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The Many Sons of Winter is an A Song of Ice and Fire fanfic written by CaekDaemon, one of the most prolific writers of ASOIAF fanfics in AlternateHistory.com. This story started with a simple question: what would have happened if the North was as populated as Russia? And how would that come to happen? In a nutshell, Highland cattle (or a close variant thereof).

The nail is that, after Aegon's Conquest and the surrender of the North, now Lord Paramount Torrhen Stark and his bastard half-brother Brandon Snow take a tour of the lands the former King in the North rules. During a particularly heavy snow storm, they are forced to stop, and then they see a herd of cows with long, wavy coats that protect them from the cold. From here, Torrhen realizes that this cow can become the thing that may make the North strong again, and sponsors the cattle's spread around the North.

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Nearly three-hundred years later, Eddard Stark rules the North with a velvet glove. The land is prosperous, crime is almost non-existant, towns, keeps and cities dot the North, the Night's Watch is at its strongest point ever, the Faith of the Old Gods remains very much the strongest, a canal connects the Narrow and Sunset Seas... all thanks to the humble cow that now provides a good part of the Northern diet.

However, when Jon Arryn dies and King Robert Baratheon comes north, things begin to move...

It can be accessed through here (if you are an AH.com user) or here.

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This work contains examples of:

  • A Father to His Men: Eddard, of course. He takes care of making sure everyone in his lands is fed and kept safe, and considers the freedom of the smallfolk a fact that he would never dream of fighting. And his people love him all the more for that.
  • Action Girl: Many women in the North, far more than in the books. For example, Dacey Mormont. Arya wants to be one in the future.
    • Alayne Stark, the mother of the Seastark line. She not only created Wolvesport in the east coast, she also personally led her fleet to fight with any pirates that dared attack the North and its ships - she was considered one of the best admirals in the world back in the day.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted. Jon Snow is much more accepted than he was in the original with his biggest concerns focused on founding his future house. He's a fully accepted member of the Stark family and is treated much the same as any other noble. This is mainly due to the First Men not having the same prejudices against bastards that Andals do.
    • Another inverted example is in Arya Stark. Canon Arya was constantly being forced into the ladylike arts and was ridiculed for her attitudes and looks. Here, Arya's tomboy ways are not only accepted, but are encouraged and her classic Stark look means that everyone is aware she will grow to be as beautiful as Lyanna.
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    • Played straight with Theon Greyjoy. In A So Ia F, he was basically treated as a member of the Stark family and he and Robb saw each other as brothers. Here, his attitude towards Jon Snow turned the various wards of Winterfell against him and as a result, he spends much of his time drinking and whoring.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Viserys Targaryen, while still obsessed with taking the Iron Throne back and either unwilling to face or ignorant (probably the latter) of his father's many faults and the real reasons why Robert's Rebellion took place (he believes it's all propaganda, having put his father and brother in a pedestal), does not suffer as much of his canon madness and is a lot nicer to his sister than in the books. Word of God confirms that this is because they initially had more people with them, and that Viserys was never forced to sell his mother's crown - CaekDaemon explicitly compares him to a young Aerys (though, the part where he seriously considers reestablishing the first night doesn't sound "kind", exactly).
    • Likewise, Joffrey. Because his father is trying to be a better king and took a greater hand in his education, he's far less of a Royal Brat than his canon counterpart was at a similar point, although signs of entitlement come through in his attempted pursuit of Sansa. Time will tell if giving him power will bring out the same The Caligula tendencies, but he's not a Dirty Coward and isn't seen as a Prince Charmless, if the fact that several Starks are considering matching him with Arya is any indication.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Tygett Lannister's resentment for Tywin is emphasised to such a degree, he is willing to aid Viserys in taking the Iron Throne, and slay his kin.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Catelyn confides to her uncle that she's worried at how Robb would seemingly rather sleep with "all the women of Winterfell" than be married, only for Brynden to point out Robb's only 15, and she should be worried if he didn't want that.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Ice of course.
  • The Alcoholic/Drowning My Sorrows: Theon drinks a lot to drown the pain of loneliness.
  • Arranged Marriage: Just as in canon, Robert considers to match Sansa with Joffrey. Contrary to canon, Sansa isn't really keen on becoming Queen of the Seven Kingdoms because she's already crushing hard on Domeric Bolton.
