You can find the most updated version of the glossary HERE.
Co-written by Julia and Kylie.
We here at The Fandomentals are rather staunch Game of Thrones (GoT)…er…detractors. We know this might come as a shock.
However, we’re not disinterested in the genre, nor are we the types of people who object to the depiction of upsetting material, and therefore write off media that does so. Case and point, we are huge, huge fans of A Song of Ice and Fire (aSoIaF), the books this show is “based on.” Sadly for us, the showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (D&D) seem to be bigger fans of their own, Bold™ ideas than the ones George R.R. Martin put on paper, to the point where we came to realize how the show has absolutely nothing to do with the books, so #StopTheConflation.
There’s many ways you can join in on this totally official campaign, such as yelling incoherently at social gatherings when GoT inevitably comes up, or wearing a t-shirt with the text of Septon Meribald’s “broken man speech” printed on the front in size 6 font. But we have another way to set the right tone for fandom dialogue—that is, a tone where aSoIaF could absolutely never be confused with its sorry excuse for an adaptation—and that’s by coining certain terms and character names.
“Jaime Lannister isn’t on the show,” you’ll tell your third cousins at your grandmother’s birthday party. “Jaime Lannister is a nuanced character whose plotline revolves around his struggle with identity and conception of internal vs. external honor as he adjusts to his new disability while subsequently realizing just how damaging his relationship with his sister had been.” (You speak very fast, of course.) “It’s Larry Lannister who’s on the show: the charmingly befuddled knight in an awesome and supportive relationship who gets the most adorably lost look on his face.”
See? It’s fool-proof. Or at least it will prevent us from crying onto our copies of A Dance with Dragons as we’re forced to call that creature Indira Varma plays, “Ellaria Sand.”So without further ado, Julia and Kylie give you the Book Snob Glossary and all the ironic trademarks money can buy.
D&D Logic: There are just so many twists and turns in GoT. And don’t forget the shocks! However, where many a viewer may spend time actually like, trying to “figure everything out,” we’re here to explain to you that D&D Logic doesn’t exactly conform to Earth Logic. Revenge your family’s murderers by killing the remaining part of your family that’s alive! Win over an entire culture by burning down their holy place! Parkour around a city with half your guts hanging out! All D&D Logic requires is the opening thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if…” It’s best just to embrace this.
Dramatic Satisfaction: Dramatic Satisfaction is the feeling we get
when we look to the west when watching GoT. D&D and their writers Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill work overtime to make sure of it, and boy do they know what the audience loves: gothic horrors! And rehashed chicken jokes. Thanks!
They Earned it Off-Screen: A special consequence of D&D Logic is that there’s no need to show a character’s development or growth at all. Just show the result and it will be fine! The audience isn’t dumb — they know the characters earned it off-screen. Remember when Brynden Pop-up Blackfish retook
Riverrun Riverroundabout off-screen, and Edmure’s wife had a full-term pregnancy and birth off-screen, and Brienne the Brute and Pod made it past the Twins off-screen, and Bronn learned about Larry’s relationship with said Brute off-screen, and Blackfish died off-screen, and Brienne the Brute and Pod then managed to sneak away from an entire army off-screen, and this was all needed to establish just one fucking subplot that was in the show for maybe twelve minutes? It’s all good. Don’t worry.
Honeypotting/The Honeypot Phenomenon: As we noted, D&D Logic doesn’t adhere to normal logic, and it is not uncommon for the show to seem entirely devoid of sense, or at least any sort of complexity. Luckily for D&D, their fans are far more intelligent and creative than they are, and willing to think up well thought-out theories in an attempt to make sense of the show for everyone else. In other words…they’re doing the writers’ jobs.
The most famous example of this, and the titular example for that reason, was that of the “Lannister Honeypot Theory,” where everyone figured that Talisa was such a stupid invention on the part of D&D, there had to be more to her than met the eye. Once she began writing letters in Volatine to her mommy, the theory was that she was really a Lannister spy sent to seduce Robb into breaking his vows; a honeypot trap set by Tywin to enable the Red Wedding to occur.
But no. Like Talisa, the Lannister Honeypot Theory was stabbed repeatedly in 03×09. She was exactly what she appeared: a noblewoman from Volantis who was such an awesome feminist that she would walk around battlefields without a chaperone, sass-talking a king.
It may be tempting to honeypot things along the way such as, “Lord Umber is secretly playing Ramsay, and that’s not really Shaggydog’s head.” Nope. It was the head. “It would make way more sense if that weren’t really Arya who got stabbed.” Yes, it would makes more sense. And yet it was Arya. Would that we had honeypotters actually writing the scripts instead, because then we’d probably have a good show.
Weisseroff’s Razor: Weisseroff’s razor is how we know that honeypots are never accurate — they’re far too clever by a half. On GoT, it’s always the most idiotic and straight-forward answer possible. Trust us. Weisseroff’s razor demands it.
Reverse Honeypotting: Honeypots can sort of be thought of as very intelligent stories or plot-points that D&D didn’t tell. However, a reverse honeypot is when there’s a story that is told, usually due to Unfortunate Implications, that D&D had no fucking clue was on our screens (else maybe some of these implications would have actually had follow-ups). Our favorite example of a Reverse Honeypot is the noble tale of Hizdahr zo Sansa (may he rest in peace), and his completely awesome, Sansa-in-A Clash of Kings-esque, resistance narrative. Our least favorite example of a Reverse Honeypot is where Tommen was a rape victim of Margaery Tyrell, and his suicide was a horrific exploration of why we have statutory laws. There’s many stories in between, too.
The Checklist Effect: Who cares about context, themes, or characterizations? The stuff that happens in a story can be viewed as a discrete set of plot-points to tick off. And those who do successfully tick them off are therefore great adaptors living at the spirit of the original author! So what the Jon’s death didn’t seem to have any impact on him, other than make him a bit hungrier for some soup? Who cares if Meli-sans-bra’s shockingly old tits were never mentioned again? And we can just call some dual-wielding dipshit the “Sword of the Morning” and that’s meaningful, right? Tick, tick, tick.
Plot Theory of Relativity: In any frame of reference, time will progress exactly as fast as plot demands. No more, no less.
Empowered™ Women: In Weisseroff, women are strong in the D&D way. They can, for example, become a Total Badass™, who is either an awesome warrior, or just a chick getting high off of violence. There’s nothing more empowering, and reasonable, than slaying all those awful dudes. That’s what feminism is. Bonus points for mocking the “feminine” traits of others. The other option is to be a super sexy manipulator. Bonus points if you use your wiles to manipulate a child. There are no other options, unless you are a very rare-breed of time-traveling feminist field nurse.
Real Men™: In Weisseroff, men are Strong™. They kill men. They have sex. They never show weakness, or fear. It’s almost as though all they do is fuck and fight, fight and fuck. Oh wait…
Womb Syndrome: Woman can and should be badass and/or sexual manipulators, but they do have one fatal weakness: motherhood. Once a woman has given birth, her children exist as a super convenient switch that can be flicked whenever a character 180° is required. Did a mother just spend the past thirty minutes being a total badass and fighting off hoards of undead? Well, sadly the sight of zombie children made her Womb Syndrome kick in, rendering her incapable of defending herself (ironically to the detriment of her real children).
Is a woman an “evil bitch” who likes to blow up buildings? If only she had some children left to be her redeeming quality. Kindly note, that simply having a child is not enough to contract Womb Syndrome; one must also be a woman. We all know Real Men™ don’t give a shit about their children.
Hot Potato: D&D’s favorite game! Let’s set up plotlines and forget about them! Who’s Gendry? What happened to half of Stannis’s army that just fucked off at the end of autumn in the heart of the North? Why is Arya’s list magically shorter? Hey, remember when the Boltons held Moat Cailin? No? Well, neither do they!
Ham Sandwich: D&D’s preferred lunch. Their favorite food is clearly ham, given the hamfisted way they provide us clues, exposition, and reveals. Might there be a plot involving WILDFIRE coming up? Best take further dumps on Larry’s characterization and have Tyrion magically mention the caches the episode before. Hey, is that dude who’s wearing Ned Stark’s clothes and hairstyle Ned Stark? Let’s be sure to have Bran point and declare “that’s my father.” And don’t forget about the Frey pies…
Shocking™ Moments: However, sometimes D&D don’t want the sneaky audience to see their big moments coming. Therefore, they keep everyone guessing by having characters pull random 180°’s that make us gasp! We did not see that coming! Because we could not see that coming. Because you literally presented the opposite situation to us and then just randomly flipped it. Wow. Give them all the Emmys.
The Key Jingling Effect: Hey guys, wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a giant battle that pushed the limits of fight cinematography on the TV medium? What about swoopy shots of THREE dragons at once? Or hows about creating an elaborate, Beauty and the Beast-esque library set for Sam to stand in for four seconds? A bonus to all this SUPER AWESOMENESS is that just like jingling keys in front of a baby, it will make the audience forget about all of the offensive or illogical bullshit you’ve pulled on them, and they will decide that you are the best writers ever.
The 600 Masks Effect/Shiny Shiny: News flash, Game of Thrones has a ginormous budget. Great things can be done with the amount of money they have at their disposal. Like the famous 600 unique masks in the Hall of Faces in Season 5. Unfortunately, some of the budget allocation decisions made are… questionable. When confronted with the choice to either spend money on: 1. Having Ghost fight beside Jonny, emphasising his connection to his Stark family and the Old Gods, or 2. Wun Wun, he’s so cool!!!1!! Well, we guess they made the decision that made the most sense creatively.
It’s the same line of reasoning that gave us a brand new castle for Horn
Hill Faire and immaculate CGI for Deadpan to have a cool mount on which she could deliver a speech to people already following her, but yet, again, Ghost didn’t fight by Jon’s side because budget. We’re sure this is comparing production apples and oranges, but where the creative energy goes is rather…telling.
Outside the Episodes: Because of all the characters who “earned it off-screen,” there are times that D&D must provide interviews that help explain what they just wrote. These “Outside the Episode” specials are particularly insightful. Did you know Arya is an instrument of revenge with an instrument of revenge? Or that it’s Cheryl’s fault that her rape-victim son committed suicide? Or that a young girl being competently in charge of stuff is hilarious? Neither did we, but thank the Seven we have the Outside the Episodes to tell us.
Steve the Intern: Poor Steve. After finding out that his doctorate in Comparative Literature with an emphasis on Folklore and Mythology was worth little to employers, he was thrilled to get an unpaid internship in the Game of Thrones writers’ room, because such is the state of our world. But things quickly went south for poor Steve. He was told to produce a three page summary of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, which he managed by using size 8 font, but he’s quite sure D&D didn’t even read that. He spends most of this time trying to explain to Dave Hill what a literary theme is, but he just gets blank looks in return.
Weisseroff: A magical place with size and population fluctuations according to the needs of the episode. Patriarchy doesn’t exist in Weisseroff, except when it does for a woman to be raped, or Poor Carol has to deal with it. Sometimes Weisseroff is a loose collection of feudal holdings, and sometimes it’s a Nation State that people can be citizens of and feel loyalty towards. There’s also a bullet train system or something that runs off the power of the Plot Relatively Field. Also everyone is terrible to each other and everything sucks.
Winterhell: Winterhell is a castle that once resembled Winterfell, except here, the only thing we are ever shown is rape, torture, flaying, and the casual death of characterizations. On occasion random Northern Lords will show up and declare fealty to the bastard son of the dude that murdered their king. Because he’s got moxie. We’re supes happy that Jonny Cardboard and Sandra Snark redecorated the place with the Stark banners, because maybe this means we’ll get plotlines that don’t involve inept apple-peeling, but we’re also a little confused how the “Lady of Winterhell” and “King in the North” have the same seat. WinterCartell?
The RiverBlands: Oh look, these exist again. Or perhaps they exist in a pocket dimension that you can warp in and out of from anywhere at will. That may explain a lot actually… Apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Shire is situated in one small pocket of the RiverBlands, where winter is far away, and Septon Ray keeps us all safe with his lack of knowledge about the religion he practices.
Riverroundabout: The plot will make you out ‘n’ out. Riverroundabout doesn’t seem to matter all that much to the people of Weisseroff. The Freys didn’t bother to protect it, as Pop-up Blackfish took it back armed with nothing but his potty-break provisions. Then, Walder Frey didn’t say boo until after the heir’s wife had a full-term pregnancy. Weird. However, it is supes convenient to stick Larry there when you need him out of the way so that Carol can get down to some of her shenanigans.
Carol’s Landing: Carol’s Landing is where Carol lives.
Cheryl’s Landing: Cheryl’s Landing is where Cheryl lives. And rules.
Horn Faire: The Horn Faire is such fun to attend! Dress in your favorite Beauty and the Beast gown and dine with a bunch of sassy ladies who don’t take any shit from their men (*snappity snap*), no matter how much these dudes might be framed like terrifying abusers. There’s no patriarchy at The Horn Faire, but there might be Wildlings afoot, because boy are they hated. But it’s fine. A small tradeoff for good boar, forks, and Empowerment™.
Porne: Porne is a small area shaped like the birthmark on a man’s ass that consists of the Water Gardens and some desert. It was conceived when someone involved in the production asked their racist grandmother from 1880 what “the orient” was like. There are three things the Pornish do: have sex, kill and/or mutilate people with little or no reason (bonus points for family members), and talk with a goofy accent. There may be one or two good eggs in there, but they’ll probably get murdered by the now-ruling maybe-princess, her daughter, and her daughter’s half-sisters.
The House of Dark and Vague: This is a poorly lit building in Braavos that we think is full of people, or maybe just human shaped lumps, who say very vague things and like to hit each other. Stick hitting is the most important skill, in fact. They also trick people into killing themselves by lying to them. Don’t worry about leveling up in the House of Dark and Vague: anyone can apply a mask easy-peasy, and sometimes they’ll even apply multiple faces (including ones currently in use) to fuck with new recruits, only to have such a moment never be addressed again. Was blindness a punishment or part of the training? We haven’t the foggiest since it’s all so vague!
The Lady Crane School of Medicine: There’s really bad soup here, but that’s just because Lady Crane is so empowered with her violence, and remember…Empowered™ Women can’t have “feminine” skills. Here at the Lady Crane School of Medicine, students will learn how to sew stitches to immediately allow for light parkour, as well as how to keep lovers loyal through stabbing. And this is one of the only locations where “positive” female interaction occurs. What fun!
Simplified Bay: Simplified Bay is, like, okay. And so is everything there, apparently. The other Slaver Cities are a monolith who kindly delayed their attack until their preferred protagonist took over the place. There’s no unforeseen illnesses. There’s one mercenary group in the walls (and sometimes outside of the walls). Navies magically appear and disappear as the plot demands. Priests preaching for Deadpan reduce crime rates. Saint Tyrion does a great job ruling the place. Until he doesn’t… for reason. Plot reasons, you guys! But don’t worry, together, he and Deadpan sew it up so tight that even a mercenary with no qualifications whatsoever can run the place now.
GoT is rather known for its sprawling cast, so as a result, we have subdivided this section by character locations in Season 6. More or less. There was a lot of teleporting, but we did what we could.
Shogun: The Lord of the White Walkers. This guy can raise the dead, is great with babies, and looks damn stylin’ in his samurai armor. He’s also the King of Good Timing.
1000 Eyes and Two aka Max von Sydow: This raven with
three one two eyes has so much wisdom that it took him a thousand years to accumulate it. We guess he got bored. Which would explain why most of his attention seems to be directed entirely towards Stark home movies these days. But don’t ask too much of him…he’s in a very demanding and Emmy-worthy role.
Benjen Coldhands: OMG it’s Benjen! We’ve seen him before, you guys! He can kill skeletons and tell stories about himself! Why D&D opted to adapt the one fan-theory that Martin has staunchly rejected is beyond us, but I guess they just know about Dramatically Satisfying media more. Aaaand he’s gone. Thanks for the cup of blood anyway, Nuncle!
Ned Patrick Harris: When Bran and 1000 Eyes and Two pop in the Stark Wackiest Home Videos, they’re shocked to find a dishonorable braggin’ younger version of Ned Stark who may or may not have doubled as Doogie Howserr. Though he seems pretty great with babies too, at least.
Dawninator: Ned Patrick Harris’s nemesis, and also an unquestionable star of The Stark highlights reel. He has a good sword (but not great sword) with a lil’ sun emoji on it, but like a true Pornishman, he dual-wields. Which makes him the best fighter Ned Patrick Harris has ever seen.
Jonny Cardboard: Jonny Cardboard is our unproblematic Action Hero, but he’s so one-note, that he’s accidentally not the protagonist in his own story. Whoopsies! It’s okay though, when Jonny Cardboard comes onto your screen, you can feel free to seal clap and watch his growth from being a guy who can swing a sword really well, to a guy who can swing a sword really really well. He also excels at avoiding arrows, unlike his poor horsies. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t utter a single battle command, if he breaks his vows, or if he is responsible for thousands of men getting caught in a trap; so long as he keeps swinging that sword everyone around him will praise him. And give him a crown. But he used to sit *down there* so we guess it’s poetic. Oh yeah, he was also dead for half a second, though since he doesn’t seem to care about it, we’re not sure why we should either.
Beardy: We don’t know who this Icelandic fellow with an impressive beard is, or why people are calling him “Tormund.” As far as we can tell, he has no personality traits whatsoever, with the exception of intense homophobia. It’s okay Beardy, we get it. You’re not gay. You don’t have to beat anyone to death or creep on any women that are clearly disinterested in you to prove it. Calm it down.
Meli-sans-bra: This red priestess may wear all black on occasion, but she keeps one thing consistent about her wardrobe: a lack of undergarments! In fact, Meli-sans-bra can’t wait to expose her finely shaped breasts every chance she gets. Doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter and she’s at the Wall; she will take that naked nap. But wait!!! Her young, hot tits are an illusion, and she’s actually OLD. And apparently she’s clued into dramatic irony, because her desire to flash everyone may have disappeared entirely. No implications there. Oh. She also can bring people back from the dead, but no one seems to care.
Rover: This rarely spotted CGI beast is Showboating Sam’s dog or something. We’re not sure because he’s never really around. Though when he is, he loves noisily growling. Good job, Rover! Here’s a biscuit!
Sansa Stark: Sansa Stark, as a concept, is the eldest daughter of Ned Stark and Catelyn Tully. She has naturally red hair, and that is the totality of the Sansa Stark Construct. However, astute viewers know her as “She of Many Faces,” for we are treated to many delightful characters that fall under this monolith.
The Many Faces of Sansa:
Darth Sansa: Darth Sansa is an Empowered™ Woman who lies to Vale Lords and cosplays as a Tier 8 warlock.
Sonsa Stork: Sonsa Stork shares Darth Sansa’s love of feathery shoulder pads and dark hair, but this face of Sansa doesn’t seem to be able to ask a single question of Batfinger when he illogically suggests marrying her enemy for revenge. She’s also never had beer before. Lol!
Sansa Bolton: Sansa Bolton is stripped of all her agency, though smartly goads her abuser by threatening the security of his claim. Her look is based on cleavage baring nightgowns and tasteful bruises.
Fansa Fark: Fansa shows her Empowerment™ by saying she’s willing to die and being afraid to cross a river. She also forgets the words to oaths she must have heard performed a hundred times and needs reassurance from the closest man before making an obvious decision.
Brittany Stark: Brittany is a Boss-Ass Individual. We LOVE her. She knows how to get shit done. She will make her opinion known and demand to be taken seriously. She will call you on your bullshit. She even sews!
Field Marshall Sandra Snark: Sandra is a Boss-Ass Individual who mostly stands silently in the background. Even in situations where no one is silencing her, she often chooses not to say anything. Or, like, share vital information she may have. But who can blame her? When she does open her mouth, she kind of betrays the fact that she’s…. Not all that smart.
Asnas Krats: Asnas is not a timid little girl. She’s a player, you guys. And we all know that the only way to be a player is to kill people. Asnas will compare herself to her abuser by declaring that she would have tortured Theek too. Then she’ll REALLY compare herself to her abuser by… acting exactly like him.
Ramsay Sue: Gods is it ever good to be Ramsay Sue and have so much of the writers’ help. This protagonist of the Winterhell arc never fails, has superhuman abilities, and gets everything he wants. He gets a hot wife to rape AND a hot girlfriend who will stick with him even when he treated her like shit. He’s so badass that he and 20 Good Men can destroy the supplies of an entire army. He’s so charismatic that the Lords of the North will follow him, even after he kills his dad and turns his baby brother into Iams. He’s so EVHUL that we need to see him kill a woman with an apple-peeling knife, just in case his charisma confuses us and we forget. He’s so clever than he can manipulate the enemy commander into doing whatever he wants. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling Knights of the Vale!
