Bronn's betrothed Lollys is said to be a daughter of Lord Stokeworth rather than the elderly Lady Tanda Stokeworth of the novels.
Although not explicitly Adapted Out, the Dornish practice of absolute primogeniture regardless of gender has never been established in the television canon due to this trope. The character "Lord Blackmont" replaces Lady Larra Blackmont in "Two Swords", an offhand mention of Oberyn's mother (a ruling Princess in the novels) is replaced with mention of his father in "Mockingbird", and an HBO press release named Prince Trystane rather than Princess Arianne as the heir to Prince Doran Martell.
Gender Is No Object: Wildling spearwives like Osha and Ygritte are just as welcome to take part in warbands as men.
Rather than brokering his supreme naval power in the west into the wealth and land his people need by supporting one of the powerful factions, Balon Greyjoy decides to pay the iron price and conquer lands he cannot hope to hold. Only the faction he invades spares him a second thought and even they do not divert forces from their main campaign.
Edmure Tully has a good eye for individual battles but fails to grasp larger strategies, such as when he defeats Gregor Clegane but in the process drives him out of a trap Robb was preparing.
Genius Bruiser: Oberyn Martell is a fast and skilled warrior who also writes poetry and studied at the Citadel (where maesters are trained) until he got bored and left. In "Two Swords," he displays enough medical knowledge to describe why the man whose wrist he has pinned to the table will bleed to death if not attended quickly.
Genre-Busting: A lot of the subplots and character arcs occupy different genres in fantasy, historical, and adventure fiction.
Bran and company are on The Quest to find the Three Eyed Raven in their search for knowledge and answers.
During her captivity, Sansa is granted all the luxuries befitting a highborn lady but remains confined to the Red Keep and completely at the mercy of her enemies. The Hound even takes to calling her "little bird" because of this.
Following his father's rebellion, Theon was taken as a hostage to his father's good behaviour. As such, he was raised among the Stark children but with the constant shadow of a possible execution hanging over the relationship.
Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Bronn recommends this to Tyrion after his first kill. Tyrion eyes Catelyn Stark (the only woman for miles) and snarks, "I'm willing if she is."
Glorified Sperm Donor: Noblemen are expected to be this to their bastard children, who are commonly just left with their mothers or fostered by another family. That Ned and Oberyn avert this is considered remarkable, and even brings down the ire of Ned's wife.
Glory Days: Robert still lives for the days when he was a powerful and victorious warrior and his beloved Lyanna was still alive. His brother Renly eventually calls him out for glorifying the bloody civil war that ripped the continent apart.
Dany struggles to convince Drogo to conquer the Seven Kingdoms for their son, but when Drogo finally agrees he basically plans to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the entire continent and Dany's later aversion to the same tactics used merely to pay for transport show that she has no taste for Dothraki warfare.
Cersei does everything in her power to ensure Joffrey sits the Iron Throne. Needless to say, most of Westeros has her to thank for the reign of King Joffrey.
The masters of Astapor created the Unsullied to be the best soldiers in the world and utterly loyal to whoever owns them. Then, Daenerys takes control of them and turns them on their former masters.
Davos and Melisandre constantly vie for influence over Stannis. It's even invoked visually in "Mhysa" when both are left in the background of a close-up of Stannis, one over each shoulder, with Melisandre in her rich red robes and Davos in his humble grey roughspun.
A similar shot was also used for Ned contemplating going south in "Winter is Coming," with Catelyn and Maester Luwin arguing the two ambiguous choices.
Maester Luwin and Dagmer are this for Theon in Season 2, and unfortunately Dagmer tends to win.
Ned Stark struggles constantly to get King Robert to do good, sensible, moral things and to mitigate the damage whenever his advice is ignored. He also tries to reduce the realm's debt and orders the execution of a band of psychopathic marauders led by Gregor Clegane.
Jon Arryn is generally agreed to have given the kingdom 17 good years, but even he struggled to rein in Robert's spending.
Tyrion serves as a much needed one to Joffrey during his brief but brilliant stint as acting Hand in Season 2. In no small part, the Lannister banner is sustained by his skill at administration and his ability to stare down Joffrey's cruelty, subvert Cersei's incompetence, and prepare the city for the inevitable siege. Varys even commends him as better than Ned Stark or Jon Arryn because he enjoys rather than disdains the game of thrones.
Tywin Lannister served as Hand to the Mad King for twenty stable and prosperous years, which ended almost immediately upon his dismissal. He takes up the position again in Season 3 and stabilizes the Lannister regime by cowing his sadistic grandson and his quarrelsome children.
Davos serves as this to Stannis Baratheon, which helps counterbalance the influence Melisandre has on him.
He doesn't back Renly's bid for the throne, but replacing one false king with another would certainly require winning a war and Renly is a bureaucrat with no combat experience. Sure enough, Renly does nothing but divide the forces against the Lannisters.
He offers Cersei time to flee before he informs Robert of her infidelity, but as the lover of a notorious kingslayer and the daughter of one of the most powerful warlords in the realm, letting Robert bludgeon her and her children to death in a fit of rage isn't really an option either.
When Sandor Clegane accuses her of being too soft for wanting to spare the peddler they just robbed, Arya beats the recovering man unconscious again.
Brienne kills a rapist northman with a vindictive Groin Attack.
Jon Snow bullies his lowborn fellow recruits until Tyrion sets him straight and later taunts and literally twists the knife when killing Orell the warg.
After her attempted hostage exchange fails, Catelyn Stark slits her captive's throat just because she said she would.
Good Is Not Soft: Despite being a loving husband and father, Ned Stark is among the most stoic, brave, and righteous lords in the realm.
The Good King: Deconstructed and subverted. Many characters aspire to be good kings, but playing the game of thrones always seems to force them into making dishonorable choices or putting them in a Morton's Fork where they cannot help but do bad things or cause bad things to happen.
Cersei notes in "First of His Name" that Tommen has the potential to be the first of these in fifty years, and judging by his ideals of monarchy (holiness, justice, strength, and wisdom) she could well be right.
Inverted by Ramsay Snow, who lauds himself as a man of tradition for bringing back the ancient art of Flaying Alive.
