Fans of House Stark could be forgiven for thinking their favourite family is about to lose a member in the coming episodes after it was revealed (not unexpectedly) that Ramsay Bolton now has his dirty paws on young Rickon. But it might not be as perilous a situation as initially imagined, according to a new theory on Reddit.
According to the devilishly clever poster, there's no reason to suspect that Rickon is actually in danger, because the confusingly named Smalljon Umber is in fact still loyal to the Starks and is leading Ramsay to his doom. Obviously, given what we know about Ramsay, that sounds like a pretty bloody silly thing to do, but there is some thinking behind the theory. Here's how the plot woiuld break down:
Step 1: Refusing to officially acknowledge the bastard of Bolton as Warden of the North
Step 2: Gain the bastard's trust by giving him Rickon (Actual goal: Get the Stark back in Winterfell, have him being seen and recognized by other people)
Step 3: Give the bastard a false impression that Rickon is helpless making him think the direwolf is dead and that Osha is just some poor wild woman (she could fuck up twenty good men in a second)
Step 4: Lure the bastard out of Winterfell on the pretext of Jon and the wildlings (who Umber knows to be a son of Ned and probably was approved by Rickon to be good), join his forces and walk North
Step 5: Shaggydog is freed, whatever Bolton Loyalist is still in Winterfell becomes dog wolf-food. Winterfell is now Rickon's
Step 6: Jon coming from the North, Umbers following Boltons from the south. Betray the bastard and have the rest of the Umbers come out of Last Heart so the Boltons will have foes on 3 sides
It sounds like a great plan - if it works - and it would add a bit more logic to House Umber's switch of allegiance. Plus it would explain why - as so many fans seem to be pointing it - Shaggy Dog's head looked so small for a Direwolf. Is it just a substitution? Grey Wind's head was at least twice as big as Robb Stark's when sewn onto his body and paraded by the Freys after the Red Wedding, so it doesn't make sense that Shaggy Dog's would be so normal sized.
Also, why on Earth would Umber leave Osha alive? She is of precisely zero value to Bolton (except as a play thing), and given the fact that she is a genuinely skilled warrior, you'd have thought she would have put up at least as good a fight as the Direwolf? So why is she unscathed? It's all very tricky.
Smalljon has already foreshadowed that he's not exactly a black and white character: he refused to kneel to Bolton, calls his deceased father a "c*nt" and basically acts like the worst kind of wildcard. Seeing Ramsay out-manoeuvred by someone presenting themselves as an ally before the great reveal would also be a nice little mirror of his capture of Theon too.
So what do you think? Could the Umbers' plan theory be genuine? Share your reactions below in the comments thread.