Ethelarion

Where do the loyalties of the Northern Houses lie

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With the most recent Pink Later topic reaching its 23rd page, I wanted to make a different topic regarding the suspected loyalties of the most important Northern Houses. Their loyalty lies either with or against the Bolton rule. These could either support the Starks, or Stannis, or Jon Snow. I don't really want to get into the Northern aversion to the Red God and the cutting down of Weirwoods by Stannis, but if it becomes decisive for the house it might come up.

 

Disclaimer: I will avoid anything said in the Pink Later. We just can't trust the thing. I ALSO READ NO WINDS OF WINTER CHAPTERS.

 

I would start out with against the Boltons:
- the Wildlings support Jon Snow/Mance if he is still alive
- The Mountain Clans are very loyal to the Starks and have aligned with Stannis
- House Reed is loyal till death to Ned Stark and his children, though they haven't shown their cards
- House Manderly is historically very loyal to House Stark and Wyman is killing of Freys, but he's been severely wounded and his forces are out and about. As Wyllis has returned from Lannister captivity the Manderlys are free to do as they please., possibly allying with Stannis to take down the Boltons.
- Alys Karstark is now heir to Karhold if the captured Harrion dies and the new House Thenn would arise. Due to Jon coming to their aid she should be loyal to him.
- House Glover: Sybille declares for Stannis after he frees Deepwood Motte and Robett is in White Harbor finding allies. Possible resentment towards the Starks for the death of Ethan Glover at the ToJ and the bones never returning.
- House Hornwood. Though non-existent their forces are at Winterfell and resent the Boltons for what they did to lady Hornwood. 
- House Mormont. Loyal to Robb, their leader died at the RW, Maege Mormont is missing. Though Lyanna Mormont denies fielty to Stannis, Alysanne joins him and Asha Geryjoy. They seem more anti-Frey than pro-Stark at this point. 

Pro Bolton:
-House Frey
-Arnolf Karstark, wich Alys explained. He wants Karhold. Also resentment for killing Rickard Karstark
 

Unsure:

- House Umber. Both the Greatjon and Smaljon were fiercely loyal to Robb Stark. Buth the Smalljon is dead and the Greatjon is captured by the Boltons/Karstark. With the Greatjon imprisoned the Umbers have seemed to join the Boltons under Hother 'Whoresbane' with the better half of the Umber forces, but seems to be up to something. Mors 'Crowfood' Umber has declared for Stannis and is fighting the Boltons. It is most likely they are still loyal to the Starks/Stannis and Hother will turn.
- House Dustin. Lady Dustin(born Ryswell) has declared early for the Boltons. Her loyalty and motivation seems to be confusing. In the books she's almost screaming how much she hates the Starks, which only points to her not being loyal to the Boltons. She was in love with Brandon Stark, who fucked her and left her behind. She claims to hate Ned for letting her husband Willam Dustin get killed at the ToJ and his bones never returning. However she also dislikes Ramsey for she suspects he killed Roose's son to a Ryswell mother, Dominic. She also hates the Freys for what they did at the Red Wedding and is oblivious to Wyman's pie-game, which could be acting. She has the Ryswells behind her I assume.
- House Ryswell. One of the first to declare for the Boltons. They have a son named Roose, Roose Bolton's wife was a Ryswell. Lady Barbrey Dustin is a Ryswell, but she's a complicated one. They seem to be Bolton loyalists but dislike them and the Freys for the Ryswell deaths at the Red Wedding.
Barbrey Dustin is really the least obvious when concerning her loyalty and I can't figure it out. 
- House Tallhart and Cerwyn. Both declared for Boltons, but some of their men joined Stannis. Others are inside Winterfel. Suspected to play a small part, but join Starks.
- Locke: Sybille Locke is married to Robett Glover, who has joined Manderly. They are suspected Manderly/Stark loyalists. 

 

House Blackwood has recently surrendered to Jaime Lannister, but was loyal to the Starks. I consider them benched for now, though their importance may grow, as they have both Stark and Targaeryan ties. 

