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"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 on the Iron Throne. 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. Members of the Kingsguard are sworn for life and are forbidden from owning land, taking a wife and fathering children.[1]

The Kingsguard was created 300 years ago by the first Targaryen king, Aegon the Conqueror, when he united the Seven Kingdoms and established the kingship.[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 Jaime Lannister.[3] The Lord Commander appears to have no marks on his armor to distinguish him from other members.[4]


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:

Rival Kingsguards

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:

The members of Renly Baratheon's Kingsguard:

Renly's Kingsguard dissolved after his assassination. 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, heirs of Northlords, 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.

Image gallery

In the books

In the Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Kingsguard, also called the White Swords, 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 Kingsguard of King Aerys II is particularly famed for its mighty warriors. Its members were:

  • Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower, also called "the White Bull". Killed at the Tower of Joy.
  • 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 Oswell Whent, known for his dark humor. Killed at the Tower of Joy.
  • Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. The deadliest of the Kingsguard at his time. Killed by Eddard Stark at the Tower of Joy.
  • Ser Jonothor Darry, killed at the Battle of the Trident.
  • Ser Jaime Lannister.

Five of King Aerys' Kingsguard were killed during Robert's Rebellion, all except for 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 and Jaime as the only true remaining knights 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 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" - which Jaime Lannister considers this to be absolutely ridiculous when he hears of it. 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 concept of knighthood originates from and is closely tied to the Faith of the Seven. Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy did not form their own rival Kingsguards, because they weren't trying to take the Iron Throne but secede from the realm, and more importantly because their local religions did not include the concept of knighthood. Daenerys Targaryen, however, does take to calling her Dothraki bloodriders and Ser Jorah Mormont her "Queensgard", in anticipation of one day retaking the Seven Kingdoms in the name of House Targaryen.

In the books, Kingsguard members wear stunning all-white uniforms, composed of white-enameled, 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 flaunted 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.

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