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Everyone in the Citadel doubts everything. It's their job
The sole institution of higher education in Westeros. The Order of the Maesters is a scholastic organization dedicated to teaching, exclusively, the nobility on subjects of history, philosophy, science, and also serve as healers and political advisers. The Maesters are headquartered at the Citadel in Oldtown, located in the Reach on the southwestern coast of Westeros at the mouth of the Honeywine River.
The Order was originally created by, and it continues to depend on, the patronage of House Hightower. The Citadel has rankings that begin with novice and apprentice, move up to accredited Maester appointed to serve particular great Houses by the Citadel, overseen by the Archmaesters, and led finally by the Grand Maester, who in addition to serving as the nominal head of the Citadel also sits on the King's Small Council. Students craft new links for their Maester's chain, which they never take off. Both common and noble novices are accepted to the Citadel, and noble Maesters are expected to leave their House name behind and serve wherever they are sent.
- A Degree in Useless: As Maester Luwin tells Bran in Season 2, the link to study Valyrian steel is this for those who are too eager to learn about magic.
- Academy of Adventure: The Citadel of Oldtown has the appearance of one to Sam Tarly with its large libraries and forbidden books but the organization and institution as a whole is very much against encouraging curiosity.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The Citadel doesn't encourage research into the higher mysteries, or magic. Even when one of the archmaester admits those things exist.
- Body Motifs: The Citadel is associated with bowel movements and with excrement during Sam's time there, such as the endless bedpans and services he does, and then when Gilly notes that one of the records at the Citadel about High Septon Maynard has him making a daily record of his bowel movements. Mostly it's there to suggest as Sam finally notes that the Citadel and the Maesters are full of shit.
- Brain Drain: On account of the social disfavour Westeros regards Maesters with, and it's greater focus on martial accomplishments, the "best and brightest" i.e., the most driven, ambitious and intelligent minds of Westeros rarely go to the Citadel. After all if you are someone like Bronn or Littlefinger, both being smart and skilled but ambitious and seeking fortune and fame, why would you possibly devote yourself to an organization which decides, on your behalf, your calling, your station, and which forbids you from marrying and having children. Then you have the actual academic culture of the organization with its Tall Poppy Syndrome and the result is that intelligent and great scholars like Samwell Tarly and Qyburn decide to more or less say Screw This, I'm Outta Here while other maesters who are skilled and talented get nowhere.
- Broken Pedestal: To Samwell Tarly, since he had always wanted to be a Maester (something that got him disowned by his father) and when he visits the Citadel, he is overcome with joy and wonder at first. However, he grows disillusioned with the order because of their skepticism towards his warnings and he is tasked with doing menial tasks despite his own achievements. The final straw came when they dismissed a message from Bran telling them about the Night's King army marching on the North, making Sam leave the order.
- Fantastic Racism: They more or less hate the North and consider the area South of the Neck "the true Westeros". Maesters in service to Northern houses are more or less dismissed or ignored (such as Maester Wolkan), letters and updates from the Night's Watch are unopened (since the Citadel bureaucrat claims that their records hadn't updated past Lord Commander Mormont's tenure, when the Small Council, as Tyrion confirms, knew about the Old Bear's passing), and claims about serious problems are dismissed on entirely racist grounds. Samwell Tarly (who it must be noted comes from the Reach, the location where Oldtown comes from) just goes into his RageBreakingPoint losing all respect for the Maesters as a vocation and the Citadel as an institution.
- Fatal Flaw: The maesters lack of curiosity has kept Westeros in a Medieval Stasis, prevented diseases like greyscale from being cured and left the world open to destruction by the White Walkers.
- Head-in-The-Sand Management: As Season 7 reveals, the Maesters do nothing to learn anymore, instead passing on all of their existing knowledge internally and assuming that everything will continue just fine without them needing to step out of their metaphorical ivory tower. To emphasize this, Archmaester Ebrose admits that he, and many other maesters, are aware that the Night King and his army of the dead is real, because there's too much corroborating evidence, but they feel no need to try and stir the population to defend against the White Walkers because there is no reason to suspect the Wall of the North might have finally failed after thousands of years of keeping them at bay.
