It’s Game of Thrones week at DINE. All week long we will be bringing you culinary Game of Thrones content, so that you feel ready come April 14. We are starting off by recapping the greatest Game of Thrones meals shown over the last seven seasons. Food plays an integral role throughout the show and the Song of Ice and Fire book series on which it is based. It is impossible to fit everybody’s favourite onto this list, but if you think we missed something important, comment on our social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter. We also want to put a spoiler warning here. This article discusses food from most of the seven seasons and their context for the show. So if you are still catching up, proceed with caution.
Robert Baratheon’s Feast at Winterfell
There are numerous feasts, with a plethora of roasted meat, game and poultry throughout the series. This one deserves a special place. For one, it happens in the first episode. King of the Seven Kingdoms, Robert Baratheon, takes a long trip to Winterfell to meet with his childhood friend Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark. The North knows how to welcome royalty and serves up, according to descriptions in the book, honey-roasted chicken, roasted onions dripping with brown gravy, bread trenchers and lots of wine. The consequences of this dinner however, are felt through to the present. Robert convinces Ned to serve as Hand of the King, a role that will lead to his ultimate demise. Bran, the second youngest child gets thrown off a tower, which sets the War of the Five Kings in motion. Without this feast we do not have Game of Thrones.
Dothraki Horse Heart
If I could discourage you from recreating one dish in particular (and maybe the following Frey pie), it would be the raw heart of a stallion Daenerys has to eat. That is not a GOT delicacy, it is part of a customary Dothraki pregnancy ceremony. The Targaryen princess was married off to Dothraki leader Khal Drogo by her brother Viserys. Viserys hoped, with that move, to gain an army of Dothraki soldiers to retake his family’s former kingdom. Daenerys however ultimately falls is love with Drogo and proves it by eating the stallion heart. It is not the only time she had to eat the animal her new tribe is known for. On her wedding menu you could find horseflesh roasted with honey and peppers, fermented mare’s milk, fine wines, steaming joints of meat, thick black sausages and Dothraki blood pies.
Note: If you don’t like to see blood and gore, I would refrain from watching the clip below.
Hot Pie’s Dire Wolf Bread
After seeing her father Ned executed, Arya needs to leave King’s Landing undetected. She decides to cut her hair, live as a boy and join the Night’s Watch. The group she joins to trek north, towards the wall, contains important series figures Gendry, Jaqen and Hot Pie. Gendry is King Robert’s last remaining bastard son. Jaqen turns out to be a member of the Faceless Men, a secretive group of Braavosi assassins Arya joins later in the series. This only leaves Hot Pie, who really wasn’t built to be a warrior, but aids the group as its cook. Once they get captured by the Brotherhood Without Banners, Arya is identified to be a Stark. When they part ways, Hot Pie bakes her a bread in the shape of a dire wolf. The dire wolf is the sigil of Arya’s ancestral house Stark.
For the remainder of the series Hot Pie remains at an Inn on the King’s Road, to study as a baker’s apprentice. When Brienne of Tarth stays at the Inn in search of the Stark daughters, Hot Pie gives her another Dire Wolf Bread. This time he’s much improved as a baker.
In our DINE definitive ranking of pies, fish pie came into a distant last place. So we don’t think that we’d enjoy Game of Thrones’ lamprey pie. Lamprey is described as a eel-like fish, which is then baked in pastry with wine and spices. The dish is eaten in the show by Tyrion Lannister on the eve of the Battle of the Blackwater. Lamprey Pie has been a delicacy since the time of Ancient Rome, and was also considered a delicacy by the nobility of Western Europe during the real-life Middle Ages. Indeed, King Henry I of England was noted as being particularly fond of lampreys.
