List of A Song of Ice and Fire characters
George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels feature a sizable cast of characters. The series follows three interwoven plotlines: a dynastic war for control of Westeros by several families; the rising threat of the superhuman Others beyond Westeros' northern border; and the ambition of Daenerys Targaryen, the exiled heir of the previous ruling dynasty. The Great Houses of Westeros represent the Seven Kingdoms forged across the continent: the North, the Iron Islands, the Vale of Arryn, the Westerlands, the Stormlands, the Reach, and Dorne. A massive Wall of ice and old magic separates the Seven Kingdoms from the largely unmapped area in the most northern portion of the continent.
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 (1996), a total of 31 such characters have narrated over the course of the first five volumes of the series.
- 1 House Stark
- 1.1 Eddard Stark
- 1.2 Catelyn Stark
- 1.3 Robb Stark
- 1.4 Sansa Stark
- 1.5 Arya Stark
- 1.6 Bran Stark
- 1.7 Rickon Stark
- 1.8 Jon Snow
- 1.9 Benjen Stark
- 1.10 Lyanna Stark
- 1.11 Roose Bolton
- 1.12 Ramsay Bolton
- 1.13 Rickard Karstark
- 1.14 Alys Karstark
- 1.15 Wyman Manderly
- 1.16 Hodor
- 1.17 Osha
- 1.18 Jeyne Poole
- 1.19 Jojen and Meera Reed
- 1.20 Jeyne Westerling
- 2 House Targaryen
- 3 House Lannister
- 4 House Baratheon
- 5 House Arryn
- 6 House Greyjoy
- 7 House Martell
- 8 House Tully
- 9 House Tyrell
- 10 Night's Watch and Free Folk
- 11 Royal court and officials
- 12 Other characters
- 13 References
- 14 External links
House Stark 
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 words are Winter is Coming. Bastards born in Winterfell are called Snow. House Stark had 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.
Over the course of the novels, the Starks are scattered by the War of the Five Kings, and the fate of the House remains uncertain, as most characters believe that all the legitimate Stark sons are dead.
Descendants of Rickard Stark
Eddard "Ned" Stark is the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, and briefly serves as Hand of the King to Robert Baratheon. He is executed, by Joffrey's order, on the steps of the Great Sept of Baelor.
Catelyn Stark is the Lady of Winterfell, wife of Lord Eddard Stark, and mother to his children Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon. She is the daughter of Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun; niece to Ser Brynden Tully (also known as the legendary "Blackfish") and sister to Lysa Arryn of the Vale and to Edmure Tully.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Michelle Fairley.
Robb Stark is the oldest child of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, and the heir to Winterfell. He is not a POV character, but features in the POV chapters of his family members in the first three novels in the series.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Richard Madden.
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. At the end of the 6 season series, she successfully obtains independence for Winterfell from the Iron Throne and is crowned the Queen of the North.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed 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. So far she is the only character to appear in all 5 books as a POV character. She transforms from child tomboy to assassin and ultimately destroys the Night King, paving the way for the defeat of Cersei Lannister.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Maisie Williams.
Brandon "Bran" Stark is the second son and fourth child of Eddard 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 raven. 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. In A Dance with Dragons, Bran meets the Three-Eyed-Raven: an alias of the last trained clairvoyant. He ultimately becomes King of the Iron Throne.
Rickon Stark is Ned Stark's youngest child and is three years old in A Game of Thrones. 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, presumably Skagos. He is captured by Reese Bolton and killed in the Battle of the Bastards.
Jon Snow was raised as Ned Stark's illegitimate son and serves as the point of view character in 42 chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons. He shares the Stark family values of honour, and tries to stay morally correct and honest, even when forced to act otherwise. He is actually the son of Lyanna Stark, Ned Stark's sister, and Rhaegar Targaryen who were secretly married. He is the true heir to the Targaryen House and the Iron Throne. He kills Denaerys in the finale and rejects the throne, instead opts to live with the Free Folk in the North.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Kit Harington.
Benjen Stark is Ned Stark's younger brother and a First Ranger in the Night's Watch. He appears briefly at the start of A Game of Thrones, first in Winterfell and then later on the Wall at Castle Black, where he travels with his bastard nephew Jon Snow. Benjen 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. The bodies of two of his men are later found and brought back to Castle Black; they reanimate as undead wights and kill several men before they are destroyed, but no trace of Benjen has yet been found. He returns twice to save Bran and Osha from the Wights, and again to save Jon from the Wights.
He was killed by Wights during that fateful ranger mission but saved by the Children of the Forest who thrust a dagger through his heart. This stopped his full transformation into a night walker, but remained undead throughout.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Joseph Mawle.
Lyanna Stark was Eddard Stark's younger and only sister, and has been deceased for 14 years at the beginning of A Game of Thrones, but is mentioned in every published book in the series. She died at the young age of 16, was said to have been beautiful by all who knew her as "a child-woman of surpassing loveliness", headstrong and "had a touch of" the fabled Starks' "wolf blood", and was one of the best horse-riders in the North. She was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, who was deeply in love with her, although she was unimpressed by Robert's reputation for infidelity. Her life's tales are mainly told through the words of Eddard Stark and Meera Reed (via Bran Stark's viewpoint chapter), with some passing commentaries from other people such as Barristan Selmy, Cersei Lannister, Roose Bolton, and Kevan Lannister.
During the Tourney at Harrenhal, the greatest tourney in Westerosi history, Lyanna was chosen by the eventual jousting champion, Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, as the tourney's "Queen of Love and Beauty". Because Rhaegar was already married, and Lyanna was a maiden betrothed to Robert Baratheon, Rhaegar wooing's of Lyanna was considered an outrageous scandal at the time. One year later, she was said to have been abducted and raped by Rhaegar, triggering a civil war that resulted in the overthrow of House Targaryen. At the end of the war, Eddard and six of his companions ventured to the Tower of Joy within Dorne, where Lyanna was located and guarded by three of the most prominent Kingsguard knights — the "Sword of the Morning" Ser Arthur Dayne, Ser Oswell Whent, and the "White Bull" Ser Gerold Hightower (lord commander of the Kingsguard). After a fierce skirmish that killed everyone except Eddard and his close friend Howland Reed, Eddard entered the tower and found Lyanna dying in a bed of blood. Before she died, she asked her brother Eddard to make a promise, something that Eddard regarded as a price he paid that haunted him days and nights for 14 years. Eddard later takes her body home, to be entombed in Winterfell's crypt, and installs a stone statue in her likeness in front of her sarcophagus. When he returns, he also brings back a newborn boy named Jon Snow, whom he claims is his own bastard by a tavern wench named Wylla. Although Jon Arryn persuaded Robert to marry Cersei Lannister, Robert greatly mourns Lyanna for over a decade, causing great strain in his marriage with Cersei.
In the HBO television adaptation, Lyanna is portrayed by Cordelia Hill in childhood and Aisling Franciosi during her late teens, when she married Rhaegar and later met with Eddard on her deathbed. In the show, Lyanna had just given birth to an infant son, whom she named Aegon, and revealed to Eddard that she was in love with Rhaegar and voluntarily eloped with him. Fearing that Robert will murder the child, on her deathbed, she asks Eddard to promise to protect him. To do so, Eddard renamed the boy Jon Snow and raised him under the guise of his bastard son. Bran Stark's vision of the past reveals Rhaegar had annulled his marriage to his wife Ellia Martell and formally married Lyanna, making Lyanna's son Jon/Aegon the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne.
