very descended from Valyrians. This actually plays a part in the plot considering hair color isn't the only thing being passed down.
    • Soldiers' uniforms: Stark troops wear grey and brown, Lannisters wear black, red and gold, Baratheons wear light brown and orange, Arryns wear light blue, Greyjoys wear dark Cambridge blue, Martells wear orange and cream, and wildlings wear grey.
    • Invoked by the Night's Watch and the Kingsguard, who wear black and white respectively in place of heraldry to signify their rejection of any prior allegiance.
    • All of the characters belonging to noble houses, wear their respective house colors at some point or another. Lannisters in red and gold, Starks in grey, white, or black, Tyrells in green and gold, Baratheons in yellow and black, etc. Played with Daenerys whose house colors are red, black,and white but didn't officially start wearing the color scheme until late season 6 beginning with her white dress.
  • Color Motif: Played With by the Night's Watch and the Kingsguard, who wear black and white respectively but represent moral ambiguity. The Kingsguard is very respected but filled with jerkasses, subverting Light Is Good, while the Night's Watch is nowadays infamous for being mostly criminals and runaways but includes many dutiful men of a somewhat higher moral fibre, subverting Dark Is Evil.
  • Combat Aestheticist: Oberyn Martell believes in putting on a good show in front of a crowd, including lots of weapon-twirling and acrobatics. Somewhat justified as a way to distract his opponent, as well as make it hard to tell what's flashiness and what's an actual attack.
  • Combat Breakdown: The duel between Sandor and Brienne starts with swords and finishes with grappling, biting, and rock-clubbing.
  • Combat by Champion: Westerosi Trial by Combat allows for either side to select a champion if they chose.
    • Tyrion makes use of this in "A Golden Crown" and "The Mountain and the Viper".
    • Jaime proposes one between himself and Robb Stark in "Baelor", but Robb refuses.
    • The city of Meereen sends out a champion to face Daenerys' army.
    • In the backstory, the Mad King executed Ned's father and older brother through an insane application of this, declaring fire to be his Champion.
    • Cersei plans to invoke this to answer the charges the Faith Militant leveled against her, with Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane recently returned from the bring of death by Mad Science as her Champion. Tommen outlaws Trial by Combat just after setting the date for her trial.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Since this is a series where things don't go well for those who place Honor Before Reason, there are many examples of characters winning this way. Though the series on the whole by dials emphasizes this far moreso than the books which still insists on the superiority of classic swordsmanship, castle training and military service over undisciplined back-alley sneak attacks.
    • Loras Tyrell unhorses Gregor Clegane in the Tourney of the Hand by riding a mare in heat against Gregor's ill-tempered stallion. Characters disagree on whether this is cheating.
    • Jaime pulls a dagger and stabs his opponent in the eye with his off hand when their swords become locked in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    • 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.
    • Yoren forces a gold cloak to surrender by holding a dagger to his femoral artery, stating that men are so worried about their throats that they forget everywhere else.
    • Brienne wins a tourney despite being disarmed by tackling her opponent and drawing a dagger.
    • Lord Tywin scolds Jaime for sparing Ned in the name of a clean fight and asks Tyrion why killing 10,000 men in battle is more noble than murdering a dozen.
    • Oberyn demonstrates that dagger beats sword in a Quick Draw in "Two Swords". Later, he uses light armour, Hit-and-Run Tactics, and taunting against a larger and stronger opponent.
    • After smacking Jaime with his own prosthetic hand when their swords become locked, Bronn encourages him to seize any opportunity no matter how unclean it is. Ironically, Jaime treats this as new information despite pulling a very similar stunt against Jory Cassel three seasons earlier in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    • In "The Mountain and the Viper", Arya declares that anyone who shuns a method of killing as dishonorable will never be a great killer.
    • Obara Sand allows Nymeria to imply that Obara will stand aside while she and Trystane Martell fight a duel, then stabs Nymeria's opponent from behind without a fight.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Ramsay seems to have the time of his life during Yara's raid despite getting cut up.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Ser Dontos tells Sansa, "If you want to live, we have to leave now," when chaos breaks out in "The Lion and the Rose."
  • Comet of Doom: A red comet is visible across the world in "The North Remembers", with everyone interpreting it differently.
  • Comforting the Widow: Littlefinger tries this on Catelyn. She pulls a knife and tells him to get out, since he is partly responsible for her husband's death. To make it even more inappropriate, his pretext for their meeting was to deliver her late husband's remains.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • This exchange between Jon and Sam in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things":
      Jon: "But I couldn't do it, because all I could think was 'What if I got her pregnant and she had a child, another bastard named Snow?' It's not a good life for a child."
      Sam: "...So you didn't know where to put it?"
    • Sansa has a way with unintentional irony in Season 1, with lines like "I don't want someone brave and gentle and strong; I want him!" and "I'll be a queen just like you!"
    • When Jon explains that they are facing 100:1 odds in "Breaker of Chains", Pyp says, "I don't think I can kill a hundred wildlings."
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Subverted. Around the same time as the start of the TV series, Dynamite Comics launched their own adaptation of the novel A Game of Thrones, to the confusion of some fans. As of 2014, the comics are still adapting the first book while the TV series has reached parts of the fourth and fifth.
  • Commonplace Rare: Valyrian Steel weapons. Though there are indeed a small number of them shown in the world, pretty much every single one shown has (or seems likely to) make its way into the hands of the Starks or their allies:
    • The Starks started the series in possession of the Valyrian Steel greatsword, Ice. It was lost to them when Ser Illyn Payne used it to decapitate Eddard Stark near the end of Season 1.
    • A Valyrian Steel dagger was used in an attempt on Bran's life in the second episode of Season 1. It was revealed to belong to Petyr Baelish, who claims to have lost it in a bet to Tyrion Lannister. Littlefinger kept the knife until he gave it to Bran in Season 7, who gave it to Arya, who used it to slit Littlefinger's throat after Sansa sentenced him to die for his many, many crimes. And There Was Much Rejoicing.
    • Jon Snow was given the Mormont family's ancestral blade, Longclaw, by Jeor Mormont. Jon has since left his place with the Night's Watch and become King In The North.
    • After securing (he believes) the Lannister hold on the Seven Kingdoms, Tywin Lannister has Ice melted down and reforged into two separate longswords (presumably keeping the unique properties of the Valyrian steel intact, though this has not been proven onscreen yet). He gave one to Jaime Lannister, who gave it to Brienne of Tarth, who named it Oathkeeper, to aid her in her quest to find and protect the Stark girls. Brienne eventually succeeded, and is now a loyal woman-at-arms for Sansa Stark in her role as Lady of Winterfell. The second was given to Joffrey as a wedding gift, who named it Widow's Wail. After Joffrey's death at the Purple Wedding, Jaime took up this sword, and at the end of Season 7 began riding North, presumably to provide promised aid to Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen in the battle against the White Walkers.
    • Samwell Tarly stole his family's Valyrian Steel sword after deciding not to leave Gilly with them. While the sword itself hasn't been seen since, it's safe to assume he kept it with him during his brief time training as a Maester, then took it with him to Winterfell when he abandoned that calling to help Jon more directly against the White Walkers.
      • Thus, by the start of Season Eight, it looks as though the Stark contingent will have more Valyrian Steel weapons than they have characters qualified to use them effectively!
  • Completely Unnecessary Translator: Daenerys reveals in "And Now His Watch Is Ended" that she is fluent in Valyrian and was only feigning the need for a translator.
  • Compliment Backfire: Sansa insists she'll be a good wife to Joffrey and a queen just like Cersei. Since Cersei has just engineered her husband's death and seized power for herself and her son, her reaction is a muted grimace.
  • Composite Character: Has its own page.
  • Compressed Adaptation: After adapting A Game of Thrones quite faithfully in Season 1, and generally following the structure and dramatic climaxes of the next two books till Season 4 with some room for Adaptation Expansion, the series begins paring down or removing entire subplots from the 4th and 5th books for Season 5, becoming looser, faster and even going ahead of the material so as to take the series to the planned two-part series finale in Season 7(7 Episodes) and Season 8 (6 Episodes).
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror:
    • This is such an integral part of the Unsullied's Training from Hell that their final test is to murder a baby.
    • Missandei also shows signs of being conditioned to the horrors of slavery when she hardly bats an eye at her master mutilating an Unsullied to make a point.
  • Conflicting Loyalty:
    • Jaime Lannister provides the trope quote. If you've sworn to defend both the king and the innocent, what do you do when the king massacres the innocent? He faces this dilemma again in Season 4 when he must choose between his brother and the rest of his family and between protecting Sansa and pleasing Cersei.
    • Ned Stark consistently chooses Honor Before Reason no matter the cost until he must choose between his honour and his other core value: his family.
    • Jon Snow is constantly caught between his duty to Night's Watch and family, justice, and love. First he wants to go to war beside his family, then the needs of the Watch require he overlook the crimes of Craster, then he falls in love with a wildling.
    • Theon Greyjoy gets caught between the Starks who held him hostage but treat him somewhat kindly and the Greyjoys who despise him as a symbol of weakness and failure. Since he finds he cannot fully be a Stark, he tries to be a Greyjoy, only to realize too late that he chose wrong.
    • In one of the Histories and Lore segments, Stannis describes the choice between his lawful king and his elder brother as the hardest choice he ever made. Since he is both of these to Renly, he views Renly's refusal to support him as doubly treacherous.
    • Walder Frey parleys the question of loyalty to the king vs. loyalty to his lord into an advantageous deal with Robb Stark in "Baelor".
  • Conlang: Professional conlanger David Peterson has created several for the series based on the source material's few scraps of Fictionary. It's reached the point where George R.R. Martin consults him on the fragments he puts in later books.
  • The Conscience: Davos lampshades his role as this in "Second Sons" when he points out that Stannis has come to him because he wants Davos to talk him out of his current course of action.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Jorah Mormont, Grey Worm and Daario Naharis take on upwards of fifty guards with barely a scratch off-screen during the sack of Yunkai.
  • The Consigliere: Good advisors are an important part of the game of thrones. The office of Hand of the King is built around this trope, though individuals range from The Good Chancellor to the Dragon-in-Chief.
    • Eddard Stark serves as this to his friend, King Robert, who self-admittedly neglects the day-to-day running of his kingdom.
    • Davos and Melisandre act as co-consiglieres to Stannis, often providing very conflicting advice.
    • Roose Bolton acts as this to Robb in Season 2, advising him on everything from prisoners to new threats with mixed results since he is also the Starks' Token Evil Teammate.
    • Janos Slynt makes himself the right-hand-man of Alliser Thorne in Season 4.
    • Samwell Tarly acts as this to Jon Snow in Season 4, discussing matters that Jon never even reveals to his other companions.
  • Conspicuous Consumption:
    • The Lannisters are the wealthiest family in Westeros and not afraid to let everyone know. They put gold and jewels in everything and boast about their ability to pay debts. Despite this, Tywin reveals in Season 4 that their mines have all run dry.
    • Olenna discuss the importance of a spectacular presentation at the royal wedding with Tyrion in Season 2 and with Margaery in "Two Swords".
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Davos nearly always wears gloves to conceal his missing fingertips.
  • The Conspiracy:
    • Robb is murdered by a conspiracy between Tywin Lannister and Houses Frey and Bolton.
    • Joffrey is poisoned by a conspiracy between Olenna Tyrell and Petyr Baelish.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: Karl Tanner does this with a human skull.
  • Consummate Liar:
    • Tyrion notes that making honest feelings do dishonest work is one of Cersei's many gifts.
