The Battle of Magner’s Knoll
Note: This engagement takes place during the Westerland invasion of the Riverlands in Ch.2
The order of battle for the forces of Harrenhal number roughly 2,200 men and horse together. Commanded by Ser Harlan Grevon, a quickly rising hedge knight within the Harrenhal retinue. Given command of the most extreme flank, he is surprised when a small force of a thousand Lannisters appear. This move to him seems like a reconnaissance-in-force, so gathering his men he sallies forth to meet them.
Within the town he has placed his hardened veterans, the Household Guard of Harrenhal to defend the Riverland folk.
In the center, Ser Grevon orders several companies of his men-at-arms forward, under the command of Ser Rylar, another hedge knight. This battle will be commanded by Harrenhal’s fringe soldiers, and fitting since its location is on the fringe’s of the Lannister campaign.
In the background, a Maester’s citadel is pictured. As well, men-at-arms under Ser Rylar come under intense fires from Lannister forces. As far as they can make out from standards it appears to be a knight or low Lord of House Brax opposite them.
Ser Grevon moves his second companies up to shield the city, as Lannister footmen try and move up Magner’s Knoll to make an aim for the spoils and stores of the town.
Charging up the hill, the Lannisters begin to bleed as Harrenhal’s bowmen rain down death upon them from above.
The view from the right, under Ser Dormund, as the Lannisters move up into the kettle-shaped formation that has been set in place, along the upper lip of the knoll.
On the left, Ser Grevon and his small retinue of a half dozen other hedge knights take the cavalry to screen the woods.
Seeing the enemy suddenly caught aware by the move left, the Ser takes advantage of the momentum and drives the point home, engaging the enemy and for the first time putting Harrenhall steel down the slope.
A Lannister man-at-arms is thrown wildly into the air as Ser Grevon’s cavalry charge hammers home deep within the ranks of the enemy infantry.
Gritting their teeth, the Lannisters dig their heels in, but without pikes or polearms their fight is futile against heavy cavalry.
The center of the Lannister’s rightmost company begins to break from the charge.
From the right, Ser Dormund’s men observe the cavalry charge in the distance.
Ser Rylar makes the judgement call, as the commander whilst Grevon wets his blade, and via runner orders Dorumnd’s forces to screen his right flank while they engage as two flanks of the same assault, Rylar assaulting down the knoll to the front and Dormund the enemy’s right.
Still in march order, the Lannisters have little time to brace as Rylar’s flank charges.
Yet the men of the lion bravely attempt a feeble counter-charge.
Now fully engaged, both sides have committed to seeing the battle to its conclusion. The infantry melee in the center quickens and heats up to a new tempo as all of the three major knights are drawn into combat.
Rylar sends for a runner, as none have reached him from Grevon. The runner brings the entirety of the Harrenhal Household Guard to him, to reinforce the center, as he attempts to split the Lannisters into two smaller forces so they can be encircled and destroyed.
The savage fighting in the middle quickens as the Guard (bottom center, bottom left of frame) arrive to the battle to bolster Rylar’s exhausted men.
An overview of the battle thus far. No word from Ser Grevon on the left, and with Rylar and Dormund fighting to break the Lannisters or pocket them there is little strategy now, just skill at arms.
At Dormund’s flank, he manages to maneuver a company of his men unawares to the Marbrand knight across the shield wall from him.
The flank successful, he pushes his footmen into the soft underbelly of the enemy infantry.
Again, the killing begins. The company drives the attack home to relieve pressure on their comrades currently fighting the main frontage of the Lannister troops (top right of frame).
Pictured here is Ser Dormund’s quick flanking action.
Meanwhile in the center, Ser Grevon has disappeared as the cavalry withdraws. The gap is quickly filled by two reserve companies of infantry, who take over and begin a move to try and encircle the surrounded Lannister men protecting the middle.
The gap opened up by their horseborne compatriots, the footmen sprint towards the Lannisters, quickly enveloping their thinning manpower with more spears and more shields.
In the center, Ser Rylar’s perseverance and true grit have paid off, as bedraggled scores of red-coated Lannister men-at-arms begin to break and rout. The extra swords and muscle provided by the Guards proved invaluable in the engagement.
The remaining hedge knights, minus Ser Grevon, now skirt the treeline to the left of the Harrenhal flank, in a move to attempt a surprise cavalry attack on the Lannister rear, hopefully catching their archers and bowmen by surprise.
Lounging in the relatively safety of the area several kilometres back from the frontline, the longbowmen are caught drinking and relaxing, as they eat a mid-evening meal. The hedge knights call out Ser Grevon’s name as they smash into their lightly armed opponents.
And they drive right through their foes with ease.
Back on Dormund’s flank, the fight drags on, as the dismounted knights and heavily mailed swordsmen opposite them refuse to give quarter or bend the knee. Dormund himself has taken an axe to the collarbone, the gristle and chipped bone almost sending him away from the frontline. But he allows a maester to treat it as he remains just behind his men as a show of support, rather than back to the aid station.
As they stab, step, and recover the spearmen on the left comb through the area where the cavalry charge took Grevon from them, still not able to locate the Harrenhal force’s commander. One of them however finds the young Bracken commander, choking to death on his own blood from a spear wound to the upper chest, gasping for air as he reaches his hands out for mercy. He receives iron instead.
The aftermath of a short and failed cavalry counterattack against Grevon’s flank.
The cavalry now runs wild, hunting down fleeing footmen, drunk on victory and slaughter as they hunt for prizes and trophies, as well as prisoners for ransom.
Although on this day, Lannisters are lucky if they are taken prisoner.
Grevon’s flank collapses into the center as the battle tightens around remaining Lannister forces, mostly still assailing the dug-in infantry of Dormund’s flank.
And over the bodies of their dead comrades, Tywin’s retinue flee.
Seeing Rylar’s forces reorganize and begin marching towards them the Marbrand knight calls for a withdrawal, escaping with dozens of his knights and experienced men-at-arms.
Ser Estel Lekenrun, a messenger for her Ladyship, arrives with news of other similar engagements, and he surveys the battlefield calmly before him, with the cost of victory played out before him in terms of human devastation.
On Grevon’s former flank, some remaining knights try and bravely hold on.
But so heavily assailed by three companies of Harrenhal’s best infantrymen they can only put up so much of a fight.
They are surrounded, and those that are not already wounded and ripe for capture are killed, put to the sword for their noble stubbornness.
The battle’s result is not a good one for either side. The brutal engagement cost Ser Grevon his own capture, as was later discovered, and of his 2,200 men nearly 900 lost their lives on the battlefield. However, of the 1,200 Lannisters they encountered they killed over a thousand, capturing roughly 100 for later ransom, including two men of House Payne’s family retinue.