If HBO's record-breaking fantasy drama Game Of Thrones is known for anything — besides dragons, incest, and shocking death scenes — it's the show's incredibly rich cast of characters. Author George R. R. Martin and showrunners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss have graced audiences with one of the largest ensembles in television history. There's someone on Thrones for every viewer to identify with, whether it's steely dragon queen Daenerys, romantic bastard Jon Snow, assassin-in-training Arya, or master manipulator Tyrion. The line between "good guy" and "bad guy" is not always clear, with shifting allegiances keeping everyone on their toes. But not every character is as memorable as The Imp; there are plenty of Game Of Thrones characters we met once... and then never saw again.
Now, I'm not talking about the characters whose faces you recognize but whose names you may not remember after they only appeared in a handful of episodes. You won't find Theon's dad Balon or Roose's wife Fat Walda here, for example. I'm talking about characters who literally popped up once (maybe twice) and were subsequently never heard from again, as though they'd vanished from the face of Westeros.
How many of the following 11 characters do you remember?
1. Jon Arryn
Season 1, Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming"
Saying we even met Jon Arryn once is generous, since the man was dead when the Season 1 premiere of Thrones began. But we did get to see his body lying in state in the throne room of the Red Keep, as Cersei and Jaime Lannister whispered about whether he told anyone their secret. Jon was the Hand of the King before Ned, and basically raised both Ned and King Robert. He was wed to Catelyn's sister Lysa... who we found out in Season 4 had murdered her own husband at Littlefinger's urging. Jon Arryn's death is pretty much the inciting incident that plunged all of Westeros into chaos.
2. Maester Cressen
Season 2, Episode 1: "The North Remembers"
Another season premiere, another dead guy. When we were first introduced to Stannis Baratheon on Dragonstone, Melisandre was burning heretics and Stannis's doddering old maester was outraged. Trying to rid his king of the Red Priestess' influence, he poisoned her — and himself. But the power of R'hllor protected her, and only poor Maester Cressen died.
Season 2, Episode 5: "The Ghost Of Harrenhall"
Season 2, Episode 7: "A Man Without Honor"
On the show, the mysterious masked Quaithe appears to Jorah in Qarth to warn him that people are planning to steal Dany's dragons; once they go missing, he seeks her out again for help in finding them. This is totally different from the character in the books, who only appears to Daenerys herself and speaks in riddles and prophecies: "To go north, you must journey south. To reach the west, you must go east. To go forward, you must go back, and to touch the light, you must pass beneath the shadow." This version of the character has also appeared to Dany in Meereen, magically materializing inside her chambers in the Great Pyramid.
Season 3, Episode 8: "Second Sons"
Better known as the Titan's Bastard, this Braavosi was the leader of the sellsword company the Second Sons. Dany met him — along with his two lieutenants, Prendahl na Ghezn and Daario Naharis — when the Mother of Dragons was camped outside Yunkai. In order to pledge his allegiance to her, Daario cut off the heads of both Mero and Prendahl and presented them to her.
5. Roslin Frey
Season 3, Episode 9: "The Rains Of Castamere"
As atonement for Robb breaking his pact to marry a Frey daughter, Walder Frey demanded that Robb's uncle Edmure Tully marry one instead. Edmure prepared himself for the worst... only to find that his bride-to-be was the surprisingly beautiful and innocent Roslin. Of course, they were a happily married couple for all of about five minutes before the infamous Red Wedding happened. We haven't seen Edmure or Roslin since.
6. Tycho Nestoris
Season 4, Episode 6: "The Laws Of Gods And Men"
Season 5, Episode 9: "The Dance Of Dragons"
Mycroft Holmes — I mean, Tycho Nestoris — is a representative of the Iron Bank of Braavos. We met him for the first time when Davos went to beg for a loan to fund Stannis's campaign for the Iron Thrones. Then we ran into him a second time when Mace Tyrell traveled to Braavos to barter over the crown's debt. In A Dance With Dragons, Tycho ends up personally traveling to the Wall to haggle with Stannis, so we may actually end up seeing more of this guy in the near future.
7. Maggy The Frog
Season 5, Episode 1: "The Wars To Come"
Season 5 opened with the show's first-ever flashback, a glimpse of Cersei's childhood, when she was told a prophecy by a woods witch named Maggy. Given that the episode only featured half of the crone's famous foretelling, many book readers likely expected to see the character pop up again in a second flashback. Alas, no such luck.
8. Lollys Stokeworth
Season 5, Episode 2: "The House Of Black And White"
Oh, Lollys. Described as boring and fat and stupid in the books, Bronn's new bride made a hysterical cameo early in Season 5 as the two strolled arm-in-arm by the shore together before the sellsword was recruited to accompany Jaime to Dorne. While we never get the sense in the books that this marriage is about anything more than land and title, the show made a strange case for Bronn and Lollys as Westeros' most oddly perfect couple.
Season 5, Episode 6: "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken"
Season 5, Episode 7: "The Gift"
When it was announced that fan-favorite former Lost cast member Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje had been cast in Season 5 of Thrones, viewers couldn't wait to find out what major role the hulking actor would portray. It was a big surprise, therefore, when he turned out to be playing the largely forgettable role of Malko the slaver in only two brief appearances. Talk about underusing a talented actor.
10. Yezzan Zo Qaggaz
Season 5, Episode 7: "The Gift"
Season 5, Episode 8: "Hardhome"
English actor Enzo Cilenti took what would have been a throwaway cameo as slave owner Yezzan, and imbued him with such a wealth of personality in only a few brief gestures and words that he quickly became one of the most memorable minor characters in Thrones history. His attitude at the Meereenese slave market screamed of "been there done that" ennui. Ah, life as a slave merchant. So dull.
Season 5, Episode 8: "Hardhome"
If you remember anyone on this list, it's probably Karsi... and not only because she made the most recent appearance. The wildling woman managed to describe an complete and compelling character arc in one-half of an episode, as we witnessed her introduction, her development, and her death all in the space of about half an hour during Season 5's battle at Hardhome. Karsi's badass presence — and, yes, her untimely death at the hands of those creepy zombie children — was a bright spot in an often dour season.
Honestly, if you remember any of these characters, you deserve major kudos.
Images: HBO (11)