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"Riverrun is ours! Take it back!"
―Lord Walder Frey commands two of his sons to recapture Riverrun.[src]

The Second Siege of Riverrun is a siege during the War of the Five Kings. Granted to House Frey after the downfall of House Tully at the Red Wedding, Riverrun was eventually recaptured by Brynden Tully "the Blackfish" and an assembled force of Tully loyalists.



For their actions during the Red Wedding in which House Frey, alongside House Bolton, betrayed their liege lords, House Stark and House Tully, and oversaw the massacre of the Stark and Tully armies, House Frey was rewarded by the Iron Throne by replacing House Tully as Lords Paramount of the Trident and Lords of Riverrun. Previously, the Tullys and the other lords of the Riverlands had joined Robb Stark, the King in the North, in fighting for independence for the North. Though Edmure Tully was kept as a hostage by the Freys, Brynden Tully "the Blackfish", Edmure's uncle, was able to escape the massacre. The Blackfish eventually reassembled the Tully army and retook Riverrun from the House Frey.[1]

The siege begins

Lord Walder Frey tasks two of his sons, Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers, to recapture Riverrun from the Blackfish after news reaches the Twins of their loss. Meanwhile, in King's Landing, Jaime is dismissed from the Kingsguard by King Tommen I. Tommen tasks his "uncle" (actually father) with assisting House Frey in taking back Riverrun from the Blackfish and the reassembled Tully army. Though Jaime does not wish to leave his sister Cersei behind as her trial is to be held soon, she encourages him to assume his rightful place at the head of the Lannister army.[2]

"Now that is a sorry attempt at a siege."
―Bronn, witnessing the Frey's poor siege attempt.[src]

At the site of the siege, the Freys construct various siege towers and attempt to dig trenches outside of the castle, though they are blocked by the river surrounding it. The Freys also construct a gibbet and publicly threaten Edmure Tully's life. Despite this, the Blackfish does not yield Riverrun. The Freys are eventually joined by Lannister forces led by Jaime, who assumes command of the siege. Bronn, his right-hand man, orders for perimeter trenches to be dug, pickets to be set up, and to have the men work double-time on the siege towers. Jaime also orders the Freys to provide Edmure with a bath and a meal. When Black Walder protests, Jaime berates him for his incompetence in making threats he wasn't prepared to carry out, and strikes him, causing the Freys to fall into line.[3]

Attempted negotiations

With the siege under his command, Jaime gets a message to the Blackfish, asking for a parley. When the two men meet on Riverrun's drawbridge, Brynden refuses to surrender his family's castle, claiming that he is prepared to die in the castle in which he was born. He also tells Jaime that they have enough provisions for two years, and that they can wait the Lannisters out and kill thousands of their men before they take the castle. Despite Jaime's insistence that Brynden could save his men, he refuses to concede.

Several days after Jaime's arrival, Brienne of Tarth and her squire Podrick Payne arrive at the Lannister camp. Brienne had been sent by Sansa, who has been assembling an army to reclaim Winterfell from House Bolton. Having received word that her great uncle was still alive and possessed his own army, she requested that he bring his forces north to help her against the Boltons. Brienne offers to negotiate with the Blackfish so that he would surrender Riverrun, in exchange for Jaime providing both him and the Tully host with safe passage to the North. Jaime agrees but only gives her until nightfall to accomplish her aim.

Inside Riverrun, Brienne tries to convince Brynden to accept her offer and head north to help Sansa. However, he refuses, claiming that he would rather die than surrender his family's ancestral home, though he fondly notes how Sansa's letter reminds him of his late niece.[4]

Riverrun's surrender

With nightfall and Brienne's failure to convince the Blackfish, Jaime speaks to Edmure Tully, and promises him asylum, along with his wife and son, at Casterly Rock away from the Freys once Riverrun surrenders. When Edmure refuses to listen and insults him, the Kingslayer threatens to kill both him and his son if he refuses to surrender his castle. Under threat, Edmure agrees.

Edmure walks up to the drawbridge and demands entry as the rightful Lord of Riverrun. Although the Blackfish orders his men not to let him in, they ignore his order as they have sworn to be loyal to the head of House Tully. The drawbridge is dropped and Edmure orders the garrison to surrender the castle to the Lannisters and the Freys. He also orders them to arrest his uncle. Brynden shows Brienne and Podrick to a waterway beneath the castle which allows them to escape from the Lannisters and the Freys. Although Brienne tries to convince him to accompany them, he tells them that he would rather die than run again, as he had at the Red Wedding. He draws his sword to fight approaching soldiers while Brienne and Podrick escape by boat. The Blackfish is killed in the ensuing fight, and a Lannister soldier informs Jaime of this, seemingly to Jaime's disappointment.

With the surrender of the garrison, Jaime strikes House Tully's banners and raises those of House Lannister and House Frey over the castle. True to his word, he allows the surviving Tully men to leave Riverrun with their lives. He also chooses not to send men after Brienne and Podrick as he sees them escaping on the Trident.


