House Blackwood

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House Blackwood of Raventree Hall
House Blackwood.svg
Coat of arms A flock of ravens surrounding a black shield charged with a dead weirwood, on a scarlet field
(Gules, on an escutcheon sable a dead weirwood tree proper, all within an orle of ravens volant sable)
Seat Raventree Hall
Head Lord Tytos Blackwood[1]
Regions
Titles
Heir Brynden Blackwood[1]
Overlords
Founded Age of Heroes[2]

House Blackwood of Raventree Hall is an old house from Raventree Hall in the riverlands, one of the main families sworn to House Tully of Riverrun. They once ruled the riverlands as kings during the Age of Heroes.[3] They blazon their arms with a flock of ravens on scarlet surrounding a dead weirwood upon a black escutcheon.[4] Their words have not yet been revealed by George R. R. Martin.[5] House Blackwood rules over wider domains and can field a much larger army than their overlord of House Tully.[6]

Raventree is located in Blackwood Vale north of Riverrun and the Red Fork.[7]

Traits

Multiple Blackwoods have been described as tall and thin, including Lord Benjicot,[6] Lady Alysanne,[6] Lord Tytos,[2] and Hoster.[2] Melissa Blackwood is described as slender as well.[2] Only three Blackwoods have the coloring of their hair described in the books—Lady Alysanne, Lord Tytos and Queen Betha—and all three have black hair.[6][2][8]

Some Blackwoods are buried in the village Cairns, while others are buried beneath the dead weirwood of Raventree Hall.[2]

History

Age of Heroes

The godswood of Raventree Hall, with its enormous dead weirwood and hundreds of ravens - by Elena María Vacas

The Blackwoods are an ancient house descended of the First Men. Family traditions state they ruled most of the wolfswood in the north before being driven south by the Kings of Winter from House Stark, which Maester Barneby's runic translations support.[9]

Blackwood river kings claimed the mouth of the Blackwater Rush.[10]

The Blackwoods have an old and bitter feud against their neighbors in the riverlands, the Brackens of the Stone Hedge, coming from the Age of Heroes when both houses ruled as kings. According to the Blackwoods, the Brackens were petty lords and horse breeders who hired swords to usurp the Blackwood kings. The Brackens, in contrast, claim the Blackwoods were vassals who betrayed and usurped Bracken kings.[2] The Blackwoods believe these events occurred five hundred years before the arrival of the Andals, but the True History states it was one thousand years before the Andals.[2]

Andal Riverlands

The Blackwoods and Brackens allied together against the coming of the Andals to the riverlands, but they were defeated in the Battle of the Bitter River.[11] The feud was aided by House Bracken's conversion to the Faith of the Seven after the Andal invasion.[12] In contrast, the Blackwoods kept the religion of the old gods, being one of the few houses south of the Neck to do so. The Blackwoods accuse the Brackens of having poisoned the weirwood of Raventree Hall.[2] The Teats, Battle Valley, and the village of Blackbuckle are part of the disputed land. There have been numerous peaces between the Blackwoods and Brackens, many sealed by marriage, but the feud always restarts.[2]

Benedict Rivers was a bastard born from both houses who eventually became King Benedict I Justman, with House Justman ruling the riverlands for about three centuries. There were Blackwoods among the many petty kings who disputed the riverlands in the tumultuous century after King Bernarr II Justman's death.[11]

With the support of Arlan III Durrandon, a Storm King from Storm's End, Lord Roderick Blackwood rebelled against Humfrey I Teague, King of the Rivers and the Hills. Roderick was killed in the Battle of Six Kings, ending Arlan's attempt to restore the riverlands to the Blackwoods. After the river lords rejected the possibility of being ruled by Roderick's daughter, Shiera Blackwood, Arlan added the riverlands to the realm of the Storm Kings.[11]

When the Kings of the Iron Islands from House Hoare invaded the riverlands three centuries later, Lady Agnes Blackwood led the rivermen's resistance. She was betrayed by Lord Lothar Bracken, however, and then slain by King Harwyn Hoare. The ironborn then conquered the riverlands from the Storm King, Arrec Durrandon.[11]

Aegon's Conquest

House Blackwood aided King Aegon I Targaryen during the Conquest and rebelled against Harwyn's grandson, Harren the Black of Harrenhal, King of the Isles and the Rivers.[13] The Blackwoods and Brackens had fought a private war a decade before the rebellion, however, and Harren had dealt with them harshly. Instead of the weakened Blackwoods or Brackens, Aegon instead granted the new title of Lord Paramount of the Trident to Lord Edmyn Tully of Riverrun.[11]

