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Game Of Thrones: Tropes P to S
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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    P 
  • Parental Abandonment: Many characters have dead or missing parents, including: Dany and Viserys, Jon, Bran, Tyrion, Cersei and Jaime, and a number of side characters.
  • Parental Favoritism:
    • Tywin Lannister favors Jaime (by manipulating him to do what Tywin wants), while generally ignoring or openly despising Cersei and Tyrion.
    • Catelyn Stark loves all her children, but has special affection for her daughter Sansa (whose hair she brushes personally) and her son Bran (whose injury causes her a Heroic BSOD).
    • Balon Greyjoy favors Yara over Theon because Theon spent half his life as a hostage of the Starks. Most of Theon's poor decisions are motivated by a desire to earn his father's respect.
    • Samwell Tarly's father forced him to join the Night's Watch so his younger son could become his heir.
  • Parental Incest: Craster and his harem of daughter-wives.
  • Party Scattering: The Starks, gradually. By Season 4, each has their own storyline and some are unsure if the others are even alive.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat:
    • The Lannisters in particular are masters of it.
    • In both "The Wolf and the Lion" and "Fire and Blood", Varys and Littlefinger have scenes that exemplify this trope.
    • The dinner scene with Cersei, Joffrey, Margaery and Loras in "Valar Dohaeris".
    • In "The Lion and the Rose", Jaime initiates a verbal confrontation with Loras, and Oberyn faces off against Cersei and Tywin.
    • Most of the Spice King's dialogue with Daenerys are this.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Walder Frey continues to slurp his wine while watching his men massacre Robb and his followers during Edmure's wedding.
  • The Patriarch: All the major houses have one, of course, but Tywin Lannister wins the prize.
    Lord Tywin: The house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first.
  • Peaceful in Death: Despite the horrific manner in which King Renly was killed, his body looks remarkably at peace. The corpse is later dressed and positioned in a regal and dignified way, and Margaery can't resist mentioning how handsome he was, with Littlefinger agreeing.
  • People of Hair Color: Although not racial, many noble houses are distinguished by their hair color.
    • This becomes a major plot point in Season 1. The Baratheons' dominant tendency to black hair is enough raise (perfectly correct) doubts about the parentage of King Robert's three blond children.
    • The Lannisters are Jerkass blonds.
    • The Targaryen dynasty practised Brother-Sister Incest for hundreds of years to maintain their platinum-white Valyrian hair.
    • The trope is also subverted in other families, such as the Starks, who are all shades: Ned, Arya, and Bran are brown, Jon Snow is black, Catelyn, Sansa, and Robb are red or reddish-brown, and Rickon is dark blond.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage:
    • By "Lord Snow," it looks like Daenerys and Khal Drogo are pretty damn happy together.
    • Ned Stark and Catelyn Tully as well, though it did not start that way.
    • A subversion. It looks like Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey are this once he sees her, but it soon turns out that the Freys are just invoking the appearance of this trope so it will be easier to catch their guests off their guard at the Red Wedding.
  • Pet Monstrosity:
    • The Stark children each get a direwolf pup that is soon capable of ripping out throats. Robb becomes infamous among his enemies for taking his into battle with him. Fortunately, the wolves are also very loyal to their masters and generally don't attack without good reason.
    • Daenerys' dragons are also this, though as they grow they begin to frighten even her.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After being portrayed as a Would Hurt a Child Jerkass bordering on irredeemable, Sandor Clegane protects Sansa several times during her imprisonment in King's Landing.
    • Tywin Lannister has a few pet the dog moments when he unknowingly takes Arya as his cupbearer. His speech revealing why he never killed Tyrion as a child also humanizes him.
    • Varys stops scheming for a moment to give Tyrion the only credit he'll receive for defending King's Landing from Stannis's invasion.
    • After four seasons of being a total asshole, Alliser Thorne has a brief heart-to-heart with Jon Snow in which he admits a mistake and explains that he's an asshole due to the necessities of wielding authority.
  • Phallic Weapon: In Season 3, Joffrey fires his crossbow from the hip, and the camera angle clearly implies this trope. This is after he has lovingly shown and described it to his fiancée, and he has already shown that he gets turned on by violence and killing.
  • Pinball Protagonist:
    • Arya Stark starts off Season 2 with the goal of reuniting with her family, but is dragged all over the war-torn Riverlands by one group after another until the Red Wedding brings an devastating end to that plan.
    • As a valuable piece in the game of thrones, Sansa Stark is deliberately kept powerless, which forces her to always react to events rather than take action herself.
  • Playing Drunk: Tyrion plays up his drunkenness, making very self-deprecating jokes, to get away with threatening the king.
  • Playing with Syringes: Qyburn lost his maester's chain for experimenting on the living.
  • Plot Armor: Not only subverted but outright inverted. GRRM has said that the safer a character "should" be by the rules of normal storytelling, the more deliberately he sets out to do them in. That said, there are many scenes where characters survive (especially large melees) that can only be chalked up to Plot Armor:
    • Ser Davos' survival after the Battle of Blackwater. Not only did he survive his ship going up in flames, he washed up ashore and didn't drown, he didn't die of exposure, and he happened to be picked up by a civilian who was a Stannis loyalist.
    • Ramsey Snow's shirtless fight with the Ironborn required a few idiot balls, a little bit of being Made of Iron, and no one having a ranged weapon.
    • All over the place in the non-combatants in "The Watchers on the Wall." Gilly manages to sneak past wildlings to get into Castle Black, Sam and Olly were sitting ducks for the majority of the battle but were barely targeted, and Jon Snow was able to stand there stunned at bow point, then hold Ygritte as she died without anyone going after him.
  • Plot Triggering Death:
    • Jon Arryn's death is what causes Eddard Stark and his family to become tangled in the game of thrones.
    • The majority of Season 4's King's Landing arc stems from the death of King Joffrey.
  • Poke the Poodle: Tyrion's "confession" in the Eyrie describes a number of acts which, while not exactly innocent, are hardly the stuff villains are made of.
    "Where do I begin, my lords and ladies? I am a vile man, I confess it. My crimes and sins are beyond counting. I have lied and cheated, gambled and whored. I’m not particularly good at violence, but I’m good at convincing others to do violence for me. You want specifics, I suppose. When I was seven, I saw a servant girl bathing in the river. I stole her robe, and she was forced to return to the castle naked and in tears. If I close my eyes...I can still see her tits bouncing. When I was ten, I stuffed my uncle’s boots with goat shit. When confronted with my crime, I blamed a squire. The poor boy was flogged, and I escaped justice. When I was twelve, I milked my eel into a pot of turtle stew. I flogged the one-eyed snake. I skinned my sausage. I made the bald man cry into the turtle stew, which I do believe my sister ate — at least, I hope she did. I once brought a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel—"
  • Pokémon Speak: HODOR!
  • Politeness Judo: Sansa's main weapon when she engages in Passive-Aggressive Kombat.
    "You're right, Your Grace, I'm stupid. Of course you'll be in the vanguard.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Joffrey shows basically no respect for women (which is not much less than he shows anyone, really) and considers making homosexuality punishable by death.
    • His grandfather, Tywin Lannister, expresses similar disdain but does make the point that he distrust his daughter because she's a Smug Snake, not because she's a woman.
  • Polyamory: Aegon the Conqueror was married to both of his sisters, Rhaenys and Visenya.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The basic plot of the series results from what in retrospect can be considered very poor communication of intent and ideology between the Starks and the Lannisters. Jaime Lannister's Jerkass Façade prevents the Starks from thinking there might be real worth or goodness in him, while their own self-righteous and judgmental nature leads Catelyn to arrest Tyrion with little evidence despite his Token Good Teammate status (and the fact that he bonded with Jon Snow and Bran Stark). Likewise Cersei never tries to dissuade Ned Stark that she didn't actually kill Jon Arryn. The Lannisters did cripple Bran but that was out of self-preservation rather than malice. This was ultimately engineered by Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish who played the two of them against each other with the intent to start a Civil War that will ultimately see both of these major powers decline in fortune and influence.
