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Fanfic / The King Nobody Wanted

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There are many great matters to attend to, in this, my first court. It is my hope that in it, I will show the Seven Kingdoms what sort of king they have.
King Stannis

A Song of Ice and Fire AU fanfic. It diverges from the canon plot with Rhaegar managing to mortally wound Robert at the battle of the Trident while still perishing himself. Stannis is crowned in his place, a compromise that nobody is quite happy with — not the Lannisters, not the Starks, and certainly not Stannis himself or the Targaryen loyalists who manage to smuggle Aerys' other children to the safety of the Martell and Tyrell armies and crown an infant Viserys king. While Stannis avoids some of the mistakes that would plague Robert's reign in the original timeline, with Viserys still in the Westeros and many of his councilors embittered against Stannis, the civil war merely progresses into a second phase, grinding back and forth across the Westerlands and the Reach. The butterflies caused by these changes soon send ripples out across the world, changing the fates of people as far removed as the merchants of King's Landing and the warriors of the Dothraki Sea...

The story can be found on and on Archive of Our Own, where it is titled The King That Nobody Wanted.

Tropes In This Fanfic:

  • Abduction Is Love: Jon Arryn's niece Elyn, kidnapped by the Burned Men on the way to an unwanted Arranged Marriage (implicitly with Jayne and Barb's Creepy Uncle) and now apparently Happily Married and raising her son Timett in the ways of the clan.
  • Abusive Parents: Rys Chelsted's mother used to blame him for not believing hard enough when faith healers failed to cure him.
  • Acrofatic: Lord Manderly, along with his Stout Strength, is a very good dancer.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Garth Hightower, one of Viserys's new Kingsguard, openly smiles at Barristan Selmy's rejoinder to his great-uncle the Lord Commander's claim that their new Kingsguard recruits are superior to Stannis's (it probably helps that Barristan specifically casts aspersions on one of the Dornish additions rather than him).
    • Oberyn plus Garth and Olenna Tyrell are all amused at Tytos Clegane telling Lord Beesbury where to put his surrender terms.
    • After Aerys, during Tywin's wedding about twenty years ago, compared himself to great kings of Westeros like Aegon the Conqueror and Daeron the Young Dragon, Tytos added Aegon the Unworthy and Maegor the Cruel to the list. The king actually laughed after a brief Stunned Silence.
    • Lucyaen Tregalyen's sister Dalia and Martyn Mullendore spend a lot of time hanging around the unsavory Lord Velaryon, but they have enough independence and humor to laugh when Uthera wittily rejects Velaryon's Abhorrent Admirer flirting.
    • Varys remarks that Lyanna's mocking impression of him feeding Aerys's paranoia with vague warnings of doom is actually quite accurate.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Tytos Clegane, father of Gregor and Sandor, doesn't get real mention or development (or even a name) in the canon; one of the few things known about him is that he covered up Gregor's deliberate maiming of Sandor, and Gregor likely repaid him by murdering him. In this story, he's a veteran campaigner and a very skilled swordsman whose light is kept under a bushel by a spiteful Tywin.
    • The Viserys Targaryen of canon spent most of his life on the run, and was pathetic at handling what power he managed to get. With refuge and support, young King Viserys is even managing to outdo his father in some ways. There's a bit of Used to Be a Sweet Kid in there, too, in that he's still in the "sweet kid" stage — albeit also a scarily smart kid.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The Saan family is given fairly limited exposition in canon outside of being a line of pirates from Lys who have produced a number of successful pirate lords. In the story, they're given considerably more backstory, and are established as being descended from what was once a major house in the Valyrian Freehold although they are now long downfallen, as maintaining an ancestral holding and title in Lys, and as having had a long history of sailing to their dooms into the ruins of Valyria. They are also given a coat of arms, a green dragon with a human figure emerging from its mouth, based on the Biscione of the Visconti family.
    • In the books, the members of the Band of Nine are for the most part a historical footnote — Maelys is the only one to be given a specific history and motivation, and even there he's mainly intended to close off the Blackfyre line; Alequo Adarys is also given a cursory history, and the others are mostly just a list of names. The story significantly expands on all of them; Maelys is given a more complex backstory, and had a historic alliance with Myr and the Rhoynar remnants in Essos; Adarys is made an Expy of Jay Gatsby who got poisoned by his wife; Liomond Lashare was killed by Tytos Clegane; Xhobar Qhoqua and Derrick Fossoway were killed by Walter Whent; the Old Mother died of old age; Nine-Eyes was given a cask of poisoned wine by Garth Tyrell; Spotted Tom the Butcher is a Dornish bastard who was killed by a currently unknown opponent; Samarro Saan sailed into Old Valyria seven years prior to the Rebellion and hasn't been seen since but left behind a widow and two daughters, with his wife, the Widow-All-In-White, being a feared and successful pirate lord in her own right.
    • Canonically, Khal Bharbo is little more than a name and a mention of being Khal Drogo's father. In the story, he's given some additional backstory in Khal Drogo's chapters, where he's described as having once been a simple goatherd who rose to khalhood and as having fought in Maelys' forces in his youth.
  • Adaptational Explanation:
    • In canon it's never explained what happened to both Symond Staunton and Lucerys Velaryon; here it's mentioned Staunton was torn to pieces alongside his son trying to squash a riot shortly after the Battle of the Bells, while Velaryon was stabbed in the back during a fight at a brothel on Lys trying to recruit sellswords for Aerys' cause.
    • How did the four children of Walter and Shella Whent died in-between the Harrenhal tourney and the first book is unexplained; here the eldest and third son died during the Rebellion.
    • The reason behind Aegon "Bloodborn" Frey's nickname is due to his birth being long and bloody, and in order to differentiate him from his simple minded cousin Aegon "Jinglebell" Frey.
    • The cause of death of Lyarra Stark has never been explained (she wasn't even named until The World of Ice and Fire), here it's mentioned she died due to falling off a horse.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Word of God suggests Denys Darklyn wanted to negotiate in good faith and only took Aerys prisoner during the Defiance of Duskendale because he was already The Caligula (even in canon, he had already tortured and killed lots of innocent people over a probably nonexistent conspiracy to poison one of his sons) and panicked Denys by threatening bloody and disproportionate vengeance that he could only delay by taking the King prisoner. Word of God also says that several executed members of House Darklyn had nothing at all to do with the Defiance.
    • Maelys the Monstrous comes across as a generic evil brute in canon. Here, it's implied a lot of that is due to his story being Written by the Winners. Several enemy knights who personally faced him speak of him as a chivalrous and honorable Worthy Opponent, his former Rhoynish allies call him the epitome of kindness, he saved Myr from invaders and was a Humble Hero afterward when they built a statue of him, he made a woman his heir despite the misogynistic setting, he made Samarro Saan woo his cousin rather than casually negotiating her marriage for political capital, and his undercover cousin says that he would have been happy to see a former slave in a position of power.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: A Septon heavily implied to be the High Sparrow is ruder to traveling, well-meaning knights than in canon and leaves a bunch of bags of grain he used for a speech platform to be eaten by animals when his book counterpart cares about there being food for hungry smallfolk.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Jon Snow is named Rhaegar by his mother in this story, and lives under the alias of Rodrik Flint while in Braavos.
  • Affably Evil: Garth Tyrell, for a certain value of evil. While one can debate whether the Dragon cause are the villains in the civil war, Garth is both a genuinely pleasant man, who can be cold-bloodedly ruthless at times. Up to and including murder.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Gerion Lannister has a clear drinking problem, regularly indulging in self-destructive drinking bouts.
    • Glarus Glyn Glesai demonstrates a fondness for klimiss, the Dothraki's fermented mare's milk drink, that many Dothraki find somewhat startling.
    • Willam Dustin describes his uncle Merrick as very capable when he's not drunk, unfortunately he's always drunk.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Morella and Mad Mychel Mudd.
    • The Qartheeni merchant Glarus Glyn Glesai.
    • While Lady Gwyndolyn Chelsted's name is not alliterative now, it was when she was "Gwyndolyn Gaunt".
    • The Saans living and dead continue to follow this tradition — Salladhor mentions a Sampero Saan, Liberator of Lys, who chose the family arms, and his two cousins (daughters of Ninepenny King Samarro Saan) are Samarra Saan and Sarli Saan. Septon Balerion later mentions the canonical Sargoso and Saathos Saan, plus a Salyssa and a Samedos.
    • 'Squinting' Ryce Rollingford, her late brother, Lord Ransom Rollingford, and their distant ancestor Lord Ryam Rollingford.
    • Rohanne of Tyrosh is given a family name, making her Rohanne Ragallio. Her father, an Archon of Tyrosh, is named Remys Ragallio.
    • Qohorik aristocrat and swordsman Belthus Byet.
    • In an inversion of Lady Chelsted, Fiona Rogers' name wasn't alliterative originally, but became so on her marriage to Darwyn 'Silveraxe' Fell.
  • All Just a Dream: Inverted. Jon Arryn has a dream in which he wakes up as a young man beside his long-dead wife and reality is the dream of a Bad Future.
  • Alternate Self: Lampshaded in a scene where Janos Slynt watches a former friend of his, now a Gold Cloak, brazenly steal a merchant's wares in broad daylight, thinks about how joining the city guard often changes men for the worse, and thanks the gods for his fortune in not going down that path. In canon, Slynt also joined the Gold Cloaks and became a foul man, but in this story he's instead prompted to enter the trade guilds by a chance encounter with Magister Illyrio when the latter happens to shelter in his old shop.
    Janos shook his head. It changed men, the cloak, and generally not for the better. He recalled something his father had liked to say... "Cloaks of gold hide souls of lead". And that could have been me. Seven be praised for bringing the Magister to my door, for all his... oddities.
  • Always Someone Better: Ser Tytos Clegane has this relation with Ser Barristan Selmy. The pair fought many jousts against each other, all of which Ser Barristan won, albeit frequently in close battles. During the War of Ninepenny Kings, Ser Tytos killed Ninepenny King Liomond Lashare, a great feat that was somewhat overshadowed by Barristan killing Maelys Blackfyre.
  • Ambadassador: Jon Arryn, veteran commander of at least two major wars, is given the new Small Council position as Master of the Great Seal to deal with foreign dignitaries. His ambassadorial skills are limited, though, and he is grateful to leave the job behind after his promotion, with his seemingly more proficient replacement being a Septon who may not be a fighter, but has faced danger from a variety of sources over a well-traveled career.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: Jaime reflects that he killed Wisdoms Halsyn and Ossifer (along with four other pyromancers) to keep them from aiding the wildfire plot, but Halsyn’s son Hallyne tells Janos Slynt the two were investigating the missing wildfire out of concern it would be misused. Halsyn might have lied to his son, though, or Hallyne might be lying to Janos. Jaime does reflect that some of the alchemists may have only been humoring Aerys, and Janos thinks that Halsyn was best known for his dream of making a wildfire-lit lighthouse to act as an attraction for the city (which might not reconcile with burning the city down), but it is also implied that most if not all of the court pyromancers helped burn people alive (although it is implied Halsyn and Ossifer only arrived at the court soon before the Sack). Further confusing things, in canon, many years later, Jaime only thinks of how he killed Rossart, Garigus, and Belis to stop the plot and does not think of Halsyn, Ossifer, or the sadistic Wyshant.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: The aging representative of the House of the Morning and the Evening Star talks about his aspirations as a historian. Several paragraphs later, he heavily implies that he was one of the two people to attend Alequo Adarys' funeral, mentioning said guest was "an old fool, writing a history."
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • Some musicians see Tywin out of King's Landing after his second resignation from the Handship with a jaunty remix of "The Rains of Castamere".
    • Janos Slynt recalls his kind father reacted to the death of Aerys' cruel and corrupt Master of Laws Symond Staunton at the hand of an angry mob by cracking open a bottle of wine and praising the wisdom of the Seven.
    • Rys Chelsted admits to Davos Seaworth that he celebrated when he found out his namesake Aerys was dead.
  • Animal Motifs: Besides the canon resemblance of Janos Slynt to a frog and Walder Frey to a weasel, it's been noted that Clydas Shawney does look like an old catfish.
  • Apocalypse Cult: The Horse Killers who are springing up among the Dothraki respond to the collapse of Vaes Dothrak by killing horses in the belief that if the Dothraki do this, the Great Stallion will reward them for their faith with new horses and the conquest of all their enemies.
  • Apocalypse How: The Dothraki are undergoing a Class 0 as a result of whatever happened at Vaes Dothrak, as the loss of the one bit of neutral ground the Dothraki had is (alongside other mysterious happenings) destroying many of the things that underpin Dothraki society.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Rys Chelsted adopted his frog motif from King Aerys dubbing him "Aerys the Frog" after seeing his clubfeet as a newborn, explaining to Cersei that he finds frogs far more beneficial creatures than dragons.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Janos Slynt says Lannister soldiers killed his father during the Sack of King's Landing, Cersei protests that he must have done something to give them a reason to kill him, and Janos's reply leaves her stunned and contrite.
    Janos: He opened a door to assure 'em they had the wrong building.
  • Armored Closet Gay: Ser Alliser Thorne is suspicious of Jarman Buckwell and Jaremy Rykker's close relationship and scorns Aegon "Bloodborn" Frey as a likely "buggerer". He also shows no interest in women sexually, has a clear infatuation with Jon Connington, shows signs of a boyhood crush on Aerys and describes an admiration for watching Jaime Lannister's skill with the sword that sounds distinctly sexual.
  • Ascended Extra: All over the place, with several characters who were unnamed, The Ghost or already dead by the main story play important supporting roles and even become POV characters.
    • Ser Tytos Clegane, who wasn't even named in canon, is an important POV character for the Westerlands campaign.
    • Garth "the Gross" Tyrell, who was only mentioned in the main books, plays a major role and is one of the main viewpoint characters for Highgarden's court.
    • Barbara and Jayne Bracken, who are merely mentioned as the eldest daughters of Jonos Bracken in canon, are major supporting characters for the Riverlands storyline.
    • Both Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt were merely Hate Sink antagonists at The Wall, but here both are POV characters and are far better people than in canon.
    • Urrigon Greyjoy was a Posthumous Character in canon, but here he's alive and a major supporting character in the Riverlands storyline.
    • House Whent as a whole plays a bigger role than in the books. Not only is Ser Oswell Whent a POV character, his brother Walter, sister in-law Shella and niece Alysanne are all supporting characters.
    • Alyn Stackspear, second son of Selmond Stackspear, is an important supporting character for Tytos Clegane's storyline, while in the books he's a Bit Character at best.
    • Willam Dustin was merely the most nominally important of Ned Stark's companions who perished at the Tower of Joy, but here he's an important character for the North's storyline and shows a surprising amount of Hidden Depths.
  • The Atoner: Jaime accepts Stannis sending him to the Night's Watch on this basis, although he has a different idea from most people of what he needs to atone for.
  • Authority in Name Only: Stannis dislikes and distrusts Pycelle, and, while he lets him keep his office as Grand Maester, he tends to interrupt him whenever he's giving advice, while assigning his own Parental Substitute Maester Cressen to carry out tasks that would normally fall under Pycelle's jurisdiction, like a medical examination of the queen.
  • Battle Couple: In an Adaptational Sexuality moment, Tytos recalls that his long-ago opponents Maelys Blackfyre and Derrick Fossoway were lovers, and both men were very formidable adversaries on the battlefield.
    Tytos: They were boon and close companions, who kept a single tent between them. When Ser Derrick was called on to surrender [after Maelys died in battle], he declared, if I remember correctly, that we had slain his heart, and he would not be still until the rest of him followed.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Tywin Lannister has achieved several of his goals (getting Jamie off the Kingsguard, avenging his real and perceived grievances against the Targaryens, making Cersei queen, and becoming Hand again) but none of them work out as he planned (Jamie takes the Black, Cersei starts defying him, his tenure of Hand borders on being an Epic Fail, and he can't switch sides despite how much he hates Stannis after bloodily burning his bridges with the Targaryens).
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Ser Hugor Waters fights for the Targaryens at the Battle of the Trident solely because of Rhaegar's presence. Rhaegar once defeated him in a joust, but returned the armor Hugor lost without demanding a ransom while also complimenting Hugor's performance (which Hugor doesn't feel he deserved) over a drink.
  • Becoming the Mask: Falena Lothston and Uthera Ruari are heavily implied to be Blackfyre spies sent to infiltrate Viserys' court. However, based on a conversation Oswell overheard, the two are genuinely fond of Viserys and mean him no harm. Uthera expresses a desire to have Viserys marry her younger sister so that the Blackfyres and Targaryens will become one family and finally stop fighting each other.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Branda Stark's daughter invokes this when speaking of the contentious relationship between Branda and her cousin/brother-in-law Rickard Stark.
    Fiona Rogers Fell: As I understand it, there was some horrible argument before she came to Amberly to marry my father. Something with much shouting and things thrown, and that makes me think it is a good thing he wed my aunt and not my mother. Truth, the passion involved, I half imagine they fancied each other, terrible as that would have been.
  • Benevolent Boss:
    • Tytos Lannister might have exasperated his children and was mocked by his bannermen, but he was pretty popular with his household for being a pleasant and generous employer, especially in contrast which Tywin's much more draconian policies.
    • Bloodraven was surprisingly this for the Raven's Teeth, being known to help their family members get better chances at social advancement.
  • Berserk Button: Tommen Brightflowers is rumored to have beaten a man to death for calling him a bastard. Apparently a sore spot for the family, as their ancestors were born in wedlock and only bastardized retroactively when the marriage was annulled.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Uthera retaliates to being called "unnatural" by Lucyaen Tregaelyen by insinuating that his uncle is unnaturally fond of lemurs. One of Chataya's later chapters includes a Tyroshi nobleman (Tregaelyen's mother being Tyroshi) who brings his pet lemurs into her establishment and treats them with "disturbing avidity."
