Game of Thrones is an HBO series based on George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.In the land of Westeros, the seasons last for years. The story opens with the threat of a long winter fast approaching. The Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, has unexpectedly died. King Robert ventures north to Winterfell to name his old friend, Eddard Stark, his new Hand and second in command. Despite the concerns of his wife, Catelyn, Eddard reluctantly accepts his new title out of duty. Whilst there, he uncovers evidence that Jon Arryn was murdered—and that the hand behind Arryn's death may now be poised to strike the king. The plot thickens and twists from thereon.The series was adapted for television by David Benioff and Dan Weiss. In describing the series to newcomers, Benioff jokingly called it "The SopranosmeetsMiddle-earth". The producers and Martin have a tentative plan for eight seasons, with Book 3 (itself the length of the entire LotR trilogy) being split into two. This is also partially a delaying action, as Book 6 is only partially written and Book 7 but a gleam in Martin's eye; fortunately, contingency plans for a Gecko Ending have been set in case Martin isn't able to write fast enough.The show premiered on April 17, 2011. The first season was nominated for 13 Emmy awards, winning two — Best Opening Title and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama (Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister) and the second season won six creative Emmy Awards.HBO's official site, featuring behind-the-scenes teasers, can be found here, whilst the main fan nexus is Winter Is Coming.Has an episode recap guide.
Arya. She practices swordplay and looks up to fellow action girls from Westerosi history, such as Visenya Targaryen, sister of Aegon the Conqueror, and Nymeria, Warrior Queen of the Rhoynar (after whom she names her direwolf).
Brienne of Tarth
Wildling spearwives such as Ygritte and Osha.
Meera Reed is skilled with weapons and acts as her brother Jojen's protector.
Acting for Two: Ian Whyte portrays Gregor Clegane in Season 2, a White Walker in Seasons 1 and 2, and a giant in Season 3.
Actually That's My Assistant: In the Season 3 premiere, Jon mistakes Tormund Giantsbane for Mance Rayder. Tormund and Mance are quite amused.
In the books, all the Stark kids except Jon and Arya are redheads like their mother. In the series, Sansa and Robb are the only redheads (Robb's is especially dark, but it is definitely red), Bran is Stark-colored and Rickon is a dark shade blond.
The distinctive Baratheon black hair seems to be dark brown in the show, as is the case with Robert, Renly, Gendry, and Shireen.
In the intro to the novel A Game of Thrones, the last surviving Night's Watchman is Gared, who stays with the horses during the Others' attack and flees when he hears fighting. In the series, the sole survivor is Will, who we see come face-to-face with the White Walkers. How or why he survived is never explained.
A similar event occurs in the Season 2 Finale: The White Walkers are shown looking at and walking past Sam, despite having no explained reason to leave him alive. In the prologue to A Storm of Swords (the chapter which this scene is drawn from), Sam is with the rest of the Night's Watch and doesn't explicitly come face to face with the Others.
The White Walkers: called "Others" by Westerosi main culture in the books, the show uses the wilding term for these beings, probably because Capital Letters Are Magic doesn't come across very well in speech.
Asha Greyjoy is renamed Yara to avoid confusion with Osha.
Jorah Mormont in the book is hairy, balding and "not handsome," which is a stark contrast to how he looks in the series (played by Iain Glenn). Eloquently demonstrated here◊.
Tyrion Lannister is described as having not only dwarfism but also a deformed face. Peter Dinklage portrays him without facial deformity and is even called rather handsome by Margaery. The facial wound he receives on the Blackwater is also much less grievous than in the books, in which he loses most of his nose.
Lysa Arryn is described as being very fat and wearing a thick coat of painted makeup. In the series, she is extremely skinny and looks like a more gaunt version of her sister Catelyn Stark.
Robin Arryn is a normal-looking child in the show, while in the books he's sickly and small for his age, constantly has a runny nose and watery eyes, and suffers bouts of shaking fits.
In the books, Dagmer Cleftjaw has a horrible scar that splits his lower face in half. In the show, the scar is in the left side of his face and is not that noticeable.
Brienne is described as extremely ugly in the books, but she's fairly average, apart from her height, in the series. She is, however, much plainer than her actress is in real life.
Ygritte is described in the book as as short for her age, skinny but well-muscled, with a round face, small hands, a pug nose, and crooked white teeth, but considered beautiful by Jon. In the series, she is played by the conventionally attractive Rose Leslie.
Arya Stark is usually described as "horse-faced". In the series, she is round-faced and cute.
In the books, Brienne has a very awkward and insecure personality. She also only barely manages to beat Jaime in a swordfight, in spite of his emaciated condition and manacled hands. In the show, she's angrier and more self-confident. She also defeats Jaime rather casually even though he's in better condition than he is in the book.
According to Word Of God, Ned in the books is only an average swordsman for his social class, while his older brother was a bigger and better fighter. In the show, Ned has a reputation as being a very strong swordsman and even matches the Kingslayer during their duel. Littlefinger also calls Ned "an even more impressive specimen" than his older brother.
Rory McCann, who plays Sandor Clegane, gets about a handful of lines per season, most of them short, and has gone at least a couple of episodes with no lines at all, or only one scene. He's billed as a regular for both seasons.
Harry Lloyd appeared in five episodes. Credited as a regular for all of them.
Season Two is worse; out of 25 actors credited in the opening sequence, less than half of them actually appear regularly. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Rory McCann appear in only half the season; Carice Van Houten, Natalie Dormer and James Cosmo appear in less than half the season. Cosmo himself is in only three episodes.
Conleth Hill and James Cosmo both appear in FEWER episodes after they are promoted to the opening titles, though they both cast even larger shadows in Season 2.
Season 2 copes with this problem by changing its opening titles for each episode, depending on who's actually in the episode, rather than who has what contract with HBO. Most prominently, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appears in only a few episodes, but when he does, he's always the third billed behind Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey.
Aerith and Bob: People from Westeros tend to have European names, some familiar (Robert, Jon) and others more exotic (Eddard, Sandor). People whose families hail from outside Westeros, such as the Dothraki and the Targaryens, have fantastical names (Aerys, Drogo).
Tywin Lannister is ruthless, cold-hearted, cruel and completely without mercy, having no problem with employing rape-happy psychopaths like Gregor Clegane, having his own garison decimated in order to root out an assassin, using his own children as pawns in his schemes to control Westeros, and generally treating Tyrion like shit. However, he starts to show shades of affability around Arya Stark, complimenting her on her intelligence and holding almost pleasant conversations with her; he even accepts a few smart-mouthed remarks at his expense - though he does warn her not to go too far.
Jaime also has shades of this, though he's more often than not into Laughably Evil territory rather than truly being sympathetic - up until season 3.
Afraid of Blood: Renly is squeamish around anything which is the least bit gory.
In the books, the Ned/Robert/Catelyn/Cersei/Jaime generation are in their early to mid 30s while the Dany/Jon/Robb generation are in their early teens. In the show, the older generation is implied to be somewhere in their early to mid 40s and the younger generation are 16-18. According to the showrunners, this was also done partly because they didn't want to have to deal with 'kid' actors and partly because by casting older, any changes the kids might undergo as part of their aging would be less noticeable than if they'd cast them age appropriately.
In the books, Missandei is ten years old, while in the show she's an adult.
Viserys' death, which is treated as rather pathetic and sad after the character's sneering villainy through most of the show.
Doreah, who screams for forgiveness rather pathetically. Interestingly, the character's villainous actions were left on the cutting room floor, making it rather ambiguous as to whether she was a willing participant in the villany. This, along with it being Adaptational Villainy, makes it all the worse.
The Alliance: Robert's Rebellion, which gathered four of the eight Great Houses against the King.
Alternate Universe: Game of Thrones Ascent, which follows the plot and events of the TV show (such as the death of Rakharo or Xaro Xhoan Daxos' betrayal) but incorporates elements of the novels: like Vaes Tolorro or Catelyn taking two Freys as wards.
Many Great Houses have an animal on their coat of arms that represents them and frequently tells you something about the house, metaphorically. It is implied that some houses have a paranormal affinity for their house animals. The Targaryens rode dragons in years past, and Daenerys displays an immunity to fire several times. The Stark children also seem to have a mystical bond with their direwolves.
The astrolabe sun in the opening tells parts of the backstory using animals to stand in for the houses: the stag (Baratheon), the direwolf (Stark), the dragon (Targaryen), and the lion (Lannister). The dragon takes over and rules Westeros, then proceeds to go nuts, so the stag, lion and direwolf slay it; the stag now wears a crown and the wolf and lion bow to it. This is a metaphor for the fall of the Targaryens 17 years before the show starts.
The sigils next to the actors' names also correspond to their characters' Houses.
Varys is frequently referred to as the Spider, because he has a web of spies.
Sandor Clegane is known as The Hound, and in a manner of speaking he acts as a hound for Joffrey. The sigil for house Clegane is three dogs.
Littlefinger made his own sigil, a mockingbird.
Ravens and crows are a running motif. Ravens are used to send messages, Brannote
A name derived from the Welsh for raven, incidentally
sees a three-eyed crow in his dreams, and wildlings refer to Night's Watchmen as "crows" because of their black uniforms. The birds are also common in promotional artwork.
Anyone Can Die: Lampshaded by Arya in the season 2 trailer: "Anyone can be killed."note Martin joked on a panel that everyone would die by book 5, and book 6 would be a 1,000 page description of the snow blowing over their graves. The series itself runs with the trope, and the following characters prove it:
Season 1: Lady (Sansa's direwolf), Jory Cassel, Viserys Targaryen, Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark, Septa Mordane, all of House Stark's men in King's Landing, Khal Drogo, and Mirri Maz Duur.
Season 2: Cressen, Rakharo, Yoren, Lommy Greenhands, Renly Baratheon, The Tickler, Ser Rodrik Cassel, Ser Amory Lorch, Irri, Alton Lannister, The Thirteen, Matthos Seaworth, Ser Mandon Moore, Maester Luwin, Qhorin Halfhand, Pyat Pree, and most likely Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah
Season 3: Craster, Jeor Mormont, Kraznys mo Nakloz, Willem and Martyn Lannister, Rickard Karstark, Ros
Theon is shown to be an excellent one in Season 1.
Joffrey is obsessed with crossbows and actually has impressive aim.
Anguy can angle a shot to come straight down on a target only a few feet in front of him.
The Boy is shown to be this in "Walk of Punishment", where he shoots and kills all of the Bolton guards that were about to rape Theon in quick succession.
Arc Number: Used in-universe in the Seven Kingdoms with the Faith of the Seven, worshiped primarily in the south. There are seven gods, seven Kingsguards, seven hells, etc. Perhaps by coincidence, the soundtrack to the second season trailer is "Seven Devils" by Florence and the Machine.
Arc Symbol: The Flayed Man sigil of House Bolton is prominent throughout Season 3, in response to the Boltons' expanded role and as a hint as to who is holding Theon prisoner.
Ser Hugh is killed in a joust when he's struck in the neck by a splinter of Gregor Clegane's lance. In the books, it's explained that he lacked a squire and so did not put on his gorget correctly; in the show he is clearly under armored compared to his opponent and it's subtly implied the armour was sabotaged.
Syrio defeats several armored guards with a wooden practice sword, knocking a few out by hitting them on the helmet before the Kingsguard breaks the stick.
