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The fictional world of George R. R. Martin's fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire includes a number of guilds, outlaw and mercenary companies and other organizations.

The Alchemists' GuildEdit

In its earlier years, the Guild was a powerful organization, but by the beginning of A Game of Thrones the Guild's abilities and influence are greatly diminished as the Maesters have largely supplanted them. At the height of their power, Alchemists claimed the ability to transmute metals and create living creatures of flame. During the novels of a Song of Ice and Fire they still hint at great powers, but the only skill they demonstrate is the creation of wildfire. Wildfire is a volatile liquid similar to napalm or Greek fire and a powerful but dangerous weapon.

The Alchemists enjoyed a period of increased influence during the reign of King Aerys II, who took great pleasure in wildfire. Aerys appointed one of the Alchemists, Lord Rossart, as his final hand, and commissioned him to create a vast quantity of wildfire to destroy King's Landing should he lose the War of the Usurper. During the War of the Five Kings, Tyrion Lannister commissioned a great quantity of wildfire for the city's defenses and used it destroy the enemies fleet.

The Brave CompanionsEdit

The Brave Companions is a sellsword company composed of criminals and outcasts from many nations. During the War of the Five Kings, the band is led by Vargo Hoat. The band is often called the "Bloody Mummers" for its members' brutality and outlandish appearance, though they find this name insulting. They are also called the "Footmen" for Vargo's practice of cutting off the hands and feet of prisoners. Some of the company's notable members include Qyburn, a disgraced Maester, Septon Utt, a pedophile and child-killer priest of the Seven, Shagwell, a psychotic jester, and Fat Zollo, a Dothraki.

Tywin Lannister brought the Brave Companions to Westeros during the War of the Five Kings to forage and terrify the lands of his enemies. They went to Harrenhal, where they quarreled with Ser Amory Lorch's men. After Tywin left Harrenhal, the Companions slaughtered the Lannister garrison and opened the gates to Roose Bolton. Vargo Hoat became Lord of Harrenhal for his service to the North, but he grew to suspect that his new Bolton allies would join the Lannisters. When several Companions captured Jaime Lannister, Vargo had Jaime's swordhand chopped off to drive a wedge between Tywin and Roose. The ploy did not work, and Roose soon abandoned Harrenhal. While attempting to rape the imprisoned Brienne of Tarth, Vargo lost an ear and the wound infected. With Lannister reprisal looming and Vargo slowly maddening from a fever, most of the Companions deserted. By the time Gregor Clegane arrived at Harrenhal and killed Vargo, the band had dissolved into smaller groups. In the aftermath of the War of the Five Kings, many Brave Companions became bandits and vagabonds. One particular group led by Rorge, hiding beneath the hound helm of Sandor Clegane, has decimated the town of Saltpans.

Brotherhood Without BannersEdit

The Brotherhood Without Banners, also known as the Knights of the Hollow Hill, is an outlaw organization in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. Introduced in A Storm of Swords (2000), but referenced in earlier novels, the group's goals include fighting the ruling Lannisters and protecting the common people of the Riverlands from depredation by warriors fighting the War of the Five Kings.

"Brotherhood Without Banners" also became the name of the official George R. R. Martin fan group.[1][2] The name was adopted in the first half of 2001, and the group held its first major gathering at the 2001 World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia.[citation needed]

The Brotherhood was founded by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. They were charged to bring the Lannister bannerman Gregor Clegane to justice in the name of King Robert Baratheon, but failed and Dondarrion was killed. Afterwards, Thoros unintentionally resurrects Dondarrion during a common burial ritual of his god R'hllor. The revived Dondarrion swears to uphold his oath to Robert and resumes his quest for Gregor's head. When Robert dies, his Queen Cersei Lannister's family assumes control of the Iron Throne and Dondarrion's men become outlaws.

