The HBO series of Game of Thrones is quite blatant about the existence of a sexual relationship between Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell.

I don't recall this being the case in the books, and if it was then it certainly wasn't so obvious.

Is this something that the creators of the TV show have added? Or just something I missed from the books?

  • 3
    There is a line in book three that discusses the rumors. I cannot recall where exactly, towards the back third of the book.
    – user7610
    Jul 6, 2012 at 4:06
  • 3
    Like with most TV, the average viewer needs to have a concept shoved in their face to "get it". Hard to subtly drop hints the way the books do.
    – Ryan
    Jul 6, 2012 at 15:49

8 Answers 8


Things were not quite obvious if you don't expect them, otherwise they seem to jump out at you. GRRM apparently clarified that they were gay, and a couple to boot. (Confirmation can be found here at westeros about the gay part.)

About the hints, one of the more obvious ones was when they formed a Rainbow Guard.

A good collection of such hints is found here at angelfire. They seem to suggest widespread rumours about the two, which the Starks apparently never heard.

Here's a short summary of those clues in case that link goes down:

  • Regarding Renly: there's Margaery’s maidenhood and Stannis's comment that "In your bed she’s like to die that way", a comment that one of Renly's old household servants had "a great deal of practice at being blind, deaf and mute", his "Rainbow guard", and his acclaimed fashion sense
  • Regarding Loras: there's a reference to him as "the Knight o’ Pansies and that bugger’s trick he played", a comment by his brother Garlan to Sansa that Loras wouldn't make a good husband, a comment by Littlefinger that finding him a bride was "doubly difficult in Ser Loras’s case", and the intensity of Loras's sensitivity and wrath over Renly's death
  • Regarding them being a couple: Catelyn notes at Renly's wedding that Renly seems more focused on Loras than Margaery, Oberyn describes Loras as "Renly’s little rose", and Jaime threatens to shove Loras's sword "up some place even Renly never found". Loras tells Tyrion he once loved someone irreplaceable, and separately tells Jaime that even after Renly's death "I will never betray Renly, by word or deed". There are also suggestive references to them "praying" together.
  • 5
    But the wiki says that the Rainbow Guard was not intended to be one of the indications of their sexuality. I think the Rainbow Guard was meant to be more religiously significant. Jul 9, 2014 at 11:54
  • 9
    I read the Rainbow Guard as typical of Renly's romanticism, showmanship, and bluster, with a passing nod towards the Seven. There's no evidence that rainbows imply homosexuality in Westeros, and they probably don't. But Renly sure as hell likes showing off, and a multicolored Guard feels like one-upping the White Cloaks is a most fancy way—and that's right up his alley. Sep 5, 2016 at 19:43
  • There was a joke about Loras not being a great knight as he had been stabbing Renly for years who was still alive...
    – m1gp0z
    Mar 21, 2019 at 18:58

Yes, Renly and Loras were an item; albeit secretly.

There are a lot of signs which point this out within the books (never as blatant as the show), however the author, George R. R. Martin confirmed this is the case (in his own way) on multiple occasions:

The Rainbow Guard isn't meant to symbolize Renly's sexuality. It was more of a culmination of several unrelated things, such as the fact that he'd already used white for the Kingsguard and black for the Night's Watch. A rainbow is seven colors combined together in one object - he compared it to a shamrock being a Irish Catholic symbol of the Holy Trinity, three parts which make up one thing. Plus it has seven colors and is tied to the Seven, plus worshipers of the Seven use prism rainbows in their temples.

And speaking of Renly and Loras...

George specifically stated "Yes, I did intend those characters to be gay." Not that we didn't already know that of course, but I don't believe it's ever been actually confirmed before.

All of this information came from a GOH reception party, which was specifically open to people who registered early and paid to be a "premium" member, so it was a really small gathering and a really great experience just to sit and listen to George talk for about two and a half hours straight. And he knows me! This amuses me to no end. :D

So yeah, in short, book not done but soon, lots of Dany, the Ironborn, and the Dornish, and Renly and Loras were INDEED knocking boots.

As well as:

Interviewer: Is it well known that Renly and Loras are gay? (Jaime's comment seems to indicate as much.)1

GRRM: What do you think?

1 There are also many signs littered throughout the books about Renly and Loras' sexuality, the most famous of which is Jaime's, from A Storm of Swords:

"This is no concern of yours." Ser Loras shoved him aside.