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lord Walter Whent is an amiable, generous man, regarded by Jon Arryn as distinctly unforceful (especially in comparison to the rest of Stannis's small council), who killed two of the Ninepenny Kings.
  • Black Speech: Qohorik is a strange, uncanny tongue that sounds like 'the hissing of snakes, the snarling of dogs, (and) the chirping of insects', and which non-Qohorik can apparently not speak.
  • Blood Knight: Garth Tyrell worries over a number of Dragon loyalists seeming to be this.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: Stannis and Cersei have a moment of empathy with one another when discussing how religion didn't offer them adequate answers for the sudden deaths of their parents (Cersei's mother, Stannis's mother and father).
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Tyrion jokes that Harren Hoare's last thoughts, as dragon fire burned his castle around him, might have been hoping that he felt wet because he'd spilled wine on his lap.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: As Pycelle mentions, and true to their Targaryen heritage, Daemon Blackfyre's children Haegon I and Rhaena, and their younger twin siblings Gaemon and Gael, all married each other.
  • Burning the Ships: Tywin does this to himself by accident when he sacks King’s Landing and kills Elia Martell and her children. The depravity of his actions ensures that the Targaryen loyalists will kill him if they win and he has to keep supporting Stannis for as long as the war goes on, despite the growing antagonism between them.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Possibly Garth Tyrell when conferring with a maester over the murder of Lord Peake.
    Garth: I see. A clever tactic. We are clearly dealing with a most cunning and skillful killer here.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • As in canon, Merrett Frey is a luckless drunk whose own family considers him stupid and useless, with some reason.
    • Lord Triston Sunderland is an Impoverished Patrician whose efforts of gaining the favor of his wealthy grandfather Lord Clydas Shawney stumble on the fact that Clydas despises him and seems to find a sadistic amusement in watching Sunderland debase himself to try and get Clydas' favor.
  • Calling Your Attacks: When the Volantene aristocrat Maerroro Maegyr tries to re-enslave several guests of the merchants guild, their leaders take turns assaulting him. Tommen Brightflowers call his attacks before doing so, mockingly speaking as if he is giving him gifts (such as offering the gift of his boots before using them to kick Maerroro).
  • Character Development:
    • It's gradual, but Cersei undergoes this. It would be hard to call her relationship with Stannis loving, but they come to understand and appreciate each other better than she ever did with Robert.
    • Janos Slynt's rise through the ranks of Guildhall makes him a more insightful and sensitive man, and instills in him a pride in his family's accomplishments.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Janos Slynt repeatedly encounters Essosi who, when they hear his name, ask if he's related to the Slynts of Volantis, to which he replies "Not by blood". This culminates in his encounter with Maerroro Maegyr, whose response upon hearing the name is dismissive laughter and astonishment at "the freeman of a Slynt" presuming to deal with him as an equal — the Slynts are the name of his grandfather's owners, adopted by the man on freedom. Janos reacts poorly to Maerroro's snide contempt on the subject.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In his conversation with Oberyn and Ellaria, Garth is revealed to be widely traveled. So he, like Oberyn, had the opportunity to learn the use of the exotic weapon that killed Lord Peake — further emphasized when he tells Oberyn about it in more detail than the maester had given him. Later, he explains a poison whose effects mimic death from alcohol abuse to Tyene Sand. Guess what happened to one of the Ninepenny Kings after ransoming Garth's relative by marriage for a fortune in Arbor Gold wine.
  • Child Prodigy: Viserys has a phenomenal memory. The author explains that this is extrapolated from canon, where he's his sister's main source of information on their family and Westeros despite going into exile at such a young age.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them:
    • This happens to the Targaryens in the form of Viserys, who becomes King when Rhaegar and Aerys die at the story's start, leaving him as the only known male Targaryen alive.
    • Willas Tyrell, who's only a few years older, becomes the Lord of Highgarden after his father Mace dies in a disastrous attempt to take Storm's End at the start of the story.
    • Wyce Rollingford is just a young boy who's become the head of his House after his father Ransom died during the Rebellion.
  • Clean Food, Poisoned Fork: Theorized (in and out of universe) to have happened to Lord Peake. He dies vomiting blood after drinking wine with Garth Tyrell, Paxter Redwyne, and Oberyn Martell, all of whom come away unharmed. The experienced poisoner Oberyn guesses his goblet was treated with the stuff. It turns out to have been a surreptitious stab in the lung, with a weapon coated with not poison but anesthetic so that he wouldn't notice — presumably administered by Garth, who was the only one to touch him.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: Or rather clothing concealed disability. The first time Jon meets Rys Chelsted, he observes that the new Master of Coin's long robe completely covers his legs. It's weeks, if not months, later before Rys has to lift his robe up while climbing a steep flight of stairs and Jon sees that he has clubfeet, at which point Rys' Appropriated Appellation nickname "Aerys the Frog" and bitterness toward dwarves and hunchbacks being court fools take on a whole new meaning.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Gregor Clegane, of all people, is seen in Tyrosh wrangling Vargo Hoat and talking him out of an impolitic tantrum in a high-class brothel. This seems to be at least partially a case of Pragmatic Villainy to keep Hoat from doing anything that will upset the Tyroshi authorities and get them expelled from the city.
  • The Comically Serious: Young Qohorik noblewoman Aesnyth Waeyte's interactions in the Targaryen court are marked by her tendency towards stiff formality and stilted speech, made even more striking due to her young age.
  • Commander Contrarian: The younger Greyjoys describe their brothers Balon and Euron as this.
    Aeron: They were telling Father he should fight for Aerys at first, and then Robert, when he started winning all those battles, and then Aerys again when things turned against the Stags, and then...
    Urrigon: Always contrary, and always insisting that something had to be done. And when Father chose what to do, well, that became the wrong thing.
  • Commonality Connection: Cersei suspects that the friendship between Marya Seaworth (a former commoner) and the aristocratic Gwyndolyn Chelsted is helped by how Gwyndolyn grew up an Impoverished Patrician.
    The Gaunts were an old family, yes, but not a particularly wealthy one. In many ways, Gwyndolyn's life was little different than a well-to-do crofter.
  • Con Man: The Merryweathers work as these, with Orton using his skills as a Card Sharp and Taena playing The Vamp to ingratiate themselves to their targets.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: After his appointment to the Small Council, Rys Chelsted tells Davos about how his family first came to the Westeros while making a point about how Davos shouldn't feel like the Blue Bloods are better than him. He describes how the first Lord Chelsted gained prosperity in a Rape, Pillage, and Burn manner. The chronicles say that there was "some" rape in the process. Rys disdainfully notes that for the chronicles to even acknowledge that at all, there must have been a lot of rape, which the first Lord Chelsted then downplayed by confessing to a lesser number of rapes done in the heat of battle to appear contrite about the whole affair.
  • Connected All Along:
    • Alliser Thorne knew Janos Slynt from when he worked as an assistant for his father, who was well-liked by the Red Keep soldiers for his generosity. This may be part of why he allies with Janos after the latter is sent to the Wall in canon.
    • Drogo's father Bharbo (along with Drogo's as yet unnamed uncle) fought for Maelys Blackfyre prior to becoming a khal.
    • Davos recalls how he smuggled supplies to Lord Darklyn early in the Defiance of Duskendale, although he quit this after Darklyn took King Aerys prisoner.
  • Cool Uncle:
    • Rys Chelsted describes the late uncle of his wife, former Kingsguard Gwayne Gaunt as one, always looking after his family.
    • Gerion Lannister is very much appreciated by his nephews and even Cersei thinks about him in a fond way.
    • Stannis considers his uncle Lomas Estermont as such, being far more caring towards his family members than either his father Baelor or his brother Eldon.
  • Could Say It, But...: Alysanne Whent uses such a response as a rejoinder to Barb Bracken after a great deal of rude behavior on the latter's part.
    Alysanne Whent: [to Barb Bracken] I am a good hostess, who makes no comments on the conversation of her guests. Even when they are most improper and unpleasant.
  • Creepy Good: The Qohorik organization the Brave Companions of the Vow seem to be decent people from those we've met, but they are unabashedly worshipers of a god that accepts blood sacrifices and are prone to exceedingly cryptic and unsettling remarks.
  • Creepy Uncle: Jayne Bracken's frightened reaction to hearing that her uncle Hollys will be coming to Harrenhal implies that he's this. This is confirmed when he first appears in person and drunkenly gropes a visibly frightened Jayne while commenting that she's "pretty as ever." Barb's cold comment that he had better "stay away from Jayne and stay away from me" may indicate that she's been the subject of similar unwanted attention.
  • The Creon: After witnessing his father go through all kinds of degradations to remain a contender for Hand of the King (the highest nonhereditary position in the Seven Kingdoms) and then be horribly executed after getting the job, Rys Chelsted makes it clear that he doesn't ever want the job after his own appointment to the Small Council, which is sometimes a stepping stone to Hand of the King.
    Rys: Father was Master of Coin, King's Hand, and then King's candlestick in turn. A remarkable rise, that I alas, lack the ambition to repeat. Make me your Master of Coin, Your Grace, and if I please you, keep me there, and if I do not, send me back to my home and forget about me.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass:
    • Garth Tyrell is a flatulent, overly talkative hedonist, but he is one of the main political minds behind Viserys and is quite astute behind closed doors. He deliberately cultivates this image in order to make his opponents underestimate him.
    • Luthor and Curgen Crabb seem like boastful, somewhat dim Lower Class Louts (by most noble standards, anyway) but do a decent acting job to divert a party of pursuers and fight well against them once the deception is exposed through no fault of their own.
    • Glarus Glyn Glesai is a vocally dramatic and self-deprecating Qartheen merchant who, after being found stranded alone in the Dothraki Sea, joins Drogo's khalasar as essentially comic relief. As it turns out, he's also a Sorrowful Man and a very deadly assassin.
  • Cultured Badass: Khal Drogo is surprisingly well informed about Westerosi culture, while most Dothraki only have passing knowledge about the "Land of the Andals across the Poison Water".
  • Cunning Linguist: While Shierak Rahsan's Dothraki is extremely disjointed and broken at first, she mentions she speaks several languages — the tongues of the Free Cities, Qartheeni, old Rhoynish, the Andal common speech, the Trade Talk, and "various others" — with fluency, in addition to being trained in reading body language, tone, dress, and other subtle nonverbal information.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The remnant of the Driftmark Fleet does not do well against the new Stag Fleet. Janos Slynt actually stops watching, considering it a decided match.
    • Glarius goads a band of Dothraki warriors into attacking him; when they do so, he takes them down so brutally and efficiently that the other characters can't even follow along. One moment, the Dothraki are thundering down on him with weapons drawn; then there's a blur of motion, and Glarius is standing among a pile of corpses and without so much as a scratch on his person.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Morella Mudd serves her father Mad Mychel as an enforcer and lieutenant in his work as a smuggler, extortionist and claimant to the Kingdom of the Rivers and Hills.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Two of Ingraboda Sunderly's sons describe her as the most beautiful woman in the Iron Isles. One of them gets laughed at for it and the other points out himself that to most Westerosi this sounds like an Overly Narrow Superlative.
  • Dead Guy Junior:
    • Lyanna names her son Rhaegar after his dead father. His alias is Rodrik; one of his great-grandfathers was Rodrik Stark.
    • Somewhat weirdly, Garth's bastard son Garrett Flowers has nearly the same name as his ex, Garrett (or Garett) Oldflowers. It's even weirder considering that Garth murdered the first Garrett.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Robert dies in the prologue, setting up the story's divergence from canon.
    • Mace Tyrell and lots of Reach soldiers die at the Battle of Storm's End after foolishly attempting to storm the castle.
    • Stevron Frey officially dies of a mysterious illness (it may have been an Inheritance Murder) while off at war.
    • Stafford Lannister is filled with arrows after walking into an ambush. Axell Florent, who was being used as bait, is executed soon afterward, as is his brother Alester.
    • Amory Lorch ends up conveniently stabbed to death after Stannis demands justice for Elia and her children.
    • The Bit Character Tarle the Thrice-Drowned is found killed (presumably by Quellon's agents) for preaching that a cataclysm would come if the ironborn didn't return to the Old Way and abandon their alliance with the Baratheon faction.
    • Jeor Mormont is mortally wounded by Targaryen loyalists while they're rescuing Alliser Thorne and his allies from the dungeons of Harrenhal.
    • Boros Blount becomes the second supporting character who hasn't yet died in the books to perish in the story. Ronald Vance smashes his head open during a skirmish at Harrenhal.
    • Jon Connington dies of a poisoned wound after a fight with Howland Reed, despite still being alive in the books.
  • Death Seeker: Zor Dmitri is ready to throw himself into the effort to reclaim Sarnor, with little regard for his own life, after the suicide of his beloved son.
  • Decadent Court: Viserys' court is corrupt and seems to spend more time on plotting and partying than policy. The probable Blackfyre infiltrators are among the more honest and well-intentioned members.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Possibly defeat means romance. Deziel Dalt and Ulwyk Uller ride against each other at a tournament, and Garth later mentions to Olenna that "the young Knight of the Lemonwood [...] has managed to bewitch our shining white knight Ser Ullwyk."
  • Depraved Bisexual: Barbara Bracken, a Nightmare Fetishist who enjoys watching torture, merrily flirts (and more) with men, gets up in Catelyn Stark's personal space to play with her hair and is implied to have a dalliance with a female servant at Harrenhal.
  • Detective Mole: The investigation of the murder of Lord Titus Peake is being handled by its likely perpetrator, Garth Tyrell.
  • Dirty Old Man: Clydas Shawney goes through wives like his cousin Walder Frey; he hits on his own teenage granddaughters and isn't too bothered when he finds out.
  • Disguised in Drag: Varys disguises himself as a female servant to infiltrate the safehouse in Braavos where Lyanna and her son live.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul":
    • Lord Aerys Chelsted prefers to be called Rys to avoid being associated with his tyrannical namesake, who made Rys' father "Master of Coin, King's Hand, and then King's candlestick in turn."
    • Musician Fyn the Fiddler's given name is Torfyn Brightflowers.
  • Doomed New Clothes: Averted as a plot point when one of Khal Drogo's companions points out to him that some Volantene aristocrats wore their old, out-of-style clothing during an important meeting where their respective companions got into a fight. It is almost as if they expected something to happen and were afraid of getting blood on their good clothes.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Janos Slynt, a corrupt member of the Goldcloaks in the original timeline, serves as part of a merchant's delegation requesting Stannis limit the Goldcloaks' power and permit a merchant militia to be established. Janos is particularly dismissive of the Goldcloaks, painting them as cowardly and corrupt.
    • Halyse Shawney bemoans Stannis' banishing her betrothed Gregor Clegane for his brutal murders of Prince Aegon and his mother, Princess Elia, seeing their deaths as simply something that needed to be done to secure the throne for Stannis. She herself would become a victim of Gregor's cruelty in canon where he was allowed to go unpunished by Robert.
    • Ned spends a good part of chapter 100 speaking with Gerart Rogers, the son of his maternal aunt Branda Stark, and has no idea.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Khal Preisoo, often called the Headtaker by his fellow Dothraki for his habit of taking his opponents' heads and hanging them from his belt, is viewed as a violent, dangerous lunatic among his own people.
    • The Golden Ram is fast becoming a figure of fear to the Dothraki, as his victories against them are not only impressive, but undermine their already shaken confidence in themselves. Some of his reported actions suggest this is something he is actively striving for.
    • People who pick fights with Belthus Byet tend to backpedal immediately upon learning his identity.
  • Driven by Envy: Jaime and Garth both believe Aerys hated and abused his wife and older son because they were smarter and more competent than him; Garth thinks he would have eventually turned on Viserys as well for this reason.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Ser Tytos Clegane is not a famous knight, despite a series of awe-inspiring exploits in the War of the Ninepenny Kings and his tourney duels with Barristan Selmy. He's graceful about it for the most part, but that doesn't mean that he's happy about it.
    Ser Tytos: I performed a deed of renown, and, well, I expected a measure of renown. It didn't come. Partially because others did greater deeds of renown, and partially because...I am not well-loved by my lord, and he seeks to bury me and my name. And yes, Sir Alyn, it is tiring to do great deeds, and know they will coming to nothing because the greatest deeds in my life have been done, and that is what they came too. And yet still I try because to do otherwise is not to be a man, much less a knight.
  • Early Personality Signs:
    • Like in canon, Renly Baratheon is a boy who loves being the center of attention.
    • The future Fat Walda Frey is introduced stuffing her face with a tart when her mother Mariya is introducing her to her uncle Raymun Darry. Her elder sister, the future "Gatehouse Ami" flirtatiously flutters her eyelashes at him.
    • Tyene Sand already has a strong interest in poisons and is fascinated by the many poisonous plants on Garth Tyrell's garden.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Squinting Ryce Rollingford. Even Janos Slynt (who's no wall painting himself), admits even without the squinting she would be rather plain, which is still better than her weasel-like future husband Edwyn Frey.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Dorne and the Reach, traditional enemies, together form the core of the Targaryen loyalists.
    • Viserys is deeply unhappy that the Dragons have to make common cause with the self-declared King Balon of the Iron Isles against the Stags.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • Khal Drogo knows most of the sigils of the great houses of Westeros, but is convinced that the Tully trout is actually a "poison water monster", likely confusing it with the Greyjoy kraken.
    • Falena Lothston speculates to Uthera Ruari that "Aenys thought something similar, before the knife came." Oswell Whent, overhearing, is confused, since King Aenys died of "natural" causes with no knives involved. She's probably referring to Aenys Blackfyre.
    • Gerion Lannister muses on rumors of surviving Lothstons living in hiding hoping to reclaim Harrenhal, and decides that they are foolish, as there's no reason any surviving Lothston to come back to Westeros for their cursed castle. The audience knows that a surviving Lothston has returned to Westeros and has expressed a wish to live in Harrenhal.