- Intellectually Supported Tyranny: The Maesters support the feudal order that keeps the aristocrats on top and everyone else below them. The former Grand Maester Pycelle was a bought and paid for propagandist in service of Tywin Lannister. Samwell Tarly admits that his father Randyll was right about the Maesters spending their lives recording and studying the "works of better men", i.e. men like Randyll.
- Know When to Fold'Em: Maesters pursue knowledge but they give up too easy.
- Loyal to the Position: Maesters are appointed to serve the Castle and the institution to which they are assigned, and are expected to remain in place no matter who is in charge.
- Magic Versus Science: They see themselves as representing science against superstition and magic. Which would be admirable if they weren't hostile to actual science (such as medical procedures that might treat deadly diseases) or if their world with its Bizarre Seasons, Magic Wall and large dragons wasn't magical.
- Medieval Stasis: The Citadel are the main reason for enforcing this trope even if they believe they are doing the opposite, i.e. correcting superstition and disabusing magic. They discourage inquiry, curiosity and research, look down on those who seek to unlock the higher mysteries and discourage any changes to the status-quo, be it intellectual or societal. Qyburn and Samwell Tarly both rebel against this albeit one is a villain and the other is a hero.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Only maesters write books but since mass printing doesn't exist, the knowledge in those books can be Lost Forever if they are destroyed or misplaced.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: It's implied in the books that the Maesters are responsible for the extinction of the dragons and the suppression of magic. There's nothing like this in the tv series.
- Propaganda Machine: The "histories" written by the maesters become this as noted in the History and Lore videos and by Sam Tarly and others.
- Vast Bureaucracy: Keeps the records of many orders, nobles doctors and more. They even have Rhaegar's annulment and enough records of the Long Night to find a pattern lying in their library somewhere.
- You Get What You Pay For: Why is the Citadel such an organization of incurious, incompetent, and ineffective morons who won't move a muscle to actually help the world? Well because that's precisely how Westerosi society and government envisioned their role and function.
"Without us, men would be little better than dogs."
Archmaester Ebrose serves as the expert on healing who takes Samwell Tarly as novice and apprentice in Season 7. Played by Jim Broadbent.
- Anti-Advice: So far whatever Ebrose has suggested Sam to do, Tarly has done the exact opposite and it has provided results.
- Entertainingly Wrong: Ebrose voices eloquent reasons for why the White Walkers are not as big a threat they are and why the apocalypse won't be as bad as it could be, the problem is that he's wrong.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: He knows the army of the dead exists based on the similarity of too many different witnesses to be fabricated and that there is a way to treat adult with advanced Greyscale. He is just dismissive of both. The former, while an apocalyptic scenario, did not come to pass, and therefore he doesn't believe this time will be any different. The latter because the one who created the procedure died of the very Greyscale he tried to cure, and several maesters have attempted the procedure and all failed. He fails to understand that for the former, the world didn't end because people actually did something about it, and for the latter, perhaps using someone younger with steadier hands could have achieved the desired results.
- Pet the Dog:
- Allows Jorah one last day to commit suicide before the greyscale takes his mind, and later congratulates Sam for curing Jorah.
- Despite dismissing Sam's warnings about the White Walkers as nonsense, its shown that he cares about him a great deal since he can't bring himself to tell him about his father and brother's deaths and tells the other Maesters that he is a good boy.
- The Obi-Wannabe: Ebrose often composes and voices long monologues and seems to believe he is imparting philosophy and life's wisdom on Samwell Tarly, except Sam and the viewer knows that he is and wrong on every single thing he says.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Yes, Sam cured Jorah Mormont of advanced Greyscale, something even many maesters have failed to do. However, yes, Sam endangered himself and the entire Citadel in doing so. That being said, Sam gets no reward, but no overt punishment.
A long dead maester mentioned in season 7.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: He discovered the cure for greyscale but it was suppressed because using it exposed people to the disease. Even after Samwell cured Jorah, Maester Ebrose put Pylos' research away again.
- Posthumous Character: Died of the very greyscale he tried to cure.
- Shout-Out: There is a Pylos in the books who is maester to Stannis Baratheon
- Small Role, Big Impact: He's not even alive and he's contributed so much already.