    • Margaery Tyrell's abilities for manipulation is mostly based on this. Her scene with Joffrey describing her marriage to Renly is a prime example of her brilliant blending of truth and lie.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Tyrion's trial in "The Laws of Gods and Men". In addition to being a Darker and Edgier echo of Tyrion's trial in Season 1, Ser Meryn Trant recalls how Tyrion "educated" his nephew in "Garden of Bones", Cersei recounts his threat to turn her joy to ashes in "The Prince of Winterfell", Varys brings up his threats to Joffrey in "Mhysa", Tyrion himself brings up Varys' reassurance that some men will never forget he saved the city, Shae brings up numerous details of their affair throughout the series, and Jaime brings up Tywin's thousand year dynasty speech from "You Win Or You Die".
  • Continuity Lockout: You really need to start at the beginning to have any hope of following the story.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sansa takes comfort in the doll her father gave her in "Lord Snow" during the battle in "Blackwater".
    • After its sack in "Valar Morghulis", the model of Winterfell in the opening credits is shown burnt and broken. After it's taken by the Boltons, the sigil changes from the Stark direwolf to the Bolton flayed man, then back to the direwolf when Jon and Sansa reclaim it.
    • The mounted boar's head Joffrey shot in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" is still there in "Oathkeeper".
  • Contractual Purity: Invoked in-universe, where unmarried women are expected to be chaste and refined. This is referenced most concerning Margaery Tyrell, who is "officially" a virgin and behaves like a Princess Classic in public but more like The Vamp in private.
  • Contrived Clumsiness:
    • Pycelle intentionally drops a message to force Tyrion to pick it up in "Mhysa".
    • Arya drops a coin to catch an enemy off his guard when he stoops to get it in "Mhysa".
  • Convenient Coma: Bran's fall induces one immediately after he discovers Jaime and Cersei's adultery, something the rest of the cast spends five more episodes investigating. He wakes up with Laser-Guided Amnesia, which is somewhat justified by his accident occurring immediately after his discovery.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind:
    • Bronn saving the Hound and Pod saving Tyrion in "Blackwater".
    • Sam is saved this way by both Ghost and Lord Commander Mormont in "Valar Dohaeris".
    • Ygritte saves Tormund this way during their pillaging in "Breaker of Chains".
    • It takes two of these to kill Karl Tanner. First, he is stabbed in the back by one of his victims then stabbed in the back of the head when he rounds on her.
  • Cool Big Bro:
    • Robb and Jon Snow to their younger siblings, especially Jon to Arya when he gives her Needle.
    • Jaime is this to Tyrion, especially because he is the only family member who respects Tyrion at all.
  • Cool Big Sis: Margaery accepts her brother Loras' sexuality, cheers for him in tourneys, and comforts him after Renly's death. She also maintains this role with Sansa even after her ulterior motive is removed and uses it to influence Tommen, though given his Age Lift she at least experiments with appealing to his emerging sexuality.
  • Cool Chair:
    • The series' iconic Iron Throne was forged from the swords of Aegon the Conqueror's defeated enemies. As you might expect from a chair made of blades, it's uncomfortable to sit on, which was Aegon's intention because he believed a true king should never be comfortable with the power they hold.
      Varys: Ugly, don't you think?
      Baelish: Yet it has a certain appeal.
    • Subverted by Daenerys' simple bench in Meereen.
  • Cool Crown:
  • Cool Helmet:
    • The Hound and the Knight of Flowers have the most distinctive helms in the series. Ironically, neither is ever worn in combat.
    • Although he never wears it, there is gilded helmet decorated with a crown and stag antlers in Robert's pavilion during the Tourney of the Hand. The Blu-ray Histories and Lore segments depict him wearing a similar helm in battle during his rebellion and the Siege of Pyke.
  • Cool Mask: Quaithe, the Mysterious Woman in Qarth who wears an elaborate mask that covers everything but her eyes.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Barristan Selmy is a chivalrous man and wise councilor in a Crapsack World. He's acknowledged as a Paragon by nearly every character who speaks of him.
    • Maester Aemon. Quite likely the oldest man in the Seven Kingdoms, he is a kindly and learned man who advises younger men like Jon and Sam on emotional as well as practical matters.
  • Cool Old Lady: Lady Olenna can match wits with the best of them and is fully willing to take the piss out of her own house, although never herself. She later adds a dash of Beware the Nice Ones when she has a hand in the killing of Joffrey.
  • Cool Pet: The direwolves and the dragons.
  • Cool Sword:
    • The most prized heirloom of House Stark is the enormous Valyrian steel greatsword called Ice.
    • Jon's parting gift to his little sister Arya is a custom-made rapier she names Needle. Being made at Jon's request by Winterfell's chief armorer, it's castle-forged steel, the best steel you can get that isn't Valyrian.
    • Jon is rewarded with the Valyrian steel bastard sword Longclaw. Its most distinctive feature is a custom pommel of a white wolf with red eyes.
    • Joffrey shows off his cool sword Hearteater in "Blackwater" but flees the battle without even unsheathing it.
    • Since House Lannister lacks an ancestral cool sword, Tywin has House Stark's sword Ice reforged into two swords, Widow's Wail and Oathkeeper, a status symbol only the Targaryens are known to have matched with Blackfyre and Dark Sister.
  • Cool Teacher: Syrio Forel, the Large Ham fencing instructor. Just so.
  • Cool Uncle:
    • Jon Snow clearly views Benjen Stark this way judging by his request to join him in the Night's Watch.
    • Zigzagged by Tyrion, who is very friendly to Tommen and Myrcella, but frequently slaps and insults Joffrey (even if he does deserve it) and is not averse to shipping Myrcella off to possible enemies for political gain.
    • Brynden Tully acts this way with Catelyn but is often quite abusive to her brother Edmure, bullying him with phrases like, "The laws of my fist are about to compel your teeth."
  • Corpsing: In-universe; Varys — a former actor — prides himself on his acting ability but frequently fails to keep a straight face when Tyrion mocks Joffrey.
  • The Corrupter: Littlefinger to Sansa.
  • Corrupt Politician: The small council is often filled with self-serving courtiers.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Some victims of Break the Cutie turn down this path as a means to overcome the abuse.
  • Costume Porn: Opulent characters and settings frequently have this. Renly Baratheon's ostentatious armour and Margaery Tyrell's sumptuous wedding gown are excellent examples.
  • Couch Gag: The world map in the opening credits evolves to highlight important locations.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: It is frequently noted in Season 2 how much better the Lannisters' prospects would be better if Joffrey hadn't had Ned Stark executed.
  • Country Matters:
    • Joffrey is quick to use it when Arya smacks him in the head with a stick.
    • Jaime declares he's willing to go to war with Robert Baratheon over his sister Cersei, Robert's wife, and snarks that the subsequent ballad can be called "The War for Cersei's Cunt." Coincidentally, this is also the first time Cersei is named on-screen and she is suitably unimpressed.
    • Renly uses it when discussing the Lannisters with Loras.
    • Tyrion in regards to his father in "Fire and Blood".
    • Bronn uses it in his unique brand of worldly wisdom regarding Joffrey's behaviour.
    • Yara drops it on Theon at Winterfell. He tries to protest, but she just repeats it louder.
    • Locke uses it to describe Catelyn in "Walk of Punishment".
    • Captain Mero asks Daenerys to show her c-word to see if it's worth fighting for. Grey Worm is so offended that he offers to slice his tongue.
  • Coup de Grâce:
    • Lommy gets this when one the men who wounded him decline to carry him.
    • In "Kissed By Fire", Jaime describes that he slit the Mad King's throat after stabbing him to makes sure he was really dead.
    • Arya delivers a couple to men the Hound has downed in "Two Swords", but takes special pleasure in downing Polliver herself and slowly stabbing him in the neck while delivering an Ironic Echo.
    • The Hound gives a wounded crofter this in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
  • 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, though she seems to believe this is due to her looks, not because he's gay.
  • Court Mage: Melisandre to Stannis.
  • Covered in Scars:
    • Beric Dondarrion shows his off in "Kissed By Fire".
    • The Thenns have some pretty extensive ritualistic scars.
    • Reek, due to his extensive torture.
    • Jon has some pretty impressive ones after coming back from the dead.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: When challenged by some soldiers, Brienne and Jaime come up with a cover story on the spot, but get caught by this trope despite their best efforts .
    "I've a question for you both, and I want you both to answer at the same time. I count to three, you both answer. What's his name?"
  • Cowardly Lion: Shrinking Violet Sam faces off with a White Walker to protect Gilly and her son.
  • Crapsack World:
    • Westeros is frequently torn apart by competing factions and insane monarchs, many of whom think little of their troops abusing the peasantry, and the anarchist wildlings beyond the Wall live by fighting and stealing from their neighbours. Rape, murder, robbery, and incest are easily found everywhere. Oh, and in every generation, there's a winter that can last years when everyone worries about starvation. Even worse, this particular cycle, the monstrous White Walkers are waking from their long sleep to invade, but no one is preparing for it.
    • Essos is perhaps worse. Valyria is still a smoking Forbidden Zone centuries after its destruction. Other places have hopeful names like Slaver's Bay and the Shadow Lands. Much of the rest is a patchwork of rival city-states and vestigial empires of decadent aristocrats completely dependent on miserable slaves and bounded by a vast grassland filled with hordes of marauding Dothraki horse-nomads who slaughter or enslave anyone who cannot flee or buy them off.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Talisa, being from Volantis, finds the Westerosi bedding ceremony "a very strange custom."
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: A lot of Orell's antagonism against Jon seems due to his feelings for Ygritte.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Jaqen H'ghar somehow managed to keep a dart poisoned with wolfsbane, which Tywin describes as rare, concealed throughout his captivity just in case he needed to kill someone on cue.
    • Jaime lampshades when Brienne has a second sword to oppose him after he steals one. Of course, it's quite foreseeable that Jaime might try to steal one, making a backup surprisingly logical.
    • Varys happens to have a map of all the secret tunnels of King's Landing in "Blackwater" so the audience doesn't have to look up the word postern. He also apparently kept a human-sized crate in his chambers for over a season just in case he needed to make a Call-Back while smuggling someone out of the city in "The Children".
  • Create Your Own Hero: At the start of the show, the Starks are a peaceful, close-knit family who are happy to remain at Winterfell and care for the North under the King's rule until events early in the narrative separate them, initially splitting them into Ned/Sansa/Arya in King's Landing, Jon/Benjen at Castle Black, and Catelyn/Robb/Bran/Rickon at Winterfell and they are further separated due to unfortunate events. All the while, the Lannisters' ambitions and habit of brutally murdering House Stark members (Joffrey executes Ned and Tywin conspires with the Boltons and Freys to murder Catelyn and Robb) contribute to turning the younger Starks into an increasingly ruthless, badass bunch who are bent on getting vengeance for their loved ones and protecting the smallfolk from the Lannisters and Boltons. And, in terms of undermining the Stark's reputation and support, it wasn't a great idea to kill members from the most honourable House in the kingdom in the most dishonourable way possible.
    • Specifically between them all: Cersei and Joffrey abuse Sansa for years, which led her to helping reclaim the North with Jon after they took back Winterfell from the Boltons; Jaime cripples and almost kills Bran, who develops supernatural powers as a result; and Twyin's arranged-murder of Robb and Catelyn is witnessed by Arya, resulting in her becoming a finely-honed warrior barely into her teens. Even Joffrey trying to kill Arya's direwolf Nymeria ended with her becoming the leader of a massive wolf pack loyal to the Starks.
  • Creator Cameo: Subverted. George R.R. Martin was a guest at Daenerys' wedding in the unaired pilot, but scheduling conflicts have prevented him from making another despite his prominent involvement in the production.
  • Creator Thumbprint:
    • Episodes penned by George R.R. Martin often feature subtle exposition of location and travel, such as Melisandre passing King's Landing in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" because the Blackwater Rush is the fastest route back to Dragonstone, and Roose Bolton mentioning smuggling himself to account for bypassing Moat Cailin in "The Lion and the Rose". Contrast this with Robb campaigning somewhere vague in Season 2 and the Karstarks marching home regardless of Moat Cailin in Season 3.
    • Director Neil Marshall loves Arrows on Fire and Made of Plasticine mooks that can feel slightly out of place with the rest of the series.
  • Creepy Child:
    • The child wight in "Winter is Coming" is creepy enough to provide the trope image for Occult Blue Eyes.
    • Robin Arryn in "The Wolf and the Lion": "Mummy... I want to see the bad man fly."
    • Rickon Stark's deadpan declaration in "The Pointy End" that his family won't come home is very unsettling.
    • The assassin sent by the Warlocks of Qarth in "Valar Dohaeris" looks like a little girl, but has blue lips and hisses like a snake.
    • Subverted by Shireen Baratheon, who has a disfigured face and is introduced singing an eerie song, but she quickly shows herself to be a perfectly sweet little girl.
  • Creepy Monotone:
    • One of the prisoners at Harrenhal speaks this way in "Garden of Bones" when explaining that her entire family has recently been tortured to death.
    • Styr the Magnar pairs this with Guttural Growler and Softspoken Sadist to breed a great Obviously Evil voice.
  • Creepy Souvenir:
    • Davos keeps his own lost fingertips in a bag around his neck as a good luck charm and a reminder of Stannis' commitment to justice.
    • Chella, daughter of Cheyk, the chieftainess of the Black Ears, stays true to her tribe's custom of stringing the ears of defeated foes on a necklace. She can be seen taking a new pair in "Baelor".
    • The mutineer Karl Tanner gloats about keeping Jeor Mormont's skull as a wine cup.
  • Creepy Uncle: Although his attraction to Sansa is not new, Littlefinger's marriage in "First of His Name" makes him her literal uncle. She's also pretending to be his biological niece as well, so he's creepy uncle squared.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: In the Season 3 Blu-ray Histories and Lore, Littlefinger reasons that the true cause of the Targaryens' downfall was their reliance on dragons and their obsession with reclaiming this advantage after the dragons died out, though Varys counters that they continued ruling quite stably for more than a century.
  • Crisis of Faith: The red priest Thoros of Myr admits that by the time he came to Westeros he didn't believe in the Lord of Light anymore but his faith returned after his last rites resurrected his friend Beric.
    • Melissandre suffers one after Stannis is on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle, as she believes the Lord of Light has abandoned her and the "Prince Who Was Promised."
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: The Night's Watch numbers less than a thousand men at the beginning of the series and can only staff 3 of their 19 castles. By the end of Season 4, they have lost hundreds more at the Fist of the First Men, Craster's Keep, and Castle Black.note 
  • Crossing the Desert: Daenerys leads her people across the Red Waste to escape her enemies and reach Qarth in Season 2.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: the Season 2 finale "Valar Morghulis" and Season 3 premier "Valar Dohaeris" are a traditional Valyrian call-and-response meaning "All men must die," and "All men must serve," respectively.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • In spite of becoming fat, lecherous, and drunken, Robert can still command obedience ("Stop this madness in the name of your king!"), knows a lot about war as shown by his summation of the Dothraki threat, and is acutely aware of the disunity plaguing his realm.
    • Podrick Payne is a bumbling and stammering squire, but he comes to Tyrion's rescue in battle none the less.
  • Crowd Surfing: Daenerys is lifted up reverentially by the slaves she has freed in the Season 3 finale, "Mhysa".
  • Crown of Horns: Since their sigil is a stag, all the Baratheon kings except Stannis (who is notably crownless) wear crowns of stylized antlers. Renly even provides the trope image, and his crown is arguably the most striking headwear in the series.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Has its own page.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • Littlefinger seems to see being spared by Brandon Stark like this when he says "In the end, she wouldn't even let him kill me," in "You Win or You Die".
    • Arya refuses to finish off a dying Sandor Clegane, leaving him to bleed out alone in the wilderness.
  • Crusading Widow: Catelyn Stark vows revenge after her husband's death: "We will kill them all."
  • Crying Wolf: Tyrion tells Varys in "The Lion and the Rose" that he has warned Shae of the dangers of King's Landing so many times that she pays no attention anymore.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus:
    • The Faith of the Seven, the official religion of Westeros, is very reminiscent of the Catholic Church. In addition to supplanting the pagan religion of the "old gods", the Faith worships a single god with seven aspects similar to the Holy Trinity and has a hierarchy of celibate clergy including septons (priests/monks) and septas (nuns), begging brothers (friars), and elite of Most Devout (cardinals), and a single High Septon (pope) at the top. Membership, or at least lip service, is mandatory to become a knight.
    • Mirri Maz Duur mentions the religion of the Lhazareen, in which all men are one flock, watched over by the Great Shepherd. This makes them reluctant to fight others, and easy pickings for Dothraki raids.
    • The Lord of Light, a fire deity whose followers insistently describe him as the "one true God" in opposition to a evil counterpart god, bears a strong resemblance to Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism.
    • The ironborn's faith of the Drowned God, inspired by Scandinavian mythology, is a monotheist religion based on a god who died (drowned) but came back to life and is eternally at war with the satanic Storm God. This resurrection is the basis for the ironborn's creed "What is dead may never die," and their practice of baptism in sea water. They also believe that if they serve the Drowned God well (by keeping to the Good Old Ways of Rape, Pillage, and Burn) they will be reborn into his halls beneath the sea after their death.
  • Cuckold Horns: Robert Baratheon wears a Crown of Horns and has an unfaithful wife, not that he's exactly a paragon of fidelity himself.
  • Cult: Craster and his daughter-wives seem to worship the White Walkers as gods. He claims the White Walkers will not trouble him because he is a "godly man" and even without him, his wives greet the birth of a male child as "a gift for the gods."
  • Culture Clash:
    • Part of Ned's fish-out-of-water reaction to King's Landing, notably when he compares haughty knights to strutting roosters.
    • Balon Greyjoy's response to Robb's offer of alliance is to proclaim that "No man gives me a crown. I pay the iron price."
    • Jon and Ygritte's relationship is full of this, teasing each other about their cultural blind-spots.
    • Tycho Nestoris has a visibly low opinion of Westeros' feudal system of titles and bloodlines and seems to regard their conflicts as petty. He's also quite unforgiving of Davos' past as a smuggler because he comes from a Proud Merchant Race.
  • Cultured Badass: Oberyn Martell writes poetry and has a taste for fine food, fine wine, and fine women (and men). He is also mentioned to have traveled widely and studied at the Citadel, Westeros' equivalent of a university.
  • Cunning Linguist: Missandei can speak 19 languages.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Jon Snow vs. his fellow recruits (together or separate).
    • Syrio Forel takes down several lightly-armoured guardsmen with a wooden practice sword in a matter of seconds. However, this trope turns against him when he must face the heavily-armored Ser Meryn Trant.
    • Tywin's defeat of Robb's 2,000-man diversion on the Green Fork.
    • Robb Stark's battles in the Whispering Wood (where he captures Jaime) and Oxcross (where he meets Talisa) are described in these terms; Roose Bolton even mentions a 5:1 casualty ratio at Oxcross.
    • Daenerys' victories at Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen.
    • Daario versus the champion of Meereen.
    • In the backstory, the Targaryen Conquest was this. Dragons are a real Game Breaker.
    • Stannis's attack on the wildlings, to such an extreme that it almost doesn't qualify as a battle. Stannis cuts through them, as Tormund so eloquently put it, "like piss through snow." Stannis makes it very clear that he could've wiped out the entire army without the slightest trouble, and his losses are best described as "negligible." This is what happens when a massive cavalry force with surprise and advanced tactics hits a rabble of untrained footmen.
    • During the climax of The Battle of The Bastards, Ramsay Bolton challenges Jon Snow to a one on one fight (despite the fact at that point Jon and his army has clearly beaten Ramsay's army). Jon accepts the challenge and then proceeds to easily beat Ramsay to a bloody pulp.
    • Daenerys's first time in battle against the Lannisters after they took Highgarden is nothing short of a chaotic, horrific mess on the latter's part. At first Jaime and Bronn think they're just going to face off against a horde of Dothraki, difficult but possible. Then they see Drogon flying in from the distance...
  • Cuteness Proximity: How Ser Pounce saved everyone from a very awkward conversation.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Usually of the Freudian variety.
    • "I'm going to open your lord from balls to brains and see what Starks are made of."
    • Shagga son of Dolf is so fond of threatening to cut off Tyrion's manhood and feed it to the goats that it's subverted before we even hear it.
    • Tormund declares that if Jon has lied he will pull Jon's guts out through his throat.
    • Ygritte declares that if Jon ever betrays her, she will cut his cock off and wear it around her neck.
  • Cut the Safety Rope: Orell is quick to attempt the self-serving version when Jon and Ygritte are dangling off the Wall below him in "The Climb". Jon takes it personally, but Orell (correctly) points out that Ygritte has no such problem with it because he was only being pragmatic.
  • Cyanide Pill: Cersei procures a bottle of poison before the events of "Blackwater", just in case.
  • Cycle of Revenge: A major factor in the series because whole families are often held accountable for the actions of any member.
    • Tyrion and Cersei discuss the trope briefly in "Mhysa", during which Tyrion declares that they create two enemies for every one they defeat.
    • Gregor Clegane murders Elia Martell on Tywin Lannister's orders. In vengeance, her brother, Oberyn Martell, fights a duel with Gregor to get back at Tywin and kill Gregor, but gets killed himself. In vengeance, Oberyn's lover Ellaria Sand poisons Tywin's niece Myrcella Baratheon. In vengeance, Myrcella's mother has Ellaria's daughter poisoned and forces Ellaria to watch her die.

    D 
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Yara Greyjoy is eager to participate in her father's plan to attack the North, though she draws the line at abandoning her little brother to Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Damaged Soul: Beric Dondarrion mentions that every time he comes back he feels "a bit less."
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    • Shae mentions that every man she cooks for compliments what a good whore she is.
    • Qyburn lampshades it when he is described as a better healer than Pycelle.
    • In "Mockingbird", Jaime praises Tyrion's epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech from the previous episode as something all of King's Landing will be talking about for days to come.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Jaime struggles to remember to use his left hand, resulting in spilled wine and poor swordsmanship.
  • Dance Battler:
    • Arya is trained to use a rapier by Syrio Forel, who describes it as a "water dance". Her sword drills in Season 4, presumably learned from Syrio, are also noticeably dance-like.
    • As a eunuch, Grey Worm is athletic but not particularly large, so he fights in a very light and graceful way...at least when he's not using Shield Bash.
    • Oberyn Martell's Wushu-inspired antics during "The Mountain and the Viper" definitely make him one.
  • The Dandy: Ser Loras Tyrell.
  • Dangerous Deserter:
    • The two men with Osha who attack Bran in "A Golden Crown" wear the black of the Night's Watch.
