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The Red King of the Dreadfort marches on Winterfell.

"But the greatest rival to Winterfell was always the Dreadfort, and my ancestors, the Red Kings of House Bolton. If tales can be believed, we fought from the Long Night until the Andals came."
―Roose Bolton[src]

Red King was a title held by the head of House Bolton of the Dreadfort during the Age of Heroes.[1]


King Rogar Bolton bends the knee to the Starks of Winterfell.

Before the North was unified under the rule of House Stark, House Bolton ruled in their own right over vast stretches of lands east of Winterfell and styled themselves as the "Red Kings of the Dreadfort". During this time the Boltons were the greatest rival to the Stark Kings of Winter, and waged war against them for centuries.[1]

After many centuries, the Starks finally forced the Boltons into submission when Rogar Bolton - last of the independent Red Kings - bent the knee to the Starks and recognized their rule as Kings in the North.[2]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, it is believed that the Starks and Boltons have been fighting each other since right after the Long Night itself and the construction of the Wall, about 8,000 years ago according to legend.

Historians say that the last of the Red Kings, Rogar Bolton, bent the knee to House Stark just as the first ships of the Andal Invasion were beginning to land in eastern Westeros - which started about 6,000 years ago. This would mean that the Red Kings reigned for about 2,000 years and were constantly fighting the Starks during that time period (not even counting later Bolton rebellions, of which there were several). The Starks rallied all of the other Northern houses including the Boltons to fight back the Andal invaders when they landed on the coasts, or when they tried to pass through the overland choke point at Moat Cailin.

The territory controlled by the Red Kings of House Bolton apparently covered lands beyond what the Boltons currently possess - perhaps the Karstark lands to the north and Hornwood lands to the south. The Umbers were said to also be independent kings in this time period so they didn't control them, while White Harbor and lands to the south (now held by the Manderlys) passed through several hands. Apparently the Boltons never controlled much territory west of the White Knife river.

See also