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George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels feature a massive cast of characters. The novels follows three interwoven plotlines: a dynastic war for control of Westeros by several families; the rising threat of the superhuman Others beyond Westeros's northern border; and the ambition of Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled heir of an earlier dynasty.
Each chapter is narrated in the third person limited point of view through the eyes of a single character. Beginning with nine POV characters in A Game of Thrones, the number grows to thirty-one in A Dance with Dragons.
House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and the principal house of the North. Its seat is at Winterfell, one of the oldest castles in the Seven Kingdoms. Its coat of arms displays a grey direwolf running on a white field, and its motto is Winter is Coming. Bastards born to Northmen are given the surname "Snow". House Stark has ruled as the Kings in the North for thousands of years until House Targaryen conquered Westeros; whereafter the Starks are the Lords of Winterfell and Wardens of the North. For prizing honor and devotion to duty, House Stark is the closest of the noble houses to heroism.
Throughout the novels, the Starks are scattered by the War of the Five Kings, and the fate of the House remains uncertain, as most background characters believe (incorrectly) that all the legitimate Stark sons are dead.
Eddard "Ned" Stark was the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, and briefly served as Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon. Eddard is a major character in the television adaptation, in which he was portrayed by Sean Bean.
Lady Catelyn Stark, formerly of House Tully, was the wife of Lord Eddard Stark (Ned); mother to Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon Stark; daughter of Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun and sister to Lysa Arryn of the Vale. She is a P.O.V. character for twenty-five chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords. She is noted for holding duty over desire as a governing principle of behavior, has a strong grasp of politics, and possesses considerable insight. Nevertheless, Catelyn is also fierce and impulsive when protecting her husband and sons. As a young girl, was betrothed to Ned Stark's older brother Brandon, and raised with Petyr Baelish, who also desired her. After Brandon was executed, Catelyn was married to Ned, and gave birth to Robb while Ned was at war. Ned returned a year later with his illegitimate child Jon Snow. Catelyn resented Jon Snow, but otherwise remained loyal to the family. When Ned leaves for King's Landing in the first book, Catelyn is caring for her wounded son Bran, and having foiled an attempt on Bran's life, rides to King's Landing to inform her husband. In the capitol, Baelish informs her that the knife used in the attempt belonged to Tyrion Lannister, confirming her suspicions. On the way to Winterfell, she captures Tyrion, whom she takes to her sister's fortress ('the Eyrie'). There, she begins to doubt Tyrion's guilt after he is freed by trial by combat. By now, Ned has been arrested and Catelyn meets with her son Robb's army, and they resolve to free him. After relieving the Siege of Riverrun, Robb sends Catelyn as an envoy to Renly Baratheon who has claimed the throne. Her proposal is rebuffed; but after Renly's murder, she gains the service of Brienne of Tarth.
In A Clash of Kings, she visits her father, now gravely ill. While a prisoner at Riverrun, Jaime Lannister admits to injuring Bran, and attempts to escape, but is recaptured. Fearing that Jaime's eventual execution would lead to the execution of her hostage daughters, Catelyn frees Jaime; but is placed under house arrest. Catelyn then rides with Robb's army to The Twins to renew their alliance with House Frey; but Robb and Catelyn are murdered and the Northern army is massacred. In A Feast For Crows, Catelyn, resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, takes on the leadership of the mercenary Brotherhood Without Banners to seek revenge on House Frey and House Lannister
Robb Stark is the eldest child of Eddard and Catelyn Stark. While he does not have any POV chapters of his own, he is mentioned frequently by the Stark P.O.V.s in A Game of Thrones and regularly appears in his mother's POV chapters in the second and third books. Robb's direwolf is named "Grey Wind". As the first born child of Ned and fifteen years in age, he was already prepared to rule Winterfell upon his father's death. He is very close to his half-brother Jon Snow, and to his father's ward Theon Greyjoy.
When his father leaves for King's Landing, Robb becomes acting Lord of Winterfell. After his father's arrest, he marches south with an army to free his father. In order to secure control of a vital bridge, Robb consents to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters. After crossing, he leads his cavalry and destroys the Lannister army besieging Riverrun. After this victory, and after hearing of his father's execution, Robb is crowned 'King of the North'. Unable confront Tywin, Robb invades Tywin's realm of the Westerlands. During this raiding, he is wounded and falls in love with his nurse, Jeyne Westerling. When he marries her, House Frey leaves his army. Robb then returns to the Twins to repair the alliance, but he, his wolf Grey Wind, his mother, and his army are all killed.
Lady Sansa Stark is the second child and elder daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark. She serves as a POV character for twenty-four chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. Sansa is introduced as beautiful and demure.
Sansa is a main character in the television adaptation, in which she is played by Sophie Turner.
Arya Stark is the third child and younger daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark. She serves as a POV character for thirty-three chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. Much to her mother's chagrin, Arya is spirited and ferocious, preferring swordplay to needlework. She is the only character in the series to have POV chapters in all the published novels. In the television adaptation she is played by Maisie Williams.
Bran Stark is the second son and fourth child of Eddard Stark and Catelyn Stark. He serves as the third-person narrator of twenty-one chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons. In A Game of Thrones, he sees Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister committing incest, and Jaime pushes Bran from the window to keep the relationship secret. Bran survives; but loses the use of his legs. While comatose, Bran dreams of a three-eyed crow. Slowly, he develops the ability to assume his wolf Summer's consciousness, making him a warg or skinchanger. After his older brother Robb is crowned King in the North, Bran becomes Robb's heir and the acting Lord of Winterfell. In A Clash of Kings, Jojen Reed teaches Bran how to correctly use his telepathy, and directs him beyond the Wall to find the three-eyed raven. In A Dance with Dragons, Bran meets the Three-Eyed-Raven: an alias of the last superior clairvoyant, who informs Bran that he is the last Greenseer.
Rickon Stark is Eddard Stark's youngest child and is three years old in A Game of Thrones. He is naturally aggressive, strong-willed, and violent: traits reflected in his direwolf companion 'Shaggydog'. When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell in A Clash of Kings, Rickon hides in the crypts. After Winterfell is sacked, he and the wildling woman Osha travel through the North. In A Dance with Dragons, he is said to be on an island of cannibals, called Skagos. Rickon Stark is portrayed by Art Parkinson in the television adaptation of the novels.[S 2][S 4]
Jon Snow is Eddard Stark's bastard and serves as the third-person narrator of forty-two chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons. He shares his father's devotion to honor and tries to stay morally correct and honest, even when forced otherwise. Kit Harington portrays Jon Snow in the television adaptation.
Benjen Stark is the younger brother of Eddard Stark and serves as First Ranger in the Night's Watch. He appears briefly at the start of A Game of Thrones first in Winterfell and then later at Castle Black on the Wall where he travels with his bastard nephew Jon Snow. He is sent on a mission into the lands beyond the Wall to search for a missing ranging party, but he and his men also disappear. He is presumed dead, but his fate has not been confirmed.
In the television adaptation, he is portrayed by Joseph Mawle
Lyanna Stark was Eddard Stark's younger and only sister, and the betrothed of Robert Baratheon. She was known for being headstrong and beautiful. She was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, but before they were to be married, she was abducted by Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, leading to a civil war that resulted in the overthrow of House Targaryen. Ned attempted to rescue Lyanna, but found her dying, with her last words "Promise me, Ned". 
Lord Roose Bolton is a significant vassal of Lord Eddard Stark. His seat is the Dreadfort, and his sigil is a flayed human, an homage to the ancient Bolton tradition of flaying enemies. He is nicknamed "the Leech Lord" for regular leechings meant to improve his health. When Robb Stark summons his vassals in A Game of Thrones, Bolton's intelligence and caution earn him the command of the northern infantry tasked with harassing Tywin Lannister's supply lines and protecting the North from invasion. However, a succession of disasters befall Robb Stark, convincing Bolton that the Northern cause is lost. Bolton then enters secret negotiations with Tywin Lannister and Walder Frey. In A Storm of Swords, he and his men-at-arms play a critical role in the massacre of Stark Bannermen and soldiers, in which Robb Stark, his mother, and many of the Starks' most loyal supporters are slain. For this service, Tywin names Bolton Warden of the North. Because every noble Northern household lost at least one son at the massacre, resentment spreads because of this appointment. When Stannis Baratheon invades the North at the Wall, most of Bolton's vassals provide paltry levies.
Ramsay Snow is the acknowledged bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton. He is known as the Bastard of Bolton or the Bastard of the Dreadfort. Ramsay is vicious, unpredictable, uncouth, and fearless. He enjoys torturing others and is fond of the Bolton custom of flaying enemies. His father disapproves of his behavior. Roose also believes that Ramsay murdered Roose's heir and expects that Ramsay will kill all of Roose's future children. He is bluntly described as ugly, with blotchy skin and dry dark hair.
While his father is away at war in A Clash of Kings, Ramsay abducts Lady Hornwood and forcibly marries her to claim her lands before starving her to death. He escapes justice by switching places with his servant Reek, who is killed instead. After Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Ramsay is released in exchange for a vow of service to Theon. When Northerners move to take back Winterfell, Ramsay returns with an army of Dreadfort men, massacres the Northern relief force, burns Winterfell, and takes Theon prisoner. After Robb Stark's death in A Storm of Swords, Ramsay is legitimized and rewarded by the Iron Throne with a marriage to an Arya Stark impostor, allowing him to claim the title of 'Lord of Winterfell' as all male Starks are believed dead. The impostor is actually Jeyne Poole. Shortly after his wedding, Jeyne and Theon escape with the help of Mance Rayder. Ramsay then sends Jon Snow a letter stating that he has captured Mance and killed Stannis Baratheon, who was besieging Winterfell. In the letter, he demands Theon, Jeyne, and several other members of Stannis's court as captives.
Ramsay is played by Iwan Rheon in the television adaptation of the novels.
Hodor is a simple-minded stableboy at Winterfell and the great-grandson of Old Nan, an elderly servant of Winterfell. He is over seven feet tall, and a wildling supposes that he has giant ancestry. His true name is Walder; but is called 'Hodor' for the only sound he speaks. He is described as having a friendly, childish disposition, and possessing great size and strength. After Bran Stark is crippled in A Game of Thrones, Hodor carries him in a sling on his back. When Winterfell is destroyed, Hodor escapes north with Bran, Jojen, Meera, Rickon, and Osha.
