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|“||The day is won, and yet you do not smile, boy. The living should smile, for the dead cannot.||„|
|~ Dagmer, to Theon Greyjoy|
|“||You want to keep a man silent, you silence him.||„|
|~ Dagmer to Theon, referring to a farmer and his family that he murdered.|
Dagmer Cleftjaw is a character from A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV adaptation Game of Thrones.
He is the ironborn captain of the Foamdrinker, while in the HBO TV series, he is the first mate of the Sea Bitch. He takes orders from Balon Greyjoy and helps Theon Greyjoy on a raid to harry the Stony Shore then later to take Torrhen's Square and Winterfell along with his men. In the TV series Dagmer and Theon don't seem to know each other before the second season.
In the TV series, he is portrayed by Ralph Ineson, who also portrayed Chris Finch in the UK version of The Office, Connor Perkins in The Hurricane Heist, and SkekMal in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Dagmer got a scar on his face after being nearly killed by a longaxe when he was a child. In the novels this scar is hideous, as the blow has splintered his jaw, smashed his front teeth, and left four lips instead of two. He has a lot of gold, silver, bronze, rings, sapphire, garnet, and dragonglass, all which he took by the iron price. He is an old friend of Balon Greyjoy and trained Theon Greyjoy in the castle of Pyke, when the latter was still a little boy.
In his youth Dagmer was the most dreaded warrior of the Iron Islands. He once spent a summer reaving in the Stepstones with the young Balon Greyjoy. He personally trained Theon Greyjoy in arms, riding, and boatmanship. Dagmer and Theon get along well, and Theon even calls him "Uncle" on account of his having a female Greyjoy ancestor four or five generations back. Theon claims that Dagmer gave him more smiles than Balon and Eddard Stark together.
King Balon Greyjoy sends Dagmer to Old Wyk to raise the Stonehouses and the Drumms. After Dagmer successfully raises the houses, he is then ordered to accompany Theon on a raid to harry the Stony Shore. Theon's uncle, Aeron "Damphair" Greyjoy goes with them. Balon means to ravage the north and its coast, but while Asha Greyjoy and Victarion Greyjoy get major position, Theon only gets a minor position of authority. He's upset upon learning that Balon commanded Dagmer and Damphair to follow him, as it means he doesn't even trust Theon enough for this task.
Theon commands 8 longships and he's the captain of Sea Bitch, a ship named after his sister Asha. Dagmer and Aeron supervision him and they raid several villages on the Stony Shore, where Theon orders Dagmer to stay behind and defend the ships, which Dagmer laughs at. The raids don't go unnoticed and from Torrhen's Square, Leobald Tallhart sends Benfred Tallhart to investigate. Benfred and his company of the Wild Hares intercept the ironborn, but they ambush his party because the northerners did not take them seriously, unaware about Balon's intentions to attack the North. Benfred is drowned by Aeron Greyjoy and his men, while Theon has trouble to control his own men and even has to kill one of them.
When Theon returns from the scene of the massacre, he convinces Dagmer to follow his plan to take Winterfell, playing on the old reaver's lust for glory. Theon plans to attack Torrhen's Square, so that Winterfell will send out most of its garrison to retake it and leave the Stark seat defenceless. Aeron Damphair takes 6 of the 8 ships and continues harrying the coast of the North. Theon and Dagmer's crews of Sea Bitch and Foamdrinker advance inland. At the same time, Victarion and the Iron Fleet have already took Moat Cailin and are occupying the Neck, fighting against the Crannogmen, while Asha and her men have already conquered Deepwood Motte and are invading the wolfswood. The Ironmen invade the northern lands and take several castles and towns.
By killing Benfred Tallhart's party, the true size of the assault by the ironmen is kept secret a little longer, which allows the seizure of Deepwood Motte and an attack on Torrhen's Square. Dagmer leads most of Theon's Ironborn forces and attacks Torrhen's Square. The diversion works and draws out the garrison from Winterfell as its castellan, Ser Rodrik Cassel, learns of the fearsome ironborn warrior. Rodrik marches with 600 Stark men to retake Torrhen's Square, where he's joined by 300 Cerwyns led by Lord Cley Cerwyn. Dagmer originally objected that sieges are not the Old Way and he would have not enough men to storm a castle or defeat Rodrik's garrison, but Theon said he intended to slip in and take the under-manned castle while the garrison was away. Rodrik knows the lands better than Dagmer and the ironborn are not disciplined enough to stand a charge by mounted horsemen and their shield wall breaks. Dagmer leads the remnants of his force back to the Stony Shore. The plan goes as expected, with Dagmer losing the fight at Torrhen's Square while Theon captures Winterfell by surprise with 30 ironborn. Theon and his men attack 9 days after Rodrik and his levies left Winterfell. During the fight, Maester Luwin manages to send a raven to the Manderlys at White Harbor, so that the news can reach King Robb Stark in the westerlands.
After defeating Dagmer, Rodrik, Lord Cerwyn, and Leobald Tallhart, the castellan of Torrhen's Square, depart to retake Winterfell. All of the Seven Kingdoms know that Theon murdered Bran Stark and Rickon Stark and the north wants him dead. When they learn about Rodrik's march Asha Greyjoy refuses to support Theon in holding Winterfell and rides back to Deepwood Motte, leaving only 10 men for her brother. Shortly before the siege Theon is deserted by most of his remaining men, including all of Asha's reinforcements, and remains with only 20 men, all of them angered, especially Black Lorren. Ser Rodrik's northern army is made of 2,000 men, including Starks, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Flints, Karstarks, Manderlys, and Hornwoods. They fail to storm the castle thanks to Theon using Rodrik's daughter, Beth Cassel, as an hostage. 600 Boltons come to join them, led by Red Helm. Red Helm kills Rodrik and defeats the northern force, with survivors scattering. After that the Sack of Winterfell occurs and Theon is captured, the ironmen are killed, and Winterfell is burned.
Robb Stark officially loses his seat and the North and Dagmer takes advantage of the situation to descend at Torrhen's Square once more. He attacks the town again with his ironmen and they finally take the castle for House Greyjoy. Dagmer takes captive Berena Tallhart (née Hornwood) and her children, Brandon and Beren, as well as her niece Eddara Tallhart, the heir of Torrhen's Square.
The war between the northerners and the ironborn in the North make impossible for Hallis Mollen and his guards to bring back Lord Eddard's bones to Winterfell and King Robb becomes known as the "King who Lost the North". The northerners have no hope to take Casterly Rock or Lannisport without the support of the Greyjoys and the Iron Fleet and since King Stannis Baratheon has been defeated by the Lannisters and the Tyrells, the war in the south is lost. Robb marches back to Riverrun to prepare a plan to retake the North from the Ironborn, but before this take place both kings Balon and Robb are murdered. After hearing about Balon's death, Dagmer and his men remain at Torrhen's Square, while Victarion and Asha return to Pyke to stop Euron Greyjoy.
By the time that Euron Greyjoy is made King of the Isles and the North, Dagmer is still actually holding Torrhen's Square with his ironborn force and his hostages. The ironmen have lost most of the conquered lands in the north, as they are not as good in land as they are on the sea. In the Neck, Lord Howland Reed's Crannogmen almost entirely destroyed the ironmen and the reminder of the garrison at Moat Cailin is destroyed by the northern force led by Ramsay Bolton.
Later Stannis Baratheon liberates Deepwood Motte with his men and the northmen and captures the ironborn and Asha, who returned there fleeing from Euron. Asha offers to Stannis help to defeat Dagmer and liberate Torrhen's Square, but he refuses to free her and states that Torrhen's Square isn't worth anything to him and that Winterfell is all what it matters, thus Dagmer's force remains undisturbed by Stannis's army for now. At Winterfell the people prepares for the imminent siege and second battle by Stannis and the rebels. Theon meets a hooded man in a tavern who's disgusted in Theon's transformation as Reek, and decides to abandon Theon with his master Ramsay, as Theon was never a true ironborn. It's unknown if this man was actually Dagmer.
In the TV series Dagmer is much more cruel and dangerous and takes role and actions of Ramsay Snow, who's not present in Winterfell, during the season unlike the book version. Dagmer helps Theon in raiding the Stony Shore, taking Torrhen's Square, and capture Winterfell. Dagmer's actions at Winterfell in the TV series, such as telling Theon to kill to display dominance, murdering the orphan boys to pass off as Bran and Rickon, and later betraying Theon, in the books were all suggested by Ramsay Snow, who at the time was pretending to only be a Bolton servant named "Reek". He murders two married farmers and their children.
Later the Bolton force led by Ramsay Snow besiege Winterfell. Robb Stark gives the ironmen a chance to surrender and return to the Iron Islands unharmed, except Theon. Dagmer and his men are informed of this at Theon's back and Dagmer proves to be unloyal, vile, and more cowardly than his book counterpart. He betrays Theon and hits him in the back, so that he and his men can capture him and give to the northerners. Dagmer personally stabs Maester Luwin before leaving, not even bothering to finish him off. After handing Theon over, Dagmer and his men are betrayed and flayed alive by Ramsay and the soldiers of House Bolton.