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The Small Council

"What's the line—the King shits and the Hand wipes."
Ser Jaime Lannister

Hand of the King: Lord Tyrion Lannister
Master of War: Vacant
Master of Coin: Lord Bronn of the Blackwater
Master of Whisperers: Vacant
Master of Laws: Vacant
Master of Ships: Lord Davos Seaworth
Lord Commander of the Kingsguard: Ser Brienne of Tarth
Grand Maester: Samwell Tarly

A tradition as old as the Iron Throne, the Small Council is comprised of the King's top advisers who determine all the basic administrative duties that comprise the rule of the King. They are headed by the King's Number Two, the Hand of the King. The King may or may not attend the Council meetings in person, as per his leisure or interest.

For the Small Council during the House of the Dragon era, see here.

    In General 
  • Authority in Name Only: Its status as the government of the Seven Kingdoms by the end of Season 6. Jon Snow has been declared King in the North and they're seceding again, and the Vale with Petyr Baelish backs them; the Reach and Dorne have sided with Daenarys against the Lannisters; the Riverlands are nominally loyal but Walder Frey and his eldest sons are dead so it's not clear who rules there now; the Greyjoys are technically still rebelling for the Iron Islands; the Stormlands, with the Baratheon family all dead, no ruler of them has been explained nor who they back. As Jaime lampshades in the Season 7 premiere, Cersei is the Queen of Three Kingdoms, at best. The Vale has officially switched over and backed the North, the Iron Islands have a new King and a fresh campaign, while the Reach and Dorne have declared for the Targaryen Restoration which is finally invading Westeros with its armada. The Riverlands were nominally loyal but Walder Frey and his sons were assassinated, and even the Westerlands might not be safe since Jaime Lannister disapproves of his sister's actions.
  • The Chessmaster: Being comprised of politicians and knowledge brokers, it's a given that all of them have a minor or major in this. Ned Stark being the major, tragic, exception.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: When the Small Council are not advising the King, they are busy plotting ways to subvert and/or murder him or each other. Many of them have their own separate competing interests, often selfish and careerist, independent of any loyalty to the King. Needless to say, any Hand who wishes to remain alive has to navigate the Small Council Chamber itself.
  • Corrupt Politician: Playing "the game" requires a great level of underhandedness, an outward servilism and a plethora of other unsavoury traits, and as the council is usually made of top players, honourable men who disdain these facts tend to have a short tenure in the present day, if any. A few people with a personal connection to the King such as Ned Stark, Jon Arryn and the Baratheon brothers can be counted as earnest, notable exceptions with varying degrees of success.
  • Decadent Court: Often the source for its deadliness and decadence.
  • Dwindling Party:
    • In Season 2, Tyrion knocks down the Small Council to about half its membership during his stint as a stand-in for Tywin, specifically the ones he doesn't trust not to betray him. Littlefinger, Varys, and Cersei are all that's left. Tywin restocks after he returns. In "What is Dead May Never Die", Varys lampshades this while talking to Tyrion after Pycelle is arrested:
    "Should I be worried? Janos Slynt, Pycelle... the Small Council grows smaller every day."
    • A mark of how unsettled the post-Tywin royal court is, is that several Small Council positions have been vacated and not re-filled. In the books... 
  • High Turnover Rate: The Small Council has a tendency to "grow smaller" and/or end up reorganized at the whim of whoever happens to be in charge.
    • It's gone through six Hands (Jon Arryn, Ned Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Tywin Lannister, Kevan Lannister and Qyburn) in the last five years alone (four being killed in office), two Masters of Coin and two Masters of Ships.
    • Grand Maester Pycelle and Varys were the two longest serving members of the Small Council, having served the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen himself. Varys eventually ends up defecting after the events of Season 4. Pycelle lasts long enough until he's caught in Queen Cersei's purge at the end of Season 6, by which point the only people left in the Small Council are Cersei and Qyburn.
  • The Leader: The Hand of the King serves, in theory, as The Good Chancellor to The Good King, but more often than not as the Hypercompetent Sidekick to a lazy (Ned to Robert) or evil (Tyrion to Joffrey) king, or the Dragon-in-Chief (Tywin Lannister to Aerys and Joffrey). By the time of Tywin's death and Tyrion's exile, when Cersei claims regency and when the Sparrows hijack control over the city, the Hand has become a mostly ineffectual post with none of its former powers and scope, a situation that might change with the arrival of Qyburn, The Dragon for Queen Cersei.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Following the death of Robert Baratheon, the Council has more or less been serving as the "true" power of the Kingdom, making all of the major decisions without the input of their Puppet King, first Joffrey and then Tommen.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Increasingly with both Joffrey and later Tommen. The Small Council attempts to rule from behind the scenes, attempting to turn the two into their Puppet King. Joffrey, for his part, was aware of the Small Council and would attempt to force himself into their meetings, if not undermine their efforts. Tommen, because he was so often left out of the loop, fell under the sway of the High Sparrow.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Being the power behind the throne, most of the problems King's Landing and the Seven Kingdoms go through can quite easily be put down to them not knowing enough (say, about Daenarys), thinking they know enough (say, about the fictional nature of White Walkers and the best use of the Watch) and every member trying to have the whole political cake to themselves, rather than ever trying to share. Oh, and actually, you know... not doing their jobs as per the description?
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: As Ned Stark and Tyrion learn, most of their colleagues value their own influence and importance over any loyalty to the King or service to the realm. In the case of Tyrion, Queen Regent Cersei refuses to involve the Hand in preparing the defenses of King's Landing, forcing him to undermine her at every turn to protect the city and its inhabitants from Stannis Baratheon.
  • Vetinari Job Security: The end-goal of most of them, but especially so in the case of Grand Maester Pycelle and Lord Varys the Spider, the latter only defecting because of a fondness for Tyrion and setting his sights on greater prospects.

    Hand of the Queen Qyburn 

Hand of the Queen Qyburn

Played By: Anton Lesser

Jaime Lannister: You are no maester. Where is your chain?
Qyburn: The Citadel stripped me of it. They found some of my... experiments... too bold.

An ex-Maester who had been captive in Harrenhal. He later accompanied the maimed Jaime Lannister on his journey to King's Landing, and remained there as a physician in service to the crown. Ingratiating himself to Cersei, he becomes one of her closest and most valuable allies. After Varys leaves King's Landing, Cersei appoints Qyburn Master of Whispers in his place, and he later becomes Hand of the Queen when Cersei seizes uncontested power.

  • Adaptational Heroism: A minor case as of the third season. While he engaged in the same sick experiments as his book counterpart, Qyburn in the show appears to have a genuine interest in healing people, and justifies his experiments through a utilitarian mindset. In contrast, the book Qyburn is more clearly motivated by For Science! and For the Evulz. Also, because the sadistic mercenary band, called The Brave Companions were Adapted Out, the show Qyburn seemingly lacks his book counterpart's involvement and affiliation with such a group. Likewise, as a result of the show toning down Cersei's villainous actions, Qyburn in Season 5 doesn't become Cersei's Torture Technician as he does in the corresponding book.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the books, he was not considered a good Master of Whispers by anyone but Cersei; here, he seems to build a children's information network the same way Varys did and somehow converts them into serving as his minions in carrying out terrorist attacks and assassinations.
  • Affably Evil: Despite being a pretty awful person, Qyburn is an agreeable fellow on a personal level: soft-spoken, polite, considerate, and is pleasant company in general. Even Cersei, who hates just about everyone who she hasn't personally given birth to, admits to being fond of him and infinitely prefers him to lecherous old Pycelle. He somehow manages to put on a benign persona when he oversees Pycelle's death and the bombing of the Great Sept.
  • Always Someone Better: Seems to be this to Pycelle; particularly considering that Cersei and Jaime both consider him to be the superior and better skilled maester, much to Pycelle's annoyance and chagrin.
  • Analogy Backfire: Qyburn argues to Jaime that his vivisection of paupers was justified by the fact that it helped him save many more lives. He then asks Jaime how many men he's killed (hundreds, probably), and then asks how many he's saved:
    Jaime: Five hundred thousand. [Qyburn looks at him, disbelieving] The population of King's Landing.
  • Bait the Dog: Really kind and treats his darker experiments as a necessary evil to save more lives, but completely fine with mass murder and torture if someone asks him. The best example is how he treats the little birds with candies and taking care of abusive parents only to have them participate in suicide bombing and vicious murder.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: In conversation with Bronn, Qyburn reveals that this is part of the reason why he goes out of his way to be loyal to Cersei. Cast out from the Citadel and stripped of his chain, he would have been fated to either waste away as a back-alley doctor or die as a penniless beggar on the streets, never able to achieve his dreams, but thanks to Cersei's support, he is now effectively the second-most powerful person in her kingdom. It's clear that he hasn't forgotten how much he owes her for this chance.
  • Composite Character: He gains Varys' army of child spies and assassins from the books and the role of using them to kill Pycelle.
  • Cool Old Guy: Mad Doctoring notwithstanding, he's sharply intelligent, quietly genial, and unlike Pycelle, conducts his business in a professional way. Sure, his chain was stripped from him for horrible experiments, but he's more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist than a self-serving old lech like Pycelle.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: A firm believer in the "Curiosity is Good" variant, though Pycelle is quick to characterize it as "dangerous and unnatural." During ''The Maester's Chain," Qyburn is notably critical of how the Maesters seem perfectly content to pass on their stagnating knowledge without ever adding to it, and how aspiring magicians among the Order are taught to lose their curiosity through A Lesson in Defeat. Needless to say, he takes great pride in the fact that he never lost his curiosity despite his teachers' best efforts.
  • Deadly Doctor: When one considers just exactly what he did to have himself be stripped of his position and chain as a Maester in the first place. He also has no problem making poison or brainwashing children into committing murder if Cersei asks.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Jaime: You're far better at this than Grand Maester Pycelle.
    Qyburn: Faint praise, my lord.
  • The Dragon: To Cersei, and they could hardly be less alike. One is angry, cruel, and spiteful, while the other has the best doctor's bedside manner in Westeros with the possible exception of Beric. Seemingly incapable of any mendacity he quickly ingratiates himself with Cersei by being pretty much everything she's not: quiet, kind, supportive, yet an unapologetic Mad Scientist who gifts her zombie knights and tends to her needs after her torture and walk of shame, and while she freaks over the idea of the Seven Kingdoms and Daenerys and her dragons against her, Qyburn quietly works on the best means of defense.
  • Enigmatic Minion: He is Cersei's one truly faithful ally, but his true motivations are largely a mystery, as are his past and the nature of his "experiments".
  • Evil Counterpart: To Tyrion, as Hand of the Queen to Cersei versus Tyrion's position as Hand of the Queen to Daenerys.
  • Evil Genius: He is the brain on Cersei's team while his creation, Robert Strong, provides the brawn.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He doesn't seem to have much tolerance for philandering behaviour from the clergy or other officials sworn to celibacy, being first among the Small Council to call attention to the High Septon's presence at a brothel — and the only one of them to mock him for his attempts to cover it up. Presumably, this is yet another reason why he thinks so little of Pycelle.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The North must be kicking itself for sparing this man now that Cersei is Queen.
  • Foil: There is a certain amount of comparison and contrast to be made between him and Pycelle; both are Maesters that have ended up in the service of the Crown, both end up taking orders from Cersei, and both are well-known for behaviour inappropriate to their order, and both provide medical attention. However, Pycelle not only proves himself less ambitious and much less inquisitive than Qyburn, but also nowhere near as dedicated to healing. As amoral as Qyburn is, he does genuinely want to save lives — in sharp contrast to Pycelle, who not only withheld treatment for Jon Arryn but also loaned out his supply of poison for a suicide attempt. This is perhaps best exemplified by their scene together in "The Children": Pycelle is prodding Gregor Clegane's unconscious body with a stick, claiming that nothing can be done to save him; Qyburn is examining the wounds at close range and actually providing a treatment.
  • For Science!: A relatively moderate example, really. Most of his experiments fit the bill (they were performed both to gain an understanding of disease and the human body, both the foundation of modern medicine), but they've also allowed him to amass an incredible knowledge of proper medicine that actually heals, and thus uses it to great effect. In the Season 4, "Histories and Lore: The Maester's Chain", Qyburn describes how he sees himself as apart from the Citadel:
    Qyburn: The Chain, as a whole, is supposed to signify the Realm: one cannot have only lords or only knights, one needs farmers, smiths, merchants, shepherds, and the like. Like a chain of many different metals — an obvious and trivial point, disguised with pomposity... much like the maesters themselves! They study without learning and proudly pass down the same knowledge that was passed down to them, with no addition. Perhaps such is to be expected, when one considers the kinds of men who become maesters: the youngest sons of noble families, dutiful and timid, raised in the shadow of their older brothers; or bastards and peasant boys whose minds are easily satisfied by the knowledge of their next meal. Because bold men will not be chained. They dare to ask questions the maesters fear to answer: they will look at a living man, and ask "How?" And they will look at the dead, and ask "What if...?"
  • Friend to All Children: He has an air of a kind grandfather when handling his "little birds", having implied that he discretely disposed of one's abusive father, rewards them with treats, and keeps them from panicking at the sight of "Robert Strong" with a few soft words.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from some random old man the Northern army salvaged from Harrenhal to singlehandedly putting Cersei on the Iron Throne.
  • Head Crushing: When Qyburn angrily demands Gregor defend him and Cersei, a furious Gregor smashes Qyburn's skull against a nearby block of rubble, then flings him against another one a good ten meters away. Upon impact, the top of his skull pops off.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Like any good Mad Scientist, he's undone by his own creation. Specifically, he tries to order Ser Gregor to protect Cersei instead of trying to kill Sandor, only for Gregor to kill him.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To Cersei, he can make undead champions, have children doing his spying and mass murdering, handle most of Cersei's assignments with no problem, and is extremely loyal. He is arguably the real threat for anyone challenging the Crown.
  • Irony: Having survived getting his throat cut by the Mountain, Qyburn later ends up treating the Mountain's supposedly fatal injuries. He doesn't seem to hold a grudge, though he does note that Clegane will "change" somewhat as a result of the treatment.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Averted — when the High Septon falters when addressing him because he doesn't know his name, Qyburn replies blithely, "It doesn't matter."
  • Mad Doctor: He was stripped of his Maester's chain for performing gruesome and fatal experiments on the living.
  • Made of Iron: Considering he survived getting his throat slashed...
  • Mad Scientist: Medical and magical research are his reason to be.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: The maester's laboratory in "The Children" is clearly meant to invoke this trope. Ironically, it's Pycelle's lab before Cersei kicks him out.
  • Mask of Sanity: He's affable enough to rationalize his experiments as for the greater good (with some proof), but there is something in his eyes when he sees gore that shows he isn't sound of mind.
  • Master Poisoner: Maesters are well versed in poison and Qyburn can identify and make Tyene's poison.
  • The Medic: Despite being more than a little nuts, he's also an extremely competent doctor. From the Books...  Even Jaime, who is disgusted by his experiments and shady past, regards him as being superior to Pycelle, though Qyburn rightly considers that "faint praise".
  • Mysterious Past: How exactly did he end up in Harrenhal?
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • The way his eyes light up when cutting into Jaime's infected stump is more than a little terrifying. He gets a similar look in his eyes while examining Gregor Clegane's injuries.
    • When Jon and Daenerys present Cersei's court with a captured Wight, everyone else is horrified but Qyburn instead picks up its still moving severed hand, more fascinated than anything.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: His only response to a prostitute trying to proposition him is to remark to Bronn she'll be dead from a venereal disease before the year is out.
  • Omni Disciplinary Scientist: Downplayed. Whilst medicine is his first and foremost skill, Season 7 reveals he has at least some dabblings in other fields when he reveals his new anti-dragon weapon to Cersei: a ballista. Admittedly, it's literally nothing more than an oversized crossbow, but using it to strike flying opponents is rare in Westeros. It also proves to be Simple, yet Awesome; it has the power and accuracy to do the job, but because it's a simple device, Cersei can start having it built by the hundreds. Qyburn does say he asked the best weaponsmith around to help him with it. That, and his scientific research into magical necromancy.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When he assists the one-handed Jaime with his saddle.
    • He gets another in "Mother's Mercy" where he's the one to rush over with a blanket to comfort Cersei after she's been humiliated and forced to walk naked through the city from the Sept to the Red Keep, then tends to her bleeding feet. Notable in that he seems to be the only person present actually concerned about her at all, when even her own uncle doesn't make a move to help her.
    • With a mix of Kick The Son Of A Bitch, he treats a child victim of abuse and implies he took care of the abusive father.
  • Playing with Syringes: Oh yes. He's even using a huge metal syringe (a blood pump for filtering the Mountain's poison) in "The Children".
  • Red Right Hand: He has a disturbing neck scar from the slashed throat that the Mountain gave him.
  • Renaissance Man: After Cersei's Wildfire coup, he's effectively become the entire Small Council, serving as her Hand, Grand Maester, and Master of Whispers simultaneously after the previous three holders of those posts either died or defected.
  • Retired Monster: Not by choice, however. He performed horrific experiments on others and was stripped of his Maester's chain and rank for it. He's employed again by the Lannisters in Season 4.
  • Sherlock Scan: He's able to quickly work out the poison used by Oberyn Martell on Gregor Clegane is the venom of the Death's Head Manticore just from examining the wound while Pycelle fumbles around for a diagnosis and concludes from a single look at a prostitute trying to proposition him that she'll be dead from a pox before the year is out.
  • Slashed Throat: Robb finds him in Harrenhal, having survived one courtesy of The Mountain.
  • Softspoken Sadist: His voice is disconcertingly even and mellow, even as he goes about his many horrible-looking procedures.
  • Sole Survivor: Of the Harrenhal prisoner massacre.
