The Winterfell Huis Clos


A number of mostly minor characters are graviting around the Winterfell drama, without being present in the castle. We are going to examine them. In addition, I suspect more distant players are involved in what is going on in Winterfell, if only by pulling strings behind the scene. We are going to examine them separately, and only partially, elsewhere. Here is a quickly conceived list:

  1. Hallis Mollen and the silent Sisters
  2. Robett Glover
  3. Dagmer Cleftjaw
  4. Maege Mormont, Galbart Glover and Howland Reed
  5. The Liddle
  6. Chayle, Gage, Joseth etc
  7. Osha
  8. Harrion Karstark
  9. Melisandre
  10. Euron Greyjoy

1. Hallis Mollen and the silent Sisters

Hal is a man much trusted by the Starks. He has been named captain of guards when Ned Stark left Winterfell with Jory Cassel.

Rodrik Cassel came with him, and her husband's ward Theon Greyjoy, and lastly Hallis Mollen, a muscular guardsman with a square brown beard. He was the new captain of the guard, Robb said.
(Catelyn III, AGoT)
Hal developed quickly a close relationship with Robb.

Sometimes he would ride out with Hallis Mollen and be gone for days at a time, visiting distant holdfasts. Whenever he was away more than a day, Rickon would cry and ask Bran if Robb was ever coming back. Even when he was home at Winterfell, Robb the Lord seemed to have more time for Hallis Mollen and Theon Greyjoy than he ever did for his brothers.


Robb was seated in Father's high seat, wearing ringmail and boiled leather and the stern face of Robb the Lord. Theon Greyjoy and Hallis Mollen stood behind him.
(Bran VI, AGoT)

I wonder what and where the distant holdfasts are. Hal is very familiar with Theon. When the Greatjon creates trouble in Winterfell, Hal tries to intervene.
Cursing, the Greatjon flung a flagon of ale into the fire and bellowed that Robb was so green he must piss grass. When Hallis Mollen moved to restrain him, he knocked him to the floor, kicked over a table, and unsheathed the biggest, ugliest greatsword that Bran had ever seen.
(Bran VI, AGoT)
There is a recurring theme with the character, besides the fact that Hal is devoted to the Starks.
“They’re coming, my lady,” Hal Mollen whispered. He was always a man for stating the obvious.
(Catelyn X, AGoT)
“My lady, do you hear that noise?” asked Hallis Mollen, trotting close. “What is that?”
(Catelyn II, ACoK)
“We are the first, my lady,” Hallis Mollen said as they reined up amidst the stumps, alone between the armies.
(Catelyn IV, ACoK)
“My lady,” Hal Mollen called. Two riders had emerged from the tidy little camp beneath the castle, and were coming toward them at a slow walk. “That will be King Stannis.”
“No doubt.” Catelyn watched them come.
(Catelyn V, ACoK)
“They have hanged some Lannisters,” Hal Mollen observed.
(Catelyn V, ACoK)

Little details: Hal plays dice and has a loose tongue. I take note of the dice playing because Little Walder was murdered after meeting a dice player in Winterfell, for what it is worth.
In Catelyn’s small corner of the camp, Shadd was slicing carrots into a kettle, Hal Mollen was dicing with three of his Winterfell men, and Lucas Blackwood sat sharpening his dagger. “Lady Stark,” Lucas said when he saw her, “Mollen says it is to be battle at dawn.”
“Hal has the truth of it,” she answered.
(Catelyn III, ACoK)
Now we come to Hal's important mission.
But outside her chambers she found Utherydes Wayn waiting with two women clad in grey, their faces cowled save for their eyes. Catelyn knew at once why they were here. “Ned?”
The sisters lowered their gaze. Utherydes said, “Ser Cleos brought him from King’s Landing, my lady.”
“Take me to him,” she commanded.
They had laid him out on a trestle table and covered him with a banner, the white banner of House Stark with its grey direwolf sigil. “I would look on him,” Catelyn said.
“Only the bones remain, my lady.”
“I would look on him,” she repeated.
One of the silent sisters turned down the banner.
Bones, Catelyn thought. This is not Ned, this is not the man I loved, the father of my children.
His hands were clasped together over his chest, skeletal fingers curled about the hilt of some longsword, but they were not Ned’s hands, so strong and full of life. They had dressed the bones in Ned’s surcoat, the fine white velvet with the direwolf badge over the heart, but nothing remained of the warm flesh that had pillowed her head so many nights, the arms that had held her. The head had been rejoined to the body with fine silver wire, but one skull looks much like
another, and in those empty hollows she found no trace of her lord’s dark grey eyes, eyes that could be soft as a fog or hard as stone. They gave his eyes to crows, she remembered.
Catelyn turned away. “That is not his sword.”
“Ice was not returned to us, my lady,” Utherydes said. “Only Lord Eddard’s bones.”
“I suppose I must thank the queen for even that much.”
“Thank the Imp, my lady. It was his doing.”
One day I will thank them all. “I am grateful for your service, sisters,” Catelyn said, “but I must
lay another task upon you. Lord Eddard was a Stark, and his bones must be laid to rest beneath Winterfell.” They will make a statue of him, a stone likeness that will sit in the dark with a direwolf at his feet and a sword across his knees. “Make certain the sisters have fresh horses, and aught else they need for the journey,” she told Utherydes Wayn. “Hal Mollen will escort them back to Winterfell, it is his place as captain of guards.” She gazed down at the bones that were all that remained of her lord and love. “Now leave me, all of you. I would be alone with Ned tonight.”
The women in grey bowed their heads. The silent sisters do not speak to the living, Catelyn remembered dully, but some say they can talk to the dead. And how she envied that...
(Catelyn V, ACoK)
As she approaches Oldstones, Catelyn Stark reflects.
It made her wonder where Ned had come to rest. The silent sisters had taken his bones north, escorted by Hallis Mollen and a small honor guard. Had Ned ever reached Winterfell, to be interred beside his brother Brandon in the dark crypts beneath the castle? Or did the door slam shut at Moat Cailin before Hal and the sisters could pass?
(Catelyn V, ASoS)

So Hal Mollen left Robb's host with Ned Stark's bones and the two silent sisters at about the time Tywin Lannister left Harrenhal. Evidently, all this happened before the Battle of Blackwater, which was a decisive moment which led to the Frey betrayal. A long time elapsed between Hal's departure from Riverrun and the Winterfell wedding, much longer than needed to accomplish the journey. Moreover, both Hal and the two silent sisters were well equipped for their travel, and would have moved more swiftly than Robb's host, or Roose Bolton's host.

Something has happened to Hal Mollen along the way. It doesn't seem to be accounted for in the story.

Hal did not reach Winterfell before the wedding, since the crypts were in the state Bran and co left them when Theon led Barbrey Dustin down there.

The journey would be the following: Riverrun, Oldstones, perhaps Seagard, the Twins, The Neck, Moat Cailin, then the Kingsroad to Winterfell. The passage through the Twins was not mandatory since the Lannister army has left the Riverlands, and it was possible to cross the Trident at the Ruby Ford.

If Hal Mollen managed to get through the Neck, he must have taken the Kingsroad to Winterfell. But Lady Dustin tells us that she had been watching for him. So we must conclude that Hal Mollen could not continue to the Kingsroad.

However at about the same time the ironmen took Moat Cailin. Indeed, Lady Dustin says.
“Catelyn Tully dispatched Lord Eddard’s bones north before the Red Wedding, but your iron uncle seized Moat Cailin and closed the way. I have been watching ever since. Should those bones ever emerge from the swamps, they will get no farther than Barrowton.”
(The Turncloak, ADwD)
I see several possibilities:

Note: shortly before Hal Mollen has gone north, another set of bones has been sent to the Winterfell area.
Then one morning she spied three women in the cowled grey robes of the silent sisters loading a corpse into their wagon. The body was sewn into a cloak of the finest silk, decorated with a battle-axe sigil. When Arya asked who it was, one of the guards told her that Lord Cerwyn had died.
(Arya IX, ACoK)
Where are Lord Cerwyn's bones?

