50 Most Handy Game of Thrones Quotes

For Lifehackers, Parents, Students, World, Business & Security LeadersGame of Thrones Security & Strategy iQ2 ▼ iQ1 ⬆ Images Hyperlinked


Once in a lifetime, art lives up to the hype. 'Game of Thrones' is proof. And bragging about snubbing it on social media as some do, doesn't make one smart. After all, from investors to ruthless clients, politicians, CXOs, and security strategists and leaders, even Queen Elizabeth II is a student and fan.

Hopefully, the video above helps. The real thing though, is better.

For help legally watching GoT for free, simply contact me. But as mentioned in the previous release (click/tap the Night King above), this is not for fandom. It's for success and survival in the real world. I've seen too many fans who barely learned a thing from this hit series. And there's a reason:Happy to engage, discuss the quotes, answer questions, or offer insights, including strategic security and management consulting. But depending on your 'body of knowledge' here are my top 50 GoT quotes unpacked, with in-depth explanatory notes, hypertexts and hyperlinked images:

Shall I explain to you in one easy lesson how the world works?

The house that puts family first will always defeat the house that puts the whims and wishes of its sons and daughters first. A good man does everything in his power to better his family's position regardless of his own selfish desires. —Tywin Lannister (to Tyrion Lannister)

Everyone wants something. And when you know what a man wants you know who he is, and how to move him. —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (This is why there's better security in obscurity.)A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. —Tyrion Lannister (IMPORTANT insight: click or tap image)

A craven can be as brave as any man, when there is nothing to fear.

Oh, we all do our duty when there's no cost to it. Honor comes easy then. YET sooner or later in every man's life THERE COMES A DAY when it is not easy. A day when he MUST choose. ―Maester Aemon Targaryen

Even the most dangerous men can be outmaneuvered... —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (Like a 007, Bourne or Mission Impossible movie, all the right people line up at just the right time to help Sansa. Harder in the real world. Yet history is replete with actual proof validating Littlefinger.)

Prominent families often forget a simple truth, I've found...Knowledge is power. —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (They're both correct. Can't get power outright? Get knowledge first.)

The more people you love, the weaker you are. You'll do things for them that you know you shouldn't do. You'll act the fool to make them happy, to keep them safe. —Cersei Lannister

Love didn't just happen to us. We built it slowly over the years. Stone by stone, for you, for your brothers and sisters. For all of us. It's not as exciting as secret passion in the woods. But it is stronger. It lasts longer. ―Catelyn Stark (to Robb Stark)

I think you lost this war the day you married her [Talisa Maegyr]. —Lord Karstark (to Robb Stark...We all know what happened. Never mix strategy execution and emotion.)

Death is certain. The time is not. ―Jaqen H'ghar (Arya Stark's assassin mentor. Click/tap) Love is the death of duty. ―Maester Aemon Targaryen (To be clear, love is good. There's nothing wrong with genuine love. And true love ―not to be confused with blind love ― understands and transcends what lust and jealous love cannot. See the From Singleness To Marriage series.)

I try to know as many people as I can. You NEVER KNOW which one you'll need. —Tyrion Lannister (This is priceless wisdom. Anyone who's ever run out of options and/or people who could help him/her, will tell you, Tyrion's is the most painful lesson to learn too late, and/or at the worst possible time. Plus, it beautifully summarizes both Networking 101 and Advanced Networking.)

A man without friends is a man without power. —Renly Baratheon (as above)

Which is more dangerous, the dagger brandished by an enemy, or the hidden one pressed to your back by someone you never even see? —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (to Sansa Stark. As in Cyberspace, so in life: Vigilance is virtue. See Lord Varys' quote further below.)

A man with no motive is a man no one suspects. Always keep your foes confused. If they don’t know who you are or what you want, they can’t know what you plan to do next. —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish (Revisit quote #2 above.)

You know what I learned losing that duel? I learned that I’ll never win. Not that way. That’s their game, their rules. I’m not going to fight them, I’m going to f*ck them. That’s what I know, that’s what I am. And only by admitting what we are can we get what we want. —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish

Fighting bravely for a losing cause is admirable. Fighting for a winning cause is far more rewarding. —Jaime Lannister

It's a rare enough thing – a man who lives up to his reputation. —Lady Olenna Tyrell (conceding to Tywin Lannister... Marketers and salespeople in particular, remember!)

Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle. ―Jon Snow (Remember that when the odds are stacked against you but you're well-prepared, doing your best and adapting. Great time to add a dose a patience to your vision.)

Don't be so sure. Safety is never a permanent state of affairs. ―Ser Davos Seaworth (click/tap) (A security and strategy axiom that preys and predators alike too often understand better than humans.)

I chose my allies carefully and my enemies more carefully still. —Lord Varys

(Security pros or not, in times of crisis or competition, success and survival favors those who picked the right team, as well as the winning side. If you're a leader or more specifically, in recruiting, and haven't learned that in terms of strategic alliances and true diversity in hiring (“skills shortage” or not), Daenerys Targaryen, like Lord Varys here and even Tyrion Lannister and survival queen Arya Stark lead the pack in terms of what they can teach you, then you haven't been paying attention. (Click/tap image above for more insight. Security pro or not.)

The Free Folk, the Northerners and the Knights of the Vale fought together. We fought bravely and we won. My father used to say, “We find our true friends on the battlefield.” —Jon Snow

I don't want you to be a hero. Heroes do stupid things and they die. ―Daenerys Targaryen

(A basic tenet of survival generally, and terrorist attack survival specifically. Click/tap image) As my father used to say, “It's better to be a coward for a minute, than dead for the rest of your life.” ―Ser Davos Seaworth

The storms come and go, the waves crash overhead, the big fish eat the little fish, and I keep on paddling. —Lord Varys (Only survivors get to say that. BE a survivor!)

People work together when it suits them. They’re loyal when it suits them. They love each other when it suits them, and they kill each other when it suits them. —Orell (to Jon Snow, regarding Ygritte: A basic lesson in avoiding naïveté.)

It always seems abstract, doesn't it? OTHER people dying. —Tyrion Lannister (People who missed this one almost certainly lack risk maturity and solid strategic IQ. Don't be one of them. When ready to raise that IQ, start with the image above by clicking or tapping.)

They look at me and they see a misshapen little beast. Their contempt is their weakness. They'll underestimate us every time and we will use that to our advantage. —Tyrion Lannister (Never underestimate people. Never let newfound success or power get in your head either. Not surprisingly, Tyrion Lannister later acknowledges Sansa Stark's survival skills during the Season 8:1 reunion saying: “Many underestimated you. Most of them are dead now.”)

A bruise is a lesson… and each lesson makes us better. —Arya Stark

Fight every battle everywhere, always. in your mind. Everyone is your enemy, everyone is your friend. Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you’ve seen before. —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish
Curiosities on the far side of the world are no threat to us... A lion does not concern himself with the opinion of sheep. —Tywin Lannister

(Although spoken in different scenes and the second quote is more popular, I've combined them to demonstrate just how one's security blind spots can spell doom. Like Lord Baelish, Tywin Lannister was killed because of (ethical) flaws in their security and tactical worldview. Expect the same of Cersei Lannister. But unlike Tywin Lannister, Vladimir Putin understands that curiosities on the far side of the world DO pose threats. Hence, his cyber and asymmetrical hybrid warfare (click image) against the West. Further, a wise security strategist knows to ignore the wittiness of the sheep/lion allusion. Hence, the previous quote above by Ser Davos. Then of course, we know as of Season 8, Episode 5 how the same quote worked out for delusional Cersei Lannister and her less intelligent brother-lover, Jaime. Click/tap below for additional insight.) Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” —Lord Varys (Albeit a favorite of many fans, the last sentence is much more instructive and inspiring.)

