*Spoiler Alert! This article contains Game of Thrones Book & Show Spoilers.
Guest right is a sacred custom in Westeros & the Free Cities. It is invoked by eating and drinking at a hosts table as their guest. After this the host nor the guest can harm the other for the length of the guests stay. This tradition has been going around for thousands of years and most can agree on its importance. The most traditional foods used are bread and salt.
One notable custom that the Northmen hold dearer than any other is guest right, the tradition of hospitality by which a man may offer no harm to a guestbeneath his roof, nor a guest to his host. – A World of Ice and Fire
The Rat Cook
Probably the most famous story in A Game of Thrones lore involving sacred guest rights was The Rat Cook. According to song & legend, the Rat Cook was a regular cook at the Nightfort on the Wall. He became the source of legend when he infamously served an Andal king a pie that was made with bacon and the kings own son. The King enjoyed the pie so much that he asked for a second and praised the cook.
The cook was punished by the gods, not for murder, or for cannibalism, but because he broke guest rights and harmed the kings son after they had shared bread and salt. Both the old gods and the new recognized this terrible deed and cursed him by transforming him into a massive rat who was doomed to only eating his own children for nourishment.
According to legend, the Rat Cook is an enormous white rat that still lives in The Nightfort to this very day, feasting on his young.
Did The Punishment Fit The Crime?
Ever since the Red Wedding & The War of the Five Kings, guest right has been on rotten ice. The great houses will do pretty much anything these days to get ahead and a victory on their enemy. The Red Wedding was one of the worst taboo breaking of guests right we have seen in a long time. This is pretty inline with the book and the show up until this point but lets see what direction they head in.
“Guest right don’t mean so much as it used to,” said the girl. “Not since m’lady come back from the wedding. Some o’ them swinging down by the river figured they was guests too.” – Jeyne Heddle – [Brienne VIII]
In The Books:
After the red wedding, everyone is trying to find new allegiances and make new friends. Three Frey’s (Rhagar, Jared, & Symond Frey) are sent to White Habor to make peace with the Manderlys after slaughtering Wendel Manderly in The Red Wedding. They bring Wendel’s bones back to Whiteharbor and feel out the Whiteharbor loyalty situation.
My son Wendel came to the Twins a guest. He ate Lord Walder’s bread and salt, and hung his sword upon the wall to feast with freinds. And they murdered him. Murdered, I say, and may the Freys choke upon their fables. – Wyman Manderly
As we find out later Wyman Manderly was able to fool the three Freys and make them believe they supported the Bolton’s and the Frey’s. After a lengthy visit at Whiteharbor the three Frey’s & a host of Manderly’s depart towards Winterfell to attend and celebrate Ramsey Bolton’s wedding.
At some point we know the Frey’s and the Manderly’s that were traveling together split up for some unknown reason. The Manderly’s arrive at Winterfell and the Frey’s are nowhere to be found. When Roose Bolton asks Wyman Manderly what happend to Rhaegar Frey, Jared Frey, & Symond Frey, he goes on to say that they were impatient with the Manderly’s slow pace so they took off ahead of them and should of been at Winterfell by now.
So now we have three MIA Frey’s who last had contact with Wyman Manderly and their current whereabouts are unknown.
During the wedding feast, Wyman Manderly get extremely drunk and brings out a surprise gift for the wedding. He bring three huge pies to the wedding and personally cuts portions for the Boltons and Freys and serves them with great enthusiasm. Shortly after Wyman has Abel the Bard sing, The Rat Cook, A song about an evil cook who serves a King his prince in a pie.
So we have 3 missing Freys and 3 huge pies. Coincidence or not?
In The Show:
In the final moments of Season 6 of A Game of Thrones we got to see some much needed revenge for The Red Wedding that could possibly parallel the book in some way via the Manderly pie situation. We get a surprising scene in that Arya returns to The Twins to extract revenge from Walder Frey to get some long due justice.
Arya uses her new Faceless Men training to take the face & identity of a serving girl working for the Frey’s to get full access to the castle. After killing his two sons Lothar Frey and Black Walder she bakes them into a pie that she serves to old Walder Frey. We finally get some ice cold Stark revenge after Arya reveals herself to be a Stark and that the pie currently in Walder’s stomach contains his own flesh and blood. She takes justice for The Red Wedding and his breaking of guest right by slitting his throat. This moment in the show parallels her mothers death, Catelyn Stark, very well.
What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy Arya’s first official FM assassination? What about the evidence supporting the Manderly pie theory?
Let us know!