HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, inspired by George R.R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, kicks off Season 5 on Sunday, bringing with it dragons, drama and death. Lots of death.
With all the mayhem in Westeros, it should be no surprise that its warring families are also big fans of wine. After all, as Tyrion Lannister—the oft-beleaguered “Imp”—puts it, “everything’s better with some wine in the belly.”
To help soften the blow of your favorites potentially being killed off in characteristically gruesome fashion (no spoilers here!), we’ve paired the marquee characters with wine they’d likely drink when not playing the game of thrones.
The hedonistic Tyrion has a taste for wine and women, but he’s arguably the shrewdest player in King’s Landing. Pair Tyrion’s penchant for earthly delights with fleshy reds, rich in velvety and supple tannins. Look no further than Bordeaux’s regal Right Bank chateaus.
Fickle, vengeful and with biting cynicism, Cersei is the last person you’d want to mess with in King’s Landing. Dangerously petty, the Queen Regent is completely in charge of her feminine wiles, and she would enjoy sipping structured, dark and lush reds from Spain’s Jumilla region.
Holding the Wall against invasion from the Wildlings and mysterious White Walkers is hard work, but the stoic, steely and acerbic Jon Snow is up to the challenge. When not walking the 700-foot-tall parapets, he’d skip honeyed icewine for austere and structured Rheingau Rieslings.
Pity demure, naïve and sweet Sansa, oft hostage of the Lannisters. First betrothed to the venomous Joffrey only to be married off to Tyrion, she’s suffered plenty during her lonely internment in King’s Landing. Her Lady deserves a drink, especially Central Coast, California Chardonnay. Echoing the flavors in lemon cakes—Sansa’s favorite—these bottles balance creamy body with zesty lemon notes.
Over in Essos, the Mother of Dragons and Breaker of Chains has a lot on her hands, raising three hungry dragons and building an empire from the ground up. At the end of the day, she’d sip Côte-Rôtie—with rich smoky, roasted notes balanced with silky fruit—as she surveys the day’s work.
Ambitious and stubborn, would-be-King Stannis is marching his armies north to defend the kingdom against the northern threats from Beyond the Wall. Hard-hearted and assertive, Stannis would enjoy ageworthy, masculine and tannic Barolo from Piedmont.
The rose of the Tyrell clan, this ambitious, beautiful Lady is hiding more than a few thorns for her enemies. Charming and beguiling, Margaery exudes the confidence and bravery that Sansa appears to lack. As she plots and manipulates her way around the Iron Throne, she’d be found sipping South African Chenin Blanc, floral and friendly, but with pronounced acidity.