    • Tywin seeks to form stronger ties between the Westerlands and the North by giving his niece Joy Hill as a bride to Jon Snow.
  • The Atoner: The Greystark family are still trying to atone for the fact that long ago their family rebelled against the Starks, who both their liege lords and kin.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: If anything is done to earn the fury of the North, you can be sure that whoever did it will rue that moment.
  • Badass Grandpa: Rickard Seastark. He lost all of his children before time, so he has taken to treat Eddard's children as his grandchildren. As for the badass, he is the leader of the Stark fleet in the Narrow Sea, and fights against pirates and raiders of all kinds.
  • Big Fun: Wyman Manderly.
  • Bond Creature: There are wargs, so that one's a given, and Bran has Goldwing, his golden eagle. Then, when the direwolf arrives, she latches on Catelyn.
  • Break Them by Talking: Theon was thoroughly broken when Jon told him he would rather be a bastard of Winterfell than the heir to the Iron Islands... mostly because Theon realized Jon would truly have it better than him.
  • Brick Joke: In his first chapter, Bran sets his eagle Goldwing against a raven. The next chapter is Eddard's, who receives a letter from Moat Cailin, but it has been destroyed - because the raven was attacked by an eagle.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: After Khal Drogo's death, Viserys weds Daenerys himself, following the Targaryen tradition.
  • Butterfly Nets: The author admits to using one. Primarily because, and acknowledged by the readers, that Westeros and the story itself would be radically different otherwise.
  • Cain and Abel: Averted for the most part for large Northern families.
    • Catelyn was thoroughly surprised at the fact that this was not common in the North: so many Stark-descendant houses in the North, several of them from bastard sons, and none of them since the Greystarks has even considered the possibility of trying to take Winterfell from the main family.
  • Chocolate Baby: Not the one you think about. Robert is certainly puzzled by Robin Arryn's dark hair, since Lysa Arryn is a redhead and Jon was "as blonde as a Targaryan" in his youth. Ned quickly understands the King suspects cuckolding.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Played straight and averted. While the organized religion in Southern Westeros is reminiscent of Catholicism, the North primarily follows the Old Gods, an animistic faith. Even if the Old Gods religion is more structured in this timeline, it is still a shamanistic religion.
    • Furthermore, thanks to their greater wealth, the Manderlys have started branching out their "Belief in the Seven" to become more in line with their non-Seven worshipping neighbours. While most people in White Harbor still follow the Seven it's still a more modified version, with the statues being replaced by heart trees or heart trees themselves being covered in seven different faces.
  • Comically Lopsided Rivalry: Rickard Darkstark is this with Beric Seastark. The two are Admirals of the Northern navy and constantly attempt to show each other up such as who can build the largest and most extravagant ship.
  • Cool Helmet: Benjen wears a bascinet shaped like the head of a direwolf.
  • Cool Pet: Goldwing, Bran's eagle. Bought from the Vale by Eddard, it's Bran's constant companion and the creature he regularly hunts and wargs with. Eddard Stark even admits he had never seen another eagle as large and magnificent as it.
  • Cool Uncle: Brynden Tully is very much this for his niece Cat. When he meets his grandnephews and grandnieces, he quickly shows he didn't lose his touch.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: The Night's Watch has so many people that they know they do not have to suffer the worst of murderers and rapists. These do not take long in "falling" from the top of the Wall or having an "accident".
  • Crapsack World: The Iron Islands have lost so much that Theon thinks they have even lost their pride.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Robert’s Rebellion essentially became this thanks to the North having fifty thousand more soldiers than they did in canon (c. 70,000)
    • The Fight Night bout between Dacey Mormont and Torrhen Karstark swiftly turns into this. Dacey almost instantly goes into the attack and Torrhen is literally helpless thanks to Dacey relentlessly keeping the pressure up.
  • Cute Bruiser: Dacey promised to teach Arya how to fight. See the above Curb-Stomp Battle entry for what this means.
  • The Dandy: Domeric Bolton, who plays the Harp. According to Robb, he also spends a lot of time fixing his hair.
