1-Open negotiations with the Watch to free Jon from his vows. Robb needs an heir since Bran, Rickon,and Arya are believed to be dead and Sansa a captive in King's Landing. Trade the Ironborn taken in Winterfell, with the exception of Theon, for Jon's release from his vows.
2-Along the same lines, give Jon the authority to treat with Mance Rayder as Robb's envoy and have a high ranking Watch member(Noye, Buckwell, Marsh) on hand to negotiate the resettlement of the wildlings in the Gift. Also probably a good idea to have the chiefs of the Hill tribes and an Umber uncle on hand, as well, since they're the northernmost lords. This step cannot be accomplished without the FULL COOPERATION of the Watch. If Mance is willing to get the wildling chiefs(Tormund, Harma Dogshead, the Weeper etc.) on board, then begin the process of resettling the wildlings in the Gift along with the possibility of Mance being named Lord of the Gift.
3-Use Ramsey and Rodrik to root out the Ironborn in the North. It's even possible that Bran and Rickon may reveal themselves, giving Robb the opportunity to negotiate with others, such as Stannis, for alliances.
4-JUST WAIT. Events are already in motion for the Lannister/Tyrell alliance to implode. Have Tallhart, Cerwyn, or even Ramsey march half of the remaining Northern host to Moat Cailin while also having Jon reinforce the Wall to guarantee the wildlings good behavior.
5-Go along with the Edmure/Roslin match, but do not attend the wedding. Stay in Riverrun while events in King's Landing and, theoretically, at the Wall and in the North play out.
Strictly speaking, had Ramsey not killed Rodrik and sacked Winterfell, then Bran and Rickon may have revealed themselves. That gets rid of the Ironborn problem on it's own since Robb doesn't have to march back North. Getting Jon released from his vows gives him someone who can treat with Mance and, perhaps, give him more manpower. Jon may have to stay at the Wall to oversee their resettlement, but then again, Jon may not want to leave since the Others are marching on the Wall, anyway.
Yes, I think it will happen and they'll end up married in the long term, ruling the Riverlands and not the Vale.
The way I see it, LF's blind spot for Sansa is really starting to show. She's Robert Arryn's maternal figure, giving her a HUGE influence over the boy lord. Now LF is going to have her seduce Harry so they can be married? I mean, come on now, he's giving Sansa the keys to the Vale and telling her to run with them. Plus, there's no way that Lady Waynwood doesn't know who Alayne Stone really is. We can talk monetary dowries all we want, there's no way the bastard daughter of LF, lord of a seat he has no interest in, would be given first crack at, possibly, the most eligible bachelor of marital age in Westeros. Along with that, if Harry were to marry Sansa, he's looking at the potential of being Lord of not one, but possibly three of the Seven Kingdoms.
IMO, Sansa's best hope for helping her brothers in the North is to, at the very least, forge a strong bond between SR and Harry to counter LF's influence. For once LF is disposed of, SR is going to need a regent, and I believe that Sansa will use Harry to rule in SR's name, while at the same time promising her hand in marriage to Harry to keep Rickon safe in the North. Sansa has shown some great potential in the Game, and if she doesn't advantage of what she's got and will soon get, meaning her current maternal-like relationship with SR and the almost certain affections of Robert Baratheon 2.0, then she has no hope of mastering the Game and beating LF once and for all.
Stannis: Mid-late 30's. Has one child, but could still have more.
Shireen: Has greyscale, but her future husband is probably trekking his way back to Winterfell as we speak.
Mya: Bastard, could be legitimized.
Gendry: Bastard, could be legitimized. Probably won't be Lord of Storm's End, but may be Arya's husband and Lord of the Dreadfort.
Edric: Legitimized bastard. Most likely out of the post-Stannis generation to end up with Storm's End, since he's safely hidden away for the moment.
House Baratheon may go extinct, but would only happen if Shireen didn't have children or one of the bastards didn't take the name.
As someone who has liked Stannis since he saved the Watch at the end of Storm, and having read the books before the show came out, I believe that Stannis love has been around longer than the show has. I'm biased, of course, but IMO the fact that Dance came out before Season 2 did may have changed reader feelings about Stannis. We got to see that he's doing the job a king should be doing; driving the Ironborn from the North and making a march through a blizzard for the Northmen and "Ned's girl". He still believes that he should be king, and rightly so, but I know that my Stannis love was amped up because he's doing the legwork to get a region behind him, both in his possible continuation for the Throne while also needing men to fight the Others, who Stannis knows is what matters now.
Not only that, but Stannis' story is also fascinating, to me. His is a very human story, from his reluctance to support Robert over Aerys to not truly wanting to burn Edric, yet knowing that one child's life could end the war and save thousands of lives. Yes, it's immoral and wrong to want to kill Edric and utilizing magic to assassinate your brother to gain his forces, but Stannis is given some tough choices throughout the series. He has no son to make a marriage betrothal with a Great House; his daughter has greyscale thereby making her "unfit" in the eyes of many. He has the smallest military throughout his campaign, including the Blackwater. Yet, through all of this, he doesn't quit. He is gaining respect the old fashioned way in Westeros, by saving the Watch and marching to (unknowingly) put a Stark male back in Winterfell.
