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Characters / A Song of Ice and Fire - House Tarly

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This is a listing of members of House Tarly who appear in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Reach entry, see here

House Tarly of Horn Hill

"First In Battle"
Tarly House Words

House Tarly is a vassal house sworn to House Tyrell in the Reach. Their seat is at Horn Hill, in the foothills north of Oldtown and the Red Mountains of Dorne. The current lord is Randyll Tarly, currently serving as Master of Laws at King's Landing under the rule of Regent Kevan Lannister. Lord Tarly's wife, Melessa Florent, their three daughters and youngest son Dickon have not yet been seen in the books, while his eldest son, Samwell, serves in the Night's Watch. They have at least one house, House Hunt, sworn to them. The sigil of House Tarly is a striding huntsman.

Not to be confused with House Tully, the Lords Paramount of The Riverlands

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  • Alliterative Name: Talla Tarly, one of Randyll's daughters.
  • Ancestral Weapon: A Valyrian steel longsword named Heartsbane, which Randyll uses for the same purpose as Ned Stark.
  • Famous Ancestor:
    • Lord Alan Tarly, who fought for the Blacks during the Dance of the Dragons but was captured after the Battle of the Honeywine.
    • Ser Samwyle Tarly, heir to Horn Hill during the Ashford Tourney and a participant in it.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Horn Hill has the same backstory as Rome, another city founded by twins.
  • Heroic Lineage: The Tarlys trace their line back to Harlon the Hunter and Herndon of the Horn, twin sons of Garth Greenhand who built the castle on Horn Hill and married a beautiful woods witch who kept them young as long as they laid with her whenever the moon was full.
  • The Dragon: To House Tyrell; while the other major lords joined Mace Tyrell at King's Landing, Randyll Tarly and his men were sent to clean up the Riverlands in the aftermath of the war.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: Their sigil is a huntsman, the forests around their castle are full of game, one of their founders was supposedly Harlon the Hunter... hunting and being strong and manly is pretty integral to their identity, which is why Sam is such a disappointment to his father.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The two Tarly boys, Samwell and Dickon, respectively.
  • Theme Naming: Similar to the Lannister tendency for "Ty" or "Ti" prefixed names, there are a few Tarlys who go for "Sam" or "Sa" (Samwell, Samwyle, Samantha, Sansara...).

    Lord Randyll Tarly 

Lord Randyll Tarly, Master of Laws and Justiciar

"You are almost a man grown now, and my heir. You have given me no cause to disown you, but neither will I allow you to inherit the land and title that should be Dickon's. Heartsbane must go to a man strong enough to wield her, and you are not worthy to touch her hilt. So I have decided that you shall this day announce that you wish to take the black. You will forsake all claim to your brother's inheritance and start north before evenfall. If you do not, then on the morrow we shall have a hunt, and somewhere in these woods your horse will stumble, and you will be thrown to the saddle to die...or so I will tell your mother. She has a woman's heart and finds it in her to cherish you, and I have no wish to cause her pain. Please do not imagine that it will truly be that easy, should you think to defy me. Nothing would please me more than to hunt you down like the pig you are. So. There is your choice. The Night's Watch..." (Rips out a deer's heart.) "Or this."

Head of House Tarly and Lord of Horn Hill. Randyll is married to Lady Melessa of House Florent and is the father of five children: Samwell, Dickon, Talla, and two more unnamed daughters. Many consider him to be one of best military commanders in the Seven Kingdoms, if not the best, and he is the unquestioned leader of the Reach's army. He is the current Master of Laws on the Small Council.

