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Qyburn

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Maester's mini chain
Lannister mini shield
Qyburn
Qyburn-S5
Season(s) 3, 4, 5
First seen "Valar Dohaeris"
Appeared in 11 episodes (see below)
Titles Master of Whisperers
Status Alive
Allegiance House Lannister
House Bolton (briefly)
Order of Maesters (expelled)
Small Council
Portrayed by Anton Lesser
Jaime: "You're no maester. Where's your chain?"
Qyburn: "The Citadel stripped me of it. They found some of my... experiments... too bold."
— Jaime Lannister and Qyburn[src]

Qyburn is a recurring character in the third, fourth and fifth seasons. He is portrayed by Anton Lesser and debuts in "Valar Dohaeris". He is an unethical former maester who was thrown out of the order for conducting illegal human experimentation.

Biography Edit

Background Edit

Qyburn expulsion

Qyburn is expelled from The Citadel

Qyburn is a former maester of the Citadel. He was stripped of his chain by the Archmaesters for engaging in forbidden human experimentation: it was discovered that he had been dissecting living men in his pursuit of medical knowledge. Qyburn held to the belief that the death of a few men was justifiable if it would lead to medical breakthroughs that would save the lives of many more.

While his unethical experiments have led to him being reviled, they also made him arguably one of the most talented healers in all of Westeros.

Season 3 Edit

Qyburn is among the Northern and Riverlands prisoners at Harrenhal when Ser Gregor Clegane abandons the castle and has all captives put to the sword. Qyburn, however, survives the injury at his throat and awakens when the castle is taken by the Northern army. After he wakes, he identifies himself to Robb Stark while Talisa Stark tends to his wound. It is unknown how he came to be imprisoned there.[1]

Jaime-and-Qyburn-3x05

Qyburn tends to Jaime's stump in "Kissed by Fire".

After Robb leaves Harrenhal, Qyburn stays behind, serving under Lord Roose Bolton. He tends to Ser Jaime Lannister's badly infected stump, result of Locke removing his right hand. During this time, Jaime notices that Qyburn is not a Maester, because he isn't wearing a maester's chain of office. Qyburn acknowledges this, explaining that he was stripped of his chain by the Citadel and thrown out of the Order of Maesters for conducting experiments which they felt were too "bold". Qyburn initially intends to amputate part of Jaime's arm, but Jaime begs him not to, even threatening to kill him. Qyburn agrees to instead resort to removing the infected flesh, warning that the process will be painful and likely require milk of the poppy, but Jaime, worrying that Qyburn may still amputate his arm, refuses. Qyburn straps Jaime's arm to the chair and starts the painful procedure. [2]

Qyburn volunteers to join the party escorting Jaime back to King's Landing. Lord Bolton theorizes that the former Maester is doing so in the hopes that Tywin Lannister will force the Citadel to restore his chain. After leaving Harrenhal, when Qyburn checks on Jaime's healing stump, Jaime notes that Qyburn's work is far superior to that of Grand Maester Pycelle and asks why the Citadel removed his chain. Qyburn tells him that it was for performing experiments on living humans in order to learn more about their anatomy, and justifies his actions by noting that he used the information he gleaned from them to save lives. Jaime briefly mocks Qyburn, who shoots back at Jaime for the countless lives he's taken, though Jaime notes that he saved the population of King's Landing from the Mad King. When Jaime then asks Qyburn about Brienne, he states that her father offered Locke a fair ransom of three hundred Gold Dragons, which Locke refused to accept due to a previous lie of Jaime's that Brienne came from a wealthier family than she really did. Qyburn tells Jaime that she will most likely serve as entertainment for Locke and his men that night, and be killed thereafter. Qyburn then accompanies Jaime and Steelshanks to Harrenhal when Jaime blackmails Steelshanks into helping him rescue Brienne.[3]

Qyburn is still with Jaime and Brienne when they finally reach King's Landing.[4]

Season 4Edit

Qyburn in Season 4

Qyburn offers to treat Gregor Clegane for Cersei

Cersei has a gilded prosthetic hand forged for Jaime, and Qyburn personally fits it on him. Cersei voices her gratitude to Qyburn, who then ingratiates himself with the Queen by aiding her in other matters.[5]

After Gregor Clegane is seriously wounded during his fight against Oberyn Martell, Qyburn and Pycelle theorize that Oberyn coated his spear in manticore venom, causing Clegane's wounds to fester and leave him in agony. Pycelle concludes to Cersei that Clegane is likely doomed, but Qyburn states that he may be able to save him using more unorthodox means, even though Clegane once nearly killed him in Harrenhal. Pycelle snorts that Qyburn is not even a Maester, and reminds Cersei that he was expelled from the Citadel for conducting "dangerous" and "unnatural" experiments. Cersei, remembering Qyburn's success with Jaime's stump, responds by dismissing Pycelle from his duties - and his laboratory. Cersei then gives Qyburn permission to do anything he can to save Clegane, and to come to her should he need anything. Qyburn warns the Queen that the process he intends to put Ser Gregor through may "change him", but when she is satisfied that it will not affect his strength, she instructs Qyburn to carry on.[6]

Season 5Edit

Qyburn (S05E03)

Qyburn writing a letter to Petyr Baelish at the request of Cersei Lannister.