Jorah Mormont gets into a debate with Rakharo over the merits of armor. Jorah argues that armor will make an arakh useless, while Rakharo believes speed trumps protection. Jorah is right, as Qotho fatally discovers.
Played straight when Bronn champions Tyrion against Ser Vardis Egan. Bronn refuses a shield and wears almost no armor, using his speed and maneuverability to simply evade his opponent until Egan's heavy armor exhausts him and makes him a sitting duck.
Balon: "We do not sow.We are Ironborn! We are not subjects, we are not slaves. We do not plow the fields, nor toil in the mine. We take what is ours! Your time with the wolves has made you weak!"
Theon: "You act as if I volunteered! You gave me away, if you remember?! The day you bent the knee to Robert Baratheon! After he crushed you! Did you take what was yours then?"
Theon is on the receiving end later, from Bran: "Did you hate us the whole time?" The answer is pretty clearly 'no,' given the agony Theon's choices clearly put him through, but he's stuck between his sense of obligation to a family that hates him, as well as his loyalty to his birth culture (which he tried, and succeeded, in holding onto as Ned Stark's ward, no matter what Balon Greyjoy thinks) and a family that he loves and probably loved him (at least Robb did), but just not quite enough to make him ever stop feeling like an outsider and prisoner, and whom his asshole dad has chosen for an enemy.
Asskicking Equals Authority: The Dothraki, the Wildlings, and the Mountain Clans. This is also the way Robert got the Iron Throne, but is somewhat deconstructed in that he's shown to be a terrible peacetime ruler who hates the job.
Jaime begins his first conversation with Cersei by reminding her that he is her brother, for the benefit of the audience. This scene wasn't in the original pilot and was written and included at the suggestion of HBO, who feared that the viewers would not get the significance of one banging the other in the last scene of the episode - despite the fact that Jaime enters Winterfell while Arya literally says "Look! It's Jaime Lannister, the Queen's twin brother!"
Tyrion spells out Jon's place in the Stark family to Jon himself, which is justified as firmly reminding him that no one else will ever forget he's a bastard, so he shouldn't try to deny it.
Jaime gives Jon a lot of exposition about the Wall and the Night's Watch, framed as a subtle warning about what he's getting himself into.
Lampshaded with the reveal about Varys: "Did you know Lord Varys is a eunuch?" "Everyone knows that!"
Tyrion describes the Greyjoy rebellion to Theon Greyjoy, along with pointing out that he's the Starks' ward. Maester Luwin is also fond of doing this. Of course in both cases they're just doing it to remind Theon he's not as awesome or as important or even as welcome as he thinks he is.
In the second season, Stannis describes the reason why he made Davos a knight to Davos himself. He makes it during a speech explaining why he considers Davos better than any of his other knights.
There are several examples of men in power due to their birth who are still fearsome fighters, such as Jaime Lannister and Robert Baratheon. King Stannis Baratheon takes the cake when he personally leads the assault over the wall of King's Landing in "Blackwater", and fights like a One-Man Army.
Tyrion Lannister gives a justification for this trope when he notes that the social elite get much better equipment and are trained from birth in combat. Jon Snow finds this out when he joins the Watch and his lowborn fellow recruits barely know which end of a sword to hold.
Aegon the Conqueror deliberately had the Iron Throne made so it would be uncomfortable to sit on.
Harrenhal is the greatest fortress in the Seven Kingdoms. It's also a logistical nightmare, practically impossible to man and govern properly, which is why the Lannister troops abandon it, rather than defend it, when the Northern army arrives.
Awesome McCoolname: In a world of fantasy that is Game of Thrones, it's pretty much standard.
In "Fire and Blood," we get two: first, the Stark bannermen proclaim Robb the King in the North following Eddard's death, and then Daenerys proclaims herself the new leader of the khalasar after Drogo's death.
Also, appropriately enough, in "A Golden Crown" for Viserys. "Tremble to behold" indeed. Though that's really a Horrifying Moment of Crowning that's only Awesome by virtue of the crownee being a first-rate Asshole Victim.
Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Khal Drogo really didn't care all that much about Westeros, until Robert tried to assassinate Daenerys. Then he becomes hell-bent on vengeance.
Badass Family: The Lannisters, Starks and Targaryens all aspire to embody this trope, in various flavors and with various levels of success. The Cleganes, Umbers, and Mormonts seem to produce nothing but badasses.
The words of each Noble House is one — Bran mentions House Baratheon's "Ours is the Fury," House Greyjoy's "We Do Not Sow," and House Martell's "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" in one episode. One exception is the Starks' "Winter is Coming," but Robb Stark manages to use it as a Badass Boast anyway:
Robb: "Tell Lord Tywin that winter is coming for him."
"The Prince of Winterfell" features a Badass Boast from Tyrion to Cersei: "I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you will know the debt is paid."
Many of the history segments in the Bluray extras seem to end with these. Stannis' summation of the War of Five Kings is particularly striking:
"Now Robert is dead, and a bastard pretender soils my throne while the realm fills with schemers and traitors. But the rightful king is coming for them all, and I will not stop until I have scoured the land clean of abomination. The Baratheons say Ours Is the Fury. I will show them: fury burns."
Olenna Tyrell is frustrated that House Tyrell doesn't have a badass boast or a big scary animal on their coat of arms; their symbol is a golden rose and their motto is "Growing Strong", which she describes as the dullest words of any house.
"Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
And the customary eulogy for a black brother?
"And now his watch is ended."
Badass Longcoat: Jaime pulls this off with a duster practically whenever he's not wearing his armor.
Bad Future: Dany gets a glimpse of this in the House of the Undying. The Red Keep is in ruins, winter has come (and hasn't left for a long time), everyone's dead, and snow sits on the Iron Throne.
Balancing Death's Books: Arya releases three prisoners in danger of dying in a fire. One of them later invokes the trope and offers to kill any three people that she nominates.
Ballistic Discount: Daenerys buys the entire slave army of Astapor in return for a single dragon. Only hitch? The slaves are hers the moment she's holding the whip, while the dragon only obeys his mother. And Dany has come to really hate the slavers of Astapor...
Bargain With Heaven: Lady Stark blames herself for the misfortunes of her family, rationalizing that it's all a punishment from the gods because she was unable to fulfill a promise about raising Jon Snow like her own son, a bargain made when he was very ill as a baby.
Robb purposely tells the captured Lannister scout his plans and lets him go because it's a ploy to fool Tywin into responding to a diversionary attack while Robb attacks Jaime's forces.
Tyrion fishing the mole in the Small Council. He feeds each member a different version of the same story and tells them to not tell Cersei, so when he is confronted by Cersei over one of the versions he knows who's the one spilling the beans to her. Varys sees through Tyrion's gambit immediately, but the culprit doesn't.
Battle Discretion Shot: Occurs when Tyrion is prepared to march off to the front lines for his father, when he is trampled over and falls unconscious before the battle even begins.
Bawdy Song: "The Bear and the Maiden Fair," a humorous song descibing a sexual tryst between the eponymous bear and maiden.
The Beard: In season two Margaery is shown to be well aware of her role, much to Renly's surprise. She tries to persuade him that even if he'd rather sleep with her brother, he still needs to father an heir to strengthen his position (and to make her a more convincing beard).
The Beautiful Elite: Just about everyone in Westeros nobility, with the glaring exception of Tyrion and Brienne.
In the book, Daenerys' hair is burned off in her Out of the Inferno moment. In the series, it's as fireproof as the rest of her - and not even a bit sooty.
Loras is a rare male example of this trope. In "Blackwater," he removes his helm and his curly hair looks perfect despite having fought a battle. A popular animated gif on tumblr◊ pokes fun at this improbable moment.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Both Sansa's and Arya's wishes. Sansa wishes to live in the royal court. And Arya wishes for a live of adventure away from court and the restrictions of being a highborn lady.
Beneath the Mask: During his private moments, Renly is shown to be more insecure than the confident facade that he projects in public.
Berserk Button: Ned Stark is a pretty mellow guy most of the time, but disrespecting his wife will still get you choke-slammed.
Best Her to Bed Her: Jaime Lannister guesses that boys had tried to force themselves onto the gigantic Brienne of Tarth, and that she secretly wished that one of them could overpower her and take her virginity. She declines to confirm the guess, saying only that no man ever succeeded.
Better to Die than Be Killed: In "Blackwater", Ilyn Payne stands guard over the holdfast where the highborn women and children are holed up. Cersei initially claims he's there as protection, but as part of tormenting Sansa tells her that he is there to kill them. Cersei herself has procured a vial of poison.
Ser Jorah Mormont is in love with Daenerys Targaryen.
Renly was the object of affection for both Loras (an unusual reciprocal example because they form a same-sex couple) and Brienne (a rare gender inversion of the trope) while they were members of his Kingsguard.
Bolivian Army Ending: Syrio Forel prepares to duel a member of the Kingsguard, with a broken wooden sword, while Arya makes her escape.
Book Ends: Related to Animal Motifs. Begins with the discovery of the wolf and stag carcasses as an omen of the fall of the Stark and Baratheon houses. Ends with the hatching of Dany's dragons symbolizing the resurgence of House Targaryen. Appropriately, the first and last episode of season one (where these two events take place) are titled "Winter is Coming" and "Fire and Blood", the words of houses Stark and Targaryen, respectively. Also, in the beginning and ending episodes of season one, Black Brothers ride under the Wall.
In "The Kingsroad," Tyrion mentions he wants to visit the Wall so he can "piss off the edge of the world." He goes through with it, to Jon Snow's amusement, near the end of "Lord Snow."
Also, the possibility of a Dothraki invasion:
Daenerys: If my brother was given an army of Dothraki, could he conquer The Seven Kingdoms? Mormont: [...] King Robert is fool enough to meet them in open battle. But the men advising him are different. —- King Robert: Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in open battle. note He does, however, go on to explain that it would be necessary to do so for political reasons, and to avoid scorched earth warfare.
Two members of Dany's khalasar discuss how to best steal a giant golden peacock from their host in Qarth, and she reprimands them. In "Valar Morghulis" two men can be seen behind Dany, as she walks from Xaro's house... carrying a giant golden peacock.
British Accents: Appropriately, the Northerners speak (on the whole) with Yorkshire accents — Sean Bean's native Sheffield accent is perhaps the best example. The Southerners (on the whole) speak with more of a London/RP accent — Cersei and Joffrey are good examples. This follows the North/South accent distribution in England. There also seems to be a tendency for characters from the Vale to speak with Irish accents, most noteably with Littlefinger's slight lilt, and several of the background characters from the episodes set in this area have these accents as well. The Ironborn (not counting House Greyjoy themselves) speak with West Country "pirate" accent.
Viserys, extortionist and self-proclaimed dragon, threatens the life of Khal Drogo's unborn child and gets subsequently killed by the warlord at the first chance.
Mirri, in a (somewhat) literal example.
In the season two finale Pyat Pree, in a literal example after the fact, is killed by the infant dragons of Daenerys, his captive. Since he is not aware of any possible backfire at this early stage of development it can also be classified as Mugging the Monster.
Craster feels confident enough to insult and threaten the Night's Watch men in his home despite being one man surrounding by dozens of armed soldiers, many of whom are rapists and murderers. He gets away with it because the Night's Watch needs an ally beyond the Wall, but he eventually pushes them too far.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In Season 3 episode "Walk of Punishment", Arya meets the Hound (Sandor Clegane) again at the same little inn where the Hound killed her friend, Mycah the butcher's boy, way back in the second episode of the series ("The Kingsroad"). Arya asks "Do you remember what happened the last time you were here?", but the Hound has no idea what she's talking about.
