The most captivating feature of the A Song of Ice and Fire series is its compellingly fleshed-out characters. With chapter titles being marked by character POVs, it is no surprise that George RR Martin gives heavy importance to man as narrator and what it reveals about itself and others around it. Let’s explore that, shall we?
While I’ve read the books about a year ago, upon some very recent and intense before-bed and upon-waking reflection, I’ve matched 35 of the most prominent characters from the series with the archetypal personalities associated with the twelve zodiac sun signs.
Below is a non-exhaustive, non-conclusive list of said characters categorized in the sun sign I believe they share, and the qualities typical of each. Interpretations range from the most positive to the most negative expression of traits readily ascribable to each sign, so before getting totally surprised about why I put this character in that sign, do try to read on and imagine. At the end of the day, these are speculations and I would love to hear your input, comments, or reactions.
Willful, active, athletic, restless, impulsive, independent, and fiery are the keywords to this sign. There is a certain childishness that is easily ascribable to the “infant” zodiac sign, Aries. As the first sign, it calls to mind qualities found in children, willfulness to get what they want chief among them. They will not take no for an answer once they’ve set their sight on something. Active and full of energy, these are busybodies that can’t be tamed or tied down if they don’t want to. They have no use for secrets, underhanded tactics, and frivolous pursuits, preferring to be their own master and straightforwardly getting what they want. Action and movement matter to them much more than it does to other signs.
Arya is all that, the wild-child that can’t sit down for needlework with Sansa and Septa Mordane, preferring to work the Needle that her brother Jon gave her. She is determined and hardheaded, willful, and prideful, too. So is her brother Rickon, although I’m waiting to see how his character develops as he grows older before placing a final judgment on him.
Gregor Clegane is known for having a restless bloodlust and a thirst for violence, and although far be it from being typial of Arian nature, I’m guessing the action of it is what drives The Mountain that Rides. He gets what he wants when he wants it, or damn you all. Loras Tyrell isn’t much different, although he sets his sight on the thrill of jousting and tourneys and being in the Kingsguard (no matter who the King is) rather than outright killing. He would rather act first and think later, as is also the case with Arya, Rickon, and Gregor — the Rams of the Zodiac.
Brienne of Tarth
Sandor Clegane “The Hound”
Stubborn, honorable, loyal, steady/stable, earthy, firm-footed, “bull-headed” (pun intended, says Gendry.)
The word that comes easily to mind when these characters are placed together in my head is, “reliability”, and Taurus certainly is. These people cultivate stability and sure-footedness before they aspire for anything else, if they even do aspire for other things. Once they’ve wrapped a place/person/idea under their personal label of “home”, “mine”, “liege” they feel a certain responsibility over it and they work to cultivate and protect it, slowly, but surely. They often have a strict moral code that they stick to to their dying day, or at least until it is rendered moot or undeniably wrong, formulated over long years from piecing together all manner of sensory experience with steady, honest appraisal.
Ned Stark built such a haven in Winterfell over the years, preferring that home over other offered glory when he and Robert won the rebellion. Home. Steady. Reliable. Honorable. That’s Ned, alright. He maintained his moral code to the end, costing him his life in the cray-cray never-black-nor-white game of thrones.
Brienne of Tarth and “The Hound” Sandor Clegane share a similar position as war-seasoned bulls. Though far from home, they find a cause or person to be loyal to and stick with it, until the purpose is worn-out/exhausted rather than changing allegiances on a whim. Their service is loyal and unwavering, and they seemingly value their loyalty as the simplest, most-straightforward defense and weapon against an unpredictable, unsteady, and uncertain world. Brienne can almost be called stupid for her stubbornness in her beliefs, as Jaime often points out. But while the earthy Capricorn (Jaime) is more concerned with success and whatever dirty tactics may be involved in achieving it, the Taurean Brienne is more concerned with the principle of it. While seemingly cruel, the Hound is no doubt loyal and has shown a kindness that belies his reputation (to the “little bird” and the “wolf pup”). The same is true of Davos, after coming into Stannis’ service. Gendry, besides having an obvious bull helm, responds to the world in much the same way. He is a hardworker, content to building a life for himself wherever he finds suitable, be it in King’s Landing as an apprentice smith or on the road, servicing The Brotherhood. He would start small, steady, but surely.
