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The Great Northern Conspiracy, Reexamined


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#1 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:04 AM

As I hope we all know by now, the World of Ice and Fire app confirms what I think most people have suspected: Robb legitimized Jon in his will and named him his heir, and sent Galbart Glover and Maege Mormont on ahead to the north with the news. While Mormont and Glover have yet to resurface (where we can see, anyway), there's evidence that perhaps the word is starting to get out.

Take, for instance, the letter little Lyanna Mormont sends to Stannis: "Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is STARK."

I remember people wondering about the letter, wondering to whom Lyanna was referring, seeing as Robb was dead, Rickon and Bran and Arya were thought dead, and Sansa was probably disinherited. But now that we know that Robb did legitimize Jon and that Maege did go north with the message, the letter makes a lot of sense.

However ...

... If Maege did get the word out, which I agree it seems like she must have, why did no one actually get in touch with Jon? They could get a letter to Stannis at the Wall; why did no one send Jon a letter or make an attempt to get in touch with him about the news? And why did Bear Island tell Stannis to go piss off a bridge one moment, only to join up with him the next?

Here's my theory: I have said, for a while, that the Northmen are using Stannis as a means to an end (and yes this includes Manderly, although it's speculative as to whether he knows about Jon; more on that in a sec) and have no real intention of bending the knee or recognizing his authority when all is said and done. BUT ... they need someone to flush the Boltons out.

What if they're biding their time to reveal the truth about Robb's will until after Stannis' forces defeat Bolton's, or Bolton's defeat Stannis'? Whoever wins, his forces will be depleted enough from beating up on the other that pro-Stark forces (Mormont, Umber, Manderly, Glover, etc.) will be able to sweep aside the "victor" relatively easily. Or to put it in terms that have been discussed before, Stannis is the Dothraki, Bolton is Robert and Jon is Aegon. /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

If Jon's legitimization and role in the will is revealed too early, the northmen risk that Stannis and/or Bolton will get wind of it and take Jon out. But if they keep it under wraps, they can push Stannis and Bolton's forces into bleeding each other, with Jon and his secret untouched until the time is right and the northerners have the advantage.

As for Manderly, I have also suggested before that something reeks about his offer to Davos — that there's a sleight of wording, that there's something else going on here. There's the question of why the northerners would want Jon if Rickon is alive, and vice versa. Manderly refers to Rickon as his liege lord — and really, he is in a way. If Jon is Robb's heir to be King in the North, Rickon would move into Winterfell as the Lord Stark. As I've suggested before about Robb's will, a lot of it depends on how it's worded. If he thinks that Bran and Rickon are definitely dead, it's likely that he leaves them out entirely and just focuses on Jon, because why include people who you "know" to be dead? This might suit the northerners fine, given that Jon is an adult and Rickon is a small child. However, Rickon is still a legitimate male Stark, still technically Jon's heir now (assuming Bran's out of the picture), and still able to trump the fake Arya. So they can still use him — and they can send Davos after him on the premise that if Davos retrieves him, they'll support Stannis. However, if Stannis loses, they're not bound to that agreement, and if he wins, as I suggested earlier, the northerners can shunt him aside — it's their season, and their country. And if Davos for whatever reason fails, they still have Jon.

And to keep going with Manderly, the insanely analytical Tze once made a point of dissecting the songs that Manderly called for at Ramsay and Jeyne's wedding. All of them have to do with the Night's Watch. Not only that, but all of them send a pointed message in their own way, with context. Manderly has killed and served the three missing Freys = The Rat Cook. Jeyne is a girl disguised as someone she isn't = Brave Danny Flint. Then there's The Night That Ended, in which the Night's Watch rides out and saves the day. Manderly is also pretty jovial about all of this. What if his song selection is his subtle way of teasing/goading the Boltons, knowing what's going on behind the scenes? It almost smacks of someone coming up and saying, "I've got a secret but I'm not going to tell you." Taken together as a whole, the song collection basically says, "I'm onto what you're trying to pull (Danny Flint), but I've drawn blood already under your nose (The Rat Cook), and ultimately my side's going to win (The Night That Ended)."

So to sum it all up — the pro-Stark northern families know about Robb's will and are moving into position, with the aim of forcing Stannis and the Boltons against each other and dispatching with the "victor" before "going public" with the will and reinstalling a Stark king.

ETA: And there's also Barbrey Dustin, as brought up lower down. Now a lot of people think she's totally in the can for Roose, but that doesn't really explain why she had Theon take her down to the crypts. I think she's playing a "lady doth protest too much" game, and went to the crypts to verify that swords were missing and/or that there was evidence of Bran and Rickon having been there. She might not like the Starks, but Ramsay murdered her nephew of whom she was very fond; somehow I have to think that stings a wee bit more.

Edited by Apple Martini, 07 December 2012 - 01:06 AM.


#2 butterbumps!

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:13 AM

Here's my theory: I have said, for a while, that the Northmen are using Stannis as a means to an end (and yes this includes Manderly, although it's speculative as to whether he knows about Jon; more on that in a sec) and have no real intention of bending the knee or recognizing his authority when all is said and done. BUT ... they need someone to flush the Boltons out.


