05/28/2013 10:55 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Who Are the Most Interesting Minor Characters in A Song of Ice and Fire ?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Lucas Mund, History Teacher

Howland Reed is interesting to me because:

  • He was the spark that ignited Robert's Rebellion.
  • He and Eddard are the only survivors of the Tower of Joy.
  • He knows the true answer to R+L=J.
  • He must have had some way to kill Arthur Dayne, because Eddard says Howland saved his life in the Tower of Joy. One does not simply kill Arthur Dayne. Dayne was by all accounts the best knight in Westeros.
  • He leads a house that has seen almost no fighting but have proven themselves against the Iron Born.
  • What ever happened to Maege Mormont & Galbart Glover? Howland knows.
  • We have only heard second hand accounts of him, but never actually seen him. GRRM must be planning something big for him.
If he decides to come out of hiding and fight, he could be very powerful with his military forces and all of the info he possesses.


Answer by James August, Student

Coincidentally, my favorite characters in ASoIaF are the minor characters (besides Tyrion).

Myrcella Baratheon is definitely one of the characters most people are interested in. Tommen is too young to comprehend everything going on around him, but Myrcella is intriguing because she comes off (and described as) a very strong and intelligent girl.

The one POV character I would want is Willas Tyrell, heir to Highgarden and brother to Margaery, Garlan, and Loras. Crippled after a tourney incident involving Oberyn Martell, Willas stays in Highgarden while the rest of the Tyrells are with Renly and later, in King's Landing. All we know of him is that he is quite studious, breeds horses, hawks, and hounds, and that he is quite kind. Sounds like a character worthy to play the game of thrones.

Jaqen H'ghar is purposefully a mysterious character. We know for sure that he is a Faceless Man, because he gave the coin to Arya. Canon implies that the man who kills Novice Pate is Jaqen. But what would Jaqen be looking for in the Citadel? Why was he in the dungeons of the Red Keep in the first place? What purpose did he have in going to the Wall?

Qyburn is another one of those purposefully mysterious characters. We know that he used to be a Maester and that he was stripped of his chain for "unethical experiments" that began with opening the bodies of the dead and turned into opening the bodies of the living. But the nature of a Maester's name begs the question; who was Qyburn before he went to the Citadel? Most of all, what precisely are his experiments? ...And who is Robert Strong?

Archmaester Marwyn or Marwyn the Mage is also a character I'm interested in. The last we see of him is his conversation with Sam at the Ravenry where he warns Sam that the information he has will be useless there and that there are more foes than friends for Sam to find. And now that Maesters Aemon and Luwin are dead, the last person who has studied magic in Westeros (besides Melisandre) is Marwyn. We still don't know why the glass candles are burning. They don't seem to be reliant upon the birth of Daenerys's dragons like many other magical things are, but it was indicated that after Daenerys burns down the House of the Undying, a Qartheen candle burns. And if Marwyn is the last of those with magical knowledge, then he would also be one of the last to know the deeper secrets of dragons, besides Tyrion's own knowledge. I suspect he will be quite key to Daenery's entry into Westeros.

Septa Lemore is a character we know little about. The only reason I have to suspect she has more to her is when Tyrion himself wonders about the Septa, how uncharacteristic she acts, how she is unfazed by being naked in front of him, and the pregnancy scars on her body. We know by ADwD that women are able to become part of the Faith even after having children, so that isn't so mysterious. But what kind of Septa would leave Westeros and take part in the education of a secret heir to the Targaryen dynasty? And of all the characters involved with the fostering of Aegon, she is the one whose background is not given.

(I forgot about Howland Reed!)

All we know of Howland Reed is from Meera, Jojen, and Ned. The only background we have of him is Meera's "story about knights" in which a crannogman journeys to the Isle of Faces and ends up at the Harrenhal Tourney that ignites the beginning of Robert's Rebellion. We know from his children that Howland is still alive, and we know that crannogmen continue to defend Moat Cailin. If Howland Reed has any role to play, it would most likely be in the return of Bran and Rickon to the seat of Winterfell.

And more without descriptors: The Ghost of High Heart, Rodrik "The Reader" Harlaw, Wylla Manderly, Septon Merribald, Strong Belwas, and Quaithe.

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