  • Posthumous Character: Lyanna Stark, Joanna Lannister, Aegon I The Conqueror, Rhaegar Targaryen, "Mad" King Aerys Targaryen and Jon Arryn are among the characters mentioned frequently but already dead by the beginning of the series, though Arryn is seen briefly (lying in state) in the pilot episode.
  • P.O.V. Cam: We get these when Stark kids are seeing through the eyes of a direwolf.
  • The Power of Love: Averted horribly when Daenerys tries to use this to bring Khal Drogo out of a coma. Of course, it doesn't work, which is on par with the theme of the series.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Kingsguard, a group of knights who protect the king and serve for life. Like their real world equivalent, one of their members was responsible for the death of the previous king. Unlike their real world equivalents they didn't make a habit of it, and never became a power in their own right. Possibly because while the Praetorian Guard of ancient Rome comprised tens of thousands of men, the Kingsguard comprises only seven.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The series contains large amounts of pragmatic adaptation largely due to the transition from a rotating third person limited POV series of novels (complete with inner monologues) to a televised ensemble piece.
    • In the books, much character development and exposition is delivered in the narration or characters' internal monologues. The show comes up with creative ways to deliver the information in dialogue. For example:
      • Littlefinger tells his backstory with Catelyn to some employees at his brothel while training them in their duties.
      • Tyrion tells the story of Tysha to Bronn and Shae during a drinking game.
      • Much of the dialogue of Davos Seaworth in the TV series does not appear in the books, since much of his character development in these is restricted to his inner thoughts.
    • The show excises flashbacks and prophecies entirely. Flashbacks would require the expense of hiring an entirely different cast, while prophecies are tricky to write and pay off in a satisfactory manner. Because of this, Daenerys' hallucinations focus on her own story, rather than long-dead characters or those that live on a different continent; Ned's memories of his sister's demise are replaced with other foreshadowing devices; while the mysterious masked Quaithe's role is altered from prophecy sounding board to a foil for Jorah Mormont.
    • Tywin Lannister, Robb Stark, and Littlefinger were offpage for the vast majority of A Clash of Kings, but the writers of a television show could not afford to have these popular (and probably well paid) actors disappear for a whole season. So they were either moved into someone else's story (Tywin into Arya's), had the previously secondhand exploits shown first hand (Robb's campaign and courtship of his non-Frey wife), or apparently develop mysterious teleportation powers to cameo in mulitple stories (Littlefinger making deals with at least three factions of the War of the Five Kings).
    • Jon and Dany's stories in the second book were very internally focused with almost no action until the respective last chapters. To make them more action packed, Jon gets separated from the group to spend more time interacting with his love interest and Dany has to deal with the kidnapping of her dragons and betrayal by one of her handmaidens.
    • Due to the POV structure of the book, we needed two shadowbaby assassins birthed by Melisandre in order to understand how they came to be and what they did: the one that kills Renly (which we see in action from Catelyn's point of view) and later the one that ultimately kills Cortnay Penrose (which we see birthed from Davos's point of view). In the show, we see the same shadowbaby being born (with Davos smuggling Melisandre somewhere close enough so that the assassin can kill Renly, which is seen from Catelyn and Brienne's point of view.
    • In the books, all POV Stark children whose direwolves are still alive (meaning Jon Snow, Arya and Bran) are shown warging into them when sleeping. In the series, only Bran's dreams are kept, because they are essential to his Story Arc, while Jon's and Arya's stories can work without them.
    • In the books, Barristan Selmy joins Daenerys under the alias Arstan Whitebeard, which is enough to disguise his identity as Daenerys is the only viewpoint character for this story, and had never seen him before. On the show, of course, the actor is easily recognizable, so he reveals his true identity to her right away.
    • Loras is older than Margaery in the novels, but it was revealed by writer Bryan Cogman in this interview that Margaery is Mace Tyrell's eldest child on the show. The switch in birth order was no doubt due to the fact that Finn Jones is six years younger than Natalie Dormer, the actress who plays his character's sister.
    • The order of numerous events and storylines from the books are also being changed as the series progresses, meaning that certain events are running parallel to storylines from entirely different books and certain characters are present for events that they aren't present for in the books due to different story threads resolving at different times. All of this is likely for reasons relating to plot pacing, convenience in organising the filming of particular actors and locations, and making each season the correct length.
    • Characters with unusual appearances are generally given a more normal appearance to save makeup/costuming costs and to avoid the risk of looking ridiculous on screen:
      • In the books, Tyrion is deformed and loses most of his nose, and Rorge has no nose. On screen, they both look normal and have noses.
      • Daario does not have the blue-dyed beard and hair nor his yellow outfit, as he does in the books.
      • The citizen soldiers of Slaver's Bay do not have the outrageous peacock hairdos described in the books.
      • Thoros does not have hanging loose skin due to rapidly losing weight as an outlaw.
      • Tywin has a normal head of hair and beard instead of a shaved head and muttonchops.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Tywin Lannister perhaps embodies this the best, as he has no qualms with employing brutal men, but will berate them if they fall into Stupid Evil territory.
    • Roose berates Ramsay for torturing Theon For the Evulz, since Theon was more valuable as an intact hostage.
  • Prayer of Malice: Before she goes to sleep, Arya recites the names of those who have wronged her, all of whom she plans to kill.
  • Pretty Boy:
    • Ser Loras Tyrell; George R.R. Martin even described the character as "...the teen idol of Westeros" in this HBO featurette. Sansa Stark has a crush on him because of his good looks. Two lowborn Lannister soldiers consider him to be prettier than the Queen. In "The Climb", Lady Olenna calls Loras "...the pride of Highgarden, the most desirable bachelor in all of the Seven Kingdoms."
    • Jon Snow is prettier than half of Craster's daughters, according to Craster himself.
    • Lancel Lannister
    • Olyvar, Littlefinger's spy and brothel employee.
    • Tommen when played by Dean-Charles Chapman as of Season 4.
  • Previously On: Helps a little with the Continuity Lockout.
  • Pride: In case the lion on their coat of arms and the motto "Hear me Roar!" didn't give it away, this is a unifying theme for the Lannisters. All of them have a subtly different take on it.
  • Princess Classic:
    • Deconstructed with Margaery, who is an astute politician and manipulator, but puts on the persona of a charming and harmless princess to all and sundry. This has gained her the fanatical support of most of the common people, whom she's highly charitable with.
    • And of course deconstructed with Sansa who was raised by her mother to be the perfect princess and is eager to fulfill this role, only to find her Prince Charming is a petulant evil psychopath ruling over a Crapsack World.
  • Private Military Contractors:
    • Davos hires his old friend, the notorious pirate Salladhor Saan, to provide additional ships for Stannis Baratheon.
    • Daenerys seeks a mercenary army that she can use to invade Westeros. She goes to Astapor to purchase Unsullied, eunuch slaves who are considered the finest soldiers around.
    • Later, Daenerys meets up with the Second Sons, one of the many "Free Companies" utilized by the various cities and states of Essos.
    • Westeros is also filled with independent sellswords and hedge knights who bounce from job to job, most notably Tyrion's Lancer Bronn.
  • Private Tutor:
    • Septa Mordane is this to Sansa and Arya.
    • Arya also learns Braavosi-style swordsmanship from Syrio Forel.
  • Professional Killer:
    • Karl Tanner of Gin Alley, the leader of the Night's Watch mutineers, reveals that he was once a cutthroat who earned seven silvers per hit.
