Read Game of Thrones A-Z Online

Authors: Martin Howden

Tags: #History, #Reference, #Dictionaries & Terminology, #Writing

Game of Thrones A-Z (8 page)

BOOK: Game of Thrones A-Z
4.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


While season one is played like an old-fashioned murder mystery, with Ned Stark desperately seeking answers as to who killed his mentor Jon Arryn, there is a far deeper mystery at hand that is still to be resolved – who is Jon Snow’s mother?

The bastard son of Eddard Stark is a tag that Snow has been branded with, and one that makes him bristle from the many remarks that come his way. He wears the insults like a wounded soldier; they keep him in check and make sure he never feels too important.

Raised by his father, he forms a likeable bond with his brother and sisters but meets resistance from their mother, Catelyn Stark. To her, his presence is a daily reminder of her beloved husband’s infidelity. She treats him coldly, and his warm relationship with her children upsets her.

Kit Harington, who plays Jon, said about their relationship to
, ‘I think he’s given up on it. It’s not a question that goes away, obviously he wants to know, and we want to know who his mother is, but that’s the hard thing about his father’s death.’

Not only has Jon lost his father; he’s also lost his mother, because the day that Ned died so did his mother’s identity. ‘So unless Catelyn knows – and she’s never going to tell him, and is he never going to see her again – so the question of his mother’s identity is forsaken; he can’t learn anymore,’ Harington explained.

‘It’s never going to happen, that they’ll reconcile. I think, from the word go, it was hatred. Well, he didn’t hate her, but she hated him.’

Believing his calling to be that of the Night’s Watch, Snow had heard tales of a noble breed of warriors who help protect the North from wildings and other creatures. He longed to serve there, seeing it as a chance to carve out his own identity for himself, find a new family and not be tarred with the same brush as his namesake.

He joins the Watch but takes time to settle in, realising that the notion of noble soldiers was a lie. Delinquents are rounded up and are given the choice of maiming, death or a place at Castle Black to serve as part of the Night’s Watch. Nevertheless, he quickly realises that this is the family he was searching for.

Snow is assigned to a scouting party in the mountains with a task to kill former Night’s Watch member Mance Rayder – the King-Beyond-the-Wall. While out Beyond the Wall, one of his tasks is to take out a group of wilding sentries, one being a woman. His reluctance to kill her sees her managing to escape. He eventually captures her again, but he has lost the other members of the scouting party.

However, when the wildings capture him and one of the other scouting party members, Jon is told by the Night’s Watch man to kill him and go undercover to discover the wilding’s plans.

Separated from his Night’s Watch, Snow meets up with Mance Rayder, and over time he learns of the King-Beyond-the-Wall’s plans to invade the Seven Kingdoms. He also becomes the lover of Ygritte, the woman he was supposed to kill, breaking the Night’s Watch vows of chastity. After spending a lot of time with Mance Rayder and the wildings, Snow manages to escape and heads to Castle Black; he sees off the wilding raiders – including Ygritte, who dies in his arms. They hold the wall for several days, but, when Alliser Thorne and Janos Slynt arrive at Castle Black, he is arrested for his defection. Snow is eventually released from prison and ends up growing into his position as a leader. However, he is stabbed seemingly to death by his fellow commanders because of his insubordination and willingness to team up the Watch with wildings. We still don’t know who his mother is – with possible suspects including Ashara Dayne and a wet nurse called Wylla – but one popular theory is that Ned Stark isn’t his father after all. He was, in fact, protecting Jon under the pretence that he is his dad. If that’s the case, it limits who his dad could be – with Rhaegar Targaryen often mooted. Rhaegar was the son of the Mad King, and is alleged to have kidnapped Lyanna Stark – Ned’s sister, who Robert Baratheon was betrothed to. This would kick-start the events leading to Robert’s Rebellion, but there are some who believe that Rhaegar hadn’t kidnapped her but, in fact, loved her. Robert’s loathing of all things Targaryen was never better seen when he was presented with the bodies of Rhaegar’s dead children after he won his battle against the Mad King. With Ned disgusted at the thought that these kids were slain, Robert was almost happy. If his beloved Lyanna did fall pregnant with Rhaegar, who knows what Robert would do. And so it would stand to reason that Ned would pretend the child was his, despite having his wife believe he had an affair, if he knew the baby of his sister would come to harm.