Of course, Hal Mollen will reappear in one form or the other. I wonder about the presence of the silent sisters. First, we do not know who the sisters are. It might be that they are spies, or even agents, for the Lannisters, as they have been sent by Tyrion and Cersei. Since there is little to support the notion, I will not insist.

We know that the silent sisters are in charge of embalming bodies or of boiling them to recover the bones. But what is the role of the silent sisters after a corpse has been reduced to bones? Do they merely watch over the bones, and by their presence, signal a funerary convoy that needs to be left in peace through troubled times?

Why do the two sisters need to follow Hal to Winterfell? The order seems part of the Faith of the Seven. Why should they be concerned with the funeral of a northman?

It does not seem likely that the hooded man in Winterfell is Hal Mollen. In favor of the theory, there is the fact that Hal knew well Theon from the time they seconded Robb in Winterfell together. It's plausible that Hal addresses Theon in the way he did, and that Theon trusted him enough to show him his fingers. However, the way of speaking of Hal is not reflected in the hooded man, who does not say anything obvious. It's likely that Hal has heard about the Red Wedding, and he would not come to Winterfell under the rule of the Freys and Boltons.

2. Robett Glover

Here is briefly the story of Robett Glover. He is the heir of his brother Galbart, lord of Deepwood Motte. Both are related to Ethan Glover, squire of Brandon Stark, who survived emprisonment at King's Landing before he died at the Tower of Joy.

House Glover is the only house that sent its lords both with Ned Stark at the Tower of Joy, and with the Young Wolf.

Robett is married to Sybelle Locke, now castellan of Deepwood Motte. There are probably blood relations between Sybelle and the Locke of Oldcastle. Donnel Locke has been slain at the Red Wedding. Jorah Mormont first's wife was a Glover. Here is Robett as the northern lords assemble in Winterfell.
Roose Bolton and Robett Glover both demanded the honor of battle command, the first brusquely, the second with a smile and a jest.
(Bran VI, AGoT)

Later Robett would be with Roose Bolton's host. We saw him again in Harrenhal, where he tricked Amory Lorch and made common cause with the Brave Companions by introducing himself as a false prisoner in the castle. So Robett is not afraid to risk his own life, and to go boldly into his enemy's territory.

Note that Aenys Frey was part of the plan, as Vargo Hoat tells us.
“Captiths. Rooth Bolton thought to croth the river, but my Brafe Companions cut his van to pieceth. Killed many, and thent Bolton running. Thith ith their lord commander, Glover, and the one behind ith Ther Aenyth Frey.”
(Arya IX, ACoK)
He even introduced himself to Jaqen H'Ghar and Arya, that he failed to recognize.
“This man has the honor to be Jaqen H’ghar, once of the Free City of Lorath. This man’s discourteous companions are named Rorge and Biter. A lord will know which is Biter.” He waved a hand toward Arya. “And here-”
“I’m Weasel,” she blurted, before he could tell who she really was. She did not want her name said here, where Rorge might hear, and Biter, and all these others she did not know.
She saw Glover dismiss her. “Very well,” he said. “Let’s make an end to this bloody business.”
(Arya IX, ACoK)

Since the Ironborn had taken Deepwood Motte, the Glovers did not send any forces to take back Winterfell from Theon.

Robett was later betrayed by Roose Bolton and sent with Hallman Tallhart to a trap in Duskendale, as part of the preparation for the Red Wedding.  Robett survived the battle to be taken prisoner later by the Lannisters.

An exchange of prisoners with Martyn Lannister gave Robett his freedom. He would be sent later by ship to White Harbor. There Robett has attempted to raise men, without success.
Other tidings were of greater interest. Robett Glover was in the city and had been trying to raise men, with little success. Lord Manderly had turned a deaf ear to his pleas.
(Davos II, ADwD)

Robett's wife is in Deepwood Motte and his two children prisoners of the ironmen at Ten Towers. I do not understand why Sybelle Locke did not exchange the ironmen prisoner at Deepwood Motte for her children instead of ransoming them to Tycho Nestoris. Among the prisoners, were Qarl the Maid and Tristifer Botley, both notorious in the Iron Islands.

Robett's liege lord, Galbart, seems lost in the Neck. Here again, Robett does not seem worried in his conversation with Davos. Is the sign that Galbart is safe somewhere?

Robett's position with respect to Stannis is clear.
My brother Galbart's seat. It was and is, thanks to your King Stannis. He has taken Deepwood back from the iron bitch who stole it and offers to restore it to its rightful owners.
(Davos IV, ADwD)
But he adds a moment later.
Robett Glover broke in to add, ?Your loyalty does you honor, my lord, but Stannis Baratheon remains your king, not our own.?
(Davos IV, ADwD)

We did not see what he did after the secret meeting in White Harbor. But, his story does not show him to be the passive type.

Robett has so much to do: find Galbart, obtain the freedom of his children in the Iron Islands, put Deepwood Motte in good order for the Winter after the Ironmen occupation. In White Harbor, Robett's priority seems to have been to raise men, presumably to take back Deepwood Motte, since the Ironmen still had the castle at the time. But his wife seems more worried for the family.
Lady Sybelle all but lived in her godswood, praying for her children and her husband's safe return.
(The Wayward Bride, ADwD)
Since then the news that Stannis took back the castle reached Robett. 

The association of Robett with Manderly is all natural. Indeed, Sybelle Glover is a Locke, and house Locke is an ally of House Manderly.

Let's return to Robett's activities after the meeting with Davos. It's likely that he tried to inquire on the death of Bran and Rickon. But, it doesn't seem he went with Davos, but rather kept Wex with him to learn more about the tragedy of Winterfell. The first step of the inquiry would be to try to confirm Wex's story and go to the mill of the Acorn Water.

The most obvious witness to be found there is the miller himself, who was not killed by Theon and "Reek".

Is it possible that Robett Glover is the hooded man, coming to Winterfell after having heard Wex's story and the truth about the paternity of the miller's sons? Let's recall the encounter of Theon with the hooded man.
Farther on, he came upon a man striding in the opposite direction, a hooded cloak flapping behind him. When they found themselves face-to-face their eyes met briefly. The man put a hand on his dagger. “Theon Turncloak. Theon Kinslayer.”
“I’m not. I never ... I was ironborn.”
“False is all you were. How is it you still breathe?”
“The gods are not done with me,” Theon answered, wondering if this could be the killer, the night walker who had stuffed Yellow Dick’s cock into his mouth and pushed Roger Ryswell’s groom off the battlements. Oddly, he was not afraid. He pulled the glove from his left hand. “Lord Ramsay is not done with me.”
The man looked, and laughed. “I leave you to him, then.”
(A Ghost in Winterfell, ADwD)

Robett did mention Theon to Davos.
“Not slain,” said Glover. “Captured, and carried back to the Dreadfort. The Bastard has been flaying him.”
(Davos IV, ADwD)

It is not clear how Robett Glover came to know that. However, people at the Wall say more or less the same thing. And the Boltons have sent letters with Theon's skin. So there is no reason be surprised. The belief that Ramsay has been torturing Theon at the Dreadfort explains both the surprise to see Theon alive and the relief that he will continue to suffer at Ramsay's hand.

Here is Robett as seen by Davos in the Wolf's Den.
The man who stepped through the door was not one of his gaolers. He was tall and haggard, with a deeply lined face and a shock of grey-brown hair. A longsword hung from his hip, and his deep-dyed scarlet cloak was fastened at the shoulder with a heavy silver brooch in the shape of a mailed fist.
The man in Winterfell has no sword and no brooch. Note that Glover did not have his brooch when he appeared in Harrenhal as a false prisoner. However, Glover has a dagger which features proeminently in White Harbor.
 Glover drew a dagger from his belt and gave it to the boy. “Write your name for Lord Seaworth.”
(Davos IV, ADwD)
And a bit later.
The mute flipped the dagger, caught it, then flung it end over end at the sheepskin map that adorned Lord Wyman's wall.
(Davos IV, ADwD)

Those details are not serious indication though. Everyone has a dagger in Winterfell. But both the hooded man and Robett seem prompt to put their hands on it.