But Not Too Gay: Renly and Loras' intimate scenes are not nearly as sexually explicit as the heterosexual (and one lesbian) pairings on the show.
Butt Monkey : Theon and Lancel spend their time being ridiculed and being Chew Toy for everyone else in general.
"What do we say to the god of death? 'Not today.'"
When Renly realizes that Loras is jealous of Brienne in Season 2, it mirrors the scene from Season 1 where Loras notices that Renly is jealous of Ned because Robert loves his friend more than his own brother.
Loras told Renly in Season 1, "I've never fought in a war before, but I'd fight for you." He keeps his promise to his dead lover by wearing Renly's armour during the Battle of Blackwater.
After gleefully telling the injured Tyrion what a mess he's in, Grand Maester Pycelle flicks him a coin, saying, "For your trouble," calling back to when Tyrion arrested him in his bedroom and tipped his prostitute using the same words.
In the House of the Undying, Daenerys rejects her vision of living with Drogo and their child by repeating the words said to her by Mirri Maz Duur, that she would have a child "when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east" and so forth. When Daenerys rejects the vision, Drogo's face also grows blank and expressionless like he was after the botched ritual.
In "Dark Wings, Dark Words," Sansa has to remind Loras of their first meeting when he gave her a red rose at the Tourney of the Hand. The audience knows that the reason why Loras doesn't remember Sansa is because he was too busy staring at Renly at the time.
In "Walk of Punishment" Jaime explains to Locke his wide vocabulary is due to being forced to learn to read for hours as a child. In the previous season Tywin tells a disguised Arya that Jaime is dyslexic so Tywin had to teach him for hours every day how to read.
The execution of Rickard Karstark in "Kissed by Fire" strongly resembles that of Rodrik Cassel in "The Old Gods and the New." The scenes share the same background music, the same weather (rain) and both of the condemned use their last words to insult their executioner. Both of these scenes harken back to Ned's execution of a Night's Watch deserter in Season 1, showing how Ned has influenced Robb and Theon. Theon botches the execution and makes an utter fool of himself, while Robb takes the head off clean in one swing.
People keep warning about the White Walkers, but no one's doing anything about it. Even those who do seem concerned, like Tyrion and Ned, get distracted by other matters and seem to completely forget about them.
"Winter is Coming," the Stark motto, could be considered this. While everyone is busy playing power games and coups—and indeed, each house's words reflect this—the Starks' only concern is the long and brutal winter that's on the horizon, which could last years.
Catelyn warning Robb to "never trust a Greyjoy.".
King Robert regarding the threat of Dothraki invasion.
Davos is certain that Melisandre can't be trusted and repeatedly tries to warn Stannis about this.
Bran tends to wake up this way after one of his recurring nightmares.
The Cavalry: Literal example in the Battle of Blackwater. The mounted forces of Ser Loras Tyrell and Tywin Lannister arrive at the last moment and win the battle for the defenders driving back the second wave of Stannis' forces, prompting a general retreat by the attackers.
Cavalry Betrayal: During the last days of the Mad King, Tywin Lannister's forces entered King's Landing as allies and then proceeded to sack the city in Robert's name. Jaime knew too well his father was invoking a ruse, but his warnings were not heard.
The Charmer: In "Dark Wings, Dark Words," Sansa says that Renly was very gallant, and Olenna then adds "...charming and very clean. He knew how to dress and smile..." People are naturally drawn to Renly's charisma, according to Loras in "The Wolf and the Lion."
Loras: People love you. They want to serve you because you're kind to them. They want to be near you.
Bran's habit of climbing the walls and buildings of Winterfell is established early on in the pilot.
Later on, Theon's archery skills, which he rightly boasts about.
Cherry Tapping: Khal Drogo does this when Mago challenges his authority. He casually dodges Mago's attacks and completely disarms himself, then kills Mago with Mago's own weapon to show how many orders of magnitude more badass he is.
Even though the Freys are bannermen for House Tully, they have a history of refusing to help unless they have something to gain. The Starks and their more trustworthy allies are Genre Savvy enough to assume that House Frey could sell them out at any moment if they don't know the Starks or Tullys could give a better price.
Littlefinger warns Ned Stark that the Gold Cloaks will only be loyal to whoever pays them the most.
The Greyjoys led a rebellion against Robert in the backstory, leading to Theon being forced to live with the Starks as hostage. The second Theon returns, to offer peace terms from Robb, Balon Greyjoy plots to rebel against the North again, and Theon joins him.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Greatjon is missing from seasons 2 and 3 due to scheduling conflicts with the actor. It's unclear whether the character will ever return.
City of Spies: According to Littlefinger, just about everyone in King's Landing is a spy for someone.
The Clan: Each of the major houses could be considered one, what with their long and complex histories, tangled branches, sigils and mottoes, and similar looks, which become a plot point concerning Joffrey's parentage. House Frey is a notable example, with Lord Walder Frey's multitudes of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. People in the Seven Kingdoms joke Lord Frey is the only man in the Seven Kingdoms who could field an army out of his britches.
Click Hello: Osha pulls this on Jojen, then gets it pulled on her by Meera.
Season 1: Sansa is held captive in the court of King's Landing. Tyrion becomes Hand of the King. Arya, disguised as a boy, joins a caravan of "volunteers" for The Wall. Robb is declared King in the North. Jon Snow and others of the Night's Watch venture out beyond The Wall. Daenerys puts Khal Drogo out of his misery and hatches her dragon eggs.
Season 2: Sansa's engagement to Joffrey is nullified and Littlefinger offers to get her out of the city. Tywin and the Tyrells assume power in King's Landing. Tyrion loses power. Arya escapes Lannister custody and vows to return to her family. Robb breaks his marriage pact. Jon Snow goes to meet Mance Rayder. Daenerys gets back her dragons and loots riches for ships. Winterfell is razed, Theon is betrayed by his men and the Stark boys flee north. The White Walkers move to attack the rangers beyond the Wall.
Clingy Jealous Boy: Loras becomes jealous of Brienne after she defeats him in the melee, and he "punishes" Renly for accepting her into the Kingsguard by withholding sex.
Clock Punk: Not the show itself, but the opening animation invokes it. Watch as King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and land across the Narrow Sea come out of the ground. Later locations, like the Eyrie and the Twins, are depicted here as the show focuses on them.
Coitus Ensues: Averted. Many episodes have at least one sex scene, yet the writers go out of their way to ensure the scene isn't just there for the sake of T&A. Although not the first production to combine actual plot movement with sex scenes, reviews of the series are responsible for coining the phrase "sexposition" to describe scenes that might otherwise stop the show dead, yet actually provide sometimes quite important plot information.
The Lannisters are jerkass blondes. The Baratheons are all black-haired warriors. The Targaryens are all universally white haired and pale, because they're descended from Valyrians (also, incest). Actually plays a rather large part in the plot, especially considering hair color isn't the only thing being passed down.
Soldiers' uniforms: Stark soldiers wear grey and brown, Lannister soldiers wear black, red and gold, Baratheon soldiers wear light brown and orange, soldiers of the Vale wear blue, the Kingsguard wear bronze and white cloaks, the Night's Watch wear black and Greyjoy soldiers wear dark, Cambridge blue.
Combat Pragmatist: Since this is a series where things don't go well for those who act honorably, there's multiple examples of characters winning fights by not fighting "fair":
Loras Tyrell wins his joust with Gregor Clegane (and avoids being "accidentally" killed by Gregor) by riding a mare in heat (knowing Gregor would be riding a stallion). Characters disagree over whether or not this is cheating.
Bronn wins his Duel to the Death because he didn't fight with honor and his opponent did. He avoided his heavily armoured opponent until the knight was too tired to fight.
The Dothraki believe that armor is for the weak. Jorah fights one wearing armor, and the Dothraki's speed doesn't do much against plate and mail.
Robb refuses to fight a Combat by Champion against one of the deadliest warriors in the Seven Kingdoms, because he knows he would lose.
In a tournament between Brienne and Loras, Loras disarms Brienne but she tackles him and draws a dagger forcing him to yield.
When Jaime fights Ned's bannerman, their swords lock together. Jaime suddenly pulls out a dagger with his other hand and stabs his opponent in the eye.
Yoren threatens a mounted king's soldier by pointing a dagger at his groin, stating that men are so worried about their necks that they often forget about everything below it.
Comet of Doom: Visible in the skies of Westeros in the season two premiere.
Comforting the Widow: Littlefinger tries this on Catelyn after her husband dies. She pulls a knife on him and tells him to get out, since he's the reason her husband is dead. To make it even more inappropriate, the reason he was meeting with her was to deliver her late husband's bones.
Con Lang: Several have been created for the series by conlanger David Peterson, based only on the few scraps of Fictionary provided by the source material. It's reached the point where George R. R. Martin consults him on the fragments of languages he puts in the later books.
High and Low Valyrian, as spoken by Daenerys and Kraznys respectively; the setting's equivalents of Classical and Vulgar Latin.
Continuity Lockout: If you haven't read the books, you really have to start watching at the beginning to have any hope of following the story.
Cool Chair: The Iron Throne was forged in dragonfire by Aegon the Conqueror out of the swords of his defeated subjects. Many promotional shots for the show feature various characters sitting on it. As you might expect from a chair made from blades, it's bloody uncomfortable to actually sit on (which was Aegon's intention when he had the thing made).
Varys: Ugly, don't you think? Baelish: Yet it has a certain appeal.
Cool Sword: The Starks' Valyrian steel greatsword Ice, Arya's Needle and Jon's Longclaw. Joffrey boasts he's named his sword Hearteater... but he flees the battle before taking the opportunity to use it.
Couch Gag: The world map in the credits highlights the major areas featured in each episode.
Could Have Avoided This Plot: Tywin and Tyrion repeatedly point out that, if Joffrey hadn't killed Ned Stark, he could have been traded back, along with Sansa and Arya, to avoid the war with the Starks.
The unforgettable moment when Jaime Lannister says he'd be willing to go to war with the king over his sister. "They can write a ballad about us. The War for Cersei's Cunt." (Armor-Piercing Slap from Cersei).
Renly too, in reference to the Lannisters.
Tyrion in regards to his father.
Bronn spouts his own brand of unique, worldly wisdom with regards to Joffrey.
Yara drops it on Theon at Winterfell. He tries to protest, but she just repeats it louder.
Locke uses it to describe Catelyn.
Creepy Child: The wildling child killed and turned into a wight by the White Walkers.
Cross Referenced Titles: "Valar Morghulis"/"Valar Dohaeris," the season two finale and season three opener. The former is a Valyrian phrase taught to Arya by Jaqen meaning "all men must die," the latter the traditional response, "all men must serve."
Cruel and Unusual Death: Khal Drogo is an expert at this. Like ripping out someone's tongue for speaking ill of his wife. Or dumping molten gold over a guy's head.
The Faith of the Seven, is vaguely reminiscent of the Catholic Church. It worships One God with Seven Aspects (or "faces"). It has a hierarchy of celibate clergy, with Septons (priests) and Septas (nuns) at the bottom and a single High Septon at the top. Being part of the Faith (or at least paying lip service) is mandatory to become a knight (i.e., styled "Ser"). It's the official religion of the Seven Kingdoms, having been brought over through conquest to supplant the local, pagan religon of the "old gods."
"You Win or You Die" (played at the climax of the eponymous episode) is this for "The King's Arrival" (which plays when Robert and his entourage arrive at Winterfell). Also reprised in "The North Remembers" as "The Throne is Mine", which plays over a vignette of the Gold Cloaks purging all of Robert's bastard children, on Joffrey's orders. Inverted in the same piece, as a more triumphant rendition of the Baratheon theme "Black of Hair" plays when Gendry escapes said purge.
The National's "The Rains of Castamere" during the end credits of "Blackwater" acts as this for a far more cheery rendition performed by Bronn earlier in the episode.
"The House of the Undying", played during Bad Future vision in the House of the Undying sequence near the end of "Valar Morghulis". It's a grimmer rendition of "Finale", the track played over the reveal of the dragons at the end of the first season, mixed with elements of "The Wall".
"Three Blasts", the music that accompanies the march of the White Walkers at the end of the season 2 finale, is an extremely dark, foreboding, slowed-down variation on the series's main theme.
Theon's Season 2 theme, "What Is Dead May Never Die," is first heard when he is returning to the Iron Islands. It is played again at the end of episode 7, this time sounding very twisted and dissonant, hinting at his deteriorating mental state.
Deadpan Snarker: Tyrion Lannister truly is the Lord of House Snark. His sellsword traveling companion Bronn, as well as Tyrion's older brother Jaime, can bring the snark plenty themselves. Sansa also becomes a master of subtle insults and back-handed compliments in later episodes. Davos Seaworth is likely the only man in Stannis' service comfortable enough to be this to his king's face.
Description Cut: In 2x02, Cersei justifies not sending more men to the Wall on the basis that she's sure the members of the Night's Watch can ably defend the realm. Cut to Watch member Dolorous Edd amusing the others with fart jokes.
Did Mom Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Tyrion returns to his quarters to find Varys chatting with his mistress Shae, who is supposed to be there secretly and her presence unknown to anyone else. Varys makes friendly conversation but obliquely references to Tyrion what a shame it would be if Tywin learned about her presence.
Joffrey forces a prostitute to beat another so badly it is unclear whether she survives.
Littlefinger reveals that he's not above letting his customers murder his prostitutes, especially if they displease him. In the third season, we see the truth of this claim when he gives Roz to Joffrey for target practice because she spied on him for Varys.
Disproportionate Retribution: Rather common. The most glaring examples are just about all of Joffrey's decisions, eventually lampshaded by Tyrion:
Tyrion: They threw a cowpie at you, so you decide to kill them all?!
Distaff Counterpart/Spear Counterpart: Sansa and Loras. Although neither of them are fully aware of the other's suffering in "The Climb," Sansa (an aspiring Princess Classic) and Loras (an aspiring Knight In Shining Armour) have learned the hard way that life isn't a fairy tale. Both of them carried romantic ideals, believing that they would "live happily ever after" with their beloved Baratheon ("Prince Charming" Joffrey for Sansa, "The Good King" Renly for Loras). Both have been crushed emotionally when their dreams transformed into nightmares (Joffrey turned out to be a sadistic psychopath and executed Sansa's father, while Renly was murdered not long after Loras pushed him to become king).
Viserys considers Khal Drogo to be his Dragon (though he thinks he himself is "the Dragon" in a different sense). Drogo doesn't care what Viserys wants and kills him off when he threatens Daenerys and her and Drogo's unborn son.
Ser Jorah Mormont for Daenerys.
Dagmer to Theon.
Dragon-in-Chief: Nominally, Lord Tywin Lannister is second-in-command to King Joffrey, but in reality he is the true power behind the throne, and the enemy that anyone wishing to oppose Joffrey's reign must contend with, while Joffrey is little more than a figurehead.
The Dreaded: The White Walkers, the legendary and feared monsters of the North.
Drop Dead Gorgeous: An episode ends on the dead body of Ros the prostitute, who has been shot to death with a crossbow. The camera pans across her body, and somewhere between her tousled red hair and the soft lighting, she ends up looking like a martyr in a Renaissance painting. She was also scantily clad, a former sex-worker, and killed whilst sitting tied to the end of a bed.
Stannis, victorious defender of the terrible siege of Storm's End, resents Robert because his older brother gave Storm's End to Renly, the sibling who never did any fighting.
After holding the fort for the family during a brief but good chancellorship, Tyrion brings himself to ask his father for some recognition and consideration since he's the lawful heir, but Tywin rewards him with minor grants and a callous, devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech instead.
DVD Bonus Content: The first season Blu-ray release contains "In-Episode Guide", a series of pictures narrated by the actors over the history of Westeros especially Robert's Rebellion where each character tells the viewer of that event from their point of view.
El Cid Ploy: Loras pretends to be King Renly's Ghost at the Battle of Blackwater to sow confusion and fear among Stannis' common soldiers.
Elephant in the Living Room: Over the eight thousand years since the Long Night, the conditions at The Wall have steadily been ignored, leaving the garrison there undermanned, undersupplied, and incapable of holding the wall against the Wildlings or the White Walkers. Outside The Wall, nobody seems to openly acknowledge the dangers the coming winter will bring. Even the Starks' own words, "Winter is coming," haven't prepared them.
Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Khal Drogo's Westerosi is very limited, but when his speech in Dothraki is subtitled he's revealed to be a highly intelligent war leader, a loving husband, and an eloquent and fiery speaker. It sometimes overlaps with Strange Syntax Speaker, as the Dothraki don't have words for things like plate armor or castles.
Gregor Clegane (AKA The Mountain) after being thrown from his horse in a jousting match, beheads his own steed in a fit of rage, and then attempts to do the same to the other jouster who beat him. This is all done in plain view of everyone, including the King.
When King Robert's brother Stannis Baratheon has a letter written declaring his claim to the throne, he makes them change "beloved brother" because he didn't love him and adds Jaime Lannister's nickname the "Kingslayer" but also the title "Ser" because "whatever he is, he's still a knight."
Littlefinger's speech to two of his whores about making their customers forget what they are. He basically sums up his background and raison d'etre.
Arya's introduction shows her deathly bored of her needlework and sneaking out to the archery range, where she hits a target her older brother missed, and does so from farther away.
A Viking Funeral includes two for the Tullys: Edmure attempts to fire a flaming arrow to set the boat on fire and misses three times. As the boat is getting away and people grow uneasy, Blackfish just shoves him out of the way and hit with the first shot, showing his prowess, and then tosses the bow back at his nephew with a look of utter disdain.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: Tywin doesn't care if you are a man or a woman. He cares whether or not you are an idiot.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Several characters are only redeemed from being monsters by this trope. Cersei Lannister is possibly the most notable, as her scheming against Ned is mostly motivated by a desire to protect her children.
The city guardsman who brought out Robert's infant bastard from the brothel refused to kill her, leaving Janos Slynt to do it himself.
Tyrion is disgusted by Janos Slynt's aforementioned actions (which he thinks were at Cersei's command, but actually Joffrey's as he later finds out), and revokes his title and sends him off to the Wall. It's possible he also didn't like having Cersei's lackey in charge of the city guards.
Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Ned Stark has a bastard son, and Robert has countless. Many scenes take place in Littlefinger's bordello. The sexual relationships of a number of characters are major plot points. Dany's change in sexual position is even a major turning point in her character.
Everything's Deader with Zombies: When corpses are touched by White Walkers, they turn into zombies called "wights," which are under the White Walkers' control. Wights are resistant to normal wounds, but can be killed with fire. Wildlings always burn their dead when possible to prevent them from coming back as wights.
Evil Makeover: Joffrey gives the throne room an Evil Makeover early on in his reign by stripping away all the artwork from the walls and the pillars, painting everything black, and adding giant spiky braziers to the bases of the pillars. He basically makes it look like a supervillain's lair. He claims he's bringing the Red Keep more in line with the spirit of the old Targaryen dynasty.
The five massive towers of Harrenhal, even as dilapidated and ruined as they are.
The House of the Undying in Qarth.
Evolving Credits: New map locations are seamlessly added to the opening sequence on occasion. Taken further in Series 3, where Winterfell is now depicted bellowing thick clouds of smoke, after having been sacked by the retreating Greyjoy forces at the end of the last series.
A twofer in Vaes Dothrak: Viserys demands one too many times that Khal Drogo give him the "golden crown" that he was promised. It's illegal to shed blood within the city. Drogo gives Viserys his crown.
Joffrey states that his mother told him he should never strike his lady. He then orders one of his Kingsguard to strike Sansa instead. With a gauntlet.
Jon Snow, as a sworn member of the Night's Watch, 'shall take no wife and father no children'. Ygritte points out all theobviousloopholes.
Brienne serves Catelyn Stark, and only Catelyn Stark. She has no loyalty to Robb Stark, or any of his men, as Jaime quickly learns.
Eureka Moment: Ned has one in "A Golden Crown," concerning Joffrey's true parentage.
Jaime is threatened with this after Locke takes against his Every Man Has His Price attitude. He ends up disfiguring him in a different manner, though.
Face Heel Turn: Poor Theon, caught between his adopted family and his real one.
The Faceless: Quaithe of Asshai has popped up twice in Qarth to give Jorah Mormont enigmatic warnings while always wearing a mask.
Faceless Goons: The Lannister soldiers, a.k.a. the Redcloaks, whose helmet' visors cover their eyes and noses. Also the Gold Cloaks, a.k.a. the City Watch, who wear mail over their noses and mouths. Ironborn raiders sworn to House Greyjoy do similarly.
Fake Guest Star: In the first season, Jason Momoa, for whatever reason, is billed in the closing credits as "also starring" (curiously enough, only after all the guest stars have been credited) despite being a major character who appears throughout the season. Julian Glover and Conleth Hill are probably as important to the show as Aidan Gillen (and appear as often), who is credited as a regular, but neither man gets their names in the opening credits. In Season Two, Donald Sumpter, Joe Dempsie, Gwendoline Christie, Natalia Tena, Tom Wlaschiha are all very important characters who appear more often than several characters who are credited as regulars.
Fake Defector: Jon Snow joining the wildlings at the end of Season 2.
The Lannister's unoffical motto, "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts," is pretty much an example of this. At face value, it seems to indicate that Lannisters show gratitude to those who do well by them, and this is true. However, it also indicates the reverse, that they will take revenge on anyone they think has slighted them, and that meaning is seen much more frequently.
The brief scene where Dany's attempted assassin has to walk naked, tied behind Dany's horse, until he collapses.
The first season finale "Fire and Blood" gives us Grand Maester Pycelle...wearing only a see-through bathrobe thing.
Theon flirts with a girl he meets on Pyke, and gropes her on their ride to his father's castle. She soon reveals herself to be his sister.
Tyrion sends a pair of prostitutes to Joffrey's room to help him unwind. Joffrey forces the first one, at crossbow-point, to severely beat the second with a whip and a baton, possibly to death.
Melisandre teases Davos about his desire to see her naked. Moments later, she drops her robe to reveal that she's hugely pregnant and promptly gives birth to a nightmarish shadow creature.
"Kissed by Fire" gives Jaime a nude scene, but he is dirty, very bruised and a recent amputee. The same episode also gives a Shirtless Scene to Beric Dondarian, whose chest has a lot of very nasty scars.
