Smallfolk are the common people of Westeros, akin to peasants. They are at the bottom of the social ladder. Most have to obey their local lord, even though they may never catch a glimpse of him during their life. The nobility of Westeros have great power over the smallfolk.
Most smallfolk are poor, illiterate, and live very provincial, humble, simple lives. They do not have surnames. They dress in raw wool and dull brown roughspun. They use roads which are crooked muddy tracks that do not appear on parchment maps. They use staffs as weapons. They often name their daughters after flowers and herbs. They are far removed from the major players of the game of thrones, but are affected by those decisions, good or bad.
Even though they are born in the lowest social status in Westeros, it is possible for small folk to rise up, through knighthood. Hedge knights were usually born as smallfolk, though higher positions are also possible. Some examples are Ser Arlan of Pennytree, a hedgeknight, and Ser Duncan the Tall, who even rose to the position of Lord Commander of the Kingsguard of King Aegon V Targaryen.
Some characters popular with the smallfolk
Some characters unpopular with the smallfolk
The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are.
That was the way of war. The smallfolk were slaughtered, while the highborn were held for ransom.
- thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
Fools love a fool.
They are born, they live, they love, they die.
If we mingle with the commons, they will love us better.
It is being common-born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones.
References and Notes
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 42, Davos II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.