Is it realistic that Robett would show up in Winterfell? We saw already Robett as an infiltrator in Harrenhal. So there is some support for having him in Winterfell as part of a mission.

There are two difficulties: Winterfell is closed and well guarded and Robett is too well-known to wander the castle incognito. And:
Every gate was closed and barred and heavily guarded, though; no one was allowed to enter or depart the castle without Lord Bolton's leave.
(The Turncloak, ADwD)

Recall that Robett was among the Dreadfort men in the south. I can see only one option for Robett to have entered Winterfell without Roose's knowledge: an acccomplice among the Ryswell scouts. Indeed, we know that there is dispute between the Ryswells.

Robett has fought most of the war with Roose, and was among the commanders of the Young Wolf's second army. Roose and Robett took Harrenhal together and Robett trusted Roose to the point of playing the trojan horse. When Roose sent Glover to Duskendale, he claimed that it was the command of the king. After the Red Wedding, Glover met Manderly in White Harbor and he knows that Roose has betrayed the Young Wolf. But, Roose has no reason to believe that Glover knows about his role in the Red Wedding and in the attack on Duskendale.

So, it is possible that Glover concluded a secret agreement with Roose. It would be easy to invent a reason: complain that Stannis has taken Deepwood Motte and ask Roose's help. Or say that Galbart has another heir for Deepwood Motte, and pretend to ask for Roose's help to obtain the lordship in exchange of Glover's fealty (this is what happened with the Karstarks, and perhaps the Umbers). The trick would justify the secrecy of the visit, and the presence of Robett in the castle. However, Roose is not easily fooled.

Given the unfolding of events: Deepwood Motte was still in the Ironmen's control when Roose summoned all the northern nobility to Barrowton. So the Glovers can not be faulted for not having been present on the wedding day. If Robett were in the castle with Roose's knowledge, it's likely that Roose had him watched.

Manderly and Glover met Davos secretly in White Harbor during the feast in honor of the Freys. Manderly used then as pretext for his absence a visit to the privy. When the hooded man comes across Theon in Winterfell, there is people and music in the Great Hall. A few hours later, Theon hears Roger Ryswell mention Manderly's lengthy visits to the privy (hour long squat).

Robett's presence in Winterfell and meeting with Manderly could be about several things:
The news of Robb's will seems the less likely. The story with Manderly is clearly written around the return of Rickon.

To conclude, Robett as the hooded man would fit perfectly with the internal logic of the story. But it is not clear how to overcome the difficulties with Robett's entrance in a well-guarded castle where he is not welcome and why Robett isn't more preoccupied by his children, his wife and his brother (and liege lord). Note that exfiltrating Theon is of interest for Robett, since he could hope to exchange Theon for his children at Harlaw.

Finally, if Robett is in the Winterfell area, there are men with Stannis that he knows probably very well. His wife has given them specifically.
The army covered twenty-two miles the first day, by the reckoning of the guides Lady Sybelle had given them, trackers and hunters sworn to Deepwood with clan names like Forrester and Woods, Branch and Bole.
(The King's Prize, ADwD)
“He’s not wrong,” grumbled Ned Woods, one of the scouts from Deepwood. Noseless Ned, he was called; frostbite had claimed the tip of his nose two winters past. Woods knew the wolfwood as well as any man alive. Even the king’s proudest lords had learned to listen when he spoke.
(The Sacrifice, ADwD)
Thus there is the possibility that Glover has informers with Stannis, people he might contact.

3. Dagmer Cleftjaw

It might be odd to bring Dagmer as a piece of the Winterfell situation. But let's recall his story.

Dagmer has long served the Greyjoys. Here is a piece of Balon Greyjoy's story.
At fifteen he had sailed with Dagmer Cleftjaw to the Stepstones and spent a summer reaving.
(The Prophet, AFfC)
Dagmer is remembered fondly by Theon as he returns to Pyke and is surprised to see his uncle Aeron.
“I had not looked for you, Uncle. After ten years, I thought perhaps my lord father and lady mother might come themselves, or send Dagmer with an honor guard.”
(Theon, ACoK)

Dagmer is so well respected that when Theon learns that his fathers sends Dagmer with him to raid the Stony Shore he thinks.
With Dagmer Cleftjaw along as well, his command would be purely nominal.
(Theon II, ACoK)
Dagmer has been Theon's master at arms.
Ugly as it was, that smile brought back a hundred memories. Theon had seen it often as a boy, when he'd jumped a horse over a mossy wall, or flung an axe and split a target square. He'd seen it when he blocked a blow from Dagmer's sword, when he put an arrow through a seagull on the wing, when he took the tiller in hand and guided a longship safely through a snarl of foaming rocks. He gave me more smiles than my father and Eddard Stark together. Even Robb . . . he ought to have won a smile the day he'd saved Bran from that wildling, but instead he'd gotten a scolding, as if he were some cook who'd burned the stew.

“You and I must talk, Uncle,” Theon said. Dagmer was no true uncle, only a sworn man with perhaps a pinch of Greyjoy blood four or five lives back, and that from the wrong side of the blanket. Yet Theon had always called him uncle nonetheless.
“Come onto my deck, then.” There were no mlords from Dagmer, not when he stood on his own deck. On the Iron Islands, every captain was a king aboard his own ship.
(Theon III, ACoK)

Dagmer thinks he knows Theon well.
“I know you too well, Theon. I saw you take your first step, helped you bend your first bow. ‘Tis not me who feels wasted.”
“Why do you tell me this?” Dagmer asked. “It was me who put your first sword in your hand. I know you are no craven.”
(Theon III, ACoK)
Dagmer has earned much through pillaging.
The fingers curled around the drinking horn were heavy with rings, gold and silver and bronze, set with chunks of sapphire and garnet and dragonglass. He had paid the iron price for every one, Theon knew.
(Theon, ACoK)

Theon sends Dagmer for a diversion to Torrhen's Square and we learn that even Old Nan has heard about the Cleftjaw.
Torrhen's Square was under attack by some monstrous war chief named Dagmer Cleftjaw. Old Nan said he couldn't be killed, that once a foe had cut his head in two with an axe, but Dagmer was so fierce he'd just pushed the two halves back together and held them until they healed up.
(Bran VI, ACoK)
Theon tells Asha that Ser Rodrik won the day in Torrhen's Square.
There, before the ashes of a dead fire, he blurted, “Dagmer’s lost the fight at Torrhen’s Square-”
“The old castellan broke his shield wall, yes,” Asha said calmly. “What did you expect? This Ser Rodrik knows the land intimately, as the Cleftjaw does not, and many of the northmen were mounted. The ironborn lack the discipline to stand a charge of armored horse. Dagmer lives, be grateful for that much. He’s leading the survivors back toward the Stony Shore.”
(Theon V, ACoK)

Then the story takes an expected turn. It seems that Dagmer has returned to Torrhen's Square. There seems to be an expectation about Torrhen's Square.
After he was gone, Tris Botley turned to Asha. “If Moat Cailin has fallen, Torrhen’s Square will soon follow. Then it will be our turn.”
“Not for a while yet. The Cleftjaw will make them bleed.” Torrhen’s Square was not a ruin like Moat Cailin, and Dagmer was iron to the bone. He would die before he’d yield.
(The Wayward bride, ADwD)
“Dagmer Cleftjaw holds Torrhen’s Square. A fierce fighter, and a leal servant of House Greyjoy. I can deliver that castle to you, and its garrison as well.” Perhaps, she might have added, but it would not serve her cause to show doubt before this king.
“Torrhen’s Square is not worth the mud beneath my heels. It is Winterfell that matters.”
(The King's Prize, ADwD)

It's unknown why Dagmer returned there. Torrhen's Square is deep inland, and there is no hope to hold the castle for long. I would understand had Dagmer sacked the place and left. Let's accept that Dagmer and a small troop of ironmen are there, including perhaps some of the men who fled Winterfell before the Sack.

