Heartwarming: A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
- King Robert Baratheon is normally a Large Ham and Boisterous Bruiser. However, when he first gets to Winterfell, the first thing he does is pay his respects to his lost love Lyanna Stark. Whether you view Robert as a good man or a bad one, his love for Lyanna and for the Starks as a whole, is genuine.
- The direwolves, Ghost and Nymeria, of the two 'odd' Stark children, Jon Snow a bastard and Arya the tomboy, bond just as closely as Jon and Arya do.
- Jon giving his little sister Arya the sword Needle as a parting gift, as they are the closest siblings to each other (though Jon and Robb seem as close sometimes) and know that they probably won't see each other again for years. Plus, of course, "Stick them with the pointy end" and "Don't tell Sansa!"
- When Tyrion is hanging out with the men of the Night's Watch, Maester Aemon calls Tyrion a "giant among men." Tyrion is almost too touched to say anything.
- Ned's conversation with Arya on her behaviour. "She had never loved him so much as she did in that instant."
- Tyrion showing a newly disabled Bran how he can still learn to ride a horse.
- The Hound winning the tournament by saving Ser Loras' life, and the crowd cheers for him for the first time ever.
- Jon helping Sam feel at home among the Night's Watch, specially this line:
Jon: "We're not friends, we're brothers."
- Syrio Florel does not mind teaching a girl how to fight and in fact is willing to be hired for a longer term and travel all the way to continue tutoring Arya.
- Lord Mormont giving Jon his family's sword.
- An often overlooked one: Hoster Tully, in one of his more lucid moments, talks about the Battle of the Camps
Hoster: "I saw. Last night, when it began, I told them...had to see. They carried me to the gatehouse...watched from the battlements. Ah, that was beautiful...the torches came in a wave, I could hear the cries floating across the river...sweet cries...when that siege tower went up, gods...would have died then, and glad, if only I could have seen your children first. Was it your boy who did it? Was it your Robb?”Catelyn: "Yes, It was Robb...and Brynden. Your brother is here as well, my lord."
- When the fierce Khal Drogo asks Dany why she chose "Rhaego" as their son's name, she tells him she named him after her brother, who was killed before she was born. The Khal thinks for a moment, smiles at Dany, and tells her that he thinks it's a good name.
A Clash of Kings
- After Sansa is ordered to strip in court by Joffery, Tyrion arrives on the scene, orders someone to cover her, and puts her up in the Hand's quarters, in Arya's old bedchamber. He orders his own people to guard Sansa from Joffery, and even offers to assign a female guard if that would make her feel more comfortable.
- Sansa basically melts the heart of a drunken, scared, merciless and desperate (at that point) killer by singing a song to him.
- And earlier, she gathers with the other scared women, children, and elderly people to sing and pray before and during the Battle of Blackwater. Sansa prays for her family and friends, for Tyrion Lannister and Sandor Clegane, for all the soldiers (who are fighting on behalf of her enemies, no less) and their loved ones, even for people who have already died or whom she's never met. It just show how big her heart is.
- Tyrion getting truly appreciated by a group of his peers for the first time in his life, as his troops use him as a battle cry in the Battle of the Blackwater.
HALFMAN! HALFMAN! HALFMAN!
- The scene where Pod rescues Tyrion from Ser Mandon Moore. First because of Tyrion automatically assuming that it was Jaime, thus reminding us that only Jaime, Jaime, has ever treated him with kindness, and then for the subsequent revelation that it was plucky young Pod, the previously useless, timid squire, rescuing his liege.
- Book 2 has the one where Stannis tells Davos that he is right for wrongfully putting his trust in his fickle lords bannermen.
Stannis: Davos, I have missed you.
- Stannis again of all people, when he tells his tale of Proudwing.
- Even though he's very rigid, Stannis is very bad at hiding his feelings for certain people in general. Comments about Robert, Renly, his parents, Maester Cressen and Shireen all could count as him having a heartwarming moment. Or at least as much as Stannis can express it.
- When Thorne arrives in King's Landing, Tyrion sends him back to the Wall and asks him to say hello from him to Lord Commander Mormont and Jon Snow.
