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Game Of Thrones: Tropes T to Z
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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    T 
  • Tactful Translation: Missandei tactfully translates her boorish master's speech until Dany reveals that she already understood everything. Once in Dany's service, Missandei translates honestly, though she does express embarrassment for the insults she sometimes has to relay.
  • Taking You with Me: During the Battle of Blackwater, Cersei eventually reveals to Sansa that Ilyn Payne isn't just there to protect them, but also because Cersei does not intend to let Sansa live if Stannis wins.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: All of the trueborn Baratheon males share this trait.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Oberyn Martell.
  • Tangled Family Tree: When Loras Tyrell is to wed Cersei Lannister and her (inbred) son Joffrey is to marry Loras's sister Margaery, the family tree gets hilariously complicated all of a sudden. Lady Olenna tries to wrap her head around their familial relations. Specifically:
    • Loras will be Joffrey's stepfather and brother-in-law.
    • Cersei will be Joffrey's mother (as well as aunt) and sister-in-law. note 
    • Margery's and Joffrey's son will be Loras's nephew and step-grandson.
    • Loras will be Margaery's brother and father-in-law.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • Theon receives one at the end of a Rousing Speech. He goes right out.
    • An unlucky hog farmer gets two in "The Rains of Castamere", courtesy of the Hound and Arya respectively. This foreshadows Sandor knocking Arya out when she tries to intervene in the battle at the Twins.
  • A Taste Of Defeat:
    • Following his defeat on the Blackwater, Stannis Baratheon sinks into a depression and becomes even more dependent on the red priestess Melisandre.
    • After losing his sword hand, Jaime Lannister realizes that he must now rely on tactics other than direct force to get what he wants.
  • Teaser-Only Character: Night's Watch rangers Will, Gared, and Waymar Royce in the very first episode.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Joffrey Baratheon is certainly among the most depraved and vicious characters in the series.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Jaqen H'ghar provokes this among the Lannisters at Harrenhal, and Tywin Lannister responds by torturing his own men in search of answers.
  • Tempting Fate: Benjen, Ned, and Robert all say something akin to "We'll talk when I get back". They thought they would, huh?
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Sansa is good at embroidery while Arya prefers archery and swordplay.
  • Thanatos Gambit: By allowing Oberyn to champion him, Tyrion ensures that if he loses (and is therefore condemned) it will ruin Lord Tywin's alliance with House Martell.
  • That Old Time Prescription: Milk of the poppy (that is, opium) is regularly prescribed for painful injuries.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil:
    • Jaime's Jerkass personality partially grew out of this.
    • Tyrion at his trial in Season 4.
      Tyrion: I wish I was the monster you think I am. I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you. I would gladly give my life to watch you swallow it.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Although he says it in a more rational way than usual, Qyburn describes his relationship with the Archmaesters of Oldtown in this way.
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • The Tyrells mostly stick together despite their ambition. Olenna does deride Mace regularly and is dismissive of Loras' intelligence ("[Knocking men off horses with a stick] does not make him wise"), but she and Margaery are also among the most accepting of Loras' sexuality.
    • Lord Rickard Karstark uses his final words to invoke an ancient taboo against kin-slaying, but it doesn't deter his executioner.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: From the very beginning, Daenerys has been on a separate continent from the rest of the story, with only Barristan Selmy directly involved in both arcs.
  • Third-Person Person:
    • Syrio Forel speaks like this.
    • Jaqen H'ghar refers to everyone in indefinite third-person, calling himself "a man" and Arya "a girl".
    • Slaves from Slaver's Bay, including the Unsullied, are required to refer to themselves as "this one" to help destroy their sense of identity.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Qarth is controlled by the trade guild known as The Thirteen, who prove less than helpful to Daenerys.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grāce: Oberyn's apparent victory over Gregor Clegane.
  • Title Card: It's housed in the floating astrolabe that functions as the sun for the giant Clock Punk map of Westeros and Essos in the opening credits. It's revealed to the audience at the end of the credits when it eclipses the sun plate at the centre of the sphere, however, if you're paying attention you can briefly see it at the start of the credits as the camera zooms past the sphere and down to King's Landing.
  • Title Drop: Most episodes are named after a significant line from them. However, the one that tops them all is a series title drop and episode title drop in one sentence:
    Cersei Lannister: When you play the game of thrones, you win... or you die. There is no middle ground.