Good People Have Good Sex: Good or sympathetic characters tend to have tender or cheerful sex, grey characters have more straightforward or lustful sex, and bad characters have really painful or depraved sex.
Good Samaritan: Davos the smuggler braved the waters of Shipbreaker Bay to deliver food to the starving men inside Storm's End. Their commander Stannis Baratheon knighted him for it.
Catelyn tries to avoid this by proposing that Stannis and Renly join forces against the Lannisters. Unfortunately, both brothers are unyielding in their quest to be king.
The fight between Brienne and the Hound is this, and all the more tragic for being brought on by their equal determination to protect the same person.
Go Out with a Smile: Ygritte dies in Jon's arms with a faint smile and one last utterance of her catch phrase. It's still visible on her face even as Jon lights her funeral pyre.
Gory Discretion Shot: Averted constantly and inverted in-universe, where characters like the Stark children are frequently forced to witness gruesome things they'd rather look away from. This helps increase the horror and drama when the trope it is played straight:
During Ned Stark's execution the camera cuts away for dramatic effect before any blood is visible.
It says a lot about how gruesome Ser Rodrik's execution must have been that we only see the executioner hacking.
Brienne's punitive Groin Attack (or possibly Ass Shove) on a northman rapist is left totally out of shot.
The audience is spared the sight of Theon's dick-in-a-box, content with just his family's Reaction Shot.
Ramsay's victim Tansy in "The Lion and the Rose" receives a Sound-Only Death comprised of screams, snarls, and ripping sounds.
Zig-zagged with Jojen Reed's death. The wight stabbing him is plain to see, but the subsequent Mercy Kill focuses on the Reaction Shot. With his corpse destroyed by Leaf's fire bomb.
The Mountains gruesome killing of Oberyn, by crushing his head like a melon with his bare hands.
Stannis Baratheon corrects Davos Seaworth on the usage of "less" versus "fewer" when Davos is talking about his own severed fingertips. It overlaps with You Make Me Sic since it was Stannis who cut them off.
Tyrion corrects Cersei's word usage several times. "Plots" and "schemes" are the same thing!
Tywin deduces that Arya is a highborn girl when she calls him "my lord" instead of "m'lord." She quickly covers by claiming her mother was a handmaiden who taught her to speak "proper... properly!"
Grand Romantic Gesture: By pretending to be Renly's ghost, Loras Tyrell not only scares the pants off his enemies but sets aside his personal glory and ambition to avenge his Lost Lenore.
If you're found in Meereen past break of day, I'll have your head thrown into Slaver's Bay.
Gray Eyes: Unlike his book counterpart, Stannis on the show has gray eyes, which reflect his cold and strong-willed personality.
Gray and Grey Morality: Many characters are morally ambiguous, ranging from light grey to black. Sympathetic characters are often depicted on both sides of conflicts, such as Tyrion and Davos being on opposite sides of the Battle of Blackwater.
When The Cavalry reaps all the credit for rescuing King's Landing, Tyrion (who was pivotal in holding off the attackers until they arrived) is left feeling unappreciated until Varys points out that some men will never forget.
Jaime Lannister never told anyone (except Brienne) that the real reason he killed his king was to prevent said king from incinerating the entire city and killing half a million people out of spite.
Great Offscreen War: A few, including the Greyjoy Rebellion and the Targaryen Conquest, but the most important is the war seventeen years ago in which Robert Baratheon overthrew the Mad King and drove the last Targaryens into exile.
Greed: Zig-zagged with Locke, who refuses Jaime's attempt to bribe him but also refuses Brienne's ransom because it's not enough.
Grim Up North: The North is colder, harsher, and less populated than the south. The lands of the wildlings beyond the Wall are even worse, and beyond that is the wintry abode of the White Walkers: the Lands of Always Winter.
Robb Stark is the military version. Massively outnumbered, he is forced to use masterful tactics and strategies to defeat his enemies. His successes move him into Young Conqueror territory until he is Out-Gambitted.
Arya Stark uses her wits to force a skilled assassin to help her escape Harrenhal.
Sansa Stark, as a glorified prisoner in King's Landing, is forced to lie and play nice in order to survive.
Davos Seaworth uses charisma, honesty, and diplomacy to bring allies to the cause of his king.
After losing his sword hand, Jaime is forced to rely on his wits and cunning to achieve his desires, such as playing on Steelshanks' sense of self-preservation to help him rescue Brienne.
Gut Punch: The episodes "Baelor", "The Rains of Castamere", and "The Mountain and the Viper" all end with these. The second of these quickly gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the biggest gut punches in television history.
Joffrey reacts with insane fury whenever some he sees as beneath him (and believes cannot fight back) acts in a way he considers out of line, such as other children not cowering before their prince, peasants pelting him with manure, or advisors pointing out the obvious flaws in his plans.
The Mountain's response to losing a tourney is to behead his mount and attack the winner before hundreds of witnesses. He also melted his little brother's face in a brazier for stealing one of his toys.
Oberyn Martell has one, but unleashes it in an atypically calm and collected way.
Margaery prompts Joffrey to show her how to use a crossbow as a means of flirting with him.
Daario uses Daenerys' finger to point out the postern gate he means to use to infiltrate Yunkai.
Hand Wave: Jaime notes, "I never understood why some knights felt the need to carry two swords," as a handwave for why Brienne has a second sword to oppose him after he steals one. In the books, the sword came from his other escort Cleos Frey, who was Adapted Out.
Hangover Sensitivity: Tyrion winces when Shae slams down the breakfast tray the morning after his wedding.
Happily Married: Ned and Catelyn Stark seem to be genuinely in love in a world where most marriages (including their own) are arranged for political reasons. Khal Drogo and Daenerys also form a surprising bond.
Although they enjoy their new-found personal autonomy, the Unsullied seem to struggle with the idea of not serving anyone and continue to serve Daenerys in exactly the same capacity they would have if she hadn't freed them. Likewise, many freed slaves from Yunkai immediately hail her as their saviour and enter her service.
After Dany abolishes slavery in Meereen, an elderly freedman petitions for permission to sell himself back to his old master, explaining that as a tutor he was well-treated and respected but now he's just a feeble old beggar in a Wretched Hive of unemployed freedmen. Disturbed, Daenerys grants him the right to indenture himself, which Ser Barristan cautions will lead to Loophole Abuse.
