One of the most important scenes in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Season 6 Episode 3 was when Smalljon Umber brought Rickon Stark to Ramsay Bolton as a “gift.”

In all, it was a pretty good night for Ramsay. He lost one Stark (Sansa) only to gain another (Rickon) — and he now has two of the most powerful Northern houses on his side, the Karstarks and the Umbers.

But what if the Umbers aren’t really on Ramsay’s side, and the Smalljon is in cahoots with Rickon to win back Winterfell for the Starks?

Smalljon Umber refused to bend the knee for Ramsay Bolton

Importantly, Smalljon did not bend the knee nor swear fealty to Ramsay Bolton. He did not claim to view Ramsay as the Warden of the North. He spat on the member of Ramsay’s father and essentially wanted nothing to do with a formal partnership between the Umbers and the Boltons.

So why would he hand Ramsay arguably the most important piece of the Northern puzzle? It just doesn’t make sense — unless he’s secretly working with Rickon to win back Winterfell for the Starks.

rickon stark umber game of thrones
HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

The North Remembers

Even if there is a double agent plan in the works, that doesn’t mean Rickon Stark is in safe hands. Ramsay Bolton remains completely unpredictable, but if he’s susceptible to anything, it’s the promise of more power. That’s exactly what handing Rickon over as a “gift” is.

The theory is that Rickon is really just a Trojan Horse in disguise, meant to lower Ramsay’s guard and place a Stark back in Winterfell in one swoop.

And remember — “The North Remembers” — and it was Ramsay’s father who helped betray Robb Stark at the Red Wedding. (Roose Bolton actually delivered the killing blow.) And in the books, Greatjon Umber is held captive at The Twins following the events of the Red Wedding.

What about Shaggydog, Rickon Stark’s dire wolf?

HBO's "Game of Thrones"
HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

The biggest problem with the “the Umbers are acting as double agents” theory is the fact that they placed Shaggydog’s severed head on the table as proof that Rickon is actually a Stark. If the double agent theory is true, there’s really only two reasonable explanations for this:

  1. That’s not actually Shaggydog’s head. The support for this would be that Robb Stark’s wolf’s head was significantly larger than Shaggydog’s — despite being a lot younger. This is the most viable and likely of the two explanations.
  2. Shaggydog was already dead. Perhaps Shaggydog died somehow else. A brutal winter storm swept throughout the north at the end of last season (devastating Stannis’ army).

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