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Stay of Execution, by Simon Fellah © Fantasy Flight Games

A headsman is an executioner who beheads condemned people on behalf of an authority, such as a king or lord.


Many headsmen use axes to dispatch their victims,[1][2][3][4] although Ser Ilyn Payne uses a greatsword.[5][6] The head of the condemned can be placed on a headsman's block during the execution.[7]

The King's Justice is the royal executioner for the King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men, the monarch who sits the Iron Throne.[8][9]

Instead of using a headsman, the Lords of Winterfell from House Stark choose to execute condemned people themselves, in the manner of the First Men.[10]

The Lords of the Eyrie from House Arryn throw the condemned out of the Moon Door instead of employing a headsman.[11]

Known headsmen


A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is.[10]


  1. Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
  2. Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  3. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
  4. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.
  5. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
  6. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
  7. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 20, Catelyn III.
  8. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
  9. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 1, Bran I.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 38, Tyrion V.