The riverlands is a central region of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, consisting of the rich, fertile, and populous areas around the three forks of the Trident and the northern Blackwater Rush. At the time of Aegon's Conquest the riverlands and the Iron Islands were ruled by House Hoare, the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers, although native river kings ruled centuries earlier.
Because of their central position in Westeros and lack of natural boundaries, the riverlands have been a frequent battleground. The people of the riverlands are known as "rivermen" or occasionally "riverlanders", and they are a mixture of hardy warriors, peaceful fisherfolk and devout smallfolk. Their lords have a reputation for being notoriously quarrelsome, and are referred to as "river lords". Noble bastards born in the riverlands are given the surname Rivers.
The riverlands are ruled from Riverrun by House Tully, the Lords Paramount of the Trident. Notable houses of the region have included Blackwood, Bracken, Darry, Frey, Lothston, Mallister, Mooton, Mudd, Piper, Ryger, Strong, Vance, and Whent.
- 1 Geography
- 2 People and Economy
- 3 Military strength
- 4 History
- 5 Recent Events
- 6 Houses
- 7 Quotes
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
The riverlands encompass a region of plains, forests, hills, and endless rivers, and borders on every single kingdom except Dorne. Their northern border is near the swamplands of the Neck, the southernmost region of the north. To the east, the riverlands extend to the Vale of Arryn's Mountains of the Moon and Crackclaw Point in the crownlands. A stream forms part of the boundary between the riverlands and the crownlands, with the hills of House Wode in the former and the lands of House Hogg in the latter. To the south the riverlands border the crownlands and the Reach. The riverlands extend west to Ironman's Bay and the mountainous westerlands. The heavily fortified Golden Tooth guards the entrance to the riverlands but belongs itself to the westerlands. Some of the eastern hills of what are now the westerlands were once ruled by Kings of the Rivers and the Hills, such as the Mudds and Teagues. Some river kings also fought over territory with the Kings of the Reach to the south.
The riverlands are named for the number of rivers which are present. The Red Fork runs from its source in the western mountains to Riverrun where it combines with the Tumblestone and then runs to the east. The Blue Fork flows southeast from its sources near Seagard, while the Green Fork runs south from swamps in the Neck, near the kingsroad. The three forks come together a short distance from Lord Harroway's Town to form the Trident, which then pours into the Bay of Crabs at Saltpans. The northern Blackwater Rush and a river from the Gods Eye run through the southern riverlands.
The riverlands do not contain any major cities, but have a number towns, such as Fairmarket, Harrentown, Harroway, Maidenpool, Saltpans, and Stoney Sept. Their major castles include Darry, Harrenhal, Raventree Hall, Riverrun, Seagard, Stone Hedge, and the Twins. Additional noteworthy places in the riverlands are the old ruins at Oldstones, where in ancient times House Mudd had its castle, and the Gods Eye lake with the Isle of Faces in it. The Lady of the Leaves lives in a village hidden in trees, while a ghost is said to be at High Heart. The Quiet Isle is located at the mouth of the Trident.
The river road runs from Casterly Rock in the westerlands to Riverrun and then on to the crossroads, where it meets the kingsroad and the high road. The Duskendale road connects Maidenpool with Duskendale in the crownlands.
People and Economy
The riverlands are rich and fertile and populous. The numerous rivers that run across their expanse are used for trading and the transport of goods. In times of peace fisherfolk in skiffs and grain barges pole downstream and merchants on floating ships sail on the rivers. With so much trade on the rivers, villagers will haul their grain and other goods to it to see it sold and carried elsewhere by the merchants. Wine can be made from small, tart grapes grown in the riverlands.
Although they are Lords Paramount of the Trident, the Tullys have historically fielded fewer men than the Blackwoods, Brackens, Freys, and Vances. The Mallisters have a more prestigious lineage, while the Mootons are wealthier.
While the riverlands are rich, fertile and populous, the region lacks natural borders and suffers from divided leadership. This affects the military strength House Tully of Riverrun can field. According to a semi-canon source from 2005, the riverlands can field perhaps some forty-five thousand men, with an estimated infantry-to-cavalry ratio of three to one. However, the number of soldiers who have been described in the field have been far less. When Aegon I Targaryen marched against the Reach during the Conquest with a host of eleven thousand men, most of these soldiers came from the riverlands. During the Dance of the Dragons, more than a hundred years later, the Lords of the Trident raised an army on two occasions: one of sixty-six hundred men, and one of nearly four thousand. It is unknown whether the same men made up part of the armies in battle on both occasions, or just one.
