After gathering several followers from the prisoners he took in battle, and then the men that he recruited in the raids that he carried out on Lannister camps, Rience formed the Black Owl Brigands and became an outlaw against House Lannister and the Iron Throne, secretly fighting on behalf of the King in the North. After marrying Maria Cray and rising up against his brothers in full force, he was defeated and killed by Benjen Thalatrix, but not before he sent a raven to the Nest exposing his brothers for their crimes.
Rience Thalatrix was born approximately three years before the Sack of King's Landing. He was the youngest son of Warren and Argella Thalatrix, the latter being former of the House Cassel, the neighbour of the Nest. Rience appeared to be of stark difference from his two older brothers, both of whom were extremely boisterous, cruel and short-fused. He remembers how he would often have to fight them when they let out their anger upon him. He was also extremely close with his sister, Elia, and the two of them had a much closer relationship than with either of their brothers, or anyone else their age. For the majority of his childhood, Rience was extremely nervous, even scared, of girls, so much that he would often remain deathly silent around them - the only girl he felt comfortable around was Elia, who was more confident and fiercely assertive, while Rience was quiet and empathetic.
Rience was regarded as stoic, but intelligent, cunning and sharp-witted, but at the same time he was exceptionally shy, always the last to contribute to conversations. His personal tutor Maester Carsen Gower, for whom Rience held an ambiguous distrust of because of his enigmatic nature, remarked that he had a kind of intelligence that sat between a ruthless warlord and a passionate warrior. Maester Gower and the boy shared several sessions where he would teach the boy card tricks, which Rience questioned the validity of. In the game, Carsen Gower would line the cards, after shuffling them, in an O across a table or floor, and then slide four cards into the centre in a cross, and ask if either two of these cards were the same one. For most of his childhood, Rience would ask Gower the validity of the game, but Gower would give no answer.
He dreamt his entire life of joining his House's army, as opposed to actually ruling the Nest - he always wanted to fight for the North. When he was eleven, he squired for Ser Rodrik Cassel, during which time he became good friends with the Starks of Winterfell. He would often train with Robb Stark, and even befriended Jon Snow at one point. It was remarked that Rience was uncommonly kind to bastards, of which his father was impressed and his brothers scornful. Rience trained intensely and broadly under the tutelage of Ser Rodrik, and it is reported that form the moment he brandished a sword from its scabbard, he was a natural warrior, earning the nickname 'the Owlclaw'. He fought in his first war during the Greyjoy Rebellion, and took part in the Siege of Pyke. He left Ser Rodrik's service and was continuously trained by Rodrik's brother Kevan. At one point, Theon Greyjoy challenged him to a duel over a girl Theon had been courting who had taken an interest in him - Rience defeated him but the duel came to nothing at all. Rience was only glad they had fought with blunted blades. His relationship with his brothers was extremely complicated - with Benjen, there was a mutual hatred between them, but with Ferryn there was a love/hate relationship, considering the fact that Ferryn could appreciate Rience was younger and not entirely like him.
However, his one true test came when his brothers visited a local winehouse and, critically drunk on strong wines, they started a brutal fight with a man who beat them in a gambling game. Rience and four of his men intervened, breaking up the fight, and Rience personally fought off Benjen, who wouldn't back down. He subdued both of his brothers, knocking them both out and personally dragging them to cells. Warren saw this as an incredibly courageous act on his part, valuing prosperity over his family, but still not willing to kill his brothers. His sister was also supremely impressed at his integrity. However, his brothers saw him as a traitor and vowed that, one day, he would regret 'betraying' them.
When Eddard Stark is accused of treason and arrested, Robb Stark calls the banners of the North, commanding all northern houses to join together so that they can march on King's Landing and free him. Rience Thalatrix rides alongside his brothers to meet with the Starks, representing his extremely ill father. When Benjen is called forth, he presents Rience as his best warrior, to which Robb Stark greets Rience as an old friend. Rience is polite towards Robb and Catelyn, and expresses his confidence that they can take back Eddard Stark after they have faced Tywin Lannister in the field.
Ferryn, Benjen and Rience are caught training in the camp, and Robb Stark approaches them on horseback. He appoints the Thalatrix army in the vanguard of the army in the Whispering Wood, and Benjen immediately accepts command over the army. Ferryn asks to fight Rience, and in the ensuing swordplay Rience disarms him. They exchange barbs over the fact that this will be their first war since the Greyjoy Rebellion, and Rience jokes that their first war was getting their father to let Ferryn leave the castle for fear that he would shame himself in a tavern. In the Battle of the Whispering Wood, Rience fights gloriously apparently and is part of Robb Stark's men when they return from the combat with Jaime Lannister. When Theon Greyjoy suggests killing him, Rience suggests giving a fair trial since he may be a Lannister but he is still protected from acts of savagery by the laws of gods and men. Theon and Rience argue until Robb overrules them and keeps Jaime as a prisoner.
Rience and his brothers are seen giving condolences to Catelyn Stark when news arrives of her husband's execution by Joffrey Baratheon. Later on, when Greatjon Umber declares Robb to be King in the North, Rience, Benjen and Ferryn take up the call and lay their swords at Robb's feet, with Rience asking Robb if he will accept his steel as his own.
Marching north, Rience follows Benjen and Ferryn into the attack on the Oxcross, and in the ensuing battle he takes several prisoners, and many believe that he ought to execute them, including Roose Bolton. Rience has captured eight men in total, most of them young men who are squires to dead knights. Robb Stark agrees with Rience that they ought to be kept alive, but then he gives Rience an ultimatum - considering the fact that he took them and argues on their behalf so strongly, he may keep them as his personal prisoners and he may provide for them as he wishes. He catches his brothers smiling at him when he is told this, and Rience agrees to this, but Robb then congratulates him on his mercy. Ferryn questions his decision, but Rience stands by it and Benjen admits that it's commendable of him to be so noble, but he ought not to bite off more than he could chew. The conversation is interrupted when they receive a message that their father, Lord Warren Thalatrix, has died.
In response to this, Rience goes to Robb Stark and asks permission from Robb Stark to leave the army in order to attend his father's funeral. Benjen and Ferryn volunteer to remain at Robb's side in order to represent their house, and that the loss of their younger brother on the front line wouldn't amount to too much, which Rience has ambiguous feelings about. Robb approves, and by his permission Rience prepares to ride home with his prisoners. Before he leaves, Ferryn follows him and tells him that he is proud of his little brother for wanting to go and see off their father. Rience asks him about the jape that they made earlier. He comments that both Benjen and Ferryn have always had a jaded sense of humour. With his prisoners in tow on their own horses, Rience rides back to the Nest.
When he reaches the Nest, he meets with his twin sister Elia and she takes him to the crypts beneath the castle, where Rience asks her about his last moments - he learns that Warren's final act was to write a last will and testament that he gave to Maester Carsen. Rience asks for a moment alone with his father, and Elia obliges. Alone, Rience verbally contemplates the last time he saw his father - the last words that Warren spoke to Rience was telling him that he wasn't fighting for Robb Stark or Eddard Stark, but fighting for the North, like he always had done. Rience says that he should have been there to care for him, and instead he rode away with his brothers to fight the Lannisters, which he is very ashamed of. Elia overhears him, and when he leaves she doesn't say anything. The two of them sit in the dining hall, where Maester Carsen reads out Warren's last testament - that Benjen Thalatrix rise as Lord of the Nest, and Ferryn serve as his councilor; Rience will inherit the ancestral sword of House Thalatrix, Justice, and wield it in future battles for the North; Elia will serve as regent in the absence of her brothers. Rience congratulates his sister on her new position, and then leaves to receive the sword.
