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Chris Mormont

What if Robb knew Arya Escaped KL?

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I know most people hate the What If questions, but this one is worth considering.

We see time and time throughout the story where the lack of timely information seriously impacts the story and characters, but I wonder how it would have affected Robb's decisions if he had known Arya was still alive. 

Specifically, what if the Brotherhood would have sent Robb a raven from Acorn Hill demanding their ransom for Arya? 

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Then Arya would likely have died at the Red Wedding. Robb’s plans to retake the North would have continued as usual. The only difference would be that Arya becomes his heir instead of Jon Snow.

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I suspect that Robb would try to sweeten the deal with the Freys to make amends to them would be more than the marriage of his uncle Edmure to a Frey, but would have offered Arya up, and have her marry the Frey boy in a child marriage. And then we'd have a Frey boy pretending to be Lord of WF, because the RW would still happen. Alternatively, Roose would wed the real Arya Stark to Ramsay.

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Off the top of my head, I can think of three or four different ways this might have played out, which is why questions such as this veer promptly to what might only be described as fan-fiction. 

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My thoughts were the Red Wedding might not occur.

First, Robb would want to see Arya, be there for the exchange, but he also wants to appease Walder Frey, so he might decide to send Edmure and the Riverlords to the Twins for the Wedding, while he goes South to meet the Brotherhood

Second, Arya is still promised to Elmar Frey, thus Walder may not be too keen to help Roose become Warden of the North, when his own Grandson would be married to a princess. 

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No doubt Robb would have paid for Arya's release from anyone.   Though I sort of like the possibility of Roose recognizing Arya at Harrenhal and taking her himself.  Arya would have ended up in Ramsay's custody and would have found some way to kill him, because she is nothing if not resourceful.  Mostly, I think the story would have gone much the same as it has without the Braavos side trip.   As to heir, it's difficult to discern if Robb intended for the older and trusted bastard brother to take up his helm over his younger and less experienced sisters.  Afterall, Robb and Jon seemed to be quite close and that implies trust and perhaps some intangible understanding between them?  I can't see the GreatJon or Lady Dustin getting super excited to rally around Sansa or Arya, though Arya does seem to be important to the North as the story progressed.    Gads, I can't recall a single mention of Sansa in Winterfell or Barrowtown and it's generally accepted that she is alive in hiding?   

As to the marriage of Arya to the Frey boy, was this somehow negated by Roose's rise to Warden of the North?   Marrying Fat Walda?   Are we even sure old nasty Walder is fine with Roose marrying "Arya" to Ramsay?  He did have 1st dibs on her?  Wonder if this will play out at all in TWOW?   

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On 1/10/2020 at 7:51 PM, Chris Mormont said:

My thoughts were the Red Wedding might not occur.

First, Robb would want to see Arya, be there for the exchange, but he also wants to appease Walder Frey, so he might decide to send Edmure and the Riverlords to the Twins for the Wedding, while he goes South to meet the Brotherhood

Second, Arya is still promised to Elmar Frey, thus Walder may not be too keen to help Roose become Warden of the North, when his own Grandson would be married to a princess. 

Robb not personally being present at the wedding would be something that Walder would have regarded as an insult, and thus the wedding would be for nought - no deal for Robb to get Freys to deal with Moat Cailin.

Of course, he was never going to get them, but Robb and Edmure agree to this marriage and wedding event all because Robb believes it will help him get the required numbers to fight the Ironborn to retake the North.

While I think Robb cares for both his sisters, he's also not so personally anguished that he would risk blowing his deal with Walder to see Arya for himself. And if he considered such a thing, Catelyn would have reminded him that he could not do such a thing: what evidence is there for them that this is not just some trick by outlaws to acquire a hostage, etc. It is possible though that Catelyn would volunteer to fetch Arya with a well armed escort. But then where and how. The BwB debate this very same issue as well, when Arya runs out of the barn and ends up taken by Sandor. They never consider sending a message to RR, because they know such a message would hardly be taken seriously and would be met with suspicion. The sole thing they can do is to actually show up on someone's doorstep and proclaim themselves, but then they risk their own neck, for hanging might be a more likely outcome than a bag of gold. It's such a conundrum for them that one even opines they shouldn't even bother with returning Arya to her family.

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On 1/10/2020 at 12:51 PM, Chris Mormont said:

My thoughts were the Red Wedding might not occur.

First, Robb would want to see Arya, be there for the exchange, but he also wants to appease Walder Frey, so he might decide to send Edmure and the Riverlords to the Twins for the Wedding, while he goes South to meet the Brotherhood

Second, Arya is still promised to Elmar Frey, thus Walder may not be too keen to help Roose become Warden of the North, when his own Grandson would be married to a princess. 

I have to disagree. If for some reason the logistics of Robb paying Arya's ransom and attending Edmure's wedding conflict, Robb would do his duty. In his mind the wedding was win the war important. In all likelihood he'd send Catelyn along with some of his men to conduct the exchange. She'd insist on going anyway, I'd imagine. 

Also, even assuming Arya's survival is learned by Walder, I don't think the boon of a marriage to a younger daughter is going to be enough to keep Walder in Robb's camp. One, in Walder Frey's eyes Robb is a loser and is going to take everyone following him down. Two, Robb screwed over Walder and he has a chance to get his own back. Marriage to a younger daughter? He has dozens of younger daughters, that means very little to him.

Arya and Catelyn's surviving the Red Wedding would have all kinds of interesting consequences though. Catelyn would almost certainly flee to Riverrun for safety once word of the Red Wedding reaches them. Along with Arya, who she'd loudly insist is Queen of the North and Trident. Especially if Robb was making plans for Jon to be his heir still. Her position wouldn't be good, and if anything the possibility of a surviving Stark would motivate the Freys and Lannisters to crush the remaining Tully loyalists even more. Though this would likely derail Roose's plans to marry "Arya" to Ramsay. Though I suppose it's possible a marriage to "Sansa" might be considered since she disappeared from King's Lansing. Arya wouldn't go to Bravos for Faceless Men training, at least anytime soon. Not to mention this plot thread would eliminate Lady Stoneheart from being a thing, which would make it worthwhile all alone.

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Specifically, what if the Brotherhood would have sent Robb a raven from Acorn Hill demanding their ransom for Arya?

The Starks would have paid the ransom if they could afford it.  The rebellion was costing them plenty.  Catelyn would squeeze House Frey for the ransom money. 

Are you asking if Robb would have treated Jaime any differently?  He would not. 

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