Game of Thrones season 6 episode 3: Why the return of a long-lost character is bad news

Any excitement for the return of the character, last seen in season 3, was quickly tempered by the realisation of what his fate held in store for him

Clarisse Loughrey
Monday 09 May 2016 08:32


Here's Game of Thrones working in the only way it knows how - by building up your spirit only to crush it to dust in its cruel, tortuous hands.

Thanks to the episode's preview, we knew Ramsay Bolton would be receiving a particularly pleasing gift from Lord Umber; with whoever that gift may be surely in for a rather rough welcoming.

Well, we've now had all our very worst fears confirmed: it was young Rickon Stark who's been handed over into the nefarious hands of Ramsay, and things are already looking resolutely bleak. Indeed, the very last we saw of the youngest Stark was back in season 3; when he journeyed to Last Hearth, the seat of House Umber, under Bran's belief it would be a safe refuge.

Turns out, that was a pretty terrible idea. Though House Umber were thought to be loyal bannermen to the Starks, that is clearly no longer the case, with Smalljon Umber becoming the episode's titular "Oathbreaker" by presenting both Rickon and his companion, wildling Osha, to Ramsay as a seeming show of support.

The start of a very bad time for the young Stark, with Lord Umber already decapitating Rickon's direwolf Shaggydog before he's even spent a second under the captivity of Ramsay. Considering Catelyn Stark believed the wolves to serve as a protective force for her children, it's a pretty worrying sign of what's to come.

Will Rickon soon go the same way of his precious pup? Ramsay's already well-established himself as Winterfell's new psychopath-at-large, so it's pretty unlikely he'll be able to resist reigning terror and torture over a Stark of any age.

Who is Azor Ahai?

There's but one hope for Rickon's survival here - Jon Snow has officially left Night's Watch, which presumably means he only has one destination in mind, Winterfell. Things are looking deeply bleak, but we can only pray that Snow intercepts Ramsay in time before poor Rickon meets his maker.

Then again, this is Game of Thrones we're talking about.

Game of Thrones airs on Sunday nights in the US, at 9PM on HBO; and will be simulcast at 2AM on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments