Hoster Tully

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House Tully.svg
Hoster Tully
House Tully.svg
Jonathan Standing HosterT.jpg
by Jonathan Standing ©

Title Lord Paramount of the Trident
Lord of Riverrun
Allegiance House Tully
Culture Rivermen
Born In or between 238 AC and 240 AC[1], at Riverrun[2]
Died In 299 AC, at Riverrun
Spouse Lady Minisa Whent
Book(s) A Game of Thrones (appears)
A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (mentioned)
The World of Ice and Fire (mentioned)

Lord Hoster Tully is the Lord of Riverrun and the head of House Tully. He was married to Lady Minisa Whent, with whom he had three children who survived infancy: Catelyn, Lysa, and Edmure. His younger brother is Brynden Tully.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Hoster Tully

In his youth Hoster had been tall and broad, strong, with blue eyes and brown hair. [3][4] As he grew older, he became portly, and his hair and beard became streaked with grey.[3] Stircken by illness since 296 AC, Hoster has lost a lot of weight, and now appears to have shrunk. His once brown hair and beard have gone white.[3][5] Hoster has always been a proud man.[4] When he was younger, he could never stay still, and was often traveling somewhere.[6]

Hoster's armor is silver plate-and-mail, while his cloak and surcoat are blue and red. The crest atop his greathelm is a silver and bronze trout. His shield was massive oak-and-iron.[7] Hoster also owned a hunting horn. [7] When he was younger, Hoster would often ride a brown gelding.[8]


Early Life

According to George R. R. Martin, Hoster served in the War of the Ninepenny Kings, during which time he met and befriended Lord Baelish. Because of this friendship, Hoster would later agree to foster Lord Baelish’s son, Petyr, at Riverrun.[9]

Lord of Riverrun

Following the death of his father, Hoster inherited the rule to Riverrun, at some point in or after 264 AC. Following the Tully funeral customs, Hoster's father was sent downriver, which Hoster was to set aflame by firing a fire arrow. While Hoster missed his first shot, his second arrow found sail.[7]

At some point, Hoster attempted to betroth his younger brother Brynden to Bethany Redwyne. Brynden, however, refused, which began a decades-long feud between the two brothers.[10] Hoster would receive other offers for Brynden over the years, including one from Lord Bracken and one from Lord Walder Frey, but Brynden refused them all.[3]

Hoster himself was married to Lady Minisa Whent. She gave birth to four sons and two daughters; however, only three children (two daughters and a son) would survive infancy. Following the death of his two eldest sons, Hoster came to regard his eldest daughter, Catelyn, as his heir, until another son was born to him. According to Catelyn, she was Hoster's favorite child.[11] She would read to him in his solar, when his eyes tired.[12] A restless man in his prime, Hoster was often away from home.[6] His daughters and ward sometimes accompanied him.[13] When they did not, Hoster always told Catelyn to wait for him at Riverrun when he left on one of his journeys, which she did.[8]

Hoster and Minisa had another daughter, Lysa, who was followed by Edmure. Minisa became pregnant a sixth time, but died in childbirth, giving birth to another son. The child died with her.[14] Hoster had deeply loved his wife, and was deeply saddened by her death.[14] He would miss her still decades later.[5]

When Catelyn Tully was eight years old, Hoster and his brother Brynden had one of their larger quarrels, during which Hoster called Brynden "the black goat of the Tully flock". Brynden, however, pointed out that the sigil of House Tully was a trout, making him a black fish instead of a black goat. Hoster's brother took a black trout for his sigil since that day.[10]

