Wiki Headlines
It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
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 |

Back to the main article
    open/close all folders 

  • Lady and Knight: This is one of the traditional fantasy tropes the series loves to deconstruct.
    • The beautiful Daenerys Targaryen is served by the valiant Ser Jorah Mormont, but for the first half-season he is also The Mole. Later, Daenerys receives a second, non-romantic, knight when Ser Barristan Selmy arrives to join her Queensguard.
    • Handsome and gentle King Renly Baratheon is guarded by two highly-skilled warriors: Brienne of Tarth (a non-knight gender inversion) and Ser Loras Tyrell (a romantic same-sex variation).
    • Brienne goes on to serve the gracious Lady Catelyn Stark (a non-romantic same-sex variation), and in that capacity serve as both guardian and (Justified) Damsel in Distress to the crippled knight Jaime Lannister.
    • The beautiful maiden Sansa Stark is physically and mentally abused by her prince and his knights but protected by the disfigured anti-knight Sandor Clegane and the drunken fool Dontos Hollard.
  • 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.
  • The Lady's Favour:
    • Loras giving Sansa a rose before his joust appears to be a gender inversion until he makes 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:
    • The delightful Syrio Forel combines this with Strange Syntax Speaker to give Arya lessons in both fencing and scenery-chewing.
    • Joffrey and Viserys are deliberately played quite hammily to illustrate their emotional instability and inflated self-importance. Rather than being played for laughs, Viserys being over-dramatic underscores how pathetic he truly is, and Joffrey being a Boisterous Weakling makes him dangerously capricious as king.
    • Drogo channels the Maori haka dance during his Rousing Speech proclaiming a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for the assassination attempt on Daenerys.
    • King Robert Baratheon nearly scrapes the castle walls clean while arguing with Ned about Daenerys' assassination.
    • Greatjon Umber is a prime cut of Northern ham able to laugh off losing two fingers to a direwolf.
    • Melisandre's hammy prayers to the Lord of Light enhance her creepy Hot Witch persona.
    • Boisterous barbarians like Tormund Giantsbane and Shagga son of Dolf.
    • Roy Dotrice's One-Scene Wonder performance as Pyromancer Hallyne does credit to his equally hammy readings of the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks.
    • Oberyn Martell hams it up during a duel partially to throw his opponent off.
  • 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.
    • Stannis Baratheon is a Type II. He is the most levelheaded and straightforward leader, and often relies on his advisors Melisandre and Davos for council.
    • Daenerys is a Type IV who binds her followers together by their personal devotion to her as a dragon-birthing slave-liberator. The team's goals are her goals.
  • Lecture As Exposition:
    • Maester Luwin teaches Bran, and the audience, about the Houses of Westeros.
    • 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: It becomes pretty obvious what Bran's dreams really are when Maester Luwin tells Bran that sure, there are stories about people who can form a spiritual link with animals, but they aren't true and would be long gone even if they were.
  • 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 Rains of Castamere" and its variations. It usually manifests as dark, ominous background score but crosses over to an in-universe lietmotif when Tyrion whistles a more sing-song version in "The North Remembers" and Bronn does a rousing rendition in "Blackwater." Cersei even explains the song's history and meaning in "Second Sons," and eventually the song gives its name to a Wham Episode in which it serves as both a meta and in-universe signal that something is definitely not right just before a massacre.
    • The Baratheons have two themes. The kingly one, used mostly for Robert, Joffrey, and Stannis, is a bombastic fanfare befitting royalty, first heard in "The King's Arrival" and reprised in "You Win Or You Die" (with elements of "The Rains of Castamere"), "The Throne Is Mine," and "Wildfire". The second theme is most frequently used for Robert's biological children, as in "Black Of Hair," "Bird Without Feathers," "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 is a powerful, mysterious-sounding melody with a distinctly Eastern feel reflecting her Valyrian roots heard in "Fire and Blood." The other is more triumphant and often mixes with the main theme 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 is adamant that the Lord of Light is good, but her propensity for ominous threats, shadow magic, and burning people alive makes her quite malevolent.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the show is often Darker and Edgier than the books, there are also times when it pales before them.
    • Arya witnesses far more carnage in the Riverlands, suffers more personal degradation, and kills more people in combat as well as in cold blood in the books.
    • Sansa suffers less abuse than in the books, such as being saved before she can be stripped naked and not being held at knife-point by the Hound.
