In addition to fine acting, compelling characters and stunning aesthetics, Game of Thrones is also known for having epic quotes and words of wisdom. Adopted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, the words of Westeros have hilarious anecdotes and sometimes poignant meanings, carrying weight in its eloquent dialogue.
As Game of Thrones is filled with several morally grey area characters, a situation can make the status of one being a hero or a villain subjective. However, some villains have unintentionally offered solid advice.
“Sometimes Before We Can Usher In The New, The Old Must Be Put To Rest”
Qyburn, Season 6, Episode 10
Although naturally mild-mannered, Qyburn (Anton Lesser) is classified as a villain for unethical human experimentation and his allegiance as Hand of the Queen to Cersei Lannister. A highly intelligent mind, his final words before Grand Maester Pycelle’s (Julian Glover) death of putting the old to rest in the season 6 episode “The Winds of Winter” is practically a New Year’s resolution.
Holding onto the emotional baggage of the past can greatly hinder a fresh start. By healing from previous pains and setbacks, one can fully move forward with the new future and achieve courage.
“You’re In No Place To Insist On Anything”
Roose Bolton, Season 3, Episode 6
Father of the maniacal Ramsay Bolton, Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) was a man of surprising wisdom in his cunningness. In the season 3 episode “The Climb”, the words he imparts on Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coaster-Waldaeu) of “you’re in no place to insist on anything” is a quote worth carrying.
The meaning behind Roose’s words is that no matter the place one has in the caste system, nothing is guaranteed for them. The only thing one can insist upon is their own betterment in order to achieve their goals.
“Remember What You Are And What You Are Not”
Ramsay Bolton, Season 4, Episode 8
Beautifully played by Iwan Rheon, Ramsay Bolton was an incredibly sadistic Westeros villain. However, the statement of “remember what you are and what you are not” that he made to Theon Greyjoy in one of Game of Thrones’ best episodes is surprisingly profound in its simplicity.
Ramsay meant this as a manipulation tactic towards Theon, but the depth of the quote is the complete opposite. Its meaning is for one to be true to themselves and not adapt a facade to appease others.
“A True Leader Avails Himself Of The Wisest Counsel He Can”
The High Sparrow, Season 6, Episode 3
In his piety, The High Sparrow turned out to be a rather two-faced character. One of Jonathan Pryce’s best performances is The High Sparrow, who gave King Tommen Baratheon (Dean- Charles Chapman) the advice of “a true leader avails himself of the wisest counsel he can” in the season 6 episode “Oathbreaker”.
In life’s journey, one must be selective on who they surround themselves with in their inner circle. As all humans have the capability to become leaders of their own domain, it is important to have wise and trustworthy counsel on the sidelines.
“The Night Is Dark And Full Of Terrors”
Melisandre, Season 2, Episode 1
Although she became a final hero, Melisandre started out as a villain. In a fantastic Game of Thrones debut by Carice van Houten, the Red Priestress first spoke The Lord of Light’s mantra “the night is dark and full of terrors” in the season 2 premiere “The North Remembers”.
While there is a sinister note to these words, they are also very perceptive. The phrase is an allegory that even though life itself is beautiful, it is filled with many unpleasantries, making one prepared for hardships ahead.
“Everything That Happens Will Be Something That You’ve Seen Before”
Littlefinger, Season 7, Episode 3
Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish was one of the game’s craftiest players. In a chilling performance by Aidan Gillen in the season 7 episode “The Queen’s Justice”, Littlefinger tells Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) to fight every battle because everything that happens has been seen before.
A combination of a warning and advice, what Littlefinger’s words mean is that to some degree, anything good or bad will stem from something that has occurred previously. By being braced for any outcome that presents itself, one can navigate said situation smoothly.
“A Lion Does Not Concern Itself With The Opinion Of Sheep”
Tywin Lannister, Season1, Episode 7
Seeing a perfect performance from Charles Dance, Tywin Lannister is a character that possesses life lessons. Both intelligent and wise, Tywin tells his son Jaime Lannister that “a lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep”, which is ironic since the Lannister sigil is a golden lion.
No matter the lock of life, people will try to bring others down, either out of insecurity or envy. Humans are their own lions, with the sheep being those that don’t have the best intentions, but the strongest of lions will climb the rock with the metaphorical sheep in the background
“I’m Not Going To Stop The Wheel, I’m Going To Break The Wheel”
Daenerys Targaryen, Season 5, Episode 8
Having teetered the lines of protagonist and antihero for almost her entire character arc, Daenerys Targaryen became a final villain in season 8. Earning Emilia Clarke four Emmy nominations, Daenerys was wise beyond her years, as was seen in the season 5 episode “Hardhome” when she told Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) “I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel”.
Breaking the metaphorical wheel of power is to rise above the norms of society in order to gain influence. With the wheel broken, it does not only service the breaker, but is extended to those around them, as well.
“Do You Dare To Fly? Unless You Take The Leap, You Never Know”
Euron Greyjoy, Season 6, Episode 2
Although Euron Greyjoy was introduced a quarter of the way through the series, Pilou Asbæk’s menacing performance made him a memorable villain. Before throwing his brother King Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) off a bridge in the season 6 episode “Home”, he sarcastically asks “Do you dare to fly? Unless you take the leap, you’ll never know”.
Euron’s words are laced with surrealism and ambition. In order to achieve success and happiness, one must shed apprehensions and leap into unfamiliar territory for the outcome will truly be unknown without taking that leap.
“When You Play The Game Of Thrones, You Win Or You Die, There Is No Middle Ground”
Cersei Lannister, Season1, Episode 7
A character that gained Lena Headey five Emmy nominations, there are many unpopular opinions about Cersei Lannister, but she is undeniably wise. Cersei says the words that happen to be the title of the season 1 episode “You Win or You Die” while having a conversation with the honorable Ned Stark (Sean Bean) which turns out to be magnificent advice.
Cersei’s words pack immense insight. When playing the game of slide, one simply cannot go about things in a half-hearted manner. One’s pursuits should either be achieved with every effort possible or no effort at all.
NEXT: The 23 Least To Most Likable Characters In House Of The Dragon, Ranked