Hoster wished to make advantageous marriages for his children. He betrothed his eldest daughter Catelyn to Brandon Stark, the heir to Winterfell, when she was only twelve years old.[15] He began negotiations with Lord Tywin Lannister, aiming to betroth his younger daughter Lysa to Jaime Lannister, the heir to Casterly Rock.[16] When Jaime spent a fortnight at Riverrun in his early teens, Lord Hoster took care to seat him next to Lysa with every meal.[17] By 281 AC, Lord Tywin had invited Hoster to travel to King's Landing, where Tywin resided as Hand of the King, to discuss the dower.[16] However, King Aerys II Targaryen named Jaime to his Kingsguard before the agreements were finalized, thereby preventing the betrothal from being made.[16][18] When Lord Tywin suggested his younger son, the deformed dwarf Tyrion, in Jaime's stead, Hoster declined, informing Tywin that he wanted a "whole man" for his daughter.[19]

Hoster gives his daughter Lysa moon tea.
Art by Juliana Pinho

However, Lysa had fallen in love with Hoster's ward, Petyr Baelish, over the years.[20] Meanwhile, Petyr had fallen in love with Lysa's older sister, Catelyn,[21] who did not return his feelings.[22][13] Lysa had already lost her virginity to Petyr – though Petyr had been so drunken he was convinced he had slept with Catelyn.[20] When, Catelyn's betrothed Brandon visited Riverrun in 282 AC,[23] Petyr challenged him for Catelyn's hand[22] following the announcement of the wedding date.[24] Brandon won the duel, and Petyr was grievously wounded.[25] In the fortnight that Petyr was allowed to remain at Riverrun to recover some of his strength, he and Lysa slept together again, this time conceiving a child.[20] Once Petyr was strong enough, Hoster sent him away in a litter.[25] When Lysa discovered her pregnancy, she informed her father of the fact, hoping that Lord Hoster would allow her to marry the father of her child. Hoster, however, considered his former ward to be too low of birth,[26] and with the help of maester Kym gave his daughter moon tea without informing her what the drink was, and so aborted her child.[20][24] Lysa nearly died from the experience.[27]

Robert's Rebellion

In 282 AC, Robert's Rebellion began after Brandon Stark and his father, Lord Rickard, had been executed by King Aerys II Targaryen, and the king had demanded the heads of Lords Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark. While having been unwilling to chose a side in the rebellion at first,[27] Hoster eventually joined the rebellion on the side of the rebels. He fought in the Battle of the Bells, where he was wounded by Lord Jon Connington, the Hand of the King.[21] Hoster had arranged a new betrothal for Catelyn, this time to Eddard Stark, before the battle.[22] The death of the heir of Lord Jon Arryn, however, gave Hoster a new opportunity. In exchange for Hoster's support, the elder and heirless Lord Arryn agreed to marry Hoster's younger daughter, Lysa, who had proven to be fertile following her aborted pregnancy.[28] Lysa's betrothal was hastily arranged, and Hoster saw both his daughters marry in the same ceremony at Riverrun.[29][28]

During the weddingfeast, Hoster's younger brother Brynden informed Hoster that he had taken service with Lord Jon Arryn, and would leave Riverrun.[10] Hoster saw Brynden's decision as personal rejection.[30] He disowned his brother,[5] and, angered by Brynden's departure, would not speak his brother's name anymore.[10]

While Hoster remained mostly at Riverrun during the remainder of the war,[28] he did participate in further fighting in the war. Several of his bannermen, such as the Mootons, Goodbrooks, Rygers, and Darrys,[6][31] remained loyal to House Targaryen. Hoster engaged in battle with them, putting at least one village of House Goodbrook to the sword.[31] Because the levies of Lord Walder Frey, another one of Hoster's bannermen, arrived after the decisive battle of the Trident had been fought, Hoster has since referred to Walder as the "Late Lord Frey".[6] When Lord Walder married his seventh wife, Annara Farring, within a few years after the war had ended, Hoster did not attend the wedding, a fact which is resented by Walder.[32]