So, what do you guys think? Do you agree with the assumption that all the 'unsures' will join a Stark? Did I miss something? Thanks! If Jon/Rickon/Sansa presents himself as the new lord of Winterfel, all of them might join. If they are forced to join Stannis, they might be more reluctant since he's killing Weirwoods, although I do not suspect this to play a pivotal role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The North remembers. I might be wrong about this, but in my opinion, House Manderly is exploiting this power vacuum in order to install their "Stark" piece as Lord of Winterfell - Rickon. He is a little kid who would need some guidance and protection for some time till he comes of age, so essentially whoever controls Rickon controls the North. I think that is an ideal situation for Lord Wyman Manderly. I think he wishes for a situation in the North, where Rickon is Lord of Winterfell and Wyman is Lord Regent and possible future father-in-law for new Stark lord. He is the most powerful lord of the North with economic and military resources. If Robb had been successful in securing the independence for his kingdom, Lord Manderly would have had two seats on small council: master of ships and master of coin (he even proposed to mint Robb's coin in White Harbor). I think Lord Manderly is a very ambitious man who will be punished for his greed later on.

Last time Manderlys were involved in the succession crisis and became too powerful, Gardeners of Reach exiled them. I just don't know what the situation will be whenever Jon Snow is resurrected and marches south with wildlings (yeah, yeah, some people believe he will stay at the Wall and continue as Lord Commander, nope, I am not one of them). I actually see a real conflict brewing between Manderlys and conservative northern nobility vs Snow for the control of Rickon. Pity is that the boy is destined to die in all this hoopla, I am afraid.

I have mentioned in other threads how I foresee Jon coming into power in the North next book and becoming King in the North. And by that time Stannis will be long dead, leaving Davos Seaworth in need of a leader storywise. After resurrection Jon will not be a very nice guy to his enemies, so I imagine after several events House Manderly will be depleted, and the lordship of White Harbor will be granted to Davos. He is a former smuggler who has some experience dealing with pirates and who already visited the white city and Three Sisters across the water. I think if Jon will entrust anyone with ships of the North, it will be Davos. Again, might be very wrong about this.

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I'd say that the Umbers already show they're latent anti-Bolton, because of the division of their men: the greybeards inside WF, the green boys outside... In winter, in the North, the first to sacrifice themselves on a suicide mission would be the greybeards, especially in favor of the future generation, the green boys.

Also, you mentioned the Blackwoods, but they're a Riverlands House. Then shouldn't you also wonder about other RL houses, especially since they too recognized a Stark as their king (of the rivers) and willingly had him annex their territory to the North?

As for Stannis killing weirwoods. He's showing an increasing reluction imo against that, and only uses it for certain visual tricks. He seems to be quite aware that burning those would anger the Northerners. He's not actually a fanatic about it imo, but the Queen's Men are. If there's weirwood burning, I think he does it to the weirwoods that are not of particular significance to the Northerners. The one on the isle of the Ice Lakes for example he would burn, in his strategical favor and some show of executing "Theon" to the tree. But burning the one in Winterfell godswood or any of the Houses that fight with him, I think he would know would be a touchy subject.

We can weep and cry over the fact that he burned the one at Storm's End, but that house had long abandoned the Old Gods anyway.

Edited by sweetsunray

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@scorpian96I agree with a lot of what you're saying but I don't see Manderly and Snow getting into a confrontation over Rickon. Jon has little experience ruling in the 'playing the game'-way, he has no economic experience etc, see his mistake in sending Cotter Pyke to his doom and giving Eastwatch to Thorne and his 'cronies'. Manderly comes in handy than. But he is a good military leader and would lead the North's army against the Others, so if there's a North after that they would surely follow him. I don't see a conflict coming.

And Wyman left his son and heir at Whiteharbour, so that his house may continue.

@sweetsunray
Yeah House Blackwood is in the Riverland, but it follows the Old Gods, has a Weirwood and some warging going on with the ravens, Both Ned's and Danny (If we assume she's Aerys and Rhaelles child) grandma is a Blackwood. I think they have the biggest role to play in the North of all the Southern houses and did not want to get into the entire RL. 
And didn't know about the graybeards, but those are also you're most experience, best men. Although it points towards Stark allegiance. 

The Umbers however are the most Northern house and have often fought the Wildlings. The fact that Jon is/was now leading an army of them South might make them want to think twice before getting the Starks back in power

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4 minutes ago, Ethelarion said:

The Umbers however are the most Northern house and have often fought the Wildlings. The fact that Jon is/was now leading an army of them South might make them want to think twice before getting the Starks back in power

Good remark. Lord Torghen Flint and Lord Brandon Norrey are at Castle Black in the last Jon chapters, and they are not "amused" by his policy to let the Wildlings south of the Wall.

