'The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.'
Season 1, Episode 1
Our first introduction to Eddard Stark tells us much of what we need to know about him. He's an honor and duty-obsessed man who doesn't shy away from making tough calls and doing unpleasant work. Bringing his young son Bran to the execution shows he expects his offspring to be the same way.
'The things I do for love.'
Season 1, Episode 1
Jaime Lannister pushes Bran out of a window after Bran catches him in flagrante delicto with Cersei. It's an evil move, but actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau says Jaime had his reasons. He tells THR the "things I do for love" line was important to him as far as justifying the attempted murder: "In his mind, Cersei is everything, and his life has been dictated by her and how he could be close to her. He became a member of the Kingsguard at a very early age against his father’s wishes. It was because he wanted to be close to Cersei."
"The next time you raise a hand to me will be the last time you have hands!"
Season 1, Episode 4
The Khaleesi stands up for herself against her brother Viserys after the would-be king of Westeros finally takes things too far. It's not long after this that Viserys finally gets the crown he deserves -- though not the one he wanted -- when Khal Drogo has molten gold poured onto his head.
'It's the family name that lives on. It's all that lives on.'
Season 1, Episode 7
Tywin's first episode reveals his No. 1 priority is his family's legacy. Like the man's man that he is, Tywin is butchering a beast as he scolds Jaime for not making the most of his talents. "Your mother's dead, before long I'll be dead, and you … and your brother and your sister and all of her children," Tywin says. "All of us dead, all of us rotting in the ground. It’s the family name that lives on. It’s all that lives on. Not your honor, not your personal glory -- family."
'When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.'
Season 1, Episode 7
It's a risky move using dialogue to reference a TV show or book's name, but Cersei's remarks to Eddard Stark are quite apt. Ned is concerned with honor during this discussion -- in which he reveals he knows of Cersei's incest with Jaime, while the Queen understands it's all a game. She ends the season with her life intact, while Ned ends the season with his head on a spike.
'I learned how to die a long time ago.'
Season 1, Episode 9
Lord Varys tries to convinced Eddard -- injured and imprisoned -- to "confess" to being a traitor, saying the Queen will allow Lord Stark to take the black. As Ned chooses the honorable path, initially rejecting the offer: "You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honor for a few more years of … of what? You grew up with actors; you learned their craft and you learned it well. But I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago." Varys finally convinces Eddard to make a false confession after insinuating that the Stark girls may be endangered if he doesn't do so.
'When dead men and worse come hunting … you think it matters who sits on the Iron Throne?'
Season 1, Episode 10
Jeor Mormont talks sense into Jon Snow after the young man briefly runs away to join his brother Robb's rebellion. Jon is among the first of the show's main characters to understand the war for the Iron Throne is relatively unimportant after Mormont asks: "When dead men and worse come hunting for us in the night, you think it matters who sits on the Iron Throne?"
'The Mad King did as he liked. Has your uncle Jaime ever told you what happened to him?'
Season 2, Episode 4
Tyrion's best lines often come at his nephew Joffrey's expense -- in particular when they include insinuations that bodily harm could come to the boy king. Tyrion utters this line after stopping Joffrey from supervising the beating of Sansa Stark. After the King's man Meryn Trant says, "No one threatens His Grace," Tyrion insists he wasn't threatening the king. "I am educating my nephew. Bronn, the next time Ser Meryn speaks, kill him. That was a threat. See the difference?"
'Turn us away, and we will burn you first.'
Season 2, Episode 4
Daenerys makes a bold play outside of Qarth as she and her khalasar are becoming increasingly desperate. When the Thirteen deny her entrance, she threatens vengeance: "Thirteen, when my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who have wronged me! We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground! Turn us away, and we will burn you first." Dragon-obsessed Xaro Xhoan Daxos finally invokes an ancient custom allowing him to override other members of the Thirteen and grant the khalasar entrance into the city.
'A girl gives a man his own name?'
Season 2, Episode 7
Arya pulls a fast one on Jaqen H'ghar, giving the mysterious man his own name when he asks whom she wants him to kill. When he begs her to unname him, she coolly says "a man can kill himself," before agreeing that she will unname him if Jaqen helps her escape Harrenhal. The overall body count Jaqen helps Arya rack up ends up being much larger than the three he owed her for saving the lives of him and his companions.
'Your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.'
Season 2, Episode 8
A Lannister always pays his debts, and Tyrion is no different. After Cersei captures and beats Ros (thinking she is Shae), Tyrion vows revenge. The line comes back in season four, with Cersei repeating the words back to damn Tyrion. Here's the original: "I will hurt you for this. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth. And you will know the debt is paid."
