Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, and likewise, A Song of Ice and Fire is one the most popular fantasy book series. Everyone knows Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen. But what about all those secondary characters, the ones who support, antagonize, and push along our favorite figures? Bone up on your GoT by reading about these 38 lesser-known Game of Thrones characters.
Please note that we tried our best to leave out major spoilers from this list. However, maybe it’s best if you catch yourself up with Game of Thrones before you read this list, just in case.
Facts About Game Of Thrones Characters
1. Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun
Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, or as the Free Folk affectionately call him, “Wun Wun,” is one of the last known giants in Westeros. He is 14 feet tall, and possesses the strength of 12 men. In the books, we learn that he is a vegetarian. George R.R. Martin named him after the former New York Giants quarterback, Phil Simms, whose number is 11 (“one one” or “win wun”).
2. Rhaegar Targaryen
Rhaegar Targaryen was the oldest brother of everyone’s favorite Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen. He was meant to take over the Iron Throne when his father, The Mad King Aerys, died, before he was killed in the Sack of King’s Landing during Robert’s Rebellion.
3. Lyanna Stark
Lyanna Stark was the sister of Eddard “Ned” Stark. She was in an arranged marriage to Robert Baratheon, but eloped with Rhaegar and bore him a son.
4. Did He Name a Month After Himself Too??
Aegon the Conqueror was so influential to the history of Westeros that they keep time based on his conquest! In Westeros, the years of the modern era are counted from the year that Aegon’s conquest of Westeros was (almost) completed. The abbreviation AC literally means “After Conquest.”
5. Aemon Targaryen
Maester Aemon lived with the Night’s Watch, but he holds a secret: he is actually the oldest living Targaryen, and should be sitting on the Iron Throne. Aemon gave up his rights to the throne when he joined the Night’s Watch, and the crown went to his brother Aegon.
6. Rhaella Targaryen
Rhaella was both the sister and wife of the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. She fled to Dragonstone with her son Viserys after the death of her eldest, Rhaegar. She later died giving birth to Daenerys.
7. Drag-bat? Cat-agon?
The dragons are some of the most loved characters/creatures in Game of Thrones. That’s at least partly credible to the gorgeous (and expensive) CGI used to bring them to life. How did they do it? Well with a serious lack of dragon motion-capture-actors in Hollywood, the creatures’ movements are actually inspired by the motion of some more familiar animals…
The production team used cats, geese, and even bats to mimic the look of a dragon on-screen. Imagine a goose dressed up in a green motion capture suit, pretending to be a dragon. You’re now halfway to making an episode of Game of Thrones.
8. Brandon Stark The Elder
Brandon Stark the Elder was Ned Stark’s brother, and was heir to Winterfell. Aerys ordered the killing of Brandon and his father Rickard after they protested Rhaegar’s apparent kidnapping of Lyanna Stark.
9. Dontos Hollard
Ser Dontos Hollard was the very last member of House Hollard left alive. He was once a knight, but King Joffrey took away his title, and forced him to be a fool.
10. Fire And Blood
Many fans love the strong-willed and powerful Mother of Dragons, but a darker, more violent side has led George R. R. Martin to hint that she may not actually be a true hero in A Song of Ice and Fire. In fact, she has a lot in common with the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. Dany has shown a capacity to be violent and merciless, especially to those who oppose or defy her. Examples of this include burning the witch named Durr, who had killed Drogo and Dany’s unborn son; crucifying 163 Great masters of Mereen; scorching the khals, who had abused her in Vaes Dothrak; and even threatening to incinerate members of her own council.
If Dany too-closely abides by the creed of “fire and blood,” her character could take a villainous turn. This has led many fans to theorize that Jon Snow, not Daenerys Targaryen, will be the true hero of the series. We’re still rooting for Dany though!
Young Olly’s family farm and village were destroyed by The Free Folk. As a result, he hates the Wildlings, and joined up with the Night’s Watch. Ygritte, Jon Snow’s lover, actually killed Olly’s father. Olly does not exist in the books, but Jon Snow does help rescue a young boy to join the Night’s Watch.
Pypar is another young member of the Night’s Watch. He used to be professional singer. He earns the nickname “Pyp” and is trained in sword fighting by Jon Snow. Sadly, Ygritte kills Pyp during a battle with the Wildlings.
13. Men first… Mostly
Male primogeniture dictates inheritance for most of the noble houses, which means that firstborn sons are the heirs. Women mostly act as regents for young sons.
Not that this is true in all cases: In Dorne (home of House Martell and the Sandsnakes) men and women have equal inheritance status. It’s a more progressive, open society.
14. Illyrio Mopatis
You may not remember Illyrio Mopatis by name, but without him, the Game of Thrones story line wouldn’t be the same. He is a Merchant Prince who cuts a lot of business deals—including the arranged marriage behind Khal Drogo and Daenerys. If it wasn’t for Illyrio’s ruthless deals, Daenerys wouldn’t be a Khaleesi.
15. Little Brother
The witch Maggy the Frog predicted that Cersei would die at the hands of a valonqar (High Valerian for “little brother”). As a result, Cersei has long believed that Tyrion will kill her. Nonetheless, her twin Jaime is also technically her little brother; he was born after Cersei.
16. The Little Birds
Varys’s “Little Birds” are actually a network of children. In different locations throughout Westeros, the Master of Whisperers is responsible for gathering the secrets collected by the little birds. In the books, many of these children had their tongues cut out by Illyrio Mopatis.
Qyburn is a former Maester who performed experiments on human beings that were so horrific he was stripped of his rights to practice as a doctor at the Citadel. He is also responsible for reanimating Ser Gregor Clegane, “The Mountain.” He eventually became Cersei Lannister’s Master of Whisperers and Hand of the Queen.
18. Burn Them All
As the show moves past the story set out so far in Martin’s books, a few characters have been killed off on-screen despite surviving on the page. This includes everyone killed in the Sept of Baelor by wildfire, Stannis Baratheon, Shireen Florent (Baratheon in the show), and Ramsay Bolton.
19. Archmaester Ebrose
When Samwell Tarly goes to the Citadel to become a Maester, he is taught by Archmaester Ebrose.
20. Ser Ilyn Payne
Ser Ilyn Payne is the royal executioner. His tongue was ripped out by the Mad King Aerys, so he cannot speak. He beheaded Ned Stark, and he is on Arya’s death list. He had his tongue ripped out for suggesting that Tywin Lannister was the true ruler of Westeros, rather than King Aerys II.
21. Symon Silver Tongue
When singer Ed Sheeran made an appearance in Season 7 of the show, he got a mixed reaction from fans. However, his cameo is rooted in the book: the song Sheeran sings, “Hands of Gold,” is written by the minstrel Symon Silvertongue, who uses it to blackmail Tyrion Lannister about his lover Shae.
22. Tycho Nestoris
As an employee of the Iron Bank of Braavos, Tycho Nestoris negotiates loans in the Seven Kingdoms. In the books, he loans Jon Snow money so that Snow can afford to feed the men of Castle Black during the winter. In the TV show, he sides with Cersei Lannister.
23. The First Ancestor
House Baratheon is originally descended from Orys Baratheon, who is said to have been the illegitimate half-brother of Aegon Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Conqueror. He served as one of Aegon’s most trusted military commanders during the Conquest of Westeros.
24. Beric Dondarrion
Beric Dondarrion was the Lord of Blackhaven, and the Lord of Light brought him back to life six times. Dondarrion explains that every time he comes back to life, he becomes less and less human. He loses memories but keeps injuries from past deaths, like losing an eye. The only person who can bring him back to life is the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr.
25. Shae is Bae
George R.R. revealed that in his opinion, some of the television series’ characters are much better than the ones in his books. He has specially mentioned the roles of Natalia Tena as Osha and Sibel Kekilli as Shae.
26. Thoros of Myr
Speaking of Thoros: Thoros is an alcoholic priest who had lost faith in the Lord of Light until he was able to bring Beric Dondarrion back from the dead. Thoros was the one who told The Red Priestess, Melisandre, that it was actually possible to resurrect people from the dead.
The Red Priestess Melisandre appears so often in the TV show that she is not exactly lesser-known—but her backstory is. In the books, we learn that she was once a slave girl named Melony. She was sold to the temple of the Lord of the Light when she was very young, but she still barely sleeps because she is haunted by her memories as a slave. She is also centuries old, but her powers keep her looking young.
28. Podrick Payne
You already know and love Brienne of Tarth’s squire, Podrick Payne. In the books, he was only 12 years old in the beginning of the story. They aged him to be in his late teens in the TV version, so many of the events in the show are different than the books, aside from the fact that Brienne teaches him the skills necessary to become a Knight.
29. Taena Merryweather
In the books, Taena Merryweather was one of Robert Baratheon’s lovers. Cersei found out about their affair and commanded Taena to appear before her. They have a sexual encounter because Cersei wanted to know what it felt like to have the power of a man. This scene was never included in the TV series.
30. Daario Naharis
Following Daario Naharis’ storyline in the TV show may be confusing because he is actually played by two different actors. He is best remembered as the lover Daenerys takes after the death of Khal Drogo. In the books, he has dyed blue hair, a golden mustache, and a gold tooth.
31. The Baratheon Baby
While it is never really discussed in the TV series, Cersei’s first child was with her former husband, Robert Baratheon. He had black hair, like his father, but died soon after his birth. If he had survived, he would have been the rightful heir to the Iron Throne instead of Joffrey. After that point, Cersei’s children were exclusively fathered by Jaime.
32. A Lannister Always… Roars?
According to the source material, House Lannister’s official motto is “Hear me roar!”. However, this sentence doesn’t come up much in the series. Instead, it’s often replaced by the quotable phrase “A Lannister always pays his debts”. This is an assurance used in the show to convey a promise that the Lannister in question will repay some gold or trinket… but can also serve a darker meaning:
A Lannister is always sure to bring revenge on a person that wrongs them.
33. Mance Rayder
As a baby, Mance Rayder was left on the steps of Castle Black, and he was raised by the Night’s Watch. He went beyond the wall in order to help unite the 90 different clans of the North together, but ended up becoming the leader of the Free Folk.
34. Dickon Tarly
Dickon is Samwell Tarly’s younger brother; Randyll Tarly, the boys’ father, heavily favors Dickon and sent Samwell to the Night’s Watch in order to allow Dickon to inherit the estate.
35. Playing Favorites
George R.R. Martins says the character he relates to most is Samwell Tarly.
36. Eddison Tollett
Eddison Tollett is one of Jon Snow’s best friends. He is the leader of the Night’s Watch while Jon is absent.
37. The Spice King
The city of Qarth was powerful and profitable, and run essentially by slave labor. The Spice King told Daenerys that his name is too difficult for foreigners to pronounce, so he just goes by “Spice King” because, as you might imagine, he trades spices. He was assassinated by Pyat Pree, the warlock of Qarth, along with 10 of the other 13 ruling council members.
38. Roslin Tully
Walder Frey has dozens of daughters, but his most beautiful is Roslin. Roslin was betrothed to Robb Stark before Robb reneged on the agreement and married Talisa Maegyr instead.
39. Secrets Of The Red Keep
The Targaryen conqueror Aegon had his son Maegor the Cruel build the Red Keep for House Targaryen. When it was finished, Maegor beheaded everyone who had worked on it so its secrets would never be revealed. I wonder why the called him “the Cruel?”
40. Edmure Tully
Edmure is Catelyn Stark’s brother; he is uncle to all of the Stark children. After Robb spurns the Frey alliance, Roslin marries Edmure—although this is all part of an elaborate trap, and Edmure is captured soon after bedding his bride.
