Game Of Thrones: Tropes C to D

Tropes A to B | Tropes C To D | Tropes E to F | Tropes G to K | Tropes L to O | Tropes P to S | Tropes T to Z |

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    C 
  • 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.
  • The Caligula:
    • Joffrey becomes this very quickly, revelling 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.
    • 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:
    • Arya mentions in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" that her training will involve catching cats, and Doreah and Viserys discuss the dragon skulls that once adorned the throne room. In the next episode, Arya chases a cat into the cellars where one said dragon skull is stored.
    • Littlefinger calls back to his own statement that he's not to be trusted when he betrays Ned Stark and his attempt to depose Joffrey.
    • "What do we say to the god of death?" "Not today."
    • Ser Dontos Hollard, the drunken knight who demoted to a court jester in "The North Remembers", is shown juggling for the ladies of the court in "Blackwater".
    • Arya is reintroduced into "The Night Land" with a very similar tracking shot to her intro in "Winter is Coming".
    • When Varys asks about his plan to defeat Stannis, Tyrion says "pig shit," calling back to Bronn's accusation that Pyromancer Hallyne was a Snake Oil Salesman as either Foreshadowing or a Eureka Moment.
    • After gleefully telling Tyrion he's lost all his power, Grand Maester Pycelle flicks him a coin and says, "For your trouble," calling back to when Tyrion arrested him, took away his power, and tipped his prostitute using the same words.
    • In the House of the Undying, Daenerys rejects the Lotus-Eater Machine vision of her husband and son by repeating Mirri Maz Duur's words that Drogo will return and she will have another child "when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east, etc." When she rejects the vision, Drogo's face goes expressionless like he was after the botched ritual.
    • In "Valar Morghulis", it turns out the Dothraki can lift Xaro's golden peacock after all.
    • Bran's dream in "Dark Wings, Dark Words" calls back dialogue from his introduction in "Winter is Coming".
    • In "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Sansa has to remind Loras that he gave her a red rose at the Tourney of the Hand in "Cripple, Bastards, and Broken Things". The audience knows Loras doesn't remember because he was too busy making eyes with Renly at the time.
    • During her scene with Talisa in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Catelyn is frantically making another of the charms she made "The Kingsroad".
    • When Littlefinger calls his brothel the safest place in the city, Tyrion replies, "Not for bastards," referencing the murder of King Robert's bastard daughter there in "The North Remembers".
    • The Big "NO!" Brienne lets out in "Walk of Punishment" is reminiscent of the one she gave in "The Ghost of Harrenhal", the last traumatic event in her life.
    • In "Walk of Punishment", Jaime explains his wide vocabulary is due to being forced to read as a child, something Tywin previously mentioned as his cure for Jaime's dyslexia.
    • The beheading of Rickard Karstark in "Kissed by Fire" strongly resembles that of Rodrik Cassel in the "The Old Gods and the New", sharing music, weather, and the condemned using their last words to condemn their executioner. Both scenes harken back to Ned's beheading of the deserter in "Winter is Coming", showing how he has influenced Robb and Theon.
    • In "Kissed By Fire", Gendry refers to Arya as "milady," just like when he first learned her identity in "The Nightlands".
    • When Tyrion learns of his arranged marriage in "Kissed By Fire", he asks if Tywin has forgotten that he already was wed, referencing the story he told Bronn and Shae in "Baelor". Tyrion also protests that his prospective bride is just a child, but Cersei assures she is not by bringing up the events of "A Man Without Honor."
    • In "The Climb", Theon finally comes face to face with "that fucking hornblower" who tormented him in "Valar Morghulis". It's even less pleasant than before.
    • Olenna tells Tywin in "The Climb" that it's a rare man who live up to his reputation, calling back to her disappointment with Tyrion in "Kissed By Fire".
    • Loras' description of his dream bride wearing a "beautiful gown of green and gold brocade" is reminiscent of the rich attire Renly wore to the Tourney of the Hand.
    • Littlefinger also makes good on his threat about bad investments from "The Night Lands" at the end of "The Climb".
    • In "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", Jaime tells Roose Bolton to give his regards to Robb. Several episodes later, Roose passes on the sentiment as premortem one-liner.
    • In "Second Sons", Tyrion sarcastically declares himself the "god of tits and wine," the hypothetical god he pondered in "The Prince of Winterfell".
    • The Dothraki phrase that leads Missandei to correct Daenerys' pronunciation in "Second Sons" is the same phrase Irri taught her in "Lord Snow".