During the Dawn Age the First Men settled in the riverlands, coming into conflict with the native children of the forest. After centuries of fighting, a pact was signed at the Isle of Faces, the children withdrew to their forests, while the First Men raised their kingdoms in the lands ceded by the mysterious folk.
During the thousands of years that followed, various families ruled the riverlands as river kings, claiming the titles King of the Trident or King of the Rivers and the Hills. Many dynasties claimed these lands during the Age of Heroes, including Fishers, Brackens, Blackwoods, and Mudds, who were the last of the First Men to claim the riverlands as their own.
The time of the First Men river kings came to an end with the coming of the Andals. Remembered in song are the Fall of Maidenpool, the Widow's Ford, the White Wood, and the Battle of Bitter River. King Tristifer IV Mudd raised his armies and met the Andal invaders. Tristifer was said to have won ninety-nine out of his hundred battles against the Andals, but in the final battle he was killed. His son and successor, Tristifer V, was not as successful as his father and the kingdom fell.
The victorious Andals raised their own kingdoms and dynasties. House Justman united the riverlands for almost three centuries, and King Benedict II Justman expanded their realm east to Duskendale, Rosby, and the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. However, the sons of King Bernarr II Justman were murdered by Qhored Hoare in the Bloody Keep of Pyke in the Iron Islands, and the riverlands fell into anarchy when Qhored sacrificed Bernarr to the Drowned God, ending the Justman line.
The riverlands were then disputed by Houses Blackwood, Bracken, Vance, Mallister, and Charlton for a century. The Hooks were also river kings of old who claimed the mouth of the Blackwater. The various kings were pressured by the Kings of the Iron Islands, the Kings of the Rock, the Vale mountain clans, the Kings of the Reach, the Storm Kings, and pirates from the Stepstones and the Three Sisters. Torrence Teague finally reunited the riverlands, but he and his heirs were disliked by their rebellious subjects. According to a semi-canon source, House Teague may not have had an uninterrupted rule, instead being contested by other river dynasties for generations.
The last native river kings were Humfrey I Teague and his kin. Humfrey founded numerous septs and motherhouses in his kingdom, and he repressed worship of the old gods. A rebellion began by Lord Roderick Blackwood led to the deaths of the Teagues in the Battle of Six Kings and their replacement by the Storm King, Arlan III Durrandon.
The Storm Kings of House Durrandon ruled the riverlands for more than three centuries. Several leaders such as Lucifer Justman, Marq Mudd, Lord Robert Vance, Lord Petyr Mallister, Lady Jeyne Nutt, Ser Addam Rivers, Pate of Fairmarket, and Ser Lymond Fisher, rose in rebellion and even reigned, albeit for a short time, before being put down by the might of Storm's End.
The Storm Kings in turn were defeated by the Iron King, Harwyn Hardhand, who established his own kingdom from the Iron Islands to the riverlands. The era of the Kings of the Isles and the Rivers is included in The Iron Chronicle. Harwyn's son, Halleck Hoare, made his seat in Fairmarket instead of the Iron Islands.
Harwyn's grandson, Harren the Black, ordered the construction of an immense castle, Harrenhal, as a display of his wealth and power. Construction of Harrenhal took forty years and a huge amount of resources and money to build. Feuding between the Blackwoods and the Brackens during the construction led Harren to punish both houses. Ironically, the same day the most immense castle in history was finished, Aegon Targaryen, the Lord of Dragonstone, landed in Westeros with his dragons.
Harren the Black was unpopular within the riverlands when Aegon's Conquest began. Rather than support House Hoare, the river lords rose in rebellion and joined House Targaryen. The first to do so was House Tully, followed by the Blackwoods, Mallisters, Vances, Brackens, Pipers, Freys, and Strongs.
Harren thought if he refused battle to Aegon I Targaryen, the invaders would have to besiege Harrenhal with the river lords. Instead, Aegon let his dragon attack. The heat produced by Balerion was so great that much of Harrenhal burned and melted, killing Harren and his children. After the burning of Harrenhal Aegon raised Lord Edmyn Tully to dominion over the riverlands, below the sovereignty of the Targaryens, as the Lord Paramount of the Trident.
Rivermen made up the bulk of Aegon's army at the Field of Fire. The Inn of the Kneeling Man on the Red Fork was built where Torrhen Stark, King in the North, is believed to have submitted to Aegon.
