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Game Of Thrones: Tropes L to O
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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    L 
  • Lady and Knight
    • This dynamic exists between the beautiful Daenerys Targaryen and the valiant Ser Jorah Mormont, and later with Ser Barristan Selmy when he joins her Queensguard.
    • Handsome and gentle King Renly Baratheon is guarded by two highly skilled and brave knights: Brienne of Tarth (a gender inversion of the trope) and Ser Loras Tyrell (a same-sex variation).
    • Brienne goes on to serve the gracious Lady Catelyn Stark (another same-sex version).
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Jaime thinks Brienne is far too masculine-looking for a woman. She wears short hair and masculine clothing, and she even bows rather than curtsies.
  • Lady Macbeth:
    • Cersei Lannister is behind some of Robert and Jaime's callous or outright evil decisions.
    • Loras provides a rare male example when he suggests Renly should be king instead of his brothers and nephews with the help of Highgarden. Loras comes to regret his role after Renly loses the game of thrones.
  • The Lady's Favour:
    • Loras giving Sansa a rose before his joust initially appears to be a gender inversion of this trope, but it turns out Loras only chooses her so he can make eyes at his secret lover, Renly, who is sitting behind her.
    • Gender-flipped when Sam gives Gilly his mother's thimble, his sole keepsake from his former life before he joined the Night's Watch.
  • Lampshade Hanging: As the Torture Technician said to the victim: "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."
  • Large Ham: Syrio Forel, Greatjon Umber, Viserys. Drogo chews the scenery with much gusto during his Rousing Speech after the assassination attempt on Daenerys. Similarly, King Robert nearly scrapes the castle walls clean while ordering the assassination of Daenerys and her child. Roy Dotrice's One-Scene Wonder as Pyromancer Hallyne does credit to his equally hammy readings of the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks.
  • La Résistance: Tywin's occupation of the Riverlands is hampered by the "Brotherhood without Banners," a group unseen until the third season.
  • Last Minute Baby Naming: Justified in the case of Gilly's son, since she had every reason to believe he would be given to the White Walkers within days anyway.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Roose Bolton to Jaime Lannister — "I would have thought you'd learnt not to overplay your... position."
  • Last Stand: Yoren refuses to surrender his charges even in the face of certain death.
  • The Leader:
    • Tywin Lannister and Robb Stark are both a Type I.
    • Tyrion Lannister is also a Type I, but manages to throw in some Type IV during the Battle of the Blackwater.
    • King Robert was a Type IV, but proved much better at warfare than governance.
    • Renly Baratheon is a Type IV. His charismatic personality wins him the support of the Tyrells, giving him the largest army. Renly also uses diplomacy to diffuse the tension between Catelyn and his two overprotective Kingsguards.
  • Lecture As Exposition: Maester Luwin teaches Bran, and the audience, about the Houses of Westeros. Upon arrival in King's Landing, Sansa gets quizzed by her septa about the history of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The poor Wilding who tried to charge Stannis.
  • The Legend of Chekhov: When Luwin tells Bran that sure, there are stories about people who can form a spiritual link with animals, but they aren't true — and if there ever were any, they aren't around any more — it becomes pretty obvious that Bran's dreams aren't just dreams.
  • Leitmotif: All the major houses have one.
    • The melancholy Stark theme is the most frequently heard, playing in the pieces "Goodbye Brother," "Winter is Coming," "Jon's Honor", and "King of the North." During "What Is Dead May Never Die" it gradually shifts into the Greyjoy theme during Theon's Face-Heel Turn.
    • The Lannisters have the "The Rains of Castamere" and its variations. It usually manifests as dark, ominous background music, but Tyrion whistles a faster, more sing-song version of it a few times in Season 2, and it finally appears in full in Blackwater.
    • The Lannisters' theme also plays in "The Rains Of Castamere" It's played by the Frey's wedding band and Catelyin recognizes it knowing that something is deeply not right. Serving as both an in-universe and out-universe example of something of a wham leitmotif.
    • The Baratheons have two themes. The "kingly one," used mostly for Robert, Joffrey and Stannis, is a bombastic fanfare befitting the royal family, first heard in "The King's Arrival" and reprised in "You Win Or You Die" (where it incorporates elements of "The Rains of Castamere"), "The Throne Is Mine," and "Wildfire". The other one, most frequently used for Robert's biological children, is "Black Of Hair", which is reprised in "Bird Without Feathers" (played when Cersei tells Catelyn about her first son who died as an infant), "Await The King's Justice," and "The Throne Is Mine."
    • "Chaos Is A Ladder", Littlefinger's leitmotif, is a slow, creepy piano version of "Await The King's Justice" which rises up into a variation of "The Throne Is Mine."
    • The White Walkers also have their own, which can be heard in "North of the Wall" and "The Night's Watch".
    • Daenerys has two distinct themes. One, a mysterious-sounding, powerful melody which can be heard in "Fire and Blood", has a distinctly Eastern feel to it (this makes sense: the Targaryens were originally from Valyria, which lies in Essos). The other is more triumphant, often mixing with the Game of Thrones main theme, and is reserved for her more glorious moments, such as Season 1's "Finale" and "Mother of Dragons".
    • Jaqen H'ghar has a quiet, distinct tune which plays whenever he makes an appearance or performs an action affecting the plot. A broader, deeper version plays when Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie escape in "The Prince of Winterfell".
    • Melisandre and the Lord of Light's theme can be heard in "Warrior of Light", while Stannis' comes from later in the track, when a grander, more percussive sound kicks in. In Season 3, Davos gets his own theme with "The Night is Dark".
  • Legion of Lost Souls: The Night's Watch.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: Ygritte admits the wildlings have poorer industry and weapons than the rest of Westeros, but they are free.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: A very dark version of this trope is presented when Jaime advises Brienne to think of Renly when her would-be rapists have their way with her, knowing she will be killed if she resists.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • The "White Walkers."