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1 minute ago, Ethelarion said:

The Umbers however are the most Northern house and have often fought the Wildlings. The fact that Jon is/was now leading an army of them South might make them want to think twice before getting the Starks back in power

Not if the spearwife Rowan is who some suspect her to be. Rowan's disgust for Theon goes beyond that of a wildling, and she holds to a natural deference to a Lord Stark and his children which is also very unwildlinglike. She even uses the titles for Starks.

It's suspected that Rowan may be a kidnapped Umber. Now why does Mance take a spearwife with him who's been an Umber before being stolen? In order to go south from the Wall (to Barrowtown and Winterfell), wouldn't Mance have to pass Last Hearth or at least Umber lands? It seems to me that Mance and Rowan already met with Mors on their way South. After all Mors and his green boys knew to expect fArya and Theon at the bottom of the WF walls, the day that the spearwives insisted to Theon that it had to be done now. All that blowing of the horns by Mors was done imo to alert Hother and Mance that it was a "go" and he'd be waiting to catch the bride.

After meeting with Mors, they would have needed to meet with Hother afterwards to let him in on their plans. This they could have done at Barrowntown, if the band that Theon hears playing in an inn there was Mance, but certainly inside Winterfell.

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@sweetsunray
Yes Mors Umber seemed to be aware of Mance's plan to free Theon, but never expected Rowan to have Umber-ties. Mors did have a daughter carried away by Wildlings 30 years ago, so it could be her. The Greatjon also has a non-stated amount of daughters. Interesting idea.

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17 minutes ago, Ethelarion said:

Yeah House Blackwood is in the Riverland, but it follows the Old Gods, has a Weirwood and some warging going on with the ravens, Both Ned's and Danny (If we assume she's Aerys and Rhaelles child) grandma is a Blackwood. I think they have the biggest role to play in the North of all the Southern houses and did not want to get into the entire RL.

And the Stark children's mother was a Tully and Robb preys to a weirwood sappling in the Tully godswood, and their grandmother on that side of the family "tree" was a Whent. HH's weirwood is an alive tree too. And Jaime thinks some of the houses at the siege (and those who are absent) are still wolfish at heart. House Mallister also held out for as long as he could, until the Freys threatened to kill his son. And then we have LS leading the BwB that have their head quarters beneath the Hollow Hill amongst weirwood roots, but follow Rh'llor, making for a strange mixture of weirwood with the Lord of Light.

Picking the Blackwoods over the other RL Houses in this manner seems strange, and there's no actual reason imo to suspect the Blackwoods would have a more important role than Mallister, Tully, Piper, Vance and even Whent in their support of the North.

And the reason I include House Whent is the fact that the supposed death of Lady Whent is hearsay, and the old lady in a horse litter with armed guard on the road from Duskendale to Rosby (with the mysterious "ward of Rosby" inside) that Brienne crosses without any mentioning of a sigil is suspect, especially since the "bat" of Lothston is also heavily featured in that same chapter and afterwards at Duskendale.

Anyway, I agree the RL is a complicated matter, and I understand leaving it out, but then I'd leave them out altogether.

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Arnolf Karstark is the only assured pro-Bolton Northern lord. And he is not really a lord, just a castellan of Karhold. As for Lady Dustin, I still think that her actual statement to Theon has not been understood by the vast majority of readers.

She doesn't say that her favourite Stark is a dead Stark. She actually says something very different. She says: " It just so happens that all my favorite Starks are dead." Meaning that Brandon is dead, Eddard is dead, Benjen is dead according to her knowledge, Rickard Stark, their father is dead, Robb Stark is dead, Bran and Rickon Stark are dead, and Sansa and Arya Stark are dead too, as far as she knows, since she clearly knows that Jeyne Pool is not Arya.

So she can entirely truthfully say that all her favourite Starks are dead, without actually meaning that she likes it that way. In fact, she is likely saying the opposite. All the Starks that were her favorites, are dead.

