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Fanfic / And the Giant Awoke

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And the Giant Awoke is a Game of Thrones fanfic (firmly set in the world of the show rather than the books, though the author has read them) by RemoWilliams. It begins with a For Want of a Nail situation near the end of Season 4: rather than Oberyn volunteering to be Tyrion's champion in his trial by combat, the dwarf elects to enter the fight himself. And much to everyone's surprise, a simple bit of trickery actually allows him to win the combat and his freedom. He promptly leaves his family behind and sets sail for Essos, where he fares very well in the local markets with his business smarts. And this is just the first domino to fall, ultimately resulting in a quite different Westeros and Essos than you remember.


Tropes include:

  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Jaime and Oberyn start to laugh helplessly after Jaime finds out Tyrion had his shield made of a particularly sticky toffee.
      Jaime Lannister: The Mountain. Dead because of twenty pounds of candy.
    • Brienne starts laughing when Tyrion tells the Vale nobles that they would not declare war over something so trivial as Littlefinger dying.
    • This time Tywin gets to find out that he had Arya under his nose the whole time at Harrenhall, and can't help but laugh.
    • He also nearly laughs when he hears Bronn refer to the late Littlefinger as "Lord Twatbeard".
    • Jaime, when he realizes that he has truly earned his title of Kingslayer by killing the Night's King, begins to laugh helplessly.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: After the First Battle of Kasta, General Presteri is brought to Tyrion... and assumes Tyrion's Ironborn bodyguard Ranulf is "The Giant", dismissing "the dwarf sitting in the corner". Oops.
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  • Afterlife Welcome: Littlefinger is greeted after death by his victims and told that they will torture him until it triggers a Heel Realization.
  • The Alcoholic: While Tyrion is a functional addict, Cersei's using "wine and petty cruelty" often has even Tywin realizing she'd been "absorbing wine like a sponge" and thought her time doing penance would "dry her out" ("cold turkey" style by having no alcohol to drink).
  • All for Nothing:
    • The Wall's magic prevents the White Walkers from crossing it, meaning the fight to keep them out was pointless.
    • The army Cersei spent so much of her money trying to recruit so as to return to the Seven Kingdoms and take over gets crushed in its first battle, and she herself ends drowning in a small river.
  • All Myths Are True: As Tyrion lampshades, this appears to be the case with all of Westeros' legends.
  • Amazon Chaser:
    • The Hill Tribes' men. After Brienne knocks out a Painted Dogs' man with a headbutt when he tries to get too familiar with her, the marriage offers multiply. Funnily enough, this was written before Tormund's crush on her in Season 6 of the show.
    • Tormund falls in love with Brienne when he sees her fighting against the White Walkers - and destroying an Ice Spider.
  • Another Story for Another Time: In what's practically a Running Gag, the story keeps mentioning things that will happen in both the near and distant future as a result of the actions of Tyrion and others, usually on a global scale... and then says "But that's another story".
  • Batman Gambit: Bran has Tyrion take the Horn of Winter to the Wall, knowing that Ailwen Frey will steal and use it in a moronic revenge scheme, beginning the destruction of the Wall, thus goading the Night King into another invasion, rather than waiting until Westeros bleeds itself dry in another pointless war.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Khal Jhaqo being jokingly called the "Clumsy Khal" sends him into a rage, reminding him about his defeat by Oberyn Martell over Daenerys.
    • Learning the truth about his first wife, Tysha prompts Tyrion to smash a half-full bottle on Jaime's head and then try to kill him, while crying over his brother's betrayal.
  • Bungling Inventor: Not all of Tyrion's ideas pan out correctly. Some of the treatments he dreams up to combat the Pale Mare wind up killing more people, and his research to duplicate Valyrian steel failed completely. Ironically, the latter would become vastly more important when it pioneers the Lannister method of steel production. But that's another story.
  • The Butcher: Cleon, former slave and now conquering Essosi warlord has this for an epithet. Ironically, it's not for any particular Blood Knight tendencies - he really was a butcher prior to his current role, and when his army is defeated he escapes, goes to another city, opens a butcher's shop with the gold and gems he had on him, and eventually died years later fat, successful, happy and surrounded by family.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Hallyne struggles to find an adequate name for the stuff he isolated from seaweed (iodine), as he can't keep calling it "the purple substance" – he feels it's too close to "the substance", the pyromancers' name for wildfire. Ranulf suggests "the Drowned God's Wine", which is found suitable and it's eventually shortened to godswine.
