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    AB - AL 
  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Played for drama with Lysa Arryn's obsession with Littlefinger, who fully exploits it.
    • Tormund to Brienne. She is not amused.
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • Anguy briefly commissions Gendry to forge bodkin points for piercing plate, though the stated effective range of 200 yards is quite excessive.
    • At the end of "Breaker of Chains", Daenerys' catapults fire barrels full of broken slave collars over the walls to encourage the slaves inside to revolt.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Who sent the assassin after Bran in "The Kingsroad" is a major Driving Question in the first half of Season 1, but while the books confirm the answer during the events adapted in Season 4, the show just lets it slide until season 7, where it's confirmed that Petyr sent the assassin, a change from the books, where he only opportunistically lied about the dagger's origin.
    • In season 4, Bronn is set to marry Lollys Stokeworth and join the petty nobility. He was originally going to stick around King's Landing and begin quietly eating up Cersei's influence around the city, but Lena Heady and Jerome Flynn's messy breakup prevented the pair from acting in any scene together going forward. Instead, Bronn is unceremoniously dumped by the Stokeworths and follows Jaime to Dorne as a simple hired sword once again.
    • Near the end of Season 6, Sam stole Heartsbane, his family's ancestral Valyrian steel sword, to use in his studies at the Citadel. He also took it in order to piss his father off and openly expected Randyll to hunt him down to try and take it back. However, in Season 7, Sam having Heartsbane isn't even mentioned and Randyll and Dickon Tarly are both executed by Daenerys, making the sword rightfully Sam's.
    • Season 6 adapts a condensed version of the Riverlands subplot from the books concerning the Freys and the Tullies. The Freys were last seen massacred by Arya at the start of Season 7 and nothing has been said of the Riverlands or the Tullies since.
    • A major subplot in mid-seasons is the Crown's massive debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, owing them millions they can't afford to pay, and with the Lannister gold mines gone dry, the Seven Kingdoms is facing an economic crisis. Come Season 7 when Cersei captures Highgarden, the Tyrells apparently have enough to pay off the Bank at once and they're never mentioned again, nor are the economic troubles of the Crown.note 
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Cersei tells Jaime he's been away too long when he desires some intimacy in "Two Swords".
  • Absentee Actor: Loads and Loads of Characters means no one makes it into every episode, but of particular note is Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran) who appears in barely half of the first 60 episodes and is the only surviving member of the original main cast to be completely absent from Season 5.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Grand Maester Pycelle invokes this trope in-universe to diminish himself as a threat.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Several of Margaery's gowns, such as the ones she wears at Renly's tourney and her betrothal to Joffrey. Cersei lampshades it by snarking that a single fabric sample should be enough material for Margaery's wedding dress.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Played seriously and Up to Eleven in the backstory. Harren the Black spent thirty years constructing the most impregnable castle imaginable, but failed to account for his Targaryen neighbours invading with dragons. Harrenhal has a fascinating melted aspect to it now and is considered haunted and cursed.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • Any blade made from Valyrian steel, whose forging secrets (long lost and magical) allow a harder and sharper edge than regular steel. Its power is well demonstrated when Oathkeeper cuts through a regular sword and stabs through plate armour in "The House of Black and White".
    • The crystal blades of the White Walkers shatter regular steel on contact and slice through armour with ease.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: This is how Dany's forces infiltrate Meereen. The tunnels are hallway sized, with thigh-deep water.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Tywin's emotional abuse of all his children is horrific. Every conversation with them involves a "The Reason You Suck" Speech even when he's trying to be encouraging (as in his Establishing Character Moment with Jaime). He's not wrong that his kids are all screwed up, but the possibility that his parenting methods might be to blame seems totally lost on him. He's particularly vindictive to Tyrion, making it clear he would have drowned him at birth if he weren't his own blood.
    • Daenerys was raised by her borderline-psychotic brother Viserys, whose sanity was not helped at all by the death of their parents, the constant threat of assassination, and the general stress of being a Noble Fugitive.
    • Sam was compelled to join the Night's Watch when his father threatened him with the page quote for Hunting "Accident".
    • Craster rapes his daughters and sacrifices his sons to the White Walkers.
    • Balon Greyjoy greets his only surviving son with scorn upon his return and later refuses to even consider ransoming him.
    • Selyse views her daughter Shireen with a contempt bordering on hatred, neglecting her at best and proposing beating her at worst.
    • Also Stannis has her burnt alive, though he does seem to show some love for her beforehand.
    • Bronn concedes that his father beat him, but adds that his mother hit harder and once broke his nose swinging a poker at his brother. And the first person he killed was a woman who swung an axe at him... Make of that what you will.
    • Shae is very touchy about her parents but does reveal her mother made sure she "stopped being a child" at nine.
  • Accent Adaptation:
    • Syrio Forel's accent is only described in the books as "the lilt of the Free Cities." In the show he speaks with a Greek accent that turns out to be unique to the character since later Braavosi characters of all classes lack any hint of it.
    • Shae and Jaqen H'ghar both identify as Lorathi and are played by German actors using their native accents. In the books, Shae is Westerosi and Jaqen's accent is defined solely by Strange-Syntax Speaker except for how it reminds Arya of Syrio Forel (who has a Mediterranean accent in the show).
    • The books describe the Dornish accent as a lazy drawl "spiced with the flavours of the Rhoyne." The show interprets this by extending Dorne's Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Spain and giving them all Latin Lover accents.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Hot Pie seems to think Arya is a Stark of "Winterhell."
  • The Ace:
    • Jon to his fellow recruits and eventually to most of the Night's Watch despite his youth.
    • Robb is described in these terms by both Jon and Theon.
      Theon: He didn't have to [lord it over me], all he had to do was... be, be who he was born to be. His life fit him better than his clothes.
      Jon: He was better than me at everything: fighting, hunting, and riding... and girls. Gods, the girls loved him. I wanted to hate him, but I never could.
    • Tywin is a villainous example, setting the standard for House Lannister. He's a better schemer than Cersei, a better commander than Jaime, and a better negotiator than Tyrion (compare their handling of Olenna Tyrell). He's The Dreaded for very good reason.
    • Jaime is easily one of the top swordsmen in Westeros — and he knows it.
    • Bronn is a great swordsman, archer, police chief, and even singer in addition to being a Loveable Rogue.
    • Podrick Payne is implied to be such a good lover that King's Landing prostitutes refused to take his money.
  • Achilles' Heel: Being stabbed with dragonglass or Valyrian steel causes White Walkers to crystallize and shatter. After all, what's the opposite of ice? Volcanic glass and dragon-forged steel.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Kevan Lannister refuses to kowtow to Cersei and retires to Casterly Rock, declaring that the king is free to call upon him at any time.
  • Action Dad:
    • Being Dad to six kids hasn't weakened Ned's ability to swing his ancestral greatsword when needed.
    • Oberyn has eight bastard daughters and is still one of the most famous warriors in Dorne.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • While the show is widely known for its Fanservice and "Holy Shit!" Quotient, some of its best received scenes are quiet, one-on-one dialogues between characters.
    • The battle episodes "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall" are both marked by their interplay of awesome action and quiet drama to underline the high stakes and immense cost of such carnage.
  • Action Girl: Cultures throughout the world see women of action in a variety of lights, from acceptance to scorn.
    • Arya practices swordplay and looks up to fellow action girls from Westerosi history, like the Dragon Rider Visenya Targaryen and the warrior queen Nymeria (after whom she names her direwolf). Then she starts killing people. Lots of people.
    • Brienne is a large and strong woman who has dealt with scorn for her non-traditional desire to be knight all her life.
    • Yara Greyjoy took over her eldest brother's ship and place at her father's side after her older brothers were killed in battle and her younger brother was taken hostage.
    • Wildling spearwives like Ygritte and Osha are just as welcome to take part in warbands as men and can even become respected chieftains like Karsi.
    • Meera Reed is introduced pulling a *Click* Hello on Osha, and quickly explains that she acts as her little brother Jojen's protector.
  • Action Mom: Karsi is both a caring mother and a formidable fighter.
  • Action Survivor: Gilly's penchant for surviving calamity despite her non-action status is lampshaded by Dolorous Edd to comfort Sam after the attack on Mole's Town.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Even stoic Ned can't help but smile when Robert sends his squire in search of a "breastplate stretcher."
    • Daenerys smirks slightly at the Meereenese champion's string of insults in Breaker of Chains.
    • Jon can't help but smile at the boldness of ten-year-old Lyanna Mormont's declaration that, "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North whose name is Stark."
    • Even kindly old Maester Aemon chuckles at Sam's verbal humiliation of Janos Slynt.
    • The sight of a dwarf slave beating his captor is apparently this to the other slavers in "The Gift", since they just laugh rather than restraining him or punishing him for rebelliousness.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the Season 1 episode "Baelor," Cersei whispers, "This is madness," to Joffrey.
    • In the Season 3 episode "And Now His Watch Is Ended," Diana Rigg reverts to her natural Yorkshire accent to say, "Winter is coming."
    • In the Season 5 episode "The House of Black and White," Cersei refers to Margaery as "that smirking whore from Highgarden". Natalie Dormer, the actress playing Margaery, is known for her lopsided grin.
    • Melisandre cutting Jon Snow's hair in preparation for his resurrection in the Season 6 episode "Home" alludes to Kit Harington having a contractually obligated mandate that he not cut his hair for the duration of the show.
    • In the Season 7 premiere "Dragonstone," regarding Jim Broadbent:
      • He's again playing a competent professor-like character dealing with a student who's trying to get his hands on some information (to do with necromancy, no less). Well, Samwell wants access to the library's restricted section, whereas Voldemort (and later Harry) lie about already having checked there in order to learn more... but the idea is the same.
      • He also tells Sam that he believes his story about the White Walkers, stating that there is too much evidence to dismiss them as fantasy, and that "the simplest explanation for your grating obsession is that you're telling the truth." Broadbent said something similar as Prof. Digory Kirke in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Peter and Susan didn't believe Lucy's story about traveling to a magical land through a wardrobe.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Jon initially mistakes Tormund Giantsbane for Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall, to Tormund's great amusement.
    Tormund: 'Your Grace?' (to others) Did you hear that? From now on, you better kneel every time I fart!
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • In the books, Tyrion is impressed that his niece Myrcella doesn't cry when she leaves home for Dorne. In the show, she's bawling her eyes out.
    • The show shines a brighter light on Theon's Conflicting Loyalty, particularly in "What is Dead May Never Die". In the books, he only really starts angsting as he plummets down the slippery slope, and even then it's often more sub-textual than the show's clear statements like, "My real father lost his head at King's Landing."
    • In addition to undergoing her own Break the Cutie arc from the books, Sansa also takes on Jeyne Poole's Trauma Conga Line and all its attendant angst in Season 5 instead of remaining relatively safe in the Vale.
    • Selyse is much more affected by the many stillbirths than her book counterpart. She also has had to endure the Siege of Storm's End while she wasn't there in the books. And then there's the sacrifice of Shireen...
    • Inverted by Loras, who makes little mention of Renly after Season 2 aside from an oblique preference for green-and-gold brocade-like Renly wore and takes Olyvar as a casual lover rather than remaining celibate out of grief-stricken loyalty as in the books.
    • Inverted by Tyrion, whose angst over murdering Shae and Tywin is apparently resolved in the next episode (aside from some later reluctance in a brothel) so he can get back to his old Snark-to-Snark Combat and new gags like atrocious Valyrian and wheedling comedy from The Comically Serious Missandei and Grey Worm. In the books, this same act leaves him suicidal, spiteful, and sleepless, marking a significant shift deeper into the Byronic Hero.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Badass: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Consent:
    • In the books, contrary to Dany's expectations, Drogo uses foreplay to arouse her to gain her consent on their wedding night. In the show, he simply rapes her.
    • Jaime and Cersei's sex scene in "Breaker of Chains" is filmed in a way that leaves Cersei's consent (or lack thereof) far murkier than in the books where she's reluctant about the location but enthusiastic about the sex. Nor was this uncertainty helped by the adaptational context change from a reunion to an argument or the producers' Flip-Flop of God on their intent.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief:
    • In the books, Sam is characterized by extreme self-esteem issues that are rarely Played for Laughs. In the show, he quickly becomes the Plucky Comic Relief member of the group, able to join in his friends' good-natured mockery ("And the thing I find most interesting about you... is absolutely nothing.") and he even mocks gruff men like Janos Slynt to their faces in front of a crowd.
    • While Olenna's sharp tongue can be amusing in the novels, Diana Rigg tinges it all with a mischievous amusement where the novels portray her as genuinely caustic and spiteful. Instances where this is not possible, such as calling Ellaria Sand "the serpent's whore" unprovoked, are adapted out and the show crafts new entirely-comedic scenes for her, such as her "You can smell the shit from here!" arrival in Season 5.
    • In the books, people take occasional shots at Mace Tyrell behind his back for his unearned ego and lack of brilliance, but he doesn't do anything funny himself on page. In the show, his extreme case of Adaptational Dumbass is frequently mined for comedy, as he's treated like a child to his face by virtually every lord in King's Landing.
