This is a listing of members of House Tarth who appear in A Song of Ice and Fire.
For the main character index, see here
For the main Stormlands entry, see here
House Tarth of Evenfall Hall
House Tarth of Evenfall Hall is a noble house from Evenfall Hall in the stormlands. The family rules Tarth, a beautiful island northeast of Shipbreaker Bay that controls the Straits of Tarth between the island and mainland Westeros. They are one of the main houses sworn to Storm's End.
Their blazon is quartered with yellow suns on rose and white crescents and azure. Their words are not known. Lord Tarth is sometimes called the Evenstar.
Tropes related to House Tarth:
- Ambiguous Situation: Tarth's assimilation by the Stormlands. Durran the Fair married Edwyn Evenstar's daughter, but it's not stated if this happened after a war, or if it was a mere case of Altar Diplomacy (although Durran's name, coupled with the fact that Edwyn's ancestors still rule Tarth to this day, implies the latter).
- Demoted to Dragon: Ancestors of House Tarth were once kings, and the head of the family is known as "the Evenstar", which they claim dates back to the dawn of days.
- Famous Ancestor:
- Edwyn Evenstar, who was king of Tarth but was defeated by Storm King Durran the Fair, who married Edwyn's daughter.
- Lord Cameron Tarth, head of the house during the reign of Jaehaerys I. When a Myrish scout tried to shoot him, the crossbow bolt fatally hit Prince Aemon Targaryen instead.
- Lord Bryndemere Tarth, head of the house during the regency of Aegon III Targaryen.
- Ser Quentyn Tarth was in the Ashford tourney.
- According to Word of God, Brienne is descended from Ser Duncan the Tall, a famous knight and former commander of the Kingsguard.
- Know When to Fold Them: Implied with Edwyn Tarth, who integrated peacefully with the Stormlands when his daughter married Durran the Fair rather than getting into an unwinnable war with against a far larger force.
- Posthumous Character: Lord Selwyn had three other children before Brienne: his second and third children, Arianne and Alysanne, died shortly after being born. His eldest child was Galladon, who was four years older than Brienne, but he drowned at the age of eight.
- Shout-Out: The nickname "Evenstar" is a clear reference to Arwen Evenstar from Lord of the Rings.
- Theme Naming: All of the Tarth women's names have "nne" at the end (Arianne, Alysanne, Brienne).
Lord Selwyn TarthHead of House Tarth and Lord of Evenfall Hall.
- The Casanova: He has had a rotating string of mistresses after the death of his wife.
- The Ghost: Frequently referred to, but has yet to appear.
- Good Parents: From the accounts given of him, Selwyn is a decent parent who treated his daughter well and gave her a privileged life, allowing her to train to be a knight by his master-at-arms against all Westerosi norms and not forcing her to marry someone after three failed betrothals.
- Nice Guy: According to many people.
- Team Switzerland: According to Davos, Lord Tarth refused to side with either Stannis or Renly.
Lady Brienne Tarth
Brienne of Tarth, The Maid of Tarth, The Beauty, The Blue
A woman who was blessed (or cursed) with being large, strong, and, above all, deemed to be ugly in a society where it is a woman's duty to be attractive to men. Honorable and stubborn to a fault, she's big and brave, even by the standards of honorable men. Because she could never have the traditional role of a woman in this medieval society, she has trained herself as if she were an anointed knight; which in turn means that she spends her time repeatedly bumping very hard against the glass ceiling. Often mocked as "Brienne the Beauty".
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Despite her honorable convictions, Brienne tends to develop feelings for men who are, shall we say, not morally upright. It's subverted in that Brienne's affection for Renly Baratheon, Jaime Lannister and Hyle Hunt is derived from her ability to see past their unsavory qualities, instead focusing on the ways in which they live up to her standards of moral character. It helps that these men, flawed as they are, are among the few who have ever defended or advocated for Brienne aside from her own father.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Was hopelessly in love with King Renly (handsome, far above her station, and homosexual) and appears to be falling for Jaime (the most handsome man in the Seven Kingdoms who's in love with his own sister and whose amoral nature and snarking often drives her to fury). There are hints Jaime may reciprocate, but neither seem eager to make any moves.
