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Rhaenyra Targaryen and her handmaids (including Elinda Massey and the two daughters of Lyonel Strong), by Fkaluis ©

A handmaid,[1] also known as a handmaiden,[2] bedmaid,[3] lady-in-waiting,[4] companion,[5] or lady companion,[5] is a female servant or personal attendant of a royal woman or noblewoman.


Handmaids may be of noble birth themselves,[3][6] or they may be mere smallfolk servants.[7] In Essos, they may be slaves.[8] Handmaids may companionably share the bed of the woman they are attending.[9][6][10][11]

A noblewoman may refer to her nobleborn companions as "my ladies".[11][12]


Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

The handmaid Jhiqui braids Daenerys Targaryen's hair. By Drazenka Kimpel © FFG

When Princess Daenerys Targaryen marries Khal Drogo in Pentos, her brother Viserys gifts her three slave handmaids: Irri, Jhiqui, and Doreah. Viserys did not pay for the handmaids himself; their host, Illyrio Mopatis, had provided them. Irri is to teach Daenerys horse riding, Jhiqui will teach her the Dothraki language, and Doreah will teach her the arts of love.[1]

After Khal Drogo's death, Daenerys frees all the slaves within the remaining khalasar, including her handmaids. They choose to stay with her, and witness the birth of her dragons.[13]