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"Hush now, child. I'm off to see your father."
―Rodrik Cassel to Bran Stark before his beheading by Theon Greyjoy.[src]

Ser Rodrik Cassel was the master-at-arms at Winterfell and a loyal servant to House Stark. Even in his old age he was still a skilled warrior.



Ser Rodrik Cassel is master-at-arms at Winterfell and has trained many of its soldiers in the art of combat, as well as Robb Stark, Theon Greyjoy and Jon Snow, and formerly Ned and Benjen Stark. He is the primary military advisor to House Stark of Winterfell. House Stark are Lords Paramount of the North. The North is one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms and House Stark is one of the Great Houses of the realm.[1]

Rodrik is a knight, which is somewhat unusual in the North where most of the population holds to the Old Gods of the Forest. He fought in Robert's Rebellion and is an old friend of both Lord Eddard Stark and Greatjon Umber, the Lord of Last Hearth. His nephew Jory Cassel also fought in the rebellion and is the Captain of the guards at Winterfell. Rodrik is much beloved and respected by the inhabitants of Winterfell, and bears a distinct "muttonchop" facial hair pattern.

Season 1

Rodrik presides over Will's execution.

Ser Rodrik informs Lord Eddard Stark that Will, a deserter from the Night's Watch, has been caught in the hills. He accompanies Eddard to Will's execution. On the way back to Winterfell he witnesses the discovery of the six direwolf pups in the Wolfswood. The Stark children adopt the pups. King Robert Baratheon visits Winterfell and Ser Rodrik assembles with the rest of the household to welcome him. Robert asks Eddard to serve as hand of the King. Bran Stark is found severely injured at the base of a disused tower.[2] Eddard goes south to King's Landing and Jory accompanies him as the Captain of his personal guard while Rodrik remains in Winterfell. An assassin infiltrates the castle and attempts to kill Bran but is foiled by Catelyn and Bran's direwolf Summer. Rodrik identifies the blade carried by the assassin as Valyrian steel. Catelyn suspects House Lannister (due to a blonde strand of hair found at the tower) and decides to warn Eddard personally. Rodrik offers to send a squad of guards with her but she is concerned about drawing attention. He offers to accompany her personally and she agrees.[3]

Rodrick and Cat in King's Landing.

Rodrik and Catelyn arrive in King's Landing. He escorts her during through the city and they are told that Littlefinger lost the blade used by the assassin gambling with Tyrion Lannister.[4] They set out for Winterfell. At the Inn at the Crossroads, Rodrik unsuccessfully attempts to dismiss the singer Marillion. He helps Catelyn take Tyrion Lannister prisoner when he arrives at the inn.[5] As they head east through the Vale of Arryn via the Eastern Road. Rodrik helps fend off an attack by the hill tribes and receives a minor wound, but is able to complete the journey to the Eyrie. Rodrik's nephew Jory Cassel is killed by Jaime Lannister while protecting Eddard in King's Landing.[6]

Rodrik witnesses Tyrion's trial by combat and is disappointed when Tyrion's champion wins.[7] King Robert dies following a hunting mishap and Eddard questions the lineage of his successor, Joffrey Baratheon. Eddard is arrested for treason and held in the dungeons of King's Landing[8] until the newly-crowned Joffrey orders him beheaded, prompting the North to secede and rise in anger and rebellion.

Rodrik watches as Robb announces their victory at Whispering Wood.

Rodrik accompanies Catelyn to Moat Cailin, where they find Robb Stark's army camped, where he greets Greatjon Umber like a longtime friend.[9] Robb needs to cross the river Trident but is unsure of the support of Lord Walder Frey. Rodrik advises Catelyn to not go into the Twins alone to talk to Lord Frey. She does so anyway and negotiates safe passage. Robb wins a victory in the Battle of the Whispering Wood and captures Jaime.[10] News of Eddard's execution reaches the camp and Rodrik is part of the group that proclaims Robb Stark the King in the North.[11]

Season 2

Ser Rodrik is present when King Robb presents Ser Alton Lannister the peace terms he must deliver to the Iron Throne. Robb sends Ser Rodrik back to Winterfell to keep Bran and Rickon safe while Catelyn goes to the Stormlands to treat with King Renly Baratheon.[12]

Rodrick informs Bran of Torrhen's Square.