Anglo Saxons: Westeros is quite clearly based on medieval England, and indeed the north/south geography and accompanying accents clearly approximate England's own geography and accent distribution. For example Ned, as a Northerner, has Sean Bean's native Sheffield accent, whereas Cersei, as a Southerner, has more of a London/RP accent. The family names Lannister and Stark are also thinly veiled references to the War of the Roses, a civil war in England fought between the houses of Lancaster and York. The great Wall itself has obvious 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 Pictish invasion. Sections of the wall still stand today. The Narrow Sea corresponds to the English Channel, and King's Landing, as seen on the opening-credits map, roughly corresponds with London.
The Northerners also have a vague affinity to the Celtic peoples, especially the Lowland Scots: the Northerners are descended from the First Men, who were driven out of the richer, warmer southern parts of Westeros by the Andals, but later came under the influence of Southern culture, adopting some but not all Southern customs. The Lowland Scots are descended from Celtic peoples, primarily Gaels from Ireland, Picts who were already there,note The intermingling of the Picts and Gaels formed the Kingdom of Alba, the earliest institutional form of Scotland and Britonsnote Who held the fairly long-lived Kingdom of Strathclyde until Alba conquered it in the 11th century, forming a unified Scotland—some of whom were already there, while were driven out of the richer, warmer southeast by the Anglo-Saxons; they later came under the influence of English culture, adopting some but not all English customs.
Wildlings are quite similar to Highland Scots; the Wildlings never came under Andal influence, and the Highlanders only came under English influence relatively recently.
The Ironborn are based on Horny Vikings (sans the horns) and Scandinavian peoples as well as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles. Their society is seafaring, and like historic Norse cultures, they rely heavily on raiding other nations for sustenance, hence the Greyjoys' motto, "We Do Not Sow." The comparison is made stronger by the affinity of the Ironborn to Northerners; like Northerners, they are descended from the First Men, just as the Manx and people of the Isles are also historically Gaelic-speaking Celts.
Fate Worse Than Death: Tyrion implies that the Night's Watch is this. He says that when a rapist is given the choice between taking the black and castration (which would be a dangerous, often deadly, procedure in a time without sanitation), most choose "the knife."
Faux Affably Evil: Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish is rather charming and polite, a combination he uses to further his schemes and lull his targets. He quickly betrays those he offers to help, like Ned Stark and occasionally shows his true colors to his sex workers.
Feuding Families: The Starks and the Lannisters are quickly sliding from general dislike toward this territory. As of "Baelor" there is a civil war between them, Ned Stark has been killed by Joffrey, and Jaime Lannister is held hostage by Robb.
Theon is all too eager to kill a direwolf - sigil of the Starks - in the pilot.
When Doreah talks of what she's seen, she mentions a dagger of dragonglass, a man who could change his face and a pirate who wears his weight in gold.
Arya shoos her Cool Pet Nymeria away to save her from being killed by the Lannisters. By "The Pointy End," Arya must too run away to avoid capture and possible death from the Lannisters.
Loras' suggestion to Renly in Season 1 that he can crown himself king with the help of the Tyrells' armies and wealth becomes a reality in Season 2.
Loras cuts Renly with a blade in Season 1 and tells him, "It's just blood, [...] sometimes a little spills." Renly dies in Season 2 after he is stabbed through the heart by a magical shadow "sword," his blood oozing out in copious amounts.
Cersei justifies her incestuous relationship with Jaime and having his children by invoking the precedent set by the Targaryens. Except that the Targaryen penchant for incest led to Aerys Targaryen, foreshadowing that Joffrey will be an uncontrollable lunatic of a king and do things like having Eddard Stark executed in defiance of all diplomatic sense.
When Ned asks Petyr if the Gold Cloaks of the King's Landing City Watch will side with him to overthrow Joffrey, Petyr replies that the Gold Cloaks are ultimately loyal to whoever hands them their paychecks. Much of the series stresses how the Lannisters are the richest noble house in Westeros.
Daenerys walks into an extremely hot bath despite the warnings of her handmaiden, and later takes a hot dragon egg out of a lit brazier without burning her hand. In the Season 1 finale, she walks into her dead husband's burning funeral pyre and emerges from the ashes unharmed, naked, with three baby dragons. Not to mention when her brother dies from his 'Golden Crown': "He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon."
In "The North Remembers", Melisandre makes a chilling one during her prophecy. She says that after the long summer, "the cold breath of winter will freeze the seas, and the Dead shall rise in the North". Switch forward to the final scene of season 2...
In "The Old Gods and the New," Xaro talks about how he's had to do some nasty things to become as wealthy as he is. Immediately after, he opens the doors to his estate and we see that someone has killed several Civic Guards protecting his house and members of Dany's khalasar and stolen her dragons. In "A Man Without Honor," we learn that Xaro helped the perpetrator.
Forging The Will: As King Robert is dying, he dictates his will for Eddard Stark to write. Robert says "to my son, Joffrey", but Ned replaces this with "to my rightful heir", as he had learned that Joffrey is not actually Robert's son.
Daenerys, her entourage and Unsullied army in Essos.
Sansa Stark, the Lannisters and Tyrells at King's Landing.
Jon Snow with the Wildlings.
Samwell Tarly and the Night's Watch.
Robb and Catelyn in the Westerlands, at war with the Lannisters.
Arya Stark and Gendry, Robert's only known surviving bastard, in the Riverlands.
Stannis' war, first against his brother Renly, then against Joffrey Baratheon and now back at Dragonstone after his defeat.
Theon Greyjoy in an unidentified Torture Cellar somewhere in the North.
Bran and Rickon Stark heading toward the Wall with Osha and Hodor (and now Jojen and Meera Reed as well).
Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister captured by Bolton's men.
Freudian Slip: In "Valar Morghulis," Loras subconsciously let it slip that Renly was far more than a brother-in-law to him when he tells the court, "My sister Margaery, her husband was taken from us before..." He should've said "her husband was taken from her," or simply "her husband was taken" instead.
Freudian Trio: The Baratheon brothers form one: Robert is a hot-blooded and impulsive warrior (id), Renly is a calm and easygoing politician (ego), and Stannis is described as a skilled strategist but not at all a people person (super-ego). In this case, rather than being three disparate personalities who are a team, it explains why the brothers don't like each other.
Ned Stark, who tries to get King Robert to do the right thing, and mitigate the damage whenever his advice is ignored.
Tywin Lannister's backstory. He served for twenty-years as Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen, the Mad King, in what was considered the most stable and prosperous period Westeros had experienced since Aegon's Landing. Things went truly south after Tywin was dismissed.
Tyrion serves as Joffrey's much needed counterbalance in Season 2. In no small part, the Lannister banner is sustained thanks to Tyrion's brief but brilliant stint as acting Hand of the King.
Good Vs Good: Catelyn tries to avoid this by proposing to Stannis and Renly that they join forces against the Lannisters. She fails.
Gone Horribly Right: Dany tries to convince Drogo to help her retake the Seven Kingdoms for their son, and after she's nearly assassinated while pregnant, he agrees... and announces this with a long speech in which he explains his plans to basically ransack the entire continent. Dany's later reactions show that she has no taste for Dothraki brutality.
He doesn't back Renly's bid for the throne, but Renly's a diplomat with no combat experience in a situation that WILL require winning a war. Sure enough, Renly does nothing but divide the forces against the Lannisters. He also does not have a right to be king at the time, and you can't kick Joffrey off the throne because he's not the rightful king and replace him with someone else who isn't the rightful king.
He tries to broker a compromise with Cersei Lannister: she needs to go into exile before he tells Robert that she's been cheating on him with her brother and none of the children are Robert's. But as the daughter of the richest, most powerful man in the realm and the sister/lover of an infamous warrior who already killed one king, letting Robert bludgeon her to death in a fit of rage really isn't a wise move either.
The Good King: Subverted. Many characters aspire to be good kings, but playing the Game of Thrones always seems to force them into making dishonorable choices or putting them in Morton's Forks where they cannot help but cause something bad to happen.
Gory Discretion Shot: Averted constantly and inverted in-universe. People (especially the Stark children) are sometimes forced to witness beheadings and other things they'd rather look away from.
Stannis Baratheon, who corrects Davos Seaworth on the usage of "less" versus "fewer" when Davos is talking about his severed fingers. Overlaps with You Make Me Sic, as it was Stannis who had them cut off.
Tyrion corrects Cersei's word usage several times.
Great Offscreen War: A few, but the most important is the war sixteen years ago in which Robert Baratheon overthrew the Mad King and drove the former royal family into exile.
Grim Up North: The North is colder, harsher and less populated than the South. North of the Wall is even worse.
Hand Wave: In the books, Jaime grabs Cleos Frey's sword before his swordfight with Brienne. Cleos was written out of the show, so Brienne carries two swords and Jaime steals one of them. Jaime notes, "I never understood why some knights carry two swords," as a handwave for why Brienne has an extra sword for him to steal.
Happily Married: Ned and Catelyn Stark seem to be genuinely in love in a world where most marriages (including their own) are arranged for political reasons. Khal Drogo and Daenerys form a surprising bond.
Heir Club for Men: All the noble families thus far seen practise male-preferential primogeniture inheritance: the oldest son inherits, but if there are no suitable male heirs, a daughter can make do. The Iron Throne, however, can only go to a man according to Septa Mordane. If a king only has daughters, his closest male relative will sit the throne instead.
Held Gaze: Doreah spells its importance out for Dany. Very clearly.
No one in the Night's Watch wears a helmet, despite the freezing conditions. Qhorin and Will at least wear hats.
Robb in both the Battle of the Whispering Wood and the Battle of Oxcross.
When they meet Stannis in "Garden of Bones," Loras is the only member of Renly's Kingsguard who doesn't wear a helm.
During "Blackwater," none of the main characters wear helmets, not even Stannis, who is leading the siege. Tyrion does don one early on when he leads the flanking force and only removes it when he thinks they've won. Nevertheless, he fights with his visor open.
Heel Face Door Slam: Theon seems to catch a break from the universe deservedly shitting on him when one of his captors helps him escape the prison where he was being tortured after the fall of Winterfell. He talks to the captor about how he made all the wrong choices in the previous season. It seems like he is being set up for a possible redemption, until it's revealed that the captor has led him right back to the prison to be tortured yet again, and takes the credit for tracking him down.
In "A Golden Crown," he all but declares war on the Lannisters for committing horrific atrocities against serfs, even though this could cause a civil war with the Lannisters pitted against his own house.
In "You Win or You Die," he refuses to make the first strike at the Lannisters within King's Landing, even though this could grant them time to plan a strike of their own. He also rejects Littlefinger and Renly's underhanded but eminently sensible plans.
I Am X, Son of Y: A fairly standard introduction, at least among Dothraki and Mountain Clans. Particularly noteworthy are Drogo son of Bharbo, Shagga son of Dolf, Timett son of Timett, Chella daughter of Cheyk and Bronn son of "...you wouldn't know him."
Idiot Ball: The Astapori sell their entire invincible slave army to Dany, leaving themselves totally defenseless and then Dany immediately sacks their city, because duh. It tends to get hand waved away by people saying "they never sold that many at once" or "they got greedy", but considering that they'd apparently been carrying on this business model for a very long time and Dany had just sacked a city a few episodes before it's kind of baffling. And besides, they probably could have just killed her and taken her dragons anyways if they really wanted them that badly.
