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Game Of Thrones: Tropes G to K
Tropes A to B
| Tropes C to D
| Tropes E to F
| Tropes G To K
| Tropes L to O
| Tropes P to S
| Tropes T to Z
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- Had To Be Sharp:
- Northmen are of this opinion about their homeland. By the same token, the wildlings beyond the Wall see even the northmen as soft, pampered southerners.
- The ironborn have a cultural superiority complex based on this: "Hard places breed hard men, and hard men rule the world."
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Tommen and Myrcella are sweet, innocent children despite all the negative influences around them.
- Hair-Trigger Temper:
- 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.
- Hand or Object Underwear:
- Missandei does this when she catches Grey Worm watching her bathe in "The Mountain and the Viper."
- Averted when Daenerys deliberately rises from her bath to converse with Daario in "Second Sons."
- Handsome Lech: Theon Greyjoy has a tendency to pursue any woman he thinks will have him, up to and including his sister, until he finds out.
- Hands-On Approach:
- 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.
- Happiness in Slavery:
- 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.
- Harmful to Minors: So much, especially for the Starks.
- 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.
- Has a Type:
- Hate Sink: In this world of Black and Grey Morality, the truly evil characters are made just to be hated:
- 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.
- Hates Small Talk: Cersei has zero appreciation for the art of conversation.
- 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.
- Haunted Castle:
- 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.
- Headbutt of Love: Dany and Drogo do this in the House of the Undying, presumably because kissing him would risk sinking too far into the fantasy.
- Heal It With Fire: Fire and hot irons are a common disinfection method, which gets discussed when noted pyrophobe Sandor Clegane begins to suffer an infection because he refused this treatment.
- Hearing Voices: Renly describes Aerys II as doing this, though he himself is far to young to know first-hand.
- Heartbroken Badass: Robb and Jon both suffer this after their lovers die before their eyes.
- The Hedonist:
- 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.
- He Knows Too Much:
- The series kicks off with the Starks receiving a letter stating that Jon Arryn was murdered which they decide was due to this trope.
- Bran is defenestrated for seeing too much, even if he doesn't completely understand what he saw.
- Dontos Hollard receives a crossbow bolt because he cannot be trusted with a secret.
- Held Gaze:
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Tywin and Jaime wear black and grey leather Badass Leather Longcoats.
- Hellhole Prison:
- 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.
- Hell Is That Noise:
- 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.
- Stannis Baratheon serves as a deconstruction. He is just, dutiful, and the rightful heir to the Baratheon dynasty, but his staunch commitment to duty and utter lack of charisma make him cold at best and villainous at worst. Despite apparently being The Chosen One, he commands the smallest faction, which drives him to assassinate his younger brother and submit to Melisandre's Toxic Friend Influence.
- 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.
- Heroes Want Redheads:
- Ned Stark is happily married to auburn-haired Catelyn Tully and their daughter Sansa (who takes after her mother) is regarded as very attractive.
- Jon Snow falls in love with red-haired Ygritte.
- Heroic Bastard: Jon Snow.
- Heroic BSOD:
- 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.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- In "The Pointy End," after urging Sansa to flee, Septa Mordane confronts the bloody swords of their attackers with forced tranquility. Unfortunately, they are only delayed momentarily.
- Syrio Forel defends Arya and holds off their attacker long enough for her to make good her escape.
- Theon assures Robb that the two thousand men he sent to their death on the Green Fork was this, but Robb is still uncomfortable with it.
- Yoren refuses to surrender any of his charges and goes down fighting for them.
- Grenn and his chosen men die defending the tunnel through the Wall against the giant Mag the Mighty.
- Heroic Second Wind: Brienne gets one during her fight in "The Children."
- Heroic Seductress:
- Margaery Tyrell is sexy and she knows it, and she uses it to keep Joffrey from being too cruel.
- Shae counts to some extent, being Tyrion's main emotional support.
- Ros is skilled at using sex to get information. She feeds said information to Varys, who uses it to keep Sansa away from Littlefinger.
- Of Dany's many achievements, convincing an enemy to assassinate his co-commanders and join his forces with hers simply by being the sexiest woman he's ever met is pretty close to this.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Quite a number of people consider themselves to be this, notably Jaime, Tyrion, and Stannis.
