In the Season 3, they (the Brotherhood Without Banners) goals is to protect the smallfolk from any force preying on them, regardless of which King or Lord they support.

In Season 6, they killed a whole group.

One reason could be that they had different religion. But is that the only reason for it?

I like to believe that this group may be different from the one Arya encountered. Or maybe since they are an army, they may have deployed small group of members to different parts of the continent to revolt against the nobles. And since they were not directly lead by Beric and Thoros, they seems to have lost its cause.

Is there only one group of the Brotherhood Without Banners, or maybe there is many?

  • are willing to accept book answer which will include spoilers?
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 13:33
  • I've no explanation why the BwB would have gone not only rogue, but rabid like Gregor Clegane and massacred unarmed smallfolk. I assume it will be explained in the tv-show why they drastically changed this. Not even BwB lead by lady Stoneheart was that murderous. And they did not murder Septon Meribald when they captured him.
    – TLP
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 13:53
  • 4
    It could always be that this is just a roving band of thugs, or real BwB deserters, that is still using the Brotherhood name to get better treatment from common people. See, now if they had banners, they'd be harder for any old dudes to imitate. Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 15:29

4 Answers 4


There is only one "Brotherhood Without Banners".

They occansionaly are called the "Knights of the Hollow Hill" (a reference to their hide-out) and the "Forgotten Fellowship".

They were formed by Beric Dondarrion after the death of King Robert Baratheon. Their initial goal is to protect the smallfolk from raiders/looters from any army (they did not take any side in the War of Five Kings).

They are clearly not a different group than the one Ayra encountered because we see Lem Lemmoncloak is one of the riders that Brother Raymond encounters.

At this point in the books

Beric has sacrificed his life in order to resurrect Catelyn Stark. The new resurrected Lady Stark takes on the new moniker of Lady Stoneheart.

This new character only cares about one thing... vengeance. This means that not even the smallfolk are safe if they are deemed unworthy.

As far as the show is concerned, we have just been re-introduced the Brotherhood and therefore do not know what is motivating them...

Also, we do not know if it was actually the Brotherhood that made the attack we see in The Broken Man (S6 E7)

  • 1
    I thought their initial goal was to carry out Eddard Stark's (last) order, to bring Gregor Clegane to justice ... or am I mixing things up? Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 14:34
  • 2
    That was them too... but that was technically before they were the Brotherhood.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 14:35
  • 1
    Jóhannes Haukur (who plays Lem) has cheekily said on twitter that it might not have been them.
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 22:23
  • Probably a stupid question.. but do we actually know the people were killed by them? Or that there is any link between the first visit of those three horse riders and the deaths of all minus Hound?
    – Erlik
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:41
  • @Erlik No, hence my final sentence in the answer.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 14:47

In the TV show (Season 6 Episode 8, "No One"), it was shown that the members of Brotherhood Without Banners which attacked and killed the villagers and the septon, are a splinter group which did an unsanctioned attack.

The Brotherhood Without Banners' leader, Beric Dondarrion, Thoros of Myr and company were about to hang them (the splinter group) for murdering the villagers, until they met Sandor Clegane. Related dialog:

Thoros: Clegane. What the fuck you doing here?

Clegane: Chasing them. You?

Thoros: Hanging them.

Clegane: Any particular reason?

Beric: They're our men. Or they were.

Beric: They attacked a nearby sept and murdered the villagers.

Beric: Why do you want them?

Clegane: Same reason. I was helping build it.


Beric: It's the Brotherhood's good name they've dragged through the dirt.

This shows that the Brotherhood Without Banners (the main group, which is still led by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr) have not turned to banditry, and don't approve attacking innocents simply because they are of another religion.


It's unclear what the situation is in the T.V. show.

In the books, there is eventually a schism in the BwB. Some of them, notably Edric Dayne, leave once the leadership and mission of the group change. http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Edric_Dayne

I do think it is unlikely that even the more vengeful contingent of the BwB from the books would murder a Septon and a flock of innocent small folk. Either the T.V. show is greatly changing the character of the BwB or there is something going on that we aren't supposed to know. Crackpot theory below.

If the Septon had some hand in the Red Wedding before he found his faith or committed some other crime known and held in high importance by the BwB, then it would be consistent with their behavior in later books to hang him. The hanged a lot of Freys in the books. The peasants might have just gotten in the way.


If a different (partially, as we see Lem) group from the one with which Arya associated, they are possibly not even BwB, or else they were once and split from the main group for selfish gain, now simply using the BwB name. At any rate, I don't believe their actions would be sanctioned by the BwB, under either leader UNLESS we find that this group (the 'peaceful' smallfolk) was largely made up of people who caused grievous harm to others or were complicit in these actions. While they may now be reformed, they still need to pay for their crimes. We know for sure the smallfolk's leader was a terrible criminal, committing murder, amongst other things. While I think that the new BwB leader means more severe treatment to all who cross their path, I still believe they do concern themselves on a basic level with justice; this could be overshadowed by the new leader's zealousness for his/her own justice, which some might call revenge.

I do think that this group is at least a sect of BwB because Lem is there and the books have him in the group helping when Stoneheart takes over. Stoneheart probably knows that Sandor was seen with Arya, and even protecting her to some extent, which could explain why she did not direct them to explicitly kill him. That is, of course, if she is behind the attack at all. We also know that Catelyn slit Walder Frey's (somewhat innocent, but complicit) wife's throat at the Red Wedding, though I think that was more because she swore she would rather than for revenge, and she was an honorable woman of her word.

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