  • Those Two Guys: Pyp and Grenn. Dolorous Edd is added to the mix in Season 2.
  • Thousand Year Reign: The Lannisters have this goal in mind. In Season 1, Lord Tywin explains to Jaime that the coming months will either cement a Lannister/Baratheon dynasty on the Iron Throne that could last a thousand years, or they could collapse into nothing like the Targaryens (who made it to 300 years themselves).
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Daenerys Targaryen progresses from a timid maid being prostituted for an army to an emancipating conqueror.
    • Arya is slowly leveling up as the series goes on. Unfortunately it comes at a terrible psychological cost.
    • Robb Stark manages to raise and lead an army despite being less than half the age of most of his lords.
    • Samwell Tarly progresses from cowering in the training yard to taking a meaningful part in the defense of Castle Black and encouraging those who are frozen by fear.
  • Torture Cellar: Theon Greyjoy is confined to one in Season 3.
  • Torture Technician:
    • The Tickler is killed for being one at Arya's request.
    • Ramsay Snow is a master of the Bolton tradition of flaying.
    • Polliver alludes to being one in "Two Swords".
  • The Tourney: The most notable one was the Tourney of the Hand in Season 1, but we also see tourneys hosted by King Joffrey and King Renly in Season 2.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sansa really likes lemon cakes.
  • Tragic Hero: Several interacting at the same time.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • During their stay at King's Landing, Ned gives a doll to Sansa. At first, she views this gift with disdain, claiming that she hadn't played with dolls since she was eight. After her father dies, it's revealed in a short scene during the second season that she kept the doll.
    • Renly's armour fits this trope for Loras. This heartbreaking deleted scene from Season 2 makes it more obvious. It's the only physical object that Loras has kept as a reminder of his lover after he buries Renly's body.
  • Tragic Mistake: Several characters' downfalls can be traced to a single action caused by a character flaw.
  • Training from Hell: For the Unsullied, castration is just the beginning. Relentless physical training and infanticide follow.
  • Training Montage: A minor one for Arya in her first "dancing" lesson with Syrio Forel.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Jon Snow in Seasons 2 & 3.
  • Transparent Closet: Everyone seems to know about Renly and Loras; Brienne seems to be the only one who refuses to believe it.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • When Daenerys discovers that the masters of Meereen are taunting her by crucifying a slave child on every milepost to the city, she remains perfectly calm. Her voice and face, however, make it perfectly clear that the responsible ones are going to suffer for this.
    Barristan: I'll tell our men to ride ahead and bury them. You don't need to see this.
    Daenerys: You will do no such thing. I will see each and every one of their faces.
    • Dany dips into this well again when she banishes Jorah Mormont, her most trusted adviser up until that point, for betrayal without ever raising her voice.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • In "Fire and Blood", Joffrey shows Sansa the castle wall adorned with the heads of her family's household, most importantly her septa and her father, and he forces her to look.
    • Everything that happens to Theon Greyjoy in Season 3.
  • Trial by Combat: Bronn championing Tyrion against Ser Vardis. Later, Oberyn Martell stands for him against Ser Gregor Clegane. This one doesn't end well for him.
  • Trickster: Littlefinger actively destabilizes Westeros to provide himself opportunities to manipulate people and increase his own power.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • The main theme gets this treatment on a couple occasions, the first being when Robb rides back from battle safe and sound, with Jaime Lannister as his prisoner, and the second over the final scene and closing credits of the season. The latter is so effective it's difficult not to leap from your couch, fist pumping and cheering when it cuts to black. Dragons have that effect.
    • As noted above, while the "The Throne Is Mine" during Joffrey's purge of Robert's bastards is the Dark Reprise of the Baratheon theme, it segues into a triumphant rendition of "Black of Hair" when Gendry escapes to safety.
    • Robert Baratheon's theme also gets a triumphant reprise when Gendry learns his true parentage in The Bear and the Maiden Fair.
    • "The King In The North" is reprised, not for Robb who died in the previous episode, but for Bran as he goes to the Wall in Mhysa.
  • Truce Zone: Within the Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak it is forbidden to shed blood, but Exact Words allow for Loophole Abuse.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: King Renly and Lady Catelyn are among the very few individuals in this Crapsack World who can look past Brienne's unappealing physique and see her inner beauty.
