Welcome to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Everything to Know” series. Starting with Game of Thrones, THR’s Westeros guru Josh Wigler will offer an in-depth guide about, well, everything there is to know about one particular topic within the complex universe.
Hell hath no fury like a Lannister lion scorned.
The denizens of the Seven Kingdoms have learned that lesson numerous times over the course of six seasons of Game of Thrones, and then some. Were this a traditional fantasy story, the uber rich and ruthless House Lannister would have all lost their heads long ago. But as a writer, George R.R. Martin is a dutiful arbiter of cruel justice, as meted out by the golden family that calls Casterly Rock their home.
Watch our latest Everything to Know video for more on what Cersei (Lena Headey), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster Waldau) and the other members of House Lannister have unleashed upon Westeros over the course of Thrones, and keep reading for the greatest hits — though perhaps “greatest” is a relative term.
1. Breaking Bran
The very first episode of Game of Thrones ends with the Lannisters enacting violence against the Starks, when poor Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is pushed out of a window for the simple crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: witnessing Jaime and Cersei’s twincest, and needing to be silenced at all costs.
2. Off With His Head
House Lannister’s viciousness toward Winterfell didn’t end there, as Jaime personally killed many of Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) closest allies, including the Jory Cassel (Jamie Sives). That’s nothing compared to Jaime’s “nephew” Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) ordering Ned’s execution, sparking the bitter feud known as the War of the Five Kings.
3. The Red Wedding
Ned’s death was the biggest shock in Game of Thrones history, at least until the Lannisters butchered Robb (Richard Madden), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and the vast majority of the Stark army during the horrific Red Wedding. No need to rehash those details any further; in all likelihood, that bloody event is already good and seared in your memories.
Lannister cruelty extends well beyond the Starks, as they are responsible for the deaths of multiple kings as well. Jaime ended Robert’s Rebellion by plunging a sword through the Mad King’s back, for one. For another, Cersei concocted a plot to poison her husband Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), which led to his death during a wild boar hunt. Most recently, Cersei’s decision to kill a whole mess of enemies in one fiery fell swoop (more on that in a second) directly led to the death of her son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman).
Even within the Lannister family, conflict and violence swirls like a storm. The love Cersei holds toward Jaime is matched only by the hate she holds for Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), for example; she’s long blamed him for the death of their mother in child birth, and most recently accused Tyrion of assassinating her son Joffrey. He’s not guilty of that crime, but Tyrion killed one of his own all the same when he shot his father Tywin (Charles Dance) to death back in season four — mere minutes after strangling his former girlfriend to death, too. It goes to show that even in the case of Tyrion, the kindest lion boasts a cruel roar.
6. Mass Murder
House Lannister’s single most destructive act came at the end of season six, when Cersei unleashed an astonishing amount of wildfire upon the Sept of Baelor, incinerating hundreds if not thousands of people in the process — all in an attempt to kill a handful of deadly enemies. The action led to Cersei’s last living child Tommen’s suicide, as well as her own subsequent ascension to the Iron Throne.
7. The Prophecy
Perhaps the last great Lannister crime will occur within the family, if a certain prophecy comes to pass. When she was a child, Cersei visited the wood witch Maggy the Frog and learned that she would one day die at the hands of the “Valonqar,” which means “little brother.” It’s part of why she loathes Tyrion so much — but technically, Jaime is Cersei’s younger brother as well, if only younger by a few seconds. As a result, many fans have speculated that the Kingslayer will eventually become the Queenslayer, killing his own lover and sister in order to protect the realm.
Check in with THR.com/GameOfThrones for everything else you need to know about the show, and keep the conversation going with me on Twitter @roundhoward, and check out our previous “Everything to Know” Game of Thrones coverage:
1. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: A Guide for New Viewers
2. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: An Overview of Westeros
3. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: An Overview of Jon Snow
4. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: The Rise of Daenerys Targaryen
5. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: The Life and Times of Tyrion Lannister
6. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: On Bran Stark and Time Travel
7. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: Arya Stark and Her History of Violence
8. ‘Game of Thrones’ Everything to Know: Sansa Stark Steps Away From the Books