December 27, 2023 | Shannon Quinn

Surprising Facts About Lesser-Known Game of Thrones Characters


Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows on TV, and likewise A Song of Ice and Fire is one the most popular fantasy book series. Everyone knows Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen. But what about all those secondary characters, the ones who support, antagonize, and push along our favorite figures? Bone up on your GoT by reading about these 38 lesser-known Game of Thrones characters.

Please note that we tried our best to leave out major spoilers from this list. However, maybe it’s best if you catch yourself up with Game of Thrones before you read this list, just in case.


Game of Thrones Characters Facts

38. Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun

Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, or as the Free Folk affectionately call him, “Wun Wun,” is one of the last known giants in Westeros. He is 14 feet tall, and possesses the strength of 12 men. In the books, we learn that he is a vegetarian. George R.R. Martin named him after the former New York Giants quarterback, Phil Simms, whose number is 11 (“one one” or “win wun”).

GoT split image

37. Rhaegar Targaryen

Rhaegar Targaryen was the oldest brother of everyone’s favorite Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen. He was positioned to ascend to the Iron Throne following his father's, The Mad King Aerys', departure from life. His journey, unfortunately, came to an abrupt end in the Sack of King's Landing during Robert's Rebellion.

Game of Thrones Characters Facts Game of Thrones, HBO

36. Lyanna Stark

Lyanna Stark was the sister of Eddard “Ned” Stark. She was in an arranged marriage to Robert Baratheon, but eloped with Rhaegar and bore him a son.

Game of Thrones Characters Facts Game of Thrones, HBO

35. Aemon Targaryen

Maester Aemon lived with the Night's Watch, but he holds a secret: he is actually the oldest living Targaryen, and should be sitting on the Iron Throne. Aemon gave up his rights to the throne when he joined the Night's Watch, and the crown went to his  brother Aegon.

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34. Rhaella Targaryen

Rhaella was both the sister and wife of the Mad King, Aerys Targaryen. Rhaella relocated to Dragonstone with her son Viserys following the loss of her eldest, Rhaegar. She later lost her life while giving birth to Daenerys.

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33. Brandon Stark The Elder

Brandon Stark the Elder was Ned Stark’s brother, and was heir to Winterfell. Aerys commanded the execution of Brandon and his father Rickard following their objection to Rhaegar's apparent abduction of Lyanna Stark.

Screenshot of Brandon Stark - from Game of Thrones (2011-19)HBO, Game of Thrones (2011-19)

32. Dontos Hollard

Ser Dontos Hollard was the very last member of House Hollard left alive. He was once a knight, but King Joffrey took away his title, and forced him to be a fool.

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31. Olly

Young Olly’s family farm and village were destroyed by The Free Folk. As a result, he hates the Wildlings, and joined up with the Night’s Watch. Ygritte, Jon Snow's lover, took the life of Olly's father. Olly does not exist in the books, but Jon Snow does help rescue a young boy to join the Night’s Watch. He was prostituted all his life, and his name was Satin.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

30. Pypar

Pypar is another young member of the Night's Watch. HHe used to be a professional singer until a lord attempted to coerce him into inappropriate favors. As punishment, he was sent to Castle Black. He earns the nickname "Pyp" and is trained in sword fighting by Jon Snow. Sadly, Ygritte kills Pyp during a battle with the Wildlings.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

29. Illyrio Mopatis

You may not remember Illyrio Mopatis by name, but without him, the Game of Thrones story line wouldn't be the same. He is a Merchant Prince who cuts a lot of business deals—including the arranged marriage behind Khal Drogo and Daenerys. If it wasn’t for Illyrio’s ruthless deals, Daenerys wouldn’t be a Khaleesi.

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28. The Little Birds

Varys's "Little Birds" are actually a network of children. In different locations throughout Westeros, the Master of Whisperers is responsible for gathering the secrets collected by the little birds. In the books, many of these children had their tongues cut out by Illyrio Mopatis.

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27. Qyburn

Qyburn is a former Maester who performed experiments on human beings that were so horrific he was stripped of his rights to practice as a doctor at the Citadel. Qyburn is also responsible for reanimating Ser Gregor Clegane, “The Mountain.” He eventually became Cersei Lannister’s Master of Whisperers and Hand of the Queen.