And as smart as she obviously is, there is no way she doesn't know the contents of Robb's will. Even if the Northern Conspirators have not declared it to her, she had people with Robb every step of the way, right up to the Red Wedding. The contents of his will was never a secret. It was openly undersigned by a bunch of his lords, and at no point was it implied that he ordered them to maintain secrecy over its contents. If anything, he would want all his vassals to know who his legitimate heir would be.

Barbary is playing a very interesting game. The story about Ned's bones is almost certainly a cover up, hiding another intention of hers. Either to open up the frozen crypt entrance to make the rumored secret passage into Winterfell accessible, or to gain something else from Ned's bones when it passes through the Neck. Perhaps there is something else of value that was sent with his remains.

As for the Ryswells, they are a divided House, and seem to follow Barbary Dustins lead on such matters. They are not anti-Stark from anything we have read.

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I don't think any Northern house is (entirely) pro-Bolton, and I don't really think many Riverland houses have given up. When there is a new King in the North, whoever it be, I think the Riverlands will rise again, especially if the Lannister army moves south to fight Aegon. There was no reason for the Riverlanders to keep fighting after the Red Wedding, but it doesn't mean they're done or spent. I think Mallister, Blackwood, Vance and Piper would rise again if the White Wolf rose. 

6 hours ago, Scorpion92 said:

The North remembers. I might be wrong about this, but in my opinion, House Manderly is exploiting this power vacuum in order to install their "Stark" piece as Lord of Winterfell - Rickon. He is a little kid who would need some guidance and protection for some time till he comes of age, so essentially whoever controls Rickon controls the North. I think that is an ideal situation for Lord Wyman Manderly. I think he wishes for a situation in the North, where Rickon is Lord of Winterfell and Wyman is Lord Regent and possible future father-in-law for new Stark lord. He is the most powerful lord of the North with economic and military resources.

You're not wrong at all. I've always looked at it as Manderly taking the mantle of responsibility among his peers in the Stark absence. Is there healthy dose of ambition in his motivations? Of course, but I think they come from a good place. Ever since she was introduced I thought Wylla was destined to marry a Stark. Most likely Rickon, but she isn't that much younger than Jon. I don't think Jon marrying Wylla will happen, but it would sure secure the North for him. 

Manderly has been marshaling support for his overthrow ever since he found out his son was coming home. I think at Winterfell he's making sure everyone is on board before he strikes. His men will turn on the Freys outside Winterfell. Sending Davos to find Rickon is a Hail Mary, I think there's enough anti-Bolton sentiment to overthrow them without a Stark. The fat man is pissed and will have his day. 

Also, I think its wild that the Boltons/Freys still think the Lannisters really have their back after the return of Manderlys son. They basically said "You know that thing that's keeping your biggest enemy at bay? We're giving it back, so, you know, keep that in mind." That emboldens every house in the North. 

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Sorry for the split post. 

12 hours ago, Ethelarion said:

- House Reed is loyal till death to Ned Stark and his children, though they haven't shown their cards

I don't remember if it's theory for fact, but I like the idea that Howland has rallied the remnants of Robb's army and is waiting in the Neck. Could be a few hundred, could be a few thousand. Maybe waiting for the new King in the North like the river lords. 

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4 minutes ago, Lord Vance II said:

Also, I think its wild that the Boltons/Freys still think the Lannisters really have their back after the return of Manderlys son. They basically said "You know that thing that's keeping your biggest enemy at bay? We're giving it back, so, you know, keep that in mind." That emboldens every house in the North. 

I'm pretty sure that all those Northern lords inside WF who've seen the Freys prance about as if they're owed (you know those kingslayers and guest-right breakers) and are better than anyone, even after slaughtering these lords' sons and men wouldn't mind seeing them all drowned in ice water of a lake. 

As for the Boltons. They might tolerate Roose up to a point, but would anyone of them actually want to be lorded over by Ramsay? In that sense Rowan is not just a stellar point for the Umbers, but every other Northern lord who hates wildlings for stealing women. At least the wildlings feed and house and train the stolen women. Ramsay steals women, lets them starve or abuses them horribly in bestial ways and steals their lands. He's a dog to be scared of, but a wild dog.

We know that the Boltons historically always vied for the Stark seat and allegedly managed to flay a Lord Stark (Bael's son). That definitely was a coup and House Stark seemed to have come close to its end back then too. And yet somehow those Boltons back then failed ultimately. We don't really know how. But it seems to me that any of these lords, including Dustin, would prefer a Stark over Boltons. The sole exception to that imo are the lesser Karstark branch who hope to have the imprisoned Karstark killed, and they're NOT inside WF anyhow.

