The Giant’s Daughter

THE MANNIFESTO: APPENDIX I, CHAPTER V

Near the end of A Storm of Swords, Stannis shows an interest in Tormund, particularly regarding Tormund’s honor and character:

He scowled. “You rode with these wildlings. Is there any honor in them, do you think?” “Yes,” Jon said, “but their own sort of honor, sire.”

“…And this other man, this Tormund of the many names who eluded us after the battle? Answer me truly.”

“Tormund Giantsbane seemed to me the sort of man who would make a good friend and a bad enemy, Your Grace.”
— JON XII, A STORM OF SWORDS

Although it’s expected that Stannis would want to know as much as possible about his enemies, his concerns carry weighty implications:

Why does Stannis care about Tormund’s honor and character, not the status of his forces or strategic capabilities? In short, why does Stannis seem to care more about Tormund’s capacity for loyalty than for his facility as an enemy?

Why does Stannis express such concerns regarding Mance Rayder, Rattleshirt, and Tormund, yet spares none for the Weeper –the other remaining wildling chieftain?

It would seem intuitive that Stannis feels he can compel Tormund to ally the wildlings to his cause. Indeed, he expresses that sentiment:

“This Tormund Thunderfist is likely re-forming them even now, and planning some new assault. And the more we bleed each other, the weaker we shall all be when the real enemy falls upon us.”

“When the cold winds rise, we shall live or die together. It is time we made alliance against our common foe.”
— JON XII, A STORM OF SWORDS

However, Tormund lingers beyond Stannis’s reach, and the king eventually abandons his wait at Castle Black and turns his eye toward the Boltons.

Nevertheless, Stannis knew that the wildlings would one day come again. You have to wonder what his strategy for achieving Tormund’s allegiance would be.

I believe Mance Rayder may be of significant value in this regard:

“Mance knows the haunted forest better than any ranger,” Jon had told King Stannis, in his final effort to convince His Grace that the King-Beyond-the-Wall would be of more use to them alive than dead. “He knows Tormund Giantsbane.”
— JON III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

If Mance knows so much about Tormund, the question is clear:

What might Mance have told Stannis that would help secure Tormund’s loyalty?

Answering this question is the central point of this essay, manifested two key arguments:

Tormund Giantsbane is a bastard of House Umber.

 Alysane Mormont is his daughter.

Note: I am very much aware that the title picture is Ygritte. There aren’t any good images for Alysane. Use your imagination.

Contents

  1. Hoarfrost’s Bastard. Tormund’s glorious ancestry.
  2. Tormund’s Bear Cub. The She-Bear’s child.
  3. Another Daughter. Using a Mormont to tie the wildlings to the north.
  4. Footnotes. A lot of complementary garbage.

*   *   *

HOARFROST’S BASTARD


Tormund_Giantsbane2It may seem like wish fulfillment to think that Tormund is affiliated with such a mighty house as the Umbers, particularly as they are so loyal to the Starks.

But the theory that Tormund is actually a bastard of House Umber is rooted in some novel clues.

First Night

The most distinct clue that someone is a bastard of House Umber comes straight from the mouth of Roose Bolton:

“The maesters will tell you that King Jaehaerys abolished the lord’s right to the first night to appease his shrewish queen, but where the old gods rule, old customs linger. The Umbers keep the first night too, deny it as they may.”
— REEK III, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Roose Bolton stands to gain nothing from expressing this information to Theon, so it’s highly unlikely that he’s lying.

Roose talks about the Umbers keeping to the tradition of the First Night in the present tense. This would indicate that it is still going on to some extent. The most likely way a non-Umber would know of this is if bastard Umber progeny had been evidenced from the recent generations.

From this, we can only assume that some bastards are out there, born from either a living Umber or his closest predecessors.

It’s also important to realize that this is considered a lord’s right. This means that only the current lord of Last Hearth has this privilege.

These two points leads to an important conclusion:

There must be living bastard Umbers.

