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The Brotherhood Without Banners is an outlaw organization featured in A Song of Ice and Fire novels and it's HBO TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones.
The Brotherhood without Banners fights in the name of King Robert I Baratheon against anyone who hurts the weak who can't defend themselves. It was indirectly created by Lord Eddard Stark, when he sent out a force of knights to restore peace and justice to the Riverlands, bolstered by several of his own household guards from House Stark , under the command of Lord Beric Dondarrion, the Lord of Blackhaven, to stop the marauders and bring Ser Gregor Clegane and the Mountain's men to justice. After they are ambushed while crossing a ford and nearly defeated, the group continues the fight as a guerrilla group. Their numbers increase as they are joined by defeated soldiers from other battles, deserters, and refugees from the War of the Five Kings.
The Brotherhood, once considered an heroic faction, loses its purpose and meaning when Lady Stoneheart takes over and it becomes nothing but another dangerous criminal organization to be feared and hated, like the Brave Companions, as Lady Stoneheart only craves for vengeance and blood.
In the TV series, the outlaws are still an heroic faction under Beric, who's still alive.
A Game of Thrones
When Lord Tywin Lannister starts gathering his forces at Casterly Rock and Ser Gregor Clegane "the Mountain that Rides" begins raiding the Riverlands, after the abduction of Tyrion Lannister, Ser Edmure Tully meets survivors from one the destroyed villages. The women and children of the village where raped and murdered and the animals and the houses where butchered and burned by Gregor and his band. Lord Hoster Tully is dying of his illness and is unable to defend his lands from the Cleganes, so Edmure calls the bannermen of House Tully to gather their forces at Riverrun, but Gregor and his men invade the Trident and most river lords are forced to remain in their lands, so only part of the rivermen's army goes to Riverrun, while Lord Walder Frey does not answer Edmure's calls. Edmure sends forces led by Lord Clement Piper and Lord Vance to guard the pass between the riverlands and the westerlands and sends a group of river lords with the surviving victims of Ser Gregor to King's Landing to meet King Robert.
The Hand of the King Lord Eddard Stark is ruling in Robert's name and, after learning about the tension between the Lannisters and the Tullys, he chooses Lord Beric over Ser Loras Tyrell and Ser Ilyn Payne and sends a hundred men, including many of the Stark guard, under Beric to execute the Mountain and his band of soldiers in the name of King Robert I Baratheon. Lord Tywin Lannister is also summoned to ride at King's Landing to answer for Ser Gregor's crimes.
Beric, having the command of the party, leads his men into an ambush. But, after the sudden death of King Robert however, Lord Tywin and his son Ser Jaime Lannister invade the riverlands after Jaime defeats the river lords at the hills below the Golden Tooth, in the westerlands. While Ser Jaime chases his enemy and leads his army to besiege Riverrun, Lord Tywin and Ser Kevan Lannister bring another army and invade the riverlands, attacking and taking castles and towns. Beric's Iron Throne party includes Thoros of Myr, Lord Edric Dayne, Ser Raymun Darry, Alyn of Winterfell, Ser Karyl Vance, Lord Lothar Mallery, Ser Marq Piper, Harwin of Winterfell, Anguy, Ser Gladden Wylde, Green Gergen, and many others. After Jaime killed Lord Vance, Karyl becomes a lord and he and Marq have to leave Beric's party with a few men to harass the Lannister forces.
Beric's force is intercepted at the Mummer's Ford by forces of House Lannister, under Tywin's command. They make a fighting retreat only to be taken in the rear by Gregor and his men. Lord Lothar Mallery, Ser Gladden Wylde and Ser Raymun Darry are all killed, as are most of Lord Eddard's men. Beric is mortally wounded by Gregor's lance. Lord Edric Dayne, participating as Beric's squire, pulls him out of the Red Fork and stands over him with Green Gergen while the battle rages around them. Alyn of Winterfell manages to rally the survivors into a retreat. Beric dies that night.
Dondarrion is later resurrected by the Red Priest Thoros of Myr who performed his prayers and gave him the last kiss of R'hllor. Beric rallies the survivors to fight the Lannisters' invasion of the riverlands. However, the Queen Regent Cersei Lannister rules the Seven Kingdoms now, with her child son, King Joffrey I Baratheon, making Beric and his men outlaws.
Robb Stark gathers the northern houses sworn to Winterfell and marches south in support of House Tully, while House Arryn remains neutral, as Lady Lysa Arryn only wants Lord Robert Arryn to remain safe. By the time Robb is marching, Lord Tywin and Ser Gregor have already sacked and taken several places of the riverlands, including Pinkmaiden Castle, Stone Hedge, Raventree Hall, Maidenpool, and Darry. Beric's group keeps raiding the Lannisters' foraging parties, as well as Lord Karyl Vance and Ser Marq Piper against Ser Jaime's forces. When Robb Stark is joined by his mother Catelyn and the army of House Manderly at Moat Cailin, Tywin is already marching on Harrenhal against House Whent and Jaime has already captured Ser Edmure after a battle outside Riverrun, along with many other officers and knights. Lord Tytos Blackwood is commanding the surviving force in the castle, protecting his dying lord Hoster.
Beric Dondarrion is named among the nobles the Iron Throne commands to bend the knee on King's Landing or be named traitors. Beside Beric among the more dangerous enemies of the Iron Throne on the list are Lord Stannis Baratheon, Lord Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark, Lord Mace Tyrell, Lord Randyll Tarly, Prince Doran Martell, Lady Lysa Arryn, Lord Hoster Tully, Lord Balon Greyjoy, and Lord Yohn Royce.
Tyrion Lannister refuses to lead the Vale Mountain clansmen to fight Beric's band or Karyl and Marq's parties, choosing to fight the northmen. Robb Stark, Lord Roose Bolton and Ser Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully lead the northern and the Frey armies against the armies of the westerlands. Tywin's army and the Vale Mountain clansmen chase Lord Bolton's forces away on the Green Fork, while Robb Stark and the Blackfish lead another force to destroy most of Jaime's army at the Whispering Wood near Riverrun, with Jaime being taken by surprise from behind during the siege. Robb's army attacks the camps outside the castle the night after defeating Jaime and lifts the Siege of Riverrun. The war is far from over, and Beric and his men keep harassing the Lannister army. Meanwhile, Eddard Stark is executed by King Joffrey for treason. Eddard's son Robb Stark brings his men to Riverrun and on hearing of his father's death the Northmen and Rivermen at Riverrun proclaim him King in the North.
In the stormlands, Ser Davos Seaworth fails to get the support of House Dondarrion for King Stannis Baratheon, as Beric has gone missing and did not return to Blackhaven since the Hand's Tourney.
A Clash of Kings
Beric's group is reformed into the Brotherhood without Banners, a guerrilla organization keeping faith to R'hllor, the Lord of the Light, and rose in resistance against the Lannisters rule in the name of King Robert I Baratheon and Lord Eddard. They protect the smallfolk against the cruelty and power abuse of the highborn people and they always leave money when they take food from the smallfolk. They also fight soldiers sworn to the houses Stark and Tully if they torment the commoners. Beric's lightning-style raids and the Dondarrion sigil, a forked purple lightning bolt on black field speckled with four-pointed stars, lead to Beric becoming known as the Lightning Lord. Though Beric and his men were originally sent to execute Ser Gregor and his men, the Brotherhood fights all who oppress the smallfolk, not just the invading Lannister army. The outlaws are also thieves who take gold and food from everyone. When they take food and animals from farms, the Brotherhood always leaves money for the smallfolk, while the nobles who are robbed get nothing for themselves. They always protect towns and villages from the cruelty of the high lords and their kings.
Stories develop about Beric, claiming he can't be killed, as several men claim to have killed him but he keeps returning. While the Lannisters, the Starks, and the Tullys are hated by the victims of the war, Lord Beric becomes an hero of the commoners and the Brotherhood without Banners becomes the true resistance movement who wants to protect the people, though Edmure Tully also wants to protect the commoners as well. The Brotherhood goes against the High Septon and the Faith, as they took R'hllor as their true god. Many smallfolk peasants, women, victims, and criminals, and foreign warriors and sellswords from Essos join the outlaws and convert to the Lord of Light after watching Beric return to life.
The riverlands are being destroyed by the army of the westerlands, however forces of House Stark also attack, rape, and kill innocents as well. The most dangerous parties are the ones led by Ser Gregor Clegane and Ser Amory Lorch, but neither them can't beat the brutality of the Brave Companions, led by the Qohori sellsword Vargo Hoat. The are countless battles and atrocities that include as participants the Lannisters, the river lords, the northmen, the Brotherhood, Karyl and Marq's parties, and even the Night's Watch (under Yoren). Countless innocents and warriors die and villages, towns, and keeps are destroyed and/or deserted. Meanwhile, Robb Stark's army invades the westerlands and starts battles, taking castles, cattle, and gold mines from the Lannisters.
No one can destroy the Brotherhood and Beric becomes a living legend: he is always reported being killed, but his enemies have to regularly fight him again. Beric is killed five times, and each time Thoros revives him. At Harrenhal, Lord Tywin is infuriated by his men's incompetence to destroy the Brotherhood. Gregor and Amory torture and kill innocents under the accuse of being rebels who betrayed King Joffrey for the outlaws. Beric is still raiding the Lannister foraging parties and the Mountain's men are actively seeking him, as are Tywin Lannister's forces stationed at Harrenhal. His group meets smallfolk plagued by the ravage of Lannister forces but does not trouble them, and he attempts to pay for the food they take. Tywin's men go back and forth to fight battles and massacre innocents to bring to Tywin the fruit of their works at Harrenhal. The outlaws also fight against forces of House Stark, especially those led by Lord Roose Bolton and Lord Rickard Karstark.
During the war Beric got killed other 4 times after the first one: he got smashed with a mace on the side of the head by Ser Burton Crakehall; later, Ser Amory Lorch captured two innocent smallfolk at Rushing Falls, a beekeeper and his wife and threatened far and wide to hang them if Lord Beric Dondarrion did not surrender to him. When Beric surrendered, Amory hanged the beekeeper and his wife anyway with Beric strung up in the middle; In another battle, Beric was killed by Gregor again, by being stabbed in the eye with a dirk; then while fighting against Vargo Hoat and his men, Beric was killed again; this time by an archer of the Brave Companions.
A Storm of Swords
The War of the Five Kings ends with the defeat of King Stannis I Baratheon in the Battle of the Blackwater, at King's Landing. Stannis was the last hope to defeat the Lannisters, but now the Lannisters and the Tyrells are united, and Lord Randyll Tarly and Ser Gregor Clegane march in the riverlands to restore the King's peace and stop the rebels. At the same time the ironborn of the Iron Islands keep holding the North in the name of King Balon Greyjoy, forcing Robb to retreat from the Crag back to Riverrun, to prepare a march to Moat Cailin.
The Brotherhood without Banners finds three boys in the woods of the riverlands: Nan (in reality Arya Stark), and Hot Pie, and Gendry, an unacknowledged bastard of Robert Baratheon. Tom of Sevenstreams, Lem Lemoncloak and Anguy say they are Kingsmen and ask them to come with them to a nearby inn. Arya hesitates but after Anguy shows how skilled he is with the bow she realizes that they stand no chance and she agrees.
At the inn Gendry remains in the stable to watch their horses although Tom assures them that they are safe. Arya and Hot Pie enter the inn with the three men. The atmosphere is friendly. The men talk with the innkeeper and his wife about the food and the last visitors of the inn. The innkeeper sold them horses and gave them directions. Tom and his friends were waiting for them to get the horses back but they did not see them. Tom gives Arya a paper acknowledging a future payment of three dragons after the war for their horses. Arya protests and wonders how they will be able to reach Riverrun. Suddenly Gendry runs in to warn them that there are strangers outside. The people in the inn are not worried but Arya is afraid that it will be the Mountain's men. She slams a tankard in Lem's face and tries to escape but to no avail. The men outside come in and among them, Arya recognizes Harwin. He recognizes her and proclaims her real name to the surprise of all.
After selling Hot Pie to Sharna, by the boy's own decision, at the Inn of the Kneeling Man, they travel to bring Arya to Lord Beric Dondarrion. During their travel in the riverlands, Harwin tells Arya the story of the Battle at the Mummer's Ford, after Lord Eddard sent him and other men of Winterfell with Beric's Iron Throne host to kill Gregor and his men in the name of King Robert.
Later, they meet up with Greenbeard and learn that Jaime Lannister has escaped from Riverrun. When Arya discovers that they mean to bring her before Lord Beric rather than take her to Riverrun, she tries to ride off, but Harwin catches her. Her father's man is now a member of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and answers only to Beric and Thoros' Lord of Light, the god R'hllor.
The outlaws first visit Lord Lymond Lychester and then the Lady of the Leaves in search of word on Lord Beric's whereabouts. But none have seen him, only hearing rumors that he was dead—hung once, killed by Vargo Hoat, Amory Lorch, and twice by Gregor Clegane. The same rumors Arya had been hearing at Harrenhal. But Lem Lemoncloak and Tom of Sevenstreams know that Beric is still alive. The outlaws plan to ransom Arya at Riverrun after they meet up with Beric and Thoros of Myr.
They arrive at High Heart, an ancient hill sacred to the children of the forest. Tom, Lem and Greenbeard speak in private with the ghost of High Heart, an old dwarf woman. The woman has dreams while sleeping among the weirwood stumps, and tells them she had dreamed of "a shadow with a burning heart killing a golden stag"; of "a man without a face, waiting on a swaying bridge, on his shoulder perched a drowned crow with seaweed hanging from its wings"; and of "a raging river and a woman that was a fish…dead with red tears on her cheeks, but when her eyes did open, I woke from terror."
Later they vist Acorn Hall, where Lady Ravella Smallwood (née Swann) informs them that Thoros had been through recently, and that Karstark men were searching for Ser Jaime.
The Brotherhood searches for Beric at Stoney Sept, the town where Robert and Eddard defeated Lord Jon Connington and the Targaryen forces. The Brotherhood captured a group of northmen who are now being starved in cages. Arya gives one of them water. They were Karstark men captured by the Mad Huntsman. The Northmen are guilty of rape and pillaging, and Anguy puts them out of their misery. The Mad Huntsman captures Ser Gregor's brother Sandor Clegane, "the Hound", outside Stoney Sept and bring him, Arya, and Gendry to the hollow hill, the secret base of the outlaws.
When Dondarrion appears, Arya is appalled by his appearance. Once handsome, the man is now stick thin, missing an eye, with part of his skull crushed in, a noose scar around his neck, and a terrible wound through his chest. Sandor is accused of being guilty of many crimes committed by Gregor and Amory Lorch, such as murder of innocents, rape of little girls, and the murder of Crown Prince Rhaegar Targaryen's children, Rhaenys and Aegon. The Brotherhood fails to find Sandor guilty for these crimes, until Arya finally reveals one the Hound's actual doings: the murder of a butcher's 12 years old boy named Mycah. Sandor admits that, stating he was ordered to do so by Cersei and Joffrey. Beric states the it will be R'hllor to decide Sandor's fate, and allows him to prove his innocence in a trial by combat, fighting the Hound himself while Thoros of Myr always lit his blades with wildfire, Beric uses his own blood to make his sword magically aflame. The Hound caughts fire and goes madder because of his terror of fire and kills Beric in his rage to free himself from the fire.
For the sixth time Thoros brings Beric back, but says it becomes harder each time. Beric tells Arya the tale of his deaths and resurrections and how the Brotherhood was born: after Beric's death in the Battle at the Mummer's Ford, he was accidentally resurrected by Thoros of Myr using his religion's funeral custom. The revived Beric swore to uphold his oath to King Robert Baratheon and resume his quest to bring Gregor and his men to justice for their crimes. Thoros reveals that there had been voices within the group that thought they should surrender themselves, but Dondarrion managed to convince everybody to continue the fight to protect the people. Beric says he can barely remember his old life, he says he couldn't find his castle or remember the color of the hair from the woman he was pledged to marry. Beric has become a scarecrow of a man and walking corpse, his battered body bearing all the wounds of his previous deaths.
After the nurse Meg tends Sandor's wound, Beric lets him free after taking all his gold, most of it being the part of Sandor's victory gave from Ser Loras at King's Landing. The Brotherhood later reveals their plan to ransom Arya to her brother, King Robb Stark, or her mother Catelyn. However, due to Robb's plan to attend at the wedding between Lord Edmure Tully and Roslin Frey (the Red Wedding, in which he was slain), Dondarrion decides to hold Arya until the Brotherhood can ransom her to her Tully relatives.
The Brave Companions are occupying a settlement in the riverlands containing a septry, mill, brewhouse, and stables. The septry by a small river had previously been looted by other combatants, including Lannister troops. Beric leads the outlaw brotherhood without banners in reprisals against those who harm smallfolk. The archers Anguy, Kyle and Notch begin the fighting by slaying three Mummer guards shortly before dawn. The Brave Companions inside the septry are multinational, including a Myrish crossbowman, two Ibbenese, Dothraki, and Volantenes, among others. When the septry is set ablaze by fire arrows, the Mummers charge forth but are met by Beric's outlaws. There is also fighting in the stables. Although Kyle is killed, he is quickly avenged by Lem. Thoros of Myr and Beric both wield flaming swords against the Mummers, and the young Lord Edric Dayne fights by Beric's side. The Brave Companions surrender after a short battle. Jack-Be-Lucky, Harwin and Merrit o' Moontown rescue eight captive brown brothers from the burning septry before it collapses. The surviving Mummers are taken prisoner, with the exception of two Dothraki whom Beric allows to escape. Utt, the disgraced pedophile septon of the Brave Companions, is found hiding beneath the cellar steps. Despite their protests and excuses, Utt and his fellow sellswords are hanged by Beric's outlaws.
After the battle, Thoros and Beric have talk with Arya. Thoros believes that the Lord of Light is not done with Lord Beric yet, and that is why the red god has raised him from the dead so many times. The outlaws plan to ransom Arya back to her mother Catelyn or brother King Robb, who are on their way back to the North to fight the ironborn. Before that, they must cross the bridge of the Twins, where Lord Edmure Tully will mary Roslin Frey. Gendry asks to join the Brotherhood, liking their sense of justice, and is knighted by Beric as Ser Gendry of the Hollow Hill. Soon after, Sandor Clegane returns, claiming he killed the sentries. He demands his gold back, but is rebuffed by Thoros and commanded to leave. The Hound leaves realizing he cannot do anything, and they then discover that the sentries were only asleep. When some complain that the Hound will follow and murder them in their sleep, Lord Beric states, "Sandor Clegane would kill us all gladly, but not in our sleep."
Beric and the other outlaws vist the High Heart to meet again the dwarf woman known as the ghost of High Heart, to hear her wisdom. Thoros tells Gendry his history and life as a false priest who would drink and laugh with King Robert back in the old days. The ghost of High Heart calls Beric the Lord of Corpses, for the stink of the grave is fresh on him. The ghost of High Heart tells them her dreams: the kraken king is dead, and Lord Hoster Tully too; the goat sits alone in the hall of kings (Harrenhal) in a fever "as the great dog descends on him"; she dreamt of drums and pipes and screams making a great clangor (the Red Wedding); and "of a maid (Sansa Stark) at a feast with purple serpents in her hair, venom dripping from their fangs. And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow." Suddenly, she spots Arya, and calls her "blood child" and "dark heart", bidding her to leave. When Beric explains to the old dwarf woman that Arya is being brought to Riverrun, she tells them to seek her mother at the Twins, for there is to be a wedding. She then demands a song as payment for her dreams, the same song she always requests from Tom; Jenny of Oldstones.
Later Beric and the outlaws come upon a ruined town, Arya thinks the Lannisters destroyed it, but she is told that the town was destroyed years before by Hoster Tully, because Lord Goodbrook, the lord of the town, had fought for the Targaryens during Robert's Rebellion. Later, Thoros sees in his flames that Riverrun will soon come under attack by the Lannisters again (the Second Siege of Riverrun), and he believes the ghost’s dream that Catelyn and Robb are at the Twins. That night, Arya sneaks off while everyone else is asleep, feeling that the outlaws cannot be her pack if they want to ransom her off to her brother, mother, or uncle Blackfish. However, she is captured by Sandor Clegane while racing through the woods.
In what becomes known as the Red Wedding, Robb Stark, his mother Catelyn Stark, and most of their army are massacred and Catelyn's brother Edmure Tully captured by their treacherous vassals, the Freys and Boltons, who have secretly joined the Lannisters. Catelyn is stripped and thrown in the river after a day and a night. Arya, who was saved by the Hound and retaken as his captive, while warging into her direwolf Nymeria, finds her mother and drags her out of the water.
Catelyn's body is found by the Brotherhood and Harwin, the former guardsman of Winterfell, begs Thoros to bring her back. However Thoros claims she has been dead too long. Beric then gives up his lifeforce to perform the last kiss on her, and Catelyn rises, while Beric dies a seventh and final time. Leadership of the Brotherhood is taken by Catelyn, who becomes known as Lady Stoneheart. Stoneheart's mission, to take vengeance on all those she believes connected to the Lannisters, leads the outlaw band to fracture, causing many members to desert, including Anguy and Edric Dayne. However many people still believe Beric is alive and the Lannister-Tyrell regime hunt the Riverlands for him, intending to publicly execute him.
Lady Stoneheart has become a complete different woman: vengeful and hateful. She wants to avenge the death of her son, Robb Stark, and believes that Arya, Bran, and Rickon are dead too. She shows no mercy and hangs anyone accused of being an enemy, innocent or not. The Brotherhood has lost its original meaning and does not protect the smallfolk anymore. Instead it became nothing but a group of dangerous terrorists that the commoners fear.
The Brotherhood starts hunting down and killing members of House Frey. Petyr Frey is captured by the Brotherhood without Banners and a hundred dragon ransom is demanded. Merrett Frey volunteers to deliver the ransom. However, when Merrett arrives at Oldstones he finds Petyr has already been hanged by the Brotherhood. After they take the ransom the Brotherhood prepare to hang Merrett for his part in the Red Wedding. He tries telling them they'll get a bigger ransom for him, but they say his father won't fall for the same trick twice. Merrett claims that the Freys were justified as Robb dishonoured them. He tells them Lord Beric Dondarrion always gives a man a trial and they can't prove anything against him, all he did was drink. However the Freys reveal the resurrected Catelyn Stark, now Lady Stoneheart, still with the gash in her throat from Merrett's half-brother Raymund Frey. They ask her if Merrett was part of it, and when she nods Merrett is hanged.
A Feast for Crows
Since Lady Stoneheart took command of the outlaws, they became unhappy and feel the Brotherhood has lost its purpose and meaning. Many members left the group and went rogue.
The Freys search for the outlaws but are unable to find them, though Black Walder finds out they included a hooded woman, believed to be their leader. The outlaws are falsely accused to be responsible for the infamous Raid on Saltpans, led by Lord Beric and the Hound. This is actually a propaganda created by Lord Randyll Tarly to put the outlaws against the smallfolk and the Faith. Ser Kevan Lannister and the former Queen Dowager Cersei Lannister also believe those false accusations. The true responsible for the brutal raid are former Bloody Mummers, led by the dangerous criminal named Rorge. Lord Randyll Tarly, current ruler of Maidenpool, attempts to turn Lord Beric against the smallfolk by making up a false accusation to blame him for the brutal Raid on Saltpans. According to Randyll, the criminals responsible for the destruction of the town are Beric and his men. Rumors says that Sandor has been killing men loyal to the Crown in a tavern with a girl, and that he joined with the outlaws. Many think the girl is Sansa Stark and Randyll and Brienne of Tarth want to find the Brotherhood, the former wanting to bring her back to King's Landing to Cersei, the latter wanting to protect her for Catelyn. In reality Rorge was wearing the Hound's infamous helmet. The Hound has been found by a group of brothers of the Faith of the Seven from the Quiet Isle, and no one knows what happened to him after. The brothers took the survivors to the Quiet Isle, to heal them back to health or give them milk of the poppy for the deadly wounded ones.
Brienne and her companions, Podrick Payne and Ser Hyle Hunt arrive with Septon Meribald from the Quiet Isle at the inn at the crossroads. They are attacked by Rorge and Biter at the inn. Brienne kills Rorge, but Biter attacks her. The Brotherhood helps the three companions and Gendry kills Biter. Lem Lemoncloak takes Sandor's hound helmet.
Meanwhile, Riverrun is still under siege by the forces of the riverlands and the westerlands, commanded by Ser Daven Lannister and Ser Ryman Frey. Due to the Freys' incompetence to force Ser Brynden Tully to yield the castle to Jaime's uncle, Lord Emmon Frey, Ser Jaime arrives at the camps with his squire Josmyn Peckledon, Ser Ilyn Payne, and a host mainly made of men of the westerlands and the stormlands, and the Mountain's men, to help his cousin Daven. Summoning Ser Ilyn and Ser Lyle Crakehall, Jaime heads straight for the Frey camp. He first has Payne cut loose Edmure Tully, and when Edwyn Frey and his father Ser Ryman come forth to protest, he warns them to keep quiet. When Ser Ryman persists, stating that he is the heir to the Crossing, Jaime punches him in the face with his golden hand. He then dismisses Ser Ryman back to the Twins, sick of the man's whoring and drinking, and takes the bladed crown that his whore wears, which belonged to Robb Stark. Jaime also demands that Lord Walder release all the hostages that he has imprisoned at the Twins.
On the way, Ryman and his troup of three knights and a dozen men-at-arms are attacked by outlaws, presumably the gang of Lady Stoneheart, and are all hanged. Robb's crown ends up in Lady Stoneheart's possession, implying Ryman took it with him and it was Stoneheart who killed him. When news of it reaches the siege camp, Jaime is bothered by the audacity of the outlaws who kill the heir to the Crossing not far from the Twins. Ryman's son Edwyn suspects that Black Walder is somehow involved in his father's death to become heir of the Twins, even though Ryman's bastard uncle Walder Rivers says he has no proof.
The Brotherhood without Banners brings Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, and Ser Hyle Hunt to a cave, possibly the hollow hill, and bring the wounded Brienne before Lady Stoneheart. Thoros tells Brienne that the brotherhood have fallen low, and are no different to regular outlaws. Many have left the Catelyn-led organization. According to Thoros, war made Catelyn a monster.
Brienne is brought before Lady Stoneheart, where she as well as Pod and Ser Hyle will be judged. Brienne cannot see Stoneheart's face, but notices her holding a bronze crown ringed by iron swords. A northman, most likely Harwin, places Oathkeeper, Brienne's sword, before Stoneheart, along with Brienne's writ signed by King Tommen. The outlaws see this as irrefutable proof that the Maid of Tarth is about Lannister business. Her words are wasted there, as her pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. Finally, Lady Stoneheart speaks, needing to place her hand over her throat in order to gurgle out her judgment. Upon removing her hood, Brienne is horrified to discover that the Hangwoman is actually Lady Catelyn Stark, albeit now a specter from the grave. Thoros reveals that it was Lord Beric himself who administered the kiss of life to her, finally extinguishing his own unnatural life.
Stoneheart gives Brienne an ultimatum: kill Ser Jaime Lannister or be hanged. Brienne refuses, as Jaime saved her once at Harrenhal from the Brave Companions, and the thing that had been Catelyn Stark orders them hanged. Despite Ser Hyle's pleas for mercy, and Podrick's stoicism, nooses are looped about all three of their necks. As they are hefted upward, thrashing and dying, Brienne screams out a word.
Meanwhile, Ser Jaime successfully convinced Lord Edmure to yield Riverrun. Jaime's uncles Lord Emmon Frey and Lady Genna Lannister rule Riverrun now, though Emmon, Jaime, and Daven are angered by Edmure letting the Blackfish escape at their back. Despite that, Edmure is allowed to go at Casterly Rock with his pregnant wife Roslin Frey, the officers Ser Robin Ryger and Ser Desmond Grell are forced to take the black and join the Night's Watch, and Robb Stark's widow, Jeyne Westerling, is allowed to return to the Crag with her pardoned family, with the prohibition to remarry for a year.
The Brotherhood is blamed by the Freys for the murder of Ryman Frey. The following morning, Jaime warns Ser Forley Prester to guard Ser Edmure well, for fear either the Blackfish or Beric Dondarrion might try to free him. The knight is aware of his orders to kill Edmure should he try to slip away. Jaime adds that he should do the same for Jeyne Westerling, Robb's widow, stating that she is twice as dangerous as Edmure, should she escape. Jaime then visits Edwyn Frey, who is preparing his army to return to the Twins. Edwyn divulges that his father, Ser Ryman, along with his entire retinue, were hanged by Lady Stoneheart near Fairmarket. Although Edwyn blames Jaime, the Lord Commander is well aware that Edwyn couldn't care less that his father is dead. And although Edwyn is now heir to the Twins, Jaime knows that Black Walder will probably soon move to kill his brother. Jaime's only real concern is that the outlaws must be getting bolder if they are willing to kill Lord Walder's heir only a day's ride from the Twins. Jaime takes his leave after inquiring about Ser Raynald's fate.
A Dance with Dragons
After lifting the Siege of Raventree Hall and pardoning House Blackwood, Ser Jaime's party and Hoster Blackwood meet Brienne of Tarth at Pennytree. Brienne doesn't mention anything about the Brotherhood without Banners. She is bandaged on her face, and with the sword Oathkeeper. Brienne claims that she has found Sansa, and that Jaime must accompany her alone or else Sandor Clegane will kill the girl.
Despite being highly regarded as heroes, the Brotherhood without Banners can also be regarded as evil, having committed villainous deeds, such as:
- Aiding Lady Stoneheart in nearly hanging Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, and Ser Hyle Hunt under false accusation of treason and forcing them to hunt down Ser Jaime Lannister under Stoneheart's orders.
- In the TV series, they hand over Gendry to Melisandre, who plans to sacrifice him to the Lord of the Light for King Stannis Baratheon' s glory, citing the need of "king's blood".
- Later in the TV series, the Brotherhood without Banners massacred an entire village and hanged their septon, Brother Rey, despite claiming they "protect the people", prompting Sandor Clegane to hunt them down for revenge. However, it is later revealed that the outlaws who did it, led by Lem Lemoncloak, were acting out of orders and therefore were cast out of the Brotherhood and hanged for their crime by Beric, while the others were killed by Clegane.
Brotherhood without Banners