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I would ask that question differently:

How loyal are the Stark loyalists in general? How is it that the clansmen did not try to take in Bran and the Reeds after they interacted with that man? How is it that Rickon ended up on Skagos (if he is there) rather than as guest/ward of one of the lords whose territories he and Osha must have crossed to get to Skagos?

How loyal are the Lords of the North in general? Roose turned against Robb eventually, but we learn in AGoT that many other lords try to test Robb's strength and the Greatjon originally began as a man who was about to kill Robb or be killed by his men in turn. If Hother and Mors resemble their nephew their loyalty isn't gained easily nor is it a given. The Umber brothers also didn't answer Ser Rodrik's call for help when he tried to retake Winterfell from Theon.

Granted, many lords in the North clearly are like to resent and hate the Boltons and Freys but that's not the same as loving the Starks unconditionally.

And we see how quickly loyalty can turn to enmity with the Karstarks. Lord Rickard was very loyal until he wasn't, and his uncle Arnolf wasn't loyal to begin with.

In regard to the present situation I'd actually assume that most Northmen are loyal to themselves and their survival first and foremost. That's the case even with Lord Manderly who clearly intends to get his revenge but is still cautious when and how to act.

If Roose and Ramsay show any weakness then it is most likely that many Northmen will either actively turn against them (Hother's men, the Hornwood and Cerwyn men) or simply abandon them.

However, unless Roose's strength right now is a complete illusion - which doesn't make any sense in my opinion - he must command the loyalty not only of his own men and the Freys but also of the Dustins and Ryswells. The idea that Lady Barbrey is a secret Stark loyalist is about as likely as the idea that Roose is just pretending to be anti-Stark. After all, the woman says quite openly and in front of Theon that she only sent as few men as she dared to Robb when he marched south. That's a verifiable fact and Roose and Theon both would know whether that's the case or not. But if Barbrey only pretends to loath the Starks why the hell wouldn't she have sent as many men as she could with Robb?

On the other end of the equation we also see that the crannogmen doing nothing, and the clansmen, the Mormonts, and the Glovers only openly opposing the Boltons after Stannis contacted and helped them. That shows that these people are not loyal enough to continue a doomed and hopeless cause. They need inspiration from an outsider.

We will have to wait and see how the battle unfolds but it is very likely that Stannis only needs to show his strength to motivate quite a few people on the other side to abandon the Boltons while Roose and Ramsay have to appear very strong just to keep their men (reasonably) loyal.

And we still have no idea how the disappearance of 'Lady Arya' is going to figure into all that. It is not unlikely that many Northmen who only came to Winterfell because of her might quietly disappear into the night. And with the Karstark betrayal prevented and the Manderly betrayal imminent the Boltons are right now in a very precarious position already. Stannis should be able to use Roose's expectation of the Karstark betrayal to his advantage.

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6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

On the other end of the equation we also see that the crannogmen doing nothing, and the clansmen, the Mormonts, and the Glovers only openly opposing the Boltons after Stannis contacted and helped them.

What were they supposed to do? Any one house openly that spoke out would be hit, especially after being weakened by the war. The Bolton/Frey/Lannisters just decapitated the dynasty that had ruled for thousands of years, what were the Mormonts or Glovers supposed to do but wait for a chance? Stannis gives them something for their rebellion to form around. Manderly plays that part for the houses at Winterfell, he just had to wait for his son before he could make moves. He's also strong enough to form a rebellion around. 

I don't deny that survival is the top priority, especially in the North, and some of the actions in of northern lords during Robbs campaign are questionable.  But in the end the Starks had been good to their subjects in recent memory (with the obvious exception of a poorly planned war) and Roose Bolton shit on them and everything their culture is supposed to stand for. Plus they are all surly better off with Stannis or Wyman in charge than with Roose and his serial rapist son. 

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7 minutes ago, Lord Vance II said:

What were they supposed to do?

Well, the clansmen could have assembled the army they later had to team up with Stannis and to take on the Ironborn at Deepwood Motte all by themselves. They know the land, after all, and everybody hates the Ironborn.