Any living bastard Umbers are the children of either the Greatjon or one of his predecessors.

*   *   *

The Giantsbabe

In A Storm of Swords, Jon asks Tormund if he killed a giant (presumably wanting to know why one of his titles is Giantsbane). Tormund’s tale is that he cut open a giant and slept inside of her, adding that the giant nursed her after he crawled out. Jon points out that he couldn’t have killed her in that case.

NOTE: The Giantsbane tale is provided in the footnotes.

This causes Tormund to make an interesting confession:

“I never did, but see you don’t go spreading that about. Tormund Giantsbane has a better ring to it than Tormund Giantsbabe, and that’s the honest truth o’ it.”
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

Mance has on several occasions told others that Tormund is a fraud. Loyal and warm, but a fraud nonetheless.

There is an interesting refrain throughout the books regarding lies:

  • “And the best lies contain within them nuggets of truth, enough to give a listener pause.”
  • “Half-truths are worth more than outright lies.”
  • “The best lies are seasoned with a bit of truth.”
  • “The thing is, the best lies have some truth in ’em… to give ’em flavor, as it were.”
  • “The best ruses always have some seed of truth”
  • “They [singers] do [make things up],” said Maester Aemon, “but even the most fanciful song may hold a kernel of truth. Find that truth for me, Sam.”
  • Maester Luwin always said that Old Nan’s stories shouldn’t be swallowed whole.

Returning to Tormund and his tale, we have to wonder what the ‘nugget of truth’ is, if any. The most sensible explanation is that Tormund’s tale is allegorical, particularly when he confesses to the possibility that his title could have been Giantsbabe. Plainly it implies that Tormund was the son of a giant, and an allegorical interpretation of this detail would suggest the possibility that Tormund was the son of an Umber.

There is another point to consider here: If Tormund’s tale was a total fabrication, then there’s no reason for him to have been concerned about being called Giantsbabe, he simply could have invented a tale that did not paint himself in that fashion.

If Tormund wanted to be called the Giantsbane and used a lie to tell the tale, why would he bother with a tale about sleeping inside a giant?

Think about it:

Why worry about a bad nickname from a tale you made up, when you can always change the tale to support your own narrative?

Thus, the concern for a negative title suggests that Tormund’s tale was about redirecting an existing narrative.

All told, this implies that Tormund’s “Giantsbabe” confession suggest that the entire tale of sleeping in the giant was an attempt to misdirect from the truth that the epithet Giantsbabe was actually closer to the truth.

And as noted, one of the most reasonable explanations for the epithet would be that he was the son of an Umber.

*   *   *

Shared Attributes

Tormund shares a massive number of similarities to the Umbers: his physical description, voice, musicality, temperament and even sense of humor.

The evidence demonstrating these similarities is massive in scope. I have placed it in the footnotes for this essay if you want to read them.

This is admittedly circumstantial evidence at best. When evaluated collectively and in the context of the hypothesis (Tormund is a bastard Umber) however, I find it very entertaining.

There is one notable discrepancy between Tormund and the physical description of the Umbers: Tormund is short where the Umbers are very tall. If the hypothesis is true, then the only plausible explanation for this would be that Tormund inherited his short stature from his mother.

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TORMUND’S BEAR CUB


Tormund tells Jon a rather interesting story about sleeping with a bear. He further relates that the bear ran off and later bore a litter of cubs.

NOTE: The Husband-to-Bears tale is provided in the footnotes.

As with the story of Giantsbane, I believe this story to be false and yet rooted in an element of truth.

Going even further I believe that Tormund actually slept with Maege Mormont, and that the affair resulted in the birth of Alysane Mormont.

Let me explain.