Having never been river kings, House Tully has sometimes been overshadowed by their bannermen. Lord Edmyn Tully, however, repaired much of the damage caused by the rule of Harren the Black. In 31 AC Prince Maegor Targaryen slew the Giant of the Trident, a robber knight. Shortly after his coronation, King Aenys I Targaryen visited Riverrun. Harren the Red rebelled against Aenys and killed Gargon Qoherys, the Lord of Harrenhal.
During the reign of Maegor the Cruel, several river lords joined the king in the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye against his nephew, Prince Aegon Targaryen. Ser Joffrey Doggett led former Warrior's Sons in the riverlands and the westerlands.
Dance of the Dragons
When the Dance of the Dragons began in 129 AC, the notoriously-quarrelsome river lords were nominally under the rule of House Tully. Most supported Rhaenyra Targaryen and the blacks against Aegon II Targaryen and the greens. Prince Daemon Targaryen led the assault on Harrenhal and followed up with the Battle of the Burning Mill and the taking of Stone Hedge.
The green army from the westerlands was victorious in the Battle of the Red Fork and at Acorn Hall in 130 AC, but was then destroyed by rivermen and northmen in the Battle by the Lakeshore. Prince Aemond Targaryen and his dragon, Vhagar, burned much of the riverlands in response,[N 1] but Aemond was eventually killed in the Battle Above the Gods Eye by Daemon. Ser Criston Cole, the Kingmaker, led an army of greens through the riverlands, but they were hampered by scorched earth tactics. Rivermen and their northern allies crushed Criston and his greens in the Butcher's Ball, an ambush south of the Gods Eye. Riverlords, northmen, and crownlands men from the Blackwater Rush continued south, but the blacks were defeated in the First Battle of Tumbleton. Ser Addam Velaryon led near four thousand rivermen to the Second Battle of Tumbleton.
Lords Kermit Tully and Benjicot Blackwood led the rivermen who defeated Lord Borros Baratheon in the Battle of the Kingsroad in 131 AC. Supporters of Aegon III Targaryen, the Lads were welcomed when they marched into King's Landing after Aegon II's death. In the aftermath of the war, more than a thousand northmen settled in the riverlands, marrying women in Widow Fairs and taking service as guards and men-at-arms. The northmen strengthened the riverlords and led a partial revival of worship of the old gods in the region.
Lord Hoster Tully betrothed his daughter, Catelyn, to Brandon Stark, the heir to Winterfell. Brandon and his father, Lord Rickard Stark, were executed by King Aerys II Targaryen, however, and Hoster supported the rebels during Robert's Rebellion. Following the Battle of the Bells at Stoney Sept in the southern riverlands, Catelyn wed Lord Eddard Stark and her sister, Lysa, wed Lord Jon Arryn in a dual wedding at Riverrun.
A number of Lord Tully's vassals remained loyal to House Targaryen, including Lords Darry, Goodbrook, Mooton, and Ryger, however, and Hoster punished the Goodbrooks with fire and sword. The Battle of the Trident, which ultimately determined the outcome of the war, was fought in the riverlands. Lord Walder Frey arrived late to the Trident in support of the rebels.
A Game of Thrones
After Catelyn Stark abducts Tyrion Lannister, Lord Tywin Lannister retaliates by sending Ser Gregor Clegane to raid the riverlands. The Hand of the King, Lord Eddard Stark, tasks Beric Dondarrion with stopping the raiders. Beric's force is ambushed in a battle at the Mummer's Ford, however, and Gregor continues killing and plundering.
After the death of King Robert I Baratheon, Tywin leads a Lannister army and captures or besieges several castles, including Darry, Harrenhal, Pinkmaiden, Raventree Hall, and Stone Hedge. The Twins and Seagard are noted to be the only two riverland settlements largely untouched by the fighting.
Ser Jaime Lannister's army defeats a riverland army under the command of Ser Edmure Tully in a battle under the walls of Riverrun and besieges the capital of the riverlands. Because it is surrounded by the Tumblestone and the Red Fork, Jaime sets up three camps to lay an effective siege. For services rendered to the new king, Joffrey Baratheon, Janos Slynt receives Harrenhal, which previously belonged to Lady Shella Whent.
Meanwhile, Robb Stark gathers the northern bannermen and marches south to rescue his imprisoned father, Eddard. At the Twins, he agrees to marry a daughter of Lord Walder Frey in return for crossing of the Green Fork and an alliance with House Frey. Robb sends Lord Roose Bolton southeast. While Tywin defeats Roose in the battle on the Green Fork, this allows Robb to head southwest toward Riverrun. Robb surprises Jaime's army in the Whispering Wood and the Battle of the Camps, liberating Edmure and Riverrun and taking Jaime prisoner. In response to Jaime's capture, Tywin sends Gregor, Ser Amory Lorch, and Vargo Hoat with his Brave Companions to burn and plunder the riverlands.
