|Conflict||War of the Five Kings|
|Place||The Twins, Riverlands|
Iron Throne victory
The Red Wedding is a massacre that takes place at the Twins in 299 AC during the War of the Five Kings, in which the King in the North, Robb Stark, his mother Catelyn Tully, and most of his three thousand five hundred bannermen are slaughtered. The event is orchestrated by Lord Walder Frey as revenge for Robb's breaking of a marriage pact he made with House Frey. However, Lord Walder would never have gone along with the massacre which violated all the sacred laws of hospitality without the promise of protection from Lord Tywin Lannister.
- 1 Background
- 2 Wedding night
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Frey Version
- 5 Participants
- 6 Rewards and agreements
- 7 Influences
- 8 Quotes
- 9 See also
- 10 References and Notes
- 11 External Links
During the War of the Five Kings, the Freys initially rise in rebellion against the Iron Throne, securing an invaluable strategic position for the northmen. The rebellion is contingent on Robb Stark's betrothal to one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters. However, Robb breaks his promise when he marries Jeyne Westerling, a slight that Walder is unlikely to overlook.
After learning of the broken pact, Walder secretly begins conversing with Lord Tywin Lannister for terms to bring House Frey back as a supporter of the Iron Throne. Tywin also communicates with Lord Roose Bolton and Lady Sybell and Ser Rolph Spicer and develops a devious ploy in which Walder lures Robb to the Twins, under the pretense of an invite to another marriage pact, to allegedly forgive Robb's broken vow.
The marriage, between Lord Edmure Tully and Walder's daughter Roslin Frey, is an invitation which Robb cannot decline after already slighting his allies once. After Robb and his army of thirty-five hundred arrive, he apologizes for his slight and Catelyn Tully asks for bread and salt to secure guest right. Roose Bolton brings five hundred horse and three thousand foot to the Twins, mostly men from the Dreadfort, as well as some Karstarks whose loyalty is in question after Robb's execution of Lord Rickard Karstark.
There is a feast and songs are sung including "Iron Lances" and "The Queen Took Off Her Sandal, the King Took Off His Crown". The main food is pink lamb.
By using sellswords and knights at the feast disguised as musicians, and getting Robb's men too drunk to fight, Lord Walder Frey is able to coordinate a massacre with little loss to his own men. The two twin castles and the outlying camps are signalled when the band begins playing "The Rains of Castamere" after the start of the bedding between Edmure and Roslin. Few of the northmen have a chance to react, and most are butchered on the spot.
The Frey and Bolton men turn on the Stark soldiers. Specially-rigged feast tents collapse and are set aflame during the slaughter. In the main hall, many of Robb Stark's personal guard are killed by Freys, including Smalljon Umber, Dacey Mormont, and Ser Wendel Manderly, as well as his mother Catelyn. Roose Bolton personally slays Robb, who was previously shot by arrows, with a thrust to the heart while stating that "Jaime Lannister sends his regards."
Though no definitive count is known, most of the northmen are killed while House Frey loses only approximately fifty men in the camps, as well as Ser Garse Goodbrook and Ser Tytos Frey, both of whom are killed by Sandor Clegane.
After the battle, the Freys hack and mutilate Robb's body and cut off his head along with that of Grey Wind, Robb's direwolf. In a mockery of Robb's relationship with his direwolf, the Freys sew Grey Wind's head onto Robb's decapitated body and place his bronze crown atop the direwolf's head. Lady Catelyn Tully has her throat slit and is later thrown naked into the river in a mockery of House Tully funeral customs.
The Red Wedding brings an end to the northern rebellion, with Roose Bolton being made the Warden of the North for his aid in it, and several great benefits befell House Frey, including the lordship of Riverrun. However, it also destroys what honor is left in the house, as they violated one of the oldest and most sacred traditions of old, the guest right. This leads to antipathy and disgust towards the house by most Westerosi, including their own allies. Additionally, though no other house has dreamed to repeat the breaking of the right, it has left a more lasting stain on the ancient guest right, with safety and security in a strange castle no longer being considered guaranteed.
