The Red Wedding is a massacre at the wedding feast of Edmure Tully, Lord of Riverrun, and Roslin Frey at the Twins in 299 AC during the War of the Five Kings. The King in the North, Robb Stark, his mother Catelyn, and most of his thirty-five hundred soldiers are slaughtered.
The event is orchestrated by its host, Lord Walder Frey, as revenge for Robb's breaking of a marriage pact he made with House Frey, and Walder's conspirator, Lord Roose Bolton. 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, the Hand of the King to Joffrey I Baratheon.
- 1 Background
- 2 Wedding
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Participants
- 5 Rewards and Agreements
- 6 Influences
- 7 Quotes
- 8 See also
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 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 a daughter of Walder Frey, Lord of the Crossing. Robb becomes King in the North and King of the Trident after the Battle of the Camps.
After Robb is wounded during the storming of the Crag, Lady Sybell Spicer and her brother, Ser Rolph, maneuver Sybell's maiden daughter, Jeyne Westerling, into treating the fevered king in her own bed. After learning of the alleged deaths of his brothers Bran and Rickon in the aftermath of the capture of Winterfell, Robb sleeps with Jeyne and then marries her, a slight that Walder is unlikely to overlook.
The Freys at Harrenhal with Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, are outraged after learning of Robb's marriage to Jeyne, and the Freys at the Crag and Riverrun angrily return to the Twins. After learning of the broken pact, Walder secretly begins corresponding with Roose, who has wed Walder's granddaughter Walda, and with Lord Tywin Lannister, the Hand of the King, for terms to bring House Frey back as a supporter of the Iron Throne and King Joffrey I Baratheon.
Separately, Robb's mother, Catelyn Stark, releases Tywin's son, Ser Jaime Lannister, from imprisonment at Riverrun, hoping Tyrion Lannister in King's Landing will exchange Jaime for Robb's sisters, Sansa and Arya. En route, however, Vargo Hoat has his Brave Companions chop off Jaime's sword hand and bring him to Lord Bolton at Harrenhal. Disavowing the Brave Companions' actions, Roose, whose son Ramsay was responsible for the sack of Winterfell, does not return Jaime to Robb or Edmure Tully, but instead sends Jaime back to his family in King's Landing. Before parting, Jaime and Roose agree to give the other's regards to Robb and Tywin.
After Lord Hoster Tully passes away, Lord Frey sends his son Lame Lothar to Riverrun with an offer to have Edmure, now Lord of Riverrun, marry Walder's daughter Roslin at the Twins, and thereby restore the alliance between Houses Stark and Frey. Robb cannot decline after already slighting his allies once, since he needs House Frey's assistance for his planned siege of Moat Cailin. Robb leaves Jeyne at Riverrun with his great uncle, Ser Brynden Tully, while he journeys north with an army of thirty-five hundred, mostly northmen but with some rivermen in Edmure's retinue.
When King Robb Stark and his army arrive at the western castle of the Twins in heavy rain, the Freys are displeased that Queen Jeyne Westerling has not made the journey as well. Robb apologizes to Lord Walder Frey for having broken his promise, but Walder insists that Robb apologize instead to the Frey women he might have married. Lord Edmure Tully is pleased with Roslin Frey, although the girl cries during their introduction. Catelyn Stark asks Walder for bread and salt to secure guest right.
Robb, Catelyn, and Edmure are given chambers in the Water Tower between the two castles. Catelyn learns that Ser Perwyn Frey, who had guarded her earlier in the War of the Five Kings, is away from the Twins. Robb's men cross the roaring Green Fork to the eastern shore, where several thousand Freys are encamped amidst three great feast tents. Freys use several wagons and carts as a perimeter wall for the eastern camp's three tents and numerous pavilions.
Lord Roose Bolton arrives at the Twins from Harrenhal with five hundred horse and three thousand foot, mostly men from the Dreadfort, as well as some Karstarks whose loyalty is in question after Robb's earlier execution for treason of Rickard Karstark, Lord of Karhold, at Riverrun.
After Edmure weds Roslin, Walder hosts a feast for the highborn in one of his castles, and a "bastard feast" for lesser ranks is held in the second castle. Common soldiers celebrate in tents outside the castle. The Freys provide wagons and casks of ale, mead, and wine to their guests inside and outside of the Twins.
