There’s so much action, death, sex and violence in Game of Thrones that it’s sometime easy to forget just how damn good the writing is too.
To get you in the mood for Season 7, we’ve rounded up some of the most memorable lines from the first six seasons.
From the honour of Ned Stark to the cold brutality of Cersei, here are some of the quotes that’ll be around long after the characters who spoke them are gone…
1. “The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.” — Ned Stark
Ned Stark may be long dead, but during his all-too-short time on the show he came out with some great lines. This one pretty much summed up his character: rigidly principled, honourable, and ultimately doomed in the dog-eat-dog (or lion-eat-wolf) world of Westeros.
2. “The things I do for love.” — Jaime Lannister
Jaime Lannister is a transformed man these days, but back in Season 1 he was pretty damn unpleasant. The way he smiled tenderly at Cersei while pushing Bran out of the window was what made this line so disturbingly memorable.
3. “I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples, bastards and broken things.” — Tyrion
Tyrion said this back to Bran back in the show’s early days. The lines serves as an early indication of just how different he is from his family.
4. “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” — Cersei
This one pretty much speaks for itself. It shows exactly how brutal Cersei’s character (and the game to which she’s referring) can be.
5. “I grew up with soldiers. I learned how to die a long time ago.” — Ned Stark
There’s something chillingly poignant about this Ned Stark line, which he says to Varys while locked up in the dungeons shortly before his death.
6. “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armour, and it can never be used to hurt you.” — Tyrion
Tyrion here, giving some sage advice to Jon Snow and showing his impressive capacity for wisdom and psychological insight.
7. “Everyone is mine to torment.” — Joffrey
Is there a line that better summed up Joffrey’s character than this one? The nasty little tyrant was basically like a spoiled toddler with a very large toy box — he thought he could get away with doing anything, to anyone — and for awhile, he did.
8. “The day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth.” — Tyrion
Tyrion may be amusing, but he can also be just as harsh as his sister when he wants to be.
9. “The night is dark and full of terrors.” — Melisandre
A classic line that pretty well sums up Melisandre’s unpleasantness — she can be okay when she wants to be, but she’s not averse to birthing shadow assassins and casually burning a person or two.
10. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” — Ygritte
This one’s basically now reached meme status, but it also has a poignant edge to it (it’s the last thing Ygritte says to Jon before she dies, after all).
11. “Night gathers, and now my watch begins” — Various members of the Night’s Watch
The whole speech they give when taking the oath of the Night’s Watch is pretty good, to be fair — but this line is a particularly ominous. You’ve got to hand it to Jon Snow and the gang — being in the Night’s Watch is a lot of hard, cold, and scary work for very little reward.
12. “A Lannister always pays his debts.” — Various Lannisters
The motto for House Lannister is impressively flexible — it can be a bribe or a threat (unless it’s Cersei talking, in which case it’s definitely a threat).
13. “Burn them all!” — Aerys II Targaryen
Although he’s only in the show in flashback form, the Mad King’s final words cast a shadow over many of the series’ main characters. For Jaime it’s a haunting reminder of his “Kingslayer” title; for Bran it’s an eerie, disconnected vision; and for Cersei it’s foreshadowing for her own murderous wildfire spree at the end of Season 6.
14. “What do we say to the God of death?” — Syrio Forel
Oh, Syrio. His time on the show was painfully short, but he managed to get in a few good jabs while he was around.
15. “There’s no cure for being a c*nt.” — Bronn
Bronn may have his faults, but he certainly knows how to tell it like it is. He’s referring to Joffrey here, of course.
16. “I’ve seen wet shits I like better than Walder Frey.” — Brynden Tully
Another spectacular one-liner, this time courtesy of the Blackfish.
17. “Winter is coming” — Pretty much everyone
Ned Stark was banging on about winter back in Season 1, and now — with the White Walkers plotting an imminent invasion — it’s looking like people should have paid him more attention.
18. “That’s what I do: I drink and I know things.” — Tyrion
Tyrion can be wise, and he can be cutthroat, but above all he’s gloriously witty and self-deprecating.
19. “I am the dragon’s daughter, and I swear to you that those who would harm you will die screaming.” — Daenerys
Dialogue doesn’t come much more badass than this (and when you’ve just walked out of a roaring inferno unscathed, it’s even cooler).
20. “A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep.” — Tywin
This one pretty much sums up Tywin’s arrogance. Like other notable Lannisters, he saw himself as above everyone else. It made him intimidating, but also — ultimately — more vulnerable than he thought.
21. “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” — Littlefinger
It’s tricky to pin down exactly what Littlefinger wants in Game of Thrones, but this quote at least reveals his philosophy — while other factions war and kill each other, he takes advantage.
22. “Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick; a shadow on the wall.” — Varys
One of the main running themes in Game of Thrones is power: who has it, who wants it, and who plays the game to give the illusion of it. Nobody knows this better than Varys.
23. “I understand that if any more words come pouring out your c*nt mouth, I’m gonna have to eat every f*cking chicken in this room.” — The Hound
This one’s definitely reached meme status, and we don’t want to over-exaggerate but it may well be one of the greatest lines ever spoken by any character in any TV show, ever.
24. “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” — Ramsay
A classic Ramsay line, and pretty much a metaphor for the show as a whole.
25. “I would let myself be consumed by maggots before mocking the family name and making you heir to Casterly Rock.” — Tywin
If you ever get the impression that Tyrion is bitter, this is probably why: his dad said things like this to him. Reminders of lines like this make that whole crossbow incident seem a little more understandable.
26. “If you ever call me sister again, I’ll have you strangled in your sleep.” — Cersei
Cersei said this one to Margaery in the middle of a crowded room, while keeping a very sinister smile on her face. She definitely inherited her dad’s way with words.
27. “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.” — Arya
After trying not to have a name for an entire Season, Arya finally — finally — made the decision we all wanted her to make. Let the crossing off of that list commence!
28. “Any man who must say ‘I am the King’ is no true King.” — Tywin
Tywin may have been unforgivably unpleasant on occasion, but the way he shut down one of Joffrey’s tirades with this line was incredibly satisfying.
29. “Oh, monster? Perhaps you should speak to me more softly then. Monsters are dangerous and just now Kings are dying like flies.” — Tyrion
Any line that completely shuts up Joffrey is a good line, to be fair.
30. “Jaime… my name’s Jaime.” — Jaime
Jaime says this line to Brienne in the baths when she calls him “Kingslayer”, shortly after he’s opened up to her about why he really killed the Mad King. It’s pretty much the first time he really lets his mask of bravado slip and we see the vulnerability hiding just below the surface (a huge turning point for his character, in other words).
31. “I am your son. I have always been your son.” — Tyrion
A sad, bitter line that marks the end of a truly depressing father-son relationship.
32. “I read it in a book.” — Samwell Tarly
It sounds like almost a throwaway line, but we think this one’s going to be pretty damn significant in the coming Season when Sam uses those sweet books to save the Kingdom.
33. “If I fall, don’t bring me back.” — Jon Snow
They used this one in the trailer before the Battle of the Bastards, and it’s resonated ever since. Absolute peak Jon Snow.
34. “The big fish eat the little fish and I keep on paddling.” — Varys
The perfect summary of what Varys does best, straight from the Spider’s mouth.
35. “Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell… they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.” — Daenerys
A good analogy of the game of thrones from everyone’s favourite warrior Queen.
36. “Hold the door!” — Wylis/Hodor
Not only is this one of the most memorable lines in the show — it’s also easily the most poignant. Oh, Hodor — you were far too pure for this cruel world…