Turncloak

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A soldier turns his cloak. © Fantasy Flight Games
The Turncloak - by Raymond Bonilla. © Fantasy Flight Games

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.

Turncloaks

Accused turncloaks

Quotes

Daemon gave us these cloaks, and they're gold no matter how you turn them.[2]

Arya Stark: You hated Ser Amory too.
Gendry: I hate this lot worse. Ser Amory was fighting for his lord, but the Mummers are sellswords and turncloaks.[3]

Turncloak. The name was bitter as bile.[4]

—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy

A black cloak can't be turned.[4]

—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy

How do I play the turncloak without becoming one?[5]

—thoughts of Jon Snow

You're the one they call Turncloak. Why should we believe your promises?[6]

I know who the dwarf is, and what he is. Kinslayer, kingslayer, murderer, turncloak. Lannister.[7]

Your sellswords once served your foes, and once a man turns his cloak he will not scruple to turn it again.[8]

"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.[9]

I have done terrible things… betrayed my own, turned my cloak, ordered the death of men who trusted me… but I am no kinslayer.[10]

Mance Rayder swore an oath as well. He vowed to wear no crowns, take no wife, father no sons. Then he turned his cloak, did all those things, and led a fearsome host against the realm.[11]

References

  1. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
  2. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  3. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
  5. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 15, Jon II.
  6. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  7. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 27, Tyrion VII.
  8. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 30, Daenerys V.
  9. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  10. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
  11. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 53, Jon XI.