The Winds of Winter theory: Robb Stark’s child lives

Image: Game of Thrones/HBO
Image: Game of Thrones/HBO /

In A Storm of Swords, the third book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the King in the North Robb Stark is killed alongside his mother Catelyn at the Red Wedding. His death means the effective demise of his cause to establish an independent kingdom in the North. However, one theory suggests that Robb’s wife Jeyne Westerling may give birth to Robb’s child in the upcoming sixth novel, The Winds of Winter.

The Background

To start, Jeyne Westerling isn’t present at all on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Her character is replaced with Talisa, a battlefield nurse Robb marries against the judgment of his advisors. In Martin’s books, Jeyne is a daughter of House Westerling, a noble house in the westlands in service to the Lannisters of Casterly Rock. Robb meets her while harrying the Lannister forces, and marries her against the judgment of his advisors, so that part is consistent.

It’s suspected that Robb marries Jeyne in part to salvage their honor after they spend the night together. Unlike Talisa, Jeyne does not go to the Twins for the Red Wedding. Instead she stays behind at Riverrun, where she’s looked after by Robb’s uncle Brynden “Blackfish” Tully. When Jaime Lannister is sent to break the siege of Riverrun, he is able to get Edmure Tully to surrender the castle without contest. The Blackfish ends up escaping while Jeyne and her mother Sybell are given over to Jaime.

Naturally, Jeyne is devastated about Robb’s death. Jaime asks her if she is pregnant with Robb’s child, and instead of answering, Jeyne immediately to run out of the room. Sybell claims that she made sure there was no heir; it’s implied that she spiked Jeyne’s beverages with moon tea, a Westerosi contraceptive. She did this in the hopes that the victorious Lannisters would be spared the potential trouble of an heir to the King in the North and then, in thanks, arrange advantageous marriages for her other children. When she expresses dissatisfaction at the match made for her son, Jaime tells Sybell to be happy with the arrangement and sends her out of the room after insulting her. The Westerlings and Edmure depart Riverrun with 400 armed men to escort them to the Westerlands.

The Theory

The theory about Jeyne giving birth to Robb’s child is predicated on something that George R.R. Martin said at a convention in 2014, so take it with a grain of salt. Martin said that Jeyne Westerling will appear in the prologue chapter of The Winds of Winter.

It is unclear whether Jeyne will be the point-of-view character for this chapter or if it will be someone else, but we already know that Jeyne is with her mother heading to Castamere. It’s possible that Sybell lied about sabotaging Jeyne’s pregnancy, or that Jeyne knew what was going on and didn’t drink the moon tea, and was able to conceive Robb Stark’s child. This would be extremely important because that child would be the heir to the North and a rallying cry for those willing to continue fighting the War of the Five Kings.

Jeyne Westerling, the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Lady Stoneheart

But what will happen in The Winds of Winter? To start, let’s remember that the Brotherhood Without Banners have a spy in Riverrun: Tom Sevenstrings. It’s therefore likely that the Brotherhood that Jeyne and Edmure Tully are being moved. They may attempt a rescue.

But where would Jeyne and Edmure be taken after that? The current leader of the Brotherhood is the resurrected Catelyn Stark, now known as Lady Stoneheart. Even though she has been on quite the mean streak lately, Stoneheart would want to protect her brother Edmure and daughter-in-law Jeyne, not to mention her unborn grandchild and Robb’s heir. Stoneheart is in possession of Robb Stark’s crown and is one of the few people who knows Robb named Jon Snow his heir before dying. Stoneheart never liked Jon Snow, even when she was alive. So if she found out that Robb had a legitimate child with Jeyne, she may work to install him as heir instead of Jon.

The obvious problem with this scenario are the 400 men escorting Jeyne and Edmure. It is unknown exactly how many men the Brotherhood has at its disposal, but at least they have the element of surprise. Also, before leaving Riverrun, Jaime dismissed the entire garrison of the castle, which consisted of hundreds of men loyal to Robb. Some of these men join the Knight’s Watch, but the rest are just sent on their way. Before he escaped, the Blackfish said they were willing to die should Jaime attempt to storm the castle. Before the garrison was released, Jaime made them swear to never take up arms against the new Lord of Riverrun — Emmon Frey — or House Lannister, but they may break that promise. Jaime’s Aunt Genna even tells him that it was foolish to let these men go: “If you’re fortunate, one man in ten may keep that vow.”

More likely than not, at least some of these men will seek out the Brotherhood and continue fighting the Lannisters. There is also a pretty good chance that the Blackfish is looking for the Brotherhood as well. Remember: Edmure spoke to him before he escaped Riverrun. Not only was Edmure a witness to the signing of Robb Stark’s will, but he was in a room alone with Tom Sevenstrings prior to releasing the Blackfish. There also are not many places for the Blackfish to flee since Riverrun was the last castle still openly flying the Stark banner. With more manpower and a capable commander like the Blackfish, perhaps the Brotherhood could launch a successful rescue of Jeyne and Edmure.

Will Robb have a posthumous child in The Winds of Winter?

Another, less likely version of the theory holds that Jeyne is not with the party going back to the westerlands at all; rather, her sister Eleyna is posing as her. There is no evidence for this, but perhaps Tom Sevenstrings smuggled her out of Riverrun and brought her directly to Stoneheart.

However this theory plays out, we know for sure that Jeyne’s story is not over. When I think about all of this, I do not see a scenario where Jeyne lives. With all the tragic birthing scenes in House of the Dragon fresh on my mind, and the general gloominess of many of the storylines in the books, I could see things going south for her in the Winds prologue chapter. It should be noted that the point-of-view characters in the prologue chapters for each book die.

We’ll hope for the best. Now all we need is a release date for the book.

Next. 3 times Game of Thrones spoiled the events of House of the Dragon. dark

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