Early Installment Weirdness: Much of the pilot was reshot. For this reason, there is an unusual number of continuity errors, as parts of scenes were filmed much later, often with different actors. Hodor also has a beard, which got dropped in later episodes because it made him look like a "Classics professor." The pilot also had titles for each place on the show. This was dropped right after.
Loras' face shows great anticipation and excitement as Renly removes his shirt in "What Is Dead May Never Die".
Arya can't keep her eyes off Gendry's bare chest as he forges a sword in "The Ghost of Harrenhal".
Sansa stares longingly at Loras' backside as he walks away in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", and Margaery even has to gently snap the girl out of her reverie.
Oberyn and Loras exchange a smoldering gaze at the Purple Wedding which can only be interpreted as, "I want to eat you for dessert tonight."
In "Mockingbird", Dany is clearly enjoying Daario stripping for her.
The Eeyore: Dolorous Edd is always humorously pessimistic.
El Cid Ploy: Loras pretends to be King Renly's Ghost at the Battle of Blackwater to sow confusion and fear among his enemies.
Elephant in the Living Room: Over the eight thousand years since the Long Night, the conditions at the Wall have steadily been ignored, leaving the garrison there undermanned, undersupplied, and incapable of holding the Wall against the wildlings or the White Walkers. Outside the Wall, nobody seems to openly acknowledge the dangers the coming winter will bring. Even the Starks' own words, "Winter is coming," haven't prepared them.
Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Khal Drogo's Westerosi is very limited, but when his speech in Dothraki is subtitled he's revealed to be a highly intelligent war leader, a loving husband, and an eloquent and fiery speaker. It sometimes overlaps with Strange Syntax Speaker, as the Dothraki don't have words for things like plate armor and castles.
Petyr Baelish clearly does not like people calling him "Littlefinger."
Tyrion dislikes being called "The Imp," but embarrassing or not, he owns it. He only takes real offense to being called a "demon monkey."
Jaime has a distaste for the nickname "Kingslayer."
Jon dislikes being called "Lord Snow", but Tyrion tips him on how to deal with it.
Lord Karstark tells Robb that he should be recalled as "The King who lost the North."
Theon plans a Last Stand to avoid being remembered as "The Greyjoy who ran." This leads to a series of events where he ends up being renamed "Reek."
Walder "the late Lord" Frey, due to his tardiness at the Battle of the Trident.
Endless Winter: For pretty much all the same reasons mentioned in the entry for the source material. Winters can last for decades. There are oral traditions of a winter that lasted for a generation, and a myth that should the White Walkers return and invade Westeros they will cause a winter that never ends. Word of God is that the unnatural seasons are caused by magic, but it's unclear if it's the Walkers' magic or something else.
Enemy Eats Your Lunch: The Hound calmly chugs down Polliver's mug of ale when Polliver starts pissing him off.
Ned Stark grimly passing sentence and personally executing an oathbreaking deserter while his sons watch tells you all you need to know about his concepts of strength, duty, honor, and justice.
After being presented as a stern, proud king when he rides into Winterfell, King Robert immediately shows his boisterous, jovial nature, and brotherly affection for Ned in three simple words and a laugh: "You got fat." Their time together in the crypts cements the first impression.
Arya's introduction shows her deathly bored of her needlework and sneaking out to the archery range, where she hits a target her brother missed, and does so from farther away.
Gregor Clegane (a.k.a. The Mountain) after being thrown from his horse in a jousting match, beheads his own steed in a fit of rage, and then attempts to do the same to the other jouster who beat him. This is all done in plain view of everyone, including the King.
When King Robert's brother Stannis composes a letter declaring his claim to the throne, he orders "beloved brother" changed because he and Robert didn't love each other. He also adds Jaime Lannister's nickname the "Kingslayer" but also the title "Ser" because "whatever else he is, the man is still a knight."
While most of Viserys' dialogue indicates his Royal Brat character, a particularly standout is when he tells Dany to her face that he'd let all forty thousand of Khal Drogo's Dothraki and their horses have sex with her if it got him the Iron Throne, quickly establishing their relationship.
Littlefinger's speech to two of his whores about making their customers forget what they are. He basically sums up his background and raison d'etre.
Lysa Arryn breastfeeding her much-too-old child, establishing her as quite mad and overbearing and her child as developmentally stunted.
Balon chastising Theon for wearing a gold necklace he bought with money, establishing their cultural alienation and the fact that Ironborn would rather take land and riches than let someone give it to them.