  • Adaptational Curves:
    • In the books, Brienne has a thick, masculine physique and no bosom at all, while Gwendoline Christie is more of a thinly-veiled Statuesque Stunner.
    • Osha has a hard, sinewy, and masculine physique in the books. Natalia Tena could never be described this way.
    • This is perhaps the most obvious side effect of Missandei's Age Lift from Adorably Precocious Child to Ms. Fanservice.
    • Cersei gets the curves of a 27-year-old body double during her public shaming while the books describe her figure as declining from age and pregnancy and elsewhere imply bloating in her body from alcoholism.
  • Adaptational Dumbass:
    • Sansa's youthful ignorance and naivete is more pronounced to provide a larger character actor. In the books, she can spout historical and literary trivia and identify Renly and Barristan purely by Sherlock Scan, but in the show, she mistakes "shift" for a vulgar word for dung and remains oblivious to subtle character clues like Loras's chivalrous disinterest and Littlefinger's Stepford Smile. She becomes much more perceptive in later seasons.
    • Arya is a lot more heedless and prone to Revenge Before Reason than in the books where she prefers to avoid confrontations and only fight when she has no other choice. For instance, in "Mhysa", she attacks a man-at-arms for bragging about desecrating her brother's body without any heed to his comrades which simply doesn't happen in the books, and in "Two Swords" she's intent on confronting several soldiers at an inn despite the Hound's protests, while in the books it's the Hound who rushes into the inn despite Arya's protests and she only loses control on the last man standing at the end of the fight.
    • Robb is made more brash and impulsive due to the show's changes to his marriage. In the books, he marries Jeyne Westerling to save her from being Defiled Forever by their one-night stand, choosing Honor Before Reason. In the televised version, he's not placed in a conundrum of honor, so he has no other excuse than reckless selfishness.
    • Stannis needs to be told of the Lannister incest by Ned and the Dance of the Dragons by Shireen in the show. In the books, he's the first to raise suspicions of incest and co-investigates with Jon Arryn, and he knows enough history to specifically include a faction leader of the Dance in a list of historical traitors. He's also initially very cynical of Melisandre and her religion in the books but dives right into fundamentalism in the show, and his military tactics always seem to boil down to direct assaults.
    • In the books, Mace Tyrell is a mediocre man who doesn't realize that his mother is the real power behind the house. In the books, he's an utter buffoon and an Extreme Doormat who allows himself to be shut up, belittled and pushed aside at every turn without seeming to realize it.
    • Roose Bolton, for all his political and psychological savvy, can't seem to see what a viper Ramsay is and openly rebels against the Lannisters before he's ready by marrying Ramsay to Sansa (which is never actually shown to win him any support), leaving Littlefinger free to descend on them with an army. Contrast this with the books, where Roose keeps Ramsay on a short leash by controlling his goons and strengthens his ties to the Lannisters by acquiring an imposter Stark bride from them, which brings half the North at least begrudgingly to his side and provides him thousands of reinforcements from the south. In addition, the book version of Roose doesn't constantly antagonize his psychologically unstable son by threatening to take away his inheritance. In fact, he's creepily at peace with the fact that Ramsay will eventually kill his other heirs since he himself is too old to raise new sons to manhood and "boy lords are the bane of any House."
    • The show portrays the Sand Snakes as Dumb Muscle whose main pursuits are bickering and trying to kill people, and even when they try to get involved in diplomacy they're just insulted and told to "let the grown women speak." In the books, they're still stubborn and hotheaded but only Obara could even be accused of not also being cunning and politically aware, and Doran even tasks Nymeria and Tyene with infiltrating the Small Council and the Faith Militant for him. Tyene Sand, although still a Master Poisoner, in the show displays none of the cunning she does in the books, where she suggests invoking Dorne's gender-neutral inheritance laws to crown Myrcella as a rival to Tommen in an attempt to lure the Lannisters into an unwise attack on their Thirsty Desert kingdom. Instead she comes across as merely a petulant Psychopathic Womanchild who still calls her mother, "Mama."
    • Hand in hand with other deviations, Jon makes more mistakes or just doesn't get to be as clever as in the novels, particularly in his leadership which—unlike The Strategist of the novels—mostly amounts to being a Frontline General in numerous battles and skirmishes, many of which are likely or even unequivocal defeats until The Cavalry bails him out. He also often neglects or delegates important administration whereas in the books he's something of a Badass Bureaucrat Pen-Pushing President who competently institutes major logistical reforms and frequently negotiates treaties, alliances, and loans. Some fans chalk this divergence all up to not spending enough time being mentored by Qhorin Halfhand in Season 2.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Intelligence:
    • Daario proves thoughtful and intelligent despite his poor upbringing and violent past, providing Dany with sound political advice several times. In the books, he's a simple brute who always advocates Attack! Attack! Attack! or Murder Is the Best Solution because he's interested in little outside his chosen skill set of fighting and fucking.
    • A side-effect of Cersei's Adaptational Heroism is that her mind is less clouded by spite and narcissism, leaving her able to actually think instead of assuming everything's personal and she's always right. In particular, a couple of her Stupid Evil schemes are transferred to Joffrey and she wisely sends someone to negotiate with the Iron Bank instead of plunging the kingdom into debt and bad credit by essentially telling them to screw themselves.
    • Qyburn gets a small upgrade to his Omnidisciplinary Scientist licence in the show, perhaps because he's less obsessed with torturing people, and he's actually in control of the "little birds" while in the books they're just pretending to be his.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Several characters are subjected to this, in contrast from the books:
    • Ellaria Sand is a Nice Girl and an Only Sane Woman in the books who knows that getting revenge against the Lannisters will not bring back her dead lover and his relatives. In the show, she's antagonistic towards her lover's older brother who refuses to participate her revenge against the Lannisters and she even kills him personally.
    • Robett Glover is a loyal Stark bannerman who helped Wyman Manderly in his plot to overthrow the Boltons and bring House Stark back to Winterfell. In the show, he refuses to help Jon Snow and Sansa Stark in retaking Winterfell not only because Jon's army had Wildings in them but because he lost his trust on his brother Robb after the Red Wedding and he rudely told Sansa that House Stark is dead. Fortunately, after Jon and Sansa successfully retook Winterfell, he realizes his mistake and apologizes to them.
    • Yara Greyjoy (the show's counterpart to Asha Greyjoy) is rather rude to her brother Theon as she comes off as a Karmic Trickster in terms of her baiting him.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Sansa doesn't do things like calling Arya cruel names, such as "Horse-face", the way she did in the novels.
    • Tywin is a Magnificent Bastard Pragmatic Villain Jerkass who mistreats his own children in both versions, but his scenes with Arya in Harrenhal in the show bring out a paternal side that's not present in the books.
    • Arya has warmer relationships with Gendry, Hot Pie and even Sandor Clegane than she does in the books.
    • Loras is much more mild-mannered and level-headed than the arrogant hothead of the books, as shown by his sympathy for Sansa and his intention to be a decent husband instead of simply treating her with empty chivalry as in the novels.
    • His sister, Margaery, became nicer and friendlier to Sansa in the show where after her planned engagement to Loras was foiled by Tywin, who decided to have her wed to Tyrion. Margaery comforted her and reassures her that marrying Tyrion might not be bad. However, her book counterpart shuns Sansa after the plot to marry her to one of her brothers fell through.
  • Adaptational Sexuality:
    • In the books, Daenerys occasionally has bisexual relations with her handmaid Irri as a kind of stress relief, but in the show she's discomforted when she gets a little too into Doreah's tutoring on lovemaking in "The Kingsroad".
    • In the novels, Xaro Xhoan Daxos is noted to only have a eyes for his pretty slave boys, even when Daenerys is around. In the show, he has no such preference, and a deleted scene shows him with a female lover.
    • The Tyrells are much more liberal about sexuality in the show. In the books, the Reach is the heartland of both chivalry and the Faith, both of which put a premium on chastity and heterosexuality.
      • In addition to playing The Vamp rather than the Princess Classic, Margaery offers to let Loras help consummate her marriage, implies she's experimented widely herself, and strolls right into her brother's chambers during one of his trysts, none of which is even implied in the novels.
      • Likewise, Olenna declares openly that Highgarden doesn't view "a discreet bit of buggery" as a scandal and even teases Tywin that he might just be Armored Closet Gay.
    • In the books, Ramsay's relationship with the first Reek, and his subsequent torture of Theon to turn him into a Replacement Goldfish for Reek, is full of homosexual undercurrents. Ramsay shows no interest in women and is thoroughly incapable of attracting any woman into a consensual relationship, with him and his men preferring to rape and torture with abandon. In the show, the homosexual undertones with Theon/Reek are downplayed (though still very much present) and he consensually attracts Monster Fangirls who share in his sadism until he tires of them, and the only person he explicitly rapes is Sansa Stark on her wedding night.
    • The show entirely side-steps the (unconfirmed) hints from the novels that Brynden Tully might be gay or asexual.
    • Asha Greyjoy takes only male loves in the books and has a monogamous relationship with a man named Qarl, but Yara only shows interest in women on the show.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change:
    • Daenerys is completely and consistently immune to fire in the show, whereas the books treat the pyre as a one-time thing (and even then her hair burns off) and when she mounts Drogon for the first time she's left hairless with burns on her hands.
    • The show depicts the Children of the Forest having Playing with Fire powers never seen in the books, though there are in-universe myths of them channelling the elements. The way they're presented they may actually be alchemical grenades.
    • In addition to the prophetic visions, Living Shadow, and Glamour powers seen in the show, Melisandre can also manipulate fire and possibly influence the wind in the books.
    • In the books, Bran's visions of the past are limited to things seen by the carved eyes of weirwood trees. In the show, he can stroll around in a Pensieve Flashback unlimited by time or space, allowing him to witness events at the Tower of Joy and butt-dial the Night King.
    • In the show, Jojen Reed is a Fainting Seer whose visions come hand-in-hand with seizures. In the books, he's just naturally small and frail, even for a crannogman, and the harsh conditions beyond the Wall are what compromises his health negatively, not his dreams (except emotionally).
    • The warlock Pyat Pree has the power to create copies of himself in the show rather than practising unspecified dark magic and constantly ingesting prophetic drugs.
    • The Faceless Men's method of applying faces is quite vague in the books but involves complex Blood Magic, a touch of Ghost in the Machine, and is limited by size and gender. By contrast, the show makes it as mundane as wearing a mask since Arya simply steals one and uses it with any training and Jaqen and the Waif are shown swapping identities in "Mother's Mercy".
    • The Faceless Men can also apparently blind someone at will without touching them, something that's caused by a potion that must be re-administered daily in the books.
    • In the books all of the Stark children have some level of Warg ability, especially a connection to their direwolves. In the show only Bran does.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • Theon Greyjoy (before his torture by Ramsay and becoming "Reek"). In the books, Theon is tall, dark-haired and attractive, and a famed ladykiller. In the show, he's a ratty guy who has to pay for sex.
    • The White Walkers are eerily beautiful ice-themed versions of The Fair Folk in the books but Humanoid Abominations that resemble frozen corpses in the show.
    • Renly is a good-looking guy, but not the Adonis described in the book.
    • The same can be said about his sister Margaery. Natalie Dormer is attractive but not to the levels of the doe-eyed perfect beauty described in the novels.
    • Mace Tyrell is shorter, balder, and generally less aesthetic than the "once powerful man gone to fat, yet still handsome" described in the novels.
    • Joffrey is described as being beautiful with flowing blond locks and sparkling green eyes in the books, but is played by the fairly average Jack Gleeson.
      • However, like Arya, some Unreliable Narrator is at play in the books, since less flattering appraisals describe his eyes as being "vain and cruel", and also compare his lips to "fat red worms".
    • Cersei is described word-for-word as being the World's Most Beautiful Woman in the books. Lena Headey is attractive, though the show does give her the Adaptational Curves of a 27-year-old body double during her public shaming, whereas the books describe her figure as declining from age and pregnancy, and also imply bloating from alcoholism.
    • The Faith Militant undergo this with their Obviously Evil facial scars, which are an exaggeration of the Poor Fellows (in the books, a single member has a Carved Mark on his chest, the rest are only This Means Warpaint) with none of the appeal of the rainbow cloaks, silvery armour, and crystal-pommelled swords of the Warrior's Sons.
    • Prince Rhaegar Targaryen is described as extremely beautiful in the books. In the show he looks fairly average (for the short time that we see him in the flashbacks).
  • Adaptational Villainy: Has its own page.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Has its own page.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Bran dreams of a three-eyed raven rather than a three-eyed crow, which is probably Pragmatic Adaptation in favour of the animal wranglers but takes away a delightful Double Meaning from the books.
  • Adapted Out: Has its own page.
  • Addictive Magic: As an adventurous boy before being paralyzed, it's natural for Bran to want to spend as much time running and hunting in Summer's skin as possible, but Jojen warns him that too much of this will cause him to forget he's actually human.
  • Adipose Rex:
    • King Robert was a great warrior in his youth, but a decade of drinking and feasting has left him as one of these.
    • Magister Illyrio is overweight and has a high rank in Pentos.
