Part 2 of our House Blackwood series continues – you can find House Blackwood: Part 1 – The Time of the Tree here. It’s clear GRRM has placed the Blackwoods carefully; they are an important part of several of the most important houses’ ancestry, with strong associations with mystical elements.
In this episode, we take a look at all the heroes of House Blackwood since the coming of the Targaryens. We have lots of thoughts and ideas of what’s coming next for them as Winter and the Dragons come. They are tied to both…
Lord Stark had marched south with a great host, made up in large part of men unwanted and unneeded in the North, whose return would bring great hardship and mayhaps even death for the loved ones they had left behind. Legend (and Mushroom) tells us that it was Lady Alysanne who suggested an answer.
The lands along the Trident were full of widows, she reminded Lord Stark; women, many burdened with young children, who had sent their husbands off to fight with one lord or another, only for them to fall in battle. With winter at hand, strong backs and willing hands would be welcome in many a hearth and home. In the end, more than a thousand northmen accompanied Black Aly and her nephew Lord Benjicot when they returned to the riverlands after the royal wedding.
“A wolf for every widow,” Mushroom japed, “he will warm her bed in winter, and gnaw her bones come spring.”
Yet hundreds of marriages were made at the so-called Widow Fairs held at Raventree, Riverrun, Stoney Sept, the Twins, and Fairmarket. Those northmen who did not wish to marry instead swore their swords to lords both great and small as guards and men-at-arms.
A few, sad to say, did turn to outlawry and met evil ends, but for the most part, Lady Alysanne’s matchmaking was a great success. The resettled northmen not only strengthened the riverlords who welcomed them, particularly House Tully and House Blackwood, but also helped revive and spread the worship of the old gods south of the Neck.
GOAT Black Aly Blackwood
Huntress, horse-breaker, and archer without peer, Black Aly had little of a woman’s softness about her. Many thought her to be of that same ilk as Sabitha Frey, for they were oft in one another’s company, and had been known to share a tent whilst on the march. Yet in King’s Landing, whilst accompanying her young nephew Benjicot at court and council, she had met Cregan Stark and conceived a liking for the stern northman. And Lord Cregan, a widower these past three years, had responded in kind.
To him gathered Benjicot Blackwood of Raventree, already a seasoned warrior at three-and-ten; his fierce young aunt, Black Aly, with three hundred bows; Lady Sabitha Frey, the merciless and grasping Lady of the Twins, Lord Hugo Vance of Wayfarer’s Rest, Lord Jorah Mallister of Seagard; Lord Roland Darry of Darry; aye, and even Humfrey Bracken, Lord of Stone Hedge, whose house had hitherto supported King Aegon’s cause.
Aegon the Fourth had died long before Jaime had been born, but he recalled enough of the history of his reign to guess what must have happened next. “Only later he put the Bracken girl aside and took up with a Blackwood, was that the way of it?”
“Lady Melissa,” Hoster confirmed. “Missy, they called her. There’s a statue of her in our godswood. She was much more beautiful than Barba Bracken.”
– Jaime I, ADWD