Barbrey Ryswell, by Delaney02©
|Title||Lady of Barrowton|
|Spouse||Lord Willam Dustin|
A Feast for Crows (mentioned)|
A Dance with Dragons (appears)
Appearance and Character
Barbrey Dustin has wrinkles around her mouth and eyes, but she is still tall, unbent and handsome. Her hair is equal parts brown and grey, wearing it tied behind her head in a widow's knot. She usually dresses all in black, but she sometimes accentuates her attire with vair. While intelligent, she has grown into a bitter woman over the years. Barbrey's personal banner flying over the keep of Barrow Hall quarters the spiked crown and crossed long axes of House Dustin with the golden horsehead of her father, Lord Rodrik Ryswell.
In her youth Barbrey was infatuated with Brandon Stark, who took her maidenhead. She claims Brandon never wanted to marry Catelyn Tully and that the match was made when Lord Rickard Stark's maester, Walys, put the idea in Rickard's head. Lady Dustin is extremely distrustful of maesters in general and refers to them as grey rats.
When her husband, Willam Dustin, rode off to war in Robert's Rebellion, Barbrey gifted him with a fine red steed, the pride of her father's herd. Lord Willam swore he would return to her mounted on the horse. After the war Lord Eddard Stark returned the steed to Barbrey, but not her lord husband, who died at the Tower of Joy. She bears an intense grudge against Eddard for not bringing her husband's bones north with him so she could bury him at his ancestral home.
A Game of Thrones
A Dance with Dragons
Barbey is one of the signatories of the letters that Ramsay Bolton sends announcing that Moat Cailin has been retaken from the ironborn. She hosts the Boltons at Barrowton, where the wedding of Ramsay to "Arya Stark", actually Jeyne Poole, is to occur. She cannot abide the presence of Ramsay and his Bastard's Boys and forbids them from Barrow Hall, as she suspects he had a hand in the death of her nephew, Domeric Bolton. She gives grey colts to Big Walder and Little Walder Frey.
When Lord Roose Bolton learns that Stannis Baratheon has left the Wall, he decides to move Ramsay's wedding from Barrowton to Winterfell. Barbrey insists on taking custody of Jeyne until the wedding occurs. Theon Greyjoy, who travels in Lady Dustin's retinue to Winterfell, sits beside her at the wedding feast. Although Barbrey is astute and has good political savvy, she fails to see through Lord Wyman Manderly's behaviour during the feast. She is offended by Wyman's apparent capitulation despite his son Wendel dying at the Red Wedding and dismisses him to Theon as craven to the bone - just after Wyman serves his pies.
Among the snowmen that squires build along the battlements of Winterfell, one is a snow lady resembling Barbrey. Lady Dustin has Theon lead her into the crypts of Winterfell, where she explains much of her history and story to to him. Barbrey resents that Eddard Stark did not return her husband Willam Dustin's bones to her. To spite Eddard's shade, Barbrey tells Theon that if Eddard's bones, which were heading north before Moat Cailin was seized by the ironborn, are discovered north of the Neck she will ensure they are never put to rest in the crypts. Barrowton is staunch for House Bolton largely because of this grievance. Before leaving the crypts, Barbrey and Theon discover that swords are missing from the tombs, including that of Brandon Stark, her lover from her youth.
As tensions arise in snow-bound Winterfell, Barbrey and her brother, Roger Ryswell, calm knights from House Manderly when Ser Hosteen Frey insults Lord Wyman Manderly. When Barbrey requests a more cheerful song than "The Winter Maid" during a meal, Abel sings "The Queen Took Off Her Sandal, the King Took Off His Crown" and "The Bear and the Maiden Fair". While she appears to be loyal to House Bolton, Barbrey bears a grudge against House Frey due to the fact that several of her own men were killed at the Red Wedding. She points this out to Ser Aenys Frey when several suspicious deaths occur in Winterfell. She is absent when the Manderlys and Freys clash after the death of Little Walder and Theon escapes the castle.
Quotes by Barbrey
– Barbrey, to Theon Greyjoy
Barbrey: The bride weeps … Dressing her in grey and white serves no good if the girl is left to sob. The Freys might not care, but the northmen … they fear the Dreadfort, but they love the Starks.
Theon: Not you.
Barbrey: Not me, but the rest, yes. Old Whoresbane is only here because the Freys hold the Greatjon captive. And do you imagine the Hornwood men have forgotten the Bastard's last marriage, and how his lady wife was left to starve, chewing her own fingers? What do you think passes through their heads when they hear the new bride weeping? Valiant Ned's precious little girl. Lady Arya's sobs do us more harm than all of Lord Stannis's swords and spears.
– Barbrey and Theon Greyjoy
– Barbrey and Theon Greyjoy
Barbrey: Lord Wyman is not the only one who lost kin at your Red Wedding, Frey. Do you imagine Whoresbane loves you any better? If you did not hold the Greatjon, he would pull out your entrails and make you eat them, as Lady Hornwood ate her fingers. Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates … they all had men with the Young Wolf.
Roger: House Ryswell too. Even Dustins out of Barrowton.
Barbrey: The north remembers, Frey.
Quotes about Barbrey
Lady Barbrey is a woman who knows how to nurse a grievance. Be grateful for that.
References and Notes
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 32, Reek III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 37, The Prince of Winterfell.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 41, The Turncloak, pages 536-548.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 41, Jon V.