7 minutes ago, Lord Vance II said:

Any one house openly that spoke out would be hit, especially after being weakened by the war. The Bolton/Frey/Lannisters just decapitated the dynasty that had ruled for thousands of years, what were the Mormonts or Glovers supposed to do but wait for a chance? Stannis gives them something for their rebellion to form around. Manderly plays that part for the houses at Winterfell, he just had to wait for his son before he could make moves. He's also strong enough to form a rebellion around.

Still, if there were some secret Northern conspiracy going on (as some people believe) it is very odd that those people need Stannis as the person to rally around rather than the cause of House Stark. In fact, if they were so loyal to House Stark the clansmen should have taken in Bran and the Reeds, or at least tried to convince to stay with them. Instead they did nothing.

7 minutes ago, Lord Vance II said:

I don't deny that survival is the top priority, especially in the North, and some of the actions in of northern lords during Robbs campaign are questionable.  But in the end the Starks had been good to their subjects in recent memory (with the obvious exception of a poorly planned war) and Roose Bolton shit on them and everything their culture is supposed to stand for. Plus they are all surly better off with Stannis or Wyman in charge than with Roose and his serial rapist son. 

I'd say the pragmatic side is more important. Roose Bolton is a very strong leader, and thus not unlikely to get them all through (a conventional) winter. His leadership certainly would certainly be better than that of a fat Manderly (as people usually see them in the North) or a boy Stark. Ramsay is a different matter. But if the man is actually going to face Stannis in battle there is little chance that he will prevail.

And if Stannis gives them any reason to doubt that Roose is the better option they will defect. That much is clear. They can't forget the Red Wedding or the betrayal of the Starks. Even less so if the Northmen learn what Ramsay actually did at Winterfell - which they now can through Theon.

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I don't believe in there being any great conspiracy among them (other than Manderly's obvious deceits), and given the split in ADWD (where Roose has more houses backing him than Stannis does) it seems clear that they fear Roose more than they love Ned's memory. That said, the only houses I think Roose can count on are the Freys, the Rysells and the Dustins, the former for obvious reasons and the latter two because of the marriage links and because they stand to gain from his rule, as per Lady Dustin. So, if/when Stannis deals the Bolton forces a major defeat and that fear evaporates, I imagine the rest of the houses will jump ship.

 

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I don't think that the number of troops sent South along with Robb gives any definite answer to the loyalty of those house in relation to Roose.

For example, Manderly kept the majority of his army with him. Now why didn't send Manderly more men South with Robb when he's so loyal to the Starks and hoped to get a seat as master of ships and coin for his House with Robb? Sure, the man is ambitious, nothing wrong with ambition by itself, but I agree with others that he comes from a good place. The likeliest answer is that aside from building a fleet, Manderly was always wary of the Boltons, and especially the fact that Roose left Ramsay at the Dreadfort and in charge of 600 men. You'd be a fool if you send the majority of your army south with such a man as near neighbour. If he had sent the majority of his men south, then White Harbor would probably have been besieged by Ramsay + the acquired Hornwood men-at-arms. 

Lady Dustin has no heirs and she's pretty much in a vulnerable position to be taken to wife as much as Lady Hornwood by the prowlers that remain North.  Lady Hornwood was so easily taken and apprehended by Ramsay because only a minimal amount of men had remained with her, while everyone else was South. We've seen how Umbers, Manderly and others aim to have Lady Hornwood for their wife, once she's widowed, apart from the discussion of which cousin or ward gets to be named heir of Hornwood. Lady Dustin was widowed too by the end of RR and back then, still a young woman a man could expect to get children with. If Lady Hornwood was so besieged so shortly after being widowed at her age, then how much worse was it for Lady Dustin back then. As a woman she simply can't afford to send the majority of her army south, without risking being forcibly wed. On top of that, she hates Ramsay and knows what he's like. There's quite a lot of distance between the Dreadfort and Barrowhall, but he's certainly a second motivation to keep a strong force in her lands. And she also knows her brother-in-law Roose. I think she had an inkling Roose might take every opportunity norht and south by stabbing Starks and loud allies in the back every chance he got, and she wanted to preserve herself.

When it comes to loyalties, I think Barbrey Dustin is looking out for herself and her less vile cousins with the Ryswells. I don't think she minds Roose being in charge all that much, but there's just no way she wants Ramsay as future Lord of WF and warden of the North.