    • Those who remember Maester Cressen in "The North Remembers" know what an empty gesture it is for Melisandre to taste the wine to prove it isn't poisoned in "Second Sons".
    • Arya doesn't believe the Hound when he tells her that he saved her sister during the riot of King's Landing.
    • Sam beams when Gilly says he's like a wizard in "The Rains of Castamere", something he admitted to aspiring to in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things".
    • Jorah throws Barristan's "loyal servants, no matter the cost" lecture from "Kissed By Fire" back in his face when Barristan wants to join him on a mission in "The Rains of Castamere".
    • The Season 3 finale "Mhysa" features several call backs to the Season 1 finale "Fire and Blood". Joffrey intends to make good on the threat he made to present Robb's head to Sansa, Tywin dismisses everyone but Tyrion with the same terse "Not you," and he answers one of Tyrion's questions with, "You're my son."
    • Jaime's departure from Tywin's office in the Season 4 premiere "Two Swords" is shot from the exact same angle as Tyrion's departure from the same office in the Season 3 premiere "Valar Dohaeris".
    • In "Two Swords", Shae brings up the payoff Varys offered her in "Mhysa", which Tyrion honestly knew nothing about.
    • Podrick recognizes the contortionist at Joffrey's wedding as one of the whores Tyrion rewarded him with in "Walk of Punishment".
    • In "Breaker of Chains", Shireen brings up that Davos struggles with reading the "gh" in words like "knight", which was depicted in "Mhysa" when he couldn't pronounce "Night's Watch."
    • When Sansa asks what Littlefinger wants in "Oathkeeper", he replies, "Everything," the same answer he gave to Ros at the end of his Character Filibuster in "You Win Or You Die".
    • Margaery smugly proves she is not intimidated by Cersei in "First Of His Name" when she questions whether to call Cersei "sister" or "mother" after Cersei made it very clear she didn't like being called "sister" in "Second Sons".
    • The mystery of Jon Arryn's death established in the series premiere is finally definitively resolved rather anticlimactically in "First of His Name".
    • Locke's response to a warning about Karl's knife skills is to asks, "Have you seen what I can do with a knife?" Jaime Lannister certainly has.
    • Yara's speech in "The Laws of Gods and Men" is a rehash of Tywin Lannister's speech about reputation in "You Win Or You Die".
      Tywin: If another house can seize one of our own and hold him captive, with impunity, we are no longer a house to be feared.
      Yara: As long as they can hurt our prince with impunity the word 'Ironborn' means nothing!
    • In "Mockingbird", Hot Pie seems to have taken Gendry and Arya's lesson from "The Night Lands" that not every person wearing armour is ipso facto a knight, and he asks that Brienne deliver a much-improved version of his wolf-shaped pie from "Walk of Punishment" to Arya if they find her.
    • While pondering the various words for murder in "The Mountain and the Viper", Jaime is obviously remembering his actions in "A Man Without Honor" when he brings up cousin slaying. Incidentally, "consobrinicide" is the very obscure word he was looking for.
    • Ralf Kenning's Spiteful Spit in Reek's face calls back to Rodrik Cassel doing the same to Theon in "The Old Gods and the New". Given that Reek immediately lapses into his Madness Mantra at that point, the significance is probably not lost on him.
    • Ralf Kenning's death, attacked from behind by one of his own men who didn't want to join his Last Stand, has obvious parallels to what happened to Theon in "Valar Morghulis".
    • Sansa's appeal to Bronze Yohn Royce in "The Mountain and the Viper" mentions his son Ser Waymar, the first character killed in the series way back in the Cold Open of "Winter is Coming".
    • A mysterious boy who works for Varys delivers a pardon for Ser Jorah Mormont in "The Mountain and the Viper" as in "You Win Or You Die". This time, however, it is deliberately delivered to implicate Jorah rather than reward him.
    • Maester Aemon references his discussion of love and duty with Jon in "Baelor" during a similar conversation with Sam in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Mance Rayder lives up to his boast of lighting the biggest fire the north has ever seen in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • Jon apparently remembered Karl spitting in his face during their duel and puts it to use himself against Styr in "The Watchers on the Wall".
    • In Stannis's introductory scene, he corrects Davos's incorrect use of "less" instead of "fewer." In the season 5 episode "Kill the Boy," he mutters "fewer" when a Night's Watchman makes the same grammatical mistake.