    • 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, the Hound's scars are less grotesque, and Tyrion and Rorge both keep their noses in the series. This is Lampshaded in "Valar Dohaeris," where there were rumors that Tyrion had lost his nose during the Battle of Blackwater.
    • Some characters in the books would beg for the (relatively) easy deaths their show counterparts suffer. For example, having your neck broken by Hodor seems almost gentle compared to being slowly dismembered and fed to yourself.
    • Some of the murders committed or ordered by characters the showrunners wish to keep more sympathetic are omitted (usually because they are subplots) or at least given a veneer of self-defense.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Despite the series' overwhelming Black and Gray Morality, characters like the Starks, Tyrion Lannister, and Daenerys Targaryen are portrayed sympathetically despite their more heinous actions.
  • 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 "Garden of Bones" 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" (a re-animated corpse) and a "White Walker" (the ice demons who create them). Admittedly, the same applies to many English-speaking viewers since it hasn't quite been explained yet.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Robert Baratheon's rage and pain over Lyanna Stark still hasn't cooled after 17 years.
    • Although she is probably alive somewhere, Tyrion's first wife Tysha is still a deep source of grief for him, as Tyrion poignantly indicates whenever she comes up.
    "I was wed; or don't you remember?"
    • The way Tywin hold his wife Joanna's Death by Childbirth against Tyrion and the fact he has not remarried seems to indicate this trope.
  • Lost Technology: Valyrian steel can be reworked by experts, but no one knows how to make it anymore.
  • The Lost Woods:
    • The vast, primeval forest beyond the Wall is known as the Haunted Forest.
    • Each castle in the North contains a godswood, a grove of old-growth forest sacred to the old gods.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Warlocks of Qarth attempt to lure Daenerys with a vision of her dead husband and stillborn son in "Valar Morgulis".
  • Lovable Coward: Samwell Tarly and Hot Pie.
  • Love at First Sight: Sansa thinks she has this with Joffrey until he turns his sadism on her.
  • 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 marries 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 son's 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 pushes a 10-year-old out a window to hide his secret affair, even saying, "The things I do for love..."
    • Cersei Lannister was, like many women at the close of the rebellion, quite in love with Robert when they married, but years of arguments, inattention, and occassional domestic abuse end in her plotting her husband's death.
    • Petyr Baelish's unrequited love for Catelyn feeds his obsession with achieving power over his social betters.
    • Maester Aemon warns Jon that love is the one thing that can make a man ignore his duty.
    • Tyrion remarks that he would kill for Shae and expects he will have to someday.
    • Somewhere between this and Love Makes You Dumb, Jorah Mormont explains that he sold poachers into slavery to finance his beloved wife's lavish lifestyle.
  • Love Ruins the Realm:
    • By marrying for love, Robb angers the Freys, who join with the Boltons to kill him and divide his kingdom between them.
    • Lysa Arryn's love for Petyr Baelish led her to poison Jon Arryn, an act that eventually snowballs into the War of the Five Kings.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Loras' shield saves his life when the Mountain attacks him after their joust.
  • Lured Into a Trap: Robb and most of his supporters are wiped out when Walder Frey turns their renewed marriage alliance into "The Red Wedding".
  • Lysistrata Gambit: In a rather atypical same-sex example, Loras not only withholds sex from Renly because he feels slighted by Brienne's Rank Up, but punishes him further by sending in Margaery, knowing Renly utterly dreads having to consummate their marriage.

  • Machiavelli Was Wrong:
    • Invoked by Loras when he argues that Renly should be the next king because he would rule through love and respect rather than strength and 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 shows his badassery just before a duel by deliberately cutting himself on his opponent's weapon. This comes back to bite him when the wound gets infected and would have killed him if not for blood magic.
    • 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.
  • Mad Love: Lysa's Yandere love for Littlefinger makes her easy to manipulate.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • Will the ranger mutters, "The White Walkers... I saw the White Walkers..." over and over before his execution.
    • According to Jaime, the Mad King had been saying, "Burn them all!" for hours before his death.
    • "Reek, Reek, I'm Reek."
  • The Magic Comes Back: Fantasy elements are gradually introduced into the story, but most characters insist magic is just a story or went away long ago. It is also implied that there is a correlation between the return of magic and the return of the dragons and White Walkers.
  • Magitek: Many of the feats of engineering seem aided by magic. The Wall is far larger than normal architecture should allow and Valyrian steel is supernaturally sharp.
