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Characters / Game of Thrones - House Tarly

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House Tarly
"First in Battle."

House Tyrell's most powerful banner house, especially since the fall of House Florent, which supported Stannis in the War of the Five Kings. House Tarly rules Horn Hill, one of the key castles defending the Reach's border with Dorne. When House Tyrell rebels against the Iron Throne and assists Daenerys Targaryen, House Tarly sides with the Lannisters to siege their former masters, and takes the place of the Tyrells as the new Great House of the Reach. However, while returning to King's Landing via Blackwater Reach, the Lannister/Tarly forces are decimated by the Dothraki and Drogon the Dragon. Randyll and Dickon get burned alive soon afterwards. Since Samwell is the only male heir remaining, and he may still be subject to the vow of the Night's Watch, House Tarly is in danger of extinction, much like their former allies the Tyrells.

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    In General 
  • Adapted Out: In the books, Randyll has three daughters, with Talla being the only one whose name is mentioned. In the show, Talla is the only daughter.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Heartsbane, a Valyrian steel sword which has been in the family for five hundred years.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Castle Horn Hill is huge.
  • The Big Guy: House Tarly is the muscle of the Reach.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: The death of the family is cristisized by Tyrion as being needlessly harsh and liable to lead to unrest in the future. Given Danys future fighting style, the killing of the Tarlys will likely go down in history as the Mad Queen's first atrocity.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: After Randyll and Dickon get burned alive, the only remaining male Tarly is Sam and he can't inherit due to his vows to the Night's Watch. Though this is very ambiguous at the end since Sam has left the Night's Watch, and seemingly rejoined the Maesters...but Gilly was pregnant with Sams child but they weren't married which would make the child a bastard and unable to inherit unless legitimized by royal decree. Which Bran might very well do if Samwell asked, but the subject isn't raised during their last onscreen conversation.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: If the Tyrells from the north of the Reach are sort of an expy of northern France, the Tarlys in the southern Reach are sort of an expy of southern France. The Reach in general is an expy of France, and just as France has a historic/cultural divide between North and South, so does the Reach - notice that their costumes are nothing like the Tyrell household costumes, in contrast to the North or the Westerlands, where everyone imitates the fashions of the ruling family. Whereas the Tyrells seem to embody the more romantic and refined part of Medieval France, the Tarlys represent its rich martial culture.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After betraying their lieges and selling out their homeland to the Lannisters, House Tarly's reign over the Reach lasts about one episode before Drogon and the Dothraki destroy their army, with Randyll and Dickon both getting killed in the aftermath.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Like the Boltons for the North, the Freys for the Riverlands, House Tarly becomes the latest Lannister stooge to subvert its Feudal Overlord. Randyll and Dickon Tarly take it to the next level by actually robbing and looting their own treasury and rations and giving it to the Lannisters.
  • Modest Royalty: Though definitely rich enough to afford it, the armor worn by Dickon and Randyll eschews the decoration seen on Lannister plate, giving them a much more Spartan and warlike appearance.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Melessa and Talla are likely at home in Horn Hill while Sam is in Oldtown when Randyll and Dickon are burned alive by Drogon.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Their banner is a hunter about to shoot an arrow.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Their banner is a hunter wielding a bow and arrow.

    Lord Randyll Tarly 

Lord Randyll Tarly
"If he were to become Lord Tarly of Horn Hill, it would be the end of this house."

Played By: James Faulkner

"This you getting back at me, boy? Hmm? Bringing that to my table and making me dine with it? And you got what you were after, didn't you? A bastard. A half-breed bastard. Your invitation into our home."

Lord of Horn Hill and head of House Tarly, and one of Mace Tyrell's most powerful bannermen, as well as his foremost commander. Also father to Samwell Tarly.