The Frey and Lannister soldiers celebrate their victory at the Twins. Lord Walder Frey raises a toast to the Frey and Lannister alliance, and encourages the words of their alliance to be spoken to their defeated enemies: The Freys and the Lannisters send their regards. Next to him sit Lothar and Walder Rivers. After Bronn leaves with two women, Walder sits himself next to Jaime, congratulating him and telling him that his father would be pleased. Walder goes on to compare himself as a kingslayer much like Jaime, though unbeknownst to Walder, the circumstances in which they killed their sworn kings were very different; while Jaime did it to protect King's Landing from Aerys II Targaryen and his wildfire plot, Walder betrayed Robb Stark for political purposes. This angers Jaime and leads him to openly question as to why the Iron Throne needs the Freys if they cannot control the Riverlands without the assistance of the Lannisters. He walks off, leaving Walder Frey visibly uncomfortable.

Later, after the celebration has ended and the Lannister army has left the Riverlands to return to the Crownlands, Walder Frey and many of his kin are assassinated by Arya.[5]

Brienne, updating Jaime's entry in the Book of Brothers, mentions that Jaime took Riverrun without spilling blood.[6]


The only known number is of the Lannister troops - 8,000 men ("The Broken Man"). It is unknown how many soldiers the besieged and the Frey troops consist of.

House Frey initially had 3,000-4,000 soldiers;[7] that number, however, has presumably decreased during the war, while the Freys were still fighting for Robb. Thus the current number of the Frey soldiers is unknown.

As for the defenders' number: in "Blood of My Blood", Lord Walder states "We've got 10 times as many men as the damn Blackfish", but that was probably just an exaggeration: had the besieged been so few, the Freys wouldn't have needed any reinforcements, and Jaime wouldn't have taken so many troops (8,000 soldiers) to Riverrun. In "No One", Brienne states that the Blackfish has more men than Sansa and Jon. If her statement is correct, Brynden has more than 2,000 soldiers at Riverrun.[8]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Second Siege of Riverrun plays out somewhat differently, due to the TV series reshuffling events around.


The siege is foreshadowed by Thoros of Myr. He tells Arya of his vision about Riverrun: "An island in a sea of fire, it seemed. The flames were leaping lions with long crimson claws. And how they roared! A sea of Lannisters, my lady. Riverrun will soon come under attack".

The Lannisters have planned to seize Riverrun before the Red Wedding occurs. Shortly after Robb loses a third of his infantry at Duskendale (due to Roose Bolton's treachery), Daven Lannister is given orders to reform the remnants of his late father's troops at Lannisport, join Ser Forley Prester at the Golden Tooth, and as soon as Robb heads north - descend on Riverrun. As a result of the Red Wedding, the Lannisters and their allies can allocate more forces for that mission.

In the books, Brynden Tully wasn't even present at the Red Wedding, because Robb left him behind at Riverrun to hold their southern flank. Thus the castle never fell to the Lannisters, but remains a defiant holdout against their rule even after all of the Stark forces are destroyed.

The Freys proceed to besiege Riverrun, but with all of Robb's other forces destroyed and no help coming, the Freys don't bother wasting men trying to force the castle, and instead settle in for a long-term siege to starve out the Tully garrison. It took some time for their armies to reach Riverrun from the Twins, however, and in that time Brynden gathered as many provisions as he could from the surrounding countryside, enough for his garrison to last for two years. As a result, the siege starts soon after the Red Wedding in the middle of the third novel, but Jaime himself does not arrive until the middle of the fourth novel; in the meantime, characters just sporadically mention reports that it is occurring in the background of the narrative. The TV series moved events around or didn't know if it would be able to show this subplot, so it didn't set up the siege right after the Red Wedding - instead it had to reintroduce it in Season 6: instead of setting up that Brynden was at Riverrun, it simply had him fight his way out of the camps at the Red Wedding - then said that he retook the castle in a lightning raid against the Freys, regathering his forces for the siege. Had Jaime's visit to the siege occurred when it chronologically did in the novels, it would have occurred in the middle of Season 5 (after Tywin dies). Otherwise, the TV version of the siege plays out fairly similarly to the siege in the novels.

Also, Brienne is not present when the siege takes place and does not try to reach Riverrun, though she and Jaime cross paths again with his army in the Riverlands.

A combined force of Frey (2,000 spears) and Lannister soldiers, commanded respectively by Ryman Frey and Daven Lannister, who has been recently named Warden of the West by Cersei, marches on Riverrun, in an effort to remove the final vestiges of resistance in the Riverlands and install Emmon Frey (Lord Frey's second son and husband of Genna Lannister) as the new Lord of Riverrun, in compliance with the terms of the alliance between the Freys and Lannisters.