Petyr Baelish “Littlefinger”
Superficial, intelligent, ambitious, talkative, manipulative, duplicitous, frivolous—yes, those are words to describe all three Geminis on this list. Geminis are known for their quick wit and even quicker intellect, as they easily pick up on the things around them and their implications. When a Gemini wants something done, words are their best tool, and Tyrion and Littlefinger both have this talent in spades. As perhaps the most strictly intellectual of the signs, these people rarely care for things that cannot be studied (such as feelings), and enjoy knowing and studying even the most useless things just for the sake of knowing them than for any perceived use. However, in the right situation, a Gemini will not hesitate to use this knowledge to their advantage, or to further their cause, and behold just how well they do it! Not only clever words, but charming ones. You know it’s true. You likely won’t stand a chance, unless you’re of stubborn stock, and that’s hard to find these days.
They are adaptable too, owing to their being quick as the wind. One minute they think and do this, the next, you maybe shown a completely different side of them. If they put their minds to it, they seem to have the right words at the right times, but they also run the risk of saying too much, if they find a willing audience. Most people find their excessive gab tiresome and frivolous, so they end up being the bane of the silent and action-first types (his family of Capricorns, for example).
Theon embodies the negative aspect of this sign, where he is doubly superficial, caring little for much else but his pleasures and what he wants, his excessive sexual appetite among them. Insecure, feeling unrecognized and unloved compared to Robb and his own sister, Asha, when he believes himself clever or as talented enough to be on par with them, and being generally hungry to be recognized as independent and capable. A Gemini with such a conflicting background can end up confused and vengeful, resorting to desperate tactics and lashing out venomous words even if they don’t really mean it, and later regretting it (destorying Winterfell and “killing” Bran and Rickon at his command). I might have put Theon as an Aries for his impulsiveness, but I think the way he handles his situation is more airy than firey, because he is less a man of action than he is a man of words, though empty they may sometimes be.
Emotional, strong connection to a mother-figure, moody, emphatic, brooding, cling-prone, sensitive, gentle, protective.
Cancer rules mothers, and the breasts are perhaps the best symbol of motherhood. The scene where little Robert Arryn suckles on his mother’s teats screamed Cancer fixation to me. Her babying him, clinging to him, is another, if the little Arryn isn’t a Cancerian himself, which I suspect. Similarly, Jon Snow’s fixation with his bastard status, sometimes even brandishing it as a shield or weapon (crab shell and pincers, anyone?) in an emotional-blackmail-y, broody, no-one-loves-me-here-so-please-love-me-if-I-go way, is just as Cancerian.
The importance of his emotional baggage of being motherless has had a great hand in his choosing a life at the Night’s Watch. He has a way with the ladies too, a trait humble Cancerian men are surprised to discover. It’s because of that sensitive, emotional, approachable aura they exude that gets these ladies (I speak of fans, not Ygritte, alas). There’s a lady’s man vibe to them that most women are susceptible to. He never stops being chivalrous, either, which, darn it, even when there are no women at the Watch, he still lands himself a girlfriend. The same is true for typical Cancer guys. They never run out of popularity with girl friends and girlfriends, and some of the boys, too.
Most others would probably call Jon a Capricorn, but I find that he doesn’t have as much ambition as is typical of goats. All he aspires for is a place to belong to, a role he can securely do well without the shadow of his emotional baggage weighing him down every minute of every day (like in Winterfell), and a place to prove himself to the theoretical mommy living inside his head.
Kingly aura, tendency to decadence, prideful, theatrical in a hear-me-roar way Leo, as king of the zodiac, is just that — a king. And I don’t mean this in the literal sense, if that’s why you think I put a King and a Khal under this sign. It’s more to do with their disposition to grandeur, just hearts, and fiery passion for leadership that underscore my speculations. It’s not that Leo’s can’t be good followers — they’re just driven to excellence by a personal opinion that they would do much better as leader than all the other lowlings, mind your head, and than the current leader. They’ll win supporters over with a grand show of their talents, intelligence, justice, and benevolence, and supporters will find that when these Leos do take their place on their thrones, they deserve it.
There’s not much to say about these Kings, because the only two Leos on my list are both dead, and I’ve had no time to explore other facets of their character other than their demeanor and propensity to flashy things (Robert: women, booze, hunting, being king of the Seven Kingdoms. Drogo: his braid, exotic wife, great horse, and khalassar). Funny how the king of zodiacs is underrepresented in this epic, and how everyone’s gone to war over the loss of these conventional king figures.