    • Eddard also admits he's a "Pretty Boy" and reminds him of Rhaegar.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Downplayed. While the Northern court is filled with rivalries, violence and deaths do not usually occur. Most of the time the court discussion is over trivial matters such as taxes, boundary changes and who marries who.
    • Basically the Lords bitch and moan over who gets the most favors from the Lord Paramount. Like the European Union, only with more land.
    • That said duels do occasionally occur over slighted honor. Robb and Jon nearly do become part of one over a territorial disputed. See the Manderlys and Rivermen.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Viserys thinks his father Aerys was a great king, worshipped by the people, who was only brought down because of Robert Baratheon's greed.
  • Dented Iron: Robert was dealt a terrible blow to the shoulder at the Trident, but was able to survive it. It never really healed right, though. While he can still ride and fight, if he strains himself too much, he has to take a seriously strong anaesthetic to stop the burning pain.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Two centuries ago, while they were in the middle of the crisis after the Dance of the Dragons, the Iron Bank made a deal with the Stark family - invest a hundred thousand gold dragons with them at a two per cent annual interest as long as that cash keeps being reinvested with them. Now, the Starks' account has swelled to almost five and a half million dragons, and while the Iron Bank really would like to rewrite that contract, per the original terms they can't do so until a sufficiently large withdrawal is made.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Seeing Domeric playing the harp for Sansa painfully reminds Eddard of Rhaegar and Lyanna.
  • Droit du Seigneur: Averted. Thanks to the increased density and population of the North, lords who commit this act are immediately ousted or at the very least vilified. It's also a very easy way for the small-folk to pack and leave to another neighbouring lords lands, especially if they're treated better there. As a result while the Lords of the North are more powerful and wealthier their wealth is directly tied to the small-folk and most lords have more interconnected relations with other Lords in the region.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The various one-shots of the story in a different thread have a different tone and the North is far more developed than in this story.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Night's Watch will happily accept anyone that committed small crimes or acted rashly in greed or anger, but they outright hate those who hurt others needlessly (see The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much).
  • Failed Future Forecast: A Green Man asks Arya to keep Bran away from towers... which perplexes her - he's stopped climbing around Winterfell some time ago, and started training as a warg. The Green Man actually comments fate's been broken and the future is no longer certain.
  • Feuding Families: The author has admitted to this between the Boltons and the Manderlys, both who are nearly equivalent in power in this new North. Both families are jockeying for power in Winterfell through marriage alliances. The Boltons to lift the sanctions and restrictions, the Manderlys to get better trade rights and concessions.
    • The Manderlys and Waterman, both having a dispute over a river that has mysteriously changed course. The river itself used to be the boundary of the lands.
  • Fish out of Water: Catelyn is quite aware that she is this, and with good reason (remember that her house's sigil is a trout).
  • For Want of a Nail: From the cow Torrhen Stark and Brandon Snow found by accident, comes a North that is far much better placed in the Seven Kingdoms than the one in the books - although there are several details that point towards a much earlier nail: several of the Stark-descended families clearly have their origin in the time before Aegon's Conquest.
    • Winterfell is a lot bigger than in the books, and so much space was needed that the First Keep was repaired by William Stark (Eddard Stark's great-grandfather).
    • A long canal connects the Narrow Sea with the Sunset Sea via Moat Cailin - a staple of many ASOIAF fics where the Starks do better from earlier.
      • A direct consequence of this is that there are stronger ties between the North, the Westerlands and the Reach - so much that Tytos Lannister married Genna to the Darkstark heir, instead of a Frey. Another consequence is that Dorne dislikes the North, since the canal allows ships to bypass Dorne in their travels between the two seas, causing an enormous drop in their revenue.
    • The larger population means that there are a lot more keeps, towns and cities, and that there is more money around.
    • With the greater population, the Starks of old had it easier to give their second sons and bastards a keep of their own, creating new noble houses out of them. Two of these houses, the Darkstarks and the Seastarks, provide great navies to the North, reverting Brandon the Burner's actions - and it was the Darkstarks that sunk Aeron Greyjoy's ship, instead of Stannis Baratheon.
    • An earlier point of divergence is the survival of House Greystark, who at the time the story begins is one of the most hard-working houses existing, trying to wipe out the dark mark of their rebellion.