Brynden Tully anticipates the siege. He gathers all the foodstuffs and goods he can within the castle, enough for two years, expels all the unnecessary mouths, smallfolk who had been granted shelter by Edmure Tully, and prepares for a long siege. He does not expect and does not receive help from anyone, since:

  • Lord Tytos Blackwood - the only riverlord who has not yielded yet to the Iron Throne - is under siege by Lord Jonos Bracken.
  • The Brotherhood without Banners are indeed rising up against the Freys, but hunting individuals of them rather than raiding their food supplies and camps. So far, Petyr and Merrett Frey had died in these attacks, each of these characters being omitted from the show.
  • Sansa, safe at the Vale, knows about the siege of Riverrun and that uncle Edmure is held captive at the Twins, but does not take any action to help him or her great-uncle. She is unaware of the current events at the north, and has no idea who currently controls Winterfell either.

The Siege

Ryman commands a large and disorderly Frey encampment north of the Tumblestone. South of the Red Fork are Lord Emmon, Forley Prester with other westermen, and rivermen who knelt to the Iron Throne after the Red Wedding. Daven commands House Lannister's camp between the Tumblestone and the Red Fork. To prevent Riverrun's defenders from escaping, Manfryd Yew and Raynard Ruttiger command a boom across the Red Fork east of the castle.

When Arya and the Hound encounter Polliver and the Tickler at the Inn at the Crossroads, the Hound asks (shortly before the bloody brawl breaks out) if the Blackfish is still in Riverrun. Polliver answers lightly "Not for long, he's under siege. Old Frey's going to hang Edmure Tully unless he yields the castle. The only real fighting's around Raventree".

In contrast to Polliver's anticipation, the besiegers realize very quickly that the Blackfish will not yield so easily. They have no hope to starve the besieged out, and are seriously short of food. The Freys, not surprisingly, bring food only for their troops; the Lannisters have to look for food themselves. They catch enough fish, but nothing to feed the horses. Half of the soldiers who are sent to find food do not return, either killed by outlaws (presumably the Brotherhood) or desert. Soon the besiegers grow bored, and find whatever available entertainments to spend their time with: camp followers, drinking, gambling, etc. Ryman Frey acts the same, rather than maintain discipline at his troops, leaving the command to his son Edwyn and his uncle Walder Rivers.

Daven Lannister supervises the construction of siege machines - battering rams, towers, trebuchets and ladders. They do not dig trenches, because there is no need to: no one comes to help the besieged. Emmon, who does nothing except reminding everyone his new title, tries to tell Daven how to run the siege. He wants the castle to be taken without damaging it with the siege machines. No one pays any attention to him, though.

Ryman tries to make the Blackfish yield Riverrun, the same way his son Black Walder forced Lord Jason Mallister to yield Seagard (by threatening to kill his son Patrek): he builds a gallows and threatens to hang Edmure. However, Brynden is not impressed by the threat. Very foolishly, Ryman repeats that every day, unaware the threat - which made no impression from the beginning - has lost any effectiveness.

Next, Ryman tries to parley with the Blackfish. He rides up to the castle gates half-drunk and blustering, making threats. The Blackfish appears on the ramparts long enough to say that he will not waste fair words on foul men, before putting an arrow in the rump of Ryman's palfrey. The horse rears and drops Ryman into the mud, much to the amusement of Daven and the other spectators.

Arrival of Jaime Lannister

Since the besiegers do not make any progress, Cersei grows impatient and sends Jaime, who is still the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, to set Harrenhal to rights and to resolve the siege of Riverrun. Jaime has mixed feelings about the mission: on one hand, knowing what an incompetent mother Cersei was to Joffrey, he does not like the idea of leaving Tommen in her hands, nor does he wish to break his vow to Catelyn (never again to take up arms against the Starks or Tullys); on the other hand, he seizes the opportunity to get away from the small council, because he has no taste for the company of the lickspittles and fools who surround Cersei. He feels more comfortable amongst soldiers in the field than he ever has at court.

Jaime leaves King's Landing with nearly one thousand reinforcements for the Freys, including Ser Ilyn Payne, his friend Addam Marbrand, and Ser Bonifer Hasty, who was recently given the questionable office of the Castellan of Harrenhal while Littlefinger is away in the Vale. Among the host are forty knights, half of them westermen sworn to House Lannister, the others recent foes turned doubtful friends. Unlike in the show, Bronn does not come with them.