Hoster Tully's funeral includes two for the Tullys. Edmure tries to light his father's pyre boat with a fire arrow. He tries his best, but fails repeatedly. As people grow uneasy, his uncle Brynden "Blackfish" shoves him out of the way and dismissively hits the target with ease, establishing his military prowess and his need to disdainfully clean up his nephew's errors.
Oberyn Martell first appears selecting a prostitute for a threesome with his paramour. Then he proposes a foursome with Olyvar the male prostitute, but breaks off to confront some men he hears singing the pro-Lannister song "The Rains of Castamere". His Dornish sexuality, his hatred of Lannisters, and his violent unpredictability are all established immediately.
In Season 2, Robb Stark is betrayed by Theon Greyjoy and it only gets worse in Season 3, when Robb is killed by his bannerman Lord Bolton, in league with Walder Frey and the Lannisters.
Shae is this to Tyrion in Season 4. Notably, she is the only person at his trial who tells an outright lie to be used against him, as revenge for sending her away.
Missing the bigger picture, Tywin can hardly fathom that Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion conspire and succesfully rebel against the head of house Lannister. His miffed line "You shot me" even shares the feeling of indignation and disbelief ("Why, this is violence") that Julius Caesar expressed during his assassination.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Several characters are only redeemed from being monsters by this trope. Cersei Lannister is possibly the most notable, as her scheming against Ned is strongly motivated by a desire to protect her children. Her brother Tyrion even lampshades it by calling this her "one redeeming quality".
Invoked and mocked by Theon's torturer, Ramsay Snow. After emasculating Theon, he shows up later eating a suspiciously shaped piece of meat. When he sees Theon staring at the meat, he pretends shock at the implication that he would eat Theon's body parts and assures him that it's simply pork sausage. It's all part of Ramsay's cruel game, and it's unlikely that Ramsay has any such moral standards.
Tormund is a pitiless Wildling raider who kills innocent villagers without hesitation, but even he hates the cannibalistic Thenns.
The city guardsman who brings out Robert's infant bastard daughter from the brothel refuses to kill her, leaving Janos Slynt to do it himself.
Tyrion is disgusted by Janos Slynt's aforementioned actions, so he revokes Slynt's title and sends him off to the Wall. He also doesn't like having around a lackey of Cersei who backstabbed the previous Hand of the King.
Bronn normally radiates a calm apathy towards the horrible things he sees others do, but he openly detests Ser Meryn Trant and his mistreatment of Sansa on Joffrey's orders. So does Tyrion.
Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Ned Stark has a bastard son, and Robert has dozens. Many scenes take place in Littlefinger's bordello. The sexual relationships of a number of characters are major plot points. Melisandre's magic is sometimes powered by sex. Dany's change in sexual position is even a major turning point in her character.
In "Walk Of Punishment", Jaime plays it well with a seemingly agreeable Locke, only to get rejected.
It is totally subverted in Season 4 when the Lannisters find themselves in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Cersei tells her father Tywin Lannister to find someone at the bank to bribe or bully, he replies that the Iron Bank won't respond or bend to such tactics.
Everything's Deader with Zombies: When corpses are touched by White Walkers, they turn into zombies called "wights," which are under the White Walkers' control. Wights are resistant to normal wounds, but can be killed with fire. Wildlings always burn their dead when possible to prevent them from coming back as wights.
Evil Makeover: Joffrey gives the throne room an evil makeover early on in his reign by stripping away all the artwork from the walls and the pillars, painting everything black, and adding giant spiky braziers to the bases of the pillars. He basically makes it look like a supervillain's lair. He claims he's bringing the Red Keep more in line with the conquering spirit of the old Targaryen dynasty.
Evil Mentor: The character of Dagmer is re-imagined into one of these for Theon Greyjoy. He feeds his pupil's ambition and feelings of insecurity, clinging onto him to feed off his success.
Evil Nephew: Joffrey plotted the assassination attempt on Tyrion at the Battle of Blackwater-Ser Mandon Moore carried out his order.
The five massive towers of Harrenhal, even as dilapidated and ruined as they are.
The House of the Undying in Qarth.
Evil Will Fail: Despite his faction's successes Joffrey Baratheon is murdered because he is dangerous and unpredictable. Also, revenge.
Evolving Credits: New map locations are seamlessly added to the opening sequence on occasion. Taken further in Season 3, where Winterfell is now depicted billowing thick clouds of smoke, after having been sacked by the retreating Greyjoy forces at the end of the last season.