    • The Spice King is fat and apparently leads the Thirteen of Qarth.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Cersei seems quite impressed with Gregor Clegane's killing power in Season 4 and is keen to ensure he retains it after his near death. She's also very curious about Qyburn's Mad Doctor talents, giving him the patronage the Citadel so emphatically refused, and she's obviously very pleased by the results.
  • Adopt the Dog: Renly grants Brienne's wish to join his Kingsguard even though it would've been easier for him to conform to expectations by rejecting her, seeing as his bannermen gasp audibly, his wife gives a disapproving look, and his lover berates him for it later that evening.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Shireen.
  • Adorkable:
    • Sam is a gentle bookworm, and one of the nicest guys in the Night's Watch.
    • Pod is nervous, bumbling, and nearly impossible to dislike.
  • Adult Fear: Families trying to protect their own is a major theme in the series. When they fail, it's this trope.
    • Catelyn comes to believe her entire family has been killed or forcibly wed to enemies.
    • The deaths of Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon as their mothers look on helplessly.
    • In Season 3, it's easy to empathize with Gilly's fear for her son who is slated for a Human Sacrifice.
    • In "The House of Black and White", Cersei and Jaime receive an implicit threat to their daughter Myrcella, who is far from home and surrounded by people who want revenge on their family. Cersei also brings up the fact their eldest child was murdered right in front of them and their youngest child is betrothed to a woman they can't trust.
    • In "Kill the Boy", Maester Aemon laments that the only remaining scion of House Targaryen besides himself — Daenerys — is in huge trouble across the world and he's powerless to help her.
    • Part of Jon's appeal to the wildlings in "Hardhome" is that their children will not live to have children of their own if they don't come south. Later in the same episode, the chieftain Karsi is shown sending her children ahead to the boats and is visibly horrified by the sight of child wights.
    • Despite her Abusive Parent relationship with her daughter Shireen and her adamant faith, being forced to watch Shireen burn at the stake forces Selyse into a full-on Villainous Breakdown as she attempts to stop it.
    • Discussed in "Mother's Mercy" when Sam says he'd rather face an army of White Walkers than watch Gilly and Little Sam die knowing he failed to protect them.
    • Myrcella collapses from poison in her father's arms in "Mother's Mercy".
  • Advertised Extra: Credit billing seems to have little bearing on how many scenes an actor has. A quick glance at the casting lists show many who were credited as guests actually appeared more than some who were credited as regulars. This also gets worse over time: all but two regulars appeared in at least eight episodes in Season 1, but by Season 4 nearly half the cast appears in five episodes or less.
    • This trope reaches its logical extreme in "First of his Name" when Nikolaj Coster-Waldau receives top billing in Peter Dinklage's absence despite only appearing in a crowd scene and having no lines.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • Well, Aerys and Robb are the names of two notable kings. Westerosi tend to have European names, some familiar (Robert, Jon), some with odd spellings (Olyvar, Petyr), and some exotic (Cersei, Yoren). People whose families hail from outside Westeros, like the Dothraki and the Targaryens, have fantastical names (Aerys, Drogo).
    • This also goes for place names. The continent of Westeros boasts names like King's Landing and the North, while Essos is home to places like Braavos, Meereen, and Valyria.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Jaime is usually all smirks and witty remarks. He has a few friendly conversations with various characters, but can also be arrogant and casually condescending as well. Over the course of Season 3, he gets some Character Development.
    • Bronn is witty, charming, and laid-back but also a ruthless killer who will do just about anything for a price. He and the Hound nearly come to blows over the fact that Bronn pretends to be a nice guy while the Hound wears his brutality on his sleeve.
    • Roose Bolton, as the Starks' Token Evil Teammate, is a calm, polite, accommodating, and respectful man who happens to enjoy inflicting emotional cruelty on his enemies.
    • Mad Doctoring aside, Qyburn is polite and grandfatherly enough that even Cersei, who hates just about everyone she hasn't given birth to, admits a fondness for him.
    • The High Sparrow is a kindly, avuncular, and humble holy man who cares for the poor... and the leader of a band of violently puritanical fanatics.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head:
    • Davos gives Shireen a kiss on the forehead for prompting his Eureka Moment in "Breaker of Chains".
    • Volantenes believe it's good luck to rub a dwarf's head and aren't shy about doing it without permission. Tyrion is not amused.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • "Dany" for Daenerys. Although Viserys and Jon are the only characters to use it on-screen, the books and actress Emilia Clarke use it constantly, utterly confounding some early fans and interviewers who only knew the character as "Khaleesi".
    • According to Season 3's "New Characters" featurette, Jojen Reed is sometimes called "the little grandfather" because of his solemn wisdom, a description from the books that unfortunately never actually makes it on-screen.
    • Shae refers to Tyrion as, "My lion."
    • Maester Aemon refers to his little brother, the late King Aegon V Targaryen, as "Egg".
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Presumably why Arya's instructor(s) at the House of Black and White look like "Jaqen H'ghar".
  • Afraid of Blood: Renly is very squeamish around anything gory, which even his lover views as a weak trait.
    Renly: All I ever hear from Robert and Stannis is how I'm not tough enough, how I squirm at the sight of blood.
    Loras: You did vomit when that boy's eye was knocked out in the melee.
  • Afro Asskicker: Syrio Forel, Arya's Large Ham fencing instructor. It's a good substitute for his Bald of Awesome in the novels.
  • After-Action Patch-Up:
    • Arya talks the Hound into letting her clean and sew the wound on his neck in "Mockingbird", which provides a moment of bonding between them, however reluctant.
    • Gilly tends to Sam after he risks his life for her in "The Gift". Rescue Sex ensues.
  • After Action, Villain Analysis: After trying and executing Littlefinger for treason in Season 7, Sansa and Arya stand on the battlements of Winterfell and discuss him, with Sansa admitting he did have some redeeming qualities.
  • Age Cut: In the flashback scene of "The Winds of Winter," a close-up of Lyanna Stark's child cuts to a modern-day Jon Snow.
  • Age-Gap Romance:
    • Daenerys Targaryen is forced by her brother into an Arranged Marriage to a Dothraki leader and slaver Khal Drogo who is around thirty. Daenerys is aged up to sixteen so there's about gap of nearly fifteen years between them. She later falls in love with him and suffers a lot when he dies and she loses their child in still-birth, however, she still remembers the beginnings of her love and amazing rise as being sold off by her brother and having been raped repeatedly by her husband
    • Ser Jorah Mormont is a middle-aged knight, sentenced to death for slavery and living in exile, who starts serving and advising teenaged Daenerys Targaryen, an exiled princess whose family was murdered during Robert Baratheon's rebellion. Jorah was working as a spy for Varys, King Robert's spymaster, but he grows to genuinely respect and admire Daenerys. He falls in love with her, but his feelings are unrequited.
    • Lord Petyr Baelish aka "Littlefinger" is creepily obsessed with Lady Sansa Stark and loves her in his twisted way. She is a daughter of his first love Catelyn Tully and he views Sansa as a suitable replacement.
      Shae: Men only want one thing from a pretty girl.
      Sansa: Littlefinger's not in love with me.
      Shae: Love is not the thing he wants.
      Sansa: He's too old.
      Shae: They never see it that way.
    • Tyrion Lannister (about 40) and Sansa Stark (14) are forced to get married. Tyrion is unsettled that she is so young, and she is unhappy that she has to marry a dwarf from a family that killed her father and holds her hostage. He promises her not to force her to consummate the marriage unless she wants to. They later start to bond, but the relationship suffers another blow when his father orchestrates murder of her eldest brother and mother.
      Tyrion: She's a child.
      Bronn: She's a foot taller than you.
      Tyrion: A tall child.
  • Age Lift: Has its own page.
  • Agent Mulder:
    • Old Nan earns her keep at Winterfell looking after the Stark children and entertaining them, especially Bran, with her stories and legends, which she seems to believe (and the audience has good reason to believe too, given the return of the White Walkers).
    • Osha tells Bran similar mystical things about the old gods, which Maester Luwin plays the Agent Scully to as a man of science.
  • Agent Peacock:
    • Loras may be a young, Pretty Boy fop, but that doesn't mean he isn't one of the best knights in the realm, which is proven in combat when he becomes a hero of the Battle of the Blackwater.
    • Oberyn Martell is a bisexual prince who prefers to do business in bed, but also a formidable fighter known as the Red Viper for his habit of poisoning his weapons.
  • Agent Scully:
    • Westerosi society in general in earlier seasons, though they make a rather sudden transition to believing in dragons (though not White Walkers) in Season 4.
    • Maester Luwin, as a man of science, plays the Scully to Osha and Old Nan's Agent Mulder by dismissing Bran's wolf dreams and Osha's accounts of the White Walkers by explaining that he studied magic and his attitude is that it was all either made up or went away long ago, something the audience knows is no longer true.
    • In "Hardhome", Loboda the Thenn is disdainful of the old stories about dragonglass, leading Karsi to wonder how he can be so obtuse after all the mystical things they've already seen.
  • Agony of the Feet:
    • Theon's Cold-Blooded Torture begins with the application of an Instep bore that leaves him with a pronounced limp.
    • The fact that Cersei's feet are filthy and bleeding by the end of her ordeal in "Mother's Mercy" is highlighted.
  • A House Divided:
    • Westeros in general is so caught up in a civil war that it isn't preparing for winter or the supernatural threats that are coming with it.
    • There has always been tension within House Lannister and they manage Teeth-Clenched Teamwork throughout the war, but as the war winds down they turn on each other.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
    • Cersei is quickly reduced to begging when Tywin declares his plans to place her in a new Arranged Marriage.
    • After being very gravely wounded many miles from help, Sandor Clegane is forced to tearfully beg his companion for a Mercy Kill.
    • In "High Sparrow", Janos Slynt starts crying and pleading when he finally realizes Jon is serious about executing him. Jon executes him anyway.
    • Played with using Hizdahr, who willingly kneels before Daenerys to plead for his father's body, but stands tall when facing incineration by her dragons. Then when Dany comes to his cell, he kneels at once and begs for his life, explaining he wanted to die bravely but would rather not die at all.
    • In "The Dragon and the Wolf, Littlefinger gets on his knees to beg for his life when Sansa, Arya & Bran publicly confront him about his key role in the deaths of several of their family, and for basically being responsible for the Stark/Lannister feud that resulted in the War of the Five Kings. He meets a similar fate to Catelyn Stark when Arya slits his throat.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Viserys' death is rather pathetic, even if he did earn it through a cavalcade of sneering villainy and dog kicking.
    • Doreah cries pathetically for forgiveness. Interestingly, the character's sole villainous act was left on the cutting room floor, making it rather ambiguous whether they were truly a willing participant in the villainy, which was not present at all in the source material.
    • Theon is a lech, an oathbreaker, and a child-murderer, but damned if Cold-Blooded Torture in a medieval Room 101 doesn't make you pity the guy.
    • Despite being the go-to character for Kick the Dog, Joffrey's death early in Season 4 is very poignant, especially in the case of Cersei's reaction.
    • Ygritte's death in Jon's arms during the Battle of Castle Black is crushingly sad, despite the character becoming very dark very quickly.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Robert has fallen deep into alcoholism and almost always has a drink to hand. At one point he even answers the deep question of what he really wants with a raised goblet of wine. It's the most common refrain in negative assessments of him.
    • Cersei shows an increasing fondness for wine throughout the series, and notably gets quite drunk during the Battle of Blackwater. Jaime mentions it in "Two Swords" and Margaery uses it as a barb in their Politeness Judo in "High Sparrow"
      Margaery: I wish we had some wine [for you]. It's a bit early in the day for us.
    • Tyrion is definitely a very high-functioning example, since he is almost never seen without some kind of booze at hand. Tywin is particularly annoyed by this and tends to withhold wine during their interactions. Recent events put Tyrion into full-blown Drowning My Sorrows early in Season 5. Daenerys quickly picks up on it and starts restricting his drinking.
    • Ser Dontos Hollard shows up to a tourney so drunk he struggles to pick up his own helmet.
    • The Hound's drinking is somewhat toned down, but he still needs a freaking drink during the Battle of Blackwater, is captured by the Brotherhood after drinking himself into a stupor, and pounds back Polliver's ale before their confrontation.
    • Thoros of Myr is an unabashedly self-aware one, even referring to himself as "only the drunk who says the prayers."
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy:
    • Viserys stumbles drunkenly into a Dothraki feast and proceeds to insult everyone and threaten them with a sword, breaking a major Dothraki taboo.
    • Robert's demise comes at the tusks of a monstrous boar when he insists on delivering the final blow despite being so drunk he can barely stand.
    • Joffrey's tour of the Great Sept includes a stop at the tomb of Aerion Brightflame (Maester Aemon's Big Brother Bully), who died drunkenly believing drinking a cup of wildfire would turn him into a dragon.
    • In defiance of all warnings, Tyrion—who has been Drowning My Sorrows all the way from King's Landing—makes no attempt to hide his identity in a Volantene brothel, even talking openly about his former wealth and position.
  • All Animals Are Dogs:
    • Subverted by the dragons, who are cute, obedient pets at first but become fiercer and harder to control as they grow.