Ten-year-old Bran Stark is defenestrated for witnessing some incestuous adultery in the first episode, which sets the tone for the rest of the series. He later loses his father and his home and sees his mentors Rodrik, Luwin, and Jojen killed.
Arya Stark's years as a constant witness to combat, murder, torture, and other war atrocities take a heavy toll on her morals and worldview. Finally, after being abused, abandoned, misled, or otherwise let down by nearly everyone she meets, she decides that the only person she can rely on in a Crapsack World is herself.
Sansa Stark endures years of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and harassment, including nearly being gang raped by an angry mob. Even after her escape from King's Landing, she is subject to death threats and unsolicited sexual advances.
Rickon, the youngest Stark, sees nearly everyone and everything he's ever known killed, destroyed, or taken from him before he is sent away as a Noble Fugitive under the protection of barbarian Action Girl Osha.
Joffrey Baratheon is a psychopathic royal brat who spends so much time plumbing the depths of his sadism, usually at Tyrion or Sansa's expense, that hatred for him has taken on memetic proportions and even In-Universe the only person who values him is his own mother.
The snide and ill-tempered Walder Frey, who betrays and murders most of the Stark faction by violating Sacred Hospitality, which his backers are perfectly content to let him take the blame for and thereby become a In-Universe hate sink.
Pyschopatic Torture Technician Ramsay Snow is easily a frontrunner for the most depraved character in the series and manages to make a widely-disliked character sympathetic simply by victimizing him.
Have You Told Anyone Else?: Subtly alluded to when Ser Barristan keeps his hand on his sword while chivalrously forewarning Jorah Mormont of the damning evidence against him and specifically mentioning that he hasn't told anyone else yet.
The Histories and Lore bonus material explains that Harrenhal has always had a sinister repute and that every family to hold it has met with misfortune. This holds mostly true even in the present day: Janos Slynt was banished, Lord Tywin was murdered, Gregor Clegane was critically wounded, Robb Stark was murdered, and Locke had his neck broken. Only Roose Bolton and Littlefinger remain alive.
The Nightfort, where Bran and company pass the Wall, is supposedly haunted by the Rat Cook, who violated Sacred Hospitality.
Hazy Feel Turn: The Tyrells join with the Lannisters to defeat Stannis Baratheon and keep King Joffrey on the throne.
King Robert lives for the immediate gratification of food, drink, whores, and combat.
Oberyn Martell spends most of his leisure time in King's Landing sampling the delights of the best brothel.
Heel Face Door Slam: Believing he has caught a break from the universe deservedly shitting on him, Theon confesses and laments the wrongs he committed during the previous season, setting him up for possible redemption, only for the entire escape to be revealed as a sham and the torture to be intensified.
Heel-Faith Turn: Although he was already a priest, Thoros of Myr did not believe his own religion and spent his time drinking and whoring. Then his prayers resurrected Beric Dondarrion. Unfortunately, his newfound belief leads him to sell Gendry to Melisandre because he is convinced it is his god's will.
Heir Club for Men: All the noble families seen thus far practice male-preferential primogeniture: the eldest living son inherits, but a daughter can make do if there are no sons. However, according to Septa Mordane, the Iron Throne can only go to the closest male relative. In spite of this, Stannis names his daughter Shireen (his only child) as his heir.
The Eyrie has cells with sloping floors and a massive drop instead of a fourth wall.
The Black Cells beneath the Red Keep are so called because they seldom see the light of even a torch.
During his captivity, Jaime Lannister is kept chained to a post in a roofless pen without so much as a pail to shit in. He later points this out to his brother, Tyrion, whose cell is rather spacious and comfortable by comparison.
Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Despite the prevalence of armour in the setting, helmets are typically only worn by extras to help viewers identify important characters, see them emote, and hear what they're saying. George R.R. Martin comments on this trope at some length in his DVD Commentary for "Blackwater", since he took pains to avert the trope in the novels and describes himself as a long-time advocate of "put on your helmet, knights." Notable examples include:
Brienne wears her helmet for her Samus is a Girl introduction and during Renly's parley with Stannis, but never again. The impressive new armour she receives in Season 4 even lacks a helmet completely.
Tyrion dons a helmet to lead a counterattack on the Blackwater (though he fights with his visor open) and only removes it when he thinks they've won, which turns out to be a mistake when he is wounded in the face during a counterattack.
Janos Slynt wears the helmet of a Gold Cloak to remind the audience of his position, but his lacks the chainmail face-covering and is generally carried under his arm if he has any important dialogue. Once he's established as a lord, he ditches it completely.
Grey Worm is introduced wearing the same helmet as the other Unsullied, but has not worn one since.
Tyrion urges Oberyn to wear a helmet before his duel in "The Mountain and the Viper," but Oberyn dismisses this, preferring to stay mobile, vigilant, and able to shout a lot. One of his first moves is also to knock off his opponent's helm.
Here There Were Dragons: The Targaryens once ruled Westeros from the backs of their dragons, but by the start of the series dragons have been extinct for over a century. Their skulls are kept as heirlooms, their bones are used in things like dagger hilts, and their fossilized eggs are priceless curiosities. That is until Daenerys hatches three dragons at the end of Season 1.
The Hero: In a series infamous for its moral ambiguity, there are several characters such as Davos, Ned, and Brienne who are genuinely heroic, and a few who, though a bit more cynical, fit the mold for classic fantasy heroes.
Robb Stark is noble, kind, and a natural leader who fights for independence and justice.
Daenerys Targaryen is intelligent, kind, charismatic, and a natural leader who fights for the freedom of the oppressed, though her treatment of those she views as evil can be harsh to say the least.
Lord Beric Dondarrion, leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners is a subversion. One of the most altruistic characters in the show, he fights for the smallfolk by killing and stealing from the armies occupying in the Riverlands, but he is also willing to do anything in service his cause and his new god, including holding Arya Stark for ransom and betraying Gendry to Melisandre.
Jon Snow emerges as perhaps the straightest example after some serious Character Development. After serving under Jeor Mormont, Qhorin Halfhand, and the wildlings, he emerges as a skilled warrior, a natural leader, and a dutiful man committed to his vows with a strong moral code and sense of justice that earns the admiration of his fellow brothers.
