House of the Dragon recently ended its stellar first season. While it deserves all the praise, one small thing fans of George R.R. Martin’s franchise wish there were more of was biting wit. Yes, there are some clever lines here and there, but Game of Thrones snarks from the beginning.
Whether it’s the casual barbs of Tyrion Lannister, the venomous double-speak of Petyr Baelish, there or the sharp thorns of Olenna Tyrell, these insults are well-remembered amongst fans thanks to their wit and sheer lack of tact.
Not To Be Trusted – Littlefinger
This quote was posted by Reddit user Strange_Temperature as a cheeky roast of the later seasons’ writing, but it’s telling how memorable the line is. Not only was it the true moment that fans got a taste of the political betrayals that were soon to come, but it was also incredible character-building.
Littlefinger had never made a secret of his dislike for the Starks, to which his other quote of “Starks: Quick tempers, slow minds” can attest. Ned falsely believed that Littlefinger’s blatant dishonesty was, in its own way, a form of honesty. Instead, it was simply another layer to Littlefinger’s betrayal, and Ned is more the fool for falling for it.
Like Cake – Barristan
Redditor YungAshtray shares one of Ser Barristan Selmy’s most memorable lines in this post, with the full quote being “Even now, I could cut through the five of you like carving a cake”. This particular post was made in light of the very unpopular decision to kill off Barristan early in the show’s fifth season.
Ser Barristan was on fire in this scene, as right after a tactless remark from Littlefinger, a single unsheathing of his blade made everyone’s blood run cold. The emphasis on “even now” showcases that he’s aware of how past his prime he is, and yet he believes the “Kingsguard” brothers he serves with are no match to him, the greatest of the Kingsguard.
Lord Ham – Renly
Reddit user Agressive_Bierpong asked quite a number of people what their favorite roast was in the series, and for their part, they showed a hilarious interaction between Melisandre and Renly. In response to the line of being “born amidst salt and smoke”, Renly retorts by asking her if his brother was a ham.
It was this devil-may-care attitude that made Renly so instantly likeable to anybody not named Stannis. He was charismatic and would make light of even the tensest situations, such as the meeting before a war. While this would prove to be his undoing, it’s clear that Stannis’ ego was bruised.
Dishonorable – Bronn
When none of the honorable knights of the Vale stepped forward to defend Tyrion in his trial of combat, it took a cutthroat swordsman to save the little Lannister’s life. Bronn stepped up and handily beat the Vale’s so-called champion, by using his speed and quite a bit of trickery.
Reddit user __M-E-O-W__ showcases the exchange between Lysa and Bronn afterwards, with Lysa exclaiming “You don’t fight with honor.” Bronn admit as much when he says, “No,” then gestures down to his vanquished foe and says, “He did.” Bronn embraces his dirty tactics, something that honorable knights would never understand.
Your Safe Return – Sansa
Sansa’s time at King’s Landing was a dream come true that quickly became a nightmare. Knowing that she was one temper tantrum away from joining her father in the grave, she could do nothing but silently take all the insults coming her way. However, that doesn’t mean she’s incapable of barbs.
Redditor kiree09 gives one such exampleL “Sansa to Tyrion before black water, Sansa: ‘I will pray for your safe return, my lord’ Tyrion: ‘will you?’ Sansa: ‘Just as I pray for the kings’ Boom roasted. So subtly perfect”. Clearly, Sansa has no love for the Lannisters, even the nicest of them, yet Tyrion can’t help but nod his head in respect at this unexpected wit.
Not Very Good At Your Job – Jon
Jon Snow returned from his trip to the North a more jaded and practical man. No longer tricking himself into thinking the Watch was the honorable organization he thought it was, he’s openly joking with his fellow “crows”, aware of everybody’s “diverse” backgrounds.
On Reddit, yeswewillsendtheeye gives one great exchange “Jon Snow: Have you ever been beyond the Wall, ser? Janos Slynt: I commanded the City Watch of King’s Landing, boy. Jon Snow: And now you’re here. You must not have been very good at your job.” This shows that he knows most people he works with are scumbags, and those who choose to be Jon Snow’s enemy are put to the sword.
Golden Rose – Olenna
Oftentimes, people take to roasting people against them, but Olenna has made an art of just roasting everybody in her path, including her own dysfunctional family. She’s not called the “Queen of Thorns” for nothing, and one lengthy monologue from her showcases a hilarious disregard for house honor.
Reddit user beach_boy91 posts the full quote “Another golden rose, how original, I eat from plates stamped with roses, I sleep in sheets embroidered in roses, I have a golden rose painted on my chamber pot as if that makes it smell any better, ‘growing strong’ huh the dullest words of any house. Winter is coming! Now that’s memorable, we do not sow! Strong houses you watch out for, dire wolves and krakens, fierce beasts but a golden rose growing strong, that strikes fear in the heart.”
Ugly Chair – Varys
Varys and Littlefinger, despite their contrasting motivations and morals, often find themselves having casual conversations in the empty throneroom. In one such instance detailed by Gambit1022, Varys calls the Iron Throne an “ugly old thing”, only for Littlefinger to reply with “But it does have a certain appeal.”
With a deadpan expression, Varys quips “the Lysa Arryn of chairs”, clearly a barb against Littlefinger’s affectations. It’s clear to Varys that Littlefinger has no physical attraction to Lysa anymore than he wants to sit on the Iron Throne. It’s the power that these “ugly” things represent that so entice Baelish.
Neither Will You – Loras
Loras Tyrell isn’t usually known for his wit. After all, his grandmother is the Queen of Thorns and his former paramour was the ever-so-clever Renly Baratheon. Of course, being around the two of them clearly taught him a few things about snarkiness, and it’s shown best in his interaction with Jaime during Joffrey’s wedding.
When Jaime spots Loras staring at Cersei, he thinks it’s a good time to rib him for it. Redditor -Narble- shows how badly this goes for Jaime, as after Jaime says, “You will never marry her”, Loras smirks and coyly responds, “And neither will you” before walking off.
Vicious Roast – Tyrion
In the middle of a tense scene, Joffrey once again causes problems by acting like an insolent child. To shut him up, Tyrion goes off on his nephew. Reddit user moorkymadwan quotes him: “We’ve had vicious kings, and we’ve had idiot kings, but I don’t think we’ve ever been cursed with a vicious idiot of a king.”
To add injury to insult, Tyrion then slaps Joffrey full in the face, asking him if his hand fell off his wrist. This attitude towards Joffrey ultimately costs Tyrion his place in Westeros, but there’s no denying how cathartic it must be for him (and the audience) to see Joffrey put in his place.
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