  • 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.
  • Call It Karma: After murdering the late king's bastard 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 bastard 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".
  • Camp Gay: Loras borders on this when he starts discussing fashion and dream weddings with Sansa.
  • 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.
  • 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 firstborn to Catelyn in "The Kingsroad" and her husband Robert 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 Robert's not Jaime's.
  • Canon Foreigner: While vastly condensing the number of characters, the show also invents a few and replaces existing characters with original ones.
    • Ros was invented to receive Sexposition in the first season, though her role expands in later seasons.
    • Talisa Maegyr replaces Jeyne Westerling as Robb's love interest. Rather than the girlish daughter of a Lannister bannerman, she's a spirited and opinionated combat medic from a wealthy Volantene family. Talisa originally shared the name Jeyne as well, but GRRM requested it be changed to avoid an In Name Only character.
    • Alton Lannister replaces Cleos Frey as the Stark emissary to the Lannisters. Rather than Jaime's cousin who is killed by outlaws, Alton is a distant Lannister relative murdered to facilitate his escape attempt.
    • There is no Spice King in the novels, though there is a Guild of Spicers. His look and demeanor are vaguely similar to the Xaro of the novels, hinting at a Decomposite Character, and his refusal to support Daenerys is taken from the Pureborn, the elite of Qarth in the novels.
    • Olyvar was invented to resolve a minor plot point in Season 3 but carried on to operate Littlefinger's brothel and provide Guy-on-Guy Is Hot fanservice.
    • Daenerys' Season 2 bloodrider Kovarro.
    • Virtually every prostitute in Littlefinger's brothel, since the few such characters from the novels have been Adapted Out.
    • The Creepy Child assassin in "Valar Dohaeris" replaces the Sorrowful Man who comes for Daenerys in the books.
    • Locke and his unit are a less bizarre replacement for Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions, performing their task of capturing and abusing Brienne and Jaime. Locke's later actions are original to the show.
    • Karl Tanner is an original character who replaces several mutineers and receives much more characterization. Like his namesake, Clubfoot Karl, he antagonizes Craster and Mormont about the hidden food, but perhaps his closest counterpart is Dirk, a fellow Knife Nut who also kills Craster and takes a woman hostage.
    • Lady Olenna's backstory regarding her eventual marriage mentions a sister named Viola Redwyne, who was to be betrothed to Luthor Tyrell while Olenna was to marry an unnamed Targaryen (Daeron, the youngest son of Aegon V in the books) before Olenna seduced and married Luthor. In the books Olenna is never mentioned to have a sister; Luthor was betrothed to Shaera Targaryen, who eloped with her brother Jaehaerys against their parents' wishes. Since Jaehaerys II and his sister-wife Shaera have been Adapted Out (their children Aerys II and Rhaella reinterpreted as Aegon V's children), Viola was created for the show to substitute as Luthor's original wife-to-be.
    • Ramsay's lover, Myranda, is wholly original to the show.
    • Olly, the young Night's Watch recruit who joins up after his village is massacred by wildlings, was created for the show. He later takes on the most significant action of a show-original character when he delivers the fatal blow in Jon Snow's assassination.
    • Mossador, the freed slave who serves on Daenerys' council, is an original character who takes on aspects of the Shavepate from the books.
    • Karsi and Loboda, the wildling chieftains in "Hardhome", are both original characters, though they bear resemblance to the characters of Val and Sigorn from the books.
  • Cape Snag: Syrio Forel disables one guardsman by grabbing his cape in "The Pointy End".
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Casting Gag:
  • The Cast Showoff: Though it never derails the show, musical theatre star Kerry Ingram (Shireen) and former British pop star Jerome Flynn (Bronn) are given a chance to show their skills.
  • 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?
  • The Cavalry:
    • A literal example in "Blackwater" when the mounted forces of Ser Loras Tyrell and Tywin Lannister arrive to drive the enemy back at the last moment.
    • Another literal example in "The Children" when the mounted forces of Stannis Baratheon arrive to save the Night's Watch from sure defeat.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 is 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".
  • 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 the Blackfish, who hasn't been sighted since surviving the Red Wedding thanks to the world's luckiest piss.
    • Also so far subverted by Arya's direwolf Nymeria who has gone completely unseen and unmentioned since the second episode of the series.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • 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 in the backstory, causing his son Theon to be taken hostage by Ned Stark. He 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 Joeffry, ultimately leading to his beheading.
