Robb Stark was Tywin's tough opponent

War of the Five Kings

The War of the Five Kings (English: War of the Five Kings) is a conflict from 298 to 300 AC, which affects the entire Seven Kingdoms and has not yet been concluded. It is the main conflict in A Song of Ice and Fire, and except for the Houses of Arryn and Martell, all the Great Houses of Westeros are fighting in this war. The name for this conflict was introduced by the maesters of the citadel.[1] Archmaester Benedict points out, however, that the name is strictly speaking wrong, because at no point in the war were there really five kings at the same time: when Balon Greyjoy rose to be king, Renly was already dead.[2]

In the course of the war, five men lay claim to the title of king:

The main theaters of war are the river lands and the crown lands. There is also fighting in parts of the west and the north. In addition, Storm's Cape is besieged several times (by Stannis and later by Maes Tyrell) and the Iron Men eventually plunder the Coast of the Reach.

Causes [edit | Edit source]

Fifteen years before the outbreak of war, Robert Baratheon of Storm's Cape had come to the Iron Throne through a successful rebellion against the mad King Aerys II Targaryen. After the rebellion, he ruled the Seven Kingdoms with the support of the House of Lannister. The alliance was secured with Robert's marriage to Cersei Lannister. Although the marriage was without love, three children were soon born: Joffrey Baratheon, Myrcella Baratheon, and Tommen Baratheon.

Robert's brother Stannis Baratheon, however, became suspicious of the legitimacy of the three children after a while and examined their ancestry. With the help of the hand of King Lord Jon Arryn, he found out that the children came from an incestuous relationship between Cersei and her twin brother Jaime Lannister. Before he could tell King Robert the truth, however, Jon Arryn was poisoned and Stannis then fled to Drachenstein, his ancestral home. This is where the story of A Song of Ice and Fire begins.

King Robert then travels to Winterfell to offer his old friend Lord Eddard Stark the office of the King's hand. At the same time, the Starks are warned by Jon Arryn's widow Lysa Tully that the Lannisters were behind the murder of their husband. Eddard complies with Robert's request and reluctantly accepts the office, also to investigate Jon Arryn's death in King's Landing. After a climbing accident of his son Brandon Stark, which was actually caused by Jaime Lannister because Bran accidentally spotted him and Cersei making love, the latter falls into a coma. After the royal court left Winterfell, an unknown assassin tried to murder Bran with a conspicuously valuable dagger. Concerned about this development, Catelyn Tully decides to follow her husband by ship to King's Landing to warn him. In King's Landing, the seedy Petyr Baelish, an old friend of Catelyn, informs Eddard and Catelyn that the dagger supposedly belongs to Tyrion Lannister, who was at Winterfell with Robert and the court.[A 1] On the way back to Winterfell, Catelyn met Tyrion Lannister by chance in the inn on the Way of the Cross and took him prisoner without further ado. She pretends to bring the captured Tyrion to Winterfell, but instead rides with him to her sister in Hohenehr to confuse possible pursuers. There Tyrion can prove his innocence and escape through a judgment by battle won for him by a mercenary named Bronn, but in the meantime the tensions between the Houses of Stark and Lannisters have already escalated.

The actual trigger of the war is the death of King Robert Baratheon. While his widow Cersei Lannister proclaims her son Joffrey Baratheon as king, the hand of the king Eddard Stark declares that the rightful new king is Robert's eldest brother Stannis Baratheon, since Joffrey is not Roberts birth son is. Eddard Stark is then captured by Cersei and with the help of the King's Landing City Guard. In response, Eddard's son Robb Stark gathers his father's vassals in the north and marches south. The actual fighting begins shortly beforehand, however, when marauding Lannister troops plunder the river lands because of Tyrion's captivity in order to provoke a reaction from the Starks, Tullys and Arryns.

When, in the course of the conflict, Lord Eddard Stark is beheaded on King Joffrey's unauthorized orders, the lords of the north and the riverside declare Robb king of the north.

Robert's youngest brother Renly Baratheon also claims the crown, legitimized in his opinion by the fact that he is by far the most popular of Robert's potential successors. He also has an alliance with the mighty House Tyrell of the Reach through marriage.

Fifth, Lord Balon Graufreud von Peik uses the confused circumstances. After the first Greyjoy Rebellion that had failed years before, he again renounced the Iron Throne and proclaimed King of the Iron Islands.

