Dagmer Cleftjaw

Dagmer Cleftjaw is a minor character in A Song of Ice and Fire novels whose role is crucial in the events in the North.

The Definitive Glossary for Game of Thrones

Dagmer Cleftjaw is an excellent fighter and one of the best warriors of the Iron Islands. With a massive scar on his face and a hideous jaw, he is a fearsome ironborn warrior and one of the best fighters to have come out of the Iron Islands. He is the master-at-arms for the House of Greyjoy at Pyke and the captain of the Foamdrinker. As the master-at-arms, he got his orders from Balon Greyjoy, but his insatiable desire for glory made him follow Theon Greyjoy’s advice, one that led to the sacking of Winterfell and Torrhen’s Square.

Personal Details about Dagmer Cleftjaw

  • Character’s Name: Dagmer.
  • Hair Color: White.
  • Aliases: Dagmer Cleftjaw.
  • Titles and Positions Held: Captain of the Foamdrinker, Master-at-arms for the House of Greyjoy.
  • Weapon: Sword.
  • Facial Features: Has a hideous scar, shaggy beard, four lips, and no front teeth.
  • Allegiance: House Greyjoy.
  • Religion: The Drowned God.
  • Lineage: Ironborn.

Brief History

Dagmer was born in the Iron Islands and rose among the ranks to become one of the fiercest ironborn warriors. When he was a boy, he got hit with a long axe that shattered his front teeth, damaged his jaw, and left him with four lips instead of two.

Dagmer got close to young Balon Greyjoy and once went reaving with him in the stepstones. As he grew in the ranks, his fighting prowess increased, and he became the master-at-arms for the House of Greyjoy. He taught Theon how to sail, ride, and fight. Dagmer was unique in his looks and often wore many rings he got from the iron price. Most were created with sapphire and dragonglass and adorned with silver, bronze, and gold.

Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire

A Clash of Kings

In ‘A Clash of Kings,’ Dagmer gets sent to raise the Stonehouses and drumms in Old Wyk by Balon Greyjoy. After Theon gets sent home to make his father join Robb Stark’s cause, he switches sides and joins his father’s campaign. Dagmer gets ordered to accompany him and Aeron Greyjoy during the harrying of the Stony Shore. On returning from the fight with the Wild Hares and Benfred Tallhart, Theon convinces Dagmer to take part in his plan to capture Winterfell.

A Clash of Kings Book Artwork
A Clash of Kings Book Artwork

Though he does not have enough men, Dagmer follows Theon’s plan and attacks Torrhen’s Square with his men. His attack draws the attention of Ser Rodrik Cassel, the Castellan of Torrhen, and while fighting with him, Theon slips into Winterfell and sacks the city. Though he successfully takes over Winterfell, Maester Luwin escapes with Bran and Rickon and sends a message to Robb Stark. Later, Theon kills two orphan boys and displays their bodies as Bran and Rickon. His action makes everyone in the North hate him. 

Dagmer loses the fight with Rodrik’s garrison and takes the survivors back to the Stony Shore. In Winterfell, Ser Rodrik arrives at the gates of Winterfell and demands that Theon and his men surrender or face death. However, he gets killed by Ramsay Bolton. The soldiers of House Bolton take over Winterfell, and Theon gets imprisoned for his actions. He becomes a servant of Ramsay Bolton.

A Storm of Swords

After Rodrik and Leobald Tallhart leaves Torrhen’s Square to deal with Theon’s sacking of Winterfell, Dagmer returns to retake the keep with the few men he has left. He succeeds in retaking the sparsely-defended keep.

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin Digital Art
A Storm of Swords Digital Art

A Dance with Dragons

After retaking Tohhren’s Square, Dagmer and his men remain there to defend the keep. Some of Asha’s men in Deepwood Motte try to leave to join him, but they get attacked by Stannis Baratheon, who takes Asha as a prisoner. 

With the daughter of the former king of the Iron Islands as his prisoner, Stannis decides to take Asha to Winterfell to display dominance. Along the way, she offers to help him take over Torrhen’s Square and deliver Dagmer, lord Balon’s best man. However, Stannis refuses her offer and journeys to Winterfell to take dethrone the Boltons from the city. With a few days left to reach Winterfell, Asha meets a group who escaped and notices that one of them is her brother, Theon.

Appearance in Adaptations

In the series adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones, Dagmer’s character was portrayed by Ralph Ineson. His character in the show was much more brutal than in the novel. In the series, he was the captain of the Sea Bitch and convinced Theon to sack Winterfell. Ramsay Snow recaptured the city and burnt him alive. Dagmer’s actions in the series led to Theon’s destruction as he got tortured and turned into a dog by Ramsay.

Dagmer: The Brutal Warlord Who Fell

Dagmer’s character portrays strength yet shows how brutality and lust for glory can lead to one’s downfall. As a war chief, he had all he ever needed, but his former deeds of wild valor and desire for cheap glory made him fall into a trap that destroyed all the accomplishments he made. Though he was the fiercest warrior to have ever come out of the Iron Islands, in the end, he became a shell with no men and no honor.

Though Dagmer is a minor character in A Song of Ice and Fire, he is an excellently created character by George R. R. Martin. His character is real and encompasses the nature of a true Iron Islander. Though a supporting character in the series and novels, his actions fuelled the chain reaction that affected the very core of the politics of the North; this made him a catalytic character; the brutal warlord who fell.


What happened to Dagmer in A Clash of Kings?

After joining Theon and Aeron in the harrying of the Stepstones, Dagmer gets convinced to join Theon’s plan to take over Winterfell. He attacks Torrhen’s Square to divert Rodrik Cassel’s attention away from the city. After getting defeated by Rodrik, Dagmer retreats with his men while Theon captures Winterfell. He later returns when Rodrik leaves to tackle Theon.

Does Dagmer Cleftjaw die in A Dance with Dragons?

No, Dagmer does not die in ‘A Dance with Dragons.’ After Rodrik leaves Torrhen’s Square, he returns to recapture the keep and stays there.

What is the difference between Dagmer Cleftjaw in the novels and TV series?

There are many differences between Dagmer’s character in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones. The most notable difference is the appearance. In the novels, Dager had a hideous face from the scars of a long axe that almost killed him. He had four lips and no front teeth. In the series, Dagmer looked better but was much crueler.

Why does Theon call Dagmer Cleftjaw’s uncle?

Theon calls Dagmer his uncle because they are slightly related. Dagmer comes from a Greyjoy bastard making him a relative of Theon.

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