IMO, his persistence is going to pay off. Maybe not for him personally, but I'm almost 100% certain that his daughter will end up married to the future Lord of Winterfell. Plus, his efforts against the Others can't go unnoticed to the realm in the long term. The way this story looks to be heading, Westerosi lords may end up having to choose who they'll have be their King/Queen in the long run considering the amount of differing claims floating around as we wind down to the final act. Stannis' actions during this period may end up helping his daughter be chosen to be the Queen.
I guess whether Stannis is a hero depends on your definition of a hero. He may not be one of the big heroes in this story, but he is probably up there on the list.
Balon's plan was not thought out, IMO. He got nothing for attacking the Starks; no alliance from the Lannisters/Tyrells, no meaningful(read: fertile) lands, just pinecones and rocks, as Asha shows at the Kingsmoot. Had he allied with the Starks and Tullys, he has the opportunity to get the Westerlands for his family, and in doing so, get rid of Theon as his heir for Asha, who is, let's be honest, the true Greyjoy marriage prize in Balon's eyes.
With that in mind, here's what could have happened:
Robb sends Theon to Pyke, except the offer is changed in order for Theon to receive Casterly Rock and the rule of the Westerlands from Robb if Theon:
a. Renounces all claim to Pyke and the Iron Islands
b. Gets his father to join Robb's war effort
Now, I'm sure you all see me as crazy for thinking that Theon would renounce his claim on the Isles, but Theon was always more suited to rule a mainland region. Should Theon give up his claim to the Isles, it gives Balon the heir he wants (Asha) and a family member ruling the region closest to you (Theon). Seems like a win-win both personally for Balon and on a more geopolitical scale, as well.
Why should Theon agree to those terms? Well, for one he gets his own region, one a whole lot wealthier than either the North or Iron Islands, and two, by renouncing his claim peacefully, Robb Stark may just let him marry his sister once she is returned to him. The North/Riverlands are allies with the Greyjoys through a marriage(Theon/Sansa), and Balon gains himself a few powerful allies to cover his ass for joining in the effort. Not to mention that Theon would more than likely allow him to partake in some of the plunder from the West. Hell, maybe Victarion even gets his own seat, Lannisport perhaps?
So again, Balon chose the short fix over the long-term solution. The Tyrells, if the Starks/Tullys/Greyjoys become aligned may not be in such a hurry to go headlong with the Lannisters when Ironborn are actively pillaging and burning the West with Tywin unable to get back since he's protecting the capitol. Who knows if the Reach could be next? The Vale may even join with the two Kings, considering LF may start feeling his life expectancy is rapidly decreasing by staying with the Lannister regime. Tywin is pinned, either having to fight Robb and Edmure or Stannis without numerical superiority in either case.
As an aside, while I writing this up I got kind of sad, considering how fascinating it would have been to see the dynamics between a functional Greyjoy-Stark alliance. Especially when it came to the inevitable showdown against Stannis that would have happened when he becomes King after his victory on the Blackwater.
1st in Command: Ned Stark
2nd in Command: Stannis Baratheon
Commander of the Vanguard: Randyll Tarly
Commander of the Left: Bronze Yohn Royce
Commander of the Center: Barristan Selmy
Commander of the Right: Oberyn Martell
Commander of the Reserve: Tywin Lannister
Cavalry Commander: Robb Stark
Lead Scout: Brynden Tully
Commander of the Archers: Theon Greyjoy
Davos will bring Rickon back by way of Karhold after his ship crashes on their coastline, since Alys Karstark and Sigorn are true Jon-loyalists and then bring him to WF with their men(read: Thenns). Upon arrival, Rickon is immediately betrothed to Shireen and granted WF and the Lord Paramountcy of the North. Jon will then show up and assume the role of Rickon's regent, thereby giving him all of the power a King has, since Rickon will just be happy to see another family member again, plus the Northmen and Stannis won't be able to come to agreement on who should serve in the role. Finally, after the reveal of Sansa and the entrance of the Vale in hostilities on the side of Stannis and the Starks, he and Shireen are sent to the Vale where he will be raised alongside Sweetrobin, who has been kept alive since he's more valuable to Sansa alive than dead.
I like this, a lot. I'm about 90% sold, but that's just because I'm (currently) in the camp of just a Blackfyre coup.
I noticed while scrolling through that some were wondering why Illyrio wouldn't have the Blackfyre name. IMO, if we take what Illyrio says to heart about the male line having gone extinct, then Illyrio gets his Blackfyre name from his mother. However he would not technically be a Blackfyre, since he would take his father's name, Mopatis. So while his marriage to Serra Brightflame would unite the two claims, which has been said to be the better claim over the actual Targaryen one, Aegriff's surname would be one of of Mopatis, Blackfyre, and Brightflame, right? Or am I just rambling?
Something else that I saw: the possibilty that Aegriff and Arianne was the planned marriage between Varys, Illyrio, and Doran all along. Does this mean that Oberyn was not aware, since he made the contract with Willem Darry between Arianne and Viserys? Along with the trio of plotters, why send Quentyn to Dany if Aegriff was going to marry Arianne anyway? Was it just for the Martells to cover all their bases?
I don't think it'll matter in the long run whether he's legitimate or not. Since I have to pick, I'll go with legitimate, but not because he'll go for the Throne. He'll be legitimate to further drive home that who's king doesn't matter, since then the two dynastic heirs (Stannis and Jon) are nowhere near any position to become king, while pretenders and usurpers try to become King/Queen in the South.