41. Tormund Giantsbane
Tormund Giantsbane is a raider for the Wildlings, and he has led his people in battle on a number of occasions. He eventually becomes good friends with Jon Snow. In the books, he is much older, and has 5 children. In the show, Tormund has his sights set on Brienne of Tarth.
42. Grand Maester Pycelle
Grand Maester Pycelle once stood on the council of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. After Robert’s Rebellion, he switched his loyalty to Robert Baratheon. Once Cersei Lannister became Queen at King’s Landing, he switched loyalties yet again.
43. Inverted Colors
Bastards of the noble houses wear house colors reversed. For example, Jon Snow wears a white wolf on a grey background, while the rest of the Starks wear a grey wolf on a white background.
44. The One True History
Grand Maester Malleon wrote a book detailing the histories of all of the great houses called The Lineages and Histories of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms. Eddard Stark finds out the truth about Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen’s parentage by examining the genetic clues this book.
Bronn is a sellsword hired by Jaime and Tyrion Lannister. He doesn’t have a house or a last name, and very little is known about his background. Joffrey eventually rewards him with a Knighthood for his skill in battle.
46. Martyn and Willem Lannister
Martyn and Willem Lannister were the younger sons of Kevan Lannister. They were first cousins to Cersei, Tyrion, and Jaime before they were captured by Edmure Tully and murdered by Rickard Karstark.
47. Popular Name
11 members of the House Targaryen have been named Aegon. Several had interesting nicknames, such as “the Unworthy” and “the Unlikely.”
The Targaryens are not the only noble family to have the ability to tame and ride dragons. Many Valyrian noble families once held the title “Dragonlord,” but the Targaryens were the only ones to survive the Doom of Valyria.
49. Lancel Lannister
Lancel Lannister was the eldest son of Kevan Lannister, and a first cousin to Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. He worked as a squire under Robert Baratheon, and in the books it is said that he resembles Jaime Lannister. Lancel’s cousins use him until he leaves to join the cult of the High Sparrow.
50. Trystane Martell
Young Prince Trystane was heir to the Martell family, and became engaged to Myrcella Lannister. In the show, the two actually fall in love while spending time together in Dorne. However, their young bliss is cut short by the hands of fate: Trystane and Myrcella are both murdered by the Sand Snakes.
51. Obara Sand
Obara Sand is one of Oberyn Martell’s eight illegitimate daughters, and is one of the Sand Snakes. She is known for being very serious and showing little to no emotion.
A mysterious, mask-wearing woman who goes by the name “Quaithe” approaches Ser Jorah Mormont in Season 2. She warns him that someday men will try to take Daenerys’s dragons.
53. Mirri Maz Duur
Mirri Maz Duur was a healer for the Dothraki. When Khal Drogo is gravely injured, Duur uses blood magic to heal him. This sets off a dark chain of events: Drogo is never fully himself, and Daenerys births a stillborn child. Duur also foresees that Daenerys will never bear children. Daenerys Targaryen was supposedly cursed by Mirri Maz Duur, but most fans have no clue that the curse may actually be a prophecy.
Dany asks Mirri, “When will he [Drogo] be as he was?”. “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” Mirri Maz Duur responds. “When the seas go dry and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves. And hen your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”
This speech has often been interpreted as Mirri cursing Dany, but several fan theories have theorized that Khal Drogo will actually return to Dany after the prophecy is fulfilled. The sun rising in the west and setting in the east is interpreted as being a reference to Quentyn Martell’s (the symbol of his house is the sun and the spear) journey to Meeren and his death there. The seas going dry supposedly refers to the browning of the Dothraki Sea. The other points are a bit trickier to explain, but rest assured, there’s no shortage of possible explanations (isn’t that always the case with prophecy?).
Will Drogo actually return? It remains to be seen, but it’s also possible that the simplest explanation is correct: Mirri was just talking smack, and this “prophecy” is equivalent to saying “when hell freezes over.”