  • The Stoic: Qyburn isn't one for showing any kind of strong emotion, least of all in an emergency. This is perhaps exemplified in "The High Sparrow," when his current "patient" begins loudly thrashing around in the background: far from being startled, Qyburn barely even looks up from his desk to react, pausing just long enough to soothe the patient, before going back to writing.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Ends up on the receiving end of possibly the most sudden death of a major character in the entire series, when Gregor decides to stop taking orders and abruptly bashes Qyburn's head into a wall.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Lulls his agonized test subject back to sleep with an eerily serene whisper of "Easy, friend."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Qyburn really should have used a bit more caution when Gregor indicated he would prioritise his hatred for Sandor over defending Cersei. Unfortunately, he presses the matter and unceremoniously gets his skull cracked open by the Mountain.
  • Undying Loyalty: Ultimately turns out to be this to Cersei. Even when it's painfully obvious she is doomed, he still looks out for her and tries to save her.
  • Unknown Rival: Pycelle deeply hates Qyburn and lets everyone know it. Qyburn either doesn't notice, doesn't care, or just chooses not to let his feelings on the matter show. Even as Pycelle rants about how Qyburn was stripped of his chain for "unnatural curiosity," Qyburn is more concerned with putting together his newest treatment rather than paying any attention to the snide tirade. He even apologized to Pycelle before having him killed.
  • Villainous Friendship: He has developed one with Cersei. He even stays true to her when she hits rock bottom in Season 5. Somewhat justified since as his benefactor she allows him to conduct his beloved research without any moral or monetary boundaries.
  • Villain Has a Point: Amoral Mad Scientist he may be, but Qyburn's assessment of the Maesters as incurious, complacent yes-men that perpetuate Westeros' Medieval Stasis is quite accurate. In Season Seven, Samwell learns that the Maesters know about the White Walkers, but decide to keep their heads down and assume it will pass over like all the other world-ending disasters the realm has faced, without actually doing anything with their knowledge and influence to stop it or warn anyone. Not to mention that, apparently, Qyburn is the first person who came up with the idea to use cheap, effective Ballistas against dragons in the centuries that Westeros has lived under Targaryen rule. Also, Qyburn, who was training to be a Maester until he was expelled from the Citadel for his "perversions", also brings up a very good point that his experiments on people has made him the most competent Doctor in the Seven Kingdoms, as the Maesters in the Citadel are pedantically obsessed doing everything as they've always done things, thus leaving no room for improvement on outdated, inefficient medical treatments. Sure, Qyburn's methods are extremely unethical (including reanimating Gregor Clegane into a horrifying Giant Mook who unthinkingly obeys an increasingly-crazy Cersei), but you can't deny the man gets results.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: His receding hairline sports one of these, which only becomes more obvious during Seasons 4 and 5. It, combined with his slicked-back hairstyle in the fifth season, occasionally makes him look unsettlingly like Hannibal Lecter.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: When operating on the critically wounded Gregor Clegane, Cersei asks him whether he will be able to save him; to which Qyburn answers that he will, and that his method of treatment will also make Gregor even stronger than he was before. At the end of Season 5, he's made good on his promise. Ser Robert Strong, the former Gregor Clegane, is functional and follows orders perfectly.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He experiments on the human body because he likes to see what happens, good or ill, but every freakish, ungodly experiment he runs is for the purpose of advancing medical knowledge, an objectively good goal. The disturbing part of it all is, he's such a ridiculously competent doctor that one can't help but think it's paid off. His experiment with Gregor Clegane, promising to fix him? It totally worked. Qyburn is the genuine article, not a charlatan by any means.
  • Yes-Man: Qyburn is the only Small Council member actually loyal to Cersei, mostly because she allows him to carry out his experiments without interference. Because of this, Qyburn is the last of the Council standing after Cersei's purge is completed in Season 6. The other members (particularly Kevan) kept calling him a sycophant, which he took in strides.
  • Younger and Hipper: In-universe; when compared to Pycelle, at least from Cersei and Jaime's perspectives.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: Inverted; he tells Jaime upfront that operating on his infected stump without anaesthetic will be very, very painful.

