Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 7: Best Speech – Preliminary Round

WotW season7-awards

We’re nearing the end of our Watchers on the Wall Awards preliminary round, with the last of our wordy categories up for vote today. We’ve discussed the best and the funniest quotes of season 7, and now it’s time to talk Best Speech! Which character holding forth onscreen grabbed your attention the most? Choose your favorite five of season 7!

The standard rules: Select up to FIVE nominees from the poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you cannot choose more than 5. (Visit the initial WotW Awards post for a complete explanation of the rules and process.)

At the end of 72 hours (Wednesday 11/29/17 at 1PM Eastern Time), whichever five speeches have the most votes will continue on to the finals. The results of the poll will be revealed when it’s time to choose the final winner in a couple weeks.

43 responses

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    1. Once again these polls remind me of how awesome season 7 is in retrospect. This is definitely a season you earn more out of from repeat viewings. So many great quotes and speeches from the main cast.

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    2. “When my daughter was taken from me, my only daughter – well you can’t imagine how that feels, unless you’ve lost a child. I fed her at my own breast even though they told me to give her to the wet nurse. I couldn’t bear to see her in another woman’s arms. I never got to have a mother, but Myrcella did. She was mine and you took her from me. Why did you do that? Doesn’t matter now … ” – Cersei Lannister
      (Every word Cersei speaks in this scene is incredible, but I suppose we need to cut it off somewhere … )

      “I was born at Dragonstone. Not that I can remember it. We fled before Robert’s assassins could find us. Robert was your father’s best friend, no ? I wonder if your father knew his best friend sent assassins to murder a baby girl in her crib. Not that it matters now, of course … ” – Daenerys Targaryen

      “You don’t believe him. I understand that. It sounds like nonsense. But if destiny has brought Daenerys Targaryen back to our shores, it has also made Jon Snow King in the North. You were the first to bring Dothraki to Westeros? He is the first to make allies of wildlngs and Northmen …” – Davos Seaworth

      “The kind the realm needs. Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty. As long as I have my eyes, I’ll use them. I wasn’t born into a great house. I came from nothing. I was sold as a slave and carved up as an offering. When I was a child, I lived in alleys, gutters, abandoned houses. You wish to know where my true loyalties lie? Not with any king or queen, but with the people … ” – Varys

      “When I was Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, I executed men who betrayed me. I executed men who refused to follow orders. My father always said the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword, and I have tried to live by those words … ” – Jon Snow

      Honorable Mention:

      “Maybe I’m not the most pleasant man, I admit it, but I’m proud of you lot. You’re my family. The men that helped me slaughter the Starks at the Red Wedding … ” -Walder Frey/Arya Stark

      “Sometimes when I’m trying to understand a person’s motives I play a little game … ” – Sansa Stark

      “When Unsullied are young, the masters learn their fears … ” – Grey Worm

      “This place was the beginning of the end for my family. A dragon is not a slave. They were terrifying. Extraordinary … ” – Daenerys Targaryen

      ““I never thought that dragons would exist again. No one did. The people who follow you know that you made something impossible happen … ” – Jon Snow

      “We’re not like the people south of the Twins. And we’re not like the people north of the Twins. In the Citadel we lead different lives for different reasons … ” – Archmaester Ebrose

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    3. This is extrapolation and far from 100% accurate, but we might expect Winds of Winter in June of 2018 based solely on the months between book publications for previous books. Take that with a 50-pound bag of salt, but George isn’t later than we all should have expected him to be. Yet.

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    4. Oh wow this is hard. Right away I canceled out the quotes. Looked at the speeches to find the ones that moved me the most.

      #1 Aryas speech to the Frays
      #2 Cersie’s speech to Ellaria
      #3 Grey worm to Misssandrie
      #4 Jon Snow to Alys and Ned
      # 5 Davos to Dany

      HM Both of Varys’s speeches

      But the one that put me in tears was hounds speech. Its actually a quote and I chose it in that round. But it still touches my heart

      We ask the Father to judge us with mercy. We ask the Mother to… Fuck it, I don’t remember the rest. I’m sorry you’re dead. You deserved better. Both of you.” – The Hound

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    5. I was born at Dragonstone. Not that I can remember it – Daenerys Targaryen

      You don’t believe him. I understand that – Davos Seaworth

      When my daughter was taken from me – Cersei Lannister

      Maybe I’m not the most pleasant man, I admit it – Arya Stark as Walder Frey

      You all crowned me your king – Jon Snow

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    6. Not an easy choice again. The confrontational speeches between Jon/Davos and Dany and later between Jon and Cersei were really great and my first choices.

      1. “You don’t believe him. I understand that… If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.” – Davos Seaworth
      This was a brilliant! Davos backing up Jon and telling Dany who the real enemy is and my favorite speech in S7.

      2. “This isn’t about living in harmony; it’s just about living. The same thing is coming for all of us… They’re about to become a million more soldiers in the army of the dead.” – Jon Snow
      Now its Jon’s turn to tell Cersei who the real enemy is.

      3. “I’d hate to die like your son… Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” – Olenna Tyrell
      Jaime finally learns the truth as to who poisoned Joffrey.

      4. “Enemies to the east. Enemies to the south… We’re surrounded by traitors.” – Cersei Lannister
      A great scene also in the courtyard with that magnificent map of Westeros painted on the floor. I bet the artist wasn’t too pleased with Cersei walking all over it 😉

      5. “When my daughter was taken from me, my only daughter – well you can’t imagine how that feels, unless you’ve lost a child… You chose to murder my daughter. You must have felt powerful after you made that choice.” – Cersei Lannister
      One of the few times when Cersei displayed genuine sadness and emotion regarding losing her only daughter. We all know what happened next!

      Honorable mentions:

      “The kind the realm needs…” – Varys to Dany
      “You are not dying today, Ser Jorah.” – Samwell Tarly
      “Will you stand beside me, Ned and Alys? Now and always?” – Jon Snow
      “There was an impossible choice I had to make: Stark or Greyjoy.” – Theon Greyjoy
      “I’ve thought about killing you more times than I can count. Do it! Say the word.” – Tyrion Lannister to Cersei
      “We ask the Father to judge us with mercy. We ask the Mother to… Fuck it, I don’t remember the rest. I’m sorry you’re dead. You deserved better. Both of you.” – The Hound

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    7. Don’t fight in the North or the South. Fight every battle, everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before.

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    8. Archmaester Ebrose: “We’re not like the people south of the Twins. And we’re not like the people north of the Twins. In the Citadel we lead different lives for different reasons. We are this world’s memory, Samwell Tarly. Without us men would be little better than dogs. Don’t remember any meal but the last. Can’t see forward to any but the next. And every time you leave the house and shut the door, they howl like you’re gone forever. When Robert’s Rebellion was raging, people thought the end was near. The end of the Targaryen dynasty. ‘How will we survive?’ When Aegon Targaryen turned his eye westward, and flew his dragons to Blackwater Rush, ‘The end is near, wow will we survive?’ And thousands of years before that, during the Long Night, we can forgive them for thinking it truly was the end. But it wasn’t. None of it was. The Wall has stood through it all, and every winter that ever came has ended.”

      Olenna Tyrell: “I’d hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. Must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me ― a shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.”

      Cersei Lannister: “When my daughter was taken from me, my only daughter – well you can’t imagine how that feels, unless you’ve lost a child. I fed her at my own breast even though they told me to give her to the wet nurse. I couldn’t bear to see her in another woman’s arms. I never got to have a mother, but Myrcella did. She was mine and you took her from me. Why did you do that? Doesn’t matter now. Your daughter’s a beauty too. Those brown eyes, those lips. Perfect Dornish beauty. I imagine she’s your favorite… I know, I know we’re not supposed to have favorites but still we’re only human, we love whom we love. I’m sorry, I can’t understand you.That gag makes it impossible to understand what you’re saying. It must be frustrating. We all make our choices. You chose to murder my daughter. You must have felt powerful after you made that choice.”

