Hailing from A Song of Ice and Fire and thus Game of Thrones, The Brotherhood without Banners are outlaws operating in the Riverlands. They have been a small but nonetheless important part of the series since the start, which is why their name sees use for an unofficial fan club of the series as a whole. Regardless, while the Brotherhood without Banners has been neglected in the TV show, they are at the center of the plots set in the Riverlands in the books.
Here are 5 things that you may or may not have known about the Brotherhood without Banners:
They Claim to Be Loyal to Robert Baratheon
The Brotherhood without Banners are loyal to none of the claimants to the Iron Throne. Instead, they claim to be loyal to Robert Baratheon, who was the last undisputed King of Westeros before the boar incident. While this can seem like a cynical attempt at propaganda, it should be noted that there is some truth to it, seeing as how its core consisted of the men who had been sent to capture Ser Gregore Clegane by Ned Stark when he was still the Hand of the King.
Events surrounding the Brotherhood without Banners provide some of the best evidence supporting the existence of R’hllor in the setting. In brief, Lord Beric Dondarrion led Ned Stark’s men into an ambush carried out by Ser Gregor Clegane at the Mummer’s Ford in the Riverlands, where he and a significant number of his men were killed in the subsequent fighting. When a Red Priest traveling with the band performed the burial rites of his faith, it restored Beric to life, though missing some of his memories. Since that time, Beric has been killed again and again before rising from the dead, with more of his memories lost on each such occasion.
Now Led By Lady Stoneheart
In the books, the Brotherhood without Banners is under new leadership because Beric sacrificed his life to resurrect the corpse of Catelyn Stark, which had been tossed into the river after House Frey murdered Robb Stark as well as hundreds and hundreds of his supporters at the Red Wedding. The result is Lady Stoneheart, who has none of Catelyn’s compassion but all of her desired to see her murdered family avenged.
Part of a Proud Tradition
Some parts of Westeros have a much more extensive history of conducting guerilla warfare than others, with Dorne being the stand-out example. However, it should be noted that the Riverlands has an extensive tradition of popular resistance of its own, perhaps because its strategic location as well as its historical inability to form a strong, cohesive kingdom like those of its neighbors meant that it was the single most war-torn region of pre-Targaryen Westeros. In fact, when Aegon the Conqueror announced his intentions to unite Westeros by force, the Riverlands was actually under the rule of the Ironborn, which was about as pleasant as most people would expect based on their in-setting reputation. Suffice to say the Riverlands exploded into rebellion as soon as Aegon proved that iron was no match for the Black Dread.
Center of Riverland Plots
Book-wise, it seems probable that the Brotherhood without Banners will have a central role in the downfall of House Frey. After all, its members are hanging Freys whenever and wherever they can find them, while at least one member of the Brotherhood has managed to infiltrate the Lannister-Frey camp. Furthermore, it should be noted that both Brienne and Jaime’s storylines are headed towards the Brotherhood without Banners, seeing as how the first has been compelled by Lady Stoneheart to lure the second towards it. It seems probable that the reunion will be as unpleasant for Jaime as it was for Brienne, seeing as how Lady Stoneheart is nothing but a revenant risen for vengeance, which are not exactly famous for their ability to appreciate nuance.
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