- Shae: "What do you want from me?"
- Tyrion Lannister: "What do I want from you? I want you to share my tent. I want you to pour my wine, laugh at my jokes, rub my legs when they're sore after a day's ride. I want you to take no other man to bed for as long as we're together. And I want you to fuck me like it's my last night in this world. Which it may well be."
- — Shae and Tyrion's first meeting.[src]
Shae is a major character in the second and third season. She initially appeared as a recurring character in the first season and debuted in "Baelor." She is played by starring cast member Sibel Kekilli. Shae is a prostitute who has begun an exclusive relationship with Tyrion Lannister during the time when he was fighting with his father, Tywin Lannister's army during the Battle of the Green Fork. When he is sent to King's Landing to be acting Hand of the King, he takes Shae with him as his mistress and she lives with him at the Tower of the Hand. The only person who knows she is there is Varys the Master of Whisperers, who while not completely trusted was an advisor to Tyrion and did seem to keep their secret.
When Shae is bored, Tyrion arranged for her to work as a handmaiden to Sansa Stark, where she acts as confidant through the difficulties of Joffrey's abuse and the siege of Stannis Baratheon. Queen Cersei is threatening Tyrion and his fear for Shae's safety makes him realize how much he has come to love her. After the Battle of the Blackwater with Tyrion injured and no longer Hand of the King, she urges him to flee with her to Pentos. When he tells her his place is here, she agrees to stay with him.
Shae is a young woman of mystery, as she won't divulge her true origins. She has a Lorathi accent and is obviously not native to Westeros: she says she arrived there ten years ago. She is first encountered as a camp-follower with the Lannister army in the Riverlands. She has dreams of wealth and power, despite her low social status as a kept woman. She hails from the Free City of Lorath.
Shae is a camp-follower whom Bronn a sellsword in the service of Tyrion Lannister finds as per Tyrion's request. She is attached to a ginger-haired Knight, but Bronn "persuades" him to give her up to Tyrion Lannister, who is fighting with the army of Lannister in the Riverlands. He is charmed by her immediately. He tells her he wants the truth, but also that he wants her to act as if she wants him and that it's their last night on earth together. Tyrion plays a drinking game with her and Bronn in an attempt to learn more about Shae's past, but she refuses to reveal specifics. Tyrion tells her that he thinks her mother was a whore and her father deserted them, she says emphatically that he is wrong, and she doesn't want to speak of them. He seems more on the mark when he talks of her ambitions until he gets to the part of saying she was low born, she indicates he is wrong, thus she was not low-born. Shae deflects Tyrion's questions and learns about his past instead, particularly the incident involving his marriage to Tysha. When Tyrion was 16 he fell in love and secretly married a young wheelwright's daughter who he helped protect from two rapers, but the girl turned out to be a prostitute hired by Jaime Lannister to make a man of him. When Tywin Lannister found out he had the marriage annulled and the girl gang-raped by his guards. Shae says he should have known she was a whore as a girl doesn't invite another man into her bed after almost being raped.
Following a victory in the Battle of the Green Fork Tyrion is made acting Hand of the King by his father Tywin Lannister. Tywin had been named as Hand to his grandson Joffrey Baratheon, but due to the war he must remain with his army in the field. Tywin forbade Tyrion taking Shae to court. Tyrion complains about his father to Shae, then decides to defy his order, much to her delight.
Shae accompanies Tyrion to King's Landing and he installs her secretly in the Tower of the Hand. Varys discovers Shae's presence and subtly threatens Tyrion with the information. Shae tells Varys that Tyrion met her when she was employed in his father's kitchens. Shae becomes increasingly fed up at her confinement and Tyrion arranges for her to serve as a handmaiden to the captive Sansa Stark. Sansa comes to trust Shae and confides her hatred of King Joffrey Baratheon after she is injured in the Riot of King's Landing. Shae warns her to trust no-one.
Shae discovers Sansa trying to conceal evidence of her first period because it means she is ready to bear Joffrey's children. Shae helps her, even threatens a maid into silence when she walks in on them, but they are discovered by Sandor Clegane. Sansa is taken before Queen Cersei.
Shae is bemused when Tyrion rushes in especially tender and protective with her and wanting to exchange words of love, "I am yours, and you are mine"; unbeknownst to her Queen Cersei has imprisoned and threatened the prostitute Ros mistakenly believing that she is Tyrion's current lover. Tyrion is overjoyed that Shae is safe, as she has come to be important to him.