  • The Magnificent:
    • Any claimant to the Iron Throne lays claim to the following style: X of House Y, the Number of his Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
    • Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of 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 to a Hunting Accident facilitated by his wife.
    • Samwell Tarly joined the Night's Watch because his father threatened to kill him this way.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places:
    • Jaime and Cersei are discovered by Bran in Winterfell's derelict First Keep.
    • Stannis and Melisandre on The Big Board table in Stannis' War Room, which also makes a bit of a metaphor/ Visual Pun.
    • Jon and Ygritte get it on in a cave complete with a hotspring for a Two-Person Pool Party.
  • Male Frontal Nudity:
    • Played for Laughs in "The Pointy End", when simple-minded Hodor, fresh from his bath, barges in on Osha and Bran talking, leading Osha to comment favorably on his size.
    • Olyvar leaves nothing to the imagination during his scene with Loras in "The Climb"
  • Male Gaze:
    • The camera basically becomes Jory's POV during his Distracted by the Sexy moment in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    • In "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", the camera lingers on Talisa lying naked in bed while Robb lampshades it by asking how he's supposed to get any work done.
  • 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 to turn her husband into an Empty Shell burned alive. Now she's this for her dragons and freedmen.
  • Man on Fire: Several in "Blackwater" when Tyrion pulls his trick with the wildfire and blows up much of Stannis's fleet. It becomes a plot point when noted pyrophobe Sandor Clegane flees the battle after confronting one.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Zigzagged with Beric Dondarrion, who actually died but was resurrected later.
  • Marital Rape License:
    • In "Winter is Coming", Daenerys' 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.
    • Averted in "Second Sons" when Tyrion declares he won't share Sansa's bed until she wants him to, even if that never happens.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Oberyn Martell has eight daughters and Walder Frey has twenty-nine legitimate children by eight wives as well as numerous bastards.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • When Ser Barristan Selmy draws his sword at court following his forcible retirement, everyone's laughter instantly turns to terror. It's only when Barristan throws his sword at Joffrey's feet and storms out that everyone starts breathing again.
    • In "Baelor", the majority of the nobles and councilors attending the confession 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.
    • When Joffrey mouths off to his Dragon-in-Chief grandfather Tywin in "Mhysa", the entire Small Council and even Joffrey himself have their own version of an "Oh Shit!" expression.
    • When Jon Snow tells the senior leadership of the Night's Watch that they will be facing giants and mammoths everyone goes very quiet and the older members turn visibly pale.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Daenerys toward Jorah, though it's important to note Dany is not doing it on purpose. It's pretty clear to the audience that Jorah is in love with Dany while she considers him more of a father-figure, but Jorah cuts a pretty sympathetic figure when trying to figure out the subtext. For instance, in "Mockingbird", Jorah spots the team Pretty Boy Daario exiting Dany's quarters half-dressed, only for Dany to declare she's sending Daario away and that Jorah's position as her Number Two is assured.
  • Master Poisoner:
    • Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger work together to supply and administer poison to King Joffrey during a lavish banquet.
    • "The Children" reveals Oberyn poisoned his spear with manticore venom.
  • Master Swordsman: Jaime Lannister, Eddard Stark, Loras Tyrell, and Syrio Forel all display great skill at swordsmanship, while Jaime himself speaks particularly highly of Badass Grandpa Barristan Selmy, calling him a painter who only uses red. The Clegane brothers Sandor and Gregor are also formidable for their combination of skill and brute strength. 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 to Catelyn:
    Jaime: "I pushed him out a window."
    Catelyn: "Why?"
    Jaime: "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 there were all cut down, and as it happens no Stark who goes south has a good time.
    • 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 as the viewer's first clue they are more than friends.
    • When Brienne asks to join Renly's Kingsguard, Loras gives Renly a look that basically reads, "Tell her 'No,'" but Renly disregards it, 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.
    • Edmure and Roslin's wedding scene consists mostly of meaningful looks. Without anyone saying a word, Catelyn tells Edmure, "Thanks for going through with this;" Edmure says "Score!" when he sees his unexpectedly lovely bride; Walder Frey says "Hah, look what you missed out on!" to Robb; Robb and Talisa exchange "I love you"s; and the Blackfish says "Oh, gods no!" after seeing Walder's other female descendants eyeing him up.