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3 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

 

She doesn't say that her favourite Stark is a dead Stark. She actually says something very different. She says: " It just so happens that all my favorite Starks are dead." Meaning that Brandon is dead, Eddard is dead, Benjen is dead according to her knowledge, Rickard Stark, their father is dead, Robb Stark is dead, Bran and Rickon Stark are dead, and Sansa and Arya Stark are dead too, as far as she knows, since she clearly knows that Jeyne Pool is not Arya.

So she can entirely truthfully say that all her favourite Starks are dead, without actually meaning that she likes it that way. In fact, she is likely saying the opposite. All the Starks that were her favorites, are dead.

And as smart as she obviously is, there is no way she doesn't know the contents of Robb's will. Even if the Northern Conspirators have not declared it to her, she had people with Robb every step of the way, right up to the Red Wedding. The contents of his will was never a secret. It was openly undersigned by a bunch of his lords, and at no point was it implied that he ordered them to maintain secrecy over its contents. If anything, he would want all his vassals to know who his legitimate heir would be.

Barbary is playing a very interesting game. The story about Ned's bones is almost certainly a cover up, hiding another intention of hers. Either to open up the frozen crypt entrance to make the rumored secret passage into Winterfell accessible, or to gain something else from Ned's bones when it passes through the Neck. Perhaps there is something else of value that was sent with his remains.

 

 

50 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

However, unless Roose's strength right now is a complete illusion - which doesn't make any sense in my opinion - he must command the loyalty not only of his own men and the Freys but also of the Dustins and Ryswells. The idea that Lady Barbrey is a secret Stark loyalist is about as likely as the idea that Roose is just pretending to be anti-Stark. After all, the woman says quite openly and in front of Theon that she only sent as few men as she dared to Robb when he marched south. That's a verifiable fact and Roose and Theon both would know whether that's the case or not. But if Barbrey only pretends to loath the Starks why the hell wouldn't she have sent as many men as she could with Robb?

 

I think Lady Dustin is a secret Stark supporter.  She clearly loved Brandon, and yeah she has a grudge against Ned, but she is only acting like she's cool with the Boltons for show.  Actually she doesnt seem to like anyone very much, and her actions (as most people at WF) are only to placate Roose and Ramsay, there is no actual love or loyalty there. She has some seriously interesting motives and plans going that we are not privy to, but I doubt that her ultimate goal is to see the Boltons as the Wardens of the North living at Winterfell.  She could easily be the next woman locked in tower eating her own fingers under their rule.

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21 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Still, if there were some secret Northern conspiracy going on (as some people believe) it is very odd that those people need Stannis as the person to rally around rather than the cause of House Stark.

Those people are clear on the opposite side of the continent from the grand conspirator (Manderly) and aren't particularly strong. Manderly doesn't need everyone and probably hadn't shared is plan with many before he got to Winterfell. Why risk blowing the plan by sending a raven that can be intercepted. 

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3 minutes ago, Suzanna Stormborn said:

I think Lady Dustin is a secret Stark supporter.  She clearly loved Brandon, and yeah she has a grudge against Ned, but she is only acting like she's cool with the Boltons for show.  Actually she doesnt seem to like anyone very much, and her actions (as most people at WF) are only to placate Roose and Ramsay, there is no actual love or loyalty there. She has some seriously interesting motives and plans going that we are not privy to, but I doubt that her ultimate goal is to see the Boltons as the Wardens of the North living at Winterfell.  She could easily be the next woman locked in tower eating her own fingers under their rule.

No, Barbrey Dustin is way too powerful to end up in such a fashion. She controls Barrowton and the power of House Dustin and also has a lot influence over the Ryswell.

If she is not with Roose then why the hell didn't she turn on the Boltons and Freys before they reached Barrowton or Winterfell? Of why isn't she arranging her own Red Wedding at her town or at Winterfell? She certainly would have the strength to do so. Nobody would defend the Freys and Boltons if the Dustins and Ryswells would take the lead in the fight against them.

If Roose doesn't have Lady Barbrey's support then he basically has no Northman whatsoever. That sounds very weird in light of the fact that the man actually seem to have some power. The Freys alone aren't enough.

And again - if Lady Dustin doesn't loath the Starks why the hell did she send only so few men to Robb? That doesn't make any sense.

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