Maesters in service
Grand Maester Pycelle
"Kings? I can tell you all there is to know about kings. The thing you need to understand about kings: in the past 67 years, I have known - truly known - more kings than any man alive. They're complicated men, but I know how to serve them. Yes. And keep on serving them."
The head of the Maester's order, resident Maester in the Red Keep, and a member of the Small Council. A sycophantic toady, he puts on a good show of serving the Iron Throne, but his only true loyalty is to Lord Tywin Lannister and undermined King Robert Baratheon.
- Adaptational Badass: Pycelle is cleverer in the series, with the implication that he's been playing many people to stay alive for years; this is a far cry from the doddering old man in the books.
- Adaptational Villainy: The character in the books is hardly a saint, but Pycelle in the series is shown to be cruel, manipulative and a backstabber, whereas in the books he showed Undying Loyalty towards House Lannister.
- Angrish: Prone to descending into stammered gibberish when panicked, as his arrest and the deleted scene with Tywin demonstrates -- though the latter case is a blatantly faked example.
- Badass Boast: In the Histories and Lore video for Season 4, he's talking about dragons when the subject of Daenerys and her dragons come up. Pycelle's conclusion goes thus:
Pycelle: If she were so foolish as to march on Westeros, she would not not find, as her ancestor Aegon did, seven disparate kingdoms frightened by her strange beasts. She would find a continent united by Lord Tywin Lannister, who exintinguished her own father's flame. And we have known dragons now. We have seen them die.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: First appears as a respectable man. It didn't take long for him to show his true colors.
- Blatant Lies: Pycelle has the distinction of spewing out the biggest piece of bullshit ever uttered on the show, and maybe even beyond, calling Joffrey "the most noble child the gods ever put on this good earth." Everybody is uneasy about the line upon hearing this description during Tyrion's trial, and even people who harbor high animosity against Tyrion can't help but raise an eyebrow at that one.
- Blood From the Mouth: Sprays blood out of his mouth after being stabbed repeatedly by Qyburn's little birds.
- Boring but Practical: They'll never write a song about Pycelle, but his method for staying alive works. Kings come and go, and he has weaselled his way through it for decades, keeping a privileged life in the process.
- Butt Monkey: Season 4 sees Pycelle slowly beginning to slide into this role; roughly half of his scenes in the season involve him getting interrupted or embarrassed in public, and an entire scene in the second episode alone features him getting cockblocked, threatened, and repurposed as an errand boy by Cersei. For good measure, the season finale features him getting booted out of his own laboratory in favour of Qyburn, who seems to have pretty much supplanted him in Cersei's eyes.
- Defiant to the End: He drops the feeble old man act and goes out swinging, even landing a pretty solid blow to one of the children before being overwhelmed by the numbers.
- Didn't See That Coming: Pycelle is good at surviving despite the fact that nobody likes him, but he never thought that Qyburn would be the one to assassinate him.
- Dirty Coward: All Pycelle wants is to survive, and he will do anything he has to in order to do it, which amounts to kissing up to whoever is in power and ducking his head when they turn his way. In a deleted scene, he explains to Tywin that most people are like flowers, seeking to grow ever higher. But, when a flower grows too tall, it risks getting clipped; Pycelle wants to remain low and in the shadows so no one ever tries to "clip" him.
- Dirty Old Man: He likes to abuse his status as a physician to grope and harass young women.
- The Dog Bites Back: Manages to accomplish this to two of the Lannister children, in a cowardly vindictive way. He bids his time and waits until his targets are powerless.
- Tyrion tosses him into a cell in order to ensure he doesn't meddle with his rule as Hand of the King. After the Battle of Blackwater, Pycelle is released and is sure to rub Tyrion's injuries, not to mention his loss of power, in his face.
- For the better part of a season, Cersei kicks him, even dismissing him from his own laboratory while Qyburn works to save Ser Gregor Clegane. After Cersei is arrested by the Faith Militant, Pycelle summons her uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, to serve as Hand of the King in order to provide some semblance of a working government, and to get back at Cersei for his mistreatment.
