Another major story arc that needs to be resolved is the fates of Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy/Reek. Although both jumped from the high walls of Winterfell, both presumably will find some form of padding (or as people are describing it these days as “plot armor”). Of course, the real threat are the Boltons and doubtlessly Ramsay will be the most upset as his wife and plaything have escaped. Will the pair run far enough to evade the clutches of the insane and possessive Ramsay? Where will they go?
In a previous blog post, I suggested that both might attempt to hide in the Crypts of Winterfell. I do not think that it was a coincidence that the producers had Sansa Stark and Littlefinger in the crypt scene in episode 4 of season 5. Also, let us not forget that Rickon and Bran utilized the crypts to hide from Theon after Theon mutinied against them. Theon might discover a clue about Rickon and Bran by being in the crypts, or at least realize that his mistake was not looking there (which might help put them on the correct trail of the younger brothers).
But I think another important aspect in the crypts is that we will finally learn why it’s said that “there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” I think part of that riddle is something Sansa will learn and realize that her lineage as a Stark is something she cannot any longer take for granted. And I believe that aspect is rumored artifact in Winterfell that Mance Rayder is looking for in A Dance with Dragons.
Perhaps, those clues might come together with Lyanna Stark’s tomb. Unlike the other tombs in the Crypts of Winterfell, her tomb received the only attention in terms of the camera. That leads me to believe that perhaps buried alongside her body is the artifact. I’ve read theories that the artifact is Rhaegar Targaryen’s silver harp. Now, I don’t know if the harp itself has any true association to the Starks. The only thing is that it might have some power in connection with The Wall, people, the Starks and Winterfell. It could also serve as evidence for Jon Snow’s heritage. At any rate, I think it will be exposed at some point while Sansa is in the crypts.
Now, for a truly outlandish theory, I believe that it will be none other than Littlefinger who may show Ramsay Bolton the harp in exchange for information or power. I feel that Littlefinger will try more radical gambles and eventually be called in after the debacle of Sansa’s escape. On the other hand, Littlefinger might show up to take the opportunity to pry out the harp for himself. If Sansa is around, perhaps she and Theon will capture Littlefinger and recover the harp for themselves. She gets Littlefinger to admit a great deal of his own plot to Sansa with the aid of Theon who might apply the tortures he endured to Littlefinger to make him talk. However, the sneaky Littlefinger probably will weasel his way out but providing Sansa with enough information on how to reclaim the North.
I proposed earlier that Theon, still dealing with his trauma as Reek, might receive a telepathic visit from Bran Stark to learn of Rickon’s fate. Littlefinger, being the schemer that he is, might also have information (if the writers decide not to use Bran for this aspect). That might be how Ramsay eventually figures out Sansa and Theon’s trail if they do, indeed, pursue Rickon.
Regardless, part of the exchange between Littlefinger and Sansa will include dealing with the Eyrie and the Riverlands and gaining their support. Perhaps due to logistics, it will be very difficult to traverse the lands to get to either the Eyrie or Riverlands for Sansa and that she would prefer to reunite with her half brother, Jon Snow, to find the lost Rickon. After all, one of the biggest things she learns is that Jon Snow had grown in ranking at Castle Black.
That motivates her to go further North, despite the deepening snow. Along the way they encounter Ser Davos Seaworth as I suggested in my previous blog. Ser Davos informs Sansa of Jon’s tragic fate while Sansa unveils her witnessing the demise of Stannis’ army. That leads to the dilemma of where to go next.
Now, something I didn’t mention previously is that I think Ser Davos will not be traveling alone. Although in the books, he goes to the Manderly’s for aid, the TV series probably will cut that story out completely. Instead, I think Ser Davos might travel with a group of wildlings. Perhaps, after the mutiny at Castle Black, Ser Davos might convince Tormund to head south. It’s still very possible that Melisandre disguised Mance Rayder with a glamoring the same way she did in the books, motivating Tormund to search for his presumably dead friend. Or perhaps Melisandre provided vague information that she was truly unaware of Stannis’ fate, leading Ser Davos to find his former master and friend.
Ultimately, the idea I’m proposing here is that Ser Davos may have a small group of wildlings to protect him. We don’t know for certain what his allegiance is towards the wildlings but he did feel that they should join up with them. With this small group of wildlings serving as a shield, I think Sansa might charge Ser Davos and Theon to find her brother Rickon while she takes an entourage to handle the lords of the Riverlands and the Eyrie, which is what the book seemed to be alluding to in terms of the direction of her story.
I think if they go this route, Tormund might be the one who accompanies Sansa because he was closer than anyone to Jon Snow in his last days. More importantly, he had witnessed first hand the army of the White Walkers, which makes it imperative for Sansa to unite the North.
In the case of Theon, I think he will volunteer to find Rickon because he wants to repent for his actions against Winterfell. Also, there’s the complication of Osha. So seeing Theon with other Wildlings might frighten her off. We’re not exactly sure what Osha will do with Rickon. She’s still a wildling at heart and the show is infamous for using controversial storylines (maybe she does the whole “teacher having sex with an underage student” thing). I mean, why does Osha and Rickon end up in a place with cannibalistic savages?
Now, I did mention that Mance is possibly still alive. According to the book, he was captured by Ramsay and before that glamorized by Melisandre in concocting this plot to rescuing the fake Arya Stark. This might be important since Sansa has taken over the role as the fake Arya Stark/Jeyne Poole and may warrant an encounter between the two. I suppose the two things that keeping him alive in the show would accomplish are 1) unveiling more about Jon Snow’s character to Sansa and Tormund and 2) revealing that he was seeking the artifact in Winterfell and telling Sansa about its power.
Right now, it’s anyone’s guess what this artifact can do. If it’s Rhaegar’s silver harp, it might only possess limited power to ensconce people. But perhaps his harp had far deadlier powers in being able to trigger notes to destroy The Wall. Mance might talk about how his original plot was to use the harp to take down The Wall to help bring his people over and save them from the White Walkers. Instead, Jon Snow’s negotiation is what helped save some of them. He might tell Sansa of the real importance of the Starks to the North and that she has the ability to save the people of the North with the harp and taking Jon Snow’s lead in bringing together everyone.
The thing is that I think Season 6 will see Sansa Stark grow in confidence and really learn about her heritage and fully embrace it rather than no longer being a tool of others. Theon might see the start of an arc of redemption. With just 10 episodes though, I’m not sure if everything will come together.