At the start of the highborn feast, Roose toasts Walder's grandsons, Big Walder and Little Walder, who are in the care of Roose's son, Ramsay Snow, after the sack of Winterfell. Songs performed for the cramped nobles by fiddlers, flutists, and drummers in the gallery include "Alysanne", "Flowers of Spring", "Iron Lances", and "The Queen Took Off Her Sandal, the King Took Off His Crown"; Catelyn thinks the musicians are poor performers, and the blaring horns and pounding drums make it difficult to hear. A drunken Greatjon Umber bellows "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" and "The Lusty Lad".
To please Lord Walder, Robb dances with numerous Frey women—including Roslin, Alyx, Fair Walda, Lady Joyeuse, Ami, Fat Walda, Serra, Sarra, and Shirei—as well as Dacey Mormont. Several poor dishes are served, the most appetizing being pink lamb. Catelyn learns that Robb's former squire, Olyvar Frey, and the singer Alesander are also away from the Twins.
Amid the feasting, the outlaw Sandor Clegane arrives at the tents with Robb's missing sister, Arya Stark, hoping to receive a reward for her return. Arya sees hundreds of men in one of the feast tents, and she hears northmen singing their traditional songs.
Shortly after the bride and groom depart for the bedding, Walder's musicians begin playing "The Rains of Castamere", a song associated with Robb's enemy, Lord Tywin Lannister. Few of the northmen in the hall have a chance to react, and most are butchered on the spot by crossbow-wielding musicians or Frey knives. Ser Ryman Frey leads a dozen Frey men-at-arms with longaxes. By using sellswords and knights at the feast disguised as musicians, and getting Robb's men too drunk to fight, Lord Walder has coordinated a massacre with little loss to his own men. Mailed northmen in shaggy fur cloaks—Boltons and possibly Karstarks—join the Freys, and the betrayers kill many of Robb Stark's personal guard, including Smalljon Umber, Dacey, and Ser Wendel Manderly.
Wielding a fallen knife, Catelyn takes hostage Jinglebell, Walder's simple grandson, and offers to exchange his life for Robb, who has been wounded by multiple arrows. Lord Frey refuses, however, and Roose slays Robb with a thrust to the heart while stating that "Jaime Lannister sends his regards." Catelyn saws Jinglebell's neck in response with the knife, and then claws at her own face with her fingernails. Ser Raymund Frey then slits Catelyn's throat.
While the Starks are being slaughtered in the hall, the unknowing Edmure impregnates Roslin in a bedchamber, with fiddlers performing outside of the room to prevent Edmure from hearing the sounds of battle. Some guests who had accompanied them, such as the Greatjon, Patrek Mallister, and Ser Marq Piper, are overwhelmed and taken captive. Freys kill Grey Wind in the yard with crossbow quarrels, despite Ser Raynald Westerling's attempt to save the direwolf.
In the camp outside, Arya sees men moving on the bridge from the western castle toward the eastern castle, and she hears "The Rains of Castamere" being performed within both castles of the Twins. The three feast tents collapse and are set aflame with fire arrows during the slaughter, having been oiled earlier and rigged to collapse by Lothar Frey. While drunken northmen burn inside the tents, Bastard Walder Rivers leads a column of armored Frey riders from within the Twins against Robb's men outside of the tents, cutting them down and burning their pavilions. Sandor defends Arya against three men, including Ser Garse Goodbrook and Ser Tytos Frey. When Arya, unaware that her mother and brother have been killed, runs toward the Twins, the Hound knocks the girl unconscious and escapes with her.
Though no definitive count is known, most of Robb's men are killed or captured, while House Frey loses approximately fifty men in the camps. After the battle, the Freys hack and mutilate Robb's body and cut off his head along with that of Grey Wind. 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. Robb's bronze and iron crown is kept by Ryman Frey. Catelyn is thrown naked into the river in a mockery of House Tully funeral customs.