  • Try to Fit That on a Business Card:
    • The official title of the King on the Iron Throne is "X of House Y, Number of his name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm". It's easy to understand why fans will usually call the position "King of Westeros".
    • Dany's evergrowing magnificence tangles it some more, since she lays claim to the above title and adds "...of the Blood of Old Valyria; Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea; Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons". You can see why most people just call her Khaleesi.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Astapor slavers created the best soldiers in the world, the Unsullied. However, they didn't count on Daenerys Targaryen's first act after buying the Unsullied, which was ordering that they slaughter their former masters, and then freeing them from slavery with the option to serve her. The Unsullied took it.
  • 24-Hour Armor: King Renly doesn't seem to have any formal clothing other than his armour in Season 2.
  • The Twink: Ser Loras Tyrell and Olyvar.
  • Twincest: Jaime and Cersei Lannister have had a long-term relationship.
  • Tykebomb: The Unsullied are eunuch slaves trained from childhood to be soulless weapons.

    U 
  • Ultimate Job Security:
    • Varys, Pycelle and Barristan are all survivors from the Targaryen regime. Each of them is too good at what they do to have been removed from their posts. Defied with Ser Barristan, who expects to serve for life but is dismissed in the transition from Robert to Joffrey after Robert dies under his watch.
    • Littlefinger tries to bump it up to Vetinari Job Security, right to Cersei's face, but she reveals that she's impulsive and capricious enough to just up and kill him, no matter the consequences.
  • Uncertain Doom: Syrio Forel. The last we see of him is when he is about to fight Ser Meryn Trant with a broken practice sword. We hear his battle cry and the sounds of a fight before the scene cuts away. Trant appears later, unscathed, but Syrio's fate is never addressed.
  • Uncommon Time: At certain points during the Battle Of Castle Black, the soundtrack goes from the regular 4/4 to a descending 5/4. And it is awesome.
  • Undead Child: In the very start of episode one, we see a young wildling girl, murdered by the White Walkers and nailed to a tree. A few minutes later, she's no longer stuck to the tree, and is giving us a good look at her unnatural blue eyes. Creepy...
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Littlefinger believed this as a child, but a duel with Brandon Stark taught him different.
    • Justified with Robb Stark's rebellion mostly because the Lanisters massively underestimate his skill and ability to command his men allowing him to deal some stunning defeats, inspiring his own men and disheartening his foes. It isn't until he puts his feelings before his duty that things start to turn sour
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Although his House joined the Lannisters to gain more power, Loras Tyrell only really wanted to avenge his murdered lover. Commanding a cavalry charge while wearing Renly's armouras a way of honouring his vow from Season 1 is quite a Grand Romantic Gesture.
    • Brienne remains dedicated to King Renly, even after his death, becoming furious and forceful when Jaime insults him one time too many.
    • Even though Daenerys has already purchased the unquestioning obedience of the Unsullied, when she frees them she earns their loyalty even beyond their Unsullied conditioning.
    • The job description of a Dothraki bloodrider; if their khal dies, they are to avenge his death, escort his khaleesi to Vaes Dothrak, and then join their khal in death.
  • The Unfavorite: Tyrion Lannister, Theon Greyjoy, and Samwell Tarly.
  • The Unfettered: Nothing, not even morality, prevents Tywin Lannister from pursuing his goals for his House.
  • The Unhug: Cersei and Tyrion have one in Season 2, but they don't even get as far as hugging. After almost two seasons loathing each other, Cersei finally breaks down in front of Tyrion. Tyrion realizes that you're supposed to do something to comfort your sobbing sister, but he's so out of practice that he just sort of awkwardly pats her hand, which only makes them both even more uncomfortable.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Blu-ray extras of the history of Westeros are narrated by various characters, each with a biased view of the events they describe. For example: Tywin Lannister views his Sack of King's Landing as a just action to end the war and restore order, while Robert Baratheon sees it as a Necessary Evil, Ned Stark views it as a terrible crime, and Viserys Targaryen calls it an unjust betrayal. All of them have a point.
  • The Unreveal: Shae is vague and mysterious about her past. When Cersei corners her and demands details about her life, Shae starts, "When I was thirteen..." but gets cut off.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The best schemes are kept obscure even from the audience until they come to fruition in a Wham Episode.
    • The only hint of Tyrion's plan to use wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater is a vague Call Back to his meeting with Pyromancer Hallyne.