  • Canon Foreigner: Ser Dellyne Martell, an exile of the family who becomes Tyrion's bodyguard. Also, Euron Greyjoy appears despite his not yet having been announced as being included in the show at the time.
  • Catchphrase: Tyrion quickly picks up "I have a few ideas."
  • Chainmail Bikini: Parodied when Tyrion starts making his own storybooks and bases one of the main characters on Brienne. The earlier drafts of the illustrations have that character only wearing three triangles of chainmail over the key bits. It's implied Tyrion did this just to troll her. Bronn then gets in on it by seriously listing benefits to the idea, even saying that he would do it too if he could.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • A pair go off during the White Walkers' assault on Winterfell. A leftover dragonglass caltrop from Stannis' battle against the Boltons kills one White Walker, and then Brienne uses Oathkeeper on the other. Bonus points for the latter still not having gone off on the show at this point.
    • As the price for becoming the blood sacrifice Melisandre needs to clear the weather, Maester Aemon makes one request of Stannis. The gun fires in Chapter 22, with Sam being freed from his vows to the Night's Watch and told to save as many books as possible so they can be printed.
  • The Chessmaster: Oberyn Martell handles Mereen quite handily. He initially quells the Sons of the Harpy by faking an outside threat (that turns out to be a real one), and then calms the Masters by telling the they can just re-establish slavery when Daenerys leaves and thus it is in their best interest to make thing look stable and help her go. He then tells Daenerys they can send anyone she exiles from Westeros after her victory to Mereen and have her old rivals fight it out for control of the city, and if the Westerosi exiles win then slavery will likely end up abolished again given how they view it as taboo.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Ally, a Motor Mouth girl who forcibly befriends Arya, who finds herself growing surprisingly fond of her, and who falls in love with Pod.
  • Cornered Rattlesnake: Cersei is alone in Braavos, her last plans failing and with no allies. To finally destroy any link tying her to any Lannister, she sends a final missive to Tyrion, detailing the truth of his first marriage, and in her position as Lady Paramount of the Stormlands, sells her jewelry to the Iron Bank and begins gathering an army.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Littlefinger. His death is made all the crueler because of how long medical treatment allowed him to survive. Olenna notes just how wonderful a medicine Tyrion's godswine is when she reveals the poison should have killed him in three days, and instead extended his death across eight days.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Bronn versus Ser Balman Byrch over Lollys Stokeworth's hand. Ser Balman spends all his money in chainmail, covering himself from neck to knees. Bronn just spits the guy in the eye and kills him with a stab to the throat.
    • The Siege of Kasta lasts less than an hour. The First Battle of Kasta, less than two. The Second Battle of Kasta, six.
    • The Battle of Winterfell. 3/4 of the attacking wights, one White Walker and wight!Ramsay Snow die in the first few minutes, the second White Walker dies after killing only two horses and the remaining wights die causing few casualties, to the point the Walkers retreat despite knowing they could achieve their goal of exterminating all life with a single survivor for a hundred enemies, because they are not leaving even with that.
    • Cersei's Golden Company vs. Dany's dragons and Dothraki. The dragons evade the Scorpions by dumping a massive load of weighted spearheads onto the army, and the Dothraki charge into the ensuing disarray and easily destroy all the Scorpions, allowing the dragons to come down and make quick work of the rest.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Hallyne the Pyromancer is persuaded by Tyrion to research how to isolate the "purple substance" in seaweed (iodine) used for medicinal purposes. With the bottles and packages of the product having the crest of the Alchemist's Guild on it, as well as Hallyne's name. Later he invents a forerunner to the smoke/gas grenade (used against the Freys), as well as fireworks (used by Oberyn Martell to save Daenerys). Hallyne is also tasked with inventing lesser alternatives to wildfire to allow Tyrion to keep a monopoly on the substance itself (and because there's massive untapped potential in there, such as fireworks, smoke grenades, explosives, etcetera).
  • Cycle of Revenge: Defied by Arya. She refuses to kill Tywin because he is necessary to stabilize the realm, which is needed with the White Walkers attacking, and notes her house was not blameless in the war.
  • Dead Man Writing: Before going off to face his death, Tywin prepares letters for Tyrion and Arya which are delivered afterwards.
  • Death by Adaptation: The very catalyst of the story, since Gregor is outright killed and thus never Came Back Wrong by Qyburn's hand.
