King Robb Stark was the eldest son of Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell and his wife, Lady Catelyn. He was the older brother of Sansa, Arya, Bran, and Rickon Stark, and cousin (believed to be half-brother) of Jon Snow. He also adopted a dire wolf, whom he named Grey Wind. Robb was declared King in the North, the first since his ancestor Torrhen Stark bent the knee three centuries before, during the War of the Five Kings after the execution of his father by King Joffrey Baratheon.
Robb secures a pact with Walder Frey in order to cross the Twins on the promise of marrying one of his daughters. He relieves his maternal family, House Tully, against the Lannister invasion force in the Riverland’s, pushing the Lannisters back into the Wester lands and returns to Riverrun to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Hoster Tully. During the war, Robb breaks his oath to House Freyand falls in love with, and marries, Talisa Maegyr. Robb executes Rickard Karstark for treason, losing the support of House Karstark, and renegotiates with the Freys in order to strengthen his army for a march on Casterly Rock. His uncle Edmure Tully agrees to marry Roslin Frey, but at the wedding, Robb, his family, and his armies are betrayed by House Bolton and House Frey, despite being under the protection of guest right, and slaughtered in an infamous massacre known as the Red Wedding.
Robb was the eldest child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark. Eddard was the head of House Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and Lord Paramount of the North, one of the constituent regions of the Seven Kingdoms. The Starks rule the region from their seat of Winterfell. Eddard was also the Warden of the North to King Robert Baratheon. Robb was born at Riverrun and raised at Winterfell. His father left his mother the morning after their wedding to fight in Robert’s Rebellion and did not return until after Robb was born. Robb Stark was likely named after Robert Baratheon. He had two younger true born brothers, Bran and Rickon, and two sisters, Sansa and Arya.
Robb also had a “bastard half-brother” Jon Snow with whom Robb shared a close relationship. Jon is actually his cousin by blood as he is the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. Robb was also close to his father’s ward Theon Greyjoy, whom he counted as his best friend outside of the family. He had been trained from childhood to wield a sword and wear armour by Winterfell’s Master-at-Arms Ser Rodrik Cassel and was highly proficient with both for his young age. He lived at Winterfell with his family.
Robb and Jon help Bran during his archery training, which he is doing rather poorly at. Robb instructs Bran to relax his bow arm, however, Bran’s application of this somehow makes this his worst shot. Robb, Jon, and Rickon burst into laughter, and are accosted by Ned, remarking that neither Robb nor Jon was a skilled archer at Bran’s age. Suddenly Arya hits Bran’s bullseye with an arrow before Bran can. Bran chases Arya while Ned, Catelyn, Robb, and Jon laugh until Ned receives news that a Night’s Watch deserter has been found.
Robb, 17, attends the execution of Will, the deserter, by his father Eddard Stark. On their way home with Theon, Jon, and Bran, they find a litter of newborn dire wolf pups. Robb is surprised that there are any dire wolves south of the Wall. When their father says they can keep the pups, Robb adopts one of them as his own, naming him Grey Wind.
He welcomes King Robert Baratheon to Winterfell with the rest of his family. He helps his mother maintain discipline during the feast, removing his sister Arya when she starts flicking food at Sansa, despite his amusement. Robb displays an antipathy toward Joffrey from the start, noting that he is a “right royal prick,” and is visibly annoyed when Sansa looks at Joffrey in admiration.
Robb bids farewell to Jon during his departure to the Wall, stating that he’ll be all in black the next time they meet, which Jon agrees with, stating that the colour suits him well. Due to Bran’s being left comatose in a fall, his mother’s refusal to leave an unconscious Bran’s side and his father’s departure for King’s Landing, Robb must help Maester Luwin run the castle making new appointments to the castle’s staff. Because of Catelyn’s absence of Rickon in her care for Bran, Robb deals with his confusion and tears, which he reveals to his mother before a fire breaks out in Winterfell. While Robb attends to this, an assassin breaks in and almost kills Bran, but is stopped by Summer. When Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel decide that threats from the Lannisters necessitate their departure for the capital, Robb is left in command of Winterfell. Robb visits a recovering Bran and has to tell him that he will never walk again. Bran says he would rather have died.
Robb receives Tyrion Lannister and Yoren, both traveling down from the Wall to King’s Landing together. Robb very pointedly offers hospitality to any man of the Watch, silently letting Tyrion know he is not invited to stay at Winterfell. When Bran arrives, Tyrion asks if he likes to ride and sympathises with him for being a cripple, which annoys Bran, but Tyrion simply says that like being a dwarf, it is the truth, no less so for being a hard truth. He gives Bran the design of a saddle which will allow Bran to ride even in his current state; Tyrion explains to Robb that “you must shape the horse to the rider,” by starting with a yearling and training it to respond to the reins and Bran’s voice (as he can’t use his heels). When Robb asks why Tyrion had done this favour for Bran, he explains that he has a certain sympathy for “cripples, bastards and broken things.” Due to this kindness, Robb says he can stay, but Tyrion says he would prefer the brothel in town, guaranteeing Robb’s easiness.
While taking Bran outside the castle to test his new saddle, Robb and Theon are talking about Robb’s future plans, when they realise that Bran has wandered off. Bran has been taken hostage by a band of wildling’s, but they are found by Robb who advances on them with a sword. One of the wildling’s Stiv holds a knife to Bran’s throat and makes Robb drop the sword. Theon kills Stiv with an arrow, which angers Robb as Bran could have been injured. Only one of the wildling’s, Osha, is taken prisoner. Osha says that the greatest danger lies north of the Wall, from the White Walkers, not from the Lannisters in the south, but Robb disregards her warning.
Following Robert’s death and Eddard’s arrest in King’s Landing, Robb receives a letter from Sansa detailing her wish for Robb to swear fealty to Joffrey, in order to maintain peace between the Starks and the Lannisters. Luwin explains that although Sansa wrote the letter, it is the words of Cersei Lannister expressed on the page. In response Robb instead calls his banners, marching House Stark’s vassals to war. When Theon asks whether he is worrisome, he points to the fact that he is shaking, proving himself to be so. Theon assures him that he would be stupid not to be.
Robb holds a feast for several of his newly-arrived banner men. Jon Umber assumes that he will lead the vanguard, and is offended by the suggestion that he would be made to march behind Galbart Glover, threatening to withdraw from the host. In response, Robb promises that, after the conflict with the Lannisters, he will oust Greatjon from his keep and hang him for breaking his oaths to House Stark; when the enraged banner man goes to draw a weapon, Robb’s dire wolf Grey Wind sets upon him, biting off two of his fingers. Robb recites ‘that it is death to bear steel against your liege lord’ but then diffuses the situation by excusing Greatjon’s aggression, saying that ‘doubtless, the Greatjon only meant to cut my meat for me’. The Greatjon roars with laughter and accepts Robb’s commands, much to the shock of Bran, who witnessed the entire incident. Robb says farewell to Bran and to Rickon, who is convinced he’ll see neither Robb nor his parents again.
Catelyn and Ser Rodrik Cassel intercept Robb’s army in the Neck as it presses southwards. Robb initially exclaims with excitement upon seeing his mother but stops short of embracing her lest he look weak in front of his banner men. Catelyn looks at her son with understanding, later embracing once their liege-lords have left their tent. She tells Robb he has no choice but to go to war. However, he cannot lose, for the sake of Ned, Sansa, and Arya, as if he is defeated, Tywin Lannister will show their family no mercy.
Later on, Robb and his lords are debating on the route of their march, and on whether to march directly against Tywin’s army or against Jaime’s army besieging Riverrun. To get to Jaime, they need to cross the Green Fork of the River Trident, and the only crossing is at the Twins, held by the notoriously prickly and easily-offended Lord Walder Frey. A Lannister scout is captured, and Robb sends him back to warn Lord Tywin that twenty thousand Northern soldiers are marching against him.
Following Robb’s arrival at the Twins, his mother instructs Theon to shoot down messenger ravens, so no word of their presence can be relayed, despite only finding a name day message to his grand-niece Walda. He quickly realises that negotiation is the only option, which is proven to be true when Walder’s envoys arrive. Catelyn goes in Robb’s place as she had previous experience with Walder from her childhood and believes she is more likely to come back alive. Upon her return, Robb hears Walder’s conditions: he must take on Olyvar Frey as his squire and knight him in due process, Arya must marry Waldron Frey when they both reach an appropriate age (which Robb jokingly remarks on her future unhappiness) and following the end of the conflict, Robb must marry a woman of House Frey. Understanding the situation, Robb asks Catelyn about the beauty of his daughters, to which she can remember only one. He accepts all the conditions, crossing the Green Fork in the process.
He sends a small force of men to distract the main Lannister army under Lord Tywin Lannister at the Battle of the Green Fork. Meanwhile, his main army attacks Jaime Lannister’s forces near Riverrun, winning the Battle of the Whispering Wood and taking Jaime as a captive. Jaime suggests they end the war now with a bout of single combat between himself and Robb, but Robb refuses and has him imprisoned. Robb laments that his diversion sent 2,000 men to their deaths. He gives a speech to his army and tells them that they have won a great victory, but the war is far from over.
Robb is devastated by the news of his father’s death. He is found hacking his sword at a tree in anger and grief. Catelyn calls to him and tells him he is ruining his sword. Robb drops the sword and falls into her arms, vowing to kill the Lannisters who murdered his father. Catelyn comforts him and promises him revenge, but only after they rescue Sansa and Arya first, both of them unaware that Arya has evaded capture.
At Robb’s camp, Robb and his banner men debate whether to cooperate with Stannis or Renly Baratheon in the war against King Joffrey; Renly has greater forces, but Stannis is the elder Baratheon and next in line of succession excepting Cersei’s children. Jon Umber questions why the northerners should be told what to do by rulers in the south at all, reminding them that the North was independent of the other Kingdoms before the Targaryens threatened them with their dragons. With the dragons gone, Umber declares there is only one king worthy of his respect and allegiance and bows before Robb, calling out, “The King in the North!” The other northern banner men take up the cry and bow before the new King in the North, swearing fealty to Robb.
Robb continues to win victories against the Lannister army and earns the nickname “The Young Wolf” for his ferocity in battle. He keeps Jaime Lannister under guard in his camp to confound attempts to free him, stating that although he trusts his men with his life, Jaime’s life is another matter. He receives a letter from Stannis Baratheon, detailing that Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen Baratheon are the incestuous bastards of Cersei and Jaime. He tells Jaime of this information, who scorns the prospect, reflecting on how convenient this word be for Stannis if it were true. When Jaime offends Robb’s youth, Robb rebuts by bringing Grey Wind into the cage, remarking that he Jaime offends himself, as he has defeated Jaime may even kill him. Despite his threats, he leaves Jaime alive; as the son of Tywin Lannister, there are multiple options in which to use him which would be beneficial to the Northern cause.
Robb sends his prisoner Alton Lannister to King’s Landing with peace terms. Robb sends deliberately disagreeable terms to Queen Regent Cersei Lannister to waste her time: his demands include the release of his sisters, the return of his father’s remains along with the remains of all those who served him, and the recognition of the North as a free and independent kingdom. The terms are rejected as expected. Theon appeals to Robb to send him to Pyke to seek an alliance with his father Balon citing their need for a fleet in order to attack King’s Landing. Catelyn counsels against putting trust in Balon because of Greyjoy Rebellion. She asks Robb to consider exchanging Jaime for his sisters. She then asks to return to her younger sons at Winterfell but Robb tasks her with seeking an alliance with Renly and sends Ser Rodrik Cassel instead to Winterfell. Catelyn remarks on the fact that Renly has now declared himself King of the Andals, and how there is now an excess of Kings in Westeros.
Robb wins a crushing victory against a Lannister reinforcement host, led by Stafford Lannister, at the Battle of Oxcross, tactfully sending Grey Wind in first to deal with the watchmen quickly. This victory is used by the Lannisters in order to make the Northmen seem uncivilised to the south, exaggerating the use of Grey Wind in battle and portraying the Northern army as cannibals.
The following day, Robb surveys the battlefield as Silent Sisters tend to both Stark and Lannister wounded, while his banner man, Lord Roose Bolton of the Dread fort, argues that they should kill all of the Lannister soldiers they took prisoner because they’re having trouble supplying their own army and prisoners will slow them down. Robb disagrees, saying they will fight honourably and follow the laws of war. Bolton concedes that some of the Lannister officers might have useful information they could be tortured into revealing, but Robb refuses, not wanting to give the Lannisters an excuse to torture his sisters.
Robb sees a woman battlefield healer treating a wounded Lannister soldier. The prisoner protests when she tells him she has to amputate in order to save his life. Robb helps hold him down as she saws off the leg. Introducing herself as Talisa, she criticises Robb for the need for this war. Robb doesn’t want the Iron Throne, just revenge on Joffrey for his father’s death. She is shocked to learn he doesn’t care which king takes the throne after they defeat Joffrey (having declared for neither of the Baratheon brothers). He just wants them to leave the north alone afterward. She points out that for all the bloodshed they have caused, he hasn’t hurt the ones who killed his father, Joffrey and Tywin Lannister. The men they slaughtered were not Tywin’s main army but unwilling boy soldiers and conscripts from the Wester lands. Intrigued by her, she asks where she is from. She answers Volantis. Robb attempts to compliment her, but she once again quips him on his need for revenge.
Renly is killed just after agreeing to an alliance and Catelyn flees his camp to return to Robb. Renly’s men swear fealty to his less agreeable brother Stannis Baratheon. Robb comes across Talisa again, correctly guessing that she is a noblewoman and further flirting with her. She somewhat reciprocates. Catelyn returns to Robb’s camp during their conversation. She asks Talisa about her family, to which Talisa states her family name is Maegyr, which Catelyn does not recognise. Talisa then explains her Volantene origins. Catelyn warns him against pursuing Talisa, reminding of his agreement with Walder Frey.
They are shocked when news arrives that Theon has betrayed Robb and attacked Winterfell. He asks Roose if there is as news on Bran and Rickon; he says not, but tells him that Rodrik Cassel is dead. Robb is furious and agrees to let the bastard son of Roose retake the castle. He insists that the safety of his brothers is paramount and demands that Theon be brought before him so that he can execute him personally.
Robb wins a further victory at the Battle of the Yellow Fork. His prison cells are filled to overflowing with captives. When Ser Alton returns with Cersei’s rejection of his terms, Robb houses him with Jaime. Talisa asks him for help obtaining medical supplies and he invites her to accompany him to negotiate the surrender of the Crag, suggesting that she restock from the castle’s stores. While Robb is gone Jaime escapes, killing Alton and Torrhen Karstark. He is recaptured but Lord Rickard Karstark threatens to behead him to avenge Torrhen. Catelyn sends her sworn sword Brienne of Tarth to exchange Jaime for her captive daughters without consulting Robb.
On their way back from the Crag, Robb and Talisa discuss Robb’s engagement, making fun of the fact he knows nothing about her with the exception that she is from House Frey. They later discuss Robb’s father Eddard Stark and the lessons he taught Robb about caring for his subjects and who will sit on the Iron Throne. Robb surmises to say that he was to win the war first, after which his first action will be killing Joffrey.
They are interrupted by news that Catelyn has released Robb’s key prisoner: Jaime. Robb is furious at the betrayal and orders Catelyn kept under guard. He sends men to find Jaime and devises a plan for Roose’s bastard son; offer mercy to Theon’s men if they deliver the Iron born prince so they will abandon him, allowing him to retake Winterfell with minimal bloodshed. Talisa comforts Robb, revealing more of her past.
She explains that a slave saved her brother from drowning in the Rhoyne during a wedding, after which she decided she would no longer live in a slave-city and would dedicate her time to others. This makes Robb emotional, forcing him to admit he does not want to marry into House Frey. Talisa confesses that she feels the same, but remarks on how Robb needed to cross the Twins. They both give in to their mutual feelings and sleep together.
Robb confesses his love for Talisa to Catelyn. Catelyn warns against betraying his oath to marry a daughter of House Frey. She states that she and Ned were not in love as much they were by the end, but also explains that a gradual build-up of care is safer and stronger than what Robb feels for Talisa. Robb rejects her counsel, stating that she has no right to criticise him following her release of Jaime. In a secret ceremony conducted by a Septon of the Faith of the Seven, he and Talisa secretly marry.
Robb’s host marches on Harrenhal, greatly anticipating the battle ahead, only to find the castle abandoned and the Northern prisoners slain. Robb and his new wife find but one survivor: a maester named Qyburn. Robb then orders his mother imprisoned within the fortress. Robb later receives two letters, relating to the death of his grandfather Hoster Tully and the destruction of Winterfell, as well as the “deaths” of Bran and Rickon. Robb informs his mother before setting off for Riverrun.
Robb leaves Roose in command of Harrenhal with a detachment of the Northern army while Robb leads his main host back across the River lands to Riverrun. Karstark angrily says that this is a waste of time, though Robb points out that his uncle, Edmure Tully, will reinforce their army. Karstark maintains that it will make no difference since the Lannisters now outnumber them over two to one. Robb asks if Karstark has lost faith in their cause, and Karstark says he still believes in revenge. However, he later says that he thinks Robb lost the war the day he married Talisa.
After Lord Hoster’s funeral, Robb, Blackfish, and Edmure Tully confer in Riverrun’s meeting room. The War of the Five Kings is not going well for them, as now that the Lannisters have defeated their enemies in the south and secured King’s Landing from attack, as well as a marriage-alliance with House Tyrell, they have superior numbers, wealth, and strategic position. Edmure begins to boast to his nephew about the recent victory won by Tully forces under his direct command at the Battle of Stone Mill, which managed to push the Lannister army under Ser Gregor Clegane from the River lands.
Instead, Robb and Brynden are furious with Edmure: their grand strategy for the war was to lure Tywin and Gregor’s Lannister armies into the Wester lands, where they would be vulnerable out of position, and more importantly, to leave the capital city vulnerable to attack by the Baratheon’s. Edmure’s role in this was to offer token defence as a feint to lure the Lannisters back across the Red Fork of the Trident. Instead, by successfully attacking the Lannisters at Stone Mill, Edmure kept them penned in the River lands, and thus close enough to King’s Landing that Tywin was able to rush to the defence of the city at the Battle of the Blackwater. The Starks’ strategic position in the war has been ruined. Edmure insists that they took valuable captives in the battle, Willem and Martyn Lannister, but Robb angrily points out that he didn’t stop fighting because his sisters are held captive.
Considering that Tywin didn’t stop to negotiate when his own eldest son was captured, taking his younger nephews hostage will have no impact on the war. Edmure tries to at least point out that they lost only two hundred men at Stone Mill and multiple Lannister soldiers died for every man they lost, at which Robb cuts him off and shouts that they need men more than the Lannisters do. At this point, the Lannisters are in such a good strategic position that they can afford to be patient, and grind down Robb’s forces through simple attrition.
The prisoners Martyn and Willem Lannister (squires fifteen and fourteen years old, respectively) awake to hear shouting and fighting outside the door to their cell. Lord Rickard Karstark fights his way into the room with some of his own men. Confused, Willem asks if this is a rescue, and is promptly killed by the Karstark men. Martyn shouts that he is just a squire and didn’t do anything, but Lord Rickard ignores his pleas and stabs him in the belly with a dagger, killing him.
The bloody corpses of the two Lannister prisoners are laid out on the floor in front of Robb in Riverrun’s main meeting room. Robb is disgusted, remarking that Karstark needed five men to brutally murder two unarmed squires in their own prison cell. Karstark insists that it was a father’s vengeance. Robb points out that these boys had nothing to do with the death of Karstark’s sons, who were both killed by Jaime Lannister. Rickard explains that he was denied his vengeance when Catelyn set Jaime free in hopes of a prisoner exchange for her daughters in King’s Landing. Rickard decides to enact vengeance by killing Jaime’s kin who they held prisoner.
Robb angrily shouts that they were only boys and that Karstark can’t blame Catelyn for his treasonous killing of prisoners of war. Karstark stands firm and says the only treason is in letting their enemies go when in war, they should be killing them – if Robb’s father ever taught him that. Blackfish punches Karstark over this remark, but Robb tells him to leave Karstark alone. Karstark has utterly lost faith in Robb and says that the King in the North will just give him a scolding, though he should probably call him “the King Who Lost the North” after he allowed Winterfell to fall. Robb orders all of Karstark’s men hanged, and to hang the lookout last so he can watch the others die. Rickard Karstark himself is sent to the dungeons.
Edmure insists that if word of this leaves Riverrun, Tywin Lannister will exact heavy reprisals for the deaths of his young nephews. Therefore, he suggests that they just quietly bury the boys and simply keep silent about their deaths until the war is over. Robb, however, refuses to be a liar: he says he cannot fight a war in the name of justice if he will not serve justice to murderers within his own ranks. All of Robb’s advisors tell him this is a bad idea. Catelyn and Talisa warn him that the Karstark soldiers will abandon his cause and return home if he executes their lord, and they are already badly outnumbered. Catelyn says they should keep Lord Rickard hostage, and Edmure agrees, saying that they can just keep him hostage and tell the other Karstark’s that no harm will come to him so long as they remain loyal.
Robb ignores their pleas, and he has Lord Karstark brought out to the courtyard of Riverrun to be executed during a driving rainstorm. Karstark points out that not only are both of their Houses descended from the First Men, but the Starks and Karstark’s are kin (as House Karstark is a cadet branch of House Stark, founded centuries ago by younger son Karlon Stark).
Robb says that their blood relationship did not stop Rickard from betraying him and won’t stop Robb from executing him now, but Rickard says it isn’t meant to: he wants it to haunt Robb until the day he dies. With his last words, Lord Rickard says that Robb will be cursed (as a king slayer) and that Robb is no king of his. Obedient to the laws of his father – that the man who passes the sentence must swing the sword – Robb pronounces the sentence of death and personally beheads Lord Rickard.
Robb’s strict adherence to justice makes things turn out just as badly as his advisors said they would: the Karstark’s withdraw their soldiers from his army and march for home, resulting in Robb losing almost half of his forces which were stationed at Riverrun. Robb openly admits to Talisa that she was right, and he made a mistake. Robb says Tywin Lannister realises that he’s in such a strong position he doesn’t even need to attack the Northerners anymore, he just needs to wait, and let their demoralised forces unravel. When the war began Robb’s army was unified around a central purpose, but now they have lost momentum, and his generals are acting like bickering children. Robb shows Talisa a war map of the Seven Kingdoms – depicting Robb’s armies concentrated around Riverrun and Harrenhal, Lannister and Tyrell armies overrunning the Storm lands, Lannister/Tyrell armies concentrated in King’s Landing, and Greyjoy forces occupying the western coasts of the North. Talisa suggests that he try to take the fight to the Lannisters if they won’t come to him, but he explains that this is hopeless. Taking the city would have been difficult to begin with, but now Tywin and the bulk of the main Lannister army, as well as a large Tyrell army, are defending the city. Attacking the capital head-on would be suicide, and Tywin would crush them within a day. Talisa suggests that he lead his army back to the North to repulse the Greyjoy’s from his homeland and rebuild his power base. Robb points out that as soon as all of his tired soldiers are back home, they won’t want to leave again – particularly because “winter is coming”, and the coming one is expected to be very long, five years or more. The Northerners have been away from their farms fighting in the war, however, so they haven’t even begun to collect harvests to set aside as winter stockpiles.
Thus if Robb returns to the North, it will be difficult to rally his men to return south to defend the River lords who declared for him. Eyeing the map with Talisa, Robb decides that if King’s Landing is too strong to attack and he can’t return home, his only remaining option is to strike where his enemy is weakest. Robb decides that with the main Lannister army group under Tywin now positioned all the way to the east in King’s Landing, he needs to return to the Wester lands and make an all-or-nothing assault against Casterly Rock. This will make the Lannisters lose face, just as Robb did when he lost his home castle of Winterfell, and bring momentum back to his army. However, with the loss of the Karstark forces, they don’t currently have enough men to consider attacking Casterly Rock. The only way they can gain enough soldiers to even attempt such an assault is if Robb can win back the allegiance of House Frey, whose thousands of soldiers withdrew from Robb’s army when he broke his promise to make a marriage-alliance with them by marrying Talisa, a political nobody, instead of one of Lord Walder Frey’s daughters. Thus, Robb must try to repair his alliance with House Frey.
Robb and his advisors meet with “Black Walder” and Lothar Frey to discuss an alliance for his planned attack on Casterly Rock. The Freys carry Walder Frey’s demands for an alliance, which includes a formal apology from Robb, the castle Harrenhal and all of its lands and incomes, and for Edmure to marry Roslin, one of his daughters. Edmure is reluctant to marry a woman he has never met but is eventually convinced by the group to go through with the arrangement.
In the River lands, en route to The Twins, Robb’s army is forced to make camp, their progress delayed by heavy rain. Catelyn warns them that the prickly Walder will take the delay as an insult to him, but Edmure points out that Frey is getting the wedding he wanted; his sister counters that he is getting a wedding, but not the one he wanted, glaring at her son and his wife as she says so, pointing out that Frey wanted one of his daughters wed to a king. Robb retorts that Edmure is the best match House Frey has been offered in its history. Later that night as Robb and Talisa prepare for bed, she reveals that she is pregnant with his child. Robb is pleased by the news.
Meanwhile, the priestess Melisandre performs a ritual using leeches filled with fresh blood forcibly taken from Gendry, Robert Baratheon’s bastard son. At her direction, Stannis Baratheon then throws the leeches onto a fire and recites the names of three people he wants dead: “The usurper Robb Stark, the usurper Balon Greyjoy, the usurper Joffrey Baratheon.”
Robb later consults with his mother about attacking Casterly Rock. Robb claims that it is a dangerous move, but if Tywin’s castle is taken away from him – the lords of Westeros will realise he is not invincible. Catelyn points out that the plan requires the cooperation of Lord Frey, and in case reinforcements arrive from King’s Landing before the castle is taken – the Stark host will be destroyed. She silently examines the map, and finally says in a harsh voice “Show them how it feels to lose what they love”.
Robb’s army arrives at the Twins, the castle seat of House Frey, for his uncle Edmure’s wedding. Enduring Lord Walder Frey’s insults directed at him and his wife, Robb makes a public apology to Lord Frey’s daughters and granddaughters for breaking his promise to marry one of them. Frey accepts the apology and offers the Starks and their men his hospitality.
That night Edmure is introduced to his bride Roslin Frey, discovering much to his relief that she is a beauty. The feast that follows is quite celebratory, with all the participants in high spirits. Lord Walder then calls for the bedding ceremony. Robb agrees and Roslin is carried off by the male guests and followed closely by Edmure, who is collected by the Frey women. Talisa remarks on how strange the custom is, to which Robb says that it is the only proof of consummation. Talisa corrects him, saying that pregnancy is alternate evident. She states that she does not know the gender, but believes they should call it “Eddard” if it is a boy, pleasing Robb.
After they leave and the festivities begin to wind down, Catelyn becomes suspicious when she notices Black Walder Rivers close the banquet hall doors and the musicians in the gallery begin playing “The Rains of Castamere”- the song commemorating House Lannister’s brutal elimination of House Reyne. Walder rises to make a toast to Robb, and Catelyn, seated beside Lord Roose Bolton, notices that the latter is wearing mail under his clothing. Realising they have been led into a trap, Catelyn slaps Roose across the face and screams a warning to Robb, but by then it is too late.
Lord Walder signals his men to attack. Lothar draws a knife and repeatedly stabs the pregnant Talisa in the stomach, fatally wounding her and killing their unborn child. Before he can react, Robb is shot by the musicians with crossbows several times and falls to the ground. Numerous other Stark men are killed by the assassins or Frey men. Robb crawls towards Talisa despite his injuries and manages to hold her in his arms, but he sees that she is dead.
Catelyn, having been wounded by a crossbow bolt, manages to take Joyeuse Erenford hostage, threatening to kill her if Walder doesn’t spare Robb, who lingers despondent beside his wife’s corpse. Walder refuses, dismissing his wife as replaceable. Robb drags himself back onto his feet and weakly calls out “Mother” to her in a daze. As Catelyn looks into Robb’s eyes, Roose Bolton steps in front of Robb and tells him, “The Lannisters send their regards,” and stabs Robb through the heart. Catelyn, heartbroken, screams as she cuts Joyeuse’s throat before her own throat is slit by Black Walder.
As the massacre of Robb’s army rages outside the Twins, Robb’s body is paraded atop a horse across the keep, with the head removed and replaced with that of his dire wolf, Grey Wind, sewn in its place as a final insult to the King in the North. This sight is witnessed by Arya and Sandor Clegane during their escape. Later on, Arya and Sandor come across a group of camping Frey soldiers, one of whom is describing the process of sewing Grey Wind’s head onto Robb’s body. Arya stabs the man to death while Sandor kills the rest, exacting a small vengeance for Robb.
Later on, after receiving a raven from Walder Frey with news of the massacre, Tywin summons Tyrion, who finds his father in the company of an overjoyed Joffrey, along with Cersei, Varys, and Pycelle. Tyrion reads the letter, at first not knowing what it means, but Joffrey bluntly tells him the news that Robb and his mother are dead, and asks Pycelle to write back to Lord Frey to thank him and command him to send him Robb’s head, in order to serve it to Sansa at his wedding feast. After a brief altercation between Joffrey and Tywin, the king is escorted to his chambers and Tyrion is left alone with Tywin; Tyrion then reveals his knowledge of Tywin’s involvement in the massacre by promising Walder Frey and Roose Bolton protection from the Northern outrage that is soon to come. Tyrion chides his father for such a dishonourable way to end the war, but Tywin justifies this by claiming that it was to protect their family. After their conversation ends bitterly, Tyrion immediately returns to a tearful Sansa, who has discovered the news of her mother’s and brother’s deaths as well.
Emotionally crushed by the deaths of Robb and Catelyn (the only family she believes she had left, apart from Jon Snow), Sansa refuses to eat, despite pleas from Shae. When Tyrion attempts to comfort her, she reveals to him that she can no longer sleep, but instead lies awake all night thinking about how her mother and brother died, having learned that the Freys had sewn Grey Wind’s head onto Robb’s decapitated corpse and later flung Catelyn’s corpse into the Trident to rot. Tyrion tells Sansa that he didn’t know Robb very well, but the brief time he met him in Winterfell was enough for him to believe that Robb was a good man. Having also learned of Robb’s death, Jon Snow confides to Samwell Tarly about the last time he saw his brother, remembering their farewell in the courtyard. He confesses how he felt he lived in Robb’s shadow, feeling Robb was better than him at everything when they were young but Jon couldn’t hate him and they had loved one another as brothers. Sam tells Jon he feels the same way about him.
At the Dread fort, Ramsay Snow has also learned of Robb’s death and joins his father in pledging allegiance to the Lannisters. While being shaved by Theon Greyjoy, now going by the name “Reek”, Ramsay tells him of Robb’s death at Roose Bolton’s hands and mockingly offers his condolences, knowing full well that Theon loved Robb like a brother. Despite his betrayal, Theon is visibly shocked at the news of Robb’s death, and for a moment appears to be on the verge of slitting Ramsay’s throat with the razor in retaliation, but refrains from doing so since Roose and Locke are also present. Ramsay is also aware of Robb’s close relationship with Jon, whom Ramsay claims may be a threat to their hold on the North if he is to seek revenge for Robb’s death.
At the wedding feast of King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell, Lady Olenna Tyrell briefly consoles Sansa about the Red Wedding. Olenna notes that despite it being a time of war, it was still horrid to murder someone in such a disgusting manner, and at a wedding no less, even though ironically Olenna commits a similar crime only moments later by poisoning and subsequently murdering Joffrey at his own wedding feast. Later, during the feast, King Joffrey offers a mock reenactment of the War of the Five Kings with dwarf performers (an insult to Tyrion). One dwarf wears a fake wolf head over his head and constantly yells “I’m the King in the North!”, only to end up “beheaded” by the dwarf portraying Joffrey. Much to Sansa’s disgust and heartache, the dwarf Joffrey then simulates having intercourse with the decapitated “wolf head”. Joffrey is assassinated moments later, ironically perishing at his own wedding feast whereas Robb did at his uncle’s wedding.”
Despite the fact that he had previously participated in a blood ritual out of hope that it would lead to Robb’s death, Stannis Baratheon remains disgusted at the manner of Robb’s demise and offers to avenge him by killing Roose Boltonin an attempt to sway Jon Snow to his side. Later, when Jon is signing request letters to various Houses for new recruits as the newly elected Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, he balks at sending one to Roose Bolton, reminding Samwell Tarly that Roose murdered his brother Robb. Though Sam is aware of that and apologises for presenting Jon with such an unsavoury task, he reminds him that the Watch is in dire need of men and supplies, and they cannot get them without help from the Warden of the North. With disgust, Jon reluctantly signs the letter to the Boltons.
Meanwhile, Sansa Stark is brought to Winterfell by Petyr Baelish in order to be wed. Initially thinking she was to be married to Roose Bolton, Sansa is mortified at the idea of having to marry the man who murdered her brother. Although Petyr corrected her by informing her that she was to be wed to his son, Ramsay Bolton, this did not make Sansa any less displeased about this betrothal. However, she eventually agreed to go along with it under the pretence that Winterfell was her home, and that she would be in a position to avenge her family. When Sansa finally arrives in Winterfell and is greeted by the Boltons, she greets her brother’s killer with polite courtesy – although not without hesitation, given her obvious hatred of Roose.”
On the night that Sansa and Ramsay wed, Theon is forced to give the bride away and watch as Ramsay proceeds to forcibly consummate their marriage. While all of this is happening, Theon wears a tunic identical to the one that Robb wore at the Red Wedding. Whether or not this was intended by the Boltons to further mock Robb’s death is unclear. Over the next few days, Ramsay continues to force himself on Sansa, who turns to Theon for help only to discover later on that he informed Ramsay of her escape plan. She demands an answer for his latest betrayal and coldly expresses approval when he tells her about the horrific tortures Ramsay put him through. Theon shamefully admits he deserves to be “Reek” and lists the many terrible things he did, the first of which was betraying Robb. Eventually, however, Theon begins to atone for his role in Robb’s downfall by killing Myranda just as she is about to maim Sansa with an arrow, and by helping Sansa escape Winterfell by jumping off the parapet with her.
While visiting the Boltons at Winterfell, Harald Karstark assures them that House Stark lost his loyalty when Robb cut off his father’s head. Moments later, Ramsay kills Roose in a manner similar to the way Roose had killed Robb – a knife to the heart.
Meanwhile, Theon decides to part ways with Sansa as she travels north to Castle Black to be reunited with her brother Jon Snow, entrusting Sansa’s safety to Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne. Although Sansa assures Theon that she will vouch for him if he comes with them, Theon cites his betrayal of Robb as one of many reasons why he fears that Jon may still kill him. When Jon and Sansa attempt to rally the support of House Glover, Lord Robett Glover refuses, citing Robb’s inability to protect the North from the Iron born because he had been distracted by a “foreign whore” and had gotten himself and all of his men killed.
When Jaime Lannister and his forces are tasked with assisting House Frey in recapturing Riverrun from Ser Brynden Tully, Jaime discusses the terms of surrender with the Blackfish who asks Jaime if he wishes to resume his captivity, having been Robb’s prisoner for many months during the war. Jaime remarks that the war is over and to simply surrender to save his life and the lives of his men. Blackfish then replies that so long as he is still standing, the war is not over – implying he is continuing the fight not only to protect his ancestral home but also in honour of his slain family.
Jaime then attempts to reason with Edmure Tully, who had been a Lannister-Frey prisoner in the years following the Red Wedding, to order his men to stand down and to open the gates to the castle. During their discussion, Edmure remarks that he does not understand how Jaime is able to live with himself due to all the horrible things he has done – namely playing a part in murdering his entire family and the conditions of his imprisonment over the past few years. Jaime explains to Edmure his admiration for his deceased sister Catelyn Stark and that he actually admired her far more then he admired Robb or Ned. Jaime eventually threatens to launch Edmure’s infant son over the castle walls and the broken Edmure then agrees to order his men to surrender to the Lannister and Frey forces, resulting in the death of the Blackfish and the end of Tully control in the Riverlands – the final remnant of Robb’s army.
Following the successful Siege of Riverrun, Walder Frey invites Jaime and his forces to The Twins for a celebratory feast. During the party, Walder speaks with Jaime regarding his House’s rise to power. Jaime points out that without the Lannisters, House Frey would have never risen to power like it did. Walder remarks he does not care about being mocked and that regardless of how it was accomplished, he had defeated House Tully and House Stark. Walder then questions Jaime’s ability in combat and mentions that the last battle Jaime fought in, he had been defeated and captured by Robb. Walder then also remarks that it does not matter given that they are both victors and “King slayers”, referring to his betrayal against Robb and Jaime’s betrayal of Aerys II Targaryen.
Following the celebration for the recapture of Riverrun, Arya Stark avenges the deaths of Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa when she assassinates Walder Frey and his sons, Black Walder and Lothar. During an assembly of Northern and Vale lords following the liberation of Winterfell and the extinction of House Bolton, after Lyanna Mormont hails Jon Snow as King, Lord Wyman Manderly takes the word and notes how he had refused to support Jon and Sansa to spare his house more losses; after admitting he was wrong, he hails Jon for avenging the Red Wedding and declares him the “White Wolf” and the new King in the North. Other northern lords, and then the entire assembly – except for Petyr Baelish – hail Jon as the new King in the North and Robb’s successor.
Arya Stark, disguised as Walder Frey completes her revenge for Robb and everyone else who died at the Red Wedding by poisoning all male members of House Frey. Later, Sansa Stark remarks to Jon Snow, that even though she loved and misses them, both Robb and Ned made mistakes that led to their deaths.
When Jon Snow meets with Daenerys Targaryen at Dragon stone, she mentions to Jon that she also lost two brothers, just as he had lost two of his, Robb and Rickon (actually his cousins, unbeknownst to both her and Jon).
After Jaime Lannister captures High garden from House Tyrell, he informs Olenna Tyrell that he learned from his past mistakes and utilised the same tactic that Robb used against him years ago during the Battle of the Whispering Wood, in which he and Tywin Lannister had been tricked by Robb into thinking the entire northern army was moving against Tywin’s encampment but rather it was a ploy and the real bulk of the army surprised Jaime’s forces and successfully captured him during the fighting.
Later, in the Winterfell throne room, Regent Sansa Stark presides over a meeting of the Northern lords. Saying that the King in the North should stay in the north, Lord Robett Glover and Lord Yohn Royce of the Vale propose that she take over power in the absence of her half-brother Jon Snow. However, Sansa insists Jon Snow is their true ruler who is doing what he believes is right for their people and that she is his regent. Following the meeting, Sansa confides her frustration in the Northern lords with Arya. Arya thinks that she should not let the lords get away with insulting her and hints at assassinating them. Sansa disagrees with Arya’s suggestion of killing the troublesome lords. Arya tells Sansa to admit that she is harbouring those thoughts. Disturbed at her younger sister’s homicidal streak, Sansa tells Arya that she has “work to do.”
Much later, Arya stalks Petyr Baelish as he is walking through the grounds of Winterfell. She follows Petyr into his personal quarters and catches him chatting with Maester Wolkan. She eavesdrops on Petyr asking Wolkan if he is sure that “this” is the only copy. Petyr replies that Lady [Sansa] Stark thanks him for his services. After Petyr and Wolkan have left, Arya enters Petyr’s chamber and rummages through his study and furniture. While searching through his mattress, she finds a scroll written by Sansa. This turns out to be the scroll that Sansa wrote to their late brother Robb Stark urging him to bend the knee to King Joffrey Baratheon. Arya is unaware that Sansa had written the letter under duress from Queen Cersei in an attempt to save their father Eddard Stark.
Following the death of Queen Cersei Lannister, Robb’s brother Bran Stark is elected King of the Seven Kingdoms by the rulers of the various Great Houses. His sister, Sansa Stark, the acting Lady of Winterfell, asks for the north to be granted independence and King Bran approves. Robb’s uncle, Edmure Tully, again rules over the River lands as well now that House Lannister has been unseated. The Warden of the North, Jon Snow, is ordered by King Bran to rejoin the Night’s Watch as punishment for murdering Daenerys Targaryen as a result of a compromise made with Grey Worm. As such, Lady Sansa is left to rule over the north and is soon elected Queen in the North by the northern lords, becoming one of Robb’s successors.
- Cersei Lannister: “Robb Stark is a child.”
- Tyrion Lannister: “Who’s won every battle he’s fought!”
- — Cersei Lannister discusses Robb with Tyrion Lannister.
Robb had a keen sense of honour and justice, which he received from his father. He was fair, caring, and willing to do anything to keep his family safe. He was close with his siblings, particularly his half-brother Jon, and shared mutually loving relationships with them all. Robb also regarded his father’s ward Theon to be like a brother to him. Unlike Roose Bolton, one of his central banner men, Robb saw no reason for torture, cruelty, or unnecessary executions, and treated his prisoners of war well and justly. He did not wish for violence or war and did his best to limit the deaths and casualties on both sides. He also expended tremendous sympathies to innocent victims of war such as Martyn and Willem Lannister.
Robb had a surprisingly keen mind for warfare and strategy, a trait that takes Tywin Lannister completely by surprise. Tywin had originally seen Robb as a stupid child who hadn’t the slightest idea of the violence of war and after his first taste of battle would “run back to Winterfell with his tail between his legs.” The Lannisters were quite surprised when Robb led a stunning surprise attack in the Battle of the Whispering Wood to crush the western half of the Lannister armies under Jaime. Tywin also did not expect Robb to have the determination to send hundreds of his own men to their deaths in a feint to the east. Sansa Stark mentions to Joffrey Baratheon that Robb is known to fight with his army’s vanguard and commands his forces where the fighting is thickest. As such, Robb’s tactical prowess and bravery in battle results in the Northerners seeing Robb as a larger than life figure and he is quickly known as the “Young Wolf” for his ferocity in battle. Robb’s actions create lore throughout the Seven Kingdoms that tell tales of him riding his dire wolf into battle and even transforming into a wolf himself. Tywin Lannister mentions to his war counsel at Harrenhal that Robb’s men worship him and that he doubts Robb will lose unless drastic measures are taken to ensure this.
Robb was very much his father’s son, but this meant that he had not only his father’s strengths, but also his father’s weaknesses. Like Eddard, Robb lacked proper political skills and had a tendency to put honour before reason. He married a political nobody out of love, needlessly spurning a badly needed political alliance with the Freys. Robb also put honour before pragmatic political needs when he executed Lord Rickard Karstark for treason and murder, costing him the Karstark contingent from his army. Like most Northerners, Robb was more proficient as a warrior than as a politician. Much like his own father, Ned Stark, and the man he was named after, Robert Baratheon, Robb Stark was an excellent warrior and military commander but a poor politician.
Roose Bolton viewed Robb as both arrogant and foolish, and Walder Frey considered Robb’s title as the Young Wolf to be a show of pomposity. Despite this, Robb was overall viewed favourably as good man. He was mourned profusely by Sansa, Jon and Theon once they heard the news. Even Tyrion Lannister commented to Sansa that Robb seemed like a good man to him. Others high lords and ladies such as Stannis Baratheon, Olenna Tyrell, and Randyll Tarly viewed the way Robb was murdered to have been absolutely detestable.
Following Robb’s death at the Twins, his army was completely massacred with the exception of the Bolton and Frey men. Robb’s involvement in the War of the Five Kings comes to an abrupt end with King Joffrey Baratheon and House Lannister being victorious over House Stark. The North, now without a King and having lost thousands of men during the war, have no choice but to adhere to House Bolton’s control of the North. Roose Bolton and his then-bastard son Ramsay Snow, demand complete loyalty from former Stark banner men and enforce their new rule by executing and flaying any who oppose. The Boltons also rally the north behind a common enemy, House Greyjoy, whose Iron born soldiers still occupy areas in the north following Robb’s death. With Bolton assistance, the northerners repel the Iron born and once again become loyal to the crown. Robb’s execution of Rickard Karstark days before the Red Wedding lead the Karstark’s, a cadet branch of House Stark, to abandon Robb, and over the years they continued to view him with distaste and considered the execution of Rickard to have been the ultimate act of betrayal. Other once-loyal northern lords also found themselves with unsavoury views of Robb. After the death of Greatjon Umber, Smalljon Umber, now lord of House Umber, allied himself to Ramsay Bolton, the new Warden of the North following the death of Roose, in order to defeat the thousands of Free Folk whom Jon allowed past the Wall. House Glover, now lead by Lord Robett Glover, refused to answer Jon and Sansa’s plea for help when they prepare to take back Winterfell from the Boltons, with Robett going so far as to speak ill of Robb’s war and that his marriage to a “foreign whore” got himself and all of his men killed. House Manderly under Lord Wyman Manderly initially also do not assist Jon and Sansa and it is later mentioned that Wyman’s son died for Robb and that he did not want to sacrifice more Manderly lives for a lost cause. Lyanna Mormont, Lady of House Mormont, also initially is hesitant to assist given that she too does not want to sacrifice more Mormont lives.
In the Riverland’s, Robb’s rule also comes to an end and House Tully is stripped of its ancestral title and home by House Frey with the backing of the crown, the Lannisters, and the Boltons. Robb’s uncle Edmure Tully is kept prisoner in the years following his wedding. However, Ser Brynden Tully, the “Blackfish”, continues a guerrilla war against House Frey for control of Riverrun and eventually manages to take control of it back from the Freys. In response, Ser Jaime Lannister under order from King Tommen Baratheon is sent to lay siege to the castle. Using Lord Edmure as a way to override the Blackfish’s control, the remaining Tully forces surrender and the Blackfish is killed. House Tully, whose forces are the only remaining remnants of Robb’s army, then becomes subservient to the crown and the new lord of the River lands, Walder Frey.
Robb’s death is a cause for celebration in King’s Landing, as King Joffrey openly mocks Robb and the way in which he died, taking credit for defeating the Young Wolf. Tyrion Lannister mentions to Tywin Lannister that the northerners will never forget the way in which Robb and his forces were killed to which Tywin proudly boasts it as a reminder of what will happen if the north ever goes to war with the south again.
It is not until approximately three years after Robb’s death that House Stark once again gains control of the north. Jon Snow and Sansa, having rallied loyal northern houses and with Jon leading the now loyal Free Folk, battle Ramsay Bolton’s forces during the Battle of the Bastards. With assistance from House Arryn later in the battle, Jon’s army is victorious, Winterfell comes under Stark rule and Ramsay Bolton, Smalljon Umber, and Harald Karstark are killed. Soon after, Jon Snow is elected King in the North, having now become Robb’s official successor and continues Robb’s fight for northern freedom.
At the Twins, Arya Stark avenges the deaths of Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa when she kills Walder Frey and all of the Frey men who held any importance within the House. At this point, all three men who conspired to murder Robb are each killed in a similar fashion to the way Robb and Catelyn died. Tywin Lannister is killed with a crossbow by his son, Tyrion (Robb was injured by crossbow bolts), Roose Bolton is betrayed and stabbed in the heart by Ramsay Bolton (Roose betrayed and killed Robb this way), and Walder Frey’s throat is slit by Arya Stark (Catelyn Stark’s throat was slit by Walder Frey’s son).
See Robb and Talisa Stark.