      • Rob and Catlyn 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 Oly 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.
  • 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, leaving it unclear whether the character will ever return.
    • 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 have 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:
    • Raven 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 raven 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.
  • 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:
    • Averted in early seasons in which no opportunity to include nudity and sex was wasted. That said, these scenes also included plot-important dialogue often enough that reviews of the series helped popularized the term "sexposition."
    • Played Straight 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 infamous for being mostly criminals and bastard sons 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • The Dothraki believe armour is for the slow and the weak, but their slashing arakhs prove ineffective against Jorah Mormont's plate and mail.
    • Robb ignores a Combat by Champion challenge from one of the deadliest warriors in the Seven Kingdoms because he knows he will lose.
    • 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".
    • Between "Breaker of Chains" and "The Mountain and the Viper", Tormund, Ygritte, and Styr wage a campaign of terror throughout the Gift in an attempt to draw the Night's Watch away from the Wall.
    • In "The Mountain and the Viper", Arya declares that anyone who shuns a method of killing as dishonorable will never be a great killer.
  • 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.
  • 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: Due to the book series having Loads and Loads of Characters, almost every supporting character takes on the roles and actions of several book characters.
    • In the backstory, the omission of Jaehaerys II (and with him, an entire generation of Targaryens) makes Aerys II the younger son of Aegon V, who inherited the throne after his father and disinherited older brother Duncan died at the Tragedy of Summerhall. In the books Aerys and his sister-wife Rhaella were the children of Jaehaerys (and his own sister-wife, Shaena), and thus were Aegon V's grandchildren instead of his children; Duncan was their uncle who, along with Jaehaerys and Shaena, had a sister named Rhaelle (the grandmother of Robert, Stannis and Renly) and a brother named Daeron (who was the Targaryen betrothed to Olenna Redwyne before she married Luthor Tyrell). While a placeholder for Daeron was mentioned in discussion by Olenna in Season 4, the rest of Duncan's siblings appear to have been replaced by/combined with Aerys and Rhaella.
    • The supporting Dothraki cast of the novels is condensed into Daenerys' handmaid Irri, her bloodrider Rakharo, and Drogo's bloodrider Qotho, with the rest Demoted to Extra.
    • Jory Cassel is a catch-all for several lesser Stark guardsmen from the novels.
    • Meryn Trant is a similar catch-all for the Kingsguard who are not Jaime Lannister and Barristan Selmy.
    • Barristan Selmy receives a very subtle bump up to Jaime's primary idol and former mentor in place of the posthumous characters Arthur Dayne and Sumner Crakehall.
    • Ros is a Canon Foreigner who incorporates elements of Theon's lowborn bed-mate Kyra, the Summer Islander madam Chataya (who owns the most prominent brothel), and Alayaya (who is mistaken for Tyrion's lover).
    • The dozen clansmen Tyrion interacts with in the novels are condensed into Shagga in Season 1 and Timett in Season 2.
    • Davos' seven sons are condensed into Matthos, who takes on his brother Devan's faith in the Lord of Light and Maester Pylos' role as Stannis' scribe in addition to his role as Davos' first mate.
    • Bronn commands the City Watch in Season 2 in place of Ser Jacelyn Bywater, who is killed in the Battle of Blackwater anyway.
    • Polliver is a combination of several soldiers from the books, most notably his namesake (who steals Needle) and Raff the Sweetling (who murders Lommy). His death in particular combines the circumstances of Polliver's with the dialogue of Raff's.
    • The Tickler and Amory Lorch take the place of Adapted Out Chiswyck and Weese as Arya's first two names for Jaqen H'ghar.
    • The Spice King is an amalgam of the Pureborn of Qarth and the book version Xaro Xhoan Daxos with a name reminiscent of the Ancient Guild of Spicers.
    • Rodrik Cassel is mostly himself, but his death is a mixture of Benfred Tallhart (for scorning Theon) and Farlen (which Theon botches) with some of his own last words thrown in.
    • Osha takes on the role of Theon's bed-warmer in "The Old Gods and the New" instead of a local peasant named Kyra.
    • Despite his name, Dagmer's role as Theon's Evil Mentor is drawn almost entirely from Aeron Greyjoy and the second Reek rather than Dagmer Cleftjaw, the Living Legend who acts more like a proper father to Theon than anyone else in the novels.