    • The Hound provides a rare sympathetic example after his pyrophobia gets the better of him in "Blackwater".
    • Karl and his fellow mutineers fully display their sadism and depravity in "Oathkeeper" and "First of His Name".
  • Dangerously Close Shave: Ramsay invokes the trope to demonstrate how harmless Reek is by submitting to a shave while taunting him with terrible news.
  • Dare to Be Badass:
    • Tyrion takes command of a sortie in the Battle of Blackwater after every other commander flees.
    • Jon Snow is likewise left in charge of the Wall during the Battle of Castle Black when every other officer is cowering or otherwise engaged.
    • Daenerys calls on the slaves of Meereen to rise against their oppressors in "Breaker of Chains", then Grey Worm leads an infiltration to provide them with another such speech and weapons in "Oathkeeper".
  • Dark Action Girl: Ramsay's companion Myranda.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: There are two kinds of characters in the series: those who have this trope, and those who are living this trope.
    • Sandor Clegane had half his face burned off by his own brother for borrowing a toy.
    • Littlefinger Used to Be a Sweet Kid until his unrequited love for Catelyn Stark got him curb-stomped by Brandon Stark. Also, when Lysa reminds him of their "wedding night" many years ago, he looks like he's having a minor post-traumatic episode, subtly implying he didn't find it quite so pleasant as she did.
    • Varys was a slave who was drugged, castrated, and left to die by a sorcerer as a boy.
    • Melisandre was once a slave who was "scourged and branded" and always hungry until she was lifted up by the Lord of Light.
    • Osha fled her homeland after being attacked by the wight of her husband.
    • Xaro Xhoan Daxos arrived in Qarth less valued than a piece of cargo.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • The Battle of Blackwater for House Lannister. The Hound and Joffrey flee, Lancel and Tyrion are grievously wounded, and Cersei is about to poison herself and Tommen as Stannis' men are on the brink of taking the walls. Then The Cavalry arrives to drive the attackers into the sea and win the battle.
    • The aftermath of Blackwater for Stannis Baratheon. The crushing defeat has left him once more severely short on men, money, and supplies and deeply disheartened by his first ever defeat. He spends the next two seasons trying to rebuild his strength for another attempt.
    • The Red Wedding for House Stark. Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa are murdered; their supporters are slain, captured, or dispersed; their castle remains in ruins; Bran, Rickon, and Arya are presumed dead; and Sansa remains a captive of her enemies. However, things soon begin to turn when their enemies turn on each other, Sansa and Arya break free of their captors, and Bran's power is increasing with every passing day.
  • Dark Fantasy: Just like the books it's based on, the show's success is helping raise awareness of the genre.
  • Dark Is Evil:
    • Drogon has black-and-red scales and is the most aggressive and blood-thirsty of the three dragons.
    • Tywin Lannister wears a lot of black for a man whose House colours are red and gold.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Even though their uniform is all black, the men of the Night's Watch are sworn to protect the northern border of the realm from dangers beyond the Wall. Word of God has said this was a deliberate inversion of the Dark Is Evil trope more common to fantasy stories.
    • Brynden "Blackfish" also dresses mainly in black armour and is a bit of a bully, but he is far from evil.
  • Dark Messiah: Daenerys and Drogo's son is prophesied to be the "Stallion Who Mounts The World," the khal of khals who will unite the Dothraki and lead them to dominion over the entire world.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • "You Win or You Die" (played at the climax of the eponymous episode) is this for "The King's Arrival", which was played over Robert's arrival at Winterfell. "The King's Arrival" is reprised again 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 when it transitions into "Black of Hair", a more triumphant rendition of the Baratheon theme, 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 Daenerys' Bad Future vision in the House of the Undying sequence near the end of "Valar Morghulis" is 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", which accompanies the arrival of the White Walkers in "Valar Morghulis", is a dark and foreboding slow-down of the series' main theme.
    • Theon's theme, "What Is Dead May Never Die," first heard when he returns to the Iron Islands, gets a twisted and dissonant reprise in "A Man Without Honor" to hint at his deteriorating mental state. This is taken further in Season 3 when it sped up and set to a drum beat to reflect Theon's panic during his flight and later corrupted into "Reek" when Ramsay tortures Theon into accepting his new name.
    • An in-universe example occurs in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" when Locke's troops sing the eponymous song in an even worse situation for Brienne and Jaime than in "And Now His Watch Is Ended".
  • Dark Secret: Cersei and Jaime's twincest.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Oberyn Martell plays Dorne's role as a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Spain to the hilt. He's hot-blooded, sexually adventurous, and a quick and talented fighter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much every character gets their chance in this World of Snark.
    • Tyrion is truly the Lord of House Snark. It's perhaps the biggest factor in his popularity among fans.
    • Jaime shares Tyrion's penchant for snark, but his attitude usually makes him come across as much more of Jerkass than his brother. It's oddly admirable that he can still push his enemies' buttons despite his long captivity.
    • Varys is frequently paired with Tyrion in Snark-to-Snark Combat, and has similar scenes with Littlefinger and Olenna as well.
    • Olenna establishes herself as someone who can outsnark Varys, Twyin and even Tyrion - which is even more impressive considering her old age.
    • Arya, at the other end of spectrum, is the show's youngest snarker and impresses the likes of Tywin Lannister and the Hound because of it.
    • Robb has a few gems like describing Willem and Martyn Lannister as Tywin's "father's brother's great-grandsons" and his comment to Talisa that not marrying the beautiful Roslin might have been a "terrible mistake."
    • Sansa doesn't start off as one but becomes a master of subtle insults and back-handed compliments in later episodes.
    • Davos is likely the only man in Westeros comfortable enough to be this to King Stannis' face.
    • With great emphasis on the deadpan, Stannis produces gems like, "They don't have enough men between them to raid a pantry."
    • Stannis' daughter Shireen seems to have inherited this ability, telling an imprisoned Ser Davos, "What will they do? Lock us in cells?"
    • Littlefinger, particularly before he became Obviously Evil.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: King's Landing. Deadly for many characters, including King Robert and Ned Stark. The Title Drop moment refers to the nobility's high rate of turnover.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Daenerys without, then with her dragons
  • Dead Guy Junior:
    • While there have been countless Brandon Starks throughout history, Bran is named for his uncle, whose brutal murder by the Mad King helped spark Robert's Rebellion.
    • Talisa and Robb decide to name their child Eddard if it is a boy.
    • Daenerys names her son Rhaego after her brother Prince Rhaegar, and continues the theme with her dragons: Drogon (named after Drogo), Viserion (named after Viserys), and Rhaegal (named after Rhaegar).
    • Oberyn named one of his daughters Elia after the sister he lost in the Sack of King's Landing. Cersei ponders if the girl's troublesome attitude is related to her very name inciting grief and anger in her father.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Lots.
    • Joffrey forces Sansa to look at the heads mounted on spikes in "Fire and Blood".
    • When he encounters some wildlings, Robb decides to have them put on pokes and left to the crows.
    • Tyrion provides the page quote, "Heads, spikes, walls," as his solution if the small council troubles him.
    • Theon displays the charred bodies of his victims to proclaim the success of his hunt in "A Man Without Honor".
    • Jaime and Brienne discover several women who were hanged by Stark men because "They Lay With Lions."
    • Multiple characters recall Tywin Lannister laying the bloodied bodies of Prince Rhaegar's children before Robert Baratheon as tokens of fealty to him at the end of Robert's Rebellion.
    • Robb Stark gets a particularly nasty desecration when his head is swapped with that of his direwolf in mockery of his rumoured supernatural abilities.
    • The Great Masters of Meereen crucify 163 slave children, one for every mile, along Daenerys' invasion route. Daenerys punishes them by ordering that a like number of the city elders be crucified in turn.
    • House Bolton's coat-of-arms displays a flayed man and legend speaks of them wearing their enemies' skins as cloaks and storing them in a room in their castle.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: Ned, Benjen, and Robert all say something akin to, "We'll talk more when I get back," before departing on undertakings that end in their death.
    • The first example can be justified when we discover that Jon Snow was being protected by Ned his whole life as he is actually the son of Lyanna Stark and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (making Jon the nephew of Ned Stark) and as such, was in fatal danger from the Baratheon regime if the truth of his origins ever came out so Ned spends the rest of his life protecting Jon. Ned claims Jon as his own illegitimate son to keep Jon safe from King Robert Baratheon and raises Jon as his own. By deferring that conversation until after Jon had joined the Night's Watch, Jon would be out of harm's way from Robert Baratheon, who would have killed Jon if he knew, if the truth of Jon's origins became public.
    • In Season One, Ned Stark is investigating the death of the previous Hand, and sends his guard captain to interrogate Ser Hugh, who arrogantly refuses to speak to an underling but states he will speak to Lord Stark himself. Ser Hugh then dies in a suspicious jousting accident, so Ned doesn't have the opportunity to find out what he knows.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: In "Blackwater", Loras impersonates the charismatic and popular (but very dead) Renly Baratheon by wearing his armour, dealing a decisive tactical and morale blow to his enemies, many of whom were recent supporters of the man he impersonates.
  • Deal with the Devil: Craster is left alone by the White Walkers in exchange for the sacrifice of his newborn sons.
  • Death by Adaptation: Has its own page.
  • Death by Childbirth:
    • Joanna Lannister when Tyrion was born, causing his father and his sister to treat him like some sort of murderer.
    • Daenerys' mother, Rhaella Targaryen, died giving birth to her on Dragonstone.
    • Eventually we find out that Jon Snow's mother Lyanna Stark died after giving birth as well. It almost sounds like no coincidence that three main characters share this background.
  • Death by Irony:
    • Viserys Targaryen should have been more specific when he demanded his crown.
    • Ned Stark hates the idea of harming children, so he twice passes on a chance to win the Gambit Pileup. In the end, he is killed by the order of one of the very children he spared.
    • Matthos Seaworth's fanatical devotion to the Lord of Light nets him a death by (wild)fire.
    • Joffrey dies in a very similar way to a rival whose death he mocked so thoroughly: painfully murdered at a wedding before his mother's eyes.
    • Oberyn dies by the same individual he promised to kill brutally (the individual killed his sister and her children brutally), and by a really graphic way of death.
    • Meryn Trant dies by a young girl he meant to abuse.
    • Roose Bolton dies the same way he killed Robb, a knife to his heart. That also by a 'trusted' man, his own son. His last look on his face even Lampshades it.
    • Smalljon Umber hates Wildlings and betrayed House Stark. During the battle he is killed by a Wildling who also happens to be friends with the member of the House that the Smalljon betrayed.
    • Ramsay Bolton is fed alive to his dogs. Which makes it more ironic is that he intentionally gave them a taste for human meat, as well as keeping them hungry for 7 days, intending to feed Jon to them. ANOTHER layer of Irony is the order for his death was given by Sansa, whom he tormented a lot.
    • Walder Frey is killed by The Remnant of the family he helped destroy, and his manner of death is also same as the one suffered by the perpetrator's mother.
  • Death by Materialism: It's implied that the Good Masters of Astapor were too blinded by the prospect of owning a dragon to see the many holes in the deal.
  • Death Faked for You: Bran and Rickon after they escape Theon.
  • Death from Above: The Night's Watch takes full advantage of their position atop the Wall to rain arrows, flaming barrels, and even a huge scythe down on anyone who tries to storm the Wall.
  • Death Glare:
    • Catelyn fixes Jon Snow with a couple of these in "Winter Is Coming" and "The Kingsroad".