    Non-Incumbentnote  Small Council Members 

Lord Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King (Pre-Series)

See Game of Thrones - House Arryn.

Stannis Baratheon, Master of Ships (Pre-Series)

See Game of Thrones - Stannis Baratheon.

Grand Maester Pycelle (Seasons 1-6)

See Game of Thrones - The Order of the Maesters.

Renly Baratheon, Master of Laws (Season 1)

See Game of Thrones - House Baratheon.

Lord Eddard Stark, the Hand of the King and Protector of the Realm (Season 1)

See Game of Thrones - House Stark.

Lord Tyrion Lannister, acting Hand of the King (Season 2), Master of Coin (Seasons 3-4)

See Game of Thrones - Tyrion Lannister.

Lord Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King and Protector of the Realm (Pre-Series, Seasons 2-4)

See Game of Thrones - Tywin Lannister.

Varys, Master of Whisperers (Seasons 1-4)

See Game of Thrones - Daenerys's Court.

Lord Petyr Baelish a.k.a. "Littlefinger", Master of Coin (Seasons 1-3)

See Game of Thrones - Petyr Baelish.

Prince Oberyn Martell, Sitting member for Dorne (Season 4)

See Game of Thrones - House Martell.

Lord Mace Tyrell, Master of Ships (Seasons 4-6), Master of Coin (Seasons 5-6)

See Game of Thrones - House Tyrell.

Ser Kevan Lannister, the Hand of the King and Protector of the Realm (Seasons 5-6)

See Game of Thrones - House Lannister.

Other Members of the King's Court

    Ser Ilyn Payne 

Ser Ilyn Payne

Played By: Wilko Johnson

Sansa Stark: Why won't he speak to me?
Sandor Clegane: He hasn't been very talkative these last twenty years. Since the Mad King had his tongue ripped out with hot pincers.
Joffrey Baratheon: He speaks damn well with his sword, though.

The mute royal executioner or "The King's Justice".

  • Ambiguously Evil: How willing he is in all of this is unknown. He's never seen smiling or taking joy in anything, but merely does his job without passion or interest.
  • Bald of Evil: His evil might seem to be more placid than anything outright sadistic, but he's still a ruthless man with a shiny head.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Especially prominent when he wears the executioner's hood which only leaves the area around the eyes exposed.
  • The Brute: For Joffrey and Cersei, although he's gradually phased out and the more brutal acts he would usually be ordered to commit are committed by Ser Meryn Trant.
  • The Dreaded: Understandably so, on account of his profession, his appearance and his backstory. Even hardened killers like The Hound are unnerved by him.
    Sandor Clegane: (speaking to Sansa) Do I frighten you so much, girl? Or is it him there, making you shake <nods at Payne>? He frightens me too, look at that face!
  • Evil Old Folks: He's been around since the days of Aerys II, and his disposition hasn't improved.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: He kills or maims people whenever ordered to because that's his job.
  • Mercy Kill: Cersei arranges him to fulfil this role if the Battle at Blackwater went badly. He was to kill all the women hiding, to save them the rape they would endure at the hands of Stannis' men.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He's an executioner named Ilyn Payne. Ill and pain.
  • Off with His Head!: His method of execution.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Ilyn is rarely seen without a belligerent scowl.
  • The Speechless: His tongue was cut out under orders of the Mad King. He had mouthed off to a few folks that Lord Tywin was the real man in charge of Westeros.
  • Torture Technician: It's assumed he's done this to others at times, but it's seen first-hand when Joffrey orders him to remove Marillion's tongue.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Not seen at all in Season 3 onward on account of Wilko Johnson having terminal cancer. He recovered partway through the filming of Season 5, but ultimately was never seen again before the show ended. Given he appeared to be the royal executioner well into Tommen's reign in the show (as Tyrion comments in dialogue), it's probable he died during the explosion of the Great Sept of Baelor during the Faith's trial, or during Daenerys's sack of King's Landing and the destruction of the Red Keep, but that's mostly guesswork.