Dignified/clean (virginal), intelligent, prudish, independent. It’s kind of hard to set a Virgo apart, as they seem to be equal parts an earth sign and an air sign. While being reliable, honorable, and hardworking like an earth sign, they’re also shrewd, analytical, and intelligent like their air counterpart, Libra, stuck in the middle between two more extreme expressions of their element (there are three signs per element–Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, in that order for earth, each symbolizing a chronological evolution to its highest expression. In air signs, it’s Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius).
This sign is given to service, and Robb’s brand of leadership is indeed service-and-duty-oriented than it is about pride and simply being hungry for power, because he is not. He is not one to seek fame, for he sees people more as people (often in need of help) rather than pawns and subjects with talents to be exploited. While being less on the sociable side than the pragmatic side, Virgos like Robb put their independence to good use by formulating well-laid plans and carefully executing them, and any who argue are in for a challenge as this sign’s intelligence encompasses more than just theory, like an Air sign might–he is also intimately familiar with details and the nooks and crannies of meticulous thinking.
Cat is much the same. Though her universally-recognizable motherly care overshadows any flags pointing to her sun sign, I do believe she is an earth sign as well. Not ambitious like a Capricorn, but not bull-headed and straightforwardly willed like a Taurus, but more of the pragmatic mystery of a Virgo. She is reasonably intelligent, and her pragmatism is at its most evident when concerning her children (giving away Jaime, for example.) She has the comforting lull found in most earth signs and is less obtrusive and aggressive than Air and Fire signs. She gives the impression of thinking of her interests last, and her family’s first. Family. Duty. Honor. Tully sentiments that remind me of a Virgo in the healing profession, where it is most often thought to flourish.
Speaking of healing, remember how Robb Stark marries a lady doctor? Service, duty, and practicality catch a Virgo’s attention, as it is is so much like them. So that’s my theory.
Popular, charismatic, fair, frivolous, and sociable, Librans, being the center of the Zodiac, is symbolized by the scales, holding the delicate balance of the excessive difference between the opposite ends of the zodiac. As an air sign, they represent impartiality, equal opportunity, and open-mindedness and a willingness or at least a passive acquiescence to let others be, or to prove themselves, withholding judgment until he has seen that a person/cause has sufficiently proved itself true or false. When provoked, Librans like Renly Baratheon will cleave to friends for support, winning loyalty by affection rather than hard-handed manipulation. They possess an innate intelligence about people and situations but often choose to let things unfold rather than take immediate judgment or action. They are known to have good taste in clothing, or at the very least, in the way they carry themselves, which adds to their appeal and popularity. Very Renly, wouldn’t you say?
Given to viciousness, vengeful, deep, dark, and manipulative, it is difficult to pinpoint where the Scorpion draws its aura of electric power from, but it is there, palpable and tangible. I would easily refer to these people as “bombs waiting to explode”, as an allusion to the secrets, motivations, and inner convictions they keep hidden in the recesses of their minds, known only to them, often inaccessible and difficult to make sense of to the rest of us. Scorpio is associated with death, sex, the occult, power for power’s sake, secrets, and manipulation. The characters listed are guilty of all these, bar none.
Aerys lost himself and his popularity to his own power, hypnotized and drawn to its mystery and seducing him to pushing it to its limits, causing the Sven Kingdoms to name him the “Mad King”. Viserys was driven to frantic madness by his desperation for power, having spent his life scheming to get back into power, using his only sister (and only remaining live relative) as a pawn to achieve that. Denaerys herself is not innocent of manipulation, having won armies and cities this way, although admittedly, she has a more mature moral compass than her relatives, or is masking her motives under the guise of good intentions to strengthen their cause. She is not above blackmailing and manipulation to achieve her goals, and that is no less than to put every other contender in their place–under her power. Domination, and a certain perverse fascination with power and all its facets mark the Scorpion mind.
Adventurous (in mind and body), impartial, philosophical, open-minded, Asha Greyjoy is what comes to mind when I think of an archetypal female Sagittarian. She is popular among the Ironborn, as Sagittarians are in real life recognized for their quick wit and propensity to laughter and light-heartedness. These aren’t people to be tied down, not to conventions, not to definitions, not to expectations, for the only sure way for them to make a move is to believe in something first. They move in pursuit of an idea, high-minded as they are, or an ideal, which calls to them and colors everything they do. They don’t do things for no reason, they do things because they equally believe in it and want it — that is the go-getter attitude of a Sagittarian — better stand back!