Heroes Love Dogs: The direwolf is the sigil of House Stark and each member of the newest generation receives one as a pet.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Most combatant characters wield swords whether they are heroic or not, but Ned, Jon, Arya, and Brienne all play it straight with their swords Ice, Longclaw, Needle, and Oathkeeper. Meanwhile, Joffrey invokes this trope as propaganda by wearing elaborate swords even though he constantly runs from combat.
Catelyn Stark has one after her son Bran's fall and another when her son Robb is killed in front of her, after which she kills her hostage by reflex and just stares into nothing until her own throat is cut.
When Ned Stark realizes he's compromised his honour for nothing and his daughters will have to witness his execution. When he sees Arya has gone, he calms down some to Face Death with Dignity.
Sansa suffers one during her father's execution and another after the Red Wedding.
Robb has one after his wife and unborn child are killed before his eyes. .
After losing his hand, Jaime completely shuts down, attempts to make his captors kill him, and refuses to eat until Brienne snaps him out of it.
Daenerys has one when a shepherd presents her with the burnt bones of his daughter.
Tyrion suffers one after finding Shae in Tywin's bed.
People often dismiss Robert as a drunken fool, but in his moments of clarity Robert shows great insight into the growing factionalism within his realm and how a Dothraki invasion would put him in a Morton's Fork.
Despite being a timid squire and then vain lackey, Lancel Lannister holds his own in battle and even after taking an arrow in the chest wants to escort Joffrey back to the city walls to hearten the wavering troops.
Yara Greyjoy shows genuine concern for Theon when trying to convince him to abandon Winterfell before it drags him to his doom.
Hollywood Healing: Although many characters avert the trope by suffering from limps, illnesses, and infections after injuries, Jon Snow plays it very straight. He is just a little stiff after nearly dying of three arrow wounds in the previous episode (albeit a season finale). He also receives a nasty leg wound in "First of His Name" that disappears by the next episode and shrugs off a head vs. anvil confrontation in "The Watchers on the Wall" that should have shattered his skull.
Ned Stark is bound by his honor to do what he sees as right regardless of the consequences, such as acknowledging his bastard son, opposing assassination, punishing atrocities regardless of the ramifications, and rejecting underhanded plans to further his own power. It takes a threat to his daughter's life to make him compromise.
Despite having the weakest faction, Stannis Baratheon refuses to consider peace or alliance with anyone he considers a usurper, even before he learns the true power of his ally Melisandre.
The subjects of Oathbreaking and Sacred Hospitality tend to give otherwise pragmatic characters a fit of this. Jaime Lannister is widely reviled as "the Kingslayer" for killing his king even by rebels who sought to execute that king and Tyrion takes exception to slaughtering thousands at a wedding rather than in battle (or a surprise wildfire explosion).
When Daenerys is hesitant to buy an army of slave soldiers, Ser Jorah reminds her of her brother's fate: "Rhaegar fought honorably, Rhaegar fought nobly, and Rhaegar died."
The ironborn commander Ralf Kenning refuses Reek's offer of safe conduct in exchange for surrender, though perhaps he guessed Ramsay's intention to flay them anyway.
Ser Barristan Selmy grants a suspected traitor the benefit of a warning before turning him over to his monarch for punishment, setting himself up for Have You Told Anyone Else?, though he shows his caution by keeping his sword at the ready.
House Arryn's words are "As High As Honor" and the lords and knights of the Vale often adhere to honorable ideas of trial-by-combat and importance of birth and blood. In fact, Eddard Stark's sense of honor is more Arryn than Stark, having been fostered at the Eyrie by Jon Arryn.
Hope Crusher: Ramsay Snow deliberately creates Hope Spots because he knows shattering the illusion of hope is far more devastating than providing no hope at all. This can be as simple as pouring out water in front of a thirsty man or as complex as feigning help only to lead the victim back to more torture..
Robb is set to receive reinforcements, is expecting his first child, has reconciled with his mother, and is about to be reunited with his little sister Arya when he is betrayed and butchered along with his wife, his mother, and nearly all his bannermen.
Sansa finally escapes, only to find herself in the hands of Littlefinger.
Prince Oberyn is on the verge of winning a trial by combat when his opponent trips him and crushes his skull.
In the midst of battle, Ygritte hesitates to kill Jon Snow and The Big Damn Kiss seems imminent until an arrow sprouts from Ygritte's chest.
Ramsay Snow deliberately creates these situations to torment his victims.
Yara Greyjoy's rescue party finds her brother, only for Theon to reject and bite her. Then Ramsay arrives with reinforcements and forces her to retreat.
Brienne of Tarth finds the object her quest and things appear to be going well, until the Hound notices the Lannister lion on her sword and instigates a very nasty deathmatch.
Hordes from the East: The Dothraki are an extremely numerous race of equestrian nomads (loosely based on the Mongols) who threaten the Free Cities of western Essos from time to time. Daenerys is initially married to the Dothraki chieftain Khal Drogo to win his support for her brother's bid to retake Westeros.
In spite of all his other mistakes, Eddard Stark could have succeeded if he had not trusted one particular person. This comes partially from his wife's equally horrible misjudgement of the same character because he was her Unlucky Childhood Friend. But of course, unlike the audience, neither of them were privy to his SexpositionInfo Dump on his motivations.
Sansa is this at first toward Cersei and Joffrey, but eventually becomes disillusioned. However, she is also one of the few people who always seems uncomfortable around Littlefinger and sees the inner good in the Hound.
Catelyn fails to see Tyrion as the Token Good Teammate of House Lannister at least partially because she completely trusts Littlefinger, which is an even greater mistake. She's absolutely right about Theon though.
Grand Maester Pycelle invokes this trope for any eavesdroppers in "Fire and Blood" when he describes Joffrey as the most promising king he's served. He also did this in the backstory when he advised Aerys II to open the gates for his true master's Cavalry Betrayal.
Catelyn Stark's Mama Bear instincts often override her sense of reason and lead her to brash actions that work against her family in the long run, such as her impromptu capture of Tyrion and her release of Jaime.
Arya gets very openly angry about things she disagrees with in early seasons, but she later learns to restrain it to Tranquil Fury.
