Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, and likewise A Song of Ice and Fire is one the most popular fantasy book series. Everyone knows Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen. But what about all those secondary characters, the ones who support, antagonize, and push along our favorite figures? Bone up on your GoT by reading about these 38 lesser-known Game of Thrones characters.
36. Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun
Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, or as the Free Folk affectionately call him, “Wun Wun,” is one of the last known giants in Westeros. He is 14 feet tall, and possesses the strength of 12 men. In the books, we learn that he is a vegetarian. George R.R. Martin named him after the former New York Giants quarterback, Phil Simms, whose number is 11 (“one one” or “win wun”).
35. Aemon Targaryen
Maester Aemon lived with the Night’s Watch, but he holds a secret: he is actually the oldest living Targaryen, and should be sitting on the Iron Throne. Aemon gave up his rights to the throne when he joined the Night’s Watch, and the crown went to his brother Aegon.
34. Rhaella Targaryen
Rhaella was both the sister and wife of the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. Rhaella fled to Dragonstone with her son Viserys after the death of her eldest, Rhaegar. She later died giving birth to Daenerys.
33. Brandon Stark The Elder
Brandon Stark the Elder was Ned Stark’s brother, and was heir to Winterfell. Aerys ordered the killing of Brandon and his father Rickard after they protested Rhaegar’s apparent kidnapping of Lyanna Stark.
32. Dontos Hollard
Ser Dontos Hollard was the very last member of House Hollard left alive. He was once a knight, but King Joffrey took away his title, and forced him to be a fool.
Young Olly’s family farm and village were destroyed by The Free Folk. As a result, he hates the Wildlings, and joined up with the Night’s Watch. Ygritte, Jon Snow’s lover, actually killed Olly’s father. Olly does not exist in the books, but Jon Snow does help rescue a young boy to join the Night’s Watch. He was prostituted all his life, and his name was Satin.
Pypar is another young member of the Night’s Watch. He used to be professional singer until a lord tried to force him into sexual favors. As punishment, he was sent to Castle Black. He earns the nickname “Pyp” and is trained in sword fighting by Jon Snow. Sadly, Ygritte kills Pyp during a battle with the Wildlings.
29. Illyrio Mopatis
You may not remember Illyrio Mopatis by name, but without him, the Game of Thrones story line wouldn’t be the same. He is a Merchant Prince who cuts a lot of business deals—including the arranged marriage behind Khal Drogo and Daenerys. If it wasn’t for Illyrio’s ruthless deals, Daenerys wouldn’t be a Khaleesi.
28. The Little Birds
Varys’s “Little Birds” are actually a network of children. In different locations throughout Westeros, the Master of Whisperers is responsible for gathering the secrets collected by the little birds. In the books, many of these children had their tongues cut out by Illyrio Mopatis.
Qyburn is a former Maester who performed experiments on human beings that were so horrific he was stripped of his rights to practice as a doctor at the Citadel. Qyburn is also responsible for reanimating Ser Gregor Clegane, “The Mountain.” He eventually became Cersei Lannister’s Master of Whisperers and Hand of the Queen.
26. Archmaester Ebrose
When Samwell Tarly goes to the Citadel to become a Maester, he is taught by Archmaester Ebrose.
25. Ser Ilyn Payne
Ser Ilyn Payne is the royal executioner. His tongue was ripped out by the Mad King Aerys, so he cannot speak. He beheaded Ned Stark, and he is on Arya’s death list. He had his tongue ripped out for suggesting that Tywin Lannister was the true ruler of Westeros, rather than King Aerys II.
24. Symon Silver Tongue
When singer Ed Sheeran made an appearance in Season 7 of the show, he got a mixed reaction from fans. However, his cameo is rooted in the book: the song Sheeran sings, “Hands of Gold,” is written by the minstrel Symon Silvertongue, who uses it to blackmail Tyrion Lannister about his lover Shae.
23. Tycho Nestoris
As an employee of the Iron Bank of Braavos, Tycho Nestoris negotiates loans in the Seven Kingdoms. In the books, he loans Jon Snow money so that Snow can afford to feed the men of Castle Black during the winter. In the TV show, he sides with Cersei Lannister.
22. Beric Dondarrion
Beric Dondarrion was the Lord of Blackhaven, and the Lord of Light brought him back to life six times. Dondarrion explains that every time he comes back to life, he becomes less and less human. He loses memories but keeps injuries from past deaths, like losing an eye. The only person who can bring him back to life is the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr.
21. Thoros of Myr
Speaking of Thoros: Thoros is an alcoholic priest who had lost faith in the Lord of Light until he was able to bring Beric Dondarrion back from the dead. Thoros was the one who told The Red Priestess, Melisandre, that it was actually possible to resurrect people from the dead.
The Red Priestess Melisandre appears so often in the TV show that she is not exactly lesser-known—but her backstory is. In the books, we learn that she was once a slave girl named Melony. She was sold to the temple of the Lord of the Light when she was very young, but she still barely sleeps because she is haunted by her memories as a slave. She is also centuries old, but her powers keep her looking young.
19. Podrick Payne
You already know and love Brienne of Tarth’s squire, Podrick Payne. In the books, he was only 12 years old in the beginning of the story. They aged him to be in his late teens in the TV version, so many of the events in the show are different than the books, aside from the fact that Brienne teaches him the skills necessary to become a Knight.