  • Adaptational Wimp: He plays no role in the War of Five Kings or the small council in the show, in contrast to crushing a third of Robb's army at Duskendale, freeing Margaery from the Faith, and serving as Master of Laws. Moreover, Sam's boast that, "He can bloody well try," to get Heartsbane back would be utter lunacy in the novels where Sam remarks in A Feast For Crows that his father would've hunted him down mercilessly if he'd run off with so much as a mule, nevermind the family's Ancestral Weapon.
  • Abusive Parents: Even worse than Tywin Lannister, who at least has never threatened to murder any of his children. note 
  • Always Someone Better: The only military commander to defeat Robert Baratheon in combat, which Jaime notes is something that even Prince Rhaegar failed to do.
  • Asshole Victim: While his death scene earns him some sympathy, this is still the same man who once threatened to kill his eldest son in a Hunting "Accident", and near the end of his life betrayed his rightful liege lords to the Lannisters and helped sack their castle.
  • Bad Boss: Jaime more or less promising him Warden of the South, it means the people he is robbing blind of their food are his own. And he has no problem flogging prisoners of war or anyone who'll slow them down.
  • Bald of Evil: Evil is exaggerated but he's a grade A Jerkass.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Jaime notes that Randyll answered Cersei's summons, Tarly points out that he's fully aware of what Cersei does to people who don't toe the line, clearly disgusted with the Lannisters ability to break norms like the Red Wedding and destroy a place of worship.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: He has to choose between a tradition of having House Tarly loyally serve their liege that goes back thousands of years to the oath to the Crown, and of course the once-in-a-millennium opportunity for advancement. He chooses the latter.
  • Corrupt Politician: What he ends up becoming after a lifetime of loyal service. He serves a corrupt and terrible Queen that he does not personally respect against his own liege, forcing himself and his son in battle against his own countrymen and then finally robbing the treasury and rations of his own land and region for a foreign occupying power.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Burned alive by Drogon.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Gave Robert Baratheon his only loss during his eponymous rebellion.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: To Mace Tyrell. He led the vanguard that defeated Robert Baratheon at the Battle of Ashford and is heavily implied to be much more competent on the battlefield than his Lord.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While having dinner with his family, he doesn't say anything at first, preferring to just stare at Sam coldly while also making a silent gesture of favoritism towards Dickon. His very first spoken line of dialogue is a vicious Kick the Dog moment, outlining his hatred for his elder son and his racism towards Wildlings. After his wife calls him out on his cruelty, Randyll, without missing a beat, shows that he is also a loving husband by deciding to let Gilly stay as a servant and raising his (supposed) grandchild as a Tarly just to make his wife happy, while still taking another chance to stick it to Sam by ordering him to leave and never return.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • His care for his wife is one of his few redeeming qualities. Even when she tells him off, he doesn't get mad, he merely tells Sam that he doesn't deserve a mother like her.
    • He's also horrified when Dickon chooses to die alongside him, even non-verbally insisting that he bend the knee to Daenerys. When Dickon remains firm in his decision, he reluctantly accepts it and they die together.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Jaime probes his allegiance, he plainly expresses disgust over the Lannisters, the Red Wedding, and the Freys' breach of Sacred Hospitality; he also has reservations about breaking his oath to House Tyrell. It's a subversion however, as he is convinced at the end to side with the Lannisters and helps Jaime Lannister in sacking Highgarden.
    "I'm a Tarly. That name means something. We're not oathbreakers. We're not schemers. We don't stab our rivals in the back or cut their throats at weddings."
  • Face Death with Dignity: Played With, Randyll faces his own death with dignity, but when Dickon refuses to bend the knee (which means Dickon dies too), Randyll is horrified. Still, when he knows he can't stop his son, they face their deaths together.