    • The Northmen's culture becomes stronger and better defined: there are great steamhouses to take baths, the Old Gods are worshipped everywhere, Greenseers have become a sort of priesthood and wargs are accepted in society without a problem - they even have schools for teaching the art, and they form part of the army and the city guards.
      • The culture of the First Men is also stronger outside of the North, with Waymar Royce talking about his father encouraging him and the rest of his family to remember who they are, how they aren't Andals like the rest of the Vale, to the point that Waymar turned down a knighthood, as the Old Gods didn't have knights and many of the knights he knows of are dishonourable (Gregor Clegane is mentioned). As well, the Hill Clans of the Vale know of and respect the North and Winterfell, even naming children after Ned. As Ned notes, the Hill Clans are far from the North, with some of their members not knowing who sat on the Iron Throne (and some not knowing what the Iron Throne is), and yet they know who Ned is, calling him "the Ned" or "the Stark", just like the clans of the North do.
    • Jorah Mormont never has to sell the poachers to slavers, since House Mormont has become one of the best producers of ships in the North, so he remains still the Lord of Bear Island, and has four children already.
    • Since the Northern culture is stronger, Catelyn is unable to get any of her children to become more southern-like. Also, Catelyn is pretty much the only person that prays to the Seven in all of Winterfell apart from the septon and septa - and the septon is implied to have lost his faith in the Seven.
    • All the noble houses in the North send their heirs and elder daughters to Winterfell, to serve as their representatives in Winterfell and to be companions to the eldest son and daughter of Lord Stark - Robb and Sansa, right now. Done by design to make it easier for the children to know each other and facilitate betrothals. This also allows Domeric to be still alive, as he never sought his half-brother Ramsaynote .
    • Theon is worse adjusted to a life in the North, because after he insulted Jon in his first day there, all of Robb's friends turned against the Ironborn heir.
      • The greater beating the Ironborn got during the Greyjoy's Rebellion led to a much poorer Iron Islands, with their men working as deckhands and sailors for the other kingdoms and many women being forced to prostitute themselves to the Westerosi sailors that come to the islands.
    • The mission to get Lyanna back from the Tower of Joy pitted Ned Stark, Howland Reed, and Theo Wull, such as in canon, as well as Greatjon Umber and Tygett Lannister, against two of the Kingsguard, Lord Commander Gerold Hightower and Oswell Whent, Arthur Dayne having went missing during the Battle of the Trident. Only Wull fell on the Northern side.
    • The people north of the Wall are divided in two groups: the "free folk", who have settled down and are under the direct protection of the Night's Watch, and the "wildlings", who fulfill the same role in the books.
    • The Night's Watch itself is much more powerful, completely inverting the situation they were undergoing in the books - they have so many people in the group that all castles are full to the brim, even after going through several upgrades, and they are even planning to start building new fortresses north of the Wall. They even use wildling tools - such as a primitive equivalent to our modern compass.
      • Mance Rayder never deserted the Night's Watch, and is now commander of Westwatch-by-the-Bridge. There are two leaders for the people north of the Wall: Tormund Giantsbane is the King-Beyond-the-Wall for the wildlings, while Val is the Queen-Beyond-the-Wall for the free folk.
    • The day where the Starks find the direwolves, they are out on a hunt and manage to save the direwolf mama before the stag kills her.
    • Robert Baratheon never let himself go after the war, so he has not gone fat. He also appears to have taken a greater role in educating Joffrey. This is because Rhaegar dealt him a terrible wound with a Valyrian steel dagger, making him realize he could not afford to go soft. This is also what convinced him to begin acting like a real king and father.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Eddard Snowstark and Smalljon Umber are an example of this. They constantly get into fights and staring contests. That's not including fight night.
  • Generation Xerox: Arya is even more like Lyanna than in the books. It does help that she has a role model in Dacey Mormont.
    • It takes a while for Catelyn to notice, but Sansa is just like her - but in a Northern fashion.
    • Eddard also notes that Robb is a lot like his older brother Brandon, easily and confidently leading the Wolves of Winterfell with all of them deferring to him (and also having a fondness for the girls at court...), while Jon is a lot like his younger brother Benjen, friendly, quick-witted, and a little teasing.
