I’m in the middle of one more re-check out of the series, and I finimelted A Video Game of Thrones about a week earlier. In this re-check out, I’m giving distinct attention to a few plot points. One of those plot-points is Roose Bolton and when he turned against Robb Stark. In popular informing, Roose Bolton turned versus Robb Stark once he identified that the Stark reason was lost after the Lannister victory against Stannis Baratheon at King’s Landing. However, after re-reading the first book, I think the evidence of betrayal goes farther back in the timeline than originally thought.

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Now, prior to I jump as well much right into this post, I want to make a disclaimer. I don’t think that Roose Bolton was a Lannister stooge from the get-go. I think that Roose’s rotate to the Lannister side developed roughly the end of A Clash of Kings. Prior to that, Roose was as a lot an enemy to the Lannisters as he was a traitor to the Starks as we’ll see below. That said, I believe that Roose Bolton was never before loyal to Robb Stark, and he proactively worked to further his and his family’s ambition from the start at the price of the Starks.

A History of Animosity


When Robb Stark referred to as his banners after his father was imprisoned by Cersei Lannister in King’s Landing, Roose Bolton answered the speak to. But I doubt he did so out of any type of particular loyalty or love for the Starks. The Bollots were historical antagonists to the Starks. The 2 residences, Stark and also Bolton, warred versus each various other for political dominance in the North. Though the Starks were the historic kings-in-the-north, the Boltons frequently climbed in rebellion versus the Starks, periodically making use of cadet branches of House Stark in their rebellions.

The Greystarks had actually lasted the longest, holding the Wolf’s Den for 5 centuries, until they presumed to sign up with the Dreadfort in rebellion versus the Starks of Winterfell. (ADWD, Davos IV)

One of the more famous examples occurred some centuries prior to the begin of the events of the publications.

“Centuries back, House Bolton climbed up against the King in the North, and Harlon Stark lhelp siege to the Dreadfort. It took him two years to starve them out.” (ADWD, Jon IV)

This most likely was the last open up rebellion by the Boltons against the Starks in pre-book background. The Boltons finally bent the knee to the Starks and also seemingly served as loyal bannerguys. But this history was not foracquired in the North, and also I think it’s most likely that Roose Bolton was well-conscious of the negative blood in between his family members and the Starks.

Undermining Eddard Stark


Fifteen years prior to the begin of A Video Game of Thrones, Roose Bolton stood alongside of Robert Baratheon and also Eddard Stark at the Battle of the Trident. While Roose answered the contact, I believe that this was an appearance of loyalty, and also I think that Roose Bolton attempted to use the events of Robert’s Rebellion to weaken the Starks.

At the conclusion of the battle, the Starks/Tullys/Baratheons/Arryns were victorious. Rhaegar Targaryen lay dead together with countless Targaryen loyalists. However, several influential loyalists made it through the fight. One of the most significant was Barristan Selmy. Badly wounded in the battle, Barristan’s ultimate fate was left to Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark. Roose Bolton was there also. He had actually some interesting counsel for the 2 victorious lords.

“On the Trident, Ser Barristan right here cut down a dozen great men, Robert’s friends and mine. When they carried him to us, grievously wounded and also near death, Roose Bolton urged us to reduced his throat, however your brvarious other sassist, ‘I will certainly not kill a man for loyalty, nor for fighting well,’ and sent his very own maester to tfinish Ser Barristan’s wounds.” (AGOT, Eddard IX)

I think it’s simple to watch Roose’s counsel as an example of his cruelty, however I think it goes deeper than that. Roose Bolton’s advice to kill Barristan Selmy would not have been justice. More importantly, it would certainly not have been regarded as justice throughout the realm. Consider just how Tywin related to Joffrey’s humiliation and dismissal of Barristan at the end of AGOT.