- Double Agent: For House Lannister. He was the one who convinced the Mad King to open the capital's gates for the Lannister army, only for Tywin to sack the place.
- Dying Alone: Qyburn admits even Pycelle shouldn't die the way he is about to.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- He appears shocked when he sees how Gregor Clegane tries to murder Loras Tyrell and then his own brother over pure pettines.
- He was also aghast when Joffrey orders Ser Ilyn to behead Ned Stark, right on the steps of the holy Sept of Baelor..
- He's disgusted by Qyburn's human experimentation as he feels it's a perversion of the healing arts.
- Evil Counterpart: Like Varys, Pycelle is a back stabber and is loyal to a specific noble family.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: While Varys, Mace, Olenna]] and Tyrion are all unamused by Joffrey's twisted jokes at the wedding (and even Tywin is forcing himself to smile), Pycelle seems entertained by them. Then again, it might be part of his professional Yes-Man act -- this is a guy who managed to survive Aerys II Targaryen's royal court, so he's learned to laugh at an insane king's bad jokes to stay on his good side.
- Evil Is Petty: Especially towards Tyrion, who he hates for arresting him.
- Evil Old Folks: During his long life, he's betrayed many Hands of the King and even one king, and it's implied he'll do it again if it means staying alive just a little longer. Cersei has him executed for the same reasons during her purge.
- Faux Affably Evil: He pretends to be polite and grandfatherly, but he's a corrupt old lecher with no regard for anyone or anything except his own political (and literal) survival.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Pycelle might not have many enemies (due to his lack of ambition) but he doesn't have much in the way of friends either. He claims loyalty to the Lannisters, but none of them like him. Tyrion is a strong enemy, Jaime refers to him as a 'grey sunken cunt', Cersei is repulsed by him and Tywin sees him solely as a tool.
- Good Cop, Bad Cop: Indulges in this in "The Pointy End" as the bad cop when Cersei manipulates Sansa into writing to Winterfell. This is only an act in part; he's later shown being abusive to Sansa for real.
- Green-Eyed Monster: One interpretation of his hatred for Qyburn, who Cersei trusts much more than she ever did Pycelle.
- Humiliation Conga: Tyrion, Bronn and Timett, son of Timett, come to arrest him while he is with a whore, cut off his beard and threaten to cut off his manhood and feed it to the goats. In Season 4, Pycelle goes a more subtle but well-deserved conga. He's delegated to menial tasks as Cersei's patience with him wears thin, and Pycelle finds himself replaced by Qyburn. He no longer commands the respect he once had or his coveted position with the Lannisters.
- Interrupted Intimacy: His session with the prostitute Daisy was interrupted by Tyrion, Bronn, and Timett.
- IronicEcho: Once Tyrion loses his status and power and is bedridden, he delivers this line:
Pycelle: [tossing a coin to Tyrion, with a smirk on his face] For your trouble.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Wile it's jealousy he is right that Qyburn's experiments are an abomination. While Qyburn is better at medicine than him he is more attracted by dealing pain.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Expires in the Season 6 finale, as he is assassinated as part of Cersei's plan against the High Sparrow. This time Pycelle chose the wrong side.
- Master Poisoner: He's an expert on poisons, but to his credit, he hasn't killed anybody with them, as he lacks a murderous nature.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Pretends to be an Absent-Minded Professor in order to fly under the radar. It obviously has served him well, as he's managed to survive in the Deadly Decadent Court of King's Landing for sixty-seven years. A deleted scene from Season 3 makes this explicit. His physical, intellectual and oratory abilities would make him more than a match for the mighty Tywin Lannister if he so chose to be. This was something Julian Glover contributed to the role. He's remarkably spry for his age and suggested that this be included. The producers agreed and so included the scene in "Fire and Blood" where he exercises.
- Out-Gambitted: Tyrion pulls this by telling him, Littlefinger and Varys three different stories about who he'll marry Myrcella off to, and when Cersei confronts him about Pycelle's version Tyrion knows he's The Mole and has him arrested. Pycelle never lets this go, it probably being one of the few times someone has caught him in spite of his attempts to stay under the radar, though Tyrion embarrassing him for good measure helps.
- Oh Crap: Has this reaction when Qyburn's little birds surround him.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: He might look like Literature/HarryPotter Dumbledore, but he's pretty much just a Lannister yes-man.
- Running Gag: By Season 4, other characters interrupt Pycelle mid-speech.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The venerable Grand Maester is in the habit of incorporating rather magniloquent figures of speech in his meandering sentences.
- Sitcom Arch Nemesis: To Varys, Tyrion and Qyburn.
- Smug Snake: See the aforementioned scene between Pycelle and the injured Tyrion.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Is stabbed to death multiple times by a gang of murderous child assassins during the Season 6 Finale.
- Throwing Off the Disability: In the first season finale, he does a series of exercises that a frail old man shouldn't be able to do before changing back into his robes, adopting his usual stooped posture, and shuffling out the door. He drops the act in the beginning of "Valar Morghulis" to intimidate Tyrion. In a deleted scene with Tywin Lannister, he does this after Tywin points out that he can see right through it, only to resume it when their conversation is over. He ditches it for the final time in the Season 6 finale when he punches out the first little bird to attack him, demonstrating surprising speed. It does nothing to save him from the rest of them.
- Tragic Mistake: Smiling at Cersei after she finds him counseling Tommen in private.
- Undignified Death: Getting stabbed to death by a group of children isn't the most flattering way to go out; a fitting end for a cowardly weasel like Pycelle.
- Unknown Rival: He has some unexplained animosity towards Varys. Varys doesn't seem to know or care.
- Wizard Beard: Despite the fact that Maesters are not magic users, Pycelle most has one. Tyrion has Bronn cut most of it off when arresting him, because he can.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He is killed by Qyburn's little birds in the Season 6 finale on Cersei's orders.
Maester Aemon Targaryen
"I will not tell you to stay or go. You must make that choice yourself, and live with it for the rest of your days -- As I have."
The Maester serving as a member of the Night's Watch, in residence at Castle Black. Extremely old, blind, and awesome. When most of the Night's Watch's commanding officers get killed off in the expedition beyond the Wall, he steps up to help lead the remaining garrison, while supporting Alliser Thorne's position as Acting Lord Commander until a new election can be held (a maester can't be a Lord Commander). Before completing his maester's chain, he was Prince Aemon Targaryen, the son of King Maekar. When the succession passed to him, he stepped aside for his younger brother Aegon V and completed his very long life in the Citadel and then the Wall. Aegon V's son (in the TV continuity) was Aerys II, the Mad King -- making Maester Aemon the great-uncle of Daenerys Targaryen and the great-great-uncle of Jon Snow. Played by Peter Vaughan.
For more on his family, go to the Targaryen page.
- Adult Fear: Nearly all his family members were killed during Robert's Rebellion. The only survivors were his brother's grandchildren, Viserys and Daenerys, who were sent into exile across the Narrow Sea. Viserys was later murdered by a Dothraki khal and Daenerys was left alone halfway around the world. And all the while, Aemon was powerless to do anything about it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: When he talks to Jon about the murder of Elia Martell's children, it's clear if he had been a younger man at the time with his eyesight remaining nobody would have stopped him from seeking revenge.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Egg/Aegon V. He remembered him when he was a baby and he willingly took the black so that he could be King instead of him. About the only thing Aemon likes about dying is that he can meet his brother again, who he had long outlived, and tell him that he dreamt that he had grown old.
- Cool Old Guy: The oldest man in Westeros, in fact. A good man, he vouches for Jon when he comes back from the Wildlings. He also bonds with Samwell Tarly regarding his transparent fondness for Gilly. He also casts the tie-breaking vote that makes Jon the new Lord Commander.
- Deadpan Snarker: Can't resist a tiny bit of snark at the end of Season 3 when Sam brings a woman and a baby to Castle Black.
- Decided by One Vote: He casts the tie-breaking vote to make Jon the next Night's Watch Commander over Alliser.
- Defector From Decadence: He hated living in the Wretched Hive that is King's Landing.
- Dramatic Irony: He's been talking to a Targaryen the entire series, and neither of them are aware of it.
- Famous Last Words: "Egg? I dreamed... that I was old."
