Barbrey Dustin

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House Ryswell.svg House Dustin.svg Barbrey Dustin.svg Lady
Barbrey Dustin
Barbrey Ryswell-Dustin1.jpg
Lady Dustin, by Delaney02 ©

Alias Barbrey Ryswell
Title Lady of Barrowton[1]
Predecessor Willam Dustin
Culture Northmen
Born In ~262 AC[2], the Rills[3]
Father Rodrik Ryswell
Spouse Lord Willam Dustin[1]
Lover Brandon Stark
Personal arms The spiked crown and crossed long axes of House Dustin quartered with the golden horse head of Rodrik Ryswell
(Quarterly 1st and 4th Or between two rusted longaxes saltirewise, shafted sable, a crown of the last; 2nd and 3rd Bronze a horse's head sable orbed and maned gules within a bordure engrailed sable)

Barbrey Dustin, née Ryswell, is the Lady of Barrowton as the widow of Willam Dustin, Lord of Barrowton. She was born into House Ryswell as the younger daughter of Rodrik Ryswell, Lord of the Rills.[1]

Appearance and Character

Barbrey is tall, unbent, and handsome.[4] She has wrinkles[4] around her mouth and dark eyes,[5] and her hair is equal parts brown and grey.[4] Lady Dustin wears her hair tied behind her head in a widow's knot.[4]

While intelligent,[6] Barbrey has grown into a bitter woman over the years.[4] Her smile can appear ugly[6] and feral.[7] Lady Dustin is distrustful of maesters and refers to them as grey rats.[5] She was fond of her late nephew, Domeric Bolton, and despises Ramsay Snow, whom she blames for Domeric's death.[4]

Lady Dustin dresses all in black without gold or jewelry.[4] One of her gowns has a high stiff collar and sleeves lined with vair, and she has a sable cloak.[6] 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 horse head of her father, Lord Rodrik Ryswell.[4] Beron is one of her serjeants.[6]


Barbrey is the surviving daughter of Rodrik Ryswell, Lord of the Rills, and is the sister of Roger, Rickard, and Roose Ryswell. Their sister was Bethany, the late second wife of Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort.[4]

Brandon Stark, the eldest son of Rickard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, often rode the Rills while being fostered at Barrowton with old Lord Dustin. Infatuated with the heir of Winterfell, young Barbrey had an affair with Brandon, who took her maidenhead. Lord Rodrik hoped to wed his daughter to a Stark, but Lord Rickard betrothed his heir to Catelyn Tully of Riverrun. Barbrey claims Brandon did not want to wed Catelyn[6] and that the betrothal was the idea of Walys, Rickard's maester at Winterfell.[5] Rodrik then hoped to wed Barbrey to Brandon's younger brother, Eddard Stark, but that was not to be. Barbrey instead wed Willam Dustin, the young Lord of Barrowton.[6]

The abduction of Lyanna Stark by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen led to the executions of Brandon and Lord Rickard Stark by King Aerys II Targaryen in King's Landing. Now Lord of Winterfell, Eddard returned to the north to call his banners for Robert's Rebellion. Not yet half a year into marriage, Willam rode off to war against Barbrey's objections. Barbrey gifted him with a fine red steed, the pride of her father's herd, and Willam swore he would return to her mounted on the horse.[6]

Willam attended the wedding of Eddard and Catelyn at Riverrun during the war,[8] and he accompanied Lord Stark south after the siege of Storm's End. Lord Dustin was slain in the combat at the tower of joy,[9] however, and Ned built cairns for the fallen.[10] After the war ended, Lord Stark returned Willam's steed to Barbrey. She bears a grudge against Eddard, who brought the bones of his sister, Lyanna, to Winterfell for burial in its crypt, but not the bones of her husband, Lord Dustin, to Barrowton.[6]

In accordance with the Widow's Law, Barbrey remained at Barrowton after her husband's passing. Ruling the town in her own name, she was fond of her sister Bethany's son, Domeric Bolton, who served at Barrowton for four years as her page.[11][4] Since Domeric's death in 297 AC, Barbrey has nursed suspicions about Ramsay Snow's involvement.[4]

Recent Events

A Dance with Dragons

During the War of the Five Kings, Lady Barbrey sent a minimal number of soldiers from Barrowton to join the army of Robb Stark, who was proclaimed King in the North but later killed in the Red Wedding.[6]

Barbey is one of the signatories of the letters that Ramsay Bolton sends announcing that Moat Cailin has been retaken from the ironborn.[12] 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[7] and forbids them from Barrow Hall, as she suspects Ramsay had a hand in the death of her nephew, Domeric Bolton. She gives grey colts to Ramsay's squires, Big Walder and Little Walder Frey.[4]

When Roose Bolton, the new Warden of the North, learns that King Stannis Baratheon has left the Wall, he decides to move Ramsay's wedding from Barrowton to Winterfell.[4] Barbrey insists on taking custody of "Arya" 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 the behavior of Wyman Manderly, Lord of White Harbor, during the feast. She is offended by Wyman's apparent capitulation despite his son, Ser Wendel Manderly, dying at the Red Wedding, and she dismisses Lord Manderly to Theon as craven to the bone—just after Wyman serves his pies.[5] Theon suspects that Barbrey is aware the bride is an impostor.[6]

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 him. Barbrey resents that Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, returned the horse of her husband, Willam Dustin, Lord of Barrowton, after Robert's Rebellion, but not Willam's bones. To spite Eddard's shade, Barbrey tells Theon that if Eddard's bones, which were heading north before Moat Cailin fell to the ironborn, are discovered north of the Neck she will ensure they are never put to rest in the crypts.[6] Barrowton is staunch for House Bolton largely because of this grievance.[4] 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.[6]

As tensions arise in snow-bound Winterfell, Barbrey and her brother, Ser Roger Ryswell, calm knights from House Manderly when Ser Hosteen Frey insults Lord Wyman. 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.[7] She is absent when the Manderlys and Freys clash after the death of Little Walder and Theon escapes the castle.[13]

Quotes by Barbrey

Barbrey: Who else is there?

Theon: You. There is you. The Lady of Barrowton, a Dustin by marriage, a Ryswell by birth.

Barbrey: The widow of Barrowton ... and yes, if I so choose, I could be an inconvenience. Of course, Roose sees that too, so he takes care to keep me sweet.[5]

—Barbrey and Theon Greyjoy

If I were queen, the first thing I would do would be to kill all those grey rats.[5]

—Barbrey to Theon Greyjoy

Barbrey: Why do you love the Starks?

Theon: I ... I wanted to be one of them ...

Barbrey: And never could. We have more in common than you know, my lord.[6]

—Barbrey and Theon Greyjoy

I was left with young Lord Dustin, until Ned Stark took him from me.[6]

—Barbrey to Theon Greyjoy

Barbrey: Night work is not knight's work. And 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.

Barbrey: Even Dustins out of Barrowton. The north remembers, Frey.[7]

—Barbrey and Roger Ryswell to Aenys Frey

Quotes about Barbrey

Roose: Lady Barbrey is a woman who knows how to nurse a grievance. Be grateful for that. Barrowton is staunch for Bolton largely because she still holds Ned Stark to blame for her husband's death.
Ramsay: Staunch? All she does is spit on me. The day will come when I'll set her precious wooden town afire. Let her spit on that, see if it puts out the flames.[4]

To his left sat Lady Dustin, clad as ever in black wool, severe in cut and unadorned.[5]

—thoughts of Theon Greyjoy




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