A twofer in Vaes Dothrak: Viserys demands that Khal Drogo give him the "golden crown" that he was promised. It's illegal to shed blood within the city. Drogo gives Viserys his crown without shedding blood.
Joffrey's mother told him he should never strike his lady, so he orders one of his Kingsguard to strike Sansa instead. With a gauntlet.
Jon Snow, as a sworn member of the Night's Watch, 'shall take no wife and father no children'. Ygritte points out all theobviousloopholes.
Brienne serves Catelyn Stark, and only Catelyn Stark. She has no loyalty to Robb Stark, or any of his men, as Jaime quickly learns.
Expository Hairstyle Change: In Season 4, Jaime Lannister's hairstyle has changed to a shorter and simpler cut to indicate his new-found humility.
Expy: All over the place to the characters and actions during the Wars of the Roses, starting with the feuding families Stark (York) and Lannister (Lancaster) and going from there.
Eureka Moment: Ned has one in "A Golden Crown", concerning Joffrey's true parentage.
The Lannister men-at-arms, a.k.a. the Red Cloaks, whose helmet visors cover their eyes and noses. Also the City Watch, a.k.a. the Gold Cloaks, who wear mail over their noses and mouths. Ironborn raiders sworn to House Greyjoy do similarly.
The Unsullied all wear identical, spiked helmets with faceplates. Under Daenerys's command they make a rare heroic (well, lighter shade of gray) example of the trope.
Fake Guest Star: In the first season, Jason Momoa is billed in the closing credits as "also starring" (curiously enough, only after all of the guest stars have been credited) despite being a major character who appears throughout the season. Julian Glover and Conleth Hill are arguably as important to the show (and appear as often) as Aidan Gillen, who is credited as a regular, but neither man gets their names in the opening credits. In Season 2, Donald Sumpter, Joe Dempsie, Gwendoline Christie, Natalia Tena, and Tom Wlaschiha are all very important characters who appear more often than several characters who are credited as regulars.
Fake Defector: Jon Snow joining the wildlings at the end of Season 2.
The Lannister's unoffical motto, "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts," can also be used as this. At face value, it seems to indicate that Lannisters show gratitude to those who do well by them, and this is true. However, it also indicates the reverse: that they will take revenge on anyone they think has slighted them, and that meaning is seen much more frequently.
Daenerys' ancestor Aegon the Conqueror was the first king to unite most of Westeros.
The supplementary "Histories and Lore" segments on the Bluray releases elaborate on the famous ancestors of many noble houses such as the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Tyrells.
Famous Last Words: Quite a few since Anyone Can Die. Of particular note would be "The Rains of Castamere" when Robb dies. His last word is, "Mother..." The great King in the North has been defeated and in his last moments he sounds so young and broken.
The brief scene where Dany's attempted assassin has to walk naked, tied behind Dany's horse, until he collapses.
The first season finale "Fire and Blood" gives us Grand Maester Pycelle...wearing only a see-through bathrobe thing.
Theon flirts with a girl he meets on Pyke, and gropes her on their ride to his father's castle. She soon reveals herself to be his sister.
Tyrion sends a pair of prostitutes to Joffrey's room to help him unwind. Joffrey forces one, at crossbow-point, to severely beat the other with a whip and a baton, possibly to death.
Melisandre teases Davos about his desire to see her naked. Moments later, she drops her robe to reveal that she's hugely pregnant and promptly gives birth to a nightmarish shadow creature.
"Kissed by Fire" gives Jaime a nude scene, but he is dirty, very bruised, and a recent amputee. The same episode also gives a Shirtless Scene to Beric Dondarian, whose chest has a lot of very nasty scars.
In "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", two beautiful women seduce Theon. The problem is that Theon's currently a prisoner by a psychopath, and it's obviously another cruel prank. The punchline is his castration.
Then in ""Second Sons", we have Melisandre seduce Gendry, which quickly turns nightmarish as soon as she binds his hands and feet and places leeches on him, including one on his Most Sensitive Area.
The scenes in Craster's Keep in "Oathkeeper" feature Craster's younger daughter-wives nude. It's not sexy in the slightest since most of them are being raped and beaten.
Valyrian names almost always contain "ae" and frequently end in "-on" or "-rys" (Aegon, Aemon, Aerys, Rhaegar,Viserys, Daenerys).
Male Dothraki names end in "-o" (Drogo, Rakharo, Kovarro). Daenerys combines Valryian and Dothraki conventions for her son Rhaego.
