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A few of the characters mentioned "the foreign invaders" when referring to the Unsullied and the Dothraki. However, the same doesn't seem to apply to the Golden Company. I know a bit about the history, but I imagined they would recruit a lot in Essos. How come they're not considered foreign?

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    They are foreign since they mostly come from Essos. There could be some Westerosi born members, but I would say they are Essosi. For the record, I noticed in the same scene where Queen Cersei mentions she hired the Golden Company, she also made a comment about Queen Daenarys bringing "foreign scum" to the Seven Kingdoms. – RichS Aug 30 '17 at 0:18
  • I guess Cersei's rationale is that the Golden Company are not 'scum'. – Möoz Aug 30 '17 at 0:20
  • I know a bit about the history <- can you tell us what or how much you know? – Möoz Aug 30 '17 at 0:22
  • I know they have westerosi origin through the Targaryan line? And also that they employ "knights" but might be wrong on that one? – Dusan Bosnjak 'pailhead' Aug 30 '17 at 0:22
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    Yup, they’re foreign. But they’re sellswords, so they’re temporarily loyal to whoever’s paying them — once they stop paying, the Golden Company stops invading, and goes away. – Paul D. Waite Aug 30 '17 at 8:24
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They are comprised mostly of Westerosi exiles and bastards, and so would fit the 'Westerosi' description


Ok, so, in general, there are a fair amount of differences between the A Song of Ice and Fire and the Game of Thrones canon. However, the history and foundation of the Golden Company seems to be the same in both. Albeit their compositions being slightly differently portrayed:

  • Books: 10,000 men, several thousands horses and a number of elephants.
  • Show: 10,000-20,000 men (including the horses and mention of elephants).

Beneath the gold, the bitter steel

A drawing by artist Marc Simonetti of the character 'Bittersteel' leading a charge of the 'Golden Company'
img src

Now, the Golden Company was founded by an ex-Targaryen and Blackfyre loyalist, in Essos, called Aegor 'Bittersteel' Rivers1. This is important, given that although Bittersteel is primarily from the Targaryen family, he's actually as Westerosi as Dany is; in that he was exiled and lived much of his life in Essos.

In fact, although there are many notable Westerosi members, the majority of them are actually Essosi or Westerosi exiles, including:

  • Black Balaq
    • Yes, he is in fact 'Black'
  • Myles Toyne
    • Exiled member of House Toyne
  • Jon Connigton
    • Exiled Lord of House Connington
  • Lysono Maar
    • Lyseni spymaster, yet he speaks the common tongue well

Our word is good as gold

The Golden Company is renown for not having broken a contract, ever. Until now. You see although their mantra is Bittersteel's dream2, they dream of returning home, to Westeros. This will give Cersei her advantage over the Dothraki or Unsullied, in that most of the members are either bastards or exiled knights or lords from Westeros.

They'll be able to relate, look like and understand the Westerosi culture. In fact, many of them still garb themselves in Westerosi knightly fashion.

Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon

This will be interesting, if the show runners have the opportunity to delve into all of this, perhaps it could spell doom for Cersei. Given that there's a connection with Illyrio and Varys to the Golden Company:

Tyrion: How did you convince the Golden Company to take up the cause of our sweet queen when they have spent so much of their history fighting against the Targaryens?
Illyrio: Black or red, a dragon is still a dragon. When Maelys the Monstrous died upon the Stepstones, it was the end of the male line of House Blackfyre. And Daenerys will give the exiles what Bittersteel and the Blackfyres never could. She will take them home.
-A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five - A Dance With Dragons, Chapter Five (Tyrion II).


  1. Bittersteel is actually one of the 'Great Bastards' (Bloodraven's half-brother). These guys have a huge history that is actually quite significant to the story, definitely worth looking into.

  2. They have always remained loyal to the Blackfyre vision, supporting a few of the Blackfyre rebellions and always ensuring to raise funds in order to be able to carry out their true objective.

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