8

An interesting question arose in my mind, since Martin actually keeps his books quite close to the medieval history.

Now, almost all medieval kings in Europe (and in my native Russia too, by the way) had such thing as royal jesters (not sure about the translation correctly, maybe they should be called king's fool or king's clown). Those were the comic person, that served as an independent conscience for the king.

That is, those persons were the only one, that were allowed to say even the most undesirable truth in king's face, in form of a joke, and they were not punished for that.

What about Westeros? None of the 5 kings seems to have someone like that around them. At purple wedding we saw the

clown dwarves

but they were mocking only the enemies of the crown, not the prince himself. So, are there any true royal jesters in Westeros reality?

  • 2
    I assume that we're ruling out Tyrion, who seems fond of playing the role? – FuzzyBoots Sep 19 '14 at 12:12
  • 1
    Tyrion is not the jester definitely, he cannot be viewed as king's fool just because he is dwarf – SPIRiT_1984 Sep 19 '14 at 12:14
  • No, but, at least in the first book, he feels free to mock the family's decisions. – FuzzyBoots Sep 19 '14 at 12:16
  • @SeanDuggan I have to agree with SPiRiT, Tyrion is a dwarf with a sarcastic sense of humor, but other than that, he does not play the role of a jester. A jester's mocking requires him to be a "disinterested party", so to speak, which is clearly not the case of Tyrion. On the contrary, he is playing the game of thrones on behalf of his family as best as he can. – Andres F. Sep 19 '14 at 12:35
  • 6
    No one remembers Moon Boy? – Gorchestopher H Sep 19 '14 at 12:53
21

Moon Boy at King's Landing is the Royal Fool and performs something of a similar role. Enough of the great Houses have official Fools (Butterbumps for the Tyrells, Jinglebell at the Twins and Patchface at Dragonstone) to suggest it was once standard. However they don't seem to have a 'Fool's license' to make political jokes. Butterbumps might well be intelligent but the other two are mentally feeble and couldn't perform the role anyway. The Starks were probably too serious to have one at Winterfell and Tywin Lannister is not known for his sense of humour either.

  • I'd also add that while some real-life Fools certainly had their wits about them, many were also developmentally disabled in any number of ways. Which, for folks at that time, simply made them funnier. Dwarves were always a particular favorite. There are recorded instances of others, however. There is even a surviving record of a Fool's joke which doesn't translate well from the greek as it's a homonym joke, and even when translated isn't that funny to us- but brought down both the house and the king's wrath back then. I think the free license to make fun is more a case-to-case basis at best. – Broklynite Sep 19 '14 at 9:49
  • As the emperor Cartagia said in Babylon 5, "Humour...is such a subjective thing, don't you think, Mollari?" – Joe L. Sep 19 '14 at 12:26
  • The Frey clan includes one half-wit named Aegon Frey, nicknamed Jinglebell. Was Jinglebell a true employed fool, or just the butt of a lot of jokes? – nnnn Sep 19 '14 at 17:57
  • It should be noted that Patchface wasn't always mentally handicapped, he was purchased for Princess Shireen as a professional fool and became mentally handicapped after the ship he was aboard sank and he was nearly drowned. – Crow T Robot Sep 19 '14 at 22:20
13

The most notable fool (term used for "jesters in universe") is Ser Dontos Hollard, who after being saved by Sansa

Aides in her escape during the Purple Wedding

While most aren't shown in the TV show, there are several in the books

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