The above sentence was among Roose Bolton’s last words to his legitimized bastard Ramsay Bolton and forms the basis of this new fan theory which details the downfall of the new Warden of the North. In episode 3 of season 6 (Oathbreaker), we see Ramsay getting Rickon, Osha and Shaggydog’s severed head as a gift from Smalljon Umber. Of course, this didn’t bode well with many fans, especially the book readers who believe that the Umbers just cannot betray the Starks and all this is a part of a ‘grand northern conspiracy’ and that Osha and Rickon are being used to lure Ramsay in a trap and the wolf’s head we saw is too small to be Shaggydog’s.
Check out the full theory by redditor DanDampspear below:
[Everything] The Ultimate Umber Conspiracy-
Like many book readers, I was upset when set reports first revealed that the Umbers were siding with the Boltons. Having the Umbers become traitors is a vast departure from the books, where Smalljon Umber fights to his last breath to defend Robb at the Red Wedding. Certainly, the show has made some changes, as no notable Umbers died in the Red Wedding, removing a prominent barrier to a Bolton-Umber alliance. However, I refuse to believe that D&D would so drastically change SJU from staunch Stark loyalist to turncloak. I believe everything we’ve heard in terms of spoilers points to the Grand Northern Conspiracy being underfoot and I will lay out evidence that Shaggydog lives, and that Rickon and Osha are being used to ensnare Ramsay in a trap. Much of what’s here has been mentioned elsewhere, so this is an attempt to consolidate it all into one comprehensive list.
Foreshadowing – When Stannis is marching on Winterfell, Ramsay makes it clear he would like to meet him in the field. Roose chides Ramsay at the idea of giving up his position, reminding him Winterfell is a superior defensive position and they have winter rations to outlast Stannis’ poorly provisioned army. Ramsay gets permission to do his 20 good men bit, but what’s important here is Ramsay’s failure to appreciate the strategic advantages of defensive positions. He may be cunning in some regards, but his belligerence is his greatest weakness; something Roose recognizes.
Foreshadowing – In Season 6, Roose also reprimands Ramsay for playing his games with Sansa and Theon, both of which were strategic assets lost by Ramsay as a result of his game playing, much to Roose’s dismay. We know from the trailer, that Ramsay asks someone (presumably Rickon), “do you like to play games, little man?” It appears Ramsay has not learned his lesson, and since torturing/killing another person has little purpose to the audience, I believe the third time Ramsay attempts to do this, the game will be on him this time. It would be, a fitting twist to the rule of three.
Foreshadowing – In S6, ep 2, just before Roose’s murder, Lord Karstark says, “Your hold on the North will never be secure as long as a Stark can walk through that door,” glancing at the very door that Rickon will be brought through in the next episode.
Foreshadowing – In the same scene, Ramsay also suggests murdering the Lord Commander of the Night’s watch, a move Roose says proves Ramsay does not share his affinity for politics and strategy. Ramsay says he only needs the Umbers, the Manderlys and the Karstarks…. Since we’re fairly certain the Karstarks are with the Boltons and the Manderlys will stay loyal to the Starks, that seems to make the Umbers the key piece to turning the tide in favor of the Boltons. Hmmmmmmm
Foreshadowing – The “treated as a mad dog bit” is so heavy handed I don’t feel the need to explain.
Foreshadowing – After Ramsay kills Roose, he wipes his bloody knife over Roose’s papers and maps. This is a clear indication that planning and strategy in house Bolton died with Roose.
Even when Roose was making deals with Tywin, he made it clear his hold on the North was tenuous at best.
Once Tywin died, Roose acknowledged they’d lost the backing of anyone south of the Neck. Given that, it seems safe to assume that without Roose, many of House Bolton’s remaining allegiances may be in jeopardy.
Immediately after the death of Roose, who happens to appear in Winterfell, besides SJU himself. Ask yourself, do the wildlings present that much of a threat to the Umbers that SJU would help the (former) Bastard of Bolton when he’s at his most vulnerable? I will acknowledge it’s certainly possible that he’s ready to eschew tradition and have “new blood” take power, and have Ramsay join him in fighting the wildlings. However, it seems overly convenient that as soon as the schemer in the family dies, SJU shows up with a proposal that would see Ramsay leave his defensive position and take the field as winter is about to fall, the exact thing Roose had warned him against doing only a few episodes prior. Did SJU wait because he hated Roose? Or did he wait because he knew Roose would distrust a long-time Stark ally or see the proposition to march far into the North with winter coming as a fool’s errand?