There is a small mystery here. When the northern lords assemble in Barrowton, there is a Tallhart banner. But the Tallharts should be prisoners of the ironmen in Torrhen's Square. What does the banner represent? If Torrhen's Square is occupied by a small number of ironmen, why do the Ryswells and Dustins not take it back? After all they attacked the ironmen on the Fever River. They have everything to gain from liberating the Tallharts. It's possible that Torrhen's Square has been taken by them without our knowledge. It's the only logical continuation I can imagine. This is also what Botley seems to be thinking when he says If Moat Cailin has fallen, Torrhen's Square will soon follow.

Perhaps, the Dustins and Ryswells exchanged the surrender of these ironmen for a safe-conduct, especially since there were hostages inside. The hostages seem to have been Eddara Tallhart (Lady of Torrhen's Square), Berena Tallhart, widow of Leobald Tallhart, née Hornwood and her two sons. Berena could claim the inheritance of the Hornwood. Those hostages are important for Barbrey Dustin's plans.

It is even possible that the ironmen went into the service of the northmen who liberated the castle, more or less like the ironmen in Deepwood Motte, now in service of Tycho the Banker.

It is possible that Dagmer is now in the service of the Ryswells/Dustins. Indeed, if he were to return to the Islands, he would have to deal with Euron's kingship. Moreover, Barbrey Dustin's sworn sword is called Beron, a name that seems to come from the Iron Islands.

It doesn't make much sense that Dagmer is the hooded man in Winterfell: one would need to imagine too much to explain it. (For instance that Dagmer entered the service of the Dustin/Ryswell, and is among the Ryswell outriders. This is possible, as we just discussed.) Moreover, Theon would be astounded to meet Dagmer at this point. However, as his former master-at-arms, Dagmer Cleftjaw is the main remaining authority figure left to Theon that might care. One could argue that the Damphair is another but I doubt Theon would say of his uncle Aeron: He gave me more smiles than my father and Eddard Stark together. However, Theon It would make some sense that Theon trusted The Cleftjaw to the point of showing his maimed hands. But Theon does not devote a single thought to him when he is Ramsay's creature.

But Dagmer has no reason to accuse Theon of kinslaying. So the Dagmer Cleftjaw hypothesis has to be abandoned.

However, Dagmer will make his return to the story. It's hard to see him returning with Theon dead. Indeed, the character loses then much of its significance. Possibly his position in Torrhen's Square might provide a refuge for the ironmen, including Asha and Theon, who might have survived the battle at the crofter's village.

Torrhen's Square has received a letter similar to the one sent to Deepwood Motte.
“The first words were, “I write this letter in the blood of ironmen,” the last, “I send you each a piece of prince. Linger in my lands, and share his fate.
(The Wayward Bride, ADwD)

The words each of you would refer to Deepwood Motte and Torrhen's Square. I suppose Dagmer wouldn't remain inactive after being shown a piece of skin of his liege lord, Theon Greyjoy. So we might expect Dagmer to arrive to the Winterfell area.

4. Maege Mormont, Galbart Glover and Howland Reed

House Mormont and House Glover seem to be close. They have been tied by marriage in recent times: Jorah Mormont's first wife was a Glover, but died prematurely. During the liberation of Deepwood Motte, Alysanne Mormont came to the rescue of Deepwood Motte by attacking the ironmen.

I will not recall the story of Galbart and Maege. But Maege and Galbart have been sent separately in the Neck before the Red Wedding to find Howland Reed and have not surfaced since then. Here is Robb's command.
“Go upriver flying my banner. The crannogmen will find you. I want two ships to double the chances of my message reaching Howland Reed. Lady Maege shall go on one, Galbart on the second.” He turned to the two he’d named. “You’ll carry letters for those lords of mine who remain in the north, but all the commands within will be false, in case you have the misfortune to be taken. If that happens, you must tell them that you were sailing for the north. Back to Bear Island, or for the Stony Shore.
(Catelyn V, ASoS)

Before leaving Mormont and Glover have witnessed and signed the will of Robb Stark. In all likehood, the will names Jon Snow as Robb's heir.

It does not seem that Mormont and Glover have Robb's will with them. There is no sign that the will has been left in Seagard. The will has been signed in Oldstones, and we don't know if Robb Stark has it with him when he died at the Twins, but that seems likely.

But Lady Mormont and Lord Glover could testify of the will. They are the only witness of the will alive and not prisoners of the Freys. Though Jason Mallister is not at the Twins, but prisoner in Seagard of Black Walder Frey. Whethere the spectre of Catelyn Stark is able or willing to proclaim Jon Snow's inheritance remains to be determined.

Suppose Maege Mormont and Galbart Glover met Howland Reed, and told him that Ned Stark's bastard should inherit the north. Given what we all suspect, Howland Reed could introduce a completely different parameter in the story, and might make the will devoid of content. It is not necessarily to be expected that the news of Jon's inheritance of the north will surface from them.

Let's turn to the command given by Robb Stark. Glover and Mormont are supposed to carry orders to the crannogmen and to the other northern lords. We can suppose the orders concern the retaking of Moat Cailin, which was the next objective for Robb Stark after the wedding of Edmure Tully. Of course, Robb Stark feared that Mormont and Glover would be taken by the ironmen in Moat Cailin. However, soon after the death of Balon Greyjoy, many of the ironmen left Moat Cailin. We have no sign of Mormont and Glover being taken by the ironmen.

It's interesting to note that the crannogmen, who had harassed the ironmen in Moat Cailin, stayed away from the Boltons, Freys, Ryswells, Dustins etc when Moat Cailin was retaken by these northmen. One would think the crannogmen would have deserved their part in the victory.

It's curious as well that Roose Bolton did not contact them when he had to cross the Neck with his army. Roose does not trust the crannogmen, no more than the Freys do.

Let's recall the oath of fealty formulated by Meera and Jojen.
“To Winterfell we pledge the faith of Greywater,” they said together. “Hearth and heart and harvest we yield up to you, my lord. Our swords and spears and arrows are yours to command. Grant mercy to our weak, help to our helpless, and justice to all, and we shall never fail you.”
“I swear it by earth and water,” said the boy in green.
“I swear it by bronze and iron,” his sister said.
“We swear it by ice and fire,” they finished together.
(Bran II, ACoK)

Howland's children insisted on stating the oath in Winterfell. It's clear that House Reed is loyal to the Starks. I note that the fealty of the Reeds is conditional to mercy, help and justice.

But the crannogmen and the Freys do not get along well.
“We won’t find them,” the Frey boy said suddenly. “Not so long as the frogeaters are with them. Mudmen are sneaks, they won’t fight like decent folks, they skulk and use poison arrows, You never see them, but they see you. Those who go into the bogs after them get lost and never come out. Their houses move, even the castles like Greywater Watch.” He glanced nervously at greenery that encircled them on all sides. “They might be out there right now, listening to everything we say.”
Farlen laughed to show what he thought of that notion. “My dogs would smell anything in them bushes. Be all over them before you could break wind, boy.”
“Frogeaters don’t smell like men,” Frey insisted. “They have a boggy stink, like frogs and trees and scummy water. Moss grows under their arms in place of hair, and they can live with nothing to eat but mud and breathe swamp water.”
(Theon IV, ACoK)

Of all the northern lords, Howland Reed is possibly the closest to the old gods, as testified by the visit to Godseye. It seems unequivocal that the crannogmen have kept a relation with the Children of the Forest.
Theon was about to tell him what he ought to do with his wet nurse’s fable when Maester Luwin spoke up. “The histories say the crannogmen grew close to the children of the forest in the days when the greenseers tried to bring the hammer of the waters down upon the Neck. It may be that they have secret knowledge.”
(Theon IV, ACoK)
Bran asks Jojen.
“What do the trees remember?”
“The secrets of the old gods,” said Jojen Reed. Food and fire and rest had helped restore him after the ordeals of their journey, but he seemed sadder now, sullen, with a weary, haunted look about the eyes. “Truths the First Men knew, forgotten now in Winterfell ... but not in the wet wild. We live closer to the green in our bogs and crannogs, and we remember. Earth and water, soil and stone, oaks and elms and willows, they were here before us all and will still remain when we are gone.”
(Bran III, ADwD)

He is one of the few northmen that can access, perhaps, the knowledge of the old gods. He might have watched over the fate of his children in Winterfell, and have witnessed everything that happened there.