As outlaws, Dondarrion's men form the Brotherhood as a way to uphold the spirit of Robert's decree and protect the people. Dondarrion begins leading successful ambushes on Gregor's men and other soldiers on all sides of the ongoing conflicts. He is killed several more times, but is resurrected each time by Thoros. Dondarrion develops a heroic reputation and iss dubbed "the Lightning Lord". His various deaths and inexplicable reappearances feed the Brotherhood's mystique. Despite numerous opportunities, however, the Brotherhood fail to kill Gregor.

The Brotherhood manage to capture Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark in a Storm of Swords. Dondarrion decides to hold Arya for ransom and puts Sandor on trial for Lannister atrocities. Sandor demands trial by combat, in which he kills Dondarrion. The Brotherhood allows Sandor to leave. Thoros resurrects Dondarrion once again, and Arya is later recaptured by Sandor.

After the Red Wedding, the Brotherhood discovers Catelyn Stark's corpse, upon which Dondarrion performs R'hllor's burial ritual. He exchanges his life for hers, finally dying and resurrecting Catelyn's half-decayed body. Though rendered nearly mute from an unhealed throat injury, Catelyn takes the name Lady Stoneheart and becomes the Brotherhood's new de facto leader.

The Guild of the Faceless MenEdit

The Guild of the Faceless Men is a group of magical assassins in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" fiction series. They are part of a religious society that worships the Many-Faced God, a god of death. An elite group within the cult, called the Faceless Men, serve as assassins for hire. They possess magical abilities that allow them to change their appearance at will. A phrase associated with the guild is "valar morghulis," translated from Valyrian as "All men must die".

In the novels Arya Stark encounters Jaqen H'ghar, a faceless man, and later travels to Braavos to become a novice in the temple of the Many-Faced God.

The Faith MilitantEdit

The militant wing of the Faith of the Seven consists of armed holy men who pledge themselves to fight injustice and the enemies of the Faith. The two orders of the Faith Militant are the Warrior's Sons, an order of knights, and the Poor Fellows, an order for commoners. Together they are often called the Sword and Stars. Historically, the orders made trouble for the nobles and royalty of the Seven Kingdoms and were ultimately disbanded.

In the aftermath of the War of the Five Kings, religious fervor in the Seven Kingdoms saw an increase. Many pilgrims and refugees, often called "sparrows", took up the badges and arms of Poor Fellows to protect themselves and other homeless victims of the war. Groups of Poor Fellows took to guarding the Great Sept of Baelor and serving particularly pious nobles. During her reign as Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister officially reinstated both orders of the Faith Militant as a concession to the new High Septon. Many knights, including Cersei's own cousin Lancel Lannister, joined the reformed Warrior's Sons in the aftermath.

The KingsguardEdit

The Kingsguard are the royal bodyguards of Westeros in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Formed by Aegon the Conqueror, it consists of seven knights sworn to a lifetime of service to the royal family. The knights of the kingsguard are dressed all in white, including plain white shields, which has led to the nicknames "the White Swords", or "the White Cloaks". Some of the most famous historical figures in the novels of a Song of Ice and Fire have served in the Kingsguard, including members of House Targaryen itself.

After the displacement of the Targaryens in the War of the Usurper, King Robert Baratheon chose to continue the tradition of the Kingsguard. He gave Barristan Selmy the position of Lord Commander. Selmy held that position until dismissed by Robert's heir, Joffrey. After Selmy's dismissal Jaime Lannister was appointed Lord Commander. Other notable (former) members of the Kingsguard are Duncan the Tall, Arys Oakheart, Sandor Clegane and Loras Tyrell

Rainbow GuardEdit

During the War of the Five Kings, Renly Baratheon declared himself king of the Seven Kingdoms after the death of his brother Robert Baratheon. To reflect his status, he created the Rainbow Guard, as a counterpoint to the white of the Kingsguard. Each of the seven members were given a color of the rainbow. Notable members were Loras Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth.

Following the death of Renly, the Rainbow Guard disintegrated. Brienne fled, having been witness to the death and being blamed for it. Loras went mad from grief and slew several other members of the guard. When House Tyrell joined House Lannister against the forces of Stannis Baratheon, Loras fought under the banner of House Tyrell. He later joined the Kingsguard as part of the marriage agreement between Houses Tyrell and Lannister.