    • Lord Blackwood and his cousin reassure Ned that Mychel V Mudd is merely a folk legend among the Riverlands smallfolk, many chapters after the audience has been introduced to him as a very real and very unsettling figure.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Mace Tyrell's attempted "Storming of Storm's End." Rather than winning glory for the Dragons, it becomes a major Stag victory, in addition to seeing Stannis freed and Mace killed. Dragons and Stags alike agree Mace will most likely be remembered for this military blunder.
    • House Velaryon has an unfortunate knack for such fiascos over the past few generations.
      • At some point in the past, the current Lord Velaryon's great-grandfather somehow managed to sink a dozen of his own ships while they were still in port. It's later revealed that he had decided to host a party on his moored flagship, a fire started during the revelries, and, well...
      • His son and successor died during the war of the Ninepenny Kings having managed to get his ship wrecked, boarded and set on fire all at the same time. Rys Chelsted declares it was a "novel death".
      • Several months before the opening scene, Lucerys Velaryon sailed to Essos, vowing to bring back a mercenary fleet that would crush the Baratheon rebels. Instead, he was stabbed in the back during a fight in a Lyseni brothel and most of his fleet sank in a storm while sailing home.
    • Haegon III Blackfyre led the Golden Company in a daring charge to recover Blackfyre, his family's Ancestral Weapon, after his father died in battle. As he was eleven years old, all he accomplished was getting himself and many other men killed, making things worse for both the Blackfyres and the Golden Company.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In the backstory one of the kings of the Iron Isles, called "Balon the Bloody," outlawed sending thralls to their deaths in the salt mines of Saltcliffe.
  • Everyone Is Related: In Westeros they sure are, and it's mentioned the Crownlands' houses have been intermarrying for centuries. Thanks to Walder Frey and Clydas Shawney's abnormally large broods, many Houses from all over the Riverlands, Crownlands and even the Vale and the Westerlands are all related to each other.
  • Evil Chancellor:
    • Viserys claims that Tywin Lannister's tenure as Hand of the King brought out the worst in his father. While this ignores Aerys' (many) flaws and comes directly from Aerys himself and his Self-Serving Memory, Tywin doesn't exactly come across as a loyal and selfless advisor. Tywin's own daughter views him as a man who finds delight running the realm in the king's stead but chafes at being an assistant for someone else's agenda.
    • Oswell Whent recalls the late Lucerys Velaryon as a malignant figure in Aerys's court, even if he never tried to betray his king.
      Of all the lickspittles who'd clung to Aerys, Lucerys Velaryon had been the worst. Chelsted and Staunton both tried to give Aerys what they saw as good advice, using flattery to get him to accept it, and Merryweather ... well, he was but an amiable dunce. But Lucerys ... a wretch and a wastrel. He brought out the worst in the King, and delighted in it.
    • According to the author, everyone has their own opinion of which of Aerys's advisors was the worst, recalling things like Staunton's sadism and Merryweather's financial malfeasance, though most of them don't have a high opinion of Aerys either. In Alliser Thorne's head, however, it's played completely straight, with Aerys being a good king and Qarlton Chelsted a scheming traitor.
  • Evil Matriarch: Urrigon paints his late mother as this for the Iron Islands. She shaped her older sons' ambitions of conquest, and engaged in dark magic. Urrigon says she also killed her husband's first wife (by knocking her off a bridge the same way that her son Balon is killed in the books) and stepsons (one of them by exposing him to greyscale, although, according to canon, Euron finished that son off) as part of Euron's Inheritance Murder.
    Urrigon: When the history of my brother's revolt gets recorded, the maesters and singers will search for causes to wring some sense from it. And the true cause was Ingraboda Sunderly [whispering] ambition to her eldest sons in the cradle, and fed it to 'em with her milk.
  • Evil Old Folks: Walder Frey's cousin and cohort Lord Clydas Shawney has just as many descendants as Walder and delights in emotionally abusing them, getting them to fight each other, arranging marriages they may not want, and mooching off of them beyond what's reasonable.
  • Exact Words:
    • Lyanna tells a sympathetic fellow passenger on the ship to Braavos that her child's father was a harper. This is true, but it was hardly Prince Rhaegar's most noticeable occupation.
    • Salladhor Saan describes his uncle Samarro's widow as a former "camp follower" of the Golden Company. Given that he also recounts Samarro asking Maelys Blackfyre himself for her hand, the relationship is probably closer than the term usually implies. If, as implied, she is Daena 'the Devil' Blackfyre, his description of her parents is another example — Salladhor says she is the child of a Westerosi knight and the granddaughter of an Archon of Tyrosh. This is completely true, but it is hardly how most people would describe a Blackfyre prince and princess.
    • Roose Bolton tells his son that his future stepmother is "a cheerful young lady, who is all smiles and laughter." He doesn't mention what she smiles and laughs at.
    • Clydas Shawney defuses a tense situation with his granddaughter Lady Stokeworth (who is rightfully afraid that she has angered him but has important connections he doesn’t want to squander) by noting that she reminds him of her mother. After she leaves, he clarifies that he hated her mother just as much as he hates her.
  • Expy:
  • Extreme Omnisexual:
    • Garth Tyrell openly states his attraction to both Ellaria Sand and Oberyn Martell, mentions affairs with the Ibbenese, a people noted primarily for their short, stout and very hairy frames, is noted by Varys to have had a relationship with a eunuch acquaintance of his, and sums things up declaring he's enjoyed "the goose and the gander, the cow and the bull, the hen and the rooster, and yes, even the capon, as they chanced to be served to me." Varys later describes him as having "sampled liberally from every platter".
    • The legendary Grey King of the ironborn is said to have fathered children on everything up to and including two islands and a corpse of indeterminate gender.
  • Faction Motto:
    • The words of House Clegane are "Honor the quest", referring to the "quest" of hunting hounds that helped earn the Cleganes' knighthood.
    • The words of House Chelsted are "With mace and with dagger"; this, along with their sigil, refers to the founder's attack on a First Men house during the Andal invasion, where he cut a hostage's throat with a dagger and brained her father with his mace.
    • The former words of House Tyrell during their martial past were "Not without peril", referring to the thorny rose of their sigil.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Near the beginning of Garth Tyrell's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Oswell Whent, he accuses Oswell of coasting on the fame his older brother got for killing two of the Ninepenny Kings during their invasion of the Stepstones. Oswell retorts that it isn't as if Garth himself ever killed a Ninepenny King. Oswell is baffled by how his statement causes Garth (who did in fact kill one of the four surviving kings of the war by giving him a ransom of poisoned wine in exchange for the captive Lord Redwyne) to burst out laughing.
  • Fake Aristocrat: Taena Merryweather poses as a Myrish noblewoman — in reality, she is a former fishmonger who worked on the docks.
  • False Reassurance: Oswell Whent worries that Garth Tyrell will kill baby Rhaegar to prevent a rival claimant to Viserys. Garth's rhetorical questions as to why he would (missing an actual denial) don't reassure him for a moment.
    Garth: Kill him? Why should I do that? He's a little boy. And little boys, ser, they die so easily. Why bother?
  • Famed In-Story: Belthus Byet has apparently had a song written about him that is well-known in the Free Cities.
  • Family Theme Naming:
    • The siblings Tommen, Mern, and Argella Brightflowers have the names of pre-Conquest royalty, (as does Mern's son, though he prefers to go by a nickname, and Mern's wife, who happens to be named Sharra) in keeping with the family's pride in themselves.
    • Ingraboda Sunderly named all her sons by Quellon Greyjoy after Kings of the Iron Isles, a rather flagrant broadcasting of her ambitions for them. Urrigon, by his account The Un-Favorite of his mother's since birth, is named for one Urrigon 'Cousinkiller' Greyiron.
  • Famous Ancestor: This being Westeros, most noble families have at least one on their family tree, even if their deeds are infamous rather than heroic.
    • Rys Chelsted tells Davos Seaworth about the founder of his house, Withgar Chelsted, who arrived to Westeros during the Andal Invasion and carved a petty kingdom from House Manning's lands.
    • House Bracken has Mendow Bracken, the first of his house to convert to the Seven and whose daughter married Armistead Vance, and Harwyn Bracken, who gave a weirwood sapling to Harren Hoare in a futile attempt to get his favor.
    • Willam Dustin tells Jaime Lannister about the Barrow King Durnwald "Brother-Killer" Dustin, who killed his brother to get his wife, who in turn murdered him and then killed herself, leaving the remaining son by the brother, Caradoc the Fortunate and Durnwald's daughter Tygewy the Golden Breasted, to marry each other and reunite the family.
    • Lady Ryce Rollingford tells Janos Slynt of the mythical founder of her house and builder of Castle Rollingford and the Rollingford bridge, Ryam Rollingford.
    • While Khal Mengo's male line might have died with his grandson, his female line descendants are still around, and Khal Drogo is one of them. His mother was a descendant of Khal Loso the Lame instead.
    • The Saans unsurprisingly have many, with the oldest known being Sindar Saan, who due to his deeds during the Second Ghiscar War, earned for his family the right to always speak first and last at the assembly of the Valyrian Freehold.
  • Fatal Flaw: Alliser Thorne is far more likable than he becomes in canon after fifteen years on the Wall, but his heroic traits are undermined by his dogged belief that the late King Aerys was a good, wise man and that anyone who ever opposed him must have been wrong and (in the case of those opponents who were part of the royal court) deserved to die. Alliser is heavily implied to be a closet gay man (despite his disdain for Jarman Buckwell and Jaremy Rykker's close relationship, and his contemptuous speculation that Aegon Bloodborn is a "buggerer") who was infatuated with Aerys, adding another dimension to his idolization of the king.
  • Fat and Skinny: Marya Seaworth and Gwyndolyn Chelsted become fast friends and Cersei thinks of them as a "dumpling" and a "beanpole", respectively.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mad Mychel Mudd can be surprisingly congenial at times, but it is almost always a thin disguise for his cruelty, and frequently a method to needle those he deals with.
  • The Ferryman: Mad Mychel Mudd and his daughter Morella are serving Victarion in this role, first saving Victarion from drowning, then taking him across the waterways of the Riverlands, for a fee that has yet to be disclosed. During this journey, Mad Mychel shares tales of the region's bloody history and that of his house, the significance of which largely seems to escape Victarion.
  • Feuding Families:
    • The Riverlands are filled with these, from the Brackens and the Blackwoods, to the two (exceedingly estranged) branches of House Vances.
    • Urrigon Greyjoy mentions that the Saltcliffes and Sunderlys are always feuding, while also being Hated by All the other Ironborn houses.
    • According to the Brightflowers, their family was driven out of The Reach by their relatives the Florents and Hightowers all the way to Blackwater Bay, where they finally settled on the newly-founded King's Landing.
  • Fictional Flag: Discussed in Chapter 68, when a group of Dothraki khals is discussing foreign news and Westeros comes up in conversation. The Dothraki use abstract shapes and colors in their banners, each pattern being unique to the khal that bears it, and some are quite skeptical about the concept of adorning one's banners with animals, human figures and other such things in the Westerosi manner.
    "No, no," said Drogo. "This is symbolism. The Andals use banners of war, as we do, and on them, they like to place beasts."
    "Beasts?" said Motho, puzzled. "But that is folly. A banner should be pleasing shapes and colors that belong to you and you alone, not an animal. Why, when men see the red and white triangle of my banners, they do not say 'that is a mouse,' for example, they say 'that is Khal Motho's khalasar'."
    "Some Andals do use such shapes," began Drogo.
    "The sensible ones, yes," interjected Motho.
  • First-Person Smartass: Cersei has to hold a snarky comment more than once, usually concerning her less than stellar handmaidens.
  • Fish Eyes: 'Squinting' Ryce Rollingford suffers from this, the source of her insulting nickname.
  • Flower Motifs: House Tyrell's rose sigil comes in for discussion across the Narrow Sea where the Dothraki khals are commenting on Westerosi sigils. They conclude that, while flowers are pretty and seemingly harmless, they can grow back from grievous damage and conceal thorns amidst their leaves, and that men who use them as their symbols must be men to be wary of. This is supported later in the story when Garth Tyrell tells another character how he deliberately cultivates a reputation as a harmless oaf to disguise his political acumen and talent with poisons. Garth further differentiates between the innocuous-seeming golden rose House Tyrell adopted as their sigil under the Gardeners and the bloody red rose used during their more overtly warlike past in the Stormlands, associating himself with the latter.
    Khal Peylo: Flowers are pretty, but hardy. A man can slash them with his arakh but they grow back more than ever. And they often bear prickles and thorns that can slash a horse's feet, so it throws its rider.
    Khal Drogo: And the flower khals are exactly like that.
    Khal Peylo: Men to be wary of.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Rys Chelsted having clubbed feet that keep him from walking without a cane is subtly foreshadowed on several occasions. One of the first things he does after his introduction to the small council is ask for a chair. His wife comments that he dislikes dancing, Rys tells Davos that he could never dream of being a knight as a boy, only of living in a world "where all men could stand" (although it initially sounds like he is talking about a system of society based on merit instead of birth, and that may be a double-meaning comment). He has trouble restraining his anger for a moment when Cersei remembers that King Aerys compared him to a frog. He sounds bitter when telling Stannis to be wary of clergymen, given how they claim they can heal physical afflictions but usually fail to.
    • When Barbara Bracken's teasing presses Aeron's Trauma Button (presumably regarding Euron's abuse), she immediately realizes something's wrong, and Aeron wonders if she somehow knows what happened. It turns out later that Barb herself has experience with unwanted advances from a Creepy Uncle.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Rys Chelsted proposed to his wife Gwyndolyn on their first meeting, after a lengthy conversation.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Even Grand Maester Pycelle's allies on the Small Council find him obnoxious and tedious.
  • Genius Bruiser: Tytos Clegane not only fights and commands well, but can hold his own in a verse-quoting war with a septon.
  • The Ghost:
    • Cleos Frey is mentioned, but unseen, guardian the baggage train during the operation which sees himself, his father and many others captured while Tytos Clegane rallies the escapees.
    • Lord Baelor Estermont, Stannis' grandfather, is named Master of Ships, but never arrives in King's Landing, ultimately losing the post before actually taking it up.
    • Lysa Arryn has been mentioned by others, but has yet to make an actual appearance.
  • Gold Digger: Both Orton and Taena Merryweather married under the impression the other was wealthy. They appear to have adjusted to the initial surprise.
  • Good Stepmother: Alysanne Whent develops a fast bond with Tyrion Lannister after becoming betrothed to his father. Multiple characters think that, given her fiancé's unpleasant nature and their difference in ages, her relationship with him will be a lot less idyllic.
  • Got Volunteered: Garth and Olenna Tyrell would have happily surrendered to the Stags (albeit while contemplating undermining them from within) before Lord Redwyne arrived with Viserys and Daenerys, declaring the Reach their new refuge, with the two feeling it would be dishonorable (and more importantly, make them look weak in the eyes of their rivals at a time when their new Lord Paramount is a young boy) if they didn't live up to those words.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Stannis describes his grandfather Baelor Estermont as such, living only to complain about his many ailments. He's also a fence-sitter almost as bad as Walder Frey.
  • Happily Married: Despite their odd circumstances, Rys Chelsted and Gwyndolyn Gaunt are pretty happy together.
  • Has a Type: Barbara Bracken appears to have a past involvement with Ser Ronald "the Bad" Vance, attempts a fling with Victarion Greyjoy, and hooks up with Roose Bolton at Harrenhal.
  • Haunted Castle: Castle Spyne, the ancestral castle of House Gaunt, is described as having impossibly extensive and insanity-inducing lower levels, "strange things [that] come up from below", and "rooms with enigmatic bloody handprints." The Gaunts, sensibly, haven't actually lived there for centuries.
  • Hellhole Prison: The salt mines of Saltcliffe are staffed by unwilling workers and are viewed with horror throughout the Iron Islands, since the conditions there are so ghastly that work there dooms laborers to a lingering, atrocious death. Nobody who is codemned there lives longer than three years.
    Urrigon Greyjoy: Let me put it simply. Our tales hold that the Iron Isles were made by our Drowned God, harsh but livable, to make us hearty and strong. Save for Saltcliffe. That was made by his enemy the Storm God, in mockery of the Drowned God's work, to be the most grim place imaginable. The other islands have iron, and lead, and tin. Saltcliffe has salt. The men who work those other mines become stooped, crippled, die in accidents... and every damn one of them thanks whatever power they believe in they do not work in Saltcliffe. [King Balon Hoare IV] declared that no thrall could be forced to work in Saltcliffe, save for criminals. And this was not a soft-hearted man -- he's generally called "Balon the Bloody", for, well, the reasons you'd expect. But he found the conditions there so horrible, that he could not send men down there simply to die. Because that is what they do. They mine salt, and they die. Slowly, and terribly. Three years at the outside, and those that do, men debate whether they are lucky or unfortunate.
  • Here We Go Again!: Tytos Clegane recalls the cycle of Stafford Lannister being removed from positions of responsibility for his incompetence, then slowly being allowed back into them for want of men who were both better-skilled and better-ranked.
  • Heroic BSoD: Cersei has a breakdown after Jaime is sent to the Wall. She breaks down even further when Tywin, angry at this, compares her to Tyrion and slaps her.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation:
    • Zor Alexi of Sarnor (who is seeking aid in defending his city against Dothraki hordes) refuses to mislead even casual strangers about how much his Try to Fit That on a Business Card list of titles (Lord of the Silver Hall, Master of the Two Hundred Gates, Chanter of the Names of the Thirtyfold Thirty Gods, the Pearl Beyond Price, the Thread Which Does Not Diminish, Friend to the Supplicant, Staff to the Needy, He Who Is, First Lord of Saath, and High Prince of the Sarnor) means, as shown in a bitter and stunningly frank speech to Lyanna after a friend gives him a flowery introduction.