- Hero-Worshipper: The depth of Alton Lannister's admiration for Jaime is apparent in his every word.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ned and Robert, Jon and Sam, Stannis and Davos.
- He Who Fights Monsters:
- In his youth, Robert Baratheon led a rebellion to depose the cruel and paranoid Mad King Aerys II, but as king he resorts to increasingly unsettling means to keep his own dynasty on the throne.
- Daenerys believes so firmly in Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil that she views any punishment she inflicts on the slave masters as justice.
- 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.
- I Call It "Vera":
- I Can Explain: Jorah Mormont attempts to explain and make excuses for his actions, but his queen refuses to accept any of them.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate:
- Maester Luwin asks Osha for a Mercy Kill and she obliges.
- Theon's torture culminates in him pleading for death, which his tormentor has no intention of granting.
- Having lost his knife in the fight that breaks him, The Hound is forced to beg his companion for a Mercy Kill, which she refuses to grant.
- An Ice Person: The White Walkers can generate cold intense enough to shatter swords and appear to use ice for construction and weapon-making.
- I Choose to Stay:
- In "Two Swords," Jaime outright refuses Tywin's command to accept release from the Kingsguard and become Lord Paramount of the Westerlands.
- In "First of His Name," Daenerys chooses to remain in Slaver's Bay to deal with the chaos her campaign has wrought.
- Icy Blue Eyes:
- Roose Bolton has a set of these to match his dispassionate personality.
- Sansa eyes go from innocent to icy toward the end of Season 4.
- The White Walkers all feature these, bonus for being icy beings. Wights resurrected by them also gain blue eyes.
- I Die Free: Daenerys is going for something like this when she orders the slave collars removed from the crucified children.
- Idiot Ball:
- 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...
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Dreadfort, Dragonstone, Slaver's Bay, the Red Waste, the Garden of Bones, and the House of the Undying. The Night's Watch has a tradition of this with names like Castle Black, the Shadow Tower, the Nightfort, and Eastwatch-by-the-Sea.
- I Drank What?: Jaime begs water from his captors, who let him gulp down half a container before telling him its horse piss. Que Vomit Indiscretion Shot.
- I Gave My Word: "I said I would take you to King's Landing, and that's what I'm going to do."
- The Igor: Reek is this to Ramsay, complete with stooping gait and low-bent head.
- If I Do Not Return: Tyrion asks Shae to weep for him if he's killed in the Battle of the Green Fork. She responds by asking how he would know if she did.
- If I Had a Nickel:
Tyrion: If I had a gold dragon for every time I heard that joke, I'd be richer than you are.
Littlefinger: But you are richer than I am.
Tyrion: (beat) Good point.
- If I Wanted You Dead...: When Daario invades her bath, Daenerys' first question is why he didn't kill her straight off if that was his purpose.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: The wildlings demand that Jon Snow kill the horse trader they've captured in "The Rains of Castamere". He can't do it, thus proving he's a Fake Defector.
- Ignored Epiphany: Balon is clearly shaken by but completely disregards Theon's argument that everything Balon resents is his own fault.
- I Have No Son:
- Samwell Tarly was forced to join the Night's Watch by a father who felt this way.
- Balon Greyjoy writes Theon off the family tree the day he receives his cock in the mail.
- Tywin disowns both his sons. Jaime when he refuses to leave the Kingsguard and Tyrion with his dying breath.
- You can see the sibling version of this trope happen in Daenerys' eyes the moment Viserys threatens her unborn child.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Karl Tanner treats Meera like this.
- I Have Your Wife:
- 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.
- I Kiss Your Hand: Walder Frey greets Catelyn with the kind you would expect from a Dirty Old Man like him.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die:
- Barristan Selmy takes his failure to protect King Robert quite hard, despite being directly ordered to stand aside.
- There was absolutely nothing Brienne could do to defend her beloved king against Melisandre's black magic, but she nevertheless feels horrible that she couldn't save him.
- I Lied: Reek delivers the promise of safe conduct to the ironborn garrison at Moat Cailin if they surrender. Unfortunately, Ramsay is a man of tradition.
"You didn't think I was going to let them go, did you?"
- Ill Boy: Jojen gets noticeably paler and weaker and his seizures become more frequent as they journey north.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Robb's decision to do this after one of his bannermen gets carried away with his boisterousness results in Defeat Means Friendship.