"Ours is the Fury" are the words of House Baratheon, and all the scions of that House are very headstrong and passionate about things that don't go their way.
Oberyn is enraged and ready to fight at the slightest insult even if he does remain calm and collected on the outside.
The rebirth of dragons may be tied to Daenerys having Mirri Maz Duur burned alive, since only death may pay for life.
Subverted when Melisandre restrains Gendry after comparing blood magic to slaughtering a lamb. Instead, she only draws some blood for a smaller ritual since Davos has persuaded Stannis to demand proof before consenting.
Tywin Lannister constantly preaches the importance of family while psychologically abusing his children, presses his children into political marriages while never remarrying himself, and condemning Tyrion for his whoring while secretly bedding them himself.
Cersei defends her incest with Jaime as true love but starts bedding their cousin when he goes to war, resents Margaery for trying to be a power behind the throne like her, and insults Ellaria Sand for being a bastard even though her own children are secretly illegitimate.
Joffrey scorns his brother Tommen for crying during Myrcella's farewell, conveniently forgetting he was on the verge of tears at Robert's deathbed and that he was weeping for his life when Arya had him at swordpoint.
Balon Greyjoy abuses his son for growing up among the Starks even though it was his failure that made Theon a hostage in the first place. He also resents Ned and Robert for defeating him and taking his son, even though the Old Way he so cherishes encourages taking from those weaker than you.
A fairly minor example, but the Blackfish chides Edmure for calling Robb "nephew" rather than the style due to a king, whilst himself referring to Edmure as "nephew" rather than the style due to a Lord Paramount.
Janos Slynt justifies his betrayal of Ned Stark by saying the man tried to bribe him. Tyrion notes that the only mistake there was not realizing Janos had already been bought.
Hypocritical Heartwarming: Deconstructed by Tywin, who refuses to tolerate anyone mocking or harming his despised son Tyrion in public only because in doing so they defy the authority of House Lannister.
"He's a Lannister! He may be the lowest of the Lannisters, but he's one of us. And everyday that he remains a prisoner, the less our name commands respect."
I Am X, Son of Y: A standard introduction among the Dothraki and Mountain Clans. Particularly noteworthy are Drogo son of Bharbo, Shagga son of Dolf, Timett son of Timett, Chella daughter of Cheyk, and Bronn son of "...you wouldn't know him." Culture-savvy Tyrion names himself "Tyrion son of Tywin" when negotiating with Shagga.
The Astapori sell their entire elite slave army to Dany in "And Now His Watch Is Ended". They were likely blinded by the prospect of dragons, who have a history of defeating substantial armies.
Tormund insists on killing the horse trader they capture in "The Rains of Castamere" to maintain secrecy, but simply ignores Orell's report of shouting rather than send a few men to check out the mill where Bran and company are hiding.
When selecting an opponent for Meereen's champion, Daenerys dismisses Jorah, Barristan, and Grey Worm because they are too valuable as commanders and advisors but conveniently forgets that Daario commands 2,000 sellswords who only supported her because Daario seized control of them.
To protect Gilly from rape at the hands of Castle Black's garrison, Sam hides her in the very brothel where the men of the garrison go to have sex and puts her directly in the path of the known party of wildling marauders looking to kill a few black brothers there.
Littlefinger's plan to elude justice for Lysa's murder is uncharacteristicly shaky so Sansa can prove her growing worth by helping him.From the books... In the books he frames Lysa's despised singer Marillion (who suffered an adaptational tongue amputation in Season 1) and has a plan for reconciling with the lords of the Vale.
Theon is kept as a ward at Winterfell for a decade to keep his father Balon from rebellion against the Iron Throne again. This is a completely acceptable part of Westerosi society.
Sansa and Jaime counteract each other's value for this trope. Neither side will harm their prisoner for fear of the consequences to their loved one.
Cersei takes Ros (mistaking her for his mistress) as hostage in "The Prince of Winterfell" to mollify her fears that Tyrion is plotting a Uriah Gambit for Joffrey in the coming battle.
I Just Want to Be You: There are subtle hints that this is Cersei's Freudian Excuse for her incest with her twin Jaime. She frequently discusses what she would do if she were in Jaime's position, laments that she was born a woman and treated differently than him, and favours metallic accoutrements that simulate armour.
Tyrion: You're Ned Stark's bastard, aren't you?... Did I offend you? Sorry. You are the bastard, though. Jon:Lord Eddard Stark is my father... Tyrion: And Lady Stark is not your mother. Making you... the bastard. Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you. Jon: What the hell do you know about being a bastard? Tyrion: All dwarves are bastards in their fathers' eyes.
In "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"—
Tyrion: With the right horse and saddle even a cripple can ride. Bran: I'm not a cripple! Tyrion: Then I'm not a dwarf! My father will rejoice to hear it.
He brings the hill tribes so under his sway that "The Halfman" and "Little Lion" become something of Affectionate Nicknames for him. The former is even used as a Battle Cry.
While camped at the Nightfort, Bran tells the story of a Night's Watch cook who tricked his king into eating his own son.
Subverted in "Mhysa" when Ramsay relishes in eating a long piece of meat in front of the man whose cock he severed in a previous episode. The victim draws the obvious conclusion and few would doubt Ramsay is psychopathic enough to devour a man's penis in front of him, but Ramsay feigns shock at the idea and confirms its just pork sausage.
Played straight with the Thenns who meet up with Tormund and Ygritte in "Two Swords" and proceed to roast a human forearm.
Biter makes the mistake of taking a bite out of the Hound in "Mockingbird".
I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: This is Gendry's explanation for why he let Melisandre have her way with him, and Davos admits he can sympathize.
Immigrant Patriotism: Varys is a Lysene immigrant who professes to be the only man who truly serves The Kingdom itself rather than money, power, or any particular faction. His secret meeting with Daenerys' patron Illyrio in "The Wolf and the Lion" makes the truth of this somewhat ambiguous.
Imminent Danger Clue: Catelyn notices three in "The Rains of Castamere." First, someone closes the doors, then the musicians strike up a Musical Spoiler whose key and content are inappropriate to the setting. The final, threat-confirming clue is the reveal that Roose Bolton is wearing armour under his clothes.
