Ser Brynden Tully is a member of House Tully, the younger brother of Hoster Tully, and the uncle of Catelyn Stark, Lysa Arryn, and Edmure Tully. After Robert’s Rebellion, he served as the Knight of the Gate of House Arryn and remained at the Eyrie until the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. Brynden Tully remained stationed at the gates of House Arryn until the War of the Five Kings. Realizing the threat posed by Lord Tywin Lannister, he followed Robb Stark to Riverrun and helped House Stark and Tully fight House Lannister.
Brynden Tully Personal Details
- Name: Brynden Tully.
- Year of Birth: 243-245 AC at Riverrun.
- Titles: Ser, Warden of the Southern Marches, Knight of the Gate, Castellan of Riverrun.
- Aliases: Blackfish, Brynden the Blackfish, Brynden Blackfish.
- Allegiances: House Stark, House Tully, House Arryn.
- Father: Lord Tully.
- Culture: Rivermen.
- Religion: Faith of the Seven.
- Personal Arms: A leaping black trout on a red and blue field.
- Eye Color: Blue.
- Hair Color: Red.
Appearance and Personality
Brynden Tully is a tall and slender man with faded red hair that has turned grey and a croaky voice. He is clean-shaven and has bushy eyebrows with deep blue eyes. Though a king and patient man, he is stubborn and cares little for others’ opinions. Brynden is a strong swimmer and exceptional warrior with valiant feats in battles.
While serving as the Knight of the Gate, Brynden wore heavy plate armor and helm-colored grey. However, he wore mail and leather when he commanded outsiders. He wields a blackened steel sword with a black trout adorning the blade’s helm and rides a grey horse. Brynden wears a red and blue cloak signifying the colors of House Tully, and it features a gold and obsidian fish-shaped clasp.
Brynden Tully was born as the second song of Lord Tully. He and his older brother Hoster Tully were never close, and together with Norbert Vance, Brynden squired for Lord Darry. He got knighted and, in 260 AC, fought in the War of the Ninepenny Kings, where he earned fame for his bravery and skill.
After Lord Tully’s death, Brynden’s older brother Hoster became Lord Paramount of the Trident and Head of House Tully. When Hoster tried joining Brynden with Bethany Redwyne, he refused, causing a strain in the Tully brother’s relationship. Though nobles like Lord Walder Frey from House Frey and Lord Bracken made offers for Bryden to wed their daughters, the Knight refused to marry. In a heated argument, Hoster called his brother the black goat of the Tully flock. However, Brynden stated he was a black fish instead, as the Tullys used a trout in their sigil.
Though he had a strained relationship with Hoster Tully, Brynden and his nieces and nephew were on good terms. He was also on good terms with Petyr Baelish, Hoster’s ward. When Catelyn got betrothed to Brandon Stark, Petyr drank and passed out on a table, but Brynden carried him away to prevent Hoster from seeing the young lad.
Lord Hoster and Tywin Lannister began planning on betrothing Lysa Arryn to Jaime Lannister, and Lord Sumner Crakehall sent Jaime to Riverrun. Lord Hoster placed Jaime and Lysa together, but the young Jaime ignored Hoster’s daughter and got fixed on Brynden Tully, whom he asked questions about the War of the Ninepenny Kings.
When King Aerys II Targaryen killed Lord Rickard Stark and Brandon Stark, Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark started a rebellion against the Iron Throne. During Robert’s Rebellion, Hoster Tully agreed to side with the Starks and Arryns. He gave his daughters Catelyn and Lysa to Lord Eddard Stark and Lord Jon Arryn. At the double wedding ceremony, Brynden told his brother he was joining Lord Arryn’s service. In anger, Hoster disowned him.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
When Lady Catelyn Stark arrives at the Vale with her prisoner Tyrion Lannister, she meets her uncle Brynden. When Lady Lysa Arryn refuses to send aid to Riverrun, Brynden resigns and follows Catelyn to White Harbor and Moat Cailin. He meets Robb Stark and becomes a war council member. Bryden and his men kill many Lannister scouts under the command of Ser Addam Marbrand. He learns that Edmure got defeated by Ser Jaime Lannister’s army.
After Catelyn’s alliance with Lord Walder Frey, Robb leads his host west across the Green Fork. Lord Roose Bolton’s defeat, Robb tasked Brynden with drawing out Jaime Lannister; this leads to Jaime’s capture at the Battle in the Whispering Woods. Brynden later leads Robb’s men in the Battle of the Camps and successfully lifts the siege of Riverrun. Brynden then meets his brother and reconciles. He is present when Robb gets made King in the North.
After their campaign in the westerlands, Robb and Brynden return to Riverrun, angry at Edmure for winning the Battle of the Fords. They explained that Edmure’s victory made Tywin Lannister learn of Stannis Baratheon’s attack on King’s Landing and foiled their plans of ambushing him along the Gold Road. When Lord Rickard Karstark kills Tion Frey and Willem Lannister, Robb executes him, and the Karstarks abandon their liege lords.
When Lord Hoster Tully dies, his son fails to light his funeral boat, and he hands the bow to Brynden. The Freys leave Robb when they learn of his wedding to Jeyne Westerling. Lord Edmure gets betrothed to Roslin Frey. When Robb leaves Riverrun, Brynden remains at the castle as the Castellan.
Meanwhile, the Brotherhood without Banners contemplates taking Arya Stark to Riverrun. Eventually, Sandor captures her and takes her to the Twins. At Edmure’s wedding feast, the Freys and Boltons betray Robb and kill him. For their service, the Iron Throne declares that Riverrun is for Ser Emmon Frey.
Brynden holds Riverrun even after all the other lords bend the knee to the Iron Throne. He sends refugees out of the castle, and Ser Devan Lannister and Ryman Frey lead a siege on Riverrun. Ryman threatens to hang Edmure if Brynden does not yield Riverrun, but the Knight holds his ground.
Queen Cersei Lannister sends Jaime to the Riverlands to settle the disputes, and Brynden agrees to meet him to learn why the crown has not released Sansa and Arya. He refuses Jaime’s terms but later yields the castle when Edmure convinces him. Brynden swims under the portcullis at the Water Gate and escapes. He then becomes an outlaw.
Appearance in Adaptation
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Clive Russell portrayed Brynden Tully. He appeared in seasons 3 and 6 and starred in 7 episodes. He died defending Riverrun against the Freys.
Brynden Tully: An Incredible Warrior
Brynden Tully was a soldier who gave everything for the cause he believed in. He was a dedicated warrior, an incredible commander, and an honest adviser who guided Robb Stark to the end. Besides being a soldier, he was incredibly loyal and stuck to the Starks.
Why was Brynden Tully called Black Fish?
Brynden nicknamed himself Black Fish. He got into an argument with his brother Lord Hoster Tully, and when Hoster called him the black goat of House Tully, he corrected him, saying he was a Black Fish instead.
Why did Brynden not marry?
No one knows why Brynden Tully never got married. There have been many speculations, but George R. R. Martin never gave any reason. Some popular theories state Brynden loved Hoster’s wife, Melissa.
Did Brynden die in the books?
Unlike the television series, Brynden Tully escapes in ‘A Feast for Crows.’ After he swims away from Riverrun, he becomes an outlaw.
What happened to Brynden in Game of Thrones?
In HBO’s Game of Thrones, Brynden Tully gets killed by the Lannisters and Freys. He dies defending Riverrun from invasion.