    • Melisandre, a representative of the Lord of Light, claims very passionately that light is good, but her burning people alive, ominous threats and shadow magic make her quite malevolent at times.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the show has more sex and violence than could be shown on network television, it pales before the books. Some examples include:
    • Arya kills more people, and in cold blood as well, in the books. She also suffers more degradations in the books.
    • Sansa is not as abused by Joffrey as badly as in the books. For example, she is stripped naked in the books, while in the series her dress is torn.
    • The young characters are all aged up in part so that all this sex and violence isn't happening to even younger characters.
    • Bodily mutilations are less pronounced for practical reasons. For example, Tyrion and Rorge both keep their noses in the series. This is Lampshaded in Season 3, where there were rumors that Tyrion had lost his nose during the Battle of Blackwater.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Due to the overwhelming presence of Black and Gray Morality throughout the series, there are no real "good guys" or "bad guys" (with Joffrey and Ramsay perhaps the exceptions on the bad side). Nonetheless, at least as of the end of Season 3 efforts have been made to depict the Starks, Tyrion and Daenerys as the lesser evils, bordering on series heroes. Whether this remains the case come Season 4 remains to be seen.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Sandor Clegane and Brienne of Tarth.
  • Little Miss Badass: Arya Stark.
  • Little People Are Surreal: Notably averted with Tyrion Lannister, who just happens to be a little person. Peter Dinklage has noted how he is actually presented as a character in the show and not as his condition.
  • Living Shadow: Melisandre gives birth to one in Season 2 to kill Renly Baratheon.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Nineteen names in the credits of the first season (and, as mentioned above, Jason Momoa isn't included there for strange reasons), resulting in only two characters appearing in every episode of Season 1 (Joffrey and Cersei) and one in Season 2 (Tyrion). By Season 4, no one makes it into all ten episodes. You can find a guide to help keep them all straight here.
  • Lost in Translation: A lot of official translations fail to recognize the difference between a Wight and a White Walker-though admittedly the same applies to many English-speaking viewers, as well. (It hasn't quite been explained yet.)
  • The Lost Lenore: Lyanna Stark for Robert Baratheon. His rage and pain still hasn't cooled after 17 years.
  • Lost Technology: Valyrian steel can be reworked by experts, but no one knows how to make it anymore.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The warlocks of Qarth attempt to lure Daenerys with a vision of her dead husband and stillborn son in the House of the Undying in the second season finale.
  • Lovable Coward: Samwell Tarly and Hot Pie.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • Robert Baratheon was betrothed to Lyanna Stark, who was kidnapped by Rhaegar Targaryen, who was married to Elia Martell. After everyone else's death, Robert married Cersei Lannister, who was in a secret relationship with her twin brother Jaime.
    • Lysa Tully married Jon Arryn but loved Petyr Baelish, who loved Catelyn Tully, who married Eddard Stark, who has a bastard son by another woman.
    • Margaery Tyrell married Renly Baratheon, who is in love with Loras Tyrell while being crushed on by Brienne of Tarth.
  • Love Makes You Dumb:
    • Catelyn frees the Kingslayer behind her sons back in an attempt to get her daughters back.
    • Robb Stark falls in love with Talisa Maegyr despite his engagement to one of Walder Frey's daughters. His mother warns him what a stupid political move this is, but he marries her anyway. Lord Karstark remarks that Robb lost the ongoing war the day he married Talisa.
    • Sansa is convinced that Joffrey is a great guy until he chops off Ned's head.
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • Jaime Lannister. He's willing to push a kid out of a window to hide his secret affair, even saying, "The things I do for love..."
    • Cersei Lannister. She was, like many women in the Seven Kingdoms at the close of his rebellion, quite in love with Robert when they married, but a life of humiliations and occasional domestic abuse ended with her plotting her husband's death.
    • Petyr: his unrequited love for Catelyn caused him to become obsessed with achieving power over his social betters.
    • Maester Aemon's lecture to Jon warns him about the dangers of love, as it is the one thing that can cause a man to ignore his duty.
    • Tyrion remarks that he would kill for Shae and offhandedly adds that he expects he will have to someday.
    • Somewhere between this and Love Makes You Dumb, Ser Jorah explains that the reason for his exile was selling poachers into slavery because his wife was accustomed to a lavish lifestyle and Jorah wanted to provide that for her.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Loras' shield saves his life when the Mountain attacks him after their joust.
  • Lured Into a Trap: The King in the North, his entourage and a major chunk of his army are wiped out in the Twins when Walder Frey turns the renewal of a marriage alliance into "The Red Wedding".
  • Lysistrata Gambit: A rather atypical same-sex example. Feeling slighted by Brienne's Rank Up, Loras not only withholds sex from Renly, but he punishes his lover even further by bringing Margaery to Renly's bed, knowing full well that Renly utterly dreads the prospect of having to consummate the marriage.

    M 
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong:
    • Invoked by Ser Loras to convince Renly to make a play for the throne. He argues that Renly's charisma would make him a far better king than those before him because he would rule through love and respect rather than fear.
    • Margaery is adored by the smallfolk of King's Landing because of her kindness and generosity towards the poor.
  • Macho Masochism:
    • The Greatjon laughs off a direwolf eating two of his fingers.
    • Drogo showed his badassery in a duel by deliberately allowing his opponent to cut him, in order to draw the guy closer. This comes back to bite him, as the wound gets infected and nearly kills him.
    • During an attack on the Dreadfort, Ramsay enters the kennels covered in cuts and smiling.
  • Mad Doctor: Qyburn was stripped of his maester's chain for experimenting on living men.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • "The White Walkers... I saw the White Walkers... "
    • According to Jaime, "Burn them all..." was the Mad King's Madness Mantra.
    • And his son Viserys' Madness Mantra is "You cannot touch me! I am the Dragon! I am the Dragon!"
    • "Where are my dragons?!"
    • "Reek, Reek, I'm Reek."
    • For Joffrey its "I am the King!"
