If you're here, you're probably already up to date on the show, but if you've stumbled here before you've watched everything, be warned.. there are spoilers below.
The last two seasons of Game of Thrones are upon us (what will we do without this show?!) and we hope you've been refreshing your knowledge about Westeros and the people that live there before the final battles begin. At this point, you must know which of the Houses you're rooting for and which of them you feel fits your personality: Maybe you're a loyal Stark or a hot-blooded Targaryen. Or maybe you identify most with the ruthlessness, ambitious, determined and powerful Lannisters. And why wouldn't you? They've been one of the most powerful families throughout the show and have managed to keep one of their own on the Iron Throne since Robert Baratheon's death.
If you have been brushing up on your Game of Thrones trivia or if you think you're an obsessed fan that knows everything about the show, prove it by taking this quiz! You should know that it's designed to be challenging: You'll have to really draw on your memory for some of these questions. And, because we're as obsessed with the show as you are, we know that you're thirsty for every piece of information you can get your hands on so we've made sure that every question provides you with interesting facts and trivia.
"You're no son of mine."
The Lannister family are notorious with audiences and Westerosi alike. They're infamous to us for the various awful things they've done to the characters we love - specifically those in the Stark family. To people living in Westeros, they're famous for their arrogance, blind ambition, and - most importantly - their wealth. They're one of the wealthiest families in Westeros, which is how they've managed to cling to power for so long and increase their influence in the Seven Kingdoms.
"I wish I was the monster you think I am."
Their hold over the Iron Throne seems tenuous at best (especially when considering that it should be a Targaryen on the throne and that the only reason there isn't is because Jaime Lannister was prepared to kill his King) because none of Cersei and Robert's children are actually Robert's. They're not Baratheons, they're inbred Lannisters which means neither Joffrey nor Tommen have any real claim to the throne. Cersei and Jaime's incestuous relationship was one of the first shocking things we saw on Game of Thrones.
“A good king knows when to save his strength and when to destroy his enemies.”
While we mostly see the Lannisters at King's Landing, their family home is actually at Casterly Rock. Lann the Clever (who is either one of the First Men or an Andal) was the ancient forefather of the Lannister family. Supposedly, he snuck into the keep at Casterly Rock and drove the Casterly family mad by making noises that made it seem like the place was haunted. Another rumor says that he snuck into the castle and impregnated all of the Casterly women. Basically, he tricked them into giving him the castle.
“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.”
The official sigil of House Lannister is a golden lion on a red field and their family house, Casterly Rock, is carved out of a stone hill. It's located on the Western coast of Westeros overlooking the Sunset Sea and Lannisport city. The castle has many natural defense and the Lannisters have fortified it by building watchtowers, gates, and defensive walls. The rock that the castle is made from is three times taller than both The Wall and the Hightower in Oldtown.
"Any man who must say, 'I am the king' is no true king."
One of the reasons the Lannisters are so wealthy is that the rock below Casterly Rock is a large gold mine - one of the biggest in the Seven Kingdoms. The surrounding lands are also rich in gold and silver and the Lannisters use their deep pockets to buy influence wherever necessary. Or to fund nefarious happenings that will increase their hold over the Iron Throne and keep the other families from having enough power to take the throne from them.
"You raised me to be strong... and I wasn't. But I want to be. Help me."
The Lannisters are an ancient Westerosi family - originally First Men, but also considered to be part Andal. When the Andals sailed across the Narrow Sea and conquered Westeros, they intermingled with the Lannisters. This is why they have such a distinct Andal look: Tall, blonde, and green eyed. This happened because of the Lannisters - after initially trying to fight the Andals - realized they were going to lose and, rather than lose to them, arranged marriages with them insetad.
“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”
The most powerful houses have greatswords made of Valyrian steel. They're markers of wealth and prestige and are known as Named Swords. We watched Samwell Tarly steal his family's blade - Heartsbane - at the end of the last season. Ice was Ned Stark's blade that was melted down to make two swords for the Lannisters: One went to Joffrey and the other to Jaime. This is because the Lannister's original Named Sword, Brightroar, was lost when Tommen II sailed to Valyria to search for riches in the ruins of the city.
"The things I do for love."
