Fighting in the Hornwood

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Note: The title of this article is pure conjecture and may be subject to change.
Fighting in the Hornwood
Conflict War of the Five Kings
Date 299 AC
Place Hornwood and Hornwood forest, the north

House Manderly captures Hornwood but later withdraws, resulting in a Bolton victory

Ramsay Snow believed dead after intervention of Winterfell
House Bolton.svg House Bolton House Hornwood.svg House Hornwood
House Manderly.svg House Manderly

House Stark.svg Kingdom of the North and the Trident/House Stark

House Bolton.svg Ramsay Snow House Manderly.svg Lord Wyman Manderly
House Cassel.svgSer Rodrik Cassel
Unknown Unknown
Unknown total
Unknown total
Lady Donella Manderly

Fighting in the Hornwood takes place in 299 AC in the Hornwood lands of the north during the War of the Five Kings. Fighting occurs between House Bolton, led by the Bastard of the Dreadfort, Ramsay Snow, on the one side, and Hornwood men loyal to Lady Donella Hornwood and Manderly men led by Lord Wyman Manderly of White Harbor on the other side.

Succession Crisis

Following the assault and capture of Lord Eddard Stark in King’s Landing, his son Robb raises a northern host and marches south into the riverlands. House Hornwood answers the call to banners, and Lord Halys of the Hornwood and his son and heir, Daryn, march with him. Halys is killed by westermen at the battle on the Green Fork whilst his son Daryn dies at the hands of Ser Jaime Lannister at the battle in the Whispering Wood. This leaves Halys's widow, Lady Donella Hornwood, as the head of the house but without an heir, as Daryn was Halys and Donella's only child.[1][2]

Following the deaths of Halys and Daryn a dispute arises among the northern lords over the Hornwood lands. Lord Wyman Manderly offers to marry Donella, who is a cousin of his and a Manderly by birth. Alternately he offers to marry his son, Ser Wendel, to Donella. In either case, this would allow for the Manderlys to control the Hornwood lands. Mors “Crowfood” Umber also offers to marry Donella, which would allow House Umber to take control of the Hornwood lands. However, Donella is unwilling to marry any of the men.[2]

House Glover foster Larence Snow, the bastard of Halys, at Deepwood Motte and seek for him to succeed Halys once legitimized by Robb Stark, now the King in the North.[2]

Despite having no succession claim, House Bolton's lands border those of the Hornwoods and they also seek the Hornwood lands. Ramsay Snow, the bastard of Lord Roose Bolton, raises a force of men at the Dreadfort, whom Donella hopes are meant for the war in the riverlands rather than any fighting in the North.[2]

House Tallhart announces their claim as well. Berena, the wife of Leobald Tallhart, is a Hornwood by birth and they have two sons, both nephews to Donella. Leobald suggests sending his younger son, Beren, to be fostered by Donella, who could take the Hornwood name once being named heir and succeed her upon her death. Maester Luwin concludes Beren Tallhart is the best solution to the Hornwood succession crisis, but Ser Rodrik Cassel, the castellan of Winterfell, argues that the child is only a boy and could easily be displaced by the armies of Houses Bolton or Manderly.[2]

Houses Flint and Karstark have blood ties to House Hornwood through the female line and so may also be potential claimants to their lands.[2]

It is also suggested that perhaps Lady Donella could be required by Robb to marry a riverlord instead in order to strengthen the alliance between the north and the riverlands. Luwin suggests a member of either House Blackwood or House Frey.[2]

Fighting in the Hornwood Forests

After Donella leaves the harvest feast at Winterfell to return home, she is captured en route to the castle of Hornwood by Bolton men led by Ramsay Snow who have invaded the Hornwood lands. Ramsay forcefully marries her that night in order to claim her lands. In response, Lord Wyman Manderly orders an invasion of the Hornwood and captures the Hornwood castle to prevent the Boltons from taking it.[3]

Ramsay forces Donella to name him his heir and locks her in a tower. Fighting breaks out in the Hornwood forest between Manderly and Bolton men. In response Ser Rodrik Cassel leads a force of men from Winterfell to capture Ramsay. The Bastard of Bolton is supposedly killed after Rodrik arrives, although it was later revealed that in fact Ramsay's friend Reek was killed instead, wearing Ramsay’s clothing. It is revealed that Donella had starved to death in the tower and was forced to eat her own fingers.[3][4][5][6]


Despite the supposed death of Ramsay, the northerners of Winterfell still fear his father, Roose Bolton, will press a claim on the Hornwood lands. Rodrik also states that fighting is ongoing between Bolton and Manderly men as he lacks a strong enough force of men to stop them.[7] Rodrik imprisons "Reek"—actually Ramsay—in Winterfell's dungeon.[7] "Reek" is taken into the service of Theon Greyjoy during the capture of Winterfell.[8] Theon eventually sends him to gather reinforcements, resulting in Ramsay and Bolton men slaying Rodrik, White Harbor knights and Hornwoods, along with other northern Stark loyalists, in a battle at Winterfell. Theon allows Ramsay into Winterfell, resulting in the slaughtering of the ironborn garrison of Winterfell and sacking the winter town.[9]

Following the betrayal of House Stark by the Boltons and Freys at the Red Wedding, the Iron Throne legitimizes Ramsay and names his father, Lord Roose Bolton, Warden of the North.[10] Ramsay presents himself from this point onwards as Lord of the Hornwood and heir to the Dreadfort.[11][12][13][14]

Because Wyman Manderly's son and heir, Ser Wylis, was captured at the Trident, Wyman agrees to a deal with the Lannisters. In exchange for Wyman executing the imprisoned Lord Davos Seaworth, the Hand of the King and envoy of Stannis Baratheon, as well as Wyman withdrawing from the Hornwood lands and castles and submitting to Roose, Wylis will be released from Maidenpool.[15][16][17][18] Sometime after this agreement is made the Manderlys withdraw from Hornwood territory, allowing for the Boltons to take control of the region.

Whilst some Hornwoods submit to Ramsay and attend his wedding to "Arya Stark",[14] other Hornwood survivors of the Bolton betrayal at Winterfell join Stannis following his victorious fight by Deepwood Motte.[19]


Roose Bolton's bastard had started it by seizing Lady Hornwood as she returned from the harvest feast, marrying her that very night even though he was young enough to be her son. Then Lord Manderly had taken her castle. To protect the Hornwood holdings from the Boltons, he had written, but Ser Rodrik had been almost as angry with him as with the bastard.[3]

—thoughts of Bran Stark

He is the only witness to the worst of the Bastard's crimes. Perhaps when Lord Bolton hears his tale, he will abandon his claim, but meantime we have Manderly knights and Dreadfort men killing one another in Hornwood forests, and I lack the strength to stop them.[7]

Rhaegar: Have it as you will. By any name, he shall soon be wed to Arya Stark. If you would keep faith with your promise, give him your allegiance, for he shall be your Lord of Winterfell.
Wylla: He won't ever be my lord! He made Lady Hornwood marry him, then shut her in a dungeon and made her eat her fingers.[17]