      Varys: “That’s what I used to tell myself about her father. I found the traitors, but I wasn’t the one burning them alive. I was only a purveyor of information. It’s what I told myself when I watched them beg for mercy. I’m not the one doing it. And the pitch of their screams rose higher. I’m not the one doing it. When their hair caught fire and the smell of their burning flesh filled the throne room. I’m not the one doing it.”

      Walder Frey/Arya Stark: “Maybe I’m not the most pleasant man, I admit it, but I’m proud of you lot. You’re my family. The men that helped me slaughter the Starks at the Red Wedding. Yes, yes. Cheer. Brave men, all of you. Butchering a woman pregnant with a baby. Cut the throat of a mother of five. Slaughter your guests after inviting them into your home. But you didn’t slaughter ever one of the Starks. No, no. That was your mistake. You should have ripped them all out, root and stem. Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe. When people ask you what happened hear, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.”

      Honorable Mentions:

      “The kind the realm needs. Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty. As long as I have my eyes, I’ll use them. I wasn’t born into a great house. I came from nothing. I was sold as a slave and carved up as an offering. When I was a child, I lived in alleys, gutters, abandoned houses. You wish to know where my true loyalties lie? Not with any king or queen, but with the people. The people who suffer under despots and prosper under just rule. The people whose hearts you aim to win. If you demand blind allegiance, I respect your wishes. Grey Worm can behead me or your dragons can devour me. But if you let me live, I will serve you well. I will dedicate myself to seeing you on the Iron Throne because I choose you. Because I know the people have no better chance than you.” — Varys

      “I was born at Dragonstone. Not that I can remember it. We fled before Robert’s assassins could find us. Robert was your father’s best friend, no ? I wonder if your father knew his best friend sent assassins to murder a baby girl in her crib. Not that it matters now, of course. I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me, I don’t remember all their names. I have been sold like a broodmare. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing, through all those years in exile ? Faith. Not in any god, not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries, until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea, any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. And I will.” – Daenerys Targaryen

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    9. There were some pretty good speeches there, especially love some of the ones by Jon. However, I love that bit by Arya where she says that if you let one wolf live, the sheep are never safe. Badass.

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    10. Davos–the speech that ends “It doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.” It’s the nub of the great war and a criticism of the GAME of Thrones.

      Walder/Arya–the way he/she starts almost jovial, gets serious, segues into condemnation of what the Freys did at the RW, and perfectly sums up what just happened : “Winter came for House Frey.” Brrrr.

      Olenna–her speech to Jaime was the most ballsy farewell ever. And will get Jaime thinking in a way that enables him to man up and leave Cersei.

      Jon–Speech to the lords about his loyalty to the North. Even though he bent the knee, IMO it still applies. King, Lord, Bastard, Targ?–he is of the North.

      Cersei to Ellaria–It was even crueller than her speech to Unella. Hell hath no fury like a mother bereaved.

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    11. Tell Cersei it was me I guess.
      Arya pours one out for her homies.
      Sansa Stark claps back.
      Dany recites her CV.
      You ain’t dying on my watch, baby bear.

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    12. “Tell them winter came for House Frey.”

      That’s the line every ASOIAF & GoT fan been waiting on forever. Nothing else to say but that…

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    13. Reading these mostly reinforced my growing disappointment in the level of writing for the show post-GRRM. There was nothing this past season remotely as gripping as, say, Tyrion’s trial tirade. None of Dany’s or Jon’s speeches were moving to me at all; they all seemed kind of hackneyed (and Dany’s ‘I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms’ speech perfectly encapsulated the reasons I don’t much like her as a character).