On the way to Riverrun, Jaime stops at Harrenhal. He is disappointed that none of the Brave Companions (with whom he has a score to settle) remained at the castle, but is glad to see that Wylis Manderly and the other prisoners are alive (as the Mountain had a tendency to mistreat his prisoners, even those valuable for ransom). Ser Bonifer takes charge of the castle, and is not worried about the curse that so far allegedly claimed the life of whoever served before him as the castellan of Harrenhal (except Roose Bolton, who is still alive at that point). At his demand, Jaime takes the Mountain's men, leaving the Holy Hundred (Hasty's personal retinue) at Harrenhal. Jaime commands Ronnet Connington (who angers Jaime by making disparaging remarks about Brienne, to whom Ronnet was once betrothed) to take the prisoners to Maidenpool, where they can take ship home to the north. Jaime gives Ser Bonifer last orders about the Hound and Beric Dondarrion: the former must be killed on sight, the latter must be taken alive so he can be publicly executed in King's Landing to put an end to the rumors of his constant survival. Jaime then continues to Riverrun.

The next stop is at Castle Darry. Lancel, who has become pious, tells Jaime tearfully the whole truth about his part in Robert's death and that he has been Cersei's lover. The confession confirms Tyrion's last words to Jaime about Cersei, and makes him realize she is responsible not only for Robert's death, but also for the death of previous High Septon (indeed, he was killed at Cersei's orders by her henchman Osney Kettleblack). The realization increases a lot the loathing he has been feeling toward Cersei ever since they were reunited.

As soon as Jaime arrives at Riverrun, he meets his cousin Daven, who briefs him about the situation. Daven does not hide the contempt he feels toward the attending Freys - Emmon, Ryman, Edwyn and Walder Rivers - and comments he wouldn't be too upset if they all get killed during the siege. He intends, though, to keep his part in the agreement between Tywin and the Freys, if only to avoid Robb Stark's fate - marry a Frey girl (preferably one that Black Walder has not slept with yet).

Daven thinks that they should storm the castle. Jaime muses that there has been a time, not so long ago, when he would undoubtedly have urged the same course. Due to the significant change in his personality, however, he is determined to prevent bloodshed.

Jaime does not expect any armed force to come and help the besieged, but he has long learned a valuable lesson about the necessity of precautions at the Battle of the Whispering Wood; therefore he orders Ser Addam to inspect the perimeters with an eye for any weaknesses.

Jaime meets his aunt Genna and her insignificant husband Emmon. They ask him about the death of their son Cleos. Rather than tell them the truth, that the coward Cleos was shot down without putting up a fight, Jaime lies that he scattered the outlaws who attacked them, but at the cost of his own life. The lie pleases them. Emmon waves the decree that makes him the lawful lord of Riverrun, but Genna tells him sharply that as long as the Blackfish does not yield, that decree is worth no more than toilet paper. Emmon thinks his new title makes him the new overlord of the Riverlands. Jaime corrects him that he was granted Riverrun with its lands and incomes, no more - Petyr Baelish is the Lord Paramount of the Trident, and Riverrun will be subject to the rule of Harrenhal. Emmon is displeased, but does not have the guts to go to King's Landing and argue with Cersei. Emmon walks away. Genna talks with Jaime, raging at Cersei's incompetent decisions (namely her choice of those on the small council, her making an enemy of the Iron Bank and her willingness to let the Faith Militant reform when even the Targaryens were wary of the threat such fanatics posed) before their discussion turns to his father, how she and her other brothers lived and grew up in Tywin's shadow, and that no one can fill his place - neither Jaime, nor Kevan. She surprises Jaime by stating "Tyrion is Tywin’s son, not you".

Jaime considers the situation: he has no intention waiting until the besieged run out of food; the longer the siege drags on, the more it will hearten other recalcitrants, like Tytos Blackwood. He knows that eventually he may have to conquer the castle by force, thus to violate his vow to Catelyn, but decides to do his best to avoid bloodshed. Jaime first tries to parley with the Blackfish.

The Parley

The parley does not go well, right from the beginning: Brynden insults Jaime, repeatedly calls him "Kingslayer" and reminds him that his vows are worthless - like his vow to Aerys. Jaime restrains himself and offers terms to Brynden "Strike your banners and open your gates and I’ll grant your men their lives. Those who wish to remain at Riverrun in service to Lord Emmon may do so. The rest shall be free to go where they will, though I will require them to surrender their arms and armor." He also offers Brynden to take the black, commenting that Ned Stark's bastard is the Lord Commander on the Wall. Brynden rejects the offer "Did your father arrange for that as well? Catelyn never trusted the boy, as I recall, no more than she ever trusted Theon Greyjoy. It would seem she was right about them both.[9] No, ser, I think not. I’ll die warm, if you please, with a sword in hand running red with lion blood." He also claims that Tywin was the mastermind behind the Red Wedding,[10] which Jaime can't deny; the fact it was carried out by the Freys - does not decrease Tywin's responsibility.

Jaime tries to reason with Brynden, pointing out that Harrenhal, Seagard and Maidenpool have fallen, all the other Riverlands lords have surrendered, except Lord Tytos Blackwood who is also under siege, and that the besiegers outnumber the besieged by 20:1. Brynden is unimpressed, pointing out that twenty times the men require twenty times the food, and the besiegers are out of supplies.

