“I was in me Ruddy Hall, with only a cask o’ mead to keep me company and nothing to do but drink it. The more I drank, the more I got thinking about this woman lived close by, a fine strong woman with the biggest pair of teats you ever saw. She had a temper on her that one, but oh, she could we warm too, and in the deep of winter a man needs his warmth.
“The more I drank, the more I thought about her, and the more I thought the harder me member got, till I couldn’t suffer it no more. Fool that I was I bundled meself up in furs from head to heels, wrapped a winding wool aroud me face, and set off to find her. The snow was coming down so hard I got turned around once or twice, and the wind blew right through me and froze me bones, but finally I come on her, all bundled up like I was.
“The woman had a terrible temper, and she put up quite the fight when I laid hands on her. It was all I could do to carry her home and get her out o’ them furs, but when I did, oh, she was hotter than even I remembered, and we had a fine old time, and then I went to sleep. Next morning when I woke the snow had stopped and the sun was shining, but I was in no fit state to enjoy it. All ripped and torn I was, and had me member bit right off, and there on me floor was a she-bear’s pelt. And soon enough the free folk were telling tales of this bald bear seen in the woods, with the queerest pair o’ cubs behind her. Har!” He slapped his meaty thigh. “Would that I could find her again. She was fine to lay with, that bear. Never was a woman give me such a fight, nor such strong sons neither.”
On first inspection, we see this as a whimsical tale about Tormund raping a bear, from the Tall-Talker himself. However, as one member stated in the “Wow, I never noticed that!” v.2 thread, mayhaps this is an exaggerated story for Tormund sleeping with Mormont women. This led me onto a search, for which I have found an answer. Let us begin.
Now Tormund is a wildling of some repute, and at one point was competing with Mance for the King-beyond-the-Wall title. He is the man the wildlings look to when Mance ‘dies’. Like any wildling, therefore, it can be assumed that he did a fair bit of raiding in his day. Now, how far afield may a young Tormund raided. The Gift? Skagos? Or perhaps even to Bear Island, home of the bears?
Shall we look at the ‘bear’ again. From his story, Tormund says he set out to find a woman he had once slept with, perhaps on more than one occasion. The description given by Tormund bears a striking resemblance to the description given by Jeor Mormont of his sister Maege earlier, and from what we know the father of Maege’s five daughters is yet to discovered.
“Maege is a hoary old snark, stubborn, short-tempered, and willful”
Allow me artistic license, when I suggest that perhaps on one particularly audacious raid of Bear Island, a young Tormund comes across a young Maege and like any wildling would – he has his way with her, leaving her with child. Maybe it was a particularly harsh winter (as in the story) and the two are trapped together for days too. Now, would Maege be forced to give up this child? Well, even the Starks have had to put up with a wildling bastard as shown by the story of Bael the Bard. From what we know about the Mormont line, is pretty lean with only Jorah and Jeor - and Jorah seems 'infertile'. Lets say for arguments sake she keeps it.
From the story, we see Tormund is particularly keen on this woman. Perhaps he returns and maybe they ‘secretly’ marry (making Tormund the Husband of Bears) – maybe something happened the first time round and this ‘warmth’ Tormund mentions was love. Several visits by a besotted Tormund leaves Maege with five children, whose ages range from around thirty (Dacey) to ten (Lyanna). Quite the gap compared to the Starks, Tyrells or Tullys, perhaps representing the gap between raids. Five she-bears all capable of fighting and being awesome (Lyanna’s letter for instance).
Now, from Tormund’s children we see that Munda is quite the fighter, breaking Ryk’s lip and biting his ear half off. Tormund also mentions “strong sons” that the She-bear left him, Toregg, Torwynd, Dryn and Dormund. Now I’m not saying they are all Maege’s, perhaps one or two (and maybe Munda?).
I officially knight this relationship Maegmund, and declare that Maege and Tormund are wife and husband and lovers.
Thanks for reading my purely speculative theory. It was fun to write!