    Ser Dontos Hollard 

Ser Dontos Hollard

Played By: Tony Way

"I had two cups of wine."

An alcoholic knight reduced to being a court fool.

  • Adaptational Heroism: His story and the essence of his character remain largely the same, but the show incarnation eliminates his Dirty Old Man aspects. He's still Only in It for the Money, but he comes off more as luckless and stupid, rather than actively treacherous. Whereas in the books, Littlefinger suggests that Dontos would have sold out Sansa whenever there was a better offer; here he's killed because he has Loose Lips while drunk. He also appears genuinely concerned about Sansa's safety and well-being.
  • Adapted Out: In Season 3.
  • The Alcoholic: It almost gets him killed in Season 2. In Season 4, it definitely gets him killed, Littlefinger citing his alcoholism as the main reason why he can't be trusted to keep a secret.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In Season 4, we are shown him (relatively) sober, and he's far less of a bumbling fool.
  • The Bus Came Back: In Season 4.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live: Dontos says this to Sansa, suspiciously right after Joffrey's been poisoned, asking her to escape in the panic, as everyone's going to quickly start pointing fingers at the Stark daughter when the dust settles.
    Dontos: Come with me now. If you want to live, we have to leave.
  • The Conspiracy: Is part of one with Olenna Tyrell, Petyr Baelish, and (unwittingly) Sansa, and which orchestrated Joffrey's death. His level of complicity is unclear, as Sansa points out that Littlefinger wouldn't have entrusted him with anything significant, due to his general idiocy.
  • Demoted to Extra: His book counterpart is much more prominent in the second and third books.
  • Fat Idiot: Showing up drunk to Joffrey's birthday is practically suicidal. Even if he didn't know that Joffrey was a psychopath, he knew he was going to be fighting in a tourney.
  • Genre Blind: Dontos fails to realize Obviously Evil Littlefinger is a treacherous snake, and pays dearly for it.
  • Hidden Depths: After being pretty much comic relief in previous appearances, in Season 4 we see more of his personality and his past.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Dontos the Red"; as he has red hair and it doubles as a lame punning name, when you consider his taste for wine.
  • I Owe You My Life: He gives Sansa a family necklace out of gratitude for saving his life. He also warns Sansa that it's time to run from King's Landing after Joffrey kicks the bucket. (However, it turns out he was paid by Littlefinger to give Sansa the necklace, and it was not a precious piece with history, but merely an instrument to deliver poison to the royal wedding.)
  • Last of His Kind: The last surviving member of House Hollard From the books... . With his death, House Hollard is now entirely extinct.
  • Loose Lips: According to Littlefinger, he has this flaw and talks about things he shouldn't really talk about when he's drunk (which is often).
  • Only in It for the Money: As Littlefinger tries to prove to Sansa. Though not totally successfully.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Sansa convinces Joffrey that death would be too good for him and Joffrey makes him his new court fool.
  • Sad Clown: He's a fool, but he's a very internally broken individual at his core.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He's a mere fool with very little screentime, but he has been involved in some remarkable things. Namely, it's been hinted he had some involvement in Joffrey's demise, or at least knew it was coming, and he has smuggled Sansa out of King's Landing.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Sansa saving his life didn't really appear to mean much to him, in the end. He was only helping her because he was paid to do it. On the other hand, he did still come across as more sympathetic than in the books.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Sansa's evacuation from the capital following the events of the royal wedding is the work of Littlefinger. Dontos is promptly killed after he delivers her to Petyr Baelish.
    Baelish: Money buys a man's silence for a time. A bolt in the heart buys it forever.

    Lord Janos Slynt 
Commander of the City Watch. Replaced by Bronn in season 2 and sent off to Castle Black.

See The Night's Watch