According to author George R. R. Martin, Lord Walder Frey had Robb Stark and his followers killed in such a bloody manner to wash out the dishonor done to him. The massacre ends the northern rebellion against the Iron Throne, and Frey soldiers ride along the Green Fork in search of stray Stark survivors. Roose Bolton is named Warden of the North for his aid, and Walder's second son, Emmon, is named Lord of Riverrun. When Salladhor Saan tells Stannis Baratheon of the massacre, he reports that the smallfolk call it the Red Wedding.
According to Merrett Frey, the Red Wedding was ordered by Walder and then arranged by Lame Lothar and Roose, with Ryman Frey involved as well. Tywin Lannister takes no personal responsibility for the slaughter when speaking with his son Tyrion, although the Hand of the King admits he countenanced Walder's actions to prevent the Freys from rejoining Robb's cause and further extending the War of the Five Kings. According to Tywin, Robb was always going to be killed at the feast, although Walder had intended for Catelyn to be captured.
The Iron Throne gains a number of valuable prisoners which help resolve hostilities around Westeros, and most river lords bend the knee. 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 the Freys in their siege of Riverrun. Lord Jonos Bracken besieges Lord Tytos Blackwood at Raventree. With Edmure Tully captive, Ser Jaime Lannister is able to eventually negotiate a peaceful resolution to the siege of Riverrun. To the displeasure of the Freys, they are informed by Jaime that King Tommen I Baratheon requires that all prisoners taken during the Red Wedding be turned over to the Iron Throne.
The Red Wedding stains the ancient custom of guest right, with safety and security in an another's home no longer being considered guaranteed. The massacre ruins House Frey's reputation, and they are treated with antipathy and disgust by many Westerosi, including their own allies. When Edwyn Frey calls those of House Piper who died at the Twins "traitors and rebels", Jaime Lannister tells his Frey allies that they are "twice as treacherous as Piper". Lord Yohn Royce mentions the Freys as an example of guest right violators.
Still traveling with Arya Stark, Sandor Clegane gives the gift of mercy to a dying Piper bowman who had been betrayed by a Bolton soldier. Arya has a dream of her direwolf, Nymeria, recovering a body from a river. This turns out to be the corpse of Catelyn Stark, and Lord Beric Dondarrion gives his life to revive her with the last kiss. Catelyn, now the vengeful Lady Stoneheart, takes leadership of Beric's brotherhood without banners, and they kill Petyr and Merrett Frey. During the siege of Riverrun, Jaime sees Robb's crown worn by Ryman's whore, and the crown ends up in the grasp of Stoneheart after Ryman's party is ambushed by the outlaws while returning to the Twins.
Ser Jared Frey tells Lord Wyman Manderly, Lord of White Harbor, that the Red Wedding was actually Robb Stark's work. According to the Frey story, Robb changed into a wolf as a warg before the eyes of the Freys and tore out the throat of Jinglebell, a harmless simpleton. Furthermore, he allegedly would have slain Lord Walder if Wyman's son, Ser Wendel Manderly, had not put himself in the way. According to Jared, the other northmen also turned into wolves to join Robb's attack. Wyman supports the Freys and Boltons publicly, but he privately disbelieves their lies. When Jared and his kin, Rhaegar and Symond, go missing after departing White Harbor, Wyman pleads ignorance about their fates. Since many lost kin at the Red Wedding, northmen resent the presence of Freys who travel with Lord Bolton to Winterfell for the wedding of his son Ramsay to "Arya Stark". Theon Greyjoy, a captive of the Boltons, wishes he had died by Robb's side.
Thousands of sparrows in King's Landing are furious about the massacre and its violation of guest right. The small council of King Tommen I Baratheon discusses how to blame the Freys, and not the Iron Throne, for the Red Wedding, as did Tywin before his death.
