About the Book

Book Protagonist: Eddard Stark, Bran Stark, Robb Stark, Jon Snow, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen
Publication Date: 1996
Genre: Fantasy


A Game of Thrones

By George R. R. Martin

‘A Game of Thrones’ uses quotes with rich details and history to give the reader a streamlined story with excellent thematic and figurative language structure.

‘A Game of Thrones’ uses quotes to show the author’s perspective of the world. George R. R. Martin crafted and dissipated the story’s message using its characters’ ideologies, life experiences, and suffering.

A Game of Thrones Quotes

A Warning for the Winter

Winter is coming.

The quote above is one of the most used in A Game of Thrones.’ Throughout the story, there is a sound of alarm for the coming winter, and the characters in ‘A Game of Thrones propel and give weight to that alarm by consistently saying it. ‘Winter is coming’ soon became the motto of the Starks as they used it to warn themselves of the dangers that come with the dark, cold, and unforgiving winter. Because the novel begins in the time of summer, many characters have no idea what winter does.

They say it grows so cold up here in the winter that a man’s laughter freezes in his throat and choaks him to death.

The quote above intricately uses hyperbolic and personified expressions to create a sense of caliber around the dread of the winter. When Robert visits Winterfell in the summer, it is cold, but the strangest and scariest part of the cold is that it will only worsen when the winter comes. The quote’s exaggeration makes the winter a dreadful beast that should never get taken for granted lest it shreds one to pieces.

Let me tell you something about wolves, child. When the snow falls and the white wind blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives. Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths. So, if you must hate, Arya, hate those who would truly do us harm. Septa Mordane is a good woman, and Sansa … Sansa is your sister. You may be as different as the sun and the moon, but the same blood flows through both your hearts. You need her, as she needs you … and I need both of you, gods help me.

The quote above talks about how unity makes a family weather the storm. When Arya fights with Joffrey Baratheon and her friend, Mycah, gets killed, she becomes hateful towards everyone, including her sister, Sansa, who she feels is a betrayer.

When Ned tries to lift Arya’s spirit, he tells her about how the winter is coming. He tells her a fable about the lone wolf who thinks it can survive the winter alone dies, but the pack that sticks together survives because it uses the collective strength of unity. Ned then tells Arya that she should not hate her sister because family is the only thing that matters in the end, which is one of the main themes in ‘A Game of Thrones‘. He tells her that Septa Mordane and Sansa do not hate her, and she should not hate them but stick together with them and fight against the enemy when it rises.

Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snow falls a hundred feet deep and the ice winds come howling out of the North. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.

When Bran gets paralyzed, he becomes irritated by Old Nan’s stories and requests she tells him a scary one. He tells her he prefers stories of fear, and she talks to him about fear. As one of the oldest people in Winterfell, Old Nan had seen the winter and knew what it better than anyone. She knew the long night and the icy cold wind that came with the winter and how unforgiving it was.

Old Nan knew of the emergence of the White Walkers, creatures that feast in the winter, and she tells Bran about it, asking him if he knew the consequence of winter. The quote above explains fear and also talks about the danger that lies in the future. 

The King

Where the king goes, the realm follows.

A king is a crucial person in any kingdom, and in George R. R. Martin’s story, the king is the ultimate power. The quote above propels and exalts the power of a king. In the story, Robert Baratheon journeys to Winterfell to meet his sworn brother and friend, Ned Stark. When he meets Robert, the entourage that follows him nearly breaks the bank of Winterfell; this leads Ned to believe the king’s presence in a realm holds more weight than anything or anyone.

What good is it to wear a crown? The gods mock the payers of kings and cowards alike.

When Robert Baratheon visits Ned in Winterfell, they have many conversations. Robert admits to Ned that he hates being the king. He tells Ned that becoming king is the worst thing to happen to him, and he is no longer free to do anything. He even tells Ned that the throne makes a man so lonely that even the gods will not answer his prayers.

All justice flows from the king.

The king is the center of power, authority, and control. His words are absolute, only secondary to the gods. The quote above explains that people are at the mercy of their king. When Ned dies, his son Robb gets the backing of everyone from the North, making him become the center of power and control. 


Never forget who you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.

The quote above is advice that Tyrion Lannister hands out to Jon Snow. As the bastard son of Eddard Stark, Jon felt out of place in his family and desperately began seeking meaning in his life. Then Robert arrived with Tyrion Lannister, the imp.