Ser Rodrik enters the Great Hall of Winterfell calling for Bran. He reports that Torrhen’s Square is under siege. Maester Luwin is shocked, remarking that Torrhen’s Square is barely 40 leagues away and wonders how the Lannisters have reached so far north. Osha listens intently as she lights candles at the back of the room. Ser Rodrik speculates that it could be a raiding party led by the Mountain or a group of sellswords. Bran says that they must help their bannermen. Rodrik nods agreement and says that even with most of their forces fighting for Robb he can gather 200 decent men. Luwin wonders if Rodrik needs to take so many and Bran cautions that they must protect their bannermen if they expect their bannermen to protect them. Rodrik smiles at the boy’s wisdom and Bran orders him to leave as soon as he has his men. Rodrik confidently says that it will not take long because southerners do not do well in their territory.[13]

It turns out, however, that the siege at Torrhen's Square was a feint planted by Theon Greyjoy to draw the main garrison away from Winterfell, leaving the poorly defended capital open to attack. Rodrik is caught on his way back from Torrhen's Square. He managed to cut down two of Theon's men, before being disarmed by Black Lorren.

He is dragged into Winterfell in a fury at Theon Greyjoy. Theon is going to have him thrown in the dungeon, but when Ser Rodrik spits in Theon's face, Dagmer insists Rodrik "has to pay the iron price" otherwise Theon's men will lose respect for him. Theon is visibly shaken at the prospect of having to execute someone who once trained him, but he agrees and sentences Rodrik to death in order to save face with his fellow ironborn. Bran vehemently protests as Theon had promised earlier that nobody would be harmed if he yielded. Luwin tries to convince Theon that Rodrik is worth more to him alive than dead, but Theon dismisses him. Defiant to the end, Ser Rodrik baits Theon into performing the execution himself by reminding him of how in Winterfell, the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.

Rodrik about to be executed.

As Theon unsheathes his sword, Bran wails for him to stop but Ser Rodrik tells him to be calm, saying, "I'm off to see your father." Theon asks if Rodrik has any last words before his beheading, and Rodrik scornfully replies that Theon is truly lost. Rodrik then bravely bows his head and awaits his fate with dignity, but Theon botches the task of executing him with just one blow. It takes him three more sword strikes and a kick to finally behead Ser Rodrik, to the horror of the onlookers and Bran, who continues sobbing.[14]

A young Rodrik is shown in Bran's vision.

Season 6

While using Greensight to view the past, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven watch a younger Ser Rodrik training a young Eddard and Benjen Stark at swordplay. He is shown having been present when Hodor suffers a mental trauma and seizes, restraining a terrified Benjen Stark. In the present, Theon mentions his killing of Ser Rodrik along with his other crimes as a reason why Jon Snow will kill him before parting ways with Sansa Stark.[15]

Season 7

When Arya Stark returns to Winterfell, she asks for Rodrik and Maester Luwin to prove her identity to two disbelieving guards, but is informed that there is no one currently of that name at Winterfell, confirming his death to Arya.[16]


Game of Thrones: Season 1 appearances
Winter Is Coming The Kingsroad Lord Snow Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things The Wolf and the Lion
A Golden Crown You Win or You Die The Pointy End Baelor Fire and Blood
Game of Thrones: Season 2 appearances
The North Remembers The Night Lands What Is Dead May Never Die Garden of Bones The Ghost of Harrenhal
The Old Gods and the New A Man Without Honor The Prince of Winterfell Blackwater Valar Morghulis
Game of Thrones: Season 6 appearances
The Red Woman Home * Oathbreaker Book of the Stranger The Door *
Blood of My Blood The Broken Man No One Battle of the Bastards The Winds of Winter

* Bran's vision

Family tree

Lady Cassel

Three unknown
Rodrik wives
Cassel sons

Cassel daughters



Theon Greyjoy: "Ser Rodrik, it grieves me that we meet as foes."
Rodrik Cassel: "It grieves me you've less honor than a back-alley whore!"
— Ser Rodrik reprimands Theon for his betrayal.[src]
Rodrik Cassel: "King Robb thought of you as a brother!"
Theon Greyjoy: "My brothers are dead! They died fighting Stark men! Men like you!"
Rodrik Cassel: "Aye, they died fighting a war your father started! Lord Stark raised you among his own sons!"
Theon Greyjoy: "Among them, but not one of them! I was his hostage! Taken from my home!"
— Rodrik and Theon continue to spar over his capture of Winterfell.[src]
"He who passes the sentence should swing the sword! Coward!"
―Ser Rodrik to Theon Greyjoy[src]
Theon Greyjoy: "Any last words, old man?"
Rodrik Cassel: "Gods help you, Theon Greyjoy. Now you are truly lost."
— Rodrik Cassel's last words before his execution by Theon.[src]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Ser Rodrik Cassel is an honorable knight and stalwart warrior, advancing in years but still hale. He is proud of his facial hair, which he cultivates as "whiskers". He is very unhappy when on the trip to King's Landing he must cut them off. He is fiercely loyal to House Stark. His older brother Martyn, Jory's father, died at the Tower of Joy during Robert's Rebellion.

Rodrik has married thrice but only has one surviving child, his daughter Beth. He also dislikes musicians.

In the show, the death of Rodrik Cassel is a combination of the deaths of two other characters in the book: Farlen, the kennelmaster at Winterfell, and Benfred Tallhart, heir to House Tallhart.

  • Benfred Tallhart, a former friend of Theon and Robb, leads a Northern scout force ambushed at Stony Shore when they come to confront the Ironborn raiders. He refuses to answer questions about the defenses at Torrhen's Square, insults and spits on Theon, calling him "turncoak" and warns him that Robb will gut him; he also curses the Drowned god. Theon's uncle Aeron Damphair tells Theon that he must must be executed for his disrespect. He is drowned on the shores as a sacrifice to the Drowned God.
  • Farlen is beheaded by Theon, as punishment for killing three of the ironborn (who were actually killed by Ramsay Snow at Theon's command) who participated in the abduction and killing the two boys Theon passes off as Bran and Rickon; Theon knows Farlen is innocent, but needs a scapegoat, thus adding Farlen to the list of the innocent people he murdered.

After receiving reports about the raid on Torrhen's Square (which is actually a diversion), Ser Rodrik unwisely takes most of the garrison of Winterfell (600 men) and marches there to deal with Dagmer. Reinforced by Cerwyn troops, Ser Rodrik easily defeats the ironborn; Dagmer suffers heavy casualties and retreats to the Stony Shore, but in the meantime Theon seizes Winterfell. Ser Rodrik is soon informed about that, and about the alleged death of the Stark boys as well.

Ser Rodrik quickly rallies a force of 2,000 men, reports Robb and Catelyn about the fall of Winterfell and the alleged murder of Bran and Rickon, then marches back to Winterfell. He can easily liberate the castle, since his troops outnumber the ironborn 100:1, but he is dismayed by the sight of his daughter, held with a noose around her neck.

Ser Rodrik offers the ironborn a chance to surrender, promising to free those who did not kill the Stark boys, except Theon who will be held for Robb's justice; Theon warns him that if the besieging troops do not retreat - Beth and the rest of the hostages will be killed. Ser Rodrik curses Theon, calls him "Theon Turncloak" (this becomes Theon's derogatory nickname); he does not retreat, but does not attack either.

Ser Rodrik is killed shortly afterwards by Ramsay Snow, who pretended to have come to aid the Northern host, while besieging Winterfell.

Following the Sack of Winterfell, Beth Cassel is brought to the Dreadfort. Her fate is unknown.

In the third novel, Lothar Frey notifies the Starks that Ser Rodrik has been killed during the sack of Winterfell. Catelyn is deeply saddened to hear that the brave loyal man is dead.

In the fifth novel, Jon and Theon longingly recall warmer, simpler days, when they have been boys at Winterfell, matching blades with Robb, under the watchful eye of Ser Rodrik. Jon vividly remembers Ser Rodrik's advice: "There is always someone quicker and stronger. He's the man you want to face in the yard before you need to face his like upon a battlefield".

Lord Manderly, Robett Glover and Davos learn from Wex the truth about the destruction of Winterfell and Ser Rodrik's death - that it has been Ramsay's handiwork, not Theon's.

According to the TV series official pronunciation guide developed for the cast and crew, "Cassel" is pronounced "Cuss-EL", not "Kas-el" (that is, "Cassel" not a homophone of "castle").

See also