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Fanfic / Knight Of The Dreadfort The Ballad Of The Red King

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"knight of the dreadfort (the ballad of the red king)" is a A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic centering around Domeric Bolton, Roose Bolton's legitimate son who was a Posthumous Character in canon, and examines the War of the Five Kings from his perspective.

Tropes that appear in this fanfic:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Everyone has something nice to say about Ser Mark Ryswell. Lady Dustin remembers him taking her and her sister Bethany on rides in the Rills and comforting her when her heart was broken, Lord Stark could be moved into telling a story about him, and Robbie says that if Ser Mark had survived the Tower of Joy, he would have been the one to succeed Rodrik Ryswell as Lord of the Rills, who favored him more than his own sons.
  • Abusive Parents:
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    • Not directly, but Domeric constantly fears stepping out of line with his father Roose Bolton. For example, a break in his stoic exterior could lead to losing his toes. Disobeying an order could lead to flaying. Robbie asks his father Roger Ryswell if this is the case; Roger doesn’t think so unless Domeric really did something out of line, but Lord Bolton wants Domeric to think that he will to keep him under his control.
    • Lord Horton Redfort. When his son Jon returned after his Shotgun Wedding to Ellyn Egen, Lord Redfort had Jon put in the stocks and pelted with produce for two weeks to show Ellyn how much of a fool his son was.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: According to Cassandra Redfort, Roose Bolton became Lord of the Dreadfort at an unknown but very young age since he was too young to be a squire.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: One of the Author’s goals was to give the Faith of the Seven a larger role in the narrative and flesh it out a bit more like various rites and even cultural diversity in the Faith.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The Freys don't mock the Tully funeral customs by dumping Catelyn Stark's body in the river. Instead they give her a proper funeral.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Lancel Lannister renames the two swords forged from Ice, calling them "Mother's Mercy" and "Father's Justice".
  • Adult Fear:
    • Chapter 8 is an exercise in this trope as the Northern soldiers at Harrenhal receive letter after letter of the Ironborn taking castle after castle.
    • Roose Bolton left home to fight in the Greyjoy Rebellion. When he came home, both his wife and younger son were dead of fever.
    • Ryella Royce lost her siblings before she was 15; her brother Kyle was executed by the Mad King and her sister Kella died of spring fever.
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  • Affectionate Nickname: Domeric remembers that his little brother Roger called him "Dommie".
  • Age Lift: Sansa is aged up to 15 during the events of A Storm of Swords.
  • Agony of the Feet: Domeric constantly thinks about his father flaying his toes as punishment. Why toes? Because it’s harder to see if someone was tortured if it’s aimed at the feet, perfectly in line with Lord Bolton’s philosophy of not wearing how cruel you are on your sleeve.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Ellyn Egen, Jon Redfort's wife.
    • Bertram Bolton, one of Domeric's siblings who died as an infant.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Domeric remembers that most of the Dreadfort was happy (as much as one can be at the Dreadfort) to see Reek go.
  • Animal Motif: Lancel refers to himself as a yellow cat, while his cousin Jaime Lannister is referred to as the golden lion that Lancel cannot measure up to.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The High Sparrow's rise is presented like this in Septon Vortimer's letter. The first day is his election, when the Sparrows stormed the election, killing several septons and septas. The second was the procession announcing the election, which is described as a sham for its lack of ornamentation; here, the High Sparrow is described as a heretic. And on the third day, the Sparrows cause a riot that results in the deaths of King Joffrey, Lord Tywin, and Loras and Olenna Tyrell. At this point the leading figures of the Faith of the Seven decide to flee to Gulltown.
  • Army Scout: Roose Ryswell leads the outriders for the east portion of the Northern army, with a little bit of Cavalry Officer.
  • Arranged Marriage:
    • Robbie Ryswell is betrothed to Sara Glenmore and they get along quite well.
    • The Royces and the Redforts have been plotting an alliance for decades. Cassandra Redfort was betrothed to Robar Royce. When Robar was killed by Loras Tyrell, his sister Ysilla married Mychel Redfort.
    • Kevan Lannister vehemently protested against his son marrying Amerei Frey because of her promiscuity, but Tywin insisted on it because she was the eldest daughter.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Robbie Ryswell is originally a supporting character in Domeric's story before becoming the viewpoint character in the Northern army.
    • Harrion Karstark gets more page-time and lines than he gets in the books.
    • Elmar Frey gets a little bit more prominence.
    • Ryella Royce gets a little more backstory.
    • Ser Sam Stone gets a backstory dating back to the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
    • Fat Walda gets her own POV in Chapter 43.
    • Lancel Lannister is mostly a supporting character to Tyrion and Cersei's arcs in canon, but here he is elevated to a POV character in Chapter 45.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: Robbie puts on a bear skin and pretends to be the bear in the song “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” when he and his wife Sara sleep together for the first time.
  • Bad Boss: Discussed. Ser Kyle Condon is terrified about telling Lord Bolton that Domeric was possibly captured, he thinks he'll be flayed.
  • Bad with the Bone: Harrion mentions that the Karstarks use seal tusk or whalebone as sword handles.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Domeric is sent to the Twins presumably to find a Frey bride for himself. It turns out that Roose sent him to get a bride... for Roose himself.
  • Balkanize Me: Discussed. Bronze Yohn Royce had wanted to split the Vale off from the rest of Westeros into a separate kingdom allied with the North and the Trident, but that fell through because they decided it wasn't worth breaking the Crown's peace. Anyways, everyone's aware that Robert Arryn and Harry Hardyng would make poor kings.
  • Battle Trophy: Karhold's solar features a polar bear head mounted above the mantelpiece, while the pelt is on the floor.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ysilla Royce has wanted to get married to a lord who was younger than 30 so she could enjoy having (and making) children. Now she's married, but she and Mychel rarely have sex, if at all.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lord Grafton showed up to save the survivors of a conflict between House Royce and the Jolly Fellows.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Domeric is a male example as far as Fat Walda is concerned. He wrote letters answering whatever she wanted to know about the North and was courteous, but from what she could see in his eyes he couldn’t see past her appearance and his rudeness to her sister Ami rankled her.
  • Blade on a Stick: Ser Mark Ryswell was known for his skill with a spear.
  • Blood Oath: Domeric routinely cuts open his hands when offering prayers in Harrenhal's godswood.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The debate on whether or not to rescue Sansa Stark after word comes of Bran and Rickon Stark's "deaths".
    • Domeric argues that the North should secure Sansa's safety as soon as possible because the Lannisters would end any thought of the North being a kingdom on its own, Sansa is the last known Stark alive (Robb is still alive but could fall in battle), so the Stark lineage could very well end with Sansa if Joffrey impregnated her, and they can't rely on Stannis because he wants to see the North part of the Seven Kingdoms again. And the North has plenty to trade, such as hostages and the various spoils of war taken during Robb's campaign in the Westerlands.
    • On the other side of the debate: Harrion counters that the lords who accompanied Robb into the Westerlands would loathe to part with the captured loot, and that his own father Lord Karstark would not be placated by nothing else than Lannister blood.
  • Broken Bird: Domeric remembers his mother becoming more broken as time went on and more of her children died.
  • Broken Pedestal: Domeric once thought of Robb Stark as a good heir to Winterfell. Now he thinks that he's an idiot because he sent Theon Greyjoy to the Ironborn and doesn't intend on helping Sansa.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Hosteen Frey is a lot more affable with his family than he typically is in canon. For one thing, he was always kind to Fat Walda.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ysilla Royce is blunt and frank with Sansa, which reminds her of Olenna Tyrell.
  • The Bus Came Back: Harrion Karstark returns in Chapter 46 after getting captured (again) in Chapter 10.
  • Cain and Abel: Domeric is Abel to Ramsay's Cain. They've never met and Domeric is in no hurry to meet Ramsay after learning what he is.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In Chapter 3, Sansa once made a pink hankerchief with a flayed man and a bloody sword for Domeric. She uses it to identify him when he sneaks her out of the Red Keep.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • "Nan", Lord Bolton’s page at Harrenhal, turns out to be Arya Stark.
    • Pate, the minstrel from Rosby, appears later at the Twins singing Domeric's rendition of "The Wolves went out to prowl" as a signal for the Red Wedding.
    • Karl Greycliff is first introduced as a captain serving the Karstarks. It's revealed that he was also in on the Red Wedding, and was personally responsible for subduing Roose Ryswell.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: Discussed when Robbie speculates that Robb Stark was dropped on his head by his mother. Why else would he trust Theon Greyjoy?
  • Child Soldiers:
    • Domeric notes that some of the Red Cloaks in King's Landing are lads of about 13.
    • Ronnel Stout is not quite thirty, making him 12 or 13 when he participated in Robert's Rebellion as Lord Dustin's squire.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tywin Lannister blames the Tyrells for Sansa’s disappearance, so he had the Vale Mountain Clans prowling the Reach.
  • Co-Dragons: Roose Bolton has his legitimate son Domeric and his bastard son Ramsay. Domeric accompanies his father on campaign, while Ramsay stays behind as castellan of the Dreadfort.
  • Composite Character:
    • Myranda Royce's husband (the one who died on their wedding night) was unknown in the books. Here it's Lord Hunter.
    • Lancel Lannister takes Brienne of Tarth’s place as the one who receives the swords reforged from Ice.
  • Confirmed Bachelor: Robbie mentions that Uncle Rickard has never shown interest in taking a wife.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Discussed via Sansa's internal monologue. Bronze Yohn is an old friend of her father's, but is bound by oath to Lady Lysa Arryn, who's just thrown in her lot with the Lannisters. However, Bronze Yohn has decided to hide Sansa and Domeric out of his own goodwill.
  • Cool Uncle:
    • Ronnel Stout for Robbie Ryswell, because Roose Ryswell acts more like an older brother, Uncle Rickard is a Jerkass, and nobody thinks Lord Bolton is a cool anything.
    • Hosteen Frey for Fat Walda. He was always kind to her and the only one who described her as pretty for most of her life.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe. Arya makes at least a couple errors in her cover story at Harrenhal, such as serving under the Lord of Barrowton. There hasn’t been a Lord of Barrowton since the end of Robert’s Rebellion when Lord Dustin was slain in Dorne.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Domeric remembers that his little brother Roger had brown hair and eyes, with no trace of Bolton heritage.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Discussed; when Robbie and Domeric criticize Robb Stark, Robbie says that Domeric would be a better king than Robb Stark, partly because he wouldn't have trusted Theon. Domeric replies "Robb Stark is the only man in Westeros who trusts Theon Greyjoy. I'm nothing special, Robbie."
  • Dark Reprise: In-universe, Domeric writes an alternate version of "The Wolf in the Night" in a minor key, writing of the woes of the Starks through the plight of a pack of wolves.
  • Deader Than Dead: The author's reason why the Freys arrange a Viking Funeral for Catelyn Stark instead of having her become Lady Stoneheart.
  • Dead Guy on Display:
    • The bodies of Robb Stark, Dacey Mormont, Lucas Blackwood, Robin Flint, Owen Norrey, and Smalljon Umber are propped up on stakes or in chairs in the Twins' great hall. Catelyn Stark's body is in a coracle while Wendel Manderly is lying prone because he's too fat to be propped up.
    • The Ironborn who took Moat Cailin were flayed by Ramsay Snow and their corpses put on crosses flanking the road.
  • Dead Person Impersonation:
    • Sansa takes on the identity of Danelle Rivers, the illegitimate daughter of Danwell Whent and Kella Royce, who died of spring fever.
    • Domeric takes the identity of Jonnel Holt, a knight from White Harbor who was killed at Duskendale.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Sandor Clegane is captured and executed by the Freys after the Red Wedding.
    • King Joffrey, Tywin Lannister, Loras and Olenna Tyrell are torn apart by a mob on the same day as Joffrey's wedding.
