Capture of Winterfell

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Capture of Winterfell
Conflict War of the Five Kings
Date 299AC
Place Winterfell
Result Greyjoy victory
House Stark House Greyjoy
Bran Stark Theon Greyjoy
minimal castle garrison (Rodrik Cassel took most of them) ~30

The capture of Winterfell,[1] fall of Winterfell,[2] or taking of Winterfell[3][4] is a daring raid that ends in the capture by House Greyjoy of Winterfell, the ancestral home of House Stark. It marks a turning point in the War of the Five Kings.



As Theon Greyjoy planned, after Dagmer Cleftjaw laid siege to Torrhen's Square as a diversion, Ser Rodrik Cassel raises Winterfell's levies and marches with six hundred men, leaving Winterfell minimally defended.[5][3] Theon travels inland with about thirty ironborn to Winterfell, planning to take it by surprise.


The ironborn attack in the night eight days after Rodrik leaves. Theon sends four ironborn to go over Winterfell's double walls with grappling hooks and swim its moat. From there they sneak up on Alebelly, whom they slay in a postern gate's turret, and they open the gate to let in the rest of the ironborn. With speed and surprise they take the remaining garrison unawares. Hayhead is also wounded. The crippled Bran Stark is able to sense intruders while in the mind of his direwolf, Summer, but Summer and Shaggydog are unable to escape the godswood. A wounded Maester Luwin tells Bran that he was able to send a raven to White Harbor, but a second raven was shot down by the ironborn.[3]

Theon has the people of Winterfell brought to the Great Hall so they can hear Bran yield the castle. Declaring himself the Prince of Winterfell, Theon takes Bran and Rickon Stark, Big Walder and Little Walder Frey, Meera and Jojen Reed, and Beth Cassel as wards and hostages. "Reek", who has been released from a tower cell, and Osha agree to serve Theon. Stygg slays the blacksmith Mikken when he refuses to yield and Theon has Septon Chayle drowned as a sacrifice to the Drowned God.[3][4]


The Stark and Reed children eventually escape. To avoid embarrassment, Theon has Ramsay kill two boys in place of the Starks and announce to the world that they are dead.[4][6] The grief over this news causes King Robb Stark to seek solace in Jeyne Westerling's arms and, ultimately marry her. Realising that he is in danger of losing the North, Robb's army begins its march home from Riverrun, a route that will require crossing the Twins.


I'm Prince Theon now. We're both princes, Bran. Who would have dreamed it? But I've taken your castle, my prince.[3]
- Theon Greyjoy to Bran Stark

All's well, Greyjoy. Hear the quiet? You ought to be drunk with joy. You took Winterfell with fewer than thirty men, a feat to sing of.[4]
- thoughts of Theon Greyjoy

With thirty men, I captured Winterfell in a night. You needed a thousand and a moon's turn to take Deepwood Motte.[1]
- Theon Greyjoy to Asha Greyjoy

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