Finally, Jaime loses his patience. He offers to resolve the siege by a single combat - his champion against Brynden's: if the besiegers' champion wins, Riverrun yields; if the besieged's champion wins, the besiegers will lift the siege. Brynden makes it clear he does not believe Jaime, and laughs "Who will it be? Strongboar? Addam Marbrand? Black Walder Frey? Why not you and me, ser?". Jaime muses "That would have been a sweet fight once"[11] and accepts the challenge, knowing well that he does not have even the slightest chance against the Blackfish. Brynden laughs at him "Much as I would welcome the chance to take that golden sword away from you and cut out your black heart, your promises are worthless. I would gain nothing from your death but the pleasure of killing you, and I will not risk my own life for that. as small a risk as that may be". He concludes the parley with "A siege is deadly dull. I wanted to see this stump of yours and hear whatever excuses you cared to offer up for your latest enormities. They were feebler than I’d hoped. You always disappoint, Kingslayer" and leaves.

The War Council

After the parley fails, Jaime assembles a war council. The senior officers gather, except Ryman who is too drunk. Jaime asks for suggestions how to proceed. The attenders come up with various ideas:

  • Emmon demands to hang Edmure, to teach Brynden that they do not make idle threats. Karyl Vance, the Lord of Wayfarer's Rest, objects, reminding that the Blackfish's brother could not move him to a marriage bed.
  • Daven suggests to storm the walls, using the siege machines he built: towers, scaling ladders and battering rams. Ser Lyle "Strongboar" Crakehall supports the idea, and volunteers to lead the attack. Emmon starts objecting, fearing that his precious castle will be damaged, but no one listens to him.
  • Ser Addam Marbrand proposes to wait for a moonless night and send a dozen picked men across the river in a boat with muffled oars. They can scale the walls with ropes and grapnels, and open the gates from the inside. He volunteers to lead the attack.[12] Walder Rivers objects, claiming that Brynden will not fall for such tricks.
  • Edwyn Frey points out that the Blackfish is their biggest obstacle. He suggests to move the siege towers close, fill them full of bowmen, and feign an attack upon the gates. That will bring Brynden to the battlements. The archers will smear their shafts with night soil, and shoot at Brynden. Once he dies, Riverrun will yield.
  • Strongboar objects to Edwyn's advice, stating that the Blackfish deserves a nobler death. He volunteers to challenge the Blackfish to single combat, stating that he will undoubtedly win. Ser Forley Prester objects, claiming that the Blackfish has no reason to accept the challenge (indeed, this is the reason he rejected Jaime's offer): "What could he gain from such a duel? Will we lift the siege if he should win? I do not believe that. Nor will he. A single combat would accomplish nought."
  • Norbert Vance, the blind Lord of Atranta, an old friend of Brynden, offers to go and speak with the Blackfish and try to make him understand the hopelessness of his position (what Ryman and Jaime have already tried, unsuccessfully).

At that point, Lord Clement Piper, whose son Marq was taken captive at the Red Wedding, states disdainfully that the Blackfish will not yield to the treacherous Freys, since everyone knows their word is worth nothing. When Edwyn takes offense at this, Piper calls him "a treacherous lying weasel, like all your kin" and demands to know where his son and escorts are. Edwyn answers that Marq is held captive, till his father proves his loyalty to the Iron Throne; as for the knights who escorted Marq... maybe some of them are alive. He tells Lord Piper "You'd do well to guard your traitor's tongue, Piper, unless you want your heir returned in pieces". Angrily, Lord Piper challenges Edwyn to fight. Edwyn blanches, but Walder Rivers accepts the challenge. Jaime sharply reminds them this is a war council, not a war, and orders them to sit down. Walder sits, but Lord Piper mutters a curse and storms out. Karyl Vance explains to Jaime that Lord Piper's anger is motivated by fear and grief; as well as his son, the knights who accompanied Marq to the Twins were nephews and cousins of Clement. When Edwyn derides them as traitors and rebels, Jaime icily retorts that the Freys are far more treacherous than the Pipers, as they fought for Robb Stark too once, then betrayed him, unlike the Pipers, who remained loyal to Robb until the end. Taking satisfaction in shutting down Edwyn's smug arrogance, Jaime muses that his father's councils never went like that, and concludes he had enough counsel for one day. He says "We're done. See to your preparations, my lords. We attack at first light."

Jaime decides to make one last attempt to resolve the siege peacefully before resorting to battle. He orders Ilyn Payne and Strongboar to come with him. They approach the gallows, ignoring the Freys who try to stop them. Jaime orders Payne to cut Edmure loose. Ryman Frey, very drunk and accompanied by a whore wearing a crown, arrives. Jaime notices the crown which the whore wears is none other than Robb's; that enrages him, even though the Starks were enemies of his house. He gives Ryman a very painful lesson (using his artificial hand) about the ineffectiveness of unrealized threats, and orders him to leave the camp. Jaime gives Edwyn Frey the command over the Frey troops, advising him to be less stupid than his father. Edwyn sneers that it won't be too difficult.