  • Fantastic Racism: He very much despises Wildlings, to the point where he calls Gilly an "it" after he finds out where she was born. He is also hesitant to the idea of Dothraki on the continent, which is a bit justified as they have a reputation of Rape, Pillage, and Burn.From the books...
  • Four-Star Badass: A very competent and renowned general who dealt Robert Baratheon his only defeat From the books...
  • The Ghost: He is a fairly prominent character in the books, but in the show he is only sparsely mentioned. He finally appears in Season 6.
  • Hates Small Talk: Doesn't take part in the family dinner's conversation unless it's to attack his hated son and asks Jaime to cut to the point as he was ready to go back to the Reach after Cersei's meeting ended.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He's so concerned about the his house's honor, he's borderlined Ax-Crazy towards Sam. Other scenes suggest he can be just as Ax-Crazy to peasants. The same 'honor' he used to justify the abuse he's doled out, also gets him, and his eldest son executed by Dany. By implication, his inflexibility effectively hands his house over to Sam; the exact event he considered killing Sam to prevent.
  • Hypocrite:
    • One of the reasons he joined the Lannisters was because Daenerys brought Dothraki to Westeros, a culture known for pillaging. He later aids Jaime in sacking Highgarden and stealing the fortune and food from his very own countrymen, sending it away to aid Cersei in financing her war.
    • He also shows disgusts with Tyrion for murdering his own father. Coming from the same guy that threatened his eldest son's life just so he could surrender inheritance to his younger brother.
    • When Tyrion suggests he take the black and head to the Wall to avoid his execution, he flatly refuses to go. Meanwhile, he forced his own son into a life of exile at the Wall.
  • Irony:
    • He served Aerys II during Robert's Rebellion. He ends up aiding the man who killed King Aerys against his daughter. Moreover, he survived the Mad King's rule and all the nobles Aerys immolated in his madness, only to be burned to death by Aerys' daughter.
    • He did everything possible to stop Sam from becoming Lord Tarly. After refusing to bend the knee and grooming Dickon to be absolutely loyal to his House, the two are executed and Sam becomes the only surviving male heir.
  • Jerkass: Kind of given Sam's backstory, but witnessed in first hand in "Blood Of My Blood" where he insults Gilly for being an Wildling and impugns Sam for being a coward.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • He's not wrong to regard the Dothraki as a horde of savage, bloodthirsty barbarians.
    • His rabid refusal accept to Samwell becoming a Maester ended up being this as well, since the Order of Maesters are revealed to be extremely unhelpful and useless as an institution, causing Sam to lose all respect he had for them and bitterly repeating the same words his father said about them "spending their lives recording and studying the 'works of better men'".
  • Jock Dad, Nerd Son: His relationship with Sam is essentially a medieval version of this. Even though Sam returns home with the news he's been chosen to train as a maester in Oldtown, his father couldn't care less because Randyll still believes Sam is a fat bastard who can't wield a sword for shit, and that makes him useless in Randyll's eyes.
  • Knight Templar: Randyll sees himself as a man protecting his family tradition from a weakling son that will crash everything down, so he doesn't feel an ounce of remorse.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He disowns his firstborn son and exiles him under threat of death because he feels his intellectualism and physical weakness would bring ruin to his House. Come Daenerys' invasion, he is not only burned alive but his preferred son chooses to die alongside him, compelled by the traditional sense of martial honor his father instilled in him. Now the only Tarly man remaining is legally forbidden from fathering children, ensuring House Tarly's extinction.
  • Lawful Stupid: It's pretty obvious he has such a strict 'honor code,' it causes other characters to ignore his advice, and in very Game of Thrones fashion, eventually gets him killed.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: With Samwell. By the time of Season 7, the difference has been made more clear now that Sam found the treatment and possible cure of greyscale (one of the worst diseases in the known world) while Randyll is a corrupt feudal lord serving an evil regime that starves its own subjects.