    • The Faceless Men, a guild of hired killers from Braavos capable of completing altering their faces (hence their name) are considered the best, and Arya meets one, who gives her three free kills in return for saving his life along with two prisoners he was with.
    • While Bronn is more of a mercenary than an assassin, he admits that for the right money he'd kill anyone.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: The Freys and Boltons suffer this after the Red Wedding. Their reward of overlordship forces them to deal with the remaining Stark and Tully loyalists, the Brotherhood Without Banners, the Ironborn, and the devastation and crime spawned by the war, while the Lannisters recuperate at King's Landing.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles:
    • Season 2: John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), James Cosmo (Lord Commander Jeor Mormont), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Conleth Hill (Varys), Sibel Kekilli (Shae), and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister).
    • Season 3: Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), and Joe Dempsie (Gendry).
    • Season 4: Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Snow), and Hannah Murray (Gilly).
  • Promotion to Parent: Viserys was this to Daenerys, but unfortunately of the abusive variety.
  • Properly Paranoid: The Wildlings insistence that you must burn dead bodies to prevent them coming back as wights under the control of the White Walkers.
  • Prophet Eyes: Wargs, when they take on their Bond Creature's skin.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy:
    • The Dothraki, who will cut their hair in shame if they lose a fight.
    • And the ironborn take pride in the fact that they are reavers. They traditionally do not wear jewelry that was not won in battle. House Greyjoy's words, "We Do Not Sow," brag that they do not work for a living, they kill or steal for it.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Viserys Targaryen.
  • Punch Clock Villain:
    • Bronn is pretty mellow when he's not fighting, but he makes it clear that he'll do anything for the right price.
    • Lannister soldiers are shown slaughtering the entire Stark household, even the septas, but when we see a few relaxing at camp, they're pretty normal people.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Jaqen H'ghar.
  • Puppet King: Cersei does her best to train Joffrey to become one of these for her. Subverted when Joffrey goes spectacularly off-script at the end of "Baelor", and his puppetmasters are powerless to stop him. Lampshaded by Tyrion in "The Pointy End":
    Lord Tywin: Joffrey rules in King's Landing.
    Tyrion: My sister rules, you mean. (Tywin tilts his head in approval)
  • The Purge: In "The North Remembers", Joffrey has all of Robert's bastards hunted down and killed. It's rather disturbing to watch, considering many of the people involved are children (including one infant).
  • Pyromaniac:
    • Appears to be a genetic trait among the Targaryens, several of whom have an obsession with heat or fire and (sometimes correctly) believe themselves immune to it.
    • Pyromancer Hallyne. During the Wildfire explosion, everyone else looks horrified-he's giggling.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The War of the Five Kings has left House Lannister on the Iron Throne and free to create a new ruling dynasty. However, their gold mines have been dry for years, and they've spent the last twenty years financing an inept king and a war. They also happen to be severely in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos. Along with their wealth being gone, their manpower is also severely depleted from numerous crushing defeats by Robb Stark. So, yeah, they won, but they're in a very poor position to hang on to their new power.

    Q-R 
  • Queer People Are Funny: Several characters on the show mock Renly and Loras' homosexuality.
  • Race Lift: Pirate Salladhor Saan and merchant prince Xaro Xhoan Daxos have been cast with actors of African descent, and Xaro has additionally been changed to an emigrant from the Summer Isles.
  • Racial Remnant: The Targaryens are remnants of the Valyrian Empire marked by their distinctive white-blonde hair.
  • Rags to Riches:
    • Davos grew up in Flea Bottom, worked his way up to smuggler captain, became a knight for smuggling Stannis food, and is now King Stannis' Consigliere.
    • Littlefinger worked his way up from the very lowest of the nobility to Lord of Harrenhal and consort to the Lady of the Vale through his skill at moneymaking and Xanatos Speed Chess.
    • Xaro Xhoan Daxos rose from a penniless immigrant to one of the foremost men in Qarth.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Night's Watch.
  • Rant Inducing Slight: Renly yells at Robert during their hunting trip after being belittled one too many times.
  • Rape and Revenge: Oberyn Martell is out for vengeance against all those who had a hand in his sister Elia's rape and murder, starting with the perpetrator.
  • Rape By Proxy: Tyrion once married a prostitute named Tysha, but the marriage ended when his father Tywin found out and punished them both by making Tyrion watch as Tysha was raped by a group of guardsmen.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • The Dothraki are seen to be indulging in this, which comes back to bite Khal Drogo later on when he needs medical help.
    • Offscreen, by Ser Gregor Clegane at the behest of Tywin Lannister. Gregor Clegane's band is reported to be doing this in the Riverlands. Ned is so appalled that he officially attaints him and sentences him to death, giving the Lannisters yet another grievance against him. Ser Gregor's band, having the authority of king's men, keep up their rape-pillage-and-burn campaign all throughout the war.
    • However Tyrion successfully plays on this trope to motivate his reluctant soldiers during the Battle of Blackwater, saying they should fight not for honor, gold, glory, or their king, but to stop Stannis' army from sacking their city and raping their loved ones.
    • The Wildlings climb over the Wall, and ravage any settlement they can find.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Common for a fantasy series, plenty of female characters sport this: Catelyn, Cersei, Talisa, Ros and several noblewoman and prostitute extras.
  • Red Baron: Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, Ser Gregor "The Mountain That Rides" Clegane, Ser Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannisternote , Aerys "The Mad King" Targaryen, Daenerys "Mother of Dragons" Targaryen, Robb "The Young Wolf" Stark, Tyrion "The Imp" Lannister, Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, Qhorin "Halfhand", Oberyn "The Red Viper" Martell.
  • Reaction Shot:
    • When Tyrion's plan to wipe out Stannis' fleet with wildfire goes ahead, the view switches between the carnage itself and the horrified expressions on onlookers' faces. Most notably, Sandor looks genuinely fearful, Tyrion looks remorseful, Joffrey almost smirks, and Pyromancer Hallyne is giggling.
    • Played for Laughs during an Overly-Long Gag where Tyrion takes his time dragging a chair around the Small Council table so he can face off with his father — the other councillors are alternately amused, bemused, outraged or worried over Tywin's reaction, while the man himself just glares, trying not to respond to yet another juvenile attempt to piss him off.
    • During a mocking version of the "War of the Five Kings" with dwarfs, the view switches between the action and a polarized party. Joffrey, Tywin, Cersei, Tommen, Pycelle and the smallfolk find it amusing, while Tyrion, Sansa, Oberyn, Varys and the Tyrells are quietly disgusted or appalled by it. Loras dispenses with the pretension and leaves early on.
    • During the Trial by Combat in the "The Mountain and the Viper" reaction shots are shown of Tyrion, Tywin, Cersei, Jaime and Oberyn's paramour, all of whom have crucial stakes in one side or the other winning.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • Loras' ornate armour, clothing and accessories always have a floral pattern. Justified, since his house's sigil is a rose, but he's still seen as being over-the-top about it, and is known as "the Knight of Flowers" (it helps that he's also gay).
    • Michele Clapton describes Oberyn's style in this featurette as "It's actually quite a feminine look, but he wears it in a really masculine way." This approach probably explains why the pendant of his necklace features flowers. His clothing is also noticeably brighter and more colourful than what we typically see on Westerosi males.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • In "And Now His Watch Is Ended", Lord Commander Mormont manages to choke Rast after Rast (literally) stabs him in the back. While at first it appears that Mormont will take his killer to the grave with him, his wounds weaken him too much. Rast escapes and stabs Mormont some more.
