Vaedys Targaryen

Osha as Rickon's mother figure?

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I'm currently rereading the series and I'm almost done with aGoT and while I was reading Catelyn's chapter where she stays with Bran, I started to think about Rickon and the role he may play later. As we know, in aGoT, a lot of things happen to the Starks, like Bran's crippling and attempted assassination, Ned's execution and a lot of other things, but I feel like not a lot of people discuss what's happening to Rickon.

Let's first look at what happens to the older Starks and how it affects Rickon:

Ned, Sansa, Arya, Lady and Nymeria head south to go to King's Landing, Bran is in a coma and Catelyn is staying by his side, completely neglecting Rickon and only to later also head south to King's Landing, and Robb, with the absence of his father and his mother too occupied with Bran (and later heaing south), has to be the ruling Lord of Winterfell, also neglecting Rickon, and to also later head south, leaving him with Bran.

But in aCoK, Theon betrays the Starks and takes Winterfell, another betrayal by another loved one. Ramsay Snow later sacks and burns Winterfell, while Rickon, Shaggy, Bran, Summer, Jojen, Meera, Hodor and Osah hide in the Crypts of Winterfell. They later emerge from the crypts an find Maester Luwin dying and Winterfell, Rickon's home, partially destroyed. As they venture out, Bran decides that it is safest for them that Bran and Summer head north of the Wall with Jojen, Meera and Hodor and Rickon and Shaggy are to go somewhere else with Osha, meaning that now, Bran has also abandoned Rickon.

All of this affects Rickon very negatively. Rickon is three years old, later becomes four, and his family is either going away or neglecting him, which to someone so young, could very easily feel like his loved ones are betraying him. This causes him to become very wild an unruly, which with his warging abilities also affects Shaggydog. And it doesn't exactly help that most of them die (Lady, Ned, Stark guards, etc.).

 

Now, Rickon is with Shaggy and Osha on Skagos. We don't exactly know how Osha treated Rickon as they were traveling, but do you guys think that Rickon will start to see Osha as his mother? He is after all only four, so do you think that it is indeed possible?

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Not a mother, but a role model. Poor lil dude was neglected for so long, being so young, and Osha is the only constant caregiver over a long period of time. Don't think Osha will make Rickon believe that he is his mommy. she will always rembember him that he is a Stark, altough she is a wildling and gives a shit about royalty and houses.  But she is loyal to the boys, so I think she will take care Rickon won't forget his heritage. 

What is far more interesting to me how Rick will develop under Oshas care. A wild boy with a wild direwolf, raised by a wildling on an island that is famous for their savage inhabitants. Looks like a future badass to me.

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13 minutes ago, Marylou said:

What is far more interesting to me how Rick will develop under Oshas care. A wild boy with a wild direwolf, raised by a wildling on an island that is famous for their savage inhabitants. Looks like a future badass to me.

The Wild Wolf. When he reemerges, I think he'll be a pretty badass kid.  A nobleman raised in the wild with only his Direwolf and a pretty dope wildling caregiver. If Manderly is ever able to put him in power, I think he will have zero mercy with anyone who had a hand in taking his family away and destroying his childhood. Kind of like LSH I suppose. 

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I think Osha is pretty good for him. She treats him as she should, like a toddler, despite the fact that his tantrums are enacted by a direwolf. Shaggy and Rickon are lashing out, not trying to hurt anyone. If they did want to hurt anyone, well Shaggy is perfectly capable of doing that. The way people were treating them at Winterfel was the wrong approach. Osha's way of not backing down is the right one and she's capable of getting him to mind. Thing is Shaggy and Rickon aren't really separate.

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It's a pity that Rickon is so young. He is such a promising character, but I doubt we will ever meet a teenage Rickon. He has warging and greenseeing dreams, if seeing his dead father in the crypta of WF count as greenseeing. And he is fearless. Great potential for a northern Berserker.