The Iron Throne also gains a number of valuable prisoners which help resolve hostilities around Westeros. With Edmure Tully captive, Jaime Lannister is able to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the Siege of Riverrun. Black Walder Frey threatens to hang Patrek Mallister outside his father's castle which results in Seagard's surrender. Greatjon Umber and Ser Marq Piper are held as hostages to ensure their houses' loyalty; Hother Umber allies with the newly appointed Warden of the North, Roose Bolton, and Lord Clement Piper is forced to help besiege Riverrun.
Since the Red Wedding, several of Lord Walder Frey's kin have been killed by the brotherhood without banners (under the leadership of the resurrected Catelyn Stark) or northmen such as Lord Wyman Manderly in retaliation. Perhaps ironically, more members of House Frey have died due to the repercussions of the Red Wedding than during the War of the Five Kings.
Ser Jared Frey tells Lord Wyman Manderly that, contrary to the true story, the Red Wedding was actually Robb Stark’s work. According to the Frey fictionalization, Robb changed into a wolf-man beast before the eyes of the Freys and tore out the throat of Jinglebell, a harmless simpleton. Furthermore, he allegedly would have slain Lord Walder Frey if Ser Wendel Manderly had not put himself in the way. According to this version of the event, the other northmen also turned into wolves to join Robb's attack.
- Lord Tywin Lannister.
- Lord Walder Frey.
- Lord Roose Bolton.
- Lame Lothar Frey, organizes the massacre with Lord Bolton and assigns a task for each Frey.
- Ser Rolph Spicer and his sister Lady Sybell Spicer plot with Lord Tywin but do not realise Sybell's son, Raynald Westerling, would be in danger.
In the Main Hall
- Merrett Frey and Petyr Frey are tasked with getting the Greatjon Umber too drunk to fight back; they fail and pass out.
- Ser Danwell Frey, plays a drinking game with Marq Piper.
- Ser Ryman Frey slays Dacey Mormont.
- Black Walder Frey slays a Vance.
- Ser Hosteen Frey slays Lucas Blackwood.
- Ser Leslyn Haigh tries to subdue the drunk Greatjon Umber and loses an ear in the process.
- Ser Whalen Frey also drinks with the Greatjon but is sent to the yard to deal with Grey Wind.
- Lord Roose Bolton personally kills the injured Robb Stark with a sword thrust to the heart.
- Ser Raymund Frey slits Catelyn Tully's throat.
In the Camps
- Ser Walder Rivers leads the attack against the northern host's camp.
- Ser Garse Goodbrook participates in the attack against the northern host's camp.
- Ser Tytos Frey participates in the attack against the northern host's camp.
- Jinglebell, throat cut by Lady Catelyn.
- Ser Benfrey Frey, dies of a wound received during the massacre.
- Ser Tytos Frey, slain by Sandor Clegane.
- Ser Garse Goodbrook, slain by Sandor Clegane.
- Half a hundred men in the camps.
- King Robb Stark, hit by arrows and stabbed through the heart by Roose Bolton.
- Lady Catelyn Tully, throat slit by Raymund Frey.
- Ser Wendel Manderly, takes a crossbow bolt to the mouth.
- Smalljon Umber, decapitated by Bolton men.
- Dacey Mormont, axed in the stomach by Ryman Frey.
- Donnel Locke, felled by crossbow bolts.
- Owen Norrey, felled by crossbow bolts.
- Robin Flint, surrounded by Freys and stabbed to death.
- Lucas Blackwood, killed by Hosteen Frey.
- Unknown Vance, killed by Black Walder Frey.
- Ser Raynald Westerling, wounded by a crossbow bolt before jumping into the river in his attempt to free Grey Wind.
- Grey Wind, hit by several crossbow bolts.
- Lord Edmure Tully, taken to Riverrun, now hostage at Casterly Rock.
- Lord Greatjon Umber
- Patrek Mallister, now hostage at Seagard with his father.
- Ser Marq Piper
- Perwyn, Olyvar and Alesander Frey are all noted as absent. It is believed they were too sympathetic to Robb Stark and his comrades to be involved.
- Lord Jason Mallister, Galbart Glover and Lady Maege Mormont are sent to Greywater Watch with a force to find Lord Howland Reed. Lord Jason later returns to Seagard.
- Ser Brynden Tully stays behind in command at Riverrun to defend the Riverlands as Warden of the Southern Marches, with the aid of the river lords.