- Willful, somewhat simpleminded, and lecherous Edmure Tully when his sister angrily demands to know why he let a bunch of useless people into a castle just about to be besieged: "Because they were my people, and they were afraid."
A Storm of Swords
- A small bit where the Tyrells are trying to wed Sansa to Willas Tyrell. Margaery sees Sansa's doubts and begins to speak lovingly of her brother's attributes. Keep in mind that they don't actually need Sansa's approval or consent; Margaery just wants her brother to be happy and for Sansa to see the same good in him that she does. And it worked, as Sansa was looking forward to the wedding. Too bad the Lannisters got wind of the plan.
- Sansa daydreaming about what it would be like to be married to Willas; she imagines them with puppies in Highgarden, and thinks about the names she would give her sons: Eddard, Brandon, and Rickon. She even pictures a daughter that reminds her of Arya.
- The entirety of Sansa and Margaery's friendship. Although the events of the story prevent them from keeping close and the fact that the Tyrells might be manipulating Sansa, Margaery does genuinely seem to care about Sansa and calls her sister. This is particularly shown when, despite cutting ties with Sansa when she is forced to marry Tyrion, Margaery still sheds tears for her and her situation.
- Stannis making Davos a Lord and his Hand for being honest and loyal to him. Stannis may seem like a harsh man but he certainly appreciates loyalty.
- A subtle one, but Jaime's joke about only rescuing maidens after freeing Brienne from the Bloody Mummers is an understated way of making sure that she really was unharmed during her captivity. Considering that just a few chapters ago he was an amoral bastard who cared only about himself and his twin sister...
- Also, "Her name is Brienne". What happened to calling her "wench", huh Jaime?
- The one that stands out in my mind is Robb Stark reminding Catelyn Stark in A Storm Of Swords that Eddard Stark had four sons, not three. Thus reminding her that Jon Snow even existed. Shows how close the two brothers are. And throughout the book, Arya and Bran both remember their big brother, while in the previous two they forgot he existed. Even Sansa, who had followed her mother's lead in keeping her distance from Jon, realizes that she would really like to see him again.
- Robb subsequently using his powers as king to legitimize Jon as a Stark and make him the heir to Winterfell, confidently assuring his mother that Jon would never harm a son of his.
- The Hound's Pet the Dog moment with Arya after the Red Wedding: "This thing about your mother.
- Jon getting elected Lord-Commander of Night's Watch. For reference, Jon is the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark, and was often derisively addressed by his comrades-at-arms as Lord Snow (Snow being a surname assigned to illegitimate children in the north). Only now, he really is Lord Snow.
- The scene in which Sansa remembers a snowfight with her siblings and builds a snow-castle Winterfell. And then it is reversed when the only family she has left tries to kill her in the very same chapter.
- Before he ruins the scene completely, Littlefinger is actually quite endearing when he stops to help Sansa to build snow-Winterfell and get's hit in the face when she throws a snowball at him. Helps that, judging by some of his facial expressions and actions, he genuinely seemed to be intent on helping Sansa build a snow castle by using his own creative mind. Makes you think that, despite all his actions as Littlefinger, Petyr is still in there somewhere...
- Another Bronn moment is that after he refuses to be Tyrion's champion when he's on trial for murdering Joffrey, (because his opponent would be Gregor Clegane and Tyrion can't offer him enough to make it worth risking his life against such an opponent), Bronn still shows some concern for what will happen next. Bronn may be too much of a Combat Pragmatist to fight for Tyrion this time, but he still cares about him to some extent.
- Bronn seems to have made Lollys Stokeworth his Morality Pet, being kind to her beyond the demands of necessity. Maybe the battle-hardened killer is willing to be nice to people who are no threat to him?
- Well Lollys is a victim of a riot gang-rape and a bit daft but decent person, formerly single mother to his adopted bastard son, one of the last few living members of her family, not to mention his claim as head of the rich House Stokeworth. Perhaps despite what Bronn professes he has a soft spot for fundamentally decent/innocent people who suffer from some manner of social/physical handicap, are discriminated against by those around them and are caught up in bad situations not of their own design? Bonus points for those in some position of power who might help elevate his fortunes. Explains a lot, really.
