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When did Roose start his betrayal of Robb?


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#1 hollowcrown

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:52 PM

When did Roose start loosing men loyal to Robb in battles instead of risking Dreadfort men? We knew it happened at Duskendale, but was he working against Robb right from the first battle of the war?

#2 King of Winters

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:55 PM

I think it was when Robb married Jeyne instead of a Frey girl and when the Iron Born took The North.

#3 Hear me Meow

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

Roose was hedging his bets from the start, but he turned to thoughts of outright betrayal after the news of the defeat of Stannis and the westerling marriage.

#4 Goldhand the Just

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:57 PM

I also thought it was when Theon took Winterfell that it happened

#5 Mladen

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:58 PM

Somewhere between Theon`s conquering Winterfell and Robb marrying Jeyne. So, somewhere in CoK, since Ramsay was already working against Northern forces.

#6 coil

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:59 PM

From the very start, then he waited for the right opportunity.
If you notice, he starts sacrificing other nobleborns' troops at his very first battle while preserving his forces.
I wonder what would have happened if Robb had given him the supreme commander title, when he and Robett Glover were asking for it at the beginning of the war...

Edit: "from the start" assumes that his ultimate goal was wiping out Starks despite the war happening at all... maybe that's presumptuous /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> However Boltons and Starks have a long tradition of fighting each other, so why not?
Let's say that he was waiting for the right occasion (the war) and then grabbed his opportunity (when given command on some forces and sent away from Robb's main army).

Edited by coil, 24 May 2013 - 04:01 PM.


#7 Johnny The Longshanks

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:01 PM

Agreed, he was waiting for the opportunity the whole time. I believe that if he hadn't been separated from Robb the full on betrayal wouldnt have happened

#8 I'll pay the iron price

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:03 PM

Roose is a shrewd man and was a coiled viper from the start just waiting patiently for the right moment to strike.

#9 Underzaker

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:04 PM

It's tragic how Robb and Cat's "less thought" decisions caused Roose to change sides. He would have been a great help for Robb.

Imagine the deliciousness in him going head to head against Tywin.

#10 Lost Umber

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:09 PM

I always thought he was throwing his battles, right from the first one at the Green Fork. In that case, he was all that stood between Tywin and the North and he got walloped without losing many Bolton men. It was obvious he was preserving his men and using up the strength of the other northern lords.
If Robb lost, all Roose had to do was bend the knee and possibly supplant the Starks as Wardens of the North. Especially if the other northern forces are decimated.


#11 Littlefingers In The Air

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:14 PM

After Theon took Winterfell, he started plotting. He probably started having actual doubt though when Robb married Jeyne.

#12 Lord Martin

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:53 PM

My favorite discussion EVER!

Roose Bolton is quite cunning. From the start of the war he risks the soldiers of other lords above his own. I've heard theories that his losses at the Battle of the Green Fork were greater than needed given his role was to be a diversion, not to take on Tywin full bore.

I also just noted that Lord Hornwood was killed in that battle, hours later his heir Darynn is killed, given Ramsay Bolton freedom to do what he did to Lady Hornwood and claim their lands.

So here, I don't think Roose had begun any sort of betrayal, he's just being Roose and finding a way to make the situation work for him.

Off screen he then goes to the Twins and marries Walda Frey. He arguably could have communicated with his son Ramsay to authorize him to make a move against the Hornwood lands... or Ramsay could have acted alone... really immaterial to the OP's question.

The next we get of Roose is when he takes back Harrenhal via Weasle soup. I think he's still loyal here, no need to turn as Rob is winning.

Then Blackwater happens and the Tyrells ally with the Lannisters. Arya's end chapter in ACOK is THE chapter to read. The Freys are saying Robb is done and are angry about the broken marriage promise, Roose has some great lines like, "I am not a man to be undone." and he hunts wolves. He also orders the attack on Duskendale. This is sort of his first overt sign that he's going to flip or is at least thinking about it. This isn't just about bleeding other northern houses now, he's sending men to die that could help the North survive the war.

He gets a lot of ravens in that chapter, some suggest they are cyphers from Tywin or Walder Frey. Cool idea, but I think we lack the textual support.

The next big marker is when Jaime comes to Harrenhal. His dinner with Roose is priceless. Roose lays it all out there, this was sort of his last chance to stay w/ Robb and he lets the Kingslayer go.

So for me the turning point is Blackwater and the Frey betrayal but Roose was always doing what was best for House Bolton.

#13 jarl the climber

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:01 PM

He admitted that Theon taking Winterfell sort of decided him. I think it was always an option.

#14 MasterJack

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:15 PM

He decided the betray Robb when he knew the war was lost and Robb would never bend the knee, and even so everyone knows what King Joffrey does with traitors.

So.. Jeyne + WinterFell + BlackWater + Karstark was good enough an excuse. He saved is own ass, as 99% of the entire population would do.

#15 Pinkie Baelish

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:17 PM

I think Roose ordered the sack of Winterfell. There's no reason for Ramsay to return and put his ass on the line, and then take Frey hostages while killing everyone else, if his father didn't tell him to do so. So my guess is that Roose's betrayal started with Theon taking Winterfell.

Edited by Pinkie Baelish, 24 May 2013 - 05:31 PM.


#16 King Aerys the Just

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:22 PM

I've think Roose ordered the sack of Winterfell. There's no reason for Ramsay to return and put his ass on the line, and then take Frey hostages while killing everyone else, if his father didn't tell him to do so. So my guess is that Roose's betrayal started with Theon taking Winterfell.


I'm leaning towards that as well. There was also the period when Ramsay was gathering troops at the Dreadfort which was so visible that Lady Hornwood found out about it, so Roose probably did too. Meaning that he might have condoned it. Unless he was in the field all that time I suppose, and thus couldn't be reached by ravens.

Edited by Lame Display Name, 24 May 2013 - 05:23 PM.


#17 Naathi Prince

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:23 PM

When Theon took Winterfell, robbing Robb of heirs who would take vengeance.

#18 coil

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 05:51 PM

My favorite discussion EVER!

Roose Bolton is quite cunning. From the start of the war he risks the soldiers of other lords above his own. I've heard theories that his losses at the Battle of the Green Fork were greater than needed given his role was to be a diversion, not to take on Tywin full bore.

I also just noted that Lord Hornwood was killed in that battle, hours later his heir Darynn is killed, given Ramsay Bolton freedom to do what he did to Lady Hornwood and claim their lands.

So here, I don't think Roose had begun any sort of betrayal, he's just being Roose and finding a way to make the situation work for him.

Off screen he then goes to the Twins and marries Walda Frey. He arguably could have communicated with his son Ramsay to authorize him to make a move against the Hornwood lands... or Ramsay could have acted alone... really immaterial to the OP's question.

The next we get of Roose is when he takes back Harrenhal via Weasle soup. I think he's still loyal here, no need to turn as Rob is winning.

Then Blackwater happens and the Tyrells ally with the Lannisters. Arya's end chapter in ACOK is THE chapter to read. The Freys are saying Robb is done and are angry about the broken marriage promise, Roose has some great lines like, "I am not a man to be undone." and he hunts wolves. He also orders the attack on Duskendale. This is sort of his first overt sign that he's going to flip or is at least thinking about it. This isn't just about bleeding other northern houses now, he's sending men to die that could help the North survive the war.

He gets a lot of ravens in that chapter, some suggest they are cyphers from Tywin or Walder Frey. Cool idea, but I think we lack the textual support.

The next big marker is when Jaime comes to Harrenhal. His dinner with Roose is priceless. Roose lays it all out there, this was sort of his last chance to stay w/ Robb and he lets the Kingslayer go.

So for me the turning point is Blackwater and the Frey betrayal but Roose was always doing what was best for House Bolton.


I like this post, and want to add that Roose's plan is actually more cunning that the series make it be, due to unexpected circumstances: in few moves he manages to get rid of many nobles and commanders, he weakens their troops while keeping his fresh, he gets as ally the best possible house to guard the North (plus he will take Moat Callin as well).
He gets the Royal forgiving and he gets rid of the historical enemies, the Starks.
Basically, in his plan he doesn't lose anything, he strenghtens new alliances and weakens all of his bannermen.
He gets the whole North and all the means to lock it and defend it.
The only weak point is that he also locks himself in a hobstile environment, but it's not like he lacks the tools to intimidate any internal enemy and block any troublesome situation to arise... not when it's almost winter. And it's not like the Iron Born are actually a real threat.

The external events however place him in one of the worst situations possible, due to pure unluck: of all the things, Ned Stark has a heir he can't possibly get rid of due to geographical distance. Manderly has bigger forces than expected and gets his heir back without paying anything real.
Even worse, one of the best commander of the Seven Kingdoms lands from a totally unexpected direction with a fully equipped army, while getting helped by the only person who had been trained by Ned Stark, who knows how to win Flints, Norreys etc.
Pure unluck.

During my first rereads I often saw Roose as a cunning but short-sighted man who jumped on the first occasion he got and then became forced to play along with it. With this thread I'm starting to reconsider his global plan... probably he was more farsighted than I imagined, but events conspired against him.

Edited by coil, 24 May 2013 - 05:53 PM.


#19 Marco

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:06 PM

When stupid Reek took winterfell...

#20 KOM

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 06:53 PM

My favorite discussion EVER!

Roose Bolton is quite cunning. From the start of the war he risks the soldiers of other lords above his own. I've heard theories that his losses at the Battle of the Green Fork were greater than needed given his role was to be a diversion, not to take on Tywin full bore.

I also just noted that Lord Hornwood was killed in that battle, hours later his heir Darynn is killed, given Ramsay Bolton freedom to do what he did to Lady Hornwood and claim their lands.

So here, I don't think Roose had begun any sort of betrayal, he's just being Roose and finding a way to make the situation work for him.

Off screen he then goes to the Twins and marries Walda Frey. He arguably could have communicated with his son Ramsay to authorize him to make a move against the Hornwood lands... or Ramsay could have acted alone... really immaterial to the OP's question.

The next we get of Roose is when he takes back Harrenhal via Weasle soup. I think he's still loyal here, no need to turn as Rob is winning.

(agree.)

Then Blackwater happens and the Tyrells ally with the Lannisters. Arya's end chapter in ACOK is THE chapter to read. The Freys are saying Robb is done and are angry about the broken marriage promise, Roose has some great lines like, "I am not a man to be undone." and he hunts wolves. He also orders the attack on Duskendale. This is sort of his first overt sign that he's going to flip or is at least thinking about it. This isn't just about bleeding other northern houses now, he's sending men to die that could help the North survive the war.

He gets a lot of ravens in that chapter, some suggest they are cyphers from Tywin or Walder Frey. Cool idea, but I think we lack the textual support.

The next big marker is when Jaime comes to Harrenhal. His dinner with Roose is priceless. Roose lays it all out there, this was sort of his last chance to stay w/ Robb and he lets the Kingslayer go.

So for me the turning point is Blackwater and the Frey betrayal but Roose was always doing what was best for House Bolton.


So much good stuff here.

Originally, on first read, I thought Bolton's hand was somewhat forced by his crazy bastard son sacking Winterfell, but it's more likely he was just cagey the whole time. Letting Karstark's and Glover's go south to attack Duskendale might've been part of it too? idk.

But it's a weird line to draw when he's expending everyone else's troops before his own the entire time. But I'd just lay that as Roose's extreme caginess.