'We'll come out behind them and f--- them in their arses!'
Season 2, Episode 9
Tyrion proves to his troops that he's more than just a half-man, delivering a rousing speech ahead of the Battle of the Blackwater. He dispenses with talk that the men should fight for their king (Joffrey has just fled the scene) or for the realm: "This is your city Stannis means to sack, that's your gate he's ramming! If he gets in, it'll be your houses he burns, your gold he steals, your women he'll rape. Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!" It's a key moment for Tyrion, showing that maybe -- just maybe -- he's the man to steer the Seven Kingdoms in the hard times ahead.
'Neither gods nor men will ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse.'
Season 3, Episode 1
Tyrion, fresh off his triumph at the Battle of the Blackwater, thinks his father should reward him for his service. He's in for a rude awakening. "You are an ill-made, spiteful little creature full of envy, lust and low cunning." Twyin says. "And to teach me humility, the gods have condemned me to watch you waddle about wearing that proud lion that was my father's sigil and his father's before him. But neither gods nor men will ever compel me to let you turn Casterly Rock into your whorehouse."
'I prayed to the gods 'Take him away, make him die.' '
Season 3, Episode 2
Lady Stark reveals she once prayed for Jon Snow to die when he was an infant, because the baby was a reminder of Eddard Stark's infidelity. "He got the pox and I knew I was the worst woman who ever lived. A murderer. I'd condemned this poor, innocent child to a horrible death all because I was jealous of his mother." She then prayed for Jon to recover, pledging that she would love him if the gods granted her wish. The boy recovered, but she couldn't keep her promise. "And everything that's happened since then, all this horror that's come to my family ... it's all because I couldn't love a motherless child."
'A dragon is not a slave.'
Season 3, Episode 4
In the best Daenerys moment to date, she tricks the slave master in Astapor into selling her 8,000 Unsullied soldiers for a dragon. Unfortunately for him, the dragon won't listen to his commands. "A dragon is not a slave," she tells the slaver, before ordering the dragon to burn the man and telling her troops to liberate the city. "Slay the soldiers. Slay every man who holds a whip. But harm no child. Strike the chains off of every slave you see."
'Burn them all'
Season 3, Episode 5
Jaime finally reveals what really happened the night he killed the Mad King, telling Brienne that King Aerys had planted wildfire all over King's Landing and ordered it lit. "Burn them all -- burn them in their homes, burn them in their beds," the king said. Jaime had lived with the shame of breaking his vow for 17 years, but he did it for a good reason. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau tells THR of the scene: "It was beautifully written and it made sense. You can only carry secrets around for so long. Finally he found someone he knew he could tell the story and it wouldn't be thrown back at him."
'Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder.'
Season 3, Episode 6
Kings Landing's greatest schemers come together for a tete-a-tete in the throne room. Littlefinger reveals he sold Varys' informant Ros to Joffrey in order for the young King to mutilate her with his crossbow. Littlefinger's comments show he is the ultimate opportunist, relishing the chaos the realm has been thrown into. "Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder," LIttlefinger tells Varys. "Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is."
'You'll be f---ing your own bride with a wooden cock.'
Season 3, Episode 8
Tyrion really doesn't want to have a bedding ceremony. After hearing the snickers during his wedding to Sansa, a drunk Tyrion threaten's Joffrey's manhood when the King insists on the tradition of the bride and groom being undressed and carried off to their wedding bed. After Joffrey says there will be a bedding ceremony if he commands it, Tyrion rejoins: "Then you'll be f---ing your own bride with a wooden cock." The shocking moment puts Tyrion in real danger, and it won't be the last time his words nearly get him charged with treason.
'If you ever call me sister again, I'll have you strangled in your sleep.'
Season 3, Episode 8
After Margaery expresses excitement over soon becoming sisters with Cersei (who is betrothed to her brother), the queen regent puts a stop to such talk. She gives Margaery the backstory of the ballad "The Rains of Castemere," about an upstart family who rebelled against the Lannisters. "If you ever call me sister again I'll have you strangled in your sleep," she adds.
'The Lannisters send their regards.'
Season 3, Episode 9
The Red Wedding is the most brutal episode of Thrones to date, and the cut from Roose Bolton is among the unkindest of all, as Robb's bannerman had convinced the King in the North not to return to Winterfell but to instead entrust it to Bolton's bastard son.