"My lord father taught me it was death to bare steel against your liege lord... Doubtless, the Greatjon
only meant to cut my meat for me."
- I'll Take That as a Compliment: Tyrion has turned this into a way of living, and encourages others to do so by... well, insulting them.
- In Winter is Coming—
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.
- I'm a Humanitarian:
- 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 Immodest Orgasm: In "First of His Name," Lysa proudly declares that she plans to scream while making love to her new husband and she certainly delivers.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
- Ser Mandon Moore receives a spear through the head courtesy of Podrick in "Blackwater."
- Dagmer jabs Maester Luwin in the guts with a spear for no other reason than to shut him up.
- Jon Snow runs Longclaw right through Othor's wight, Qhorin Halfhand, Orell the warg, and Karl Tanner.
- Ygritte, Ramsay, and Oberyn all do this to their victims in "The Mountain and the Viper."
- During "The Watchers on the Wall," one black brother is unlucky enough to be hit with an arrow the size of a ballista bolt. The giant who shot him is later impaled by an actual ballista bolt.
- Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction:
- 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.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy:
- Daenerys is imperiled multiple times during her pregnancy, first by her brother, which completely breaks their tenuous familial bond and later by a wine merchant who seeks to poison her.
- A pregnant character is stabbed multiple times in the belly at one point, leading to the death of both her and her child.
- Implied Death Threat:
- Ned and Cersei trade them in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things"
Lord Eddard: I was also trained to kill my enemies, your Grace.
Cersei: As was I.
- Varys and Littlefinger exchange subtle threats of incriminating evidence in "The Wolf and the Lion."
- After Joffrey calls him a monster, Tyrion replies, "Monsters are dangerous, and right now kings are dying like flies."
- The credo "A Lannister always pays his debts" is occasionally used as one.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Basically any time a bow is used in combat or training. If someone has poor accuracy, expect them to immediately be shown up by someone more in line with this trope.
- Arya's Establishing Character Moment is hitting an archery butt from twice the range of her brother Bran.
- 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.
- Important Haircut:
- Dothraki warriors sever their braids when defeated in combat. We don't see the ritual take place, but in the case of Drogo its absence proclaims his prowess.
- Yoren cuts Arya's hair to enable her to pass for a Night's Watch recruit, which marks the beginning of a drastic change in her life.
- Impoverished Patrician:
- 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.
- Improvised Weapon:
- After losing Longclaw in "The Watchers on the Wall," Jon Snow uses a chain and then a hammer from the castle smithy in his fight with Styr.
- When the wildlings invade Castle Black's kitchens, the stewards inside hold them off with pots, furniture, and a large meat cleaver.
- Not knowing the battle is over, when Gilly hears someone at her door she defends herself and her baby with the first weapon that comes to hand: a hunk of ham.
- During their Combat Breakdown in "The Children," Brienne bashes her opponent in the head with a rock over and over and over.
- Inadequate Inheritor:
- 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.
- Inappropriate Hunger:
- Incompatible Orientation:
- 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.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The Tyrells work hard to appear this way to the smallfolk in King's Landing.
- Incurable Cough of Death:
- King Joffrey suffers one when poisoned.
- Played With when Jon Snow suffers a serious coughing fit after downing a Gargle Blaster offered by Mance Rayder.
- 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.
- I Need a Freaking Drink:
- 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.
- I Never Told You My Name: Jaqen H'ghar refers to Arya by her full name as he departs, though she has never told him.
- Infant Immortality: Thoroughly averted.
- 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.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Theon's arrogance has a lot to do with coping with being constantly reminded of his glorified prisoner status.
- Informed Attractiveness: Many actors are as attractive as they are painted, but the show still goes out of its way to make sure you know just how pretty they are.
- Sansa, Daenerys, Cersei, and Margaery are frequently referred to as the most beautiful women in the known world.
- Loras, Jon Snow, and Renly are commonly described as desirable, pretty, and handsome.
- We're shown through various characters' expressions that Edmure's bride Roslin is much more attractive than the rest of the Frey girls.
- Informed Attribute:
- 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.
- The Ingenue: Sansa shows the effects of a Crapsack World on this type of character.
- In Harm's Way: Robert's eagerness to ride in the Tourney of the Hand shows that he prefers the thrill of combat to his duties as king.
- In It For Life: Service in the Night's Watch, Kingsguard, Faith of the Seven, or the Maesters of the Citadel is lifelong.
