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The Kingsguard
Kingsguard
Season(s)
1, 2, 3, 4
Appeared in
Mentioned in
{{{Mentioned}}}
Status
Active
Type
Sworn brotherhood
Royal guard
Notable Members
Former Members
Military strength
{{{Military}}}
Center
White Sword Tower, Red Keep
Date of founding
1 AL

[[:Category:{{{Images}}}|Images]]

"The Kingsguard is a sworn brotherhood. Our vows are taken for life. Only death relieves us of our sacred trust."
―Lord Commander Barristan Selmy[src]

The Kingsguard is an elite group of seven knights, supposedly the greatest and most skilled warriors in all of Westeros, who serve as the royal bodyguard of the King of the Andals and the First Men. Their duty is to protect the king and the royal family from harm at all times. The Kingsguard swear the most holy of vows to fulfill their sacred duty, and - in theory - are meant to be the living exemplars of the pinnacle of knightly virtues. Like the brothers of the Night's Watch, members of the Kingsguard are sworn for life and are forbidden from owning land, taking a wife, or fathering children.[1]

The Kingsguard was created 300 years ago by the first Targaryen king, Aegon the Conqueror, when he united the Seven Kingdoms under a single monarchy and established the Iron Throne.[1]

Members of the Kingsguard wear gold plate and scale armor with white detailing and white armor.[2]

The Kingsguard is led by the Lord Commander, currently Ser Jaime Lannister.[3] The Lord Commander appears to have no marks on his armor to distinguish him from other members.[4] Under normal circumstances, the Lord Commander sits on the Small Council as the King's advisor in military matters.[5]

RosterEdit

The established members of the Kingsguard under Aegon V Targaryen:

The established members of the Kingsguard under Aerys II Targaryen:

The members of the Kingsguard under Robert Baratheon:

The members of the Kingsguard under Joffrey Baratheon, until the Battle of the Blackwater:

The members of the Kingsguard following the Battle of the Blackwater

  • Ser Jaime Lannister, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.
    • Ser Meryn Trant
    • Ser Boros Blount
    • Ser Preston Greenfield
    • Ser Arys Oakheart, still in Dorne
    • One other Kingsguard presumed to be Ser Balon Swann[6]

Rival KingsguardsEdit

Due to the outbreak of the War of the Five Kings and multiple claimants to the throne, different contenders for the throne have formed their own Kingsguards.

Since the tradition of knighthood holds little sway in the North, where the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest is still strong, Robb Stark doesn't form his own Kingsguard when he is declared King in the North. Nevertheless a number of young warriors and knights become his sworn swords. Similarly, when Balon Greyjoy declares himself king of the Iron Islands, he also doesn't form his own Kingsguard, because the ironborn follow the religion of the Drowned God which does not include the tradition of knighthood. For that matter there has been no mention of Renly's stern older brother Stannis Baratheon forming his own Kingsguard, probably because in contrast to Renly he is a pragmatic man who does not bother with pomp and ceremony.

Renly Baratheon's Kingsguard

Renly's Kingsguard with Brienne Loras and heraldry
King Renly I's Kingsguard, with Lord Commander Loras Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth.

The members of Renly Baratheon's Kingsguard:

Members of Renly's Kingsguard wore bronze armor, with matching cloaks and helmets crowned with miniature bronze stag heads, as well as green surcoats, thus mirroring the altered Baratheon sigil Renly chose.

Renly's Kingsguard dissolved after his assassination. Ser Loras along with his powerful family subsequently sided with the Lannisters, knowing that Stannis would never forgive them for supporting his younger brother. Loras led House Tyrell's armies alongside the main Lannister host led by Tywin Lannister which smashed Stannis' army during the Battle of the Blackwater. Brienne of Tarth fled with Catelyn Stark, and ended up swearing personal allegiance to Catelyn (though not the Starks in general). When Catelyn freed Jaime Lannister at Riverrun, she tasked Brienne with ensuring that he arrived safely at King's Landing as part of a prisoner exchange with her two daughters (though unknown to Catelyn, the Lannisters lied about having both girls and actually only held Sansa). Despite Jaime losing a hand to Locke along the way, they both managed to reach King's Landing. Brienne arrived in the city not long after the destruction of the Stark faction at the Red Wedding, leaving her promise to exchange Jaime for Sansa probably moot.

Daenerys Targaryen's Queensguard

Dany jorah selmy 3x03
Daenerys Targaryen flanked by her Queensguard in Astapor.
Gonzalo84Added by Gonzalo84

Far away from the Seven Kingdoms, in exile far across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen claims the title of Queen of the Andals and the First Men after the death of her brother Viserys, and after successfully hatching three dragons, the first live dragons the world has seen in over a century. Daenerys then forms her own Queensguard, from her personal bodyguards. It is an ad hoc group, not necessarily composed of knights, as its original members were mostly Daenerys's Dothraki bloodriders. Also, her loosely organized Queensguard does not strictly possess seven members, having had fewer than seven men for long stretches of time. However, Daenerys's Queensgard gains a major boost in legitimacy when it is joined by the legendary knight Ser Barristan Selmy, Lord Commander of Robert Baratheon's Kingsguard and a Kingsguard to her own father King Aerys.