Jon Snow is played by Kit Harington.

Kit Harington’s life changed when he starred in the original London stage production of
War Horse
, which would eventually become a motion picture by Steven Spielberg.

He said about his character to
, ‘When I first got the part, I devoured the books and ended up far, far ahead of myself. They’re page-turners. But I had to reel it back in because I was just too far ahead. I really like having the source material there – some actors don’t, some actors just want to know it’s in the script, but if I have the character there on paper and it has more than what’s in the TV script, I want to know.’

Harington continued, ‘He did want to know who his mother is, but it isn’t what makes him tick; it’s that he wants to prove that he’s more than a bastard. He’s a good man, like his father, and he wants to prove it. He knows he may see his brothers and sisters again, he may see the South again, he may avenge his father’s death, but right now he’s with the Night’s Watch and there he can rise and be the best.

‘He’s always making mistakes, Jon, because he’s trying too hard to impress. He’s very good at what he does and he’s a natural born leader, but like any young man he makes mistakes. He makes mistakes this second season, for sure.’

Despite the original mutterings of disapproval that Kit was too old to play the 14-year-old character from the book, he is now seen as a heartthrob, and many female fans are happy with the changes that Weiss and Benioff oversaw.

He found working on the second season harder than the first. ‘It was harder because our outfits were bigger, that was the main difference,’ he explained. ‘Last year we were in the training yard with minimal stuff on, but here we’re trekking north of the Wall and you’ve got your big cloak on, and then layers and layers of stuff – they just keep layering you up – and under that you have your thermals and so on. So when we were in Iceland, we choreographed a fight that we practised every day to where it got to a really sticky point.’

When they put on the costumes, it became even harder.

‘And then we put on the costumes and we couldn’t move. It was just like, this is useless, what are we going to do? But actually what it did is it informed the fight. Because in the real world, fights are dirty, vicious things; they’re not eloquent and beautifully photographed. That’s what we learned. It wasn’t going to be beautiful to watch, it’s not a flowing fight scene, it’s going to be what it is: we’re in a lot of gear, we’re in that much snow – doing a fight in snow is something else – and it turned into a hard slog.’

Harington went on to explain that he’d gained more insight into his character as filming continued. ‘I’ve really started to understand Jon more as we’ve gone on, and I think having a break between the first season and the second season,’ he said. ‘Weirdly, though I wasn’t thinking about him every day, he matured in my head a bit. The first season, I loved doing, but I was always looking forward to the second. The first season was about his conflict, about whether he wants to be with his family or at the Wall, and he gets very inward. At the end of the first season, he finally makes the decision that he has his own war to fight. So the second season, it’s very clear: he’s determined, he’s got a mission, he’s going to do it. I thought that was an interesting shift for him.’

The actor was forced to cancel an appearance at July’s Comic-Con panel in 2012 after he broke his ankle.

HBO told the 
Hollywood Reporter
 that he did not injure himself on set and it would not interfere with the show’s production.


Ser Jorah Mormont is a shamed and exiled knight who escaped execution after he was caught slave trading. It ruined an exemplary military career. He had received a knighthood for his bravery during the battle in Pyke to fight off the Greyjoy rebellion. Married once before (although little is known about this wife), Jorah met his second wife during the King’s tourney to celebrate the victory. He fell in love with Lynesse Hightower instantly, asking, and being granted, her permission to wear her favour in the tournament. He fought off all comers to seal an unlikely win. That very night, he asked for her hand in marriage.

Lynesse came from a wealthy family, and grew miserable living on the isolated island where Mormont resided.

Mormont subsequently drove himself to financial ruin trying to replicate her past glamorous life. To make money, he became a slave trader, breaking one of the Seven Kingdoms’ oldest taboos. Mormont’s activities are discovered by Eddard Stark, and he is condemned to death. He flees to Lys with Lynesse and attempts to make a life as an exile. It isn’t long, however, before Lynesse leaves him.