Recent History

Just as he once sought to make advantageous marriages for his daughters, Hoster also began seeking an advantageous marriage for his son and heir, Edmure. While being offered a daughter of Lord Walder Frey, who was only several years older than Edmure, Hoster declided.[32] Hoster once invited Princess Arianne Martell, the heiress to Dorne, to come to Riverrun to meet Edmure. However, Doran Martell, Arianne's father and the Prince of Dorne, declined the offer.[33]

In 296 AC, Hoster fell ill,[6] and would eventually become bedridden.[3]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

When marauders under Ser Gregor Clegane attack the riverlands in retribution for Catelyn's capture of Tyrion Lannister, Hoster insists that the matter be brought before the Iron Throne so that Lord Tywin Lannister cannot pretend that a counterattack was unprovoked.[25]

With the Lannisters threatening his borders and lands, Hoster keeps the severity of his illness a secret,[3] with his son Ser Edmure taking many of his duties.[25] Hoster is bedridden when Riverrun is besieged by the army of Jaime Lannister and Edmure is captured.[34] His brother, Brynden, and grandson, Robb Stark, arrive to break the siege and succeed in doing so during the Battle of the Camps. Hoster’s daughter Catelyn is with them, and visits her father, who is still lucid.[3]

A Clash of Kings

After so many years, Hoster reconciles with his brother, Brynden.[5] Hoster's mind continues to slip more and more; he constantly loses track of events and time happening all around him.[4]

A Storm of Swords

Hoster Tully's funeral
By Jauma

During his last weeks, Hoster is only able to mutter a few feverish words and no longer recognizes his children. His son Edmure has assumed control of Riverrun in his stead. He often speaks in his delirium of Lysa and her aborted pregnancy, initially bewildering Catelyn with his references to "Tansy" and "the blood". Though Catelyn and Edmure write to Lysa asking her to visit her father before his death, she never responds to the ravens.[35] Hoster dies in 299 AC and is succeeded by his son, Edmure.[7]

At his funeral Hoster's body is put in a boat and set down the Red Fork by his liege lord, King Robb Stark, and six of his bannermen: Lord Jonos Bracken, Lord Tytos Blackwood, Lord Karyl Vance, Lord Jason Mallister, Ser Marq Piper, and Lothar Frey, who replaces Ser Desmond Grell at the last minute upon Robb's request. Hoster's armor, shield, hunting horn, and a wooden sword are added to the boat. As part of the funeral custom a flaming arrow is fired to light the sails as the boat travels downriver. Edmure is supposed to fire the arrows, but misses three shots in his grief. Brynden, seeing this, takes the bow from his nephew's hands and succeeds in lighting the sail before the boat disappears downriver.[7]

Quotes about Hoster

Catelyn: He says he is too sick to fight.

Brynden: I am too old a soldier to believe that. Hoster will be chiding me about the Redwyne girl even as we light his funeral pyre, damn his bones.[3]

- Catelyn Stark and Brynden Tully

Lord Hoster looked as noble as a king, my lady. [7]

- Jeyne Westerling to Catelyn Stark


House Stark
House Arryn

References and Notes

  1. See the Hoster Tully calculation.
  2. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Hoster Tully.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
  8. 8.0 8.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
  9. So Spake Martin: US Signing Tour (Half Moon Bay, CA) (November 18, 2005)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 34, Catelyn VI.
  11. 11.0 11.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 45, Catelyn VI.
  12. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
  13. 13.0 13.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 55, Catelyn VII.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 33, Catelyn IV.
  15. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 6, Catelyn II.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
  17. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
  18. The World of Ice and Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  19. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  21. 21.0 21.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 29, Arya V.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
  23. See the Petyr Baelish's duel against Brandon Stark
  24. 24.0 24.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Petyr Baelish.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 40, Catelyn VII.
  26. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 68, Sansa VI.
  27. 27.0 27.1 George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Lysa Tully.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
  30. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Brynden Tully.
  31. 31.0 31.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
  32. 32.0 32.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn IX.
  33. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 40, Princess In The Tower.
  34. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.

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