Ned Umber and Alys Karstark are expected to have a significant role in Game of Thrones Season 8, although the exact nature isn’t known as of the time of publication. (We will update this story after the Season 8 premiere has aired.) Here’s a plot refresher about the two and what role they have played on the show up until now.
Ned Umber Has a Checkered Family Past, But He Was Not Held Accountable for His Father’s Betrayal
Ned Umber is the young son of Smalljon Umber and currently the head of House Umber. His dad Smalljon died in the Battle of the Bastards after betraying the Starks and fighting with House Bolton.
House Umber was loyal to the Starks for a long period of time, before everything changed in a burst of disloyalty that fans are still talking about. In Season 1 the house supported House Stark in the War of the Five Kings. Greatjon Umber supported crowning Robb Stark as King of the North, even kneeling before him. That was a significant act of loyalty and bravery for House Stark.
But in Season 6, after Greatjon had died, his son Smalljon Umber asked Ramsay Bolton to help him fight the Free Folk. Jon Snow had let the Freefolk into the realm and Smalljon feared they would threaten the Last Hearth. To prove his alliance with House Bolton, he betrayed the Starks by handing over Rickon and Osha to Ramsay, along with Shaggydog’s head. Yes, Smalljon beheaded the direwolf Shaggydog and handed Jon’s little brother over to Ramsay Bolton.
Ramsay later killed Rickon right in front of Jon Snow.
So Ned Umber, the grandson of Greatjon and the namesake of Ned Stark, had all of that bad blood to deal with in Season 7. When his dad died, he became the Lord of House Umber at the age of 10. In Season 7, he was at Winterfell’s main hall for the council of Northern and Vale lords. Understandably angry, Sansa suggested taking away the Last Hearth and giving it to a loyal ally. But Jon didn’t want to blame Ned for his dad’s actions. Instead, Jon and Alys Karstark were given a chance to plead loyalty to Jon Snow, which they quickly did. Now Ned is in good graces again, having even been present at Dragonstone when Jon announced his plans to create an alliance with Daenerys.
Alys Karstark Was Also Given a Chance To Pledge Loyalty to Jon Snow
At the same time that Ned Umber was given a chance to pledge his loyalty to Jon Snow as King of the North, Alys Karstark was given the same opportunity in Season 7. And she gladly took it.
Alys Karstark is the head of House Karstark after her father, Lord Harald Karstark, died during the Battle of the Bastards. Like Smalljon Umber, Harald also fought for House Bolton against the Starks. Her uncle, Torrhen Karstark, was killed by Jaime Lannister during the War of the Five Kings. That’s why her grandfather, Rickard Karstark, was so angry when Catelyn Stark freed Jaime when he was a prisoner. Rickard was ultimately sentenced to treason by Robb Stark and beheaded after he killed two Lannister cousins as vengeance.
As a result, the Karstarks abandoned the war and returned home.
Harald sided with Ramsay Bolton against Jon because he was still angry about what happened to his father Rickard. Harald died in that battle.
Harry Grasby & Megan Parkinson Were Confirmed as Returning to GoT in December 2017, Sparking Many Rumors
We’ve known for a while that Ned Umber and Alys Karstark were returning to Game of Thrones. In fact, Watchers on the Wall reported about it in December 2017.
Megan Parkinson’s talent agency website, Independent Talent, listed her back in December 2017 as returning in Season 8. And Harry Grasby was spotted at Belfast airport around that same time. Harry is a 12-year-old actor from Leeds, playing a character close to the same age.
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