Money buys silence for a time. A bolt to the heart buys it forever. —Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish

(Cold, hard lesson. The distance between bribery or any kind of appeasement and murder is shorter than most realize. In leadership or any power struggle, knowing how expendable one truly is, seeing around corners, and ideally, knowing how much time one has, is a key to survival.) Loyal service means telling hard truths. —Ser Davos Seaworth

(This one isn't as straightforward as it looks. Hence, the reason this quote is sandwiched between two hyperlinked image quotes. There will be times when 'loyal service' requires nuance, tact, and dilemmas such as delaying (or if you like, concealing) hard truths. In The Dragon and the Wolf, Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 7, we see the strategically naive Jon Snow prematurely revealing his allegiance to Daenerys Targaryen in front of an already suspicious Cersei Lannister. In tense business standoffs in China, a Chinese has calmly told me one thing, and then excused herself and gone into another room to tell an opponent another thing, in a  clear attempt to secure HER survival. Similarly, Trump aides have kept things from him. Still...)(Rather than make it self-centered or emotional, pragmatic leaders aren't impressed with blind loyalty)

Incompetence should not be rewarded with blind loyalty. As long as I have my eyes, I'll use them. —Lord Varys (Vigilance and good discretion saves individuals, organizations and nations alike.) You really think a crown gives you power? —Tywin Lannister

You want to worry about who holds what title, I'm telling you: It doesn't matter! —Jon Snow (...to Sansa regarding Daenerys Targaryen. Here in Season 8, Jon Snow demonstrates a pragmatic grasp of leadership and worldview shared with the late Tywin Lannister that the squabbling and sometime petty North doesn't get, despite the Night King's breach of The Wall and looming threat of annihilation. This status quo is applicable to divided Britain and the Brexit shambles, Trump's America in the face of evolving threats from dangerous adversaries, and even petty, hot-tempered African leaders.)

Commoners, nobles – they're all just children really. They won't obey you unless they fear you. —Olenna Tyrell We both want to help people. We can only help them from a position of strength. Sometimes strength is terrible. ―Daenerys Targaryen (The genius of this insight shared with Jon Snow rests in the middle sentence, and a view shared by most successful people.)

Peace never lasts, my dear...He's a clever man, Your Hand. I've known a great many clever men. I've outlived them all. You know why? I ignored them. The Lords of Westeros are sheep. Are you a sheep? No. You're a dragon. BE a dragon! —Olenna Tyrell (to Daenerys Targaryen regarding Tyrion Lannister. And we know what befell the Tyrells. The trick here is BALANCE. And the quotes at the bottom address that.)

Respect is how the young keep us at a distance, so we don't remind them of an unpleasant truth: Nothing lasts. —Lord Varys (to Tyrion Lannister and Ser Davos, regarding Daenerys Targaryen. The entire biblical book of Ecclesiastes backs this observation up. And yet most bad leaders overlook it, at their own peril.)

I'm tired of reading about the achievements of better men. ―Samwell Tarly (My favorite GoT quote. Not surprisingly, Sam's self-awareness, awakening, and greatness is validated in Season 8:1 with Daenerys Targaryen openly mulling a larger role probably for him(?) in the Citadel. Click/tap) A wise man once said that you should never believe a thing simply because you want to believe it. —Tyrion Lannister (Filter bubble, alternative facts and conspiracy theory warning. See link.)

I suppose it's hard for a fanatic to admit a mistake. Isn't that the whole point of being a fanatic? You're always right. Everything is the Lord's will. —Lord Varys (Keys to a Healthy Ego)

Belief is so often the death of reason. ―Qyburn (The religious fundamentalist is as guilty of this as the cocksure atheist who knowing nothing of, or dismissing the paranormal experiences of others including healings — in my case — mocks others, calling God, “your imaginary friend.”)

In my experience, eloquent men are right every bit as often as imbeciles. —Tyrion Lannister (Don't be fooled or easily impressed by videos or social media incidents of imbeciles putting others down, while being cheered on by sadists, sociopaths, trolls and petty people. Click/tap for more insight.) Knowledge has made you powerful. But there's still so much you don't know. —Melisandre (Also, see self-awareness link further above)

It's easy to confuse 'what is' with 'what ought to be,' especially when 'what is' has worked out in your favor. —Tyrion Lannister (Nationalist Mainland Chinese currently suffer from this disease.)

Those on the margins often come to control the centre, and those in the centre make room for them, willingly or otherwise. —Xaro Xhoan Daxos (A great lesson in self-awareness, humility, influence, and leadership from Qarth. One that authoritarian leaders remember too late, and Cersei Lannister clearly never mastered despite her public humiliation and naked Walk of Shame at the order of the High Sparrow.)

When soldiers lack discipline the fault lies with their commander. —Tywin Lannister

What kind of leader or parent are you? Winter is here, and below. Contact or follow me here.

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