The Lannisters will do anything to be on the right (read: winning) side of things. This included playing a role in removing the Targaryens from the Iron Throne during Robert’s Rebellion. While Aerys fought Robert Baratheon’s rebel forces, the Lannister army held back - staying neutral. When Robert slew Rhaegar Targrayen and the tides turned against House Targaryen, Tywin Lannister switched sides and marched his army to King’s Landing. Aerys the Mad King - still believing that the Lannisters were on his side - let them in. Once inside, they killed everyone fighting for the Targaryens and Jamie killed the Mad King himself.
“When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
Of all the characters in the show, Tyrion is the most important - mathematically anyway. Because there are so many characters, families and stories to cover in any given season, we seldom see all of them in an episode. There are only three characters that have been in every episode of a season: Lena Headey (Cersei) and Jack Gleeson (Joffrey Baratheon) were in every episode in Season 1 but Peter Dinklage was in every episode of both Season 3 and Season 5. In the novels, Tyrion has interacted with the most characters so the numbers match up between book and TV show.
"The gods have no mercy, that’s why they are gods."
Remember the Red Wedding? Of course you do. Other than the treachery and blood, one of the most memorable things about that episode was the song that played before those other terrible things happened. It's called the Rains of Castamere and it's known in Westeros as a song written about the Lannisters and their treachery. At one point Dave Benioff, one of the showrunners, wanted it to be the theme song for the entire show, but D.B. Weiss - his co-showrunner - convinced him not to do it.
"There are no men like me. Only me."
George R.R. Martin drew on many sources of inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire. Many of the events and people in the books (and the TV show) are based on real life historical figures and events. The feud between the Starks and the Lannisters is based on a decades-long bloody feud between two British families: The Lancasters and the Yorks. Unlike the Starks and the Lannisters, both of those English houses came from the same familial ancestral line.
"Explain to me why it is more noble to kill ten thousand men in battle than a dozen at dinner."
George R.R. Martin has no problems with killing off popular characters or characters that are central to the story. Supposedly, he was influenced by the comic Wonder Man who was introduced and killed in his first story. He says, "He's a brand-new character, he's introduced, and he dies. It was very heart-wrenching. He was a tragic, doomed character. I guess I've responded to tragic doomed characters ever since." It explains a lot - especially why he had the Lannisters send their regards to the Starks.
“Everything’s better with some wine in the belly.”
There is hardly an episode where the wine isn't flowing... especially if the Lannisters are on screen. Keeping the Lannister shenanigans on our screens every year costs HBO $6 million an episode - partly because it's filmed on three continents and in six countries including the United States, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, Iceland and Northern Ireland. That's also why there are such large gaps between seasons with this one between Season 6 and Season 7 being the longest of them all.
"Everyone who isn't us is an enemy."
The official motto of the Lannister family is, "Hear me Roar!" but it's seldom used. The words most often associated with the Lannisters is "The Lannisters always pay their debts." Taken out of context (and away from the terrible things that happen on the show), this doesn't seem at all sinister. It basically just means they don't go back on their word. But what they also use it to promise that they'll pay back their blood debts - that they'll get revenge for wrongs perpetrated against them.
"People have been swinging at me for years, they always seem to miss."
When picking which house you'd be a part of if you were Westerosi, you look for a house that has the same values as you. Or, at least, have members with characteristics and personality traits similar to your own. While there are many negatives associated with the Lannisters, they're also loyal, protective of their own, fiercely ambitious, proud, cunning and powerful. In fact, House Lannister isn't all that different to Slytherin House in Harry Potter. (Does that mean the Starks are Gryffindor?)
"You can't talk to me like that! The king can do as he likes."
Before the Red Wedding, the Lannisters already had a reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty. One of the houses sworn to the Lannisters - House Reyne - refused to pay a debt they owed (oops, big mistake) so Tywin Lannister, who was a teenager at the time, decided to teach them a lesson. He took some armed forces to the Reyne castle and rerouted their water supply so that it drowned everyone in the castle. This story is where the Rains of Castamere song comes from.
"The King shits, and the Hand wipes."