    • Fear spreads across Catelyn's face as the band strikes up "The Rains of Castamere." Later in the same scene, Catelyn looks to Roose Bolton for reassurance and finds only a Psychotic Smirk and an eyes-only hint to look at the chainmail under his clothes, showing he's in on the impending betrayal.
    • After an entire season of Snark-to-Snark Combat, the look between Fire-Forged Friends Brienne and Jaime in the Season 3 finale "Mhysa" speaks volumes.
  • Meaningful Background Event:
    • There are multiple blink-and-you'll-miss-it hints in "The Lion and the Rose" that Olenna Tyrell poisoned Joffrey. First, the necklace Dontos gives to Sansa has seven crystals. However, after Olenna fiddles with the necklace as she talks to Sansa, there are only six crystals. Finally, when Tyrion gives Joffrey his goblet, the camera lingers on Olenna as she watches events unfold.
    • When Joffery decides to behead Ned Stark regardless of his mother and fiancee's requests and the advice of his council members the only person smiling is Littlefinger
  • Meaningful Name:
    • In-universe, bastard children have generic surnames determined by region (Snow, Sand, Rivers, etc) so anyone meeting Jon Snow or Ellaria Sand already know something about their parentage and place of origin.
    • 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 "rigid," "bare," "harsh," and "strong," all of which apply to the Stark family and the land they rule.
    • "Tully" derives from the Irish word for flood, an appropriate choice for the overlords of the Riverlands.
    • 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.
    • Brandon Stark, whose name derives from the Welsh word for raven, spends most of his time dreaming of a three-eyed raven.
  • The Medic: Talisa of Volantis accompanies Robb's army to tend the wounded on both sides.
  • Medieval Prehistory: Mammoths and direwolves prowl beyond the Wall.
  • Medieval Stasis: Westerosi technology has not improved significantly over at least the last thousand years. In fact, ancient marvels of engineering such as the Wall are implied to be built on Lost Technology.
  • Mega Corp.: The Iron Bank can finance entire kingdoms and are not above taking sides in foreign conflicts to secure their investments.
  • 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.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • In a variation, Ned kills the direwolf Lady himself because she deserves better than a butcher.
    • Daenerys smothers Khal Drogo rather than leave him an Empty Shell.
    • Sandor Clegane stabs a farmer dying of a gut wound in the heart while Arya looks on. Later, severely wounded and miles from help, Sandor begs Arya to kill him as she has long threatened. Instead, Arya robs him and leaves him to die slowly.
  • Me's a Crowd: The Warlocks of Qarth seem to consist entirely of duplicates of Pyat Pree.
  • Meta Twist: HBO gleefully marketed the show as if Sean Bean was 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: Justified by the Night's Watch, a combination of a military 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 Royal Brat who likes to pretend he's a Badass Warrior Prince by prancing around in his armour and making vain boasts. No one believes him, but nearly everyone humors him because he's The Caligula. He later commissions a Monument Of Humiliation And Defeat of himself slaying the sigil of his enemies despite having absolutely zero part in their demise.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Discussed when characters call others out for heinous actions that might actually prevent greater bloodshed.
    • While debating whether to assassinate Daenerys, Grand Maester Pycelle questions how many thousand innocents will die in the war that must come if Daenerys invades Westeros.
    • Tywin notes that the Red Wedding prevented thousands of deaths by ending the Northern rebellion without the friendly losses required to kill the same army in battle.
    • Stannis, Melisandre, and Davos debate whether sacrificing a single innocent to end the war with magic is preferable to the thousands (including civilians) 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.
    • Similar to Tyrion, Daenerys was raised by her brother because her mother died giving birth to her.
  • The Mistress:
    • Loras becomes the same-sex male version of this trope after Renly marries Margaery.
    • Shae after Tyrion marries Sansa.
    • Melisandre for Stannis, though they only have sex once to spawn the Living Shadow that kills Renly.
  • 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 in a very precarious position without their main source of income.
  • Moment Killer: In "What Is Dead May Never Die", Renly unexpectedly kills the mood by kissing the bruises on Loras' chest, reminding him of the humiliation he suffered earlier in the day.
  • Monument Of Humiliation And Defeat:
    • The Iron Throne was forged from the swords of men who surrendered to Aegon the Conqueror.
    • The statue of Joffrey killing a direwolf in the gardens of King's Landing also underlines his Miles Gloriosus personality.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Jory's humorous Distracted by the Sexy moment in the brothel is immediately followed by a violent ambush resulting in his death.