I kind of took that for granted, because don't some of them pretty much state they're not doing this for Stannis but the Ned's girl? NW vows and bastardy or not, the North is pretty desperate, and I think a case could be made for Manderly's, uh, enthusiasm even without a formal decree from Robb given that Jon could be a rallying figure as the Ned's eldest living "offspring" anyway.

#3 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:16 AM

I kind of took that for granted, because don't some of them pretty much state they're not doing this for Stannis but the Ned's girl? NW vows and bastardy or not, the North is pretty desperate, and I think a case could be made for Manderly's, uh, enthusiasm even without a formal decree from Robb given that Jon could be a rallying figure as the Ned's eldest living "offspring" anyway.


I actually agree, but at least a few people seem to think that the northerners will eventually fall into line and form the basis of a kingdom for Stannis. I'm arguing, no, they have no intentions of recognizing Stannis as king and never did.

#4 butterbumps!

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:21 AM

I actually agree, but at least a few people seem to think that the northerners will eventually fall into line and form the basis of a kingdom for Stannis. I'm arguing, no, they have no intentions of recognizing Stannis as king and never did.


Really? lol, is there anything Rabid Stannis Fans (or RSFs for short) won't argue? (I joke, all you RSFs are lovely).

No, I think they respect Stannis, but they're only doing this because their current interests happen to align with his.

#5 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:22 AM

Really? lol, is there anything Rabid Stannis Fans (or RSFs for short) won't argue? (I joke, all you RSFs are lovely).

No, I think they respect Stannis, but they're only doing this because their current interests happen to align with his.


Yes, I love Stannis too, but he's being led up a creek here I'm afraid. /tongue.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

And yes a few times I've tried to argue that Manderly is blowing sunshine up Davos' ass and some of them are like, "Naw Manderly will swear fealty to Stannis."

These kids.

#6 Gar Weg Wun Sygerrik

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:33 AM

Well, also, say they do declare Jon legitimate, not part of the Night's Watch and king of the north. What do they do with him? The wall is indefensible, White Harbor is a city, this leaves the Umber's Castle, the Dreadfort which is full of boltons, and Winterfell. They atleast need to retake Winterfell before they make it clear to everyone that there is still a King in the North. If Stannis takes Winterfell all bets are off.

#7 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:36 AM

Well, also, say they do declare Jon legitimate, not part of the Night's Watch and king of the north. What do they do with him? The wall is indefensible, White Harbor is a city, this leaves the Umber's Castle, the Dreadfort which is full of boltons, and Winterfell. They atleast need to retake Winterfell before they make it clear to everyone that there is still a King in the North. If Stannis takes Winterfell all bets are off.


Also a good point.

You guys this shit gives me chills, for realz. /drool.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':drool:' />

#8 Barty

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:40 AM

Well, also, say they do declare Jon legitimate, not part of the Night's Watch and king of the north. What do they do with him? The wall is indefensible, White Harbor is a city, this leaves the Umber's Castle, the Dreadfort which is full of boltons, and Winterfell. They atleast need to retake Winterfell before they make it clear to everyone that there is still a King in the North. If Stannis takes Winterfell all bets are off.

The Dreadfort is actually empty of Boltons - Ramsay left a garrison of old men and green boys behind. What Dreadfort is full of is men loyal to the Starks(the smallfolk of winterfell). It is highly possible that if they hear Jon is outside the Dreadfort with an army, some of them will open the gates for him.

#9 Gar Weg Wun Sygerrik

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:42 AM

The Dreadfort is actually empty of Boltons - Ramsay left a garrison of old men and green boys behind. What Dreadfort is full of is men loyal to the Starks(the smallfolk of winterfell). It is highly possible that if they hear Jon is outside the Dreadfort with an army, some of them will open the gates for him.


I was under the impression that all the men were put to the sword, and only the women were taken.

Edited by Gar Weg Wun Sygerrik, 07 December 2012 - 12:47 AM.


#10 Cynthia Snow

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:43 AM

The Dreadfort is actually empty of Boltons - Ramsay left a garrison of old men and green boys behind. What Dreadfort is full of is men loyal to the Starks(the smallfolk of winterfell). It is highly possible that if they hear Jon is outside the Dreadfort with an army, some of them will open the gates for him.


From what I understood they were all prisoners. Yeah, that's a lot of people for possibly not a lot of dungeons, but I have a feeling the Dreadfort is fairly plentiful in the dungeon area. This could work if some were given freedom of the castle, like Osha was in Winterfell, but that would probably be too dangerous for the Boltons to do since they don't want word of what really happened at Winterfell to get out.

Edited to add-

I under the impression that all the men were put to the sword, and only the women were taken.


I forgot about that. A woman or child could still be the one to open the gate, as someone (I forget who) did to allow the mountain's men into Harrenhal after Bolton leaves, but that goes back to what I initially posted about how everyone's still probably locked up.

Edited by Cynthia Snow, 07 December 2012 - 12:45 AM.