  • The Magic Comes Back: Magic is considered a folk tale by most of the people and wisemen of Westeros, but fantastical elements are gradually introduced into the story. It's implied or discussed that there's more than a correlation between the return of magic and the reappearance of White Walkers and dragons.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Jon Arryn dies of a mysterious fever and it's later discovered that he was poisoned for knowing too much about Joffrey's real lineage.
    • Robert Baratheon falls victim of a Hunting Accident hatched by his wife.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Stannis and Melisandre on The Big Board table in Stannis' War Room. Also a bit of a metaphor/ Visual Pun.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Let's just say that Olyvar's Adonis-like physique leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. Hodor's also seen nude in the first season briefly, where Osha comments favorable on the size of his package.
  • Male Gaze: Jory at Littlefinger's brothel, Theon with Ros.
  • Malicious Slander: Tyrion Lannister is often on the wrong end of it. Littlefinger claims that the dagger found on Bran's would-be assassin belonged to Tyrion, starting a conflict that eventually snowballs into The War of the Five Kings.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Cersei's main motivation is to protect her three children. Her brother Tyrion describes this as her only redeeming feature besides her cheekbones.
    • Catelyn abducts Tyrion on suspicion of trying to murder her son, which provokes a civil war. Later, she releases Jaime Lannister without her son's approval in exchange for her daughters. During the Red Wedding, she takes Walder Frey's terrified wife hostage in an attempt to save her son.
    • Daenerys has the woman who tricked her into sacrificing her unborn child and turned her husband into an Empty Shell burned alive. Now she's this for her dragons.
  • Man on Fire: Several in "Blackwater" when Tyrion pulls his trick with the wildfire and blows up much of Stannis's fleet.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Zigzagged with Beric Dondarrion, who actually died but was resurrected later.
  • Marital Rape License:
    • In the first episode, Daenerys's involuntary wedding ends with Khal Drogo exercising his marital privileges in spite of her meek protests. The arrangement gets better for her once she gets some tips on lovemaking from Doreah, allowing her to exercise more power in the bedroom and their relationship.
    • Later averted with Sansa and Tyrion. Sansa fully expects to have to consummate her marriage with Tyrion even though she really doesn't want to, but Tyrion says he won't share her bed until she wants him to, even if that never happens.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • When Ser Barristan "The Bold" Selmy is forcibly retired from his lifelong position in the Kingsguard, he strips off his armor and declares he will "die a knight." When a joke elicits laughter from the court, Barristan draws his sword and everyone stops laughing and look terrified when he proclaims he could easily cut through the other Kingsguards and kill the king. It's only when Barristan throws his sword at Joffrey's feet and storms out that everyone starts breathing again.
    • In the episode "Baelor", the majority of the nobles and councilors attending the judgement of Ned Stark suffer one when Joffrey decides to behead him, something that wasn't in the plan. Also, you can notice one person who isn't surprised, and who is actually smiling: Littlefinger.
    • Occurs in "Mhysa" after King Joffrey mouths off to his grandfather Tywin and tries to assert his authority. The entire Small Council and even Joffrey himself have a different variation of an "oh shit" expression.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Daenerys toward Jorah, though it's important to note that Dany is not doing it on purpose. It's pretty clear to the audience that Jorah is in love with her and that Dany considers him something of a father-figure, but given all that they've been through together, Jorah cuts a pretty sympathetic figure when it comes to trying to figure out the subtext. In one episode he spots the team Pretty Boy exiting Dany's quarters half-dressed, only for Dany to declare that she's sending him away and indicating that Jorah's position as her Number Two is assured.
  • Master Swordsman: Jaime Lannister, Loras Tyrell, Sandor and Gregor Clegane, Eddard Stark, Barristan Selmy, and Syrio Forel are all described by various people as some of the best swordsmen in the Seven Kingdoms. Jaime speaks particularly highly of Barristan Selmy, calling him an artist who only uses red paint. Brienne of Tarth also shows significant skill, but is generally underestimated because of her sex.
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    • Shae to Tyrion:
    Tyrion: [noticing her foreign accent] "What sort of accent is that?"
    Shae: "Foreign."
    • Jaime Lannister:
    "I pushed him out a window."
    "Why?"
    "I hoped the fall would kill him."
  • Mauve Shirt: Poor Jory, Rakharo, Irri, Alton and Matthos.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Osha warns that the old gods cannot help the Starks in the south because the weirwoods were all cut down there.
    • Was the red comet in "The North Remembers" an omen or just a coincidence?
    • Beric Dondarrion's flaming sword breaks during a trial by combat. Did the fire weaken the steel, or did his god judge against him?
    • Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon die shortly after Stannis performs a magic ritual cursing his rival kings. It's left ambiguous whether the ritual was in any way responsible, since there are also human culprits.
  • Meaningful Look:
    • Lord Renly Baratheon and Ser Loras Tyrell share a lingering one at the Tourney of the Hand, and it's our first clue that these two characters are more than friends.
    • They exchange another look when Brienne asks to become one of Renly's Kingsguards. As Renly considers her request, Loras' expression basically reads, "Tell her no." Renly decides to disregard this silent plea, much to Loras' irritation.
    • After Brienne is appointed to his Kingsguard, Renly winks at her as he applauds to further communicate his warmth and reassurance that he's on her side, regardless of his followers' unfavourable opinion.
    • When Joffrey summons Loras in "Valar Morghulis," the latter quickly glances at Margaery as if to say, "Do I really have to do this?", and his sister's non-verbal reply is "You have to do your duty."
    • Another occurs between Margaery and Loras in "Valar Dohaeris" after they witness Cersei and Joffrey's snarky discussion. The Tyrell siblings, who are Thicker Than Water and work as a Brother-Sister Team, are surprised that mother and son have used veiled insults against each other in front of their future in-laws.
    • In "Second Sons," Tyrion raises his glass in pity to Loras, and his eyes say, "You're next to get married." Loras, who is already quite frustrated from the day's events, sighs and turns his head away.