Tyrion: You're Ned Stark's bastard, aren't you?... Did I offend you? Sorry. You are the bastard, though." Jon: "Lord "Eddard Stark is my father..." Tyrion: "And Lady Stark is not your mother. Making you... the bastard. Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." Jon: "What the hell do you know about being a bastard?" Tyrion: "All dwarves are bastards in their fathers' eyes."
In "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things"—
Tyrion: "With the right horse and saddle even a cripple can ride." Bran: "I'm not a cripple!" Tyrion: "Then I'm not a dwarf! My father will rejoice to hear it."
He brings the hill tribes so under his sway that "The Halfman" and "Little Lion" become something of Affectionate Nicknames for him.
Brienne is in love with Renly, and she refuses to believe the foul rumours surrounding him and Loras. Renly is unable to consummate his marriage with Margaery in spite of her accommodating efforts.
Sansa has harboured a crush on Loras since the Tourney of the Hand, and it grows when she is betrothed to him. Loras is somewhat awkward while conversing with Sansa in "The Climb," but he does seem to genuinely want to help her escape King's Landing through their marriage and give her a better life in Highgarden.
Informed Ability: Jaime and Loras are both described as some of the best swordsmen in the Seven Kingdoms, yet we've never seen them win a fight.
In-Series Nickname: Sandor "the Hound" Clegane, Gregor "the Mountain" Clegane, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Varys "the Spider", Tyrion "the Imp" and "Halfman" Lannister, Ser Loras "the Knight of Flowers" Tyrell, Jaime "Kingslayer" Lannister, Brienne "the Beauty" Tarth.
The last scene of the first episode. With horrific and long-reaching consequences.
Played for Laughs when Jaime Lannister walks in on his brother at a brothel in Winterfell and tells him to hurry up, then proceeds to send in more prostitutes in order to hurry him up.
In the beginning of Season 3, when Podrick Payne comes to summon Bronn at Tyrion's behest. Bronn is... extremely reluctant to leave.
In the Back: How Jaime Lannister offed the Mad King, making his Bodyguard Betrayal twice as dishonorable. Ned rubs it in Jaime's face despite having family members personally tortured to death by the King, showing how people in Westeros see this kind of thing.
With most families in the show, the similarities could be argued to be a result of nurture rather than nature, but Viserys' insanity is quite clearly inherited from the "Mad King" Aerys, most likely as a result of generations of inbreeding.
Robert Baratheon mentions that he favoured wielding a war hammer in battle. The first time we see his bastard son Gendry, who is an armourer's apprentice, guess what he's working with.
Ironic Echo: In "Winter Is Coming" Ned Stark establishes what sort of man he is by sentencing and beheading an outlaw himself, eschewing an executioner. In "Baelor" he is beheaded, by an executioner, with his own sword.
Instant Messenger Pigeon: Messenger ravens arrive at their destination across the continent in the matter of a scene or two. The show often skips substantial periods of time for pacing's sake.
Instant Seduction: It doesn't take long for Loras to be seduced by Olyvar. Justified, since the spy is presumably one of Littlefinger's prostitutes, and therefore quite experienced at this, plus Loras hasn't been physically intimate with anyone since Renly's death.
Alliser Thorne treats the recruits of the Night's Watch with cruelty. He later tells Jon and Sam that his company was stuck in the land beyond the Wall for over six months during the last winter, even resorting to cannibalism of their fallen comrades at the end. Given how terrible the winters are, his comments on how strong someone has to be to serve the Watch may be valid.
Jaime Lannister argues that due to the inherently contradictory nature of the oaths sworn by knights, everyone becomes an oathbreaker eventually (e.g. if your father hates the king and you've sworn to obey both).
The Spice King is rude and condescending, but when Daenerys tries to get him to lend her some of his ships to get to Westeros, he makes some very good points: namely, that she's far too confident in both her ability to retake Westeros and her belief that the people actually want her back.
The Jester: Subverted. We see a minstrel singing a jaw-droppingly insulting Bawdy Song about Robert and Cersei in front of Joffrey's entire court, at the end of which Joffrey laughs and applauds. If the minstrel's terrified expression and quavering voice didn't clue you in, Joffrey's offering him the choice between keeping his fingers or his tongue is the final hint that he's actually on trial.
Seems to be the only way to get rid of those who were touched by the White Walkers.
This was also apparently the Mad King's favored method of killing people, and his daughter Daenerys uses fire to kill Mirri for her treachery. He was "The Dragon", after all.
In "Blackwater" Tyrion uses wildfire to kill half of Stannis' entire fleet!
Kissing Cousins: After Jaime goes off to war Cersei starts getting her incest fix with her cousin Lancel. In Season 2 Tyrion uses this to blackmail Lancel into reporting to him about Cersei's activities.
Jaime Lannister looks exactly like this, but is actually an utter creep.
Loras Tyrell also looks the part and, apart from some Combat Pragmatism, comes closer to actually acting like it. Unfortunately for his Fangirls (at least those of the non-yaoi persuasion), though, he's gay.
Kukris Are Kool: Bronn has one strapped to the small of his back, which he puts to good use on occasion.
Lady Macbeth: Despite being a male character, Loras essentially fulfills this role when he suggests to Renly that he should be king instead of his brothers and nephews.
The Lancer: Jory for Lord Eddard Stark and Theon for Robb.
Large Ham: Syrio Forel, Greatjon Umber, Viserys. Drogo chews the scenery with much gusto during his Rousing Speech after the assassination attempt on Daenerys. Similarly, King Robert nearly scrapes the castle walls clean while ordering the assassination of Daenerys and her child. Roy Dotrice's One-Scene Wonder as Pyromancer Hallyne does credit to his equally hammy readings of the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks.
La Résistance: Tywin's occupation of the Riverlands is hampered by the "Brotherhood without Banners," a group unseen until the third season.
The Leader: King Renly is a Type IV. His charismatic personality is what wins the support of Lord Mace Tyrell and his bannermen. He commands the combined army strength of the Reach and the Stormlands, which numbers around 100 000. Renly uses diplomacy to diffuse the tension between Catelyn and his two overprotective Kingsguards.
Lecture As Exposition: Maester Luwin teaches Bran, and the audience, about the Houses of Westeros. Upon arrival in King's Landing, Sansa gets quizzed by her septa about the history of the Seven Kingdoms.
The melancholy Stark theme is the most frequently heard, playing in the pieces "Goodbye Brother," "Winter is Coming," "Jon's Honor, and "King of the North." In Season Two, it appears at the beginning of "What Is Dead May Never Die," played during Theon's Face Heel Turn, in which it gradually shifts into the Greyjoy theme instead.
The Lannisters have the "The Rains of Castamere" and its variations. It usually manifests as dark, ominous background music, but Tyrion whistles a faster, more sing-song version of it a few times in Season Two, and it finally appears in full in Blackwater.
The Baratheons have two themes: the "kingly one," used mostly for Robert, Joffrey and Stannis, is a bombastic fanfare, fitting for the royal family, first heard in "The King's Arrival" and then reprised in "You Win Or You Die," (where it incorporates elements of "The Rains of Castamere") "The Throne Is Mine," and "Wildfire". The other one, most frequently used for Robert's biological children, is "Black Of Hair", which is reprised in "Bird Without Feathers" (played when Cersei tells Catelyn about her first son who died as an infant), "Await The King's Justice," and "The Throne Is Mine."
The White Walkers also have their own, which can be heard in "North of the Wall" and "The Night's Watch".
Daenerys has two distinct themes. One, a mysterious-sounding, powerful melody which can be heard in "Fire and Blood", has a distinctly Eastern feel to it. (This makes sense: the Targaryens were originally from Valyria, which lies in Essos.) The other is more triumphant, often mixing with the Game of Thrones main theme, and is reserved for her more glorious moments, such as Season One's "Finale" and "Mother of Dragons".
Jaqen H'ghar has a quiet, distinct tune which plays whenever he makes an appearance or performs an action affecting the plot. A broader, deeper version plays when Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie escape in "The Prince of Winterfell".
Lighter and Softer: While the show has more sex and violence than could be shown on network television, it pales before the books. Some examples include:
Arya kills more people, and in cold blood as well, in the books. She also suffers more degradations in the books.
Sansa is not as abused by Joffrey as she is in the books. For example, she is stripped naked in the books, while in the series her dress is torn.
The young characters are all aged up in part so that all this sex and violence isn't happening to even younger characters.
Bodily mutilations are less pronounced for practical reasons. For example, Tyrion and Rorge both keep their noses in the series. This is Lampshaded in Season 3, where there were rumors that Tyrion had lost his nose during the Battle of Blackwater.
Robb Stark falls in love with the field nurse and Volantine noble Talisa Maegyr, despite the fact he is already engaged to one of Walder Frey's daughters. His mother warns him over what a stupid political move this is, but he marries her anyway. Lord Karstark remarks that he lost the ongoing war the day he married her.
Catelyn going behind Robb's back and freeing the Kingslayer in an attempt to get Sansa and Arya back.
Jaime Lannister. He's willing to push a kid out of a window to hide his secret affair, even saying, "The things I do for love..."
Cersei Lannister. She was, like many women in the Seven Kingdoms at the close of his rebellion, quite in love with Robert when they married, but a life of humiliations and occasional domestic abuse ended with her plotting her husband's death.
Petyr: his unrequited love for Catelyn caused him to become obsessed with achieving power over his social betters.
Maester Aemon's lecture to Jon warns him about the dangers of love, as it is the one thing that can cause a man to ignore his duty.
Machiavelli Was Wrong: Invoked by Ser Loras in his convincing Renly to make a play for the throne. He argues that Renly's charisma would make him a far better king than those before him because he would rule through love and respect rather than fear.
Macho Masochism: The Greatjon laughing off a direwolf eating two of his fingers. Also, Drogo showed his badassery in a duel by deliberately allowing his opponent to cut him, in order to draw the guy closer. This came back to bite him, as the wound gets infected and nearly kills him.
Mass Oh Crap: Many people's reaction the moment that Joffrey decides to execute Ned Stark.
Master Swordsman: Jaime Lannister, Loras Tyrell, Sandor and Gregor Clegane, Eddard Stark, Barristan Selmy, and Syrio Forel are all described by various people as some of the best swordsmen in the Seven Kingdoms. Jaime speaks particularly highly of Barristan Selmy, calling him an artist who only uses red paint. Brienne of Tarth also shows significant skill, but is generally underestimated because of her sex.
In-universe, bastard children have last names determined by region, so anyone meeting Jon Snow already knows something about his parentage and place of origin.
The family names Lannister and Stark are thinly veiled references to the War of the Roses, a civil war in England fought between the houses of Lancaster and York.
'Stark' has several meanings, including "rigidly conforming," "desolate" and "strong." All of these meanings can apply to the Stark family or the North.
The Mentor: Several, for most of the younger main characters and some of the older ones. Jon Arryn was this to Robert and Ned, Rodrik Cassel to Robb, Jon and Theon, Lord Commander Mormont to Jon, Syrio Forel to Arya, and Septa Mordane to Sansa. In Season 2, Quorin Halfhand takes over for Jon, Dagmer Cleftjaw for Theon, Yoren , Jaqen H'qar and Tywin Lannister for Arya and in a way, Cersei Lannister for Sansa.
