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Treason is a serious crime against a sovereign or the realm or kingdom as a whole, including rebellion, regicide, oathbreaking, and espionage. One who commits treason is called a traitor.


A queen consort who commits infidelity against the king is also considered a traitor.[1]

The punishment for treason is death, usually by public execution. If expedient, a traitor may instead be pardoned in exchange of hostages or by agreeing to take the black and join the Night's Watch.[2]

Like oathbreaking, the nature of treason is not an absolute one, and is subject to political machinations. It can often depend on whether said treason is successful. While a defeated rebel will be condemned and executed as a traitor, a victorious one will be in power and will merely receive the epithet "usurper".[3][4]

In the city of King's Landing, those accused of treason are confined to the black cells.[5]


Ser Duncan the Tall was charged with treason after striking Prince Aerion Targaryen for accosting a woman during a tournament at Ashford. Ser Duncan demanded a trial by combat, which at Aerion's insistence became a trial of seven. Ser Duncan's side was ultimately victorious, but during the combat Aerion's father Prince Maekar Targaryen fatally injured his brother Prince Baelor "Breakspear" Targaryen.[6]

Brandon Stark, eldest son and heir of Lord Rickard Stark, was arrested for treason by King Aerys II Targaryen after protesting the kidnapping of his sister Lyanna by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. When Lord Rickard arrived at the capital to ransom his son, King Aerys arrested him for treason as well. He later had both Starks brutally executed.[7]

The lords Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark, Jon Arryn, Hoster Tully and later Tywin Lannister, as well as their bannermen, households, and followers, committed treason against King Aerys when they rebelled against him. However, as they were victorious in their rebellion, they have never been judged as such. Robert Baratheon, however, has become known as "The Usurper" by those who secretly remain loyal to House Targaryen.[3]

Grand Maester Pycelle betrayed Aerys II when he counseled the Mad King to open the gates of King's Landing to Tywin Lannister when the latter presented himself before the city gates offering protection against the rebellion. Pycelle was aware Tywin did not intend to defend the city.[8][9]

Ser Jaime Lannister violated his Kingsguard oath and murdered his king, Aerys II, during the Sack of King's Landing. He was subsequently pardoned by King Robert.[7]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Eddard Stark, acting in his authority as Hand of the King, decides to move against Prince Joffrey Baratheon and prevent his coronation by taking him prisoner, having discovered that Joffrey has no right to the throne. Petyr Baelish reminds him that such action will be considered treason only if they lose. Baelish and Janos Slynt betray Eddard, who is arrested and executed for treason against Joffrey, accused of seeking to install himself on the Iron Throne.[10][11]

Renly Baratheon commits treason when he tries to take the Iron Throne despite being fourth in the line of succession, ignoring the (false) rights of his nephew Joffrey, Robert's official heir, and the true rights of his older brother Stannis.[12]

The rebellion of the North and the Riverlands to secede from the authority of the Iron Throne is regarded as treason by those who remain loyal to King Joffrey.[13]

A Clash of Kings

Theon Greyjoy betrays Robb Stark and joins his father, Balon Greyjoy, in his conquest of the North.[14]

For his refusal to fight for the protection of Prince Tommen Baratheon, Ser Boros Blount is stripped of his white cloak and kept in Rosby's dungeons on the grounds of treason and cowardice.[15]

A Storm of Swords

Ollo Lophand, a brother of the Night's Watch, kills Lord Commander Jeor Mormont in the Mutiny at Craster's Keep.[16]

Lord Rickard Karstark, furious over the death of his sons Torrhen and Eddard, killed by Jaime Lannister in the battle in the Whispering Wood, accuses Catelyn Stark of treason after she releases Jaime. Lord Rickard himself is later executed for treason against King in the North Robb Stark for murdering hostages Willem Lannister and Tion Frey.[17]

Lords Walder Frey and Roose Bolton commit treason in the Red Wedding by conspiring with Tywin Lannister to eliminate Robb Stark and his family.[18]

A Dance with Dragons

Bowen Marsh commits treason by organizing the Mutiny at Castle Black that claims Lord Commander Jon Snow's life.[19]