- Amazonian Beauty: Brienne is a deliberate aversion of this trope. She's homely at best and does not have the "muscular yet feminine" build most Amazonian Beauties have. Like some top-level female athletes in Real Life, she's either had severe hormonal imbalances from a very young age or has an intersex condition (she's been described as big, hairy and "mannish"-looking since she was at least twelve years old), which would allow her to develop masculine levels of bone and muscle mass, but in turn would diminish her breast tissue and fat levels, increase her body hair and make her face and form more masculine. That is, if you take the descriptions of her at face value. That Jaime is able to be aroused by her naked body while not owning to liking anything he sees may be a clue that even though Brienne is certainly a plain, maybe even a genuinely ugly, woman, the extent of her "mannishness" and "freakishness" may well be greatly exaggerated due to a combination of reasons: the general cultural antipathy towards her breach of conventional gender roles, an unconventional body-type, because any anecdote with a reaffirming message that she's only any kind of capable because she's totally butt-ugly keeps the status quo happy, because of self-denial (in Jaime's case) or because the more grotesque she is the more justified one would be in turning down a perfectly good marriage offer (in Ronnet Connington's case).
- Animal Motifs: Unlike other characters who are compared to their house sigils, Brienne is mockingly compared to a horse due to her prominent teeth. And like a destrier, she doesn't hesitate to use them as a weapon (see Woman Bites Man).
- Attempted Rape: As with many of the other female characters in this series, this happens to her, but unlike them she doesn't need help to keep it to "attempted".
- Badass and Child Duo: With Podrick — it's rather a case of "large and small badasses united", though.
- Badass in Distress: When the Bloody Mummers threw her in the bear pit, until Jaime rescued her. Later she's blindsided by Biter and has to be rescued by Gendry, then she barely escapes being hanged by Lady Stoneheart.
- Beautiful All Along: Averted. She attends Roose Bolton's dinner dressed in pink silk, and it makes her look worse. Even when Jaime visits her in King's Landing, she's wearing a dress that actually fits and is of a flattering color, which makes her look... plain.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Jaime.
- And to a lesser extent, with Ser Hyle Hunt.
- Best Her to Bed Her: Invoked by Brienne herself, in a way, though only as a way to weasel out of an unpalatable arranged marriage. She was set to marry an elderly man who demanded, as a requirement of their marriage, that she set aside her arms and act like a Proper Lady should, and that he would be forced to chastise her if she disobeyed. She agreed to this demand on the condition that she would only accept 'chastisement' from (and therefore marriage with) someone who could best her in battle. After thoroughly trouncing her proposed husband, the marriage agreement is broken and her father stops trying.
- Bodyguard Crush:
- Brienne has a long-standing crush on Renly, and she later wins a spot on his Rainbow Guard.
- She and Jaime are a more complicated case, since the crush didn't really develop until after she was done officially protecting him. (While the jury's still out on whether Jaime simply sees her as a good friend, it seems pretty clear from her inner monologue that Brienne's feelings about him, at least, are romantic).
- Bolivian Army Ending: The last we see of her in A Feast For Crows, she's about to be hanged by the Brotherhood Without Banners for refusing to kill Jaime Lannister; however the last thing she does is scream out a word - whether this will be her salvation or merely a Hope Spot is yet to be determined. In A Dance With Dragons she's still alive and apparently luring Jaime into a trap, thought it's up in the air whether or not she'll betray him.
- Boobs of Steel: Deliberately and realistically averted. Brienne is physically the strongest woman in all of Westeros, the only one big, strong and fast enough to confidently take on and beat well-conditioned adult men in a physical fight. Because of her freakishly huge, manly musculature and massive bone structure (which Word of God notes is physically impossible for a woman to possess), she has a broad, flat, and visibly "thick muscular chest" and what little breast tissue she actually has are "pointy little buds that would have looked more natural on some ten-year-old".
- Brawn Hilda: She's too big, muscular, plain and awkward in polite company to be a Lady of War, for all she is, in fact, a Lady by birthright. She's also too much the Knight to be a squaddie. So the closest trope for her is this. Not that it fits her particularly well, either. She's much happier doing Siegfried's sword-and-board stuff than Brunhilde's spear-and-shield.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; Brienne's not afraid of scars as she knows she's unattractive anyway, but is still shocked to be told that Biter has gnawed a large chunk out of her face.
- Berserk Button: Has a hatred of roses (as the Knight of the Flowers finds out in Renly's melee) because Red Ronnet (who'd been sent to woo her as a girl) threw his rose in her face when he saw how big and ugly she was, saying it was the only thing he'd ever get from her. Ronnet ends up paying for this humiliation in the melee too.
