During the Game of Thrones Season Six finale Qyburn

Has his little birds kill Pycelle.

It can be inferred that Cersei asked him to do this as he personally does not seem overly happy about it.

The Archmaesters of the Citadel elect the Grand Maester as someone that they see fit to be Maester of Kingslanding. Obviously the Citadel, at some point at least, had some respect for Pycelle.

How would the Citadel respond if they found out that Cersei had had Pycelle killed?

It is hard to say how likely this is as Qyburn was fairly discreet in some ways and fairly careless in others. But in the event that they do find out

Would the Citadel perhaps be hesitant to send another Maester?

  • 1
    This isn't the first time a Grand maester has been killed. If you add the books tag, I would be happy to explain the event and Citadel's response as the background info isnt available in the show
    – Aegon
    Oct 13, 2016 at 8:04
  • @Aegon Very well. I didn't add the books tag because the events in the question have not yet occured in the books. However since it will help answer the question I will do so. Oct 13, 2016 at 8:19
  • Answers can focus on what the citadel has done before, but to directly answer this question, you could do nothing more than speculate at this time. Oct 13, 2016 at 13:15
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    The event you asked about has happened in the books, it just didn't happen the same way, @MatthewStevenson.
    – Paul
    Oct 13, 2016 at 13:25
  • @Paul I wasn't aware of that. Thanks. Oct 13, 2016 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


What happens when a Grand Maester is murdered

This isn't the first time that Grand Maester was executed by the Monarch or ruling authority. King Maegor had three Grand Maesters executed in his brief reign alone. There is list of precedent for that:

  1. Grand Maester Gawen: Executed by King Maegor, for speaking in favor of ascension of Prince Aegon (Son of Aenys I) to the throne, by beheading.
  2. Grand Maester Gerardys: Fed by King Aegon II to his royal dragon, Sunfyre.
  3. Grand Maester Hareth: Executed for treason by an unknown King.

Everytime a Grand Maester was killed, Citadel did send a new one to the King. Citadel does not command any swords or soldiers so they can't possibly defy the royal commands or criticize the actions without fear of meeting the same fate.

The Citadel does object on dismissal of a Grand Maester however, there seem to have been no objections raised after their execution. From ASOS, Tyrion XII:

"Not at all, my lord. Thank the archmaesters of Oldtown, those who wished to insist on Pycelle's restoration on the grounds that only the Conclave may make or unmake a Grand Maester."

Bloody fools, thought Tyrion. "I seem to recall that Maegor the Cruel's headsman unmade three with his axe1."

"Quite true," Varys said. "And the second Aegon fed Grand Maester Gerardys to his dragon."

Not to mention, these objections were based on legal rights of the conclave, they weren't an act of defiance or criticism of the regime. E.g. That would be like a King taking a stream away from me and me saying "But your Grace, your own Royal father granted that stream to me for perpetuity. That is my right as per the feudal contract". The hostile action would be "Oh may others take you! You blackhearted rogue, you are no King of mine. I will not pay any taxes unless my stream is restored to me". See the difference?

Anyhow every time the execution happened, the Citadel chose a new one and sent him forth which is evident by the fact that Maegor executed three of consecutive grand Maesters which implies that three must have been sent to him as replacement of the previously executed one.

Will Citadel be reluctant?

By precedent, it is unlikely.

However, it is not as simple as historic cases here.

Cersei's rule is currently unrecognized by most powerful lords of seven Kingdoms.

Citadel is located in Old Town, which is under suzreinity of Tyrells of High Garden. Seeing as Tyrells have raised their banners in favor of Daenerys, it is very likely that Citadel may not send a new Grand Maester to Cersei and refuse to recognize her as the Queen given that they are now protected by the might of High Garden, something which wasn't true back in the day of the Dragon Kings.

Remember, one of the titles of Lord Hightower of Oldtown is Defender of the Citadel. Since his overlords, The Tyrells of High Garden are in open rebellion2, it appears to be unlikely that Citadel, emboldened by protection of Hightowers and Tyrells would send a Grand Maester to King's Landing.

A symbol of legitimacy and its impacts on Tyrell goals

Being served by Grand Maester is a sign of legitimacy and providing that to Cersei instead of Daenerys would be detrimental to Tyrell goals here.

From The Princess and the Queen:

Every visible symbol of legitimacy belonged to Aegon. He sat the Iron Throne. He lived in the Red Keep. He wore the Conquerer’s crown, wielded the Conquerer’s sword, and had been anointed by a septon of the Faith before the eyes of tens of thousands. Grand Maester Orwyle sat in his councils, and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard had placed the crown upon his princely head. And he was male, which in the eyes of many made him the rightful king, his half sister the usurper.

1. Tyrion appears to be wrong in his memories here. At least Gawen was executed by the King himself with Blackfyre, not by his Axeman.
2. As far as Tyrells are concerned, they are in rebellion. They have sent forces to Daenerys. Cersei isn't that much of an idiot to delude herself that Tyrells will accept her rule after her murder of Lord Tyrell and his children. Daenerys isn't going to waste her time in stopping for camps. She has to reach her destination fast and strike hard, due to rules of logistics. Tyrells don't even need to hide their rebellion as Cersei's rule is unrecognized by great lords and there is no danger from the remnants of Lannister army, battered and tired from a long war.

  • Are the Tyrells really in an open rebellion? Yes, frustration is obvious, Houses did unite and there is an armadaa sailing from Essos to Westeros, but there hasn't been any conflict yet, has there. I also don't remember House Tyrell openly defying the Crown/Cersei. Oct 13, 2016 at 9:41
  • @user1129682 House Tyrell's sails were spotted in the Armada accompanying Daenerys. If that's not an act of open rebellion, I don't know what is
    – Aegon
    Oct 13, 2016 at 9:47
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    we spotted them on TV, but AFAIK nobody from KL has. The ships apparently are still very far away. This (undisputed) act of rebellion has not yet had any effect on what happens on the main land. We know what is coming, the Queen does not. Therefore the rebellion is not yet open. As far as we know the could still chose to make camp in Valyria until winter is over. Oct 13, 2016 at 10:00
  • @user1129682 As far as Tyrells are concerned, they are in rebellion. Cersei would have to be an utter fool to delude herself that after the episode of Baelor's Sept's destruction, Tyrells would be amiable to her rule. Tyrells control the citadel. Why would they allow Citadel to send a symbol of legitimacy to Cersei when they have gone over to Daenerys?
    – Aegon
    Oct 13, 2016 at 10:02
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    I don't disagree with anything you say. I am just wondering whether the rebellion is indeed open, yet, because I don't recall any evidence for that. Pacts have been made and treason commited, but nobody has challenged Cersei's rule officially. Oct 13, 2016 at 10:14

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