- In Medias Res: Nearly everything that happens in the series has its roots in the events of the twenty years prior to the beginning of the series.
- Innocent Bigot: Talisa recalls never questioning living in slave-dependent Volantis until a slave committed a hanging offense to save her brother.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Sansa has these for the first three seasons. During Season 4, they transition into Icy Blue Eyes.
- Insane Equals Violent: Joffrey.
- 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.
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Ned does this with his insignia pin when he resigns in protest to an assassination plot.
- Insistent Terminology:
- Joffrey feels the need to remind everyone he is king. Tywin points out that a true leader would never feel such a need.
- Davos constantly has to explain he was a smuggler not a pirate, though he admits the only difference was that he trafficked in pirated cargo without stealing it himself.
- "Reek, Reek, I'm Reek."
- Inspirational Martyr: Despite his failure, Ned Stark is widely remembered as a paragon of justice and honor undone by a Crapsack World.
- Instant Messenger Pigeon: Ravens are used to send urgent messages, and the "instant" part is handwaved by an implied Dashed Plotline.
- 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.
- Insult of Endearment: "You know nothing, Jon Snow," becomes this for Ygritte.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Between Princess Shireen and Ser Davos Seaworth.
- Internal Reveal: Gendry finally learns his father's identity in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair."
- Interrogated for Nothing:
- 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.
- Interrupted Intimacy:
- Played for laughs when Jaime walks in on Tyrion in a brothel to tell him to hurry up and sends in more prostitutes to hurry him up.
- Bran's discovery at the end of "Winter Is Coming" has horrific and long-reaching consequences.
- Tyrion and Bronn burst in to confront Pycelle at his most vulnerable in "What Is Dead May Never Die."
- Bronn is... extremely reluctant to answer Tyrion's summons in "Valar Dohaeris."
- Season 4 makes a Running Gag of people interrupting Prince Oberyn during his bisexual orgies in a brothel.
- In That Order: When the Mountain is accused with, "You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!" his response is, "I killed her children. Then I raped her. Then I smashed her head in..."
- In the Back:
- 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.
- The Boltons of the Dreadfort have had enough Sadists and Torture Technicians in their bloodline to put a flayed man on their banners.
- In the Hood:
- Barristan Selmy hides his identity with one while shadowing Daenerys in "Valar Morghulis."
- Sansa is encouraged to do this to hide her distinctive red hair in "First of His Name."
- Intimidation Demonstration: Karl Tanner slices 'n dices the air with his twin daggers while advancing on Jon Snow.
- In Vino Veritas: After drinking heavily during his wedding, Tyrion struggles more than usual to contain his contempt for Joffrey and Lord Tywin.
- I Owe You My Life:
- Ser Loras Tyrell says this word-for-word after the Hound saves him during the Tourney of the Hand and forfeits the championship (and 40,000 gold dragons in prize money) to him in gratitude.
- Jaqen H'ghar offers to kill three people for Arya in exchange for saving his life as well as Rorge and Biter.
- Ser Dontos Hollard pleads this to Sansa in "Two Swords."
- Ironic Echo:
- 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.
- Davos accepted knighthood to give his son Matthos a better life, but serving Stannis eventually led to Matthos being killed in action.
- Even though she is Queen in the North, Talisa admits she doesn't even know where Winterfell is.
- The cowardly Bookworm Samwell Tarly becomes the first man in thousands of years to kill a White Walker.
- The irony of Melisandre speaking out in favour of sparing Davos makes Stannis laugh.
- After Drogon roasts a little girl, Daenerys decides to chain up her other two dragons in the dark. Whatever happened to "A dragon is not a slave," and being the "Breaker of Chains"?
- Irrevocable Order: When King Robert tries to rescind his assassination order on Daenerys, Varys laments that "those birds have flown. The girl is likely dead already."
- I Shall Taunt You:
- Oznak zo Pahl, the champion of Meereen, taunts Daenerys' army by haranguing them and pissing at them. To damage the morale of the defenders, she permits Daario to engage him.
- Oberyn's You Killed My Sister rant during his duel is used this way, though it is also useful for creating a spectacle since Oberyn wants the world to know.
- To get the Mercy Kill he desires, The Hound resorts to pressing his companion's Berserk Button to get a revenge-kill.
- Is That a Threat?:
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?