    • Sansa shows her new-found hatred for Joffrey with a couple of these in "Fire and Blood".
    • Brienne gives Jaime a very menacing one in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" after one too many jokes about Renly and shoots daggers from her eyes in "Kissed By Fire" when he implies she failed to protect her king.
    • Tywin Lannister has perfected this expression. A menacing glance is all he needs to silence the chuckles at Joffrey's prank in "Second Sons", but his worst may be in "Mhysa" when Joffrey outright accuses him of cowardice.
    • Tyrion and Tywin engage in dueling death glares on several occasions, most notably at the end of "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Yara Greyjoy gives her father Balon a nasty one when he refuses to attempt to save her brother Theon from the Boltons.
    • Joffrey's antics earn him one from pretty much everyone present at one point or another, particularly in "The Lion and the Rose".
    • The change in Stannis' face when Selyse mentions that their daughter could do with a good beating in "The Lion and the Rose" is more than a little disconcerting.
    • Stannis gives one to Davos when the Iron Bank refuses his loan that basically says "You dragged me all the way here for this?" Davos responds by trying a new tactic to convince the bankers to give them a loan.
    • Jaime gives one to Cersei in "The Winds of Winter" when he returns to King's Landing to find that Cersei has crowned herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms after her actions drove their son Tommen into committing suicide.
  • Death Is Cheap: Subverted. Magical necromancy is possible, but has so far resulted in Damaged Soul at best and Soulless Shell at worst.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Each of the Anyone Can Die moments generally merits a sendoff consistent with their role.
  • Death of the Old Gods: The Faith of the Seven, brought to Westeros by the Andals, has largely replaced the old gods worshiped by the First Men and the Children of the Forest except in the North and beyond the Wall. Additionally, the monotheistic religion of the Lord of Light has recently taken root through the work of Melisandre of Asshai and Thoros of Myr.
  • Decapitated Army:
    • Renly's assassination splits his army down the middle, with half his men going over to Stannis and the other half fleeing with Loras Tyrell.
    • After Rickard Karstark is executed, his forces break off from the rest of the army and withdraw from the war.
    • The commanders of the Second Sons obviously expect this when they decide on assassination instead of risking battle against 8,000 Unsullied.
    • The Stark army is quickly surprised and massacred following the assassination of their leader.
    • Jon reasons that if they can kill Mance Rayder his wildling army will collapse back into their traditional rivalries. His reasoning is pretty solid, but his plan is less so and he knows it.
  • Decapitation Presentation:
    • Joffrey forces Sansa to look at the heads he's mount on spikes. He attempts to follow through on his threat to present her brother's as well, but is refused.
    • On hearing 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.
    • In "Second Sons", Daario presents Dany with the heads of his former bosses as proof of his loyalty.
    • Karl Tanner likes gloating over Jeor Mormont's skull while using it as a drinking cup.
  • Decapitation Strike: This happens multiple times:
    • The most (in)famous instance would be the Red Wedding, where the minor House Frey butchers the entire leadership of the Northern Rebellion, including the freshly anointed King In The North, Robb Stark, during a wedding feast.
    • Khaleesi Daenerys does the same thing after being taken prisoner by a rival Dothraki horde; she arranges for all the Khals to meet her in the temple of the sacred city to hear her out, then has the temple set ablaze, killing everyone inside but her own (fire-proof) self.
    • Cersei Lannister pulls one off on the entire Sparrow leadership, most of the Tyrell family, and much of her son's royal court, when she has a secret stash of wildfire detonated under the Great Sept while they all attended what was meant to be her own blasphemy trial.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Arya throws the Lannister men off Gendry's trail by claiming a boy they'd already killed was Gendry. Luckily, the boy had recently 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.
    • The Hound finally admits he's interested in protecting Arya for more than just her ransom in "The Children".
    • Toward the end of Season Six, Tyrion swears to Daenerys, "I believe in you. It's embarrassing, really. I'd swear you my sword but I don't actually own a sword." When Daenerys tells Tyrion she needs his council, not his protection, he answers, "It's yours. Now and always."
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Xaro Xhoan Daxos is the only member of the Thirteen who interacts with Daenerys in the novels, but his role is split between Xaro and the Spice King in the series.
    • Theon's lowborn bedmate Kyra is replaced by Ros in Season 1, Osha in "The Old Gods and the New", and Tansy in "The Lion and the Rose".
    • Donal Noye's roles setting Jon straight when he first comes to Castle Black, leading the defense of Castle Black, and holding the gate against Mag the Mighty are divided between Tyrion, Alliser Thorne, and Grenn respectively.
    • A Greyjoy mook handles the hounds during Theon's hunt in "A Man Without Honor" instead of Farlen the kennelmaster (who was shown standing up to Theon's occupation in "The Old Gods and the New").
  • Decoy Protagonist:
    • Will the ranger, the only survivor of the series' Cold Open.
    • Ned Stark, whose death really cements that Anyone Can Die.
    • Robb Stark, whom George R. R. Martin admits he killed to subvert the standard revenge story.
    • Viserys Targaryen and Khal Drogo are Decoy Antagonists.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Greatjon Umber laughs off losing two fingers to Grey Wind because Robb's forbearance and willingness to stand up to him are impressive. He later becomes one of Robb's staunchest supporters.
    • Osha is remarkably friendly to Bran in "The Pointy End" after her companions had tried to rob and murder Bran in her previous appearance. She explains later that it was Nothing Personal and she was treated far more reasonably than she ever imagined.
    • Stannis states in the Histories and Lore segments that this was Robert's greatest gift and allowed his to cement his rule and defeat the Greyjoy Rebellion.
    • Subverted by Balon Greyjoy, who spent a decade brooding on his defeat until he could rebel again, this time motivated by revenge.
    • This is one of the ways Mance Rayder rose to become King Beyond the Wall. One by one he defeated anyone who stood against him, earning the loyalty of chieftains and warlords like Tormund Giantsbane and Styr.
  • Defiant to the End:
    • Mirri Maz Duur vows not to scream while being burnt alive, but is eventually unable to hold to this.
    • Ser Rodrik goes down literally spitting on Theon for his betrayal.
    • Lord Karstark uses his last words to curse his executioner. However, rather than the usual triumphant moment, it instead cements how far he is beyond the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Brienne had every intention of this before her rescue in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair".
    • Orell uses his final moments to jump into his eagle and attack his assailant's pretty face.
    • Tormund is surrounded by enemies and wounded several times, yet he refuses to surrender until he is disarmed by a quarrel to the knee and dragged off, still yelling curses at his captors.
    • Subverted by Mance Rayder who surrenders surprisingly quickly when his enormous army is taken by surprise in "The Children". His refusal to Kneel Before Zod right after is somewhat hollow in comparison.
    • Whatever else you think of him, Tywin's decision to denounce the man who just mortally wounded him rather than whimper or plead is worthy of respect.
  • Deliberately Cute Child:
    • The warlock assassin in "Valar Dohaeris" takes this form to disarm suspicions.
    • Arya plays this as best she can in "Mhysa" as part of her plot for a little bit of revenge.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: 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.
    • Zigzagged by Sansa and Tyrion in Season 3. Sansa specifically calls Littlefinger too old for her, but makes no mention of this regarding Tyrion, who (while younger than Littlefinger) is still at least twice her age. Conversely, only Tyrion seems to take issue with Sansa's age, even though he admits to bedding girls not much older.
    • In "The Mountain and the Viper", Yohn Royce criticizes Petyr Baelish's Braavosi ancestry and insinuates that his lowborn hands are only good for handling money. Littlefinger's bland reaction implies that these racist and classist attitudes are something he has dealt with all his life.
    • Hell, Sansa herself is treated as an immaculate beauty (by men who desire her, and women who feel threatened by her) and is engaged at thirteen years old. In the earlier seasons of the show, a lot of modern viewers' feelings that she's pretty but not MIND-BLOWING was almost definitely due to seeing her as a child instead of an adult.
  • Dem Bones: "The Children" shows that wights will remain animate even if there is no flesh left on them.
  • Demoted to Dragon:
    • Houses Stark, Lannister, Arryn, and Martell were kings or regnant princes before they bent the knee to the Targaryens and became wardens.
    • The wildling chieftains who serve under Mance Rayder, such as Tormund and Styr, all agreed to become this.
  • Demoted to Extra: Has its own page.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: From "The Ghost of Harrenhal":
    Cersei: "Aren't you always so clever, with your schemes and your plots!"
  • Depraved Dwarf:
    • Tyrion provides the trope quote despite actually subverting it. He has a reputation as a "drunken little lecher," but is actually the Token Good Teammate of his Big, Screwed-Up Family. Nevertheless, Black and Grey Morality means even he gets a few cold-blooded actions for which his dwarfism provides a Freudian Excuse.
    • Tyrion also invokes the trope in "The Lion and the Rose" when he jokingly cautions Joffrey to be careful around the dwarf jesters since they tend to get horny.
  • Description Cut:
    • 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.
    • In "Mhysa", Tyrion warns that every enemy they kill creates two more. Cut to Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark just before they hack down some new Lannister allies.
    • 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.
  • Desolation Shot:
    • On their way to Dragonstone in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", Gendry and Melisandre pass through the sunken ships from the Battle of Blackwater.
    • "Two Swords" ends with Arya and the Hound riding out into the war-ravaged countryside of the Riverlands.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Robb loses the will to fight back after cradling Talisa's body.
    • Catelyn suffers a Heroic Blue Screen of Death and doesn't even try to resist her own death after Robb is murdered before her eyes.
    • Theon finally breaks under the Cold-Blooded Torture in "Mhysa" and accepts the name of "Reek".
    • When his Humiliation Conga of a trial finally breaks him, Tyrion lets all his pent-up bitterness and rage loose upon the court.
    • After Tommen witnesses the Great Sept of Baelor exploding, he is so devastated by the death of his beloved Margaery, the destruction of the center of his new-found faith, and the realization that his own mother was responsible, he simply removes his crown and jumps to his death from a window in the Red Keep.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Varys comments that Littlefinger "would see this kingdom burn if he could be king of the ashes."
  • Determinator:
    • Stannis Baratheon begins the war as the weakest and least popular king, but moves to attack his strongest rival anyway, refusing to parlay with anyone he considers a usurper or let even his own brother stand in his way. Even after a catastrophic defeat, he refuses to relinquish his claim. Davos says it best: "As long as Stannis lives, the war is not over."
    • You can remind Balon Greyjoy about the massive failure that was his first rebellion, the personal tragedies it wrought including the death of two of his sons, and how he can never hope to hold the lands he may conquer, but he'll launch a new rebellion anyway.
    • The Blackfish describes Catelyn's father Hoster in these terms: "I was surprised when he died. I didn't think Death had the patience."
    • Jorah fights this way in "The Dance of Dragons." He gets beat up in each fight, but through grit and luck manages to survive each encounter.
  • Deus ex Machina: Benjen Stark arriving to rescue Jon from the army of wights. Unlike other well-timed rescues (such as the dragons in the same episode), this one is preceded by no set-up that the character might be on his way or in the area.
  • Deus Sex Machina: Melisandre's ability to birth Living Shadow assassins requires sex as part of the ritual.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Littlefinger is obviously (and openly) up to no good, but people rely on him anyway. George Martin has noted this as perhaps the biggest adaptational change since in the books Littlefinger is much more affable, subtle about his desires, and a Villain with Good Publicity to everyone except Tyrion (and even Tyrion can't put his finger on Littlefinger's goal).