A Clash of Kings
In 299 AC, during the War of the Five Kings, Renly Baratheon believes that a host of twenty thousand riverlanders has joined Robb. However, according to Catelyn Stark the actual number is much less.
The acting Hand of the King, Tyrion Lannister, strips Lord Janos of Harrenhal and exiles him to the Night's Watch. After the defeat of Jaime, Tywin brings his army to Harrenhal instead of King's Landing. Robb Stark, King of the Trident, allows the river lords to leave Riverrun and retake their castles from the Lannisters. Sending Ser Cleos Frey as an envoy, Robb claims the lands watered by the Trident and its tributaries, bounded by the Golden Tooth to the west and the Mountains of the Moon to the east. However, Tyrion rejects Robb's territorial demands. The river lords burn their crops to prevent the Lannisters from taking them, while Tywin has foragers burn villages and slay smallfolk.
Robb takes the northern horse and some of the Freys to raid the westerlands. While Robb is away, his mother Catelyn frees Jaime in the hope that he will free her daughters, Sansa and Arya, whom she believes are held hostage in King's Landing. Unknown to Catelyn, however, Arya has been traveling incognito through the war-torn riverlands.
Roose Bolton is able to recover Harrenhal and other territory in the riverlands when Tywin leaves to defend the westerlands from Robb. Ser Aenys Frey commands fifteen hundred Freys with Roose's host. Edmure raises eleven thousand soldiers, including eight thousand foot and three thousand horse. Tywin marches west, but is turned back by Edmure at the Battle of the Fords. Tywin then heads southeast to King's Landing to defend his grandson, King Joffrey, from the boy king's uncle, Stannis Baratheon.
As a reward for negotiating the alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell, the Iron Throne grants Harrenhal to Petyr Baelish and names him Lord Paramount of the Trident. Petyr remains in King's Landing, however. Ser Lancel Lannister receives Darry, as Lord Lyman Darry had been killed in the sack of Darry.
A Storm of Swords
Arya Stark meets the brotherhood without banners, a band of outlaws led by a revived Lord Beric Dondarrion. In the name of the late King Robert I Baratheon, they engage in a guerrilla campaign against House Lannister and the Iron Throne.
Robb returns to Riverrun after successfully raiding the westerlands, but has lost the support of the Freys after marrying Jeyne Westerling instead of a daughter of Walder Frey. Soldiers of House Karstark roam the riverlands in search of Jaime Lannister and abandon Robb when he executes their lord, Rickard Karstark, for treason. Hoster Tully, the longtime Lord of Riverrun, passes away and is succeeded by his son, Edmure Tully. In order to return the Freys to King Robb's side, Lord Edmure agrees to marry a Frey.
Leaving Ser Brynden Tully at Riverrun as the Warden of the Southern Marches, Robb leads the bulk of his northmen and rivermen army to the Twins for Edmure's wedding to Roslin Frey. Lord Roose Bolton commands the rearguard, which is defeated by Ser Gregor Clegane in fighting at the fords of the Trident. Gregor then retakes Harrenhal for the Iron Throne. At the Twins, the Freys and Boltons betray their king in the massacre known as the Red Wedding. Robb and Catelyn are killed, while Edmure is taken captive.
After the Red Wedding most of the river lords surrender to the Iron Throne; for instance, Seagard surrenders to Black Walder Frey. The majority of river lords are welcomed back into the king's peace, but the Tullys are stripped of their titles and lands, with Riverrun being granted to the Freys. Ser Ryman Frey leads two thousand Freys toward Riverrun.
A Feast for Crows
Ser Jaime Lannister travels to deal with the few river lords still in resistance to the Iron Throne. Brynden Tully continues to hold out, despite the siege of Riverrun by House Frey. Jaime negotiates the surrender of the castle with Edmure, though Brynden escapes during the night. Jaime reminds Lord Emmon Frey that although his house possesses Riverrun, lordship over the riverlands has passed to House Baelish of Harrenhal. Petyr Baelish, Lord Paramount of the Trident, remains in the Vale of Arryn, however, and has not visited his seat at Harrenhal.
Even though the War of the Five Kings has seemingly ended, the brotherhood without banners and broken men still roam the riverlands. Led by Lady Stoneheart, the outlaws of the brotherhood engage in a campaign of retribution against House Frey. The town of Saltpans is raided by survivors of the Brave Companions.