      The only ‘campaign speech’ that I could even consider voting for was Davos’. I was hard-pressed to find five. My favorites were Sam to Jorah and the Hound’s funeral oration. After that, Olenna’s farewell and Varys’ defense of his motives. Unfortunately, I can’t get to the end of that last one without picturing Dany coming out of a Pokéball.

      Sorry to be a grump, but there’s no getting around the fact that the writing has suffered in recent seasons, and seeing the longer speeches in print makes that an even more unavoidable conclusion.

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    14. Firannion,

      I certainly won’t seek to dissuade you from your opinion, but personally, I couldn’t disagree more. Seeing all of these speeches laid out in full has reminded me yet again (not that I needed that reminder) of just how much I’ve loved the writing in recent seasons, especially in Season 7 and particularly in these small-scale, character-based scenes. The exchanges represented in this poll encompass some of my favorites of the entire series. To be fair, many of them benefit from the weight of the characters’ previously-established history, but even taking that into account, I think they all stand up extremely well on their own merits. I found the process of cutting this list down to five nominees to be extremely challenging for that reason. I would happily put Cersei’s full speech to Ellaria, for instance, up against any speech from the earlier seasons (or the novels), and at least on my scorecard, it would come out ahead of most, if not all, of its competitors.

      To each their own. 🙂

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    15. QOT. – Tell Cersei, it was me
      Jon Snow – lying speech
      Sansa – Play a little game.
      Arya / Walder Frey – Stand together
      Cersei – black cell Long Farewell
      Also liked the Hound’s burial prayer and all LF lessons speeches.

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    16. Jared,

      Re: Speeches

      I’m curious: what are your all-time favorite speeches? I’ll admit that with 67 episodes, it’s hard to extract “favorites”, and I haven’t rewatched S7 yet. For now, my partial list includes (in no particular order – except the first one is my #1):

      4×7 Sandor to Arya:
      “He thought I stole one of his toys. I didn’t steal it. I was just playing with it. The pain was bad. The smell was worse. But the worst thing was that it was my brother who did it. …My father, who protected him – told everyone my bedding caught fire.
      (Turns to look at her):
      You think you’re on your own?

      5×2 Stannis to Jon: “Kneel before me, lay your sword at my feet, pledge me your service. And rise again as Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell.

      5×8 Jon Snow to Wildling elders at Hardhome: This isn’t about friendship; it’s about survival.

      2x? Arya tells Tywin about her heroine, Visenya Targaryen

      2x? Jamie’s bathtub confession to Brienne

      2x? Catelyn tells Talisa about praying to the gods to get rid of Jon…but when he became gravely ill, she prayed for his survival.

      Tyrion’s “confession” at trial in the Vale

      Oberyn, after recounting meeting Tyrion when he was “just a baby”, announcing: “I will be your champion.”

      6×10, Lyanna Mormont: “You refused the call.”

      4×10 Sandor asks, goads, and begs Arya to kill him

      Davos convinces Iron Bank to finance Stannis

      Stannis: “You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon…and you are my daughter.”

      Maester Aemon: Love is the death of duty

      Cersei, wineboarding, Septa Unella, “confesses” she does things because it feels good.

      So, what are your personal favorites?

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    17. Firannion,

      I still enjoyed season 7, but overall I would agree with you wholeheartedly about the quality of the writing for the past couple of seasons. It feels more like the kind of writing I’d expect to hear from a summer blockbuster. The writing feels more like it’s playing to a crowd and comes off a bit corny at times.

      I also like Dany, but sometimes I think she comes off as pretentious and entitled when she goes on about how the 7 kingdoms are rightfully hers to rule.

      I wasn’t a fan of a lot of the speech choices this year, but I voted for 1 from Davos, 2 from Jon, and 1 from Theon.

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    18. I loved the dialogue in season 7. I had some issues with certain plot points and character choices, but overall the dialogue was amazing. In fact, reading all these great speeches only made me want to rewatch the whole season again.

