Lord of Bones

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Lord of Bones
Rattleshirt by John Aslarona©
Rattleshirt by John Aslarona©

Alias Rattleshirt[1]
Lord o' Bones[2]
Bag o' Bones[3]
Culture free folk
Died In 300 AC, at Castle Black
Book(s) A Clash of Kings (appears)
A Storm of Swords (appears)
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)
A Dance with Dragons (appears)

Played by Edward Dogliani ~ Season 2 | Season 3
Ross O'Hennessy ~ Season 5
TV series Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 5

The Lord of Bones,[2] also mocked as Rattleshirt,[4] is a free folk leader of renown.[1][5] His given name is unknown. In the television adaptation Game of Thrones he is portrayed by Edward Dogliani and Ross O'Hennessy.

Appearance and Character

See also: Images of Rattleshirt

The Lord of Bones is a small man with a knobby chin, thin mustache, and pinched cheeks. His eyebrows join over the bridge of his nose, he has a widow's peak and dark hair.[5] He is considered sly, cruel and treacherous.[6] The Lord of Bones distrusts wargs and the Night's Watch.[2][5]

The Lord of Bones is mocked as Rattleshirt due to his armor, which is made up of loosely-tied bones that clatter as he moves. The bones come from aurochs, cows, elk, goats, humans, mammoths, and sheep.[2] Rattleshirt wears a yellowed broken giant's skull as his helm,[5] and his arms are covered with bearclaws sewn to boiled leather. Rattleshirt rides a goat-like horse[2] and wields a sword.[3]

History

Before Mance Rayder made peace between them while becoming King-Beyond-the-Wall, Rattleshirt warred with Harma Dogshead.[3]

Recent Events

A Clash of Kings

Lord of Bones - by Amok ©

When the Night's Watch plans for the coming battle with the gathered wildlings, they are wary of a few of the leaders, Rattleshirt among them.[1]

Rattleshirt leads a party of fourteen free folk and eight dogs that catches up with Qhorin Halfhand and Jon Snow in the Skirling Pass. He claims Ebben's steel battle-axe and orders Ragwyle to gut Jon. Qhorin has secretly encouraged Jon to join the wildlings, however, and the Lord of Bones reluctantly accepts Jon into his party after the youth slays Qhorin with the aid of his direwolf, Ghost. Rattleshirt claims some of the Halfhand's bones after his body is burned in a pyre.[2]

A Storm of Swords

Rattleshirt brings Jon Snow to Mance Rayder's camp along the Milkwater. He is dismissed by Mance, but not before he casts suspicion on Jon's true motives.[5] Mance tasks his Lord of Bones with doubling patrols and ensuring the free folk host continues south toward the Wall.[3]

During the wildling assault on the Wall, Rattleshirt is spotted near Long Barrow.[7] He is captured by Cotter Pyke,[8] however, and is trotted out at the meeting at Castle Black between Jon Snow and Lord Janos Slynt as a witness of the death of Qhorin Halfhand at the hands of Jon.[9]

A Dance with Dragons

Jon Snow, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, hears rumors that Stannis Baratheon intends to grant lands and castles to Rattleshirt and Sigorn.[10] Stannis and his red priestess, Melisandre, execute Mance for desertion from the Night's Watch and for trying to destroy the Wall with the Horn of Joramun.[11] Before and while being burned in a cage, Mance denies being King-Beyond-the-Wall. Jon has his archers kill Mance to end his suffering.[11]

After the Lord of Bones submits to Stannis,[11] Melisandre controls the wildling raider with a magical ruby on his wrist.[12] Stannis assigns him to serve the Lord Commander,[12] and Rattleshirt surprisingly defeats Jon in a sparring session.[13] Melisandre later tasks Rattleshirt with rescuing a girl she believes to be Jon's sister, Arya Stark. Jon is shocked to learn that Melisandre glamored Mance and Rattleshirt to each appear as the other, with the Lord of Bones actually the man burned in Melisandre's cage.[14] Now using the name Abel, Mance travels with spearwives to rescue Arya from Ramsay Bolton at Winterfell.[15]

Quotes by the Lord of Bones

Rattleshirt by Mike S Miller ©
The black crow is a tricksy bird. I trust him not.[2]
- the Lord of Bones to Ygritte


The free folk have no need of cravens.[2]
- the Lord of Bones to Jon Snow


Might be you fooled these others, crow, but don't think you'll be fooling Mance. He'll take one look a' you and know you're false. And when he does, I'll make a cloak o' your wolf there, and open your soft boy's belly and sew a weasel up inside.[5]
– the Lord of Bones to Jon Snow


Jon: Qhorin told me to pretend to join the wildlings. 'You must not balk, whatever is asked of you,' he said. He knew they would make me kill him. Rattleshirt was going to kill him anyway, he knew that too.

Janos: So now you claim the great Qhorin Halfhand feared this creature?
Rattleshirt: All men fear the Lord o' Bones.[9]

- Jon Snow, Janos Slynt, and the Lord of Bones


Melisandre: So long as he wears the gem he is bound to me, blood and soul. This man will serve you faithfully. The flames do not lie, Lord Snow.

"Rattleshirt": I'll range for you, bastard. I'll give you sage counsel or sing you pretty songs, as you prefer. I'll even fight for you. Just don't ask me to wear your cloak.[12]

- Melisandre and "Rattleshirt" (Mance Rayder) to Jon Snow

Quotes about the Lord of Bones

Edward Dogliani as Rattleshirt in Game of Thrones
Rattleshirt, we called him. Treacherous and bloodthirsty. If there's honor in him, he hides it down beneath his suit of bones.[6]
Jon Snow to Stannis Baratheon


A small, malicious, treacherous man, as stupid as he is cruel. Jon did not believe for a moment that he would keep faith.[11]
- thoughts of Jon Snow


Rattleshirt could wash his hands a hundred times a day and he'd still have blood beneath his nails.[14]
- Jon Snow to Melisandre

References and Notes

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