Maybe in the Epilogue of "Dawn"....of someone sees him in the flames as a future ruler, don't know. 

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On ‎03‎.‎10‎.‎2016 at 1:13 PM, Lord Vance II said:

The Wild Wolf. When he reemerges, I think he'll be a pretty badass kid.  A nobleman raised in the wild with only his Direwolf and a pretty dope wildling caregiver. If Manderly is ever able to put him in power, I think he will have zero mercy with anyone who had a hand in taking his family away and destroying his childhood. Kind of like LSH I suppose. 

And even worse - he might turn against his own family. I mean - when he needed most support (Ned and his sisters leaving for KL, Jon for the Wall, Brandon in coma) he was left alone:

- Catelyn only caring for Bran, remaining for weeks at his bed;

- Robb complaining that he did not know what to do with Rickon.

- I do not recall a close relation between Brandon and Rickon

Also in my memory - when we have thoughts of one Stark child (after their separation) on another one, I am sure Rickon would fall short if someone made up a statistic.

It will be interesting to see if GRRM make Rickon a POV in WOW, or if on the other extreme we never hear any more of him.

But when he plays an active role in WOW - I agree to Lord of Vance II: A stark full of vengeance and without any mercy.

Edited by Greywater-Watch

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2 hours ago, Greywater-Watch said:

And even worse - he might turn against his own family.

In a way, he might yes. I would not truly say turn against them, but not heeding their concerns. We sort of see this with the Frey wards. Bran hates them, and initially Rickon is upset by their presence - why them, instead of Robb and his mom. But then he plays the crossing game with them (with Shaggy jumping in as well, and that's the last time they played the crossing game), and seems to hang out with them. Bran's annoyed by it, ending up feeling abandoned by Rickon.I can totally see him say to one of his siblings, "Oh, I should mind you? When did you ever mind me at all?" 

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Toddlers seem to be unusually advanced in GRRM's world (especially in TRP and TPATQ) but in most cases children don't remember much of their lives before the age of, say, six or seven. If anything, I think it would be more realistic for Rickon not to remember Cat, Ned, and Robb at all in a few years, or much of Winterfell in general. I'm sure Osha will tell him all she knows about his family, but if this were real life, it's all but certain she would become a surrogate mother to him, and that Cat would sadly be the late mother he doesn't remember.

Now, like I mentioned before, children seem to have more capabilities in Planetos than they do in our world, so the next time we see Rickon, he probably will remember all of his family, as well as Winterfell. The direwolf connection will likely further this. Even so, I do agree that Osha has most likely become a mother figure to him.The fact that she hung around to look after him instead of running for the hills the minute the Ironborn showed up speaks volumes about her concern for the Stark boys. 

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I'll say she's been a better mother to Rickon than Cat ever was. From what we see in the books anyway. No idea about what it was like before.

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I don't think he'll really remember Winterfell or his family at all due to his age, but I think the emotions will leave their mark. Hoping Osha and living in a community which accepts warging will help keep Rickon from going out of control, but I'm not really confident about that.

I take this a foreshadowing of Rickon actively betraying his family and/or his heritage.

ACok Bran I:

Finally Rickon came running into the godswood, Shaggydog at his heels. He watched Turnip and Little Walder struggle for the stick until Turnip lost his footing and went in with a huge splash, arms waving. Rickon yelled, "Me! Me now! I want to play!" Little Walder beckoned him on, and Shaggydog started to follow. "No, Shaggy," his brother commanded. "Wolves can't play. You stay with Bran." And he did . . .

. until Little Walder had smacked Rickon with the stick, square across his belly. Before Bran could blink, the black wolf was flying over the plank, there was blood in the water, the Walders were shrieking red murder, Rickon sat in the mud laughing, and Hodor came lumbering in shouting "Hodor! Hodor! Hodor!"

After that, oddly, Rickon decided he liked the Walders. They never played lord of the crossing again, but they played other games—monsters and maidens, rats and cats, come-into-my-castle, all sorts of things. With Rickon by their side, the Walders plundered the kitchens for pies and honeycombs, raced round the walls, tossed bones to the pups in the kennels, and trained with wooden swords under Ser Rodrik's sharp eye. Rickon even showed them the deep vaults under the earth where the stonemason was carving father's tomb. "You had no right!" Bran screamed at his brother when he heard. "That was our place, a Stark place!" But Rickon never cared.

Here, we have Rickon associated with a list of Stark enemies: the Freys, the Ironborn (plundering kitchens), Wildlings (racing around the wall), Ramsey Bolton (tossing bones to the pups in the kennels), and Lannisters (I think of Joff and Robb fighting with wooden swords here moderated by Rodrik).  All in addition to letting the Freys into the most sacred of Stark places: the crypts (revealing Stark secrets to the enemy). Bran actually sees this as a personal betrayal. Rickon never cared.

 

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41 minutes ago, Lord Wraith said:

I'll say she's been a better mother to Rickon than Cat ever was. From what we see in the books anyway. No idea about what it was like before.

Sadly, you're probably right about that. There's a reason why Cat is such a polarizing character. She has many good qualities: she gives good advice, she's quick on her feet, she fights for what she believes in, she can be loving and clever. But she has many glaring flaws, as well. She's judgmental (although to be fair, Ned isn't exactly the most accepting person, either). She can't let go of her anger, and can be unbearably petty at times, in a way that's rather immature. She's prone to these sudden, all-encompassing bouts of emotion, where she's unable to think about anything else during this period. We see this in AGOT, when she refuses to leave Bran's bedside for weeks at a time. On the one hand, her grief is understandable: her son is unconscious and he could die at any moment. Yet at the same time, by doing this she is neglecting her youngest son, as well as her daughters, who will soon be leaving, possibly for several years. 

I recently reread AGOT and found myself feeling incredibly sorry for Robb. Catelyn clearly cares deeply for him, but she also places a huge amount of responsibility on him. He has to be a father to Bran and Rickon now, in addition to being a lord, and while Cat does think about and miss her children, her obsession with the Lannisters is greater. Wanting to be with Robb when he faces off against the Lannisters is understandable, but for how long? Cat correctly identifies the fickleness of lords, but by the beginning of ACOK, Robb has both Edmure and the Blackfish with him, and they're family above all else. Is staying with Robb really better than being with your other two children, one of whom is disabled and both of whom are under the age of eight, especially when Bran is forced to act as a lord to many other fickle lords himself, and there are Frey hostages running around, with only a maester to keep them in line? 

 In many ways, Osha turned out to be a godsend. Maester Luwin did as best he could, but he's a mentor, not a parent, and is old and frail at this point. There were guards to protect Winterfell, but no one to actually raise the children who lived inside of it. 

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I recently reread AGOT and found myself feeling incredibly sorry for Robb. Catelyn clearly cares deeply for him, but she also places a huge amount of responsibility on him. He has to be a father to Bran and Rickon now, in addition to being a lord, and while Cat does think about and miss her children, her obsession with the Lannisters is greater. Wanting to be with Robb when he faces off against the Lannisters is understandable, but for how long? Cat correctly identifies the fickleness of lords, but by the beginning of ACOK, Robb has both Edmure and the Blackfish with him, and they're family above all else. Is staying with Robb really better than being with your other two children, one of whom is disabled and both of whom are under the age of eight, especially when Bran is forced to act as a lord to many other fickle lords himself, and there are Frey hostages running around, with only a maester to keep them in line? 

I hate Cat, she keeps repeating "family, duty, honor" but she neglected her family and her duty, and she confuses honor with pride and later, vengeance.
I hate how she's so judgemental towards her sister and the way she treats her child (Lysa is a bithc but Cat is no better), and the things she thinks about Mya Stone and Brienne...
Cat thinks she's above everyone else, and her way is the way. She's no different than Cercei. 