Qyburn is at Cersei's side when she confirms that a head brought to her by two bounty hunters does not belong to Tyrion Lannister. Qyburn asks for the head for use in his research.[7] Later on, at a meeting of the Small Council, Cersei appoints Qyburn as the new Master of Whisperers to replace Varys. Grand Maester Pycelle protests vehemently given Qyburn's outcast status, and Kevan Lannister denounces Qyburn as a sycophant and Cersei as a power-grabber.[8]

Qyburn is present at a Small Council meeting when the High Septon demands the execution of the High Sparrow after his followers attack him. Qyburn informs the Council that the High Septon had been at Littlefinger's brothel. Later, Qyburn kills a rat as part of an experiment when Cersei enters his laboratory, giving him a message that she wants sent to Petyr Baelish. She also asks him about the state of his work, while glancing at Gregor Clegane's covered body, and Qyburn assures her it is going very well, though there is still a way to go. Soon after Cersei leaves, as Qyburn writes, Gregor begins shaking under the blanket, but Qyburn shushes him calmly.[9]

Qyburn is at the meeting of the Small Council when Mace Tyrell departs to negotiate the crown's debt with the Iron Bank of Braavos.[10]

Qyburn visits Cersei while she is held prisoner by the High Sparrow, informing her that Grand Maester Pycelle has sent for Kevan Lannister to serve as Hand of the King. He also informs her that King Tommen has become despondent following Cersei's arrest, and that he refuses to eat or see anyone. Finally, just before leaving her, he informs her that "the work continues," presumably referring to his experiments on Ser Gregor Clegane.

After Cersei enters the Red Keep following her walk of atonement, he hastily throws a cloak over her naked body after rushing to her side. He then speaks to Cersei softy and reassuringly as he embraces her, attempting to soothe her. Pycelle looks upon the scene with disgust. Qyburn remarks upon her poor state and bleeding feet. Qyburn then introduces the "newest member of the kingsguard," the 7-8 foot tall abomination he has been working on. At his behest, the golden knight picks her up and they walk away together, further into the Red Keep so Qyburn can clean her up and treat her wounds.

Appearances Edit

Season Three appearances
Valar Dohaeris Dark Wings, Dark Words Walk of Punishment And Now His Watch is Ended Kissed by Fire
The Climb The Bear and the Maiden Fair Second Sons The Rains of Castamere Mhysa
Season Four appearances
Two Swords The Lion and the Rose Breaker of Chains Oathkeeper First of His Name
The Laws of Gods and Men Mockingbird The Mountain and the Viper The Watchers on the Wall The Children
Season Five appearances
The Wars to Come The House of Black and White High Sparrow Sons of the Harpy Kill the Boy
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken The Gift Hardhome The Dance of Dragons Mother’s Mercy

Behind the scenesEdit

QuotesEdit

"The only way to treat disease is to understand disease."
―Qyburn[src]
"Qyburn? Deplorable man. Brought shame on the Citadel with his repugnant experiments. "
―Grand Maester Pycelle[src]
"Belief is so often the death of reason. "
―Qyburn to Cersei Lannister[src]

In the booksEdit

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Qyburn is a former maester who acts as a healer in the Brave Companions sellsword company. Qyburn never met Robb Stark, nor was he imprisoned while staying at Harrenhal, and he never met Gregor Clegane until after the latter's fight with Oberyn Martell. Qyburn is rumored to practice black sorcery and necromancy. Despite his horrific experiments, Qyburn has a very kindly, fatherly appearance - Cersei thinks he looks like some little girl's image of her favorite grandfather.

Qyburn fell in with the Brave Companions at some point, who had been hired by the Lannisters and were based around Harrenhal. When Roose Bolton leads the eastern half of the Northern army to advance on Harrenhal they betrayed the Lannisters to side with Bolton, and remain at Harrenhal. This entire subplot was extensively condensed, so that Robb's entire army goes to the Westerlands, then to Harrenhal, instead of splitting into two groups (one commanded by Robb Stark, the other by Roose Bolton). The Brave Companions were also condensed from being a sellsword company to just a particularly vicious group of Bolton soldiers. Thus Qyburn simply appears in the TV series without further explanation as a refugee/prisoner that just happened to turn up at Harrenhal. In the novels, the Brave Companions are fond of cutting off the hands and feet of their prisoners, so Qyburn has become quite skilled at treating such injuries.

Qyburn treats Jaime's festering stump as in the TV series. The chapter is told from Jaime's POV, which explains that the main reason he refuses to take Milk of the poppy is because he fears that if he allows Qyburn to render him unconscious for the surgery, he will break his word and amputate the rest of his right arm instead of just the gangrene parts. Qyburn's treatment works quite well and he manages to save Jaime's right arm from the gangrene, and travels to King's Landing with him.

When treating Gregor Clegane, Qyburn theorizes that Oberyn had adulterated the manticore venom on his spear with sorcery; thickening it in order to slow its progress through the veins towards the heart, dragging out Gregor's agony.

After Qyburn is made Master of Whisperers, Cersei gives him control over the dungeons, allowing him use the prisoners in his experiments. She starts disposing of enemies or unwanted persons (i.e. maids she thinks are spying on her for Margaery Tyrell) by sending them off to Qyburn - other than a few screams emanating from his dungeon, they are never heard from again.

Qyburn's character might have been inspired by the Nazi physician Josef Mengele or by the fictional Dr. Frankenstein, or both.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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