Outside the Spectrum: Game of Thrones

Outside the Spectrum explores MtG Color Philosophy apart from the established lore. The colors of Magic don’t stop when the game ends; they’re based on real-life conflicts in human thought and behavior, boiled down into five easy-to-understand archetypes. These can be applied to a huge variety of characters and concepts, both real and fictional, and this column aims to explore those classifications.

It may surprise you to learn, but Magic is not my only geeky preoccupation. I am one of the many millions of people who are completely obsessed with the HBO series Game of Thrones. The characters, settings, direction, and writing are simply top-notch, and the fact that there is regular nudity certainly doesn’t hurt.

However, I am always a Color Pie Purist at heart, so when presented with these engaging characters in their unique situations, I of course have to ask myself were they’d fit in the color pie. Without further ado, I present the color pie affiliations for all the major characters in Game of Thrones, Season One.

(All Images © 2011 – 2013 HBO)


Ned StarkEddard Stark, AKA Lord of Winterfell AKA “Ned”, is as mono-white as they come. The dude defines loyalty, duty, and selflessness. This is the guy who discovered information that could topple the throne and put him and his family in a powerful position, and instead use it to get himself beheaded. He just HAD to tell the truth, go about things the proper way, and abide by the laws of his vows of loyalty. Sometimes, when you try really hard to not be the aggressor, someone else steps in and fills the role for you, and that’s unfortunately precisely what happened to poor Ned.

Catelyn StarkCatelyn Stark, Ned’s wife, is white/green. Pretty much all Starks have some white in them; they’re just a very honorable family. But Catelyn is also really, really into her children, to the point of protecting them above all others. In addition, she graciously accepts her lot in life as Ned’s arranged-marriage wife, even though she was originally betrothed to his brother. This is a lady who knows her place is as a mother and a woman, and plays her part as well as she can. Plus, the words of her house are “Family, Duty, Honor”. Family first? That’s green.

Robb StarkRobb Stark, Ned’s eldest son, is white/red. For the first half of the season, he’s essentially mini-Ned, following in his father’s dutiful footsteps. But when Ned dies, he rallies the entire North into an all-out war against his murderers. He proves as much of a threat on the battlefield as in the war room, showing proficiency in both sword-fighting and war tactics. The leader of a revenge-fueled army of fiercely loyal common folk? Sounds Boros enough to me.

Arya StarkArya Stark, the youngest daughter of Ned, breaks the “Starks are white” rule by landing herself solidly in the red/blue camp. She’s not really into the whole “honor and duty” thing; she’s interested in sword-fighting, learning about sword-fighting, and practicing sword-fighting. She values the thrill of battle as much as the knowledge of how to defeat her opponents, and has also proven herself to be quite sneaky and clever. Rogue, ruffian, student: blue/red.

Jon SnowJon Snow, the bastard whore-son of Ned Stark, is white/green. As a bastard, he’s not treated very well, so he hopes to find his honor by joining the Night’s Watch. He’s primarily motivated by his Stark-imbued sense of honor and his deep need to find his true place in the world. Like other green characters, he enjoys fighting, but only in the unlikely scenario where he’s actually fighting for his life, lending a real “survival of the fittest” aspect to his personality. He also really really doesn’t like White Walkers, so it makes sense that he would be in the two enemy colors of black, the zombie color.

Cersei LannisterCersei Lannister, the queen, is black/red, but this is a difficult call to make. Despite how much of an awful, terrible person she is, she’s also a very well fleshed-out character. Most fully-formed characters have aspects of all five colors, but at least in the first season, Cersei is primarily motivated by two things: attaining power for herself, and banging her brother Jaime. She’s entirely and completely self-involved, and the few alliances she does have she would break in a second if it meant getting her more power. She is also madly in love with her brother, believing that they are quite literally one soul. Add to that her penchant for being cruel and a tiny bit of poor foresight, and black/red is the right place for Cersei.

Robert BaratheonRobert Baratheon, King of the Realm and one of my favorite characters, is an easy pick for mono-green. Years ago, he was really into battle, but in his old age he is completely driven by his basest instincts. He’s into prostitutes, yelling, drinking, food, and hunting, and those all fall solely in green’s territory. Take away the crown and make him just a little hairier, and he’s practically an animal.

Jaime Lannister

Jaime Lannister, Cersei’s twin brother, is red/green. We get a deeper look into his character in later seasons, but currently, he’s entirely motivated by his love of showing off his sword fighting skills in combat and his less-public affair with his twin sister. Being motivated by love is a red thing, of course, and a primal love of combat is green. This especially applies to Jaime, who defines his place in the world solely through combat; after all, it was his sword hand that murdered the last king and earned him his title of Kingslayer.

Tywin LannisterTywin Lannister, tactical mastermind and Lord of Casterly Rock, is green/black. Although he doesn’t dabble into the life-and-death cycle that the pairing typically encompasses, he is motivated by a yearning for power and status, and regaining his family’s once-shining reputation. Normally, going for the glory for the sake of your family would be a white thing, but Tywin doesn’t actually care about the people in his family. He’s simply concerned with his legacy and heritage, which falls squarely in green territory. Although, I suppose that if one wanted to focus on his tactical mastery, there would be a pretty good case for making him white as well.