Lord Roose Bolton is a significant vassal of Lord Eddard Stark. His seat is the Dreadfort and his sigil is a flayed human, a homage to the ancient Bolton tradition of flaying enemies. He is nicknamed "the Leech Lord" for regular leechings meant to improve his health.
Ramsay Bolton 
Ramsay Snow is the bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton, later legitimized as Ramsay Bolton. He is known as the Bastard of Bolton or the Bastard of the Dreadfort. Ramsay is vicious, ruthless, psychopathic, sadistic, opportunistic, unpredictable, and fearless. He takes great pleasure and pride in torturing others and enthusiastically practices the Bolton custom of flaying their enemies. Roose suspects that Ramsay murdered Roose's legitimate heir and expects that Ramsay will kill all of Roose's future children. He is described as ugly, with blotchy skin and dry, dark hair.
He defeats the Stark army led by Theon Greyjoy, and occupies Winterfell. He is named Lord of Winterfell for a few years, marries Sansa Stark to strengthen his political persona. Sansa suffers brutal abuse as his wife. He is defeated in the Battle of the Bastards.
He is later killed by his hounds.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Iwan Rheon.
Rickard Karstark is the Lord of Karhold and one of the main Stark vassals. During the Battle of the Whispering Wood Jaime Lannister kills two of his sons, who were guarding Robb Stark. Rickard's surviving son Harrion Karstark is later killed by the Lannisters. When Catelyn helps Jaime escape in an attempt to recover her daughters, Rickard murders two of Jaime's cousins and has his army desert Robb to search the Riverlands for Jaime, offering his daughter Alys Karstark to whoever brings him the Kingslayer. Due to this Robb executes Rickard personally.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by John Stahl.
Alys Karstark is the only daughter and youngest child of Lord Rickard Karstark. She is betrothed to Daryn Hornwood, heir to the Hornwood, but Jaime Lannister kills him alongside two of her brothers. Her father offers her to whomever captures Jaime Lannister, so the sadistic sellsword Vargo Hoat captures Jaime in the hope of becoming Lord of Karhold. However, after Rickard's death his uncle Arnolf Karstark plots to take control of Karhold. He declares for Stannis when he comes North in the hope this will mean the Lannisters execute his great-nephew Harrion Karstark, so Karhold will pass to Alys, whom Arnolf intends to force into marriage with his son Cregan Karstark. Arnolf also intends to betray Stannis when the Boltons attack. However, Alys (pursued by Cregan) flees to the Wall seeking Jon Snow's help and reveals her uncles' plans. To protect her Jon imprisons Cregan and arranges for Alys to marry the Wildling leader Sigorn, Magnar of Thenn, in a ceremony performed by Melisandre, which will aid Wildling integration into the North. If Harrion dies childless, Karhold will pass to the newly formed House Thenn.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Megan Parkinson.
Wyman Manderly is the Lord of White Harbor, the only city in the North, and the wealthiest of the Stark Vassals. He is an enormously fat man, with two sons, Ser Wylis and Ser Wendel Manderly. During the War of the Five Kings the Manderlys and Boltons begin a private war over the Hornwood lands after Ramsay kidnaps the widowed Lady Donella Hornwood, Wyman's cousin, forces her to marry him and then starves her to death. Wyman's heir Wylis is captured when Roose Bolton treacherously sends a large Northern force to be wiped out by Randyll Tarly. Wyman's younger son Wendel is murdered at the Red Wedding by the Freys. Due to his heir being held captive Wyman cannot openly defy the Lannisters. Three Freys come to his city with Wendel's bones and a peace is apparently made, in which Wyman's granddaughters Wynafryd and Wylla will marry one of these Freys, Rhaegar Frey, and another of Walder Frey's grandsons "Little" Walder Frey. When Davos Seaworth arrives in White Harbor to treat with Wyman to support Stannis, Davos denounces the Freys present for their treachery. Wyman apparently has him executed but secretly executes a criminal in his place, leading to Cersei returning his heir. Wyman reveals to Davos he knows where Rickon Stark is hiding and will support Stannis if Davos returns him. Wyman is implied to have murdered the White Harbor Freys when their stay was over (thus keeping to guest right), then put them in pies which he serves to the Freys and Boltons when he attends Ramsay's wedding, even eating some himself. The Freys suspect him of murdering their kin, and when Little Walder is murdered (possibly by his cousin Big Walder Frey) their uncle Hosteen Frey attacks Wyman. It is unclear if he survives.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Sean Blowers.
Hodor is a simple-minded stable-boy at Winterfell. He is popularly known as Hodor because that is the only word he is capable of saying. He is over seven feet tall, and it is hinted that he may have giant ancestry. He has a friendly, childlike disposition and possesses great strength, though he is reluctant to use it against others. After Bran Stark is crippled in A Game of Thrones, Hodor is employed to carry him in a sling on his back. Old Nan (Hodor's great-grandmother) reveals to Bran that Hodor's real name is Walder. When Winterfell is destroyed, Hodor escapes to the north with Bran, Jojen, Meera, Rickon, and Osha.
In the HBO television adaptation (in which Hodor's real name has been changed to Wylis, ostensibly to avoid confusion with another character, Walder Frey), he is portrayed by Kristian Nairn as an adult and Sam Coleman as a child.
Osha (//) is a wildling woman who sneaks south of the Wall to escape the Others. When she and her fellow refugees try to kidnap Bran Stark in A Game of Thrones, she is captured by Robb Stark and taken back to Winterfell and eventually employed as a scullery maid and is given limited freedom for her good behavior. She becomes close to Bran Stark and often gives him advice about the oncoming winter. When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Osha chose to protect Bran and Rickon over her freedom. She joins Bran and Rickon hiding in Winterfell's crypt after faking escape. She later parts ways with Bran and is entrusted to take care of Rickon through the North in their escape, and by A Dance with Dragons, they are reported to have landed on the island of Skagos, 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 being 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 Bolton 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.
Jon Snow, Arya's half-brother, believes Jeyne to be the real Arya and sends Mance Rayder to rescue her. The group enlists Theon's help, but their cover is blown and Theon and Jeyne barely escape.
In the first season of the television adaptation, an unidentified extra appeared briefly as Jeyne in the pilot episode. In season five, her storyline was partially blended into Sansa Stark's.
Jojen and Meera Reed 
Jojen and Meera are the children of Howland Reed, the Lord of Greywater Watch and a loyal Stark bannerman. They first appear in A Clash of Kings, where they are sent to attend the harvest festival in place of their father to renew House Reed's pledge to House Stark and support the children of the late Eddard Stark. They become fast friends with Bran Stark and his baby brother Rickon, and are narrated completely through Bran's point of view chapters.
The older sister Meera is sixteen years old when introduced in A Clash of Kings. As typical of crannogmen, Meera is short, slim and flat-chested, has long brown hair and green eyes, and is described as having a cheerful disposition. She is intensely loyal and protective of her "prince" as well as her own brother, with Bran commenting that the only thing that ever makes her angry or upset is her brother Jojen. Although she is never described as being particularly beautiful, both Theon Greyjoy and Bran Stark seem to consider her attractive. She is a skilled huntress, and fights with a small fishing net and a three-pronged frog spear (similar in style to a retiarius), able to defeat Bran's direwolf Summer in mock combat by entangling the direwolf with her net. The legacy of Bran's late aunt Lyanna Stark is also largely narrated through her story-telling.