- Bronn seems to have made Lollys Stokeworth his Morality Pet, being kind to her beyond the demands of necessity. Maybe the battle-hardened killer is willing to be nice to people who are no threat to him?
- After Jaime gives Oathkeeper to Brienne and sends her off to find and protect Sansa on his behalf (itself a minor moment), he turns to the White Book where the deeds of the Kingsguard are recorded (and he had been disappointed before to find his own list depressingly short because of the disdain Ser Barristan Selmy held for him—Selmy didn't even include most of his tournament victories). Struggling to write with his left hand, he records his defeats, imprisonments, disgraces and maiming. But he ends with "Returned safely to King's Landing by Brienne, the Maid of Tarth."
- Even more so when you consider how much it would mean to Brienne, who only strives to live her life by knightly ideals even though she knows for the most part she'll get nothing but scorn for it, to know that a deed of hers has been recorded in the legendary White Book for all posterity. Gods I hope she finds out about it someday.
- Jaime and Tyrion Lannister are neither of them sweet fuzzy bunnies. It's clear, however, that there is a great deal of genuine affection and trust between them. It's especially heartwarming because it tends to turn up the most at moments when each is at his lowest. When Jaime is trying to get back to King's Landing from Riverrun, for example, he keeps himself going by remembering that he's going home to Cersei AND Tyrion, and the first thing that the usually proud Tyrion says when Jaime sees his scar is, "well, they sent me into a battle without my big brother to protect me."
- One thing that makes these books frustrating is that so many of the reunions that we hope for never happen. One does, however: after more than a year apart, Jaime rescues Tyrion from the dungeon and the two brothers see one another for the first time since Ned Stark's feast. Fittingly for the two snarkiest characters in the series, it starts with a joke.
Tyrion: Come and get me, you sons of a poxy whore! Afraid to fight a dwarf?Jaime: ... now, is that any way to speak of our lady mother?
- Throughout A Storm of Swords, Jaime seems to find Loras Tyrell arrogant and rather annoying. When he asks Loras about Renly, however, all of Loras's arrogance fades, and Jaime realizes that he was basically the same person when he was younger.
- Tyrion gets a few Calling the Old Man Out moments before he and Tywin have their final reckoning but this one always stood out to me as a bittersweet one that might overlap a bit with Tear Jerker territory after Tywin asks if he'd forgotten that he's supposed to be impregnating his wife Sansa.
“I had not forgotten, though I’d hoped you had. And when do you imagine Sansa will be at her most fertile?” Tyrion asked his father in tones that dripped acid. “Before or after I tell her how we murdered her mother and her brother?”
Tyrion: Sansa is no longer yours to torment, you monster.
- Tyrion seems rather protective of Sansa during their marriage, even though it was forced. After the Red Wedding while Joffrey is gloating about his victory and saying that he's going to make Sansa kiss her brother's severed head, Tyrion coldly hits him with the following:
- Though the scene is rather unsettling from Sansa's point of view, in hindsight Tyrion and Sansa's wedding night could be seen as this. Tyrion refuses to force himself on her and rather kindly tells her they can wait to consummate the marriage until she is ready. The whole situation sucks for both of them, but unlike the rest of the Lannisters, Tyrion at least seems to care about Sansa's feelings.
- During the actual wedding, Garlan Tyrell reassuring Sansa that her husband is better than the rest of his family, praising Tyrion's actions and plans during the Battle of the Blackwater and saying he was "made to do great deeds". At least someone noticed all the good Tyrion has done.
- At the end of Daenerys's story in A Storm of Swords, Dany wakes up in the middle of the night with her servant Missandei, looking over Meereen for a house with a red door.
- Oberyn Martell reminiscing about his visit to Casterly Rock with his sister, Elia. Elia picks up a baby Tyrion and coos over him.
- A moment that proves in a Lovable Rogue has his feelings: when Davos is returned to Dragonstone after the Battle of Blackwater and taken to see Sallador Saan, the sly, swift-talking pirate stops still and stares at his friend, apparently back from the dead. There is a pause, and the normally-cheerful, dismissive Saan makes a remark about having something in his eye. So did we, Sallador. So did we.
A Feast For Crows
- Jaime's kindness towards Pia, a physically and sexually abused peasant girl, is one of the most powerful moments of his Heel-Face Turn: He beheads one of his own men for raping her, and goes to great lengths to ensure that the budding relationship between her and his squire is a happy one. In a world where commoners, women, and above all commoner women are preyed upon by the likes of Gregor Clegane and Vargo Hoat, compassion like that really stands out.
- Bronn names his bastard stepson "Tyrion," in a political climate where it would be impolitic to the point of suicide to do so. And gets away with it.
- And remember when Cersei tried to have him killed because of it?
- Thereby managing to combine Heartwarming, Awesome and Funny in a single action. There's a reason he's an Ensemble Darkhorse.
- And, honestly, the only thing likely to please Tyrion more than a baby named after him is a baby who was named after him to purposefully piss off Cersei.
- Jaime: *THWACK* "You are speaking of a highborn lady, Ser. Call her by her name. Call her Brienne."
- Tommen standing up for Margaery when Cersei threatens her. It shows that although he is far too young to love Margaery as a wife, he cares about her like a little brother would. Unfortunately, it doesn't end well for him.
- After the events of The Red Wedding, no one could blame Edmure if he resented or hated Roslin for what the Freys did to the Starks and Tullys. But he doesn't. Not only does he never say an unkind word about her, but he still clearly considers her to be his wife, hopes to be reunited with her, and defends her when Jaime implies that she had any active role in the massacre. In spite of everything that happened, Edmure still loves Roslin enough to understand that she was an innocent pawn in what happened.
- Arya throwing everything into the canals of Braavos except for Needle, because even if the Many-Faced God decreed that she could have no worldly possessions, the Old Gods are the ones in her heart.
Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell's grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan's stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of the glass gardens, the sound of the north wind rattling the shutters of her room. Needle was Jon Snow's smile.
- Not to mention, Arya's thoughts on Needle in the same scene as above. Needle is her family, the home she lost - Needle is Arya, and everything she ever loved, even when she's trying to be no one.
- After years of thinking she was The Unfavorite, Arianne learns that her father loved her dearly all along and had great plans for her, namely making her Viserys III's queen. That plan didn't pan out, but she does come to see Doran in a new light and they reconcile.
A Dance with Dragons
- Jon turning down Stannis' offer of Winterfell and legitimacy out of loyalty to his father's Gods, his half-sister's claim of inheritance and his oath to the Night's Watch.
- All the more so because it proves once and for all that Robb was right about him, and Catelyn was wrong.
- What's more, he comes to the decision with the return of his direwolf Ghost, who had been gone for most of the book. He finally gets a moment of levity amongst the fighting and politics and it's Ghost's return which allows him to make his final decision.
- The North remembers. Lord Manderly plans to slaughter those who betrayed his king and so many of his friends. And an entire army of northmen prepare to lay down their lives in a winter battle for Ned's little girl, in respect to "The Ned". The love that the North still has for Ned Stark and his family is touching and powerful indeed.
- All the scenes with Penny, the cute little dwarf who pulls Tyrion back from the brink of Knight Templardom.
- In ADWD, Theon thinking about Robb: Theon: Where was I? I should have died with him.
- After struggling with an identity crisis for the entire novel, and suffering through a horrible amount of torture, Theon managing to reunite with Asha, having regained some sanity and positive self-image.
Theon: Theon, my name's Theon. You have to remember your name.
- Kevan Lannister's loving attitude towards his wife and children.
- After Tywin's funeral, he also confronts Cersei on how badly she has fucked up as a parent, vowing to raise Tommen properly after he is appointed Regent. At the end of book 5, he's shown having supper with Cersei and Tommen, admiring Tommen's good nature and kind heart. It makes his death at Varys' hands even sadder, although Varys at least comments that Kevan is a decent man, which (barely) softens the blow.