The Night's Watch exists solely to defend the realms of men from its enemies beyond the Wall and all members are required to leave behind old debts, feuds, loves, and allegiances. In practice, of course, this is easier said than done.
The Maesters of the Citadel are assigned to a particular location after taking their vows and are bound to serve and advise whoever controls that location, regardless of which faction controls it.
The Iron Bank of Braavos doesn't care who occupies the Iron Throne or any other position. Their only concern is who owes them, how much they owe, and whether they make their payments on time. Failure to do so may result in a sudden increase in rival claimants who take their debts more seriously.
Anguy the Archer can angle a shot perfectly to drop straight down at a target a few feet away.
After Edmure misses his first two shots, his uncle Blackfish takes over igniting Lord Hoster's funeral boat and even though its almost out of sight he's so confident he doesn't even wait to see the arrow land.
Tormund claims he's seen Ygritte split a rabbit's eyeball with an arrow at 200 yards.
Daario kills a charging horse by throwing a knife into its eye.
Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen have grown up as this, moving from city to city and benefactor to benefactor, always fearing betrayal and assassination. The stress of it may have contributed to Viserys' madness.
It is revealed in Season 4 that the Lannister's gold mines ran dry years ago, leaving them a limited time before they become this.
Sam ended up in the Night's Watch because his father considered him this.
Lord Tywin views Tyrion as a celestial condemnation and openly tells his youngest son that lawful heir or not, neither gods nor men will make him heir to Casterly Rock.
This is Renly's justification for attempting to take the throne instead of Stannis or Joffrey.
Stannis considers Renly, who has never fought for anything, an inadequate inheritor for their ancestral home of Storm's End, which Stannis withstood The Siege to hold.
Tywin is an undisputed master of the game of thrones but he is getting older and none of his children or grandchildren are perceived as his equal (though Tyrion probably is). Davos uses this argument to persuade the Iron Bank allow Stannis a small loan just to hedge their bets.
Completely unaware of his sexuality, Sansa is charmed by Ser Loras Tyrell during the Tourney of the Hand and is ecstatic when they are secretly betrothed. For his part, Loras is awkward and formal with Sansa but seems to genuinely want to give her a better life.
Renly is unable to consummate his marriage to Margaery in spite of her accommodating efforts.
Brienne has a serious crush on Renly and refuses to believe the completely true rumours surrounding him and Loras.
Individuality Is Illegal: The Unsullied have been trained all their lives to obey any command by their owners and to lack any personal desires. To reinforce this they are renamed after vermin (Grey Worm, Black Rat, etc.) and refer to themselves as "this one" rather than "I."
Indy Ploy: Tyrion in particular is a master of these, particularly his escape from the Eyrie and his convincing Cersei that she indeed has his mistress captive even though she has captured Ros instead of Shae.
Tyrion often needs one (or perhaps a dozen) to deal with stressful situations like his wedding.
Although reluctant to drink at first, Sansa takes a big one when Cersei elaborates on the inevitable rape that comes with the sack of a city.
During the Battle of Blackwater, the Hound returns from a sortie shouting, "Someone, bring me a drink... Fuck the water. Bring me wine!"
Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Lancel Lannister is perhaps the dimmest of the Lannisters, and despite his Jerkass tendencies its hard not to feel sorry for him considering how Robert treats him... and then how Cersei treat him. Hell, how everyone treats him.
I Never: Tyrion, Bronn, and Shae play a similar game where they ask each other questions about their pasts. Despite his confidence that he will win, Tyrion ends up revealing more than his companions.
Arya's friend Mycah is ridden down by the Hound as a scapegoat for the well-deserved mauling of Prince Joffrey. Later, her travelling companion Lommy gets stabbed in the throat when his captors realize he can't walk.
King Robert's young bastards are purged in "The North Remembers."
The Unsullied are required to kill a slave baby as the final trial of their Training from Hell.
Squires Willem and Martyn Lannister are murdered in their beds by one of their captor's vengeful bannermen.
For all the references and implication of his badassery, Barristan Selmy's only onscreen combat has been a Stab the Scorpion moment in "Valar Dohaeris."
The ironborn are heavily implied to be a grizzled culture of badass pirates and sea raiders, but almost none of it is depicted on screen. Even Yara Greyjoy and her super-elite rescue party are put to flight by a shirtless maniac and some hounds.
In-Series Nickname: Sandor "the Hound" Clegane, Ser Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Varys "the Spider", Tyrion "the Imp"/"Halfman" Lannister, Ser Loras "the Knight of Flowers" Tyrell, Ser Jaime "the Kingslayer" Lannister, Ser Davos "the Onion Knight" Seaworth, Lady Melisandre "the Red Woman", Tormund "Giantsbane", Ser Brynden "the Blackfish" Tully, Robb "the Young Wolf" Stark, Jon "the Greatjon" Umber, Oberyn "the Red Viper" Martell.
Instant Seduction: It doesn't take long for Loras to be seduced by Olyvar. Justified, since Olyvar is an experienced sex worker and his target hasn't been physically intimate with anyone in quite awhile.
The Tickler asks Gendry the same questions as the other prisoners ("Is there gold in the village? Where is the Brotherhood?") even though he is not from the village and has never heard of the Brotherhood.
Theon tells lies, half-truths, and the truth to appease his torturers, but they soon admit they are just torturing him because they enjoy it.
Jaime Lannister made his Bodyguard Betrayal of Mad King Aerys twice as dishonorable this way, though he later clarifies that it was only because Aerys tried to run. Even Ned Stark, whose father and brother were murdered by Aerys, likes to rub it in Jaime's face.
Lord Commander Mormont is mortally wounded this way by one of his own disgruntled men.
Ralf Kenning gets an axe to the head for refusing to surrender.
In the Blood: True to its medievalesque setting, this is how characters perceive genetics.
The Targaryen dynasty has always walked a fine line between brilliance and madness, a trait they cannot shake because of their tradition of incest to keep the "blood of the dragon" pure, which is also believed to be important to their Royalty Superpower of connecting with dragons.
Sansa Stark faces accusations of "traitor's blood" because of the actions of her father and brother.
As an armorer's apprentice, Gendry has inherited both his father's hair and his affinity for hammers.