    • Littlefinger tells an associate that he challenged Brandon Stark for Catelyn's hand because he'd heard all the stories and songs where the "plucky little hero" triumphs over the odds and wins the maiden's heart. However, Littlefinger wasn't a great swordsman or soldier, and Brandon was. After that, Littlefinger realized he had to play things his way.
    • Theon Greyjoy attempts to behead Rodrik Cassel with an ordinary longsword rather than an Absurdly Sharp Blade of Valryian steel like Ned Stark uses. To make matters worse (perhaps on purpose), his victim only leans against the block with his arms rather than placing his neck against it.note  The result is as gory and horrifying as one can imagine.
    • Daenerys's season 4 storyline highlights the consequences of her actions in the previous season. Killing the masters of the cities she conquers - who, by the way, are not Always Chaotic Evil - isn't enough to fix all their problems. Freeing the slaves lowers their quality of life because many of them were dependant on their masters for food, shelter, and security. Allowing her dragons to roam wild and grow fiercer means they are now a danger to innocent people, not just her enemies.
  • Realpolitik: The game of thrones is all about this. Scrupulous players who disdain this fact tend to enjoy shorter lives.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Ned Stark does his best to keep this ideal, though the effectiveness of his rule is debatable.
    • For all his faults, Lord Tywin Lannister was this as Hand of the King to Aerys II.
    • Daenerys likes to see herself as this and decides to stay in Slaver's Bay to practice it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Renly Baratheon tells Robert exactly what he thinks of his "glory days."
      Renly: Which days, exactly? The ones when half of Westeros fought the other half and millions died? Or before that, when the Mad King slaughtered women and babies because the voices in his head told him they deserved it? Or way before that, when dragons burnt whole cities to the ground?
      Robert: Easy boy, you might be my brother, but you're speaking to the king.
      Renly: I suppose it was all rather heroic, if you were drunk enough and had some poor Riverlands whore to shove your prick inside and "make the eight"!
    • Tywin Lannister is a grand master at this. He always has one on hand for moronic subordinates and has given at least one to each of his children — telling Jaime that his personal glory is ultimately worthless, Cersei that his lack of confidence in her is not because she's a woman, but because she's not as smart as she thinks she is and Tyrion that he'll never honor any claim he has to Casterly Rock because of his birth circumstances and irresponsible and lecherous behavior.
      Tywin: You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust and low cunning. Men's laws give you the right to bear my name and display my colors, since I cannot prove that you are not mine. And to teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about, wearing the proud lion that was my father's sigil, and his father's sigil before him. But neither gods nor men will ever compel me to turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.
    • Lord Karstark points out that Robb pardoned his mother for releasing an enemy, but wants to execute him for killing members of the same enemy family.
    • Jon Snow's compassionate review on the Wildlings:
      Jon: I know your people are brave, no one denies that. Six times in the last thousand years, a King-beyond-the-Wall has attacked the kingdoms. Six times they failed. You don't have the discipline. You don't have the training. Your army is no army. You don't know how to fight together.
    • During his second trial, Tyrion calls out his father and all of the nobles of King's Landing for never seeing past his deformity and giving him the respect he deserves for saving their lives.
  • Ret Gone: Coldhands never appears, and a number of minor characters have been combined into composite characters.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • Being assigned to the Wall is seen as this, especially since the majority of the guards stationed there are criminals who choose service over their punishments. Others such as Ser Alliser Thorne are members of the former regime who chose the Wall over death.
    • Cersei plans to do this to Ned Stark in "Baelor". Joffrey, however, has other plans.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Stoic Ned Stark and boisterous Robert Baratheon.
  • Red Right Hand:
    • Shade of the Evening stains the Warlocks' lips and mouths blue, making them easy to spot... when they aren't hiding it with magic.
    • Sandor Clegane's burns and Tyrion's dwarfism lead many to assume they are monsters even though they subvert the trope.
  • Red Shirt:
    • The Stark household guard, with the exception of Jory.
    • Lannister soldiers in a more literal sense.
    • Season 1 itself seems to be comprised of Stark bannermen and guards getting speared or destroyed. The only aversion to this is the Battle of the Whispering Wood, which in the series only shows the capture of Jaime. Of course, they were massively outnumbered before.
    • The many Wildlings die in large numbers especially in the Battle of Castle Black.
  • Red Shirt Army:
    • The Night's Watch, which is composed mostly of thieves and murderers who join to avoid their punishments. The rest of the kingdom forgets about them as they freeze and fight.
    • Robb's diversionary army is seen as completely expendable in-universe.
  • Refusal of the Call: Renly initially rejects Loras' suggestion that he should be king in "The Wolf and the Lion", but the idea gradually becomes more appealing after he argues with Robert, and he finally embraces it in "You Win or You Die". When Renly first appears in Season 2, he has already crowned himself king with the help of the Tyrells.
  • Relationship Reveal: The scene where Loras is shaving Renly's chest.
  • Religion is Magic: Magic is left vague and mysterious, but a good portion of it is rooted in a religion. Followers of the Lord of Light can birth Living Shadows or resurrect the dead, and the weirwoods of the old gods are tied to warging and prophecy.
  • Religion of Evil: The faith of the Lord of Light presents itself as good and loving and a necessary bulwark against the god of darkness who aims to wipe out humanity. However, their sinister priests are shown practicing human sacrifice and necromancy.
  • Remember the New Guy: Dolorous Edd is suddenly part of Lord Commander Mormont's group, although the scene from the book where he meets up with them is cut.
  • The Remnant: The Brotherhood Without Banners was founded by the remnant of those Ned Stark sent to bring Gregor Clegane to justice.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated:
    Lord Tywin: I see that the rumors of your demise were unfounded.
    Tyrion: Sorry to disappoint you, Father. No need to leap up and embrace me, I wouldn't want you to strain yourself.
  • Revealing Coverup: The attempted assassination of Bran was the only thing that gave Catelyn reason to believe that he hadn't fallen, but was rather thrown, causing her to dig deeper into the affair and discover various clues pointing to the Lannisters.
  • Revealing Hug:
    • In a Deleted Scene Margaery rolls her eyes while comforting her brother Loras after Renly's assassination. Loras is mourning the death of a lover; the more pragmatic Margaery (who was just The Beard to Renly anyway) is thinking what their next step to the Iron Throne might be after this setback.
    • Littlefinger gives a very telling look of disgust after Lysa embraces and kisses him.
    • After she gives false testimony at the Eyrie, Sansa tearfully embraces Lady Waynwood, then opens her eyes to give a perfectly sober and meaningful look at Petyr.
  • Revenge: Loras and Brienne swear vengeance against Stannis after Renly is murdered.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In "The Ghost of Harrenhal", Loras is ready to storm out of Renly's tent to put a sword through Stannis' righteous face, but Margaery and Littlefinger manage to convince him that it would be hopeless, as he would be killed by Stannis' men long before he ever reached his target.
  • Reverse Arm-Fold: Loras adopts this pose in Season 3 whenever he wishes to appear relaxed; examples include his greeting of Cersei and Joffrey in "Valar Dohaeris", while he walks away from Sansa in "Dark Wings, Dark Words", and Tyrion and Sansa's wedding ceremony.
  • Right Through His Pants:
    • Jaime and Cersei are seen having sex while wearing most of their clothing. Lampshaded by Benioff and Weiss in the commentary for the first episode, where they explain that Jaime is not only a master swordsman, but also a master of having sex without taking off any clothes.
    • Tyrion is also rarely seen naked during his sex scenes, as opposed to his partners.
    • Stannis Baratheon has sex with a completely naked Melisandre while covered in several layers of clothing.
  • Right Through the Wall: Sansa is grossed out by her aunt Lysa's loud screaming during her sex with Petyr.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue:
    • Robert Baratheon's entire rebellion was fueled by his desire to rescue Lyanna Stark.
