Guest right

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The guest right is a ancient and sacred tradition, that goes back thousands of years in Westeros to the First Men.[1]

Contents

The Sacred Law of Hospitality

The guest right is a sacred law of hospitality. When a guest, be he common born or noble, eats the food and drinks the drink off a host's table beneath the host's roof, the guest right is invoked. Bread and salt are the traditional provisions.

When invoked, neither the guest can harm his host nor the host harm his guest for the length of the guest's stay.[1] For either to do so would be to break a sacred covenant that is believed to invoke the wrath of the Gods both old and new. Both the teachings of the old gods and the Faith of the Seven hold to this. Even robber lords and wreckers are bound by the ancient laws of hospitality. [2]

Violation of the Sacred Law of Hospitality

Violations of guest right include: the legend of the Rat Cook of the Nightfort, and more recently the Red Wedding and the mutiny at Craster's Keep. The song of the Rat Cook is used to represent the repercussions that await those who violate this sacred laws of hospitality.

Practice

A lord with a bared sword across his knees is making a traditional sign that he is denying guest right.[3]

It is sometimes customary for a host to give "guest gifts" to the departing guests when they leave the host's dwellings; this usually represents the end of the sacred guest right. In addition, visiting guests will sometimes offer their host "guest gifts" as gratitude for giving them food and shelter.[4]

See also

Customs: Additional information on customs and traditions of Westeros.

Quotes

Once I had eaten at his board I was protected by guest right. The laws of hospitality are as old as the First Men, and sacred as a heart tree … Here you are the guest, and safe from harm at my hands … this night, at least.[1]
- Mance Rayder to Jon Snow


The gods will curse us … There is no crime so foul as for a guest to bring murder into a man's hall. By all the laws of the hearth, we-"[5]
- Lord Commander Jeor Mormont during the mutiny at Craster's Keep


In the north, we hold the laws of hospitality sacred still.[6]
- Roose Bolton to Jaime Lannister


Guest right don’t mean so much as it used to. Not since m’lady come back from the wedding. Some o’ them swinging down by the river figured they was guests too.[7]
- Jeyne Heddle to Brienne


Death and guest right … They don’t mean so much as they used to, neither one.[7]
- Jeyne Heddle to Brienne when Brienne sees Lady Stoneheart's face and insists that she is dead


In the Seven Kingdoms it is considered a grave breach of hospitality to poison your guests at supper.[8]
- Tyrion Lannister to Illyrio Mopatis


I will see the dawn, at least … I have eaten of his bread and salt.[2]
- Davos Seaworth’s thoughts after eating sister's stew with Lord Godric Borrell


Ser Balon is a guest beneath my roof. He has eaten of my bread and salt. I will not do him harm.[9]
- Doran Martell to the Sand Snakes


Walder Frey’s fourth wife was a Blackwood, but kinship counts for no more than guest right at the Twins.[10]
Tytos Blackwood to Jaime Lannister

References and Notes

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