Season 7 Speculation

Season 7 speculation: Will Tormund Giantsbane be part of a strategic marriage?

(Caution: SPOILERS below)

In A Dance with Dragons, there’s a subplot that thus far hasn’t been adapted for the show: While he’s Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow meets Alys Karstark, the daughter of Lord Rickard Karstark. (Remember that Robb executed Lord Rickard for killing Lannister prisoners in A Storm of Swords/season 3). With Alys’ father dead and her brother Harrion held captive by the Lannisters, Alys has an excellent claim to Karhold, House Karstark’s ancestral seat. She arrives at Castle Black fleeing her cousin Cregan, who wants to marry her so he can lay claim to the castle. She asks Jon for help.

At the time, Jon is having trouble managing tensions between the Night’s Watchmen and the wildling refugees staying at Castle Black. So he, Alys, and Melisandre come up with a solution to multiple problems: Jon marries Alys to the Magnar of Thenn, a wildling chieftain, creating a new House of Thenn. That way, the wildlings are legitimized somewhat in the eyes of xenophobic Northerners and Cregan can’t try to marry Alys, since she already has a husband.

A couple of weeks ago, it was confirmed that Alys Karstark will be appearing on Game of Thrones for the first time in season 7, played by actress Megan Parkinson. That raises the question: will her role on the show be the same as in the books? Will she marry a prominent wildling and formally bind the Northerners to their cousins from beyond the Wall?

The Magnar of Thenn doesn’t exist on the show. (Well, not the version from A Dance with Dragons, anyway.) So if Alys is going to fulfill her book role, she’ll have to marry a different prominent wildling. But who? Knowing the show’s habit of using established characters to fill the roles of minor ones from the books (e.g. Bronn becoming commander of the City Watch rather than Ser Jacelyn Bywater, or Jorah contracting greyscale rather than Ser Jon Connington), we have someone in mind: Tormund Giantsbane.

A threshold question: is Tormund single? He’s talked about his daughters on the show, remarking in “Hardhome” that Jon is prettier than all of them, but has yet to mention a wife. We aren’t even sure wildling law forbids a second marriage. In any case, without information to the contrary, we can assume that Tormund is an eligible bachelor. If he is married, his wife would surely have something to say about those looks he cast at Brienne during season 6.

Based on the information available, Alys’ position at this point in the story is largely the same as it was when she arrived at Castle Black in A Dance with Dragons. She is the heir to Karhold. In fact, her position is less ambiguous onscreen. On the page, Alys’ brother Harrion is still alive, but in Lannister captivity. On the show, Harrion died fighting for Robb early in the show’s going.

However, the show introduced a new character in season 6: Harald Karstark, another of Alys’ brothers. He joined up with Ramsay to fight Jon Snow. But Harald likely perished in the Battle of the Bastards, or if he didn’t, will probably be executed or dispossessed as punishment for joining the Boltons. That leaves Alys as the heir to her House, whether the show introduces her scheming extended family or not.

A marriage between Tormund and Alys could help integrate the wildlings into Northern society. There’s also the matter of remuneration. Throughout seasons 5 and 6, Tormund emerged as one of Jon Snow’s most ardent supporters. Now that he’s King in the North, Jon may see fit to reward Tormund in the way Westerosi victors traditionally reward their allies: with lands, titles and advantageous marriages.

If Tormund becomes the head of a new house with Karhold as its seat, it would also give the wildlings somewhere to settle. The Karstark lands lie far to the northeast, relatively isolated from the rest of the North. Keeping a healthy distance between the new wildling transplants and the rest of the Northerners may be best for everybody, and would keep violence between the groups to a minimum. Additionally, the Karstark lands are relatively close to the Wall, at least moreso than Winterfell. Jon and Tormund are well aware of the dangers lurking north of the Wall, and should the need arise, it would be useful for Tormund to have his forces nearby.

We hate to break the collective hearts of the fans, but a marriage between Tormund and Alys Karstark seems far more likely than one between him and Brienne. Jon needs to unify the North, integrate the wildlings into Northern society and reward his supporters for their loyalty. A union between Tormund and Alys accomplishes all of these things.

17 Comments

  • I would very much like that, however , if the leaks are to be believed, Tormund is going to lead the wildlings at Eastwatch and, to be honest, Jon´s actions as KiNT regarding lands, rewards and politics in general left me cold.

    There are a second part of the leaks that says that Jon HAS in mind a political marriage for Alys and that he gives the Umber kid to be fostered by Glover. As I said before, I would love to see Tormund settling down because Brienne is not impressed and Alys is a catch.

    • Alys is a catch bc of her ancestral seat of Karhold and the castle itself?? I hope so bc isn’t she like 12 in the books? Granted this is the show, but still; and not for nothing, but we haven’t even gotten a good look at show Alys yet, so I was just wondering why you said she was a catch. 😊

  • An obvious possibility. After all, a lot of the families in the north were on the side of Bolton. And a lot died. Some might be forgiven…up to a point.
    Marriage is an excellent way to handle some of these things. If a Snow supporter marries the widow of a Bolton supporter, the rest of the family will probably be able to stay on. Some of this has happened in the real world. Some Saxon widows were assigned to Norman nobles. The same in Germany, etc.
    Creating a land for Wildings would be a great payoff and who better to lead than Tormund? Plus
    Alys looks like a good-sized healthy woman. It would be a good match.