When Jon tries to make his uncle allow him to join the Night’s Watch, he refuses, sending Jon into rage and sadness. On going out, Jon meets Tyrion, who tells him that he has to accept his fate as a bastard son. Tyrion explains that acceptance will make it not hurt him. Tyrion’s advice helps Jon make friends when he finally joins the Night’s Watch as he gives up all pain and struggle and embraces his new life.

All dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes.

When Jon meets Tyrion outside, a conversation ensues, and Tyrion tries to advise Jon. However, Jon acts out, believing that Tyrion had it easy as he was a legitimate son. Tyrion tells Jon that a dwarf is seen as a bastard by his father because a dwarf is half a man. Tyrion tells Jon this because he also felt out of place among the Lannisters. His brother and sister were full-fledged handsome, and beautiful, and their features made them walk with pride, but he was the black sheep, the odd one, the dwarf.


A wife is allowed to yearn for her husband, and if a mother needs her daughters close, who can tell her no?

When Ned receives the offer to become the new Hand of the King, he becomes conflicted. Part of him wanted to uncover the secrets surrounding Jon Arryn’s death and help his friend, Robert, who already hated being king. The other part of him wanted to stay in Winterfell.

Ned makes the statement telling Robert how unsettled his wife would be if he decides to leave Winterfell for King’s Landing with his daughters, Arya and Sansa. He makes Robert know that desire was a force that made a woman reject the proposal of her husband to leave with her children.


All men are made of water, do you know this? When you pierce them, the water leaks out and they die.

The quote above talks about death and the fragility of humans. When Arya tries practicing with Syrio Forel, he tells her that being swift and reading the enemy is the key to defeating them. He likens blood to water and makes Arya understand the body’s fragility. He makes her understand that there are no second chances with death. Once the body gets pierced and its vital fluid, blood, is lost in large amounts, it will succumb to the darkness; death.

Cold and dead they were, and they hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every living creature with hot blood in its veins. Holdfasts and cities and kingdoms of men fell before them, as they moved south on pale dead horses, leading hosts of the slain. They fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.

The quote above is a story Jon hears from Old Nan while he was still at Winterfell. After realizing the White Walkers exist and that they had begun coming out, Jon remembers the words of Old Nan, who told him about how the White Walkers were creatures of the night. He remembers her words telling him how the Walkers feared the sun and led an army of the dead against the lining. Jon thinks back to Nan telling him about fire being the weapon against them and realizes all she said was true.

Logs don’t bleed.

When Tyrion gets detained by Catelyn, he gets taken to Eyrei to meet Alyssa, Catelyn’s sister. On the way, they encounter a band of fighters from the mountain clans. When the bandits attack Catelyn’s men, Bronn gives Tyrion an ax and tells him to use it like he was cutting wood. However, Tyrion points out that cutting wood is not the same as killing. His statement explains that killing an enemy requires more than slashing and involves mental strength.

The dawn was full of shouts and screams and heavy with the scent of blood, and the world had turned into chaos.

After the battle with the people from the mountain clans, Tyrion witnessed the gruesome scene of dead men littered on the ground. He realizes that fighting is an action that lasts for only a few moments with a consequence of a lifetime. In the battle, Bronn loses his friend, Chiggen, and Catelyn loses some of her men. The quote above further focuses on the saying that only the dead see wars end.

When the seas go dry and the mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and bear you a living child. Then he will return, and not before.

When Daenerys tries to heal Khal Drogo using Mirri Maz Duur’s dark magic, her life gets destroyed as she loses her husband, unborn son, and womb. The statement above is one that Mirri makes when Daenerys asks her if Khal Drogo will ever wake up again. Mirri’s statement made Daenerys learn that trust is something one never gives to someone who hates them.


A pretty little talking bird, repeating all the pretty little words they taught you to recite.

In the quote above, Sandor Clegane compares Sansa to a talking bird incapable of self-reasoning. He got appalled by her naivety and told her the facts about her father getting arrested. As a young girl, Sansa thought she could beg Joffrey to let her father go, and he would listen. However, Clegane opened her eyes to her naivety. He tells her she is nothing but a mindless little girl who has no sense of the real world.

And you are truly a fool, Lady Stark. Littlefinger has never loved anyone but Littlefinger, and I promise you that it is not your hand that he boasts of, it’s those ripe breasts of yours, and that sweet mouth and the heat between your legs.

When Catelyn requests the men loyal to her husband to detain Tyrion, she talks to him about the plot against her son. Shocked, he tells her he has nothing to do with it, but Catelyn tells him about the knife from Littlefinger. He then points out that Catelyn was more naïve than he thought. He tells her that even though she says Littlefinger once loved her, he was a cunning man who never really showed he loved her. He tells her that Littlefinger only talked about her breasts and not about how he loved her. However, Catelyn refuses to believe him and calls him evil. 