The Medic: Talisa of Volantis, who attends to the wounded after a battle between Robb Stark's army and the Lannisters'.
Me's a Crowd: The Warlock(s) of Qarth seem to be entirely composed of one person, who makes copies of himself.
Meta Twist: HBO gleefully marketed the show as if Sean Bean were the main character, and thus the one star with Contractual Immortality. Nothing could be further from the truth, though those who had read the book would know this already - it would be impossible to even remotely follow the book's story with Ned alive.
Miles Gloriosus: Joffrey Baratheon is a coddled teen, but likes to brag and pretend that he's a badass swordfighter. No one believes him, but everyone except his family humors him because of his high birth. In "Blackwater" he prances around in a suit of armor blathering about how he'll give Stannis "a red smile", only to turn tail and run away when Stannis and his army start attacking the city.
Minor Insult Meltdown: Wildlings refer to everyone south of the Wall as "Southerners," which annoys several Northerners.
The Mistress: Loras becomes the male version of this trope after Renly marries Margaery.
Mock Millionaire: Xaro Xhoan Daxos, whose conspicuous treasure vault is completely empty. He's cunningly leveraged his fictional fortune into a lavish lifestyle and political power.
Moment Killer: In "What Is Dead May Never Die", the foreplay between Renly and Loras is unexpectedly interrupted after Renly starts kissing the bruises on Loras' chest. This reminds Loras of the humiliation he suffered earlier in the day, and it kills the mood.
Jory's Distracted by the Sexy moment in the brothel is immediately followed by his death. Also happens when the story switches between the various different plot-threads. Arya training with Syrio? Cool, and even a little funny. But then the next thing you see is Dany eating a horse's heart.
"Walk of Punishment" ends with Jaime's hand being chopped off, and a cut to black as he screams in horror and agony, followed immediately by a bawdy punk cover of "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" over the end credits.
Theon's torture starts with a sudden, comically timed blowing of a horn.
Morton's Fork: King Robert explains how a Dothraki invasion would put him in a Morton's Fork. If he faces the Dothraki horsemen in open battle, he'll be defeated. If he barricades himself in his castles, the Dothraki will rape and pillage the countryside so badly that he'll lose his kingdom anyway.
Ros the gorgeous prostitute didn't have one scene in the first season where she kept all her clothes on all the way through. Actress Esme Bianco has a background as a burlesque performer, so she's quite comfortable performing nude. In Season 2 and thereafter she's promoted to Littlefinger's aide, and thus earns the privilege to wear more clothes.
Daenerys, especially in her first appearances.
Muscles Are Meaningless: Although Loras does possess a slender build in the books, Finn Jones' skinny physique and his lack of muscles on the show make it difficult for some viewers to believe that his character is one of the best knights in Westeros.
The Mutiny: A bunch of hungry, pissed off Night's Watchmen rebel in "And Now His Watch Is Ended", with violent results.
My Nayme Is: Many of the character's names are very similar to modern names, such as Eddard for Edward.
Mythology Gag: In "Valar Dohaeris", when Cersei first sees Tyrion again following his wounding at the Battle of Blackwater, she says it was rumored his nose was cut off, but the truth is "not as gory". This is in reference to the books where Tyrion really did lose his nose in addition to gaining the nasty scar he has in the series.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Sandor "The Hound" Clegane, Ser Gregor "The Mountain That Rides" Clegane, Ser Jaime "The Kingslayer" Lannister, Aerys "The Mad King" Targaryen, Daenerys "Mother of Dragons" Targaryen.
Jaime Lannister is known and addressed as "Kingslayer" (and it's not complimentary) by everyone, even his allies. Even those who rebelled agains the king and knew that he was insane criticize him for it. Jaime insists that people should be grateful for it.
Catelyn never quite forgives or forgets the fact that Eddard Stark was unfaithful to her and sired bastard son Jon Snow.
Nice Guy: Renly is the only man who has treated Brienne with kindness and respect, and he's probably the only king who has accepted a woman into his Kingsguard. He did this despite knowing full well that it would shock his bannermen, annoy his wife, and piss off his lover. Renly praises Brienne's martial skills and her devotion when Loras confronts him about it. Margaery describes Renly as "brave and gentle" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words."
Congratulations, Sansa! Lying to the king and queen about Joffrey got your own direwolf killed!
Congratulations, Ned! Ignoring Littlefinger and Renly's advice has led to Cersei and Joffrey ruling, your guards all being killed, and you being arrested and eventually executed!
Congratulations, Catelyn! Capturing Tyrion Lannister has compromised the safety of your husband and daughters in the capital, and resulted with Lord Tywin unleashing Gregor Clegane on the lands of your own family!
Congratulations, Robert! Sending assassins after Daenerys managed to piss off Drogo enough that he changed his mind about not invading Westeros!
Kudos, Daenerys! Saving a wise woman from rape and then asking her to save the life of your husband has led to said husband winding up as an Empty Shell and your son to be stillborn.
Good job, Mirri! Destroying everything of value to the naive queen of the enemies you sought revenge on made her more cunning and dangerous than her deceased husband or stillborn son could ever have been. Extra points for teaching her a lesson in the process that mercy is for the weak, giving her a crash course in blood magic, and providing the means for birthing her three dragons.
Sending Theon home to Daddy in an attempt to gain his support in combat resulted in the exact thing your father had been preventing by having Theon in the first place: The Iron Islands have taken up arms against Winterfell and now Robb has to fight wars on two fronts.
Executing Lord Karstark for treason, despite all of his counsel warning him not to. This results in the Karstarks pulling back their forces, which make up half of Robb's army. Now he's got no choice but to the turn the infamously untrustworthy Freys for help, who he's pissed off by breaking their marriage pact.
Well done, Stannis! By assassinating Renly and shattering the Tyrell-Baratheon alliance, you ensured your own defeat at the siege of King's Landing by driving the Tyrells (who have the largest and second most well-funded army in the Seven Kingdoms) to ally with the Lannisters to get revenge on you for that whole "murdering the guy they swore allegence to" thing.
Kudos, Loras! By revealing to Olyvar that you're secretly engaged to Sansa, the information is then passed on to the Littlefinger, who then shares it with the Queen Regent, and now your family's plan is ruined.
Jaime lies that Brienne's family is much wealthier than they are to prevent Locke from raping her. He later learns that Locke refused Brienne's ransom, still believing his lie and expecting a much larger ransom.
Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: Congrats Joffrey! By killing all of Robert's bastards you've confirmed in the eyes of many that you know they had a better claim to the throne than you and given your enemies the rallying cry "The Queen kills babies!" If Tyrion wanted to slap you before, imagine how he thinks of you now.
In "What Is Dead May Never Die," Renly shows concern for the common soldiers in his army, making the effort to remember their names and keeping track of their problems.
Right after chiding his underlings, Lord Tywin treats Arya, cupbearer at Harrenhal, with a surprising amount of respect and warmth. Combined with some exposition of his backstory, their interactions effectively show Tywin's more humane side.
The Night That Never Ends: Winter is coming. Pray it's a short one - they have been known to last a decade. There is an in-universe Fairy Tale about winter lasting a generation - kings froze to death in their castles, and women murdered their own babies to save them the agony of starving to death.
Jaime Lannister intercedes on Brienne's behalf to prevent her from getting raped, in spite of trying to kill her only a few hours before. In the process, he compounds the enmity his captors feel toward him, causing them to chop his hand off.
No Man of Woman Born: Daenerys translates "Valar morghulis" as "All men must die", and then tells Missandei, "But we are not men." Presumably just a joke, since there's no other suggestion either that the phrase is supposed to be gender-specific or that Dany thinks she's immortal...
No Name Given: The Qartheen member of the Thirteen who first receives Dany outside the city walls. He does not give his name, saying that it is too long and hard for foreigners to pronounce. This is probably because he's a Canon Foreigner. When his actor was cast, he was called the Spice King, but that is his nickname and not a name.
Non-Indicative Name: The Dothraki Sea is not even remotely a large body of salt water. Rather, it is an area of rolling grassy plains, so named for its immense size and how easy it is to get lost in there.
Non-Specifically Foreign: Shae, who playfully refuses to tell Tyrion where she's from. Later, Cersei pegs her as Lorathi, which might be a joking way of connecting Shae (who is played by Turkish-German actress Sibel Kekilli) to Jaqen, who claims to be from Lorath (and is played by fellow German actor Tom Wlaschiha).
Nostalgia Filter: King Robert likes to muse about the good old days, before he was king. You know, when the entire country was either ruled by an insane dictator or in a state of civil war. His younger brother Renly does not hesitate to call him out on this.
Tyrion muses that the difference between the people of the Seven Kingdoms and the Wildlings is that when the Wall was built, their ancestors just happened to be on the right side.
Ned comparing Robert to the Mad King Aerys in "The Wolf and the Lion."
Maester Luwin asks Theon if he should really be mocking Osha for her situation in Winterfell, because "a prisoner and a guest" describes his situation almost exactly.
Maester Aemon reveals to Jon Snow he more than anyone else in the Night's Watch knows his anger and being torn between his oath and wanting to do something to defend his family. He was already an old man, long since blind when the ravens delivered the news that most of his entire family had been slaughtered, even the children, during a time of war. He's Aemon Targaryen, the uncle of the Mad King.
Tywin telling a disguised Arya how much she reminds him of his daughter. Surely Arya was thrilled.
The Hound claims that Bronn is a Blood Knight much like himself. The jury's still out on how much either of them actually qualifies.
Number Two: The office of Hand of the King could be considered this, but depending on where the individual who holds the title falls on the morality scale, or where their king falls for that matter, this could also be The Dragon.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Grand Maester Pycelle's hidden spryness and sharpness of mind, despite his age and apparent senility.
Offhand Backhand: When Jaime shoves Bran out the window, he does it with a sudden but casual shove while not bothering to look at him.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: During the events detailed in Episode 9, there are two battles going on, but only the aftermaths are shown. In the first instance, Tyrion gets knocked unconscious by the rush of his troops following a Rousing Speech, and only wakes up when the battle is over. Later in the episode, Robb returns triumphant from a battle not shown on screen, with Jaime Lannister as a prisoner.
Ned Stark has an enormous greatsword made of Valyrian steel called Ice that he uses for executions, and he does so in the first episode, taking a deserter's head off in a single stroke. Towards the end of the first series, he is beheaded with his own sword.
Varys' reaction when Littlefinger reveals that he was aware that Varys had been meeting secretly with Illyrio.
Jaime's and Cersei's reactions to finding out that Bran is going to live, and Tyrion's reaction to Catelyn talking a whole tavern of people into arresting him.
Loras when he realizes that the Mountain is about to attack him with a sword at the Tourney of the Hand. Loras doesn't have a weapon at this point, only a shield to protect him.
Viserys once he realizes what is meant by giving him a "golden crown."
Jaime when he realizes Ned Stark just rope-a-doped him.
Bronn when Tyrion tells him that Lord Tywin is placing them in the vanguard in the next day's battle.
Arya in disguise as Tywin Lannister's cupbearer at Harrenhal when they announced that Littlefinger has arrived. A similar scene occurs when the Hound is found by "The Brotherhood Without Banners" and she does get recognized as a Stark.