The conversation with Edmure

They walk to Jaime's tent, Strongboar pulls Edmure not very gently. Jaime notices a singer named Tom of Sevenstreams, and orders him to come too. Jaime teases Edmure for having sex with his wife while his sister and king were slain. Embarrassed, Edmure says he couldn't hear because of the music. He comments that Roslin carries his child; Jaime, knowing well how the Freys think, muses "No, that's your death she has growing in her belly".

Inside the tent, Jaime orders to bath and feed Edmure and find him decent clothes. Then he present Edmure his offer: "Once you've eaten, my men will escort you to Riverrun. What happens after that is up to you. Your uncle is an old man. Valiant, yes, but the best part of his life is done. He has no bride to grieve for him, no children to defend. A good death is all the Blackfish can hope for. but you have years remaining, Edmure. And you are the rightful lord of House Tully, not him. Your uncle serves at your pleasure. The fate of Riverrun is in your hands". Jaime continues: "Yield the castle and no one dies. Your smallfolk may go in peace or stay to serve Lord Emmon. Ser Brynden will be allowed to take the black, along with as many of the garrison as choose to join him. You as well, if the Wall appeals to you. Or you may go to Casterly Rock as my captive and enjoy all the comforts and courtesy that befits a hostage of your rank. I’ll send your wife to join you, if you like. If her child is a boy, he will serve House Lannister as a page and a squire, and when he earns his knighthood we’ll bestow some lands upon him. Should Roslin give you a daughter, I’ll see her well dowered when she’s old enough to wed. You yourself may even be granted parole, once the war is done. All you need do is yield the castle". Edmure hesitates, then asks "And if I will not yield?"

Jaime, feeling uncomfortable for what he is going to say (due to his oath to Catelyn), forces himself to smile, then answers harshly: "You've seen our numbers, Edmure. You've seen the ladders, the towers, the trebuchets, the rams. If I speak the command, my coz will bridge your moat and break your gate. Hundreds will die, most of them your own. Your former bannermen will make up the first wave of attackers, so you’ll start your day by killing the fathers and brothers of men who died for you at the Twins. The second wave will be Freys, I have no lack of those. My westermen will follow when your archers are short of arrows and your knights so weary they can hardly lift their blades. When the castle falls, all those inside will be put to the sword. Your herds will be butchered, your godswood will be felled, your keeps and towers will burn. I’ll pull your walls down, and divert the Tumblestone over the ruins. By the time I’m done no man will ever know that a castle once stood here." Jaime gets to his feet and issues his most vicious threat: "Your wife may whelp before that. You’ll want your child, I expect. I’ll send him to you when he’s born. With a trebuchet".

For the final touch, Jaime orders the singer to play The Rains of Castamere. That really leaves an impression on Edmure.

Riverrun yields

Edmure enters Riverrun. He deliberately waits most of the day before hauling down the direwolf of Stark, as a token of surrender. In the confusion of the castle changing hands, only in the next morning Jaime is informed that the Blackfish is not amongst the prisoners. Emmon - who has finally become the lord of Riverrun de facto - is enraged, demanding to behead Edmure. Edmure says humorously "You required me to surrender my castle, not my uncle. Am I to blame if your men let him slip through their siege lines?". Unamused at Edmure's wisecrack, Jaime threatens to lock him inside one of the oubliettes beneath the Casterly Rock. Edmure admits "We raised the portcullis on the Water Gate. Not all the way, just three feet or so. Enough to leave a gap under the water, though the gate still appeared to be closed. My uncle is a strong swimmer. After dark, he pulled himself beneath the spikes".

Jaime, knowing how dangerous the Blackfish is and undoubtedly capable of continuing the fight, sends Addam Marbrand and Ser Dermot of the Rainwood to find him, alongside hounds and hunters. He is not hopeful, though. Jaime questions the garrison, and they all swear that they know nothing of Ser Brynden's plans or where he might have gone. Jaime believes them, reasoning that “If you share your plans with no one, no one can betray you". Genna suggests to interrogate by force the occupants of Riverrun, but Jaime refuses, since he gave his word to Edmure that if he yielded, the garrison could leave unharmed.

Jaime meets Robb's widow

Jaime meets Jeyne Westerling and her mother Sybell Spicer. He thinks that Jeyne is pretty, but not a girl to lose a kingdom for.[13] He is glad she has not escaped: pregnant with Robb's child, she could have proved more dangerous than the Blackfish.