- Is That What They're Calling It Now?:
- In "What Is Dead May Never Die," Renly tells Brienne that he will "pray alone" in his tent. In his next scene, Renly is making out with Loras, his "object of worship," so to speak.
- In "Kissed by Fire," Olyvar tells Loras, "I should like to see you spar with a proper partner, ser." They end up "sparring" in Loras' bed shortly afterwards.
- I Take Offense to That Last One:
- "'Dwarf?' Oh, you should have stopped at 'Imp.'"
- "Do I look like a fucking Umber to you?!"
- 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.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Reek is constantly referred to as a "pet" and a "creature."
- It May Help You on Your Quest: The iron coin Jaqen H'ghar gives to Arya. She uses it to barter passage across the narrow sea in "The Children."
- I Told You So:
- Littlefinger's Wham Line, "I did warn you not to trust me..." in "You Win Or You Die."
- When he sees the wildling army in "The Watchers on the Wall," Ser Alliser Thorne tells Jon to go ahead and say this but Jon lets it pass.
- It's All About Me:
- It's All My Fault: Catelyn feels her family is being punished because she broke a Bargain with Heaven to love Jon Snow as her own.
- It's Personal: This is Oberyn Martell's motivation for fighting the Mountain.
- It's the Journey That Counts: Littlefinger believes in a villainous version of this: chaos is a ladder, and the climb is all there is.
- It Was a Gift: A number of swords are given this treatment:
- Jon Snow has a small rapier specially made as a parting gift for his little sister Arya, which becomes the only part of her old life she retains by the end of the season.
- Jon gets one himself after saving the life of Lord Commander Mormont. In gratitude, the Lord Commander has his Ancestral Weapon Longclaw remade and presents it to Jon.
- Brienne receives Oathkeeper and a new set of armor as a gift from Jaime Lannister.
- It Was Here, I Swear: In the prologue of Season 1, Will leads his fellow rangers to a circular array of wildling corpses, only to find they've all disappeared. We soon find out they got up and walked away.
- I Was Beaten By A Girl: The Hound has a morbid chuckle at the realization he's been killed by a woman.
- I Was Quite a Looker:
- Lady Olenna regales Margaery with how she seduced her future husband away from his betrothed, claiming she was "very, very, good." This doubles as an Actor Allusion for anyone who's seen Dianna Rigg in The Avengers or On Her Majestys Secret Service.
- Although he doesn't call himself attractive, Maester Aemon states that, as a Targaryen prince, the ladies of Westeros couldn't get enough of him and one seriously tempted him.
- Jabba Table Manners:
- Joffrey shows the most unkingly manners imaginable at his wedding.
- Arya and Sandor look nothing like a highborn girl and a Kingsguard when they guest with a farmer in the Riverlands.
- Jerkass: Too many to name.
- Jerkass Gods:
- 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?"
- Jerkass Has a Point: A mainstay of the series.
- 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?
- Drogo's bloodrider Qotho is completely right about not trusting Mirri Maz Duur.
- 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.
- The worst thing about Tywin's denunciations—whether it's calling Jaime an ambitionless bodyguard, Cersei less clever than she thinks, or Tyrion a fool for his drinking and whoring—is that he often has a point. Ironically, his own failings as a father seem completely lost on him.
- 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 thousands of 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.
- Join or Die:
- 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.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope:
- 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.
- Just Following Orders:
- The Hound uses this as justification for killing Mycah the butcher's boy.
- Janos Slynt also uses it to explain his participation in the purge in "The North Remembers".
- Just in Time:
- The Hound saving Sansa from Attempted Rape.
- Played for Laughs when Jaqen kills Amory Lorch seconds before he can reveal incriminating information about Arya.
- "Just Joking" Justification:
- 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.
- Just Like Robin Hood:
- Just the First Citizen: The obvious leader of the ruling council of Qarth refers to himself as "simply a trader of spices." Everyone else just calls him "the Spice King".
- Kangaroo Court:
- 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.
- Karmic Death:
- 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.
- Kick the Dog:
- Kick the Son of a Bitch:
- 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.
- Kids Are Cruel:
- Joffrey is The Caligula.
- Arya is a sympathetic character and still fairly heroic, but also a cold-blooded killer.
- Robin Arryn has an unhealthy fondness for seeing people and objects thrown off a mountain.