- Lady Barbrey Dustin gives Theon some comforting company.
Barbrey: Why do you love the Starks?Theon: I … I wanted to be one of them …Barbrey: And never could. We have more in common than you know, my lord.
- The moment Bran tries to reach out to Theon through the heart tree of Winterfell's godswood, a crucial step in Theon reclaiming his identity. He decides he'd rather die as Theon than live as Reek. It's also a Tearjerker considering Theon's actions against Bran and House Stark in A Clash of Kings.
The old gods, he thought. They know me. They know my name. I was Theon of House Greyjoy. I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children. [...] And for one strange moment it seemed as if it were Bran’s face carved into the pale trunk of the weirwood, staring down at him with eyes red and wise and sad.
- Somewhere between a Moment of Heartwarming and a Moment of Funny; Daenerys remarks to Ser Barristan that a king needs "cheeks of steel" to cope with all the sitting and listening to petitioners. The next day she finds her hard ebony bench heaped with satin cushions. She is amused by Barristan's literal mindedness but she sits on the cushions.
- Wylla Manderly furiously calling out her grandfather when she thinks he has abandoned his loyalty to the Starks. She's wrong, but her Undying Loyalty to the Starks is quite touching to see.
Wylla Manderly: A thousand years before the Conquest, a promise was made, and oaths were sworn in the Wolf's Den before the old gods and the new. When we were sore beset and friendless, hounded from our homes and in peril of our lives, the wolves took us in and nourished us and protected us against our enemies. The city is built upon the land they gave us. In return we swore that we should always be their men. Stark men!
Wyman: Wylla. Did you see how brave she was? Even when I threatened to have her tongue out, she reminded me of the debt White Harbor owes to the Starks of Winterfell, a debt that can never be repaid. Wylla spoke from the heart ... not every woman can be as brave as my Wylla.
- And afterwards when Manderly confides in Davos how proud he is of Wylla for her courage.
- Aegon III lived a pretty sad life, but the best thing that ever happened to him was getting his younger brother back. Everyone believed that Viserys II had perished in the Battle of the Gullet, and Aegon suffered from Survivor Guilt because he'd had a dragon to escape on but Viserys hadn't. Years later Viserys turned up alive in the Free Cities, having been taken hostage by merchant princes. Alyn Velaryon recovered him, brought him back to Westeros, and reunited the two brothers. Its said this was the only thing that ever brought Aegon true joy, and Viserys was the only person he trusted fully.
- King Baelor walking through a pit of vipers to free his cousin, Aemon the Dragonknight, with full confidence that the Seven would protect them. He was wrong about Seven protecting them, but it was still a valiant feat.
- And for that matter, his treatment of the Dornish. He released their hostages and walked thousands of miles to Sunspear from King's Landing barefoot in a show of humility. On the king's way back, the Prince of Dorne, fearing that Baelor's death would threaten the new peace, commanded his bannermen to be as accommodating as possible.
- Ser Duncan the Tall, a lowborn hedge knight is to stand trial by combat for having attacked a member of the Targaryen royal family in order to protect a lowborn puppeteer woman who was being assaulted by the aforementioned Royal Brat. A large crowd gathers to watch the trial and Duncan wonders about why so many people would like to see his death. Then the smallfolk start issuing words of support, cheering for him, some women kiss him to wish him luck and a septon even blesses his sword.. He is in disbelief. "They are for me? Why? What am I to them?" His companions reply, "A knight who remembered his vows."
- Aegon the Unworthy once hosted a tourney and forbade Aemon the Dragonknight from entering because he wanted to name his mistress Queen of Love and Beauty. Knowing that Queen Naerys would be humiliated, Aemon entered the tourney anyway as a mystery knight known as the Knight of Tears, won, and crowned the queen instead.
- There's another layer of heartwarming to this. It's rumored that Aemon and Naerys were in love and would have rather married each other. If this is true, Aemon wasn't just looking out for his sister, he was defending the honor of the woman he loved.
