Battle of the Bells

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Battle of the Bells
Battle of the Bells2.jpg
The sept tolled the city bells to warn the citizens
Conflict Robert's Rebellion
Date 283 AC[1]
Place Stoney Sept
Result rebel victory
House Baratheon.svg Rebels: House Targaryen.svg Royalist army
House Stark.svg Lord Eddard Stark
House Tully.svg Lord Hoster Tully
House Baratheon.svg Lord Robert Baratheon
House Connington.svg Lord Jon Connington
unknown unknown
Ser Denys Arryn
Ser Myles Mooton

The Battle of the Bells was a battle fought during Robert's Rebellion between royalist and rebel forces at Stoney Sept in the southwestern riverlands. It is so-named because at the beginning of the battle the town's sept tolled its bells to warn the citizens of the battle and to persuade them to stay inside their houses. The battle was won by the rebel army, although the royalists were able to retreat in good order.


After being defeated by Lord Randyll Tarly in the Battle of Ashford,[2] near the border between the stormlands and the Reach, Lord Robert Baratheon turned north to rejoin his friend, Lord Eddard Stark. Robert's wounds were tended to by friends in Stoney Sept.[3]

When the glory-seeking Hand of the King,[4] Lord Jon Connington, occupied Stoney Sept with a mighty force,[3] he ordered his soldiers to begin searching the town, even its sewers,[4] for Robert. Jon offered pardons and rewards, and kept hostages in crow cages, but Robert remained hidden in various places by the townspeople.[4] His last hiding place was the Peach,[5] where Robert is said to have fathered Bella.[3]


The royalists had not found Robert when the forces of Lords Eddard Stark and Hoster Tully reached Stoney Sept.[3] The town's septons rang bronze and silver bells to warn the smallfolk to remain indoors.[5] The rebels stormed Stoney Sept's walls and attacked Jon Connington's army, who responded by fighting back fiercely in streets, in alleys, and on rooftops. Jon wounded Hoster[3] and killed Lord Jon Arryn's gallant cousin and heir,[6] Ser Denys Arryn, with an axe.[7]

Emerging from the Peach when the bells began ringing, Robert slew six men, including Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's friend and former squire, Ser Myles Mooton.[3] Robert and Jon did not meet on the battlefield according to Harwin,[3] while Jon recalled that he was nearly slain by Robert on the steps of the town's sept.[4] Jon realized the battle was lost and retreated.[3] Robert later maintained that Eddard won the battle for him.[3]


The Battle of the Bells forced King Aerys II Targaryen to take Robert's Rebellion seriously.[8] He seized the lands of Lord Jon Connington for his failure to deal with rebels, and Jon, who for years insisted he was not responsible for the defeat,[4] is said to have drank himself to death in exile.[9] The king sent Ser Jonothor Darry and Ser Barristan Selmy to Stoney Sept to rally what they could of the loyalist forces.[8] Prince Rhaegar Targaryen returned from the tower of joy and advised his father to seek assistance from Lord Tywin Lannister.[8] Aerys instead trusted in Lords Qarlton Chelsted and Rossart.[10] Having survived Stoney Sept, Robert Baratheon eventually slew Rhaegar in the Battle of the Trident and was crowned after Aerys's death in the Sack of King's Landing.[4]

Recent Events

A Storm of Swords

When they arrive at Stoney Sept, Harwin tells Arya Stark about the victory of her father, Lord Eddard Stark, in the Battle of the Bells.[3]

A Dance with Dragons

Lord Jon Connington, who had not died of drink but instead allowed that story to be spread so he could help educate Young Griff in secret, is still haunted by the Battle of the Bells and its outcome.[5] Following the taking of Griffin's Roost, he recalls a conversation with the late Ser Myles Toyne from his first year of exile, in which Jon explained he could not have done more at Stoney Sept. Myles responded that Lord Tywin Lannister would have burned down the town and brought an immediate end to Robert's Rebellion, as Robert's death would have led to Eddard and Lord Hoster Tully accepting pardons. With his failure at Stoney Sept in mind, Jon now intends to assure the victory of Young Griff, who is claimed to be Prince Aegon Targaryen, the son of Jon's late friend Rhaegar.[4]


Connington wounded your grandfather Tully sore, though, and killed Ser Denys Arryn, the darling of the Vale. But when he saw the day was lost, he flew off as fast as the griffins on his shield. The Battle of the Bells, they called it after. Robert always said your father won it, not him.[3]

I'm named Bella. For the battle. I bet I could ring your bell, too.[3]

After dancing griffins lost the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him. He had finally realized that Robert was no mere outlaw lord to be crushed at whim, but the greatest threat House Targaryen had faced since Daemon Blackfyre.[8]

Last night he'd dreamt of Stoney Sept again. Alone, with sword in hand, he ran from house to house, smashing down doors, racing up stairs, leaping from roof to roof, as his ears rang to the sound of distant bells. Deep bronze booms and silver chiming pounded through his skull, a maddening cacophony of noise that grew ever louder until it seemed as if his head would explode.

Seventeen years had come and gone since the Battle of the Bells, yet the sound of bells ringing still tied a knot in his guts. Others might claim that the realm was lost when Prince Rhaegar fell to Robert's warhammer on the Trident, but the Battle of the Trident would never have been fought if the griffin had only slain the stag there in Stoney Sept. The bells tolled for all of us that day. For Aerys and his queen, for Elia of Dorne and her little daughter, for every true man and honest woman in the Seven Kingdoms. And for my silver prince.[5]

—thoughts of Jon Connington

I wanted the glory of slaying Robert in single combat, and I did not want the name of butcher. So Robert escaped me and cut down Rhaegar on the Trident.[4]

—thoughts of Jon Connington