54. How Bad Do You Have to Be?
Game of Thrones women have to be tough to survive. To date, 64% of the female characters have died in the TV series so far, and there have been over 50 acts of sexual assault or attempted assault. In the books, that number climbs to at least 214.
55. Rewarding Loyalty
Who could forget pint-sized scene-stealer Lyanna Mormont? In the series we meet her during Season 6, where the Lady of Bear Island showed us just what loyalty is all about. Her family has backed the Starks for generations. The Mormont received their home, Bear Island, from accRodrick Stark, who was King in the North at that time. Legends the Starks and the Ironborn fought over the territory for centuries.
King Rodrick decided to end the conflict over it once and for all—with a wrestling match, of all things. He won and gave Bear Island to the Mormonts as a way to honor their loyalty. Not too shabby!
Daenerys Targaryen, famous for her long silver hair in the TV series, is actually bald for much of the book series. Her hair was burnt off along with her clothes when she walked into Khal Drogo’s funeral pyre.
57. Can’t Touch This
In the sexually charged world of Game of Thrones, Brienne is one of the few virgins. Her fellow guardsmen in Renly’s army had a standing wager regarding who would be the first to take her virginity; no one won.
Although she’s rarely had a chance to use her abilities, like all the Stark children, Sansa is Warg.
Ygritte the Wilding is actually supposed to be unconventional-looking in the books: she has crooked teeth, a pug nose, and wide-set eyes. She still snags Jon Snow, who is drawn to her physical appearance.
The actress who plays the prostitue Shae, Sibel Kekilli, got her start as a porn star. Her name then was Dilara.
61. Owning Winter
In present-day Westeros, loyal Northern families have called both Jon Snow and Robb Stark “King in the North”. This title actually goes way back to when the original Bran Stark was called “King of Winter.” Yes, he was an actual King. They held that title for thousands of years before Aegon the Conqueror came, afterwards becoming simply the Wardens of the North.
62. Keeping The Legacy Alive
There’s not a lot of love lost between the Northerners and the Wildlings these days, but without them, House Stark may have ceased to exist.
A King Beyond The Wall is the leader of the Wildlings. In years gone by, one such former ruler, Bael the Bard, actually tricked Brandon Stark into giving him his daughter. He later returned her with a newborn, and because there were no other Stark heirs, the bastard child became Lord Stark. The rest is history.
63. Three Times a Queen
Margaery Tyrell once told Littlefinger that she wanted to be the queen, not just a queen. And she was. Three times in fact. The socially mobile royal became the queen of Kings Renly Baratheon, Joffrey Baratheon, and Tommen Baratheon.
64. Yara Greyjoy
In the books, Theon’s sister’s name is Asha, but the series renamed her Yara to avoid confusion with the Wilding Osha. While Yara is bisexual, George R.R. Martin has confirmed that Asha is not.
Legend says the First Men were the first humans to inhabit Westeros. They fought against the Children of the Forest, those little creatures who look like wood nymphs. As we now know, the Children created the first White Walker as a means to defend themselves from the First Men… before their creations turned on them, like Frankenstein and his monster.
Most of the Northern families, including the Starks, are direct descendants of the First Men. They also kept the same faith and gods as the first men.
66. Eternal Youth
In season 6, when she takes her necklace off and becomes an extremely old woman, it was finally confirmed that Melisandre’s ruby necklace is the source of her youth and likely the source of at least some of her power.
Despite her renowned beauty, Cersei Lannister was rejected as a bride for both Rhaegar and Viserys Targaryen. Robert Baratheon didn’t want her at first either, and even accidentally called her Lyanna on their wedding night.
68. Queen of Thorns
Olenna Tyrell can’t tell her twin guardsmen named apart, so she calls them simply “Left” and “Right.” She herself is known as the Queen of Thorns because of her sharp tongue.
