The Umbers Ruse, Lady Stone Heart, Coldhands and the Door
Another week of Game of thrones and another Theory piece raises its head…
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS HERE. (Past and Future)
WATCH / LISTEN HERE
Ok so this piece isn’t going to dwell too much on Last night’s heart wrenching episode of Game of Thrones, instead I want to rewind a bit and talk about the Umbers, then move forward and talk about some potential characters in the books that might make an appearance.
This being said, I can’t just ignore what happened last night can I?
So we have all been hit with a big, heart wrenching and deeply sad episode of Game of Thrones, where fan favourite Hodor, heroically gave up his life to expedite the escape of his master Bran and Meera Reed.
The Gentle Giant, played by Northern Irish actor Kristian Nairn, was finally given the scene that I’m sure most actors dread.. Their death, and it is apparent, by recent interviews that he wasn’t expecting it; having lasted 5 books and 6 seasons I don’t think anyone thought he would either.
Some book readers have state that he’ll survive in the books but I fear, my literary brethren, that Martin was the reason behind this death and we can’t expect any grace when the Winds of Winter is released.
The proof in this bitter pudding is as follows:
In a recent Interview David Benioff stated:
We had this meeting with George Martin where we’re trying to get as much information as possible out of him, and probably the most shocking revelation he had for us was when he told us the origin of Hodor and how that name came about. I just remember Dan and I looking at each other when he said that and just being like, ‘Holy s–t
And if that’s not concrete enough A Blogger, Michael Ventrella remembers talking to Martin in a lift once at a con, and the conversation went something like this:
Around the third time we were on the elevator together, he pushed the button for our floor and then asked the others what floors they needed, and then after everyone left, he turned to me.
Martin: I always wanted to be an elevator operator. If the writing thing hadn’t worked out…
We both laughed and went on to our rooms.
The final time we ended up together, the conversation went like this:
Me: I finally figured out why you have a character named “Hodor.”
Me: I was thinking about your comment about wanting to be an elevator operator. It’s clear to me now that “Hodor” is short for “Hold the door.”
Martin: (laughing) You don’t know how close to the truth you are!
So there you have it, the episode and the death of a beloved character can’t be put down to a ratings grab and overzealous HBO but will in fact be laid at the feet of the author once more…. DAMN YOU MARTIN!
On a side note to this, the surprising thing about Hodor is that he was a product of Brans powers and that one scene where Walder / Willus finally becomes, ‘hold the Door’… ‘Hold door.. Hodor’ is that if he can be manipulated by a Time traveling Bran, then who else can? Is Westeros and the timeline as it is, what it is, because of Bran? Does he, in a bid to fix things by talking to people in the past actually cause more damage?
A debate for another time I feel.. Onwards!
Lady Stone Heart and Cold hands
Lady Stone Heart and Cold hands are two characters, undead characters to be exact, who are in the books and yet absent from the series; to the lament of many book fans.
That is until a recent interview with Massie Williams and Sophie Turner where they state, when asked about the 6th Season that:
“Arya goes to Westeros, back over the sea.” – This is a taken, no surprise.
“Arya is in the trailer more times than people have realized, because they don’t realize it’s her.” – Being an assassin for the Many Faced God, again no Surprise
“Arya doesn’t cross any more names off her list.” – Interesting, has she made her peace with the last 3 names; unlikely
“Ramsay dies.” –Again a taken, there has to be a big battle (a Battle of the Bastards) and Im guessing there is going to be only one outcome, Ramsay getting his comeuppance
“Arya checks three people off her list.” –So does she or doesn’t she? The later I feel is more plausible.-
“Lady Stoneheart returns.” –Interesting!
Now granted, this should maybe be taken with a pinch of salt, especially as they contradict each other slightly BUT the Interesting revelation that “Lady Stone Heart returns” is very plausible in my mind and here is why.
If you have no idea who the aforementioned is, then SPOILER, it’s Catelyn Stark, but the resurrected version of.
After the Red wedding Dundarian gives his life so she may live and she is transformed into a new darker character, who travels the countryside with the Brotherhood without Banners executing all she believes to be traitors… unfortunately for us, this potentially includes our honourable Knight, Brienne, who, at the request of Jamie, is sent to find Sansa and is stopped by Lady Stoneheart and her band of brothers.
You would have thought Brienne would be safe, she swore and oath to Lady Stark after all, but sadly it doesn’t look like that matters. When she sees the sword, Oath Keeper, at her side, made from the re-forged steel of Eddards blade, Ice, she orders Brienne to be hung as a traitor and just before the chapter ends and Brienne is to meet her fate, she sees the struggling body of Pod beside her on the gallows and says one word…
There is a bit more to this story that moves on in A Dance with Dragons and links in Jamie Lanister buuuuut This is a theory piece not one about things that happened in the books.
Ok, so what does this have to do with Brienne and Lady Stoneheart in the series? Sansa has been found, Lady Stoneheart is nowhere to be seen; everything is fine… or as fine as it can be in Westeros.
Well I guess that would be true if it wasn’t for what I said in my last article about different roots from the Books and Series converging.
As it is Brienne is being sent to the Riverlands and Sansa made a point of stating that they couldn’t risk a Raven, that she needed Brienne to go in person? Which stinks to me of forced story line; like locked doors pushing you down a corridor in a computer game.
They need a reason for her to go to the home of the Tully’s, the Riverlands, and taking into account the above statement from Sophie Turner… it makes perfect sense. Besides we don’t know what Martin has in store for her with regards to the end game of the books and so the series, so she might be a vital character…. Or just a way to kill off another person everyone likes.
So who is this cold hands chap people are talking about? Well, like Lady Stoneheart, he is an undead character from the books that helped numerous other characters; Including Samwell Tarly and Bran. In fact it is Cold hands who saves both from the White Walkers and gets Bran to the Cave of the 3 eyed crow… Who he is.. nobody knows, as he refuses to show his face but there is general consensus from book readers that its Benjamin Stark
Now obviously this has not happened in the book. We are at the cave and past the above so why would he show up now?
Well Hodor is gone, the children of the forest are gone, Summer is gone. All Bran has left is a struggling Meera Reed (who, I fell, will have a bigger part to play later on) and that’s it. There is no way they can survive without help and I think this is a perfect time for the show to introduce a character who was so instrumental in the books and, in the same instance, show us where Benji Stark really went.
The Umbers Ruse
We all saw in episode 3 that Smalljon Umber, betrayed his former kings family by handing over Rickon Stark and the Wildling, Osha, to their mortal enemy, the Boltons. Sighting the fact that Jon Snow had settled Wildlings on the Gift and so would be a threat to their lands.
A Plausible explanation; they have been fighting wildlings all their lives after all BUT… something doesn’t add up and I get the impression our good friend Little finger has something to do with this.
First off we have to look at the Umbers.
North men through and through and Loyal banner men to the Starks; having followed Ned to rebel against the Mad King and the GreatJon being the one who named Robb King of the North.
In the Books and the Series the GreatJon, and so the Umber’s, loyalty is never in question, the GreatJon winning many battles for Robb and even being badly wounded, after the red wedding (in the series he isn’t at the wedding and in the books, Smalljon is killed)
It therefore doesn’t sit right with me that they would suddenly take cause with the Boltons and hand over Rickon and Osha. No. there has to be more to this than meets the eye.
In the Books it is noted that the Greatjon is imprisoned by the Freys and his house is split, with half taking cause with the Boltons and half taking cause with Stannis; that’s right kids, he’s still alive.
One thing to note about this though, is that, the half that took cause with the Boltons aren’t trusted and to be honest I can see why Roose would.
Now back to the series.
Smalljon Umber appears at Winterfell, alludes to his father dying then refuses to bend his knee, swear fealty or pay homage to Ramsay, he just wants an alliance against the wildlings, to which Ramsay is duly sceptical about.
Smalljon allays this scepticism by providing him with hostages, Identity authenticated by the severed head of Shaggy dog.. or what we think is shaggy dog; an accord is duly made to the horror of all the shows watchers.
We then see a scene in the next episode of Osha, trying to assassinate Ramsay, though failing, and a scene where littlefinger has just returned to the vale and informs his adopted Nephew that his cousin may need his help, it is then agreed that the knights of the Vale will ride to Sansa’s aid.
Where is the link you might ask? Well Littlefinger, as I have stated in my last piece, is power building and he can’t gain control of the North if 1. Sansa is dead and 2. if the Boltons are still there. So how does he deal with that?
Well he does what he does best and manipulates the Umbers to his own ends and gives them an opportunity to get revenge for he betrayal at the Red Wedding.
But why hand over Rickon, Osha and kill Shaggy dog? Simple it gives reason for Jon Snow to attack, Sansa to seek his help (though we know she has initially turned it down) and puts a Stark back in Winterfell, adding more weight to the rallying call to attack the Bolton’s. If he’s killed the North has another martyr and more will turn against Ramsay, if he survives he is a banner of hope.
As it is, I feel Littlefinger may want him out of the way. In the end his aim is to Marry Sansa and take control of the North, as well as holding onto the Vale and Harrenhal; a younger brother and so potential heir, may prove ‘inconvenient’
Osha is there because she had to be, and if she can kill Ramsay, gravy… Shaggy Dog on the other hand; maybe a necessary evil to legitimise the parley or maybe not a direwolf after all.
So there you have it. The Umber’s, with the help / manipulation of littlefinger aren’t, in this Geeks opinion, taking the side of the Boltons and will get the revenge they desire and hand Littlefinger another chunk of Westeros.