    • This sometimes happens when switching between different plot threads. Arya training with Syrio? Cool, and even a little funny, but the next scene is Dany eating a horse's heart.
    • In "Baelor," a humerous drinking game turns into the tragic story of Tyrion's first marriage.
    • "Walk of Punishment" ends with Jaime screaming as his hand is chopped off, immediately followed by a bawdy punk cover of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" played over the 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 atmoshpere until the eponymous song begins playing.
  • Moody Mount: Ser Loras Tyrell exploits this trope to win a joust by riding a mare in heat againt Ser Gregor Clegane's bad tempered stallion.
  • 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.
  • Moral Myopia: In one conversation, Davos advocates hiring sellswords like the Golden Company to bolster Stannis's numbers. Stannis, who is dealing with Blood Magic in his attempt to become King of the Seven Kingdoms, for some reason finds this objectionable even though it's the only way that he can bolster his ranks.
  • 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:
    • In the first season, Jorah Mormont exists mainly to inform Daenerys (and the viewer) about the Dothraki and the setting. Fully aware of this, the producers even refer to him, jokingly, 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, played by burlesque performer Esme Bianco, didn't have a single scene in Season 1 where she kept all her clothes on. From Season 2 on she serves as Littlefinger's aide, and thus wears more clothes, but remains a major source of fanservice.
    • Daenerys' wardrobe is especially revealing in the first few episodes of the series.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Loras is considered one of the best knights in the Seven Kingdoms, yet his shirtless scene shows that he's slender and not particularly muscular. Since this reputation was earned in peace time, it likely stems mostly from his prowess at tourney jousting.
  • Mutilation Conga: Lord Beric Dondarrion bears the scars of all the fatal injuries he was resurrected from, including a missing eye and the mark of a hangman's noose.
  • 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 keeps her son Robin with her in a small mountain-top fortress, caters to his every whim, and breastfeeds him until he's at least six.
    • The Battle of Blackwater worsens for the Lannisters because Cersei recalls Joffrey to the Red Keep despite him being in little danger.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Jaime Lannister is widely despised as an oathbreaker for not following this trope.
  • My Nayme Is:
    • Many of the character's names are very similar to modern names, such as Eddard, Robb, Joffrey, Petyr, Jaime, Margaery, and Alliser.
    • Knights are titled "ser" rather than the traditional English "sir."
  • 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," Cersei says it was rumored Tyrion's nose had been cut off in the Battle of the Blackwater, referencing the books, where Tyrion really did lose his nose.
    • In "A Man Without Honor," Jaime asks Alton if his mother is "the fat one," a reference to Jaime's very fat aunt Genna, a minor character in the books who, incidentally, is the mother of the character Alton more or less replaces in the show.
    • During the Battle of the Wall, a wildling archer attempts to shoot an arrow to the top of the Wall and doesn't even come close. Then a giant steps up and shoots a ballista-sized arrow from a giant-sized bow, sending a ranger atop the Wall and flying. This is a reference to a passage in the books where wildling archers manage a few hits on the brothers 700 feet up, which GRRM has admitted he didn't realize was physically impossible.

  • Named Weapons:
    • House Stark's ancestral greatsword is called "Ice."
    • Jon Snow receives House Mormont's ancestral bastard sword "Longclaw."
    • In "The North Remebers," Melisandre stages a ritual in which Stannis retrieves a burning sword that she proclaims is the mythical sword "Lightbringer."
    • As part of his Miles Gloriosus personality, Joffrey gives his swords names like "Hearteater" and "Widow's Wail".
    • Brienne of Tarth names her Valyrian steel sword "Oathkeeper," referencing the oath she and Jaime swore to return Catelyn Stark's daughters to their home.
    • Arya names her rapier "Needle" as an ironic jab at her distaste for girly pursuits like needlework.
    • Arya recounts that Visenya Targaryen, sister-wife of Aegon the Conqueror, had a sword called "Dark Sister."
    • The Hound disapproves of this practice.
    Arya: Lots of people name their swords!
    The Hound: Lots of cunts.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Characters with nicknames like the Hound, the Mountain, the Kingslayer, and the Young Wolf make this a staple of the series. Nearly all of them live up to the names.
  • The 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 Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight:
    • Harren the Black (the founder of Harrenhal) should have known better than to spend decades building the world's largest castle when his neighbors had dragons.
    • Pyat Pree though he could keep Daenerys and her dragons chained up for eternity. Bad idea.