    • Dany's advisors are appalled by her trading a dragon for an army. Neither they nor the viewers are aware that she plans to turn her dragon against the buyer and use the army to conquer Astapor.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Although most curses are in modern English, from time to time characters will reference the Fantasy Pantheon with curses like "Seven Hells!"
  • Uriah Gambit:
    • Tyrion thinks this is why his father has put him in the vanguard at the Battle of the Green Fork.
    • Cersei takes Ros hostage to ensure Tyrion doesn't intend to do this to Joffrey at the Battle of Blackwater.
  • The Usurper: Robert Baratheon is a much more sympathetic example than most, given the behaviour of his predecessor.

    V 
  • Vagina Dentata: Referenced when Ygritte is trying to seduce Jon. "It doesn't have teeth..."
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Even though Robert Baratheon killed the man who captured his beloved in single combat, he seems to be unable to be satisfied with it. He mentions in his dreams that "he kills him every night" which betrays the emptiness he feels even with having revenge.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Hodor!
  • Viking Funeral: Catelyn's father Hoster Tully receives one in "Walk of Punishment".
  • Villainous Breakdown: Viserys begins showing greater and greater signs of this as he spends more time among the Dothraki. His breakdown reaches its climax when Khal Drogo presents him his "golden crown."
  • Villainous Incest:
    • Cersei Lannister with her twin Jaime, although "villainous" is not so straightforward in this series.
    • Viserys Targaryen is established as villainous when he undresses and fondles his sister, but the Targaryen dynasty has produced everything from The Good King to The Caligula regardless of marrying their siblings.
    • Craster, who practices forced Parental Incest.
  • Villainous Rescue: Tywin has a sort of Big Damn Heroes moment in "Garden of Bones", wherein he stops Gendry's torture (and by the extension the continued torture of other captives) on the grounds that it is a waste of good workers.
  • Villain over for Dinner: Tyrion returns to his quarters to find Varys chatting with his mistress Shae, whose presence is supposed to be a complete secret. Varys makes friendly conversation but obliquely references to Tyrion what a shame it would be if Tywin learned about her presence.
  • Villains Never Lie: The Lannisters lie all the time, but they do take their unofficial motto ("A Lannister always pays his debts") very seriously. If they outright promise you something (whether it's gold or revenge) you can count on getting it.
  • Villain Song: "The Rains of Castamere", also known as the Lannister song, chronicles Tywin's annihilation of House Reyne of Castamere, a rebellious vassal. Famous in-story, it's effectively used as Badass Boast, Implied Death Threat and leitmotif.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Cleaving to virtues like love, honor, and justice comes at a very high price for several characters, but others use it to inspire Undying Loyalty from those around them.
  • The Virus: People killed or touched by the White Walkers or their wights become wights in turn.
  • Visual Innuendo: Ramsay Snow has a penchant for gelding captives and eating sausages.
  • Visual Pun: Jon Snow, the Bastard of Winterfell wields a bastard sword.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Faceless Men like Jaqen H'ghar can change their faces at will.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Daenerys' method of euthanizing a catatonic Drogo.

    W 
  • Waif-Fu: Subverted by Arya who is trained in a Braavosi fencing style well-suited to her size, but any attempt to take on experienced and armoured male combatants head-on ends with Arya being easily disarmed. Despite this, Arya is still able to kill by exploiting the fact no one considers a young girl dangerous.
  • The Wall Around the World: Characters refer to the Wall as "the edge of the world." The Wall itself has startling parallels with Hadrian's Wall, a huge, 80 mile long barrier stretching across the top of England which was began in AD 122 and built to protect Roman Britain from Scottish invasion. Unsurprisingly, George R.R. Martin has stated that a visit to Hadrian's Wall was his inspiration.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Marillion, who accompanies Catelyn and Tyrion to the Vale and has his tongue removed by Ser Ilyn Payne.
  • War Is Hell: Just like in the books it's adapted from.
  • Warrior Monk: Thoros of Myr is a red priest of R'hllor, but he is far more renowned for being the first man through the breach at the Siege of Pyke.
  • Warrior Prince: Stannis Baratheon and Robb Stark. Daenerys' long-dead brother Rhaegar Targaryen was also one.
  • The War Room: High lords typically have a war room in their castles or in the field where they plan their next move around an elaborate Big Board.