Dance of the Dragons

Alysanne Blackwood by Rae Lavergne ©

Lord Blackwood supported the claim of Laenor Velaryon in the Great Council of 101 AC, but the council ultimately chose Viserys Targaryen as the heir of Jaehaerys I Targaryen.[14] Samwell Blackwood fought a duel with Amos Bracken over the favor of Rhaenyra Targaryen in 112 AC, but the princess eventually wed Ser Laenor.[15]

Lord Samwell supported the blacks of Rhaenyra during the Dance of the Dragons. In 129 AC, Samwell was slain by Amos in single combat during the Battle of the Burning Mill, but Amos was then struck down by a weirwood arrow allegedly fired by Samwell's young sister, Alysanne.[16] Samwell's heir, his eleven year old son Benjicot Blackwood, Black Aly, and their kinsman Red Robb Rivers, the Bowman of Raventree, participated in the Battle by the Lakeshore, the Butcher's Ball, and the First Battle of Tumbleton.[17] Lord Benjicot had one of his best archers, Billy Burley, mercy kill the dragon Tessarion after the Second Battle of Tumbleton.[18]

During the Battle of the Kingsroad in 131 AC, Benjicot led the army with his liege, Kermit Tully, Lord of Riverrun, and Kermit's brother, Ser Oscar Tully.[6] Benjicot's rivermen broke the flank of Lord Borros Baratheon's greens in the battle, allowing Alysanne's archers to bring down the green knights and giving him the title of "Bloody Ben".[19][20]

After the civil war ended, Black Aly married Lord Cregan Stark in exchange for him confirming King Aegon II Targaryen's pardon of Lord Corlys Velaryon.[21]

Great Bastards

Lady Melissa Blackwood was the sixth mistress of King Aegon IV Targaryen and the mother of three Great Bastards, Mya, Gwenys, and Brynden Rivers, the last of whom became known as Lord Bloodraven.[22] Melissa was well liked at court, so the Blackwoods did not greatly suffer when Aegon dismissed her.[22]

Ser Otho Bracken, the Brute of Bracken, slew Lord Quentyn Blackwood in a tourney at King's Landing three years before the tourney at Ashford Meadow, reinvigorating the old feud.[23] Bennifer, Robert, Roland, and Roger Blackwood participated at Ashford. Ser Steffon Fossoway considered convincing Otho or the Blackwoods to fight for Ser Duncan the Tall in a trial of seven, but decided it would be impossible to make them fight on the same side.[23]

When Lord Bracken lay dying, Septon Sefton explained that Otho would inherit and the Blackwoods would not suffer him, meaning war. The then-Hand of the King, Brynden Rivers, was half-Blackwood, so he was unlikely to stop it.[24] When Bloodraven marched on the wedding tourney at Whitewalls to quash the Second Blackfyre Rebellion, among the river lords who came in support was Lord Blackwood.[25]

Later History

Ser Eustace Osgrey boasted that in the past members of important families married Osgreys, citing Blackwoods as one of the examples.[24] The queen consort of King Aegon V Targaryen was Betha Blackwood,[8] and Alyssa Blackwood was the fourth wife of Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing.

Lord Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King, decided to grant a mill to the Blackwoods to resolve a border dispute, but King Aerys II Targaryen instead decided to give it to the Brackens.[26]

Lords Blackwood and Bracken came to Riverrun when Lysa Tully was young to put their feud before Lord Hoster Tully's judgment.[27]

Recent Events

A Game of Thrones

Tytos Blackwood by Wibben © Fantasy Flight Games

When war breaks out after the death of King Robert I Baratheon, Ser Jaime Lannister defeats the river lords and captures Ser Edmure Tully in a battle under the walls of Riverrun. Lord Tytos Blackwood leads the survivors inside Riverrun, however, and defends the castle during Jaime's siege. With Tytos absent, Lord Blackwood's seat of Raventree Hall surrenders to the Lannisters.[28] Tytos is named among the nobles whom the new king, Joffrey I Baratheon, insists must swear their loyalty or be declared traitors.[29]

When Robb Stark attacks the Lannister camps outside Riverrun, Tytos leads a sortie from Riverrun and frees Edmure. Lord Blackwood and his feathered cloak are seen by Catelyn Stark in the godswood of Riverrun, praying with her son to the old gods after their victory in the Battle of the Camps. At the war council in Riverrun, Tytos urges to continue fighting the Lannisters and march against Lord Tywin Lannister at Harrenhal. He joins the other river lords in declaring Robb to be King in the North.[30]

A Clash of Kings

Tytos Blackwood by Amuelia ©

During the War of the Five Kings, Tytos sweeps the Lannister forces from the lands of House Blackwood, but the invaders leave Blackwood Vale a scorched desert.[31]

Maester Luwin suggests that the widowed Donella Hornwood marry a Blackwood.[32]