In Slaver's Bay, the letters "k", "r", and "z" are very common and there is a "mo", "na", or "zo" between the given and surnames (Kraznys mo Nakloz, Razdahl mo Eraz, Prendahl na Ghezn, Hizdahr zo Loraq).
Names from the Free Cities often have suffixes like "-io" and "-is" (Syrio Forel, Illyrio Mopatis, Daario Naharis).
Fantastic Nuke: The ship full of wildfire explodes into a giant green mushroom cloud.
The geography of the continent of Westeros has clear parallels to Britain. Word of God has also confirmed the obvious parallels between the great Wall and Hadrian's Wall, the 80-mile-long barrier built to protect Roman Britain from Pictish invasion. The Narrow Sea corresponds to the English Channel, and King's Landing, as seen in the opening credits, roughly corresponds with London.
The history of Westeros includes some parallels to Britain as well. The First Men are similar to Celts, in that they're the oldest human culture on the continent, and their connection to the children of the forest echoes legends of druids and fairy folk. Andal culture, which brought chivalry and new religion in conquest, are similar to the conquering Anglo-Saxons and Normans. The influence of the Andals is greatest in the South and grows more faint to the North, just as Anglo-Saxon and Norman influence is stronger in the south of Britain, while Celtic influence is more preserved in the north.
The accents clearly approximate England's own geography and accent distribution. For example Ned, as a Northerner, has Sean Bean's native Sheffield accent, whereas Cersei, as a Southerner, has more of a London/RP accent. Wildlings, with the least amount of Andal influence, tend to have Scottish accents.
The names Lannister and Stark also closely resemble those of Lancaster and York, the two great English houses from the War of the Roses.
The Ironborn are based on Horny Vikings (sans the horns) and Scandinavian peoples as well as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Their society is seafaring, and like historic Norse cultures, they rely heavily on raiding other nations for sustenance, hence the Greyjoys' motto, "We Do Not Sow." The comparison is made stronger by the affinity of the Ironborn to Northerners; like Northerners, they are descended from the First Men, just as the Manx and people of the Isles are also historically Gaelic-speaking Celts.
The Reach is in many ways an analogue of south-east England and France/Aquitaine, to the point of being the birthplace of Westerosi chivalric culture in the books. House Tyrell is also a strong counterpart to the House Of Tudor — their sigil is an almost exact replication of the Tudor Rose. And they also served as stewards to the previous royal family like The House Of Stuart.
Dorne is clearly inspired by Moorish Spain. The Dornish speak with a vaguely Hispanic accent (as opposed to the ubiquitous English and Irish accents everywhere else in Westeros) and are traditionally Hot-Blooded and sexually adventurous. In fact, several Dornish scenes will be filmed in Spain for Season 5.
Tyrion implies that the Night's Watch is this. He says that when a rapist is given the choice between taking the black and castration (which would be a dangerous, often deadly, procedure with barely-above medieval medicine), most choose "the knife."
Being tortured by Ramsay Snow certainly qualifies.
A Father to His Men: Robb, Renly and Daenerys are shown to be caring and affable commanders towards even the lowliest soldier in their army.
Faux Affably Evil: Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is rather charming and polite, a combination he uses to further his schemes and lull his targets. He quickly betrays those he offers to help, like Ned Stark and occasionally shows his true colors to his sex workers.
Fear of Thunder: Hodor's almost gets Bran and Rickon discovered by wildlings.
The Starks and Lannisters. The two families were never on the best terms, but when Catelyn Stark abducts Tyrion Lannister and Cersei Lannister imprisons Eddard and Sansa Stark, all bets are off. By the end of Season 1 a civil war breaks out between them.
There is also a lot of bad blood between the Lannisters and Martells, as during the Sack of King's Landing, Tywin Lannister ordered the murder of Rhaegar Targaryen's children, and their mother Elia Martell was killed as well.
Feuding Families: The Starks and the Lannisters quickly slide from general dislike towards Arch-Enemy territory. In "Baelor", a civil war breaks out between them.
The two conflicting religions based around the ocean-dwelling Drowned God (whose followers show their devotion by anointing their heads with seawater) and the fiery "Lord of Light" R'hllor (whose followers show their devotion with huge bonfires).
A major inciting event involves the simultaneous return of the White Walkers and the Dragons. The White Walkers are undead creatures from the frozen North who carry weapons made of ice and melt like ice when killed, and the Dragons (obviously) breathe fire. Notably, both returns happen on opposite sides of the world, and both happen in the domains of two opposing factions of the war.