Osha is a wildling woman who travels south of the Wall to escape the Others. She is captured by House Stark in A Game of Thrones and taken back to Winterfell. She is eventually employed as a scullery maid and is given limited freedom. She becomes close to Bran Stark and often gives him advice. When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell in A Clash of Kings, she pledges allegiance to him. Shortly after, Ramsay Snow captures the castle, and she helps Bran and his brother Rickon escape. She travels with Rickon through the North, and by A Dance of Dragons, they have landed on an island supposedly inhabited by cannibals.
Jeyne Poole is the daughter of Vayon Poole, the steward of Winterfell, and Sansa Stark's best friend. She has brown eyes and dark hair and is described as being very pretty. Following the arrest of Eddard Stark in A Game of Thrones, the members and servants of his household are killed. Jeyne reappears in A Dance with Dragons, having survived the massacre but sent to Petyr Baelish's brothels. The Lannisters use her as a stand-in for Sansa's younger sister Arya and send her north to marry Ramsay Snow at Winterfell. Theon Greyjoy recognizes that she is a fake, and that the Boltons are aware of the ruse. It is implied that Ramsay Bolton tortures her and forces her to perform sexual acts on dogs.
In the television adaptation, an unidentified extra appeared briefly as Jeyne.
Jojen and Meera are the children of Stark bannerman Howland Reed, Lord of Greywater Watch and leader of the crannogmen of the Neck. Howland Reed is commonly regarded as one of Ned Stark's closest friends, despite having not left Greywater Watch since the war. They first appear in A Clash of Kings, where they are sent to renew House Reed's pledge to the Starks in place of their father and are asked to befriend and support the late Eddard Stark's children. Meera is a skilled huntress, preferring to use a small net and a trident. Jojen is thirteen when he first appears, but his seriousness and maturity make him seem older. When he nearly died of greyscale fever, he was visited by a three-eyed crow and gifted with the greensight, prophetic but abstract dreams. While in Winterfell, Jojen recognizes that Bran Stark is a skinchanger, someone able to enter the mind of an animal and control its actions, and helps him gain control over his ability. When he learns about Bran's vision of the three-eyed crow, he urges Bran to look for it north of the Wall. When Theon Greyjoy takes control of Winterfell, Jojen and Meera hide in the crypts under the castle before they flee north with Bran. Meera primarily hunts for their food. At the end of A Storm of Swords, they travel beyond the Wall and Jojen becomes very weak on the journey. In A Dance with Dragons, Jojen wants to return to Greywater Watch. Meera struggles to keep the group's spirits up, but implies that Jojen's future is bleak.
Jeyne Westerling is the daughter of Lord Gawen and Lady Sybell Westerling, a family sworn to House Lannister. She meets Robb Stark when he is wounded in the fighting, and falls in love. Robb marries her the next day in an attempt to preserve her honor and breaks a marriage contract with House Frey. After Robb's departure for the Twins, Jeyne remains in Riverrun and does not witness her husband's murder. After the Red Wedding, she is granted a royal pardon. In A Feast for Crows, she is openly mourning and defies her mother. Her mother insists that Jeyne unwittingly drank potions that prevented her from conceiving. She last appears riding to Casterly Rock as a prisoner.
In 2011, it was announced that Oona Chaplin would play Jeyne in the television adaptation of the novels.[S 8] However, when the series was released, Jeyne's character had been replaced by Talisa Maegyr (played by Chaplin), a healer from Volantis, whose story, apart from her marriage to Robb, was completely different.
House Targaryen has been the ruling house of the Seven Kingdoms for nearly 300 years, holding royal court in King's Landing. Its coat of arms shows a red, three-headed dragon breathing fire on a black field, and its words are Fire and Blood.
The Targaryens originally came from Valyria on the continent of Essos. Before Valyria was destroyed in an event known as the Doom, the Targaryens left for Dragonstone. A century after the Doom, Aegon I Targaryen began the conquest of Westeros, landing at what would later become King's Landing. Aegon conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms with his dragons; and his descendants won the seventh through a political marriage. The Targaryen dragons were the last known to exist and died out long before the events of A Game of Thrones. People of Targaryen ancestry, referred to as "blood of the dragon", tend to have silvery-gold or platinum hair and purple eyes ranging from lilac to violet.
Fifteen years before the events of the series, the Targaryens were deposed in Robert's Rebellion, with the children Viserys and Daenerys fleeing to Essos.
|Rhaegar||Viserys III||Drogo||Daenerys I|
Daenerys Targaryen, the 'Mother of Dragons', is the daughter of King Aerys II Targaryen and is one of the last surviving members of House Targaryen. She serves as the third-person narrator for thirty-one chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons.
In the television series, she is portrayed by Emilia Clarke.
Viserys Targaryen is the second born son of Aerys II Targaryen. Thirteen years before the events of the series, he and his sister Daenerys fled Westeros to escape death at the hands of rebel Robert Baratheon. He is a cruel, ambitious, and blunt man who is prone to violent mood swings, maddened by poverty and exile, and is willing to do anything to win back his throne. In A Game of Thrones, he sells his sister to Khal Drogo, hoping that the marriage will buy Drogo's Dothraki warriors. During one of his violent outbursts, he threatens Daenerys and is killed by Drogo.
Rhaegar Targaryen is the oldest son of Aerys II, described as an intelligent, brooding man who in his childhood had been very bookish. Years before the events of A Game of Thrones, Rhaegar had been the heir apparent to the Iron Throne, married Elia Martell and had two children, a girl named Rhaenys and son named Aegon. After winning a tourney, he had crowned Lyanna Stark Queen of Love and Beauty, passing over Elia; he and Lyanna later disappeared. Enraged, Robert had started a rebellion to rescue her, killing Rhaegar and ultimately deposing House Targaryen. Though Robert vilifies Rhaegar throughout A Game of Thrones, many characters express admiration for him. He is the namesake of Daenerys' son, Rhaego, and of her green dragon Rhaegal.
Aegon Targaryen, nicknamed Egg in his youth, was the fourth son of a fourth son. He was called Aegon the Unlikely because he was unlikely to inherit the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. He is named king when a council bypasses those before him in the line of succession. Upon taking the throne, he became Aegon V. He ruled the Seven Kingdoms well, and his reign lasted more than twenty-five years. He perished in a fire at Summerhall, the Targaryen summer home. A young Aegon is one of the main characters in the Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas.
In the television adaptation, Aegon is the father of Aerys the Mad King, rather than his grandfather.
Aerys Targaryen, also called The Mad King, ruled the Seven Kingdoms as Aerys II as the last Targaryen king. While his rule started out well, he slowly descended into madness. He had three children, Rhaegar, Viserys, and Daenerys. After Rhaegar absconds with Lyanna Stark, Aerys has Ned Stark's father and brother executed, beginning Robert's Rebellion. The loyalists lose the war, so Aerys plots to burn King's Landing so that Robert may be king of the ashes. This plot is foiled by Jaime Lannister, who kills Aerys.
Aegon VI Targaryen is the only son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. Fifteen years before the events of the series, the infant Aegon was reported to have been killed with his mother and sister by Gregor Clegane. In A Dance with Dragons, Varys claims to have switched Aegon with another infant and smuggled Aegon out of King's Landing. He spent his life in exile. In A Dance with Dragons, he and his army land in Westeros and captures several castles, laying siege to the Baratheon seat of Storm's End. His fate is unknown.
Lord Jon Connington is the exiled Lord of Griffin's Roost and was a close friend of Rhaegar Targaryen. Jon serves as a third-person narrator for two chapters in A Dance with Dragons. Fifteen years before the events of the series, King Aerys II made Jon his Hand of the King. However, Jon also failed to contain the rebellion. Robert strips him of his lands and titles and exiles him. Biding his time in Essos, Jon and Aegon eventually decide to attack Westeros while it is embroiled in civil war. During the return trip, Connington contracts Greyscale Plague. The group lands in the Stormlands and captures several castles, including Griffin's Roost. Aegon plans to leads the attack on Storm's End, the next target.
Ser Jorah Mormont is the exiled Lord of Bear Island in the North, which he inherited after his father Jeor Mormont joined the Night's Watch to pass on the title. After winning a tourney joust, Jorah was allowed to take high ranking noble as his second wife. He went into debt trying to support her lavish lifestyle, and he was sentenced to death after selling poachers to slavers. He flees into exile and his wife abandons him in Essos. He eventually joins a Dothraki Khalassar led by Drogo. In exchange for a pardon, he agrees to spy on Daenerys, however he comes to love her and abandons his espionage activities. He then serves as Daenerys' principal advisor before being exposed by Berristan Selmy. Daenerys exiles him once more.
Jorah eventually captures the exiled Tyrion Lannister, hoping that presenting the son of the man who murdered her family would bring him back to her good graces. However their ship is captured and he is sold into slavery. He eventually escapes bondage with Tyrion and together they plot Daenerys victory.
Brynden Rivers, better known as "Bloodraven" is a bastard Targaryen. He is one of the only characters to appear in both the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas. He is an albino, with milk white skin, long white hair and red eyes. He is also thin and gaunt. He has a winestain birthmark on his left cheek said to be in the shape of a raven, which is the source of his nickname.
Bloodraven remained loyal to the crown throughout the Blackfyre Rebellions. However he was eventually thrown in prison for unknown reasons and then joined the Night's Watch. He was elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and served in that capacity for many years before disappearing. In A Dance with Dragons, Bran Stark meets the three-eyed crow he had been seeing in his dreams. It is revealed to be Bloodraven, who has prolonged his life by fusing himself to a weirwood tree. He begins training Bran in the areas of greenseeing and warging.
Bloodraven is played by Struan Rodger in the television series.
House Arryn is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and is the principal house in the Vale. It is descended from the Kings of Mountain and Vale. Its main seat is at the Eyrie, a small castle located at the top of a mountain. Its coat of arms displays a white moon-and-falcon on a sky blue field, and its words are As High as Honor. Bastards born in the Vale are generally given the surname "Stone".
Jon Arryn was the head of the Arryn family until he was poisoned shortly before A Game of Thrones. His only child, Robert Arryn, became Lord of the Eyrie with Lysa Tully acting as regent.