Dacey versus Alysane

First of all, there are massive differences between Dacey and Alysane in terms of appearance:

Dacey

Lady Maege Mormont said as they rode. Catelyn had grown fond of Lady Maege and her eldest daughter, Dacey; they were more understanding than most in the matter of Jaime Lannister, she had found. The daughter was tall and lean, the mother short and stout, but they dressed alike in mail and leather, with the black bear of House Mormont on shield and surcoat.
— CATELYN V, A STORM OF SWORDS

When she wore a dress in place of a hauberk, Lady Maege’s eldest daughter was quite pretty; tall and willowy, with a shy smile that made her long face light up. It was pleasant to see that she could be as graceful on the dance floor as in the training yard.
— CATELYN VII, A STORM OF SWORDS

Alysane

Asha Greyjoy rode in the baggage train, in a covered wayn with two huge iron-rimmed wheels, fettered at wrist and ankle and watched over day and night by a She-Bear who snored worse than any man.
— THE KING’S PRIZE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Her proper name was Alysane of House Mormont, but she wore the other name as easily as she wore her mail. Short, chunky, muscular, the heir to Bear Island had big thighs, big breasts, and big hands ridged with callus. Even in sleep she wore ringmail under her furs, boiled leather under that, and an old sheepskin under the leather, turned inside out for warmth. All those layers made her look almost as wide as she was tall. And ferocious. Sometimes it was hard for Asha Greyjoy to remember that she and the She-Bear were almost of an age.
— THE KING’S PRIZE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

“Sisters,” Alysane Mormont replied, gruff as ever.
— THE KING’S PRIZE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

The two daughters are strikingly different in appearance.

Could it be that they had different parents?

*   *   *

A Simplistic Heredity

Maege and Alysane are described in very similar terms:

Stout, grey-haired Maege Mormont, dressed in mail like a man…
— BRAN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

One of his companions was even a woman: Dacey Mormont, Lady Maege’s eldest daughter and heir to Bear Island, a lanky six-footer who had been given a morningstar at an age when most girls were given dolls.
— CATELYN VI, A GAME OF THRONES

Maege is a hoary old snark, stubborn, short-tempered, and willful.
— JON IX, A GAME OF THRONES

The daughter was tall and lean, the mother short and stout, but they dressed alike in mail and leather, with the black bear of House Mormont on shield and surcoat.
— CATELYN V, A STORM OF SWORDS

Given that Dacey is so different from Maege and Alysane, it suggests that she inherited her traits from her father, whomever that was.

This may imply a general statement: that Maege’s children take after their fathers.

This would suggest that Alysane’s father was a similarly built man: short but strong and very broad.

*   *   *

They Take No Husbands

When Asha is inquiring about Alysane’s children, Mormont replies:

A stab at me, Asha thought, but let it be.

“You are wed.”

“No. My children were fathered by a bear.” Alysane smiled. Her teeth were crooked, but there was something ingratiating about that smile. “Mormont women are skinchangers. We turn into bears and find mates in the woods. Everyone knows.”
— THE KING’S PRIZE

Obviously Alysane is saying that she’s not married.

But the comment also has a playful, snarky tone. In her own sarcastic way, Alysane is saying, “Don’t you know our reputation? We are the she-bears that men find in the woods.”

The subtext here is important: Alysane is really pointing out that there are fabricated tales about the Mormont women, ones that suggest they have some supernatural ability to turn into bears and seduce men.

Well seven hells…

What sort of uncouth person would spread such a fanciful story?

*   *   *

Husband-to-Bears

In Tormund’s tale he talks about a she-bear, a term which is notoriously associated with the females of Bear Island. Alysane’s nickname is simply ‘the She-Bear’. The Mormont women take pride in the name.

What’s interesting in the tale is that Tormund first heads out to search for a woman he had been lusting after. He describes her as “a fine strong woman with the biggest pair of teats you ever saw” and possessing “a terrible temper”.