As for Bran, his childhood fascination for climbing and exploring may have been comical, literal Sagittarian at first, but his exploring other realms of adventure and exploration (no matter how much he pretends and denies his Warg heritage) are telltale of the true Sagittarian love of travel. If a Sagittarian feels tied down physically, or even if he isn’t, his mind is always leagues away, dreaming of the endless possibilities out there to be learned and discovered for the sake of it. While Pisceans may rule the sphere of daydreaming, Sagittarians are not so emotionally invested in their dreams as they are intellectually, philosophically, and even physically drawn to chasing their colorful vision into reality. Deep down, given the right drive and motivation, Sagittarians are a font of energy and determination, and where their mind is is almost always followed by what their body is doing. They are honest and trustworthy, for they are the type to say what they mean and mean what they say. If this doesn’t sound like Bran to you, I think we have to wait a while before he gets over the depressive aura he took on after losing his legs and losing Winterfell and losing his childhood of exploration. Once he grows into being a warg, you’ll see what I mean. Sagittarians also have a natural affinity with nature, especially animals, and look how close he is to Summer! They even share a body!
Cersei and Jaime Lannister
Ambitious, hardworking, protective of self and family image, biased loyalty, enterprising, practical, stoic. I know you’ll probably have a violent reaction to the Lannisters not being chalked up as Leos, the most obvious choice, Lion and all, but upon reflection, I find it more likely that Cersei, Jaime, and Tywin share much more commonalities as Capricorns rather than simply flashy, willful Leos. The reason for this lie in their motivation for doing the things they do.
Cersei and Jaime claim to only look out for one another, as does Tywin when he talks of the Lannister family. Self-protectionism is very Capricornian, especially if you partner it with ambition — protecting self-interests and reputation with one hand while brandishing the other to strike out competitors, clear the path to success, or as a manipulating machine to get the winds in their favor, so to speak.
The adage, “A Lannister always pays his debts,” is a very Capricornian sentiment, too, for these people are not the quickest to forgive and forget transgressions and debts, perceived or actual, but generally believed by these people because they have likely spent time logically analyzing and scrutinizing such things. They are not simply power-hungry, like a Leo or Scorpio might be, but success-hungry. The mature Capricorn understands instinctively that power by itself is not enough if not sustained by grievous, steady effort, and calculation. Lord Tywin is a known force-to-be-reckoned-with, and the ring to his name comes from years upon years of steady hard work and political machinations, each achievement piling up to build his stellar reputation, characteristic of Capricorn. He is serious, ambitious, and fearsome when the thing he values most (his Lannister heritage, reputation, and status) is threatened. He will not stand for any slight to it, which is most often what a Capricorn will value (family being next in line). These Lannisters dress well not simply to look or feel good, or to be admired, but to underscore their status.
Stannis is a hard, unyielding, unsentimental man, a description you find commonly attached to Capricorn men and just as often ascribed to Stannis. His ambition for the Iron Throne is practically and soundly reasoned, that he is Robert’s brother and that Joffrey has no legal claim, and sees it as his duty to win the crown. While family may have taken a backseat on his list of priorities, no one can say Renly hadn’t had it coming, going against Stannis’ solid, reassonable convictions on his claim like that. Silly Renly. Ambition is nothing without success, a Capricorn might say. Which is probably why he’d licked his wounds so much and became desperate after the disaster of the Blackwater, as his pride and sense of righteousness were both insulted by a craftier fellow Capricorn, Tywin.
I put “biased loyalty” here as a trait that is common to the four characters. Capricorns are not beyond forging alliances that they deem profitable, and severing ones that no longer serve a purpose. Throwing Starks in favor of Tyrells, for example. They are not sentimental, but practical. They have and will do what it takes to achieve what it is they set out to do, and in their minds, they have a strict hierarchy of what they deem important, working night and day to advance their interests as dictated by this list.
Varys the Spider
Ambiguous, broad-minded, unconventional, detached, humanitarian. If there is a method to an Aquarian’s madness, it is one that is very difficult to follow. That is because they march to the beat of their own drums. Most often it is a cause, an ideal — one that many may find dauntingly impossible and high-minded, but an Aquarian will not let his standard down for any reason. If he fights for a cause, it’s because he believes, with body, mind, and spirit, that it is the right cause to be fighting for. There is a reformer/rebellious streak in Aquarius that can be crafty—you won’t really know you’re being influenced and seduced until you’ve already fallen for it, and, knowing Aquarian tactics, you did so willingly. Most of the time, they are acquiescent and tolerate people being themselves, but only because their natural curiosity directs them to try and gather and learn what they can from others, rather than from an inborn kindness or warm-heartedness. This inquisitive Air sign, as a result, can form very compelling insights and cases from things learned from others by observing detachedly, rather than exerting direct influence.
