When Jon Snow returns to Castle Black after infiltrating the Free Folk, he is questioned by 5 of the Night's Watch, including Maester Aemon Targaryen.

After Maester Aemon dismisses Jon Snow saying they won't cut off his head today, Ser Alliser Thorne has a short curt conversation with Maester Aemon.

Thorne: I am acting commander here, Maester Aemon.

Aemon: Yes, you are.

Thorne: I don't trust the bastard.

Aemon: He told the truth.

Thorne: You always know when a man is telling a lie. How did you acquire this magical power?

Aemon: I grew up in King's Landing.

Merely growing up in King's Landing is not enough to detect liars, or else people like Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Margery Tyrell, Petyr Baelish, Olenna Tyrell, Maester Pycelle, and many others never would have gotten away with their lies.

Is there anything from the books or other canon sources that hint how Maester Aemon Targaryen became so skilled at detecting liars?

There is a place in Braavos where acolytes are trained to detect lies, but as far as I know, he never trained there.

  • 3
    It would seem to me you've answered your own question
    – Edlothiad
    Sep 16, 2017 at 19:40
  • Jaime and Cersei grew up in Casterly Rock, Margery tyrell grew up in high garden, petyr in rivertun, Olena Tyrell née Redwyne at arbor...
    – Kepotx
    Sep 16, 2017 at 21:36
  • @Kepotx The point is not about where Jaime and Cersei grew up, only about whether their lies would be detected by those who did grow up in King's Landing. Since their lies were not detected by those who did grow up there, Aemon's claim is clearly false.
    – RichS
    Sep 16, 2017 at 22:50
  • 11
    Thorne makes a sarcastic comment. Aemon answers with a sarcastic comment. Period. Sep 18, 2017 at 11:46
  • 2
    He is more than 100 years old; one can guess that in such a long lifespan, a man learns something and a bit more too...
    – Sekhemty
    Sep 25, 2017 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


By saying "I grew up in King's Landing," Maester Aemon simply alludes to the fact that he was a member of the royal family who grew up at court watching, and possibly participating in all the intrigue that went on there. Being able to read people, especially to tell if someone was lying was a necessary skill for him.

  • That doesn't answer the question. Anybody anywhere could claim "I grew up in ____, therefore I can tell who is lying because there are liars everywhere." The question is not about whether Aemon grew up in some specific place, but about how he became skilled at detecting lies. He clearly has a well earned reputation as a lie-detector, so whence comes that skill?
    – RichS
    Sep 16, 2017 at 22:56
  • 9
    @RichS, there is nothing magical here. Experienced courtiers are generally good at reading people, that's all. People who can't tell when they are being lied to generally do not last very long at any royal court.
    – Dima
    Sep 16, 2017 at 23:12

This is a case of over-reading-in-to-stuff-in-GoT. Aemon is simply making a King’s Landing joke. As as been noted by many, including in the Baelish / Sansa conversations about lying, King’s Landing is full of liars. So, when asked, how are you able to be some type of lie detector sir? A funny response could be, “I grew up in King’s Landing”. Aka: I grew up where there are a bunch of liars, and observing liars lie allowed me to learn how to tell when someone is lying.

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