“And dislacking Selmy, wbelow was the feeling in that? Yes, the man was old, however the name of Barristan the Bold still has meaning in the realm. He lent honor to any kind of male he served.” (AGOT, Tyrion IX)

By advising the victors of the Trident to kill Barristan Selmy, I think that Roose Bolton was attempting to weaken them. If Barristan were to be killed, he would certainly lfinish dishonor to those who ordered the sword swung and the man that swung it. Eddard Stark in certain would have been de-legitimized. Had Robert and also Ned complied with this advice, I think it likely that Eddard would have actually been the one to swing the sword. Ned was loathe to let one more man enpressure the sentence that he passed. When Robert provided the order to have actually Lady eliminated early in AGOT, Eddard did the deed himself rather than let a headsguy carry out the project. And Roose? He would not be the one dishonoring his blade. He would certainly stand also acomponent while the deed was done. And when it was done, Eddard’s reputation would take a dive throughout Westeros while Roose’s would certainly most likely remain unreadjusted.

Fortunately, Robert did not heed Roose’s advice. But Roose was in for the long game. If he wasn’t able to enhance the standing of his household at Robert’s Rebellion, he would certainly wait for an additional chance.

An Unfriendly Bannerman

“You cannot afford to seem indecisive in front of males choose Roose Bolton and Rickard Karstark. Make no mistake, Robb—these are your bannermen, not your friends.” (AGOT, Catelyn VIII)

What Roose couldn’t attain in the time of Robert’s Rebellion can be completed in the next generation. When Eddard Stark was imprisoned and also Robb Stark called his banners in a grand rescue operation, the Dreadfort answered the call. Of course, Roose and his organize didn’t sign up with Robb Stark for noble reasons. No, Roose was tright here for his very own factors. The a lot of prominent was that Roose Bolton did not desire to sully his very own reputation among his fellow Northern Lords. If he remained out of the battle, he would certainly be seen as cowardly and even more importantly openly-treasonous. This would mitigate his standing in the North at the incredibly least. And Roose would certainly require wide support in the North if he were to development the Dreadfort’s power.

But to further his very own power, he needed more than Dreadfort males. He essential a command. Fortunately for him, Catelyn Stark offered him through that possibility. As Robb Stark all set to march south from Moat Cailin, he planned to divide his army. His cavalry would certainly development southwest to relieve Jaime Lannister’s Siege of Riverrun. His infanattempt would certainly proceed southern on the Kingsroad to interact Tywin Lannister. Robb would command the march on Riverrun, yet he was uncertain who to offer the command also of his foot to. Robb initially believed that the Greatjon Umber would certainly be command the organize, but Catelyn counseled someone else, someone that would be cold, cunning and also mindful.

So I don’t desire someone fearmuch less, execute I?”

“No. You want cold shrewd, I need to think, not courage.”

“Roose Bolton,” Robb said at when. “That guy scares me.”

“Then let us pray he will streatment Tywin Lannister too.” (AGOT, Catelyn VIII)

The Northern foot would certainly march under Roose Bolton’s command also. When Catelyn effectively negotiated the loyalty of Housage Frey, their levies were offered over to Roose Bolton too. With a significant command, Roose Bolton was now the the majority of powerful field commander beside Robb Stark. An debate can be made that Roose was more powerful than his liege lord himself. His hold was numerically premium to Robb’s, having some 16,000 soldiers under his command while Robb Stark had 6,000.

A Flight of Arrows


I’ve composed generally on the Battle of the Green Fork previously here and also here. But on my latest re-review, I saw somepoint brand-new that I think reflects proof of Roose Bolton’s tfactor and also in its entirety perspective on the battle.

Roose marcs overnight to confront Tywin Lannister. This was an amazing move that belied Roose’s reputation as a careful guy. Roose’s only real orders were to stand also athwart Tywin Lannister’s crossing the Trident or relocating north towards Moat Cailin. Instead, he ruburned southern to offer battle to the Lannisters. Why?

First, if Roose Bolton successfully beat the Lannisters in fight, he would be hailed as a hero by his fellow Northern Lords. If he beat Tywin Lannister, he would stand on par with Robb Stark; the glory that Roose Bolton would win would practically be co-equal with the glory that Robb Stark won at Riverrun.

Secondly and also probably more importantly, if Roose shed, the casualties experienced would certainly be not come from the Dreadfort. Consider what banners Tyrion sees at the start of the fight.

He glimpsed the bull moose of the Hornwoods, the Karstark sunburst, Lord Cerwyn’s battle-axe, and the mailed fist of the Glovers . . . and also the twin towers of Frey. (AGOT, Tyrion VIII)

Notice any type of banners missing? If you guessed the Flayed Man of House Bolton, you’d be correct. Roose was sending other, not-his-very own men, right into fight. Where would Roose’s organize be? Somewbelow in the rear.