  • Living Legend: Dealt Robert Baratheon his only defeat during his eponymous rebellion.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: He gave Sam a choice: either join the Night's Watch, or die in a "hunting accident."
  • Misery Builds Character: In the History and Lore extras, it's revealed that he forced Sam to wander around in his mother's dress because he believed humiliation would have made him stronger.
  • No Body Left Behind: Well, if ashes after getting burned by dragonfire doesn't count anyway.
  • Offing the Offspring: Threatened to murder Sam if he didn't give up his inheritance and join the Night's Watch. He even says he'd be glad to do it.
  • Papa Wolf: His attempt to spare the life of his younger son Dickon result in both of them being burned alive by Drogon.
  • The Patriarch: Of the Tarly family, a position he takes seriously.
  • Parental Favoritism: Sees Dickon as everything he wanted in a son, as opposed to Sam. This is perfectly illustrated during the dinner scene in "Blood Of My Blood", all without dialogue: Dickon is regaling his family about his latest hunting exploit, to which Randyll gives him an approving nod and raises his goblet.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Following dinner, where he spent all of his time verbally abusing Sam and Gilly, he says he'll still allow Gilly to work in his kitchens and her son to be educated under his roof as he originally promised, even though he's just found out they're both wildlings, which he hates with a passion. In case the audience feels an involuntary spasm of gratitude towards him, he follows it up with another Kick the Dog moment by saying this will be the last night Sam stays in Horn Hill.
    • He holds Dickon's hand as Drogon prepares to roast them, showing that they legitimately care about one another.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Not to the same level as his book counterpart, in the "History and Lore" videos he narrates, he laments how Sam became "soft and plump as a daughter" while growing up and how House Tyrell is run by women who “don’t know their place”. He also regards Gilly as a subhuman due to her status as a Wildling. It's also why he chooses to die rather than swear allegiance to Daenerys, as she is a foreigner leading an army of Dothraki.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: He's willing to murder his own son to preserve the legacy of the Tarly family, famous as the best warriors in the Reach.
  • Sour Supporter: As the Histories and Lore of seasons 6 and 7 show, he was this to House Tyrell. He continued to serve because the sons of House Tarly "Know [their] place", but he seemed to heavily dislike them due to their ancestors just giving up against Aegon, surrendering Highgarden without a fight. This goes against his warrior's mentality, as he believed that they shouldn't have simply bent knee to a foreign conqueror. He's also shown to hate the current generation Tyrells due to defying his Stay in the Kitchen worldview. In House Tyrell, the women are the political masterminds while the men follow their orders, the opposite of what he believes.
  • The Starscream: Although he has reservations about backstabbing House Tyrell, Jaime convinces Randyll by promising to make him new Warden of the South. Tarly assists the Lannisters in sacking Highgarden.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Forbids Talla from hunting and betrothed her to someone she doesn't like.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Though he sides with them out of fear of the Dothraki, Randyll makes it clear from the offset that he has no respect for the Lannisters, and doesn't trust Cersei any farther than he can throw her.
  • Together in Death: He is burned alive by Drogon right beside his son.
  • Token Evil Teammate: His wife and their children are shown to be decent human beings. Unfortunately for them, Randyll is The Patriarch.
  • Villain Has a Point: Despite accumulating plenty of despicable moments and earning no sympathy by invoking xenophobic grounds, he's ultimately proven right when he decides not to bend the knee to a tyrant.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He views himself as such: a man protecting his family whatever the cost may be.
    Randyll: If the hunter returns home with empty hands, his family starves. If the warrior carries an empty scabbard, his home burns. House Tarly has stood for thousands of years. It will not fall on my watch.
  • Worthy Opponent: Stannis considers him to be this.