Only a man who’s been truly burned knows what hell is truly like.

When he was younger, Sandor argued with his brother Gregor. With Gregor being a giant even at a young age, he puts Sandor in a fire and burns his face. When Joffrey asks him to take Sansa back to her quarters, Sandor explains to her that she is nothing but a foolish girl who believes in princes and nights. He tells her that the world is not all roses and there is real pain and suffering.


All halls lead somewhere. Where there is a way in, there is a way out. Fear cuts deeper that swords.

The quote above is an assurance Arya gives herself when she gets lost in the hall containing dragon skulls. As she had learned from Syrio Forel, fear is an enemy that makes you lose even before you fight. She uses this thought to bravely wall through the room. The quote above describes fear as a blade sharper than steel. It explains that if one plans to fail, the first thing they should do is get scared, and they will find the failure that comes from fear.


Waiting won’t make the maid any prettier. Kiss her and be done with it.

When Robert Baratheon learns that Daenerys is getting married to Khal Drogo, he summons the small council and orders her assassination. Ned vehemently disagrees with Robert as he tells him that killing a child is not an act a king should have in his name.

When Robert turns to the small council, they agree with his plans as they cite that Daenerys’s marriage to Khal Drogo was a future threat to the king’s rule. Ned still disagrees and tells them that the Dothraki would not cross the ocean, but Littlefinger makes the quote above. He tells Ned that fixing a future problem is the best course of action.


Some secrets are safer kept hidden. Some secrets are too dangerous to share, even with those you love and trust.

When Ned tries investigating the death of Jon Arryn, the former Hand of the King, he starts realizing that there were secrets that Jon knew; secrets that led to his death. The quote above gets made when Ned realizes that Jon Arryn got a secret about Robert Baratheon’s family and died for it. He admits that some secrets put one’s life at stake, and the best way to prevent those secrets from hurting a loved one is to keep them away.

When Ned starts uncovering the truth behind Jon Arryn’s death, he realizes that King’s Landing is more dangerous than he thought.

Human Nature

Love is sweet dearest Ned, but it cannot change a man’s nature.

Before Ned lost his sister, Lyanna, to the rebellion, she was to marry Robert Baratheon. Before marrying Robert, Lyanna expressed her concerns about Robert’s nature. Ned assures her that Robert will change when they get married because he loves her. Lyanna then advises Ned, telling him that no matter how one believes love can make the utmost change, a person’s primordial nature never changes, and it would only take a small change to make the person revert to their old ways.

One Man’s Meat Another’s Poison

The mothers go hungry, and steel fills more mouths than gold.

When Tyrion and Bronn get released from the Eyrie, they meet the Stone Crows, and Tyrion proposes to pay them gold if they let him go. However, Gunthor tells him that steel fills more mouths than gold, meaning that his money was more useless than the blades in his possession as they had no way of spending money. Gunthor’s statement describes the statement that one man’s meat is another’s poison. It shows that what one may hold of value may be useless to another person and vice versa.


Sleep is the great healer.

When Ned steps down as the Hand of the King, he keeps on researching the death of Jon Arryn. After leaving a brothel where he got the information, he encounters Jaime Lannister, and he gets into a fight with him. Ned’s men get killed, and Ned gets injured. When he wakes up, maester Pycelle admonishes him to rest further as resting and sleep were requirements necessary for healing. When Ned falls back to sleep, everything gets serene.


Shattered legs may heal in time, but some betrayals fester and poison the soul.

Betrayal is a knife that pierces deep into the heart and leaves one shattered and unable to regain their footing. When Ned tries telling Sansa that she and her sister are returning to Winterfell, she gets angry and sad. However, Ned knew that it was in her best interest as he had realized that his friend, Jon Arryn, died from the betrayal and that Robert was on the same path that Jon took. Ned realizes that Robert’s foolish reliance on the Lannisters is the knife that will pierce through him, taking him down.


When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.

When Ned learns the truth of Jon Arryn’s death, he requests Cersei’s presence and tells her how he knew of her infidelity. He gives her time to leave the throne with her illegitimate children before Robert, who had gone on a hunting trip. However, Cersei boldly tells Ned she is playing a game he cannot play because of his blind values. She tells him that power requires one to either win or die and that the loser gets crushed. She later proves her point by planning Robert’s accident and declaring her son the King of Westeros; this leads to Ned losing his life.

In life, the monsters win.