Theek: Theek must never forget his name. Ramsay Sue was very clear on that. But it can all be solved by screaming at him. Whatever, it’s not as if it’s important thematically, or anything. The only thing Theek needs is some tough love, then everything will be better and he’ll be able to have action sequences with the best of them.
Batfinger: Batfinger is a mysterious man. He has a voice like the Marlboro Man and an accent that… morphs on a sliding scale between Lucky the Leprechaun and Captain Barbosa. He has the powers of teleportation and telepathy, as he knows about events three seconds after they happen and can magically appear wherever he’s needed. Unfortunately, what Batfinger gains in magic powers, he lacks in common sense. Batfinger’s plans are mysterious. And far too complex for simpletons like us to figure out. He plans on being king apparently, and to get there he will… randomly switch sides whenever the plot demands it. Chaos is a Ladda, bitches.
Larry Lannister: Larry Lannister is a charmingly befuddled knight. The second-oldest Lannister deserves our pity, because he seems to operate in a continual state of confusion. He’s lucky that he has his unproblematic long-term girlfriend, Carol, to patiently explain everything for him. Larry loves Carol. Larry loves Carol so much that he will declare revenge on her enemies over and over and over. Just in case we forgot. Larry will fling babies from
trebuchets catapults in the name of Carol. Sometimes he gets momentarily distracted by shiny things, like the rocks on his dead daughter’s eyes, or Brienne the Brute. But it’s only momentary. Larry loves Carol. We think Cheryl might scare him, though.
The Bro-nns: Larry goes nowhere without his best bud, Bronn, and together, they bro it up all over Weisseroff. Bronn knows his BFFs dirty deets immediately, and with no context, so these two can have all the heart-to-hearts before springing into action. It doesn’t matter whether they’re sneaking into the Water Gardens behind a donkey carrying bananas, or lifting a bro-tastic siege together …the Bro-nns are always a rip-roaring time for the audience. It’s extra fun when Bronn crackships Larry with Brienne the Brute (silly Bronn; Larry loves Carol).
Brienne the Brute: As we’ve explained, (see: Empowered™ Women) there are two kinds of women: the kind that needs a man to protect her and the kind that is a STONE COLD KILLER! Look at her just cut people down without blinking! And make dogs disappear. It is not actually physically possible for a woman to be capable in combat without being a killing machine. This fact is so obvious we don’t think we need to elaborate on it. The Brute may not be very good a keeping oaths, but there is one thing she excels at: failure. Poor thing can’t even deliver a message without failing at it. Very Empowering™.
Pod the Rod: Pod is a relatively nice man, as far as well can tell, even if he hilariously forgets how to ride horses on occasion. However, there’s one thing he doesn’t forget to ride… No seriously, he’s such a sex god that sex workers will forgo their wages just to be in bed with him. They’ve been waiting for a man like Pod to show up! Har-har. This development was so important that we need it continually mentioned, even three seasons later. And getting more and more congratulatory. He now has a magical penis! Oh well, at least he can remember the forms of courtesy.
Pop-Up Blackfish: One fish, red fish, Blackfish, dead fish. This poor belly-up guppy was so good at randomly appearing on sets to create false tension. We can’t decide when he was more badass, the time he retook Riverrun, or his fight to the death. No…we really can’t decide; neither was ever shown.
Septon Ray: This is not a fandom name. David Benioff and Dan Weiss asked each other, “hey, what should we name this Septon Meribald/Elder Brother knock-off” and came up with the name “Ray”. For obvious reasons, we felt we needed to include that fact in this glossary.
The Canine: We were slightly looking forward to Sandor Clegane returning to GoT, but boy were we surprised when all we got instead was some vicious, rabid canine. The Canine loves violence and chicken. Toss him a bone, or else he might randomly slay you to get one. He also likes boots and peeing. There’s not much more to his character, but somehow his entire worldview is always proven completely correct. Good boy!
Carol Lannister: Carol is a relatable, struggling super-mom. She is a devoted mother to her kids Chase, Madison, and TomTom. And a victim. She lost a baby and sympathizes with Cat Stark about it. But then she also lives her life believing a prophecy that her first baby should have negated. She almost had to poison her son to prevent him from being harmed more. And now… she tried to protect her kids and rule wisely and well, but the patriarchy was just too much for her. But being slut-shamed by fanatics won’t stop our Problematic Fave from trying her best to do her job. Even if the cool kids all leave the table when she sits down, or her uncle banishes her to the gallery, or her son changes the law to screw her over. 🙁 Poor Carol!
Cheryl Lannister: When you push a super-mom too far… She randomly morphs into a mass murderer in metal shoulder pads. Cheryl likes wine, blowing things up, torturing nuns, and not being overly concerned for her children. Her outfit does go great with the Iron Throne, though. What a classic…
Poor Dumb Tommen (TomTom): Poor Dumb Tommen went through quite the growth spurt recently, and is apparently old enough to be married and having sex with someone twice his age. Don’t worry, it’s not problematic; it’s funny because he enjoys it. Until of course, his abuser is killed and his emotional immaturity leaves him unable to deal, leading to his suicide. Wait no, that was Cheryl’s fault for not hugging him. TomTom is very easily manipulated by, well, everyone, and inherited his father’s need to have things explained to him slowly and carefully. It’s almost as if he was—we don’t know we’re just spitballing here—an 8-year old who was shoved into an older body so that he could have sex in what is a very important plot-point with no unfortunate implications.
