Nerd School: Robert’s Rebellion “The Opening Gambit”

by Joe on May 25, 2012

Previously: The Greyjoy Rebellion, Robert’s Rebellion Pt.1

Robert’s Rebellion was not a simple matter of everyone taking sides in the fight. The family alliances built up over the years, and blind loyalty to the king drew battle lines amongst the great houses of Westeros. On the side of Robert and the rebellion was the Baratheons (of course), the Starks, and the Arryns. Through the marriages of Lyssa and Catelyn, the Tullys of the Riverland were eventually brought to the rebellion. Though many of the bannermen of the Tullys and the Arryn’s sided with the king, this placed four massive armies against the Loyalist forces.

Still loyal to the Targaryens were House Martell, who were loyal due to Doran Martell’s sister Elia being married to Rhaegar. Also still loyal to the crown were the Tyrells of Highgarden. Aside from those two houses, and all of the crown lands, several smaller houses traditionally swearing fealty to The Arryns, Starks, Tullys, and Baratheons stayed loyal out of overall fealty to the king or perhaps seeking elevation when the fighting was over.

Mysteriously absent from the fighting on both sides were the Lannisters. Lord Tywin had been the hand of the king during the defiance of Duskendale, but tensions had arisen between him and the king leading to Tywin quitting his position as hand, and retreating to Casterly Rock. The Greyjoys also remained neutral. One other notable absentee from the fighting were the Freys. Controlling the Twins made them a strategic house in the fighting, but, as noted “The Late Lord Frey” decided to wait until he could determine the tide of the war and come out on the winning side.

After Aerys called for the heads of Robert and Eddard, the two managed to escape to their respective kingdoms.  Eddard had a fisherman try to sneak him from the Vale to White Harbour, so he could raise his forces in the North, but due to storms the fisherman died and his daughter was only able to get him to Sweetsister. Lord Borrell of the sisters later snuck him into White Harbour, where he preceded to raise his bannermen.



Robert managed to return to the Storm’s End and called his bannermen, in rebellion against the King. Three of Robert’s bannermen, Fell, Cafferson, and Grandison, decided to remain loyal to the king and were going to join forces at Summerhall,  march on Storm’s End, and end the rebellion quickly. Summerhall was a significant location as a fire that broke out in the castle in 259 which resulted in the death of King Aegon V. Robert, being made aware of the advance by the three lords, moved the forces loyal to him to intercept each of the lords forces before they could consolidate. His victories were impressive as he managed to kill or capture each of the three lords. Through his victory Robert consolidated his power in the Stormlands, winning the support of the rest of the lords, which allowed him to march without having an enemy in his rear.

Robert’s next move was to secure his western flank against the Tyrells, who posed the greatest military threat to Robert.  It is unclear whether Robert chose the location or was forced there by his opponents, but the battle took place at Ashford, a castle loyal to the Tyrells.  The battle occurred when the vanguard of the Tyrell army under command of Lord Randyll Tarly (Samwell’s father) ran into Robert’s forces. Tarly’s vanguard overran Robert’s army, and Robert was forced to withdraw from the field before the main force of the Tyrell host had joined the battle. Though technically a defeat, Westerosi historians see Robert’s actions as a tactical retreat. Robert’s forces were left mostly intact, and he was still a threat to the kingdom.

The result of he battle had two significant consequences. The first was that Robert had to link up with his allies in the north, which left the Stormlands empty. This left Storm’s End, which was under the command of Stannis, subject to a siege by Mace Tyrell and Randyll Tarly.

Seeing the weakness in his strategy, after Ashford, Robert moved to unite his army in the south with his allies in the north. During his move north, Robert was wounded in an unknown skirmish. He was recovering/hiding at Stoney Sept when the town was occupied by loyalist forces led by the then Hand of the King, Jon Connington. Connington  ordered every house in the town to be searched to find Robert. Luckily Robert was able evade capture long enough for the Stark/Tully army to reach the town and engage Connington’s forces. With the armies engaged, Robert emerged and led his forces in a counter attack causing Connington to retreat. Though Connington’s forces remained relatively intact because of his actual withdrawal, King Aerys was not impressed and had Connington exiled. History called this engagement “The Battle of the Bells” due to the bells of the sept warning the townspeople to stay inside their houses.

This battle showed Robert’s threat to the realm was greater than imagined, and set the scene for the final showdown at the Trident.

Next Week: Endgame!


Read some other stuff from Joe, hear him on the Planet Arbitrary podcast, or follow him on Twitter @planetarbitrary

Previously on Game of Thrones

S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4, S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

S2E1, S2E2, S2E3, S2E4, S2E5, S2E6, S2E7

Read Joe’s other articles:

Game of Thrones: Casting Roundup 1 and 2, Game of Thrones Primer IIGame of Thrones Primer I, Inn at the Crossroads Interview, Season 1 recap

Star Trek: Evening the OddsStar Trek Blu-rays 1 and 2 Trek in your Queue 1 and 2, Obama TrekStar Trek: A Different Generation, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs

Doctor Who: Doctor Who Season 6 Round Up, An Alternate History of the DoctorDoctor Who Season 6 primer

Misc: Sci-Fi ComposersThieving Sci-Fi, Paranormal Activi3The Walking Dead Primer, The Genre Problem, Conan Primer, Mutant Fatigue, Sci-Fi A-Team, A Love Letter to Natalie PortmanThor Primer

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Texas smells like shit May 25, 2012 at 7:54 am

Nice work. It’s all so confusing on HBO. These kind of write ups make the show so much better.
🙂 🙂 🙂


Leave a Comment