In HBO's Game of Thrones TV series, this character was introduced in "Valar Dohaeris" (S03E01) - when Robb and his army marched through Castle Harrenhal, they found Qyburn who was captured and tortured by the Lannister army and left behind after the Lannister army abandoned Harrenhal. Robb Stark and his romantic interest, Talisa Maegyr, quenched his thirst with water and helped him. He is alive because of the Starks.

Why does Qyburn help Cersei and how has he gained her trust so much? I know that Cersei allows him to experiment as he wants without any restrictions. Other than this, are there any other motivations for him to help Cersei?

Does he plan to take revenge on the Lannisters?

Are there any other details about this character in the books which are not shown in the TV series?

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    As a totally personal guess, I assume what drives him is thirst for knowledge. Give him freedom to experiment, and he's happy, no matter who gives it to him. So he won't betray Cersei and he's doing his best to help her as he's well aware he won't get so much freedom with any other lord. Aug 17, 2017 at 11:37
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    Why would he take revenge? He was a disgraced maester, yet now he is one of the most important maesters in the land. gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Qyburn
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 17, 2017 at 11:39
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    @BCdotWEB, not really a maester, but the Hand of the Queen :) Aug 17, 2017 at 11:53
  • It wasn't the Lannisters who killed him but the Mountain after leaving Harrenhal (the Mountain commits attrocities without Tywin's knowledge or orders)... Then Qyburn cured Jaime, so I don't think he blames the Lannisters. Aug 17, 2017 at 11:58
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    Regardless of the help, I think Cersei > Starks because Cersei allows and encourages Qyburn's twisted human experiments, living and dead. Pretty sure the Starks draw the line somewhere between water for the tortured and enabling Josef Mengele. Aug 17, 2017 at 14:24

1 Answer 1



I think Qyburn doesn't directly blame the Lannisters, because Tywin left Harrenhal leaving the Mountain in charge of the place. And Lannisters gave Qyburn several opportunities to climb up the social ladder.

1. Tywin didn't directly tried to kill Qyburn.

When Robb comes around Harrenhal:

ROOSE: We should set the siege lines 1,000 yards from Harrenhal.
ROBB: There won't be a siege. The Mountain can't defend a ruin.
ROOSE: I imagine the Mountain will defend whatever Tywin Lannister tells him to defend. ROBB: The Lannisters have been running from us since Oxcross. I'd love a fight. The men would love a fight. I don't think we're going to get one.

Tywin disaproved the Mountain's useless brutality (remember when Tywin first came to Harrenhal):

TYWIN: What's this?
GREGOR: We weren't expecting you till tomorrow, Lord Tywin.
TYWIN: Evidently not. Why are these prisoners not in their cells?
GREGOR: Cells are overflowing, my lord.
POLLIVER: This lot won't be here long. Don't need no permanent place. After we interrogate 'em, we usually just...
TYWIN: Are we so well-manned that we can afford to discard able young bodies and skilled laborers? You, do you have a trade?
GENDRY: Smith, my lord.
POLLIVER: What are you looking at? Kneel! Kneel or I'll carve your lungs out, boy.
TYWIN: He'll do no such thing. This one's a girl, you idiot, dressed as a boy. Why?
ARYA: Safer to travel, my lord.
TYWIN: Smart. More than I can say for this lot.

I'm pretty sure with Tywin in charge, working prisoners (Arya, Gendry, Hot-Pie, Qyburn) were treated decently then when Tywin left the place to Gregor Clegane, staffed with working people the Mountain and his men did the massacre on their own.

2. Qyburn had a job at Harrenhal even if he wasn't a real maester.

Here I can't find a real confirmation that he actually worked as a maester, but since Tywin would give a job matching anyone's ability, I suppose he worked as a maester.

3. He had the opportunity to perform surgery on Jaime Lannister.

Qyburn was expelled from the Citadel for performing experiment on living people. With Jaime, he had the opportunity to work on surgery and he did do a great job.

4. After the surgery he went to King's Landing with Jaime and was introduced to the court.

Jaime bring Qyburn with him back to King's Landing and he had the opportunity to meet queen Cersei in person.

5. Cersei Lannister raised him as Grand Maester.

He replaced Pycelle. A new opportunity for his weird experiments. He somehow made Gregor Clegane survive after he was deadly poisoned by Oberyn.

6. He was raised Hand of the King.

Cersei named him as her Hand, the second position of the Realm.

  • 2
    Good points, but it also seems fair to assume that Qyburn simply doesn't care about allegiances, only his work. It's somewhat of a recurring trope that fringe scientists are so into their own research that they only care about being able to do their research, no matter who funds them.
    – Flater
    Aug 21, 2017 at 10:04
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    @Flater True, that's why we can consider he would appreciate when Cersei gave him his own lab and appartments and enough gold for him to fund his research. Aug 21, 2017 at 10:08
  • but also, since nobody else had anything to do with his actual work on Gregor, it'd be no surprise if he has a 'back door' to the monster's programming. (I agree that no real case has been made that Q would want revenge on any Lannister, but a giant-killing-machine-escape-hatch isn't the worst idea - his censure surely didn't teach him to expect job security.)
    – N. Presley
    Dec 9, 2017 at 7:52
  • In the books, wasn't Qyburn introduced as part of the Bloody Mummers? I don't have access to my copies until next year ...
    – N. Presley
    Dec 9, 2017 at 7:55

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