    • The Stark direwolves behave just like very large dogs, regardless of Qhorin's claims that a wild thing that can never truly be known. A little magic may be involved.
  • All Crimes Are Equal:
    • All sinners are equal before the gods according to the High Sparrow. Bearing false witness is as grave a sin as any, as Margaery can attest from a penitent's cell.
    • Stannis also has this attitude.
    Shireen: My father says a criminal's a criminal.
    Davos: Your father lacks an appreciation of the finer points of bad behavior.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Jorah's plan to regain Daenerys' favour by presenting her with Tyrion. All he gets out of the whole adventure is a case of greyscale.
    • After sacrificing his daughter so he can resume his advance, Stannis loses everyone and everything including the battle.
    • Despite an entire season worth of effort, Myrcella dies anyway.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous:
    • Downplayed by Loras Tyrell. He is rather easily seduced by the first homosexual to cross his path and exchanges sultry looks with the openly bisexual Oberyn Martell, but this largely fits with a show where Everyone Has Lots of Sex. However, the trope is noticeable in comparison to the books, where he remains celibate as part of his Undying Loyalty to Renly.
    • Played Straight in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken", when Olenna declares, "Renly Baratheon shagged half the stableboys in the Seven Kingdoms."
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Discussed in "Two Swords", when Arya demands her own horse for perfectly practical reasons but the Hound taunts her with "Little lady wants a pony."
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed by Sansa, who convinces herself Joffrey is her Prince Charming even after seeing clear hints of what a Royal Brat he really is because she wants a hero, not a villain. That ends the moment he leaps the Moral Event Horizon by executing her father and calling it mercy.
  • The Alliance:
    • Robert's Rebellion gathered four of the eight Great Houses against the King.
    • Mance Rayder manages to unite dozens of fractious wildling tribes for an invasion of the south.
    • Dany is sailing to Westeros backed by Dorne, the Tyrells, half of House Greyjoy (and the Iron Fleet), the entirety of the Dothraki Horde, the Unsullied, and one third of House Lannister.
    • Season 8 sees the joining of Daenerys's forces, the armies of the North, the Free Folk, and the surviving members of the Night's Watch, in order to repel the invasion of the White Walkers.
  • Alliterative Name: Surprisingly few given the Loads and Loads of Characters: Sansa Stark, Podrick Payne, Lancel Lannister, Salladhor Saan, Mandon Moore, and Boros Blount. Lancel's name is even lampshaded when Robert asks if he was named by a half-wit with a stutter.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Lysa Arryn only has a thing for Petyr Baelish, who only has a thing for Catelyn (and her Generation Xerox daughter Sansa), while Catelyn only sees Petyr as a little brother.
    • Brienne loves Renly but his affections lie with Loras who is crushed upon by Sansa and many other highborn girls.
    • Orell declares his feelings for Ygritte, but she rejects him in favour of Jon.
    • Easily the biggest poster boy for this trope in the series is Jorah Mormont, whose love for, and devotion to, Daenerys sees him go to the ends of the earth and back in order to impress her (especially after it's revealed that he was originally sent to spy on her by Varys). Whilst it's clear that Dany cares for him a great deal, her heart ultimately belongs to Khal Drogo, and later, Jon Snow.
    • Not so much love as an awe-inspired lust is what drives Tormund Giantsbane's crush on Brienne of Tarth, who is revealed to be in love with Jaime Lannister.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Shae cautions Sansa that men have only one reason for wanting to help pretty girls and never see themselves as too old.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Tyrion is treated as evil incarnate by the populace of Westeros mostly because they believe Beauty Equals Goodness and he only entered politics after times started getting bad, a fact not helped by his drinking, whoring, and snarking. His own family (except Jaime) also largely excludes him because of Maternal Death? Blame the Child.
    • Stannis, despite fighting steadfastly for his brother, is relegated to lord of a few rocky islands in the Narrow Sea and widely disliked for his rigid justice and humourless demeanor.
    • Walder Frey knows the other noble houses look down on his family and him personally for being tardy to the Battle of the Trident, so he demands a good reason why he should waste a single thought on any of them.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Complete Guide to Westeros included on the Blu-rays. The Season 2 Blu-ray includes not only the Histories & Lore section but also a War of the Five Kings feature that explains the origin of the Brotherhood Without Banners, the Houses that declare for Renly and then for Stannis, and even why the Greatjon is suddenly missing after Season 1.
    • The names of countless minor characters and extras are provided only by the books. For instance, the deserters who attack Bran with Osha are called Stiv and Wallen, the Kingsguard knights who attack Brienne in "The Ghost of Harrenhal" are Ser Emmon Cuy and Ser Robar Royce, and Cersei's girlhood friend in "The Wars to Come" is Melara Hetherspoon.
    • The Andals are never given a thorough explanation on-screen, though they're referred to occasionally. Various claimants to the Iron Throne include "King of the Andals" among their list of titles, and Jorah is referred to in Essos as "Jorah the Andal" (though as a Northerner his Andal blood would probably be limited).
    • The Rhoynar are name-dropped in the full title of the monarch of the Seven Kingdoms ("Queen/King of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men") but never explained. They're an ethnic group local to Dorne, immigrants from Essos who intermarried with the Dornish and contributed to their unique culture.
  • All There in the Script:
    • Dany's dragons are called Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, but you wouldn't know it until Season 5 if you hadn't read the books. Drogon finally gets name dropped in the Season 4 finale, thirty episodes after his introduction and Rhaegal and Viserion had to wait for the Season 5 premiere.
    • Since "wight" and "white" are homophones, casual viewers can confuse the "wights" (reanimated corpses) and the "White Walkers" (the creatures who reanimate them).
    • The unidentified giant Jon encounters in "Valar Dohaeris" and who later fights in "The Watchers on the Wall" is referred to as "Dongo the Doomed" in the script.
    • Karl Tanner was never named on-screen in Season 3, leading several initial reviews to use names from other characters used to composite him, particularly the Knife Nut named Dirk.
    • According to the script, the scrolls Jon is reading at the start of his final scene in "Mother's Mercy" were negative replies to the requests for aid he send out in "Sons of the Harpy."
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • This is how the Targaryens regard the Sack of King's Landing and Robert's claim to the Iron Throne.
    • "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" has been a Stark creed for centuries in an attempt to defy this trope, but Theon succeeds in taking and holding the castle for some time in Season 2. The Boltons take up residence at the end of Season 4. Then again, Jon and Sansa takes it back pretty quickly, so this is a rather short-lived trope.
    • Robb has this in mind for the Lannisters in Season 3 with his plans to besiege Casterly Rock. Even if the siege doesn't work, the threat will force Tywin to engage him in battle.
    • In "Oathkeeper", Daenerys takes up residence in the Great Pyramid, the most impressive building in Meereen, and drapes the Targaryen banner over the Ghiscari harpy at its peak.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • This is Ramsay's cover to gain Theon's trust.
    • Hobb and the other cooks prove their worth as brothers of the Night's Watch when they defend their mess hall from wildlings with cooking pots and a big-ass cleaver.
    • Tyrion tells Varys that at age sixteen his father assigned him control of all the drains and cisterns in Casterly Rock, which Tyrion proceeded to revolutionize.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Maester Luwin survives long enough to say goodbye and advise his charges. Justified since gut wounds are notoriously slow and he has to ask for a Mercy Kill after he's said his piece.
  • Almost Kiss:
    • During her instruction in the art of lovemaking, Daenerys flips Doreah onto her back an starts to lean in before panicking and backing off.
    • Margaery nearly kisses Tommen on the lips in "Oathkeeper" before deciding a sisterly one on the cheek will be more effective.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Robert Baratheon seems to be the only man in the capital unaware of his brother's Open Secret relationship with Loras Tyrell.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Talisa is not impressed the first time she meets Robb.
  • Alpha Bitch: The Waif's treatment of Arya in "High Sparrow" has a strong "Picking On the New Kid" vibe.
  • Altar Diplomacy: This is actually the default for nobility who take part in the series' intricate medieval politics.
    • Catelyn Tully of Riverrun was betrothed to Brandon Stark of Winterfell, but Brandon's death at the outset of Robert's Rebellion only made the alliance more necessary so Catelyn had to Settle for Sibling with Brandon's brother Ned, which luckily turned out to be an almost Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
    • At the same time, Catelyn's sister Lysa was married to Ned's foster father Jon Arryn of the Vale, which turned out much less happy given her involvement in poisoning her husband.
    • Robert Baratheon of Storm's End was betrothed to Lyanna Stark of Winterfell, whose abduction by Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen helped spark Robert's Rebellion, but after Lyanna's death Robert married Cersei Lannister, the daughter of the wealthy and powerful Lord Tywin, whose support was essential in maintaining control of the realm.
    • Sansa Stark. First, she's is formally betrothed to Crown Prince Joffrey Baratheon to formalize the Baratheon-Stark alliance founded on their fathers' boyhood friendship. After Joffrey sets her aside for a different alliance, she's briefly engaged to Loras Tyrell to secure peace with Highgarden before being forcibly married to Joffrey's uncle Tyrion in hopes of breeding a Lannister heir to the North, as well as demoralizing Highgarden and the North by separating the future Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Still later, she ends up marrying Ramsay Bolton to lend legitimacy to the usurpation of her family.
      Tyrion: Maybe we should have stayed married.
      Sansa: You were the best of them.
      Tyrion: What an absolutely terrifying thought.
    • The exiled King Viserys III Targaryen marries his sister Daenerys to the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo in exchange for the assistance of Drogo's horde in retaking the Seven Kingdoms and he gets very angry when Drogo continuously ignores his half of the bargain.
    • Among other concessions, Walder Frey insists Robb Stark marry one of his (grand)daughters in exchange for his support and the use of his strategic bridge. The alliance is later broken when Robb breaks his betrothal to Marry for Love until Walder accepts a marriage from Robb's uncle Lord Edmure of the Trident instead.
    • Renly Baratheon of the Stormlands marries Margaery Tyrell of the Reach to secure her wealthy and powerful family's support for his claim to the throne. However, Margaery is only The Beard since Renly is already literally in bed with the Tyrells via Margaery's brother Loras. Later, Margaery is remarried to King Joffrey Baratheon and later to his brother Tommen to formalize and reward the Tyrell's shift of allegiance.
    • Princess Myrcella Baratheon is betrothed to Trystane Martell to encourage Trystane's father not to side against her brother King Joffrey, and they end up genuinely in love.
    • Daenerys marries Hizdahr zo Loraq in an attempt to bring peace to Meereen.
  • Alternate Reality Game: The Maester's Path
  • Alternate Universe: Game of Thrones: Ascent follows the plot and events of the TV show (such as Rakharo's death and Xaro's betrayal) but also incorporates book elements like Vaes Tolorro and Catelyn taking two Freys as wards.

    AM - AZ 
  • A Man Is Always Eager:
    • Averted when Jon tells Sam of how he couldn't go through with losing his virginity because of anxiety about fathering another bastard like himself, though it's zigzagged when Sam immediately turns this into a jab at Jon's intelligence.
    • Played straight when Tommen can't get enough on his wedding night, to the amusement of Margaery and her handmaids.
  • Amazon Brigade: Oberyn's three eldest daughters, the Sand Snakes, are all warriors.
  • Amazon Chaser: Tormund takes quite a shine to Brienne, who scowls whenever she catches him ogling her.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Being a psuedo-medieval setting predating psychiatry, characters' mental health issues are left entirely undiagnosed in-universe.
    • Viserys exhibits the extreme mood swings between rage and depression commonly attributed to bipolar people.
    • Cersei's black and white concept of friends and enemies, penchant for risky indulgences like adultery and alcoholism, poor control of her emotions, and difficulty empathizing with others have led to a popular theory that she has Borderline Personality Disorder. Word of God is that she has Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
    • Several characters (Joffrey, Ramsay and Euron especially) appear to be sociopaths.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Ramsay has an explicit relationship with Myranda but his "games" with Theon/Reek are filled with 100% nightmare-inducing homosexual undertones.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The Dothraki are played by actors of all kinds of ethnicity, from Polynesian to Indian to Croatian. The same thing happens with the Dornish characters, who are played by actors with Arab, Lationio, Indian and Maori heritage.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Sandor Clegane is left crippled and grievously wounded many miles from help, but his death is not confirmed. The ambiguity is increased by the actor's absence from a round-table interview featuring those whose characters had been killed in Season 4. Season 6 confirms that he did indeed survive, although just barely.
    • Ser Alliser Thorne takes a serious wound and is dragged away in "The Watchers on the Wall", leaving it unclear whether he survives until the Season 5 premiere, "The Wars to Come".
    • The abductor at the end of "High Sparrow" doesn't specify which queen he's taking his captive to, which is a matter of life and death.
    • "Sons of the Harpy" ends with two characters collapsing from their wounds, but not necessarily dead. Unfortunately, Trailers Always Spoil.
