(Spoilers for GoT series and ASOIAF books)
It’s tough to know exactly which member of the Stark family has had it worse in Game Of Thrones. Robb saw his wife and unborn kid stabbed to death before dying himself. Catelyn lost her husband and most of her children, and then got her throat slashed. Bran lost his ability to walk and his home and had to brave a journey north. Sansa has gone through countless acts of emotional and physical abuse. Arya watched her father die before doing whatever she needed to do to survive. And Jon got stabbed a bunch of times by his own men. You can almost count Ned lucky for leaving the series so quickly.
Wait, am I missing someone? Oh yeah. Rickon, the forgotten Stark. What happened to that kid?
For those of you without an encyclopedic memory of the series, Rickon is the youngest child of the Stark clan. He was forced to flee Winterfell along with Bran, Hodor, and Osha after Theon Greyjoy turned cloak, and while he didn’t have a very big role to play before his departure at the end of season three, he’s a presumably still living Stark, which is saying something.
But what has he been up to? When we last saw him, Rickon was striking out with Osha and Shaggydog, heading to the Last Hearth, the seat of Stark bannerman House Umber (because we know how reliable those can be.), and hasn’t been seen since. He’s been MIA for two seasons, but it looks like he’ll be back for season six. If the show follows the direction of the books, he might actually have a very pivotal role to play.
There’s a plot from ASOIAF that puts Rickon as the potential new king after Robb. The North Remembers, as they say, and the leftover Stark loyalists seek to return a Stark to the throne after removing the Boltons. They only know where Rickon is, though, so he’s their No. 1 pick for king. Instead of being at Last Hearth, he’s at the unicorn and cannibal wonderland of Skagos, and Davos has been tasked with finding him. That could easily be reworked slightly for Davos to be venturing to Umber territory to find the missing Stark.
Another Stark in the mix may seem like nothing important, but it has the possibilities of changing the world of Game Of Thrones entirely. All the North needed was one dead Stark and one strong Stark to rally them together and nearly win a war. Well, now there are plenty of dead Starks to pick from, and with another Stark in play, one that has undoubtedly been toughened like the rest of the Stark kids, we could see another large-scale conflict brewing.
However little Rickon Stark gets back on the series, I just hope he’ll still have Osha and Shaggydog in tow. Although he might not be so little anymore thanks to the black magic of puberty.