Many factions in the War of the Five Kings are visually associated with fire, water, or ice. If two factions are associated with traditionally opposed elements, it's a good sign that they're enemies.
House Targaryen's members are legendary for their dragon-taming skills, have a dragon as their sigil, follow the motto "Fire and Blood", and trace their lineage to Old Valyria (which was supposedly wiped out by a series of volcanic eruptions). King Aerys II, one of the most (in)famous members of the family, started a lot of drama by immolating a lord who offended him and later attempted to use alchemical weapons to burn King's Landing to the ground.
Lord Stannis Baratheon is a militant follower of the religion of the aforementioned god R'hllor. He wears a red gold crown with points fashioned to look like flames, and he has a ring of heart-shaped fire worked into his personal sigil.
House Greyjoy is based on a series of islands and their sigil is a kraken. Their subjects anoint their leader with a driftwood crown, and follow the religion of the aforementioned Drowned God.
House Stark is constantly associated with ice and cold: they follow the motto "Winter is Coming", their seat is "Winterfell", and their Ancestral Weapon is a greatsword called "Ice". There's also Jon Snow's surname, even if he shares it with all the other bastards in the North.
First Name Basis: After insistently calling him "Kingslayer" ever since they met, Brienne displays her new-found regard for Jaime Lannister by calling him "Ser Jaime."
Fluffy the Terrible: Each of the Stark children has a direwolf pup that quickly becomes a full grown direwolf, capable of tearing out men's throats and fiercely loyal to their masters and more than willing to murder anyone who threatens them. Robb, Arya and Jon Snow go for symbolic and fitting names while Sansa, Bran and Rickorn name theirs Lady, Summer and Shaggydog respectively.
Lord Renly to Lord Eddard. Renly is a Non-Action Guy and an astute politician who knows how to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of a Deadly Decadent Court. Ned, on the other hand, is a Proud Warrior Race Guy who is a Horrible Judge of Character, and therefore ill-prepared to deal with his enemies in King's Landing. Robert loves and respects his best friend much more than his own brothers, and Renly is even a bit jealous of Ned, as the only attention Renly ever receives from Robert involves the belittling of his masculinity. Ned and Catelyn are in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage and are free to openly express their love, whereas Renly and Loras — who are happily committed to each other — are forced to maintain a Secret Relationship because homosexuality is a taboo.
Lord Renly and Lord Petyr are both politically savvy courtiers with no combat experience who frequently engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat. Renly enjoyed a privileged life growing up as the king's brother and as the liege lord of the Stormlands, becoming Spoiled Sweet over time. Baelish was born as an impoverished, minor noble, and gained his wealth by becoming a ruthless Self-Made Man. People are drawn to Renly's The Charmer and Nice to the Waiter qualities, which sharply contrasts Littlefinger's unpopular reputation as The Sociopath and Bad Boss. Renly loathes the Lannisters and tries to protect Ned from falling into their clutches, but Baelish sucks up to the family and hands Ned over to them. Petyr is infatuated with Catelyn for most of his life, but she never returns his feelings, whereas Renly's love for Loras is reciprocated.
As the leaders of their respective Houses, Lady Olenna's progressive matriarch contrasts Lord Tywin's conservative patriarch. Margaery has blossomed under her grandmother's guidance, whereas Cersei has suffocated under her father's psychological abuse. While Olenna teases her son and grandson, her verbal jabs are nowhere near as cruel as Tywin's horrid treatment of Tyrion. When Olenna arranges a marriage for Loras, she betrothes him to Sansa not only for the girl's claim to Winterfell, but also because she knows that Loras' personality — it not his orientation — is compatible with Sansa's. When Tywin arranges marriages for Tyrion and Cersei, he's only concerned about political gain, and doesn't give a rat's ass about his children's objections or feelings. Olenna believes homosexuality is perfectly natural, but Tywin thinks it's a mental illness.
Soon-to-be Queen Margaery (who carefully projects an image of being The High Queen) is adored by the smallfolk of King's Landing, while Queen Cersei doesn't give a damn about the commoners, and not surprisingly, they hate her. Margaery is comfortable with her femininity and doesn't see it as a hindrance in her pursuit of power. Cersei resents her gender because she believes it gives her an extremely unfair disadvantage, and is envious of the power that men wield. Margaery has Joffrey wrapped around her finger, whereas Cersei completely loses control of her son after he becomes king.