  • Abusive Parents: He was incredibly cruel to his eldest son Sam for not being a hardened warrior like Randyll thought the heir of Horn Hill ought to be, and instead being a fat bookworm who liked "womanly" things like listening to music and eating sweets. Randyll heaped a lot of verbal and emotional abuse on Sam, tried to humiliate him by forcing him to dress in his mother's clothes, and even chained him to a wall for three days. Eventually, when all that failed to toughen Sam up, Randyll threatened to kill him unless he joined the Night's Watch.
  • Agent Scully: During the Small Council meeting he attends, he frequently and disparagingly offers his disbelief that Jon Connington and Aegon have returned, dismissing them as pretenders.
  • Badass Boast: When discussing with Renly's other commanders who will take command of the vanguard against Stannis' army, Randyll is extremely dismissive of all the young knights vying for the King's favor.
    Lord Randyll: It takes more than a pretty cloak to charge a shield wall. I was leading Mace Tyrell's van when you were still sucking on your mother's teat, Guyard.
  • Bald of Evil: He has as much compassion as he does hair remaining on his head, which is to say none.
  • Bling of War: Notably Averted: unlike the flashy nobles who make up most of the Reach's leadership, Randyll's armor is not fancy, being simply grey steel. Fitting, considering his disdain for anything impractical.
  • Book Dumb: While he can read, Randyll has to move his lips to sound out the words when doing so, in contrast to his bookloving son.
  • Brutal Honesty: Randyll says what he means and does not care if it offends the people around him.
  • The Determinator: He wanted a real man for a son and did not stop trying to whip Sam into shape for years, no matter how futile it seemed, until his wife finally fired a second son out.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lord Randyll was so incensed at the idea of Sam wanting to become a maester (and thereby a Tarly effectively becoming a servant), he chained him to a wall in Horn Hill's dungeon for three full days.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: To Mace Tyrell. Mace's victory at the Battle of Ashford during Robert's Rebellion was actually won by Lord Randyll.
  • The Dreaded: When people talk about the armies of the Reach, they specifically talk about how dangerous and competent Randyll is.
    • The High Sparrow willingly hands Margaery Tyrell and her fellow accused over to Tarly's custody when he reaches King's Landing with his army and that of his liege lord close behind.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Genuinely cares for his wife and wishes to spare her the pain of Sam dying in a "hunting accident".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Stops Ser Hyle and the others from raping Brienne... and then immediately undoes any goodwill the audience may harbor for him by blaming the whole thing on her. It should be noted that while this is still victim blaming of the highest caliber and certainly a dick move, it practically makes him a saint compared to other lords. Tywin, for example, not only doesn't lift a finger to stop his men raping and killing innocent civilians throughout the books, he also ordered the gang rape of a totally innocent peasant girl.
    • For all his brutality and harsh sense of justice, even Tarly baulks from having thugs like Gregor Clegane's old mob in his territory. Tarly notes that he executed one and gelded another when they showed up in Maidenpool and started practising the old habits they'd indulged freely under Gregor, and thinks the rest should be shipped off to the Wall.
  • The Extremist Was Right: After what Lord Tywin's forces have done in the Riverlands, Lord Tarly actually comes across as a Reasonable Authority Figure for cracking down on crime and ordering his soldiers to rebuild damaged towns.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: "Fantasy" here being defined as "anything that won't make you tougher and stronger". He's almost got a point, as any lord seen as soft and weak would invariably fare poorly in the brutal dog-eat-dog world of Westeros (see: Lannister, Tytos), but his treatment of Samwell is still beyond the pale.
  • Fingore: For the crime of theft, Tarly will remove a finger. For the crime of theft from a sept, and thus stealing from the seven gods, Tarly will remove seven fingers.
  • Foil: Lets see. A bald(ing) and highly feared commander often compared to iron in his will and discipline, married to a Florent, remarkable devoted to duty, the enforcement of justice and law are extremely important to him, he looks down on another male member of the family who knows nothing of fighting, not a great family man, extremely biting sense of humor and Brutal Honesty. Serves under a fat guy who really shouldn't be a ruler. He carries an iconic sword. Are we talking about Randyll Tarly or Stannis Baratheon?
    • He and Eddard Stark also have older sons who went up to The Wall and they both carry Valyrian steel swords. Furthermore, they are both known excellent soldiers, known for their (twisted, in Randyll's case) sense of justice.
      • In this regard (minus the Valyrian Steel Sword), he shares a great deal of similarities with "Bronze" Yohn Royce.