Jon Arryn was the Lord of the Eyrie, Defender of the Vale, Warden of the East, and Hand to King Robert Baratheon before the events of A Game of Thrones. He took Robert and Eddard Stark as wards and became a father figure to both. When King Aerys II Targaryen commanded him to hand over his wards, Jon, knowing that doing so would be sending the boys to their deaths, instead rose up in rebellion. To earn the support of House Tully in the rebellion, Jon married the much younger Lysa Tully. Throughout Robert's reign, Jon was left with most of the responsibility of running the Seven Kingdoms. When Stannis suspected the parentage of Queen Cersei Lannister's children, he brought his suspicions to Jon. Jon confirmed that Cersei's children were fathered not by Robert but by her brother Jaime. Before he could reveal this, Lysa poisoned him to stop him from sending their son Robert Arryn away as a ward.
Lysa Arryn is the second child and youngest daughter of Lord Hoster Tully. Enamoured of Petyr Baelish, Lysa resented her older sister Catelyn Tully when he fell in love with her. Prior to the series, while Baelish was her father's ward, Lysa was impregnated by him after Catelyn spurned him. Learning of this, Hoster sent Baelish home and tricked Lysa into drinking an abortifacient potion, using her unborn child as proof of her fertility while marrying her off to Jon Arryn. Lysa has became a paranoid and an unstable, mercurial woman.
Shortly before A Game of Thrones, Baelish convinced Lysa to poison her husband and write a letter to Catelyn to name House Lannister responsible for the act. Fearing for herself and her son, Lysa returns to the Eyrie and becomes Lady Regent of the Vale. At the Eyrie, Lysa refuses House Stark's plea for assistance and commits the Vale to a strict policy of neutrality in the war. Lysa later accepts a marriage proposal from Baelish in A Storm of Swords. After finding Baelish kissing Sansa Stark, Lysa attempts to throw her to her death; but Baelish saves Sansa by murdering Lysa.
Robert Arryn, sometimes called 'Sweetrobin', is the only child of Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully. He suffers from frequent seizure-like episodes called a 'shaking illness', and is depicted as intellectually and physically stunted.  At the start of the series, he is Lord of the Eyrie and Defender of the Vale and his mother rules as regent in his name. After Lysa's marriage to Petyr Baelish and her subsequent death in a Storm of Swords, Baelish claims the rule of the Vale and guardianship of Robert. Robert becomes increasingly emotional and unstable throughout A Feast for Crows and his shaking episodes become more frequent. In the absence of his mother, he becomes attached to his cousin Sansa Stark in her disguise of Alayne Stone.
House Lannister is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and the principal house of the Westerlands. Its seat is at Casterly Rock. Its coat of arms displays a golden lion rampant on a crimson field, and its words are Hear Me Roar! More famous than its official motto is the House's unofficial one: A Lannister always pays his debts. The Lannisters ruled as Kings of the Rock until House Targaryen invaded Westeros. They are the richest family in the Seven Kingdoms because of the gold mines located on their lands. They are the main antagonists of the series.
Tywin Lannister is Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, and Warden of the West. He is a calculating, ruthless, and controlling man. In his youth, he witnessed his father grow old and "weak." His father allowed Lannister Bannermen to openly mock their liege lord, and eventually several revolted against Lannister rule. Disgusted with his father's inaction, Tywin personally lead the Lannister Army and utterly destroyed the rebellious vassals, placing the bodies of their entire families on display at Casterly Rock. Impressed with his decisive actions in putting down the rebellion, Aerys II Targaryen appointed the young Tywin Hand of the King, a position Tywin held for twenty years. He proved himself a capable leader and his tenure was marked by peace and prosperity.
He eventually married his second cousin Joanna. When she died giving birth to their dwarf son Tyrion, he was devastated and it is said that "the best part of Tywin died with her." He never remarried. Tywin loves his children Cersei and Jaime, but he despises Tyrion for being deformed and for causing Joanna's death. Tywin discovered that the young Tyrion eloped with a peasant's daughter and fell into a cold rage, believing that a Lannister should never stoop so low as to marry lowborns. He had Tyrion's marriage annulled, telling him that the entire love affair was a plot by Jaime to get Tyrion to lose his virginity, his "love" was nothing more than a prostitute. Tywin then has the entire garrison of Casterly Rock gang-rape the girl.
During Robert Baratheon's rebellion, Tywin remained neutral until Robert had all but won the war. He then captured King's Landing through treachery and ordered the murder of the royal family before Ned could capture the city. In A Game of Thrones, he views the kidnapping of Tyrion as a slight against his family and sends Gregor Clegane to raid the Riverlands. He then spends much of his time fighting House Stark in the following war. After King Robert Baratheon dies, he is named Hand of the King to his grandson Joffrey Baratheon. He sends Tyrion to serve in his stead. Tywin continues the war through A Clash of Kings. Upon hearing that rebel Stannis Baratheon is attacking King's Landing, he arrives in time to drive Stannis away. He formally assumes his position of Hand in A Storm of Swords. He arranges for Joffrey to marry Margaery Tyrell to secure an alliance between the Lannisters and Tyrells; and he orders Tyrion to marry Sansa Stark to claim Winterfell. He also plots the massacre at Edmure Tully's wedding, which kills rebel Robb Stark and most of his army, effectively ending the war. When Joffrey is poisoned and Tyrion is blamed, Tywin presides at his son's trial. Tyrion is determined guilty in a trial by combat and is sentenced to death. However, Tyrion escapes and murders Tywin in the privy after learning that Tywin had lied about his first wife.
Cersei Lannister of House Lannister is the older twin sister of Jaime, and the only daughter of Tywin Lannister. She serves as the third-person narrator for twelve chapters throughout A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. She is inseparable from Jaime, and the pair have maintained an incestuous relationship; but she blames her younger brother, Tyrion Lannister, for their mother's demise. Fifteen years before the events of the series, Cersei married King Robert Baratheon and became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, but she neither loved nor respected Robert. She had three children, but all three are fathered by Jaime rather than Robert.
In A Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark discovers the truth of her children's parentage and offers her a chance to flee in exile before he informs Robert; but Cersei instead arranges Robert's death, to crown her son Joffrey while naming herself his regent. When Eddard tries to publicly reveal the truth, she has him arrested for treason. After Tywin becomes Hand of the King in A Storm of Swords, Cersei learns that she is to be married to a son of House Tyrell, removing her from power in the capital. After Joffrey's death, Cersei immediately accuses Tyrion of poisoning her son. Upon Tywin's murder by Tyrion, Cersei is released from her betrothal and reclaims the regency, but proves inept and makes a series of economic and political blunders. She enters a bitter power struggle with House Tyrell and especially Tommen's wife, Margaery Tyrell.
Cersei frames Margaery for adultery and high treason, but the scheme falls apart and Cersei is imprisoned on charges of Robert's regicide, incest, and adultery. In A Dance with Dragons, she confesses to adultery with her cousin Lancel and as punishment, she must have her head shaved and walk through the capital naked. The remaining charges will be judged in a trial by combat. Her fate is unknown.
Cersei Lannister is portrayed by Lena Headey in the television adaptation of the books.[S 2][S 3] In July 2014 Headey was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the role.
Jaime Lannister is the younger twin brother of Cersei and the first son of Tywin Lannister. He serves as the third-person narrator of seventeen chapters throughout A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. He has maintained an incestuous relationship with Cersei since childhood. He treats his dwarf brother Tyrion with respect and kindness, though Cersei and Tywin do not. He was knighted at a young age and has little interest in anything other than battle. To be close to Cersei, he joined the Kingsguard. When Aerys planned to burn the city instead of surrendering, Jaime murdered the king, earning him the moniker "Kingslayer".
By A Game of Thrones, he and Cersei have three children, though the children believe that King Robert Baratheon is their father. Jaime accompanies Robert and Cersei to Winterfell, where Bran Stark discovers Jaime and Cersei in coitus, and Jaime throws the boy from a window to keep the relationship secret. When Tyrion is captured by Catelyn Stark, Jaime attacks Catelyn's husband Eddard Stark. He then leaves King's Landing and joins his father at war, but his arrogance and impatience lead him into an ambush by Robb Stark. Despite his capture by Robb Stark, Cersei names him Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
At the end of A Clash of Kings, Catelyn releases Jaime and assigns Brienne of Tarth to escort him back to Kings Landing, but they are captured by sellswords of Roose Bolton. Jaime suffers torture and his sword hand is cut off. He is eventually released, but Brienne is given over to the sellswords for "entertainment". Jaime returns and rescues Brienne and they both then return to King's Landing.
Returning to the capital, he argues with his father, whose gift of a sword is taken by Jaime as an insult. Jaime gives the blade to Brienne and orders her to protect Sansa Stark. When Tyrion is accused of the murder of Joffrey Baratheon, Jaime refuses to believe the claims, freeing Tyrion, and reluctantly revealing the truth about Tyrion's former wife. Furious, Tyrion tells Jaime that Cersei had taken other lovers, casting a great shadow over Jaime's relationship with Cersei. Jaime then departs the capital.
While on the road he learns that Cersei has indeed taken other lovers, confirming what Tyrion said. Jaime negotiates the bloodless surrender of Riverrun and the few remaining lords of the Riverlands in rebellion. When Cersei is imprisoned she begs Jaime to return to King's Landing and be her champion, but Jaime burns her note of desperation. In A Dance with Dragons, he leaves with Brienne when she claims that Sansa is in danger. Thereafter his fate is unknown.
Joffrey is the eldest of Queen Cersei Lannister's children. Though a Baratheon in name, Joffrey is actually a product of incest between Cersei and Jaime Lannister, but unaware of his true parentage. He is described as a strong-willed child with a vicious temper and a sadistic streak. During the events of A Game of Thrones, Joffrey is betrothed to Sansa Stark; but regularly abuses and mistreats her. After Robert's death, Joffrey is crowned king, and arrests Eddard Stark. Though he forces Ned to declare him king, Joffrey orders Ned's execution, which begins a 'War of the Five Kings'. Throughout A Clash of Kings, Joffrey commits various atrocities, such as frequently ordering his King's Guard to beat Sansa. When Stannis Baratheon assaults King's Landing, Joffrey avoids the heavy fighting, and only holds the city through the actions of his uncle Tyrion. Joffrey ends his betrothal to Sansa to wed Margaery Tyrell and bind the wealthy House Tyrell to the Iron Throne, but during the wedding feast, Joffrey is poisoned.