The younger brother Jojen is thirteen when he first appears, but his sullen seriousness and maturity make him seem older. He is short and slim with unusually deep green eyes, wearing green-colored clothing. He claims to have "greensight" and the power of prophetic "green dreams", from where he knows a number of arcane things, including the day of his death. In Winterfell, Jojen recognizes Bran Stark as a skinchanger who is able to enter the mind of an animal and control it, and mentors Bran to gain control of his abilities. When Theon Greyjoy captures Winterfell, Jojen and Meera accompany Bran and Rickon in hiding inside Winterfell's crypt after faking escape, and later escort Bran's journey north in search of the three-eyed raven after Ramsay Snow sacks and burns Winterfell. At the end of A Storm of Swords, they travel beyond the Wall and Jojen becomes very weak. In A Dance with Dragons, Meera struggles to keep the group's spirits up, but implies that Jojen's future is bleak.
Jeyne Westerling is the daughter of a family sworn to House Lannister. She meets Robb Stark when he is wounded, and falls in love with him during his convalescence. He marries her the next day to preserve her honour, in doing so breaking a marriage contract with House Frey. After Robb's departure for the Twins, Jeyne remains in Riverrun and does not witness the massacre. After the Red Wedding, she is granted a royal pardon. In A Feast for Crows, she is openly mourning and last appears riding to Casterly Rock as a political prisoner.
During the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, George R. R. Martin announced that Jeyne Westerling will appear in the prologue of the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, but did not reveal whether she would be the prologue POV character.
In the television adaptation, the character was adapted into Talisa Maegyr, a highborn healer from Volantis who falls in love with Robb. The two marry and she becomes pregnant with his child; unlike in the books, she is present at the Red Wedding and is killed alongside Robb. She is played by Oona Chaplin.[S 7]
House Targaryen 
House Targaryen was 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, the Targaryens left for Dragonstone. A century after the Valyrian "Doom", Aegon I Targaryen 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.
Descendants of Maekar Targaryen
Aegon V Targaryen
Aegon Targaryen, nicknamed "Egg" in his youth, is one of the two main characters in the Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas. As a child, his father Prince Maekar reluctantly permitted him to serve as squire to the knight errant Ser Duncan the Tall, in the hopes that the lessons learned through humble service and hard experience would help him avoid the excesses and shortcomings of his royal brothers. He was later crowned as King Aegon V when a Great Council bypassed those before him in the line of succession and his older brother Aemon chose to abdicate by joining the Night's Watch. He was called "Aegon the Unlikely" because he was previously way down the line of succession and therefore considered unlikely to inherit the Iron Throne.
Aegon V's reign lasted more than twenty-five years, during which he tried to push policies more favorable to the interests of common people, and frequently clashed with noble lords as a result. He later perished in the 'Tragedy of Summerhall', a huge fire at the Targaryen summer palace, along with his son Prince Duncan and close friend Ser Duncan the Tall. After he died, his son Jaehaerys inherited the throne. When Jaehaerys died three years later, the Iron Throne was passed to his son Aerys.
In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, Aegon is the father of Aerys the Mad King, rather than his grandfather.
Aerys II Targaryen 
Aerys Targaryen, also called The Mad King, ruled the Seven Kingdoms as the last Targaryen king. While his rule started out well, he slowly descended into madness. He was married to his sister Rhaella, who bore him eight children, but only three survived into adulthood: sons Rhaegar and Viserys, and daughter Daenerys. After Rhaegar absconded with Lyanna Stark, Aerys had Ned Stark's father and brother executed, beginning Robert's Rebellion. When Aerys planned to burn King's Landing rather than let Robert rule, he was assassinated by a member of his own Kingsguard, Jaime Lannister.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by David Rintoul.
Rhaegar Targaryen, the 'Last Dragon', was the eldest son of King Aerys II and the heir apparent to the Iron Throne, and the older brother to Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen. He died 14 years before the events of A Game of Thrones, and his life's tales are mainly narrated through the words of Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Barristan Selmy and Daenerys (via visions of sorcery), as well as commentaries by Eddard Stark, Aemon Targaryen, Jorah Mormont, Meera Reed, Jon Connington and Gilly.
Rhaegar married the Dornish princess Elia Martell of Sunspear, and fathered with her a daughter named Rhaenys and son named Aegon (Aegon VI). After winning the Tourney at Harrenhal, the greatest tourney in Westerosi history, he surprised everyone by passing over his wife Elia and crowning Lyanna Stark as the tourney's "Queen of Love and Beauty". One year later, he and Lyanna both disappeared, with rumors that he abducted and raped Lyanna. Enraged, Lyanna's oldest brother Brandon went to King's Landing to confront Rhaegar, which resulted in both him and his father Lord Rickard being sadistically executed by King Aerys. Lyanna's other older brother Eddard, her betrothed Robert Baratheon, their foster father Jon Arryn and Brandon's father-in-law-to-be Hoster Tully then started a rebellion against Aerys, with Robert personally killing Rhaegar in single combat at the Battle of the Trident, and ultimately overthrowing House Targaryen. Though Robert continues to vilify Rhaegar throughout A Game of Thrones, many other characters express admiration for him.
Daenerys's stillborn son Rhaego and her dragon Rhaegal are named after Rhaegar.
In the HBO television adaption, he is portrayed by Wilf Scolding.
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. Viserys is an arrogant, cruel and ambitious man given to violent mood swings. Daenerys named one of her dragons as Viserion, in respect of her brother.
Daenerys Targaryen, referred to sometimes as 'Daenerys Stormborn', 'Khaleesi', the 'Mother of Dragons', is the daughter and youngest child of King Aerys II Targaryen and is one of the last surviving members of House Targaryen. She serves as the point of view character in thirty-one chapters throughout A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Dance with Dragons.
Young Griff/Aegon VI Targaryen
Aegon Targaryen is the only known son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell. Fifteen years before the events of the series, the infant Aegon was reported to have been killed along with his mother and sister by Gregor Clegane.
In A Dance with Dragons, Varys claims to have switched Aegon with another, lowborn infant (known as the "Pisswater prince") and smuggled Aegon out of King's Landing prior to the capital's fall. During his exile in Essos, Tyrion Lannister (under the alias Hugor Hill) meets Young Griff, a well-trained teenage boy endorsed by Varys's associate Illyrio Mopatis, who claims to be the surviving Aegon and is under the guardianship of Rhaegar's close friend Jon Connington (under alias of Griff). Young Griff/Aegon is to be used by Varys and Illyrio as a puppet king. Young Griff intends to travel to Slaver's Bay to visit Daenerys Targaryen and propose marriages, but Tyrion provokes him during a cyvasse game and convinces him to abandon the proposal and independently attack Westeros. Later, Young Griff announces himself as Aegon and successfully persuades the Golden Company into supporting his invasion, landing his army in the Stormlands and capture several castles, and plans to lay siege to the Baratheon seat of Storm's End. In the upcoming sixth book,The Winds of Winter, according to news received by Arianne Martell, Aegon's forces have successfully captured Storm's End. Many fans believe that Young Griff is not actually Aegon, but rather a Blackfyre or Illyrio's illegitimate son or just a boy of the right age.