  • Meaningful Background Event: There are multiple blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments in "The Lion and the Rose" that basically confirm Olenna Tyrell poisoned Joffrey. First, the necklace Dontos gives to Sansa has seven crystals. However, right before the wedding ceremony, you can see Olenna inspecting the necklace as she talks to Sansa. After Olenna leaves, there are only six crystals on the necklace. Finally, when Tyrion gives Joffrey his goblet, the camera lingers on Olenna as she watches events unfold.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • In-universe, bastard children have last names determined by region, so anyone meeting Jon Snow already knows something about his parentage and place of origin. Bastard names generally reference the topography of their region as well.
    • The family names Lannister and Stark are thinly veiled references to the War of the Roses, a civil war in England fought between the houses of Lancaster and York.
    • 'Stark' has several meanings, including "rigidly conforming," "desolate" and "strong." All of these meanings can apply to the Stark family or the North.
    • Janos Slynt turns out to be two-faced, like the Roman god Janus.
    • Lancel Lannister has an affair with the queen, reminiscent of the Arthurian Lancelot.
  • The Mentor: Several, for most of the younger characters and some of the older ones.
    • Jon Arryn was this to his wards Robert and Ned.
    • Rodrik Cassel, Jeor Mormont, and Qhorin Halfhand to Jon Snow.
    • Syrio Forel, Yoren, and the Hound to Arya.
    • Margaery Tyrell, Cersei Lannister, and Petyr Baelish to Sansa.
    • Maester Luwin and Jojen to Bran.
    • Rodrik Cassel and Dagmer Cleftjaw to Theon.
  • The Medic: Talisa of Volantis, who attends to the wounded after a battle between Robb Stark's army and the Lannisters'.
  • Me's a Crowd: The Warlock(s) of Qarth seem to be entirely composed of one person, who makes copies of himself.
  • Meta Twist: HBO gleefully marketed the show as if Sean Bean were the main character, and thus the one star with Contractual Immortality.
  • Mid-Season Twist:
    • Season 1: King Robert Baratheon and Viserys Targaryen die, Eddard is arrested.
    • Season 2: Renly is assassinated, Theon captures Winterfell, and Daenerys' dragons are stolen.
    • Season 3: The Hound captures Arya, Robb decides to attack Casterly Rock, Tyrion is engaged to Sansa.
    • Season 4: Sansa and Littlefinger arrive at the Eyrie, Daenerys decides to stay in Slaver's Bay, Tyrion demands trial by combat.
  • Mildly Military: The Night's Watch is a combination of a military order, a monastic order, and a gulag, Naturally, although fairly disciplined, it doesn't run quite the same as a normal army.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Joffrey Baratheon is a coddled brat who likes to pretend he is a badass. No one believes him, but nearly everyone humors him because of his royal birth (and because he's crazy). He prances around in his armor boasting about giving Stannis a "red smile," only to turn tail and run when the battle looks doubtful.
    Varys: I am trying.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Discussed when people try to call out others for heinous actions that might actually prevent greater bloodshed.
    • Tywin states that the Red Wedding prevented thousands of deaths by ending the rebellion in the North, though he doesn't acknowledge the army which was also massacred on that night.
    • Melisandre and Stannis argue with Davos about whether sacrificing a single innocent to end the War of the Five Kings with magic is preferable to the thousands of soldiers who would die in conventional warfare.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Despite being a Guile Hero who relies primarily on his wits, Tyrion proves a reasonably competent fighter in the Battle of the Blackwater.
  • Minor Insult Meltdown: Wildlings refer to everyone south of the Wall as "Southerners," which annoys several Northerners.
  • Missing Mom:
    • Jon Snow grew up a bastard, never knowing who his mother is or even if she is alive.
    • Tyrion Lannister's mother died giving birth to him, causing his father and sister to resent him.
  • The Mistress:
    • Loras becomes the same-sex male version of this trope after Renly marries Margaery.
    • Shae after Tyrion marries Sansa.
    • Melisandre for Stannis, who is married to Selyse.
  • Mock Millionaire:
    • Xaro Xhoan Daxos, whose conspicuous treasure vault is completely empty, has cunningly leveraged his fictional fortune into a lavish lifestyle and political power.
    • "First of His Name" reveals that The Lannisters' gold mines ran dry several years ago, leaving them without their main source of income. This is particularly distressing for them considering their precarious political position.
  • Moment Killer: In "What Is Dead May Never Die", the foreplay between Renly and Loras is unexpectedly interrupted after Renly starts kissing the bruises on Loras' chest. This reminds Loras of the humiliation he suffered earlier in the day, and it kills the mood.
  • Monument Of Humiliation And Defeat:
    • The Iron Throne was forged from the swords of the men who surrendered to Aegon the Conqueror.
    • The statue of Joffrey killing a direwolf in the gardens of King's Landing, which underlines his Miles Gloriosus personality at the same time.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Jory's Distracted by the Sexy moment in the brothel is immediately followed by his death.
    • Also happens when the story switches between the various different plot-threads. Arya training with Syrio? Cool, and even a little funny. But then the next thing you see is Dany eating a horse's heart.
    • In "Baelor," a humorous scene of Tyrion, Bronn, and Shae playing a drinking game turns into the tragic story of Tyrion's first marriage.
    • "Walk of Punishment" ends with Jaime's hand being chopped off, and a cut to black as he screams in horror and agony, followed immediately by a bawdy punk cover of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" over the end credits.
    • Theon's torture starts with a sudden, comically timed blowing of a horn.
    • In "The Rains of Castamere," Edmure and Roslin's wedding is full of funny and heartwarming scenes with a light and happy atmosphere until the song "Rains of Castamere" begins playing and the massacre begins.
  • Moody Mount: Ser Loras Tyrell exploits this trope when Ser Gregor Clegane rides one in a joust by riding a mare in heat to drive the Gregor's stallion wild.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Or rather, white and black plus a thousand shades of grey. Between Ned Stark on the one hand and The Mountain or Joffrey on the other, every one of the Loads and Loads of Characters has his own unique shade of grey.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Brienne for Jaime.