A Dance with Dragons
House Baelish of Harrenhal
House Blackwood of Raventree Hall
House Bracken of Stone Hedge
House Butterwell of Whitewalls
House Cox of Saltpans
House Darry of Darry
House Fisher of the Misty Isle
House Frey of the Crossing
House Frey of Riverrun
House Harroway of Harrenhal
House Hawick of Saltpans
House Hoare of Harrenhal
House Lannister of Darry
House Lothston of Harrenhal
House Mallister of Seagard
House Mooton of Maidenpool
House Mudd of Oldstones
House Nayland of Hag's Mire
House Piper of Pinkmaiden
House Qoherys of Harrenhal
House Roote of Lord Harroway's Town
House Ryger of Willow Wood
House Slynt of Harrenhal
House Smallwood of Acorn Hall
House Strong of Harrenhal
House Towers of Harrenhal
House Tully of Riverrun
House Vance of Atranta
House Vance of Wayfarer's Rest
House Whent of Harrenhal
House Harlton of Castlewood
—writings of Yandel
—thoughts of Catelyn Tully
The land was gentle enough, rolling hills and terraced fields interspersed with meadows and woodlands and little valleys where willows crowded close to slow shallow steams ... Here farmland gave way to forest, the villages and holdfasts were smaller and farther apart, the hills higher and the valleys deeper.—thoughts of Arya Stark
Between rains, floods, fire, and war, they had lost two harvests and a good part of a third. An early winter would mean famine all across the riverlands.—thoughts of Merrett Frey
From what Jaime had seen of the riverlands, scarce a field remained unburnt, a town unsacked, a maiden unspoiled.—thoughts of Jaime Lannister
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 69, Tyrion IX.
- The World of Ice & Fire.
- So Spake Martin: Strength of the Regions (February 28, 2002)
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 28, Catelyn V.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 14, Catelyn II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Stormlands: House Baratheon.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Blacks and the Greens.
- A Game of Thrones, Appendix.
- The World of Ice & Fire, House Tully.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 27, Jaime III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 7, Catelyn I.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Westeros.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Reach: Andals in the Reach.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 22, Arya IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 31, Brienne VI.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 9, Brienne II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 1, Jaime I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 11, Jaime II.
- Fire & Blood, Aftermath - The Hour of the Wolf.
- A Game of Thrones: d20-based Open Gaming RPG.
- The Princess and the Queen.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 59, Catelyn IX.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 66, Bran VII.
- So Spake Martin: Blackwood-Bracken Feud and Coinage (August 13, 2003)
- So Spake Martin: Bywater, River Kings, and Dornish Heraldry (May 22, 1999)
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 45, Catelyn V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 11, Theon I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Iron Islands: Driftwood Crowns.
- Ran at A Forum of Ice and Fire: Errors in the WOIAF
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Riverlands: House Tully.
- Fire & Blood, Aegon's Conquest.
- Fire & Blood, The Sons of the Dragon.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Aenys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Targaryen Kings: Maegor I.
- Fire & Blood, Prince into King - The Ascension of Jaehaerys I.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Red Dragon and the Gold.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - Rhaenyra Triumphant.
- Fire & Blood, The Dying of the Dragons - The Short, Sad Reign of Aegon II.
- Fire & Blood, Under the Regents - The Hooded Hand.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 4, Eddard I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 2, Catelyn I.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 16, Eddard III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 43, Arya VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 43, Eddard XI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 55, Catelyn VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 17, Arya III.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 56, Tyrion VII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 57, Sansa V.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 53, Bran VI.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 62, Tyrion VIII.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 63, Catelyn X.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 71, Catelyn XI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 22, Catelyn II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 8, Tyrion II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 2, Sansa I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 20, Tyrion V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 56, Theon V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 1, Arya I.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 5, Arya II.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 9, Arya III.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 14, Arya IV.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 19, Arya V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 26, Arya VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 38, Arya VIII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 47, Arya IX.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 64, Arya X.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 39, Catelyn V.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 45, Catelyn VI.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 65, Sansa VIII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 13, Arya II.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 20, Catelyn III.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 35, Catelyn IV.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 49, Catelyn VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 51, Catelyn VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 53, Tyrion VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 72, Jaime IX.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 38, Jaime VI.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 60, Tyrion VIII.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 33, Jaime V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 44, Jaime VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Epilogue.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 16, Jaime II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 25, Brienne V.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 30, Jaime IV.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 48, Jaime I.