- The Berserker: Subverted for the most part, as Brienne is typically a focused, quick-thinking warrior as opposed to many of the brazen, overzealous enemies that take her on. However, after being captured, beaten, nearly raped, and nearly devoured by a bear, pure-hearted Brienne seems well on her way to losing her grip. This is most noticeable when she brutally guts Shagwell whilst screaming "Laugh!" over and over.
- Butt-Monkey: Brienne is mocked and pitied for her looks and she is hated by all sides of the war for one reason or another.
- Carry a Big Stick: The mace is her Weapon of Choice, as it plays to her great strength and is more effective against an armored opponent. She ends up using a sword however during her quest to find Sansa Stark, which works well enough against the ill-equipped outlaws she goes up against.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: She moves "a boulder the size of a small cow" off the edge of a cliff and drops it on a passing enemy river galley in A Storm of Swords.
- Color Motif: Brienne carries a strong association with the color blue. Blue armor, blue quarters in her family's sigil, the title "Brienne the Blue" as a knight of Renly's Rainbow Guard, the blue waters of Tarth, Innocent Blue Eyes (the only part of her that could be called beautiful), and she looks much better in a blue dress than a pink one. A fitting color that is said to symbolize trust, loyalty, confidence, justice and truth.
- Combat Pragmatist: Despite having the strongest moral code and more devotion to the ideals of chivalry than any other character in the series, Brienne is surprisingly pragmatic in combat. She defeats Ser Loras in a mounted melee by tackling him off his horse. Later, when fighting Jaime, she uses the forested terrain to her advantage, tackling him down a hillside and using him as a Jaime-sled, and then trying to drown him in a shallow creek after he manages to disarm her, though luckily—or unluckily—she was interrupted before she actually killed him.
- She happens to keep a concealed knife up her sleeve that she uses to dispatch Shagwell, and later tries to dispatch Biter with, but couldn't due to being at a big disadvantage and his toughness.
- Conflicting Loyalty: She listens to Jaime's trope-defining confession on the devious nature of conscience clashing with sworn oaths. She faces this when Lady Stoneheart/Catelyn Stark, the woman she had sworn an oath to return the Kingslayer to the capital and her daughters back to her commands her to bring Jaime to her for a trial/execution, despite being commanded by Jaime to protect the Stark girls and given a sword to do the same with.
- Cool Sword: Oathkeeper, a Valyrian steel longsword, one of two that Tywin Lannister had reforged from Ice, the Stark greatsword. The blade is colored with ripples of red and black shot through a familiar snow white, and the hilt is a golden lion set with rubies. It's the wrong kind of weapon and not as flat-out gaudy or tasteless as full-on Bling-Bling-BANG! would suggest, but it can still certainly see that trope on a foggy day, because entirely necessary the expensive pretty isn't (and it is practically impossible to disguise the thing when in plain clothes — even finding a boring-looking sheath would do nothing about those sodding rubies, forget trying to blacken-up the entire bloody hilt and still being able to grip the sword). It's actually so cool that it gets her into trouble — she keeps it hidden most of the time for the justifiable fear of drawing bandits down on herself, to the point she almost doesn't break it out when she really could use the razor-sharpness. Worse, since it has many traits associated with House Lannister (lion, rubies and gold, the red-black-and-white coloring of the blade, the absurd expense involved in producing it... and, gosh, where did that steel come from, anyway?), that, when she meets House Stark supporters, they immediately distrust her. For some reason.
- Deconstructed Character Archetype
- Action Girl: Brienne is strong and skilled with a blade, but due to her not fitting into the typical female role dictated by Westerosi customs (mostly Andal ones; she would be fine among the Mormonts), she is hated and mocked by almost everyone she meets, so therefore suffers acute confidence issues in social contexts instead of managing to swagger or project her competence effectively. She'd aim at The Squadette... except she's more of a knight than an actual soldier. Although knights do do the whole part-of-an-army thing, they're not exactly standard troops, either, what with being individual warriors or leaders with a stand-alone code first and foremost — and few of them will ever accept her as one of them; forget taking tactical orders or suggestions from her (even if they make sense). Action-Girl-Between-Stools: that's Brienne. Her hideous and abnormal physique, implied to be the result of a severe hormonal imbalance, is part of this: the bottom 10% of males are stronger than all females up to the 90th percentile, and only the absolute strongest females even surpass the 50th percentile of untrained males; the median "moderately fit male" is easily stronger than 99% of females, and the number of females who surpass that level is statistically nonexistent. To be remotely competitive with males in melee combat, she'd need to be a "freak", as Martin describes her. And yet, even then, she's nowhere near the top tier male fighters (she admits that she had a lot of trouble with Jaime even when he was tied up and malnourished, and that she would have been overpowered by him if he was at full strength; she also has a lot of trouble fighting no-names like Rorge).