Shae spends the night before the Battle of the Blackwater in Tyrion's bed. Tyrion tells her that she could flee but she asserts her loyalty to him. When the bells sound the arrival of the attacking force she goes to the Throne Room with Sansa. She has an awkward public goodbye with Tyrion, who is careful not to acknowledge their relationship. Sansa and Shae take refuge in Maegor's Holdfast during the battle, hosted with the women of the court by Cersei. Cersei realizes that Shae is new and questions her origins. She recognizes her lowborn status when she cannot curtsey properly and discerns that she is from Lorath. She asks Shae to explain how she came to be Sansa's handmaiden, but her attention is diverted by news of the battle. When the battle seems lost Cersei storms out of the room. Shae advises Sansa to bar herself in her chamber to keep her safe should the city be sacked, as Stannis will not hurt her, but Ser Ilyn Payne, who guards them, has Cersei's orders to kill her if the city falls. Sansa asks what Shae will do and she says that she has to say goodbye to a friend. Sansa worries for her safety and she shows her that she is carrying a concealed blade.
Tyrion is betrayed and grievously wounded during the fighting. His defensive tactics buy enough time for reinforcements to arrive and win the battle. Varys brings Shae to see Tyrion, who has been ousted as Hand of the King and stripped of his allies while he has been incapacitated. She unflinchingly assesses his horrific facial scar and chastises him for self-pity. She begs him to go with her to Pentos but he refuses, saying that he is good at, and enjoys, playing politics. She reaffirms her love for him and comforts him.
|Season One appearances|
|Winter is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|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|
Behind the scenes
The TV series changed Shae's back story (which wasn't gone into in in great detail in the books anyway) as being from the Free Cities, because they enjoyed the audition of actress Sibel Kekilli, but wanted to have some explanation for why she speaks with a German accent.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Shae is a camp-follower who attaches herself to a Lannister army and later comes into contact with Tyrion Lannister. She is young and attractive, small and slender with large dark eyes, fine black hair, and with an interest in power. Unlike the TV series, Shae in the books is common-born, from Westeros, and not particularly subtle nor mysterious.
She stands just over five feet tall and she never wears undergarments. Shae is very funny and has a prodigious sexual appetite. When Varys said that he had to meet Tyrion's young lady. Shae says, "You're half right, I'm young." "My mother named me Shae, and men call me....often." Tyrion does not play the drinking game with her and it is much later before she learns about Tysha.
In the books, Tyrion arranges with Varys to set up Shae at a mansion hidden in the city. Tyrion continues to meet Shae by visiting a high-end brothel, under the pretense of visiting a prostitute named Alayaya (the madam's daughter) who is learning how to read. Tyrion takes her to a room and she reads while he ducks out of the brothel, using a tunnel to a stable and then a horse to get to Shae's mansion. Because Tyrion is insecure about his appearance and Shae's attraction to other men, Varys also helps get guards that are ugly or have no interest in women for Shae's manse (these include a eunuch strangler and two hairy gay Ibbenese axemen).
Cersei later discovers Alayaya and has her guards abduct her, mistakenly believing that she is the prostitute that Tyrion is having a relationship with. Cersei threatens harm to Alayaya if anything happens to Joffrey during the Battle of Blackwater while Tyrion has him manning the walls. After the battle Alayaya is stripped and publicly flogged, and then sent naked out the front gate to walk home. The subplot with Alayaya was cut from the TV series, though Ros is substituted in as a different prostitute that Cersei mistakes as Tyrion's lover.
After the riots in the city due to Joffrey's tyrannical treatment of its inhabitants, Tyrion decides that the city has become too dangerous, and he must move Shae to the Red Keep for protection. To give her an excuse to be in the castle, she is made handmaiden to Lady Lollys Stokeworth - not Sansa Stark as in the TV series. None of the scenes between Shae and Sansa exist in the books (though some, such as when Sansa panics upon menstruating for the first time, do occur but not with Shae involved). Nor does Cersei speak directly to Shae during the siege of the city, though she does notice her and tells Sansa that with a high born girl the prospect of a ransom might offer some protection from rape, but a pretty thing like Lollys Stokesworth's maid would have a busy night.
- ↑ HBO viewers guide, season 2 guide to houses, House Baratheon of King's Landing - Shae entry
- ↑ "Blackwater"
- ↑ "Valar Dohaeris"
- ↑ "Baelor"
- ↑ "Fire and Blood"
- ↑ "The North Remembers"
- ↑ "The Night Lands"
- ↑ "What is Dead May Never Die"
- ↑ "The Old Gods and the New"
- ↑ "A Man Without Honor"
- ↑ "The Prince of Winterfell"
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 "Blackwater"
- ↑ "Valar Morghulis"
|Show-exclusive new characters:||