    • An odd double reversal, as Balon Greyjoy is given his death from the books, despite that it had not happened yet on the show (though it has since).
    • Reek tries to say his real name (Theon Greyjoy) before dying, but Ramsay Bolton kills him to stop him from doing so.
    • Pycelle dies poisoned by Tywin and Qyburn.
    • Littlefinger is poisoned by Olenna.
    • Jaime and Melisandre both die during the final showdown with the White Walkers.
    • Mace Tyrell is killed by one of Daenerys' dragons, and Cersei drowns while escaping the same battle.
  • Death from Above: Daenerys uses her dragons quite well, particularly in her first battle in Westeros, where she loads her dragons with sharp lances weighted so they will land point first and has them drop them from a mile or so, causing great devastation among Cersei's and the Tyrell's troops.
  • Decapitated Army: Downplayed. When Jaime kills the Night King, the undead army doesn't outright collapse instantly, but their coordination begins failing, even starting rounds of infighting among the wights. In the end, the undead are reduced to mindless, shambling beasts rather than the fearsome army they once were.
  • Defiant to the End: Mace Tyrell faces Drogon by throwing his sword at him. It does precisely zilch, but this leads to him being spoken of with honor.
  • Deliverance from Damnation: Wicked souls go to Ironic Hell (Littlefinger is tortured by his victims, Cersei becomes a warrior who fights and gets killed over and over again, Robert, who used and abandoned his lovers, becomes a constantly pregnant woman). However, these punishments are meant to make the people see the error of their ways. If they do, they get a chance to go to a better place.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Everything Cersei does. Since Tywin's still alive, he easily shuts down every scheme she can come up with, and she only dares defy him when he's very, very far away. And even then, somebody else inevitably takes advantage of her instead.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Jaime killing the Night King by ripping out his heart.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Olenna's mental commentary on Tyron is that if she were forty years younger she would ride him to the ground until he begged for mercy.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Cersei's horse throws her off in a river after she whips it a few too many times.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Bronn arranges the killing of the High Sparrow after he's given Tywin the support of the Faith Militant.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
  • Dying Declaration of Hate: Tywin’s farewell letter to Tyrion starts with a long and detailed one.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • While the circumstances are rather horrifying, the Ironborn old man smirking and flipping the wights off before setting off his explosive belt, taking more than fifty wights at a time is made of this.
    • Melisandre kills herself to complete a ritual which calls down a massive fireball from atop the Wall on the White Walkers' army. And while they extinguish the flames, the resulting avalanche crushes their forces.
    • Jaime rips out the Night King's heart, but is severely wounded in the process and dies days later.
    • In a more low key one, Mace Tyrell's response to an imminent death by dragonfire is to throw his sword into Drogon's face, causing him to be remembered with honor by the Dornish and Dothraki despite the side he fought on.
    • Tywin goes out in an all-out duel with Oberyn Martell, but only after tearing down Oberyn's motives for vengeance in front of everybody present and insulting Daenerys and her family right to her face with one of her dragons looming menacingly overhead. He comes to his feet after the killing blow, pulls the weapon out of himself, smiles at Oberyn and keels over, dead before he hits the ground. His death means Tyrion can inherit (putting the fate of House Lannister and the Westerlands in the hands of someone competent), denies Tyrion his revenge, and impresses the hell out of the Dothraki.
  • Edible Bludgeon: Tyrion's shield in Chapter 1. He doesn't use it as one, though.
  • Enemy Mine: Daenerys and the Sons of the Harpy eventually team up to defend Mereen from Khal Jhaqo.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Tyrion has quite a few, inventing the likes of the printing press and a forerunner to antibiotics.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Tywin admits if Arya died, even at his hands, he would mourn her. (And she admits to herself that a small part of her would mourn him when the time came for Tywin to die at her hands.)
    • In a world of dragons and undead armies, one of the things that most disturb Tyrion is the revelation that there are worse families than his.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As Robert details in the afterlife, he may have been a Blood Knight but he wasn’t an idiot. He knew how terrible wars were, and states that even though he wanted one to fight when he was King, he refused to cause one for no reason.
  • Evil Is Petty: Cersei lashes out at the tiniest faults with the typical Lannister cruelty, never pausing to consider the consequences of her actions.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Aemon allows Stannis to burn him in Shireen's place for his king's blood, having taken a ton of milk of the poppy beforehand so he goes without a sound.