- During Aegon's Conquest, Queen Sharra Arryn returned to the Eyrie's throne room to find her young son Ronnel, the last king of the Vale, sitting on Queen Visenya Targaryen's lap, asking his mother if he could go for a ride with the lady and her dragon. Not very heartwarming in itself, considering the Adult Fear Sharra must have experienced, but the touching moment came after. Once the Vale surrendered to Aegon, Visenya actually did take Ronnel for that ride on her dragon, Vhagar. Three times. It earned him the nickname 'The King Who Flew'.
- It could be seen as a Pet the Dog moment for Visenya. Her reputation in Westeros is one of a somewhat stern Lady of War with a manipulative streak who possibly murdered her nephew/stepson Aenys I to put her son Maegor (AKA Maegor the Cruel) on the throne. Yet she had enough of a soft spot to take a little boy for a fun ride through the sky.
- Sansa hearing that her brother Jon has been elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and wistfully thinking how good it would be to see him again; in previous books, when she thought of or referred to him at all, she was very cool and distant.
- A minor scene but once Bran mentions that the statues of the tombs in Winterfell are usually reserved only for the Stark kings and lords, it reminds us that Ned's deceased siblings, Brandon and Lyanna, have their own statues next to their father Rickard thanks to Ned insisting to have them carved. It really shows how much love Ned has for them as well as doubles as a Tear Jerker over the fact they have died rather young.
- I think it counts as 'Heartwarming - for a Lannister' that Tyrion has clearly known about Cersei and Jaime's romantic relationship for quite some time, yet has never used the information against them. Contrast with the nanoseconds that it took both Lord Tywin and Cersei to use knowledge of Tyrion's personal life to try to manipulate him.
- From Winds of Winter, we have Stannis declare that Theon is to be executed and a raven on a nearby table start to freak out and scream Theon's name, despite most raven not being smart enough to know words without them being taught it. The most likely conclusion is that Bran is warging in it and is upset by Theon's impending death.
- Throughout the above scene, Asha constantly begs for her brother's life, claiming that she's not doing it because she loves him.
- In a sample chapter from Winds of Winter, Stannis orders that, should he die before the war is over, his soldiers keep fighting and sit Shireen on the Iron Throne or die in the attempt.
- Any time the Stark children reminisce about each other and Winterfell. It shows just how close-knit this family was.
Arya: Suddenly Arya remembered the crypts at Winterfell. [...] When the spirit stepped out of the open tomb, pale white and moaning for blood, Sansa ran shrieking for the stairs, and Bran wrapped himself around Robb's leg, sobbing. Arya stood her ground and gave the spirit a punch. It was only Jon, covered with flour. "You stupid," she told him, "you scared the baby," but Jon and Robb just laughed and laughed, and pretty soon Bran and Arya were laughing too. The memory made Arya smile, and after that the darkness held no more terrors for her.Bran: Back in Winterfell Sansa had told him that the demons of the dark couldn’t touch him if he hid beneath his blanket.Sansa: She remembered a summer’s snow in Winterfell when Arya and Bran had ambushed her as she had emerged from the keep one morning. They’d each had a dozen snowballs to hand, and she’d had none. Bran had been perched on the roof of the covered bridge, out of reach, but Sansa had chased Arya through the stables and around the kitchen until both of them were breathless. She might even have caught her, but she’d slipped on some ice. Her sister came back to see if she was hurt. When she said she wasn’t, Arya hit her in the face with another snowball, but Sansa grabbed her leg and pulled her down and was rubbing snow in her hair when Jory came along and pulled them apart, laughing.Jon: He thought of Robb, with snowflakes melting in his hair. He thought of Bran, clambering up a tower wall, agile as a monkey. Of Rickon’s breathless laughter. Of Sansa, brushing out Lady’s coat and singing to herself. He thought of Arya, her hair as tangled as a bird’s nest.
- A meta example. A thirteen-year-old fan tried donating all his £153 savings in order to get a grisly death in the books. Martin was touched by the man's effort, and instead of granting him a grisly death (since all the spots had been filled by that point) he donated $10,000 in the boy's name to a wolf conservation scheme, wishing him luck in his future endeavours.