Author Martin described Joffrey as similar to "five or six people that I went to school with ... a classic bully ... incredibly spoiled".[S 11]
Joffrey Baratheon is portrayed by Jack Gleeson in the television adaptation of the novels.
Princess Myrcella Baratheon is second oldest child and only daughter of Queen Cersei Lannister. Like her brothers, she is also the daughter of Cersei's brother Jaime Lannister, but she is unaware of this. She is described as delicate, beautiful and courteous and is said to have all her mother's beauty but none of her cruel nature. To ensure that House Martell will support Joffrey, Myrcella is betrothed to marry Prince Trystane Martell when they come of age and is sent to Dorne in A Clash of Kings. After Joffrey's death in A Storm of Swords, Princess Arianne Martell schemes to kidnap Myrcella and crown her queen of Westeros. The plan goes awry, however, and Myrcella is severely injured kidnapping. She survives, but she loses an ear and is hideously scarred.
Myrcella Baratheon is portrayed by Aimee Richardson in the first season of the television adaptation of the novels.[S 2] In Season 5 of the HBO show, she was recast and is portrayed by Nell Tiger Free.[S 2]
Prince Tommen Baratheon is the younger brother of Prince Joffrey and Princess Myrcella and is second in line for the throne. Tommen is Queen Cersei Lannister's youngest child and, like his siblings, he is also the son of Cersei's brother Jaime Lannister; but he is unaware of this. Tommen is described as plump, sweet, and weak-willed but tries hard, loves his kittens, and is kind hearted.
After King Joffrey's death in A Storm of Swords, Tommen is crowned and marries Joffrey's young widow, Margaery Tyrell. Tommen is also a submissive child and, as a result, does everything that is asked of him. Thus, Cersei uses him to rule as she likes, and Margaery manipulates him into resisting his mother.
Tyrion Lannister is the younger brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister and a prominent third-person narrator in the novels. A dwarf, he has learned to be witty and clever to get by, and has always been underestimated and marginalized. As a Lannister, he is both privileged and cursed; his wealth and position in the political intrigue of Westeros has its advantages and its dangers.
Ser Kevan Lannister is Tywin Lannister's younger brother and most trusted captain, known for his reliability and loyalty. He serves as the third-person narrator for the epilogue of A Dance with Dragons. He is comfortable with carrying out Tywin's wishes and resigned himself to perpetually living in his brother's shadow. In A Storm of Swords, he is appointed Master of Laws to his great-nephew King Joffrey Baratheon, and after Tywin's death, he is offered the position Hand of the King in A Feast for Crows but refuses to serve under Cersei. He suspects the incest rumors surrounding Cersei are true, and questions the true parentage of Cersei's children. After Cersei's imprisonment, the council appoints him Lord Regent to King Tommen Baratheon, and tries to solve the problems Cersei created. Because his efforts to stabilize the kingdom threaten Aegon Targaryen's plans to take the throne, Varys murders Kevan.
Lancel Lannister is the oldest son of Kevan Lannister and serves as squire to King Robert Baratheon at King's Landing in A Game of Thrones. He idolizes his cousin Jaime to the point that he helps Jaime's sister Queen Cersei kill Robert so he could also be a Kingslayer. In A Clash of Kings, Cersei knights him for his part in Robert's death. When Jaime goes to war, Cersei takes Lancel as a lover because he resembles her brother. Tyrion eventually discovers the affair and blackmails Lancel into spying for him. During an attack on King's Landing, Lancel guards Cersei's son King Joffrey Baratheon and takes a serious wound in the fighting. During recovery in A Storm of Swords, he experiences a spiritual awakening and spends much of his time atoning for his sins. He marries the recently widowed Amerei Frey, nicknamed Gatehouse Ami for her promiscuity, as part of a pact between Houses Lannister and Frey. Lancel becomes Lord of the Darry shortly after in A Feast for Crows. Rumors of his wife's promiscuity circulate, but he is apathetic as he does not care about what his wife does. When the Faith Militant, the military order of the Faith, is reinstated, he renounces his wife and lands and is seen as a member of the Warrior Sons order in A Dance with Dragons.
Bronn is a skilled sellsword of low birth. He is described as having a sardonic sense of humor and a pragmatic, amoral philosophy. He helps Catelyn take Tyrion to the Eyrie, where he befriends Tyrion. Bronn offers to champion for Tyrion in trial by combat, winning the duel. He accompanies Tyrion to the capital, serving as his captain of the guard. When Stannis Baratheon attacks the city by sailing up the Blackwater River, Bronn is in charge of raising the massive chain boom across the river. The operation is successful, he is knighted for his contributions, and he begins calling himself Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. In A Storm of Swords, Tyrion is accused of murdering King Joffrey Baratheon and asks Bronn to champion him in a trial by combat against the monstrous Gregor Clegane. However, Bronn refuses and instead takes Cersei's offer to marry Lollys of the wealthy House Stokeworth.
Ser Gregor Clegane, known as the Mountain That Rides or simply the Mountain, is the older brother of Sandor Clegane and is a vassal to Tywin Lannister. He is "close to eight feet tall" and nearly 30 stone (420 lb; 190 kg) of muscle. His size and strength make him a fearsome warrior, and he has earned a reputation for cruelty and brutality. When they were children, Gregor shoved Sandor's face into a brazier, gruesomely scarring him. Over the course of his service to House Lannister, he has committed numerous war crimes, but he is most infamous for the rape and murder of the Targaryen royal family. In A Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister sends him to raid the Riverlands in retaliation for Catelyn Stark's abduction of Tyrion. Beric Dondarrion is sent to arrest Gregor, but Gregor ambushes and kills him. He and his men continue raiding the Riverlands throughout A Clash of Kings. When Tyrion Lannister demands a trial by combat, the accuser Cersei Lannister chooses Gregor as her champion. Elia's brother Oberyn Martell is named Tyrion's champion. Oberyn wounds him with a poisoned spear, but The Mountain is ultimately victorious. Gregor admits that he killed Elia and Aegon before crushing Oberyn's skull. His body is given to Qyburn's experiments, and Gregor is stated to be dead. His fate is unknown.
Sandor Clegane, known as the Hound, is a retainer to House Lannister and the younger brother of Gregor Clegane. He is regarded as one of the most dangerous and skilled fighters in Westeros. His face is distinguished by gruesome burn scars, which he received as a child when his brother pushed his head into a brazier. Consequently, he fears fire and hates his brother. He is also scornful of knight's vows, as his brother is a knight. He is described as a tormented man driven by anger and hate, aspiring only to kill his brother. In A Game of Thrones, he acts as bodyguard and servant to Prince Joffrey Baratheon, who calls him Dog. He is named a knight of Joffrey's Kingsguard in A Clash of Kings and is often assigned to guard Sansa, trying to protect her from Joffrey's abuse. He flees King's Landing during the Battle of the Blackwater, due to the widespread use of the Greek fire-like wildfire.
In A Storm of Swords, he is captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners, who sentences him to trial by combat. Sandor prevails and is set free. He later kidnaps Arya to ransom her to her brother Robb Stark and hopes to earn a place in Robb's service. He takes her to the Twins, where Robb is attending a wedding. However, just as they arrive, the Freys are slaughtering the Starks. Sandor and Arya escape. They encounter three of Gregor's men at an inn, and Sandor is seriously injured in the ensuing fight. Arya abandons him to his apparent death. His ultimate fate is unknown.
Podrick Payne, Pod for short, is a squire to Tyrion Lannister toward the end of A Game of Thrones. He is a very shy and nervous boy and is always stuttering, but he is a loyal and capable squire. In A Clash of Kings, he rescues Tyrion from an assassination attempt. He continues his duties through A Storm of Swords until Tyrion vanishes in A Feast for Crows. He follows Brienne of Tarth, knowing that she was looking for Tyrion's wife Sansa Stark. He becomes Brienne's squire and serves her as faithfully as he did Tyrion. He and Brienne are captured by outlaws known as the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Podrick is sentenced to be hanged for serving as Tyrion's squire. His ultimate fate is unknown.
House Baratheon is the youngest of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and the principal house of the Stormlands. It was founded by the bastard brother of the first Targaryen King, Orys Baratheon. The main seat of House Baratheon is at Storm's End under Renly, with a royal branch at King's Landing under Robert, and a cadet branch at Dragonstone under Stannis. The Baratheon coat of arms displays a black stag on a field of gold; a crown was added after Robert Baratheon took the Iron Throne. The house motto is Ours is the Fury. Bastards born in the Stormlands are generally given the surname "Storm".
Robert Baratheon is King of the Seven Kingdoms and at the beginning of A Game of Thrones, he has reigned for fifteen years. He is described as a very tall, fat, bearded man who is fond of hunting, whoring, and drinking. However, he was a formidable warrior in his youth. He was the ward of Jon Arryn and was raised at the Eyrie alongside Eddard Stark, another of Jon's wards, whom he considers a brother. Fifteen years before the series, Robert was betrothed to Ned's sister Lyanna, whom he adored from afar. When Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen disappeared, Robert was outraged and revolted. Robert eventually killed Rhaegar on the river Trident and seized the throne after marching into King's Landing. In the last days of the war, Lyanna died. Robert is forever haunted by her memory and bears a deep hatred against House Targaryen. After winning the crown, he married Cersei Lannister to ensure House Lannister's loyalty to his rule. Robert and Cersei share three children, all actually fathered by Cersei's brother Jaime. Robert squanders the vast treasury left by Aerys on tourneys and feasts, leaving the crown heavily in debt. After Robert dies in a hunting accident, the kingdoms plunge into civil war.
Stannis Baratheon is the younger brother of King Robert and older brother of Renly. He is portrayed as a brooding and humorless man with a harsh sense of justice and an obsession with slights both real and imagined. He is described as a very tall, lean, and straight-laced man. Stannis is known for his stubbornness and determination. Nevertheless, he is regarded by many as a skilled naval and military commander.