  • Devoured by the Horde: In episode "Hardhome", during the white walkers attack at Hardhome, Karsi encounters child wights, which horrifies her to the point that she's unable to lift her weapons at them as the child wights overwhelm and kill her.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Frequently, partially because this trope and its counterpoint are applied equally to every faction and Grey and Grey Morality means one faction's deus can be seen as another's diabolus.
    • Joffrey throws a Spanner in the Works of his own faction's plan to banish Ned Stark in exchange for peace by having Ned executed instead.
    • The Red Wedding puts a surprise end to House Stark as a viable faction with an unexpected betrayal and massacre that reduces them to a few children, many of whom are (incorrectly) presumed dead.
    • Three episodes later, the same thing happens to the Lannisters when their king is poisoned at his wedding and their Token Good Teammate is put on trial for it. This directly leads to Tyrion killing Tywin and fleeing, thus depriving the Lannisters of their two most intelligent and capable members and leaving the realm in Cersei's hands. Things quickly fall apart for them from there.
    • The duel between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane ends this way when Gregor manages the strength to trip and literally crush Oberyn.
    • This happens twice in Season 4 with two instances of Stark kids almost reuniting but something prevents it, resulting in the characters just missing each other. It seems the writers will do anything to keep this family separate, even as they come within a hair's width of reuniting.
      • Bran and Jon are almost reunited at Craster's Keep when Bran and his party are there, with Jon arriving to deal with the mutineers — but they are prevented from reuniting. Bran wants to go to Jon and let him know he's there but Jojen Reed stops him, explaining that Jon will want to protect Bran and stop him from going further north to keep Bran safe if he finds them there and so they leave the keep without letting him know they were there.
      • Likewise, Sansa is with Littlefinger in the Vale, which is where Arya and the Hound are heading to see Arya's Aunt Lysa. Arya and Sansa nearly reunite at the Vale — but they are prevented from doing so because, when the Hound and Arya arrive, Arya is told her aunt is dead and they leave. Apparently, no one bothers to inform Littlefinger or anyone else that Arya Stark, long presumed dead, has shown up at the gates looking for her aunt.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • It's hard to tell who is more surprised when Sam manages to kill a White Walker.
    • No one expected Walder Frey would stoop so low as to violate Sacred Hospitality.
    • Littlefinger planned to marry Lysa anyway but clearly didn't expect to marry her immediately.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Catelyn Stark's Mama Bear tendencies sometimes drive her to rash actions.
      • She arrests Tyrion for the attempted murder of her son because she was told the assassin used his dagger, but is stumped when Tyrion asks the obvious question of who would be dumb enough to arm an assassin with their own blade.
      • Although Jaime was in mortal danger and Catelyn couldn't trust anyone else, the odds of Brienne successfully escorting Jaime through a war zone, conducting a prisoner exchange, and returning with two girls without backup were very low.
    • Balon Greyjoy's main flaw as a ruler. He first rebelled on the assumption that Robert had not reconciled with his former enemies, but by making himself a threat to all he brought ruin on himself and strengthened Robert's regime. In Season 2, he proves he hasn't learned his lesson and tries the same thing again and although he is more successful this time it only lasts until the other factions actually turn their attention toward him in Season 4.
    • This is Lady Olenna's appraisal of Renly Baratheon's bid for the throne since he had no legitimacy. Granted, it's in the Tyrells' interest to speak this way when they are supporting those who consider Renly a usurper.
    • Brienne embarks on a quest to protect the Stark girls with a Lannister-customized sword, a Westerlands squire, and a southern accent. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?:
    • Barristan Selmy's reaction to being forcibly retired is to draw his sword, tell off the king and his court, then storm out like he owns the place.
    • In "Mhysa", Joffrey accuses Tywin of hiding under Casterly Rock during Robert's Rebellion. Tywin responds by dismissing him from the meeting and sedating him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Sam discovers the White Walkers' sole Kryptonite Factor completely by accident.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight:
    • King Renly collapses into Brienne's arms after he is stabbed through the heart, and she holds him for a moment before he dies. She later remarks it was the only time she got to hold him.
    • Subverted by Talisa, who's already dead by the time Robb reaches her.
    • King Joffrey Baratheon dies in his mother's arms.
    • Pyp and Ygritte both die in someone's arms in "The Watchers on the Wall".
  • Died Standing Up:
    • Despite several mortal wounds, Yoren does not fall until Amory Lorch slides a sword down through him from behind.
    • The horse breeder captured in "The Rains of Castamere" requests permission to stand for his execution.
  • Dies Wide Open:
    • Talisa's eyes continue to express pure shock and terror even after death.
    • Joffrey's bloodshot eyes are the focus of the final shot of an episode.
    • Styr after Jon Drops The Hammer on him. For a moment, it even looks like he's quizzically judging Jon.
    • Jojen Reed's dead eyes show hints of turning the occult blue of a wight's before the fireball engulfs the body.
    • Shae after being strangled.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Tyrion's efforts to convince Shae he's not interested in Sansa fall comically short in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
  • Dirt Forcefield: Loras' immaculate appearance and mild Hair Flip in "Blackwater" are highlighted when Tywin enters behind him coated in blood and grime.
  • Dirty Business:
    • "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword" is an ancient custom in the North, where the incumbent Lord Stark personally judges and carries out executions. 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 euthanizes Lady himself because she deserves better than to be butchered by Cersei's men, but he's very afflicted by Robert's decision.
    • Stannis expresses some regret over killing Renly, but rationalizes that it was the only way to get back the forces that had been stolen from him.
  • Dirty Cop: The thoroughly-corrupt Janos Slynt is the equivalent of King's Landing's police chief until his removal in "The Night Lands".
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Joffrey is a Miles Gloriosus who tries to project strength and bravery but turns wimpy and panics whenever someone stands up to him.
    • Sam (rightfully) admits to being one in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", an admission so unheard-of that the other recruits act like it's a disease they might catch. Sam's case eventually gets treated with Character Development, though.
    • Grand Maester Pycelle remains fawning and servile to escape the notice of more ambitious courtiers because he wants nothing more than to live out his days in the comfort his office affords.
    • Walder Frey's defining trait is that he only acts when he's completely sure it'll work out in his favour. He's lived to a very ripe old age because he's very good at it.
    • Rast enjoys bullying Sam but backs off whenever others get involved, stabs men in the back but panics when they turn to face him, and turns tail and runs rather than fighting in "First of His Name".
    • Ramsay is surprisingly one in "Battle of the Bastards" where he refuses to fight Snow one-to-one and gets easily beat when he does fight him with a bow. Quite the 180-degree turn from the shirtless Blood Knight in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • During the Battle of Castle Black, Janos Slynt is so indecisive that he must be tricked to leave the Wall, then he abandons the fighting to cower in the pantry, where even Gilly shows more bravery.
  • Dirty Old Man:
    • Walder Frey, who is past 90, publicly gropes and boasts of bedding his 15-year-old wife and utters filthy innuendos pretty much every time he opens his mouth.
    • Despite his age and vow of celibacy, Grand Maester Pycelle has no qualms hiring prostitutes and offering free "medical examinations" to young handmaidens.
    • Littlefinger's attraction to Sansa, who is explicitly young enough to be his daughter. Shae dryly comments that men never see themselves as too old.
    • Craster practices Parental Incest with his daughters, and their daughters, and their daughters...
  • Dirty Old Woman: Olenna Tyrell seems fond of reminiscing about her seductive days and playfully flirting with Varys. Fitting, as she's played by Diana Rigg, who was quite the Ms. Fanservice in her younger days.
  • Disability Superpower: Bran begins having prophetic dreams and entering the mind of his direwolf after being crippled.
  • Disapproving Look: Lots. Tywin, Olenna, and Catelyn are frequent sources.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • The Eyrie has no executioner. Instead, convicts are thrown out the Moon Door to fall to their deaths or left in the open Sky Cells to do the job themselves. Ironically, young Lord Robin Arryn's desire to see this is Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour.
      "I want to see the bad man fly."
    • Lysa Arryn is thrown out the Moon Door.
    • Deconstructed by the Hound, who must beg his companion to make an end of him after he is broken falling off a cliff.
  • Disposable Sex Worker:
    • Joffrey forces one prostitute to beat another so badly it is unclear whether she survives.
    • There are hints throughout the first two seasons that Littlefinger is not above letting his customers murder his prostitutes, particularly those who displease him. We see the truth of this is "The Climb" when he gives Ros to Joffrey for target practice because she spied on him for Varys.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Gregor Clegane burned off half his little brother's face for playing with his toy. He also beheads his horse and attempts to do the same to his opponent after being unhorsed in a tournament. Sandor even claims Gregor once killed a man for snoring too loudly.
    • Tywin Lannister's response to Catelyn's unlawful arrest of his son Tyrion is to send troops to Rape, Pillage, and Burn her father's lands under the guise of brigands.
    • This is Joffrey's default setting. It's lampshaded by Tyrion when Joffrey provokes a riot by ordering an unruly mob be slaughtered: "They threw a cowpie at you, so you decided to kill them all?!"
    • In "The Rains of Castamere", Walder Frey's response to Robb breaking his marriage pact is to have Robb, his pregnant wife, his mother, and most of his bannermen slaughtered in violation of Sacred Hospitality.
  • Dissonant Laughter: Arya's reaction to hearing of her aunt's death is laughing like it's the funniest thing she's ever heard, to the disquiet of everyone else.
  • Dissonant Serenity:
    • Daenerys often affects this demeanor while holding court as part of her attempt to be The High Queen.
    • Sansa maintains courtesy as her armour throughout her stay in King's Landing. Her composure despite her obvious discomfort provides the final straw that convinces Tyrion not to exercise his Marital Rape License.
    • This is one of the most obvious symptoms of Arya's increasingly unsettling coldbloodedness.
    • Rather than a frenzied fanatic, Melisandre is always poised and eerily clam.
    • Selyse Baratheon is overjoyed by human sacrifice because the victim's sins have been "burned away."
    • Cersei steps calmly and daintily past the dismembered corpses of the prisoners Ser Gregor Clegane has just executed to welcome him back to the capital in "Mockingbird".
  • Distaff Counterpart: Olenna Tyrell to Tywin Lannister.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: This exchange in "Nightlands":
    Janos: I won't have my honor questioned by an imp!
    Tyrion: I'm not questioning your honor, Lord Janos... I'm denying its existence.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Jory gets so distracted in Littlefinger's brothel that he doesn't notice his lord leaving.
    • In a non-human example, Ser Gregor's stallion was extremely distracted by Ser Loras' mare, who was in heat.
    • Seems to be the intended audience reaction to the girl-on-girl during Littlefinger's "Forget What They Know" monologue in "You Win Or You Die".
    • Jon has a "hard" time sleeping with Ygritte grinding against him in "The Old Gods and the New".
    • In "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Sansa is so preoccupied by Loras' posterior that she almost forgets that Margaery is there.
    • Tyrion struggles to keep Podrick on task as they pass through Littlefinger's brothel in "Walk of Punishment".
    • Lampshaded by Robb in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" when he asks how he's supposed to get any work done with his wife lying naked on the bed.
    • In "The Lion and the Rose", Loras accidentally bumps into Jaime while exchanging sultry looks with Oberyn.
    • Tommen during Margaery's midnight visit.
  • Disturbed Doves: When Ned Stark is beheaded.
  • Disc-One Final Boss:
    • At first it seems Viserys might be the Big Bad, but he is completely disregarded by his allies and eventually gets himself killed when he goes too far.