High Grandpa: This religious extremist is so charming. He’s just like your elderly great uncle who always flirts with the waitress at the Denny’s. But then you get to actually talking to him and it turns out that he’s a homophobic loon who had very fixed opinions on four-point versus five-point Calvinism. And also, he’s friends with a scary biker gang and not afraid to use them. Don’t fear though; his only weapon is long, drawn-out monologues about how awful fun is and how rotten people are for participating in a social contract.
Septa Spoonella: Poor Septa Spoonella. This once terrifying septa who would rise with spoon-in-hand received the dull task of following around a perjurer while she doodled roses, only to end up getting kidnapped and slowly tortured for doing her job. We wish her the best, though don’t have high hopes.
Faith Taliban: Some of us are under the mistaken impression that religion and its role in public life is a complicated issue, but no, D&D have shown us the light, religion instantly turns dopey teenagers in funny hats into conveniently colour-coded strawmen who are into scarification and hamfisted social commentary. There doesn’t seem to be as many of these people as you would expect—maybe 20 or so. They’re very good at freehand carving, but easily distracted by small children.
Marg Bolelyn: This bi-curious twenty-something from the sexual liberation capital of Weisseroff,
Sunsnake Highgarden, really, really wants to be queen, for some reason. And not just any queen, THE queen, you guys. We think maybe the crown just goes really well with her outfit? Marg is great at negotiation. Whether it’s hammering out her own marriage treaty or talking her way out of jail, Marg will make the deal. Even if it means that her brother has to give up his claim and be a monk or something. And if her House’s army is standing *right there*, that still won’t cause her to reconsider anything. Hmm… maybe her negotiation skills aren’t so hot. But at least she had spider-sense. And a rockin’ potato sack to wear.
Knight of the Fabulous (Fabs): This man is gay. Isn’t that hilarious? Why aren’t you laughing? Are you a homophobe? Anyway, Loras is a very complex character…. he’s gay. Therefore he must suffer. Very Empowering™. D&D are true allies; they like to let the story of Fabs suffering for his gayness be about everyone else. Fabs just wants “it” to stop. We don’t blame him.
Dowager Sasstress: Poor Carol may have to deal with the patriarchy, but if you’re sassy, like our beloved Dowager Sasstress, then you get to be the official negotiator for your House, and no one will think this is an issue, ever! There’s no sexism or ageism for you! It also doesn’t matter if you can’t actually elicit change because you’re shoved into the middle of an Idiot Plot, just stay sassy, and the audience will think you have point. Bonus points if you make a joke about gays or poo! Bonus bonus points if you randomly insult other women, especially by saying that they look like *BOYS*.
Still, two can play at this game:
Now that’s sass!
Showboating Sam: Showboating Sam has killed a Thenn and a White Walker, don’t ya know? He’s a much better warrior than Randyll “Your Mother’s a Fine Woman” Tarly. Sure, he may shrink before his father’s abusive tirades, but deep down, he knows that he *deserves* that badass sword. Maybe now he’ll be just as cool as Jonny Cardboard. Showboating Sam’s one weakness is getting distracted by books, as he might ditch you in a hallway. With a baby. And no money or way to navigate the setting.
Assertive Gilly: Assertive Gilly may be a wildling who has only known the inside of her rapist father’s shack, but that won’t stop her from putting everyone in their place. She especially loves word-play, since every beginner reader can appreciate a good homophone. If she sees the bf failing to showboat for a fraction of a second, Assertive Gilly is there to remind him that he’s strong in the Real Man™ way.
Mama & Tiffany Tarly: These women do not. Take. Shit. Whether it’s teasing about their mystifying lack of hawking experience, or telling Randyll to his face that he “dishonors himself,” the Strong Women of Horn Faire never fail to bring the sass and the truth to the men. I Can’t Believe it’s Not Patriarchy! They also love bastards, wildlings, sex workers, and sharing clothing.
The Amazing Shrinking Baby: Madison Lannister has apparently been in Porne for years, Sam has been worrying about Jon’s foolish heroism for years, but Baby!Sam (who is not Aemon Steelsong ◕︵◕ ) is still not walking. It’s fine.
Prince Bashir: All the man wanted to do was share his soup with his honored guests and go back to staring out over the empty Water Gardens. Unfortunately for him, his brother hooked up with the biggest asshole in the world, who will gleefully murder him and his son for being “weak”. And all his guards agree. Why are culinary skills so underappreciated? We’re so sad. 🙁
Showberyn: This second son whose father apparently ruled Porne likes to have sex with anything that’s slightly warm and be rude to people at parties. He lived in a brothel. Disturbingly, he morphs into a character named Prince Oberyn Nymeros Martell for two scenes several episodes apart before reverting back to his original form.