Stannis is married to Lady Selyse, and has a daughter named Shireen. Fifteen years before the events of the series, Stannis fought alongside his brother when Robert rebelled against House Targaryen. There he endured a year long siege at Storm's End, nearly starving. Stannis survived because Davos Seaworth smuggled them enough food to last until the siege was lifted. After the siege was lifted, Robert ordered him to storm Dragonstone, which fell. For his efforts, he was given Dragonstone, but Stannis treated that as a slight, because Renly was given the House Baratheon seat of Storm's End. Stannis also played a major part in crushing the Greyjoy Rebellion by defeating the Greyjoy fleet and storming the island of Pyke.
Shortly before A Game of Thrones, Stannis and Jon Arryn discovered that Queen Cersei Lannister's children were not fathered by Robert. When Jon Arryn was poisoned, Stannis flees the capital, where he takes Melisandre of Asshai, priestess of the god R'hllor, as a trusted adviser. Melisandre tells Stannis that he is Azor Ahai, a messianic figure who will be born again and will end the war between R'hllor and his enemy, the Great Other. After his brother Robert's death, Stannis declares himself King, however; most of the Baratheon bannermen support the claim of his younger brother, Renly. When Renly is assassinated by Stannis, many of Renly's bannermen immediately swear allegiance to Stannis, who then attacks King's Landing. The Lannisters and Tyrells defeat him, and Stannis loses most of his ships and men.
In A Storm of Swords, Stannis retreats to Dragonstone with what is left of his army. Davos, his Hand, convinces him to save the Night's Watch from the wildling army. Stannis takes most of his remaining army and sails north to crush the wildling assault, managing to rout the whole host with few casualties. He stays at the Wall to negotiate with the wildlings, giving them refuge from the Others and allowing them to settle the northern regions of Westeros. After gaining the loyalty of some Northern Lords, Stannis marches on Winterfell, but is waylaid by heavy snows. His invasion bogs down in the blizzard. His fate is unknown.
Melisandre of Asshai is a priestess of R'hllor in service to Stannis Baratheon. She is introduced in A Clash of Kings and serves as the third-person narrator for one chapter of A Dance with Dragons. She is described as a beautiful woman with red eyes, always dressing in red and rarely sleeping or eating. She possesses magical abilities, has prophetic visions, and takes a militant stance against the other religions of Westeros. By A Clash of Kings, Melisandre has converted Stannis's wife Queen Selyse to her religion, and has convinced Stannis that he is 'Azor Ahai reborn', the messianic figure of her mythology. She converts many of Stannis's men, but alienates those she does not convert. In A Storm of Swords, she goes north with Stannis, and she remains at the Wall throughout A Dance With Dragons. She takes a special interest in Jon Snow.
Ser Davos Seaworth, called the Onion Knight, is the common-born head of the newly founded House Seaworth and was formerly known as an elusive smuggler. He is introduced in A Clash of Kings and is the third-person narrator for thirteen chapters throughout A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons. During the Siege of Storm's End, Davos smuggled food to the starving Stannis Baratheon, earning him a knighthood and choice lands. Before knighting him, Stannis removed the last joints from four fingers on Davos' left hand as punishment for years of smuggling.
In A Clash of Kings, he supports Stannis' claim to the throne, making him Stannis' most trusted adviser. However, Davos is a follower of the Faith of the Seven and opposes Stannis' other adviser Melisandre, a priestess of the Lord of Light. During the Battle of the Blackwater, his ship is destroyed but Davos manages to survive while losing four sons. He blames Melisandre for the deaths of his sons and plans to kill her, but she receives word of the plot and he is jailed. Stannis eventually pardons Davos and names him his Hand of the King. As Hand, Davos convinces Stannis to help the Watch defend against the wildling army.
When Stannis sails to the Wall, he tasks Davos with enlisting the support of House Manderly, but Davos is instead taken prisoner. After staging Davos' death, Manderly tells him that Rickon Stark is still alive and asks Davos to rescue Rickon from Skagos. Davos's fate is unknown.
Renly Baratheon is the youngest of the Baratheon brothers and Lord of Storm's End. He is described as handsome and charismatic, winning friends easily. Renly serves on Robert's council as Master of Laws. After Robert dies, Renly declares himself King of the Seven Kingdoms in A Clash of Kings and wins the support of the Baratheon and Tyrell bannerman. He also seals an alliance with House Tyrell by marrying Margaery Tyrell. In the television series, he changes his coat of arms to a golden crowned stag on Tyrell green to reflect this. Before he can march on the capital, he is assassinated by his brother Stannis.
Renly Baratheon is portrayed by Gethin Anthony in the television adaptation of the novels.[S 2] The adaptation openly depicts Renly and Ser Loras Tyrell as lovers, an interaction obliquely addressed in the novels.[S 16][S 17]
Brienne Tarth, called Brienne of Tarth, a prominent character in the fourth book of the series, A Feast for Crows. A tall and imposing woman, she is mocked by many as "Brienne the Beauty."
Beric Dondarrion is a gallant knight with great fighting skill. In A Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark sends him to arrest Gregor Clegane and bring peace to the Riverlands. He is ambushed and killed by Lannister forces. Thoros of Myr accidentally revives him with magic during the funeral service. By A Storm of Swords, he and his men have formed an outlaw band called the Brotherhood Without Banners. The Brotherhood starts a guerrilla war against raiders in the Riverlands. The success of these ambushes earns him the nickname the Lightning Lord, also reference to his coat of arms. In the third book, he and his men find the corpse of Catelyn Stark. He resurrects her with the last of his life force and dies for the final time.
Gendry is one of Robert Baratheon's many bastard children. He lives in King's Landing as an armorer's apprentice and is unaware of his true parentage. In A Clash of Kings Gendry joins the Night's Watch, meeting Arya along the way. He is taken prisoner along with Arya to Harrenhal when the party is ambushed. After escaping Harrenhal, Gendry and Arya meet up with The Brotherhood without Banners, where Gendry agrees to serve as their blacksmith. His fate is unknown.
In the television adaption of the novels, Gendry is portrayed by Joe Dempsie.
House Greyjoy is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and is the principal noble house on the Iron Islands, home to the Ironborn. Its seat is on Pyke. Its coat of arms displays a golden kraken on a black field, and its words are We Do Not Sow. The Greyjoys became Lords Paramount of the Iron Islands after House Targaryen conquered the Seven Kingdoms and allowed the Ironborn to choose who would have primacy over them. Balon Greyjoy is the current Lord of the Iron Islands. He has two surviving children, his only daughter Asha and a son named Theon.
Balon Greyjoy –is the Lord of the Iron Islands, King of Salt and Rock, Son of the Sea Wind, and Lord Reaper of Pyke. He is a harsh and fierce man. Ten years before A Song of Ice and Fire, he led a rebellion against King Robert Baratheon. The rebellion failed and his youngest son Theon Greyjoy was taken as a hostage and raised in Winterfell by Lord Eddard Stark. After Robert's death, Balon spurns Robb Stark's offer of an alliance in a Clash of Kings and declares himself King of the Iron Islands and the North. He captures the Neck and ravages the coastline of the Stark-held North. He dies in A Storm of Swords after falling off a bridge during a storm. The timely return of Balon's banished brother Euron leads many characters to believe that Euron played a part in Balon's death.
Asha Greyjoy is Balon Greyjoy's only daughter and oldest living child. She serves as the third-person narrator for four total chapters throughout A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Asha was raised as Balon's heir despite the fact that custom dictates women cannot rule the Iron Islands. She is fierce, bold and proud, and she has defied her people's traditional gender roles by captaining her own ship and leading men into battle. When Balon orders an invasion of the North in A Clash of Kings, she captures Deepwood Motte. She returns to the Islands in A Storm of Swords after her father's death and claims her father's throne. However she is passed up in favor of her uncle Euron and flees to the mainland. In A Dance with Dragons, she returns to Deepwood Motte and learns that Euron has married her off using a seal as a stand-in. She is eventually captured by Stannis Baratheon and travels with his army toward Winterfell where she is reunited with her brother Theon.
Theon Greyjoy is the only living son, and heir apparent of Balon Greyjoy. He is the third-person narrator for thirteen chapters throughout A Clash of Kings and A Dance with Dragons. He is arrogant, cocky, and proud. Ten years before the events of the series, he was taken hostage by Eddard Stark to be executed if Balon displeased the king. Theon was raised at Winterfell with the Stark children and became a close friend of and almost a brother to Robb Stark. He wants to be a Stark, but he realizes that the Starks will never accept him. He receives only mockery and scorn from his own family. In A Game of Thrones, he fights at Robb's side when Robb rebels. He is sent to the Iron Islands in A Clash of Kings to seek a Stark alliance with the Greyjoys. However, the Greyjoys reject him and Robb's proposal. Theon betrays Robb and attacks the north. He ignores his father's orders to raid the shores and instead captures Winterfell. When Bran and Rickon escape, Theon kills two common-born boys and tells Westeros that the Stark boys are dead. Because of this, the northmen dub him Theon Turncloak. His requests for aid are ignored by his family, and he is captured by Ramsay Snow.
By A Dance of Dragons he has been tortured, flayed, and mutilated; it is strongly implied that he has been castrated. Traumatized, Theon is forced to assume the identity of Reek, Ramsay's serving man known for his stench. Because he fears Ramsay, he tries to reaffirm his Reek identity to please Ramsay and attempts to forget that he is Theon Greyjoy. When reminded of his true identity, he breaks down and insists Theon died. When Ramsay is betrothed to Arya Stark, Theon recognizes her as Jeyne Poole and is sympathetic to her plight, though he is unable to help her. He comes to regret his decision to betray Robb and hopes for a quick death. He later helps Jeyne escape.
Euron Greyjoy is the younger brother of Balon and is described as an unpredictable man who plays vicious mind games. Because of this, he is hated by all his brothers. He wears a patch over his left eye, for which he is nicknamed Crow's Eye. Before the events of the series, he was banished from the Iron Islands and was warned to never return while Balon lives. During his exile, he sailed throughout the world, raping and plundering, and became extremely wealthy. In A Feast for Crows, Euron returns to the islands the day after Balon's death. Because of his timely return, many characters believe he played a part in Balon's death. After becoming King of the Iron Islands, he begins wildly successful raids along the Reach. He sends his brother Victarion away to court Daenerys Targaryen in his name and bring her and her dragons to Westeros.