    Lady Melessa Tarly, née Florent 

Lady Melessa Tarly

Played By: Samantha Spiro

Wife of Lord Randyll and mother to Samwell, Dickon and Talla Tarly.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Like her cousin Queen Selyse, the show version lacks the unfortunate Florent ears (it hasn't been explicitly stated in the books that Melessa has them, but they are said to be omnipresent).
  • Good Parents: In stark contrast to her husband, Melessa is incredibly loving and non-judgemental towards Sam, doesn't care that Gilly is a Wildling, and is ecstatic to be a grandmother, even though little Sam is technically a bastard which would normally be somewhat scandalous for the Westerosi nobilility.
  • Mama Bear: She stands up to Randyll when the latter disparages Sam's inability to man up.
  • Morality Pet: She seems to be this for her husband, Randyll. He's still an abhorrent Jerkass but her presence makes him do things he normally wouldn't, like taking Wildlings into his home despite his Fantastic Racism. Or sparing his son's life because his death would make her sad.
  • Proper Lady: As opposed to her Jerkass husband, Melessa is kind, gracious, elegant, and cannot stand her husband's mistreatment of others.

    Samwell Tarly 

Samwell Tarly

Played By: John Bradley

The eldest son of Lord Randyll and Lady Melessa, now a man of the Night's Watch. See The Order of the Maesters.

    Dickon Tarly 

Dickon Tarly
"All my life, we've been pledged to House Tyrell. I knew some of those men. I hunted with them. They didn't deserve to die."

Played By: Freddie Stroma (season 6), Tom Hopper (season 7)

The second son of Lord Randyll and Lady Melessa, and now heir to Horn Hill following his brother's joining the Night's Watch.

  • Adaptational Badass: Thanks to Age Lift, he is a great hunter and decent fighter.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Played with. In the books it was implied that he was a Jerkass due to Samwell imagining him among Rast and Allisor Thorne mocking him and he was called his father's "Perfect Heir". He has yet to be introduced in the books, but here he's a genuinely nice person.
  • Age Lift: A somewhat dramatic and strange one for a relatively minor character: In the books, Dickon is a "young squire," somewhere in early adolescence, and the youngest Tarly child. Here, he's played by the 29-year-old Freddie Stroma (who, in fact, is a year or two older than Sam's actor, John Bradley-West) and appears to be the second child before the teenage Talla. The second actor Tom Hopper is also older than both as well.
  • Big Little Brother: Is taller, and fitter than his eldest brother Samwell. Particularly after the recast since Tom Hopper stands at 6'5".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Burned alive by Drogon.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He seems genuinely appalled when Randyll verbally abuses Sam and Gilly at dinner. He is also upset about killing Tyrell men, as they were former allies.
  • Face Death with Dignity: He willingly joins his father in being executed by dragonfire.
  • Honor Before Reason: He refuses to bend the knee to Daenerys or abandon his father even though he knows it'll result in his death and the end of House Tarly's male line.
  • Just Following Orders: He doesn't approve of his father's shift in allegiances or the Lannister army's actions but he is bound by duty to serve.
  • Lovable Jock: Despite being groomed to be his father's heir, Dickon never inherited Randyll's Jerkass traits, as shown by his polite and affable behavior towards Sam. Sam returns the favor.
  • Manly Men Can Hunt: He is first seen boasting about his hunting prowess. This is one of the reasons why his father preferred him over his oldest son.
  • Nice Guy: He's a benevolent and well-meaning man.
  • No Body Left Behind: Well, if ashes after getting burned by dragonfire doesn't count anyway.
  • Parental Favoritism: Lord Tarly makes no effort to conceal that Dickon is his favorite.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Dickon is a nice guy who happens to have a brutal feudal lord as his father and he has to follow his orders, even if he decides to throw his lot with the Lannisters and slaughter his former allies.
  • Together in Death: He is burned alive by Drogon right beside his father.
  • Undying Loyalty: To House Tarly. A lifetime of being groomed to succeed his father results in this for him, and unfortunately, it cost him death by dragonfire.
  • Unfortunate Names: Bronn laughs at it upon hearing for the first time.

    Lady Talla Tarly 

Lady Talla Tarly

Played by: Rebecca Benson

The only daughter of Lord Randyll and Lady Melessa.

  • Alliterative Name: Talla Tarly.
  • Motor Mouth: She talks until her parents tell her to stop.
  • Nice Girl: She's kind to her brother Sam whom she's delighted to see and extends her kindness to Gilly, a Wildling young woman.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Though she's very nice, she still shows signs of being sheltered and not used to hardships of real life. Immediately after hugging Sam upon his return, she begins to complain about an Arranged Marriage because of her groom's teeth, she later asks Gilly what her color is so she can give her a dress, not realizing that as a lowborn girl Gilly is unfamiliar with what she's talking about.