Compare that to the following:

Maege is a hoary old snark, stubborn, short-tempered, and willful.
— JON IX, A GAME OF THRONES

Her proper name was Alysane of House Mormont, but she wore the other name as easily as she wore her mail. Short, chunky, muscular, the heir to Bear Island had big thighs, big breasts, and big hands ridged with callus. Even in sleep she wore ringmail under her furs, boiled leather under that, and an old sheepskin under the leather, turned inside out for warmth. All those layers made her look almost as wide as she was tall. And ferocious. Sometimes it was hard for Asha Greyjoy to remember that she and the She-Bear were almost of an age.
— THE KING’S PRIZE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

When you consider that Maege and Alysane look very much alike, the notes about Alysane’s breasts would most likely apply to Maege as well.

So now you have two strikingly apropos candidates for Tormund’s allegorical she-bear: Maege and Alysane Mormont.

*   *   *

So which Mormont did Tormund likely sleep with?

The best place to start is by considering the ages. The disparity in ages between Maege and Alysane make it seem much more likely that Maege is the only viable candidate.

Surely Alysane might have been a candidate. But the timing regarding ages makes it seem like an outlying possibility at best.

In any case, I make the following allegations:

Tormund has at least one daughter from a Mormont mother: born to either Maege or Alysane.

Being that Maege is the most reasonable candidate, one of her daughters was fathered by Tormund.

Given the similarity in stature and other features, as well as the timing concerning her age, I believe that Alysane is the best candidate.

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*   *   *

ANOTHER DAUGHTER


By now I’m sure some people have the following questions:

“What’s the point?”

“These are novel hypotheses, but what is their applicability?

I believe that Alysane’s suspected relationship with Tormund is going to be used by Stannis to help secure an alliance with Tormund’s band of wildlings.

A Bear Alone

Alysane is the only Mormont known to be traveling with Stannis’s army. Yet Stannis’s letter to Jon mentions that there were a “gaggle” of fighters from Bear Island that assisted in the fight at Deepwood.

There are no mentions of any other Mormont fighters throughout the remainder of A Dance with Dragons. It would appear that they were left behind.

This is further confirmed with an excerpt from The Winds of Winter:

“The black brothers will accompany you as far as Castle Black,” the king went on. “The ironmen are to remain here, supposedly to fight for us. Another gift from Tycho Nestoris. Just as well, they would only slow you down. Ironmen were made for ships, not horses. Lady Arya should have a female companion as well. Take Alysane Mormont.”
— THEON I, THE WINDS OF WINTER

It would be absurd to think that if Mormont men were present, Stannis would send their leader away and leave them leaderless in his army.

Thus it’s a pretty sure bet that Alysane is the only person from Bear Island traveling with Stannis.

*   *   *

But Why?

Why would Alysane choose to travel alone with Stannis?

Why would he allow it?

Why would he presume to have her moved about without her counsel?

Notice that Alysane is a ‘sort-of’ prisoner. She is free from confinement and chains, but has a rather standoffish relationship with Stannis’s men and seems to identify more with the actual prisoner Asha.

Stannis himself seems to dislike her presence:

The She-Bear made him grind his teeth as well.
— THE KING’S PRIZE, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Despite all of this, Alysane seems to be willingly traveling with Stannis. Alone and without her men. This means that whatever purpose she hopes to serve, it’s most likely not one that involves combat. Her status as a ‘semi-prisoner’, without her men suggests another thing:

Stannis’s possessiveness regarding Alysane indicates that he finds her to be of strategic value.

The capstone in this observation is the quote from Stannis I provided, wherein he tells Justin Massey to take Alysane Mormont to the Wall.

Since Alysane is not a prisoner, the notion that Stannis wants her to travel to the Wall suggests that she will be amenable to this order. Which in turn suggests that her true purpose has been at the Wall all along.

The timing of her departure for Castle Black (after Arya has been rescued) is notable as well.

*   *   *

At the Wall

What will Alysane be doing on the Wall?

My best speculation is that I believe that Stannis’s plan was to have her contact Tormund. Thus Stannis (via Alysane) would be able to demonstrate an existing biological relationship between the wildlings and the northmen. He could use her as leverage in some fashion to engender Tormund’s allegiance or surrender.