  • 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 Say That Again: Tyrion and Tywin on using the word "whore" to describe Shae. Tyrion keeps his word.
  • Never Live It Down: Several examples in-universe:
    • Jaime Lannister is derogatorily known as "Kingslayer" for his Bodyguard Betrayal, even by people who knew said king was insane and whose successful rebellion forced Jaime into that position. Jaime has struggled with Then Let Me Be Evil ever since.
    • Catelyn never quite forgives or forgets that Ned was unfaithful to her and sired Jon Snow.
    • The Lannisters and perhaps the Boltons are careful to officially distance themselves from the Red Wedding, since they know such a blatant violation of Sacred Hospitality will stain them for generations.
    Tyrion: Oh, I know. Walder Frey gets all the credit... or the blame, I suppose, depending on your alliegence.
  • 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 him to be a traitor undeserving 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: Varies depending on characters' proximity to each other and messenger ravens, and generally handwaved by an implied Dashed Plot Line.
    • News of Ned Stark's death spreads across Westeros over the course of the next episode, with characters in the North, the Riverlands, and at the Wall reacting to it.
    • Justified when Stannis Baratheon publishes the illegitimacy of Cersei's children very widely and it catches by Word Of Mouth. By Season 4, it's spread across the Narrow Sea to Braavos and Meereen.
    • Since Daenerys has been living with the nomadic Dothraki and wandering the Red Waste, she learns Westeros has plunged into a Succession Crisis only after arriving at the port of Qarth. Later, when she's settled in the major port at Meereen, she receives news much faster.
    • Arya and the Hound spend most of Season 4 out of the loop as they cross the Riverlands.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Renly is one of the few characters who treats Brienne with respect and kindness. He even accepts her into his Kingsguard despite knowing it will cause a scandal with his bannermen, his wife, and his lover, perhaps because he knows the sting of not adhering to defined gender roles.
    • Davos stands out as a down-to-earth, morally-upstanding man able to relate amiably to nearly everyone from king to commoner.
    • Brienne of Tarth can be surly at times but she is also loyal, honourable, and compassionate.
    • Barristan Selmy is famed in-universe as a paragon of knighthood and proves polite enough to give an accused spy a heads-up before informing his queen.
    • Samwell Tarly never so much as raises his voice to another character until he really wants Pyp to open the fucking gate in "Watchers on the Wall," which Pyp immediately lampshades.
    Pyp: "I never heard you curse before."
  • 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 you sought revenge against has made her more cunning and dangerous than her deceased husband or stillborn son could ever have been. Bonus points for teaching her that mercy is for the weak, giving her a crash course in blood magic, and providing the means for her to hatch three dragons.
    • Congratulations, Robb!
      • Sending Theon home in an attempt to gain military support resulted in the exact thing your father prevented by keeping Theon as a hostage in the first place, and now you have to fight a war on two fronts!
      • Executing Lord Karstark despite all counsel lost you the support of his soldiers, forcing you to turn to the infamously untrustworthy Freys whom you already pissed off by breaking a marriage pact!
    • Kudos, Loras!
      • By inciting Renly to make a bid for the throne you made a civil war worse and got your lover killed.
      • By telling Olyvar about your secret betrothal, the information is passed to the Lannisters, who move to block your family's plan.
    • Jaime lies about Brienne's family wealth to prevent Locke from raping her, but later Locke refuses to ransom her because he expects more.
  • 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 keep track of their problems.
    • Right after chiding his underlings, Lord Tywin treats his cupbearer Arya with a surprising amount of respect and warmth. Combined with some exposition of his backstory, their interactions effectively show Tywin's more humane side. Then he leaves her behind with Gregor Clegane.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Ramsay Snow, whose appetite for torture seems to know no bounds.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: People killed by the White Walkers come back as wights.
  • The Night That Never Ends:
    • Winter is coming, and with it the days grow shorter. There is an in-universe Fairy Tale of a Long Night that lasted a generation the last time the White Walkers invaded Westeros.
    • Stannis mentions it by name in "Second Sons" when discussing Melisandre's prophecies with Davos.
  • 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.
  • Noble Fugitive:
    • Viserys and Daenerys are the last scions of their deposed dynasty and are served by the exiled lord Jorah Mormont and later by the exiled knight Ser Barristan Selmy.
    • Later, the surviving Starks and Tyrion Lannister.