Lemon cakes are Sansa Stark’s favourite food. Ahead of her granddaughter’s wedding to Robert’s successor Joffrey Baratheon/Lannister, Olenna Tyrell would like to get the scoop on the guy. She asks for the insight of Sansa Stark, who was previously promised to Joffrey. Over a lovely tea in the garden’s of the Red Keep, Sansa tells Olenna and Margaery (the bride to be), that Joffrey is a monster. The lemon cakes have a further appearance in season 4. Shae, Sansa’s handmaiden, offers the pastries to her lady, but Sansa refuses to eat anything due to the grief she feels over the death of her brother and mother at the Red Wedding.
The Pigeon Pie
In Westeros, pigeon pie is often served at weddings. King Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell is no different. A delicious buttery pastry, filled with pigeon meat, fruit and spices. This special pie is a comically large pie, set up like a modern wedding cake. When King Joffrey hacks into it with his new sword, real doves fly out of the cake. He also murders some in the process because… Joffrey. It will prove the last thing he eats, since he later in the feast dies at the hand of poisoned wine.
Bowl of Brown
In the show the titular bowl of brown is only mentioned but never shown. In the episode “Second Sons” (Season 3, Episode 8), the red priestess Melisandre and Gendry have a conversation about their upbringing:
Melisandre: “When I was your age, I lived on one bowl of stew a day, and ‘stew’ is a kind word for it.”
Gendry: “In Flea Bottom we called them ‘bowls of brown’. We’d pretend that the meat in them was chicken – we knew it wasn’t chicken.”
In the books, the dish is somewhat more explained. It usually consists of whatever meat can be found in a food stall or inn in Flea Bottom. Tyrion (in the books) once has a musician killed and sells his body to a pot-shop that specializes in bowl of brown. If you ever end up in King’s Landing, maybe skip the bowl of brown.
Ramsey Bolton’s Pork Sausage
Who doesn’t like a good pork sausage. The one Ramsey Bolton eats in Season 3, Episode 10 looks delicious, but also concludes one of the most brutal and cruel scenes in the show’s history. After capturing and torturing Theon Greyjoy, Ramsey moves to castrate the heir to the Iron Islands. In order to taunt Reek, the name he gives Theon, he eats a comically large pork sausage in front of him. This sets him up immediately as the show’s main new villain. A role he doesn’t shed until his death in season six’s “The Battle of the Bastards”.
Again, for this clip below… Proceed with extreme caution.
Oysters, Clams and Cockles
In season 5, Arya takes up her training to become a Faceless Man of Braavos. After washing the floors at their headquarters for months, she is finally given her first assassination mission. In order to get close to her subject, she takes the role of a seafood vendor in the market. Since her target is a regular customer at a local brothel, and the establishment serves its visitors fresh seafood, Arya has little problems finishing her first mission.
Frey pie is probably the most famous meal or food scene of Game of Thrones. After escaping Braavos with a few faces of her own, Arya infiltrates House Frey as a servant girl. It is there, where Arya’s brother Robb and mother Catelyn were savagely murdered during the Red Wedding. Vowing to kill Lord Walder Frey on her kill list, she wants to torture her subject to the extreme. Late in the evening, Lord Walder is left alone in the main feast hall of the castle, save only for Arya in disguise, who brings him meat pie to eat. Walder Frey is confused as to why his boys hadn’t arrived for dinner yet… which leads to this epic dialogue:
Walder Frey: “Where are my damn moron sons? Black Walder and Lothar promised to be here by midday.”
Arya Stark: “They’re here, my lord.”
Arya had killed both of Frey’s sons and baked them into a pie. When the bewildered Lord Walder peels back the crust it reveals a human finger. At this moment Arya’s pulls down her face mask to identify herself. She tells Walder Frey that she wants him to see the face of a Stark as the last thing he ever sees. Shortly thereafter, she slits his throat.
There are of course many more meals that we couldn’t list. Please leave a comment in our aforementioned social pipes in case we made a grave error. Also, be on the lookout for our upcoming Game of Thrones coverage this week. And with that I’ll leave you with Valar Dohaeris.