Jaime offers his condolences to Jeyne, complimenting Robb's courage on the battlefield. He asks Jeyne if she is pregnant with Robb's child. Jeyne bursts into tears and tries to escape. Her mother assures Jaime Jeyne is not, as she made certain of that (presumably by giving Jeyne Moon tea), in compliance with her agreement with Tywin. Jaime repeats the terms of the agreement: the Westerlings have a full pardon (because they only pretended to switch sides), Sybell's brother Ralph has been made Lord of Castamere. Sybell claims that Tywin promised worthy marriages for Jeyne and her younger sister, lords or heirs. Jaime promises Sybell her daughters will have their marriages, but Jeyne must wait two full years before she weds again, because if she takes another husband too soon and has a child by him, inevitably there will come whispers that Robb is the father.

Sybell reminds Jaime that her elder son Raynald went to the Twins with Robb Stark, but his fate is unknown (he is presumed dead). Jaime, who privately believes Raynald is dead, given Walder Frey didn't know about the arrangement between Sybell and Tywin, promises to make inquiries, and if Raynald is alive, to pay his ransom. Greedily, Sybell says that Tywin promised a marriage for Raynald too - a bride from Casterly Rock. Jaime guesses his father meant Joy Hill, his uncle Gerion's bastard daughter. Sybell does not like the idea that her son would marry a bastard. Jaime's patience runs out, and he tells Sybell disdainfully "No more than I want Joy to marry the son of some scheming turncloak bitch. She deserves better. Your daughter is worth ten of you, my lady". He feels like choking Sybell with her seashell necklace, and bluntly tells her to leave Riverrun the next day, and that she would do well to stay out of his sight. After she has gone, Jaime wonders if Sybell's husband Gawen Westerling (whom his father and uncle had previously described as a good man) knew what his scheming wife was up to, feeling a similarity regarding himself and Cersei.

The Besiegers Depart

The besieging troops strike their camps. Jaime orders Ser Forley Prester to escort Edmure to Casterly Rock, with 400 soldiers, in case the Brotherhood or the Blackfish attempt to free Edmure or Jeyne. Ser Forley assures Jaime he will take precautions to prevent escape, and assign ten archers to watch Edmure all the time; if he tries to escape, they will kill him. Jaime approves, and instructs Ser Forley to take the same precautions in respect of Jeyne, explaining she is twice as dangerous as Edmure.

Jaime goes to call on Edwyn Frey. Edwyn and Walder Rivers tell him that Ryman and his 15 escorts were killed, hung by the Brotherhood (that makes Ryman the third Frey who was killed by the Brotherhood, following Petyr "Pimple" and Merrett). Edwyn, who is not overly sad at his father's death, claims his brother Black Walder had a hand in that. Jaime is unconcerned both about Ryman's death and the identity of Lord Frey's heir, but he is bothered by the fact that those outlaws are growing bold, if they're willing to kill Lord Walder's heir not a day's ride from the Twins. He says dryly "If you will pardon me for intruding on your grief, we have other matters to consider. When you return to the Twins, please inform Lord Walder that King Tommen requires all the captives you took at the Red Wedding" (referring to Greatjon Umber, Marq Piper and maybe others who were not mentioned specifically in the books to be captured alive). Edwyn and Walder Rivers are clearly displeased to hear that. Edwyn says "My lord grandfather will expect recompense for these prisoners." Jaime thinks "And he’ll have it, as soon as I grow a new hand", but says aloud "We all have expectations". He asks them about Raynald Westerling. They tell him how Raynald tried to save Grey Wind, but was shot by two arrows and jumped into the river, and his body was not found; they presume he is dead.

The Lannister troops get ready to leave. Daven suggests to take the siege machines to Raventree, but Jaime orders to burn them down. That night, during his practice with Ilyn Payne, Jaime wonders aloud what to do with his sluttish sister. Ilyn suggests wordlessly to kill her. Jaime says "No, Tommen has lost a brother, and the man he thought of as his father. If I were to kill his mother, he would hate me for it, and that sweet little wife of his would find a way to turn that hatred to the benefit of Highgarden".

The next morning, Ser Dermot of the Rainwood returns empty-handed. He tells Jaime that a pack of wolves, led by a she-wolf of monstrous size, attacked them, killing two sentries and horses. Jaime wonders if that she-wolf is the same who mauled Joffrey (he is right). Ser Dermot resumes his search for the Blackfish.

The lords of the Trident come to Jaime, asking his leave to return to their own lands. He grants it, and promises Lord Piper his son and all the other captives will be ransomed. Lord Karyl Vance lingers to advise Jaime that Tytos Blackwood will never yield as long as it is Jonos Bracken is at his gates, but he will bend his knee for Jaime. Jaime thanks him for his counsel.

Strongboar, disappointed there was no battle, asks Jaime's permission to hunt down the Hound or Beric Dondarrion. Jaime agrees, but reminds Strongboar that Lord Beric must be captured alive, to be executed in public, to refute the stories about his immortality.

