Smallfolk or lowborn are the common people of the known world. Most are peasants who have to obey their local lord, even though they may never catch a glimpse of him during their life. The nobility of Westeros have great power over their smallfolk, whom they are expected to protect.
Most smallfolk are poor, illiterate people living provincial, humble, and simple lives. Most do not have surnames. They use roads which are crooked muddy tracks that do not appear on parchment maps. Instead of castle-forged steel or lances, they are more likely to use staffs as weapons. They often name their daughters after flowers and herbs, and peasant girls are more likely to bleed from losing their maidenhead on wedding nights. They are far removed from the major players of the game of thrones, but are affected by those decisions, good or bad. Bastards with a lowborn parent can be called baseborn.
In Westeros the smallfolk often dress in raw wool and dull brown roughspun, while nobles wear colored velvets, silks, and samites. The opposite is true in Braavos, where nobles dress in dark hues while bravos are brightly colored. The people of Lys, both noble and smallfolk, resemble the Valyrians of old.
Some among the smallfolk may believe the world to be flat. Smallfolk are often superstitious; some may believe that if a woman eats rabbit while pregnant, her child will be born with long floppy ears. They often name daughters after flowers or herbs, like Violet or Tansy.
Even though they are born in the lowest social status in Westeros, it is possible for smallfolk to rise in social status.
- Hedge knights are usually born as smallfolk, but they may rise to higher positions. For example, Ser Duncan the Tall became Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for King Aegon V Targaryen. Great service may also be rewarded with knighthood as exemplified by the smuggler Davos, who slipped through the naval blockade during the siege of Storm's End. This saved the castle garrison from starvation, and Davos was rewarded by Stannis Baratheon with land, keep, and knighthood, becoming a landed knight.
- Successful merchants can sometimes be ennobled, such as the founder of House Spicer, a wealthy merchant whose father was lowborn.
- It is possible for smallfolk to join city guards or the Night's Watch with the possibility of becoming a commander, like Janos Slynt, Commander of the City Watch of King's Landing.
- Smallfolk are allowed to join the Citadel of Oldtown, where they study to become maesters.
- The Faith of the Seven allows all to become septons or septas.
- The Poor Fellows, an order of the Faith Militant, accepted members regardless of their status or their sex.
Characters popular with the smallfolk
- King Aegon I Targaryen
- Prince Viserys Targaryen
- King Jaehaerys I Targaryen
- Good Queen Alysanne Targaryen
- Ser Willam Stafford
- Ser Harys Hogg
- Jonquil Darke
- Elissa Farman (on Fair Isle at least)
- Ser Lucamore Strong
- Lord Rodrik Arryn
- Prince Baelon Targaryen
- King Viserys I Targaryen
- Queen Alicent Hightower
- Lord Alyn Velaryon
- King Daeron II Targaryen
- Serwyn of the Mirror Shield
- Prince Aemon the Dragonknight
- King Baelor I Targaryen
- King Aegon V Targaryen
- Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
- Lord Renly Baratheon
- King Robert I Baratheon
- Queen Margaery Tyrell
- Ser Loras Tyrell
- Ser Barristan Selmy
- Lord Beric Dondarrion
- Simon Toyne
- Ser Arthur Dayne
- High Sparrow
Characters unpopular with the smallfolk
- King Harren Hoare
- King Aenys I Targaryen (loved at the start of his reign but hated by the end of it)
- King Maegor I Targaryen
- Queen Rhaena Targaryen (feared by the smallfolk at the end of her life)
- Lord Rego Draz
- Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen (hailed as the "Realm's Delight" in her youth but hated at the end of her life)
- Lord Bartimos Celtigar
- Lord Brynden Rivers
- Lord Tywin Lannister
- Tyrion Lannister
- Queen Cersei Lannister
- The fat High Septon
- House Lannister
Queen Rhaenys Targaryen was concerned for smallfolk and aided her brother, King Aegon I Targaryen, in gaining their allegiance. Smallfolk turned against King Aenys I Targaryen after he wed his children, Princess Rhaena and Prince Aegon to each other. Tens of thousands of smallfolk died during the Dance of the Dragons. King Aegon III Targaryen tried to feed the hungry and entertain the smallfolk. Smallfolk loved King Baelor I Targaryen, although his generosity alarmed the nobility. King Aegon V Targaryen was also beloved by the commoners, although most of his efforts to aid them with laws and reform were eventually reversed by the nobles.
Thousands of smallfolk streamed out the city gates, carrying their children and worldly possessions on their backs, to seek safety in the countryside. Others dug pits and tunnels under their hovels, dark dank holes where they hoped to hide whilst the city burned.—writings of Gyldayn
A man has his pride, no matter how lowborn he may be.
The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are.
That was the way of war. The smallfolk were slaughtered, while the highborn were held for ransom.—thoughts of Tyrion Lannister
Stannis: What do the smallfolk say of Renly's death?
Davos: They grieve. Your brother was well loved.Stannis: Fools love a fool, but I grieve for him as well.
I'm too bloody lowborn to be kin to m'lady high.
They are born, they live, they love, they die.
If we mingle with the commons, they will love us better.
It is being common-born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones.
- The Sworn Sword.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 46, Bran VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 33, Samwell II.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 26, Samwell III.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: The Quarrelsome Daughters: Myr, Lys, and Tyrosh.
- So Spake Martin: Trade with Asshai (August 26, 2000)
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 15, Tyrion III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 67, Jaime VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Prologue.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 36, Cersei VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
- The Sons of the Dragon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon I.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragons.
- Fire & Blood, The Year of the Three Brides - 49 AC.
- Fire & Blood, A Surfeit of Rulers.
- Fire & Blood, Jaehaerys and Alysanne - Their Triumphs and Tragedies.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progency, and Pain.
- The Rogue Prince.
- Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Daeron II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 3, Tyrion I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Baelor I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 24, Cersei V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 42, Davos II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 12, Tyrion II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- Fire & Blood, A Time of Testing - The Realm Remade.
- Fire & Blood, Birth, Death, and Betrayal Under Jaehaerys I.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- The Mystery Knight.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 41, Tyrion IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 14, Tyrion IV.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: The Red Kraken.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 23, Daenerys III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.