Here’s my theory (and I have /u/indianthane95 to say thanks to for turning me onto this a while back): Roose Bolton was sending loyalist Stark males to die while maintaining his very own males safe.

And once the battle was joined, the Dreadfort men did not cross swords through the Lannisters. They continued to be in the rear, most likely as a reserve. However before, I don’t think that’s all that they did. On my initially review and subsequent re-reads, I glossed over something possibly considerable. In the middle of the fight, Tyrion observes something curious.

A trip of arrows descended on them; where they came from he could not say, however they fell on Stark and Lannister alike, rattling off armor or finding flesh. (AGOT, Tyrion VIII)

Now, that would certainly fire arrows on friends and also foes aprefer on the battlefield? Perhaps Tywin was cruel enough to perform so, yet I doubt it. Tywin necessary the Mountain Clansguys to break along the east bank of the Trident so that his mounties can envelope the Stark left flank. If arrows were being fired from the southern, the clansguys would have actually no factor to rout — not that they did in any case, but it would go versus Tywin’s nature to deviate from his battle arrangement.

I think that the arrows came from the North. I think the archers were Dreadfort males. My theory is that Roose Bolton ordered the arrows fired right into the ranks. And I think this is indicative of Roose Bolton’s personality and outlook on the battle. What’s the evidence?

Before I go into the evidence for this, let me explain the proof versus it. Tywin Lannister did have actually archers that were firing arrows from the Lannister right flank into the charging Northern infantry.

As the horns died away, a hissing filled the air; a huge trip of arrows arched up from his right, wright here the archers stood flanking the road. The northerners damaged right into a run, shouting as they came, however the Lannister arrows fell on them choose hail, thousands of arrows, thousands, and shouts turned to screams as males stumbled and went down. (AGOT, Tyrion VIII)

So, I perform view that there is the opportunity that my concept is incorrect. But here’s the proof for Bolton friendly fire. First, he had actually men behind the front line to do the deed. Dreadfort males were in reserve and also behind the fighting. So they had possibility going for them. Secondly, he certainly had the suggests. Tyrion and his hill clansmales were hit by arrows, killing some and also wounding others. Finally, Roose had actually motive: he required loyal Stark men and also Lannister aprefer to die on the battlearea all the while preserving his own males and reputation.


Though Roose Bolton lost the battle, this would certainly not be the finish the end for him. The Northerners took heavy casualties in the battle. Strangely absent from the casualty list were any type of Dreadfort guys.

“My liege, we have actually taken some of their commanders. Lord Cerwyn, Ser Wylis Manderly, Harrion Karstark, 4 Freys. Lord Hornhardwood is dead, and I fear Roose Bolton has escaped us.” (AGOT, Tyrion VIII)

Did Roose Bolton shed the battle intentionally? I’d choose to think that he didn’t treatment one means or another. Any outcome for the fight would bolster Roose Bolton’s station in life. Roose had actually experienced a defeat, but he kept command of the surviving soldiers from the battlearea despite superseding his orders from Robb Stark. Though nominally inserted under the command also of Edmure Tully later on, for all intents and also objectives, Roose operated separately of any actual command also structure. Through his initiatives, he cultivated loyalty from some of his banner lords while continuing the exercise of sacrificing those bannerguys whose loyalty was initially and forea lot of to the Starks.

As I sassist in the development, I don’t think that Roose Bolton was acting on Tywin Lannister’s behalf in AGOT. I think that he was furthering his own ambition. He hitched his steed to Eddard Stark’s in the time of Robert’s Rebellion and then attempted to threaten him at the Trident. He later on hitched his very own ambition onto Robb Stark as soon as he called his banners. And in his capacity as a subordinate commander in Robb Stark’s army, he undermined Robb Stark’s legitimacy and his combat power.

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Roose Bolton’s turn to the Lannisters isn’t apparent until the finish of A Clash of Kings. But his disloyalty to the Starks had a lengthy history, and I believe that it is much much longer than is typically believed by the fans.

Apologies for the long short article. I initially attempted to self-write-up this on reddit, yet I ran up versus 10K character limit. Feel free to comment below or in the comment area for this post on reddit. Thanks for reading!