    • Ser Alliser Thorne spits in the face of a White Walker, telling it that he will keep fighting if it makes the mistake of bringing him back. It decides to avoid this problem by take his head.
    • Mace Tyrell's Dying Moment of Awesome.
    • Tywin makes sure to die "a magnificent death", staying calm in front of Daenerys and her dragons, fighting a much younger Oberyn, and smiling triumphantly before dying. Several characters comment how he manages to win despite getting killed.
  • Fatal Flaw: Cersei's hubris when meeting with the Faceless Man is what costs her the chance to hire them. See "The Reason You Suck" Speech below.
  • Food Porn: Remo seems to love it almost as much as George RR himself, with several loving descriptions of the experimental works of Tyrion's cook.
  • For Want of a Nail: Tyrion killing Gregor Clegane ends up completely reshaping the world as we know it from the show.
    • His exile to Essos does not lead to him teaming up with Daenerys (a common fandom plot and canon to the show as well) but instead simply running a good business, putting his inventiveness to use to become independently wealthy, and meeting Arya. He returns to Westeros having never met the Targaryen queen.
    • Oberyn Martell survives and goes to Daenerys as an advisor. He handles the Sons of the Harpy more adeptly than her or show!Tyrion. It helps keeps Oberyn's mistress, Ellaria Sand from her Roaring Rampage of Revenge in Seasons 5 and 6 (the deaths of Myrcella Baratheon by poisoning, Doran and Trystane by treachery and her takeover of Dorne), thus keeping her more in line with her characterisation in the novels (or at least Season 4).
    • Since Tywin is still alive, much of the mess Cersei makes is averted.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Exploited by Ally, who, while teaching Pod the better details of riding, brings Arya along to make sure nothing of what would happen if they were alone happens - to get him to think about what would happen if they were alone.
  • Friendly Enemy: After Tywin discovers Arya was his cupbearer in Harrenhall, they have a calm, rational discussion about the situation that leads into half an hour of small talk, with both of them leaving thinking that they'll truly mourn the other once their little dance ends.
    • In a later encounter, they have another talk, where Arya tells him she has realized killing him at this time will only make things worse, and he gifts her a new sword to fit her after her growth.
    • Tywin and Olenna would normally be looking to gain advantages over each other for their families, but know when to work towards a common cause for the sake of their alliance.
  • Genghis Gambit: The threat of the White Walkers and winter aid in putting all the major conflicts within the Seven Kingdoms in the backburner.
    • Similarly, first Cleon the Butcher and then Khal Jhaqo provide an enemy that keeps the Sons of the Harpy from continuing their plans to oust or kill Daenerys.
  • Gilded Cage: Unlike canon, this is the situation Cersei finds herself in once Tywin negotiates her sentence with the High Sparrow — her "cell" is several spacious rooms, her rations are the best possible food, and she barely has to do any of the charity clothes-making that was part of her sentence. Being Cersei, she's still offended by all of this.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Tyrion's disregard and Tywin's utter hate for religion were already well-known in canon, but here, the threat of the Others is such they're willing to allow the spread of the word of the Drowned God and the Lord of Light if those faiths add to the ranks of the army to fight the darkness back. Furthermore, they're also willing to allow the resurgence of the Faith Militant for the same purpose.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Tywin and Olenna share this dynamic within their alliance: Tywin has no ability for “soft diplomacy” and knows it, so Olenna handles that aspect while Tywin uses brute force.
  • Graceful Loser: Lord Donno Presteri, about the only person who takes his loss to Tyrion well, only wanting to know how he did the trick with the catapults.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Jaime feels relief at the idea of fighting the White Walkers and wights, as they involve no guilt, no messy family tangles and no self-doubt.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Maester Aemon, who lets Melisandre burn him alive to preserve Shireen's life and to give Melisandre what she needs for her spell to change the weather.
    • The old and incurably sick, whom Tyrion pays to become suicide bombers in the Battle at the Wall.
    • Melisandre sacrifices herself to complete a ritual that calls down a massive avalanche and fireball on the White Walker army.
    • Jaime's knight companions, who fight along him so he has a chance to reach the Night's King and kill him forever.
