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This article is about the known customs in the known world. Most information will reflect the customs as they are in the Seven Kingdoms, though customs as they are elsewhere will be stated whenever possible.

Monarchy and Nobility

In the Seven Kingdoms, all authority derives from the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men,[1] and his most powerful advisor serves as Hand of the King. When the king is sick, or unable to attend court sessions, the Hand can take his place and sit on the Iron Throne to dispense justice.[2] Additionally, nobles are charged with keeping the king's peace.[3] In the king’s name, they can punish criminals.[4]

It is possible for the king to redistribute lands and grant titles of nobility as he sees fit; He may also sign bills of attainder to strip lords of their lands and incomes.[5] A lord can conceivably hold more than one title; However, it is unusual for noble holdings to be divided or combined.[6] Younger siblings of a lord can become bannerman to their sibling, and hold a keep in his name.[4] Territorial disputes between landowners are adjudicated, either by the liege lord[7] or the king or his Hand.[8]

On extremely rare occasions, the lords of the kingdom may be gathered together to decide some great matter. The first of these Great Councils was convened in 101 AC, when King Jaehaerys I Targaryen found himself unable to decide on who to name his heir. The last Great Council was convened was in 233 AC, when King Maekar I Targaryen died without having named a new heir.[9]

Social Ranks

The Seven Kingdoms is a feudal society. Below the king and the royal family (House Baratheon of King's Landing and historically House Targaryen) rank the Great Houses (Houses Arryn, Baratheon of Storm's End, Greyjoy, Lannister, Martell, Stark, Tully, and Tyrell), followed by other noble houses, both greater and small, knights (including landed knights, household knights, and hedge knights), and commoners. Nobles are addressed as "my lord" by other highborns, or "m'lord" by the smallfolk.[10] Commoners might be addressed as goodwoman or goodman.[11]

Every noble house has a house motto, while a coat of arms can be used by both nobility and knights as a sign of status and identification (e.g. on the battlefield). Both nobles and knights can be ransomed, so in battle it might be preferred to capture them instead of killing them. Three hundred golden dragons is considered to be a fair ransom for a knight,[12] whereas a nobleman’s son might be ransomed for three thousand golden dragons.[13] A noble prisoner can be treated with honor and be kept in isolation in rooms as his status requires. However, making offense can result in the loss of the right for such honorable treatment.

At feasts, great honor can be given to a guest by seating him or her on the dais,[14][15] with the place of highest honor being on the right side of the host.[16][17][18][19][20] Being seated at the far end of the hall, far from the dais, however, is regarded as a place of little honor and regard.[21][22] When a lord presides over a feast, he receives first choice of all dishes. He might send some of the especially fine dishes down to specific guests, showing friendship and respect.[23]


Inheritance laws in the Seven Kingdoms are not clear cut. According to George R. R. Martin,

The short answer is that the laws of inheritance in the Seven Kingdoms are modelled on those in real medieval history... which is to say, they were vague, uncodified, subject to varying interpretations, and often contradictory.[24]

Male-preference primogeniture is customary, but not binding, for most nobles.[25] A man's eldest son is his heir, followed by his second son, then his third son, and so on. In theory, the youngest son is followed in the line of succession by the eldest daughter, after whom come her sisters in birth order.[26][27]

Andal tradition holds that the rights of a trueborn son come before those of a daughter.[28] In most of the Seven Kingdoms, including the Iron Islands and the north, a man's daughter inherits before her father's brother.[N 1][29][N 2][30] No distinction is made between sons and daughters in Dorne, however, where children inherit in order of birth regardless of gender, as per Rhoynish custom.[31][32] In the case of an inheriting female, her last name will be passed on to her children, instead of the name of her husband.[33][34]

A lord has the option of naming one of his younger sons heir, passing over his elder children,[35] or to name the child of another as his heir.[36] When a ruling lord dies and leaves no clear heir, his widow might lay claim upon his lands and rule until her own death (e.g., Lady Donella Hornwood and Lady Barbrey Dustin), and in such a case, might name an heir by herself.[37]

