Saturday, April 12, 2014

A-Z #GameofThrones Characters - My #AtoZchallenge #GoT

A lot of authors are doing April's A-Z Challenge, which involves aiming for a blog post a day using that day's letter as inspiration.  It definitely sounds challenging to me, in terms of time...aside from teaching classes, I have to work on my fourth manuscript, get my older son to regular PT appointments, get my younger son to baseball and soccer, and just keep up with life in general.

But it also sounds kind of fun, so I came up with my own way to participate.  I've written about how much I enjoyed the A Song of Ice and Fire series in the past, on my favorite books list.  When my teenage son broke his leg in February, he and I started watching the Game of Thrones television series together to help keep him occupied during those days on the couch.  And I was happily back in George R. R. Martin's world, hooked all over again.

So my twist on the A-Z Challenge was to see if I could find a character name or nickname for each letter of the alphabet.  One post, with a long list.  Some letters had so many popular characters, it was difficult to choose who to profile!  But here's what I came up with.  If you're just watching the shows, you won't find any spoilers here.  If I included a name only mentioned in the books, I only gave basic background information.  Overall, I tried to stay away from major plot points and just list history and interesting facts.  I thought I knew the series fairly well, but I learned a lot from my A-Z Challenge!

Arya Stark of
A is for: Arya Stark, the only character to have POV (point of view) chapters in all 5 of the published novels.  She is the third of five children of Catelyn and Eddard Stark of Winterfell.  Also known as Arya Underfoot, she’s a fiery, spirited girl who shuns the proper behavior of a noblewoman to pursue adventure and sword fighting.

B is for: Brienne the Beauty, a sarcastic nickname for Brienne of Tarth which refers to her unfeminine appearance and demeanor.  Brienne’s height and strength allow her to become an adept swordfighter, and she is allowed to join Renly Baratheon’s Rainbow Guard.  Later she pledges her service to Lady Catelyn Stark of Winterfell.

C is for: Cersei, the eldest child of Tywin Lannister, born seconds before her twin brother Jaime.  She became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms when she married Robert Baratheon. 

D is for: Drogo, a Khal of the Dothraki nomadic tribes.  Drogo led the largest khalasar on the Dothraki Sea, and his long braid symbolized his status as an undefeated warrior.  Drogo is given Daenerys Targaryen as a bride in exchange for providing an army for Viserys Targaryen to take back the Iron Throne.

E is for: Edmure Tully, the son of Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun and the younger brother of Catelyn (Tully) Stark and Lysa (Tully) Arryn.

Worth her weight
in silver

F is for: Fat Walda, a granddaughter of Walder Frey, Lord of the Twins.  The heavy-set Walda is selected by Lord Roose Bolton as a bride when Lord Frey offered a dowry equal to the chosen bride’s weight in silver.

G is for: Gendry, a blacksmith apprentice who, unbeknownst to most, is also the bastard son of King Robert Baratheon.  His mother died when he was young, and an anonymous patron paid double the customary fee for his apprenticeship at a King’s Landing blacksmith.  Gendry is later sold and leaves King’s Landing with Yoren, a recruiter for the Night’s Watch, the men who guard the Wall.

H is for: Hodor, the nickname of Walder, a mentally challenged stableboy at Winterfell.  He says only one word: “Hodor”.  Because of this, the Stark children believed this to be his name.  His is kind and loyal, and his superior size and strength allow him to carry the injured Bran Stark on his back.

I is for: the Imp, a nickname, along with the Halfman, for the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, third child of Tywin.  Tyrion’s birth resulted in the death of his mother, Joanna Lannister; his father blames him for this and abhors his deformity.  But Tyrion makes up for his lack of height and respect with a clever mind and a quick wit.

J is for: Joffrey Baratheon, the son of the Queen Regent Cersei, who claims the throne as a young boy when King Robert dies in a hunting incident.  Joffrey is the eldest Baratheon child and is known for being spoiled, cruel, and temperamental.  He is twelve years old at the start of the books.  Nicknames include Joffrey the Illborn, the Young Usurper, and Aerys the third.

K is for: Kingslayer, the nickname earned by Jaime Lannister when, as a member of the Kingsguard, he drew his sword on the king he vowed to protect and killed the Mad King Aerys II Targaryen.  Jaime was knighted by Ser Arthur Dayne at the age of fifteen, and joined the Kingsguard as the order’s youngest member in history, partly in an attempt to avoid a marriage to Lysa Tully. 

L is for: Lord Snow, the nickname of Jon Snow, a bastard (and therefore not likely to ever be a lord) apparently fathered by Ned Stark of Winterfell.  Jon is fourteen years old at the start of the books; his true-born brother, Robb, was only slightly older.  Growing up among nobles, Jon is constantly made aware of his diminished status and prospects.  Eventually this leads to him follow his Uncle Benjen’s path to the Wall to join the Night’s Watch.

M is for: Melisandre, the Red Woman, a priestess of R’hllor originally from Asshai.  Melisandre, a former slave sold at auction, came to Dragonstone because she believed Stannis Baratheon was Azor Ahai reborn.  Ancient prophecy claims that Azor Ahai, a legendary hero who forged a sword of fire, defeated the Others (White Walkers) thousands of years ago and will return to fight them again.  Conflicting legends give credit to the first men of the Night’s Watch for defeating the Others in the Battle for the Dawn.