The quote above is a thought Sansa has when she comes to grips with the reality of life. As a young girl, she always fantasized about princely knights and lords. However, when she reaches King’s Landing, she starts learning hard lessons about the reality of life. When his father gets arrested, Sansa realizes that the good and honorable ones are the ones to die, and the monster, those who never play by the rules of honor, live to tell the story of their victory.


You wear honor like a suit of armor, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move. Look at you now. You know why you summoned me here. You know what you want to ask me to do. You know it has to be done … but it’s not honorable, so the words stick in your throat.

When Robert dies, Ned tries to take over the throne and hand it to the original heir, Robert’s brother, Stannis Baratheon. However, he decides against leading a march against Cersei and her children even though all of them are illegitimate. Petyr Baelish tells Ned though he is an honorable man, he lets honor cloud his judgment. Petyr tells Ned that his pride prevents him from making the right choice. Later, Ned gets arrested and loses his life because of pride and honor.

For love is the bane of honor, the death of duty.

The quote above is a statement made by maester Aemon when he tries to teach Jon about the Night’s Watch. He tells Jon that when one says the oath to become a man of the Night’s Watch, they cut off ties to their former loved ones and take on the mantle of duty. Aemon tells Jon that love makes one break an oath. He tells him it is why the men of the Night’s Watch never marry or have children.


A man of the Night’s Watch lives his life for the realm. Not for the king, nor a lord, nor of this house or that house, neither for gold nor glory nor a woman’s love, but for the realm, and all the people in it. A man of the Night’s Watch takes no wife and fathers no sons. Our wife is duty, our mistress is honor. And you are the only sons we shall ever know.

The quote above is a speech by Lord Mormont, commander of the Night’s Watch. When Jon and his friends become men of the Night’s Watch, Mormont tells them that when one joins the Night’s Watch, they no longer defend the king’s glory but the people of Westeros. He tells them that a man of the Night’s Watch swears allegiance to the watch and takes no wife.


Opening your eyes is all that is needing. The heart lies and the head plays tricks with us, but the eyes see true. Look with your eyes. Hear with your ears. Taste with your mouth. Smell with your nose. Feel with your skin. Then comes the thinking afterward, and in that way knowing the truth.

When Arya was training Syrio Forel, he tried showing her the essence of catching cats in sword dancing. He tells her that catching a cat involves one heightening their visual senses as the eyes are crucial in sword dancing. Forel tells her that seeing is reliable because one can track an object with their eye. He tells her to look with her eyes and not think with her heart. He also tells her to give in to her instincts and not think while fighting, as it works with the senses and keeps one alive.


Two battles do not make a war.

The quote above is a statement that Ser Addam makes when Tywin Lannister realizes that Robb Stark had outsmarted him and attacked Jaime’s army. Initially underestimating him for being a young boy, Robb uses a surprise attack to keep Tyrion’s men and a part of Tywin’s army busy as he crossed to fight against Jaime’s army. After Robb successfully defeats Jaime’s army and captures him, Tyrion admits that all efforts for peace got destroyed when Joffrey ordered Ned Stark’s death. 

Forgive me father, Robb, Arya, Bran … forgive me, I cannot help you. He has the truth of it. This is my place.

This quote is a statement Jon Snow makes when he finally admits his place was with the Night’s Watch. When he learns of his father’s death, he tries to desert the watch and help out his brother Robb, but his friends stop him, and Lord Mormont tells him that he is also fighting a battle that decides the fate of Westeros.

The Mind

A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.

The quote above gets made by Tyrion as a response to Jon Snow when they camp on their way to Castle Black. He tells Jon that his mind is his weapon and that it is what he needs to conquer the world. He tells Jon that everyone has to improve themselves.


Why did Tyrion see himself as a bastard?

Tyrion advised Jon he should make sure his shame does not hurt him; this advice stems from his life experience. As the last child of Tywin Lannister, he got hated by everyone except his brother. His father blamed him for the death of his wife, and his dwarfism only added to more resentment from others.

What is an interesting quote from A Game of Thrones?

“Only a man who’s been truly burned knows what hell is truly like.”
“Power resides where men believe it resides.”

What is the difference between Tyrion of the novel and TV show?

There are notable differences between the Tyrion of the story and that of the TV show. The first is in his dwarfism. In the TV show, Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion, does not have any issues with walking compared to the novel.

Is A Game of Thrones better than Harry Potter?

From a literary point of view, ‘A Game of Thrones’ is a better-written novel that uses a vast character base to propel an intricate story across two continents. The sheer complexity of the story towers Harry Potter where there are many weak points in J. K. Rowling’s storytelling. However, many choose ‘Harry Potter’ because it is calming and does not put the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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