The members of Daenerys Targaryen's Queensguard are:

  • Ser Jorah Mormont, exiled lord of Bear Island.
  • Kovarro, Dothraki bloodrider, whereabouts unknown.
  • Aggo, Dothraki bloodrider, whereabouts unknown.
  • {Rakharo}, Dothraki bloodrider. Slain by a rival Dothraki khalasar.
  • Ser Barristan Selmy, former Kingsguard to Daenerys's father and Lord Commander of the Kingsguard under Robert Baratheon.

Image galleryEdit

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Kingsguard, also called the White Swords or White Cloaks, were founded by King Aegon the Conqueror after his conquest of Westeros. Over the three centuries since then, many famous and legendary knights have joined its ranks, including members of the Great Houses. The head of the Kingsguard is known as the Lord Commander.

The Kingsguard's history of the past three hundred years is recorded in the White Book, officially known as The Book of Brothers. It is two feet tall and a foot and a half wide and a thousand pages thick, stored in the Round Room of the White Sword Tower, a four-story tower built into one of the seaward walls of the Red Keep of King's Landing. In the White Book, each member of the Kingsguard is given one page on which his personal history and a record of his deeds are written. The top of the page contains the shield and sigil the knight had before joining the Kingsguard, the bottom of the page contains the white shield of the Kingsguard. In between the shields are the exploits of the individual. The drawings are done by septons from the Great Sept of Baelor three times a year. It is the responsibility of the current Lord Commander to update the entries in the book.

Because of its status as the royal bodyguard and the many remarkable figures who have been its members, the Kingsguard has been involved in many major historical events in Westeros.

The Kingsguard of King Aerys II is particularly famed for its renowned and formidable knights. Its members were:

  • Lord Commander Ser {Gerold Hightower}, also called "the White Bull". Killed at the Tower of Joy.
  • Ser {Arthur Dayne}, the Sword of the Morning. Killed at the Tower of Joy.
  • Ser {Oswell Whent}, known for his dark humor. Killed at the Tower of Joy.
  • Ser {Jonothor Darry}, killed at the Battle of the Trident.
  • Prince {Lewyn Martell}, killed by Ser Lyn Corbray at the Battle of the Trident.
  • Ser Barristan Selmy, called "Barristan the Bold". Survived the Battle of the Trident and was pardoned by Robert Baratheon after the rebellion's victory.
  • Ser Jaime Lannister, replacing Ser Harlan Grandison, who had died in his sleep.

Five of King Aerys' Kingsguard were killed during Robert's Rebellion, all except for Ser Barristan Selmy - who survived the Battle of the Trident - and Jaime Lannister. Rarely if ever have so many vacancies occurred at once in the Kingsguard. Many of the replacements were the result of political appointments made to appease other Houses rather than being selected for either valor or skill at arms. As a result, Robert's Kingsguard was considered to be one of the worst in its history, with many regarding Barristan as the only true remaining knight of the Kingsguard. While Ser Jaime Lannister was considered to certainly be one of the most formidable swordsmen in all of the Seven Kingdoms, his retention in the group after his murder of King Aerys during the civil war was particularly controversial.

Also, in the books, Renly Baratheon forms his own rival Kingsguard which he calls the "Rainbow Guard", enjoying the opportunity to play with the pageantry of forming a new knightly order. The number seven is holy in the Faith of the Seven, and rainbows are one of its symbols. The name "Rainbow Guard" was a reference to this, with each of the seven members standing for a color of the rainbow, such as "Brienne the Blue". The Lord Commander of the Rainbow Guard was Ser Loras Tyrell. Loras didn't stand for a color the way the other six members did, and thus no one represented Indigo.

The members of Renly's Rainbow Guard are:

  • Ser Loras Tyrell, Lord Commander
  • Brienne of Tarth, the Blue
  • Lord {Bryce Caron}, the Orange
  • Ser {Emmon Cuy}, the Yellow
  • Ser {Guyard Morrigen}, the Green
  • Ser Parmen Crane, the Purple
  • Ser {Robar Royce}, the Red

Following Renly's death, Caron, Morrigen, and Crane go over to Stannis. Both Caron and Morrigen are killed at the Battle of the Blackwater, while Crane is imprisoned by the Tyrells.

As the concept of knighthood originates from and is closely tied to the Faith of the Seven neither do Robb Stark nor Balon Greyjoy form their own Kingsguards, as they do not claim the Iron Throne. Likewise, Stannis Baratheon, while claiming the Iron Throne, doesn't appoint his own Kingsguard. Nevertheless many sworn knights in the Riverlands do serve under Robb Stark, and knights both loyal to the Faith of the Seven and converted to the Lord of Light continue to serve Stannis.