QueensguardEdit

Following the death of Khal Drogo, Daenerys Targaryen created a cadre of sworn protectors based on the Kingsguard. They are called the Queensguard in deference to her gender. Initially led by Jorah Mormont, he was later banished and replaced by Barristan Selmy.

MaestersEdit

The maesters are a fictional order of scholars and physicians in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They are also scientists, keepers of carrier ravens, advisors to the nobility, and occasionally pseudo-religious researchers in the occult. Maesters begin their training as novices in the Citadel in the city Oldtown. During their training they receive links made of different metals by showing mastery in different areas. When enough links have been earned, the Maester wears them in a collar around his neck. This collar and the robes they wear are characteristic of the order. After finishing his course of study, a maester is assigned to a castle, keep or other holding, and is to serve the people of that place, regardless of changes in control of that holding. To this end Maesters give up their family name.

The perceived "master" of any area of study is given the title Archmaester and a mask, ring and rod in the corresponding metal to signify his expertise. Archmaesters are the senior members of the Order and elect the Grand Maester, who serves as the organizations representative to the king. The current Grand Maester is Grand Maester Pycelle. Other notable Maesters are Qyburn, an ex-maester who served with the Brave Companions, Samwell Tarly, who becomes a novice in A Feast for Crows, Maester Aemon, who serves the Night's Watch, and Maester Luwin, who serves Winterfell.

The mountain clans of the ValeEdit

The Mountains of the Moon in the Vale are home to a population of independent barbaric clans. They live as outlaws, raiding local villages and attacking small groups of travelers. By the beginning of A Game of Thrones, there are more than three thousand warriors among all the clans, but they have not been considered a significant threat for centuries.

Tyrion Lannister convinced the mountain clans to fight for House Lannister during the War of the Five Kings on the promise of quality weapons and plunder. They followed Tyrion to King's Landing, where several of them served as Tyrion's personal bodyguards and thugs. After the war, the Stone Crows took up residence in the Kingswood and continued to raid, while the rest of the clans returned to their mountains.

The Night's WatchEdit

The Night's Watch is a fictional organization, dedicated to defending the realms of Westeros in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. They guard the Wall, a huge wall of ice marking the northern boundary of the Seven Kingdoms. According to legends in the story, it was built 8,000 years ago to protect the realm from mysterious Others and the Night's Watch was founded to guard it, its rangers and men-at-arms garrisoning numerous strongholds along the Wall. However, at the start of the novels the very existence of the Others is believed a myth and the Watch serves as a penal colony, its recruits being in majority criminals that chose to serve in the Wall over the prospect of imprisonment or execution, while many of its fortresses were abandoned for lack of manpower, and the ones that still operate are in a state of decadence and disrepair. Its main enemies are unorganized, yet numerous, bands of warlike barbarians denominated "wildlings", who inhabit the forbidding landscapes north of the Wall.

One of the three main storylines in the A song of Ice and Fire novels is the mysterious reappearance of the Others and their undead minions, the Wights. Fleeing before them comes a vast army of Wildlings, led by the chieftain Mance Rayder, styled the "King-beyond-the-Wall", who is determined to overcome the barrier and the Watch, and invade Westeros. Rayder's horde is eventually defeated at the Wall with the help of King Stannis Baratheon and his armies. These events are seen through the point of view of Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly after they join the Watch early on in the story. Jon Snow eventually rises to be the new Lord Commander of the Night's Watch after the death of Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, while Stannis secures his position in the North, from where he can march south and fulfill his ambition of taking the Iron Throne in King's Landing.

The Second SonsEdit

The Second Sons are a sellsword or mercenary company with a long history. Prince Oberyn Martell rode with the company for a time. By the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, the company numbers about five hundred soldiers, including lancers and mounted bowmen. They are led by Mero, a large Braavosi called the Titan's Bastard.