A lord may lay out specific terms for inheritance or pass over their offspring in his will, which may invite legal wrangling after their death, and potentially violence during it. For instance, Lord Tywin Lannister preferred his elder son, Ser Jaime Lannister, to be the heir to Casterly Rock, and as such refused to acknowledge the claim of his younger son, Tyrion, despite custom disqualifying Jaime due to being a member of the Kingsguard.[38] Another example is Lord Wyman Webber, who declared in his will that his daughter and only heir, Rohanne, had to be wed by a specifically determined time in order to keep her inheritance. If she were to remain unwed passed the determined date, her inheritance was set to pass on to another relative.[7] Lady Jeyne Arryn also wrote a last testament stating that her rebellious cousin, Ser Arnold and his son Eldric should be passed over for her more distant cousin, Ser Joffrey. However, a war of succession in the Vale ensued upon her death, between Ser Arnold, Ser Joffrey, and another claimant, Isembard Arryn.[39]

The role of legitimized bastards throughout the Seven Kingdoms is also unclear i.e., whether they follow trueborn children, or join the line of succession in order of birth as if they had been trueborn all along.[24] Legitimization, once made, is irreversible.[40] The claims of legitimized bastards can present dangerous consequences for trueborn relatives, a famous example being the claim of the legitimized bastard son of King Aegon IV Targaryen, Daemon I Blackfyre, whose descendants sought to claim the Iron Throne from Aegon’s trueborn descendants for five generations.[40] While unlegitimized bastards have no legal claim,[40] they may still threaten legitimate descendants' inheritance. The illegitimate Jon Snow's decision to join the Night's Watch pleases Catelyn Stark, because Jon will never father children who might contest her grandchildren's inheritance of Winterfell.[41]

Heirs born into a different house drop their birth surname when they come into their inheritance, adopting the name of the inherited house as their own. For example, Joffrey Lydden adopted the name Lannister upon marrying the heiress of that house,[42] while the possibility of Beren Tallhart adopting the Hornwood name upon inheriting the Hornwood lands is considered.[43]

When there is no clear heir, claims can be presented to the king.[43][44]

Loss of succession right

The right of succession may be renounced. A famous example is Prince Duncan Targaryen, the eldest son of King Aegon V Targaryen, who broke his betrothal to marry Jenny of Oldstones. When made to choose between his right to the throne and his wife, Duncan renounced his claim, making his younger brother, Jaehaerys, the new heir.[45][46]

A king or lord can also name another as his heir. For example, King Aerys II Targaryen named his younger son, Prince Viserys, as his heir over his grandson, Prince Aegon, following the death of his eldest son, Prince Rhaegar, Aegon's father.[47] Lord Walder Frey threatens to name his youngest son as his heir, passing over all other sons and (great)grandsons.[35] However, even in such cases, claims might still be made later on.

Right of succession is also lost when someone becomes a member of the Night's Watch,[41] a septon, a septa, a silent sister, a maester, or joins the Kingsguard. Traitors may be attainted, in which case even his descendants would lose their right to succeed.

Inheritance of the Iron Throne

Inheritance customs for the Iron Throne differ from the inheritance customs in the rest of Westeros. The inheritance rights of females with regard to the Iron Throne have changed over the years, as a result of several power struggles.

Females have, over the years, been declared heir to the throne, both directly and indirectly. When King Aegon I Targaryen's eldest grandchild, Princess Rhaena Targaryen, was born in 23 AC, she was regarded as second in line to the throne (her father, Prince Aenys Targaryen, being King Aegon's immediate heir), placed before her father’s half-brother Maegor in the line of succession.[48] Upon the birth of Aenys's second child, Prince Aegon Targaryen, Aegon became the first in line after Aenys.[49] When King Maegor I Targaryen was still childless in 47 AC, he named his niece, Princess Aerea Targaryen, as his heir.[50] And in 105 AC, following the death of his newborn son, King Viserys I Targaryen named his daughter Rhaenyra, his only surviving child at the time, as his heir, had the lords of the realm swear fealty to her, and refused to alter the line of succession even after the birth of three sons in a second marriage.[51]

However, despite these examples, towards the end of the first century of the Targaryen Dynasty, the first hesitations towards female inheritance of the throne arose. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen's eldest son, Prince Aemon Targaryen, had been the king's heir until his death in 92 AC. Aemon had only had one child, a daughter named Rhaenys. When naming his new heir, King Jaehaerys I chose his next eldest son, Prince Baelon, over Aemon's daughter Rhaenys. When Baelon died in 101 AC, a Great Council was called, in which the Westerosi lords voted on the succession. The lords voted for Baelon's son Viserys over Rhaenys's son Laenor Velaryon, by a vote of twenty to one. The lords felt that a male line was preferred over a female line, and believed that a precedent was set stating that the Iron Throne could not pass to a woman, or to the male descendants of a woman.[52] Ironically, it was Prince Viserys, by then crowned king, who later disregarded these precedents by naming his daughter Rhaenyra Targaryen as his heir despite having three healthy sons by a second marriage.[51][53] Viserys's decision would eventually lead to the civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