    • Like Tywin Lannister, Randyll is also a bald, humorless, mean-spirited and utterly ruthless patriarch whose solution to most problems is extreme militarism. Both men are also obsessed with preserving the sanctity of their family names (or, at least, their ideas of such), and both greatly prefer one son over the other, who they'd sooner see die than leave their legacy to. As opposed to Tywin, Randyll prefers the younger son to the elder. And though almost equal in terms of smug elitism, Randyll is obviously much less ostentatious than Tywin. They also really hate whores.
  • Four-Star Badass: Commands the forces from the Reach in the absence of the Tyrells. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the best soldiers in Westeros, and he commanded the force that dealt Robert Baratheon his only defeat during the War of the Usurper.
  • Frontline General: One of his few positive traits is that he is willing to fight alongside his men.
  • Hanging Judge: Of the Knight Templar variety.
  • Honor Before Reason: For a given value of honor, of course. He could very easily grant his son's wish to become a maester, which would utilize his strengths and actually suit Randyll's interests (by removing Sam from the succession line), but no, it just doesn't go with his family image. Even when he decided to actively force Sam to renounce his claim to succession he made him join the Night Watch instead, which he's eminently unsuited for. He also refuses to acknowledge Brienne's prowess as a warrior, instead trying to convince her to Stay in the Kitchen and telling her that getting raped would be a good lesson for her.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Kevan Lannister sees him as this to Mace Tyrell. This is also the reason why Cersei doesn't want him as Hand of the King, even though Kevan tells her that such a move would weaken House Tyrell by dividing Randyll's loyalties.
  • Jerkass: Even in a Crapsack World full of jerkasses, his horrible treatment of Samwell and Brienne sticks out.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Considering he refused Sam's idea of becoming a Maester - which would also remove him from the line of succession - because he's dismayed at the idea of a Tarly wearing chains.
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: Utterly despises Sam for failing to follow in the martial traditions of House Tarly and being more interested in books and learning.
  • Lean and Mean: He is tall and narrow, but quite strong.
  • My Nayme Is: Randyll, not Randall.
  • Offing the Offspring: Once Lord Tarly got himself a son more to his liking, he rid himself of Sam with all haste by sending him to join an organization he was sure would get him killed quickly, or at the very least keep him out of Randyll's life permanently.
  • Parental Favoritism: Isn't even subtle about blatantly preferring Dickon to Samwell.
  • Pet the Dog: For a long time, the only pleasant thing about him was that he didn't want to kill Sam because it would make his wife sad.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While his views aren't politically incorrect in the setting he lives in, they certainly are for the modern reader. The open-minded characters in-universe also find them cringe worthy.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Believes this utterly, to the point that when Sam offered to leave his line of succession by becoming a Maester, he locked his son in a cell for three days.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Randyll gives Sam a truly devastating one ending in the Sadistic Choice below.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: His son Sam is every bit a Reachman; plump, jolly, bookish and knowledgeable. This however does not make Sam a Tarly, as they are supposed to be strong, agile and hard.
    • He's right that Sam will never make a typical warrior or hunter. He's wrong when he thinks that makes his son less of a Tarly: Sam scored the first kill of an Other in battle for centuries using now-unconventional means. "First in battle."
  • Sadistic Choice: His Establishing Character Moment is to offer one to Sam: be Reassigned to Antarctica or...well...
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Once literally did this to Sam. It ended about as well as you'd expect.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • His Establishing Character Moment occurs before he even turns up; while his presence is felt heavily by Sam throughout the first book, Randyll himself doesn't appear until the second book, and then only fleetingly twice. He appears twice more in A Feast for Crows and once in A Dance With Dragons, but only briefly each time.
    • As of ADWD, Tarly is the custodian of Queen Margaery Tyrell pending her trial to the Faith of Seven for the charge of fornication.
  • The Spartan Way: His method of "training" Sam. Includes but is not limited to chaining him to a wall for three days, having him beaten by knights and men-at-arms, forcing him to sleep in chainmail, and even having him bathed in the blood of a freshly-slaughtered aurochs, at the behest of two warlocks. Nothing worked.
  • Straw Misogynist: When Brienne found herself "courted" by knights of the camp, who were actually putting money on who could sleep with her first, Tarly put an end to the bet before it could, he assumed, escalate to rape, and told Brienne what was going on. Seems fair enough, until he bluntly tells Brienne that by dressing up like a knight, she was asking for it.
  • Undying Loyalty: It is the only explanation for how a brilliant, no-nonsense warrior like Randyll Tarly follows Mace Tyrell without becoming a Dragon with an Agenda.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: One of the most extreme examples.

