An Overview of 4 Major Upcoming Battles from The Winds of Winter


The Winds of Winter will be a bloody book. GRRM has flat out stated that the number of POVs will be declining.

GRRM does not intend to add any more POVs. In fact, the number of POVs is about to decline. “Take your bets,” GRRM warned.

How the POVs will die will likely not be known before the publication of TWOW, but there are at least 4 significant battles that will occur in TWOW that might give us an idea. The two most prominent battles being the Siege of Winterfell and the Battle of Meereen. The others are less talked about but will likely be similarly bloody: The Siege of Storm’s End and what I’m terming as “The Battle of the Mander.”

So, I thought it might be of interest to the sub to summarize the POVs that might be present at the battles, go over the commanders and summarize the respective military strength of the combatants. I’ve written on Siege of Winterfell previously. In the future, I have plans to write extensively on the Battle of Fire and perhaps the other two as well. But for today’s purpose, I’d like to outline the 4 battles. Please feel free to comment on things that I might have left out or other relevant information. More importantly, how do think these battles will shape up in TWOW?

The Battle in the Ice

The Battle in the Ice will be the showdown between Stannis Baratheon and Roose Bolton outside and perhaps inside of Winterfell. GRRM stated that this be one of two battles which would occur early in TWOW. Here’s the breakdown as I see it.

The Baratheons

  1. Houses Aligned with the Baratheons
    • House Baratheon of Dragonstone
    • House Florent
    • Houses Flint, Norrey and Wull (Northern Mountain Clans)
    • House Glover
    • House Mormont
    • House Karstark (Disloyal)
    • Remnants of Ser Rodrik’s army (Hornwoods, Cerwyns, and the Tallharts)
    • Half of House Umber
  2. Commanders
    • King Stannis Baratheon
    • Castellan Mors Umber
    • Lady Alysane Mormont
    • Lord Galbart Glover
    • Chief Hugo Wull
    • Ser Richard Horpe
    • Ser Godry Farring
  3. Personnel
    • 1500 Florents and Baratheons
    • 3500 Glovers, Mormonts and Northern Mountain Clansmen
    • 450 Karstarks (currently imprisoned)
    • 50-100 Umber Green Boys (estimate)
  4. POVs present in Stannis’ Camp
    • Theon Greyjoy
    • Asha Greyjoy
    • Bran Stark (potentially through the weirwood tree in the middle of the lake and the crows at Stannis’ watchtower)

The Boltons

  1. Houses Aligned with the Boltons
    • House Bolton
    • House Frey
    • House Ryswell
    • House Dustin
    • House Umber under Hother Umber (Likely Disloyal)
    • House Hornwood
    • House Cerwyn
    • House Manderly (Actively Disloyal)
    • House Locke
  2. Commanders
    • Warden Roose Bolton
    • Lord Ramsay Bolton
    • Ser Hosteen Frey
    • Lord Wyman Manderly (Currently wounded, status unknown)
    • Hother Umber
    • Old Lord Ondrew Locke
  3. Personnel
    • 4000 Dreadfort men
    • 600 of Ramsay’s Men
    • 2000 Freys
    • 200-400 Umber Men
    • Unknown number of soldiers from other houses
  4. POVs present in Roose’s Army
    • None


  • Rickon Stark’s return
  • If/When the Manderlys turn cloak
  • The Location of Robett Glover and the remainder of the Manderly heavy horse.
  • The ships that Manderly has hiding up the White Knife

The Battle of Fire

The Battle of Fire will be the great battle outside of Meereen between forces loyal to Daenerys Targaryen and the Slaver Confederation (Yes, I made up that title). Also, the Iron Fleet, led by Victarion Greyjoy, is on its way to Meereen to fight the Slavers on behalf of Daenerys. It is the second of the two major battles that GRRM stated would open TWOW. As of this writing, several chapters have been released or read in public on the battle from the perspectives of Barristan Selmy, Tyrion Lannister and Victarion Greyjoy. More here.