    • Who's Lord of Casterly Rock and Lord Paramount of the Westerlands after Season 4? Strictly speaking, with Tyrion in exile (and guilty of Patricide) and Jaime in the Kingsguard, it should be Cersei but she's never referred to as such and the whole "dowager queen" thing paints her as diminished in power rather than one of the foremost magnates of the realm. Then Jaime is dismissed from the Kingsguard in "Blood of My Blood", yet there's no discussion of his rights (which were the conflict between Jaime and Tywin in Season 4), in fact it too is treated as a demotion by the narrative, used simply to remove him from the capital.
    • The events of Season 7 have created a few:
      • Who's in charge in the Riverlands? Arya follows up her murder of Walder Frey and his two oldest sons by posing as Walder so she can completely avenge the Red Wedding at the beginning of "Dragonstone" by poisoning all his remaining potential heirs, effectively extinguishing the house. It would make sense if Edmure Tully, whom Frey had told Jaime earlier he had put back in a cell, was able to use the situation to reassert his family's authority, but all of Season 7 passes without any mention of him or how things have played out at Riverrun.note 
      • With Ellaria apparently in lifetime custody in the Red Keep, having murdered her brother, and her daughters deadnote , who's in charge in Dorne?
      • Answered in Season 8, with a throw-away reference to "the new prince of Dorne", who is presumably the closest living relative to Doran Martell.
      • Randyll and Rickon Tarly are incinerated by Drogon after refusing to bend the knee to Danaerys after the Lannisters' defeat at the Battle of Blackwater Run. Since Sam has long been disinherited, who's in charge of their lands?
      • With Jaime making Olenna Tyrell drink poisoned wine midway through the season for killing Joffrey the same way several seasons earlier, House Tyrell is extinguished. So did the Lannisters leave someone in charge or not?
  • Ambition Is Evil:
    • After watching his dynasty nearly ruined by his ineffectual father, Tywin Lannister's dream is to "establish a dynasty that will last a thousand years," and he will do anything, no matter how vicious, to maintain his family's greatness.
    • Littlefinger was born without wealth, influence, or a great title. By Season 3, he's gained all three by being a scheming backstabber.
    • Zigzagged by the Tyrells, who aim to increase their own power and prestige through some fairly shady schemes, but are adored in-universe for their appearance as noble and charitable figures and the fandom can empathize with them in their rivalry with the proud and conservative Lannisters.
    • According to writer David Benioff, Stannis chooses ambition over family in "The Dance of Dragons".
  • Amnesia Danger: Things would have been a lot simpler if Bran could recall how and why he fell.
  • Always Someone Better: Both Jon and Theon talk about coming to terms with growing up in Robb's shadow.
    • Jon also talks about Theon having been better at everything.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • As pointed out in the DVD commentary, the tapestry behind Viserys during his introduction in "Winter is Coming" shows two ships blasting away at each other with cannons.
    • Despite the series' well-established Conlang, the slogan "Kill the Masters" is written in English language and script in "Oathkeeper", "The House of Black and White", and "The Red Woman" when very few Meereenese should be able to read at all and those who can should be writing Low Valyrian in glyphs similar to those Talisa uses in Season 3, but this is likely Rule of Perception since even characters who speak entirely in Conlang can read it effortlessly.
    • The armour can be a bit odd sometimes, with some soldiers (namely almost every Bolton) wearing morion helmets, which first appeared in the mid-16th century, or the similar cabasset, which appeared late in the 16th centurynote . As well, some of the Tyrell's soldiers wear 16th century burgonets, including Brienne
      • Armour is actually all over the place. Despite being able to give almost every soldier in their army large amounts of plate armour, the Lannisters always wear it over leather rather than chainmail (which would provide additional protection to the areas the plate couldn't cover). It does exist, as Stannis and a number of other characters wear it. Meanwhile, the North appears to be too poor to provide Robb with a full suit of plate, or even a proper cuirass, opting instead to give him plate armour on his arms and a coat of plates to protect his chest and upper legs. Same with Ned and Jon, who also wear coats of plates. Despite being the most powerful house in the North, and the Lannisters fielding plate armour as standard issue. So the Boltons are running around with 16th century helmets, the Lannisters are rich enough to give a fair number of their soldiers partial platenote , the Tyrells have 16th century helmets, while the North can't give their leaders anything better than something that went out of date after the 13th century.
  • An Aesop: A character’s success and survival is heavily dependent on their practicality. Simply having the moral high ground with no practical advantage will simply get a character killed. Highlights:
    • Ned Stark uncovers some of the Lannister conspiracies, and thinks having the moral high ground will allow him to usurp the Lannisters through the law. It doesn’t.
    • Oberyn bests The Mountain in one-on-one combat, making him easily one of the best fighters in the series. Rather than kill The Mountain outright just to be safe, he takes the Ned route, and tries to get a confession. This backfires and he ends up having one of the most gruesome onscreen deaths in the series.
    • Jaime Lannister has a reputation for two things: being an amazing fighter, and killing a king. The fighting he does is often amoral. Killing the king was a morally justifiable act. Nobody cares.
    • Bronn, in contrast to the others on the list, pretty much always takes the practical option. He doesn’t just stay alive, he gains a lordship, and becomes confidant to the Tyrion and Jaime. He often serves as sort of a representative of the Game of Thrones universe. If a character tries to act on philosophy over pragmatism, Bronn often gives a short narrative how and why it could backfire.
    • The Boltons and Joffrey deserve mention here because they exist on the polar opposite side of the "moral" spectrum. Rather than getting punished for choosing "good over pragmatism", they get nailed for being so overtly Ax-Crazy that many of the other major players would rather they get removed from the game.
  • Analogy Backfire:
    • When Ned confronts Cersei about her twincest with Jaime, she responds that the Targaryens, the family that produced the Mad King, did the same thing for centuries. She later realizes and laments this backfire in Season 2.
    • During "Blackwater", Cersei tries to comfort Tommen with a fable about a young lion destined to be king surrounded by a forest of evil creatures like stags. Tommen points out, "Stags aren't evil; they only eat grass."
    • Qyburn defends his vivisection of living men For Science! as being morally superior to Jaime's role as a knight, because they both kill people, but his science saves lives as well. Jaime immediately responds the he saved the entire population of King's Landing with his sword.
    • Melisandre attempts to explain the concept of her sacrificial victims' transcendence by comparing it to childbirth: pain and suffering followed by joy. Shireen points out that mothers aren't piles of ash and bone afterward.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Valyrian steel weapons are so prized they are usually these. Examples include House Stark's greatsword Ice and House Mormont's hand-and-a-half sword Longclaw. House Lannister has long lacked such a swordnote , until Tywin has Ice reforged into two Valyrian swords, one each for his son and grandson. Only the Targaryens have matched such a status symbol with their swords Blackfyre and Dark Sister.
  • Ancient Evil: The White Walkers have reawakened for the first time in 8,000 years.
  • Ancient Tradition: Founded some 8,000 years ago and electing their 998th lord commander in Season 5, the Night's Watch is by far the oldest institution in the realm.
  • And Another Thing...: Tywin occasionally ends meetings with an afterthought. His hostile distaste for Tyrion's whoremongering ends their conversations in "Fire and Blood" and "Valar Dohaeris", and in "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" he ends a one-sided audience with Joffrey with a slightly condescending, "Your Grace."
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Khal Drogo is mercy-killed with a Vorpal Pillow after he ends up locked in a magical coma.
    • This is the fate planned for Daenerys in "Valar Morghulis", but the tables end up turned.
    • Varys describes his castration by a sorcerer in these terms, apparently being fully conscious but unable to move or speak during the ritual. Understandably, he's hated magic and those who practice it ever since.
    • After Euron delivers Ellaria Sand and Tyrene to her, Cersei avenges Myrcella's death at their hands by locking them up in a cell and killing Tyrene the same way, with a poisoned kiss, with her mother tied up on the opposite wall so she can watch Tyrene slowly die and rot for the rest of her own life. To really make this hurt, both are gagged just enough so they can scream audibly but not speak.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: A rare female-on-male version when Daenerys forces Hizdahr to marry her after imprisoning and threatening to execute him in "Kill the Boy", hoping the marriage will placate her enemies. She later tells Tyrion she may not resort to killing him.
  • And Starring:
    • Peter Dinklage gets this during the open credits in Season 1 before moving to top billing in Season 2.
    • Jason Momoa receives this, but curiously only in the end credits after all the guest stars.
    • Starting with Season 4, Iain Glen receives the more prominent "with" credit at the end of the cast list
  • And the Adventure Continues: Realistically as some of the characters survive. Davos, Brienne, Tyrion, King Bran, Bronn, and Sam have the job of rebuilding the 6 Kingdoms. Arya is heading west to see what lays that direction. Sansa is named Queen of the North. King Bran is searching for Drogon. Jon takes the Black, but the story ends with he and Tormund heading beyond the Wall with the wildlings, leaving it ambiguous as to whether Jon is still in the Night's Watch or if he has been permitted to leave to go live in the lands beyond the Wall.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie Three examples:
    • Benjen Stark goes missing on a Night's Watch mission in Season 2. He returns in Season 6, having been killed in battle against the White Walkers and subsequently turned into a wight, although the Children of the Forest have managed to free him from their control.
    • Karsi, the wildling chieftain who seemed to be being set up as a replacement love interest for Jon following Ygritte's death, falls in battle against the undead army during "Hardhome" and is last seen among hundreds of casualties being reanimated by the Night King.
    • Daenerys's dragon Viserion is killed by the Night King's spear, and subsequently reanimated. His breath provides the White Walkers and the undead army what they need to breach the Wall.
  • And Then What?:
    • Asked verbatim by Talisa to point out Robb is fighting to overthrow a king with no plan for what comes after.
    • When Daenerys contemplates an attack on King's Landing in "First of His Name", Jorah reminds her that seizing the capital isn't the same as conquering the continent and that is all she can do with 10,000 men, especially if the rest of Westeros unites against her.
    • Tyrion asks this of Daenerys's plan to claim Westeros. Even if she ascends the Iron Throne, what will someone who has never set foot on the continent be like as a ruler?
    • When Bronn asks how Jaime plans to get Myrcella out of Dorne, Jaime doesn't have an answer.
    • In "Blood of My Blood", Daario asks, "So we ride for Meereen and after that we sail for Westeros, and what then?" Dany only responds with a rather simplistic, "I take what is mine."
  • And Zoidberg:
    • Bran prays for the safety of his family and friends, "And Theon, too, I suppose."
    • The Starks discover five direwolf pups for the five trueborn children... and an albino direwolf pup for Jon Snow, Ned Stark's illegitimate son.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Jorah finally spits it out to Daenerys in "The Mountain and the Viper", but it is too late and she throws the words back at him in anger.
  • Animal Motifs: Has its own page.
  • Animal Eye Spy:
    • An early symptom of Bran's ability to warg is when this begins happening in his dreams.
    • The wildlings make good use of wargs like Orell as scouts.
  • Animate Dead: This is what becomes of victims of the White Walkers, slowly creating the Night of the Living Mooks.
  • Annoying Arrows:
    • A crossbow-bolt to the chest only knocks Yoren to his knees momentarily before he cuts down the shooter.
      "I never liked crossbows; take too long to load!"
    • Tormund is a walking pincushion by the end of "The Watcher on the Wall" but keeps on fighting.
    • Averted by Lancel, who is prompted to retreat by one and completely incapacitated when Cersei punches the partially doctored wound. In the DVD commentary, George R. R. Martin explains the arrowhead is still embedded in his chest at that point.
    • Justified with the wights since, unlike zombies, Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain doesn't work.
    • Arrows are next to useless against dragons, pinging off their scales without the slightest effect. Even when Drogon is hit by the Scorpion ballista specifically made to kill dragons, it just hampers his ability to fly briefly. Though Dany does start taking the weapon seriously and dodges the next shot before destroying it, and it seems that, if the shots were better placed or more than one was firing at a time, they'd definitely be a real threat to a dragon.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • Arya throws food at Sansa without any provocation during the feast in "Winter is Coming" and is mentioned in "Mhysa" to have made a habit of stuffing dung into her sister's bed.
    • Tyrion confesses to childhood pranks like stealing clothes, putting goat shit in his uncle's boots, and milking his eel into a pot of stew "that I do believe my sister ate; at least I hope she did."
  • Anonymous Benefactor: Varys is this for Daenerys throughout the entire series.
  • Answer Cut:
    • In "Oathkeeper", Littlefinger talks about his new allies and a friendship "growing strong", then we cut to Margaery and Olenna strolling the gardens.
    • In "Mockingbird", Tyrion asks who Cersei's champion will be, then we cut to Gregor Clegane using condemned prisoners as dummies for his morning sword practice.
    • When cautioned to hide his face because of an enormous bounty on him, Tyrion muses, "How many dwarfs are there? What's Cersei going to do, kill them all?" Cut to a dwarf's severed head being presented to Cersei.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • After all her losses and traumatizing experiences, Arya is learning to become more ruthless when dealing out death and judgement to those who have wronged her.
    • Daenerys seems to be sitting at about Pragmatic Anti-Hero at this point. As a whole, she has good morals but also a growing track record of treating her enemies with a brutality that would be hard to forgive if they weren't such colossal assholes. Depending on the viewer, this brutality can even push her into Nominal Hero territory.