The Lannister ambitiousness has taken them to great places - they've achieved things in record time. Cersei was queen at 18, Tywin was the youngest Hand of the King in Westeros history and Jaime, at 15 years old, was the youngest knight appointed to the Kingsguard. Tyrion, the Lannister treated with the least respect and affection by Tywin, is widely considered one of the smartest men in the kingdom. They can be cruel, but no one can accuse them of being lazy.
"The only way to keep your people loyal is to make certain they fear you more than they do the enemy."
While the show focuses on Tywin, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime, Joffrey, and Tommen, there are lesser known members of the family like Tytos Lannister who was also known as the Laughing Lion. He was also Tywin's father. Unlike most of the Lannisters, he was kind hearted and looked for the good in everyone he encountered. While this made him a decent person, it also made him a weak-willed king who people laughed at and constantly took advantage of. Tywin spent a lot of his time trying to restore the fear that the Lannister name inspired prior to his father's time as head of the family.
"I think it passing odd that I am loved by one for a kindness I never did, and reviled by so many for my finest act.”
In an interesting twist of fate meets the future, Cersei would one day enjoy the same punishment her father Tywin once dished out to his father Tytos's mistress. When his father died, he went back to Casterly Rock and forced his father's mistress to walk the Lannisport streets naked while confessing all her sins. That walk in the streets of King's Landing that Cersei had to endure (after losing her beautiful, long golden hair) will forever alter the way we use the word 'shame.'
“The Northerners will never forget.”
'The North remembers' is said almost as often as 'Winter is coming.' It's pretty similar in meaning to 'a Lannister always pays his debts' in that it means that Northerners won't forget betrayals - one day hoping to get revenge for them. Speaking of the north, Northern Ireland estimates that Game of Thrones has earned their economy more than $100 million. And they're not the only ones: The ancient city of Ouarzazate in Morocco - Yunkai and Pentos in the show - had a 100% increase in bookings as a result.
"My life has left me uniquely unfit for constraint."
Another interesting fact about the Lannisters coming your way: They founded House Clegane. Tytos Lannister once came upon a lioness and her prey and tried to come between the two. The lioness was about to attack him until Casterly Rock's kennel master (grandfather of Gregor “The Mountain” and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane) rescued him. He lost a leg and some of his dogs in the fight but in return for saving his life, Tytos gave the kennel master lands and a tower house then took his son on as a squire. This created House Clegane.
“Turns out, far too much has been written about great men and not nearly enough about morons."
It took George R.R. Martin 15 years to write the first five books in A Song of Ice and Fire. He's not the healthiest man in the world either so there has been some justified concern from fans that he won't finish the books. In an effort to make sure that the show finishes with the ending George R.R. had in mind, the showrunners Benioff and Weiss spent time with him learning the major plot points for the last seasons. Which Lannister will survive? Will they ALL survive?
"Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls."
One of the lesser featured Lannisters is the second oldest of Tytos's children - Kevan Lannister. He was completely devoted to Tywin, who charged him with collecting all debts owed to the Lannisters. Hostages were taken in place of money if a house couldn't afford to pay. You know his son quite well since he's Cersei's cousin-turned-religious-fanatic, Lancel. Naturally, Cersei had an affair with him - probably because he was the closest thing to her brother in King's Landing. It's gross.
" I'll give him a Red smile, from ear to ear."
Speaking of lesser-known Lannisters, we need to talk about Lancel Lannister - Cersei's cousin. Son of Kevan Lannister - Tywin's younger brother - he's a part of the court at King's Landing. Naturally, being related to him doesn't stop Cersei from having an affair with him. After their sordid incestuous relationship, Lancel finds religion so that he can repent for his sins. He goes from a spoiled, entitled and ambitious Lannister brat to a zealous Faith Militant under the High Sparrow.
“It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on its head.”
There is a way you can own a real-world version of Valyrian steel swords like the ones Jaime and Joffrey own (after taking it from Ned Stark). Provided you can go back in time and learn the exact method needed to make Damascus steel - a type of steel made in the Middle East and India that was prized for its super sharpness, strength, and for its rippled blade texture. No one knows how to make it anymore, but if you could figure it out, you'd be one step closer to becoming a Knight like Jaime.
"The more people you love, the weaker you are."