      Zor Alexi: You also left out that the Silver Hall has been stripped of silver and indeed, of much of the hall, that the Two Hundred Gates are down to a few dozen, and that while I chant the thirtyfold thirty names, neither I nor anyone else can tell you what three-quarters of them mean anymore. As for the rest, if I am beyond price, it is because I am worthless, if I do not diminish it because there is nothing left, if I am friend to the supplicant and staff to the needy it is insomuch as I support myself, and if I am First Lord of Saath and High Prince of the Sarnor, well, it is because I am slightly better off than any of my equally impressively-titled and extraordinarily impoverished fellows.
    • Belthus Byet is a Living Legend and implied Knight Errant who once performed a feat of heroism which inspired a song that Word of God describes as a medieval version of the western ballad "Big Iron". Belthus describes the song as "[a] silly thing about a deed of little note I performed once," and is embarrassed whenever anyone plays it in his presence.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • In Braavos, Lyanna meets Zor Alexi of Sarnor and Lok of Far Ib, who appear to be traveling together to deal with problems involving the Dothraki, something she barely understands or cares about at the time.
    • Drogo and his riders hear stories of a prophet in Lhazar who was exiled for preaching that his pacifistic society should rise up against their Dothraki oppressors. He returned to overthrow the council that exiled him and has his people preparing to defend themselves against the next attack. A later conversation by Stannis' Small Council reveals that this "Golden Ram" has successfully repelled a Dothraki attack and is now leading his people in building up larger fortified settlements and making new trade alliances.
    • Tygett and Genna Lannister are trying to defend the Westerlands against Randyll Tarly and Balon Greyjoy, with many battles and sieges involved, but no POV characters have been present to observe their efforts for some time and few reports of the campaign reach King's Landing.
  • Hidden Buxom: Morella Mudd is initially mistaken for a boy by Victarion, but as he later realizes, this is in part due to her favoring baggy clothes that hide her curves.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • For Janos Slynt, the grandson of former slaves from Essos in search of a way to provide for his family after his father's death in the sack of King's Landing.
    • The scheming Dirty Old Man Pycelle acknowledges that he may lose his position after the war and seems fine with the idea of retiring to his modest former studies on ravenry while also showing concern for the mental state of his old teacher Walgrave.
    • The High Septon is a Scatterbrained Senior, Old Windbag, and possible Targaryen loyalist who uses his position to benefit his family. He also adopts Princess Rhaenys Targaryen's former cat after finding him wandering the streets and gushes affectionately over the animal, while struggling not to cry whenever he thinks of the cat's late owner. He claims to want peace for the sake of peace and, though his family profited from it, he prepared a sermon rebuking King Aerys after the Duskendale massacre six years earlier (sounding strong and firm while reciting it during a bout of senility) before his subordinates talked him out of it due to fear that Aerys would react violently.
      The High Septon: Who's a sweet boy? You, Balerion, you are a sweet boy. Yes you are.
    • In Chapter 18, Alyn Stackspear is introduced as a Proud Elite Commander Contrarian who seems to irrationally hate Tytos. Then Chapter 76 comes along and shows him in an entirely new light. He has a bad inferiority complex due to his demanding father and a poor showing in his first tourney (where he was sabotaged by Boros Blount). He recounts how, when the war came, he wanted to fight against Aerys (and feels that Jaime was justified in breaking his Kingsguard vows to kill him) but was unable to do so while Tywin remained neutral. The Sack of King's Landing left him a Shell-Shocked Veteran when men under his command killed Janos Slynt's father due to a misunderstanding. He encountered Tytos's son Gregor on his way to murder Rhaegar's family and feels that he should have done something to stop him, even though he had no idea what was going on at the time. His disdain for Tytos is a reflection of how he feels about Gregor, and he seems to shed these feelings after a heart-to-heart talk with his commander.
    • Qarlton Chelsted gets some as a Posthumous Character, building on Jaime's canon memory of his attempt to stop the wildfire plot before his death. His son, who doesn't know about it, talks about his disillusionment and isolation as he realized the king he'd devoted himself to (opportunistically, but not maliciously) was out of control and with no one willing to stop him.
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal:
    • Garth Tyrell spends some time acting distantly cordial and respectful toward Oswell Whent, albeit disappointed in his lack of political smarts. In chapter 87, as Oswell prepares to leave on a campaign, Garth reveals that he despises Oswell and gives him a very bitter, accurate, and drawn-out "The Reason You Suck" Speech about his many failures as a Kingsguard. Among other things, he hates how Oswell helped Rhaegar start the war by helping him get Lyanna Stark to marry him under questionable circumstances, for failing to rein in Aerys, and then for leaving the confused, teenaged Jaime Lannister to be the only Kingsguard present at the Mad King's side for months (Garth calls Jaime the best of them for finally snapping and killing Aerys). Oswell is troubled to realize how much of the disdain is warranted and how little his efforts to atone have accomplished so far.
    • Lyanna tells Varys that Rhaegar always distrusted and hated him, while Varys himself was completely unaware.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: It's strongly implied that Samarro Saan's wife — now the Widow-All-In-White — is Daena Blackfyre/Daena the Devil/Daena the Dauntless. In which case she was at the peace talks at the end of the War of the Ninepenny Kings and nobody realized it even after she cursed them out in High Valyrian; in the official record, she's mysteriously vanished.
  • Honest Advisor:
    • Lord Rys Chelsted believes in absolute frankness, combined with Gentleman Snarker quips. While building up to an argument that Stannis should stop impounding merchant ships, he says that, as the king, Stannis has the right to paint himself blue and parade around naked, but that doesn't mean he should do it.
      Stannis: You share your truths quite freely, I see.
      Lord Chelsted: As I have told you, Your Grace, it is my understanding that is what you wish from me. Should you wish a liar and a flatterer, well, say the word and I will go find you one. They are about King's Landing in great abundance.
    • Septon Balerion, who joins Stannis's Small Council, replacing Jon Arryn as Keeper of the Great Seal after Arryn takes up the post of Hand.
  • Honey Trap: Uthera Ruari of Lys seems to have been sent to follow in Larra Rogare's footsteps by winning over another Viserys. This one is nine.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Jon Arryn shows a little bit of this, praising Mandon Moore's Blind Obedience and considering Littlefinger to be utterly reliable and trustworthy.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: In the days of Old Valyria, the Saan family was among the ruling houses of the Freehold, with the right to open and close all meetings of the Assembly, and in its time was the greatest of the forty families. They barely survived the Doom, losing all of their dragons and all of their land save for a single hold, and are now reduced to a line of pirates and sellsails who have long been eclipsed by the Targaryens, a minor family that was once so lowly that the Saans saw them as too far beneath notice to even consider them rivals.
  • Humanoid Abomination: There is something unsettling and off about Mychel and Morella Mudd. Especially their smiles.
  • Hunting "Accident": The one that would have befallen Tytos Clegane in canon is referenced.
    Gregor: You'll hunt with me yet, Father. One way or another, you'll do it.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Every interaction Nightmare Fetishist Barb Bracken has with her timid sister Jayne involves her reveling in making her sister miserable, up until the scene where she furiously scares away their Creepy Uncle for being even worse to Jayne than Barb usually is.
  • I Was Quite a Looker:
    • The now fat and flatulent Garth Tyrell was, as he tells it, a handsome man in his youth. Varys confirms it.
    • Jon Arryn's Mal Mariée to the obviously repulsed Lysa prompts a bout of resentful brooding on his lost youth and good looks.
      You would not have stared so, he found himself thinking, if you had awoken to find me here in the blossom of my youth, and he felt a fool for thinking it, for there was no way that would have ever happened, no way for this woman to have known him when he was young, and handsome.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: While a few chapters are titled with the names of their POV characters, most use a descriptor or formal title such as "The Old Falcon", "The Loyal Knight", "The Knight of Hounds", or "The Khal". These mostly remain stable over the course of the story, but can change to reflect a character's changing status (for instance, Janos' first chapters are titled "The Butcher's Son", and become "The Journeyman of High Standing" and later "The True and Honorable Master" as the story progresses).
  • Immigrant Patriotism: The Slynt and Deem families view themselves as proudly Westerosi, despite originating in the Free Cities. Since they were slaves in Essos and came to Westeros primarily because the Seven Kingdoms outlaw slavery, this is easy to understand.
    Ilyrio: Janos... Allar... these are Essosi names...
    Allar: They are not.
    Janos: He's right. They are Westerosi names. Because we are Westerosi.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Everyone at dinner in Winterfell can hear Willam and Barbrey Dustin looking at tapestries.
  • Impoverished Patrician:
    • Zor Alexi of Sarnor is one despite his long list of titles. This is made worse because Alexi is both Sarnor's de facto ruler, and arguably one of its better-off nobles.
    • The Gaunts are one of the oldest houses in the Crownlands, but they are also rather poor.
    • The Rykkers were this until they were awarded Duskendale by King Aerys after the Defiance — their castle, Rykker's Rock, had collapsed into the sea, forcing them to live in Duskendale and rendering them little more than nobles in name only.
    • Lord Triston Sunderland is notably poor for a sovereign lord — Janos Slynt notes that his clothing and jewelry are all quite cheap-looking and frequently fairly old on top of that.
    • Orton Merryweather is one as a result of his exile and his grandfather's debts.
  • In Love with Love: It is implied that young Miri Rogers' present one-sided crush with Prince Renly is one of a series she's had.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Presumably suffered by the frail, sickly Lord Jon Hayford, first seen having to excuse himself after a violent coughing fit; in the time of canon the baby Ermesande (possibly his daughter) would be the last living Hayford.
  • Informed Attribute: Played with In-Universe, when Garth Tyrell wonders aloud exactly what Arthur Dayne has done to be considered a paragon of chivalry.
    [Jaime Lannister's] an honorable man, Ser Oswell. Not you, or the White Bull, or the Sword of Morning doing whatever it is he does that makes all swoon and declare him the living embodiment of knighthood for some strange reason.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Zor Alexi notes that the line of the Princes of Mardosh has continued unbroken to Zor Dmitri and his son Aloshya, unaware that Aloshya is dead.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Though this is widely believed of King Aerys, Rys argues that he was always a cruel, sadistic person (to which he can personally testify) and his mental problems were the least dangerous thing about him.
    Rys Chelsted: Men think it was his madness that made Aerys what he was. But they are wrong. His madness... oh, it just made him talk to people who weren't there, talk nonsense, curl up into a ball and scream.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Ned and Catelyn still end up looking after Greyjoy hostages, who happen to be Theon's uncles.
    • Alester Florent attaches himself to a contender for the throne, then gets himself executed for treason.
    • The different future of the Alternate Universe means the prophecies are different as well, but Cersei still got a disturbing prediction from Maggy the Frog and it's implied that she was still responsible for Melara Hetherspoon's death by drowning.
  • Insult Backfire: When Walder Frey mocks Janos Slynt's pride in being a butcher by saying it's dull work anyone can do, Janos dryly asks if Walder can do it. Walder can only sulk in response to the comment.
  • Insult to Rocks:
    • After Victarion's Too Dumb to Live moment, Hoster Tully remarks that saying he's got pease for brains would be an insult to pease.
      Hoster Tully: Victarion Greyjoy, if you think you will simply be allowed to go to Pyke, then you have pease for wits. And to be honest, I am likely insulting pease with that assessment.
    • When Vargo Hoat tries to appeal to their shared origin in Qohor, Belthus Byet responds by saying his dung could also be said to originate in Qohor.
      Belthus Byet: And there is nothing shameful about my dung.
  • In the Dreaming Stage of Grief: Barbara Bracken insists that whatever their Creepy Uncle did to Jayne (and maybe to her as well) was nothing but a bad dream.
  • Irony:
    • In canon, Ned has an extremely bad first impression when he finds Jaime sitting on the Iron Throne, and Catelyn believes Tyrion tried to kill her son. Here, Ned is far more sympathetic to Jaime, especially after he helps in the defense of Harrenhal, and Catelyn pities the young Tyrion who comes to say goodbye to his brother.
    • This is a timeline where the new Baratheon king seeks justice for Elia Martell and her children. It's also one where Dorne openly continues fighting on behalf of Viserys, as Oberyn had wanted to.
    • Despite (mostly) converting away from the old gods, House Bracken's weirwood tree continues to thrive. They like to lord this over House Blackwood, who still follow the old gods but whose weirwood is long dead.
    • Stannis declares to Jon Arryn as he offers him the Handship that he knows he has no gift for making men love him. This is after the Small Council meeting where Davos Seaworth and Rys Chelsted join, two men who love him.
  • It Amused Me:
    • Lord Lucerys Velaryon is one of the worst regarded of Aerys' lickspittles because where others acted out of twisted ideologies, a belief that flattering the king was the best way to handle him for the good of the realm, or even a simple desire of advancement, he seemed motivated by finding Aerys' actions funny — he chuckled as Lord Rickard and Brandon Stark died, and afterwards declared it the most notable thing a Stark had done for over a century.
    • True to being a Fat Bastard and a Troll, Aegon IV took the White Table of the Guildhall of King's Landing just to amuse himself and his latest mistress. The table was never returned and the merchants haven't forgiven nor forgotten the dick move.
  • It's All About Me: Haighley Shawney's reaction to the death of her betrothed Myles Mooton during the Rebellion is to complain about how it inconvenienced her, while her twin sister Halyse complains about Stannis's ingratitude in charging her betrothed, "poor Gregor" Clegane, with the brutal murders he committed. Earlier, they are found arguing about which of their former betrotheds was a grander match.
  • It's Personal: Inverted, then possibly played straight. Stannis lacks Robert's hatred of Rhaegar, and can see the murders of Rhaegar's wife and children for what they are. However, his terms for the Tyrells, who besieged him and mocked his starving men, are far harsher than Robert or Jon Arryn's would have been and do not encourage them to join the Stags. On the other side, Garth claims to Oberyn that any idea of a genuine peace ended with Mace's grisly death at Storm's End, and House Tyrell would only ever have bent the knee to Stannis for long enough to bring about his downfall.
  • Just Here for the Free Snacks: Lord Gaunt's daughter claims her father, an Impoverished Patrician, attended every party he could to cadge free food.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Balon and Euron Greyjoy launch their attack on the Fair Isle while their younger brothers are on a diplomatic mission in the middle of soon-to-be enemy territory. It's enough to make attendees of the Floating Market wince and express sympathies to a defensive Victarion when they find out about it.
    • Tywin Lannister sat back and watched a young Gregor Clegane maim his way through the other squires at a tournament (that is, the other squires without powerful families who might have retaliated), while Gregor's own father pleaded with him to stop the proceedings.
    • Clydas Shawney verbally abuses his granddaughter until she is close to tears, tries to get her orphaned nephew, his great-grandson, to join in, and then starts calling the boy a weakling when he starts crying.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Lord Peake, when he is murdered by an unknown person.
    Peake: Throat... tickling...
  • Kill It with Fire: Glarus Glyn Glesai tells Drogo that the best way to cleanse areas infected with the Red Death is to burn them, with wildfire, burning those who did the burning too, bury the ashes and then burn those who buried the ashes.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Both the present High Septon, Grayence Rykker, and his nephew and successor in canon, Daeron Langward, are shown to be affectionate towards cats, a benevolence that genuinely seems to spill over into their personal dealings with others.
  • King Incognito: Septon Daeron of the Most Devout goes about dressed as a begging brother in his spare time. He has an entire conversation with his own sacristan (who admires Daeron deeply but only knows him from letters) without revealing himself.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: By sending Lyanna and her (possibly legitimate) son abroad and supporting Viserys, the members of the Kingsguard who had been at the Tower of Joy were deciding who should be king. This is not what you want in a royal bodyguard.
    Gerold Hightower: The Kingsguard does not play games with the succession! Not since Ser Criston Cole!
    Oswell Whent: [thinking] But that is what you had us do, White Bull. And you know it.
  • King of Thieves: Mychel Mudd's title as "King of the Rivers and the Hills" may be largely self-designated but many outlaws and wildlings recognize him as having some sort of authority.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Ser Ronald Vance and Barbara Bracken have a history of romantic involvement and are maternal cousins.
    • Stannis is pretty sure Robert took the maidenhead of their cousin Adrya Tudbury.
    • Pycelle mentions that the youngest child of Daemon Blackfyre, Maelar Blackfyre, married his niece Rohanne, and the fruit of that union was Maelys the Monstrous.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Ser Clegane ... Ser Tytos Clegane, that is. An honorable man who cares passionately about helping the innocent.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Saathos Saan's grandson Samedos inherited his grandfather's "kingdom" in the Basilisk Isles. After five years, he sold it to Lys. As he lived another thirty years after this, it appears to have worked for him.
  • The Lady's Favor: Falena Lothston gives Oswell hers as a token of friendship instead of a romantic one.
  • Lady-In-Waiting: Gwyndolyn Chelsted, Marya Seaworth and Adrya Wensington are serving Cersei in this position to her annoyance.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Victarion initially assumes that Morella Mudd is a young boy, in part because of her unusually deep voice.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Tytos tells his free-riders about the War of the Ninepenny Kings in a way that pokes fun at how it's presented in The World of Ice & Fire. He notes how storytellers focus almost solely on Barristan Selmy's duel with Maelys the Monstrous and don't even mention what happened to most of the other Ninepenny Kings. In this universe, four of the other warlords died in the conflict, which dragged out for six months after Maelys died.
    Tytos: [T]o hear the singers tell of it, all that happened was we landed, Lord Ormund died, Maelys and Barristan fought, Maelys fell, and then we went home .
  • Large and in Charge: Mad Mychel Mudd is both extraordinarily tall, surprising Victarion Greyjoy with his height and serves as a leader to many on the fringes of Riverlands' society.
  • Large Ham: Titus Peake, the extremely outraged Lord PEAKE OF STARPIKE!
  • Leave No Survivors: The Widow-All-In-White is notorious in smuggler and pirate circles for simply killing the crews of ships she takes.
  • Left Hanging: Has gone over three years without an update, with the most recent chapter showing Stannis getting a raven that alarms him and telling Davos that they must talk in his new capacity as Master of Ships. As of April, 2020, updates resumed after a hiatus of three years and seven months.