    • Tywin lets himself get killed in a duel so that Tyrion doesn't have to be a Kinslayer.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Cersei drowns when the horse she's riding and mistreating throws her off in the middle of a river, where she drowns because of the heavy dress she had been wearing for the battle against Daenerys.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Ramsay's Invincible Villain nature from the show seems to be played straight at first, but takes some big hits. The Boltons lose Winterfell when Roose is killed by an insane Selyse, who then sends Ramsay running even as she's dying herself. He's imprisoned by the Umbers but escapes and makes it onto a ship for Essos. Then the ship goes down in a storm and he gets out in a rowboat, which proves to be leaky itself. He barely makes it to land, but then it turns out he's beyond the Wall and his fire attracts the attention of a White Walker. And finally, after being turned to a Wight he gets to march on Winterfell with the rest of them, only to be blown up at the very start of the battle.
    • Cersei's powerlust and incompetence keep causing her trouble. First she loses a lot of influence over Tommen when he weds Margaery. Then she gets humiliated by the High Sparrow after her plan to manipulate him fails miserably, forcing her into seclusion. Then the fleet she was building to be exclusively loyal to her gets stolen after her attempt to seize Littlefinger's fortune is foiled by Bronn, who sends the money to her father. When she escapes to Essos, she's completely dependent on Tyrion's reputation and fortune to make her way through, which irritates her to no end. Then the Faceless Men decline her contract with some choice words for her. And she still keeps at her stupid plans, refusing to return to the Seven Kingdoms. Finally, her hard-won army suffers a Curb-Stomp Battle from Dany's Dothraki, and she runs away she pathetically meets her end with her armor pulling her down in a shallow river. Tywin's just exasperated at Cersei's pettiness and drunkenness.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Tywin is driven to this after realizing the White Walkers and their threat are real with the narrator noting how it makes him resemble his son Tyrion.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Cersei still ends up going through her Season 5 storyline, though with the assistance of book-only character Aurane Waters and the complication of Tywin still being alive and firmly opposed to an alliance with the High Sparrow. Tywin's trip to Winterfell to learn about the White Walkers gives her the opportunity to act on her own.
  • Ironic Hell: Cersei had always wanted to be a man. After dying, she finds herself in the role of a man - in the middle of a battle. When she dies, she's thrown into another battle. And another. And, for extra Irony she is confronted with Robert (who now is a pregnant woman) and she tries to force him, but Robert easily fights her off.
    • Accordingly, Robert is always living the life of a pregnant woman, starting at the fourth month and giving birth, because of how he would sleep with women, get them pregnant and then leave them.
  • It's Personal: Khal Jhago intends to make Daenerys his personal slave, intending on abusing her often and using her as a sexual plaything for his men. With the same fate for Oberyn's wife and daughters. And also slaughter and enslave the people of Meereen, burn the city to the ground, then "piss on the ashes" for good measure.
  • Keystone Army: Averted. The Night King's death doesn't instantly wipe out the other White Walkers and their Wights. But it does break their coordination and make it easier to fight them.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Buried mines filled with Wildfire and other flammable liquids go off to envelop many of the White Walker and Wight forces at the Battle of Winterfell Ramsay Bolton ends up blasted to pieces when one mine goes off under him.
      SOLDIER #1: Damn, the Little Lion uses Wildfire on everything.
      SOLDIER #2: Why not? So far it's worked on everything.
    • The Battle at the Wall provide several new instances of this: Gendry's fire spears, heavy wooden clubs lit up, fire arrows, suicide bombers...
    • Daenerys kills Khal Jhaqo by having Drogon incinerate him.
  • Know When to Fold Them: The Night King retreats from the Battle at the Wall when he realizes his army is getting pummelled.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The Faith Militant charges at the wights, breaking ranks, without armor, thinking the Seven will shield them. They do not.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator often tossing in little asides and comments, sometimes even noting some detail or other belongs more to another story than Tyrion's.
  • Lighter and Softer: The fic is decidedly more cathartic than the show, allowing the villains to get theirs with some regularity while the heroes thrive. But it is still Game of Thrones after all, so don't expect completely smooth sailing.
  • Little Miss Badass: Arya. She may not have received the Faceless Men training, but makes up for it with some utter ruthlessness against any that try to mess up with her or her friends, becomes Brienne of Tarth's squire - and gets to kill at least one White Walker!
  • Magnetic Hero: Tyrion. His charming personality, awesome exploits and his talent for making money makes it very easy for him to convince others to follow him.
  • Mama Bear: Cersei, languishing in her personal Hell, is informed by Robert that one of the very few luxuries they're allowed is to go and try to help the souls of loved ones move on themselves, and tells her he's been trying to help Joffrey. After a moment's hesitation, she pulls herself together and goes off to join him.