    • Sansa and later Arya for Sandor Clegane.
  • Morton's Fork: King Robert explains how a Dothraki invasion would put him in a Morton's Fork. If he faces the Dothraki horsemen in open battle, he'll be defeated. If he barricades himself in his castles, the Dothraki will rape and pillage the countryside so badly that he'll lose his kingdom anyway.
  • The Mourning After: Robert Baratheon has never gotten over the loss of his betrothed, Lyanna Stark.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • Jorah Mormont; at least in the first season, he mainly exists to inform Daenerys/us about the customs of the Dothraki and other such things. The producers even refer to him as "Jorah the Explorer".
    • Peytr Baelish is also a big vehicle for exposition.
  • Mr. Fanservice: There's pretty much some male for just about every taste in this show.
  • Mr. Smith: Bastards are given generic surnames based on region such as "Snow" for the North and "Sand" for Dorne.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Ros the gorgeous prostitute didn't have one scene in the first season where she kept all her clothes on all the way through. Actress Esme Bianco has a background as a burlesque performer, so she's quite comfortable performing nude. In Season 2 and thereafter, she's promoted to Littlefinger's aide, and thus earns the privilege to wear more clothes.
    • Daenerys, especially in her first appearances.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Loras is considered one of the best swordsmen in the Seven Kingdoms, yet his shirtless scene shows that he's slender and not particularly muscular.
  • Mutilation Conga:
  • The Mutiny: A bunch of hungry, pissed-off Night's Watchmen rebel in "And Now His Watch Is Ended", with violent results.
  • My Beloved Smother:
    • Lysa Arryn does this with her son Robin.
    • The Battle of Blackwater worsens for the Lannisters because Cersei recalls Joffrey to the Red Keep despite him being in little danger.
  • My Nayme Is: Many of the character's names are very similar to modern names, such as Eddard for Edward.
  • My Sister Is Off Limits: After Loras unhappily offers his sister as a bride to Joffrey in "Valar Morghulis," he then stands protectively behind Margaery and stares defiantly in Joffrey's direction. The boy-king is only paying attention to Margaery at this point, so he doesn't get the message, but Loras is warning Joffrey that he had better not harm his sister.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In "Valar Dohaeris," when Cersei first sees Tyrion again following his wounding at the Battle of Blackwater, she says it was rumored his nose was cut off, but the truth is "not as gory". This is in reference to the books where Tyrion really did lose his nose in addition to gaining the nasty scar he has in the series.
    • Jaime asks Alton if his mother is "the fat one", then immediately discards it saying ,"No, there is only one fat Lannister. If she was, you'd know it." This is a reference to Jaime's very fat aunt Genna Lannister, who is unlikely to appear in the series given how small her part in the books is (incidentally, Genna is the mother of Cleos Frey, the character Alton Lannister more or less replaces in the show).
    • Podrick asks if Jaime's golden hand is solid gold; Tyrion corrects him immediately, saying it's just steel covered in gold. In the books, the hand was solid gold, not just to flaunt but also so Jaime wouldn't lose strength in his arm because of the hand's weight, but it would be painfully obvious that this wasn't the case in the show, because the hand prop is just a glove over Coster-Waldau's real hand and it wouldn't weight even close as much as a solid gold hand would.
    • During the Battle of the Wall, a wildling archer attempts to shoot an arrow to the top of the Wall, and doesn't come close at all. This is a reference to a passage in the books where wildling archers manage to hit a few Night's Watch brothers atop the Wall, 700 feet up. The author has admitted that he didn't realize that this is physically impossible. As if in response, a giant then steps up and shoots a ballista-sized arrow from a giant-sized bow, impaling a ranger atop the Wall and sending him flying.

    N 
  • Named Weapons: Common with Valyrian steel swords.
    Arya: Lots of people name their swords!
    The Hound: Lots of cunts.
    • Brienne names the Valyrian sword Oathkeeper, referencing the oath she and Jaime made to Catelyn to return her daughters to their home.
  • Necromancer:
    • The White Walkers reanimate those they kill as undead wights.
    • Thoros of Myr has resurrected Beric Dondarrion six times, although he sees it as a Healing Hands type power.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Salladhor Saan relates a certain joke to a couple of prostitutes, who beat him to the punchline. Davos asks them if there's any pirate in Braavos who hasn't told that one.
  • Never Live It Down: Several examples in-universe:
    • Jaime Lannister is derogatorily known and addressed as "Kingslayer" by everyone, even his allies. Even those who rebelled against the king and knew that he was insane criticize him for it. Jaime insists that people should be grateful for it.
    • Catelyn never quite forgives or forgets the fact that Eddard Stark was unfaithful to her and sired Jon Snow.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Margaery tries to invoke this trope when Joffrey demands to know why she didn't provide an heir to Renly while they were married. It doesn't work because Joffrey considers Renly to be a traitor, and therefore isn't deserving of any respect even after death. Margaery then does her best to answer her betrothed's question without being too brusque about Renly's sexuality.
  • News Travels Fast: Played straight and averted, depending on how close characters are to known civilized outposts with access to ravens. Some examples are:
    • News of Ned Stark's death, though this is shown with the immediate release of ravens at the moment of execution, spreading far and wide across Westeros. In the next episode characters in the Westerlands, the Riverlands and the Wall react to it.
    • Stannis Baratheon, similarly, "outs" the illegitimacy of his Baratheon "nephews" and it spreads far and wide across Westeros and catches Word Of Mouth. By Season 4, it's spread across the Narrow Sea to Braavos and Meereen.
    • Daenerys Targaryen being a wandering exile living with the Nomadic Dothraki and later wandering across the Red Waste, learns very late in the day that King Robert Baratheon is dead and Westeros has plunged into a Succession Crisis. Later, she receives news of Joffrey's death much faster when she's settled in Meereen at Slaver's Bay, a port city.