- Determinator: Deconstructed. Brienne never, ever gives up, not when she's trying to protect Jaime and not when she's sent out to find Sansa; not because they're what she wants to do, but because she promised to do them. She takes any failures very hard, even small or inevitable ones or ones she couldn't prevent (such as Jaime losing his hand), and by the midpoint of AFFC she flat-out admits that what she really wants is to go back to Tarth, oaths be damned... but she can't, and she won't, because she swore an oath. She's increasingly psychologically drained and traumatized, and as of ADWD her obsession with doing the right thing and damning the costs almost lead to her death, because she couldn't lie to an undead crazy lady. Now she might be leading one of the only people who likes her into a trap because of same.
- Knight Errant: Brienne goes on quests given to her for no profit but her reputation as Renly's apparent killer and her having no permanent liege marks her as a glorified mercenary.
- Due to the Dead: She hires Dick Crabb as a guide, offering him two golden dragons if he'll lead her to the fool he saw, believing it might be Dontos Hollard. Turns out it was Shagwell of the Brave Companions, and Dick ends up dead. Brienne (with timely assistance from Podrick) defeats Shagwell and his compatriots, and forces him to dig Dick's grave. After dispatching Shagwell when he turns on her as expected, Brienne then places the two coins in the grave along with Dick's body, because that was the payment she promised.
- Enemy Mine: Initially, she and Jaime team up against the threats they face only because of this; however, they later grow to respect each other. He even compliments her, in his own way.
- Failure Knight: Latches onto Catelyn after Renly's death.
- And again onto her quest to rescue Sansa after Catelyn's death.
- Females Are More Innocent: Is called out several times on her soft heart by the more cynical male knights. Her Old Master was worried this would be a Fatal Flaw, so tried to desensitize her to slaughter by making her butcher animals. Thing is: she's not soft, even while she still does care. Despite repeatedly proving it, though, she keeps being underestimated when it comes to what degree of brutality she can both give and take. She's not always a sweetie.
- Fish out of Water: Had she been born a Mormont, or at least at Bear Island, she would probably still get mocked for being ugly, but at least her martial inclinations wouldn't be rejected and scorned. Instead, she'd be strongly encouraged.
- Fire-Forged Friends: She and Jaime are at each other's throats until they go through hell together at the hands of the Bloody Mummers, at which point they start to work together and slowly come to respect each other.
- First-Name Basis: When she and Jaime first start travelling together, they address each other solely with insulting nicknames. Their increasing degree of respect for each other is shown as they move towards formal titles.
- Foil: Set up as one for Jaime; both supremely confident fighters, but he is beautiful, wealthy, and privileged by his society while being a deeply unpleasant person, and she is horribly ugly, and gets pitied at best and assaulted at worst by nearly every authority figure she encounters while remaining the kindest, most honorable character of the series. Unusually for foils, they develop a strong bond and begin showing similarity to each other; Brienne's influence makes Jaime more honest and more likely to keep his word, while Jaime's influence was giving Brienne a much-needed dose of moral flexibility, though it may have been too little and too late.
- She also counts as one to Cersei, providing a counterpoint as the other important woman in Jaime's life. Brienne is precisely everything Cersei is not; ugly where Cersei is beautiful, honorable where Cersei is treacherous, a warrior where Cersei is a plotter. Brienne is physically grotesque but noble in spirit, while Cersei is beautiful but monstrous. The more Jaime distances himself in spirit from Cersei, the closer he becomes in spirit to Brienne.
- She's the Good and Distaff Counterpart to The Hound. They both have what it takes to be a knight but neither are for different reasons. Brienne is idealistic while Sandor is jaded. Brienne remains loyal to her dead king Renly while Sandor deserted his king Joffrey. Jaime even calls her in one of his POV chapters, "The Hound with teats."
- Brienne also reminds Cat of her daughters. She's as gritty as Arya but idealistic like Sansa.
- She's also the Good Counterpart of Pretty Meris, a member of the Windblown. They both are tall, blond, ugly female warriors with marred noses and cheeks who are given ironic nicknames referring to their "beauty", and they have both been victims of sexual violence. But while Brienne strives to follow the precept of chivalry, Meris serves as the company's torturer; while Brienne is often mocked by her small bust size, underneath Meris shirt only scars are left by the men who cut off her breasts; and while Brienne is said to have astonishing blue eyes, Meris is said to have cold dead eyes.
- Ned Stark as well, for being two characters most well known for their strict Honor Before Reason ideals. The difference is Brienne's stubborn ideals manage to not kill her unlike Ned's because she isn't in the viper's pit known as King's Landing.
- And to Barristan Selmy, another Knight in Shining Armor who left his Kingsguard after the king he was protecting died and went on the run. Both are continually underestimated by every opponent they run into, with fatal results for many of those opponents, and both had serious issues with Jaime Lannister at their introduction, but eventually come around to his way of thinking; Brienne after travelling with him and hearing him out, Barristan after being placed in a similar situation of To Be Lawful or Good and being well aware of the irony. As a result, both of them gain a moral flexibility. However, Barristan is at least a well-respected knight in Westeros, which Brienne is most definitely not but strives to be.
- Friendless Background: The main reason she's so loyal to Renly is that he was one of the first men she knew who ever openly treated her as more than an object of scorn, whatever his reasons.
- Gaining the Will to Kill: It's not that she didn't have it. She just hadn't had to kill in a fight, before. She didn't bottle it, thanks to training up for it.
- Generation Xerox: Combat Pragmatist, Determinator, tall, strong, fairly plain (or ugly, depending on who is doing the looking), self-effacing, well-meaning-if-brutal, Knight in Shining Armor, wandering the land (with boy squire), never quite tying any given episode in a fully-completed bow of 100% achievement... you might as well be talking about Ser Duncan the Tall.
- Hairy Girl: Red Ronnet implies that she's hirsute.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Brienne is Wrongfully Accused of Renly's death, the Iron Throne hates her for being in Renly's then the North's (actually just Catelyn's) service and the North and Riverlands hate her for collaborating with Jaime Lannister and carrying a sword made from the Stark sword Ice. She ends up getting captured and nearly executed by the Brotherhood Without Banners.
- Heroic Sacrifice: She tries to pull this to protect some Riverlands children from raiders, but she ends up surviving and killing them all anyway.
- Seven, Brienne thought again, despairing. She had no chance against seven, she knew. No chance, and no choice.She stepped out into the rain, Oathkeeper in hand. "Leave her be."
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Played with. She's certainly very proficient with a sword, but when given a choice of weapons (for example when fighting her third fiancé and at Renly's tourney) she prefers maces. However, she adores Oathkeeper and uses it whenever she can do so without attracting unwanted attention, being well aware of this trope In-Universe. It helps that Oathkeeper is a magical Absurdly Sharp Blade that can cut through plate like butter, negating the main disadvantage of longswords as a weapon in the setting.
- Heroic Build: Deconstructed. In terms of appearance, build and proportions, Brienne is, quite frankly, a massive, muscular and beardless man with a vagina and *very* mild gynecomastia. However, because she is (as far as medieval medicine can tell, and thus as far as George Martin cares) female, she is constantly mistaken for a man (Jaime at one point implying that she's a male-to-female transsexual) and inspires confusion, horror and violent disgust in everyone around her once they realize she's a woman.
- Heroic Lineage: According to Word of God, Brienne is descended from Ser Duncan The Tall, which explains quite a lot.
- Honor Before Reason: More deliberately than most examples. Instead of being just raised on it, she chooses to be honorable to a fault. For example, she throws two valuable gold coins into Dick Crabb's grave rather than spending them later, simply because she promised he'd pay him for his work when he was still alive.
- I Gave My Word: She's very big on this, and unlike most characters who've taken actual vows of knighthood, she means it.
- In-Series Nickname: Brienne the Beauty. As part of the Rainbow Guard, she is also known as Brienne the Blue. She is also referred to as The Maid of Tarth.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: They're the one feature that people consistently find attractive about her.
- Ironic Nickname: Brienne the Beauty.
- Irony: Most real knights scorn her for trying to act like a knight, but thanks to Jaime she's been entered into the White Book as someone who's saved the life of the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard with both honor and daring. Meaning, her name will go down in the history of Westeros' most prestigious knightly order as a valorous one, something only a rare few outside it can claim; and, it is almost a certainty that none of her most vocal detractors will ever have that honor.
- It Was a Gift: Oathkeeper. Which, has shades of Clingy Mcguffin and Artifact of Doom to it: Ice-with-dangerous-rebranding style. That sword just won't lie down and give up plot significance that easily.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Ser Goodwin trained her to take advantage of this attitude (see Stonewall).
