Spoilers for Game of Thrones season six episode three
Whether you’ve watched Game of Thrones or not, you’ll likely know the show has a reputation for creating highly toxic characters who are unanimously hated. First, there was King Joffrey, and now we have the despicable Ramsay Bolton.
Since murdering his father, capturing the suddenly grown-up Rickon Stark, and the resurrection of Jon Snow, fans have been speculating that BastardBowl will likely happen this season.
With Jon wanting to avenge his family’s death and Ramsay wanting to march on Castle Black to get back his wife, the two coming head-to-head seems very likely. But, surely, Ramsay’s army of trained men from the North will trample a scattered group of Wildlings?
Well, fans of the show believe they’ve worked out how Jon could eventually win and it’s all thanks to Rickon. Yes, the captured Stark child may actually hold the key to victory (with a little help from some loyal Northerners, of course).
In a recent post on Reddit picked up by TIME, user DanDampSpear explains how the recently introduced Umbers look set to betray the newly crowned Warden of the North, even though the family has just turned over Rickon and a dead Shaggydog to the Bolton.
First of all, just before Roose’s death, Lord Karstark says “Your hold on the North will never be secure as long as a Stark can walk through that door.” Of course, as we all know, ‘that door’ he was referring to is the door Rickon walked through the following episode while wearing a hood.
In that same scene, father Bolton says “If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you’ll be treated as a mad dog,” an obvious indication to Ramsay being an untamable creature.
There’s also House Umber’s staunch loyalty to the Starks; Jon Umber, called the Greatjon and played by Clive Mantle, was present in season one as one of the Stark’s bannermen. Even though Robb’s Direwolf bit off two of Greatjon’s fingers, he still vows his allegiance to the King in the North and declares he will never bow to a Baratheon King after hearing of Ned’s death.
While not seen in the series, the Umbers take back Raventree Hall from the Lannisters while under Robb’s command. In season three, Rickon and Osha are sent by Bran to the Umbers home to find safety.
However, this is Smalljon who appears to Ramsay, claiming his father is dead. While he may be ready for new blood to reign in the North, it is curious that the Umber would appear on the Bolton’s doorstep the moment they hear of Roose’s death.
Further, he never swears his allegiance to the Bolton, merely showing him Rickon and Shaggydog’s head as a way of proving his newly formed loyalty. (While there are various theories Shaggydog is not dead, the actor has seemingly confirmed he is, a sacrifice made so the ploy could work?)
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If Smalljon is still loyal to the Starks (which seems more likely than him not being loyal anymore), the chances are that – when BastardBowl does come – he will betray the Bolton, having been in cahoots with Rickon and only handing him over as a way to gain trust. Hopefully, that will be the end of Ramsay.
Whether the great conspiracy is true, and whether it will work, who can say? Have no doubt, the final battle of this series looks set to be a stunner.