As for Osha, she proved more honourable and dutiful towards her "family" than Cat by miles

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On 6/13/2017 at 10:28 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

Toddlers seem to be unusually advanced in GRRM's world (especially in TRP and TPATQ) but in most cases children don't remember much of their lives before the age of, say, six or seven. If anything, I think it would be more realistic for Rickon not to remember Cat, Ned, and Robb at all in a few years, or much of Winterfell in general. I'm sure Osha will tell him all she knows about his family, but if this were real life, it's all but certain she would become a surrogate mother to him, and that Cat would sadly be the late mother he doesn't remember.

Now, like I mentioned before, children seem to have more capabilities in Planetos than they do in our world, so the next time we see Rickon, he probably will remember all of his family, as well as Winterfell. The direwolf connection will likely further this. Even so, I do agree that Osha has most likely become a mother figure to him.The fact that she hung around to look after him instead of running for the hills the minute the Ironborn showed up speaks volumes about her concern for the Stark boys. 

GRRM in general doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the developmental milestones of children. It's consistent throughout the series and I find it hard to accept that it's intentional. If we start saying that they develop neurologically differently than us, then we have to start discussing how they may be less human-like than we are led to believe. 

I can honestly say that I would have no grasp of the milestones either but my PhD was in School Psych so I had them hammered into my brain.

He doesn't have any children of his own. No reason to know when a child switches form babble to words, crawls, walks, potty trains, etc. And, of course, some of these things (like potty training or weaning), vary per culture.

Edited by Traverys

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30 minutes ago, Traverys said:

GRRM in general doesn't seem to have a good grasp of the developmental milestones of children. It's consistent throughout the series and I find it hard to accept that it's intentional. If we start saying that they develop neurologically differently than us, then we have to start discussing how they may be less human-like than we are led to believe. 

I can honestly say that I would have no grasp of the milestones either but my PhD was in School Psych so I had them hammered into my brain.

He doesn't have any children of his own. No reason to know when a child switches form babble to words, crawls, walks, potty trains, etc. And, of course, some of these things (like potty training or weaning), vary per culture.

I agree. I realize that he originally expected each book to span over several years, but I find the way he writes children to be rather disconcerting. For instance, we're told that girls are considered women once they've had their first period in this universe, which is established early on in the books. With that in mind, Sansa doesn't "become a woman" until the last quarter of ACOK, yet grown men lust after her all through the first two books as if she were already a woman grown. Unless George is trying to imply that Westeros is full of pedophiles (which I don't think is what he was trying to do), it seems really strange that so many people would be physically attracted to a pre-teen. I've seen endless debates about the nature of the relationship between Sansa and the Hound, and whether or not its creepy or sweet, but to me, he didn't really write a relationship between a twelve-year-old girl and a man in his late twenties. Sansa's written much more like a young woman in her mid-to-late teens to me, physically and otherwise, which changes the way the reader interprets the text. (On that same note, he writes her relationship with Petyr like that of a a fourteen or fifteen-year-old and a man well into his forties, even though Petyr isn't really that much older than Sandor). The same can be said for the Mercy sample chapter. The argument for this is usually, "well, children were forced to grow up faster in times like these." But like you pointed out, even socially mature children would still grow the same biologically.

Of course, this is all simply how I interpret the text. It seems like a lot of people read the examples I gave as the author intended them to, but that just wasn't to case for me. George is a great writer, but the way he portrays childhood development definitely requires a certain suspension of disbelief. 

