Winter of the Widows

From A Wiki of Ice and Fire
Jump to: navigation, search

The Winter of the Widows is a poetic name that maesters at the Citadel use to refer to the period after the Dance of the Dragons, as a terrible winter began near the end of the civil war which ultimately lasted six years. This winter (130135 AC) roughly coincided with the chaotic regency of Aegon III Targaryen (131136 AC).[1]

So many men died during the disastrous civil war that in the aftermath, an unprecedented number of women ruled over the noble Houses, with many of them ruling as regents for their young children after the deaths of their husbands, though some were also female heirs who inherited in their own right after all of their brothers or other men ahead of them in line of succession were killed.[1]

In the first years after the war ended, only three out of the nine Great Houses of Westeros were ruled by adult men (Stark, Tully, Greyjoy). Three were ruled by widow-regents (Lannister, Baratheon, Tyrell), two were ruled by women who inherited in their own right (Arryn, Martell), and the crown was ruled during the king's minority by a council of seven regents (one of which was a woman). Numerous other lordly houses were also ruled by widows in this time.

When Women Ruled: Ladies of the Aftermath, by Archmaester Abelon, is considered the definitive book on this era. Archmaester Gyldayn described the text as "mammoth".[1]

Women who ruled during the Regency of Aegon III


  • Lady Johanna Lannister, born Johanna Westerling, the widow of Lord Jason Lannister, regent for his son Loreon (who was only five years old when the war ended). She capably led the remnants of the shattered Lannister forces in the ongoing conflict with the Greyjoys raiding the coasts, which continued as essentially a localized war even though the Dance had formally ended.[1][2]

The Reach

In addition, Lady Tyrell had already ruled as a regent, together with Highgarden's castellan and steward, for her infant son Lyonel before the Dance of the Dragons began.[3][4] With the loyalty of the lords of the Reach split between Rhaenyra and Aegon II at the start of the war, Lyonel's three regents withdrew their support for Aegon II and chose to keep House Tyrell neutral throughout the war.[4]

The Riverlands

  • Lady Alys Rivers, the mysterious "witch queen" who came to rule over the area around Harrenhal by late 132 AC. The former lover of Prince Aemond Targaryen and seen to be pregnant in his presence, she later presented a young boy she claimed to be his posthumous son. As Harrenhal was at the heart of the devastated riverlands, Alys gathered to her a growing following of broken men until she established a small bandit-kingdom around the burnt-out castle. The Iron Throne was so distracted by other ongoing conflicts and then the Winter Fever of 133 AC that it could not mount an effort to remove her.[1]
  • Lady Sabitha Frey, born Sabitha Vypren, who served as regent for House Frey after the death of her husband Lord Forrest Frey in the Battle by the Lakeshore. Personally participated in both the Second Battle of Tumbleton and the Battle of the Kingsroad. It was rumored that while on campaign she was the lover of Lady Alysanne Blackwood. After the war ended she declined to take a position in the capital and instead returned to the Twins to try to reestablish some semblance of order in the northern riverlands. Sabitha went on to organize Widow Fairs for the hundreds of commoner women left widowed by the war, hoping to match them with the over a thousand men from the Stark army who had stayed in the south rather than overburden the North during the harsh winter. Her rule was stable enough by 134 AC that she was able to contribute six hundred soldiers to the royal host sent to end the succession war in the Vale of Arryn.[5]

The Vale

The Stormlands



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Voyage of Alyn Oakenfist.
  3. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Fire & Blood, The Lysene Spring and the End of Regency.
  6. Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - War and Peace and Cattle Shows.