A turncloak is the term used for a treacherous, disloyal person who has betrayed those who put their faith in them, those who previously considered the turncloak loyal and worthy of trust. The term comes from turning your cloak from the heraldry of your original loyalties to that of your new master.
The betrayal is often an act of double-crossing, suddenly changing alliances and going over to the enemy, et al. To name someone a turncloak is to name them the worst kind of betrayer and traitor.
A person may turn their cloak to benefit themselves, or for more personal reasons to change their loyalty. Sellswords have a reputation for being willing to betray anyone for enough gold.
Once a person is considered a turncloak, they can become a pariah and no one will put their trust in them or ever respect them, not even the people who greatly benefited from their betrayal.
- Ulf White - betrayed the blacks
- Hugh Hammer - betrayed the blacks
- Mance Rayder - betrayed the Night's Watch to return to the Free Folk of his birth
- Theon Greyjoy - betrayed Robb Stark for House Greyjoy
- Vargo Hoat and the Brave Companions - betrayed their employer House Lannister when paid by Roose Bolton to turn to House Stark
- Roose Bolton - betrayed House Stark and King Robb Stark’s cause
- The Stormcrows - betrayed their Yunkish employers to turn to Daenerys Targaryen
- Luthor Largent - Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing, accused of turning cloak from King Aegon II Targaryen to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen, but he said the gold cloaks had always been loyal to their former commander Daemon Targaryen.
- Jon Snow - Qhorin Halfhand ordered Jon to yield to the wildlings and act as a spy. Some men of the Night's Watch, such as Janos Slynt, think Jon went over willingly and name Jon a turncloak.
- Sybell Spicer - named a scheming turncloak bitch by Ser Jaime Lannister.
Turncloak. The name was bitter as bile.—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy
You're the one they call Turncloak. Why should we believe your promises?
"Theon Turncloak," someone said as he passed. Other men turned away at the sight of him. One spat. And why not? He was the traitor who had taken Winterfell by treachery, slain his foster brothers, delivered his own people to be flayed at Moat Cailin, and given his foster sister to Lord Ramsay's bed. Roose Bolton might make use of him, but true northmen must despise him.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.