This war began when Viserys I's eldest surviving son, Aegon II Targaryen, claimed the throne after Viserys's death, dividing the loyalties of the kingdoms between Aegon II and Rhaenyra.[54] Aegon II's sons, Jaehaerys and Maelor, both died during the war, as did Rhaenyra's eldest three sons (Jacaerys, Lucerys, and Joffrey Velaryon), while her youngest son, Prince Viserys, was presumed dead.[54][55] In an attempt to end the war, Lord Corlys Velaryon ensured that Aegon II's only remaining heir, his daughter Jaehaera, was betrothed to Rhaenyra's son, Aegon the Younger, and that both were named Aegon II's heirs.[56] While the king agreed to do so, he also arranged a betrothal of his own.[57] Even though Aegon II died before fathering any more children, and the marriage between Aegon the Younger and Princess Jaehaera did occur, the marriage ended childless, and Aegon the Younger reigned as monarch as King Aegon III Targaryen after Jaehaera's death.[58]

The agnatic principle laid down in the Great Council of 101 AC was slightly modified after the Dance of the Dragons. Thereafter, according to a semi-canon source, women came after all men in the Targaryen succession,[59] i.e., women could only succeed if the entire male line of House Targaryen became extinct. Nonetheless, several females claims have since been considered. In 171 AC, following the deaths of Aegon III's two sons Daeron I and Baelor I, both childless, the claims of Aegon III’s three daughters were considered. However, with the Dance of the Dragons still fresh in their minds, the claims of the three women were passed over and Aegon III’s brother Viserys II ascended the throne.[60] Another few decades later, King Maekar I Targaryen died without a clearly established heir. His simple-minded granddaughter Vaella Targaryen, the only child of Maekar's eldest son, was seen as a possible claimant. However, her claim was quickly dismissed.[61][62]

In 283 AC, the Sack of King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion led to the death of King Aerys II Targaryen. His sister-wife, Queen Rhaella Targaryen, pregnant with Princess Daenerys, was at Dragonstone with Aerys's surviving son, Prince Viserys, who was declared king on the island fortress.[63] Robert I Baratheon, however, acceded the Iron Throne by right of conquest,[64] chosen as claimant by the rebels due to his Targaryen descent,[65] as he was the grandson of Princess Rhaelle Targaryen, the youngest daughter of King Aegon V Targaryen, [66] which gave him the better claim. Nonetheless, the exiled Viserys declared his sister Daenerys his heir, naming her Princess of Dragonstone,[67] and following Viserys's death, Daenerys has declared her own claim for the Iron Throne.[68]

It is possible that some of the kingdoms of old practiced different customs regarding the inheritance of the throne. The heir of King Argilac Durrandon, the last Storm King, was his maiden daughter, Princess Argella,[36] while on the Three Sisters, Marla Sunderland was installed as queen shortly after Aegon's Conquest.[69]

Age of majority

For both boys and girls, sixteen is the age of legal majority.[70][71] From that point, there are referred to as a "man grown" and "woman grown".[72][73]

However, for girls, there are exceptions. A girl who has had her first flowering (i.e. first menstruation) is considered to be fit for both marriage and consummation of the marriage.[74] Most highborn girls have their first flowering at the age of twelve or thirteen,[75] bringing them in a somewhat ambigious position. They are considered to be "part child, part woman", and can be referred to as a "maid"[70] or "maiden"[76], and, even if she has not yet reached the age of sixteen, a "woman grown".[30]

Young highborn boys can be sent away for fosterage to other noble families. While there are exceptions (e.g., Quentyn Martell), it appears that boys who have reached the age of majority are free to go where they like, thereby ending their fosterage.[77]

Ruling lords and ladies who inherit while still in their minority usually have a regent, who serves as the decision-making ruler until they come of age.[78][79]

Gender and Sexuality

The various cultures across Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos have diverse attitudes and social patterns regarding gender and sexuality.


Marriages are frequently preceded by a betrothal. Betrothals are expected to be arranged by the head of a house, both for his or her children and any unwed younger siblings.[77] There is no age limit to betrothals or marriages. Children might be as young as two years old when betrothed [N 3] although generally children are somewhat older. Marriages to girls who have not yet reached their majority or even their first flowering (i.e., has had her first menstruation) do happen, although not often.[70] Usually, the bride has already reached her majority, or is even older, although marriages involving infants have also occurred, although this happens rarely[80] and usually is only done for specific reasons.