69. Lady Stoneheart
In the books, the dead Catelyn Stark is brought back as vengeful zombie named Lady Stoneheart, a fearsome being who kills anyone associated with the Red Wedding. Because Catelyn’s throat was slit during the Red Wedding, Lady Stoneheart is unable to speak.
70. Lizard-Lions, Oh My!
Meera Reed, along with her brother Jojen, carries a house crest that depicts a black lizard-lion on a grey-green background.
Osha is one of the few characters who is younger in the TV show than she is in the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
72. The Serpent’s Whore
Ellaria Sand is one of the most sensual characters in Game of Thrones. In addition to being open to threesomes, she worships a Lysene love goddess.
In the books, Daenerys’s faithful servant Missandei is only 10. Granted, she’s a pretty self-possessed 10-year-old, but she’s 10 nonetheless.
74. Lend Me Your Ears
A lesser-known character, Chella is a warrior of the Black Ear tribe. She wears a necklace made of ears, one ear from each of the foes she has slain. Enough said.
75. Loyal Til the End
The six-foot-tall Dacey Mormont was one of Robb Stark’s most loyal guards, and claimed to have fought every battle with her king. She’s also heir to House Mormont until she is killed at the Red Wedding.
76. Mudcake Surpise
Lysa Arryn and her sister Catelyn Stark used to kiss their father’s ward, Littlefinger, for practice when they were children. They also once made mud cakes for him, and he was sick for a week after eating them.
77. Cersei’s Game of Thrones
The phrase “game of thrones” is said only once on screen, and the speaker is Cersei Lannister. “When you play the game of thrones,” she says, “you either win or you die.”
You might remember Unella from Cersei’s walk of shame; she was the one ringing the bell and yelling “Shame!” so she was kind of hard to miss. You might not know, however, that Unella is also a member of the Most Devout, who elect the High Septon.
79. Dangerous Woman
Myranda, Ramsey Bolton’s equally sadistic lover, does not appear in the books. In the TV series it is revealed that she once trained to be a septa, but her overheated sexuality kept her from taking the vows.
80. Democratic Elections
House Greyjoy is the only house that elects its ruler. Any Ironborn can go before the Kingsmoot (where the King is chosen) and ask to be made King of the Iron Islands.
81. Founding Mother
Nymeria is long dead when the TV series starts, but she was a revered warrior queen who led the Rhoynar refugees and founded one of the seven kingdoms–a unified Dorne. Arya Stark is so inspired by Nymeria, she names her direwolf after her.
82. Starks And The Iron Throne
Throughout the story, several Starks have made a claim to the Iron Throne. But if you only watch the Game of Thrones series, you might not know the origin of the throne itself. The swords that make up the Iron Throne come from the enemies of Westeros’ very first King, Aegon the Conqueror.
Unlike most other Great Houses, there is no Stark sword among them; the Starks chose to bow to Aegon, rather than fight and die. Torrhen Stark, who was the head of House Stark at the time, bent the knee rather than forfeit his men’s lives in a fight they could not win. As a reward for this, he was named Warden of the North… and earned a nickname for ever after: The King Who Knelt
83. Peasant Roots
Unlike some of her other fellow Sand Snakes (like Nymeria Sand), Obara Sand is not of noble birth; in the books, her mother is a prostitute.
84. Thread the Needle
When her kill count hit 64 by the end of season 7, Arya Stark became one of the deadliest characters in the game. Like her sword Needle, she’ s tiny and lethal.
11. Immortal Hints
Although it isn’t confirmed in the show, the revelation of Melisandre’s true age suggests she may be immortal. This is also confirmed by her ability to avoid death, such as in season two when she survives poison.
During her training as a Faceless Man, Arya is accompanied by a young woman only known as the Waif. In both the books and show, we are told that the Waif came to the Faceless Men after her stepmother attempted to (or did) poison her in order to give her biological child the family inheritance, but details differ after this point. Moreover, since the Faceless Men practice mixing truth with lies, we may never know what is real and what is fabrication about her tale.
