The phenomenon that is Game Of Thrones concludes this year and along the way fans have picked up (and had to let go of) favorite after favorite at George R. R. Martin’s whim. The cast has grown to the point you needed a spreadsheet to keep track of who was with which ruler, in what region, and had just betrayed this army to take over that place. Then everything shuffled again and we ended up just latching on to those we hoped might make it through to the end. Or at least were endearing enough to root for until their end.
Well, as The Avengers stated last year, we’re in the endgame now. On the way we’ve seen plenty of classic quotes used to cement characters and moments into our collective conscience.
One of the best things about Game Of Thrones is its excessive quotability. Everyone from the verbose Tyrion Lannister to the stoic Stannis Baratheon gets off stinging lines full of meaning and intrigue depending on the moment. While you could fill up 20 lists with just Tyrion one-liners alone, this is about those singular character-defining moments. For better or worse, these are the quotes that made fans ride or die with Westeros’ wordsmiths.
8 "Never Forget What You Are..."
"Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." — Tyrion Lannister
First ‘cab off the rank’ when it comes to favorite characters from this series, and it was this pilot episode truth that hit home. Tyrion Lannister threw the word ‘Bastard’ around in Jon Snow’s face only to show him that accepting an insulting fact of his life was far better than running from it. Tyrion’s own stature gave the words weight and poignancy that Jon could not deny. In doing so Tyrion made his young compatriot better and stronger by it.
Up until this moment Tyrion had defied his appearance in our expectations, but here he revealed his depth of mind, wit, and compassion for those he saw as kindred, beset-upon spirits. For us watching the exchange between ‘The Bastard’ and ‘The Imp’, it gave us someone heroic to root for off the bat that we may not have expected to provide it.
7 "All This Horror..."
"All this horror that's come to my family — it's all because I couldn't love a motherless child." — Catelyn Stark
The matriarch of the Stark family speaks a resounding truth of her own, one that finally cements her as someone to admire despite her shortcomings. Catelyn Stark seemed to bounce from hard choices to bad ones throughout her time in the series. From freeing Jaime, seeming to perpetually abhor Jon Snow, kidnapping Tyrion, to coming to odds with Rob Stark’s bannermen, she wasn't putting herself in the best position. Here though is the moment where we as viewers got to see her admit her greatest fault. With it, we got fully on board with her without reservation for the first time.
We may not have gotten to enjoy her for much longer but we got a glimpse into a future that might have been. We know it couldn’t go that way, but from this moment until ‘the Lannisters sent their regards’ we were up in arms for the Lady of Winterfell. Even good people can make terrible mistakes but to learn from them, even belatedly, is captivating.
6 "I Loved That Girl!"
"I loved that girl like she was my own! She was good, she was kind, and you killed her!" — Davos Seaworth
The crabber’s son who showed unwavering loyalty to Stannis Baratheon right to the end. We loved that he loved the Princess Shireen. He proved pretty badass when Lady Lyanna Mormont picked up what he was throwing down to pledge 62 Bear Islanders to Jon Snow’s army.
We appreciated his dedication, his frank and honest ways despite his past. How he could be both skeptical and also change when he was confronted with evidence that challenged him. Even how he learned to read when as an old sea dog he could be forgiven for not learning a new trick. He’s also funnier than he has any right to be. But this moment was where he became vital to all of us watching. We felt every bit of his hurt and rage with him. If he doesn’t make it through you can be sure there will be many a tear shed for The Onion Knight.
5 "You Have A Choice..."
"You have a choice, my friend. You can stay here... or you can ride with me to Meereen, meet Daenerys Targaryen and decide if the world is worth fighting for." — Varys
We've gone through so many moments of trying to analyze Varys' motivations and allegiances by this point that it's refreshingly hopeful for someone as idealistic as him to even exist. This is the moment where he laid his goals bare, relating to the littlest Lannister by kindling a hope that the world might not be doomed to rule by tyranny and fear. That notion for such an ending is almost preposterous considering the Westeros we've seen all these years. Altruistic and good intentions still have their parts to play despite the encroaching doom. This means that however the 'Spider' weaves his web in the finale, we'll be hoping some form of his vision comes to pass.
4 "You Don't Know How Persuasive I Can Be."
"You don't know how persuasive I can be." — Salladhor Saan
There are a few lines around this hilarious one we can't repeat but the gist of it is that Salladhor Saan is quite enamored with 'the blonde queen, Cersei' and intends to enjoy her as part of his spoils. The merry mirth with which he says it, and then how he counters Matthos Seaworth's objections is the real kicker. Cersei will succumb to Salladhor's self-proclaimed charms according to the pirate-lord. He plans to not only enjoy the financial spoils of war but 'the real treasure' that only bedding a queen can provide. There's something about a shameless pirate that makes them fun to watch no matter how repugnant some of their actions. Salladhor made a lasting impression quickly by simply stating his price.
3 "I Will Be Your Champion."
"I will be your champion." — Oberyn Martell
A surefire way to ingratiate yourself irredeemably with a fanbase is to come to one of our favorites aide in their time of need, and so came Oberyn Martell. The Prince Of Dorne arrived with a splash in King's Landing. Extolling the virtues of enjoying the body and yearning for revenge. He was quick-witted, roguish, and seemed bent on clashing with the Lannisters. So it became even more fun for fans seeing him side with 'our' Lannister to literally combat the remainder.
After Bronn and Jaime refused the call, Oberyn swooping in to declare himself for Tyrion was a cheer-out-loud moment. There is a lengthy buildup to the final line where we get in-depth insight into Oberyn's nature and he reveals a fair heart. One that will simultaneously not hesitate to revenge himself upon The Mountain as this opportunity affords. We all had 'grateful Tyrion face' at this moment, and that's what makes it a point of no return for liking the guy.
2 "Don't Get Killed."
"Don't get killed." — Bronn
This was actually a fun back and forth with Tyrion (who else?). Two men, brought together by need and money, expressing their admiration for each other beyond a transactional relationship. Bronn is notoriously equipped with some of the most flippant, smart-aleck responses across Westeros. Here he gives that little bit of extra affection that you know he saves only for Tyrion. He may be pragmatic and keep his emotional cards close to his chest, but from here on we knew that this dangerous sell-sword had a soft spot. That made him endearing forever more no matter who he worked for. The two men recognized kindred spirits, albeit with wildly different attributes. From here on any scene with Bronn was almost guaranteed to bring a smile, whether from his words or weapons.
1 "He Judged Me Guilty..."
"He judged me guilty the moment he set eyes on me! By what right does the wolf judge the lion?" — Jaime Lannister
Jaime had always had that infuriating charm of someone born to entitlement and privilege, but here, with everything he valued stripped away, we got the first real moments from a man whose entire life is secrets and facade. In essence, this was the first time we got to see Jaime Lannister, the man. Not The Kingslayer. Despite hating that nickname he'd inadvertently taken his little brothers advice and cloaked himself in it, using it as armor.
But with his hand gone, claiming he was nothing without it, he cracked open. He revealed that under the despicable things he'd done to preserve his love for Cersei, a good man might just be buried and awaiting rebirth. Here Jaime Lannister captured our imaginations as more than the jumped-up, rich boy, bodyguard he pretends to be. Despite ourselves, here we had to admit he had become a central figure for us.