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26. Archmaester Ebrose

When Samwell Tarly goes to the Citadel to become a Maester, he is taught by Archmaester Ebrose.

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25. Ser Ilyn Payne

Ser Ilyn Payne is the royal executioner. His tongue was ripped out by the Mad King Aerys, so he cannot speak. He beheaded Ned Stark, and he is included on Arya's list of people she seeks revenge against. He had his tongue ripped out for suggesting that Tywin Lannister was the true ruler of Westeros, rather than King Aerys II.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

24. Symon Silver Tongue

When singer Ed Sheeran made an appearance in Season 7 of the show, he got a mixed reaction from fans. However, his cameo is rooted in the book: the song Sheeran sings, "Hands of Gold," is written by the minstrel Symon Silvertongue, who uses it to blackmail Tyrion Lannister about his lover Shae.

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23. Tycho Nestoris

As an employee of the Iron Bank of Braavos, Tycho Nestoris negotiates loans in the Seven Kingdoms. In the books, he loans Jon Snow money so that Snow can afford to feed the men of Castle Black during the winter. In the TV show, he sides with Cersei Lannister.

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22. Beric Dondarrion

Beric Dondarrion was the Lord of Blackhaven, and the Lord of Light brought him back to life six times. Dondarrion explains that every time he comes back to life, he becomes less and less human. He loses memories but keeps injuries from past deaths, like losing an eye. The only person who can bring him back to life is the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO 

21. Thoros of Myr

Speaking of Thoros: Thoros is an alcoholic priest who had lost faith in the Lord of Light until he managed to revive Beric Dondarrion after he had ceased to live. Thoros was the one who revealed to The Red Priestess, Melisandre, that individuals could indeed be restored to life after their hearts had ceased to beat.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

20. Melisandre

The Red Priestess Melisandre appears so often in the TV show that she is not exactly lesser-known—but her backstory is. In the books, we learn that she was once a slave girl named Melony. She was sold to the temple of the Lord of the Light when she was very young, but she still barely sleeps because she is haunted by her memories as a slave. She is also centuries old, but her powers keep her looking young.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

19. Podrick Payne

You already know and love Brienne of Tarth’s squire, Podrick Payne. In the books, he was only 12 years old in the beginning of the story. They aged him to be in his late teens in the TV version, so many of the events in the show are different than the books, aside from the fact that Brienne teaches him the skills necessary to become a Knight.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

18. Taena Merryweather

In the books, Taena Merryweather was one of Robert Baratheon’s lovers. Cersei found out about their affair and commanded Taena to appear before her. They engage in an intimate encounter as Cersei desires to experience the feeling of possessing a man's power. This scene was never included in the TV series.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

17. Daario Naharis

Following Daario Naharis’ storyline in the TV show may be confusing because he is actually played by two different actors. He is best remembered as the lover Daenerys takes after Khal Drogo's demise. In the books, he has dyed blue hair, a golden mustache, and a gold tooth.

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16. The Baratheon Baby

While it is never really discussed in the TV series, Cersei’s first child was with her former husband, Robert Baratheon. He had black hair, like his father, but tragically his life ended soon after his birth. If he had survived, he would have been the rightful heir to the Iron Throne instead of Joffrey. After that point, Cersei’s children were exclusively fathered by Jaime.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

15. Mance Rayder

As a baby, Mance Rayder was left on the steps of Castle Black, and he was raised by the Night’s Watch. He went beyond the wall in order to help unite the 90 different clans of the North together, but ended up becoming the leader of the Free Folk.

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14. Dickon Tarly

Dickon is Samwell Tarly’s younger brother; Randyll Tarly, the boys' father, heavily favors Dickon and sent Samwell to the Night's Watch in order to allow Dickon to inherit the estate.

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13. Eddison Tollett

Eddison Tollett is one of Jon Snow’s best friends. He is the leader of the Night’s Watch while Jon is absent.