Robb Stark does maintain a personal guard of about thirty warriors, however they are not an official order with any sworn vows, but an informal group of Robb's closest battle companions. Among them are:

  • {Smalljon Umber}. Slain by the Boltons at the Red Wedding.
  • Ser {Wendel Manderly}. Slain by a crossbowman at the Red Wedding.
  • Patrek Mallister. Captured at the Red Wedding.
  • {Robin Flint}. Slain by Freys at the Red Wedding.
  • {Dacey Mormont}, the only woman of the group. Slain by Ryman Frey at the Red Wedding.
  • {Owen Norrey}. Slain at the Red Wedding.
  • Ser {Raynald Westerling}, Robb's banner-bearer. Joined Robb's cause when his sister Jeyne married him. Shot with Frey arrows at the Red Wedding, presumed dead.
  • Ser Perwyn Frey. Sent away from the Twins before the Red Wedding, being judged as too loyal to Robb's cause.
  • Olyvar Frey, Robb's squire. Sent away from the Twins before the Red Wedding, being judged as too loyal to Robb's cause.
  • {Torrhen Karstark}. Slain by Jaime Lannister at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.
  • {Eddard Karstark}. Slain by Jaime Lannister at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.
  • {Daryn Hornwood}. Slain by Jaime Lannister at the Battle of the Whispering Wood.
  • Theon Greyjoy. The only of Robb's guard who betrayed him.

Most were young men but some were mature and trusted warriors (such as Wendel Manderly, who is present in the TV series), and Dacey Mormont (eldest daughter and heir of Maege Mormont) was a woman. After it became clear to Jaime Lannister during the Battle of the Whispering Wood that his army was lost, he tried to carve his way through Robb's personal guards to kill him in single combat. Jaime managed to kill three of Robb's personal guards, but was subdued and captured alive before he could kill Robb. Of the three that Jaime killed, two were sons of Rickard Karstark. The TV series moved their names around a bit to avoid confusion, and changed it so that while one son did die in combat, Jaime killed the other in an escape attempt during Season 2 (to make the death more prominent, instead of making it an off-screen event in Season 1). Theon Greyjoy was a member of Robb's personal guard but later betrayed Robb when he followed his father's orders to invade the North. Of Robb's personal guard of thirty warriors, almost all were killed during the slaughter at the Red Wedding. Patrek Mallister was captured alive because as the heir of House Mallister, he is a valuable political hostage. The two Frey members of the guard also survived, Perwyn and Olyvar Frey. Olyvar is mentioned within the TV series, as Walder demanded that Robb give him the honor of making Olyvar his own squire. The other Freys were actually worried that they were too loyal to Robb to be trusted, so they sent them away from the Twins just before the massacre. Perwyn is subsequently seen grudgingly following his family, but Olyvar's reaction to the Red Wedding is as yet unknown. With the subsequent loyalty of the two Frey members ambiguous, and Theon a traitor and captive of the Boltons, this makes the captive Patrek Mallister the only surviving member of Robb's personal guard whose allegiance never faltered (see: Robb's Personal Guard at A Wiki of Ice and Fire).

Daenerys Targaryen, however, does take to calling her Dothraki bloodriders and Ser Jorah Mormont her "Queensguard", in anticipation of one day retaking the Seven Kingdoms in the name of House Targaryen. Daenerys starts calling Ser Jorah and her Dothraki bloodriders her "Queensguard" at the funeral pyre of Khal Drogo. It isn't exactly clear if "Queensguard" is a term Daenerys made up, or if this is indeed what the Kingsguard should be formally named if there is a female monarch. During three centuries of Targaryen rule there was simply never a ruling Queen, so there was never an opportunity for there to be a "Queensguard" before. Rhaenyra Targaryen did claim the throne a century and a half ago during the great Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons, but she lost the civil war and subsequent history discounts her as simply a rival claimant (despite the fact that after her half-brother died, her own son ended up succeeding to the throne anyway). Rhaenyra might have had her own "Queensguard", but hopefully an upcoming novella George R.R. Martin is writing about the Dance of Dragons will clear this up. Either way, Daenerys' Queensguard is a very ad hoc and loosely organized group, composed of those she considers her inner circle of followers.

In the books, Kingsguard members wear stunning all-white uniforms, composed of white-enameled armor, white cloaks, and all-white gear, highlighted only with a few fasteners which are made of silver. They have no symbol, displaying only a pure white banner for their heraldry, the opposite of how a knight with no allegiance will use solid black heraldry. Indeed, only members of the Kingsguard legally have the right to carry shields and banners emblazoned with all-white heraldry. Jaime Lannister flouted this tradition by instead wearing a full suit of gold-plated armor, the color of his House, along with a helm shaped like a lion's head and the heraldic lion of House Lannister emblazoned on his shield. The costumes used in the TV series are similar, but they have white enameling on gold plate, as opposed to completely white armor. The helms employed in the series also lack face-concealing visors like the ones mentioned in the novels.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 HBO viewers guide, appendices, Beyond the Houses entry
  2. "Winter is Coming
  3. "The Pointy End"
  4. "Lord Snow"
  5. "Kissed by Fire"
  6. "In The Bear and the Maiden Fair" four Kingsguard are present in the throne room. One place still remains free.
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