Marriage ceremonies

Jeyne Poole wearing her brides cloak while being escorted to her groom by Theon Greyjoy.

Marriage customs vary considerably between the lands and major faiths, though all appear to be religious ceremonies between one man and one woman (who should not be more closely related than first cousins). Wedding ceremonies involve the exchange of vows in the presence of particular sacred witnesses, and are followed by a feast, where the bride and groom eat and drink with everyone. Afterwards, the bedding takes place, where the marriage is consummated.

Wedding ceremonies differ between religions. While a priest is involved in ceremonies following the customs of the Faith of the Seven,[81] Lord of Light,[82] and likely the Ghiscari.[83] Ceremonies involving the Faith,[81][15] the Lord of Light,[82] and the old gods[37] involve the exchange of a "maiden's cloak" and a "bride's cloak".

Wedding ceremonies are generally followed by a feast, which in turn is followed by the bedding.[84][81][15][37][82] For highborn weddings done by the Faith of the Seven, it is customary to present a wedding pie during the feast, filled with living birds.[85][15] Dothraki wedding ceremonies might last the entire day, during which the guests feast, drink, dance, and fight. Towards the end the bride is presented with her bride gifts, after which the marriage will be consummated.[84]

First night

Lords in Westeros once had the right to the first night, the custom of bedding newly-wed women before their husbands. Queen Alysanne convinced King Jaehaerys I to abolish it,[7][83] but it is still practiced illegally in some parts of the north.[10]


While most marriages are between only one man and one woman, polygamous marriages do occur in the known world. Before the coming of the Andals to Westeros, kings from the Kingdom of the Reach[86][87] and the Kingdom of the Storm[88] practiced polygamy, as did the dragonlords and sorcerer princes in Valyria, albeit rarely.[49] Polygamy is currently still practiced by some Dothraki khals.[22] The "ancient ways" of the Dothraki stated that a khal might share his khaleesi with his bloodriders, a custom still practiced in some khalasars today.[89]

Followers of the Drowned God are allowed to take multiple "salt wives" in addition to their "rock wife". Although only the children fathered upon the latter are considered trueborn, any children fathered on salt wives still hold more rights than a man's bastards.[90][91]

Funeral customs

Funeral customs can differ between followers of different religions, but also between families following the same religion. The Starks of Winterfell, followers of the old gods, bury their dead in the crypts in the castle,[2] where the Kings of Winter and Lord of Winterfell are given a statue.[92] At many other places in the north, barrows of the First Men can still be found.[93] The funeral rites of the Tully's of Riverrun place the deceased members of their house in a boat which is sent downriver and lit afire.[94] Followers of the Faith of the Seven can be buried with a crystal on their grave.[95] The deceased of House Manderly have their bones placed in the Snowy Sept of White Harbor, surrounded by burning candles.[96]

The Targaryens have the tradition of cremating their dead.[97][66][98] It is unknown whether this tradition was practiced in the entire Valyrian Freehold, by all the dragonlords, or by House Targaryen alone, but it was described as a custom since the days of Old Valyria.[99] If a dragon is available, it is used to light the flame of the pyre.[99] The ashes are traditionally interred on Dragonstone,[99][100][101][N 4] but some have been interred elsewhere or scattered on the wind.[102]

Mourning clothes are black of color.[103][104] Some might tear up their clothes as a sign of mourning.[105] Houses can show marks of mourning as well,[106] though these remain unspecified.

When Lord Corlys Velaryon, Hand of the King at the time of his death, died in 132 AC, his body was placed beneath the Iron Throne where it remained for seven days.[58] Similarly, when Lord Tywin Lannister, also Hand of the King in addition to being the grandfather of King Tommen I Baratheon, died in 300 AC, his body was placed in the Great Sept of Baelor, where it was supposed to remain for seven days.[107] Embalming the body of the deceased involved removing the bowels, internal organs, and blood, and replaced with salt and fragrant herbs.[108] During a funeral service lasting several days, prayers are held both in the morning and the evening; While the morning services are open only to nobility, the afternoon prayers are open to the smallfolk, and the evening prayers for all.[109]