Tytos's second-eldest son, Lucas Blackwood, is one of the highborn companions of Catelyn in the delegation to King Renly Baratheon's camp.[33]

Blackwoods participate in the Battle of the Fords.[34]

A Storm of Swords

Ser Garth Greenfield is held captive at Raventree Hall.[35] Lord Tytos is among the seven nobles who launch Lord Hoster Tully's funeral boat at Riverrun.[36]

Lucas is slain by Ser Hosteen Frey at the Red Wedding.[37] After the Brackens surrender to the Iron Throne and are welcomed back to the king's peace, they attack the Blackwoods, who refuse to yield along with Ser Brynden Tully at Riverrun and Lord Jason Mallister at Seagard. Lord Jonos Bracken besieges Raventree.[38]

A Feast for Crows

Dead soldiers bearing the colors of House Blackwood have washed up on the Quiet Isle. According to the Elder Brother, they are buried next to their Bracken enemies.[39]

A Dance with Dragons

With the surrender of Riverrun, Raventree remains the last Stark loyalist stronghold. Jaime Lannister successfully negotiates the surrender of Raventree with Tytos and takes Hoster Blackwood as a hostage. Jonos Bracken desires to gain the east bank of the Widow's Wash, from Crossbow Ridge to Rutting Meadow, Grindcorn Mill, Lord's Mill, Muddy Hall, the Ravishment, Battle Valley, Oldforge, Buckle, Blackbuckle, Cairns, Claypool, Mudgrave, Waspwood, Lorgen's Wood, Greenhill, Missy's Teats, and Honeytree. However, Tytos only agrees to transfer Woodhedge, Crossbow Ridge, Buckle, Lord's Mill, and Honeytree.[2]

Hoster accompanies Jaime to Pennytree,[2] where the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard goes missing.[40]

House Blackwood at the end of the third century

The known Blackwoods during the timespan of the events described on A Song of Ice and Fire are:

With unspecified familiar relationship to the main branch of the house there is also:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lord
Blackwood
 
Unknown
Blackwood
 
Unknown
wife
 
Daughter
 
Unknown
husband
 
Daughter
 
Unknown
husband
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tytos
 
Unknown
wife
 
Son
 
Son
 
Daughter
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brynden
 
Lucas
 
Hoster
 
Edmund
 
Alyn
 
Bethany
 
Robert
 


Historical Members

Before the Conquest

After the Conquest

Quotes

When did Blackwood and Bracken agree about anything that was not certain, I ask you?[34]

Every Blackwood is born a turncloak.[2]

We've had a hundred peaces with the Brackens, many sealed with marriages. There's Blackwood blood in every Bracken, and Bracken blood in every Blackwood. The Old King's Peace lasted half a century. But then some fresh quarrel broke out, and the old wounds opened and began to bleed again. That's how it always happens, my father says. So long as men remember the wrongs done to their forebears, no peace will ever last. So we go on century after century, with us hating the Brackens and them hating us. My father says there will never be an end to it.[2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
  3. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Riverlands.
  4. The Citadel. Heraldry: Houses in the Riverlands
  5. So Spake Martin: Canadian Signing Tour (Toronto), January 09, 2006
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
  7. George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, map of Westeros.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon V.
  9. The World of Ice & Fire, The North.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
  12. So Spake Martin: Blackwood-Bracken Feud and Coinage, August 13, 2003
  13. Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
  14. 14.0 14.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Jaehaerys I.
  15. Fire & Blood, Heirs of the Dragon - A Question of Succession.
  16. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
  17. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
  18. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Overthrown.
  19. The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
  20. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
  21. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kingss: Aegon III.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon IV.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 The Hedge Knight.
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Sworn Sword.
  25. 25.0 25.1 The Mystery Knight.
  26. 26.0 26.1 The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aerys II.
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 80, Sansa VII.
  28. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
  29. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
  30. A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
  31. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
  32. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 16, Bran II.
  33. A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
  34. 34.0 34.1 A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
  35. A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
  36. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
  37. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
  38. A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
  39. A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
  40. A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 54, Cersei I.
  41. 41.0 41.1 Fire & Blood, Three Heads Had the Dragon - Governance Under King Aegon I.
  42. 42.0 42.1 Fire & Blood, The Long Reign - Jaehaerys and Alysanne: Policy, Progeny, and Pain.
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 The Princess and the Queen.
  44. Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - A Son for a Son.
  45. The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aegon III.
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 The Hedge Knight, Graphic Novel.
  47. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Stark Lineage.
  48. The World of Ice & Fire, Appendix: Targaryen Lineage.

Notes

  1. Named "Lucas Blackwood" in House of the Dragon.