    • Robb Stark's war starts out this way.
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Played for Laughs when Tyrion gives one to the hill tribes before they go into battle in "Baelor", only to be accidentally knocked out when they rush into battle.
    • Daenerys gives one to the members of her khalasar. Reality Ensues when some choose to leave anyway.
    • Tyrion gives an even better one at the Battle of Blackwater. The little man has a knack for inspiring people.
      "Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!"
    • As does the normally unsympathetic Ser Alliser Thorne at the Battle for the Wall.
    • Subverted with Stannis, who looks like he's about to give a Rousing Speech to inspire his men after a devastating setback only to bark out a single, straightforward sentence. It still works.
      "Come with me and take this city!"
    • Theon Greyjoy, of all people, gives a good one in "Valar Morghulis". It is immediately subverted, as one of his men gives him a Tap on the Head and announces they're going to flee. But he does concede that "it was a good speech"...
  • Royal Blood:
    • The Targaryens and the Baratheons (who are almost a cadet branch). Additionally, all the great houses except the Tullys and Tyrells can claim direct descent from the kings who ruled before the Seven Kingdoms were united.
    • Melisandre believes royal blood is more powerful for Blood Magic.
  • Royal Brat: Just look at the image on the trope's page.
  • Royal Inbreeding: The Targaryens usually wed their siblings.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Targaryens provide the page quote for the trope, arguably due to a long-standing tradition of Brother-Sister Incest. And King Joffrey seems to combine the worst aspects of each of his already-unpleasant parents (also brother and sister).
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Most characters in the series, with Adipose Rex Robert Baratheon as a notable exception by late in his reign.
  • Royalty Superpower:
    • The Targaryens familial affinity for dragons allowed them to become kings.
    • Melisandre claims royal blood has power for blood sacrifice.
    • The Stark's affinity for their direwolves takes on shades of this when one remembers they were once Kings in the North.
  • Rule of Cool: Why would anyone build a clockwork map of the world? Because it looks really really cool, that's why. The little-cogs-in-a-larger-machine effect satisfies the Rule of Symbolism as well.
  • Rule of Three: Daenerys is one of three children, hatches three dragons, and conquers three cities, settling in the third.
  • Rule of Seven: Seven Kingdoms, Seven Gods, Seven Hells, the Kingsguard is made up of seven knights, etc.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Each season ends with a scene relating to a symbol of fire or ice, alternating between the two each season.
      • Season 1: Daenerys' dragons hatch (fire).
      • Season 2: The White Walkers marching a wight army towards the Fist of the First Men (ice).
      • Season 3: Daenerys (a symbolism of fire) frees Yunkai.
      • Season 4: Arya Stark, whose family is symbolic of ice, sails away from Westeros.
    • In "Winter Is Coming", the Starks find two dead animals who died fighting each other — a stag and a direwolf. The latter has six pups which map directly onto the Stark children (including Jon Snow, who gets an albino who ran or was driven away from the others). Everyone is disturbed by this in-universe, as the symbolism of the house sigils is very important in Westeros. Theon Greyjoy is quick to suggest killing the pups, which serves as foreshadowing.
    • At the beginning of "You Win or You Die", Tywin Lannister is shown very calmly butchering a stag as he instructs Jaime on how to carry on the family legacy. (Apparently, Charles Dance was dressing a real dead deer.) A Deleted Scene of Season 3 has Tywin fishing. The sigil of House Tully is a fish.
    • In a room full of guards and soldiers, Littlefinger, a schemer with no physical talent, is the person who holds a knife to Lord Stark's throat, underscoring his backstabbing.
    • At the dinner table in "Valar Dohaeris", the Tyrell siblings are seated next to each other, while Cersei and Joffrey are positioned at the opposite ends. (To maintain symmetry, Margaery and Loras would normally have been placed across from each other.) Guess which family gets along harmoniously and which one is dysfunctional.
    • Joffrey hates flowers because he considers them to be effeminate, yet the new crown he has fashioned for his wedding features several entwined rose buds. This represents Margaery's strong influence on him.
    • Sandor Clegane is known as "The Hound" and wears a helmet shaped like a dog's head, which looks like a wolf's head. This represents his total lack of loyalty to the Lannisters and his growing devotion to protecting the Stark girls which culminates in him dying to protect Arya from what he percieved to be a threat to her.
  • Ruling Couple: A ruling threesome in this case: King Renly, Queen Margaery and Ser Loras are presented as this in Season 2. Natalie Dormer describes their complicated union as a trinity in this featurette. It's Renly's romantic relationship with Loras which allows for the alliance to be created in the first place, and his marriage to Margaery seals the deal officially. Renly treats both his lover and his wife as his equals (the latter is shown symbolically in the melee scene, where Margaery's seat is of the same size as Renly's). The Tyrell siblings essentially function as a Brother-Sister Team in this three-way marriage; Loras' goal is to help Renly win the Iron Throne, while Margaery's job is to help her husband keep it.
  • Running Gag:
    • A minor one from the first two seasons had Cersei tear up any piece of paper that she didn't like or offended her. Pointed out by her brother.
      Tyrion: You've perfected the art of tearing up papers.
    • Tyrion slapping Joffrey (and getting away with it) in the first two seasons as well.
    • Theon being trolled by the blowing of a horn. A very effective use of Mood Whiplash.
    • WHAT did Podrick do to those whores!?
    • Cersei is the curtsy police. When Shae sketches an awkward curtsy, Cersei calls her on it and instructs her how to do it properly. When Brienne bows rather than curtsies to Joffrey, Cersei interrupts to scoff at her.

    S 
  • Sacred Hospitality: Taken very seriously in Westeros even by Wildlings beyond the Wall. Once you've eaten bread and salt under someone's roof, you're their guest and are officially under their protection. It's illustrated in the story of the Rat Cook, told by Bran, who says violation of hospitality is the one crime that the gods cannot forgive. The law is flagrantly broken by Walder Frey at Edmure Tully's wedding to his daughter. Other violations include the Mutiny at Craster's Keep and Sandor Clegane robbing a Riverlands family. Jon Snow in his meeting with Mance Rayder initially planned to murder Mance and end the conflict, but Mance being Genre Savvy offers him food and wine under his roof, which makes it very hard for Jon Snow to fulfill this plan:
    "Are you capable of that, Jon Snow? Killing a man in his own tent when he's just offered you peace? is that what the Night's Watch is? Is that what you are?"
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The three members of the Night's Watch (Will, Gared, and Ser Waymar Royce) who appear in the pilot. And Lady. And Jory, squeaking in just under the 5-episode limit.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Robert and Eddard in Season 1; Renly in Season 2
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • You're free to leave your cell in the Eyrie at any time; the cells actually have only three walls. Of course, the cells are cut into a cliff face, with the missing fourth wall being the one that would keep you safe from falling out into space. Lysa Arryn implies that the cells have sloped floors, which pull the prisoner closer to the edge, as Tyrion shows when he nearly rolls over the side in his sleep.
    • Joffrey gives a minstrel who offends him the choice between having his tongue cut out or losing his hands.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Joffrey does this after hearing a minstrel's song mocking his family. The confused members of court aren't sure whether they should be joining him or not.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Tyrion says he's ready to confess his crimes to Lysa and Catelyn. He then begins confessing to pranks he pulled and indiscretions he committed in his youth. Including something involving bringing a jackass and a honeycomb into a brothel...
  • Saying Too Much: Loras is guilty of this in "Kissed by Fire" when he reveals to Olyvar that he's secretly betrothed to Sansa.
  • Scars Are Forever: All over the place, from facial wounds to severed limbs.
    • Sandor Clegane has serious burn scars on his face cause by his brother Gregor.
