Riverrun is the castle of House Tully, the Lords Paramount of the Trident. It is in the western Riverlands and governs the region. It is along the River Road, a network connecting Lannisport with the Crossroads. Riverrun became the seat of power in the Riverlands after Aegon I Targaryen’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms. When Robert and Lord Eddard started a rebellion against King Aerys II Targaryen, Riverrun became a crucial partner to the Starks and Baratheons. An alliance got created with the marriage of Catelyn Tully and her sister Lysa to Ned and Lord Jon Arryn.
- Name: Riverrun.
- Governing House: House Frey of Riverrun, House Tully (formerly).
- Location: Westeros, Riverlands.
- Year Founded: During the Andal Invasion of Westeros.
- Founder: Lord Axel Tully.
- Current Ruler: Lord Emmon Frey.
- Previous Ruler: Lord Hoster Tully.
- Culture: Rivermen.
- Religion: Faith of the Seven.
- Notable Places: Great Hall, Sept, Godswood, Triangular Keep, Water Wheel, Water Gate.
Riverrun is Northwest of Acorn Hill and North of Pinkmaiden. It is along the River Road and rests in the confluence of the Red Fork and Tumblestone rivers. Though a heavily fortified three-sided castle, it is one-tenth the size of the largest castle in Westeros, Harrenhal. Riverrun has sluice gates that can get used for flooding the surrounding area, turning it into an inaccessible island in a time of danger.
Riverrun has red sandstone walls, arrow hoops, and towers that guard the surrounding shores. When garrisoned, it will accommodate about two hundred men for two years. Inside the castle are buildings erected to help defend it against enemy attacks.
A notable place within the fortress is the wheel Tower housing a massive water wheel turned by the Tumblestone. The Tumblestone leads to the Water Gate, which can only get accessed by boat. The Great Hall also resides within Riverrun. It got used for meetings between the Head of House Tully and his bannermen. Besides the Great Hall, there is a private chamber for the Lord.
The Godswood is also a crucial location that connects the Triangular Keep to the Great Hall. It is a garden with wildflowers, streams, nesting birds, redwoods, and elms. At its center is a slim weirwood tree with a sad carved face. There are also Septs and Dungeons. The Sept rests beside Lady Minisa Tully’s garden and has images of the seven painted on marble. The dungeons are windowless and damp, with heavy iron doors.
Before the arrival of the andals, House Tully served House Mudd of Oldstones, Kings of the Rivers, and the Hills. After King Tristifer IV Mudd got killed during the invasion, Ser Axel Tully built Riverrun on the land he received from the Andal King, Armistead Vance. Because of its strategic position, Riverrun became wealthy and ruled the Riverlands for a thousand years. However, it got abandoned when Harwyn Hoare, the King of the Iron Islands, invaded.
When Aegon I Targaryen landed in Westeros, he began a conquest against the Kings on the continent. Edmyn Tully of Riverrun sided with him and instigated a rebellion against Harren the Black, Harwyn Hoare’s son. When Harren mocked Aegon, claiming not even the dragons could destroy Harrenhal, the Targaryen flew over the castle with his dragon and burned Harren and his family. On destroying Harrenhal, Aegon made Edmyn Lord Paramount of the Trident.
In the Battle Beneath the God’s Eye, House Tully supported King Maegor I Targaryen against King Aenys I Targaryen’s son Aegon. However, it changed its stance and sided with Jaehaerys I Targaryen and the Poor Fellows. During the Dance of the Dragons, Lord Grover Tully wanted to side with the Greens. However, his son Ser Elmo closed the gates in fear. The Tullys later supported the Blacks when Ser Addam Velaryon visited with his dragon.
Petyr Baelish became Hoster Tully’s ward at Riverrun and was childhood friends with Hoster’s children, Catelyn, Lysa, and Edmure Tully. Though he developed an interest in Catelyn, she did not reciprocate. When Lord Sumner Crakehall sent Ser Jaime Lannister to deliver a message at the castle, Hoster tried to make the knight like his daughter. However, his plan failed. Though Catelyn got promised to Brandon Stark, she eventually married Eddard Stark after Brandon got killed. Catelyn conceived her first son Robb Stark at Riverrun with Maester Luwin’s help.
Relevance in A Song of Ice and Fire
A Game of Thrones
After the War of the Five Kings begins, Edmure Tully gets defeated by Jaime Lannister in a battle under the walls of Riverrun. The castle falls under siege until a Stark force led by Robb comes to the rescue. At the Battle of the Whispering Woods, Jaime gets captured. When Robert Baratheon dies, Queen Cersei Lannister places her son on the Iron Throne, and Ned Stark gets killed. With Eddard dead, Robb gets crowned King in the North, in the Great Hall.
A Clash of Kings
After becoming King in the North, Robb allows the Lords of the Riverlands to return to defend their homes. He heads into the Westerlands to attack the Lannisters and leaves Edmure to protect Riverrun. To free his brother, Tyrion Lannister sends envoys. However, his plan gets foiled, and the men get hanged. Edmure later defends Riverrun against Tywin Lannister’s army, and after succeeding, he celebrates. King Joffrey makes Lord Petyr Baelish the Lord Paramount of the Trident for his contribution to the Battle of the Blackwater.
A Storm of Swords
After learning of her sons’ death, Catelyn frees Jaime from the dungeons of Riverrun and tasks Brienne of Tarth with taking him to King’s Landing in exchange for Arya Stark and Sansa. When Edmure learns of her actions, he confines her to her father’s chambers. When Lord Rickard Stark learns of Cat’s actions, he kills two of Robb’s prisoners and gets beheaded.
Hoster Tully dies, and when Edmure learns from his uncle Blackfish that he caused the Lannisters’ victory against Stannis Baratheon. For his actions, he and Roslin Frey get joined to marry as Robb had married Jeyne Westerling, breaking a pact between the Freys and Starks. Robb and his men get killed at the Twins, and Riverrun gets stripped from House Tully.
A Feast for Crows
Edmure’s uncle Brynden locks Riverrun, and Cersei sends Jaime to resolve the siege. Jaime takes command from Ser Daven Lannister and asks Edmure to help and negotiate with his uncle. After negotiations, Brynden gives up the castle but escapes through the Water Gate.
Riverrun: Lords of the Riverlands
As a crucial player in the politics of the Seven Kingdoms, Riverrun is the key to one of the wealthiest parts of Westeros. It became a war-ridden land, and the wealth it once boasted dwindled. With the castle’s downfall, the crucial supporter of the Starks fell, leaving the North in the Hands of the Boltons and Freys.
Is Riverrun a wealthy house?
Yes. Riverrun is a wealthy house that got its wealth from being in charge of the fertile Riverlands. It controlled House Frey and other wealthy noble families that paid taxes annually.
Who is the current owner of Riverrun?
After Lord Brynden Tully escaped from Riverrun, the castle got given to Lord Emmon Frey of House Frey. The Tullys got stripped of their ancestral home, and because the Freys participated in the Red Wedding, they got the castle as a gift.
Why did the Lannisters want Riverrun?
Riverrun was a strategic castle that linked the Riverlands with the North. The Lannisters knew they would have the key to the last stronghold supporting the Starks if they took Riverrun.
Is Winterfell stronger than Riverrun?
No. Riverrun is a castle that has an incredible defense. In times of danger, it can get flooded, turning it into an island. And if the supplies are running low, Riverrun can keep its men fed by catching fish.