Right Before Theon and Jeyne jumps off the outer wall he hears a warhorn from the north of Winterfell. Not the drums as before so I'm guessing Umber is no longer alone out there. It got me to thinking about the other lords and ladys present at Winterfell, are they really bound to Bolton and Freys by hostages? The one we know for sure is Umber and they have sided already, Whoresbane with Bolton and Mors with Stannis.
I think a smart move from the Northmen would be to attack as soon as the Freys are starting to come through the gate. The Freys would have Manderly at their back, the gate could be kept open by people on the inside and the Boltons would be trapped. That is why I think that we will see Winterfell under attack early in TWOW. But where do the northern houses present at Winterfell stand? And are they prepared to kill their host? All those who are at Winterfell are bound by the law of guest right. At least Manderly seem to care enough about that to wait until his Frey guests had departed before killing them (I assume they are dead, pork pie? Yeah sure).
I have a hunch this is why Roose Bolton sent the Freys and Manderlys men out to meet Stannis (he thinks) while he sit safely inside, with hostages.
We later learn that Stannis' host were still trapped in the snow some days march away from Winterfell so the warhorn belonged to someone else.
The northmen that to me seem to be loyal (comparatively) to Roose Bolton, besides his own bannermen are:
One of the wild cards of the northmen is old Lord Locke.
I noticed in a reread of Davos chapters that Lord Locke has someone at Manderlys court, who expressed his opinion about Ramsay being a monster. This Locke person is unknown to us but GRRM bothered to give us details of his coat of arms, the crossed bronze keys on white and purple.
It suggests Old lord Locke is in on the plot with Manderly, and perhaps other northmen too. We don't know of any heirs, and the man is very old, so maybe he has little to loose by going against the Boltons.
On the other hand the Locke at Manderlys court could be a spy for Bolton.
Lady Dustin is of uncertain loyalty but some things she did speaks for her conspiring against Bolton.
I always thought it strange how Lady Dustin sought out Theon to talk, and always revealing so much. Her pointing out how craven she thinks Manderly really is made me suspicious. Why is she even interested in talking to Theon? Maybe she hopes to conceal the plot against the Boltons, thinking Theon feeds the information back to Ramsay. I think she really hated Eddard, but she loved Brandon so she may have a soft spot for Starks still. She definitely hates Ramsay for killing Domeric and she is not too happy with Roose Bolton for making Ramsay his heir. So if I was her I would think better a Stark as liege lord, who would be in debt to me for securing him Winterfell and restoring his family to it, than a Bolton hated by everyone.
The quarrelsome Ryswells...
Roose Ryswell sent out scouts but none of them returned. Maybe they were killed by other northmen around the area or they were sent out to them with information. Boltons own scouts seems to return so... However, since he is cousin to Lady Dustins father he could support Bolton for the hope of lordship.
Lady Dustins brothers Roger and Rickard Ryswell are also of unsure loyalty.
The other northmen in Winterfell does not seem to have any reason to be loyal to Bolton, since their houses are almost extinct or we know they are conspiring against Bolton like Manderly. Tallharts, Lady Cerwyn and Hornwoods should want Ramsay and Roose dead ASAP for what they have done to their families, and their remaining children are hostages to the Ironmen at Torrhen's Square, not the Boltons. Whoresbane Umber is there because of the Greatjon being hostage, but now that Mors is with Stannis it could well be useless to keep up pretence.
So, it's possible all of the north, or a large part of it, have secretly been conspiring against the Boltons, not just Manderly and Robett Glover. And it's possible they all have been informed about Robbs decree from Maege Mormont (who is alive according to her daughter Alysane) or Galbart Glover, and Rickons return from the dead from Manderly. At the end of ADWD Rickon could be sitting in White Harbour and a host of northmen could be surrounding Winterfell. Manderly has some ten thousand men waiting for his command and they could be closing in by now. That is what he could have been waiting for, munching away on his pies.
Roose is not stupid, he knows some plot exists. He could have a great backup plan that he thinks spoils all of the northmens efforts... Like ruining Robbs decree (if it says Jon=King) by telling the north that Jon let the King-Beyond the Wall live, despite all the trouble the northmen have with wildlings, despite all the hate that has been building up for thousands of years.
But Rickons claim he can't ruin. Or the fact that Theon and Jeyne got away and can destroy the Bolton claim to Winterfell by telling the north she is not Arya.
What do you think?
Edited by Eyron, 06 September 2015 - 05:47 PM.