|Allegiance|| Maesters of the Citadel (by oath)|
House Lannister (de facto)
|Born||In 216 AC|
|Died||In 300 AC, at the Red Keep, King's Landing|
|Book(s)|| A Game of Thrones (appears)|
A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)
|Played by||Julian Glover|
|TV series||Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6|
Pycelle is a Grand Maester of the Citadel who has served in King's Landing and on the small council for over forty years. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones, he is played by Julian Glover.
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Pycelle
Pycelle has only sparse hair that runs around his bald, spotted head. His maester's chain is two dozen heavy chains wound together that stretches from neck to breast. He has a long, snowy beard that runs down to his chest. Instead of the grey robes worn by most maesters, Pycelle wears a red velvet robe with an ermine collar and golden fastenings.
Pycelle forged his maester's chain during the reign of King Maekar I Targaryen. After Grand Maester Merion died on his way to serve Aegon V Targaryen, Pycelle was granted his position. He has been the Grand Maester of the Seven Kingdoms for forty years, serving Aegon V and Jaehaerys II Targaryen before Aerys II Targaryen. Pycelle wrote Observations Upon the Recent Blood-Letting on the Stepstones about the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
When Lord Tywin Lannister resigned his position as Aerys's Hand of the King and left court, the new focus of Aerys's mistrust became his own son and heir, Prince Rhaegar, who had become wary of his father's behavior. At court there was growing tension between the factions loyal to the king and those loyal to Rhaegar. It fell to Pycelle and the new Hand, Lord Owen Merryweather, the unenviable task of trying to keep the peace between the factions. Pycelle even dispatched a letter to the Citadel writing that tensions and division at court strongly resembled those before the Dance of the Dragons. Pycelle was fearful that a civil war between those loyal to the king and Rhaegar's supporters would break out unless some accord could be reached that would satisfy both factions.
Despite his oath to serve the realm, Pycelle has more loyalty to House Lannister. He convinced King Aerys to open his gates to his former Hand, Tywin, in the waning days of Robert's Rebellion, in the hope that Tywin would take the throne. This led to the Sack of King's Landing. The new king, Robert I Baratheon, pardoned Pycelle and allowed him to continue on the small council. Pycelle has generally promoted the interests of House Lannister on the council for years.
A Game of Thrones
Lysa Arryn reports to her sister Catelyn Stark that Pycelle was helpless in saving the life of Lord Jon Arryn. Pycelle attends Lord Eddard Stark in the first meeting of the small council upon his arrival from Winterfell to take up the role of Hand of the King. When Eddard makes inquiries about the death of the previous Hand, Lord Jon Arryn, Pycelle states that, from his experience, Jon's illness did not seem suspicious. When confronted with Lady Lysa Arryn's accusations that poison was the culprit, he points the finger of suspicion on Varys.
After Eddard is injured in a street fight with Ser Jaime Lannister, Pycelle tasks himself with maintaining Eddard's healing. When it is discovered Ser Gregor Clegane had led raids into the riverlands, burning several villages, Pycelle tries to delay any action taken against Lord Tywin Lannister. Eddard becomes more and more convinced that Pycelle is the creature of Queen Cersei Lannister.
Pycelle tends to King Robert I Baratheon's wounds after he is injured by a boar in the kingswood, and he reports to Eddard upon Robert's death. He is present when Eddard presents Robert's will and is arrested at court. Under Cersei's direction, Pycelle visits the grief-stricken Sansa Stark after her father Eddard's death and examines her intrusively before giving her a potion to calm her.
A Clash of Kings
Tyrion Lannister, serving as Hand, is not sure whom he can trust, so he tells different secrets to Varys, Petyr Baelish, and Pycelle, tasking the Grand Maester with sending letters to Prince Doran Martell. Pycelle does send the letters, but reads them first. He shares the information with Cersei, who proceeds to confront Tyrion, unwittingly falling in Tyrion's trap. In the time it takes Pycelle to read the letter, Tyrion has time to help himself to a mild poison from the maester's cabinet, which he uses later on Cersei. Pycelle is present when Tyrion gives his terms for peace with the north.
At midnight, Tyrion takes Shagga and Timett and confronts Pycelle in his chambers, where he is found naked in bed with a servant girl. With help from Shagga, Tyrion intimidates Pycelle, who wets the bed in fear of the clansmen. While Shagga shaves off Pycelle's signature white beard with his axe, Tyrion learns Pycelle has betrayed the realm over and over in service to House Lannister. He allowed Jon Arryn to die when he could have easily saved him, convinced Aerys II Targaryen to open the gates to Tywin's forces during Robert's Rebellion, and would have finished Robert off himself if the wounds from the boar had not been so fatal.