The reason for Stannis to pursue this is obvious, it might net him a wildling force that nobody would yet know about.

Now for some interesting passages:

“Har!” Tormund snorted again. “You hear that, Toregg? Stay away from this one. I have one daughter, don’t need another.” Shaking his head, the wildling chief ducked back inside his tent.
— JON XI, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

“Your daughter …?”

“Munda.” That brought Tormund’s smile back. “Took that Longspear Ryk to husband, if you believe it. Boy’s got more cock than sense, you ask me, but he treats her well enough. I told him if he ever hurt her, I’d yank his member off and beat him bloody with it.” He gave Jon another hearty slap.
— JON XI, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

“I’ll need two boys to take their places.”

“How’s that?” Tormund scratched his beard. “A hostage is a hostage, seems to me. That big sharp sword o’ yours can snick a girl’s head off as easy as a boy’s. A father loves his daughters too. Well, most fathers.
— JON XII, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

It seems pretty clear the Tormund greatly loves the daughter he has now, and ironically might have another that he would probably feel compelled to protect as well.

The third passage is cryptic and oddly-timed; its a queer moment in the chapter when he says that ‘most fathers love their daughters’. Furthermore, it’s oddly compatible with the idea that Tormund would capitulate to an opponent that held his daughter captive.

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<the mannifesto>

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*   *   *

FOOTNOTES


The Tale of Giantsbane

“Is it true you killed a giant once?” he asked Tormund as they rode. Ghost loped silently beside them, leaving paw prints in the new-fallen snow.

“Now why would you doubt a mighty man like me? It was winter and I was half a boy, and stupid the way boys are. I went too far and my horse died and then a storm caught me. A true storm, not no little dusting such as this. Har! I knew I’d freeze to death before it broke. So I found me a sleeping giant, cut open her belly, and crawled up right inside her. Kept me warm enough, she did, but the stink near did for me. The worst thing was, she woke up when the spring come and took me for her babe. Suckled me for three whole moons before I could get away. Har! There’s times I miss the taste o’ giant’s milk, though.”

“If she nursed you, you couldn’t have killed her.”

“I never did, but see you don’t go spreading that about. Tormund Giantsbane has a better ring to it than Tormund Giantsbabe, and that’s the honest truth o’ it.”
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

*   *   *

The Tale of Husband-to-Bears

“Are all crows so curious?” asked Tormund. “Well, here’s a tale for you. It were another winter, colder even than the one I spent inside that giant, and snowing day and night, snowflakes as big as your head, not these little things. It snowed so hard the whole village was half buried. I was in me Ruddy Hall, with only a cask o’ mead to keep me company and nothing to do but drink it. The more I drank the more I got to thinking about this woman lived close by, a fine strong woman with the biggest pair of teats you ever saw. She had a temper on her, that one, but oh, she could be warm too, and in the deep of winter a man needs his warmth.

“The more I drank the more I thought about her, and the more I thought the harder me member got, till I couldn’t suffer it no more. Fool that I was, I bundled meself up in furs from head to heels, wrapped a winding wool around me face, and set off to find her. The snow was coming down so hard I got turned around once or twice, and the wind blew right through me and froze me bones, but finally I come on her, all bundled up like I was.

“The woman had a terrible temper, and she put up quite the fight when I laid hands on her. It was all I could do to carry her home and get her out o’ them furs, but when I did, oh, she was hotter even than I remembered, and we had a fine old time, and then I went to sleep. Next morning when I woke the snow had stopped and the sun was shining, but I was in no fit state to enjoy it. All ripped and torn I was, and half me member bit right off, and there on me floor was a she-bear’s pelt. And soon enough the free folk were telling tales o’ this bald bear seen in the woods, with the queerest pair o’ cubs behind her. Har!” He slapped a meaty thigh. “Would that I could find her again. She was fine to lay with, that bear. Never was a woman gave me such a fight, nor such strong sons neither.”
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

*   *   *

Shared Characteristics

Physical Traits

Tormund’s description and implied age suggests that he is probably close to Mors and Hother Umber in age, perhaps some years younger as he is never described as old or wintery like the Umbers are.