The Tully garrison departed the next morning, stripped of all their arms and armor. Each man is allowed three days' food and the clothing on his back, after he swears a solemn oath never to take up arms against Lord Emmon or House Lannister. Genna tells Jaime it will be fortunate if only 10% of those keep their oath. Jaime humorously responds it is fine, he prefers to face nine men than ten.

Desmond Grell, Lord Hoster's old master-at-arms, and Ser Robin Ryger, Riverrun's captain of guards, prefer to join the Night's Watch. Jaime allows them to keep their arms and armor, and assigns a dozen of the Mountain’s men to escort them to Maidenpool, led by Rafford. Jaime, knowing full well how untrustworthy and brutal the Mountain's men are, warns Raff that he and his men will pay dearly if any harm happens to Grell and Ryger.

Lord Emmon assembles all of Riverrun in the yard, Edmure's people and his own, and speaks to them for almost three hours about what will be expected of them now that he is their lord and master. They are clearly bored by that speech. Jaime notices Tom the singer and chats with him. They joke about Emmon's speech. Tom tells Jaime he intends to stay at Riverrun, because it seems a nice snug place to pass the winter.[14]

That night, Jaime has a strange dream about a woman in grey. Jaime is startled to realize it is his mother. She says "We all dream of things we cannot have. Tywin dreamed that his son would be a great knight, that his daughter would be a queen. He dreamed they would be so strong and brave and beautiful that no one would ever laugh at them." Then she leaves.

The next morning, maester Vyman gives Jaime a letter from Cersei "Help me. Save me. I need you now as I have never needed you before. I love you. I love you. I love you. Come at once". Jaime, who has grown to hate Cersei, muses that even if he has gone back, he could not hope to save her: as far as he knew, she was guilty of every treason laid against her, and he was short a sword hand. After a long silence, Jaime hands the letter to his squire to burn it.


Although Jaime is upset that Brynden escaped, he is content for resolving the siege of Riverrun without actually ever taking up arms against the Starks or Tullys, thus keeping his oath to Catelyn. Now all is left for him to do is travel to Raventree Hall, the last stronghold in the Riverlands that has not surrendered yet, and make Lord Tytos Blackwood yield to the Iron Throne.

Jaime wonders what he'd do next after returning King's Landing. He wants to be a father figure to Tommen, to winkle him from Cersei's clutches before the boy became another Joffrey. He also contemplates about assembling a new small council for Tommen, one that does not consist of Cersei and her henchmen.

Sansa hears from her friend Myranda, daughter of Lord Nestor Royce (Yohn Royce's cousin), that Riverrun has yielded. She does not bother to ask what has become of her uncle and great-uncle.


The Frey troops consist of 2,000 spears, and Jaime brings slightly less than 1,000 men, mostly Lannister soldiers. It is not mentioned how many soldiers Daven Lannister and Forley Prester have brought.

It is also not mentioned how many soldiers are in Riverrun. Jaime claims that the besiegers are twenty times the besieged are, but this can be an exaggeration; moreover, since the numbers of the troops Daven Lannister and Forley Prester have brought are unknown, it is not possible to calculate the number of Brynden's troops by dividing. If Jaime's statement is correct, given that he and Ryman Frey have brought nearly 3,000 men, there has to be more than 150 soldiers in Riverrun.

See also

References and notes

  1. "The Door"
  2. "Blood of My Blood"
  3. "The Broken Man"
  4. "No One"
  5. "The Winds of Winter"
  6. "The Iron Throne"
  7. See the calculation in Battle of the Whispering Wood#Numbers.
  8. Jon and Sansa have a total of 2,405 soldiers, among them 2,000 wildlings ("The Broken Man"); by the point Sansa assigns Brienne to travel to Riverrun ("The Door"), the Starks have not rallied yet the additional Northern 405 soldiers.
  9. It is unclear why the Blackfish speaks ill of Jon, comparing him to Theon just like Catelyn did when Robb told her about his intention to make Jon his successor.
  10. It is unknown how Brynden knew that Tywin was involved in the Red Wedding, since he was not there and did not hear what Roose Bolton said to Robb. It wouldn't be too difficult to figure that out, though, since the Freys wouldn't have gone that far without the Lannisters to back them up.
  11. In "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" Areo Hotah tells Jaime similar sentence "When you were whole, it would have been a good fight".
  12. This idea is similar to the way Theon conquered Winterfell.
  13. Jeyne's physical description, when she is introduced at "A Storm of Swords", is slightly different than her description at "A Feast for Crows", most notably the shape of her hips. This led to fan theory that Jeyne was replaced by an impostor, while the real Jeyne has escaped with Brynden Tully, and perhaps she is pregnant with Robb's child. However, Martin denied that theory, explaining it was simply a continuity error.
  14. Note that Tom of Sevenstreams is a member of the Brotherhood without Banners. Perhaps he has something to do with Ryman's death, and may have another reasons to stay at Riverrun, perhaps a part of a plan of the Brotherhood to kill more Freys as a payback for the Red Wedding.