A great lord who dies away from home will usually be escorted back home. A funeral procession of a lord of high nobility can include an escort of knights, vassal lords, members of the household guard, and others.[110][111] In any case, several silent sisters will accompany the body.[111][110] Especially among the nobles, great importance is placed on returning the body to the family of the deceased,[112] and failing to do so might be cause for resentment.[113]

Naming customs

First names

In the Seven Kingdoms, children receive a name at their birth, causing the day of their birth being called their name day. The free folk who live beyond the Wall name their children only after they reach the age of two, believing it to be bad luck if children are given a name at an earlier age, as child mortality is high north of the Wall.[114] They can, however, decide on which name to give the child while the child is still younger.[66]


Upon marriage, noblewoman ruling in their own right retain their house name (e.g., Anya Waynwood, Arwyn Oakheart), though most women take their husband's surname.[115] However, usage can vary. For example, while she is referred to most frequently as Catelyn Stark, Catelyn is also referred to as "Catelyn Tully"[116][113] and "Catelyn Tully Stark".[117][118] The consort of the reigning monarch retain their surname (e.g., Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell, and Alyssa Velaryon), as does the spouse of a royal prince (e.g., Laena Velaryon).[101] Conversely, a royal princess may take on the surname of her husband, but may prefer using the name of their royal house (e.g., Baela Targaryen and Rhaena Targaryen, or Baela Velaryon and Rhaena Corbray).[119] If the family of the woman is significantly higher born than the family of the husband, the wife might chose to use mostly her maiden name, and her husband's name little, or not at all.[115]

In Dorne, customs vary from the rest of Westeros. As firstborn children inherit in Dorne, following Rhoynish customs, females more frequently inherit their family's lands and titles. In such cases, they do not take the name of their husband.[115]

Bastards with at least one noble parent can be given surnames by their parents. There are also traditional bastard surnames, which differ per region. These include "Waters" in the crownlands, "Sand" in Dorne, "Pyke" in the Iron Islands, "Snow" in the north, "Flowers" in the Reach, "Rivers" in the riverlands, "Storm" in the stormlands, "Stone" in the Vale of Arryn, and "Hill" in the westerlands.

When a male bastard has legitimate children, these children receive their father's bastard name, though a later generation might adjust the name as to remove the taint of bastardy,[115] (e.g., House Longwaters). When a male and female noble-born bastard from a different region (i.e., with a different surname) marry, the child will most likely take the surname of the father.[120] Parents can also decide to give their bastard a surname different from the "usual bastard surnames",[115] e.g., Tyrion Tanner, or no surname at all.[115] Men who receive lands and knighthood might also take a (new) surname. Daemon Waters, the bastard son of King Aegon IV Targaryen, took the name "Blackfyre" as his surname after having been knighted and having received lands of his own, even though he had not been legitimized.[121] Smuggler Davos, after receiving both knighthood and lands, took the name "Seaworth" for his newly-made house.[18]

The bastards of two common born people do not receive a surname.[115]

Holy days

In Westeros, in custom to the Faith of the Seven, each of the seven gods have their own holiday.[122] However, only three are currently known by name. Maiden's Day, a day on which maidens of noble houses are required to go to the sept to light tall white candles at the Maiden's feet and hang parchment garlands about her neck. Mothers, whores and widows are barred from the sept along with men. Those maidens who enter the sept sing songs of innocence.[123] The Feast Day of Our Father Above is considered to be the most propitious day for making judgments.[119] There is also the Smith's Day.[39]

In the Free City of Qohor, the Black Goat of Qohor is given a daily blood sacrifice. Though usually animals (calves, bullocks, and horses) are used to this end, on holy days condemned criminals are sacrificed.[124]


The custom of guest right is both sacred rule and ancient.[21] Hospitality can be offered by a lord upon the arrival of the host. The most common way of receiving guest right is by eating "bread and salt".[125] Once guest right has been offered and accepted, the guests and hosts are protected from harm by one another for the length of the stay.[126] Guest gifts can be given on the day the guests depart,[127][128] possibly as a means of ending the protection of the guest right. Guest gifts are no longer given by all lords, however.[127]

The obligations of hospitality are taken very seriously, both beyond the Wall[129][21] and in the Seven Kingdoms, although more dearly in the north than in the southron kingdoms.[126] Breaking guest right is rare in the north, but is punished similarly to the direst of treasons.[126] Besides Westeros, guest right is also practiced in the Free City of Pentos.[130]


Nobles and smallfolk alike can participate in a variety of pastimes for their entertainment.