Rience familiarises himself with the prisoners he took - Robar Payne, Judah Westerling, Tytos Swyft, Jonothor Marbrand, Damon Rivers, Steffon Hetherspoon, Harys Stokeworth, Balon Gaunt and Garlan Flowers. He announces to them that they will be returning to the battlefield soon, just after their father has been properly buried in the crypts. At the funeral itself, Rience is completely silent, and is comforted by Elia later on, and the two of them discuss what is about to happen with the war against the Iron Throne. Elia questions what glory he hopes to gain from joining Robb Stark, and Rience answers that he isn't following the man for glory, but because he believes that Robb is a great leader, a good man and a charismatic king - he is being loyal to his liege lord, as are his brothers. They reminisce of how their father caught them playing at being dragons in their bedrooms as children, and he had snapped at them because of the horrible memories that he had gained from Robert's Rebellion. Rience tells his sister that he will be returning to the North very soon and, when he returns, things will be different - he will have vented his anger or grief in battle, and he will be happier. Elia voices her hope that this is true.
When Rience rides back with his prisoners, it is noticed by many that he has armed them and given them the sigil of his house, as if they have become a part of his personal brotherhood. On the way, however, Robar Payne breaks free and attacks Rience with his axe. Rience easily defeats Robar, however, but gives him back his axe and challenges him to try again. Robar notices that none of the other prisoners have tried to escape while he distracts them, and they answer that they are afraid of Rience - they believe him to be like his older brothers. Robar moves to challenge Rience, but he backs off ultimately. Rience announces to them that they are their own brotherhood now, and that they fight beside him so that, when the war is won, they will be granted their freedom. They are impressed by his charisma and announce that they will follow him throughout the war, and hope that he thinks well of them when they fight by his side against the Lannisters. When Rience makes camp, Jonothor notices that he looks solemn, and Rience denies this, but it is clear when Jonothor goes back to sleep and Rience looks at the fire, that he is still mourning deeply for his father. He studies Justice, and practises with it against a tree, impressed by how deadly it is.
He arrives at the camp just as Benjen is returning his men. Benjen and Rience talk about their father's funeral, and Rience explains to him that he has been made Lord of the Nest. Benjen notices that Rience has Justice at his hip and assumes that it is to be presented to him or Ferryn, but Rience revealed that one of Warren's last wishes was for Rience to carry the blade. Benjen hides it well, but Rience notices that he is shaken by such news. He changes the subject to the war effort, and Benjen reports that Winterfell was attacked and taken by the ironborn, and Rience asks if Robb has turned his attention towards the ironborn for this. He learns that Roose Bolton has sent his men to recapture Winterfell, and suggests that they are in danger of facing a war on two fronts. Ferryn greets Rience and then sees Justice at his hip, and he tells Rience that he is to be in the vanguard with Benjen in the next battle - they engage with Ser Amory Lorch's men near Seagard, and Benjen is put in a position where he is nearly killed by several arrows. He is protected by his men, but he breaks through their protection and contributes to the victory. He suspects that his brothers put him there with intent to get rid of him.
After Rience continues to impress Robb Stark in battle with the Lannisters, Ferryn and Benjen actively begin to make attempts on his life, first by setting a stable on fire so that a horse charged Rience, only for Tytos Swyft to push him out of the way. Rience is complimented by Greatjon Umber, and throughout the conversation, Greatjon talks about his father at length, and Rience is pleased to learn that the two men fought alongside each other at the Trident. They are interrupted by Ferryn, who invites Rience to an inn where the serving girls are apparently notorious. Rience declines, and is laughed at by some of the northmen for this.
Rience follows his brothers to the tavern, where he watches them get drunk and woo several tavern girls. He awaits their departure, where he hears Benjen and Ferryn talking about him - Ferryn mentions the attempts on his life, and Benjen accuses them of being too subtle, insisting that they kill him in his sleep. Ferryn parts ways with his brother to relieve himself behind a tree, where Rience stalks upon him. Rience holds Justice to his throat and Ferryn impulsively attacks, only for Rience to evade his attack and press him against a tree. He reveals he overheard them, and Ferryn denies it, only for Rience to demand why they want him dead. Ferryn says that it was drunken banter, but Rience outmatches him logically and Ferryn admits to trying to kill him, citing the fight at that tavern long ago as the reason. It is revealed that Benjen overheard the confrontation and is sneaking up on Rience, who intercepts him at the last second. Rience fights off his brothers and the Stark guardsmen overhear the sound of the swordfight, charging into the woods. Rience allows Benjen to disarm him to make it look like he is the aggressor, and his brothers are restrained, even though they deny the accusations that Rience places against them.
Robb Stark confronts Rience, who claims that Benjen and Ferryn have tried to kill him before, and cites several reasons. Robb states that he will hear their testimony next and then he will make his judgement. Robb declares that all three of them would face penalties because he can't have three of his most promising warriors fighting among themselves, to which Rience agrees - but he will not give anyone else his sword for the sake of such a thing. Robb agrees with this, and leaves Rience. Rience sends a raven to the Nest stating that his brothers plotted against him, and Elia receives it. She speaks before her vassal lords and they agree that it would be within Benjen's morality at least to do so, since Rience had been given their father's sword.
Rience armours up for the next battle, and suddenly some Thalatrix knights arrive and declare that they are here to arrest him for the crime of dissent against the Lord of the Nest. Rience defends that he is not guilty of assault since the aggressors were Ferryn and Benjen, but the soldiers don't want to hear of it and are just following orders. They reveal that there are twenty of them, and Rience draws Justice, daring them to try. His soldiers get in front of him and dare the others to try and cut them down. A violent brawl breaks out, in which several of the Thalatrix men are wounded and one of them fatally, and Rience is forced to make an escape with his men. Benjen hears of this and demands a manhunt for Rience, who escapes into the woods. He hides from the soldiers, and then steals a horse from one of the men when they are alone. In his absence, Robb Stark declares him a brigand, which Benjen and Ferryn agree to. They put out a price for the head of Rience Thalatrix, and a doubled price for his sword.
Rience makes camp in a cave and sharpens Justice with a pebble. He hunts a deer the next day nad kills it with a single stroke, before cutting it up and sharing it among his men. Realising that they are all outlaws, Tytos suggests that they require a name, but before they can, they are set upon by the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Rience impresses Thoros of Myr by killing three of his best men in the ensuing skirmish. Thoros offers to make them a part of the Brotherhood, recognising Rience for who he is. Rience and his outlaws decline this, choosing to go out on their own instead because Rience has a destination in mind: Thoros allows them to go their own way, and gives them ten additional men, claiming that the Lord of Light has plans for Rience. They ride for the Neck, where they hope to reach House Cray's seat of Crowgate. He interprets the red comet as the breaking of the oath of family, of blood.
As they travel towards the Neck, they are separated when Umber warriors appear searching for Rience. Rience causes a diversion and draws the soldiers into the Neck, where he drags one of them out of the swamp when they accidentally go up to their waists in the slime. Rience drags the leader out of the swamp and violently interrogates him, but the captain denies any information from him. Rience's group is then surrounded by Cray men, and they are taken prisoner by Ser Waymar Cray, who takes them to his father, Lord Salmar Cray, who demands to know who he is - he eventually recognises Rience, but Rience entrances the old man with the story of his brothers turning on him. He makes the eight other men his prisoners, but treats Rience as his honoured guest - he refuses to send any ravens out to the Northern lords to give away that he has Rience, and forbids him from leaving the castle. Salmar's daughter, Maria, visits him in his chambers and questions him, and the two of them bond over the fact that they have similar ideals concerning the peoples that their houses rule.
Rience tells Maria about his sister Elia, and about the death of his father. When Maria asks about his mother, and Rience explains that his mother died when he was ten years old, and he was left to be raised by his wise father and strong brothers. Maria observes that her mother only died a few months ago, so she doesn't understand how Rience was raised as much as she'd like to; without the proper governance of a father, Rience only knew how to fight, so she observes. Rience answers that, if he didn't know how to fight, he could be no good for anything other than dancing. She states she'd like to see him dance, to which he denies, since he considers it embarrassing. She finds his modesty entertaining and tells him that her father wants to keep him for some other purpose, so he'd better come up with an idea to get back at his brothers before Lord Salmar Cray sends him in the wrong direction.
Rience dines with Salmar and Elia, and Rience stays silent for most of it. Salmar continuously asks about the wars in the North, and the only way that Rience replies after becoming agitated by the questions is by asking why Salmar isn't out there fighting himself. When Salmar cites his age, Rience points out that he is younger than the Greatjon, who is out there fighting in the vanguard of the Northern army. Rience then realises that Salmar walks with a limp and remembers stories that Salmar broke a Dornish sortie during the Battle of the Bells, only to fall from his horse. Maria becomes impressed with his wit, and asks him if he was ever betrothed to another lady - Rience says that Benjen and Ferryn were all betrothed to several ladies in the North, but the biggest problem came with the ladies who 'met them' face to face. The conversation turns sour when Rience asks after his men, and Salmar declares that they were prisoners from the Whispering Wood, to which Rience answers that they are his prisoners and he made them his own men. Salmar points out that there is no banner to them, and Rience answers that they need none - it is better that they aren't recognised as any particular faction of any particular house. Salmar says that Rience's men will not be released unless Rience leaves the castle.
Maria visits Rience again and offers him the key to the dungeons, and one of her own horses, so that he can escape and they can have their own mounts - on the condition that she hears more about him in the future, that he make himself a famous outlaw if need be. Rience and Maria trade barbs about the fact that, if he fell against Robb Stark then he would most certainly be made famous as a brigand who fell by the sword of his own king. Rience takes the key and frees his men, before stealing the horses and riding out of Crowgate. Maria watches him go. They flee away from the Neck and ride as far as the Whispering Wood, where they begin to enlist several common men into their ranks. They find that they have been pursued by Cray men, and they set a trap in the forest by luring them into the lair of a bear, which attacks them so ferociously that four men are lost. As the others escape, Rience's men fall on them and kill them all. Rience has them take the men's armour and, now that there are thirty of them, they decide to ride back to aid the North against the Iron Throne - he states that his king may have branded him a traitor, but he still fights for his king.
After travelling through the Whispering Wood, Rience's men begin to question the fact that he has led them nowhere so far - Rience defends that the only reason that he has led them nowhere is because they haven't reached their true destination yet. Damon Rivers confronts Rience with the fact that they are following a brigand, to which Rience bares steel against him. He asks why they have followed him this far, and only just realised that they are following a traitor and a brigand, knowing that Rience was both of those things since they ran away. They are subdued by this logic, and continue on to the camp.
Rience infiltrates a Lannister camp and begins to take measures as to its vulnerable points. He returns to his men, and they sneak into the camp and ransack it. Several of the Lannister soldiers retreat into the woods, where they trigger traps that were set by their attackers. They free the Northern prisoners that were taken in the camps, and they loot the camp and its inhabitants.
They are assumed to be the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Rience, who is not personally seen by anyone who doesn't decide to join them, is believed to be a ghost. The news reaches King's Landing and the Twins almost simultaneously, and Robb asks what sigil they are flying - it is reported to be two black owls beneath three blazing torches on a blue field. Hearing this, Robb summons Ferryn and Benjen, stating that he must send his men after this new brotherhood, and Benjen tells his brother to remain with Robb while he hunts down their brother. In the meantime, Rience has become extremely popular among the common people, and they have become known as the Brigands of the Black Owl Brigands. They continue to pillage Lannister outposts, looting food and armour and humiliating the men by luring them into elaborate traps. Rience takes to wearing a cloak and hood to hide his face, and is commonly referred to simply as the Stranger. During one raid, Rience sees some of his men drag children out of their homes, in order to take the gold, and stops them, stating that they do not terrify children if they can avoid it. He reminds his Brigands that they are only to kill or capture Lannister men. This is witnessed by several of the villagers, and when one of them challenges him for who he is, Rience identifies himself and why he is doing this, and how his brothers outlawed him. The people are moved by his story, and they announce that they will contribute themselves to his cause. Rience realises that the Brigands have expanded in number since they started, and there are now roughly ninety or a hundred of them.
Making camp in the night, Rience and the Brigands find refuge in the Crossroads Inn, where Rience denies the presence of any other women in his room. He tells a story to the Brigands about how his sister and he used to ride past Winterfell when they were children, and soon they came to the Labyrinth - the immense forest that stands between the Nest, and the rest of the North, and they managed to ride through it and explore the huge waterfall that was known as the Peak of Tears that leads into the Weeping Waters. Rience even dared to look down from the waterfall and think about jumping before Elia pulled him back. He tells another story about how his father would often leave with Benjen and Ferryn to fight against the wildling uprisings from those who passed by the Wall, and then he would treat with the Crannogmen, while Rience was left with Elia to tell ghost stories by a fireplace they'd made. When one of the children, Erik, asks him why his brothers turned on him, Rience explains that, not so long ago, his brothers got drunk in a tavern and started a fight in which three girls were wounded. Rience had intervened and pulled them outside, and a fight ensued in which Rience outnumbered them when the rest of his household guard arrived. Rience suspects that they haven't forgiven him, and his accomplishments since then have led to them hating him even more so.
They reach the Twins in time for the wedding of Roslin Frey and Edmure Tully, and Rience finds them a place in the tavern. They try to gain access to the castle, but before they can do so, the Freys massacre the Starks and Tullys. Rience witnesses Benjen and Ferryn leading their men into the camps, revealing that they have turned on the Young Wolf. Rience dons his hood and battles several Frey men, killing them all, trying to get closer to Benjen. Ferryn sees Rience, a hooded figure with a Valyrian steel sword, advancing on him, and warns him. Benjen commands his men to protect him, and Rience cuts through three of them before a horse charges the other one down and separates the brothers. The Brigands advance on the Thalatrix brothers, drawing bows and killing half a dozen more opponents and scarring Benjen. The brothers share tense few moments of silent fury before Rience charges, but is waylaid when the stables empty into the camp and they are forced to retreat. During the retreat he is pursued by Bolton men and hides inside a burning tent, only to use the flaming fabric to drag one soldier from his horse and escape. The soldier is killed by Ferryn for his failure to sway Rience.
Benjen has been scarred so badly that he can't continue the hunt for now, and Ferryn hunts after the Brigands with his men, chasing them out of the Riverlands. Rience and his men have stolen horses from the Twins and have almost reached the Neck since the Red Wedding. Ferryn divides his men into two halves and prevents Rience from retreating into the Vale. Ferryn finally corners them near the Neck, where his men pour towards them. Several of Rience's men are killed before they can draw their swords, but the rest of them prove phenomenally ruthless and drive back the Thalatrix soldiers. Ferryn kills Judah Westerling in a duel, and Rience takes the opportunity to cut off two of Ferryn's fingers, causing him to lose his sword. Rience presses the blade of Justice a milimetre away from drawing blood from Ferryn's collar, and Rience asks him for a good reason for not killing him. Ferryn stands and closes his eyes, asking that he die quicker than he allowed their father to die. This shocks Rience, and Ferryn takes the opportunity to strike back, knocking him to the ground. They grapple down a hill, before Rience retrieves Justice and confronts his brother again.
Rience demands to know why Ferryn and Benjen killed him, and Ferryn answers by mocking his brother with the fact that Warren would have fought an impossible battle in trying to make peace with the Iron Throne, were he in charge of their house during the War. He attacks Rience with an axe, but Rience evades every strike, focusing on his own demands as to why his brothers murdered their father. He speculates that the illness had worsened with every day as it took Warren, and realises that Ferryn and Benjen had been poisoning Warren before the War of the Five Kings, and calls Ferryn a disgrace to House Thalatrix, a kinslayer. Ferryn is enraged by this and the two of them fight an extended exchange across the hill before Rience slices his hamstring, disabling him. Ferryn bites back his screams of pain, and Rience holds the blade to his throat, curious by Ferryn's lack of reaction. He looks truly, sorely tempted to kill his brother, but then he lifts Justice up and slices it into the ground next to Ferryn's knee, inches from his flesh. He demands that Ferryn leave and never come back or Rience will kill him. Ferryn stares, incredulous at his brother, before turning and limping hastily away.
Rience regroups with the rest of his men, and sees that several of them have been killed. He says that they will make camp there for the time being; he then announces that the King in the North is dead, and that their original purpose has died with him. However, he identifies the Freys and the Boltons as their enemies, as well as Rience's own house: he tells them that Ferryn may not return but Benjen will be combative enough to try his luck with them. He tells them to start setting traps around the camp for any attackers to come looking for them, and when he is alone he silently contemplates the fact that he let the man who killed his father get away alive, but also that if he had done what he intended to do he would be a kinslayer. He vents his rage by cutting down a growing tree with a vicious swing of Justice.
Rience has taken Balon Gaunt for his squire, and the boy takes his pleasure in an inn with two tavern girls only for Rience to interrupt them. Rience announces that they are moving back to the camp, having got what they needed from the inn. Balon petulantly scolds Rience for interrupting him, and one of the girls tries to seduce him, but Rience coldly revokes her intentions. Balon teases Rience for his apparent reluctance to lie with any girl, no matter how beautiful, to which Rience announces that he is waiting for something a bit more advantageous - once he has cleared his name, he will settle down with a girl. Balon brags about the girls, and Rience sarcastically congratulates him for his exploits. On their way out, Rience gives a very generous donation to the innkeeper, stating that he doesn't want to buy anyone's silence - he knows that if he lived in fear of some innkeeper keeping his silence, he would never be able to sleep without one eye open.
Rience has spent three days eluding Benjen, and in those three days they have eluded his men as well. Rience hasn't heard anything about Ferryn or his injuries, but knows that he has nearly crippled him. At the camp, he jokes with his Brigands at length, until Balon brings up the subject of him being a virgin - he cites that he has had seven opportunities in the past, and seven times he denied them. The first three times were when Ferryn set him up with girls he had tried himself, twice when he had come across older women while riding, and once when his sister had jokingly offered to oblige him; it was often remarked that Thalatrixes had an extremely black sense of humour. Rience remembers the fact that his brothers turned out malignant, and they had bedded a dozen girls if the tales were to be believed. He decides to retire, but he sneaks into a cave and starts practising with Justice, where Robar Payne catches him. He knows that Rience disappears there for an hour every night and is exhausting himself with the efforts of training, to which Rience explains that he only wounded his enemy last time and would prefer to finish the job; Robar points out that it wasn't lack of skill, bravery or opportunity that prevented him from finishing the job.
The Brigands raid a camp of Freys that pass through the woodlands, and Rience commands that any man in armour be stripped to his mail. In the ensuing skirmish, Rience overpowers the man who is leading the vanguard and it is revealed to be Maester Carsen. Carsen explains to him that Elia sent him from the Nest in order to find her brothers and discover the rumours concerning Rience. The Freys intercepted them during the Red Wedding and intended to take him back to the Dreadfort for questioning. This invokes Rience's curiosity, since the Boltons and the Freys allied themselves in order to wipe out the rest of the Starks. Carsen and Rience speak at length and Rience realises that Elia is unaware of the extent to which Rience and his brothers have fallen apart. Rience explains to him what happened at the Stark camps, and then later what happened at the Twins which led to the combat at the Neck. The news of the Thalatrix boys fighting shocks Carsen, who remembers how they always fought but it would ever be playful - they seldom fought for real, let alone to the death.
Carsen brings food for the Brigands, who offer him a place among them, which Rience becomes extremely enthusiastic about. Carsen denies it, asking only for a horse so he can ride back to the Nest and bring the news to Elia. Rience asks that he tell her of the disgraces that his brothers have confessed to, but that Rience has crippled Ferryn in combat - the bottom line is that her brothers are trying to kill each other, and she is the best hope for their family now. Carsen asks Rience to come with him, and Rience denies it because Rience's presence with Carsen then and now is dangerous enough, let alone on the road when he is a known outlaw. Rience expresses that he wants nothing more than to go with him, but he values the lives of the people he grew up with whom he still trusts, than he values his own life.
After letting Carsen go, Rience and the others come across Maria Cray again as she is hunting in the woods. She has her men surround the Brigands, and Rience prevents them from fighting. Rience and Maria parley, and Maria establishes that there is a price of over one thousand Silver Stags and a lordship on Rience's head. Rience retorts that his brothers don't have one thousand Silver Stags, and a lordship would only threaten their power. Besides, House Thalatrix concerning Benjen and Ferryn has forsaken the North and allied with the Iron Throne, which surprises Maria. She asks him why he hasn't come back to Crowgate sooner, and Rience answers that the last time he went, he departed with stolen horses, to which Maria says that her father has forgiven. Maria offers to take them back to Crowgate where they can take refuge, and Rience agrees, considering that his men are close to starving despite the supplies they stole from the convoy. Maria takes them back to Crowgate, where Salmar greets him like a brother - he continues to strike Rience as pompous and simple, but then he reveals himself to be very perceptive and he knows that Rience has been fighting in the Neck. Rience states that he hasn't come expecting to fight with the Crays, to which Salmar answers that owls never expect to find enemies among the kestrels.
At dinner, Rience and Salmar discuss the fact that the Thalatrixes have turned on Rience, and Rience counters that Elia hasn't turned on him - Salmar notes the truth that the bonds between twins is stronger than that between basic siblings, but every bond can still be broken. Rience asks Salmar what he is willing to risk for the honour of his house, and respectfully listens as Salmar counts the men in his house whom he would die for - even if his injuries have left him unable to fight, as Rience had the gall to point out the last time they met, he will still fight to the last man for his house, as Rience clearly would. He asks to see Justice, and examines the Valyrian steel blade with fascination. Salmar tells Rience that he will not betray another Northern house to a traitor, and tells Rience that he will keep him in Crowgate for three days maximum, at which point Rience will have to move on to wherever he wishes to go next, providing it is not at Crowgate.
Rience gathers his Brigands and they decide that they will move straight on to the Nest to oppose Benjen and Ferryn if they return, and it is noticeable that Rience intends to see his sister better than he wishes to face his brothers. The plan is settled, but they are interrupted by Maria, who asks that she be left alone with Rience. She tells him that her father is giving them horses and armour for the journey, and that most of the Brigands will have to sleep in the stables as a result of their larger numbers than can be sustained by Crowgate. Rience recalls the fact that they met before the war, when Salmar came to the Nest to treat with Rience's father - Maria recalls Rience and his sister playing together, and Rience remembers that she had four brothers of her own. Maria explains that these brothers were all killed in the Red Wedding, having fought for Robb Stark; Benjen Thalatrix sent their heads to Salmar the very next day. Rience realises that there is more to Salmar than what meets the eye, even more than he originally conceived. He asks her why she is so interested in him, and in response Maria kisses him. Rience pulls away, shocked, and Maria playfully teases his naivety. She kisses him again, and then again and again, until he starts responding. The two of them sleep together that night. When they wake up, Maria questions the fact that Rience has never been with another woman, and he says that his opportunities were being saved - he playfully accuses her of breaking his resolve, and she hugs closer to him. She notices scars he received in combat, and he tells her he'll have more scars than that by the time this is over. She answers that she hopes there aren't any scars along his lips, and they laugh.
After leaving his chambers, he is confronted by Salmar, who invites him to sit and watch the sun rise. In the conversation that follows, Salmar establishes that Maria has proven herself immune to any other man - Salmar has arranged three previous marriages, and she has rejected them all or threatened to relinquish her entitlement to Crowgate. He asks her where he is going with this, and Salmar expresses that the two of them would be the ultimate match - between them, they control a large number of men, and they would control more land than if either of them married the Boltons, Mormonts or Karstarks; Rience would be entitled to the armies of Crowgate and would be able to truly overpower his brothers. Rience admits that it is an entrancing proposition, and he agrees to it. Salmar and Rience toast to the agreement, and when Rience brings the proposal to Maria, she cheerfully agrees. They are married three days later, in secret.
Now that Rience and Maria are man and wife, she is convinced that she can lead her father's armies when they leave Crowgate. Rience answers that, since they are outlaws, they are not bound officially by the laws of leadership and she is welcome to, but he would rather she stayed safe. Maria shows off her archery to Rience, impressing him, but he insists all the same. At the same time, word reaches Ferryn and Benjen about the match, considering that there are spies in the North. Realising that Rience has superior numbers than before, the brothers both agree that they will have to destroy Rience now before he can rise up against them again. They ask leave of Roose Bolton to go after Rience, and he allows it, and they ride out in full force to Crowgate.
Rience receives word that his brothers have amassed an army and are rising against him, and decides to ride out to meet them with the combined armies of House Cray and the Black Owl Brigands. Rience says that he intends to divert Benjen's army away from Crowgate towards Seagard. At the same time, Walder Frey receives word that two Northern armies are marching against each other in the Riverlands, and it is his responsibility to try and quell the battle, but he refuses, stating that Benjen and Rience can break each other to pieces just fine without him. Rience strategises with his Brigands over how they will divide their armies, stating that he Balon Gaunt will take the vanguard, while the rest will take the combined forces of the Brigands and Crays in a pincer movement around their opponents. Rience orders that a raven be sent with the offer of parley with the enemy, but the raven is shot down by Benjen, who would prefer a fight to a treaty. Realising that any hope of treating with his brothers is lost, Rience orders that a raven be sent back to the Nest, addressed to Elia Thalatrix, telling her about the upcoming battle, and every detail prefacing it, including the attempted murders of him, thus exposing Benjen and Ferryn for their crimes and branding them as traitors to the King in the North. The exact same raven is to be sent to every vassal house to House Thalatrix. Rience prepares to face his brother on the morrow.
At dawn, Benjen Thalatrix marshals his men and rides towards Rience's camp. They ransack the camp completely, destroying each tent and each settlement, before realising that the whole camp has been deserted. Benjen watches this from atop a hill, and then realises that it is a trap, and calls out to his commander, only for Rience to emerge from the trees with an army at his back. They encircle their enemy in a pincer movement and attack. In a violent battle, Rience leads the charge and the Brigands move alongside him in command of the Cray armies. Benjen brings out archers, who fire into the Brigand ranks, killing several of the soldiers and horses. Rience's horse is brought down beneath him and he loses several of the Brigands as they too fall from their mounts. Benjen charges into the battle on horseback, certain of an advantage, and Rience eyes him from a distance, before having his army charge the nerve centre of the Thalatrix forces. In the battle, Rience loses half of his men, but Benjen loses a considerably greater amount, and the battle devolves into the forest, where Benjen bares steel against Rience as they meet near a river. Rience engages Benjen in an epic duel, in which Rience is repeatedly pierced by arrows from the Thalatrix soldiers, even though Benjen furiously commands that his archers back away. Rience manages to cut deep into Ferryn's arm, but is himself wounded by a total of seven arrows and collapses, and Benjen glances tearfully at his brother. He tells Rience that he was always a tough young man, before kicking him over the edge of a cliff into the sea.
After the battle, Benjen returns to Ferryn at their camp and reports that Rience is dead, and Ferryn demands to see his brother's body so that they can return it to the Nest to be cremated - Benjen argues that Ferryn should want to bury the body, since traditionally bodies weren't burned if they were Thalatrix dead. Ferryn realises that Benjen is hiding something, and demands to know, at which point Benjen explains that he pushed Rience into the sea, and Ferryn furiously demands to find the body. In the meantime, Benjen sends a letter to the Nest, detailing that Rience Thalatrix is dead and that his army has been crushed - he sends a raven to House Cray detailing the same, and attainting Lord Cray of his position for harbouring an outlaw. When Maria and Elia both hear of Rience's death, Maria wanders into the woods and starts hacking at wood with an axe in rage; Elia wanders into the godswood and collapses, screaming with despair. She then receives the raven that Rience said, detailing who was responsible for the their father's death and every crime since. Rience's outlaws are rounded up and Benjen suggests they be sent to the Wall - uncharasteristically, Ferryn objects, ordering any follower of Rience Thalatrix to be hanged.
Days after his duel with Benjen, Rience's body is dragged out of the river and Justice is retrieved as well by Carsen, who realises that Rience is, miraculously, still alive, but requires a great deal of help. He is found by Thoros of Myr and the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Thoros agrees to resurrect the young knight on the condition that Carsen ensures he returns fire against his brothers. Thoros discovers that Rience was drowning and thus the process is more complicated - Thoros has succeeded in returning him to consciousness, but he is still in mortal danger. Carsen brings his body to Stoney Sept, where Carsen begins to revive Rience, who slowly wakes up, but not before screaming violently at the wounds he suffered. Incapable of speaking for a moment due to the shock of coming back, Carsen calms him down narrowly and tells him what happened. Rience confirms that Benjen tried to kill him in the battle and that he almost succeeded, but Carsen confirms also that Rience has seriously wounded him. Rience asks to see Justice, but Carsen says that he has hidden the sword until he knows Rience won't go straight north until he has fully healed.
Rience suffers violent nightmares about Seagard and about his final moments with his brother, and when he wakes up Carsen puts him to work in a forge, making sure he looks like a commoner. Carsen advises Rience to ride north to Winterfell because Brienne of Tarth has been sighted nearby, having hunted down Sansa Stark there. Rience asks how Carsen knows this, and Carsen explains that he has an informant inside Winterfell: Maester Wolken, who serves the Boltons but does not outright support them because he is too afraid of Ramsay to be loyal to him. Rience tells Carsen that he asks where Carsen is going, and Carsen explains that he has been dismissed from the Nest by Ferryn, and Elia is powerless to stop him. He asks after Elia and learns that she is an outright prisoner in her own home, about to be brought to Winterfell for defying the new Warden of the North. Rience resolves to go to Winterfell to be closer to her, but then Carsen asks him about his wife Maria, who has been put under house arrest at Crowgate, and her father has been executed by Smalljon Umber. Understanding that, Rience knows that Maria will be brought to Winterfell as well.
They are interrupted by the sound of northern soldiers ransacking the Stoney Sept in search of Carsen, who is to be brought back north for interrogation about his dismissal from the Nest. Realising this, Rience searches for Justice, while Carsen poses as an elderly peasant and distracts the soldiers, before strangling the captain with his maester's chain after being discovered. Carsen then brandishes Justice, revealing he had it all along, and fights off three of the soldiers and killing two, only for the other to slash him through the heart. Stealing a knife, Rience blindsides that soldier and tears through his throat with the knife, before retrieving Justice and fighting with two weapons. The soldiers are shocked to see him alive and thus are too stunned to attack at first, before reinforcements arrive. After an exhausting battle through the Stoney Sept, Rience steals one of their horses and flees the Stoney Sept, riding harshly north across the Neck.
He arrives at Crowgate to realise that it has been put to the torch and everyone has been slaughtered. He cannot find Maria,and therefore resolves to continue north towards Winterfell. On the way, he finds several members of the Black Owl Brigands hanging from trees with seven arrows planted in them, symbolic of the seven arrows that struck their leader.
Rience gets closer to Winterfell, only to stop by a group of deserting Bolton soldiers, who invite him to share their fire. He is initially cautious of them, but he keeps Justice close to him when he decides to join them. They share a cooked chicken and Rience tells them that he was left for dead in the Whispering Wood and has been trying to get to Winterfell ever since, having followed Robb Stark to the Twins and then decided to follow the Boltons back to the seat of the Warden of the North. They tell him that he ought to stay away because Stannis Baratheon is marching on Winterfell with his army and there is bound to be a violent battle there. They recognise him for who he is, but to his surprise they treat him very respectfully and even offer him the rest of the chicken - he learns that Ferryn and Benjen is the main reason that they left, considering that the two of them, combined with Roose and Ramsay Bolton, have proven to be commanders too murderous to cope with.
While they share the chicken, and a skin of ale that they have been saving, one of the soldiers asks Rience about his brothers, and Rience recalls the first war he fought - the Iron Islands. He remembers Rodrik Cassel, for whom he had squired as a boy, cutting through the line behind Jorah Mormont and Thoros of Myr, and his brothers battering ironborn warriors aside, and how after the battle his brother had called him over to Pyke, where Balon Greyjoy knelt, and told him to look upon a defeated enemy. He then called for ale and gave Rience his first true drink. Rience believes it to be the single kindest day that Rience and his brothers had ever spent together, and Rience was only nine years old. The soldiers are deeply moved by the story, and offer to take him all the way to Winterfell, because they want to see the Boltons brought down. Rience accepts this, and they ride on together. They are soon joined by several other soldiers of his kind, and Rience realises that he has another brotherhood at his disposal.
Rience and his group finally reach the village outside of Winterfell and Rience is encountered by Podrick Payne, who is bringing supplies to Brienne of Tarth. Rience recognises that Podrick is still wearing Lannister colours, and asks who is his master and Podrick asks aggressively who Rience is. After hearing the answer, Podrick brings him to Brienne, who interrogates him into telling them who he is and what he wants. Learning that they are following the same person essentially, Brienne compares her sword with Justice, and even asks if he is as good as he is believed to be by the Lannisters. Rience doesn't answer, nor does he tell them about how he survived his fall during the last battle he was recorded fighting. Rience is recognised by several villagers, but he poses as a blacksmith in order for his brothers to be unaware of his presence.
Later, Rience sees Maria being brought into Winterfell and publicly addressed by Roose Bolton, who Rience recognises from Robb Stark's army. Roose greets Maria, and presents Elia to her. Rience grips his sword and plans to attack Roose, but notices that both of the women he loves are in the firing line and could be used as hostages by the calculating Lord of Winterfell. He procrastinates, but Roose recognises him and calls his men against Rience. The men pursue him into an alley, where Rience kills two of them before being knocked down by three more. Brienne arrives and violently kills all three of the Bolton soldiers, much to Rience's amazement. He shares sarcastic comments with Brienne and notes that he still isn't in perfect shape for fighting. Roose quickly forgets about Rience, but is concerned that his men have disappeared. Ramsay insists that Rience Thalatrix is dead and his brothers, who are present during the conversation, confirm that he is dead, too afraid of Roose Bolton to deny it and confess their mistake. While with Podrick Payne, Rience asks about the fight with the Hound earlier and is intrigued that such a skilled and savage fighter could be bested by Brienne.
Returning to a tavern where the Bolton soldiers he befriended were hiding, and he tells them that he has a plan to rescue his sister and his wife, while Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne rescue Sansa Stark. He explains that, with an army marching on the castle (something he hasn't told Brienne because he requires her to focus on Sansa) they will get into Winterfell and find Elia and Maria. One of the soldiers playfully asks about Maria's 'talent' in bed, since Rience has proven to be shy around girls, and Rience angrily rebuffs him, as do his comrades. They ask him if he is going to kill his brothers while he enters Winterfell, but he knows that they are going to be battling Stannis along with their masters. While drinking with his companions, Rience remembers Rodrik Cassel, a large, fierce man with white hair who taught him how to fight, but also as a grandfatherly figure in his childhood. He remembers the last time he saw Rodrik being at the Whispering Wood, fighting against Jaime Lannister. They tell him that some of the ironborn that were taken at Winterfell saw Theon Greyjoy cut off Rodrik's head, much to Rience's horror. He is silenced by this news and none of them press the mater any further to him.
Ferryn learns that Rience is alive from spies in the village outside Winterfell. He sends his best men out of Winterfell to kill him. Brienne and Podrick are forced to leave their tavern briefly to hide from the soldiers, but Rience faces off three of them, only for the Boltons to kill them from behind, citing loyalty to him over loyalty to either Roose or the Bastard of Bolton. Roose Bolton complains to Ramsay that they are losing men to the intrusions in the village and insists that Benjen goes out himself to sort it out. Benjen is reluctant since his injuries haven't completely diminished from battle, but Roose insists upon it. Benjen leaves, and sets one of the houses on fire to root out Rience and the rogue soldiers. Rience leads the men outside of the house before they can do so, and Benjen spots them, having placed archers all over the village. They are driven into the forest, and Benjen mistakes one of the corpses for his brother, who has been kicked in the head by a horse.
Benjen spots Rience at last, and the two of them trade barbs, with Rience hiding behind a tree with a bow and arrow. Benjen mocks his brother's aim, stating that the sword was his only true advantage, which Rience proves by pointing out the injuries that the elder brother suffers as a result of trying to kill him. Benjen becomes enraged, but finally cools his temper and insists that the two of them confront one another face-to-face, before spotting his prey and throwing a knife at Rience, who deflects the blade with his bow. Ferryn, who has been watching the whole hunt, unleashes his archers into the woods and Rience runs for cover, before loosing an arrow at Ferryn, striking him in the eye. While Ferryn screams, his archers hit a weak point in Rience's armour and pierce his side. Ferryn charges his brother at last, but the rogue Bolton men storm into the woods and slaughter Ferryn's men, leading to a vicious bloodbath in which the three brothers are, once again, separated. Rience is dragged out of the fray by Podrick, while Benjen carries his bleeding brother to safety.
Rience is repeatedly accosted by Brienne for starting the battle, while Podrick tries to dress his wounds - Brienne is furious with Rience for jeopardising their presence in Winterfell and exposing them to Roose Bolton, but Rience is silent for the whole altercation. Podrick notices that Rience's body is netted with scars and wounds from the battles he's fought and asks how he can still be alive, to which Rience says that the gods must have been reluctant to let him go, eliciting laughter from both men. Brienne is appalled at his lack of concern for how he jeopardised their cover, but Rience remains unapologetic for what he has done, even though it hasn't brought him that much closer to rescuing his sister or his wife. Podrick asks him who taught him to fight, and Rience admits that his father, as well as Ser Rodrik Cassel, who was master-at-arms at Winterfell before the war. Podrick laments for Ser Rodrik's death, and Rience, surprisingly, accepts his condolences. He observes Winterfell and remembers his duel with Theon Greyjoy years ago over a girl who had taken an interest in him. Podrick admits that he has been with a few girls himself, and Rience understands his shyness about it, since both of them feel nervous around women. Rience jokes that anyone who's seen her fight would be nervous around her.
Brienne, finally warming up to her burdening companion, asks Rience about his father, and Rience answers that Warren Thalatrix was one of the most fearsome men in the North in his prime, and that Brandon Stark squired for him as a boy, which Brienne remembers her father telling her about. Brienne remembers that Selwyn Tarth served alongside Warren at Ashford and the Trident, and that Selwyn thought that Northmen were fierce and fiery people - Rience counters that this is the common perception by northmen of Stormlanders. Brienne asks how long he has kept Justice, and Rience admits that it hasn't been very long, which Brienne compares with her usage of Oathkeeper. She tells him that Selwyn never squired her with anyone, and the only man she ever pledged service to before the war was Renly Baratheon - RIence recalls Renly visiting Moat Cailin at the same time as Warren had brought his children, and Renly was an extremely handsome man. Brienne asks how much he loves Maria, and Rience answers 'with all his heart', and Brienne warns him that loving someone with all your heart will shatter you if you lose them. Rience takes this (correctly) as encouragement for him to save her and his sister. Podrick notes that his armour saved him, and Brienne humorously returns to her blunt nature by stating that his armour saved him from his stupidity.
When Stannis Baratheon besieges Winterfell and House Bolton's men surge out to meet him, Rience is with Podrick when he sees the man's army and the burning-stag banner of House Baratheon of Dragonstone. He joins Podrick in informing Rience about what they see, and realises that Winterfell will be emptied in the attack. When Brienne goes to find Stannis in violation of the plan, Rience enters Winterfell and crashes into Maria as she manages to escape from her cell. Having found her, Rience surges on to find Elia, despite the pleads of Maria not to go further. Rience misinterprets this as her not caring about Elia, which is brought to a drastic halt when he discovers the corpse of Elia Thalatrix, flayed alive, hanging from the battlements. Horrified by what he sees, Rience becomes catatonic, until Maria manages to slap him out of it. Rience screams that he will kill them, and when guards overhear them and try to stop them from escaping, Rience rages out and slaughters them with his sword, seizes Elia and escapes, casting one venomous look back at Winterfell.
Appearance and Personality
Rience is tall, athletic and lean, with the shiny black hair that is typical of his House, and misty amber eyes which appear to liken him to his father. People remark that he has his mother's 'smile'. He is considered classically handsome, but more commonly he is heavily likened with his father at his age. There is a birthmark on the base of his spine shaped like a pair of wings. Rience's similarity with his sister lies with the fact that they are both 'straight as a spear, with thin faces and easy smiles'. Many people recognise that Rience has almost inhuman determination, making him a fearsome opponent to the wrong person. That being said, nobody has questioned his actual sanity.
As a boy, he was wild and adventurous to an extreme, so much that Rience would often enter life-threatening situations such as climbing great heights, venturing into the Labyrinth alone to see the shadowcats hunt other animals. He would often have to be reprimanded by either his father or Maester Carsen, but this would never repel him from doing it again. Rience was raised under the belief that the man who passed the sentence should swing the sword, like all Northmen, and this gave him an early-set sense of justice which would resonate throughout his life. He was extremely enthusiastic about whatever he put his mind to, but when he became the squire to Ser Rodrik Cassel he developed a very shady, serious streak - it was remarked that, after he came back from the Greyjoy Rebellion, there was a shade over his face from the things he'd seen. Many argue that he was one of the many individuals his age who were transformed or hardened by his experiences during the Greyjoy Rebellion, and he personally recalls seeing the Lannisport fleet burn at anchor, and the sound of battle all around him during the Siege of Pyke. When he entered the War of the Five Kings, he cited honour as his motivation, and that he would fight for his liege lord to his last breath, but arguably he fought because of his duty rather than because he was following his brothers. He admired Robb Stark greatly, even after Robb sanctioned the hunt after him.
Rience is extremely courageous by nature, proven by his multiple accomplishments in battle and his unrelenting drive to protect people he loves - he has been courageous to an almost inhuman degree all of his life. He has a fairly clear sense of honour, and can tell right from wrong in elaborate situations. However, he often finds his morality clashing with his limitations and what he truly wants, which is prominently shown when he earns the opportunity to kill his brother Ferryn, and realises that taking his brother's life, while sating his vengeance, would make him a kinslayer. As a result, Rience Thalatrix is a very complex character, who repeatedly ends up balancing honour against desire. He is, though, deceptively intelligent, and is able to play clever tricks in combat in order to make himself look like the defensive party - he is also extremely learned in setting secret traps, which comes in handy when he becomes an outlaw. Rience has a talent for leadership as evidenced by how he managed to command the Black Owl Brigands for some time as a foil to his enemies.
Rience was a fierce warrior and an unpredictable opponent in the field, as elusive as the owl that is his sigil. He is widely considered to be the most dedicated and the most proficient knight in his House, if not from the North itself - however, he was forced to refrain almost completely from combat following the fight at the Weeper. He remarks that, though he was politically skilled and a talented negotiator, his heart was always set on becoming a knight, which hugely pleased his father but caused his brothers to be jaded about for, in their eyes, he was seeking to challenge their record as warriors of House Thalatrix. The irony is that both of his brothers would have made controversial lords, and they themselves disgraced the name of Thalatrix on certain occasions, whereas Rience would have probably made a good and strong lord. That being said, even though Rience is a more diplomatic man than his brothers, it is arguable that he would have been better suited to warfare than to peace, as opposed to his sister Elia, who would like nothing more than to live in peace.
Rience was vastly loyal and dedicated, but also vengeful and often dubbed Rience the Wrathful for this unfortunate trait, possibly his only true flaw. After his father was murdered, he stopped at nothing to try and avenge him and, on the subject of blaming someone for his father's death, he became extremely intense and almost aggressive. However, he was a decent and loving man and fell in love with Maria Cray, which would have easily brought prosperity between both their houses - it was unfortunate and against his expectations to marry in times of peace, and he married for love with the backdrop of gaining her father's men. His love is true enough that he seeks to save her from the wrath of the Boltons, even though Maria can clearly defend herself well enough.. He can be surprisingly naive, since Ferryn points out that their father would have tried to make peace with the royalists, who would have hunted them to the ends of the earth for their rebellion. Thus, his loyalty can make him rather narrow-minded, which is probably one of his more elusive weaknesses. He also made a strategic mistake when he spared Ferryn's life during their showdown at the Neck, but in all fairness he was doing this because, if he returned to the Nest he would be branded a kinslayer.
When it comes to women, Rience is believed to be extremely naive to a fault, considering he has never laid with any prostitutes in his life, even though his brothers have tried their hardest, and even his Brigands persuade him. He resorts to stoicism when he is faced with seduction, so much that people believe that he is made of stone, but in fact Rience is resorting to practicality, since he would rather not have the attractiveness of another woman who doesn't harbour any true feelings for him distract him from what he wants. He is proven to have been terrified of girls as a child, considering he was always thinner than his brothers, who were considered physical masterpieces, and always expected them to mock him for it - the only girl he truly felt comfortable around was his twin sister, Elia. When he meets Maria Cray, it is evident that the two of them have considerable chemistry, which develops over the fact that they have several similarities and he finds her to be literally challenging - what divides her from the tavern girls he meets, apart from the obvious, is that Maria's feelings and opinions are genuine and she likes him enough to have affection for him. This goes to such an extent that Rience's resolve breaks and he sleeps with Maria, after being prompted by her challenging attitude towards him.
|Season One appearances|
|Winter is Coming||The Kingsroad||Lord Snow||Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things||The Wolf and the Lion|
|A Golden Crown||You Win or You Die||The Pointy End||Baelor||Fire and Blood|
|Season Two appearances|
|The North Remembers||The Night Lands||What is Dead May Never Die||Garden of Bones||The Ghost of Harrenhal|
|The Old Gods and the New||A Man Without Honor||The Prince of Winterfell||Blackwater||Valar Morghulis|
|Season Three appearances|
|Valar Dohaeris||Dark Wings, Dark Words||Walk of Punishment||And Now His Watch is Ended||Kissed by Fire|
|The Climb||The Bear and the Maiden Fair||Second Sons||The Rains of Castamere||Mhysa|
|Season Four appearances|
|Two Swords||The Lion and the Rose||Breaker of Chains||Oathkeeper||First of His Name|
|The Laws of Gods and Men||Mockingbird||The Mountain and the Viper||The Watchers on the Wall||The Children|
Spoken to/about Rience
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Rience is almost completely alike with his sister Elia, so much that when they walked side-by-side they were confused with one another. He is noted to be a young and extremely handsome man, who has stayed slim and fast his entire life. Rience is one of the best fighters in the North, who had proven himself in the Greyjoy Rebellion at only nine years old, where he squired for Ser Rodrik Cassel, and also served as one of the military representatives to his father since he was fifteen years old. Taking after his father, Rience is dark-haired, but differs from his brother because his physical features are sharper than theirs and are thus accentuated by his black hair, while both of his brothers have strong facial structures that spread out their hairline.
Rience Thalatrix was once known as Rience the Wrathful due to his passionate tempers. When he was young, he was extremely wild to the point that he would climb almost fatally high places for the sake of being thrilled by it. It was constantly speculated that he thought he could fly because of this, but the truth was that Rience was a spirited, if reckless boy who wanted to see the world from a view. He travelled with his brothers to Winterfell, Raventree Hall, Karhold and Castle Black, but never ventured beyond the Riverlands. As he got older, he outgrew his reckless and thrill-seeking attitude, but would commonly get what many described as a fierce, wild look of someone who was eager to see the world for himself. In addition, he had always been afraid of other girls, only ever comfortable around Elia or his mother - as he was introduced to more girls, and more romantic interests that he turned down, he became less nervous, but refused each time to accept marriage proposals for personal reasons. He confessed at one point that he always felt inadequate for girls, since he wasn't great and strong as what he perceived girls liked. He never visited brothels or had tavern girls entertain him, but it was confirmed he was capable of finding girls attractive.
As the books progress, Rience's behaviour becomes more and more complicated, as his situation continues to spiral out of control - Rience becomes enveloped by the fact that his father's death has torn his family apart, which only becomes stronger after he learns that Ferryn and Benjen killed him. e has never felt like he truly pleased his father, something which was only ever realised by Maester Carsen or by Elia herself. In the first book, he earns recognition for the prisoners he takes but refuses to execute or surrender to anyone else. Catelyn Stark regards him as a 'slender, dark-haired young man who looks like he is wearing a veil inside', but Jaime comments in A Feast for Crows that Rience was like a shadowcat during the Battle of the Whispering Wood, and wonders what it would have been like to fight the boy, and when confronting Loras Tyrell he recognises certain aspects of Loras to be similar to Rience. Catelyn also contemplates that she can see something of the younger Brandon Stark in Rience, what with the fact that he looked like a warrior while his brothers looked like conquerors; she later contemplates that, if rumours were any consolation, Rience was like a young Ned Stark around women - nervous, shy and veiled.
Throughout the course of Robb Stark's campaign, Rience proves himself several times, fighting with distinction at the Whispering Wood, even though Ferryn and Benjen are the commanders. He is part of the bait that Robb uses against Jaime Lannister during the battle and during the combat Rience kills Ser Terrence Stokeworth, Gyles Brax and Ser Mandon Lefford, the latter of whom is noted to have been the closest to killing him. During the battle, in which Rience survives unscathed, Robb and Rience ride alongside each other for an extended period and Robb believes that if Rience had ridden any harder he would have broken his horse, suggesting that Rience is completely different in battle to outside of it. He takes up the call to name Robb Stark the King in the North.
At Oxcross, Rience is given a scar by two of the squires and knights he takes prisoner, and as a result they gain a certain amount of respect from him. Catelyn believes that it is a bad idea for Rience to take personal responsibility for his prisoners, since they outnumber him and are Lannister men - many bannermen share this belief. The majority of events following this are more or less consistent between book and television.
In terms of skill, Rience fares better with a sword than any other weapon, not being patient or precise enough for bows and not strong enough to properly wield morningstars or axes. When he was thirteen, and he visited Winterfell, a girl that Theon Greyjoy was courting took a deep interest in Rience, and even though a nervous and uneasy Rience didn't truly reciprocate her interests, Theon took it as an offence and challenged the boy to a duel in public. Rience protested, but Theon insisted and Robb proved eager to see Rience fight, joking years later that Theon would have whined until the full moon if his challenge were ignored. They fought with blunted weapons, and Ser Rodrick Cassel resided over the match. Rience, afraid but at the same time careful, obliged Theon his duel for a while, going all across the grounds of Winterfell, until he then exploded on the attack and overwhelmed Theon, but refusing to land a blow on a swordless opponent. The girl wouldn't even look at Theon afterwards, but she instead took an interest in Robb, much to Rience's relief and Theon's fury.
In A Clash of Kings Theon Greyjoy remembers the duel, thinking that Rience danced around the courtyard when they duelled and didn't stay still long enough for Theon to have a fair fight, but Rience, Jon, Eddard Stark and even Sansa believe that Theon had been given a perfectly fair number of opportunities, but Rience was holding back. In private, Ramsay Bolton taunts Theon with this memory, but at the same time comments that 'hunting the Owlclaw in the wolfswood would be the hunt of kings', showing that even those who haven't met him believe that he would be a worthy opponent for them. Roose disapproves of Ramsay's arrogance in expecting to hunt Rience, believing that hunting such a person for glory would be unwise, and rather hunt him pragmatically.
When Rience is resurrected, much like Beric Dondarrion, he appears to lose a very considerable piece of himself - he loses certain memories from his past, including the women he almost slept with and the duel with Theon Greyjoy. He forgets the men he killed in his first battles, and even the look of his brothers' smiles. He remembers how to fight and lead and his family's names and faces, but he fears that if it were to happen again he would forget even more. WHen remembering the Starks, he laments that he and Robb did not become closer friends and that the betrayals ripped them apart - he would have happily served as a bannerman of the King in the North, having remembered the way Robb had looked at him and his bannerman when they hailed him after the Whispering Wood. He dreams several times of Robb and the events of the Red Wedding, and is haunted by the sound of The Rains of Castamere.
Rience's flaws are better present in the books, since Rience, while a good soldier and a good man at that, has the weakness of reacting too quickly and impulsively to situations. Because of his adventurous and devil-may-care attitude as a child, Rience is used to responding immediately to impulse, attacking his brothers the instant he heard them contemplate his death instead of reporting the conversation to Robb Stark, which could have quickened the justice that Rience's brothers deserved. Rience also had a habit of being judgemental, for example believing that Robb Stark was a better warrior in the field than Roose Bolton based on the fact that he won battles before Rience and proved to be a fiercer opponent, whereas the more experienced Roose was more careful and preferred strategising to direct combat, which Rience would come to appreciate. Rience is also incapable of overt ruthlessness in the best of times, even if that ruthlessness would better serve his interests.
- Even though Rience is the youngest son of Warren Thalatrix, actor Ben Barnes is taller than Oscar Isaac (who plays Ferryn Thalatrix) by eleven inches.
- Rience is largely based on Robin Hood, which was once confirmed in an interview by George R.R. Martin.
- ↑ The Pointy End
- ↑ Baelor
- ↑ Fire and Blood
- ↑ The North Remembers
- ↑ What is Dead May Never Die
- ↑ Garden of Bones
- ↑ The Ghost of Harrenhal
- ↑ The Old Gods and the New
- ↑ A Man Without Honor
- ↑ The Prince of Winterfell
- ↑ Valar Morghulis
- ↑ Valar Dohaeris
- ↑ Dark Wings, Dark Words
- ↑ Walk of Punishment
- ↑ And Now His Watch is Ended
- ↑ Kissed by Fire
- ↑ The Climb
- ↑ The Bear and the Maiden Fair
- ↑ The Rains of Castamere
- ↑ Mhysa
- ↑ Two Swords
- ↑ The Lion and the Rose
- ↑ Oathkeeper
- ↑ First of His Name
- ↑ Mockingbird
- ↑ The Mountain and the Viper
- ↑ The Children
- ↑ Sons of the Harpy
- ↑ Kill the Boy
- ↑ Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken
- ↑ The Gift
- ↑ Hardhome
- ↑ The Dance of Dragons
- ↑ Mother's Mercy