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Maester.svgQyburnBrave Companions.svg
Qyburn by Morgan King

  • The Bloody Maester[1]
  • Lord Qyburn[2]
Culture Westerosi
Born or after 217 AC[3]

Played by Anton Lesser
TV series Game of Thrones:
Season 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Qyburn is a former maester who has joined the Brave Companions. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Anton Lesser.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Qyburn

Qyburn is tall, slightly stooped with crinkles around his blue[5] or warm, brown[6] eyes. He has grey hair, a lean frame, and looks fatherly.[6][7] His torn robes are frayed and poorly sewn,[7] and he lacks a maester's chain.[8]

Qyburn is clever[2] and loyal,[9] but also amoral[10] and ingratiating.[11]


Qyburn studied at the Citadel, and was as skilled a healer as Ebrose. However, he sought to surpass the archmaester, and instead of opening dead bodies to discover the secrets of the living as the Citadel has done for centuries, Qyburn opened living bodies to discover the secrets of death. When these unethical experiments, as well as his studies of necromancy, were discovered, Qyburn was stripped of his chain and his position as a maester. Nevertheless, he claims to understand the nature of life and death better than any man in Oldtown.[7]

Following his exile from Oldtown, Qyburn joined the Brave Companions.[12] He has respect for Marwyn of the Citadel, the only archmaester who liked Qyburn's way of thinking about the residue of souls after death,[11] but he calls the other archmaesters "grey sheep".[7]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Qyburn is among the Brave Companions when they arrive at Harrenhal.[13] After the sellswords turn cloak through the fall of Harrenhal,[14] Qyburn takes over the duties of Harrenhal's maester, Tothmure, who is killed by Lord Roose Bolton for dispatching ravens to King's Landing. Arya hears rumors that Qyburn lost his maester's chain for necromancy.[8]

A Storm of Swords

When Ser Jaime Lannister has his sword hand cut off on the orders of Vargo Hoat and is brought to Harrenhal, Roose orders Jaime to be treated by Qyburn. The former maester treats Jaime's infected wrist, and is able to prevent the infection from spreading to Jaime's arm, thereby ensuring Jaime does not lose his arm as well.[6] When he feels Jaime has sufficiently healed, Qyburn sends Pia to Jaime's bed, hoping to ingratiate himself with the Lannisters, but Jaime sends the girl away.[11]

When Roose sends Jaime back to his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, Qyburn accompanies Steelshanks Walton's guard and monitors Jaime's wounds. According to Roose Bolton, Qyburn has a fond hope that Tywin will force the Citadel to return Qyburn's maester's chain to him.[11] On the road, Qyburn tells Jaime he examined Brienne of Tarth for Vargo Hoat and found her maidenhead is still intact. When Jaime decides to return to Harrenhal to rescue Brienne after dreaming of her, Qyburn and the Bolton men accompany him.[11] Qyburn tries to ingratiate himself with Jaime during the remainder of their journey to King's Landing, which irritates the knight.[15]

A Feast for Crows

Qyburn joins the court at King's Landing. When Queen Regent Cersei Lannister calls for a maester to deal with the discovery of her father Tywin's body, Qyburn is brought to her. The queen has Qyburn and the Kettleblack brothers dispose of Shae's body.[5] Qyburn's intelligence and discretion pleases Cersei, so she has him investigate the escape of Tyrion Lannister from the dungeons. Qyburn researches the missing gaoler Rugen, who also disappeared that night, and discovers a gold coin depicting Garth XII Gardener, King of the Reach, buried below Rugen's chamberpot. This leads Cersei to suspect the involvement of House Tyrell in Tyrion's escape.[7]

On Cersei's command, Qyburn also examines the dying Ser Gregor Clegane, whom Grand Maester Pycelle has been unable to heal. He believes Prince Oberyn Martell used magic to affect the manticore venom on his poisoned spear, to prolong Gregor's death. Qyburn convinces Cersei to allow him to move Gregor to the black cells and experiment on him there, to gain knowledge of the magical poison that Oberyn used. She orders that Qyburn be given gold for his equipment and to buy new clothing.[7] Jaime is disturbed by how close Cersei has become with the disgraced former maester, but she dismisses his concerns.[16]

Cersei appoints Qyburn as master of whisperers to replace Varys, who has been missing since Tyrion's escape. Subsequently, Qyburn takes Varys's place on the small council, as well as the same honorary title of "lord", to the disgust of Grand Maester Pycelle.[2] Qyburn spends silver to develop a network of informants.[2] Instead of a maester's grey robes, Qyburn attires himself in white robes decorated with whorls of gold and a golden sash.[2] Qyburn suggests that the crown deal with Jon Snow, the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, by sending one hundred men to the Wall, ostensibly to take the black, but in actuality to assassinate him.[2]