Children play with toys (e.g., puppets,[14] barrel hoops, blocks, carved wooden statues,[131] and dolls)[132] or play a variety of games. Noble born children, especially when they grow older, are expected to train in several skills for their entertainment as well as general education. Both boys and girls learn to ride horses.[133][134][135] Girls are taught womanly arts, which include sewing,[136] embroidering, dancing, singing, writing poetry, or playing musical instruments (e.g., the high harp or the bells).[133] From a certain age and onwards, boys begin to train in martial skills. Usually starting at a young age, boys are trained with spear, sword, and shield.[137] Younger boys train with wooden swords.[138][139] By the time boys are twelve, they have often been training at arms for years.[140]

Places adults might like to visit for their entertainment include taverns and brothels. Most nobles are literate, and therefore might prefer to spend their times reading books.[136] Nobles might prefer to sail for their pleasure,[141][134][51] or simply take a horse ride, sometimes to pick flowers or feast outdoors.[134] Both adults and children, noble and smallfolk, enjoy swimming in lakes, rivers, pools, and moats.[2][142][43][143][144][145][146][85]


See also: List of known games

Westerosi children's games include come-into-my-castle, monsters-and-maidens, hide-the-treasure, hopfrog, spin-the-sword, and rats and cats.[147][138][148][149] Popular among children from House Frey at the Twins is the game lord of the crossing,[138] named for the title held by the head of House Frey.

Children in Meereen play a game involving sitting in a circle and taking turns to spin a dagger. When it stops, they cut off a lock of hair from whoever the dagger is pointing at. Barristan Selmy recalls a similar game he played with his cousins at Harvest Hall in Westeros when he was a boy, except it involved kissing.[150]

The finger dance is a game played by the ironborn of the Iron Islands, and involves throwing a hand axe which must be caught or leaped over without missing a step. The game is named for the fact that it usually ends with a dancer losing one or more of his fingers.[19]

Cyvasse is a board game of military strategy originating from Volantis.[151][152] It is also played in Lys,[153] and since roughly 299 AC has been present in Westeros, after a trading galley from Volantis introduced the game in Dorne, from where it was spread.[151] The game came to King's Landing in 300 AC.[154]


Both male and female nobles might hunt for sport. Men might like to hunt a large variety of animals, like boar,[78][9] aurochs,[155] or deer.[8] Hunting hounds might be used.[156][129] When hunting boar, a boarspear is needed, as well as horses and dogs, and men to flush the boar from its lair.[157] Women do not generally join such hunting parties.[158][159]

Both men[78][91] and women[141][27][136] can practice a more specific form of hunting: falconry (frequently called "hawking"), "the sport of hunting with falcons, hawks, eagles, or other birds of prey".[160] Nobles might own a falcon (e.g., Jon Arryn,[161][162] Ardrian Celtigar,[163] Robert I Baratheon,[164] and Margaery Tyrell),[27] an eagle (Willas Tyrell),[165] or a hawk (Stannis Baratheon)[164] of their own.

Hunts can be dangerous, and accidents during a hunt are common enough that they might be faked in order to assassinate someone.[118][136][166] Although hawking is much safer, deathly accidents still occur. Lord Luthor Tyrell rode off a cliff whilst hawking,[141] while Lady Rhea Royce suffered a lethal wound when she was thrown off her horse whilst hawking.[101]


Popular in Westeros are tourneys, chivalrous competitions where men compete against one another either in a joust, a melee, an archery competition. The format and rules used during a tourney can vary between different regions in Westeros, demonstrating the desires of the hosting lord.[167] Westerosi additionally participate in bear-baiting[168][12] and boar-baiting.[112] Rat pits are also popular in the slum districts of major cities such as King's Landing and Oldtown, though bulls and dogs also often fight in the pits.[54]

The Ghiscari cities in Slaver's Bay prefer to watch gladiatorial combats in the fighting pits. These pits can be found in at least Astapor[169] and Meereen.[150] Within these pits, the both male and female pit fighters battle either one another, or an animal, until one dies. Additionally, children might be made to fights against wild animals.[169]


Other pastimes include gambling,[9] like playing at dice[170][171][118][37] or tiles.[9][172] The latter can be three-sided.[173] However, bets can be placed upon anything, including the outcome of a tournament.[174][85]

