Quotes [new quotes]
A Game of Thrones
George R. R. Martin
"... we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.
"One day, Bran, you will be Robb's bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and our kind, and justice will fall to you. When that day comes, you must take no pleasure in the task, but neither must you look away. A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is."
"...my legs may be too short for my body, but my head is too large, although I prefer to think it is just large enough for my mind. I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind... and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much, Jon Snow."
"Don't call me Lord Snow."
"Would you rather be called the Imp? Let them see that their words can cut you, and you'll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can't hurt you with it anymore."
"We all need to be mocked from time to time, lest we start to take ourselves too seriously."
"You have a great thirst for a small man."
"Oh, I think that Lord Tyrion is quite a large man. I think he is a giant come among us, here at the end of the world."
"I've been called many things, my lord, but giant is seldom one of them."
"Nonetheless, I think it is true."
"I do not know what message to send to Bran. Help him, Tyrion."
"What help could I give him? I am no maester, to ease his pain. I have no spells to give him back his legs."
"You gave me help when I needed it," Jon Snow said.
"I gave you nothing," Tyrion said, "Words."
"Then give your words to Bran too."
"You're asking a lame man to teach a cripple how to dance. However sincere the lesson, the result is likely to be grotesque. Still I know what it is to love a brother, Lord Snow. I will give Bran whatever small help is in my power."
"Thank you, my lord of Lannister. Friend."
"Most of my kin are bastards, but you're the first I've had to friend."
Her father used to say that a lord needed to eat with his men, if he hoped to keep them. "Know the men who follow you," she heard him tell Robb once, "and let them know you. Don't ask your men to die for a stranger."
"Is this some trap, Lannister? What's Bran to you? Why should you want to help him?"
"Your brother Jon asked it of me. And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things."
"Hugh was Jon Arryn's squire for four years. The king knighted him before he rode north, in Jon's memory. The lad wanted it desperately, yet I fear he was not ready."
"None of us is ever ready."
"Oh Cersei is lovely to look at, truly, but cold... the way she guards her cunt, you'd think she had all the gold of Casterly Rock between her legs."
"Let me tell you a secret, Ned. More than once, I have dreamed of giving up the crown. Take ship for the Free Cities with my horse and my hammer, spend my time warring and whoring, that's what I was made for. The sellsword king, how the singers would love me. You know what stops me? The thought of Joffrey on the throne, with Cersei standing behind him whispering in his ear. My son. How could I have made a son like that, Ned?"
"The Starks do not murder men in their beds."
"Nor do I. I tell you again, I had no part in the attempt to kill your son."
"The assassin was armed with your dagger."
"It was not my dagger. How many times must I swear to that? Lady Stark, whatever you may believe of me, I am not a stupid man. Only a fool would arm a common footpad with his own blade."
"Why would Petyr lie to me?"
"Why does a bear shit in the woods? Because it is his nature. Lying comes as easily as breathing to a man like Littlefinger. You ought to know that, you of all people."
"Petyr Baelish loved me once. He was only a boy. His passion was a tragedy for all of us, but it was real, and pure, and nothing to be made mock of. He wanted my hand. That is the truth of the matter. You are truly an evil man, Lannister."
"And you are truly a fool, Lady Stark. Littlefinger has never loved anyone but Littlefinger, and I promise you that it is not your hand that he boasts of, it's those ripe breasts of yours, and that sweet mouth, and that heat between your legs."
"As I was saying before we were so rudely interrupted, there is a serious flaw in Littlefinger's fable. Whatever you may believe of me, Lady Stark, I promise you this - I never bet against my family."
"We Lannisters have a certain pride."
"Pride? Arrogance, some might call it. Arrogance and avarice and lust for power."
"My brother is undoubtedly arrogant. My father is the soul of avarice, and my sweet sister Cersei lusts for power with every waking breath. I, however, am innocent as a little lamb. Shall I bleat for you?"
"Imp, you will guard that mocking tongue of yours and speak to my son politely, or I promise you will have cause to regret it. Remember where you are. This is the Eyrie, and these are knights of the Vale you see around you, true men who loved Jon Arryn well. Every one of them would die for me."
"Lady Arryn, should any harm come to me, my brother Jaime will be pleased to see that they do."
"Can you fly, my lord of Lannister? Does a dwarf have wings? If not, you would be wiser to swallow the next threat that comes to mind."
"I made no threats. That was a promise."
"Why would you want me as your Hand, if you refuse to listen to my counsel?"
"Why? Why not? Someone has to rule this damnable kingdom. Put on the badge, Ned. It suits you. And if you ever throw it in my face again, I swear to you, I'll pin the damned thing on Jaime Lannister."
"A Lannister always pays his debts."
"Are these the best weapons you could steal? Good enough for killing sheep, perhaps... if the sheep do not fight back. My father's smiths shit better steel."
"What would you give us for your lives, Tyrion son of Tywin? Swords? Lances? Mail?"
"All that, and more, Gunther son of Gurn. I will give you the Vale of Arryn."