Princess Faullaria Sand (or maybe Uller?): Showberyn’s beloved paramour, Faullaria Sand hates timid sex and loves the torturing of small children in the name of revenge. In fact, her defining feature may be her love of revenge. She loves it so much that she will murder Showberyn’s whole family and name herself the Princess of Porne (maybe?), because that’s what he would have wanted. We hope that next season, she’ll give us a moving monologue on the awesomeness of revenge. That sounds right.
The Sand Fakes: Who are these three women? And which one is which? Whatever, they’ve been meditating about it a lot and decided that for a change of pace, they want revenge. Revenge on Larry, who they learn is in Porne? Of course not! Revenge on Madison, that punk. Revenge on their cousin Trystane Jonas for painting eyeballs onto stones. FOR SHOWBERYN! The Fakes have quirky, individualized weapons and the inability to be nice to one another. However, they do have the ability to teleport, so we should take them very seriously.
Snake-Fu: A unique style of fighting practiced only in Porne that includes futile spinning, futile spinning of weapons, and futile mincing steps. All weapons must be dipped with boner-activated poisons. Snake-Fu is dizzying, yet deadly, and can drop a dude twice your size with a single small blade to the back. If you reach an especially high level, then you get to learn the ultimate skill: double sword spinning!
Trystane Jonas: This boy band wannabe may not bear much resemblance to a 13-year-old who is content to play board games to cheer up his sick 11-year-old betrothed, but what he lacks in innocence he makes up for in chest heir. Yes, the heir of Dorne (fuck you) may be mourning the death of the love of his life, but he is committed to good governance, as his soup-cooking father would have wanted. He didn’t even make a stink when Larry insisted that he stay cooped up on a boat off-shore! Too bad his cousins couldn’t be as magnanimous as him.
The House of Dark and Vague
Your Sister of the Canals: When Arya Stark goes onto the streets of Braavos, she becomes Your Sister of the Canals. Your Sister is a fan of Princess Leia’s hamburger buns, Emmy-worthy revenge monologues, and potentially The Winds of Winter? At least, she said her name was “Mercy” once. She’s very good at parkour, but less good at not getting stabbed. All in all, Your Sister is a terrible assassin, opting to stare at her marks conspicuously, and then make friends with them.
Arya Todd: This is Arya’s true form, which we know because she always announces herself before slitting less honorable throats. Arya Todd serves a dark and a vengeful god, and bakes humans into pies fit for kings. This might seem incredibly disturbing, but fortunately it’s all so clear that everybody goes down well with beer.
The Meta Players Club: This theater troupe is very meta. Sure, behind the scenes they might be full of STIs and murderous inclinations, but to the people of Braavos, they are simply acting in a horribly paced, warped telling of the events of the War of Five Kings. Revengeful monologues get uproarious applause. And lest a poor actor suggest a mild change to the script, their asshole playwright will tell them how everything that happens makes sense creatively because he wants it to. We’re not sure why Lady Crane left the Tyrells to join the Meta Players Club, but we can only guess that maybe one of her lover-stabbings didn’t end so well.
The Kinky Man/Sexy Jesus/Tom: There may not be anything particularly kindly about Not!Jaqen, but this dude is one for his kinky smiles of vagueness. What is Sexy Jesus thinking? We never know! But isn’t his smirk endearing? If you get in tight with the Kinky Man, he might call you “No One,” which may or may not be his official title for his second-in-command. However, lately he’s just been standing there like some dude. Hi, Tom.
The Asshole: This antagonistic jerk runs around the House of Dark and Vague hitting people with sticks and laughing at them when they can’t answer questions that they have no capacity to answer. She hates whenever anyone advances in her…guild? Mortician’s club? Can’t see the stick-hitting session? That’s not her problem. She hates new guildies so much, that she will get special permission from the Kinky Man to fucking kill them if they step a toe out of line. The Asshole’s favorite movie is Terminator 2.
Deadpan Card-born: Technically, her full name is “Deadpan Card-born, the Unemotional, Queen of Simplified Bay, Queen of the Anachronisms and the Clichéd, Khaleesi of Faux-Empowerment, Breaker of Suspended Disbelief, and part-time Mother of Dragons.” And boy is she Empowered™! Look how dignified and confident she is! Watch as she delivers long monologues consisting of nothing but platitudes without once changing her facial expression! She doesn’t need to explain her logic to anyone, and if you imply that a development is unearned she will burn down your holy temple. Or marry you. Don’t question that logic either. Weirdly, Deadpan seems a little stoopid without the help of her menz, and finds herself in need of rescue quite a bit. But look, she wouldn’t be speaking in monotone if she wasn’t Empowered™, okay? Plus her dragon is always lurking right around the corner in case she needs to convince the people that are already following her to follow her more.
Saint Tyrion: Saint Tyrion is the unproblematic fave who can do no wrong. He’s the Abraham Lincoln of his time. He totally respects the personhood of sex workers and the contribution they make to the economy! Because #notallmen! He’s so likable that Deadpan’s dragons want to cuddle with him! He brings fun to Simplified Bay, in the form of drinking games! He’s also committed to teaching the inner city kids all about slavery based on his 3-day experience. It’s not his fault the slavers are nothing more than implacable strawmen. But don’t worry; in the end, Saint Tyrion is always proven right.