    Lady Melessa Tarly 

Lady Melessa Tarly (nè Florent)

"If she saw me in my blacks, it might even make her proud. "I am a man now, Mother,” I could tell her, "a steward and a man of the Night's Watch. My brothers call me Sam the Slayer sometimes."
Samwell Tarly

Melessa Florent is a member of House Florent, the eldest daughter of Lord Alester Florent. She is married to Lord Randyll Tarly and mother of Samwell, Talla and Dickon Tarly, as well as two other unnamed daughters.

  • Good Parents: In contrast to her husband, Melessa is incredibly loving and non-judgemental towards Sam.
  • Morality Pet: She seems to be this for her husband, Randyll. He's still an abhorrent bastard but her presence makes him do things he normally wouldn't, like sparing his son's life because his death would make her sad.
  • Token Good Teammate: For both House Tarly and House Florent; while most of the Florents are either total Jerkasses or The Fundamentalist, she's a good and caring parent. She also doesn't have any of Randyll's cruelty.

    Samwell Tarly* 

    Dickon Tarly 

Dickon Tarly

Fifth child and second son of Randyll and heir to Horn Hill.

  • Arranged Marriage: To Eleanor Mooton as part of House Mooton's deal with the Iron Throne to bend the knee and forsake allegiance to the Starks and Tullys.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When he hears about the wager for Brienne's virginity, he immediately tells his father.
  • The Ghost: We've never seen him in the flesh, only through descriptions by his brother and father.
  • Jerkass: Implied, as Samwell pictures him among Rast and Alliser Thorne as voices mocking him. Plus, Randyll considers him a perfect heir, and given what kind of man Randyll is that's probably not a good thing. Although this hasn't actually been confirmed as he's yet to make any on-page appearances, so it may just be Samwell's insecurities talking.
  • Passed-Over Inheritance: Sam is sent to The Wall by his father to prevent him from inheriting Horn Hill and the family legacy in favor of Dickon, who is a more suitable candidate.
  • The Squire: He is serving as a squire within his father's army, although it is unclear if he is Randyll's squire or another knight serving Randyll.

Historical Tarlys

    Lord Samwell Tarly 

Lord Sam Tarly

Savage Sam Tarly

Lord of Horn Hill during the reign of Aenys I. Savage Sam was one of the principal lords who participated in the Vulture Hunt, chasing down the Vulture King after he began a rebellion against the Iron Throne.

    Lady Samantha Tarly 

Lady Samantha Hightower neé Tarly

Lady Sam

The eldest daughter of Lord Donald Tarly and Lady Jeyne Rowan, she was the second wife of Lord Ormund Hightower. After Ormund's death during the Dance of Dragons, she began reciprocating the affections of her eldest step-son Lyonel. Despite being forbidden by the Faith, her relationship to Lyonel remained strong throughout the years.

  • Adoptive Peer Parent: She was only two years older than Lyonel when she married Ormund, and eventually she reciprocated the younger Hightower's affections.
  • A House Divided: Her parents Houses' supported the Blacks while her husband's family fought for the Greens.
  • Exact Words: When the High Septon forbade her from setting foot inside the Starry Sept, she arrived on horseback since no one said anything about a horse setting hooves in the Sept.
  • Marry Them All: She actually proposed King Aegon III should marry two wives like The Conqueror, proposing her sister Sansara and her sister in-law Bethany Hightower.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: She and Lyonel had at least six children even when their marriage was forbidden.
  • Not Blood Siblings: She married her step-son.
  • Widow Woman: Outlived her first husband.


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