Janos Slynt

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House Slynt.PNG
Janos Slynt City watch.png
Janos Slynt by henning.jpg
by Henning Ludvigsen, FFG©.

Title Commander of the City Watch
Lord of Harrenhal
Allegiance Night's Watch
House Slynt
City Watch of King's Landing
Died In 300 AC, at Castle Black
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (Appears)
A Clash of Kings (Appears)
A Storm of Swords (Appears)
A Feast for Crows (Mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (Appears)

Played by Dominic Carter
TV series Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 4

Janos Slynt is the head of House Slynt and commander of the City Watch of King's Landing. His father was a butcher.[1] In the TV series, he is played by Dominic Carter.[2]


Janos is a stout man, with jowls and a bald pate.[3] He is frog-faced and built like a keg.[4]


Slynt was captain of the Iron Gate and was raised to Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, the so-called gold cloaks, after the death of the previous commander, Manly Stokeworth.[5]

During his reign as commander of the gold cloaks, Janos was known for taking bribes and selling positions and promotions. By the end of his tenure, over half the officers were paying him part of their salaries. Jon Arryn discovered this and had two men who were willing to come forward to testify against Janos, but both were found dead a short time later. Despite this, Arryn still wished for Slynt to be dismissed but Robert Baratheon stated that...

They all steal, better one we know the next man might be worse.[6]

Thus Slynt retained his office. According to Stannis Baratheon, these were Petyr Baelish's words coming from Robert's mouth. Stannis stated that Baelish undoubtedly knew of Slynt's corruption and made sure the crown profited from it as much as Janos. Stannis also swore that if he had been king, Slynt would have lost more than his office for such corruption.[6]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Janos Slynt by Paul Phillips©

Janos Slynt is the Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing when Lord Eddard Stark becomes Hand of the King. Before the start of the Tourney of the Hand, Slynt comes before the small council and reports about the disturbances caused by people flooding the city. He asks for more men to keep the peace. Lord Eddard grants Slynt to hire fifty more men and orders Master of Coin Petyr Baelish to come up with the money to pay them. He also promises Slynt twenty men of his own household guards as reinforcement for the time of the tourney.[3]

After King Robert Baratheon has been injured by a boar during a hunt in the kingswood, Lord Eddard plans to proclaim Stannis Baratheon as the new king once Robert has died, implying a likely confrontation with Queen Cersei, who wants to install her son Joffrey to the Iron Throne instead. Given the strength of the Lannister force commanded by Cersei, Eddard sees the loyalty of the City Watch as crucial to the success of his plan, so he contacts Baelish, who promises him to buy the loyalty of Slynt and his men for six thousand gold pieces.[7]

When Eddard goes to the throne room to challenge the legitimacy of Joffrey, he is joined by Janos Slynt at the door, and Eddard is reassured by the number of gold cloaks on display. However, when Eddard calls on Slynt to put Cersei and her children under arrest, Slynt betrays him and the gold cloaks begin to murder the Stark household guards. Slynt personally kills Varly by slashing his throat. Shoving a dagger under Eddard's chin, Baelish points out:

I did warn you not to trust me, you know.[8]

Slynt is raised to Lord of Harrenhal for his services to the crown and is named a member of the small council. He chooses a bloody spear on a black field as his sigil. The appointment of a commoner to such a high position causes some resentment among members of noble houses.[9]

When Barristan Selmy reacts with bewilderment to Cersei's announcement that he is relieved of his burden, Slynt explains bluntly that Selmy is being replaced as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, angering the old knight. Slynt laughs with others in the throne room when Baelish mocks Selmy. After Selmy has left, King Joffrey is outraged about the defiance and contempt the knight has exhibited and orders his arrest. Slynt declares that his gold cloaks will see to it and immediately goes after Selmy.[9] However, Selmy can still record his own dismissal in the White Book[10] and gather his possessions in the White Sword Tower, before Slynt and three of his men confront him at the stables. When they try to arrest Selmy, the seasoned knight, only armed with a knife, manages to escape them, killing one gold cloak and riding through Slynt and the other two. Slynt sends men after him but to no avail, as Selmy is able to overcome the guards at the Mud Gate and to kill one of his pursuers before fleeing the city.[11]

Musing in his cell about why his actions have failed, Lord Eddard damns Slynt as one of the people who have betrayed him and the realm, yet he ultimately blames himself the most.[12]

Following Lord Eddard's execution, Lord Slynt attends another court session, in which Joffrey hands out harsh sentences in matters brought before him, nodding in approval to every action of the king.[13]

In a conversation with his son Tyrion, Lord Tywin Lannister refers to granting Harrenhal, a former seat of kings, to the son of a butcher as one example of Cersei not being able to prevent foolish actions on the part of Joffrey, also citing the execution of Lord Eddard and the dismissal of Ser Barristan in this context. Tywin notes with contempt that Slynt should have chosen a bloody cleaver instead of a bloody spear as his sigil. He orders Tyrion to go to King's Landing and act as Hand of the King in his absence.[1]

A Clash of Kings

Lord Janos sits on the small council when Tyrion Lannister arrives in King's Landing. He is later stripped of Harrenhal and sent to join the Night's Watch by Tyrion along with the men he has suggested as replacements for him as Commander of the City Watch. He is replaced by Ser Jacelyn Bywater,[4] though Tyrion believes that in getting rid of Slynt for Bywater, he has merely replaced a man loyal to Littlefinger with one loyal to Varys.