Jaime grabbed the boy with his good hand and yanked him around. "I am the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, you arrogant pup. Your commander, so long as you wear that white cloak. Now sheathe your bloody sword, or I'll take it from you and shove it up some place even Renly never found."
-A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Three - A Storm of Swords, Chapter Sixty-Two (Jaime VII).

  • 2
    This really needs to be the accepted answer! :)
    – Skooba
    Mar 28, 2017 at 15:54

I had the same thought when I was watching the show. It seemed like the books opened the door for that sort of relationship, and certainly raised questions about the sexual preferences of both Renly and Loras. But the series seemed so much more overt that I thought I must have missed something obvious while reading.

There's another point that I think is important here though. There are a number of scenes from the TV series that could not have existed in the books. The books focus on a subset of characters that have dedicated POV chapters. The series has the liberty of exploring interactions between non-POV characters and fleshing out some things that are only suggested in the books. Since neither Renly nor Loras are POV characters, the series creators have a bit of freedom (though having a direct line to GRRM can't hurt). It's pretty impressive that you can watch the series and have relatively surprising moments that also work within the greater framework of the story.

  • 2
    +1 Good thought on the liberties that can be taken with non-POV characters :) Also, keep in mind GRRM has explicitly stated the characters are gay.
    – Andres F.
    Jul 6, 2012 at 4:09

There are subtle hints about the two being homosexual and the fact that it was a common knowledge among the nobles.

Hints from the Books

Catelyn noted it when she was with Renly that he was more attached to Loras than to his wife.

From time to time, King Renly would feed Margaery some choice morsel off the point of his dagger, or lean over to plant the lightest of kisses on her cheek, but it was Ser Loras who shared most of his jests and confidences.
ACOK - Catelyn II

But Catelyn did not appear to think that they were homosexual. There was another curious moment which Catelyn failed to take a note of when Renly sent everyone away at night but asked Loras to stay.

"You might do well to pray yourself," Catelyn added.

"For victory?"

"For wisdom."

Renly laughed. "Loras, stay and help me pray. It's been so long I've quite forgotten how. As to the rest of you, I want every man in place by first light, armed, armored, and horsed. We shall give Stannis a dawn he will not soon forget."
ACOK - Catelyn III

There were others however who appear to have known about it. Prince Oberyn Martell, himself bisexual, had the following conversation with Tyrion.

"There are those who say Ser Loras is better than Leo Longthorn ever was," said Tyrion.

"Renly's little rose? I doubt that."

"Doubt it all you wish," said Tyrion, "but Ser Loras has defeated many good knights, including my brother Jaime."
ASOS - Tyrion V

The choice of words here is curious.

Then of course we have Jaime, blunt as ever.

Ser Loras edged around him. "Are you a craven as well as a killer, Brienne? Is that why you ran, with his blood on your hands? Draw your sword, woman!"

"Best hope she doesn't." Jaime blocked his path again. "Or it's like to be your corpse we carry out. The wench is as strong as Gregor Clegane, though not so pretty."

"This is no concern of yours." Ser Loras shoved him aside.

Jaime grabbed the boy with his good hand and yanked him around. "I am the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, you arrogant pup. Your commander, so long as you wear that white cloak. Now sheathe your bloody sword, or I'll take it from you and shove it up some place even Renly never found."
ASOS - Jaime VII

And then we have Stannis:

"A year ago I was scheming to make the girl Robert's queen," Renly said, "but what does it matter? The boar got Robert and I got Margaery. You'll be pleased to know she came to me a maid."

"In your bed she's like to die that way."
ACOK - Catelyn III

Cersei was also aware of Ser Loras's reputation. She specifically did not want Tommen to be a squire for Ser Loras because the relation between a squire and his master was very close and she suspected that Loras might turn Tommen gay.

“The Red Keep has had no master-at-arms since Aron Santagar was slain,” Ser Loras said, with a hint of reproach in his voice. “His Grace is almost nine, and eager to learn. At his age he should be a squire. Someone has to teach him.”

Someone will, but it will not be you. “Pray, who did you squire for, ser?” she asked sweetly. “Lord Renly, was it not?”

“I had that honor.”