There are some notable similarities in physical description:

Beside the brazier, a short but immensely broad man sat on a stool, eating a hen off a skewer. Hot grease was running down his chin and into his snow-white beard, but he smiled happily all the same. Thick gold bands graven with runes bound his massive arms, and he wore a heavy shirt of black ringmail that could only have come from a dead ranger.
— JON I, A STORM OF SWORDS

But as the distance between them diminished Jon saw that the horseman was short and broad, with gold rings glinting on thick arms and a white beard spreading out across his massive chest.
— JON X, A STORM OF SWORDS

The next day two of them came together to audience; the Greatjon’s uncles, blustery men in the winter of their days with beards as white as the bearskin cloaks they wore.
— JON II, A CLASH OF KINGS

One was gaunt, with flinty eyes, a long white beard, and a face as hard as a winter frost. His jerkin was a ragged bearskin, worn and greasy. Underneath he wore a ringmail byrnie, even at table.
— REEK I, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

An old man, huge and powerful, with a ruddy face and a shaggy white beard. He had been seated on a garron, clad in the pelt of a gigantic snow bear, its head his hood.
— THEON I, THE WINDS OF WINTER

He was not a tall man, Tormund Giantsbane, but the gods had given him a broad chest and massive belly.
— JON XI, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Tormund’s grip was bone-crushing. That much had not changed about him. The beard was the same as well, though the face under that thicket of white hair had thinned considerably, and there were deep lines graven in those ruddy cheeks.
— JON XI, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

Lord Umber, who was called the Greatjon by his men and stood as tall as Hodor and twice as wide,
— BRAN V, A GAME OF THRONES

*   *   *

Voices

The Umbers and Tormund also share characteristic related to temperament and musicality. Both are shown to regularly throw drinks around,

The Umbers and Tormund are frequently noted as being incredibly loud, often described as bellowing, having deep voices. They are often described as earth-shaking, commanding, booming voices.

Cursing, the Greatjon flung a flagon of ale into the fire and bellowed that Robb was so green he must piss grass.
— BRAN V, A GAME OF THRONES

“And the Greatjon’s not the worst of them, only the loudest.”
— BRAN V, A GAME OF THRONES

“Have no fear on that count, Lady Stark,” the Greatjon told her in his bass rumble.
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

The Greatjon bellowed his approval, and other men added their voices, shouting and drawing swords and pounding their fists on the table.
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

“You are a woman, my lady,” the Greatjon rumbled in his deep voice.
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

“MY LORDS!” he shouted, his voice booming off the rafters. “Here is what I say to these two kings!” He spat. “Renly Baratheon is nothing to me, nor Stannis neither. Why should they rule over me and mine, from some flowery seat in Highgarden or Dorne? What do they know of the Wall or the wolfswood or the barrows of the First Men? Even their gods are wrong. The Others take the Lannisters too, I’ve had a bellyful of them.” He reached back over his shoulder and drew his immense two-handed greatsword. “Why shouldn’t we rule ourselves again? It was the dragons we married, and the dragons are all dead!” He pointed at Robb with the blade. “There sits the only king I mean to bow my knee to, m’lords,” he thundered. “The King in the North!”
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

“I don’t go in at all,” he said firmly, just before he heard Tormund Thunderfist bellowing for him (he hadn’t, but never mind).
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

Tormund Giantsbane heard the words and grinned. “The last of the great mountain giants, who ruled all the world at my birth,” he bellowed back through the snow.
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

Tormund’s sons Toregg and Dormund added their deep voices as well, then his daughter Munda and all the rest.
— JON II, A STORM OF SWORDS

Mance Rayder had named him Tormund Horn-Blower for the power of his lungs, and was wont to say that Tormund could laugh the snow off mountaintops. In his wroth, his bellows reminded Jon of a mammoth trumpeting.
— JON XI, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

*   *   *

Language and Humor

The Umbers are conspicuous for their swearing and frequent use of dick jokes and other scatological jokes. Tormund is also infamous for these behaviors.