Victarion Greyjoy is the second youngest of Balon's surviving brothers and is Lord Commander of the Iron Fleet. He first appears in "A Clash of Kings" and is present as his brother, King Balon Greyjoy, tells his plans to invade the north and is given overall command. He appears next in A Feast for Crows and serves as the third-person narrator for four chapters throughout A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Victarion is a devout follower of the Drowned God. Years before the events of the series, he killed his wife after he learned of her affair with Euron and has not remarried. After failing to become King of the Iron Islands, he is sent away to court Daenerys Targaryen in Euron's name, but he plans to marry her himself to spite Euron for earlier betrayals. After a weathering a savage storm, the remains of his fleet reach Mereen. Victarion orders his fleet to assault the army and navy besieging the city. His fate is unknown.
Aeron Greyjoy is the youngest of Balon's surviving brothers. He is introduced in A Clash of Kings and serves as a third-person narrator for two chapters of A Feast for Crows. In his youth, he was a drunk and was scorned by Balon. After nearly drowning, he dedicated himself to the Drowned God, and became a high priest. After Balon's mysterious death, and crowning of his brother Euron, he becomes a bitter opponent of Euron and his schemes.
House Martell is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and is the ruling house of the kingdom of Dorne. Its seat is at Sunspear castle. Its coat of arms displays a gold spear piercing a red sun on an orange field, and its words are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken. Bastards born in Dorne are generally given the surname "Sand". Dorne, along with House Martell, is culturally, ethnically, politically distinct from the rest of the kingdoms. The rulers of Dorne are styled Prince or Princess because Dorne resisted conquest and joined the rest of the Seven Kingdoms through marriage.
"The Red Viper"
Doran Martell is the Prince of Dorne and the Lord of Sunspear. He is the father of Arianne, Quentyn, and Trystane. By A Game of Thrones, he is in his fifties, and his gout leaves him barely able to walk and dependent on a wheeled chair. He is a cautious, pensive man who does not display his emotions. He swears loyalty to Joffrey only after Tyrion Lannister betrothes Myrcella Baratheon to Trystane, sending her off to Dorne. Tyrion also gives him a position on Joffrey's council. In A Storm of Swords, Doran sends his brother Oberyn to claim the position. After Oberyn's death, Doran refuses to start a war and returns to Sunspear. He imprisons Oberyn's vengeful daughters, called the Sand Snakes, to maintain peace. After foiling his daughter Arianne's attempt to crown Myrcella the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, he reveals that he has long been planning the downfall of Tywin Lannister to avenge Elia and intends to ally Dorne with House Targaryen.
Doran Martell will be portrayed in Alexander Siddig in Season 5 of Game of Thrones.
Arianne Martell is the oldest child and only daughter of Prince Doran Martell of Dorne. She serves as the third-person narrator for two chapters in A Feast for Crows, and will be the narrator for at least two chapters in The Winds of Winter. By Dornish custom, she is the heiress to Sunspear and will inherit the rule of Dorne. She is calculating, adventurous, and fierce. She is also close with her cousins, the Sand Snakes. By A Storm of Swords, she has been long dissatisfied with her father and his style of rule, believing him to be weak. As Doran's heir, she is allowed to hold titular governance of Dorne while he is away. She plans to name Myrcella Baratheon the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, as by Dornish law Myrcella inherits the title over her brother. Arianne seduces Arys Oakheart to win his support of Myrcella's claim. The plot is foiled and Myrcella is disfigured. After Arianne confronting her father he reveals that he has a plan to exact vengeance on Tywin Lannister. He made her insulting matches for marriage so that she would not accept them and ruin the plan.
Ser Quentyn Martell is the second child and oldest son of Doran Martell. He serves as the third-person narrator for four chapters in A Dance with Dragons. He is described as intelligent, serious, and dutiful, though not particularly handsome. In A Dance with Dragons it is revealed that Quentyn is to marry Daenerys Targaryen and bring her to Dorne. Quentyn reveals himself to Daenerys, but she is already betrothed. He tells her of a secret pact promising marriage between Viserys Targaryen and Arianne Martell. As Viserys is dead, Quentyn offers himself as her husband. Daenerys politely refuses the offer and urges him to return home, but she also reassures him that Dorne still has hope as she may need two husbands. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, Quentyn tries to steal one of Daenerys's dragons. He is severely burned and dies three days later.
In the television adaptation, he will be portrayed by Toby Sebastian.[S 22]
Elia Martell was the younger sister of Prince Doran Martell of Dorne and was very close to her younger brother Oberyn. She married Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, and bore him two children: a daughter Rhaenys and a son Aegon. Fifteen years before the events of the series, Rhaegar was killed in battle during Robert's rebellion. When the capitol city was sacked by House Lannister, she was raped and murdered by Gregor Clegane. Elia's brother Oberyn, however, believed Tywin had Elia murdered to avenge the slight to his honor when Aerys had his son and heir married to Elia instead of Tywin's daughter, Cersei.
Oberyn Martell is the youngest brother of Doran Martell. He is a hot-headed, forceful, and lusty man with a quick wit and a barbed tongue. He is a formidable fighter and is called the Red Viper because it is rumored he poisons his weapons. He has traveled the world, founded a mercenary company, and briefly studied at the Citadel, which trains Maesters. He has eight illegitimate daughters, collectively known as the Sand Snakes; four of them he fathered with his paramour Ellaria Sand. He was very close to his older sister Elia, who was married to Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. When Elia was murdered by Ser Gregor Clegane, a bannerman of House Lannister, he vowed revenge. In A Storm of Swords, he goes to King's Landing to take his brother's seat on the King's council and to obtain the justice for Elia that Tyrion Lannister promised. The justice is denied, as Tyrion is arrested and accused of murdering King Joffrey Baratheon. Oberyn volunteers to champion Tyrion in the trial by combat because he knows that Gregor would be his opponent. In the battle, he wears Gregor down and forces the knight to confess to the murder of Elia and her children. After confessing, Gregor grabs him and smashes his skull, killing him. Oberyn posthumously wins vengeance, as his spear actually was poisoned with manticore venom refined to draw out the victim's suffering; Gregor dies a slow, agonizing death as a result.
The Sand Snakes are Oberyn Martell's eight illegitimate daughters: Obara, Nymeria, Tyene, Sarella, Elia, Obella, Dorea, and Loreza. They are called the Sand Snakes in reference to their father's nickname of the Red Viper. The youngest four are the daughters of Oberyn's paramour Ellaria Sand. The oldest three, especially Tyene, are the companions and confidants of their cousin Arianne. Obara is well-trained in martial pursuits and considers herself a warrior. Nymeria is elegant, refined, and is said to have all the beauty Obara lacks. However, she is considered no less deadly. Tyene is well-versed in herbcraft and poison, and though she maintains a sweet and pious disposition, she is regarded as treacherous. Sarella is said to have captained her own ship at nineteen and is known for her curiosity. In A Feast for Crows, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene wish revenge for their father's death and pressure their uncle Doran to declare war. They are involved in various plots to agitate the Dornish populace. Prince Doran imprisons the Sand Snakes to prevent them from drawing Dorne into war prematurely.
Areo Hotah is the captain of Prince Doran Martell's guards. He serves as the third-person narrator for two chapters throughout A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. He was born as the youngest of a large family in Norvos. Areo is steadfastly loyal to Doran. He helps foil Arianne Martell's plot to name Myrcella Baratheon the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, killing Arys Oakheart in the process.
House Tully is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and is the principal house in the Riverlands. Its seat is at Riverrun. Its coat of arms displays a leaping silver trout on a field of rippling blue and red stripes, and its words are Family, Duty, Honor. Bastards born in the Riverlands are generally given the surname "Rivers". When House Targaryen invaded Westeros, Lord Tully was among the first to welcome the invaders. In return, the Targaryens made House Tully the principal House of the Riverlands.
Hoster Tully is the Lord of Riverrun and Lord Paramount of the Trident. He is the father of Catelyn Stark, Lysa Arryn, and Edmure Tully. He often quarrels with his brother Brynden because Brynden refuses to be married. Years before the events of the series, he agreed to foster Petyr Baelish at Riverrun as a ward. When he discovered that Lysa was pregnant with Petyr's child, he sent Petyr away and tricked Lysa into drinking an abortifacient potion. Hoster supported Robert Baratheon, House Stark, and House Arryn in rebellion against House Targaryen on the condition that Catelyn and Lysa be wed into the Stark and Arryn families, respectively. His health deteriorates rapidly over the novels; he ultimately passes away and is laid to rest on the river.
Edmure Tully is the third child, only son, and heir of Lord Hoster Tully. He is dutiful and wishes to earn his father's respect and protect the common people of the Riverlands. However, he is also said to have a large heart and his decisions are often rash and emotional. He takes command of the Riverlands in A Game of Thrones because of his father's illness and is taken captive by Jaime Lannister. He is rescued by his nephew Robb Stark, and upon hearing of Eddard Stark's death he leads the Riverland lords in proclaiming Robb the King in the North. He defeats Tywin in battle and unwittingly ruins Robb's plan to destroy Tywin's army. As amends for thwarting Robb's plan, he agrees to marry Roslin Frey and repair the alliance with House Frey. However, the wedding is a trap and the Stark-Tully army is massacred. Edmure is taken captive, breaching ancient guest right customs. Edmure is to be taken Casterly Rock, where he and the remaining members of House Tully are to spend their lives prisoners to House Lannister. Roslin is to remain at the Twins, and the pair is promised to be reunited after the birth of their child.
Ser Brynden Tully, called the Blackfish, is the younger brother of Hoster Tully and the uncle of Catelyn Stark, Lysa Arryn, and Edmure Tully. He constantly quarreled with his brother, usually over Brynden's refusal to be married. During one encounter Hoster called him the black goat of House Tully. Brynden mused that since their sigil was fish, he was the "Blackfish" of the family. He accompanied Lysa to the Vale. In A Game of Thrones, he is upset over the Vale's neutrality in the ongoing war. He resigns from his position and joins Robb Stark and his bannermen. He is appointed head of Robb's outriders and is a crucial member of the war council. His efforts win Robb several battles throughout A Clash of Kings. He is named Warden of the Southern Marches in A Storm of Swords and remains at Riverrun while Robb goes to the Twins to attend Edmure's wedding. After Robb's death, Brynden holds Riverrun in Robb's name. He is besieged by House Lannister and House Frey in A Feast for Crows. To save Edmure from execution at the hands of the Freys, he orders the castle's surrender, but he himself escapes. His whereabouts are unknown.