- Knight in Shining Armor: Despite not being an actual knight, Brienne plays this absolutely dead straight, and (thus far at least) has lived to tell about it. And in this story's World Half Empty, that is saying something. What's more, she inspires Jaime to make another attempt to live up to this standard himself. Of course, nobody said living up to the ideals would be easy, straightforward or ever materially rewarded...
- Knight Knave And Squire: During their journey to King's Landing, Brienne is the Knight (for all she isn't officially one and should be the Squire), pragmatic Anti-Hero Jaime is the Knave (a well-regarded fighter who should be the Knight, but very much isn't) and incompetent Cleos Frey is the Squire (he's actually a knight, but you wouldn't guess it—being a Frey, you'd expect him to be the Knave: but, he isn't). When she goes on The Quest for Sansa Stark, Tyrion's ex-squire Podrick Payne becomes The Squire (well, he is one... just not currently attached to an official knight) and Dick Crabb and, later, the amoral knight Ser Hyle Hunt take on the role of the Knave.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: She's roughly 6'6", has "thicker [broader] shoulders... and a bigger neck" than Jaime Lannister, who is not a small man, "calves like cords of wood", "huge freckled hands" and "enormous" feet that Jaime says are "the size of Gregor Clegane's", a broad, flat, "thick muscular chest", a thick waist, narrow hips, is implied to be hirsute, and a "broad.. coarse" and "flat" face with a wide mouth, a huge, visibly broken nose, and a thick, prominent jawline. When she's forced to wear a dress in A Storm of Swords, it's several sizes too small and clings to her in a way that emphasizes her huge, manly body and proportions.
- Lie Back and Think of England: When she and Jaime are captured by the Bloody Mummers, Jaime warns her that they will try to rape her, and urges her to "go away inside" so she will survive rather than attempt to fight. She doesn't listen, instead biting off Vargo Hoat's ear (which soon becomes infected and drives him nuts), which contributes to his eventual death and results in him deciding to throw her into a bear pit, from which she is rescued by Jaime.
- Likewise despite being unattractive there are knights who'd be willing to marry Brienne (commenting "all women look the same in the dark") because she's the heir to House Tarth. Ser Hyle Hunt is one of them, but his role in the bet to take her maidenhood means Brienne no longer trusts him.
- Lightning Bruiser: Jaime notes that she's one of the only fighters he's met who is both stronger than him and able to keep up with him in terms of speed and skill. When she fights defensively, it's described as being like there's an iron cage around her, and she can deliver incredibly powerful blows. (For her part, when she reflects on the fight, she recalls being shocked at how good he was despite being in chains and rotting in a cell for a year.)
- Man Bites Man: When Vargo Hoat tries to rape her, she bites off his ear. The wound becomes infected and he goes mad with fever and pain, leaving him helpless to fight or flee when the Mountain attacks his castle. But it's inverted when Brienne gets blindsided by Biter, who's able to pin her down and gnaw large chunks out of her face. She's only saved by the intervention of Gendry.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Subverted. It first appears that she's going to have this dynamic with Jaime, due to the latter being shorter than her, her technical prisoner, and being described as a Pretty Boy to her Action Girl Brawn Hilda. However, it's shown that Brienne is a Wide-Eyed Idealist bordering on the The Ingenue (if she weren't ugly) who has never taken a life. Jaime, by contrast, is a hardened soldier who has slain dozens and is extremely cynical and brutal. Despite being smaller than her, he's hella strong too, to the point that Brienne notes she wouldn't be able to stand against him if he engaged her at his full strength (she had enough trouble with a chained and malnourished Jaime as-is).
- Meal Ticket: She will inherit enough land from her father on his death to be seen as a potential one, despite how unattractive she is perceived to be.
- Meaningful Name: Her name, 'Brienne', is a variant of 'Brianne', the female form of 'Brian' - which means 'high' or 'noble'. She is also, bar none, the most noble and morally upright character in the entire series, coming closer than anyone else to being a true Knight in Shining Armor despite not technically being a knight.
- Morality Pet: For Jaime, after his HeelFace Turn. She seems to bring out the best in him, and was the prime catalyst for his HeelFace Turn.