Kraznys, when he learns that Dany can speak Valyrian. Doubly so when he hears her order the Unsullied to kill him. Missandei is a bit quicker on the uptake, getting her Oh Crap shot the moment Dany addresses her new troops.
The Hound's expression when Beric lights his sword on fire.
Robert Arryn's name was changed to Robin to avoid confusion with King Robert.
Averted with the White Walkers and their zombie minions, the wights. "White" and "wight" are pronounced the same, which can cause confusion.
Asha Greyjoy has been renamed Yara to not be confused with Osha the wildling.
Only a Flesh Wound: Averted all over the place. When Ned gets speared in the leg, he's unconscious for a long period between episodes and weak for several episodes after, requiring a cane to get around. When Khal Drogo allows himself to be cut in a duel with an uppity tribesman, Daenerys and Mirri Maz Duur both agree that the wound must be washed and sewn, or it will fester. In the end it festers anyway—possibly due to Mirri's sabotage—and by the next episode he's very, very ill. Quite realistic for a setting with barely-above-medieval medicine.
Bronn makes it clear to Tyrion that he's expecting payment for his work, to which Tyrion assures him that no one can beat a Lannister's price. When his work for Tyrion earns him a knighthood, before long he's complaining that as a knight he should get a higher wage.
Petyr points out that the Gold Cloaks fight for whoever pays their salary.
Only Sane Employee: This seems to be the entire point of the role of The Hand Of The King.
Robert lampshades it when conferring the title on Eddard:
Robert: "Lord Eddard Stark, I would name you The Hand Of The King."
Ned: "I'm not worthy of the honour."
Robert: "I'm not trying to honour you, I'm trying to get you to run my kingdom while I eat, drink, and whore my way to an early grave!"
When Tywin Lannister was the Hand of the King, it was the most peaceful and prosperous period in recent history, which says something considering that the King he served was "The Mad King"
Davos Seaworth, in between his inflexibly righteous boss and his boss' religiously fanatic other advisor, is this for the camp of Stannis Baratheon.
Renly feels he is this, and as of "You Win or You Die," he might be right.
Tyrion has hints of this on his trip to the Eyrie.
Varys has shades of this as well. When asked by Ned who he truly serves, he simply says "the Realm. Someone must."
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Some of the actors' natural accents do slip through, such as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau's native Danish, Richard Madden's Scottish accent and Michelle Fairley's Northern Irish accent. American Peter Dinklage's English accent is not totally correct, but is at least consistent.
Joffrey being born out of incest. As of "A Man Without Honour" in the second season, even Jaime and Cersei have given up denying it.
Renly and Loras seem to have done a poor job trying to conceal their illicit romance. Even two lowborn Lannister soldiers on the other side of the country have heard the rumours.
Oop North: Winterfell and the Starks are Northern, and the accents of the actors involved reflect this, especially textbook Yorkshireman Sean Bean as Ned. Bean's contract specified that he be allowed to use his native accent for the role. Conversely, those associated with the Lannisters and/or the South tend to speak with RP (BBC English). The Northeners' general opinion of the South is broadly similar to cultural stereotypes between the South of England and the North.
Conan Stevens only had one appearance as Gregor Clegane in the first season before leaving the series to appear in The Hobbit. He's replaced by former basketball player Ian Whyte in the second season. Apart from their height, the two actors look nothing alike.
Beric Dondarrion is played by David Scott in first-season episode "A Golden Crown" and by Richard Dormer when he reappears in third-season episode "And Now His Watch Has Ended".
Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons had high animal intelligence, breathed fire and varied in size, with most large enough to carry human riders in the air and some large enough to "swallow an aurochs whole". Their fire was hot enough to melt stone. They had two legs and two batlike arm/wings. They laid scaled eggs, some of which are still preserved. They have been extinct for over a century; some people seem to believe that magic died out with (and is now returning with) the dragons, though whether there's a causal relationship, and if so, which caused which, is unclear. Upon their return, we learn that dragons have a strong imprinting instinct and only eat cooked meat.
Our Giants Are Bigger: They are about twice the height of a grown man and look like humans with low brow and disproportionately thick legs.
Pants Hit Floor: A rare male version of this trope occurs in The Wolf and the Lion when Loras removes Renly's pants (and any undergarment the latter may be wearing) in one swift movement and letting them drop to the floor.
Parental Abandonment: Many of the characters have dead or missing parents. Examples include: Dany and Viserys, Jon, Bran, Tyrion, Cersei and Jaime, and a number of side characters.
All the time; 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."
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 way to make him appear regal and dignified, and Margaery can't resist mentioning how handsome he was, with Littlefinger agreeing.
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.
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 fiance, and he has already shown that he gets turned on by violence and killing.
Plot Triggering Death: Jon Arryn's death is what causes Eddard Stark and his family to become tangled in the game of thrones.
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—"
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.
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 namesake, one of their members was reponsible for the death of the previous king.
Ser Loras Tyrell; George R.R. Martin even described the character as "...the teen idol of Westeros" in this HBO featurette. Two lowborn Lannister soldiers consider him to be prettier than the Queen. In The Climb, 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.
Olyvar, Littlefinger's spy.
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 (making them forget about the near-famine caused by her family's boycott of the capital) and no less than two engagements to royalty; first Renly, and then Joffrey. The only person who doesn't seem taken in is Cersei, which everyone merely interprets (somewhat accurately) as jealousy.
Private Military Contractors: 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.
Promotion to Opening Titles: Six recurring characters in Season 1, got promoted for Season 2: Jon Bradley (Samwell Tarly), James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Conleth Hill (Varys), Sibel Kekilli (Shae) and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister). Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), and Joe Dempsie (Gendry) are promoted in season 3.
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.
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 for it.
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":
The Dothraki are seen to be indulging in this, which comes back to bite Khal Drogo later on when he needs medical help. Also 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.
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.
Real Men Wear Pink: Loras' ornate armour, clothing and accessories (e.g. a brooch) always have a floral pattern. Justified, since his house's sigil is a rose.
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.
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."
Lord Tywin's answer to Tyrion's demands:
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: 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.
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 Right Hand: Shade of the Evening stains the Warlocks' lips and mouths blue, making them easy to spot... when they are't hiding it with magic.
The Stark household guard, with the exception of Jory.
Lannister soldiers in a more literal sense.
Season one 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.
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.
Revenge: Loras and Brienne swear vengeance against Stannis after Renly's murder.
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.
Loras oddly keeps his pants on when he has sex with Olyvar.
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"...
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).
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 is 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.)
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.
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.
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.
Joffrey in season 3, when he's trying out various royal outfits.
Loras has another in Season 3 when he beds Olyvar.
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
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 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."
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. Oh, and he delivers quite a hardass What the Hell, Hero? to Ned Stark.
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'm 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?"
Snipe Hunt: Robert can't fit in his armor, so he sends Lancel to find the "breastplate stretcher".
The Sociopath: In a show full of bad people doing bad things, Joffrey Baratheon stands out.
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.
The Spartan Way: The Unsullied are put through hellish training that makes them immune to pain and robotically loyal.
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. Aerys II and Joffrey, on the other hand...
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," Renly and Loras each view the other as this.
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).
Take That: A very unusual example; in the DVD commentary for one Season 1 episode, the creators point out a head on a stake that looks like George W. Bush. They insist it wasn't intentional (the prop guy just grabbed whatever head he could find), but the fact that they kind of chuckle about it led to a backlash that got the episode taken out of circulation and further DVD sales halted until the offending segment could be edited out.
Jaqen H'ghar refers to himself as "a man" rather than "I" and other people in a similar way, such as referring to Arya as "a girl" rather than "you."
The Unsullied are conditioned The Spartan Way to have no individuality and refer to themselves as "this one."
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: Every episode is Title Dropped since the episodes are typically named after a significant line from them, and the titles aren't displayed. However, the one that tops them all is a series title drop and episode title drop in one line:
Cersei Lannister: When you play the game of thrones, you win... or you die. There is no middle ground.
Torture Cellar: Theon Greyjoy is confined to one in Season 3, with no-one telling him (or the viewers) where he is or who his captors are.
Tragic Keepsake: During their stay at King's Landing, Ned gave a doll to Sansa. At first, she viewed this gift with disdain, claiming that she hadn't played with dolls since she was eight. After her father died, 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.
Training Montage: A minor one for Arya in her first "dancing" lesson with Syrio Forel. Gets echoed in "The Ghost Of Harrenhal," where Arya passes on Syrio's wisdom during Gendry's Shirtless Scene.
Transparent Closet: The rumours surrounding Renly and Loras' relationship are far more rampant on the show than in the books.
In "Fire and Blood," Joffrey shows Sansa the castle wall adorned with heads on pikes, of all the members of her household. This most importantly of all includes her septa and her father, and he forces her to look.
Just about everything that happens to Theon Greyjoy in Season 3 so far
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.
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 is even worse since she lays claim to the above title and adds "The Blood of Old Valyria" and "The Unburnt Mother of Dragons". You can see why most people just call her Khaleesi.
Varys, Pycelle and Barristan are all survivors from the previous regime. Each of them is too good at what they do to have been removed from their posts.
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.
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...
Unreliable Narrator: The Blu-ray extras of the history of Westeros narrated by the characters in the show. Each character has a biased or one-sided view over certain events. For example: from House Lannister's POV, they viewed their sacking of King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion as a just action to bring order back to the kingdoms, but in the House Baratheon and House Stark POV, they viewed the Rape, Pillage, and Burn as an atrocity, which Robert felt was a Necessary Evil while Ned viewed it as a terrible crime. Meanwhile from Viserys Targaryen's POV, he calls the sacking an unjust betrayal, despite the fact the other three Houses pointed out that the Mad King firing Tywin was the cause of him siding with the rebels.
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: Dany's advisors are appalled by her trading of a dragon for an army. Neither they nor the viewers are aware that her plan involves turning her dragon against the would-be buyer and using the army to conquer Astapor.
The Usurper: Robert Baratheon is a much more sympathetic example than most, given the behaviour of his predecessor.
Vagina Dentata: Referenced when Ygritte is trying to seduce Jon. "It doesn't have teeth..."
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."
Vorpal Pillow: Daenerys' method of euthanizing a catatonic Drogo.
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 a visit to Hadrian's Wall was his inspiration.
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.
"Winter Is Coming:" "The things I do for love." [throws Bran out a window]
"Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things:" "This man came into my house as a guest and there conspired to murder my son, a boy of ten. In the name of King Robert and the good lords you serve, I call upon you to seize him and help me return him to Winterfell to await the king's justice."
"And Now His Watch Is Ended:" (in Valyrian) "Unsullied!"
What the Hell, Hero?: 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.
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."
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sandor was horribly burned as a child by his brother, and has an intense phobia of fire. 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.
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.
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.
Wrong Genre Savvy: In-universe, Harren the Black, the builder of the great fortress of Harrenhal. He boasted that a million men could assault the walls and a million men would be repelled, that no army could take the fortress by land. So the Targaryens took the fortress instead with dragons from the sky.
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.
Everyone who's left Winterfell has (thus far) never returned home to it. 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.
Jon Snow calls Craster a monster to Commander Mormont, for marrying his daughters and 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.
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-hardend Dothraki fighter. Fittingly, his family motto is "Here We Stand."
Zombie Apocalypse: The White Walkers have the ability to reanimate corpses into undead "wights". The season two finale has an entire army of wights going to attack the Night's Watch, led by the White Walkers.