  • Master Poisoner: As per canon, Olenna Tyrell. She kills Littlefinger by exposing him to the second half of a binary poison via poisoned candles. The first half of the poison, by the way, entered his system via the expensive Highgarden soaps he washed himself with. This gets lampshaded: Tywin calls poison a woman’s weapon and, as an aside comment, the narration remarks that Olenna smirks when she hears that
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Ironborn that die in the Battle at the Wall are described as being the only ones that are not resurrected.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Ailwen Frey's revenge plan on the Lannisters is: 1) Follow Tyrion to the Wall 2) Steal the Horn of Winter from him 3) Figure out the rest later.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The narration indicates that Tyrion would always regret his idea of suicide bombers.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Aurane Waters, who was Adapted Out of the show, appears to assist Cersei in her scheme of controlling the Royal Navy. This will get a giggle from any book fan, as his story there ended with stealing the entire fleet from under Cersei's nose once it was finished - and he will probably be even gladder to do so, since Cersei pretty much turns him into her Sex Slave. And lo and behold, when Cersei gets imprisoned by the Sparrows, Aurane steals the fleet.
    • Alliser Thorne tells Olly they're fortunate to be able to make a Heroic Sacrifice against the White Walkers, as Jon would have been well within his rights to simply hang them. In the show, that's just what happened (this chapter is the first one written after the start of Season 6).
  • Not So Above It All: Brienne cannot contain her laughter after Tyrion outright states that killing Littlefinger would be a minor detail.
  • Oblivious to Love: Pod does not understand why Ally gifted him a tunic with his house sigil sewed in.
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: In Tywin's case, after enduring Cersei's dramatics, he mentally acknowledges Tyrion is a horrible, drunken, sarcastic and lecherous lout... but he would have analyzed the situation and actually come up with ideas to help save the Seven Kingdoms.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: The death of Littlefinger, where we actually see his experience arriving in the afterlife. It does make things even more satisfying, though.
    • It happens again when we see Cersei and Robert in their Ironic Hells, Cersei as a male warrior fighting a hopeless battle and Robert as a pregnant woman.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Tyrells prefer the slower approach to obtaining power because it's the most comfortable and because treating people like pawns turns them into enemies, including family.
  • Professional Killer: There's a sublime summation of Bronn's value as a working-class killer in Chapter 16; he's not just a damn good fighter who stays bought, he's cunning enough to see obvious-in-hindsight solutions, willful enough to tell his employer when an order is stupid, and disciplined enough not to butcher bystanders on a whim. Those who know him well consider him far more valuable than a blunt instrument like Gregor Clegane.
    Tywin Lannister: (thinking) One of the reasons that he had valued the Mountain was because Clegane had never pretended to any illusions of nobility. Tywin had spent decades dealing with Lords and Knights who would do the foulest of acts and then pretend that they were a saintly hero out of a legendary tale.
    Now, instead of having to deal with all of that horsedung, he had somebody who he could simply toss a bag of coins to and say, "Kill this man."
  • Prophecy Twist: Cersei drowns in a river called "Little Brother".
  • Rage Breaking Point: Tyrion passes this when he finds out that his first wife, Tysha, truly was a poor girl who loved him, and that Jaime had lied to him about it. This prompts him to attempt to kill Jaime.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After Tyrion's acquittal, Cersei consoles herself by informing Shae just how stupid she was to destroy the good thing she had going with him.
    • Littlefinger gets one from Ned Stark in the afterlife, laying bare his hypocrisy and refusal to acknowledge the evil of his actions long past the point that his pitiful childhood justified them.
    • Tywin throws one in the High Sparrow's face. When the High Sparrow tries his "when did you last work with your hands" thing, Tywin replies that he does something much harder, which is leading hundreds of people that are moving in a thousand different directions at the same time. And when the High Sparrow tries to claim he leads the Sparrows, Tywin throws back at him his claim of being just the Gods' messenger.
    • The Faceless Man who meets with Cersei calmly tells her she's not worthy to hire them even with her wealth, because "Your beauty, your name, your power, you would not give up the barest scrap for the slightest second." Especially since she would not humble herself when he asks, "Would you become a kitchen helper, spending a season scrubbing pots and gutting fish while wearing another girl's face and name?"
  • Red Baron: Tyrion gains the sobriquet of "the Giant of Casterly Rock" after killing Gregor Clegane.
