Whether you're making a speech at a wedding or preparing for the onset of bad weather, there's a Game of Thrones quote for every occasion. And with our meticulous guide, you can now dish out GoT advice as if you were sitting on the Iron Throne yourself. But if you think this article has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention.
1. "Winter is coming." — everyone
In the show: Think Game of Thrones, think "winter is coming." The phrase was said countless times by countless characters, and it has gone on to live a long life in the real world. It basically means that bad stuff is about to go down.
In real life: Your sports team just lost their star player? "Winter is coming." Your partner has just announced they're going to get bangs? "Winter is coming." The first Autumn leaves have started to fall? Yup: "Winter is coming."
2. "You know nothing, Jon Snow." — Ygritte
In the show: This really felt like it was Ygritte's motto during her run on the show. One guy on Quora thinks she said it as many as 19 times! That's probably the reason it became so ubiquitous in the real world.
In real life: Actor Kit Harington — who played the knowledge-less Jon Snow — once said this was the line that gets said to him the most by fans... and that he hates it. Still, it's a good one to slip into any situation where someone is clearly being naive.
3. "That's what I do: I drink and I know things." — Tyrion Lannister
In the show: If ever there was a quote that summed up the character of Tyrion Lannister, it would be this one from season six. He was talking about how he knew not to keep dragons in captivity, but we can see the phrase being used for so many others things.
In real life: How about the next time you're in a bar and you unload some little-known knowledge on your buddies? Ideally, you'd have a tankard of booze in your hand to complete the GoT look.
4. "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder." — Littlefinger
In the show: Littlefinger may not have been the most beloved character in Game of Thrones, but there's no arguing that he knew a thing or two about a thing or two. "Chaos is a ladder" was so memorable in the show that it was even used as a call back in season seven — four seasons after it was first uttered.
In real life: This one seems perfect for a mad time at work. Who is going to make the ultimate power grab and seize control? Only the person willing to climb the ladder.
5. "A Lannister always pays his debts." — Various Lannisters
In the show: The actual motto of House Lannister is "hear me roar." But the one everybody remembers is this one — probably because the Lannisters pay off their debts in spectacularly gruesome ways.
In real life: You could use this line when you literally pay your friend back the money you owed them. But better would be to lean into its subtext and whisper it after dishing out some hard-earned revenge.
6. "Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." —Tyrion Lannister
In the show: Tyrion Lannister gave Jon Snow this pearl of wisdom way back in the first episode of Game of Thrones. He was talking about being — how do we put this nicely? — a person born out of wedlock. But you can use it in other ways, too.
In real life: It could be the ideal pep talk to give to your kid on their first day of school. Or it could be one to drop on your partner when they're feeling sorry for themselves.
7. "The night is dark and full of terrors." — Melisandre
In the show: It makes sense that the Lord of the Light's most ardent follower is keen to warn people about the night. And this simple-yet-effective statement from season two is probably the best and most threatening Melisandre could have come up with. She wasn't wrong, either.
In real life: If you're trying to comfort a crying child who's having trouble sleeping, we'd advise against saying this. But if you're hoping to strike fear into a bunch of teenagers on Halloween? That could be interesting.
8. "Any man who must say, 'I am the king,' is no true king." — Tywin Lannister
In the show: There weren't many people who stood up to Joffrey Baratheon — but Tywin Lannister wasn't afraid to bring him back to Earth every now and then. As an aside, this little ditty comes from season three — and to be honest, we thought both characters were already dead by that point!
In real life: Have you ever had one of those bosses who loves to throw his weight around to show everybody how impressive he is? Yeah, this would be the zinger for him. Another option would be when you're a bridesmaid to a particularly tyrannical bridezilla.
9. "Hold the door!" — Wylis/Hodor
In the show: This is a major spoiler for one of Thrones' beloved side characters, but if you're reading this article, we have to assume you've already seen the show. Right? The explanation behind Hodor's only spoken word in season six was heartbreaking and heroic in equal measure.
In real life: This one speaks for itself, surely. If you need someone to hold open a door — or even hold the elevator — then this is the line's time to shine.
