Game of Thrones ended three years ago, but let’s be honest, many of us still feel like it was yesterday. HBO’s epic fantasy show remains one of the most important cornerstones of pop culture. It’s impossible to forget the impact its stunning visuals and unforgettable characters had on our lives for 10 whole years.
Beyond the spectacular scenery, characters and plotlines, this ever popular TV show also had some of the best writing on television and we still can’t get enough of the iconic quotes and sayings it produced over the years.
So, whether you’re in dire need of an Instagram caption, need a life lesson, or simply want to use them in real-life, here are 30 of the best Game of Thrones quotes, from Cersei’s cruel speeches to Tyrion’s wise one-liners.
This list contains quotes from both the books and TV show.
1. “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.”
A quote about: Success
Use it when: Failure knocks you down.
As awful and mischievous as Lord Baelish was, it’s undeniable that the man had some clever tricks up his sleeve, which he proved time and time again by manipulating people and pretending to be on their side. Those words exchanged with Varys exemplify his philosophy during the entire show, which is to always find a way to join the winning side, regardless of their morals. But of course, he climbed too high up that ladder and eventually got pushed into that very pit.
2. “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me.”
A quote about: Confessing
Use it when: It’s time to ‘fess up about doing something bad.
A famous GoT quote with enough power to send shockwaves through Westeros. Many years after Joffrey’s death, Olenna is granted mercy by Jamie Lannister before Cersei condemns her to a far more painful fate. In what is one of the greatest moments in GoT, Olenna takes advantage of this last moment to be a badass one last time and tells Jaime she’s the one who poisoned his son-slash-nephew. Mic-drop.
3. “The world is built by killers…so you better get used to looking at them.”
A quote about: Haters
Use it when: You have to accept that haters gonna hate.
This pessimistic line uttered by the Hound to Sansa in the second season is particularly significant for two reasons – it foreshadows how quickly Sansa will have to grow up because of all the merciless killers she will indeed meet and be tortured by, but it also echoes the greatest lesson that Game of Thrones has taught us, which is that if you want power in Westeros, you’ll have to spill blood.
4. “Someone took her away from me, and seven kingdoms couldn’t fill the hole she left behind.”
A quote about: Lost love
Use it when: Even power can’t heal your aching heart.
Early on in the Game of Thrones timeline, it was no secret that Robert Baratheon was deeply in love with Ned Stark’s sister Lyanna. Unfortunately, the latter died after fleeing with her lover Rhaegar Targaryen, which triggered the civil war. These words uttered by a weary and melancholic Robert to his friend Ned echoes the irony of the entire show – once you have power, you soon realize that it isn’t all that great, and what really matters is — no matter how cheesy it sounds — love.
5. “I know death. He’s got many faces. I look forward to seeing this one.”
A quote about: Death
Use it when: You’re drawing your last breath (bleak, I know).
Before the White Walkers march on Winterfell in the last season, a now-accomplished Arya Stark shows Gendry she’s become an assassin and isn’t afraid of death. Throwing knives at a wall in the most badass way and saying this memorable quote understandably leaves him speechless.
6. “Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought honorably. And Rhaegar died.”
A quote about: Taking risks
Use it when: You need to warn someone off danger.
Jorah might not have been one of the most important pawns in the ‘game of thrones’, but he did have quite a few moments of deep wisdom like this one. This is his useful reminder to Khaleesi, known for her valiance and righteousness, that she has to be careful about being too fearless as that doesn’t mean you won’t just… bite the dust. Sadly, we’re not sure she listened to that advice.
7. “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
A quote about: Fighting
Use it when: You’re about to defeat someone in a feud.
It doesn’t get better than this quote. Cersei is far from being at the height of her power when she says this to Ned, but she’s about to be. Why? Because she’s not afraid to crush every single person standing in her way to get what she wants, even if it comes at the cost of civilian lives or even her own…well, sanity.
8. “I don’t want it.”
A quote about: Power
Use it when: Someone offers you a million bucks (basically what Jon did).
Ah the endless Game of Thrones theories that made us believe Jon would finally rule Westeros. Well, we all know that didn’t happen because Jon doesn’t want the Iron Throne, he’s far too humble for it. He’s never wanted it, never will, and he made it clear several times across the eight seasons. Which is why this Game of Thrones quote is so epic, coming from the one character who always managed to get everyone rooting for him like a true ruler and could have easily become king of the Seven Kingdoms if he just wanted it enough.
9. “I swear to you, I was never so alive as when I was winning this throne, or so dead as now that I’ve won it.”
A quote about: Disappointment
Use it when: You realize your dream job wasn’t what you thought it was.
Robert Baratheon wanted the throne like everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms, yet, he ended up feeling incredibly unsatisfied with his power. Married to someone he didn’t love and having lost the love of his life, no amount of gold or influence made him feel alive afterwards. That should have taught a lesson to everyone else in Westeros… but it naturally didn’t.
