Smallfolk

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Smallfolk near the Red Keep in Game of Thrones

Smallfolk or lowborn are the common people of the known world at the bottom of the social ladder. Most are peasants who have to obey their local lord, even though they may never catch a glimpse of him during their life. The nobility of Westeros have great power over their smallfolk, whom they are expected to protect.[1][2]

About

Most smallfolk are poor, illiterate people living provincial, humble, and simple lives. Most do not have surnames. They use roads which are crooked muddy tracks that do not appear on parchment maps.[3] Instead of castle-forged steel or lances,[4] they are more likely to use staffs as weapons.[5] They often name their daughters after flowers and herbs.[6] They are far removed from the major players of the game of thrones, but are affected by those decisions, good or bad. Bastards with a lowborn parent can be called baseborn.[7][8][9][1]

In Westeros the smallfolk often dress in raw wool and dull brown roughspun, while nobles wear colored velvets, silks, and samites.[10] The opposite is true in Braavos, where nobles dress in dark hues while bravos are brightly colored.[10] The people of Lys, both noble and smallfolk, resemble the Valyrians of old.[11]

Some among the smallfolk may believe the world to be flat.[12] Smallfolk are often superstitious; some may believe that if a woman eats rabbit while pregnant, her child will be born with long floppy ears.[13]

Advancement

Even though they are born in the lowest social status in Westeros, it is possible for smallfolk to rise in social status.

Characters popular with the smallfolk


Characters unpopular with the smallfolk

History

During the Century of Blood, many smallfolk in Essos fled before the Dothraki.[24]

Harren Hoare beggared lords and smallfolk during the construction of Harrenhal.[25]

Queen Rhaenys Targaryen was concerned for smallfolk and aided her brother, King Aegon I Targaryen, in gaining their allegiance.[26] Smallfolk turned against King Aenys I Targaryen after he wed his children, Princess Rhaena and Prince Aegon to each other.[27] Tens of thousands of smallfolk died during the Dance of the Dragons.[28] King Aegon III Targaryen tried to feed the hungry and entertain the smallfolk.[29] Smallfolk loved King Baelor I Targaryen, although his generosity alarmed the nobility.[30] King Aegon V Targaryen was also beloved by the commoners, although most of his efforts to aid them with laws and reform were eventually reversed by the nobles.[31]

Quotes

Thousands of smallfolk streamed out the city gates, carrying their children and worldly possessions on their backs, to seek safety in the countryside. Others dug pits and tunnels under their hovels, dark dank holes where they hoped to hide whilst the city burned.[32]
- writings of Gyldayn


A man has his pride, no matter how lowborn he may be.[1]
- Duncan the Tall to Aegon Targaryen


The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are.[33]
- Jorah Mormont to Daenerys Targaryen


That was the way of war. The smallfolk were slaughtered, while the highborn were held for ransom.[34]
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister


Stannis: What do the smallfolk say of Renly's death?

Davos: They grieve. Your brother was well loved.
Stannis: Fools love a fool, but I grieve for him as well.[22]

- Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth


I'm too bloody lowborn to be kin to m'lady high.[35]
- Gendry to Arya Stark


Keep your eyes down and your tone respectful and say ser a lot, and most knights will never see you. They pay more mind to horses than to smallfolk.[36]
- Sandor Clegane to Arya Stark


They are born, they live, they love, they die.[3]
- Meribald to Brienne of Tarth


If we mingle with the commons, they will love us better.[5]
- Tommen Baratheon to Cersei Lannister


It is being common-born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones.[37]
- Meribald to Hyle Hunt

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Sworn Sword.
  2. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
  4. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
  8. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
  9. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
  11. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
  12. So Spake Martin: Trade with Asshai (August 26, 2000)
  13. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
  14. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
  15. A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  16. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  17. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  18. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  19. A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
  20. The Sons of the Dragon.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 42, Davos II.
  23. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
  24. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
  25. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  26. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
  27. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  28. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Red Kraken.
  29. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  30. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
  31. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  32. The Princess and the Queen.
  33. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
  34. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
  37. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.

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