Battle of the Trident

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Battle of the Trident
War of the Usurper.png
Location 4, Factions:Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. Lannister. Targaryen.
Conflict Robert's Rebellion
Date 283 AC
Place The Trident
Result Decisive rebel victory
Combatants
Rebels Loyalists
Commanders
Lord Robert Baratheon
Lord Eddard Stark
Lord Jon Arryn
Lord Hoster Tully
Prince Rhaegar Targaryen
Prince Lewyn Martell
Ser Barristan Selmy
Ser Jonothor Darry
Strength
35,000 40,000
Casualties
Unknown Significant, force scattered
Rhaegar Targaryen
Lewyn Martell
Jonothor Darry

The Battle of the Trident was the battle that ultimately determined the outcome of Robert's Rebellion. The battle was fought between rebel and royal troops at the Green Fork of the Trident, across what would thereafter be known as the ruby ford. It ended in a victory for the rebels.

Background

After the defeat at Stoney Sept, King Aerys II Targaryen had at last realized that the rebellion was a major threat to the Targaryens, perhaps the greatest threat to the dynasty since Daemon Blackfyre. The rebel forces were assembled on the east banks of the Green Fork and once the Baratheon forces joined with the Starks, Tullys, and Arryns, they had sufficient strength to threaten King's Landing, commanded by Robert Baratheon they marched south along the kingsroad to the main crossing point over the Trident.

By this time, Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen had reappeared to take command of the royalist army. King Aerys had gracelessly reminded the Martells that Princess Elia Martell was in his power and dispatched her uncle, Prince Lewyn Martell of the Kingsguard, to assume command of 10,000 Dornish troops marching up the kingsroad, and joined them to Rhaegar's royalist army enroute to the Trident. At the same time, Ser Barristan Selmy and Ser Jonothor Darry of the Kingsguard were sent to rally the scattered forces of Lord Jon Connington and joined them to Rhaegar's army. Additionally, Rhaegar persuaded his father to ask Lord Tywin Lannister for help.

Though a significant army and navy, under command of loyalist lords Mace Tyrell and Paxter Redwyne, was laying siege to Storm's End, few of the southron levies were called upon to march north. Finally the royal army, under command of Rhaegar, numbering some 40,000 men, marched up the kingsroad to the main crossing point over the Trident, as this was the route most likely to be taken by the rebels.

Opposing armies

The Battle of the Trident as depicted by Justin Sweet in The World of Ice and Fire.
Battle of the Trident by Abe Papakhian

Rebel army

The army of the rebels consisted of:

  • All of the forces of the North, though not all of the soldiers took part in this particular engagement, nor were all of them south of the Neck.
  • Almost all forces of the Vale of Arryn, though a few houses had remained loyal to the Targaryens, and not all of the soldiers took part in this particular engagement.
  • Some of the riverlands forces, as the river lords had been deeply divided during the war. House Tully and many subject lords had taken the side of the rebels, while other houses, such as Houses Darry, Mooton, and Ryger, some with personal ties to the Targaryens, had taken up the royal cause.[2] House Frey, the largest of the banner houses to House Tully, had not committed either way.
  • Some of the stormlands. Though Robert Baratheon was the Lord of Storm's End and a central figure of the rebellion, most of the stormlords were trapped in the south, and badly bloodied by Ashford and the siege of Storm's End. As such, their contribution to the battle in the north was limited.

Total: Approximately 35,000.

Royal Army

The army of the royalists consisted of:

It was said that the royal army was larger, but that the rebels were more battle hardened. It was near 40,000 men, with a tenth of that knights. The rest were archers, freeriders, and foot soldiers. The infantry consisted of both spearmen and pikemen.[3]

The Battle

Robert Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen, by M.Luisa Giliberti

The battle took place at the crossing of the Green Fork of the Trident that would later be known as the ruby ford. The Dornishmen, under the command of Prince Lewyn Martell, threatened Robert Baratheon's left flank. Ser Lyn Corbray, picking up his wounded father's sword, Lady Forlorn, led a charge and broke the Dornishmen. During the charge Lyn encountered Lewyn, who was already injured. In the ensuing fight, Lyn killed Lewyn.[4]

Elsewhere during the battle, Ser Barristan Selmy killed several men,[5] Lord Jason Mallister avenged his brother Jeffory Mallister by slaying three of Rhaegar Targaryen's bannermen,[6] and Robert himself joined the fighting and met Rhaegar in single combat on horseback.

Though many great lords and knights either lost their lives or made names for themselves in the fighting, the battle was decided when Robert killed Rhaegar with a blow of his warhammer. The blow was so hard that the rubies adorning Rhaegar's armor were shattered free to litter the river, giving the ruby ford its name.[7] Leaderless, the royal army broke and fled.[3]

Barristan Selmy was close to death when he was brought before Robert. Although he was counseled to kill him by Lord Roose Bolton, Robert spared Barristan's life and sent his own maester to tend to his wounds.[5] Lord Wyman Manderly granted the Wolf's Den to Ser Bartimus as a reward for saving his life during the battle.[8]

Notable Casualties

Aftermath

The battle was the decisive engagement of the war. After the victory, the Freys decided to join the winning side; Lord Hoster Tully calls Walder Frey "the Late Lord Frey" because he was late in choosing a side for the rebellion.

The way to King's Landing was now open for the rebels, while the only significant loyalist force left was invested in the siege of Storm's End. The rebels also learned that House Lannister forces were moving toward King's Landing at a fast pace. Lord Robert Baratheon had been wounded during the battle, so Lord Eddard Stark led the rebel army down the kingsroad towards the capital, racing to reach it before the Lannisters.[9]

Quotes

Eddard: Do you remember the Trident, Your Grace?

Robert: I won my crown there. How should I forget it?[9]

Eddard Stark and Robert I Baratheon


Eddard: You avenged Lyanna at the Trident.

Robert: That did not bring her back. The gods be damned. It was a hollow victory they gave me. A crown ...[9]

Eddard Stark and Robert I Baratheon


Robert won the tourney of the Trident. He overthrew Prince Rhaegar and named me his queen of love and beauty.[10]

- Cersei Lannister to Margaery Tyrell

References and Notes


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