Their appeal lies in that they don’t try so hard to be loved, or feared, or be put in the spotlight — it is too crass for them. These people can come up with crafty mind games that they deem ever more elegant and sustainable than crass violence and careless scheming.
When in the series, Varys gives his cryptic statement on his being loyal to no one but the realm, when Olenna and her brood of Roses off Joffrey, when (series!)Margaery goes to the orphanage, they display an Aquarian range of ideals that appear with no other characters. Broadminded is a loose word, but for whatever reasons each of these characters have, they give off the impression that there is not one voice behind their words and actions but an entire societal/contextual consciousness echoed in their clever schemes. It is not often easy to divulge what it is exactly they want, as it is rarely one-or-two simple and direct things. When they do something, they expect a sophisticated, unexpected (by everyone else) result. They delight in things that are not overtly delightful to others of lesser cunning. While others may find them strange or weird, they prefer to be recognized as unpredictable and wildcards of sorts rather than be tied down to a definition, or worse, be made use of.
Fantastical, impressionable, dreamy, appears to be weak-willed and/or helpless, great compassion, selfless, misty, seemingly lost, non-aggressive, non-materialistic, fickle. Being the last, Pisces carries with it the burden of all the karmic lessons of the past eleven signs, lending this sign great emphatic understanding of all facets of the human experience—certainly overwhelming, and as a result, are much attuned to “other realms” than the ugly one they find themselves in. Their special armor is camouflage and their perceived passivity, as enemies are unlikely to view these people as “threats” due to their non-imposing disposition (that comes from a preference for an idealistic faith in the goodness and beauty).
On the one hand, there is the fish that swims where the river takes it, going with the tide, with no convictions and determination of its own, and then there is the fish that streams upstream, defeating all odds with a font of strength that belies its gentle nature. When Aemon Targaryen reveals himself to Jon Snow, his story is one of self-sacrifice, compassion, and conflict-avoidance, a typical Piscean countenance (which he hints at regretting). He could have claimed the throne and had all the money, glory, and land that he wanted, but only a typical Piscean such as Aemon would have been attracted to the opposite option, which was a life of simplicity, study, and isolation as a Maester for the Night’s Watch, guarding from terrors and beasts that seem straight out of a fantasy to everyone else. These souls are often wise and have deep insight into human nature, is ruled by boundless compassion for others, especially ones that suffer. They have a deep longing to be understood, the way they understand so much of others, which, unfortunately, is a tall task as no other sign swims on the “same plane” as these flighty creatures.
Sana’s is the easiest sun sign to guess at, for her immense and unparalleled (and yes, childish) belief in a romantic fantasy world where knights are chivalrous and kings are kind and just. More than mere childish fantasy, Pisces holds such dreams dangerously close to their heart, and it often rules their spirit, much more than other children do, and carrying them (if secretly) well into adulthood. They refuse to let go of their personal Utopian notions especially because disillusionment is one of the worst things that can befall a Pisces, who has vested so much time and energy on building the perfect world in their dreams. They crumble under the weight of the truth of an ugly world, which, in their opinion, is easily righted if everyone just had a heart half as big as theirs in compassion. The unfortunate truth they must learn is that this isn’t the case in reality, and might never be.
Escapism is its sickness, and can come in the form of alcoholism, of which Edmure Tully is ridiculed for, and suggestibility, which both Sansa and Edmure are known for. They are quick to trust in what others tell them, perhaps from an inner fear of passing their own judgment and escaping responsibility if it begets an ugly result, or perhaps out of a blind faith in the goodness of people. Edmure Tully is not one you’d describe as having a backbone, and is often portrayed to be an immature Piscean who is insecure (due to the manly-man standard he keeps failing to live up to), his promiscuity (whoring was a past pastime) as a signal of his seeking affection. Sansa suffers from escapism and naiive suggestibility as well, brought about by her miserable, disillusioned life in King’s Landing, and is silently awaiting rescue from a “true knight”, the stuff of dreams. Just look into those deep, fish-like eyes for a glimpse of her Neptunian misty dreams (the actress, Sophie Turner, is Piscean herself).
I hope you enjoyed this digression from travel-blogging, although I maintain that fiction is as good a travel as any, if of the realm of the mind. Any thoughts to share, dear readers? I’d be happy to take on other views. :)