    • Littlefinger recounts that he still bears a token of Brandon Stark's "esteem" from navel to collarbone.
    • Tyrion bears a prominent scar from his wounding in the Battle of Blackwater.
    • In addition to his missing hand, Jaime Lannister has several facial scars from his ordeal in the Riverlands.
    • Jon Snow has a few scars from Orell's eagle attack.
    • Theon's torso is mottled with scars from his Cold-Blooded Torture and missing a few pieces besides.
  • Scenery Porn: The series really love to show beautiful establishing shots of places in Westeros and Essos, such as The Wall, The Dothraki Sea, The Vale of Arryn, etc.
  • Schiff One-Liner: Three of the first eight episodes end in a darkly humorous One-Liner.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Olenna Tyrell. And how.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Locke is a rare villainous example. He hates the fact that nobles can buy their way out of trouble, so he chooses to torture his noble captives rather than trade them in for riches (at least to begin with-he later turns down a ransom from Brienne's father because it wasn't enough).
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: In the Season 3 finale, this is Davos' justification for going against Stannis' wishes by freeing Gendry before Melisandre can sacrifice him.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • After Robert's death, Renly and Loras flee King's Landing with their retainers when Ned refuses to join them in taking decisive action against Cersei and Joffrey.
    • Loras and Margaery leave the Stormlands after Renly is assassinated.
    • Ser Barristan, when Joffrey and Cersei try to force retirement on him.
    • Perhaps most blatantly, Sandor Clegane deserts during the Battle of Blackwater with the epic line "Fuck the Kingsguard. Fuck the city. Fuck the king." Delivered to said king's face no less!
    • In the Season 2 finale, Dagmer and the Ironmen. "We're going home!"
  • Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: Dany seals up Xaro Xhoan Daxos (with Doreah) in his own vault as revenge for betraying her.
  • Secret Relationship:
    • Renly and Loras attempt to be discreet about their romance due to the homophobia which exists within Westerosi society.
    • Tyrion and Shae conceal their romance for vital reasons; Tywin warns Tyrion not to take her to court and has vowed to hang the next whore he finds in Tyrion's bed.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Renly Baratheon in relation to his elder brothers.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting:
  • Sex Equals Love: Daenerys and Drogo form a romantic bond once Dany gets tutored on how to take control of her sex life.
  • Sexposition: The series is credited with popularizing this trope and naming it.
    • So many of the show's exposition scenes take place during sex or in brothels that Ros was made into a regular character to receive all the sexposition.
    • Littlefinger uses his background as an illustration on how Ros and another prostitute should go down on each other. In doing so, he reveals a lot about his history and future plans.
    • Viserys opens up about his background to Doreah while screwing her in a tub.
    • Theon reveals his misguided expectations about his homecoming during a romp with a captain's daughter.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: A lot of the subplots and arcs turn out to be this:
    • Arya's quest since the end of Season 1 to return to her family and Winterfell features a lot of Wacky Wayside Tribe and danger, ending with a Hope Spot when Sandor brings her to the Riverlands in touching distance of her family right when The Red Wedding starts. Then it happens all over again in Season 4 when they travel across the devastated Riverlands to the Vale, only to find the last remaining relative willing to pay her ransom has died three days before.
    • In the course of preparing the defenses of King's Landing and leading the battle in the Siege of King's Landing, Tyrion faces Bodyguard Betrayal, loses consciousness and wakes up to find that all his accomplishments, alliances and gains are lost and he's right back where he started.
    • Tyrion tells one while awaiting his trial by combat. He describes in great detail his attempts to understand his simple-minded cousin's obsession with crushing beetles, but the story peters out without any resolution. The implied meaning is that life causes suffering for no greater reason that an idiot smashing bugs.
  • Shameful Strip: King Joffrey orders Sansa Stark stripped and beaten in public in petty revenge for Robb's winning a battle, but Tyrion intervenes.
  • A Shared Suffering: The relationship between Cersei and Tyrion Lannister begins to resemble a brotherly one after Tywin reminds them both of the joy of living under his domineering thumb.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Whether he's at court, on a hunting trip, or commanding an army of about a hundred thousand men, Renly is always handsomely dressed for the occasion.
  • Shield Bash:
    • Tyrion kills a man by this method.
    • Brienne hits Loras' helm-covered head with her shield in the melee, but he recovers from the blow.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Jon Snow, Robb Stark, and Theon Greyjoy in Season 1, as they're waiting for a shave from Winterfell's barber.
    • Renly and Loras have one in Season 1; Loras is shaving Renly's chest while trying to convince his lover that he should make a claim for the throne. They have another in Season 2 where they're kissing passionately in Renly's tent.
    • Gendry in Season 2, when he's working as a smith in Harrenhal.
    • Joffrey in Season 3, when he's trying out various royal outfits.
    • Loras has another in Season 3 when he beds Olyvar.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog:
    • Ros' arc, a character who does not exist in book canon. For the majority of the first two seasons, she is a prostitute who exists primarily for the show's infamous "sexposition", although she has a distinct personality. At the end of Season 2 and in Season 3, she begins navigating the political world as a spy, and doing quite well for herself. She is killed in a brutal and sexualized manner in order to prove the cruelty of two (male) characters, both of whom have already had multiple scenes dedicated to just that.
    • The entire Northern Rebellion led by Robb Stark and Co. becomes this after the Red Wedding. The initial quest of getting justice for Ned Stark and reclaiming Arya and Sansa fails horribly, and Robb, Catelyn, and many loyal retainers and friends die at the hands of the Freys and Boltons, who succeed to gain their former holdings and titles, making the Starks political non-entities in Westeros.
    • Oberyn's quest to get revenge for the murder of his sister ends with The Mountain killing him the same way he killed Elia.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jon and Sam, two characters in a fantasy world, telling each other what they wanted to be when they grew up: a ranger and a wizard, respectively.
    • The helmets of Lannister soldiers are quite similar to those of the German soldiers in Alexander Nevsky, which were, in turn, based on the Stahlhelm of Nazi Germany soldiers.
    • One of the names Viserys mentions when listing the Targaryen dragons is Vermithrax.
    • Shade of the Evening both gives the Warlocks power and changes the color of their lips.
    • An HBO special: In "Two Swords", Sandor Clegane is asked why he's willing to kill civilians but not steal. "A man's got to have a code." Omar Little of The Wire used the exact same line to explain why he was willing to steal, but not kill civilians.
    • In "The Lion and The Rose" Joffrey asks his audience what he should name his new sword — someone shouts out Stormbringer, and someone else suggests Terminus.
    • "Breaker of Chains": Apparently Davos once thought "knight" is pronounced "kuh-niggit".
    • The Valyrian phrase "Valar morghulis" or "All men must die." In the Tolkien Legendarium, the Valar are godlike angelic beings and "morgul" is an Elvish word for black magic.
    • In "The Children", Ygritte's funeral pyre in the woods heavily resembles Darth Vader's in Return of the Jedi.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Facts from the past are prone to be embellished or turned into legends. Aegon, for instance, didn't melt the thousand swords of his vanquished foes into the Iron Throne, but fewer than two hundred. This kind of mystique helps to seam the realm together.note 
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
  • The Siege:
    • Stannis Baratheon besieges King's Landing in the climax of Season 2.
    • During Robert's Rebellion, Stannis was Reduced To Rat Burgers inside Storm's End by Mace Tyrell.
  • Sigil Spam: Many of the great houses have their emblem in everything. The Tullys have a pier outside Riverrun with fish carved to their beams. Sandor Clegane has a helmet in the shape of a dog. Renly's crown has stag antlers on it. The Tyrells don't have a single article of clothing without their rose on it. The last one is pointed out by Lady Oleanna, as a reaction to the stitching of one of her relatives:
    "Another golden rose. How original. I eat from plates stamped with roses. I sleep in sheets embroidered with roses. I have a golden rose painted on my chamber pot, as if that makes it smell any better. Roses are boring, dear."