Ser Loras and Ser Jaime are arrogant, highly-skilled warriors, Lord Commander of a family member's Kingsguard, brothers to a queen, and have a socially unacceptable romantic relationship. However, Loras is a Knight In Shining Armour who is widely admired by the smallfolk, while Jaime is a Blood Knight whom everyone reviles for being a king slayer. Loras and Margaery are a Brother-Sister Team, whereas Jaime and Cersei are engaged in Brother-Sister Incest. Loras is recognized as one of the saviors of King's Landing after he helped to end Stannis' siege, but Jaime's greatest heroic deed (i.e. saving the city's population from being consumed by the Mad King's wildfire) is known by no one else besides Brienne. As of Season 4, the youthful Loras is a rising star in the world of knights, whereas the middle-aged Jaime is regarded as a has-been now that he has lost his sword hand.
Brienne of Tarth to The Hound. Brienne has a lofty notion of chivalry and honor, aspiring to be respected as a knight, while Sandor does nothing but spit on the notion that knightly honor exists. Both are former Kingsguard members; Brienne is still loyal to Renly even after his death, but the Hound deserts Joffrey during the Battle of Blackwater. Neither character carries the title "Ser," although in Brienne's case, she's not entitled to it because of her gender. Brienne searches for Sansa because she wants uphold her vow to keep the girl safe, whereas Sandor only keeps Arya by his side so that he can sell her to Lysa for money.
Bronn and Sandor. Bronn is an Affably Evil sellsword who hides his brutal instincts behind jokes and smiles. Sandor cannot hide what he is: a brutal and angry killer. He hates the fact that knights and sellswords like Bronn can pretend to be what they're not.
King Renly to King Joffrey in Season 2. Their style of ruling is directly contrasted in the manner that they host a tournament. Joffrey is happy when a fighter slays his opponent in the melee; Renly's tourney doesn't involve death (nor would he enjoy watching someone die — in fact he would be horrified). While Joff nearly kills a drunk knight just for the fun of it, Renly elevates a female warrior to his Kingsguard. Renly is polite to his wife, unlike Joffrey, who is verbally abusive towards his fiancée. Joff greets Tyrion — his own Acting Hand of the King — with disdain, whereas Renly is courteous to Catelyn, an envoy from the North. He even comes to Catelyn's defense when Loras and Brienne are rude to her.
King Renly is also a foil to King Robb in Season 2. Both men share certain traits in common (e.g. they are young, sensiblenice guys who aspire to be good kings), but they are polar opposites in other respects. Robb excels when he's on the battlefield, while Renly is a Non-Action Guy whose greatest strength is his political acumen. In terms of sealing alliances for their respective cause, Renly marries the right woman, whereas Robb very much marries the wrong one. Robb is a Modest Royalty, while Renly likes being surrounded by finery.
Ser Lancel to Ser Loras as of Season 2. They're both Pretty Boy knights who once served as a squire to a Baratheon, but Lancel is nowhere near as Badass, brave or skilled as the Knight of Flowers. The determined Loras cuts down many of Stannis' soldiers at the Battle of Blackwater without getting a scratch, whereas the fearful Lancel only manages to kill one foe before he is seriously wounded by an arrow. When it comes to their illicit affairs, Loras is shown to be the emotionally dominant partner in his long-term romance with Renly, while Lancel is practically a doormat in his dalliance with Cersei. Lancel is straight, yet he defies the expected stereotypes because his personality and looks are less masculine than the gay Loras.
Cersei and Daenerys. Both are queens that buck (or at least try to buck) traditional gender roles, both achieved position through arranged marriages to kings that they didn't really want to marry, both have their authority solidified following their husbands' deaths. Both, in their own ways, can also be very merciless to people who piss them off. But while Cersei cares little to nothing for the commoners and the lower rungs of her society, Daenerys empathizes with them. Both extremes hurt each woman's overall position in the grand scheme of things. Cersei doesn't seem to understand that being cruel and petty to one's inferiors isn't the best way to earn their loyalty. Daenerys, on the other hand, doesn't seem able to get it through her head that even a [[strikeout:Que]]Khaleesi can't save every single individual. Their relationships with brothers are both inverted from what you would expect from them. Despite the Targaryen's tendency to wed brother to sister, Dany never shows any sort of inclination of that kind toward Viserys. Cersei, on the other hand, has been secretly screwing Jaime for years. She even has several children by him.She even brings up the Targaryen traditions when someone calls her on it.
Joffrey's motivation for most of his endeavors, but most notably having Ned Stark executed even though it's against his political self-interest. This may have been just a bad decision, however, since it is unclear how much of the actual plan he was told and he seemed to believe he was making a clear example of what happens to his enemies.