Pycelle justifies Jon's death, since he was close to the truth about Cersei's incest with her brother, Ser Jaime, and King Joffrey I Baratheon's parentage. He admits Maester Colemon was treating Lord Arryn properly but the queen needed him dead. Pycelle justifies Robert's death, since his brother Renly had been plotting with the Tyrells to kill Cersei and wed Margaery Tyrell to Robert. Tyrion has Pycelle thrown in one of the black cells and stripped of his title and seat in the council.
A Storm of Swords
Pycelle, with his beard shaved off and weakened from his time in the black cells, appears to be a broken man. He falls asleep during the wedding of King Joffrey I Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell and is unable to take any action to prevent Joffrey's death at the banquet from poison, something that sours Queen Cersei's opinion of him. During the trial of Tyrion Lannister for Joffrey's murder, Pycelle is called as a witness for the prosecution to discuss poisons and how Tyrion might have killed the King.
Pycelle continues his service to the newly-crowned King Tommen I Baratheon. He is ordered by Tywin to heal Ser Gregor Clegane, who was poisoned by Oberyn Martell in the trial by combat and is slowly dying in agony. Tywin plans on having Gregor executed to appease House Martell but needs it to be seen to be the King's Justice who does the deed, not poison. Pycelle is unsuccessful and Tywin refuses his suggestion of confining the other Dornishmen till they reveal what poison Oberyn used as Tywin cannot risk further offending Dorne. Tywin fears they might join Stannis Baratheon which would prolong the war for years.
A Feast for Crows
Following Tywin's death, the relationship between Pycelle and Queen Regent Cersei Lannister becomes more strained. He opposes the naming of Qyburn, a disgraced maester, to the small council. Cersei blames him for the deplorable state of Lord Tywin Lannister's corpse. Taena of Myr casts suspicion on Pycelle when she reports to Cersei that he is found often in the company of Queen Margaery Tyrell. Pycelle objects to many of Cersei's edicts, such as her refusing to honour the debts the crown owes the Iron Bank of Braavos and her decision to allow the Faith of the Seven to re-institute the Faith Militant. After pressure from Cersei, Pycelle admits publicly to giving Margaery moon tea, a contraceptive. This discovery is crucial in Cersei's efforts to frame Margaery for adultery and treason, delivering her to the captivity of the High Septon.
Cersei considers having him replaced, and Pycelle's future at court looks uncertain. However, when Cersei is arrested by the Faith, Pycelle successfully seizes control of the council, as Aurane Waters and Orton Merryweather have abandoned the capital. He removes Osfryd Kettleblack as commander of the gold cloaks so Osfyrd will not be able to use the Watch to try and free Cersei and his brother Osney, both of whom are prisoners of the Faith. He also raises Humfrey Waters of the Dragon Gate to command the Watch. Qyburn states to Cersei that the realm is effectively being ruled by Pycelle and Harys Swyft. Pycelle dispatches a message to Ser Kevan Lannister offering him the regency.
A Dance with Dragons
Pycelle continues his duty as Grand Maester but is wary of Lord Mace Tyrell, who is wroth with Pycelle for revealing Maergary's requests for moon tea. He requests guards from Ser Kevan Lannister out of fear for his personal safety. Pycelle's fears prove justified, as he is killed in his chambers, not by Tyrell men but by Lord Varys, who removes both him and Kevan to ensure they cannot repair the damage Cersei had done to the kingdom and the Lannister-Tyrell alliance.
Quotes by Pycelle
|“||My order serves the realm, not the ruler. Once I counseled King Aerys as loyally as I council King Robert now, so I bear this girl child of his no ill will. Yet I ask you this—should war come again, how many soldiers will die? How many towns will burn? How many children will be ripped from their mothers to perish on the end of a spear? Is it not wiser, even kinder, that Daenerys Targaryen should die now so that tens of thousands might live?||”|
|“||Treason is a noxious weed. It must be torn up, root and stem and seed, lest new traitors sprout from every roadside.||”|
|“||Tyrion: How long have you been spying for my sister?
Pycelle: All I did, I did for House Lannister. Always ... for years ... your lord father, ask him, I was ever his true servant ... twas I who bid Aerys to open his gates....
|“||Pycelle: I was your lord father's man, and a friend to you in the matter of Lord Arryn. I could not survive the dungeons, not again ...
Cersei: Why does Margaery send for you?
Quotes about Pycelle
|“||How many of you betrayed , I wonder? Aerys, Eddard Stark, me... King Robert as well? Lord Arryn, Prince Rhaegar? Where does it begin, Pycelle? ||”|
|“||Pycelle is a toad. But better a Lannister toad then a Tyrell toad, no? ||”|
References and Notes
- ↑ See the Pycelle calculation.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 17, Tyrion IV.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire: The Westerlands (unabridged). georgerrmartin.com
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 24, The Lost Lord.
- ↑ The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The Year of the False Spring.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 25, Tyrion VI.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 49, Eddard XIV.
- ↑ A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 66, Tyrion IX.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- ↑ A Feast for Crows, Chapter 43, Cersei X.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
- ↑ A Game of Thrones, Chapter 33, Eddard VIII.