10. “Oh, “monster.” Perhaps you should speak to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous and, just now, kings are dying like flies.”
A quote about: Bullies
Use it when: You want to threaten the mean guy (or girl).
After being called a monster by his nephew Joffrey, Tyrion chooses the perfect words to put the young brat in his place. This dialogue is yet another reminder of Tyrion’s ability to destabilize even the most cunning people around him with just a few words.
11. “The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands.”
A quote about: Strength
Use it when: Someone tries to harm you.
After years of being manipulated by her brother Viserys, Daenerys realizes her full potential after getting married to Khal Drogo. In what is one of Dany’s greatest scenes, these words mark a turning point for the future mother of dragons, showing her sibling that she is no longer afraid of him, and above all – that she is more of a sovereign than he can ever dream to be.
12. “Your words will disappear. Your house will disappear. Your name will disappear. All memory of you will disappear.”
A quote about: Moving on
Use it when: You’re about to erase all memory of that toxic person.
After torturing her so cruelly, Sansa finally kills Ramsay Bolton by having his own dogs feast on him. Of course, she has no pity left in her eyes when she says this to him and it’s obvious she’s finally learned how to play the game of thrones better than even its most cunning players. Yes, we’ve got chills too.
13. “It’s easy to confuse ‘what is’ with ‘what ought to be,’ especially when ‘what is’ has worked out in your favor.”
A quote about: Doing things right
Use it when: You need to do the right thing, despite your privilege.
Growing up in the Lannister family, Tyrion has always seen through people’s facades and knows that many of those who seek power delude themselves into thinking that their way is the best way. Like being incestuous with your brother or killing people to build what you believe is an ideal world…you know, small things like that.
14. “My name is Arya Stark, I want you to know that. The last thing you’re going to see is a Stark smiling down at you as you die.”
A quote about: Justice
Use it when: You want to quote Arya Stark?
After years of roaming Westeros with a shopping list of people to kill, Arya finally meets Walder Frey, the man who had her brother and her mother killed during the gory, treacherous Red Wedding. Now trained as an assassin, Arya manages to feed the man his own children before telling him who she is and proceeding to slit his throat. One of the most powerful revenge scenes in the show and, let’s be honest, quite a satisfying one.
15. “The lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
A quote about: Family
Use it when: Your family needs support.
A grown and wiser Sansa repeats her father’s words to Arya, reminding her how important it is that they stand together against their enemies now that they’ve found each other again. This is a particularly poignant moment, knowing everything the Stark children have been through individually, brushing death many times before they could finally see their siblings again.
16. “They were born on the wrong side of the wall, that doesn’t make them monsters.”
A quote about: Racism
Use it when: You want to call out someone racist.
Although Jon Snow could sometimes lack charisma, he still managed to be one of the fairest characters on the show. As someone whose moral values were the closest we’ve got to an archetypal hero, Jon saw the good in everyone, including the Wildlings who were generally regarded as ruthless savages on his side of the wall. Of course, falling in love with one of them definitely helped him change his mind about that stigma.
17. “We are going to leave the world better than we found it.”
A quote about: Change
Use it when: You want to make a difference.
Of course, this inspirational quote is rather bittersweet knowing that Dany eventually lost her mind and burned half of King’s Landing. But up to that point, she definitely had honorable intentions and these words prove that she had the mindset of a real queen. Unfortunately, the game of thrones got to her head, as it did for most people in the Targaryen family tree.
18. “It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
A quote about: Drinking
Use it when: You’re boozed up.
Before he became the trusted advisor of multiple characters, Tyrion started out as a drunk who had a bit too much fun in brothels and taverns, a lifestyle he was nonetheless proud of. He is right after all, it does take some strong stamina to be that committed to ruining your liver every day of the week.
19. “Thank you for all your many lessons Lord Baelish, I will never forget them.”
A quote about: Gratitude
Use it when: You want to thank someone (or be sarcastic about it like Sansa).
When Sansa Stark finally dupes Littlefinger by using the art of deception she learned from him, she is keen on reminding him that she beat him at his own game. Looking straight into the eyes of the man who was using her to climb the social ladder for years, she tells him he has just a few seconds to live and finally puts an end to his endless scheming.
20. “All my life, men like you have sneered at me, and all my life I’ve been knocking men like you into the dust.”
Brienne of Tarth
A quote about: Overcoming
Use it when: You come out on top.
Growing up in a world where she was meant to feel less worthy because of her gender, and less of a woman because of her physical appearance, Brienne always found a way to show those who mocked her that she was leagues ahead of them in all things – whether it be physically or morally. We couldn’t worship her enough for that.
21. “The things I do for love.”
A quote about: Love
Use it when: You go out of your way for that special someone.
