Inn at the crossroads
The inn at the crossroads or crossroads inn is an inn that lies at the crossroads between the kingsroad running north-south, the river road west through the Riverlands to the Westerlands, and the high road east to the Vale of Arryn. It is sometimes called the Old Inn and was formerly named the Two Crowns, the Bellringer Inn, the Clanking Dragon, and the River Inn.
The inn sits to the north of the Trident, near the ruby ford. It lies in lands that used to belong to House Darry. It is three stories tall with turrets and chimneys made of white stone. Its south wing is built upon pilings that rise over a bed of weeds. On the north side there is a stable with a thatch roof and a bell tower. The building is surrounded by a low wall of broken white stones. It is run by Masha Heddle.
An inn has existed at this spot for hundreds of years. The current inn has existed since the reign of Jaehaerys I, who had the crossroads built during the construction of the kingsroad. He and Queen Alysanne stayed there. It has been known as the Two Crowns, in their honor and the Bellringer Inn, after one of the innkeeps built the bell tower.
It eventually passed into the hands of a knight who had been crippled, Long Jon Heddle, who had taken up ironworking in his old age. He forged a new sign to hang in the yard, a three-headed black dragon. After this device was affixed, the inn became known as the Clanking Dragon, for the noise the sign would make in the wind.
The sign was never replaced and people eventually forgot about the dragons and began calling it the River Inn, where one could take a ferry across to Lord Harroway's Town and Whitewalls. However, the river moved and soon that name faded. Masha Heddle's grandfather was the innkeeper at the time the river moved.
A Game of Thrones
While traveling to King's Landing, the royal retinue of King Robert Baratheon stops at the crossroads inn. Prince Joffrey Baratheon is wounded by the direwolf Nymeria near the ruby ford north of the inn.
Catelyn Tully and Ser Rodrik Cassel stay at the inn at the crossroads while returning to the North from King's Landing. There they encounter Tyrion Lannister, whom they arrest and take with them when they leave. Masha Heddle begs for the nobles to take their fights elsewhere but is refused.
Later, Lord Tywin Lannister takes his revenge on the inn, placing Masha in a gibbet to die and takes the inn as his quarters while he is encamped there. Tyrion meets his father there after leaving the Eyrie with his mountain clansmen.
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark happened upon three of the Mountain's men at the crossroads inn. After a brief dialogue, Sandor and Arya kill Polliver, the Tickler and their squire, but Sandor is sorely wounded in the mêlée.
A Feast for Crows
Masha Heddle's nephew reopens the inn as a brothel following his aunt's death, but he too is killed at the hands of a noble and eventually the inn is left vacant. Recently, two of Masha's nieces have reopened the inn for business and it has been serving as a refuge for orphan children.
Brienne, Podrick, Septon Meribald and Ser Hyle Hunt travel to the crossroads inn. They pass hanged men in the vicinity, the perpetrators of the Sack of Saltpans, which leads Hyle to say it should now be called the Gallows Inn. They find Gendry working there as a smith; the inn is now connected with the brotherhood without banners. A fight ensues when outlaws from the Brave Companions arrive at the inn. Rorge and Biter are slain, and the brotherhood claims the Hound's helm from them.
Chapters that take place at the Crossroads Inn
- A Game of Thrones: 15. Sansa I
- A Game of Thrones: 28. Catelyn V
- A Game of Thrones: 69. Tyrion IX
- A Storm of Swords: 74. Arya XIII
- A Feast for Crows: 37. Brienne VII
Podrick: Is the dragon sign still there?
Meribald: No. When the smith's son was an old man, a bastard son of the fourth Aegon rose up in rebellion against his trueborn brother and took for his sigil a black dragon. These lands belonged to Lord Darry then, and his lordship was fiercely loyal to the king. The sight of the black iron dragon made him wroth, so he cut down the post, hacked the sign into pieces, and cast them into the river. One of the dragon's heads washed up on the Quiet Isle many years later, though by that time it was red with rust.
References and Notes
- "Westeros" map from The Lands of Ice and Fire
- "Inn at the Crossroads" entry in A World of Ice and Fire
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.