Theon's captor in Season 3 tortures him and eventually extracts one piece of useful intel — that Theon did not in fact kill Bran and Rickon Stark. Then the captor continues to brutally torture Theon, castrating him and sending his manhood to Theon's father in a box, admitting that it's not for any reason other than he enjoys doing it.
Locke was expecting a larger ransom for Brienne, so he tosses her into a bear pit instead, saying that it gives him more pleasure than money. Qyburn explains that men like him don't expect to be alive when all the fighting's done, so they're living for the moment.
When Ned gives up his position as hand of the king, Robert tells him, "I'll have your head on a spike!"
Theon is all too eager to kill a direwolf — sigil of the Starks — in the pilot.
In "The Pointy End", Bran tells Rickon "They'll be back soon. Robb will free father, and come back with mother." Rickon eerily replies "No, they won't."
When Doreah talks of what she's seen, she mentions a dagger of dragonglass, a man who could change his face and a pirate who wears his weight in gold.
Arya shoos her Cool Pet Nymeria away to save her from being killed by the Lannisters. By "The Pointy End", Arya must too run away to avoid capture and possible death from the Lannisters.
Loras' suggestion to Renly in Season 1 that he can crown himself king with the help of the Tyrells' armies and wealth becomes a reality in Season 2.
Cersei justifies her incestuous relationship with Jaime and having his children by invoking the precedent set by the Targaryens. Except that the Targaryen penchant for incest led to Aerys Targaryen, foreshadowing that Joffrey will be an uncontrollable lunatic of a king and do things like having Eddard Stark executed in defiance of all diplomatic sense.
In "The Wolf and the Lion", Barristan comments that Robert will do what he likes regardless of Ned's protests, and Ned says that if the king did as he liked, he'd still be fighting a rebellion. Flash forward to Season 2 when the Seven Kingdoms are in civil war due in part to Joffrey taking the throne without being the rightful heir and abusing his power to suit his whims.
When Ned asks Petyr if the Gold Cloaks will side with him to overthrow Joffrey, Petyr replies that the Gold Cloaks are ultimately loyal to whoever pays them. Much of the series stresses how the Lannisters are the richest noble house in Westeros.
Daenerys walks into an extremely hot bath despite the warnings of her handmaiden, and later takes a hot dragon egg out of a lit brazier without burning her hand. In the Season 1 finale, she walks into her husband's burning funeral pyre and emerges from the ashes unharmed with three baby dragons. Not to mention when her brother dies from his "golden crown" she says: "He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon."
In "The North Remembers", Melisandre makes a chilling one during her prophecy. She says that after the long summer, "the cold breath of winter will freeze the seas, and the Dead shall rise in the North". Switch forward to the final scene of Season 2...
In "The Old Gods and the New", Xaro talks about how he's had to do some nasty things to become as wealthy as he is. Immediately after, he opens the doors to his estate and we see that someone has killed several Civic Guards protecting his house and members of Dany's khalasar and stolen her dragons. In "A Man Without Honor", we learn that Xaro helped the perpetrator.
In "Walk of Punishment", Theon's torturer uses his last words to call The Boy a "little bastard." It later turns out that The Boy is Ramsay Snow, the bastard son of Roose Bolton.
In "The Rains of Castamere", Walder announces that "wine will flow red," during the feast. Catelyn notices that the hall doors are closed and the band starts playing the Lannisters' song, "The Rains of Castamere," all of which precede a bloody slaughter.
In "The Lion and the Rose", Lord Mace Tyrell presents the groom with a goblet and the words "May you and my daughter Margaery drink deep, and live long." Later that day Joffrey drinks from a cup and drops dead.
In Season 3, when he first becomes Master of Coin, Tyrion mentions that if the Iron Bank of Braavos doesn't get their money back from the the Lannisters, they'll "fund their enemies" in order to get it. In Season 4, this comes back when their rival, Stannis, secures just such a loan from the Iron Bank, who feel he's more likely to repay them.
Olenna Tyrell's line to Cersei in Season 3, "And Now His Watch Has Ended"(in light of the revelation of her conspiracy with Littlefinger to murder Joffrey in Season 4:
Tyrion tells Shae he would kill for her, and then admits he suspects he'll end up doing just that before everything's said and done. The final straw that causes Tyrion to murder his own father is Tywin repeatedly insulting Shae by calling her a whore. Ironically, Tyrion had already killed Shae herself at this point.