    • Likewise, Arya and the Hound, when trudging across the Riverlands on their journey to the Vale, learn much later than most Westerosi that Joffrey is dead and there's a new king.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Renly is the only man who has treated Brienne with kindness and respect, and he's probably the only king who has accepted a woman into his Kingsguard. He did this despite knowing full well that it would shock his bannermen, annoy his wife, and piss off his lover. He himself understands how painful it is to be frequently mocked for not adhering to rigid gender roles (Robert and Stannis have bullied Renly for his lack of combat experience), so his empathy towards Brienne's situation allows him to be accepting of her masculinity. Renly praises Brienne's martial skills and her devotion when Loras confronts him about it. Margaery describes Renly as "brave and gentle" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
    • Ser Davos stands out among Stannis and his supporters for being a down-to-earth, morally upstanding knight able to relate and be friendly to almost everybody.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Congratulations, Sansa! Lying to the king and queen about Joffrey got your own direwolf killed!
    • Congratulations, Ned! Ignoring Littlefinger and Renly's advice has led to Cersei and Joffrey ruling, your guards all being killed, and you being arrested and eventually killed!
    • Congratulations, Catelyn! Capturing Tyrion Lannister has compromised the safety of your husband and daughters in the capital, and caused his father to unleash Gregor Clegane on the lands of your own family!
    • Congratulations, Robert! Sending assassins after Daenerys managed to piss off Drogo enough that he changed his mind about not invading Westeros!
    • Kudos, Daenerys! Saving a wise woman from rape and then asking her to save the life of your husband has led to said husband winding up as an Empty Shell and your son to be stillborn.
    • Good job, Mirri! Destroying everything of value to the naive queen of the enemies you sought revenge on made her more cunning and dangerous than her deceased husband or stillborn son could ever have been. Extra points for teaching her a lesson in the process that mercy is for the weak, giving her a crash course in blood magic, and providing the means for birthing her three dragons.
    • Congratulations, Robb!
      • Sending Theon home to Daddy in an attempt to gain his support in combat resulted in the exact thing your father had been preventing by keeping Theon as a hostage in the first place: The Iron Islands have taken up arms against Winterfell and now Robb has to fight wars on two fronts.
      • Executing Lord Karstark for treason, despite all of his counsel warning him not to. This results in the Karstarks pulling back their forces, which make up half of Robb's army. Now he's got no choice but to the turn the infamously untrustworthy Freys for help, who he's pissed off by breaking their marriage pact.
    • Splendid, Loras! Inciting Renly to make a bid for the throne gets your lover killed.
    • Kudos, Loras! By revealing to Olyvar that you're secretly engaged to Sansa, the information is then passed on to the Littlefinger, who then shares it with the Queen Regent, and now your family's plan is ruined.
    • Jaime lies that Brienne's family is much wealthier than they are to prevent Locke from raping her. He later learns that Locke refused Brienne's ransom, still believing his lie and expecting a much larger ransom.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: Congrats Joffrey! By killing all of Robert's bastards you've confirmed in the eyes of many that you know they had a better claim to the throne than you and given your enemies the rallying cry "The Queen kills babies!" If Tyrion wanted to slap you before, imagine how he thinks of you now.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • In "What Is Dead May Never Die", Renly shows concern for the common soldiers in his army, making the effort to remember their names and keeping track of their problems.
    • Right after chiding his underlings, Lord Tywin treats Arya, cupbearer at Harrenhal, with a surprising amount of respect and warmth. Combined with some exposition of his backstory, their interactions effectively show Tywin's more humane side. He later leaves her with Gregor Clegane.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Ramsay Snow, whose appetite for torture seems to know no bounds.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Winter is coming. Pray it's a short one; they have been known to last a decade. There is an in-universe Fairy Tale about winter lasting an entire generation; kings froze to death in their castles, and women murdered their own babies to save them the agony of starving to death.
  • Nipple and Dimed: It's beginning to look like most of the adult actresses have clauses in their contracts that require them to appear at least partially, if not fully, nude at least once.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Robert discusses this one when he's reminiscing on old war experiences and how everything gets romanticized.
    Robert: You never hear about how [the slain] shit themselves. They don't put that part in the songs.
  • No, Except Yes: This exchange in "Nightlands":
    Janos: I won't have my honor questioned by an imp!
    Tyrion: I'm not questioning your honor Lord Janos... I'm denying its existence.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • What happens to Dany after saving Mirri Maz Dur.
    • Jaime Lannister intercedes on Brienne's behalf to prevent her from getting raped, in spite of trying to kill her only a few hours before. In the process, he compounds the enmity his captors feel toward him, causing them to chop his hand off.
  • No Name Given: The Qartheen member of the Thirteen who first receives Dany outside the city walls. He does not give his name, saying that it is too long and hard for foreigners to pronounce. This is probably because he's a Canon Foreigner. When his actor was cast, he was called the Spice King, but that is his nickname and not a name.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. The second thing Cersei ever says to Sansa is asking if she's had her first period. And later, Sansa dreams of her near-rape during the riot and wakes up when she's stabbed in the dream. She quickly realizes that she's bleeding and panics, knowing that now she can be married to Joffrey. Shae attempts to help her hide the evidence (even threatening to murder another handmaiden), but Sandor Clegane, of all people, happens in while Shae is chasing down the other woman, and the secret is out.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Dothraki Sea is not even remotely a large body of salt water. Rather, it is an area of rolling grassy plains, so named for its immense size and how easy it is to get lost in there.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Shae, who playfully refuses to tell Tyrion where she's from. Later, Cersei pegs her as Lorathi, which might be a joking way of connecting Shae (who is played by Turkish-German actress Sibel Kekilli) to Jaqen, who claims to be from Lorath (and is played by fellow German actor Tom Wlaschiha).
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In Tyrion's list of "confessions" in "A Golden Crown", he's cut off before he can describe what he did that involved bringing a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel.