87. Drinking the Kool Aid
Though the Faceless Men are mysterious, we do know some things about them. For one, they’re ancient, and have been around since before the Doom of Valyria. The Faceless Men consider themselves servants of the Many-Faced God, and grew out of a group of slaves who worked in the mines and worshipped different gods of death, who they eventually consolidated into the Many-Faced God.
The Faceless Men started by giving death’s “gift” to suffering slaves, but quickly moved on to give the gift of death to their cruel masters, becoming skilled assassins.
88. Many Faces
When Arya first meets Jaqen H’ghar in the books, it’s said that he looks like her old fencing master, Syrio Forel. This led fans of the series to theorize that Syrio and Jaqen are one and the same, and that Arya has been training to be a Faceless Man for longer than we even imagined.
89. To Burn, or Not to Burn
Speaking of Gendry, fans of the show might remember that Stannis was set to sacrifice Gendry to the Lord of Light in the third season. It was only Davos’ intervention which allowed Gendry to escape from Dragonstone. In the books, however, Gendry has never been within eyeshot of Dragonstone. One of Robert’s illegitimate children, Edric Storm, became a ward of Stannis’s when he captured Storm’s End for himself.
While Stannis initially planned to use Edric as proof that Robert’s legitimate children weren’t his at all, Stannis was ultimately convinced to sacrifice him for his king’s blood.
90. False Light
According to Melisandre (The Red Woman), The Lord Of Light will bring a messiah to Westeros, named Azor Ahai, who will defeat the Great Other with the help of a magic sword, Lightbringer. In the novels, Lightbringer plays a more prominent role as an indicator of Melisandre’s mistaken prophecy—the real Lightbringer is supposed to exhibit a magic aura, while Stannis’s sword never does, a hint that the stern Baratheon is not the savior she believes him to be.
91. The Favorite
Arya is the only character who has gotten a POV chapter in every single one of the books in A Song of Ice and Fire.
92. Most Fertile
The Freys, a minor family with a huge army, takes its name from the Norse God of fertility, Freya. They are also, fittingly, the most populous house in Westeros. A standing joke in the books says that Walder Frey could field an army just of his own relatives, most of which are his own offspring.
93. Wild Card
They might be sworn enemies now, but the members of House Stark are part Wildling. Brandon Stark married his daughter to Bael, the King Beyond the Wall, and when the Stark line was about to disappear, she came home with a newborn infant courtesy of her Wilding husband.
94. Popular Name
11 members of the House Targaryen have been named Aegon. Several had interesting nicknames, such as “the Unworthy” and “the Unlikely.”
95. From Just Noble to Great
House Bolton and House Frey were both elevated to Great House status after the massacre known as the Red Wedding. In return for their betrayal of the Starks, House Bolton became the Lords of the North (replacing the Starks) and the Freys took over the Riverlands (replacing the Tullys).
96. Family Treasures
House Lanninster once laid claim to one of the most expensive swords in the history of Westeros. The sword, known as Brightroar, was made of Valyrian steel and it was worth as much as the gold needed to raise an entire army. It has since been lost to the family.
97. Movin’ on up
The Tyrells were originally the vassals of House Gardener, who ruled the Reach. When House Gardener fought against Aegon the Conqueror, House Tyrell quietly cooperated and was rewarded with the Reach and the status of a Great House.
98. Red Kings
House Bolton were once known as the Red Kings of the Dreadfort. For many years, they were the bitter rivals of House Stark, and wore cloaks made from the flayed skin of Ned’s ancestors.
99. Sometimes Lesser is Greater
Several of the lesser houses are more powerful than some of the smaller great houses. For example, House Hightower controls the second largest city in Westeros, Oldtown, and is able to field enormous armies; the House owns its own fleet of ships.
100. Get it Right
George R.R. Martin says that the proper pronunciation for Arya’s name is two syllables: “ARE-ya.” However, most people pronounce it with three syllables, like a musical term “Aria.”