  • Death Glare: Deconstructed. The Boltons have a tradition of being able to do this, but a proper Bolton Death Glare requires the right eye color, nose and chin to get the point across. One of Domeric's hang-ups about possibly marrying a Frey is that the chin might not be present.
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: Domeric is thinking about who Robb Stark would include in a rescue party to rescue Sansa, when the Smalljon shows up next to him shouting "Bolton! So you’ve eyes for a Stark bride, do you!". Domeric... gets a laugh out of that.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the books/show, Catelyn is killed by having her throat slit. Here, she is the first casualty of the Red Wedding when she is shot with a crossbow and killed instantly.
  • Domestic Abuse: Domeric notes that Roose would flay any wife of his who made him a cuckold.
  • Doting Grandparent: Ser Hosteen Frey is apparently one of these, according to Ryella.
  • Dragon Their Feet: On the Royce forces' journey back to the Vale after the War of the Ninepenny Kings, they were set upon by the Jolly Fellows, a melee where a previous Lord Royce was slain.
  • Dramatic Thunder: When it's time for The Hound to be executed, a lightning bolt strikes the gallows, as if the Gods say that he should not be hanged.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Domeric disguises himself as a Lannister soldier to infiltrate the Red Keep.
  • Due to the Dead: Domeric buys Ser Helman Tallhart's sword and rondels from an armor peddler after his death at Duskendale and vows to bring them back to Torrhen's Square.
  • The Dutiful Son: Mychel Redfort, much to his chagrin. Lord Royce was brokering an alliance with the Redforts and wanted it through a child of his own body (hence why Albar Royce of the junior branch was not considered). Because Mychel's brother Jon married Ellyn Egen in a Shotgun Wedding, Mychel was the only remaining person who could fulfill the match and that's how he married Ysilla.
  • Empathic Environment: After the Red Wedding, it rains for days and days. Robbie muses that Domeric would have waxed poetic, that the Boltons bring the "Weeping Water" (one of the rivers on their lands) wherever they go.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • None of the Ryswells like the Starks, particularly Lord Stark's children with Catelyn Tully, but they're not going to celebrate the deaths of two boys.
    • Domeric isn't going to ruin a maester's work by tearing pages from a book. He also doesn't partake in the bedding ceremony for Fat Walda because he isn't going to shame his new stepmother.
    • Harrion Karstark makes it clear that he does not approve of his father's actions by killing Lannister prisoners or promising Alys' hand to anyone who brought him Jaime Lannister.
  • Evil Smells Bad: The road to Moat Cailin is flanked on either side by the flayed corpses of the Ironborn garrisoned there, filling the area with the stench of rotting flesh and excrement.
  • Exact Words: Sansa's cover story in the Vale is that she's the illegitimate daughter of a Whent and a Royce and was summoned from a motherhouse to her mother's ancestral home after Lady Shella Whent died without issue and she is next in line, bastard or not. Funnily enough, Sansa does have a claim on Harrenhal because her grandmother Minisa was a Whent.
    Wynafrei Frey: Whent blood is Whent blood.
  • Expy: In-universe, Domeric writes his Dark Reprise of "The Wolf in the Night" with a particular member of House Stark in mind:
    • The pack leader who wandered into the lion's den and died is Ned Stark.
    • The new pack leader who attacks the rocks and fails to find his sisters is Robb.
    • The lost pup is Arya.
    • The wolf in the cage is Sansa.
    • The pups left to drown when the den is flooded are Bran and Rickon.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When it's time for The Hound to be executed, he doesn't flinch at the burning gallows when it's struck by lightning and invites the executioner to kill him.
    "I lived by the sword, I'll die by the sword. Come, hangman. Send me to the Stranger."
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • The author feels that Arya did this while at Harrenhal, since there were a number of Northerners that were there that she could have spoken to.
    • Lord Bolton admits to failing to realize Arya was at Harrenhal.
    • When Lord Royce was creating a cover identity for Sansa, he apparently forgot that Littlefinger was granted Harrenhal by the Crown. Lady Lysa is greatly angered by "Danelle" having a claim on Harrenhal.
  • Family Man: Lord Rodrik Ryswell is very straight-laced about marital relations amongst his family, threatening to disinherit his grandson if a woman shows up with his illegitimate child.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Faith of the Seven in the Vale is heavily inspired by Christianity in France, similar to the Vale as the birthplace of the Seven in Westeros and France's status as the "eldest daughter of the Catholic Church".
  • Foil: Domeric to Ned Stark. Both are Northern lords fostered in the Vale who are considered outsiders to the North. Both go on self-proclaimed missions to rescue a lady of House Stark. However, Domeric undertook his mission alone and managed to find Sansa and rescue her, while Ned, with a party of companions failed to rescue his sister Lyanna before she died.
  • For Want of a Nail: The story was set into motion (particularly regarding Domeric’s survival) because Domeric took a stopover at Lord Overton’s castle and learned what sort of man his bastard brother Ramsay was.
  • Freudian Excuse: Domeric's less than positive view of sexually forward women was caused by Myranda Royce leading him on before she kissed Lyle Lynderly.
  • Generation Xerox: Domeric's belief about bastards is that the father's behavior will determine if they are a Heroic Bastard or a Bastard Bastard. Case in point: Jon Snow and Larence Snow are good men because Lord Stark and Lord Hornwood are, while Ramsay is a Bastard Bastard because Lord Bolton is not a good man.
  • Genius Bruiser: Domeric has an extensive knowledge of history and poetry coupled with a working knowledge of Northern politics, and shown to be a swordsman who can trade blows with Mychel Redfort, one of the best swordsmen in the Vale.
  • The Ghost:
    • Ramsay Snow doesn't appear, though he is mentioned a few times. Until Chapter 44, where he finally appears in the flesh.
    • Despite being responsible for the War of the Five Kings boiling over, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish has not appeared in person... until Chapter 40 when the Arryn party arrives in Gulltown.
    • Lord Rodrik Ryswell has made no appearances outside of flashbacks.
