Brynden Tully

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Brynden Tully personal arms.png Brynden Tully House Arryn.svg
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Blackfish by Amok©

Alias Blackfish
Ser Brynden the Blackfish
Brynden Blackfish
Title Ser
Warden of the Southern Marches
Knight of the Gate (formerly)
Allegiance House Tully
House Stark
House Arryn (formerly)
Culture Rivermen
Born In or between 242 AC and 245 AC[1]
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (appears)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)

Played by Clive Russell
TV series Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 6

Ser Brynden Tully, also known as Brynden the Blackfish, is a knight from House Tully and is the younger brother of Lord Hoster Tully. He serves as the Knight of the Gate for House Arryn.

A skilled and experienced fighter who made his name during the War of the Ninepenny Kings, Brynden's personal coat of arms consists of the traditional Tully colors of blue and red, but with a black fish instead of a white trout. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Clive Russell.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Brynden Tully

Following the motto of his house, Brynden knows his duty and firmly believes in upholding justice and the bonds of family. A kind man, he was the one to whom the Tully children and the ward Petyr Baelish would go to first with their problems.[2]

Brynden is tall and lean, with a hoarse, smoky voice. His features are lined and weathered. His once-auburn hair has gone to grey. He has bushy eyebrows and bright blue eyes.[3]

As Knight of the Gate, Brynden wears heavy plate and helm, but when commanding outriders he trades this for mail and leather. In either suit of armor, Brynden's cloak is fastened by an obsidian clasp in the shape of a black fish.[4] At Riverrun he also wears grey ringmail under blackened steel, and a trout crest adorns his helmet.[5] His chestnut courser is decorated in red and blue.[5]


Brynden is the younger brother by five years to Lord Hoster Tully. The brothers remained close through their childhood. After squiring for Lord Darry, Brynden was knighted. During the War of the Ninepenny Kings, he left the riverlands with many other knights to fight the Band of Nine. He fought alongside the likes of Ser Barristan Selmy and proved himself a great and worthy knight, gaining fame and renown throughout the Seven Kingdoms.

When Brynden returned his relationship with his brother Hoster became strained, with Brynden refusing to marry Bethany Redwyne, a woman Hoster had chosen for him to advance the family's fortunes. This led to years of nasty quarrels and estrangement. After one such quarrel with his elder brother, when Lord Hoster called him the "black goat of the Tully herd", Brynden pointed out that their sigil was a fish, so he took the name "Blackfish", and took for his personal sigil the Tully emblem, but with a black trout jumping, instead of a silver trout.[2]

With no reconciliation in sight after Robert's Rebellion, Brynden accompanied his niece Lysa to the Vale of Arryn, where he served House Arryn. For his years of loyal service, Lord Jon Arryn named him Knight of the Gate, a position of great honor in the Vale.[6]

Recent Events

Ser Brynden - C.Griffin ©

A Game of Thrones

Ser Brynden meets his niece Catelyn Stark at the Bloody Gate when she arrives after capturing Tyrion Lannister and riding through the Mountains of the Moon.[2] After news of attack of the Lannisters upon the riverlands arrive, Brynden quarrels with Lysa Arryn over her decision to not send aid to Riverrun.[7] He resigns his position as Knight of the Gate and accompanies Catelyn to White Harbor and on to Moat Cailin.[8]

Once Ser Brynden meets Robb Stark at Moat Cailin, he quickly becomes a part of Robb's war council and is assigned as leader of the outriders. In that capacity he clashes with Lannister cavalry under command of Ser Addam Marbrand; his repulse of that force allows Robb to cross the Green Fork undetected.[4] He participates in the battle in the Whispering Wood, commanding the party that draws Ser Jaime Lannister out of his encampment, and he leads the van at the Battle of the Camps.[9]

A Clash of Kings

After lifting the siege of Riverrun and finding his brother Lord Hoster Tully on his deathbed, Brynden chooses to reconcile with him, leaving the past behind.[3]

Brynden helps Robb Stark, King of the Trident, plan his expedition into the westerlands, and on the ride west, he leads Robb's scouts. Ser Stafford Lannister does not post sentries for the host he is training, and they are quickly routed by Robb's army in the Battle of Oxcross.[10]

A Storm of Swords

Blackfish in the Riverlands - by Amok ©

After campaigning with Robb throughout the westerlands, Brynden returns to Riverrun. The Blackfish and the king tell Ser Edmure Tully that the Battle of the Fords ruined Robb's plan to defeat Lord Tywin Lannister, explaining that Brynden's scouts had found a good spot for an ambush along the gold road.[11]

After the death of Hoster, Brynden hits the funerary boat with a fire arrow after Lord Edmure is unable to do so.[12]

Brynden remains at Riverrun when Robb travels to the Twins to attend the wedding of Edmure, in preparation for the plan to retake Moat Cailin from the ironmen. In recognition of the Blackfish's military contributions, Robb names him Warden of the Southern Marches.[13]

A Feast for Crows

After the deaths of Robb and Catelyn and capture of Edmure in the Red Wedding, the castellan[14] Brynden continues to hold Riverrun in Robb's name, even as other river lords surrender and bend the knee to the Iron Throne. Besieged by Lannister and Frey forces, he treats with Ser Ryman Frey but is unmoved by Ryman's empty daily threats to hang his nephew, Edmure. Brynden refuses to give up Riverrun or Robb's widow, Queen Jeyne Westerling.

The Blackfish holds out for several months, until Ser Jaime Lannister comes to resolve the siege of Riverrun. Brynden parleys with Jaime, but only as an excuse to hear Jaime's reasons for not returning Catelyn's daughters, Sansa and Arya, and to see Jaime's stump. Jaime tells Brynden that he will be allowed to take the black if he surrenders and mentions that Jon Snow is now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch; Brynden recalls Catelyn's distrust of Jon and assumes that the boy's new position was given to him by the Lannisters.[5]

Before Edmure surrenders the castle to Jaime, Brynden escapes by swimming under the portcullis that had been slightly raised at the Water Gate. He presumably swims down the Red Fork and his current whereabouts are unknown.[15] Due to his escape, Brynden has been declared an outlaw.[16]

A Dance with Dragons

When Jaime resolves the siege of Raventree, he is told by Lord Tytos Blackwood that the Blackfish has not come to Raventree Hall.[16]

Quotes by Brynden

Remind me not to linger here. Last I looked, I was southron myself.[8]
– Brynden, to Catelyn Stark

Peace. Peace is sweet, my lady ... but on what terms? It is no good hammering your sword into a plowshare if you must forge it again on the morrow.[17]
– Brynden, to Catelyn Stark

My first rule of war, Cat, is never give the enemy his wish.[3]
– Brynden, to Catelyn Stark

You must be blind as well as maimed, Ser. Lift your eyes, and you will see the direwolf still flies above our walls.[5]
– Brynden, to Jaime Lannister

Quotes about Brynden

Tully had a craggy face, deeply lined and windburnt beneath a shock of stiff grey hair, but Jaime could still see the great knight who once enthralled a squire with tales of the Ninepenny Kings.[5]
Jaime Lannister's thoughts


2 sons

References and Notes

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