Mummers and music

Mummers,[171][175][176][177] singers,[178][162] and puppeteers[98] often travel from place to place in Westeros and Essos. While singers often travel alone,[162] mummers and puppeteers travel in troupes, performing their acts wherever they go.[98][176][177] Places located more remotely, like Winterfell[162] or Bear Island,[178] might not be visited by traveling entertainment for years or seasons on end. Traveling singers, called "wandering singers", rarely travel far north.[174] Tourneys[179][180] and weddings[181] can attract mummer troupes and singers. Additionally, mummers, singers, and puppeteers can find service with a lord or lady.[141][149][161][134]

Some mummer groups prefer to perform from a fixed location, such as the Blue Lantern and the Dome, two playhouses in Braavos,[166] or the mummers' hall in White Harbor.[96] At least in the mummers' playhouses in Braavos, the mummers play out written stories, instead of making up farces.[182]

In Essos, mummer troupes might contain enslaved mummers.[177][176] These slaves can buy themselves free once they have gained enough wealth.[177]

Idioms and sayings


  • Dark wings, dark words.[183]
  • Words are wind.[163]
  • What the king dreams, the Hand builds.[93]
  • The king eats, the Hand takes the shit.[93] (a cruder version of the precedent saying)
  • A Lannister always pays his debts.[184]
  • Oak and iron, guard me well, or else I'm dead, and doomed to hell.[98] (an old shield rhyme)
  • A naked man has few secrets, but a flayed man has none.[185] (a Bolton saying)
  • What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger.[186] (an Ironborn saying)
  • How many eyes does Lord Bloodraven have? A thousand eyes, and one.[85] (a Westerosi riddle)
  • The Wall has more moods than Mad King Aerys.[187] (a Night's Watch saying)
  • Kings and corpses always draw attendants.[13]
  • Half of the Ullers are half-mad, and the other half are worse.[73] (a Dornish saying)
  • Bleed a cold but feast a fever.[188]
  • Never drink with Dornishmen when the moon is full.[188]
  • Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.[188]


See also


  1. Asha Greyjoy: "The elder brother comes before the younger. But I am the child of King Balon's body, so I come before you both." (A Feast for Crows, The Iron Captain)
  2. Alys Karstark: "My brother Harry is the rightful lord, and by law I am his heir. A daughter comes before an uncle." (A Dance With Dragons, Jon IX)
  3. For example, Baela and Rhaena Targaryen
  4. The World of Ice & Fire and The Rogue Prince stated that King Jaehaerys I and Queen Alysanne Targaryen's ashes were interred beneath the Red Keep, but this was corrected to Dragonstone in Fire & Blood.


