Barbrey Ryswell, by Delaney02©
|Title||Lady of Barrowton|
|Allegiance|| House Ryswell|
|Spouse||Lord Willam Dustin|
|Book(s)|| A Feast for Crows (appendix)|
A Dance with Dragons (appears)
|Personal Arms|| The spiked crown and crossed long axes of House Dustin quartered with the golden horse head of House Ryswell|
Appearance and Character
Barbrey is tall, unbent, and handsome. She has wrinkles around her mouth and eyes, and her hair is equal parts brown and grey. She wears her hair tied behind her head in a widow's knot. She usually dresses all in black, but she sometimes accentuates her attire with vair. Her gown has a high stiff collar.
While intelligent, Lady Dustin has grown into a bitter woman over the years. Her personal banner flying over the keep of Barrow Hall quarters the spiked crown and crossed long axes of House Dustin with the golden horse head of her father, Lord Rodrik Ryswell.
Barbrey is the surviving daughter of Rodrik Ryswell, Lord of the Rills, and is the sister of Roger, Rickard, and Roose. Their sister was Bethany, the late second wife of Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort.
Brandon Stark, the eldest son of Lord Rickard Stark, often rode the Rills while being fostered at Barrowton with old Lord Dustin. Infatuated with the heir of Winterfell, young Barbrey had an affair with Brandon, who took her maidenhead. Lord Rodrik hoped to wed his daughter to a Stark, but Lord Rickard betrothed his heir to Catelyn Tully of Riverrun. Barbrey claims Brandon did not want to wed Catelyn and that the betrothal was the idea of Walys, Rickard's maester at Winterfell. Rodrik then hoped to wed Barbrey to Brandon's younger brother, Eddard Stark, but that was not to be. Barbrey instead wed Willam Dustin, the young Lord of Barrowton.
The abduction of Lyanna Stark by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen led to the executions of Brandon and Lord Rickard Stark by King Aerys II Targaryen in King's Landing. Now Lord of Winterfell, Eddard returned to the north to call his banners for Robert's Rebellion. Not yet half a year into marriage, Willam rode off to war against Barbrey's objections. Barbrey gifted him with a fine red steed, the pride of her father's herd, and Willam swore he would return to her mounted on the horse.
Willam attended the wedding of Eddard and Catelyn at Riverrun during the war, and he accompanied Lord Stark south after the siege of Storm's End. Lord Dustin was slain in the combat at the tower of joy, however, and Ned built cairns for the fallen. After the war ended, Lord Stark returned Willam's steed to Barbrey. She bears a grudge against Eddard, who brought the bones of his sister, Lyanna, to Winterfell for burial in its crypt, but not the bones of her husband, Lord Dustin, to Barrowton.
As her husband's widow, Barbrey continued to rule Barrowton in her own name. She was fond of her sister Bethany's son, Domeric Bolton, who served at Barrowton for four years as her page. Since Domeric's death in 297 AC, Barbrey has nursed suspicions about Ramsay Snow's involvement.
A Dance with Dragons
Barbey is one of the signatories of the letters that Ramsay Bolton sends announcing that Moat Cailin has been retaken from the ironborn. She hosts the Boltons at Barrowton, where the wedding of Ramsay to "Arya Stark", actually Jeyne Poole, is to occur. She cannot abide the presence of Ramsay and his Bastard's Boys and forbids them from Barrow Hall, as she suspects he had a hand in the death of her nephew, Domeric Bolton. She gives grey colts to Ramsay's squires, Big Walder and Little Walder Frey.
When Lord Roose Bolton learns that Stannis Baratheon has left the Wall, he decides to move Ramsay's wedding from Barrowton to Winterfell. Barbrey insists on taking custody of "Arya" until the wedding occurs. Theon Greyjoy, who travels in Lady Dustin's retinue to Winterfell, sits beside her at the wedding feast. Although Barbrey is astute and has good political savvy, she fails to see through Lord Wyman Manderly's behavior during the feast. She is offended by Wyman's apparent capitulation despite his son, Ser Wendel Manderly, dying at the Red Wedding, and she dismisses Lord Manderly to Theon as craven to the bone—just after Wyman serves his pies. Theon suspects that Barbrey is aware the bride is an imposter.
Among the snowmen that squires build along the battlements of Winterfell, one is a snow lady resembling Barbrey. Lady Dustin has Theon lead her into the crypts of Winterfell, where she explains much of her history and story to to him. Barbrey resents that Lord Eddard Stark returned the horse of her husband, Lord Willam Dustin, but not his bones after Robert's Rebellion. To spite Eddard's shade, Barbrey tells Theon that if Eddard's bones, which were heading north before Moat Cailin fell to the ironborn, are discovered north of the Neck she will ensure they are never put to rest in the crypts. Barrowton is staunch for House Bolton largely because of this grievance. Before leaving the crypts, Barbrey and Theon discover that swords are missing from the tombs, including that of Brandon Stark, her lover from her youth.
As tensions arise in snow-bound Winterfell, Barbrey and her brother, Ser Roger Ryswell, calm knights from House Manderly when Ser Hosteen Frey insults Lord Manderly. When Barbrey requests a more cheerful song than "The Winter Maid" during a meal, Abel sings "The Queen Took Off Her Sandal, the King Took Off His Crown" and "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". While she appears to be loyal to House Bolton, Barbrey bears a grudge against House Frey due to the fact that several of her own men were killed at the Red Wedding. She points this out to Ser Aenys Frey when several suspicious deaths occur in Winterfell. She is absent when the Manderlys and Freys clash after the death of Little Walder and Theon escapes the castle.
Quotes by Barbrey
—Barbrey to Theon Greyjoy
Barbrey: The bride weeps ... Dressing her in grey and white serves no good if the girl is left to sob. The Freys might not care, but the northmen ... they fear the Dreadfort, but they love the Starks.
Theon: Not you.
Barbrey: Not me, but the rest, yes. Old Whoresbane is only here because the Freys hold the Greatjon captive. And do you imagine the Hornwood men have forgotten the Bastard's last marriage, and how his lady wife was left to starve, chewing her own fingers? What do you think passes through their heads when they hear the new bride weeping? Valiant Ned's precious little girl. Lady Arya's sobs do us more harm than all of Lord Stannis's swords and spears.—Barbrey and Theon Greyjoy
—Barbrey and Theon Greyjoy
Barbrey: Lord Wyman is not the only one who lost kin at your Red Wedding, Frey. Do you imagine Whoresbane loves you any better? If you did not hold the Greatjon, he would pull out your entrails and make you eat them, as Lady Hornwood ate her fingers. Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates ... they all had men with the Young Wolf.
Roger: House Ryswell too.
Barbrey: Even Dustins out of Barrowton. The north remembers, Frey.
Quotes about Barbrey
Lady Barbrey is a woman who knows how to nurse a grievance. Be grateful for that.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Barbrey Dustin.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Willam Dustin.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Domeric Bolton.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.