  • 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] all 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:
    • Daenerys believes this of Mirri Maz Duur's betrayal until Mirri points out that Daenerys' beloved husband was the cause of all her woes in the first place.
    • Jaime Lannister intercedes to prevent Brienne from getting raped, is spite of dueling with her just hours before. This compounds his captors' enmity, leading them to chop off his hand.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Robb Stark is shot with crossbows, stabbed in the heart, and decapitated.
  • No Name Given:
    • The Spice King insists his name is too long and hard for foreigners to pronounce, perhaps because he is a Canon Foreigner.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The Artifact Title "Seven Kingdoms" originally refered to the seven independent nations of Westeros that existed before Aegon's Conquest: The North, the Mountain and Vale, the Isles and Rivers, the Rock, the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne. Following the Conquest, the Riverlands and Crownlands were separated from the Iron Islands and Stormlands respectively and Dorne was only added two centuries later, creating one kingdom with nine provinces.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Ser Alliser Thorne tells Jon and Sam that he and some others were reduced to cannibalism when stranded beyond the Wall the previous winter.
  • No Periods, Period:
    • Averted in "Winter is Coming." The second thing Cersei ever says to Sansa is the question, "Have you bled yet?"
    • Later, in "A Man Without Honor," Sansa has a Catapult Nightmare of being stabbed brought on by the cramps of her first period. Realizing her period means she can now be married to Joffrey, she panics and tries to hide the evidence.
  • 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, played by Turkish-German actress Sibel Kekilli, playfully refuses to tell Tyrion where she's from, but Cersei pegs her as Lorathi, perhaps because Jaqen H'ghar (who claims to be from Lorath) is played by fellow German actor Tom Wlaschiha.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Tyrion's list of "confessions" in "A Golden Crown" is cut off before he can describe an escapade involving 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 go in Westeros, the colder it gets, progressive from the southernmost deserts of Dorne to the arctic glaciers beyond the Wall in the north.
  • 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 insists in "The Wolf and the Lion" that assassinating Daenerys will make them no better than the Mad King they overthrew.
    • 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 that he knows all about the pain and frustration of being torn between duty and family. Even as a blind old man he chafed at remaining on the Wall while his entire dynasty, even the little children, was overthrown and slaughtered. Bonus points for identifying with Jon despite Jon being the bastard son of one of those overthrowers.
    • 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.
    • Tyrion's final words to the father he has just fatally wounded: "I am your son. I have always been your son."
  • Not So Extinct: People from Westeros and Essos believe that the ice-demonic White Walkers and 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 in "Winter is Coming". 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 

  • The Oathbreaker:
    • Deserters from the Night's Watch are summarily executed as oathbreakers.
    • Jaime Lannister is widely reviled for killing the king he swore to protect, and provides the page quote.
    • In "Two Swords," Jon Snow must defend himself from accusations of oathbreaking for his unplanned stint as The Mole among the wildlings.
  • 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.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Take your pick.
    • Arya's scenes in Harrenhal before Tywin arrives.
    • The hanged women Jaime and Brienne find in "Valar Morghulis."
    • Locke's torture and abuse of Jaime and Brienne.
    • The murders of Willem and Martyn Lannister in "Kissed By Fire."
  • Occult Blue Eyes: The eyes of the wights and White Walkers. The wight from "Winter is Coming" even provides the page image.
  • 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: Jaime shoves Bran out the window 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 suspects his father is putting him in the vanguard of a battle to invoke this, and Tywin is not particularly excited to see him alive afterward.
    • Tyrion remarks to Jon Snow that if he had been born a peasant he might have been left in the woods to die. In "Mhysa," Tywin confesses he considered it, but changed his mind becaue Tyrion was still a Lannister.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • In "Baelor," two major battles occur, but only the aftermaths are shown. First Tyrion gets knocked unconscious by the rush of clansmen following a Rousing Speech and only wakes up after the battle, then Robb is shown returning triumphant from battle with Jaime Lannister as his 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 called Ice made of Valyrian steel that he uses for beheadings, as he does a Night's Watch deserter in "Winter is Coming." In "Baelor," he himself is beheaded with his own sword.
    • In "The Old Gods and the New," Theon beheads a man using an ordinary longsword and botches it, eventually kicking the head off. Proof if proof were needed that Theon is no Ned Stark.
    • In "Kissed By Fire," Robb beheads Lord Rickard Karstark for treason in a scene with obvious parallels to Theon's, but Robb takes the head off clean.