#11 Barty

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:43 AM

The only possible problem I see with the Northern Conspiracy is that Jon might actually be dead(Correct me if I am wrong - he is stated to be dead in the app isn't he?) and Davos brings Rickon to Stannis instead of Manderly. This would leave the northerners with no choice but to follow Stannis.

#12 Barty

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:47 AM

I under the impression that all the men were put to the sword, and only the women were taken.

I can't seem to find a quote anywhere in the wiki - You are probably right. Ramsay is brutal enough to do it.

#13 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:47 AM

The only possible problem I see with the Northern Conspiracy is that Jon might actually be dead(Correct me if I am wrong - he is stated to be dead in the app isn't he?) and Davos brings Rickon to Stannis instead of Manderly. This would leave the northerners with no choice but to follow Stannis.


Yeah, Jon being dead (or undead or wounded or however you want think of it) is the hangnail at the moment. I'm just walking through the plan up to now.

As for Davos and Rickon, there's the description of Manderly being a little too happy at the wedding. I suspect that Robett Glover is "hanging back," somewhere close to Winterfell but out of sight, ready to move in with reinforcements if something happens. I think that Manderly's good mood is caused, in part, from learning off-screen from Glover that Davos has come back with Rickon. Meaning, Rickon is in northern custody. Obviously this won't be confirmed or disproved until the next book, but that's my hypothesis.

Edited by Apple Martini, 07 December 2012 - 12:48 AM.


#14 Minstral

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:49 AM

Also a good point.

You guys this shit gives me chills, for realz. /drool.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':drool:' />


What does this app say about the status of Jon Snow anyway? Is he alive, dead, wounded? All this planning is all for naught if his mortal body kicks it.

Edit: nevermind got the answer below me

Edited by Minstral, 07 December 2012 - 12:58 AM.


#15 butterbumps!

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:50 AM

The only possible problem I see with the Northern Conspiracy is that Jon might actually be dead(Correct me if I am wrong - he is stated to be dead in the app isn't he?) and Davos brings Rickon to Stannis instead of Manderly. This would leave the northerners with no choice but to follow Stannis.


Not exactly, no. The app lists a "place of death" for him at the top of his entry in a "quick facts" section, but then the rest of the text of the main entry never states he's actually dead.

I don't think listing the "place of death" means much in terms of literal death, since Sandor Clegane also has a "place of death listed" and I'm 99.9% sure he's the gravedigger. I think it simply means that Jon "Snow" is dead, he's killed that boy and Jon ______ will wake.

ETA: When the will emerges, he's actually Jon "Stark" now anyway, subject to change if he figures out his parentage.

Edited by butterbumps!, 07 December 2012 - 12:51 AM.


#16 Gar Weg Wun Sygerrik

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:55 AM

This opens up a whole can of worms. If the letter moved North and Robb was already discussing plans of crannog men assaulting Moat Caillin which we see in Dance, then there has probably been contact. Meaning Howland knows, and may be in motion. Implications being that Barbrey Dustin was poking around the crypt looking for confirmation about Jon, and they're holding back because they know that Jon is a Targaryen, and not a Son of Ned. So they'll install Rickon in Winterfell, and do what with Jon? Not to mention all the crackpot possibilities for the Hooded Man are more probable.

Still, I really like the idea that Manderly is messing with the Boltons and that makes more sense if everyone thinks Jon is a legitimized son of Ned. Maybe the Crannogmen are just killing ironborn becuase, well, they're enemies of the Starks.

Edited by Gar Weg Wun Sygerrik, 07 December 2012 - 01:02 AM.


#17 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:59 AM

This opens up a whole can of worms. If the letter moved North and Robb was already discussing plans of crannog men assaulting Moat Caillin which we see in Dance, then there has probably been contact. Meaning Howland knows, and may be in motion. Implications being that Barbery Dustin was poking around the crypt looking for confirmation about Jon, and they're holding back because they know that Jon is a Targaryen, and not a Son of Ned. So they'll install Rickon in Winterfell, and do what with Jon? Not to mention all the crackpot possibilities for the Hooded Man are more probable.


That's a good reminder about Dustin — the possibility that she had Theon take her into the crypt to verify that Bran and Rickon had been there.

However I'm not sure that Howland would spill the beans about Jon being a Targ at this point. What would it accomplish?

#18 Gar Weg Wun Sygerrik

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:01 AM

That's a good reminder about Dustin — the possibility that she had Theon take her into the crypt to verify that Bran and Rickon had been there.

However I'm not sure that Howland would spill the beans about Jon being a Targ at this point. What would it accomplish?


That's true about Bran and Rickon, I completely forgot about that.

#19 Rubacava

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:10 AM

Dont you think GRRM can easily put this line in Jon's POV ?

"They had sent the words months ago, but they have not appeared again."

What I'm saying is maybe Jon knows but it is not mentioned in the books. These tricks always work.

#20 Apple Martini

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:11 AM

Dont you think GRRM can easily put this line in Jon's POV ?

"They had sent the words months ago, but they have not appeared again."

What I'm saying is maybe Jon knows but it is not mentioned in the books. These tricks always work.


Ehhhhh I don't see any hint in Jon's POV that he knows. This isn't like Ned's where it's clear there's some compartmentalization going on. Jon plain doesn't know.