    • Jaime begins the story as Kingslayer, then becomes Crowslayer after killing Euron Greyjoy. After killing the Night King, he’s once again called Kingslayer, only now it’s no longer an insult.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The Frey archers in the southern castle are left dumbfounded when Tyrion's men use a penis-shaped ram to bring down the doors, leaving them unable to react in time when the doors break down.
    • In that same battle, Frey loses track of Jaime and forces his soldiers to look for him. He’s never found... because no one thought to check his bedroom.
    • Cleon the Butcher is going to attack Meereen. Daenerys has the numbers to defeat them, but knows it would turn into a Pyrrhic Victory, and her dragons are not trained enough to be useful in warfare. So Jorah and others make dragon-like kites to trick Cleon's forces and distract them from the real attack coming from their backs.
    • Part of Dellyne's backstory. Against his father's wishes, he wanted to be a bard, not a warrior. Then, he slept with both of his father's mistresses. At the same time. And then he wrote a song about it.
    • Tyrion's Battle Cry to his forces right before the showdown with the White Walkers.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Averted.
    • Arya's character development has her growing out of this mindself, culminating in her explaining to Tywin why she won't try to kill him.
    • Oberyn gets it too, realizing his lust for revenge would have just led to his canon death and resolving to be satisfied with just getting back at Tywin.
  • Saintly Church: Melisandre's fascination with Tyrion's use of Wildfire and suggestion to her superiors in the Church of R'hollor that they make use of it as well inspires a lot of talk about reformation and adaptation among the Church's hierarchy, leading to an ideological split between traditionalists and reformers. The former stay the fundamentalist path, but the latter are more like this, seeking only to help people and fight injustice wherever they find it.
  • Sex God: The Iron Bank sends a courtesan to Tyrion, but he renounces to partake and Podrick Payne steps in. That night, the legend of Tri-Pod spreads to the other side of the Narrow Sea.
  • Shame If Something Happened: How Tywin gets Tyrion to find income for the Lannisters after their gold mines run dry, by exploiting Myrcella and saying that it wouldn't do for her or future Lannisters to be impoverished.
  • Shipper on Deck: Some support Pod/Ally. Ally appears to support Gendry/Arya, if her smile at their encounter in Winterfell says anything.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spanner in the Works: When Euron and Tywin make their plans for dealing with each other - raid into the other's lands to force the enemy to retreat and fight in their own terms - all of them are for nothing when a storm forces both fleets to change course and they meet in the middle of the sea.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Tywin survives long past his death in the show, still being his Magnificent Bastard self and one of the few people who can go toe to toe with a newly empowered Tyrion.
    • Oberyn Martell avoids facing his death at the hands of the Mountain by Tyrion deciding to face the Mountain himself (and winning). This lets him save Daenerys from raiders and prove himself to be The Chessmaster that keeps her in a better spot than in the TV series.
    • Likewise, Shireen Baratheon is spared from her canon sacrifice by Maester Aemon being the one to die (as he had Targaryen blood). Still, Stannis didn't like having to make that choice (though killing his daughter or refusing his ambition weren't choices he wanted to make either).
    • With Oberyn still alive, Myrcella Baratheon is as well, having been smitten by Trystane Martell. Since Oberyn's mistress here is not a canon widow, she doesn't go on her Roaring Rampage of Revenge that includes Myrcella's poisoning and death.
    • Because Smalljohn Umber doesn't succeed his father as head of their House, he doesn't hand Rickon and Osha over to the Boltons, which would have led to their deaths.
  • Spit Take: When Dellyne is explaining his backstory to Tyrion, he deliberately waits until Tyrion is taking a drink before mentioning the bit about sleeping with both of his father's mistresses, provoking this response.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Under Bran's advice, Tyrion intends to use the Horn of Winter to raise giants to fight the White Walkers.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The White Walkers are feared mostly because of their powers over cold, the fear they cause in the enemy and the fact that their weapons will destroy most any they meet in battle. Take away those advantages (systems to restart fires, wildfire, strategy, Valyrian steel)... and they prove to be rather poor fighters.
    • The death of the Night King doesn’t kill all of the White Walkers like the show, but the army is still weakened to the point of no return; with no one leading or controlling them, the army is reduced to animals who, among other things, attack each other and flee the battle.
    • A medieval society cannot predict the weather; Tywin and Euron are forced to abandon all semblance of strategy in their skirmishes against each other because the raiding parties that were attacking each other were forced to change course because of an unexpected storm and they met in the middle of the ocean.