  • Let Me at Him!: Ned has to hold back Tytos Blackwood from attacking Barbara Bracken in the Harrenhal godswood during an argument over their family weirwoods.
  • Life Saving Misfortune: Jaime mentions that Aerys kicked Lord Rosby out of King's Landing for coughing during a feast and made Lord Rykker leave as well for arguing on Rosby's behalf, but feels that this probably saved their lives due to how most of Aerys' remaining courtiers ended up being killed by their Ax-Crazy monarch, mobs of angry people, or Jaime himself.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Tytos Clegane is very large, and takes his opponents off guard by being fast as well.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son:
    • Tytos Clegane can't believe a monster like Gregor came from his loins, and who can blame him. Whereas Tytos tries to live up to the ideals of knighthood as best as he can and is A Father to His Men, Gregor is certainly a Bad Boss who has killed his own men for annoying him, and who only sees knighthood as an excuse to murder people.
    • Qarlton Chelsted was well-known for greasing the wheels with flattery, while his son Rys deals in snark and Brutal Honesty; of course, they serve(d) two very different people.
  • Literal-Minded: When casually called a Son of a Whore, Victarion lashes out at the speaker and staunchly defends his mother's honor as a lady.
  • Locked Up and Left Behind: A nerve-wracking but ultimately positive version of this is referenced in chapter 91. Brandon Stark's squire, Ethan Glover, describes how he spent a year in the black cells, constantly expecting a horrible execution like the other members of Brandon Stark's party. Jaime tells him that Aerys may have planned some horrible execution for Ethan at one point, but probably just forgot about him after a while.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair: One of the most prominent landmarks in the Rollingford lands is a massive bridge, built by Lord Ryam Rollingford in the Age of Heroes to keep the valuable trade route open during floods, and made "to last for thousands and thousands of years, till the world cracked and was built anew…" The bridge still stands, but the river it crosses is now a stream,and the trade route is gone, along with the wealth and power that let the Rollingfords build the bridge.
  • Loser Son of Loser Dad: The ineffectual Lucyaen Tregaelyen is the son of an unsuccessful Prince of Pentos whose career ended in the usual fashion after only a few months.
  • The Lost Lenore: Jon Arryn spends a lot of chapter 92 reminiscing about his beloved first wife and soul mate Jeyne Royce, who died in childbirth (and to a lesser extent his also deceased second wife Rowena, who helped him get through The Mourning After). The unhappiness of his current marriage amplifies these feelings.
  • Loving a Shadow: In Lyanna's opinion, Robert never loved her, but was instead infatuated with a fantasy woman cobbled together out of his lost mother, a vague archetype of the fair maiden of tales, and her brother.
    You never saw me when you were alive, never knew me! All you ever saw was something you dreamed — Ned with tits, the mother you lost, the princess in every tale, all rolled into one! You never saw me! Never!
  • Man of the City: Tommen Brightflowers and many of his fellow merchants feel a passionate attachment to King's Landing that makes them seek to protect its safety and economic prosperity, and feel that there is nowhere else they'd rather be. The following exchange in chapter 99 may best display this.
    Janos: Have you ever thought of… oh, if you and yours had become lords of Brightwater Keep?"
    Tommen gave a shrug. "Oh, occasionally when I was a child, but… never deeply." He looked at Janos seriously. "This is our home, Janos. It has served us well, and we… we have served it well. We love it. We love it deeply...Outsiders may call this city a stinking hole, and perhaps it is. But it is so much more than that. There is beauty here, and not just in the fine septs and pretty fountains. In deals made, and bonds honored. In trades practiced with skill and artistry by free people, not slaves. In men and women going about their lives, looking to stand a little taller than they did the day before, and hoping their children can stand taller still." To Janos' surprise, Tommen's eyes seemed to glisten somewhat, as if he was holding back tears. "As I said, a beautiful thing. What need have I for a castle that I could sit in while I dreamed of getting a better castle, when I have this?"
  • Manipulative Bastard: Clydas Shawney demonstrates this when, after first gloating to his cousin Walder Frey about how much he enjoys playing on his descendants' feelings to get them to jump through hoops for him, he then plays on Walder's feelings of resentment to get him focused on how much he hates Hoster Tully.
  • Marry for Love: The Brightflowers clan is descended from a younger Florent son who chose to marry the daughter of a merchant (having four children with her) rather than another noble. Sadly, when his brothers and nephews died, his parents forced him to annul the marriage and remarry a highborn girl.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings:
    • The current High Septon, formerly known as Grayence Rykker, was the youngest of ten children.
    • Maester Pycelle mentions that Daemon Blackfyre and his wife Rohanne of Tyrosh had twelve surviving children, including three sets of twins; Aegon and Aemon, Calla, Daena and Elaena, Daemon II, Rhaena, Haegon I, Aenys, Gaemon and Gael, and Maelar. That she survived all the births and lived until her seventies is considered a marvel.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In a conversation where each have agreed to give true answers, Garth Tyrell tells Uthera Ruari, visitor to the royal court, that he was told a bit of information about her by "a friend". Then, with the implication that he knows her backstory is a lie, he asks who her mother really is. She says that her mother was the woman who gave birth to her, which, while correct, is clearly not the answer that he was going for.
    Uthera Ruari: The woman who bore my sister and I to my father.
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!:
    • During an argument, Barbara Bracken unsubtly reminds her sister Jayne that their mother died on the same day she was born.
    • Tywin not only resents Tyrion for Joanna's death in childbirth as per canon but similarly resents his brother Gerion for the death of their mother.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • Lyanna's Dead Person Conversation with Rhaegar might be genuine or might be a dream.
    • The Mudds' demonstrate some abilities during their transportation of Victarion over the Riverlands — ropes that seemingly tie themselves, never encountering natural obstacles or routine difficulties during their travels — that may be mystical, or may simply be the result of their skill at river navigation. Likewise, Mychel's knowing of Elyn Waynwood's unhappiness as to her arranged marriage may have been mystical, or may have simply been having good sources of intelligence in the Vale.
    • Septon Balerion is seen by Jon Arryn performing some trick with a fire that seems to involve controlling it and causing it to change colors. Balerion dismisses it as a conjurers' trick, and it is left unresolved whether he is practicing actual magic or simply using sleight of hand and chemical substances to get his results.
  • Meaningful Echo: A drunk Uthera Ruari opines that half the rulers of Lys should be whipped and the other half beheaded. Eight chapters later, in another viewpoint, Salladhor Saan says the same - and mentions that he's said it often. Likely a hint that "Uthera" is Salladhor's cousin Samarra.
  • Metaphorgotten: The present High Septon, known by many as the Long-Winded One, has a habit for overextending metaphors until they start to lose coherence.
    High Septon: The blessings of the Seven fall upon us fortunate mortals from above like rain upon the earth. And like the rain, should these blessings fall on fertile soil, they sprout and bring forth good things to nurture the faithful children of the Seven.
    Cersei: [thinking] Rain does not sprout, you imbecile.
    High Septon: (later in the same sermon) And thus we see that the blessings of the Seven are like unto gold, imperishable, and greatly valued, but greater than gold, for they are of the spirit, and gold is of the body, yet also... yet also beyond gold. Because... they surpass it in... many ways.
  • Might Makes Right: Pycelle's post-facto justification for Stannis taking the throne away from the surviving Targaryen children boils down to this.
    Grand Maester Pycelle: Your Grace, what is this present war but a Grand Council by the sword?
    Willam Dustin: (swipes a turkey leg) I claim this by right of my hunger. My hand has acted in place of a Grand Council.
  • Modern Major General: Jon Arryn is a capable general, and skilled administrator. However, when Stannis places him in charge of the newly created post of Keeper of the Great Seal (roughly equivalent to a Chancellor or Foreign Minister), he flounders badly in his chief duty, having only a rudimentary knowledge of many Essosi states. Indeed, in one Small Council meeting, the new Master of Coin demonstrates more understanding of foreign affairs than he does.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The High Septon goes from reciting a fire-and-brimstone speech calling on the king to repent to gushing over Balerion (the cat).
    • Janos Slynt's ritual initiation as a Master of the Guildhall hits a speedbump when one of the established Masters gets stuck in the process of his dramatic unmask.
      Janos: If it helps, I'm still rather impressed by all this.
      Tommen Brightflowers: [sighs] It helps some.
  • Morality Pet: Apparently, Khal Drogo's late sister Bharbei. It's mentioned that, because of her Pentoshi mother, she had fair hair — like Drogo's wife Daenerys would have in canon.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Averted by Willam Dustin, who declines to forbid his wife any of the sexual activity that he himself engages in, only drawing the line at Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe. He was angrier with Brandon Stark for blithely discarding Barbrey than he was for sleeping with her.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Tytos Clegane regards his son Gregor as this. The one he had hoped would bring fame and respect to the Clegane name has instead brought the House infamy and disgrace, as well as traumatized his other two children.
    • Jon Arryn once asked his late sister's brother-in-law Lord Waynwood to let him foster two of of their mutual nieces who were unhappy at home, but Waynwood condescendingly said Jon was too soft to raise them right. One of them was impregnated, abandoned, lost her baby and ended up Taking the Veil and the other was abused and starved until she agreed to a creepy forced marriage and then got kidnapped on the way to her wedding by people who are viewed as rapists and torturers (although unknown to Jon, that ended in Abduction Is Love). Jon wishes he'd pushed harder to take them in and give them happier lives, and that he'd answered the younger girl's letters asking for help.
    • Varys expresses deep regret at having turned Aerys against Rickard Stark — he saw Rickard's political maneuverings (i.e. fostering and arranging marriages for his children with other great Houses) as a plot against the Iron Throne, and only realized too late that he was just trying to reestablish the North's relevance in the rest of Westeros.
    • The High Septon is haunted by his inability to counsel Aerys away from committing atrocities.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong:
    • Victarion provides a rare version where the servant is the worse of the pair, and resentful of the master (his father Quellon) being a decent, reform-minded person who he nonetheless holds some love and respect for and continues to serve.
    • The survivors of Aerys' Kingsguard, as per canon, although they do take solace in having a less ruthless current king, ranging from the fanatically loyal Gerold Hightower to the silently skeptical Oswell Whent.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title appears to be drawn from a confrontation between Renly and Stannis in A Clash of Kings.
      Renly: No one wants you for their king. Sorry.
    • The observation that a cloak (as metonymy for the organization it represents) changes the man who wears it - in this case, for the worse.
    • As Alliser Thorne and his comrades escape from the Harrenhall dungeons, Luthor Crabb protests that they'll be caught and hung if they if they ride through "stag country," causing Jarman Buckwell to go Grammar Nazi and quip "I didn't know you were a tapestry". There is a similar exchange in the original books between Merrett Frey's wife and daughter about how he was hanged (rather than hung) by the Brotherhood Without Banners.
    • Quellon Greyjoy's youngest child is named Yara, the Adaptation Name Change of his granddaughter Asha.
    • Like her eventual niece, Lyanna goes to Braavos holding a special coin. Once there, she uses the name of her maternal grandmother, Arya Flint, and stays in the "house with a red door" that is Daenerys's childhood home in canon.
    • Tywin tells his mistress Chataya to go "wherever it is that whores go".
    • Viserys uses the same mock-naive rhetorical technique as Daenerys.
      I am very young and perhaps ignorant. But it sounds to me as if you are saying [...]
    • The current Master of Coin got his first job through connections and proceeded to rise on merit. He uses an Animal Motif in lieu of his house sigil. He's also an incorrigible smartass.
    • Khal Drogo's interest in "Andal" (Westerosi) culture and the "dragon men" (Valyrians) hints at his motivations for marrying Daenerys in canon.
    • Pate of the Piebald, like Robb Stark, takes a dim view of someone who tries to excuse himself by claiming he only watched a crime being carried out.
    • Cersei is the twin who shows Character Development by burning a relative's importuning letter.
    • Barb Bracken threatens to "crown you, [Tytos] Blackwood, so that all will gaze upon you with wonder!" — with a tree branch rather than molten gold.
    • Garth Tyrell asks Oswell Whent what he would have done if Lyanna's brother had come to the Tower of Joy for her - which is what happened in canon.
    • The orrery of Aerys I is a reference to the show Game of Thrones' famed opening credit sequence.
    • Orton Merryweather asks if the fictitious first lover his wife has revealed to a female mark is 'the pirate' refererencing the story she told Cersei in canon, and expresses disappointment when it isn't.
    • Belthus Byet tells an importunate Vargo Hoat to remove his hand from him or have it removed, with the implication that it would also be removed from Hoat.
    • Daena Targaryen wore white as a jab at her brother-husband Baelor's celibacy; her likely descendant and namesake wears white as a widow.
  • Named After Somebody Famous:
    • Tytos Clegane is named after the lord who raised his father to a landed knight; it turns out he was one of many, as Tytos Lannister was quite popular with his employees.
    • Falena Lothston appears to be named after Aegon IV's mistress (and her presumable forebear) Falena Stokeworth Lothston.
    • Aerys Chelsted was named after the late king due to his father Qarlton's sycophancy. At this point it's an Embarrassing First Name; he prefers to go by "Rys".
    • An unusually high proportion of the Most Devout bear Targaryen names, including multiple Baelors. One is even named after a dragon, Balerion. He notes that this is a common habit on his home isle, Dragonstone, and that he has an aunt named Syrax.
    • In the backstory, Lord Harwyn Bracken was named after Harwyn Hoare.
    • Daemon Blackfyre's daughter Daena and his granddaughter Daena the Devil are both probably named after his mother, Daena the Defiant. Two other daughters, Rhaena and Elaena, share the names of his aunts (Daena's sisters).
    • Haegon II's younger son Aegor was named for his uncle/great-uncle Bittersteel.
    • Zor Alexi is named for his distant relative, Mazor Alexi, the last High King of the Sarnor.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • Gregor and Sandor Clegane's father (Tytos), sister (Scylla), mother (Yseult), and grandfather (Gregor the elder).
    • Tytos Lannister's mistresses, Nelyse or "Nell" and Elspeth or "Elsie."
    • Shella and Walter Whent's children: Willem, Allan, Olyvar, Symond, and Alysanne.
    • Karyl Vance's father is named Addam Vance.
    • Victarion's first wife, Ute Goodbrother.
    • Quellon Greyjoy's wives: Gudron Stonetree (mother to Harlon, Quenton, and Donel), Ingraboda Sunderly (mother to Balon, Euron, Victarion, Urrigon and Aeron), and Desdemone Piper (mother to Robin and Yara).
    • Robert and Stannis's widowed maternal cousin, Adrya Tudbury Wensington.
    • Janos Slynt's wife, Asynda, and his butcher father, Olyvar.
    • Two of Alys Arryn and Elys Waynwood's daughters, Elyn and Artessa.
    • The barely mentioned two youngest sons of Daemon Blackfyre I are given names and each comes across as a Long-Dead Badass. Gaemon ran the Golden Company for some time after Bittersteel's death and his brother Maelar (known as “The Prince who saved the sword" after the Third Blackfyre Rebellion) fathered Maelys and then died in the Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion. Besides Cella, their sisters (whose number is unstated in canon) are Daena, Elaena, Rhaena, and Gael.
    • The brothers of Daemon Blackfyre III (it's unclear exactly how many brothers he has in canon) are Aegon, Aemon, and Haegon II.
    • The unnamed mistress Aerys executed as a scapegoat for the death of his infant son Jaehaerys is given the name Emalyn Belford.
    • The previously unnamed uncle of Willam Dustin who's good with an axe is given the name Alyck Dustin.
    • The High Septon during Aerys's reign was born Grayence Rykker. The hefty Septon Daeron (born Daeron Langward), his nephew and likely successor, is implied to have become the unnamed High Septon known as "the fat one."
    • Gregor's first wife, who died under mysterious circumstances is Halyse Shawney, who due to his exile has avoided the marriage.
    • The Bastard of Harrenhal is given the name Harrold Rivers, son of Manfryd Lothston.
    • One of the three daughters of Lord Butterwell who was impregnated by Aegon IV is named Betha Butterwell, and the child from that union is given the name Elys Chambers.
    • 'Silver Axe' Fell's given name is Darwyn.
  • Naturalized Name: Nyvar Slynt, who came to King's Landing from (presumably) Volantis, gave his son the Westerosi name Olyvar. Olyvar's son, though, is named Janos, which is apparently Volantene.
  • Nepotism:
    • Quite literally in this case — the High Septon has given many of his nephews (and quite a few nieces) high positions in the Faith, including members of the Most Devout.
    • Rys Chelsted comments that his father gave him a treasury position due to their relationship and was surprised to find that Rys was good at the job.
  • Never Heard That One Before:
    • The High Septon has repeatedly joked about the names of Septons Balerion and Togarion, to the point where Togarion can mouth along.
    • Pycelle gets a Thousand-Yard Stare when Rys recalls Lucerys Velaryon's grossly overused quip about what brothels and navies have in common. note 
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Janos's father used to fondly remember how Queen Rhaella complimented his work as a butcher.
    • Oswell Whent notes that Aesnyth is polite to the servants and has her leftovers given out to the poor.
    • Belthus Byet apologizes to his escort at Chataya's for leaving a rebuffed Vargo Hoat angry and ready to lash out at her.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Barbara Bracken enjoys watching people getting tortured, chuckles about the time she had her father set the hounds on some poachers they caught during a hunt, and looks on Roose Bolton's castle being known as the Dreadfort and having a room filled with the flayed skins of their enemies as attractive qualities.
  • No Longer with Us: The former Lady Dustin turns out to be a Missing Mom who isn't a member of the Dead Ladies Club.
    Willam Dustin: I cried more when mother left us...
    Jaime Lannister: I... I know what it is like, to have your mother die...
    Willam Dustin: Well, I do not. She didn't die, she left.