In particular, he might know that Theon is a kinslayer.

Of course, Howland Reed is not the hooded man in Winterfell. But it's a possibility that the hooded man heard about the kinslaying accusation, directly or not, through Greywater Watch.

A final note: since ravens do not reach Greywater Watch, Howland Reed might not be accessible to the greenseer who wargs ravens.

5. The Liddle

That's the man Bran, Jojen, Meera and Hodor met in the mountains north of Winterfell. Let's recall the encounter.
Nor did they. Only once did they encounter any of the mountain people, when a sudden burst of freezing rain sent them looking for shelter. Summer found it for them, sniffing out a shallow cave behind the greygreen branches of a towering sentinel tree, but when Hodor ducked beneath the stony overhang, Bran saw the orange glow of fire farther back and realized they were not alone. “Come in and warm yourselves,” a man’s voice called out. “There’s stone enough to keep the rain off all our heads.”
He offered them oatcakes and blood sausage and a swallow of ale from a skin he carried, but never his name; nor did he ask theirs. Bran figured him for a Liddle. The clasp that fastened his squirrelskin cloak was gold and bronze and wrought in the shape of a pinecone, and the Liddles bore pinecones on the white half of their green-and-white shields.
“Is it far to the Wall?” Bran asked him as they waited for the rain to stop.
“Not so far as the raven flies,” said the Liddle, if that was who he was. “Farther, for them as lacks wings.”
Bran started, “I’d bet we’d be there if...
“... we took the kingsroad,” Meera. finished with him.
The Liddle took out a knife and whittled at a stick. “When there was a Stark in Winterfell, a
maiden girl could walk the kingsroad in her name-day gown and still go unmolested, and travelers could find fire, bread, and salt at many an inn and holdfast. But the nights are colder now, and doors are closed. There’s squids in the wolfswood, and flayed men ride the kingsroad asking after strangers.”
The Reeds exchanged a look. “Flayed men?” said Jojen.
“The Bastard’s boys, aye. He was dead, but now he’s not. And paying good silver for wolfskins, a man hears, and maybe gold for word of certain other walking dead.” He looked at Bran when he said that, and at Summer stretched out beside him. “As to that Wall,” the man went on, “it’s not a place that I’d be going. The Old Bear took the Watch into the haunted woods, and all that come back was his ravens, with hardly a message between them. Dark wings, dark words, me mother used to say, but when the birds fly silent, seems to me that’s even darker.” He poked at the fire with his stick. “It was different when there was a Stark in Winterfell. But the
old wolf’s dead and young one’s gone south to play the game of thrones, and all that’s left us is the ghosts.”
“The wolves will come again,” said Jojen solemnly.
“And how would you be knowing, boy?”
“I dreamed it.”
“Some nights I dream of me mother that I buried nine years past,” the man said, “but when I
wake, she’s not come back to us.”
“There are dreams and dreams, my lord.”
“Hodor,” said Hodor.
They spent that night together, for the rain did not let up till well past dark, and only Summer seemed to want to leave the cave. When the fire had burned down to embers, Bran let him go. The direwolf did not feel the damp as people did, and the night was calling him. Moonlight painted the wet woods in shades of silver and turned the grey peaks white. Owls hooted through the dark and flew silently between the pines, while pale goats moved along the mountainsides. Bran closed his eyes and gave himself up to the wolf dream, to the smells and sounds of midnight.
When they woke the next morning, the fire had gone out and the Liddle was gone, but he’d left a sausage for them, and a dozen oatcakes folded up neatly in a green and white cloth. Some of the cakes had pinenuts baked in them and some had blackberries. Bran ate one of each, and still did not know which sort he liked the best. One day there would be Starks in Winterfell again, he told himself, and then he’d send for the Liddles and pay them back a hundredfold for every nut and berry.
(Bran II, ASoS)

The first curiosity is that Summer found the cave, as if the wolf had been led there. Moreover, it seems the man was prepared to meet his prince. In all likehood, Bran and co had been watched by the clans since they entered the mountains. The man in the cave did not provide his name, thus showing his understanding that Bran wouldn't tell his.

The man wears a clasp of bronze and gold. A clear sign that he is highborn, especially since gold is rare in the north (we did not see any with the Starks). The Liddle family is the following (Appendix, ADwD): Torren Liddle is the head of the clan, his eldest son is Duncan Liddle (Big Liddle, at the Wall), his second son is Morgan Liddle (Middle Liddle, with Stannis), his third son is Rickard Liddle (Little Liddle). The Liddle with Bran could be Torren Liddle or Rickard Liddle. I would rather guess Torren, since I don't have the impression the Liddle in the cave is particularly young. Big Liddle could have been the one who sent news to his the clan  from the Wall.

A little oddity: the Liddle eldest son has been sent to the Wall. This goes against the convention of sending second and third sons to the Wall and reserving the due inheritance for the first born. The ordering big - middle - little does not seem to follow anything else than order of birth. It's compatible with what has happened with Big Walder and Little Walder. Moreover, Middle Liddle seems a physically impressive man. There is no sign that Big Liddle is larger. So has Big Liddle been deprived of inheritance for some reason? Has he been sent to the Wall for a crime?

It seems evident that the Liddle has recognized Bran, and that he is loyal to the Starks (consider the first names: Torren and Rickard) and that he dislikes the Boltons. It's not clear what he intends to do about the whole situation.

That implies that the mountain clans, at least Morgan Liddle who has ridden with Stannis, know about the survival of the young Starks, at least Bran, and that they haven't told Stannis. Indeed, Stannis believes that Theon has put to death the young Starks.

The news might very well have reached Deepwood Motte, when the place has been liberated by Stannis and Alysanne Mormont as well. It's not clear whether people in Deepwood Motte took the trouble of warning other northern lords.

Among the more important mountain clans (Wull, Flint, Norrey, Liddle) we see Old Flint and The Norrey at the Wall and The Wull with Stannis. The Liddle seems to be missing. It might be that he did not go to the Wall because his son Duncan is at Castle Black. He doesn't have the excuse of being too old like Old Flint and The Norrey. Since Morgan Liddle is with Stannis, the Liddle clan has embraced Stannis' cause. So the Liddle is doing something just as important as fighting with Stannis and going to the Wall. But what?

6. Chayle, Gage, Joseth etc

There aren't many news concerning the well being of the people in Winterfell after the Sack. Lothar Frey and Walder Rivers tell of news from Little Walder and Big Walder.
“I cannot speak to that. There is much confusion in any war. Many false reports. All I can tell you is that my nephews claim it was this bastard son of Bolton’s who saved the women of Winterfell, and the little ones. They are safe at the Dreadfort now, all those who remain.”
(Catelyn III, ASoS)
Roose reports to Robb on a letter sent by Ramsay.
Bolton’s pale eyes met her own. “The ironmen burned both castle and winter town. Some of your people were taken back to the Dreadfort by my son, Ramsay.”
(Catelyn V, ASoS)
Much later, we have news via Manderly.
Snow did not kill them all. He spared the women, roped them together, and marched them to the Dreadfort for his sport.
(Davos IV, ADwD)
Among the women, we might hope to see Palla, Barth the brewer's wife, little Beth Cassel and Old Nan.

