In Season 5 Episode 10 (Mother's Mercy) of Game of Thrones, we see the Boltons attack Stannis' army. It seems that the Bolton's army is FAR larger than Stannis'. Is this true? Do we know how many soldiers Stannis and the Boltons had at this time?

  • It's not confirmed, but I suspect that the Bolton army in that scene includes Stannis's former sellswords who switched sides after deserting him. I was surprised they didn't confirm this - it'd have been a nice dramatic touch, adding to the Greek-tragedy-style theme of Stannis's ambition and determined ruthlessness bringing about his downfall. It'd also explain how the Boltons had so many horses. Oct 28, 2015 at 16:28
  • 1
    If you're seeking answers from the book which is quite different by now from the series here's what we know: -Ramsay Bolton sent a letter to Jon Snow informing him Stannis is defeated and killed in battle. This is not confirmed by the end of the book. -Ramsay's army is composed of northern lords that started fighting among each other due to the work of the king beyond the wall disguised as a singer within winterfell and his forces are depleting fast -Stannis forces are also depleted and the numbers are growing low. Oct 28, 2015 at 16:43
  • PS:all i wrote is from memory, I don't have the source material in my hands right now. Oct 28, 2015 at 16:47
  • Doesn't Ramsay say 5000? Jul 9, 2016 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


As of season 2 there are 20,000 northmen in the Riverlands.

After all the fighting, backstabbing (e.g. Red Wedding), blackmails etc. it is guesswork. Also most of the men Roose has aren’t actually loyal per se.

From the book:

Winterfell is held by Lord Roose Bolton and his legitimized bastard son, Ramsay. His force, aside from the strength of House Bolton, consists of a few thousand of Houses Frey, Ryswell, Dustin, Cerwyn, Hornwood, Manderly, and the other half of House Umber under Hother "Whoresbane" Umber.

Although Roose has the larger host, and his soldiers are far better armed and trained than the clansmen that make up a large part of Stannis's army, the loyalties of some of his forces are highly questionable, particularly the Manderlys, Whoresbane Umber, and the Hornwoods. Roose suspects that only the Freys, Dustins, and his own men would be truly loyal to him if word gets out that Bran and Rickon Stark are still alive.

Winterfell is overcrowded with forces, low on supplies, and on edge due to a series of murders with no confirmed suspects.

Cut that in half as not all of the North declared for Roose, and you are down to 10,000.

Out of those we know that:

After the murder of Little Walder Frey and the near battle inside Winterfell between the Freys and Manderlys, Roose Bolton, fearing another battle inside the castle between his own forces, sends out Hosteen Frey and Aenys Frey along with the 2,000 Freys to engage Stannis's host.

The Freys' presence increases tensions with the northerners as many had lost kin at the Red Wedding. Roose also sends out the forces of Lord Wyman Manderly as he does not trust the Manderly forces. Ramsay Bolton follows not far behind, with a force of his own Dreadfort men. The absence of near 3,000 men in Winterfell also means that Roose also has an easier time managing food supplies to his forces.

So 10,000 - 3000 = 7000 men. Of those maybe 2-3000 are Bolton men.

This is part speculation, part facts from the book. So this differs greatly from the show where Stannis is defeated in front of Winterfell.

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