  • The Non Descript: If it wasn't for his flamboyant clothing and club feet, Rys Chelsted would be the most average and least outstanding person you'll meet.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: One of the primary sources of concern among the Dothraki following the fall of Vaes Dothrak is that they don't actually know what's going on beyond the fact that something killed everyone in the city and that khalasars keep disappearing. The groups that moved away from their ancient roaming grounds, either following Drogo's pilgrimage or pursuing other foes, still encounter news of one another, but behind them, in the Dothraki Sea, there is only a vast silence and the unknown fates of those who stayed, about whom nothing is ever heard.
    "And besides" said Drogo, "has anyone heard anything from Kharo of late? He went to Vaes Dothrak, he had his mother declare him the Stallion that Mounts the World, he sent out messengers and then... silence. The Sea seems almost to have swallowed him up, as it has so many other khalasars since the Doom began."
  • Not Me This Time:
    • Almost everyone is convinced Oberyn Martell, notorious poisoner, is behind the death of Lord Titus Peake. He is innocent.
    • The High Septon is not shy about his Nepotism toward his birth family, leading many to believe that he was behind House Rykker's profit from the extinction of House Darklyn. He was actually horrified, and had to be restrained by his subordinates from denouncing the massacre to Aerys's face.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Catelyn becomes irate when Jaime idly commiserates about fatherly behavior and she thinks she's pulling this. Willam Dustin later suggests that Hoster Tully is as ruthless as Tywin Lannister, just better at hiding it.
    • A sympathetic prostitute comments that Gerion's life, financially dependent on a brother who hates him and uses him as a procurer, is also selling himself - and selling himself short.
    • Victarion claims that the ironborn and the mountain clans of the Vale are "alike" in their hardscrabble life disdained by softer societies. The man he's talking to, a member of the Painted Dogs, angrily refutes him.
      Blut: We are nothing alike, ironman. You demand more than your due, and glory in the taking of it. We ask only what we are owed as men. You are bullies and thieves and slavers. And like every slaver, you are at the bottom of you a slave.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Mad Mychel Mudd and his daughter Morella are seen by many who meet them as a pair of slightly mad fishers going up and down the Trident, perhaps doing a bit of smuggling on the side. They are much, much worse, which is established by the death of a woman upset about her family giving them tribute and shelter.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Malora Hightower, the so-called Mad Maid is actually quite sound of mind, she just pretends to be insane so she can pursue her interest in astrology and other mystical subjects without the hassles of being a noble lady.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Garth Tyrell is a lot more calculating than he lets most people realize.
    • Hoster Tully pretends to be soused for most of a conversation with Gerion Lannister.
    • Orton Merryweather uses his cardsharping ability to throw games, hiding behind his "honest, stupid face" to gather information.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Lady Tanda Stokeworth feels that her grandfather Lord Clydas' obvious disdain for her is a sign of his affection, noting to her daughter Falyse how he is always laughing when she is around.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws:
    • Stannis and Tywin; the feeling is mutual and obvious to observers.
    • It's heavily implied Manly Stokeworth was one of the few of Clydas Shawney's many in-laws who have called him out for abusing their hospitality, refusing to attend the wedding at Rollingford while his wife Tanda still tries to get her grandfather's favor despite the obvious disdain the old lord has for her. It is later revealed that his relationship with his Thorne in-laws are notoriously poor, making their attending the wedding suspicious.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Garth Tyrell hits it off wonderfully with Prince Oberyn and his Dornish companions over a shared love of political intrigue and the finer points of poisoning, although that doesn't stop him from keeping his eyes and ears open.
    • Everyone is surprised when Tyrion, a dwarf and a Lannister, befriends the ironborn brothers Aeron and Urrigon Greyjoy.
    • Gerion Lannister becomes more familiar with Hoster Tully and Jeor Mormont on the same journey.
    • Aeron Greyjoy, a follower of the Drowned God who takes pride in his mother's witchcraft, also seems to be getting on with Jayne Bracken, a pious follower of the Seven raised to fear the ironborn, possibly partly because he sympathizes with her over being bullied by her sister.
    • Marya Seaworth, carpenter's daughter and wife of a smuggler-turned-knight, and Gwyndolyn Chelsted, once-Impoverished Patrician.
    • Old Gods-worshipping, youthful, and somewhat spartan Lord Paramount, Ned Stark and corpulent Stepford Smiler Septon Daeron find several points in common and a sense of shared sympathy after they go on a long walk together after meeting on the road.
  • Offerings to the Gods: Even many pious Seven-worshipers at least leave gifts at heart trees for the Old Gods' on things seen as under their influence, although such gifts seldom seem to be anything greater than bowls of cream or a plate of oat cakes.
  • Oh, Crap!: Walder Frey's reaction when he finally commits to Robert's rebellion only to learn that Robert just died.
  • Old Soldier: Tytos Clegane considers himself as such, even if he's still a very capable fighter and skilled commander.
  • One Head Taller: Garth comments on Viserys's Puppy Love.
    Garth: He adores [Obara's] fierce affection, her total devotion, and the attentions of a girl who, to judge by their builds, will always be about a head taller than him.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Averted when there are so many Pates among Tytos Clegane's volunteers that he resorts to assigning them epithets.
    • One of the Most Devout is Septon Sefton, implied to be the great-nephew of the Septon Sefton in The Sworn Sword.
  • Only Sane Man: By the latter portion of Aerys' rule, Qarlton Chelsted was the only Small Council member willing to offer even a token resistance to Aerys' madder edicts.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: When Septon Balerion discusses the late Septon Murmison's supposed precognitive powers, Pycelle snarks that he didn't see his own death coming. Balerion shuts Pycelle up by calmly reciting a prophecy where Murmison did foretell his own agonizing death, and how few would mourn or understand him afterward, and how he would nonetheless "die in peace."
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Glarus tells Drogo that the Red Waste is home to a species of ghoul-like creatures called the Ifrit. They're thin, no heavier than a child, yet they're cunning, capable of speech, and are always trying to lure travelers away from the safe paths in order to kill and eat them. According to Glarus, there are no more than a few thousand left.
  • Out of Focus: The Iron Islands is probably the least represented of the Seven Kingdoms, as of Chapter 102. While three Greyjoys are prominent characters and their father, stepmother, surviving siblings, and niece appear and/or are frequently mentioned, the rest of the Iron Islanders remain an interchangeable horde of reavers who have only appeared onscreen in one chapter. Only a small handful of contemporary Ironborn outside of the family, like Harren Botley (who summons Aeron and Urrigon to a meeting) or Dagmer Cleftjaw, have even been mentioned by name.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: This being the world of Ice and Fire, it's not rare for parents, both high and low, to outlive their children.
    • Walter and Shella Whent end up losing their eldest and third sons, Willem and Symond, both of whom died during the Rebellion.
    • Olenna Tyrell ends up losing her son Mace, who dies foolishly trying to break the Siege of Storm's End.
    • Unlike his cousin Walder Frey, who has managed to keep a surprisingly large amount of his children and descendants alive, Clydas Shawney has outlived most of his children and some of his grandchildren.
    • Zor Dmitri admits to his companions that his son Aloshya committed suicide some time before the story.
    • Maggy's prophecy still claims that Cersei's children will die before her as "princes, but no kings" - likely before Stannis as well.
    • Lord Conrad Rogers has outlived his son Harrold, leaving his eldest grandson Benedict as heir of Amberly.
  • Palette Swap: The Brightflowers arms are the fox and flowers of their progenitor House Florent, with the colors changed.
  • Parental Favoritism: Garth Tyrell seems more fond of his Otherys daughters in Braavos than his Flowers sons in Highgarden.
    Garth: [in front of his son Garse] Daughters are such a treasure, I find, even if sons are so often a burden and a disappointment.
  • Parental Substitute: Gerion Lannister's mother died soon after his birth; the closest thing he remembers is his nurse/his father's mistress Nell.
  • Parents as People: The various flaws and kind acts of Tytos Lannister are discussed by his son Gerion and Hoster Tully. On some level Gerion likes the kind of Lord he was better than the kind Tywin has become, but agrees that he was a poor ruler who would have made a good innkeeper.
  • Parting-Words Regret:
    • Inverted. Benjen Stark is haunted by the fact that his murdered father's last words to him were spoken in anger, presumably over his involvement in Lyanna's disguise at Harrenhal.
    • Both inverted and played straight with Lyanna, who is still haunted by her final argument with her father, where he called her a 'hellion' and she called him a fool.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: Alliser Thorne resents his brother, Ouen, for not making him master-at-arms of the family castle and giving him a permanent position of authority there. When they finally meet again, Ouen argues that he wanted to keep Alliser free for bigger and better things, as he thought his brother was being groomed for the kingsguard. Alliser got passed over for the kingsguard as well. Twice.
  • Perilous Old Fool: Tytos Clegane considers the old lord Sumner Crakehall as such, something his son Tybolt and grandson Lyle don't deny. Apparently he once ended up beridden for a month after trying to jump a fence, to prove he still could.
  • Person with the Clothing: The Widow-All-In-White.
  • Pet the Dog: Janos Slynt buys fruit — which he's noted is increasingly expensive — from a shopkeeper who was just casually robbed by a gold cloak. His companion takes it as a statement and warns him about offending the City Watch; Janos insists all he did was buy fruit. Later, after seeing what Ryce Rollingford has to put up with from her grandfather, her betrothed, and her soon-to-be goodfamily, he offers to pay for her wedding dress so she can have something nice.
  • Pimp Duds: The representative of the House of the Morning and the Evening Star wears a flamboyant outfit complete with a large hat with feathers and a decorated walking stick.
  • Pirate Girl: Several female pirates have appeared, the most notable being the Widow-All-In-White, widow of Ninepenny King Samarro Saan.
  • Prince Charming Wannabe: Lord Monford Velaryon is quite taken with Uthera Ruari and has made numerous attempts to win her over with rather smug gestures and offers to spend time together. Uthera has generally been fending him off with witty insults, though as he continues she has been increasingly blunt that she has no interest in him. He still refuses to take a hint.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • One of Pycelle's teachers, Archmaester Lothar, "drilled [The Blackfyre] family tree into every acolyte working for his electrum link, and swore that the future of the Seven Kingdoms would one day depend on knowing it." Pycelle indicates that he felt exasperated by the task, but does admit to worrying that a female line Blackfyre might resurface. One of Daemon Blackfyre's daughters, one of his granddaughters, and his three great-granddaughters all vanished at certain points and may have had children, and some of the male Blackfyres might have had bastard children, (though Pycelle is dubious that such a bastard, or at least a male bastard, could have stayed incognito). During the main story, incognito Blackfyres are indeed entering both Highgarden and King's Landing while keenly watching the civil war.
    • After several days of doing business at the Rollingford-Frey wedding celebrations, Janos is convinced that something dangerous and shifty is happening at the ceremony. Before leaving, he asks Fyn the Fiddler, another guildsman who is remaining behind, to keep an eye on things. Since there are hidden weapons afoot and a Frey buying wildfire, Janos has a right to be scared. Even a Shawney daughter who is friendly with Janos and Fyn agrees that something bad is in the works, even if it’s unclear what it is (loyalists to both kings seem worried and distrustful) and which family members are involved.
  • Prophecy Twist: When considering alternate interpretations of the prophecy she received, Cersei muses on the stories where this happens, including one case where a Lannister king assumed a warning of "the horse" symbolized House Bracken only to be done in by his literal horse.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The merchants of King's Landing, who seem to be primarily descended from freed Essosi slaves and Reach bastards, are proud of their culture, treating their ceremonies and delegations with a good deal of seriousness and holding their dealing to specific ethical standards.
    Tommen Brightflowers: And so I can say to you that I hold this even greater than being the descendant of some little king — that I am a True and Honorable Master of King's Landing, the son of the same, the grandson of the same, and so on for three more generations. Brightflowers have sold grain, sold cloth, sold many fine things . But we have never sold men. Nor shall we ever.
  • Psychopathic Man Child:
    • Aegon 'Bloodborn' Frey (who in the canon universe is an outlaw when the books begin) picks potentially deadly fights with his own relatives and threatens Janos Slynt for no real reason at all. When Janos tells him that attacking a Master of Guildhall would ultimately go badly for him, Aegon's response to having been shown up clearly has him on the verge of tears. After he gets curbstomped by Alliser Thorne he literally runs away crying.
    • Vargo Hoat's rather pathetic attempts to associate with a group of wealthy Qohorik and violent response when he is rebuffed comes across as much childish as it is dangerous.
  • Puppy Love: Between Viserys and Obara Sand, despite him casually talking about eventually marrying his sister and/or Margaery Tyrell (who are both infants at this point).
    Obara: The Tyrells are but stewards, far too common to wed a Dragon...
    Viserys: I am the king. I decide who is common and who is not. [kisses her]
  • Racial Remnant: The Sarnori people (especially those who can trace their descent to Mardosh) have been ravaged by the Dothraki, and those who barely survived to relocate now live in much smaller settlements, with only memories of their past culture and glory that they hope to one day regain.
  • Rage Quit: A young Tywin flipped the cyvasse board after talking it up as a strategy game and then repeatedly losing to his six-year-old brother. Cyvasse was verboten at Casterly Rock ever after.
  • Rags to Riches: Davos Seaworth has gone from street urchin to notorious smuggler to landed knight to Master of Ships and Lord of Driftmark.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Played for snark when Rys Chelsted describes the Faith's priorities during the Andal Conquest.
    Rys: Witgar [Chelsted] then brought in a septon and confessed to all the various crimes he’d committed winning his prize. The septon told him that all his murders and thefts were of course, utterly righteous, being performed on vile tree-worshiping pagans. However, he did object to the rapes, so Witgar promised to build a sept.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Ser Tytos Clegane is both a formidable warrior and a pious worshiper of the Seven who can quote holy verse and expound upon theological points.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • King Stannis tries to be this. How successful he is varies greatly depending on who you ask.
    • King Viserys also seems to be trying for this. He claims when he retakes the Throne he will let Stannis take the Black and let Renly have Storm's End. Tywin, however, he very much wants dead.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Garth Tyrell tears into Oswell Whent's claims of being honorable, citing how he and his fellow Kingsguard did nothing to stop Aerys's abuses and then cast away Rhaegar's surviving child.
  • Red Baron:
    • Khal Preisoo is commonly referred to just as "the Headtaker" by other Dothraki, due to his habit of taking his opponents' heads and hanging them from his belt.
    • The Lazhareen prophet who is uniting his people against the weakened Dothraki is referred to exclusively as the Golden Ram.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Alliser Thorne's fellow prisoners Curgen and Luthor Crabbe discuss this, with some degree of familiarity, to the annoyance of Alliser and the disgust of Jarman Buckwell.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Gregor Clegane, with little hope of disguising himself, simply goes around the Free Cities under the Lazy Alias of Ser Aegon Stone, a blatant reference to the crime he's been exiled for, and insisting that he was born in Essos, all with the implicit threat hanging of what he might do to anyone who says he's lying.
    • When Ser Gerold Hightower speaks against allying with Falena and her Golden Company associates, Falena goes full Large Ham, sarcastically wailing about the possibility of a Blackfyre king being crowned and Blackfyres "[w]alking these halls," before pointedly reminding Gerold and Viserys that the last Blackfyre king died almost a quarter of a century ago. However, there are still incognito female-line Blackfyres, and one of them (Falena's own lover) is in the room during that speech, "walking these halls" and trying not to laugh at Falena's antics.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • Some possible female line Blackfyres are cousins of Salladhor Saan.
    • The Goodbrook, Thorne, Stokeworth, Sunderland, Hayford, Rollingford, Edgerton, Keath, Mooton, Staunton, Grafton, Darry, and Lolliston families are all related by being either descendants of Clydas Shawney or in-laws of descendants. That also makes them distant cousins of the Frey clan, since Walder and Clydas are cousins.
    • Garth Tyrell is the father of Bellonara Otherys, the Black Pearl of Braavos, and grandfather of Bellegere, the current Pearl in canon. Further, his other daughter by the previous Black Pearl is the Poetess, implied to be the mother of the later courtesan of that name.
    • Future river pirate captain Korra the Cruel is the granddaughter of Ninepenny King the Old Mother.
    • Drogo's bloodrider Haggo is his paternal cousin.
    • The fat High Septon from the first two books is a nephew of the High Septon who tried to get Aerys to be a faithful husband to his wife.
    • Timett son of Timett is Jon Arryn's great-nephew on his mother's side and implied to be descended from Nettles the dragonrider and Daemon Targaryen on his father's side.
    • Aurion, the dragon lord who initially survived the Doom of Valyria while visiting Qohor many centuries before the story, was a descendant of the Valyrian explorer Jaenara Belaerys.
    • Gerion speculates that Longclaw is the lost Lannister sword Goldenfang and came to the Mormonts via the ironborn.
    • Rosey, one of the daughters of Megette and Aegon IV who was forced to become a septa, is implied to have been the governess of her half-sister Jeyne Lothston and the mother of Manfryd Lothston's bastard son Harrold.
    • Daughters of Branda Stark and Harrold Rogers have married into House Errol and House Fell.
  • Released to Elsewhere: One dignitary to Viserys' court is a young Qohorik noble who talks about how her sister was married to their God, the Black Goat of Qohor, and is unable to see her sister due to the sister living in the God's temple. Everyone with any knowledge about Qohor takes this to mean that her sister was a Human Sacrifice and no one had the heart to tell her.
  • The Reliable One: Alliser Thorne remembers Ser Harlan Grandison as "a workhorse among show ponies" whose deeds were less flashy than other members of the Kingsguard but no less important.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The Archon of Mantarys, a city on the edge of the ruins of Valyria, is named Gorynych Zmei after the three-headed dragon of Slavic myth. His brother Tugarin is named after another Slavic dragon.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Cersei concludes that her father is remarrying to get a replacement (male, able-bodied) heir.