      My picks:
      Olenna’s thorny farewell “Tell Cersei”;
      Walder/Arya’s killer monologue “Winter came for House Frey”;
      Sandor’s awkward eulogy “You deserved better”;
      Jon’s stark justification “Lies won’t help us”;
      Dany’s dragon history “They grew small”

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    19. Mr Derp,

      These speeches are definitely much more nuanced than any line of dialogue from a “summer blockbuster”. Name one that came out this year that had writing even remotely close to the quality of season 7 of GOT.

      But that’s your opinion so I respect it.

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    20. mau:
      Ten Bears,

      Cersei’s speech to Unella was so good. One of the best in this show.

      Yup. Even after the litany of things she does because “it feels good”, I loved how Lena Headey delivered Cersei’s matter-of-fact assurance to Unella that she will not have a quick and easy death, before introducing Unella to her blind date.

      Cersei:…You’ve always been quiet. I said my face would be the last thing you saw before you died. Do you remember? Good.

      Unella: I’m glad to see your face. I’m ready to meet the gods.

      Cersei: What? Now? Today? You’re not going to die today. You’re not going to die for quite a while….
      Ser Gregor!

      This is Ser Gregor Clegane. He’s quiet, too.
      Your gods have forsaken you. This is your god now.

      Shame! Shame! Shame!
      ________________

      Cersei…so, so cold. Yet I couldn’t help but cheer her on.
      Does that make me a bad person?

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    21. Edward,

      Obviously, “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature” of course. j/k 🙂

      I’m not interested in naming anything or trying to prove any of my personal opinions to you. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind here. I’m stating my opinions, as you have already stated yours. Obviously we disagree and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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    22. Ten Bears,

      Oh God. So many outstanding choices … many of which you’ve already mentioned! I’m doing this off the top of my head, so I’m guaranteed to miss a few, but some of the speeches that spring to mind immediately include:

      -Robert recounting his first kill (1×03)
      -Viserys talking to Doreah about dragons in the bathtub (1×04)
      -Tyrion recounting his first marriage (1×09)
      -Yoren talking about his revenge on Willem – a.k.a. the inspiration for Arya’s list (2×03)
      -Jaime’s “So many vows” speech in captivity (2×07)
      -Talisa remembering her brother’s near-drowning in Volantis (2×08)
      -Tyrion’s battle speech at Blackwater (2×09)
      -Varys’s account of his mutilation and revenge on the sorcerer (3×04)
      -Jaime’s bathtub confession to Brienne (3×05 – Probably most people’s top pick, and deservingly so.
      -Baelish and Varys in the Throne Room: “Chaos is a ladder” (3×06)
      -Tywin talking to Tommen about what it means to be a good king (4×03 – I could spend hours trying to order this list, but if I had to pick a #1, this would probably be it).
      -Tyrion’s furious outburst at his trial (4×06)
      -Oberyn talking to Tyrion in the cell about meeting him as a baby (4×07)
      -The Hound tells Arya about his burning at the hands of his brother (4×07)
      -The Hound begging Arya to kill him (4×10)
      -Stannis telling Shireen about seeking to cure her greyscale (5×04)
      -Tyrion and Jorah reciting the poem about the Doom of Valyria (5×05)
      -The High Sparrow turns the tables on Cersei (5×07)
      -Jon recruiting the wildlings at Hardhome (5×08)
      -Dany turns the tables on the Khals (6×04)
      -Sansa calls out Baelish for selling her to the Boltons (6×05)
      -Septon Ray recalls his violent past (6×07)
      -Cersei getting her revenge on Unella (6×10)
      -Tyrion swearing his devotion to Dany (6×10)
      -Lyanna Mormont calls out the Northern Lords and declares Jon her King (6×10)

      And for Season 7, all of the ones I already mentioned in my previous post. Cersei’s speech to Ellaria is Top 5 overall for the series in my book, for sure. That entire scene is 4 minutes and 45 seconds long, and other than from a few brief asides Qyburn, one panicked word from Tyene, and some strangled gasps and (phenomenal) non-verbal acting from Indira Varma as Ellaria, Lena Headey is the only one talking. It’s a tour-de-force for her and spell-binding display for the show, IMO.