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. Aerys stripped him of his lands and titles, giving them to Jon's cousin Ronald Connington, and exiled 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 when saving Tyrion. The group lands in the Stormlands and captures several castles, including Griffin's Roost. Aegon plans to lead 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 had been allowed to marry a noblewoman, but went into debt trying to support her lavish lifestyle.
Brynden Rivers, better known as "Lord Bloodraven", is a legitimized bastard son of King Aegon IV Targaryen (called Aegon the Unworthy) and Melissa Blackwood. He is one of only three characters (the others being Aemon Targaryen and Walder Frey) to have appeared in both the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the Tales of Dunk and Egg novellas. He is an albino, with white skin, long white hair, and red eyes. He has a red birthmark on his left cheek, said to be in the shape of a raven, and thus the source of his nickname "Bloodraven".
Bloodraven remained loyal to his half-brother King Daeron II Targaryen (called Daeron the Good) throughout the Blackfyre Rebellions against another of Aegon's legitimized bastards, Daemon Blackfyre, and their descendants, but was later thrown in prison by his great-nephew King Aegon V Targaryen (called Aegon the Unlikely) for ordering the execution of Aenys Blackfyre despite promising safe passage. He was sent to the Wall as the punishment and later elected the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and served in that capacity for many years before disappearing during a ranging beyond the Wall. In A Dance with Dragons, Bloodraven is shown to have become the last greenseer and is fused to the root of a weirwood tree. He begins training Bran Stark in clairvoyance.
In the HBO television adaptation, the character is only known as "The Three-eyed Raven", and his backstory regarding the Targaryens and the Night Watch is never mentioned. He was briefly portrayed by Struan Rodger in the fourth season finale "The Children", and more extensively by Max von Sydow in the sixth season. In a 2017 interview, Isaac Hempstead Wright (who portrays Bran) hinted that in the television series the Three-Eyed Raven had been "sitting in a cave looking through time" for "thousands of years".
Missandei is a slave interpreter for Kraznys mo Nakloz when Daenerys Targaryen comes to inspect the Unsullied in Astapor. After Daenerys strikes a bargain with the Good Masters of Astapor concerning payment for the Unsullied, Kraznys gives Missandei to Daenerys as an interpreter to give them commands. Afterwards, she becomes a trusted confidante and handmaiden to Daenerys.
Daario Naharis is a leader in the Stormcrows mercenary company. Daario is won over by Daenerys and brings the Stormcrows over to her side. He becomes romantically involved with her, eventually becoming one of her advisors.
Grey Worm is an Unsullied purchased by and sworn to Daenerys Targaryen. He is the commander of Daenerys's Unsullied and one of her trusted advisors. After Daenerys flees Mereen, Grey Worm becomes a member of the ruling council of the city.
Maekar I Targaryen
Maekar is a character in The Tales of Dunk and Egg. He is the fourth and youngest son of Daeron II Targaryen. Maekar married Dyanna Dayne and had six children, four sons, Daeron, Aerion, Aemon and Aegon, and two daughters. He was made Prince of Summerhall, a summer castle built in the Stormlands by his father. Maekar is resentful that his achievements are often overlooked, especially in favor of his eldest brother Baelor "Breakspear". He was angry when his father Daeron ordered that his third son Aemon be sent to the Citadel. At the Tourney at Ashford, Maekar sends his other three sons, and is angered when Dunk attacks the cruel Aerion to defend Tanselle, a Puppeteer. When Aerion asks for a Trial by Seven, Maekar takes his son's side, however, Baelor takes Dunk's side. In the fight, Dunk forces Aerion to withdraw his accusation, but Maekar while trying to reach his son is stopped by Baelor and accidentally strikes him a blow to the head that kills him. He allows Dunk to take Aegon as his squire when Dunk points out how Daeron and Aerion turned out. Maekar would eventually become King but died 12 years later at the Peake Uprising, when a stone thrown from the Peake's castle Starpike crushed his head.
House Blackfyre 
House Blackfyre is a semi-extinct cadet house of House Targaryen. Their sigil is a three headed black dragon on a red field, the reverse of House Targaryen. House Blackfyre was founded when Aegon IV "the Unworthy" (reigned AL 172–184) legitimized all his bastard children on his death bed. Aegon gave "Blackfyre", the sword of the first Targaryen king to his bastard Daemon, seeming to signify his favour for Daemon over the heir apparent: his true born son Daeron. When Aegon IV died, Daemon I Blackfyre contested Daeron II Targaryen's right to the Iron Throne. This challenge set off conflicts between AL 184–260 where a series of Blackfyre pretenders vied for the Iron Throne.
House Lannister 
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 and they are also given the title Wardens of the West. 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. Bastards born in The Westerlands are given the surname "Hill". 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 in their lands.
Descendants of Tytos Lannister
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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. Eventually several nobles revolted against Lannister rule. Disgusted with his father's inaction, Tywin personally led 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. Tywin proved himself a ruthless but capable leader and his tenure was marked by peace and prosperity.
Cersei Lannister is the twin sister of Jaime, (the elder of the two), and the only daughter of Tywin Lannister. She serves as the third-person narrator of twelve chapters in A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. She became queen by marrying Robert Baratheon. She has three children (all of whom are in actuality fathered by her twin brother) and two of whom eventually become king after Robert's death.
Jaime Lannister is the 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 was widely considered one of the best swordsmen in all the Seven Kingdoms before having his right hand chopped off by Vargo Hoat.
Tyrion Lannister is the younger brother of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, and serves as a third-person narrator for 47 chapters in A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Dance With Dragons. He is the narrator with the most chapters in the books.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Peter Dinklage.
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.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Jack Gleeson.
Princess Myrcella Baratheon is the second oldest child and only daughter of Queen Cersei Lannister. Like her brothers, she was fathered by Cersei's brother Jaime Lannister, but she is ostensibly 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 in the kidnapping.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Aimee Richardson in seasons one and two, and Nell Tiger Free in seasons five and six.[S 1] Her fate is changed from that in the novels—in the television version, Myrcella is poisoned by Ellaria Sand as revenge against the Lannisters for the death of Oberyn Martell. Myrcella dies in Jaime's arms moments after acknowledging him as her father.
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, as he believes Robert Baratheon to be his father. Like his sister, he shares none of his mother's ruthlessness, and is in fact, mild-mannered, courteous, and kind-hearted.
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. After Cersei's imprisonment, the council appoints him Lord Regent to King Tommen Baratheon, and he tries to solve the problems Cersei created. Because his efforts to stabilize the kingdom threaten Aegon VI 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 helps Queen Cersei kill Robert. In A Clash of Kings, Cersei knights him for his part in Robert's death. After Cersei takes Lancel as a lover, Tyrion 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 is seriously wounded in the fighting. During his recovery in A Storm of Swords, he experiences a spiritual awakening and spends much of his time atoning for his sins. When the Faith Militant, the military order of the Faith, is reinstated, Lancel renounces his wife and lands, and joins the organization.
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 a trial by combat, and wins the duel.
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. His size and strength make him a fearsome warrior, and he has earned a reputation for brutality.
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.
Podrick Payne, Pod for short, is a squire to Tyrion Lannister toward the end of A Game of Thrones. Despite being painfully shy and insecure, he proves himself to be 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 searching 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 the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Podrick is sentenced to be hanged for serving as Tyrion's squire. His fate is currently unknown.
House Baratheon 
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 half-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".
