Kinslaying

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Aemond Targaryen killed his nephew Lucerys Velaryon during the Dance of the Dragons. Art from the Game of Thrones Season 5 Blu-ray, supplemental content.

Kinslaying is a great taboo in Westeros. Any individual who kills a member of their own family is dubbed a kinslayer, and believed to be cursed forever.[1] Many nobles and smallfolk believe this, and thus those who slay their own blood are usually looked down upon or shunned. Across Westeros, in the religions of the old gods, the Faith of the Seven, and even of the Drowned God, men state that "no man is so accursed as the kinslayer" and that "the kinslayer is accursed in the eyes of gods and men".[1][2][3][4]

The stigma and notoriety of kinslaying can go both ways. For example, Victarion Greyjoy hates his brother Euron and thinks about killing him, but the stigma and curse associated with kinslaying is what restrains him from doing so.[2][5] However, when Tristifer Botley, who believes Aeron Greyjoy was killed by his brother Euron, says Euron is afraid of being seen as a kinslayer, Asha Greyjoy responds that if Euron heard this, he would murder one of his sons to prove them wrong.[6]

According to George R.R. Martin:

There are degrees in kinslaying, as in anything else. Fighting a battle in which a brother dies might be frowned upon, but killing him with your own hand would be considered far worse.[7]

Kinslayers and people suspected of kinslaying

  • Euron Greyjoy: is suspected of being involved in the death of his older brother Balon.[2] Because of the disappearence of his younger brother Aeron after the Kingsmoot, some ironborn think that he murdered him as well.[6] Euron confesses to Aeron, whom he had seized and captured, that he killed Balon, though his was not the hand that did so, and two of his half-brothers, Harlon and Robin.[12]
  • Robb Stark: when preparing to execute Rickard Karstark, per Eddard Stark's custom that the man who passes the sentence should also swing the sword, Karstark calls Robb a kinslayer due to the blood ties between House Stark and House Karstark.[13] However, Rickard was stretching the concept of kinslaying in hopes of saving his head,[7] as House Karstark split from House Stark over a thousand years before, and Robb was only a distant cousin through his great-great-great grandmother Alys Karstark.[14]
  • Theon Greyjoy: named a kinslayer by some for his supposed murder of Bran and Rickon Stark; although they are not his blood kin, he was their father's ward and was raised with them.[15]

Historical kinslayers and people suspected of kinslaying

Quotes

Fratricide ... my lord, this is evil, unthinkable.[21]
– Maester Cressen, considers the thought of Stannis killing his younger brother, Renly


Old gods or new, it makes no matter, no man is so accursed as the kinslayer.[13]
Rickard Karstark


Jaime had not wanted to believe it. Kinslaying was worse than kingslaying, in the eyes of gods and men. He knew the boy was mine. I loved Tyrion. I was good to him. Well, but for that one time ... but the imp did not know the truth of that.[22]
Jaime Lannister's thoughts


The gods hate kinslayers, even when they kill unknowing.[19]
Ygritte


Kinslaying is dry work. It gives a man a thirst.[23]
Tyrion Lannister, to Illyrio Mopatis, on his drinking too much wine.


Kinslayer or no, I am a lion still.[23]
Tyrion Lannister, to Illyrio Mopatis


Tell me, my lord ... if the kinslayer is accursed, what is a father to do when one son slays another?[11]
Roose Bolton, to Theon Greyjoy


The gods hate kinslayers.[24]
Victarion Greyjoy, brooding on his brother.

See also

Customs, for additional information on customs and traditions of Westeros.

References and Notes

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