Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Game of Thrones Characters A-Z #AtoZChallenge #GoT #GameofThrones

Game of Thrones is coming back!  To say I’m excited is an understatement.  This series of books has long been a favorite, and watching the show has become a treasured family event in a stage where convincing two teenage boys to spend time with me can be difficult.  A few years ago, I did a GoT version of “TheA-Z Blog Challenge”, something many authors participate in during the month of April.  The idea is to post a new topic every day, using the alphabet for inspiration, but instead, I made one big post highlighting one GoT character for each letter of the alphabet. It has been so popular, I decided to do it again with a new list.  I tried to find characters included in both the books and the show if possible, and if you’ve watched the show up to the latest season, you won’t find any spoilers.

A is for: Aerys II, the last Targaryen to rule the Seven Kingdoms.  He became known as the Mad King after grief and imprisonment contributed to his downward spiral of cruelty and paranoia.  When his eldest surviving son, Rhaegar, allegedly kidnapped Lyanna Stark, the eldest Stark brother, Brandon, rode to King’s Landing.  Aerys arrested Brandon for threats against the crown, and executed both Brandon and his father, Lord Rickard Stark, in a horrific manner.  When he then demanded the heads of Eddard (Ned) Stark and Robert Baratheon, Lyanna’s fiancé, the war known as Robert’s Rebellion began.  Aerys was killed by Jaime Lannister, a member of his own Kingsguard.

B is for: Balon Greyjoy, the Lord of the Iron Islands.  Shortly after Robert’s Rebellion and ascension to the throne, Balon declared Greyjoy’s Rebellion, seeking the title of King of the Iron Islands.  The revolt failed, and Balon was forced to send his only surviving son, Theon, to live as a ward of the Starks.

C is for: Catelyn Stark, wife of Eddard (Ned) Stark.  Cat grew up a Tully at Riverrun, where Petyr Baelish lived as her father’s ward.  She was betrothed to Brandon Stark but was later married to Ned when Brandon was executed.

Michael Huisman as Daario Naharas
on HBO's Game of Thrones
D is for: Daario Naharas, one of the captains of the Stormcrows, a mercenary company hired to defend Yunkai from Daenerys’ invading army.  When Daario meets Daenerys, she invites him to switch allegiance, and after killing the other captains, he brings the Stormcrows to her side.  Eventually they become lovers.

E is for: Ellaria Sand, a paramour of Prince Oberyn Martell of Dorne.  She is the father of several of his illegitimate daughters, a group known as the Sand Snakes

F is for: Free Folk, the term those who live north of (or “beyond”) the wall use to describe themselves, because they do not recognize the authority of a royal king.  Those in the Seven Kingdoms refer to the Free Folk as Wildlings because of their more primitive lifestyle.

G is for: Gilly, one of women held at Craster’s Keep.  Craster, a Wildling who married his daughters and granddaughters, sacrificed all his male babies to the White Walkers (The “Others”).  When the Night’s Watch sheltered at the Keep, Gilly begged one of the brothers, Samwell Tarly, to help her escape in order to protect her male child.

H is for: High Sparrow, the name taken by the current High Septon, or head, of The Faith of the Seven, the religion followed by the majority of the Westeros (the exceptions being the north and the Iron Islands).  The term “new gods” refers to the “Seven Who Are One” worshiped in The Faith: Father, Mother, Warrior, Maiden, Smith, Crone, Stranger.

I is for: Ilyn Payne, whose tongue was removed with hot pincers by the Mad King when he repeated a rumor that Tywin Lannister, the King’s Hand at the time, was really running the Seven Kingdoms.  He was later named the King’s Justice, or the royal executioner, under King Robert Baratheon.

J is for: Jaqen H’ghar, one of the Faceless Men who worship a god of death known as the Many-Faced God.  He was imprisoned in a cage on a trip north to join the Night’s Watch, and when Arya Stark saved his life, he gave her a coin and a phrase to give to any man of Braavos should she need help in the future.

K is for: King Tommen, the young, newly crowned ruler who became king when King Joffrey was poisoned at his own wedding.  While Tommen inherited the Iron Throne through his Baratheon name, his claim is disputed since he appears to be the son of Cersei and Jaime Lannister and thus both illegitimate and the child of an incestuous relationship.  He married Margaery Tyrell, the bride of his deceased brother.

Dean-Charles Chapman and Natalie Dormer as King Tommen
and Queen Margaery on HBO's Game of Thrones


L is for: Loras Tyrell, the Knight of the Flowers and Queen Margaery’s brother.  He is a handsome and skilled knight and the former lover of Renly Baratheon, one of the three claimants of the Iron Throne during the War of the Five Kings.  The two other “kings” involved were the leaders of separatist groups, Robb Stark as the King of the North and Balon Greyjoy as the King of the Iron Islands.

M is for: Missandei, a handmaid and confidant of Daenerys Targaryen.  Originally from Naath, or the Isle of Butterflies in the Summer Sea, she was captured and sold into slavery in Astapor.  She serves as a translator when Daenerys buys the Unsullied, and is then offered employment once Daenerys sets all the slaves free.

N is for: Nissa Nissa, the wife of the hero Azor Ahai in legends.  According to followers of R’hollor (the Red God, the Lord of Light), Azor Ahai was chosen to fight the darkness blanketing the world, and in order to create the sword he needed, he sacrificed his wife Nissa Nissa, driving the blade through her heart so her soul melded with the steel.  Followers of R’hollor believe Azor Ahai will return to stand against the Others.