Hizdhar zo Sansa: Poor Hizdahr zo Sansa. He was so strong…just like a lady in a song. This poor guy tried to do all he could after his city was conquered, and his father was brutally murdered, to make the exchange of power as peaceful for everyone as possible. He even persuaded Yunkai to give Deadpan everything she wanted, though because Values Dissonance this was somehow framed as not a good thing. Then, he was forced into a marriage with a woman who clearly terrified him, only to ultimately be unceremoniously killed off by the people he was actually trying to help in the first place. He and his rather nuanced resistance narrative were simply too good for this cruel world.
Faabio Naharis: This tall, dark, and handsome fellow is so worldly that his accent can’t even decide what part of the world he’s from. Faabio has many skills: twirling his stiletto, threatening people in front of their wife, having a filmable ass, bludgeoning men to death without shedding blood, leading the Dothraki, and now ruling Meereen. He’s so qualified! Maybe he can get a consort who emotes this time around.
Varys Marx: Smallfolk of the World Unite! Varys Marx is some random eunuch from Lys who is REALLY into fiscal responsibility and kissing Saint Tyrion’s ass. He’s so committed to good governance that, after meeting Illyrio Mopatis in a “Robert Totes Sucks Club” meeting, he and his “colleague” decided that Viserys Targaryen was the way to go and that a plan to invade Westeros with an army of rapists who are afraid of water would totally work. And now Deadpan is the way to go, because she’s so good at compromising. His devotion to her is so strong that he has the power to teleport to her location in less time than it takes to change an outfit! Wait, didn’t Varys Marx provide information to Robert about Deadpan in Season 1 that almost got her killed? Awkward! Varys Marx is really glad he doesn’t have a libido or “debts of affection,” or a backstory or anything like that, to complicate matters.
However, we’re worried you might have forgotten that Varys Marx is a eunuch. He is a eunuch. We think Saint Tyrion might be on it to remind us every episode, but just in case you forgot: he has no balls. He is a eunuch.
Kuvira: This red priestess went to ComicCon, saw Meli-sans-bra, and thought she was the bees knees, so cosplayed as her. We’re not sure if she also has secretly old titties, but what she does have is personal information about Varys’s eunuch-ness. She also has power over all the red priests for some reason, and manages to convince them to do…exactly what they were already doing. But she helps solve crimes. We’re sure it’s for the stability of
the Earth Empire Simplified Bay.
Evil Sex Worker of False Tears: WHO IS THIS WOMAN? She’s a sex worker in Meereen who loves the Strawmen of the Harpy, but WHO IS SHE? She thinks Deadpan is a conqueror, which okay, but she also seems to hate her freeness, which…okay? We’re just confused by her, and also suspect that she has an awesome story that’s happening off-screen. A better story. We want to watch that story. Maybe she’s the Harpy.
MissWorm: It’s always heartwarming when a couple bonds over a shared interest. In this case the interest is becoming mouthpieces for Saint Tyrion and receptacles for his White Wisdom.
Ser Hilariously Friend-zoned/Greyscale Jorah: Jorah loves Deadpan, you guys. That’s his entire character, and it’s so funny. But he deserves her, truly. He is so devoted to her that he will risk bringing a deadly disease into her city because… um. It doesn’t matter. She’s so touched by the gesture that she’ll send him off on a love-quest to find a cure for this disease. We’re glad he was rewarded!
Strawmen of the Harpy: We think these guys are almost all former slavers, except of course for Evil Sex Worker of False Tears, who’s a harpy for her son. But whoever is behind those golden masks really have trouble focusing. Remember when they got so distracted by a dragon flying off that they forgot to capture all of Deadpan’s advisors? They’re also easily driven underground by red priests talking about Deadpan, but will burrow underneath the walls of the city and pop back outside of their gates once they hear that the Slavers of the Harpy are attacking.
Slavers of the Harpy: These slavers seem to be connected to the Strawmen of the Harpy, since the sails of their ships all have harpies on them. We’re not really sure what this means, but we’re quite sure it’s on-point for Simplified Bay. However, we’ll have to ask Evil Sex Worker about it to be sure, since she has all the information that Varys Marx could ever want.
Ironboor: The inhabitants of the Iron Islands have a deep and rich culture, which includes tending their lush forests and following the men who speak about their genitals.
Saltmoot: Can you find twenty dudes at the local tavern? Well then grab them and huddle together on a cliff-face, and you’ve got yourself a saltmoot. Just make sure no one emotes, even when one of the candidates for the Salt Throne admits to murdering your king.
Priesty McBeardFace: This dude is apparently Balon and Euron’s youngest brother, and wouldn’t you know it based on his meaningful contributions. His only consistent character trait is that he loves Euron. Seems legit!
Yara the Swashbucking Lesibian: We found out this year that while Asha Greyjoy might travel with her boyfriend Qarl, Yara Greyjoy loves the ladies. So much so, in fact, that she’s totally willing to pay the gold price for their fine, enslaved asses. Hooray at this positive representation we’ve been waiting for.
Euron the Cuddly Pooh Bear: D’awww, look at our big bad. Look at his lil’ dimples and his certifiably badass scar. He’s scared of storms, but very talented at self-administered CPR.
There you have it, the official Book Snob Glossary. May you be strong like our patron saint Book Snob Shireen, and never cease to evoke these terms in your quest to stop the conflation of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. If you’re lucky, you might even get to explain to someone what a literary theme is.