  • Silent Credits: Used in "The Rains of Castamere" to allow the audience to absorb the shock of the brutal deaths of Talisa, Robb, and Catelyn.
  • Single Line of Descent: Played straight, averted, and justified.
    • Played straight by many houses whose patriarchs seem to lack siblings. The Stark children have no cousins except Robin Arryn, since Ned's siblings all died or took the black before having children, though they are very distantly related to the Karstarks.
    • Averted by the Lannisters in earlier seasons; Lord Tywin is assisted by his brother Kevan and Kevan's son Lancel is squire to King Robert.
    • Justified with the Targaryens whose tradition of incest limited the branching of the family tree, leaving them very vulnerable to a Succession Crisis.
  • Sissy Villain: The eunuch Lord Varys subverts this trope brilliantly. Raised by actors, he knows how to play the role properly to keep the Queen and her council guessing. Even Magnificent Bastard Petyr Baelish doesn't quite know what he's up to. It's mostly an act-when he gets truly angry or serious he drops his usual polite, facetious tone and his voice becomes considerably lower, first seen when he delivers quite a hardass What the Hell, Hero? to Ned Stark.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Daenerys definitely believes this and has dedicated herself to wiping out the slave trade in Slaver's Bay. She believes it so fervently that her Pay Evil unto Evil can stray toward He Who Fights Monsters.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout). What do you expect from an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire?
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The series is noted for its cynical take on High Fantasy tropes, such as The Good King and the Knight in Shining Armor and characters with overly idealistic worldviews do tend to fare poorly, but characters who indulge in too much cynicism, especially to the point of Stupid Evil have their share of hardships as well.
  • Smug Snake: Cersei is one of these most days. Her father dresses her down for it.
    Tywin : I don't distrust you because you are a woman, I distrust you because you're not as smart as you think you are.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Bronn accuses Pyromancer Hallyne of being one of these, even going so far as to suggest that the Wildfire he's making is actually pigshit, much to the man's affront. Averted during the Battle of the Blackwater, where his Wildfire turns out to be the real deal.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    • Varys and Littlefinger engage in it quite a few times.
    Baelish: "When they castrated you, did they take the pillar with the stones? I've always wondered."
    Varys: "Have you? Do you spend a lot of time wondering what's between my legs?"
    Baelish: "I picture a gash. Like a woman's. Is that about right?"
    Varys: "I am flattered, of course, to be pictured at all."
    Baelish: "Must be strange for you, even after all these years. A man from another land, despised by most, feared by all—"
    Varys: "Am I? That is good to know. Do you lie awake at night fearing my gash?"
    • Tyrion is a master of this.
    • A lot of barbs are exchanged between Renly and Littlefinger. Since neither man possesses any talent for fighting, this is the only form of combat that they excel at.
  • Snipe Hunt: Robert can't fit in his armor, so he sends Lancel to find the "breastplate stretcher".
  • Snow Means Death: If the White Walkers seem to bring the cold with them.
  • The So-Called Coward: After describing himself as a coward, Samwell Tarley grows incresingly brave, first by killing a White Walker and then providing a capable defense of Castle Black. Pyp even marvels at how brave he is.
  • The Sociopath: In a show full of bad people doing bad things, Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Snow stand out.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Roose Bolton is calm, courteous, and as cold-blooded a lord as Westeros can offer. His family uses a flayed man as their sigil and has a legendary reputation for torture.
  • Something about a Rose:
    • The rose Loras carries in "The Wolf and the Lion" hints that he is an Agent Peacock — beautiful, but dangerous. Considering that the Mountain had killed an opponent in the previous episode, viewers who haven't read the books might assume that the rather delicate-looking Knight of Flowers is destined to become Gregor's next victim. With a little Combat Pragmatism, however, Loras takes down the fearsome brute on his first jousting attempt.
    • Michele Clapton designed Margaery's wedding gown with the character's personality in mind, and there are visible thorns which run along the costume.
    "I wanted it to be a sort of traditional dress in a funny way, but then roses can be so pretty, and I didn't want them to be pretty, I wanted them to be slightly dangerous because I think she [Margaery] is."
  • Something Else Also Rises: Renly jokes about Robert being aroused at the thought of assassinating Daenerys in "The Wolf and the Lion".
    Renly: Robert is rather tasteless about it. Every time he talks about killing her I swear the table rises six inches.
  • Sore Loser:
    • Ser Gregor kills his own horse and attempts to murder an unarmed Ser Loras (who only carried a shield at the time) after the latter defeats him in the joust.
    • Although Loras doesn't do or say anything negative to Brienne after she wins their melee competition, he's shown to be bitter about his defeat when he speaks to Renly in private.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Joffrey becomes one when he orders Ned Stark beheaded despite Cersei's plan to use him to defuse the war with House Stark before it really begins.
    • The survival of Bran and Rickon means House Stark isn't quite as dead as many characters believe.
  • The Spartan Way: The Unsullied are put through hellish training that makes them immune to pain and robotically loyal.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Cersei and Joffrey have no qualms posthumously calling Renly a "degenerate" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Greatjon.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Being made entirely of swords, the Iron Throne practically reeks of this trope. Aegon the Conqueror fashioned it to serve as a symbol and to intimidate the hell out of anyone who would challenge his rule. However, by all historical accounts, beyond that he was a surprisingly decent monarch. Played straight with Aerys II and Joffrey, who also adds giant spiky braziers to the bases of the pillars of the throne room.
  • Spirit Advisor: Jojen Reed has started to appear in Bran's dreams about the three-eyed crow, advising him on how to follow it.
  • Spoiled Brat: In "The Wolf and the Lion", Lord Renly reveals that his brothers consider him to be a spoiled child. Ser Loras' facial expression and his silence strongly indicate that he agrees. Renly then points out that Loras (whose family is richer than his) is overly-pampered as well.
    Renly: And how much did your father pay for that armour of yours?
  • Spoiled Sweet: Although Renly grew up in the lap of luxury, he is genuinely a nice guy, and he does care about the smallfolk (at least more so than most Westerosi nobles).
  • Spoiler Opening: Often, only actors appearing in a specific episode are actually credited during the opening, indicating which episodes do not feature certain characters. There are some exceptions to this, however.
    • The opening credits "Couch Gag" - the evolving list of cities shown - will sometimes telegraph if an episode will focus in a specific location.
  • The Squire:
    • Lancel was this to King Robert in Season 1.
    • Podrick Payne becomes Tyrion's squire in Season 2. Podrick later squires for Brienne in Season 4.
    • Although this hasn't been explicitly mentioned on the series yet, the HBO Viewer's Guide does state that Loras had served as Renly's squire, which is faithful to the novels.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Robb falls in love with an independent woman from Volantis, but he's bound by a political marriage pact to a Frey daughter he's never even met.
    • Renly and Loras' illicit romance comes to a tragic end in "The Ghost of Harrenhal" after Renly is assassinated.
    • Sam is in love with Gilly, even though he has sworn to take no wife and she is "wed" to her father.
    • Oberyn and Ellaria genuinely love each other, but they cannot marry due to the latter's social status as a bastard; as such, the best they can go for is concubinage. And Oberyn's death at the hands of the Mountain has left Ellaria devastated.
  • Stealth Insult:
    • Sansa appears to have mastered this. One example is this:
      Joffrey: You'll kiss it again when I return and taste my uncle's blood.
      Sansa: Will you slay him yourself?
      Joffrey: If Stannis is fool enough to come near me.
      Sansa: So you'll be outside the gates fighting in the vanguard?