  1. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 20, Eddard IV.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
  3. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  6. So Spake Martin: Land Ownership and Marriage in Westeros, December 19, 1999
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Sworn Sword.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 8, Tyrion II.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  12. 12.0 12.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 29, Sansa II.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
  16. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 38, The Watcher.
  17. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
  18. 18.0 18.1 A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
  19. 19.0 19.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
  20. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 7, Jon I.
  22. 22.0 22.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 46, Daenerys V.
  23. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 21, Bran III.
  24. 24.0 24.1 So Spake Martin: The Hornwood Inheritance and the Whents, November 02, 1999
  25. Ran at A Forum of Ice and Fire: "Primogeniture is customary, but not binding... especially not to a king. We have other examples of people being passed over, or potentially passed over, for others."
  26. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 16, Sansa II.
  28. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  29. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
  30. 30.0 30.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
  31. A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
  32. The World of Ice & Fire, Dorne: Queer Customs of the South.
  33. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  34. So Spake Martin: The Martell Name’s Inheritance, June 13, 2001
  35. 35.0 35.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn IX.
  36. 36.0 36.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  38. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 4, Tyrion I.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
  41. 41.0 41.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  42. The World of Ice & Fire, The Westerlands.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  44. A Dance with Dragons, Epilogue.
  45. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  46. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 67, The Kingbreaker.
  47. The World of Ice & Fire, The Fall of the Dragons: The End.
  48. The Sons of the Dragon reading notes (August 16, 2014)
  49. 49.0 49.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
  50. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 The Rogue Prince.
  52. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  53. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys I.
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  55. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon II.
  56. Aegon II and Aegon III (April 23)
  57. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
  58. 58.0 58.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  59. So Spake Martin: Comic Con San Diego (July 23, 2006)
  60. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Viserys II.
  61. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maekar I.
  62. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 6, Jon I.
  63. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Rhaella Targaryen.
  64. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  65. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 30, Eddard VII.
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 35, Samwell IV.
  67. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
  68. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 40, Daenerys III.
  69. The World of Ice & Fire, The Vale.
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 So Spake Martin: Age of Sexual Relations, October 5, 1999
  71. So Spake Martin: Age of Majority, November 4, 1999
  72. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  73. 73.0 73.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  74. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 52, Sansa IV.
  75. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.
  76. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
  77. 77.0 77.1 So Spake Martin: Some Questions, March 16, 2000
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 47, Eddard XIII.
  79. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 36, Tyrion VIII.
  80. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 28, Sansa III.
  82. 82.0 82.1 82.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
  83. 83.0 83.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 43, Daenerys VII.
  84. 84.0 84.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 85.3 The Mystery Knight.
  86. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: The Gardener Kings.
  87. The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Oldtown.
  88. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Durrandon.
  89. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 36, Daenerys IV.
  90. The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands.
  91. 91.0 91.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
  92. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
  93. 93.0 93.1 93.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 12, Eddard II.
  94. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
  95. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 1, Arya I.
  96. 96.0 96.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  97. So Spake Martin: Interview in Barcelona, July 28, 2012
  98. 98.0 98.1 98.2 98.3 The Hedge Knight.
  99. 99.0 99.1 99.2 Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
  100. Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  101. 101.0 101.1 101.2 Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  102. Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
  103. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.
  104. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 51, Sansa IV.
  105. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  106. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
  107. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 8, Jaime I.
  108. 108.0 108.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  109. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 7, Cersei II.
  110. 110.0 110.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
  111. 111.0 111.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
  112. 112.0 112.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  113. 113.0 113.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  114. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 46, Samwell III.
  115. 115.0 115.1 115.2 115.3 115.4 115.5 115.6 So Spake Martin: SF, Targaryens, Valyria, Sansa, Martells, and More, June 26, 2001
  116. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 35, Eddard IX.
  117. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 10, Jon II.
  118. 118.0 118.1 118.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  119. 119.0 119.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
  120. So Spake Martin: Bastard's Offspring, January 20, 1999
  121. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  122. Not a Blog: Books for Brains! (October 31, 2015)
  123. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 39, Cersei IX.
  124. The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Qohor.
  125. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  126. 126.0 126.1 126.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
  127. 127.0 127.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
  128. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
  129. 129.0 129.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 23, Jon III.
  130. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 1, Tyrion I.
  131. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 18, Tyrion V.
  132. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  133. 133.0 133.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 7, Arya I.
  134. 134.0 134.1 134.2 134.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
  135. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 68, The Dragontamer.
  136. 136.0 136.1 136.2 136.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
  137. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 25, The Windblown.
  138. 138.0 138.1 138.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 4, Bran I.
  139. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
  140. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 21, Jon V.
  141. 141.0 141.1 141.2 141.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 6, Sansa I.
  142. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 14, Arya IV.
  143. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 35, Bran V.
  144. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  145. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.
  146. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 2, The Captain Of Guards.
  147. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 22, Arya II.
  148. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 22, Arya IV.
  149. 149.0 149.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  150. 150.0 150.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand.
  151. 151.0 151.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 13, The Soiled Knight.
  152. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 47, Tyrion X.
  153. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 6, The Merchant's Man.
  154. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
  155. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  156. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 27, Eddard VI.
  157. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 19, Arya V.
  158. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 8, Bran II.
  159. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  160. Definition of "falconry" from
  161. 161.0 161.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  162. 162.0 162.1 162.2 162.3 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 10, Sansa I.
  163. 163.0 163.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
  164. 164.0 164.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
  165. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 18, Samwell I.
  166. 166.0 166.1 A Feast for Crows, Chapter 32, Cersei VII.
  167. So Spake Martin: Tourney Rules, April 29, 1999
  168. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 50, Theon IV.
  169. 169.0 169.1 169.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
  170. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 19, Jon III.
  171. 171.0 171.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 26, Jon IV.
  172. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
  173. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 34, Jon IV.
  174. 174.0 174.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
  175. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 58, Eddard XV.
  176. 176.0 176.1 176.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 44, Tyrion X.
  177. 177.0 177.1 177.2 177.3 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 33, Tyrion VIII.
  178. 178.0 178.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 12, Daenerys I.
  179. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 32, Arya III.
  180. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 42, Daenerys IV.
  181. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 59, Sansa IV.
  182. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 15, Samwell II.
  183. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 25, Eddard V.
  184. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
  185. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
  186. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 1, The Prophet.
  187. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.
  188. 188.0 188.1 188.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
  189. The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
  190. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 27, Daenerys II.