    Robin Arryn: What happened next?
    • What Podrick did with/to the prostitutes that they liked so much they refused to accept payment. This one borders on Running Gag in Season 4.
    • When Tyrion is drinking with Bronn, the latter admits his first kill was a woman when he was a child. When he gets frowned at, the only background given to justify it is that she swung an axe at him.
  • North Is Cold, South Is Hot: The farther north you do in Westeros, the colder it gets. The North is mostly a frigid wasteland, and north of the wall it's downright arctic. The South is warmer, with Dorne being the southernmost and hottest of the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Nostalgia Filter: King Robert likes to muse about the good old days, before he was king. You know, when the entire country was either ruled by an insane dictator or in a state of civil war. His younger brother Renly does not hesitate to call him out on this.
  • Not So Different:
    • Tyrion muses that the difference between the people of the Seven Kingdoms and the Wildlings is that when the Wall was built, their ancestors just happened to be on the right side.
    • Ned comparing Robert to the Mad King Aerys in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    • Maester Luwin asks Theon if he should really be mocking Osha for her situation in Winterfell, because "a prisoner and a guest" describes his situation almost exactly.
    • Maester Aemon reveals to Jon Snow he more than anyone else in the Night's Watch knows his anger and being torn between his oath and wanting to do something to defend his family. He was already an old man, long since blind when the ravens delivered the news that most of his entire family had been slaughtered, even the children, during a time of war. He's Aemon Targaryen, the uncle of the Mad King.
    • Tywin telling a disguised Arya how much she reminds him of his daughter. Surely Arya was thrilled.
    • The Hound claims that Bronn is a Blood Knight much like himself. The jury's still out on how much either of them actually qualifies.
  • Not So Extinct: People from Westeros and Essos believe that the demonic ice-like White Walkers and the fire-breathing dragons are creatures only found in tales and songs from the past. People are proven wrong by the end of Season 1.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Jamie tried to use this on Bran early in Season 1. It didn't work.
  • The Nothing After Death: According to Beric, the "other side" is just darkness.
  • Number Two: The office of Hand of the King could be considered this, but depending on where the individual who holds the title falls on the morality scale, or where their king falls for that matter, this could also be The Dragon.
    Jaime: "What's the line? 'The King shits, and the Hand wipes.'" note 

    O 
  • Obfuscating Disability: Grand Maester Pycelle's hidden spryness and sharpness of mind, despite his age and apparent senility. One deleted scene with Tywin makes it particularly explicit.
  • Obligatory Joke: Anything related to Tyrion's height.
    • Bronn's advice for surviving his first battle. "Stay low."
    • Pycelle's snarking after Tyrion's been deposed as Hand of the King.
      "These quarters are smaller than you're used to. But you don't take up much room, do you?"
    • Littlefinger's advice on becoming Master of Coin. "Keep a low profile."
      Tyrion: If I had a gold dragon for every time I heard that joke, I'd be richer than you are.
      Littlefinger: You are richer than I am.
      Tyrion: (beat) Good point.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: The eyes of those raised from dead by the White Walkers are portrayed like this.
  • Odd Friendship: Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion and Bronn's odd friendship has received the buddy comedy treatment.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The "Warlocks of Qarth" apparently consist entirely of a single guy: Pyat Pree.
  • Offhand Backhand: When Jaime shoves Bran out the window, he does it with a sudden but casual shove while not bothering to look at him.
  • Offing the Offspring:
    • Old Nan tells a story about women smothering their babies rather than see them starve during a winter that lasted a generation.
    • Tyrion speculates that his father is putting him in the vanguard of a battle to invoke this. Tywin is not particularly amused to see his son alive in the aftermath.
    • In a conversation with Jon Snow, Tyrion remarks that had he been born a peasant, they might have left him out in the woods to die. In "Mhysa", Tywin confesses he thought about it, but couldn't bring himself to do it because, after all, Tyrion is a Lannister.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • During the events detailed in Episode 9, there are two battles going on, but only the aftermaths are shown. In the first instance, Tyrion gets knocked unconscious by the rush of his troops following a Rousing Speech, and only wakes up when the battle is over. Later in the episode, Robb returns triumphant from a battle not shown on screen, with Jaime Lannister as a prisoner.
    • The sack of Yunkai happens almost completely offscreen. Dany's three champions fight off an initial wave of guards, then report back that they've fomented a slave uprising. Later, the sack of Meereen only shows a single master getting swarmed by angry slaves in a narrow alley.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Ned Stark has an enormous greatsword made of Valyrian steel called Ice that he uses for beheadings, and he does so in the first episode, taking a Night's Watch deserter's head off in a single stroke. Towards the end of the first series, he is beheaded with his own sword.
    • In Season 2, Theon Greyjoy, after proclaiming himself Lord of Winterfell, tries to behead someone using an ordinary sword and makes a complete mess of it, hacking and kicking madly until the head finally comes off. Proof if proof were needed that Theon is no Ned Stark.
    • Robb beheads Lord Rickard Karstark for treason this way.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Varys' reaction when Littlefinger reveals he is aware of Varys' secret meeting with Illyrio.
    • Jaime and Cersei's reactions to learning Bran may live.
    • Tyrion's reaction to Catelyn talking a whole tavern into arresting him.
    • Loras when he realizes that the Mountain is about to attack him with a sword at the Tourney of the Hand. Loras doesn't have a weapon at this point, only a shield to protect himself.
    • Viserys once he realizes what is meant by giving him a "golden crown."
    • Jaime when he realizes Ned Stark just rope-a-doped him.
    • Bronn when Tyrion tells him that Lord Tywin is placing them in the vanguard in the next day's battle.
    • Tyrion upon seeing Stannis' charging forces at the Battle of Blackwater.
    • Arya in disguise as Tywin Lannister's cupbearer at Harrenhal when they announced that Littlefinger has arrived. A similar scene occurs when the Hound is found by "The Brotherhood Without Banners" and she does get recognized as a Stark.