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29 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I agree. I realize that he originally expected each book to span over several years, but I find the way he writes children to be rather disconcerting. For instance, we're told that girls are considered women once they've had their first period in this universe, which is established early on in the books. With that in mind, Sansa doesn't "become a woman" until the last quarter of ACOK, yet grown men lust after her all through the first two books as if she were already a woman grown. Unless George is trying to imply that Westeros is full of pedophiles (which I don't think is what he was trying to do), it seems really strange that so many people would be physically attracted to a pre-teen. I've seen endless debates about the nature of the relationship between Sansa and the Hound, and whether or not its creepy or sweet, but to me, he didn't really write a relationship between a twelve-year-old girl and a man in his late twenties. Sansa's written much more like a young woman in her mid-to-late teens to me, physically and otherwise, which changes the way the reader interprets the text. (On that same note, he writes her relationship with Petyr like that of a a fourteen or fifteen-year-old and a man well into his forties, even though Petyr isn't really that much older than Sandor). The same can be said for the Mercy sample chapter. The argument for this is usually, "well, children were forced to grow up faster in times like these." But like you pointed out, even socially mature children would still grow the same biologically.

Of course, this is all simply how I interpret the text. It seems like a lot of people read the examples I gave as the author intended them to, but that just wasn't to case for me. George is a great writer, but the way he portrays childhood development definitely requires a certain suspension of disbelief. 

Oh I agree about the disconcerting aspects. And when placed under scrutiny regarding our history, young girls (barely past the cusp of "womanhood") actually consummating their marriage are a rare thing to have verified. Margaret Beaufort, mother to King Henry VII, is one of the few confirmed examples because she almost died birthing him at the age of 13.

When I read essays about women in ASoIaF (my favorite topic, actually) I feel like they are often being too radically feminist. One particular example left a bad taste in my mouth when they argued GRRM intentionally had a pedophilia-esque theme that had no historical basis. I thought "this is ludicrous, everyone knows that it's true!" I searched and researched, and, at least in European medieval times, it really wasn't all that common at all. There was an age to consent to marriage (5 or 6) and then an age where it was deemed appropriate to consummate. But then you have to factor in that many of these children had parents that loved them (the Starks) and wouldn't callously allow for their daughter to be thrust into a stranger's bed at 12.

So yeah, I agree that there is a disconcerting interpretation about children and childhood coming from GRRM... and a lot of it doesn't align with history as we know it. The only defense is that he has intended this on purpose, but it doesn't hold water to me.

Edited by Traverys

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Why do mothers get such a hard time? Nowadays, we have a pretty fixed idea of what makes a good mother, a couple of generations ago it was something different and so on and so on.  And it's so easy to fail to meet other people's expectations.

Cat was raising her children to survive and thrive in the Game of Thrones. That's what the period demanded, but there was time for love as well - they all loved her and she loved them.

Osha can't replace that.  When we met Osha first, she was joining in a wildling attack on a crippled child, Bran. That attack nearly ended up with him dead. Osha changed her coat when serving the Starks looked better than being a wildling on the run. She strikes me as a pragmatist above all. I expect she thinks Rickon would make a great wildling, and therefore is willing to help him, but as a pragmatist, she might also sell him for advantage if she wants to change her coat again.

Also, I seem to remember that she smacks him with the butt of her spear to make him obey - which is not only bad parenting style, but also extremely stupid with Shaggydog in the vicinity.

Edited by Springwatch
spelling

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13 hours ago, Traverys said:

Oh I agree about the disconcerting aspects. And when placed under scrutiny regarding our history, young girls (barely past the cusp of "womanhood") actually consummating their marriage are a rare thing to have verified. Margaret Beaufort, mother to King Henry VII, is one of the few confirmed examples because she almost died birthing him at the age of 13.

When I read essays about women in ASoIaF (my favorite topic, actually) I feel like they are often being too radically feminist. One particular example left a bad taste in my mouth when they argued GRRM intentionally had a pedophilia-esque theme that had no historical basis. I thought "this is ludicrous, everyone knows that it's true!" I searched and researched, and, at least in European medieval times, it really wasn't all that common at all. There was an age to consent to marriage (5 or 6) and then an age where it was deemed appropriate to consummate. But then you have to factor in that many of these children had parents that loved them (the Starks) and wouldn't callously allow for their daughter to be thrust into a stranger's bed at 12.