  • Good Parents: Eddard and Catelyn Stark. Both want what's best for their children. It takes Catelyn long before she understands there are better ways to connect with her children than to try to mould them into southron-like nobles.
    • Jorah Mormont.
    • Roose Bolton of all people. Domeric's survival has shown that the man does have a heart buried under there somewhere.
      • Given that this is Roose Bolton we're talking about, it could just be that he's sharp as a tack, has a different situation to deal with (more surviving kids, for one), and decided that Ramsay wasn't needed.
    • Genna Lannister-Darkstark and Beron Darkstark to Adara and Lyanne.
  • Global Ignorance: Most of Westeros about the North, before Robert's Rebellion. The people at the south thought that the North was a poor land, with hungry people living in shacks and broken down castles. When Aerys made it personal (by killing Rickard and Brandon Stark, plus many of the Northern heirs), the rest of Westeros really saw how powerful the North truly is.
    • Averted in the present. Viserys and various other actors outside of the North recognize how powerful the North is now. Viserys himself makes it explicit that, should he reconquer Westeros and regain his birthright, he would break it up into smaller Lord Paramounts.
    • Averted for the Northern Noblemen in general. Their lucrative trade deals require that they understand what is happening in the Free Cities at the very least.
  • Heel Realization: Seeing the direwolf abandon her albino pup without the slightest care makes Catelyn realize that it's the exact same heartless way she's always treated Jon, and drives her to do better by him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A long time ago, during the hardest winters, the eldest, the cripples and the weak would go "hunting" to leave more food for those they left behind.
  • Home Sweet Home: Winterfell, for Eddard, who can identify the city just by its smell.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Eddard admonishes Robb when the latter hits Theon before he shoots an arrow that might have accidentally killed Arya (Theon thought he was helping protect Arya from the direwolf mother). He then acknowledges that he would have done exactly the same as Robb.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When Eddard Stark went to the Tower of Joy seeking Lyanna, the Dornish - who heavily dislike the Northmen - denied him and his companions supplies they really needed... so the group had to do things Eddard has never been proud of, but it was that or dying on the way.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: When Torrhen started to tell the Northern nobles that the cattle he and Brandon found was the North's salvation, they thought him mad. They had to eat those thoughts when Torrhen held a feast in the middle of winter.
  • Island of Mystery: Subverted and downplayed. Skagos is still a mysterious part of the North but the last three hundred years have slowly brought the island into the mainstream and Northern way of life. However it has been commented on that Skagos is in between the New North and the Free Folk in social structure, and the Skagosi still primarily speak the Old Tongue, with a Skagosi member of the Night's Watch speaking broken Common peppered with Old Tongue words.
  • Jerkass Realization: Catelyn realizes a lot of her treatment of Jon is simply uncalled for when she observes the mother direwolf reject her runt.
  • The Lancer: House Bolton to House Stark. Roose recommended killing Barristan Selmy in Robert's Rebellion like in canon. Whether they follow through with canon's chronic backstabbing disorder is another matter.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: It's A Song of Ice and Fire. What do you expect?
    • Particularly in the North, which now has many more noble families with a great number of people each, several of them offshoots of the Stark family - it is said that there is no place in the North that is not at least a few days away from a Stark castle.
  • Loophole Abuse: Tygett Darkstark, on behalf of his father, proposes making a fleet of ships out of weirwood trees. When the others protest wierwood trees are sacred, he counters that heart trees (wierwood trees with a face) are sacred but regular wierwood trees are not, and as such can be cut down and turned into boats. Eddard decides to consult the Green Men to see if they agree.
  • Meaningful Rename: Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt, was eventually given another name: Torrhen Beefking.
  • Moral Dissonance: One of Catelyn's main problems with living in the North is the great difference between the South and the North. For example, in the South noble bastards are considered inherently untrustworthy and jealous of their trueborn brothers, while in the North many Stark-descended houses were founded by Stark bastards, whose descendants have never considered the idea of taking Winterfell for themselves.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: The North in general, for the South.
  • Mystical White Hair: Robb's tutor, Free Citizen Horrono Vaenyris, has white hair. He's also a character who comes from outside of Westeros but is otherwise unmagical, so this trope is downplayed.
    • Given the sudden possibility that this could be Rhaegar Targaryen, though...
