|Born||In 262–275 AC, Essos|
Appearance and Character
- See also: Images of Patchface
Patchface takes his name from the tattoos covering his broad face and bald head, marked in a pattern of green and red squares. This is the fashion in the Free City of Volantis for slaves who serve as jesters. The obese fool is dough-soft and slump-shouldered.
The fool wears a mock helm fashioned from an old tin bucket, with a rack of deer antlers strapped to the crown and hung with cowbells. The bells ring frequently, as Patchface seldom remains still and often hops back and forth.
Some of Patchface's rhymes seem to be of prophetic nature, though none of his listeners understand them (see Patchface/Theories).
Patchface was a jester slave in Volantis. He was a clever and skilled boy with astonishing wit. His freedom was bought by Steffon Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End, who was impressed with the boy during his trip to the Free Cities. While returning to Westeros, however, Steffon's ship, Windproud, broke up in Shipbreaker Bay while his eldest sons, Robert and Stannis, watched from the parapets of Storm's End. All onboard were believed killed, including Lord Steffon, his wife Cassana, and over a hundred soldiers and sailors.
Patchface washed up among the dead three days later, his naked skin white and wrinkled; Jommy swore the boy's flesh was clammy cold. The fool was taken for dead, but then he coughed up water and sat up. Patchface had survived the shipwreck, albeit broken in mind and body; the ordeal had taken his memories, and half his wit. What happened to him during the two days is unknown, but the fisherfolk like to say "a mermaid had taught him to breathe water in return for his seed." It was suggested by Ser Harbert, the castellan of Storm’s End, that it would be kindest for Cressen to let the mad boy die from milk of the poppy, but the maester refused to do so.
Patchface is employed as court fool and jester at Dragonstone. He spends most of his time with Shireen Baratheon, Lord Stannis's daughter. He offers strange insights and stranger songs, sometimes touching upon what may have really happened to the boy at the bottom of the bay.
A Clash of Kings
Patchface accompanies Shireen Baratheon when she visits Maester Cressen in his chamber at Dragonstone to see the white raven. When Cressen arrives at the castle's feast, a dancing Patchface accidentally collides with the maester and knocks him over. Melisandre places Patchface's tin helm on Cressen's head. The maester returns the helm to the fool, but Selyse Florent commands Cressen to continue wearing it. Cressen attempts to kill Melisandre with poisoned wine, but the poison does not affect the red priestess. Cressen drinks what is left, and dies.
During a small council meeting in the Red Keep, Lord Petyr Baelish suggests spreading the tale that Shireen, whose face is disfigured by greyscale, was fathered by Patchface instead of Stannis. Renly Baratheon insults Stannis by mentioning the rumor during their parley at Storm's End. The insinuation also casts doubt on Stannis's proclamation that the children of Queen Cersei Lannister were fathered by her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister, instead of the late King Robert I Baratheon.
A Storm of Swords
A Dance with Dragons
Patches accompanies Shireen and Selyse to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, and Cotter Pyke writes to Jon Snow, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, that the fool is a simpleton. Patchface receives a motley cloak of beaver pelts, sheepskins, and rabbit fur. His hat sports antlers hung with bells and long brown flaps of squirrel fur which hang down over his ears.
Patchface attends the wedding of Alys Karstark and Sigorn, and Owen the Oaf dances with him during the feast. Melisandre tells Jon that she has glimpsed the fool in her flames and considers him dangerous.
Quotes by Patchface
The shadows come to dance, my lord, dance my lord, dance my lord. The shadows come to stay, my lord, stay my lord, stay my lord.—Patchface to Cressen
Under the sea, smoke rises in bubbles, and flames burn green and blue and black. I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.
Fool's blood. King's blood, blood on the maiden's thigh, but chains for the guests and chains for the bridegroom, aye, aye, aye.—Patchface to Davos Seaworth
Under the sea the old fish eat the young fish. Up here the young fish teach the old fish.—Patchface to Davos Seaworth
In the dark the dead are dancing. I know, I know, oh oh oh.—Patchface at Castle Black
—Patchface at Castle Black
The crow, the crow. Under the sea the crows are white as snow, I know, I know, oh, oh, oh.—Patchface to Jon Snow
Malegorn: Lord Snow, who will lead this ranging?
Jon: Are you offering yourself, ser?Patchface: I will lead it! We will march into the sea and out again. Under the waves we will ride seahorses, and mermaids will blow seashells to announce our coming, oh, oh, oh.
Malegorn: Do I look so foolish?
Quotes about Patchface
—thoughts of Cressen
We have found the most splendid fool. Only a boy, yet nimble as a monkey and witty as a dozen courtiers. He juggles and riddles and does magic, and he can sing prettily in four tongues. We have bought his freedom and hope to bring him home with us. Robert will be delighted with him, and perhaps in time he will even teach Stannis how to laugh.
The wretch is mad, and in pain, and no use to anyone, least of all himself. The kindest thing you could do for that one is fill his cup with the milk of the poppy. A painless sleep, and there's an end to it. He'd bless you if he had the wit for it.
—thoughts of Davos Seaworth
That creature is dangerous. Many a time I have glimpsed him in my flames. Sometimes there are skulls about him, and his lips are red with blood.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- See the Patchface calculation.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Patchface.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 10, Davos II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 10, Davos I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 31, Catelyn III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 42, Davos II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 49, Jon X.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon XIII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.