10. "The things I do for love." — Jamie Lannister
In the show: What a way to mark the shocking conclusion to the opening episode — and prep fans on just how messed up GoT could be. In what other universe would a character shove a 10-year-old out of a window with a romantic-sounding line?
In real life: To give the quote the essential Game of Thrones tinge, you'd have to deploy this one-liner when you do something for your partner or family member that you really don't want to do. Like cutting their toenails or *shiver* ordering a pizza with pineapple on it.
11. "There is only one thing we say to death: Not today." — Syrio Forel
In the show: Syrio Forel was Arya Stark's sword-fighting teacher back in season one, and he dropped this truth bomb on her during one of their lessons. It's a line that resonated throughout the rest of the show's run — and it's not hard to see why.
In real life: There are clear, heart-breaking moments in life where a line like this could be used to cheer on our loved ones. But we don't want to be downers, so we like to picture this dialogue being dropped right before the last-minute dash in a game of Capture the Flag.
12. "The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives." — Sansa Stark
In the show: Sophie Turner delivered this Sansa Stark line so well that it was used to promote season seven to eagerly awaiting fans. It sent many online theorists into a frenzy, too — particularly as it hinted at a Stark family reunion.
In real life: It has to be the one for team sports, right? If your team is suffering because of some show-boating lone wolf teammate, drop this line to put them in their place.
13. "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention." — Ramsay Bolton
In the show: That Ramsay Bolton was a piece of work, wasn't he? There aren't many people we'd be happy to see become meals for their own man-hungry hounds, but he was definitely one of them. This line from season three is pretty iconic, though.
In real life: But it's harder to work into real life because you need just the right setup. Perhaps it will come when that one friend next asks you if they should phone their ex after a night of drinking.
14. "All men must die, but we are not men." — Daenerys Targaryen
In the show: We were a long way from the polarizing, fire-breathing finale of the show when Khaleesi uttered this classic line in season three. That meant we were pretty much all on Daenerys Targaryen's side and could all agree that she was achingly cool. Little did we know.
In real life: There aren't a ton of socially acceptable situations where you could get away with saying this — but we can think of one or two. A divorce party is one that springs to mind. Or a night when you're trying to rally someone who's just been dumped by a dude.
15. "The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword." — Ned Stark
In the show: The first episode of GoT had some of the show's most enduring lines of dialogue, and this one is particularly special. It basically tells you everything you need to know about Ned Stark (RIP) and his all-important son, Jon Snow.
In real life: The good news is that this can be applied to almost any decision you make. That could include big life stuff like who gets to tell the kid they're moving house. But we think it's funnier if it follows a smaller decision, like who should own up to an especially pungent fart.
16. "I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel." — Daenerys Targaryen
In the show: As a statement of intent, there are few better than Daenerys Targaryen's boast that she would finally put an end to rich families trampling poorer ones into the dirt. But then she did say this in season five before her best intentions got away from her.
In real life: Found yourself stuck in a rut? Repeating the same routine again and again and getting the same results? This, my friend, is when you need to break the wheel.
17. "I don't plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me." — Lyanna Mormont
In the show: Lyanna Mormont only appeared in nine episodes of GoT, but she made a big impression. The 13-year-old head of House Mormont never backed down from a fight, and this line from season seven proves it.
In real life: We can't imagine that you're going to be participating in an actual war any time soon, but you can still say this before more minor skirmishes. Say, when someone says they'll speak to your mean boss on your behalf.
18. "When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground." — Cersei Lannister
In the show: Cersei Lannister wasn't short of wisdom throughout Game of Thrones, but this one proved all too knowing for Ned Stark. It wouldn't be long before someone would be chopping off his head, after all.
In real life: The only real-world setting we can picture for this phrase is when you're involved in a mad scramble for power. So the next time you fight over the TV remote, then.
19. "A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone." — Tyrion Lannister
In the show: You'll have to go back to season one to rediscover this beauty of a line. Tyrion Lannister said it to Jon Snow while contemplating how he can best contribute to the ongoing need to honor his name.
In real life: We think a quote like this is just the thing every parent needs in their back pocket. You can take it out whenever the kids start to think they don't need to prize their education.
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
In the show: Ah, Brienne of Tarth. She didn't put up with any nonsense, even when talking to the Kingslayer himself, Jamie Lannister. Brienne proffered this pearl of wisdom back in season two.
In real life: We're going to assume that you won't be literally knocking men into the dust and instead think of this as a metaphor. Maybe your dad doesn't believe you can do something? That would be the ideal time to whip out this line.
21. "Fire cannot kill a dragon." — Daenerys Targaryen
In the show: The first season of Thrones was rough for Daenerys Targaryen, but she began to come into her own toward the end of it. This line, from episode six of season one, told us that she knew her true value.
In real life: And that's exactly how you can use it, too. Just remember it the next time your colleague checks to see whether your manager's biting comments have upset you.
22. "I’m sure cutting off heads is very satisfying, but that’s not the way you get people to work together." — Sansa Stark
In the show: When Arya Stark suggests permanently silencing a few folks who dared to insult her brother, Sansa had this diplomatic comeback. She was right, too. It came was in season seven, not long before a battle against the White Walkers.
In real life: We've all been on a sports team when the parent/coach got a little bit carried away with their role. But the next time we see it happening, we've got this line ready to help them focus.
23. "We are going to leave the world better than we found it." — Daenerys Targaryen
In the show: Daenerys may well have meant this from the bottom of her heart when she said it in season six. But we all know that she didn't exactly hold to her word when it came to crunch time.
In real life: Still, the real-world applications for the phrase are pretty easy to see. We can picture ourselves saying the next time we watch a David Attenborough documentary.
24. "Get some rest dear, you look appalling." — Olenna Tyrell
In the show: Olenna Tyrell was famed for her biting tongue, and this savage putdown — to her granddaughter, no less — was one of her finest. In the same season five episode, the character also called Cersei a "famous tart."
In real life: We would advise never, ever saying this to the parent of an infant. Not unless you want to lose your head. But saying it to your worst enemy with a smile on your face could be fun.
25. "Everyone is mine to torment." — Joffrey Baratheon
In the show: We can all agree that Joffrey Baratheon was The Worst. He was petty, he was violent, and he was just powerful enough to punish people at will. The fact that he said this in season three shows you his true character.
In real life: In the real world, we would hope that no one would ever utter this phrase in seriousness. The only time we can think to use it, then, is when you're playing video games with your not-as-good-as-you friends.
26. "Night gathers, and now my watch begins." — Various members of the Night's Watch
In the show: If you're part of the Night's Watch, then you will have to swear an oath before spending the rest of your days on the Wall. The rest of it goes on to include you swearing that you won't get married or have any kids. It doesn't sound like a fun job, to be honest.
In real life: The oath would feel pretty appropriate at the start of a particularly grueling shift at work. Or, to be a bit less serious, just as you light a BBQ to start smoking a joint of meat.
27. "Burn them all!" — Aerys II Targaryen
In the show: They didn't call Aerys II Targaryen "the Mad King" for nothing. According to Jamie Lannister, in a season six episode, Aerys planned to raze King's Landing to the ground to save his throne. Not a nice fellow in the end, then.
In real life: We have no dragons, and we don't wish anybody any harm, so the literal meaning of this line is out. But we could picture dropping a "burn them all!" cry the next time we light the fire on a cold winter’s night.
28. "A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep." — Tywin Lannister
In the show: As the head of House Lannister, Tywin wasn't afraid to sacrifice everything in the name of his family. And he certainly wasn't a man who shied away from making the hard decisions.
In real life: This line is a prime candidate for all those excruciating debates after you've asked a group of people, "What shall we have for dinner?" So throw it out there when you confidently march into the kitchen, ignoring the ongoing argument among your loved ones, and start making a lasagna.
29. "Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick; a shadow on the wall." — Lord Varys
In the show: Lord Varys offered this smart insight in answer to a riddle he posed in season two. The riddle? "Three great men sit in a room: a king, a priest, and a rich man. Between them stands a common sellsword. Each great man bids the sellsword kill the other two. Who lives, who dies?" A headscratcher, no?
In real life: Your boss at work probably thinks they rule the roost — but we all know they'd be nothing without the people underneath them. They probably wouldn't appreciate this quote, either.
30. "If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep." — Cersei Lannister
In the show: There's nothing like ingratiating yourself with your future in-laws — and this is nothing like that! Cersei's warning to Margaery in the season three episode "Second Sons" did prove to be prescient, though.