- Muscles Are Meaningful: The whole point of her character is to realistically defy the popular Waif-Fu trope and highlight why the vast majority of women cannot physically compete with men; in addition to being six-and-a-half feet tall, robust and broad-shouldered in the extreme, Brienne has spent most of her life building up muscle and bone strength to the point that she's completely flat-chested. Even then, she admits in A Feast for Crows that while she's "as strong as most knights", she's not as strong as a man her size would be like, say, Robert Baratheon or the Hound is.
- Named Weapons: Her sword is called "Oathkeeper", which, given her personality, is entirely appropriate.
- Nice Girl: With the exception of people who have murdered innocents, Brienne is polite, generous, and kind to everyone she meets, as well as being honorable and loyal. This being Westeros, it tends to bite her in the ass. However, she's not simply a soft touch wrapped in armor, and people pay for thinking of her as such.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Played straight, especially since she lacks the beauty traditionally associated with amazons. At one point there was a bet going on in Renly's camp over who could worm their way into her pants first. Only Jaime has shown genuine respect or affection towards her, and the scene in the Harrenhal baths hints that he is actually attracted to her. Likewise Hyle Hunt gains a lot more respect for her after seeing Brienne kill three outlaws.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: A key part of her fighting style; she allows her opponents to underestimate her and waste their energy while she bides her time, fighting defensively and waiting for the perfect opening. She also considers invoking this trope in life at times.Brienne's thoughts: That was what men wanted, wasnt it? Soft helpless women that they needed to protect?
- Past Experience Nightmare: Guilt over Renly's death, trauma from what she's endured, and the need to be Properly Paranoid against the ever-present threat of rape and betrayal result in constant nightmares during her quest to find Sansa.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: She kills and is fairly brutal towards the Bloody Mummers she encounters on her quest to find Sansa, but if anything, she simply did Westeros a good service.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: This was stressed in Brienne's training—her armsmaster had her work as a butcher's apprentice, slaughtering pigs and sheep—and comes up a lot during A Feast for Crows. When the shit hits the fan, though, she acquits herself well, killing Shagwell, Timeon and Pyg of the Brave Companions when they attack her, Podrick and Dick Crabb.
- Samus Is a Girl: Because of her size, physique, and skill at arms, Catelyn initially assumes she's just another male knight before she removes her helm after winning the melee at Renly's camp.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Nope. In armor, Brienne looks like a man. In a dress, she looks like a man wearing a dress. The very best she can hope for appearance-wise is "ugly, but not physically repulsive".
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Brienne's slice of the tale can be summed up as: "Nothing went according to plan, her arc has dangling loose ends and she doesn't seem to get a solid payoff, despite trying. And, some sections of it involve shootings, forcing her to move on to a new, vaguely related doggy." However, she does give us a wonderful demonstration as to how broken or contradictory a lot of the social institutions she comes across are, in practice. Westeros has issues; and the Riverlands has some of the biggest (and more entrenched ones) on the continent.
- Shrinking Violet: As a child due to her looks she was chronically shy. She's still ill at ease dealing with people.
- Shrouded in Myth: Likely part of her original motive for seeking fame as a knight.Brienne: In the songs all knights are gallant, all maids are beautiful, and the sun is always shining.
- Considering how warped many of the stories from the Age of Legend have become, she might have a point. Give her tale 300 years of singing, and she might turn into an actual Beauty as the original irony gets lost. In a way, Brienne may prove right — even if it doesn't improve her actual, real-time situation one jot.
- Skilled, but Naïve: Her first on-screen action is defeating Loras Tyrell, and when she and Jaime duel he mentions that she's incredibly strong and tireless, though not quite as fast as he is. As of the fourth book Brienne is probably the second most capable fighter of all the POV characters (first being Victarion Greyjoy), possibly first if her magical sword is taken into account, but her status as a Wide-Eyed Idealist is not well suited to the World Half Empty she lives in.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Gets this a fair bit, most directly from Lord Randyll Tarly. It's part of why she and Jaime get the shipping they do: he's one of a very few men who respects her for the Action Girl she is.
- Stone Wall: Of the "turtling" type, Brienne tends to fight very defensively, conserving her stamina. She adopted this tactic on the advice of her mentor, as most men will come at her very aggressively in the hope of ending the fight quickly lest it be said a woman gave them a hard time in combat. This means they tend to waste their energy trying to overcome her excellent defensive skills, and once they tire she can press her advantage against an exhausted opponent.
- Take Up My Sword: Jaime passes his quest to find Sansa Stark onto her after he's crippled.
- The Teetotaler: While traveling, she always drinks cider or watered wine rather than beer or ale, to keep her wits about her.