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12. The Spice King

The city of Qarth was powerful and profitable, and run essentially by slave labor. The Spice King told Daenerys that his name is too difficult for foreigners to pronounce, so he just goes by “Spice King” because, as you might imagine, he trades spices. Pyat Pree, the warlock of Qarth, ended his life along with 10 other members of the 13-member ruling council.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

11. Roslin Tully

Walder Frey has dozens of daughters, but his most beautiful is Roslin. Roslin was betrothed to Robb Stark before Robb reneged on the agreement and married Talisa Maegyr instead.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

10. Edmure Tully

Edmure is Catelyn Stark’s brother; he is uncle to all of the Stark children. After Robb spurns the Frey alliance, Roslin marries Edmure—although this is all part of an elaborate trap, and Edmure is captured soon after bedding his bride.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

9. Tormund Giantsbane

Tormund Giantsbane is a raider for the Wildlings, and he has led his people in battle on a number of occasions. He eventually becomes good friends with Jon Snow. In the books, he is much older, and has 5 children. In the show, Tormund has his sights set on Brienne of Tarth.

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8. Grand Maester Pycelle

Grand Maester Pycelle once stood on the council of the Mad King Aerys Targaryen. After Robert’s Rebellion, he switched his loyalty to Robert Baratheon. Once Cersei Lannister became Queen at King’s Landing, he switched loyalties yet again.

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7. Bronn

Bronn is a sellsword hired by Jaime and Tyrion Lannister. Bronn doesn’t have a house or a last name, and very little is known about his background. Joffrey eventually rewards him with a Knighthood for his skill in battle.

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6. Martyn and Willem Lannister

Martyn and Willem Lannister were the younger sons of Kevan Lannister. They were first cousins to Cersei, Tyrion, and Jaime before they were captured by Edmure Tully and subsequently lost their lives at the hands of Rickard Karstark.

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5. Lancel Lannister

Lancel Lannister was the eldest son of Kevan Lannister, and a first cousin to Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion. He worked as a squire under Robert Baratheon, and in the books it is said that he resembles Jaime Lannister. Lancel's cousins use him until he leaves to join the cult of the High Sparrow.

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO

4. Trystane Martell

Young Prince Trystane was heir to the Martell family, and became engaged to Myrcella Lannister. In the show, the two actually fall in love while spending time together in Dorne. However, their youthful joy is abruptly ended by destiny: Trystane and Myrcella both fall victim to the lethal actions of the Sand Snakes.

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3. Obara Sand

Obara Sand is one of Oberyn Martell’s eight illegitimate daughters, and is one of the Sand Snakes. She is known for being very serious and showing little to no emotion.

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2. Quaithe

A mysterious, mask-wearing woman who goes by the name “Quaithe” approaches Ser Jorah Mormont in Season 2. She warns him that someday men will try to take Daenerys's dragons.

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1. Mirri Maz Duur

Mirri Maz Duur was a healer for the Dothraki. When Khal Drogo is gravely injured, Duur uses blood magic to heal him. This sets off a dark chain of events: Drogo is never fully himself, and Daenerys births a stillborn child. Duur also foresees that Daenerys will never bear children.

Daenerys Targaryen was supposedly cursed by Mirri Maz Duur, but most fans have no clue that the curse may actually be a prophecy.

Dany asks Mirri, "When will he [Drogo] be as he was?"

"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east," Mirri Maz Duur responds. "When the seas evaporate and the mountains scatter in the wind like leaves. When your womb revives again, and you give birth to a living child. Only then will he return, and not before."

This speech has often been interpreted as Mirri cursing Dany, but several fan theories have theorized that Khal Drogo will actually return to Dany after the prophecy is fulfilled. The sun rising in the west and setting in the east is viewed as a symbol of Quentyn Martell's (whose house emblem is the sun and the spear) journey to Meeren and his unfortunate end there.  The seas going dry supposedly refers to the browning of the Dothraki Sea. The other points are a bit trickier to explain, but rest assured, there's no shortage of possible explanations (isn't that always the case with prophecy?).

Will Drogo actually return? It remains to be seen, but it's also possible that the simplest explanation is correct: Mirri was just talking smack, and this "prophecy" is equivalent to saying "when pigs fly."

Game of Thrones Characters FactsGame of Thrones, HBO 

Sources: 1, 2