In real life: We certainly wouldn't recommend you say this to any of your relatives — but it could be a good one to keep around for an "overly friendly" colleague. You just need to substitute the word "sister" for "darling" or whatever the offending name may be.
31. "I read it in a book." — Samwell Tarly
In the show: Samwell Tarly was a knowledgable chap — if not especially experienced in the field. That's why his oft-said line, "I read it in a book," became something of a badge of honor.
In real life: It's also an efficient quote for those times when you impress your buddies with some truths that you didn't look up on the internet. You'll need the perfect smug face to go along with it, too.
32. "If I fall, don't bring me back." — Jon Snow
In the show: If you've been to the afterlife and back again, would you want to make the trip a second time? Jon Snow is clearly not a fan, and that's why he tells Melisandre to let him rest in peace if he should be killed in the signature battle of season six.
In real life: The gravitas of this quote makes it fit for any time you're about to embark on a daring adventure. A paintball offensive, say. Or a hike across a river. Even a trip to a crowded grocery store before Super Bowl Sunday.
33. "The big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling." — Lord Varys
In the show: If anybody figured out how to survive the game of thrones, it was Lord Varys. And he was just self-aware enough to know what he was doing — as he told Tyrion in the second season.
In real life: It may be wrapped in a metaphor, but this line basically means that Varys knows when to speak up and when to mind his own business. It's a must to drop when your pals are drowning in drama and you're just living your best life.
34. "I'm not a lady. I never have been. That's not me." — Arya Stark
In the show: Arya Stark was never one to sell herself short. So when her pops told her she was destined to be a housewife — and not a knight — she said, "That's not me." And when Gendry proposed to her in season eight, she used this flawless putdown again.
In real life: You could deploy this quote when — just as with Arya — someone is trying to force you into a role you're just not suitable for.
35. "You're not interesting enough to be offensive." — Brienne of Tarth
In the show: Oh, poor Podrick. Did he deserve such a withering insult? We don't think so, and we don't think Brienne meant to hurt his feeling when she uttered it in season four. Still, it makes for entertaining watching.
In real life: There are an endless number of situations where this quote will come in handy. It is pretty much the ultimate putdown, after all.
36. "Nothing's more hateful than failing to protect the one you love." — Brienne of Tarth
In the show: Vengeance is a big deal to Brienne of Tarth, as she saw both Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark fall on her watch. This quote comes in season five, proving that the deaths continue to haunt her throughout the show.
In real life: It's a heavy, meaningful quote filled with regret and hard-won experience. So what better way to use it than when your sponge cake has just collapsed in the oven?
37. "I believe in second chances. I don't believe in third chances." — Doran Martell
In the show: Doran Martell, head of House Martell, was a patient leader who thought things through before deciding on a course of action. But, as he revealed with this quote in season five, he was not willing to be made a fool of.
In real life: We've all got those friends who take advantage of our good natures time and time again. But when they finally take things too far, here is the ideal response.
38. "As long as I'm better than everyone else I suppose it doesn't matter." — Jamie Lannister
In the show: Jamie Lannister lost a hand in the early part of Games of Thrones — a devastating blow for supposedly the greatest swordsman alive. His father, for one, felt that Jamie would never be the same again. But Jamie had this excellent response to the accusation in season four.
In real life: The boast to end all boasts — whether stated over Xbox Live or at the beginning of a game of beer pong.
39. “Good. Now go fail again.” — Davos Seaworth
In the show: Ser Davos pulled himself up by his bootstraps to end the series as Master of Ships — so when he speaks, he's worth listening to. He saved this quip for when a resurrected Jon Snow started to lose faith in season six.
In real life: It's basically a better version of, "If at first you don't succeed, try try again." So you could use it to shake things up a bit in the advice-giving department.
40. "My watch is ended."
In the show: Jon Snow finally gives up his role as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch with these immortal words in season six. But he didn't technically break his oath to serve on the wall forever, considering he'd died a few episodes earlier.
In real life: Could there be a better way to end a Zoom meeting? Just say this and slam your laptop shut. You know people will be impressed — even if they later say you acted like an idiot.