Walder Frey is Lord of the Twins, and a vassal to House Tully. He is called the Lord of the Crossing as the placement of his castle allows him to control who crosses the river, giving Walder Frey considerable strategic importance despite being an untrustworthy man capable of holding grudges. He is known for having over a hundred descendants and also equally famous having lived longer than his eight wives. He emphasizes family loyalty and believes in taking care of relations, including those who disappoint him. Although he is a bannerman of House Tully, he does not immediately go to Riverrun when Edmure Tully summons his vassals to support Robb Stark in A Game of Thrones.
Since crossing The Twins is a necessity for Robb, Walder is able to negotiate marriage contracts between his children and grandchildren and Robb and Arya Stark. But when Robb marries Jeyne Westerling in A Clash of Kings, Frey is outraged and withdraws his support from Robb to conspire with Tywin Lannister and Roose Bolton to enact his revenge. In A Storm of Swords, Walder pretends to make amends with Robb and agrees to marry his daughter Roslin to Edmure. The wedding is a trap, with Robb, his key supporters, and most of his army massacred during the feast, a direct violation of ancient guest right customs. He then openly swears loyalty to House Lannister and his family receives Riverrun, the seat of House Tully, as a reward. However the survivors of the massacre and the common people of the Riverlands refuse to support his rule. A shadowy guerrilla war erupts that Walder Frey struggles to control.
House Tyrell is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and is the principal noble house in the Reach. Its seat is at Highgarden. Its coat of arms displays a golden rose on a green field, and its words are Growing Strong. Bastards born in the Reach are generally given the surname "Flowers". The Tyrells became liege lords of the Reach after the king of the Reach was killed and the ruling House Targaryen raised the Tyrells from stewards of Highgarden to Lords of Highgarden. Because House Florent had a better claim to Highgarden, the Tyrells are often seen as "upjumped stewards" by the lords of the Reach and other Great Houses; however, the women of the Tyrell household are noted for being shrewd and clever leaders.
Lord Mace Tyrell is the Lord of Highgarden, Defender of the Marches, High Marshal of the Reach, and Warden of the South. He has three sons—Willas, Garlan, and Loras—and one daughter, Margaery. He is described as a prematurely old and tedious man who lacks in political savvy. He serves only as the figurehead to his mother, Olenna Redwyne. In A Clash of Kings, he fully supports the marriage between Margaery and Renly Baratheon, who plans to take the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. When Renly dies, Mace accepts an offer to marry Margaery to Joffrey Baratheon, the current king. After Tywin defeats Stannis Baratheon, Mace is given a seat on the King's council. After Cercei's downfall, Kevan Lannister, Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, names Mace his Hand, mostly to repair the relationship between their houses.
Mace is played by Roger Ashton-Griffiths on Game of Thrones.
Ser Loras Tyrell, nicknamed the Knight of Flowers, is the third son of Mace Tyrell. He is a young but highly skilled tourney knight and jouster. He is beloved by the crowds, and many young girls are infatuated with him. When Renly Baratheon claims himself king of the Seven Kingdoms in A Clash of Kings, Loras supports him and is made head of Renly's personal guard. After Renly's assassination, Loras is enraged with grief, blaming Brienne of Tarth and Catelyn Stark for Renly's death. In A Storm of Swords, he questions Brienne and finally decides that she is not the killer. When his sister Margaery is married to Joffrey Baratheon, he joins the Kingsguard. He volunteers to lead the assault on Dragonstone in A Feast for Crows so Cersei Lannister will send military assistance to defend his native Highgarden from the Greyjoys. He successfully captures Dragonstone but is badly wounded and near death. By the end of A Dance with Dragons, he barely clings to life. His fate is unknown.
Loras Tyrell is portrayed by Finn Jones in the television adaptation of the novels. The character is a composite of the three Tyrell sons. The adaptation openly depicts Loras and Renly Baratheon as lovers, an interaction obliquely addressed within the novels.[S 16][S 17]
Margaery Tyrell / / is the youngest child and only daughter of Mace Tyrell. She is an intelligent and shrewd young woman, and despite being only sixteen, she is manipulative and adept at political intrigue.
Olenna Tyrell, also known as the Queen of Thorns, is a former Redwyne and the mother of Mace Tyrell. She is described as a wizened and cunning old woman with a wicked wit and a sharp tongue, and is known for openly stating her opinion. In A Storm of Swords, she plots to have Sansa taken to Highgarden to marry her grandson Willas. This plan is foiled by the Lannisters, who force Sansa to marry Tyrion Lannister. It is revealed by Littlefinger later in A Storm of Swords that, in an attempt to shield Margaery from King Joffrey's cruelty, Olenna had actually been the one who murdered Joffrey at his wedding.
The Night's Watch is a sworn brotherhood of men who patrol the Wall. The individual members or 'Brothers of the Watch' reject land and titles, practice celibacy, cut ties to their families, assume neutrality in politics, and never desert their assignments,  on pain of death. Joining the Watch is still considered an honor because any man can rise through the ranks regardless of illegitimacy or criminal past but by the events of A Game of Thrones,  is severely undermanned. The Watch is based at Castle Black, where the Lord Commander of the Watch resides and new recruits are trained.
Wildlings, or Free Folk, are people who live beyond the Wall. They live in independent villages and have no central government. Bands of wildlings often cross the Wall for plunder. In A Storm of Swords, the wildlings unite under Mance Rayder, the self-styled 'King-beyond-the-Wall', and try to invade the Seven Kingdoms to escape the return of The Others. With the help of Jon and Stannis Baratheon, they settle in the North. Many move into the abandoned castles to defend the Wall.
Jeor Mormont, called the Old Bear, is the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. He was the Lord of Bear Island in the North, but joined the Watch to pass the title to his son Jorah Mormont. He is considered a strong, resolute leader and commands respect. He keeps a raven capable of speaking simple phrases as a pet. In A Game of Thrones, he chooses Jon Snow as his personal steward, intending to groom him for command. Soon after, a wight (a dead body reanimated by the Others) attempts to kill him; but Jon kills the wight. As thanks, he gives Jon his ancestral sword, Longclaw, and changes its crest to suit that of Jon's father, Eddard Stark. To investigate the return of wights, the disappearance of several Rangers, and rumors of a wildling army, Jeor leads an expedition beyond the Wall in A Clash of Kings; but his force is annihilated by Others and an army of wights in A Storm of Swords. He leads the survivors to a wildling keep, where he is killed by mutiny.
Aemon Targaryen is the older brother of Aegon V Targaryen and a member of the Night's Watch. Decades before the start of the series, he was sent to the Citadel in Oldtown and became a Maester (a member of an order of scholars and healers). He was later offered the throne of the Seven Kingdoms, but ceded the rule to Aegon and joined the Night's Watch. By A Game of Thrones, he is elderly and blind, but provides guidance to the men of the Watch. In A Feast for Crows, Jon Snow sends him to the Citadel by sea, but Maester Aemon dies on the voyage between Braavos and Oldtown.
Yoren is a recruiter of the Night's Watch. In A Game of Thrones Yoren travels with Tyrion Lannister from the Wall to King's Landing, and is present when he is arrested by Catelyn Stark. He then races to King's Landing to inform Eddard Stark. During Lord Eddard's execution, he finds Arya Stark and shields her from seeing her father’s death. In A Clash of Kings he disguises Arya as a boy recruit so that he can smuggle her out of the city; he plans to drop her off at Winterfell on his way to the Wall. He is killed when his convoy is attacked by Lannister soldiers.
Samwell Tarly, called 'Sam' for short, is the elder son of Lord Randyll Tarly of Horn Hill. Ten chapters throughout A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows are told from his point of view. Although intelligent and thoughtful, he is timid and fat, and lacks confidence. His father forces him to join the Night's Watch forsake his inheritance. He is initially bullied by the other recruits, but befriended by Jon Snow. After taking his vows, Sam is made Maester Aemon's steward and is tasked with taking care of the ravens. He participates in the Great Ranging in place of Aemon. In A Storm of Swords, he slays an Other, discovering their vulnerability to obsidian, and is nicknamed 'Sam the Slayer'. When the Watch has to choose a new commander, Sam manipulates them into selecting Jon Snow. At Jon's command in A Feast for Crows, Sam travels to the Citadel to become a maester after which he will return to the Wall.
Janos Slynt was a former Commander of the City Watch in King's Landing and a brother in the Night's Watch. He first appears in A Game of Thrones as commander of the City Watch. Later, when Ned intends to depose Joffrey, Slynt orders his men to arrest Ned Stark. For his assistance, Janos Slynt made a lord and given Harrenhal.
In A Clash of Kings, one of Tyrion Lannister's first actions as acting Hand of the King is to exile Slynt to the Night's Watch, as Tyrion distrusts Slynt's propensity for corruption and treacherous nature. Slynt reappears in A Storm of Swords. He attempts to have Jon executed but is thwarted. Slynt tries to get himself elected as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but is passed over in favor of Jon. After Slynt repeatedly refuses Jon's orders, he is executed.
Alliser Thorne is the cantankerous Master of Arms at Castle Black. A fierce warrior, he is charged with training recruits to become Brothers of the Nights Watch. Thorne was originally a Targaryen loyalist who, after the fall of House Targaryen at the hands of Ned and Robert, was forced to join the Night's Watch or be executed. He harbors deep resentment at House Stark for this fate. When Jon arrives at Castle Black, Thorne personally torments, humiliates and provokes Jon whenever possible. When Jon returns from his sojourn with the wildlings, Alliser attempts to have Jon executed but is thwarted. After Jon is elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Alliser is at the center of the conspiracy to have Jon killed, though his role in the actual assassination attempt is unknown.
