Siege of Winterfell
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|Siege of Winterfell|
|Conflict||War of the Five Kings|
The Siege of Winterfell is the name of an unresolved conflict (as of A Dance with Dragons), in which King Stannis Baratheon is trying to retake Winterfell from Lord Roose Bolton, the newly appointed Warden of the North.
On the march through the Wolfswood, Stannis's army is increased in size by Houses Glover, Mormont and finally Karstark, led by castellan Arnolf Karstark. Unknown to Stannis, Arnolf is secretly working with House Bolton and during the final battle plans to turn his forces on Stannis.
Stannis also holds the support of the northern mountain clans, who remain loyal to the memory of "The Ned". He is also planning to meet Mors "Crowfood" Umber and a portion of House Umber closer to Winterfell.
Winterfell is held by Lord Roose Bolton and his bastard son, Ramsay. His force, aside from the strength of House Bolton, consists of a few thousand of Houses Frey, Ryswell, Dustin, Cerwyn, Hornwood, Manderly and the other half of House Umber under Hother "Whoresbane" Umber.
Although Roose has the larger host, the loyalties of his forces are highly questionable, particularly the Manderlys, Whoresbane Umber and the Hornwoods. Roose suspects that only the Freys and Dustins would be truly loyal to him if word got out that Bran and Rickon Stark were still alive.
Winterfell is overcrowded with forces and on edge due to a series of murders with no confirmed suspects.
March on Winterfell
Stannis Baratheon and his host's march on Winterfell is delayed by a severe blizzard and numerous men are lost to starvation or the cold. The last known report of Stannis's army's whereabouts is that he is three days from Winterfell.
Mors Umber's vanguard arrives at Winterfell
Mors "Crowfood" Umber and his vanguard arrives at Winterfell before Stannis's main host.
Using the snowstorm as cover, Mors has his lads dig pit traps near several of the Winterfell gates. The heavy blizzard allows Mors's boys to do this without the castle sentries seeing them. Mors then has his men sound horns hoping to draw out several of the castle forces in the traps, but the castle garrison is put on alert and mans the walls of Winterfell.
Attempt to engage Stannis's host
After the murder of Little Walder Frey and the near battle inside Winterfell between the Freys and Manderlys, Roose Bolton, fearing another battle inside the castle between his own forces, sends out Hosteen Frey and Aenys Frey along with the 2,000 Freys to engage Stannis's host.
The Freys' presence increases tensions with the northerners as many had lost kin at the Red Wedding. Roose also sends out the forces of Lord Wyman Manderly as he does not trust the Manderly forces. By doing this Roose hopes that Stannis will be defeated without Bolton men suffering any casualties and if not, Roose hopes to weaken Stannis's forces in battle and in the process eliminate a potential future rival in Wyman Manderly. The absence of near 3,000 men in Winterfell also means that Roose also has an easier time managing food supplies to his forces.
The escape of "Arya Stark", however, leaves Ramsay in the castle with only a small force to retrieve his bride.
Command of the Freys passes to Ser Hosteen Frey
Aenys Frey is killed when the Freys stumble into one of Mors Umber's pit traps near the Hunter's Gate, meaning that the command of the Freys passes to Ser Hosteen Frey, who, while a capable swordsman, is not a clever commander.
Stannis alerted to the planned treachery of Arnolf Karstark
Thanks to a letter from Jon Snow delivered by Tycho Nestoris, Stannis is made aware of the planned treachery of Arnolf Karstark. He has Arnolf and his son and grandsons arrested while disarming their forces.
Stannis prepares his host to met the Bolton vanguard in the village. 
Ramsay Bolton, in a letter sent to Jon Snow, claims Stannis is dead and his army is broken. However, it is unknown if the letter's contents are true or not, and indeed whether Ramsay Bolton in fact wrote it.
|“||We all know what my brother would do. Robert would gallop up to the gates of Winterfell alone, break them with his warhammer, and ride through the rubble to slay Roose Bolton with his left hand and the Bastard with his right. I am not Robert. But we will march, and we will free Winterfell … or die in the attempt. ||”|
References and notes
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell (Reek IV).
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize (Asha II).
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 42, The King's Prize (Asha II), 561.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I, 677.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 62, The Sacrifice (Asha III).
- ↑ The Winds of Winter sample chapter
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 69, Jon, 907-908.