"You should have taken the realm for yourself. It was there for the taking. Jaime told me how you found him on the Iron Throne the day King's Landing fell, and made him yield it up. That was your moment. All you needed to do was climb those steps, and sit. Such a sad mistake."
"I have made more mistakes that you can possibly imagine, but that was not one of them."
"Oh, but it was, my lord. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground."
"Every moment you delay gives Cersei another moment to prepare. By the time Robert dies, it may be too late... for both of us."
"Then we should pray that Robert does not die."
"Small chance of that."
"Sometimes the gods are merciful."
"The Lannisters are not."
"The things we love destroy us everytime."
"And my lord father. What a pleasure to find you here."
"I see that the rumors of your demise were unfounded."
"Sorry to disappoint you, Father. No need to leap up and embrace me, I wouldn't want you to strain yourself."
"Kind of you to go to war for me."
"By my lights, it was you who started this. Your brother Jaime would never have meekly submitted to capture at the hands of a woman."
"That's one way we differ, Jaime and I. He's taller as well, you may have noticed."
"The honor of our house was at stake. I had no choice but to ride. No man sheds Lannister blood with impunity."
"Robert Baratheon is dead. Your nephew reigns in King's Landing."
"My sister, you mean."
"Tyrion, have you forgotten your courtesies? Kindly acquaint us with out.. honored guests."
"With pleasure. The fair maid is Chella daughter of Cheyk of the Black Ears. This is Conn son of Coratt. Shagga son of Dolf is the one who looks like Casterly Rock with hair. They are Stone Crows. Here is Ulf son of Umar of the Moon Brothers, and here Timett son of Timett, a red hand of the Burned Men. And this is Bronn, a sellsword of no particular allegiance. He has already changed sides twice in the short time I've known him, you and he ought to get on famously.
"May I present my lord father, Tywin son of Tyros of House Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Warden of the West, Shield of Lannisport, and once and future Hand of the King."
"When they slaughtered my guard, you stood beside the queen and watched, and said not a word."
"And would again. I seem to recall that I was unarmed, unarmoured, and surrounded by Lannister swords. When I was a young boy, before I was cut, I traveled with a troupe of mummers through the Free Cities. They taught me that each man has a role to play, in life as well as mummery. So it is at court. The King's Justice must be fearsome, the master of coin must be frugal, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard must be valiant... and the master of whisperers must be sly and obsequious and without scruple. A courageous informer would be as useless as a cowardly knight."
"I will gladly provide you with paper and ink, if you like. And when you have written what you will, I will take the letter and read it, and deliver it or not, as best serves my own ends."
"Your own ends. What ends are those, Lord Varys?"
"Peace. If there was one soul in King's Landing who was truly desperate to keep Robert Baratheon alive, it was me. For fifteen years I protected him from his enemies, but I could not protect him from his friends."
"What strange fit of madness let you to tell the queen that you had learned the truth of Joffrey's birth?"
"The madness of mercy."
"Ah. To be sure. You are an honest and honorable man, Lord Eddard. Ofttimes I forget that. I have met so few of them in my life. When I see what honesty and honor have won you, I understand why."
"The king's brothers are the ones giving Cersei sleepness nights... Lord Stannis in particular. His claim is the true one, he is known for his prowess as a battle commander, and he is utterly without mercy. There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man."
"The High Septon once told me that as we sin, so do we suffer. If that's true, Lord Eddard, tell me... why is it always the innocents who suffer most, when you high lords play your game of thrones?"
"A child sees an obstacle, and his first thought it to run around it or knock it down. A lord must learn that sometimes words can accomplish what swords cannot."
"Don't you try and frighten me, my Lady. Your husband's in some traitor's cell under the Red Keep, your father's sick, might be dying, and Jaime Lannister's got your brother in chains. What do you have that I should fear? That son of yours? I'll match you son for son, and I'll still have eighteen when yours are all dead.
"Lord Tywin, the proud and splendid, Warden of the West, Hand of the King, oh, what a great man that one is, him and his gold this and gold that and lions here and lions there. I'll wager you, he eats too many beans, he breaks wind just like me, but you'll never hear him admit it, oh, no. What's he got to be so puffed up about anyway? Only two sons, and one of them's a twisted little monster. I'll match him son for son, and I'll still have nineteen and a half left when all of his are dead. If Lord Tywin wants my help, he can bloody well ask for it."
"... if your sister Arya is returned to us safely, it is agreed that she will marry Lord Walder's youngest son, Elmar, when the two of them come of age."
"Arya won't like that one bit."
"And you are to wed one of his daughters, once the fighting is done. His Lordship has graciously consented to allow you to choose whichever girl you prefer. He has a number he thinks might be suitable."
"Do you consent?"
"Can I refuse?"
"Not if you wish to cross."
"Jon, did you ever wonder why the men of the Night's Watch take no wives and father no children? So they will not love, for love is the bane of honor."
"What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms... or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy."