    • Loras Tyrell takes on the roles of his Adapted Out brothers Willas and Garlan as Sansa's betrothed and Renly's ghost respectively. Future need for this trope may also be why Loras hasn't followed his page-bound counterpart's plotline after "Blackwater".
    • Thoros of Myr incorporates the affable nature, singing voice, and introduction of his fellow outlaw Tom o' Sevens.
    • Brynden "Blackfish" Tully takes his aggression from the Greatjon, who was Put on a Bus after Season 1. For instance, it is the Greatjon who punches Rickard Karstark in the novels, and the Blackfish of the novels never threatens or demeans Edmure.
    • Shireen is introduced singing an eerie song lifted from her page-bound companion Patchface the jester and replaces Maester Pylos as the one who teaches Davos to read.
    • Tormund Giantsbane takes over Styr's role being mistaken for Mance in "Valar Dohaeris" and combines Styr and Jarl's role of leading raiders over the Wall in "The Climb". His more brutal attitude (such as threatening to pull Jon's guts out through his throat) is also courtesy of Styr and recedes somewhat when Styr is introduced as a separate character in Season 4. He is also captured and held for questioning in place of Rattleshirt.
    • Gendry adopts his half-brother Edric Storm's role as the Baratheon bastard taken to Dragonstone in Season 3.
    • Rast combines his namesake (a bully who enjoys beating Sam) with Chett (who actively plots to kill Sam) and Ollo Lophand (who stabs Lord Commander Mormont).
    • The Second Sons of the series actually share more with the Stormcrows than the Second Sons. Prendahl and Daario are both Stormcrows in the novels, Mero is a composite of a Stormcrow and a Second Son, and their Season 3 subplot is that of the Stormcrows.
    • Lord Axell Florent. In the books Queen Selyse's uncle Ser Axell is perhaps a worse fanatic than Melisandre and his elder brother Lord Alester Florent is an opportunist who pays lip service to the red god but is ritually burnt after Stannis convicts him of treason for corresponding with Tywin Lannister and offering to surrender Shireen as a hostage without Stannis' knowledge or consent.
    • It is hard to tell whether the King Orys I mentioned in "Breaker of Chains" is a composite of several Targaryens with the name of the founder of House Baratheon (who was never a king) or a complete Canon Foreigner.
    • Daario stands as Daenerys' counter to the Champion of Meereen in place of the Adapted Out former gladiator Strong Belwas.
    • Ralf Kenning, the commander at Moat Cailin, combines the name and position of Ralf Kenning with the actions and fate of Dagon Codd.
    • The seven Lords Declarant of the Vale are distilled into Yohn Royce and Anya Waynwood, who are also swayed by Littlefinger in the matter of Lysa Arryn's death, an action of Royce's more corruptible cousin Nestor in the novels.
    • Varys sends Tyrion to Daenerys in Meereen while in the books Illyrio Mopatis, who doesn't appear again after the series premier episode, was the one who did that.
    • The Sorrows, one length of the river Rhoyne, is combined with the ruins of Valyria and the Smoking Sea. The depiction of the area as the mysterious, misty ruins of a long-destroyed civilization where insane sufferers of greyscale lurk just out of sight is taken straight from the books' descriptions of the Sorrows, but the show calls this place Valyria. The show does acknowledge the book's hearsay descriptions of Valyria and the Smoking Sea as a fiery, smoky demons' haunt, but using the less hellish look of the Sorrows would imply that, at least in the show, the fire-and-brimstone version is simply a myth. The script hangs a lampshade on the Sorrows/Valyria amalgamation with Tyrion asking, "Where are we now? Not the Rhoyne."
    • In season 5 Sansa takes over Jeyne Poole's role as the girl Ramsey marries to increase his legitimacy as heir to Winterfell. Like Jeyne, Sansa is horribly raped and abused and has to turn to Theon to help; though unlike Jeyne she still despises Theon.
    • Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes have their roles merged with Arianne Martell and her various co-conspirators in the kidnapping of Myrcella Baratheon.
    • Hizdahr zo Loraq is a catch-all for the various Meereenese nobles Daenerys interacts with like Reznak mo Reznak and Galazza Galare.
  • 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 seventh season finale.
  • 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 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".
  • Con Lang: 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 manipulative ability 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.
    • 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.
    • Jon is rewarded with the Valyrian steel bastard sword Longclaw. It's 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 over his sister 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".
  • 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.
  • 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 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".
  • 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 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.
