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Randyll Tarly

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You are almost a man grown now, and my heir. You have given me no cause to disown you, but neither will I allow you to inherit the land and title that should be Dickon's. Heartsbane must go to a man strong enough to wield her, and you are not worthy to touch her hilt. So I have decided that you shall this day announce that you wish to take the black. You will forsake all claim to your brother's inheritance and start north before evenfall. If you do not, then on the morrow we shall have a hunt, and somewhere in these woods your horse will stumble, and you will be thrown to the saddle to die...or so I will tell your mother. She has a woman's heart and finds it in her to cherish you, and I have no wish to cause her pain. Please do not imagine that it will truly be that easy, should you think to defy me. Nothing would please me more than to hunt you down like the pig you are. So. There is your choice. The Night's Watch... (Rips out a deer's heart.) Or this.
~ Randyll Tarly to his son Samwell
The gods made men to fight, and women to bear children. A woman's war is in the birthing bed.
~ Randyll to Brienne of Tarth

Lord Randyll Tarly is a character from A Song of Ice and Fire and its television adaptation Game of Thrones.

He is the Lord of Horn Hill and head of House Tarly, a vassal house of House Tyrell from the Reach. He's married to Lady Melessa Florent and has 5 children: Samwell, Talla, two other girls, and Dickon.

In the TV series he's portrayed by James Faulkner.

In battle he wields the Tarly ancestral blade Heartsbane, a Valyrian steel greatsword. Marcher lords of the Dornish Marches, the Tarlys are a family old in honor with rich lands and a strong keep.

Personality

Tarly is the real danger. A narrow man, but iron-willed and shrewd, and as good a soldier as the Reach could boast.
~ Kevan Lannister's thoughts about Tarly
Randyll Tarly is the finest soldier in the realm. A poor Hand for peacetime, but with Tywin dead there's no better man to finish this war.
~ Kevan Lannister, urging Cersei Lannister to have Randyll to replace Tywin
Randyll is a narrow man but iron willed, shrewd and capable, and is considered one of the finest battle commanders in Westeros. He is a proud, dour strict disciplinarian, obedient to his superiors and dutiful. He prizes courage and martial ability, which causes him to despise his eldest son, Samwell because of his cowardice and softness, and strongly favor his younger son, Dickon, who is much more fierce and robust.

History

Randyll is married to Melessa Florent, who bore him two sons, Samwell and Dickon, and 3 girls.

During Robert's Rebellion he defeated Robert I Baratheon at Ashford: the van of the Tyrell army under command of Lord Randyll Tarly ran into Lord Robert Baratheon's forces. Randyll's forces 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. Lord Cafferen, a former Targaryen loyalist who had joined the rebels after his defeat at Summerhall, was personally cut down by Lord Randyll whilst fighting for Robert. Randyll had his head sent to King Aerys II Targaryen. On the Reach side, one casualty of note was Lord Mace's cousin, Ser Quentin Tyrell.

Faced with the large numbers of the main Tyrell force, Robert had no choice but to withdraw from the south and attempt to link up with his allies in the North. To this end, he force-marched his troops north towards the riverlands. Robert's withdrawal from the stormlands allowed the victorious Tyrell army to invade the stormlands and lay siege to Storm's End. Thanks to the iron will of Lord Stannis however, the army of the Reach failed to take Storm's End and couldn't join with Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's army, causing Robert to win the rebellion. Randyll and the Tyrells bend the knee to King Robert and House Tarly is pardoned like every other house of the Reach, including the houses Tyrell and Redwyne, much to Stannis's anger.

Randyll Tarly became the only man who ever defeated Robert in battle, but Lord Mace Tyrell took the credit for his victory. He is considered one of the best soldiers in Westeros, along with Lord Stannis Baratheon and Lord Tywin Lannister.

Randyll is a martial man and for him it's important that his heir must be like him, for House Tarly is known by the Seven Kingdoms as a great warrior family. He loves his wife and once he probably loved his firstborn heir Samwell as well. Randyll spends a great amount of time with his male sons, to raise them as tough men. But Sam was developing into  a gentle and timid person. Randyll was concerned by this, but always wanted to give Sam a chance and patiently took with him everywhere, as he wanted Sam to learn how to be a warrior and a leader. He did everything in his power to raise Sam into what he deemed a proper heir, but Samwell frustrated him at every opportunity, resisting every effort made to change his nature. Randyll took Sam in important meetings, took him with him during many travels to see castles and cities in the south to meet high lords and young strong knights.

Randyll kept making several harsh attempts to engage Samwell in manly, martial pursuits, but all to no effect. A dozen masters-at-arms failed to toughen him. Attempts such as dressing him in his mother's clothes, forcing him to sleep in chainmail. He once brought two warlocks from the great city of Qarth with white skin and blue lips to his castle at Horn Hill. The warlocks slaughtered a bull aurochs and made Sam bathe in the hot blood, but it did not make him brave as promised. The enraged Randyll had the warlocks scourged. Samwell remained sensitive and wept even to see a chicken slaughtered. Once, he brought his son with him to the Arbor, the seat of House Redwyne, but Samwell was mocked endlessly while there. He was bullied and humiliated by the mischievious twin sons of Lord Paxter Redwyne, Horas and Hobber. Their cruel pranks and mockery caused Sam to become even more quiet and scared and despite the fact that Randyll had planned to leave his son at the Arbor as Lord Paxter Redwyne's page and squire, he brought Samwell back home with him.

Randyll was angered and disappointed in Samwell not being manly or brave enough, and he started losing hope in him. Sam grew fat and liked eating, he loved reading and watching young ladies, he was kind, awkward, and friendly. Sam loved to spend a great amount of time reading many books in the library, but Randyll wasn't realizing his son's ability to learn things fast and notice details that others would miss. However Sam grew into a fat cowardly boy as well. This is actually the result of Lord Randyll attempts to make his son a man. Sam became traumatized by these events, especially his experience with the warlocks. As a child he was terrified by his father's wrath, and failed to love him.

After the birth of 3 girls, Talla and two other daughters, Tarly's wife, Melessa, finally gave birth to another boy, Dickon. Dickon showed all of the physical vigor that Samwell lacked, and Randyll's attentions turned to raising his more promising younger son to take his place. For a time Sam was left to enjoy his music, food, and other soft pursuits, though Randyll forbade Samwell from traveling to Oldtown to become a Maester, horrified at the notion of a member of his house wearing a chain. Randyll decided to leave Sam to his passions and gave up on him, and also stopped bringing him to important meetings. Randyll didn't love Sam in years anymore: his concern for him turned into dissapointment and bitterness, until years later it became pure hatred. He didn't torment Sam to not cause grief to his beloved lady wife Melessa.

Randyll keeps the Faith of the Seven and like everyone considers kinslaying a taboo, but Samwell managed to draw him into hating him and wanting him dead, for he was the living embodiement of everything he disliked the most in life. Dickon Tarly, on the other hand, grew into promising stronh 13 years old squire. Randyll was pleased by him and decided that the valyrian great sword Heartsbane belonged to him by rights. So on the day of Samwell's 15 name day, the age of maturity in the Seven Kingdoms, Randyll threatened him (essentially blackmailing him) into joining the Night's Watch, or else he'd outright kill him. Randyll told him that he was not worthy of their house's ancestral sword, and that he must join the Night's Watch and renounce his family name so that he would not stand in the way of Dickon's inheritance. Failing that, Randyll promised that he would suffer an unfortunate hunting accident on the morrow, or at least that would be the story he would tell to Melessa, to avoid cause her grief and hatred towards her husband. Samwell was used to Lord Randyll cruelty and wasn't surprised by this since it was bound to happen. His father scared him and he knew he was capable to carry out his threat. Sam had not much love for Horn Hill and was cool with leaving his home, but he wanted to become a maester and go to Oldtown, in order to be trained at the Citadel, something that he always desired. Lord Randyll didn't permit that, as he thinks maesters are servants and no Tarly will ever serve another House in that way. Sam gave up in his dream to become a maester, chose to take the black, and left Horn Hill for the Wall, in the North.

A Game of Thrones

During the Hand's Tourney, Randyll does not ride to King's Landing.

When Sam arrives at Castle Black he finds out that he escaped his father's cruelty only to become the target of the cruelty of the master-at-arms, Ser Alliser Thorne. Thorne's attitude reminded Sam of Randyll and caused him to fear the knight. The recruit bastard of House Stark, Jon Snow learns from Sam how Randyl gave him the choice between joining the Night's Watch and death.

Later Sam finally takes his vow and joins the Night's Watch as a steward. Sam abandons the Seven gods, the gods of his family, and chooses the old gods as his life was getting better thanks to Jon Snow, who believes into the old gods. Dickon Tarly officially becomes the rightful heir of House Tarly by all the laws of gods and men.

After King Robert I Baratheon's death, Prince Joffrey becomes the new king to seat on the Iron Throne and head of House Baratheon. However his youngest brother Lord Renly Baratheon rides to Highgarden with Ser Loras Tyrell and many other retainers to Highgarden. He and Lord Mace Tyrell decide to rebel against the Iron Throne and Renly declares himself Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and has Mace calling the banners of the Reach. Lord Randyll chooses to obey his liege lord and House Tyrell over the Crown and travels to Highgarden with the Tarly army. Randyll brings Dickon with him, to experience war and serve King Renly.

While the Lannisters invade the riverlands and fight against the Starks and the Tullys, Renly marries Lady Margaery Tyrell.

A Clash of Kings

During the War of the Five Kings, Randyll is part of King Renly's war council at Highgarden. Renly and the Reach are joined by the forces of the stormlands, forming the largest host of the war. Only House Redwyne remains loyal to the Iron Throne, as the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister is holding Lord Paxter's twin sons in the city, thus the Redwyne fleet stays at the Arbor. Renly has the numbers to win, since the Reach and the stormlands are wealthy lands, the army is mostly made by strong, young, skilled knights and fighters, full of lust for glory and women. Renly and Mace block the roseroad and cut the food supplies, causing the crownlands and the capital to suffer starvation.  However, Lord Stannis Baratheon is infuriated by this and prepares to respond to Renly's treason.

Later Renly finally starts marching towards King's Landing. It's an incredibly slow march, with the army camping at every single castle, town, and village during the road. With Lord Tywin Lannister and his host camped at Harrenhal and King Robb Stark and his host at Riverrun, Renly's plan is to let the Starks and the Lannisters battling in the west until they are tired and weaker.

While King's Landing starves and the Crown and the Faith take all the food, Randyll hosts Renly's army at Horn Hill. There they receive one of Stannis Baratheon's letters claiming that the late King Robert I's children are bastards. Like Tywin, Randyll believes that King Stannis is a much bigger threat than the Lannisters and the Starks, as Stannis is regarded as the finest military commander in Westeros. But Renly still believes Stannis will change his mind and join him with his massive fleet in Dragonstone, the largest fleet in Westeros along with King Balon Greyjoy's Iron Fleet.

During the march to King's Landing, Randyll is told by Dickon, of a cruel game that several of the knights are playing on Brienne of Tarth. Randyll summons Brienne and tells her that some of the men laid wagers on the first to claim her maidenhead. He then tersely advises her that women have no place on the battlefield.

While Renly keeps hosting several feasts, plays, and meelees, Mace Tyrell and his sons Willas and Garlan prepare another large host at Highgarden for Renly. Renly also believes that Prince Doran Martell will join with him as well. At Bitterbridge, the seat of House Caswell, Randyll attends the meelee along with Renly, Queen Margaery, and the other numerous Reach lords and Storm lords. Lady Catelyn Stark and her party arrive at Bitterbridge that same day and see Brienne of Tarth defeating the Lord Commander of the Rainbow Guard, Ser Loras Tyrell. Lord Randyll is among the lords who meet Catelyn and he shows disapproval at Robb Stark's idea to send his mother to bargain with Renly. Randyll says to Catelyn that Robb should have come to pay homage to King Renly himself, rather than hiding behind his mother's skirt. Catelyn replies that her son is fighting a war and not playing at one which Renly laughs at it.

That night a tired rider arrives at Bitterbridge's camp to bring urgent news from Storm's End: Lord Stannis is besieging the castle calling himself King Stannis. Renly realizes that his brother taking the seat of House Baratheon is a problem to his cause and the loyalty of his men, so he changes his plan and decides to head south to deal with his older brother. Renly brings with him most of his army, leaving at Bitterbridge most young men from the Reach and taking the storm lords and knights with him. Lord Randyll, Lord Mathis Rowan, Lord Alester Florent, Lord Ronnet Connington, Lady Arwyn Oakheart, Ser Eldon Estermont, Lord Bryce Caron, and the men of the stormlands follow him to fight Stannis, while Queen Margaery remains at Bitterbridge. The entire Rainbow Guard (Ser Loras Tyrell, Lord Bryce Caron, Ser Robar Royce, Ser Guyard Morrigen, Ser Parmen Crane, Ser Emmon Cuy, and Brienne of Tarth) follows Renly in the stormlands,

After the failed parley with King Stannis in the lands outside Storm's End, Lord Randyll counsels attacking Stannis to make sure he gains no strength while Renly is away. Randyll reminds the lords and the ladies Catelyn and Arwyn, that Stannis refused to surrender Storm's End after months of starvation. Renly refuses to leave his brother besieging the castle, or his men might think that he's a coward.  Randyll and Lord Mathis Rowan discuss tactics for the upcoming battle. Stannis and Renly agreed to have a battle at dawn, but before the battle takes place Renly is assassinated and no one knows the responsible. The forces of the stormlands immediately abandon the Tyrells to join with King Stannis, along with various houses of the Reach, the first of them being the Florents, the house of Stannis's wife, Queen Selyse. In his rage Loras kills Ser Robar Royce and Ser Emmon Cuy for failing to kill Brienne and protect Renly. Brienne of Tarth is blamed for Renly's death and Lord Randyll forsakes Stannis's cause. Randyll flees with the Tyrells, the Rowans, and the Oakheart back to the Reach.

King Stannis keeps besieging Storm's End against Ser Cortnay Penrose and his garrison, while he sends Ser Erren Florent and Ser Parmen Crane back to Bitterbridge to recruit the rest of Renly's army to Stannis's side. But on their way to the camps outside the castle, the 2 knights are captured by the Tyrells.

Randyll and the Tyrells arrive at Bitterbridge. Chaos and violence erupt at Bitterbridge, and fightings occur. People of the Reach are divided between supporters of King Joffrey and supporters of King Stannis. Randyll Tarly arrives at Bitterbridge and seizes Renly's stores, and puts many of the foot to death, especially those of House Florent. Lord Lorent Caswell shuts himself within the walls of the castle.

Later the master of coin Lord Petyr Baelish arrives at Bitterbridge, sent as an envoy by the Hand of the King and ruler of the Seven Kingdoms Lord Tyrion Lannister, in the name of King Joffrey I. Lord Baelish convinces Ser Loras, Mace's favorite son, to ally with House Lannister to defeat Stannis and Robb. Mace wants his daughter to be queen, so he agrees under the promise of a royal pardon and a betrothal with Joffrey.

Lord Tywin and his army leave Harrenhal to head back to the westerlands and fight against Robb Stark's forces. However the rivermen led by Ser Edmure Tully chase the Lannisters away, not realizing that Robb meant to bait Tywin in the westerlands to keep his attention away from Stannis. In fact Tywin is informed by an urgent message about Stannis's fleet being spotted on its way to King's Landing. Randyll is sent out with Lord Rowan to find Lord Tywin and bring him to Tumbler's Falls where Lord Mace Tyrell is waiting with a huge host and a fleet of barges.

During the Battle of the Blackwater, Randyll joins with the Lannisters and fights against Stannis, commanding the center, while Ser Garlan Tyrell leads the vanguard dressed in Renly's armor. The Iron Throne defeats King Stannis, who survives and manages to flee back to Blackwater Bay with other survivors, while the rest are captured. In the Red Keep Randyll receives a commendation for his services, although the Florent seat at Brightwater Keep is awarded to Garlan Tyrell, who must first take it from the resisting Florents in the castle.

A Storm of Swords

Lord Randyll doesn't stay at King's Landing and immediately leaves shortly after the battle: while at Harrenhal, Lord Roose Bolton learns of Stannis Baratheon's defeat and the siege of Darry by Ser Helman Tallhart. He orders Helman to kill his Lannister captives and put Darry to the torch, and then march with Robett Glover to Duskendale in the mostly-unharmed crownlands (Roose's plan to damage Robb's army and claim that Helman and Glover are keen for vengeance, as the ironmen took Torrhen's Square and Deepwood Motte). With the new alliance between House Lannister and House Tyrell, both loyal to the false House Baratheon, the Hand of the King Tywin sends Lord Randyll with a sizeable army, composed of men from the stormlands and the Reach, to catch the northern force at Duskendale and throw them back. Tywin also sends Ser Gregor Clegane with westermen to cut off their retreat on the kingsroad.

Randyll's forces of the Iron Throne protect the city of Duskendale against the northeners. Randyll's men include Houses Tarly, Leygood, Ambrose, Fossoway of Cider Hall, Fossoway of New Barrel, and Tarly. Lord Randyll Tarly catches Robett Glover outside of Duskendale and traps him against Blackwater Bay. Ser Helman Tallhart is killed during the fierce battle, which takes places in the fields and farms outside Duskendale. There are heavy losses on both sides, including possibly a thousand dead northmen. As Robett falls back toward Harrenhal he encounters Ser Gregor Clegane near the kingsroad, and the northern host is broken. The men capture Harrion Karstark and Robett Glover, while Gregor's men hunt stragglers. Gregor is reportedly wounded in the fighting. Later Lord Rickard Karstark murders Willem Lannister and Tion Frey, and Robb exchanges Martyn Lannister for Robett to protect the boy from the Karstark's wrath. Harrion Karstark remains a captive at Maidenpool.

Randyll has to take the damaged town of Maidenpool. During the War of the Five Kings, Maidenpool has been a victim of many atrocities by the soldiers. The city has been sacked 3 times, first by Lannisters, then by Starks (despite being allies of the Mootons), and finally outlaws, who don't seem to be the Brave Companions, but just common bandits, who also attacked Brienne of Tarth and Ser Jaime Lannister and killed Ser Cleos Frey. However Vargo Hoat and his men are suspiciously near Maidenpool when they capture Jaime and Brienne, shortly after the third attack. The cowardly and timid Lord William Mooton failed to protect the town from the men and sent his soldiers to fight in the burning town, while he remained in the safety of his keep. During the 3 attacks many smallfok were raped, robbed, and killed, and their houses burned. The city is also terrified by a dangerous pack of wolves led by the direwolf Nymeria in the woods outside. After the the third attack, half of Maidenpool is destroyed and the rest is plundered, and the town pool is filled with corpses.

Maidenpool doesn't suffer more attacks from the northeners, as King Robb retired from the westerlands and returned to Riverrun to march back to the Neck to retake the North from King Balon and the rebels of House Greyjoy. However, the Brave Companions remain garrisoned at Harrenhal, holding for Robb, while the Brotherhood without Banners keeps causing troubles and takes the riches from the nobles to help the poor, and Ser Brynden the Blackfish holds Riverrun against the Iron Throne and Lord Hoster Tully is dead. Randyll does not take any initiative against the river lords, and later both kings Balon and Robb die thanks to Euron Greyjoy and Lord Walder Frey.

Shortly after Ser Gregor retakes Harrenhal from the rebels and Vargo and his men are killed, though many Bloody Mummers deserted before. Black Walder Frey has managed to force Lord Jason Mallister to surrender to King Tommen during the Siege of Seagard. With many captives from the riverlands and the North, the Lannisters and the Boltons start to force the northmen and rivermen rebels to bend the knee in exchange of royal pardons. Randyll takes Maidenpool with the support of Lord Renfred Rykker and forces led by the houses Tarly, Bettley, Caswell, Hunt, Leygood, Rykker, and Sarsfield. A strong man is needed to rebuild the city and Randyll captures the castle of Maidenpool, locks William Mooton in a cell, and secures the kingsroad. Randyll starts to rebuild the town and rules it in Joffrey's name. But around the same time King Joffrey dies as well, poisoned at his wedding feast, and is succeeded by his younger brother Tommen. King Stannis Baratheon is the only survivor of the original five kings, hiding at Dragonstone.

Randyll Tarly's father-in-law and Samwell's maternal grandfather, Lord Alester Florent, is burned alive by King Stannis at Dragonstone for treason.

King Tommen I Baratheon signs a pardon for Lord Mooton and welcomes him back into the king's peace along with many other river lords, except the Blackwoods, who are still defiant. Randyll frees William, but he stays at Maidenpool as its ruler. Meanwhile Ser Ryman Frey keeps besieging Riverrun against the Blackfish and his men, while Ser Daven Lannister is bringing his army to assist the Freys in their poor siege, and the Brackens are besieging Raventree Hall against Lord Tytos Blackwood. Prince Oberyn Martell is killed, Ser Gregor is deadly wounded, and Lord Tywin is murdered by his own son Tyrion. Meanwhile King Stannis and his army arrived at the Wall and stopped a wildling invasion from the infamous Mance Rayder.

At the Wall, When Samwell Tarly discusses his plan with Jon Snow to send Gilly and her babe to Horn Hill - in the guise of the babe being Sam's bastard offspring - he tells Jon that he knows that his mother Melessa would want him. Sam is confident that she will find some place for Gilly and it would not be as hard as serving Craster. Sam writes a message for his father, telling about Gilly and the baby. Stannis, disgusted by Gilly and the baby, approves of the idea of sending them to Horn Hill. With Tywin dead, Randyll and Ser Kevan Lannister are the few main experienced leaders left to keep the King's peace, since Lord Bolton has to liberate the North from the ironborn, as well as protect it from Stannis and the wildlings, and Lord Yohn Royce does not show much loyalty to the Iron Throne and Lord Baelish. Instead, Cersei takes control of the Seven Kingdoms and begins to unwillingly create more chaos.

A Feast for Crows

Ser Kevan Lannister refuses to become the new Hand of the King and serve as Cersei's puppet servant. Much to the Queen's shock, Kevan wishes to return to Casterly Rock to see his wife, Dorna Swyft, and his youngest children Martyn and Janei, as well as mourn Willem. Randyll, along with Lord Mathis Rowan, is named by Kevan as a good candidate for Hand of the King, but Queen Regent Cersei Lannister refuses to name a Tyrell bannerman as Hand, failing to understand that such a move would actually weaken the Tyrells by placing of their most powerful bannermen in a position of authority higher than the Warden of the South.

Jon Snow breaks the news that he is sending Samwell Tarly to the Citadel, at Oldtown, so he can train to become a maester and replace the tired Aemon. Sam will travel by sea from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, along with Dareon, Gilly, Mance's baby (switched with Craster's son to avoid being sacrificed by Stannis and Melisandre), and Maester Aemon. The thought of becoming a maester frightens Sam, bringing back memories of his Randyll's wrath when he had mentioned training at the Citadel to him when he was a boy. His father had chained him by the neck in a cell and left him there for 3 days, telling him "no son of House Tarly will ever wear a chain". Lastly, Jon commands Sam to never call himself craven again. Sam plans to head to Oldtown, then send Gilly and Mance's baby to Horn Hill.

Randyll marries his son, Dickon, with the daughter of Lord William Mooton, Eleanor.

Randyll keeps rebuildling Maidenpool, ruling the town and hunting down the Brotherhood without Banners. Shortly after Tywin's death, the town of Saltpans, located in the Mountains of the Moon, between the riverlands and the Vale, has been raided and destroyed by group of outlaws led by the Hound. The people have been savagely raped and murdered and the town destroyed. Shortly before that, the Hound was seen riding with a little boy, and many claim that Sandor has Sansa Stark with him. The riverlands are still scenery of massacres and fights, invaded by cutthroats, criminals, and mercenaries from the war. Randyll tries to restore order and peace in the riverlands and executes any responsible of the atrocities in the riverlands he can find.

The Raid on Saltpans is regarded as incredibly disgusting event, worse than the Red Wedding, and lot more barbaric. There are rumors of any kind that reach the hears of Randyll, the Lannisters, and the Freys. The most popular and "official" version of the attack on Saltpans is that Sandor Clegane has joined with Lord Beric Dondarrion's outlaws, the Brotherhood without Banners. Queen Cersei wants Lord Lancel Lannister to hunt down the Hound and the outlaws to restore order in his lands of Darry, but Ser Kevan denies that.

The reports by survivors of Saltpans are passed on from the Quiet Isle to King's Landing and soon become widely distributed. The references to a brutal man wearing the Hound's distinctive helm led people to the misperception that Sandor Clegane led the raid. Lord Randyll, trying to restore order in the eastern riverlands from nearby Maidenpool, spreads rumors that blame the raid on Beric Dondarrion's Brotherhood without Banners in an attempt to turn the smallfolk against them. The term "Mad Dog of Saltpans" circulates, and as the tales spread, the number of murders that Sandor is accused of rises from twelve to twenty. At the same time, the Brotherhood is actually really guilty of hanging people, especially those from House Frey, and they are led by a new leader.

Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne are searching for Sansa Stark, dissapeared since the day of Joffrey's wedding feast and death. Ser Hyle Hunt, a former companion and rival of Brienne from Renly's army, takes them to Maidenpool and leads them to Randyll Tarly. When they arrive he is dispensing harsh but fair justice in the market square. William Mooton is present when Lord Tarly is dispensing justice; he fears Randyll and does not intervene in any of his decisions. When she is brought before him, Lord Tarly asks Brienne if she killed Renly, and then states he should ship her back to Tarth. But Brienne reveals the King's document that Jaime has given her, and she informs Tarly that she is seeking Sansa. He responds that Sansa is not in Maidenpool, nor would she be in the Vale, as Brienne has also assumed, since Lysa Arryn is dead, much to Brienne's shock. At Maidenpool Brienne meets many knights from Renly's army who work for Randyll in King Tommen's name. Brienne reminds Lord Tarly's warning about thir false courtesy.

When Brienne and Pod follow Dick Crabb at the Whispers, at Cracklaw Point, to find a fool with two girls who might be the Stark girls, Randyll sends Ser Hyle Hunt to follow them and stay at Brienne's side in the off chance that she finds Sansa. Everything turns out to be a trap however, and the fools turns out to be Shagwell who kills Dick and attacks Brienne and Pod with Pyg and Timeon. Brienne kills all 3 of them and Ser Hyle brings her back to Maidenpool.

Returning to Maidenpool, Hyle informs Randyll that Brienne has killed three of the Bloody Mummers. Tarly complains that he has executed many outlaws, but cannot find their leaders. He again warns Brienne against playing a knight, but she will not give up her mission and the next day she, Pod, and Hyle plan to find the mysteriously vanished Sandor Clegane. Hyle reveals the truth about Randyll's plan to turn the smallfok against Beric, who's an hero of the commoners and the poor people, and his outlaw band.

The riverlands are in terrible conditions and they don't have enough food provvisions to survive winter. Lord Randyll does his best to restore peace in these tormented lands, but the chaos still rules: the Lannister-Frey army fails to force Ser Brynden to hield and give Riverrun to Lord Emmon Frey, the Blackwoods are resisting as well against the unhappy river lords, the Brotherhood without Banners has made impossible for everyone to travel safely without being attacked and hanged, Kevan and Lancel are trying to keep order at Darry, the leaderless Mountain's Men are still occupying Harrenhal even after their leaders, Gregor and Polliver, died, the Faith is condemning House Frey for the Red Wedding, and many other criminals and bandits from the war are still on the run, especially the Brave Companions. Many people from the riverlands start amassing on King's Landing, preaching about the Seven and the corruption of the Faith. They call themselves "Sparrows".

With Randyll bringing back justice and punishing war criminals and thieves, Cersei sends her brother Jaime, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, with the commander of the City Watch Ser Addam Marbrand and the royal executioner Ser Ilyn Payne to lift the Siege of Riverrun with a party made of men of the westerlands and the stormlands. Mace Tyrell is besieging Storm's End, Paxter Redwyne is besieging Dragonstone, and Garlan Tyrell prepares to take Brightwater Keep, to take the castles from Stannis Baratheon and the Florents. Stannis is now the King at the Wall, marching on Winterfell against the Boltons and fighting the ironborn with the northern rebels. At the same time a new threat shows up: King Euron Greyjoy invades the Reach with the huge Iron Fleet led by Victarion Greyjoy. Euron attacks and takes the Shield Islands and sends Victarion with part of the Iron Fleet to convince the Queen of Meereen Daenerys Targaryen to join him. With Randyll in the riverlands, the Redwyne fleet at Dragonstone, and Cersei destroying herself at King's Landing, Willas Tyrell is forced to organize the defenses against the ironborn with Lady Olenna Tyrell, Lord Leyton Hightower and the other Reach lords. Cersei's admiral, Lord Aurane Waters, a former captain of Stannis, builds a new royal fleet for Tommen. At the same time the Sparrows forced the Faith to elect their leader as the new High Septon. The Faith faces a corruption-scourging and Cersei makes the dangerous mistake to help the High Septon to restore the Faith Militant. Later Cersei and Qyburn accuse Queen Margaery Tyrell of fornication and the Faith arrest her and her cousins Megga, Alla, and Elinor for impurity. Cersei's plan backfires when she and Ser Osney Kettleblack are arrested by the Faith. Cersei is accused of fornication, incest, and murder of the previous High Septon.

Word of the Faith taking control of King's Landing reaches Randyll. He marches from Maidenpool to King's Landing with an army after hearing that Margaery Tyrell had been imprisoned on the command of Cersei Lannister and the Faith. Mace gets the news as well and rides with his men back to the capital for his daughter, while Lord Mathis Rowan keeps besieging Storm's End with a force. Meanwhile Ser Jaime is successful at lifting the Second Siege of Riverrun without bloodshed, after threatening and breaking Lord Edmure Tully. However Edmure helps his uncle Blackfish to escape, much to Jaime and the Frey's rage.

A Dance with Dragons

Lord Randyll arrives at King's Landing before Mace. The Faith releases Margaery and her cousins into his custody after Lord Tarly swears a holy oath to return them for trial. The evidence against the girls is weak and they have many friends to defend them against Cersei' s false accusation. The same cannot be said about Cersei who remains prisoner of the High Sparrow in the Great Sept of Baelor. Cersei is stripped of the regency. Ser Kevan Lannister has been summoned by Grand Maester Pycelle, and arrives from Casterly Rock back to the city, ruling the Seven Kingdom as Lord Regent to King Tommen I Baratheon. Randyll was named as a good candidate for Hand of the King, but Mace Tyrell took the position instead.

He became the Master of Laws and justiciar in King's Landing, being given the title by Kevan Lannister as a way of repairing the Lannister-Tyrell alliance damaged by Cersei. Kevan thinks that Randyll is more dangerous than Mace.

Lord Regent Kevan Lannister hosts a small council meeting with the other members: the Hand of the King Mace Tyrell, the master of laws and justiciar Randyll Tarly, Grand Maester Pycelle, the master of coin and lord treasurer Ser Harys Swyft, and the master of ships and grand admiral Paxter Redwyne. Only two are missing, Ser Jaime and the advisor Nymeria Sand, still on her way to King's Landing. King Tommen and Queen Margaery are not present and Kevan wants Tommen to stay with his mother, before she meets her trial and possible execution. Randyll express disapproval about the high lords having to dance around the twittering of sparrows and holy knights. Lancel has abandoned his wife Amerei Frey, his titles, and his lordship of Darry to join the Faith Militant as Ser Lancel Lannister of the Warrior's Sons, much to Kevan's anger in a similar way to Tywin's anger towards Jaime. Kingsguard Ser Loras is still at Dragonstone, suffering terrible wounds after Stannis's men threw boiling oil at him.

Randyll and the rest of the council discuss the sudden new threat came from the Narrow Sea: the Golden Company, led by Lord Jon Connington, Harry Strickland, Black Balaq, Gorys Edoryen, Franklyn Flowers, Tristan Rivers, Marq Mandrake, and Laswell Peake. The small council is shocked to learn that Lord Connington, former Hand of King Aerys, is still alive and has brought a mysterious Targaryen pretender with him. The Golden Company is invading the stormlands and is taking those lands. There are rumors of battles occuring in the Stepstones and Jon Connington has also retaken his old seat Griffin's Roost. Lord Ronnett Connington assures the small council that he has nothing to do with this. The Golden Company attacks towns and villages as they march on Storm's End, to take it from Stannis. Ronnet begs to prove his loyalty in battle, but Mace refuses, and orders Ronnet kept in his quarters for the moment, in addition to sending the men-at-arms Jaime sent to accompany Connington south, all former Mountain's Men, to the Night's Watch. Kevan has begun to resent the demands of Mace as Cersei did, but he realises he cannot openly oppose him Randyll, as they have both brought armies to King's Landing, while the Lannisters' standing army is still in the riverlands. Tyrell insists that he will deal with Connington and his boy after Margaery's trial, but both he and Tarly show much reluctance about it; Kevan however chides them.

Mace asks why Tommen can't declare Margaery's innocence without a trial, but Kevan insists that defying the Faith will send them straight into the arms of Connington or Stannis Baratheon at a time when the Ironborn are attacking the Western lands as well. Mace Tyrell retorts that Paxter Redwyne will drive Euron and the Ironmen back and that Stannis has to face both Roose Bolton and the cold climate of the North. The lands of the Gift are also invaed by wildlings as Stannis allowed them to live behind the Wall. Mace dismisses the threat Jon Connington and the exiles of the Golden Company pose but Kevan is unsure; he still remembers when Aerys appointed Connington to the role of Hand, and while Tywin Lannister's assessment of Connington as unsuitable for the post proved true after his failure to kill Robert Baratheon at the Battle of the Bells, Kevan believes age has surely made Connington wiser, more cautious and more dangerous.

The small council all agree that Connington and his pretender must be crushed, lest Daenerys Targaryen receive word and leave Meereen to join forces with them. Pycelle suggests that they buy off the Golden Company, but Harys Swyft dismisses this idea; thanks to Cersei's economic mismanagement, the treasury is nearly empty, the Iron Bank of Braavos still demanding its money, pledges for new loans from Myr received no favorable response, and their hopes of replenishing the treasuries with the fabled wealth on Dragonstone following Ser Loras's capture of the island have proven in vain. Mace Tyrell reacts angrily to that, arguing that Loras searched the castle and found no trace of gold or gemstones, nor the fabled cache of dragon eggs supposedly kept there, but Kevan defuses the argument by suggesting Stannis likely took everything of value with him when he fled. Kevan also suggests that Harys try Pentoshi magister moneylenders, or else go to Braavos and deal with the Iron Bank in person.

Cersei has chosen trial by combat, with Ser Robert Strong to represent her as her champion. Mace and Randyll express deep misgivings about the man, which Kevan shares as they have all heard rumours: Ser Meryn Trant says he has never seen Strong eat or drink, and Ser Boros Blount claims to have never seen him use the privy. Kevan muses that "Dead men don't shit", suspecting that he and the others know who Strong really is. However, Kevan silences Mace's protests by arguing that if Cersei loses her trial, the legitimacy of her children, and thus Margaery's claim to the throne as Tommen's queen will be called into question. He also assures the council that even if Cersei proves her innocence, she will be sent back to Casterly Rock afterwards, and play no further part in ruling or Tommen's education. Cersei and Qyburn sent a message to Ser Jaime Lannister, who successfully helped Lord Jonos Bracken to lift the Siege of Raventree Hall and pardoned House Blackwood, asking him to return to King's Landing. However Jaime has gone missing.

The meeting adjourns, intending to reconvene in five days' time and leaving for later decisions about an inheritance involving House Rosby and six claims, as well as the preparation for Princess Myrcella Baratheon´s upcoming marriage. Cersei had sent Kingsguard Ser Balon Swann to deliver Ser Gregor's skull to Prince Doran Martell and take Myrcella back to King's Landing; however Myrcella has been a victim of Princess Arianne Martell's scheming to rule Dorne, and her plans ended poorly with the betrayal of Ser Gerold Dayne, who tried to kill Myrcella and cut and hear off her. Myrcella is returning to the capital with also Nymeria and Tyene Sand, while her betrothed Prince Trystane remains at Sunspear. Mace makes plain his scorn for the marriage, particularly after Myrcella's injuries, and suggests a better match for her; Kevan muses that Mace likely has his son Willas in mind. He dismisses the idea, warning that reneging on Myrcella's betrothal now could be all the cause Doran Martell needs to side with Connington. Harys Swyft suggests that they get the Dornish to deal with Connington and his pretender; Kevan agrees that it would save them a lot of trouble.

Mace and Randyll leave after the meeting. Shortly after that, Kevan is murdered by Lord Varys who needs the realm to remain in a chaotic state and hopes that Kevan's death will create more tension between Cersei and the Tyrells, and with Lord Randyll in the capital, the situation with the Faith, the Lannisters, and the Tyrells are going to end badly, which is good for Varys, who's supporting the Golden Company and the pretender King Aegon Targaryen.

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