    • Jaime, after revealing his heroic Hidden Depths with a few selfless deeds in Season 3, placing him somewhere between a Pragmatic Hero and an Unscrupulous Hero.
    • Varys may be interested in the greater good, but he can also be very unscrupulous and has a positively terrifying sense of vengeance.
    • It's easy to forget, but Yara Greyjoy is Ironborn, a society which revolves around rape, piracy, theft, and conquering. And before the audience can look to her as a shining exception, she vehemently protests against Daenerys' stipulation that, to back Yara's claim to the throne, she has to make sure that the Ironborn stop destroying the surrounding area as a means of supporting themselves. She does eventually accept it, but her devotion to it was a bit unsettling.
  • Anti-Villain:
    • As long as you don't challenge his power, Khal Drogo is a Reasonable Authority Figure... in charge of a Barbarian Tribe that revels in Rape, Pillage, and Burn as well as slavery.
    • Jaime is a man who doesn't hesitate to kill for his own benefit but does possess some sympathetic traits like a Big Brother Instinct.
    • The Hound does terrible things in service to the Lannisters, but at least has the decency to acknowledge them as such and express a distaste for pointless sadism.
    • Mance Rayder leads a barbarian horde featuring some pretty reprehensible characters in an invasion of the Seven Kingdoms because he wants to save his people from the White Walkers and he knows the Night's Watch will never just let them through.
    • The High Sparrow is religious fanatic, a homophobe and a misogynist, but he sincere and legitimate in his attempt to fight for the poor and downtrodden against the corruption of the highborn.
  • Anyone Can Die: The series has become a poster child for this trope. Not even characters who make it in the books are safe (see Death by Adaptation). Arya lampshades it when she declares, "Anyone can be killed," in Season 2 and "Valar Morghulis" ("All men must die") serves as Arc Words, an episode title, and the tagline for Season 4.
    • Season 1: Lady (Sansa's direwolf), Jory Cassel, Viserys Targaryen, Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark, Septa Mordane, Khal Drogo and Mirri Maz Duur. The execution of Ned Stark is generally considered the true establishment of the trope with regards to this series, since the character and actor were promoted as the series' lead. Then again, he was played by Sean Bean.
    • Season 2: Cressen, Rakharo, Yoren, Lommy, Renly Baratheon, Rodrik Cassel, Amory Lorch, Irri, Alton Lannister, the Spice King, Matthos Seaworth, Maester Luwin, Qhorin Halfhand, Pyat Pree, Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah.
    • Season 3: Craster, Jeor Mormont, Kraznys mo Nakloz, Willem and Martyn Lannister, Rickard Karstark, Ros, Orell, Robb Stark, Catelyn Stark, Talisa Stark and Grey Wind (Robb's direwolf).
    • Season 4: Polliver, Joffrey Baratheon, Locke, Karl Tanner, Rast, Rorge, Biter, Lysa Arryn, Oberyn Martell, Pyp, Styr, Ygritte, Grenn, Jojen Reed, Shae and Tywin Lannister.
    • Season 5: Mance Rayder, Mossador, Janos Slynt, Ser Barristan Selmy, Maester Aemon, the Lord of Bones, Shireen Baratheon, Hizdahr zo Loraq, Ser Meryn Trant, Selyse Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon, Myranda and Jon Snow. Even more extreme, the last six names on this list all died in the same episode (the season finale).
    • Season 6: Areo Hotah, Doran Martell, Trystane Martell, Roose Bolton, Walda Bolton, Balon Greyjoy, Shaggydog (Rickon's direwolf), Olly, Alliser Thorne, Osha, Khal Moro, Summer (Bran's direwolf), the Children of the Forest, the Three-Eyed Raven, Hodor, Lady Crane, the Waif, Belicho Paenymion (the Volantene master), Razdal mo Eraz (the Yunkish Wise Master), Rickon Stark, Smalljon Umber, Wun Wun, Ramsay Bolton, Pycelle, Lancel Lannister, the High Sparrow, Margaery Tyrell, Loras Tyrell, Mace Tyrell, Kevan Lannister, Tommen Baratheon and Walder Frey.
    • Season 7: Obara Sand, Nymeria Sand, Tyene Sand, Olenna Tyrell, Randyll Tarly, Dickon Tarly, Thoros of Myr, Viserion, Benjen Stark and Littlefinger.
    • Season 8: Ned Umber, Qhono, Eddison Tollett, Lyanna Mormont, Beric Dondarrion, Theon Greyjoy, The Night King, Jorah Mormont, Melisandre, Rhaegal, Missandei, Varys, Harry Strickland, Euron Greyjoy, Qyburn, Gregor Clegane, Sandor Clegane, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.
    • Surprisingly enough, given its reputation as a show where even the heroic characters can kick the bucket when you least expect, after season 3 Game of Thrones largely averts this trope. Out of the main characters introduced in the first episode, Ned Stark, Robb Stark, and Catelyn Stark have died, but Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Brandon Stark, Theon Greyjoy, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targarien, and Jorah Mormont are all still alive by the end of season 7. Between seasons 4 and 7, pretty much all the characters who lose their lives are either supporting players or villains, i.e. the sort of characters you would expect to die in any show.
  • Anything That Moves: Oberyn and Ellaria. They even like to share.
  • Apathetic Citizens:
    • Jaime mentions this trope when describing the Mad King's execution of Ned's father and brother in "Lord Snow":
      Jaime: Five hundred men just stood there and watched. All the great knights of the Seven Kingdoms, do you think anyone said a word, lifted a finger? No, Lord Stark. Five hundred men, and this room was silent as a crypt. Except for the screams, of course, and the Mad King laughing.
    • In "Sons of the Harpy", Loras is seized by the Faith Militant just after a sparring match, but neither his squire, nor his sparring partner, nor any of the nearby nobles make any attempt to intervene as the Queen's brother is manhandled by commoners.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • Varys makes no attempt to disguise his distaste for his own actions while selling out Tyrion in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Tyrion sobs that he is sorry after killing Shae.
    • Stannis asks forgiveness for what he's about to do in "The Dance of Dragons".
  • Appeal to Force: A recurring theme of the series. Power may come from wealth, knowledge, gods, or law, but ultimately a swordsman decides whether the king, the priest, or the rich man live or die.
    • Aegon the Conqueror didn't seize the Seven Kingdoms because he had any right to them, he seized them because he could.
    • Renly decides to make a claim for the throne based on right of conquest like his big brother Robert.
      Stannis: You think a few bolts of cloth will make you king?
      Renly: No. The men holding those bolts of cloth will make me king.
    • Defied by Tommen when he balks at hacking his way through the Faith Militant just to talk to the High Sparrow.
  • Appeal to Tradition: This is Hizdahr's main explanation for the brutality of the fighting pits.
  • Appeal to Vanity: Davos convinces Salladhor to take service with Stannis this way.
    Davos: What I'm offering you is hard. Come with me and plunder the greatest city in Westeros. You'll be the richest man in Lys, and the most famous. They'll be singing songs about you as long as men have voices to sing.
  • The Apprentice:
    • When Lord Mormont appoints Jon as his personal steward, Sam remarks that Jon's proximity to the Lord Commander means he is likely being groomed for leadership and command.
    • Being that this is a medieval world, Gendry is introduced as a literal apprentice to the master armourer Tobho Mott.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • Tyrion recommends this to Jon Snow: "Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." Tyrion himself is known by several derogatory nicknames, but "imp" has been used affectionately (by Bronn for instance) and "half-man" becomes a war cry in "Baelor" and "Blackwater".
    • Davos is an ex-smuggler knighted for smuggling food (including onions) to the starving garrison of Storm's End. Other nobles disparage him as "the Onion Knight," but Davos takes pride in the title and made his sigil a black ship with an onion on its sail.
      Stannis: "Some highborn fools call you 'Onion Knight' and think they insult you, so you take the onion for your sigil, sew it on your coat, fly the onion flag."
    • The Blackfish's name is derived from a snarky retort to his brother Hoster calling him a Black Sheep. Now he freely admits, "People have been calling me 'Blackfish' for so long they don't remember my real name." Indeed, his real name Brynden is only All There in the Manual.
    • Grey Worm was given his name by his masters to remind him that he was vermin, but he chooses to keep it even after Daenerys allows him to pick a new one. In his mind, his birth name belongs to a man cursed to slavery while Grey Worm is the name of a man who has been freed.
    • Inverted in "Kissed By Fire" when Jaime specifically rejects his sobriquet in his delirium:
      Brienne: Guards, help! The Kingslayer!
      Jaime: Jaime... my name is Jaime.
    • Discussed by the "High Sparrow", who's aware the name is generally derogatory but takes it in stride, noting there are far worse burdens to bear.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Janos Slynt insists there is no such thing as giants rather than face the fact two of them are currently battering at his gates.
  • Archer Archetype:
    • Theon demonstrates his archery skills several times, including putting an arrow through the chest of an outlaw and later shooting down the messenger ravens at the Twins. This ultimately comes to a head in "The Long Night", where Theon manages to keep Bran safe with his bow, mowing down scores of attacking wights, all largely without breaking a sweat. It's safe to say its the only thing he doesn't screw up in the show.
    • Joffrey is obsessed with his crossbow and actually shows impressive aim in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
    • Anguy can angle a shot to come straight down on a target only a few feet in front of him.
    • Meera Reed wields a bow and knives instead of her trident from the books.
    • Ramsay is shown to be this in "Walk of Punishment", when he shoots all six of the guards about to rape Theon. His hunting partner Myranda is also shown to be very competent with a bow in "The Lion and the Rose." In "Battle of the Bastards," the only weapon Ramsay uses is his bow.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • The Starks and Lannisters begin the series barely able to share a room and it only gets worse. While initially driven by Ned's bitter opinion of their Sack of King's Landing and Jaime Lannister's Bodyguard Betrayal of King Aerys, it quickly becomes It's Personal when Joffrey has Ned executed on a whim.
    • The Night's Watch and the wildlings have raided and skirmished non-stop for so long that both have all but forgotten their true enemies, the White Walkers, who are just now returning.
    • Cersei considers her brother Tyrion as this and is second only to their father for Tyrion. This simmers throughout Seasons 2 and 3 before coming to the forefront in Season 4 when she is convinced he murdered her son and dedicates her life to seeing him humiliated and executed. Cersei also has a serious rivalry with her would-be daughter-in-law Margaery Tyrell, whom she sees as the manipulative social climber she is.
    • The Boltons were historically the Starks' chief rival for supremacy of the North but eventually bent the knee and were allowed to remain the second greatest house in the North. This ancient grudge is revived big time when Roose Bolton conspires to murder Robb Stark and usurp his titles, and eventually culminates in Sansa literally leaving Ramsay Bolton to be eaten alive by his own starving hounds.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Tywin to Tyrion. Tywin despises his son for "killing" his beloved wife and being a whore-mongering dwarf, while Tyrion despises his father for treating him with contempt.
  • Arc Number:
    • Rule of Seven. Seven Kingdoms, seven gods, seven Kingsguard, seven hells, etc. Seven is also the projected number of books and the most frequently referenced number of seasons.
    • Rule of Three: Daenerys is the third-born, hatches three dragons, dispatches three scouts while Crossing the Desert, and conquers three cities.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Ser Alliser Thorne is a recurring arc villain to Jon Snow, most notably in Season 1 and Season 4.
    • Viserys for Daenerys' Dothraki arc, Pyat Pree for her Qarth arc, and Kraznys for her Astapor arc.
    • Theon becomes this for Season 2's Winterfell arc.
    • Locke for Jaime and Brienne's Season 3 odyssey. He gets transplanted as a secondary one to Karl Tanner in Season 4.
    • Karl Tanner for Craster's Keep arc, especially in Season 4.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Winter is coming."
    • "The night is dark and full of terrors."
    • "The dragons are dead/gone".
    • "What is dead may never die."
    • "A Lannister always pays his debts."
    • "Valar Morghulis" aka "All Men Must Die."
    • In Season 4 : "Wars are rather expensive."
    • "What do you want?"
    • "I wish you good fortune in the wars to come."
    • "The North remembers."
      • Notably, each House as their "words," a saying or motto that sums up the House as a whole and frequently plays into plots revolving around them. House Stark's "Winter Is Coming" plays into the overall metaplot of the series, House Greyjoy's "We Do Not Sow" establishes who they are as reavers and raiders (they don't grow food, they take food grown by others), House Baratheon's "Ours Is The Fury" tells you just how bad an idea it is to piss them off. Interesting, House Lannister's official words "Hear My Roar" are less important then their unofficial motto, "A Lannister Always Pays His Debts." And not just monetary debts, either.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Dagmer and Theon exchange a look that screams this trope after Theon's Eureka Moment in Season 2.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Averted by Hizdahr zo Loraq, though Daenerys tends to view him through this lens because all Meereenese nobles used to own slaves.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In "Walk of Punishment", Jaime has his sword hand cut off.