18. Taena Merryweather
In the books, Taena Merryweather was one of Robert Baratheon’s lovers. Cersei found out about their affair and commanded Taena to appear before her. They have a sexual encounter because Cersei wanted to know what it felt like to have the power of a man. This scene was never included in the TV series.
17. Daario Naharis
Following Daario Naharis’ storyline in the TV show may be confusing because he is actually played by two different actors. He is best remembered as the lover Daenerys takes after the death of Khal Drogo. In the books, he has dyed blue hair, a golden mustache, and a gold tooth.
16. The Baratheon Baby
While it is never really discussed in the TV series, Cersei’s first child was with her former husband, Robert Baratheon. He had black hair, like his father, but died soon after his birth. If he had survived, he would have been the rightful heir to the Iron Throne instead of Joffrey. After that point, Cersei’s children were exclusively fathered by Jaime.
15. Mance Rayder
As a baby, Mance Rayder was left on the steps of Castle Black, and he was raised by the Night’s Watch. He went beyond the wall in order to help unite the 90 different clans of the North together, but ended up becoming the leader of the Free Folk.
14. Dickon Tarly
Dickon is Samwell Tarly’s younger brother; Randyll Tarly, the boys’ father, heavily favors Dickon and sent Samwell to the Night’s Watch in order to allow Dickon to inherit the estate.
13. Eddison Tollett
Eddison Tollett is one of Jon Snow’s best friends. He is the leader of the Night’s Watch while Jon is absent.
12. The Spice King
The city of Qarth was powerful and profitable, and run essentially by slave labor. The Spice King told Daenerys that his name is too difficult for foreigners to pronounce, so he just goes by “Spice King” because, as you might imagine, he trades spices. He was assassinated by Pyat Pree, the warlock of Qarth, along with 10 of the other 13 ruling council members.
11. Roslin Tully
Walder Frey has dozens of daughters, but his most beautiful is Roslin. Roslin was betrothed to Robb Stark before Robb reneged on the agreement and married Talisa Maegyr instead.
10. Edmure Tully
Edmure is Catelyn Stark’s brother; he is uncle to all of the Stark children. After Robb spurns the Frey alliance, Roslin marries Edmure—although this is all part of an elaborate trap, and Edmure is captured soon after bedding his bride.
9. Tormund Giantsbane
Tormund Giantsbane is a raider for the Wildlings, and he has led his people in battle on a number of occasions. He eventually becomes good friends with Jon Snow. In the books, he is much older, and has 5 children. In the show, Tormund has his sights set on Brienne of Tarth.
8. Grand Maester Pycelle
Grand Maester Pycelle once stood on the council of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. After Robert’s Rebellion, he switched his loyalty to Robert Baratheon. Once Cersei Lannister became Queen at King’s Landing, he switched loyalties yet again.
Bronn is a sellsword hired by Jaime and Tyrion Lannister. Bronn doesn’t have a house or a last name, and very little is known about his background. Joffrey eventually rewards him with a Knighthood for his skill in battle.
6. Martyn and Willem Lannister
Martyn and Willem Lannister were the younger sons of Kevan Lannister. They were first cousins to Cersei, Tyrion, and Jaime before they were captured by Edmure Tully and murdered by Rickard Karstark.
5. Lancel Lannister
Lancel Lannister was the eldest son of Kevan Lannister, and a first cousin to Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. He worked as a squire under Robert Baratheon, and in the books it is said that he resembles Jaime Lannister. Lancel’s cousins use him until he leaves to join the cult of the High Sparrow.
4. Trystane Martell
Young Prince Trystane was heir to the Martell family, and became engaged to Myrcella Lannister. In the show, the two actually fall in love while spending time together in Dorne. However, their young bliss is cut short by the hands of fate: Trystane and Myrcella are both murdered by the Sand Snakes.
3. Obara Sand
Obara Sand is one of Oberyn Martell’s eight illegitimate daughters, and is one of the Sand Snakes. She is known for being very serious and showing little to no emotion.
A mysterious, mask-wearing woman who goes by the name “Quaithe” approaches Ser Jorah Mormont in Season 2. She warns him that someday men will try to take Daenerys’s dragons.
1. Mirri Maz Duur
Mirri Maz Duur was a healer for the Dothraki. When Khal Drogo is gravely injured, Duur uses blood magic to heal him. This sets off a dark chain of events: Drogo is never fully himself, and Daenerys births a stillborn child. Duur also foresees that Daenerys will never bear children.
Daenerys Targaryen was supposedly cursed by Mirri Maz Duur, but most fans have no clue that the curse may actually be a prophecy.
Dany asks Mirri, “When will he [Drogo] be as he was?”
“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” Mirri Maz Duur responds. “When the seas go dry and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”
This speech has often been interpreted as Mirri cursing Dany, but several fan theories have theorized that Khal Drogo will actually return to Dany after the prophecy is fulfilled. The sun rising in the west and setting in the east is interpreted as being a reference to Quentyn Martell’s (the symbol of his house is the sun and the spear) journey to Meeren and his death there. The seas going dry supposedly refers to the browning of the Dothraki Sea. The other points are a bit trickier to explain, but rest assured, there’s no shortage of possible explanations (isn’t that always the case with prophecy?).
Will Drogo actually return? It remains to be seen, but it’s also possible that the simplest explanation is correct: Mirri was just talking smack, and this “prophecy” is equivalent to saying “when hell freezes over.”