A gray direwolf is
the sigil of House Stark
N is for: Nymeria, a huge wolf belonging to Arya.  Nymeria was one of the six direwolves found orphaned in the woods and adopted by the five legitimate Stark siblings and Jon Snow, the bastard sibling.  Although now rare, the direwolf is the sigil of House Stark.

O is for: the Onion Knight, the nickname of former smuggler Davos Seaworth.  Davos began as a lowborn child in Flea Bottom, but eventually came to command his own ship, the Black Betha.  When a blockade had the men at Storm’s End starving during Robert’s Rebellion, Davos snuck through with onions and other food, thus sustaining Stanis Baratheon’s garrison there until help arrived in the form of Eddard Stark.  As a result, Stannis knighted Davos, but cut off the fingers of his left hand to exact payment for the Onion Knight’s past crimes.

P is for: Lord Petyr Baelish, known as Littlefinger.  Petyr was born on the Fingers, which are rocky strips of land in the Vale of Aryyn which protrude into the narrow sea.  A friendship between his father and Hoster Tully resulted in Petyr being fostered as a child at Riverrun; the Tully children gave him his nickname in reference to his family’s small land holdings.  Petyr fell in love with Catelyn, although the feelings were not returned.  He challenged Brandon Stark to a duel when their engagement was announced, and Cat begged Brandon not to kill him.  At the opening of the books, Littlefinger has risen to the court’s small council, serving as Master of Coin.

Q is for: Queen of Thorns, a nickname given to Lady Olenna Redwyne based on her clever, sharp comments.  She is the mother of Mace Tyrell and the grandmother of Margaery.  She is quite loyal to House Tyrell, which she married into long ago, but that does not stop her from making her trademark sarcastic criticisms of its members as well.

R is for: Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, the eldest son of the Mad King Aerys II and an heir to the Iron Throne.  His alleged abduction of Lyanna Stark, who was betrothed to Robert Baratheon, triggered Robert’s Rebellion and consequently the end of the Targaryen rule.  Although the Targaryen custom was to wed brother to sister to maintain a pure bloodline, Daenerys had not been born when it was time for Rhaegar to marry; he was eventually married to Elia Martell, a Dornish princess.  They had two children, a daughter Rhaenys and a son Aegon.  However, at the Tourney of Harrenhal, Rhaegar crowned Lyanna the “Queen of Love and Beauty” instead of his wife; he kidnapped Lyanna a year later and died at the Battle of the Trident, killed by Robert.

S is for: Sandor Clegane, known as the Hound because of his family’s crest of three dogs as well as his size and demeanor.  His older brother, Ser Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, shoved Sandor’s face into a brazier when they were children; as a result, the Hound’s face is horribly scarred, and although he became a fierce warrior, he fears fire.  Although he refused to take a knight’s vows, Sandor was named to the Kingsguard when Ser Barristan Selmy was dismissed.

T is for: Theon Greyjoy, last living son of Lord Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands.  Following the Greyjoy Rebellion, Theon became a hostage as a ward of Lord Stark of Winterfell.

Daenerys Stormborn
U is for: the Unburnt, one of the many nicknames of Daenerys Targaryen, the last known survivor of House Targaryen.  Having been born in exile, she has no memory of the kingdom her father, the Mad King Aerys II, once ruled.  Her mother, Rhaella, the wife and sister of Aerys, died as she gave birth to Dany while a terrible storm lashed the walls of Dragonstone.  The infant Dany and her brother Viserys were then smuggled to the city of Braavos with the help of men loyal to the Targaryen House.

V is for: Lord Varys, a eunuch known as the Spider; he is part of the court’s small council as the Master of Whisperers.  Born a slave in Lys, he ended up in Pentos, and his reputation as the leader of a spy network earned him the notice of the Mad King Aerys II, who was sinking deeper and deeper into paranoia.

W is for: Wymen Manderly, Lord of White Harbor, also known as Lord-Too-Fat-To-Sit-A-Horse.  He is often mocked for his size and subsequently dismissed as an ineffectual leader; this is a label Lord Manderly uses to his advantage.  He is the warden of the north’s primary trade port and a loyal supporter of House Stark.

X is for: Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a member of the Thirteen of Qarth, a group of influential merchants.  When Daenerys and her small group arrive in Qarth, desperate and exhausted, Xaro allows them into the walled city and offers them respite in his palace.

Y is for: Ygritte, a wildling from north of the Wall.  While the wildlings embrace their freedom from “kneeling”, they chose to follow their elected leader, Mance Rayder, “The-King-Beyond-the-Wall”.  Ygritte encounters Jon Snow when a wildling scouting party is ambushed by members of the Night’s Watch.

Z is for: Zollo, known as Zollo the Fat, a Dothraki member of the Brave Companions, a sellsword company also referred to as the Bloody Mummers.  The Brave Companions are a particularly vicious group of mercenaries comprised of criminals and outcasts from other nations, led by Vargo Hoat, The Goat.  


  1. Thanks Zoe! Have a great weekend :)

  2. I haven't watched Game of Thrones before, but apparently I should because everyone loves it. Besides that, these characters sound great!

  3. Thank you and thanks also for stopping by Chrys and Angela! The cast of characters is truly amazing...the backstories alone are intriguing. Martin has an incredible imagination and gift for storytelling.