“Yes, I thought as much.” Cersei had seen how tight the bonds grew between squires and the knights they served. She did not want Tommen growing close to Loras Tyrell. The Knight of Flowers was no sort of man for any boy to emulate.
AFFC- Cersei V

Then of course we have Ser Loras' own reactions as well. When Renly died, he killed those present around him in rage and took his corpse with him, and buried him in secret.

Varys gave him a simpering smile. “You would win, my lord. Lord Alester was indeed the first to bend the knee. Many others followed.”

“Many,” Tyrion said pointedly, “but not all?”

“Not all,” agreed the eunuch. “Not Loras Tyrell, nor Randyll Tarly, nor Mathis Rowan. And Storm’s End itself has not yielded. Ser Cortnay Penrose holds the castle in Renly’s name, and will not believe his liege is dead. He demands to see the mortal remains before he opens his gates, but it seems that Renly’s corpse has unaccountably vanished. Carried away, most likely. A fifth of Renly’s knights departed with Ser Loras rather than bend the knee to Stannis. It’s said the Knight of Flowers went mad when he saw his king’s body, and slew three of Renly’s guards in his wrath, among them Emmon Cuy and Robar Royce.”
ACOK- Tyrion VII

We didn't see any of Robb's, Balon's, Joffrey's sworn swords react that way. No one got that emotional.

Then there's something that he said to Tyrion which pretty much says it all that Renly and Loras were in love and a relationship.

"House Tyrell continues through my brothers," Ser Loras said. "It is not necessary for a third son to wed, or breed."

"Not necessary, but some find it pleasant. What of love?"

"When the sun has set, no candle can replace it."

"Is that from a song?" Tyrion cocked his head, smiling. "Yes, you are seventeen, I see that now."
ASOS- Tyrion II

So spake Martin

George has confirmed that he meant for Loras and Renly to be gay, implying that those picking up on the hints are not wrong.

And speaking of Renly and Loras...

George specifically stated "Yes, I did intend those characters to be gay." Not that we didn't already know that of course, but I don't believe it's ever been actually confirmed before.

He also confirmed that Tyrells are aware of his sexuality.

[Are Mace Tyrell and the Queen of Thorns aware of Loras's sexuality?]

Yes and yes.

As to the question whether their relationship was a public knowledge, given Jaime's comment about sheating swords, he replied with a question:

Q: Is it well known that Renly and Loras are gay? (Jaime's comment seems to indicate as much.)

A: What do you think?


The biggest hint is one given by Stannis when they met near Storm's End. When Renly tells him he married Margaery adding "And she was still a virgin" Stannis says "And so she be the rest of her live while she sleeps on your bed". Stannis knew. Lol.

I also found weird when Renly and Loras "pray together" on private...


I actually thought the implications in the book(s) about them were pretty explicit. Consider how Renly's marriage is never consumated... And Loras attitude towards the women/girls who find him so "rock star" like...


The books were blatantly obvious that they were gay and a couple. Considering that ASIOAF uses multiple POVs and the unreliable narrator trick to add flavor and character, the fact that the narrative doesn't outright say so doesn't mean it isn't there.

I mean, come on. RAINBOW Guards. How much more obvious of a hint can you get?

Catelyn, who is conservative and tends to let her prejudices and biases color her observations (and what she doesn't notice), noted that Renly was paying a lot more attention to Loras than to Margaery.

That's not even getting into how Stannis, who knows his brothers, commenting that Margaery will remain a virgin in his bed. Come on, that was a roundabout way of saying "he's not sleeping with her because he prefers boys."

Even Jaime made a comment to Loras about shoving a sword so deep that even Renly didn't reach. Littlefinger said that finding a bride would be a bit difficult for Loras. Oberyn called him "Renly's little rose," a pet name that should've been Margaery's but instead is Loras'. Seriously, people, how is that in any way subtle?

All of this, plus Loras acting like a widower post-Renly's death and becoming a Kingsguard to avoid marriage and saying he would "Never betray Renly, in word or deed" adds to the obvious:

Really and Loras were gay, an all but happily married couple in everything but name and legalities, and it was an open secret among the nobility.

I'm just baffled it took some people seeing their television counterparts making out and screwing like bunnies in front of their faces to get the obvious.


There were quite a number of hints dropped here and there throughout the books.

Here's a comprehensive list.

  • 5
    That's the same link as in the accepted answer.
    – Ingmar
    Mar 22, 2012 at 13:37

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