- For Want of a Nail: He refused his birthright to become King, so the crown passed to his younger brother instead. Who then passed it to his son, who became the Mad King and inspired Robert's Rebellion. It boggles the mind how different everything might have turned out if Aemon had taken the job.
- Go Out with a Smile: He grows delirious in his final hours and relives the days of his youth, his final words being a statement that he now thinks his real life at the Wall was a dream.
- Hidden Depths: This blind old Maester is the last Targaryen living in Westeros.
- Honor Before Reason: Informs Jon that an oath is simple to keep in easy times but the true test comes when a person has every good reason to break it. Overlaps with a bit of What You Are in the Dark.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He used to be a real ladykiller. Sam finds this hard to believe, and he scolds him for assuming that he always looked the way he does now. Sam then apologizes.
- Karmic Death: A positive example. The kindest and gentlest soul in Westeros, and he dies an old man in his bed.
- Living Lie Detector: Why he believes Jon's story after he returns from his mission with the Wildlings. After all, he grew up in King's Landing.
- Long Lived: He seems to be the oldest man in Westeros.
- Long-Lost Relative: To Daenerys, Viserys, the Baratheons, the Martells and Jon Snow.
- Not So Different: He sympathizes with Jon's love for his family and tells Jon that he knows what it's like to have Conflicting Loyalty to the Night's Watch and the desire to save his family. Maester Aemon's family, the Targaryens, were slaughtered, even the children, while he was powerless to stop them, being too old and blind by then to desert his post and fight at their side.
- Offered the Crown: He's the Mad King's uncle and turned down the crown in favor of his younger brother. One has to wonder what Westeros would be like had he taken the Iron Throne rather than Aegon V, who sired the Mad King.
- Parental Substitute: Slightly to Jon Snow, greatly to Samwell Tarly.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: In the series, Aemon identifies Mad King Aerys II as his nephew, while in the books, he is his great-nephew, thereby cutting one generation from the Targaryen family tree and making him Daenerys' great-uncle. While the timeline does make sense in the books (Aemon is 100 years old at that point -- exceptional, but not unrealistic), this was probably changed to avoid viewers being puzzled on how it is possible that Daenerys' (who also got an AgeLift) great-great-uncle is still alive.
- Prophet Eyes: Of the 'just blind, not psychic' variety. As far as we know.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- Takes heed to Sam and quickly sends word of the White Walker situation to every corner of the kingdoms. He also extends an invitation to Gilly and Little Sam to stay at Castle Black, as they certainly can't send them back beyond the Wall.
- During a period of interregnum, he's the fair, balanced voice that tries to moderate the rash or punitive tendencies of Thorne and Slynt.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: He chose this, feeling he was not cut out for the game of thrones and stepped aside for his younger brother Aegon V "Egg".
- The Reveal: He has been serving at the Wall so long, his lineage has been forgotten by most of Westeros.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Both Samwell Tarly and Jon Snow got this lesson from Maester Aemon, who stuck by their more rebellious actions and fully backed them, when nobody in Castle Black believed them.
- Your Days Are Numbered: He falls ill early in Season 5 and becomes convinced that he's dying. He finally passes away in "The Gift".
"Maybe magic once was a mighty force in the world, but not anymore. The dragons are gone. The giants are dead. And the Children of the Forest, forgotten."
A Maester in the employ of the Starks. He is an advisor and confidant to Ned and Catelyn Stark. Maester Luwin tutors the Stark boys -- Robb, Jon Snow, Bran, and Rickon -- while they are growing up at Winterfell, as well the Starks' ward Theon Greyjoy. Maester Luwin is shown to be one of Bran's primary mentors. Played by Donald Sumpter.
- Agent Scully: He dismisses Bran's wolf dreams and Osha's accounts that magic is returning to the world (which the audience knows to be true). Luwin studied magic when younger and attempted to practice it unsuccessfully, and his attitude now is that either it was made up or at best, the world is one where magic once existed but went away (true until recently).
- Bald of Awesome: Very bald, and very awesome.
- Big No: In "A Man without Honor", upon seeing the bodies of (fake) Rickon and Bran.
- The Conscience: To Theon. Theon wants to listen to Maester Luwin, but believes he's gone too far to turn back.