Joffrey BaratheonJoffrey Baratheon, prince of King’s Landing and “heir to the throne”, is black/red is many of the same ways his mother is. He’s profoundly self-interested, and equally sadistic. He becomes acting king when King Robert dies late in the season, and he takes the opportunity to do whatever-the-heck-he-wants with very little regards for anyone but himself. He’s into being mean, and he’s into Joffrey, and he’s not into much else.

Tyrion LannisterTyrion Lannister, the youngest of the Lannister siblings, is blue/green. Tyrion is a dwarf; he doesn’t have his brother’s prowess in battle or his sister’s seat of power and feminine wiles. As such, he relies solely on his brain and values knowledge highly. With only a few life-and-death exceptions, Tyrion would always rather think his way out of a bad situation than fight his way out. His green half comes from the other thing he values: earthly pleasures. Much like his brother-in-law King Robert, Tyrion is a fan of wine and women, and both in great quantity. He likes his family’s gold, but not because of the power or freedom it provides. To Tyrion, it’s just a means to and end, and the end is drunkenly falling asleep surrounded by beautiful women. Green to the very core.

BronnBronn, a sell-sword who serves as Tyrion’s bodyguard and “friend”, is black/green. The fact that I put “friend” in quotes there is telling; Bronn is completely motivated by money. He sticks around Tyrion because for no other reason than because Tyrion keeps the money flowing, and Bronn sees himself living an easy life as long as Tyrion keeps the money flowing. So why green? The same reasons Tyrion is green. Bronn, like his buddy, enjoys a good bout of drinking and womanizing. And like Jaime, he enjoys the occasional brawl as well.

Petyr BaelishPetyr “Littlefinger” Baelish, the King’s Master of Coin and owner of the finest whorehouse in King’s Landing, is unequivocally black/blue. “Knowledge is power,” he told Queen Cersei at one point, and he is a man that lives by that code. Petyr would be perfectly at home in House Dimir, as he proves throughout the first season that lying, spying, conniving, manipulating, vaguely threatening, and backstabbing are all just parts of his normal everyday routine. Petyr is not to be trusted.

SyrioSyrio Forel, Arya’s fencing instructor, is a different sort of blue/red than we’re used to seeing. He’s not a trickster or a mad scientist; he’s just a man whose knowledge is his passion and whose passion is his knowledge. He lives for swordfighting, which he practically reveres as art. We don’t get a huge look into his character in the show, so this is pretty much all we know about him. I feel comfortable with this color designation, though, because I know that Syrio would really enjoy the combat tricks, saboteur abilities, and unpredictable nature of the blue/red combination.

Daenerys TargaryenDaenerys Targaryen, exiled daughter of the late “Mad King”, evenly splits her affiliations into red/black/white. She’s a complicated character, and only gets more so as the seasons progress, but the first season sees her primarily motivated by three things; love, ambition, and the need to protect others. She spends the first half of the season gradually falling in love with her arranged-marriage husband, Khal Drogo, which in turn inspires her to be an ambitious but protective queen for his tribe. She despises unnecessary cruelty, especially to the innocent, but nonetheless hungers for her proper place on the throne of Westeros. She is similarly fueled by passion, which can occasionally lead to short-sightedness, as we see in the back half of the season when she dabbles with dark magic and human sacrifice.

Viserys TargaryenViserys Targaryen, Daenerys’ brother, is the first mono-black character we get the pleasure of meeting. There’s really no two ways about this: the dude is ruthless. He’ll take anything, give up anything, do anything to retake the throne he feels is rightfully his. He’s extremely entitled, and cares little for anyone other than himself. Honestly, we could have closed the book on this case the second he tells his sister that he’d let an entire army, and their horses, have their way with her if it meant he’d be back on the throne. Oogy.

Khal DrogoKhal Drogo, leader of the Dothraki army and Daenerys’ husband, is red/green. Unlike other characters that see us take the color pie to new and interesting places, Drogo is pretty much a by-the-book red/green barbarian tribesman warlord. He likes fighting, he likes food, he likes sex, and when his wife is threatened, he declares war on an entire country. I can’t make this stuff up, guys. He’s essentially Borborygmos.

Jorah MormontJorah Mormont, Daenerys’ combination advisor-bodyguard-translator, is last on our list and is mono-red. I had to consult with someone who had read the books on this one, because it’s hard to get a feel for this guy’s motivations. We know he’s got a secret thing for Daenerys, but deeper study reveals that his stupid lovesick heart has earned him no shortage of trouble in the past. What he seeks now, essentially, is freedom from that past, but unfortunately he forgot to leave the puppy love behind. In this way, we see him motivated primarily by his emotions and his desire to start fresh under a new loyalty. Also, he’s handy with a sword!

Jeez, did I mention there are a million characters on this show? I know I skipped some that some people would consider “major”, but in the interest of keeping this article under 2,000 words, we’ll just have to save them for a season where they have a greater part to play.

Till then, stock up on burn spells, because winter is coming.

3 Responses to “Outside the Spectrum: Game of Thrones”
  1. cookiegambit says:

    I won’t be reading Game of Thrones, but I *love* the idea of characterizing characters (hurhur) via the Color Pie. It’s like the MtG-version of the classic/over-used “alignment chart discussion”. : )

  2. I feel like the excessive womanizing/drinking/fighting that you classified as green for some of the characters belongs more in red. Red is more likely to seek these things for pleasure, green seeks them out of necessity. Animals generally only procreate in time of heat, animals fight only when they have to because spending energy to put yourself needlessly in danger is stupid, and green should be entirely against alcohol because beer goggles give an illusory perception of the world.

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