Lord Varys is an influential member of the small council, his power deriving from his vast knowledge — often knowledge that others do not have. Varys is known as the Master of Spies, referring to his network of “little birds” — spies that work at his service and bring him valuable information. Varys is often manipulative and scheming, whispering one thing in one person’s ear and another thing to another person. It is unclear whether he can be trusted, though he himself claims to value order, peace and stability.
He was born a slave in Lys, a city on the continent of Easteros, before being sold to a sorcerer, who paralyzed him with a potion before cutting off his penis. He was then thrown out onto the street, where he began to make a life for himself as a skilled thief. He soon realized that stealing information was far more valuable than stealing gold or gems, and began to establish a network of spies that he purchased and trained. Earning an infamous reputation as the Master of Spies, the Mad King offered Varys a position on his small council. The Mad King had grown increasingly paranoid, allowing for Varys to have great influence over him and solidify his power within King’s Landing. After the Mad King’s death, Varys remained as spymaster to Robert Baratheon and then Joffrey, thought it is unclear where his true loyalties lie
Ser Dontos Hollard is the last remaining member of House Hollard, which was extinguished alongside House Darklyn, during the Defiance of Duskendale. While the rest of his house was wiped out, Ser Barristan Selmy requested that the Mad King pardon Ser Dontos; since Ser Barristan had saved the Mad King, he acquiesced his request and Ser Dontos was taken to King’s Landing as a squire. On Joffrey’s first nameday as king, Ser Dontos was supposed to ride against another knight, but showed up too drunk. Joffrey took this as an insult and sentenced him to death. However, after Sansa pleaded to his life, Joffrey agreed to spare him, but stripped him of his knighthood and anointed him the town’s fool. Later, Ser Dontos appears to Sansa and gives her his mother’s necklace, before appearing once again during the chaos of King Joffrey’s death.
Ser Barristan Selmy is a celebrated knight of Westeros, having served as a member of the Kingsguard during the reign of the Mad King Aerys. Ser Barristan became a hero when he saved the Mad King during the Defiance of Duskendale. He continued to serve loyally during the reign of Robert Baratheon, but was dismissed by the council of King Joffrey. After being dismissed, he crossed the Narrow Sea and arrived to Easteros to serve under Daenerys Targaryen, daughter of the Mad King.
Ser Jorah Mormont was the former head of House Mormont, before being exiled from Westeros. Jorah is son of Jeor Mormont, who joined the Night’s Watch, allowing Jorah to become head of House Mormont. Jorah fought valiantly during Robert’s Rebellion, and for his service, achieved knighthood from King Robert. Jorah would go on to marry a woman who demanded a life of luxury; trying to fulfill her, Jorah drove himself into financial ruin and was forced to engage in slave trade, a highly illegal practice in Westeros. For his crimes, Jorah was sentenced to death, but fled Westeros before he could be executed. Arriving to Easteros, Ser Jorah came into the service of Viserys Targaryen. However, in an attempt to earn a royal pardon which would allow him to return home to Westeros, Jorah secretly reported back all Targaryen activity to Varys. After Viserys is killed, Jorah becomes a loyal advisor and protector of Daenerys Targaryen. Daenerys eventually finds out about Jorah’s initial betrayal, but he swears that it was before he came to know and love Daenerys and that it would never happen again.
Ser Davos Seaworth was born to a family of peasants in King’s Landing. He pursued a life on the sea and soon became an expert smuggler. During Robert’s Rebellion, Stannis and his men were trapped inside Storm’s End by the forces of House Tyrell which had lent their support to the Mad King. Ser Davos was able to smuggle a load of onions into Storm’s End, enough food to hold over Stannis’ forces until the Rebellion was won. Ser Davos was henceforth known as the Onion Knight. He was taken by Stannis and his closest advisor, though as punishment for his past crimes, Stannis passed down the punishment of cutting off the tips of Ser Davos’ fingers. Ser Davos serves Stannis loyally, though he grows very uneasy over the intentions of Melisandre.