History [edit | Edit source]

The war in the river lands[Edit | Edit source]

The War of the Five Kings begins as a local conflict when Catelyn Tully arrests Tyrion Lannister,[3] mistakenly believing that he was behind the assassination attempt on their son Brandon Stark.[4] Although Lord Tywin Lannister detests his dwarfed son, he takes this violation of the honor of his house as an occasion to call his vassals to the flag and form two large armies in Casterlystein, and thus threaten Catelyn's home, the nearby river lands. The larger army with around 20,000 soldiers is commanded by Lord Tywin Lannister and his brother Ser Kevan Lannister himself, the second, somewhat smaller army, is to be led by his son Jaime Lannister.

The hostilities begin when Lord Tywin instructs his murderous vassal Ser Gregor Clegane to maraud the river lands with small forces. Ser Gregor and his men then wipe out the Mummersfurt and Wendisch settlements and kill almost all of the residents of the Sherrer Fortress. Ser Karyl Vanke, Ser Raymun Darry and Ser Marq Peiper are then sent to King's Landing by Ser Edmure Tully, who runs the affairs of state for his terminally ill father Lord Hoster Tully, to report the raids to the Small Council.[5] The raids did not fail to work, and many river lords were stepping up the defense of their own seats instead of following the marching orders from high-speed water. Furthermore, Lord Tywin, Catelyn's husband Eddard Stark, hopes to lure the hand of the king personally into the river lands so that he can take him prisoner. However, this plan is accidentally thwarted by Jaime Lannister, who ambushes Eddard in King's Landing and threatens him for Tyrion's arrest.[6] Eddard breaks his leg in this attack by falling from his horse, so that he is tied to the capital for an indefinite period of time.[7] As a countermeasure for the raids, however, he sends Lord Beric Dondarrion with a small troop into the river lands. They are to arrest Ser Gregor Clegane and bring him to King's Landing before a royal court.[5]

When Ser Edmure Tully learns of Lord Tywin's deployment plans, he sends messengers to Casterlystein to find out why Lord Tywin called for the flags, but his inquiries go unanswered. So Edmure calls to the flags and has the pass on the gold tooth of Lord Vanke and Lord Clement Peiper closed with the help of 4,000 soldiers.[8]

In the middle of these first turmoil, King Robert Baratheon suddenly dies in a hunting accident in which Queen Cersei was not uninvolved. Robert appoints Eddard Stark as regent on his deathbed until his son Joffrey Baratheon is said to have reached a responsible age. Eddard secretly changes the last will that Robert dictates to him by using the words "rightful heir" instead of "Joffrey", since he has since investigated Jon Arryn's suspicions and has also discovered that Jaime is the father of the three children of Cersei . Therefore he sees in Stannis Baratheon the rightful successor and king.[9]However, Petyr Baelish, on whom Eddard reluctantly relies on Catelyn's recommendation, betrays Eddard and takes the side of Queen Cersei. Eddard has her captured by the King's Landing city guard, whom she has bribed. Shortly before, Robert's younger brother Renly had offered Eddard to join forces with him, but was turned away, whereupon Renly left town that same night to gather his troops in Storm's Cape.[10] When the news of Eddard's arrest arrives in Winterfell, Eddard's eldest son Robb Stark also calls the Starks' vassals to the flag.

While Robb Stark marches down the Königsweg with 12,000 soldiers from the north and strengthens himself with the Manderlys at Maidengraben,[11] Lord Tywin Lannister begins to conquer the river lands:

  • Battle of the Golden Tooth: The Lannister invasion begins with Ser Jaime Lannister's attack on the Tullys positions on the Golden Tooth. With his 15,000 soldiers, he can quickly put the 4,000 available to Lord Vanke and Lord Clement Peiper to flight and then march towards rapid water. Lord Vanke is slain in battle and Lord Peiper flees to Schnellwasser.[11]
  • Lord Tywin and his brother Ser Kevan Lannister can wipe out the scattered little squads that Edmure Tully set up on the border between the Westlands and the Riverlands to stop Ser Gregor Clegane's raids before they can unite into one large force .[12]
  • Battle under the walls of Schnellwasser: After the victory at the Goldzahn, Ser Jaime Lannister meets the gathered forces of the river lands at Schnellwasser. Jaime wins here as well and also takes Ser Edmure Tully and some of his knights and allies prisoner. The remnants of the Riverside Army flee under the command of Lord Tytos Schwarzhain to Schnellwasser Castle, which Jaime besieged after the battle.[12]

At this point the situation for House Tully seems hopeless: the army is defeated, the fortress is besieged and the heir Ser Edmure is captured. Although Marq Peiper and Karyl Vanke can still launch some guerrilla attacks on the Lannisters and Lord Jason Mallister was able to retreat to Seegart, the Tullys' only hope now lies with the Northmen under Robb Stark, who initially neither pass the Green Arm nor to Lord Tywin's army can pull past to reach fast water.[12]

The wolf and the lion[Edit | Edit source]

The Lannisters encounter their first real challenge when House Stark intervenes in the war. After Robb has gathered his army at Maidengraben and reinforced it with 1,750 soldiers from House Manderly, he decides to give up the good defensive position that the venerable fortress promises and move south to attack. He only leaves a small troop of archers in Maidengraben who can hold the fortress for a while in an emergency. He also orders Howland Reet to repel any attackers who should dare to get into the Eng. Robb's troops now number 18,000, but he also knows that Lord Tywin Lannister will not dare open confrontation in the north. He believes he is instead trying to take each castle one by one in the riverside lands.[11]

So Robb has to move south, even if he faces the problem of having to cross the Trident on the way to Schnellwasser. Either he can cross the river with his army to the twins, with House Frey still behaving neutrally, or try it at Ruby Ford, which Lord Tywin can reach quickly because he has set up his headquarters nearby. Robb finally decides to do both: he divides his army by marching the main part of the royal road south towards Lord Tywin under the command of Lord Roose Bolton, while he himself adds a small, mounted and thus fast part of the troops separates the twins in order to cross the Trident unnoticed and surprise the besiegers of Schnellwasser. As a condition of the Frey's support, Robb agrees to marry one of Lord Walder Frey's daughters after the war. 4,000 Frey soldiers then join Robb's main army.[15]

  • Battle of the Green Arm: Roose Bolton leads the majority of the Northmen south along the Royal Route. His part of the army includes around 16,000 men, most of them foot soldiers. He marches at a brisk pace to surprise Lord Tywin at night, but Ser Addam Marbrand's vanguard spots the enemy in time and alerts Lord Tywin's main camp. The Lannisters defeat the Northmen relatively easily, but then Lord Tywin learns after the battle through interrogation of prisoners of Robbs List, who is already on his way to Schnellwasser.[16] So, instead of chasing the remains of the Stark Army, Lord Tywin is now also moving west towards fast water.[17] This in turn allows Lord Roose Bolton to regroup his army and safely retreat to the twins.[18]
  • Battle of Whisper Forest: After crossing the Trident with the twins, Robb rides his cavalry hard towards high-speed water in the hope of being able to surprise Ser Jaime Lannister and break up the siege before Lord Tywin can move up with reinforcements. On the way south, the armed forces of House Mallister von Seegart join him. Ser Jaime has become so bored with the siege of rapid water that from time to time he makes reckless assaults with only a few hundred men to hunt down bandits or defeat unruly small fortresses in the area. Robb manages to place a trap in the whisper forest, into which he can lure Jaime with the help of a ruse. The following attack on the small Lannister army is a complete success for Robb, who can even capture Ser Jaime himself, about 100 knights and a dozen lords from the Westlands. In a last desperate attempt to at least fight his way to Robb and challenge him to a duel, Jaime kills three members of Robb's bodyguard, including the two Karstark sons Torrhen Karstark and Eddard Karstark and Daryn Hornwald.[19]
  • Battle of the camps: In the night after the battle in the Whisper Forest, Robb manages to surprise the three Lannister camps unsupervised in front of rapid water. The geographical location of the fortress at the tributary of the tumbled stone in the Trident made it necessary that the Lannisters had to divide their armed forces into three parts. The attack begins with the advance guard under Ser Brynden Tully, who raids the north camp. Lord Andros Brax then tries to help this part of the camp by trying to cross over with a part by raft, but drifts through the current within range of the fortress, which then begins to fire on the rafts. Most of the soldiers, including Lord Andros, perish. Then Robb attacks the western camp. Although this part of the camp can build a shield wall, it is then attacked and defeated from the rear by a failure of Lord Tytos Blackshire. Lord Tytos manages to free many of the prisoners, including Ser Edmure Tully. The remaining third Lannister camp, which still contains around 2,000 spearmen and just as many archers, can begin the orderly retreat and retreats towards Goldzahn under the command of Ser Forley Prester.
  • Eddard Stark's Execution: Queen Cersei Lannister's greatest fear at the outbreak of war was that Stannis Baratheon would take King's Landing before the Lannisters can consolidate their power in the capital. To avoid this, she enters into an agreement with Eddard Stark so that peace reigns in the north: Eddard should publicly confess a betrayal, order Robb to lay down his arms and recognize Joffrey as the true king. For this he should be spared and get permission to put on the black of the night watch. This offer is emphasized by Varys, who explains to Eddard that in the event of his refusal, Sansa, who is in Cersei's control, is also in grave danger.[20] Eddard Stark then makes his false confession publicly on the stairs of the Great Septe of Baelor, but instead of sticking to the bargain,[21] On a whim, King Joffrey orders Eddard's immediate execution. With Eddard Stark, the chance for peace between the Starks and Lannisters also dies.[22]
  • Withdrawal to Harrenhal: After Lord Tywin Lannister received news of Lord Eddard Stark's execution, the capture of his son Jaime Lannister and Renly Baratheon's coronation, he held a council of war at the inn on the Way of the Cross, where he retired with his army after the victory at the Green Arm . His army is in a precarious situation: Robb Stark is sitting in the west and has taken control of the supply lines to the western lands, Lord Roose Bolton has reformed his army in the north and Renly is marching towards King's Landing. In the meantime, Stannis Baratheon struggles on Drachenstein within striking distance of the capital.Lord Tywin decides to retreat south to Harrenhal Fortress and sends three small troops under the command of Ser Gregor Clegane, Ser Amory Lorch and the mercenary Vargo Hoat to devastate the river lands from the Gods Eye to the Red Arm of the Trident and with it To force Robb out of Schnellwasser into a decisive battle. To prevent King Joffrey from doing further stupid things, Lord Tywin sends Tyrion Lannister to King's Landing to take over the government in his place as the king's hand.[17]
  • The Sack of Darry: The castle recapture doesn't last long. Before the castle can be restored, Ser Gregor Clegane attacks it. He defeats the small garrison of the Darrys and has the entire household of the castle as well as the young lord executed, with which the line of House Darry dies out.[14]