Family tree of House Baratheon
Robert Baratheon is King of the Seven Kingdoms at the beginning of A Game of Thrones. He was the ward of Jon Arryn and was raised at the Eyrie alongside Eddard Stark. Fifteen years before the novels, Robert was betrothed to Ned's sister Lyanna, and after Lyanna and Rhaegar Targaryen disappeared, Robert killed Rhaegar and seized the throne.
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 regarded as a skilled but overcautious military commander.
Selyse Baratheon is the wife of Stannis, and was a Florent before her marriage. She is described as being fairly unattractive with extremely prominent ears and a hint of a mustache on her upper lip. Selyse has a cold relationship with her husband. She is the first of her family to be converted to the religion of the Red God by Melisandre.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Tara Fitzgerald.
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.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Gethin Anthony.[S 1] The adaptation openly depicts Renly and Ser Loras Tyrell as lovers, an interaction obliquely addressed in the novels.[S 15][S 16]
Shireen Baratheon is the only living child of Stannis Baratheon and Selyse Florent. She contracted the lethal greyscale disease as a child, disfiguring her by leaving the left side of her cheek and most of her neck covered by grey, cracked, and stone-like skin.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Kerry Ingram.
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.
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, but Davos is a follower of the Faith of the Seven and opposes Melisandre. During the Battle of the Blackwater, his ship is destroyed but Davos survives 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 against the wildling army.
After Stannis sails to the Wall, he tasks Davos with enlisting the support of House Manderly, but Davos is taken prisoner. After staging Davos' death, Manderly asks Davos to rescue Rickon Stark from Skagos. His fate is unknown.
Brienne of Tarth
Brienne, the Maid of Tarth, serves as a POV narrator for eight chapters in the fourth book of the series, A Feast for Crows. A tall and imposing but extremely plain woman, she is mocked by many as "Brienne the Beauty". She is a maiden on a quest.
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. He will be killed several other times, only to be repeatedly brought back to life. These continuous resurrections lead him to lose part of the memories related to his previous life every time. 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. Gendry later joins the Brotherhood without Banners.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Joe Dempsie.
Edric Storm is Robert Baratheon's only acknowledged bastard. He was conceived on Stannis and Selyse's wedding night, when Robert seduced one of Selyse's cousins, Delena Florent, in Stannis' marriage bed. Edric was sent by Stannis to be fostered by his other uncle Renly Baratheon. Edric was raised under the guardianship of Storm's End Castellan Ser Cortnay Penrose. After Renly dies Cortnay refuses to surrender Storm's End, fearing Stannis' intentions for Edric, as a result he is assassinated by Melisandre. Stannis then sends Edric to Dragonstone. Melisandre and Selyse tell Stannis to sacrifice Edric, claiming his king's blood will enable them to raise a dragon. To prevent this, Davos sends Edric to Lys under the guardianship of one of Robert's cousins, Andrew Estermont.
In the HBO television adaptation Edric's storyline is combined with Gendry.
House Arryn 
House Arryn is one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms and is the principal house in the Vale. It is descended from Kings of Mountain and Vale. Its main seat is at the Eyrie, a small castle located at the top of a mountain and reputed to be impregnable, where they are the Wardens of the East. 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 "Robin" Arryn, became Lord of the Vale with Lysa Tully acting as regent.
Family tree of House Arryn
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 for execution, Jon 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 the Seven Kingdoms. When Stannis Baratheon had doubts about the parentage of Queen Cersei Lannister's children, he brought his suspicions to Jon, who confirmed that Cersei's children were not fathered by Robert, but by her brother Jaime. Before he could reveal this publicly, Lysa poisoned him on Littlefinger's orders to stop him from sending their son Robin Arryn away as a ward.
Lysa Arryn 
Lysa Arryn, formerly of House Tully, is the second child and youngest daughter of Lord Hoster Tully. Enamored 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 become 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 though his mother rules as regent. 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. In the absence of his mother, he becomes attached to his cousin Sansa Stark in her disguise of Alayne Stone.
Yohn Royce (sometimes called 'Bronze Yohn') is Lord of Runestone and head of House Royce. After the death of Lysa Arryn, Lord Yohn forms the Lords Declarant in opposition to Petyr Baelish's rule of the Vale.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Rupert Vansittart.
Lady Waynwood is the lady of Ironoaks, and the head of House Waynwood, a powerful vassal to House Arryn of the Vale. Lady Anya is part of the Lords Declarant, who oppose Baelish's rule of the Vale.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Paola Dionisotti
Nestor is a cousin of Yohn Royce, from a lesser branch of House Royce. He ruled the Eyrie as High Steward of the Vale during Jon Arryn's absence and acted as Keeper of the Gates of the Moon and feels he is owed for his years of service. Littlefinger later makes him the hereditary Lord of the Gates of the Moon to keep him loyal, signing the paper declaring this so Nestor holding the Gates depends on Baelish' power.
House Greyjoy 
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. Bastards born in the Iron Islands are given the surname "Pyke". 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 Theon.
Family tree of House Greyjoy
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 the father of a good man.  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. Euron later admits to Aeron he was responsible for Balon's death, though not in person.
Asha Greyjoy 
Asha Greyjoy is Balon Greyjoy's only daughter and oldest living child. She serves as the third-person narrator for four chapters throughout A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Asha was raised as Balon's heir despite a custom forbidding female rule, and has otherwise defied 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 Feast For Crows after her father's death and claims her father's throne, which she loses in favor of her uncle Euron. In A Dance with Dragons, she returns to Deepwood Motte and learns that Euron has married her off by proxy. She is eventually captured by Stannis Baratheon and travels with his army toward Winterfell, where she is reunited with her brother Theon.
In the HBO television adaptation, the character is renamed Yara Greyjoy to avoid confusion with the character Osha. Yara is portrayed by Gemma Whelan.[S 21][S 22] Whelan speculated in an interview that in the TV series Yara is bisexual, though Martin confirmed that she is not in the novels.
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 Ned Stark to be executed if Balon displeased the king. Theon was raised at Winterfell with the Stark children and became a close friend to Robb Stark in particular.
Euron Greyjoy is the younger brother of Balon and is hated by all his brothers. He wears a patch over his left eye, for which he is nicknamed Crow's Eye and is more ruthless and sadistic than his brothers. Before the events of the series, he was banished from the Iron Islands. During his exile, he lived as a pirate and became extremely wealthy and became involved in dark magic, culminating in his gaining ownership of a horn that can control dragons. In A Feast for Crows, Euron's return from exile coincides with Balon's death, thus encouraging speculation that he played a role in his brother's demise. After becoming King of the Iron Islands at a Kingsmoot by telling the Ironborn he knows where there are dragons and that he intends to conquer Westeros, he begins 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.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Pilou Asbæk.[S 23] The television version of Euron is more of a Viking pirate/warlord, with no magic abilities nor wearing an eyepatch. As the character Victarion Greyjoy was omitted from the TV adaptation of the series, Euron himself seeks marriage from Daenerys Targaryen, though once his niece and nephew Yara and Theon Greyjoy form an alliance with Daenerys, Euron enters into an alliance with Cersei Lannister, culminating in her promising to marry Euron after the defeat of the Dragon Queen. In the eighth season, they begin their relationship. Cersei tells Euron that the child she is expecting is his. After the Iron fleet is destroyed by Drogon, Euron is killed by Jamie Lannister at the Battle of King's Landing.