  • Armor Is Useless: A running theme that's often PlayedWith:
    • Discussed when Jorah debates the merits of armor with Rakharo. Jorah argues that armor will make a slashing arakh useless, while Rakharo believes speed trumps protection. Jorah turns out to be right, as Qotho fatally discovers.
    • Downplayed when Ser Hugh is struck in the neck by a lance splinter and killed. In the books he lacked a squire to fasten his gorget correctly, and even in the show he's clearly under-armoured compared to other competitors.
    • Reconstructed when Bronn champions Tyrion against Ser Vardis Egan. Bronn refuses a shield and wears almost no armor, using speed and maneuverability to simply evade his opponent until Egan's heavy armor exhausts him and makes him a sitting duck.
    • Zigzagged when Syrio Forel defeats several armored mooks with his wooden practice sword by knocking them on the helmets but fares less well against a slightly heavier-armed Ser Meryn Trant of the Kingsguard.
    • Discussed and Deconstructed when the Hound mercilessly gloats over Syrio Forel's defeat at the hands of the mediocre Meryn Trant because Trant wore heavy plate. He demonstrates by giving Arya a chance to skewer him with Needle, which completely fails to puncture his brigantine.
    • Played Straight jarringly when Ramsay easily kills several fully-equipped opponents described as "the best killers in the Iron Islands" while shirtless.
    • The duel in "The Mountain and the Viper" is a fascinating examination of this. One combatant (the Viper) wears light armor and no helmet to gain speed, sight, and maneuverability, while the other (the Mountain) is a walking tank covered in plate and mail. Zig-Zagged when the Viper essentially wins, wearing his opponent down through a combination of tiring him out and Death of a Thousand Cuts, but is so furious about his opponent's past actions (his whole reason for fighting the duel in the first place) that he gets much too close to him, and the Mountain is able to grab him and kill him bare-handed. He almost certainly would not have survived to that point if he had not been heavily armored.
    • Justified when the weapon is an Absurdly Sharp Blade of Valyrian steel like Longclaw or Oathkeeper.
    • Frequently Played Straight with mooks, particularly during Big Badass Battle Sequences.
    • Also Justified where dragons are involved; not even the finest of full plate will save you from fire hot enough to melt stone and vaporize flesh.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Ned has no answer when Renly asks, "Do you still believe good soldiers make good kings?"
    • Varys strikes absolute terror into Ned by asking, "And what of your daughter's life, Lord Stark? Is that a precious thing to you?"
    • Talisa rattles Robb by asking, "And Then What?" of his plan to depose and execute Joffrey.
    • Theon delivers an epic one to his father when Balon calls him weak for growing up among the Starks.
      "You act as if I volunteered! You gave me away, if you remember?! The day you bent the knee to Robert Baratheon! After he crushed you! Did you 'take what was yours' then?"
    • Theon is on the receiving end later when Bran asks, "Did you hate us the whole time?" The most heartbreaking part is that Bran isn't angry or judgmental, he just wants to know. This hits Theon hard because he didn't and is now torn between loyalty to his birth family and adoptive family who raised him.
    • When Davos insists on being humble about his mistreatment by Blue Blood lordlings, Stannis asks, "And where were those lords when Storm's End starved?"
    • Quaithe's query to Jorah on whether he'll betray Daenerys again is all-the-more unsettling for coming from someone who had no way of knowing he had.
    • When Jon angrily points out he, as a son of Ned Stark, has the blood of the First Men running through his veins and is of the same blood as the wildlings with just as much claim to the North, Ygritte asks, "Then why are you fightin' us?" which Jon has no answer for. Apparently, the wildlings' frequent Rape, Pillage, and Burn and overall intent to overrun his homeland with primitive anarchists doesn't occur to him.
    • Jaime devastates Brienne with one in "Kissed By Fire":
      "Tell me, if your precious Renly commanded you to kill your own father and stand by while thousands of men, women, and children burned alive, would you have done it? Would you have kept your oath then?!"
    • Brienne looks like a deer in the headlights when Cersei asks her directly if she loves Jaime in "The Lion and the Rose".
    • When Jaime is balking at seeing Tyrion, Bronn says, "He named you as his champion because he knew you'd ride night and day to come fight for him. Are you going to fight for him now?"
    • Hizdahr zo Loraq confronts Daenerys about her execution of the masters with the question, "Is it justice to answer one crime with another?"
    • When Tyrion tries appealing to The Power of Friendship to talk Bronn into fighting for him, Bronn replies, "Aye, I'm your friend. And when have you ever risked your life for me?"
    • Jorah cannot bring himself to answer when Daenerys demands to know, "Did you tell them I was carrying Drogo's child?"
    • Ralf Kenning unintentionally hits the nail on the head when he demands of Reek, "Are you a woman, boy?"
    • Shireen's question, "Are you ashamed of me, Father?" prompts the most heartfelt monologue Stannis has ever delivered.
    • Jaime has no answer when Bronn asks if his lover shares his desire to die in each other's arms.
    • In "The Dance of Dragons", Dany has no answer when Hizdahr asks whether she thinks the pit fighters (who are ostensibly free men) have no ability to know their own minds and make their own judgements about what they're willing to die for. Tyrion interjects with a Shut Up, Hannibal!, but doesn't actually say he disagrees.
    • In "Eastwatch", Jaime tells Cersei about Olenna Tyrell confessing her part in Joffrey's death. Cersei, who had been so adamant about charging Tyrion with the crime and seeing him die over it, initially dismisses Jaime's information with disgust. However, one set of questions from Jaime immediately forces Cersei to process the truth.
      Jaime: If you were Olenna, would you rather have seen your granddaughter marry King Joffrey or Tommen? Which one would have made Olenna the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms?
    • When Sam reveals to Jon after he states he is no longer the King in the North his heiritage and that HE is the rightful ruler of Westeros Jon counters that Dany should be queen. Sam states that Jon gave up his crown for the good of his people... would Dany? Jon can't answer
  • Armor-Piercing Slap:
    • When Viserys gets violent with Daenerys in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things", she slaps him across the face with a medallion belt, which leaves him speechless.
    • Balon's response to his son's Ironic Echo is a backhand that sends him halfway across the room.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores:
    • Very few men have joined the Night's Watch voluntarily in recent centuries, leaving it to be increasingly staffed by outcasts, outlaws, and luckless lords who fought for a losing side.
    • The men of the Brotherhood Without Banners proudly proclaim that some of them were once swineherds but now they all fight for the people.
  • Arranged Marriage: These are a common political tool among the nobility of Westeros. Some are happy, such as Ned and Catelyn, and some are not, such as Robert and Cersei. Many are against the will of one or both parties, such as Daenerys and Drogo or Tyrion and Sansa. The political consequences of breaking such a marriage pact, as Robb does in "Valar Morghulis", make this Serious Business.
  • Arrested for Heroism: In the early days of TV Tropes, this trope might have been called "The Davos."
    • Davos' smuggling of supplies into Storm's End won him Stannis' lifelong respect and patronage, but unfortunately Stannis does not consider rewarding heroism and punishing crime to be mutually exclusive. So Davos was knighted for his heroism and lost four fingertips for his previous smuggling. This actually increases Davos' respect for Stannis.
    • After managing to find his way back to Dragonstone after the battle, Davos immediately calls Stannis and Melisandre out for their moping and burning dissenters, and eventually pulls a knife on Melisandre. Stannis reacts by throwing him in a dungeon.
    • Soon after being released, Davos gets rearrested for freeing a prisoner to prevent another Human Sacrifice, and only narrowly avoids execution by convincing Stannis that he's too valuable a counsellor for the war to come.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy:
    • Jaime Lannister's prodigious swordsmanship makes him one of the most self-assured men in the Seven Kingdoms. The loss of his sword hand puts a dead stop to this.
    • Loras Tyrell is one of the best in the realm and knows it, lamenting in "Kissed By Fire" that there are no worthy opponents for him to spar with in King's Landing.
    • Anguy is extremely sure of his archery and has good reason to be.
    • The water-dancing gladiator in "The Dance of Dragons" is very good but can't resist making a show of finishing off his opponent, allowing the another combatant to skewer him with a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind.
  • Arrows on Fire: The Big Badass Battle Sequence episodes "Blackwater" and "The Watchers on the Wall" share a director with a penchant for this.
    • Tyrion gives the specific order, "Rain fire on them" when Stannis lands his forces under the walls in "Blackwater" for no reason beyond the Rule of Perception, since undetectable arrows would be both more effective and more terrifying.
    • Even more than the previous battle episode, "The Watchers on the Wall" features tons of this trope for the Rule of Perception, including several times when arrows take fire without any sign of even being lit.
    • The Battle of Winterfell deconstructs this. The arrows are flaming because fire is the only thing that can destroy the wights, and are brutally effective until the Night King brings a winter storm. Then, the fire gets blown out before it can do much damage, and they're unable to light the barricade because every time an arrow sparks it gets blown out.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Bells always ring for horrors like a dead king, a city under siege, or a wedding.
    • Breaking a wild horse seems fairly tame compared to the other examples of Better Than Sex listed by Khal Moro's bloodriders in "The Red Woman".
  • Artifact Alias: Grey Worm remains Grey Worm even when allowed to choose his own name.
  • Artifact Title:
    • In-Universe, the "Seven Kingdoms" is a reference to the political composition of Westeros before Aegon became the Conqueror (The Riverlands were ruled by the Ironborn, and the Crownlands didn't exist). Following Aegon's conquest, the name remained, but there was really only one kingdom, divided into nine regions.
    • The Histories and Lore segments reveal that the Iron Bank originally stored its assets in an abandoned iron mine. The bank has subsequently branched out massively, but the original mine remains one of its reserve deposits.
    • The White Walkers, some of whom are seen riding on undead horses as early as Season 2.
  • Artificial Limbs: Jaime receives an ornate golden prosthetic following the loss of his hand.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • While not as impossibly-sized as a Kaiju, Drogon is still far too massive for a creature of his proportions, walking on skinny birdlike legs and a single claw on each wing. Realistically, he'd need much thicker limbs to support his weight on the ground.
    • We're told the Targaryens often practiced Brother–Sister Incest to keep their bloodline pure over their 300-year reign, with implications they'd been doing it prior to the Conquest as well. In reality, severe mental and physical debilitation would result (Charles II of Spain is a good historical example), but the Targaryens seem flawless except for occasional madness. It's worth noting that the amount of incest is frequently exaggerated and it's heavily implied that there's more than a little magic in their bloodline.
    • Without testicles secreting testosterone, the muscular development shown by some Unsullied borders on unnatural.
    • Varys tells Tyrion he was castrated as a pre-teen, which means he ought to have the same physical attributes as the castrato singers of the 17-19th centuries; unusually long limbs and large ribcage and a higher voice. His voice, in particular, is far too deep for a male castrated before adulthood.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Considering how long it would take to travel the hundreds of miles from Craster's Keep to the Lands of Always Winter, the baby in "Oathkeeper" should be long dead of exposure and starvation. The White Walker might keep him alive by magic somehow though.
    • The survivors of Hardhome depart by ship but somehow contrive to arrive 150 miles inland at Castle Black from the north (i.e. hostile) side of the Wall in order to play out the drama of letting wildlings through the Wall. Even supposing the ships abandoned them off-screen, it would still have been safer and easier to follow the coast and pass through the Wall at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea before marching inland.
    • The set depicting the docks of King's Landing fluctuates between inside and outside the Red Keep depending on the needs of the plot. For instance, after Myrcella's departure in "The Old Gods and the New", the royal court is nearly overwhelmed by rioters while returning to the castle, but during Myrcella's return in "The Red Woman" Cersei rushes to the same jetty merely by crossing a courtyard.
    • Sam and Gilly begin Season 6 sailing south from Eastwatch by ship, but then arrive far inland at Horn Hill by carriage before pressing on to Oldtown, which they are awed to see for the first time, even though by far the best port of call for anyone travelling from the Wall to Horn Hill is Oldtown.
    • Riverrun and the Twins would seem to be closer together than the roughly 300 miles in the books, since Jaime makes this journey just to sullenly attend Walder Frey's victory party in "The Winds of Winter" despite his stated intention of rushing back to Cersei.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Talisa appraises that a wounded soldier's foot needs immediate amputation because it's already black with gangrene mere hours after the battle. In reality, necrosis almost never develops that fast and battlefield amputations were about removing irreparable damage. In fact, until modern germ theory and antiseptics, roughly half of amputees died of infection caused by the amputation itself.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • The dragons' design in the series are very poorly adapted for flight: most notably, their wing-to-body ratio remains the same as babies when they grow into adults, even though their wings would need to be proportionally much larger in order to lift their bodies.
      • There are also the dragon skulls in the Red Keep, which are shown to be made of solid bone. Most flying animals have hollow bones, as well as spaces in their skulls, to minimize their body weight and make flight more efficient.
    • During the first season, Viserys is killed when Khal Drogo melts down some golden jewelry and pours the molten gold over his head. Gold melts at 1064 °C. While it's possible to heat gold to its melting point using a campfire, the pot would have to be pressed into the logs and the fire stoked to get it hot enough, and even then it would take quite some time to liquify the gold as shown on screen, requiring the logs to be changed out more than once. It would also not be possible for Drogo to pick the pot up with his bare hands without severely burning himself, even lifting it by the handles.
