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Will the Greatjon ever make it out of the Frey dungeon?

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  • 1 year later...

One important point: The Umber uncles (Mors and Hother) claiming lordship of House Umber if Greatjon dies, would serve no purpose, since neither Mors nor Hother has sons: therefore *their* heirs would have to be Greatjon's remaining heirs, i.e. his remaining under-age sons.

(Mors had two sons, both of whom died in the Battle of the Trident, and his only daughter was abducted by a wildling. Given Mors's age, that daughter is in all probability not particularly young any more: we are told that Mors himself is older than the father of Donella Manderly, widow of the Hornwood - and Donella was already too old to bear further children. Hother has no children at all, and the story that gave him the name "Whoresbane", of him killing a whore that tried to rob him - is only told in whispers since the whore was a man: which may give a hint as to *why* Hother has no children.)

This, therefore, makes the uncles a "safe" pair of guardians for the interests of Greatjon's sons: they have no reason to attempt to usurp the proper line, since they have no "future" of their own descendants to replace it with. Mors, therefore, is acting in good faith as guardian of the Greatjon's underage sons, who will inherit the chieftainship of the Umber lands.

Hother is another matter. The men he has brought with him to the Boltons are old men - not a single young man among them.

This makes a very interesting point. All of Mors's men are young, some of them still boys or barely grown to manhood... BUT, this means that in a few years, they will have grown to manhood, and they will *be* House Umber, because their grandsires - Hother's men - will be dead.

It was said before the war that there was risk of famine in the Umber lands, because so many men had gone south with Robb that not enough remained to gather in all the harvest.

And it is a tradition, among the far northern houses - we know about it in the mountain clans, but it may well happen among the Umbers too - that if there is famine in the land during winter, old men will "go out hunting" and not return, leaving the food stores so that the young men and women - the future of the tribe - can eat. Because if the old men lived and let the young men starve, then the tribe would die.

And I think that is what the Umbers are doing. Mors, with just a few of the greybeards, has taken charge of the future of House Umber: they will eat what they could gather of Umber's stores, and live in Umber lands, and in a few years, they will be all that there is of House Umber.

And Hother and the greybeards have "gone out hunting". But Hother is more intelligent than many, having been thought to have the makings of a maester. By seeking shelter with the Boltons... he is not only getting food for his old men, he is getting food *from his enemies*. Freely given, too - and food that the Boltons therefore will not be able to save for themselves. And in return, what is Hother giving the Boltons? Old men that are too old to fight, too unfit for anything but guard duty, people who will not last through the winter - and who can cooperate, from inside Winterfell, with Mors, who is outside Winterfell. To Bolton, they're pretty much useless mouths. And Roose, cunning as he is but having got used to thinking of politics in a southron way, has fallen for it completely.

The Umbers are *all* united: Mors is a Stark loyalist, and a loyal guardian of the Greatjon's younger sons, and Hother is acting in the best interest of the future of House Umber by taking his greybeards away so that they do not starve out the clan's future - and in the best interest of the future of their rightful overlords of House Stark, by starving the Boltons out of Winterfell *and doing it with their active consent and cooperation*.

Meanwhile, further south: Greatjon is in fact not of much use as a hostage. If he is killed... his sons, with Mors to guide them, will be free of constraint. A useful hostage is a *son* against the good behaviour of a father, not a father against the good behaviour of the son who will become the new family lord if the father dies.

This is also why Roose has miscalculated with the Manderlys. Wyman remains behind in Winterfell, while Wylis and company are sent out to find and fight Stannis: and Roose is gambling that Wyman's captivity will keep Wylis on-side and prevent him from defecting to Stannis or turning on the Freys. But if Wyman dies - being too old and fat to live out the winter, he may even poison himself - then Wylis and the Manderly army are now free, clear and out of Bolton's control.

It's all the same theme: when hard times come, you have to look to the future, and make sure that there *is* a future, even at the expense of now. Plan for there to be a future, plan to *make* there be a future, plan for future generations to live even if it means your own death.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't wait for the Greatjon to break out or be freed. Definitely one of my favourite characters.

I think he some how find his way back north and be one of the catalysts for uniting the north under one banner again. (apart from the boltons of course)

I agree. GJ will return to the stage and play a somewhat important role. Mostly I think this is foreshadowed by the fact that we have him mentioned and more or less confirmed as still alive in dwd in the conversation between Jon and Stannis mentioned somewhere above.

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