  • Supreme Chef: Jelena, Tyrion's cook, has been able to create many dishes, besides those Tyrion and his court dine on:
    • "Bastards", made by slicing loaves of bread in half lengthwise, scooping out the soft part, then putting in eggs and various other ingredients. In other words, what we would call a sandwich. Kind of a Historical In-Joke, as they were originally named for the 4th Earl of Sandwich.
    • A short menu of tasty snacks that could be easily made and sold at the Giant's Theater for the patrons there.
    • A potage of white beans and leafy greens that helped the victims of the Pale Mare recover when Tyrion and Arya helped those at the Merchant's Camp.
    • When dining with Tywin for the first time since returning to Westeros, one of the side dishes Jelena comes up is sliced potato strips twice fried in beef fat and coupled with dipping sauces. In other words, basically french fries.
    • When Tyrion and his entourage return to Lannisport to prospect for gold, they are stymied by the discovery that where most cities in Westeros have rats everywhere, the shores of the Westerlands are infested with "Sea Mice"; a sawagani-like saltwater crab that neither birds, cats nor peasants are willing to eat due to their sandy, rancid taste. Jelena quickly cooks up a solution; flush out the sand by keeping them in fresh water for a few days, drown them in beer to remove the rancid taste, then fry them until their shells are crispy. Eat each in one bite. Tyrion discovers he enjoys them thoroughly, and invents a trap to catch them wholesale, turning yet another of his problems into profits as the Westerlanders eagerly deal with the threats to their food supplies by gobbling them up. Jaime likes them too.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • Oberyn devises one for the fate of Dorne: take control from his brother then ship him off to Braavos until the battle with Cersei is over. Regardless of who wins or if Oberyn lives or dies, the Iron Throne won’t hurt them and Dorne keeps its leader.
    • Tywin knows he won’t survive his duel with Oberyn. In fact, he throws the duel; Oberyn gets his revenge, Tyrion won’t become a Kinslayer, and Tywin can die knowing that the Westerlands are in capable hands. Olenna even remarks that even when Tywin lost, he still won everything.
  • Tranquil Fury: Tywin's hate of the Faith was already deep enough in canon, but actually meeting with the High Sparrow, who embodies everything he hates in religion actually makes him snap.
  • Treasure Hunt Episode: Chapters 16 and 19. Tywin sets Bronn to locating the millions in gold embezzled by Littlefinger, and he quickly deduces that;
    1. wouldn't be gold anymore, but gems, as they could be moved easier.
    2. wouldn't be hidden in King's Landing, but in his own lands, close to the sea, as the capitol has seen far too much chaos as of late for him to come and go freely.
    3. wouldn't be buried randomly on a beach, but hidden somewhere where it could be collected secretly.
    4. wouldn't be obvious even then; Bronn finds a bunch of locked chests in a hidden room, accessible only via a secret underground cove.
    5. wouldn't be more difficult than that; Bronn, being the paranoid sort, pops one open with a crowbar to find it empty. He doesn't abandon the chests, but instead realizes that going to all that trouble to hide empty chests was where Littlefinger got too clever - he tears open the chests themselves to find the gems hidden in hollows in the corners of the chests. Tywin is pleased enough to grant Bronn the best fishing rights in the Crownlands as a reward for his investigations.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Subverted. Arya's time among the smallfolk leaves her unwilling to murder Tywin even when she has a perfect chance as it would destabilize the realm again, making millions miserable and starting another war.
  • Warrior Poet: Dellyne really wanted to be a bard rather than a fighter. Not that it stops him from being as good as Oberyn.
  • We Will Meet Again: In his farewell letter to Arya, Tywin promises they’ll have their planned fight in the afterlife.
  • What Could Have Been: In-universe; Olenna Tyrell wonders what could have happened if she had married Tywin. By her own measure, one of them would have murdered the other within a year. But it would have been a year to remember! *wink*
  • Worthy Opponent: Tywin considers Arya one. Enough to gift her with a new sword, decorated with a direwolf in the pommel.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Pycelle is killed near the end of chapter 23, having touched a goblet with poison on its stem. Qyburn points out spiny pufferfish toxin was used in Pycelle's death.
    • Earlier, Tywin arranges for the assassination of the High Sparrow after he's secured the aid of the Faith Militant against the Others. Then, he takes a page from Cersei's book and forges a contract that levies Loras and Cersei far lighter punishments than the Sparrow initially wanted.


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