We know for certain that Maester Luwin, Mikken the smith, Kyra, Farren the kennel master are dead. Septon Chayle is almost certainly dead. A little detail gives me pause. When Jojen predicts that Chayle will drown:
“The gods will take me when they see fit,” Septon Chayle said quietly, “though I scarcely think it likely that I’ll drown, Bran. I grew up on the banks of the White Knife, you know. I’m quite the strong swimmer.”
(Bran V, ACoK)
Chayle has been given to the Drowned God in the Well of Winterfell.
As for Chayle, he had to give someone to the Drowned God, his men expected it. “I bear you no ill will,” he’d told the septon before they threw him down the well, “but you and your gods have no place here now.”
(Theon IV, ACoK)

So there is the remote possibility that Chayle swam into the well and that the well and the pool communicate.
And then Osha exploded up out of the pool with a great splash, so sudden that even Summer leapt back, snarling. Hodor jumped away, wailing “Hodor, Hodor” in dismay until Bran patted his shoulder to soothe his fears. “How can you swim in there?” he asked Osha. “Isn’t it cold?”
“As a babe I suckled on icicles, boy. I like the cold.” Osha swam to the rocks and rose dripping. She was naked, her skin bumpy with gooseprickles. Summer crept close and sniffed at her. “I wanted to touch the bottom.”
“I never knew there was a bottom.”
“Might be there isn’t.” She grinned.
(Bran II, ACoK)

But I see the survival of Chayle as unlikely. It's probable that the ironmen did not intend to leave the corpse in the well after the drowning. So they would have noticed if Chayle had escaped by swimming down the well. Note that Chayle made an unexpected return at the Wall for the wedding of Alys Karstark via a typo.
Septon Chayle had emerged briefly from the sept, fingering the seven-sided crystal on the thong about his neck, only to retreat inside again once the prayers began.
(Jon X, ADwD)

It's, of course, Septon Cellador, so much in his cups that he thinks himself as Chayle. Had Chayle survived somehow the drowning, he would have made a candidate to be considered for the hooded man role: he had known Theon from childhood and might have moral authority over him, he could be thought as an avenger in the castle, he might have been in contact with Glover and Umber outside the caslte.

A number men have survived the Sack of Winterfell and joined Stannis, as Stannis wrote to Jon Snow.
Fisherfolk, freeriders, hillmen, crofters from the deep of the wolfswood and villagers who fled their homes along the stony shore to escape the ironmen, survivors from the battle outside the gates of Winterfell, men once sworn to the Hornwoods, the Cerwyns, and the Tallharts.
(Jon VII, ADwD)
There are also refugees in White Harbor.
“Them as have no other place to live. Smallfolk from up the White Knife, most o’ them. Hornwood’s people too. With that Bastard o’ Bolton running loose, they all want to be inside the walls. I don’t know what his lordship means to do with all o’ them. Most turned up with no more’n the rags on their backs.”
Davos felt a pang of guilt. They came here for refuge, to a city untouched by the fighting, and here I turn up to drag them back into the war. He took a bite of the apple and felt guilty about that as well. “How do they eat?”
The apple seller shrugged. “Some beg. Some steal. Lots o’ young girls taking up the trade, the way girls always do when it’s all they got to sell. Any boy stands five feet tall can find a place in his lordship’s barracks, long as he can hold a spear.”
(Davos II, ADwD)

Up the White Knife leads to Winterfell. So Stannis' host and Manderly might both have survivors of Winterfell with them.

Joseth became the master of horse after Hullen's departure for King's Landing. He seemed to have been a smart fellow.
Joseth understood. “A man the size of Hodor ought to have left a deep print in this mud,” he
said. “More so with the weight of a boy on his back. Yet the only boot prints here are our own. See for yourself.”
(Theon IV, ACoK)
And wise too.
He made them press on through the dusk, but when the last light faded Joseth finally worked up the courage to say, “This is fruitless, my lord. We will lame a horse, break a leg.”
“Joseth has the right of it,” said Maester Luwin. “Groping through the woods by torchlight will avail us nothing.”
(Theon IV, ACoK)

Joseth probably died during the Sack of Winterfell. But we never had confirmation. In particular, Bran and Osha inspected the stables after the Sack and did not see Joseth's body. Joseth's daughters Bandy and Shyra might have been taken to the Dreadfort.

Gage was the castle's cook. We didn't see him die either.

Mikken the smith, Farlen the kennelmaster etc have been killed by the ironmen.

7. Osha

Osha's early life in Winterfell is partly discussed with the washerwomen.

We know through Wex that Osha and Rickon went to the island of Skagos.
“The lad is ironborn, so he thought it best not to show himself,” said Glover. “He listened. The six did not linger long amongst the ruins of Winterfell. Four went one way, two another. Wex stole after the two, a woman and a boy. He must have stayed downwind, so the wolf would not catch his scent.”
“He knows where they went,” Lord Wyman said.
Davos understood. “You want the boy.”
“Roose Bolton has Lord Eddard’s daughter. To thwart him White Harbor must have Ned’s son ... and the direwolf. The wolf will prove the boy is who we say he is, should the Dreadfort attempt to deny him. That is my price, Lord Davos. Smuggle me back my liege lord, and I will take Stannis Baratheon as my king.”
(Davos IV, ADwD)

We do not know how they went there, and how did Wex reach White Harbor. Osha and Rickon left Winterfell through the East Gate and took the kingsroad.
“Listen,” Luwin said to Osha, “the princes... Robb’s heirs. Not... not together... do you hear?” The wildling woman leaned on her spear. “Aye. Safer apart. But where to take them? I’d
thought, might be these Cerwyns...”
Maester Luwin shook his head, though it was plain to see what the effort cost him. “Cerwyn
boy’s dead. Ser Rodrik, Leobald Tallhart, Lady Hornwood... all slain. Deepwood fallen, Moat Cailin, soon Torrhen’s Square. Ironmen on the Stony Shore. And east, the Bastard of Bolton.”
“Then where?” asked Osha.
“White Harbor... the Umbers... I do not know... war everywhere... each man against his neighbor, and winter coming... such folly, such black mad folly...” Maester Luwin reached up and grasped Bran’s forearm, his fingers closing with a desperate strength. “You must be strong now. Strong.”
“I will be,” Bran said, though it was hard. Ser Rodrik killed and Maester Luwin, everyone, everyone...
“Good,” the maester said. “A good boy. Your... your father’s son, Bran. Now go.”
Osha gazed up at the weirwood, at the red face carved in the pale trunk. “And leave you for the gods?”
“I beg...” The maester swallowed a... a drink of water, and... another boon. If you would...” “Aye.” She turned to Meera. “Take the boys.”
Jojen and Meera led Rickon out between them. Hodor followed. Low branches whipped at
Bran’s face as they pushed between the trees, and the leaves brushed away his tears. Osha joined them in the yard a few moments later. She said no word of Maester Luwin. “Hodor must stay with Bran, to be his legs,” the wildling woman said briskly. “I will take Rickon with me.”
“We’ll go with Bran,” said Jojen Reed.
“Aye, I thought you might,” said Osha. “Believe I’ll try the East Gate, and follow the kingsroad a ways.”
“We’ll take the Hunter’s Gate,” said Meera.
“Hodor,” said Hodor.
They stopped at the kitchens first. Osha found some loaves of burned bread that were still
edible, and even a cold roast fowl that she ripped in half. Meera unearthed a crock of honey and a big sack of apples. Outside, they made their farewells. Rickon sobbed and clung to Hodor’s leg until Osha gave him a smack with the butt end of her spear. Then he followed her quick enough. Shaggydog stalked after them. The last Bran saw of them was the direwolf’s tail as it vanished behind the broken tower.
(Bran VII, ACoK)

Osha gave Luwin the gift of mercy. After she has left the godswood, she knows her destination. A few more things might have been said between Luwin and Osha. And Wex, hidden in the godswood, might have heard. Note also that Luwin has been killed at the weirwood feet. Could it count as a sacrifice and be of importance? That is something that Osha would understand since she is knowledgeable about wildling lore.