So yeah, I agree that there is a disconcerting interpretation about children and childhood coming from GRRM... and a lot of it doesn't align with history as we know it. The only defense is that he has intended this on purpose, but it doesn't hold water to me.

Definitely. As I mentioned earlier, Sansa and Arya are written as if they're much older than twelve and ten, and I would have been a lot more comfortable if he had made them older. I understand George's dilemma with how the sequence of events needs to feel natural--for instance, it wouldn't make sense for Stannis to wait too long to attack King's Landing, or for Robb to stay at Riverrun like a sitting duck--but with the amount of traveling that goes on in this series, along with how long it takes for information to be spread, even with the assistance of ravens, I don't think it makes much sense for the timeline to be as condensed as it was either. For instance, Cat rides from Winterfell to King's Landing, then to the Inn at the Crossroads, then to the Eyrie, and then back to the Riverlands in the span of one book. Then in ACOK she rides from Riverrun to Bitterbridge, then to Storm's End, and then back to Riverrun in the span of half a book. During this time, Robb, Renly, Stannis, and Tywin are all marching their armies around Westeros, which would undoubtedly take even longer given their size. I'm not saying that the traveling itself should be allotted more page space, but rather that seeing as how everything that happens during these travels effects the plot, it doesn't really make sense to me for everything to happen over the span of a few months, when realistically it would take much longer. I think AGOT and ACOK could have each believably covered a few years,and then maybe the younger characters' ages would make more sense. If I had to guess, I'd say George probably envisioned most of the children as older as well, but kept their ages the same because of the condensed timeline.

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The Starks are moving away from the path of honor and civility.  Rickon hanging out with Osha guarantees he will be more wiildling than civilized.

  1. Jon is more wildling than a son of a nobleman.
  2. Arya is cold-blooded murderer.
  3. Bran is learning to live with the children of the forest.
  4. Rickon was already growing wild before they left Winterfell.

 

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10 minutes ago, Ye Shall Be As Gods said:

The Starks are moving away from the path of honor and civility.  Rickon hanging out with Osha guarantees he will be more wiildling than civilized.

  1. Jon is more wildling than a son of a nobleman.
  2. Arya is cold-blooded murderer.
  3. Bran is learning to live with the children of the forest.
  4. Rickon was already growing wild before they left Winterfell.

 

Good, that's exactly as it should be. "The wolves will come again".

As to the OP, I think Osha is a great role model for Rickon. She genuinely cares for him and Bran, and she's also strong and smart. And on top of that she knows what's coming, she knows what is important and what isn't. 

Edited by kissdbyfire

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I'm enjoying the discussions about characters we don't normally discuss.   Not Rickon so much as Osha in this case.   I've known a lot of kids in my time.   I was even a little kid once and I recall a thing or 2 from when I was 3 or 4.   Mostly I recall how I felt toward certain people.   I had family that I rarely saw, 2 grand mothers.    I was very fond of 1 and couldn't understand why I wasn't so fond of the other.   They were grammas, for crying out loud.   They are supposed to think the sun rises and sets on their 3 or 4 year olds.   With this in mind I would expect that Rickon's sense of Starkness would be well established.  I believe we've had nearly 3 years pass over the course of our story that would make Rickon a 6 or 7 year-old.   That's still a little boy.  But it is a little boy who has had some amount of training and education.   Presumably Shaggy has had a little training as well.   Because Rickon and Shaggy are so close in nature I wonder how much of themselves they've lost in each other.   If there is 1 thing about small children that seems to be universal, they will do the thing they enjoy most as often as possible.   I'm thankful GRRM gave a better parent to Rickon than his own Mom.   Assuming Osha stayed with Rickon and Shaggy she would have taught him her ways and philosophy.   Jon will understand him.   Double bonus Sansa will be horrified!   Still, with the wolf time and Wildling lifestyle, could Rickon turn out to be any more fierce than Arya?   I expect he will be the one to turn out most like the Kings of Winter of old.   Real Stark.

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