In Season 3 Episode 2, "Dark Wings, Dark Words", Lord Karstark tells Robb Stark:

I think you lost this war the day you married her [Talisa].

Why did he think so? I know Robb was supposed to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters, but what did he really lose by marrying Talisa?

He was promised to one of the Frey girls in exchange for crossing the bridge, but now that's irrelevant.

It also doesn't look like he had many of Frey's men to begin with, since in Season 3 Episode 5, "Kissed by Fire", he considers asking for their help to replace a chunk of his army. Additionally, it doesn't look like Frey's army is that large; Robb's army outnumbered Frey's five to one when they crossed Twins.

So why did Karstark believe the war was lost when Robb married Talisa?

  • 1
    I wonder why they changed her name for the show. In the books he marries Jeyne Westerling.
    – Zoe
    Apr 29, 2013 at 23:36
  • @Zoe Jeyne whose mother is hinted at being a maegi, having a mother that was supposedly the same that lived around Lannisport at the time Cersei got her blood reading.
    – TLP
    Apr 29, 2013 at 23:43
  • 4
    Jeyne's grandmother was the maegi
    – Theoriok
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:12
  • @Zoe: I reckon it’s because the actress who plays the character (Oona Chaplin) looks faintly like relatively-famous English pop star Tulisa Contostavlos. Jan 29, 2015 at 9:55

4 Answers 4


It's more than that. Supply lines, and 3000 troops were also on the line. Robb was far from home, and needed all the help he could get, especially as far as troops and supplies. In addition, no one could fully trust him after he broke the treaty.

The Twins was one of the most powerful strongholds in Westeros, and overall was a very powerful location. Their leader, Walder Frey, is a powerful man, with a quick temper, and without much to lose, thus willing to do anything to get back against the perceived injustice.

It later proved that these words were prophetic. Robb Stark dies at the hands of the Freys, in direct response to this betrayal.

  • "Also, he lost trust, and valuable leaders." Could you elaborate on that? Apr 29, 2013 at 22:38
  • 23
    @Royal - when you break your word you lose the trust of those around you. Maybe not right away, but the next time a hard choice comes up.
    – uncle brad
    Apr 30, 2013 at 0:13
  • 1
    Adding to your answer, if for whatever reason Robb needed backup, he would need the crossing, which is controlled by the Freys. I think that was a major factor in the Karstark's comment. Jan 29, 2015 at 9:49

I think he was referring less to the political ramifications of the marriage and more about how it was affecting Rob.

Previously Rob was single-minded and focused on his military campaign, and now he had fallen in love and had a wife. Lord Karstark believed that would begin distracting him and clouding his judgment.

I seem to recall that the conversation arose as they were discussing breaking off the military campaign to attend his grandfather's funeral. Already he witnessed Rob wasting time on an emotional trip to a funeral and risking giving an advantage to the enemy. With a wife to think about, care for, worry about, spend time with etc. Lord Karstark could only see this getting worse.


Talking about the series, it isn't just "a chunk of his army", Robb says: "The Karstarks are gone, almost half our forces".

So lose half his forces is indeed losing the war.

Walder Frey wasn't just letting Robb's forces pass the Twins, he also gave 4000 men to Robb's army, making it 22000 men, because Robb was going with 18000.

He lost the Frey army when he married Talisa, who brought no army with her.

So this is a simple maths problem, where the army with more men should have the advantage to win the war.

We aren't taking into account the consequences of not keeping promises with the Freys, like her mother said: "Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross".

  • 1
    But the loss Karstark's army is not a result of the marriage. Then this is not relevant to the question. In the series I don't think the number of Frey men Robb got is explicitly stated, but he had 20,000 men before crossing the Twins, and according to Theon the Freys had 4,000 men total. When they struck the deal only part of them went with Robb. Let's say about they were about 3,000 men. That number that doesn't seem to be large enough to be enough to be the reason to lose the war. May 3, 2013 at 21:33
  1. Robb as King broke a promise. To the men of the north honor is everything. That in itself lost a war. A king who breaks promises is not a king many will follow.

  2. He lost the Karstark part of the army that either could go home or over to the enemy.

  3. He lost the Frey complement.

  4. He lost his line of supply!!

Numbers are important in a war. Trust is equally important. So is the loss of a clear line of supply and no way to get back to HIS seat of power. The Twins hold the only passable way to and from the north and guard the southern part of the Neck as Moat Cailin guards the northern part of the Neck.

Strategically he was screwed, logistically he was in a very tough spot. So when you add all of this together it becomes apparent why Karstark made the statement.

Here is the map of that part of Westeros so you can see the importance of The Twins. enter image description here

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