  • Retired Monster: Glarus Glyn Glesai is a former Sorrowful Man whose plans were to use his earnings to go into business as a merchant prince. Circumstances have kept those plans from coming to fruition.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Selyse Florent betrays her house to the Dragon court, exposing their conspiracy to defect to the Stags and supplant the Tyrells as lords of the Reach, and throwing in some slander about Human Sacrifice to the old gods. Exact Words is then employed to send her to the Faith instead of letting her inherit Brightwater Keep — she was promised a great marriage, and now she's married to the Gods themselves.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Maerroro Maegyr sarcastically asks Master Mercer Tommen Brightflowers if he's the descendant of "some little king" when the latter grandly demands he leaves his tavern. Tommen replies that, yes, he is, actually (the Brightflowers are descended from the Florents, and hence also from the Gardeners).
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: With Stannis as an Enlightened and meritocratic policy wonk and Viserys as a Romantic charismatic ruler.
  • Running Gag: Ned and Cat both have to endure a traveling companion's incessant singing on the journey to Harrenhal.
  • Sad Clown:
  • Sarcastic Confession: Mad Mychel Mudd deflects a party looking for his prisoner, Victarion, by grandly proclaiming his guilt in a manner that convinces them that he's just making fun of them.
    Mad Mychel: Indeed you are right! I was lying to you! I have seen this man! He is on the boat right now!
  • The Scapegoat: The Tyroshi authorities hasten to publicly and violently punish subversive graffiti, without concern as to whether the person they're maiming is actually responsible.
  • Scatterbrained Senior:
    • The High Septon is clearly in mental decline, something that gives certain of his actions that initially seem amusing a rather poignant explanation.
    • Lord Celtigar is left in a wobbly mental state by his multiple bouts of illness, having to remind himself aloud that Tytos Lannister is dead.
    • Florian Frey, the ostensible steward of House Frey, now does little more than happily stamp paperwork while his second cousin Lothar runs things (and skims off the top in doing so). Many decades earlier, Florian attended the Whitewalls Tournament where the aborted Second Blackfyre Rebellion happened. All he can remember about the event is the song he sang at a wedding feast and that something important that he no longer recalls took place.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: The Guildhall of King's Landing "greatest, gravest rule" is "Seven times never sell man" — they do not practice slavery despite the potential profits.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Evremonde Staunton Grafton once rode down a commoner by accident and calmly watched her lie dying before riding off, but only got a minor punishment because her father was the master of laws.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Howland Reed, when commenting on the Kingslaying, makes it clear that, in his opinion, breaking a sworn vow is entirely the correct thing to do if morality and common sense demand it.
    Reed: Would one of you white cloaks done it sooner. It would have been best for all the Seven Kingdoms.
    Jaime: I... we swore a vow! To protect him, not to judge him.
    Reed: And I have sworn a vow to serve House Stark. As did my father, and his father before him. And yet if I came to my home, and found a Stark raping my wife, that Stark would die. But then, I am only a crannogman. We are a small folk, and we often find the ways of you large folk puzzling.
  • Seemingly Profound Fool: Septon Balerion observes that his order has been led by countless "madmen, murderers, and worse" in addition to the better-remembered successful leaders. He believes that the High Septon only speaks with the voice of the Gods when he is speaking about the divine, as the alternative line of thought is troubling. Nonetheless, some people believe that everything any High Septon does is divine, even when the High Septon is mentally unstable and thinks he's a tree.
    Balerion: Well, let us just say that if there's something worse than a bad High Septon, it's men of faith looking for secret meaning in the acts of a bad High Septon.
  • Self-Made Man: Drogo's father Bharbo started life a goatherd, a position the Dothraki do not greatly respect and rose in time to become one of the greatest khals.
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: An incident where Robert tried to "make a man" of Stannis by buying him a terrified young girl's virginity lies behind Stannis's efforts to ban prostitution and its attendant abuses.
  • Shame If Something Happened: When extorting a crofter for a meal and supplies, Mad Mychel Mudd uses such a veiled threat when the man manages even a weak protest.
    Mad Mychel Mudd: How have you been Lorren? Well, I hope? No unfortunate accidents? No barns burnt down? No crops spoiled?
  • Short-Lived Leadership:
    • The death of Haegon II in battle ushered in a brief era of this for the Blackfyres — Haegon's eldest son Haegon III "ruled" for one attempted charge in the same battle, his seven-year old second son Aegor was the Blackfyre pretender for a few months before dying of a fever, after which their cousin Daemon Blackfyre IV reigned as Blackfyre pretender for only a week before being killed by his cousin Maelys while Daemon's own sister (who became a lieutenant of Maelys as well as his heir) laughed.
    • Prior to Grayence Rykker's election to High Septon, the Faith went through twelve High Septons in nine years, the longest lasting nearly two years, the shortest managing just over a week.
    • Lucyaen Tregaelyen's father was only Prince of Pentos (being selected after the Tattered Prince fled the city rather than take the job) for five months before being sacrificed to the gods. The man after him only lasted two months.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Lady Chelsted says that she met her husband while they were both attending such a wedding.
    Gwyndolyn Chelsted: [A] match that had been obtained by the grand old tradition of of finding the boy in the girl's bed one evening.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A young Oswell Whent thought his late mother had turned into a fish.
    • One of the visitors to the Targaryen court is a Qohorik girl named Aesnyth Waeyte, from Kadath, with a father named Efraeym and a sister named Laevyna who is a "bride" of the Black Goat.
    • Aesnyth's dress includes the color fuligin, which the Qohorik say is darker than black.
    • Aesnyth herself is a small girl, who dresses in black and white, discusses unpleasant things casually and has a hulking mute manservant.
    • Tytos Lannister's first mistress was nicknamed "Merry Nell," in contrast to the detested "Wicked Waxy Elsie." Nell Gwyn was one of the mistresses of "Merry Monarch" Charles II who was most popular with the common people.
    • Pycelle's speech declaring Stannis rightful king of the Seven Kingdoms is modeled after two such speeches in Shakespeare — Buckingham's speech to Richard of Gloucester, in Richard III bidding him to take the throne from his nephews and the Archbishop of Canterbury's speech to Henry V (in Henry V, natch) explaining Henry's claim to the throne of France. In both cases, an exceedingly complicated point is made with dubious logic, and then declared to be simple and obvious by an individual who just happens to be an agent of a person who would benefit from the new arrangement.
    • Khal Mengo, a canonical Genghis Khan Expy who temporarily unified the Dothraki, is further mentioned to have tremendous numbers of descendants, as with the widespread Y-chromosome variant speculated to belong to Genghis. Later, Aegon Frey boasts of being born holding a blood clot - another legend about the conqueror's birth.
    • According to Mychel, the mother of the first Mudd king was named Ygraine, same as the mother of King Arthur.
    • The guildmasters of King's Landing, one of the few organizations who speak for the rights of the smallfolk, wear red Phrygian caps.
    • The late Lord Titus Peake's family includes a father who died thinking he was an owl, a sister who may or may not have killed herself, and a pair of mad aunts who vanished mysteriously.
    • The most important law of the Guildhall is "Seven times never sell man," a reference to one of George R. R. Martin's pre-ASoIaF science-fiction stories, "And Seven Times Never Kill Man!" the title of which was itself a reference to Rudyard Kipling.
    • Willam Dustin claims his father was a necromancer who called ghosts, although they never answered him.
    • After sharing a series of crude jokes together, the elderly cousins Clydas Shawney and Walder Frey share a loud "Do-ho-ho-ho!"
    • Chapter 89 references The Great Gatsby with the story of the long-dead Tyroshi Ninepenny King Alequo "Silvertongue" Adarys. He was a charming but morally dubious Self-Made Man who mingled with people who were born into money, and threw parties to get the attention of a married woman of higher statute who he'd long loved. Like Gatsby, no one attended his funeral except a cousin of the woman he loved (and who was responsible for his death), and a curious and scholarly near-stranger who attended one of his many parties in the past.
    • Argella Brightflowers gives a speech based on Fitzgerald's "Let me tell you about the very rich." Her brother Tommen gives a version of Hemingway's apocryphal rejoinder.
    • A ragged, possibly insane man at the Floating Market pledges loyalty to Mychel Mudd, declaring "My life for you!"
    • Evremonde Staunton-Grafton is a noblewoman who ran down and killed a girl through callous negligence. The Marquis St. Evremond in A Tale of Two Cities is an aristocrat who, among other things, runs over a child with his carriage.
    • Desdemone Piper is a young noblewoman in a Maligned Mixed Marriage (between greenlander and ironborn) to a considerably older military leader.
    • Jonos Bracken's father Barnabas was nicknamed "Bullroarer".
    • The Rogers family of nine siblings are extended reference to The Chronicles of Amber.
    • The Rogers are related to an earlier First Man family, the Ambersons, whose most famous member was Lord Orsyn the Magnificent.
  • Shown Their Work: The author seems to have studied up on medieval trade guilds and city government. In particular, the focus given to King's Landing trade guilds is a response to the fact that the canon city's near-total absence of guilds or organized merchantry almost never happened in medieval Europe.
  • Sibling Rivalry: It's been strongly suggested there was bad blood between Daena Blackfyre and her brother Daemon IV, considering she laughed while Maelys ripped his cousin's head off.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
    • Outrageous, flirtatious Barbara Bracken and pious, proper Jayne Bracken.
    • Fat, jovial, strategic Garth Tyrell and thin, severe, seemingly close-minded Grand Maester Gormon.
    • In the mythology, the brothers who founded Houses Greyiron and Greyjoy — one grim and "iron" and one charismatic and "joyful".
  • The Siege: One of Drogo's rival khals spends three weeks trying to penetrate the outer walls of Saath. Once he finally does (after taking heavy losses), he finds that the locals have built a second wall directly behind the first one, and now he has to try to penetrate that.
  • Simple-Minded Wisdom: Lollys Stokeworth, unlike her mother and sister, realizes that there's something wrong at Rollingford Castle.
  • A Sinister Clue: Janos Slynt notices that Aegon "Bloodborn" Frey is left handed, and he's one of the more dangerous Freys, right alongside his great-nephew Black Walder Frey.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Master Cooper Mollaro Deem of King's Landing speech tends towards the salty.
    Mollaro Deem: The Alchemists have something they call a Guildhall, but fuck those fucking fuckers.They're no proper guild! What do those fuckers do? Burn things, and figure out ways to burn things worse. Again, fuck them!
  • Sketchy Successor:
    • The Velaryons have had a whole succession of these since the Blackfyre Rebellions, reducing one of the proudest houses of the Seven Kingdoms to a gathering of lickspittles and incompetent time-servers.
    • Haegon Blackfyre II, the fifth Blackfyre pretender, is a Canon Foreigner who isn't mentioned in The World of Ice & Fire because he never launched a Blackfyre Rebellion of his own. He let his uncles run the Golden Company for years, and died in a Curb-Stomp Battle after they died and he finally took over the Golden Company (although, to be fair, the much better-regarded Bittersteel died under outwardly similar circumstances). While he may have never attacked the Westeroes due to intelligence or morals making him want to avoid perpetuating a Hopeless War, Pycelle seems to think that this was more due to Haegon being lazy and/or talentless. He describes siring potential heirs as "the one thing Haegon showed any aptitude at."
    • Haegon's eldest son Haegon III also experienced some of this when his father died in battle and he tried to rally the Golden Company in a charge to recover his father's sword. Haegon III was only eleven, lacked the seasoning to carry off such a charge, and quickly joined his father in death.
    • Haegon III's successor, his younger brother Aegor, was only seven and was unable to do anything of note besides dying of fever a few months later.
  • Skull Cups: More subtle than most examples, but Garth Tyrell's favorite goblet is made out of an ex-lover he strangled.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: One of the central tenets of the trade guilds of King's Landing is to never, under any condition, buy or sell slaves. In addition to slavery being viewed as barbaric in Westerosi culture in general, the tradesmen are in many cases the descendants of Essosi freedmen themselves, giving them a particularly personal loathing for the practice.
  • Slut-Shaming: Victarion's response to Barb Bracken's attempt to seduce him is to insult her forwardness and claim she's provoking her own rape. She takes it in stride, to his annoyance.
  • Smarter Than You Look:
    • Tytos Lannister in the backstory. That he was a jovial, dithering alcoholic did not mean he was stupid, as shown when he predicted just how his son's "friendship" with Aerys would end. Even his son Gerion is surprised at his father's insight.
      Tytos: Tywin, Tywin, you and that preening jackanapes aren't friends. Neither you nor he truly want friends, so neither of you have any. [...] Use your eyes, boy. Your precious king half hates you already, and he'll all hate you soon enough. And once that is done, well, he shall try to use you as he would an orange, suck out the juices and the pulp and throw the rind away.
    • Ser Tytos Clegane notes that his son Gregor is far more clever than the Dumb Muscle he usually presents himself as. Gregor's behavior in Tyrosh confirms this, as he carefully avoids creating a scene, and manages to threaten Chataya into silence without a single harsh word.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Samarro Saan's youngest daughter, Sarli Saan, was conceived shortly before he set out on a voyage to the Doom of Valyria. Her name is apparently a reference to this, being a plea for him to return.
  • Sons of Slaves: The merchants and tradesmen of King's Landing are in many cases Essosi freedmen and escaped slaves or the descendants of the same, who fled to Westeros to escape the omnipresent slave trade in Essos and who established new lives using the trades that they had practice as slaves. As a result of this, they have a particular loathing for slavery even by regular Westerosi standards, and the central tenet of their code requires that they never engage in the slave trade in any way.
    "Oh, Initiate," said Bael once again, "speak for us the greatest and gravest law of the Guildhall."
    "Seven times never shall you sell man," said Janos fiercely.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Tytos Clegane responds to Warryn Beesbury's demand of surrender by telling him, very politely and after a long and courteous preamble, to shove his surrender terms up his ass.
    To the good Warryn Beesbury, Lord of the Honeyholt, from Ser Tytos Clegane, Knight of Clegane Keep, greetings and salutations! Having read your terms, considered them in all due measure of time, weighted them in my heart and my judgement, and placed them before the Seven-Who-Are-One, I have made the following decision, that you should take said terms, and on my recommendation, bugger yourself with them.
  • Spare a Messenger: Drogo and his riders hear rumors of uncertain veracity that, during one Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the Golden Lamb killed everyone in a Dothraki camp except for a girl who he lamed and branded with a threatening message. The rumor also says that the first khal to encounter the girl killed her in a failed attempt to stop the spread of the story.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • The Tower of Joy incident does not occur, leaving all participants, including Lyanna, thus far alive.
    • Quellon Greyjoy doesn't die attacking the loyalist forces here, due to the different direction the war takes. Then he dies after all, and Euron is the top suspect.
    • Quellon's son Urrigon, who hasn't suffered the finger dance accident and subsequent infection.
    • Quellon's daughter, stillborn in the books shortly after his and Urri's deaths, here is born alive and named Yara. Her mother also seems to have avoided Death by Childbirth.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead:
    • Urrigon Greyjoy doesn't hesitate to condemn his late mother as a murderous, ambitious Evil Matriarch.
    • Garth Tyrell has no qualms about ridiculing the minuscule contributions that Lord Lucerys Velaryon made to the war effort before dying in a brothel fight. However, he is polite enough to wait until Lucerys' son Monford is out of earshot.
    • Septon Balerion is quite frank when describing the incompetence, callousness, and hedonism of his late father, another former Lord Velaryon.
    • Will Dustin acknowledges Brandon Stark's callously carefree nature and says that he didn't hate Brandon, but doesn't mourn his death either.
    • In moments of vulnerability, Stannis is willing to discuss Robert's more despicable actions.
    • When Alliser Thorne makes a comment that his fallen comrade Jon Connington is probably Together in Death with King Aerys and Rhaegar in the Seven Heavens, all of his remaining (named) companions disagree on Aerys being in any kind of heaven. They make it clear that their loyalty to the Targaryen cause is due to My Country, Right or Wrong sentiments rather than any belief that the late King Aerys was anything but a sadistic tyrant.
      Luthor Crabb: Connington and the prince I'll place with the Seven without doubt, but old Aerys... well, that calls for a lot of divine mercy.
      Alliser Thorne: You mock an anointed king! A king I served.
      Luthor Crabb: We served same as you, Ser Alliser, through the Battle of the Bells, the Trident, and the Sack. A king may be anointed and still be a bad man.
    • Varys angers Lyanna by claiming that Rickard Stark was Too Dumb to Live when he came to King's Landing and put himself in Aerys's power.
      "[...] a prideful fool who wanted nothing more than for the Seven Kingdoms to remember that the Starks existed and were very great. A dull, self-satisfied fellow who thought he could march into the Red Keep and back out again, because he was Rickard Stark and things went the way he wanted..."
  • Spooky Painting: The paintings of House Lothston at Harrenhal, while normal-looking and very detailed, have something disturbing about them that Gerion Lannister can't help but notice. That all Lothstons had Icy Blue Eyes, including Danelle Lothston, doesn't help.
  • Spotting the Thread: Garth notes supposed Lyseni aristocrat Uthera Ruari's calloused hands to himself.
  • The Starscream: Partially played for laughs with Sarli Saan, who is blatant about her intention to remove her cousin Salladhor from his place as head of the family. Laughs because Sarli is a seven-year-old girl, partial because she probably learned the attitude from her mother, who is far more capable of acting on it.
  • Start My Own: Vargo Hoat appears to have stolen the name of the Brave Companions mercenary company from an existing Qohorik organization called the Brave Companions of the Vow.
  • Stealth Insult:
    • While less stealthy than most insults, Garth Tyrell gets in a zing at Lord Commander Hightower in the middle of a talk about the ideal kinds of leaders and advisors, and passes on to the next point so quickly that his companion seems to miss it.
      Oswell Whent: My past has made me suspicious of clever men.
      Garth Tyrell: Understandable. The problem being that if you don't trust in the clever, you wind up following the fools. And that never goes well. But enough of the Lord Commander. What do you think of Lady Ruari?
    • Earlier, Uthera Ruari gets several in against her unwanted suitor Lord Monford Velaryon.
      Monford Velaryon: Perhaps,you will allow me to take you on a voyage, and show you this great land when this war is over?
      Uthera Ruari: I do not know if I would feel safe on your boat, lord.