The coronation of the five kings[Edit | Edit source]

After the death of King Robert Baratheon, his son Joffrey Baratheon ascends the Iron Throne in King's Landing. In the period that followed, four other high lords appointed themselves king and claimed the Iron Throne or autonomy from the Seven Kingdoms. These are in chronological order:

  • King Renly Baratheon, the youngest brother of King Robert: After trying unsuccessfully to convince Eddard Stark to take over the government together when Robert is dying, he flees to Rosengarten overnight.[9] There he can count on the support of House Tyrell because of his marriage to Margaery Tyrell. With the power of the Rose Garden and Storm's Cape behind him, he crowns himself King of the Seven Kingdoms and moves with a huge army of 100,000 men to the northeast to take possession of King's Landing.[23]
  • King Robb Stark, the eldest son of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell: In response to his father's execution, Robb is proclaimed King of the North by his vassals from the north and the riversides in Schnellwasser after winning the Battle of the Camps. Hoping to receive further support, he sends a messenger to the Arryn house and dismisses Theon Greyjoy, long-time ward of his father and his playmate since childhood, to his father Lord Balon Greyjoy from Peik, in order to negotiate with him. With the same goal he sends his mother Catelyn Tully to Renly Baratheon in the south. In the meantime, he attacks the Lannisters in the west, hoping to win Lord Balon over to his side.
  • King Stannis Baratheon, the elder of King Robert's two living brothers: Stannis fled to Drachenstein after Jon Arryn's death, because he was also afraid for his own life. There he immediately begins to form his power. Stannis has found out that the three children Roberts come from the incestuous relationship between Cersei Lannister and their brother Jaime, thus legitimizing his own claim to the Iron Throne. As a legitimate heir, he sees it as his duty to hold all other challengers accountable for high treason. Under Robert he was master of ships and thus possessed an impressive naval power, whereas his army consists of only 5,000 men. Stannis is accompanied by a Red Priestess of R'hllor named Melisandre, who foresaw Renly's death and the defection of his army to Stannis. With this knowledge, Stannis sails to Storm Cape, Renly's seat.[23]
  • King Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands: When news of unrest in the capital reaches the Iron Islands, Lord Balon calls his vassals to the banners and prepares every longship in the Iron Islands for a second rebellion. When his son Theon Graufreud then returns to Peik on Robb's behalf and makes Lord Balon an offer of alliance, Lord Balon declines on the grounds that Casterlystein is too strong. In addition, as a follower of the Old Way, he does not want to accept a crown for which he has not paid the Iron Price with blood and sword. Balon has a plan of his own: while the Northmen are fighting in the south, he wants to attack the largely unguarded north. Since his son is no longer a ward and prisoner of the Starks, nothing stands in the way of an attack on the north and an elevation to the rank of King of the Iron Islands.[24][25]

The rise of the octopus[Edit | Edit source]

After King Balon Greyjoy had set his sights on the north, he plans three strikes against the north region: He sent his brother Victarion Greyjoy with the Iron Fleet to conquer Maidengraben from the salt spear, which had been in the north for thousands of years before invasions protects to cut off Robb and the Northmen from his home. He also sends his daughter Asha Graufreud off with 30 longships to land on the Searachenhorn and conquer deep forest Motte in order to build a bridgehead in the north, and he also sends his recently returned son Theon Graufreud with eight longships to the stony coast to loot and distract from the main attacks.