The kingsroad leads north to Umber Lands and leads south to White Harbor. If Osha meant to reach Skagos, the north route is more realistic, especially since she might have heard the following conversation at the Harvest Feast. The Umbers make a request to their liege lord.
Hother wanted ships. “There’s wildlings stealing down from the north, more than I’ve ever seen before. They cross the Bay of Seals in little boats and wash up on our shores. The crows in Eastwatch are too few to stop them, and they go to ground quick as weasels. It’s longships we need, aye, and strong men to sail them. The Greatjon took too many. Half our harvest is gone to seed for want of arms to swing the scythes.”
(Bran II, ACoK)

So Osha might have gone to Skagos with the wildling of the Bay of Seals. Prior to that, she would have had to cross entirely the Umber Lands. Wex might have been caught by the Umbers and brought to Manderly. At the time Umbers and Manderlys were working together to build a fleet.
Ser Rodrik pulled at his whiskers. “You have forests of tall pine and old oak. Lord Manderly has shipwrights and sailors in plenty. Together you ought to be able to float enough longships to guard both your coasts.”
“Manderly?” Mors Umber snorted. “That great waddling sack of suet? His own people mock him as Lord Lamprey, I’ve heard. The man can scarce walk. If you stuck a sword in his belly, ten thousand eels would wriggle out.”
“He is fat,” Ser Rodrik admitted, “but he is not stupid. You will work with him, or the king will know the reason why.” And to Bran’s astonishment, the truculent Umbers agreed to do as he commanded, though not without grumbling.
(Bran II, ACoK)

The cooperation of one or both Umbers with Manderly would solve a number of plot problems.

If Osha and Rickon went south, it means they took a ship in White Harbor to Skagos, which would explain how Wex arrived there. But it is unlikely that Osha and Rickon would find a ship willing to take them there. Indeed, Manderly himself has to resort to the service of Davos to lead an expedition to the island. So we are left with the hypothesis of the Umber cooperation.

Manderly and Robett Glover's plan is to bring back Rickon as the legitimate lord of Winterfell, and perhaps king in the the north. Not much time has elapsed between the secret meeting at White Harbor and the Winterfell wedding. Indeed Manderly and Glover know that Stannis has taken Deepwood Motte. It happened just before the Freys left White Harbor.

When the news reach Barrowton, Roose decides to move the wedding to Winterfell. At that point Manderly has just arrived in Barrowton and Ramsay has spent sixteen days looking for the Freys. So at most a month has elapsed between the White Harbor meeting and the decision to move the wedding to Winterfell. The departure for Winterfell happened three days later. At most another month, in all likehood much less, was necessary to move Roose's host and all the guests to Winterfell. Then about fifty days, perhaps a bit less, elapsed between the wedding and the escape.

At the time of the escape, Davos has begun his mission to find Rickon two to four monthes before.

So the hooded man could have come to Winterfell to give news of the young Rickard Stark. However it wouldn't be reasonable for Glover and Davos to have brought Rickon to Winterfell. Keeping him safely in White Harbor seems a better option.

8. Harrion Kastark

House Karstark is one of the few houses not present in Winterfell. After the beheading of Rickard Karstark by the Young Wolf, Harrion is the lord.

House Karstark is the main known offshoot of House Stark. Hence Harrion can claim to be descended from the Kings of Winter on the male line, making him eligible to inherit Winterfell, depending on the circumstances.

We first met Harrion when Robb called his banners. The Karstarks saw Bran in Winterfell's Great Hall.
Harrion Karstark, the oldest of Lord Rickard’s sons, bowed, and his brothers after him, yet as they settled back in their places he heard the younger two talking in low voices, over the clatter of wine cups. I’ll... sooner die than live like that,” muttered one, his father’s namesake Eddard, and his brother Torrhen said likely the boy was broken inside as well as out, too craven to take his own life.
(Bran VI, AGoT)
This is a sign that the Karstarks wouldn't be willing to accept a crippled boy as a lord, it seems.

Harrion has been taken prisoner by Tywin Lannister at the Red Fork. Arya saw him in Harrenhal.
He belonged to Lord Tywin, but the fierce, bearded young man who liked to walk the battlements alone in a black cloak patterned with white suns had been taken by some hedge knight who meant to get rich off him.
(Arya VIII, ACoK)

Harrion has freed by Roose's army and sent to Duskendale, where the northmen are smashed by Randyll Tarly. The last news we had of him is through Alys Kastark taking shelter at the Wall.
Harry was a prisoner at Maidenpool when last we heard, but that was almost a year ago. He may be dead as well.
(Jon IX, ADwD)
And she adds.
“He is no lord,” Alys said scornfully. “My brother Harry is the rightful lord, and by law I am his heir. A daughter comes before an uncle. Uncle Arnolf is only castellan. He’s my great-uncle, actually, my father’s uncle. Cregan is his son. I suppose that makes him a cousin, but we always called him uncle. Now they mean to make me call him husband.”
(Jon IX, ADwD)
Alys was once promised to the heir of Hornwood.
She made a fist. “Before the war I was betrothed to Daryn Hornwood. We were only waiting till I flowered to be wed, but the Kingslayer killed Daryn in the Whispering Wood. My father wrote that he would find some southron lord to wed me, but he never did. Your brother Robb cut off his head for killing Lannisters.” Her mouth twisted. “I thought the whole reason they marched south was to kill some Lannisters.”
(Jon IX, ADwD)
It is not what Luwin meant when he said.
The Tallharts, Flints, and Karstarks all have ties to House Hornwood through the female line, and the Glovers are fostering Lord Harys's bastard at Deepwood Motte.
(Bran II, ACoK)
Recently, the Karstark have fought for the Starks.
“The blood of the First Men flows in my veins as much as yours, boy. You would do well to remember that. I was named for your grandfather. I raised my banners against King Aerys for your father, and against King Joffrey for you. At Oxcross and the Whispering Wood and in the Battle of the Camps, I rode beside you, and I stood with Lord Eddard on the Trident. We are kin, Stark and Karstark.”
(Catelyn III, ASoS)

House Karstark is an offshoot of House Stark, possibly founded after a Bolton rebellion.
The Karstarks traced their descent to Karlon Stark, a younger son of Winterfell who had put down a rebel lord a thousand years ago, and been granted lands for his valor. The castle he built had been named Karl's Hold, but that soon became Karhold, and over the centuries the Karhold Starks had become Karstarks.
(Catelyn III, ASoS)

Indeed House Karstark's lands are adjacent to House Bolton's. It would have made sense to have deprived the rebel lord of some of his lands and to give them to the younger son of Winterfell who put him down.

The Karstark are proud of their Stark parentage. As Cregan Karstark and Rickart Kastark say.
“If you mean to kill me, do it and be damned for a kinslayer. Stark and Karstark are one blood.”
(Jon X, ADwD)
“Old gods or new, it makes no matter,” Lord Rickard told her son, “no man is so accursed as the kinslayer.”
“Kneel, traitor,” Robb said again. “Or must I have them force your head onto the block?”
Lord Karstark knelt. “The gods shall judge you, as you have judged me.” He laid his head upon
the block.
“Rickard Karstark, Lord of Karhold.” Robb lifted the heavy axe with both hands. “Here in sight
of gods and men, I judge you guilty of murder and high treason. In mine own name I condemn you. With mine own hand I take your life. Would you speak a final word?”
“Kill me, and be cursed. You are no king of mine.”
(Catelyn III, ASoS)

Stannis promises Winterfell to Arnolf Karstark for his loyalty. However, Arnolf's treachery is discovered and punished by Stannis.

In the Young Wolf's host, Umbers and Karstarks had places of choice. There are only three towers in Moat Cailin. Theon recalls.
The Karstarks took the Drunkard's Tower and the Umbers the Children's Tower, he recalled. Robb claimed the Gatehouse Tower for his own.
(Reek II, ADwD)

Jon Snow has created a new House Thenn, via the marriage to Alys Karstark. The wedding has not been witnessed by the old gods and has been celebrated with the rites of the red god. It is unclear whether the marriage will be accepted by the north, especially since Alys has not been given to her husband by a male relative.