Bronn Stokeworth is a low-born sell-sword, somebody who offers their sword of protection to anybody willing to pay for it, rather than fighting for a specific house. In an interesting chain of events, Bronn comes into the service of Tyrion Lannister and the two develop a close bond. Suspicious that Tyrion was responsible for the attempted murder of her son, Catelyn Stark went into the nearest inn and asked the men to help her arrest Tyrion, after she intercepted him on her way back to Winterfell. Bronn assists in arresting Tyrion and they bring him to the Eyrie for holding. After Tyrion chooses trial by combat, Bronn offers to champion Tyrion in battle and defeats the man he fights, saving Tyrion’s life and earning him his freedom. From that day forth, Bronn came into service of Tyrion.
Melisandre is follower of R’hllor and otherwise known as the Red Priestess. Melisandre is from Asshai, which is part of the Shadow Lands, a mysterious mountainous region of Easteros where very old magic is practiced. (It is from the Shadow Lands that Daenarys’ three dragon eggs came). As a young age, Melisandre was sold into slavery, where she developed her faith for the Lord of Light. Melisandre has dedicated her life to service of R’hllor and displays a total faith. Several times, Melisandre has demonstrated her power of magic, generally guided by the Lord of Light. She possesses the ability to look into the Lord of Light’s fire and interpret visions of the future. She is also a shadowbinder, one who can control shadows to do her work. She gave birth to a shadow and used this shadow to murder Renly Baratheon. Today, she has joined Stannis Baratheon and is his closest advisor. She appears to believe he is the reincarnate of Azor Ahai, who is destined to once again lead the fight against the darkness of the Great Other.
Thoros of Myr is a Red Priest from the city of Myr, located on Easteros. Like Melisandre, Thoros was given to the Red Priests at a young age and studied to become a Red Priest himself. In an attempt to spread the religion and make others aware of the threat presented by the Great Other, Thoros was sent to King’s Landing to try an convert the Mad King Aerys, but to no avail. He ended up becoming companions with Robert Baratheon, and a member of his court after Robert took the Iron Throne. After meeting Beric Dondarrion, Thoros and Beric formed the Brotherhood without Banners, an outlaw group that swore fealty to no king or lord and fought for justice in the name of the Lord of Light. Thoros began to develop powers that he never before had. In addition to being able to see visions in the flames, he resurrected Beric Dondarrion back to life several times.
Beric Dondarrion, also known as the Lightning Lord, arrives at King’s Landing when Ned Stark is appointed as Hand of the King. After the capture of Tyrion Lannister, Gregor Clegane raids the Riverlands looking for Tyrion. Ned Stark appoints Beric as captain of a small party set out to arrest The Mountain. In battle, Beric is killed by The Mountain, though Thoros of Myr is able to bring him back to life. Beric and Thoros form the Brotherhood without Banners and fight for the justice, namely against the Lannisters. They raid many Lannister camps, though all the while, Beric is thought to be dead. During their battles, Beric is killed several more times, but each time resurrected by Thoros. Though, each time resurrected, Beric loses more of his memory and comes back a weaker man. The Brotherhood without Banners later encounter Arya Stark, who witnesses Beric’s death at the hands of the Hound, during trial by combat. But, once again, Thoros prays to the Lord of Light and resurrects the Lightning Lord.
Jojen Reed is a young boy who possesses the ability of greensight, the power of prophetic visions. At a younge age, Jojen almost died from sickness; it was at this time that Jojen had a dream of a three-eyed crow that granted him the power of greensight. After gaining this ability, Jojen set journey to Winterfell with his sister Meera, to find Bran. After Bran escaped Winterfell with Rickon, Osha and Hodor, they were intercepted by Jojen and Meera, and they have been traveling together ever since in pursuit of finding Jon Snow beyond the Wall. Jojen has been helping to guide Bran, who also appears to possess the power of greensight.
Meera Reed is the older sister of Jojen Reed. She is intensely protective of her younger brother, and like him, is intent on helping Bran on his journey north to find Jon Snow.