"When Aegon slew Black Harren and claimed his kingdom, Harren's brother was Lord Commander on the Wall, with ten thousand swords to hand. He did not march. In the days when the Seven Kingdoms were seven kingdoms, not a generation passed that three of four of them were not at war. The Watch took no part. When the Andals crossed the narrow sea and swept away the kingdoms of the First Men, the sons of the fallen kings held true to their vows and remained at their posts. So it has always been, for years beyond counting, Such is the price of honor."
"Ferocious? Let me tell you how ferocious they are. Last night, a Moon Brother stabbed a Stone Crow over a sausage. So today as we made camp three Stone Crows seized the man and opened his throat for him. Perhaps they were hoping to get the sausage back, I couldn't say."
Tywin Lannister's battle armor put his son Jaime's gilded suit to shame. His greatcloak was sewn from countless layers of cloth-of-gold, so heavy that it barely stirred even when he charged, so large that its drape covered most of his stallion's hindquarters when he took the saddle. No ordinary clasp would suffice for such a weight, so the greatcloak was held in place by a matched pair of miniature lionesses crouching on his shoulders, as if poised to spring. Their mate, a male with a magnificent mane, reclined atop Lord Tywin's greathelm, one paw raking the air as he roared. All three lions were wrought in gold, with ruby eyes. His armour was heavy steel plate, enameled in a dark crimson greaves and gauntlets inlaid with ornate gold scrollwork. His rondels were golden sunbursts, all his fastenings were gilded, and the red steel was burnished to such a high sheen that it shone like fire in the light of the rising sun.
"You may have lopped the head off the snake, but three quarters of the body is still coiled around my father's castle. We have won a battle, not a war."
"But such a battle! My lady, the realm has not seen such a victory since the Field of Fire, I vow, the Lannisters lost ten men for everyone of ours that fell. We've taken close to a hundred knights captive, and a dozen lords bannermen. Lord Westerling, Lord Banefort, Ser Garth Greenfield, Lord Estren, Ser Tytos Brax, Mallor the Donishman... and three Lannisters besides Jaime, Lord Tywin's own nephews, two of his sister's sons and one of he dead brothers..."
"And Lord Tywin. Have you perchance taken Lord Tywin, Theon?"
"Until you do, this war is far from done."
"... you had best learn to control them. I will not have the city plundered."
"The city? What city would that be?"
"King's Landing. I am sending you to court."
"And what am I to do there?"
"My sweet sister might have a word or two to say about that."
"Let her say what she likes. Her son needs to be taken in hand before he ruins us all. I blame those jackanapes on the council - our friend Petyr, the venerable Grand Maester, and that cockless wonder Lord Varys. What sort of counsel are they giving Joffrey when he lurches from one folly to the next? Whose notion was it to make this Janos Slynt a lord? The man's father was a butcher, and they grant him Harrenhal. Harrenhal, that was the seat of kings! Not that he will ever set foot inside it, if I have a say. I am told he took a bloody spear for his sigil. A bloody cleaver would have been my choice. And dismissing Selmy, where was the sense in that? Yes, the man was old, but the name of Barristan the Bold still has meaning in the realm. He lent honor to any man he served. Can anyone say the same of the Hound? You feed your dog bones under the table, you do not seat him beside you on the high bench. If Cersei cannot curb the boy, you must. And if these councillors are playing us false..."
"Spikes. Heads. Walls."
"Do you think your brother's war is more important than ours? It's not. Gods save us, boy, you're not blind, and you're not stupid. When dead men come hunting in the night, do you think it matters who sits the Iron Throne?"
"... I want you and that wolf of yours when we go beyond the Wall."
"Beyond the Wall?"
"You heard me. I mean to find Ben Stark, alive or dead. I will not sit here meekly and wait for the snows and the ice winds. We must know what is happening. This time the Night's Watch will ride in force, against the King-beyond-the-Wall, the Others, and anything else that may be out there. I mean to command them myself."
"Why not a peace?... Perhaps I do not understand tactics and strategy... but I understand futility. We went to war when Lannister armies were ravaging the riverlands, and Ned was a prisoner, falsely accused of treason. We fought to defend ourselves, and to win my lord's freedom.
"Well, the one is done, and the other forever beyond our reach. I will mourn for Ned until the end of my days, but I must think of the living. I want my daughters back, and the queen holds them still. If I must trade our four Lannisters for their two Starks, I will call that a bargain and thank the gods. I want you safe, Robb, ruling at Winterfell from your father's seat. I want you to live your life, to kiss a girl and wed a woman and father a son. I want to write an end to this. I want to go home, my lords, and weep for my husband."
"Peace. Peace is sweet, my Lady... but on what terms? It is no good hammering your sword into a plowshare if you must forge it again on the morrow."
"MY LORDS! Here is what I say to these two kings! Renly Baratheon is nothing to me, nor Stannis neither. Why should they rule over me and mine, from some flowery seat in Highgarden or Dorne? What do they know of the Wall or the wolfswood or the barrows of the First Men? Even their gods are wrong. The Others take the Lannisters too, I've had a bellyful of them. Why shouldn't we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead! There sits the only king I mean to bend my knee to, m'lords. The King in the North!"