So the Karstarks see themselves as substitutes for the Starks, if not authentic Starks. However, the beheading of Rickard, the alliance with Stannis, the betrayal of Stannis by Arnolf, the marriage of Alys Karstark to the magnar of Thenn leaves house Karstark in an unclear situation. I wonder what passes through the head of Karstark men after all these events.

It seems that the Karstark men would fight the Boltons with Stannis and the other northmen.

Harrion is Randyll Tarly's prisoner in Maidenpool. He might restore some order to the house on his return. But what he will decide is unclear. He might bear some grudge to Jon Snow for having wed his sister, and might even contest the validity of the wedding. But it seems possible that he adopts Alys' attitude towards the Stark.
“My father never bellowed like the Greatjon, but he was no less dangerous in his wroth. He is dead now too, though. So is your brother. But you and I are here, still living. Is there blood feud between us, Lord Snow?”
(Jon IX, ADwD)

When Brienne was in Maidenpool, there was no sign of Harrion. Where is he now? His sister Alys has no idea. A small fleet was present at Maidenpool when Brienne visited for the first time.
A galley, a galleas, and a big two- masted cog were in port, along with a score of little fishing boats.
(Brienne III, ADwD)

It seems that the same ships were in White Harbor sometime later. Indeed, when Davos is in White Harbor, he inquires about the ships currently in the harbor.
The dockside wharves were swarming. A clutter of small boats were tied up along the fish market, off-loading their catches. He saw three river runners too, long lean boats built tough to brave the swift currents and rocky shoots of the White Knife. It was the seagoing vessels that interested him most, however; a pair of carracks as drab and tattered as the Merry Midwife, the trading galley Storm Dancer, the cogs Brave Magister and Horn of Plenty, a galleas from Braavos marked by her purple hull and sails ...
... and there beyond, the warship.
(Davos II, ADwD)

The warship has been sent by the Iron Throne and it brought the Freys to White Harbor. The galleas from Braavos is more interesting. The purple hull and sails mark it as an official ship. Tycho Nestoris would later arrive at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea with the following fleet.
Cotter Pyke informs me that you came to Eastwatch with three ships. A galleas, a galley, and a cog.
(Jon IX, ADwD)

So it possible that the galleas is Tycho's, and that the remnant of his fleet was made of the Storm Dancer, and the Horn of Plenty. The Brave Magister bears an unlikely name for a Braavosi ship, and is filled with mead. The cog and the galley of Tycho Nestoris might not be Braavosi, and they might have joined the galleas in White Harbor, or earlier since Brienne sees in Maidenpool what could very well be the banker's fleet.

There is no sign that the galleas is Braavosi for Brienne. Perhaps her familiarity with ships does not match Davos'. An oarsman from the galleas is sentenced by Lord Tarly, and nothing shows that he is braavosi.

All this is pure speculation, but relatively few ships are spotted either at White Harbor and Maidenpool, and the probability that we find coincidentally a galleas, a galley and a cog at both places is low. So, it's possible that Harrion Karstark has been freed by Randyll Tarly and went to White Harbor with Tycho Nestoris. But then Harrion might have continued north and could even have stepped down at Karhold. But we would know this, since Alys and Cregan Karstark arrived at Castle Black after Tycho, so Harrion would have reached Karhold before they left, which is impossible. Perhaps, when Tycho's fleet arrived in White Harbor, Harrion was warned that Cregan had declared for Stannis and was advised by Manderly not to go to Karhold. There is sign that Manderly knows the situation at Karhold, and that he is persuaded that Harrion is alive.
Ser Marlon turned to Davos. “How many northern lords have declared for Stannis? Tell us that.”
“Arnolf Karstark has vowed to join His Grace.”
“Arnolf is no true lord, only a castellan. What castles does Lord Stannis hold at present, pray?”

(Davos III, ADwD)

Another possibility is that Harrion left Maidenpool with Wylis Manderly.

It's interesting to see the Karstarks as significant of what the Starks were once: before they married a Tully, before they bent the knee to the Targaryens, when they were the kings of Winter. What we see is not pretty: they expect cripples to take their own life. They feel that they can sell their daughter for marriage (Alys Karstark promised to whoever captures of kills the Kingslayer). We even see Cregan Karstark hunting his own cousin Alys with dogs, like a prey. They revel in odious treachery to gain the lordship of Karhold.

9. Melisandre

There is so much to say about Melisandre. However, she seems out of the game during the Winterfell drama. Here is an interesting thought of Jon Snow, when he is offered Winterfell by Stannis.
The weirwood was the heart of Winterfell, Lord Eddard always said... but to save the castle Jon would have to tear that heart up by its ancient roots, and feed it to the red woman's hungry fire god. I have no right, he thought. Winterfell belongs to the old gods.
(Jon XI, ASoS)

So Melisandre would burn the weirwood, just like the First Men of old did before concluding the pact with the Children of the Forest. This project is well in line with what we saw previously: Melisandre had the Storm's End weirwood burned as well and she made the wildlings burn branches of weirwood before allowing them through the Wall.
Queen's men in studded jacks and halfhelms handed each passing man, woman, or child a piece of white weirwood: a stick, a splintered branch as pale as broken bone, a spray of blood-red leaves. A piece of the old gods to feed the new.
(Jon III, ADwD)

So Melisandre is an enemy of the old gods and of the Children of the Forest. However when Jon asked her what she saw in her flames at the time of the escape.
“And what of Mance? Is he lost as well? What do your fires show?”
“The same, I fear. Only snow.”
(Jon X, ADwD)

So it seems that Winterfell is outside her area of influence and she played no role in the events there. It's interesting that the blizzard made the Winterfell region impervious to the visions in the flames.

Melisandre's magic could not penetrate Storm's End when she intended to launch a shadow killer on Cortnay Penrose. She said explicitly that the Walls of the castle are warded. Later she would have the godswood put to the torch.

It's possible that a similar phenomenon occurs in Winterfell.

10. Euron Greyjoy

It's not relevant for the Winterfell events, but it seems to me that an important question about Euron is whether he controls or is controlled by the qartheen wizards. But that's a question for another day.

However, the question of change of power in the Iron Island is important for the north.

It is interesting to see that the Barrowlands and the Rills have remained untouched by the invasion of the ironmen. After all, more to the south, the ironmen are at Moat Cailin, and more to the north there were ironmen along the Stony Shore.

Just before the Red Wedding, Robb and Roose Bolton had a conversation about what to do with Theon Greyjoy.
“Flaying Theon will not bring my brothers back,” Robb said. “I want his head, not his skin.”
“He is Balon Greyjoy’s only living son,” Lord Bolton said softly, as if they had forgotten, “and now rightful King of the Iron Islands. A captive king has great value as a hostage.”
“Hostage?” The word raised Catelyn’s hackles. Hostages were oft exchanged. “Lord Bolton, I hope you are not suggesting that we free the man who killed my sons.”
“Whoever wins the Seastone Chair will want Theon Greyjoy dead,” Bolton pointed out. “Even in chains, he has a better claim than any of his uncles. Hold him, I say, and demand concessions from the ironborn as the price of his execution.”
Robb considered that reluctantly, but in the end he nodded. “Yes. Very well. Keep him alive, then. For the present. Hold him secure at the Dreadfort till we’ve retaken the north.”
(Catelyn VI, ASoS)

We are never told if Roose asked anything to keep Theon prisoner. Curiously, Roose made a promise to Theon.
“Serve us in this, and when Stannis is defeated we will discuss how best to restore you to your father’s seat,” his lordship had said in that soft voice of his, a voice made for lies and whispers. Theon never believed a word of it. He would dance this dance for them because he had no choice, but afterward ...
(The Prince of Winterfell, ADwD)

Theon never seemed to believe the promise. Roose did not do much to protect Theon from Ramsay. I am sure Roose is aware of the value of Theon as heir to the Iron Island. Apparently, Roose lost interest in Theon after the wedding. We saw no sign that Euron paid any attention to the continuing existence of Theon.

The Winterfell Huis Clos