He becomes a mercenary, and eventually meets Viserys Targaryen and is taken into his service at the wedding of Daenerys. He begins to secretly report to Varys in the hope than he can finally receive a royal pardon. However, while he begins to greatly admire Daenerys, he has little time for Viserys – as is proved when he watches him be killed by Drogo. He shows more compassion for Daenerys, and, when he discovers there is a threat on her life from Varys, he steps in at just the right time to prevent her being killed.

Mormont guides the scared young lady and oversees her journey from one of doubt and nerves to that of strength, honour and power. He fights a Dothraki warrior to the death in order to protect her, and he is devastated when he believes she is to commit suicide to be reunited with her dead husband. However, he is shocked not only when she burns alive, but also when she survives, along with her hatched dragon eggs.

When they finally reach the city of Qarth, he ceases communication with the Seven Kingdoms. Another attempt is made on Daenerys’ life by an assassin, but this time it’s not Mormont who saves her life but a stranger called Arstan Whitebeard – who eventually turns out to be Barristan Selmy – the former Kingsguard who was stripped of his title when Joffrey was crowned King.

Selmy informs Daenerys that her right-hand man is actually an informer for Varys. At this point, Mormont has finally declared his love to Daenerys, and she has begun to grow tired of his advances. Shocked by the duplicitous nature of both men, she orders them to embark on a suicide mission. Both survive, however, and when Selmy begs for forgiveness she grants it. Mormont, on the other hand, is less keen to do so, believing he has already shown his faith and loyalty to her. Displeased by his actions, she orders him to leave, and tells him that she will kill him if she sees him again. Heading to Volantis, he spies Tyrion Lannister in a brothel – and he captures him in a bid to win back favour from Daenerys. However, their ship is attacked by slavers and they are sold as slaves, with Mormont forced to have a demon’s face tattooed on his cheek. Someone tries to buy him, so they can chop off Mormont’s head and give it to Daenerys as a wedding gift. Learning that she is getting married, he escapes from his new owner again and, along with Tyrion, joins the Sellsword company Second Sons.

Jorah Mormont is played with softly spoken charm by Iain Glen, an accomplished Scottish actor. Looking like a young Richard Chamberlain, he left the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1985, and was acclaimed for his performance as imprisoned Scottish poet Larry Winters in 
Silent Scream
 (1990). He has successfully appeared on the small and big screen, as well on stage.



The Kindly Man belongs to The Guild of the Faceless Men – a secret society of assassins who pray to the god of death, their Many-Faced God. When Arya heads to Braavos to learn the Faceless Men’s ways, the Kindly Man takes charge of her training. He first appears to Arya as a grotesque being, with a worm coming out of his eyehole. But, when Arya is summoned to bite the worm, the Kindly Man’s face changes to that of a sweet old man. When he believes she is ready, he gives Arya her first assignment – and she is instructed to kill the target only, and not to hurt his bodyguards. She does this by ingeniously noticing that he always bites his gold coins, and slipping in a poisoned one when he is not looking.



First seen as the Master of Coin on the King’s Small Council, Lord Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, is someone who claims to be sitting on the fence but, in fact, weaves an intricate web of lies and deceit. He devises cunning ploys and moves oblivious pawns to their death as he plays his own game of chess in a bid to win the biggest prize of all – power.

To come this far is something of a minor miracle for Littlefinger, who has spent many years attempting to better his lowly birthright. His father was an almost insignificant lord of an insignificant area near the Narrow Sea that sits between Westeros and the eastern continent of Essos.

After Hoster Tully struck up a friendship with Littlefinger’s father, Littlefinger was sent to Riverrun castle as a foster child to be raised alongside the Lord Tully’s children – Catelyn, Lysa and Edmure. He would eventually fall in love with Catelyn, but she would love him only as a brother.

After the announcement of the betrothal between Catelyn and Brandon Stark, Littlefinger unwisely challenges Brandon to a duel for her hand – a challenge that sees Littlefinger left with a huge scar on his chest, but alive to fight another day thanks to Catelyn, who tells Brandon to spare his life. Despite this, she does not speak to him afterwards, and even burns the letter that he sends after Brandon’s death.

BOOK: Game of Thrones A-Z
4.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Jade Tiger by Reese, Jenn
Savior in the Saddle by Delores Fossen
Kissing in Manhattan by Schickler, David
Bachelor Unforgiving by Brenda Jackson
Cadet: The Academy by Commander James Bondage