    • The Season 2 finale.
      Grenn: "Two blasts is Wildlings."
      Edd: "You're not fighting them alone. Come on."
      *third blast*
      Grenn: "Three blasts?"
      Edd: "RUN!"
    • Kraznys, when he learns that Dany can speak Valyrian. Doubly so when he hears her order the Unsullied to kill him. Missandei is a bit quicker on the uptake, getting her Oh Crap shot the moment Dany addresses her new troops.
    • The Hound's expression when Beric lights his sword on fire.
    • Catelyn when the Frey musicians start playing "The Rains of Castamere". And again when she realizes that Roose Bolton is wearing armor to a wedding.
    • Joffrey gets this in "Mhysa" when he calls Tywin a coward and remembers too late who the most powerful man in Westeros actually is.
    • Lysa when Littlefinger tells her that the only woman he ever loved is Catelyn, shortly before he pushes her out of the Moon Door to her death.
    • In "The Mountain and the Viper", Tywin has one when Oberyn tries to get Ser Gregor to confess who gave the order to murder Elia. Tyrion and Jaime join in after Gregor crushes Oberyn's head.
  • Old Shame: Ned Stark never forgave himself for cheating on Catelyn with the woman who would go on to give birth to Jon Snow. King Robert tries to ease his pain by reminding him that they were at war and didn't know if they'd come back, but it does little to ease Ned's pain.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Robert Arryn's name was changed to Robin to avoid confusion with King Robert.
    • Averted with the White Walkers and their zombie minions, the wights. "White" and "wight" are pronounced the same, which can cause confusion.
    • Asha Greyjoy has been renamed Yara to not be confused with Osha the wildling.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted all over the place. When Ned gets speared in the leg, he's unconscious for a long period between episodes and weak for several episodes after, requiring a cane to get around. When Khal Drogo allows himself to be cut in a duel with an uppity tribesman, Daenerys and Mirri Maz Duur both agree that the wound must be washed and sewn, or it will fester. In the end it festers anyway—possibly due to Mirri's sabotage—and by the next episode he's very, very ill. Quite realistic for a setting with barely-above-medieval medicine.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Bronn makes it clear to Tyrion that he's expecting payment for his work, to which Tyrion assures him that no one can beat a Lannister's price. When his work for Tyrion earns him a knighthood, before long he's complaining that as a knight he should get a higher wage. This comes back to bite Tyrion when Bronn's bribed not to stand as his champion for Trial by Combat, and Tyrion's unable to match what they gave him.
    • Petyr points out that the Gold Cloaks fight for whoever pays their salary.
  • Only Sane Employee: This seems to be the entire point of the role of The Hand Of The King.
    • Robert lampshades it when conferring the title on Eddard:
      Robert: "Lord Eddard Stark, I would name you The Hand Of The King."
      Ned: "I'm not worthy of the honour."
      Robert: "I'm not trying to honour you, I'm trying to get you to run my kingdom while I eat, drink, and whore my way to an early grave!"
    • When Tywin Lannister was the Hand of the King, it was the most peaceful and prosperous period in recent history, which says something considering that the King he served was "The Mad King".
    • Davos Seaworth, in between his inflexibly righteous boss and his boss' religiously fanatical other advisor, is this for the camp of Stannis Baratheon.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Renly feels he is this, and as of "You Win or You Die", he might be right.
    • Tyrion has hints of this on his trip to the Eyrie.
    • Varys has shades of this as well. When asked by Ned who he truly serves, he simply says "The realm, Lord Stark. Someone must."
    • At several points early in her relationship with Khal Drogo and the Dothraki, and with her brother becoming more insane by the day, Daenerys gives the impression she feels this way, until her friendship with Jorah solidifies.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Some of the actors' natural accents do slip through, such as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's native Danish, Richard Madden's Scottish accent and Michelle Fairley's Northern Irish accent. American Peter Dinklage's English accent is not totally correct, but is at least consistent.
  • Open Secret:
    • Joffrey being born out of incest. As of "A Man Without Honour" in the second season, even Jaime and Cersei have given up denying it.
    • Renly and Loras seem to have done a poor job trying to conceal their illicit romance. Even two lowborn Lannister soldiers on the other side of the country have heard the rumors.
  • Oop North: Winterfell and the Starks are Northern, and the accents of the actors involved reflect this, especially textbook Yorkshireman Sean Bean as Ned. Bean's contract specified that he be allowed to use his native accent for the role. Conversely, those associated with the Lannisters and/or the South tend to speak with RP (BBC English). The Northeners' general opinion of the South is broadly similar to cultural stereotypes between the South of England and the North.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons had high animal intelligence, breathed fire and varied in size, with most large enough to carry human riders in the air and some large enough to "swallow an aurochs whole". Their fire was hot enough to melt stone. They had two legs and two batlike arm/wings. They laid scaled eggs, some of which are still preserved. They have been extinct for over a century; some people seem to believe that magic died out with (and is now returning with) the dragons, though whether there's a causal relationship, and if so, which caused which, is unclear. Upon their return, we learn that dragons have a strong imprinting instinct and only eat cooked meat.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: They are about twice the height of a grown man and look like humans with a low brow and oversized thick legs, which makes them Square/Cube Law compliant.
  • Out of the Inferno: Daenerys emerges unburnt from a funeral pyre with three baby dragons.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Cersei Lannister of the Lannisters despite the fact that in-universe, Tyrion should be this but even Tywin himself acknowledges Tyrion's intelligence which is the reason why he put him in charge of Joffrey. Something which Cersei failed miserably at. Then there's her twin brother, Jaime, one of if not the greatest swordsman in Westeros until he loses his sword hand. Her father, Tywin, is an experienced Hand of the King, a Dragon-in-Chief to Joffrey and an all around competent Man Behind the Man. Even Joffrey overshadows her by just having the title of "King". She may be smarter than him but he completely resisted and flipped any of her attempts to control him as a Woman Behind The Throne.

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