When Jaime Lannister pushes Bran Stark from a window after the little boy catches him having sweet time with his own sister, his words foreshadow his own messy storyline ahead. He did end up being torn between doing the right thing and siding with the woman he loved, regardless of her cruelty. This quote also encapsulates the way many GoT characters will go extremely far to protect the ones they love, whether it be for good reasons, or horrible ones (like inbreeding).
22. “Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.”
A quote about: Family/friends
Use it when: You want to keep your circle closed.
The only people Cersei is willing to protect are those who bear her last name, Tyrion excluded. Her words to Joffrey in season one should have alerted us about the many horrible things she would do in the name of “love”, whether it be to protect her incestuous relationship with Jaime or her sadistic son. Unfortunately, this philosophy didn’t work out so well, as she lost every single one of her children in the process.
23. “You’ll be ruling over a graveyard if we don’t defeat the Night King.”
A quote about: Determination
Use it when: You want to quote Jon Snow?
Even as he was blinded by his love for Daenerys, Jon was still wise enough to remind his lover/aunt that the White Walkers were a greater threat than any of her other enemies. Unfortunately, you guessed it, dramatic irony means that Daenerys ended up losing it and turning into her own version of the Night King, and Jon had to kill her to make sure she didn’t turn the world into a graveyard herself. Damn it, showrunners.
24. “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And, a very small man can cast a very large shadow.”
A quote about: Power
Use it when: You want someone to get hold of their power.
Unlike many other power-thirsty people in Westeros, Varys knew precisely what the game of thrones entailed. He was well-aware that most of the self-proclaimed powerful people only held power because they had been self-centered enough to believe it. He knew that power doesn’t mean a person is righteous or worthy of a title. This is Varys’ way of throwing shade on… well, everyone in Westeros who has ever coveted the crown.
25. “You wouldn’t be able to help us in this fight if I let them murder you first.”
A quote about: Control
Use it when: You need someone to help you in this fight.
Bran was nearly killed by Jaime Lannister in the very first episode of the show, an incident that also made him lose his ability to walk. Yet, when they meet again almost a decade later, the young Stark keeps quiet about it. Why? Because he is intelligent enough to recognize that Jaime has changed for the better, and that his strength and influence on Cersei is needed to win the war. That awkward moment where a 16 year-old is wiser than half of the other protagonists…
26. “I asked him, ‘how can a man be brave if he’s afraid’? ‘That is the only time a man can be brave’, he told me.”
A quote about: Bravery
Use it when: You’re scared to take that big step.
If there’s one thing the Stark family have learned from their late father Ned, it’s that bravery doesn’t mean being unafraid, but rather the opposite. It means confronting your fears. Unfortunately, one thing that Ned Stark should have remembered himself is that courage doesn’t mean you should just throw accusations of incest around when you know your head might end up on a spike. That’s just counterproductive.
27. “’Tis a big and beautiful world. Most of us live and die in the same corner where we were born and never get to see any of it. I don’t want to be most of us.”
A quote about: Life
Use it when: You want to live life to its fullest.
Sweet, optimistic Oberyn Martell definitely had a soft spot for the greatest pleasures in life and knew how to have fun and explore everything the world has to offer. Unfortunately, his cockiness ended up costing him his life in one of the goriest GoT scenes ever. But you get it by now, Game of Thrones does *shocking* and *irony* like no other show on earth.
28. “They never tell you how they all s**t themselves. They don’t put that part in the songs…”
A quote about: Life
Use it when: It’s time to face the hard truths about life.
It’s impossible not to include this funny quote in our list. Yet another iconic sentence from Robert Baratheon, this phrase pretty much sums up the feeling of the show and should have warned us about the many grim twists to come (Red Wedding anyone?). Indeed, heroes don’t necessarily get a happy ending in Westeros and might even meet horrible deaths regardless of whether or not they made the right decisions.
29. “Winter is coming.”
A quote about: Winter
Use it when: That icey air hits you like a slap in the face.
In retrospect, Neddy was right. Winter did come, and it was well worth getting yourself some dragons and strong allies in time for the great battle. That said, even Ned Stark’s extremely (famous) wise words were not taken seriously soon enough, and we wonder how many lives (and minds) would have been saved if people had listened to him. But then again, it wouldn’t be Game of Thrones if they had.
30. “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”
A quote about: Books
Use it when: You’d rather read a book than go out tonight.
Early on, Tyrion proved that he was more than just a spoiled Lannister by having enough wits to roast anyone who even tried to mess with him. Throughout the show, he has demonstrated that where violence does work well enough to get rid of your enemies, words and knowledge can help you gain power over them.
There you have it, 30 of the best Game of Thrones quotes! If you want to call yourself a real Westerosi, these are the words to live by and learn by heart, so you can impress your friends with how knowledgeable you are about G.R.R. Martin’s cruel but epic universe.
Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any quotes or lines you think should have been among these, and don’t forget to tell us which one you like best!