- Underestimating Badassery: She hates it when people do this to her, but encourages them to do it anyway, because it plays to her advantage in a fight.
- Undying Loyalty: To Renly, even when she swears loyalty to the Starks, she makes Cat promise that they won't get in her way of avenging Renly.
- To Catelyn Stark as well, to where she's willing to die rather than break her oath to her.
- Younger Than They Look: Brienne's size and extremely rough features can make one forget that she's only 19 years old in her first appearance.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: We know little of Brienne's father, but he did try to arrange a good marriage for his daughter, accepts her as the knight of his House in lieu of a son, and is willing to pay a hefty ransom for her release. When a priest urges Brienne to return home, saying her father would prefer a live daughter than her shattered shield, Brienne expresses shame that her father can't have the strong son or beautiful daughter he deserves, and is stuck with her.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Brienne is very much like Sansa in some ways—she truly believes that knights and nobles are (or should be) chivalrous, and that people who make oaths will always try to keep them, among other things. Unlike Sansa, Brienne is entirely capable of beating seven shades of shit out of men who don't fit her ideals, and she wises up a lot faster. On the other hand, she is more bitter and cynical to start than Sansa due to the experiences of her life.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: The one exception to Brienne's ugliness is her baby blues, at least according to Jaime.
- Wild Mass Guessing: Most people on this wiki (and, indeed, in the fandom) take it for granted that she and Jaime are falling for each other. Fans of the pairing will most frequently cite the Dream Sequences (in which the other character can be seen as incidental), the bathhouse sequence, and a few subtle hints, like Jaime referring to their duel as "chastising his wife" when asked about it, and Brienne frequently comparing her new companions in A Feast for Crows to the 'Kingslayer' in her POV chapters. What cannot be argued is that Jaime and Brienne deeply respect one another in ways that others don't. Hence the shipping.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Scrupulously honest, but her contact with Jaime seems to have let her unbend a little. That said, when she does try to lie (for example when looking for Sansa) she's not very good at it, and the deception makes her unhappy.
- Worse because she seems to have a singular curse for getting herself into ridiculous, unbelievable situations where not being able to lie about what she's doing just makes her sound like the world's most unimaginative and pathetic liar. Go on, Brienne, tell us again what about the "evil shadow beast" that killed Renly. Or why you're roaming all over the country looking for Sansa Stark to honestly protect her... while carrying a sword that might as well have "HEY, GUESS WHAT GUYS! I AM NOW WORKING FOR THE LANNISTERS!" written on it in blinking neon lights.
- World's Strongest Man: Deconstructed. While she is undoubtedly the physically strongest woman in the entire series, Brienne is, at most, "as strong as most knights" and is cautious when facing men whom she is not obviously bigger than. To compensate, Brienne uses her reach, weight and slightly lower (and comparatively more stable) center of mass in combination with her strength to power her blows and fights defensively to conserve her stamina. When fighting non-knights, she also relies heavily on superior equipment, mainly her (very expensive) partial plate armor. Her shape may be more mannish than most women, but she still has a lower center of mass to use as leverage against most men. Which she does: using the ground to do more work for you ups the stamina.
See the Night's Watch Rangers page.
Master-of-arms for House Tarth, Ser Goodwin taught Brienne how to fight.
- Combat Pragmatist: Shows Brienne how to use her sex and stamina to her advantage when fighting male opponents.
- Long Dead Badass: He died several years before the series began, with Brienne thinking back on his training often.
- The Mentor: To Brienne.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: He had Brienne slaughter animals to desensitize her to killing, and lectures her on the fatal consequences of flinching from making the Coup de Grâce. When she is faced with her first life-or-death fight, she does not flinch.
- He didn't just have Brienne slaughter animals, he put her to work in slaughterhouse for the whole day while they were doing winter preparations for the whole town. She killed so many lambs, pigs and sheep that when she returned home she had her clothes burned instead of trying to wash them, they were so caked with blood!
Septa of House Tarth, who taught Brienne when she was a young girl.
- Brutal Honesty: She used to say that Brienne was "freakish big and mannish".
- Chekhov's Gun: When Brienne was young, Roelle told her that all compliments from men were lies, and that if she wanted the truth, all she had to do was to look in the mirror in the morning. If Brienne had not listened to her, she likely would have lost her virginity to the first man who tried to charm her.
- Stern Teacher: She was harsh, but her advice helped Brienne to survive in the brutal world of Westeros.