Rewards and agreements
In order to secure their support for the betrayal of Robb Stark, Tywin Lannister grants not only pardons but also titles and betrothals to the Frey, Bolton, and Spicer conspirators:
- Ser Emmon Frey, second son of Lord Walder, is granted Riverrun with all its lands and incomes, but not the title of Lord Paramount of the Trident which had been granted to Petyr Baelish. Ser Emmon had fought for House Lannister since the onset of the War of the Five Kings. House Frey of Riverrun is thus founded.
- Amerei Frey, who has a claim to the lands of the extinct House Darry, is married to Ser Lancel Lannister, thus creating House Lannister of Darry
- A girl of House Frey is to marry Ser Daven Lannister
- One of Lord Walder's bastard sons is to marry Joy Hill, bastard daughter of the late Gerion Lannister
- Ser Raynald Westerling is promised a bride of Casterly Rock
- Ser Rolph Spicer is made Lord of Castamere.
George R. R. Martin has revealed that the inspiration for the Red Wedding came from the Black Dinner. The Black Dinner took place in 1440 when William Douglas, the 6th Earl of Douglas, was invited to a dinner with the ten year old King James II of Scotland. After the dinner the Clan Douglas chiefs were taken outside, given a mock trial and beheaded.
– Catelyn Tully's thoughts
Tyrion: So much for guest right.
Tywin: The blood is on Walder Frey's hands, not mine.Tyrion: Arya Stark? And Bolton? I might have known Frey would not have the stomach to act alone.
Tyrion: Walder Frey is a peevish old man who lives to fondle his young wife and brood over all the slights he's suffered. I have no doubt he hatched this ugly chicken, but he would never have dared such a thing without a promise of protection.
Tywin: I suppose you would have spared the boy and told Lord Frey you had no need of his allegiance? That would have driven the old fool right back into Stark's arms and won you another year of war. Explain to me why it is more noble to kill ten thousand men in battle than a dozen at dinner. The price was cheap by any measure. The crown shall grant Riverrun to Ser Emmon Frey once the Blackfish yields. Lancel and Daven must marry Frey girls, Joy is to wed one of Lord Walder’s natural sons when she's old enough, and Roose Bolton becomes Warden of the North and takes home Arya Stark.
Not murder. It was vengeance, we had a right to our vengeance. It was war. Aegon, we called him Jinglebell, a poor lackwit never hurt anyone, Lady Stark cut his throat. We lost half a hundred men in the camps. Ser Garse Goodbrook, Kyra’s husband, and Ser Tytos, Jared’s son . . . someone smashed his head in with an axe ... Stark's direwolf killed four of our wolfhounds and tore the kennelmaster’s arm off his shoulder, even after we’d filled him full of quarrels ...
Jared: The Red Wedding was the Young Wolf's work. He changed into a beast before our eyes and tore out the throat of my cousin Jinglebell, a harmless simpleton. He would have slain my lord father too, if Ser Wendel had not put himself in the way.
Davos: Is it your claim that Robb Stark killed Wendel Manderly?Davos: Jared of House Frey, I name you liar.
Jared: And many more. Mine own son Tytos was amongst them, and my daughter's husband. When Stark changed into a wolf, his northmen did the same. The mark of the beast was on them all. Wargs birth other wargs with a bite, it is well-known. It was all my brothers and I could do to put them down before they slew us all.
Davos: Ser, may I have your name?
Jared: Ser Jared, of House Frey.
They speak of wargs and skinchangers and assert that it was Robb Stark who slew my Wendel. The arrogance of it! They do not expect the north to believe their lies, not truly, but they think we must pretend to believe or die. Roose Bolton lies about his part in the Red Wedding, and his bastard lies about the fall of Winterfell. And yet so long as they held Wylis I had no choice but to eat all this excrement and praise the taste.
– Theon Greyjoy's thoughts
The Red Wedding was the hardest thing I ever wrote.
References and Notes
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 58, Tyrion VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
- Historical Influences. (June 20, 2001) So Spake Martin
- So Spake Martin. Archon Meeting (October 5-7) October 05, 2001.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
- LoneStarCon 3: The George R. R. Martin Interview
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