  • Wasteful Wishing: Lampshaded when Gendry asks why Arya didn't tell Jaqen H'ghar to kill King Joffrey or Lord Tywin.
  • The Watson: Ros's function, particularly during the first season (besides being Ms. Fanservice), is to receive exposition. She was apparently created for the show to avoid "As You Know..." conversations.
  • We All Die Someday:
  • We Are Struggling Together: Quite common in Westeros given the number of factions and shifting alliances.
    • One of the main factors in the War of the Five Kings is that Renly and Stannis fight each other rather than present a united front against Joffrey.
    • The constant in-fighting among the wildlings prevented them from being a serious threat to the Seven Kingdoms until Mance Rayder united them.
  • Weapon Across the Shoulder: Hobb, the Castle Black cook, slings his enormous cleaver over his shoulder while strolling through his kitchen and killing wildlings.
  • Weapon of Choice:
    • Swords Are Heroic for characters like Ned, Jon, Arya, Robb, Stannis, Jaime, and Brienne, but other characters also wield them. Joffrey owns ornate swords such as Hearteater and Widow's Wail as propaganda, but prefers to kill helpless victims with a crossbow that takes much less skill and training.
    • Tyrion tends to wield axes, perhaps as a Shout-Out to Tolkien dwarves.
    • Ygritte uses a bow even in the midst of a melee.
    • Boisterous Bruiser Robert Baratheon favoured a warhammer.
    • The mutineer Karl Tanner is a Knife Nut.
    • Like many Dornishmen, Oberyn Martell favours a spear during a duel.
  • Weather of War:
    • When Joffrey argues that they should subjugate the North in Season 1, Cersei points out that even the gods will save their army from winter.
  • Wedding Day:
    • A singularly depressing one for Tyrion and Sansa in "Second Sons".
    • Followed not long after by "The Rains of Castamere", in which Edmure Tully gets married to one of the Frey daughters, and then Robb, Talisa, Catelyn, and everybody else in the Stark party is murdered.
    • "The Lion and the Rose" chronicles the royal wedding. Not unlike the previous one, it's a roaring success for the enemies of the groom, as Joffrey is killed during the celebration.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy:
    • Theon's quest for his father Balon's respect drives him to extremes in Season 2 that completely alienate him from the Starks, only for him to realize too late that the man he should have been trying to emulate was Ned Stark.
    • Jaime, Cersei, and Tyrion Lannister all seek validation from their father, which Lord Tywin always fails to provide.
    • The psychopathic Ramsay Snow looks like a kid at Christmas when his father Roose Bolton legitimizes him as Ramsay Bolton.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The ninth episode of each season always has a WHAM moment, including Ned's execution, the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and the Red Wedding.
    • Season 4 is more of a Wham Season, but a few episodes in particular stand out:
      • "The Lion and the Rose": Joffrey is poisoned at his own wedding and Tyrion is arrested for it.
      • "The Mountain and the Viper": Daenerys discovers Jorah's spying and exiles him from Meereen, Sansa begins lying and manipulating under Littlefinger's tutelage, the Boltons solidify their hold on the North, and, biggest of all, Oberyn Martell loses in Tyrion's trial by combat, condemning Tyrion to death.
      • "The Children": Stannis and his men arrive at the wall, Brienne defeats Sandor, Tyrion kills Shae and Tywin before making his escape, and Arya sails for Braavos.
  • Wham Line: Quite a few of them.
    "The Wolf and the Lion": "I call upon you to seize him, and help me return him to Winterfell to await the king's justice."
    "The Pointy End": "They want me to go to King's Landing, I'll go to King's Landing. But not alone; call the banners."
    "Baelor": "Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!''"
    "The Prince of Winterfell": "I have your little whore."note 
    "Valar Morghulis": "Dracarys." Also, the third blast.
    "Kissed By Fire": "Tyrion will do as he is bid. As will you [...] You will marry Ser Loras."
    "The Rose and the Lion": "He poisoned my son. Take him. Take him!"
    "Mockingbird": "I will be your champion," and "Your sister."
  • Wham Shot: Many.
    • "Winter Is Coming": Jaime pushes Bran out of the window.
    • "The Kingsroad": Bran opens his eyes.
    • "A Golden Crown": The Dothraki seize Viserys and break his arm.
    • "You Win or You Die": The goldcloaks turn on Ned's men.
    • "Fire and Blood": The first dragon comes into view.
