“Which one is that?” is a common refrain heard when watching Game of Thrones, even with someone who has watched the show from the very beginning. There are just so many characters, with so much blonde hair on their head or so much dense hair on their face. And everyone is wearing gray and brown and grayish-brown black.
Vulture is here to help. A few years ago, we did mnemonics for Game of Thrones characters, and now, here in the future, we’re going to do them again! Many of the characters have changed (murdered) and roles in the kingdom have changed (through murders), so it’s time for an update.
Daenerys Targaryen: Daenerys rhymes with “she care us,” like she cares for us, the people. Or if you mumble it: “She carry us,” like “Daenerys Will Carry Us Into a Brighter Tomorrow” — the fake campaign slogan I made up for her if Westeros started having elections instead of wars. (Her bold anti-slavery stance would represent the more progressive choice for ruler of the realm, assuming she ran against Cersei.) For “Targaryen,” just think about how the word doesn’t rhyme with dragon, but you can tell that George R. R. Martin probably started with the world dragon and just mixed up letters until he landed on something that sounded like a last name. The Targaryens are historically the family with access to dragons. Daenerys has three.
Missandei: Let’s break this into two parts. “Miss” and “Andei.” Miss, like woman, which she is. Andei, which is almost pronounced like Andy, like Andy Richter, who is always at Conan O’Brien’s side. And who is the Conan O’Brien of Game of Thrones? Let’s say Daenerys, because that works best in this case, as Missandei is always at Daenerys’s side.
Grey Worm: Rhymes with “Hey Norm,” and Grey Worm is definitely the Norm of Game of Thrones, if you think of Daenerys as Cheers.
Varys: Rhymes with “Where is,” like “Where is my hair?” He’s bald. Or “Where is my penis?” He is a eunuch.
Lannister: Rhymes with canister, like a canister of blonde hair dye. The easiest way to remember all these characters are related is their blondness. But Daenerys is also blonde? Yeah, I don’t know, man. I already told you how to remember her — the dragons. (Also, her hair is more white.) So, don’t worry about that. When you hear Lannister, think a canister of blonde hair dye. Great.
Tyrion: You’ve probably been hearin’ about him, even if you haven’t watched the show. He’s the breakout character and is played by Peter Dinklage, the show’s most recognizable actor. Tyrion rhymes with “teary son”: Tyrion wasn’t a teary son when his dad died because it was he who killed him. (Though he probably cried a lot as a kid because every made fun of him and such.)
Cersei: Rhymes with “her see,” as in “her see the Great Sept engulfed in wild fire, killing her rivals (and leading to her son/the king’s suicide), upon her request, and it resulted in her being crowned queen.” Her name also rhymes with mercy, however that is less useful because she has none.
Jaime: You can’t spell “je t’aime,” which is French for “I love you,” without Jaime. Who does Jaime love? His sister. Which feels pretty French, in an art film way.
Greyjoy: For any character with this last name, think “Say Ahoy.” Who says “ahoy?” Ship people! The Greyjoys come from the Iron Islands and are known for their great armadas.
Theon: It rhymes with “he on,” as in “he on a boat.”
Yara: Remove the r and add an s to the end: Yaas Queen of the Iron Islands, which Yara aspires to be.
Euron: Pronounced like “you’re on.” Like when a stage manager tells the performer “you’re on,” like it’s your turn, as Euron believes it’s his turn to rule the Iron Fleet. Or like “you’re on drug,” as in “you’re on drugs if you think this guy who is a dumb hat away from dressing like a pickup artist is hot” or “you’re on drugs if you think the type of guy who says he’s a hipster in 2010 because he wears H&M to Killers concerts is hot” or “you’re on drugs if you think this emcee at a Burning Man goth carnival is hot.”
Stark: If this were season one, I’d say Stark is a bit self-explanatory, as their family’s future is stark. But now, seemingly everyone in House Stark who was going to die has died, and things are looking up for our friends in the North. Except, you know, the looming threat of Cersei and the White Walkers.
Jon Snow: Dude’s name is Jon. That’s a regular name. Can you not remember the name Jon? Also, he is constantly surrounded by snow. Next.
Bran: He needs bran-d new legs, because his haven’t worked since Jaime pushed him out of castle window in season one. Or: Like bran flakes, Bran Stark is good for you (you being Westeros), since he sees through time and such, but still kinda boring.
Arya: Like “Are ya?” You know how British people are “always” asking follow-up questions instead of commenting on awkward matters? (Comedian Pete Holmes has a good bit about this.) You can imagine Maisie Williams, with her specific accent, doing this at a party. For example:
Int: Wrap Party - Evening
Ed Sheeran: Hey Maisie.
Maisie Williams: Oh hey.
Ed Sheeran: I’m not sure how my cameo went. I’m sorry if I blew it.
Maisie Williams: Rethinking trying to act, arya?
Sansa: Ever the pragmatist, Sansa’s name rhymes with “plan duh,” which is the thing she always has. So, listen to her more often, Jon Show.
Littlefinger: I don’t know, man. Dude’s a little finger. Look at him. He’s the littlest freakin’ finger. He’s little. He’s a finger. If his name was Jittle Binger, I would write, “That rhymes with little finger, and dude is such a little finger.”
Meera: Rhymes with “near-a.” Meera’s always near-a Bran.
The Hound: Like a hound, he’s a big scary murderer of children, but also like a hound, he’s a sweet little puppy dog inside.
The Mountain: Like a mountain, the Hound’s brother is big, but also like a mountain, he squishes heads of the overzealous.
Thoros: Let’s break this one into two parts. “Thor” is a Norse god. “OS” stands for operating system. So, Thor operating system. Thor is the god of thunder, which is basically lightning, which is basically light. Thor is basically the Lord of Light. And what is a priest if not the operating system for a god? That’s Thoros for you, a priest for the Lord of Light, just like his name suggests.
Beric: Rhymes with “rare sick.” Beric is rarely sick because every time he dies, Thoros brings him back to life with help from the Lord of Light. I won’t lie, this one is a bit of a stretch.
Davos: Okay, okay, okay, so think about how Denzel Washington says, “My man,” where it sounds like “ma man.” (Here is a video.) Now, instead of a man, have it be a ghost. “Ma ghost,” rhymes with Davos, a man who follows around Jon Snow, who used to be dead, so he’s basically a ghost.
Brienne: Rhymes with “knee bend.” Brienne is a perpetual knee bender, vowing to protect this Stark or that Stark.
Podrick: Rhymes with “mod pick,” like he made a fairly modern pick by squiring for a woman when he started working for Brienne.
Tormund: Rhymes with “four pinned,” as in “this dude wants to be pinned down on all fours by Brienne.” He has other things going on, being a wildling and fighting alongside Jon or whatever, but that is secondary to his desire to be Brienne’s Winterfella.
Samwell: He goes by Sam, which is pretty straightforward. Just think Sam means well, since he’s trying to save Westeros with books.
Gilly: Rhymes with silly. Who likes silliness? Babies. Gilly has a baby. The show doesn’t really give her more than that. The actress was on Skins.
Olenna: Sounds like “O-men-a,” like “no men,” like “most of her family was murdered by Cersei’s Great Sept fire.”
Ellaria Sand: Ellaria is pronounced “El area,” and in what area do they say “el?” Spain, of course. Ellaria rules over Dorne these days, and the Dorne scenes shoot in Spain. So, it’s really “Ella area.” Also, there is sand.
Jorah: Rhymes with “door-a,” as in “his gross greyscale arm shot through the door-a at the Citadel when he asked Samwell about Daenerys.”
Lyanna Mormont: Know her name. Never forget it.