In "Winter Is Coming," Ned Stark establishes what sort of man he is by sentencing and beheading an outlaw himself, eschewing an executioner, as Northern custom dictates. In "Baelor," he is beheaded by an executioner with his own sword.
In "The Wolf and the Lion," Robert raves to Ned that the only thing keeping the realm together is "Fear and blood!" which is dangerously close to the "Fire and Blood" motto of the Targaryens they fought so hard to overthrow.
In "Valar Morghulis," Pycelle tosses a coin to the now-powerless Tyrion and echoes his line, "For your trouble."
In "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," Jaime offers a sarcastic platitude to Roose Bolton: "Tell Robb Stark I'm sorry I couldn't make his uncle's wedding. The Lannisters send their regards." In "The Rains of Castamere", Roose uses this line as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner before sticking a knife in Robb's heart.
In "Second Sons," when his new wife asks what will happen if she never wants to bed him, Tyrion gives a bitter smile and says, "And so my watch begins,"—a clear riff on the creed of the celibate Night's Watch.
In "Two Swords," Arya recites back to Polliver exactly what he said before killing Lommy Greenhands before killing him in the same way.
The Frey men-at-arms chant their victim's battle cry as they parade his desecrated body around.
Ironic Hell: The notorious sadist and psychopath Gregor Clegane is being kept alive by Mad Doctor Qyburn.
Ironic Nickname: Jon Snow is mockingly dubbed "Lord Snow" by Ser Alliser Thorne because, despite being the son of a high lord, as a bastard and a black brother he will never inherit anything.
Tyrion: The Mad King did as he liked. Has your Uncle Jaime ever told you what happened to him? Ser Meryn: No one threatens His Grace in the presence of the Kingsguard! Tyrion: I am not threatening the King, ser, I am educating my nephew. Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?
It Amused Me: Deconstructed with the dispassionate Roose Bolton, who carefully considers the ramifications of his every word and action to maximize gain, but will be a total Troll if he can get away with it. He later chides both his son and Locke not for torturing prisoners but for torturing valuable prisoners.
Cersei considers her tribulations while living lavishly in the Red Keep far worse than Jaime's imprisonment and maiming, believes Joffrey's assassination was motivated solely to hurt her, and sees only the opportunity to see Tyrion dead instead of the dangerous consequences for her realm, her dynasty, and her daughter when Oberyn Martell is killed.
Viserys Targaryen treats everyone like his subjects and thinks everything should go his way.
Renly Baratheon, though charming, is self-centered enough to declare himself king just because he thinks he'd be good at it, even though he has few tangible accomplishments and knows it will very likely mean killing his own brother.
Robb Stark chooses love over his political responsibilities and suffers for it.
Karl Tanner could not overstate his own importance worse if he tried.
In a broader sense, most nobles don't spare a thought for the thousands of smallfolk affected by their decisions. Jorah Mormont notes that the feeling is somewhat reciprocal:
The common people pray for rain, health, and a summer that never ends. They don't care what games the high lords play.
Cersei quotes her father as saying, "Gods have no mercy. That's why they're gods."
Tyrion is of a similar, though more humorous, opinion: "The Lord of Light wants his enemies burnt. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where is the god of tits and wine?"
Ser Alliser Thorne treats his recruits cruelly, but given his experience of how terrible the winters can be, he may have a point about how strong a man of the Night's Watch must be.
Robert's plot to kill Daenerys is definitely very underhanded and fueled by his hatred and fear, but Pycelle's point that a Dothraki invasion would also result in thousands of innocent deaths is quite persuasive.
Notorious oathbreaker Jaime Lannister argues that the numerous and contradictory vows knights swear make everyone an oathbreaker eventually. For instance, what if you've sworn to protect the king and defend the innocent, but the king massacres the innocent?
The Spice King is rude and condescending, but when Daenerys asks for ships to get to Westeros he raises some very good points: namely, that she has no real strategy for retaking Westeros, just a belief that everyone will flock to her as the rightful queen.
Being motivated by jealously doesn't make Cersei's assessment of Margaery as a manipulative social climber any less true.
While he's unnecessarily a jerkass about it, Craster does have a large family to sustain through the years-long winter with the resources the Night's Watch are steadily consuming as his guests. Grenn and Dolorous Edd seem content enough with it and Sam even tries to point this out to Rast, but gets shot down with a False Dichotomy.
Joffrey seems to be the only person in Westeros during Season 3 to appreciate the threat of Daenerys and her dragons.
When Tyrion disapproves of the Red Wedding, Tywin asks him why it is more noble to kill thousands in battle than a dozen at dinner. Even acknowledging the thousands of soldiers who died as well, Tyrion really cannot dispute his father, having himself killed thousandsof defenceless, ship-bound men in a wildfire explosion less than a year past.
Cersei is drunk and paranoid when she demands more guards for Tommen's chambers, but since Margaery is somehow able to sneak in she may have a point.
The Hound is coarse and mocking when he sees Arya practising with her rapier, but he proves absolutely right that it stands no chance against even a mediocre swordsman in full plate. He is also right about the flaws in Brienne's plan to protect the Stark girls by finding them "someplace safe."
The Jester: Ser Dontos ends up as Joffrey's fool. Joffrey would have just drowned him in wine if Sansa didn't suggest this.
One of the recruitment methods of the Night's Watch is offering an alternative to prisoners facing a death sentence.
Qhorin Halfhand hints to Jon that they will both die unless Jon invokes this with the wildlings.
Jousting Lance: The Mountain kills Ser Hugh of the Vale with one, which may have been intentional. He is later said to have done the same to Lord Beric Dondarrion.
Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Starks maintain the belief of the First Men that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword as a safeguard against tyrants ordering executions arbitrarily.
Jumped at the Call: Jon Snow is very eager to join the Night's Watch despite his uncle's advice to wait a while longer. Later, he jumps at the chance to join Qhorin Halfhand's ranging.
Joffrey, who up to that point has really only been a Royal Brat with a temper, orders Ned Stark's executed in spite of all reason.
Theon condones the murder of two innocent boys.
Jump Scare: Biter attacks the Hound out of nowhere in "Mockingbird."