After Gregor Clegane reportedly dies, Qyburn prepares his skull to be sent to Dorne.[2] Cersei allows Qyburn to use various prisoners for his experiments, with fatal results for the subjects. As Qyburn prefers women for his studies, the prisoners include Cersei's former handmaiden, Senelle, and some female puppeteers who had been arrested for performing a treasonous play. Cersei recalls a "foul thing screaming in the darkness".[10] When Lady Falyse Stokeworth comes to Cersei in despair after the failure of their plans to kill Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, who had married Falyse's sister Lollys, Cersei tells Qyburn to take her for his experiments, to make her disappear.[17][18] While performing his experiments and torture in the dungeons, Qyburn wears roughspun wool and a blacksmith's leather apron.[19]

After Ser Loras Tyrell leaves for the siege of Dragonstone, Qyburn suggests to Cersei that the Kingsguard may need a replacement in case Loras dies, and mentions a "champion" who "no living man will be able to withstand".[17] Qyburn orders a massive suit of armor for his proposed champion, though it is supposedly too large and heavy to be worn by any man.[17]

Cersei has a nightmare about Maggy the Frog's prophecy of her future, and the next morning asks Qyburn about it. He identifies the name "Maggy" as a corruption of maegi, and says that her blood magic is the darkest and most powerful kind of sorcery. Cersei asks if the prophecy can be forestalled, and Qyburn intimates it can be, if she kills the younger queen who would supplant her.[18]

Cersei has Qyburn torture the Blue Bard in the black cells, to convince him to give evidence against Queen Margaery Tyrell.[19] The torture so breaks his mind that even after the Blue Bard is taken by the Faith Militant and tortured by them, he persists in the story that Cersei and Qyburn had taught him.[20] Other men falsely accused of being Margaery's lovers are given into Qyburn's care in the dungeons.[20]

After Cersei is arrested by the Faith, Qyburn is allowed to visit her in her cell and inform her of all that has happened since her arrest. Qyburn has been dismissed from the small council, though he is allowed to work with Varys's whisperers. Qyburn's unnamed champion is ready to defend her, but Cersei informs Qyburn that she can only be represented in a trial by combat by a knight of the Kingsguard, and there are no open positions available. Cersei has him write a letter to her brother Jaime at Riverrun, begging for his help.[20][21]

A Dance with Dragons

Lord Regent Kevan Lannister visits Cersei in her cell, and tells her that Qyburn is still in charge of the dungeons where most of the accused lovers of Margaery Tyrell are being held. Kevan also informs her that Ser Arys Oakheart has been killed in Dorne, and Cersei realizes that leaves an empty place in the Kingsguard. She asks Kevan to tell Qyburn that the time has come for his champion.[22]

Qyburn is present at the Red Keep when Cersei completes her walk of atonement through King's Landing, and he introduces Cersei to her champion and the newest member of the Kingsguard, Ser Robert Strong. Qyburn tells her that Robert has taken a vow of silence, swearing not to speak until all of King Tommen I Baratheon's enemies are dead and evil has been driven from the realm.[23]

Qyburn continues to work with the whisperers, reporting information on the Golden Company and Nymeria Sand to the small council and Kevan.[24]

Quotes by Qyburn

Qyburn: Terrible times breed terrible things, my lord.
Roose: Are these times so terrible, Maester?[8]

—Qyburn and Roose Bolton

Jaime: Do you believe in ghosts, Maester?
Qyburn: Once, at the Citadel, I came into an empty room and saw an empty chair. Yet I knew a woman had been there, only a moment before. The cushion was dented where she'd sat, the cloth was still warm, and her scent lingered in the air. If we leave our smells behind us when we leave a room, surely something of our souls must remain when we leave this life? The archmaesters did not like my thinking, though. Well, Marwyn did, but he was the only one.[11]

Jaime Lannister and Qyburn

The Citadel took my chain, but they could not take my knowledge.[5]

—Qyburn to Cersei Lannister

This poison... it would be useful to know more about it, would it not? Send a knight to slay a knight and an archer to kill an archer, the smallfolk often say. To combat the black arts ...[7]

—Qyburn to Cersei Lannister

Cersei: Need I say that it will go ill for you if any word of your ... labors ... should pass beyond these walls?
Qyburn: No, Your Grace. Your secrets are safe with me.[7]

Cersei Lannister to Qyburn

Quotes about Qyburn

Qyburn was old, but his hair still had more ash than snow in it, and the laugh lines around his mouth made him look like some little girl's favorite grandfather. A rather shabby grandfather, though.[7]

—thoughts of Cersei Lannister

Jaime: As for Qyburn ... gods be good, Cersei, he rode with Vargo Hoat. The Citadel stripped him of his chain!
Cersei: The grey sheep. Qyburn has made himself most useful to me. And he is loyal, which is more than I can say of mine own kin.[16]

Pycelle: Lord Qyburn? Your Grace, this ... a maester swears sacred vows, to hold no lands or lordships ...
Cersei: Your Citadel took away his chain. If he is not a maester, he cannot be held to a maester's vows. We called the eunuch lord as well, you may recall.
Pycelle:This man is ... he is unfit ...[2]

Jaime: Qyburn stinks of secrets.
Cersei: We all have secrets, brother.[25]

Lord Qyburn had them, and Lord Qyburn could do wonders. And horrors. He can do horrors as well.[22]

—thoughts of Cersei Lannister


Preceded by Master of whisperers
300 AC–present (de facto)
Served under: Tommen I Baratheon