House Ryswell

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House Ryswell of the Rills
House Ryswell.svg
Coat of arms A black horse's head, eyes and mane red, on bronze within a black engrailed border
(Bronze, a horse's head sable orbed and maned gules within a bordure engrailed sable)
Head Lord Rodrik Ryswell
Region North
Title Lord of the Rills[1]

House Ryswell of the Rills is a noble family of the north, one of the prominent houses sworn to House Stark of Winterfell.[2] The Ryswells rule the Rills,[3] the extensive area between the barrowlands, the Stony Shore, and Blazewater Bay in the north.[4]

Their blazon is a black horse's head, eyes and mane red, on bronze within a black engrailed border.[5] Rodrik Ryswell, Lord of the Rills, and his quarrelsome sons personalize their arms with horseheads of different colors — grey, black, brown, and gold (for Rodrik).[6] Their words are not mentioned in the books.


House Ryder were First Men kings who ruled the Rills and eventually submitted to House Stark, the Kings of Winter from Winterfell.[2] It is unknown how or when House Ryswell came to rule the Rills, although King Theon Stark once put down a rebellion in the Rills.[2]

An old story from before Aegon's Conquest tells that when seventy-nine deserters left the Wall, one of them was the youngest son of Lord Ryswell, who decided to look for shelter at his father's keep. However, Lord Ryswell returned his son and his companions to the Nightfort, where they were buried alive in the ice to forever stand the watch they had abandoned. Late in his life Lord Ryswell took the black to end his days watching behind his son.[7]

Lady Robyn Ryswell was the second wife of Jonnel Stark, Lord of Winterfell.[8]

Lord Rodrik Ryswell's elder daughter, Bethany, was the second wife of Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort.[3] Rodrik hoped to advance the status of his House by marrying his younger daughter, Barbrey, to a Stark of Winterfell, but Brandon Stark, the heir of Lord Rickard Stark, was betrothed to Catelyn Tully. Barbrey instead wed Willam Dustin, Lord of Barrowton. After Brandon and Rickard were killed by King Aerys II Targaryen, Lord Eddard Stark wed Catelyn instead of Barbrey.[9] Lord Dustin and Ser Mark Ryswell died fighting beside Eddard at the tower of joy in the aftermath of Robert's Rebellion.[10]

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

Spearmen from the Rills compose part of the force that Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, leaves under command of Ronnel Stout and Ser Kyle Condon in the aftermath of the fighting at the fords of the Trident.[11]

Maester Aemon sends a raven to the Rills in a plea for help to defend Castle Black from the wildlings.[12]

A Feast for Crows

The small council of King Tommen I Baratheon hears that Umbers and Ryswells are joining Ramsay Bolton for the siege of Moat Cailin.[13]

A Dance with Dragons

The Ryswells and Dustins are the first to declare for House Bolton when Lord Roose is named Warden of the North. The two houses surprise the remaining ironborn on the Fever River and manage to burn their longships.[14] The ironmen at Moat Cailin repel three attacks by the northern host, but Theon Greyjoy negotiates the castle's surrender.[15]

Rodrik Ryswell, Lord of the Rills, his quarrelsome sons, and his daughter Barbrey attend the wedding of Ramsay to "Arya Stark" at Winterfell.[16] Ryswell and Dustin squires have snowball fights within the castle.[9] Rickard Ryswell, or perhaps Roger, flirts with one of Abel's washerwomen,[9][N 1] while Roose Ryswell sends scouts in search of King Stannis Baratheon's army in the wolfswood, though none return.[17]

Roger Ryswell is present with Barbrey, Lord Bolton, and Ser Aenys Frey when Theon is questioned about the deaths that are happening in the castle, including one of Roger's men-at-arms. Roger is hostile towards the Freys, as Ryswell men were slain at the Red Wedding.[17]

House Ryswell at the end of the third century

The known Ryswells during the timespan of the events described in A Song of Ice and Fire are:

Without specified familiar relationship with the main branch, other Ryswells include:


Personal arms

Historical Ryswells


Four horseheads proclaimed the four Ryswells of the Rills—one grey, one black, one gold, one brown. The jape was that the Ryswells could not even agree upon the color of their arms.[6]

—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy

My father had great ambitions for House Ryswell.[6]

Barbrey: And Lord Wyman is not the only man who lost kin at your Red Wedding, Frey. Do you imagine Whoresbane loves you any better? If you did not hold the Greatjon, he would pull out your entrails and make you eat them, as Lady Hornwood ate her fingers. Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates … they all had men with the Young Wolf.

Roger: House Ryswell too.

Barbrey: Even Dustins out of Barrowton. The north remembers, Frey.[17]


  1. Theon Greyjoy spots Rickard nuzzling at the neck of one of Abel's washerwomen (supposedly Frenya) near the Burned Tower of Winterfell, but it is possible Theon mistakes Roger for Rickard, since previously Greyjoy was unable to tell the difference between Rickard and Roger.[15]


  1. A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A Dance with Dragons, Appendix.
  4. The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
  5. The Citadel. Heraldry: the North
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 56, Bran IV.
  8. 8.0 8.1 The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark Lineage.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
  10. 10.0 10.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 39, Eddard X.
  11. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
  12. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 55, Jon VII.
  13. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
  14. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 15, Davos II.
  15. 15.0 15.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 20, Reek II.
  16. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
  18. The appendices of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons list Roger, Rickard, and Roose as Rodrik's quarrelsome cousins, but the text of A Dance with Dragons specifies them as his sons in 20. Reek II and 32. Reek III.