Anyways, here’s my breakdown and overview of the battle:

Targaryen Loyalists

  1. Factions Aligned with Daenerys
    • Meereen (More on the houses of Meereen here)
    • The Unsullied
    • The Stormcrows
    • The Free Brothers
    • The Mother’s Men
    • Stalwart Shields
  2. Commanders
    • Queen Daenerys Targaryen (Nominal, currently in the Dothraki Sea)
    • Ser Barristan Selmy
    • Grey Worm
    • The Widower and Jokin (Co-Commanders of the Stormcrows after Daario becomes Yunkai’s hostage)
    • The Red Lamb, Larraq and Tumco Lho (Trained as knights by Barristan Selmy – will likely lead Meereen’s contingent in the battle to come)
    • Skahaz mo Kandaq (will lead Meereen’s internal defense when Barristan goes out to fight)
    • Symon Stripeback (Commander of the Free Brothers)
    • Marselen (Commander of the Mother’s Men)
  3. Personnel
    • 10,000 Unsullied
    • 400 Stormcrows
    • 1000 Meereenese trained by Barristan (estimate – probably wildly overstated)
    • Unknown Numbers for the Free Brothers, Mother’s Men and Stalwart Shields. I’d estimate that they might have something like 1500 swords combined.
  4. POVs present in Meereen
    • Barristan Selmy
    • Daenerys Targaryen (nominal)

The Slaver Confederation

  1. Factions Aligned with Yunkai
    • Yunkai
    • Astapor
    • Volantis
    • Qarth
    • New Ghis
    • The Company of the Cat
    • The Windblown
    • The Long Lances
  2. Commanders
  3. Personnel
    • 3000 Company of the Cat sellswords
    • 2000 Windblown
    • 18000 soldiers from New Ghis (Estimate based on Roman idea of a legion consisting of about 4500 soldiers. New Ghis deploys 4 legions to Meereen)
    • 800 Long Lances
    • Unknown Number of Volantene slaves rowing galleys
  4. POVs present in the Slaver Army
    • Tyrion Lannister

The Ironborn

  1. Houses Aligned with the Ironborn
  2. Commanders
    • Victarion Greyjoy
    • Captains of the Iron Fleet
  3. Personnel
    • 50-60 ships (90 ships set sail from the Shield Islands, half are lost at sea, Victarion seizes other ships on the way to Slaver’s Bay)
    • 3600-4000 Iron Island Raiders aboard the ships (Estimate taken from historical fact that 1 Viking longship held between 80 and 90 raiders. 45 ships remain to Victarion after the voyage to Slaver’s Bay.
  4. POVs present in the Iron Fleet
    • Victarion Greyjoy


  • Rhaegal and Viserion and their impact on the battle.
  • The Volantene Fleet has not arrived in Slaver’s Bay. They will be a significant wildcard one way or another.

The Siege of Storm’s End

This would be the battle between Aegon VI Targaryen and his Golden Company vs. the Tyrells besieging Storm’s End vs. the Baratheon loyalists defending the castle. While it is unknown when the battle will occur in TWOW, but GRRM read a chapter in 2011 from the perspective of Arianne that indicated that Big Spoilers TWOW

Aegon VI Targaryen

  1. Houses Aligned with Aegon
    • House Connington
    • The Golden Company
  2. Commanders
    • Aegon VI Targaryen
    • Jon Connington
    • Harry Strickland
  3. Personnel
    • 7000-8000 Golden Company Soldiers (Estimated from 10K GC originally starts with and accounting for losses sailing across the Narrow Sea)
  4. POVs present in Aegon’s Army
    • Jon Connington

The Tyrells

  1. Houses Besieging Storm’s End
    • House Tyrell
    • House Rowan
    • House Tarly
    • House Redwyne
    • Other Houses of the Reach
  2. Commanders
    • Mathis Rowan
  3. Personnel
    • Unknown, though significant numbers of Tyrell soldiers have march to King’s Landing from the siege lines at Storm’s End to supervise Margaery’s Trial by the Faith
  4. POVs present in the Tyrell Army
    • None

The Baratheons

  1. Houses defending Storm’s End
    • House Baratheon
    • House Farring
    • House Florent (probable)
  2. Commanders
    • Ser Gilbert Farring
  3. Personnel
    • Skeleton force – probably around 250 soldiers
  4. POVs present in Storm’s End
    • None


  • Mathis Rowan was one of the fiercest Targ loyalists during Robert’s Rebellion. If word reaches him of Aegon’s survival, will he remain true to the Crown’s cause or turncloak and join his army around Storm’s End with Aegon and JonCon?

The Battle of the Mander

This will be the battle between Euron Greyjoy and the Redwyne Fleet. When we last left things in the Reach in AFFC, the Ironborn had successfully taken the Shield Islands and were raiding up the Mander. The Redwyne Fleet, previously involved in the siege of Dragonstone, departed Dragonstone and sailed for the Reach to throw the Ironborn back. Per the Arianne preview chapter currently available on GRRM’s official website, the Redwyne Fleet had passed the Stepstones on its way to fight the Ironborn.

The Ironborn

  1. Houses Aligned with the Ironborn
  2. Commanders
    • Euron Greyjoy
  3. Personnel
    • I’m guessing about 90 ships and about 5000 Ironborn Raiders.
  4. POVs present with Euron
    • None

The Redwyne Fleet

  1. Houses Sailing with the Redwyne Fleet
    • House Tyrell
    • House Tarly
    • House Redwyne
    • Other Houses of the Reach
  2. Commanders
    • Lord Paxter Redwyne
  3. Materials & Personnel
    • 200 ships
    • Let’s call it 12000 soldiers/sailors
  4. POVs present with the Redwyne Fleet
    • None, though Samwell Tarly will likely be somewhat nearby.


What do you think?

So, we have at least 4 battles which will occur in TWOW. Some of our POVs will be involved in the battles. How do you see each of these battles shaking out? Will some of the above POVs die in the battles? Who will be victorious? Who will be defeated? What will it mean for Westeros and Essos? Thanks for reading!


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25 responses to “An Overview of 4 Major Upcoming Battles from The Winds of Winter

  1. Max Williams

    I’m a big fan of your work and I like the outline form you used as it makes understanding the information much clearer. I think from the released TWOW we know that Barristan Selmy and the Ironborn have successfully defended Meereen and that Aegon VI has taken Storm’s End. I believe that Stannis will win at Winterfell but that Euron will probably wreck the Redwyne fleet.
    Off-topic, but I was wondering when we would see continuations of the Hoster Tully and the Littlefinger posts. The first posts were impressive in my mind and I’d like to see them continued. Thanks for your posts and keep writing!

    • My co-author here (SomethingLikeaLawyer) at the blog is working on the next part in the Hoster series. I’ve seen the progress so far, and it’s pretty amazing. I had to put the Littlefinger project on hold for a little bit as I started working on something else — something hopefully I’ll be able to share with you all in a little bit, but I have about 800 words for the LF essay. I’ll post it here when I’m complete. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. Hardy

    Thx for starting your blog and the great essays in it, looking forward to the next things you’ve got in store.

    Two little corrections in your overview of the battle of fire: 1. You mentioned again the karstarks (probably just a copy-and-paste-fault), 2. You listed the tattered prince on both sides, but this may be intended because we don’t know for sure, if the “pentos-deal” was definitly agreed on both sides.

    Thx again for the excellent work and keep it going, greetings from Germany.

    • I kept going back and forth on it, because the Tattered Prince switches sides in TWOW, Barristan I, but when I put it up on reddit, I wanted to be a little opaque so as not to sway the comments too, too much. But I’ve fixed the problem, by spoiler coding it. I think I fixed all the other errors, but if you see more, let me know. Thanks for reading!

  3. Kieran

    Great Piece. Couldn’t Help notice You said, under the Meereen battle: 450 Karstarks (currently imprisoned)?

  4. beto

    Another great post.
    The one battle we know little about is Euron vs the Reach.
    There is some foreshadowing that he will be attacking Oldtown soon (so, Sam will definitely be the POV through which we will see the battle). Some people have speculated that he might draw the Redwyne ships into the Whispering Sound, and destroy their fleet with Stormsinging, while attacking Oldtown from the river Honeywine, Viking style (carrying the ships over land to the river) to avoid the defenses.

    • beto

      A small input:
      1) Tolos, Elyria, and Mantarys joined the Slaver Confedaration.
      2) Qavo said to Tyrion that even Dothrakis joined against Daenerys, which seem reasonable given that they “trade” in Slaves. Maybe the Khalasar that Dany meets at the end of ADWD was initially allied to the Yunakai and Dany will win it over with some display of power (drogon).

      3) The Second Sons are missing in the Slaver Confederation faction.
      4) i would include the Long Lances as another Wildcard, since Barristan also tried to win them over.
      Spoiler: Since both the Tattered Prince and Brown Plumm turned cloak, i think is a matter of time before Gylo Rhegan does so too.

      5) Even though Aegon is facing two token forces,
      Spoiler: in Arianne II we are told that an army left Kings Landing to face the Golden Company after SE was taken. There are two armies currently present in the capital, one commanded by Tarly and the other one by Mace Tyrell. MAce would never leave the city before his daughter´s trial. So we can speculate that Tarly is currently going to Storm´s End with an important Army.

      • That’s really awesome. Thanks for sharing the link and commenting! Really good thoughts esp on areas that I left out of the outline!

      • Snackbarian

        well then, here’s another spoiler for you:

        the long lances are defeated by a company of dany’s freedmen, trained by an unsullied and brother to missi. they also destroyed the trebuchet, guarded by the mercs. that much for “wildcard”. seems they were pathetic weaklings in the first place.

  5. beto

    If it is correct that Euron´s objective is something in Oldtown (and there is a lot of evidence and foreshadowing of this), one could argue that some of the commanders of the battle would be:
    a) Baelor Hightower: building ships
    b) Garth Hightower: Training an Army
    c) Gunthor Hightower: in charge of the harbor

    Wouldn´t call him a commander, but many believe Sam will play a paramount role in the battle of Oldtown. One of Jon´s first decisions was to order everyone in the NW to practice archery, Sam has kept on practicing, and getting better, he has encountered Alleras (who has remarkable skills, and a Goldenheart bow from the Summer islands), his house sigil is a striding huntsman ( sometimes depicted with a dagger (Sam already killed an Other with a dagger) and a bow.
    Not exactly sure what this role will be, but taking Euron´s “smiling eye” out with a loose arrow could well be it. He is called Crow´s eye after all, and Sam is a crow.
    Either way, Euron sounds like really smart. He must know it´s impossible for the Ironborn to hold the Reach for long. I think he is there for a short run objective. Maybe getting the Death of Dragons (the only known copy is at the Citadel), or Sam´s Horn. Many believe is the actual Horn of the winter, since conveniently for plot development reasons he takes it south, and is one of the few objects Sam can´t sell. There must be something important about that horn. Sounds like Chekhov’s gun.

    • beto

      Besides if raiding the Mander/ attacking Highgarden, was his objective, the Shield Island would have strategic value right?. But he awarded the lordships and castles of the Shield Islands to potential adversaries and enemies, hardly his most loyal bannermen.
      a) Maron Volmark was one of the lords that claimed the seastone chair during the kingsmoot, and later supported Victarion
      b) Nute was one of Victarion´s champions.
      c) Andrik is one of Dunstan Drumm´s Champions.
      d) Harras Harlaw: is the heir to Ten Towers, he supported Asha. While his cousin Hotho Harlaw ended up supporting Euron. By naming Haras lord of Greyshield, Hotho became heir to Ten Towers.

      Sounds like a Bolton-ish tactic to get rid of enemies. I think they are a classic decoy, he knows very well he will be losing the shield Islands soon, but he doesn´t care because his true objective is something else.

  6. I hope Victarions dies. I can’t stand him anymore. Maybe another POV death will occur outside of this battles. Cersei? Jaime? Brienne?

  7. James

    The battle of the Mander is what will make or break Euron for me. Currently, I have no idea what to think of him. He is powerful, he is smart, and he is king of the Islands. But my issue with him is that he is most likely a failed protege of Bloodraven. He fell instead of flying. In AFFC we see the ironborn get roudy and hard to control. Their loyalty in him is nowhere near 100%. The only reasons that he is king are his gifts and words. He doesn’t have the sheer loyalty that Balon and Victarion have. The men loyal to him are all from lower houses, or are lowborn but renowned. They just want more power and prestige. They know that with him, they have a chance of that. His situation somewhat parallels Daemon Blackfyre in that regard. Still, he doesn’t even have 100% of their loyalty. Those lords like the Codds are about as stalwart as a sellsword company or the lords of the Reach, Stormlands, and Riverlands (3 kingdoms that are never fully united in wars and always split). The rest are just regular lords who raised him up because of what he promised them. They have even less loyalty, and less reason to be loyal. They were just drunk with lust for treasure and victory during the Kingsmoot. After taking the shields, they sobered up and aren’t confident in his plan.
    This battle on the Mander will either cement their loyalty, or destroy it. Does Euron have magic? I doubt it. As much as fans love to claim that he has all of this powerful magic, it just doesn’t sound right. ASOIAF has unconventional magic. Most of it is also not really magic, but tricks like powders. Sometimes the level of magic possible changes wildly as well. Melisandre can birth shadows, but most of her fire is based around powder tricks. At the same time, a random street performer in Qarth was able to do amazing things with fire that nobody else has done, and he was just a distraction for pickpockets. This lack of consistency can of course just be GRRM’s normal inconsistency with some things (Tyrion can’t climb the stairs to the tower of the hand, but he can fight in battles and do backflips). Other than that one pyromancer though, magic is much less direct in the series. It revolves around blood sacrifice, shadows, glamors, and divination. These are all subtle and implied magic. The most direct magic we see outside of pyromancy is Melisandre’s ability to birth shadows. The magic is more similar to blood magic and shadowbinding than it is to pyromancy. It is only the physical abilities of the shadows themselves that make it more direct. This is why I doubt Euron’s magical ability. First of all, he failed to fly. Second, the magic that people suggest he uses is totally different from anything else in the series. Even if he has been drinking shade of the evening for a year, so what? The Warlocks of Qarth still didn’t use any magic like that. They used illusions. I don’t think Euron can summon up storms. For me, Euron is like Baelish. Fans have talked them up way too much, and expect too much out of them. As you pointed out in another essay, Baelish relies on luck most of the time during the WOT5K. Fans see that he had a few great plans, and think he planned every move. Same goes for Euron. People believe that he has all kinds of insane magical strategies to win everything. While I enjoy reading about almost all of them, and want Euron to be a major antagonist; he seems to be a bag of hot air sometimes. If he wrecks Garlan’s and Oldtown’s forces in the upcoming battles, I’ll believe that he is that great.

    • Renee

      Tyrion only needed help climbing the steps to the Tower of the Hand after the Battle of Blackwater when he was recovering from injuries.

  8. Snackbarian

    I bid ye good-den, king and servingmen.
    All thine kingdom doth now belong to us.

    I have a few questions though, concerning the second siege of Meereen:


    a) FREEMEN COMPANIES: what makes you think the 3 freemen companies have only 1500 men? it’s impossible to say what a company numbers, sellsword companies that we know of are everything from 800 men (long lances) to 3000 men (company of cat) and even 10000 men (golden company, although this is actually a real army in itself and a special case). I personally would think the three freemen companies could be as big as 3000 men each, but I admit that most likely they don’t number more than 1500 each. however that would make for 3000-4000 men still.

    b) SIR BARRISTAN TRAINEES: what do you mean by “1000 meereeneese trained by barristan”? I must have missed something. as far as I remember, he only trained a few squires to become knights, some of them “promising”. I would really love to have an update considering the first chapters of winds of winter with the first barristan and first tyrion chapters.

    which leads me to point 2. ATTENTION! POINT 2+3 -> POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!

    2. how many unsullied are ready to attack the besieging forces with barristan? the first chapter of the last book has 5000 of them in the market square while the brazen beasts “have freed up” as many as possible on the city walls. the unsullied of course were on the walls formerly, but not all, as other were confiend to barracks. somehow I get the feeling that not all of the 10.000 are able to join the attack (also a city gate is never broad enough to leave much space so it will take time even for the minimum of 5000 to pour out) against the most able of the enemy forces, namely the ghiscari legions.

    3) one of the freemen companies, trained by an unsullied – the mother’s men – are able to “defeat the long lances” in the first tyrion chapter of winds of winter. I assume the long lances are a disciplined enough force to make a decen cavalry charge so either

    a) the mother’s men were trained enough to form a halfway decent shield wall;
    b) the yunkai high command was surprised and threw their cavalry against them which was in an unready state (big surprise lol);
    c) the mother’s men had greater numbers than the long lances, which all of you who played the total war series would understand (big mass of spearmen absorbs medium cavalry after some pushing) – but I do remember it’s a computer game and not reality

  9. Snackbarian

    sorry to disturb again.

    1) you still havent updated the “second sons” forces on the yunkai side and neither have you included the “yunkai army” here – but in another post I believe, where you stated they might have something like 20.000 men. I doubt that very much. in the tyrion chapters (or was it windlblown chapters?) we learn there are 10 slaver masters who command this force and they have a different number of men: 100, 200 and some 2000 men. remember that when danny attacked yunkai first, they only had 4000 infantry (according to awoiaf at least) so I doubt they know how to build a large force at all. I took an average number of 1000 men per commander – and that might even be too much. so in effect they are more likely to have 10.000 – NOT 20.000 men. not that numbers matter much with such a quality (junk-ai army).

    2) you didn’t include the brazen beasts on the dany side, and I would also like to know what you think about their size.


  10. Snackbarian

    another question, if I may:

    who do you think commands the ghiscari legions?

    • Ha, I’m actually re-working all of this now for my essays on the Second Siege of Meereen (The Battle of Fire) — So stay tuned for that. I’m revising a lot of my figures for the battle itself, but it’s more complex than I had it here. The first Barristan chapter was really helpful to clarify some things on the Meereenese side. Tyrion II was really helpful for the Yunkish side. So, stay tuned!

      • Snackbarian

        all the wiki are shittis. they never list the complete numbers or even the units that are present. I tried my best and came up with this:

        – Unsullied (10.000 max.)
        – Stormcrows (500 max)
        – Dothraki Riders (20)
        – Mother’s Men
        – Stalwart Shields (not involved)
        – Free Brothers (not involved)
        – Pit Fighters (200)
        – Brazen Beasts (have crossbows), on the city walls

        as for the ghiscari legions, it seems that one legion is 6000 men thanks to the barristan chapter. the first 3 rows have spears it seems, the rest not. my head is spinning. Im doing everything I can to get a real picture.


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  12. David duran

    en la batalla del mander euron va a usar a los brujos para predecir la estrategia de ataque de lord paxter y poder contratacar de forma perfecta aniquilando la flota del dominio despues va a atacar antigua o el rejo no creo que ataque altojardin porqur garlan tyrell y su ejercito que deben ser 30.000 soldados aproximadamente estan ahi por lo que es imposible que ataque altojardin pero el rejo esta indefenso por ser una isla y antigua no esta tan bien protegida como altojardin por las otras batallas el segundo asedio de mereen lo va a ganar selmy y victarion los capitulos que publico martin desde los puntos de vista de barristal y tyrion lo hacen obvio los hijos del hierro atacan por sorpresa a los yunkios y sus aliados a parte selmy logra atacarlos desprevenidos y de forma efectiva para completar los hijos del viento y los segundo hijos van a traicionar a yunkai por lo que su victoria es segura en cuanto a el ataque a bastion de tormentas connington y la compañia dorada aprovechando sus elefantes aniquilan al ejercito de mathis rowan

  13. Kacpert

    Euron has 900 ships, redwyne 200 war galleys which each of them has nothing less than 100 oars. In battle will also participate fleet from oldtown. Redwyne’s and Hightower’s want attack ironborns from two sides similarly like stannis and paxter attack Iron fleet at battle of the fair Island during first Greyjoy rebellion. We have one POV character in euron fleet. This character is Aeron Greyjoy who is prisoner at ” silence”. Ironborns ships are faster and more manoeuvrable than redwyne’s and Hightower’s ships. Ironborns are also better sailors and warriors than people from reach but fleets of the ironborns enemies has larger ships and bigger battering rams

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