    • In season 8, Gendry is shown melting down dragonglass to form a variety of blades. Real world obsidian is extremely difficult to work this way; Gendry simply mentions offhand that it's a difficult material—quite the understatement. It would've been much more practical to knap, or chip, blades from the raw stone.
  • Ascended Extra: Has its own page.
  • Ascended Fanboy: In-Universe.
    • Alton Lannister is a huge fan of his distant cousin Jaime, stating that the day he squired for Jaime was the best day of his life. Jaime in turn talks of how he is an ascended fanboy of Barristan Selmy.
    • In one of the Histories and Lore featurettes, Bran talks about his love for Old Nan's scary stories, and how he's now in one.
    • Brienne's one request from King Renly is to join his Kingsguard and keep him safe from all harm. Later, it is revealed she has a pretty big crush on him.
  • Ascended Fanon: "Warging" was originally just a fan term, but Bran uses it in-universe in "Dark Wings, Dark Words".
    • Some fan theories and predictions from the novels, so popular that they are considered canonical or certain, have made their way into the series:
      • The resurrection of Jon Snow in Season 6. Fans of the novels consider this will happen in the novels ever since A Dance with Dragons came out, pointing out to hints of Jon Snow being Azor Ahai, the R+L=J theory, Melisandre's presence in Castle Black, and the resurrections of Beric Dondarrion at the hand of Thoros of Myr, who is a red priest like Melisandre.
      • The survival of Sandor Clegane. In the novels there's a hooded gravedigger at a monastery that fans believe is Sandor.
      • Benjen Stark is Coldhands. Despite A Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin's indications to the contrary, many fans insist that the two are the same. Cue the show having an undead Benjen saving Bran and Meera's life, and later Jon's.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • An in-universe example is the Lannisters' catchphrase, "A Lannister always pays his debts," which is used so frequently that Bran mistakes it for their official motto (which is actually "Hear Me Roar").
    • Fans often mocked the less than original "stolen dragons plot" in Daenerys's Season 2 storyline with cries of, "Where are my dragons!?". Time Warner Cable turned it into an ad.
    • "Balon Greyjoy won the War of Five Kings" became a popular statement by fans, given that the character was the only one of the original five combatants left at that point despite being the most unlikely. He actually takes note of this in the beginning of Season 6. And then he dies.
    • Gendry's eventual return in season 7 earns the remark "Thought you'd still be rowing" from Davos. Gendry perpetually rowing became a meme after he was smuggled out of Dragonstone on a rowboat in season 3 and was never heard from until this point.
  • Asexuality:
    • Varys claims to have been asexual even before his castration, which is understandable since he was only a child at the time. He certainly has no interest at present, claiming he abhors desire because it was lust for power that led to the war, although this may be just his personal rationalization after the fact.
    • Joffrey is a markedly asexual character for a show that oozes sex. He has a habit of steering conversation away from the topic or discussing it quite clinically, derives mundane enjoyment rather than sexual pleasure from sadism even in highly sexualized situations, and even his threats to invoke Droit du Seigneur seem motivated by sadism more than desire.
  • Asshole Victim: Has its own page.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • Robert Baratheon won the Iron Throne this way, but proves to be a very ineffectual ruler who hates the job.
    • Each Dothraki khalasar is led by its most badass warrior. Leadership can pass from father to son (Drogo's father Bharbo was khal before him), but it's not an inherited title and each khal must fight constantly to defeat his rivals and appease his supporters with victory.
    • Wildlings value charisma, bravery, and martial skill far above lineage and rank. Becoming a chieftain and especially a King-Beyond-the-Wall like Mance Rayder means subduing every other contender in some way. For instance, nobody has a problem with Tormund bludgeoning the Lord of Bones to death when challenged.
    • Even in the Seven Kingdoms where people do respect birth and rank, Jaime Lannister fears what will happen to his authority if people realize he can barely wipe his own ass anymore.
    • Since the Unsullied are said to know nothing but combat, it's implied they would only elect their best fighter as leader, and Grey Worm certainly proves his prowess.
    • Jon Snow is elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch for his fighting prowess and leadership rather than his seniority.
    • Nobody has a problem with Tormund bludgeoning the Lord of Bones to death since the Free Folk bow to strength.
    • The Ironborn value the "Iron Price" of theft or murder more than the "Gold Price" of money. While asskicking doesn't DIRECTLY equal authority, since they elect a new ruler each time the old one leaves power, Euron wins votes by reminding everyone that he killed the last king and therefore paid the Iron Price for the throne while everyone else is attempting with the Gold Price.
  • Ass Shove:
    • It's ambiguous whether Brienne's vindictive stabbing of a rapist in "Valar Morghulis" is this or Groin Attack.
    • Ellaria threatens the immense Aero Hotah with one in "The House of Black and White."
  • As You Know: Has its own page.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: The Stunned Silence at the start of Cersei's walk in "Mother's Mercy" is broken when a bystander yells "Cunt!" at the top of his lungs and everyone realizes they too can get away with insulting the queen to her face.
  • The Atoner:
    • Robert becomes this after his Hunting "Accident" in "You Win Or You Die", calling off the assassination attempt on Daenerys as a My God, What Have I Done?.
    • Jaime is trying his best to reform by saving Brienne, sending her to protect the Stark girls to fulfill his vow, saving Tyrion from execution, and once again aspiring to be a dutiful Kingsguard no matter how soiled his reputation. Later, he insists on going on a dangerous mission himself due to his guilt over releasing his brother, who went on to kill their father.
    • Barristan swears himself to Daenerys to atone for failing her elder brother Rhaegar and accepting King Robert's pardon.
    • Upon his reintroduction in "The Wars to Come", Lancel Lannister has become very pious and joined a mendicant movement to repent for his past sins.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Sons of the Harpy's Plan A for combat is the element of surprise, but Plan B is to throw themselves at the enemy and hope their death creates an opening for a fellow Harpy. Their success comes from a total lack of self-preservation even when a dragon shows up.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • Sansa suffers this repeatedly. First, she's almost gang-raped by rioters in "The Old Gods and the New", then threatened with Droit du Seigneur and Marital Rape License in "Seconds Sons". She's finally overcome by Ramsay in "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken".
    • Theon is nearly raped by his pursuers in the woods but is saved by a well-timed arrow to the chest of his would-be rapist.
    • Brienne is taken off to be raped by Locke and his men, but Jaime manages to stop them with the promise of a ransom.
    • Gilly is saved from being raped by a couple of Night's Watch brothers by the timely intervention of Samwell and Ghost.
  • At the Crossroads:
    • The inn where Tyrion and Catelyn collide in "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things" is actually called the "Inn At the Crossroads" in the novels since it sits at the main crossroads of the realm's northern half.
    • In "Mockingbird", Brienne and Pod debate the fork in the road leading either north to the North or east to the Vale. Ironically, they choose the Vale but end up heading north in the next season anyway.
  • Audible Sharpness: Generally an Enforced Trope. However, when Will is apprehended in "Winter is Coming", there is a faint metallic scraping that might be coming from a couple of spears simply being pointed at him. This trope is also invoked with wooden practice swords in "Lord Snow" to demonstrate Ned flashing back to the wars he's fought in and imagining his daughter in combat.
  • Audience Surrogate: Gendry has the same reaction to Arya's Wasteful Wishing as many viewers.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: There are many examples of men in power due to their birth who are (or were) still fearsome fighters. Tyrion even justifies this by noting that the social elite get much better equipment and lifelong training.
    • Ned chooses to be modest about it, but he can match the prodigious Jaime Lannister and even Living Legend Barristan Selmy speaks highly of him.
    • Jon discovers that as the son of a lord, he can easily outmatch his lowborn fellow recruits because they barely know which end of a sword to hold, whereas Jon has been receiving training from a knight alongside his brother Robb since they were old enough to hold a sword.
    • Stannis personally leads his army's assault in "Blackwater" and fights like a One-Man Army.
    • Greatjon Umber initially doubts Robb has this trait, but becomes one of his staunchest supports and the first to acclaim him king after he proves his mettle.
  • Authority in Name Only:
    • Joffrey might sit the Iron Throne, but it's obvious to everyone, even Joffrey, that Lord Tywin is the real power in the realm.
    • Littlefinger's lordship of Harrenhal is purely nominal while the Starks still occupy the Riverlands, but even nominal authority over a great castle is a giant step up for a man from the very lowest of nobility. In Season 4, it makes him a worthy suitor for Lysa Arryn, through whom he gains control of the Vale. Season 7 has this trope played straight yet again where he is Lord Protector of the Vale (who rules the legion until the young heir Robin Arryn comes of age) and its revealed he holds no true real power in the court of Winterfell, where all the Knights of the Vale swore their allegiance to the King in the North Jon Snow and his family, not to Baelish himself.
  • Automaton Horses:
    • Averted when Gregor's ill-tempered stallion is Distracted by the Sexy when Loras rides an in-heat mare in their joust.
    • Averted by Daenerys' white mare, who dies of exhaustion crossing the Red Waste.
    • Olenna's late husband apparently died because he didn't notice his horse wandering off a cliff, which is either this trope or evidence of a horse committing suicide.
    • Bronn describes Dornish sand steeds in these terms, which could easily be hyperbole for their great endurance.
    • In a meta aversion, the realities of dealing with horses means they are frequently Adapted Out in comparison to the novels.
  • Avenging the Villain: Cersei's vendetta against Tyrion for the murder of Joffrey (which he didn't commit) and the murder of Tywin (which he did).
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Khal Drogo really didn't care all that much about Westeros, until Robert tried to have Daenerys assassinated. Then he becomes hell-bent on vengeance.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Aegon the Conqueror deliberately made the Iron Throne both awe-inspiring and uncomfortable, believing that a king should look impressive but never sit easy or grow complacent.
    • Harrenhal is the greatest fortress in the Seven Kingdoms, but also a logistical nightmare that's practically impossible to man and govern properly, which is why the Lannisters decline to defend it when the Northern army arrives.
    • Wildfire's awesome destructive power is match only by the danger of handling it in a combat situation. Tyrion brings its full power to bear by laying a trap with it that eliminates the problem of misfiring catapults and fumbling handlers.
    • Jaime lampshades this with his golden hand. Despite its impressive appearance, a hook would serve him better.
    • The Braavosi fencing style of water dancing is considered this by the Hound, and he has a point since it is flashy and impressive but nearly useless against heavily-armoured opponents.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Roughly half-and-half. For every Ned, Robert, Jon, Sam, or Jaime there's a Daenerys, Tyrion, Theon, Salladhor, or Daario.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning:
    • We get two in "Fire and Blood", with Robb being acclaimed king by his lords and Daenerys proclaiming herself queen.
    • "The House of Black and White" has another when Jon literally becomes "Lord Snow".
    • In "Winds of Winter" we get one of these with the proclamation by Queen of Sass Lyanna Mormont and the Northern lords making Jon Snow"King in the North." Made especially potent by the fact that, one scene earlier, we discovered that Jon Snow is not Ned Stark's son, but Ned's nephew as Jon is the son of Ned's sister Lyanna Stark and Daenerys's late brother Rhaegar Targaryen. In Season 7, it is revealed Jon is their trueborn son, hidden by Ned to save Jon's life, and Jon is the heir to the Iron Throne.
    • Cersei also gets a somewhat troubling one of these when she is crowned queen and sits upon the Iron Throne.
    • In Season 8 after the Battle of Winterfell, Gendry is officially legitimized by Daenerys as Gendry Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End.
    • In the Series Finale: Sansa has secured independence for The North and is crowned queen in her own right, with no king necessary.
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • Robert and Cersei are mutually hateful and abusive.
    • Tyrion and Sansa have no love for each other after being forced to marry, but manage a quasi-friendship that is shattered forever when Sansa learns the Lannisters murdered her mother and brother.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Joffrey is a sadistic sociopath with little regard for human life, but he's also a Dirty Coward so he prefers to use a crossbow on helpless victims.
    • Ramsay is a vicious Serial Killer whose favourite hobbies are Flaying Alive and Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
    • Gregor Clegane lives and breathes this trope, from burning off half his little brother's face as a child to massacring anyone he can get his hands on. He and his band of fellow Sociopathic Soldiers are the Lannisters' go-to men for Rape, Pillage, and Burn during the war.
    • Mad King Aerys was so ax crazy that it brought about the downfall of his dynasty, at which point he plotted to incinerate King's Landing out of spite.
    • Biter proves the truth of his name when he attacks the Hound with just his teeth.
  • An Axe to Grind:
    • Shagga son of Dolf is mentioned to have insisted on two battle-axes prior to the Battle of the Green Fork.
    • Loras wields an axe during his melee with Brienne.
    • Tyrion uses a double-bladed axe to compensate for his stature during the Battle of Blackwater.
    • Yara wields a pair of tomahawks in "The Laws of Gods and Men".
    • Thenns like Styr and Loboda seem to prefer massive, two-handed axes.
    • Sandor uses a wood axe to take vengeance on a group of renegade members of the brotherhood.
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