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    23. Ten Bears,

      And Good Lord … I briefly forgot Brienne telling Pod about the time that Renly Baratheon danced with her and her desire to avenge him (the “Nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the one you love” scene from 5×03). I’ll stop listing contenders now lest I run off a list of 50+, but that one’s up there for sure.

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    24. Varys comes clean and puts Dany in her place. Finally someone tells off royalty they don’t deserve blind loyalty.

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    25. Jared,

      Thanks! It looks like our lists have considerable overlap. 😎

      I neglected to include Yoren’s speech, and I’ll have to go back and watch Lady Crane (Essie Davis), because I’m sure some of her line deliveries would qualify. (Goodness! What a fabulous actress.)

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    26. This is difficult, as usual. Sometimes I’m drawn to a speech because of the acting, but then I decided to go for the ones the stuck with me from the moment I watched the episode.

      I had three honorable mentions:
      – Sansa turning the table on LF – I’m a slow learner but I learn.
      – Olenna to Jaimie about Joffrey’s death
      – Theon’s impossible choice: Stark or Greyjoy.

      I ended up choosing a lot about the army of the dead… doom is coming!
      1) Davos deffending Jon in front of Daeny… It was powerful and had one of the memorable lines about how unimportant would be who sits in the Iron Throne.
      2) Jon’s speech about not being an alliance for harmonious living but just for living… It’s pretty much what he has been saying to whomever wants to listen, but still I feel its powerful.
      3) Jon saying that he will not swear an oath he cannot uphold… because what he says about lying is so true and so painfully current.
      4) Cersei’s speech about Myrcella to Ellaria and her daugther.
      5) Walder Frey / Arya: it was the first scene of S7 and I still have the “leave one wolf alive and the sheep are never safe” on my mind.

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    27. “I’d hate to die like your son. Clawing at my neck, foam and bile spilling from my mouth, eyes blood red, skin purple. Must have been horrible for you, as a Kingsguard, as a father. It was horrible enough for me ― a shocking scene. Not at all what I intended. Tell Cersei. I want her to know it was me.” – Olenna Tyrell

      “Maybe I’m not the most pleasant man, I admit it, but I’m proud of you lot. You’re my family. The men that helped me slaughter the Starks at the Red Wedding. Yes, yes. Cheer. Brave men, all of you. Butchering a woman pregnant with a baby. Cut the throat of a mother of five. Slaughter your guests after inviting them into your home. But you didn’t slaughter ever one of the Starks. No, no. That was your mistake. You should have ripped them all out, root and stem. Leave one wolf alive, and the sheep are never safe. When people ask you what happened hear, tell them the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey.” -Walder Frey/Arya Stark

      “The reason I believe Jon Snow is because he’s here. All of his advisers would have told him not to come. I would’ve told him not to come. And he’s here anyway. You don’t have to believe him; let him mine the dragon glass. If he’s wrong, it’s worthless. You didn’t even know it was here. It’s nothing to you. Give him something by giving him nothing. Take a step toward a more productive relationship with a possibly ally. Keep him occupied while we focus on the task at hand, Casterly Rock.” – Tyrion Lannister

      “We ask the Father to judge us with mercy. We ask the Mother to… Fuck it, I don’t remember the rest. I’m sorry you’re dead. You deserved better. Both of you.” – The Hound

      “They fought together, against their common enemies, despite their differences, despite their suspicions, together, and we need to do the same if we’re gonna survive. Cause the enemy is real, it’s always been real.” – Jon Snow

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