Mance Rayder is a former member of the Night's Watch who later deserted. Since then, he gained influence among the wildlings and became known as "King-beyond-the-Wall." In A Storm of Swords, he unites all the wildlings under his command and leads them to attack the Wall from the south trying to guide his people to safety from the advancing White Walkers. His vanguard is defeated by Jon Snow at the Wall.  During a parlay with Jon, Stannis Baratheon and his army rout the wildlings, and Mance is taken prisoner. Stannis orders Mance to be burned alive in A Dance with Dragons. However, Jon later discovers that the priestess Melisandre used magic to disguise Rayder as a wildling, escaping execution. Jon orders Mance to rescue Arya Stark, not knowing the girl is actually Jeyne Poole. In Winterfell, the party secretly kills off several of Roose Bolton's men, creating tension in Winterfell and enlists the help of Theon Greyjoy to smuggle Jeyne out of the castle. Mance stays behind and is seemingly captured in the attempt. His fate is unknown.
Ygritte is a wildling woman known for her red hair. She is fierce and headstrong. In wildling culture she is known as a spearwife, a woman who is also a warrior. Wildlings practice marriage by capture, so she is considered Jon's wife because he takes her captive upon their first meeting in A Clash of Kings.The two soon begin a sexual relationship. Jon is torn between his love for her and his duty to the Night's Watch and the realm, but ultimately, he chooses to honor his vows and abandons Ygritte; Ygritte nearly kills him when he flees. Ygritte is killed in the Battle at the Wall. Her death continues to haunt Jon. Ygritte was fond of saying "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
Val is the sister of Mance Rayder's wife, Dalla. After the failed Wildling incursion, she is kept prisoner at the wall. She is described as an attractive woman. In A Dance with Dragons, Jon Snow sends her alone on a mission to bring a Wildling warlord and his people to the Wall. The mission is successful.
Bowen Marsh is the First Steward of the Night's Watch, based at Castle Black. He is in charge of the day-to-day running of the Night's Watch, dealing with issues of supplies, funding, logistics and communications. During A Dance with Dragons Bowen becomes disllusioned by the decisions made by Jon Snow as Lord Commander. Fearing for the future safety of the Night's Watch, Bowen and several of his followers stab Jon Snow.
The Royal Court at King's Landings is mostly composed of the King's small Council and his Kingsguard, the seven knights sworn to protect the king and his family. All members of the small council, except for the Grand Maester, are appointed and dismissed by the king or The Hand.
Lord Petyr Baelish, called Littlefinger, is the Master of Coin, the Treasurer of the Seven Kingdoms. He is an ambitious man with skills in finance and Court intrigue.
Varys, called the Spider, is a eunuch who serves as Master of Whisperers, the spymaster for the king of the Seven Kingdoms. He is feared by nobles and common people alike. He is described as bald and fat, and he usually affects a fawning, effeminate manner. He knows all of the secret passages in the royal castle and his spies are found everywhere. While in Pentos, he befriended Illyrio Mopatis grew skilled in gathering information before earning the position of Master of Whisperers on King Aerys II Targaryen's council. From then on, he claims to work for the good of the realm. He disappears in A Feast for Crows after helping Tyrion Lannister escape and does not reappear until the end of A Dance with Dragons. He kills Kevan Lannister and Grand Maester Pycelle as their competent leadership threatens the success of Aegon Targaryen's invasion of Westeros.
Pycelle is an elderly Maester, and for decades he has served many kings as Grand Maester, the personal healer and scholar of the king. Although he is intelligent and highly educated, his effectiveness as an officer of the court has been dulled by his age. He is secretly an agent of influence for House Lannister: he convinced King Aerys II Targaryen to open the gates for Tywin Lannister during a rebellion, he allowed Jon Arryn to die to keep the true parentage of Cersei Lannister's children secret, and would have killed King Robert Baratheon upon Cersei's command. Upon learning this, Tyrion Lannister has Pycelle removed from office and imprisoned. In A Storm of Swords, he is restored to his position. He objects to Queen Regent Cersei's decisions throughout A Feast for Crows, and she considers replacing him. When Cersei is arrested, Pycelle seizes control of the king's council and offers Kevan Lannister the regency. Together, they begin restoring order to the Seven Kingdoms. He is killed by Varys, who believes that Pycelle's and Kevan's competent leadership threatens Aegon VI Targaryen's chance at the throne.
Ser Barristan Selmy, called Barristan the Bold, is hailed as a hero throughout Westeros and is the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. He serves as the third-person narrator for four chapters in A Dance with Dragons. Although he is over sixty at the start of the series, he remains a remarkable fighter and is the most celebrated and respected living knight. He has been a member of the Kingsguard for most of his life and served three kings. He remained loyal to House Targaryen during Robert Baratheon's rebellion, but he later accepted Robert's pardon and held his position as commander. He is dismissed by Cercei upon Joffrey's succession to the throne. In A Clash of Kings, he begins serving the exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen. He exposes Ser Jorah Mormont, Daenerys's most trusted adviser, as a former spy for Robert. When Daenerys disappears in A Dance with Dragons, he launches a coup against her husband. He then reluctantly rules Meereen in her stead under the title the Queen's Hand until she returns.
Ser Arys Oakheart is a knight of King Robert Baratheon's Kingsguard, and for Robert's subsequent heirs. He serves as the third-person narrator for one chapter in A Feast for Crows. Arys accompanies Myrcella Baratheon to Dorne, where he is seduced by Arianne Martell. Together, they plot to place Myrcella on the throne. When the plot is foiled, Arys is killed.
Ser Ilyn Payne is the King's Justice, the royal executioner. Before the events of the series, King Aerys II Targaryen ordered his tongue cut out. He is a skilled headsman, seldom requiring a second stroke to finish his charges. Ilyn executes Lord Stark after his downfall. He serves as Jaime's sparring partner in A Feast for Crows
Qyburn is a former Maester who lost his chain for the unethical experiments. He is also rumored to dabble in necromancy. In A Clash of Kings, he is a member of the Brave Companions mercenary company. He later leaves the company in A Feast for Crows and joins the court at King's Landing. He convinces Queen Cersei Lannister to allow him to experiment on the dying Gregor Clegane. He creates Cersei an unbeatable champion dubbed Ser Robert Strong, who is made a knight of the Kingsguard.
The High Sparrow is a prominent member of the "sparrows", a religious movement formed during the War of the Five Kings and is a member of the Faith of the Seven. After becoming the High Septon in A Feast for Crows he arrests both Margaery Tyrell and Cersei Lannister on charges of adultery.
Drogo is a powerful khal, or warlord, of the Dothraki people, a tribal nation of expert riders and raiders in the steppes beyond the Free Cities. He is an accomplished warrior and has never been defeated in battle. In A Game of Thrones, Viserys Targaryen and Illyrio Mopatis conspire to marry Daenerys Targaryen to Khal Drogo to get his support and warriors for the invasion of Westeros. He proves a kind, sensitive, and loving husband. After a failed attempt on Daenerys's life, he vows to invade Westeros, but is wounded in a subsequent battle. Daenerys unwittingly sacrifices their unborn son to revive him, and he becomes an unresponsive shell of his former self. She smothers him out of pity, and the flames of his funeral pyre hatch her dragon eggs. He is the namesake of her favorite dragon, Drogon.
Syrio Forel is the former First Sword of Braavos and a master of the Braavosi fighting style known as Water Dancing. He instructs Arya in the ways of fencing, but is killed protecting her from Lannister guards.[S 35]
Syrio Forel is portrayed by Miltos Yerolemou in the television adaptation.
Jaqen H'ghar is a name used by a member of the Faceless Men, assassins who follow a personification of death known as the Many-Faced god. In A Clash of Kings, he is taken from the dungeons to join the Night's Watch. On the journey, he meets Arya Stark. When the group is attacked by Lannisters, Arya frees him, saving him from death. He promises to kill any three people she names. After Arya names Jaqen as her final name, he agrees to help her if she would "unsay" his name. They successfully escape, and he gives Arya an iron coin, instructing her to give it to any Braavosi and say "valar morghulis" should she need more help. He then leaves her.
Illyrio Mopatis is a wealthy and powerful Magister in Pentos. He is morbidly obese, though in his youth he was a strong mercenary. He is a close friend of Varys, and the pair engineer a plot to place House Targaryen back on the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Before the events of the series, he welcomed the exiled Viserys Targaryen and his sister Daenerys into his home as guests. In A Game of Thrones, Illyrio brokers a marriage between Daenerys and Khal Drogo to buy Drogo's army of warriors. His plan to create an army to invade Westeros is ruined upon the deaths of Drogo and Viserys. He aids Daenerys in A Clash of Kings by sending her three ships and a disguised Barristan Selmy. He also smuggles Tyrion Lannister out of Westeros in A Dance with Dragons and sends him to accompany Aegon on his journey to aid Daenerys.
Thoros is a red priest of R'hllor from the city of Myr. Before the events of the series, he was sent to King's Landing to convert King Aerys II Targaryen into a follower of R'hllor. He was unsuccessful and began to question his faith. When Robert Baratheon became king, Thoros became a frequent drinking companion of Robert's. He is a formidable fighter known for using a flaming sword. In A Game of Thrones, he is sent with Beric Dondarrion to arrest Gregor Clegane. When Dondarrion is killed, Thoros inadvertently resurrects him during the funeral service. By A Storm of Swords, the two founded a band of outlaws called the Brotherhood Without Banners to stop the raiders ravaging the Riverlands. Thoros is continually able to resurrect Dondarrion whenever he is killed. When Lady Stoneheart takes leadership of the Brotherhood in A Feast for Crows, he does not dispute her although he disapproves of her motives and methods.
Ser Duncan the Tall is a legendary knight and the subject of several popular songs and stories. He is one of the main characters of the Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas. Originally a hedge knight from Flea Bottom named Dunk, he formed an unusual friendship with a young boy called Egg, who he later discovered was Prince Maekar Targaryen's son Aegon. The two had many adventures together before Egg ascended to the Iron Throne as King Aegon V Targaryen. Duncan was appointed to his Kingsguard, and eventually became its Lord Commander. He perished alongside his king in a fire at Summerhall, the Targaryen summer home.
Yezzan zo Qaggaz is a slave-trader from the city of Yunkai, on the coast of Slaver's Bay, and one of the Wise Masters, the ruling elite of the city. Tyrion Lannister, Penny, and Jorah Mormont, and gives them to the charge of his henchman, Nurse.] Yezzan was one of the few Yunkai lords who wished to honor the peace between Yunkai and Meereen. He later died of the pale mare that was spreading throughout the Yunkish siege lines, and several of his slaves used the opportunity to escape.