Battle on the Green Fork
|Battle on the Green Fork|
|Conflict||War of the Five Kings|
|Place||Eastern bank of the Green Fork, between the Twins and the inn at the crossroads|
The battle on the Green Fork is an early battle in the War of the Five Kings and is the first to involve forces of House Stark. The battle occurs along the Green Fork of the River Trident in the riverlands.
With the riverlands forces scattered, most of their land under Lannister control, and Riverrun besieged by Ser Jaime Lannister's host, Lord Tywin Lannister occupies the ruby ford over the Trident. He plans to intercept the Stark host at the only crossing available to them over the Trident, other than the Twins, where Lord Walder Frey remains neutral in the conflict and is thought unlikely to join them.
However, Catelyn Tully persuades the Freys to join Robb Stark's side, opening the way over the Twins. Robb, who does not wish to stake everything on one battle with Tywin, splits his host in two. The foot and one tenth of the horse under Lord Roose Bolton march down the kingsroad east of the Green Fork to engage Tywin, while Robb himself commands the rest of the cavalry and crosses west of the river, in the hope of lifting the siege of Riverrun by taking Jaime unawares.
The Stark army, commanded by Lord Roose Bolton, marches throughout the night in an effort to take the Lannister army by surprise. They arrive in the early morning and launch their attack. However, the Lannister army arrays itself in time to meet them.
The westermen order of battle:
- The center: Ser Kevan Lannister commands 10,000 men, with Lords Lefford, Lydden and Serrett at his side with 300 heavy horse. The rest of the center is a mixed infantry force including pikemen, archers, axemen, swordsmen, and spearmen.
- The right: Ser Addam Marbrand commands 4,000 knights and other heavy lancers, among them Ser Flement Brax and members of houses Crakehall and Swyft.
- The left/van: Ser Gregor Clegane commanding. At 1,000 men, the vanguard is entirely mounted, but consists of Tyrion Lannister and his clansmen, freeriders, sellswords, and raw recruits.
- The reserve: Personally commanded by Lord Tywin Lannister. 5,000 men, half mounted, half afoot.
Tywin places his undisciplined men on the left, to tempt the Stark commander, who Tywin believes is the untested Robb Stark, to overcommit there. Tywin hopes the van will rout and the Starks will plunge into the gap, eager to flank him. Tywin then intends for Kevan and the center to wheel to the left and take the northerners in the flank. However, perhaps owing to the northerners' exhaustion following their night march, the van, led by Gregor, defeats the forces arrayed in front of it. Kevan then brings up the center in support of the left, and pushes the Stark lines against the hills behind them. Tywin leads his reserve behind the van, along the river, to break the remnants of the Stark line. The Stark forces are routed and flee to the mouth of the causeway where Roose reforms them.
Although Roose Bolton is defeated, his march down the Green Fork, prior to the battle, distracts the Lannister army long enough to give Robb Stark the chance to fall upon Ser Jaime Lannister's force unmolested in the Battle of the Whispering Wood.
Roose's host loses several thousand men in the battle; he, Robett Glover, Ronnel Stout, Kyle Condon, Ser Aenys Frey, Elmar Frey and the remainder of the army are able to escape because Lord Tywin Lannister, on account of his desire to help Jaime, fails to give chase. During the battle, Lord Halys Hornwood and Ser Pate of the Blue Fork are killed. Lord Medger Cerwyn is captured and dies later at Harrenhal from a wound taken in the fighting. Other captives taken are Harrion Karstark, Ser Wylis Manderly, Ser Donnel Locke, Ser Jared Frey, Ser Hosteen Frey, Ser Danwell Frey and Ronel Rivers.
Game of Thrones
The Battle of the Green Fork in the television adaptation Game of Thrones is altered, with Robb Stark sending a diversionary force of two thousand bannermen — instead of the larger host commanded by Roose Bolton (who is absent himself) — against the much larger Lannister army of 30,000. The battle is not explicitly shown, though it is shown to be a complete massacre of the northern army. No Stark leaders or nobles are present in the army either. Later in the same episode, "Baelor", Robb laments his decision to sacrifice two thousand of his men to capture Jaime Lannister at the Whispering Wood.
We fought between a river and a road. When I saw my father's host deploy, I remember thinking how beautiful it was. Like a flower opening its petals to the sun. A crimson rose with iron thorns. And my father, ah, he had never looked so resplendent. He wore crimson armor, with this huge greatcloak made of cloth-of-gold. A pair of golden lions on his shoulders, another on his helm. His stallion was magnificent. His lordship watched the whole battle from atop that horse and never got within a hundred yards of any foe. He never moved, never smiled, never broke a sweat, whilst thousands died below him.
References and Notes