Inn at the crossroads
The inn at the crossroads or crossroads inn is an inn that lies at the crossroads between the kingsroad running north-south, the river road west through the riverlands to the westerlands, and the high road east to the Vale of Arryn. It is sometimes called the Old Inn and was formerly named the Two Crowns, the Bellringer Inn, the Clanking Dragon, and the River Inn.
The inn sits to the north of the Trident, near the ruby ford. It lies in lands that used to belong to House Darry. The inn is three stories tall with turrets and chimneys made of white stone. Its south wing is built upon pilings that rise over a bed of weeds. (Once the Trident flowed under that wing, but the river has moved since then.) On the north side there is a stable with a thatch roof and a bell tower. The building is surrounded by a low wall of broken white stones. It was run by Masha Heddle, and is currently managed by her niece Jeyne Heddle.
An inn has existed at this spot for hundreds of years. The current inn was raised during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, who built the kingsroad. He and Queen Alysanne stayed there, and the inn was named the Two Crowns in their honor. But after one of the innkeeps built the bell tower, the name was changed to the Bellringer Inn.
The inn eventually passed into the hands of a knight who had been crippled, Long Jon Heddle. Jon Heddle had taken up ironworking in his old age, and forged a new sign to hang in the yard, a three-headed black iron dragon. The inn became known as the Clanking Dragon for the noise the sign would make in the wind.
During the First Blackfyre Rebellion, Daemon Blackfyre took a black dragon as his emblem. Lord Darry, then overlord of the inn's lands, was a famous Targaryen supporter. He saw the inn's black dragon sign and became angry; he cut it down, hacked it to pieces, and threw it into the river. Eventually one of the iron dragon's heads washed up on the Quiet Isle, red with rust.
The sign was never replaced and people eventually forgot about the dragons. The inn became known as the River Inn, since at that time the Trident flowed beneath its back door and half its rooms were built out over the water. It was said that the inn's guests could throw a line out their window and catch fish. There was also a ferry landing at the inn, where travelers could cross to Lord Harroway's Town and Whitewalls. However, c.220 ᴀᴄ-230 ᴀᴄ, when Masha Heddle's grandfather was the innkeeper, the river moved. These days the smallfolk call the inn the crossroads inn.
A Game of Thrones
While traveling to King's Landing, the royal retinue of King Robert I Baratheon stops at the crossroads inn. Prince Joffrey Baratheon is wounded by the direwolf Nymeria near the ruby ford south of the inn.
Catelyn Stark and Ser Rodrik Cassel stay at the inn at the crossroads while returning to the north from King's Landing. There they encounter Tyrion Lannister, whom they arrest and take with them when they leave. Masha Heddle begs the nobles to take their fight elsewhere, but is refused.
Later, Lord Tywin Lannister takes revenge on Masha Heddle, hanging her on a gibbet in the yard of the inn. He takes the inn as his quarters while he is encamped at the crossroads. Tyrion sees Masha's body when he meets his father at the inn, after leaving the Eyrie with his clansmen.
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
Masha Heddle's nephew reopens the inn, bringing in whores to attract customers. Visiting the inn for wine and information, Sandor Clegane and Arya Stark happen upon three of Gregor Clegane's men. After a brief conversation, in which Sandor warns the innkeeper that the Mountain's men plan to torture him to find out where he keeps his gold, a fight breaks out. Sandor and Arya kill Polliver, the Tickler, and a Sarsfield squire, but Sandor is badly wounded in the mêlée.
A Feast for Crows
Masha Heddle's nephew is eventually killed at the hands of an unidentified noble and the inn is left vacant. Later, two of Masha's nieces, Jeyne and Willow, reopen the inn for business and it serves as a refuge for orphan children. The Heddles and the inn are now connected with the brotherhood without banners; in addition, Gendry now works for them as a smith.
In 300 ᴀᴄ, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, Septon Meribald, and Ser Hyle Hunt travel to the crossroads inn. Septon Meribald tells his companions the history of the inn and the Heddle family. The group passes hanged men in the vicinity, alleged perpetrators of the raid on Saltpans, which leads Hyle to say the inn should now be called the "Gallows Inn".
Brienne and her companions are greeted at the inn by Willow Heddle, Gendry, and the orphans. Several of the children are armed with crossbows, leading Hyle to suggest the inn should be called "Crossbow Inn", and Brienne to think that "Orphan Inn" would be more accurate. Jeyne Heddle is not there (away with the Brotherhood), but Septon Meribald trades his food for rooms at the inn. A fight ensues when outlaws from the Brave Companions arrive and threaten Willow and the children. Brienne defends them and Gendry joins in the fight; Rorge and Biter are slain, but Brienne is badly wounded. Jeyne Heddle tends to Brienne's wounds after the battle, but Brienne, Hyle and Podrick are all given over to Lady Stoneheart.
Chapters that take place at the Crossroads Inn
- A Game of Thrones: 15. Sansa I
- A Game of Thrones: 28. Catelyn V
- A Game of Thrones: 69. Tyrion IX
- A Storm of Swords: 74. Arya XIII
- A Feast for Crows: 37. Brienne VII
Podrick: Is the dragon sign still there?
Meribald: No. When the smith's son was an old man, a bastard son of the fourth Aegon rose up in rebellion against his trueborn brother and took for his sigil a black dragon. These lands belonged to Lord Darry then, and his lordship was fiercely loyal to the king. The sight of the black iron dragon made him wroth, so he cut down the post, hacked the sign into pieces, and cast them into the river. One of the dragon's heads washed up on the Quiet Isle many years later, though by that time it was red with rust.
Hyle Hunt: I never dreamed that keeping an inn could be so deadly dangerous.
Meribald: It is being common-born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros map.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Inn at the Crossroads.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 37, Brienne VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15, Sansa I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 74, Arya XIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.