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, reveals his plans to invade the north; Victarion is given overall command of the invasion. 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 weathering a savage storm, the remains of his fleet reach Meereen. Victarion orders his fleet to assault the forces 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, thus later known as Aeron Damphair. 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, calling a Kingsmoot to make Victarion King instead of Euron. This fails, and Aeron goes into hiding. A preview chapter from The Winds of Winter reveals that Euron had his men capture Aeron, leaving him imprisoned in Euron's ship for several months before being tied to the ship's prow. It is also revealed that Euron had repeatedly molested Aeron in their youth, leading to Aeron's hatred of Euron.
Rodrik Harlaw is the Lord of Harlaw, the most populated of the Iron Islands. He is the richest man in the Iron Islands and the maternal uncle of Asha Greyjoy, one of his sisters being Balon's wife. Rodrik is known as "The Reader" because of his love of reading. He has so many books that they have filled one of the Towers in his castle of Ten Towers. As both Rodrik's sons died in the First Greyjoy Rebellion his various relatives are vying to become his heir. Rodrik has nominated his cousin Ser Harras Harlaw as heir to Harlaw. After Balon's death Rodrik agrees to support Asha at the Kingsmoot, but worries she won't get enough support and offers to make her heir to the Ten Towers. After Euron wins the Kingsmoot, Rodrik advises Asha to flee the Iron Islands, fearing Euron will kill her to prevent his rule being challenged. After capturing the Shield Islands, Euron makes Harras Lord of Greyshield to weaken Rodrik's power. Rodrik questions Euron's intent to conquer Westeros and claim to have sailed to Valyria, infuriating Euron.
House Martell 
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 the castle of Sunspear. 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, and politically distinct from the rest of the kingdoms. The rulers of Dorne are styled Prince or Princess because Dorne resisted direct conquest and joined the rest of the Seven Kingdoms through marriage.
Family tree of House Martell
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 Myrcella Baratheon is betrothed to Trystane by Tyrion Lannister, 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 to reassume control of his principality. He imprisons Oberyn's vengeful daughters, called the Sand Snakes (who have been calling for war for the death of their father), 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.
Arianne Martell is the eldest child of Prince Doran Martell of Dorne and heir to the Sunspear. 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.[S 25] She is cunning and beautiful and is also close with her cousins, the Sand Snakes. By A Feast for Crows, she is dissatisfied with her father, believing him to be weak. 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 wounded in the kidnapping attempt. As Arianne confronts Doran after he foils her plans, her father reveals that he has been plotting revenge on Tywin Lannister for many years and was waiting for the perfect time to strike. After the Golden Company invades Westeros, Doran sends Arianne to find out the truth about Aegon Targaryen. Her fate is unknown.
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 Doran Martell sent Quentyn to marry Daenerys Targaryen and bring her to Dorne. On the way most of Quentyn's companions die. He and his remaining two friends, Archibald Yronwood and Gerris Drinkwater, are forced to become sellswords to reach Slaver's Bay. Daenerys politely refuses the offer. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, Quentyn tries to take one of Daenerys's dragons as a mount to impress her, but is killed by her dragons in front of his guards.
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 capital 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 younger brother of Doran Martell. He is a hot-headed, forceful, and lustful 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. In A Storm of Swords, he leads a Dornish envoy to King's Landing to claim the seat on the small council on his brother, Prince Doran Martell's, behalf and obtain justice for his sister Elia Martell's murder.
Ellaria Sand is the paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell, and the mother of the four youngest "Sand Snakes". She accompanies Oberyn to King's Landing when Oberyn takes the seat on the small council. After returning to Dorne, she is distraught when she hears Obara's statement on how the Mountain's death "is a start", as she sees the futility of it, and is worried about her own daughters' safety.
The Sand Snakes
The Sand Snakes are Prince Oberyn Martell's eight illegitimate daughters: Obara, Nymeria, Tyene, Sarella, Elia, Obella, Dorea and Loreza, the latter youngest four were born to Oberyn's paramour Ellaria Sand. The older four however were born to different women: Obara from an Oldtown prostitute; Nymeria (also known as Lady Nym) from a noblewoman in Volantis; Tyene from a septa serving the Faith of the Seven; and Sarella from the female captain of the Summer Isles trading ship Feathered Kiss. They are collectively called "Sand Snakes" in reference to their father's nickname "Red Viper" and the regional norm of giving Dornish highborn illegitimate children the bastard surname "Sand".
In A Feast for Crows, Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand wish revenge for their father's death and pressure their uncle Prince Doran Martell to declare war. When they are implicated in various plots to agitate the Dornish populace, Prince Doran catches hold of their plans and orders Areo Hotah to imprison the Sand Snakes to prevent them from drawing Dorne into war.
In A Dance with Dragons, Doran releases the Sand Snakes and sends them on individual missions in his covert plot to bring down House Lannister in revenge for the murder of Elia Martell and her children during the Sack of King's Landing. Obara is sent to accompany the visiting Kingsguard knight Ser Balon Swann to High Hermitage so he can hunt down and kill the rogue knight Gerold Dayne for the mutilating attack on Princess Myrcella. Nymeria is sent to King's Landing to take the vacant Dornish seat on the small council in her late father's place (and serve as an agent from the inside). Tyene is sent to accompany her sister Nymeria to King's Landing disguised as a septa and gain the confidence of the High Sparrow.
The status of the fourth Sand Snake, Sarella Sand, is unknown, though according to Prince Doran she is said to be playing some sort of "game" in Oldtown. Sarella is famous for her insatiable academic curiosities, and there are fan speculations that she is actually disguised as a male Citadel acolyte named Alleras ("Sarella" spelt backwards) with the nickname "the Sphinx", who debuts in the prologue of A Feast for Crows and helps Samwell Tarly when he arrives at the Citadel. In the ending chapter of A Feast for Crows, Alleras is tasked by the departing Archmaester Marvyn to take good care of Samwell as the latter starts his maester training.
In two of pre-released chapters from the yet unfinished The Winds of Winter, the fifth Sand Snake, Elia Sand, nicknamed "Lady Lance", accompanies her cousin, Princess Arianne Martell, on the diplomatic journey to meet with Jon Connington and the allegedly survived Aegon VI Targaryen.
In the HBO television adaptation, only the oldest three Sand Snakes exist. Obara Sand is portrayed by New Zealand actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, Nymeria Sand by English actress Jessica Henwick, and Tyene Sand by Italian-American actress Rosabell Laurenti Sellers;[S 28] the other Sand Snakes do not appear in the series.
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 
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.
Family tree of House Tully
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 eventually dies and is laid to rest in the river following the Tully tradition.
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, breaching ancient guest right customs. Edmure is taken to Casterly Rock, where he and the remaining members of House Tully are to spend the rest of their lives as 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 marry. 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, but he is besieged by House Lannister and House Frey. In A Feast for Crows, Brynden surrenders the Tully seat of Riverrun to spare further bloodshed, but he himself escapes capture. 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. He is known for having over a hundred descendants and taking eight total 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 house and House 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 second son Emmon Frey receives Riverrun, the seat of House Tully, as a reward, with advantageous marriages for other descendants of his. However, the people of the Riverlands refuse to support his rule, and a shadowy guerrilla war erupts that Walder Frey struggles to control. House Frey is so large and factional that many of the Freys hate each other, aspiring to become Lord of the Crossing themselves.