  • 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 arguably the most striking headwear in the series.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Khal Drogo is an expert at inflicting this, from dumping molten gold on your head to ripping out your tongue for speaking ill of his wife.
    • Renly is fatally stabbed by a demonic shadow of his own brother that snarls with hate before vanishing. It's truly the stuff of nightmares.
    • The High Septon is torn apart by an angry mob.
    • Xaro and Doreah are sealed in an impenetrable vault.
    • Ros is used as target practice.
    • Joffrey is killed by a brutal poison that causes bleeding from eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Karl Tanner is impaled through the head by a Valyrian steel longsword.
    • Oberyn has his eyes gouged out and his skull crushed.
    • Stannis has his daughter Shireen burned alive as a sacrifice to the Lord of Light.
  • 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 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.
  • 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. Lord Tywin is renowned for breaking one such cycle by massacring all the Reynes of Castamere. Tyrion and Cersei even discuss the trope briefly in "Mhysa", during which Tyrion declares that they create two enemies for every one they defeat.

    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.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy:
    • Oberyn demonstrates why a longsword is a poor choice for a Quick Draw in close quarters.
    • Littlefinger leaves no loose ends in "Breaker of Chains".
    • Daenerys appeals to the slaves of Meereen, who far outnumber their oppressors, to revolt against their masters.
  • 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.
    • 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 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.
  • 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 (Drogo), Viserion (Viserys), and Rhaegal (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".
    • 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 as tokens of fealty 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.
  • 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:
    • Rakharo is killed, with hints from the showrunners that it was at the actor's request. Later in the season, Irri, the character's implied love interest on the show, was also killed off unlike their page-bound counterpart.
    • Pyat Pree and Xaro Xhoan Daxos both get a Karmic Death at the end of Daenerys' Qarth arc. Neither has died in the books.
    • Dagmer, who is really an In Name Only Composite Character, receives an off-screen Karmic Death while his namesake is still very much alive (and undeserving of such karma) in the novels. Ironically, this death is inflicted by one of the characters from whom he is composited.
    • Joyeuse Frey takes the place of an Adapted Out character as the victim of a slashed throat in "The Rains of Castamere".
    • Talisa is killed despite her clear counterpart Jeyne Westerling remaining very much alive as a possible Chekhov's Gunman in the books.
    • In "The Watchers on the Wall", Pyp and Grenn receive this on behalf of several minor characters who died in the books, most obviously Deaf Dick Follard and Donal Noye.
    • Jojen Reed in "The Children", who dies just before reaching the Three-Eyed Crow. In the books, he's still alive.
    • Mance Rayder in "The Wars to Come", who is executed by Stannis and Melisandre at Castle Black. In the books Melisandre executes a decoy and lets Mance go in secret.
    • Barristan Selmy gets stabbed at the end of "The Sons of the Harpy" and is confirmed dead at the beginning of "Kill the Boy". His book counterpart still has an important role to play in the Meereen storyline.
    • Hizdahr zo Loraq is killed by the Sons of the Harpy in "The Dance of the Dragons," while in the book he is arrested by Barristan after the assassination attempt under suspicion of having planned it.
    • Shireen Baratheon is burned alive by Stannis in "The Dance of the Dragons, while in the book, she's still alive and is at Castle Black while Stannis began his siege at Winterfell.
    • Myrcella Baratheon is poisoned by Ellaria Sand while returning to King's Landing in "A Mother's Mercy". In the books, she barely make it out alive after a crazed Dornish knight tried to kill her, losing her ear in the process; however, it's already foretold that she may meet her fate.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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 tried to rob and murder him 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.
  • 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:
    • The Dothraki were important enough to have a Con Lang in Seasons 1 and 2, but are reduced to the background in Season 3 and are largely invisible in Season 4. In season 5 they vanished entirely.
    • In contrast to being a major viewpoint in the books, Catelyn increasingly becomes a supporting character to Robb's Adaptation Expansion romance with Talisa, particularly in Season 3.
    • Tommen and Myrcella were demoted in early seasons (including extended absences after Season 2) but appear to be ascending in later seasons with Tommen recast for Season 4 and Myrcella recast for Season 5.
    • The secondary characters of the Kingsguard are mostly rolled into the Composite Character Meryn Trant. Bronn even lampshades this when he refers to one of them as "Ser Whosit of Whocares?"
    • Except for Loras and Brienne, Renly's Kingsguard is the same. This is most evident when Brienne is totally unfazed by killing two of them, an act that haunts the doer in the novels. Their names were Emmon Cuy and Robar Royce, incidentally.