- The Consigliere: One of his job descriptions, he's sworn to serve the Lord of Winterfell even if it is a usurper.
- Cool Old Guy: Luwin is a snarky Papa Wolf with a vast knowledge of the world around him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially where Theon Greyjoy is concerned.
- Face Death with Dignity: He was very calm in his final hours.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Bonds with Osha -- who was introduced threatening the life of Bran Stark -- during the Sack of Winterfell while both are trying to keep Bran and Rickon alive.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Asks Osha for a Mercy Kill and she obliges.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Dagmer jabs him in the side with a spear out of pure malice.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Developed one with Osha.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Mortally speared by Cleftjaw.
- Obi-Wan Moment: In his final moments, he instructs Bran and Rickon to head for the Wall to their half-brother Jon, who will protect them and let their mother know they are safe.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The hat of the Maesters' order.
- Parental Substitute: For Bran and Rickon.
- So Proud of You: He's filled with pride when Robb gives him the order to call the banners to rescue Ned Stark. Later, he demonstrates pride in Bran's administrative instincts as well as his and Rickon's composure during Theon's sack of Winterfell.
- Undying Loyalty: Even though maesters are supposed to serve the realm and a particular family, it's clear Luwin is more loyal to the Starks. Even when advising Theon, he's attempting to protect Bran and Rickon.
"Loyal service means telling hard truths."
An old Maester serving Stannis Baratheon at Dragonstone. Played by Oliver Ford Davies.
- Blood From the Mouth: After drinking the poisoned wine.
- Composite Character: Cressen's ineffectual defense of the Seven idols that are burned is reminiscent of the Lords Sunglass and Rambton from the books.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Cressen attempts to take out Melisandre by toasting to the Lord of Light as the only true god, then drinking from a poisoned chalice and offering it to Melisandre so the two will die and everyone else in the room will take this as a sign to abandon the Lord of Light and return to the Faith of the Seven. However, Melisandre sees past Cressen's plans and drinks from the chalice knowing that her powers make her immune to the poison. The "heretic" Cressen dies, she "miraculously" survives, and everyone else will end seeing this as evidence of her god's power.
- Old Retainer: To the Baratheon family, and Stannis in particular.
- Only Sane Man: Either this or Commander Contrarian.
- Parental Substitute: In the show he is this to Shireen, being the one who taught her how to read and cured her Grayscale. Stannis having difficulty opening himself and Selyse being downright cold to her, Cressen and Davos were the ones giving her the most affection.
- Perfect Poison: Cressen uses a rather painful poison against Melisandre; being a Maester, it's likely he knew what would do the job. Unfortunately due to her magical abilities, it's a case of No Sell.
- Sacrificial Lamb: He's killed in his first episode to show the ruthlessness of Melisandre, the genuine nature of her power, and how Stannis has shifted his beliefs.
- Taking You with Me: His plan to poison Melisandre is to drink first from a cup of poisoned wine and then offer some to her. It doesn't work. Melisandre is immune to poisons thanks to her magical powers.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in his introductory episode.
"Poisoned by our enemies, of course."
The Maester of House Bolton at the Dreadfort. He later enters service at Winterfell when the Boltons take control of the Castle. After the defeat of the Boltons, he becomes the Maester of House Stark. Played by Richard Rycroft.
- Ascended Extra: A minor background character in Season 5, he gets more screentime in Season 6 and Season 7.
- Canon Foreigner: After Luwin, no Maester was assigned to Winterfell by the Citadel.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's horrified when Ramsay drives a dagger into his father's heart, and then when he asks to send for Lady Walda and her son. Wolkan knows full well what's about to happen.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He designs a wheelchair for Bran after he returns to Winterfell.
- Going Native: After he sends the ravens across Westeros at Bran's command about the Night's King marching to the Wall, Archmaester Ebrose tries to make a case for Wolkan noting he was quite competent when he studied at the Citadel, but others say he's gone native in service at the North.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: As with Luwin, he's bound to serve Winterfell, regardless of the actions of House Bolton. Fortunately, he soon gets to serve the much more honorable Starks.
- Token Good Teammate: Of House Bolton.
The maester serving the Martells.