Of course suggesting that these shared traits establish a biological connection invokes an immediate objection:

Just because two people have very similar humors does not indicate a biological relationship.

I of course agree. These details are intended to be looked at in the context of the other shared attributes: the physical similarities, musicality, and vocal qualities. In this light, the shared language just seems like icing on the cake.

It’s also noteworthy that if you do some serious looking there are actually very few northmen who speak in a manner similar to Tormund or the Umbers.

The Greatjon began to curse and swear as soon as he saw what awaited them.
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

“The Greatjon says that won’t matter if we catch him with his breeches down, but it seems to me that a man who has fought as many battles as Tywin Lannister won’t be so easily surprised.”
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

“Have no fear on that count, Lady Stark,” the Greatjon told her in his bass rumble. “Winterfell is safe. We’ll shove our swords up Tywin Lannister’s bunghole soon enough, begging your pardons, and then it’s on to the Red Keep to free Ned.”
— CATELYN VII, A GAME OF THRONES

“I have a cure for grief under my furs.” Mors laughed. Ser Rodrik thanked him courteously and promised to bring the matter before the lady and the king.
— BRAN II, A CLASH OF KINGS

He sent some salmon down to poor sad Lady Hornwood, the boar to the boisterous Umbers…
— BRAN III, A CLASH OF KINGS

The music grew wilder, the drummers joined in, and Hother Umber brought forth a huge curved warhorn banded in silver. When the singer reached the part in “The Night That Ended” where the Night’s Watch rode forth to meet the Others in the Battle for the Dawn, he blew a blast that set all the dogs to barking.
— BRAN III, A CLASH OF KINGS

Two Glover men began a spinning skirl on bladder and woodharp. Mors Umber was the first on his feet. He seized a passing serving girl by the arm, knocking the flagon of wine out of her hands to shatter on the floor.
— BRAN III, A CLASH OF KINGS

“She’s my own blood,” said Tormund proudly. “She broke his lip for him and bit one ear half off, and I hear he’s got so many scratches on his back he can’t wear a cloak. She likes him well enough, though. And why not? He don’t fight with no spear, you know. Never has. So where do you think he got that name? Har!”
— BRAN III, A CLASH OF KINGS

*   *   *

Putting it Together

There is a choice passage in A Dance with Dragons that encapsulates many of the previous ideas, neatly demonstrating Tormund’s similarity to the Umbers in a single paragraph:

That day Tormund bellowed often and loudly. He roared, he shouted, he slammed his fist against the table so hard that a flagon of water overturned and spilled. A horn of mead was never far from his hand, so the spittle he sprayed when making threats was sweet with honey. He called Jon Snow a craven, a liar, and a turncloak, cursed him for a black-hearted buggering kneeler, a robber, and a carrion crow, accused him of wanting to fuck the free folk up the arse. Twice he flung his drinking horn at Jon’s head, though only after he had emptied it.
— JON XI, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS

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<the mannifesto>

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3 thoughts on “The Giant’s Daughter

  1. Nate

    I love this one. Saw a similar post on reddit and decided to reread it.
    My only question is couldn’t Tormund just as easily be a bastard son of House Umber?
    I feel like this quote supports such a notion “So I found me a sleeping giant, cut open her belly, and crawled up right inside her. “

    Reply
  2. anonemiss

    Could it be that Tormund is the son of the Umber daughter who was kidnapped by wildlings? if he killed her in childbirth he could be both giantsbane and gantsbabe!

    Reply
    1. Gretchen

      I was thinking this myself actually. The description of his “slaying” and then suckling at the giant sounded so eerily close to a death in childbirth, especially if he “slept in her belly”.

      Reply

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