    • Ser Dontos Hollard plays a much more prominent role in Sansa's storyline in the second and third books than he does in the same period of the series.
    • Ygritte's Adaptation Expansion in Season 2 comes at the expense of Qhorin Halfhand.
    • In "Blackwater", the extra who acts as Stannis' number two aboard his flagship is credited as Ser Imry Florent, the admiral who led Stannis' fleet into Tyrion's trap in the novels.
    • Subverted with Stannis' wife Selyse, who is portrayed by an extra in "The North Remembers" and promptly forgotten, but becomes an actual part of the cast in Season 3.
    • House Greyjoy plays a more negligible role in the War of Five Kings, particularly after the Sack of Winterfell. For instance, Robb's first priority in the novels after the Battle of Blackwater was to drive the Greyjoys out of the North rather than to besiege Casterly Rock.
    • House Tyrell's importance drops off exponentially in the second half of Season 4. After Margaery's midnight visit to Tommen's bedchamber, the entire family is reduced to background characters for the rest of the season. Loras Tyrell in particular has only a few lines in "The Lion and the Rose" even before that.
  • 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.
  • 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 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).
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: Frequently, partially because this trope and it's 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.
    • The duel between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane ends this way when Gregor manages the strength to trip and literally crush Oberyn.
    • Twice in Season 5, Bran is at Craster's Keep with Jon arriving to killer the mutineers, and the Hound and Arya are on the way to the Vale where Sansa and Littlefinger are. Both times they miss each other: Bran thinks Jon will stop him from going further north if they see him and so leave the keep without letting him know they were there, and the Hound and Arya arrive and leave with apparently no one informing Littlefinger or anyone else that Arya Stark, long presumed dead, showed up at the gates looking for her aunt. It seems the writers will do anything to keep the family separate even as they come within a hair's width of reuniting.
  • 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'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".
    • 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.
  • Disability Superpower: Bran begins having prophetic dreams and entering the mind of his direwolf after begin 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 said 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. See Foil.
  • 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.
  • 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 (assuming she ever does invade).
  • 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:
    • 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".
  • 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 a bastard—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 Book End 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".
  • 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 his 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.
  • 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.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: In "The Night Lands", Balon Greyjoy rips off the chain fastening of Theon's cloak when he learns it was payed 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 communicated 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • 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.
    • Daenerys frees the slaves of Meereen, grants them far more privileges than they ever had before, and protects them from any sort of retaliation or re-enslavement from the former masters. That doesn't stop them from turning on her mere seconds after she carries out a just sentence on a freed slave for a murder he was openly proud of. It wasn't just booing and jeering either; the mob tries to stone the woman who freed them less than a month ago, after launching into a full fledged riot.
  • 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: A very important rite in Westeros.
    • The dead of House Stark are buried beneath Winterfell in tombs adorned with their likeness. Even though he dislikes the catacombs, King Robert's first request upon arriving is to visit the tomb of his lost Lyanna.
    • It is customary for knights to stand vigil over a deceased comrade or loved one. Ser Barristan Selmy is established as a man of dignity and compassion when he—one of the grandest knights in the realm—stands vigil for the insignificant Ser Hugh of the Vale because there was no one else.
    • Despite sparse resources, Daenerys arranges a massive funeral pyre for Khal Drogo, though she has additional uses for the fire.
    • Tyrion returns the remains of Ned Stark as a humane gesture as well as a political token of goodwill.
    • Loras maintains his vigil over Renly's body even as everyone around him panics to flee the area. A deleted scene also reveals he buried the body himself.
    • House Tully is introduced during the Viking Funeral of their patriarch. King Robb even insists on interrupting his campaign, declaring his grandfather's funeral is more than just "a distraction."
    • A fallen brother of the Night's Watch deserves a proper ceremony even knee-deep in hostile territory at the far end of the world. Rites include immolation and the traditional refrain "And now his watch is ended."
    • Thoros relates how he prayed over Beric's body even though he'd long since stopped believing, "Because he was my friend, and he was dead, and they were the only words I had."
    • Several scenes at the Wall in "The Children" are largely dedicated to toasting and sending off those killed in the previous episode.
    • Since this trope is Serious Business in Westeros, violation is a common way for characters to Kick the Dog.
  • 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.
  • 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 him when Balon basically declares he wouldn't piss on Theon if he were burning.