Tyrion's action against Janos Slynt displeases his sister Cersei,[14] while it elicits a statement from Sansa, made in Joffrey's presence, that she wishes the Others will get Slynt when he is at the Wall, with which she angers the king.[15] Petyr Baelish cites Slynt's fate when Tyrion offers him Harrenhal as a gift for his services to the Crown (namely his betrayal of Eddard Stark), pointing out that Slynt had received Harrenhal for the same reason and yet wound up being forced to take the black, suggesting that the fruit might be poisoned. Tyrion replies that, while he had no use for Slynt, the same is not true for Baelish.[14]

A Storm of Swords

Not knowing that Renly is already dead, Bowen Marsh of the Night's Watch sends an appeal to the five kings, in which he asks them to send men to defend the Wall and the realm against an expected attack by Mance Rayder's wildlings. He also tells them about the possible death of Lord Commander Mormont during the Great Ranging. When Grand Maester Pycelle informs Lord Tywin Lannister about the letter, the Hand of the King is annoyed about the neutrality the Night's Watch keeps in the War of the Five Kings and suggests that no help will be sent until a Lannister ally has been installed as new Lord Commander and brings discipline back to the Wall. Pycelle suggests Janos Slynt for the position, angering Tyrion Lannister, who reminds his father that he was against a butcher's son holding Harrenhal. Lord Tywin disagrees, arguing that "there is a tool for every task, and a task for every tool". When Tyrion objects that Slynt will sell himself to the highest bidder, Tywin answers that he counts that in the man's favor, as no one is likely to outbid the Lannisters. Ignoring Tyrion's protests that the black brothers chose their own commander and direct support for Slynt would thus be unwise, Tywin orders Pycelle to write a letter to Marsh in the name of King Joffrey, in which the demand for men is rejected for the time being but the "fondest regards to his faithful friend and servant Lord Janos Slynt" are also expressed. Thinking by himself, Tyrion regrets that he did not leave orders for Slynt to be disposed of the way his partner in crime Allar Deem was.[16]

Janos at the Wall - by Amok ©

Slynt arrives at Castle Black and hauls Jon Snow before him on charges of treason and oathbreaking. He allies with Ser Alliser Thorne and Ser Glendon Hewett. He brings Rattleshirt out who confirms that Jon killed Qhorin Halfhand. He has Jon arrested and placed in an ice cell.[17]

After being prevented by Maester Aemon from hanging Jon, Slynt sends Jon to assassinate Mance Rayder, hoping that Jon will be killed in the process.[18]

Slynt puts himself forth as candidate to succeed Jeor Mormont as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, with the support of Ser Alliser Thorne and later on of Bowen Marsh as well.[19] Slynt also tries to persuade Stannis Baratheon to support him, but Stannis's personal dislike for Slynt over his corruption scandal and his distaste for the man's sycophantic flattery put an end to it. Due to the rivalry between Cotter Pyke and Ser Denys Mallister, Slynt's chances improve. In the end, he is defeated by the efforts of Samwell Tarly, who persuades Pyke and Mallister to support Jon Snow as a compromise candidate.[6][20]

A Dance With Dragons

To avoid Slynt undermining his authority with his scheming, to separate him from his ally, Alliser Thorne, and in view of his experience, Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, decides to give Slynt command of the abandoned way castle Greyguard.

Small Justice for Ned - by acazigot ©

Still under the misapprehension that Jon's youth and inexperience give him licence to do as he pleases, Slynt refuses to follow Jon's orders, doing so the second time publicly. At this point, Jon, sick of Slynt's insubordination and knowing either imprisoning Slynt or forcing him to go would only cause further problems, orders that Slynt should be taken to the top of the Wall and hanged, though Slynt remains arrogantly confident that Jon would not go through with the execution, threatening them all with Tywin Lannister's retribution if Jon harms him, unaware that with Tywin's death, he is making empty threats. However, Jon ultimately decides to follow the moral code that Eddard Stark had set his sons, and orders his men to fetch a chopping block so Jon can carry out the beheading himself, under the laws of the First Men his father had followed: namely 'The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.' With his head on the block, Slynt begs for mercy and says he will obey Jon's orders, but Jon tells him it is too late, though Jon is merciful and kills Slynt quickly. Stannis Baratheon, who watches the execution, approves of Jon's behavior.[5]

Quotes by Janos

Please, my lord. Mercy. I’ll … I’ll go, I will, I …[5]

- Janos's last words to Jon Snow

Quotes about Janos Slynt

There is blood between us. This man helped slay my father and did his best to have me killed as well.[5]

- Jon Snow's thoughts on Janos Slynt

This so-called Lord of Harrenhal is a butcher's whelp upjumped by the Lannisters. Small wonder he is venal and corrupt.[6]

- Ser Denys Mallister

Bowen Marsh: Who better to command the black cloaks than a man who once commanded the gold?

Stannis Baratheon: Any one of you I would think. Even the cook. Janos was hardly the first gold cloak to ever take a bribe, I grant you, but he may have been the first commander to fatten his purse by selling places and promotions. By the end, he must have had half the officers in the City Watch paying him part of their wages. Isn't that so, Janos?

Janos: Lies, all lies! A strong man makes enemies, Your Grace, they whisper lies behind your back. Naught was ever proven, not a man came forward...

Stannis: Two men who were prepared to come forward died suddenly on their rounds. Do not trifle with me, my lord, I saw the proofs Jon Arryn laid before the small council. If I had been king, you would have lost more than your office, I promise you that, but Robert shrugged away your little lapses. 'They all steal' I recall him saying. 'Better a thief we know than one we don't, the next man might be worse'. Lord Petyr's words in my brother's mouth, I'll warrant. Littlefinger had a nose for gold, and I'm certain he arranged matters so the crown profited as much from your corruption as you did.[6]



References and Notes

See also

The Janos Slynt article on the Game of Thrones wikia.