Butcher's Ball

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Butcher's Ball
Conflict Dance of the Dragons
Date 130 AC
Place south of Gods Eye, riverlands
Result decisive victory for the blacks
House Targaryen (Aegon II).svg Greens House Targaryen (Rhaenyra).svg Blacks
Kingsguard.svg Ser Criston Cole House Dustin.svg Lord Roderick Dustin
Ser Garibald Grey
Ser Pate of Longleaf
less than 3,600 300 mounted knights
300 longbowmen
3,000 archers
3,000 spearmen
hundreds of Winter Wolves
Ser Criston Cole

The Butcher's Ball was a battle fought south of the Gods Eye during the Dance of the Dragons.[1]


While encamped at Harrenhal, Ser Criston Cole, the Hand of the King to Aegon II Targaryen, and Prince Aemond Targaryen, the king's brother and regent, disagreed on how respond to the blacks' victories in the Battle by the Lakeshore and the fall of King's Landing. With their supplies running low, Criston decided to march south from Harrenhal though the riverlands to join the army of Ormund Hightower, Lord of the Hightower, and Prince Daeron Targaryen, which was marching through the Reach. Rather than accompany Criston, Aemond One-Eye decided to burn the riverlands with his dragon, Vhagar.[1]

Criston's thirty-six hundred greens traveled south along the western shore of the Gods Eye lake, but their riverlord enemies practiced scorched earth tactics, burning their own forests and villages. The blacks used guerrilla warfare against the greens, many of whom deserted or joined the blacks. On one occasion the greens came across a grisly display of feasting corpses, the bodies of men who had fallen at the Fishfeed. Later at the village of Crossed Elms, Criston's forces were attacked by blacks disguised as corpses, losing twelve men before realizing Black Trombo's ruse.[1]


While heading toward the Blackwater Rush, Ser Criston Cole led his weakened greens into an ambush at a stony ridge south of the Gods Eye. The greens were outnumbered two to one by the forces of the riverlands and the north.[1]

Criston held a parley with Ser Garibald Grey, Ser Pate of Longleaf, and Roderick Dustin, Lord of Barrowton. Criston offered to surrender, but was refused by the three blacks. Criston, a famed knight who was also the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard for Aegon II in addition to being the King's Hand, prepared to fight all three of his counterparts at once. Before he could do so, however, the Kingmaker was struck down by arrows fired by Red Robb Rivers and two of his longbowmen.[1]

With Criston dead, Lord Dustin sounded the charge of the blacks' vanguard, which consisted of his Winter Wolves and the river knights. The greens quickly collapsed, with hundreds of them killed while trying to flee the ridge.[1]


After the battle, Ser Garibald Grey remarked, "Today was butchery, not battle." Upon hearing Garibald's observation, Mushroom began calling the slaughter the Butcher's Ball.[1]

Ser Criston Cole's death in the Butcher's Ball marked the high point of Rhaenyra Targaryen's fortunes. However, Prince Aemond Targaryen and King Aegon II Targaryen still remained to carry on the greens' cause.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.