Red Wedding

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Red Wedding
Lindsey Burcar Red Wedding II.png
The Freys celebrate © Lindsey Burcar
Conflict War of the Five Kings
Date 299 AC
Place the Twins, riverlands

Iron Throne victory

  • Robb Stark and most of his loyal soldiers killed
  • Roose Bolton declared as the new Warden of the North
House Stark House Frey
House Bolton
King Robb Stark Lord Walder Frey
Lord Roose Bolton
Ser Walder Rivers
Three thousand five hundred[1] Castle garrison
Three thousand five hundred Boltons and Karstarks[2]
See below
majority slaughtered
See below
Fifty Freys in the camps[3]
Unknown Bolton casualties
The deaths of Robb, Catelyn, and Jinglebell - by nejna ©

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, and most of his three thousand five hundred soldiers 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, 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.


Red Wedding artistic depiction by FatherStone ©

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 Stark asks for bread and salt to secure guest right.[1] 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.[2]

Wedding night

There is a feast and songs are sung including "Iron Lances" and "The Queen Took Off Her Sandal, the King Took Off His Crown".[4] The main food is pink lamb.

Depiction of the Red Wedding by Conor Campbell ©

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.

Catelyn cuts Jinglebell's throat. © FFG

The Frey and Bolton men turn on the Stark soldiers. Specially-rigged feast tents collapse and are set aflame during the slaughter.[5] In the main hall, mailed northmen in shaggy fur cloaks—Boltons and possibly Karstarks—join the Freys. They kill many of Robb Stark's personal guard, including Smalljon Umber, Dacey Mormont, and Ser Wendel Manderly. 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."[4] Catelyn uses a knife to saw the neck of Lord Walder grandson, the fool Jinglebell, after which Ser Raymund Frey slits Catelyn's throat.[4]

Though no definitive count is known, most of Robb's 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.[3]

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 nail a crown atop the direwolf's head.[6] Robb's bronze and iron crown is kept by Ser Ryman Frey.[7] Catelyn is thrown naked into the river in a mockery of House Tully funeral customs.[6] Frey soldiers ride along the Green Fork in search of Stark and Tully survivors and strays.[8]


The Red Wedding brings an end to the northern rebellion, with Roose Bolton being named 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 gains a number of valuable prisoners which help resolve hostilities around Westeros, and most river lords bend the knee.[9][10] With Edmure Tully captive, Ser 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 Lord Jason's surrender at the siege of Seagard. Greatjon Umber and Ser Marq Piper are held as hostages to ensure their houses' loyalty; Hother Umber allies with Lord Bolton, and Lord Clement Piper is forced to help besiege Riverrun. Lord Jonos Bracken besieges Lord Tytos Blackwood at Raventree.[11]

Since the Red Wedding, several of Lord Walder Frey's kin have been killed by the brotherhood without banners (under the leadership of Lady Stoneheart, the resurrected Catelyn Stark) or northmen such as Lord Wyman Manderly in retaliation. During the siege of Riverrun Jaime sees Robb's crown worn by Ryman's whore.[7] The crown ends up in the grasp of Lady Stoneheart[12] after Ryman's party is ambushed.[13]

Northmen resent the presence of Freys who traveled with Lord Bolton to Winterfell for the wedding of his son Ramsay, since many lost kin at the Red Wedding.[14]

Frey Version

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.[15]


The King in the North - by Zippo514 ©



In the Main Hall

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.

Perpetrator casualties

Known victims

Known captives


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.





George R. R. Martin has revealed that the inspiration for the Red Wedding came from two events from Scottish history, the Black Dinner of 1440[17][18] and the Massacre of Glencoe of 1692.[19]



Catelyn Stark to Walder Frey

In the midst of slaughter, the Lord of the Crossing sat on his carved oaken throne, watching greedily.[4]

Catelyn Stark's thoughts

Tyrion: So much for guest right.

Tywin: The blood is on Walder Frey's hands, not mine.
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.

Tyrion: Arya Stark? And Bolton? I might have known Frey would not have the stomach to act alone.[20][20]

Tyrion Lannister and Tywin Lannister

Merrett: He shamed us, the whole realm was laughing, we had to cleanse the stain on our honor.

Lem: Maybe so. What do a bunch o' bloody peasants know about a lord's honor? We know some about murder, though.

Merrett: Not murder. It was vengeance, we had a right to our vengeance.[3]

Merrett Frey and Lem

The Red Wedding was my father's work, and Ryman's and Lord Bolton's. Lothar rigged the tents to collapse and put the crossbowmen in the gallery with the musicians, Bastard Walder led the attack on the camps ...[3]

Merrett Frey to Lem

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?
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.

Davos: Jared of House Frey, I name you liar.[15]

Jared Frey and Davos Seaworth

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.[21]

Wyman Manderly, to Davos Seaworth

Robb who had been more a brother to Theon than any son born of Balon Greyjoy's loins. Murdered at the Red Wedding, butchered by the Freys. I should have been with him. Where was I? I should have died with him.[16]

Theon Greyjoy's thoughts

Some of it can be difficult to do. I mean the Red Wedding was the hardest thing I ever wrote. I wrote the entire book, I skipped over the Red Wedding and wrote all the way to the end, and then I came back and did the Red Wedding, because it was just emotionally difficult to do that. But you know, hopefully, if it's hard to write, it'll be hard to read, too. It’ll affect the reader emotionally. I mean if the reader is just reading the book and terrible things happen, and they just put it aside and say, “What’s for dinner,” you’ve kind of failed. Your characters haven't achieved any reality here. If sad things happen in the book, the readers should be sad about them. And that does involve a certain amount of emotional vulnerability on the part of the writer.[22]

George R. R. Martin

See also

References and Notes

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Strongholds of A Song of Ice and Fire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Strongholds of A Song of Ice and Fire. As with A Wiki of Ice and Fire, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

External Links

Red Wedding on the Game of Thrones wiki.