- 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 Spicer, plot with Tywin but do not realize Sybell's son, Ser Raynald Westerling, would be in danger
In the Main Hall
- Merrett Frey and Petyr Frey are tasked with getting 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, drinks with the Greatjon but is sent to the yard to deal with Grey Wind
- Lord Roose Bolton, kills the injured Robb Stark with a sword thrust to the heart
- Ser Raymund Frey, slits Catelyn Stark's throat
- Northmen wearing mail and fur cloaks (Boltons and possibly Karstarks)
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 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
- Half a hundred men in the camps
- King Robb Stark, hit by arrows and stabbed through the heart by Roose Bolton
- Lady Catelyn Stark, throat slit by Raymund Frey
- Ser Wendel Manderly, takes a crossbow bolt to the mouth
- Smalljon Umber, Robb's guard, decapitated by Bolton or Karstark men
- Dacey Mormont, Robb's guard, axed in the stomach by Ryman Frey
- Donnel Locke, felled by crossbow bolts
- Owen Norrey, felled by crossbow bolts
- Robin Flint, Robb's guard, 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 in an attempt to free Grey Wind before jumping into the Green Fork
- Grey Wind, hit by several crossbow bolts
- Lord Edmure Tully, taken to Riverrun, now en route to Casterly Rock
- Lord Greatjon Umber
- Patrek Mallister, Robb's guard, now hostage at Seagard with his father
- Ser Marq Piper
- Perwyn, Olyvar, and Alesander Frey are noted as absent. It is believed they were too sympathetic to Robb Stark and his comrades to be involved.
- Lord Jason Mallister is sent from Hag's Mire to Seagard. His longships are to bring Galbart Glover and Lady Maege Mormont to Greywater Watch in the Neck to find Lord Howland Reed. Jason surrenders Seagard to spare the life of his captured son, Patrek.
- Ser Brynden Tully stays behind at Riverrun to defend the riverlands as Warden of the Southern Marches, with the aid of the river lords.
- Queen Jeyne Westerling also stays behind at Riverrun.
Rewards and Agreements
- 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 previously granted to Petyr Baelish, the Lord of Harrenhal. 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 House Darry, is married to Lord 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.
- Lord Walder offers a daughter to Lord Wyman Manderly. Rhaegar and Little Walder Frey are to marry Wynafryd and Wylla Manderly, respectively.
- Lord Roose Bolton, named Warden of the North
- Ramsay Snow, legitimized as Ramsay Bolton and promised "Arya Stark" in marriage, thus creating House Bolton of Winterfell
I dreamt a wolf howling in the rain, but no one heard his grief. I dreamt such a clangor I thought my head might burst, drums and horns and pipes and screams, but the saddest sound was the little bells.
Was there ever a wedding less joyful?—Catelyn Stark's thoughts
Your Grace, the septon has prayed his prayers, some words have been said, and Lord Edmure's wrapped my sweetling in a fish cloak, but they are not yet man and wife. A sword needs a sheath, heh, and a wedding needs a bedding.
—Catelyn Stark's thoughts
The camp had become a battlefield. No, a butcher's den.—Arya Stark's thoughts
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.
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.
Barbrey: Lord Wyman is not the only one who lost kin at your Red Wedding, Frey. Do you imagine Whoresbane loves you any better? If you did not hold the Greatjon, he would pull out your entrails and make you eat them, as Lady Hornwood ate her fingers. Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates ... they all had men with the Young Wolf.Stark dishonored us. That is what you northmen had best remember.
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.
- Hallis Mollen guards Catelyn during the battle in the Whispering Wood and men from House Burley participate in the fighting at the fords of the Trident, but it is unknown if any Mollens or Burleys attend the Red Wedding.
- Catelyn sees Darry banners near the Tumblestone before the Battle of the Fords, but it is unknown if any Darrys accompany Edmure to the Twins.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 52, Arya XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 45, Catelyn VI.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Appendix.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 65, Arya XII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 50, Arya X.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn IX.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Sybell Spicer.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 31, Jaime IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 37, Jaime V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 66, Theon VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 44, Jaime VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 19, Tyrion III.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 58, Tyrion VII.
- So Spake Martin: Some Questions, August 24, 2000
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 54, Davos V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 62, Jaime VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 42, Brienne VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 23, Alayne I.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 19, Davos III.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 29, Davos IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 51, Theon I.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 17, Cersei IV.
- So Spake Martin: Historical Influences, June 20, 2001
- So Spake Martin: Archon Meeting (October 5-7), October 05, 2001.
- The Week: The real-life events that inspired Game of Thrones' Red Wedding, June 5, 2013
- The Austin Chronicle: LoneStarCon 3: The George R. R. Martin Interview, August 29, 2013