    • "Blackwater": Ser Mandon Moore slashes Tyrion's face.
    • "Walk of Punishment": Locke chops, and Jaime screams.
    • "The Rains of Castamere": The doors are shut and "The Rains of Castamere" starts playing. And again when Black Walder appears to finish the job.
    • "Oathkeeper": The White Walker leader transforms Craster's baby son into one of them.
    • "The Laws of Gods and Men": Shae's arrival at the trial.
    • "The Mountain and the Viper": Ser Gregor trips Oberyn.
    • "Watchers on the Wall": Ygritte gets shot.
    • "The Children": Tyrion finds Shae in Tywin's bed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Minor characters appear and disappear for long periods of time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Mirri Maz Duur calls out Daenerys for seeing herself as a hero for "saving" Mirri after she had already been raped and forced to watch everything and everyone she valued destroyed by Daenerys' husband.
    • Arya calls out the Brotherhood Without Banners for callously selling out Gendry for gold, despite their claims of being a Band of Brothers and fighting for the people.
    • Sandor Clegane also calls out the Brotherhood for accusing him of crimes he had nothing to do with to justify their plan to rob and execute him.
    • Robb and Catlyn are both called out (by each other and Robb's banner men) over some of their more questionable choices
  • Where Is Your X Now?: After losing the battle of Blackwater, a pissed off Stannis chokes Melisandre, who promised his victory through the God of Light. "Where's your god now?" he says. She responds, "Inside you," and he releases her.
  • While You Were in Diapers: In "The Ghost of Harrenhal", one of Theon's crewmen, less than impressed by Captain Theon, goes even further back, saying that "I have been reaving and raping since before you left Balon's balls."
  • Whip It Good: Rakharo uses a whip to take down Viserys and the wineseller who tries to poison Daenerys.
  • White Stallion: Used on several occasions to make people look more awesome, presumably in a deliberate evocation of this trope. As part of his regal image, King Renly Baratheon rides one in "Garden of Bones". His lover Ser Loras Tyrell will later charge into battle in "Blackwater" on Renly's white horse to better enhance the illusion that he is King Renly's ghost. Other characters such as Lord Tywin and Yara Greyjoy ride white horses when making a Big Entrance. Likewise Daenerys Targaryen, after losing the white horse she was given as a wedding gift while crossing the Red Waste, acquires another after sacking her first city, marking her new role as The Conqueror.
  • Whodunnit: The first season is largely driven by Ned and Catelyn Stark's investigation of the death of Jon Arryn and the attempted murder of their son Bran until war breaks out.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?:
    • Sam Tarly was forced to join the Night's Watch because his father thought this of him.
    • Tyrion Lannister gets told this time and again because his dwarfism and whore-mongering wound his father's pride and prestige.
    • Deconstructed by Balon and Yara Greyjoy. After losing all his sons to death or captivity, Balon raises his daughter like a son, which Yara completely embraces.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sandor Clegane has an intense phobia of fire after being horribly burned by his brother as a child. In "Blackwater", he deserts the defense of King's Landing when the battlefield gets covered in fire. In "Kissed By Fire", he's forced to fight a duel with an opponent wielding a flaming sword. In Season 4, he refuses to cauterize a wound that is going septic.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist:
  • Wife Husbandry:
    • Given the Targaryen tradition for sibling marriage, Viserys likely had this in mind for Daenerys, whom he helped raise in exile.
    • Craster breeds his own harem, marrying his daughters and exposing his sons.
  • With My Hands Tied: Jaime thought he could do this to Brienne, but she proves far more skilled than he thought and armoured as well, while he is unarmoured, bound, and weak from imprisonment. Brienne simply remains on the defensive and uses body-blows until Jaime becomes clumsy with exhaustion.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Daenerys grows from a timid princess into one of these.
  • The Women Are Safe With Us: Deconstructed with Daenerys. She tries to save the women of a defeated tribe from rape. Later one of those women gives Daenerys a What the Hell, Hero? speech for seeing herself as a hero for "saving" her when she had already lost everything and everyone she cared about at the hands of Daenerys' husband.
  • Women Are Wiser: Dan Weiss describes the Tyrells in this featurette as: "...basically a secret matriarchy [...] where the men tend to be handsome dopes and the women are really the brains behind the operation."
  • Woman Scorned: After being rejected by Tyrion (for her own safety), Shae shows back up in King's Landing for his trial to provide false testimony against him out of revenge.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: A running theme for the show is that being able to conquer doesn't mean you can rule. Almost every character that gains power finds actually running a kingdom turns out to be harder then fighting for it was.
    • Robert Baratheon crushes the Targaryen dynasty during the rebellion and becomes king. However he is such an irresponsible ruler that his government is in massive debt and only a few steps away from civil war
    • Daenerys conquers the cities of Slaver's Bay and ends slavery there. Within a few months there are uprisings against her rule and the former slavers are working to regain control. Violence gets so bad that some people are asking to be made slaves again so they can at least be safe.
    • House Lannister as a whole falls into this by the end of season 4. They have won the War of Five Kings, but the kingdom is a mess, and they are in huge debt. Rather then deal with these problems, they spend most of the post-war period fighting among themselves. When the dust settles, their patriarch is dead and the realm is now in the hands of the very unpopular Cersei.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Sandor Clegane.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • Jaime Lannister is one of the best swordsmen in the realm, but when he's pitted against Brienne, she beats him fairly easily. However, he had spent almost a year in chains, and had no armour and his hands tied at the time.
    • Sandor Clegane is also one of the strongest and most fearsome fighters in the realm, able to hold his own against his brother Gregor and to defeat Beric Dondarrion. However, when he faces off against Brienne, he is suffering from an infected neck wound.
  • World of Badass: Pretty much every character is capable of either out-fighting, out-thinking, out-plotting, or out-lying every other character, often only failing due to Tragic Flaws that are usually a deficiency in one of those aforementioned areas.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech:
    • Tyrion telling Shae that despite the betrayal and outmaneuvering by his family, he wants to stay in King's Landing because he both belongs there and he likes playing the game against his family and the other manipulators of the city.
    • Littlefinger's awesome "chaos is a ladder" speech to Varys. Destroying "the Realm" isn't the end, it's an opportunity.
  • World of Ham: The examples under Large Ham above are really just the most prominent and consistent examples; almost everyone gets their moment to snack on masonite.
  • World of Snark: The Lannisters are the biggest providers, but most characters get a chance.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Littlefinger and Varys seem to enjoy verbally sparring with each other and clearly see each other as the only other person on their mental level.
    • Jaime sees Eddard as one in regards to swordfighting. He admits that he's heard of Eddard's reputation and wants to test his mettle. When he finally gets the chance to square off with Eddard, a guard screws it up by interfering.
    • Lord Tywin considers Lady Olenna to be his intellectual equal and recognizes that she's the true head of House Tyrell, as he deals with her directly when arranging a marriage between their two families, and not with her son Mace, who is technically the Lord of Highgarden. Olenna then praises Tywin for living up to his reputation.
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Bronn admits that the first person he killed was a woman who attacked him with a weapon. Shae still doesn't approve.
    • In "Blackwater", Sandor Clegane notes that he has put several women in the ground, and that Bronn has too.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: After killing a handful of Mole's Town men and women without hesitation, Ygritte declines to harm Gilly and her child.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Cersei and Jaime's age is inconsistent. Tywin Lannister was Hand to King Aerys II for 20 years before Robert's Rebellion, but Cersei, who became queen at 17 following the rebellion, remembers when he was appointed. In Season 4, Cersei says she has been queen for 19 years, which added to 17 would make her 36, but her twin Jaime was said to be 40 in the season premiere.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Littlefinger challenged Brandon Stark to a duel because he thought he was the plucky hero of the songs and poems he'd heard growing up. Brandon, being a much better fighter, promptly kicked his ass. He learned quickly however, and decided to get what he wanted in his own way.
    • Sansa Stark begins the series believing the world is like the songs and stories, but she gets more savvy and cynical as her experiences show her the error of her ways.
    • Melisandre believes the world is black and white in a series full of Gray and Grey Morality.
  • The Wrongful Heir to the Throne:
    • Renly invokes this trope when trying to convince Ned Stark to support his coup for the throne, pointing out that while Stannis has the legitimate claim, he's the most qualified heir for the job.
    • In the backstory, Aerys Targaryen was unquestionably the rightful king, and Viserys his heir. Robert Baratheon was a traitor and a usurper. That being said, Aerys had a nasty habit of burning people alive to amuse himself, and Viserys wasn't much better, so most people were quite happy to accept Robert as king.
