Things are rapidly approaching a fever pitch in Game of Thrones-ville. With the season five premiere a month away, we’ve been getting posters and episode titles and trailers. Cord cutters will finally be able to get an HBO GO equivalent legally (though only with an Apple product). Dick Mad has popped up as a Disney prince who doesn’t die at his own wedding, and let’s not forget how Natalie Dormer made out with a bunch of people. George RR Martin says people are going to die in the show who haven’t died in the books (my boo Stannis is going to get axed, I can feel it), and all-around it looks like the show is going to start going in its own direction more than it has in previous seasons (ice babies, anyone?).
What caught my eye is a theory… wait, hold on—
SPOILERS FOR THE BOOKS AND THE SHOW, INCLUDING POSSIBLE CHANGES BETWEEN THE TWO. SCROLL PAST DRUNK CERSEI TO READ.
…a theory, presented at Vanity Fair and supported by shots from a trailer, that season five will see Sansa Stark go to Winterfell and marry Ramsay Snow. In A Dance with Dragons, Sansa’s still chilling in the Vale, hiding under a false name and being increasingly creeped on by Littlefinger. The person who marries Ramsay is Sansa’s one-time BFF Jeyne Poole (she appeared in season one very briefly), who’s been forced to impersonate Arya so Ramsay can claim the title Lord of Winterfell.
Fold the characters of Jeyne and Sansa together, and you keep Ramsay’s storyline going in much the same way, while putting Sansa in a position to practice her newfound political savvy on her sadistic husband while also plotting to exact revenge against those who betrayed her family a little earlier than she DEFINITELY WILL in the books.
I have no problem with that. There are so many characters and subplots in A Song of Ice and Fire that substantial changes are a matter of necessity. But let’s take a moment to remember one character who’s probably being lost in the shuffle. An underappreciated hero of our time. The Strong Belwas of season five.
Let’s give it up for Lord Wyman Manderly.
For my non-book readers, Lord Manderly is the Lord of White Harbor, which used to be loyal to House Stark until Robb Stark went and got himself killed. One of his sons was killed at the Red Wedding, and another was captured by the Lannisters, who basically have their boot on Lord Manderly’s dick. White Harbor is rich and has a ton of ships, therefore they’re a pretty useful ally to have, yet the Lannisters treat Lord Manderly like they’re the Plastics from Mean Girls and he’s the resident fat kid, because… well, because Lord Manderly is a very large man.
The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who treat him like a walking fat joke. Frequently, when he’s mentioned by other characters, George R.R. Martin (in a cunning bit of misdirection, given what he reveals about the character later) is sure to remind us that:
—Lord Wyman is fat. (Bran: “That fat Lord Manderly rules there, he was friendly at the harvest feast.”)
—No, really, being fat is his defining characteristic. (Stannis: “Lord Too-Fat-to-Sit-a-Horse.”)
—Not kidding, he is morbidly obese to the extent of having difficulty sitting up in a chair.(“…his hands resting on the arms of his throne as if the weight of them were too much to bear.”)
—Oh, and he’s also a weak-willed, gullible idiot. LIKE FAT PEOPLE ARE LOL.
When we finally meet the man, we discover that behind a physical appearance that has made him so easily dismissable is an iron core of cold, hard badass. “I am fat,” he tells Davos, “and many think that makes me weak and foolish.” He’s a real threat to the Lannisters not in spite of his weight, but because of it—because he’s smart enough to use his enemies’ preconceptions about his appearance against them. Who would expect the lazy, stupid, cowardly fat man to be working the long con, playing nice while his son was still captive but all the while building secret warships and plotting to find one of the lost Stark sons? And he does all this while his home is infested with weaselly little Freys, who are on high alert for any signs of potential treason.
Speaking of the Freys, this fucker didn’t like the three assbagels who’d been sent to spy on him, so he had them killed and baked into pies* that were then served to Walder Frey and the Boltons at Ramsay Bolton’s wedding, Greek mythology-style. Jared, Symond, and Rhaegar weren’t even all that important to Papa Frey. He probably doesn’t even know their names. But they pissed Lord Manderly off, and their family is shit, and having them cooked into pies is hi-lar-ious turnabout. “You like to joke about how much I eat, huh? Well here’s your fucking fat joke. I’M GOING TO MAKE YOUR FATHER* EAT YOU.”
Even though a good chunk of Lord Manderly’s A Dance with Dragons storyline takes place in Winterfell after Ramsay and Jeyne get married, there’s nothing to say he couldn’t still be in the show… except for the fact that he hasn’t been cast yet or even mentioned. Things aren’t looking good.
But we’ll always have Frey pies.
*”Frey pies” is a theory at this point, but it’s generally accepted as being basically canon by the fans.
**One of them was actually Walder’s grandson. There are too many fucking A Song of Ice and Fire characters.
You can follow Rebecca Pahle on Twitter @RebeccaPahle for gushing about Stannis Barathoh my God I just realized Lord Manderly is a Gary Stu.