O is for: Osha, a wildling woman captured by the Starks during an assault on young Bran.  Although forced into servitude in exchange for her life, she formed a strong bond with the Stark children remaining in Winterfell, and along with Hodor and the direwolves, helped them escape a siege.

P is for: Podrick Payne.  Pod is a distant cousin of Ser Ilyn Payne and served as Tyrion Lannister’s squire.  At the Battle of the Blackwater, he intervened when a member of the Kingsguard attacked Tyrion.  As a result, Tyrion survived the assassination attempt, although he suffered a terrible wound to his face.

Q is for: Qyburn, a former maester stripped of his chains and title for performing unethical experiments on live patients.  He attends to Jaime Lannister’s severed limb at Harrenhal and then returns to King’s Landing with him.  After Ser Gregor Clegane, The Mountain, is gravely wounded fighting Prince Oberyn Martell, Qyburn conducts extensive experiments and possibly dark magic on the poisoned knight.

R is for: Ramsay Bolton, a former bastard of Roose Bolton known as Ramsay Snow.  He is a cruel sadist who enjoys hunting humans and the Bolton tradition of flaying enemies alive.  When the Boltons attack Winterfell, Ramsay takes Theon as his prisoner, renames him “Reek” after a former servant, and tortures him extensively.  After Ramsay’s wedding, which gives him a claim to Winterfell, King Tommen I grants a decree of legitimization to make Ramsay a Bolton.

S is for: Samwell Tarly, a member of the Night’s Watch and Jon Snow’s best friend.  He was forced to “take the black” by his father, who felt his timid oldest son did not deserve the position of inheritance.  With Jon’s support, Sam grows braver, and eventually earns the nickname Sam the Slayer after killing an Other with a piece of dragonglass.  Sam’s dream is to become a maester, and after Jon is made Lord Commander, he allows Sam—with Gilly and her baby—to leave for Oldtown to begin his studies.     

T is for: Tysha, a peasant girl saved from a group of men by Jaime and Tyrion Lannister.  A 13-year-old Tyrion fell in love with her and quickly married her.  When his father Tywin found out his son had married a crofter’s daughter, he instructed Jaime to lie to his brother, telling Tyrion she was a whore, paid to sleep with him; he then forced Tyrion to watch the guards gang rape her.  
  
U is for: the Unsullied, slaves chosen at a young age to train as soldiers in Astapor.  The Unsullied are treated brutally, castrated, and stripped of any individuality.  Those who survive become disciplined and highly skilled fighters.  While Daenerys is in Astapor, she buys every Unsullied from the slaver and then orders her new army to kill all the Good Masters and other supporters of the slave trade.

The baby dragons in a scene
from HBO's Game of Thrones
V is for: Viserion, one of the three dragons born from the eggs gifted to Daenerys for her wedding to Khal Drogo.  They hatch when Daenerys burns the eggs in Drogo’s funeral pyre in the Dothraki Sea.  Viserion is named for Viserys Targaryen, Daenerys’s older brother.  The ancient connection between House Targaryen and dragons dates back to the Doom of Valyria, which left only five dragons in existence—the five House Targaryen had brought to Dragonstone when they went into exile. 

W is for: Walder Frey, Lord of the Twins (also called the Crossing)—identical towers on either side of the Trident river connected by a stone bridge.  He is almost 90 years old and has many offspring, both legitimate and illegitimate.  A deal is struck to marry two Freys to Robb and Arya Stark when Robb Stark’s host requires the bridge during the War of the Five Kings, but Robb breaks his promise and marries another.  “The Red Wedding” is Frey’s revenge.  
  
X is for: Xanda Qo, a female warrior and princess who lived on the Summer Isles.  Once a slave herself, she put an end to the “Years of Shame” by uniting the islands under her rule and eventually ending slavery there.  Current lords from the Summer Isles attended Daenerys and Khal Drogo’s wedding, and dancers from the Summer Isles performed at the royal wedding of King Joffrey and Queen Margaery.

Y is for: the Yunkai’i, citizens of the city of Yunkai in Essos.  Yunkai sits on the coast of Slaver’s Bay and the Wise Masters participate in slave trade.  After Daenerys attacks and defeats Yunkai, she sets all the slaves free before continuing on to Meereen.

Z is for: Zamettar, a ruined city on the coast of Sothoryos, which is one of the four known continents in the A Song of Ice and Fire world (the others being Westeros, Essos, and Ulthos).  Nymeria, a Princess of the Rhoynar, led her people into exile after defeat by the Valyrian Freehold and settled briefly on Zamettar before continuing on to Dorne, where she married a Martell.  Their allied forces conquered the remainder of Dorne, and previous kings were sent to the wall.

There you have it, my A-Z wrap-up--hope you enjoyed!  See my first A-Z Game of Thrones Characters here for more.  And if you’re a fan of spooky suspense and steamy romance, grab one of my books to help pass the time to premier day!

SILVER LAKE – A haunting, an old flame, and secrets from the past…

GULL HARBOR – A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await Claire…

DIVINE FALL – (Young Adult) Revenge, Romance, and a Rogue Fallen Angel…


Sources: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and A Wiki of Ice and Fire. 

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