    • Soon after Khal Drogo declares his intention to Rape, Pillage, and Burn all of Westeros, but quickly dies due to an infected wound.
    • The Disc Two Final Boss, Lord Tywin, spends several seasons building power only to fall to an assassin's crossbow.
    • The Disc Three Final Boss, Ramsay Bolton, ends up dying by his own hounds.
  • Divided We Fall:
    • Robb, Stannis, and Renly are all enemies of the Lannisters, but they cannot cooperate.
    • This trope is what holds the Lannister-Tyrell alliance together despite the Tyrells obvious Dragon with an Agenda role.
    • The War of Five Kings is seriously weakening Westeros and distracting it from the coming invasions by the wildlings, the White Walkers, and Daenerys.
  • Dodge The Arrow: Theon dodges several arrows while fleeing his captors in "Walk of Punishment".
  • Does Not Like Magic: Varys, ever since he was ritually castrated and left to die by a sorcerer as a boy. He even admits to staunchly opposing Stannis because of his association with the magical priestess Melisandre.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Littlefinger's monologue in "You Win Or You Die" is straight-up instructions to his whores on the surface, but doubles as a description of his False Friend relationship with Ned.
      "They know what you are. They know it's all just an act. Your job is to make them forget what they know, and that takes time. You need to ease into it [...] He knows he's better than other men; he's always known it, deep down inside. Now he has proof. He's so good he's reaching something deep inside of you that no one even knew was there, overcoming your very nature..."
    • The Hound's captors "accidentally" smack his head on the wagon they are loading him into.
    • A once powerful figure who resents a loss of importance and influence to ambitious upstarts manipulates a mass of zealots into becoming a private army of enforcers. These zealots upend society and throw aside the usual political intrigue in favor of brute force on behalf of their patron, but become increasingly difficult to control. The above could be describing Cersei and the Faith Militant in Season 5 or China in the 1960s.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • Daenerys, when she finally stands up to Viserys.
    Daenerys: I am a Khaleesi of the Dothraki. I am the wife of the great Khal and I carry his son inside me. The next time you raise a hand to me, it will be the last time you have hands!
    • One of Craster's wives stabs Karl Tanner during his duel with Jon Snow.
    • A literal example when Ghost kills Rast, who reveled in tormenting him while he was caged.
    • The knights and nobles Tyrion antagonized (rightly or wrongly) over his time at court line up to testify against him by restating his words and threats verbatim (although out-of-context) in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Cersei and Tyrion finally get the best of their father in "The Children".
    • Ser Yohn Royce, after putting up with Littlefinger pushing him around for years, probably felt no small amount of satisfaction to abandon him when Sansa orders his execution.
  • The Dog Shot First: In "The Children", Shae's reaction to spotting Tyrion is to wordlessly scramble for a knife, prompting a deadly struggle, whereas in the source material the character is strangled in cold blood attempting to talk themselves out of the situation.
  • Domestic Abuse: Robert is not above smacking Cersei around when she insults his masculinity, though he immediately regrets it as "not kingly."
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Discussed when Jon says he would gladly give his life for the Watch. Qhorin replies that he doesn't want Jon to be glad about it, he wants him to fight until his heart's done pumping.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir":
    • Because he despises knights as hypocrites and prides himself on not being one, Sandor Clegane hates being called "Ser," even if it's meant respectfully.
    • Brienne doesn't like being reminded she's a highborn lady. She claims, "Brienne is enough," and even prefers to bow rather than curtsy.
    • Arya doesn't like being called "milady" and even shoves Gendry to the ground when he teases her about it.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Ned Stark is remembered by many as a good man undone by the Deadly Decadent Court.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Subtly invoked by Margaery outside the orphanage in "Valar Dohaeris". She is definitely projecting for the bystanders when she says she has other dresses and deliberately steps in the mud.
  • Doorstopper: In-Universe.
    • The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms, With Descriptions of Many High Lords and Noble Ladies and Their Children is just as much a door stopper as the name implies. Even the notoriously long-winded Grand Maester Pycelle calls it ponderous.
    • The Book of Brothers contains the service record of every Kingsguard to serve since its inception three hundred years ago.
    • Tyrion's wedding gift to Joffrey is Lives of Four Kings, a history of four Targaryen kings the size of a phone book.
  • Double Entendre:
    • While discussing Shae's cover story as his personal cook, Tyrion suggests Varys should taste her fish pie.
    • Tyrion rewards Podrick for sticking a spear through a would-be assassin with a "spear handler" of another sort.
  • Double Meaning:
    • The Spice King of Qarth deftly counters Daenerys' accusation that the Thirteen have broken their promise to receive her by noting that they have indeed "received" (i.e. met with) her.
    • After reminiscing that his father was a kind and loving man who nearly led his family to ruin, Tywin states that he is cold. After a palpable silence, Arya decides on the less personal interpretation and offers to gather more wood for the fire.
    • When Lysa asks if he remembers their "wedding night" many years ago, Littlefinger replies, "Like it was yesterday." Lysa doesn't notice, perhaps because she's so obsessed, but it's clear from his face that it's not a happy memory.
  • Double-Meaning Title:
    • "Winter is Coming", in addition to being the motto of the protagonist Stark family, is an in-series reminder to always be prepared for the bad times ahead.
    • "A Golden Crown" refers literally to Viserys' method of execution, but can also refer more metaphorically to the golden hair of the royal children, the catalyst of the episode's major revelation.
    • "The Climb" refers to both the wildlings' ascent of the Wall and to the attempt of social climbers like Littlefinger and the Tyrells to achieve more power.
    • "Second Sons", in addition to featuring a mercenary company of the same name, focuses on second-born sons like Tyrion, Sandor, and Stannis. More metaphorically, Samwell became a secondary son when he was pushed aside in favour of his younger brother, and Gendry — as an unacknowledged, largely unknown Baratheon bastard son —- is a secondary son of King Robert.
    • "Two Swords", could refer to either the two Lannister swords Tywin has forged in the opening or the two Stark swords that Bookend the episode: one being lost and the other being recovered.
    • "The Children" not only pertains to the Children of the Forest encountered by Bran, but to the bittersweet endings for three of Ned Stark's children (Jon, Bran, Arya), Daenerys putting her "children" in chains, and each of Tywin's three children (Cersei, Jaime, Tyrion) fighting back against their father. Coincidentally, the episode first aired on Father's Day.
  • Double Speak: "I haven't shown you the hospitality you deserve. My king has married and I owe my new queen a wedding gift."
  • Double Standard:
    • A character well into their twenties sneaks into the bedroom of a character barely into their teens and attempts to seduce them to gain power, even whispering about keeping it a secret. Even in Game of Thrones such a character would struggle to be considered sympathetic afterward if she weren't a woman.
    • In-Universe, Lysa Arryn clearly has some version of All Women Are Lustful going on in her Yandere mind when she accuses Sansa of seducing her husband without ever considering he might be responsible.
  • Double Take: Ned has a tiny one when Jory is killed.
  • Downer Ending: Each season ends on one for some characters, but it is always somewhat balanced by upbeat endings for other characters.
  • Do Wrong, Right:
    • Pragmatic Villain Tywin Lannister questions why Jaime ambushed someone without killing him, why Gregor Clegane was killing able-bodied prisoners, and why open battle is more honorable than selective murder.
    • Tyrion takes more offense at the stupidity of the assassination attempt against him than act itself. He also takes intellectual offense to being wrongly accused because in both cases he likes to think he'd have hid his involvement better if he had actually done it.
    • The Hound chastises Arya not for murdering a soldier nor for stealing his knife, but for not warning him first.
    • "My mother told me not to throw stones at cripples... But my father taught me to aim for their head." Ironically, Ramsay's antics with this victim earn him a lecture from his father about not torturing valuable hostages.
    • Brienne's says her father became so tired of her losing fights that he decided to get her proper training, despite society's strict gender roles.
  • Do You Trust Me?: Jaime only has time to say, "Do you trust me?" to convince Tyrion to confess as part of a deal before the trial recommences in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
  • Dracolich: In the season 7 episode "Beyond the Wall", one of Daenerys' dragons, Viserion, is slain by the Night's King and sinks into a frozen lake. It's later dragged out of the ice by the army of the dead and resurrected as a Wight. In the next episode, "The Wolf and The Dragon", the Night King rides it into battle and uses it to destroy the Wall. He breathes blue fire, apparently.
  • Draconic Humanoid: Deconstructed by Daenerys' son Rhaego, who is described as winged and scaled, but is simply stillborn rather than becoming a superhuman hybrid after he is sacrificed in a sabotaged ritual. It's left ambiguous whether this was caused by the Blood Magic, the Targaryens really being blood of the dragon, or both.
  • The Dragon:
    • Joffrey and Cersei use Sandor Clegane and Meryn Trant to do much of their dirty work. This is perhaps most obvious during the climax of "You Win Or You Die" when the Hound draws his sword to punctuate Cersei's reminder that she is not unsupported, and in "The Pointy End" when Trant arrives to take Arya.
    • Lord Tywin wants Jaime to be his Dragon, but after Jaime's capture he settles for Gregor Clegane within his army while sending Tyrion to act as his Dragon in King's Landing. In Season 3, Tywin takes over King's Landing himself and serves as Dragon-in-Chief to his nephew King Joffrey.
    • Bronn usually stays close to his boss Tyrion as a protector, but is occasionally dispatched on other jobs like commanding the City Watch and igniting the wildfire.
    • Ser Vardis Egen guards the Vale for Lysa Tully and stands as her champion in Season 1.
    • Viserys considers Khal Drogo to be his Dragon (although he considers himself "the Dragon" in a very different sense). Drogo doesn't care what Viserys thinks.
    • Ser Jorah Mormont for Daenerys.
    • Dagmer to Theon.
    • The wildling chieftains Tormund Giantsbane and Styr of Thenn act as Co-Dragons to Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, carrying out his orders to raid south of the Wall.
    • Locke serves as Roose Bolton's Dragon on campaign in the Riverlands while Roose's bastard son Ramsay fulfills this role back in the North.
    • Janos Slynt has made himself the second to Alliser Thorne, though Slynt is the schemer and Alliser is the fighter.
    • Literal examples are Daenerys' dragons, especially Drogon with his Big Damn Heroes moment. Rhaegal and Viserion to lesser extent.
  • Dragon-in-Chief:
    • Lord Tywin is the trope 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.
    • There are times when Dagmer straight-up tells Theon what to do, and Theon does it.
  • Dragon Rider:
    • The Valyrians (including the Targaryens) built a massive empire by becoming this.
    • Aegon the Conqueror and his sister-wives unified six of the Seven Kingdoms by using their dragons to melt the castle of Harrenhal, burn 4,000 men at the Field of Fire, and offer little King Ronnel Arryn a dragonback ride.
    • Daenerys obviously aspires to be this when her dragons are grown. Like her ancestor Aegon the Conqueror, she will also need two other riders to get the full benefit of her three dragons.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Joffrey, the series' reigning champion of petty stupidity, pitches a Smart Ball in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" when he is rightfully concerned by the rumours of Daenerys and her dragons, but he is contemptuously dismissed by Lord Tywin because of outdated intelligence and more pressing concerns.
    • Jaime reiterates his oath to return Sansa and Arya in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", unaware that Winterfell has fallen, Arya is nowhere near King's Landing, and Sansa is soon to be irrevocably bound to House Lannister.
    • When two lesser lords laugh at Tyrion in "Mhysa", he begins to recite their names and Sansa asks if he is adding them to a kill list. Tyrion doesn't have such a list... but Sansa's sister does.