      Joffrey: A king doesn't discuss battle plans with stupid girls.
      Sansa: I'm sorry, Your Grace. You're right, I'm stupid. Of course you'll be in the vanguard. They say my brother Robb always goes where the fighting is thickest. And he is only a pretender.
    • Arya as well.
      Arya: [...] they say he can't be killed.
      Tywin: And do you believe that?
      Arya: (holding her gaze and staring directly at Tywin) No, my lord. Anyone can be killed.
    • In "Garden of Bones", Renly knows very well the kind of self-serving person Littlefinger is, and is disgusted by it.
      Renly: You can trust Brienne. Her loyalty comes without charge.
    • Margaery subtly criticizes Cersei's fashion sense in "Valar Dohaeris".
      Margaery: Loras, isn't the Queen's gown magnificent? The fabric, the embroidery, the metalwork. I've never seen anything like it!
    • Loras then (politely) rubs it into Cersei's face that he thinks very poorly of her as Queen due to her neglect/mistreatment of the smallfolk.
      Loras: (smiling directly at Cersei) Margaery does a great deal of work with the poor back in Highgarden.
    • In "The Lion and the Rose", Loras proves that he can fight with words just as well as he fights with swords after Jaime threatens his life.
      Jaime: Luckily for you, none of this will happen, because you will never marry her [Cersei].
      Loras: (smiles smugly) And neither will you. (pats Jaime on the arm)
  • Stealth Pun: Jon Snow's sword Longclaw is, in fact, a bastard sword.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • Sansa and Gilly. It's a survival technique.
    • Loras puts on a charming smile and a pleasant disposition most of the time, but his mask slips at a very public event in "Second Sons", and his misery betrays itself more subtly in "Valar Dohaeris" (Loras-who is no longer paying attention to the dinner conversation-has a melancholic expression when Joffrey says, "I'm sure she knows what she's doing"). In "The Climb", he sadly tells Sansa, "It's [King's Landing] terrible isn't it? The most terrible place there is," which clearly indicates that Loras is suffering in silence.
  • Stepford Snarker: Sansa becomes a pretty brazen one in the second season.
  • Stockholm Syndrome:
    • Daenerys was basically raped the first few weeks or months of her marriage to a beast of a man whom she feared. However after awhile she embraces everything about his culture and comes to love and care for him and his people. Even when he threatens to murder, rape and pillage from the people who tried to assassinate her, she seems aroused. That's textbook Stockholm Syndrome. It doesn't take completely though-she's repelled after seeing the actual murder, rape and pillaging of the peaceful Lhazareen.
    • Ramsay Snow has perfected the art of instilling this into his captives.
  • Stock Scream: A faint but audible Wilhelm can be heard as soldiers of the Lannister army are patrolling the battlefield finishing off downed enemies in the final episode of Season 1.
  • A Storm Is Coming:
    • "Winter is Coming." They are the official words of House Stark.
    • King Robert foreshadows the War of Five Kings in the second episode of the series:
      Robert: There's a war coming, Ned. I don't know when, I don't know who we'll be fighting, but it's coming.
  • Straight Edge Evil:
    • Tywin Lannister is a proud, dignified, and humorless man characterized by his aura of perfection and ruthlessness in pursuit of his House's well-being.
    • Jaime Lannister discusses the trope in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", commenting to the teetotal Roose Bolton, "You know how suspicious that seems to most people, don't you?" Bolton's not drinking is brought up again in "The Rains of Castamere", when his villainy is finally revealed.
  • Straight for the Commander: The assassinations of Renly Baratheon and Robb Stark prove this tactic need not be limited to the battlefield.
  • Straight Gay: Renly Baratheon has a more masculine appearance and demeanour than his lover.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Jaqen H'ghar refers to everyone-first, second, or third person-by indefinite phrases such as "a man" or "a girl," although sometimes he suffers from Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping such as when he says "And you pour water for one of them now. Why is this right for you and wrong for me?"
  • Street Urchin: This is how Arya lives in King's Landing following her escape from the Red Keep.
  • Stunned Silence:
    • The reaction to the wildfire in "Blackwater".
    • Catelyn's reaction to Robb's death. The silence continues with a total lack of music or sound during the entire credits sequence.
    • The reaction to a drunken Tyrion slamming a dagger into the table and threatening to castrate King Joffrey.
  • Stupid Evil: Joffrey and Ramsay stand out as being incapable of restraining their sadism at great cost to their cause.
  • Subordinate Excuse:
    • Loras is the sole male heir of the second-richest family in Westeros, and presumably he has duties in Highgarden and the Reach, yet in Season 2 he chooses to devote his entire life to protecting Renly. Being the Lord Commander of his brother-in-law's Kingsguard is a very convenient way for Loras to be able to spend a lot of time with his beloved, as his frequent visits can be explained away as being job-related (it doesn't stop the rumours about them from spreading among Renly's followers, however).
    • Almost the same can be said of Brienne, who is the sole surviving child of Lord Selwyn Tarth (and therefore his heiress), although in her case, she has to be content with loving Renly from a distance while she serves as his Kingsguard. What makes her dedication quite remarkable is that, as a woman, Brienne herself isn't obligated-or even expected-to physically fight for Renly when he summons his Stormlands bannermen (which Tarth is a part of) to his cause.
  • Succession Crisis: One begins at the end of episode 7, and is the main focus of later seasons.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type -1: Maester Aemon
    • Type 0: Most of the non-combatant cast, most peasants
    • Type 1: Ned Stark, Robb Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Jaime Lannister, Bronn, Stannis Baratheon, Ser Loras, Khal Drogo, Ser Jorah, Jon Snow, Yoren, Brienne of Tarth, Syrio Forel, Sandor Clegane, Ser Gregor Clegane
    • Type 2: Thoros of Myr, Daenerys Targaryen, Jaqen H'ghar, Wights, Greenseers (Jojen Reed)
    • Type 3: Mirri Maz Duur, Melisandre, Pyat Pree, Dragons (young), Giants, Wargs (Orell and Bran Stark)
    • Type 4: Dragons (full-grown), White Walkers
    • Type 5: R'hllor, aka the Lord of Light (if he exists at all)
  • Suppressed Rage:
    • Loras' body language cannot disguise the utter disgust and frustration that he feels at having to bend the knee to Joffrey in "Valar Morghulis".
    • The abrupt and rude manner in which Loras storms away from the wedding feast in "Second Sons" is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the true depths of his anger over his current situation (i.e. his forced betrothal to Cersei, his inability to mourn for Renly in public, etc.).
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Happens when Margaery explains to Sansa-who's dreading having to sleep with Tyrion when they're arranged to be married-how a woman might not know what she wants sexually until she's tried it.
    Sansa: Did your mother teach you?
    Margaery: (smiles) Yes, sweet girl, my mother taught me.
  • Surprise Incest: Theon hits on a woman that met him at the docks, only to find out that she's his sister.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Invoked. "The Rains of Castamere," a song about the slaughter of a major house that stood up against the Lannisters, is chosen as the signal to begin the Red Wedding specifically for its symbolic value.
  • Sword Pointing: In "The Ghost of Harrenhal", Loras points his sword right in Littlefinger's face and accuses the older man of wanting to sell him and his sister to Stannis as hostages. To Littlefinger's credit, he doesn't even flinch.
  • Sympathy for the Hero:
    • Jaime expresses a moment of this when he sees Ned Stark setting himself up for a fall.
      Jaime: Poor Ned Stark. Brave man, terrible judgement.
    • Varys is supportive of Tyrion in the gloomy aftermath of "Blackwater".
      Varys: There are many who know that without you this city faced certain defeat. The king won't give you any honors, the histories won't mention you, but we will not forget.

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