If SJU is aware of the possibility of the Vale army approaching from the south and Jon and the wildlings from the North, it seems like SJU has just convinced Ramsay to do the worst possible thing by leaving the safety of Winterfell’s walls and taking the field.
We know the Umbers are famously loyal to the Starks and care a great deal about oaths. Does refusing to swear an oath seem like the behavior of someone who cares nothing about tradition? If you cared nothing about tradition, wouldn’t you just swear whatever oath was asked of you and not give a shit if you keep it or not? Seems to me, that SJU talked his way into tricking Ramsay in way so that if he betrays him, he cannot be called oathbreaker by anyone.
If Rickon and SJU are aware that Sansa and Bran live, risking Rickon to lure Ramsay out of Winterfell becomes a risk worth taking because there are other Stark heirs to carry on the line. If Rickon is anything like other Starks, he’s probably tired of sitting on the sidelines as is willing to risk torture to see his family oust the Bolton traitors. Young boys being eager to enter the fray and paying the ultimate price is a recurring theme in GoT and ASOIAF.
This one is a bit tinfoily, but the show did do a scene involving Robb’s will so don’t call it bullshit just yet. If GJU or SJU were made aware of Robb’s will presumably legitimizing and naming Jon heir to winterfell, Rickon is even less necessary to the survival of the Stark line.
This one is a bit tinfoily as well, but if we believe SJU is in cahoots with Rickon, do we have any reason to believe SJU when he tells Ramsay that the GJU is dead? Is it possible he is alive and well, preparing their trap?
Shaggydog’s alleged head is far too small to be a direwolf. The handle and scrolls as reference point on the table seem to make sure we feel that way.
Rickon’s reaction to Shaggydog’s head seemed muted. Perhaps because he’d know from his warg connection when the wolf died and has already grieved prior to the meeting with Ramsay, perhaps because it’s a ruse.
Osha does a very suspicious side look when they go to present the alleged direwolf head. Maybe this is her normal wildling self, or maybe she’s wondering if Ramsay is going to buy it. Maybe, it’s legitimate apprehension of having agreed to go into custody to protect Rickon should they be freed and need to escape. As many have mentioned, she’s of little value to Ramsay beyond being another chick to hunt in the woods. She may be there to make sure the audience recognizes Rickon (holy puberty!) but that seems a poor reason to include her. If the Umbers hated wildlings enough to turn on the Starks, would they really leave her alive?
Ramsay decides the head is a direwolf far too quickly. Seriously re-watch the scene, he decides in an instant. And all the while, SJU is standing behind Ramsay, staring directly at the back of his head with a frightening look. As season 6 has taught us, turning your back to people who may be your enemies is a grave error (RIP Trystane, Areo, Arthur).
When we first see the Umbers approach Winterfell, a suspicious carriage is in center frame. Perhaps Rickon and Osha are laying down in there chained up. Perhaps the conspicuously shaped carriage has a certain Shaggy-doo type passenger, waiting for the right moment to be released.
The mentioning of the Manderly’s and casting calls make it fairly certain that elements of the Grand Northern Conspiracy are in play. Since it seems fairly unlikely we’ll get White Harbor and the scene where they pretend to kill Davos and display a FAKE SEVERED HEAD to convince Freys and Boltons of their loyalty. I wonder, how might the show creators do their own take on this plotline? Have any other known Stark Loyalists presented any severed heads recently?
To anyone who says Shaggy’s head should be small… remember that Ghost was the runt, not Shaggy.
To anyone who says set reports have the Umbers fighting alongside the Boltons, you are right to some degree but everyone has said there was a great deal of confusion on the massive set. Trailers may show what appears to be Umbers on the Bolton side, but this could well be before they turn their cloaks.
Many have said the SJU is waiting around to protect Rickon, which is possible, but highly speculative at this point. But so is most my post, so might as well throw it in here.
Art Parkinson interview – yes, when asked if Shaggy was dead, he replied, “Uh, yeah, I’d say so” but that has to be the most unconvincing answer ever. Add in being bullshitted by Kit for 9 months and I’m not buying it. When asked if it was possible the Umbers were running a ruse he replied, “Well, you know, the show is so full of twists and turns, so it is possible, but it would be disappointing if Jon Umber did really betray us… It’s definitely going to be an interesting season, and to keep an eye out for the little details.” THE GAME IS ON.