  • Mythology Gag: When he saw Eddard helping a servant boy, teaching him how to use a sword to defend himself in thanks for his work, Robert tried to "thank" the seamstress that fixed his cloak... and nine months later, Mya Stone was born.
  • Never Found the Body: Ser Arthur Dayne's body was never found at the Battle of the Trident, only his sword Dawn.
    • Played with for Rhaegar Targaryen. A body wearing his armor was found at the battle, but Robert smashed his head (as opposed to chest in the books) into paste, making identifying him impossible. Chapter 22 heavily implies he survived.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe. Years ago Jon declared his ever lasting love for Dacey Mormont...in front of absolutely everyone. They still tease him about it.
    • In a more serious version, the Greystarks still have a stain on their reputation over the fact that they once rebelled against the Starks. As such, their word is trusted a little less, they have to pay a higher dowry for their daughters, and the head of the family is not addressed as "the honorable".
  • Nice to the Waiter: A key part of the Northern lords' attitude towards the smallfolk. Ned raised many eyebrows at the Eyrie when he treated the servants who interacted with him with some decency, happily surprising Jon Arryn and making him realize the differences between the Northern and Southern lords. Part of this is because, unlike the rest of Westeros, the North doesn't practice serfdom, so the smallfolk aren't tied to the land and are free to leave a lord if they want to, so the lords have to make sure they treat them well or they'll drive off all their workers.
  • Noble Demon: Tywin Lannister as in canon. Here he's primarily believed to be the reason why so many of the Northern heirs that went to King's Landing with Brandon Stark survived under Aerys the Mad's harsh treatment.
  • Oh, Crap!: The reaction of most Southern lords when they realized that Eddard Stark was marching from Winterfell with 70,000 men - a huge number in the Late Medieval-analogue society of Westeros, especially from a cold "frontier" region like the North.
  • One Steve Limit: Massively averted. There are several main and supporting characters who have the same first namenote , and a particularly long scene of a list of newborn nobles being read while Eddard holds court... and almost all of the boys listed are named Eddard (with one of them having a twin named Eddrick), including one for the Hillclans of the Vale, and a girl named Eddara. There is also one named after Catelyn.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Averted. Northern families are known to be quite large. Even the Boltons have a larger family. Word of God has confirmed that Domeric has a couple younger siblings.
  • Parental Incest: When Robb asks what Valyrians would do when Brother–Sister Incest was impossible, this is Vaenyris' blunt answer with the lovely precision Maelys the Monstruous was born from such a coupling. Robb is thoroughly squicked.
  • Pragmatic Villain: Tywin Lannister. Roose Bolton as well, as in canon.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: The future for Domeric and Sansa.
  • Peerless Love Interest: One of the one-shots, where Robert goes to the Tower of Joy with Ned has this feeling between Robert and Lyanna. Lyanna is just something Robert adores and envisions for the most part. It doesn't make the non-canon one shot any less tragic when Lyanna and Robert's prematurely born girl dies.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Adara and Lyanne. The former is outgoing, fun-loving and uses her beauty to manipulate men (particularly Theon), while the latter is so timid that she can barely speak with a man she is not directly related to.
  • Really Gets Around: Adara Darkstark, but she intends to go single with Theon, planning everything so that she can become the Lady of the Iron Islands and direct them to become more like the North - and thus ensuring they will never be a threat again.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Eddard, of course. Most of the Northern nobles as well.
  • Red Herring: Robb's tutor seems to be this. Many fans have theorized that he's Rhaegar in disguise. Others have pointed out that it's too obvious for such an author.
  • Resigned to the Call: Bastards who are actively disliked by their trueborn siblings in the North are sent to the Wall.
  • Rewatch Bonus: When Horrono Vaenyris talks about his family, it seems quite innocent. Until Chapter 22 raises the possibility of him actually being Rhaegar Targaryen.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Arthur Dayne fought at the Trident... but no one knows what happened to him, as the only sign he left of his presence was the sword Dawn, dripping with blood.
    • There's a couple of hints that indicate Rhaegar and Arthur switched armors before the battle, so Arthur was the one who got destroyed by Robert while Rhaegar ran away after fighting for a while, escaping to Essos.