During Daenerys's campaign in Slaver's Bay, Yunkai hired the Second Sons to defend it against Daenerys's army of Unsullied. Daenerys gained an easy victory over the Second Sons by giving them a gift of wine and attacking during the night while they were inebriated. Mero escaped and mixed in with Daenerys's followers. He later attempted to kill her, but was thwarted by Barristan Selmy. The remaining members of the company chose to ally with Daenerys, and elected Brown Ben Plumm as their new captain.

The Small CouncilEdit

The small council is the ruling body of advisors to the King of the Seven Kingdoms. The council convenes in the Red Keep in King's Landing. All councilors are given the title of Lord regardless of their birth and station. A seat on the council is considered a great honor as well as a position of power. The Hand of the King sits on the council and often acts as its head in the King's absence. Two other seats are always reserved for the Grand Maester and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Other traditional seats include the Master of Coin, Master of Ships, Master of Laws, and Master of Whisperers. Additional advisors may also sit on the council. King Robert's council consists of Jon Arryn, Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Varys, Barristan Selmy, Petyr Baelish, and Grand Maester Pycelle.

After the death of Jon Arryn, King Robert appointed Eddard Stark as his new Hand of the King. After Robert's death, King Joffrey dismissed Eddard, Stannis and Renly from the council for treason. Lord Tywin Lannister was appointed in absentia as Joffrey's new Hand. Tywin sent Tyrion to act as Hand while he was at war. Doran Martell was also given a seat to secure his allegiance to King Joffrey. Once House Tyrell allied with House Lannister and Stannis was defeated at the Battle of the Blackwater, Mace Tyrell, Mathis Rowan, Paxter Redwyne, and Kevan Lannister were given seats on the council for their services. Tywin returned and claimed his position as Hand, giving Tyrion the position of Master of Coin that Petyr Baelish had vacated.

After the murders of Joffrey and Tywin, the council saw a radical change. Queen Regent Cersei dismissed Kevan for his refusal to accept the position of Hand. She also dismissed Lord Varys for suspicion of his involvement in the escape of Tyrion. She appointed Harys Swift as her Hand, Lord Orton Merryweather as Master of Laws, Gyles Rosby as Master of Coin. She also appointed the disgraced Maester Qyburn as the Master of Whisperers against Pycelle's objections, and the bastard-born Aurane Waters, as Master of Ships and Admiral of the Royal Fleet. After Lord Gyles died from a bloody cough, Cersei lowered Lord Harys to Master of Coin and rose Lord Orton to Hand.

After Cersei's imprisonment by the Faith, Orton resigned as hand and fled the city, Aurane left with the city's entire fleet. Grand Maester Pycelle and Lord Harys took control of young King Tommen and effectively made all his decisions for him. They ignored Cersei's requests for aid, dismissed Qyburn, and appointed Kevan Lannister to become Regent of the King (a position he has not yet officially accepted).

The Sorrowful MenEdit

The Sorrowful Men belong are a guild of assassins in Qarth. They are so named because they always whisper, "I am so sorry," before killing their victims. As assassins, they are not as prestigious or expensive as the Faceless Men.

A Sorrowful Man attempted to assassinate Daenerys Targaryen in Qarth, but failed.

The StormcrowsEdit

The Stormcrows are a mercenary company that consist of about five hundred men. The company is primarily mounted, consisting of lancers and mounted bowmen with swords and axes for close work. They polish their helms to a shine and attach black feathers to them in order to distinguish themselves from other companies. The current captain of the company is Daario Naharis.

The company, along with the Second Sons, was hired by Yunkai to help defend it from Daenerys Targaryen's army during her campaign in Slaver's Bay. The slavers' army was primarily infantry, so having the two sellsword companies added cavalry to their defense. Prior to engaging the defending army, Daenerys decided to negotiate with the slavers and captains of the sellswords, hoping to turn the sellswords over to her side and lure the Wise Masters of Yunkai to release the city slaves. The three captains of the Stormcrows, Prendahl na Ghezn, Sallor the Bald and Daario Naharis, rejected her offer through their spokesman, Prendahl. Later that night, Daario Naharis was caught by sentries as he returned to Daenerys. He brought her the heads of his two former co-captains, and offered his and his company's service to Daenerys on the condition that he be sole captain of the company. She tentatively accepts his offer, commanding him to attack the Yunkai'i army in the rear after the battle has begun. Aware that she may be betrayed, she was pleasantly surprised when the Stormcrows fulfilled their commitment. They have since attached themselves to Daenerys's service.

Following the defeat of Meereen, Daario Naharis and the Stormcrows were dispatched to convince the Lhazareen to reopen the overland trade routes.

UnsulliedEdit

The Unsullied are eunuch slave soldiers in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" fantasy series, trained from a young age in Astapor to unquestioning obedience and martial prowess. They fight in formation as light infantry, equipped with short spears, swords, round shields, and distinctive spiked caps. Their training is brutal, designed not only to teach them how to fight, but to strip away all individuality, empathy, and self-worth. They regularly consume an elixir called the Wine of Courage to deaden their sensitivity to pain. Every day they choose new names at random by drawing tokens from a bucket, each consisting of a color and a type of vermin, such as "Grey Worm". Slaves that fail any aspect of their training are killed. The results are elite, highly specialized soldiers that fight fearlessly and without question.

While in Astapor Daenerys Targaryen purchased every Unsullied soldier and trainee in Astapor in order to turn them on their former masters and take the city. In the aftermath, Daenerys freed all of her Unsullied, who unanimously volunteered to follow her as free soldiers. Daenerys commanded them to pick permanent names and form ranks although it was against tradition. With all the Astapori slavers killed, Unsullied training ceased for a while, until the Butcher King Cleon took control of the city from the council appointed by Daenerys. Cleon resumed training Unsullied, this time enslaving sons of former Astapori nobility.

The warlocks of QarthEdit

The warlocks of Qarth practice mystical arts and aspire to greater knowledge and understanding, along with the power of immortality. They are led by the Undying Ones, extremely old warlocks who reside in a large tower in the city of Qarth, called the House of the Undying or the Palace of Dust. The warlocks drink a hallucinogenic elixir called "shade of the evening" (See also deadly nightshade) made from the blue leaves of a tree, which turns their lips blue after many years.

The Undying Ones sent their agent, Pyat Pree, to Daenerys Targaryen to convince her to seek their aid and wisdom. Against the advice of Jorah, Xaro, and her bloodriders, Daenerys entered the House of the Undying. There, she witnessed many visions, some of the past and some that may foretell the future. In the final chamber, the Undying Ones revealed their true intentions and tried to kill her. Drogon set the tower aflame and Daenerys managed to escape. As the tower burnt down and killed the Undying Ones, Pyat Pree attacked Daenerys, but was stopped by her bodyguards. Left alive, Pyat Pree and the surviving warlocks gather, with the aim of getting revenge on Daenerys.

WildlingsEdit

A wildling is, by definition, any person that lives North of the Wall, although they refer to themselves as the Free Folk. These people are viewed as barbarians by those south of the Wall, who, in turn, are viewed by the wildlings as weak and soft. There are tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of wildlings split into hundreds of tribes, clans and villages. Some, such as the Thenn, live in tightly knit communities while others are seminomadic loners, held down only by their own needs, and who frequently mount raiding expeditions against the lands just south of the Wall. While there is often conflict between the wildlings and the Nights Watch, the two groups are not beyond some form of cooperation, as lost Brothers have been aided by wildlings and the Watch is not beyond taking wildling children and raising them to be Brothers of the Watch. At the beginning of the series there has been a lot of activity north of the Wall as a wildling-born deserter of the Brotherhood, Mance Rayder, gathers the wildling forces around him.

Later in the series Mance, now styled "King-beyond-the-Wall", attacks the Wall with his vast horde, greatly outnumbering the soldiers of the Watch. However, the wildlings are defeated by King Stannis Baratheon, who unexpectedly arrives with his armies. It turns out the wildlings were actually fleeing from the threat of the Others, and they then allowed to settle the lands on the other side of the Wall.

References Edit


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