Forging The Will: Portrayed sympathetically when, as he is dying, King Robert dictates his will for Eddard Stark to write. Robert says "to my son, Joffrey", but Ned replaces this with "to my rightful heir", as he has learned that Joffrey is not actually Robert's son.
Sansa and the Lannisters and Tyrells at King's Landing
Arya Stark and the Hound in the Riverlands
Bran and his companions seeking the three-eyed raven
Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly with the Night's Watch
Ygritte and Tormund raiding south of the Wall
Stannis preparing to renew the war
Roose Bolton and Ramsay Snow struggling to retake the North,
Freudian Slip: In "Valar Morghulis," Loras subconsciously lets it slip that Renly was far more than a brother-in-law to him when he tells the court, "My sister Margaery, her husband was taken from us before..." He should've said "her husband was taken from her," or simply "her husband was taken" instead.
Shagga warns Tyrion that Shagga will cut off his manhood if he betrays the hill tribes. Tyrion is familiar enough with the threat to interrupt him and complete the phrase "...and feed it to the goats, yes". Later in King's Landing, Tyrion tells Timett to cut off Pycelle's manhood and feed it to the goats. Timett protests that there are no goats, so Tyrion tells him to "make do."
In a straight example, Tyrion threatens this to Joffrey after he harasses Sansa.
Freudian Trio: The Baratheon brothers form one: Robert is a hot-blooded and impulsive warrior (id), Renly is a calm and easygoing politician (ego), and Stannis is described as a skilled strategist but not at all a people person (super-ego). In this case, rather than being three disparate personalities who are a team, it explains why the brothers don't like each other.
Friendless Background: Brienne is ostracized by Westerosi society due to her unattractiveness, large size, and her pursuit of a traditionally masculine occupation.
Khal Drogo's only claim to leadership is his ability to be this.
Robb and Jaime both lead their men into battle, which allows Robb to capture Jaime when he takes him by surprise in the Whispering Wood.
In the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion approves of Joffrey's decision to join the troops on the city walls for morale, even though Tyrion is actually in command. When Cersei orders Joffrey brought back to the Red Keep, the soldiers start to falter and Tyrion is forced to lead a sortie himself to shame them into action. During the same battle, Stannis Baratheon inspires his men by being the first off the boats and the first up the ladder.
Tywin Lannister and Loras Tyrell lead the cavalry charge that wins the Battle of Blackwater.
Frying Pan of Doom: Hobb, Castle Black's cook, kills a few wildlings by flinging boiling stew and then pummeling them with his cooking pot.
No sooner has Daenerys completed her Slave Liberation in Slaver's Bay than she must face uprisings against her regime.
In the backstory, Robert's Rebellion to depose Mad King Aerys and punish him for his atrocities resulted in the Lannisters committing further atrocities for thoroughly mercenary reasons (except for Jaime) only to go unpunished because of Tywin Lannister's wealth and influence. Years later, Robert himself laments its failure:
Melisandre is out to spread the good news about the Lord of Light. The good news is that all your false gods will be thrown in a fire. The bad news is you might just join them if you don't go along with her.
Stannis' wife Queen Selyse is a fanatic supporter of Melisandre and her new god.
Ser Barristan cannot openly disagree with his king, but his facial expression when Renly and Robert are arguing in "A Golden Crown" shows that he actually supports the younger brother's War Is Hell rant.
In "Garden of Bones", Loras laughs merrily after Renly makes his ham joke, but as soon as Catelyn starts talking, the Knight of Flowers becomes annoyed and sighs heavily.
In "Valar Moghulis", it turns out that the Dothraki can lift the peacock statue from Daxos' palace after all.
"Two Swords" has Janos Slynt start to laugh when Jon mentions that Mance's army includes giants, which peters out hilariously when he sees all the experienced officers taking the claim seriously.
Loras appears to be flirting with a young nobleman in "Second Sons" while Cersei recounts the story of the Rains of Castemere.
After Joffrey gets up from his seat to inspect his new Valyrian sword, Mace raises his eyebrow at Tywin, and his wordless query is, "Are you sure it's wise to give that maniac a deadly weapon?"
When the guests at the Sept of Baelor are clapping for Joffrey and Margaery, Oberyn turns his head slightly to the left so that he can catch a glimpse of Loras. Oberyn could've chosen to ogle over Margaery, yet he clearly thinks that her brother is more attractive. This doubles as a Mythology Gag, as some of the characters in the novels consider the Adonis-like Loras to be prettier than his classically beautiful sister.