      Monford Velaryon: There is no need to worry. I am a master sailor from a long line of the same. A noble flower such as you will be safe in my hands.
      Uthera Ruari: Is that so? Well, your words, Lord Velaryon, make me wish to see you in the water.
  • Stinky Flower: Garth "the Gross" Tyrell's motif, combining his house sigil with his notorious flatulence. His chapter epithet is "The Foul-Smelling Flower."
  • The Storyteller: Mychel Mudd enjoys telling stories he's convinced are true about the many Kings of the Rivers and Hills from ages past. And there's no way to verify the veracity of his tales.
  • Stout Strength:
    • The notoriously overweight Wyman Manderly shatters the skull of a would-be assassin with his bare hands in one scene.
    • Garth Tyrell also has plenty of muscle under the fat, as he knocks Oswell Whent to the floor with a single slap; his son Garse Flowers takes after him.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Currently on opposite sides, quite possibly being utterly unaware of each other's existence in the first place and being utterly different from each other as day and night does not stop Garth Tyrell and Howland Reed from agreeing that Aerys 100% deserved his fate at Jaime's sword and both having a low opinion of the whole Honor Before Reason concept. Howland points out that Aerys should have been killed a lot sooner in order spare the thousand of people who were killed because of his actions and madness and when Jaime argues against this due to the Kingsguard legendary Undying Loyalty, he nonchalantly answers that if a member of The Stark Family ever attacked Howland's family as Aerys attacked his own then said Stark would die at his hand, without a single care for oaths of services. Garth Tyrell, on the other hand, gives Oswell Whent a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how The Kingsguard Just Following Orders and Conflicting Loyalty mentality allowed Aerys's evil and madness to spread uncontrolled and argues than Jaime Lannister is actually the best example of a what a true knight should be.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Tytos Clegane's first chapter has him think this. Considering he's riding alongside Stafford Lannister, Emmon Frey, and Harys Swyft, he's rather justified.
    • Alliser Thorne feels this way about several of his fellow prisoners bound for the wall before Jon Connington breaks all of them out.
    • Willam Dustin has this reaction when he realizes his wife Barbrey is a far better option than any of his uncles to accompany him back south.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: One of Tytos's free-riders, an archer called Skinny Pate, is a disguised girl who ran away from an Arranged Marriage with an elderly crofter.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: The Widow-All-In-White casts herself in this role, painting herself as the inheritor of her husband's mantle and the protector of their children's interests.
  • Team Member in the Adaptation: Due to the changes from canon, the Kingsguard has members who were never really considered to join in canon.
    • Since Stannis has to start from scratch, his Kingsguard so far is composed of Brynden Tully, Mark Ryswell, Cortnay Penrose, Richard Horpe, the brothers Peter and Harwyn Plumm and Lyn Corbray.
    • Thanks to the survival of the three Kingsguard who were stationed at the Tower of Joy, Viserys only has to choose three more, Garth Hightower, Ulwyck Uller and Arron Santagar.
  • Teaser-Only Character: Hugor Waters in the first chapter, who watches Rhaegar and Robert die before succumbing to his own wounds.
  • There's No Place Like Home: Falena Lothston expresses a longing to live at Harrenhal, even though the castle is a cursed near-ruin she has never seen in person and it is surrounded by both smallfolk and minor nobles who hate her family with a passion.
    Falena: No matter how fair the vistas or pleasant the land, the soul cries for home, like a child cries for its mother. Harrenhal is in our blood, and our bones. We dream of it when we sleep, and think of it when we awake.
  • Theseus' Ship Paradox: Played for Laughs with Patched Garrett's titular much-mended old shirt, which may now be composed entirely of patch.
    Bald Pate: Truly, lad, your shirt is a riddle for the ages.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Lord Clydas Shawney regularly pulls this on his children and grandchildren, showing up at their homes and abusing their hospitality. He gets away with it because he is rich, and prone to hinting he will bequeath ample sums to those of his descendants who've kept his favor when he dies.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: The alias of "Shierak Rahsan" is her family name, "Brightstar", rendered into Dothraki.
  • Those Two Guys: Thorne's friends and fellow prisoners, Jaremy Rykker and Jarman Buckwell, with the two also having some mild Slobs vs. Snobs snips at the Crabb Brothers (at least before seeing them prove themselves).
  • Threat Backfire: As tension climbs between him and Stannis, Tywin Lannister offers his resignation as Hand of the King, and is taken aback when Stannis promptly accepts.
  • Toilet Humour: Part of Garth Tyrell's obfuscatory repertoire. He rips a fart while Alester Florent is begging for his life.
  • Token Evil Teammate:
    • Lyn Corbray, a suspected rapist and Serial Killer recruited for his combat ability, is by far the shadiest member of Stannis's rebuilt Kingsguard.
    • Lord Hoster Tully counts among his supporters the vicious Ser Ronald 'the Bad' Vance of Atranta and the sadistic Barbara Bracken.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Tytos Clegane regards Stafford Lannister and his friends as so incompetent and sheltered, having gotten their positions largely through nepotism, that their attempt at campaigning while ignoring veterans' advice will get them killed. He is correct.
    • Once Balon declares himself Iron King and betrays Stannis after Quellon dies, Victarion Greyjoy announces his intention to sail home and fight for his brother. He declares this while surrounded by Riverlands soldiers. Since he has forfeited his guest right (more or less) by announcing his intent to wage war against his host, they arrest him on the spot. Later, he attempts to escape by throwing himself into the Trident while tied up, nearly drowns when the current is stronger than he expected, and as if to underscore his poor decision has a vision/flashback of his mother calling him Dumb Muscle.
    • Glarus Glyn Glesai laments the number of people who think it's a good idea to hire an assassin and then stiff them on the fee. He had to kill four former employers because of this.
    • Before the story begins, Symond Staunton attempted to quell a riot armed with a troop of goldcloaks and his sense of superiority, and promptly got himself and his son torn to pieces.
    • Upper-Class Twit Maerroro Maegyr thought it was a good idea to go into Flea Bottom in order to hire thugs to rough up the Guildmasters who humiliated him, still dressed in his fine clothing. Apparently only some of his possessions have been found.
  • Torture Technician: Ronald "the Bad" Vance uses stress positions and half-drowns prisoners to get information and tells Lord Bolton he considers his preferred method of skinning ineffective and only fit as a punishment for people whose guilt has already been proven.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior:
    • King Viserys can be genuinely frightening despite being nine years old. His father apparently gave up on Rhaegar and was grooming him for the Iron Throne, but Oswell Whent notes that despite his penchant for setting people on fire, Aerys never managed to look as imposing as his son is now capable of being.
    • Tyene Sand is fascinated by Garth Tyrell's garden of poisonous plants and disappointed to hear that one of them doesn't have fatal effects.
  • Try to Fit That on a Business Card:
    • Zor Alexi of Sarnor is introduced by Lok of Far Ib as "Lord of the Silver Hall, Master of the Two Hundred Gates, Chanter of the Names of the Thirtyfold Thirty Gods, the Pearl Beyond Price, the Thread Which Does Not Diminish, Friend to the Supplicant, Staff to the Needy, He Who Is, First Lord of Saath, and High Prince of the Sarnor". This apparently an abbreviated list of his titles — Zor Dmitri gives a few more... "Prince of the Line Illustrious, Son of Mishka, Grandson of Zor Fyodor, Blood of the High Kings, Heir to the Line Regnal", and by Alexi's account, there are still more.
    • Zor Dmitri demonstrates this is a trait of Sarnori nobles, giving his list of titles as "Lord of the Halls of Battle, Shield to His People, Scourge to His Foes, Speaker of the Name of Victory, Prince of the Line Triumphant, Son of Zor Yaropolk, Grandson of Zor Olag, the Sword of Battle, the Arrow That Does Not Miss, Breaker of Bones, Crusher of Wills, He Whose Hands Are Red, Blood of the Fated, First Lord and Sovereign of Mardosh."
    • The head of House Saan is titled "Prince of the Narrow Sea, Master of the Last Lonely House, Heir to the Glory, Keeper of the Flame, Sovereign of the Waters, First and Last of the First and Last House of the Glorious Freehold of Valyria". And they aren't above acquiring more titles.
  • Twincest: Besides the canon Jaime and Cersei, and true to their Targaryen heritage, Daemon Blackfyre's twin children Gaemon and Gael married each other and would have two children, Daemon IV and Daena Blackfyre.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Besides the canon Merryweathers, Gerion Lannister notes that Lord Lucas Lothston and Lady Falena Stokeworth were this, with Lucas being plain-looking, middle aged and balding, while his wife was younger, stunning, but with a cruel beauty.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Many of the Crownland houses show this to the Targaryens, most notably the Thornes and the Crackclaw Point houses. To their minds, it doesn't matter what a Targaryen king does — their families swore loyalty to the house, and they remain true to that vow.
    • Deconstructed with Lord Commander Gerold Hightower; while he professes a perfect and unbending loyalty to the Targaryen cause it is becoming clearer that this is the result of his own self-conception as a perfect knight and great commander of the Kingsguard.
  • Unexpected Successor: This being Westeros, it's not rare for younger sons or members of lesser branches to become heads of their houses due to various circumstances, usually war or sickness.
    • It's mentioned that Quellon Greyjoy was a second son who became lord after the deaths of his father and older brother while raiding.
    • The father of Septon Balerion, Lucerys Velaryon, despite being a fourth son and a clear Inadequate Inheritor, became Lord of the Tides when his oldest brother was killed during the First Blackfyre Rebellion, his second brother died fighting pirates, and the third one died during the Great Spring Sickness alongside his father, wife and children.
    • Tommen Brightflowers' ancestor was forced to become lord of Brightwater Keep after his brothers and nephews died unexpectedly, being forced to annul his first marriage and declare the children of that union bastards.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Septon Balerion, named after a fearsome dragon in a manner that most Westerosi perceive as a grossly overdramatic.
      High Septon: Quite startling, Balerion, ehhh? Your name?
      Septon Balerion: So I have often heard, Your High Holiness. From a most reputable source.
    • Aerys Chelsted was named after the former king due to his father being an inveterate sycophant. Since Aerys was a mad, violent and hated tyrant, he much prefers being called "Rys".
  • Unholy Matrimony: Barbara Bracken has expressed keen interest in a match with her fellow Nightmare Fetishist Roose Bolton. They're engaged as of Chapter 77.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Howland Reed appears to view himself as one, possibly due to the chain of events at the Harrenhal tournament.
      "There was a little man once, who left his home, to see many things, and learn many things. And because he did this, many people died. Not because of his choosing, no, but simply because of the time..."
    • Stannis's requisitioning of merchant ships may have led to Vaes Dothrak being wiped out by the Red Death, as the merchants went places they shouldn't have in an attempt to recover their losses and picked up slaves from Sothoryos who carried the disease.
  • Upper-Class Twit: The Seven Kingdoms — and beyond — are filled with these.
    • Lord Monford Velaryon claims titles and honors among the Dragons based on his storied name, while showing little aptitude for them.
    • The Volantene nobleman Maerroro Maegyr interrupts a Guildhall gathering to try and reclaim a prized slave by himself, expecting his name and status to get him what he wants. He is shocked to discover that the guild will not let him do this, citing Westerosi law banning slavery, and more shocked when they violently evict him from the gathering as he insults and threatens them, having no idea what to do when people aren't cowed by his status as a member of the Old Blood.
    • Lucyaen Tregaelyen is the son of a late Prince of Pentos who boasts about this constantly despite it not being particularly impressive and being little more than a hanger-on at whatever court will have him.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Wild, irreverent Barbara Bracken and cool, reserved Roose Bolton go happily off together after watching an "enhanced" interrogation. They bond further over the folk remedies Barbara learned from her nurse. Seems set to become Unholy Matrimony.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Still in the "sweet kid" phase:
    • The canonical Viserys Targaryen would grow up embittered and eventually abusive toward his sister. This Viserys, despite being an orphaned child king with occasional Troubling Unchildlike Behavior, is still a nine-year-old boy happily forming new friendships.
    • The canonical Janos Slynt would become the corrupt commander of the gold cloaks. This Janos still has a sense of pragmatic morality; after confronting a merchant selling counterfeit silk he comments that he would have done better to sell the cloth for what it was. We also see his affectionate interactions with his family. His friend Allar Deem is dim and easily led, but thus far not led to things like murdering children.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Glarus Glynn Glesai, a disgraced Qartheen aristocrat and former Sorrowful Man, tells Drogo that he has enacted bloody vengeance on those who wronged him at least eight times, none of which made him feel better.
  • Verbal Tic: Clydas Shawney, like his cousin Walder Frey, peppers his conversations with a sort of harsh laugh, a 'Hah' in contrast to Walder's 'Heh'.
  • Villain Song: Mad Mychel Mudd and his daughter Morella each get one in chapter 90, his dealing with his love and murder of his wife, hers with the Floating Market serving as a place for society's outcasts to meet until the day they bloodily take what they are owed by those who have held them down.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Guildhall Masters Tommen Brightflowers and Mollaro Deem quarrel loudly and regularly, but with a certain underlying affection, and both will stand up for each other when its necesary.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The large, fearsome Maelys Blackfyre is described as sweet and soft-spoken off the battlefield.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Garse Flowers serves as his father Garth's factotum, and clearly wishes for the man's approval, all while suffering constant insults from the man.
  • Wham Line:
    • Chapter 73 strongly implies with this line that Uthera Ruari, a mysterious visitor to Viserys' court, is descended from House Blackfyre (which made five attempts to take the Iron Throne) after she is questioned about living under an alias.
    Uthera: I'm a woman of mad determination, like my father's people. And aye, like my mother's. Five failures will not dissuade us when we've decided on a course.
    • In Chapter 74, Tywin's growing distance from his older children as they defy him in ways they never did in canon causes him to take a new step for his house's future that he never did in canon.
    Stannis: He is to be formally betrothed to Alysanne Whent.
    • In Chapter 93, escaped prisoner Alliser Thorne is confused when a group of people he encounters at a wedding insist on taking him to see their family, and only recognizes the significance of it when he sees one of the women waiting for them at their tent.
    "Alliser?" said his sister, and then suddenly he was wrapped in her arms.
    • Chataya's encounter with Vargo Hoat's hulking second-in-command leaves her frightened from the moment the man enters her brothel, but the true reason behind her anxiety (being in the presence of a notorious mass murderer who she knows by sight) isn't revealed until several paragraphs later, with the line "Ser Gregor Clegane grinned at that."
    • Near the end of Ned Stark's unusual and at times emotional first encounter with the tired but optimistic Septon Daeron (the High Septon of King Robert's reign in the old timeline), Daeron reveals that he has recently been Blessed with Suck Dreaming of Things to Come (or rather things that will hopefully never be), including one scene that is very familiar to readers of the first book.
    Daeron: I have had dreams. Strange and terrible dreams. I saw you in one of them. You and I were standing on the steps of Baelor's Great Sept together, before a great multitude. We were both many years older, and I, alas, was many pounds fatter. I spoke to them. Then you did. And then...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Rys Chelsted recalls his father Qarlton calling out other members of Aerys's small council for their depraved indifference to the murders of Rickard and Brandon Stark, and subsequently yelling at Gerold Hightower to shut up for trying to brush this off.
  • Wicked Stepmother: One of Ingraboda Sunderly's own sons thinks that she murdered his older half-brothers so that her own child would be Lord Greyjoy.
  • The Women Are Safe with Us: Tytos Clegane takes on five men at once to protect a girl from rape — pretty much the exact opposite of what his son Gregor would have done.
  • You Can Keep Her!:
    • In the backstory, Garth advised his sister-in-law Olenna that, rather than pay the ransom demanded for her brother, it would be better to use the money to fund an offensive against his captors. This is also the tack he's taking with his bastard son, Garrett Flowers, who's currently a prisoner of Tytos Clegane.
    • Invoked by Aeron - suspecting that Tywin intends to use him to retaliate against his brother for the ironborn assault on the westerlands, he nervously says that Balon doesn't like him very much.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Lucyaen Tregaelyen and his sister have spent years unable to return to Pentos because their Impoverished Patrician status and descent from a relatively recent Prince of Pentos nearly guarantee that Lucyaen will be forced into the position.
  • You No Take Candle: The Lyseni girl "Shierak Rahsan" sent as a gift to the Dothraki speaks a garbled version of their tongue filed with bad grammar, awkward word choices, and strange phrases that seem to have been lifted from old Dothraki poetry.
  • You're Not My Father:
    • Done by proxy. Every time Jayne Bracken calls their stepmother "my mother," her sister Barb pointedly says that the woman is their stepmother.
    • Victarion has resolved to never refer to his Piper stepmother as his mother.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Ninepenny Kings are reviled by those in power in both Westeros and Essos, but many others recall them fondly, especially in Essos. The Silvertongue's name is a rallying cry for the dissatisfied in Tyrosh, and the people of Myr strenuously resist any attempt to remove their statue of Maelys Blackfyre.
    The Old Mother's Eldest Daughter: When my mother asked [Maelys] why he had allied with us, taken up the cause of those thought all but lost, he told her, in that sweet, soft voice he had, that he'd found lost causes were the only ones worth fighting for.They were very much alike, he and my mother. They did not live for themselves. They lived for others. I can still see them, walking about, her so small, him so big, both smiling, both enjoying each other's company. But they've both been dead for so long. And sometimes, it is hard for me to call them to my mind. Them and all the others. Men have put new images up, lying images, and I must try very hard to remember my own dear mother. Sweet good Maelys, and his loyal apple knight. Dashing Liomond, bold Nine Eyes, doughty Xobar, grand and sad Silvertongue, and poor, poor Tom Sand. Samarro and the Dauntless used to visit when they could… they… came for mother's funeral, along with their daughter, but he has sought the Doom in the manner of his people, and she… has her own concerns now. Still sends some supplies up river when she can. That woman is not one to forget her friends, and that is her triumph and that is her tragedy.