  • Hero-Worshipper:
    • Domeric idolizes Rhaegar Targaryen for his accomplishments as a warrior and a musician.
    • From the other perspective, Domeric is idolized by his cousin little Rick.
    Robbie: [speaking to Domeric] Little Rick reminds Grandfather of you. Little Rick adores you. Wants to be you. Speaks with a soft voice. Begging Aunt Barbrey to take him on as her page. Puts on that scary face you wear when you think we all need to shut our mouths.
  • History Repeats: The War of the Five Kings was not the first time that a Bolton tried to seize control of the North while an Ironborn invasion took place, as Bartimus Bolton tried to take over the North during Dagon Greyjoy's rebellion only to be thwarted by the Crannogmen.
  • Hopeless War: The War of Five Kings from the perspective of the Northern soldiers in the Riverlands under Lord Bolton. They're sitting on the sidelines while their leader Robb Stark wages war on the Westerlands, negotiations go nowhere to rescue the princesses, the Ironborn invade their castles including Winterfell, and the Lannisters and Tyrells ally at the Battle of the Blackwater, which puts the North on the ropes.
  • Hypocrite: Roose Bolton talks a good game about a peaceful land and quiet people and not throwing away your troops for pointless glory, but of course, his invocation of Droit du Seigneur (resulting in Ramsay) and sending Northern troops to Duskendale to whittle down Robb's forces speak otherwise.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!:
    • Everyone says that Ser Mark Ryswell should have been the one to succeed Lord Rodrik Ryswell as Lord of the Rills... if he hadn’t died in Dorne at the Tower of Joy.
    Robbie: If Ser Mark had lived we would not have this problem. Grandfather liked him better than his own sons. 'Twould have settled all our squabbles. Ser Mark would have just needed to pick one of us to groom after that.
    • Domeric himself. He’d be in the running to be Lord of the Rills and of Barrowton if it wouldn’t upset the balance of power.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The town close to the Dreadfort (already an example of this trope) is known as the Weeping Town.
  • I Have Your Wife: Roose defies this trope when he decides not to have Domeric serve as one of Robb's bodyguards so the Starks won't have a hostage.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Halys Hornwood was shot in the throat by an arrow.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Lord Rodrik thinks his grandson Robbie, who's known for his liking for women, bawdy songs and japes, is unfit for the lordship.
  • Indy Ploy: Zigzagged. While Domeric makes sure to prepare for logistical issues (he makes sure he has enough food, coin and backups sets of armor for disguises), the author makes it clear that Domeric is making up his plan to free Sansa up as he goes along.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Domeric spends much of his father's wedding feast drinking as much wine as he can to distract himself from Amerei Frey.
    • Subverted when the Northern lords hear of the fall of Winterfell. Kyle Condon tries to give Robett Glover a goblet of wine to steady his nerves, but Robett's hands are shaking so much he promptly drops the goblet.
  • In Vino Veritas: Domeric hasn’t spoken about his little brother Roger in years, and the feast where his father gets married to Fat Walda makes him believe that he’s drunken a lot because he winds up talking about Roger.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Domeric for Sansa. A lot of his issues come from his heritage since Boltons are never married to Starks and his belief that Robb would refuse to give Sansa’s hand to him.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Barbrey Dustin refers to Sansa as "Catelyn Tully's little minnow".
    • There are nicknames for each of the male Manderlys. Lord Wyman is Lord Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse while his sons Wylis are Ser Slower-than-a-Trot and Wendel (unnamed) is Ser No-Saddlebags-for-Me.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Sansa winds up in the Vale, except that she's under the protection of the Royces rather than Littlefinger.
    • Lysa Arryn's still marrying Littlefinger.
    • The Red Wedding still happens.
  • I Own This Town: Littlefinger has Gulltown in his pocket.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It’s raining the day after the Red Wedding as Catelyn Stark’s body is cremated in the Trident River.
  • I've Come Too Far: Harrion Karstark notes that the Westerlands campaign has gone on too long for the Northern lords there to just give up their loot for a ransom; Greatjon Umber would bristle at giving up Castamere, while Rickard Karstark would not give up his vendetta against the Lannisters and would refuse any trade.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • Rickard Karstark and Hoster Tully die offscreen after Domeric leaves to rescue Sansa.
    • At the Red Wedding, Robb Stark is killed at some point after Robbie is clobbered unconscious.
  • Left for Dead: Domeric uses this as a cover story in his disguise as a Lannister soldier, that he was knocked out at Duskendale and left behind.
  • Lighter and Softer: In-universe, one of Domeric's ambitions once his father is dead are to make the Dreadfort a place where smallfolk stopped on their travels, where lords sent their sons to foster and their daughters to marry.
  • Lost in Translation: The Faith of the Seven's prayers and hymns are spoken in Old Andalosian in the Vale. Whenever any of the other kingdoms tried to translate them into the Common Tongue, various complications ensued.
    • The Reach and the Westerlands have the most poetic language and the most beautiful music, but adds too much to the point it becomes distracting.
    • The Riverlands' version is simplified for the smallfolk but is missing much of the meaning and symbolism.
    • The Stormlands' translation is technically correct but is ugly to speak.
  • Made of Iron: Fat Walda is completely unhurt after Robbie tackles her, Lord Bolton, and Roose Ryswell out of the way of Sandor Clegane. Robbie muses that having Kevlard probably helped.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Discussed. When he learns Sansa is still alive and married to Domeric, Harry Karstark tells Domeric that while Sansa may be the eldest (known) living Stark, Domeric, as her husband, may hold even more sway than she does with the Northern lords because he is a man, who can lead armies into battle and pass judgement the way the North does.
  • Metaphorically True: Lord Bolton mentions to Robbie that the war would be over soon. Didn't exactly tell him how.
  • The Mole: Bronze Yohn Royce had a spy in Renly’s army keeping tabs on the Vale Mountain Clans’ movements, a spy who is still with the Tyrells.
  • Monster Knight: Like the book version of Ramsay's armor, Domeric's armor evokes this trope; made of black plate, it features carvings made to look like bone and skinless muscle and the breastplate evokes the appearance of a broken cage of ribs (complete with bleeding heart).
  • My Greatest Failure: Ronnel Stout’s is not being in Dorne for Lord Willam Dustin.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The scene between Domeric and "Nan" is a reference to the various scenes between Tywin Lannister and Arya in Game of Thrones.
    • Domeric makes references to Lyonel Baratheon and Rhaegar Targaryen when he tries to persuade Robb to surrender; Lyonel rebelled when Duncan Targaryen broke his betrothal so he could marry Jenny of Oldstones and Lyonel had to be subjugated by Ser Duncan the Tall, while Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna Stark and paid the price when Robert Baratheon smashed open his chest in the Battle of the Trident.
    • House Glenmore from Telltale's Game of Thrones is mentioned when Robbie learns he is betrothed to Sara Glenmore, Lord Glenmore's younger daughter.
    • Lem Lemoncloak's death is exactly the same as in Game of Thrones: hanging.
  • Name's the Same: In-universe, Robbie's little cousin Wynton Stout is named after the Night's Watch ranger of the same name.
  • Never Learned to Read: Mya Stone, according to Mychel.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Domeric’s Dark Reprise of “The Wolf in the Night” gets used as a signal for the Red Wedding.
  • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Domeric finds Amerei Frey's attempts to seduce him off-putting, particularly when she fondles him under the table.
  • No Name Given: The Fossoway knight that Domeric faces at Duskendale is unnamed. In Chapter 35, his name is revealed as Ryam Fossoway.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: Lord Bolton putting all the Harrenhal servant girls, stripped naked and shaved bald, in the stocks for the other soldiers to rape.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: As much as this setting can have one, Edmure Tully refuses to allow a mission to save Sansa, since they have to consult Robb and when that message was given, he hadn't recovered from his wounds at the Crag.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Much of Chapter 34 is devoted to the Northern Lords making the choice to bend the knee to King Joffrey or die. Robert and Roose Ryswell are in disagreement about whether to bend the knee or die, but they mutually agree to let Lord Rodrik decide; they'll either bend the knee together or die together. When Lord Rodrik sends word that he bends the knee, they do so as well.
  • Offered the Crown: The Ryswell family does this as a means of succession; the ruling Lord chooses a successor from his house that he deems worthy. For example, Lord Rodrik would have chosen Ser Mark, whom he loved more than his sons, to succeed him if he hadn’t died in Dorne. The successor nowadays is in flux: of his older grandsons, one grandson (Domeric) is heir to another seat and Robbie has fallen out of favor due to his lusty appetites, so Lord Rodrik is banking on the 9-year-old Rick.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Sandor Clegane's fate.
    • Joffrey Baratheon and Tywin Lannister's heads are taken off by a mob.
  • Oh, Crap!: Domeric when he comes face-to-face with Tywin Lannister. He manages to keep his composure though.
  • Old Soldier: Ser Sam Stone has been on active duty for more than 40 years, as a veteran of the War of the Ninepenny Kings. As the Master-at-arms for Runestone, he’s also an Old Master.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Domeric knows that he will be paying reparations to House Manderly for most of his life because of what Ramsay did to Donella Hornwood (nee Manderly).
  • One Steve Limit: Averted.
    • There have been two Bethany Ryswells: Domeric's mother Bethany (later Bolton) and his cousin Bethany, his uncle Roger's daughter.
    • There are at least two Rickard Ryswells in the story; one is Lord Rodrik's second son and the other is a boy of 9 or 10 and the current heir.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The normally stoic Roose Bolton appears upset by the news of Sansa’s death, while not knowing it’s faked.
  • Original Character:
    • Robert “Robbie” Ryswell, Domeric’s cousin and close friend.
    • Roger Bolton, Domeric's little brother who died at the age of 1.
    • Sara Glenmore is an interesting case. House Glenmore exists in Telltale's Game of Thrones, but Sara still counts as this trope as Lord Glenmore in Telltales only has one daughter named Elaena and Sara is the younger daughter.
  • Outfit Decoy: Domeric fakes Sansa’s suicide by smashing a window and leaving part of a torn dress on one of the panes.
  • Outliving One's Offspring:
    • Roose Bolton has lost all his legitimate children with the exception of Domeric. The two mentioned by name were Bertram (who was the same age as Ramsay) and Roger (the youngest who died of a fever during the Greyjoy Rebellion).
    • Kella Royce lost her infant daughter Danelle shortly before her own death of spring fever.
  • The Paranoiac: Domeric believes he'd become one of these if he ever acceded to the Lordship of the Dreadfort while Ramsay was still around. He'd have to hire a food taster, personal guard, never leave his castle, etc... it wouldn't take long to become as mad as King Aerys.
  • Poisonous Friend: Patrek Mallister to Robbie Ryswell. Patrek managed to whet Robbie's taste for women and this seriously damaged Lord Rodrik's opinion of Robbie being a worthy heir.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • Domeric had several siblings who died as infants. The most notable was Roger, who was almost two years old when he died while Lord Bolton was away during the Greyjoy Rebellion. Domeric's mother also died during that time, meaning that Domeric spent six months with only Maester Uthor for company. Another was Bertram, who was born a year after Domeric and died as an infant. Domeric wishes Ramsay had died instead of Bertram.
    • Ser Mark Ryswell, a cousin of the main line who accompanied Ned Stark to Dorne and was killed there by the Kingsguard of Aerys II.
    • Robar Royce, Bronze Yohn Royce’s second son. He had been Cassandra Redfort’s intended, but was killed by Loras Tyrell after Renly Baratheon’s assassination.
    • Ser Waymar Royce, the third and youngest son of Bronze Yohn Royce. He's been dead for awhile since the story starts late in A Game of Thrones, but he appears in a flashback.
    • Bartimus Bolton, the Lord Bolton at the time of Dagon Greyjoy's Rebellion.
    • Jonnel Holt, the Northern knight who Domeric impersonates while at Runestone.
  • Practically Different Generations:
    • Domeric notes that he is three years older than his new stepmother Fat Walda, which will mean that any children his father has with her will be this trope.
    • Roose Ryswell is only a couple years older than his nephews Domeric (by his older sister Bethany) and Robbie (by his older brother Roger).
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: When he’s seen again, Harrion Karstark has more than a touch of grey in his hair after months of captivity.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Robbie's opinion on the Umbers, Karstarks, and the Mormonts to a lesser extent.
    "The Umbers and the Karstarks, if the Starks said jump, they’d ask how high. They don’t know what it’s like in the west, to wonder if the Ironmen will sail in on the dawn tide and take everything you have. Maege Mormont, she knows, but for all she’d counsel the Young Wolf about the threat of the Ironborn, she wouldn’t go against him. Sycophants, the lot of them are. None of them stopped him, even though His Grace has wind for brains."
  • Properly Paranoid: Domeric and Sansa don’t spend much time in Gulltown because Littlefinger practically owns Gulltown and he could rat them out.
  • The Quiet One: Domeric isn't known for his abilities at speaking. After a speech where Domeric calls for rescuing Sansa, Donnel Stout remarks that "that’s the most words I’ve heard you string in a row since I’ve laid eyes on you."
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Domeric asked Lord Redfort why men rape, and he replied that only a particular type of man rapes.
    "Because their blood is up, boy, he’d said, and they don’t care if she says yes or no. She’s there, and her feelings are in the way of what he wants. Or because they like the sound of crying, screaming. Some are like that... it’s the cries and pain for their own sake. The knowledge that you have the power to cause that in another soul. The cries and pain get their blood up. Or the thrill of the chase, the fear in their eyes. And when the blood is up the need is there."
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Northern host sent to Duskendale burns, rapes and loots its way down towards Duskendale; it's during this point that Domeric begins writing his version of "Wolf in the Night".
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Domeric's knowledge of Barrowton makes him realize that "Nan", who claims to be from that area, is lying to him. Compare with Tywin's conversations with Arya in Game of Thrones; Tywin, having never been to Barrowton, wouldn't care, but Domeric would know.
    • Domeric's map of the Red Keep, which was made during the days of Jaehaerys II, isn't completely up to date. For one thing the tapestries that are earmarked on the map are no longer there.
    • On a meta level, Domeric isn't skilled enough to fight off multiple bandits on the Kingsroad and defend Sansa at the same time (unlike the Hound), so he travels along the Rosby road instead.
  • Real Men Love Jesus:
    • The Boltons organize mass ritual prayers while at Harrenhal to pray for those menaced by the Ironborn.
    • The Vale is very serious about the Faith of the Seven, and they did not support Stannis because of Melisandre's fanaticism against the Faith and Old Gods. They even do their prayers in Old Andalosian.
  • Related in the Adaptation: The marital relations of House Glenmore are unknown in Telltale's Game of Thrones. Here, it’s established via Robert’s chapters that they’re related to the Ryswells; specifically, Ser Mark Ryswell (the Ryswell who accompanied Ned Stark to Dorne and died there) had a sister named Rybeca who married Lord Glenmore.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Mychel Redfort is one for Robar Royce, as he fulfilled the Royce-Redfort alliance by marrying Ysilla Royce (Robar was supposed to marry Cassandra Redfort) and received Robar’s lands.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Domeric's opinion about Robb's campaign in the Westerlands is that they're wasting time and resources they could be using to rescue Sansa and Arya, then going back north to answer the threat of the Ironborn and prepare for winter. Instead they're wasting their efforts just to get back at Tywin Lannister.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Septon Vortimer’s speech was heavily inspired the one given by Pope Urban II when he launched the First Crusade in 1095 C.E..
  • Rousing Speech:
    • Domeric attempts to give one as a call to action to rescue Sansa before Stannis can take King’s Landing and force terms on the North. It doesn’t work.
    • Ser Sam Stone remembers Jon Arryn giving one to the men under old Lord Royce. He told them what they were fighting for, what Maelys the Monstrous would bring if they didn’t fight, and to fight in the name of the Gods and what they represent.
    "If you cannot fight for me, I ask you to fight for the Maiden. For the innocents she loves. For our folk across the sea. Will you fight for the Maiden?"
  • Rule of Seven: The author says that there will be seven weddings in the story.
  • Save the Princess: Domeric advocates sending Northern soldiers into the capital to rescue Sansa Stark. This is partly because he is attracted to her and pragmatic because Robb Stark needs to secure the welfare of his heirs after Bran and Rickon's deaths. After the Battle of the Blackwater and Robb's marriage to Jeyne Westerling, Domeric decides to undertake this plan himself and smuggles her out of the Red Keep.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After Robb marries Jeyne Westerling and the Freys depart, Domeric decides to go on his own mission to rescue Sansa.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Chapter 39, most of the Faith of the Seven that isn't affiliated with the High Sparrow flee King's Landing for Gulltown after the Sparrows cause a riot that results in the deaths of King Joffrey, Tywin Lannister, Loras Tyrell, and Olenna Tyrell.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper:
    • In Chapter 35, Lord Bolton reveals that he’s well aware of Domeric’s attraction to Sansa Stark and would have used it to his advantage.
    • Chapter 43 implies that Wynafrei Whent managed to figure out that Sansa Stark is still alive.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • When Roose sends Domeric to the Twins for a wife, Domeric gets very apprehensive about taking a Frey for a wife. Then Roose tells him that he's interested in taking Fat Walda, making Domeric's angsting about having a Frey wife completely pointless.
    • The Ryswells had a plan to create a navy on the western half of the North to defend against the Ironborn. All they heard was that Lord Stark was reviewing it and the next thing they knew, Lord Stark was a head shorter.
  • Sherlock Scan: Myranda Royce manages to figure out that Sansa's in the Vale just by looking at her. She knows that Danelle Rivers died as an infant, Sansa looks like Lysa Arryn (albeit four stone lighter), and it's so convenient that a red-haired maiden shows up in the Vale just after the Crown reports her demise.
  • Shotgun Wedding:
    • Mychel Redfort mentions that his brother Jon deflowered Ellyn Egen and they were married within the hour.
    • Likewise, he suggests that Domeric and Sansa might wind up like this; they were alone for a fortnight and that would be enough to ruin a girl's reputation.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Sansa. While she has a good head for facts and detail, she has more trouble with determining bias. According to Runestone's maester, it's a very common problem for highborn ladies who are not being groomed as heirs.
  • Slashed Throat: Domeric kills Ryam Fossoway this way.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Lord Overton hasn’t appeared, but he told Domeric of Ramsay’s true nature and warned him to stay away, making the entire story possible.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • The crannogmen’s defeat of the Ironborn in Dagon Greyjoy’s rebellion thwarted Bartimus Bolton’s attempt to seize the North from the Starks.
    • Something (nobody knows what) happened where Gregor Clegane was not sent to Duskendale and the Fossoways were sent instead. Roose Bolton’s plan was to have Domeric surrender to Clegane and be sent back after the Red Wedding... with Sansa Stark alive and well to be married to Domeric. Instead the Fossoways were sent, Domeric killed Ryam Fossoway, snuck into the Red Keep and spirited Sansa away and framed the Tyrells, the Lannisters try to save face by saying that Sansa’s dead, Domeric’s song winds up in the hands of Pate of Rosby, Lady Stark is angered by the song and she is killed in the Red Wedding (Lord Bolton mentions that she wasn’t supposed to die). So at Chapter 35, Sansa is presumed dead with her siblings, Arya is forcibly married to Elmar Frey, and Lord Bolton is worse off than before because Domeric is AWOL and he has nothing else to keep the North from rebelling, leaving him with only the unreliable Ramsay.
    • Sansa's Disney Death, engineered by Domeric, has drastic reprecussions for Arya down the line. According to the Author, when word broke of Sansa's "death", she and The Hound poured out their hearts in regret and decided to travel more efficiently to the Twins, where they were captured and The Hound executed.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Domeric Bolton is alive and well here.
    • Since Catelyn Stark isn’t killed and becomes Lady Stoneheart, Aegon "Jinglebell" Frey, Petyr "Pimple" Frey, Merrett Frey, and Ryman Frey live for a little longer.
  • Spiteful Spit:
    • Patrek Mallister spits at Walder Frey when asked to bend the knee.
    • At Arya's wedding to Elmar Frey, the Greatjon makes a sound that's heavily implied to be a spit.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • While at Harrenhal, Domeric meets his father's cupbearer "Nan" and manages to ascertain from her that she's from the North. "Nan" claims she's the daughter of a maid and a stonemason from Barrowton, so Domeric writes a note to his aunt Barbrey Dustin, the Lady of Barrowton. Lady Dustin replies that none of her maids are married to stonemasons or have a daughter named Nan. Domeric now knows that "Nan" has lied to him about her identity, but he has no other chances to pull at that thread since they don't interact from that point.
    • While talking to Tywin Lannister, Domeric sees a scroll marked with a Bolton seal on his desk. The results of the correspondence don’t get revealed until Chapter 33.
  • The Squire:
    • Domeric squired for Lord Redfort before receiving his knighthood.
    • Robbie Ryswell for Lord Jason Mallister, but he declined knighthood.
    • Elmar Frey for Roose Bolton.
    • Ronnel Stout was Lord Willam Dustin's before Lord Dustin left for Dorne and died at the Tower of Joy.
    • According to Lord Royce, Stevron Frey was fostered at Runestone, which makes sense because Lord Walder’s first wife was a Royce.
    • Eustace Hunter was squire to Vardis Egen while Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark were wards of Jon Arryn.
    • Olyvar Frey was Gyles Rosby’s squire up until a year before the books, but was recalled before being knighted (besides, one can’t really squire for someone in Lord Rosby’s condition). He’s also the frontrunner to inherit when Lord Rosby dies.
  • The Starscream: Bartimus Bolton tried to take Winterfell during Dagon Greyjoy’s rebellion.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • Some of the boys staying at Runestone take offense at the idea of Sansa (under her identity of Danelle Rivers) learning with them, but the maester allays them by saying that Danelle has to learn with them as she has a claim on Harrenhal.
    • Inverted in Chapter 28 when Domeric balks at going into the ladies’ sewing circle. Not even the lords of the castle go there.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: The Ryswells have been trying to throw off their image of being the "Dothraki of the North" (horse motif, don't like water) by investing in building a navy to rival White Harbor and defend the North's west coast against the Ironborn. Unfortunately they don't have the means and Lord Stark won't give them the time of day.
  • Straw Misogynist: Waymar Royce has a rather pessimistic view of women.
    "Don’t worry, Dom. You don’t have to listen to a fat slattern like Randa. Girls like her, they look at you and they decide you’re handsome, and because they’re pretty they know you’re looking too. A woman’s looks, that’s her weapon. Her kisses, her tears, her cunt. They look at you and think, aye, it would be fun to play him for a fool. It makes them feel powerful, to know they can disarm men who could cut them down in a moment. And if they don’t want to make you into a fool, they want to marry you, and then they always want something. If you’re an heir, they want to be lady of your castle. If you’re not, either you’re nothing, or they’re some merchant’s daughter who wants her children to be noble. They don’t want you for you. You’re just a tool to them. A stepping stone. If they praise anything that you do that you weren’t born with, it’s so they can brag to the other ladies while they’re sewing, and act all high and mighty while claiming your accomplishments, when they did nothing at all... It doesn’t count if they’re your mother or your kin. Jeyne’s just a little girl, and Cassie and Jessie are like sisters. Don’t mess around with that lady love nonsense, Dom. If you need to get your wick wet just pay a whore and be done with it. You’re an heir, you’ll need a wife, but you should just put a few sons in her and ignore her."
  • Stronger Than They Look: Lord Bolton's soft and pallid form belies his ability to wield a bow, setting Catelyn Stark's funeral boat aflame on the first try.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • With his dark hair and ghost-grey eyes, Domeric is said to look like Ser Mark Ryswell.
    • Since the Starks and Royces have intermarried several times, Lady Lorra Royce (Bronze Yohn's wife) looks like an older, plumper version of Arya.
  • Super Breeding Program: Rodrik Ryswell runs a rudimentary version of this regarding his family's appearance.
    Grandfather Rodrik had always stressed the importance of jealously guarding the blood through deliberate matchmaking. It was the same with men as with horses and dogs. The wrong choice of sire or dam could spoil a line forever. Ryswell heirs sought brides who were tall, strong-boned, and fair of face, with brothers who were tall and broad, muscular and handsome, so Ryswell daughters would be tall and comely to attract powerful husbands, and Ryswell sons would be imposing to command respect. He was glad that for all he had Roose’s coloring, he had inherited the frame and features of his mother’s kin. Like skill in battle and a shrewd wit, comely faces and well-formed bodies were assets in the great game.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Domeric mostly spends events as a passive observer watching Robb's campaign unfold in the Riverlands, while hearing word of the Ironborn's invasion of the North and his half-brother's actions. That changes in the Battle at Duskendale, which he uses as a cover to infiltrate King's Landing.
  • Taking the Veil:
    • Domeric thinks that Robb should take the Black (join the Night's Watch) to avoid punishment from the Lannisters for rebelling and the Freys for his broken betrothal.
    • Harry says that he was Robb Stark, he would have sent Rickard Karstark to the Wall,
  • Tap on the Head: Robbie is knocked out at the Red Wedding with a blow to the head.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: In-universe; when Sansa hears of Robb marrying Jeyne Westerling, she pictures her as Cersei Lannister with dark hair.
  • They Do: Domeric and Sansa have sex in Chapter 32.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Domeric when he hears that Ramsay has been named castellan.
    Hunting horns and missing girls and bloody tree trunks and barking hounds. It will get worse. And Reek will be there too.
    • And again when he sees The Mountain slam into the Karstark lines at the Battle of the Green Fork.
  • Token Good Teammate: Domeric is a Deconstruction. He may be of higher moral fiber than his father and half-brother, but he allows war crimes to happen because he won't raise a hand against his father and doesn't want to end up in his crosshairs. It wouldn't be pretty.
  • Trauma Button: The phrase "We'll be home soon. We'll all come back" is one for Ronnel Stout. He was Lord Willam Dustin's squire during Robert’s Rebellion and that was the last thing Lord Willam said to Ronnel before he went to Dorne to free Lyanna Stark and never came back.
  • Trauma Conga Line:
    • Domeric's life up to leaving for the Vale wasn't fun. Growing up with a sociopath for a father is bad enough, but he had numerous younger siblings die as infants causing his mother to break down over time. Then he fell ill during the Greyjoy Rebellion and when he woke up, both his mother and last remaining brother were dead.
    • Arya Stark is hit even harder with this than in canon. On top of all the stuff that happened to her in canon up to the third book, she learns that her sister committed suicide (this is actually not true). She actually gets to reunite with the rest of her known family, but they get killed in the Red Wedding, she is captured, her last remaining protector (The Hound) is executed, and she's forced to marry a boy she hates. And all of that is within three or so chapters which encompass less than two weeks.
  • Unexpected Successor: Sansa's cover story while at Runestone is that she was a bastard daughter of a Whent and a Royce who was in the motherhouse to become a Septa, but was called back after Lady Shella Whent died without issue and left no heir.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Arya is less than pleased to learn that she’s betrothed to Elmar Frey, going on a full-blown tirade about how cowardly and inept he is. It doesn’t get any better after she’s forced to marry him.
  • Viking Funeral: Instead of dumping Catelyn Stark’s corpse into the river (and having her become Lady Stoneheart, the Freys do a traditional boat funeral and Lord Bolton sets it ablaze himself.
  • Villain Respect: Domeric believes that while his father may scoff at his preferences for poetry, songs and chivalry, he does respect Domeric’s skill at arms, horsemanship, and knowing his way around politics. Going the other way, Domeric has a great deal of respect for his father, considering him the smartest man in the North.
  • Warrior Poet: Domeric is a skilled warrior who also writes songs, including an entire volume of poetry dedicated to Sansa. In the opening chapter he spent three days at Moat Cailin playing his harp, completely undisturbed. On the other hand Robbie bemoans Domeric's absence because he'd help Robbie choose the right words to write to his betrothed.
  • What an Idiot!: In-universe, Domeric’s opinion on everything Robb Stark’s been doing, from refusing to ransom his sister to sending Theon Greyjoy to Pyke.
  • What Could Have Been: In-universe; in the first chapter, Domeric is one of the Northern heirs who are called up to be part of Robb Stark's honor guard. Instead, Lord Bolton speaks to Lady Stark and decides to not have his son die for her son. Domeric's spot goes to Dacey Mormont.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Domeric sent a message to Robb Stark asking for Sansa's hand (after spiriting her to Runestone) and urging him to surrender. There's no indication of whether or not Robb received the message, moreso since he's dead.
  • White Sheep: Domeric and Robbie have different opinions on who the Tully’s White Sheep is, apart from that it’s the only one who isn’t power-hungry (Lord Hoster), foolish (Catelyn), or just plain crazy (Lysa). Domeric thinks it’s the Blackfish after Edmure’s Battle of the Fords, Robbie thinks it’s Edmure given his affability.
  • Why Are You Not My Son?:
    • Lord Rodrik Ryswell liked his distant relation Ser Mark better than his own sons, and would have had him inherit if he hadn't died in Dorne.
    • Inverted with Domeric wishing he was Ser Mark’s son.
  • You Are in Command Now: Tyrion is confirmed as Hand of the King after his father Tywin is killed by a mob.
  • Younger Than They Look: Sansa is 15, but the Royces are willing to say she’s 17.
  • You Remind Me of X: Domeric reminds Fat Walda of her father Merrett thanks to his drinking habit.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Domeric wishes that Ramsay had died instead of his little brother Bertram.
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