While there's plenty of (gross) love between Cersei and Jaime, there's no love lost between Cersei and her other brother Tyrion. The reason why Tywin and his daughter despised Tyrion so much (aside from his appearance) is that Tyrion's mother died while giving birth to him - taking a wife from Tywin and a mother from Cersei. Neither one of them have ever forgiven him and they treat him as such, but he does have a good relationship with Jaime.
“I am going to open him from balls to brains and see what Starks are made of.”
The version of Tyrion that we see on Game of Thrones is slightly different to the Tyrion in A Song of Ice and Fire in that he's not so good a person in the books as he is in the show. For example: In the show, Shae attempts to stab Tyrion when he visits her one last time, but in the books, she swears that she loves him, but Tyrion to strangles her in cold blood. He seems like the perfect gentleman, but in the books his views of women are far from polite.
“When soldiers lack discipline, the fault lies with their commander.”
The Lannisters spend most of their time either attaining more power or maintaining the power they already have. This means hanging on to the Iron Throne for dear life - they are not a family accustomed to being anywhere other than at the top of the food chain. The Iron Throne on the show looks very uncomfortable (who'd want to sit on that?!) but in the books, it's much bigger and uglier. It's supposed to be made up of thousands of swords, not just a few hundred as seen on Game of Thrones
"No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or another.”
Hardly an episode of Game of Thrones goes by without someone dying. Sometimes a Lannister is killing one of your favorites (#toosoon Ned Stark) or ordering the deaths of many of your favorites (#neverforget #redwedding). Every now and then they kill off one of our least favorite characters: Tyrion killing Tywin is one of those times. But it wouldn't be Game of Thrones if there wasn't death and despair everywhere. There have been over 150 000 deaths on screen. We're sure thousands more will happen in the next two seasons.
“Killing and politics aren’t always the same thing.”
In the opening sequence of the show, we get to see where the houses are in power at that point in the plot. King's Landing has always had either the Baratheon sigil or the Lannister sigil hanging over it. The Lannister lion also hangs over Casterly Rock. Those opening titles have to be remade before every season. It's a complicated process involving drawing and animation and it takes about three months to complete a new sequence for a new season.
"Everyone is mine to torment!"
Many of the events that happen in the show are pulled from real life history, including the wedding between Margaery and Joffrey. This was one of the most satisfying episodes because we finally got to see that evil little brat get what he deserved. Called the Purple Wedding (a reference to the color of the poison used to kill Joffrey) it is based on the real-life wedding of Prince Eustace in 1153. Like Joffrey, he died at his wedding - either by poison or by choking to death
"That’s what ruling is. Lying on a bed of weeds, ripping them out before they strangle you in your sleep."
The Tyrion from the books in A Song of Ice and Fire isn't just different in personality, he's also different in looks. He's much more disfigured in the books because, other than his stunted height, his eyes are mismatched, he has an enlarged forehead, hair that’s very different from the Lannister blonde look, a beard that only grows in patches, and he walks with a waddle because he has inflamed joints. He also has half his nose cut off at one point, but in the show, he just gets a big scar across his face.
“As long as I’m better than everyone else I suppose it doesn’t matter.”
Cersei has had her share of ups and downs over the course of the show. Most of her downs are her own fault (and she deserves them) and the most agonizing one to watch was her naked walk through the streets - part of her punishment for incest. But at the end of the last season, Cersei is back on top - and on the Iron Throne - more ruthless than ever. Without her children to love and protect, she's a loose cannon.
“Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.”
One of the ways in which Cersei managed to grab power at the end of the last season (after blowing up everyone who stood in her way) was to use the services of the resurrected Mountain who, now that he's a frankenbeast, is virtually unstoppable. The actor that plays The Mountain is over 2 metres (6 ft 5) tall, weighs 200 kg (440 lbs) and has to eat over 11 000 calories a day to maintain his size and weight.
“That’s what I do: I drink and I know things.”
This is one of the most quoted lines from the show - next to, "You know nothing, Jon Snow" and "Winter is coming." That's probably because it seems like a pretty good way to go about life: Drink wine and know things. Of course, Tyrion doesn't just know things, he's highly intelligent. So long as the Khaleesi keeps the wine flowing, he will be a very useful and effective ally and adviser in her quest to take back the Seven Kingdoms.