    • Bran unknowingly avenges the man who crippled him for life when he kills Locke.
    • After two and a half seasons of warning Shae about the dangers in King's Landing, Tyrion is the one who ends up killing her when he finds her in Tywin's bed. This is doubly ironic because it is the inverse of Tywin's threat to kill the next whore he caught in Tyrion's bed.
    • At the end of Season 1, the Lords of the North proclaim Robb "King in the North" because they refuse to pledge allegiance to the Iron Throne any longer, and want the North to declare independence from the Seven Kingdoms. At the end of Season 6, they proclaim Jon as the next King in the North, recognizing Jon can lead them in the wars to come [1]. In the same episode, he is revealed to the audience as the hidden son of Lyanna Stark and Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (unknown to everyone, including Jon, as Ned hid this to protect Jon from the fatal wrath of the Baratheon regime) — and, as such, may be a potential heir to the Iron Throne.
    • Jon and Gendry take an instant shine to one another, noting their fathers' (Ned and Robert) close friendship, setting up an apparent Generation Xerox. Neither is aware that Robert hated Jon's real father, Rhaegar, and ultimately killed him.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: In "The Night Lands", Balon Greyjoy rips off the chain fastening of Theon's cloak when he learns it was paid for with gold, something he considers effeminate.
  • Drawing Straws: In "Second Sons", Mero puts three coins in the palm of a bedslave; the man who picks the Braavosi coin gets the dangerous task.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The White Walkers, the legendary and fearsome monsters from beyond the Wall.
    • 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.
    • Stannis Baratheon has a reputation as a humourless and merciless determinator and his resume includes holding Storm's End against all the power of House Tyrell with 500 men while being Reduced To Rat Burgers, storming the Targaryen island bastion of Dragonstone, smashing the ironborn fleet at Fair Isle, and subduing the island of Great Wyk. And that's just his Back Story...
    • The Blackfish's status as an in-universe memetic badass means Roose Bolton is quite concerned that he may have survived.
    • Tyrion's reaction to hearing Oberyn Martell is in town is a restrained Oh, Crap!. Judging by his Establishing Character Moment, Oberyn has come by his reputation honestly.
    • The ruthless cutthroat Karl Tanner claims he was once known as "The Legend of Gin Alley," and definitely terrifies his companions.
    • Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane is so notorious for his almost inhuman size and strength that even certified badasses fear to face him.
    • The Iron Bank is infamous for funding the enemies of states and rulers who default on their loans. Tyrion is unnerved to learn Littlefinger has sunk the realm millions in debt to them and Olenna calls Tywin's bluff when he claims he's not worried about it, saying he's too smart not to be worried.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Bran Stark and Jojen Reed can do this.
  • Dream Weaver: The Three-eyed Raven turns out to be a real person who is communicating with Bran and Jojen this way.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Invoked in "The Laws of Gods and Men", when the defendant is brought in shackled like a beast even though the idea of him overpowering the guards and fleeing is ridiculous. His accusers also appear in their finest and most conservative attire to play up their nobility and innocence.
  • Dress Hits Floor: A rare male version of this trope occurs in "The Wolf and the Lion" when Loras removes Renly's pants and undergarments in one movement and lets them drop to the floor.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Daario dresses as an Unsullied to sneak into Daenerys' camp in "Second Sons".
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Alliser Thorne pushes his recruits with harsh training and constant insults, believing himself to be this. However, he also deconstructs the trope by taking much more pleasure in bullying his charges than he does from seeing them improve, making him a plain sadist as well.
  • Driven to Suicide: In "The Winds of Winter," King Tommen kills himself after his mother firebombs the Great Sept of Baelor and all inside it (including Tommen's wife Margaery) leaving him powerless and alone in his room.
  • Droit du Seigneur: Joffrey threatens Sansa with this during "Second Sons", declaring it doesn't matter which Lannister puts a baby in her.
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous:
    • "The Climb" ends on the arrow-filled corpse of Ros the prostitute. Somewhere between her pose, her scanty attire, her tousled hair, and the soft lighting, she ends up looking like a martyr in a Renaissance painting.
    • Ygritte makes a similarly beautiful corpse on her pyre in "The Children".
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Rakharo is sent off scouting and only his head returns. The producers have hinted this was at the actor's request.
    • Dagmer and the rest of Theon's crew go unmentioned for a whole season until it's offhandedly mentioned that Ramsay had them flayed.
    • Ros is unceremoniously Stuffed into the Fridge to demonstrate the depravity of characters whose evilness was already very well established, and then promptly forgotten by everyone.
    • Summer, Bran's direwolf. While technically a Heroic Sacrifice, the scene only lasts a couple seconds, with barely any reaction from the other characters, and is overshadowed by the respective sacrifices of Hodor and Leaf, which happened in the same episode and received far more focus. Combine that with the offscreen death of Shaggydog only a few episodes earlier, and it really feels like he was only killed because the direwolves were difficult to film and the showrunners didn't want to deal with them any more than they have to.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • King Robert's Weapon of Choice, which he used to kill Prince Rhaegar Targaryen to become king.
    • Jon briefly uses a smith's hammer as an Improvised Weapon in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Gendry takes after his father in this regard, and has his time as a blacksmith to back it up.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • Robert Baratheon's drinking problem is strongly implied to be caused by his lost Lyanna. He even claims that "seven kingdoms couldn't fill the hole she left behind."
    • Bronn encourages Tyrion to drink until it feels like he did the right thing in "The Lion and the Rose".
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Shagga is described as insisting on two double-bladed battleaxes from the Lannister armory.
    • Karl Tanner, a cutthroat from King's Landing, wields two knives rather than a sword.
    • Ramsay carries a mace in one hand and a dagger in the other during the raid in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Ser Arthur Dayne.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Lancel Lannister is quite feminine-looking, at least until Season 5.
    • Jaime describes Loras as a "curly-haired little girl" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Stannis, commander of the terrible siege of Storm's End and conqueror of Dragonstone, resents Robert for giving their ancestral home and sub-kingdom to their kid brother Renly, who was too young to take part in the fighting.
    • After a brief stint as The Good Chancellor who did his best to hold the fort for his family, Tyrion's request for some recognition is rewarded with a devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech from his father. He brings this up again in his own vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the entire court in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Theon expects a thank you for saving Bran, but gets a What the Hell, Hero? speech instead. Later, he expects a welcome homecoming but is greeted with scorn, neglect, and cruel pranks. Still later, he expects at least grudging respect from the people he conquered with 20 men and a Batman Gambit, but nope, everyone from old men to crippled children give him scorn and snark. He's a Butt-Monkey, though and through.
    • The Night's Watch has defended the realm for generations, but are frequently dismissed as a gang of outcasts guarding against make-believe monsters.
    • Almost no one at Castle Black believes Sam's story about killing a White Walker because the only witness was a wildling girl.
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: Sam's reason for wanting to help Gilly at Craster's Keep is that he sees it as an injustice that needs to be righted.
  • Duel Boss: Jon and Karl clearly view their confrontation as a private matter between them.
  • Duel to the Death: Of course.
    • Subverted by the duel between Ned Stark and Jaime Lannister which, after five episodes of hype, is interrupted before either party can gain any real advantage and both men survive.
    • The duel between Syrio Forel and Ser Meryn Trant is left as a Bolivian Army Cliffhanger, prompting wild mass guessing based on Never Found the Body even though the victor reappears unharmed later.
    • Drogo engages in one with Mago when his leadership is called into question.
    • Jorah Mormont gets into an impromptu one when Drogo's bloodrider Qotho attempts to intervene in Mirri Maz Duur's blood magic.
    • Qhorin Halfhand starts one with Jon Snow as part of a Heroic Sacrifice to install Jon as a Fake Defector.
    • Westeros accepts Trial by Combat as a legitimate form of justice. The Hound is subjected to it in Season 3 and Tyrion elects Combat by Champion in both Season 1 and Season 4.
    • Daario Naharis stands as Daenerys' champion against the champion of Meereen.
  • Due to the Dead: Has its own page.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Played for Dramatic Irony when Joffrey, the series reigning champion of petty stupidity, is seriously and rightfully concerned by the rumours of Daenerys and her dragons but is contemptuously dismissed by Lord Tywin.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Eyrie's jailer Mord may even be mentally retarded, but is big and strong enough to be competent at his job. He's also nearly too dumb to bribe.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Mance reveals in "The Children" that, having seen how meager the Night's Watch's defences are, he simply sent a few hundred climbers a short way down the Wall to avoid the defenders entirely.
  • DVD Bonus Content: In addition to the standard commentaries and behind-the-scenes featurettes, the Blu-ray releases contain illustrated narrations of the history and lore of Westeros and Essos complete with overlapping Unreliable Narrator. For example, Tywin recalls his Sack of King's Landing as a pragmatic, war-ending coup, Ned Stark views it as a terrible crime, Robert views it as a Necessary Evil, and Viserys calls it an unjust betrayal. All of them have a point.
  • DVD Commentary: Often quite informative and entertaining, featuring the showrunners/writers, the original author, directors, actors, producers, designers, etc.
  • Dwindling Party: Bran starts his journey with Meera, Jojen, Hodor, and Summer. By the end of "The Door," only he and Meera are left, with everyone else killed by wights.
  • Dying Clue: Jon Arryn's dying words that "The seed is strong," turn out to mean Baratheon black hair is dominant over Lannister blond.
  • Dying Curse:
    • "Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy. Now you are truly lost." Ser Rodrik Cassel doesn't curse his killer so much as sympathize with him over the curse he is irrevocably drawing down upon himself. The curse comes into full effect when Theon loses his identity after being tortured and broken into a creature called "Reek".
    • Rickard Karstark uses his Last Words to invoke the curse of the kinslayer on his executioner: "Kill me and be cursed. You are no king of mine!" Judging by the Red Wedding, it worked.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • Syrio Forel takes down several guardsmen with a wooden sword before being overcome by a heavily-armoured knight.
    • Yoren takes down a fair number of enemies during his You Shall Not Pass stand, despite already being wounded and vastly outnumbered.
    • Even after Lord Commander Mormont is stabbed in the back, he tries to choke his killer to death one-handed. Unfortunately, Reality Ensues and his strength fails, allowing his assailant to finish him off.
    • Grenn and five others hold off a giant beneath the Wall in "The Watchers on the Wall". Their chanting of the Badass Creed only makes it better.
    • Ser Barristan Selmy rescues a comrade against seemingly impossible odds.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • Summer the direwolf tackles an assassin out of nowhere in "The Kingsroad".
    • Rakharo takes Viserys and the audience completely off guard with his whip in "Lord Snow".
    • Podrick rescues Tyrion this way in "Blackwater".
  • Dysfunctional Family:
    • The Lannisters. Each member has their own issues with themselves and each other. Their patriarch Tywin is a conservative and domineering man who reduces his children to pawns, yet they all desperately seek his approval. Jaime is a Jaded Washout despite his prodigious talent, Cersei is resentful of her own gender for hampering her ambition, and Tyrion is heavy-drinking and resentful. Aside from the Twincest between Cersei and Jaime, only Tyrion and Jaime get along; the only thing keeping the family together is their shared disdain for everyone else and their Teeth-Clenched Teamwork against them.
    • The Greyjoys. Balon despises and abuses his son Theon and favours his daughter Yara. Yara bullies Theon, but is surprisingly protective of Theon when Balon basically declares he wouldn't piss on Theon if he were burning.

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