  • The Rival: Wylla Manderly and Alys Karstark over Robb's approval and love. While there are other girls who wish to marry Robb Stark, most have acknowledged that it will mostly come to either of them.
    • That said both girls genuinely do have an interest in Robb.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Robert's Rebellion was this even more so than in canon since a lot of Northern Houses lost heirs and they descended on the south with SEVENTY THOUSAND trained soldiers. The northern fleets also smashed the royal fleet and relieved Storm's End early.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Just like the direwolf pups bond with the Stark children, the direwolf mother bonds with Catelyn.
  • The Sociopath: Downplayed to a lesser extent with the Boltons. Growing up surrounded by fellow lords in Winterfell and having larger families in general has reduced this trait to a certain extent.
  • Shipper on Deck: Roose Bolton is very unsubtle about his desire to see his son Domeric wed Sansa, sending a letter to Ned Stark about how he found a nice dowry for his eldest daughter after the marriage, and maybe things aren't official yet, but it will be soon, right?
    • Robert thinks about arranging a betrothal between Joffrey and Sansa but backs off when he realizes how unhappy the girl would be. Ned suggests instead his younger daughter Arya, since he thinks she would enjoy being queen.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Sansa and Domeric really give off this vibe. What makes it work is that it fits with their canon personalities. And the fact that it's CaekDaemon doing the writing so it would be pretty hard for it to be bad.
  • The Talk: when the men in the hunt wonder how the direwolf managed to get south of the Wall, they realize that there is a male south of the Wall, too, because it is unlikely that she would have come south while pregnant. When Bran asks why this matters, since direwolves can't get married, Eddard proceeds to tell him why. Bran wishes he had never asked.
  • True Companions: Robb's "pack", the Wolves of Winterfell, formed by the male heirs to the Northern houses and Jon.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe, Robert comments that as disgusted as he was at Roose Bolton's talk of butchery and flaying, he found it easier to talk to him than to Tywin. Personally, he feels deeply uncomfortable when chatting with Tywin, comparing it to talking to a scarecrow.
  • Unlikely Hero: The Northern Army for Robert's Rebellion. It makes things much easier for Robert when you have 70,000 additional forces.
  • Values Dissonance: In-universe use as Catelyn's main problem with her children. She was raised with Southron values in mind, and is at a loss at Northern culture, which sees no issue with women fighting, legitimization of bastards, faith to the Old Gods, and many more.
  • Victory by First Blood: Domeric and Joffrey's duel is fought on this rule. Domeric wins by causing Joffrey to bite his tongue.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Don't be fooled by Beron Darkstark's and Rickard Seastark's rivalry. When it comes time to back each other up they do so immediately.
    • The North in General. Thanks to the increased population there is more rivalry between competing lords over resources and trade rights. However, as Robert's Rebellion has shown, they do band together when their Lord Paramount calls the banners.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 9, Viserys I. The day Khal Drogo comes to see Daenerys, his horse throws him off (a first for him) and then it kicks him in the head, instantly killing him (implied to be because a warg spooks the horse). Viserys decides to marry Daenerys instead of marrying her off to someone else, and decides to go to Volantis, hoping that the Old Blood of Valyria might be interested in helping them gain the Iron Throne.
    • Chapter 21, Bran III. The Green Men kill Brynden Rivers, the Three-Eyed Crow, Bran gets visited in his dreams by (maybe) the Night's Queen, Ser Barristan Selmy agrees to take Bran in as his squire and Domeric Bolton challenges Joffrey to a duel after the latter tried to court Sansa.
    • Chapter 22, Sansa II. The duel between Domeric and Joffrey ends up closer than expected, and it is heavily implied Rhaegar Targaryen did not die in the Battle of the Trident and currently resides in Winterfell as Robb's tutor Horrono Vaenyris.
  • Zerg Rush: Part of how the Northern fleets operate, Their holks are smaller and carry fewer weapons and men than the dromond galleys used by most of the South, but are far cheapernote , significantly faster and more maneuverablenote , are so simple to build that a fishing village could repair them, or even build a new one, and they can easily be converted to use as merchant vessels in times of peace, then converted back to warships or transports in times of war, meaning the North can maintain a larger reserve by using some of their fleet for trade in peacetime. Their main tactic is swarming larger ships and boarding them.
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