House Tyrell 
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 where they reside as the Wardens of the South. 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". When the former rulers of the Reach, House Gardener, were killed in battle against House Targaryen, the Targaryens 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.
Family tree of House Tyrell
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 and is thought to serve as the figurehead to his mother, Olenna Redwyne. In A Clash of Kings, he supports the marriage between Margaery and Renly Baratheon, who plans to usurp the throne of the Seven Kingdoms. When Renly dies, Mace accepts an offer to marry Margaery to Joffrey Baratheon, the current king. After his and Tywin's armies defeat Stannis Baratheon, Mace is given a seat on the King's council. After Cersei's downfall, Kevan Lannister, Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, names Mace his Hand, mostly to repair the relationship between their houses. Mace then tries to fill the Small Council with his vassals, greedy for more power.
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, Loras' lover, 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. In the HBO show, he is killed by a wildfire explosion in the Sept of Baelor after his trial, along with his sister and father.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Finn Jones. The character is a composite of the three Tyrell sons. The adaptation openly depicts Loras and Renly Baratheon as lovers, an interaction only obliquely addressed within the novels.[S 15][S 16]
Margaery Tyrell /
Olenna Tyrell 
Olenna Tyrell, also known as the Queen of Thorns, was born into House Redwyne and is the mother of Mace Tyrell and widow of the late Luthor 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 the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Diana Rigg.
Randyll Tarly is the head of House Tarly, bannerman of House Tyrell, and considered to be one of the finest military commanders in Westeros. He is also the father of Samwell Tarly. When word of the imprisonment of Margaery Tyrell reaches Randyll, he marches his army to King's Landing where Kevan Lannister makes him the new master of laws.
Night's Watch and Free Folk 
The Night's Watch is a sworn brotherhood of men who patrol the Wall. The individual members or "Brothers of the Watch" (called "Crows" by the Wildlings) 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 in the first book, the Watch is severely undermanned. The Watch is based at Castle Black, where the Lord Commander of the Watch resides and new recruits are trained.
Wildlings, also called 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 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. Mormont 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 and potential successor. Soon afterward, a wight (a dead body reanimated by the Others) attempts to kill him, but Jon kills the wight. In gratitude, Mormont gives Jon his ancestral sword, Longclaw, and changes its pommel to a wolf's head, in accordance with the House Stark sigil. 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 Craster's Keep, where he is killed in a mutiny.
Aemon Targaryen is the older brother of Aegon V Targaryen, the third son of Maekar I Targaryen, and a member of the Night's Watch. Decades before the start of the series, he was sent to the Citadel in Oldtown on the orders of his grandfather Daeron II, who felt there were too many Targaryens, and became a Maester (one of an order of scholars and healers). He was later offered the throne of the Seven Kingdoms after the death of his father Maekar, 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 Tyrion 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 to smuggle her to Winterfell, but is killed by Lannister soldiers.
Samwell Tarly, called 'Sam', 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. In spite of his self-professed cowardice, Sam is highly intelligent, resourceful, and loyal. Sam's complete lack of martial abilities and his interest in scholarly pursuits convinces his father that he is not a worthy heir and he is forced to join the Night's Watch.
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. Slynt is known for his corruption, but Robert was persuaded not to remove him on the grounds the next commander might be worse. After Robert's death, when Ned intends to depose Joffrey, Slynt orders his men to arrest Ned. For this, Janos Slynt was made a lord and given Harrenhal.
In A Clash of Kings, Tyrion Lannister exiles Slynt to the Night's Watch as he cannot be trusted. In A Storm of Swords, Slynt attempts to be elected as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but loses to Jon Snow. After Slynt repeatedly refuses Jon's orders, Jon publicly executes him.
Alliser Thorne is the Master of Arms at Castle Black, a warrior charged with training the Watch's recruits. 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. 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.
Mance Rayder is a former member of the Night's Watch who later deserted. Since then, he has become 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, but Jon later discovers that the priestess Melisandre used magic to disguise Rayder as the wildling who was burned in his place, 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, but Mance is forced to stay behind. Ramsay Bolton later sends a letter to Jon claiming that he has captured Mance and is holding him prisoner.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Ciarán Hinds. In the show, Mance Rayder is not saved by Melisandre and his execution is genuine.
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.
Craster is a wildling who lives north of the Wall in a fortified homestead called Craster's Keep. A regrettable ally of the Night's Watch, he has nineteen wives, and when his daughters are old enough, he marries them, incestuously fathering new children. He is slain by a young ranger, Karl Tanner, in "And Now His Watch Is Ended", which sparks the Mutiny at Craster's Keep.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Robert Pugh.
Gilly is a wildling girl, daughter and wife of Craster. After the Night's Watch regroups at Craster's Keep, Gilly gives birth to a son. Craster is killed before he can sacrifice the child, and in the confusion Gilly flees south with Samwell.
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 to bring a Wildling warlord, Tormund, and his people to the Wall. The mission is successful.
Lord of Bones
The Lord of Bones (also mocked as "Rattleshirt") is a wildling leader under Mance Rayder, known for his vileness and cowardice. In A Dance with Dragons, he is executed, believed to be Mance since Melisandre glamoured him to take the appearance of the condemned.
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 disillusioned 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.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Michael Condron.
Eddison Tollett (also known as "Dolorous Edd" for his melancholy temperament and sarcastic wit) is a squire from House Tollett and a steward of the Night's Watch. Edd survives the fight with the wights at the Fist of the First Men. He is among the survivors to make it back to Craster's Keep. In A Dance with Dragons Edd carries on his duties as the Lord Commander's steward. He is one of the men brought along as muscle to assist Lord Commander Jon Snow in escorting Janos Slynt for his execution.
Tormund, better known as "Tormund Giantsbane" or "Tormund Thunderfist", is a famous wildling raider.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Kristofer Hivju.
Varamyr is a Wildling skinchanger, named due to controlling six animals and narrates the prologue of "A Dance With Dragons". He held power over multiple Wildling villages and even aspired to be King-Beyond-the-Wall, before joining Mance Rayder. When Stannis attacks the Wildlings Melisandre uses her magic to burn Varamyr's eagle, causing him to lose control of his remaining animals. Varamyr hides his identity, fleeing north and retaining control of three wolves. He is stabbed by a boy and as he is dying attempts to take the body of the spearwife Thistle. However she expels him from her mind and Varamyr dies, his mind living on in the wolf One Eye.
Royal court and officials
The Royal Court at King's Landing 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.
Petyr Baelish 
Lord Petyr Baelish, called Littlefinger, held power as the Master of Coin, the Treasurer of the Seven Kingdoms. Petyr names himself Lord Protector of the Vale following the death of his wife, Lysa Arryn.
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.
Pycelle is an elderly Maester, who for decades 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 Robert's 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. Pycelle is killed by Varys, who believes that he and Kevan's competent leadership threaten the restoration of Cersei to the Iron 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 Cersei 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 becomes a POV narrator and launches a coup against her husband. He then reluctantly rules Meereen in her stead under the title the Queen's Hand until she returns.
In the HBO television adaptation, in which he is portrayed by Ian McElhinney,[S 1][S 2] he is mortally wounded in a battle with the Sons of the Harpy in the fifth-season episode "Sons of the Harpy". When asked about the manner in which he was notified of his character's death, McElhinney commented, "It proves you should probably not read the books."
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. After 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 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.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Anton Lesser.[S 5][S 6] He contributes to Cersei's military capability through the use of the highly explosive material called 'wildfire' (which Cersei deployed to wipe out the seat of the Faith of the Seven religion), and the invention of large-scale anti-dragon crossbows, which in Season 8, are deployed in large numbers all around the walls of King's Landing, and on the bows of all the ships in Euron Greyjoy's Iron Fleet. He is killed by Gregor Clegane as they attempt to flee the Red Keep.
The High Sparrow
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.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Jonathan Pryce.
Ser Meryn Trant is a member of the kingsguard under King Robert Baratheon, King Joffrey Baratheon and King Tommen Baratheon.
When Joffrey tells Sansa of his plan to behead Robb Stark, she defies him by wishing to see his own head mounted there, for which Joffrey has Trant slap her. Along with the City Watch he also murders King Robert's illegitimate children. When the Lannisters send their guards to capture Arya Stark, Trant kills Syrio Forel, her fencing Instructor, who protects Arya despite only being armed with a wooden training sword,[S 39] as a result Trant is one of the names on Arya Stark's "list". In the TV series, following his arrival in Braavos, Arya infiltrates a brothel disguised as a child prostitute and kills Trant in revenge.
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Ian Beattie.
Ser Balon Swann is the second son of Lord Gulian Swann. He is said to be skilled with the lance, morningstar, and bow and arrow. He is made a Kingsguard after the death of Ser Preston Greenfield, which Tyrion Lannister approves of. During the Battle of the Blackwater, he fights valiantly against the forces of Stannis Baratheon. In A Feast For Crows, Cersei Lannister sends him to Dorne with the skull of Gregor Clegane, which he gives to Doran Martell. Doran later informs the Sand Snakes and Arianne Martell of Balon's involvement in a plan by Cersei to kill Trystane Martell and frame Tyrion. After learning of the attempted murder of Princess Myrcella Baratheon, Balon leaves to chase Darkstar, the man who made the attempt on Myrcella's life.
Ser Balon does not appear in the HBO television adaptation.
Waymar Royce is a young Night's Watch ranger who leads two other rangers, the equally young Will and Gared, a man in his 50s, after a group of wildings in the prologue scene of the first novel, A Game of Thrones. Although Will, the scout, reports that he discovered the wildings lying dead near a stream past a ridge, Royce refuses to return to Castle Black, despite Gared's concerns about the worsening weather and Will's intuition that sinister is occurring around them, because he wants to confirm that the wildings were not merely sleeping. He is killed by a White Walker, and turned into a wight, after which he kills Will, making him the first character whose death is explicitly depicted in the series.
He is played in the television adaptation by Rob Ostlere, giving Ostlere the distinction of being the first actor to be killed off on the show. On this, Ostlere comments, "To be honest, when you do those smaller parts, you're just happy to see yourself up there because sometimes those things can get cut".
Drogo is a powerful khal, or warlord, of the Dothraki people, a tribal nation of horse riders in the steppes beyond the Free Cities. He is an accomplished warrior and has never been defeated in battle. He is the first husband of Daenerys Targaryen.
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. When the Lannisters send their guards to capture Arya, Syrio is killed protecting her.[S 39]
In the HBO television adaptation, he is portrayed by Miltos Yerolemou.
Jaqen H'ghar is an alias used by a member of the Faceless Men, a society of assassins who follow a personification of death known as the Many-Faced God. In A Clash of Kings, this Faceless Man, posing as a Lorathi criminal from the black cells of the Red Keep given to Yoren's convoy to join the Night's Watch. During the journey, he was locked in a wagon cage along with two other criminals called Rorge and Biter. He later meets Arya Stark, who frees him and the two others when the group is attacked by Lannister forces commanded by Amory Lorch. In gratitude, he promises to help Arya kill any three people she names. After Arya extorts him by naming himself as the last name on the hit list, Jaqen reluctantly agrees to help her stage a prison riot in Harrenhal that overwhelms the Lannister garrison and frees the northern prisoners. After that, Jaqen magically changes his face in front of Arya and offers to take her with him, and gives her a Braavosi iron coin with the instruction of saying "valar morghulis" to any Braavosi people should she need more help, before leaving.
Later in A Feast for Crows, an alchemist with identical features of Jaqen after the face change appears in Oldtown and bribes a Citadel novice named Pate to steal Archmaester Walgrave's person keys (which can gain access to any door in Citadel). After Pate completes the trade, he dies of poison. Pate (with completely different personality) later appears to greet Samwell Tarly when he meets Archmaester Marvyn.
Illyrio Mopatis is a wealthy and powerful Magister in Pentos. He is a larger man, 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 of Myr
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
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 the squire of an itinerant 'hedge knight', he later befriended Prince Maekar Targaryen's son Aegon (nicknamed 'Egg'), with whom he traveled before Aegon ascended to the Iron Throne as King Aegon V Targaryen. Ser Duncan was appointed to his Kingsguard, and eventually became its Lord Commander. He perished alongside his king in 'The Tragedy of Summerhall', a huge fire at the Targaryen summer home, in which it is suggested he selflessly fought to save as many of the King's family as possible.
Hizdahr zo Loraq
Hizdahr zo Loraq is a Ghiscari noble of the city of Meereen. With the Sons of the Harpy continuing to cause trouble in the streets, the Green Grace advises Daenerys to take a husband of Ghiscari blood to placate the Meereenese and recommends Hizdahr. After keeping the peace, Hizdahr marries Daenerys as her second husband. Hizdahr tries to gain control of Meereen after the disappearance of Daenerys but Grey Worm and his Unsullied refuse to obey him.
Yezzan zo Qaggaz
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. He bought Tyrion Lannister, Penny, and Jorah Mormont from the slavers, 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.
In the HBO television adaptation, a character named Yezzan, who takes on aspects of Yezzan zo Qaggaz, is portrayed by Enzo Cilenti.
Tycho Nestoris is a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos. Tycho is sent to the Wall to negotiate payment of the debt of the Iron Throne with King Stannis Baratheon. Jon Snow negotiates with him for the use of his ships for a voyage and a loan to purchase food for the winter while the Night's Watch provides him guides to reach Stannis, who has left Castle Black.
The Waif is a priestess of the Many-Faced God in the House of Black and White in Braavos. The waif is assigned to teach Arya the tongue of Braavos and then how to detect lies.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Faye Marsay.
Meribald is a septon of the Riverlands. He guides Brienne of Tarth to the Quiet Isle to meet the Elder Brother.
In the HBO television adaptation, the character is renamed Brother Ray and is portrayed by Ian McShane.
In the HBO television adaptation, she is portrayed by Hannah Waddingham.
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- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 69: Bran VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29: Davos IV.
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- A Game of Thrones, Eddard I, pp. 42–44.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 24: Bran IV.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 37: Bran V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53: Bran VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16: Bran II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7: Arya I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37: The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72: Jaime IX.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20: Reek II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 31: Melisandre I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51: Theon I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3: Daenerys I.
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- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62: Tyrion VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 61: Tyrion XIV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 38: Tyrion V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66: Tyrion IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 14: Brienne III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 20: Brienne IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 5: Davos I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10: Davos II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 25: Davos III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 36: Davos IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 63: Davos VI.
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- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26: The Wayward Bride.
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- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1: The Prophet.
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- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 73: Jon X.
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- A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
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