    • This trope is the entire motivation for Ned's actions regarding an attempted coup, as shortly prior to King Robert's arranged death, he discovers the king's three children were born of the queen's brother, and slightly modified Robert's last will and testament from "to my son Joffrey" to "the legitimate heir". Being that King Robert had no legitimate children at the time of his death, in Ned's eyes and the eyes of the law, the throne should pass to Robert's younger brother Stannis instead.

    X-Z 
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Part of Littlefinger's strategy appears to be fomenting chaos and reacting to opportunities as they present themselves.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • In "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", Theon is teased with the offer of a threesome with two prostitutes, only for his tormentor to cut off the most prized part of his body.
    • "The Rains of Castamere", for Arya.
  • You Are Already Dead: Drogo delivers a variant of this to Mago, just before before cutting his throat open with his own weapon, reaching into the wound, and ripping his tongue out.
  • You Are in Command Now: Jon Snow takes command of the defense of Castle Black when everyone else is incapacitated or cowering.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • Almost everyone who's left Winterfell has never returned home to it (Ser Rodrik Cassel being the only notable exception). And they may never now that it has been burned down. Then again, Winterfell is thousands of years old and made of stone; it's fixable.
    • Jorah and Dany are also struggling with this trope, though if Dany has anything to say about it, it will die screaming.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Littlefinger kills Dontos Hollard for this and He Knows Too Much.
  • You Look Familiar: Dean-Charles Chapman played Martyn Lannister, one of the prisoners murdered by the Karstarks, in Season 3. In Season 4, he plays King Tommen Baratheon.
  • You Monster!:
    • Jon Snow calls Craster a monster to Commander Mormont, for marrying his daughters/granddaughters, and because he sacrifices all his baby sons to the White Walkers. Mormont agrees with him, but states that they have other fights to worry about.
    • Cersei opens a conversation with Tyrion with "You monster!" because he is sending her daughter Myrcella away to Dorne.
    • Joffrey is casually called a monster by Loras in Season 1. In Season 3, Sansa admits that Joffrey is a monster to Olenna and Margaery Tyrell after significant prodding.
    • Joffrey refers to Tyrion as "You little monster" during one of his rants. Tyrion snarks back nonchalantly.
  • Young Conqueror:
    • Robb Stark, the "Young Wolf". Varys notes to Eddard that boys like him have become conquerors before.
    • Theon Greyjoy wishes he were this, but he falls flat.
    • Daenerys intends to conquer Westeros, which she regards as her birthright.
  • Younger than They Look: Tyrion, who is supposedly young enough that he was a baby while Jaime, Cersei and Oberyn Martell were at least in their mid-childhood. Tyrion looks somewhere in his mid-forties, while Jaime and Cersei are described in the 4th season as being 40, and Oberyn looks younger still. And yes, Peter Dinklage is the oldest actor out of the four.
  • You Shall Not Pass:
    • Syrio Forel holds up four Lannister soldiers and a member of the Kingsguard while Arya escapes. He does this armed only with a wooden sword.
    • And later Yoren tries to do the same for Arya and Gendry. It doesn't work.
    • Jorah Mormont does it twice, first against Viserys when he tries to steal dragon eggs and later against a battle-hardened Dothraki fighter. Fittingly, his family motto is "Here We Stand."
    • Grenn and his chosen five men have an Offscreen Moment of Awesome defending the tunnel from a giant after one last recitation of the Night's Watch oath. They all die, but the brothers succeed in their job.
  • You Talk Too Much: In "Second Sons", Queen Danearys meets with the three sellsword captains opposing her, in an attempt to talk them into changing sides. Later, back at their camp:
    Prendahl: That dragon bitch, she talks too much.
    Daario: You talk too much.
    Meto: She won't talk so much when she's choking on my cock.
  • Yubitsume: Davos is punished with losing four fingertips for his years of smuggling, but rewarded with a knighthood for smuggling food to Stannis.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Due to the recent re-emergence of the White Walkers, vast swaths of land beyond the Wall has been overrun by "wights", undead corpses resurrected by the Walkers to act as footsoldiers for their march south. This is why so many wildlings (such as Osha and her original group) are fleeing south, and why many of the wildling factions are banding together to fight their way into the south. The Season 2 finale has an entire army of wights going to attack the Night's Watch, led by the White Walkers.

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