Battle in the Whispering Wood

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Battle in the Whispering Wood
Battle of the Whispering Wood.png [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Fan-made map of the battle
Conflict War of the Five Kings
Date 299 AC[6]
Place Whispering Wood
Result Stark victory
Combatants
Iron Throne/House Baratheon of King's Landing:

Westerlands, led by House Lannister

Robb Stark's Host:
The north, led by House Stark

Riverlands

Commanders
Ser Jaime Lannister Robb Stark
Ser Brynden Tully
Strength
~1,500-2,250 westermen ~6,000 northmen and rivermen including forces of House Mallister, House Frey, and remnants of Edmure's host after the battle at Riverrun.
Casualties
Entire force killed or captured
Quenten Banefort
Tytos Brax
Regenard Estren
Cleos Frey
Tion Frey
Garth Greenfield
Jaime Lannister
Willem Lannister
Mallor
Gawen Westerling
Not significant (~200)
Eddard Karstark
Torrhen Karstark
Daryn Hornwood

The battle in the Whispering Wood,[7] often simply called the Whispering Wood after its forested setting,[8] is a pivotal battle during the War of the Five Kings. The Stark victory and ensuing Battle of the Camps shatters one of the Lannister armies in the riverlands, allowing Riverrun to be relieved.[9]

Prelude

Ser Jaime Lannister smashes the river lords' forces at the Golden Tooth and Riverrun, capturing the heir to the riverlands, Ser Edmure Tully, and many of his knights.[10] Jaime besieges Riverrun,[10] the capital of the riverlands, while the host of his father, Lord Tywin Lannister, closes the kingsroad to the east[11] and methodically captures the castles of river lords.[10]

Unknown to Jaime, Robb Stark has forged an alliance with Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing, securing passage over the Green Fork of the Trident.[12] Joined by additional soldiers from House Frey of the Twins and House Mallister of Seagard, Robb moves on Riverrun from the north in an attempt to outflank the unsuspecting Lannister forces and relieve the besieged forces at Riverrun. Robb manages to keep his march secret, thanks to the efforts of his great uncle, Ser Brynden Tully, and three hundred picked outriders, who shoot down Lannister ravens and slay Jaime's scouts.[9] Ser Marq Piper separately harries the Lannister supply trains with half a hundred men.[13] Jaime leaves his camp at Riverrun three times to deal with raiders or stubborn holdfasts.[9]

The Battle

Robb sends Brynden with a few hundred men carrying Tully banners to raid and draw Jaime from his camp at Riverrun. Expecting to crush a small force, Jaime and most of his cavalry are lured north of the Tumblestone to a forested valley where the rest of Robb's men are hidden.[9] Lady Maege Mormont and Lord Jason Mallister wait east of the valley, while Lord Rickard Karstark is to the north. West is Ser Stevron Frey, and across a far ridge Lord Greatjon Umber. Robb's mother, Lady Catelyn Stark, waits high on a ridge under the protection of Hallis Mollen.[9]

Once all of Jaime's unsuspecting men have entered the valley, the Mormonts sound horns to signal the moonlit trap has been sprung, followed by Umbers, Mallisters, Freys, and Karstarks. Jaime's horsemen are attacked by bowmen hidden in the trees by Robb, and the Young Wolf and northern bannermen lead their own cavalry against the ambushed westermen. Robb is joined in the fighting by his direwolf, Grey Wind.[9]

When Jaime sees the battle is lost, he rallies his retainers and attempts to cut his way through the host to slay Robb in single combat. He is halted, but not before slaying Daryn Hornwood, Eddard Karstark and Torrhen Karstark of Robb's personal guard.[9] Grey Wind howls as dawn breaks and the fighting winds down.[9]

Aftermath

Ser Jaime Lannister is captured © FFG
Catelyn, Robb, the Greatjon, and Jaime after the Whispering Wood - by Mathia Arkoniel©

According to Theon Greyjoy, the Lannisters lose ten men for every one of Robb's that falls.[9] Jaime is captured, along with near a hundred knights and a dozen lords bannermen including: Lord Gawen Westerling, Lord Quenten Banefort, Ser Garth Greenfield, Lord Regenard Estren, Ser Tytos Brax, Mallor the Dornishman, Willem Lannister, and the Lannister cousins Cleos Frey and Tion Frey.[9]

The capture of Jaime leaves the Lannister army surrounding Riverrun leaderless, leading directly to its disintegration at the Battle of the Camps and leaving Lord Tywin Lannister and Queen Cersei Lannister despondent. Having Jaime as a hostage, and recognizing his value as a prisoner, the Starks gain enormous bargaining power. The deaths of Eddard and Torrhen Karstark by Jaime's hand plant a seed of vengeance in the heart of their father, Lord Rickard Karstark, however.[13][14] Gawen is taken to Seagard, Quenten to Stone Hedge, Garth to Raventree Hall, and Regenard and Tytos to the Twins. Willem, Cleos, and Tion are held hostage at Riverrun.[15]

Quotes

My lady, the realm has not seen such a victory since the Field of Fire. I vow, the Lannisters lost ten men for every one of ours that fell.[9]

- Theon Greyjoy to Catelyn Stark


Your brother defeated my uncle Jaime. My mother says it was treachery and deceit. She wept when she heard.[16]

- Joffrey Baratheon to Sansa Stark


How could it happen? Ser Jaime taken, the siege broken ... this is a catastrophe![13]

- Harys Swyft to Tywin Lannister's war council


Some tried to flee, but we'd pinched the valley shut at both ends, and we rode out of the darkness with sword and lance. The Lannisters must have thought the Others themselves were on them when that wolf of Robb's got in among them. I saw him tear one man’s arm from his shoulder, and their horses went mad at the scent of him. I couldn't tell you how many men were thrown...[14]

- Theon Greyjoy to Riverrun's garrison

References and Notes

  1. A Game of Thrones, Catelyn Chapter 63: To the left (which probably corresponds with west) Robb Stark's force.
  2. A Game of Thrones, Catelyn Chapter 63: "Here was the call of Maege Mormont's warhorn, a long low blast that rolled down the valley from the east."
  3. A Game of Thrones, Catelyn Chapter 63: "To east and west, the trumpets of the Mallisters and Freys blew vengeance."
  4. A Game of Thrones, Catelyn Chapter 63: "North, where the valley narrowed and bent like a cocked elbow, Lord Karstark's warhorns added their own deep, mournful voices to the dark chorus."
  5. A Game of Thrones, Catelyn Chapter 63: Across the valley to the far ridge, she (Catelyn Stark) saw the Greatjon's riders emerge from the darkness beneath the trees.
  6. See the The War of the Five Kings calculations.
  7. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  8. A Clash of Kings, Appendix.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
  11. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
  12. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn IX.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
  14. 14.0 14.1 A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  15. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  16. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 67, Sansa VI.

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