Why The Golden Company Is An Essential Part Of Cersei's Master Plan

As of last week's episode of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister officially knows what she's up against. As the gloating Lannister army was returning from victory at Highgarden, Daenerys' Dothraki army charged, and the Mother of Dragons herself swooped in on the back of Drogon. As a result, the Lannister army was vanquished.
After this overwhelming defeat, Cersei has only one thing to smile about. At least Randyll Tarly confirmed that the gold taken from Highgarden was successfully transported to King's Landing. That pesky Lannister debt to the Iron Bank is now fully repaid.
Like any trusty financial advisor, the Iron Bank's Tycho Nestoris (yes, that is Mark Gatiss) has a suggestion for what Cersei should do with her newfound wealth: Grow her army and navy. And he has a plan for it, too. Go straight to the Golden Company. Money may not be able to bring Cersei's brother-lover back, but it can buy her the Iron Throne.
But what is the Golden Company? Why haven't we heard of it yet? Hold tight, because this is one Thrones lesson you don't want to miss.
Read These Stories Next:
1 of 6
What is the Golden Company?

This Essos-based organization may have a whimsical name, but its purpose is nothing short of vicious. The Golden Company is comprised of 10,000 sellswords, or mercenary soldiers, rented out for their services.

Unlike other mercenary groups, the Golden Company has an impeccable reputation. They never break a contract. That's why their motto is, "Our word is good as gold."

The Golden Company always keeps its word, and it expects its partners to do the same. When Qohor refused to pay the Golden Company for its services, the powerful sellswords sacked the city. After that incident, the Golden Company's reputation as faithful (and ruthless) was cemented.
2 of 6
Have we seen the Golden Company before?

As a matter of fact, we have. Though you probably remember Stannis Baratheon only for the terrible things he did to his offspring — both his daughter and his shadow monster baby — he and Davos had a brief exchange about the Golden Company.

Ser Davos suggested, "Westeros is not the world, your grace. We need to look east for ships and men. Ten thousand skilled soldiers fight for the Golden Company."

Stannis, ever the snob, was horrified by the idea of using sellswords to fight for him.

Davos replied, "We're willing to use blood magic to put you on the throne, but we're not willing to pay men to fight?"

Knowing what we know, Stannis would've been better off listening to Ser Davos.
3 of 6
When and how was the Golden Company founded?

Don't kid yourself — this isn't the first political uprising in the history of Westeros. A little over 100 years ago, Westeros found itself divided between Daemon Blackfyre, a legitimized bastard of King Aegon IV Targaryen, and Daeron II Targaryen, the king's son. This bloody battle was called the Blackfyre Rebellion, and was the first of five attempts for the Blackfyre line to take the Targaryen throne.

Spoiler: the Blackfyres lost. Anyone who sided with Daemon Blackfyre — like his brother, Aegor Rivers, another bastard son of Aegon IV Targaryen — had to flee for Essos.

With his brother's Valyrian steel dagger in tow, Aegor Rivers (nickname: Bittersteel) settled in the free city of Tyrosh with the remaining Blackfyre survivors. There, he founded the Golden Company as a way to keep Blackfyre supporters in one organization, instead of having the exiled lords join other mercenary companies.

The Golden Company was involved in the subsequent Blackfyre rebellions. Now, since the Blackfyre family line has been squashed, the organization has no political associations. Still, the company's words, "Beneath the gold, the bitter steel," is a reference to its founder.
4 of 6
What kind of person joins the Golden Company?

Jorah Mormont, that's who. After Jorah was caught trying to sell poachers as slaves, he was stripped of his family legacy and banished from Westeros. What's an exile to do? Jorah joined the Golden Company.

The Golden Company's principal recruits are exiles, outcasts, and people who no longer fit into society. For example, after the Toyne family of the Stormlands was decimated, its sole remaining member joined the Golden Company and became a general.

At this rate, their other motto could be: "Give us us your tired, your poor, your exiled..."
5 of 6
What repercussions will the Golden Company have for Cersei's plan?

Stannis turned his nose up at sellswords, but practically everyone vying for the Iron Throne has hired an army.

The Dothraki and the Unsullied are fighting for Daenerys because they believe in her abilities. But it took Daenerys years and miracles and dragons to forge these relationships. Cersei Lannister could just as easily buy loyalty.

Having the Golden Company on her side would put Cersei is back in the game.
6 of 6
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from TV


R29 Original Series