    If is likely she came to Snow for assistance; either to prevent a relative taking over or to beg for
    forgiveness for Karstark betrayal. I think the second is more likely. After all, if a cousin is pushing to take over, Snow would have to approve anyway. By putting in a friend, any friend, he comes out ahead.

    By putting in Tormand, he binds those lands much closer and has certainly given full payback for their support. Also, if more wildlings come into the kingdom if (when, really) the wall comes down, they have a place to go.

  • I think the Free Folk/wildlings have done pretty much whatever they want when it comes to marriage. Craster had 19 wives with a lot of them being his own daughters.

    I have been thinking that they wouldn’t marry Tormund to Alys, but within the confines of the show I could change my mind. They’re going to the trouble to introduce this character so must plan to do SOMEthing with her. Marrying her to a known character for the purpose of solidifying the House and area under Jon does make some sense. Speaking of “leaks” as well…
    I’ve been curious how Tormund ends up being in a position of command at Eastwatch. There is the possibility that Jon simply puts him in that position for some reason, which is an assumption. However, it could also be answered with an arc that he marries Alys and becomes the ‘warden’ of the NE area of The North. While in that capacity he could apprehend Beric, Thoros and Sandor on those lands and takes them to Eastwatch to lock them in cells.

    • Agreed that the wildlings have done pretty much whatever they want when it comes to marriage. They don’t understand the whole “marriage-as-a-business-transaction” thing that happens south of the Wall. Tormund and Jon are close, though, so I’m betting Jon could talk him into it.

  • I thought maybe Jon himself might have troubles leading the North (beyond those that pledge themselves at the end of the season) as he is a bastard. Maybe the other families, including those that supported the Bolton’s are reluctant to back a bastard. Also, the other leadership families from other provinces may not be quick to recognize him. So, he himself could strengthen his on hold or claim on the North by marrying a member of another historically Northern strong family. She does have red hair.

  • Tormund and Alys makes sense. Just because a man leers at a woman (Brienne) doesn’t mean they’re destined for one another. Particularly if the woman doesn’t leer back.

  • All good theories, a marriage to Tormund would certainly reflect Alys plot from the books. How much you wanna bet they change her name to something ridiculous like Olga. Wait…. that’s too much like Osha…. I guess Larryetta Karstark it is. Haha. Just ask Yara and Jeyne.. I mean Asha and Talisa…

    Being serious for a second though, I had assumed she would initially show up to show fealty but also to propose herself as wife/Queen to Jon. Dany is deliberately going in single and looking for suitors as of last season. Three single Monarchs in Westeros alongside rumors of a Cersei/Euron team up could also support the thought should you choose to view it that way.

  • This is only the theory because there are literally no other named wildlings left in the show. Any other male wildling could fill this purpose, but because they haven’t introduced any, Tormund basically has to represent all of them.

  • Stop with the name change complaints already. Asha and Osha SOUND a lot alike and the show is seen in a real lot of countries. That could be confusing to some people. Maybe not here but someone using a different language could be confused.

    This reminds me of the complaints when Arya was not “Cat of the Docks” but Lara. The word “Cat”
    was problematic for a couple of reasons. A) It actually has a distinct meaning aside from being a nickname. A lot of programs used for closed captioning are computer driven which means names could be very different. “Gato” in Spanish is not really used as a nickname. Even more importantly, B) a real lot of the names for cat are on the edge of lewd. In English, it would be p*ussy. The same connotation I know exists in French and Russian and perhaps other languages.

    As for Talisa, when she first came onto the show, there were a couple of Jeyne’s who might have been in play, particularly the one who in the books is raped by Ramsey. They might have preferred to have a different name so that if they went in the book’s direction (instead of using Sansa, which actually was a benefit, since it changed her into a player. In Book 6, she is unraped but still a pawn of Littlefinger.) there would be less confusion.

    Let us remember that the books and TV shows are different. Martin now hints there might be more than eight books. Chances are, D &D are already writing the last season. By the time book six is available, the whole final season will probably be scripted. Possibly, a lot of it will already be shot. Latest rumor is the book might be out in time for Christmas.

  • I think this marriage plot will be Littlefinger’s next project of manipulation. The Vale lords will probably be weary of the Wildlings still. Littlefinger has bested a northern lord before but he was in kings landing away from his people. He will attempt to coup the lords against one another and this wedding and Sansa will have to make a decision about what he has done. When it becomes clear that Bran knows Littlefinger helped kill his father, she will “avenge the one she loves” and have Littlefinger executed.

  • I think Jon Snow will not last as King in the North once it becomes known he isn’t Ned Stark’s son. Once all is revealed he might be “forced” to seek “higher” office.

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