Butcher's Ball

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Butcher's Ball
Conflict Dance of the Dragons
Date 130 AC
Place south of Gods Eye, riverlands
Result victory for the blacks
House Targaryen (Aegon II).svg Greens House Targaryen (Rhaenyra).svg Blacks
Kingsguard.svg Ser Criston Cole House Dustin.svg Lord Roderick Dustin
Ser Garibald Grey
Ser Pate of Longleaf
less than 3,600 300 mounted knights
300 longbowmen
3,000 archers
3,000 spearmen
hundreds of Winter Wolves
Ser Criston Cole

The Butcher's Ball was a battle fought south of the Gods Eye during the Dance of the Dragons.[1]


Following the blacks' victory in the battle by the Lakeshore, Ser Criston the Kingmaker, the Hand of the King to Aegon II Targaryen, took his army of 3,600 remaining greens south from Harrenhal in the riverlands. Criston's intention was to join his force with that of Lord Ormund Hightower and Prince Daeron Targaryen, which was marching from the Reach. Rather than accompany Criston, Prince Aemond Targaryen took his dragon, Vhagar, to burn the riverlands.

Criston's greens traveled south along the western shore of the Gods Eye lake, but the river lords practiced scorched earth tactics, burning their forests and villages. They used guerrilla warfare against the greens, many of whom deserted or joined the blacks. At the village of Crossed Elms, Criston's forces were attacked by men disguised as corpses, losing twelve men before realizing the ruse.[1]


While heading toward the Blackwater Rush, Ser Criston led his greens into an ambush at a stony ridge south of the Gods Eye. The greens were outnumbered two to one by the forces of the riverlands and the north. Lord Roderick Dustin sounded the charge of the blacks' vanguard, which consisted of his Winter Wolves and the river knights. Ser Garibald Grey, Lord Dustin, and Ser Pate of Longleaf all declined Cole's offer of single combat, and the Kingmaker was instead slain by arrows. The greens quickly collapsed, with hundreds of them killed while trying to flee the ridge.[1][2]


Ser Criston's death in the Butcher's Ball marked the high point of Rhaenyra Targaryen's fortunes. However, Prince Aemond and King Aegon II still remained to carry on the greens' cause.[1]