  • 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.
    • Davos realising the Blackwater has been filled with wildfire.
    • The Season 2 finale.
      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.
    • The Night's Watch get very pale and Alliser stops being so sure of himself when Jon declares that the Wildlings have got Giants on their side.
    • Many characters react in shock and fear when when the Stark direwolves make their presence known. Several Starks deliberately use their wolves to intimidate others.
  • Old Master: Ser Barristan Selmy.
  • Old Retainer: Ser Rodrik Cassel and Maester Luwin to the Starks.
  • Old Soldier: Qhorin Halfhand, Jeor Mormont, and Rodrik Cassel.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Maesters wear a chain with each link representing mastery of a different field of study, and they are expected to earn as many as possible.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Robert Arryn is named Robin (after a nickname from the books) to avoid confusion with King Robert Baratheon.
    • Asha Greyjoy is named Yara to avoid confusion with Osha the wildling.
    • Averted with the White Walkers and their zombie minions, the wights since "white" and "wight" are homophones.
    • Averted with the Freys. One of the two descendents Lord Walder Frey sends to arrange Edmure and Roslin's marriage is known as Black Walder to differentiate him.
  • The One That Got Away: Lyanna for Robert and Catelyn for Littlefinger.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: The series generally averts the trope, but some primary characters do seem to be Made of Iron.
    • When Ned gets speared in the leg in "The Wolf and the Lion," he's unconcious 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 by an uppity tribesman, Daenerys and Mirri Maz Duur agree the wound must be washed and sewn. Unfortunately, it festers anyway—possibly due to Mirri's sabotage—and by the next episode he's dying of blood poisoning.
    • Tyrion loses consciousness after being wounded in the face during "Blackwater."
    • Played Straight when Jon Snow recovers from three serious arrow wounds between "Mhysa" and "Two Swords" before wildlings who shot him can even make their next move. In "Watchers on the Wall," Jon also survives having his head smashed on an anvil hard enough to kill anyone not Made of Iron.
  • Only Friend: "Friend" might be stretching it a bit, but Davos is the only man Stannis trusts and respects completely.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • Bronn makes this clear to Tyrion. When his services earn him a knighthood, he insists on a higher wage. Eventually, Bronn accepts money and an advantageous marriage to not stand champion for Tyrion in a Trial by Combat, a deal Tyrion cannot match.
    • Littlefinger points out that the gold cloaks will support whoever pays their salary.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Hot Pie and the Tickler.
  • Only Sane Employee: This seems to be the purpose of the office of Hand of the King.
    • Robert lampshades it when conferring the title on Eddard:
    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!"
    • Tywin Lannister's first term as Hand was the most peaceful and prosperous period in recent history, which says something considering Aerys later became known as "The Mad King."
    • Davos Seaworth is this for Stannis' faction, caught between his inflexibly righteous boss and his religiously fanatical co-advisor.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Otherworldly And Sexually Ambiguous: The Seven Gods consist of a male trinity (Father, Warrior, Smith), a female trinity (Mother, Maiden, Crone), and the Stranger (Death) who is neither.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are fire-breathing, egglaying wyverns with batlike forelimb wings who exhibit high animal intelligence and a strong link to magic (though the cause-effect relationship is still unclear). Given enough food and space they grow continuously with most able to carry human riders and some large enough to "swallow a horse whole." They also possess a strong imprinting instinct and eat only cooked meat.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The Children of the Forest are a race of short forest-dwellers with magical powers who have been slowly pushed out of Westeros by humans. Bran encounters one in "The Children."
  • 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 to make them Square/Cube Law compliant.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Although wolves are common, wargs can take control of all kinds of animals, such Orell's eagle and a Thenn who can control an owl. Bran even wargs into Hodor on occassion.
  • Our Wights Are Different: The corpses reanimated by the White Walkers have blue eyes and can only be killed by fire.
  • Out of the Inferno: Daenerys emerges unburnt from a funeral pyre with three baby dragons.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Cersei Lannister proves a competent schemer in her own right by facilitating her husband's death and ingratiating herself to her opponent's judges.note  Unfortunately, she happens to be sister to Chessmaster Tyrion, twin to Master Swordsman Jaime, and daughter to Dragon-in-Chief warlord Tywin. Even her own son Joffrey overshadows her in-universe by completely resisting any of her attempts to be the power behind the throne.

Tropes G to KSeries/Game of ThronesTropes P to S

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy