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Barbrey Dustin

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"My mother served Lady Dustin for many years, my lord."
Arya Stark to Tywin Lannister[src]

Barbrey Dustin, née Ryswell, is an unseen character mentioned in the second season.



Barbrey Dustin is a member of House Ryswell by birth and House Dustin by marriage. She is the Lady of Barrowton.

Season 2

When Tywin Lannister calls out Arya Stark on her speech not being like that of a lowborn, she lies saying that her mother was a handmaid to Lady Dustin and taught her how to speak properly.[1]

In the books

In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, Barbrey Ryswell is the head of House Dustin and the widow of Lord Willam Dustin, who fought alongside Ned Stark during Robert's Rebellion. Lord Roose Bolton was married to her late eldest sister, Bethany. It isn't clear if Willam left an heir, because Lady Barbrey continues to rule House Dustin in his name. She usually leads House Dustin to act in concert with House Ryswell, which is still ruled by her own father Rodrik Ryswell.

Lady Dustin has wrinkles around her mouth and eyes, but she is still tall, unbent and handsome. Her hair is equal parts brown and grey, wearing it tied behind her head in a widow's knot. She usually dresses all in black, but she sometimes accentuates her attire with vair. While she is intelligent, she has grown into a bitter woman over the years, among other things due to her husband's death.

In her youth, Lady Dustin was infatuated with Brandon Stark, who took her maidenhead. She claims Brandon never wanted to marry Catelyn Tully and that the match was made when Lord Rickard Stark's maester, Walys, put the idea in Rickard's head. Lady Dustin is extremely distrustful of maesters in general and refers to them as grey rats.

Lady Dustin was quite fond of her nephew Domeric, and as such loathes Ramsay Snow openly, whom she suspects had a hand in the former's death. She keeps referring to Ramsay as "the Bastard", maybe because she knows how much it angers him. Ramsay dislikes Lady Dustin and has malicious intentions toward her, but his father forbids him to harm her, as after the Red Wedding, she is one of the few truly loyal vassals House Bolton has.

Lady Dustin holds a grudge against Eddard Stark, even after his demise, for not bringing her husband's bones north with him so she could bury him at his ancestral home. She intends to pay him back by feeding his bones (which have not been brought to Winterfell so far) to her dogs. Her hatred towards House Stark is not limited to Eddard, as she states "All my favorite Starks are dead".

Lady Dustin is one of the guests at Ramsay's wedding. She, not Ramsay, tells Theon he should give the bride away because he is the closest thing she has for a brother. It is unclear whether Lady Dustin is aware of "Arya Stark"'s true identity, but if she suspects the ruse, she is wise enough to keep her doubts to herself.

Lady Dustin has a keen sense of observation: during the wedding, she notices that Roose does not touch any of the meals or the drinks, unless Lord Manderly tastes them first; she also notices that Lord Manderly behaves too joyfully, maybe suspiciously, for someone who must feast with his son's murderers - and serves the meat pies himself to the Boltons and Freys (she has no idea about the true contents of the pies, though). She knows well that Lord Manderly would have turned against the Boltons and Freys had he been brave enough, and that many of the other guests who lost their kin at the Red Wedding - the Umbers, Hornwoods, Flints, Cerwyns, Tallharts, Slates - would have done the same, since "the north remembers".

Some time after the wedding, Lady Dustin and Reek go down to the crypts. There she reveals to him why she hates the Starks, and warns him not to repeat what she said. They notice that several swords are missing from the statues, but they cannot guess the reason.

Lady Dustin disapproves of Ramsay's cruelty toward his wife, claiming that "Lady Arya’s sobs do us more harm than all of Lord Stannis’s swords and spears. If the Bastard means to remain Lord of Winterfell, he had best teach his wife to laugh". She is also, like many of the northern Houses, contemptuous of Roose's allies in House Frey, as a large number of the soldiers she sent with Robb Stark died at the Red Wedding.

See also


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