Just a Kid: Tywin Lannister dismisses Robb Stark as this, believing a taste of battle will send him running back to Winterfell. Even Robb's father is concerned. They are proved oh so wrong when Robb destroys half the Lannister forces and captures Jaime Lannister. Ironically, the Reynes of Castamere once thought the same of Tywin.
After threatening to Groin Attack Joffrey, Tyrion engages in some Self-Deprecation in an attempt to pass it off as a bad joke. Nobody is fooled, but its enough of a face-saver to diffuse the situation.
Cersei attempts to use this on Joffrey's behalf in "Mhysa," but he press on heedlessly.
Tyrion resorts to trial by combat to avoid one in the Eyrie.
A rare heroic example occurs when Ned hears accusations that Gregor Clegane committed heinous crimes in the Riverlands. Despite only identifying Clegane by reputation via a vague description, Ned immediately sentences him to death in absentia and dispatches men to execute him without hearing any sort of defense or counter-witnesses. The fact that all the accusations prove true later softens any blow to Ned's character.
Tyrion's trial for regicide in "The Laws of Gods and Men" is one. The witnesses give blatantly false or highly misleading testimony and the defendant cannot question the witnesses without leave. In private during a recess, Tywin admits that the trial is a sham and the verdict is a forgone conclusion.
King Robert decides his hunting accident was divine retribution for plotting to assassinate a pregnant girl.
Viserys is killed when his pleas for his main Kick the Dog victim to speak out and spare his life go unanswered.
Arya gives Polliver an identical death to one of his victims, complete with Ironic Echo.
King Joffrey falls victim to someone who decided his constant sadism was a ticking time bomb.
Daenerys crucifies 163 masters in the exact same pose as the slave children they crucified.
Zig-Zagged when Bran kills Locke, the man who crippled the man who crippled him.
Karl Tanner mocks Jon for fighting "with honor," then is fittingly stabbed In the Back twice: first by a woman he previously abused, then mortally by Jon.
Rast is eventually killed by the very direwolf he once taunted.
Lysa Arryn is thrown from a mountain moments after threatening someone with just that.
Ygritte is shot in the back by the son of a man she shot in the back.
Tywin Lannister is murdered by the one man he has always wanted dead.
Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Deconstructed when Brienne is forced to fight a bear in just a dress, which offers no protection. She holds her own as well as anyone but is obviously fighting a losing battle, especially being armed with only a wooden sword.
Lord Tywin constantly zigzags between this and Pet the Dog when it comes to his sons, often within the same scene. For example, he grants Tyrion powerful offices and an advantageous marriage despite constantly denying his claim to Casterly Rock and berating him for being a drunken lecher, and manages to gift Jaime a priceless Valyrian sword and disown him in the same scene.
The Great Masters of Meereen crucify 163 slave children to deter Daenerys' march on their city, which only hardens her resolve.
The Hound throws away any goodwill he earned from Arya by robbing the kindly and generous farmer who took them in.
Just in case you thought the wildlings were nice people, Ygritte shoots a man in the throat in front of his son in "Breaker of Chains", then Styr of the Thenns relishes in terrorizing the boy with how he's going to eat both his parents.
Arya clearly becomes a darker character every time she kills, but it's compensated for by the fact that most of them deserve it.
After kicking the dog throughout the previous season, Theon's torture begins this way, but as it grows more excruciating and pointlessly cruel it becomes harder to feel this way. In fact, by the end of the season, this trope does apply to the men who sold him out to be tortured.
Its a hard sell to make the murder of a daughter-raping, child-sacrificing jerkass come across as an unforgivable sin to a contemporary audience.
When Joffrey Baratheon and Tywin Lannister are murdered in cold blood, their killers clearly cross a moral line, but their victims are such jerkasses that it's hard not to cheer them on.
This seems to be the only way to get rid of the wights.
Basically the modus operandi of House Targaryen. Aegon I and his sisters used dragons to conquer six of the Seven Kingdoms, which included melting the castle of Harrenhal. Joffrey also speaks of Aerion "Brighflame" Targaryen who died from drinking wildfire and fire was Mad King Aerys' favoured execution method. His daughter Daenerys uses fire to kill Mirri Maz Duur, Pyat Pree, and Kraznys mo Nakloz and many other slavers of Astapor.
In "Blackwater" Tyrion uses wildfire to kill half of Stannis' entire fleet!
The Night's Watch uses flaming barrels of oil to kill several wildlings and drive off the mammoth at their gate in "The Watchers on the Wall."
King Bob the Nth: King Robert Baratheon, the First of His Name, actually. Most prospective kings also use this style, even if they are the first of their name. "First Of His Name" is even the title of Season 4's fifth episode.
Kingpin in His Gym: The Mountain makes his Season 4 debut sparring against practically unarmed convicts with his massive broadsword.
Kissing Cousins: After Jaime goes off to war, Cersei starts getting her incest fix with her cousin Lancel. While cousin relationships are not uncommon in Westeros (Cersei's parents, for instance), this establishes Cersei's disturbing habit of shaking the family tree for a bed partner. According to the books, this is because Lancel physically resembles a young Jaime. In Season 2, Tyrion uses this knowledge to blackmail Lancel into spying on Cersei, as neither Jaime or Joffrey would be happy with Lancel's affections toward her.
Stannis Baratheon was already a very uncompromising man before he came under the influence of an even worse example named Melisandre.
Daenerys shows a tendency toward this in Season 4 that her advisers find disquieting.
Knowledge Broker: This is Varys' job as Master of Whisperers, and he's terrifyingly good at it. If for whatever reason a character does not go to Varys, they go to Littlefinger.
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Ygritte has shades of this. Although she knows much about her own people and constantly teases Jon that he knows nothing, she herself mistakes a windmill for a great castle and seems completely ignorant of the wildlings' previous failed invasions.
In "The Laws of Gods and Men," Yara Greyjoy aborts her mission to rescue Theon when she realizes how utterly broken he is, saying her brother is "dead."
In "The Children," Mance surrenders when Stannis' army arrives at the Wall. He knows he can't beat Stannis' forces, and he doesn't want to see his people slaughtered.
In the History and Lore segments, House Tyrell is said to have risen to power in the wake of Aegon's Conquest by agreeing to surrender. They also agreed to surrender without a fight after the sack of King's Landing at the end of Robert's Rebellion.